Tuesday, September 23, 2014


during one of jacob's "naps", i wrote out the alphabet and asked, "can you color the [insert letter] [insert color]?" it actually was a really fun spur of the moment activity. we also got a little wild and did dots.

a duck game at grandma's house. each duck has a different color on the bottom. there's three of each color for each lily pad. really cute, even if it's not technically for her age.

aaron built rorie a tent when we were living in chicago. the lucky pair got to watch finding nemo in it one night. complete with popcorn.

"super girl" taking my tea order. i believe on this particular day we had "shell tea". sometimes we have "rock tea". oh... she literally wore that outfit all day. her pjs are underneath. 

another activity totally not geared for her age, but it's great for concentration and fine motor skills. she loved it. can't wait to show her what happens when you iron it. i bet she'll be mad they get all stuck together. anyone want to bet on it?

pipe cleaners and beads. enough said.

painting shells is a touisset point past time. 

sweet girl now sits here and goes through the whole bookshelf while i'm putting jacob to sleep. 3-4 times a day.

"i have a mustache"
and.... here's jakey!

have a great  day!

Monday, September 22, 2014


spent last night going through my draft posts. couldn't believe i forgot to click "publish" on these. i remember this visit well. grandma d and auntie hannah came to visit. i think jake was two weeks old? was cloudy and rained most of their trip, but it was nice to show them our new home. i also remember this is when thrush reared it's ugly head. i remember i wasn't very good at capturing moments during their visit. stupid thrush. oh well... i got a few. i think we're due for another visit.

sweet boy looks so tiny... and he's SO different now. he has a personality! which really makes all the difference. we are finally getting out of the "haze" of the newborn stage. and boy... it. feels. good.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


i've debated even writing about this...or even continuing to write on this blog. i know it's important to share our experiences. and i love looking back on posts and remembering how i felt and breathing life into our family pictures through text. but it's hard to write about the tough stuff. i think it's so hard because there's a part of you that has to officially deal with what you went through when you write it down. so here's what we've been going through and the tough decisions we've had to make.


i just want to scream. "why is this so hard?!" i just want to feed him. he's my second baby. the one who was supposed to be my fresh start. when it comes to breast feeding, that is.

and that's when i know it's time to stop. when i start screaming. both in my head and out loud. when i'm crying because i can't believe this is happening again. 

and painfully and wearily, i surrender my god given ability to lactate for the second time.

feeding him was a constant struggle. both on his part and mine. we both hated it. a feeding did not equal a happy baby. it meant painful burps and lots of crying. both him and me. it hurt me physically and mentally. we visited everyone under the sun to try and fix our breast feeding. he just never got it right. he still doesn't suck right on a pacifier or a bottle. so i know that's part of the problem.

when we started giving him a formula marketed as "supplementing while breast feeding" i thought, "i can do this. i can be an exclusive pumper. 
and I could have. that's a reality i could have chosen.

i lived that reality for two weeks. and that's why i'm not doing it.

i watched myself be hooked up to a noisy machine that dripped out liquid gold. as all gold goes, it came at a price. two weeks in and i was not myself. i couldn't create enough liquid gold to satisfy my little one. i was spending no time with my children. even less time with my husband. i wasn't sleeping. night shift and pumping don't really mix. i was all around hating life while "trying" to do the best for my baby.

i watched myself place my two year old in front of the tv for hours on end- daily. i watched myself tell her "no" and "hold on" and "wait" more than i ever have in her short two years of life. i watched myself yell and scream and cry in frustration as my doe eyed two year old stroked my hair and held my face saying, "it's ok mama". i watched myself lay my baby on the floor with toys or in a swing more often than i picked him up.

all for the sake of breast milk... 

because "breast is best". 

at least that's what they say.

we fed him formula... two oz... the amount i was able to pump. he screamed until he had two more. he was happier than he had ever been. and then proceeded to sleep very well. i had been starving yet another one of my children.

he's so much happier now. like a different baby. and he's grown quite a bit! he still spits up. my dad was a spitter. i was a spitter. my children are both spitters. like i've said before, they get my best qualities

once, when aaron was feeding him he spit up for the second time that bottle. aaron told him, "dude, you're wasting our money". 

i heard it and instantly said, "i'd rather waste our money than our time."

and that was that. the peace of knowing that this was what we were destined to do. again. use the dreaded formula. 

but you know what? there's a lot of people out there who give there all to create this liquid gold that's become even more precious to me than it's predecessor. it now sustains and sustained both my babies. sure, it's a big business trying to snag all our money. when i see a big business of moms who's sole career is to make milk for the masses...i'll believe the saying, "breast is best" wholeheartedly. until then... we're relying on the dreaded formula and a donation of breast milk from a coworker sent from heaven.

you know what is best? plain and simple feeding your baby. you feed them... and you are doing what is best for them and for you. 

don't break it down more than that. ever. because it only creates fear and disappointment if you tell me what I'm doing is second best. because it's not.


now here i am... not even a week into our decision. not officially dried up yet, but getting there. i am so happy. the happiest i've been since jacob entered out family. i feed my baby. it's calm and wonderful to do it. he burps beautifully. it's a great bonding experience now. no longer a fight. when i'm not feeding him i'm playing with him. and he's the cutest. his smiles melt me. his laughter makes me want to cry it's so wonderful. and rorie and i can play and spend time together again. i can focus on her. i can't believe i made these wonderful souls.

and let me tell you... that last paragraph... that's worth all the formula in the world.

and yes... gilmore girls is on the tv. we made grilled dark chocolate peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and watched my favorite show. rorie was enthralled. so obviously i'm the happiest mama in the world.

Monday, September 8, 2014


last week, after i had bought a 5lb. bag of apples at BJs, and the weather was cool and crisp... i decided to make applesauce with my kiddos. in all the stress of keeping jake alive and tending to my sweet&sour rorie, i needed a break to cook. i've noticed that i always feel a little better when i'm able to create in the kitchen. so i did.

the peeling took a while, but we were able to get into a good rhythm. jakey watched and did his little screeches as we worked. rorie and i snacked on the peels as i went and she was my official seed finder. she'd eat through the core and collect the seeds. it was really cute. so of course we talked about apple trees and planting trees from seeds and all that good stuff. and the applesauce made the house smell amazing.

a bunch of apples (i used my whole 5lb bag minus one or two)
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. brown sugar (you can add this or not...and i'm not really sure of the amount i used)

peel, core, and chop the apples. plop them and the water & brown sugar in the slow cooker. mix em up (i did it with my hands). cook on low for 7 hours. then blend together.

wa-la. done. homemade applesauce. and i wish i had a dehydrator or learned how to make apple chips in the oven... because a lot of the peels got wasted. i just couldn't eat anymore!

bring on more fall activities! (you hear that humid weather...stay away!)

Thursday, September 4, 2014


dear jacob,

you are the sweetest thing at three months old. it's to fun to watch your dark blue eyes follow your spirited sister around the room. it's like you've completely forgot that she stared down on you on the floor...just a month ago...with a twinkle in her eye, and proceeded to step on you. yeah, that happened.

oh, sweet boy. the way you get bashful and grin bringing your tiny fists to your face. you spin in a circle, kick yourself across the room, and flip yourself over both ways. how quickly you have strengthened your tiny body. how dedicated you are to mastering your hands. *spoiler alert* you have feet too! two of 'em! no worries...wait another month and you'll find them.

and in all of the goodness that you are there is so much we are trying to deal with. 

number one: not a big fan of the head-butt to my chin. that needs to stop. as well as digging your tiny fingers into my skin and pulling my hair. i know you're strong, kid. but stronger people know how to LET GO. haven't we watched enough frozen to figure that out?

you're just not breastfeeding like a champ. you're just not. some feedings you rock. other times it's like you're trying to off me via breastfeeding. we've seen doctors, lactation consultants, and combed through the internet. i can't figure it out. so we've added pumping to the mix. just for fun. especially when you do a nice "long" 4 hour stretch at night only to follow it up with some 1.5-2 hour sleep sprints. and finding time to pump and sleep while all that happens. for the record- pumping completely wakes a girl up. and then one night i decided to take the paci away to see if that helped. i am alive to tell the tale, but it was an ugly day and night. it was so ugly. snot-nosed crying ugly. crying through your soul ugly. you have your paci back. and we are both not crying anymore.

trying to figure out pumping with putting you to sleep for naps and helping pull-down pants for potty training and making snacks and in general keeping you and your sister alive...is not very easy. i know, it sounds like i'm such a wimp. so easy, right? 

i'm also just a tad tired because you don't like caffeine. thank you so much for that, sweet boy. makes life so much easier. i should have expected this though...i do not tolerate caffeine in large amounts. excedrin gets me hyper. why do all my most annoying traits get passed on to my babies?!

and if i could just continue to whine for a little bit...my whole body aches. i have done no exercise in a long time. holding you is hard. and you like to be held a lot (i love you for that). my calves ache from bouncing you to sleep. my poor old knees (i'm only 26!) ache from the weird rocking we have to do to get you to doze off. my thighs burn because sometimes you don't like the weird rocking, you like a solid squat to put you to sleep. and my fingers hurt because you gnaw on them and i'm constantly disciplining your sister (insert finger wave here).

i muttered to your dad during the ugly day, "i thought he would be easier"... and i'm laughing at myself now for even thinking that. thank you, jacob kian. thank you for breaking down my preconceived notions of you. i thought we'd been put through the ringer with roro. i'm coming to realize that there is always going to be something hard because you are always so much stronger than you think.

i will continue on trying to be only the best mama for you...and you, my son... i can only dream of what you will do.

Monday, August 25, 2014


a few days ago, aaron took rorie and my brother to rhode island- because that's where my brother will be flying out of to return to college. sophomore year! woop! woop! anyways... i took five minutes to tidy up rorie & jacob's room while jake was a happy camper and snapped some pictures. i love the idea of remembering where you've slept. and there's something precious about creating a space for your little ones.

it's a quirky little room. but not as little as rorie's last room- that's for sure! we're in another old, old apartment. the wall that rorie's crib is at is curved on the right side. the floors are a little crooked. the carpet isn't quite big enough for the room, so there's scrap pieces to make up the difference on one end on the room. it's comical (as are most really annoying things in our life). and there's only one outlet. hence the lovely extension cord modern art we've got going on.

but you know what... the room has really come together and it's pretty functional for two. we don't really keep any toys in their room other than the basket full of library books (bottom left). we've got jakey blankets in the top basket and shoes in the middle... extra rorie blankies are in the random pink box.

rorie helped me with the art work on the wall above the bookshelf (which was actually part of my nursery set growing up...same with the dresser). the rorie balloon painting was done by my very good friend, alissa, when rorie was first born. i love it! rorie helped me paint a blank canvas (the blank one from her old room) gold and i sewed on a few paper hearts. and the final painting is a rorie water color original. rorie also picked out the owl lamp from walmart. she loved it. oh... there's also no light in this room...because why would there be?

so far, jakey only takes naps in his crib. there's no way i'd stick him in there at night. that's just crazy at this point. that rocking chair i found in the alley outside our apartment when we lived in chicago. it's super nice and sturdy. a great find. i found the "be a nice human" print on etsy and fell in love. the "r" and "j" are made out of cardboard from our move. and rorie's taken a chair from her playroom to it's new home next to the changing table, so she can talk to jakey when he's gettting a diaper change.

ah, there's the one outlet in all it's glory. same lamp from rorie's old closet room. which i guess belonged to my good friend, christine. love to keep stuff "in the family". the changing table is my family's old tv stand. it's actually full of vhs tapes on the right long side. which i find really funny. i should really crack it open someday.

and a close up of mr. jake's crib. my mom sewed his sheets (one of three). my grandma olson made the blankie shown. my grandma redding made the one on the other end of the crib. and we have a third made by a camper of mine. and he's got his "andy" who is named beau (or beau-beau as rorie calls him) and his newest "sophie the giraffe" extended family deer-who-has-yet-to-be-named (not to be confused with he-who-must-not-be-named). he loves that deer. he'd love it even more if his hands would cooperate. in time...

and that's their room. simple, quirky, and peach. we've made it work.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


i lay on my side, eyes closed, in a twin bed. my husband was in the twin bed next to me and our two month old in a bassinet on the floor in between us. no room in between our three beds. there we were: one, two, three in a row. the walls swallowed us on either side. we were as close as we could be in our separate beds.

i had my eyes closed and was trying hard not to cry. my mom, dad, and youngest sister had just left that afternoon. i probably won't see two thirds of them for 12 months. i was in this tiny room, so close to two others, but I felt so alone. my people, my family... they had left me. 

this happened last year. and the year before that. and almost every year since i left for college eight years ago. it never gets easier.

i whispered into the darkness, "can you hold me?"

because i just didn't want to be alone in the cold twin bed. just me and the sadness. i was trying not to be sad. but that's like trying not to breathe. 

i'm used to them leaving and i'm used to leaving them... but you never get used to the sadness. it's always overwhelming. sometimes it's just a good cry. sometimes it's days of feeling "off". but no matter how long it takes...that weird emptiness is always there. the void where people, conversation, good food, jokes, and friction collide. i get them for a minute...and then they're gone.

it's sort of like when i hear god. it's there...and then it's gone. and I long for the time when we connect again.

as i lay there with my husbands strong arms holding me my tears leaked out. silently. out of the corner of my eye, traveling over my nose, joining the other tear filled eye making bigger tears that dripped down the side of my face.

i wasn't sure if he could feel my wet face as he held me. but then i couldn't keep it in. and i cried and cried over the emptiness.

i missed them.