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.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014



baby boy smiles all the time. and everyday i'm so thankful that he's not sick like rorie was. he only fusses if he has a bubble or needs to eat or sleep. other than that he's smiling at everything. which includes smiling at absolutely nothing (so weird...why do babies do that?) and now he's full blown talking and having conversations. he's also super active and very strong, just like his sister. moving like crazy. almost figured out rolling over onto his back...eating his hands constantly. he gets super smiley and then bashful, which is the cutest thing ever! i'm already proud of the little man we created.

as a family, the summer has been great. lots of family and friends. LOTS. lots of traveling for us. a bit of relaxation at camp and touisset. it was just great. we are slowly getting into the swing of things at home and making new routines and grooves. hoping to make some friends and maybe get out more?

baby girl had a fantastic summer. and it ended with her paci's being taken away from her cold turkey. day one there was screaming and crying at nap and bed. day two and beyond... nada. really glad that it wasn't a big to-do. she will proudly tell you that there are "no pacis in MY bed".

aaron and i are not as tired as we were two months ago. (but we are still tired. see the "ugly" section).

rorie says "arts and craftses".

baby girl has almost 100% potty trained herself. she decided to do this the week we went to camp (so fun! nope not at all)...and we haven't really looked back. she also often sleeps dry at nap and overnight. not sure how that happened, but i'll take it.

baby boy is growing like crazy pants! having our first baby not put on any weight was rough, so every morning when i pick him up i am amazed at how heavy he is! and long! he's not a chunker, but he's very tall and has filled in quite nicely. i think he's around 13 pounds? rorie hit that mark around 7 month... and that's just crazy to me.

my last visitor is here: my bro bro, sam. and i love every minute of his existence in my life.

photo by Kelsey Stevens Photography.


we've had three bats in our apartment. not cool. i captured one. aaron the next. and the third... i called 911. seriously. i'm home alone at 2:30am with two kids. my two year old wakes up right after i feed and get the two month old back to sleep. i walk to her room and the third bat is swooping in the living room right outside her room. i race through the door and i'm pretty sure i yelled "crap". but i can't really be sure because my adrenaline was pumping at that point. rorie was crying about wanting milk? she never gets milk in her bed... but she has a water bottle, so i gave that to her and left- hoping it would do. i ran to my room to put my figurative big-girl pants on and a hoodie to protect my head. ran back to the living room and balled up a blanket and began swinging. by the third bad i no longer wanted to let it free outside. i wanted to kill it. long story short. i became unbearably exhausted and i didn't know what to do. i just knew the bat needed to go. i called the only people i knew would come to my rescue no matter how silly it was- the police. and the nice policeman saved the day just in time for jacob to wake up again to eat and then not go back to sleep. i was very tired the next day.

jacob is sensitive to caffeine. enough said.


i absolutely hated saying goodbye to my mom, dad, and gracie this summer. for some reason i've been ugly crying like my first semester in college. i miss them so much. trying to pull myself together, but also letting myself be sad... because it means i love them so much (:

my children are on opposite schedules. the days and nights i'm alone with both of them are very hard, but it can only get better right? i mean, "going to bed" at 9pm, getting up almost every hour some nights, and always starting the day at 4am doesn't really make for an easy start to the next "day"... lets be real. there are no days. it's one continuous day that hasn't stopped yet. my two have a nice nap together in the afternoon that seems like it's pretty consistent, but after that they are on total opposites and i feel like i'm a chicken with it's head cut off (plus i'm watching game of thrones and now i'm picturing lots of severed heads. people's. not chickens. yuck). so my day usually begins at 4am. that's when #2 wants to eat and become unburpable. literally has unending burps. which means he won't go back to sleep until 5:30am. which is when i can finally change my probably soaked from spit-up pjs, pee, wash my hands, lay down, pull the covers up, and listen to rorie yell to me that she's awake from the monitor. see how it doesn't end? i think they're testing me.

thrush. if you don't know what it is you can read about it here. i'm putting this in the "ugly" section of this post because it was ugly and long lasting and really tested my limits as not only a mother, but a human being. it absolutely sucked. jacob and i battled it together for a whole entire month...and it can and might come back. which sucks again. right now i don't think we have it, so it could go in the "good" section. but i'm still mad about it, so it's staying here.

and there you have it... the good, the bad, & the ugly with two kids during the summer of 2014.

and i just noticed photos of our cats are in the right side bar...yeah... they are still alive.

Monday, August 4, 2014


right after jake was born, kelsey stevens asked if she could take some newborn shots to add to her portfolio. of course, i was game. i was completely exhausted by the last full day of camp, but we managed to get the kids slightly together, in clean outfits, and to the edge of the lake for kelsey to discover the joys of photographing a two year old and a seven week old.

kelsey has done it again folks. last summer she was able to capture twenty of us beautifully. dare i say that this summer might have been even harder? i mean... there is only four of us in my family... but a two year old and a seven week old- they're no joke. and they're not going to be like, "oh i heard you wanted to take my picture...let me just follow your lead". nope. it's mostly the complete opposite of that.

rorie was sporting a sweet runny nose and was ready to call it a night at 4pm. she was exhausted and really wasn't into sitting for pictures or listening. the slide was calling her name and there were two older kids, who desperately wanted to play with her, hanging around us as we tried to take photos. but you'd never know that... because kelsey worked her magic.

jake was a doll. he fell asleep right before we were supposed to shoot, so i thought we'd be toast. turns out he's the model of the family (after his dad of course). we moved him around, changed positions, took his paci out, and then he woke up and struck more poses and was all around a complete gentleman. rorie...take notes (nah, it's ok... you're two).

a million thanks to kelsey.

p.s. if you are in chicago and need a photographer... grab her up.

Monday, July 14, 2014



weirdest 4th of july ever. rainy & stormy. most fireworks and parades were moved to the 5th, but we made the best of the day inside. it's not hard to do when you're "almost two" and the center of attention. rorie loves playing with all my little cousins and they feel the same. it's fun to watch her because she keeps up with them wonderfully. she loves older kids. jake slept most of the 4th, so he can't really comment on the comings or goings of that day.

the 5th of july was lots of fun. it was rorie's 2nd birthday, our annual family reunion clambake, and mock 4th of july. i think rorie heard, "how old are you?" and "is it your birthday?" a million times! we tried to make it as special as possible. which is sometimes hard to do when your birthday falls so close to a major holiday- aaron can attest to that. hey-yo christmas birthdays! i spent most of the day nursing jacob, but it was a fantastic 2nd birthday celebration. all my sibilings were able to come from camp for the day as well as uncle big cat, who was extremely nervous to hold jacob, him being so small and all. but we reminded him of how well he did with rorie and he reminded us of how nervous he was then too. in the end i think they will be best buds.

i still can't believe she's two. but i really can. she's probably the smartest kid i've ever met. and she's so wonderfully outgoing it makes my heart happy to watch her navigate the world on her own. she makes fast friends with babies, toddlers her own age, big kids, and even old men. it's adorable. i think she has more friends than me. and i really hope this aspect of her personality sticks around for years to come.

we are super excited to have my dad come to stay with us on tuesday. he will finally meet jake! and spend three well-deserved weeks with us. rorie is pumped to have papa in the flesh, rather than in the ipad... i know this because my arms are straddling her squirmy body as i type. she actually said "in the flesh". ok, so that's a lie... but auntie mikayla did teacher her to say "i live on the edge!" so, you never know.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


the weather is warming up here in NH and we have been making some frozen treats to keep cool. i hope you get a chance to try them all... because i've been making them around the clock just to have something sweet to eat after dinner (ok, after nap, too). 

invisible cookie dough ice pops
2 1/2 c. almond milk
2/3 c. light brown sugar, packed
couple pinches salt
2 t. pure vanilla extract
1/4 c. + 1 t. mini dairy-free chocolate chips

place milk in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for ~1 minute, or until warm to the touch. stir in brown sugar and salt until dissolved. stir in vanilla.

place 1/2 T. of chocolate chips in the bottom of your popsicle molds. fill to the top with milk mixture. insert sticks and freeze until solid.

adapted from this recipe.

orange creamsicles
1 c. orange juice
1 c. full fat coconut milk
3 T. honey
1/4 extract
1/2 t. vanilla extract

in a medium bowl, whisk all ingredients together.
pour mixture into popsicle molds. let set for 30-60 minutes, then add popsicle sticks. freeze for another 4-6 hours or until frozen.

this recipe can be found here.

chocolate covered frozen bananas
    2 medium bananas
    1/2 c. semi-sweet or dark dairy-free chocolate chips
    1 T. coconut oil

    slice the bananas into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch rounds and place them in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and freeze for at least two hours. once frozen, melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave- careful not to burn. remove the bananas from freezer dip each banana slice into the melted chocolate. eat immediately or place them back into the freezer until refrozen.

red, white, & blue popsicles*
leftover coconut milk (the clear liquid)
sliced strawberries 
honey, to taste

*i make these after i make the orange creamsicles with the leftover clear coconut milk. no need to waste it!

place fruit in the popsicle mold. mix coconut milk and honey and pour into molds. freeze and enjoy.

enjoy some summer frozen treats!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


last week when both my sisters were staying with me it got warm. we were also getting a little stir crazy staying inside all day (newborns, psh). so we stripped down the babe, stuck a disposable on her butt, and broke out the watercolors. rorie loved it. there were a lot of laughs. and paint got everywhere. i'd highly suggest this... no matter your age :)

photo credit to my 1st little sister...thank you for these pictures.