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Everyday, Family

Where did October go?!

November 11, 2014

October is always our busiest month of the year. Both of the girls have their birthdays in October, the first of our end of year guests arrive, and Daddy Bear is usually traveling a good deal for work. It’s a whirlwind of a month and typically leaves me feeling exhausted; just in time for our busy November and holiday season.
Brief updates:
JBird is now 4!

four years

She is officially no longer a toddler and in full on preschooler mode. Her imagination astounds me; as does her never ending interest in all things engineering. Within the past few weeks she’s really started to make an effort to try new foods. This is s HUGE milestone for her. In fact, she’s less and less apprehensive about “new things” every day.

Moon Baby is now 1!

Her personality is shining though more and more each day. She’s such a happy and silly baby, but she also has a fierce temper. She’s started shaking her head no if she doesn’t want something you offer her. She’s also started to sign a few things (mainly the sign for “more”). She’s still as chunk-a-licious as ever. The most healthy looking baby I have ever seen.

As for me, I’m exhausted.

This year has totally zapped my energy and I’m finding more and more how difficult it is to do things the fulfill me (this blog, other blog work, the photography business, etc) while the girls are still so young. It’s been a year of growth, just not in the ways I thought I’d grow.

I’m currently in the process of trying to change my perspective on it all. Instead of being disappointed or too hard on myself, I’m trying to just accept and find peace at where I am at; to just be happy and present.

We can’t forget Halloween:

Moon Baby was a little bee, because she can be a such a little B sometimes.

As per the sister B’s demands, I was a cat (and she drew my whiskers).

JBird was Anna (from Frozen). Then she wanted to be Elsa (from Frozen). Then it was back to Anna. At the last minute (literally as we were heading to the door for trick-or-treating), she changed her mind again and decided to go as a Renaissance Maiden. The girl is ahead of the curve, because every other little girl was either Elsa or Anna. Always a trendsetter.


Everyday, Family, Moms Are Human, Parenting

Doing It All

July 31, 2014


My husband travels a lot for work. A few years ago, it would stress me out having him gone a considerable amount of the time. Now it just feels normal.  In fact, our house is usually a bit quieter on weeks when Daddy is away. Go figure.

This week while he was away I had a pretty obvious epiphany that I’d never really thought about before: I’m doing it all right now. All the parenting. All the housework. All the yard work. All the teachings. All the bedtimes. All the clean up. Everything. It’s just me and I’m doing it all. All by myself. And it totally sucks.


The strange thing is that this realization didn’t make me feel bitter, or angry, or even sad. It just made me feel tired, and strong, and maybe in need of a beer.

When my husband is home, we have pretty split roles in the house. I take care of daytime care of the kids and the house, and he takes over at night. I cook, do the laundry, and do general picking up. He does garbage duty, lawn stuff, and deep cleaning when I freak out that our house is never clean. Bless him.

But sometimes he’s gone 50% of the time.

I feel like moms (and dads) who have to do it all aren’t allowed to complain or vent about how much they hate having to do it all. Instead, you’re supposed to feel grateful and blessed; never annoyed, or cranky, or tired. If you do step over the line and say “Ahh I Can’t Do It All!!” there’s usually someone on the other side who is more than willing to tell you how dramatic you are being

That’s a total load of BS.

If you have ever had to do it all, all by yourself, I salute you. Let us join hands and shout from the rooftops: This Totally Blows!

Here’s to the all the parents out there who have to be both mom and dad; whether it’s 1 day, 10 days, or every single day.

Here’s to fixing fuses and flat tires.

Here’s to baking cupcakes, mending clothes, and shuttling kids everywhere.

Here’s to helping with homework, mowing the lawn, and paying the bills.

Here’s to troubleshooting the wifi, fixing the DVD player, and straight up murdering the MFing printer.

Here’s to cleaning up a flooded basement, shoveling driveways, and plunging every drain ever.

Here’s to all night feedings, stomach bug clean ups, and over flowing toilets.

Here’s to drinking cold cups of coffee, eating dinner at 9pm, and not showering for longer than 2 minutes.

Here’s to nap strikes, bedtime stalling, and sleeping on the floor while a child (or children) hog your bed.

Here’s to never going to the bathroom by yourself. Ever.

Here’s to wiping up tears, spilled milk, and a bathtub’s worth of water off the floor…every damn day.

Here’s to the first ones awake and the last ones asleep.

Here’s to no vacations, no sick days,  and no off hours.

Here’s to hiding in the pantry in order to get a precious minute of alone time.

Because solo parenting straight up sucks.

S. U. C. K. S.

If anyone tells you otherwise you have my permission to punch them as hard as you can in the face. Twice.


Everyday, Family, Photos

9 Months Old

July 29, 2014


9 months in. 9 Months out.

Moon Baby has officially been a part of our everyday lives for the same amount of time that I was pregnant with her.


It’s absolutely true what they say: your loves grows with your family. I did not honestly think it was possible to love another human being as much as I love JBird. Little did I know that another fierce little girl could have all of my heart.


She is a near-constant ray of sunshine in our lives every single day. She is always laughing, always smiling, and always willing to snuggle.

9-month-collagePlus, the rolls. The rolls just keep getting more glorious. I love them. So perfect.

Life is oh so good.

Only 3 more months to go before this little lady turns 1!

Everyday, Travel

Back From Vacation

July 9, 2014

Summer Vacation

We’re Back!

After almost 4 weeks away, we are finally back in America’s Dairyland and settling back into our normal everyday rhythms.

Our trip was wonderful, hectic, and long. We were 4 little energizer bunnies for 23 straight days.

We left WI on May 31 with a car packed to the brim with everything we might possibly need for this long extended journey. We did 8 hours (actually totaling 12 hours) on the first day, and another 8 hours on the second day: from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania. The trip was long, but the kids were total troopers about the whole thing. I am FOREVER grateful that my husband had the genius idea to buy a DVD player for the car. JBird watched Toy Story on a 16 hour loop and was pretty content the whole way out. Oh happy day!

Our first destination was Pennsylvania; where we refueled, re-energized, and dropped the dog off before heading up to New Hampshire to celebrate my cousin’s wedding.

Summer Vacation

It had been 4 years since our last trip to NH; back when I was pregnant with JBird and we were still living in NY. There’s something so magical about my family’s home on Newfound Lake. It is hands down one of my top 3 favorite places. I would’ve been happy to spend our entire 3 weeks on the lake, but I’m sure the rest of our family and friends waiting to see us would not have appreciated that…maybe next time. 🙂

Summer Vacation

After 5 beautiful days with family, We headed back down to PA to pick up Toby Dog (who was having a rather great time with Gramma and Grampa). We rested and refueled there for another day before heading up to NY for a stay with Nana and Poppy (and Uncle X). For the remainder of our visit, we bounced back and forth between various family members homes. It was great being able to spend so much time with so many different loved ones, but total exhausting having to move around so much. Thankfully, the girls never seemed to mind too much since no matter where we were, there was always someone (or several someones) there to give them undivided attention.

Summer Vacation

Over the 2 weeks spent in NY and PA, we had countless reunions with family and friends (some of whom we hadn’t seen in nearly 9 years).  I think when I tallied it up, we had a chance to visit with well over 100 people! Crazy, right?!

Summer Vacation

Our final event of the trip (and our last weekend out) was the wedding of my longtime best friend (like from way back in 6th grade long time friend). This wedding was the whole reason we took think long journey out East. It was an amazing day, with an amazing couple, and I am so glad we were able to be there to share in their special day.

Our trip was delightful. We had amazing weather wherever we went (which is saying A LOT for my hometown). We saw more family and friends over those 3 weeks than we have in the past 3.5 years. It was pretty extraordinary.

All last week I felt like I was in a vacation-hangover. Totally exhausted, irritable, and perpetually groggy. Thankfully, the holiday weekend helped pull me out of my post-vaca slump and I now feel energized!

Being away for 3 weeks was definitely a bit too long, and I doubt we’ll do anything like that again for a long time, but I’m so happy we decided to have an extended visit. As a pretty introverted person, having to be “On” for 3 weeks straight was more draining that I imagined and I’m still feeling like I desperately need solitude everyday to “recharge” a bit.

It feels so nice to be back home, but we also miss all the familiar faces of our East Coast loved ones.

To read more about our trip (including packing tips, keeping kids entertained in the car, and more super cute photos), check out the article I wrote for Wisconsin Parent!

Everyday, Travel

Road Trip Packing Tips: Clothes

May 29, 2014


We leave this Saturday for our 1300 mile road trip back East. Whenever I am getting ready for a big trip, my Type-A personality REALLY shines through. You try packing for 2 adults, 1 toddler, 1 infant, and 1 dog ,who are going to be stuck in the car for 3 days, without going a bit nutty.

I started packing for our trip in the beginning of April. I recognize the crazy, but I refuse to do things differently.

Packing for 3 weeks is a process. Yes, it is June and it’s basically summer BUT there’s a good chance the evenings will still be chilly (it is the North East after all).

If you are planning a big trip this summer, here are some tips to help keep you a bit more organized:

Go Crazy With Ziploc Bags!

For the girls, I pack outfits in gallon-sized Ziploc bags; shirt, pants, socks, etc (OMG I know! It’s crazy!)

I then suck out all the air (by rolling the air out…kind of like a sleeping bag).

Now, I have flat packs of outfits. No messy suitcase to dig through. Once clothes are washed I can put them back into the Ziploc bags again!


I also pack some Ziploc bags with spare clothes in them to keep in the car (instead of the overhead cargo box). That way if JBird or Moon Baby spill food or water (or have an accident) we have a change of clothes at the ready. Again, instead of having to dig through bags to find full outfits.

Swim suits, spare socks and undies, and random other spare pieces get their own bags too.

For Mommy and Daddy, we share a medium-sized suit case and garment bag. I don’t pack our outfits in Ziploc bags, but I do use those XL ziploc bags to pack shirts, pants, etc. We don’t have a lot of room in our car, so space saver bags really help. We stop at a motel on our way out East, so a small bag will be packed with a change of clothes for each of us; plus overnight toiletries. That way we don’t have to unload our vacuum sealed suitcases for a quick trip.


Again, I know I’m crazy, but when you’re packing for a 3 week trip with 4 people; all needing clothes ranging from formal to pjs…and not knowing what the weather may be, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Everyday, Parenting

P is for Whale Bird

April 17, 2014


We have this nifty book where pictures of animals slide back and forth to show the letter it starts with, then the name of the animal.

The other day, JBird decided to take it upon herself to spell out the names of the animals.

Ya know, what you do at 3.5 years old

Here’s what it sounded like:

A is for alligator. A-L-L-I-G-A-T-O-R. Alligator.

B is for bear. B-E-A-R. Bear.

So on and so forth.

Clever girl that she is, when she gets to Penguin she looks at the picture and says:


“P is for Whale Bird. P-E-N-G-U-I-N. Whale Bird”

Long pause

Mental gears turning

“Wa-wa-wa Whale Bird.”

“Pa-pa-pa P”

Another pause

(To no one in particular) “OH!! Haha! Penguin! Penguin starts with P!”

I went over to look at the picture once she had set down the book.

Yea, Whale Bird. I see it. Keen observation JBird.


5 Months Old

March 25, 2014


Today, we celebrated 5 glorious months with our Baby Love.


She is so incredibly sweet and happy. This mama is blessed beyond words.




Plus, the chub. Seriously, I am in love with the chub.



Those rolls. They kills me.



She is so lovey and snuggly. Again, I’m a blessed mama.


Even Big Sister (who half the time pretends that Baby Love isn’t around) can’t help but get the giggles when this fat little baby starts laughing. So cute.


Life is absolutely perfect. Can’t get much better than this.


blog, Everyday, Moms Are Human, Photos

Can It Be Friday Yet?

March 18, 2014


It’s only Tuesday, but it feels like it should be Friday.

DSC_0962I’m solo parenting while Daddy Bear is away on business, our washing machine died mid-load today, and my head strong toddler is being particularly stubborn about everything.

DSC_0921I’m tired and cranky.

DSC_0973I’m planning my dream spa getaway when the day finally comes when I can actually getaway (I predict 2 years from now, give or take).

DSC_0922Did I mention that I’m tired?


But, despite these not so great turn of events, I still get to spend my days with this crazy crew.

DSC_0924Still better than a 9-5 job.


Now, I just need to muster up the mental strength to survive until Friday. Piece of cake, right?

…famous last words.





Is it Spring Yet?

March 14, 2014

Just like everyone else in these Northern States, I am over winter.





To help combat winter fatigue and lack of motivation, I’ve been taking pictures of the girls each day.



JBird is very much anti-photo at the moment, so Moon Baby is my chubby little muse. Enjoy!



Busy Busy Busy

February 26, 2014


Well, February seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye.

I feel like I’ve been out of touch this month from all my bloggy-duties. Apologies.

To say I’ve been “busy” this month, would be a gross understatement.

After several big signs from the universe, I finally took the plunge and started my own photography business

Everything is still in the very early stages, but you’ve got to start somewhere, right?

Most of my free time has been spent tweaking the website, looking into photo labs, wrapping my head around marketing and packaging, and setting up introductory meetings with potential clients.

It’s a bit terrifying, but I feel like the timing is kind of perfect.

I never imagined I would consider myself “good enough” to  be an actual photographer (you know, the kind that people actually hire); but if I don’t believe in myself, who will?

I still have a lot of growing to do. I’m looking forward to where this year will take me; as far as professional development is concerned. I’m excited for the journey.

Since we’re in the final stretch (month) of winter, I find myself needing to keep busy in order for my cabin fever to stay at bay.

These cold days are driving us all a bit stir-crazy. JBird and I have been doing copious amounts of painting and baking to help make our days a bit more enjoyable.

This week, I’ve been motivated to really clean and organize the house.

I dragged bookcases around the downstairs, went through most of our rooms and filled several garbage bags to the brim with items to be donated. I’m in full-on Spring Cleaning mode.

On top of the new business, and all the cleaning, I’ve also been working on bringing together an Alternative Schooling Panel for this year’s Natural Parenting Expo.

I’ll check back in, in the beginning of March.

Until then, there’s much more work to be done! (like about 7 loads of laundry)