Friday, March 28, 2014

Elizabeth at 21 months

Oh my goodness this kid is hilarious!

I actually can’t quite get enough of her these days. She’s continually amazing us at what she can accomplish and do. I tend to be pretty laid back so she’s able to try just about anything on her own, with safety accounted for of course.

Her very favorite words to utter are “I do it, I do it” and then upon doing whatever it was she’ll get a huge smile on her face and say “I did it, I did it.” She is so proud of herself when she can figure something out and we of course are proud of her just for having the gumption to try.

Each day looks relatively the same with some exceptions but for the most part our days begin between 7/7:30. She usually wakes up really happy so we set out for a leisurely morning. Following wake-up we get started on breakfast and empty the dishwasher. This is by far one of her favorite tasks. She is in charge of the silverware and all plastic plates/containers and she does it all without even being asked. During breakfast we’ve been reading our Jesus Storybook Bible and she is totally in to it; we often finish more than one story. If we even forget to bring it out she’s right there reminding us “bi-bal, bi-bal”. After breakfast we usually turn on her morning show, 25 min., so that I can shower and get ready without having someone pulling everything out of my makeup drawer. The last time I showered without a show on she ended up opening the lotion container and looked like this:

DSC_0124 (2)

After that we are ready to get her dressed, her teeth brushed and we are usually out the door by 9 if we have Bible study or MOPS, otherwise we are off to run errands/play somewhere/or we head to the basement to do laundry and play. Lunch is around 12 and nap starts around 12:30/1. She usually sleeps for 2 hours so during that time I get whatever relaxing thing I want done. I really try not to use the time to get a lot of house things done because I really want her to see mommy’s “work” and be able to participate if she wants. Following naps she gets her second show of the day, same length and a snack. Then we are off for more errands, for cleaning the house, prepping dinner, or just playing downstairs or outside. Around 5:30 Alex comes “home” and we eat between then and 6. Bedtime routine starts at 7 and she’s in bed by 7:15.

She’s really begun talking up a storm. At 18 months we really had to stretch to come up with 8 words that she said consistently and now she has well over 40, as I’ve stopped counting and writing them down. She knows quite a few animal sounds and the way she “neighs” is absolutely hilarious.

Elizabeth has always been really good at fine motor and she’s blown us away by what she can do. She’s an expert at puzzles, ones that have pictures in the background and ones that don’t. She loves playing with her duplos and building towers with her blocks. She’s just started getting her doll house out and moving the people about. She can kick and throw a ball, buckle any buckle, almost pull her own pants on and almost get her crocs on by herself, kind of do a somersault, and zip zippers. If she’s not doing those things you can find her flat on her belly with a marker or crayon in hand drawing on paper. She also loves stickers and dressing up. Oh and don’t get me started about babies. She’s obsessed. She definitely has a helper heart; she loves to clean up her toys, help clear the table, open doors and turn off lights.

It’s really fun for me to let her help. I see this burgeoning joy to serve others and help others that is not prompted that I just want to encourage and foster. I’ve already begun making a list of things to buy that will allow her to do more things on her own, like a stool and a mini pitcher. And she’s started laughing at things that are truly funny. We are always cracking up with her and the silly things she does.

So far she’s been a pretty good girl as far as acting out goes. She has her moments like we all do and although she has a bit of a strong will I’ve found it easier to accommodate and help her to accomplish what she’s trying to do rather than tell her no all the time because most of those things are far easier for me to do myself. I don’t mind tasks taking a lot longer than necessary because I often get sidetracked anyways and they still take me longer:)

While it’s hard for me to believe that in just 3 short months she will be 2 I’m pretty overjoyed to have been able to experience 21 months with her. I love getting to do life with this sweet girl day in and day out. AND I can’t wait for her to be a big sister because I have a feeling she’s going to LOVE it!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Let’s Talk Strollers, Doubles that is

I’m still in the planning mode of trying to figure out what on earth we should do. I’m so thankful for so many moms with more than one who have already gone before me! Thank you so much for all your advice on the room and bed situation for Elizabeth. After talking through everyone’s feedback I think we are going to keep her in her current room and in the crib. We will reassess the crib thing as we go, so far she’s not trying to climb out. Since we have a pack and play and access to another crib, kicking her out so to speak, won’t be necessary.

It was so valuable to us to hear all different sides and stories. We really hadn’t thought about the fact that she’s probably already attached to her room and booting her may be insensitive. As soon as we mulled that one over we knew she had to stay put. (since she can)

So that brings us to our next dilemma. Right now we are stroller hoarders. We’ve been given two of our three as a gift so you can all breathe a sigh of relief! That being said, we have our Uppababy Vista, a single jogging stroller, and our Chicco umbrella stroller. With baby #2 on the way we will need something that will accommodate two children.

When we picked the Uppababy we didn’t think we would be having more than one and figured if we did we could add the rumbleseat and make it a tandem double. BUT the rumbleseat is only good up to 35 pounds and Elizabeth is 28. Also she is 35 inches and it may be a tight squeeze on height. Plus it attaches to the back of the stroller, so she would not be facing out but at the back of the seat.

We have narrowed our search down to two options but are open to suggestions. Must haves include:

-Tires that would be able to go over a woodchip path. We walk around a very close pond often and this would be necessary. (Uppababy doesn’t but CM GT does)

-Ability to hold 2 kids. (both)

-Don’t need to be able to run with it. Let’s be honest, with a single jogger, I’m always going to opt to just take one kid. That’s hard enough

-Ability to accommodate a car seat adapter for the baby (both)

-MUST fit through a normal doorway. (both)

Option #1. Keep our Uppababy Vista


Pros: Keep our Uppababy and add the rumbleseat ($100), being able to use the bassinet as a sleep space for the baby (not on the stroller), allows us to use the stroller as a single or double, can accommodate a carseat and Elizabeth, tandem ride. Would eventually have to sell once Elizabeth no longer fit in the rumbleseat. If we wait to sell it will depreciate more.

Other option: Baby Jogger City Mini GT ($389-which is $200 off MSRP right now)

city mini gt

-Would need to sell our Uppababy but after selling, this stroller would be free. Would accommodate both kids for a longer period of time. Can fit through a doorway, has some suspension/all terrain tires, accommodates two kids and a carseat if needed (with extra accessory), folds up relatively small and is fairly lightweight.

What would you do? What have you done? What other options have I missed?

ps…we are headed to a local store that has both of these options to test drive…maybe that will help!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

wishing for summer

Have you gotten any clothing catalogs in the mail or walked through the mall lately?

We are have jumped past spring and we are into summer. Isn’t that crazy! We just got two inches of snow yesterday so swimsuit season still seems a bit further out. And to add madness to the season, this summer I’ll be celebrating 30+ pounds heavier and full of water.

When the catalogs come out and I go shopping for our little one I can only dream of wearing some of the really cute things that are out for summer. Thankfully one of my all-time favorite stores is not even located in our state (yet!)…J.Crew Factory.

But nevertheless it hasn’t stopped me from taking a gander and wondering if I should scoop anything up that I can’t seem to live without until next summer. I’m still uncertain if I can jump but we shall see. And by the way, I wasn’t kidding about the 30+ pounds and water weight part.

I’ve already put it in my mind that I will be a beached whale at the pool this summer with our daughter and no, I’m not ashamed. I will wear my skirted swim suit and rock this big old body full of baby and in all honesty this was the easiest closet switchover in history. Almost every item of clothing out and all maternity in. Thankfully I was pregnant with Elizabeth for part of the summer as well so at least I have summer clothes.

BUT…if I were not pregnant, these would be the things I would be tempted to add to my summer clothing stash. Have you ordered from J.Crew Factory before? I LOVE it. Somehow the quality is still pretty high for an outlet and the prices are quite a bit lower than the real J.Crew. And in my surmise some things are actually better, like the Minnie pants. The Winnie ones at J.Crew have this weirdly large calf area while the ones at the outlet are slimmer through the calf. Not too mention over 50% less and similar quality. Believe me…I purchased the real deal first and then got the outlet ones. So much better. And for anyone who dislikes returning things, great news…a REAL store is coming to Eagan this summer!!

PicMonkey Collage2


1. That green top. I LOVE that color and the silky material makes for a great dressed up tee look.

2. The Minnie pant. Super flattering, comfortable, and go with everything. I have these and LOVE them. They are also cropped which is perfect for spring/summer.

3. The Clare Cardigan. I have 5 of these maybe 6. I usually never buy cotton sweaters but this is a cotton blend and always keeps it’s shape. It’s a bit shorter so it’s perfect over dresses, tees, etc.

4. This striped pocket skirt. Would be perfect with a white tank and keds or sandals. Keds are making a comeback can you believe it?

5. This Ponte striped peplum top. I’ve wanted peplum for awhile and tried this on while on my way to Austin. Looks perfect with the Minnie pant and would be great with jeans as well.

6. Shorts. Let me just say that J.Crew shorts and their factory versions are my favorite shorts ever. My mom loves their longer version as well. I’ve had mine for years and they still look great.

7. This Ruffle top. I LOVE cornflower blue and I’m tempted to buy up anything I see in that color. It’s the one color I’m most often complimented in when I wear it and believe me I don’t wear it enough. This would look great with white denim.

8. These striped shorts. Oh my. These could look so great dressed up for date night or paired with a tee for a more casual day. I love the look and so wish they could work with a big old belly!

Obviously if you haven't noticed yet, I’m extremely preppy. At any point in the summer you will find me wearing my Sperry's, cotton shorts, a baseball cap and a popped collar. I just can’t help it I was born to live on the East coast and here I am in the Midwest. Not everyone’s style;)

Do you have a favorite store that is your go-to for clothing?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Raspberry Danish Sweet Rolls



I *LOVE* sweet rolls.

I mean I really, really like them. I like cinnamon rolls and orange rolls and especially gooey, soft, melt in your mouth caramel rolls. And in my years I’ve made quite a few from scratch.

This week I signed up to bring a treat to our bi-weekly MOPS meeting. And I had in my mind that I wanted to bring sweet rolls. I’m blaming my cravings on the baby but really this is something I would crave basically at any point in my life. So I hit up Pinterest to see if I could find something inspiring and I happened upon Raspberry Sticky Buns on A Spicy Perspective.

Um, these are pretty amazing. Warm and cold they taste like a raspberry danish. That in my mind is a definite win. And for anyone afraid of yeast, it’s your lucky day. Because these amazing rolls take advantage of one of my favorite freezer products, Rhodes Bread Dough. Seriously, I use that stuff for so many things, like pepperoni rolls and ham and cheese stromboli.

The recipe can be found here:

Raspberry Sticky Buns

*For the glaze I made my own throwing together heavy cream, powdered sugar, & lemon juice/zest. *

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


I’m already daydreaming.

This baby will be here before we know it, especially since I keep forgetting I’m pregnant and the weeks just keep ticking by. I’m far less concerned, this time around, about getting a place for the baby ready and more absorbed with what will happen to Elizabeth.

We have a great layout of bedrooms on our first floor with three all grouped together. So my now office/craft room will turn into either the new nursery or Elizabeth’s big girl room. My first inclination was to keep the nursery the nursery if we have another girl but now I’m waffling. Should we keep Elizabeth in her room no matter what?

I have all sorts of questions running through my mind and I know there are so many seasoned moms whose advice I would love. So here we go…

1. Keep Elizabeth in her room or move her before the baby comes? If the baby is a boy, Elizabeth will stay in her room no matter what. Does this even matter? We’re all about not creating entitlement but at the same time want this to go as smoothly as possible.

2. Elizabeth will be 27 months old when the baby arrives. We are waffling as well on whether or not to transition her to a big girl bed beforehand. I’ve heard pros and cons…here’s your chance to weigh in. Either way the baby can sleep in the pack in play but I feel like it may be worth tackling while we have the chance. I’ve heard success and horror stories…please weigh in.

3. She will move to a twin bed. We feel like that is the most economical way to go and it’s the only size bed our bedrooms will accommodate without losing all of our floor space. My brother and I had twin beds all the way through until college and he was 6’2” so I know that it can work. But here’s the thing…is it even possible to choose a twin bed that can last style wise that long?

Here are the options we are considering:

PicMonkey Collage


1. Have Alex build the Lydia Daybed from Ana White. I LOVE this bed and especially love that it can be a daybed or twin bed. Although I’m pretty certain this does not have teen appeal. My first choice would be to have him stretch out her closet and build a bed into that space but that is wishful thinking:)

2. Find a used Jenny Lind twin bed and paint it. This one is from Land of Nod but out of the price range. Issue with this is that people are getting smart and realizing that Jenny Lind beds are back in style and finding a deal is harder to do.

3. Buy the Pottery Barn Hamptons Classic bed in white. Simple, classic, and could last forever. Not sure I love it. Otherwise we could go the upholstered headboard route as well but again I’m not the biggest fan for a girls room.

4. This is my old twin bed that I had as a kid. It was a canopy bed so we would have to cut down the posts and do a little work on them to make it work. I broke one of the posts trying to swing around it:) If we went this route we would paint it a fun color and it could always be repainted later.

Any thoughts?

We have some pretty kiddywampus room layouts as well which would not allow any of the twin beds to have one side against a wall. So we would need rails for awhile on any one we choose. Are there alternatives to rails because they’re kind of an eyesore?


Friday, March 7, 2014

THe Great House UPdate: Exterior

This post is a doozie. I’m going to try my hardest to condense this but our exterior was in dire need of an facelift. When we first moved in we welcomed a tan exterior with new brown roof. It was and still is in parts, a very drab house. The yard was not helping things at all as the previous owners rented the house and the yard was never taken care of. All of this and then the deck off back was poorly built and not in great shape.


(our house post storm in August 2013-pre new roof and lighting)

So basically if you’ve been following along, we bought a fixer upper that was livable.  All our house and yard need was some TLC and some cash in hand. Thankfully we’ve been blessed with both in different increments!

Our first year we lived in our house we painted our garage door, replaced the soffit and fascia, gutter and tried to envision what lay ahead. Being that our siding and roof were in good condition we didn’t see any need to put more money into those pieces. So we brainstormed an idea to make the most of what we had and leave those elements, even though we both truly despised them.

And then our area was hit by hail storms (see aftermath picture above). And miracle of all miracles, our roof was deemed replaceable. And we did a victory dance literally in our kitchen. We replaced our roof with a slate color asphalt shingle and then got to work on our plans. On our update list you will notice we decided to build a new deck and add an office off the back of our house for my Alex.

And in the process of building those two we gave ourselves a two tone house. Bet you didn’t think I was going to say that. This feeds into our “we only pay for what we can afford in cash” mentality and now the back half of our house is blue and the front, tan.

In the midst of our project just weeks before the siding needed to go on my husband came back from the store with siding samples. We knew that we needed to side the addition and the area where we removed a patio door and added windows. We had some leftover siding and were planning on just ordering more to match. UNTIL Alex came home touting that we could put new cement board siding (from Menards) on the back of our house for just a bit more than it would cost to order our existing siding.

Cue happy dance again. You can imagine we jumped right in the car to order that siding up and that’s what we did. Upon arrival at the store we surveyed the color samples. Of course our eyes were drawn to the safe colors like tans, greys, and neutrals. But then we just looked at each other and both picked blue, told the cashier, and walked out of the store still uncertain if we had made a mistake.

I’m glad to know that our crazy, let’s try something out of the box, spontaneity, won out. WE LOVE THE BLUE! We are hoping of course that 2014 can be the year we complete the siding job but we’ll just see how things pan out. Until then we’re business in front, party in the back.


(here is the exterior post projects…deck on left, office addition on right)

Along with new siding, we added new lights out front. Lighting is tricky because most often homeowners choose lights that are far too small for their space. I learned this from my husband. The length requirement he gave me when looking seemed absurd. But he’s the designer and boy was he right. We ended up choosing this light, in multiple sizes, for all of our exterior lights around the house. In total I think we bought 8. We were a bit worried that due to the price point they would look cheap but they truly surprised us. They’re a perfect fit for our wannabe craftsman in a dated split level body.


Also this past summer we removed 4 large old trees from our yard that were on the verge of either falling over or ruining our foundation, built the deck, and had our landscape company out to create a complete landscape plan for our yard. Needless to say we didn’t use our yard at all this summer because it was a messy, dirty, construction zone not fit for a 12 month old.

Future updates to come: grow grass, new wood front door and exterior hardware, finish the siding project, stain and seal the deck, paint the brick and eventually (ie-distant future) put stone on the front mirroring the stonework under the deck, resurface the driveway, landscaping.

It’s far from done but we’ve come a long way in the past two years.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Answering the Questions

Sounds like you were all a bit shocked by our news?

You’re in good company because we were shocked as well. Thank you so much for the outpouring of love towards us and in joining us in celebrating this incredibly good gift from the Lord. I knew there would be a couple of questions that would be on everyone’s mind, including one regarding my previous post on Infertility, Babies and Thoughts on More. So here are your answers!


1. Was this planned?

In short, no. When I went back for my postpartum appointment with Elizabeth Alex and I opted not to go on any birth control. At that point we made a decision to be open to whatever the Lord had for us and if He decided to grow our family, great. Ever since my cycle returned, I’ve been one of those exceptions our Reproductive Endocrinologist was speaking of. Relatively speaking my cycle was “regular” following pregnancy. That being said, I was not charting, monitoring or doing anything to know whether or not I was ovulating. But apparently I was.


2. How did you find out?

Before we left on our vacation to Florida in January I took a test. I wasn’t quite late yet but every once and awhile I was curious. It was negative. We went on vacation. Post vacation we had been back home and I didn’t feel so well. Alex asked me if I was pregnant and I said no. Well the next day with a digital test at home I was curious to see if he was right. I took the test, set it down, and went on with my day. After 10 or so minutes I went back to throw it out assuming it was negative and was incredibly shocked to see that it wasn’t. We found out January 27th.


3. How are you feeling?

I feel about the same way I did when I was pregnant with Elizabeth. Which means for the first 9 weeks or so I was EXHAUSTED. I was so tired while on my trip to the IF:gathering that the whole trip is a bit of a blur. Also for a few weeks I experienced some nausea throughout the day that I never experienced with Elizabeth. Overall this pregnancy seems very similar to my previous one.


4. When you wrote the post on Infertility, Babies, and Thoughts on More did you know you were pregnant?

Yes, I did know. BUT we were very cautious in who we told and when because I’ve had two previous losses, one that occurred while not on any infertility medication and one that occurred while on medication. We were aware and still are aware that we have no rights over this baby’s number of days. Also I write this blog as a journal of sorts. For me, the things I wrote in that post were topics I had talked through and thought about and wrestled through on my own and with others who had walked through infertility for MONTHS. I wanted a record of how I was feeling on the books per say and I also wanted to open the discussion for others. From the number of women I’ve talked through this with, this is a VERY NORMAL thing to feel and experience if you’ve endured infertility.


5. Will you find out what you are having again?

Yes. While I am not one for surprises, finding out also gives us the benefit of preparation. If we have another girl our nursery will stay the same and we will move Elizabeth to a big girl room. If it’s a boy, she can stay in her current room. Although our current thought is to move her crib with her as she’s perfectly content there. But we’re going to play it by ear as she’ll be a little over two when the baby arrives.


6. Are you excited?

Once the initial shock wore off and we saw the baby via ultrasound we allowed our excitement to spill over. As of today we are ecstatic. We know God’s ways are the best ways … but the reality of this pregnancy has made us make some budgetary changes and say no to some things that we had previously said yes to. All of them are things we are happy to reconfigure but we were not “planning” or “preparing” for future children. I already have a list of questions for all of you moms with more than one so I’ll be sure to write that up soon!


7. What’s your due date?

Official due date is September 30th. Although at the ultrasound the baby measured a bit smaller. So far I have not had my due date changed.


8. Cravings, differences between pregnancies, etc.?

This pregnancy feels very similar to the first one with Elizabeth. I crave junk food and take out, McDonalds anyone?, and citrus. Just like with Elizabeth I cannot stand leftovers or their smell. That’s the main thing that sets off my gag reflex, although this time around dirty diapers do as well. Last time I experienced a Subchorionic Hematoma, this time I’ve been spared. This pregnancy also feels different because I’m a busy mom of a toddler. Half the time I forget I’m pregnant.

Monday, March 3, 2014

When God does the Astonishing

UntitledGod does that sometimes. Does the very thing you never imagined would happen. Astonishing. Times I could only look up and say thank you because what transpired could only be from Him.

I’ve had moments when I’ve been surprised by God…times when what I planned was not what He planned and my course was changed. But truly astonishing, take my breath away, full of awe and wonder moments, with the added surprise element don’t happen to me everyday. And yet, I know they’ve happened. Probably more often than I can count.

Old and New Testament moments. Like when the ram appeared when Abraham had Isaac tied to the altar. His only, longed for son, on the execution seat right before him and the ram appears.

Fishes and loaves type of astonishing moments. Like when the disciples felt doubtful at Jesus’ ability to feed thousands. And then, before their very eyes, the bread just kept on giving.

Because the BREAD always keeps on giving.

Astonishing moments, miracle moments, when our eyes can only look up and our heads can only shake in disbelief. Things unasked for. Things beyond our wildest imagination.

Things that are truly astonishing.

Like what the Lord did for us.



We are having another baby, Lord willing, at the end of September.

Nothing could have prepared us for this. Nothing. This was the ultimate astonishing moment. Something we didn’t dare to dream, we didn’t dare to ask for, we didn’t dare to count on.

We’ve been given abundantly more than we could ever ask or imagine.

Bread and fishes kind of astonishing.

Because the BREAD always keeps on giving.

ps…due date is September 30th, 2014. I am currently 10 weeks along and we’ve seen this cutie via ultrasound. Pray with us that this tiny miracle will be sustained and live.

{I’m happy to answer most questions so if you have one feel free to ask.}