Monday, July 27th, 2015
My Dear Sweet Pippa Grace,
It’s been 365 days of joy and chaos and I wouldn’t have it any other way. You’re such a happy sweet thing (as long as you’re with me). You gave me a run for my money for a good 9 months with sleep, but these last few months you’ve been keen on sleeping through the night. It’s so fun watching you and your big sister interact. You LOVE your sissy. She makes you belly laugh and it’s one of my most favorite sounds. You’ve changed so much physically. You were born with black hair that is now almost blonde, your chubby rolls are leaning out, you’ve got 2 bottom teeth and your two top teeth just poked out this week, and fortunately your beautiful blue eyes are here to stay. People say you look just like me…which is strange because they also say you look just like your big sister (who looks just like daddy).
You crawl FAST. High Fives and clapping are your latest learned skills. You’re not too interested in walking yet which is fine by me. Eggs are your favorite food and you’re not a fan of vegetables. You like to pull hair; mine, your sister’s, and even your own.
You’ve taught me a lot about being a mother. You and your sister are so different. I’ve been so humbled and now realize that every piece of advice about motherhood should come with and asterisk because you have proven the fact that all children are different. What works for one child may not work for another. You are your own person that is for sure!
I love you too the moon and back my sweet girl!
Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015
In less than 3 months my quest for real, authentic friendship and desire to bring local mothers together on a consistent basis has beautifully and organically come together and @TheVillage253 is flourishing. Relationships take time to blossom, but just like dating, when there is chemistry, you can’t deny it! Real connection is happening between mama’s (and myself) and I’m really excited about the new friendships being formed. My husband said, “You just seem really happy lately.” And I totally am.
A lot of it is being able to put my time and energy into something new. But I also like knowing that if I choose, there will be a playdate or meetup for me to attend and I’ll have the chance to talk to another mama (who is also likely sleep deprived, knee deep in diapers or tantrums, and is over-caffeinated).
We recently had our second formal dinner (you can read about the first one here). There were 20 tickets available and they sold out in less than an hour. I was floored. And once again it confirmed how hungry women are for authentic community. It was an amazing evening, full of heart, laughs, tears and lingering conversation.There were fantastic raffle prizes donated by local merchants (listed below), and my favorite part was asking each attendee to nominate any local mama they knew who could use a little something special. We donated the remainder of the ticket sales ($50) and Refinery Style Bar donated a cut and style, and Moch of Jon + Moch Photography donated a mini photo session. I love that we could come together to bless a deserving mama just because!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who came out–we’re already planning the next one!
And a very special thank you to the people below who made it all happen!
Styled by: Melisa Bass @madebymelisa
Food: Roberta Locke
Made By Melisa @madebymelisa
Debbies Doodads @debbiesdoodads
Brianna Showalter @briannashowalter
Happy Fox Studio @happyfoxstudiojewelry
Thursday, July 16th, 2015
I’ve been meaning to write about all the house updates we’ve completed over the last few months months; we had so many projects going on at once it was hard to keep up. We rented out our home for the U.S. Open so all the half finished projects had to get done asap, which is why I did such a terrible job at documenting the process…we had a deadline to meet and we were in “go” mode. We had a HUGE checklist of items stuck to the refrigerator that taunted us every time we passed by. The big projects included landscaping our entire jungle of a yard, finishing our master bathroom, finishing the laundry room, replacing all the interior doors, replacing the front and back door, replacing 4 windows and replacing the pool fence. There were about 20 other small projects we wanted to have completed by the deadline. We got most of them done. My goal is to give you an update on each project (otherwise this post would be incredibly lengthy). Until then…here is a small preview of the chaos.
Wednesday, July 1st, 2015
Andy and I were lucky enough to rent our house out for the U.S. Open. Months and weeks leading up to the event we were frantically finishing up remodeling and landscape projects. Needless to say we needed a place to stay while Lexus employees took over our home. Because we put every last penny we made on the rental back into the house, we couldn’t vacation anywhere exotic; rather we opted to spend a few days with family friends out in Eastern Washington, and then headed to Portland where we house sat for Andy’s Uncle.
Lot’s of people asked, “How was your vacation?” All I can do is laugh. Traveling with a toddler and a baby is the exact opposite of a vacation. However, we did have as much fun as you could possibly have considering the circumstances. Our days consisted of ways to stay cool as the Pacific Northwest is having an unusually warm start to summer.
We started the trip out east in a small town called Cashmere. We have a lot of history there so it’s always fun to go back. I had no idea Lake Chelan was so close! I’m so glad we found out because we LOVED it out there. This was the first time I’ve traveled to Portland with kids. Fortunately, Portland isn’t short of kid friendly entertainment. We went from splash park to splash park, The Children’s Museum, Powell’s Books, The International Rose Test Garden, and just roamed the streets. We didn’t go to a single trendy restaurant (and I’m kinda sad about that), but we really did have a great time. We totally lucked out and timed our trip at the same time Andy’s Aunt and Uncle were traveling out of town, so we didn’t have to pay for a hotel!
8 days away from home/schedule/familiar things can be hard on kiddos (and parents), but we survived. Would we do it again? Probably.
Monday, June 29th, 2015
I’m officially in my “late 30’s” and it feels pretty amazing. It’s a little surreal…did I really graduate from high school close to 20 years ago? I remember when 40 seemed really old. But man, oh man am I glad I’m where I’m at. I’m finally at the stage in life where insecurities, body image issues, and fears don’t rule me. It’s a good place to be.
I foresee big things happening this year. I’m choosing to go back to work part time and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ll be getting licensed and joining my husband’s growing real estate team and at the same time re-learning how to talk with adults. When you spend the majority of your days with a two year old and a baby, your vocabulary and conversation skills become very limited. I’m not kidding; I’m excited to have adult conversations again that go beyond the scope of poop, potty training, and sleep training. I’m also excited to experience what it’s like to miss my kids. I think going back to work is going to make me a better mother.
I’ve also been busy with @TheVillage253. It has grown into a beautiful community of women and I’m really enjoy organizing events for local moms. I’m humbled and astounded at how organically and quickly it’s grown and how receptive moms are to it. It’s not just fulfilling the desires of my heart, it’s fulfilling the needs of the community and I’ve been blessed immensely by it. (You can read more about @TheVillage253 here).
I just have a feeling that this is going to be an amazing year. I’m excited to set some new goals and see where life takes me!
Photos: Moch Snyder
Thursday, June 25th, 2015
Well here we are Pippa Grace, 1 month shy of being a one year old! Life got crazy and I skipped a 10 month update, so there is a lot to catch up on! Most notably, teeth! Your poor gums have been swollen for what seemed like months. Finally, 2 little bottom teeth have poked through (but only in the last week). I got almost 11 whole months of gummy smiles and that made my heart pretty happy.
You graduated from an army crawl to a full hands and knees crawl and you pull yourself up a little more these days but overall don’t seem too interested in standing. You’re overall very wiggly and make diaper changes quite challenging.
These past couple of months you’ve blessed me by mostly sleeping through the night. We’ve had a rough night here and there but overall I think you have this sleep thing figured out. And you still take 2 pretty decent naps during the day. Thank you for that.
You’re obsessed with your pacifier. The only time it’s not in your mouth is when you’re eating…I had to bribe you with food to take these pictures.
You LOVE your sister. She let’s you crawl all over her and you let her suffocate you with hugs so you’re pretty even. Every day you look more and more like her and less and less like me. Your once black hair is 3/4 of the way to blonde…I’m pretty sure by the end of the summer I’ll have two completely blonde babes. Another thing, you’re hair…it’s OUT OF CONTROL. You no longer let me adorn your head with headbands, so we’re pretty much stuck with the whale spout to keep it out of your face. I think some pig tails are in your near future sweet girl.
See Parker’s 11 month update here.
Monday, June 22nd, 2015
Although none of my family lives in Kansas any longer, there is a lot of history there, and where my side of the family held it’s 5th family reunion. A lot of people ask me if my family gets together annually, and for the past 5 years the answer is yes. Family dynamics can be complicated, but all that really matters now is that all of us, (from literally all across the country) are making the effort to make up for lost time. It’s beautiful. I love that my kids have had the opportunity to meet their great grandparents, and God willing will have memories of spending time with them as they get older. Each year the reunions tend to get bigger with more and more extended family joining in the festivities. My whole life my family was me, mom and dad; and the latest reunion boasted 28 attendees!
I can’t say Chanute, Kansas was ever on my bucket list of places to see, but spending time in this small town, rich in family history, and hearing stories of my grandparents and parents growing up on the farm was the perfect place to connect with family roots and each other.
Tuesday, June 16th, 2015
Thanks to Socialstars and Minute Maid for sponsoring this #DoinGood post dedicated to Andy.
You’ve been a father just shy of 3 years and I get choked up thinking about how lucky these two darling little girls of ours are that they get to call you daddy. There is a lot of expectation packed into the title of “Father,” and although you are a mere mortal, I’m confident that Parker and Pippa will grow up thinking of you as Super Man. Because you truly are the daddy that does it all.You adventure with them out in nature, you cuddle with them on the couch, and you dance with them in the kitchen. You wipe noses and bums, kiss ouchies, wipe away tears, and are the best tickle monster there ever was.I don’t think a day passes that you don’t mention how much you love our little family. You kiss our girls so much they are constantly covered in a red rash from your beard. But beyond your sweet affection, I’m grateful our girls will grow up with an example of what it looks like to love and lead a family. You are the calm in the storm and the voice of reason and the perfect balance to the three ladies in your life. It breaks your heart thinking about the girls growing up. Boyfriends, heartbreak and childhood milestones–I know you want to protect them from all the hurt their future holds; but I’m comforted knowing that when they’re teenagers and beyond, and they come home with tears in their eyes, your strong familiar arms will comfort them, and your words of wisdom will encourage them. If I haven’t told you lately, you’re #doingood daddy! All three of us ladies are lucky you’re the main man in our lives!
Know a parent who has been #doingood lately? I bet they would be encouraged to hear those words–go tell them! You can share your stories of great parenting and check out others by following #doingood
Monday, May 18th, 2015
I feel like I differ from most moms about childhood milestones. Instead of getting weepy and nostalgic, I get excited that we’ve moved on to more independence. Yes, there are challenges that come along with big girl undies and a big girl bed, but I love that we’ve transitioned through these phases, and did so fairly well (Thank you Jesus).
I had major anxiety about both potty training and moving Parker from her crib (which she slept in wonderfully) to a twin sized bed. We potty trained first. I did the typical sticker chart and chocolate as a reward and loosely followed the 3 day potty training method. By day 3 she pretty much seemed potty trained! However, the following week she went through a bit of regression with pooping. After throwing out about 10 pairs of underwear I switched to just pull ups and started the reward system over again with stickers, chocolate, and ice cream. After about a week we were back in big girl undies and so far so good!
We put together her big girl bed about a week after potty training her, and to my surprise she did amazingly well with the transition (I was worried we were doing too much too soon). I took her to Target to let her pick out her bedding (I was shocked she chose Hello Kitty over Frozen) and besides skipping naps 2 days in a row, she didn’t have any problems adjusting. I was worried she would get upset seeing Pippa in her crib, but she didn’t seem to notice or simply didn’t care.
Cheers to independence….I can’t wait till she can wipe her own butt.
Tuesday, May 12th, 2015
A couple of months ago I wrote a post on motherhood and loneliness and it seemed to have struck a chord with many of you. Combine the digital age with calendars chock full of appointments and it seems like relationships take a back seat to our schedules and instagram likes and comments trump real life coffee dates and breaking bread with friends.
I have found that making mom friends is hard; and it’s not because other moms aren’t wanting or willing, it’s just near impossible to coordinate schedules when you have kids. And relationships, if you haven’t noticed take a lot of time and effort. When you meet up with a new friend once every couple of months, it’s difficult to get past surface conversation and develop intimate relationships. And in this season of life I desperately want deep, intimate friendships.
I know there is a hunger for moms to have their own “tribe,” which is why I think so many women are drawn to and rally around anything that promotes the sisterhood of mothers. The Village Magazine is an Instagram account and quarterly publication who is doing a beautiful job at this. One fantastic idea they have is promoting and finding hostesses to host dinners in local cities. I kept checking for an event in Seattle and when none showed up I emailed them asking if I could host one in Tacoma with my super talented friend Danielle Kartes of @rusticjoyfulfood. Simultaneously I finally put into action the Instagram account @TheVillage253 (which is not related to The Village Magazine)…the idea that had been in my head for months–I just decided I didn’t need to know every detail of what I wanted it to look like; it’s not a business venture, so who cares. It’s a tool to meet other local mama’s and why put that on hold?
The tickets to the dinner sold out right away…which confirmed what I was thinking; moms are eager, desperate perhaps for community with other women. Some wonderful local mamas volunteered their amazing gifts and talents to create a spectacularly beautiful event. Moms mingled, ate, hugged, cried, nodded in agreement, laughed, lingered and left with their hearts filled and eager for another gathering. The Village Magazine’s tag line is “Bringing back the village,” and mama’s across the world are saying, “Yes, I need a village to do this motherhood thing”. We were not meant to navigate motherhood alone, yet so many of us are.
@TheVillage253 has honestly been a way for me, a desperate housewife, to meet up regularly with other local moms and think of ways to gather these moms on a frequent basis. I don’t just want a playdate, I want real friendship. In addition, it’s a great resource for moms who have questions about anything local, like midwife recommendations, kid friendly restaurants, indoor activities etc. My hope is that eventually other moms across the 253 area code (which is a fairly large area) will become admins of the account so we will have multiple postings a week of local meetups, playdates, events etc. In this day and age we have to be intentional about relationships; it’s too easy to keep up with someone on social media and neglect face to face interaction. I love social media, but I’d much prefer to look you in the eye and tell you in person you’re an amazing mama, and to get to know you beyond the cropped, filtered, edited squares of Instagram.
And a huge Thank you to the local merchants who blessed us mamas with beautiful gifts: