Saturday, May 26, 2012


 Thursday afternoon we put a candle in a wedge of creamy swiss 
so Nicholas and Kent could sing happy birthday to me.  
The cake, the amazing nutella-italian cream-chocolate cake-vanilla cake layered cake, was going to be part of the date night celebration later on,
and we wanted Nicholas to be able to enjoy some of the fun of blowing out candles on Mommy's birthday.

All day long Nicholas was so cute, reminding me that it was my birthday.
"Did we sing happy birt-day Mommy?"  
"Did we make a birt-day?  We DID!" 

Early Thursday morning, Nicholas thought he'd bring me a present, so he carefully carried my ring (that I put on my nightstand each night) and gave it to me
"I brought you a ring for to you a present!"

And when I woke up that morning, Kent rolled over with his tablet in hand, open to this:
 I got to pick out my breakfast (french toast, fruit cup, and guava raspberry juice) and Kent made it, as well as fed and dressed the kids and cleaned up the kitchen. Perfect way to start a birthday.

I attempted a self-taken photo shoot with me and the kids...
not so easy.
Here's the best I got.

I went to Target with the kids to buy myself a new shirt.  
Nicholas picked out orange nail polish for me.  Orange.  
Will I wear it?  Not sure yet.  But he was so excited about it I just couldn't say no.

Then I took the kids to a nice grassy spot and we blew bubbles.
Because I'm a mom, and I knew that in order for me to have a happy day 
I was going to have to make my kids have a happy day.

Then we went to lunch with a few of my roommates from college, 
came home, 
the kids took a very nice birthday nap.

And after the kids were in bed that night, my brother Josh came over and
Kent and I went out to dinner at my favorite Italian place-delicious! 
They have the best cake.  I ate until I truly thought I was going to burst.

A perfect, happy way to start being 25. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

picnic with daddy

Last Wednesday we took a picnic lunch to eat with Daddy. 

It was complete chaos trying to get the lunch ready with Nicholas's "help" and while Ellie was begging to be fed,
but what's a picnic without a little craziness?  

Oh, and that band-aid on my leg?  I'd forgotten about the "owie" that Nicholas insisted I had on my leg that morning.   
Being a mom means always looking awesome when you go out.

During the actual picnic, Ellie was happy to chew on a cucumber and we just barely managed to prevent Nicholas from tipping over his milk three or four times, so,
great success!

The food was pretty good too,
although I severely underestimated how much Kent would like to eat (sorry Love!).  Next time, I'll bring more food, I promise.

Bagel sandwiches, sliced strawberries, cucumbers with ranch, pretzels and laughing cow cheese, grapes, and Coconut Sobe Lifewaters (thank you Shannon for my new addiction).  

It looked like rain, but the weather stayed perfect for our little picnic,
and we had a most splendid time.

Plus, Nicholas fell asleep on the way home and took a nice long nap for me.
Definitely going to do this again.

six months

 Ellie-girl is six months old (almost seven now...).
She's giggly, friendly, adventurous, and still loves her big brother more than anyone else.  
 She's a strong girl.  She wiggles and reaches and she'll lean all the way across my body if there's something she wants to reach.  She sits all the time now without ever falling over,
but she's only rolled over three times.
I think it's because we have hardwood floors in our living room, 
and because she likes to sit so much, I just don't ever put her on her stomach on the floor and she just never gets a chance to learn how to roll.
I'm sure that will change as she gets more chances to be on the floor.
 Ellie is getting snuggly.  When a stranger talks to her, when she's tired, or when she's just really happy, she'll lean her little head into my shoulder and give a contented sigh. 
I love it.
And she's just so squishy and roly that I squeeze and snuggle her all day long.  I love my fat baby!
 Ellie has entered the grabby stage and those little fingers of hers are constantly on the look-out for something to grab.  We have to pay attention to what is in her "grab zone" at all times and make sure there isn't every anything she can't play with.
Just yesterday she found a newspaper in  her grab zone and oh boy did she have fun tossing and wrinkling and tearing that newspaper!
 This is a typical Ellie look.  She has learned to play peek-a-boo, and if there are clothes or blankets in her reach she'll pick them up with both arms and pull it over her head and then wait a minute before taking it off again with a sly smile.  
Sometimes, though, whatever she's playing with gets stuck up there.
Also, notice the cell phone.  No matter where I put it, somehow it always seems to end up in her grab zone.  
 Ellie likes to put her face up against mine, nose to nose, and babble softly and blow raspberries in my face.  She loves to be close, to be squished and squeezed and tickled.  
When she sees me coming she flaps her arms and grins so big I just can't walk past without picking her up and playing for a while!
Enjoying a lunch of broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, toast, and tomatoes.  She loves to eat, and I love to feed her.  She gets so excited about her food, laughing in a throaty "heh heh heh" as she gums the carrots and sucks on the bananas.  
We have to bathe her after every meal, but it is so much fun to feed her and watch her discover the new flavors and textures.  She had tomatoes for the first time today, and when she first brought it to her mouth she pulled a face, but then she started munching and sucking on it and she ended up eating almost the whole slice. Amazing.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

worn out

We do some serious playing around here.  
Sometimes, Nicholas just can't quite make it to bedtime (or dinner time) without crashing
if he hasn't had his mid-day nap.

Looking at this picture 
makes me want to sneak upstairs and cradle my sleeping boy in his bed
because he's growing up too fast,
and I don't want the day to come when he stops falling asleep on the back porch just before dinner.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Grandpa Blain

The best group shot we could manage.  Ellie was ready for a nap,
but Nicholas did not want to go home. He loved it there!
A few Sundays ago we drove out to 
small town Utah to see Kent's grandpa. 

The drive wasn't long,
the weather was beautiful,
and it was exactly the right way to spend our Sunday afternoon.

We visited for a few hours, 
Ellie hit it off with her great-grandpa and loved him right away,
Nicholas warmed up as Grandpa asked him about his hot wheels cars,
and of course we made a number of visits to see the chickens.
 Aaand, Nicholas had no shoes. Cause we're awesome parents who forget things like that.

After a few hours visit, we headed home. The kids both slept in the car and Kent and I got time to talk, uninterrupted. Bliss.
 Another Sunday drive to Grandpa Blain's is definitely on our schedules.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

baby led weaning

Ellie's first food--apple sticks.
Ellie has started eating solid foods.
For her, though, we are trying something new.  

Nicholas, you see, is probably the pickiest toddler on earth.  Seriously.  
The list of foods he will eat fits on one side of a post-it note.  

I believe that some of that is nature. I was also incredibly picky as a child.  But maybe some of it is nurture too.  I didn't do a good job with introducing new foods to him as we were feeding him baby foods, and I relied too heavily on the "fun stuff" like goldfish crackers and gerber puffs.  And now, the fun stuff is all he ever wants to eat.

So with Ellie, we decided to do things differently.
We figure it can't get any worse, so why not try something new?

I started thinking on my own that it would make so much more sense to just feed my babies the same foods I was eating; just feed them off of my plate, even, and introduce them to all those flavors and textures and let go of the pressure to feed them exact items and exact amounts.

And then I found Baby Led Weaning
a method that mirrors the way that babies were fed before the 50's and 60's where mothers were sent home with strict feeding schedules and guidelines that ended up lessening their milk supply and ended up making experts feel like babies must "need" rice cereal and pureed food to supplement. 
Before all of that, babies weren't given solids until they expressed an interest in food on their own and then,
they were given exactly that.  Solid, real foods. And the parents didn't stress about what or how much the baby was eating, because the baby's main nutrition source remained breastmilk until the baby gradually weaned themselves by eating more and more of the solid foods.  The idea is that the baby, who has been able to know how much and when to nurse up to this point, will continue to instinctively know when and what and how much to eat all on their own.

There are guidelines about what types of food to give to baby, no (or very limited) processed foods, no salt, finger-sized pieces of food that are easy for her to hold and munch on, etc. 

And the risk of choking is surprisingly lower than a baby who is spoon-fed, because the baby is in control of what she's putting into her mouth and when, but of course you never leave the baby alone while she's eating. 

There's a great (and short) post here with the basics if you're interested.

So that's what we're trying.  For our family, it just makes sense, 
and so far, I'm loving it.

Ellie has been eating solid foods with us for just more than two weeks now, and she's had apples, bananas, avocados, pears, cucumbers, bread, carrots, green beans, tortillas, strawberries, and pancakes. I'm getting braver, though, and I'm going to start giving her more complex foods.
Bread is one of her favorites, but I'm learning that it's best if it is toasted or something more like
an English Muffin that doesn't become so "doughy" in her mouth.

And I knew the moment I handed it to her that giving her bread on the couch was a bad idea, but I decided to let her have at it and clean up later.  The only downside we've found so far is that Baby Led Weaning is messy.
It's amazing to me to see how she just seems to know how to eat this stuff. She's already figured out how to use both hands to get something slippery (like her favorite, bananas) up to her mouth.  She can suck on a chunk of cucumber forever, move bits of food around in her mouth and either swallow them or spit them back out, and she really seems to enjoy getting her hands on the food and feeling in control of what she's eating.  

Right now, her "eating" is mostly playing, exploring, and discovering new tastes and textures.  She gets very little actual food and nutrition from what she feeds herself at this point, but 
that's okay because she's still nursing and that's really all she needs for now.  

We're learning as we go, 
but for us, this makes sense and we are really happy with it so far.

And an unexpected plus?  The other night Nicholas watched Ellie gumming her carrot sticks and he decided to give them a try...and he liked them!

Monday, May 7, 2012


I mean, who could have this view all day long and not feel at peace?

The beauty of the foothills where Kent's parents live
Allison and I spent a lot of time just being there,
going on walks,
lounging with our feet in the pool (heavenly I tell you)
and sitting with our babies on the grass letting the sun soak into our skin.

The night before the Spring Event,
Teresa threw a little party.
We had a bonfire, roasted hot dogs, ate this amazing pastry dessert,
and then, as twilight came on
and the sun began to set,
Teresa pulled out a box of lotus flower floating lanterns.
I set up my lanterns with a sweet sleeping babe in one arm, thanks to a ton of help from all the other girls!

She explained that as you light the candle and set the lantern afloat across the water 
you make a wish.
Before we set ours out, we gathered on the dock and Paige, one of Shannon's friends, sang the song from the lantern scene from the movie Tangled.  We joined in for the chorus.  It was a tender moment.
We watched the lanterns float and bob across the water in the dark.
It was a surprisingly cathartic experience,
and we headed back home in the night
feeling refreshed and renewed.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

the Spring Event decor

The day of the Spring Event, I wanted to get lots of pictures of all the incredible details spread out across the property.
But managing my camera with a baby in one arm is not such an easy task.

My sister-in-law Shannon got a bunch of great ones.  Visit her post here to see just how wonderful the decorations were!

Friday, May 4, 2012

the event

Fresh strawberries with cream cheese dip and brown sugar.

Homemade sorbet.  With a custom-printed wooden spoon and a sprig of rosemary.

They had stations set up throughout the property--you could make smore's by the firepit, get flavored water and candy, relax in the hammock, and take pictures with the plentiful props.

Lunch-fresh veggie salad with hummus, and a chicken pesto sun-roasted tomato sandwich.

Allison and Eli, Mindy Gledhill and Griffin, and Me and Ellie. 

I don't know how to describe the Vintage Spring Sorbet event other than to say that it was truly magical.
Not only had Teresa and her friends thought of every single detail,
but there's really something special about when women gather with the intent to
be creative, share friendship, and inspire one another.

The day started off with a welcome, then there was time for crafts, shopping, and some classes.
Then we enjoyed lunch and a private concert by Mindy Gledhill.  So incredible!

The vendors were so fun, too, and Allison and I got lucky--Ellie and Eli took naps at the same time so we could go out and enjoy ourselves sans-baby for most of the day.  I bought a darling blue cookie jar, a bar of handmade lavendar soap, a little necklace charm, and a box of to-die-for cinnamon rolls.
(That Allison and I polished off on our own before we came home.  This was a week of binge eating, and I'm not sorry at all.) 

At the end of the day, my heart was full of peace, joy, and inspiration to be a better me.

Thank you Teresa!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

traveling pal

Ellie was my traveling pal last week.
She's pretty much the best traveling pal ever.
 We flew to California.  Flying with a six-month old is
infinitely easier than flying with a two-year-old. 
A few little toys to chew on,
a little nursing snack,
then a long nap. 
Easy peasy.  I only took my purse with me on the plane,
instead of the ginormous backpack I have to take when I fly with Nicholas.

 She was happy the. entire. trip.
No joke.  She took excellent naps, slept about as well as she does at home (which isn't stellar but that's another story),
and was smiling the whole time she was awake.

Smiling as I got her dressed one morning.

 Smiling as I attempted to help with the centerpieces. 
I wasn't much help,
but maybe Ellie provided a morale boost?

 Sharing a happy joke with her new friend, Eli, my friend Allison's darling boy.
Yep, it was Ellie and Eli.
Confusing, but cute.
They were great friends that week, and Ellie didn't even seem to mind that Eli thought her wiggly feet would make great chew toys.
She licked his head at one point, so I think it was even.

 She was the belle of the party.  I literally couldn't even walk ten feet without someone stopping me and admiring her.

 Just mingling with her new famous friend, Griffin--Mindy Gledhill's sweet little guy.


It was really fun for me to be able to spend so much one-on-one time with Ellie.  In the chaos of our everyday lives, I don't get to just sit and play with her as often as I would like to.
I noticed things about her personality that I never noticed before.  She's a doll.
Thank you, sweet Ellie,
for being such a good girl on this trip!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Checking in after a week long
escape to California. 

I don't think I've ever had a time of my life where a vacation was 
so needed, so appreciated,
so perfect.

I'm back home,
and I feel like myself again.  I feel like I'm ready to be 
the mom I want to be. The wife I want to be.
The me I want to be.

In short, I've never felt so refreshed from a vacation before.  
Somewhere between the beauty of the foothills, the peace and quiet,
the perfectly girly Vintage Spring Sorbet event, having only one happy baby to take care of, and being reunited with old friends,
I found myself again.  

Many posts to come.  Right now I'm going to go play with my babies.