25 December 2015


We are having ourselves a very merry little  Christmas. It tends to be more of a several week holiday process for us. We had my family's Christmas last weekend with the highlight being BOTH kids staying the night with their Mam and Pap (hallelujah!!!), a train ride, and we all had our first Nutcracker experience. We are now with the Engineer's family for almost 2 weeks for our annual cousin fest. So far we have played Lego's, lincoln logs, gone on tractor rides with Opa, had an impromptu performance of "This little light of mine" for a church program, baked, family parties, and more to come including a day at Hershey Park :).

Maya is in heaven with her cousins and Dane is having a blast trying to keep up with three big kids, adding his manly grunts into the mix of squeals.

10 September 2015

sibling love

In the midst of days full of picking at each other and whining, it's really rewarding to see how much they really love each other. LE is in tune with Baby Vanilla, she's proud of his accomplishments and loves teaching him new things. Just today I overheard her having a conversation with him about preschool. "School is a place you go alone without mommy and daddy, but you're there with with a teacher and friends." The depth she goes into conversations with this being who can only say "Uh-Oh" is impressive. Baby Vanilla also has a soft spot for his sister. He's always looking for her and loves their games of chase, peek-a-boo, and having his sister pull him around on a blanket.

Showing concern for her brother, making sure he's ok. 

Each others favorite dance partner.

Those occasional moments of stillness.

And lots of silliness.

She even keeps him entertained (or distracted) for his snacks.

09 August 2015

wbw, take 5!!

I have officially been pregnant and/or breastfeeding for 5 solid years! My first thought, is holy smokes my body has belonged to crazy little people for far too long. But then today I put on a tube top (I never wear tube tops...the word itself even sounds weird, too weird to wear) and I had bought this particular one to use for kangaroo caring Baby Vanilla. It made the perfect little pouch to tuck him into for skin to skin time.

Today I picked him up and he's huge. His body is bigger than my tube top,  certainly no way he'd tuck inside it. I realized the baby stage has slipped away and I'm left with a little boy who walks and copies everything his big sister does.

All of a sudden, the sleepless nights and hours of bouncing seem like seconds. The 9 months of pregnancy a blur. And his little boyness, well it all of a sudden may fly by too fast, too.

I get up with Baby Vanilla 1-4 times a night. I'm horrific at cosleeping, so I go pick him up, nurse him to sleep, lay him back down, and hope I can fall back to sleep myself. To some of you that is insane, to some it is a normal night. I don't mind (too much), its my baby and my breasts are so much more than food. They have given both my kids that little nudge of comfort that they have needed when their gums hurt, or they've been vomiting, or maybe they've had their first scary dream and we aren't to the stage where we can talk it out.

So, while in someways I secretly hoped Baby Vanilla would have weaned himself or started sleeping through the night by now, today I am grateful to be celebrating my 5th World Breastfeeding Week as a nursing mama!

(And as always, breastfeeding is a beautiful and extremely challenging journey whether you go a couple days,  weeks, or years. Breastfeeding isn't what makes us mothers, but it is worth celebrating, whatever the journey :)

Happy World Breastfeeding Week to all the mamas I have had the pleasure of being friends with or working with. You all inspire me!

Previous WBW posts:



2012 and this one


25 July 2015


Make shift nap locations.

Never ending projects.

And a new neighborhood full of new fun and friends!

24 July 2015

look at you, you're 32

The Little Engineer says the darnedest things. She sang me at least 5 birthday songs at dinner and this morning she sang "Look at you, you're 32", followed by "Let me see your leggies, mommy", " Wow, that's pretty amazing how big you are now." Gotta love that kind of birthday love. 

I also got extra sweetness from my gorgeous Engineer and even my bestie came to visit! And of course, Baby Vanilla always hands out adorableness. He started coming up and tickling us while making a high pitch gurgle. Seriously, adorable. And he slept in until 9am (may have been up 3 times, but hey!)

I'm a lucky gal to be surrounded by the coolest little and big people (and gluten free treats)!

09 July 2015

first birthday

And moving... Poor Baby Vanilla or "Dane buddy" as we lovingly refer to him. He has to share his birthday with our moving day. Sorry little man...you were conceived during a big move and now celebrating your birthday during another one. It really doesn't matter because you are such a ray of sunshine all the time. I can feel confident you are just as happy in transit as long as you have people to smile with. You took your first two steps on our moving day from the old shoebox house and today your Opa swears you took 6 steps in the new house! You are so sweet and happy that it still baffles me.

I am much more flexible to be up at all hours of night this go around. (You can thank by your sister for breaking me of my selfish life, at least slightly.) You seem to be slowly weaning (I'm sure moving isn't helping...) and I'm honestly relieved and feel guilty, all at once. You have a smile that draws in everyone who encounters you. Dane Vanilla, you have been a true blessing. I cannot imagine life without you. Your sister adores you and she is the first thing you look for for when you wake up in the morning. You're lucky to have such a sweet, protective sibling, as she is lucky to have you. You light up when daddy walks through the door. (He does enjoy having man time with you!) You love to cuddle. You fuss when you want something, but rarely full out cry. You smile with your whole mouth wide open. You are so cautious with any danger, for example, you wait at the top of the stairs for someone to get you. You hold onto my arm, but slowly let go when someone else wants to hold you. I love your insight on life and tendency to be loving. You remind me that humanity is good. The world needs more Dane Vanillas!!

Happy birthday, sweet baby boy!

06 July 2015

7/4 and in limbo

"Mommy, my life is so beautiful!"
-Maya's first time watching fireworks.

I had the perfect 4th of July (minus the Engineer at the new house making it liveable and Baby Vanilla in bed alone,  while LE and I enjoyed fireworks, sipping wine and orange juice). So grateful for your appreciation and sweet made up songs, dearest LE. Just when I think I'm doing it all wrong, you remind me I've raised an amazing kid. I seriously love you more than words can describe!

25 June 2015

medium box

Packing up and moving about 2 1/2 miles down the road. Better schools, beautiful tree lined street, more toilets (this is seriously the one of the highlights of our move...one toilet just isn't cutting it around here!). Needless to say, we are all pretty excited for our new house.

However, I do feel sad that I'll have to drop the "shoebox" title. We went from a shoebox condo to a shoebox house and now we will be somewhere slightly above shoebox status, with our multiples toilets and all. Its like we are becoming real adults now, Engineer. Planting roots, no more moves for the foreseeable future, maybe even ever. Our next few weeks will be filled with packing, painting, fixing, and moving with these two cute littles in tow. Here we go, go, go on another adventure!

18 June 2015

flower child

It's not uncommon for the Engineer or myself to be looking for LE, only to find her sitting or laying in the grass like this. Looking through our unmanicured lawn for treasured flowers or unique weeds.

She sometimes will come in the house to show me a new found prize and declare that "the animals left it for her." Maybe she's watching too much wildkrats on pbs kids (an animal/creature adventure show), but I love her imaginary world that lives in our weeds.

Recently, a Scotts Grass salesperson stopped by our house commenting on our "unlucky clover issue." I politely declined his services claiming we like our yard the way it is...partially we are too cheap to care and partially I'm too hippie for chemicals, but now LE's perspective puts a new spin on what grows in our yard and how boring it would be if it was just grass...

I love you, my sweet flower child!


Life gave us "lemons" last week. But, with the power of Pinterest and a husband who was willing to entertain my crazy idea of "lets build a new table top mid-packing to move" (I seriously pulled some major persuasion cards here), we made lemonade.

And while the project tested our limits and the kid's, specifically at Lowes for too many hours, we ended up with a table we both like much better than the original.

Where would the world be without Pinterest and awesome husbands!?

03 June 2015

happy 4th birthday

You woke up on your birthday morning convinced that you were different, certain you height and shoe size would now match your other 4 year old friends'. And you're right, so much is changing. Those legs are getting longer, you vocabulary is huge and you communicate like a big kid...I've lost my role as your personal "translator". The way you use words like: actually, perfect, and efficient brings a smile to my face.

For your birthday you choose to have a green and teal, bubble party (OK, so your first choice was Frozen, but I gently redirected you from that...because you already have/got any possible Frozen item known to mankind.) You wore your teal and green Frozen dress (compromises), painted your nails green and even sprayed your hair green. Such a festive little thing!

We had a great weekend with your grandparents, filled with kite flying, desserts galore, new bike rides, and princess guitar playing!

Happy birthday, sweet LE! 


LE is the light of Baby Vanilla's life. I was rudely reminded of this when my mom took LE shopping at Target for like 5 hours (dear best friends, remember getting locked in the mall on several occasions with mom? Lady can shop till everyone else drops!) Anyway, Baby Vanilla...Mr. Grumpy Pants without his big sis!  Mama just doesn't cut it. 

For all the times she injures him (which is often), she makes him laugh at least 19 times more, which in turn makes my gig a whole heck of a lot easier. 

Better together.

23 May 2015

last day of school

Friday was Maya's last day of her first year of preK. In all her pictures she had her hand up as a "hurray" of some sorts.  She has no clue what this actually meant, because she's already asked me every night if she gets to go to school in the morning.  Needless to say it was a great first year. Most days she wouldn't tell me what happened at school or what she learned...I just got a sassy "I'm not talking to you about it." But I do know she learned the important things like having a bff, that boys (literally) chase the girls and you're meant to run and scream, and being in front of the line is the greatest honor one can achieve. I say this sarcastically and seriously, because really the goal was to have fun and feel safe away from mama, which her teachers beautifully accomplished (she is merely 3 after all).

So proud of you, sweet LE! And when did you get so big?! 

Today you told me "I'll be so excited when I'm 31!" (Yikes!) and you constantly talk about the freedoms of 16.  Dear sweet threenager, SLOW down!! Childhood is too fleeting.  I want to freeze you the way you are (on a good, tantrum free day, that is)!

26 April 2015

my sunshine

9 months

I'm so far behind on everything I want to post, but this is better than nothing.  Baby Vanilla's smile as his sister pushes him on a swing.  His smile completely overtakes anyone who falls prey.  This is my baby in a picture...Love you and am inspired by your happiness, sweet baby!

09 March 2015

dear le

You have truly grown into your title as little engineer. You are constantly trying to figure out how life works, creating, and asking big questions.

You want to know things like how does a car work, what is steam, and how can you build a pulley.

Your little brother has challenged you to try even more new foods and brings out your good mood - you always have a smile for him, even when your grumpy.

You love school and tell the funniest little stories. Most recently you told me you show your friends your "Frozen" socks when your teacher isn't looking. You told us you plan to sleep in our bedroom until your 6. While we'd love you to move into your baby brothers room, we also love your sensitive soul and have learned to let you do things in your own time. And to your lactation mother's disapproval you told me breastfeeding your babies makes you too hot, so it's easier to just pump and bottle feed them :).

You may be shy and sensitive, but you also know exactly what you want...at times it drives me and your daddy crazy how well you know what you want and how adamant you are about it.

As soon as you warm up to someone you are not shy about bossing them around, teaching them everything you know. I love to hold your sweet, beautiful face. It's so delicate and perfect. I love even more that after I tell you this you go look in the mirror to see for yourself and look pleased. I hope you always feel this confidant in how beautiful and delicate, yet strong you are inside and out.

I'm sorry I lose my cool...more often than I'd like...with you. I'm glad you challenge me and your dad and I wish we could always have the patience to teach you how to deal with tough moments in a loving way. But when we don't, I hope you learn grace - both how to grant and receive it. You bring so much life and adventure to our lives.

I'm grateful to be your mommy.
I love you, LE!

dear baby vanilla

I know I have said it already, but you have a smile that lights up the room. You charm and leave those who come into contact with you feeling happy and refreshed. We aren't quite sure where your happy go lucky-ness came from, but we love it and you are perfect in our family!

You are ready to join the big kids. You light up and jump right in when you get the chance to play. You've mastered army crawling, pulling yourself up to standing, and dumping boxes of toys out.

You still love ALL food...seriously, you have not turned down anything yet!

Nursing is becoming increasingly better. You comfort feed more and even occasionally fall asleep at my breast, which never did a little baby.

I smoother you with hugs and kisses, literally, because I cannot get enough of your sweetness and I don't know how to properly savor this moment. You smile, even though you're probably thinking "Mom, space, seriously!" Your sister smothers you even more. Sorry, little buddy, you stuck with us.

You're also a daddy's baby and happily spend the evening or day with him. (Mama is certainly grateful to be able to sneak away for a girls night or a shopping trip alone occasionally!).

Love you, Baby Vanilla!