Another 10 year anniversary

Today marks 10 years since my mom died.

I have a distinct memory of riding in the jeep (Ryan’s old jeep)… Adam was driving… I was holding mom’s pink blanket… maybe a day or 2 after she died… thinking to myself ‘one day i’ll hit the 10 year mark… one day she will have been gone for 10 years’.  I remember thinking how far away that sounded… almost like it wouldn’t really happen.  But it did.

10 years seems like a long time… and it is, but the pain and the sadness can come back in an instant and in that moment, it feels like just yesterday.  I’m ugly crying right now, just like I did 10 years ago when I watched her last breath.

I miss her terribly.  I always have but this year has been particularly painful.  I’m not sure if it’s the 10 year anniversary… having my own girl… being overwhelmed with life… probably a perfect storm of all 3.

I don’t even really know what to say.  I am struggling to get this out.  She was everything to me.  She was my past… no one else shares my past with me.   She was supposed to be part of my future.  She was my best friend.  She was the 1 person who looked out for me exclusively.  She was my person. So now that she’s gone I feel very lonely.  I have a wonderful loving husband, 3 amazing kids and great friends and family but I’m still so alone.  And I truly don’t think that will ever go away.

I have deep regrets.  I regret not dropping everything and doing a mother/daughter weekend like she mentioned.  I regret not asking her more questions about her life.  I regret not shaving my head when she started to lose her hair.  I regret being dumb as bricks and not really understanding that she was dying.  I regret not spending every last moment with her.  I regret not having video of her, especially from our wedding.

I know everyone has regrets and that you can’t dwell on them or they will consume you but at the same time… how can you not have regrets?  How can I not think back and feel crappy because I didn’t get it… I didn’t see that time was slipping away.

She kicked cancer’s ass for 19 years and I just thought she would do it again.

Everyone should have a mom like mine and no one should experience the loss of a mom like mine.

Damn it.  I really miss her.



The cookies have no real significance other than the fact that they are Italian Cookies and they remind me of her.  So I made them yesterday.  And they are damn good.  And gone.

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My baby girl turns 1

Dear Celia

This is a little late… I am sorry about that.  Sadly that’s bound to happen with the 3rd kid. Harsh but that’s your reality :)

© Joy Michelle Photography 2013


You are 1 year old!  How is that possible?  This year flew by… all parents say that but it doesn’t make it any less true.  I feel like I blinked and you went from an itty bitty newborn to this walking babbling spitfire of a baby.  And yes… I will continue to call you baby as long as possible.



You have been such a blessing to this family.  From the moment we found out about you we have been eagerly awaiting your arrival.  Chase just knew in his heart that you would be a little girl.  And because my pregnancy with you was so different from the boys… I had my suspicions :)  You have added a bold pink and purple to our otherwise vibrant blue and green lives. You have rounded out and completed our family perfectly.



Chase takes his job as big brother VERY seriously.  He keeps a close eye on you… always making sure you are safe.  Once you became mobile I started asking Chase to help corral you… which turned into me calling out “baby relocation services” and he would come running from wherever he was, pick you up and take you out of harms way.  You might not have liked it very much but it was very helpful when I was in the middle of cooking dinner and you were banging on the fireplace.



I have to admit that you have been SO much fun to dress.  I love all the accessories… the shoes, the bows, the lace, the ruffles, the girly colors… it’s so much fun.  I attempt to have you dressed to the 9′s anywhere we go… it doesn’t always happen but I do my best.  I, with the help of a friend, learned how to make various bows for you to wear… just because they were girly and I didn’t want to go broke!  The fact that you didn’t have a lot of hair just gave me more reason to plaster those bows on your head!



Your smile is something to marvel at.  It takes up your whole face and can light up a room in an instant.  For the most part you flash that smile whenever prompted… and the boys do almost anything to see it.  They will throw themselves on the floor over and over again just to make you laugh… I’ve seen it with my own eyes.  They adore you.



My one sadness about your newborn days is that I couldn’t breastfeed you like I did the boys.  I spent a lot of time trying and failing which made me extremely sad which made it harder to try… and so on and so forth.  It’s a vicious spiral :(  You were losing weight and it made me very very nervous so Daddy and I eventually decided to switch you to formula and I had to let go of my dream of breastfeeding.  I felt guilty and worried that we wouldn’t bond as well but I kept reminding myself that Nona bottle fed me and we had an extremely close bond.  Still it tore me up for a long time (and I am still a little sad about it) but it really was the best decision at the time.  You started gaining weight, I started to heal, the boys were able to feed you… there were a lot of bright spots :)

chase feeding celia

lucas feeding celia




I can imagine there will be days where you don’t get along with your brothers but I hope you always know that they love you very much and you are each others best friends.  I hope and pray for your bond to be strong as you 3 grow up and become adults.  I can already see special but different bonds forming between each of you.



Since I knew you would be our last I have tried very hard to enjoy and savor every moment of your babyhood.  I tried to cherish the long nights, the early mornings, the clingyness, the new discoveries… all the things that are only there for a year.  The things that I didn’t know I would miss because I thought they would never end.

I co-slept with you… something I rarely did with the boys… and I did it longer than I thought I would.  I kept you with me in church way past when I should have been putting you in the nursery… I couldn’t bear the thought of being without you.  Outwardly I gave a heavy sigh when someone else tried to hold you and you screamed for me but secretly inside… I was thrilled. I adored the fact that you wanted me and no one else.



You were my biggest baby at birth… 7lbs 9oz but that didn’t last long at all.  You dropped weight quickly and always stayed under where your brothers were at your age.  You always rivaled them with height though… I think all 3 of you were always 95% and above for height :)  But you… you are my long and lean girl!



Lucas loves you… he loves you so very much but he’s a little misguided as how to show his love.  A lot of the time it comes out in holding your leg so you can’t walk or crawl, or bear hugging you so you can’t get away, or just bumping into you so you fall over.  I think he’s more jealous of losing the baby position than Chase was when he came along.  Chase was born to be a big brother… Lucas is learning how to be one.  He does love you though… one day, all the sudden I hear Lucas yell ‘UH UH UH BABY WHOACATION!’  I run over and he has you by the waist as you are trying to climb the stairs.  We praised him for being such a hero!  Later the same day he yelled ‘baby location’ as you were already 5 steps up! Again… we lauded him for being so heroic and watching out for you.  He was on cloud nine… he loved being the person that saved you.  Of course ever since he has been on you like white on rice… shaking his finger and saying “no, no, no” to anything and everything he thinks you shouldn’t have.  Regardless of whether I am standing right there or not.



I try to remind you that you are just a baby… you can’t possibly keep up with your brothers but you will have none of that.  If they are doing it, you want to be doing it.  This is probably why you were walking before your first birthday.  Your brothers are a lot to keep up with and you try with all your might.



I will miss the attention you commanded when you were a baby.  Not that you aren’t cute now and every day since you were a baby but man alive did you ever get attention.  People routinely stop me to comment on how cute you are… the lovely old ladies at the grocery store love to try and make you smile.   Between the bow on your head, your sweet demeanor and your infectious smile… not many could resist you. And if they did… if they walked by and didn’t smile… well I judged them harshly :)



I am so thankful that you will be raised seeing how much your daddy loves you and how much he loves me.  It is so important for a young girl to know her worth and her value and that starts with how her father treats her and her mother.  You my sweet girl have the best daddy out there.  He values, respects, loves and cherishes us.  I could not be more thrilled that you will grow up seeing that.



Your comfort on the 4-wheeler only serves to scare the pants off me.



We, the entire family, have learned (and are still learning) that closing the baby gate is an absolute must.  You have a sixth sense about that gate being open and you don’t let the opportunity go to waste.  Just this weekend you made it halfway up the steps once and all the way to the top the next time… with no one around.  But by the grace of God you didn’t fall backwards. You will climb any obstacle put in front of you.  I sat next to the coffee table and you used me to climb on top of it.  I’ve seen you traverse piles of toys just to get to the 4wheeler. You love to climb the step-stool… which now resides in the shoe closet because of you.  You love to climb on and sit on the dishwasher door.  But those steps… they are your favorite.  You can be in the kitchen, nowhere near the gate and if you hear it click open… you coming speeding through, a smile plastered across your face, determined to climb those stairs.



I can’t say Happy Birthday to you without also wishing Grampy a Happy Birthday too! You surprised us all by joining the world on Grampy’s birthday :)



We love you so much little one.  You’ve captured all our hearts.



I hope you always know how much your daddy and I love you.  We thank God nightly for the privelege of raising you and your brothers.  We continually ask for guidance and wisdom when it comes to raising you guys.

I pray that you always believe in yourself.  I pray that you see your beauty, your intellect and your heart as you grow up and navigate this world.  I hope you never lose sight of how much God loves you and just how very special you are to Him.  I pray that you are a leader and not a follower.  I pray that you always stand by your convictions and never let anyone compromise them.  I pray that you love life and enjoy all that it has to offer.



  I love you so much baby girl. Happy Birthday my sweet Celia Iris.

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Double Digits Baby


May 15, 2004










May 2005








May 2006








May 2007 – pregnant with Chase!









May 2008










May 2009










May 2010 – pregnant with Lucas









signing up for first year of t-ball!

May 2011










May 2012 – new house!










May 2013 – pregnant with Celia!









I honestly don’t think I could be luckier in the husband/marriage department.  He is the best husband, provider and best friend anyone could ever ask for.  I am so grateful that he waited for me… he is a very patient man :)

Tomorrow we celebrate with a date night to a nice restaurant.  How did we celebrate tonight?

Adam comes home to mayhem.  I’ve half started dinner and I need to finish getting ready so I can head to a meeting.

A knock at the door reveals and grandfatherly type man looking for a meeting… only early bedtimes at this house.  He asks to borrow a phone so he can figure out the address of where he is supposed to be… because he of course forgot the paper with the address and doesn’t have a cell phone. He was so very sweet. He got whoever to locate the address… which we then gave him directions on how to get to the other development :) Handshake and a goodbye and he’s out the door.

Adam then runs down to the basement to get something for me and comes back up with the ‘I don’t want to alarm you but…” speech. Picture me hiking my new floor length skirt up to my waist…. slip hanging out… baby on my hip… attempting to one handedly sweep water from one part of the basement to my husband who was furiously trying to sweep that water to the sump pump.   All the while thinking that something is horribly wrong with our foundation ($$$).  Then we traced the water back to our air conditioning unit. Shut the air off and more water comes pouring out of the unit…. problem located… hopefully for slightly less $$.

Head back upstairs… I am now officially late and haven’t even left the house. Finish giving Adam the run down on where we are in the routines and hurriedly plate some food. I am finally out the door to my meeting.

Not exactly romantic but it’s real life and we laugh our way through it. Here’s to 10, 20, 30, 40 more years… hopefully just a little drier!  I love you Adam!

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Mother’s Day is always bittersweet now.  I miss my mom tremendously.  I wish… now that I am a mom… that I could properly thank her for all that she sacrificed and did for me.  She was the most absolutely amazing mom and I wish I could tell her that. I wish I could compare baby stories with her and I wish she could see herself in me as I raise my babies.  But life doesn’t always pan out the way you thought.  So I shed a tear at the big moments… like this morning when we dedicated Celia in front of the church… and then I wipe my tears, count my blessings and know I will one day see her again. IMG_8259






I do get to celebrate my MIL…. and she really does deserve celebration.  She is one of the most kind hearted people I have ever met.  She would drop the world to come over if I asked…. which I do my best not to take advantage of :)  God knew what he was doing when he paired Sandy and I.  She’s experienced her fair share of loss… in ways I hope I never fully understand.   However, our loss binds us closer than you can imagine.  We just get each other.  I count her as one of my closest friends. IMG_8244






And I get to celebrate my husband because even though it’s mother’s day, he’s the reason I get to be on this awesome journey.  He supports me, encourages me and loves me through my journey of motherhood.  Together we have brought 3 amazing and beautiful children into this world and I am so grateful I get to be their mom.  I hope they always know just how much I love them.









Even if they have a grumpy face…

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Consignment Finds

I finally made it to the famous Wee Sale in Annapolis.  It’s a HUGE consignment sale with over 700 sellers… it’s massive.  Christine and I came up with a crazy plan… I’ll come up Thursday, spend the night and we’ll get up and go while her parents watch 5 out of 6 of our children.

It was chaotic, crazy and a lot of fun.  I’ll have another post all about our fun and extremely late night.  I’ll admit… there was a time (around 12:30am) when I thought I was certifiably insane for attempting this.

But then I woke up and did the mom thing where we shake off the lack of sleep and the extreme exhaustion, pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and mother, cuddle, love and in my case… shop!

Here are my finds!


Noah and the Ark picture for $5









Care Bears plate set for $3 – birthday or Christmas gift for Celia!









Firey Flynn from Thomas – $3









Game Night fun for the G’s – $4










Cute cars for play – $3






I bought this package deal for Hoot and Toot only… the others were bonus :) – $3








I can’t wait to use that art book! And I’m looking forward to the Nate the Great series! – $3 and $10


Books, books and more books! – $12

















And of course… the main reason you go to consignment sales… clothes!


These are all 12 month outfits!


These are all 2T! – all the clothes – $55.50. 14 dresses and 3 outfits :)














Then just as we were nearing the end of our shopping experience I glanced over and saw a thing of beauty… the very dollhouse I have been coveting for years.


My dream dollhouse

Truly… I have loved this dollhouse since before I was even pregnant with Celia. Friends of ours had it and I just thought it was the sweetest dollhouse ever.  I am not sure why I fell in love with it… it’s plastic and was probably sold by the millions.  But something about it struck a nerve.  I just knew I was going to get it for Celia one day.



And there it sat on the ground.  All folded up with tape around it and plastic bags full of extras shoved in it.  I sat there and just marveled at my dumb luck.  It was $70… way more than I intended on spending at the sale… but… it was such a deal I couldn’t walk away.  Ask Christine… I seriously debated about making the purchase.

In the end I couldn’t walk away.  I knew I was going to buy it for her one day and here it was, near perfect condition… $40 less than brand new and it had tons of extras.


Rockin minivan with Dad in the drivers seat


It also came with the pet set, bathroom set, twins nursery, dining room set and living room set…. although some sets aren’t complete














And even though there are some missing pieces here and there, I couldn’t be happier.  I spent some time cleaning it from top to bottom and I can’t wait to give this to her.

The one piece that wasn’t included that has to be bought immediately… the mom!  We all know houses don’t run as well without a mama!

P.S. Anyone looking to get rid of their loving family sets or people, I’ll happily purchase them from you!!!

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You finally got a girl!

When I am out and about people are pretty drawn to Celia.  She’s a very mild mannered baby… her head resembles a newborn chick… she has an infectious smile that she throws around often… and she almost always has a cute, huge bow plastered on her head.  She’s a magnet for smiles.  In fact if you look at my daughter and don’t smile, I judge you. Harshly.

I digress.

She is awesome and people like her.  They then almost always look at the boys, count 1 – 2 and say “Aww, you finally got a girl.” (or some variation)

Now I find this funny for a couple reasons.

1. I have 3 kids people… I don’t have 7 or 8 or 9 boys and then finally I “got” a little girl. 2 boys… then a girl… that’s it.  It’s not that amazing.

2. They assume I wanted a girl in the first place.  I know plenty of mamas who are perfectly happy with their loud, dirt loving, lovable little boys.  Girls are high pitched, drama filled and well girly.  They are cute too but pros and cons people.

3. They assume I wanted Chase or Lucas to be a girl…. like I was pining away for a little girl and was disappointed when there was an X and a Y chromosome and not 2 X’s.  Like somehow they weren’t what I wanted so we tried again.  The truth is I wanted Chase to be a boy.  I always wanted an older brother growing up and unfortunately didn’t get that… so I wanted my firstborn to be a boy so any other kids would have an older brother.  Not to knock older sisters… I am sure they are awesome too.  It’s just what flies around in my head.  With Lucas I would have been happy either way.  We knew we were having 3 so there was always still another chance after him to have a girl and if was a boy then great… he would make a great playmate for Chase.  And if God gave me a 3rd little boy, I was going to be happy with that too.  3 was our limit and God is the orchestrator.

Obviously what ended up happening is we have 2 wonderful big brothers and a sweet little sister.  I couldn’t have planned my family any better if I tried.  I love how we turned out.  My boys love Celia and treat her like a princess.  I hope between them and her daddy she grows up knowing that she is worthy of love, respect and dignity and doesn’t feel the need to look elsewhere like I did growing up.

Anyone that knows me knows I was thrilled beyond belief when I found out I was having a girl.  I screamed, cried and made sure my friend wasn’t lying (as if she would lie about something so important)… I just couldn’t believe I was being blessed with this little girl.

All that being said… ever since I started telling people and since she came into this world, the above statement has haunted me.  I always felt an irritation but couldn’t put my finger on it…. couldn’t explain the frustration behind hearing it.

Then tonight a simple text between friends made it clear.

Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 10.44.34 PM








I wasn’t waiting for a girl.  I was waiting for my mom and I get her through my Celia.  She is my Iris.  She is what I can imagine I was for my mom.  She looks at me with love and I imagine that’s how I looked at my mom.  She is what I needed when I didn’t think I needed anything.

My family is perfect for me.

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Birth Story

Let me start by saying how much I love my sweet Celia… each and every day pregnant was worth it to bring her here.  That said, I was ready for her to come by week 37.  I know, I know… the longer the better and healthier… I get that but at a certain point, after so much discomfort… well, I just wanted to have her in my arms.  Of course I tried to savor it… swollen cankles, insane heartburn and sleepless nights and all because I knew she would be my last pregnancy.  The feeling of her turning in my belly and kicking me is something that I will never again experience so I tried to really enjoy every last minute… but it was rough.

So when I was at my 39 week appointment and the doc asked if I wanted to get things going… I jumped at the chance.  I came in 2 cm dialeted and left 3 :)

Of course I didn’t really know when labor would start but when 3:30pm came and passed I started to get discouraged.  That was the time I started active labor with Lucas… and went grocery shopping because apparently I am crazy.

I went on with the rest of the day with my family on high alert.

Around 8 I started feeling the beginnings of labor but just a twinge here and there. I really second guessed myself… which I found odd considering I’ve done this twice before. I talked to my mother-in-law to let her know we might require her babysitting services fairly soon.

At some point the contractions became clearly contractions and I was certain I was in labor. I was talking again to my MIL (have I mentioned how much I love her?) and I had to pause several times to get through a contraction. The only thing stopping us now was consistency… they were so sporadic… 16 minutes… then 5… then 20… nothing regular. To which the on call doc said to ‘monitor and call him when they were consistently 5 min apart’. Right about then was when my MIL came over to sleep on our couch… just in case we had to go to the hospital in the middle of the night. Better to sleep a full night on our couch then wake up in the middle of the night and have to hightail it over here.

So we all sat around chatting while I bemoaned how long this was taking. I complained about the irregularity and the pain with no progress. I just wanted to get started so we could get this show on the road. My MIL suggested, several times, to get up and walk around but I was too lazy/tired.

Around 11 we decided to attempt sleep. We still had 2 boys to take care of the next day and whoever that responsibility fell to should be well rested. I stood up to make my way upstairs… I didn’t really think I would sleep but at least I could play on my phone while Adam and Sandy did :) I took about 5 steps and I doubled over with an intense contraction… and then 4 minutes later I doubled over again. I stood there and again… 3 minutes later had a contraction. Zoinks.

I went to the bathroom and without getting too graphic, it was clear we needed to leave… now.

I stepped outside the bathroom and told Adam ‘now is when we kick it into high gear’. He grabbed our bags and we were out the door in less than 5 minutes. I didn’t even call the doc… I saved that for the ride to the hospital.

We were in the car driving at 11:45… for some reason the time sticks in my mind.  We get to the hospital and start the check in process… all the while in increasingly intense labor. I was kicking myself for not filling out the pre-registration forms… procrastination at its finest.  We get through there and head back to labor and delivery.

I am still doing ok at this point… contractions are intense and they shut me up but otherwise I am being my normal half snarky half sweet self.  We get to our room around a little after midnight.  I get hooked up just to check on the baby… she finally checks to see how dilated I am… 7 cm!  I was actually somewhat impressed.  I was really getting uncomfortable so the nurse unhooked me and let me take a warm shower… best idea EVER!  It didn’t take away the pain… it wasn’t a magical warm shower… but it did help dull the pain.  I stayed in there until I could no longer stand through a contraction.

I laid down and the nurse checked… 9.5cm.  I told the nurse that she needed to break my water… I was ready to push and baby girl wasn’t waiting anymore.  She said she had to wait for the doctor… she couldn’t be the one to break my water.   I politely told her to get him in here now… she called the front desk and requested he move faster.

Doctor walks in and I tell him to break my water now.  I remember this with Lucas… they waited and waited to break my water because the midwife was delivering 2 other babies at the same time and wasn’t there… and I was in excruciating pain the entire time.  Pain that should have been used to be pushing… not waiting.   I wasn’t about to wait any more.

He sits down and breaks my water at 2:18am.  I gave one half push and could feel her move down a bit.  Then I pushed with all my strength and let out what can only be described as an amazon like scream.  And that was it… one push and she was here.  Born at 2:20am. The first thing I said after she was born was “Oh my God, I love you so much”.

After a few minutes when things died down, Adam texted his mom ‘here’.  For a split second she wondered why had it taken us so long to get to the hospital… then it hit her. Biscuit was here already!


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Breast vs. Bottle

Best laid plans…

I knew without a doubt that I would breastfeed Celia.  Of course I would.  I fought like heck to breastfeed Chase and I had trials to endure when I breastfed Lucas… maybe, just maybe Celia would be easier?  After all the labors got progressively easier, maybe breastfeeding would too.

Best laid plans…

Everything seemed to be going swimmingly at the hospital.  I thought she was getting a good latch so when the lactation consultant came at an inopportune time, I smiled and said “Thanks but I got this.”  At home I was definitely sore but she seemed to be latching ok and she seemed content.  She was very sleepy so feedings usually went pretty quick which was fine with me because it was starting to feel more and more like sandpaper attacking me.  All the sudden a week had passed and pain was intensifying and it was all over… not just the concentrated pain like you expect but an overall radiating to my back pain.  The real kicker… and the real panic in my heart was that Celia was losing weight. She was born at 7 lbs and 9 oz (biggest baby!) and she had steadily gone down to 6 lbs 14 oz… then 6 lbs 13 oz… to 6 lbs and 11 oz.

I had gone to see lactation consultants where I had a complete mental breakdown… my friend Katy can attest to this since she witnessed it.  It was a combination of the boys being disobedient lunatics, her weight being so far down, the fact that she was 4 days away from 2 weeks old and no where near her birth weight, the idea that my milk was decreasing because she wasn’t eating all that I had or eating often enough and the sheer pain I felt every time I went to feed her.  It all came crashing down… and hard.  So much so that the LC’s asked Katy to let me know about a postpartum depression support group. And she wasn’t off base… I was slipping dangerously close to depression.  I cried when I couldn’t latch her properly and I cried all through the night when I had to nurse her.  I was miserable and my whole family was suffering.

The bottom really fell out when I weighed Celia Sunday afternoon (on a legit baby scale) and she was down to 6 lbs 11 oz. She was just not gaining any weight.  Adam and I exchanged a look of disbelief and I cried.  I knew something needed to change.

So when Adam happened to be picking up a couple things at the grocery store, I texted him and asked him to get a can of formula.  I cried as he bought it.  I cried when we made the first bottle.  I cried as I put it to her lips and I cried as she sucked it down like she hadn’t eaten that well in… well, all her life.  Hell, I am crying now.

It hurt like hell to admit breastfeeding defeat but it was necessary.

  • She wasn’t gaining weight or eating enough to satisfy her.
  • She wasn’t latching properly, no matter how hard I tried.  And I tried… latch, wrong, pry her off, relatch, wrong, pry her off, and so on and so on.
  • I cried at every nursing.  I actually feared my daughter.
  • My milk supply was already down because of all the issues.
  • I was not a happy mom… to Celia or to the boys.
  • I was very close to falling into a depression.
  • I was not enjoying my last baby.

The first couple bottles hit me pretty hard… I definitely spilled tears over them but it got easier with each one.  It was nice to see her eat and look content and peaceful.  And I have to admit… it was nice to see her attack a different nipple. Just being real here.

I received a lot of support and people did suggest pumping and giving her breastmilk that way but after a lot of thought, I just couldn’t see how that was feasible.  Pumping takes a lot of time in and of itself… especially when all I have is a rinky dink handpump.  It was perfect when all I needed was a little here and there but when it comes to getting milk on a regular basis… I would have needed something a lot more powerful and I don’t have $200+ to shell out of that kind of pump.  Nor do I have the time to bottle feed and then after that, worry about pumping… I still have 2 other very active kids that need to be taken care of as well… not to mention any sleep that I may want to get in between Celia’s feedings.

The decision didn’t come easy for me… I debated heavily but in the interest of Celia’s health and my sanity… we made the switch.  I kept telling myself my mom would smack me upside the head and remind me that I was bottle fed and so far, I’m doing pretty well.

There are pros to bottle feeding…

  • I feel a sense of freedom.  We can leave the house… something I didn’t want to do while I was still cringing and wincing in pain every time she ate.
  • Adam and the boys enjoy feeding Celia… a bonding experience they would have otherwise missed out on.

















  • And the most important factor… Celia is gaining weight… the scale reads 7 lbs 5.5 oz (as of October 4th!)








And when it comes down to it… this beautiful face being happy and content is worth more than my best laid plans.









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Milestones this Summer

A few key moments in our summer…









Chase got his first big boy bike and wasted no time breaking it in.









Adam discovered a love of wood working… especially with found pallets.   Sadly the bookshelves are still unfinished… life and kids tend to stimey efforts to finish them.  One day it will happen!  Then he’s moving on to bunk beds!  YAY!









Chase has become much more comfortable in the water… taking risks he never would have before.   Note to self – get him to swim lessons ASAP.  I’ve been so lax on that :(









Lucas is officially potty trained!  Hallelujah and hooray!  I attempted the dreaded potty training back in the early part of the year but he would have no part of it.  Instead of dragging it out and making life miserable for both of us, I put away the underwear and went back to diapers.  Then, out of nowhere and months later, he showed interest and we tried again.  It was almost immediate success.  He’s proving to be an ‘on my own terms’ kind of kid.









Lucas transitioned to the toddler bed… and into Chase’s room… all in one night!  Chase was MORE than thrilled to have his little brother in his room (and still is… most of the time) and, of course, Lucas loves being in a room with his big brother.  They go to bed at the same time and for the most part, they do really well.  Lucas can be a little loud and frustrating to a tired Chase but we’ve had many conversations with Lucas about respecting your brother and many conversations with Chase about overlooking the small stuff.  It seems to be working :)

One of the best things about mornings is when Lucas finally realizes… “Da WIGHT is green!” – he comes running out of the room and into our room to let us know.  Love love love that clock!









I sprained my ankle… at 7 months pregnant.  I’m an overachiever like that.   Thankfully I was only out of commission for a day or so… hobbling around pregnant with 2 young kids underfoot is a recipe for more disaster!









Lucas broke his collarbone.  Apparently a typical break among children… who knew?  For about 2 solid weeks he was visibly injured and acted so… after that, he was back to his heart attack inducing self.

The story is as follows… we were home cleaning for dinner guests that night.  Chase and I were in the master bedroom and Lucas was coming up the stairs to join us.  I heard a scuffling and then a thump.  Then I heard the scream that tells you that something is seriously wrong.  Looking down from the top of the steps I saw him belly down on the hardwood.  The most jarring thing was that he wasn’t moving around or getting up.  Then I screamed and ran down the steps.  Initially Adam and I were concerned about a head injury… a broken bone really wasn’t on our radar until much later.  Adam convinced me that I needed to get him to the ER ASAP so off we went.  During this time Chase was the biggest trooper of all time.  He grabbed whatever I needed and followed close behind wherever I went.  He also comforted Lucas as much as he could. He’s a pretty amazing big brother.  Thankfully the ER staff wasted no time getting Lucas back and checked out… a possible head injury will move you to the head of the line.  They ran a cat-scan and an x-ray (neither of which I could be there for since I was 8 months pregnant <insert sad face>).  Thankfully everything head injury related came back perfectly normal… but the x-ray showed a green stick fracture on the right side of his collarbone.  They sent us home with a sling, a wrap and information… as well as a referral for a follow-up orthopedic appointment.  We still have a little more follow-up to go but he’s healing well… he’s still supposed to be taking it easy but you try to convince a 2 year old that!

All in all it’s been a great summer… here’s to a beautiful fall and the addition of our little girl.

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I never mean to go this long without posting… and I always have things that I could post about… time just seems to slip away.  I blinked and it went from May to September.  Of course there is a good chance that I slept most of that time away… man has this pregnancy kicked my rear.

I’m not sure if it is the 2 very active boys I still have to care for or if it’s because she’s a girl or if it’s simply because it’s my 3rd pregnancy and my body is just downright tired but holy sleep deprivation.  Most likely it’s a perfect storm of all 3 things.  Which typically culminate around 1pm where I lay on the couch and promptly pass out.  Poor Chase… I beg and plead for him to sit and watch shows so that mommy can close her eyes while Lucas is down.  Usually he is very accommodating… he really is the best kid ever.  Still, I feel bad because I could be spending all this quality time with him… something he craves above all other love languages… but my body just will not allow it.  I know being a mother is tiring but this is unparalleled exhaustion.   Add in the insane acid reflux, backaches, clogged ears, puffy and swollen feet… well, it’s just a lot to take.  I don’t want to wish my time with biscuit away… this is the last time I will ever get to feel a baby rolling, kicking and moving inside me and it really is the most amazing feeling but I know that when she decides to make her appearance, I will be more than happy to see her!

The whole family… and my extended family… and all my friends are so excited to meet this little one.  Seriously, she is one LOVED little girl already.  Not only did we have a really fun gender reveal party where Leah went above and beyond in making the box to reveal the pink balloons but I was thrown 2 baby showers!  Christine put together a great party for all my friends in the Baltimore/Annapolis area and Bekah and my MIL managed to throw a surprise baby shower, in my own home, with my Hagerstown friends… still not sure how she managed that one but I think Adam helped :)   I’ve felt very blessed and fortunate through this entire pregnancy.

The countdown is on… her due date is 17 days away and I was 14 days early with Chase and 7 days early with Lucas.  I can’t wait to meet this little girl.  She’s already captured so many hearts and she hasn’t even taken her first breath yet.


portrait courtesy of Joy Michelle Photography







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