Memory Books for Auntie Jaime

When Jaime died, one of the first things that I really cried about was the knowledge that my kids were so young that they probably wouldn’t remember her, even though she had been a huge part of their lives here. Harvey was only 2 months old at the time and Stella was just over 2 years old, and I knew without a doubt that I wanted to find a way to help the kids feel like they remembered her.

At first the grief was too raw for me to be able to put the emotional energy into making something concrete, but around the first anniversary of her death, my sister-in-law and I got the motivation to go through all of our photos to pull together all of the photos and stories that we could remember that included Jaime and the kids. In the end we created an 88 page photo album full of pictures of Jaime with her niece & nephews and fun little stories about her antics and screenshots of her hilarious Facebook posts.

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We printed up 3 books so that Jaime’s parents could have a copy, my nephews could have a copy, and my kids could have a copy. We have cried many tears over that book already, but the kids absolutely love looking through all of the pictures over and over, and that makes our hearts happy. <3

At the same time, Jaime’s childhood best friend and her Mom started writing and illustrating a book about Jaime and her dog, Jack.   They had it finished and printed just in time for the celebration of her birthday on June 20th, just like I had done for the photo book above! They gave a few signed copies to the family and put the rest in local stores where they quickly sold out because so many community members wanted their own copy. How cool is that?!

Now our kids have two fantastic books to help them remember their Auntie Jaime – a storybook about Jaime and Jack, and a photobook about the years she was in their lives. I hope in some small way these books help the kids internalize all of those memories of their fantastic Auntie Jaime.

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Summer Evenings

Every Thursday night in June & July there are free music concerts in the park either in the town 10 miles down the road or just a few blocks down the road from our house. The concerts are free and last from 6pm to dusk, and both us and the kids always have so much fun! These photos are from last night, hanging out on a beautiful evening with some great friends and their new baby who my kids absolutely adore! <3

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Harvey Adam, 18 Months

Hey Harv-Man!

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So I’m writing this post a week late, but better late than never, right? :) We found out last week at the doctor’s office that you’ve only gained a pound or so in the past 3 months, but you’ve grown 2″ – which totally makes sense, because you are a very long, lean little boy at this point! In comparison to your big sis (sorry kid, I’m always going to do this), you’re about 2 pounds lighter but finally nearly as tall as she was at this age. Maybe you won’t be a shorty compared to her after all! :)

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You’re different in so many ways, really. True to stereotype, you are a very physical boy who LOVES to run & climb and throw things. Words, however, are not your forte, so though you have an assortment of them, you pretty much stick to MAMA, DADA, HATT-TY (Uncle Tom), NANA, PAPA. There are another dozen you will say from time to time, but none with regularity. I am so ready for that word explosion that will make communication so much easier with you. In the meantime Stella is always translating for you and telling us what you want, which is pretty darn adorable. I love how much you two love each other.

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This past month you got to spend a lot of time with your Minnesota family since your cousins and your grandparents were both here to celebrate what would have been your Auntie Jaime’s birthday. It was so much fun to spend time with everyone and watch you kids play together! By next summer you’ll be keeping up with the big kids no problem. :)

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Random Stats:

  • Length: 32.5″
  • Weight: 24#12oz
  • Eye color: Very blue
  • Teeth: 12 – the 4 front teeth top & bottom, plus 4 molars (2 top, 2 bottom)
  • Diapers: Size 4 disposables and 2 columns of snaps showing in your cloth diapers on the mid-rise
  • Clothes: 18 month clothing, and a few 2T things
  • Sleep: Napping in 1-2 hr chunks, 2x/day (usually 9-10:30 and 1:30-3), sleeping 7:30-8pm-6:30am

You went on your first rafting and camping trip this past month, and MAN did we have a good time. You didn’t love your life jacket, but you definitely loved being on the water and running around at camp. We can’t wait to do more stuff like that with you as you grow up!

Favorite Things:

  • Your blanket. It goes EVERYWHERE with you.
  • Giving kisses (and sometime hugs)
  • Climbing EVERYTHING
  • Being outside whenever possible
  • Folding your hands to pray
  • Using Daddy’s iPad to look at pictures & Facetime people
  • Playing with your sister
  • Wearing Uncle Tommy’s hat

IMG_204818 months is a challenging age for sure, but it’s also fun. Between the tantrums and the time outs are lots of snuggles and kisses, and it is so fun to watch your personality really start to shine. We love you so much little man!

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Love,
Mom, Dad, & Stella

On the River Again!

Last Friday, Charlie and I took the day off of work, packed up the kids and all of our rafting and camping gear, and headed to the river! We used to raft a lot pre-kids, but when I got pregnant and then they were so little, we just ended up taking a break from it. We’ve missed getting out on the river in our boat though, so we finally decided to make it happen!

Honestly, there was a time from about 10:30-11:15 that I was alone with the kids at the put in thinking what the hell have we gotten ourselves into?! Charlie and Tom were running the shuttle to the take out so we were waiting for them to get back, and every time I tried to put a hat or sunscreen or a life jacket onto Harvey, he would throw a HUGE screaming fit and run away from me. Not fun!

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When Charlie got back, I wrangled Harvey into a life jacket and we snapped a quick family selfie. You WILL wear that coat and like it, kid! :)

2015-07-10 11.23.45Once we got on the river, things calmed down a bit, and for the next 4 hours we floated and enjoyed ourselves. From time to time Harvey would whine about his PFD, but for the most part he was happy as a clam when we let him sit up high on the cooler, and Stella was a total river rat and had no problem lounging around and enjoying the views. :) We had a few minutes of getting rained on, but the sun popped back out and we were warm again in a hurry. I did have to dive into the water after one of Harvey’s shoes after he decided to chuck it out of the boat, but I thankfully grabbed it before it sank, and Harvey wasn’t forced to be shoeless at camp that night!

Once we got to camp around 3:30pm, the kids were in absolute Heaven, running around and jumping in pudddles and playing in the dirt and helping search for marshmellow roasting sticks. They even got to see a train go by!

Stella’s biggest meltdown of the trip came that evening (after no nap!) when we gave her a s’more and she wanted a COLD marshmellow. Silly parents. :) Crisis was averted with a cold marshmellow and some milk, and we had a lovely evening hanging out around the campfire as a family.

We tried laying the kids down at 7pm, but as we sat by the campfire and had a beer, we listened to them use the tent as their own personal jump house. From the giggles that we heard, we decided to leave them to their own devices, and we all went to sleep together about 9pm.

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The next morning after Harvey crawled into my bag about 5:30 am :)

On Saturday we only had about an hour float to get to the takeout, so we were unrigged and home before noon. In some ways it was a lot of work for a crazy fast trip, but man it was fun! We are totally going to have to do this again – and maybe we’ll even attempt a 2 night trip next time. ;)

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June 2015 Instagram Recap

Summer is FLYING by as usual. So much fun!

Harvey Adam, 17 Months

Tiny Dancer!

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You are a ham. SUCH a ham. You know when you’re being funny, and you throw your head back and laugh hysterically with us, which never fails to make us laugh harder. Then when you’re not getting your way, you can flip the switch to pissed off toddler in a heartbeat. It’s almost shocking! When you’re excited, you shuffle and stomp your feet really quickly and flap your arms in excited anticipation and it cracks us up every time! That’s where the nickname came from – whether you are excited or impatient, you do that foot shuffle to get your point across. You have a big personality for sure. :-)

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You still aren’t talking very much, though you’ll randomly bust out words and just refuse to repeat them, so we know that eventually the flood gates of speech will just open. You have started using sign language more all of a sudden, which is really nice. More, all done, milk, and please – you know, the basics!

This past month we got the scare of our lives when you pulled one of the bar stools over on yourself. The Nanny called to tell us you weren’t breathing or moving, and my boss (a doctor) and I made it to the house in 2-3 minutes. By the time we got there you were screaming, and I’ve never been so happy to hear you cry. Turns out you probably had the wind knocked out of you and were in shock for a bit, but you suffered only a few lumps on the head, bruising on the abdomen, and one heck of a black eye. It could have been SO much worse. Thank God you healed up so quickly!

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Random Stats:

  • Length: not sure this month
  • Weight: 26#
  • Eye color: Very blue
  • Teeth: 12 – the 4 front teeth top & bottom, plus 4 molars (2 top, 2 bottom)
  • Diapers: Size 4 disposables and 2 columns of snaps showing in your cloth diapers on the mid-rise
  • Clothes: 12-18 month clothing
  • Sleep: Napping in 1-2 hr chunks, 2x/day (usually 9-10:30 and 1:30-3), sleeping 8pm-6:30am

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Favorite Things:

  • Your blanket. It goes EVERYWHERE with you.
  • Giving high fives and knuckles
  • Climbing EVERYTHING
  • Being outside whenever possible
  • Folding your hands to pray
  • Using Daddy’s iPad to look at pictures & Facetime people
  • Going down slides at the playground
  • Dipping in sauces
  • Playing with your sister

You’re a running, yelling tornado in our lives, Harv-Man, and we love it!

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Love you to the moon and back…

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Mom, Dad, & Stella

Stella, 3.5 Years

Stella Joan,

You are truly fantastic, did you know that? The past 6 months months have flown by, and every once in awhile I try to step back and just marvel at the little lady you’ve become. We have long, thoughtful conversations full of LOTS of details and interesting follow up questions and opinions, and it’s so fun to imagine our conversations as you continue to grow up!

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You are such a ham, always raising that eyebrow and making funny faces for us. :)

Lately, one of your favorite things to do is to run into the back yard with your arms thrown wide singing whatever song comes to your lips. Sometimes it’s “Let It Go” from Frozen, sometimes it’s whatever song you want to make up as you go – either way, it’s adorable! I totally love how much you love singing and dancing. You’re a musical child, and it makes my heart sing. ;-) In February you and I took a road trip to Denver together to hang out with your Auntie Audie and spend some quality time together, and we had SO much fun spending some one-on-one time together having dance parties and vacationing together for the first time since your brother was born!

You are a very Type-A child, which means you remind me more and more of myself. Ha! You really are so much like your Dad, both in looks and attitude, but from time to time we see the Type-A personality rear its head, and as much as it drives me nuts, it also makes me a little happy that I totally understand where you’re coming from

You’re also the greatest big sister EVER. I hear so many stories about siblings who are serious rivals, but *knock on wood* you are SUCH a help with your little brother, and it’s so awesome to watch the two of you together!


You’ve also discovered the hilarity of funny faces, so it’s getting harder and harder to get a normal smile out of you. LOL!

Art is a favorite pastime of yours, and DAMN girl, you are good at it! Drawing and painting are definitely your favorite activities, and it’s so fun to watch your repertoire of drawings grow. You draw pictures of our family, write names without help (Mama, Dada, Nana, Papa, Harvey, & Stella), and love to tell us detailed stories about the pictures you create. It’s amazing!

Helping is one of your favorite activities, be it cooking or cleaning or folding laundry or cutting the lawn. You want to be involved with everything we are doing – it’s frustrating at times when we are trying to be efficient, but it’s pretty adorable that you love to do what we do. We love you so much!

At this point you continue to tower over most of your same-aged friends as you weigh 40# and are 40″ long – about the 90th percentile for both. Happy and healthy, just the way we like you. :-) You have been pushing bedtime back a bit lately, so it’s usually closer to 9pm by the time you’re down, but you sleep really well (usually 9pm-6/7am) and nap from around 1-3pm. You’ll be starting school in the fall, so I’m guessing we will drop naps at that point, but you are such a sleeper still that we’ve decided to hold onto naps for as long as we can with you!

You also cut your own hair about a month ago. We were NOT happy about it, but thank God you didn’t hurt yourself. Thank God the pixie cut is honestly pretty cute and we can pretty much cover the SUPER short section on the left side of your head with barrettes and headbands. Ha!

A couple of months ago we moved you into a big girl bed (aka, a twin mattress on the floor), and the icing on the cake was adding your Auntie Jaime’s comforter to the bed. It’s so bittersweet to see that blanket on your bed, but we love that you have that connection to her and that you talk about her all of the time. We all miss her so much!

Last month your Uncle Tommy moved into the house, and MAN it’s awesome to have you living close to an uncle/aunt again. You and Auntie Jaime were so close, and we miss her SO much every single day. It’s just so great to have you getting to know a family member again in such a close way.’

You are truly a remarkable little lady. We love you so much!
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Love,

Mom, Dad, and Harvey

Dayton & Chicago Sister Trip!

A couple of weeks ago I got to take a trip up to Ohio to hang out with my sister Audrey for a 5 day weekend. It was the first time I’ve  traveled without my husband or kids in 5 years, so as you could imagine, I was pretty excited. :)

Once I got to Ohio, Audrey and I went through a drive-thru liquor store (SO weird, but apparently the norm there?) and stopped by her place to change clothes before heading out on a quick hike. Everything was so lush and green – it was awesome!

After the hike, we headed back to the house to get cleaned up, and then we headed out on the town with one of Audrey’s friends. The restaurant was Pies & Pints, and we had some fantastic beer & pizza before walking over to a couple of other bars to enjoy the live music and nightlife!

On Sunday, we went to church in the morning (and were only 45 minutes late thanks to a service time change, ooops), went to Dayton’s campus so we could walk around see my sister’s office and the facility where she coaches, and then we headed over to Audrey’s boss’ house for a BBQ. Lawn games and drinks in the sun – it was awesome!

Monday morning dawned bright and early, and we got in the car and headed up to Chicago. We witnessed a car wreck just 2 vehicles ahead of us on the freeway (NOT cool), but we made it to Chicago safely, and went directly to our first baseball game at Wrigley stadium. So much fun!

After the game, we went out for a late lunch / early dinner with Audrey’s coworker, and then we checked into our hotel downtown and cleaned up in order to head out on the town. I dropped my phone into the toilet and didn’t have it for the next 24 hours (Boo!) but we had a great time bar hopping around downtown and enjoying the city nightlife! It took us awhile to find a fun night spot (50s diner, nope), but we had fun in the meantime!

On Monday morning we slept in, worked out, and had a leisurely morning at the hotel. For lunch we walked down to Millenium Park and met up with one of my blog friends. I stayed with Annette about 3 years ago, so it was really fun to see both her and her kids again!

Monday evening we were able to catch another game (#GoNats) and had great seats thanks to Audrey’s boyfriend! The Nats sadly didn’t win that game, but it was a ton of fun to be at the game anyway. Baseball + great weather + great company = perfection.

After the game, we decided to grab a drink in a nearby bar and wait for taxis to become more available, and we ended up hearing the greatest live music. SO FUN!

We eventually headed back towards our hotel and hung out a bit more before hitting the hay. Wednesday morning we went to see a friend of mine and got mani/pedis done while we chatted. It was such a whirlwind of a trip, but SO much fun.

Thanks for making it work for me to come out and hang out with you, Audie! xoxo

May 2015 Video Recap

May was such a fun month in our lives! My little brother, Tom, moved in with us for the summer, and the kids absolutely adore him. I also took a 5 day vacation to hang out with my sister, Audrey. We spent time in both her town in Ohio and in Chicago to take in a couple of games at Wrigley Field. Around all of that was lots of time spent outdoors with the kids. It’s been a rainy spring, but summer is a comin!

May 2015 Instagram Recap

May was a month full of sunshine and rain, vacations and family. Life flies by so quickly!