Sunday, December 04, 2016

Wow! It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down to write. The last six months have been challenging and wonderful and full, very full. I haven’t had time to do a lot of things, like personal time, exercise, or blog. Thank you friends for being patient with me.  Tomorrow, Colette turns 6 months old.  How can she already be half a year old?   There were so many things that I thought would be easy, but honestly they haven’t been.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but I had dreamed that maybe life wouldn’t be so drastically different. And, you know, that’s ok.   So… here we are.  An update and some cute pictures from our recent session with sweetmint.   More to come hopefully sooner rather than later. 





Large Family Nesting/Organizing

Monday, May 09, 2016

When you have 6, almost 7, people living under one roof things can get out of control in a hot minute. When everyone leaves out just 2 or 3 things that leaves ME tracking down 21 items that need to be put away. I think my children will one day taunt me with phrases I’ve been known to say on a daily basis. Such as, “WHY AM I THE ONE PICKING THIS MESS UP, IT’S NOT EVEN MY STUFF!”. Do you ever get that feeling when you look around your house, and feel like every single room and closet is just full of STUFF?!  It’s suffocating. The thought of another child’s things, and babies do have a lot of things, leaves me with no small amount of heart palpitations.  Just kidding. Kind of. 

My kids are actually very well trained and they do their fair share of helping out. Still, it’s necessary to have some systems in place that make life easier.  Some organizing rules that help us:

1. Touch it once. If it comes in the house deal with it then. Don’t put it in a pile to be dealt with later.

2. Everything has a home. I hate the feeling of shoving things into places they aren’t permanently going to remain. 

3. Be responsible for your own things. Everyone from 4 to 40 needs to take care of their own stuff. 

So, here are a few ways we actually maintain order.


I’ve been wanting to do a refresh in their bathroom for awhile, so one Saturday prior to bed rest I raided a couple closets and 15 minutes later (plus a couple Target trips afterwards) they got a mini makeover. Some day, we will tear out the linoleum and dated light fixture but for now, things look better. 

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Here is the before in case you were wondering

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The green is gone and I went all white.  Now, I know white everything is kinda trendy right now and might not seem like a practical solution for 5 kids, but here are my thoughts on that.

1. Everyone in the house now has a white towel. There is no distinction between our 3.5 bathrooms. 

2. White towels are easy to bleach. There is a reason hotels use white towels too.

3. When it comes down to laundry day (more on that later) it’s easier putting things away. All the towels can be done at once, there is no white/dark loads.

4. For the most part, as long as I keep up on laundry it helps things look “clean”.

The boys towels are on the towel rack and they girls towels are hanging behind the door in case anyone was counting. 

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Next, the tooth brush drawer. I can’t tell you how gross it is to open a drawer and see toothpaste and dried spit x’s 4 crusted on every surface.

It also gave my germaphobic self some fear to know that their toothbrushes were all intermingling amongst each other. 

So, here you go. Everyone has their own box with fresh from the dentist supplies. Even Colette, who technically doesn’t even have teeth yet, has their own place. Hopefully, this will result in not only a cleaner more organized system but better oral hygiene as well. One can pray.

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Thankfully, laundry has never really been that big of a headache for us, because we’ve put some good systems in place.

1. Everyone has their own basket. From Brian to Colette, we each have our own “bag” and it’s easy to tell when someone needs to do their laundry.

2. Each person is basically assigned a laundry day. Mondays- R&L. Tuesday/Wednesday- Brooklyn or Ella depending on if they need it. Friday- usually Brian or I and/or towels, etc.

3. Everyone, yes EVERYONE is responsible for their own laundry. Both the girls do their own laundry from start to finish. The boys help me with theirs and they do their own sorting/help with putting it away.

4. Sheets are washed at the beginning of every month. Please don’t judge me too harshly on that. If they are dirty they get washed more frequently.

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Some of my kids aren’t tall enough to reach the sink and the water dispenser on the refrigerator makes a mess, so as seen in a previous post we keep water out on the counter. Next to that is this handy six slot caddy that holds everyone’s cup.  Each of us gets one cup (well not exactly true for Brian &I) for the day. The kids all know where their slot is and are responsible for putting their cup back in it’s place. This saves us a lot of extra dishes and random cups laying around that who knows, who it belongs too. Maybe it’s my my germaphobe personality but I don’t like the kids sharing cups.  

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I probably could go on about kids’ rooms, shoes, memory boxes, photos, etc.  Maybe, I’ll save that for another post!

Pregnancy Thus Far | 34 Weeks

Sunday, May 01, 2016

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this post will be worth at least a million!  I went through my iPhoto library and pulled a bunch of pictures that I might add to her baby book, should I actually get started on it. This is an unedited authentic look at these past 8 months. These past 34 weeks have been an interesting emotional journey and I can say with certainty we are ready for our little Colette and looking forward to the addition she’s going to be to our family. 

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A surprise Paris trip in September leads to an even bigger surprise a few weeks later.

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We chose to reveal the news to the kids on a special bench where we’ve launched butterflies and started many many walks from. 

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Brooklyn is in shock (like us!) and Ella cried tears of joy.

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After some early bleeding we were happy to see her on our first early ultrasound.

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The perfect gift and maternity shirt from a friend.

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The 20 weeks ultrasound revealed a healthy (thank you Lord) little girl. 

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Brian has a 21 days around the world trip in February.  

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Not your typical before/after shot. Ha ha.

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A sweet Parisian style lunch with my sisters.

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One of my last 7 mile hikes. Holy contractions on those hills!

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Colette’s is almost ready for her arrival. 

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Easter Sunday

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Feeling so sick and awful after hour one of the three hour glucose test. 

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Blood Sugar monitoring (again) Dang!

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A very unexpected hospital stay after preterm labor and bleeding.

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A sweet bonus was getting an ultrasound and seeing Colette’s chubby cheeks. 

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After 4 days we were released to come home on bed rest.

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Not the “baby” for much longer, I think Lawson missed me! I’ll take every snuggle I can get before my boys all the sudden seem so big and grown up.

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Beautiful, thoughtful, humbling, gracious meals from friends. I had thought I could do this whole pregnancy and recovery on my own this time, after needing so much help with the boys’. 

What’s coming up? I have some additional testing and monitoring in the next few weeks that may determine an earlier due date for baby. Until then, we are hanging here at home!

Nesting| Colette's Room

Saturday, April 09, 2016

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“You were a risk, a mystery, and the most certain thing I’d ever know.”

It certainly is no surprise that this pregnancy was a SURPRISE.  

Having sold 90% of anything related to infancy or baby getting ready for Colette’s arrival has been a mystery.  Brian crawled into the dark corners of the attic and emerged with some surprises.  Things we hadn’t sold, thought we might have sold, and things we forgot about.

Colette’s room had no formal plan. Its evolution has been fun to watch as we put together pieces that once belonged to Brooklyn, Ella, and even grandparents, and my own nurseries. 

I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, as this room was until a couple months ago Ella’s room. The great room shift happened in February prior to Brian being out of the country for over three weeks. I started to panic and reality got the ball rolling. Brooklyn got an upgraded big girl room in the basement, Ella moved to Brooklyn’s old room, and we started assembling our random collection of what was left, for Colette.

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This blanket belonged to my dad or mom and was hand embroidered by one of my grandmothers or great grandmothers. It’s bitter sweet to have it, but not be able to have the conversation with them about how/who it was made for.  I found it in a bin we had saved (but never used).  Amazingly, it doesn’t smell or have any stains. 


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Colette’s room is a cute mix of Parisian and vintage pieces.  I don’t want to go overboard on the whole French theme and end up sick of it but, it’s fun (and easy) to incorporate a few pieces here and there.   The Honest Company’s Spring diapers were too perfect to pass up. Thank you mom, for getting them!


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My sisters had this sign handmade and I love it.


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Another unexpected find were baby dresses belonging to my mom and I. Many of them are so cute, it makes me sick that neither Brooklyn or Ella ever wore them. God must have known and sent along another girl!


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Her closet is filling up with other finds from clearance sales and a few hand-me downs.


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We are getting down to the last few weeks and can’t wait to meet our surprise little girl!


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Revealing Baby's Gender

Monday, January 04, 2016

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Pregnancy is a bit different then it was 12 years ago when we first started our family. I’ve had additional testing and conversations with my doctor that didn’t happen before I was so maternally ancient.  To my surprise, you can now find out the sex of the baby at just over 11 weeks, through a blood test.  The test wasn’t done to determine the baby’s gender, but it was one of the factors determined by the test.  So through these circumstances, I found out the sex of our baby, through a call on my cell phone, sitting in my car all alone. 

We’ve never done a gender reveal before, but since the kids are older we had talked about doing something fun to reveal who their next sibling would be. I had an idea to stuff cupcakes with pink or blue frosting.  Upon the first bite the newest sibling’s gender would be revealed for all. I had thought we’d find out at a doctors appointment and never imagined I’d get the call at 6:45 pm, in a dark car, in Sherwood. 

On my way home from Sherwood, I prayed that the bakery counter wouldn’t reject my idea or tell me it wasn’t possible.  I walked into New Season’s (they are the friendliest market in town) and went straight to the bakery counter.  Who was working?! Two guys in their 20’s…. not exactly the type I thought would be the most accommodating, but I was wrong.  They were really nice and we figured out a way to inject color into existing white cupcakes.  In fact, they were so nice they charged me less than half of what I should have paid! 

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Everyone closed their eyes and took the first bite….

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We will be welcoming a little girl, Colette Catherine to our home in early June!

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