The why.

In the past couple of days, I’ve had two blog readers reach out to me via email about my job. Those kinds of emails are always a pleasant surprise… I told someone tonight that a few of my very favorite and best teammates have come that way – as a random email from a then-stranger!

It made me realize that I still have people out there reading this (even if I really only post for Day in the Life these days!) and that what I’m doing is of interest to some of them.

So I just thought I’d share this video here. Take it or leave it.:) But I recorded it this past week … It’s just under six minutes long and I talk about why I decided to pursue network marketing and why It Works was the company for me.

I know it’s not for everyone, but I can’t put into words what it’s meant for me personally and for my life. And for so many around me.

I’ve been timid to share here because I don’t want my loyal blog readers (again, even though I’m a total fail as a blogger these days!) to think I’m trying to “sell” them anything. But I’m beyond that at this point… I see what this company does for people, and I’d be a jerk NOT to share once in awhile. Because I know there are people out there just waiting for something like this to come along, who are looking for an answer…

Looking for another stream of income, a way out of debt, a way to breathe easier, a way to stay home with their kids… a way to make some new friends and grow as a person… a way to get on a path toward being healthy… a way to shake things up, take on a new challenge and have some new adventures. Whatever the reason, I know people are looking.

This is my site where you can see the products and read about the company. My email is If you have ever considered doing something like this, this company is a pretty incredible one to do it with. And being mentored by someone who’s found success is one way to help ensure you’ll be set up for success, too!

Hope you’re having a great weekend. xo

Day in the Life: Spring 2016

All Photos-755

The date is Monday, April 11, 2016.

I’m 34
Dave is 33 (for one more month!)
Henry is 6 1/2
Ben is 4 (+ 2 months)
Ellie is 19 1/2 months

I was due for a weekday this time, and the last weekday I did (in fall) was one when the kids were home with me, so this time I picked a Shelly day. My nanny days are all super different – working at home, working at Barnes and Noble, running errands, going to appointments, volunteering in Henry’s classroom, having lunch or coffee with someone, going to yoga, getting things done around the house, etc. etc. etc.

Today was extra different since it didn’t involve much work or getting stuff done – I spent the day with my mom instead! She was given a “bonus” vacation day this week so she asked if I wanted to spend the day together shopping and going to lunch. Um, yes!

But let me start at the beginning…

Somehow DITL days always bring out the worst when it comes to sleep in our house! The boys have been sleeping great – going down easy, sleeping til a reasonable hour (6:30 or even 7 some days!) (though they do often get up to pee in the night) – but now Ellie is the one waking up at night. It’s usually once a night, and she usually just wants her diaper changed and then will go back down. She’ll often point to the door, meaning she wants to snuggle in my bed with me for a few minutes, which I allow and then take her back to her room.

This night, though? She’s had a weekend of not much napping and is all out of sorts – she wakes up around 1:30 and after some snuggles in my bed, she refuses to go back into her own bed. Every time I try she just cries and cries. So finally we fall asleep together in my bed around 2:30 and I sleep pretty uncomfortably til 5:45 when I put her back in her bed finally.

6:03 a.m. My alarm goes off and I’m TIRED. I’d gone to bed before 10 the night before because we’d just had an awesome but EXHAUSTING weekend, plus Dave and I both have a cold coming on. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been sick and I’m not a fan! I try to get a good night’s sleep, but of course Ellie throws a wrench in that.

I jump in the shower, and think about how rare it is that I actually have to do this these days – rise before the kids and get all ready (shower, hair, makeup, etc.) Usually I can sleep til 6:30 or whenever the kids decide to get up.

All Photos-772

6:25 a.m. I’m out of the shower, Dave gets in, and of course Ellie wakes up. So I’ll have to do my makeup and dry my hair with her at my feet.

6:40 a.m. The boys are up and Dave gets out of the shower – the gang’s all here. The boys are fighting immediately, of course. Ben tells on Henry saying “Henry said he’s going to AL-bow me” and they proceed to have a minutes-long argument about how to correctly say EL-bow.

All Photos-773 All Photos-774

6:40-7:20 a.m. I get myself ready, taking breaks to intercept Ellie when she gets into things she shouldn’t – my makeup cabinet, the garbage, the tissues. Dave takes the kids downstairs and gets them all cereal. When I’m ready, I pick out clothes for all of them and bring them downstairs. Get myself some coffee and then we say bye to Dave, who leaves for work around 7:20 each day.

All Photos-775

7:20-8 a.m. I hang out with the kids and Henry gets ready for school. He asks to watch videos on the computer (that and playing video games is pretty much all the kid wants to do these days, but we do our best to limit his time!!) and I tell him he can once he’s all ready, so he hurries to get dressed, brush his teeth, pack his snack and get his shoes on. Ellie occupies herself by “washing” the walls with a baby wipe, an activity she does often.

All Photos-776

I pack Henry’s lunch – pb&j (always), a clementine, some baked chips and a few Starbursts for his dessert. I write the teacher a note telling her I’ll pick Henry up today, and I include my RSVP for the Mother’s Day Tea his class is hosting on May 6.:)

The kids play with Henry’s keyboard and dance to the music it plays. Ben asks if he can wear his pajamas and robe to Shelly’s so that he can “be AJ Stiles” (a pro wrestler) and I say fine, so I pack up his clothes in a bag. I do “Superman” on my legs with Ben and Ellie a few times.

All Photos-777

8 a.m. Shelly arrives and we chat for a few minutes. I ask Ben to pick up his zombies before he leaves and Ellie sweetly tries to help him and he just gets mad at her, which makes ME mad. I hug and kiss my babies good-bye, and then later I feel bad for being mad at Ben when I’m not going to see him all day, so I text Shelly to tell her that.

All Photos-778

8:15 a.m. I comb Henry’s hair and get him his coat, and I hug and kiss him good-bye a few times before he heads out the door to wait for the bus. I wave at the neighbor, whose daughter rides the bus with Henry, and I watch out the window as he waits and chats away. The bus comes around 8:20 and we wave before he hops on. As always, I think ‘there goes my heart’ as the bus drives away.

All Photos-779

8:30-10 a.m. Mom is set to arrive at 10, so I have an hour and a half to make and eat breakfast and get a little work done for the day. I have to tend to the messy house first, so I clean up the living room and kitchen, unload the dishwasher, and clean some unwanted food out of the fridge.

All Photos-780

Then I check social media a bit and make myself eggs, hash browns, sausage and a banana for breakfast. I’m eating as clean as possible these days in an effort to shed about 10 lbs before summer – and breakfast is definitely my favorite meal of the day!

My breakfast is ready right at 9 a.m. – perfect since that’s when Kelly and Michael starts.😉 I like to watch the first 10-15 minutes on days that I can, which is usually a couple times a week. I eat my breakfast and then sit down at my computer around 9:15.

All Photos-781

I’m hosting an accountability group on Facebook for a group of teammates and customers who are doing the It Works System together, and I do a motivational post on there to start the week. Then I do some coordinating for an upcoming volunteer effort I’m heading up – a group of teammates and I are going to cook weekend brunch at the Ronald McDonald House at the end of the month, so I message all the people who were interested to get a final count before I start assigning food items and planning details!

9:50 a.m. I head upstairs to get dressed so I’m ready when Mom gets here.

10:05 a.m. She’s late. 10:06 a.m. I look outside and she’s sitting in her car talking on the phone.

10:10 a.m. She comes inside and we hug hello. It was my brother she was talking to.

All Photos-782

10:25 a.m. We chat a bit and then hit the road!

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. We shop at a newer mall near us, the Mayfair Collection, hitting up Nordstrom Rack, Saks Off Fifth and DSW. Mom’s on the hunt for a spring jacket and buys a cute blue one at Saks.

I’d been at Nordstrom Rack a few weeks prior and a dress I’d bought for Ellie didn’t make it in my bag, which made me really sad. I’d spoken with three employees that afternoon and two of them basically told me well, it’s not here so you’re out of luck! But I took my receipt back today and they found another one in the same size and gave it to me – I was very happy!

All Photos-783

I buy a pair of Sperry Topsider flip flops at DSW, identical to a pair I already have, only in white instead of blue and white because they are SO comfy and cute.

12:15 p.m. We have lunch at Corner Bakery. Mom has a sandwich and soup, I stick to my eating plan and get a chopped salad and water. It’s pretty good, but I would have preferred a sandwich! We sit and eat and talk for about an hour, then head to TJ Maxx.

All Photos-784

1:15-2 p.m. We shop and try on some clothes. I pick out one top to buy.

2 p.m. I go out to my car to call a woman who wants to become a customer (BOGO wrap deal is happening today!) and would rather me take her info than sign up on the site. Fine by me! I met this woman through my last job and we had lunch together probably three times during my time there, and I always admired her so much – a working mom with three kids – two boys in college and a girl in high school – who managed to juggle it all and find success in her career. It’s nice to chat with her again – and whoo hoo for a new customer!

2:10 p.m. I head back inside and look at kids’ clothes and kitchen stuff. I pick out a cute dress for Ellie (I can’t resist!) and a little food storage container.

2:45 p.m. We head home, stop inside the house to drop off our stuff and grab some water, then head out to pick Henry up at school.

3:25 p.m. We arrive at Henry’s school and head into the gym to get him. His class is walking in right as we get there, and my heart bursts when I see his little excited face!

All Photos-785

3:30-4 p.m. We hang out, Henry and mom chat, Henry asks if he can play a video game, I tell him yes but that I’m setting the timer for 40 minutes.

4 p.m. Shelly brings the kids home and I’m happy to see my babies! She tells me that unfortunately Ellie was kind of a monster today, not wanting to nap or eat much. She looks super tired.

All Photos-786

4-5 p.m. We hang out…. I snuggle Ellie, talk to Ben, put my new customer’s info into my website, drink my Greens for the day, have a snack of cashews, raisins and a clementine, talk with my mom some more. She leaves at 5 p.m. after hugs and kisses from everyone.

All Photos-787

5-5:45 p.m. I realize I should have been using some of the time my mom was here to actually prep dinner and get the kids ready for swim class. Tonight’s Ben’s final class, and he’ll be in the water all by himself. The previous seven weeks, I’ve been in the water with him, and I’ve been bringing Henry along too so that he can swim a bit after the class. It’s been such fun to have that swim time with my boys. Tonight the plan is for all of us to go since Dave hasn’t been to one of Ben’s classes this time around yet. (He takes Henry to his on Saturday mornings.) But I’m realizing now that Ellie will just be a nightmare, and one of us should probably keep her home.

All Photos-788

I make the kids chicken tenders for dinner and I grill Dave and me some burgers, which are leftovers from last night. Make some Brussels sprouts, too.

Henry can’t find his swim trunks and keeps asking me to come down to the basement with him to look for them in the laundry pile, since he’s too scared to go by himself. The mood in the house is quite chaotic and stressful right now. Burgers nearly burning, Ellie whining, Henry whining, Ben probably whining, everything a mess, feeling rushed…

All Photos-789

5:40 p.m. Dave gets home and I tell him yeah, Ellie and I can’t come. I’m sad I won’t get to watch Benny during his last class, but oh well. The house is a disaster and Ellie’s going to have to get to bed.

All Photos-790

5:45 p.m. I kiss the boys good-bye and of course Ellie is upset that she doesn’t get to go “‘side” so I tell her to put her boots on and I grab our coats and we head outside for a bit. She rides in the police car and on the big wheel and then we walk down the street for awhile. I push her in the swing a few times – SUPER high! – and she squeals with happiness and also says “brr! brr!” and then we put the toys back in the garage and head inside.

All Photos-791

6:30 p.m. We’re back inside and Ellie’s so tired – I say “let’s put on some music and clean up this house a bit.” We sit on the couch to find a music station – I pick the 80s station – and she snuggles right into me, so I decide not to move for awhile. We listen to one song, then I change the channel to Nick Jr. and Bubble Guppies. Soon I hear her breathing deep and I realize she’s fallen asleep on me.

All Photos-792

7 p.m. I’ve been on the couch under my sweet sleeping baby for a half an hour now and I realize dinner still needs to be cleaned up. During this time I’ve watched Bubble Guppies (ha) and played on my phone a bit. I also took some pics of us and posted to Instagram about the BOGO wrap deal.

7-7:30 I clean up dinner and the house while Ellie snoozes on the couch. The boys get home and tell me about swim class – Ben has his certificate saying he completed the course, and Henry’s moping because they didn’t get to spend much time in the water after class. Apparently you have to be six or older to be in there without a parent, and Dave didn’t have his suit, so Ben didn’t get to be in there after class and they cut Henry’s time short. Oh well – he gets to go to his class again on Saturday.

All Photos-794

7:30 I take Ellie upstairs. I give her a bath almost every night but we skip it tonight because she’s so tired. I change her diaper and put her jammies on, and we skip books for her tonight, too, heading right downstairs to make her bottle. Yes…. Ellie still gets a bottle before bed, at nearly 20 months old. I guess I’ve become that mom who holds onto parts of the baby stage as much as she can with her last child! Ellie still lets me hold her and rock her and feed her a bottle before bed, so I’ll take it! The rest of the time she drinks from a cup like a normal 20-month-old.😉

7:48 Ellie’s down and I come downstairs to see the boys. Henry wants to look at his new National Geographic Kids magazine, since he sees the sphinx in there, which he recognizes because his class has been learning about ancient Egypt recently. (Seriously, the things they teach in kindergarten nowadays!) We read some really cool facts about monuments around the world.

All Photos-793

8 p.m. Upstairs to brush teeth and do books – we read more of the magazine, and I read Ben one Dora book. I take a pic of Henry on his bed pretending to read a Minecraft book, since he needed to bring a picture to school of him reading at home. I was a day late on that assignment, oops.

Henry asks Dave what he’s wearing to bed later, since he wants to match. (They both have red plaid pj pants, and Henry wants to wear his and a white undershirt on the same days Dave wears his to bed! So cute.)

All Photos-795

We tuck the boys in by about 8:15, give them hugs and kisses and then head back downstairs. 8:15-10:15 p.m. Dave and I plan to watch an episode of the show we’re watching right now (Catastrophe on Amazon Prime) but I tell him I’m going to get a few things done first. I exchange text messages with an Instagram follower who ends up signing on as a customer about an hour later. Nice!

I chat with a few friends on FB messenger, and then I realize my friend Lauren is hosting a Zoom meeting tonight at 9 pm so I decide I should probably hop on, especially since I didn’t really work much today! I log into Zoom via my phone for this one, though, rather than on my computer, so that no one can actually see me (ha) and so that I can begin typing up this post while I listen to her. Multitasking at its finest.

I get a good chunk of this post done, and the Zoom is done at 10. Do a bit more chatting, then close my computer at 10:15. Oh, and I eat some apple slices with peanut butter because I’m hungry.

10:15-10:20 p.m. I tell Dave well, crap, we didn’t get to watch our show AND I’m doing a terrible job tonight of sticking to my resolution to get to bed before 10:30! I always stay up way too late and I’ve decided to start making a conscious effort to get to bed earlier – it was going well til tonight. I give him a kiss, take a selfie with him and then head upstairs.

All Photos-796

10:25 p.m. I take a bubble bath, make a collage of the day and post it to Instagram (it’s tradition, after all), check on my kids, then psst Dave up to come tuck me in.

10:50 p.m. Lights out! I’ve taken some nighttime cold medicine and it knocks me OUT. Good thing Ellie sleeps ALL night, 7:30-6:30! The boys both sleep til 7:15 a.m., which is late for them. Ben’s up once to pee around 1:30 a.m., and I am just out of my mind groggy as I get up with him and walk him back to his room.

I’m still groggy feeling when the alarm for Dave to get up goes off at 6:20 a.m., and I lay in bed til Ellie wakes up, then bring her to bed with me for a bit. We head downstairs around 7 and a new day has begun!


And since these DITL posts are really the only time I blog these days, I like to give a bit more of an update for my future self to look back on! The weekend before this day was a really awesome one – we went to Chicago with Andrea and Jim on Saturday so I could get her her Louis Vuitton bag for promoting to Presidential Diamond recently, and we had a lovely dinner out after. Then Sunday was Amanda’s baby, Vivian’s baptism, and I was honored to be named her godmother. Dave and the kids joined us for the luncheon afterward.

All Photos-540 All Photos-553 All Photos-601 All Photos-611

As for life in general… We’re all ready to be done with winter and welcome the warmer months, finally. The boys are wrapping up swim classes and now we head into soccer for Henry and tee-ball for Ben.

We’re not moving, again, since we really do have to wait until I have two years’ worth of income with It Works to show. So August is the earliest we can make a move – we’ll see if we do that, or if we stay put even longer! We’re anxious to get out of our 1,300-square-foot starter home, but we know we’ll find our next (hopefully forever!) home when the time is right.

Henry loves kindergarten, and I can’t believe the school year is nearly over. Ben has loved being in 3k, too, and I kind of wish I would have enrolled him 2 or 3 days a week instead of one, but oh well. It was a good opportunity for him to at least dip his toe in the water! This coming Friday we get to take home the school’s pet hamster, Dit Dot, for the weekend. We’ll see how that goes!

I have some travel coming up – I’m going to New York City in May for a weekend with my mom and brother, and then in July I’ll head down to Florida for a few days for an It Works corporate event. I have a fun retreat lined up for October, too. Then the most exciting travel plan is that Dave and I just booked a week-long trip to St. Lucia in November for our 10th wedding anniversary! I am SO excited to think about spending a week in paradise with my hubby. It gives me huge anxiety to think about leaving the kids for so long and being that far away, but hopefully I can get past that! We have three sets of loving grandparents and a wonderful nanny who will all take turns holding down the fort with our three kids, so hopefully all will go smoothly!

Henry and Ben’s interests have stayed mostly the same – Minecraft and Battlefront (Star Wars) for Henry; wrestling for Ben. Henry has lost four teeth now, two on the bottom and two on top.

All Photos-452

Ellie is changing constantly, and her personality is becoming more animated and hilarious by the day. She is still the happiest, most good-natured little person, though she definitely shows us her sassy and stubborn side more and more, too! She’s noisy and rambunctious and tries real hard to keep up with her brothers. She’s TOUGH and she scares us with how daring and rowdy she can be. She’s also super girly, though, playing with her baby dolls and carrying around purses and bags and wanting to put my Chapstick on all the time. Her hair is getting soooo long and beautiful, though we still need to keep it pulled back 100% of the time or it’s just in her face. She’s completely addicted to her nuks, wanting one in her mouth every second she’s at home. We need to break her of that habit soon, I know! We all just love her so darn much, though – two years after first finding out her gender, I STILL feel that excitement and giddiness over having a GIRL! Our bond is something very special!

With that, I’m off, probably til summer DITL, but who knows! Excited for all the fun that spring and summer will bring!

Day in the Life: Winter 2016

Recently Added-1085

The date is Sunday, January 24, 2016.

I just turned 34.
Dave is 33.
Henry is 6.25.
Ben is almost 4.
Ellie is 17 months.

I was due for a weekend day this time for DITL, and this day was one where we had no plans set up.

6:30 a.m. I’m up with the three kids, as it’s Dave’s day to sleep in a bit. He did the grocery shopping last night, and the boys are excited because he’s gotten them each a “muffin in a cup,” which sounds to me like it’s basically giving them cake for breakfast, but they’re actually not so bad for them. We make them in the microwave right away and I think they taste pretty bland, but the boys like them.

Recently Added-1105

7:30 Coffee is made and I make us all breakfast – eggs, sausage, hash browns. Henry’s been bugging me to set up his fundraising site for his upcoming Jump Rope for Heart event, so we set that up and make the first donation, and he’s excited about the prizes he’s already secured.

8 a.m. Dave gets up and come downstairs. We hang out awhile and then I go upstairs to take a shower and get ready for the day. The kids come up to visit me a few times.

Recently Added-1106

9:15 a.m. I make Ellie a bottle and get her down for a nap.

9:30 a.m. I have a conference call with an It Works teammate and a few of her new distributors who live down in Florida. I give them a bit of training and answer their questions; they all seem very nice.

10:45 a.m. Henry and I leave together for church. We found a church through a friend of mine, Amber, who’s also an It Works teammate (she and her husband DJed our wedding!)… I had been watching her post about it and had been thinking about giving it a try for months, and Henry and I finally went the night before Christmas Eve and LOVED it. This is our third time back, and Amanda (the BFF) and Vivian (the most beautiful baby ever, 1 month old!) are joining us this morning, too.

11 a.m. We get inside and chat with Amanda; Henry meets the baby, and we grab some coffee and hot chocolate. Amber finds us and we all go in together to find seats.

Recently Added-1107

11:05-12:05 The service is wonderful again, I just love it. Beautiful live music, a wonderful message from the pastor about forgiveness, and communion (which they only do about once a month, I guess.) After it’s over, I hold baby V for a few minutes (LOVE HER SO MUCH) and then we head out of the auditorium. Amber introduces us to the pastor, and we all chat awhile. We hug Amanda and Vivian good-bye and then head back home.

12:40 p.m. We’re back home and Ellie is still napping – more than three hours! Girlfriend is going through a growth spurt for sure. She wakes up within about five minutes of us being home, so that was good timing! Dave and Ben just hung out and played some video games while we were gone. Give her piggytails on top of her head today instead of her usual ponytail, since her hair is still in her face a lot of the time – this style suits her well, I think!

Recently Added-1108

1:30 p.m. We have lunch – grilled cheese, and I have soup, too. We all hang out, play, read books, etc. and after an hour or so, everyone starts going a little stir crazy.

Recently Added-1109

Dave and I at one point talk about moving out of state, as we often do (Dave pushes for it nearly every day) and he says, “I’ll even move to Colorado.” He knows that’s the only place I’d move if we were to actually leave Wisconsin – which we won’t, since my family is here and I’m not going to leave them. But it’s fun to think about, so I hop on the computer and check out Colorado real estate. I drool over the houses and the mountain views, and I can’t get over how much more you can get for your money there than here. And they have mountains! Seriously wish we could start a pilgrimage and all move out there.

Ellie and I take some selfies after reading her first words book. She starts asking for boob, as she often still does, even though we’re 99.9% done nursing and have been for awhile. She’ll still nurse once in awhile for a couple minutes, and it shocks me that there’s still anything actually there for her.

Recently Added-1110

Dave takes the boys down to the basement to try out a new pitching machine Ben got for Christmas that we haven’t opened yet. Ellie and I check it out for a few minutes and then decide to run to Target together. We’re not really in *dire* need of anything, but we have a list of things we’re running low on, so we decide to get it out of the way and have a little girl time. I give Ellie a sucker, can’t really remember why.

Recently Added-1111 Recently Added-1112

3:30 p.m. Ellie and I head to Target, and we take our time meandering throughout the store. We hit up the baby section and I pick her out a pair of jeggings and a couple of shirts, since she could use a few new things. We have diapers and wipes on the list, and they’re both on special – buy three boxes of diapers, get a $20 gift card; buy two boxes of wipes, get a $5 gift card. So I spent like $100 just on diapers and wipes, but hey, we’re stocked up for a good long time!

We need a bunch of random things – the list grew and grew as the trip approached – light bulbs, batteries, snacks, hair product, dish detergent, cleaning wipes; I need a new straightener because mine just died the other morning; stickers for Henry’s 100th day of school project … can’t remember what else. But $215 later, we’re out of there and headed back home. Ellie’s a dream the whole time – she’s just such a delight, I can’t get over it. Always happy and agreeable, and she says hi and waves to people everywhere we go – a little charmer, for sure!

Recently Added-1113

4:45 p.m. We get home and the boys are all still downstairs playing baseball. Henry gets Dave’s boots on and comes outside to help me carry the bags inside.

Recently Added-1115

We all head downstairs and they demonstrate to me how to load the balls in the machine. I’m shocked at how fast they come out and I freak out that they’re just flying across the room as Ellie is running around – she nearly gets clobbered! And then of course, poor Benny does take one to the face.

I take a turn and we get a little video, and it’s all quite entertaining for awhile.

Recently Added-1116 Recently Added-1117 Recently Added-1118

5:30 p.m. We head upstairs to start dinner, and we each get a drink because – well, just because! Beer for him, wine for me, and we’re having burgers for dinner. The kids play/run/fight at our feet in our tiny kitchen as we get stuff ready.

Recently Added-1119 Recently Added-1120 Recently Added-1121

6 p.m. We eat dinner. Henry and Ellie have hot dogs, Ben has chicken nuggets (because the weirdo doesn’t like hamburgers OR hot dogs) and he declares “this is the best party ever!” which is what he says when he enjoys a meal. I take Ellie’s picture and she blinks, which she finds hilarious, so she purposefully tries to blink and close her eyes as I take more pictures – I get about 10 bad ones of her and it’s quite funny.

They all eat well and winter is dumb (ha) so I declare we can all have ice cream for dessert.

Recently Added-1122 Recently Added-1123

7 p.m. I take all the kids up to bath while Dave cleans up the kitchen. I rarely do all three at once these days, but Henry doesn’t want to wait so they all bathe together. Before he gets in he slicks his hair back and says he’s Wolverine. He’s the last one out of the tub, so he gets stuck cleaning up all the toys.

Recently Added-1124 Recently Added-1125 Recently Added-1126 Recently Added-1086

7:15-8 p.m. Bedtime is sort of a fiasco, as it often is. We’re just ready to be DONE for the day, and it’s hard to wrangle everyone. Ellie’s running around when I’m trying to brush her hair, Ben needs something downstairs, Henry can’t find the pajamas he wants to wear. They both want to read different books.

I take a lot more pictures because I realize I haven’t taken as many as I normally do for DITL.

Recently Added-1127 Recently Added-1128 Recently Added-1129 Recently Added-1130

Ellie sucks down her bottle and asks for another, which is weird! She drinks another four ounces of while milk on top of the five she already drank.

I put her down, but she hears us reading and wants to join, too. While she’s up, both boys take turns crawling onto my lap in the rocking chair and pretending they’re babies. I enjoy the snuggles.

Recently Added-1131 Recently Added-1133 Recently Added-1134

8 p.m. Everyone’s in bed and Dave and I head downstairs, ready to collapse. He heads to the couch to watch some SNL from last night, and I plan to join him for a bit but then remember a few things I really wanted to get done before our team calls tonight, which are at 8:30 and 9 p.m. (Usually just at 9 but we have an extra tonight!) So I sit down in the dining room with my laptop and don’t get back up again til about 10 pm. Time flies when you’re having fun.😉 But no TV for me tonight, oh well.

Of course, there are a few interruptions thrown in during this time, too, from Ellie who wants more bottle still, and Ben who just doesn’t want to go to sleep. Signs of things to come this night…

Recently Added-1136

10 p.m. Take a bubble bath and read my book awhile – Big Little Lies, loving it. Finished What Alice Forgot recently and LOVED that so ordered two of her other books, too.

10:45 p.m. Bed!

And something’s in the air tonight because it’s a ROUGH night of sleep in our house. Which, of course, happens quite regularly, but this night it’s extra bad. All three kids are up at different times, and Ellie’s up for like 90 minutes straight – I finally take her downstairs around 2 a.m. and make her ANOTHER bottle, and we share a bowl of cereal too because hey, I’ve been awake nearly two hours and I’m hungry now. And in the morning, girlfriend feels heavier, I swear! Growth spurt, for sure.

Henry has a bit of a cough right now, and Ben’s having a rough time with some anxiety. He’s always worried about us leaving him, which is very irrational – “are you going to leave the house?” and “you’re going to leave” (as he cries.) If we leave the room, he’ll either follow us or yell “where did you go?!” And at night, if he wakes up, he’s scared to stay in his own bed. It’s not a fun phase, and I really hope it passes quickly.

The following day, Monday, is just a rough, rough day – I’m lucky to say I very rarely have BAD days, but this is a bad day! I send Henry to Shelly’s with the other kids because his homework calendar had said “No School, Professional Development” on it for this day. Which I thought was weird, since they just had off last Monday for Martin Luther King, Jr. day – which was also on the calendar. I should have double-checked with the school year calendar, though, because he actually DID have school.

Recently Added-1044

I had an appointment at the dermatologist that morning, and my GPS brought me to the wrong place (much further from my house than the actual destination), so I was late for my appointment by nearly 15 minutes, and as I finally arrived, the school called to check on Henry. Gah. The appointment took longer than expected, I had to have a mole removed, which I hadn’t anticipated (yuck), and when I got home, I was just so TIRED and frustrated that I didn’t have the motivation to do anything.

Took a nap, which I hate having to do – hate wasting any of my day! – and when I woke up, I got the sad news that the wife of a man I’ve known a long time and am very fond of had died of cancer, much too soon. Had a good sob about that, and then the kids came home. Just kind of a wash of a day. Was very glad to go to bed early and start fresh on Tuesday.

Aside from the stir crazy Sunday and rough Monday, life is really good in this season of life. Henry loves kindergarten and recently lost his third tooth, Ben likes preschool and is a hilarious, sweet boy when he’s not being super anxious and/or naughty and/or keeping us awake at night, and Ellie is positively a dream boat, as she’s been since the day she was born. I still look at her and marvel at the fact that she’s mine. She’s the sweetest, happiest, most amazing little girl and I LOVE the age she’s at right now.

Recently Added-1086 Recently Added-1134 Recently Added-1109

I did discuss with Dave on Sunday how it really is quite sad how every year at this time (Jan-March), it feels sort of like we’re only half-living, being cooped up inside, the weather gray and cold, just biding our time til we can LIVE and get out and do things again. Hate that! But I have a trip to Florida coming up next week for It Works’ annual conference (can’t wait!) and then Dave is going to Arizona in March for Brewers spring training with his brother, so at least we both have things to look forward to in the near future!

And once in awhile, winter is fun, like a few weeks back when we all went sledding on a sunny winter day!

Recently Added-1286

And soon it shall be spring again, and time for another DITL …

Til then, blog world!

Halloween 2015

This Halloween just needs to be documented on the dusty old blog. I don’t know how many years these kids will let me dress them in a “theme,” but man was I excited that they all went for it this year.

All Photos-1499

We’ve heard numerous times while out in public with Ellie – especially when she still wore pigtails on the regular – “oh, she looks just like Boo!”

I decided a few months before Halloween that the kids simply must dress as the characters from Monsters Inc! The decision was obviously based around Ellie, so it’s funny that her “costume” was the easiest and most low-maintenance of all – just a pink shirt and purple leggings and pigtails! I did iron on the word “Boo” on the back, just for the heck of it. And put a little blush on her cheeks to make her look a little more cartoon-y.:)

All Photos-1502

I’d gotten Ellie a zebra costume at our local consignment sale, for just in case the Monsters Inc. thing didn’t work out, so she had to don that for a few minutes, too. I cannot handle the cuteness.

All Photos-1527All Photos-1531

Halloween was on a Saturday this year, and we’ve had the most BEAUTIFUL fall, so it was a huge bummer that the ONE freezing, raining day we’ve had in months had to fall on Halloween! So trick or treating was semi-miserable, and the photos aren’t as sunny and cheerful as I would have hoped; but the boys are at the age where they will do pretty much anything for candy, so they didn’t care about the weather, and Ellie was still pretty oblivious about it all. And so easygoing anyway, so she was a trooper!

All Photos-1511All Photos-1543All Photos-1551All Photos-1550All Photos-1568

We trick or treated in our neighborhood, and then went over to Amanda and Mark’s and trick or treated there, too, and stayed for dinner. The next day dawned warm and gorgeous, of course – oh well!

I sure love these little monsters of mine!!

Tis the season (of life) for all joy and no fun

Loud, busy, chaotic, exhausting, exciting, messy, joyful. That’s life right now, in fall of 2015 with three small kids ages 6, 3 3/4 and 14 months.

All Photos-839

I think I’ll look back on this time with incredible fondness and pride as well as with relief that we’re through it.

For the longest time I’d say to Dave “enjoy these days, we’re going to miss them so much.” He’d tell me “no, I really won’t miss this.” And I thought he was kind of a jerk for saying that, even though I do realize that moms tend to get more out of the whole baby and small child phase.

But lately, I’ve begun agreeing with him wholeheartedly.

All Photos-844

There’s truly nothing in the world like a little baby, and small children are adorable and snuggly and highly entertaining much of the time. But they are also hard work, man. And I’ve been really feeling that whole “all joy no fun” thing these days. The truly FUN times I have in life right now are the times when I’m away from my kids, if I’m being completely honest!

Family outings that are just Dave and me and the kids are a bit more fun, because we have no one around whose opinions we have to worry about. We tag-team the kids, we deal with the low points, and we mostly enjoy ourselves. But taking the kids anywhere where there are other people we know, especially to other people’s houses? Just not that much fun.

I think it’s because we’re surrounded by people who don’t have little kids, and we see them right in front of us enjoying themselves – eating, drinking, sitting down, having conversations – and we can’t for one second do those same things. We are chasing and correcting and feeding and entertaining. We’re changing diapers and breaking up fights and making sure they don’t break things or hurt themselves; we’re dealing with all the needs needs needs that small children have. We’re tired, and annoyed, and we find ourselves longing for the days when we could do those things. Or for the days when we’ll once again be able to do those things.

Doing things with people who also have small children is more fun, for sure, and also comforting, since we’re spending time with other people who are in the trenches just like we are. But still, the FUN factor goes way up once the kids are, you know, in bed.😉

I also feel like our parenting is on constant display when we’re around others, and I’m on edge about whether my kids will behave, whether they’ll say please and thank you without being reminded, whether they’ll eat anything or throw a tantrum or walk on the carpet with their shoes on or climb on the back of someone’s couch.

And at home? Chaos 75% of the time. Ellie may be the craziest 1-year-old any of us has ever known. If she’s awake, she’s being a tornado – climbing, running, making messes, causing mischief anywhere she can. This makes it fairly impossible to do anything (like cook, in particular!) that involves not being on top of her every second.

If the boys are in the same room, they’re likely fighting with each other. Or asking for something. Dave and I joke that holy hell, once Ellie can talk, watch out, because we already feel like there are SO MANY PEOPLE talking at once most of the time. I think our tiny house just magnifies it all, too. We can’t wait for more space!!

All Photos-1632All Photos-1447All Photos-937All Photos-919All Photos-911

And I get it, it’s a season.

I also think that in a few years, I’ll probably look back and think oh, it wasn’t so bad. And oh, I miss having little babies so much! But at the same time? I’m so EXCITED for that next stage. We’re getting a taste of it with Henry, and it’s AWESOME. Self-sufficiency. A true interest in the world. Being able to DO things like go on bike rides and play ball and go down water slides. Fun stuff!

I thought perhaps once Ellie hit one, I might feel like hmm, maybe I do want one more baby! But nope. I’m 110% D-O-N-E having babies, and that feels good. I have the three kids I always dreamed of and I’m so VERY thankful for it every single day. And the idea of moving forward now as a family of five is just so cool.

The end of diapers is in sight. The end of waking up multiple times each night is in sight. (I hope.) The end of car seats and strollers and sippy cups is in sight. In a few years we’ll be able to start taking vacations as a family. Having game night and movie night as a family. I’m really excited for stuff like that.

Recently Added-679

But my goodness, even just looking through photos right now for this post made my heart burst – I can only imagine how I’ll feel looking through them years from now when all of the hard parts have melted away in my memory. There are so, so, so many happy moments; these kids are SO damn cute and lovable; and I know these are precious days!

Even as they make me want to PULL MY HAIR OUT on a daily basis, too.

One thing I’ll really miss about this stage? I love that our kids are still all OURS. Their world is our world and that’s about it. We haven’t yet reached the stage of tons of activities and sports, and sleepovers and birthday parties, and all the emotions and turbulence that comes with getting older. I know that life will become harder in many ways, shuttling kids all over the place, dealing with tougher problems, and homework, and other parents, and the list goes on. And like I said – truly nothing compares to a baby!

But the day that we can go to someone’s house, and I can pour myself a glass of wine, sit down and have a conversation while my kids play in the other room? That’ll be a great day.

Day in the Life: Fall 2015

All Photos-568

The date is Friday, October 9, 2015

Dave and I are 33
Henry will be 6 in four days (Oct. 9 was my due date – he was four days late!)
Ben is 3 years, 8 months
Ellie is 13 months

All Photos-751All Photos-252All Photos-750

My last few DITLs have been work days, but today is a day “off.” I don’t work in an office anymore (!), but I do still have my nanny 3-4 days/week. Fridays she’s always off, and this week I’d given her Thursday off, too.

6 a.m. – My alarm goes off, and I get out of bed at 6:03 a.m. – I feel like it’s a good start to my day when I get out of bed at 6:03, since that’s the minute I was born. Weird, I know. I get in the shower and hope that the kids will sleep late today so I can get ready in peace, but alas, Ellie is up by 6:20 and the boys are up at 6:30.

All Photos-245All Photos-247

Dave showers and then takes the boys downstairs, and Ellie stays up with me and plays in the bathroom while I get ready. I let her play in the drawers and under the sink, and she’s actually pretty good – doesn’t do too many things that make me have to chase or redirect her.

I hear the boys fighting downstairs, per usual. I bring Ellie downstairs and go back upstairs for a few minutes to straighten my hair. I pick out clothes for all three kids, then come back down and Ellie’s at the table with Dave, Ben’s whining about not being able to find his new boxing guy, and Henry’s watching Minecraft videos on YouTube.

All Photos-584All Photos-585All Photos-586

7:20 a.m. – Dave leaves for work and I’m on my own to finish the morning routine. Ellie cries and tries to get out of his arms when he hugs her good-bye – she’s in a real mama phase lately! It’s a chaotic morning, more so than usual, and I’m feeling pretty annoyed about everything. I can’t shake the nausea I’ve felt all week – I caught a stomach bug from my nephew the previous weekend and was down for the count Tuesday and Wednesday this week. The house is a disaster, the kids are all loud and needy, and I’m not in the best mood! I usually make eggs for breakfast but can’t stomach the thought of them today, so I make an English muffin with peanut butter and a banana instead. The kids have waffles and fruit.

All Photos-587All Photos-588

I go upstairs and Henry asks me to take his picture with Darth Vader for DITL. He had slept on the floor the night before, and Ben slept up on the top bunk. I let Henry sleep on our comforter, which has butterflies on it, and Henry asks me why I want bugs on my blanket.

I “count” Ben a few times, as we are reading and using 1-2-3 Magic with him and Henry as of this week, and it’s actually working pretty well. Ellie is too young to punish, obviously, and so I have to just keep chasing her between getting everyone ready – she gets into the bathroom and unrolls the toilet paper if we forget to shut the door (which happens this morning), and she now climbs onto our dining room chairs and up onto the table when we’re not looking, too.

8 a.m. – I do Henry’s hair and pack his lunch – which is especially lazy and unhealthy on this day – an Uncrustable, an oatmeal creme pie (which I impulse bought at Target the day before because my kids have never experienced this goodness that my brothers and I enjoyed as children), a yogurt, yogurt raisins and some Cheez-Its. He also asks for Greens and True Lemon in his water today, which he asks for probably twice a week or so instead of just plain water.

I can’t stand looking at the full garbage and bags of recycling anymore so I run them outside quickly.

8:20 a.m. – Henry hugs and kisses me good-bye and walks across the street to wait for the bus with the neighbors. On days Shelly has the two little kids, I join Henry and the neighbors out there, but on days when I have them home with me, we usually just watch from the window. The bus picks him up and off he goes to kindergarten.

All Photos-590All Photos-308

8:40 a.m. – I pack the three of us up and we get in the van. Ben goes to preschool from 9-11:15 one morning a week at a private preschool about 10 minutes from our house, and Friday’s the day! It’s so fun to watch him be independent from his brother and dip his toe in the water of school. And as much as I’m thankful every single day that I no longer work for anyone but myself, I am extra, extra thankful every Friday when I get to take him and pick him up from preschool. I love it.

9 a.m. – We walk Benny into his classroom and I overhear another parent saying “oh, I forgot the permission slip!” and I’m like um, what permission slip? I knew Ben was walking down to the fire station next week but I hadn’t seen a permission slip. Apparently I’d missed it on the back of the newsletter – oops. So they give me a new one to sign and bring back later.

All Photos-591

Ellie and I walk back out to the van, and I’ve brought a piece of licorice to keep Ellie occupied and awake on the 10 minute drive home so she doesn’t ruin her morning nap! I want her to nap so I can have the time to myself while Ben’s at school. It does the trick and she makes a big mess of herself on the way home. All Photos-592

9:15 a.m. – I nurse Ellie up in her room and she goes right down for her nap without a peep. I think about all the things I should do – clean the messy house, get some work done – but I feel nauseous and tired and decide to watch a half hour of Kelly and Michael (which I’ve DVRed today because I knew I might want to watch!) on the couch instead.

All Photos-594All Photos-700

9:45 a.m. – I straighten up a bit and then open my laptop and work from 10-11. I email and message with a handful of people, post to my team Facebook page, pay a bill and change my FB profile pic to pink and blue for the pregnancy loss campaign that’s happening on there this month. It was seven years ago this month that we lost our first baby at 8 weeks.

11 a.m. – I realize we have to leave in like two minutes, so I go upstairs and wake Ellie from her nap. The sweet girl is so easygoing, not making any fuss about being woken up or being put right back in the van again. All Photos-701All Photos-702

11:15 a.m. – I’d grabbed Ellie a sweatshirt and I put it on her when we get out of the van at Ben’s school since it’s pretty chilly out. We pick Benny up and he’s had another fun day, painting and singing and playing. I turn in the permission slip and we head out. Today he’s made a very hungry caterpillar project with shapes that’s super cute. I take his picture with it when we get home.

All Photos-703All Photos-350

11:30 – 1 p.m. – We clean the messy sun room and I make the kids lunch – pb&j (Ellie’s first one! She’s not a huge fan), apples and pretzels (ham and cheese for me) – and then I let Ben play “the guy game” on the N64 and Ellie and I play together in the sun room for awhile.

Ben joins us to play tea party, and when he sets up his cakes at the table, I ask to take his picture because he looks handsome today and he proceeds to make a whole variety of weird faces for me. Sigh.

All Photos-704All Photos-705All Photos-706All Photos-707

1 p.m. – Nap time! Nurse Ellie upstairs again and let Ben play a few more minutes, then head downstairs to bring him up to nap. I tell Ben we can maybe do a craft later with the leaves we collected yesterday at the park, and he responds “are they going to do a craft, too?” since I’d said we’d do a craft WITH them. Hilarious.

All Photos-394

1-3 p.m. – The kids nap and I work again and send some emails. The mailman delivers an It Works box and I’m VERY excited that it’s the newest product, WOW (Wipe Out Wrinkles) which I ordered over a week ago when it first became available! I take an embarrassing number of selfies before picking the right one to put on Facebook and Instagram, offering up samples. I get a big response and decide I’ll wait til next week to start on that project. I can’t wait to try it tonight.

All Photos-708

The third person this week makes reference to my nausea and possibly being pregnant, and even though I know I just had a bug, I decide to take a test anyway just to be sure. Not pregnant – whew.

3 p.m.(ish) – The kids wake from their naps and we hang out. I nurse Ellie again after she asks for it by sticking her hands down my shirt. She’s quite the little demanding diva these days.

All Photos-709

3:45 p.m. – Henry’s home! I hear the bus come around the corner and I open the door to wave at the bus driver and greet Henry. He’s had a great day – he loves kindergarten. He’s very excited to show me the “star student” backpack he’s brought home since it’s his birthday next week. The bag includes Pete the Cat, a friend he gets to spend time with for a week and then record his adventures in a little journal the class passes around.

All Photos-710All Photos-711All Photos-436All Photos-467

4 p.m. – It’s a gorgeous day so we head out on a walk and go to the park in our neighborhood. Henry asks me to take his picture with Pete the Cat on his bike, on the slide and on the teeter totter. He tells me that a fire truck and firemen visited their school today and when he says “hey mom, guess what we’re supposed to do if our clothes are on fire?” and I blurt out “stop, drop and roll!” without thinking, and he cries because he wanted to tell me the answer. I hug and kiss him and apologize because I feel genuinely bad that I ruined that for him!

All Photos-713All Photos-714All Photos-715

Ben collects garbage and throws it away, which makes me proud. We toss around a football that someone’s left down there. Henry displays the leaves and pine cones we found yesterday that are still in a bread bag in the stroller.

5 p.m. – We’re back home and I preheat the oven – it’s pizza night! Love pizza night. I was going to let Henry play a little Minecraft, but he has a close call on the walk home riding his bike in the middle of the street and not seeing a car coming, so I don’t let him. He works on his All About Me poster that he’ll bring to school and present to his class on Monday. We decide we’ll get pictures printed of our family and of him and Pete the Cat at Walgreens this weekend, but he can draw pictures for the other parts.

I read “I want to visit” and he says “the fire house.” And I say Henry, you can pick anywhere in the whole world! So he says “the moon” and draws that. Then he draws an astronaut for what he wants to be when he grows up, even though I tell him that maybe by the time he’s grown up, you won’t even need to be an astronaut to travel to the moon! For his favorite things he lists Xbox, pizza and basketball. For what he’s good at, he draws him on a bike and him dribbling two basketballs at once. (Apparently he’s really good at this.)

All Photos-716All Photos-680

Ellie makes a mess of something in the pantry, per usual, and I pour myself a big glass of wine. The timer goes off for the pizzas, and then I’m suddenly getting Ellie off the table AND giving Ben a time-out and I forget about them for a couple minutes and almost burn them! But luckily they’re ok.

All Photos-712

5:45 p.m. – Dave comes home to the crazy town house just as I’m pulling the pizzas out, and he gets himself a beer and changes out of his work clothes. I cut the pizzas and dish everyone up some, and we put on Monsters University and have a picnic in the living room, which is our Friday evening tradition. We bought this movie last Friday and are now watching it for a second time.

All Photos-717All Photos-719All Photos-718

7:15 p.m. – A teammate of mine stops by to pick up the banner we pass around for events. We chat for a few minutes at my door while her family waits in the car. I take Ellie up to bath right after she leaves. She grabs the shampoo bottle and puts her mouth all over it – gross – and I give her a big mohawk just for DITL, ha. We make faces in the mirror after she’s out, and I brush her hair and get her in some jammies.

All Photos-513All Photos-720All Photos-721All Photos-526

7:45 p.m. – We hear fireworks outside so we come downstairs and all five of us walk outside into the street to see where they’re coming from. We can see them through the trees and they’re, like major fireworks! They’re coming from the private college in our neighborhood, as it’s Homecoming weekend. We watch for a good five minutes and it’s a very sweet, spontaneous, special moment. Ellie snuggles close and isn’t so sure about the noises she’s hearing. After a few minutes I take her back inside and take her upstairs to bed. She nurses just for a minute or two and then starts to whine like “put me in my bed.” I hug and kiss her and put her down, give her her nuk and lambie and tell her to have sweet dreams. She goes down SO easily these days. Girl loves her sleep!

All Photos-722All Photos-535

8:10 p.m. – Dave brings the boys up and they brush teeth and he reads them books. We hug and kiss them good-night and they go to bed. While in their room I say to Dave “let’s watch a Kimmie Schmidt” (a Netflix series) and Henry says “who’s Kimmy Shit?” and I stifle a laugh and tell him he can’t say that word. SchMIDT! Ben also keeps saying “HallowEENER” is coming soon, since Dave said that earlier.

All Photos-552All Photos-723

8:30-10:30 p.m. – We go in the bathroom and try the WOW and wow, it works like crazy well. We watch our forehead lines literally disappear. We take each other’s pictures in the bathroom and Dave tells me I better not share his because he’s broken out. Ha. I tell him I won’t. We watch a Kimmie Schmidt and yada yada yada and I hit the bed pretty early for me, around 10:30. I check on my babies and take their picture and they don’t stir at all.

All Photos-724

I sleep almost eight hours straight and get up with the kids the next morning around 6:30. It’s Dave’s day to sleep in, which is fine since I got to bed pretty early and I know I get to sleep in tomorrow, after our date night that we have planned. We go to the farmer’s market in the morning and then have our date at Sanford that evening, which is fabulous. Sunday I sleep in til 8 and we have a plans-free day! Life is really good.

Our “F5 Daughter” – Ellie at one year old

There are so many things I want to remember about Ellie at one year old. These weeks and months pass by in a such a hazy, joyful, tiring fog, and one stage rapidly replaces another, and so soon we forget so many of the details of life with these kids of ours. I love looking back on what Henry and Ben were like at various stages, and so often I think wow, I would never have remembered that!

Recently Added-429

One day last week Shelly brought Ben and Ellie home after having them at her house for the day, and as she handed Ellie to me she said “Here’s your F5 daughter!” As in, tornado. And sure, all kids are like that at one year old. When they’re newly mobile and curious about everything and have no concept yet of consequences or danger or punishment. But Ellie? Shelly, Dave and I are all convinced that she may truly be the wildest one-year-old we’ve ever had in our care. She does not stop!! It seems to be her mission in life to make messes and get into trouble faster than we could ever, ever keep up with. She’s in the garbage, she’s in the pantry, she’s in the fridge; she’s taking all the wipes out of the wipes box or unrolling the toilet paper roll or opening the toilet and sticking her hand in. She’s throwing her food and cup on the floor during every meal time and trying to grab her diaper when we’re changing it.

Recently Added-441Recently Added-302Recently Added-281

She opens drawers and strews towels and kitchen utensils everywhere; she loves getting into Henry’s craft cabinet in the dining room; and anytime she’s upstairs in the bathroom, she’s going after the boys’ electric toothbrushes so she can “brush” her teeth, she’s in the top drawer grabbing the brush to brush her hair or the toothpaste to try and eat; and in the boys’ room, she’s always begging to be put up on the top bunk so she can roll around up there like a goof ball. If the bath is running, she thinks it’s quite funny to grab as many things as she can – my mascara, the toothpaste – and throw it in the water. If we leave anything too close to the edge of the kitchen table, off it goes – Ben’s cereal, yogurt, cups of water.

Recently Added-213All Photos-94All Photos-504

Her favorite new game is to throw whatever she can get her hands on down the stairs and then clap for herself when she’s done. The other day every pair of Henry’s pants from his dresser was thrown down as I got ready in the morning, and when we visited Dave’s brother last weekend, she threw every shoes that was by the front door down their basement steps. It’s quite hilarious, and she’s so proud of herself.

Keeping up with her is truly a full-time job when she’s awake. She has a lot of toys and she likes a lot of them, but she doesn’t do so well with playing on her own just yet. Henry was never able to play on his own and still isn’t good at it, and Ben was playing on his own already at this age and is still good at it. So it looks like we have another Henry on our hands in that respect. She really likes attention and does not like to be left alone. If we have to put her in the pack n play for a few minutes to keep her safe while we get something done, she’s fine for about a minute or two and then starts crying til we pick her up again.

But she’s happy. So, so happy! The girl smiles more than anyone I know, and she loves to show off her teeth – her “cheesy face” – while breathing loudly in and out through her nose for dramatic effect. She’s just about running now, and she has zero fear of climbing up on things. She loves walks in her stroller and her pink car, and she loves going down the slide at the park. She’s not afraid of strangers and is very social, walking right up to people and sometimes waving and saying “hi! hi!”

Recently Added-173

Hi is just about her only word still, but man is it a cute word.:) The boys were both talking up a storm by this age, but they were also slower in the mobility department, so it’s been interesting to have that all be reversed with Ellie. She’ll say mama and “mom! mom!” and something that sounds like “hiiiidaaad” to Dave. But ask her to say anything else? Nope. She won’t even try repeating us. “Say ba-bye!” – nope. Nothin. When she wants something and I tell her “say please!” she’ll bounce up and down as if to say “gimme, gimme!” If I say “say thank you” she’ll go “mmm!” It’ll be fun to hear her finally talk, whenever she decides to!

All Photos-3006

It’s fun to watch her start to “get” things, like stacking her Mega Blocks and feeding her baby doll and nodding her head when I ask her question and following little instructions. I’ll ask her to throw something in the garbage, and she will, and I think she knows how to clean up better than her brothers, taking such pride in picking up her toys and putting them where they belong. She claps and waves and blows kisses and plays peekaboo and points to the sky when she hears an airplane.

All Photos-3066

Shelly has a dog named Ruby and when we ask “What does Ruby do? she’ll stick out her tongue and wag it back and forth like a dog. She’s learning what a bunny does and will crinkle her nose for us, and she knows where her belly is when we ask, sticking it out and patting it with a big grin on her face. She can also point to her hair and her nose!

Recently Added-1363Recently Added-1349

Her hair is still her most noteworthy physical feature – getting so long! We haven’t done too many pigtails lately since they look kind of cartoonish at this point. I like to do just a single ponytail off to one side of her head, and a few times I’ve done a ponytail farther back on her head with a barette/bow to hold her bangs to the side. She looks so grown-up and adorable! The past few nights I’ve put her hair in a loose ponytail on top of her head for when she sleeps, since otherwise it hangs past her nose and covers her face and I just can’t imagine that that’s comfortable when she’s trying to sleep!

Recently Added-485

She’s still nursing a lot and I feel like she’ll probably go quite awhile longer. I know Ben would have nursed longer than the 13 months he did, but I was ready to be done and so I weaned him without much issue. But Ellie’s my last and just knowing I never get to do it again makes me want to go as long as she will want to! I’ve also never had a baby who’s been so OBSESSED with my boobs and with nursing. The boys never stuck their hands down my shirt or “asked” for it – but Ellie asks for it constantly! It’s both adorable and flattering and also a tad bit creepy at times, ha. She’s always sticking her hands down my shirt, and on several occasions now, I’ve be holding her and wearing just a nursing tank and before I really realized what was happening, she’d yanked down my shirt and latched on!

My supply had gone down a bit once I was done pumping and she was only nursing in the morning and at night. I didn’t really get “full” anymore, and I thought we were nearing the end. But then suddenly she was SO into it and nursing every coupe of hours on the days we were together, so my supply went way back up! I thought I’d ditched the pump for good a few weeks before she turned one, but then I went away for a night two weekends ago and had to pump twice while I was gone. So we’re still going strong, and I’m thankful she’s always been such a good nurser from day one.

All Photos-103

I mentioned this in her birthday post, but she is SUCH a mama’s girl. Mama’s girl and Shelly’s girl. It doesn’t phase her for me to be in another room or leaving the house when she’s with Shelly, or to be leaving me to go to Shelly’s, but when she’s with daddy or anyone else? She just wants mom! I feel bad for Dave, since I know she loves him – but he is a far, far third on her list of people she wants to be with at this stage in her life! It’s comical and a little heartbreaking to hear how she cries and squirms in his arms and then the second he hands her to me she’s just fine. The little stinker. He loves it when she does show him affection, though – voluntarily walking over to him for a hug or a big open-mouthed kiss like she likes to give.

Recently Added-405Recently Added-1285

As for her stats… she has eight teeth now, four on top and four on the bottom, with a couple more visible just below her gums. Her teeth make her look so different, I think! Her top teeth have really wide gaps between them, which I know is good for her future smile and the room she’ll have in there for her grown-up teeth. Right now it just looks really cute and slightly goofy, too. She’s in 12-18 and 18-month clothes, though she has very few things to wear right now since all her 12-month stuff is too small, but the weather is still warm and most of her 18-month stuff is fall and winter stuff! Love this time of year but the transition between wardrobes for a growing-fast little kid is a challenge.

All Photos-82All Photos-503

I had her into the doctor a few weeks before she turned one since I thought she might have an ear infection (she didn’t) and she was 18 lbs, 5 oz. Her one-year check-up is at the end of this month. She’s a pretty good eater still, though she is already showing a preference for things that aren’t as good for her, and while she used to eat any veggie we put in front of her, she’s starting to spit things out and make faces at us now. Let the food battles begin, I guess. She doesn’t really like drinking cold milk from a sippy cup yet, instead preferring just water. She gets warmed-up cow’s milk from a bottle when she’s with Shelly or when I’m gone and Dave has to put her to bed. Otherwise she’s pretty much getting water and breast milk still to drink.

She loves to dance and will raise her hand above her head and bob up and down anytime she hears ANY music. She adores her big brothers, especially Henry, and the first day he came home after being in school all day, my heart about exploded when I saw how she reacted when he came in the door. She just lit up and ran right over to him, and when he sat on the floor she climbed on him like an excited puppy. Henry is equally obsessed with her, always wanting to see her and hug her and kiss her, and he likes to pick her up and carry her around the house, and for the most part, she just lets him. Ben loves her, too, and also wants the hugs and kisses, but he’s also kind of mean to her at times, too – stealing toys and even kicking her and pushing her at times now, which of course makes us freak out. Like how could you want to harm such a sweet thing?!

All Photos-128Recently Added-206

She is one tough chick, though, hardly ever crying when she bumps her head or falls down or, ahem, gets kicked by her big brother. And when he wants a toy of hers, she will hold her own, tightening her grip, running away, and/or squealing at him. Oh, the future fights I’m sure we have in store for us…

Recently Added-320

I’ve been working on this post for days, and every day I feel like there’s more to add. Last night we had tiki torches set up in our backyard and once Dave lit them, Ellie walked around the yard, keeping her distance from the fire and putting her lips together and blowing, as if trying to blow out a birthday candle. It was SO CUTE. And this morning she watched me curl my eyelashes in the bathroom and when I put the curler back in the drawer, she promptly opened the drawer back up, picked up the eyelash curler and put it up to her own eye, scrunching up her face while trying it out. Again, just adorable. All these little moments that will be forgotten one day in the near future, because our minds can’t possibly hold so many little memories, as much as we wish they could!

So that’s an update on Ellie at one… almost 13 months now actually! She’s just a doll face and we take such freakin joy from her. I say often that I can’t believe she’s real and I can’t believe she’s mine. I know I’m biased, but I think she’s pretty much the greatest thing ever.