Five On Friday!

It's time for another edition of Five on Friday!

Valentine's Day is on the books! We had a really nice one. Camille had preschool in the morning. Later in the afternoon, we had our special visit from the Valentines Man who rings the doorbell and runs away SO fast before you can even see him. Sadly, I happened to be running a diaper to the trashcan when he rang the doorbell so the kiddos had to wait for me to come back in thru the garage before we went to the front door (whew). :) He left chocolates!

Camille's favorite dinner is ... breakfast. So she got scrambled eggs, heart-shaped pancakes with heart-shaped strawberries. Lochlan had a deconstructed version of the same. 

I'm trying something new and adding in some collagen to my daily regime. I add a packet into my coffee in the morning. You can't taste a difference at all. I've been so curious to give it a shot after seeing some of my favorite bloggers using it daily. Here it is on Amazon. 

Sometimes you just need a little Panera in your life to make it a little easier. This is the Mediterranean Veggie sandwich, which I just love, but I subbed out the greens for arugula and got it on foccacia instead of the tomato bread. This is going to sound so specific but they changed the tomato bread they were using and I'm just not a fan of the new one.

Yes, this is a thing. There is a podcast done by ... Ron Burgundy. I'll give it a solid B, definitely worth a listen when you are up for a little laugh.

Cheers to a great weekend! We don't have much on the books today but I am going to attempt library storytime if I think I can make it in time. Those librarians, they don't play. Two minutes late and they look at you like you've lost your mind. Doors LOCKED and no storytime entry. That's okay, I love them anyway and love that they encourage me to (try to) be on time. 


That's it for today! Hope you have a lovely weekend!

Five On Friday ... Feb Eighth.

It's time for another edition of Five on Friday and I do hope you'll join along!

The weather has been fahhh-bulous this week and we enjoyed some screened porch time! Charlotte's new wheelchair is so supportive for her and makes it easy to have her all over the house with us. Thank goodness for this. I call it her Kate Spade chair, check out the black and white polka dot design! So chic. 

You may have seen this on my Instastories the other night! Walmart grocery pick-up for the win. Grab some frozen breaded shrimp and a bottle of their "Boom Boom Shrimp Sauce" and you've got a copycat Bang Bang Shrimp appetizer for all of you who love this infamous Bonefish Grill dish. It's easy to whip up (it's Friday night now and Ian and I just polished off a little bowl of this) and super inexpensive.

If you want a code for $10 off your first Walmart Grocery order, message me on Insta. 

Sisters connecting. Thursday night. Good times.

My friend Caroline has the BEST recipe for brussels sprouts and the key truly is in that last splishy-splash of white balsamic vinegar. It takes your dish from "roasted brussels sprouts" to "holy moly salt and vinegar potato chips brussels sprouts" in an instant. Don't be afraid to be heavy-handed with that white balsamic vinegar and parm cheese. Makes allllll the difference.

Posts this week are Charlotte-heavy and I know you're not hating it (I'm not either). The truth is that it has been a really sad week for me, a week of feeling really depressed. I've met with my therapist, I've explored grief groups, and I've connected with girlfriends locally who are the real "boots on the ground" types of people. I'm doing okay now. Sometimes I just slow down enough to let life hit me and actually let the feelings seep through the hard exterior. That happened this week. I'm okay now and I don't need anything, just wanted to be transparent about what's happening.


That's it for today! Hope you have a lovely weekend!


Lochlan Is EIGHT Months

Lock-dock, eight months! You are a joy, a ray of sunshine. You're exactly what we needed -- a dose of happy. 

You are 20 pounds, a big boy! Everyone loves exclaiming over how big you are. You're taking four 8-ounce bottles a day, 7:30/11:30/3:30/6:30, and when that last sip is gone and you suck down a puff of air, you CRY like you've been stung by a bee. You simply do not like it when you finish your milk!

We had you on donated breastmilk through November and then moved to formula before our Disney trip. This was the first time I've ever given a child formula, and man oh man is it expensive! Ha! But you made the switch beautifully and I think it's pretty obvious that you haven't missed a meal.

Speaking of meals, you like purees okay, but you love soft table food. You've eaten a lot of "real" food including eggs and peanut butter. You just want to be a big boy.

Sleeping is great, for the most part you're sleeping 7-7/7:30 without needing me in the night. Awesome awesome child. 

You are in size 3 diapers and size 4 at night. You're still in a Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit but I think you're ready to transition to a sleepsack. For clothing, you're in size 12 month clothing mainly.

You still love a good ol' swing nap but I'm trying to be better about encouraging your naps to take place in a crib. Naps are around 10am and 2pm. 

You're rolling from your back to your tummy and have given us words like "mama" and "dada" but they're not consistent. Yesterday you waved for the first time!

I love my days with your sweet face and you bring so many smiles to everyone in our family. 


Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup, aaahhhh! This is a recipe my family has been making for years. The first time my mom made it for us, she printed off the recipe from Prodigy (anyone? anyone?) and we all fell in love. That was 1996, I was fourteen years old.

I made this for dinner for us last night and it was phenomenal. Easy to put together and just like a warm bowl of cozy.

I served it with finger salads which is another recipe I swiped from my mom, who found it on Pinterest. (recipe here -- I didn't change a thing to the homemade vinaigrette, but I did add BACON!)

So now, let's get back to the soup.


1 quart chicken broth
2.5 cups water
3/4 cup Acini di Pepe pasta (Amazon)
1 teaspoon fresh parsley (I subbed for dried)
1-2 carrots, sliced thin
1/4-1/2 lb spinach, washed, julienned (I put in part of a packet of frozen spinach)
Frozen meatballs of choice (I used 20 meatballs)
1 egg + 1tsp water

Bring first six soup ingredients to a boil; drop frozen meatballs right into soup. Beat 1 egg and 1 tsp water in a small bowl and stir boiling soup as you slowly drop in the egg, stirring constantly. Cover and turn off heat; let sit for 2 minutes. Serve with grated parmesan or romano cheese.

Oh, and enjoy with wine.

For more of my RECIPES click here


Five On Friday

Coming back to the blog today with FIVE ON FRIDAY!

I posted this photo here and got questions about this pullover. I'm in loooove with it. It's from A+F (yep, haven't purchased anything from there maybe in like two decades and that's no exaggeration). 

You can find it here and I would say it fits totally true to size, maybe even a little large. So you don't need to size up if you want it to be a looser, comfy fit. 

 product image

Last night we had Supper Club at my friend Lori's house and she made the best supper for us. Homemade split pea soup with the most delicious cheesy croutons, a panini, and arugula salad with parmesan. Why can't I cook like this every night?!

Shout-out to my best boy who brings me a smile!
He's just so sweet and easy-going, literally just a heaven-sent baby.
Seven and a half months old now, and if I can get my act together on the 6th, I'll post an eight month update!

I'm podcast-obsessed like many of us these days. On Monday I was thrilled to be a guest on one of my favorite shows, It Sounded Like A Good Idea At The Time.

Caroline came over and we looped in Hannah, and man oh man was it a fun experience. It was like a chat with friends, just one that will air next Wednesday to the masses. :) 

Have you listed to this podcast yet? I'd love it if you will tune in and download! Start by listening to some of their past episodes to get a good gauge on what Caroline and Hannah are like. Spoiler alert: you'll love 'em. 

Last weekend was my beautiful cousin's wedding in Cleveland, NC! I always envisioned our entire family going, but ... things looked a little different and that was okay. I took Camille only, and she had her first flowergirl experience. She was beautiful and did a terrific job. It was a little more than an hour away, but after having some fun at the reception we made the trek home.

Tonight we don't have any major plans ... Ian has an old-school Nintendo and I told him I might like to break it out together over some pizza and vino.  How about you?


Dear 2019

Dear 2018,
You went differently than I expected.

Dear 2019,
Let's do this. But, could you maybe take it a little easier on us?

Last year was a bit of an emotional workout. January came in with the excitement of a newly-announced baby boy on the way. But as that excitement grew, we were simultaneously overwhelmed with fear and worry. In June, the utmost joy of welcoming Lochlan was quickly replaced with devastation the following month of Char's diagnosis, and then we circled back again to an intentional focus on joy (while still being punctuated daily with bouts of devastation). Joy, devastation, joy, devastation, joy. 

We're finding our groove, and 2019 is off to a good start. I still have days where I lay in bed at night and say "what did I ACTUALLY do to cultivate joy today?" but, for the most part, I feel like we're doing a pretty darn good job of being glass-half-full people. In an arid desert. (I should probably delete that last part, life is not that bad)

Here's what I'd like to work with you on for the coming months, Mister (or Missus) 2019. 

I'd like to have all of my babies here on Earth with me all of the months (there, I said it).

I'd like to spend each month doing FUN things. Not locking ourselves inside. I know about the germs, I know about the risks. I still want to find balance with that and have FUN. 

I'd like to feel strengthened as a family unit, and specifically as a husband/wife unit, as we deal with a situation that weakens us. 

I'd like for my children to feel happy, relieved, and warm + fuzzy the minute I walk into the room. 

I'd like to not put myself last, I'd like to still find ways of fulfilling myself as a person without feeling guilt. I wouldn't mind putting those five pounds back on, I need to eat healthier and find my appetite again. 

I'd like to think back on every single amazingly wonderful thing that was done for our family in 2018 and find a special, tangible, heartfelt way of paying it forward. 

I'd like to slow down a little bit. Smell the roses more often. 

I'd like my family members and girlfriends to know how I couldn't do it without them. 

I'd like to be a little better about Instagramming on time. Right now I'm living in a world of Latergram. 

I'd like to do more special crafts that use wee handprints and footprints. 

I'd like to travel a little bit although that feels overwhelming (and if it doesn't include every family member, it just feels wrong). But, I know that a refreshed mom is a happy mom. 

I'd like to keep connecting with wonderful people who fill my bucket.

I think we can do this. Please let me respectfully reiterate my desire to please have all of my babies here with me for all of the months.




Alright, so it's been a few months. And I honestly didn't know when I'd blog again, but on the other hand, I didn't ever feel done with blogging. I feel like a lot of people turn more these days to the "quick fix" of posts on Instagram and Instastories, but every time I pulled up this old blog and it ended showing the below happy-go-lucky, life-is-kinda-normal post about Lochlan turning one month old, it just didn't feel right. Life isn't the same as it was on July 23rd. But man, I kind of long for those days of semi-innocent bliss that I was experiencing on July 23rd.

I don't want to rehash the past 3 months here, because I think most everyone knows what's going on with our sweet Charlotte. I've documented most everything on a dedicated Instagram page, @charlottesjoy.

In the hospital, I toyed with the idea of just closing off everything. Shutting it down. No blog, no Instagram, no putting our very personal story out for the world to witness, talk about, whisper about, and possibly even judge. We don't live in that happy highlight reel anymore. We have real life sadness, challenges much deeper than I ever expected. As we neared our July 31st diagnosis, I got scared that what was going on with Charrie was going to be life-changing, but I still thought it could be "solved" -- or at the very least, managed -- by medication and cutting-edge technology.

But, that's not the case.

It was my husband who held me one night in the hospital and gently encouraged me to continue this if I wanted. To continue to share life as I have been since 2010, to continue to bring people in, to continue to flex this muscle IF and only IF it was therapeutic and helpful to me.

I didn't want to document the daily trials and tribulations here and on my main Instagram page; the hospital stays, the tube feedings, the regressions, the overall challenges ... because, maybe one day, I may want to scroll back  and really just relive my OWN highlight reel. Protect my own heart. See the good, backburner the sad. Focus on the cute family pictures, the smiles. The happy times. Not see my daughter in a hospital gown. Not feel that hurt. I'm not denying it's there, I'm just finding a new little place for it. A place I can choose not to re-live on the daily, if needed.

We've been supported by YOU in ways that I never could have imagined. Ways that make my throat ache and eyes water every time I think about it. You know how you look back on things in your life and think, "AAAHHHHH -- I get it now, I see why life did THIS so that THAT would happen." Well, that's what is occurring. I really do feel in my heart like I was led to blog in 2010 because eventually I would need this connection, need this virtual warm hug from all of you, need this outlet for ME, need this connection to people who genuinely care. People who say "I started reading when you were pregnant with Camille," that happens a lot and I feel such a connection to you. It's like we've "met" even though we've never MET.

So anyway. I will wrap this up here, but I guess I just want to say that I will be back from time to time, when it feels good and feels right and feels fun. That's what this blog has always been for me. A happy place. I have so many beautiful memories of Charrie-girl on these pages and it will always be refreshing and cathartic for me to re-read those posts. I write them for you but mainly for me. I need to stay busy, I need to fill my life with tasks that keep me busy and productive. Aldi finds? Stocking stuffer favorites? Recipes you need in your file? These are all problems I can fix.

I need problems I can fix.

So thank you for hangin' tough, for being there for a girl when she's in a place she never dreamed she would be. My baby. My Char. I don't know why things happen the way they do, but all I do know is that nobody questions my devotion to this amazing, lovely, sunshiney-smile girl. Have you ever seen a more beautiful smile?

Me neither.

See ya here for the happy stuff.

Lochlan Is One Month

(Lochlan was one month old on 7/6 ... we are fashionably late)

Oh sweet Lochlan, at one month old you are just a joy!

These have been some wild days, balancing life as a family of three young kiddos and two busy adults. Some moments have been some of the sweetest I've experienced -- and some have taken every single bit of strength I could muster. I know these times are fleeting, though. Some moments I hate to see pass (I actually really love the newborn days, even the lack of sleep) and some I want to just sweep right out of the door. Like the moments when ALL three kids are crying at the same time. Bah!

At one month, here are Lochlan's stats:

WEIGHT 11lb 10oz (82nd percentile) -- up from 8.2 at birth
HEIGHT 22.76" (88th percentile)
HEAD CIRCUMFERENCE 40.1cm (98th percentile)

He moved from size NB to size 1 diapers. He sleeps a lot and is up 2-3 times a night to feed. Nursing is going well and he's for the most part one chill chap!

He experienced his first Independence Day ...

... his first couple of at-home baths

... nightly snuggles and yard-walks with Daddy while I put the girls down to bed

... plenty of "monkey in the middle" moments

... first trip to the pool (snoozed with a fan in his carseat in one of the covered cabanas)

... and first trip to the lake complete with first pontoon boat ride. (Still loving this Agility wrap)

My youngest sister Laura and I were so lucky again to be pregnant together and our boys are about 6 weeks apart once again. Will on left, Lochlan on right. 

During this month he slept in a bassinet next to my side, swaddled in a Miracle Blanket which also worked wonders with Camille (Char "fought the system" ... the swaddling system, that is). Naps are typically in my arms, the swing, Dock A Tot or a Rock and Play. We try to switch it up as much as possible. 

Sweet precious Lochlan, may you always feel like you can lay in my arms just like this. 
We love you, buddy. 

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