Saturday, December 23, 2017

Now You'll Know What We Did This Summer

Due to my pregnancy, we stayed close to home this past summer, enjoying our pool and visiting with friends who came to town. It was pretty relaxing, although we have definitely missed traveling.

This is right before he launched him across the pool. James knows it's coming.
That little stinker was trying to splash me big time, while I tried to paddle away.
He got me pretty good!


Our friends, Tanya, Declan, and Gigi came down from Indiana and we had a fun Disney-based visit. 

We enjoyed a fun screening of Cars 3 before it was released.
Chris and Gigi hanging out by the pool. She is so stinking cute!
Gigi passed out cold on my lap (or what remained of my lap). It was so funny!


Tanya arranged a fun boat ride around Epcot to celebrate so many summer birthdays and fun events among us and it was such a cool way to see Epcot. Thanks again!

Tanya and I on the boat in front of France.
Chris and James on the boat in front of Japan. It's James' favorite country at the moment and where he most wants to go.
The mariachi band in Mexico came over and played just for us! So cool!!


Chris and I did get to enjoy one weekend away, celebrating my 20th high school reunion in St. Petersburg. It was nice to stay on the beach and catch up with some friends. Friday night we had a great group dinner at Bern's Steakhouse with some people who were not attending the reunion. Saturday, we relaxed at the hotel on the beach and had lunch with our friend, Ryan, who now lives in Colorado. Saturday evening was the reunion and while it was great to get together, there were a lot of people I would have loved to have seen who didn't make it. I think Facebook may have removed some of the impetus for a reunion for some, and having the reunion in Florida in July may have removed it for others. 

Joel, Lauren, pregnant me, Stephanie, and Mike-- friends since at least 1997.
The beautiful view from our hotel room on the beach.
Chamberlain Chiefs Class of 1997.
Me and Lauren, who did an AMAZING job planning the reunion. So great to see her again after so long! 
Ammar, me, and Joel. Such fond memories of school with these guys.
Me and the Sisco kid aka The Ever Fabulous Lacey. 
Ryan and I whooping it up! 
A beautiful beach rainbow to see us off after our weekend getaway.


Fourth of July weekend was pretty relaxed. We visited Chris's brother, Corey, in Ponce Inlet, did some baking, and had some sparkler fun.

He loves the beach!
Baking selfie!
Sparklers with Unca Dave! Happy Independence Day!
Paper airplane time with Nana Sylvia who came to visit. 💖


In lieu of a baby shower, which I was not particularly interested in having (though I remain eternally grateful to those of you who so wonderfully offered to throw me one), my girlfriends, Kim and Patrice, took me away for a fun local weekend getaway. We had lots of delicious food, got massages, stayed in the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort, and laughed SO MUCH! It was such a fun time and I love them so much for treating me to the perfect baby shower weekend. You girls are awesome!

Me, Kim, and Patrice-- ready to have some fun!
The only photographic evidence from the weekend. (love Kim's sexy boot)


While we were having our fun, Chris took James and Kim's daughters, Danielle and Tia, on a 4-park Disney day. He loves the challenge of hitting all four parks in one day and talked the girls into going along with it.

Hollywood Studios early in the day. They're still smiling...
Taking on Splash Mountain. And is that guy sleeping??

Some random summer moments to enjoy.

James loves it when Leo sleeps with him. It's so cute. 
James and I made our own eclipse viewer to enjoy the event.
Ready to hit the clubs in his glow stick accessories.


Having been in our house for almost two years, and making some pretty good progress on fixing it up (which I know I need to blog about), we thought we'd finally throw a little shindig here. Since it was August in Florida, we went with a pool party! Our sizable backyard now boasts a treehouse, a swing, and for that day, a homemade slip-n-slide!

The kids were launching little foam airplanes from the treehouse.
Giant sheet of plastic + dish soap + water hose = slip-n-slide fun!
Goggles helped prevent soap in the eyes. Plus, let's face it, they look cool.
Hose in backyard leads to mud which leads to very dirty and very happy little children.
My friend, Larcy, made this amazing cake! So blown away by this! 
Chris and Tia attempt to teeter totter in the pool. They were not upright for long.
I have been banned from posting any other pictures or videos of our friends attempting this. 
Pool party fun! Thanks to those of you who joined us!

2018 travel plans are already in the works... so stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The First Six Weeks

Ellie is such a wonderful addition to our family and we are so thrilled to have her! The first six weeks went by in a sleepless haze, as all parents will probably remember of those newborn days. She is often awake and very alert, looking around with such curiosity, but she will usually give us a good 3-4 hour stretch of sleep in the first part of the night so that's great. The rest of the time there is not much rhyme or reason to whether she will be sleeping or not. I remind myself regularly that this is temporary, but I'm too tired to remember, so if you talk to me, feel free to tell me that I will sleep again someday. 

Caught her sleeping.
She loves a bath as long as she's not hungry.
Big, blue eyes! 
Ellie's first trip to Daddy's office and she slept through the meeting.
Our kids. Plural. Just hanging out.
All dressed up and looking so adorable!
Spending time outside with Mom. We both love the trees.


Our girl is a great eater, which comes as no surprise to anyone who has seen James eat. Like brother, like sister. She wasn't giving me much of a reprieve from breastfeeding, wanting to nurse almost constantly, so we have introduced supplemental formula. While I definitely have some mom guilt about it, it's been the right thing for us and I'm focusing on the fact that she is still nursing and getting breastmilk even if it's not exclusively.

James loves to help feed her (although you wouldn't know it from this face),
Celebrating being one month old. Completely milk drunk. Ha!
He loves to hold her and asks to do it all the time. 
He's getting to be quite the fantastic helper and the best big brother, just as we suspected.
Ellie takes great naps resting against Mom and this pack leaves me two hands free to get things done.
Win win!



As I've previously shared on this blog, my dear friend Stacy Paul is an amazing photographer and when she came over to meet Ellie, she took some beautiful pictures of her for us. Check out the full set of pictures here and enjoy a couple of them below.






I also wanted to try my hand at taking some staged newborn pictures of my gorgeous girl and including James in them as well. Our wonderful friend, Kim, gifted us a fantastic shirt for James proclaiming him "Ellie's Big Brother" and a corresponding onesie for Ellie marking her as "James' Little Sister" which I couldn't wait to take pictures of them wearing. We were also lucky enough to get a visit from Kerri (that I'll share in more detail in a future post) and she has quite the knack for staging the pictures, so we make a pretty great photography team.

Our rainbow baby wrapped up in this beautiful rainbow blanket that was handmade by our friend, Kristi. Love it so much!



Matching Shenk feet. 
These two. I melt.
He's reading Harry Potter to her. I hope he always reads to her. Always.





Our autumn arrival in a pumpkin hat snuggled into a soft blanket handmade by Stacy.

Looking so cute on a beautiful quilt handmade by the lovely and sweet Melanie
(who has 4 kids and her own business and still found time to make this gift-- so blown away!)
This sweet little outfit was once mine! 
It's never too soon to start reading!
This picture doesn't have Ellie in it, but holy cow is this kid something!
My first love.


Hanging out with her new moose friend, Timpy (named after our favorite Utah mountain, Mt. Timpanogos),
a gift from the Carignan girls, who also all have moose friends. She's part of the clan now.