It’s summer! ☀️

Yesterday was the official start to summer even though it’s been incredible hot already. I don’t like summer because it’s usually unbearably hot, and we’re living without air conditioning this year. So it’s not been welcomed. 

However – warm weather does mean lots of this happening:

We haven’t taken them to the water playground yet, and I’m not sure how Mattie’s gonna like it because she’s terrified of the shower. So we’ll see how that goes when it happens. 

I may not be a fan of the summer heat, but I do love the exciting things that happen in the summer. We have a ton of birthdays in July (including a big 5th birthday 😱), the 4th, summer ballet classes, and, this year, lots of school prep. I have a feeling it’s going to fly by. 

The last two weekends of spring have been quite busy. Our weeks always slow down because, well, there’s only so much you can do it in the 2 hours we get at home before bedtime for the girls. But weekends are jam-packed. 

We had the Biggs-Rolfes Family reunion on 6/11. It was the 60th annual and also the last. It’s been a summer staple growing up and we’ve continued to go almost every year since I moved out. I like going and seeing all my mom’s cousins and my grandma’s siblings all coming together. I never remember who any of them are (there’s 9 kids in my grandmas generation and the number grows like crazy from there the further down you go). So my mom tries to point out all of them. The girls played with water with Opa and we took them to the playground briefly. 


Unfortunately, Miss Matilda had a full on meltdown in the middle of everything which continued for 15 mins in the car once we scooped her up and bolted out of there which only ended when she finally passed out. Kids, man. They are a piece of work. 

We also had this happen. 😭


My baby is growing up! She loves her big girl bed though. She loves to just go in her room and sit in it. 

On the 13th, Ellabelle had her kindergarten assessment for school. They just talked to her to figure out where to place her knowledgewise in class. Oma took her and then stole her away to go to “the woods” with her and Opa. She’s been talking about going back to the woods since they took her last year. She was so excited once she figured out where they were. Opa told her they were going to the mall. She’s still mad he tricked her 😂


For us, it was a nice break from having two kids especially when the little one does exactly what the big one does. It was an extremely easy and quiet evening. Oh and getting just one kid ready to go in the morning is cake compared to two. Mattie missed her sister though. When she got up that morning, she pointed at Ellabelle’s bed and kept asking “Where Ellabelle?!” 

So, we got Ellabelle back on Thursday after work and the next night we dropped the girls off so they could both go spend the night at their cousin Alex’s house. They both adore Alex so they were so excited. We were excited for another free night with NO KIDS! 

We took the opportunity to go see Wonder Woman. It was amazing. I loved every bit of it. I’m totally a Wonder Woman fangirl now. 

Saturday, we got up and did some deep house cleaning that we aren’t able to do with the girls home – like steam vacing their bedroom. We also napped which was glorious. While we were in our way to pick up the girls, I got a call from Alex saying Ellabelle threw up all over herself in the car. Of course, she did. 🤦🏻‍♀️ Poor thing seems to get so carsick but only at random times. Not sure what the connection is that causes it. We got her cleaned up at the church parking lot they stopped in and, thankfully, most of it was on her and not the car.

I was glad to have my crazy girls home. As much as I enjoyed the break, I miss them like crazy when they’re gone. 

Father’s Day was this past weekend. I got up early with Matilda and made Josh biscuits and gravy for breakfast. The girls gave him his gifts to open and then we went to his dads for a late lunch. My dad had tickets to a reds game so we’re doing Father’s Day with him next weekend. So we had a pretty laid back and low key Father’s Day which is exactly what Josh prefers. “It’s just like any other day,” he always says. 


Poor Mattie was exhausted after the day though. After her nap, we couldn’t seem to get her to stay awake. 😂

For his gifts, We replaced the “you can’t scare me. I have two daughters shirt” that he dried and shrunk last year. He also got a lego mini figure shadow box. The cats and Maisy got him new cats for his cat collection. 


Maisy got him a Stimpy pop vinyl because she thinks he’s as stupid as Stimpy. Bellerz got him a vintage Cringer figure because Bellerz is his real life scaredy cat. Bean got him a Beerus lego mini-figure because Bean expects us to treat him like he’s a cat god. I think he was pleased with all of them. 

At school on Wednesday, it was Hawaiian day so I pulled out the old dance costumes and Ellabelle wore an old hula skirt. 


Mattie, never one to be left out, insisted on wearing the Belle dress. She refused to take it off at the babysitter’s and argued when it was time for bed. She’s so silly. 

So now we prepare to head into another weekend. We’re doing half days to take the girls to the West Chester touch a truck and hopefully it doesn’t rain the whole time like it’s forecasted it will. Sunday is Opa’s Father’s Day and then we start the work week up again. It’s not a superpacked weekend which I’m totally ok with. July is gonna be crazy busy so I’ll take a day or two of rest while I can. 

Spring!!!

Spring is officially here! Believe it or not. And I am not about to let old moody Mother Nature kill my excitement. Yes, I realize it’s been cold and gross, and, yes, I am still wearing ugg boots and sweaters to work, but it is officially spring today and we are gonna celebrate all things spring. 

🌷🌷🌷

Rain boots (which we definitely need today😐)

Flowers

Pastels

Easter

Going to the zoo 

Sunshine 

Bubbles

Clouds (the good big fluffy kind)

Flip flops -cause those suckers are out as soon as it’s warm enough to not get frostbite. 

Puppy car rides (not pictures: her head out the window)

This little girl’s birthday

And this year – it means the beach!! Mattie’s never been, Ellabelle doesn’t remember going so it’s gonna be so much fun! 

🌷🌷🌷

Now, if only Mother Nature could get her act together give us some warm temps! ☀️

Preschool drama & my poor mama heart 

Ellabelle has this friend at school. She always talks about her.

“What’d you do today?”
“Played with Willow.”
Repeat daily.

She’s even asked if Willow can come to her birthday party in July. This kid seemed like BFF status the past few weeks.

I took Ellabelle into school one Monday, and Willow was already there. It makes my mornings so much easier cause I can get her to let me leave quickly and without incident cause she wants to go play with Willow. So I sent her off and had a mommy moment of watching my girl run off to play with her friend. Too my dismay, Willow yelled, “No! Get away! I don’t want to play with you!” and then pushed Ellabelle.

Ellabelle, realizing I was still standing there, came running over to me crying. My heart was shattered. All I wanted to do was scoop up my girl and run out of there and take her to get ice cream because I love her and she’s one of my favorite people in the whole world and no one should ever treat her like that. My mind was in hyperdrive. Thankfully, the teacher stepped in and took both girls and talked to them. And I fled.

I was shook up in the car. This little girl is the sun in the middle of my universe (along with her sister). She made me a mama. She is smart and funny and kind. I couldn’t wrap my head around what I saw. Josh thankfully talked me through my moment of mommy panic because he’s more level headed than I am.
I hate that my sweet innocent girl experienced something so, shall we say, “grown up.” Her sweet soul doesn’t understand these things. It’s clean and pure and free of this sort of nastiness from other people. Eventually, the world is going to break her down and tarnish her with the ugly truths. But she’s only 4. I didn’t think these things start this early. I’m sure they do and, rationally, I know this is normal. I’m just not ready to have people be mean to my kid.

The next day after school, Ellabelle complained in the car that Willow wouldn’t play with her again. So we advised her to play with someone else instead. And she did on Wednesday, and she seemed fine. Then the next day, when I dropped her off, she ran into the classroom and joined a boy playing a game and he yelled, “We don’t want you playing!”

It’s a rough time for a delicate momma heart. She seems like such a little baby to me still. This mama bird wants to keep her baby in the nest and protect her. Josh swears this will be how she learns social norms and how to act around people. That doesn’t mean I have to like it.
I was picked on and made fun of and felt like an outcast for all of grade school. I don’t want Ellabelle (or Matilda) to grow up with insecurities and self doubt simply because of other kids. And I know the most important thing is to make sure they both know they have a safe place at home with accepting and open arms.

We all want the best for our kids. We all want people to love or at least be nice to our kids. Unfortunately, that’s not how life always goes. I will teach my girls to be kind to everyone. I will also teach them how to properly handle when someone isn’t nice to them. I have to let my little birds leave the nest and test their wings. I’m just gonna have to to grow a tougher skin on this mama heart of mine.

 

July 

I say it every time I get around to posting something, and, I honestly mean it, I am going to get better at posting things when they happen. Today and in the foreseeable future is not the time though. I hope someday I’ll look back on this time in our lives, and think, “Look at us. We survived that. How far we have come!” Someday. For now, most days I feel like our lives are crumbling and falling apart. We have gone further down than rock bottom. It seems like more and more keeps piling on as we keep falling deeper and deeper. On top of our current issues, our air conditioner stopped working. Our car is in desperate need of brakes. My student loans are ready to start being paid. There always seems to be more and more, and, if you’ve ever watched a really one sided boxing match you know, there’s only so many hits a person can take to the face before they hit the mat for good. Life is Muhammad Ali right now. We are bruised and bloody and doing that swaying thing you do before you fall. And, frankly, it sucks.

We work very hard to make sure the girls have no idea that anything is going on and try not to take the stress of “grown-up” things out on them. The important thing is they are fed and have a home and spoiled beyond belief in the toy and clothes department. They lack for nothing and that’s all that matters at the end of the day. Still, we want better for them and we want more for them then what we have right now. Living paycheck to paycheck is exhausting and frustrating and tear inducing. It’s especially hard when I stop and look at how much money we’re actually making. There is no reason we should be struggling. Josh and I have made some mistakes, and we’re working really hard to fix them. It’s certainly not easy, and it’s the biggest pain in the butt, but we’re going to get over this speed bump. Most days though it feels like I’m standing at the base of a mountain. 5 years from now, in the rear view mirror, it will look like a speed bump. Today and for the next few weeks, it is definitely Everest before me, and not a yellow pile of cement. 

And after that metaphor filled rant on our current situation, back to our regularly scheduled update.

So, we last left off with Fathers Day. Since then we’ve been super busy. July was filled with birthdays:

Auntie Ang’s

13873247_10153852683907921_2811028008784131567_n 13876177_10153852685667921_3606165265377538380_n

Hudson’s img_4033 img_4031

Ellabelle’simg_4263

We also celebrated Alex’s and Opa’s birthdays.

There’s also the 4th

img_3620

I got my eyes lasered off (aka LASIK). I’ve got better vision than Josh now (20/15) and it makes him mad.img_3522 img_3524

Ellabelle went to Hueston Woods overnight with Oma and Opaimg_4959

Mattie tried Skyline for the first time.img_3515

We hunted Pokemon togetherimg_4105 img_4107 img_3733

But mostly, we just spent a lot of time hanging out img_5257 img_3549 img_4006 img_3734 img_4054 img_3770 img_3584 img_3715 img_3660 img_3832 img_3587 img_3551 img_4079

We are well into August now, and, like I said, we’re suffering a little. But there are some good things floating around. Ellabelle has soccer practice twice a week. As much as it stresses us out trying to get from downtown to two babysitters and off to the field, she loves it. Plus she’s adorable when she plays. Mattie’s standing up randomly and taking 2 steps at a time. She’ll be walking so very very soon. Now that Ellabelle’s birthday has past, I’m itching for fall. I want cool air and pumpkins and hayrides and trick or treating. My birthday is coming up, and I planned something amazing so I’m hoping to avoid the usual birthday blues I get.

Also, I just want to say how thankful I am for this guy.

11041659_10100905685765770_5614446185858230196_n

He is the greatest, and he certainly doesn’t give himself enough credit. He keeps me grounded yet still pushes me to fly. He puts up with my crazy moods, my crippling anxiety, and my controlling OCD. He’s done everything he can to try and help me while I’ve been dealing health issues. He is the sun to my moon, and I’m so glad he’s the one holding my hand as we take on the shitstorm that is life.

And to close, here’s an adorable picture of my children. This is why we keep taking the punches. This is why we don’t fall down. This is why we fight back. img_5277

Brought to you by the letter “F”

Fascinating.
Fickle.
Firstborn.
Feminine.
Fierce.
Finicky.
Fun.
Fashionable.
Foolish.
Free-spirited.
Fabulous.
Funny.
Feisty.
Fearless.
Four. IMG_4242

How far we’ve come in 4 short years. It seems like it’s flown by and yet like you’ve been a part of our lives forever. There are more words than I have the time to say to describe the fascinating little person you are. Four years ago, you were ushered into this world in quite an over the top fashion – a 12 minute c-section is far from ordinary. Then for 2 hours you cleared your lungs but you didn’t make a peep. There’s an idea that you enter the world crying from your past life. I’ve said from the start that that means you’re a fresh little soul. Maybe that’s why everything seems like a learning experience with you. You barrel through life wanting to see and experience everything. You’re fast and opinioned and ready to take everything head on, and everyone better get out of your way.
IMG_4029

You are my mini-me which means we butt heads – A LOT. It also means I understand you and the way your mind works. You are a true joy when you aren’t being a pain. You dance and giggle and chase bubbles and butterflies. You love to make your sister laugh and snuggle with me and your daddy. You are so smart and clever. You say little things that just make my heart smile. You are really just the most wonderful little person. I love the free spirit you continue to develop as you grow. IMG_0052

You are also extremely ornery and strong willed, and you make being a parent very, very hard sometimes. You fight and push, and I know that you will be able to harness and use these traits to your advantage someday, but for now, it makes our lives hard sometimes. Some days I wish I had a receipt so I could return you. Then, you lay on the couch and tell me about the pokemon you found and have stuck in your pocket or who your new Tsum Tsum is on your game, and I remember why I keep you around. You really are the gentlest soul inside a sometimes rugged exterior. I know all too well how it feels to have too many emotions to handle, and I’m sure it’s even harder when your four and can’t properly deal with them. I know that’s why you scream and cry and cause a scene in a grocery store. There’s just too much for you to deal with all at once. It will get easier. I promise. I’ve been there. IMG_4105

You are a true balancing act to deal with every single day. It also the greatest privilege to be your mommy. I love you and look forward to watching you and your mind grow as you learn and experience more of the world. I promise to protect you from all the evils in every way that I can, and to teach you love and compassion towards everyone. Be you. Be(You)tiful. I’m sure you’ll tire of hearing it, but thank you for picking me to be your mommy. It was what I was born to do. I wished and hoped and longed for my own baby, and I was lucky enough to get you. Thank you for being my dreams come true. Happy fourth birthday to my sweet baby bee. IMG_4262

 

Dark tunnels

There’s that old saying that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. So, in theory, if you keep moving forward, eventually the darkness with turn back to light. For a while, that light felt more like a train barreling towards us, and us running the opposite direction, back into the dark, just hoping it doesn’t catch up and annihilate us. And lately, there’s been no light at all. Just us…sitting in the dark…waiting…hoping…for something to guide us back out.

Well, today is the first Monday of the year. It’s the first day of the first work week of the year. It was also my first day at my new job. And I’m not gonna go on the typical “new year, new me, new possibilities, yah!” spiel. No, I’m still in the pitch black tunnel for the time being. There’s no big excitement for a new year and starting over and all that junk.

I was very lucky to spend 8 months at home with EB when she was a baby. We struggled, but I was happy otherwise with being the one my baby interacted with and grew with every day. I returned to work and worked at that job til EB was 15 months old. Then I was home with her for another 4 months. Next, I got a day time job with regular hours. That job was cut short because of pregnancy complications. I was devastated. It really tore me up that the place I had planned to spend at least a couple of years, if not long term, had to let me go simply because of policy reasons. I felt like I had failed. Hindsight, that job was probably going to end up being a dead end, and the silver lining of being unemployed was that when Matilda showed up, I got to be with her every day just like I did with EB.

Anyway, today was kinda a big deal. It was hard to leave the girls especially Mattie. EB has been to two different babysitters. She knows the drill. She understands that mommy has to go to work. Mattie, on the other hand, doesn’t know why mommy left her with some stranger today for 9 hours. It breaks my heart…and I’m sure it’s probably harder on me than her. I did drop them off like a champ though. In and out. No tears. No problems.

Work was a bit weird today because it was the monday back for everyone after a 4 day weekend, and it was busy. So, I was little lost in the shuffle which I totally get. There are suppose to be 4 people doing my job. Well, 1 is me, and I have no idea what I’m doing yet. 2 is a vacant position that they interviewed for today. 3 is a lady who was off today. And 4 is the woman training me who happened to be absolutely swamped because it was just her and me and I’m still completely useless.

The day went quickly though. I was so happy to get my girls and head home. I asked EB about her day and here’s her account:

“I eat lunch and I play with the boys. I fall down at the babysitters. The boys fought me. I watch spongebob squarepants. Snacks. I did that! Mattie rolled over. The boys hurt my feelings. They hurt my heart. I fall down and I got a batman sword. I used that! I hit everybody with the sword. That’s my job.”

Never found out what or how the boys hurt her feelings, but apparently she had a productive day. Hopefully, mine will be just as productive tomorrow. I get to go sit in on court cases and shadow some. I’m just happy to be contributing to this family in a job that has some longevity possible. It’s been such a rough past month. December was hard for us – Christmas not included. I tried to make sure the girls got the holiday memories and experiences they deserve. Otherwise, I’m so grateful for a new year, new job, and, hopefully, a new light at the end of the tunnel

(fine, a little optimism managed to sneak in there)

Better late than never – October and November

I love holidays. I blame my mother. She decorates for every single holiday. There is hardly a day in a calendar year where her house is not decorated (Those rare days being the switch between two holidays). It wasn’t until high school that I realized that this holiday obsession makes her weird. And when I say weird, I mean it in the best way possible. Josh thinks it’s crazy. He doesn’t understand the point of it all. It’s safe to say that his dad wasn’t hanging heart covered garland for Valentine’s day or covering the house in bunnies for Easter so it’s no surprise. To me, decorating for holidays is just part of the change of the seasons. And changing season themselves are reasons to celebrate.

I’ve been itching for fall this year. Summer was weird this year, wet and cool, and it was spent down and out for the most part. Between the healing cesarian incision and having a newborn, I wasn’t in the holiday mood (Sleep deprivation will do that to you). Don’t get me wrong, I obviously was into the specific holidays as they rolled around, but the decorations and the celebration of the season wasn’t there. It was as tired as Josh and I was. So, fall. I’ve been waiting for it – tights and moccasins and hats and football and changing leaves and crisp air and pumpkins and turkeys and costumes and hot cider and the list could go on and on.

Oh, and just for the record, my house was decorated in falling leaves and light up spider webs complete with glowing spiders and creepy gauze and tombstones and garlands with skulls and pumpkins and spiders for all of October.

To start the month, on October 1, I had a structured oral exam with the police department of Blue Ash. I didn’t think I did very well. They only hired for one position so I didn’t have my hopes up, but I did get invited back for an interview. I never heard anything back to I didn’t get selected. 😦 Oh well, that’s life.

Then we started our busy weekends of October with the return of one the best parts of fall – football.

10/3 – Alex’s band performance

Alex is Josh’s sister’s daughter, and she plays the flute in the band. We were going to try and go to one of her games in September, but it poured down rain and we didn’t want to take Mattie out in it. So we rescheduled and it was still wet and rainy. We arrived before the beginning of the game, and we were bundled up. It was cold! Luckily, Mattie was dress in long sleeves and pants, her jacket, a hat, inside of her mei tai carrier against my chest with my jacket around her exposed legs and a hood on the carrier and blanket. She was the only one of us that was warm. Ellabelle was excited though and the rain couldn’t dampen her spirits. She had been saying all week, “Go see Alex play music!” We only stayed to see her perform til the start of the game because it was so cold. We said our hellos and then went to Josh’s mom’s house for hot chocolate. IMG_0587

10/4 – Bengals game

Auntie Ang and Mike watched the girls so that Josh and I could go see the Bengals face off against the Kansas City Chiefs. I was a little worried for them because both girls together can be a bit of a handful. They did wonderful though, even letting us go out to dinner before we picked them up, but I could tell they were happy to have them leave. IMG_0601IMG_1071

Where Ellabelle watched the game
Where Ellabelle watched the game

As for the game, the streak has been broken, they WON! I have never seen a professional team win while at the game – the Reds, the Blue Jackets and both Bengals games I had been to. Well, third times a charm because they beat the Chiefs! It was an amazing and exciting game to get to see live. IMG_0614 IMG_0626IMG_0618IMG_0608

Lately Ellabelle has been wanting the match Mattie when I get them both dressed. So, besides the adorableness of tights and knee socks, theres also sister matching going on. 

IMG_0659IMG_0673 IMG_0712 IMG_0689

10/10 – Barn n Bunk Pumpkin Patch and Lisa’s 50th Birthday Party

I’ve been waiting and waiting (not so patiently) to take both of my girls to a pumpkin patch. We went to the same one we went to last year. We went through the corn maze, IMG_0876 IMG_0870

Ellabelle rode the train, IMG_0882

rode the tractor ride around the pumpkin field, IMG_0890

and checked out the pumpkins for sale. IMG_0923IMG_0931

We let Ellabelle pick out a pumpkin for her and one for Mattie. IMG_1290

A pumpkin patch is everything that is fall – all the smells (straw and cinnamon), all the sights (dying corn, which is kinda depressing if you think about it so don’t think too hard about it, and pumpkins), and the feels (both physically – baby wearing and rest your chin on her knit hat and carrying pumpkins by the stem – and emotionally – my heart swelling as Ellabelle jumps up and down when she finds the right pumpkin). IMG_0859 IMG_1044

After the pumpkin patch, we took Ellabelle and Mattie to spend the night at Mamaw and Papaw’s so we could go to Lisa’s birthday party. Ellabelle was over the moon about it. 

IMG_0938

We went to Django’s in Northside for dinner with everyone. The shrimp tacos are amazing. IMG_0936 IMG_1084

We went back to the neighborhood bar, The C&D, for about 2 hours. Josh and I sat and watched the first Iron Man at the bar. Everyone kept saying we were being anti-social, but it was crowded and watching a movie without someone screaming or throwing toys across the room was exactly what we love to do without our munchkins. We did get into the group before the party bus showed up and then once on the bus. It was a great time on the bus. What’s better than cruising and belting out some of your favorite songs with like 20 really awesome people? IMG_0945 IMG_0951

Josh dancing
Josh dancing

10/11 – Soccer

Ellabelle had a lot of fun at soccer. There were only 4 kids that showed up (out of 15?), and she loved the games they played. IMG_1085IMG_0971

10/12 – Job interview

I had a job interview bright and early on Monday morning. Poor daddy had to take the girls to work til I was done. The good news is I got the job! It’s part time and in the evenings making pretty decent money. I had to go take the drug test so it was almost noon before I saved daddy from the trouble twins. IMG_1086IMG_1087

10/17 – Trent spends the night and Alex’s band competition

We watched Trent Saturday into Sunday. Ellabelle was ecstatic to wake up and have “Cook” here (Her “Tr”s come out like “C”s). We went to watch Alex play with her high school band in a competition. We had no idea what to expect, but it was actually pretty cool to watch. Afterwards, we went to Marion’s and had pizza. Ellabelle was glued to Trent’s side the whole evening, and I know she was sad when he had to go home the next day. IMG_1134 IMG_1133 IMG_1135IMG_1155

10/18 – Last soccer practice of the year

Only 6 kids showed up, but it was a fun closure to Ellabelle’s first attempt at soccer. IMG_1218 IMG_1207 IMG_1215 IMG_1263

10/22 – Library craft day

Our library does craft days every month for kids ages 3-5. Ellabelle was ecstatic when we got there and there was a huge group of kids. The theme was trees, and they made two crafts, listened to a book about trees, and learned a fun song. 

We also carved pumpkins. Ellabelle painted her little one. IMG_1277 IMG_1279 IMG_1291

We carved the bigger pumpkins. Ellabelle hated the guts but loved the seeds. IMG_1578 IMG_1569 IMG_1575

She was terrified of them once we put them outside though IMG_1589

This is seriously as close as she'd get even in the daylight
This is seriously as close as she’d get even in the daylight

10/24 – Halloween Trick or Treat at the Library and Britnee’s wedding reception

The library had a not scary halloween event on Saturday morning. Ariel and Sleeping Beauty looked adorable. Ellabelle loved all the games, won a few prizes, and got some candy. We also checked out a few books about Halloween. IMG_1367

Mattie had fun too!
Mattie had fun too!

IMG_1507IMG_1509IMG_1511

Saturday night was 2nd cousin Britnee’s wedding reception. The wedding had been a week before in Florida, and they had a regular reception up here. Ellabelle had a blast! She loved dancing and being with her Auntie Ang and Mike. I, personally, love weddings. So, it was a great night. Josh was exhausted because he had worked 10 hour days at work before hand so him and Mattie weren’t as into it all as much as Bee and I were, but it was still a lot of fun. IMG_1513 IMG_1523

10/31 – Trick or Treating with Ellabelle’s “boys” and Lisa’s Halloween Party

We went trick or treating around our friend’s neighborhood because 1) no one gives out candy in our neighborhood and 2) Ellabelle loves seeing her boys. We rode in a golf cart which ended up being a great idea because of the little legs and the crowds. Ellabelle and Hudson trick or treated for the full two hours and scored a ton of candy. IMG_1722 IMG_1732 IMG_1723

We went to Lisa’s halloween party afterwards. Ellabelle played on Lisa’s iPad. Mattie was unhappy with Oma’s clown make up. Josh fell asleep (which happens every year somehow). IMG_1726

A few random pics:

IMG_1504 IMG_1541 IMG_0990 IMG_1800 IMG_1609 IMG_0649 IMG_0725

Aaannndddd . . . now November.

November has been crazy for us. I’ve been working every evening, and Josh has been working 10 hour days for overtime. Life has been beyond stressful financially which has taken a toll on us emotionally Our furnace had to be fixed. Our car is still in the process of being fixed. I’m honestly happy to see it go. I’m so excited about what December holds for us. But for now, November (mostly in pictures):

11/3 – We voted 12191195_10101061637981280_1725614924284367627_o

11/6 – Josh and I had our 9 year anniversary. We didn’t do anything, but its still worth noting. lol

11/7 – Thanksgiving Craft Day at the library

10247395_10101064425140790_8083844783394667856_n 12208459_10101064425260550_6699900458672558924_n

11/8 – Out for Oma’s birthday

We ended up at Logan’s and it was yummy. 12208394_10101065048496580_3865265573986997796_n

11/15 – With my schedule at work, we had to put the Christmas decorations up early. We started by raking up the leaves to begin with. EB was daddy’s big helper.

12208406_10101069644800550_4730168530531223963_n 12219385_10101069644580990_2069074427111208443_n

Ellabelle loved helping with the lights too. 12241462_10101069646272600_9203201950836428002_n 12243050_10101069676816390_2446718015103309887_n 12219388_10101069676911200_8521092962374019006_n 12208358_10101069109208880_602206747596361411_n12241404_10101069646292560_4791130334071619673_n

11/21 – We mailed the girls letters to Santa

12243375_10101073187451050_8046972083524730712_n 12122953_10101073187855240_3410809895335079291_n 12243537_10101073187251450_7830212424786886941_n

11/23 – Mattie’s 6 month check up

All 16lbs of my chunk is healthy and happy 12278964_10101074417810400_8566353417462208522_n

11/26 – Thanksgiving

We all matched!
We all matched!
12301563_10101076571679030_6760783897872939631_n
Great Grandma with her namesake and EB
12307304_10153324844707921_4560472949563629815_o
with Auntie Ang
12274402_10101076571828730_8322772688947828928_n
4 generations

12278622_10101076571564260_7638901365300760853_n

11/27 – Helped decorate Oma and Opa’s tree & Christopher Pop-in-kins came back

12316505_10101077204735380_829002808630746756_n 12299331_10101077208318200_3269952421137579928_n12314515_10101076960589650_6732394189213420081_o

September…finally

From May to the end of July, we are busy. Always. Like every day. It’s pretty nonstop. But August comes and things slow down, and it’s a nice welcome change. This year was no different. August came and went with little to report on. Oktoberfest slipped in there and that’s always fun, but it’s a pretty slow month compared to the 3 before it. Then September arrived. And it was crazy busy. More so than I expected. As previously reported, we went out for my birthday, we slipped in some pool visits before they closed it (try explaining to a 3 year old that its hot, but the pool closed all of a sudden), labor day weekend was busy with the park and the Reds game, but it just kept coming.

Not that being busy is bad. It’s not. Josh will tell you I don’t know how to relax, and that’s true. I like to have things planned and go and do, but that doesn’t mean I’m not exhausted at the end of the day too.

So, our September (from where we left off):

9/12 – Cincy Comicon

Josh volunteered in the morning, and the girls and I met him after. Ellabelle was dressed as the 11th doctor, and Mattie was a dalek (with her own whisk and plunger cause what’s a dalek without them?)

IMG_9446 IMG_9417 IMG_9413

We got some cool stuff and saw some awesome things. It’s always nice to be surrounded by your own (cough::nerds::cough) when normally people in Cincinnati aren’t the most welcoming of anything different.

IMG_9445 IMG_9425 IMG_9449

9/13 – Soccer with Mamaw, Papaw, and TrentIMG_9524 IMG_9522

9/18-9/19 – Mini-trip for my birthday

Josh surprised me with a trip to Northern Ohio for my birthday. We drove up and stayed in Port Clinton, OH for the night. IMG_9865

We spent Friday on Put-in-Bay, an island just off the shore of the mainland. You have to take a ferry to the island cause it’s the only way to get there. IMG_9908

Josh was so mesmerized by all the water. IMG_9948 IMG_9928 

He kept saying he thought all of Ohio looked like Cincinnati (metropolitan) or farmland. He had no idea there really was a beach in the state. The island was fun, but expensive. The only things we bought were all $1 on clearance. lol. Oh and drinks at the worlds longest bar. IMG_9910

We ate a restaurant back in Port Clinton for dinner called Crosswinds, and Josh is still talking about it. I got the rueben pizza, and it was ah-mazing! We’ve already copied the recipe here at home.

It was so good it deserves its own picture
It was so good it deserves its own picture

We also went and saw the Marblehead lighthouse before we left.  

IMG_9968 IMG_9990

It was so beautiful up on the lake (even with the overcast). Josh has already said he can’t wait to go back.

It was so nice but so strange to be away from the girls. It was quiet, and we could talk to each other without being interrupted every other word, and we got to pick what we wanted to listen to on the radio! It was so nice.

IMG_9944

But, as moms do, I missed them like crazy and was so happy to see them when we got home. It was nice to get away for the night and recharge. It was definitely needed.

9/20 – Soccer with Oma, Jean, Auntie Ang, Mike, and Lisa 

IMG_0055IMG_0075

9/21 – Mattie’s 4 month check up

Oma took Ellabelle home with her after soccer on Sunday because I had to take Mattie to the doctor’s for her check up. She’s gained almost 3.5lbs and has grown over 2 inches. She looks chunky, but she’s in the 41 percentile for both height and weight so she’s proportionate. She got four shots and an oral vaccine, and she was not happy about any of it. 

IMG_0093

After I picked up Ellabelle from Oma’s, I had to run to Hobby Lobby. I told her if she was good that she could pick out anything she wanted. She always begs for candy so I figured that’s what she’d pick. Honestly, I thought she wouldn’t be good. She was extremely well behaved (bribes do work sometimes, I guess) and picked out a christmas tree. I tried to convince her that she wanted candy or a toy or art supplies, but no. So I ran with it. I got her lights and ornaments too. She loves her “sparkle tree” (because its too early to have a christmas tree out) IMG_0104

9/23 – Playground day

I took the girls to the playground per Ellabelle’s request. I had never attempted this alone before, and it was as hard as I expected. I wore Mattie, and Ellabelle insisted on wearing her Elsa dress.

 IMG_0226 IMG_0166

She kept saying she had to see Elsa and Anna at the playground and wailed about it as we left. I can’t believe she remembers going to see them at a playground over a year before and have no idea how she even got it in her head that we were going to go see them that day!

July 2014 - How does she remember this?!
July 2014 – How does she remember this?!

9/26 – Max’s birthday party, Cincinnati Rollergirls game, and Josh’s guys night.

Max’s party was over in Northern Kentucky. It was a monster themed party so I dressed Ellabelle up as a witch and out Mattie in her monster onesie and tutu. Problem was it was so windy that Ellabelle’s hat kept flying off. IMG_0362IMG_0379

There was food and games and a playground (which was Ellabelle’s favorite part). IMG_0365 IMG_0428IMG_0371

We got to see people we don’t get the chance to see very often which was really nice. I wish there was more time to fit more outings with friends in, but with only one income and two kids to hull around now it’s just become harder and harder.

After that we met Lisa at her house and met her two little kittens she’s taking care of. Ellabelle was in love cause she loves animals. We then went to the CRG game. It wasn’t at their usual facility (the Cincinnati Gardens), but I think it was more fun at this place. IMG_0429IMG_0389

Josh left halfway through the first game to head to Indiana for his guys night. That left me with both girls, but luckily Lisa loves helping out with them. Ellabelle got bored which is typical of a three year old. So, Lisa found some cones and she played with them.  IMG_0406

Halftime came and they had a dance competition for moms with sons and dads with daughters so Ellabelle and I couldn’t enter. That didn’t stop Ellabelle though. She ran out into the middle of the track and shook it off! She came back to me when the music stopped, and when the started it again she was gone. She got cheers from the stands as she ran back out. Sailor Scary, one of the rollergirls, went out and danced with her. IMG_0415IMG_0408

After halftime, Ellabelle kept trying to run back out on to the track because “I play rollergirls, mommy!!” I had to keep a super close eye on her. Once the game was over, I let Ellabelle finally “play” on the track (aka run around in circles).

I got them home and in bed with no problems which was a small triumph since it was my first time hauling them in and putting them to bed alone.

9/27 – Soccer and Aunt Naoma’s birthday party

Every Sunday we fight with Ellabelle to keep working the whole hour of soccer practice. She gets tired and wants to just sit and watch. 

IMG_0417

This practice was a full on battle. Josh got her to work for 30 mins, but then she came a laid down on the blanket I had out of Mattie. She was so tired from her no-nap busy day the day before that I didn’t blame her. IMG_0421

We had to be all the way in Germantown anyways so we left early. It’s a good thing we left early too because they ended the party an hour early so if we had stayed the whole time everyone might’ve been gone. Mattie got to meet her Great-Great Aunt. 12074849_10207813756091067_2054770987960855525_n

She was pretty cranky from her busy day the day before as well. So, it was ultimately a good thing that it ended early. We got to go home and rest before a busy week. IMG_0427

9/28 – Amy took a city test for Clerk Typist 3

Not much to report here. I took the test. Oma and Opa watched the girls. No results have been posted for it yet. IMG_0462IMG_0492

And now we’re into October (well into it, I’m afraid. I’ve been so behind on posting). We’ve been booked solid this month as well. I thought we might have a break to slow down before the madness of the holidays starts, but it looks like we’re gonna be busy until January at this point! I’ll update October’s madness at a later date, but here’s a little taste of the season to hold you over. IMG_9481

A Revisit to the Break

There are moments that define who are. Some of them are happy ones. Like meeting the person who will become your spouse and partner in life or when your baby arrives. And there are some that aren’t happy. Some of the most important moments of your life are soul crushing. It’s like your heart’s a piece of paper, and someone’s ripping it up into a million little pieces and you have to try and put it all back again. Thankfully, my life hasn’t been filled with many of these. The one’s that have been part of me stick out in my mind like a hangnail – careful to not touch it but boy does it hurt when you do. I remember two of those three moments in my life very distinctly. The first was when I was standing in St. Al’s church reading what I had written at my Grandpa’s funeral – the paper ripped. The second was hearing my mom’s voice on the phone saying, “Amy, Grandma’s gone” – shreds everywhere.

The third moment in my life that changed everything I don’t remember exactly when I felt everything rip and change. It was a longer process, very slow and painful. Now, in the grand scheme of human life and experiences, this moment is nothing. Barely a blip on a radar compared to war and famine and cancer and death especially considering the day it happened – September 11th. A day were people all around the world remember people lost in the World Trade Center, and mourn for those trapped inside a collapsed building because of senseless violence, but for me that day will forever be associated with Ellabelle. In my world, in my own little scope of reality, the worst moment in my life (and hopefully ever) happened on that day.

See, I remember the call I got from the babysitter. “Ellabelle fell in the kitchen. She wouldn’t get up, and, when I changed her, she cried and grabbed her leg the whole time. I have her on the couch eating snacks, but I think you may want to come get her.” It’s seared into my brain. I had taken a half day at work, and we were headed to a Reds game because Josh works for the police department, and we got free tickets for 9/11. I wasn’t concerned because this kid falls all the time. I called Josh and he agreed that if the babysitter thought it was serious enough to call that we should go get her.

Sure enough, she was right where the babysitter said she was – laying on the couch, not moving at all – a strange sight for our rambunctious two year old. I made Josh pick her up and carry her. She screamed when he picked her up and clenched him tight and cried the whole way to the car. Then she screamed the entire way to the hospital. Every bump, every curve, every stop made her wail. I still tear up remembering the amount of pain she was in. We still thought it was nothing. Maybe she pulled a muscle. Maybe she bruised it weird, and the carseat was hitting it.

Once they confirmed that it was broken and that she’d be spending at least 4 weeks in a hip spica cast, I went into mom mode. There was no time to stress over how I was feeling. No time for me to process everything going on. All that mattered was that this tiny person was as happy and comfortable as I could make her. I couldn’t let her see me be upset or let her see my fear. She had to know that mommy was there and everything was going to be ok. It was a brutal day and overnight. She slept for maybe 30 minutes at a time and would cry out in pain. I was there every time she woke. The weeks that followed were hard on all of us. You could just see the light go out of her eyes. Her spunky spirit was gone. My focus was still on her and making her happy. It was so hard and draining on all of us. 10653676_10100676925298580_772091766708672198_n

After it was over, after the cast came off in October, it was like a weight had been lifted off of all of us. She immediately went back being to her happy little self, and I pushed the whole incident to the back of my mind, not to be revisited. This is the first time I’ve sat and really thought about and relived that day and those days that followed. It breaks my heart all over again. And even with it tucked away in the back of my mind, it still effects Josh and I every day. We are constantly hovering at playgrounds, always yelling “walk!”, holding our breathes when she wipes out in fear that she may not be able to stand back up on her own. It’s changed the way we parent her. For 11 hours we watched our baby lay in pain, be twisted around while she screamed, and helplessly stood by as she looked to us for help and no being able to provide it. Like I’ve said, it’s small in the scope of other people’s realities, but, for me, it was hell. And I’m thankful that a broken bone is the worst we’ve ever seen, and I hope that it will stay that way, but it is forever seared in my brain.

I am so thankful she has no idea any of it happened. I showed her a picture of her in her pink cast today, and she immediately thought it was a blanket. I guess the silver lining is that it happened while she was so young. I can’t imagine potty training or having already potty trained her and having to deal with the cast. I can’t imagine how it would’ve effected her if she could remember the pain and cast. She might be more hesitant on playgrounds or playing soccer, and while I might like that I wouldn’t want it to hold her back. I’m thankful she’s healing right, and that this can all just stay behind us. I just hope that Matilda isn’t anywhere near as clumsy as her sister. IMG_8493

Of a Cincinnati Labor Day

Cincinnati is famous for it’s chili. The rest of the world looks at this crazy concoction of soupy meat chili piled on spaghetti with a mountain of shredded cheese on top and thinks we are out of our minds. But it’s delicious and comforting for those of us who have grown up on the southwestern banks of the Ohio River. Now those three layers – spaghetti, chili, cheese – are great on their own, but it’s when you put them together that it’s perfect – a trifecta of Cincinnati perfection. And that’s exactly what our Labor Day weekend was too. Each day of this holiday weekend was a perfect little package unto itself, but together the three days were a beautifully layered farewell to summer.

Saturday – We spent the morning at Great American Ballpark. Every baby born at Good Sam or Bethesda North Hospital gets a packet to be a Reds Rookie. So because Miss Matilda was welcomed at a Trihealth hospital we got to be involved with a pretty cool program before the game. We got there at 10:30, and we got all kinds of free goodies from the sponsors. Josh checked in for the competition I signed him up to compete in while the Ellabelle danced around to the music. Mr. Redlegs and Gapper showed up and we got to take our picture with them. IMG_8896

This may have been the highlight of the day for me because I love Gapper more than baseball. Plus, Gapper was very sweet and even kissed Mattie on the head. IMG_8894

Surprisingly, Ellabelle walked right up Mr. Redlegs and gave him a hug. She’s usually terrified of people dressed up (like Wooly Bully at the CRG games), but she was excited to see him.

We did a lot of sitting around and waiting because there were a lot of babies to get in and do everything. So, we had over two and a half hours before the game to burn. Josh competed in the Daddy Bottle Chugging contest. IMG_8902

He had to suck down a bottle of warm apple juice. Unfortunately, two of the guys cheated (one even ripped the nipple off to suck it down which was not the point of the game), and the judges decided to allow it because they never specifically said that you couldn’t do what they did. However, they had to follow the real rules during the second round. It’s ok though. Josh didn’t really want to chug a warm bottle a second time. IMG_8904

We walked around some. I took Mattie to the mommy suite, and it was amazing. I would’ve spent the whole game there if I could’ve. Plus, it was air conditioned. It was 90* the entire day, and we were stuck out in the open sunlight. We tried out best to hide out in the shade for a while. IMG_9046 Ellabelle did amazing considering the wait time. She kept trying to go towards the field and the seats because she wanted to watch “football.” I did attempt to correct her to begin with, but I gave up quickly. I mean, she calls tennis, golf, hockey, and basketball “football” too so it’s a losing battle. She played on the playground they have there for awhile and that kept her happy.

Eventually, we got to line up for the baby parade on the field. That was definitely a cool part of the experience too. IMG_8916

I remember being in grade school and getting to go on the field at Riverfront Stadium. So I’ve officially been on both fields now. Ellabelle seemed to actually enjoy it too. I was worried because for a three year old walking slowly in a straight line with a bunch of people is the equivalent of hell, but she was totally chill and kept up with us. IMG_9008IMG_8953

We headed to our seats after we made in back into the stadium, and it was awful! Let me tell you – drinks with no lids + a stroller + a hot and tired toddler + a 3 month old + two flights of stairs to get to the roughly 50 stairs up to seat + the unforgiving sun beating down = the most difficult endeavor since I went grocery shopping with kids alone. So, yes, we made it to our seats that ended up being right in the sun. Josh was ready to turn around and lug everything back down the stairs. Thankfully, an old man came over told us they had 5 seats but were only using 2 so we could come use them to get the baby out of the sun since they were up in the shade. We moved and got settled. Josh fed Mattie, and I tried to hydrate Ellabelle. IMG_9040

She sat with her fingers in her ears complaining that “football” is too loud. We were right under the speakers so I don’t blame her for that. We got Mattie’s picture taken with her first game certificate, and made it to the third inning. IMG_9031 That’s when I noticed that Ellabelle was shaking, and it was becoming more and more noticeable. So we decided that we needed to head out. We hydrated and napped once we got home because the sun had zapped all the life out of us, but it was such a special day that it was worth the heat.

That's us on the jumbotron! Josh is on the top left and you can see Mattie's tutu and me on the right!
That’s us on the jumbotron! Josh is on the top left and you can see Mattie’s tutu and me on the right!

Sunday – We woke up planning to clean, but there was a disturbance in the force, and we had to go to Target and check it out. To translate that out of nerd talk: the new Star Wars toys came out on Friday, and Josh was antsy to go see them. IMG_8849

We did make it home to clean (laundry is my nemesis), and, as a reward, Josh got to go to the Disney store to see the exclusive toys. Unfortunately, they were all out of our price range so he only got to look.

Model pose with the stormtrooper
Model pose with the stormtrooper

What was important was that we spent some quiet downtime as a family. It was a slow day with no set times to be anywhere. It was a nice change of pace since it seems like every day has something scheduled anymore.

Monday – Oma and Lisa invited Ellabelle and I to go to Smale Park. Mattie stayed home with daddy and watched him play video games all day. (Hey, it was his holiday. Whatever floats his boat.) Lisa brought along one of her friends kids, Ava, and Ellabelle was so excited to have a playmate. IMG_9101

We walked through the beautiful park and made our way to the water fountains. We decided to ride the carousel first because you can’t ride it once you’re wet.

We all rode the first time. Ellabelle wanted to ride a horsey, and we picked the Oktoberfest horse. IMG_9105 IMG_9110

Lisa rode the gorilla. Oma rode an Ohio River catfish. I thought the fish looked like it was made for a child rider, but Oma totally fit. IMG_9304

The second time on Ellabelle wanted to ride the Bengals tiger. I kept asking her, “What does a tiger say?”
“Roar!”
“What do you say?”
“Who Dey!” That’s my girl.

We played in the fountains after that. Even Oma participated which tells you just how hot it was! IMG_9172

My poor Ellabelle is so clumsy, and the water didn’t help. She wiped out twice. IMG_9303

The second time she fell backwards and hit her head on the ground. She stood up, weaved past Ava and Lisa, and found me. I hate to see her hurt, but it’s nice to feel like my independent girl needs me still. The tears were wiped away, and the boo boo was quickly forgotten.IMG_9174IMG_9159

We played on the playground after that. The girls loved the slide. They went up and down multiple times. Ellabelle had a hard time keeping up with Ava cause she’s just so much smaller. IMG_9222 IMG_9226

She found and liked the drums. She’s obsessed with playing the drums on everything (including the poor dog) so she definitely liked this feature at the playground. IMG_9228

There’s a bunch of exercise type stuff, and Ellabelle threw a fit when I wouldn’t let her run off with Ava. I wanted her to see the giant piano, but she was not impressed. That’s what happens when 3 year olds don’t get their much needed afternoon nap.IMG_9179 IMG_9180IMG_9182

We found another water area, and the girls loved that too.IMG_9192 IMG_9194 IMG_9196

There was just so much to see and do. Smale Park is definitely a place to go to spend the whole afternoon. My girl was worn out! IMG_9188

After we finally headed back from the park, Oma took us to Putz’s. Lisa had never been, and it was Ellabelle’s first time too. I got her an Ice Man, and I’m pretty sure she enjoyed it.

IMG_9232 Putz’s is one of those places that’s been around forever. I remember my dad always taking us there in his mustang when I was younger. It was somewhere we went with day camp too. So it was nice to share a place with a lot of memories with Ellabelle and my mom. IMG_9234

It was another hot day so we just laid around once we got home, but it was the prefect ending to our weekend.

Each day of the weekend was good on its own – baseball, family togetherness, water fun – but together they were perfect. Quiet bookended with Cincinnati activities. I love my city, and I love sharing it with Ellabelle and Mattie. Each layer perfect and Cincy filled. It was wonderful holiday weekend. IMG_9094