Easter Prep 🐰

St. Patrick’s Day is today. It’s not a high ranking holiday in my opinion. The only people who really love St. Patrick’s day are the Irish and the drinkers of America. I am the smallest bit of Irish (my easily burnt to a crisp skin is a testament to that), and I am not a drinker. There’s also very little fan fair for the holiday. Yes, I’m wearing green. And yes, I ate too many shamrock cookie and green punch at the work party. That’s about it though. I didn’t even pull out my St. Patrick’s day garland at home this year. I did decorate my office though. 

No, I’m ready to move past shamrocks. I’m ready for the bunny. 🐰

Ellabelle was so excited about Christmas, but she was so sick. I don’t think she really got the full experience (vomit will do that). So, this is my redemption holiday. The bunny is gonna bring back the joy! It’s a lot of pressure for him, but I think he’s got it in him. 

So, not unlike every other holiday/celebration in my life, I started Easter prepping pretty early. So everything we got to fill eggs as well as some of the basket items were on clearance. We don’t do candy because the girls get so much from grandparents and great grandparents (not to mention the Halloween candy still sitting in the candy bucket on my counter). So I always looked for alternatives. I used to do goldfish and that worked great when Ellabelle was still little. However, now she’s old enough to know that that’s kinda a crummy egg find. And it won’t work on Mattie because she only wants what Ellabelle has. So we get creative. 

First things I found were marked down blind bag necklaces at Walmart. For $.25 apiece, I got 5 eggs filled for $1.25. 

Ellabelle is obsessed with Mario right now and I found two K’nex (kinda like Legos) Mario figures for her. I found Bowser and Yoshi, and those were only a $1 each. 

At Toys R Us, I found World of Nintendo Microland play pieces on clearance. They ended up being about $1 a piece for the little guys, and I know Ellabelle is going to be super excited about them. 

After Valentine’s Day, Kroger had their Valentine’s sets of Shopkins on sale. There’s nothing Valentine’s about them except the box the came in. Ellabelle has been asking for some for a while. So I grabbed a bunch of those because they ended up being about $.37 each. Both girls love the ones I gave them early (they were multiples), and I know they’re gonna love that the bunny knew to bring them. 

Before I had found all these items out in the wild, I found these adorable little plastic dogs and cats on Amazon. They come in a 12 pack which puts them at about $.40 apiece. I ordered the dogs because they were listed at a clearance price, and the cats weren’t. I was planning on going back and ordering the cats closer to Easter, but I found the Shopkins instead. 

I also found a My Little Pony hair bow and a 4 set of rings for $.50 each at Walmart. Bracelets for each of them, and rabbit suckers. 


So, ultimately, it may be cheaper to buy the candy, but, if you’re smart about it and look for deals, you can still snag alternatives without spending a fortune. 

And now to the main attraction: BASKETS. 

I waited on getting Ellabelle a nice basket. I knew we were going to have at least two kids, and I wanted matching baskets. So once we found out that our tater tot was a girl, I finally got to get my nice baskets for the girls. They’re white with pastel gingham and I added bows (they’re actually hair bow I found in the girls section of Walmart 😂) and little initial eggs. I love these baskets. And I love filling them with goodies. 

We’re not buying as much this year, but Josh says it looks like I still went overboard. I can never win with him. After Christmas, Target had a great sale on DC Superhero Girls. With buy 1, get 1, I did just that. We gave Mattie a Wonder Woman doll back in January, and the bunny is going to bring her Supergirl. She’s also recently really been into playing with Ellabelle’s My Little Ponys, but big sister doesn’t like to share. So I found her one of her own on eBay. 


She has a jellycat bunny she got last Christmas and a pig she got for Valentine’s Day, and she loves both. So I found a large puppy one for almost the same price as a regular sized one. It’s personalized for her. (Her bunny’s ear says Matilda; the puppy’s says Mattie). 

She’ll also get a new pack of pacifiers which will probably be her favorite thing. 

In Ellabelle’s basket, you’ll find a stuffed Bowser. She’s been using her beanie baby cats as a replacement lately. She was ready to upgrade to an actual bad guy. She also got a Cat Peach. She’s obsessed with cats and Mario and specifically her Cat Mario, Cat Luigi, and Cat Toad toys. They don’t make a plastic figure version of Cat Peach yet so I was lucky I found a plush one. 


She’s also got a Batgirl sling shot (got it on clearance for $2.49 at Target!) and a Supergirl flyer (which was also clearanced at Target – I just can’t remember how much). 

I also found pizza bronzer and lip balm (luckily it’s actually grape flavored) at Justice. 


And she’s gonna flip over her pink glitter bath bomb I got off etsy. She’s been wanting bath bombs for a while, like she cried when we walked past a Lush, and this one is going to be a hit. 


Since we’re leaving for the beach about two weeks after Easter, the bunny is bringing us a beach basket. It’s all stuff we have to buy anyways, but he’s gonna get credit for it. It’s also going to be a scavenger hunt. The eggs will have clues to all kinds of places. And that silly bunny, well, he’s not just staying at our house. He’ll be at Oma’s and brunch and back to our house where the basket will magically have appeared while we’re gone. It’s going to have seashell bags, swimsuits, sunglasses, a sandcastle set, and a special mermaid outfit for each girl. The bunny is going to make sure we are ready to vacay! 

I’m really hoping that the bunny can make up for Santa this year. I know my girls will love the hunt regardless. I just want to make sure they have the best memories of holidays, and I worry so much about making the details perfect. I can’t wait for curlers and dresses and watching my girls run around together. It will definitely be a memory for me. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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!

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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:

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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

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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.

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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

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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!
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Great Grandma with her namesake and EB
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with Auntie Ang
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4 generations

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

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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

Busy July

July is always crazy busy for us. From beginning to end, there seems to be something always going on. This year, the month started with an event in downtown Hamilton called “Alive after 5!” It was superhero themed so the girls got to dress up, IMG_7368 and Ellabelle loved spending time with “her boys.”

First picture as a family of 4
First picture as a family of 4

Then came Independence Day which is always been a big deal for my family. IMG_7346

It’s a day filled with fun and whimsy at the Northside Parade followed by good food and company until dark where there are usually fireworks to close out the night. This year was Ellabelle’s first year to really experience and enjoy the parade. She was still a little too young to really get into it last year. She just knew it was loud and there was music she could dance to. This year she did pretty good at grabbing candy out of the street and enjoying the sights. IMG_7349-0 IMG_7347-0 Mattie was obviously too young to really enjoy it – being just shy of 6 weeks. We kept her in the shade, and she slept for the most part. IMG_7348

After that, we went to a family friends house. The evening there ended in fireworks which Mattie hated so Josh took her inside. Ellabelle soon joined them because she screamed and shook every time a firework exploded. IMG_7343IMG_7344  They watched Captain America instead which made Ellabelle very happy. IMG_7345

My cousin was in town so we went to a family gathering at Oma and Opa’s house on the 6th. Mattie got to meet her middle namesake and Great Grandma for the the first time.

Matilda Gayle and Virginia Gayle (Oma shares the middle name too)
Matilda Gayle and Virginia Gayle (Oma shares the middle name too)
4 generations
4 generations

Ellabelle got to run around and play with her older cousins. IMG_7337

Auntie Ang’s birthday is the 6th, but we went out to Outback to celebrate on the 7th. IMG_7334

I had my 6 week postpartum doctors appointment on the 10th and was cleared to get back into living. Lol. I can exercise and swim and lift Ellabelle again. That was a huge relief.

The next week was busy because, between Josh and I taking a city test in the middle of the day, there was party prep to be done. On the 18th, we went to the little one of Ellabelle’s boys birthday party. He turned four, and we went fossil hunting. Both daddy and Ellabelle loved it. IMG_6299 Daddy enjoyed looking for fossils, and Ellabelle enjoyed dumping out the bucket of fossils and putting sand and dirt in it instead. IMG_6311

The next day was Super Bees birthday party! IMG_6357

It was a huge mess because it was suppose to be at a water playground, but it was thundering and lightening the whole drive there. The park wasn’t even open yet and the manager told us it was likely it wouldn’t open. So after being told twice that we had to wait and see, I sent Josh up to talk to her, and we got our money refunded. We called everyone and had them meet us at a park by our house instead. It wasn’t at all what I pictured for her birthday. We told people who were from out of town not to come so we didn’t get to see them. It was hot and, of course, the sun came out about an hour after we got to the playground. However, Ellabelle had a blast playing on the playground, and, as far as she was concerned, it was a great party. I mean, it’s not often that all her favorite people are all together at once. IMG_6360 IMG_6367 IMG_6378

Then on that following Monday (the 20th), I had a job interview with the city for parking. It went horribly. However, I didn’t really want the job so maybe it was a good thing that it sucked so bad. Josh keeps telling me it was good practice for the next interview that really matters. Still, I like to be the best at things (ok, maybe everything) and not being picked so I could turn them down kinda stung a little.

Wednesday the 22nd was the biggest day of the month (IMO) – Super Bee turned 3! IMG_6479

I took Ellabelle out for her birthday somewhere special. I feel like it’s really important to have her know that this day is just as important to me as it is to her. So, I took her to Jumpzone in Florence. It’s a room filled with inflated jump houses and slides. 247107_10100982055784640_8631401270864668736_nShe had a blast. She loved the big slide. 11760324_10100982055849510_5515973536734133020_n

I was proud of her for going up and down all on her own because I figured she’d be too chicken. She insisted on going in a maze jump house, and she got stuck. She was screaming and crying and she smacked some kid in the face all while I couldn’t see her. Luckily, another mom noticed my panic and sent in her 8 year old to retrieve her. Once she was out, it took a little calming down, and we left. I had to wear Mattie the whole time and she was getting hot and I couldn’t really help Ellabelle climb up into things. So hindsight it wasn’t the best place to take a 2 month old and a 3 year old, but all Ellabelle seems to remember is the video of her laughing down the slide. 11700836_10100982055894420_2604684544595066686_n

After that, I got Ellabelle “nuggies” from McDonald’s, and we took Mattie to daddy’s work. Josh watched Mattie while I took Ellabelle down to Smale Park on the river. It is gorgeous down there, and Ellabelle had a blast in the fountains. imageimageimage She didn’t want to leave. However, we did eventually go home (after picking Mattie back up) and that night we went out for dinner with Oma and Opa and Auntie Ang at LaRosas because Ellabelle loves pizza! imageWe got Graeters on the way home to end a perfect birthday.

Since Ellabelle had a cookie at her birthday dinner and ice cream afterwards, we did her cake on the 23rd. image image She loved it because momma came through with the promised Opa blue cake with pink icing. image

The 25th we went to Newport, KY to Joe’s Crab Shack for Alex’s birthday. image Ellabelle had a blast spending time with her older cousin, and it was Mattie’s first trip to Kentucky. Then we took Ellabelle to Smale again. image image image Mattie even got in on the fun for a little bit. image Josh told me, “I’m glad you make me do things. I thought this was going to be awful,  and it was really fun.” Well, that’s my job.

The 28th was Opa’s birthday, and, since Oma was out of town in California, Auntie Ang and I wanted to take him out to celebrate. He, in turn, ended up adding another 5 people to the mix which was totally ok because he deserved a big turn out, and it was fun to have so many more people to celebrate our Opa. image

We closed out the month on July 31st with a visit to the place where this crazy life of ours all started – Northern Kentucky University. IMG_7191 Josh and I met here back in 2006 while we were both attending. It was so special to get to bring the girls here and share a part of our history with them. The campus is just beautiful, and they’ve done a lot of work since we were last here. IMG_7163

It was also fun to relive some old memories with my big kid. IMG_7227 IMG_7229

I also took the opportunity to let Ellabelle feed some of the campus ducks. She was very overwhelmed by their interest in the crackers she had and a little too slow – one of them managed to snap the cracker right out of her fingers! IMG_7215 She insists she doesn’t like ducks anymore because one “bite” her. lol

We also managed to find time to track down a few All-Star Game mustaches around town. 11755781_10100982058509180_1665827088653351765_n11760198_10100976165723370_402389492743174508_n 10986650_10100976166182450_7948083577032710314_n 11751725_10100984590465120_3212464898958661716_n11745898_10100984590510030_110127275082880717_n

Oh, and did I mention that on top of all of this, we’ve been potty training. Yes, our crazy Baby Bee is staying dry almost all day and most nights and has been promoted to big girl panties! She’s so proud, and so are we.

August is looking a little more calm which will be a welcomed change. Don’t get me wrong.  I love how crazy busy we are when those crazy busy days are with and in celebration of the people we love. But quiet is good also. image

Spring is finally here!

Spring is my favorite season.

Sweet smelling flowers IMG_2084_2

gentle breezes IMG_1581_2

warm sunshine IMG_1637 

bare toddler feet IMG_2072_2

sidewalk chalk and bubbles IMG_1390_2

and Easter dresses IMG_1925_2

Oh easter dresses. We realized that Auntie Ang’s fancy dress from way back in the day would fit my little demon and, so, of course, we had to put her in it. And she was beyond adorable (IMO). IMG_1932

We had our usual two easters. The week before Easter we had Fake Easter with my mom’s family. Ellabelle hunted eggs and stole peeps when she thought mom and dad weren’t paying attention. IMG_1551 IMG_1552 IMG_1553

Then on actual easter, of course the Easter bunny brought her eggs. She’s still a little confused on who the Easter bunny is. She kept saying Santa was going to bring her eggs. She sorta got it by the time Easter actually arrived. IMG_1818 IMG_1829

We bought her this ridiculous duck last year after Easter on clearance. I forgot just how big this thing is! It’s ridiculous, and I don’t know what I was thinking. He’s camping out on the end of her bed now. IMG_1847_2

And the night before we planted magic jelly beans again. IMG_1726 IMG_1738 IMG_1740_2

She thinks all jelly beans are called “magic beans” now. They grew overnight into lollipops, of course. IMG_1843_2 IMG_1844

She did so much better at hunting eggs this year. She had a blast and we managed to keep her from opening them as she found them unlike last year. IMG_1838 IMG_1879 IMG_1840

We also went to brunch with Oma, Opa, and Auntie Ang. IMG_1974 IMG_1945 IMG_1961_2

And hunted eggs the Easter bunny left at Oma and Opa’s IMG_1979_2 IMG_1981

and colored eggs as well. She only broke two of them this year. IMG_1986 IMG_1988 IMG_1992

***

Spring also means the start of the rollerderby season. We’ve been to family day and the first two games of the season. Ellabelle loves watching derby as much as we do it seems. Or maybe it’s just all the junk food she gets to eat while she’s there. But she’s started telling us she “play girls” as in playing for the rollergirls. And I’m a-ok with that. Hopefully, she’ll be cleared to ride a bike and rollerskate and go on playgrounds next week when she has her checkup for her leg. IMG_1751 IMG_1805_2 IMG_1747

***

And now, a Baby M update:

How far along? 33 weeks and 4 days

Total weight gain/lost: not sure – I’ve gained 2lbs since my last appointment which is good (about a pound a week). I checked my scale to see what I weighed the last time I weighed myself on it and I’m still 5lbs under the heaviest I was not pregnant.

Maternity clothes? I love my few pieces and wish I had embraced them last time around too!

Stretch marks? Not any new ones

Best moment of the week: I’m just taking it day by day because how I feel varies from moment to moment

Missing anything? Meat. Sometimes I can sneak a few pieces in, but she realizes what it is and freaks out.

Movement? Yep

Cravings: fruit, smoothies, and sweets

Anything making you queasy or sick? meat

Have you started to show? definitely look pregnant at this point

Labor signs? Braxton hicks 😦

Belly button in or out? in

Wedding ring on or off? off – my hands and feet swell daily

Mood: varies from moment to moment – so don’t mess with me 😉 

***

I hope everyone had a very happy Easter! Hopefully, these April showers will get over with and we can move onto the May flowers…and a new baby! IMG_1828

The day of love <3

Here’s the thing. I love love. I think the world needs a lot more of it. I think it conquers all. I truly believe that Beatles were right when they sang, “All you need is love.”

And February 14th is a day created to celebrate all the love in our lives. Sure, it’s morphed into a horrible, money obsessed, Hallmark holiday, but the core of the day is still there.

As a kid, I liked Valentine’s Day. You made cards for the whole class and everyone got a valentine. Then in the 4th grade, they quit making us give the entire class cards, and I began hating the holiday. It was just another popularity contest in my opinion. It made me sad cause I hardly got any cards from anyone. Then in high school it became about what your boyfriend sent you at school and date dances which made me feel like a complete loser because I never had a boyfriend or a date to dances. In college, I had a boyfriend and we did the gifts and stuff and it was great. It was nice to know I had a valentine for the day. For Valentine’s 2010, Josh even went as far as to buy me a puppy for Valentine’s Day. Maisy will remain the greatest valentine gift I’ve ever received.

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But still, I don’t know, it’s never been a holiday that I get all giddy about. Until, Valentine’s Day 2013. Yes, it’s just another thing that’s changed since I’ve become a mom. I love Valentine’s Day now that I have a little valentine. I get to dress her up each year and make Valentine’s with her each year and share sweets with her.

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The thing about this holiday now that I’m a mom is I realize it isn’t about getting the flowers or diamond from a boy. It’s about love. My world has been grounded back into the true meaning of the holiday. This is a whole day dedicated to feeling and sharing the greatest gift anyone can ever have – to love and be loved. There is nothing more important than that. It’s hard having a toddler who destroys the living room you just cleaned on a daily basis and who doesn’t understand inside voices yet. It’s hard having a spouse who’s gone for 10 hours a day. It’s hard to remember to stop and pet the dog or cat between baths and books and bedtime. Its hard not to just give your husband a quick peck on cheek and go to sleep at night.

And so, on the calendar, there is a day – a day I mark with a heart every year and then I go through and add birthdays. It’s a whole day dedicated to remembering why you do the things you do day in and day out. To remember that you love that loud singing toddler who’s kicking toys at the sleeping cat more than anything else on this planet. A day to stop and snuggle the puppy and to let the cat lounge by your head in bed. A day to spend dinner with your husband talking to each other about whatever you want because there’s no toddler in a high chair to have to try and keep happy at the table. It’s a day to stop and be thankful for the ones you love and be even more thankful for the ones who love you. Granted, it’s something you should stop and do that every day, but life, unfortunately, gets in the way of that more often than not. So I love that little reminder on the calendar each February.

I hope everyone out there had a wonderful Valentine’s Day! I know I did. I’m gonna focus on trying to bring the hearts and love into my life more often. Cause “love is all you need.”

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Love/Hate with Fall

I really dislike fall. I hate that the warm breezes of late summer switch over to cold winds. I hate that I have to start wearing shoe instead of the flip flops I lived in all summer. I hate that the heat has to be turned on. I hate that I freeze on my hands and feet and sweat every where else. I hate that there are leaves all over my yard and that I have to listen to my husband complain about the no leaves in the yard rule where we live. And, most of all, I hate pumpkin. I hate the smell and the taste and what seems to be everyones love affair with it.

But I don’t hate fall. Like I said, I just really dislike it.

And why just the dislike when there’s so much to hate?

This is why: IMG_3113

Oh, and colorful leaves on trees IMG_2520

And leaves in piles to play inIMG_3226

The breast cancer walk and the boobie hat’s one time a year appearanceIMG_0894

Pumpkin patches complete with corn mazes and hay rides. It was freezing this year, but she loved it. IMG_2440 IMG_2450 IMG_2465

Pumpkins because, even though I hate the taste and smell, I still love picking one out and carving them…IMG_2266 even if someone else doesn’t. IMG_2272

Halloween IMG_2754 IMG_2695

x3 this year. We went to her babysitters halloween party, Ikea trick or treating, and regular trick or treating. It rained bad this year so we got to go to two houses before she was wet. Fotor1202101531So she spent Halloween in the warm house clad in a diaper watching The Lorax and drinking a sippy. She was much happier that way. IMG_2733Oh, and she’s in love with lollipops

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Ugg boots IMG_3328

Bengals football (some of us just aren’t into the games) IMG_3643

ThanksgivingIMG_4160My little turkey was precious in her outfit I made her.

Scotlynn and Ellabelle - 2nd cousins about 6 weeks apart
Scotlynn and Ellabelle – 2nd cousins about 6 weeks apart

She loved crawling around and exploring and actually interacted with some of the other kids a little bit.

And the best part of fall? It becomes winter (another love hate relationship there) which leads to Christmas. 

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Happy beginning of December, everyone!