Eight Month Letter

To My Fast Mover Vaughn Emerson,

Last night you started to climb the stairs.  How is this possible?!?!  I wasn’t ready for this until sometime around your first birthday, I’ll definitely have to start employing the gate on the stairs now.  You also pull up on the couch and have taken a step or two to the side.  You have yet to crawl with your knees, but are a very fast army crawler.  The crib was lowered this month due to you pulling up on the sides and leaning over.  I caught you sitting up many times, but yesterday was the first day I actually saw you go from lying down to sitting up.  You started playing peek-a-boo regularly this month and also have waved back at us a few times.  Your wave is so cute I can barely handle it.  You are insanely attached to me, like all day long you have to be able to see me and usually need to be touching me.  If I’m in the room pretty much no one else can be holding you because you cry for me.  I want to be annoyed by this, but it is pretty sweet really.  You still love to swing and Ellery absolutely loves to push you, you and Elle are really forming a sweet relationship; eskimo kissing, pretend play (especially Ellery pretending to put you down for nap), playing with toys together, and Ellery just never wanting to do anything without you.  This obsession you have with each other landed you with the virus Ellery had and while it was a little bit sad I was kinda in heaven that you took naps on me and snuggled me in the night, which hasn’t happened in months.  At the beginning of the month you cut your bottom two teeth and now are able to eat more things.  You definitely love food, and the only thing so far you have hated was potatoes.  You have the loudest voice I have just about ever heard from a baby, it seriously sounds like it’s fake when you happy scream talk.  This month we have consistently had 12 hour stretches of sleep at night which has basically transformed my life, I feel completely human again.  Let’s hope this continues forever!!!  You also consistently take 2 two hour naps and nurse just 4 times a day, which pretty much boils down to you being a fantastic baby.  Goodness we love having you in our family and I’m just so glad I get to be your mama.

Love you forever,



Don’t Knock it Till You Try it


6 years ago when my brother and sister-in-law were pregnant with their first baby they got a Babycook and I honestly thought, seriously….what a waste of money!  At the time I think they were over $200 and I just didn’t understand why you wouldn’t just use a food processor, make big batches and freeze them.  And then my sister-in-law asked if I wanted to borrow the Babycook for making Vaughn’s food and I decided I’d give it a try.  Ok, kinda love it!!  I hate dislike cooking, I particularly do not enjoy making baby food/ or feeding babies food.  I decided we were going to do baby led weaning and honestly didn’t intend to do purees and then we became too familiar with baby suppositories and I decided purees and table food should be given in tandem.  The first week of buying baby food packets I realized that making the food was the only way I was going to be able to afford this second child.  She ate about 2 packets per sitting and at $1.40 each that made for a $8.40 day of food packets give or take.  Calculate that out over a month and it’s literally over half of our food budget per month, yowzas.  Now I understand why people say kids are expensive.  So now about once or twice a week I cook 3 or 4 items and feed her those and table food for at least lunch and dinner, saving us a TON of money.  I still buy a few packets, because helloooo convenience food, and I’ve also found that prune puree is just easier to buy.  For some reason this little babycook has turned one of my most dreaded mom chores into something I find a little bit fun and it’s so easy to clean.  I really wish I had had this with Ellery since we did all purees for a good bit, but better late than never and as I have found many times during my motherhood journey….judgement is silly! Don’t knock it till you try it, I’m a babycook believer.  So if you are registering for your first baby make sure to add this, and if you are on your last baby try to find one for resale somewhere!

-And while I wish someone was paying me to advertise for them, they are not, I just really like this gadget!


Today I went down to work while the girls were both having nap/quiet time.  While the house is on the market I’m sharing the office space with Andrew.  I sat down and went to scoot the chair up and the metal leg of the chair landed on a couple of my toes.  The pain was excruciating, like unable to speak, hard labor breathing, tears and I may have had some sobs come out.  Andrew kept saying, “are you ok?, is this as bad as labor, etc.”  I just couldn’t even talk it hurt so bad.  I went upstairs, came back down and Andrew said, “that must have really hurt!”  Before kids he probably would have said something like, “was it really that bad?” but after watching me labor unmedicated for like 18 hours he knows that I’m not a stranger to pain, just another perk of an epidural free birth, no questioning me and my reaction to pain for the rest of my life!

The House We’ve Called Home

Before I post all these pictures I want to remind you that we staged this house before the pictures.  This is how we are living right now, but TYPICALLY there are toys strewn about and dishes in the sink, sometimes you can’t see my countertops because they are so piled with things that “don’t have a home,” you get the idea, this is not at all how we live day to day, but since this blog is very much my journal to look back on in years to come I decided I wanted to post some of our house pictures.  This is the house we’ve called our home for the past 2 years.  A lot of work went into this one.  Praying it sells quickly and to a family that will greatly enjoy raising their kids in this place.

house frontEntrykitchenFamily Roomdiningliving roomMastermaster bathguest roomEllery's RoomVaughn's RoomKids BathBasementback yard We got all our projects done except the floors, that was the next item on our list we were saving for.  I would have loved to see this house totally complete, but we took it very far from where it was….maybe someday soon I’ll find those pictures and post them.  I will miss this backyard and all the late night conversations with friends that have taken place here, hoping our next place has a fabulous backyard and we are able to create many new memories.  Hoping to very soon update you that we have sold this house and we can buy the house I have my heart set on, we’ll see!!  And if you want to see our last house, just click on the our home tab underneath this post, I seriously changed the colors this time around!

All pictures done by Kelly at Look 2 Home Marketing, she was fantastic!!


To My Potty Trained Girl

To My Potty Trained Ellery Wynn,
We did it!  You are officially potty trained.  Compared to what people say on the internet we had a tough go of this whole thing.  Compared to my expectations we had a super easy time!  It took a little over a month before I felt like we can really go just about anywhere and I don’t worry about you having an accident.  I would say we probably have an accident about once a week, but those accidents are things like we are playing at the park, you need to go and realize too late and there isn’t a bathroom nearby so I don’t really blame you for that!  I am not going to into the gory details because this is the internet, just know that I am super proud of you and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had pictured it in my mind.  This milestone is definitely one of the ones that has made you seem so much older.  Perhaps it’s that you no longer don the diaper bubble bum, or that it just ads to the list of things that you do that adults do, but it’s making me really try to focus on these years that I have you at home with me.  This fall you will be starting preschool and going THREE days a week.  It’s just 4 hours a day, but I have felt extremely conflicted about this.  On the one hand it will allow me more time to work and a little more time with Vaughn, but on the other hand I’m losing 12 hours a week with you, and 12 of the best hours a week with you because you are typically super pleasant until lunch time.  I think you are going to LOVE school, you love learning, reading, painting, coloring, doing art projects, doing activities, and you really like having time to play outside.  My prayers are focused on you making a couple little friends at school.  Up until this point you have been a bit of a loner (and I don’t mean that at all in a bad way).  You enjoy playing by yourself and your imagination is amazing.  I love listening to you pretend, except of course when you pretend to be me and repeat exactly what I’ve said, especially how I’ve disciplined you….makes me cringe a little.  You play pretty well with all of our adult friends, but haven’t quite clicked with kids your age, everyone tells me this comes with getting older and I think you’ll settle in just fine and have some good friends this school year.  You are so much like me that it’s scary, yet look so not like me that it’s a fun mix of me and daddy.  Speaking of Daddy, you decided over the past six weeks to exclusively call him dada, it’s probably because we’ve been teaching Vaughn, but it’s both cute and annoying at the same time.  You have also started saying, “you know dada…, like “you know dada I don’t want to get hurt at the park.”  The other day you walked into Vaughn’s room while I was feeding her with your sunglasses on and and a bracelet and said,”well hello,” in a deep voice, I laughed so hard.  I couldn’t for the life of me figure out where you got that, and then I heard myself say it the next day and realize I say it to Vaughn all the time.  You are such a fabulous big sister and are still enjoying Vaughn so much, you talk about her a lot and want her to be with us all the time.  We went through a TERRIBLE phase with bedtime and obedience and it was just awful, and then daddy started traveling a ton less and your behavior got a ton better.  So although bedtime still takes at least a full 30 minutes it’s so much more enjoyable and it involves so much less screaming.  The quirkiest thing about you is although you’ve never lived in Boston, you like to speak with a Bostonish accent.  I think you picked it up from listening to the recorded books that Nana and Grampy made you, but you say, “oh my wuhd, and oh my stahs, and neya or fah,” it’s pretty hilarious really.  I’m often struck by your beauty and sweetness and I’m so glad we are on the other side of a very challenging phase, I have a feeling year three is going to be really great!
Love you forever,
Thanks to Adam for this sweet picture!

Thanks to Adam for this sweet picture!


I Can’t Believe it Either


So it’s time to break my silence, it’s time to finally let you all in on what’s been going on in our lives and if you’ve known me for any length of time then you will be shocked when I tell you…..we are moving back to Austin.  Yeah I can’t believe it either.  I’m PRETTY sure at some point I said, “I will NEVER move back to Austin.”  Well as I’ve learned you should never say never.  If you recall I didn’t exactly love living in Austin, and when I say I didn’t really love it that’s putting it mildly.  The first year we lived there we made a focused effort on loving Austin, in fact I started a blog series called Operation Love Austin.  I guess I’ll be starting that back up again.  It didn’t work the first time, but if at first you don’t succeed try try again, right?!?!

So why in the World are we moving back to Austin?  Dr. Campbell got a promotion and working remote has become near impossible.  Which means he commutes cross country which has become super hard on our little family.  His travel has substantially slowed down for the summer and Ellery’s behavior has in turn substantially improved.  We all miss that man too much to choose to live apart from him.

I’ve had since January to process this, and 6 months in I can say I’m not completely dreading it.  I’ve had quite some time to convince myself that it can and will be better this time.  This is not to say that I’m not going to miss Peoria terribly, because honestly I really love where we live.  We have a fantastic church, great friends, and a fabulous neighborhood.  Not to mention we just had the best small group experience of our married life this past season, Lord please let us have another group like that soon, so life giving!  I also absolutely loved living so close to my parents and having the ability to work at my office every other week while my mom took care of my littles.

I am choosing to have hope this time.  We are making some changes this move that will hopefully give us a better Austin experience.  We are planning to live in a different area, join  a different church, and things will already be different because we have two kids and one of them is starting preschool which means we’ll likely meet some people that way.

So I’m going to accentuate the positive, I spent the two years we lived there accentuating the negative and that got me nowhere.  Here are some things I’m looking forward to:  living close to my siblings and nephews again,  living close to a few of my girlfriends and my kids growing up with their kids, I miss the food there (looking forward to a lot of the food ), I look forward to 93.3 KGSR-finally a good radio station again, and last (but certainly not least) I’m really excited about joining the new Grace Vineyard Church plant-church was kind of the hardest part of living there last time.

So our house is on the market and now we just wait to see when our next phase will begin!  I’ll keep you somewhat updated on the process as we know more.  I’ve been so MIA on this blog, mostly because house projects and work consumed all my waking non-kid hours.  Goodness I’m glad to be done with the house!!


Can We Talk About the Naked Guy?

pitch perfect

And that question is precisely why we do our best to not watch television with our children in the room (besides PBS kids and netflix kids stuff).  The other night we were hanging out with friends and Ellery was playing with blocks on the floor.  It was nearing bedtime and we were thinking about watching a movie so we were going through netflix and watching movie trailers.  We came across pitch perfect and although we’d seen it before we decided to watch the trailer just for fun.  I didn’t even think Ellery was paying all that much attention.  There is a shower scene in the preview and it’s two girls singing a song and then a guy comes around the corner and says, “you have a lovely voice.”  We go upstairs for bed and not only does she repeat some of Rebel Wilson’s lines (that she heard ONE time), but then she said, “Mama can we talk about the naked guy?”  Um, excuse me?  Did my sweet little two year old ask to talk about a naked guy that she just saw…..wow!  She said, “yeah the guy that was in the shower and opened the curtain?”  I did my best to downplay it and said something to the effect that, “hmm he really shouldn’t have been in the shower with those girls”, but that was a good wake up call for me.  Our kids are absorbing every image, every word, every feeling  that we are putting out there.  What little sponges we live with…….as if parenting wasn’t hard enough.