Meet Wynnie


We welcomed our second baby girl, Wynnie Mae into the world last Monday, May 11th at 12:27pm. She weighed in at 8 lb 7 oz, 21 1/4 inches, which are shocking statistics given her older sister’s 5lb 15 oz (although Wynnie had an extra 2 weeks of growing time!)

Wynnie’s arrival was a stark contrast to Evie’s (which I wrote about here), and in many ways, it was very much of an ideal birth experience for me, in as much as I could hope for one.

Last prego photo before heading to the hospital.

Last pregnancy photo before heading to the hospital.

My doctor and I decided that a planned c-section was the way to go. The practice is supportive of women choosing to do a VBAC if the correct cocktail of circumstances presents themselves. Turns out, I was a good candidate since I had never actually gone into labor with Evie, but after discussing the options and weighing the pros and cons both from a physical health standpoint for me and baby, but also a mental health standpoint for myself, this was the best choice. I will share that when the doctor asked if I was thinking VBAC or scheduled c-section, my response was “What is option C?” Neither one is particularly appealing, and if you ask me, while bringing a child into the world is an incredible miracle and experience, there is nothing glamorous about it.

When you have a c-section, your hub gets to dress up in this Ebola outfit.

When you have a c-section, your hub gets to dress up in this Ebola outfit.

I was particularly thankful when my delivery date arrived because not only had I made it without going into labor, but I had also made it without a relapse of the preeclampsia that I had suffered from with Evie. And by making it to that date, I was able to plan and prepare – something that is a rare luxury when it comes to pregnancy and delivery, and something I considered to be a part of my ideal birth plan.




For me, planning meant the following:

Parents arrived the night before in order to stay with Evie while we were at the hospital. Evie absolutely adores her Gaga and Green Run/Grandad, so I didn’t worry one bit about her.

I spent the weekend pampering myself with a prenatal massage, mani-pedi, and a blowout so that Wynnie would be really impressed when she first saw her mama. Poor Evie probably arrived and was like “Are you serious? Ew.” I even did my makeup that morning, and I think it really helped me approach the day as a happy event (which it obviously is) rather than a scary surgery.

I emailed our Monsignor who met us at the hospital prior to surgery to pray with us and administer the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick. At first, this may seem like a morbid act: to have a priest arrive to the hospital and bless you in the event that something goes wrong, but it actually brought me incredible comfort and peace that if you ask the hub, is highly unlike me when it comes to anything medical.

Otherwise, things went according to plan, again, something that is a rarity when it comes to delivery. I did nearly faint when they drew blood (but I blame that on the no eating/drinking policy), but apart from that, was really thankful for the calm morning leading up to surgery. I had the nicest nurse on earth prepping me for surgery, and an incredible surgical team that you get to know since you are awake and hanging out with them for a good 35-45 minutes. For example, I can tell you all about my Dr.’s daughter, her job prospects, etc. if you’re interested ;)


Meanwhile, we are doing really well at home. I feel like my recovery has been much faster this time, and fortunately having the help of my parents AND the hub definitely helps with that. Evie is warming up to her sister. She is petrified that Wynnie is going to take one of her beloved bunnies, but besides that, can be found either ignoring Wynnie all together or screaming throughout the house “I LOVE BABY WYNNIE!” or “HI, BABY WYNNIE! HI!” I’ll take it.


As for her name, I like to have some reason or justification for how we chose it. First, it was the ONLY name that Ryan and I even remotely agreed upon, which means it must be the right name. But a few things pointed me personally in that direction. First, I came across this website as I searched for “Victorian Era Names” which I tend to like. It listed “Evie” as one of the names, and a bit further down the list we saw “Winnie”. I looked up the meaning of Winnie (because we can’t have any weird meanings) and found “holy peacemaking, gentle friend” which seemed to suit a child of ours perfectly. Another meaning read “fair one; white and smooth”, which for anyone who knows us and our reputations for being pale, also seemed to suit us perfectly. Finally, in the midst of the naming journey, I noticed that a fellow classmate of mine had named her daughter Wynnie  with the Y, and that sealed the deal. I felt good that if Wynnie wanted to be CEO of a company one day, she could shorten her name to Wynn to be more professional. But in the meantime, she’s our Wynnie. (I have no explanation for Mae. Ryan liked it since day one, and I thought it went well with Wynnie.)



And there we have it. Family of four. So blessed, so thankful, and already, so so tired. ;)










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My advice to myself as an almost mother of two


My flower collecting flowers: one of her new favorite hobbies since her recent boycott of the stroller, which is perfect timing...:/

My flower collecting flowers: one of her new favorite hobbies since her recent boycott of the stroller, which is perfect timing…:/

Home stretch. Finally. Makes me think back to high school track when our coach always told us the 3rd quarter of the race was the hardest, because by the time you reach the last quarter, the end is in sight. And it is. Praise the Lord Jesus.

Less than 4 weeks to go, and I find myself slowing down and taking some time to daydream and reflect since I anticipate having very little time to do that in just a few weeks. It’s a good reminder of what to keep in mind as I enter round 2 in the journey of motherhood, and I figured I might as well share with you.

First, we haven’t seen baby girl since week 19 and there is a part of me that can’t help but wonder “Everything ok in there?”I assume it is based on the extreme amount of kung fu taking place in my abdomen at all hours of the day, but also a good reminder that there is nothing I can do anyways, and I take refuge in the fact that I am not in control. I just say lots of prayers for a healthy baby, but remind myself that whatever God has in His plans for us, I must accept. As I read after Evie’s difficult and exhausting arrival into the world, Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Second, I will do a much better job of accepting help this round. I am preparing an army of family, friends, and babysitters to pitch in because it takes a village. And I still haven’t gotten my award for being the martyr and doing everything myself last time. Apparently, there isn’t one. In fact, not even a single person gave me props for doing it myself, so I ask you, why would I do that? Crazy. Don’t do it, new mothers. Don’t do it.

Third, I am going to have to make decisions that are no longer best for Evie, but are now, best for our family. And I expect that means that my beloved “schedule” will perhaps be sacrificed, as will my love of running around town with my 1 child. I hear that baby 2 learns to be flexible, sleep anywhere, and frankly, sounds like I need to learn that too!

Finally, I am reading Shauna Niequist’s “Savor” on an almost daily basis as it is designed (but sometimes I forget), and the most recent devotionals have talked about “Things I do” and “Things I don’t do” to organize priorities in your life. And I like that reminder. In her “Things I do” list, she talks about the obvious: faith, marriage, children, personal ambitions, interests, but I particularly liked her “Things I don’t do” list: blow drying her hair every day, making her bed, perfect home decor, scrapbooking. And I especially liked refusing to fill her life with people who make her feel like less than she is or who constantly judge others. Amen, Shauna.

Say some prayers for us, and I pray for all the babies, mamas, mamas to be, and especially the mamas who want to be mamas but can’t yet. xoxo

And in the spirit of accepting help, if you have any advice for me, pass it on! I’ll talk whatever I can get!










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The Good Samaritan, by Michelle Murphy

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Hey everyone,

So I have some exciting news to share, along with a shameless plug of course. Five (yes…5) years ago, I was driving to work one day, and an idea for a plot came to me. I went home and began typing away, starting with the ending first, and five years later, I have a finished novel available for your reading pleasure on Amazon. I opted only for the Kindle version, so unfortunately, I cannot provide you with an autographed copy ;) But I will be happy to take a picture with you and your kindle to add to your virtual scrapbook!

I have never considered myself a writer, but I really enjoyed the journey of writing this book. I loved the process of “creating” something, of connecting the sub-plots together, and having the chance to send a message, and the overall challenge. It is definitely a time-consuming task, and I found that I had to be in the right state of mind (and time and place!) to really get things down. Thank goodness for Word! I have no idea how people wrote coherent books with paper/pen only! And I had to keep up with my own plot. If I let too much time pass, I had to re-read everything to see where I was and start again. Finally, I told myself that I had to get it finished and published before baby #2 arrived, so there we have it.

To make your search easier, you can access the book here. Meanwhile, here is the plot summary:

Izzy, entering her senior year at a private school in Virginia, had always done everything right. She excelled in sports, academics, friendships, and she even managed to resist the multiple opportunities to give in to peer pressure. So when she met a new student, Luke, quickly known for his apathy and lack of energy, poor academics, and poor choices on the weekends, she decided to look past appearances and step in and tutor him rather than join in on the judgment along with her classmates. 

Meanwhile, as her senior year progressed, she became more and more aware of the one thing she had not managed to accomplish in high school: having a romantic relationship, and it didn’t seem that her crush, Greg, had any idea that she existed. So she decided that she was going to have to make a few changes in order to be noticed. Just as she had worked so hard to get Luke to end the “too cool for school” façade and make the most of his many talents, she started to sabotage her own academic success in order to play the “pretty girl” role that she thought would finally win Greg’s attention. Little did she know that the student she set out to convince to ignore labels and just be himself would be the one to teach her about being herself, and would even save her life when his was the one that so desperately needed saving. 



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Things people assume you should know as a new mom

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I was struggling with what to call this post. It sounds like things that people get mad at you for not knowing as a new mom, which granted, is a lot, but still, annoying to be reminded of. Really, it is meant to be about the things that no one told you! And with lots of friends expecting this spring, I have been talking about a few things that no one told me, but luckily, I figured out by constantly texting my mama friends. So wanted to share what I learned with you. Remember- just coming from another mama here. I’m not a doctor or a pediatrician!! And other mamas- chime in!

1. Getting your whooping cough vaccine! Most ob/gyn’s will offer this to the new mom close to your delivery date (which some people refuse b/c it is still a fairly new practice). Since babies can’t get their vaccine until their 2 month appointment, doctors have suggested that giving the mother the vaccine will help the new baby avoid pertussis until their own vaccine. Not to mention, it’s a good booster for you to have so you don’t contract pertussis. What I didn’t know was that anyone else that is in frequent contact with new baby should also have the vaccine (ie, the father, nanny). So ask your Dr. about it if you haven’t already.

2. Call your Dr. if your newborns under 8 weeks old has a rectal temperature over 100.4F. They will likely recommend that you go to ER, which is a good reason to keep these little ones away from other kids or crowded indoor areas as much as possible.

3. Our pediatrician recommended that we not give our baby under 6 months of age Motrin. Tylenol only. Once they are 6 months, they can have Motrin, which is preferred since it is processed differently and more difficult to overdose them on (but still….I am a crazy woman about dosage according to weight/age!)

4. No sunscreen or bug spray (that I have heard of) for babies under 6 months of age. Luckily, there are lots of clothes/swimsuits these days that offer UV protection.

5. Do some research on your baby carrier. You’ll notice that your newborns are really good at doing the splits, and it probably looks very uncomfortable. But it’s good for their hips. Here is an article about ensuring that their hips are being taken care of in the carseat and in the carriers.

6. Make sure you know how to buckle your infant safely into their carseat. A couple tips:

- Take them out of blankets/swaddles to buckle in. You can place a blanket over them once they are buckled. (The        royals made this mistake taking baby George home- haha!)

- The chest buckle should go high across their chest, between their baby boobies. It also keeps the straps from              falling off their shoulders. Straps should be pretty tight, but not too tight of course.

- You can take your car + carseat to a fire station where they will ensure it has been installed correctly.

- Strongly recommend that carseats are rearfacing until age 2.

7. Babies don’t really drink water until they are 1-ish (or constipated!). They get their fluids from breastmilk/formula.

8. Doctors recommend that mamas who just delivered don’t drive for 2-3 weeks depending on your recovery period. So plan accordingly. Luckily, there is amazon and instacart to bring you what you need! And I definitely had friends bring me newborn diapers b/c I didn’t realize how quickly I would run out!

9. New babies WILL pee/poop as soon as you take their diaper off. So don’t make the mistake of changing them on your white comforter or brand new carpet. In fact, we even got some disposable pads to put on her changing table to save us from washing her fabric changing pad once/day.

10. You will notice your newborn’s skin flaking or peeling in the weeks after delivery. It’s the transition from being in fluid for 40 weeks to air, and no amount of lotion will help. Trust me…I tried.

Ok, that’s all I can think of for the moment. Would love to hear what other mamas wish someone had told them!





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What I would tell new moms


There are so many new babies and new mamas in my world right now, and for some reason, I have been asked a few times what I would tell a new mom. Since I am still a new mom, I don’t necessarily feel like an expert in this area, but then again, those first few weeks are such a blur, you want to get your advice down while you remember it! So here it goes: what I would tell all of you new beautiful mamas out there.

1. Managing your visitors:

My first piece of advice would be to manage visitors. Luckily, I was on doctor’s orders to avoid visitors my first week home because of my high blood pressure. Dr.’s didn’t want anything or anyone around me getting me excited or worked up, and it was fabulous. Ryan was on paternity leave, I was still recovering, and we had the house to ourselves. We ordered takeout or ate some frozen meals I had put aside before, watched movies and seasons of Scandal, and just enjoyed our baby. It was truly glorious, and there was plenty of time for visitors to come when I had started to figure out how to care for my little Evie.

When you do have visitors, especially family, be specific. For example “I would love to see you between 2:30-3:15″ so they don’t necessarily stay all day. Or in the case of family, “We would love to have you meet Evie, and man, you are such a good cook. Maybe you could make us some meals to freeze?” Like that? At least make it very clear that you are not going to play hostess.

2. Ask for help:

This was probably my biggest mistake in my first year of motherhood. I had decided to stay home, so why oh why would I get babysitters all week long to just go and get a pedicure? I’ll tell you why: because your new “job” is 24/7!! You need some time for yourself, to recharge, and baby will be fine seeing a new face and maybe even learning some new tricks. And financially, we’re talking an extra $2000/year in childcare. Maybe less? It’s worth it. Trust me.

3. Never Say Never:

I made a lot of proclamations before I became a mother. For ex, “I will not give my baby formula in the hospital”, or “I will make all of her food at home, organic and local of course.” I just set myself up for failure basically. When that pediatrician walks into your hospital room and tells you that your newborn baby has lost too much weight and formula it is, you do it. And when you realize that instead of spending all of your free time steaming and pureeing food only to have one kind of food take up your freezer, and then find out the baby hates it, you buy the neat little squeezy pouches and reclaim your sanity. (Btw, babies only eat pureed food for about 3 months…then solids start to come in. Teeth or no teeth. Who knew?) I’m not saying you shouldn’t set goals for yourself, but just be prepared to adapt. And when that mama judges you and your formula, you just let her know that you weren’t up for starving your baby. That’s all.

And also, little side note about breastfeeding. There is this terrible infection called mastitis that I had never heard of, but happened to develop three weeks in. Basically, I woke up one morning, boob hurt, and felt like I had the flu. Tons of my friends have been victims of this sneaky little ailment as well, so learn about it, and hopefully, your Dr. will just call in a prescription rather than have you drag your 3 week old back in to receive your prescription in person.

4. Every day is a Monday:

I spent a lot of my first Sundays as a mom crying because I was beginning to realize that Sundays, as I knew them, were over, at least for the foreseeable future. Every day was a Monday: get up, and repeat the tasks from the day before. I often think of “Le Petit Prince” and his daily chores of watering his rose and cleaning the volcanoes: wake up, repeat. Of course when Ryan is home, we try to take turns at least with the wake-up part, but still. My ideal vacation right now looks a lot like me doing absolutely nothing. That would be glorious.

Don’t get me wrong though. There is a lot of fun in my day too. We hit up the zoo, aquarium, and Botanical Gardens when we can. Every non-rainy day involves at least one playground visit and walk, maybe two! We go to music class, play at Gymboree, and eat lunch with our friends. And the best part is the mandatory afternoon nap jail which forces me to take a break, stay home, and not plan anything. I wish I could tell you that I take a nap every day too, and I should, but I don’t.

5. Exercise:

I know, I know. Don’t kill me. Seems like an obvious one with an obvious question: when is that supposed to happen? I’m not saying that you should get back from the hospital and hit the treadmill (nor would your Dr. for that matter), but exercise is excellent stress relief. So the intention is not necessarily for fitness and weight management: it’s for mental health management more than anything. I walked all over the place with Evie, but when I whined to my Dr. about how overwhelmed I was feeling, she encouraged me to get back to the gym. The cardio would boost the good hormones that I needed in my body, and she was right. I went back when Evie was 6 months and found a gym with a nursery for her. The other options are of course a running stroller, online workouts (I tried this and really liked it) or the Mommy and me stroller classes. Point is, getting your heart rate up is good for you and baby, at least a few times a week.

6. Find peace amongst chaos:

I think I kept waiting for that perfect moment when Evie was asleep, all chores were done and emails were answered, dinner was bubbling on the stove, and finally I could sit down for that glass of wine. Ain’t gonna happen, at least not on a regular basis, so that cannot be my idea of “peace”. I’m reading a fabulous book right now, “Carry on, Warrior”, but she specifically talked about finding peace despite the chaos around you. In other words, don’t look to your surroundings to find peace. You have to have that option despite your environment. So true.

7. Finally, most important piece of advice if you are a BRAND NEW, still in the hospital, just had a baby mama:

Those fancy pain meds bring your digestive system to a halt, and regardless of how you delivered your baby, you don’t need that. Switch to the Ibuprofen asap, otherwise it might be enema city at your house. (I switched early on, so luckily, I am not speaking from experience, thank goodness!)

Good luck mamas, and look out for one another. Lord knows where I would be without my mama friends. xoxo

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6inthemorningside blog: Take 2


Hey everyone,

I feel like I have been starting too many blog posts lately with the opening line, “Hey! Haven’t seen me for a while! Whoops!” Truth be told, there is not a lot of creative cooking happening over here, and when there is cooking, it’s for survival. I’m talking pasta with sauce from a jar, mashed potatoes, and grilled cheese. Trying not to cook multiple meals for the family, which means they need to be Evie friendly (translation: they need to involve meat and cheese.) Didn’t think too many of those were worth sharing, at least not on a regular basis ;) .

So I’ll be taking the topics in a new direction, yet to be determined, but more along my train of thought I guess and what’s happening in the early years of motherhood, a time in my life when I have learned more that I ever imagined I would.

Hope you’ll be hearing more from me as a result, and maybe this also means I will get the camera out a little more often since it has been collecting dust since Evie’s first birthday. We did manage to get out and take some fall photos this weekend, so I will share those with you. And hopefully, I’ll be back sooner rather than later. xoxo








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What Evie is eating these days + the move is coming…finally!

Swinging is the best....for 17 seconds.

Swinging is the best….for 17 seconds.

Hey everyone!

I know I have been MIA lately. We’ve had a busy month, and as a result, not a lot has been happening in the kitchen :( The good news is, we are finally moving this Saturday! :) I just mapped the mileage between our current house and the new house, and it is a whopping 1.0 miles away. As the crow flies, it’s about .3 miles away, so not a big change. We just love our neighborhood so much, not to mention the thought of switching neighborhoods sent Ryan in a panic about where he would take his dry cleaning. We will remain loyal customers of our current dry cleaners, so all is well in the world again.

Evie in front of our almost "old" house.

Evie in front of our almost “old” house.

Faux-tantrum. Caught in the act!

Faux-tantrum. Caught in the act!

In any case, we also had our house in the market, and with the lovely Evie in the household, getting our house in “showing” shape was a challenge. Either she was pulling books off of her shelf or chewing on charging cords while I was putting her books back on her shelf. Thankfully, that is behind us now and I can make a huge mess and leave it for days just because!

A common view during my day. Evie pulling on my skirt wanting something.

A common view during my day. Evie pulling on my skirt wanting something.

Those eyes!

Those eyes!


Between packing up and purging items that didn’t make the cut as worthy of the new house, we have really been enjoying the cooler fall weather and the signs of autumn. Evie has particularly fallen in love with acorns and collects them by the handful everywhere she goes. Playgrounds are also much more fun now that Evie can walk and explore on her own vs. sitting in a pile of mulch and tasting every piece. Although, she still eats mulch. We’re working on that.



Biker Babe

Biker Babe


So, back to some of Evie’s favorite foods! Her pallette has really evolved, especially since the arrival of her newest 5 teeth since her first birthday in July when she had a measly 1.

Earth’s Best Baked Mini Meatballs

Dr. Praeger’s 

  1. Lightly Breaded Fishes
  2. Spinach Littles
  3. Broccoli Littles

Annie’s Mac n Cheese

Trader Joe’s Kefir

Scrambled Egg with shredded zucchini and cheddar cheese

Carrot Raisin Nut Loaf (I love this too!)

Chicken Salad

As for what Evie *doesn’t* like: vegetables. She gets most veggies in the form of a squeeze pouch, and every now and then, I manage to hide some in a fork-full of something else, but she is figuring me out! Any other tips, let me know. She had chicken salad and a granola bar for dinner tonight…

The anti-bow solution: hair sprout.

The anti-bow solution: hair sprout.



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Make some Zoe’s White Beans while you ponder this


Hey everyone! So I DO, I really really DO have a recipe for you today. I know. Shocking. And it is one of our household go-to faves at the moment after I discovered that Evie will devour these without stopping, and for my own diaper-changing sanity, I need to ration her or else reap the benefits for days. That’s right- you read correctly. Zoe’s White Beans.

But before I share that with you (or just scroll down to the bottom and skip all of this jibber jabber), I wanted to ask you something. Do you ever ask for and then accept help? I don’t mean you’re having a heart attack/dying help. I mean, your life is crazy, and with an extra set of hands, it would be less crazy help. I’m talking the guy at the grocery store who offers to take your groceries to your car for you, the person who offers to hold the baby while you get your wallet out and pay for lunch, the person who offers to wheel the stroller down the jetway ahead of boarding for you so you don’t have to awkwardly fumble with it while everyone stares and wonders how you ever earned a college degree?

I discussed this with the hub over the weekend after a little moment at our favorite bakery. We arrived at our usual time (the minute it opens) and scanned the outdoor tables for some stroller and dog friendly seating options in the shade. There they were, three sweet ladies having their morning coffee at the long table in the shade. I got “the look” from the hub, who knew what I was thinking, but didn’t want me to do it. I did it. I asked if we could sit at the other end of their table. They eagerly agreed, shifted down for us, and made space for Evie to enjoy her blueberry muffin in the shade. But I could tell hub was uncomfortable because he is the most humble person on earth and is horrified if anyone should dare go out of their way for him. He never wants to inconvenience anyone for his own sake, and I love that. But truth be told, I don’t think I could survive a single day as a mom if I applied that tactic, and that is a hard lesson to learn. So lately, I have been reminding myself that not only can and should I accept offers from friendly strangers to help. But believe it or not, I should even ask for it every now and then. I would happily assist someone who asked me, and I even delight in the opportunity to help another person. I hope other people do too, and if you don’t, stay away from me. I am going to ask you to do something ;)

Aunty PJ who always holds Evie for me while I get myself organized at our favorite lunch spot, Metro Fresh.

Aunty PJ who always holds Evie for me while I get myself organized at our favorite lunch spot, Metro Fresh.

Ok, ok. Relax. Here is the famous beans recipe, borrowed from this site :)


Zoe’s White Beans:

1 can cannellini white beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 onion, chopped (I used a regular yellow onion, but you can use red as well)

2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup chicken broth

1-2 springs fresh rosemary, chopped

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp olive oil

First, heat the butter in a small pot and then add the onions and garlic. Simmer for a few minutes before adding the beans and rosemary. Let those cook for about 30 seconds, then add chicken broth. Allow it to simmer on low heat for about 10-15 minutes until most liquid has boiled off. You should have a little syrupy goodness. Cook lower for longer to thicken the syrup. Serve with a little olive oil drizzled on top. (I don’t add salt because the chicken broth is already salty enough, but do so if you’re a salt lover!)

And for the Evie stalkers, Evie lately :)  xoxo

Evie's impression of herself not taking a nap.

Evie’s impression of herself not taking a nap.


photo 4

Finally bought Evie a lunchbox and backpack so I can retire the plastic kroger bag and sticky notes with her name on them.

Splash pad with Dad.

Splash pad with Dad.


Evie's first painting!

Evie’s first painting!


Evie sporting her SPF body suit.

Evie sporting her SPF body suit.




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Evie turned 1! A month ago…but still


Hey all! A little late posting this, but life has been busy lately, plus I needed to allow ample time for all three of Evie’s birthday parties to take place before posting about them. If you know me well, you know I love birthdays, and I love celebrating them- as many times as possible for the same birthday :)

Party number 1: her actual birthday. Cupcakes, balloons and a few friends out to lunch.



Party number 2: her friends


Her expression in this photo is priceless. “I’m hot, this hat is dumb, and I don’t know how I feel about cupcakes yet.”


Party number 3: family

photo 1

photo 3


Finally, we also got to take a little beach “vacation”, which apparently really means, “change of scenery” these days. Evie did not care much for the ocean or sand, but she pretended to so we could take a few photos ;) Hopefully next trip will be a bit more successful!







Evie’s news these days for those who care to hear about the life and times of a 1 year-old. She can walk! That means all I do all day is follow her and take things out of her hand as they on their way to her mouth. She has 2 teeth, but I’ve spotted a few others on their way in and the pediatrician assures me that they do exist and they will come. She says “mama”, “dada”, “Gaga” (my mom), “Byeeee”, “Heeeyyyy”, “ball”, “Moo”, “Woah, woah” (dog barking). She loves climbing, dancing, any animal, dead leaves, lint, cords, my cell phone, and exploring in general. We don’t go anywhere without her very own set of baby car keys, and she drinks whole milk now and only out of a straw cup (that was a major battle). Our typical days consist of music class, gymboree, playground visits, walks, swimming and splash pad while we can, impromptu visits to Pet Supermarket to watch the birds and hamsters, and every now and then throwing a tantrum, usually about something that I don’t understand. It involves putting her head on the ground and then rolling around and slamming her feet down, or the back bend of death, her favorite when I attempt to confine her in a car seat or my arms on an airplane. That was lovely. And stay tuned. Very soon, I will post one of Evie’s favorite foods and the recipe. It has become one of our favorites too. I DO still cook these days, but not much, unless you think Annie’s mac n cheese or frozen waffles is exciting… ;)


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July: Some good, some bad. First: the bad.

I didn’t feel right posting some recipes (not that I have any) before sharing the events of July with all of you, especially since so many of you are good friends and family.


As many of you know, Evie lost her paternal grandmother , Maureen, on July 15th. She had been diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2012 and after a long fight, she finally joined our Father in heaven. We were able to celebrate her life on July 21st, surrounded by family and friends who came from near and far to support the family and show their appreciation for Maureen and her role in their lives. It was really beautiful to look around and see the many lives that she had touched. To be honest though, she would have been embarrassed that so many people had interrupted their lives to attend her funeral because humility was one of her most apparent virtues, one that Ryan has inherited 100%.

Evie's Baptism Weekend

Evie’s Baptism Weekend

Only a few days earlier, doctors had informed the family that Maureen likely only had a few weeks left. We had already booked tickets to VA to see her earlier that week, but the news made the trip that much more urgent. What weighed most heavily on me was the realization that it would likely be Evie’s last chance to see her grandmother, and I couldn’t even explain that to her. I couldn’t tell her to be on her best behavior or to give Grandma an extra big hug. I couldn’t tell her anything, which I guess in a way is a blessing, mostly because it is a reminder of the innocence of a child, and how envious I was of that. Not having to face the tough moments in life and just living blissfully in ignorance because you’re 1 and you don’t know any better.

Evie's First Christmas

Evie’s First Christmas

Maureen did her best to rally during our visit. She was moving about, paying bills, visiting with friends who stopped by to see her, and even joined us at the table for dinner, although she was no longer interested in eating at that point.  I did do my best to tell her what I think I would want to hear if I was in her shoes. That we would take care of Dennis, her husband/Ryan’s father, and Darius, her grandson whom she and Dennis brought into their home to care for years ago. He is now 7. She didn’t say anything when I told her that. She looked me in the eyes and nodded, but I understood that I had just addressed a major fear of hers and hopefully, put that fear to rest as much as I could.

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I do wish I had told her something else, though. I don’t remember the context of the conversation, but she mentioned to me that she was scared of what lied ahead for her. I wanted to tell her that an incredible place was waiting for her. A place where she would be the happiest she had ever been, and the most peaceful she had ever been. She would be able to drink wine again, to see her parents, to see her friends, and most importantly to meet our Lord. But I didn’t say that. I don’t know why, but in a way, I wondered if it would help. What did I know? I was another human who had never done this before, so while I could express my faith as much as possible, when you are face to face with death, I can only imagine that you may have doubts and wonder “Wait…am I really going to heaven? Should I have done something differently?” Luckily, Maureen was a devout Catholic, and there is no doubt in my mind about where she is right now. And that is exactly what the priest spoke about during her funeral, which I was so thankful for. Those were the words that I needed to hear that day.


And so I lived a moment I will never forget. Saying goodbye to Maureen the Sunday before she died as Evie and I headed back to the airport to return home. I busied myself a few minutes beforehand making sure the suitcases were packed, that I had enough snacks for Evie in my carry-on, located my ID, all the while cursing time for flying by. But there was no stopping it, nothing I could do, and we had to say goodbye. So I gave her an extra long hug, and as much as I tried not to cry in order to be strong for her, I couldn’t help it. I cried for Evie also, that she would not get to know this amazing woman, although I was thankful that they had met. That Maureen got to meet her granddaughter. But I knew that would be the last time I saw her, and I tried to take in as much as possible- her waving to us from the front porch as we pulled away.

And it was the last time.

She died two days later. But I got to tell her on behalf of Evie and myself, “We love you, too.”










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