happy halloween.

We started the day out as Dorothy and Toto for a little Halloween party in the morning.

By the evening, she wanted to be a cat. Which went quite well with Naomi's Toto/dog costume from earlier. I love letting her be whatever she wants to be. She has been Rapunzel, Jasmine, and Tiana in the last few days as well. [None of which we had to buy, she has quite the dress up stash, with the cat and Jasmine costume borrowed from friends.]

She greets her friends by their names. Hey Jonah. Hey Hudson. Hey Deacon.

She walks up to each door with confidence in her little cat costume. Trick or Treat. I'm a cat. Meow.

Sister sits back and watches with her little dog ears dangling and a blue face from the sucker she snagged. Oh, the cute.

Oh, aren't holidays the best? Did you dress up? Or your kiddos?
Next up, Thanksgiving. Yay!



Tomorrow I will begin my last year in my twenties. It's only natural to reflect on the last {almost} decade and know that these years have been good. Not always easy, but good. I'm thankful that I'm no longer trying to find my path in life, but I'm comfortable in this skin that is slowly aging. With lines of laughter and marks of motherhood.

I may not have that enormous house that I wrote about when I was ten in my little diary. But my heart. Oh, it's so much bigger than I could have ever dreamed. And to think, this year, my 29th year, it will grow even bigger with the addition of number three come May.

In my twenties, I've experienced death in one of the hardest ways of losing the woman who birthed me. I've learned that life is short. {But eternity is coming. And sweet reunions.} And sweating the small stuff really is silly. And mostly, I want to become more aware of others and less consumed with myself. This, I'm always working on.

I'm so thankful I have arrived. I'm in the now. This is life. I'm not wishing away the days or eagerly wanting to be older (I remember doing this many times in my teen years). I'm learning that life is made up the struggles and the joys, what matters, is how you respond to it all. {Often times I need to remind myself of this.}

Bring it 29. Teach me a lesson or two. I'm ready for it.

**Photos by the beautiful, Liz Russell.**


THREE. {snow white birthday}.

Since probably June, Audrey has been asking for a Snow White birthday party. I thought she might change her mind by the time October rolled in, but nope, Snow White was definitely still it. So, we went with it. After all, she only turns three once, right? I'm not one to be into characters and themey stuff, but, I am one to be into making my littles happy. And she definitely glowed that morning.

I didn't go all out. But I did do a couple of things to make the party special. Like make a banner to hang from a vintage Snow White book I found at goodwill.

I bought some vintage-looking Snow White pieces I found on Etsy from the store Hey Yo Yo. And used them to decorate the table and for a game. (They played "find the missing dwarfs." They had to ride a pretend horse into the kitchen and find a dwarf to bring back for a treat. It was pretty cute seeing the kiddos riding as fast as they could to find a dwarf.)

We played Pin The Nose On Dopey. I spent a good 45 minutes of naptime the day before drawing and coloring in this Dopey.

What would a Snow White party be without a real Snow White costume, compliments of Audrey's Gamma (Andrew's mom), who made it for her!

Now that I have shared all the nice posed, pretty pictures. Here is real life. And what 12 toddlers plus moms and babies, look like entering your 1150 square foot home. [Also, once Audrey saw all her friends come in with princess dresses, Audrey wanted to change again...into Repunzel.]

We had a blast with a house full of kiddies. They even decorated their own cupcakes!

Happy Third Birthday, my dear Audrey Rose!


family video.

It's been over a week since I last wrote here. I hate when that happens. But such is life. We had an incredibly full and busy weekend with a snow white toddler birthday party that I plan on sharing a little bit about, and I took some family pictures for some good friends. [I feel so honored when I get asked to take pictures, I absolutely love it!] But my favorite part about our weekend was a beautiful friend (although we have only met twice in person!), named Liz, came down and took our family pictures and the most adorable video ever. [I'm bias, of course.] Last year she came and did such a lovely job, it is definitely a yearly tradition now.

I shared the video on Facebook, but I couldn't resist posting it here too.

Thank you Liz, dear. I can't wait to see the pictures!

P.S. Liz just opened up an Etsy shop with some super fun vintage dresses and jewelry. The best part? 50% of the sales go to support an awesome African project called the Kwagala Project. Quick, go to Sweetie Cake to check out her shop!


i declared today a nothing day.

Pretty much for the last eight days, we have been going and going. With lots of fun things that have brought giggles and sheer joy-- like birthday parties at bowling alleys and pony rides and a petting zoo and trips to here and there. Being on the go is good. I love experiencing new things, especially through the eyes of my girls. But sometimes a day or two break, brings us back to the appreciation of just the every day.

That's just what we did today. We let go of commitments and the need to get out of the house. I may have even stayed in my pajamas until the afternoon. Audrey and I started "school" today while Naomi had her morning nap. I have been wanting to do this for awhile now. But I put all this pressure on myself that I had to have this big elaborate plan and nothing was holding up to my own standards. After all, I was a preschool and kindergarten teacher. But the other day, it hit me. Audrey won't care how nice and neat and organized our school time is, she is just going to love doing things together. So this morning she glued noodles onto the letter Aa and then I hid the letter Aa around the house and she had so much fun going on a letter hunt, I think she went on four or five hunts!

Before dinner, we spent a good deal of time outside in our backyard. These days are are almost gone where we hit the beautiful 60 degrees. Naomi watched, while Audrey and I racked up a big pile of leaves to play in. I wasn't sure if Audrey would actually get in the leaves. But then sometimes, she totally surprises me and goes all in. She went all in with the leaves. Even pulled up a chair to jump off into the pile.

There is nothing better than stomping around and throwing leaves up in the air. I'm pretty sure it's magical. 
Hello, fall, I sure do love you.

Tomorrow Audrey turns THREE! We are heading to one of her favorite places, The Children's Museum. And I'm thinking the day may have to start with sprinkled doughnuts.


hot air balloons and bows. oh my.

I've been meaning to share Naomi's first birthday party that we had on Sunday. So here it is, mainly in pictures...

A couple of months ago I ordered a dress for Naomi and it became her birthday party theme inspiration. Hot air balloons. Bows. Black and white. Yellow, blue, and pink. I thought it was incredibly adorable and unique. [Golly, I sure do love Misha Lulu. If only I could afford the line more often then just a first birthday dress.]

Three days after the dress arrived in the mail, I made the invitations.
I drew it up and used crayons to color it, and then had copies made.

The cake was made by my talented sister-in-law and friend. In fact, they also made the cupcakes as well!

Vintage suitcases for decorations.
 I made the cupcake toppers, the hot air balloon was a stamp.

The table decorations were simple. I bought some baskets on sale at Michael's
and added some balloons to make them look like hot air balloons.
 (We rented a building for the party, I wasn't ready to hold 40-50 people in our house again.)

Like Audrey's first birthday, I made a banner with pictures of Naomi on the 5th of each month.

We removed Naomi's dress for the cake eating. She was so, so cute with it.
Stuck her hands in and then we told her to take a bite and she went face first into it.

A couple of months ago I made Audrey a dress to coordinate with Naomi's birthday dress. It is her favorite dress to wear, she puts it on at least twice a week. I was glad she was finally able to wear it for the reason I made it. It's hard to tell from the picture, but the light pink part of the dress actually has hot air balloons on it--used an old tshirt of mine!

The party was just lovely. We were surrounded by so many wonderful friends and family. I would have to say my favorite moment was when Naomi got embarrassed when we were singing happy birthday. When we got to her name in the song, she laid her head down on the highchair. And then I melted.


"that's my mimi."

It's October. Probably my favorite month. I can't get over the gorgeous-ness of the leaves that are starting to blanket the grass. Or how you breathe in the last of the warm days like it's food for your soul. And as I mentioned before, it's a big birthday month in my house.

But also? October is a month that I can't help but think of my mom everyday.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

And I know, my mom, would want her story to be shared so others may learn from it. So that's what I do. I share. And bring awareness. This isn't something I normally would bring up on my blog. But I truly believe it is so important to spread the word.

My mom was such a fighter. And a Bob Marley don't worry about a thing type of person. Most of the 4.5 years she battled Breast Cancer, you wouldn't have known that she was going through radiation and chemo almost the entire time. She was diagnosed at the young age of 44 with Stage Four Breast Cancer. You see, Breast Cancer doesn't run in our family. She also nursed all her six of her kids, for a long time. The thought of cancer never popped into my mom's head. After having gallbladder issues and severe back pain, she was eventually diagnosed with cancer. She survived for longer than the doctor's expected.

I wish so badly that she could have met her grandchildren. She lived for her kids and becoming a grandmother one day. But,  I'm thankful I can still teach my children about their Mimi. And if you ask Audrey, she knows. She will tell you.

"That's my Mimi."
One of my older sisters, Lisa, my mom, and me, two months before she passed. See those brown eyes? My girls have them!

So, let's do this. Check ourselves and remind our friends and families to do the same. 
Also? Celebrate with the survivors this month!

[Squeeze your mom for me too. Call her. Because I want to be able to do that so bad.]



I just want to pop in real quick to say that my little Naomi Fae is ONE today and yeah, I totally can't believe it! She came into this world so beautifully on her due date, no less, exactly a year ago. I woke up at 7:45 with contractions and at 10:07am, less than three hours later, she was here.

10 days old
same suitcase, exactly one year

We will be celebrating with a birthday bash this weekend. See that hot air balloon dress? It is her birthday dress and the inspiration for her party theme! [It's Misha Lulu. Scored it via The Mini Social.]

Today, we are heading to the zoo! But before that, I get to go see and hear baby #3's heartbeat-yay for a beautiful day!


more fun fall activities.

On Sunday evening, we took a family trip to a little family farm. Surprisingly, it wasn't busy at all. In fact, we had a hay-ride all to ourselves--it went over a creek and through the woods, even! And the kiddos absolutely loved the animals to pet. I couldn't get over the cuteness of the two piglets. Then we took some clippers and picked our own pumpkins from the patch.

 I love that both of my girls have my dark brown eyes, that came from my mama.

Despite the fact that Friday evening we found out that the offer on our house isn't going through,  [back to the drawing board and keeping the house tidy] it's been such a good weekend filled with fall activities, going to the IU football game (even the girls came with us all decked out in red and white), and I had a nice ladies night at my church. As tired as I'm feeling from this pregnancy, I'm also feeling rejuvenated from all my family time this weekend, I love my little family of four .(And come spring, family of five!) I hope your weekend has been just as lovely!


apple orchard and a mom moment.

With our (awesome) playgroup friends, yesterday we drove about an hour to an apple orchard I hadn't been to before. On the way there, all I knew, was it was in the.middle.of.nowhere. And the small country church we passed had a large sign in front that stated "Strangers Expected." Yeah, I started to doubt my GPS, until bam, all of a sudden we were at the orchard.

Despite the cold chill in the air, the kiddos had a fabulous time. What's not to love about goat feeding, big black slide going, haystack climbing, tractor riding, and of course, apple pickin'.

 The slide, I was sure Audrey wouldn't want to go down. Except, yeah, she loved it and went down it multiple times.
You can see how big it is compared to little Naomi sitting there.

I totally had one of those mom moments while I was there. While the girls were having fun climbing the haystacks, I just sort of sat back with a smile and thought this is what it is aboutI get it. I could stand here all day in the cold, and it wouldn't matter because watching the joy on my babies faces makes it all worth it. Then I felt that much closer to my own mama, because I remember her doing the same thing. I know, total goobery-mom moment. But really, it was kind of awesome.

[For those local or nearby, the orchard is called Appleworks. And I definitely recommend the country drive there.]