One photo from the week.  Just a moment in time.

The Story:
Bug's favorite girl, my boss's daughter, is leaving for college today.  She gave him this stuffed puppy, "Patch", on Wednesday.  Patch hasn't left his side since.  He goes shopping with us, has meals with us, sits on the sink while Bug brushes his teeth... He sure will miss his friend.


Hello, Instagram.

I admit, I didn't want to pull the trigger on this one.  I didn't really want to join another social network thing-a-ma-jig.

But I liked what I saw. 

And my phone has a great camera. 

And I don't always lug around my big gun. 

So I bit the bullet.

Hello, Instagram.  I think we're going to be great friends.


Glow Bath

A little fun to break up the winter nights.  With iTunes freshly loaded with Of Monsters and Men, Florence and the Machine, and Naked and Famous (what can I say, my kids have good taste), we had a rockin' party.


Button ~ Twelve Months Old

Here it is!  The twelfth and final monthly calendar shoot with Button.  It's amazing how much she's grown and changed over the past twelve months.  The first year is truly amazing.  When you're in it, you feel like the nursing pain, the sleepless nights, the finding your groove will last forever, but having gone through it all once already, we knew how quickly those times really do pass.  I've loved every single phase of our second time through the first year.  Our girl is sassy.  She is funny, loving, willful, and smart.  She's our stinker butt.

She loves: hoarding remotes and darts from her brother's dart gun, climbing, her blankies, blueberries, avocado, snuggling the cat, sitting on chairs and on people.

Doesn't love: when her brother gets in her face in the morning, car rides, being told "no", horses (she can't be MY daughter!)

The owl calendars I used in the monthly photos were purchased from Gingiber's etsy shop.  They're so cute!  She even featured us on her blog once.  It was pretty exciting. :)  Just in case you want a re-cap, you can see months one and two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, and eleven.

I borrowed the desk calendar idea from Ashley Ann at Under the Sycamore.


Smash the Cupcake!

If you're close to the family, you've already seen these, so I apologize for the double duty.  The girl and I had some post-birthday fun.  I could eat her up.


Moments That Make the Heart Explode

There are a handful of moments every day when I literally stop in my tracks and wish I could record them to my memory forever.  They aren't Earth-shattering.  They are heart exploding.  They are the little things that make this life so beautiful.

They are:
~ setting an extra place-setting for dinner with a stuffed horse.
~ seeing him whisper to said horse while eating.  When asked what the secret was, he says "I love you."
~ a little girl whose favorite new game is peekaboo, either with her blankie over her head, behind a curtain, or around the couch.  Her squeal...
~ nursing the girl and she looks up, wide-eyed, grinning and says "hi!" while scrunching her little fingers in a chubby handed wave.
~ the way she's learned to tickle.  She wiggles her fingers on my face and makes a funny noise at the back of her throat with her binky in her mouth that Bug says sounds like she's saying "garlic, garlic, garlic, garlic."
~ driving down the road, Bug grabs his sister's hand and says "I love you, (sister).  I don't ever want to lose you."
~ a naked, just bathed boy, having a picnic in front of the fire with the horse from dinner and other stuffed friends.
~ finding a surprise set of measuring spoons in the bathroom.

~ and piles of rocks flanking both sides of the front door.  I can only imagine he placed them there to ward off monsters.

This is the good stuff.


Happy Noon Year!

On New Year's Eve, we celebrated Happy Noon Year at the Brandywine Zoo.  It's a quaint local zoo with great activities for kids year-round.  At the strike of noon, the ball went up and toasts were made!  They did some really cool things that day.  They had an ice sculptor, craft stations, and even gave some of the animals pinatas (filled with raw chicken!)  It was so much fun.  What a great way to ring in the New Year.  And no staying up late!!


Welcoming a New Year and Thoughts on 2011

Hello, 2012.  Hello, folks who follow my blog.  I've been taking a break from writing for a couple of weeks.  It's been a very busy holiday season of traveling, visitors, and unfortunately, illness.  Nothing major, just colds and stomach bugs, but it sure does take the wind out of your sails.

I won't do a 2011 year-in-review, but I do have some reflections.  It was a year of transitions.  We navigated the waters of parenting two young children while operating a growing family business as well as myself working outside of the home.  "Busy" is a word so often used that I feel its meaning is diminished, but busy was definitely a defining word for us this past year.  Other transitions came for me through major structural and cultural changes at my job, which were unexpected and continue to be challenging.  We also did a lot of upgrades to our home (roof, carpet, windows), which were all necessary, but as home projects tend to, they created periods of upheaval.    

I'd chosen a focus word for 2011 early last year.  It was "Simplicity."  Ironic, given the true nature of 2011 for us, but how totally suitable! My goal for 2011 was to simplify through the purging of stuff and commitments and to generally make life more manageable to allow time and space for the most important things.  To reflect, I feel I did a great job of purging the "stuff" (although I still have more do to, especially now after Christmas. Where or where do we put it all??) and I'll be diving back into Organized Simplicity from time to time this year.  Maybe I'll wait until Spring, when I can throw open the windows!  We did not cut back on our commitments.  2011 was an extremely busy year of obligations (however, all good!) - family trips, my sister's high school graduation, hosting a baby shower in DC (and one yet to do in February!)  As of right now, the only trips we have planned are the February shower in Michigan and subsequently to New Hampshire to meet the new little one in March.  Also, a daytrip to DC in the weeks ahead to visit with friends who were due earlier this week with their first baby.  It might still sound like a lot, but typically by this time, we have the whole year mapped out and it feels really good to not have any commitments beyond these at the moment. It's inevitable that things will be scheduled later in the year, but hopefully 2012 will bring more visitors to us instead.

Even though it's hard for me to say (solely because Bug is now another year older and Button's first year went SO fast), I'm glad to see 2011 come to an end.  It was truly an awesome year, so I don't say that to put it behind me at all, but I'm ready for what 2012 has in store. I hope to find greater balance, more quality time with friends and family, quieter moments, but also more time for play.  I don't do resolutions, but I do appreciate having intentions to focus on and those things sound the most gratifying right now.  Hey, I think I just found my word for 2012...


Happy New Year!  Hoping you are blessed with all you need in the year ahead.

A Few from Christmas

 Just before bed on Christmas Eve.  Wearing their new jammies.

 Santa made a mess of the cookies!

 And the reindeer pooped on the patio while eating the reindeer dust!
Great idea on the coffee beans, Uncle Ryan.

 Looks like they were good kids...

 Opening presents.  Luckily, they don't tear through them.  We spent over an hour and a half leisurely opening gifts.

 Ooh, Santa left a big one!

 Her favorites - brother's darts for his dart gun in a box, stirred up.

Chillin' with Papa.

It was a wonderful, relaxing Christmas with my dad, sister, and brother-in-law, although I was sick the day before and Bug was sick the day of.  You can't tell here, but the little man was not having the best day.  He would be so excited, opening gifts, playing with new toys, and then all of a sudden be flat out on the floor or running to the bathroom.  Thankfully, we all recovered quickly and the hurricane of toys resumed.