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Dear Owen,

Last week your Mema asked you where you came from, and you replied, all matter of fact, from my Mommy.

I sat there momentarily stunned by your answer. As the story goes, my first response to that question was from the moon, so the fact that you included me in your answer surprised me. As you approach your third birthday, the things you come up with are really starting to blow my mind. I think you’re too smart for your own good sometimes.

This is still a tough age behavior-wise. You continue to assert your independence and be willful and make me wish day drinking was acceptable. While some days it feels like all we do is deal with that side of you, there really is so much more to who you are right now.

Like how each day you become an even better big brother. You are a mini-mommy and will do anything in your power to make Ryan laugh. He adores you, Owen, he really does. I can only hope this is just the beginning of a magical lifelong relationship between you two. He has recently started calling you by name on occasion — “Oh-wa-wa”. Considering he hasn’t even said “Dada” yet (poor Daddy), I would say you hold quite the spot in his heart.

You have become a loud and rambunctious boy, which is a 180 from the quiet toddler you used to be. Watching you play with other kids, dance and tumble has been really fun. You love to color and play with Playdoh, play instruments (especially your mini piano and anything you can make into a drum) and sing. OH, do you love to sing. There is a song by a band called Mumford & Sons that you adore. Every day you make me put it on and sing “I WILL WAIT FOR YOUUUU!” at the top of your lungs while headbanging to their banjo playing. Don’t worry, I have it on video to embarrass you with for the rest of your life, though really, I think it’s adorable. You are LOUD, and like to zoom things, and slam things and jump on things and whoa, are you a boy or what?

You are really into words and letters right now. You’ve known your alphabet for as long as I can remember, but now you want to know which one begins each word. You like to practice the sounds they make and I can’t hide my pride each time you get one right. “La-la-la-LOVE. Love starts with ‘L’!”

You ARE a love, buddy. The sweetest boy. As your grow and change before my eyes, sometimes I have to remind myself that you’ve only been here for less than three years. You’re so big, but still little.

I love you through and through, Bug.




Well. That sounds like a lovely topic, doesn’t it? But I wanted to address it because if you’ve experienced a rash under your rings, you’re probably frantically searching for a solution. I know I was.

In September of 2011 we were moving into our new house. After loading up the moving truck, I noticed I had some irritation under my rings. Figuring I scraped myself somehow, I put some antibacterial lotion on it and went about my business. Instead of it clearing up, however, it got worse. Within a week the skin was dry and itchy, and not long after that it was bright red and bumpy.

I tried it all — creams, lotions, you name it. Nothing worked. I was getting desperate and was about to go to a dermatologist for a steroid cream when I became pregnant and didn’t want to risk using it. And so the rash continued for over a year. It was painful and itchy and really ugly. I felt like freak and worried that it would never go away.

I was embarrassed by it, but finally started talking to friends and realized I wasn’t alone. So many friends had the exact same rash! Knowing now that it was pretty common, I started researching a solution. Below is what has worked for me. I did it once and noticed an immediate change and only just did it again almost five months later when I noticed some irritation. This procedure has caused no change or damage to my rings.

How to get rid of ring rash: (DISCLAIMER: I found this solution somewhere on the depths of the Internet. I no longer remember the original source. Some have claimed they had some tarnishing after using this — especially if their rings were sterling silver. Mine are white gold and I have had no problems at all. But to be safe, use at your own risk.)

Step 1:

Combine 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide with 1/2 cup white vinegar. Drop rings in and let soak for at least 30 minutes, but longer won’t hurt. Those little bubbles you see are from the peroxide doing it’s thing and killing germs and bacteria lurking on your rings. Ewwww.

photo 4

Step 2:

Use a soft toothbrush (I used a kid’s one) and a little bit of dish soap and give your rings a good scrub. Get into all the nooks and crannies. Rinse in warm water.


Step 3:

Boil some water and suspend your rings over the top of the pot. I rigged up this contraption using a chopstick and a hair tie. You want your rings submerged, but not touching the bottom so they don’t bounce around.

photo 1

Boil for 20 minutes. The water will kill whatever the peroxide/vinegar mixture didn’t.

Annnd…you’re done. Dry your rings and admire how sparkly they are now!


After your rings are pretty again, you should probably get rid of your chipping nail polish…meh.

Some notes:


– After cleaning your rings, you still need to let your rash completely heal, otherwise it will just continue to get irritated. That means no rings until the rash is gone. When mine was really bad, I left them off for almost two weeks, unless I was going out.

– Like I mentioned above, this caused no harm or discoloration to my rings. I would double check the pot of water before you dump it, though, just in case you had a loose stone that came off. Actually, if you had a loose stone, I wouldn’t recommend doing this!

Ring rash, be gone!


If you’ve been reading a while you probably have read a few posts by my friend Sara. Mama to two of the cutest boys I’ve ever seen with the biggest blue eyes imaginable, she’s back today sharing one of her favorite Little Moments.


Some days are hard days. They did not sleep, they would not nap and their “listening ears” are clearly on the fritz.

Some days are frustrating days. You are sleep training or potty training or “mama’s computer is not a toy” training.

Some days you can’t find a sitter, or a sneaker, or the calm person you once were.

Some days you miss an appointment, miss a flight, or miss your husband.

Then there is this day. The day you go to get your three-year old from his nap and he beams proudly, “Mama, I got you some flowers.”


My dear sweet child…these are the days.

I blame it on that smell.

It lingers in the fold of his neck, grazing his cheek and wafting up towards me as I nuzzle into him. It’s not the newborn smell anymore, the smell I could never quite pinpoint the origin 0f (though I swear it came from his eyes), but the smell of baby. Sweet, pink, baby smell.

My baby fever is returning. I wasn’t expecting it so soon, but it here it is knocking at the door. It surprises me, this pull towards another baby, because I couldn’t even begin to imagine another so soon after Owen. It wasn’t until he was a year old that I even started to consider it seriously.

Ryan will be eight months in just a few days and I can’t believe he is that much closer to turning one. Maybe it’s because he’s my second and there is so much more going on, but I feel like his first year of life is hurtling by me at top speed. He spoke his first word — “mama” (be still my heart). Yesterday he was thisclose to getting up on his knees, prevented only by one chubby leg getting stuck. It’s all just happening so quickly.

A few months ago I found myself in the “two week wait”, wondering if a positive pregnancy test would be at the end. It wasn’t planned — I felt it was too soon. I wasn’t ready, not at all. While I worried about taking away from Ryan’s babyhood, about throwing yet another baby on Owen, about my milk supply drying up from pregnancy before Ryan was even a year…Michael calmly and happily said another baby wouldn’t be such a bad thing. The more we talked about it, the more I began to think maybe he was right.

As it turns out, I wasn’t pregnant. As I stared at a single pink line on the stick I felt relief, and just enough disappointment to know that our family isn’t full yet.

Something has shifted in the last few weeks. As I watch my boys double over in giggles while they play with each other, my heart swells and whispers to my head, another baby.

It would be a lot, sure. A lot, a lot. I’m tired now, you know? I just got back to my happy weight. I’m still nursing. I just got one out of diapers. There are enough reasons to rationalize it’s too soon, and yet I feel myself starting to ache for the time to be now.

My body, as it turns out, is in control. I didn’t ovulate for 14 months after Owen, and while it appeared I was trying to a few months ago, I’m pretty sure I haven’t yet as my cycles haven’t returned. Because of that, I might be longing for #3 for quite awhile.

Don’t get me wrong, my boys — OH, my boys. I don’t want another baby to replace the two who are growing so quickly. I want another baby because I’ve tasted how delicious this time is and I want more of it.

It’s really the smell’s fault. If only the baby didn’t smell so good.

Although, sometimes the baby smells like yogurt…


I long for the day I wake up and find myself one of those women whose house is uncluttered and beautifully organized. I suspect that won’t happen until the kids are grown, or at the very least, when their attention span for toys isn’t that of a gnat.

Home organization I don’t quite have down, but dinner? I’ve figured that one out. I look forward to sitting down each week with my white board, pen and paper and figuring out our meal plan for the week. Not only has it eliminated the end-of-the-day what am I supposed to make for dinner??? panic, it’s streamlined both my shopping trips and food budget.

Below you will find all the meals we ate this past month. There were some repeats of our favorites, and occasionally we get a take-out pizza because…well, I love take-out pizza! I also make a lot of salads because it’s an easy way to get veggies in. You can put almost anything in a salad! I’ve gotten into the habit of snapping quick photos of a lot of our meals, but I will work on getting the recipes written out in the next few weeks and link back to them.


Week 1

– Calzones, salad
– Cheeseburgers, sweet potato fries, broccoli
– Garlic noodles, salad
– Asian sticky rice bowls
– Leftovers
– Roast chicken, sweet potato crisps
– Take-out pizza

Week 2

– Chicken Enchiladas
– Mini meatloaves, acorn squash, broccoli
– Chicken soup, homemade bread
– Chicken ranch calzones, salad
– Dinner out with friends
– Spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, salad
– Leftovers

Week 3

– Chicken bites, spinach, roasted carrots
– Taco salad
– Homemade pizza, salad
– Baked potato soup, homemade bread
Sweet potato quinoa chili
– Leftover soup, salad,
– Burritos

Week 4

– Chicken and vegetable stir fry, rice
– Slow cooker shredded beef tacos
– Chicken soup, homemade bread
– Quinoa mac n cheese, broccoli
– Leftovers
– Homemade pizza, salad
– Mini turkey meatloaves, mashed sweet potatoes, peas

And here’s what we’re eating this week:

Week 5

– Philly Cheesesteaks with peppers and onions
– Skillet lasagna, broccoli
– Roasted chicken, sweet potatoes, peas
– Taco salad
– Chicken tamale pie, salad
– Leftovers
– Spaghetti, chicken meatballs, salad

I like to make at least one dessert a week, too. But maybe that’s a post for another time…


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Alltop, all the cool kids (and me)