Christmas is Coming...

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Ahhhhhhhh....the lights. Such fun. This is pretty much the only Christmas activity the girls have actually enjoyed so far. We all know how the Santa visit went. YIKES!

They aren't familiar with the yearly traditions yet. Santa is just a jolly old fellow they've seen in books. They have no concept of making a list and have absolutely no expectations of "getting" anything. And although I can't wait for them to be excited about waking to the treasures that Santa has left, I am kind of enjoying their ever present state of mind at the moment. They just are. I love them for that. Also, I thank them for it.

These kids are happy with anything or nothing. They were good with the lights...

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Well, that's not entirely true. Nola looked like this most of the night. Thank goodness Hazel looked like this. Balance.

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I think at one point I asked Matt if he thought Nola was trying to ruin Christmas. Soooooo, yeah, the night was peaceful. NOPE!

It wasn't until Mommy made one of these that we started to feel the Christmas spirit. Peppermint ice cream, rum, milk, blend. Magic!!!! If you are feeling crazy - eggnog instead of milk. But RUM!!!

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Life certainly isn't perfect, usually, it's far from it. It's messy and unpredictable and LOUD. Often my kids don't get the memo that we are supposed to be spending a magical night together making memories as a family. They end up cranky, or hungry, or tired, or well, let's just say - "not in the Christmas spirit." We can only control so much.

In the end, the lights were a hit. The tree went up and got decorated. Mommy and daddy had special drinks and it felt like Christmas.

 

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Here's to spreading Christmas cheer!!!

If your kids are "not in the spirit of Christmas" please throw on your favourite Christmas song, "I pray on Christmas," works like a charm AND see the drink recipe listed above. 100% chance of increasing the "feelings of Christmas" in your home.

Good LUCK!!!

Mommy Forces a Photo Shoot (with a TUTU)

I may not be a professional but who needs to be when you have the 50mm lens?? HA!!! Just jokin' don't tell Tiff from Vita Photography I said that....shhhhhhh. I worship you, Tiff!!! No seriously, I did the same exact session with Hazel when she was about 12 months old, so it's only fair that history dictate I do the same with Nola. I do very little editing on these babies, but they are mine. I love them!!!

 

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Trust me when I tell you there are about 150 more photos from this session. I truly envy those of you out there that have mastered that fine art of "deleting" photos that are unnecessary. You know the ones that their head is tilted a little more to the left in the next picture, saying to yourself "you never know when you're going to need it." I have been trying, really I have, but seriously, you never know when you are going to need it!!!!

As a little side note, that happens to be a little on the subject. I feel a HUGE PURGE coming on. Like massive! Like an everything must go, free to a good home, we live in a world where we think we NEED too much stuff, if you haven't worn it, it's GONE type of purge. I feel it deep inside me just screaming to get out. I am literally sitting on my hands and forcing myself to wait until the new year to start rustling things up around here. But, it's coming. I CAN NOT be stopped. Matt if you are reading...BE WARNED.

 

I look at these pictures and can't believe that I am looking at MY 2 daughters. How did these 2 babes come from the same parents? Opposites in almost every way. At least this way we get the best of both worlds. A blonde haired, blue eyed, feisty little lamb and a brown haired, brown eyed, sassy little love.

 

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Happy day Y'all!!!!

 

 

A Vita Victory

By some miracle Tiff from Vita Photography managed to work some serious magic and capture all these beautiful photos. I've said it many times before and I am saying it again. Her work is perfection. She gets it. She gives you all of those things that you never want to forget. Even though Hazel was having a fit because we wanted her to walk east and she wanted to walk west. We wanted her to stand and she wanted to sit. We wanted her to sit here and she wanted to sit 2 feet to the left or right (just over enough to be out of the frame). Yet, she still manages to produce works of art that I will treasure forever.

She gave us this...

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And these...

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And her...

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Her...

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Them...

 

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Us...

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This pic makes me DIE every time. If you only knew how much we are not the couple to kiss for the camera. Yet, here we are doing it and it could NOT be more perfect. Matt and I are laughing cause we feel silly. He is looking at Hazel. She is looking at him with kissy lips of her own. Nola just finds the thing amusing. It's just perfect, in my opinion.

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And then these last few that are nothing short of works of art...

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Seeing the finished product from these busy photo shoots always leaves me exploding with excitement and emotion. Tiff really is the best guys, CALL HER!!!!!

Time passed, Life Changed

Let's just start by acknowledging just how fast time seems to go by these days. Is that a bad thing? Hmmmm? Second, go grab a cup of coffee and come on back. This is going to be a marathon.

I look back at these sweet photos of a human life that only joined us a little over 365 days ago. Then, I look back at photos of Hazel, and her first few moments and days here in this life. Something just doesn't add up.

How could it only have been less than 3 years ago? Less than 3 years that our lives have changed in such a dramatic way. I barley remember the days before tripping over toys, changing dirty butts, waking frequently during the night, battling about food and rarely sitting down. What I can remember about those days was that we NEVER laughed so much, loved so hard, cared so deeply, felt so proud or experienced such contentment.

 

A little over a year ago a tornado hit our home, turned everything upside down and left no survivors. We have never felt so blessed. She's still kicking up dust where ever her feet land. Her name is Nola Charlie...

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Documenting my girls lives on this blog will serve as a tool to revive my memories when they are all grown and independent. As you know, if you've been reading for a while, I am not one for documenting milestones. Especially not for comparison reasons. But I am wishing that I was little more diligent in keeping the little details about Hazel's first year on record. Simply for the purpose to help me to remember who she was at those certain moments in time. I wanna remember how they made me laugh, cry, mad or sad.

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Here goes...

Nola growls always. Happy or sad. Tired or hungry, always with the growling. When she's really excited she squeals. Like loooooong and loud and hard. She puckers up her lips just so and sucks in as hard as she can. I laugh almost every. Single. Time.

She's got a real thing for expressions. She has a million.

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She's a walker. At 10 months she was over the crawling thing. Now she walks (or runs) around the house like she owns the place. Hates the baby gates- HATES!!! The moment she hears the click, she starts crying (they both do). Girlfriend likes to be free.

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Smiles all the time. Always looking for the next super fun time. Like the trampoline for example.

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Except for when I get the camera out. Then there is an immediate smile drought in effect. It usually lasts right until about the time I put the camera down.

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Her vocabulary grows by the day. Mama, Dada, apple & bottle (which sound exactly the same - but I'll be damned if I don't get it right), Nonna, sissy (of course - it was her 3rd word), GO (sounds like 'do'). Oh and how could I possibly forget the most frequented word of choice, "NO" (with a pointed finger and mostly right before she's about to do something she's know she's not supposed to do), nice, play, baby, book...

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When we come in from being outside. It's a guaranteed melt down every time, no matter how long we have been out there.

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She's been eating pretty much everything we eat for ages. I barely remember purees with her. Always insisted on eating what Hazel was eating. Her favourite food is pasta. Favourite fruit is raspberries. And now they both come running when they hear the pantry door open, CHOCOLATE.

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Still wakes up in the night occasionally, just to make sure she has access to a bottle whenever she feels like one. And yes, she gets one. #FAIL

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I, also, want to remember how Nola has been loving steamrolling her sister every chance she gets. Sometimes Hazel laughs, sometimes she looks at me to make it stop. Hazel is usually pretty tolerant but every once in a while she gives her a gentle shove.

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I want to remember how they laugh with each other all the time. They have this one specific sound they make that's like a nature call to the other one to repeat the sound. Ever seen "The Hunger Games"? They are like the jabber jays - no joke!

They follow each other around the house and find a multitude of surfaces to bang on. They try to pass the food they don't want to eat on to the other one's tray.

Every morning since she's been able, Nola crawls or walks into Hazel's room first thing with a huge smile that quickly turns to laughter. I swear she is trying to say, "morning." And everyday she turns to me with this smile on her face as if to say, "Can you believe it? It's Hazel!" Blows her mind er'yday.

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Every night after dinner they go into Hazel's room and read book and play in the mirror.

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What more can I say?

She's the destroyer of books, the spoiler of quiet, the seeker of danger, lover of people, admirer of Hazel, chaser of the sippy cup, nuturer of babies, caresser of the dog, master of the growl, nibbler of everything, kisser and cuddler extraordinaire...

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She's the creater of joy, giver of love, sparker of laughter, lover of all. She is the life. She literally IS THE LIFE in our home. Her blond hair, blue eyes, cheeky grin can't be denied.

Where there is Nola, there is laughter. There is ease. There is peace. She is our constant reminder not to take things so serious. To stop and smile. To throw our hands up and have a jumping party on the bed. Or to play dolls, or to go outside and take a fresh breath of air, or to wrestle, or to read or to do anything that is fun in that exact moment. Girlfriend's got this living in the present moment thing down. She's a pro and she's teaching us all how to really do it.

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Thank goodness because the other night while I was holding her, I needed that reminder. I remember having a very similar experience while rocking Hazel to sleep as well.

I was laying there with her in my arms. She had scooted her way down in my arms so I was cradling her like a new born again. The lights were so dark that I could only barley see the outline of her tiny face. Yet I had never been able to see it so clearly. Evey little detail, every bump, every crevice. The weight of her very real in my arms. The realization that even as the seconds past right then, she was getting older and older. In this moment I struggled to stay grounded, present, trying to grasp so tightly onto her babyness. All the changing and growing. But in that moment she was snuggled into my chest, breathing in my scent, feeling my heart beat against her face. In that moment she was my little baby. And in the morning she's still going to be my little baby, until one day she will be a grown women (and I will still see her as my little baby). Until then I'm going to enjoy all these little moments where I am her ENTIRE world and she is mine.

(these next 3 images are courtesy of the ingenious Tiffany at Vita Photography)

 

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So the passing of time. Is it a bad thing? Not really.

It allows our relationships to grow and evolve. It allows us to watch our children learn the things we teach, and transfer that learning to their lives. It provides opportunity for us to saturate them with our love. With the passing of time, our children experience our nurturing. If the time stopped passing we would never experience the pride in watching our children grow into the people they will become. And I'm not sure about you, but I am way to curious about who they will grow to be. I am WAY to invested in making sure that I provide them with the tools they need to meet their full potential.

An entire lifetime of time passing would never give me enough kisses, hugs, smiles or cuddles with my girls to be satisfied, so I say - bring it!

 

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Ho Ho HO!!!!

I just had to share this on the blog. For those who don't follow us on Facebook or Instagram. It's not a smile for Happy Friday this week. Well not the kids smiles anyway.

Let's just say the visit with Santa was a lively one.

It all started the INSTANT I tried to hand Nola off to Santa. Her little body stiffened and she screamed her loudest, most horrified, someone-just-ignited-my-clothes-on-fire scream that she could muster. Well, Hazel got one look at that and she was convinced that danger was imminent. She too began to scream her loudest, get me-the-heck-outta-here scream. If Nola was out, there's no WAY Hazel was sticking around to see this thing through. And on and on AND ON they went. Dispite the fact that we were holding them. We reassured them and we DID NOT even try to attempt to hand them back to Santa again, they still carried on. It was really warm and cozy. Like seriously, I was sweating.

Anyway, a little poem, if you'll indulge me...

We decided to visit Santa and get out of the house, Upon our arrival, nothing was stirring, not even a mouse. When suddenly there arose such a clatter. Everyone walking past had to see what was the matter. And what to their wondering eyes might appear? Two tiny humans stiff as a board, flailing their arms and yelling from fear. With Santa in the middle, chuckling with glee. And I on his right trying not to flee. The elf behind the camera through her arms up in defeat. All I can hope is there was no live Tweet (#insanesantavisit) So with my red face and sweaty arm pits, I collected my children, and gave my humblest of apologies. We exited the area and exchanged a look of terror, while we laughed and declared that this make for good stories.

The END.

 

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Happy Friday everyone!!!!

Nola Charlie - A Birth Story

NOLA HA!!!  I am writing another birth story.

I can hardly believe that I am doing this. Hold on...I can hardly believe that I have "kids" or "daughters" LIKE IT'S PLURAL!!! I NEVER take it for granted EVER. I GET to write another birth story. What an honour, a privilege to tell another babies journey into the world. I have a feeling this one won't be another ten pager, like Hazel's birth story was. Nola wasn't as high maintenance as her sister.

Even though this birth story might not be as many pages, it might not include as much drama, you won't find any medical jargon, there wasn't an imminent threat of surgery or death upon arrival. It still has enough power and strength to have changed my heart in a completely different and utterly necessary way.

I hope you enjoy!

(I am so thankful that Tiff, from Vita Photography, was there to capture these sweet moments. I look at them often and treasure them deeply. I am not sure this would have been possible had her and I not been so close. It helps to have extremely talented and supportive cousins. There are not really any before shots cause she literally walked in RIGHT before I started pushing. No fault of her own. What can I say? My babies come fast)

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I'm 41 weeks pregnant, which is great.

No not great!!! NOPE - NOT AT ALL!!!

Couldn't sleep, couldn't walk, couldn't move, COULDN'T DEAL!!!! Trying to be a good mother to Hazel felt completely out of the question. Trust me when I tell you, that added emotional failure to the daily routine was productive. I literally felt like this baby was never going to come.

NO I wasn't enjoying the lasts days of my baby and I sharing one body. Not one bit. I prayed so hard. Every. Single. Night, for her to come OUT!!! Let's just say I am not my "best-self" anywhere from 35 to 41 weeks pregnant. Do NOT judge me!

So after a few very, VERY uncomfortable visits to the OB and still no baby we decide that it's time to induce. Naturally, I went diving head first into panic mode.

INDUCED? What?

This really wasn't expected. I had no knowledge of what being induced would entail. I didn't want to start looking it up on the internet and I had a hard time asking people for their experiences, as it's so different for everyone. All I knew in the back of my mind was that being induced is generally "not ideal". I immediately became so afraid of labour. A feeling that I never had prior. Fears like, was it going to take longer? Would it be more painful?

WAS IT GOING TO TAKE LONGER?!!! Ugh.

I got a few opinions. Some were great, some not so much. Anyways....

We decide on the day. Saturday (not realizing at the time that it was November 9th - my sweet Allie Belle's birthday). As good a day as any. I got into bed the night before praying to go into labour. NOPE!

I got the call at 6:30 am. They had a bed for me. No rush. Have a shower, something to eat and come on in whenever you're ready. The whole morning was pretty chill. I walk into the the OB wing of the hospital at about 8ish, only to be greeted by what seemed like the entire nursing staff and doc. Lovely entry to arms-a-wavin' and happy, smiling faces saying...

"Good morning!"

"Your having a baby today?"

"YAY"

"Welcome"

By 8:30 I was in a gown and my water was broken. I immediately started contracting on my own. No drugs necessary. Nurses started taking a history. Wondering what my last labour was like. "Hmmmmmmmm, so you went from 4 to 10cms in 20 minutes?" The wheels were turning. Contractions were getting very intense, very fast.

VERY VERY FAST!!!!

The plan quickly turned into, "let's just see where these contractions take us" before we start the Oxycontin. My body started to command the stage. I was in some serious pain. It came fast and furious and was holding nothing back. It was too MUCH, TOO FAST!

9:30 was the limit. I need drugs now please. PLEASE!!!!!

Oh, there's no anesthesiologist available right now? AMAZING!!!

The nurse took one look at me and said, "I think we'll call someone in for you."

YA THINK!!!!!

By 10 the epi was getting put in, still at 2 cms. Hmmmmmm...I don't think so. Not with these contractions.

Matt was kicked out into the waiting arms of the family. Of which there was no shortage of. Same crazy bunch that were there for Hazel. We take over. That's our thing. We fill waiting rooms to the brim with family. Sometimes, my father-in-law's thing, is to offer money to other awaiting family members for the "boy" that they are waiting to meet. I guess he's pretty determined to get his grandson (don't think I didn't hear that little tidbit Pip!!!)

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I digress...

 

So epi is getting put in, Matt is out of the room, contractions are getting very strong, but I felt great! 10:30 things are happening, nurse decides to check again, just in case things happened to change. HEEEEEELLO...10cms. HA! It creeps up on you that elusive 10cm cervix. FAST!

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Drugs were in full effect, I was thinking this pushing thing was not going to be productive. The doc came in, checked the baby's heart print out and made a call. We need to get her out. Right now. She's having some stress and he was not comfortable waiting for the drugs to wear off a bit. Turns out when a doc tells you that your baby is in distress you figure out pretty quickly how to push her out.

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Within about 4 pushes, out came her little head. I watched her first seconds entering the world. Still very much a part of me. I let out a huge gasp of amazement. I cried in awe, "Oh My God...There's her head!" There she was. Her perfect little grey head. How is this even possible? A couple more pushes and she was free. She was here. We were two bodies.

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She filled the room. Her smell, her cries, her squeaks, her new life.

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And there it was. It came barreling over me. Consuming me, flooding me, like water that breaks free from a damn, coating everything in its path. That feeling...

That feeling when they put this brand new baby on your chest and nobody is quite ready to take in what has just happened. It doesn't matter. There's a baby. Her face is super crunched up, she's crying and flailing and covered in that last little bit of mama. The world fades away, all the pain is gone, the anticipation is exchanged with love, the fatigue turns into nurture, the stress turns into joy. All in a split second - an instant - a snap of the finger. That's how long it takes for this little tiny person that was growing inside you, to change your soul forever. In those first few moments, when you exist only for this little being, only to provide for her. She rests so desperately there on your bare chest. Her skin on your skin. Her senses take over and she searches, wiggles and crawls her way down your chest, staking her claim. This is where she eats. This is where she lives. This is where she feels safe, cared for, and secure. Drinking in my scent, it's all she knows. Both of us clinging to each other aching to feel our bodies, our skin, her weight on my chest.

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These moments were taken from Hazel. We didn't have these first few moments that are driven purely on instinct and love. This time, we got to truly appreciate the birthing process. I got to literally watch her come out of my body. Not worrying about her health, her heart, her belly. With each push, focusing on bringing her into the world and meeting our second daughter.

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This is the story of how this girl healed me. It's my birth story.

From the moment I learned that she was growing inside me, until this very present moment. She took a broken, grieving woman and turned her into a completely satisfied, completed mama. She sewed up wounds that I didn't know I had. I thought Hazel cured me. She made me a mother. But the soul knows what it needs to feel peace. And my peace came with little Nola. I never dreamed of her. I never thought she was possible. And yet she is here. She just came.

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I still look at her everyday and wonder how the universe got it sooooooooo right?

How the universe knew that my soul still needed healing?

My girl Nola, let me abandon all of those grieving, infertile moments that I had no idea I was still carrying around with me. She allowed me to believe, the absolute truth is, that God will provide. I struggled with this truth during our years of infertility. Nothing ever made sense and I felt abandoned. I could spend my entire lifetime providing, nurturing, loving, and supporting Nola and I still would NEVER be able to repay her for how she has given my soul peace and my heart contentment. She erased so much pain and replaced it with hope.

Not to mention how important she will be for Hazel in the future. Something my mama heart can't even begin to comprehend. If I focus on it I get all goose-bumpy and heart-fluttery. It's TOO much. Entirely, TOO much!

Looking back now, Hazel's birth/arrival was about healing Hazel. It was about forever changing the way that we view life, people and society. It was about teaching and allowing Hazel to send her message to the world. It was about accepting things that seemed like challenges but ended up filling our hearts with pure love. She allowed us to see everything with LOVE in our hearts and therefore letting us accept real LOVE into our lives.

Nola's birth/arrival was about healing us ALL as a family. She made us complete, whole. She brought balance and peace. She was exactly what we needed and she came at exactly the right time.

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Baby Nola,

You were not planned for, you seemed impossible. You are a miracle, a little gift from God. You are welcomed, you are loved. You will never know the weight of your presence in our lives. We owe you baby girl and we plan to spend the rest of our lives repaying you in unconditional LOVE and support. You filled in all the cracks and made us impenetrable.

Gosh - I love you.

 

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God is good.

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I told you it wasn't over...

Look better Halloween pics. I wish I could take the credit but my sis-in-law is the one who has rightfully earned a pat on the back here for a job well done. A lot of sweat, high pitched noises and signing songs goes into getting a photo like this. And yet, all but 1 are smiling (NOOOOOLLLLLLLLAAAAAA....grrrrr).

Actually those are great odds. I'm impressed.

 

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Still, we couldn't manage to get Hazel to hold the staff but, low and behold, we got her to keep her bonnet on for more than 5 seconds.

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Here is proof that there was a staff. Handmade by "dada"

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Consider this your Happy Friday post this week. Next post will be Nola's birth story as I continue to plan a celebration for her first year of life. I can't even.

 

Happy Birthday Daddy

I don't often talk about Matt here on the blog. Not much is said about our relationship besides a few comments about parenting choices, situations and things like that. There really is no real reason for it, I just don't feel the need to share. Something has to remain sacred...HA! Just because I don't share doesn't mean that we are not the real deal. Matt is the real deal. Mama (& daddy) raised this boy right. He is a supportive and loving husband (not that we don't have our moments guys, trust me we do), he is a loyal friend and a very present uncle, brother and son.

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But the thing is, he is LITERALLY the BEST father that there ever was. Like, I can't even DEAL with how much he loves our girls. And how much they love him in return. It's something that can't be measured or compared to anything. I can't write about it. I can't talk about it. I could never explain it and do it justice. If you've been around him and his kids that you know what I mean. You've seen it. It's so obvious.

Let me put it this way. I had a good 'ol fashion ugly cry the other night when I looked up and he was having a dance session with Nola. Something that happens often 'round these parts. My mind immediately went to them dancing at her wedding. She's gonna be a big girl then, but I have a feeling she's not gonna look any different to us then. She will still look like our little baby girl. It's all just too much for my heart to deal with.

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Anyway, why today? What's with the talking about Matt today? It's daddy's birthday!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DADDY!!!

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Also, as a little side note. I'd like to take this opportunity to speak to the future boys that think they are going to try to date my daughters...

Dear Nola & Hazel's future husband,

Good luck even trying to compare to their daddy. He is stronger than you, funnier than you, smarter than you, kinder than you, more generous than you will ever be, cuter than you and he knows just how they like to dance. He melts them with a single glance. Soooooooo, yeah. Good luck with that!

Sincerely, Nola & Hazel's overbearing mother.

Fall Has Flung (is that a thing?)

I don't know if it's a thing but you know, "spring has sprung" well - FALL HAS FLUNG!!!! I am a huge fan of fall. Those of you who have been reading for a while know this already. Singing the praises of fall will be a bit tedious for you. How about I let the pictures do some of the talking this year?

 

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Apple picking has easily become one of our family favourites. Guys! The pure joy we experience is off the charts. Completely off!!! It could not be measured!!!

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Such a perfect yearly tradition for us all. Watching the girls wander through the low hanging trees. Hearing the screams of excitement when they have found the "perfect" apple. Listening to the sticks crack under their running feet. Seeing how much higher they get up the trees this year, than the years that have passed. Hearing that POP that only sounds like the first bite of an apple right off the branch.

 

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We talk about new classroom teachers, new grades, new friends. We pull out our boots and scarves (even though this year it was way to warm for both). I watch as the 5 cousins find their way with each other. They stop and talk, they carry babes, they swing, they help.

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Auntie Paula got some clutch snuggle time with Hazel. I am pretty sure she would have held her until her arms turned to mush and her legs felt like rubber. SO precious!

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Stella looking WAY way to old for my liking. WAY!!!!

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Torturing the 5 girls to get in a photo. Trust me they are used to it. Hazel was so NOT into it, as per usual. Always making it her own. If we tell her to sit, she stands. If we tell her to stand, she sits. So - you know - there's that. OY!

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We added a gorgeous new face to the tradition this year. She was perfect!!! She enjoyed her share of eating apples. Making it very clear that she wanted to be just like all the other girls.

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Here is another family portrait. We were going for "kids, do whatever you can possibly can manage to look like train wrecks!" #nailedit

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Loving this pic though...

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My girls are brutal. Never look at the same time, never smile at the same time....ugh!!!

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Except of course when the camera is NOT focused on them in the slightest bit. Oh yeah!!!! Big smiles then....HUGE!!!! Same time even.

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This was an easy shot to get....NOPE! #ialmostcutofftheirheadsbutididnt #HA

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So, here we are in laaaaaaaaate September (October even) and I am finally starting to feel a little caught up here on the blog. Just in time to post a birth story (no I haven't forgotten) and gear up for Down Syndrome Awareness Month.

Stay tuned and Happy Fall Y'all!!

 

Summer Has Gone - Part 2

The last bit of summer. I think I actually see the light. I might actually be up to date here shortly. An early Christmas miracle perhaps.  

Labour Day with the family.

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Annual Venice dinner. I really hope this tradition stays alive. Such an amazing memory.

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A new face joined us this year for Venice dinner. Nola, you sweet little lamb. Welcome, my dear, welcome.

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I know they aren't smiling but I adore this pic. It's so them...

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This next pic is just because she's beautiful...

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So long summer. You were very kind.

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Summer Has Come - Part 1

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So this is that summer post I told you about. Lots of pics and not a lot of words. We had a blast. Enjoying the warm weather, sisters keeping mommy and daddy busy, visiting with friends, spending time with family, vacations, eating, playing, etc.

 

We had endless summer nights hanging around the house. Those nights where it just seemed like way too much to pack the girls up and go anywhere. So home we stayed. Lots of playing in the little pool and eating ice cream.

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Oh yes...and helping daddy in the yard.

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She got teeth, lots of teeth. BRUTAL!!!!

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Also, there's this #purejoy

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Girlfriend needs to have either 2 sticks or 2 rocks in her hands at all times.

 

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We took some time out to vacation at the cottage.

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Girl's got the "Seguin eyebrow" down. I CAN NOT do it!!!!

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I died during this interaction. DIED!!!!

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We visited with dear friends that live in Australia. They had never met our girls before this trip but you would never know it the way our children carried on together. Like old mates. So much laughing, imitating, watching movies, and eating. Actually, I am pretty sure at some point there was an inflatable pool inside and the kids were all sitting in it. Amazing!

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Meet Hazel's future husband...SWOON

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I can't tell you how happy the sight of these kids together makes me.

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Nola is really not taking kindly to chess...

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Acting out the movie Frozen. 1000 TIMES A DAY!!!!!

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THOMASSSSSS!!!!!! Xoxoxo... Nola is totally obsessed.

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Can't remember where I left off

So much has happened since I last shared. Summer has come and gone and I literally have a million photos to sift through to try and organize some semblance of a blog post. Just know I am working on it. The goal is to get a well-rounded post of the entire summer. YIKES!!! I have my work cut out for me. Sometimes "blog-ations" (is that a thing? I'm sure it's a thing - right?!) are not worth it in the end. Especially when you are me and MUST. Document. Every. Freaking. Moment!!!!

Let's start with our summer on IG. Shall we?

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We got caught in the rain...good times!

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Meet you back here shortly with a recap...I swear - I'm on it!!!!

That post I promised...

Just checking in. How are you all??? We are good...

Summer so far has been great. Lots and lots of family time, mixed in with visits with friends and play dates with the girls. Also, managing to get some projects done around the house. There has been a perfect balance of outings and trips with an equal amount of those days of staying home and just hanging with the girls. Nothing on the agenda except playing in the yard.

Still missing Nonno like crazy. Actually, noticing his absence even MORE as the day pass. It's such a strange thing to try to get used to when such a presence is no longer with us. Not sure if it ever feels normal.

Here are all the "smiley" photos from our family trip to Buckhorn Lake (the rest of the pics will come later).

 

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See you back here in September. Starting off the return with Nola's birth story. Stay tuned...

 

It Not You - It's me...

Ok. Don't be mad. You're gonna be mad. Just hear me out... It's nothing you did, or said. It's me... YOU? You are perfect!

Although I love this space. I love sharing, writing and documenting, researching, reading comments and e-mails from readers...

I need a break.

With the passing of my Nonno and the simple fact that life just doesn't seem to be slowing down, I am really feeling the need to spend time with my girls. Without the social media distraction (except for IG of course). My motivation is definitely taking a hit here.

I might keep posting a few things here and there. Mostly just to continue documenting life for the girls to read one day. I will also be writing and getting new posts ready for the fall. Like a birth story for example. It's written, just needs a little editing and a few images. Not sure why they take me so long to post??? Anyway, trust me I will be quietly working away on a fresh bunch of posts. Just in time for us all to be ready to get a warm cup of coffee and settle in to those few moments we have to spare and catch up on your favourite little gal Hazel and her new side kick.

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I leave you with a little update on our girl Hazel.

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(all her photos look like this now. She runs toward the camera almost every time)

She has been growing and changing so SO much in her second year. Turning more and more into a little girl with an evolving personality. She is certainly enjoying exerting control over the decisions being made. Especially where food is concerned. Except I don't get the memo each day with the menu choices. I think she would literally just live on gold fish crackers, yogurt and tomatoes if I let her.

Yes, I give her gold fish crackers. No they are not gluten free, dairy free, organic, free range and whatever else food is supposed to be now-a-days. But the bonus about them is, she eats them. She doesn't whine, complain, throw them, waste them, and she can come up to me and ask specifically for "crackers."

SOLD!!!! Here ya go.

Look - I know what a healthy, holistic, well rounded diet should look like. And I also know what survival should look like. I'd like to think I am somewhere in between. Sometimes you just have to embrace processed cheese for what it is. A miracle. Hazel will eat anything with processed cheese on it.

Trust me when I say that Hazel will eat a huge variety of food. Fish, risotto, chicken, sausage, sandwiches, eggs (with spinach & kale), pasta, oatmeal, toast, hummus, potatoes and so much more. BUT...only when she is in the mood to eat said foods. If not...

FAHGET ABOUTIT!

I digress...

 

I would have to say that the biggest changes for her these last few months have been with her communication. She has literally become obsessed with Baby Signing Time (sign language DVDs). She comes out in the morning and is signing and saying "Baby - Time." I usually try to indulge her in her requests so she learns the basics of communication - ask and you shall receive. When she asks for anything, she pretty much gets it.

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(signing cry)

Her vocabulary grows by the day, she is always willing to repeat everything and a great deal of what she says is in context. She will look through a picture book and I can hear her saying all the words she knows. Strawberry, ball, boat, grapes, apple, shoes, dog, cat, bear, socks, fish, banana, tomato, flower, orange, balloon, bubbles, etc.

Every day she carefully examines the books in her bin, thoughtfully chooses one, carries it across the room, hands me the book, slowly turns her little body around and lowers her bum onto my lap and we read. It's the best. I really enjoy the moments she is willing to sit still and read a book because a lot of the time lately she just wants to go go go.

 

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(How much do I LOVE this??!!! This here is the reason I am taking a break. This is what is going to heal my soul. I am going to indulge in this)

 

I am so proud of how hard she tries to repeat my words, even though sometimes it sounds NOTHING like what I have said. Her determination and confidence to keep trying is all I could ever ask for. As long as she feels safe to try, I will always be proud. Let's face it. Hazel makes me proud. Everyday. She makes my heart proud.

Hazel also has this ability to make me annoyed, frustrated and wear down all my patience but you don't wanna hear about that now do you? 2 year olds...sigh.

For the next little while we are working on speech and communication, strengthening her hams and quads, and just enjoying the summer. Visiting with friends, swimming in pools, enjoying family dinners and indulging in a few more cottage trips (which I will share here eventually).

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If you are really desperate for a Hazel fix you can find us on IG or follow our Facebook page. But for now, the blog is on summer holiday.

 

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I sincerely wish you all a great summer (or winter depending on where you are reading from). I will be thinking of you and hoping you find some time to spend with your families and friends.

Meet you back here in or around September-ish. You may see a random Friday post before then. I will try, I promise.

Will miss this guys. Lots of love and warm wishes.

Talk soon

 

Offically "Chasing Nola" too

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Month 6 and 7 have been very eventful for our newest little. Here's what she's been up to.

 

I know this pic is blurry but, THE FACE!!!

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1. Eats whole bananas, cucumbers, strawberries, pasta, blueberries like its her job

 

2. Got the Army crawl down to a science

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3. Pulls herself up on everything

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Nothing like having to do an emergency dropping of the crib mattress right before bed. Immediately after I snapped this pic, she fell and smashed her face on the crib railing :(

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4. Goes from laying to sitting

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4. Claps while saying "Yeaaaaahhhhhh" - I swear she is!

5. "Na Na Na Na" is her sound of protest

6. She growls always, like always.

7. She is SO loud, going out for dinner is completely out of the question

8. She is just starting to get comfy doing the four point crawling. Most of the time it ends in a bear walk of sorts.

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9. She refuses to not be included in the festivities

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10. Plays Peek-a-boo like it's her job.

11. Her life's current mission is to hunt and track Hazel's sippy cup. Must. Get. Sippy. Cup. Must. Drink. From. Sippy. Cup.

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Watching Frozen like a big girl.

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Daddy is moving up in the ranks with Nola. It's quite sweet.

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She's teething, like hard core teething. She's got 2 bottom teeth, one top so far. And I'm pretty sure the next 3 at the top are going to be out shortly. She suffers, you guys. Just ask her.

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Some of her "firsts" over the last couplel of months. Sprinkler, Swings, pool floaty, PASTA, and road trip.

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Off to continue month number 8...crazy!!!

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Summer Lovin'

Here's some of what we've been up to lately. June flew by and it seems that July is going to be much the same. We are doing a lot of hanging around the house. Keeping it low key in between a few road trips. And honestly, it's just easier to stay close to home. The current schedule around here is no one sleeps at the same time. So, it's hard to leave when someone is always napping.

But this here...is good enough for me.

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I am loving watching her grow and explore more this summer.

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These eyebrows are JUST ridiculous.

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Ughhhhh....they are the BEST!!!!

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Hope you are having fun and enjoying life.

Nola's Baptism

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The day was perfect in every way. Turns out I love baptisms! It was exciting to plan. I was honored to be able to celebrate my girl's marriage into the Church with all our family and close friends. It's the only one of her weddings that I have total control over. So I took advantage.

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Let me mention now that Vita Photography is yet again responsible for capturing all the perfect moments and details of this day that I don't want to forget. If you are in the local area, you need to book with her!!!! The pics are always amazing in every way.

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Proud Godparents...

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Love these...

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Nola was very interested to see who was putting water on her head. By the third time the priest poured it on her, she just had to turn to see what was going on. She had us all smiling.

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Family shots...

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Nola and Nonna B. Nonna B completely outdid herself again making the gorgeous dress Nola is wearing. No pattern, no measuring, only one fitting and perfect. We are all spoiled to have her. Also, shes almost 80. Seriously!!!

Love you, Nonna B!!!

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These next 2 are what is currently making my life.

My girls...

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My family... I heart them!

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Perfect day spent with perfect people, honoring the most perfect little girl and her relationship with God.

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8 Years Later...

I have had this blog for over 2 years now and have yet to share any of our history as a newly married couple. I must be feeling a little nostalgic cause I'm looking at old wedding pics. ann2

 

It's so unbelievable to look back at these 2 crazy kids. In a way they are strangers to me. I feel so far removed from this time in my life. We have both been through so many absolutely life altering moments and events since this day. The day that marked the beginning of it all. We had no idea how our lives and our paths were going to intertwine.

I honestly do not know what I would do without this man. He literally is a rock. He has a way of making everything make sense for me. His approach for living and facing life is fearless. I literally, do not know how I get to do life with him.

Kudos universe...kudos!

 

These 2 next pics are my absolute favs. They are definitely not the "picture perfect" wedding photos but they are real, genuine and dripping with PURE JOY. This moment for me will never be forgotten. The first moments of being this man's wife.

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8 years later and we are still laughing, working, compromising, respecting, traveling, crying, loving, and parenting like it's our job. Coming out on top most days. Planning, hoping, learning and looking forward to the next 8 - and all the 8s after that.

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8 years later. Here's where we are now...

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How did I get so blessed? Life is a gift.

 

Nola, Nola

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Ok...so...she's 6 months already. In a way it feels like it's flown by like the speed of sound, but in a very different way it feels like she's been here forever. It's the latter, I am going to try to savour. I thoroughly enjoy her company. She is such a smiley, happy, curious little girl. Seriously, she literally is TOO much. Jammed packed full of pure joy!!!

As a quick side note: Since she has started eating solids, her sleeping through the night has improved dramatically. I think this MAY be (just may be) part of the reason why I feel like I love her so much more at the moment. Do not judge me! I think I have been honest about me not being my "best self" when I am sleep deprived.

I digress...This is about Nola.

There's nothing that goes on around her that she doesn't want to be a part of. She loves everybody. Always has a big smile to share and a snuggle to give. Still, I am her favourite. I can't say I'm hating that. She will literally do a dive bomb out of Daddy's arms to try and get to me. She also does the same thing when she sees her food coming near....sooooooo. Still, I am sure it's me she's obsessed with and not food. Right?!

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With each passing month she changes so much. I am forever thanking the gradual passing of time. A mama heart can handle their babes growing, as long as it happens slowly, gradually.

 

Here's some of the changes that have been happening 'round here over the past couple of months:

She started sitting up. I need to be sitting next to her just in case she topples over (which she does). I can't say that I am encouraging the gross motor. I just want her to stay put and be little forever. She's not on board.

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She got her first couple of teeth. First tooth - May 4 2014 and second tooth - May 19th. It's been fun. Poor babe.

We started solids. That's been great. She loves it. Not so much fruit (I remember Hazel was the same), but veggies YES! Started rice cereal (April 27 2014). Not a fan until I added banana or sweet potato.

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See...Much better.

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We have been introducing new foods quickly. I try one per day. I was very interested to find out that the guidelines have changed since Hazel started solids. According to my pediatrician (and this is only him - so please ask your docs before you start your children on solids), you can introduce any foods anytime now. Yes, peanut butter and yes, eggs. As long as you only do one food at a time. We are just doing what we feel comfortable with and taking Nola's lead. So far she's a happy girl. Onward...

 

Nola's babbling has become somewhat of a nuisance. She will be heard guys! She will be heard. SO LOUD all the time. I literally can't watch a TV show while I am nursing. I can't tell you how many a line on "Friday Night Lights" I have missed because of Nola and her need to talk. (Complete side note: Friday Night Lights will leave a mark on your soul and change the way you view life - just sayin')

Girlfriend loves to play with cups any shape any size, strings and tags. Also, anything Sissy has. Hazel has offered to share, twice, that's all. She will do whatever she has to, to see the TV once The Wiggles have been put on for Hazel.

Last thing. There was a baptism. It deserves it's own post. The pics are unreal.

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What else can I say? I just want to bottle up all these little tiny details so that I never EVER forget what makes my girl my, my girl. No matter how long I go on here, I will never be satisfied that I wrote enough, or described her well enough, or added enough details about her. There will always be things that I forget. So, I guess here is a good a time as any to stop.

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I love you my sweet little lamb. You literally brighten up our hearts and our home with your smile.

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Mother's Day Shenanigans

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It only took a Mother's Day miracle to get a pic of the three of us all looking in the same direction. Forget the smiling. We are all looking and that, in and of itself, exceeds all expectations.

 

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And then of each of my girls...

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We spent the day playing...

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eating...

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discovering...

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roaming...

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It was the BEST!!!