Around the House Lately

13 May

At the start of the year, I had all of these intentions to sit down and blog on a regular basis but just never seem to prioritize this. Reasonable, I suppose, but I am hoping to carve out some regular time to blog about our life again. I like looking back at all the things that have happened over the years since the blog began. It’s a nice “yearbook” of sorts since I can’t ever seem to get my act together to make annual photo book for the family. Although, I am still hoping that the awesome First Year book I made Wes (it turned out amazing!!) will keep me motivated to continue that tradition as planned.

Anyway, I have a few updates on house projects that we’ve worked on here and there. I thought it’d be fun to show (the little bit of) progress we’ve made and try and outline some upcoming plans for the house. We’ll start with the “unexpected” project we are wrapping up.

When we started thinking about the idea of having another little one at home (yes, we started the process for another adoption and no, I have no news beyond that), we had to to figure out how best to accommodate two children. Wes sped up our timeline when he decided he no longer wanted to stay in his crib back in October. So, on Halloween night, we got Wes set up in his new room with his nice big twin bed. The room was nowhere near “ready” for a toddler to settle down so we’ve been trying to inject some personality to the space over the last several months. We have learned it is INCREDIBLY difficult to get much work done in this space, especially because our most productive time is during nap time and that is not really an option when you’re working on the napping child’s bedroom! Needless to say, Wes has really enjoyed exploring all sorts of different tools and loves “helping” us “work.”

One of my favorite pieces for his room happens to be this large quote we found on Etsy. My love for this song started with my love for the TV show Parenthood (gosh, I really miss the Bravermans). You may have noticed that in each of the birthday videos I’ve made for Wes, I’ve ended with this song. I just love the message in the lyrics so when I stumbled across this in Etsy I knew it would be a perfect addition. All the bright colors really add some fun to a pretty neutral room (at least so far).


One thing we had to pick up for spring/summer is a lighter blanket – this one from Target. We recently switched to these cute construction sheets we picked up, too.

The current two struggles in this room –

(1) What can we safely hang or use to decorate over his bed? It’s such a large wall/space and he can get a little wild and crazy that I worry anything too big or heavy would be a safety hazard. I’m trying to find a wall decal of the moon (he is REALLY into the moon) or of a cute quote but struggling to commit to something. I am leaning towards this decal from etsy. What do you think? Do you have any other ideas – leave ’em in the comments below!

(2) Should we paint the closet doors a fun color, paint them white (like the rest of the doors in our home), OR leave them natural since they “match” the dresser. Feel free to weigh in:


Wes is going to be spending a few days with his grandparents in a couple of weeks so I hope we can wrap his bedroom up while he’s gone. We also want to tackle the tile job in the kid/guest bathroom so we will see how motivated we are during those few days. Our DIY juices just aren’t as energized as they used to be.

A few other projects need updates on, but that will have to wait for another day. This includes the dining room built-ins, the playroom, and even Wes’ nursery (maybe this will wait until baby #2 joins us… someday). Time will tell when I’ll be back but hopefully it’s sooner than history tells us it will be haha.

Mother’s Day

12 May

For the past 3 years, I have not had that feeling of dread as Mother’s Day approaches. As most of you know, the whole path to parenthood was pretty tumultuous. One that had a lot of ups, downs, and stalls before it ended with the most incredible experience. (In case you need a refresher, you can read a little more about it here, here, and here).

Now, Mother’s Day brings on a whole bunch of other emotions – joy, of course, but also relief to have “made it”, guilt that I get to enjoy this kick ass kid and maybe somehow didn’t earn it, worry that Wes will resent us as he gets older, sadness for Wes’ other mom… it’s definitely complicated. One thing is sure, I am grateful – so, so grateful (!!) that Wes is mine to love.  Without Wes’ other mom, I would not be a mom to this wild, energetic, smart, curious, wonderful boy. So today, I also think of her (a lot) and thank her for giving me this amazing gift.

This year, while honoring all the incredible mother’s in your life, remember how complicated Mother’s Day (and wouldn’t hurt to keep this in mind for Father’s Day, too) can really be for some. For birth moms, adoptive moms, moms who have lost a child, a child who has lost their mom, surrogates, those longing to be a mom, those who have a difficult relationship with their mom, and on and on.

So, if this day is complicated for you, I wish that you have the day you need today. Whatever that means for you. I wish that you feel loved, that you feel seen, that you have the space to feel whatever emotions you’re feeling, and that you don’t feel alone.  You are not alone.


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28 Feb

Another 6 months gone in a blink of an eye! How can it be that we have a 2.5 year old? I find myself thinking, “Oh my gosh, he’s almost 3” all of the time! Where did that sweet, little baby go? We now have a funny, sassy, energetic, wild, sweet little boy! He is always challenging, questioning, and running – definitely keeping us on our toes. 🙂

We celebrated the 1/2 birthday with our annual tradition – cupcakes! YUM!


In the last 6 months, his vocabulary has exploded. He has so much to say and knows so many words to say it! Some of my favorite phrases – “no tickle me mom” (in a sing song voice), “no, self” (meaning, let me do it by myself), “help you” (can I help you?), “oh my gosh” (haha, I say this ALL the time), “funny, mom?” (Right after doing something sassy). A year ago he had just a handful of words in his vocabulary and now he’s picking up new words every single day.

He can count to 10 (obviously just rote memorization at this point, but still impressive to me!) and say the alphabet, he sings baa, baa black sheep, twinkle, twinkle little star, Mary had a little lamb, and baby shark (haha), he even can spell his name! Well, the name thing may have been a fluke as it only happened once but he did actually spell it correctly for me. He sees a “W” and knows it’s for Wes and if you “turn it” it’s an “M” for mom! So even if the name thing was a fluke now, it won’t be long before he can write it himself.

He still enjoys swimming – and is doing great! He can do a back float by himself, swim 3 feet by himself, and just loves to splash and kick for hours! It will be fun to see how good he gets when we can spend some extra time at the local pool this summer.

Last time we checked in, we talked about a “big kid room.” Wes decided 26 months was close enough to 3 and was officially in his new room by Halloween. We tried to keep him in his crib, but he climbed out over and over and over again. The transition was not easy but now, 4 months later, I think we’ve made it to the other side. He sleeps 10.5 to 11 hours at night and naps for about 1.5 hours most days. He skips a nap every now and then and boy is that fun (sarcasm is hard to put in print but I’m sure most of you get it).

He is so imaginative – regularly creating “monsters” (not scary, I guess) or cows or something else that is hiding in the house and we have to run away from them (all in good fun), he likes to cook in his toy kitchen making tea or cookies or eggs,  he also brings his broom and dustpan all over the house cleaning up “messes.” He is great at cleaning up his toys (with help usually) and sometimes even reminds ME we need to clean up before we move on to the next activity. He is NOT a fan of playing by himself though so I consider it a win if I can get 1 or 2 minutes of independent play at a time. Luckily he is good at helping with the laundry, dishes, and cooking 🙂

He just had his 2.5 year appointment and is officially 37 inches and 31+ pounds. Here  are his 1/2 birthday photos over the last 2 years so you can see the growth with your own eyes.


Here are a few pictures from our photo session for our 1/2 birthday celebration:



Here are a few of my favorite pictures in the last 6 months:



Work in Progress

16 Nov

There are things we all go through when raising babies and toddlers- the sleepless infant nights, the “terrible twos,” the “threenager” phase (which I’m constantly told is MUCH, much worse 🙂 ), the transition from the crib to bed, and all the worries! Parenting is tough, no matter the age of our kids or what else is going on in our life.

The other week I had a pretty rough day with Wes. I ended up feeling like a completely inadequate mother and lately I’ve been feeling extra pressure to get it “right” (whatever that means, eh?). I’ve found myself thinking a lot about Wesley’s other mom on the days I struggle to find the balance between discipline and comfort. Those days I feel like I failed to be the mom I wanted to be are the days I think of her the most. Am I letting her down? If am frustrated and disappointed by my lack of patience, would she be, too? After all, Wes is not just my son; he’s hers as well.


I know fear of failing is common to parents, not just parents through adoption. Mistakes will happen. Probably a billion. We are not perfect beings. I have always had high expectations for myself and as a parent, I sometimes have unrealistic expectations. That is something I am definitely working on. But I often feel I have another set of expectations to live up to. There is another person who has trusted me (and Mike) with the most precious, priceless gift. I promised her I’d be the best mom I could be. It is so hard when I fall short of that. 


Sometimes I feel that I have to be perfect to prove to the universe (and myself) that I deserve to be a mom. What I am learning, though, is how I respond to these tough days is what really matters. These mistakes are helping me grow into the type of mom I hoped to be. Every day I get a little bit closer to being that ”best” I promised. I am definitely a work in progress, but maybe a masterpiece, too.0B785C06-7B88-469C-80ED-3C80B50378B7.jpeg

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. I share pieces of my story to raise awareness and understanding around adoption. I am happy to share resources and answer questions for anyone considering adoption or for anyone seeking to learn more about the topic. Adoption is such a wonderful, wonderful part of my life but it has certainly not been the easy part of my life – easy? No… worth it? ABSOLUTELY! 


In a Blink – Look Who’s Two!

24 Sep


Last time we checked in, we had just celebrated Wesley’s 1/2 birthday with cupcakes. And in a blink of an eye he’s now two! I want time to both slow down so I can soak it all in and keep marching on because it’s so fun to see him grow and learn (and hopefully we can get past these “terrible two” tantrums just as quickly as we got here!).

We had a Taco Twosday party to celebrate the year and it was a blast. His cousin and birthday twin came to celebrate, too! Here are some pics from the party:

In the last 6 months, he’s gotten faster, stronger, louder (I didn’t realize it was possible to get louder), and sassier haha. But he’s also gotten to be pretty chatty,  interested in helping with EVERYTHING, and no longer wears diapers when he’s awake! We did speech therapy for about 4 or 5 months and we all learned a lot! Wes is saying MANY words and learning new ones every day. He still doesn’t string two words together but I’m sure it’s coming soon. His favorite things to do involve running – he will regularly ask to play “me, me” which means “get me” aka chase after me! He also loves talking on the phone (whether the phone is a remote, a toy, or  an actual phone he will say “hello” over and over and over again) and is obsessed with FaceTime!

He officially graduated from parent-tot swim classes and has had 2 lessons without mom in the pool so far- he is doing awesome! His biggest challenge is sitting and waiting his turn, but I am so impressed with how well he does actually wait. He loves the water so it is going to be fun watching him develop his swimming skills this year.

He remains a pretty excellent sleeper – naps about 2 hours mid-day and sleeps from 8pm to 7am most days. But our good sleep days are numbered, I am sure, once he figures out life can happen outside of the crib. We are working on a “big boy” room for him this fall, but plan to bring the crib with and keep him in there as long as safely possible. I do not think he’s developmentally ready to understand he needs to stay in a bed yet – and hope to keep him in his crib until he’s 3…. even if it means buying a second crib! I won’t elaborate much in this post (since this post is about Wes after all) but we are in the process of a second adoption and all that entails (no, there’s no news beyond that) and it’s important to me that he is at least out of the “nursery” well before we bring a hypothetical infant home so that is our motivation to get the transition done soon.

Life at two is awesomely energetic, non-stop, exhausting, and so, so fun! I really am so lucky to get to experience life with Wes and I feel incredibly fortunate that I get to walk this journey with him.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the last 6 months:

I also compiled some of our favorite pictures and video clips from the year and made it into a short video (compared to his first year’s video) – you can view the video by clicking on this link.

Hopefully I will be back with another blog post before Wes is three, but I wouldn’t count on it 😉


6 Mar

I have entered the period of life where I have no energy or brain power left once Wes is sleeping. As you can see, blogging falls to the back burner. I thought I better get my act together to document the last 6 months of Wes’ life. Last we checked in, he had “just” turned 1 (yes, I was a little late but only a few months!) and I cannot believe we are inching ever so closely to TWO! Here are some outtakes from our 1.5 year photo session – it’s definitely not getting easier to get him to cooperate haha!

Fall started off very busy for us as Mike was traveling for about a month of it. Wes and I got by ok during that time, but it was NOT easy! Poor little guy ended up getting his first ear infection followed a few weeks later by HFM. I won’t lie and say I didn’t enjoy the cuddles, but am so glad he’s been relatively healthy since. Which is a good thing since I needed someone to help me rake all those leaves while Mike was away working 😉

His second Halloween was a bit more exciting this year. Last year, he basically slept through it all. This year, he dressed up as a dinosaur and got to visit with a few of our neighbors before trick-or-treating officially started. He did have a lot of fun helping Mike handout Halloween candy to the kiddos, too.

Christmas was a bit more work, but a bit more fun, too. Our tree never got fully decorated. We did teach Wes to use “one finger touches” when he wanted to explore the Christmas tree and lights, but never felt confident enough to put up more than just 4 ornaments! 🙂

Probably the biggest first Wes has had the past 6 months is his first plane ride and trip to the ocean. We decided to escape winter for a bit and headed to Mexico with Oma, Papa, Grandma, Grandpa, Great-Grandma, and one of Wes’ Great Aunts. To say we worried about how our little busy body would handle being cooped up on a 4 hour flight is an understatement. But he did so, so well. He LOVED the ocean despite some pretty impressive waves, too. Although that shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise – this boy loves the water and loves to play rough haha.

He still is a great sleeper when he isn’t teething. Usually sleeps from 7:30 pm until 6:30-7am (and sometimes 7:30!) with 1-2 hour nap mid-day. He is officially off bottles for the past few months and generally eats like a champ. He has 16 teeth and seems he’s been working on his 2-year molars FOREVER. Needless to say we are all very excited to wrap up the teething chapter of our life. He continues to run everywhere; walking is just not his style! He can sign “more,” “all done,” and “eat” but has very few words … although, the the list is growing every week. He can now say “moo,” “baa,” “door” (doh), “bird” (bir), “more,” “please” (peees- always said quite emphatically), “bus” (buh), and “oh” (help).

All-in-all it’s been a great 6 months! We abandoned weekly and monthly photos – he doesn’t like to sit still for them anyway, but here are a few more of our favorite pictures since we checked in last.

And just because we never shared the pictures we took on his brithday back in August, here are a few of my favorites!

And just like that he’s ONE! (Y1:Q4)

25 Oct

How can it be that I have a ONE year old?! This past year has been one of the most wonderful, most challenging, full of fun, full of exhaustion, simply amazing years. I’ve been putting off writing this post for awhile because I am so not ready to admit my baby isn’t a baby anymore! I have so much fun interacting with him and watching the wheels turn as he learns something new, but sometimes I miss the days  where he’d still be in the same spot I set him down in! 🙂 In all seriousness, I am amazed every day at the little person he is becoming. It truly is incredible.

In the last 3 months, Wesley has

– Celebrated Memorial Day, Father’s Day, and 4th of July

– Started doing “so big!” (9.5 months)

– Had his first camping trip (10 months)

– Spent his first weekend away while we went to an out of town wedding (10.5 months) (BTW he did great! Thanks Oma and Papa!)

– Went swimming A LOT (LOVES!!!)

– Learned to clap his hands (11 months)

– Learned to sign “more” (11 months)

– Went down the slide at the park BY HIMSELF! (11.5 months)

– Went to his first Great Taste of the Midwest (aka “Beer Fest”) (11.5 months)

– Started Kindermusik (11.5 months)

– Had his first Silver Lake vacation (11.75 months)

– Started waving “bye-bye” (11.75 months)

– Tooth count: 10 (!!!)

As I mentioned, sitting still is a thing of the past. This kid is a man on a mission! He runs from here to there and back again and again! Thank goodness for baby gates and coffee! We spend most of the day on the porch playing with all sorts of toys. One of his favorite activities is to throw his toys OVER the gate and railing. And then he gets mad when he is all out of toys to play with! When that happens, he picks up his little lawn mower and runs back and forth across the porch and giggles uncontrollably when I chase him! Whatever leaves the lawn mower doesn’t take care of, Wes takes it upon himself to eat them up! Of course he won’t throw the leaves over the gate! Haha. When we get tired of the toys at home, we make at least one trip to the park a day (luckily for us there are 5 within walking distance).

With all this activity it is hard to imagine time for anything else, but, he is eating 3 meals a day now and gets 2 small snacks, too! His actual appetite and “favorites” seem to change on the daily but that makes life interesting. Riley appreciates Wesley’s willingness to share his food on days he doesn’t feel like eating much. He still gets 3 bottles of formula a day, ranging from 14ish – 24ish ounces a day. There were a string of days where he drank very little and gave us a false sense of security that this whole weaning from the bottle/formula thing would be a walk in the park. We are working on the transition away from formula and bottles… slowly!

(ETA: The above was written awhile ago. He was successfully transitioned to Ripple milk – a pea protein [could NOT tolerate cow’s milk], with just one bottle of formula before bed)

Let’s take a look at how much he’s changed this quarter, starting with his weekly round-up (week 40 – 52)




Monthly chalkboard/dino pictures


Collection of random favorites


Most of you have likely seen this already, but for completeness sake I’ll included a link to the video I made of his first year!