Easter & Weekend Wrap Up

Have you ever had one of those moments where after it’s over you feel like you’ve just been enveloped in a warm hug? Well, our weekend was like one freakin’ humongous bear hug. We had my in-laws come down where we splurged on nice food, dressed up in fancy dresses, had an easter egg hunt, enjoyed a day full of sunshine, and three days of pure love. Weekend like these fuel you up and come Monday you’re ready to tackle it all. Your soul is happy, your spirit elated and life is peaceful. Thanks for such a wonderful visit Grandma & Grandpa O! We love you. 

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Birthday Memories

It was my birthday this weekend. We didn’t do much celebrating since Hubby is still in full force study mode since he defends his PhD thesis this week. I continued my normal daily duties of a stay at home mom, and mumbled about the fact that it snowed for the second year in a row on my birthday. Good grief!

Since the weekend produced nothing in the blog-worthy category, I thought we could reminisce about a birthday that happened last June. My sweet little lady bug turned one. I wrote this entry back on the eve of Emerson’s first birthday:

Today Emerson saw the ocean for the first time. She marched right up to the crest where dry sand meets sand frequently drenched with ocean waves, lifted her little arm and said ooh. Yes, my girl is one after my own heart, the beach is in her blood. She picked up handful after handful of sand, explored dried seaweed, and not once did she try to eat a “sand cookie,” something my younger self can’t claim.

It wasn’t until Kyle was wrapping Emmie up in a towel and asked her, “do you remember when we used to swaddle you?,” that it hit me. My little girl is no longer a baby. Her smooshy, cheeky baby face has thinned out into a peanut toddler face. She no longer needs me to hold her head, and rarely does she want me to hold her hand. Yes, my little one loves to walk, explore, reach, and climb. She loves to dance, read and snuggle her animals. My little girl is turning one tomorrow.

This year has flown by. While we had some hard moments, all that floods my memory are all the amazing times we’ve had as a family of three. I simply cannot remember what life was like without my little Emerson. I am so excited to see what this next year brings. I love you Emma Claire and you will always be my baby.

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At the Library

I hope everyone had a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day! I managed to serve a rainbow of fruit for breakfast, and that’s about as far as my creativity got that day. The other 3 Pinterest-worthy ideas I had were left sitting out on the counter taunting me. We had a busy day complete with a cranky baby so the holiday crafts were not a top priority. It’s not like Emerson really appreciates the fact that I took 10 minutes of my life to dye pasta with green food coloring so we could make a green St. Patty’s Day inspired necklace while also honing her fine motor skills at the same time. And honestly, she’d probably be freaked out if I tried to paint her hand green for the hand-shamrock activity I also had planned. So instead she ate her rainbow of fruit and wore a green tutu dress… and that was that.

But speaking of appreciation, the library has mine! Emerson and I have been going once a week. The kid section of our library is great: it’s secluded, it has a play area, and it’s pretty big! While Emmie plays, I thoughtfully pick out a selection of books for her. I pick out books that relate to the season, to upcoming holidays, to milestones she’s close to and even ideas we’ve talked about at home. Her favorite books are the ones that feature animals. 

In contrast, as we make our way to check out, I hastily pluck a book off the “New Fiction” display for myself. The book I grab is solely based on one of two things: the title and/or the cover. I know! I know.  You’re never supposed to judge a book this way, but recently, it’s all I’ve got time for. Funnily enough I’ve actually had some pretty great luck doing this. Okayyy, if we’re honest, I’ve also had some pretty crummy books too. Regardless, it’s still nice to head to bed knowing you have a new book awaiting you.

Apparently Emerson agrees with me as she’s been quietly boycotting bed. For two hours after we tuck her in, she wanders around her room gathering her stuffed animals and flipping through all the books she can find. It’s hard to be mad at her for staying up so late when she’s quietly reading. I mean, c’mon! Plus, let’s be real here, this face doesn’t hurt.

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Balancing Motherhood & Illness

Life has a certain ebb and flow when you live with a chronic illness. Good health is something not taken for granted. For most fighting a chronic illness, healthiness is something we are always acutely aware of. When we’re healthy we relish how easy it is to breathe deep to laugh, the luxury of simply taking the stairs or how playing outside today won’t cause hurt tomorrow. Under this magnification of appreciation you also become gravely aware of the first sign that you’re slipping. You might notice the extra pause you take when lugging in groceries, the slight resistance of the joints in your hands when you go to make your morning coffee or the weight of your chest when having an impromptu dance party. 
It’s in these small signs that we know our health is fleeting. Where we were once happily gazing out into the future on our hill of health, our bodies have sent us small warnings that we’re slipping. We’re no longer standing on top of the hill but sliding downwards.  We can use these signs to fortify our defenses & up our effort of putting our health first so we can fight to get back on top of our hill.
Yet sometimes, that’s just not what happens. Sometimes, despite all your effort, despite how hard you push, you keep sliding backwards. The peak of your hill gets smaller as you get further and further away. You grapple at anything on your way down; you dig your heels in, your hands snatching at roots, finger nails digging into the dirt and praying you can just hold on. But when gravity gets ahold of you halfway down that hill, you know you’re out of luck and out of options. There is just no way you’re making it back to the top of that hill without someone to help you get there.
That’s what living with CF is like: a constant battle to stay atop your favorite hill.  The hill where, at its peak, your baby girl sits patiently waiting for you to get back.

Emerson’s young now, so she doesn’t realize the subtleties of my illness. For now she thinks that all Mommies need nebulizers. I keep a jar of enzymes on the counter so I can reach in and grab a few before I eat… to her that jar is normal, my pills, are normal. The bright blue vest I strap to my chest to shake for half hour increments? Normal. Maybe she thinks that all mothers use these things. Maybe she thinks that one day she’ll need these things too.
Yes, Emerson is young now and she doesn’t understand why some days I can play, and others I can’t. She doesn’t understand the aggravation of not being able to meet her demands, because my body already had too many. She can’t comprehend that I sometimes have to put myself first, out of love for her. And when she cries because she doesn’t want me to do my vest any longer, when she signs “all done” as I bring out my morning nebulizer, or when I simply don’t have the energy to go outside and she cries at the door… she doesn’t realize that it’s heartbreaking for me. That I too, don’t want to stay inside to do my meds, but I must and so I do.
Balancing motherhood with my disease is hard- tremendously, terrifyingly, and staggeringly hard. Maybe one day Emmie will understand, that we’re all just navigating life the best we can with what we were given. Maybe one day she’ll look back and recognize all the sacrifices I make as a mother with CF so that I could have one more day to hold her, one more day to tell her I love her, one more day of being her mother. For now, that’s all I can hope, and it’s that hope that keeps me fighting day after day to get back to the top of that hill. 

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Cloth Diapering 2 Years Later: How We Keep Our Diapers Looking New

Cloth Diapering
As many of you know we decided to cloth diaper right from the start. We also decided to try out Alva Baby diapers simply because they’re cheap! You can read our whole reasoning behind cloth diapering in this post.  The problem with cloth diapers is that they start to show wear & tear over the months of use. Some people complain of stretching elastic, stains, odor buildup & inoperable velcro. We have successfully have avoided all of these issues.
So how have we done it? 
Here are my 5 simple steps to keep your cloth diapers looking new:
1. Clean your diapers correctly!  
Clean your diapers. Really clean them. Clean diapers shouldn’t retain any smells. If your diapers have a slight ammonia smell after washing, they are not clean! I started off using “Rockin’ Green” and while some people swear by it, it just wasn’t working for us. Our diapers lost absorbency, retained odors, and irritated our baby. A few weeks in and I was already having to strip our diapers. They just weren’t getting clean. After doing some research I switched to regular Tide. I haven’t looked back since. Tide has completely solved the odor and irritation problems. Since switching to Tide I haven’t needed to ‘strip’ my diapers again. If you’re getting your diapers clean, there’s no need to strip them. If you are still stripping your diapers please review your washing techniques!

2. Invest in a diaper sprayer. 
Seriously, if you cloth diaper you  need  one of these. A friend of mine used an old spatula to scrape poop off her cloth diapers… no wonder people think cloth diapering is gross! The sprayer attaches to your toilet tank in less than 5 minutes and saves your diapers. After a poo simply shake off solids into the toilet and then hose it down with the sprayer. It helps your diapers stay stain free, and you can ensure you’re diapers are getting as clean as they can in the wash without having to do any additional washing cycles or soaks.
3. Use an enzyme spray. 
Many people don’t do this, but I truly think coupling this step with our diaper sprayer is one of the main reasons we have yet to have any stains on any of our diapers almost 2 years into using them. After a poop, when we rinse, we may not get every single tiny bit off, or the diaper might be slightly discolored (I’m looking at you yellow breastfeed baby poop!). After hosing off the diapers, we would do a quick spray with Biokleen’s Bac Out’s Enzyme Spray. It soaks in, eating away the poo enzymes so that when we finally washed our diapers all the stains vanish (along with any poop related bacteria!)
4. Go with snaps. 
Snaps may seem like more of an effort, at first, but a toddler can’t unsnap a snap as easily as they can rip off some worn out velcro. Velcro gets worn down over time so by the 2 year mark your loop & hook is in pretty crummy condition. You’ll probably have a hard time getting it to stay where you want it. Go with snaps. Their functionality and looks totally crush velcro, especially when it comes to longevity. 

5. Steer clear of diaper/rash creams! 
We never use diaper rash cream when we use our cloth diapers. If Emerson’s bum gets irritated enough for some cream, we switch over to a disposable…which is ironic since it’s usually being in disposables that cause her irritation. Using creams can mess with the absorbency of the cloth diapers since they’re designed to create a barrier for moisture. 
By doing these simple steps you can ensure your cloth diapers will be looking fresh, bright and new even after years of use.

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Sometimes motherhood feels overwhelming. You become bogged down with all the worries, anxieties, and fears of not being enough. Not providing enough love, enough creativity, enough activities. You worry about singing enough songs, reading enough books, painting enough pictures. You worry about being present but encouraging independence. You worry that you’re just not enough.

And then, it all fades away in an instant.

I was getting Emerson dressed for the day. We were layering since there was still a bitter winter chill in the air and we were headed to the park. Tights, then leggings. A blue long sleeve bodysuit. I pulled out a faded Wonder Woman tee to throw over as an easy layer. Wonder Woman with her wild – yet glamorously tamed- hair, her bold bodysuit and fearless pose swooping in to save the day.

Emerson peaked over at the shirt and her face lit up. Pointing to the woman on the shirt, she gasp, “Mama!” And just like that, all those silly fears of not being enough faded into nothingness. According to my daughter, I was Wonder Woman.

I laughed and said, “You think that’s me?” Emerson’s classic ‘yes’ nod followed. Deliberate and slow: up, down. Yes. She pointed again, “Mama! Mama!” I laughed again, but this time, I nodded in agreement. Sure, kiddo, if you want to think I’m Wonder Woman go right ahead. And in that moment in time I knew; I am enough.

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Easy Whole Wheat Pasta & Scallops

This dish is one of my husband’s favorites. It’s quick & easy, I usually have all the ingredients, and it doesn’t make a lot of dirty dishes for clean-up. My kind of meal. Plus, there’s wine involved. Need I say more?


2 tbsp. butter
2 cups green beans
1 cup bay scallops
Whole wheat linguini or spaghetti
1/2 cup dry white wine
1.5 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 lemon slices for garnish
fresh grated parmesan cheese
*1/3 cup milk/heavy cream 


Heat 1 tbsp of butter in a large skillet/wok over medium high heat. Brown scallops on each side. Once your scallops are browned add in about 1/3 of the chicken stock. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to get all those browned bits up. Boil down most of the broth. Add in wine, more stock & remaining butter. Season with pepper, smoked paprika and lemon juice.
Let simmer for 10 minutes or until half the liquid evaporates. Add in additional stock to desired taste. For a creamier option, whisk in up to 1/3 cup of heavy cream or milk.
While your scallops simmer cook your whole wheat pasta.
Add green beans to scallops and continue to simmer until green beans become slightly tender. When your pasta is finished cooking, drain and toss into wok with scallops & green beans. Serve with a lemon slice and freshly grated parmesan cheese. For even more decadence, crumble bacon on top.
Also optional: snapping a picture when you catch your toddler sneaking bites from the butter. How can someone so cute be so gross?

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Little things

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written all about the little things that happen day to day. The small moments where I take a mental snapshot hoping with all my might, that I just might remember this infinitely small moment in time.

1. You’ve recently started making lot’s of animal noises. My favorite are the pig and the cat. Anytime you see a cat, or a picture of a cat, or anything cat-like you break out in this tiny “mew” sound. Over and over. If I ask you what that [cat] is, you respond with a meow. And a pig? The pig sound is hysterical. Since you have no idea how we snort through our noses, you’ve taken to inhaling in a gasping sort of sound. It makes me laugh and worry that you’ll pass out, all at the same time.

2. You really tug on our heartstrings. You now cry out for “Mama” or “DAAAAAAD” when you’re upset it’s time for bed. It takes all our willpower not to rush in at the first call.

3. The fake smile. If I ask you to look at me and smile… I get a priceless face every time. I get scrunched up noses, wide open grins, and you usually squint your eyes. It makes me laugh every time.

4. You are insistent about signing “thank-you.” It is probably the only sign you really do anymore. But man, anytime we give you something, do something nice for you or help you do something you pat your mouth in the “thank you” sign over and over, sometimes even chasing us down until we acknowledge your “thank you,” with a “you’re welcome!” You take your manners very seriously.

5. The “yes” nod. You mastered shaking your head “no” a long time ago, but nodding “yes” is more recent. I have to say it’s a personal favorite. The deliberate head back and sharp nod is terribly cute. No subtle nods here, one maybe two or three big violent head nods complete with a serious face and all.

6. You’re still obsessed with Oliver. In fact, every morning after saying Mom, & Dad you hunt for Oliver, calling “Allll-eeeeee!” You play tug of war, keep away, and help feed him. You chase him down with his extra collars and slide them onto his neck. You tackle him in big bear hugs and lay on his back anytime you think you can get away with it. You include him in your rounds of giving everyone a kiss. Periodically throughout the day you pick up his water bowl and carefully walk to where ever he is and put it in front of his snout, making sure he’s not thirsty. I think he usually humors you and takes a lick or two to appease you.  Oh yes, it’ safe to say you love your dog.

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All things Cat

Emerson has been obsessed with cats lately. She thinks bunnies are also cats, so now that Easter gear is out I hear “mew mew mew” a lot more frequently. She doesn’t have any cat themed things, we’ve got dogs covered, but now that’s she’s really into cats I’ve been looking into some cute cat themed gear.
All things Cat
How cute would Emmie be carrying around that little cross-body cat purse? I can just see her stashing her beloved paci’s in there. And that clock? I mean, her current clock is full of penguins, but this clock would definitely be a big hit. And don’t get me started on those insanely cute cat flats! I’m not sure she’d even be able to walk since I’m positive she would just want to sit and point at her feet and say “mew.”

Yes, there’s no denying she’s in a huge “cat” phase. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing quite a few animal phases as she grows up. Emerson has such a big heart for her animals, just like her Daddy. 
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