Not just a word anymore

Miscarriage. Almost 2 months ago, that was just a word to me. Miscarriage. I mean, I know several friends and family members who have had them, but I legit had no idea what all they entailed or what a miscarriage really was. I guess I just never gave it much thought or maybe it was that I had never heard anyone talk about their experience. I knew they were sad… But I had no idea the real depths of sadness this word carried with it until the moment we delivered our son at 11 weeks.

I have wanted to share our experience in writing, but every time I’ve sat down to write, I simply can’t. But tonight I laid down, and I was ready. November 11, 2020, Norah (our oldest, our 8 year old) came and laid with me in bed and told me she had the most incredible dream. She said that it was so real. She told me that in the dream Chris and I told her and her sisters we were pregnant. She went on and on about how real the dream felt. I kissed her forehead and told her that her dream sounded magical and I was so happy she had such a beautiful dream.

I wanted so badly for her dream to be true. While we weren’t actively trying to get pregnant, I have had such a strong desire for another child. Some days it felt so strong that it felt like someone was actually missing. We would be doing a craft or eating a meal and I would look around and just know someone was missing. The girls had been begging and praying and talking about a baby any chance they got. They wrote Santa and asked for a baby and told him even if it meant they didn’t get any other presents, they wanted me to be pregnant. 🥰

Two days later, it was Friday November 13th. I didn’t have any pregnancy symptoms yet, but a few other events had taken place that made me feel like there was more to Norah’s dream. I took a pregnancy test and those two pink lines showed up right away!!! So I took another☺️ Same thing! I was pregnant! Ahhhh!!! I honestly kind of freaked out and started shaking and was just so excited but also just like whaaaaa?! I texted two of my closest friends, and they both had the same reaction. “AMANDA!” I was so excited/nervous/excited! We were pregnant!!!

I remember walking downstairs and saying to Chris, “Hey, can I talk to you upstairs for a bit?” I knew he knew.🥰Chris’ reaction was different then any reaction her had ever had before. He took a deep breath and said, “Whoa, I feel weird.” He explained that he had never hoped for a son before but he really hoped, and almost just knew this was a boy. Then he explained that he had this really weird feeling that he didn’t want to tell me. That this would be different. That he didn’t want to scare me but he felt really weird. I kind of shook that off and we both decided to move on from that feeling and choose excitement. 

First bump pic I took of baby #5☺️

We told a few other family members in the following days but wanted to keep it a secret, especially from any of our friends from church or friends with children our girls’ ages, because we didn’t want it to accidentally get back to them and ruin the surprise we had planned. We decided telling the girls on Christmas and using their reaction to tell our friends and family would make for the most magical Christmas surprise ! Waiting to tell people was so hard for me because we’ve always gone public with our pregnancies the moment we find out, and I love telling my friends everything as soon as possible, but we so badly wanted to surprise the girls on Christmas! It was so worth the wait!!! I love pregnancy! And labor and breastfeeding and just all of it. The calling our midwife, the sorting through baby clothes, the dreaming of who that baby would be, the rearranging of car seats and bedrooms, and growing into new clothing, and just all of it! I was so excited to tell everyone!!!! 

We did the Sneak Peak blood test and on December 22 we found out our baby was in fact a BOY!!!! As in not a girl, but a boy😳 There was still part of me that was certain it would be another girl, and was so shocked to find out he was a HE. A few days earlier I had heard the name Shepherd and whispered it to Chris, just in case. With all of the girls we only ever had one name we agreed on and that was their name. We hadn’t been able to agree on a girls name at all this time around. I whispered, “What about Shepherd?” Chris looked at me with these wide eyes and was like, “Yasss! That’s so rad. I really like that.” I kind of felt like in that moment, as weird as it kind of felt, that we were pregnant with a boy and his name was Shepherd. We were right☺️

Christmas morning finally arrived. I have never been more excited for anything in my life!! Like I could hardly sleep thinking about the moment we finally got to tell the girls we were pregnant!!! They had been asking, well begging and praying and wishing and talking about their desire for another baby daily for months and months. We planned how we would tell them and it was pure magic! We saved this special present for last. We pretended like all the gift s had been opened and then Chris said, “Oh wait! Wasn’t there one more gift upstairs?!” I brought down a HUGE box that I had filled with special baby blankets, some baby clothing, and the ultrasound photo of our little man. The girls began to open it, thinking the blankets were for them and their babies. Then Norah opened the box with the ultrasound photo. She looked and me and gasped and brought her hands over her mouth. There were tears instantly. She said, “You’re pregnant?! You’re pregnant?! Are you?!” I began sobbing and telling her YES!!… That we were pregnant… And with a little brother!!! We held one another and we all just cried and hugged and laughed pretty much the rest of the day!

The surprise was met with the most beautiful excitement and was just one of the most incredible days of my life! I will never forget how magical that morning was!!! We recorded their reaction and shared that as our very special announcement! Our secret was out! We were going to welcome our first son July 2021!! 

The next few days felt like the most magical days of our whole lives! We told the girls we liked the name Shepherd, like right away and they all agreed they loved it and that it felt like them name of their baby brother!! I mean Ada might have suggested the name Bucket and Frankie the name Cimmanim, but Shepherd had the best ring to it ☺️ The girls were constantly rubbing my belly and saying, “Hello little brother” “Hello little Shepherd” “I’m your sister and, “I love you so much!” The next few days were full of excitement and celebration and also thrifting for baby things☺️ It was all just so amazing! Such a beautiful surprise and just such a special gift!!! 

December 27. We went to church and I was so happy everyone knew our fun secret! It was lots of hugs and congratulations and I just felt so happy!! We spent the day with friends and sanding down his crib! It was a free marketplace find I had found a few years back and gifted to a friend. We joked and I told her I would be asking to borrow it back if we ever had another baby. It was one of the first things I asked her once she knew☺️ I sanded and sanded, imagining what he would look like. I planned for him to have a special little nook in our room and maybe he would eventually sleep in his crib. We co-slept with our girls until… like now 😂 but I still wanted him to have a little crib and a special spot of his own.

Monday came around and felt this huge urge to pick out his middle name… Nothing felt like it fit. I started thinking of my favorite authors and books and then it hit me!!! LITTLE WOMEN! That’s our story! The girls share the same age gaps as the little March women from the story and it’s just so special to us. Their best friend in the book is the neighbor boy they all love so much. Theodore or Teddy or Laurie they call him. Theodore Laurence. Mr. Laurence’s grandson. Laurence. Shepherd Laurence. It just felt so right! Such a fancy little dude name🥰 The little man whom the 4 little women would love so very much! The girls loved it and Chris didn’t hate it which meant it was a go☺️👍 

That evening I began sharing his name with a dear friend who is also pregnant. They were picking out names for their baby as well. This part is always so magical to me! I love knowing our babies gender and naming them as soon as possible.🥰 It just makes me feel so connected and I just love it! She agreed Shepherd Laurence was just perfect!! I was laying down because I was feeling weird.  A few days before this, I had some spotting, but it was considered totally normal and any worry I had about it was covered in prayer and the worry was totally gone. It was just after dinner and I was having some strange cramping. I actually skipped eating because I felt so weird. But I didn’t think much of it. I was so close to our second trimester and just feeling weird and when you feel weird you should rest. So I was resting…

All of a sudden I felt a sensation I knew well. Something that I shouldn’t be feeling. I thought, there’s no way this is what I’m feeling! There’s no way that’s happening! Why would I be having this feeling?! My cervix was dilating. My labors are a bit bizarre in that I fully dilate to a 10 before I ever feel my contractions I know this very specific feeling and I know it to be the beginning of labor. I jumped up and ran to the bathroom. (Before you read any further, I want to disclose that I talk about our miscarriage in detail and it might be difficult for some to read, so please read with caution.) 

I looked down. Blood?! So much blood. This isn’t good! This isn’t spotting! This is different. This is bad. This is so, SO bad. This is that thing! This is that thing that can’t be happening!!! How can this be happening?!!! Blood. Not flowing, but gushing. I ran up the stairs and yelled for Chris. He joined me in our upstairs bathroom and neither of us had any idea what the next few hours would entail. 

I sat on the toilet and I went into labor. Real labor. Painful labor. Contractions, fluids, surges, and more blood than either of us has ever seen. I remember sobbing and screaming “NO!” Just over and over, “Nooooo, no, no, no NO!!!!” WHY?! Why was this happening?! I had never once feared losing our babies in pregnancy. Miscarriage was never even a thought in any of our pregnancies. I never struggled with fear or anxiety about anything being wrong with the girls while pregnant with them. I was always just excited and ready to get huge with all of them. This was the first pregnancy where I had spotted or even had a thought like something could be wrong. And now something was so, so wrong!!!

What was happening?!  Why was this happening?! Chris asked what he could do. I told him to go make sure the girls were ok and settled and protected from what was happening upstairs and then to just to sit with me. Contraction after contraction, I realized I was going to give birth. I won’t ever forget the sounds of blood gushing from me. I remember Chris listening, sitting right by me, and asking in the saddest voice if that sound was blood. With each contraction making that awful sound, I watched him just sigh. His head hanging down, not knowing what to do… We were both feeling something so new and so painful and what do you even do watching someone you love so much hurt in such a way.

I just cried and said it won’t stop😭 I knew I was going to deliver our son and there was nothing I could do to stop it. That one of these contractions was going to end with me delivering our son. I knew as soon as the contraction started it was it. I reached my hands underneath me, pushed as I contracted, and there he was. This tiny little motionless baby, our son. Our 11 week old son, Shepherd. Shaking and sobbing, I laid him on our counter. I said, “There he is. There’s our baby. That’s our son.” 

I think this is where I went into actual shock. I started uncontrollably shaking, and felt like I was freezing. The blood continued…The contractions continued. Oh right, I still have to deliver my placenta. I know this part too. A few more contractions and I delivered our placenta. I caught it as well. We rinsed everything off to get a better look and make sure Shepherd and our placenta were both accounted for. We were in shock but somehow also functioning. Up until this point, I was just focused on that moment. But I remember starting to think, “Oh God!!! We have to walk downstairs and tell the girls their brother is dead!” How do we tell our daughters that I just delivered their baby brother upstairs and they’re never going to meet him?! 😭 How?! How can this be possible?! We just picked out his middle name hours ago?! How is this happening?!

Chris helped me clean up. There was a lot to clean and I didn’t want the girls to have to see any of it. I put on a pad and a nightgown and proceeded to walk down the stairs feeling the most heavy feeling I still don’t have words for. We asked the girls to gather around. Their eyes were all so big. Norah started crying right away. They knew something was wrong. I put my hand on Norah’s leg. I told them that sometimes sad things happen and we don’t know why. That everyone dies at different ages and we don’t always know why. And that sometimes babies die in their mother’s tummies before it’s time for them to be born…. And that I was so, so sorry but I just delivered Shepherd, as he had died in my tummy. The way the girls looked at me… Those looks I don’t think I will ever forget😭 The way they all collapsed exclaiming no and asking why. It will haunt me forever. Their hearts were so broken. My heart was so broken. 

Just then, blood poured from me, covering my nightgown and our chair. I sobbed and apologized and ran upstairs needing to change fast. I wanted to hide my physical pain and what was happening from the girls but there was really no way to hide it.
I went and laid in my bed while Chris comforted and consoled the girls. I didn’t even remember this part until my mother asked Frankie a few days later what she got for Christmas. She said, “Some paint! And a puzzle! And a baby brother!… But then he died and mom got blood all over the chair… but Dad cleaned it up.” 😭  I hate that these are memories our girls have. That our 3 year old remembered this. This is just one of the many weird parts we have to learn to process to such an experience.

Watching them grieve has been one of the most difficult parts in all of this. They were so happy! They had such dreams too. Watching them experience grief and loss for the first time has been tremendous. I hate that they hurt so much😭 We are doing our best to help them and teach them and guide them, but watching them hurt is terribly painful. I feel so convicted to suffer well. To model for them how they can grieve and choose to react to the unexpected difficulties of life. I pray that in my choosing joy even when it’s hard, it greatly impacts the way they experience future hardships.

After the girls went to bed the night we lost Shepherd, I didn’t know what else to do except get on Instagram and start sharing. I was in shock. Legit shock. What are you supposed to do after you give birth to your dead son in your bathroom?😭 No one had ever told me that when you miscarry you actually go into labor or the trauma of holding your dead child in your hands. So many people asked what we did with his body and we don’t remember. I remember wrapping him up in toilet paper and perhaps we set him on the trash we were gathering all of the other birth matter in, or perhaps we set him back in the toilet with the rest of our after birth. We don’t know. We were in shock. And that is ok. We were never meant to experience such a thing. 

I learned after sharing our story that so many women are traumatized by this part of miscarriage. What do we do with our babies bodies? Friends shared that they also don’t remember or that they panicked and flushed their babies or that they put them in the freezer and have left them there not knowing what to do. Some friends buried their babies bodies or wrapped them up and burned them. What to do with your dead baby isn’t something any of us have probably researched…until after the fact. One of my friends talked about this with me and worded it exactly how I was feeling. There are two big losses to reconcile with at this point. We are grieving our child and all that goes with that and then the shame and pain that comes with feeling like how we reacted or responded was wrong. That in our shock and trauma, we didn’t give our babies what we wished we would have 😭 We wish we would have given them a better goodbye, a more proper burial. It’s all so traumatic and devastating. But we did our best. 

In the middle of our delivery, I called my sister in law who’s an ultrasound tech who deals with miscarriage a lot. I told her I thought we were losing him when it first began. She told me to prepare ourselves for a lot of blood loss. I also called our beloved midwife and she told us to prepare for a difficult postpartum. I don’t think anyone telling us this could have prepared us for the reality of blood loss we witnessed or the painful post partum experience awaiting us. It was nothing anyone had ever told me they had experienced before. How had I known so many people who had gone through this but not known how terrifying and traumatizing and incredibly messy and painful it all is.

More on how I’m physically healing-

I don’t think I had ever heard a single detail about miscarriage outside of, “we had a miscarriage”. I decided we have to talk about this. As women, sisters, friends, mothers, daughters. We have to talk about this and help one another! I felt this weird feeling and still do. Like how in 2020, can we be this unprepared, uneducated, and unequipped to experience such a thing… As a mother to 4 daughters, I pray they never experience this, but hope if they do, they will have me right there helping them through every moment. I hope everything I am doing with them now better prepares them for all the difficult things they may experience in life😭

Norah came and climbed into bed with me. I wept and wept and held her, wiping her tears. I felt such a deep guilt like I had just introduced them to some kind of pain I should have protected them from. So many new emotions and feelings to process. What she told me kind of shocked me. Norah told me she knew this was going to happen and she didn’t know how to tell me. She said as soon as I told her we were having a brother on Christmas morning, she felt really weird and knew we wouldn’t actually meet him. She told me several times after we shared our pregnancy with them that she was so scared this was going to be like Little House on the Prairie. In the show they finally welcome a little boy and he dies. I assured her several times that this wasn’t going to be like that. I promised her Shepherd was ok. I am still apologizing for making that promise. Norah said in her dreams she had been having, we never actually met the baby, except in one where we had a girl.
We talked about what a gift she has but how it must have been very scary and painful to feel the things she was feeling and feel alone in them. We have been reminding her that she doesn’t have to keep these feelings to herself ever, even if they’re weird or painful. We’re all learning to process so much.

I made the decision at that moment to share it all. The physical trauma. The emotional devastation. The ways we can maybe even prepare for miscarriage. There are so many layers of things we were grieving and are grieving and are going to grieve and I’ve never really heard them discussed past a surface level. I knew that whatever I was experiencing, I simply couldn’t be alone in it. I couldn’t be the only person to feel these things. And also I just couldn’t feel alone in it.  And I didn’t want anyone else I knew to go through this feeling alone. We weren’t meant to do any of this alone.

The next morning I woke up. I had that, “Maybe it was all a dream, hope-filled feeling”, which went away real fast with intense body cramps and more contractions. By the time I woke up, many of our friends had already gathered downstairs. All day Monday, friends were in and out of our home. With treats and gifts for Chris and I and the girls. With hand written letters for us and the girls. With meals and and prayers and healing oils and thoughtful treasures. Before lunch, we had no more room on our table for any more gifts. But they kept coming.😭And they never stopped. It’s been almost 2 months… and they haven’t stopped😭 

Our local community has wrapped us up and refused to allow us to feel alone. Friends I have never met in person from Instagram have sent teas and books and journals and homemade stuffed animals and quilts and crafts and homemade goodness and jewelry and self care products for all of us. People have shared poems and art and songs and personal stories, messages of such love and hope. And they still haven’t stopped😭  We haven’t felt alone and that has been one of the greatest treasures of my life. Something that I get to always have and has forever changed our hearts and the way we will respond to and love others. 

After I began sharing that we lost Shepherd, messages started coming in by the thousands. Messages from Poland, Brazil, Iraq, London, Saudi Arabia, England, New Zealand, Wales, Mexico, Australia, France, Chile, the Netherlands, Russia, Canada, India, Belgium, Scotland, Ireland, Argentina, all over the US… Thise we’re just a few that signed their messages with “Love from….” I would take hours at a time to read and reply, just to see that it had barely made a dent in my inbox. Women from all over the world sharing with me their losses. Some saying they had never told anyone or shared details with me they hadn’t shared before😭 I knew I was supposed to keep sharing.

We went to Colorado to be with family and heal and I basically laid on a couch and read and answered messages for 4 days. My family knew I needed it. It was like therapy for me. To tell my story. To be heard. To hear other stories. To let people know they’re not alone. The girls played and played with their cousins, we ate delicious food, my mother loved on the girls and I was given the time and the space and the gift to process really heavy stuff in the way I felt I needed to process. And I will never stop feeling grateful for that. We celebrated Charlie turning 7 and there was that beautiful celebration and grief dancing together again.

In this time, I began having nightmares. I could hardly sleep. I would cry out and toss and turn and I’ve never struggled with nightmares like this. I understand how trauma works. My training as a therapist taught me all about it. But knowing something and knowing something  can often be quite different. I am still having vivid nightmares and difficulty sleeping, but am simply allowing my body to feel the things and heal and do what it needs to do. The physical pain I experienced afterwards was so intense and I am so grateful this part has healed. I wasn’t expecting to be in so much pain. I made the decision to wait a few weeks before I took anything for the pain. I didn’t want to numb what I was feeling or experiencing. Which sounds weird. But it’s what I needed. 

4 weeks after delivering Shepherd, I still had positive pregnancy tests. I just kept taking them. I didn’t want to see that line turn from 2 to 1. I never saw a negative test. I finally just stopped taking them. My body cramped and cramped and ached all over. It was the most painful post partum I have experienced yet. I never heard anyone talk about their bodies after miscarriage. How heavy but also how empty it would feel. How our bodies still think we’re pregnant. That my boobs and belly would continue growing and I would keep gaining weight. I didn’t know how weird it would all be. To have this little baby bump and no baby. To watch that bump that I was so excited to watch grow, get bigger and then to have to watch it fade away. It’s just such a weird pain. 

December 28, 2020 changed our lives forever. It has hurt in all the ways. Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. It hurts. This was not the labor we had dreamed of. It was nothing we could have imagined. I love writing about our birth stories. But this one has not been anything like I imagined. I have grown to believe that the word miscarriage is terribly misleading.  It doesn’t seem strong enough a word to describe what actually happens. What is taken away from you. What you have to endure. What is out of your control.  What you have to grieve. We had to give birth to our dead son and then experience all the painful parts of post partum without that baby we so longed for.  Instead of holding our beautiful baby, we are left with intense loss and grief and are often met with this overwhelming sense of ‘get over it and move on it’s actually really common’. It just doesn’t feel right or ok in any way. The word miscarriage just feels like it misses it all.

Here’s the thing for me though. Even in this pain, even in our unexpected suffering, I have made the decision to choose joy. I have refused to allow bitterness or resent to creep into my heart. Several of my dear friends are pregnant, and I made the decision to refuse to let this loss rob me of the joy of celebrating my friends, their babies, and their joys. I have said no to comparison. I have said no to jealousy.  I have said no to self pity. I have said no to fear. I have seen what these things can do to people and I have already experienced such a devastating loss that I am not allowing these things to take even more away from me.

I am sad. I am so, so sad. And that is ok. Grief is normal and brings with it all kinds of stuff to work through. It triggers old trauma, creates new trauma, and those things aren’t really avoidable. I am sad. I am grieving many things. And I am allowing myself to feel and process all of it. I am learning new ways to heal. But I am not ok with things that create no good fruit robbing me of more than grief already is. This might not be the case for everyone, but I have chosen joy and even in this pain, I feel loved and peace and comfort.

I am experiencing many new emotions, but I get to choose how I will react to them. We have 4 incredible daughters. Like, they’re just the coolest really. We can grieve and still experience all the goodness that is in front of us. They’re learning so much from us and I want them them to learn things that will help them in so many ways. We cry a lot. We visit and we pray and we bathe and we cuddle and we play and we read and we learn and we bake and we jump and we sing and we dance and we cry. We laugh and we grieve and it’s all intertwined. It’s not a this or that thing for us but more like a lot of this and a lot of that.  

I remember the morning after losing Shepherd well. Norah lost a tooth. There was so much joy intertwined with such sadness. She was so happy! The girls were all so proud! She had lost her 9th tooth they kept exclaiming and telling everyone who came over! There was such an excitement even amongst such tragedy and I realized that was such a beautiful picture of life. Sorrow and joy and devastation and excitement, all happening at the same time… and all experiences to be shared with one another.

This was the first little onesie I thrifted for our little dude. So teeny and so sweet!

The 28th of February will mark 2 months since losing Shepherd. Every day there are painful and devastating reminders that I am no longer carrying our son. The girls longed for a sibling so much. To see their excitement about their little brother move from pure joy to their first intense loss, has been terribly painful. So many of the things we are experiencing have been  so unexpected and hurt in a way I haven’t experienced before. Chris is hurting in so many new ways and he will share his perspective on all of this soon.

Through all of this, the girls have been incredible. Home education has blessed us in so many ways, but it has allowed us to grieve in such a special way. To slow down and be fully present with one another. To make comforting meals, and spend hours on the trampoline, or hours snuggled up reading and playing card games. To talk about grief and loss and our dear Shepherd. We have been able to retreat and heal in a way that has been such a gift.  

I hate that they have had to learn about grief and loss in this way. But I am so grateful that we can show them that it is ok to hurt and teach them healthy ways to process and heal. I am so grateful that they have experienced the love they have from our community. They have been loved so well and have been given such an incredible example of how they can serve and love others who are hurting. A treasure they can take with them for the rest of their lives. I sometimes can’t help but think of the people who will benefit from their love years down the road because of the ways they have experienced love first hand. I say the word treasure a lot. But this really is. 

Soon after we lost Shepherd, a friend reached out to me and asked if I would want to document this experience. I didn’t even think twice about it. I needed to. I wanted to have photos of his space I was creating for him. His crib and his blankets and the special things I had purchased for him. I wanted pictures of the space where I delivered him. That space won’t feel the same again. Isn’t it wild how experiences can transform a space so much…

I wanted photos of me in the dress Norah picked out before she knew I was pregnant but suggested I size up, just incase I were to grow. ❤️ I got the dress knowing I was pregnant and was so excited to tell her! On Christmas morning when I asked if we could take a family photo, Norah squealed, “Ooooh! Go put on your fancy new dress!” And I was so excited to!! These are not the images I imagined taking in this dress. But I am glad I have a space to share my heart and what we are experiencing.

I wanted to give people visuals to relate to. Those moments that get tucked away and many are left experiencing alone. The weird things we think and feel and don’t know how to communicate them. The moments we will always remember but don’t know to share with people. An empty crib… The precious baby things you have to put away. The place I giggle with and wash our daughter’s hair is also the place I stood and watched the blood from the loss of my son leave me. The place where my husband and I brush our teeth and pinch each other’s butts and flirt with one another, is also the place we sat and felt parts of ourselves forever leave us. I didn’t want to to forget these things. Right afterwards, I remember crying and thinking, I guess if it had to happen, I am happy it happened at home and with Chris and that friends were at our home within minutes😭 I didn’t have to be alone, and we were able to have our 4th home birth. I got to deliver our son at home and with my husband, and part of me felt so grateful. And then I felt so weird for feeling that way because we delivered our dead son and man…even thinking and saying those words is hard, ya know.

I wanted photos of the first things I thrifted for him, the things I that reminded me of how I imagined him. As the world moved on and time passed, I wanted to remember all of it and have a way for others to help remember and process and heal as well. I had imagined his little arm rolls and slobbery giggle and how smitten the girls would be with him. I would hold his blankets and just cry feeling so happy we were going to have another baby. A son. Can I tell you something? One night right after finding our he was a boy, I couldn’t sleep. I was so afraid. I felt all these new fears I hadn’t felt with the girls like, what if he liked Eminem😂😭 We had to introduce him to the best music just to try our best. 😭 I can laugh but that was like a legit thing I lost sleep over. I’m still losing sleep, but it’s so real different now😭

I want these images to be a way to connect us all and help us remember that it’s ok to grieve. That it’s ok to feel weird things and to not be ok sometimes. I want to play a role in taking away the shame and stigmas that surround miscarriage and so many forms of loss.

I want these images to serve as a reminder for so much. I want them to serve as a reminder that we have a son. His name is Shepherd and he is with Jesus. And I believe one day I will hold him. I will see him and his sisters playing and laughing and I will get to see his smile and hear his voice and know the color of his hair. And I truly hope that in our sharing this part of our story, others find peace and support and healing. My prayer is that no woman would have to feel alone in such loss. That women who have held onto negative things that are hurting them will be able to let them go and heal.

I am no stranger to grief. I know it well, but the unexpected loss of our son has felt so different than any other loss I have felt. There are about 74826229 things I am leaving out. So much more I want to say. I could write a book. Maybe I will. But I want this to end with asking you to love those around you. To share your stories. To know that you are not alone and that you and your experiences truly matter. If you are hurting I want you to be empowered to pursue healing. If you see people hurting, I pray you feel equipped to love them. I pray that this makes someone feel less alone and more seen. I pray that Shepherd’s beautiful little life gets to impact so many people in positive ways. I want to remind you that there are still cozy beds to be made and rainbows to be seen and so much goodness to be experienced.

I don’t know why it’s so difficult to stop writing. It feels like another end. Another end of something I just wasn’t ready to be over. We truly thank you friends for taking the time to read this. For giving us this space to process and seek healing. For taking the time to pray for us, to think of us, to sit with us, to talk with us, to message us, to reach out and love us extra these last 2 months. We have truly felt so supported and loved and are just so very thankful for all of it. 

I don’t really know how to end such a post. Maybe I should say something inspirational? That feels right. If you are hurting, please allow yourself to feel and to grieve, to process and to heal.. But I ask that in your grief, you don’t lose sight of all of the goodness around you. Honor those who have gone too soon by loving others better and pursuing justice harder and maybe being more present and working on changing the things you want to change and maybe learning that thing you’ve been wanting to learn. We’re still here which feels like we have stuff to do. Let’s do the stuff friends, even when it hurts and it’s hard…. and let’s not do it alone. 🤎

Thank you Meggan for taking these photos and giving us such a gift. These have allowed me to share my heart in so many ways.

Thank you to everyone person who has come along side us in all of this. For any and every part you played in helping us heal and feel less alone, thank you!😭🤎

Momma made stockings!!!!

Ok, so I kept seeing the most beautiful handmade stockings made with antique cutter quilts this year, and I decided I needed to make some myself. I’ve actually wanted to make custom stockings for a few years, but just hadn’t set my mind to what I wanted.

Photo from FarmDownTheLane

I was very inspired by my friend Tami from @farmdownthelane. The way that she repurposes old quilts and gives new life to the treasures she makes is just so cool to me. After seeing her share several gorgeous stockings she was making, I decided it was time! I was ready to make some!

Photo from FarmDownTheLane

So, my hunt for the perfect cutter quilt to make our stockings with began! Welp, I looked and I looked and I looked… and I simply could not find one in good enough condition that would yield enough fabric to make 6 stockings and that wasn’t going to cost what our mortgage does 😂👍

Then I remembered that our friends, Garnet Hill, sell some gorgeous quilts! We have their Agnes quilt in grey and yellow and I practically squealed when I got on their site and saw they had released A RED version!

I did a little research on the average size of stockings and decided the Garnet Hill Standard Agnes Shams would be perfect to make our stockings with! I reached out with this idea and they were super supportive, encouraging, and generous, and just yes! We really enjoy working with Garnet Hill so much! We are always so pleased with the quality of everything we have ever received from them! I think it’s safe to say we officially have some Garnet Hill in every room in our house☺️

Amateur tip: Use a large bowl to collect your scraps as you go to make for much less mess and sweeping ☺️

I decided to order 4 shams. Each sham would make two stockings and I decided it would be best to have an extra just in case I messed up… OR our family of 6 grows and we need more stockings😉☺️

I couldn’t find a tutorial for exactly what I was doing, so I kind of just winged it and tried to record what I did to help anyone who might want to make some themselves ☺️ I would consider myself a mediocre seamstress. I’m not great, but I can get stuff done👍 I like to wing things, I don’t plan much, and am not a perfectionist by any means. Mostly just real regular and a bit flighty ☺️

I printed off a couple templates but decided to make my own pattern, mixing a few together to get the exact shape and size I was imagining ☺️ Dudes! I was SO nervous to start cutting😂 I had the shams laid out on our table for days, pep talking myself like, “I can do this! I can do this!” Finally I decided I was ready!

I began with cutting the shape of the stocking pattern out of the fabric. Because these were shams that had a quilted front and cotton back, I simply cut out the whole thing.

Then I pinned the front and back together, facing in on themselves and was ready to start sewing. Always remind yourself you’re not sewing the top! I reminded myself this go around and didn’t have any issues, but I’ve forgotten this part on many sewing projects 😂

After I sewed her real good, it was time for the moment of truth! How was it going to look when I flipped it inside out?! Real fast, I should let you know I am very easily excited! It’s the little things in life that make me get crazy stoked, and this was one of those simple but magical moments for me! I flipped her inside out…. AND SHE WAS PERFECT! The shape was just what I had imagined, it was just the right size, and I was just smitten!

I made a little hem on the back and front to give the tops a clean finish and moved onto the next stocking until I made all 8.

The last step was to add on little loops to hang them. I used the sham trims that I had removed when I cut out my stockings for this little piece. I sewed those cuties on and our stocking were finished!

With each stocking, I learned something new and my sewing got cleaner. Each one is a little different with its own little quirks. By the last stocking, I had a little list of things I would have done slightly different if I were to ever make stockings again, BUT! I decided that these, the very first stockings that I got to make for my family and made with so much love, were absolutely perfectly imperfect!!

Our daughters and husband agreed and shared how much they like them and thanked me for making them! I am hopeful these will be treasured for many, many years to come! I know they’re just stockings, but a friend of mine gave me some beautiful perspective this year, and to anyone who has ever handmade something with love, we know there is no just about it.

Make little ornaments with your scraps! We’re going to make some Christmas trees and mittens as well! I’ve also saved more scraps for future projects! ☺️👍
You can use embroidery floss and let your littles do a little pillow stitch along the edges for some extra special touches! ☺️

Thank you so much for your inspiration and encouragement, Tami, and thank you so much to Garnet Hill for making these special treasures possible!

Just the motivation I needed to finish sewing. Our oldest wrote me a little note and it was the sweetest little gift!

(Disclaimer: This post was made possible thanks to Garnet Hill who kindly gifted us the Agnes Shams, but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.)

Bathroom Fun


This morning Norah came into our room to check herself and her outfit out in our stand-up mirror, as the girls usually do. As she stood in front of the mirror, I noticed her  step back, cover her mouth, and start to cry. I asked her what was wrong and she began to pull on her shirt, like she was trying to make it longer…She said, “This shirt. This shirt. It was just too big on me a little bit ago and now it’s almost too small.” She began to cry pretty hard so I had her come sit with me so we could talk about what she was feeling. She shared how she felt really emotional about growing and didn’t know quite how to explain it but that it was weird because she can’t control it and it’s just happening too fast… And then also that this was one of her most favorite shirts and it’s not going to fit her for very much longer. (Insert all of the sobbing emojis here). I told her that it was a strange thing to grow and change, but also how wonderful it is that God designed our bodies to work and grow and change in the ways He did. I also explained that it is ok to feel new emotions about the changes. I explained to her that as a lady, our bodies get to go through so many amazing changes and, although it can seem weird at times, it’s such a beautiful thing and that this means she is healthy and her body is doing what it’s supposed to. Guys, this motherhood stuff is RICH! It can be hard and messy and weird, but man… It’s the coolest thing!


this girl. so, so, so special!

A few weeks ago my friend Meggan came over to snap some photos for a collaboration I was working on. I loved them so much that I decided they needed a place here! When I look back to this time in our lives, I’ll have memories of all of us crowded in our bathroom.


There is so much about this season that I never want to forget… Elastic bands all over the floors no matter how many I pick up every day, thrifted step stools all over the place, a counter top forever covered in kid’s toothpaste and mom’s bath salts, a bath mat that seems to never be dry, antique kitchenware from the girls’ play kitchen that double well as bath toys.. And one mirror that everyone is trying to use at the same time:D These are truly the days. I already miss this time in my life.




Her and her little tongue 😀



one of my favorite mugs made by my husband and a spot in the corner that I’ve had to repaint several times due to water damage from splashing babies.


they copy me so much right now. they’re interested in most things that I am. they love watching documentaries and home birth videos and staging photos and taking photos and reading with me, and I love listening to the conversations they engage in when we’re out and about. they call people dude and it’s so wonderful and convicting at the same time, watching them want to be like me.



if you look closely to the right, you’ll see a teeny glimpse into the girl’s trashed bedroom. there’s also a HUGE pile of laundry out in that hallway that we maybe had to move because it was blocking every doorway when Meggan arrived. a reminder that behind every beautiful photo, there’s a mom struggling with something and a laundry pile in every room.



I don’t want to forget these sweet pigtails



so many heart eyes


using my makeup brushes to put on lotion:D which reminds me, it’s time to get some new make up brushes:)



I maybe thrifted another adorable little step stool yesterday and Chris was as excited about it as he is every time a new blanket or pillow joins our family:D  When your husband tries to enforce a one-in-one-out policy for your chair/stool, you know you might have a problem:D 


Thank you so much for capturing these images for us, Meggan. This is such a special time in our lives and I’m grateful for these memories frozen in time:D

Our little basic sets were gifted from ShopARQ and FinandVince 😀

That time Madewell accidentally changed my life

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About a year ago I received the sweetest surprise package from our friends at Madewell. It was a beautiful wooden box containing a lovely red floral scarf, a timeless white tee and THE PERFECT denim jacket.I was so excited and grateful and honored to be gifted this, as I was a new appreciator of the Madewell goodies! I have slowly been building a capsule wardrobe with Madewell pieces being my staples. Everything I own from Madewell is so comfortable, so flattering, and well, made very well ☺️

The only problem with this surprise gift was that the shirt and jacket were a size small and I was wearing large, or more commonly, an XL. When I went to try the jacket on, I couldn’t even fit my full arm through the arm holes😂

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I was still very thankful that Madewell gifted me such a sweet gift, but thought I should probably go ahead and gift the shirt and jacket to a friend since I couldn’t fit into either. I asked a few of my small sized pals if they wanted the goods and they all said the same thing, “save it and maybe you’ll fit back into them one day!” I listened, but wasn’t quite convinced I would ever really get to wear them.

My first pair of Madewell shoes and they do not disappoint ! These Frances Loafers are SO comfortable!!!

I was pregnant and breastfeeding without a break for the last 8 years! I have absolutely loved it! Pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, growing, nourishing, teaching, and raising our daughters… This is my greatest joy!  However, I suffered a serious back injury that caused great pain and rendered me unable to be very active while I was pregnant. I picked up some poor habits and developed a bit of apathy in regards to myself over the past few years and I hadn’t even realized I had gained so much weight or become so out of shape. I didn’t have much energy. I didn’t like how I felt or how my clothing no longer fit. I decided I was ready to make some changes; not just for my benefit, but for the benefit of my daughters and husband. I wanted them to have a healthier version of me.


I told my husband and a few friends that I was going to fit into that Madewell jacket and, although I really meant it, I eventually just put the box of goods up on my closet shelf and honestly forgot about it.  Fast forward to late June and something started stirring in my heart. Our babies were no longer babies. I was beginning to think about weaning Frankie, Chris and I had agreed that our family was most likely complete, and most of my wardrobe had become too tight to wear. I knew I needed to make some changes. So I did. 


Wait, what is this? Is this Jurassic Park? Is that Laura Dern? What is happening?!

I’m going to tell you guys something only a few people know about…The year was 1997. My favorite movie Jurassic park. I was obsessed with this film and when I envisioned myself as a grown woman, wife, and mother, I envisioned myself as a bruenette Laura Dern in my high waisted denim!


I mean… 1.) Jurassic Park is my all-time favorite movie! 2.) I just wanted to wear mom jeans and look for dinosaurs:D

When I entered adulthood, the high waisted jeans I had dreamed about wearing had gone out of style. When they finally came back I met them with a strong-willed mom pouch that had no time for pants with real pockets or buttons😂 I know this sounds so silly, but it was like a real thing to me. While I was loving growing and nourishing our babies, I had stopped nourishing myself along the way.  It occurred to me that only I could make the changes I wanted to make. And dangit! I wanted to feel comfortable in those mom jeans!


I pulled out that Madewell denim jacket and decided that was my goal. I was going to wear that jacket and was going to Laura Dern the heck out of the highest waisted mom jeans Madewell had to offer (which are these 11” high waisteds if you’re curious😂🤘).

I started July 1st. I was around 190 lbs,  wearing a Madewell size 31 jean and they were TIGHT! I want to add here that there is nothing wrong with the size you are wearing if you are comfortable and healthy.  I just wasn’t happy or healthy where I was and I needed change. Some of my friends were also beginning some self-care journeys.  Seeing their results, along with their encouragement and motivation, helped me so much in getting started and sticking with the changes I have made. Community is so helpful!

When I got these pants, I couldn’t even button the bottom button! It felt amazing that I could button them to the top!!!

I decided to start with a low carb/clean eating diet, incorporating meals from whole 30, and cutting out processed foods, bad sugar, carbs that weren’t properly fueling my body, and the booze. I started drinking kombucha daily and adding more fermented foods to my diet. When I would crave sweets, I would eat a spoonful or two of RX vanilla almond butter and found that adding a little bit of heavy whipping cream to my afternoon collagen + bone broth protein filled coffee helped me from eating junk. I still do this and crave it and look forward to it! Also, I add citrus essential oils to water in the mornings and evenings and that really helps satisfy my cravings. There were very few days I would “cheat”,  but I allowed myself lots of treats that tasted good and wouldn’t hurt my progress. Honestly, I would google “whole 30 approved version of whatever I was craving” and learned how to make many of my favorite things in a way that benefited my family and I so much more!

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Norah always checking to assure my crinkles were still there.

Week 1: I lost 7 pounds and my clothing felt looser. I didn’t take before photos or measure any of my inches, but I could already feel a difference in how I felt and how my clothing fit. I ate a variation of eggs, veggies, and proteins for breakfast and lunch. I continued making most of our favorite meals, but substituted zucchini noodles and squash for regular noodles. I replaced breads I would normally eat with more veggies and lettuce wraps. It almost felt too easy. Giving up the foods I once ate daily didn’t feel like much of a sacrifice at all. I reduced my portion sizes but never counted calories, carbs, or macros because I’m too lazy for this stuff. I mostly just paid attention to what foods made me feel the best and added more of those. While I added these, I also removed the foods that made me feel not so good.


The first person who said anything about me losing weight was our oldest daughter. She walked into the bathroom one morning and said, “You look smaller, Mom!” I explained that was something that sometimes happens when you give your body what it needs. Then my husband started commenting on the changes and my friends and acquaintances began motivating me more and more. Others were seeing the changes I was feeling and that was super encouraging!

Norah often comments about different ways my body is changing and asks regularly that I please don’t lose my crinkles. She has been one of my biggest supporters and reminds people when they comments about my weight loss, that I might be skinnier, but I’m also healthier. She maybe also said something along the lines of, “Wow! those used to be so round and big. Now they just kinda hang there, huh?”:D So… #balance #yep #thanksgirls #truth

At the end of month 1, I was down a surprising 28 pounds and my jeans were so loose I got to thrift some belts!!! 😳😳😳😳

I was in it! I felt energized and pumped up and ready to keep going!

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Matchy sets from our friends at Shop ARQ

I started working out almost daily in August and just felt SO good!!! My sister in law introduced me to the beach body workouts and I started doing the Real Time 21 Day Fix Lives and loved them! I’m doing the extreme version right now and look forward to them! I’ve tried lots of different workouts and have learned to do what I like and not try to do something that I hate because someone else is doing it. Actually, that’s one thing I have really learned in the last few months. You need to do what fuels YOUR body, what makes YOU feel well, and gives YOU positive results. Once September rolled around, I decided it was time to try on THE jacket. I honestly didn’t even think it would fit, I just wanted to see if I could tell a difference in the way it fit.

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And with legit tears in my eyes right now, I am here to tell you, IT FIT LIKE A GEM! 😭 It was loose even! The jacket that I couldn’t fit more than a forearm into, FIT! AND the white tee that legit looked like a child’s small on me when I first tried it on, is now a loose  tee and it just feels so good!

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Thanks for capturing this hair flip, Morgo.

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I was feeing SO good but, October was a weird month. I passed out, my face caught my fall, and suffered a concussion so I couldn’t work out like I had been. I couldn’t look at screens or do much and felt pretty lethargic most of the month. I continued to eat clean and decided to have some blood work done, as I was concerned about what might have caused the passing out and wanted to make sure my lifestyle changes hadn’t caused it.  All my blood work came back as ideal as possible and I got the go ahead to get back to normal! Also, probably my favorite jeans ever!

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Every time I wear this jacket I feel like I have superpowers. That sounds dramatic, but it reminds me that I can do hard things! And also THESE JEANS!!!

Now, I want to emphasize again that I don’t think there is anything wrong with being in a size large or extra large or any size where you feel good and healthy… But I wasn’t healthy. I felt miserable, was growing more insecure, felt tired, and lacked the energy I wanted. Today, I look different, but I FEEL so different! I have energy, I feel strong, I can do legit push-ups, I feel healthy, have no back pain, and am officially down FIFTY POUNDS AND SIX JEAN SIZES!!!

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I thrifted this Madewell Cardigan but here is something similar!

Guys! LIKE, our 7 year old is 50 pounds just to put how much weight that really is into perspective!! 😳  While this journey isn’t as much about weight or sizes as it is about health, I went from a size 31 to a size 26 and a L/XL to a XS/S simply by making some healthy lifestyle changes. I feel so grateful! I can play with the girls so much more! I can jump on the trampoline more, wrestle around more, and run through the house more! And Bonus! I‘m even better at hide and seek as I can comfortably fit into smaller spaces now:D It’s really the little things that feel like huge victories to me! And also, maybe I can share a few tops with our 7 year old now. In all seriousness though, I get a little emotional thinking about all of the girls and I sharing our clothing with one another a few years down the road and want to remain in a state of health that allows me to do that… Some days I still can’t believe I get to mother these 4 beautiful daughters ❤️

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I  want to add that while I made some big changes, I’m not a crazy person. If we want pizza and beer, we have pizza and beer. But I still find ways to make it healthier and realized I don’t need 4 pieces of deep dish and 4 wings and four breadsticks and half a growler of IPA at one meal to feel satisfied. 😂. I’ve actually stopped drinking almost entirely, and for me, that’s another big success. Another story for another day, but a really cool thing.

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I truly feel capable and confident in ways I have not for years.

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I have more energy to do every day things and just that alone feels so incredible! Also, a thrifted bodysuit from Madewell that I could live in!

That was a really long way to say, THANK YOU MADEWELL for accidentally triggering something incredible for me. Thank you for new self control, new goals, new perspectives, the ability to wear more of what I enjoy, and the gift of feeling well (AND ALSO that high waisted denim)!!! It feels SO good! I am just so grateful to everyone who has helped me!




Grainy photo but a funny story and the most artsy self portrait I have of myself. I’ve been laughing with friends, joking a lot about how I feel like you can see more of my French heritage now and then also I got a turtle neck after telling friends a week prior I would never wear a turtleneck… So one of my besties documented this moment for me… The moment I felt very fashion and turtlenecky. This friend also had her friend from France tell me I looked very French over FaceTime and it was so funny and I’m just really grateful for my friends who have laughed with me and helped take care of me and truly helped me reach my goals!

Thank you for real to Madewell for helping make my wardrobe dreams come true and to all of our friends and loved ones for all of your kind words and encouragement! I am grateful to be feeling so well!

Disclaimer: Many of the clothing pieces featured were gifted from our friends at Madewell or thrifted, and I have tried to link all of the pieces in the post for you! All of the opinions stated here are my honest opinions and I wrote this blog as a way to share some of the changes I have been making and to thank Madewell for partnering with me!

This is a first

DSC_7482We have found ourselves in a new place and I don’t really know how to feel about it. Chris and I found out we were expecting our first child in December of 2011. Norah was born and our lives were forever changed in the most wonderful ways! Six months after she was born we found out our sweet Charlie was on the way. Then fast forward to her being a bit older and we discovered Ada was on the way, and then since we had this system nailed down, we found out we were expecting while Ada was mastering walking. I think. Is it terrible to say I can’t actually remember if Ada was walking or not when we found out. I should know this:D #mombrain. Anyways, I have been pregnant and/or breastfeeding without a break for more than 7 years now!!! And I have LOVED it!!!  And I don’t know that I’m ready to be done. But there is a reality that we might be.


My thoughts exactly, Frank:D


I really wish I would have documented breastfeeding more, but just never really thought or remembered to do so as much as I wish I would have. I don’t have many photos nursing Norah or Charlie and I hate that! Breastfeeding, for me, has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I was so fortunate in that I got to exclusively breastfeed the girls for their first 6 months of life and then continued nursing until the next baby was due. I was extremely blessed in that I didn’t have the difficult time breastfeeding that many of my friends have had. It came to me like a second nature, I loved it from the very first time, and I never experienced any kind of clogged ducts or mastitis or really even sore nipples. They all basically self-weaned and was just awesome! Aside from Ada thinking a pierced nipple might be a cool idea while she was teething, it’s been a really enjoyable, more so magical, kind of thing for me.

DSC_7485I have actually mostly always looked forward to the girls waking up at night. Night time nursing was this quiet time where nothing else in the world seemed to matter. It was just me and our baby and I loved it so much. I have been able to nurse Frankie the longest, and while I have loved it, I know our time is coming to an end because no baby is due.. and she’s almost 2… Plus, maybe she’s been the most demanding and is still wanting to stay up all night partying and binge drinking…And momma is tired. And we miss our bed being our bed. So, send all the weaning tips my way!

DSC_7591This is the first time we’ve made it to the weaning stage not being due with our next or already nursing a newborn. The first time in almost 8 years where my body is about to be completely mine. And it kind of hurts way more than I thought it would. I’m not growing a baby and I’m not sustaining one’s life with my body and it’s seriously SO weird. I think I’ve kind of been thinking maybe we aren’t actually done having babies, but then maybe we really are…or maybe we aren’t… or maybe we are… or maybe we aren’t… This is kind of what I go back and forth thinking all the time now.  Either way,  there is a reality that I am almost done breastfeeding… for now… or maybe forever. Even if it doesn’t feel possible that we’re really at a place where we could be done, we might be.


Anyway, knowing that this season is coming to an end, I needed to document a few things. One of my all-time favorite photographers, Bethany Meysenburg, came and spent some time with us and documented me in my favorite element. At home, with our family, nursing from room to room, hanging out with the little ladies, just my absolute favorite! The girls are more so little ladies than the little girls it feels like they were yesterday. They are growing and changing so fast. It’s amazing watching their personalities develop, but I would be lying if I said I’m not emotional about how fast it seems to have all happened and is happening.

DSC_7596I don’t really know what else to say except, thank you so much Chris for choosing me and giving me the most incredible gifts I have ever known. Thank you to our midwife who became family to us and gave us some of the most incredible experiences of our lives.  Thank you to our friends who joined our family, and thank you for sharing your gifts with us, Bethany… Also a quick shout out to stretchy pants and push up bras:D

(Warning: These are breastfeeding photos so some of these photos contain slight nudity. I tried to make sure I didn’t post any that would make anyone too uncomfortable, but I also wanted to share the special bond that I don’t want to censor.)










Thank you so much for capturing these very precious moments for us, Bethany!

A few shops we love that are featured in these photos.

Frankies tunic & bloomers- BloomHandmadeCo

Frankie’s Button Up Vest- LittleCottonWood

Norah’s Dress- Fin & Vince from BarbaAndRoo

Charlie’s Dress- JuneIsleClothier

Ada’s dress- Roaming Threads

Frankie’s & Charlie’s Bows: KDBird

Ada’s Bows: CraftedAndCo

Momma’s Clogs- LottaFromStockholm 

Black & White Striped Pillows: ChapelAndCo

Table Runner- NotPerfectLinen

Momma’s Bedding- Parachute, MaeWoven, TheCompany Store

Diaper Bag- Josefina bags

Linen Nursing Cover- VeniceAndJune

Norah and Charlie’s Bedding- SchoolHouse


Sunday Suppers: Truly a night to remember

Sobremesa | the time after a meal when food is gone, but the conversation around the table continues. 228101AA-EB7A-421C-81AF-997E43338BB6

A few weeks ago, Chris and I got to attend a Sombremesa Sunday Suppers event hotsted by our dear friend Amanda Watters, and for lack of better words, it was truly magical. A few months ago I was on the gram and saw a post from my sweet friend Amanda (mamawatters) sharing about the event she would   hosting.  I had been meaning to get to Kansas city to visit with her since it had been some time since we hung out, Chris and I hadn’t been on a date without a baby in literal years, and after months of binge watching Top Chef as a family, this event seemed like the perfect night to enjoy with one another. Perfect almost feels like an understatement now.B0C33603-958A-4839-AED4-8ADE76B686BD

I immediately texted Chris a screen shot about the event and he was like, Yes!!!! So, I knew we had to get tickets… But then I got to thinking… Who would watch all FOUR girls for several hours and into the night? I thought of a few people who might be interested and whom I knew Frankie and the girls would feel comfortable with and I felt like I knew the perfect people. We were actually hanging out with them that evening, so I knew I had to ask, knowing that this would probably make or break our ability to attend the Sunday Supper’s event.

I asked our dear friends who I might add have 4 of their own, including twins, and without any hesitation, my friend said yes! And an excited yes! She actually told me she felt honored that I asked them and, insert Chris and I both crying literal tears of joy, we just felt so incredibly loved and blessed to have friends who would take in our children and with joyful hearts.  I have a really difficult time leaving the girls, especially Frankie, but I had such a peace about letting them go with these friends and knew they would have the best time! So…we got tickets and were so excited for November 3rd to roll around! Fast forward, the girls had THE BEST time and we are so excited to hopefully get the chance to pay them back by watching their babes!



There were so many reasons I was so excited about this event.. I was excited for the time with Chris, to see my friends, to maybe make new friends, to enjoy good food, and just excited about being excited:D One of the highlights was meeting my friend Caley!!! We met on the gram, I think our first conversation was about paint trim colors, and then we discovered we had lots in common, including home birth and so many things motherhood related, and our friend Amanda. I’m trying to find the words to describe just how life giving and refreshing this night was for Chris and I. First, the little road trip to Kansas City itself. I love road trips and some of the very best conversations Chris and I have happen on these little trips and having that time alone together was just awesome. Now I’ll skip to our arrival.


We pulled up to the house and I was like Christmas morning excited to see Amanda and see the love I knew she was pouring into the event. Amanda and I met on Instagram as well and after small talk here and there, developed a friendship which has been so special to me. We laughed about how the last time we came to visit I was SO pregnant with Frankie and was actually dilated to an 8 and had to go on bed rest like the day after we hung out. 😀 #worthit. Anyway, we walked in and were met with the warmest welcome and if you’ve been to Amanda’s house, you walk in and just feel home. I have gleaned so much inspiration from her as a mother and from the care she pours into everything she does.


I started to recognize people from Instagram and it was so fun getting to visit in real life! I recognized this gem, Whitney, but had no idea that within minutes she would become one of my new favorite people on this planet! Then another person, Karen, whom we literally met just a few weeks prior while we were visiting our sweet friend Stephanie in Colorado Springs.

15C9FE81-8730-4A6A-B010-661A1D86252ELife is so strange sometimes and it was so cool how so many of us shared connections we didn’t know we had. I got to meet friends I have followed on Instagram for years, meet shop owners whom we’ve collaborated with, meet incredible artists and mothers and shop owners and just truly beautiful, beautiful people! I felt like I walked away with new friendships to cherish and such precious memories!



We ate fancy cheeses and exotic grapes and felt pretty cool:D


Then we ate fancy bread, exotic butters and felt even more cool:D


There wasn’t a moment that felt awkward or uncomfortable, it was just so fun! I will share Amanda’s blog on this evening at the end of this, so you can read about more details of the night!   The food was incredible! Amanda worked so hard and it was transparent in every bite! She taught us how to make delicious ricotta, introduced us to foods we had never experienced, and gave us a very fun culinary experience. But what made the evening really magical was the booze:D Totally joking!

E28B1FC8-F906-456E-9724-3F6113EB7628 It was the awesome fellowship and connection we shared with each other around the table.16F15AF4-79C0-4746-82FB-85BFE0A3047B

Sunday Suppers is intended to be a celebration of good food and great community and it was that and so much more! Amanda and Andrew worked so hard and poured themselves into each nook and cranny of the evening, and it was just so special! Have I said special and magical enough.


Chris and I work in ministry and it is very rare for us to attend anything where we are not in charge or serving in some role of leadership and even more rare to do anything without our children. While we love our children and serving others very much, this evening felt so freeing! We got to go and just be Chris and Amanda. We had no agenda, no obligations, no responsibilities or expectations to fulfill. We held hands, laughed, told stories, heard amazing stories,  had teary moments and left feeling beyond refreshed. We couldn’t stop talking about it the whole way home. I know Amanda had intentions to make this a special night, but I don’t think she knew how truly life giving it would be for some of us. I walked away feeling so renewed!


It’s honestly hard to find the right words to describe how wonderful the evening was. Amanda writes this, “The smiles and warmth in these photos say it all. Making food for others is one of the ways I show love to those I care about, and when done where we live, it’s even more meaningful for me. It’s home. Andrew and I did our best to make our guests feel at home, and in return, they gave us meaningful conversation, memories, and laugher, along with a newfound perspective of what gathering and sharing a meal can truly do for our souls. Like a steadfast buoy in a turbulent sea, this evening lifted the spirits of all who came and gathered and shared. The vulnerability in not knowing who would show up, both for us hosting and the guests, made for a delicate experience that blanketed our home in grace. The world needs more of this. Our supper was one I know we will talk about for the rest of our lives, and one that will live on in the new friendships we made around the table breaking bread.”


The world needs more of this indeed! We will cherish this evening for as long as we can remember it! If you get the opportunity to attend a Sunday Suppers event, we highly recommend it! I feel like I’m leaving out a million things, but basically we walked away with the reminder that we were made for community. We were made to enjoy the good things our Creator created and with one another! Eat Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

(The photos shared here are a collection of photos taken personally, some from Amanda herself, some taken by people whom attended and from MacyAnn, who took photos of the evening.)

You can read about this evening from Amanda’s perspective here.


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I recently got to partner with the lovely Bethany Meysenburg and Artifact Uprising to bring to life some creative visions Bethany and I had, and I am overwhelmed with gratefulness with the end result!


Several months ago, I was looking at the ol ‘gram and stumbled upon a crazy beautiful feed! I soon realized that this was a photographer named Bethany Meysenberg and then realized she lived close by!  Bethany’s photos are so moody and romantic and once I realized she lived close by,  I knew I wanted to work with her!  After visiting, we decided to work together as a creative collaboration, and I am so thankful we did!  Some of the belongings that I value the most are the photographs we have been so blessed with by our sweet friends who happen to be incredible photographers and have chosen to bless us with their passions and talents!


Photos are one of those things that I have learned to treasure so much.  I don’t think I ever thought too much about photography until my father and sister passed away.  The photos I have help me to keep the memories I have of them and even sometimes remind me of a memory I had forgotten or tell a story I still didn’t yet know about them.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetI am able to share photos with our daughters photos of the Grandpa and Aunt they don’t get to meet in this world.  I get to share my childhood and my memories with our daughters so well because of photos! When I say I treasure these moments captured, I truly mean it.  We’ve only done a few family photo sessions and usually only when we welcome a baby, so about every year:D, but I’m going to try and be more intentional about taking and printing more of the daily moments we capture.


Sometimes I have been teased for taking so many photos, especially of our daughters feet or photos where they’re not facing the camera, but I know all too well that these moments and tiny details that I love so much, might one day be forgotten if not for the sweet photos that I will have to look back on and remind me.

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The way Norah looks at her little sisters, how she takes being a big sister so seriously; Charlie’s pigtails and the way she almost always has a collection of toys, make up brushes or art tools in her hands; The concentrated stare and little tongue Ada sticks out and presses onto her upper lip while reading and building blocks or how she’s climbing on everything lately; Frankie’s itty bitty toes, her dark little locks and pouty lips; The way our girls jump on the bed and dance together.

DSC_9934The way they look at their daddy with this look that lets me know they understand how treasured and valued they are; And the way he looks at them that reminds me just how blessed I am to be married to such an incredible man! Oh, and Chris’ sexy beard and luscious hair that may be receding a bit more each day:D These are things I don’t ever want to forget…


Maybe one day the girls will look back and think, “I remember you reading us that book mom!”, or “look at dad and that guitar he still plays!”  I want them to have their childhood captured in photos so that they one day can share their childhood and memories of us with their children and grandchildren.

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Because photos are so special to me, I knew I needed to start printing them. I’ve been terrible at this and have felt a lot of conviction to print more photos as there is just something so special about having a tangible photo to hold. There seems to be so much more life in printed photos.  I recently had some lovely prints made from Artifact Uprising and the quality was amazing!  When I saw these new Flatlay Photo Albums , I knew I wanted to get some of our favorite photos captured by Bethany  printed in one of these. And I am so glad we did!!! This book is definitely a treasure! I already am working on another one!


The girls and I went through it several times and I maybe just wept because I am so thankful for the blessing that these photos and this book are…


This book is super special. My Grammy gifted this to the little ladies and it is one of the books they always choose when I ask them to pick out a book to read. In it, Grammy wrote a scripture, one she has written in all of my books that she gifted to me when I was the girls’ age.  Proverbs 3:5-6. My mom saved all of these books from our childhood and recently gifted them to me. Another thing I truly treasure!

So, with that, I’ll leave you with a few more photos! If you live in Kansas and are looking for a photographer, please check out Bethany Meysenburg and if you’re looking to get some photos printed, books made or some unique and meaningful gifts to gift, check out our friends at Artifact Uprising!



Side note: We get asked often about this rug, so I thought I would share about it here.  It’s the Hand Woven Rigo Jute Rug from Plush Rugs. We have enjoyed this rug so much! It’s lovely and sheds much less than jute rugs we have owned in the past. You can click here to see it and here to see more jute rugs similar.




DSC_9697DSC_9640DSC_0158Here’s a little slideshow that I discovered after inserting the photos above:D!


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Also, without printed photos, I wouldn’t be able to share these gems with you:D Think of this as a thank you for reading!

(Disclosure: This blog was made possible thanks to a partnership with Bethany Meysenburg and Artifact Uprising, but every word is my honest opinion.)

How we Holiday: Traveling with 4 babes & a little help from Philips Avent

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I love this special time of year! I love the weather and the decor and the music and the smells and the food and the fashion and, especially, the Holidays that gather us together with friends and family! My family is in Colorado and my husband’s family in Nebraska so the Holidays usually mean traveling for us! I remember feeling so overwhelmed traveling with our babe as a first time mom.  I almost always forgot to put diapers and wipes in my diaper bag and I thought I needed to pack the entire baby section from Target as well… Turns out you don’t need all of Target, but diapers and wipes are a MUST! I don’t want to call ourselves experts by any means, but we have learned a few tricks along the way to make traveling with babies, toddlers and little ladies a little bit easier!

So with the Holiday season upon us, we have partnered with PhilipsAvent to share with you a few of our favorite products to take on the road with us to make traveling and Holidaying a bit easier!

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We have a 5 year old, a 3 year old, an almost 2 yr old and a 2 month old. This might sound stressful, but it is amazing! In fact, traveling as a family is one of my absolute favorite things to do!


The girls love it because they get to watch some of their favorite movies along the way, and I love it because it means sipping coffee, long talks with my husband and listening to our favorite podcasts together while the littles sleep. Car rides are actually one of the most refreshing things to me, so I greatly look forward to road trips whenever we get the chance!

As much as I love traveling as a family, there are a few things that I have found make our trips a lot more comfortable for everybody. I will share with you some of the things we bring in the ol’ swagger wagon and what I pack in my mom bag to make for a smoother ride.

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It seems like wherever we go anywhere, the girls start yelling to the front of the van, “We’re thirsty!” After waaayy too many spilled drinks, we have found these PhilipsAvent Straw Cups work wonderfully! They’re leak-proof, easy to hold, BPA free and the straw doesn’t fall off and get lost in the liquid abyss! The big girls seem to really enjoy them and since they’re leak proof, I’m not afraid to stash them in my diaper bag! Philips has several different leak-proof sippy cup options but the little ladies picked out these sweet ‘matchy matchy’ pink ones.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThe big girls are pretty much all set to travel with a drink, some snacks and a little throw blanket, but newborns can be a bit more particular.  One thing we have learned 4 babies in is, ALWAYS pack extra pacifiers! Always! Somehow those bad boys have a way of disappearing. Chris and I used to joke that we should buy stock in pacifiers because we were buying so many! Now we know, put a clip on it if you can, and always bring extras! Frankie really seems to like these Soothies and they are BPA free and have a little hole to slip a pacifier clip through! And let’s be honest… they’re super cute:D

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Don’t worry… I take her bonnets off when she sleeps…

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Sometimes, our babies will sleep for the entire trip! While this can be great for the whole family, this breastfeeding mom needs a little relief on the long trips! I have traveled with my double electric pump, but have found that it is much easier for me to just travel with a small manual pump that I can use while we drive. It’s small, doesn’t need a power source, there aren’t a bunch of tubes, it’s discrete, easy to use, and allows me to pump and store a few ounces that I can use to feed Frankie at another time, or use to mix in her probiotics. Oh! And it’s silent, so it doesn’t interrupt our podcasts or the girls watching Elf on a continuous loop:D

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThe manual pump comes with the perfect sized travel bottle for collecting a couple ounces of milk along the way.  I try to use glass over plastic whenever I can and so I’m thankful PhilipsAvent also carries these natural glass baby bottles ! I can store any milk I pump in one of these bad boys and feed Frankie with one if I need to!Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

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I hope some of you traveling mommas will find this little piece helpful for all of your road tripping adventures in your future! I feel like I’m forgetting something… Maybe that’s just mom brain or because I almost always forget something:D

FED80974-657A-44A3-A02C-3E96A15A7A2C.jpegAlso, I shared a detailed rundown of what I bring with me in my diaper bag about a year ago and not much has changed. I added a few new things, but if you’re wanting a few more details about what I have found helpful to have in my diaper bag when we travel, you can check it out at


Thank you PhilipsAvent and, from our family to yours, we wish you a Happy Holiday and Merry Everything!

(Disclaimer:  This post was sponsored by PhilipsAvent, but all opinions expressed here are my own, personal and honest opinions.)



Welcoming Our Frances Grey

I almost can’t believe I am snuggling with a little newborn and already writing another birth story.  I feel like it was just last year that I was writing Ada’s:D Probably mostly because it was:) We are truly so grateful for another beautiful daughter!  I almost cry every time I stop and think about how awesome it is that we get to parent these FOUR little ladies!


Frankie is 4 weeks old today!!! That doesn’t even seem possible!  We have heard her cry only a handful of times, and that even includes mild fussing!  She is just super content and has the sweetest temperament!  The big sisters are absolutely smitten with her and she loves snuggling with her daddy! Her favorite things include boobs, naps, blankets late night snacking and snuggles galore, so I guess you could say she takes after her dad:) #momjoke. Aside from me being freaked out that she doesn’t poop as much as her big sisters, she might be our easiest baby yet! So, with that, I am so grateful and so excited to share another beautiful birth story with you!

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Ok… So let me start with 2 weeks before we met her.  I started to feel “ready”, even though my original due date wasn’t until the first week of October. I went to see my midwife on the 7th and told her I totally felt like I had dilated quite a bit already.  Before I share more, I should give you a little back story.  My body might be jacked up:D  Well, it kind of is for sure, we’re just not totally sure why.  When I went into labor with Charlie, I was dilated to a 9 before I ever felt my contractions. My water broke and a few minutes  later, 2 pushes and she was here!  With Ada, I was dilated at a 10…for 2 days before I felt my contractions!  SO WEIRD!  I couldn’t really feel my contractions with Ada until my water broke and once my water broke, it was time to push; 4 or 5 pushes later, she was here!  Norah’s labor was the only one that was kind of normal except kind of not either.  You can go read those stories under my birth stories if you guys want to!

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetAnyway, I share this because for some odd reason, my body works a little differently and labor is probably a little different for me than most…  I’m not bragging, but I’m also definitely not complaining! So, back to the 7th.  When I told Rebecca that I felt dilated she kind of giggled at me like she does often. Side note: We love Rebecca like a lot! We’ve gotten to know each other on so many different intimate levels and can joke about anything and everything and it’s just awesome to know your care taker and have your care taker know you so intimately. It makes for such an incredible experience! So she kind of teased me and then I asked her to check me and, yep! I had dilated to a 5, was 80% effaced and all of babies suture lines were feeling just right! I told her I knew I wouldn’t carry Frankie to October.  It was like this weird momma instinct, the same one that told me I was having girls each pregnancy:D

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Ok, so… Jump to two days later and I started having this really weird and specific kind of cramping, which I’ve learned is me dilating.  I don’t really know how to describe it except for I felt it with Charlie and Ada and feel like I was tuned in and aware of my body more than ever this round and as soon as I felt it, I knew what was happening. I started losing my plug and, remember that this is a birth story, but I mean, I was losing A LOT!  I lost more and more all day and continued to the next few days.  This made me a little nervous because I knew I was dilating more and in my previous pregnancies, I lost my plug only days before meeting our daughters.

Rebecca and I decided it was best if I took it really easy, like bed rest style, just to make sure we kept Frankie nice and cozy!  Chris and the girls were incredible during this time!  Actually, Chris was beyond incredible this whole pregnancy.   For those of you who know me, you know about my back… but for those of you who don’t, we have learned that my tailbone is broken 3 different times and in 3 different directions! When I’m pregnant, my tailbone and sciatic nerve basically try to become one with one another…NO BUENO! It is extremely painful and any kind of intervention we have tried has only provided temporary relief.  By the time I was 6 months along, I couldn’t walk some days.  Chris did all of our grocery shopping, prepared most dinners, did laundry when I couldn’t carry any or walk down stairs, and basically carried the many loads that I physically couldn’t.  If you see that guy, tell him what a stud he is!  I’ve always known I was so blessed to be his wife, but Chris serves us girls and I so selflessly and sacrifices so much for us in a way that I can’t even comprehend sometimes. Thank you so very much husband!

When I had to take it easy, he had the girls join him on a mission to help me out and they called themselves ‘team home birth’. 😀 He taught the girls different ways they could help out, and it was just incredible. They started folding laundry, emptying and filling the dishwasher, working harder at keeping their toys picked up AND nobody complained, well, at least in front of me:D They just loved me in such a way that I definitely don’t deserve but am so grateful for! Chris literally got them pumped up to clean:D He is the best, like for real!

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Ok… So, fast forward to the 18th.  Everything was looking great and I was now measuring right about 39 weeks.  I had been measuring ahead for quite some time and I really felt like I was further along than we had initially thought. I was still having that cramping and losing plug and so I ended up asking Rebecca to come visit me and check me.  She came over and YEP! I was dilated to an 8! Everything was looking great, but I was dilated to an 8! She wasn’t at all worried but it is a little strange to dilate this far without having contractions and without having an incompetent cervix.  My body just doesn’t mess around I guess. Rebecca headed home and the game plan was to just wait and see what my body did over the next few days.

The next day I felt so weird. Like, almost scared.  I started to think about what might happen if my water broke because if this labor were to be like Charlie or Ada’s, I would probably have ended up delivering a baby on my kitchen floor by myself.  I don’t feel my contractions until my water breaks, but by that time I’m at a 9 or 10 and ready to push, and my longest pushing record is 6 pushes.  With Chris working more than 5 minutes away and my midwife being over an hour away, I knew if my water broke, this would be an unassisted delivery…Chris and I talked and we both were in favor of us delivering Frankie WITH our midwife over me alone:D

So… I asked Rebecca if she felt comfortable coming over and helping me get labor started.  We weighed the pros and cons and decided that in this situation, this was a good idea. So on the 20th, Rebecca came over at 10 am and here is where the fun begins!!!

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The first thing she did when she arrived was check me… and I was stretching to a 9!  It was the weirdest thing because I woke up feeling so amazing and had 0 back pain! It was the first morning in like 9 months that I hadn’t woken up in pain! It was like my body was just as ready as my mind was! She measured me once more and I was right at 39 weeks. Rebecca gave me a little contraction encouraging herb that we thought would take about an hour or two to get contractions started, but within 10 minutes, I was having them! They kept getting stronger and stronger and stronger until the point where they almost started to hurt! And then at noon, they just completely stopped. I wanted to cry because this is what happened with Ada and it was so emotionally exhausting! I was complete, as in dilated to a 10, and as soon as my contractions would get going, they would stop.  I did not want this to happen again… Rebecca had me go walk around the yard for 15 minutes, and while I felt a heavy type of cramping, I wasn’t having regular contractions anymore.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetWe made some sandwiches, ate lunch together and then I took a little more of the contraction inducing goodness. Rebecca told me she felt like I just needed peace, quiet and rest. We had Ada go with a friend at this point, put a movie on for the big girls and Chris and I came upstairs to our bedroom to rest.


Rebecca’s daughter came to help assist us and is just amazing! She plays with the little ladies and the girls have grown to love her and Rebecca’s other children so much! Did I mention she has 11 children! All whom she home educates! AND, from what we can tell, they’re totally normal:D Talk about #momgoals!

Rebecca helped get me into bed and into a position that would allow me to relax but would also help baby get settled a bit better.  She asked me to stay put for an hour and almost exactly an hour later, I was having strong, regular contractions and felt ready to get into the birthing pool!!!


By now, my friend Olivia had arrived and I was feeling ready to go. Norah was SO ready! She had been asking me every day when Frankie would be here and reminded me every day that she wanted to be there with me and cut the venible, aka, umbilical cord:D Once I was in the tub, I started having what I will call “normal people” contractions! They were so strong and powerful and I just knew Frankie would be coming so soon!  Norah and Charlie got measuring cups and would rub my shoulders and pour warm water on my back through each contraction!  Charlie would lay her head by my head, touch her forehead to my forehead and hold my hand. I won’t ever forget it…. It was absolutely precious!

F10Norah would say things like, “take it easy, listen to your feelings, you’re doing so good, relax yourself”. It made us all giggle each time which made labor feel so easy. There wasn’t any stress or tension or fear. Just peace and joy and sweet giggles. At one point Norah asked me if I was having any “uh oh” feelings and proceeded to tell everyone the things in life that give me “uh oh” feelings:D It was the perfect comic relief!  The girls would bring me my water and tell me to take a sip and were just so encouraging! I just felt completely loved and safe.

After being in the pool for about 10 contractions or so, I felt Frankie coming!  I remember feeling more in control of my body than I ever have in labor before.  I felt complete peace and it was so amazing.  I remember holding Olivia’s hand with my left hand, Chris’s hand with my right and knowing we were all about to meet Frankie! I didn’t fight contractions like I’ve maybe wanted to in the past, I didn’t tense up and I just felt more relaxed than I have in previous labors. I began pushing and then looked over at Rebecca and told her I was pushing.


The last photo Chris captured before welcoming Frankie!


I asked Rebecca to support me, which basically just meant make sure Frankie was not coming out with a hand on her forehead like her sister Ada, and I’m glad I asked her to, because she was! One of the things Rebecca does an excellent job at is supporting my lady bits so there is no tearing.  I tore a little bit upwards with Norah in the hospital but have never again had any damage to my lady biz!  I actually haven’t even been a little bit sore after delivering Charlie, Ada and Frankie!  I think some of that has to do with the water, preventative care, but also just how well Rebecca does at assisting, but not unnecessarily intervening with what’s happening during the birth process.

F7After the first push, Frankie’s head was born! I reached down and felt her head and just felt so grateful.  Norah yelled, “I can see Frankie! She’s coming out!” She yelled for Charlie to come back over to the pool, as she had left the room for a moment. I heard her little pitter patter run towards the pool and got so excited! I was on my knees with my arms and head draped on the side of the pool and felt very comfortable.  Everyone was silent, a Bon Iver record playing in the background, which I maybe had Chris play too many times, and I remember just knowing that I would be holding our baby the next time I pushed… A minute passed, and with the start of my last contraction, we welcomed Frankie!

F15As soon as I pulled Frankie out of the water, Norah started crying and exclaimed, “I can’t stop happy crying! She’s here!” Norah was really sad that she missed Ada’s birth. I was dilated to a 10 for 2 days with her and after a long day of nothing happening and so they went to stay with grandma and grandpa and then she came. Norah’s first words when she met Ada were, “I really wanted to be here, but you did it!” She put her hand on my face and told me how proud of me she was. 😭 I say this to tell you that for my whole pregnancy, Norah and Charlie made it very clear that they would not be missing Frankie’s birth… and I am so glad they didn’t! They were truly incredible and made the experience even more wonderful!

I pulled Frankie to my chest, and the first thing I noticed was her super dark head of hair.  A few days before, Charlie crawled into our bed and shared about having a dream about Frankie and that she had pretty, dark hair. Man, she was so right! Talk about happy tears! My heart was SO full! I remember looking at Chris and Olivia and just thinking, “YEAH!!!” I thought I might be emotional this birth with Chris and I feeling like Frankie might be our last baby, but I was the opposite… I just felt so incredibly happy! And I still do! I just feel really content and beyond thankful! That moment felt like a lifetime but also like it went by way too fast!

A few contractions later, I birthed my Placenta.  This time, a little more blood than usual filled the tub and my midwife gave me a look that made me think, “uh oh” in a scooby doo type voice. She acted fast and with a little uterine massage, which I will compare to some kind of ancient form of torture, she had the bleeding stopped! Thank you Rebecca:D


After that, we all headed upstairs to get cozy in bed and spend some time getting to know one another!  She was, she is, just perfect!  7lbs, 4oz, and 20 inches of absolute sweetness! She started nursing right away and I nursed for about an hour and then it was time for Frankie’s newborn assessment! Everything checked out at Frankie being a full 39 weeks!  Chris went and picked up Ada and I was a little curious how she would act when she saw Frankie had joined us.  She ran into the room and yelled, “Hi Mommy!” Then saw Frankie and squealed, “OOOHHH! Hi Baby!” in the sweetest little baby voice I have ever heard!  She was and is smitten with her little sister!

F59Aside from seeing the extra time mom spends nursing as the perfect opportunity to empty out any essential oils or coffee she can find, she has adjusted wonderfully! Norah and Charlie have done amazing and are two of the best helpers I can imagine! They’re right by me helping me with anything they can. Filling up my water jug, throwing away diapers, bringing me this or that… Norah actually started changing Ada’s diapers for me, but only pee diapers per her request:D





Getting a little baby holding practice done:D



I promise she was looking at me! Or maybe staring down those goods:D Either way, she was looking at me!

Thank you so much to everyone who helped with our girls, brought us meals, coffee and extra hoppy beverages, for the prayers, encouraging words and congratulations, for the sweet intagram messages and late night conversations and for everyone who has loved on our family during this whole process!F48




Chris, thank you for using your sexy man skills to capture this special day, for making all the babies with me and for taking such good care of us! You’re truly the most incredible man I know! Olivia, thank you for doing all of this mom biz with me! I am so grateful for your friendship! Rebecca, thank you for this last 4 years that you have loved me and supported me in a way that I can never say thank you enough for!  You have been so much more than a midwife to us and we are truly blessed to have you in our lives and to be apart of yours! A special thanks to In His Hands Birthing Supply Co. for partnering with us and blessing us with our home birth kit.  Oh! And did I mention we had a GoPro in the tub! The footage is incredible and I’m so thankful to have been able to watch one of my deliveries this way! If you have a water birth, put a GoPro in the tub! Thanks again, Rebecca! So cool!Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetOn that note, I’m going to go nurse! Thanks for reading friends!

If you are interested in why we choose home birth or would like more information on this topic, please feel free to reach out!

3 little monkeys jumping on the bed

You know how sometimes you just have those days where you’re emotional and grateful and looking at your family and wondering how you got to where you are in life?  My Grammy texted me this morning just to share that she was proud of Chris and I and I just wanted to cry because this is the life that I prayed I could have one day but genuinely didn’t think I could have… I don’t deserve it, but I grow more and more thankful for it. Even when I’m tired or stressed or as I listen to our 3 & 4 year arguing over the ideal spot to have their picnic right now… I am just so grateful. The word Redeemed rings in my ears often and when I look at Chris and our daughters, the ring feels more like a shout!


I’m just feeling extra grateful for that shout today…

My friend Robyn was so kind to do a little extra shoot and capture something we love just as much as baking around this house! Bed Jumping!!! I just had to share these sweet images! Thank you so much Robyn! These are truly the moments I know I will think back on, smile and cry about when they are grown. I hope they will be mothers who will love their children fiercely, that kindness will flow from their hearts and homes and that they will be filled with the joy that comes from watching their babes jump on the bed…and maybe jumping with them when they’re a little less pregnant:D



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Products Featured:

Pajamas: G. Nancy from Baby Donkie 

Momma’s Top: LoveWinnieJames

Photography by RobynBunch