Dear Claire: 16 and 17 Month Updates

(I've been writing monthly updates to my daughter, Claire, documenting all the changes that come with the passing weeks. You can catch up on past letters here.)Dear Claire--Well, I'm consolidating two months into this update: your 16 and 17 month updates. Time got away from me, but, as you'll see, it was spent having a lot of fun! ...more

Riding in Style: Getting Around the Neighborhood in the Zuzu Stroller

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for GB. I received a gift card to purchase a GB stroller to both facilitate my review as well as thank me for my participation.I've mentioned before Claire's love for being outside. Multiple times a day, she grabs our hand and pulls us to one of the doors to go out and play ....more

A Sneak Peek at the New House!

It's been about a month since we bought our house, and we've spent the past weeks doing project after project to make it look like it's been our own all along.There still a ton to do (and frankly there probably always will be) but I figured it was time to give it to share a little sneak peek (with slightly blurry cell-phone pics). The first thing we did when we bought the house was give the living room, dining room, and kitchen fresh coat of white paint, thanks to a lot of help from friends and family. That change alone did a lot to update the house and make it feel a lot brighter and show off the natural light that streams in from all the windows.After that were a series of other projects, like repainting the kitchen cabinets, removing the doors to make open shelving and adding new hardware ....more

Dear Claire: 15 Month Update (and a Look Back at a Year Ago)

(I've been writing monthly updates to my daughter, Claire, documenting all the changes that come with the passing weeks. You can catch up on past letters here.)Dear Claire,You keep on growing, growing, growing! We had your 15 month appointment, and you weighed in at 19.5 lbs and 30 inches ....more

A Week In Our New Home

It's been a week now that we've been living in this place that we now call "home." And a little less than two that we've owned it. And yet, it seems so much longer than that.In that short amount of time, we've had friends and family give up their own busy schedules to help us paint and organize, drop off meals, watch Claire. We've put together new furniture, started dozens of projects, made incredible progress and already mopped up a geyser of water from a washing machine gone ruly....more

Dear Claire: 14-Month Update

(I've been writing monthly updates to my daughter, Claire, documenting all the changes that come with the passing weeks. You can catch up on...more

The Gift of Taking Time to Get Outside and Play

Some of my most treasured memories are those that involve getting dirty, getting wet and getting intimate with the outdoors as a child.I can still remember summer days spent splashing in a creek while my dad fished crawdads out from the murky, twig-strewn water and let me see the creatures up close and personal. I can remember my parents taking me by the hand and spending hours walking the paths that encircled a lake near my childhood home, stopping to feed the geese and marveling at all the leaves and greenery around.I can remember my father finding animal tracks made in the mud around our garage and pointing out whether it was a raccoon or a skunk. I can remember digging through piles of gravel in our side yard, on the quest for uncovering fossils that I kept safe in an old tackle box my father handed over to me when he spotted in me a budding archeologist.These memories were simple gestures that my parents fostered in me during my earliest of years ....more

My Favorite Baby Items: Nursing & Feeding Must-Haves

When I was building my baby registry while I was pregnant with Claire, I poured over different people's lists to see where I should spend my money as well as where I could skip. (If you want to see what made it onto my original baby registry list, check out this post.) Even now, I love seeing what other parents recommend for their children. So, I thought, as I'm looking back over Claire's first year, I'd recap some of the items we got for Claire that have been the best hits ....more

Dear Claire: 13-Month Update

(I've been writing monthly updates to my daughter, Claire, documenting all the changes that come with the passing weeks. You can catch up on...more

Finding a New Home

Life as of late has been lived indoors, thanks to the off-and-on cold and/or rainy weather that the Midwest has been sending our way. (There's talk of snow flurries this week. Talk about a welcome home!)But it seems fitting, this drive to the indoors, because right now we’re in the throes of house buying and are actually under contract on a house right now ....more