& celebrating two.

What truly feels like a few months has actually been two years, and this past weekend, we celebrated the second birthday of our sweet boys.

We kicked off the celebration with what is now officially a tradition – pancakes with sprinkles and whipped cream. In true toddler fashion, they ate the whipped cream & sprinkles, but did not touch the actual pancakes.

Unfortunately the rest of the day was pretty boring for them, as we were preparing for their party the next day. To add to the chaos, our kitchen remodel is only semi-complete. Last Monday, when I arrived home for the first time in almost a week, I thought there was no way it could all come together by Saturday.

But we worked our tails off, got very little sleep, and spent the boys’ actual birthday putting finishing touches on everything, so for them it was just a regular day.

On Saturday though. On Saturday we HAD. A. PARTAAAYYY. Of course because I was playing hostess, my picture taking was nearly non-existent, but despite photographic evidence, I think all 50+ guests had a great time.

The birthday boys ran and ran and ran until they couldn’t any more, crashing into a late afternoon nap, waking to eat dinner and then back sound to sleep within a couple of hours. Justin actually went to bed before them, and I had a splendid date with the couch, birthday cake, & ice cream before heading to bed around 10pm. Birthday parties are hard work!

Sunday morning we continued the celebration with a quick trip to Merrimac to ride across Lake Wisconsin on the ferry.

We followed it up with breakfast at a greasy spoon, where I inhaled a much-deserved plate of biscuits & gravy. I earned that meal, dangit!

A quick nap on the way home meant no “real” nap for the boys, so instead we set up their new pool & had an afternoon pool party! J & I may or may not have done our part to clear out the leftover beer cooler from the party the day before. I mean, this pool didn’t come with these built-in drink holders for nothing!

pool beer
Dinner outdoors included root beer floats for the boys & was followed by an early bed time for the whole family.

We had a such a great time celebrating with friends and family on Saturday, but we’re equally grateful for the time spent on Sunday, just the four of us. With all of the kitchen cabinet building, Justin has worked every weekend for the past five weekends, meaning family time has been pretty limited. It was nice to reconnect as our little family of four while celebrating such a special day!

I have two two year-olds. They are sweet, intelligent, handsome, funny, charismatic, silly, stubborn, and so much more. How did I get so lucky?!

boysphoto credit: Amber Hopkins Photography


related: first birthday 


& sunshine & bubbles & amoxicillin 

Life with two almost two year-olds is mostly sunshine. I’m being totally serious. These past few months have been primarily sunny in our little world, with these little guys.

Their personalities have become so distinct. Their likes and dislikes are obvious and communicated. Their sleeping through the night has become consistent, with very few exceptions. And you know what? When you finally get to sleep through the night, for more than one night, for the first time in years (literally), you can sort of look over all of the other not-so-sunshiny stuff.

Like temper tantrums, refusal to eat,  and strep throat. Amoxicillin still tastes like bubblegum but falls into the refusal to consume category too, FYI.

After talking about it for nearly seven years, we finally fenced in our backyard. Since it’s completion on Sunday we have eaten dinner & stayed outside until just before sunset each night. It feels so great to let the sun tell us when to go indoors!

Bedtimes have become more of a suggestion than a rule, but all of the outside play followed by necessary nightly baths has the boys basically begging to to go bed at 8:15, which isn’t far off from their usual time anyway.

We might as well buy stock in bubbles since the boys don’t totally understand the concept of keeping them in the bottle. We could also probably forego laundry detergent since we all end up completely covered in bubble solution.

And while completely unimaginable that these two will soon be TWO YEARS OLD, I’m so thrilled that they are mine and that we get to spend all of our sunshiny, bubble-covered time together. They are my favorite people in the entire world. 

But I could do without the amoxicillin.

& I don’t even know.

Eating nachos at 10am is a totally normal Sunday morning thing, right? Because that’s what I found myself doing this morning and gosh, I would really just like some normalcy this week. I was so exhausted by the time we put the boys to bed Friday night that I didn’t even have the energy to make or drink a much-needed and well-deserved cocktail. It’s been a week here, friends.

I put the boys down for a nap this morning, even though they don’t take morning naps anymore. It was partially because they needed it and partially because I needed it. Because after this doozy of a week I was just looking forward to a leisurely Sunday with shared parenting duties, as weekends should allow. Maybe a solo grocery shopping trip, some food prep for the week ahead, stuff like that. But just after midnight, Justin woke up with the stomach flu…

But let’s back up to Tuesday afternoon when Nolan started vomiting. A lot. The dog ate it. Theo played in it. I wore it. I was home from work because it was too icy for my mom to drive in that morning. I also had to miss work Monday (but worked from home) because we were iced in at my parents’. Oh, and I also had to miss work Wednesday (I normally don’t work Wednesdays but was trying to get in some hours since I had to miss Monday & Tuesday) because I didn’t want our nanny to be exposed to the stomach flu & I felt like I was coming down with it too. Ohhhh, and I also had to miss my scheduled work-from-home hours Thursday because 2/3 of our daycare provider’s kids were sick. Friday was somewhat normal. I was absolutely beat, but I got a lot accomplished. Nobody was sick, and everyone got to where they needed to be for the day. I made dinner. Everyone ate and kept it down.

Saturday was sorta normal too, except Nolan was super fussy, then ended up being awake most of the night. Theo slept through the night (which is unheard of) and then took a 3 hour nap (also never happens), and is currently napping again (NEVER happens) so with any luck he’s sleeping off any chance he has of getting this flu bug.

I suppose I might even start vomiting at some point too, huh? Not that it matters. Moms don’t get sick days. My husband was in bed for 19 hours straight, minus getting up to barf, but if I get sick I’m sure he’ll just go to work and I’ll just have to mom and be sick at the same time. That’s how it works, right?

Okay, my bitterness is starting to show. My exhaustion. My defeat. My NEED FOR A VACATION. It’s showing, isn’t it?

What I came here to say is that we had a yucky week. A week I’m not sad to send off. But it could be worse. It could be SO MUCH WORSE. We are, despite this double round of the stomach flu, healthy. We are happy. We have a roof over our heads. We have clothes on our backs and food in our bellies (some of us more than others). And even in the midst of the crappiness of our week, there were shiny moments.

I washed all the bedding, hung some pictures, and cleaned two rooms. All in the same day. Nolan had to test out the fresh bedding for me.


I sort of accidentally agreed to renew my HelloFresh membership and a box showed up on our doorstep Wednesday. We had this yummy beef stir fry for dinner Friday night and I was reminded of just how easily these meals come together, no matter how intimidated I am.


We’ve been talking about vacation a lot. And it got the best of us yesterday. A late lunch of Coronita and nachos was necessary. Obviously these were pretty good since I had them (albeit a much smaller version- and no beer, but that would’ve been a good idea) for breakfast again today!


Nolan was so happy to see Theo when he woke up from his nap, that he basically forced his Cheerios on him. Theo isn’t one to say no to Cheerios, so he ate them while half sleeping. It was probably a lot sweeter in person than it is appearing in this photo, huh?


And lastly, Nolan was looking just so sweet in his grey knee socks & Packers jersey combo!


And you know what, there were so many other shiny moments I didn’t catch on camera. We’ll get over this flu bug. Life will continue as normal some day soon. I’m sure of it. Heck, we might even get to go on that vacation. I’m choosing eternal optimism in my head, even if I’m not really showing it right now. Tomorrow is a new day!

& a photo an hour

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve attempted to do one of these posts. Usually by hour two I forget to take pictures but somehow I remembered today! Our days at home aren’t glamorous but they are full of love and laughs!


six. The boys are still asleep & we have a verrry flexible agenda today so snooooze! I really only set an alarm because I noticed the “Bedtime” feature the other day & figured I could at least make an attempt to follow a more regimented sleep schedule, even if it is completely dependent on two others sleeping in the next room. Normally I just get up when Justin leaves for work a little after 5:00, or wait for my tiny human alarm clocks to wake me.

seven. By some miracle, they are still sleeping. Coupon sorting, Cartwheel checking, Target listing. And of course, coffee!

eight. My peace was interrupted about 45 seconds after taking that photo above. Then it was onto breakfast, and shown here, post-breakfast teeth brushing!

nine. Playtime! Pants optional. Also it looks like Nolan’s legs/feet are detached from his body. He’s sort of half lying on me, while all of his lower body weight is on his hip. Does that make sense? 😂

ten. Target trip! Stole this awesome Starbucks idea from Amber; whole milk blended with ice, topped with a little whipped cream. Keeps them happy the whole trip!

eleven. It’s about a five minute drive home from Target. Nonetheless, Theo fell sound asleep on the way home. Removing his hoodie & shoes, the dog barking, Nolan screeching with excitement upon seeing the dog…none of it even remotely roused him. So he took an early nap while Nolan & I hung out for a bit. He “helped” me put away our Target goods. He also wore this bucket on his head for a solid hour.

twelve. Is there anything better than organizing your fridge after a shopping trip?!

one. Of course Theo woke up about 40 minutes after I put Nolan down for his nap. Since he slept through lunch, we heated up leftovers & snuggled in the chair while he took like two bites.

two. More playtime! I did a lot of kitchen cleaning & organizing today so I can’t say I was the most involved mom, but their giggles & running around assured me they were having a blast despite me being a little busy.

three. Up to no good! Don’t let the sitting & “relaxing” fool you!

four. Watching dad put salt down on the icy sidewalks! Yes, by this point we’ve given up on pants.

five. Shepherd’s pie & Brussels sprouts + mushrooms for dinner.

six. Bath time!

seven. Boys in bed at 7:15. Workout (T25 Speed 1.0) done & Shakeology down the hatch juuust before 8:00.

eight. SVU!

nine. Help! I’m stuck on the couch & I can’t get up! Instagram, Chicago P.D., pup snuggles.

ten. While brushing my teeth I realize I may not have done so at any other point today. Oops? At least the boys brushed their teeth twice?!

10:39pm -editing & hitting post on this, I imagine I’ll be asleep before 11:00. 🙂

Hot Mess (Twin Toddler) Mom Truths

I’m a hot mess mom. I could try to blame my kids but the truth is I was a hot mess before children, I just get to add (twin toddler) mom to the title now so it seems more legit.
I’ve accepted that I’m never going to be the mom that has all of her shit together. Like, ever. I own it. You’re welcome.

Truth 1 | You’ll often have to decide which is more important; showing up on time, or showing up with clean teeth.

Truth 2 | You appreciate so many aspects of your new car, but mostly the giant cup holders so you don’t have to go from regular mug to travel mug. WHO HAS TIME FOR THAT? And who can honestly have the foresight to put your coffee in a travel mug BEFORE your coffee?!

Truth 3 | Sometimes you wash and/or dry the same load of laundry a couple (few?) times for various reasons that mostly explicitly include not wanting to fold and/or put away the clean stuff.
Truth 3.5 | Your spare bedroom may or may not actually just be a place for all of the clean laundry you don’t want to deal with.

Truth 4 | Your house is never cleaner than the few minutes right before guests arrive. You do your absolute best speed-cleaning when guests are coming. Anyone who shows up unannounced? Welp, they just get to keep ringing the door bell until they realize you’re not going to answer, even though they can hear you in there.

Truth 5 | You absolutely spend unnecessary money on groceries at Target because CONVENIENCE and COFFEE. Sorry, but spending an extra 10 cents on a loaf of bread is SO not a big deal if I can get Starbucks, dry shampoo, and an adult coloring book that I’ll never use, all in one stop. It’s about birds and stones when you’re a hot mess, no?
Truth 5.5 | Sometimes, if the line is really long at the Target Starbucks, you swing through the nearby drive-thru Starbucks on the way home. Because what is even the point of leaving the house if you don’t get iced coffee with the good ice??

Truth 6 |Sometimes you all wear your pajamas until after lunch.

Okay, more often than not you all wear your pajamas until after lunch.

Truth 7 | You may be a hot mess, but the love you have for your children is deeper than anything on this earth. Maybe you’re scrambling to pull dinner together at the last minute every night. Maybe you should’ve washed your hair three days ago. Maybe you could’ve cleaned the bathroom during nap time, rather than Pinning things you’ll never do/make/eat. Maybe you could do all of that. But it wouldn’t change the way you feel about your kids. And it probably wouldn’t make them love you any more than they already do.

Because a hot mess mom loves her kids the same way she does everything else. Off the cuff, on the fly, with reckless abandon, without planning, without thinking, without reservation.

She loves fiercely.

She loves honestly.

She loves just like the rest of the moms. Even the ones that wash their hair every day.

& October 

October was a whirlwind. Sort of a blur. I simultaneously cannot remember what I was doing a month ago, but also cannot believe that it’s already November.

Fortunately November has afforded us open weekends and a slower pace that will allow us to catch up with life at home before the holiday madness ensues.

But since October was such a fun month,  filled with so many splendid things, I thought I’d share some of it!


Early in the month we participated with dear friends on Team Kennedy‘s Wildflowers in the MADSS Buddy Walk. Which Nolan used as an opportunity to catch up on sleep.

Seriously gorgeous weather allowed us lots of outside play.


And a little break from my day job allowed me more time for indoor shenanigans with my babes, too!

Heck, I even got a second ladies’ night in October. This time I met up with my high school girlfriends. We shared so many stories, old and new, and countless laughs.

We had back-to-back wedding weekends and somehow I managed to take only one photo at one of the weddings. A particularly unflattering one of myself, at that! But sister neighbor on the left doesn’t make it home from Australia too often, so a picture was necessary, despite my inability to keep my eyes open at this particular hour.

Luckily there were professionals in charge of the wedding photos because how gorgeous are these couples?! Fall weddings FTW!

📸: Katie Ricard &  Abbot’s Lane

We spent a sunny afternoon at Enchanted Valley Acres, which is technically a pumpkin patch, but really just a big field full of activities for kids of all ages.

I was so grateful for the extra days off this month! Hanging at home with these two goofy guys a couple extra days a week was just what I needed to recover from our busy weekends!


That said, I spent a good amount of time on these days peeling Nolan off the furniture. This is a rare moment when he’s actually sitting but I swear that kid is trying to give me a heart attack jumping around/off of our oversized chair. We have hardwood floors, which don’t provide the softest landing… anyone have advice for keeping toddlers off the furniture?!


The last weekend of the month we finally had the opportunity to just STAY HOME. We had visitors, cheered on the Badgers, and had an all-around relaxing weekend.

We closed out the month with Halloween, of course! I wasn’t nearly as prepared for costumes as I was last year and honestly didn’t care to put too much effort into it since I knew any makeup/hat/glasses would be off within two seconds. And well, the boys have no clue what Halloween or Trick-or-Treating even is. So a cheap Scooby Doo costume was purchased and an even cheaper Shaggy “costume” was thrown together. 

I think they made a pretty cute duo, even if they didn’t care to behave for photos.

I’m looking forward to a calm November ahead- for soaking up the last bits of warm weather, for the election to be over (am I allowed to say that??), for spending lots of time at home, and for taking time to show gratitude during this Thanksgiving season.

HAPPY Friday, friends!

The One About Breastfeeding Twins. Kinda.

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week I thought it would be a good time to finally share our breastfeeding experience. I have drafted three posts on this topic, dating all the way back to when the boys were just four months old. But since our breastfeeding “situation” was so ever-changing, it’s probably a good thing I didn’t get around to finishing or posting any of those.

I’m going I try my best to keep this brief but that’s never been my strong point and this is a pretty hefty subject.

The boys were born six weeks early. I birthed them on an operating table (just in case an emergency c-section was necessary- it wasn’t) and they were immediately taken to the NICU so we didn’t get the opportunity for the immediate skin-to-skin, natural rooting and latching that I had so dreamed of. Feeding tubes were placed and they were given donor milk until my own came in. I started pumping about four hours after their birth and proudly carried my tiny droplets of colostrum, and eventual ounces of milk, to the NICU each time I visited.

With all of the tubes, wires, closed bassinets, and bilirubin paraphernalia, it never once crossed my mind that I could actually attempt to nurse my babies in those first few days. A lactation consultant was brought in on day 3, to coach me through my first attempts. They were failures. We kept trying, but as the boys quickly met all of the other criteria to be released from the hospital, I decided to go full steam with bottle feeding, in order to get them home. They had to take 48 hours worth of consecutive feedings, via breast or bottle, to earn their NICU diploma.

I continued to pump around the clock, still took advantage of plenty of skin-to-skin time, and attempted nursing whenever it felt natural. The forcing it, with an audience, just wasn’t working for us. But every once in a while one of the boys (almost always Nolan) would find his way and latch for a bit. 

My milk came in plentiful and I had quite the stash going in the hospital freezer. When the boys were 19 days old, my appendix decided it needed out of my body so I spent a long Saturday in the ER, followed by a quick 16 hours in surgery and recovery. My pumping schedule got totally messed up and I dumped much of what I pumped because of the yucky chemical stuff I had to drink before my CT scan to determine that it was, in fact, my appendix that was desperately begging to get out. I tell you this because the next part of our story is where I had to give up hope that my babies would be exclusively fed breast milk, even if not directly from the source. 

We started supplementing with some formula around the one-month mark because their demand outweighed my supply. Even though I was spending more than three hours of each day pumping, I wasn’t able to keep up. We mixed a portion of formula into each bottle of breastmilk, the amount varied depending on how much milk we had in the fridge. It was important to me that they get the benefits of breastmilk over an extended period of time, rather than just running out and completely switching to formula.

I cried, a lot, when we started doing this. I had only ever imagined exclusively breastfeeding my babies. Even when I found out we were having twins, which I knew would present some challenges, I still only ever imagined exclusively breastfeeding. And so to not be exclusively breastfeeding, but now to be giving them formula too?! It was just more than my exhausted, emotional, momma heart could handle.

But you know what? It was fine. They are fine. They are healthy. In retrospect, it took a lot of pressure off me because I didn’t feel the need to pump between feedings. I didn’t feel the need to have that thing attached to me at all times. I didn’t feel so terrible if I slept through my middle-of-the-night pumping alarms when the boys started to sleep for longer periods.

So we continued on, attempting to nurse often. Nolan was much more into it, latching and nursing quite often, actually. Then there was Theo, who, at times, would scream anytime my nipple came close to his face. There were tears. Lots of tears. From all of us when we were frustrated with it. And from me during those rare tandem nursing successes. When it was just as I’d always dreamed it would be, even if briefly. 

Ultimately, neither of the boys ever seemed completely satisfied with nursing and were always screaming out in hunger ten minutes after a nursing session so we continued with bottle feeding. I give my husband serious props for getting up for every single middle-of-the-night feeding in those early months. Every. Single. One. 

Nursing, for us, was for comfort. For closeness. For snacks. For emergency “why don’t we have any clean bottles?!” and “oh crap, it’s meltdown time situations. 

And even though it’s not how I had imagined it would go, it was what worked for us. It was our version of natural and I’m so grateful that we got the opportunity to experience it at all. While I know they didn’t really care how they were fed, I wanted what I felt was best for them and never gave up on doing my best to provide that. Lucky for me, they were troopers and let me continue trying. Between 9 and 10 months they really lost interest in nursing. They could now maneuver their own bottles and liked the independence of doing so. I’d grown very tired of pumping around the clock, and thus, had dropped a few sessions. We had a vacation coming up and while fully prepared to bring along my pump, the timing just sort of naturally worked itself out so I was able to stop pumping about a week before and didn’t have all of that extra stuff to take along. I continued to hand express daily, both before our trip, and on vacation. I had so many mixed emotions about completely losing my supply! Upon returning home, Theo enjoyed a couple last nursing sessions and then both were totally over it. There was something poetic about him being the one to get in those last couple of sessions. My strong-willed boy, who resisted nursing for so long! It was as if he just wanted to say, “thanks, mom”. 

Or, he was just hungry and knew where he could find a good snack. 😉

Rock on, mommas. Do what works for you and your littles. And most of all, support and normalize breast feeding!!! It’s the way nature intended it to be and it’s a darn shame that people can’t just let mommas and babies do their thing!