& 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 


currently | 5.21.17

You know, I can never finish these posts in one setting, so I’m forgoing the old format and just blabbing about what’s going on over here lately.

|| naps are winning. This week the boys decided they were professional crib escapees and so ended my days of working out, prepping dinner, relaxing, or doing anything productive during nap time. Instead I’m now glued to the monitor, hoping to witness any sort of activity that might result in a broken limb, and thus prevent broken limbs. It’s cool that they want to sleep together and all, but putting them in the same crib at the same time apparently just doesn’t cut it, because you can believe I tried that yesterday and…NOPE. For now, nighttime sleep is unaffected. But I’m not holding my breath.


||working. I started working one more day at the office so now I’m home two weekdays, at the office three, and at my night job 1-2. This was the first week with my new schedule and I know it will take some getting used to, but I think it’s good for everyone. I know the boys get bored with me and need other stimulation and other people around them. I still can’t get over how much more grown up they seem every time I get home from a full day at work. Seriously, why does that always happen?!

|| working out. Not since high school/organized extracurricular activities have I been consistent with workouts. Not when I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on gym memberships. Not when I’ve had a beach vacation on the horizon. Not when I planned to have the healthiest pregnancy ever (LOLLLL). It just hasn’t been a regular thing in my adult life, no matter how hard I’ve tried. But lately something has clicked and I feel more like working out is just a part of life. It doesn’t seem like a chore, and I actually enjoy it most days. That doesn’t mean fitting it into my schedule is always easy, but I’m getting it done. I’m feeling strong and flexible and trying not to get frustrated with the fact that my body is not reflecting the way I feel. Like, at all. It’s particularly frustrating because I’ve also significantly improved my diet. One of these days…right??

|| two words: KITCHEN REMODEL (plus all of the exclamation points) Our kitchen is, quite literally, falling apart. When we bought this house, seven years ago, we intended to gut it out and completely update it. But then we started with smaller rooms, laid wood floors throughout, had two babies, and well, the kitchen remains untouched. With the exception of new appliances, everything (paint, cabinets, countertops, floor) is original from when the house was built in 2000. And just like Ryan Cabrera’s hair, kitchens that were cool in the early 2000s, just. aren’t. anymore. Sooo, Justin has been spending every weekend tirelessly building our kitchen cabinets with his own two hands and we’ll start demo and then rebuilding the week after next!

||party planning. My babies are going to be two next month *audible sob* and as much as I don’t want to talk about it, I also can’t wait to celebrate my baby sharks. Plus, I love a theme, and shark/beach party may just be my very favorite kind of theme.

invite blur

That’s all I’ve got for now, friends. I hope wherever you are, the weather is better than it is here. On Tuesday I turned on the air conditioning. Yesterday, I turned on the heat. It will all be worth it for summer in Wisconsin though. I hope. 🙂

& 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.

& the weekend | v. 4

*I realize it is now Wednesday (and even warmer!) and we’re halfway to the next weekend, but I’m hitting Publish anyway.*

What you see below is not fake news. It was, in fact, 60 degrees here in Madison.

We’re having a stretch of record breaking temps so you as you can imagine, the entire state was outside over the weekend. Many people probably wearing shorts because… Wisconsin.

No shorts here. But we did have our share of outdoor time.

Unfortunately it started with a trip to the clinic because these sweet boys of mine just weren’t getting better & I needed a little peace of mind.

I consider this trip “outside time” because I forgot the stroller so we had a toddler-led, leisurely walk into the clinic. Theo wasn’t wearing shoes because we didn’t have time to get them on before leaving annnnd we were 15 minutes late anyway.

A one-time steroid was prescribed to help clear the boys’ croup. But my super sleuthy ways of hiding the crushed up pills in a smoothie did not work so we just continued on with two raspy, coughing, runny-nosed toddlers who now seem to finally be turning a corner.

Nonetheless, we did not let the croupiness keep us from having an enjoyable weekend.

The boys’ Aunt Lexi & Uncle Adam came for a visit, so J and I got to run errands & have a lunch date, while the boys entertained Lexi & Adam!

Sunday involved beer brewing, a visit from Grammy & Grampy, and a trip to the park.

Naturally it’s supposed to snow next weekend so we’ll be back to the usual February in Wisconsin programming.

& some random catch up.

Despite my best intentions, I never seem to complete a blog post. I have about 47 drafts from the past year, but it seems I never take the time to turn them into worthwhile posts. For instance, I’m finally hitting publish on this post, which I started writing two weeks ago.

But I always love going back to read my random thoughts from months/years past, so sometimes it’s nice to come here & just word vomit, ya know?

Speaking of vomit, when I was here last, we were a week into the stomach flu. While Theo & I never truly got the stomach flu, we did have a general stomach ick going around here for like two weeks. And now we’re on week two runny noses, congestion, sore throats, & coughs. Germs are so cool.


Jessica’s post really gave me the boost I needed to finally do some toy consolidation/storage  in our house. It had been on my mind for awhile, but I just couldn’t see past those primary-colored toy storage bins. Those are great for daycares, kids bedrooms, toy rooms, etc. But our living room is our toy room so I needed something that wasn’t a total eyesore. The toys are eyesore enough! I had no intention of trying to hide the fact that toddlers live here, I just wanted it to feel more peaceful once the boys are in bed each night.

It’s been about a week and we’re loving it. A small change, really, but it’s made a huge difference and the boys don’t miss a single one of their toys that have taken up residence in the basement.

This wicker chest was available in three sizes at Home Goods. Aesthetically speaking, I wish I’d have gone with the medium size, as it would just look better in that space (and cover up that outlet) but it’s really nice to only have enough small toys to fit in that chest. A select dozen or so books, flash cards, cars, are in the basket by the fireplace. Obviously we still have some bigger stuff out in the open but it doesn’t even bother me now that there’s so much less stuff strewn everywhere.

Scooters, their teepee, & some bigger, (unpictured because currently in use) toys are stored over in the corner by the dog toys.

End of the night cleanup has been cut down by like 10 minutes, which doesn’t seem like a lot of time but TEN MINUTES of cleaning up toys is a lot of minutes.


A popsicle can pretty much solve any problem around here lately. I stumbled upon these Disney Frozen mini popsicles at the grocery store and they are an absolute HIT in our house. They are small, so they don’t melt down the boys’ arms before they finish them. And since the boys actually sit still while consuming them, I have like 4 minutes to get something done.

Let’s see, something not toddler related… I finally did one of those paint nights. You know, when you get together with girlfriends to drink wine, but also paint something for your house so it doesn’t seem like it was just an excuse to have a drink or two? Anyway, a group of us Madison Moms Bloggers got together at The Wild Dandelion last week and it was so much fun! The whole “paint on a board” idea is really just more my style than the canvas paint nights that are also pretty popular.

Local Madison area peeps
– I highly suggest The Wild Dandelion if you’re interested in doing something like this. Heather, the owner, is awesome!


I have zero inspiration when it comes to meal planning lately. Justin is no help with dinner ideas. The boys might love something one day, but hate it the next. So I feel like I’m constantly shopping, prepping, cooking, cleaning up & doing dishes, and maybe half of the people in our house are actually eating and/or enjoying what I’m making. Am I alone in this? Please tell me other moms feel this way too! And that it will get easier and that it’s a phase and it will pass?!


Sadly, a tropical destination vacation is not in the cards for us this year. We really wanted to take the boys to Mexico but we just couldn’t find the deal we were looking for, and since we hope to buy or build a new home within the year, we couldn’t justify going super over budget. When I say “we”, I really mean Justin, because I would absolutely go over budget just to get away for a few days. But since I would be doing most of the work to get everyone ready for the trip (passports for the boys, finding a travel-friendly double stroller, finding warm weather clothes in the dead of winter, packing, etc.), I agreed on account of eliminating some unnecessary stress. So I find myself living vicariously through Timehop, which is currently chronicling the month I spent in Mexico, on a solo(ish- I had visitors) journey, NINE years ago.


That said, I’m really looking forward to the warmer temperatures expected around here this week. I might even get to crack a window and set some of these germs free!


Bonus photo of Nolan showcasing his favorite part about the new toy chest. 0.2 seconds before falling off of it and onto his face on the hardwood floor.

::insert eye roll emoji here::

*also working on a redo of that gallery wall above, hence the current lack and strange placement of photos.

Happy hump day!

& the holiday | 2016

I know I’m not the only one who, year after year, says they’re going to get their holiday shopping done before December, yet is scrambling to find those last few items on December 23rd.

I know I’m not the only one who, year after year, thinks “I don’t have much to do, I’ve got this!” in regards to shopping, hosting, etc., yet hasn’t even started the dessert when her in-laws arrive for Christmas Eve dinner.

And I’m definitely not the only one who, year after year, looks so forward to Christmas, and then finds herself in disbelief on December 26, thinking “is it over already?! How did it go by so quickly?!”

So just like that, another Christmas has come and gone. I’m feeling a little sad that it’s over, but also fortunate that we got to spend quality time with so many people we love. With the actual holiday falling on Sunday and all of us off work Monday, it felt as though we got a bonus holiday, which we spent nestled in at my parents’ house. It was the perfect end to a semi-chaotic couple of days, and even weeks leading up to the big day.

The boys were spoiled this year but you know what? That’s okay! They are sweet, and (mostly) well-behaved, and so very loved. We’ve got a great tribe, that’s for sure.

Until next year, Christmas!

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.