July 2015

July was a laid back month that brought the type of precious memories I’ll still carry with me when I’m an old lady. Our neighbors threw an awesome block party, complete with giant slide, which all the neighborhood kids played on from dawn until well into the evening, I got to attend the bridal shower of my soon-to-be sister-in-law and meet her sweet family and we celebrated my birthday with a backyard smores and sparklers night.

2015071895145316-1-01 IMG_2455 IMG_2458 IMG_2461IMG_2502We also got to spend a long weekend with our dear friends the Merolas.

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And the token anecdote I jotted down from this month:

This afternoon as I was coming inside, i banged my knee onto the edge of one of our porch chairs. I said, “Oww.” and Caleb of course immediately started asking me what happened, to which I graciously replied something like, “I banged me knee and it really hurt. Please just get inside and sit down at the table and stop asking me questions.” To which he said, “I’m sorry you hurt your knee mommy.” in the sweetest, but most David-like-tone that says, “I can see you’re having a meltdown right now and I’m going to be loving anyway.” I apologized on the spot for speaking grumpily and am still in awe at the maturity I saw in him at that moment.


June 2015

Despite now being a full 2 years into secondary infertility, Caleb’s birthday didn’t bring me any sadness this year. There are some days the hugs are a little longer, the handholds a little sweeter, there’s always time for just one more story and the constant stream of chatter from the back seat just reminds me that, by God’s grace, over 5 years ago, two little lines grew into 9 healthy months, which I’ve gotten to enjoy through 5 years of healthy life. So. Incredibly. Blessed.

IMG_1995 IMG_2072 IMG_2084This year, Nya Nya (David’s Mom) got to join us for Caleb’s birthday party. We had so much fun making memories together. She got to see Caleb graduate from his swim class, go on a hike with us at our favorite park, go glow-light minigolfing and see many of Caleb’s famous “concerts” we are often treated to :)

IMG_0711 IMG_0766 IMG_2167The first day of homeschooling snuck up on me. After his first swimming lesson, Caleb pulled down his BOB books and asked to do a reading lesson. We covered 2 lessons in the 100 easy lessons book, he read me 2 bob books and then he did 2 handwriting pages! I guess we’re “official” now :P I’ll still take a cute first day photo in the fall when we start doing this more regularly.

And of course our days are still full of learning of the much less formal variety- building spaceships from cardboard boxes or the occasional field trip (this one was to the national aquarium in Baltimore).

IMG_1913 IMG_1914 IMG_1663 IMG_1711Less than one month in, but I’m loving having a big 5 year old!

April/May 2015

Spring finally arrived, and Caleb started sprouting some new skills as fast the trees were putting out new leaves. Never before one to be interested in sitting and coloring, he discovered Blue’s Clues and new fascination with drawing.


If I remember correctly, Daddy and Mommy are on stage and Caleb is watching.


I spy a school, a castle and a bell tower…


This is our “family”. I forget who was in it this time, but frequent participants in our nuclear family drawings include: grandparents, Little Caleb, friends, church members and of course, Aunt Brianna. :D

And Building…all by himself!

IMG_1160 We also got a very special visit from Granny Robin

IMG_1262May was chaotic for our family as always.

We celebrated Mother’s Day

IMG_1419 IMG_1426Went camping with friends for our 6th anniversary.

IMG_1454And celebrated Caleb’s last year of preschool (*sniff sniff*!)

20150522_095049I’m so grateful for each day.


Jan/Feb/March 2015

I’m dying to catch up the blog and post about what’s happening *now* (5! Kindergarten! Big Kid!) so please excuse this rough-draft version of my monthly updates. It’s basically a string of anecdotes I wrote down with cute pictures in between (that may or may not be related in any way). Enjoy!

IMG_8988Caleb: “Mommy, I’m going to sing a song called “Jesus was Born in a Stable”. It’ s about happy things that happened to Jesus.

Me: “Could I take a video?”

C: “Actually, I’m sorry, but cameras aren’t allowed in the church.”

LOL! Where does he get these things?

About 30 seconds into the song, Caleb decided drumming on beat requires intense concentration and made this face the rest of the time :D

About 30 seconds into the song, Caleb decided drumming on beat requires intense concentration and made this face the rest of the time :D

Caleb remembered a dream! He came into our room one morning and said, “I had a dream that did not scare me last night! I dreamed I was flying in my superman cape. Diego was in my dream and he called me because he needed me to rescue him from a waterfall!” So fun to see him able to remember a happy dream!

In preschool one day he told me his favorite part of the day was being a fireman and a doctor at the SAME time. He is such a rescuer right now.

Shark Boy

Shark Boy

Caleb and I both woke up with a nightmare at the exact same time last night. His was that someone at daddy’s work popped his only purple balloon (he had a red balloon pop yesterday that he cried and cried over so the dream definitely makes sense) and I dreamed I was at the zoo and they were letting the lions chase a goat for their meal. It upset Caleb and the next thing I knew he was in there trying to rescue it. I yelled for him and he escaped back out, but I was panting and heart pounding when I woke up from it. No idea where that came from, lol.

First lego set we built together :)

First lego set we built together :)

If you’ve spent time with a 4 year old, you know that if you’ve won a game of chutes and ladders, you’ve really lost.¬† For the first time in their lives, they understand the concept of winning, so losing is still something they are learning how to deal with. We try to give Caleb a balance of reality (we all lose sometimes) and compassion (but it still doesn’t feel good).

Earlier this month, Caleb set up a game of Memory for us to play together. He asked me what my favorite Thomas train was so he could include it as one of the matches. Being the creative, knee deep in mixing and stirring mom that I am, I blurted out, “Thomas.” I told him to go ahead and take the first turn without me. The next thing I hear as I push a casserole into the oven is, “Awww! I’m sorry Mommy! I got Thomas. He’s your favorite. I’ll put him back so you can get him.” This amazed me because this is *not* something we do for him.

Another precious moment. I accidentally dropped a bag of flour getting it out of the freezer. Caleb heard my frustration and said, "Don't worry mommy, we all make mistakes, I'll clean it up for you." Heart Beyond Melted.

Another precious moment. I accidentally dropped a bag of flour getting it out of the freezer. Caleb heard my frustration and said, “Don’t worry mommy, we all make mistakes, I’ll clean it up for you.” Heart Beyond Melted.

One morning, as I was opening the curtains, just as the sun was peeking up over the mountains Caleb says, “Mommy, you’re the best girl in our family.”

“What a way to start the day…”, I thought. Then he added, “Because you’re the only girl in our family.” At least his sense of humor is developing, LOL.


Caleb built a block tower this morning, and said, “This is a tower to the gods! And we are going to get in trouble.” He then sang a song that went like this: “We made ourselves!” (beating a drum!). Then sings “Whooo made you? God!” and then knocks down a big part of the tower. Repeat multiple times. I guess the whole “don’t worship false gods thing is really resonating with him?. Hahahaha.

He's a character...

He’s a character…

At almost 5, Caleb’s “kidisms” are disappearing rapidly, but one of my favorites is still going strong. Instead of saying “kiddie” (like a kiddie pool, etc.) Caleb says “kidney” as in, “This is my kid-a-nee fork, my kid-a-nee cup, etc” It makes me smile every time. I know one day I’ll hear my last “kidney” and I’m in no hurry to correct it :)

Speaking of kid-isms...does it get more adorable than "Fort" in little kid handwriting?

Speaking of kid-isms…does it get more adorable than “Fort” in little kid handwriting?

At lunch one day, Caleb starts telling us, “Did you know 1+1=2, 2+1=3, 2+2=4, 2+1+2=5, 3+3=6, 3+3+1=7, 4+4=8…” Of course, I was thrilled he is understanding the concept of addition, but I couldn’t figure out how he was choosing those groupings of numbers. When I asked, he told me:

Excuse the mess in the background.

Excuse the mess in the background.

Do you see it?



Stitch Fix #1

Several people asked me to share my thoughts on my experience with Stitch Fix, and given the number of blogs I read before I took the plunge, I want mine to be as helpful and honest as possible.

Let me start by explaining why I decided to try Stitch Fix in the first place:

1. I really really don’t like shopping for clothes. I never have. I find the amount of choice in each store overwhelming, get frustrated when I spend 1-2 hours of my time picking out and trying things on with nothing seeming “right” and often buy something I don’t love because it looks “okay” and is an okay price which later sits in my closet, making me feel guilty.

2. My most heavily used clothes have gotten old. Until a recent purge I still had long sleeve shirts my mom bought for me in highschool. That I was actively wearing. In public. This relates to #1. A good percentage of my fall/winter/spring wardrobe has pilled, shrunk, stretched, stained or otherwise showing signs of being worn repeatedly 3/4’s of the year for between several years to a decade-ish.

So when I heard the idea of Stitch Fix- someone with actual fashion sense would listen to my preferences, pick out a manageable number of options, deliver them to my door for me to try on with clothes I already own and give me 3 days to decide if I really like them…it sounded too good to be true! Until I heard about the price.

Hands down, concern about the price held me back the most. Stitch Fix is unmistakably more expensive than shopping the Target clearance rack, even when you request to be sent their most inexpensive options. I talked to my husband who is even more frugal than I am about my concerns. I expected him to quickly talk me out of it. Instead, he completely surprised me by thinking it was a great idea. We’ve both become convinced that buying quality things we won’t have to replace as frequently is a good investment and he loved that Stitch Fix would keep me from being tempted to “settle” and bring home things I didn’t love because I had already invested so much time into a shopping trip that I didn’t want to have to repeat.

Shortly after my birthday, I filled out my “Style Profile” which was surprisingly thorough and created a pinterest board, which I’d read is key for getting a great Fix. Although most months I would prefer jeans and blouses that work with my hip career as a homeschooling mom, I had a special request for my first fix. This September, David’s middle brother is getting married in a casual beach wedding and I hoped my stylist could help me find a dress for the occasion.

So without further ado, the results:

First, the dresses:

Kensie Carver Dress: $78

IMG_2740First of all, let me say that I’m pretty sure this is the highest quality dress I have ever tried on. The fabric looks heavy, but it’s light while still having structure and breathes beautifully. The zipper moved like butter and the fit was lovely. My stylist included this as a more formal option for the wedding if I didn’t like her first choice. While I love this dress, neither my husband or I thought the deep black against my skin and hair was the most flattering and, other than church (and only in the summer) I have no idea when I would wear it. It just didn’t have enough versatility for the price. Verdict: Returned (with a little sadness)

Gilli Kadence Cowl Drape Front Dress: $64

IMG_2715This was my stylists first choice dress and I completely agree. It’s both casual and elegant, is a light jersey knit that’s perfect for the beach and is much more flattering on my body that the pre-baby dress I was going to try and wear instead. Not to mention works beautifully with the wedding colors. Home Run. Verdict: Kept

 Then the rest of the Fix:

Skies are Blue Kaia Crochet Trim Top: $54

IMG_2717Original Response: Initially, when I picked this up, I thought it would be huge on me. I ended up loving the drapy, skimming fabric. If I hadn’t liked anything else in the box, this absolutely would have been the item I put the styling fee towards. As it is though, I can’t justify $50+ on an item of clothing I’ll only wear 3 months of the year here. Verdict: Returned

Update: After I wrote this post, I sent it to my mom and a couple friends to see if they agreed with my conclusions. They all agreed on 4/5 and all said, “Please don’t send the crochet top back!!!” After trying it on with several other bottoms, I asked David his thoughts. He also voted to keep it. I’m still not sure I would have if it hadn’t been my “birthday” fix, but as it is I’m wearing it today and loving it! It will be well loved in the summer season and earns a spot in my bag for all of our Florida family visits. Verdict: Kept

Market and Spruce Evella Boatneck Top: $64

IMG_2724Again my stylist totally took to heart my desire to have more shirts that skim my tummy instead of cling to it and again the fabric of this shirt was some of the highest quality I have ever tried on. Unfortunately the color did nothing for me and I already own a similar piece I like much better. Verdict: Returned

For those interested, this is the sweater I already own. Not as high quality, but a better color for me and it was $8 off the Kohls clearance rack:

IMG_2737Pixley Martina Slub Knit Open Cardigan: $48

IMG_2732I really liked this peice and thought it was a very fair price. Unfortunately (there’s that word again…) it is also a virtual twin to something I already own. Although I like this one slightly better than the one I have, I definitely can’t justify replacing it. Verdict: Returned

The twin:

IMG_2735Even though I only ended up keeping two pieces in this fix, I will 100% request to have the same stylist again. I could really tell she read my notes and looked over my pinterest board carefully. The necklines were all high like I requested, while still being interesting, she didn’t send me any crazy patterns or edgy styles, but stayed in the “modern classic” vein that I prefer. I’m looking forward to my next fix and am thankful to have something so beautiful and comfortable to wear to the wedding next month!

If this post inspires you to try Stitch Fix, please consider using my referral link when you sign up: https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/5628099


November 2014

Caleb starts practicing his “l” sound. One morning, he says “llama” perfectly. David and I applaud, but secretly, I’m not ready for his baby lisp to be gone.

(Caleb officially perfected the “l” sound in May 2015. He has to slightly over-pronounce it to do it though, which is almost as cute as the lisp. Still not feeling ready for him to be such a big boy…)

Caleb is starting to think through a lot of big concepts. We checked out a book about various types of vehicles from the library (actually we check out about 10 of these every trip. Caleb always tries to convince me he doesn’t need other books, but ends up enjoying them all ;) ) and Caleb pointed to a page with a dump truck on it.
C:”What’s that black stuff coming out the end?”
Me: “It’s exhaust from the engine.”
C: “I don’t understand how exhaust gets from the engine *points to front of truck* to here *points to smoke at back of truck*. There must be a pipe.”
Me: @_@ “Wow, that’s really insightful buddy.”

Caleb has also started showing new levels of empathy. During the last big yard work day of the year, I managed to get a rose thorn lodged deep in my thumb while pruning. I asked David for help getting it out since it was in my dominant hand. Caleb brought me a toy to hold, held my hand and rubbed my back the whole time. Heart completely melted.

November also brought our Thanksgiving trip to Florida. This year it was with David’s family and we all had a wonderful time making memories and enjoying being together:

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October 2014

I only wrote down two little anecdotes from the month:

Caleb has an imaginary friend now. Or perhaps I should say friends. He calls them “the kids”. As in “I was just telling the kids about…” or “The kids want to…”, etc. It’s really cute. Sometimes they reflect his wants, but more often he acts as their teacher or parent. Such a cool developmental milestone!

(“The kids” continue to make appearances from time to time, but have never become daily companions. So adorable when they show up though!)

Caleb and a little friend were in the back seat when his friend said,

Friend: “It looks kind of purple outside.”
C: “It’s not really purple. That’s humidity. That means there’s teeny tiny water drops in the air. But they aren’t going to fall until we take the clothes of the line and put them in our house.”

It cracks me up the words he picks up on and registers in his mind!

Other than that, my folder full of photos tells me October was a busy month with visits from Nana and Papa and our friends the Merolas, not to mention pumpkin patching and Halloween:




September 2014

First Day of K4:
IMG_5629On Caleb’s first day of school, he asked me who will be his teacher when he turns 5. He’s been so excited about starting preschool again, I was almost nervous to tell him:

Me:”Well, I think it’s going to be me.”
C: “You?!?!”
Me: “Yeah, I think you’re going to be homeschooled like the B family. Does that sound nice?”
C: “Homeschooled?!? I’m so excited! This year it’s Mrs. F’s turn to teach me, and next year it will be your turn Mommy!”

So, I guess he’s excited about homeschooling too. Hooray!

We also went on another camping trip, this time, much closer to home in Cunningham Falls, Maryland. It was a fun weekend trip with great friends.

IMG_6190 IMG_6239And last, but certainly NOT least, Granny came for a visit!


August 2014

Reading back over this one was so much fun for me. I can’t believe how much he’s learned this year in preschool!

One of my goals for the summer was helping Caleb learn the number “16”. When he was 2, he learned to count to 20 from a sesame street song, but missed the number 16. Since he was only 2, we were so proud we didn’t think to correct such a minor mistake. However, the missing number still “stuck” 2 years later!

So, while David was on a work trip one week, I asked Caleb if he’d like to surprise Daddy by learning the number 16 while he was gone. To my delight, he thought that was a wonderful idea. I put up this chart and we counted together at almost every meal. By the time David got home, he could do it as long as he was looking at the paper.

Just before Caleb started preschool, we were playing a game, and as Caleb was counting up his cards at the end, he counted to 22…perfectly! No prompting from us at all! I’m so proud of him!

I was also curious where he was at with learning his uppercase letters. We played a few letter games over the summer, but nothing formal or consistent. I did try to focus on the 6 he was having the most trouble with (M/W, K/X, Y/V…usually reversing one for the other). I was so excited to see he has 25/26. I told him he is really close to learning how to read (something he is *extremely* excited to learn how to do).

A random funny from the month:

Caleb: “Have you seen Doug?”
Me: “Who is Doug?”
C: “My little red helicopter.”
Me: (pointing to it) “Why did you name him Doug?”
C: Actually Harold (his other helicopter) named him since he was once in his belly.”

Well, that explains things, now doesn’t it? :D

We also took our first big family vacation to Acadia National Park in Maine. It was an absolutely incredible experience I could write a book about! Caleb was at the perfect age to appreciate the beauty of the place. He loved that we camped for 6 days, the lobster boat ride where we saw seals and bald eagles and hopping, billy goat style, all over the top of Cadillac Mountain. His favorite part though? The island has a free bus system and he loooved riding it. He asks every single time we go camping now if there is a bus. LOL.

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July 2014

July was another challenging month for our family. A few days into my parents visit, we got the call that David’s grandfather was not doing well. As the last living grandparent between the two of us, who we both adored, it was hard to hear. He passed away a few days later and my parents were able to stay with Caleb while David and I flew down for the funeral. It was a special time of remembering a wonderful man. One of his arrangements was to take us all out, one more time, at his favorite restaurant, the Seinyard. Grandaddy grew up on St. Andrews Bay and we’d heard many stories of his childhood there while we sat around eating fried fish and shrimp together. It was special to be there with David’s entire extended family. We were also able to see the plot of land where his home was and the Bay he loved so much. I still miss him and often catch myself thinking, “Oh no! It’s been too long since we’ve talked to Grandaddy!”

David and his brothers and the Seineyard.

David and his brothers and the Seineyard.

With his wife, whom he loved and missed so much.

With his wife, whom he loved and missed so much.

David and I at the bay at the site of Grandaddy's childhood home.

David and I at the bay at the site of Grandaddy’s childhood home.

Shortly after returning from the funeral, just before going downstairs, Caleb says, “Mommy, can you hold me?” Knowing he was still feeling shaken up from having us leave for 3 days for Grandaddy’s funeral, I obliged. As we reached the bottom he hugged me close and said, “You better hold me now, because when I’m 10, I’ll be all grown up and I’ll be too big for you to hold me!”

Caleb seemed to understand that Grandaddy died as much as a 4 year old can. He was sad, but we took out pictures and talked about memories. Still we see little glimpses of him continuing to process things as time goes on. As we were getting ready to go one day, I ran back up for something I’d forgotten. After a few minutes Caleb asked David, “What’s taking mommy so long?” David said he wasn’t sure. Then Caleb said, “Do you think she died?” We’ve talked a lot about life, death and eternity (on a 4 year old level) and we talked some more that morning. It’s definitely a heavy thing to watch him process, but I’m glad he feels safe to bring it up as often as he needs to.


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