Saturday, October 31, 2015

Pre wedding

Guys! I have been so excited to share our wedding day with you.  The pictures are in and were worth the wait!  Per usual one of my favorite gals who happens to be just so talented came through and captured our day just as I remember it.  Danielle Brady you are one in a million.  You can see more of her work here.

We only looked at one venue but as soon as we saw the Stone House, we knew that was the place we wanted to have it.  Owned by the Bar Harbor Club and located at the Bar Harbor Regency it was everything we could have hoped for.  The building although newer was made to look like an old carriage house.  Sitting just at the waters edge made for the perfect place to have our ceremony and reception in one place.  I will admit while we are fans of the Bar Harbor Club we were skeptical about the Regency being a Holiday Inn.  There are only two suites in the whole hotel which we snagged for our bridal parties.  One was made for the Obama's visit to the Island, and the other was so adorably decorated, had it of been the bigger of the two I would have snagged it for myself.  With all the girls, toddlers, a bounce house and my sisters being in town we needed as much space as possible for our traveling circus.  The Regency felt like a resort, we had two restaurants to choose from, our wedding venue on site but separate enough to feel private, the ocean,  and a  fab pool and hot tub.  I see many family vacations and anniversary trips there in our future!

Here are some of my most favorite pre-ceremony moments.

 My dress was something that happened by total accident.  I was torn between two dresses by Watters that were 4x as expensive as this dress.  One was very traditional and had this same silhouette but was white.  The other a deep nude blush two piece dress that had a gorgeous corset and full tulle skirt.   After changing back into my street clothes I went to ask for more water so my sister could give my niece a bottle and I spotted this on the rack out of the corner of my eye.  A perfect combination of the other two and a fraction of the price.  After trying it on I knew it was the one.  It came with a belt but I opted for a different one to give it a little more of my own style and a long veil.  Because we saved on the dress my husband let me splurge bit on my shoes... that I wore again on our fist date night as Mr. & Mrs.

The girls and I were glammed by Amy's Salon and Spa in Ellsworth an Aveda concept salon.  Although my hair did not fair the island humidity well I thought all of my bridesmaids were gorgeous.

Leavitt got to spend the morning with me, but spent the afternoon with his Grandfather and Dad.  I love all the pics of them getting ready,  it makes me feel like I didn't miss anything being able to see it for myself.  By the time I saw Leavitt when we were both dressed.  He was obsessed with my dress and we both shed a few happy tears.  I really couldn't be any luckier to have these two guys in my life.  Leavitt loves with all he is.  He is so sensitive and I can tell from all the pictures he understood something big was happening.

So there you have it a glimpse at our pre wedding fun, I will round up some favorite ceremony shots along with the amusing reception goodness that I am currently taking bribes not to post...not really but it wouldn't be a bad idea for some of our favorite groomsmen ;)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Showering a Mama

All mamas know that there is plenty of  unnecessary baby gear showered upon new moms who are already eyeballs deep in their baby swag.  I love shopping a good registry getting the feel for the mom's taste and  needs.  This weekend I went to a baby shower for a mom-to-be that shares similar tastes to me and is expecting a little boy of her own! Love me a new boy mom.

Anyone who knows me also knows I am a TJ Maxx & Homegoods regular.  I after realizing there were things on her registry I could also get at Homegoods I put together a little basket full of my favorite baby items every mom should have.  As luck would have it you can't get these items on their website so I've linked them to other stores for your shopping pleasure, even better if you're sipping a Starbucks we basically just went shopping together!  Some of my can't live without it items are here in this basket giving me baby boy fever like now.  Here we go.

So this is my favorite baby item to gift and get.  These swaddlers you can find here and just about anywhere, are still kicking around our house after almost two years.  I use them mostly now in my bag to lay down when changing him in a public bathroom.  I also fold it diagonally twice and then wrap it around his neck like a bandanna bib in a pinch if I forgot a bib or we make a spontaneous trip for waffles and mimosas.   They easily fit into a ziplock after use which is great for the OCD nutcase that's living inside me.  Their bibs are also amazing and I often buy them here.

Everyone needs a super soft blanket or 20, and a few toss in your bag and hand to the baby toys for every single purse or diaper bag you have.  I never let Leavitt use toys from my bags at home so when we were out he was easily entertained by my little bag of tricks. 

Ok so this is probably the most obvious thing to anyone who has ever been around my son and husband, but for those of you that aren't I love me a little and big guy in Ralph Lauren.  This little number I had for Leavitt in every single size until he was busting at the seems in the 9 months size and my mama heart was sobbing.  He wore it every time it was clean and I have probably five dozen pictures of him in it.  He also had it in the yellow and navy.  You get the idea we loved it.  So naturally when I found this one for a new little guy I had to buy it for nostalgia's sake.    

I stuffed all my favorite things into a basket with some felt hangers and bath toys, because you can never have enough of either really.  I got a little giddy looking at all the baby stuff and was having flashbacks of how awesome that time is in a Mom and Dad's life and am so excited for our friends as they gear up for their own little guy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

don't ask what we did today

Most days I am chomping at the bit to tell my husband what we've been up to all day.  What classes we did that day or who came over to play.  Wondering how long it will take him to notice that I got groceries with toddler in tow, cleaned out the closet, baked two dozen muffins, made a crock pot meal, managed to get myself together, the tiny tot is saying a new word all thanks to moi.

Then yesterday happens.  Someone woke up at 3 and again at 4:30, and again at 6.  It rained, no one got any extra sleep, Leavitt didn't nap until 4:30 when I began to wonder if I should force him stay up so he could get to bed at a decent time.  We binge watched Toy Story, and not for lack of effort decent meals were left on the table and not consumed by tiny growing taskmasters who knew they could get away with just about anything today.  Ok not true, he couldn't get away with anything, but what is true is that I would have done anything to keep him happy because as soon as he gets in a mood he's headed outside come hell or high water... literally.  I did shower sometime during toy story 2 because lets be honest that is the worst one and the fat man in a chicken suit scares me.  


For those of you sitting on the edge of your seat wondering if he went to bed  at a decent time the answer is no... 11 to be exact.  I lugged my sleeping kid into his bed around midnight and went to find my husband to give him the all clear in the basement.  We collapsed into bed with defeat. Longest day ever.

Maybe today I will bake muffins and fancy dinners.  Laundry will be meticulously folded and put in their proper spot.  Maybe I will reward myself with a mani pedi for surviving yesterday.   Or maybe my husband will call just after he leaves to request I drop an emergency pair of pants off because he managed to rip a hole in his.  I also won't be cooking dinner thanks to the new standing date I have with my family Wednesday nights.  Win some, you lose some.  

Friday, October 9, 2015

Egg & Vegtable muffins

I am no Martha Stewart, but I know my way around at least my own kitchen and still can not get a decent amount of vegetables into my toddler.  A fellow toddler mom was telling me she hides spinach in her daughters omelets and magically she eats them!! Thanks Lauren!


As luck would have it my child will not under any circumstances let me off the hook first thing in the morning.  He expects a hot breakfast bright and early... cereal is not his jam.  I kind of love this about him, but the same old scrambled eggs and fruit has had its moment and he's eating less and less of what I pile on his plate.

I found a egg muffin recipe and thought ok why not.  Mostly I love that there are veggies... the recipe called for salt, pepper, garlic powder and a bunch of nonsense I just can't get with that early in the morning.  Here is what I came up with... I mean stripped the recipe down to the bare bones and it worked. 

You need 5 eggs, milk, cheese (not pictured I almost forgot to add it), and whatever veggies you have laying around your house.. no really just do whatever you want.  I chose red and green peppers.  Please for the love of all things uncomplicated do not measure these things, you're wasting your time.  The 5 eggs made 8 medium sized muffins.  I love having an excuse to use my heart shaped muffin silicone pan from Le Creuset that I found at Homegoods.  I couldn't find the same one I have but you can find a similar one here.   You know in case you want that made with love you better eat this vibe :)

Wisk your eggs and milk.  Pour into a greased muffin pan 2/3 full.  Add veggies put the cheese on top.  Bake on 350 for 20-ish minutes.  Original recipe said 10-15 in the silicone pan I used, it took 30 minutes so I would start checking with a toothpick every 5 minutes after 15.  I dumped mine out immediately after taking them out of the oven because I had an inpatient toddler. 

I love that these were easy and I had everything on hand to make them.  My tiny tot loved them, the husband tried one on the way out the door, giving me that "what is this healthy thing I am eating?" look.  He said more cheese, salt, pepper and ketchup.  Which means add bacon next time... you easily  could put some bacon bits in a few to make the alpha male in your life happy.  You can hide a little bit of happy in each one to accommodate everyone... you short order mama cook you!


Monday, October 5, 2015


Thank you so much for your love, kind words, and support for my sister and our family.  We so appreciate it more than you could ever know.  Since things have been a little heavy around here I decided to lighten it up with a little self deprecating humor.

Five things I am embarrassed but not sorry for that happen on the regular around here.  I also am sharing some mommy blooper pics for your entertainment... enjoy that, why don't you?

1.  If I am more that ten steps from the trash can and there is a piece of my sons snack on the floor I am more likely to pick it up and eat it than I am go pick it up and walk to the trash.  Why? Because in the time it takes me to walk to the trash he will no doubt make a mess of something else.  I also probably have not eaten so it's sort of a win for me.  He eats fruit and cheese all day, you know what goes good with fruit and cheese? Wine.  It helps me get in the mood for later just in case things get crazy and I pour a glass of vino that I will no doubt not get to finish.

2.  I am so jealous that my husband uses the restroom on the regular by himself.  All day at work he's free to do his damn business in peace. Me on the other hand? I have someone Yanking my leg, flushing the toilet mid pee, throwing TP around like confetti and tampon bombing the dogs from the top of the stairs.  Because my husband clearly has no sympathy for my all day potty situation I don't discourage Leavitt from harassing him first thing in the morning if you know what I mean.

3.  Sometimes when the house is on the verge of no return I put Leavitt in the car seat (obviously in the garage his door and the house door open... relax) with his iPad and a sippy so that I can do a quick sweep of the living area to clean it before we leave.  He is entertained, it takes me less than 3 minutes and it does a 180 on my attitude.  We then leave and go about our merry business.... ok Starbucks & Target runs.  We no longer have a safe contained spot in the house for him, he can climb out of anything so its all hands on all the time.  I don't know about you all, but coming home to a mess is right up there on the list of things that send me on a war path.

4.  There are certain things I won't compromise.  My daily shower is one of them.  I will, come hell or screaming toddler get myself together every day.  My tiny taskmaster is up at 6AM letting himself out of his crib and rousing the house.  He refuses to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on repeat in a pack n play so that I can have a half hour alone.  He also is an afternoon napper.  So whats a mom to do?  Shut the damn door and take a shower with an audience.  He loves our walk in shower with the river rock floor so usually he pretends we are at our very own splash pad and plays away.  Relaxing right? Uh no.  I could get up at 5 for a lonely relaxing shower but seriously Target doesn't open until 8 I don't even know what I would do if I had my shit together before that.

5.  I have washed the same load of towels at least 3 times before putting them in the dryer.  My husband is very particular about the smell of his towels and I often forget them.  This is the reason we already need to replace them.  I refuse to put them in the dryer during nap time because someone can always hear the faintest dryer noise.  As luck would have it the lights on the dryer resemble a buzz light year accessory and you better believe if he thinks that thing is in commission he's up and at it.

No shame in our game.  Is it bedtime yet?

Friday, October 2, 2015

Charlee's Story

It’s about to get pretty personal.  But, with the month of October being Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, I wanted to bring Charlee’s story to the forefront.

I’ve been hesitant for a while to share our story, but there are things I want to say and things that I feel need to be said.  Maybe it’s just me, but I feel that sharing our story will help other parents not feel so alone in this unwanted membership to club no mother or father wants to belong to.

It’s an emotional place.  A hurtful place.  An angry place.  A constantly wondering “what if” place. A place where there is a constant guilt that weighs you down.  But it is a place that with time we have learned to survive and move forward in.

I’m going to start at the very beginning…we found out we were pregnant in late July 2014 right around Josh’s birthday & soon after we were married.  We’d been trying for baby #2 for MAYBE a month, it happened pretty quickly.  Bloodwork was drawn a few days later.  My HCG levels came back pretty high so the first ultrasound was set for the following week.  It was at my first appointment that we found out there were TWO babies in there.  In shock was an understatement.  “Holy Shit!” I think was the first things out of my mouth.  I remember texting Josh as I left the doctor’s office “WOW!” was all I said, he knew immediately; the funny thing is, that same morning I said to him “Just imagine, imagine if I was carrying twins!” (Mama instincts)

The doctor sent me to have another ultrasound on a better machine; it was so early (7ish weeks) that he wasn’t able to tell if there was a membrane separating them or not.  This was to determine Monoamniotic Monochorionic Twins or Monochorionic Diamniotic Twins.  I prayed for Mono-Di , as this way they would each have their own amniotic sac but would still share a placenta.  Basically, both are considered high risk, but Mono-Di is a little less but still pretty rare.  Gina (the sonographer) immediately saw a membrane separating them!  YAY! We made it past the first obstacle.

Fast forward and my whole pregnancy was going smoothly no issues whatsoever, perfect cord placements, no signs of TTTS (Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome), Mama was doing well, babies growing nicely, everyone was perfectly healthy!  The doctors all said that this pregnancy could not be going any better, and that my body was made to carry these twins (way to make a mama feel good)!!

October 2nd, we found out that we were having GIRLS!  Identical twin girls, we were over the moon excited.  Throughout this whole pregnancy I told Russell that Mama had TWO babies in her belly, I hoped to prepare him, as much as possible for two new baby sisters.

I can’t remember exactly how far along I was, but maybe around 25 weeks we noticed that Saylor had a little less fluid in her sac and 2 small pin holes in her heart.  It was nothing to be too alarmed about.  Gina and Jamie both reassured me that the fluid for Saylor was still in the average range and that the little holes in her heart are very common and usually will close once the baby matures.  We never had a worry about Charlee.  Ever.  She was perfect.

I was monitored very closely, 2 appointments a week.  It was so routine that I usually went to the appointments alone, no need for me and my husband to both miss work!!   

The holidays came and went.  Everything that was purchased for them was matching.  With Saylor & Charlee being identical I planned on them wearing matching outfits (I was going to be THAT twin mom).

Jump ahead to February 6th, at this point I was 34 weeks 4 days.  I had my second appointment for the week, girls all checked out perfectly, passed with flying colors.  That weekend Russell’s little buddy from daycare was having a birthday party at the bowling alley.  We attended I remember the ride home the girl’s had hiccups, and Josh felt Charlee kick!

Monday the 9th I stayed home from work because Russell wasn’t feeling good he had a slight fever, I remember packing my bag for the girls and myself and making sure we had everything ready for them knowing it was getting close with only a few weeks left to go.

February 10th, 2015 I had my first appointment for the week.  I headed to work, told my co-worker Kristen I’d be right back “Just another appointment!” I said.  Around 8:00AM I had my ultrasound with Jamie.  She started like she always did checked on the girls she went to Charlee first, “she’s still sleeping she said, did you have breakfast this morning?” “No, I haven’t had anything yet” I replied.  She moved on to Saylor.  Saylor checked out perfect.  Jamie continued with some small talk, asking about my weekend etc; looking back now, I know she was just buying herself some time, trying to find her words I believe she already knew.  She paused I’m just going to get the doctor I want him to look at something with me.  In my mind I thought oh, maybe they found out that Saylor’s fluid is less, maybe she has a bigger hole in her heart (I was scheduled for a fetal echo on Saylor’s heart later that same day).  My mind was racing.  She scanned Charlee and stopped on her little heart.  I had, had enough ultrasounds at this point to know EXACTLY what I was looking at.  “Is that Charlee? Is that Charlee’s heart?” I said. “I’m so sorry, Rachel” is all Jamie could get out.  She was in tears.  We hugged. We cried. I screamed.  I punched something probably the table I was on, I don’t remember. I rubbed my belly. I screamed and cried some more. I remember Jamie telling me that the doctor was going to make a call to another doctor to figure out what the best plan of action would be.  

Finally we get a call out to Josh.  I told them to just have him get here; I don’t want him to find out over the phone.  Josh was and has always been my rock.  I just hugged him, he knew something was wrong but all I could get out was Charlee.  Josh made the calls out to family.  My mom was off work that day driving to Portland with my sister to go wedding dress shopping. They met us at the hospital along with Josh’s parents, brother and sister.  

An emergency c-section was scheduled for 12 noon.  I was hooked up to an IV  and monitors and honestly I feel like everything from this moment forward was such a blur. Sometimes I still feel like this is just a really bad dream.  What I do remember is calling my doctor and telling him to get to the hospital, because I needed to get Saylor out, I needed to have her in my arms.  I was so fucking scared.  The girl’s shared a placenta so everything was shared between them.  Meaning, my body was now transferring bad stuff to Saylor, putting her life on the line.  Everyone was trying to keep me as calm as possible while the doctors acted quickly; and inside I was praying, begging God that this was just a mix up, that the Doctors were all wrong and that some sort of miracle was about to unfold

A little after 12 I was wheeled into the operating room, alone, with the 2 anesthesiologists. There was probably 8 people in the room including my doctor & the head NICU Doctor. They prepped everything, I asked for Josh, finally he was allowed in the room. I remember feeling sick, blacking out and then coming back to.

At 1:05pm Saylor Grace entered the world screaming she weighed in at 5lbs 1oz & 19.5 inches long.  Charlee Jane was born exactly one minute later, weighing 5lbs 4oz & 18.5 inches long. Josh was able to see Charlee first, he described her to me has being so peaceful.   His first words helped ease the pain a little, he’s amazing like that.  I got a quick glimpse of Saylor before they rushed her to the NICU to do some scans of her head and heart.  I was then handed Charlee I remember just holding her and crying and smiling and kissing her.  I will forever be honored to be that sweet girl’s mama.  She is perfect in every way. 

Josh, Charlee and I headed to a recovery room where our family was waiting for us.   My sister made a phone call to her good friend Danielle of Danielle Brady Photography and asked if she was available to capture the moment.  Saylor was able to join us shortly after, she was breathing on her own and her scans checked out perfectly; she is one hell of a fighter.  I am forever grateful that my sister was thinking enough to make that phone call. I cherish these pictures that were captured.  It shows how loved Charlee was in her short, little life.  I’m thankful that I will now be able to share these with Russell and Saylor when they are older.

Over the next 24 hours we were asked questions that no parent will ever be prepared to answer.  We had to plan funeral arrangements for Charlee, at the hospital, while Saylor was in the NICU we tried to balance the grieving of Charlee, while celebrating the life of Saylor all at the same time, but honestly I don’t think we could really do either. 

We lost our sweet angel at 35 weeks, to this day we still have no explanation as to why Charlee's heart stopped. Being left with the unanswered questions is very frustrating, and hard to find the closure. We love and miss Charlee tremendously! Writing and sharing her life, although brief, is in its own way healing to me.  A lot of women choose to keep quiet, but I think it’s important to express how this loss has changed us.  I think it’s my way of telling everyone that Charlee was here. She was alive. she existed and she had purpose.  She was wanted and loved and we had big plans for her as a part of our family.  

Thank you all, for taking the time to read Charlee's story, and for allowing me to open up about her.  She has touched our lives in such a powerful way.  She will forever be remembered and honored.

God Bless XO


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Dear Rachel,

Being that we are sisters I am usually able to gauge your feelings and thoughts, and I want to apologize for not being able to do that anymore.  I wish I had the right words, at the right time, to make you feel better.  The situation simply doesn't allow me to.  When Josh called to tell us you had lost Charlee and were on your way in for an emergency c-section, I still had hope.  Hope they were wrong, hope you'd end up one of those viral stories where the baby magically recovers.  I remember telling Mom as I am speeding down the interstate back to you, that you would never be the same again.  I knew this then, and I feel it now.  I can see the changes and I hate that this happened to such a loving, capable mom.  To a little boy who makes the best brother.  To a twin who will always feel a little different from her friends because she is a twin, with an angel sister.  I see Josh holding it together but deep down I know he's changed too.

Sometimes when there is a pause in our conversation I wonder if you want to talk about it.  I almost never bring it up when I am thinking about her because I am afraid if you are having a good day I will ruin it.  You deserve good days.  I want you to know that it was an honor to hold her, to give her, her first bath and dress her with mom when the nurses just didn't seem loving enough.  I remember the guilt I felt trying to bond with Saylor.  How can so much happy and sad be felt at the same time?  I can't imagine your heart, how broken and full it must feel every day.

I hope you are able to find comfort in knowing she lived her whole life in the safety and warmth of her Momma.  That she knew a sister's love and friendship.  That even though I don't say it I miss her so much.  I wonder if she would have been a typical little sister like yours truly.  I wonder all the time if you are ok.  I feel a twinge in my heart when I see Saylor wearing something I bought two of for both of them.  She is so loved, and so missed.

So if ever there is a quiet moment and you want to talk give me the sister look.  I will see it.  You are the strongest, Momma I know.  Thank you for sharing your babies with me and making me the proudest Auntie.  And thank you for choosing my little corner of the internet to share Charlee's story. It is a pure honor to be Auntie Pirate, to your little hooligans.