Well, it turns out that a break in routine really can work miracles on your children. We appear to be over the hump. And now that I’m feeling a little more optimistic about this whole motherhood thing, I thought I’d share some of my favorite moments with Junip this last week, lest you think she’s a little beast all the time.

Even in the low points, she’s pretty amazing. Like when she’s freaking out and I ask, “Do you need a break, or do you want to read?” and she says, “I need a break,” and walks herself over the chair in the other room to calm down. Or at least there’s humor, like when she started crying in the stroller (because she farted and it smelled bad) or crying at the table (because she shoved too many cheddar bunnies into her mouth and couldn’t chew them). She’s pretty hilarious.

And also, so earnestly social/empathetic/inclusive. Like when we were chatting with our older neighbor from down the block, who always seems pretty depressed, and she asked him if he wanted to walk with us, and then held his hand. Or when I asked her which buddies she liked to play with most at school, and she listed the wildest, most emotional three little boys (“They’re my buddies”). Or when a big kid at the park took a ball from Quinn, and Junip chased her down yelling, “Hey! My sister was playing with that! That’s not nice!” until the older girl handed it over and June ran it back to Quinn. Or when a playmate started crying because he wanted to take Junip’s toy and had been told to wait his turn, and Junip looked at his sad face, handed over the toy, and then started crying herself because she had really wanted it. Or when Quinn was pulling Junip’s hair in the stroller, and instead of getting mad, Junip started tickling her to distract her. There are so many examples. I’m so proud of her love for others and how kindly she plays.


Love you, Junebug.



It had been an intense week. Two weeks. Three?

Quinn is at that age where her cognition is developing like crazy, but language hasn’t yet, and the frustration is making her crazy. Like, she’s holding my fingers for support walking, she tries to walk us into the street, I steer her around back to the sidewalk, and she collapses (screaming), crawls in a circle on the sidewalk, lays on her belly with her head between my feet, and sobs while kicking the ground/pounding it with her fist. It happens once and you laugh, looking around for another adult to appreciate the melodrama (there is no other adult). It happens twenty times in a day and you start wishing you could sob on the ground with her.

Juniper, not to be outdone, has been just a hot mess of exaggerated obstinance, whiney voices, real anxiety and freak-out moments, and fussing-just-to-fuss negativity. And I know a lot of it is in response to Quinn (I am constantly letting go of Junip’s hand to catch Quinn when she starts convulsing and tantruming in my arms, or needing to stop reading Junip’s book to address the screaming, furious baby sister throwing board books at us, etc) And some of it is just being three. But I am losing my ability to handle it.

So we’d gotten into this awful spiral of negative behavior, consequence, bad feelings, negative behavior, consequence… you get the idea. And then, wonderfully, on Monday Drew came home telling me he’d have off the next two days (Drew hasn’t had a two day weekend in a very, very long time). So we decided to throw some clothes in a suitcase and get out of town. We made it an overnight trip to Sheboygan.

I’ll have to report back tomorrow as to whether or not the break in routine was enough to reboot the children, but either way, it was a really, really nice two days. Being mid-week, we didn’t see much of my parents, but that left us kind of wandering the city like tourists, which is actually a fun way to approach your hometown. We had a lunch of wood fired pizza, visited the Children’s Museum, napped at the house and enjoyed cocktail hour on the prairie. This morning we slept in (hallelujah), had a big breakfast out, and played on the dunes at Terry Andrae.

I kind of feel like a new person. At least, hopefully, a new mother.







My little tomato hound. The girl is seriously unstoppable.







You’ll have to excuse the image quality on this last batch; my camera battery died, so they’re just from my phone. A shame, too, because the light on the beach was spectacular.








And the happy news of the week: we have a new little babe in the family! Lindsay and Andy brought their tiny little River home today. We can’t wait to meet him🙂

apple picking

Drew’s work schedule has been so intense lately, we hadn’t really done any of the fall traditions we love. But Sunday he checked the hours of our favorite apple orchard and realized we had exactly an hour and a half until they closed for the season. So we forewent naps, threw the kids in the car, and burned rubber. It was the perfect afternoon (somehow) even with sleep deprived children/husband.



















They had the sweetest flock of sheep, who were happy to eat clover out of the girls’ hands. We snacked, climbed a rock or two, and called it a day.

Juniper has decided we’ll make the apples into applesauce, although we did use a few for an apple-rhubarb coffee cake yesterday. She insisted on tasting every ingredient, including the baking soda, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. The cinnamon was the only one she would admit was not delicious on it’s own. She got a good mouthful of it; her face was really priceless, but she took it like a champ.

Anyways. Fall, right? Man.

life lately










One morning we woke up, and it was fall! It’s remarkable only because we went from weeks of daily highs in the 80s to sweater weather, overnight. I’ve got to say, it’s really wonderful. It killed off just enough of the mosquito population that we’re actually able to enjoy the backyard again, so we’ve been spending a lot of lazy mornings playing pirates and racing scooters. Quinn has figured out how to unlock the chicken coop and evidently desires to live with them in their posh little house. They accept her presence, as she is generally the bearer of baby chicken snacks. It’s me who keeps trying to shoo her out of there, before she can give herself a cedar-shaving shower (read: a chicken shit shower). And Junip is thoroughly in the nature hoarding stage. She follows me around, stuffing my back pockets with leaves that I forget about until I end up leaving a trail of crunchy dead foliage through the house later on. All of which is to say, our backyard kind of a perfect playground for them right now.


That would be Juniper with her map, which she painted on a sticky note and stuck to her belly, then walked around the house “letting her map lead,” and riding her valiant steed through the halls. She is so funny at this age, not quite as quotable funny, but really beginning to get the gist of things and make actual jokes! She has been reciting lines from books and movies at the perfect time, totally in context (like the other night when she knew she was being obstinate for no reason, and maintaining a perfectly straight face, broke out the perfect grumpy quote from Frog and Toad: “I’m going to back to bed. Come back and wake me up at half past May.”)


My little Quince is starting to get vocal beyond her heart stopping little pterodactyl screams. She has said, in a clear voice and in perfect context, but with no consistency and little repetition, ‘cheese’, ‘bread’, ‘read this’, ‘I like this’, ‘please’, and ‘that’. I wouldn’t go so far as to say she’s talking yet, but it’s clear that her little brain is working on it. She’s totally book obsessed, which should help. Seriously, if I try to read to June she hightails it to her bin of baby books, cries and screams and thrusts her book on top of Junip’s book until we end up reading one of hers alternating each page of chapter book. It’s great when it’s just Quinn and me, but it’s kind of taking all the joy out of reading to big sis. Below is Drew trying to convince J that the only way they’ll be able to finish her book is to take an intermission for “1,2, at the Zoo!”


And, gotta soak up the parks while we still can.











Still stops me in my tracks, seeing the two of them really play together and love on each other. June has started calling Q “Quinner binner.” I kind of died the first time.

first steps!

This little dinker is on the move! Amazing how quickly it goes from seeming impossible they will ever so much as flip onto their bellies by themselves, to this. I know it’s happened a gazillion times before in the course of human history, but it doesn’t make it any less awesome. Quinn, you amaze me🙂

life lately


Goodness, life lately. Sometimes I find myself remembering how excruciatingly slowly time seemed to pass when I was in middle school, a depressed tween, and I swear, it must be more than perception: time actually must be moving faster now. There’s never enough.

Juniper took that photo of me; she kind of has a knack for getting the vibe of things. Maybe because the subject always assumes the photo will be so blurry/abstractly framed they needn’t pose (let’s be honest, most are). That is me chilling/collapsing for the two minutes it takes to nurse Quinn (she doesn’t nurse much these days). Enjoying the eye of the storm.


Anyways. Let’s go back. Way back, to the last real blog post I did mid-August. Well, my amazing husband threw me a surprise birthday party! The big three-oh. It was everything my heart desired: as many friends and family as could cram into our little dining room to hide (actually, more than could cram in), a taco bar, three kinds of cake🙂 It really kind of blew my mind he was able to keep the lid on it! As has become my habit these days (for better or worse) I left the camera inside and enjoyed the night, so thank you, Mandy, for the photo! I look like I’m the only one there, but it’s because everyone is facing me singing happy birthday😉





Drew turned 33 a week later, so we invited some other families up to Minocqua for the long weekend and had one last hurrah swimming, tubing, and lazing before fall comes. Junip was introduced to Sega Genesis (like, Mario Cart and the like, those cartridges from the 90s) and was actually amazing at it! Ha. Terrifying.


Junip’s school time leaves Quinn and I a two hour window each day where get some one-on-one. It’s funny; I would have said Q and J are having pretty similar growing up experiences, but then we have these afternoons at the park where I’m just focused on her, not hauling her around or watching her out of the corner of my eye or being otherwise distracted, and I remember that that’s what it was like all the time with June. I’m not saying Q is getting the shaft or anything; I think I can say with some authority that it’s pretty rad having a big sister. I’m just grateful that this way she gets a touch of each.

And, what have I mostly been up to? Fitting a lot of work into my two-hour work slots each afternoon. I photographed a couple weddings (aren’t they cuties?), I’ve been shooting/designing a lot of promotional materials for the bakery (big wedding show next week), I’m planning another bookbinding workshop (sort of a fun, quick and pretty technique). Also, I pretty much finished the playroom. It’s not quite camera ready yet, but it’s close. And also, I rebuilt both sets of porch stairs and the back deck.





But let’s be honest; that’s not what you’re here for. You’re here for the cute baby photos. Me too, really.



I should end this by clarifying that life is amazing right now. I’m busy and I tend to carry a simmering guilt when there are things (or blogs) I’m not tending to, but my life right now is the best it’s ever been. Thirty is my decade, people, I’m tellin’ ya. I can feel it.

first day of school

first_day - 1

My big girl made her pre-K debut this afternoon! Goodness, I’m so proud of this kid. She is going to rock it.

She’s in a really awesome program at the local school for three year olds with special needs, where they match those kiddos with peer models. I think she’s a perfect fit; my hand holding, hug giving, play-leading buddy. By the end of the meet-and-greet they held Monday night on the playground, Junip had three other girls totally executing her vision. J, jumping for emphasis: “We’re CAMPING! And it’s WINTER!” All the other girls, also jumping: “Yeah, it’s WINTER!!!” She leads via enthusiasm.

It’ll be four days a week, three hours a day. Quinn and I will get some more one-on-one time, and Junip will get the socializing she thrives on. I’m feeling really grateful to this fair city of mine for offering this opportunity. And also, totally flabbergasted, faced with the reality that my little baby is a schoolgirl! What the what?!

first_day - 3 copy