Showing posts with label Anna. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Anna. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


"I am Sam. Sam I am."
-Intro to Dr. Suess' beloved children's book Green Eggs and Ham.

"I am SAHM.  SAHM I am."
-Intro to my beloved new career.

SAHM, the acronym for Stay-At-Home-Mom.  Its my job, its my title, its what I do.  It used to bug me when the first question people asked when I met them is "What do you do?"  I mean really really really bugged me.  "I'm an accountant at the University," I would mumble.  Because, why should I be immediately be defined by what I do?  I wasn't proud of my job, I wasn't excited about my job, and the first thing people would say is "I hate numbers" or, "I could never do that, it'd be so boring!" Touché my friends.  Although I love numbers fiercely, the work was very dull.  I was always convinced that people would think that I was dull and would immediately start in on all the reasons I worked such a dull, dreadful job and how I was actually a fun and exciting human being.  Ugh.

When we moved back to Minnesota from Montana I was so excited to be done with my "dreadful accounting job" and working my dream job of SAHM.  Except, that it wasn't exactly what I thought it would be.  Claire was 7 months old, Anna almost 3.  There wasn't much we all enjoyed doing together as a threesome and I was struggling to find things to fill our days.  I was lonely, anxious, mildly depressed and kicking myself for thinking this grass was going to be so much greener.  I wasn't happy at all.

So, I decided to pursue my other dream job.  I got a job as a baker.  And for almost a year it really truly was a dream job.  Someone was paying me to bake! I got some time away from the girls and when people asked me what I did for a living I proudly beamed "I'm a baker."  And then the next question was always an inquiry about the time I had to get up in the morning.  4 am.  That was the killer.  For awhile it worked because I was so in love with this job.  Mace made compromises, our family made compromises.  I was tired all the time, I was cranky, the girls and I had dreadful afternoons after I got off work, things went downhill.  Suddenly my dream job wasn't working for our family anymore.

Fast forward to now.  I have restarted my dream job of SAHM.  There are a few key things I have learned about being a SAHM that changed this job for me from lonely/anxious/depressed mom to happy/blessed/joyous mom.  I am going to share these things in another post because they have been critical to my current success as a SAHM. And now, I'm proud to tell people what I do.  I'm proud when people say "I could never do that, it'd be so hard to hang out with kids all day!"  Yes, some days it is.  Some days it totally sucks like every other job.  But most days, most days are the most precious, awesome exciting days of my life.  I get to be with two of my favorite people in the world all day long.  My life feels full now.  My heart is often on the verge of exploding because it is so full of love and gratitude.  This is a very bold statement but: I am happier than I have ever been in my life.  My dreams have come true.

I am SAHM.  SAHM I am.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

48 Months

We were at the Children's Museum in Madison, WI this past weekend with our dear friends the Morrisons.  One of the employees there was very enthusiastic about figuring out how old each of us were in months.  An unusual question, and one that made me feel quite a bit older than the 422 months I am (I'll do the math for you, that's 35 years and 2 months).  But you know what's not a whole lot of months?  48.  48 months is how old Anna turned this past week.  48 tiny little months is all she's lived on this planet.  Amazing.  She's only been around for 11% of my life, and truly, I barely remember life without her.

The first three years of her life she changed so dramatically in height, weight, the way she looked, her motor skills.  All very dramatic physical changes.  In this fourth year of her life, the physical changes slowed down, but her personality took off.  Watching the emotional, mental and cognitive developmental changes in her this year has awed me.

She started preschool last fall and this, I believe, created the biggest change in her.  She has always been a very cautious and watchful child.  She never jumped into situations, played with other kids in new social situations or was willing to try much of anything new.  This past year we've watched her slowly come out of her shell, make new friendships and be brave enough to try new things.  We've watched a quality of leadership emerge from this child who didn't love interacting with other children or new situations.  Its been a slow metamorphosis and one that has me brimming with pride.

Another thing that has emerged this year is a sense of humor that has us constantly rolling. She understands humor in a way that is beyond her years sometimes.  I hope this is because of the laughter in our home and the way Mace and I use humor with each other and the girls.  We do like to laugh together and try to do so on a daily basis.

Watching this relationship between Anna and Claire develop has been so cool.  Sisters.  There's nothing in the world like that bond.  Obviously, they fight and get on each others nerves and absolutely hate each other at times.  But, also, they hug and they play and they squeal and laugh.  And they love each other so very very much.  They notice when the other one is missing and call out for each other when the other is gone.  They know they're each others best friend and my heart aches with love watching them navigate this relationship that is theirs alone.

Its these little things that have surprised me the most about parenthood.  These slow, beautiful changes as I watch my child become her own person.  I love you Anna, more than I could ever put into words. My heart swells with love for you my awesome, spunky, intelligent, funny, witty, beautiful child.

We celebrated her 4th birthday with gusto and charm!  It was complete with 45 of our closest friends and relatives, a balloon animal artist, a Cinderella cake, and a very anti-climatic pull-string pinata.  It was a blast.

I cannot wait to see what this next year has in store for you Anna!  Its going to be a good one.  Happy 4th Birthday my Love.

Monday, December 9, 2013


First, let me introduce you to my newest niece, Riley Marie.  She is every bit of perfect.

When we walked into the hospital room to meet her, the air was charged with newness, love, life.  I could feel God there as strong as I ever have.  I feel that a new baby is the closest a person can come to physically touching God. A way to remind us, as humans, about the true beauty of life.  There wasn't space for anything else in that hospital room but joy.  Thank you Riley, for bringing so much joy to our family.

This scene brought me instantly back to the day both my girls were born, breathing in their softness and breathing love out of every pore of my body. It recharged me and it renewed my love for them in a way that surprised me.  It reminded me of all the promises I made about the kind of mother I was going to be....and how many of those promises have taken a back seat as life has taken over.  I mulled those promises over in my mind as my girls slept in the backseat, and I drove the hour home from the hospital the night Riley was born.

Which of these promises were made out of fantastical ideas of motherhood while I was still pregnant, and which are realistic enough to start anew?  Which vows can I renew to my girls?  And which have I made since entering parenthood that are waiting to be fulfilled?

These are the vows I can honestly and truly renew to you, Anna and Claire.  While this list will certainly be added to, these are the promises I make to you today.  You are my monkeys, my sunshines, my kisses and hugs.  You are my Bean, my Muppet, my breath and my air.  You make my world go round, every single day.  My life would be empty without you in it, and because of this great void you fill in my life...

I vow to tell you I love you every single day.

I vow to love you absolutely and unconditionally.

I vow to be present with you.  I will set aside time from the dishes, the phone and all life's distractions to be totally focused and present with you every single day.

I vow to be kind, loving and respectful towards you.

I vow to be patient with you, though I cannot vow to never lose my cool....I do, however, vow to always apologize if I hurt you in any way or lose my temper.

I vow to be an adult you can trust, no matter what.  You can come to me with anything and I will listen with an open heart and ears.  No matter what it is, we will get through it together.

I vow to set limits so that you stay safe.

I vow to stand back and let you make mistakes, as long as you are safe, so you can learn to make good decisions in your future.

I vow to listen to you.  I will listen to your ideas, your words and your stories with open ears.

I vow to talk healthily and respectfully about my body and yours, in order to give you the fighting chance at a healthy body image.

I vow to feed you nutritious meals and to teach you about healthy eating.

I vow to also sneak in a treat or two.

I vow to remain active so I can be a role model, and to encourage you to be active as well.

I vow to laugh with you, have fun with you and be a little bit silly as often as possible.

I vow to talk daily about our family that does not live near, so that you may know them through me until you are with them again.

I vow to encourage your interests.

I vow to to instill in you a strong love for God and Jesus.

I vow to be your mama for always and forever.  To wrap you tightly in my arms as long as I can...then open them and watch you fly, with the total trust and understanding that I will always be your soft space to land.

I love you Anna.  I love you Claire.  With all my great big heart I love you.

And Happy Birthday sweet Riley.  Thank you for reopening my eyes to the beauty of this world, and my daughters. Welcome to this family.  Welcome to this world.  You are already so blessed and so loved.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

She's Three

She's three.  Our Bean, our Monkey, our Anna.  Three years ago she came into our lives and rocked our world forevermore.  She turned us into parents that hot summer day.  We barely remember our world before feels like she's always been here.

I would have bet money on me not being that parent that says "Where did the time go?".  I try so hard to live in the moment and not focus on the past.  But, guess what?  I am.  I cannot believe she was just a tiny baby three short years ago and now she's a walking, talking, full fledged-human, full of fire, love and so much personality.  This kid is her own person.  A person I adore with a fervor I never knew existed.

This year has been a year of big, huge, enormous changes.  As we all did, Anna experienced the intensity of these changes with sadness, joy, confusion, and finally, acceptance.  Considering she's only lived three short years on this earth, I believe she took these changes in great stride.  Looking back I don't think I've given her enough credit for the changes she's endured this past year.  Girlfriend was dealt it, and she dealt with it.

She had a tiny human invade her world and demand she share her parents.

She watched as all of our things slowly disappeared, and the piles of moving boxes grew.  She cried as we packed up her room and the only thing left was her tiny twin bed on the floor and a rogue stuffed animal tucked between the bed and the wall.  She hung in there while we moved into a new, enormous house...then moved three weeks later to Gammy and Poppy's house...and then moved yet again, 2 months later, back into the new, enormous house.

She's still trying to work out why Mace isn't home with us all day anymore since he got a job...that's been a big adjustment for us all.

And she started preschool.  Huh? Yeah.  Preschool means not a baby anymore, not a toddler anymore.  Preschool means she's turned into a full-fledged kid.  We marched through getting dressed, breakfast and playtime, all the while talking about what school would be like today.  She was off kilter, I was off kilter, and I couldn't figure out for the life of me why.

But, it hit me when we got there.  We were both "off" because she was going to preschool today for God's sake!  Its a really big deal, and I seemed to forget the significance of such a big day until it smacked me right in the face.  I teared up, I didn't want to leave...emotions that I thought would be reserved for Anna today, not me.  She wanted me to hang out for awhile, and when I said I was leaving she gave me a big kiss and hug and was off to play.  I spied through the classroom window for five minutes and my heart swelled with an unreasonable amount of pride as she listened to the teacher, put toys away and sat down in a circle with the other kids for story time.  I am so proud of that kid.

This is undoubtedly just the beginning of school years coinciding with her birthday.  The beginning of a week each year of me being a complete and total sap.  A week for reflecting on the past year and convincing myself that time is really moving this fast.  A week for preparing myself for the next big step in Anna's life.

Anna is three.  The years keep rolling on by and it is such a joy to watch her grow, change, and become her own amazing person.  Happy Birthday my sweet girl!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Going Away

Its starting. The end, I mean.  Its finally here.  The hugs, the promises, the good-bye, good-bye, good-bye.  I never imagined it would feel like this.  The knot in my stomach like someone punched me so hard.  Its too much emotion, I can't even cry.  Can't breathe sometimes.  This is all going away.  Or, rather, we're going away.  Moving away from our life here, to a new life there.

The move seemed so far off when we made the final decision months and months ago.  It wasn't real yet, just something to look at into the future and see that change was coming.  Change is good.  We need it and want it desperately, but it doesn't change the fact that my heart is also breaking into a million pieces as the day draws nearer.  

A Missoula Bucket List, the ten things we need to cram in before we leave our town.  Only ten?  I thought there'd be more.  But, I realize, its the people that I am most desperately mourning right now.  The daily interactions, the dinner parties and girl's nights, the long walks and talks, the playing at the park and sipping coffee and having lazy moments to enjoy together.  People make the place, they were the heartbeat of our daily lives here.  We'll have new people to keep that heartbeat going for us.  Thank God.  

We crossed an item off the Bucket List today.  We finally spread her ashes, our Gretta, our best dog friend in the world.  I just know she would be totally pissed that we left her in a little wooden box on top of the piano for over a year.  I couldn't let go, my heart still aches for her.  But, girlfriend liked to be outside, so we finally sent her off today into the wind at Blue Mountain.  One of my favorite spots on earth, definitely hers.

Anna was my big helper and carried Gretta for me, she knew this was an important job.  She sat beside me as I let Gretta go and then she sat on my lap and said "Where Gretta?  Where she goed?".  And then I had to try and explain death to a two-year old.  O.M.G.

I finished work this week.  Mace is done with grad school at the end of this week.  Then we start packing.  We have too much stuff.  We have to fit our whole lives into a little Budget Rent-a-Truck and be on our merry way.  Too many emotions this week.  Too much ending and too much beginning.  We're getting through it because we have each other, and because we chose this.  We are confident in our decision and we are moving forward.  Forward, onward and into the rest of our lives.


This is my second link up with Just Write, an exercise in free writing which was started by Heather at Extraordinary Ordinary.  Come join the fun if you feel like writing free!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Weekly Coo: Life With Two

For obvious reason, I have been having a hard time finding quiet time to write lately.  I read a lot of other mom blogs and I have found myself wondering how the hell they do they do it?!  Are they superhuman?  Do they get more hours in their day? (I want in on this secret if that's the case.) Are they sacrificing precious sleep to write? (I refuse to participate in silliness such as this.) Are they better multitaskers than me? (I suck at multitasking. I literally cannot type and nurse Claire at the same time, or carry on a telephone conversation and grocery shop.)  Whatever the case, I cannot join the ranks of these awesome women and pound out a post a day while keeping it together here.  Not yet, anyway.

But in the interest of keeping a promise to myself, now that things feel a tiny bit more manageable in my daily life, I am going to attempt to keep up with my Weekly Cooing.  And with that tiny promise to myself and the idea of doing this one thing each week for myself...Coooo...


Life with two has adjustment, to say the least.  Its been as daunting, tiring, hectic and exhausting as I had anticipated.  But, its also been a time full of beauty, blessings and falling in love over and over every day.

It is amazing how many times and ways you can fall in love with the same person.  I fell in love with Claire the moment I laid eyes on her, and every day since she was born the falling in love has happened again and again.  I have fallen in love with those deep blue eyes, the spiky brown hair on top of her head, the way she sounds exactly like a sheep bleating when she is sleeping, the soft baby scent of her skin, the way she stares at me when she is nursing, her warm cheek pressed against my chest as she sleeps on my stomach, her mellow spirit.  I could go on and on...

As I've learned since Anna entered our world, I continue to fall in love with her in different ways every day.  Lately, I have fallen in love with the her new found way of nurturing her sister, shushing her softly when she cries, patting her head and saying "its okay Cwaire".  I have fallen in love with her ease at adjusting to this new way of life, her ability to carry-on amid change, her easy going spirit and her smile that has somehow gotten bigger and brighter these past four weeks.  I think it has something to do with her new love...her baby sister.

I have fallen in love with the ease in which Mace has fallen into being a daddy to two.  I have fallen in love with his strong, gentle way with our stubborn two year old, and his sweet, gentle way with our newborn baby.  I have fallen in love with his ability to love me unconditionally through the major ups and downs in my moods and his unfailing commitment to our family, even through the end-of-the-semester busyness of grad school.

Our family.  So much love.  My heart oozes with the love we've created in our home.



At this very moment, Mace is at Guard drill, Anna is off to see Santa with Mace's parents and Claire is asleep.  The house is quiet and still.  I am soaking up these moments of doing anything I damn well please.  I ate a cookie.  On the couch.  Didn't even have to eat it in secret for fear my two-year old would think cookies are an appropriate breakfast (they are, but only for adults, duh). I had an extra cup of coffee.  I sorted through pictures from the last month.  And now I am writing, uninterrupted and freely.  I was craving, deep in my soul, some time just like this. Precious time, just for me.  I love being selfish, even if its only for an hour.



We have had a flourish of family here since Claire was born four weeks ago.  We are so darn lucky. Seriously.  I am realizing what a blessing it is to live far away from all our parents when we have had our babies.  And its not for the obvious reason.  Its because we've gotten to have our family plant themselves in our home and be with us.  I imagine if we lived in the same town there would be plenty of visits, but at the end of the day everyone would leave.  Being fully immersed with our parents, having extra hands at all hours of the day, and sharing the first weeks of Claire's life in a very intimate way has been pure joy.



I hear the littlest one stirring...time to be mommy again.  What a beautiful morning this has been.  My batteries are charged.  Have a beautiful weekend!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Claire Bernice

Our sweet Claire surprised us and came a week earlier than planned!  She was born on November 9th at 8:02 am.  She weighed 7 lbs 9 oz and was 19.5" long.  She is healthy and unbelievably beautiful...of course.

She's three weeks old today!  My how time flies.  I've intended to post about her birth every day since she was born, and then the days whip by in a flurry of diapers, feedings, guests and chasing our busy toddler around the house.  Life is busy, but oh is it beautiful!

In the essence of time (BOTH girls are napping right now, woo hoo!), I will share some pics of the last few weeks and then get this posted.  And then I'll try really really hard to do an update about life with two within the next week.  No promises, but I'm going to make an effort.







Thursday, November 1, 2012

Weekly Coo: Halloween Edition

This little creature?  This is a creature named Elmo who I want to squeeze until her eyes pop out of her head (uh, oops) and who had a very Happy, and sugar-filled, Halloween.  (Oh, the sugar!  Don't even get me started. I still haven't figured out how to deal with that one.  I am fairly certain Anna has consumed more sugar in the past 24 hours than she has consumed cumulatively in her life up to this point. Sugar meltdown equals pure hell. Ugh.)

We scored big time with the weather this year on our first official year of trick-or-treating.  I have accompanied Danesa and her kiddos for the past lotta years for the yearly candy haul and, since this is Montana we're talking about, the weather usually flat out sucks.  Last night was a balmy 50 degrees and perfect for gallivanting with our Littles.

Despite the fact that Anna clearly was not digging the pre-trick-or-treating photo shoot, we had a great time once we were out on the streets.

Danesa was a life saver, as usual, pushing Anna around in the stroller, picking her up and plopping her up on each doorstep in time to say trick-or-treat, and then back into the stroller.  With my enormous belly, swollen feet, and general all-over bodily discomfort I would have lasted all of three houses had I been by myself.  (Mace unfortunately had class until 6:30, so was only able to join us for the tail end of trick-or-treating.  The part with the sugar melt-downs and general tiredness.)

All in all, it was a beautiful night, and we were a wiped out clan at the end of the night. We hit our beds around 8:30 and slept soundly through the night.



Fall is here in full force and we're already feeling a little cooped up.  We've had a lot of snow and rain this past week, and during the occasional break in the clouds we've been hitting the park for a breath of air whenever possible.  Its been a major mood and spirit lifter.

Anna never ceases to surprise us with the fact that she is her very own person that can do her very own thing without any direction from us.  What?!?  Neither of us have ever ventured over to the monkey bars with Anna, but she walked up to them like it was the most natural thing in the world and started swinging away.  Oh my monkey...


I am still, obviously, pregnant and we're anxiously awaiting Miss Thing #2.  I can hardly wait to snuggle that little one in my arms, breathe in her newborn scent and give her a million little kisses. Until then, the three of us are (im)patiently cooing together and enjoying the calm before the storm.

Happy November!  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Weekly Coo: Pregnancy Blues Sedated

What's the Weekly Coo all about?  Find out here.

I love that I am creating a child inside my body.  That she is being nourished and grown by what seems could only be a miracle.  I mean, really? There is a human growing inside me?  How awesome is that?  Pregnancy is amazing and wonderful and a time to be cherished...and I wish I was better at cherishing it.  Because right now I am moody, and angry, and my whole body aches. These last weeks of pregnancy are awful.  I think its like that on purpose to make us actually want to give birth.  And I am there.  I really really want to give birth.  Another week and a half and I will be 37 weeks, which is considered full-term and they won't stop labor after this point, and I will be raring to get this show on the road.

Thank goodness this past week was full of distractions to pull me out of my pregnancy pity party. Really victorious, loving, exciting distractions.  Lots of cooing going on around here.

As I mentioned last week in my very first Weekly Coo, writing this blog has been an entirely new creative outlet for me.  I've discovered that I love writing, that its changed me in so many ways, that maybe I am even okay at I took a brave step and submitted a piece to a local mama magazine, MAMALODE.  I didn't get my hopes up because there are some phenomenal writers featured on this site.  So, I submitted it and forgot about it. And then last Thursday I got an email that they had accepted my essay and wanted to run it this week!  I actually started crying (thank you pregnancy hormones).

Please head over to MAMALODE and check  it out...and while you're there, check out the other essays that are featured under "Stories", there is some really good stuff going on over there.  


I got an out-of-the-blue-I-Love-You present from my sister Kellie this weekend.  There is nothing that makes me feel more giddy or special than knowing someone was thinking of me when I wasn't around.  I love being loved.  I love being kneaded (how dang cute is that anyway?!).


I am (expectantly) huge right now.  And let me tell you, I freaking love how forgiving maternity clothes sizes are.  I noticed this week that two pairs of my maternity pants are a size 6.  My real-life size 6's I'd hardly be able to fit one swollen ankle into right now.  Thank you maternity clothes makers for making me feel a little less huge today.  I'm a dainty little size 6.


I attended a ladies night at my friend Jen's house on Friday.  A last hurrah, a last long night out before I have a baby permanently attached to my breast for the next six months (not that I am complaining, I loved every second of nursing Anna).  We grilled pizzas and I made apple hand pies and cinnamon ice cream for dessert.

We gabbed until 11 o'clock pm when we all piled into our cars and drove sleepily and happily home. Party animals.


Anna's favorite new hangout is the Carousel.  I am too large to ride comfortably on it right now and it gives Mace motion sickness (it is the fastest Carousel west of the Mississippi, or so they claim), so I have been bribing people to take her on it instead.  Auntie Tessa last week, Jen this week.  Any volunteers for next weekend?

We headed to Pattee Canyon for a hike afterwards and I was surprised by Anna's enthusiasm in hitting the trail.  Girlfriend loves to be outside.  Perhaps an avid hiker in our midst?

This kid makes me coo every time I look at her.

To top off our busy Saturday, Danesa texted and said "bring Anna over so you and Mace can have a date night."  I love having a best friend like her around.  She and Anna are best buds and I love watching them together.  Danesa was there when Anna came into this world, and this has sealed a mighty tight bond between the two of them.  She'll be there again when #2 graces us with her presence.  Stamped and sealed, she's part of our world forever.

My pregnancy mood swings have been sedated for the time being and life is good.  Coo.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Weekly Coos

When I started this blog I wanted to tie together my love of food and family and put all this love in one place.  The title "Kitchie Coo" encapsulates these two loves...Kitchie for my obvious love of all things happening in my kitchen; and Coo for the soft coos that escape my lips from that deep place of love and contentment inside of me and the sweet baby coos that have emanated our house since Anna came into our lives.  I feel like thus far, I've done okay at intertwining the two, and that Kitchie Coo has a good flow that doesn't feel disjointed or off topic.

Kitchie Coo has been a place for me to express my fervent love for food and family.  It has been a place for me to explore and get a feel for writing in my own words.  It has been a creative outlet and extricated a creative side of me that I didn't even know existed.  I have learned to write creatively, write from my heart, write humorously and write seriously.  I have learned bits and pieces of photography and I am thirsty to learn more in regards to food styling and getting that perfect shot of the ever-moving child.  I have learned to search deep into my heart for feelings and turn them into words.  I have learned to search deep for new ways to challenge myself in the kitchen and have turned out some mighty fine creations I am very proud of.

I love everything that I have learned through this experience, writing to anyone who wants to listen, without expectation.  Sure, I get excited when a recipe I posted gets featured on a major website, but I am learning what's most important is just getting thoughts, recipes, ideas, photos, love, friendship out there and hoping somewhere along the line I inspire someone to try a new recipe, or touch someone with the love of family and friendship.

But, all of this said...the way Kitchie Coo has changed me from the inside out...I haven't been writing here as regularly as I would like.    The word "coo" brings a vision to my mind of peacefulness, contentedness, well-being, love, joy and goodness.  And I definitely find a place for that in my life each day, whether its a moment, an hour or a whole day, I need some good cooing on a regular basis to keep my anxiety at bay and my heart full.  So, I am going to try to commit myself to some weekly cooing.  A post of coos, about our life, our girls, our kitchen, our life in general.  A post to encapsulate and summarize what's happening in our tiny little cooing corner of the world.  A post to keep my mind and my writing fresh.  These posts may be wandering and full of pictures and few words, or they may be hitting on a subject weighing on my mind that week, but they'll all come back to the ever important "coo".  To finding the peace, contentment and good that drives those guttural coos from my lips and reminds me just how good this life can be.

And with that, I present to you my first Weekly Coo:

And what a perfect week to start my cooing...My sister Tessa graced us with a visit this weekend, and I got to spend a whole lot of time gushing over the sweetness of life as I witnessed things like this:

If there is one thing that Anna already knows deep in her heart, its knowing who her family is. There were no moments of her being shy or needing to warm up to Tessa.  It was this kind of love immediately.  So much love.

One of the things I didn't anticipate about motherhood, and it gets my heart every time, is how awesome it is to watch the people I love loving on my girl.

We all walked into this weekend without any expectation but just being together.  There is something about just going with the flow and not making too many plans, that makes the days melt away into an easy peacefulness.

We rode the Carousel...

We strolled around the Market (sampling goodies whenever possible)...

We, three apron clad ladies, baked what are probably the world's best cookies (there's a small lie in there, because Anna was actually sleeping while we baked, but she still wanted to be part of our apron gang, and you know I couldn't resist that request)...

We made the Cornflake Crunch cookies out of the Momofuku Milk Bar book.  If you haven't checked this book out yet, do it!  Christina Tosi is my girl baker crush, she is amazing.  You can tell how amazing these are by the crazed joy on Tessa's face...

We ventured to the perfect fall event, on a perfect fall day...the Missoula Maze.  Petting zoo, pumpkin patch, and a very genuine hay/corn maze...that took an hour to get through.  An hour. It was fun, but a tad too long...we were hungry and thirsty and almost starved to death because we didn't have any provisions.  We weren't sure we were ever going to make it out.  We emerged parched, dazed and confused (um, again, maybe embellishing just a tad), but we did it.  We solved the maze! And, okay, we had a little fun in the process.

Wandering blindly and unsuspecting into the Maze.

We got the best family photo action shot ever: Anna cheerfully throwing a pumpkin at my face and Mace trying (unsuccessfully) to stop it.

Anna thought it was important to make direct eye contact with this sheep, but the sheep refused.

I can't believe this kid already knows how to humor her mother.  I mean, she is clearly bored out of her mind and only stuck her hands and head in here for my amusement.  This picture makes me nearly hysterical with laughter every time I look at it.  

Every night Anna chose Auntie Tessa to read her bedtime stories, after which, Tessa would descend downstairs and we'd spend the rest of our evening hours snuggling and gabbing on the couch.  Hours of consolidated gabbing time that had me bursting and craving more and more. Craving being near to my sister, craving these heart-to-hearts that happen too sporadically. Distance is so hard on the heart. But, I always feel like we make the best of our time on our visits and milk them for every single minute they give us.

I can't help but imagine our own girls, Anna and this wild one in my tummy, five, ten, twenty years from now relishing in each other and their sisterhood.  And, eventually, relishing in each other's offspring.  Such a cool relationship to witness.

Lots of deep, guttural cooing going on in our house this past weekend.  Oh yes.