Monday, January 5, 2015

Scout is 5 months!

For the love of...
Seriously. What just happened? This little sweetie is 5 months today and it's not fair. I just got her! 
Now she's a super chubby, crazy loud (she prefers screaming over crying), beautiful, smiley, bouncing baby girl and I just love her to pieces. 
I took a couple little pictures of her, just to remember how she is at this very moment. 
Rolls, faux hawk, and all. 

 The start of the new year is so exciting with a new baby. I can't wait to see her little personality come out even more and to enjoy her as such a perfect addition to our family. 

We love you so much, Scout! 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Christmas 2014!

This year, my family from Idaho, Utah, and Pennsylvania all decided to drive and meet up in the middle in Missouri for Christmas! 
Last Christmas we were also able to spend the day all together--me then being newly pregnant with Scout and this year my dear friend Courtney and my brother, Bryon, are expecting their first little one (a boy!) in June! 
Once again, Aunt Darlene was an exceptionally gracious hostess and we can't thank her enough for all of the great memories. 

Prepare yourself for photo overload. Also, bonus points for identifying the correct number of pictures Aunt Brynne photo-bombed. 

We've made a Christmas card almost every year since having Jude and this is the first time we've actually sent one out! Sorry to all those we weren't able to send cards to--it's nothing personal, truly. I just knew that if I didn't cap it at 30 cards I'd probably ending up sending 300. Whatever, I know 300 people...

Back in those arms. 

Scout wore the dress I wore for my first Christmas this year! 

Soon-to-be Uncle Nick made Jude a custom Santa pinata filled with candy and cars! 

They treated us SO SO good. Christmas Eve ribs!!!!

Can't wait to meet little Andy in June!

Jude takes coloring very seriously, in all its forms.

That there is a hand-painted picture of  grumpy cat on a mug done by insanely-talented Nick.   (Not pictured are two more mugs with hand-painted portraits of Jude and Scout. Seriously, this guy.)  

My cousin Kacy made a pillow case out of one of my Grandpa's favorite shirts and gave it to my Grandma for Christmas. She responded by burying her face into it while simultaneously crying and laughing. So grateful to spend yet another wonderful Christmas with this remarkable woman.

And there you have it! 
There are about a million more pictures, awkward moments, cookies eaten, presents opened, and naps taken, but this is it. 
Family really is what it's all about. 

Hope everyone had a very, Merry Christmas! 

Friday, January 2, 2015

They Don't Say

I consider this one of the most personal and note-worthy experiences of my life. I've thought awhile about whether I should share it or not, due to the nature of the content, but I know that in the moment it happened to me having someone to empathize and totally relate was crucial to gaining insight and ultimately healing from this painful struggle, and I can absolutely open my heart to anyone to offer them the same kindness. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013 -- 2:46 AM. 
They Don’t Say 

I never thought it’d happen to me. It’s happened to so many women before, but not to me. It wouldn’t happen to me. 
But it did happen to me. I wondered for a day. And then the second day I came close to knowing. And then there I stood. In my kitchen. A searing pain shot through my body, and I knew. And as I sat in my bathroom, it happened, and my little boy kissed my legs and feet while I sobbed.
No one said it would be like this. They say things like, “Oh, it’s so common. Happens all the time. You just bleed and that’s it.”
No one said anything about it. They didn’t say that you watch your belly grow each week, read about how everything is developing at an exciting rate, how the brain, and heart, and legs and hands are all there. They don’t say that you dream about what they’ll look like, if they’re a boy or girl, or how perfectly they’ll fit in your family. And how loved by you and their father and their brother they will be. They don’t talk about it. And they certainly don’t talk about how you dream and wish and love and hope while you’re standing in your kitchen alone. And then all-of-a-sudden, it stops. And it’s just you. And it doesn’t make any sense. 
They don’t say that you have to walk out your front door to get a picture of what was supposed to be a beautiful beating heart that is now just an empty space. And your heart breaks. 
They don’t say that you grieve. That you feel the pains of labor and sit in your bathroom horrified as you deliver. Alone. And perhaps it wasn’t a child at all. Perhaps it was doomed from the beginning. But they don’t say that you’ll still mourn a joyfully anticipated opportunity that is now gone. 
They don’t say how you have to pick yourself back up and “try again.” All over again. 
“And keep your chin up sweetie, because the next one will take.”
They don’t say that you won’t want to try again. That you gave it a perfectly great try last time. And it took. And that you watched your belly grow, and felt your dreams take off, and knew you could never imagine yourself loving anything more. 

They just don’t say. And now I know why. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014!

This Thanksgiving we drove up to Kirksville, Missouri to spend the holiday (and a whole week too!) with my aunt and her family, my beautiful Grandma Imogene and my sister Briana and her fiance, Nick. My aunt and uncle were so sweet to have us and were the perfect hosts. Just to paint a picture: they have a chips and cookies closet, a cereal cupboard, a candy closet (not to mention Grandma's stash), two freezers full of ice cream, a drawer packed full of fruit snacks, and who knows what else. (There's probably Coke cans swimming in the back of the toilet.) 
I gained 5 lbs. Five glorious pounds. 
And aside from the totally acceptable binge eating + Thanksiving, we watched movies, ran an obstacle course in their basement, died laughing playing games late at night, and cried tears of sadness and joy sharing our fondest memories of our Grandpa Handley that had passed exactly a year ago, while eating his favorite ice cream and watching he and grandma's 50th wedding anniversary video. 
I have a great family and a week's worth of sucking in their awesomeness was just what this girl needed. 
They live right in the middle of my parents and siblings so we're all meeting up there for Christmas too! 

Couldn't keep these two apart if I wanted to :). 

Scout's first time meeting her Aunt Briana! 

Grandma Burwell's insanely good berry pie. 

Adam is meticulous about his bird every year. And I have to say, this year was probably the best one yet. I mean, he shoved an onion up a dead turkey's bum. That's dedication. 

Reliving my childhood over and over again with these two :).  

My cousin Kacy, Grandma Handley and Aunt Darlene. Seriously, you won't meet more loving or kind women. 

About half-way through dinner, Jude slid down his chair like so, looked up at me and said, "Mommy, baby sister beh-wee?" Sure thing, buddy. :) 

My cousin Matt doesn't like turkey, but when I passed the plate of that juicy dark meat he grabbed a leg and went. to. town. Adam considered it a major complement. 

I wish I could capture just how special their relationship is. Grandma is so in-tune with Scout and her needs. Whenever she smiles, laughs, or cries, that Grandma of mine seems to always know exactly why and helps her with whatever she needs. She is a mother to us all. 

See you all real soon! Stock up on the snacks! Just kidding. No I'm not. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Friendship Love Letters

As per usual this time of year, my mind can't help but be turned to thoughts and memories of things that I am most grateful for. It's sort of a sappy ritual, especially when it includes a gathering of people at a dinner table piled-high with high-calorie food, taking turns pulling out from underneath a year's worth of nonsense the most important things that truly make them grateful. And in my case, to keep the cheesy tradition alive, I'm so grateful for my family.
Of course.
But I mean it. And to dig a little deeper, I'm grateful for one specific time when it was just Jude and us. Don't get me wrong, we are all over-the-moon to have Scout in our lives, like, ridiculously so. But that summer that Jude was one-and-a-half and both Adam and I had the most uncomplicated jobs ever and we were the non-busiest I think we've ever been, not-to-mention having had an adorably chubby son in tote, and a beautiful city that really felt like our own at our finger-tips, I hold some of my fondest memories. The kind of memories that actually take you out of your body for a second and you're not sure how much time has lapsed when you finally snap back into reality. 
And I'm so gratitude that at that time in our lives our best friend Phil shot a video of us and all our favorite places, and went above-and-beyond to capture the love and warmth and joy we were experiencing at that time of being first-time parents gushing over our beautiful, little family. 
Phil and his wife, Jessica, are some of our greatest friends and not only did we have a blast shooting the video, but they always gave us their time and love as really honest friends. No matter what we were doing--dessert date night, going to the Saturday market, bbqing, fruit-picking, YouTube video watching, binge-eating--we always had the best time. And right before they moved away from us, looking back now, I see now how they really, inadvertently, sent us off with a video that culminated our mutual love of family, Portland and the many things we used to do together as friends. 
And I know I've posted this video before, but it means so much more to me even now than it did then, looking back on all we've all been through and done these last two years.
We love you Phil and Jessica! Thanks again! (and the offer to move in with us still stands. SLEEPOVER!)

Also, it's way better to view if you click the link below the video. Which also takes you to Phil's Vimeo site where you can view all of his stellar videos. 

Instagram In Love from Phillip Goodwin on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Disney Land (Part I)

Last month we spent a week in California at Disney Land and California Adventure for a family reunion with Adam's family! It's been many, many years in the works and this was such a blast of a gathering for all of us Stevens', especially since it was my first time at the parks. (My summers were spent in the Adirondacks and knee deep "mowing" the lawn with these --ask me how many scars I have on my ankles. Ask me). 
Living in the relative middle of the country now definitely has its perks when it comes to flying from one coast to the next. It was usually a 12-hour day flying to go see whichever of our families we didn't live immediately next to and now it's a solid 6 hours tops. And it's beautiful. The kids were darling little champs--mostly sleeping the whole time--and I also realized that from now on when we're gifted with the opportunity to upgrade we will be without question offered a mini-van and NOT a Mazda-6. 
It's cool. 
I found that driving a brand new Dodge Caravan, with its sexy-smooth leather and automatic doors, actually tempted me to throw my next $20k into becoming even more of a 1980's-mom jeans-happy-family cliche. 
What made me feel that way in the first place?--Matching Disney t-shirts. 
But I digress...

Jude took a little bit to get used to the masses of people, loud rides and larger-than-life characters, but once he sunk his teeth into some chocolate and nearly choked me to death more than once in little-man terror, he got relatively used to it. 

Look at this kid! Talmadge wasn't even afraid at all to go on Splash Mountain. His aunt, on the other hand, was screaming like a little girl and asking to be let out next to the dancing rabbits. 
He then put her to further shame by going on Tower of Terror and LOVING it. 

mmm..that's a good looking group.

Scout definitely enjoys being outside and was such a good little girl sleeping in the stroller and joining me to meet up with Mother Goose every two hours. (explained below) 

And THIS is when all of their wildest dreams came true. 

Is sleeping babes not the best site ever??

Can I just say, aside from the most delicious corn dogs ever (I don't even like hot dogs), hot beignets, Ghirardelli milkshakes, or the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, my absolute favorite part of the whole parks experience was the Child Care Center. Every time I needed to nurse Scout I would walk in and be greeted by wonderful elderly ladies dressed as Mother Goose guiding me into an adorable room with wooden rocking chairs to feed my precious babe. It was a beautiful, beautiful experience. And I spent more time there than I should have.
It was magical. 

Jude wasn't so sure about the parade at first, but once he realized that the floats weren't actually coming after him and were just rounding the corner very slowly, he was cool with it all. 

And that's Part I! We were exhausted after just one full day at Disney Land and took a day in between to hang out at the house and swim. 
My idea of the perfect vacation is a careful balance of play and doing absolutely nothing but lying on a couch with re-runs and takeout. 
And I was perfectly careful. 

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