When Nolie was really little I felt this huge need and pressure to create traditions. But I tried and tried and nothing stuck, felt right, or really worked. I can now see, looking back, that’s because we didn’t really know our family all that well yet. We were still figuring it all out (and still are, big time), we had lots of needs (need to nurse often, or snack all the time, need to sleep, need to get a diaper changed, need to rear face, etc.) and those made traditions (that are often far away, car filled, late at night, long term, include waiting or lines, and often not super baby friendly…) hard. But as we are finding our groove with a, still so young, growing up family we are slowly finding that traditions are gaining, and so much fun!

But, we’ve had one (seriously, other than sweet potato cheesecake on Thanksgiving… I think this is it) long standing, forever tradition. And that’s the pumpkin patch! And over documenting! And donuts! And I love it.

This was year six. And goodness, look at how  much changes in six years.


One not quite one year old, two exhausted parents wondering “are we doing this right???” and now … two big ol’ kiddos and two exhausted parents thinking “I think we might be doing this right!” And, whoa, that feels so good. Not that I don’t have days of intense doubt, but it’s pretty amazing to be coming into the time where we can see some of the results of our parenting (especially in Nolie!) and feel like “yes! This path, the one of endless talking and relating and loving and gentleness and not punishment… it’s working!” and I just want to go and hug those two parents from six years ago and say “hold her! nurse her! she’s great! you’re great!”

I obviously took a million pictures and I love them all. So here are a few… this is our family scrap book!


This is the first year that both of the girls were fully into the family photos! Neither put up a fight, both giggled and smiled and picked apples and asked if they could get the donuts after this (of course!). We figured the donuts were a pretty good incentive to get through the sappy mom and dad moments 😉

This was our first visit where Nolie was interested in taking some of the photos. She snapped a ton and has a pretty great eye! I love her pictures best because you can see that none of us are uncomfortable around her. All the kisses, grins, and loves are so authentic. So, thanks Nolie!

Almost 6 suits Nolie. She’s just amazing. And made for a pretty perfect big kid baby holder for her sweet and tiny 10 week old buddy, Birdie.12087948_10101489502896310_1486973605987359779_o

She’s still all nut though. 12108722_10101489504458180_542569339146138902_n

Donut, that is. 12065479_10101489503839420_5553754914229578542_n

Ever Harbor Joy is 3.5 and a spunk. Wild, overflowing, huge emotions, slow growing empathy, and mindblowingly sweet. Her favorite things are to fly! and run! (she can run two miles! what?!) 12132537_10101489502716670_1168160652183001784_o


This was the last year this pumpkin patch will be open, but I know that our tradition will live on and next year we will be scoping out a new spot. But an apple orchard is required!

Should I W30?

I am sure it feels like everyone is posting about W30 – I see it all over my instagram feed and facebook groups. I think there are lots of reasons to want to do a Whole 30, but the catch phrase of a “reset” isn’t the one I would chase. I wanted to do a Whole30 for a few reasons. The primary being my eczema. Being dairy free did NOT eliminate it completely, but has had a big enough effect that I was hopeful that an elimination diet would answer some questions I had about it. Secondly because I was getting buried deep into food guilt, going to sleep each night feeling bad about choices I’d made and sick to my stomach, literally, from overeating on “good” junk (aka: high quality milk shakes ;)). Also because I like “challenges” and a month feels like a really manageable amount of time to try out a lifestyle change. And, finally, because I was ready to break the calorie counting/macro tracking/scale obsessed habits that I nearly always fall into in the winter.

Should you Whole 30? Obviously, only you know the answer to that. I think a lot of whether or not you would enjoy/benefit from a whole30 is personality. Do rules make you want to rebel? Or do they make you feel safe? (There are a LOT of rules). Do you have reasons, outside of weight loss, that you want to pursue eating more whole? Or are you looking for a weight loss solution (it isn’t one, it has that as a side effect for some people, but it isn’t a weight loss program at all)?

I did my first W30 (day one of my second one starts right. now.) with a little group of friends. Our results varied greatly! I adored the program, and felt free/guiltless for the first time in…. ever? Two of my friends felt triggered by all the rules and guidelines and found themselves not eating as much as their bodies needed, and chose to remove the rules and decide that “if it felt worth it to eat something outside of W30, that’s just fine.” and then had way more success with eating more whole/balanced meals. Another friend followed it closely and had big changes in body (skin especially!) and confidence and calm, but chose to eat “non compliant” after the W30 and then possibly do another soon.

A few things to ask yourself before you W30, to set yourself up for some success.

Are you a planner or an intuitive eater? If you are a planner: meal plan specifically for And shop accordingly. If you are more intuitive (want to eat what “sounds good” each day) then meal plan loosely (five meal “options” and then list them somewhere BIG in your kitchen) and shop for those meals, that way you have some freedom in your eating without going off the deep end.

Is your family on board? If not; Buy yourself a splurge set of amazing tupperware, make your meals ahead, have snacks already bagged and ready, have lots of easy and amazing prepped options on hand. Stock up on fruit and fresh veggies that are ready to eat and washed. If so; think about what your family likes (are they big juice drinkers? coffee consumers? grazers? or sit down meal eaters?) and PLAN ACCORDINGLY. Have snacks (kid friendly!) on hand to offer, have tiny portions ready, have watered fresh juices on hand for them, have frozen berries for a treat, use this as a time to buy higher quality coffee so it tastes GOOD black or with no sweets.
Know yourself! Sit down, have an honest sit with a journal, and think about what your triggers are (playdates? happy hours? hungry grocery shopping? that ‘nap drive’ coffee?) and plan for them. What will you bring/do/eat in those situations. Buy yourself an emergency car snack (Lara Bar, heyo!) and a water bottle to keep with you.

Have real expectations for yourself! This is a gift you’re giving your body. It isn’t a punishment. And if you are in the midst of it and feeling bad/worse about yourself/not eating enough, then take a step back. Think about your goals for the W30 and if you are getting closer to them (this should be mentally, NOT physically) or if it’s taking you further (more guilt, more restricting, less freedom) and STOP! It’s important to be really self aware during the whole process and know that yes you CAN give up a few things for 30 days (it’s only 30 days!) but it it is causing you do have disordered eating/thoughts and feel worse mentally, it is likely not the right program for you. And that’s okay!

I’m starting my second Whole 30 today, I’m really excited! I feel like I still have quite a bit of mental work to be done. And am looking forward to seeing what I learn and how I grow and change through this second round. Here We Go!

Also, our Whole 30 Mamas (but open to Non-Mamas too ;)) is active and awesome if you want to join, find us on Facebook!

Whole30 Family Results.


I’m sitting here feeling like I’ve found the golden key and simultaneously like I know nothing and am at the very beginning again… The whole30 is it’s own beast, and one that has me back to studs in my heart trying to discern what tastes good/what feels good/what “feel good” means/and where the heck I got the idea that donuts once a week was “fun” or felt good or was good for me or my kids.

Somewhere around day 5: The girls were begging for noodles (a very frequent meal around here :/) and  I whipped them up a bowl of noodles with pasture butter and fresh parm (good stuff! right?) and as Nolie was shoveling spoonful after spoonful into her mouth, and I was feeling satisfied to see her finally eating a meal that day, she started to squirm. “My belly hurts. It hurts but I don’t want to stop eating. I want to feel fuller.”

oh. uh. what?

I know that feeling. It’s exactly what I feel when I eat bread (homemade or franz, bakery or store-bought…) like I just want to keep eating, even though my stomach hurts, I don’t feel “full” I just feel… not done? It’s the same feeling that motivates me to eat a whole Sourdough Boule from Trader Joe’s (with Brie, yum) and then bemoan(or just moan) my choice for the next few hours while I sit on the couch feeling overfull and underfed.

I don’t know when or how my five year old got to that… but I do know that it’s because of what I was putting out there. Of my weird notions about what she “would like” or “could eat” or “she’d NEVER like that”. Because, the thing is, Nolie is an AWESOME eater. But the foods she likes take effort (on my part). She loves roasted vegetables (Primarily beets!) and dark meat on  a whole roasted chicken, and buttery quinoa, steamed broccoli… like, she would eat those foods for every meal. But that meal? Hours of time. Prep. Money. Energy. Workworkwork. So? Noodles became my go-do to get them full during the day.

It wasn’t till we started this whole30 (a modified elimination diet, but not at all a legit one, as it’s all self led/instagram led 😉 and not persribed by a doctor or naturopath) and began to eliminated grains/dairy/sugar from our home that I noticed how worth it the work was, and how I could prep ahead and be ready to feed my family well.

We’ve started prepping meals… roasting chicken, roasting veggies, sautéing greens, baking eggs, having all the protein/greens/fats/fruits on hand and closer to us than a bowl of pasta. And the proximity? It’s working. There are plenty of meals that on days 1-15 the girls just saw/wouldn’t touch and would request something else (our go-to’s if you aren’t a fan of dinner are apple/PB, turkey/ham and nuts, yogurt and honey. I’m always willing to serve something easy to the kids if they aren’t a fan of dinner and I would never remove an entire food group from a kiddo unless it was obvious that they had an allergy). But the most amazing this has been happening… as these foods are on our table more and more, as restaurants are becoming a distant memory (sob sob!), those foods are becoming more and more normal to the girls and, without pressure, they are trying and loving them!

The effects on Nolie are less obvious, an expanded pallet, easier time falling asleep, and a general level of energy/calm instead of high highs and low lows.

But  on Ever? It’s been crazy. She’s 2.75 and has always had big feelings. But recently her emotions had been getting huge and scary and seemed to be out of her own control. I reached out to friends, Facebook networks, books, and kept coming up pretty blank. “developmentally normal” or maybe sensory related? She would, seemingly without a trigger, just completely lose it. Her eyes would go glossy, she’d scream as loud as she could, pinch/hit herself, pull her hair, throw herself on the ground… it was awful, heartbreaking, and impossible to help her till she just, eventually, came down. She was having one or two a day, most days, and we were just weathering them while I clung to the hope that this developmental stage would pass.

Then we started the whole30, the girls weren’t on it 100% at all, but their consumption of gluten/dairy became HUGELY reduced. Their consumption off highly processed sugars (donuts…oops? every week. oops?) was drastically cut back, and the fruit/veggie consumption sky rocketed. And one week in… It dawned on me that Ever hadn’t had a single freak out. I brushed it off and assumed it was a fluke. But the days kept going by, the meltdowns were small and normal and not at all near the caliber they had been, and she began to sleep at night. We are now about two months into having a gluten/dairy free home (for the most part) and the two times that we’ve let her have a big amount of gluten… she’s had a huge and heartbreaking meltdown. So, now, we are limiting gluten in a big way.

I am pretty shocked by this. I have never been an advocate for putting kids of elimination diets unless there is a VERY good reason. But I am beyond thankful that this happened so naturally, and that it’s been by and large easy to keep out of our diet and home.

We have no intentions of going back to gluten or dairy with any kind of regularity, and so far the girls don’t mind at all. It’s amazing what having healthy option on the table, meal after meal after meal after meal, can do for a kiddo pallet. They didn’t want/try/like things the first, second, third, or even fourth, but often times the 5th time they saw it, they would try it! Or the 10th time, they would like it! Slow and steady, and healthy. I am in shock and so thankful!




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1. Waldo, Charlies baby. (photo by Nolie)

2. Questioning eyes, almost always.

3. Jumps by the waterfront, puddles stomping in what feel like March rains! We’re having the most beautiful and warm January.

4. Ever the beauty. Learning to play, one finger at a time, on our new keyboard my Grandmother gave us. The girls are in love.






1. Peeking. Waiting for me to pull the blanket off and tickle them.

2. Orange obsessed baby.

3. Blanket pulled away!


I’m 12 days into my Whole30, and 16 days into being Facebook free. I have endless words about both… but not quite the time to devote. Soon. Really soon. But for now? Suffice it to say; I feel better than ever thanks to these food choices, and I am playing/art making/thinking/dancing/tickleing more than ever before thanks to my Facebook choices. It’s all good good stuff, well… 99%. But I’ll write soon.


I don’t have the dedication for a 365 project this year. But these seems doable. A photo of each of my kids, each week, for a year. I’m on the boat with every other blogger out there. I can’t wait to look back and see how they grow and change, and all the ways they stay very much the same.




1. Dancing to Roar, dancing her little heart out.

2. Her quick feet.

3. Singing the “Rooooooo-arrrrrrrrrr!” and then exclaiming “I stand up to bullies!!!”

4. Tap shoes, always.


raising women.

Ever just get chills when you look at those beautiful big eyed babies? See them speak with love, interact without shame, and love with zero abandon; The hairs on my arm stand tall as I see them walk taller. And I know. This is holy work. This is it. These girls are gonna change the world. And I can’t even fathom in what huge ways their love with shape people. Will change broken hearts. Will rock this town as we know it. This world as we know it.

The little powerhouse firecrackers who live in this home are gonna do some big, big, things.



Tandem Nursing; Then (then) and now. {Happy Breastfeeding Awareness Week!}

The girls are so different. Fire and Water, spunk and calm. But when they nurse they entwine fingers, share milky smiles, and Nolie rubs Ever’s back in a way that makes my heart soar. They are two sides of the same coin and share these round doe eyes that give me that look. The one that every Mama knows, the eyes that are so safe and filled, that look that makes my heart slow, my milk pour, and remind me that when I am holding and nourishing these two… everything is right in this world.

I have written about it my nursing relationship(s) here and there { tandem nursing FAQnursing a two year old, and our (baby) breast feeding success story from when Nolie was a wee one), and it really blows my mind that we are *still* nursing. My feelings about breastfeeding Nolie have ebbed and flowed, and I should post an update about what self-weaning looks like and nursing a preschooler(!), and maybe during this month of awareness I will get to it! But for now, I am reveling in how much I am enjoying this phase. Honoring where we are at in this dance, and feeling so much pride and praise for what nursing gives me and my daughters in our every day life.



971921_10100584073783510_1725406942_nI can hardly believe I have been tandem nursing these girls for 15mo. I can say, (hope!) for anyone who is looking at the tandem nursing journey or thinking about embarking on it. It gets better and easier every day! And the benefits have far outweighed the struggles for our little family.

August is World Breastfeeding Awareness month and I plan to participate fully! Check out  my facebook page for lots of pictures of our nursing adventures and looking back on how the relationships have evolved. There are lots of encouraging stories, incredible photos, and really incredible information about nursing floating around facebook and instagram right now (check out the hashtag #normalizenursing #tandemnursing #extendedbreastfeeding ) and be inspired! Happy Nursing!





Sheesh capish, those girls are growing!


Ever only naps in a carrier. I was to be upset about this. Annoyed. Frustrated. Clinging to some ‘self soothing’ myth, “she will never sleep” story, sleep training article. I spent a month frustrated that I was never alone. Mad that my baby wouldn’t sleep anywhere but on me. Blaming myself, Charlie, my ‘bad sleepers’, all of it. And then I decided to throw that out. To choose gratitude.

I sing and dance. I crank the music loud. I color and read books. I walk to the park and push Nolie on the swing. I get out! I go to the museum. The frozen yogurt shop. The grocery store. Epic long 3 year old centric playdates. I chat with Nolie and hear her stories with my attention only on her and not focused on keeping her ‘shushed’ or silent.  All this? because I babywear.

Ever sleeps on my back for at least two naps a day, often three. On the weekends Charlie cuddles her up and naps her. When my parents baby-sit she cozy’s up and rests her little ear next to my Mom’s heart and sleeps on. She isn’t an encumbrance, she is a cozy little heater on my back who is used to my voice/beat/cadence of movement. And? when she wakes? she is On.The.Go.

She plays independently. Sits in the the girls room and sorts through all the toys/blocks/trinkets. She and Nolie wrestle and crawl-chase around the house. She sits in her highchair and powers through meals bigger than her sister. She hoots and hollars and cruises around the house with a constant chant of “mama! papa! Nol-ni!!!” and laughter. So much laughter. She is so fast growing and going that I want these cuddle filled naps to never end. Or, maybe not end for a very very long time.

I can be frustrated with her sleep habits or? I can be overjoyed that during the day we aren’t tied to nap time. We aren’t mute and quiet (in our tiny home). We aren’t sedentary in the least (we are dancing! bouncing! movin’!) and we have a rested and happy baby no matter where we travel.

Praise God that he gave me this baby second. That I have shed the need for her to be “normal” (and, that isn’t out there, I promise) and nap in the “right” place, at the “right” time. Praise God for my little back napper.

She was sick yesterday and we hung around home in jammies all day. Here are naps 1-2-3. I feel pretty incredible that at 10mo old she naps three times a day and gets all that touch and cuddle in while I meet my other sweet girls needs, clean the kitchen, write on my blog, have alone time, chat on the phone, and live a little life outside of our four walls too.

Huzzah for baby wearing!