Anthony James’ Baptism!

Today, my 6.5 week old Baby Giant was baptized.

Lest you think I’m kidding about the giant part, I was given a 9 month baptismal garment some time ago from a friend. Anthony wore it. And it only looked a TINY bit too big.

Also, he’s currently in 3-6 month clothing. Huh.

Anyways, back to the baptism. A few months ago, we asked Tim and Hope, our long time good friends, to be the godparents for Anthony.

A little reminder of how we know these guys 🙂

Tim and Jesse have been best friends since they were babies, and I’ve been friends with both of them since high school (although I knew both of them prior). I arrived at Biola 2 years after they did and met their good friend, Ben Rhodes, who was just coming back to Biola after being at Oxford for a semester. A year later, I met Ben’s little sister, Hope. She also came to our wedding (along with Tim and Ben, who were actually in the wedding), but got stuck in a row boat out on the lake at the reception (long story… 🙂 )

This is one of my favorite pictures from our wedding. The ceremony had already finished and the boys were being goofy. You can see Tim to Jesse’s right. You can see Ben to HIS right.

Fast forward to a year later. Tim and Hope started dating (which was…interesting, since Tim and Ben were roommates at the time!).

Another year later and they got married! Just as Tim was Jesse’s best man, Jesse was also Tim’s best man. I was a bridesmaid and I walked down the aisle with…you guessed it…Ben. Oh, what a small world 🙂

Ben and I. Single ladies, don’t worry. He’s not always this serious.

We always knew that the Bartels should be the godparents to one of our kids someday. It was a long shot, seeing as they currently live in Scotland (Tim is getting his PhD from Saint Andrews), but they decided to combine the baptism with a 2 week vacay to visit friends and family in CA.

What we got was one beautiful baptism!

Anthony only screamed through this and the exorcism. Fitting, no?

Do you see those chubby thighs??? LOVE!

The money shot– he is SPITTING MAD! Also, before you comment on his “outie” belly button, remember that he has an umbilical hernia (should go away on its own…they say…)

Hope putting on Anthony’s cross. He was calm and sedate for the rest of the time, even slept through the entire liturgy and churching!

We had over a dozen family and friends who made the hour drive down to our church for the event. Even though the service was early in the morning, nearly the entire parish congregation showed up as well! The church wasn’t packed, but it was close! 🙂

After everything was over, we had a nice reception in the parish hall. Everyone was so warm and friendly, as though we’d been a part of the parish for years instead of just a few months! It was nice to “be” served, instead of serving, as is usual for us. We were given a few very generous cash gifts as well (I plan to buy a zoo membership for the boys!).

Once we left the church, we all met at Panera Bread in San Luis Obispo to hang out just a little bit longer.

Did I mention that Hope is 19 weeks preggo? 🙂



I just made this and hung it up, all by myself. So.proud!

I got the most beat up board I could find at Home Depot, white-washed it with a light gray and green (2 coats), sanded it a bit, then stenciled the letters on with $2 paint from Michaels! I also bought a 50 pound hanging hook from Home Depot and screwed that in. I made the stencils using, get ready for it, a piece of paper traced over Microsoft Word on my laptop.

I almost went with some “french” saying, since that’s all the decorating rage right now, but nixed it for two reasons. 1. I don’t speak French. 2. Pretentious much?

Instead, I went with one of my favorite lyrics from one of my favorite songs. There’s actually a “Jesse/Kelly” romance story in this one. The fall of my first semester at Biola, just weeks/days before we started dating, we went to Lake San Antonio with our church youth group (warning– people actually DO fall in love during youth group events. Don’t let any teens try to assure you otherwise).

Jesse and I got into a horrible argument while driving up (which poor Tim can attest to, since he carpooled with us). It all started with my need to find a suitable public restroom during the 6 hour drive. Jesse was on a “schedule” and couldn’t be bothered to find a decent one. He wanted me to use the poor excuse for a poo-hole at a gas station. I refused, saying I didn’t want to get HIV from the toilet seat. He wouldn’t budge. So I had to use the gas station toilet, and I was spitting mad. The seat was complete with carvings and tattoos from gang members. There was poo smeared on the walls. I still remember it vividly.

So, by the time we arrived at the lake, we weren’t really on speaking terms. We’d been flirting for weeks, when all of a sudden we just stopped talking to each other. Like that. Over a gross bathroom incident. Haha, actually sounds a lot like marriage…

During “campfire time”, Jesse tried to talk to me, but I deliberately ignored him and even went so far as to start flirting with other guys (did I mention that I was in a bit of a rough place at that time in my life?).

All of a sudden, I heard it– Jesse had picked up his guitar and was singing, “You are my sunshine”, looking right over at me.  Months prior, I had told him that it was one of my favorite songs, mostly because my mom would always sing it to me. I had mentioned that I always felt loved when I heard it.

He totally remembered. It wasn’t quite an apology, but it was close enough for me. 🙂

Anthony’s 1 Month Letter

Dear Baby Wee,

You may be wondering why I didn’t use your “real” name. From Day 1 in the hospital, your beloved older brother has taken to calling you, “Wee” (he thinks babies say, “WEE!” instead of “Wahh!”), and, while it used to be funny, it’s actually become your most commonly used nickname. We all probably use it more than “Anthony”! Haha!

Ultrasound, 23 weeks

It’s easy to see the similarities!

You also may be wondering why I am writing you this, 2 weeks and 2 days after you turned 1 month old…let me tell you, kiddo. Momma’s trying. While you may get the short end of that proverbial stick, you are definitely benefiting from being a second child. It’s surprising how much “came back” to your Momma about raising an infant. You and Momma have had a MUCH better breastfeeding experience than she did with your brother. You’re gaining weight like a Buddha (one of your other nicknames), and you nurse on demand, whenever you feel like it, unless Momma is teaching a piano lesson. Momma knew which foods to avoid to keep your little tummy from getting too upset and gassy. So, even though your first letter is a little late, you’ve had a much better time of it 🙂 At your one month appointment, you were 11 pounds, 4 oz., which is the 90th percentile! Yowza! Explains the gazillion rolls you have all over your thighs and arms. You’ve been in 3 month clothing for the past 2 weeks and have already moved up to Size 2 diapers!

One of your other nicknames is “Barnacle”. While you will occasionally tolerate being put down, you are ALWAYS happy being held. You stop crying within a millisecond of being picked up, every time. When Mommy carries you around the house or the grocery store in a sling, you are peacefully asleep within a minute. Snuggling with you is pretty much one of the best parts of Momma’s day.


Also, you are a fantastic sleeper! From Day 3 of your life, when we were given a bassinet/rocker contraption, you’ve slept one 4-5 hour stretch every single night! For the past 6 weeks! Granted, once you are awake you want to nurse every hour to make up for lost time, but Momma loves that one long stretch of sleep so much that she could kiss you (oh wait, she does, all day long!).

You spent the first 5 weeks of your life living at your grandparents house, which meant that you had dozens of hands to hold you at all hours of the day. Your Nana and Papa Cone also came over often (sometimes every day!), along with your Aunt Brooke and Emily, and your Cousin Rachel. Just recently, you met and bonded with your Uncle Joe who you DEFINITELY look a ton like! You also met Uncle David and Aunt Autumn. There are SO many people who love you, Mr. Anthony. You will never lack for hugs and kisses.

with your Nana

Speaking of hugs and kisses….your older brother smothers you with them all day long. When he hears you cry, he runs over and says, “Wee! Wee!” until someone goes and gets you. He tries to pick you up, and whenever we ask if he wants to “hold” you, he shouts, “Yeah!”. Whenever we ask he if he wants to go and see you, he gets super excited and starts saying, “Wee! Wee!” over and over. He loves to pat your head and give you “cuddles”. He leaves toys in your bouncy seat for you, and sometimes shoves one of his pacifiers in your mouth (super generous, right there!). Safe to say, he’s one of your biggest fans around here!

This happens x100 every day

Lately, you’ve been more and more alert, but no real smiles yet. Already, we can tell you are super serious, yet also easy going. For instance, you had a HORRIBLE diaper rash for 2 weeks, but we didn’t even think it was that bad at first because you hardly ever cried about it. Once it went from open sores to a yeast infection, we had to treat it with some medicine, and now you don’t even cry during a diaper change. Most of the time, it doesn’t even wake you up! Like I said, you are incredibly docile, unless we put you down 😉 You can go from perfectly content to SPITTING MAD in less than 5 seconds, then back to content a few seconds later, over and over. Your Dad has the perfect description for you: “I’m fine, I’m fine, life is good, ahhh—WAIT, I’M NOT OKAY! SOUND THE ALARM! THE WORLD IS ENDING! DO YOU HEAR ME?? ah, okay, this is tolerable, I can wait, maybe I’ll take a nap…” Not even tummy-time phases you– you just turn it into a nap.

content in “Bama’s” arms

You are also the world’s noisiest eater. I thought your brother was loud, but you definitely take the cake! For the last week, all 4 of us have been sleeping in the same room. Your cries don’t wake up your older brother, but your eating sure could! You grunt, hiccup, spit, growl, and then grunt some more. It’s hilarious, and kind of embarrassing (I’m not sure I want to take you in public– people might think I’m nursing a piglet down there!). For the first couple weeks, you only nursed one side at a time, which still gave you plenty of milk (evidently, considering your weight gain!), but made Momma more than a little uncomfortable at times. You also grunt and growl through most of your light daytime naps.

While you are ambivalent about pacifiers, you love sucking on fingers!

While we have hit a few bumps along the road (jaundice, the yeast infection, even a belly-button hernia!), it’s been much easier than we all thought to integrate you into our little family. You will make such a perfect complement to Gregory, and he will always love and protect you. While it’s been 6 weeks since you were born, Momma can’t imagine how she lived life without you.

Love, Momma




and you thought I was kidding…

Call me, “Queen of Punching Holes in the Wall”.

Here are my two inspiration pictures from, you guessed it, Pinterest!

Coffee filters and pushpins!

cupcake liners and pushpins!

I sorta ran out of both white cupcake liners and yellow pushpins…so, I guess the branch will have to continue growing later. It’s too “straight” as is, not enough limbs and such. But this is what I’ve got for now!

The lighting is no bueno, but I only had time to click a quick cell phone shot before another diaper change– having two babies who poop their pants is HARD! Who knew? 🙂

Even smaller

Jesse should never have taught me to hang stuff. He leaves for work and I immediately start putting holes in the walls 🙂

Today’s project? A new spice rack. Unfortunately, we lost one or two things in our last move. We made it through THREE moves before finally breaking stuff– amazing, no?

Missing 2 spokes, affecting 4 jars

Less than a WEEK of looking for a solution, and I met my new best friend at the thrift store– a little antique spice rack! Jesse spray painted her yellow (we are going for a turquoise/yellow/gray theme in the whole place) and I put her up this morning!

All of our spices within a foot of the stove, plus, extra counter space!

What should I hang next? 🙂

All the Small Things

A home never feels like a home to me until I put up decorations– not just any decorations, my decorations. Even if they are new, they still feel like mine if they turn out the way I’ve envisioned them in my head!

The shelf is not complete yet– I purchased the top from the thrift store ($5!!!) and added the brackets onto the bottom ($1.99/each). Eventually, I will paint it all white. But I feel accomplished because I put this baby up ALL BY MYSELF, wall anchors and everything! Not only is it straight, it hasn’t even fallen down yet!

My beautiful babes! I got these for FREE (er, the canvases were free. A lot of work went into growing the kids!). I paid a little bit for shipping, but that was it! Of course, these definitely feel like “my” decorations, seeing as they’re also “my” kids!


One of the reasons I LOVE Pinterest is because all of my amazing stay at home mommy friends pin all sorts of toddler activity fun. And then, with just a click of the mouse, I get to save it for G and AJ. 5 minutes, and BOOM, I have an entire library of resources!

Here are a few examples:

Mommy School downloadable packets

50 Sensory Activities to distract a toddler

Montessori ideas for the home, written by a woman who completed her dissertation on Montessori Education

Baby Grayson

You may have heard about the mom who posted pictures of her tragically deformed baby, only to have her pictures deleted from Facebook for “content”. After all hell reigned down on them, Facebook finally apologized this week.

I just read this woman’s blog, and cried and cried. A little family of four, told by the doctors during pregnancy that their 3rd baby had Anencephaly and would only live for a few hours after birth. The mother chose to continue the pregnancy anyways. Her last few blog articles outline the one precious day they got to spend with him. She doesn’t sound depressed or defeated, just grateful for God and His mercy.

I am all tears over here, and just cannot.even.imagine.

Our First Day In the Townhouse

We got up and went to church– my first day back!!

Fr. Lawrence met us at the door for the “churching” prayers

Next, he took me around the church to the different icons

After communion, we realized that G was tired when he fell asleep in the laps of two of his “friends”. Everyone thought this was so cute, they all grabbed their cameras and started taking pictures. I don’t think the back half of church heard ANY of the post communion prayers– they were all too busy awww-ing!

We got home, ate some lunch, and then went on a walk to the school in order to time it for Jesse. Just 3 minutes, WITH toddlers in tow! What a tough commute, don’t you feel sorry for the poor guy?

You can see our townhome behind the fence

Then it was time to buy some groceries, so we headed to our trusty Trader Joe’s.

Seriously, how did we ever survive without this store??? How??

Taking a picture of the fam for our friend, Fr. James, who was on the phone with Jesse at the time. Btw…I’ve since told Jesse that he needs to pay more attention to what’s in the background. Awkward.

After Jesse and I unloaded our groceries, I decided to take a picture of our master bedroom, “en-progresse”.

Our duvet cover was just taken from the package yesterday, so it obviously needs a good ole’ trip to the ironing board.

Here’s a picture with a little more light. I haven’t unpacked the lamps that go in this room yet– that silver one was stolen from the living room in case I had any midnight-feeding-mishaps with Anthony

And now, we’re back at my parents for the evening. We don’t have internet until tomorrow, and they were grilling steak, so we couldn’t resist…plus, it’s a 5 minute drive! Why not?

Anthony, aka, King of the Painful Looking Sleep Positions. You can’t have my chiropractor– SHE’S ALL MINE, KIDDO.

A little comparison

People, we finally have a CONE BABY IN THE HOUSE!!!

This is a picture of Gregory, taken straight from his 5 MONTH letter

This is Anthony, wearing the SAME EXACT OUTFIT. He is just barely 5 weeks!

You don’t know how comforting this is! In the back of my mind, I have been blaming myself for Gregory’s smallness for the last 18 months. Now, I realize that my milk is FINE– it’s their metabolisms that are different! Granted, my milk supply truly was low around the 4-6 month mark. But Anthony is undeniable proof that Gregory’s tiny body wasn’t all my fault! Yay!