September in Review | Let the Settling Begin!

Sweet September.

Warm days, cool days and the wind down of summer.

It was the first full month in our new house and as you can tell by the tardiness of my post, it was a busy one. (Will I ever not say that?)

We took the time to really settle into this place and dang that felt good. It was the first time we’ve had a chance to do so since we were in Hawaii at the beginning of the year!

All of our boxes are unpacked and I actually organized my kitchen! There are still so many projects to do, I’ll putz forever, but as of now, it feels like home.

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One of the things that made September was going to the Renaissance Festival with my aunt. It has been so long since I’ve had a chance to go and it’s so fun to get lost in the magic. My all time favorite festival for sure!

My hubby picked up a work car which has made life so much easier already! With my appointments increasing to weekly, this felt so necessary!

The start to our 5 weekend of visitors began this month and it was everything I hoped it would be. I love being close to our family!

 32 weeks pregnant!

32 weeks pregnant!

Soaking up every minute before the summer fades to fall.

We’re here, in Minnesota. Settling in a house. Preparing for baby and just taking a big exhale.

I almost feel ready to start reflecting on the year, what a year it’s been, but we still have a little living to do. Hope you are all enjoying the small moments and taking time to exhale in your own way.

Thanks so much for reading,


Baby J -- GIRL or BOY?

When we first found out we were pregnant, we decided that we didn't want to know if we were having a girl or a boy until labor and delivery.

Ok, well, yes, that didn't last. Anyone who knows me knows I surely don't have the patience for that. As soon as we could find out, I wanted to know. 

For our first, Thomas George, we did a big reveal party. It was so much fun, but I knew I didn't want to do that again.

So at our anatomy scan we had them write the gender down for us and put it in an envelope. We got home that night and decided we'd open it that weekend. Just 48 hours later we were holding a photo in our hand. I reached down and touched my belly but this time I knew....

My second little SON!

We're having another boy and I have to tell you, we're pretty darn excited.

  There it is! Another little    BOY    bump!

There it is! Another little BOY bump!

Now, to be honest, when I found out I was pregnant with Thomas George I really, really wanted to have a girl. I grew up with two sisters and just couldn't imagine having a son.

This go around though, after knowing my little dude and the heart bursting love I have for him, I felt SUPER cool either way!

A boy. Bros. Boy mom.

Dad cried, I cried.... all the grandma and grandpas cried.

What will he be like? What color will his hair be? Will he look like mom or dad? Tall like his brother, er, I mean whole family?

I just don't know and that's the most exciting part of it all.

In just 11 short weeks we'll be meeting our second son and I am pretty sure we already have his name picked out! A family of FOUR!


First Trimester -- Baby J

 8 Weeks Pregnant! Kailua, Hawaii

8 Weeks Pregnant! Kailua, Hawaii

It just feels crazy to be writing this -- didn't I just write a first trimester post? I did! This time, however, it was an entirely different experience.

We found out really early we were pregnant with baby number two. According to the app on my phone I was only 3, almost 4 weeks pregnant!

The day I took the test, other than my boobs hurting, I felt pretty darn normal. I decided to enjoy it because I knew what was coming.

I found out with George at about 5 almost 6 weeks. Not long after I found out, I got so sick. I only ran to the toilet a couple times but I had full day nausea for 9 straight weeks. 

With baby number two, I prepared myself for the worst..... but it just never came! (Praise the Lord, dance, shout and sing hallelujah!) 

 12 Weeks Pregnant! Mesa, AZ

12 Weeks Pregnant! Mesa, AZ

Other than feeling like a total slug in the evenings and having some foods just not "look good", I felt pretty ok! I was shocked.. so VERY different. Opposite first trimesters, that's for sure!

- The best best part of the first trimester, again, is telling people! Everyone cries! We had fun calling our family and friends to spread the news. I also blogged about our positive test because I can't NOT tell people. It's hard for me to keep it to myself once I know. We shared sooner this time around.

- I didn't have any real cravings with Thomas George... but that was not the case with this pregnancy! I've had quite a bit of cravings. I like HOT & SPICY! (I hope this isn't a sign of what this baby is going to be like, lol)
Seriously though, I am taking hot sauce down like it's going out of style. I've been eating more bagely type foods which I'm not stoked on but I'm just so happy I can EAT during my first trimester at all! I'm hoping to move to more fresh kind of foods soon!

- We're sort of in between home right now so when it comes to maternity care I'm doing my best. I did my first appointment at Castle Medical Center with the midwife that delivered Thomas George. We got to see the little bean and hear it's heartbeat. My first question was: Is there only one in there? Phew, ok.
Now we're in AZ and I might have to do one appointment here. I am hoping to establish care with Robin, a family friend and midwife back home in Hibbing, MN!

- Hormones have been pretty up and down. I cry for some of the weirdest reasons. One day I asked Tom if he thinks TG will want to go to Hawaii when he gets big because he was born there. Then I thought, what if he wants to move to Hawaii and I cried. I cried and cried thinking of him leaving. He's 1.5 years old.
Things like... seeing a beautiful dress online in an instagram ad and crying because I would never fit into it right now as my body gets bigger and bigger. Just weird things like that. Just cry. LOL

- Bring on the maternity clothes. I started wearing maternity clothes right at the end of the first trimester. No shame. Comfort number one!

 7 Week Appointment!

7 Week Appointment!

Baby is the size of a: LIME
Length & weight: 2.13 in. & .49 oz.
Mama's cravings: HOT SAUCE and spicy foods! Cold apples. 
Weight update: < 5 lbs. ~ I didn't actually weigh myself until later in the second trimester in which I had gained 5 lbs. so I had to have gained less in the first trimester!
We're feeling: Excited, ready to settle into a home, happy for TG to have a sibling and we are dying to know if you're a girl or a boy!
Highlight of the first trimester: Once again, telling our family!!
Energy levels: TOTAL SLUG!! 
Habits: Long morning walks, legs up the wall every few days, prenatal vitamins!

That Positive Test | Round 2

It was March 8th, 2018.

I was laying on the couch in all my grumpiness when my boobs started to hurt again

I was dozing in and out, thoughts whirling through my head when my eyes shot open. 
It was like a scene out of a movie.

Ten minutes earlier I was raging at my husband about seriously who knows what when grabbed my pillow and blanket and stomped into the living room. 

Just that morning I posted a question to my mom group on FB asking why on earth my boobs were feeling achey when I quit nursing the month before without any pain?

Then it hit me.

I was pregnant.

I was freakin' pregnant. Now it all made sense.

I tip toed back to the room, slid under the covers and did my best to stay calm. Butterflies were dancing in my chest but I didn't breathe a word to Tom. I knew, deep down I knew, but I needed confirmation.

After Thomas woke up from his nap the next day we took a casual stroll to Target. Laundry detergent, birthday card, avocados and a box of pregnancy tests.

I got home about 2:30pm and although it was 6 days before my missed period and it wasn't my first pee of the morning I took a test anyway. It was a pack of three, what did I have to lose?

Peed on the stick, placed it on the counter and glanced at it back and forth as I saw the test start to read. The first line showed up right away.. my heart was seriously pounding.

And then there it was. The second line, although faint, was very much there.

"Oh dear. Oh dear goodness. Oh my. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh dear. Oh dear. Oh dear goodness. Oh. Oh my. Oh my gosh." I said aloud over and over for what felt like 10 minutes.

We were pregnant. Three weeks pregnant according to the Bump app on my phone.

I couldn't wait to tell Tom.

I have to admit. I've been hesitant to grow our family. Between Finn and Thomas I feel like there isn't any more of me to go around!
But Tom? Tom's ready. Tom's been ready since Thomas George was 3 months old!

He got home from work and I ushered him to the couch. I had my phone hiding strategically on the TV stand, recording it all.

I sat him down and gave him a long sappy love note that I wrote early that day.

I apologized for raging the night before, reminding him that I'd love him forever, through anything.

When he flipped to the back my heart started to race.

I could see his eyes scanning the words: "Today I took a pregnancy test, sweet thang... and it was POSITIVE."

He instantly lost it. He cried. I cried.

Just blubbery, slobbery messes.

This family is growing.

A blessing. This little chia seed is already such a blessing.

And now I say, with much excitement, here we go again!


I started a pregnancy diaries series with little George. I pretty much documented it all but missed the third trimester. I'm going to try to do a full series with baby number two! You can read George's series here.

CHANGES // Some Big, Gnarly Ones

I'm thinking I could label each month as CHANGES but I've been feeling it in March more than ever before.

Our Tommy George had his very first haircut last week. Dad really wanted to grow it out and I was ready to cut it. We both ended up loving the cut but did find a little compromise by leaving a rat tail blonde curl in the back. Man, it was emotional watching my baby turn into a little boy. So handsome.

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This month, Tom and I made one of the hardest decisions we've ever had to make.
We're moving home!
We will be heading back to the mainland mid-April. I can't believe it. Even typing it here I can't believe it.
The pieces are divinely falling into place and I sure can't wait to share more. Until then, I've been trying to document this beautiful town of Kailua, Hawaii that I've grown to love so much.

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Alright, I've got one more big one for you, you ready? If moving over the ocean wasn't change enough for us, we're adding another little human to the mix. That's right, this family is growing! It's still really early and our first appointment isn't until the first week of April but I just can't hold stuff like this in. Ever. So here it is!

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It's been a month full of big decisions... lots of packing, shipping and selling. I've got a bit of pregnancy brain going on and it feels like there are cement blocks tied to my feet making this whole experience really fun. LOL

I see the light at the end of the tunnel though... there's nothing like being closer to family and we're almost there!

I'm so excited to be in a 365 photo project, especially right now. A chance to document this special time in my family's life is something I know I'll forever cherish.

I'll be linking this post to the talented photographer, Laura. I really admire the light and composition of her work. Also, Laura and I are both in the first trimester of pregnancy which make it even more fun! 

Aloha friends and thank you so much for reading. 

See you next month!

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A Year in Photos - Thomas George

We got these monthly airplane stickers as a gift from Auntie Alicia and I was so determined to use them. I pictured myself compiling the photos at the end of the year to see the changes our little man made each month. It was more fun than I expected.

Thomas George // February 1st, 2017 - January 1st, 2018

 1 Month Old ~

1 Month Old ~

 2 Months Old ~

2 Months Old ~

 3 Months Old ~

3 Months Old ~

 4 Months Old ~

4 Months Old ~

 5 Months Old ~

5 Months Old ~

 6 Months Old ~

6 Months Old ~

 7 Months Old ~

7 Months Old ~

 8 Months Old ~

8 Months Old ~

 9 Months Old ~

9 Months Old ~

 10 Months Old ~

10 Months Old ~

 11 Months Old ~&nbsp;

11 Months Old ~ 

 One Year Old ~

One Year Old ~

He's such a spunk -- more fun now than ever before. We love you Thomas George!

6 Surefire Ways to Pull Yourself Out of a Funk

I was 34 weeks pregnant sitting with one of my friends and she asked me, "Elyse, what is your biggest fear about becoming a mom?"

Here she expected me to talk about labor and delivery or maybe the sleepless nights or you know, the fact that I'll be raising a little human in this crazy world.


Without missing a beat, I instantly replied, "Getting frumpy."

It was seriously what was keeping me up at night.

Am I going to totally lose myself in mommyhood? I pictured spending day in and day out with baby and no time to nourish my inner free bird.

So now, here I sit, with an almost one year old.
Did I dodge the frumpy life or did it get me?

I guess I could say yes to both of those. There were times I was most definitely so far in the pits I thought I'd never get out and then there were days, even weeks, where I was running on a mommy ass-kickin' high.

When I'm in a funk or feelin' frumpy I have to consciously choose how to spend my days.. choose to do what could pull me up when I feel myself slippin' into endless unwashed hair and a Netflix marathon of Friends

Oh! And you definitely don't need to be a mom to get into a funk -- all it takes is the routine of the adult life sometimes . A routine that MUST be shaken up every so often.

So alright, these are my musts musts.


I seriously had to get real with myself and turn off the damn TV because it turns me into an unhappy zombie to binge watch shows. I get sucked in so easy. Oh geeze, it's 2pm already and I've done nothing productive today.
Sometimes, it's nice for ONE day but not multiple days in a row.. at least not for me! I don't do well with that.
MUSIC just makes me feel happy and alive and I love hearing an old song that I haven't heard forever but LOVE. I love to dance and sing and jam and it just makes me really happy. So maybe you too?
CCR Pandora usually has me covered -- or I'll throw on my Island Vibes playlist on Spotify!

Make a kickass Spotify playlist of all your feel good tunes and let it lift you UP! 

2. Make Art

I struggled with what to make number one, this is such a close second. Don't let your creativity die, EVER. Make art, in some way shape or form, somehow, someway. Write, knit, draw, dance... take pictures! Whatever you have to do to keep that spark, do it... you don't even need to share with anyone ever, just do it... for you, for your soul!


There are no rules attached to this one... no time commitment, no specific routine. Just MOVE in some way shape or form. Go for a walk -- that usually always works. Get on your Yoga mat. When you turn on that music from number one, dance. I've been dancing a lot, in the living room with a gawking one year old lookin' at me like I'm totally crazy but still, I dance. Find something that makes you feel GOOD (not punished) and do it for 5 minutes, or 10 minutes, or 30 minutes. Whatever you CAN do for however long you CAN do it. DO IT. 

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4. GO

Number four is a tad bit aimed at my mom friends, specifically my stay-at-home mom friends... and maybe you don't do this at all... but maybe you do. But - don't let too many days go by without leaving the house. You've got to go. And for me, two days at the house is too many, and three for sure so find something that is out of home and do it. GO.

5. Connect

Connect with others. I don't know about you but when I'm in a funk I tend to sort of keep to myself. I keep to myself to a fault. I know that each of us has that someone in our life that we can connect with -- be it your partner at the day's end, a phone call to your sister, a meet up with your mama (mama's always make things better) -- tell someone you love you're feeling funky and TALK to them. It helps. I know it.


Lastly, I asked my Earthen Women group a while back... what do you do to get out of a funk? This is a collective of their response: Make yourself feel good/pretty. Polish your nails your favorite color. Get your hair cut. If you don't normally, try putting on a little makeup or lip gloss. If it's in the budget, get a massage. SHOWER + shave (your WHOLE leg - haha) or even take a bath. Dress up in that thing you love but you're saving. You don't need to be extravagant (or hey, if you can/want to - then be extravagant. You're worth it.).

Alright, I think that's it for me. Do you do one of these already? What one do you agree with the most? If you're favorite's not here, please please share. I'd love to know.

Also, I should say that sometimes for me it just feels good to put the PJs on and be a slug on the couch and sometimes we need just that. Just not for prolonged periods of time, ya know. It's all about listening to your inner wisdom. She knows.

Alright, so have an amazing year you guys!
I hope it's filled with golden moments and less funks. I'll be here, always! xo

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Searching for the Answer

"I would seriously cut off my pinky toe for some alone time. Seriously. Even just TWO DAYS." I dramatically whine to my husband over the phone.

He's about half way through his work trip on the East Coast and he's homesick for his family.

I see him there, staying at a nice hotel in DC, and I'm not going to lie, I'm jealous.

He wakes up, works out, gets a coffee, heads to the conference where he discusses important things with important people (adult conversations!) and gets to eat a tasty dinner at a lively restaurant before bed.

Damn right I'm jealous!

I've been stuck in an endless cycle of feeding baby, changing diapers, picking up dog poop while trying to keep up with the house.

It's been over a month since I've been anywhere without my 9 month old.

Now here's where things get funny.

My husband, well, you see, he's jealous.

He misses his boys and his wife. He see's my snaps of our son trying to walk and talk. As we FaceTime Thomas George is learning to clap and giggles while I kiss his toes. I tell Tom how intense his son's determination is as he tries to swim in the pool and we laugh, Finn nuzzled on my lap.

All he wants is his family.
All I want is some space.


So it got me thinking about always wanting what we can't have, the whole grass is always greener thing.

I'll never forget a Tony Robbins video I watched years ago, I'll do my best to paraphrase, he said that the biggest source of unhappiness is being in one place (location or situation) and wanting to be somewhere else.

Oh goodness, I can be so guilty of this. For someone who has studied mindful living and who has spent hours on a Yoga mat, you think I'd have a better handle on it. Patience is not my strong point and it's something I'll be working on until the end of time.

And, yes, it's good to have dreams and direction for what you want out of life and of course there are certain situations that should be left promptly... but generally speaking, living outside of the now can surely rob you from being happy.

There's got to be a healthy balance and I suppose since I'm writing this post I should offer up some sort of advice but this is something I'm still figuring out. An answer that I'm still searching for.

Is the key to happiness presence or gratitude?
Is acceptance the answer?

Maybe it's.... perspective.

I'm not sure right now. All I do know is that all we can do is our best and we've just got to keep truckin' no matter what. We've got to be grateful for what we do have because when you stop to really think about it, it's a lot.

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Second Trimester -- Pregnancy Diary Part 4

 19 weeks, just about 1/2 way there!&nbsp;

19 weeks, just about 1/2 way there! 

Throughout the first trimester, I felt like... total shitty shit. Everyone said I would start feeling better once we reached the second trimester.
So as week 12 approached I got excited.. I was SO ready to feel good again!

- Week 12 came and went... so did week 13 and 14. I was still nauseous and could barely eat.
Finally as I hit week 15, I began to feel like a human again. What a relief... I was really starting to worry... and I just really missed FOOD.

- We decided to wait until the second trimester to tell the world, I have to admit, I was so excited for this. I couldn't WAIT to share that we were having a baby... to tell friends near and far. That'll always be the most fun for me.

- As for my energy level, I was still tired... a lot... BUT like they say, I did have bursts of energy from 15 weeks on - mainly in the morning - which was really nice and much needed. 

- I touched my stomach. A lot. My hands were always resting on my growing belly and I thought about being pregnant, ALL DAY LONG. It went a little something like this -- "I am pregnant. I'm going to have a BABY. I am growing a human, in my womb, right now. Amazing. Unbelievable. A baby."

- We had been living in a studio since we moved to Hawaii in 2015. It was perfect for the two of us and we never really needed more space... until now! We moved from our studio to a two bedroom during the second trimester. Hubs had quiet the workload but I was definitely helping out as best I could. We were really just happy to get into something a big bigger as we were expecting a lot of visitors once baby arrived!

- The beginning of the bump! My belly was growing. By the middle of the second trimester, there was no mistaken, I was a pregnant lady!

- We still hadn't purchased anything for baby yet. We were starting to receive gifts though. Little did I know that was just the beginning!

- GENDER REVEAL!! I kept going back and forth. I really thought it was a girl but could only picture a baby boy. Tom always thought it was a boy. 
We did our big gender reveal party during the second trimester.. it was SO FUN! I wanted a girl and I wanted a boy so I knew I'd be happy either way.
Auntie Coco took the envelope, she was the first person to know the sex! She filled a big black balloon with confetti and we all gathered at mom and dads house. The anticipation was nuts!
Watching Tom throw a fist pump into the air when we were showered in blue will not be something I'll forget. We began connecting with baby in a new way, it's a BOY!!!

- Oh the boobs. The boobs continued to grow during the second trimester and I really LOVE them. :D

- Water. I'm drinking all the water all day, everyday. I read something early on saying that the more water you drink the better and healthier your pregnancy will be -- so I went full steam ahead with hydroflask after hydroflask. I'm currently skipping all coffee and I'm the weird pregnant lady that doesn't miss alcohol in the least bit. 

- NAMES! It was nice being able to focus on boy names. Naming a baby isn't easy. We started throwing ideas around but hadn't decided full on anything yet. 

- I'm still the nap queen, not big into exercise. I could seriously sleep all day and wonder often how people have a second child? How do you care for a baby and grow another baby? My bed is my best friend and I sleep a lot

- The round ligament pain started in the first trimester and revved up good in the second trimester... what a weird feeling!! Amazed at my changing and shifting body -- it truly is a miracle!

- I really expected to feel baby move week 14/15 and waited patiently for him to do so... and nothing. I thought way too much but couldn't really tell if it *was* a movement or if it was just in my head. By week 20 there was no mistaken.. I have a boxing son in my belly and once he started really moving, he didn't stop. To me it felt like little bubbles or tiny tapping... tap, tap, tap. I love it. This is one of my favorite parts!

- I've always heard people complain about others touching their belly.. I didn't mind in the least bit! I loved letting people touch my belly and feel for baby. For the most part baby kicked and moved until someone placed their hand on my stomach, then he stopped. Almost every time but I let everyone try! He loves moving for daddy though!!

- I inspected my stomach every single week for stretch marks, nothing yet!

- At week 24 I bought my first maternity clothes. I just went to target and got a couple cute dresses and a couple ugly dresses. I wish I wouldn't have waited so long! Maternity clothes felt so much better!

- Pretty much went to bed at 8:30 every night. Sometimes 9 if we were feelin' pretty wild. Pregnancy makes you crazy! LOL

- I've been eating pretty healthy but I really really love my dark chocolate salted carmel bar from Whole Foods. I keep it in the freezer and eat one square to a half a bar every single day. No one says anything about it when you're pregnant -- might as well eat it UP.


- Once I hit that 25 week mark I really started feeling big. Toward the end of my second trimester I couldn't sleep on my belly anymore. It's one of worst things about being pregnant for me! Having to sleep on my side and heave myself in and out of bed. OY.

- We still hadn't set up a nursery at all or purchased anything for baby. We weren't too worried about it... which looking back makes me laugh! What were we doing? LOL

- After doing a lot of reading, I started writing up my birth plan during the second trimester. 

- I had my gestational diabetes test and passed. Thank goodness. I wasn't a fan of drinking that crap but I did it and it's done. Good deal.

- At the end of week 27 I had gained 13 lbs. since my first appointment. I was surprised I didn't gain more because my body had changed so much. Tom said I just lost all my muscle... what a stinker. 

Baby is the size of a: PEACH
Length & weight: 8 3/4 in. & 1.5 lbs.
Mama's cravings: Didn't crave specific foods -- just warm and cold things. Still not the biggest appetite but it's slowly coming back!
Weight update: Gained 13 lbs. so far!
We're feeling: BIG. Excited. The half way point is so freaky, it gets more and more real! 
Highlight of the first trimester: Getting to share with the world and of course, finding out we had a boy on the way!
Energy levels: Still a slug for the most part but starting to do some walking!
Habits: Still doing my legs up the wall every night... continuing with the prenatal vitamin. Keeping a weekly journal about all the changes. Early to sleep. Lots of water.