3 months

The fourth trimester is over and my baby is a quarter of a year old already. Thomas is so laidback and sweet. He is happy almost always, I feel so lucky to be his mommy. (Of course I am lucky to be Jackson’s mommy, too).

IMG_2017Thomas has accomplished some great milestones this month. He sleeps through the night at least as much as he doesn’t, probably more now. He accomplished a back-to-belly and belly-to-back roll… at daycare. I still have yet to see it, of course. He has so much core strength we had to put the bouncer seat away because he would try to sit right up and out of it. Now he chills in the exersaucer… which Jackson didn’t try out until he was at least 4-5 months old in my memory. I should look at pictures to confirm that. Thomas also tolerates tummy time pretty well, especially if there is a person at his level to have a conversation with.




IMG_2043He eats like a tank. I have gotten a pretty good nursing/pumping routine down, although weekends always throw that off. LOL… I had to wear a swim suit last weekend, and I just grabbed one without trying it on. Terrible idea, as I am definitely more busty than normal right now. So embarrassing.

And a very important milestone was yesterday, as we welcomed Thomas to the Church through baptism. It was a great spring day with both of our families in attendance. So special. God has some big plans for this little boy. I can still smell the chrism oil on his head, and I could just sit and cuddle him and smell him all night long.

It can’t go without mentioning that Jackson has really blossomed in his role as big brother. He will be 2.5 this week, and while my heart breaks a little thinking about how he is growing up, I am also so proud him… most of the time. But I can’t lie, sometimes I just want to hide from him, you know, for peace and quiet 🙂 one can only handle so many conversations about cows and cars in one day 🙂

So, life as usual in the McMuffin house.

And, in case you were wondering, I am really enjoying Lent (as weird as that sounds). I have been faithful abstaining from Mtn. Dew, Starbucks, and Facebook (turns out you can still post to FB via IG even if you are not actually logged in, so still able to post pics of my sweet babies, just haven’t seen any likes or comments, haha). I have been really bad at daily devotionals, but found a good solution in getting devotionals and meditations emailed to my inbox daily and finding time every day for prayer. And went to confession for the first time in years… felt so good for my soul 🙂 Hope Lent is treating all of you well also! Getting excited for Easter. Oh, and shockingly enough my hubby mentioned joining the Catholic church last night. I have never asked him to or pushed him that way, but he made a comment that it would be nice to have us all able to be together in church, participating at the same level. Talk about melting my heart. I hope he continues to have that on his heart and that God calls him to it if that is what should happen. Maybe next Easter we’ll have another celebration of joining the church.



Since having children I have, for the lack of a better explanation, been in some semblance of survival mode. Sometimes worse than others. Now? Now is pretty survival-based. I love my kiddos and life so much, despite the level of calamity it brings, but I have lost touch with some of those things that have intentionally and historically been my ways to deal. Including my time with God. My prayers now are often, “please let Jackson fall asleep easily tonight,” “please let me arrive safely to work,” “please let my husband have a good day,” “please protect my baby at daycare.” A lot of asking. Not as much thanksgiving as I like.

As a cradle Catholic, Lent has been a time of sacrifice. A time of giving up and abstinence of the something. Eating fish on Fridays. Solemn masses. Then as an adult I fell off the wagon of participating in Lent. I ate cheeseburgers, drank my soda, and did not care. I think I felt like I was working night shifts, that surely was enough sacrifice. I know, I know… it wasn’t enough.

This year I am being called to try again. To participate.  To sacrifice. To be more intentional in my life. And by stating that here I am asking for accountability.

I have decided to make changes, some I hope to be permanent or semi-permanent, in all aspect of my life. Spiritual, emotional, relational, and physical. I have logged off of Facebook to get more real face time with my family and friends. I haven’t had a Mountain Dew in days (I started that a little before Lent so as to not have a caffeine breakdown immediately). Stopped buying Starbucks. Started reading Rediscovering Jesus by Mathew Kelly and completing the Waiting with the Word, a mothering-focused Lenten scripture study. We plan to attend mass as a family every week – which may actually be the hardest thing, because it requires more than just my attention and sacrifice and patience, but Jesse agreed it was important.

That’s the thing about Lent, it should be a time to abstain and give, but also a time to reflect on why. And in knowing why, make new, good or at least better habits. Give up sinful or wasteful things long term, because if you (I) can make it 40 days, you (I) can likely make it 400. 4,000. Forever. Is it sinful to drink Mountain Dew and Starbucks? Nope. But being cranky without caffeine isn’t nice. And drinking water is just plain better for my body. Will I log back into Facebook? Yes. That is a main source of communication for the entire planet nowadays. BUT… maybe in the next few weeks I will teach my brain that what is important is my family and my life, the one that is in living color in front of my face… not the one I post on Facebook or the one you post on Facebook. It is HARD to take a 2 year old to church, but it is crucial. It is worth the hard and will teach us all critical things.  And most importantly, if I can lean on Jesus to help me make these changes, to help me see the bigger picture, and to help me draw my family closer to him, that is the greatest gift Lent can give me or anyone.

So, please pray for me, and I’ll pray for you.


There is something wonderful about catching up with an old friend. The kind of friend you don’t have to explain the back story to, because she knows it. The kind of friend that doesn’t care if I showered, put on make up, hell, even changed out of the clothes I wore to bed the night before.

I’ve known her since I was 5, buddies in kindergarten group B. We grew up doing so many things together… 4-H, FFA, basketball, volleyball, choir, pretty much every academic class. She was better at math, did public speaking, worked with her parents’ cattle business. I liked English more, ran track, was a cheerleader, and played an instrument in the band. We weren’t identical – she was brunette, I was blonde – but we were the same size, (except shoes, my big boats could never fit in her size 8s) shared clothes, shared secrets, navigated our way to adulthood and graduation together – her the valedictorian, I the salutatorian. Then we went to college and our lives, like so many do, drifted apart. But we kept in touch. Became Facebook friends (because we were actually in college when Facebook started). Her husband finished grad school, I finished grad school. We texted congrats across the state when we had our babies.

Luckily, with my family’s recent move, we are now less than an hour apart! Yesterday we had a great morning catching up, covering every topic under the sun. She read books to Jackson while I nursed Thomas, and Jackson fell asleep in her arms. She hadn’t met him in person until yesterday, but it was so precious to see her mothering my babies, just as I would do for hers (who I have yet to meet in person). I am so grateful to have her, to have all of my sweet friends. So grateful to carry on friendship with this beautiful woman and a few others. I love that we moved “back home” and I am close to these women again (except T, sorry I left you on the west side!). Being a new girl in town, I am meeting other women and moms. They are nice, but they likely won’t be one of the dearest.

To J, M, N, K, D and T… Happy Valentines Day to the friends I love.

2 weeks and being a mom the second time

Thomas is 3 weeks old and I have been telling my self to write this post for 7 days now. Story of my life.

Baby T is amazing. He is chill, he has figured out nighttime is at night and sleeps pretty well for a newborn… not through the night or anything, but my boobs would likely explode if he did, so I don’t mind. He is just so sweet and snuggly, and he doesn’t puke everything everywhere all of the time.


I’ve thought a lot about what makes me a different mom the second time around. Inherently we can never be the same mom to different children. We bring experience and wisdom to the second child that the first could not have had. Our lives are in different chapters than they were before. In 2013, when Jackson was born, I was in my last year of my nurse practitioner doctorate program. I was doing clinicals and school work, and then went back to work as a nurse also. I was stressed out. I cried a lot, although I don’t really think I was depressed, I was anxious constantly. My baby didn’t sleep well, puked constantly, and was generally discontent for the first 6 months. My husband was also a nervous wreck that Jackson would die in our care at any given moment. It was hard. Not necessarily because he was my first baby, but because my life was busy, he wasn’t an “easy” baby, and I just wanted to get through everything. I rushed his whole first year because I felt like better things must be on the other side of his first birthday. 

Now? Well, life is less stressful in many, many ways. It’s not all happy go lucky easiness either, but we now have better coping mechanisms. Also, I have no school deadlines, which makes my general situation infinitely less complicated. We are learning to juggle the needs of 2 children. Last week was my first outing with both and without my husband, and I had to figure out how to get a toddler out of a car seat and collect his infant brother without anyone getting hit by a car. We did it successfully 🙂 I have feelings of guilt about not being able to be 100% devoted to either child when they are both home, but I realize this will be a forever feeling. Right now Jackson is going to daycare during the day, so I do get to be focused on Thomas during the week days, which is nice. More than anything, I am trying to be present in my life with my family. Trying to read books, play cows and trucks, and stare into my new baby’s eyes as he nurses. I am not perfect, I still peruse my phone more than I should, still lose my temper sometimes with my 2 year old, but I am so much more relaxed than I was with Jackson as a newborn. It just all feels easier this time, despite the fact that the number of children in our home has doubled. I like the mom I am now so much better. No crying. Just happy. Except when I had a 102 degree fever last week with mastitis. I cried a little then… but I’m on the mend, I think. Everyone thinks they want to be a milk cow when breastfeeding… you don’t though. When you don’t take the time to completely empty out all of the time, you end up with mastitis at 2 weeks post-partum. boo.

I have 3 more weeks of maternity leave to soak in all of the oooie-gooie goodness of my newborn son, then back to work. I am already sad about it, but realize that is our reality, and I will be okay, as will our boys. Just have to remember to be present when I have them with me, because they certainly grow quickly.

ANNND, photo dump:





I can cut the the chase, and happily announce the arrival of our son, Thomas Brown, on the morning of Monday, November 23. He is delightful and our hearts are overflowing.


Thomas Brown 11.23.15 @ 6:20am ~ 8 pounds 2 ounces ~ 20.25 inches

But now for the details I crave when reading a birth story…

Thursday morning I got up and went to Barre class. It was the first time that contractions were impeding my workout, I became teary during the cool down listening to a song that was popular when we were trying to get pregnant with Jackson, and I just wanted to rush home and stay there… instead I went to work and the contractions came and went, nothing painful, just annoying more than anything because they were making me waddle to walk through. I was 39 weeks that day. The nurses’ treats were ready to go, and I was ready, too.


39 weeks, post last workout of the pregnancy.


nurses treats

We had a snow/ice storm pass through the area on Friday the 20th, and I prayed the baby would want to stay put until the roads were safely passable. There is a small hospital in the town in which we live, but they haven’t delivered babies there purposefully in a significant amount of time. It wasn’t my first choice to pop out a kid surrounded by people ill-equipped mentally and physically if things didn’t progress “normally.” The roadside ditch was also not on my list of places to safely deliver a baby. Luckily things stayed calm that night, and the next morning after the roads were cleared, we packed up and headed to my parents’ for the weekend, about an hour and a half from our house, to let my husband go deer hunting and Jack have some time on Nanna and Poppa’s farm.  At time during the weekend the contractions would pick up, but woul peder out if I rested. Sunday afternoon I put jackson in the car to “take a ride” AKA get him to fall asleep for a good nap. While driving, I noted some decently strong contractions, almost painful, but nothing serious – only really noteworthy becaus I was sitting down, not up and active, and typically activity brought on contractions for me. When I got back to my parents’ I also laid down for a nap, slept soundly for an hour and woke up feeling great. Jesse didn’t get a deer, so we packed everything back up, and as we packed I again noticed that the contractions were stronger than a typical BH, but not painful per se. As we drove home, just sitting in the passenger seat, they wer strong enough that my husband noticed when they were happening. I began to time them and they were every 7-10 minutes and lasting about a minute each.


We got home and I began to unpack/make sure everything for the hospital was packed. I gave Jackson a bath and continued to time the contractions, which were maintaining in intensity/duration/interval, but not getting worse. I texted the photographer and my cousin who volunteered to watch Jackson in the case of a middle of the night labor, told them both to turn up their phone ringer, but that I wasn’t 100% convinced I was in labor yet. My cousin offered to take Jackson now, before bedtime, but I already had him snuggled in bed with me and his massive pile of toys, watching TV… And I really just wanted to savor these last few moments when he was my only. Jackson and I had a quiet conversation laying there, about Poppa’s cows (“moo-moos”) and Nanna’s chickens (“balk-balk shickens“, and lots of cars (“beet-beets”). I asked him if it was okay if his baby brother was born that night, and he said yes. Then I asked what we should name him and he said, “blue, green.” LOL. He fell asleep in bed and I just stared at him for a bit, taking in the last time he was my little and the baby. And then we put him in his crib.


I snapped this picture of him sleeping beside me, the last picture of him as my only baby.


I encouraged my hubby to take a shower and get some rest if possible. While I wasn’t ready to leave the house, at this point I knew it was likely that these contractions weren’t going to stop, and we would eventually be going to the hospital. The contractions were still 5-ish minutes apart, so was just taking them one at a time, reminding myself that that is only 12 contractions per hour, and petting the cat with a little extra force through most of them while I was laying in bed, pedaling my feet to help physically extract the pain. At 11pm or so I took a hot bath. And once I got out the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and definitely the real deal. I woke up my hubby, he packed up the car and Jackson as I got through the contractions and called my cousin to warn her we were on our way.

We got checked in L&D around 1am, and I was 4cms. I was informed that they were busy, busy, busy and didn’t have any regular labor rooms left, so I would be delivering in the triage room where we were. I didn’t care, it was nice and a private room with a whirlpool, so whatever. At this point I was pretty sure I would get an epidural, no matter what I had ever said before. I got into the tub there, which helped take the edge off, while they ran my labs and gave my the obligatory IV fluids so the epidural could be placed when I wanted it. I have no idea how long I was in the tub, I kind of lost tract of time and space for a while. It’s funny, I am such an independent person, and in labor my husband just lets me do my thing… he did with Jackson, too… and it doesn’t bother me. I don’t want a hand holder or cheerleader, I just kind of shut into my own head. Around 3:30am I was ready to get out of the tub and have my epidural placed. Once it was in, the nurse checked me again – “a stretchy 7-8” (lovely mental image) – and I settled in with a GREAT epidural. I hate the sensation of the numbness, but in the case of the numbness versus the pain, I choose numb, especially knowing that I wouldn’t have much longer to wait. The photographer was resting in the waiting room. My hubby also grabbed some ZZZ’s. I was awake… too excited to sleep, ready to meet baby.

At 6am I texted my photographer, knowing I was almost ready to deliver. Then I called the nurse and told her the same thing – I just knew he was ready to go and I was right. They got me all set up, I pushed for 2 contractions, and out popped our sweet little wrinkly man at 6:20am. Easy as that. Really, easy as that. He had a nuchal cord wrapped around once, but the doctor was able to untangle him without cutting the cord, so we were able to delay cord cutting like I had requested. Jesse eventually cut the cord, we snuggled skin to skin, and then they took his measurements – 8 pounds, 2 ounces and 20.25 inches long.

jackson meets thomas

Jackson meeting his baby brother.



first official family photo




All ready to go home, on mom’s birthday… best gift ever.

So, we have spent the last week loving on our sweet Thomas, getting him adjusted to our home. Who am I kidding? We are totally adjust our home to him. He is so sweet, and cuddly, and perfect. He is a spitting image of Jackson, but with much more dark hair. He’s a champion eater, back to his birth weight by 4 days of age. I, of course, am making milk by the bucket loads again. Crazy.


thanksgiving 2015

We spent Thanksgiving at home, just the 4 of us. We have so much to be thankful for.



my boys

my little wolf pack


wide awake in the middle of the night

I consider my life so complete right now. I have 2 sweet boys. My husband has been wonderful. Jackson is taking this new baby in stride, so far. We’re not getting tons of sleep, but it’s okay, my heart is calm. My heart is full.

family of 4







38 weeks… a pregnancy update

Well, I am almost done being pregnant for the second time around. I feel a little terrible and guilty that I have not been obsessively recording every milestone… #sorrynotsorry… my mom asked me last week when she should plan to take work off for the baby. I had to laugh a little, I hadn’t even given it a thought. Now that we’re close geographically and I am done with school, I have no worries about bringing a baby home, having help, and adjusting. Which is hilarious, because we have a crazy toddler to introduce the baby to.

A few weeks ago we officially moved in to our new home 🙂 while many things are still in boxes and I have LOTS of changes in mind for the space, we’re all here together under one roof, so it will all get there eventually. In the meantime, I’ll use what’s left of my nesting power to unpack and prepare for baby #2.

not sure where I was at for 31 weeks... oops.

not sure where I was at for 31 weeks… oops.

This pregnancy has again been pretty easy. I keep going to kettlebell class, but stopped running six weeks ago and just walk instead. I’m currently at about 25 pounds of weight gain, and I maxed out at 20 last time. I’m guessing #2 is bigger… I weigh more, feel bigger, and according to my husband, look bigger, too 🙂  This baby is a busy boy, which is reassuring every day – I sit at my desk at work and my belly just dances. I fully intend to deliver during the week I am due (a thanksgiving turkey cooking in here), so I am not anticipating a baby anytime super soon. I would be really surprised if he made an early appearance, but I do know it could absolutely happen. Let’s just hope not, for my sanity. And financial planning. I am only taking 6 weeks off for maternity leave, and want to be off the entire holiday season, which means carrying for 40 weeks – I’m sure the baby cares about my planning and schedule. hehe. Jackson was right on time, I just keep believing #2 will be, too. Not to mention, I have relatively nothing ready in comparison to when I was pregnant with Jackson. We know the baby will be in our room for a few months. I found the newborn clothes and a pack of diapers, and just tonight I put the carrier bases in the cars. I have a bag sorta packed for me, should my labor start “early” and I need to assemble an overnight bag for Jackson that we can grab when needed. I am delivering in the town I work, which is about 30 minutes from the town we live, so there is the potential that my husband would have to grab the stuff and bring it to me, which does motivate me to kinda have it together, because if he has to do it while he knows I’m in labor without him, he’ll freak out and forget stuff. Not that I couldn’t live without most of it, but still… long story short, by the end of the weekend, we’ll be as ready as we’re going to be. And this baby has to wait until at least Saturday evening – I have a hair appointment on Saturday morning and we’re doing family/maternity/Jackson’s 2 year old pictures in the afternoon. After that, I guess I can be okay with… are you listening baby??

I really had no idea it would be so much more physically exhausting to be pregnant while caring for a toddler. I feel bad for Jackson and my husband, as I have not been the most fun mom or wife lately. It’s hard to carry Jackson, who is almost 35 pounds now, but he still wants me to half of the time. And really, he is my only baby for only a little bit longer, so half of the time I want to. Until I pick him up, then I want him to walk. I can barely get my own socks on, so helping him can be challenging. And, let’s just say my husband has been more than his fair share of patient with me… and my narcoleptic insomnia… and my lack of desire to do anything after Jackson goes to bed… and for the next six weeks after this baby is born. He deserves a medal of some sort.

So, as this pregnancy comes to a close, I am excited to meet our little man, excited to get my waistline back, and excited to get settled in as a family of four.

Now, for the photo dump of the last 2 months 🙂 thanks to every one who still checks in with us, I know I am one of the most sporadic bloggers, but I still want to update the world on our world~ A.

last competitive run at 32+ weeks

last competitive run at 32+ weeks

playing with my cousin's son, they are best buds and worst friendamies

playing with my cousin’s son, they are best buds and worst friendamies



moving into a new house is hard work

moving into a new house is hard work



dad is the best :)

dad is the best 🙂



... and I just ate a pumpkin for Halloween

… and I just ate a pumpkin for Halloween

he picked up quickly that little boys dressed as puppies get candy!

he picked up quickly that little boys dressed as puppies get candy!