Elanor: A Year

How it happened so fast I will never know, but our littlest Ringl is officially a year old.


This girl just cracks me up. She has the sweetest blossoming personality. She is more shy and docile than her sister, but will also give smiles to almost anyone that gives her one (and even more so to people that don’t!) She loves to wave and actually does it correctly (meaning she doesn’t wave her fingers towards herself, she waves outwards). She says Dadda, Dadda, Dadda, and Dadda. While she is becoming a lot more vocal that is the one thing she says clearly and knowingly. I have a feeling she is going to be a daddy’s girl.


Instead of crawling on all fours she does more of a scoot. She uses 1 knee and the other leg she pulls underneath her like she’s scooting. I call her tripod sometimes bc she has a bit of a hop in her move because of it. She hasn’t changed her ‘crawl’ since she started. I think she does it because she can hold something in 1 hand and still move quickly and effectively.


She has only worn shoes 1 time, and that was to go outside and play when it was a little chillier than usual. I need to restock on socks, so these little boots were the next best option. She didn’t seem to mind them much, but after crawling all around while we were doing chalk they took a bit of a beating.


She knows how to just sit back and relax. She learned to use a sippy cup really fast (I’m assuming from watching Sarah). She learned how to climb real quickly. I guess she knew if she wanted to sit on the couch with her sister she had to learn to get up there herself. Thankfully she has mastered how to get DOWN as well. We had a cautionary pillow moat for a while there.


She is curious about everything, especially whatever Sarah is doing. She loves to play peek-a-boo while hiding around wall corners and pulling blankets over her head.

At 11 months I took her to the doctor because something just felt a little off. It turned out she had conjunctivitis and an ear infection. She was in great spirits through the entire sickness, just wanted extra cuddles from Stephen and I.


She giggles the biggest grins with her 4 front teeth stealing the show. She got all 4 of those teeth within 2 days of each other. While I never even knew when Sarah was teething as a baby, Elanor made it well known that her mouth hurt and she was not okay with it. It made for a long 2 weeks of sleepless nights and extra nursing. Tiring nights that I will always treasure.

Sarah quickly learned NOT to put her fingers in Ella’s mouth anymore. She will chomp down like nobodies business.


She was “crawling” and not showing any interest in walking and then in less than 2 weeks has turned pro. It just took a week or two of practicing with a few toys for her to catch on. I think Sarah’s excitement and clapping motivated her more than anything else ever could.



I’m pretty sure she would eat bananas every meal of the day if I let her. She likes to bite piece by piece off and I once caught her eating one like a gogurt and had biten it just enough to make a hole and was sucking banana out. Grossily hilarious. I am very excited at how great an eater she has become. She showed zero interest in anything but nursing until she was 10 months old. Now she will eat anything you put in front of her. She even downed a bunch of mushrooms, peas and roast last week!


She has truly added more joy to our lives than we knew possible. Each child has a special power to melt your heart with inconceivable love. It makes me understand Christs love in a whole new manner. To be able to love someone so unconditionally, it makes sense that we call him Father. I can’t imagine how greatly he loves us, when I know my love for my family is minuscule in comparison.


She still nurses 3-5 times a day. At this age Sarah was completely done. Actually, it was the same week she turned 1 that she quit nursing all together. This is another way Elanor is totally different. It is crazy how opposite two children can be.



The past year of being a mom of two has gone by so quickly. Or, as my mother in law so perfectly stated to me once:

The days are long, but the weeks, months, and years fly by.

I love seeing the little girl Elanor is becoming. She is blossoming into a little chatter box that loves to smile and laugh. She is a snuggle bug and little lap nuzzler. She loves her sister more than anyone in the world, while Stephen and I come in close second. It’s hard to believe that our little girl is no longer a baby. This time last year we had a newborn and were fresh home from the hospital. Now she’s walking around the house while eating peanut butter sandwiches and trying to run right along with her big sister.

I am a very thankful wife and mom for the life I am able to live. To spend this precious time with my girls. Time I will never get back. I thank the Lord for this beautiful, exhausting, trying and life-lessons filled opportunity. Being a stay at home mom is something I always wanted to do, and I know few get to do it, so I will not take my roll for granted.

Happy Birthday to our littlest Ringl, who won’t be this little much longer.

Tea & Teeth

Earl grey tea. That’s been my evenings. Every evening. For two weeks now. Why you ask?

This girl

and this girl

They are both teething.

Sarah’s two-year molars and Elanors front 4. It has been a whole new parenting experience. My patience has been tested and I’ve failed. Failed miserably. Failed on more occasions than I want to recall or ever admit. Short to no naps, only one lap for two crying & attention craving wee ones, teeth clinching orajel-avoidance at it’s highest level, and lots (and lots) of curious george episodes.

Guys, parenting is hard. So hard. The most difficult and rewarding thing I have ever done.

It’s awesome. Awesome. Amazing. Wonderful. Beautiful. Awesome, again, and then Hard again. Teething however, not so awesome.


Some Backyard Fun

Can you believe it is already time for school to start again?! Where did the summer go? Actually, since I don’t have children yet in school and it is still 95+ degrees outside it is technically still summer in my book. The new season doesn’t come around until Halloween, and most years a month of so after.

Florida is hot people. While living near the coast is great because of the wonderful gulf winds, that doesn’t stop the humidity and sticky skin factor.

Due to the massive amount of rain we have had lately we haven’t had many chances to go outside. The girls have been going bonkers being cooped up inside, so I was really excited when we were able to have an afternoon outside. We had a great time while Sarah played in her little pool and Elanor watched in the swing. Sarah loves being outside, and pools, and water, and the hose… actually, anything outdoors and involving water. She’s a toddler, it’s what they do.

I decided to finally grab a few pictures that capture our girls growing personalities really well.

One of her many faces

Seriously?! Girl has some spunk.

Proof that she does sit still, even if it’s ever so briefly.

Elanor is so peaceful and chill. She just sat and watched Sarah play in the water

Leftover Easter eggs are great for all sorts of play

It wouldn’t be an honest photo session if there wasn’t some nose picking involved

Elanor watching

Smiling at Papaw & Nana

Our little tan girl

At one point Sarah decided to share the water with Elanor and it quickly escalated from just putting it on her feet to throwing it in the air. Thankfully she’s a good listener and quickly stopped. I’m glad Elanor is used to having water splashed in her face from their bath experiences. It seems there isn’t much Sarah can do that doesn’t make her laugh and grin. Now if only I can bottle and/or channel that joy to last in their teen years… A mom can hope!

Behind the Scenes: A Birth Experience

Remember back when I shared Elanors birth story and I said I had a post coming with more details. Well it turns out I had no idea just how little I would be getting on my computer once baby #2 arrived. While out to dinner with some girlfriends the other night they reminded me about the fact that I hadn’t yet shared the med students experience I mentioned in the final post of Elanors birth story. I hadn’t delivered the story and they were still waiting. On a good note, that means people [other than my immediate family] are still sticking with me and checking this site, thanks for not giving up on me guys, and for holding me accountable. So, without further ado, here it is…


Before I dive in I am giving you a Warning: this post is a bit graphic. I am sharing some of the nitty gritty details of childbirth. If you don’t want to read about blood, or see the word placenta, stretching, or lubrication, then you should definitely stop now. I want to share about the stuff people don’t talk about and you are completely blindsided with when you have a baby. Alright, you have officially been warned, now lets get to some of the truths behind birth.

During and after the time that Elanor was delivered, my midwife, Jenny, tested and instructed the med students that were in the room with us. While most people would probably say no to having a few extra strangers in their delivery room, saying yes turned out to be a really cool experience. It made for the most informative first hand account of what was going on with our baby and my body. We got to hear, learn, and see so many details that you don’t normally hear about as the patient.

One of my favorite parts of Elanors birth process is how aware I was during the entire process. Between pushes I was listening to Jenny talk and I remember hearing her say “More” several times to one of the nurses. I looked over at the nurse and watched her squeeze some gel into Jenny’s gloved hand. She put her hand back up and the nurse re-filled it and Jenny told her “thank you”. I realized at that moment that that nurse was one of my favorite people in the entire room. I looked at her and said “Yes, thank you!” She chuckled a little and smiled at me. I know, without a doubt, that the combined effort of Jenny’s constant ‘work’ and that nurses ‘generosity’ are some of the main reasons I didn’t tear delivering Elanor. I can not express my overwhelming gratitude for that fact. I was able to get up and walk around, pain-free, not even an hour after having our baby.

Have you noticed that on every tv show where a character is having a baby they mention and even joke that the mother is going to poop on the table while pushing? Guess what, that doesn’t happen to everyone. That’s right folks, I am announcing to you all that I did not poop while birthing, not just one, but both our daughters. I’m 0/2. I will share a loose (hehe) tidbit though, when you are laboring a natural part of the process is for your body to push everything out. I’ve talked to several friends about this and it is very common to have to use the restroom before you get to the push point. Your body prepares for birth by naturally clearing and cleaning itself out. As the baby moves further down so does everything in your bowels, which can be a welcoming thing since constipation is such a big issue during pregnancy. See ladies, a natural labor can be great. You think you have to poo and you finally can. Then, a while after that, you have more pressure like you need to push and you get a cute little baby! I call that a win-win situation! And if it turns out you do end up pooping while pushing I am pretty positive you won’t even know it, or care. If you do somehow see that it happened you will quickly forget because it’ll be the best rewarded bowel movement you’ll ever have ; )

I already mentioned how we had Med Students in the room during delivery. One thing that still makes me chuckle is one of the students facial expressions. There were 2 girls and 1 guy. They were standing on the right side, out of the way but within range to see everything going on down below. After a series of pushes I remember telling Jenny I needed a breathing break during the next set of contractions. While I was mustering up some energy Jenny was commenting about the fact that our baby had a head full of dark hair. I was looking down to see and it became time to push again. After a push and while sucking in a deep breath my eyes wandered to the med students. The look on the male students face was laughable. He had a look of confusion, and terror, like he was taken aback by what was taking place. I noticed him make that face twice. Once just after a push, and the other time was when Jenny was quizzing them after I had the baby and pointing out to them that I didn’t have any perineal or anterior tearing (praise God for lubricant!). I don’t know if that guy was doing a required rotation or wanting to be an OBGYN, but if so he might should look into another speciality.

After Elanor was born one of the next steps, as with all babies, is to cut the umbilical cord. I was holding our baby while Stephen and I were both taking in all her precious features and Jenny started talking to the med students. We weren’t paying too much attention to them, but we did hear a few things. We learned that the cord should wait to be cut until the blood has pretty much stopped pumping from mother to baby. Stephen cut the cord with both our daughters, so it was cool to watch the placement of the clamps and why you cut when you do. Not safe to do it right away, but you can’t wait too long either. However, if you are ever in a situation where you have your baby outside of the hospital, do not cut the cord. Wait for medical personnel to arrive. Just another random piece of information that was shared.

The placenta – that thing is smaller than you’d think. People don’t really tell you this, but after you have your baby you also “deliver” the placenta. It certainly can’t stay in there, so how else is it gonna come out?! I didn’t know this and I had had another baby before (pain meds did a horrible/REAL number on me with our first child)! After delivering the placenta Jenny held it up for the med students to see and announced “okay guys, this is the placenta.” It was almost humorous, like she was showing off a cute shirt she just bought at the mall. She was showing it to the med students and telling them about the dark maroon color and then, totally unexpectedly, flipped the thing inside out. It was crazy. Stephen and I were both watching and I asked ‘so that’s where our baby has lived?’ and she held it in our direction and showed it to us. Crazy. It may sound weird or gross to some people, but we thought it was kinda awesome. I don’t think we would have gotten a view of the placenta if med students hadn’t been there, much more a show of it being flipped around and inside out. Good decision confirmed!

Another tip from my experience, don’t just suggest but verbally INSTRUCT the doctor/midwife delivering your baby that you do not want birthing intervention. Meaning no vacuum, forceps, episiotomy, or whatever else they may throw at you. My doctor with my first baby knew I didn’t want any intervention, and because she wasn’t there we told the nurses and on-call doctor that I didn’t want intervention. Well it seems she was in a hurry and didn’t care about my wishes because not only did she give me an episiotomy, but she used the vacuum to pull Sarah out. I didn’t know about this until weeks later, which explained why my healing process was so long and painful. I can’t watch the TLC show “A Baby Story” because the few episodes I have seen involved doctors rushing the baby out with forceps and/or episiotomies which resulted in these new mothers having an extended, and far more painful, recovery. As well as a painful and unpleasant birth story. Complication-free vaginal childbirth was not meant to involve surgical tools.

If you want/hope to have a natural birth the most important thing you can do is talk to mom’s that have done so. There is nothing more encouraging than hearing first hand accounts of how natural childbirth really feels, physically AND emotionally!

I really wanted to write this because I feel that as women we have been taught to fear, and even look down upon, natural childbirth. We are told that the pain associated is cruel, unnecessary, and even sexist, and if we are smart modern women we will properly plan for every possible scenario to avoid the cruelty of labor & childbirth. I am sad that I myself was uneducated and fearful with my first delivery. I was scared into an epidural during our first daughters birth. I’m not saying that choosing an epidural is wrong at all, don’t misunderstand me here. My point is that it was not at all what I wanted, but the nurses and doctor did a great job at coming in every 20 minutes and suggesting intervention methods. Labor going slow? You need some pitocin. Pitocin scares you? Oh, just get an epidural. Epidural scare you? Here’s some heavy dose pain meds. You’d almost think the hospital staff got a cut of the bill by how much medicine they suggested and encouraged I take. I don’t see why insurance companies don’t encourage natural delivery or midwives, it’s so much more cost effective. Not to mention the quicker healing and recovery for the mother. If you have complications or are high risk, intervention and planning makes sense. What is most important is that mom and baby are safe. Specialists are around for a reason! Advancement in medicine has made it possible for women who normally couldn’t carry a baby to term, or even get pregnant, the chance to have their own children. It’s an incredible blessing for so many families. Or heck, if your husband is 6’8 and 280lbs I get that you could be birthing a potentially frighteningly large child… ;) I just want to let people know, from my own experiences, and discussions with other moms, that natural childbirth can be far less painful than a medicated/controlled birth. Our bodies were made to do this, and for me it is the most rewarding and exhilarating thing I have ever done. I feel that most women have no idea what really happens just before, during, and after birth. I know I didn’t with my first. All we ever hear are horror stories, and what can go wrong if we let things happen without following the hospital/doctors suggestions. When I told people I wanted to deliver naturally the most common response was “Why?”. It was actually very discouraging for my first pregnancy. Thankfully I prepared myself the second go around and was able to have my dream delivery. My best advice is to educate yourself. Know what you are subjecting your body and baby to before you make final decisions. I found Dr. Sears The Birth Book extremely helpful and informative, as well as first hand birth stories, and the childbirth documentary “The Business of Being Born” (which is on Netflix).

Women, we are tough. I continually find that I am far stronger than I knew when faced with challenges and adversity. It is because of our bodies natural abilities that mankind continues to reproduce and exist. Stand up for your rights as a child bearer. In my case that was done with the decision to find a midwife I connected with and trusted, researched pregnancy, labor and childbirth, and made my mind up for myself. While modern medicine is a wonderful thing, I didn’t want advanced drugs and technology. I’ve been on both ends of the birth spectrum; a controlled/hospital run birth and then natural and med free. For me personally, the latter served much better.


E at 14 weeks

Our little bean at 14 weeks old.

She is such a chill little girl. Loves being snuggled but is completely content just watching her big sister. They have the absolute biggest smiles I’ve ever seen when they are looking at one another. Sarah loves it when Elanor smiles at her, it’s my favorite thing ever!

I sure love my girls! :)

E @ 12 weeks

These weekly photos are a bit sporadic. I blame my computer and early bedtime. I actually ran out of space on my laptop, which is why you haven’t seen any pictures from Sarah’s 2nd birthday party yet. Stephens working on helping me clear up some [much needed] space. I think getting rid of the picture folder marked 2004-2007photos will be a quick and easy fix.

Moving on to the topic at hand… Here is E at 12 weeks old, which was also Valentines Day!


It’s weird how time speeds up when kids enter life. This time 2 years ago Sarah wasn’t even 2 weeks old and now we have a 2 year old and a 3 month old!
We are some blessed parents :)

9 weeks, 6 weeks ago

It seems I have fallen a bit behind on the weekly photo updates with our sweet Elanor. here she is at 9 weeks (which was 6 weeks ago as of today)…

It’s crazy how our two children can be so different! Elanor is a little cuddle bug and sleeps ALL the time. It’s a big blessing since Sarah is in such a fun play mode right now, so it makes it easy to hop between them.

I am loving life with my two girls. Could not picture it any different :)


I’m cuddling with this sweet girl at church…


Enjoying this time while I can. I love that our church’s “cry room” is just outside the worship area, with a tv, so I can ‘be there’ and hear the message when Elanor needs to eat. It’s the small things that make a HUGE difference when you have a little one.

I love Sundays.


Some Phone Photos

Life has been pretty busy with a sick toddler and a cuddly 2 month old, so here’s a peek at what we’ve been up to lately…


Mothers Day Out



Sister Time



Eating Yogurt



Sweet Cuddly Naps



Fun with Sarah


Car Rides


Time with Nana



Coloring with Gampa






Backseat Fun



Styling with Sunglasses








Sandbox Fun


Picnic (napping)


Car Decor



Passing time @ the Doctor
(playing with the trash bin)



Playing with Angel



January Blooms



Getting Sweet Smiles



Going on Walks


Color Time w/ Mommy






Enjoying the Outdoors



6 & 97 weeks

I’m back for our weekly photo update. This one was especially fun when Sarah decided to join in! Check ’em out.


 the [Almost] Superman

Air Traffic Runway Controller

Sarah got jealous
(and Elanor looks like she’s gotta poo… haha)

That’s a lot of growth difference in 20 months!

Our Sweet Sarah
(check out that sharp K9 tooth popping through!)

Tummy Time

There ya have it. Our girls had their first combo photo shoot and it was a huge load of adorable!