happy FOURTH birthday, eleanor!

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i thank my heavenly father every day for entrusting me to be a mama to the sweet and special spirit that is eleanor.  she is full of such life. such an imaginative, curious and intelligent little being who loves to ‘chit chat’ with anyone and takes such good and gentle care of her little brothers.  today she turns 4 years old (FOUR!!!!) and i’m just over the moon proud of her. she is a good, brave and beautiful girl and i love her so much it hurts.

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happiest 4th birthday, baby girl! you are the little one who made me a mama… and you’re kind of my guinea pig in a way (poor first born) as i try to figure out how to best be a mother and raise you up. thank you for bringing such sunshine and warmth into our family.  i am nothing but proud of the little lady you are becoming.  we love you eternally.

happy birthday josh!

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i know, i know…. it’s so sappy and cliché to say, and i’m even rolling my eyes as i type this, but after 7 1/2 years of marriage to this man, i still feel like i scored the world’s biggest jackpot marrying him.

i love josh for many reasons. today is his birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY!), so i thought it appropriate to share a few right here!…

i love josh because he is a fully invested husband and father. he is the most playful and energetic dad, and he makes sure every single day that both his kids and me know how much we mean to him.

i love josh because he makes me feel like i’m the most beautiful woman in the world, and he laughs at my dumb jokes. (my jokes are the very dumbest, i am well aware. so this one means a lot.)

i love josh because he has exceptional taste in music and doesn’t “shhhhhh” me when i talk and ask a million questions whenever we’re watching a movie together.

i love josh because he is the only person who can talk me into eating my own full pint of ice cream in one sitting and then also talk me into going completely off of ice cream with him as well.  (he can be quite convincing, on both accounts.)

i love josh because even when we argue, he’ll still sit down and hear me out. and not just half way, but he really listens to what i have to say. he is also quick to forgive, which i really really love about him.

i love josh because we make a great team.  because he is a hard worker and remains calm and confident when working for ourselves can sometimes feel stressful and overwhelming for us both.

today is his birthday, and i hope he will always know how much he means to me.  he’s my best friend, and i’m so glad we’re stuck together for all eternity!  muah ha ha ha! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ties and fries. i love you!!!

a new photography e-course from A Beautiful Mess!

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last may, our friend (and talented photographer) candice stringham, traveled to new york city to photograph our family for a new e-course she is teaching with our friends at a beautiful mess! the e-course is called capture real life in 52 weeks!

the course just launched yesterday and is all about inspiring you to document and celebrate everyday life through photos.  you can use any kind of camera for the class, including a smartphone, since the technical side of photography is not covered. the course is formatted to help you capture your everyday with several challenges, tips and instructions from four different photography instructors. you can learn more about the course here

below are a few of my favorite photos candice caught of us while she was in town prepping for this course.  many of these pictures come from a part of the course called ‘a day in the life’ challenge, where you capture a picture at the same time every hour during one day. since candice is a good friend of ours, we had the best time spending the entire day with her, chatting and hanging out at home and exploring the city when not taking pictures…

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learn more about the e-course and everything it includes, here.  thanks again to candice for coming to new york and taking such beautiful photos of our family!  this post is in partnership with our friends at a beautiful mess!

a snow day!

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well, the big and much anticipated blizzard named juno wasn’t as epic as expected, and i’m a little bit bummed about it.  josh took the kids to soccer practice bright and early yesterday morning while the flurries were still beautiful and white and really coming down, but by the time i got outside in the afternoon, a lot of it had melted.   most of the city was still shut down though, and we made sure to make our way to central park and enjoy some sledding together before the snow got too dirty.

sledding was exciting and fun for about twenty minutes, and then samson realized his hands were cold. he does this every time we go out in winter weather, refusing his snow mittens and insisting on either wearing cotton knit mittens (that get wet fast) or no mittens at all. i keep hoping it’s one of those things where he’ll realize on his own that he really needs to listen and put on his snow mittens, but every time i try to explain, he still refuses. (any helpful ideas here?)  life with a 2 1/2 year old boy is really testing my patience right now. i have to take a lot of deep breaths these days, but i love him so much it hurts.  anyway, besides the hands being cold fiasco, sledding was such a good time! (here’s a video of e and s coming down the hill!) it was the first time we have gone sledding as a family. i think it will remain special in that way.

a few more iPhone photos from the day…

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we made pancakes and bacon for a late breakfast after soccer. i hated bacon while i was pregnant so it was nice to get to have it today and enjoy it.  i was starting to think towards the end of my pregnancy that i might never like that stuff again. and that’s just sad.

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conrad looked so sweet after i nursed him on the couch and set him down that i had to snap a quick picture. how is he six weeks old already?

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the snow came down in the most beautiful and big flakes on monday evening. here’s a little video i caught of the flurries.

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during these long days where we spend most of our time inside with the snow, there is a lot of play-doh messes in the nursery and baby talking to conrad going on to get him to smile.  he’s at the precious six week mark where he can focus on our faces and voices now when we’re close to him and smiles so big when we talk and sing to him as he’s looking at us.  it is making eleanor and samson’s day every time he grins for them! i need to get some video of it. it’s just so so special to see these three interact together.

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this face!

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three of my four kids. just kidding! but sometimes i think josh is having just as much fun or more fun than E and S with things like this.  which isn’t a bad thing, i’m glad he’s such a playful dad.  it’s really fun to see him so energetic and excited about things like pulling his kids up the snow hill!

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this sweet girl had the best time.

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conrad stayed nice and bundled inside the carrier for the afternoon.
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i felt terrible that samson’s hands were so cold as we headed home.  so we stopped to get hot chocolate at shake shack which turned into dinner at shake shack! don’t mind if we do!

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and here’s a fun picture samson took of josh and me at the table when josh was reaching for the iPhone to point it up higher at our faces. oh, memories.

hope you stayed safe and warm during the storm, and here’s to hoping for a few more days full of crazy snow this winter!

winter boots for everybody!

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so…. the east coast has been hit with what they are saying could go down as a huge “historical storm!” juno, is what they have named her, and she has been coming down like a mad woman since yesterday morning.  the subway is closed, the grocery stores are pretty bare, and we are quite anxious to get out there and play in some of that beautiful white stuff once the parks reopen!

considering that the snow is here to stay for a few days (and we won’t see warm weather til april), we’ve been on the hunt for some new winter boots for samson, who has outgrown his last pair, which both he and eleanor wore over the past few years.  so in honor of boot shopping and storm juno, we’ve rounded up a few of the boots we love over here, and a few that have caught our eye, while we’ve been shopping for new boots for samson with the hope that this is helpful for anyone else boot shopping!

boots for littles:
1. E and S have a few different pairs of these hunter rain boots and we’ve loved them. they are great quality and have lasted a few years now. we use these insert socks which helps keep their feet extra cozy and warm.
2. these bogs boots are genius with the hand grips to pull them on and off! especially as little ones become more and more independent and want to do everything on their own.
3. and how cute are sorel boots in a teeny tiny size? the perfect snow boot!

boot for women:
1. i’m super obsessed with these. i don’t own them, but they are on my wish list because look at them! they are gorgeous.
2. i own this pair of shoes by melissa rain boots and i live in them…. rain or no rain. they are really comfortable so i tend to favor them when i’m out and about walking all over this city.  i love them.
3. i bought these sorel boots a few years ago and they are wonderful. the bright laces help me feel better about it being cold outside. ha! (ps. they run really big so size down if you’re looking at getting these.)

boots for men (by josh):
1.  i’ve had these gore-tex hiking boots for about 15 years, and they’ve been amazing! i really love having boots that are completely waterproof, and they’re super versatile. great for hiking and camping, they can handle any winter weather thrown at them, and since they’re leather they go with anything (unlike a lot of hiking boots).
2. these maine hunting shoes have been around since 1912!  they’re tall, easy to clean, and built for tough conditions. you can get insulated ones too if you want.
3. or if you’re looking for some rubber rain boots instead, then try these hunter balmoral bamboo carbon boots or a slightly less expensive hunter field boot here.