Blog

Where my zodiac people at?

I mentioned in our post a few weeks ago that a friend told me if Mav was born by February 18th, all 3 of our kids would be “air signs” – a Libra, a Gemini and an Aquarius!

Morning snuggs

I don’t know much about it (I had to google what the air signs were to even type them above 😂) but apparently “Air energy is all about the mind. Intellectual, curious, and deeply social, the air signs are passionate about interpersonal dynamics.”

While they’ll always have that in common, I’ll tell you where they already differ: Mav man has gained almost 1lb/wk since birth 😂😂😂 Kensie never broke the 20th percentile and had to drink pediasure until she was 2. Leighton was a little higher on the charts than K, but always a decent amount below average.

But thankfully, he still fits right here for our lap naps.

We just started napping and sleeping Maverick in his crib a few days ago and it’s been a GAME changer. Homeboy loves him a quiet, dark room all snuggled up. He puts himself right to sleep and doesn’t move for HOURS. 👏🏼 At least coming from the parent who’s home with him in the middle of the day, it’s life changing. 😬

And his little smiles when he wakes up MELT me 😩🥰

We’re 7 weeks in now and it’s safe to say we’re adjusting pretty well to life as a family of 5! I think Chris and I would both agree that 1 on 3 can get a little chaotic, but we’re navigating the 2 on 3 decently…for now. 😆

The girls can drive me batshit with their nonstop bickering & 12 outfit changes in an hour…but they really are the BEST big sisters and have adjusted so well to having a new baby around taking up lots of mom’s attention!

Kensie May be adjusting a little TOO well. She asked me this morning if we could have “two more. A brother and a sister at the same time”!!! ☠️ When I took a video to send to Chris she decided we needed an even 6 instead. HAAAA!!

(FYI y’all, it’s a hard, hard, HARD hell to the no).

Chris and I actually wanted the last pregnancy to be twins…and now I know the good Lord knew what he was doing when he blessed us with one. 😂

Elle is still obsessed and over the top about her baby brudder. If he’s crying she SPRINTS across the house to bring him a “chupa” (pacifier) or console him. She also intrudes anytime I’m in his room to feed him (in hopes of a few minutes of silence 🙃) and requests daily photos with him.

Clearly, my house is the place to be if you want some peace and quiet…HAAAA.

I started working out again last week and aside from being insanely sore, I am feeling physically and mentally great! I sure did miss sweat dripping and heavy lifting with my friends. 😅 I’d say Mav is adjusting well, too!

On Wednesdays we wear ORANGE
It’s the headband for me 😂

In addition to watching nightly princess performances and cleaning up diaper blowouts – the next several weeks will be filled with house projects, party planning and keeping these 3 nuggets fed and thriving…send prayers. And cookies.

I’m a believer! 🙌🏼

The only breaking news I have to share is only breaking news to me and maybe 2 friends with babies that need this..HA!!!

Chris’ top recommendations for friends having a baby are always our chiro and a doc-a-tot. Well, ADD THE DREAMLAND BABY SWADDLE to that list. There’s a few influencers on the gram with discount codes sometimes…Maybe one day I’ll make it big and have one for y’all but today is not that day. 😆

Honestly, sleep is worth ALL the rubies. Any mom will agree.

Sidenote: this is why my kids need a chiro. Who sleeps like that?! 🥴😂 (before I get attacked – he was fine and breathing and only like this for maybe 60 seconds and we moved him.)

We really cannot complain about Mav’s sleep because he does great and has since day 1 – we were just WAY spoiled with how peacefully and long our girls slept. 😆 Maverick never. stops. moving. so he wakes himself up and if you swaddle his arms down homie gets PISSED.

He sleeps with his arms crossed on his chest 100% of the time.

There were several nights I had wrapped him in his Little Sleepies blanket instead of the normal muslin swaddles – it’s bamboo and a heavier fabric. I noticed the nights we used that one he slept the longest and moved the least; so, when I saw the weighted sleep sack, I read at least 100 reviews 🤣 then I bit the bullet. 100% worth it!! Those targeted ads really did me a favor this time. Lol!!

We’ve gotten 4 consistent nights of 12+ hours of sleep! He wakes to eat 2x and goes right back to bed on his own, no pacifier or rocking needed. 👏🏼 (**knocking on wood and praying that telling y’all doesn’t jinx it**)

Oh, I guess I do have more breaking news that’s applicable to a broader audience…

Don’t walk – RUN to Publix and get these grapes. 🤤

They’re DELICIOUS and perfect for satisfying my sweet tooth when I’d like to house 86lb of chocolate at night. Okay, I think my product reviews are done for the day. 😆

I guess I have 2 other kids I should mention, mainly since this blog is literally named after them. 😂😂😂

This weekend we went to the “Taste of Oviedo” event, mainly because the weather was AMAZING and we needed to be outside – but I had no clue how huge it was and how awesome it would be for the kiddos! The girls had a blast on the coolest blow ups and rides! I’m currently scouring the internet for these bumper boats so hit me up if you find them. 😜

I’ll leave you with my kids in their purest form – Kensie the performer, who also changed her outfit no less than 10 times today…

…and the most perfect example of Elle’s Maverick obsession.

I was trying to take a picture of Mav’s outfit and she walked in, saw him on the floor and immediately ran to lay by his side.

Peep that shadow…INCOMINGGG
But they’re SO sweet 😍🥰

I hope someone loves you this week as hard as Elle loves her baby brudder. 🤍

Maverick is here!!!

Oh, HEY!! We’re back! Because what kind of mom would I be if Mav never got a blog post?!

I guess we can start with the most popular question I’m asked…How’s life with 3?

It’s chaos. Pure chaos. 😂 I’m not going to lie. BUT, we’re adjusting! Every day is a new adventure.

Looks so blissful here though. 😆

The other question I’ve been asked a few times is “does it feel different to have a boy?” Umm, not yet? Other than diaper changes (0/10 like the boy diaper situation) it’s pretty much just like having a baby? So far. 😆

I would say Mav surprised us with his early entrance, but surprise isn’t really the word I would use. “Scared the shit out of us” is more accurate. 🙃

Both girls were almost a week late. Maverick was due Feb 28th. A friend told me both the girls are “air signs” (a Libra and a Gemini) and if he came by the 18th he’d be the third air sign, which is Aquarius! I said welp, no way he’s coming that early. Jokes on me y’all. On February 16th we welcomed Maverick to the world! 🥳

The cliff note version of his birth story: I was at my 38 week check up. His heart rate was 114. 110-160 is “normal” and the last few check ups he hovered right around that 110 mark. They put me on monitors to make sure he was okay. It’s called an non-stress test (NST). The week before we passed. Apparently this time, we failed. They sent us for an ultrasound for a Biophysical Exam (BPP). They take 30 minutes to find 4 things (movement, breathing, etc) and you get a score out of 8. We got a 2/8.

The doctor basically said “do not pass go, do not collect $200, get yo ass to the hospital.” So, I did.

BUT – I can’t leave out the most relaxing part of the story. To set the stage, I was just told by a doctor, with clear concern all over her face, that they will check me in triage and are possibly going to rush me in to the OR for a C-Section. As I’m crying, half terrified of walking into the hospital about to get my stomach severed open and a baby pulled out, CHRIS HALL WAS NOT ANSWERING HIS PHONE. I called him 10 times. TEN. I am not exaggerating. And his office 4 times. And his coworker. All on my 3 minute drive across the street…I was 603% sure Chris was going to miss the birth of his son. 😅

On my TENTHHHHH call, he answered. I told him we’re having the baby and he needed to come to the hospital. Clearly I caught him way off guard because he asked me twice “which hospital”. Oh idk, maybe THE ONE WE HAVE HAD 2 OTHER BABIES AT?! 😂😂 Bless this man. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed your bro date lunch in winter park, darling…

Spoiler alert: he made the birth. 😉

Anyway, I got put on a monitor immediately and Mav decided he’d cooperate so luckily they didn’t have to cut me open. Since I was full term and they didn’t want to take any risks (you know, liability CYA type stuff) they told me they’re going to induce me. They did. He came. I didn’t get surgery. All is well. 👏🏼

(I said that was the cliff notes. Could y’all imagine if I typed out the whole thing? 😆)

Phew.

Fresh out the womb!!

In other news, during our 36 week growth scan, they found that Mav had an enlarged kidney. It was essentially “not a concern and they’d follow up after birth”.

Since he was born 2 weeks later, it did shrink some but was still enlarged; which led to 2 extra days in the hospital waiting on ultrasound results and a catheter procedure to make sure his bladder wasn’t back flowing to his kidney and there wasn’t an internal issue with his urethra. Woof!

The good news? He passed the dye test and there was no concern for infection!! The not good news? We have to keep doing follow up ultrasounds until he gets 2 back to back with “normal” results and LAWD THEY ARE NOT CHEAP. 💰

We had his first follow up today and it showed that both kidneys are now slightly enlarged. 😥 Apparently this is very “mild” and “common” and it’s something we just have to keep monitoring. Something about kinks in tubes and how they outgrow it naturally…a bunch of medical jargon that makes sense when the doctor explains it to me but I can’t correctly relay the information afterward. 😂 Long story long – he’s okay and prayers up that it resolves itself before our next appointment. If not, you can find me over on gofundme. 🤷🏼‍♀️

On to the good good:

Kens and Elle LOVE their little brother. And while they may drive me crazy with loving him a little too hard, they are the BEST big sisters.

Elle (almost 3) – Mav (12 days) – Kensie (5 1/2)

Elle is hyper focused on him. He’s the first thing she wants when she comes home or wakes up. “Brudder! Brudder? Where’s brudder? Awww. Hi baby brudder. Chupa? Yeah? *kiss*” <— every. Time. 😆 She will also try to shove his chupa (Spanish for pacifier…) down his dang throat when he’s completely asleep. 🤦🏼‍♀️

Best depiction of her love: she walked inside 30 sec before this. Asked to hold Mav. I said “yes as soon as he finishes eating”. Boom. Tantrum. 😂

Kensie loves to hold him and she’s truly the BEST helper. She will do anything for me, if it’s for him. 👏🏼 She kisses him good morning first thing when she wakes up and she’s so gentle and endlessly patient when he wails at the top of his lungs…a personality trait I wish I could inherit. 😂

The girls also so used to me taking their picture when they’re with him that now they just request photos with him. 🤷🏼‍♀️😅

K & L have this super power of tuning him out when he cries. You guys…it’s not like a cute “wah wah feed me” kind of cry the girls had. It is level 10, wake the whole neighborhood, find shelter, a tornado is coming level HOLLERING. 🥴 My ears ring for at least an hour after he stops. I wish I were kidding.

My ears hurt looking at this.

To cap off our day, it was Mav’s initiation to being an official Hall baby. If you followed our blog with K, you know my kids like to have 💩 explosions in their car seats. At 5 weeks old, he had his first full on car seat blow out. But y’all – third time is a charm and THIS MAMA WAS PREPARED. I found car seat covers and now I won’t have to wash shit out of the car seat liner anymore! 🙌🏼

Kim & Michelle, y’all the real MVPs for getting these off my registry 🤍

Also, I’m baffled they sell these in anything but a 2 pack. So if you’re poppin this baby into your amazon cart right now, double it. You need a back up for when one needs to be washed. (Pro tip. You’re welcome!)

What I was not prepared for was him peeing all over the wall while I was trying to clean his shit off his leg and the changing pad and his clothes and my arm and literally everywhere. I look up. A stream. Through the thin air. Onto the wall. (Luckily at a restaurant. Not my wall. But I promise I cleaned it up. 😂😂😂)

In summary:

✔️ changing boy diapers sucks

✔️ I’ll never be on time for anything again

✔️ Kidneys are expensive

✔️ 3 kids is chaos

✔️ we are alive

✔️ changing boy diapers sucks

My family and a few close friends have given me a hard time for stopping the daily blogs…you know, all 5 of you that cared, but I’m going to TRYYYY to bring them back more frequently. I mean, I probably need to do something since it costs $300 to renew this site annually. That’s like a whole tank of gas nowadays. Or a third of a kidney appointment.

We’ll be back…soonish. 😬

“Are you thinking about harming yourself?”

“Are you thinking about harming yourself?”

How did those words feel when you just read them?

I’ve been sitting on finishing this post for weeks now. The words have been heavy on my heart, but I’ve been taking most of my downtime to focus on healing. On being present with my family. On making time for those I want to show up for. While writing can be an outlet for me, writing posts like this also opens up a very fresh wound.

Sunrises were William’s favorite.
He’d beg his friends to drive out to the beach at 5am with him to watch them.

With the Holidays here, this message has been even heavier on my heart. So has the thought of facing family gatherings where it’s inevitable that we’ll all feel a large presence missing; because, he is.

Thanksgiving 2016

Since my last post, I’ve been told several stories, many by friends and some by strangers, of how they’re trying to manage their anxiety. How they’ve experienced suicidal thoughts. How they’ve even attempted suicide. And the good part? How sharing William’s story was a wake up call. How this is the first time they’ve said it out loud. How they’re seeking help. How they’re realizing that maybe suicide isn’t the answer. 🤞🏼

Convos with KB 🕊

Another thing I’ve realized through these stories? All too commonly, it’s the people we least expect. The ones that showed no signs. The ones that seem happy. The ones that are there for everybody else.

Happy. Athletic. Funny. Compassionate. Popular. KIND. All of these are words I’ve heard used to describe my baby brother, over and over again.

I told my therapist I’m terrified.

“How do I really check in on my friends and family. How am I supposed to know if they’re not okay?”

I didn’t even know my own brother was in a dark place. How am I supposed to know if someone else is? How far do I take it? When I ask if they’re okay, they’ll probably say yes. How do I know when to push it a step further and that they may not be okay?

“ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT HARMING YOURSELF?”

That was her answer. “Ask your friends if they’re thinking about harming themselves.”

WOOF. It’s forward, right? It’s hard to hear. It’s even harder to ask. But the alternative? I promise it’s the worst. Asking it is the easiest thing you can do, in comparison.

Uncle Wee-yum 💙

Her analogy gave me a lot more confidence in how I can truly show up for the people I love. You can’t talk someone off of a ledge. You can reach out your hand out and offer for them to take it. And maybe they won’t.

But, how can we expect an honest, vulnerable answer without an honest, uncomfortable question? Someone’s not likely to respond to “you doing okay?” with “no, I want to kill myself”; but they might respond to “are you thinking about harming yourself” with a very honest “yes”.

So if you check in, CHECK IN. Be present in that conversation. Be intentional with your words. If you’re not sure where to start, tell them William’s story. Use it to start that conversation.

I can tell you what I did do immediately after that phone call was talk to the 3 people I was most worried about and asked them this very raw question. Fortunately, at least for now, I got 3 “no”s. What I didn’t expect was how it opened the door to the most honest conversations I have had with those people about how they were truly feeling and full disclosure: it was a complete relief, on both sides.

I hope sharing this helps someone. Anyone. On either side of the equation. If you feel alone. If you’re struggling. TELL SOMEONE. Anyone. Hell, you can tell me if you have no one else. I promise it’s not a conversation I’ll shy away from. If this time of year magnifies that pain, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

If you’re worried about someone, CHECK ON THEM. Really check. Ask the hard questions. If you’re close enough to care that much, they’ll understand your actions come from a place of deep love and you never know, it may lead to one of the the most honest and open conversations you’ve ever had.

I hope everyone gets to spend this time of year with someone they love, whether it’s friends or family or both. I hope it feeds your soul and fills your heart. I know it does for me. ❤️

Let’s normalize not being okay.

This may be the most vulnerable post I have ever written, but if it helps even ONE person, it will be worth it.

Normally this blog is used as a memory journal for my girls, so for those that have followed us for years, I’ll fill you in on the fact that they’re both doing wonderfully. Kensie is an (almost) 4 year old teenager and Leighton is a 16 month old ball of personality. I’ll attempt to get around to a real update on them in the near(ish) future. 😜

In case you missed it…we lost my youngest brother last month to suicide. 💔

It’s been traumatic to say the least; however, one of the positive side effects in my family sharing the honest story is how many people have reached out to us, privately, and admitted THEY were in a dark place, and seeing/feeling the effects of losing Will has been their true saving grace. They’ve taken the steps to get help and I hope that means their family and friends never have to experience a day without them.

I am certain for every 1 that has reached out, 5 others have also benefitted and we will never know about it. If being honest and open can help others in such an impactful way, I figured why stop there.

I had a conversation with a friend of mine this morning, a Doctor that specializes in child therapy, and we discussed her mission of PREVENTATIVE therapy. Ya’ll, the the concept is so simple yet simultaneously mind blowing. The thought that if we can NORMALIZE expressing ourselves to someone at a young age, of understanding ourselves, less kids (and adults) would get to the point of depression, much less act upon that depression. 🙌🏼

If I’m being blunt, I have been dealt some pretty shit hands in the last 30 years. I’ve experienced some traumatic losses that, thank GOD, most people could never fathom. After my dad was murdered when I was 9 (he was a cop, line of duty – I am happy to answer questions or honestly just google Ofc. Christopher Horner and you’ll get the answers you’re probably looking for…), I have always had this small voice in my head that said, “you’ve already experienced the worst of the worst…nothing that bad will ever happen to you again”.

I know it sounds ridiculous and you’re probably thinking “yeah Jenn, that’s not how it works”. Well, yeah…I noticed; but, I always used that thought to calm my (unbeknownst to me) anxiety. How I’ve made it this far without an on-call therapist is actually baffling to me! 😆 (Disclaimer: they did send me to some counselors or something after my dad died but I don’t really remember it and I don’t think I said much…)

I’m an “expert distractor” meaning that when I am in pain, sad, etc. I am GREAT at finding a way to distract myself so I don’t feel those feelings. I have also always been a writer. If I am upset or angry, I will write my feelings alllll down. Sometimes I will say it out loud, sometimes I will delete it, but something about putting my thoughts on paper has always been a cathartic release for me.

Shortly after things settled down from the “to-dos” (…ahem…my welcomed distractions) and William’s service, my cousin and one of my best friends asked if I was going to talk to someone. My initial response was “no, I think I’m good. I mean I’m sad, but that’s normal.” They continued to ask, to check on me and encourage it.

I was sitting in bed one night and reflecting on the day. I realized how disengaged I was from everything going on around me. I didn’t care to be in random conversations with people, hell, I didn’t even want to be around people in general. While I do know the wound is still fresh, I also know that that isn’t me. So I figured, what can it hurt?

I decided I would reach out to a contact another friend had sent me. Well, after my first session I went from “okay, I’ll try and stop it if it’s useless” to “you have lifetime memberships? I didn’t realize how screwed up I am and I need to find a way to fund therapy forever.” 😂

For me, therapy has been a lot of learning about myself. It’s been discovering how and why I process things the way I do, and in understanding how I deal with grief, I’m able to help others grieve, too. It also allows me to have less confusion, frustration and guilt over my feelings and actions, which in turn allows me to be a better friend, mother and wife in the midst of processing this loss.

I want to share a small piece of one thing I learned because it was extremely eye opening to me and I hope this message reaches as many people as possible: The THOUGHT of Suicide is NORMAL. It is a natural, biological reaction. 😯

This is the stigma so many people are fighting to overcome.

Now, if you have those thoughts – the danger comes in when we INTERNALIZE them. Talk to someone. A parent, a friend, a professional, SOMEONE. And if someone talks to you about it, take them seriously. Validate their feelings. Find someone who can help them.

My hope in sharing all of this is that I can do my part to truly normalize NOT BEING OKAY. I also want to state that going through something this traumatic isn’t the only way to “justify” needing therapy. It isn’t something anyone needs to justify. Honestly, it isn’t even something anyone else has to know about if you don’t want them to.

Even if you think you’re okay, I still encourage it. We ALL have hills to climb, obstacles to overcome and sometimes the world just feels like it’s against us. Having an outlet to speak those things out loud (without it being taken out on a spouse, child, friend, etc) is completely invaluable. Therapy truly embodies the concept that we “can’t pour from an empty cup”.

I know for me my first thoughts were “this is so weird. I don’t know this person. What would we even talk about?” but I promise, their schooling did them good. LOL All you have to do is commit to having the conversation; they find a way of opening the door for you to say things you didn’t even know you needed to.

There’s a million things running through my mind constantly – one of the loudest things being “if everyone felt the kind of love and support that has been shown for William BEFORE we lost them, maybe we wouldn’t continue to experience losing loved ones to suicide.”

I’m not saying I have the answer for that, but damn. Why do we only voice how much someone has touched our lives once it’s too late?

I hope if you take nothing else from this, you can take this: reach out to someone who has had an impact on your life and TELL THEM. Not only will it make their day, it might literally change their life.

Let’s normalize not being okay. Let’s normalize needing help. Let’s put time, effort and dollars into resources for mental health. Our minds are not separate from our bodies.

We’re still here! Sorta 🤪

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve updated our blog…but we’re still here!

Life has been full of lots of fun with family and friends, a huge project at work for Chris and some new adventures for me…but we’ll get to that later. 😉

We had 3 trips within 6 weeks and took one family photo….we’ll work on that. Haha!

The longer I go between these posts, the more overwhelming they are to finish – but I so want these babes to have these memories to look back on so here’s to me attempting to recap 2+ months of chaos! 😜

Elle turned 14 months old last week 😢 and KB is quickly creeping up on her 4th birthday!

Watching these two love each other is my absolute favorite part of life. When I pick them up from daycare, Elle is awake and K is napping. As soon as she comes out, Elle leans over and gives her the sweetest hug. Every. Single. Day. 😭🥰

Leighton is still OBSESSED with baby shark. She loveesss to sing and dance. Elle babe is super smart, copies everything – the best is her fake sneeze – and finds creative ways to tell us exactly what she wants (and has a very stern scream, body throw and tantrum if she doesn’t get it 😳).

If only you could hear the whine that accompanied this face 🤪

She says “bravooo!” when she claps, “thank you” when you hand her things (and instructs you to tell her thank you when she gives you things as well 😂), hi, bye, Kensie, mama, dada, baby, cheeeseee, shakes her head and pointer finger for “no”, has a dramatic “yes” nod, and rarely holds still.

My favorite development has been her hugs, kisses and snuggles (finally)!! She’s got those open mouth kisses on lock and blows kisses when she says bye bye! She loves to “use” remotes and gets so proud when the tv stops working as a result. 🤪

Elle recently started her swim lessons and she’s picking it all up so quickly! She LOVES the water and tries to dive her face into the pool every time we’re in it so i’m excited for her to actually get to swim soon!

Never seen a more appropriate bathing suit in my life. 😂 🦈

She’s SUPER close to walking…

…and unless you piss her off, she’s still the happiest babe in town. 😂

And then there’s Kens. K is my sweet snuggly soul.

Of course she can turn on that sass with friends but she’s the best, kindest big sister and loves hugs, kisses and snuggling.

KB is a swim CHAMP and constantly impresses us with her skills. Her quarantine pool days did her good and she can dive all the way down and get toys off the bottom, tread water and loves being thrown.

Kens now has “favorite songs” and we play them on repeat every time we’re in the car. “Hard to forget” by Sam Hunt and “Lady” by Brett Young are her JAMS. She knows (almost) all of the words and it’s adorable to watch her sing along!

We finally got her to stop sneaking into our bed in the middle of the night but it was short lived. She also has this extra pathetically sweet line when we tuck her in…“But I want a real person to snuggle with me. Mommy PLEASSSEEE” …in response to me telling her she can snuggle her stuffed animals. 😆

I go back and forth between “get up and get your knee out of my back” and “one day I’ll miss this”. The struggle is so real. 😬 If I get up to pee, or because she’s actually kneeing me in my back 🙄, she crawls over to Chris and lays on him. Girl has to be touching one of us. No wonder she stayed in my womb so long. 😂

Last month we got to visit family up in Wisconsin and had the best time! I think photos sum it up the best…so here’s the virtual flip book. 😝

After too many tears were shed, I got KB to wear something other than a dress to the airport…but the shoes remained. 🤷🏼‍♀️
No clue why we bought a stroller with 2 seats. This one works just fine. 😆
We had boat days…
“Beach”…aka lake days 😆
This was the COOLEST aqua park. They had a zip line and a HUGE slide down the side of a hill into the lake!
Pool days with super cool drone footage…
And KB convinced just about everyone to drive her around for hours on this thing. 👸🏼
And Elle charmed everyone with photo shoots, dance moves and her sweet snuggles.

We got to spend so much time with my parents, aunts, uncles, grandpa & cousins and made the best memories!

I think that’s a solid synopsis and doubt many are still reading anyway…😆 I need to figure out a better timeline for posts moving forward but let’s be honest – that probably won’t happen. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Elle is ONE!

Leighton turned ONE last week and I’m going to say what every mom says: it went by way too quickly!

I think Leighton has more nicknames than K did at this age and she responds to every one of them. 🤷🏼‍♀️ K calls her “sister”, “my little cutie girl”, “Elle babe” and “Elle girl”. I mainly call her Elle (L-E) girl but I throw in a “Leighton Elizabeth, calm down!” as she thrashes her body around while I dress her. She actually might think her middle name is “calm down”.

Elle is SO animated and there’s no holding back the whole body bounce and arm flails when she’s excited. She loves to dance to baby shark and Elmo and her favorite toy is still a door stopper. Second best is a remote, but don’t you dare give her a “baby toy”. Not interested.

Leighton is obsessed with her daddy (and seems to just stare at men in general 😂) and has FINALLY started giving me snuggles. Only took a year…

L has zero chill. She’s either 100mph or asleep. Even when I feed her at night she eats, then shoves herself away to lay back in her bed. I don’t think she’s let me just hold her, calmly, since maybe 6 weeks old. LOL

She finally started crawling on all 4s, but she still prefers to army sprint across the house. She’s standing and makes her way around the couch as long as she has something to hold on to. She’s so eager to get up and run around with K!

Their bond is the sweetest thing to watch. Kensie is the most caring, protective and gentle hearted big sister. She can be in the middle of a screaming tantrum and will stop in her tracks if it’s for “sister”.

K gets so excited when L wakes up in the morning and L is ALWAYS overly excited to see her. Once I change her diaper K crawls into the chair and says “mommy, can I hold the baby?” 😂😍

Leighton seems like she will be our “rough n tough” one. She climbed Kensie’s Elsa castle 3 times in one week (and fell off twice). 🤦🏼‍♀️

She has always been and still is our little sleep champ!!! Elle sleep trained herself and she’s currently weaning herself from breastfeeding, too. Girl just wants to sink all 4 of her teeth into some FOOD. Zero complaints here.

Except eggs. Gets her lack of love for those from her momma. 🤢

Leighton also has quite the vocabulary. She says momma, dada, hi, bye, yeay, wow, uh oh, cracker (well, “cack uh” 😆)…and I think that’s it right now. She’s a chatter box. She’s also very physical in that when she’s done with something she will chuck it across the room, smacks anyway anything she doesn’t want (with impressive force) and smacks her mouth awkwardly hard when she wants food. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Elle has insane flexibility – her pediatrician thinks she has hyper joint mobility. As long as she continues hitting her milestones, it just means she’s abnormally flexible. I hope it helps her in gymnastics and she’s blessed with the straddle hips that I never had. 😂

This is her signature pose. She likes to sit as well as twerk in this position. Also, she’s obsessed with “petting” Jack.

Leighton’s 1st birthday photos are where we discovered her love for SUGAR. 🤪 She rarely looked up at the camera because she was too busy rolling her body in her cake. 🤦🏼‍♀️

When we tried to get K involved, she asked the photographer for a fork and plate and said she couldn’t kiss her bc she was “messy messy!” 😂😂 If that doesn’t tell you she’s my kid I don’t know what will. I had to point out a clear spot on her face (and probably bribe her while I was at it) for K to commit.

Next up: become bilingual!! Leighton is officially at daycare with K and with how much she already talks, I have no doubt she will be speaking Spanish soon, too. We are SO grateful for Nana, Isa and Mrs. Ria. L has zero tears when I hand her off and the way she reaches for them tells me she LOVES them. They also threw her the sweetest 1st birthday party and K officially has competition for the “princess” role. 🙄😆

I’ve said from the day she was born that she has the most special little sparkle in her eye and it hasn’t faded one bit.

Happy first birthday, Elle babe. We love you SO very much. 🥰

Day 358: L started Daycare!

BIG ANNOUNCEMENTS OVER HERE!!

No I’m not pregnant.

Elle babe started daycare!! (Cue the mixed emotions)

Elle loved Nana the second we got there!

I wasn’t actually sure when we’d start L at daycare. I knew I didn’t want to before a year mainly because I hate pumping and it was easier just to have her home and nurse her. 🤣 Also, I just have this weird thing about wanting my kids to be home the first year. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Day 1 came just shy of 12 months and was literally planned 12 hours prior! Haha

Maria sent me this photo of her eating rice and I died 😂😂😂

I had a crazy day of appointments and errands and Chris and I figured well, if not now, when? That process did not happen with Kensie…It took me 16 months before I sucked it up and took her to daycare and I cried every day I dropped her off the whole first week. LOL

We are SO thankful for Nana and Mrs. Ria and they were so excited and ready to give Leighton allll the lovin’. I was a little emotional but no tears fell…I think it was only because I was so distracted all day! 😆

Safe to say she LOVES Nana’s cooking because she’s been eating like I starve her. 😂😂

I can’t believe my baby is only a baby for one more week. 😢

In other BIG news…WE FIGURED OUT WHAT A HOPEJACK IS!!! Y’all. Kensie has been saying the word “hopejack” for probably a year now. Chris and I are always like …wth is she talking about. It’s been in several different contexts and we just really had no clue what she was trying to say. PROJECT. HOPEJACK IS A PROJECT. 😂😂😂 I felt like I solved a real world problem with that one. I called Chris and he thought I won the lotto with my level of excitement. Hahahaha

She also says “Jew-wa” for the word drawer. We know what she’s trying to say, it’s just hilarious.

If there was ever a time to feel bad for Chris, it’s now. K is becoming more like her mama every day, but on hyperdrive. 😆 She won’t get in bed until she puts all her heels in a perfect line on her shelves…cleans her vanity. Puts her animals back. She’s so particular and OCD and part of me is entertained by it – the other part of me would like for her to be less dramatic sometimes. Haha!!

Apparently she’s not OCD about those make up lines, though. 💀😂

And last big moment I’ve slacked on posting…(I think)…K’s first haircut!!! She got a fresh trim and her tangled mess is looking so much better. She was SO excited and Ashley was the BEST at making her feel safe!!

I’ll end this way overdue post with a few (Ha!) photos because the overload for L’s one year is about to start…now is the time to unfollow me on social media if you don’t like baby spam. 🤪

The girls are loving being back in the gym!!!
And K loves to ask, “can I hold the baby?” Every single morning. 🥰 …though L tries to escape the whole time.
This child is my sugar obsessed one…K could care less about sweets and this mess would give her anxiety. 😂
She wouldn’t smile…but she wanted to eat breakfast on the barstool and she looked so grown 😰
Neighborhood walks and popsicles are the daily staple!
This chunk is adjusting to “real food” like a champ!
And we squeezed in a beach day before our weekends get back to being booked with craziness. They must get their love of it from their dad because this momma is not a fan of sand and salt… 🙈

Here’s to the last week before we have 2 toddlers…😢❤️

One month to go…

In typical Chris & Jenn fashion, we’ve found a way to make ourselves insanely busy again. 😜

I’ve really enjoyed certain aspects of this quarantine…like the projects that are getting done and the uninterrupted family time that I feel like I can be fully present for because I literally have “nothing better to do”.

Child labor is also a plus.
Work hard, play harder 😆
These 2 are always so excited to see each other and it is the CUTEST ❤️

The real motivation to finally post is that LEIGHTON TURNED 11 MONTHS this week! 😅

L hates baby food and purées. She prefers to put toys, paper and shoes into her 4 tooth mouth. 🤢

She loves teething crackers, avocados and SUGAR. We took her cake smash photos for her first birthday (😭) and homegirl was ALL 👏🏼 IN 👏🏼 on the cake. I’m talking full body commitment. I’m actually shocked she didn’t puke after. 🤷🏼‍♀️😂

Leighton only crawls on all 4s for a step or 2, then drops to her army crawl position to literally SPRINT across the house. She went from scooting short distancing to standing and becoming our CLIMBER overnight…so we baby proofed the playroom this weekend. 😆
Leighton is a wiggler and a chatter box. She mimics every noise, motion and several words. It’s a little creepy. 😂 She says 5-6 words in context but she repeats things we say and literally sounds like a parrot. It freaks me and Chris out. Hahah
This is the calm version of “party Leighton”. This girl plays HARD, flaps her wings in excitement every 3-5 minutes and throws toys across the room constantly. 😖

And as you can see, her favorite toy is still the door stopper. 🤨 At least she can’t throw this one.

While Chris reorganized the garage, I put together this awesome birthday surprise for L from her Aunt Ashley and Aunt Shell!! Both girls are pretty pumped. 🥳

Ah, and we can’t leave out Princess Kensington…👸🏼

3.5 years of adjustments 💪🏼
We still wear dresses and backpacks/purses every single day. 🤷🏼‍♀️

Kens never. stops. talking. Shows anyone and everyone the boo boo on her toe 🙄 and how she spins in her tutus…and she’s officially full on potty trained! 🥳

We started getting her to poop on the potty by rewarding her with something from the “treasure box” (thank God for target dollar spot) and then used that to convince her to go on the big potty instead of her little plastic one. THEN we moved to tickets before treasures because it started becoming excessive…🤪

I was real happy with where we were at and not even going to brave the bedtime training anytime soon; then, a few weeks ago she started begging us to wear panties to bed. So, we let her. 🤷🏼‍♀️

We’ve had one accident but I’d say that’s a big old W for this 3.5year old!! 🏆

The last few weekends we’ve also got to spend extra time with Gramma and Grampa! I think the girls needed this time as much as I did. 😆

Zero napping while L is around. She will literally pull your eyelids open. 🤦🏼‍♀️😂 Sorry Uncle Matthew…

As the “reopening phases” start, we’re looking forward to getting our normal life back, hanging out with all of our friends, opening the gym back up and planning a first birthday party!!! 🤞🏼🥳

Elle’s First Easter!

Ah, Easter. L’s last “first” Holiday…😢

Part of me considered getting the girls dressed up for a nice Easter photo, the other part of me had zero interest in fighting K to wear something that she didn’t want to. Decided I’d test the waters and see what she picked out – lately it’s been any tutu or dress in her closet, so there was hope. She walked in and laid this out…and it was then I realized there was no transitioning her to a bright Lilly dress just to pose for a picture. 🤷🏼‍♀️😂

I actually didn’t even get a photo of her in this dress because she changed into about 4 different bathing suits 20 minutes afterwards. 🤦🏼‍♀️😂

I know she looks like she’s being attacked, but they were playing with bubbles.

This was K’s first year decorating eggs and boy did she make it memorable….

The “rainbow egg” pictured here was her favorite.

She took the above pictured egg out several times and one was to show daddy (for the 3rd time). Well, that time it didn’t make it back to the carton.

I don’t remember how I realized it was gone, but a solid 30 minutes was spent looking before we gave up. K usually knows where everything is. This time, not so much. She originally told Chris she put it back in the fridge. Looking in the fridge determined that was a lie. I was convinced Jack (our dog) already found and ate it OR we would find in once it stunk up the house.

However; on Easter morning…I discovered it in the best place possible. THE FREEZER. 😆😅 THANK YA JESUS!!!

First win for the week (well, I guess second but finding the egg before it rotted is more of the win for the whole month): K is officially falling asleep by herself again! Recently I’ve had to lay in K’s bed until she falls asleep (5-10 min unless I fell asleep, too 😆) then sneak out of her room. We decided to break it and after 3 nights of drama, she finally went to bed on her own without screaming/yelling. 👏🏼

But we do have to leave her light on…🤷🏼‍♀️
And yes – she has night lights. 4 of them. It’s a control thing. One battle at a time 😂

Her present for going to sleep alone 5 nights in a row was a Minnie purse she picked out from Amazon.

It came with a phone, wallet, passport and watch and she won’t leave the house without it. “MOMMY! WAIT! I NEED MY PHONE”. So honestly I pray for myself a lot lately. 🙏🏼

At least she keeps us entertained.

Having these little mirrors around (our children) really do show you the of the best and worst parts of yourself, huh? (Especially at age 3. Woosah.)

K gets in trouble for her smart ass comments pretty often, but we also have to laugh because she’s only repeating what she hears. 🤦🏼‍♀️

This doesn’t include her sass, but it’s one of my favorite discussions this week because she literally thinks she’s me. 🤣

K holding a lollipop: Hey mom, know what fruit this is?

Me: No. What is it?

K: Mottermelon

Me: Watermelon?

K: Yes. Say Mottermelon.

Me: Watermelon

K: Good job mommy!

😂😂 OKAY Kensie. She also walks out in the afternoon and says “hey guys, it’s 15 clock. Time for the pool!” 🧐

Then there’s this sweet one who hasn’t learned how to test boundaries and talk back, making her the current crowd favorite. 😜

Win numero dos: Elle slept in a new sack with her arms free!!

Leighton has slept in the “Love to Dream” swaddle since she was a few months old. I tried the transition one where you unzip her arms but she flailed around and I gave in after 5 min and zipped them back up. Why fix what’s not broken, right? 😅

This kept popping up on my ads (solid marketing) and the reviews were great so we gave it a shot. I mean, uhh, the Easter Bunny hooked us up 😉 Night 1 was a success!!! She slept free armed all night long!! I can’t say the same for nap time…but I’ll take what I can get.

Win 3: Leighton’s teeth are all coming through at the same time and she isn’t screaming about it – this week her top teeth broke though and her favorite teether is still cans.

Win 4: Our children are sleeping in past 7am. (Knock on wood)

Win 5: I am the tannest I’ve been since my pre-baby tanning bed days 🙈 😎

We’ve been making the best of this gorgeous weather and time together with evening strolls, pool days, drinking and eating too much and probably letting K watch too much TV. But, we’re alive. Healthy. Functioning. Getting house projects done and taking extra time to hang out and explore in the evenings because as we literally say every single night, “well, got nothing else to do.”

Disclaimer: not our golf cart. But now I really want one. And obviously so does L.

OH. And we finally started Ozark. 10/10 would recommend. 🤑