i’m so pregnant

i wrote this in early may and never finished it. likely because i was going to bed at 8 every night or maybe because i was waiting to add the perfect picture of me and my adorable pregnant belly (ha, non-existent). well – spoiler alert: i am currently holding the most perfect 2 month old baby girl and typing with one hand in effort to post something/anything because its been sooo long! balya logan was born one FULL WEEK late on june 3 weighing 7lbs 14oz.



for posterity’s sake – here is my silly 37 week self thinking baby bay would come on time or… pah… early…

i feel like i’ve been pregnant forever, but at the same time, i sort of can’t believe my second (and last) pregnancy will be coming to an end any day now. i have no doubt that the birth of these babies (meaning dane and this feisty baby girl jabbing me as we speak) will be the best two moments of my life, so while pregnancy isn’t my favorite thing (especially the 37wk+ kind of pregnancy), i will still miss it in a weird way.

i think fridays are awesome. even though i have to go to work, i have the whole weekend to look forward to… by saturday, its almost like the weekend is already over, and sunday.. forget it.. full-blown monday-dread (you too? no? should i be looking for a new job?). well, these final hours of pregnancy are sort of like a friday. i’m extremely uncomfortable, but giddy with anticipation. once the baby is born, i know i will blink and my maternity leave will be over, then i will blink again and it will be her 3rd birthday party, a few blinks later she’ll be a teenager and hate me… but for a few short weeks (or days?!) all of the chubby, drooly, sleepy, swaddled baby-ness is ahead of me.

i never held vegetables up to my belly or documented either pregnancy much at all and i don’t regret it. i’m not really into that, but i just wanted to write this so i could some day revisit myself in this unique time. a mother of one perfect little boy awaiting the big unknown of who is tumbling around in my belly and what life will be like with two little humans to love a disgusting amount.

i’m so happy and lucky and grateful to be having a baby in few weeks. i never want to forget how much i wanted this baby (GIRL!) and how good life feels even tho i’m the size of a house with the worst acid reflux imaginable and the inability to sleep despite extreme, perpetual, exhaustion. i’m so much more excited this time around because i know just how much you can love another human and to be given the chance to love 2 just seems like more than i deserve. blah blah blah hormones blah blah.

oh pregnant stephanie.. aren’t you sweet.

well, almost three months later… here she is!!

IMG_5732she is so smiley and sweet and just so so pretty. strawberry blond hair, bright blue eyes and lashes for days. i swear, she is mine.


it has been best-case-scenario with dane. no signs of jealousy and nothing but love from big brother. three has had its challenges, don’t get me wrong, but when it comes to the baby i couldn’t be more proud of how quickly dane has adjusted. the meet & greet in the hospital had us a little nervous… he wasn’t so sure. hardly acknowledged the baby, wouldn’t touch her and certainly would not give her a kiss.



since she came home it has been nothing but kisses and man-handling!


this has been the most amazing summer. i’m feeling very…. complete.


we’ve had so much beach time between brewster & martha’s vineyard and so much family time thanks to my sister’s 5 month-old and her extended maternity leave. hopefully i will find some time to share more of our summer adventures here before its back-to-school time! but for now, my new little adventure is hungry…IMG_5789

mv for riley’s big day

alternative title: 20 pics of cute kids.

friday was pj day at school…

then we woke up the next morning in mv for cousin riley’s birthday party!

the 3 year-old!

3 toddlers tearing apart the house…

the four-legged love of my life..

being spoiled by grandma…

dane’s “why don’t i get any presents” face…

smiley bday boy

cool hat.

dane having a 2 year old moment..

milk face smiles the next morning..

and just when we thought the weekend couldn’t get any better, they leaf surfed.


the end.

dane’s 2nd birthday

i blinked and my baby was a 2 year old. his actual birthday was on a school night, but we still wanted to celebrate, so we invited the neighbors over for pizza and cupcakes. they got him some celtics gear, a cool truck and this ridiculous singing, marching donald duck-dressed-as-bunny that he absolutely loved.   bday number 2 was off to a strong start!

shakespeare gets a little jealous of dane’s toys.

this is what one little year can do. it turned my baby into a little person. so crazy.


saturday was party time. the gale fam, auntie emmy, uncle chris and aunt michelle, nonnie, pop and grandma along with his buds dylan and chase were all in on the fun. what a lucky little man to have the best friends and family around. it was a casual, unscripted event, but here is my photo-heavy recap attempt:

this is pretty much the extent of my decorating. we picked up some more pizza, put out some fruit and veggies, chips and dip and called it a day. we would be lost without pizza.

i told the boys to hold up two fingers for this picture…

eventually dane produced this (we’ll have to work on that)..

i tried to get a good picture of him in his funny little birthday shirt but he was always on the go. i asked him to show me his belly & this is what i got.

i filled a cow pinata up with little toys and stickers from the dollar store.

it was cute until dane had a major meltdown when it was someone else’s turn. the terrible twos are for real.

little progress was made until uncle chris stepped up to bat.

we had a lot of helpers when it was time for gift opening. dane got so many fun new toys.. everyone was so generous and dane was on cloud-nine.

the melissa & doug birthday cake was a big hit with the little guys. they were blowing out the candles and couldn’t quite grasp the fact that it wasn’t real!

they all attempted to eat it at least once… just in case…

finally the big toy grill was revealed.

dane has been playing with this every night since the party… “makin steak” and “makin food warm”… then we pretend to eat & he says “dee-licious” and we die….

the gloomy morning turned into a beautiful afternoon and everyone got some outside play time before the cake. early april is an iffy time of year, but we have really lucked out for dane’s past two bday parties.

why i left the cake up on the stand, blocking his face, i do not know. but you can still see that loves blowing out candles and all things cake!

this was his first ice cream cake encounter and he was clearly caught a bit off guard. haha.

ultimately, the dairy queen blizzard cake was a big hit. 

later, the party began to disburse. most everyone was back downstairs watching the final four, while these three got a 3-way tubby session.

i will be so sad when they are too big to wear these footy jammies. i plan to buy them for him straight through high school.

dane is so happy when he wakes up to find his cousin riley is still here. the next day we got to play a little more before the vineyarders had to pack up and head to the ferry.

its becoming more and more clear how much trouble these two will be causing some day.

and i kinda love it.

you have changed everything. it has never been more clear to me what matters and what doesn’t. i don’t know what i did to deserve you. i miss you every single second we are not together. you are so smart and funny and so so sweet. the more i get to know you, the more i love you. you make me LAUGH and smile. i swear i am not being biased when i say you are freakishly good at hitting a golf ball off a tee.. like borderline two-year-old tiger territory… but no matter what you choose to do in life, i will always be your biggest fan. keep growing and thriving, but slow it down, would ya??!!


invitations for the big #2

was this really TWO years ago? i can’t believe i’ve been a real life mom for two full years.
at the same time, i can hardly remember life before dane. he is pure joy… all i think about and almost all i care about. he’ll be two in just over a week [wimper].
so we have a very special birthday party to plan. unlike last year’s first-birthday-bonanza, we are keeping things low-key this year. the invite list is just family and a couple close friends.

i pondered over a theme. there were the obvious choices; trucks, trains, farm animals, sports… i thought about dane’s true passions… while he is certainly into all of the former, dane’s happy place is with a big sippie of milk in-hand. or “mooks” as he called it up until recently (it is so bittersweet when your toddler starts pronouncing things correctly). “i want mooks pease mommy”.. i could never say no. kid drank way too much mooks.
so we are having a milk party. not to be confused with a “milk & cookies” party (i’ve seen this done via pinterest) just a milk party.
tiny prints invitation contenders were as follows:
i love the chalk board look of this template… the mustache fit the theme (you know, like a milk mustache). below is the photo i chose… my little goober with his cow happily chugging his milk… the “antique” photo filter option in tiny prints works nice with the template.

with less than a dozen invitations to go out, i thought i’d have some fun with them. so i came up with the idea of sending them on milk cartons.

milk cartons painted with cow spots, obviously.

i used left-over (no voc) white interior wall paint we had laying around & chalk board paint for the spots.


then stuck the invitation lengthwise on the front w/ packaging tape.


i made mike take them to the post office (impossible for me with my current work schedule) he was thrilled. it was fun to get the feedback from everyone once these arrived in the mail (mostly positive aside from one person who “thought it was a bomb”)….

i ordered a few decorations for the party from oriental trading, but otherwise am planning to keep it simple. i generally struggle with ‘simple’, but with everything that is going on, i think its the only way. i will of course have plenty of party photos to share after the big (simple) day.

the latest from martha’s vineyard

just a few photos my sister sent me from last weekend’s visit to the island (is it seriously thursday already? i guess thats a good thing).
it was an extra special visit because we went to an island off an island! (chappaquiddick). 
three sisters and two (big) baby cousins..
after a surprise brunch feast for liz’s bday, we walked down along emily’s back yard which happens to end at the atlantic ocean. it was a dreary saturday, but that didn’t stop us from exploring the coast and enjoying the ocean air. 
riley picks up the remains of a sea creature, shows it to dane and says “a horse shoe crab”. no big deal for this 2 year old son of a fisherman.
scaling the rocks

emily’s boyfriend made a gluten free carrot cake that was out of this world.
i love dane in this pic. kid loves food.

this was our first trip to visit my sisters without mike or shakey. we took the ferry from woods hole and sat up in a window booth by the snack bar, just the two of us. it was a really fun little adventure. the highlight for me: when dane popped up in his packnplay in the middle of the night and i pulled him up into bed with me until the morning (which was 6 am. “riley”. “toys”. “riley”. ” UP TOYS!”).

finally, cake number two of the visit. the richest gluten free chocolate cake you could imagine. i don’t remember why riley isn’t wearing clothes at this point, but it seemed completely normal at the time.
visiting my island sisters is like a little vacation every time. i’m so lucky!

on your 4th birthday…

dear shakey:

 you are our best friend.

the best big brother.

you are our first baby.

you are so patient.

you are a very important part of our family.

you are a good sport.

did i mention you are patient?

 you are a partner in crime.

you are the best company.

you are so cute….

i know you won’t be around forever, but you have meant more to us than we ever thought possible and already filled us with lifetimes of love. when we brought you home 4 years minus six weeks ago, we didn’t yet know that it would be one of the best decisions of our lives. without you, we wouldn’t be us. we definitely wouldn’t be the fatz four. you have been by our side through many highs and lows. brought us so many smiles. 
we bring you everywhere. we cuddle with you every night. we love you so freakin much. here’s to many more years of high-paws, head rolls, bully marches, velvety jowls, suckles, steady freddies, stubborn paws, gorilla noses, tugs, dragon snorts, high-fives, bully moans, cow spots, mascara wearing, snaggle-tooth smiles, zoomies and pillow pets.
happy birthday to my one and only shakespeare.

riley turns two

i can’t believe i posted about our stupid hutch painting before talking about this past weekend. something really huge happened…

riley turned t w o !!!

two years ago, me, my mom, and my little sis emily stood outside of a hospital room and heard this little human cry for the first time. and then we cried. he was a tricky baby, but has become the coolest, smartest toddler i’ve ever known. just when i thought i couldn’t love him any more, dane started saying his name (over and over) and insisting to facetime him. riley is pretty much his hero. during our stay in martha’s vineyard, dane would wake up in the morning and the first thing he would say is “ya ya? ya ya?” (that’s how he says riley). these two melt my heart.


(kittty balloons were a big hit)

yes, that is drool

happy birthday riley! we love you!!


all things ‘one’ – one poor baby

i guess its a thing that kids tend to get sick on their birthdays….

after being a total joy friday evening at dinner with the family, falling asleep in the car, and being peacefully transferred to his crib, dane woke up screaming in the middle of the night (which is rare) and felt really warm. i was somewhat in denial but began fearing exactly what was in store. he was sick. i rocked him, gave him some tylenol and put him back down. he slept fine through the rest of the night and took 2 perfectly timed naps saturday, the morning of his party. i thought we might be ok. he woke up right as guests were arriving. i brought him downstairs and the tears started. unfortunately there would be no shortage of tears for the remainder of the festivities. this picture makes me want to reach through my computer, scoop him up, and squeeze him tight … not a happy camper.


he still felt a little warm saturday afternoon, but i didn’t take his temp until the next morning. i guess i just didn’t want the thermometer to tell me he had a fever. what a terrible mom. i was just waiting for him to snap out of it and start romping around with the other babies like his normal, happy self. it didn’t happen. he didn’t play, he didn’t eat. the baby who will eat anything wouldn’t even touch the cake we sat him in front of and urged him to smash.

i suppose the lesson here is that some things are simply out of your control. while i am struggling with the disappointment and guilt of dane not being able to enjoy the birthday toys, treats, and party atmosphere, everything else went great. the weather was gorgeous. my house was filled with people i love and who love dane… lots of family and friends that i have known for 20+ years… some with babies just a few months younger than dane. it was a really special weekend. and i’d be lying if i said i didn’t enjoy the extra clingy and cuddly dane even if it was because he was feeling crumby.

there were a few smiles and moments of calm that i will try to keep with me when i look back on this party…

sunday morning i took his temp when he woke up.. 101. but after a laid back easter with my family and a fairly content baby, we thought we were out of the woods.

enter sunday night. dane woke up crying around 11pm and was crying and fussing on and off for the rest of the night. it was a horrible night. the worst since his newborn days…

monday i dragged myself to work and felt borderline incapable of functioning. i made him a dr. apt and left work around lunch time. i forgot what a truly sleepless night can do to you. i was a physical and emotional wreck. i felt so overwhelmed and defeated. baby is sick and i dont know what to do to help him. house is a mess and no energy to even begin to get it back together. my camera is dead and i can’t find the charger anywhere. (these pics are a combo of lizzy and iphone).

dane’s ears were “perfect” and the doctor wasn’t able to shed any light on what might be wrong. monday night dane slept ok, but was still off most of the day tuesday. during bath time we noticed a rash all over his body – nothing too severe – but faint little red spots all over his back and belly. he has been really irritable, lots of fussing and crying. food allergy? virus? there is something wrong, i just don’t know how to fix it.

last night he was hard to put down. he would arch his back and scream as i rocked him. the next day would be his official birthday. one full year of this bedtime routine.. 364 mornings of lifting him out of his crib (he spent one night at grandma’s).  i was sad for both of us that his birthday eve was an unpleasant  one. when he finally started to give-in, i put him in his crib then climbed in with him. he put his forehead against mine and his hand on my face and we fell asleep just as we did for the last time exactly one year ago. together.

all things ‘one’ – an edible one

i’ve clocked significantly less sleep this week than is advisable…
but we’re now one busy quarter-end work day away from the big birthday weekend.


and my amazing baker friend here at my office brought me his cake! i just want to sit it in front of me and look at it all day… not eat it.. just look at it. its so adorable.

here is a sneak peak (that is fondant!!)!