let’s have brunch: blueberry bagel croutons

For as long as I can remember, waking up and immediately eating breakfast has never been my strong suit. Coffee, that’s a different story, but I need a few hours to really have any type of appetite. The hours between wake up and mid afternoon are my most productive and when the kids are most mellow, so I’m usually busy and when that brunch hour hits I’m STARVING. But I’m craving breakfast foods, which is why this salad is a perfect fit.

We had a few berry bagels left over from a bag Andy had gotten for me, and they were past their prime from the get go. Bagels are my soul food and not willing to let them go, I thought using them in a salad along with bacon, goat cheese and some fresh berries would taste so good. Turns out I was right.

After chopping the bagels into bite size pieces, I coated them in melted coconut oil, approx 1 tbsp. They baked in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Now, the key to a perfect salad is that 1.) your ingredients are equally sized so you can get a little bit of everything with each bite and 2.) you don’t overdress it. Soggy greens= gross.

Sweet crunchy bagels bites, salty bacon and fresh berries paired with crisp greens, creamy cheese chunks and a tangy dressing create a dish that is a delicious segue from breakfast to lunch.

Coffee is on, who is ready to brunch?

six months

You are halfway to celebrating your first birthday. I imagine that you will enjoy looking back at these pictures as much as your siblings do. Siblings that love you so much. They can’t get enough of you, from the second you wake up. Reid waits patiently beside you each morning to whisper “Good morning, bud!” and when he can, sneaks in kisses on your forehead after you have fallen asleep. Hayden constantly struggles to plant kisses all over you, but you are pretty wiggly these days and get out of her reach most times. Reid makes you giggle and screech and just a look at Hayden results in the biggest grin across your face. You sat up on your own the other night, between your dad and I, and played monkey in the middle with a beach ball. Arms stretched up high and loud cries of happiness, you all of sudden were so big. I placed your soft basket of toys next to you and you reached in, pulling out each one to chew on and then toss aside. In an instant, you changed so much.

You love sweet potatoes, squash and apples with cinnamon. I can tell when you don’t like something, when you stick your hands in your mouth, almost like you are trying to get some of it out. You will messily eat it anyway, as if not to hurt my feelings. I try my hardest to keep you in your crib at night, yet I wake up each morning with you snuggled up beneath my chin. There are times you get extra fussy and it takes work to get you to go to bed. Yet, it’s those nights I kiss your soft head the most. Squeezing you so much you start to stir and wake up. I force myself to lay you down so you can rest, saving those snuggles for some other time.

The kids wrestle and play and you scream along with them, just wanting to be in on the fun. Sharky nuzzles his nose on your lap and now you let him lick you, and you grab his fur. I’m certain he’ll be just as smitten with you as he is Reid. It is the age now where all you want is to be where we are, and you’ll start to whine if you see me when you’re being held by someone else. While it can be inconvenient at times, I know to enjoy it while it lasts. Soon you’ll be on the move and be ready to explore, not wanting to cuddle like you used to.

We adore you, Waylon Thomas, and can’t wait for our days ahead with you.

a letter for you, baby boy


Happy half birthday. You have been with us six incredible months. Incredible in many ways. Incredibly tiring. Incredibly amazed at how big you’ve grown. Incredibly frustrating at times. Incredibly consumed with my love for you.

You are my last baby. I can promise you that. Your dad and I agreed that if you hadn’t come into our lives and we had made the choice to stop with your brother, we would have regretted it. You were a missing piece that we weren’t entirely sure we were missing. You have been loved since the minute we found out about you. But I can say with confidence that this time with you is the last time I’ll do the baby stage. I love each and every part of you and your siblings. I want to give you all my very best self. Some people are made for big families, handling it with grace and ease. With each new baby I have flailed a little bit more. Losing a little bit more of myself, for just a bit longer than before. I do always find my feet again. I find my rhythm and eventually each day is easier than the last. We all have to know our limits though and you are mine. You fill my heart up to the very tip top and I want to stop there. I’m overwhelmed often and never truly understood anxiety until I had children. Yet, each new day that overwhelming feeling slips slightly further away. You fuss less. Your naps are more predictable and easier to come by. Night time still is your kryptonite but we’re chipping away at it. You roll over and scoot around a little bit more. You smile and giggle more than ever. The way you light up just to see us, melts me every time. Your growing like a weed, already in 12 month clothing and you have a new fascination that keeps your attention from one day to the next. There is a strange comfort in the chaos because it means that life is happening and I’m trying desperately to draw it all in and remember every piece of it. I’m far from being a perfect mother to you, but you are nothing less than a perfect son to me. All you want from me is love and attention, and milk. Anyone that looks at you can tell you really like milk. A spitting image of your dad with your mama’s blue eyes, you are the sweetest baby brother. Our days wouldn’t be as crazy without you here, but they would certainly be filled with a whole lot less love. Thank you baby boy for coming into our family.

they like me, they really like me (part two)

It’s somewhat of a long story, but the other day I found myself watching YouTubes of how to make foam art in your coffee. Just typing it makes me laugh out loud. -side note: I REFUSE to say LOL, and I challenge anyone to prove that I have ever used it in a text message. It goes against everything I stand for, which isn’t a lot but still- Okay, so watching these videos is so ridiculous for a couple reasons. I don’t have a fancy espresso machine, I have one but it’s really basic and I rarely use it and I don’t even have the right equipment to steam milk. I don’t ever buy drinks with fancy foam, in fact, I can confidently say I have never actually drank a cup of coffee with foam art. BUT the take away here is that one of these videos offered me an incredible quote. The barista was showing viewers how to accomplish a foam heart, fern and…. I actually don’t even remember the third one. While steaming the milk he dropped this truth bomb : “Foam art doesn’t signify quality, but it does show you the person making your coffee really cares.” Brilliant! That is basically my parenting in a nutshell. It’s not the best you’ve probably ever seen. But damn it, I put in a lot of effort. Effort that gets me this.

That right there is a boy who has repeatedly asked to watch a cartoon on Andy’s phone, and a girl, who snuck into my bag while I was taking pictures outside and discovered I had deleted every single app they used to watch on. Ha! We were headed to Sunday night family dinner and had a little time to burn. A few miles opposite of the direction we needed to go, there is a pullout that overlooks the inlet. We made our way there to watch the gorgeous sunset taking place. The kids were clearly not impressed and wouldn’t even get out of the car. We ended the night with pizza and games at their grandparents house. So eh, you win some, you lose some.

milk’n cookies

When I was pregnant with Hayden, I didn’t put a lot of thought into breastfeeding. There wasn’t a second thought that there was any other way. It was incredibly naive of me because it’s actually a task that is very daunting and often difficult for a lot of women. Being removed from social media, I didn’t have Facebook or Instagram at the time, meant the only input I had on the subject was conversations I had with people or the books I was reading. A combination of good fortune and lack of knowledge really, led me to able to breastfeed Hayden for her first year. It was painful and frustrating at times, but perseverance made it possible for me to do something that I honestly just expected my body to do. I now realize how truly fortunate I am. It’s hard. It doesn’t come easy for some, sometimes it’s not possible at all. There are countless variables to factor in. Is your supply sufficient? Is your diet affecting your milk? Does your baby have reactions to things you consume like dairy or soy? Then there are things like proper latch or if they are feeding properly. If not,  it can lead to mastitis or your supply drying up. All things considered, I’m glad I didn’t know any of this beforehand, or I probably would have thrown in the towel once it got tough. With both Hayden and Reid I had supply issues somewhere between six and ten months and we had to supplement with formula. By the time they both reached their first birthday, they were completely weaned from breastfeeding and we started them on whole milk. I had a wealth of information and experience by the time we had Reid. Enter reflux. He nursed wonderfully, and then would promptly throw it all up. I changed my diet, we experimented with feeding styles and sleep positions. Rice cereal with his bottled milk. Nothing really helped except time. He simply outgrew it. He, is where I began my journey with lactation supplements. Fenugreek, brewers yeast and lactation teas were among them. Some worked and some didn’t and in retrospect I believe other factors made the biggest difference. I started working out and cutting calories fairly early on, and attempted to have a feeding schedule. I pumped quite often and they were bottle fed more than Waylon has ever been. Plus, I didn’t take the supplements as directed. Rookie mistake.

So, with all that in mind, I made it my life purpose to try and make it through the full year without having to supplement. To date, Waylon is bigger than either of his siblings were at this point and I’m able to feed him and pump enough extra to freeze a small portion. Here’s how things are going down this time around.


Who likes schedules anyway?? It turns out your baby can lead the way on this one and will eat what they need, when they need it. For this guy that means basically around the clock, day and night. But I’ve noticed it’s helped tremendously in keeping my supply up.


Your postpartum body is amazing. You grew and housed an entire HUMAN and it might be squishier and some things are bigger than usual, but it all shrinks back down and finds its place again. In six months, I haven’t set foot in the gym. I’ve kept active but it’s been very moderate and low key. I’ve also eaten literally whatever I feel like. Some days that means lots of good stuff and then there are times like this past weekend where I eat 6 donuts. I try and just keep a balance and drink lots of water. I’ve lost all of my baby weight plus an additional 5 lbs by simply being mindful and allowing my body to guide the way. I let go of the stress of trying to fit into all my clothes early on and embraced that I would always have time to get back in shape. I wouldn’t ever get back this first year with him though and the time I would nurse would go by quickly. It’s paid off greatly and it’s so far my best nursing experience yet.


It pays to do your research. Read as much as you can. Ask other moms what worked for them. Talk to your doctor or pediatrician. Taking Fenugreek can help your milk supply. On the bottle it tells you as a herbal supplement to take three daily. When you do more research, you’ll find you need to take anywhere from 6-9 tablets to notice an increase. In more than one article, it stated if your body starts to smell like maple syrup you’re taking enough. Good to know. Herbal lactation tea. Not one cup. Two to three if not more. Be aware of products your using or ingesting. Large amounts of peppermint can have an adverse effect on your milk supply. And of course, how your body reacts to methods might vary entirely different than someone else’s. My favorite tried and true way to increase my milk has been cookies. The recipe below I adapted from a couple different ones I’ve tried and perhaps you’ll find success with them also.

2 cups oats

1 1/2 cup almond flour (you can use all purpose flour if you prefer)

5 tbsp brewers yeast ( I order this one from Amazon)

3 tbsp ground flaxseed

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp hemp protein powder (optional)

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

12 tbsp softened butter

4 tbsp coconut oil

1 cup sugar

1 egg + 1 egg yolk, room temp

2 tsp vanilla

Add ins such as : chocolate chips, nuts or dried fruit

Combine your butter, oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl combine your dry ingredients excluding your oats and add ins. Slowly incorporate into your butter mixture until combined and then toss in your oats and extras. If you wish to bake them the same day, chill for at least an hour. Bake at 375 degrees for approx 8-9 minutes and let cool.

I personally like a really loaded, chunky cookie. My favorites to toss in are shredded coconut, dark chocolate chunks and walnuts. Brewers yeast tends to add a “savory” flavor to the dough so using almond flour in place of all purpose and lots of extras help balance that out. Hayden loves them, but Reid calls them gross. He also eats cold hot dogs though, so he lost his voting privileges a long time ago.

A little goes a long way, so my best recommendation is to make this recipe and freeze your dough. I found success in baking 5-6 cookies at a time, and eating those within a day or two. Usually by the end of the first day I notice a difference. Don’t beat yourself up that you just inhaled 5 cookies in a day. I only have to do this a couple times a month to help give my supply a needed boost. Using an ice cream scoop, portion out your dough and place them in freezer bags. Pull out what you need and bake for approx 10 minutes if baking immediately, while still frozen.

I’m not an advocate for breast is best. What’s best only you can determine. It’s hard work no matter what avenue you choose. Managing my own life, let alone the lives of three other small humans is stressful. So if all else fails, at least you have cookie dough to gorge on and wallow in your sorrows. Shout out to all you hard working mamas out there!

Disclaimer: Before taking ANY supplements speak with your doctor or healthcare provider. This post is 100% my opinion and my own personal experiences.

they like me, they really like me

For every frame worthy photo I get of my children, there are about 15 I took before reaching that one. Most are blurry, or they aren’t looking or there is stuff going on in the background that ruins the shot. As they age though, they start to vocalize how much I annoy them in doing so. They start sweet and innocent, and then glare at me. Hide from me. Hayden’s go to is to either turn her face or she gives me a really awkward and uncomfortable smile. I get majority of my inventory from Reid. He’s my current bread winner. But he’s got some mileage on him and now gets a little testy, and lets me know by yelling at me to stop taking pictures.Do I?

Absolutely not. It builds character. And also gives me winners like this.

There was a heat wave this week. On this particular day it was 42 degrees. I needed to get the mail and I had promised to take the kids for ice cream at some point. It was warm enough I thought they would like to stop at the park, along with the dog. Clearly, they really enjoyed it. Hayden instantly fell in the creek. Don’t worry, it was ankle deep. She however, didn’t heed my warning of “that ice isn’t thick enough to cross, you’re going to”….. fall through. Her feet were now cold and wet and her enthusiasm was shot. Reid only wanted to swing. For the first 30 seconds and then, as you can see in the photo, just gave up on life. We made it ten minutes before we loaded up and went for ice cream. Which ended up being a root beer float for Hayden. The smallest size they had. Purchased with change from my car. Because I forgot my wallet, and Reid had fallen asleep anyway.I plan on making this a regular post. To remind myself how much my kids love me. Also, as a reminder on days when the going is rough, that I’m totally killing it at this parenting thing.

all aboard

Just hopping on the band wagon here and reminiscing along with the best of them about my 2017. I can’t imagine anyone out there can say they had a picture perfect year, those highs and lows simply make us human. I started out the year pregnant and very sick. Several weeks of buttered toast and endless episodes of Gilmore Girls, but I triumphed. Holidays and birthdays were celebrated. Family and friends traveled to visit from out of state. More cups of coffee than I can count were consumed and many, many, maaaaaany sleepless nights are in the books. Hayden completed her first year in school and we welcomed a healthy, beautiful baby boy to complete our now family of five. Andy put in another successful year with his employer and we were lucky enough to have him home this summer for 6 weeks when Waylon arrived. We experienced the “joy” that head lice bring. Twice. And it seems like forever ago, but it was this time last year that Reid was now fully potty trained day and night and we kicked the pacifiers for good. Those little things made my sweet boy grow up instantly.

This year we had the very heavy conversation with Hayden about her birth father, her half sister and she learned the details of her adoption by Andy. There were some happy tears and some sad ones. Questions and laughter and just about every other emotion you can imagine. She handled it with grace and love and it lifted a weight that Andy and I had carried for years. We had been waiting for what seemed like the right time in life and it presented itself this year. We rekindled old relationships for it and we started new chapters with some very special people, including Hayden’s sister. Last month, during our family vacation, Hayden met her sister for the first time and I hope it’s a memory for her that will always remain special. Very often life is messy and complicated and you feel like you aren’t doing the right things. This milestone with her helped bring us light and understanding and made us feel validated that choices and decisions we’ve made for the sake of our family and children have been the right ones. There isn’t much comparable to seeing the love and connection between your children. The unspoken bond that you helped create. She gained two siblings this year, in very different ways, and that just may take the cake for 2017.

When I started this post, I had what seemed like more to say. As I write though, I find myself just looking back at this year feeling grateful. Feeling satisfied. Feeling overwhelmed in a good way with how our family grew and changed. I don’t have any resolutions for the new year. It’s more than enough to just keep chugging along and making life the very best we can. I know I can always strive to be better and I can always set goals, no matter what day it is. I plan to write more and get back to taking pictures, of more than my kids. Once Waylon was born, it felt like a roller coaster for a while. One I just couldn’t get to slow down long enough to hop off. That’s for a different post though. Everyday seemed stressful and I was anxious and everyone at home got the brute of my wrath. I can admit that I wasn’t a pleasant wife most days and I lost my temper with the kids more often than they deserved. I needed a break, Andy needed a break, the kids needed a happier mom back and some time out of the house. While our time in the northwest wasn’t a luxurious vacation, it was a much needed break from the grind. Seeing familiar faces and getting out of Alaska for a while was perfect. Not worrying about the dirty dishes, and homework and laundry that was piling up. Andy and I both agreed we needed to make it a priority to travel more. So in 5 weeks we’ll be on a plane heading to a warm sandy beach in HAWAII! I can’t think of a better way to start off the new year. For now, I’ll leave you with some more moments from this past year. Cheers everyone!