Tag Archives: baby

Trains & Trolleys & 2 Two-Year-Olds

Yesterday was a big day over here. Hadley turned 2 and all of our local family came over to celebrate her and cousin Henry, whose birthday is exactly two weeks before. It seemed too cruel to subject our family to two toddler parties back to back, so my sister and I decided to combine them. Since Hadley loves all things Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood with a specific obsession of trolley and Henry loves trains, we picked a trains and trolleys theme. Hadley has been talking about her “try-try” party for weeks. As my dad pointed out several times, a two-year-old might never remember the grand efforts made by their mothers (in fact, this morning Hadley mostly only recalled that she had to share her balloons with her cousins, lovely toddler that she is)…. and for this reason, I took lots of pictures.




















Happy Birthday to our sweet Hadley girl. You make life so much better.


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A Day at Gettysburg: Proof That I Love My Husband

One of the really fun things about Hadley getting older is seeing her world of people expand from me and Josh to so many others that love her. Of course, those people have always been there but for a long time she was pretty much just really into her mom and sometimes her dad. Saying that she had separation anxiety is putting it mildly. Not only would it upset her that I left, she would be upset whenever I started to walk away from her. And continue to be upset until I picked her up and held her. Of course it’s nice to be loved and needed, but it can also be exhausting (especially when your little one is 25 pounds). So now I am all the more grateful to see her LOVE going to nursery (she actually cheers “Church!” “Church!” as we near the building), and watch her develop bonds with other people. Not a day goes by that she doesn’t want to talk about them, especially her many cousins, aunts and uncles and of course, grandparents.

Now that my parents are ten minutes away, she gets lots of time with Granddad and Sue Sue, which is really fun. This past weekend, we all took a trip up to Gettysburg. NOT the most toddler friendly place (or Erin-friendly place) in the world, actually pretty much the opposite, but we somehow still had a great time. I kept the one-year-old entertained so the other adults could soak up the history of the place. I loved how beautiful it was and that Hadley could run around the countryside. I cared less for the thorough history lesson, but was happy to make my military-obsessed husband happy. He is already excited to go back, sans me and the baby next time I’m pretty sure. 



And before you start to think I’m the worst mom in the world, that is a GINGER beer she is chugging in the last picture. I am pretty sure she thought it was beer though. 

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Spring, Please Come Back

This past weekend pretty much embodied what a rollercoaster this spring has been. We spent Saturday outdoors, grilling steaks in the sun, finally remembering what it was like to not need a heavy coat, not even a jacket. And then just a day later, we sat inside a winery tasting room and watched as snowflakes fell. Ugggghhhhhhh.

You would think that with all the time we’ve spent indoors as of late, all the hours spent wondering how we should stay productive and NOT rot away in front of the television that I would have gotten a few more blogs posted. But this brutal winter has made it REALLY difficult for me to find motivation to do anything except gut it out. Instead of continuing to whine about how we still have scarves and furry hats out in at the END of March or that there is still a bag of salt sitting out of the front porch because they’re again calling for snow tomorrow, I’m trying to think about all of the things that I will look forward to when the sun returns.

  1. One less thing to say no to. I have a nineteen month old. She happens to love the following: pulling open every drawer, dumping out every bag she can get her hands on, pouring milk out of sippie cups, and just generally making messes. I really hate messes. I also really hate how often I find myself saying no to that curious little one. And almost every day this winter we’ve been going through this little dialogue. Mama? Outshide? Snow. She shuts down her own question before I can even answer. I mean really my one-year-old must think she’s being raised in Siberia. But someday soon I’ll be able to respond YES everyday to that sweet little request!
  1. Walks. I love being able to walk places. Especially with a baby, it’s a huge pain to load them up in the car and have a destination point in mind. I like to wander, get fresh air, exercise without thinking about it. Plus Henry is getting a little chunky, poor little guy has been so cooped up and sedentary.
  1. Seeing green. I lived in Utah for eight years. While the west has it’s own kind of beauty, my heart always longed for the rolling green hills of Virginia. I NEED GREEN, please. I’m sick of bare branches and a world covered in snow or mud.
  1. Seeing people. I literally haven’t seen most of my neighbors since November. I mean are we bears?!!
  1. Shower beer. Don’t judge and definitely don’t knock it till you’ve tried an icy cold beer in a steamy shower on a hot summer day. Literally. Nothing. Better. These days all I want is red wine, which basically just means I’m really cold. 
  1. Sandals. I never thought I would say it, but I’m SO sick of boots. My feet need to breath, my toes need to be seen again.  
  1. Tan line. I need one. That’s it.
  1. No longer resenting my dog for making me walk him first thing in the morning. I mean it’s not Henry’s fault. Really I should think less about how mad I am for having to bundle up and go outside and more about how much it would suck to have to poop in snow.
  1. Less bronzer. Can I please just have some sun-kissed cheeks? And really, at this point bronzer only works so well on skin this pale.  
  2. Goodbyes to layers. I’m all about effortless style. Now that I’m a mom, I don’t have the whole morning to accessorize. Instead of pulling my socks on BEFORE my jeans so they don’t get bunched up under my boots, figuring out what scarf to pair with my shirt and what purse will go with the scarf AND my coat, I’m dreaming of the day when I simply slip into sandals, pull on a sundress and GO. The only layering I want to have to think about is which dress to wear over my bikini.

Hopefully we won’t have to wait much longer for these small dreams to come to life. I mean spring HAS to come at some point, right? Are polar vortexes possible in April? Don’t answer that. Here are a couple (ONLY a couple) of rare moments we’ve been able to enjoy outside this spring.



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My Apologies to the Dog

I’m having some guilt. You see, I meant to have professional pictures of our family taken this year. Then I got a little distracted with moving, settling into our new house, hosting lots, not to mention the other huge blow to my productivity aka Hadley Magnusson.

So the pictures never quite happened. And when you don’t plan ahead of time to take a family shot of everyone, it doesn’t happen. Or when it happens that someone else is available to take a picture of your family, my hair is a mess or outfits just aren’t right OR the dog (who is an important member of our family) isn’t with us.

Before I knew it, it was two weeks before Christmas and the only acceptable Christmas card candidate was a picture that my sister Tori had snapped of us playing in the snow in early December. And by us I mean Josh, Hadley, and me. Henry, my first baby, was somewhere nearby, roaming the winter wonderland. Completely, blissfully unaware that the family photograph of the YEAR was happening without him. If he did know, I’m pretty sure that all of the insecurities he has felt about being replaced by Hadley would be confirmed.  Or maybe I’m projecting human emotions on my dog again.

Regardless, I feel bad that the combination of my procrastination and photogenic issues have led to Henry’s absence in our 2013 family portrait.  So I feel the need to publicly apologize to our precious Henry, who in case you were wondering, is still very much alive and well.

Sorry, Henry. You’re still our number 2.


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Lessons in Hosting

When we moved to our new house, one of the things we were most excited about was being able to properly host. Our old house was fine for just us, but our teeny tiny combination living room, dining room, kitchen could be easily filled with a handful of friends. We never even really had my family over because there’s just too many of them. And then once we had Hadley, having people over was even more stressful. Nothing makes you feel more like a hosting failure than shushing your guests for laughing too loud when your baby is trying to sleep just a few yards away. 

Now that we have more space, and a basement with a guest room and sleeper sofa, we have been making up for lost time hosting. Since moving in five months ago, we have had either family or friends staying in our guest room on eleven different occasions! And that’s of course not counting the dinners, birthday parties, and family get togethers. It’s been really great to spend all this time with our loved ones, and I love how Hadley is used to having adoring grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends surrounding her. And I think I am getting better at it. It certainly does not come natural to me. As the fourth of six children, I’m not used to being the one who takes charge. Now that I’m a mom, I am always leading and thinking about someone else’s needs before my own. So I’m trying to learn this skill, and also the skill of NOT trying to perfect everything. Because as soon as my house is spotless, people come and live in it and it’s messy again. So, really it’s okay if my mother-in-law sees that sometimes my refrigerator is not completely wiped down and organized. 

For Thanksgiving this year, Josh’s family came from West Virginia to stay with us for a few days. It was bitterly cold this week, but luckily Hadley and her cousin Sophie keep each other entertained. Those little blondies could be sisters with how much they resemble each other, and they get along really well which is nice. And plus they are just SO sweet together. Lots of kisses, cuddles and fun in the bath together. 


I was a little nervous about hosting the mother of all meals at my house. It was added pressure for me since we were really hosting for the whole week, not just the meal, and my sisters were coming over for dessert with their families. The day before our West Virginia family arrived, I went shopping to scrounge up some last minute Thanksgiving decor. At Hobby Lobby, I learned that I am a deadbeat crafter because the rest of the world has already moved on to Christmas. Three days before Turkey day, and there was one measly aisle of Thanksgiving decor left. The upside was that everything remaining was 80% off. So I grabbed a couple of florals to potentially arrange into name card holders, chargers, and of course some burlap. And then at the last minute I decided to stock up on wrapping paper to avoid feeling like a procrastinator again for the next holiday.

Good news is everything came together really nicely. It was actually one of the most civilized Thanksgivings I’ve been a part of. We all contributed a couple of dishes, and having two ovens is simply a game changer. And the best part for me? Hadley napped through the whole meal so I got to eat a hot meal without sharing a bite. For that I was most thankful. 



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Surviving the Week

I am so thrilled to kiss this week goodbye. I really should have known it would be rough, considering Monday was a holiday and this happens EVERY time we have a short week. My expectation for the week to fly by just sets me up to fail miserably.

On Tuesday I woke up not feeling well. Not to worry, I thought. It’s suddenly sub-arctic outside anyways, and I don’t have any plans and I don’t have to go to the store.  Hadley and I can have a cozy day indoors, watching movies and cuddling. Maybe I’ll do some baking. I really have been craving the chance to just be quiet and unproductive after a busy couple of months of hosting and entertaining.

Little did I know that overnight my sweet, snuggly baby had vanished and in her place was a version of Hadley that can only be described as a frustrated, furious, fiery toddler.  I was also blissfully unaware that Josh would be working late for the next two nights, leaving me on my own to try to battle comfort this angry child. I should have stayed in bed.

The tantrums started early and persisted throughout the day, until she finally just embraced steady screaming by the late afternoon. She repeated her efforts on Wednesday. I spent most of Wednesday night crying to Josh, frustrated, exhausted, done for. He suggested that she might be teething and I reminded him (sweetly, of course) that she has never flinched for any of her teeth coming in, and then kindly suggested that unless he was the one taking care of her when she is shrieking inconsolably for two days, or held a medical license, I didn’t want his opinion.

Thursday morning I braced myself for day three in hell, but to my surprise and delight, she seemed to be back to normal. I immediately said a silent prayer of gratitude that this wasn’t just who she had become now. She was happy (well, happy for a fifteen-month-old who can’t tell me anything she wants while simultaneously wanting EVERYTHING). We played outside for a good chunk of the day and we were able to venture back out into the real world. Target missed us I’m sure.

                                               The portrait of health playing outside yesterday afternoon

And then today she woke up with a fever and a runny nose. I was again perplexed. I didn’t feel like playing the guessing game anymore, especially with the weekend approaching, and pediatricians becoming unavailable – so I took her in.

Whenever I take her to the doctor’s, I always suddenly feel like I am overreacting about her symptoms. And today as she paraded around the waiting room, saying hi and smiling brightly at other patients, I had the distinct impression that this might be a giant waste of our morning.


In the waiting room at the pediatrician. She’s about to approach a stranger and ask him to pick her up.



                            Naked and inspecting a Highlights magazine…typical visit to the docs

The pediatrician took a quick look in her ears, declared them fine and then another quick look in her mouth, and declared that she has two molars coming in. Well actually, one that had just come in and another peeking through.  

So, she’s teething. Apparently a few days with an extremely fussy toddler does nothing for my motherly perception skills. I felt like an idiot. Who needs a pediatrician to diagnose their baby with teething? Isn’t that the number one excuse we give for our fussy babies? Even Josh knew what was going on and he has been working to the bone and exhausted.

Oh well. I’m so happy to have an answer, so happy that she isn’t sick or perpetually cranky, so happy this week is over. I don’t even really care that I’ll have to admit to my husband that I was wrong and he was right. 

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Just A Little Update

When my sister-in-law recently informed me that my last blog post was over six months ago, I was surprised. Not that I hadn’t posted in that long. I couldn’t believe anyone had noticed my absence. It’s probably no coincidence that my blogging took a hit when Hadley started moving. I used to be able to nurse her and type at the same time. And then of course when she started crawling, she started touching everything and trying to destroying some things – things like laptops and other expensive technological items. So that’s one of my excuses and the other is that life has been even busier than usual these past few months.

The biggest news is that we moved! We sold our sweet little Cape Cod in Falls Church and bought a house about an hour northwest, in Purcellville. It has been great… plus I really love that now I can say we live in wine country. The pace of life feels slower but not too slow. People are noticeably friendlier. We love our house, especially being able to host lots of friends and family. We live in town, and it’s so nice to be able to walk everywhere. In Falls Church we had to get in our car to go anywhere. I love being able to walk to the Farmer’s Market and the library with Hadley. The other day, she threw a fit when we tried to walk by the library without going inside. I’m not trying to read into it too much but I’m pretty sure that means she’ll be a future English major/ book nerd like her mom.

What else – oh yeah, Hadley took her first plane rides – and the first plane for this nervous flier in almost TWO YEARS. In June, we went to Phoenix for Josh’s brothers wedding and the next month to Salt Lake to see my baby sister off on her mission. Two of my best friends moved away (still makes me sad to acknowledge that). Josh and I celebrated our twenty-ninth birthdays, but Hadley really stole the spotlight with her first birthday – welcome to parenthood, right? Actually it was kind of nice to not think about how this is the last year in our twenties and instead focus on how amazing the last year of our life has been with the addition of Hadley.

Here are some photos from this beautiful fall – whyyy must it almost be over??

Out and about, soaking up the jacket and flats weather

Out and about, soaking up the jacket and flats weather

Walking path in our new neighborhood

Walking path in our new neighborhood

She looks like such a toddler in this picture! Sigh.

She looks like such a toddler in this picture! Sigh.

More neighborhood scenery

More neighborhood scenery

Please, can’t we stay outside just a little bit longer?

Huge perk of the move - being closer to cousins. Downside - learning to share.

Huge perk of the move – being closer to cousins. Downside – learning to share.

We spent a beautiful day in Harper's Ferry

We spent a beautiful day in Harper’s Ferry

The view from Dad's shoulders is a great one

The view from Dad’s shoulders is a great one

Hamming it up with some of her favorites

Hamming it up with some of her favorites

She's crazy, but we love her

She’s crazy, but we love her



Hadley adores her Grampa or Bumpa, as she calls him

Hadley adores her Grampa or Bumpa, as she calls him

We took a mini vacation to the Virginia countryside and left Hadley home with grandparents. Amazing time and beautiful place!

We took a mini vacation to the Virginia countryside and left Hadley home with grandparents. Amazing time and beautiful place!

Visiting Avery at UVA. Now that she lives in Charlottesville, lunch together is a rare luxury!

Visiting Avery at UVA. Now that she lives in Charlottesville, lunch together is a rare luxury!

Not an uncommon sight in our house...

Not an uncommon sight in our house…

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