dream home

I’m baaack – and whoa, have things changed. {Notice I’m now THREE boys one petunia, not two!} Yup. We welcomed baby number four to our wild and crazy family. His name is Grey, and he’s such a dream. More on him, and maybe a birth story soon, because it was so unreal.


But, for now… It’s finally happening.

Moving into a bigger home was always something we wanted to do, but it was always on our, well my husband’s, five year plan. I shuddered each time he said that. Didn’t he understand that I wanted to move, like now? To be fair, he’s the practical one. The one who thinks things through before making big decisions. Not me – I’m the impulsive one. I thank my lucky stars for him, or who knows where I’d be.

Last summer, we had been talking about this so-called, five year plan, and I was trying to change his mind. I’m usually pretty good at it, but he didn’t seem to budge on this one. His argument was that we still fit in our current home, and there just wasn’t any rush.

He was right.. right for just one more day. It just so happened that the very next day I realized I was like a week late, so I peed on a stick and broke the news to him that baby number four was on his way.

That very next day I was getting crazy amounts of text messages from him, all links to houses on the market. Yes – I win!

We searched and searched my entire pregnancy for a house that fit our needs. Some said we were way too picky, and to be perfectly honest, we totally were. Nothing fit our expectations.

Finally, just this past spring, we found a newly listed five acre piece of land. It was perfect. It was private, a little country’ish, but only twenty minutes from the big cities, AND it was in the same city as our current home, with an excellent school district. Total win.

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Thirty days later, it was ours.

Fast forward to today. We are about two weeks away from breaking ground. It has been such a whirlwind planning everything for our custom home. We are so lucky to be working with a fabulous builder, one who is so accommodating and has such good ideas. It seems like it took forever, and was so much work, planning each and every detail, but it’ll be so worth it when we move in.

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The kids are so excited to each have their own bedroom, and if we ever decide on baby number five, there’s an extra bedroom for him or her.. HA! JUST KIDDING. This baby maker is closed.. for good. ;)

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Do me a favor? If you’ve built your home, tell me some tips in the comments. Anything you regret? Anything you wish you knew at the time? Help a girl out.

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{diy} calming glitter jar

GLITTER. GLAMOUR. SPARKLE. SHIMMER.

Whatever you call it, I can’t get enough of it. It’s always been that way. The more glitter or shimmer, the better. Just ask my best friend. She’ll attest.. Won’t you, Angela?

We are in the midst of party planning a special little girl’s two-year old birthday, so naturally, we are surrounded by glitter {think Frozen inspired glitter!}.. I’ll be sure to post all the details later, but first, decided to make a quick and easy calming jar.

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HAVE YOU HEARD OF THEM?

Most likely you have, but, if not.. A calming jar is simply a jar full of glitter, glue and water. And, if you’re like me, a drop of lavender oil too! Now obviously these calming jars are intended to remain closed, but we have found that the gentle scent of Lavender oil is noticeable when using them.

WHAT ARE THEY USED FOR?

I’m not going to lie.. I have a high maintenance three year old who is full of drama. Always. He is the sweetest, most affectionate little boy, but jeez, he is a handful. And that’s actually an understatement.  He’s NOT naughty, just incredibly persistent, very relentless; a complete roller coaster of emotion. ALL DAY LONG. He’s the one child of ours who needs more of everything. That’s the perfect way to describe him: Needs more of everything.

Anyways, we decided to make a calming jar as an alternative to timeouts. Which for us, don’t really work, anyways. As a semi-attachment parent’er, I believe that timeouts aren’t really an effective form of punishment, at least for our children. They seem to get increasingly frustrated, and do not learn any calm-down techniques when they are isolated in a timeout.

Instead, our calming glitter jars are used when our children are misbehaving, overwhelmed, rambunctious, or not able to control their actions.

They take it over to the couch, and shake it up as hard as they can, and watch the glitter fall to the bottom. Shaking the jar mixes the glitter, which releases a lot of their frustrations, and then watching the glitter settle, makes them magically feel calmer.

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TRY IT.

It’s both calming and mesmerizing to watch the glitter fall.

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SUPPLIES //

DIRECTIONS //

  • Pour 1/3 to 2/3 of the glue into the jar, keeping in mind that the more glue you use, the longer it’ll take to settle… wink-wink ;)
  • Pour 1 TBSP {or more} of glitter into the jar.
  • Fill the remainder with hot water.
  • Close the jar tightly, shake, and watch the magic happen!

 

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THERE HE IS.. OUR HIGH MAINTENANCE LITTLE LOVER :)

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a little update. on me, on us.

HEYY!

I’m tickled at some of the cute little messages I’ve received asking if I’m ok, if something horrible has happened, or if I’ve just quit blogging.

To be honest, I have no idea how exactly to answer you all.

I can tell you that I am perfectly ok, nothing horrible has happened, and no – I’m not calling it quits over here.

What has happened, is life. I’m super busy being a mama to my three little babes, a wife, a nurse, a friend, a daughter.. you get what I’m saying, I hope.

Nothing is more important to me than my family, and I’ve been making a conscious effort to be a present-day mama.

At the end of the day, the comments will still be here, the Facebook likes will, too.

But, my kids are growing up, and I refuse to let a computer screen trump them. They are what’s important.

SO, WHAT DOES THAT REALLY MEAN?

I’ll still be posting here whenever I have something super-amazing to share with you, just not as regular as I have in the past. Make sense?

I will however, remain active on {my most favorite social media platform} Instagram.

Right now, IG is giving me exactly what I need. I’m able to share myself with all of you, whenever I want, without requiring hours of screen time!

YOU SHOULD REALLY FOLLOW ME @TWOBOYSONEPETUNIA!

Ooh, and because our sweet little petunia was just chosen to be a brand representative for the best, most adorable headband shop, Mint and Arrows! Definitely check it out on Instagram, @mintandarrows!

Thanks for understanding!

Til next time,

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a letter to my daughter on her second birthday

DEAR AVA,

Our Petunia. Today is your SECOND birthday! It’s hard to believe that you have been in our lives for two whole years. I know it’s cliche, but it seems like just yesterday your daddy and I met your beautiful face.

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In this last year, you’ve grown in so many ways, but one thing has stayed the same. You are the happiest and most lovable little girl we have ever met, who lights up our lives with your big blue eyes and bright smile. Your calm personality and peacefulness is the purest joy we could ever imagine.

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There is {seriously} not one tiny thing about you that I would change. You are a incredibly good {and very healthy} eater, you sleep for 13-15 hours each night {and take a very long nap each afternoon}, and are just the best behaved little princess. Nothing really upsets you, you are always smiling, and you love to cuddle. Disney’s Frozen, baby dolls, and your blankie are just a few of your favorite things!

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You have a silly little spirit that I just adore, and you know how to make everyone around you smile. You have your daddy and big brother’s wrapped around your little finger, and you know it.

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We LOVE you so deeply and unmeasurably, baby girl. Cannot wait to celebrate YOU at your party next weekend!

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Happy birthday to our sweet Ava, you are simply the BEST ever! The bundle of pink I always waited for.

Love, mama

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professional photographs taken by the amazing shannon wucherer photography.

bookworm gardens

“I KNOW WHAT WE’RE GOING TO DO TODAY.”

—Phineas of Disney’s Phineas & Ferb

My 7-year old loves Phineas & Ferb. For those unfamiliar, Phineas is the talkative half of a set of brothers whose totally clueless parents can never catch on to their way over the top summer antics, despite their tattletale older sister’s best efforts.

My son starts a lot of the summer days this exact way. Best part, he usually has fantastic ideas that are helping us stay busy while having fun!

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“WHO HAS BEEN SITTING IN MY CHAIR?” –GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

When school let out in June, I had very high hopes for the upcoming summer vacation. Since my husband works during the week, it’s just the kids and I EVERYSINGLEDAY. Which as I’m sure you can relate, can be quite umm… dreadful fun! In all honesty though, I wouldn’t trade it for anything, and am so blessed to be home with them everyday {and have a job as a pediatric nurse that allows me to work just a few days a month}.

This week, we decided to take an impromptu road trip to Bookworm Gardens in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. This charming little garden is super adorable, and creates a colorful, amazing place that enhances literature, nature, and the imagination of everyone who walks through it.

Nestled throughout this picturesque garden are {the cutest} inspiring nooks and crannies, filled with engaging book-themed exhibits that bring back such wonderful memories of favorite childhood books.

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WRITING A LETTER TO TWITCH..

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TAKING A RIDE ON THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS

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PLAYING IN THE PLAYHOUSE FOR MONSTER

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SWEEPING IN THE CHARLOTTE’S WEB BARN

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TRAVELING ACROSS THE MIDWEST IN A COVERED WAGON,
FROM LITTLE HOUSE IN THE BIG WOODS

 
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THE THREE LITTLE PIGS..  STRAW, WOOD, OR BRICK?

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LOOKING AROUND THE MAGIC TREEHOUSE

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BUILDING FAIRY HOUSES.

If you are ever in the Sheboygan, Wisconsin area {or even if you’re not}, you should definitely plan a trip to this amazing little magical garden. We’ve gone a few times, and it gets better each time!
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ten reasons i love farmer’s markets

I am a total pushover for a good farmer’s market. And lucky for me, my children are too. My oldest reminds me which market is open on which day. I love it.

For us, we love them for the inspiration, the buzz, but most of all, the DELICIOUS finds. Going to farmer’s markets are much more exciting than walking into our local supermarket {which I try to avoid and am thankful my husband is the grocery shopper}. Grocery stores are open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, whereas a farmer’s market is not. That reason alone creates the buzz that surrounds packing the children up in the car and heading to each one.

10 REASONS I LOVE FARMER’S MARKETS:

1. FRESHNESS.

There’s an incredible vitality in the food at farmer’s markets because it is so fresh. I love that when I buy a dozen just-laid brown eggs, or sugar-snap peas, organic strawberries, kale or green onions, that were just picked yesterday. Food tastes so much more better when it travels 10 miles, opposed to 1000 miles.

Until you have eaten a farm-fresh egg opposed to a grocery store egg {with a farm on the carton}, you do not know what you are missing. Try it.

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2. MARVELOUS SMELLS.

Walking up and down the aisles of the market I smell bold green onions, sweet strawberries, aromatic wildflower bouquets, homemade salsa, fresh herbs. This is very different from the supermarket, where I smell… nothing.

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3. OUTDOORS.

There is something exhilarating about shopping outdoors while enjoying the beautiful summer weather! Beats being stuck inside a stuffy grocery store for an hour, running into the same people aisle after aisle, while your kids are having a meltdown. And, it’s inevitable that I always forget something {once or twice} halfway across the store.

4. SUPPORT LOCAL.

Need I say more?

5. TRADITION.

I’m a tad over the top when it comes to creating family traditions. I want my children to grow up remembering the special things we did as a FAMILY, the special traditions that we have made together. One of MY most favorite memories as a child, is packing up my pillow and blanket, climbing into the back of my Dad’s Blazer {with my younger brother} and taking a road trip each Sunday to Elegant Farmer in Mukwonago, Wisconsin. We’d eat in the parking lot under the huge weeping willow tree, just the four of us.

Similar to our Disney vacation each year, this family tradition is so special to us. It is much more than just another weekly errand, it is a tradition we look forward to, and one that I hope continues into their adulthood.

6. BEAUTY.

There is a real, raw beauty at farmer’s markets that reminds me of the all loveliness and diversity in nature. Each week we are introduced to new and beautiful produce, not found at the local supermarket. We’ve seen black raspberries, heirloom tomatoes, purple carrots, and the most perfect, teeny-tiny strawberries, ever!

Not to mention, the most gorgeous wildflowers that rival my wedding bouquet {and those fuchsia roses of mine were stunning}! These little old ladies are so incredibly talented, putting together the perfect bouquets of flowers. To die for, gorgeousness.

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7. MEAT

The farmers that we have met at our local farmer’s market treat their animals with respect. They graze on green grass, they are not given hormones or antibiotics, they are happy. As a result, the meat is good for us, tastes amazing, but most importantly, the animals were raised humanely.

8. IN SEASON

The variety from week to week is a true display of what is in season. Even my oldest son is able to identify which fruits and veggies are in season. One week there is an abundance of sweet strawberries and sugar-snap peas, the next week they are gone, and in their place are flavorful tomatoes and crisp green beans. For us, this means enjoying the food at the most ideal time with impeccable flavor. Next week it will have changed yet again, reflecting the food that is in their glory.

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9. HIDDEN GEMS.

We often find amazing little secrets at our local farmer’s markets. Raw honey, homemade baked goods, kettle corn {a favorite of ours}, and… chocolate! ;) Each week brings something new, and delicious.

10. HAPPY CHILDREN.

This is my {most} favorite reason for going to the farmer’s markets each week. My kids wander up and down the aisles, holding hands and smiling, just taking it all in. They look so innocent and happy while enjoying the ambience of what is around them.

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The market is an excellent place to teach my children where their food comes from, how to choose perfect produce, and what exactly healthy and responsible eating is.

I give my three-year old and seven-year old a few dollars before getting out of the car to pick out a few items that they would like. My oldest usually saves his money for the food trucks {surprise, surprise}, but my youngest is all about the produce. He sure knows the way to his mama’s heart.

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So, those are the reasons WE LOVE our local farmer’s markets! The food, freshness, beauty, variety and abundance all carry with them a happy energy.

Make sure to head to one of your local farmer’s markets this week! To find one in your area, search LocalHarvest.

Tell me in the comments, do you enjoy farmer’s markets? What is your favorite farmer’s market find?

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freshly picked moccasin review {& GIVEAWAY!}

STYLISH BABIES WEAR MOCCASINS.

Freshly Picked moccasins, that is. Stylish. Comfortable. Absolutely ADORABLE.

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ABOUT FRESHLY PICKED:

100% Genuine Leather Moccasins.

Each item in our shop is hand made in the U.S.A. and ready to ship.

“Freshly Picked moccasins feature a unique design with elastic at the opening. Our shoes are easy to put on, easy to take off, and most importantly: stay on your child’s foot. Our soft-soled shoes are made with durable leather and are suitable for infants and toddlers alike. These gorgeous moccs have been featured in Parenting Magazine, IN TOUCH, US weekly, People.com, Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Kourtney and Kim Take New York.”

MY love affair with these beauties began in 2012. I was introduced to them right after my daughter was born, courtesy of a diaper bag {Petunia Picklebottom, to be exact} Facebook group that I belong to. The mamas in the group were always raving about them, and so I just had to have a pair {or six}. Yes, I ordered six pairs {I can be sort of impulsive at times}, four pairs for my daughter, and two for my son.  I was so excited I could hardly stand it. I stalked my email,  just waiting for the delivery confirmation, and on the day they arrived at my local post office, I called and arranged for me to pick up my packages so that I wouldn’t have to wait for our {very slow} mail carrier to drop them off.

Taking all three children to the post office is usually a task I avoid, but not this time. I couldn’t wait. I opened the package right there in the parking lot.. Swoon. It was love at first site. I reached around and put a pair on my baby girl, and on my toddler boy. We LOVED them. My older son felt a little left out, so to fix that, we went through the Starbucks drive-thru for a cake pop!

FAST FORWARD TWO YEARS, TO TODAY.

I am so incredibly honored to have collaborated with the {lovely} crowd over at Freshly Picked moccasins. They have sent me a beautiful pair of Huckleberry moccasins to review, and are going to give one of my readers a chance to win their own pair! Yes, you read that right – you can win a FREE pair {and something else very special}, in your choice of color and size! Scroll down to enter – but first, keep reading my review so you are even more excited to win your own pair!

MY REVIEW:

These adorable moccasins came in the most adorable little drawstring bags, and smelled of sweet leather.

As soon as I took them out of their little bags, I was immediately amazed at the quality of these shoes. They are so incredibly soft, and the stitching on them is flawless. The leather is a very thick, high-quality leather, and you can tell a lot of love is put in to each and every pair! They are made in the USA, too!

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Not only are they incredibly comfortable, but their amazing design makes them stay on their little feet. No matter how much wiggling and kicking they do, these shoes remain on.. which is a must for me! I despise having to search for shoes in the backseat of the car, or backtracking my steps at the store praying that I find a thrown belonging. Best part, they do not have laces {just elastic around the ankle} so they go on super easy, too!

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The pediatric nurse in me LOVES that these shoes allow for the feet to actually feel the ground when walking, and they do not impede the growth or development of your little one’s tootsies. FP moccs do not bind their feet, prohibit them from the natural shape, or put pressure on any part of their developing muscles or bones. That’s a major bonus! In fact, my daughter took her very first steps in a pair of Freshly Picked!

Whenever I share my love for these amazing moccs, I always get asked how they hold up without a sole. Let me tell you – they DO! My {two younger} kids wear them everywhere.. to the store, the park, in the backyard, even to Disney! Sure, the bottoms do get a little dirty, but it doesn’t take away from the functionality of them! In fact, wearing them long enough creates an imprint of their cute little foot on the bottom, which I happen to love :)

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Freshly Picked moccs have EXCELLENT resale value because they are such high quality, I’m definitely keeping at least one pair of them belonging to each of my children to put in their memory box! Maybe in 25 years, their kids can wear them!

I cannot gush enough about how much we love these moccasins in our house! They come in all colors of the rainbow, and now are available in some great patterns! Camo.. seriously?! Precious. We’ve had at least 15 different pairs of these lovely moccasins, and continue to keep ordering! They come in sizes 1-10, and are so worth the retail price of $60! If you are looking for unique and comfortable footwear for your little ones, I highly suggest that you browse the Freshly Picked website. They have a fabulous collection, and all of the colors are just divine!

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OKAY, TIME TO ENTER!

We are giving away a FREE pair of moccasins to one LUCKY winner..

Enter to win both by using the rafflecopter below! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

GOOD LUCK!

This giveaway will run, starting now until 11:59pm CST on July 21th. The winner will be contacted via email and all entries will be verified so please be honest! The winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize or a new winner will be chosen! Shipping is included in the United States, but not internationally!

Freshly Picked graciously sent me a free pair of moccasins to review, but everything I have written is 100% my HONEST opinion.

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happy fourth

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…from mine, to yours :)

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happy birthday, husband

Today is one of my most favorite days of the year. A day that is not about me, not about the kids {impossible, I’ll try though}, but is dedicated, and all about my incredible husband. A man who loves his family unconditionally and shows it everyday {even if some days it seems as though we are living in the movie, Groundhog Day}. A skillful man, who is so darn good at everything {totally not fair} he does. Not to mention, very attractive with his dash of bad boy ;)

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I’m so lucky to get to spend my life with this man. He gets me {99% of the time}. He knows how to make me laugh, calm me down, push my buttons, cheer me up and help me relax. He does a perfect impression of me, that makes me laugh so hard I cry, each time. Pretty much, it seems as though he was made all for me. I am so darn lucky to have married my best friend.

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Thank you for making three beautiful babies with me, who look up to you like you are their everything. Because you are. Mine, too.

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HAPPY Birthday to the love of my life. The love of our children’s lives. You have made me the happiest girl alive, while also making me the craziest {but I wouldn’t have it any other way}! You are an incredible daddy to our three children, and I’m so thankful for you, and our family.

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To the man who makes our dreams come true everyday {and takes us on a two week Disney vacation every year}, we love you and hope you have a fantastic birthday, you deserve it!

LOVE you to the moon and back,

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MINE // #REDBALLOONSFORRYAN

ONE WEEK AGO, TODAY.

Friday. One of my family’s {most} favorite days of the week. The evening that sets the tone for the weekend ahead. I remember it being fun, a calm evening of just enjoying each other, and being together. We had picked up take-out, and had a great dinner that was filled with meaningful conversation, as all five of us sat around the table. We each talked about our day, our most favorite part of it, and our least favorite part. We felt connected.

Afterwards, we went outside to play. It was a bit chilly, so we bundled up in our sweatshirts, and big winter hats.

Tyler jumped in the trampoline and played with his football, Mason drove his police car and chased “bad guys”, and Ava happily carried one of her Disney princesses, and walked around the yard, smiling.

While sitting close to each other on the deck, I enjoyed a glass of wine, and Jake had a beer. We would occasionally catch each other’s glance, and smile. Without saying anything, I knew what he was thinking, and feeling. We both felt blessed. We both, at that very moment, knew just how lucky we were. We had made three beautiful children together, and were living a beautifully blessed life. We felt like the luckiest couple, and it made me feel so good, like we were living in a dream.

HALFWAY ACROSS THE COUNTRY..

…at the same time that I was feeling so happy, and blessed, another family was in the middle of having their worst nightmare come true. It is so incredibly unfair. A little boy, Ryan, with the best fiery red and curly hair, went home to Jesus, moments after chasing his frisbee into the street. He was simply in the wrong place at the horribly wrong time.

I didn’t know his mama Jacqui, or daddy Dan, or even his sweet little self. But I sometimes felt like I did. I followed @BabyBoyBakery on Instagram, read her blog, and saw this adorable little redhead {who was the exact same age as my Mason}, fill my news feed almost everyday. His mama captured such amazing photographs, and the love between them is outstanding. This story has brought me to tears more than once. Their only child was taken from them, in a second. If you’d like to, you can read more of this story, here.

I cannot imagine the pain that these two parents are enduring right now. I have to say, that my absolute biggest fear is loosing a child, it is an unhealthy and irrational fear that is quite consuming at times. This just hit too close to home. This could have been one of my kids. One of my rambunctious, full-of-energy little ones, who loved the life around them, and just wants to smile and laugh. I simply cannot allow myself to think about this anymore. It is just too heartbreaking.

Messages of love and support have flooded social media this past week, since the horrific news broke. It is amazing to see what is being offered. Shirts are being designed, jewelry is being crafted, and money is being donated. Such love to help these parents, as they grieve the loss of their {only} child. There has also been a Go Fund Me account set up to donate money to help with funeral expenses, and the loss of their income, as they take time off. My heart is broken for this family. No one should ever have to bury their child. Please help out, if you can.

Or, use the hashtag #redballoonsforryan, or stop by his sweet mama’s Instagram feed to grab a picture of Ryan, and to pay your respect.

As Mother’s Day approaches, love your kids harder, and hold them longer. I know I will.

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