Family Beach Trip 2022

loaded up and ready to hit the road!

We’re here!!

first trip to Provision Company for Sissy

Playing at the farm!

Celebrating three wonderful years!

We loved spending the afternoon at the pool!

Ferry ride to the aquarium in Elmo PJ’s

not a fan of the scuba diver. no thank you.

worn out.

mom and dad in the way back

vacation naps, am I right?!?

Bertie was so glad to have Aunt Jody with us, she never left her side.

Cooking fresh seafood at home

ice cream downtown

cute boy exploring

Neighborhood strolls!

Beach day!

Library fun!

Applesauce is life.

One last Provision Company meal before heading home

We had the best week at the beach! It was Ellis Ann’s first trip to the beach and I think she really enjoyed it. We are so lucky that Jo Jo and Penny were able to join us. We are in a stage of life now where the more help we have the more fun everyone has! I feel so grateful that the kids have Jody and Penny to vacation with and bond with since they will always miss out on the joys of their Grandma Francey.

We ventured out to the farm for an oyster roast to see Uncle Tim and the kids and all the animals. Their house is basically a kids paradise with all the space to run and play and all the animals and toys. Graham really enjoyed his afternoon here and it was great for Ellis Ann to get to meet so many people!

We spent a day at the aquarium. It’s funny how with kids you can build something up to be OMG SO MUCH FUN and then when the day of the event happens they are just not having it. Graham slept it and we had to wake him up and hurry to the ferry in his pajamas so we would make it to the aquarium, and it was like he just never quite woke up so he was very unimpressed with the aquarium. I think he did enjoy the ferry ride over, but on the ferry home both Graham and Ellis Ann were sound asleep.

We went for lots of walks. We spent time playing in the sand. We went out to eat. Ellis Ann had her first (and second) trip to Provision Company. We checked out the local library. We played in the pool. (The pool at Jo Jo’s rental house was a life saver!) We cooked fresh seafood from the market we can walk to down the street. We shopped. We ate ice cream. We played on the playground. We watched the boats. Just a wonderful week of beach things. We tried to relax and take it easy as much as possible, but that’s not easy to do right now!

Sean and I were able to get to one of our favorite restaurants to celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary! It is absolutely wild to me how our lives have changed in the past three years. We are beyond lucky to have two beautiful children, a sweet puppy, a home, and now a second home to show for the past three years. It was a wonderful chance to celebrate all the things together!

We discovered the beauty of travelling in the off season. Our trip was in mid September, and while the weather was still plenty warm for all the things, it wasn’t sweltering hot and there were no crowds anywhere! It was really ideal with little kids! We can’t wait for our next trip back to our little house by the sea!

Ellis Ann is Five Months Old!

What another wonderful month with you sweet girl! The time is just passing by so quickly. You’re playing with your toys now, and starting to play with Graham more and more. It is just the sweetest to watch you two together. You moved in to your own room this month which was a much needed change for us all. You did pretty well adjusting to your crib, but still no strict schedule yet. You’re making lots of good noises now, still making the growling noise, and tickling your tummy makes you laugh with joy. Hearing you and your brother laugh is one of the best sounds I’ve ever heard. We had a wonderful girls day in Chapel Hill! We’ve spent lots of time outside soaking up the last of summer. You’re getting more and more comfortable in the water at the pool. We are hoping to start you in swim lessons soon. We celebrated Mommy’s 38th birthday! Mina and Pop Pop have officially moved to town and we are loving being able to see them all the time now! Unfortunately we’ve had more daycare germs this month, you had a bad cough and your first ear infection. You handled it like a champ though and really weren’t fussy or anything at all. We love you so big sweet girl!!

17 weeks – playing

17 weeks – 4 month check up

17 weeks – Girls day in Chapel Hill, you were such a good sport after your 4 month shots

17 weeks – visit from Uncle Penny

18 weeks – tummy time

18 weeks – a visit from Mina and Pop Pop

18 weeks – checking out Mina and Pop Pop’s new house

19 weeks – hanging by the pool, you blow bubbles like that when you’re hungry

19 weeks – worn out

19 weeks – you’re still my little snuggle bug

19 weeks – bath time

19 weeks – this is what our family photos look like these days

19 weeks – bribed Graham with a popsicle for a photo

19 weeks – the sweetest girls

19 weeks – the cutest overalls

19 weeks – Saturday at the doctor with an ear infection

19 weeks – holding your bottle like a big girl

20 weeks – trying out the new double stroller

(again with the family photos)

20 weeks – Sunday is for baseball (and Mommy’s birthday)

20 weeks – Happy Birthday Mommy!

20 weeks – tummy time – people are always commenting on your big beautiful eyes!

20 weeks – the sweetest picture from school

20 weeks – someone is excited for football season kickoff

20 weeks – Mountaineer football!

20 weeks – out for a stroll at Reynolda

20 weeks – soaking up the last of the pool season

21 weeks – brother helping take your weekly picture

21 weeks – Cutie at Incendiary

21 weeks – last night in your Snoo

21 month old boy and 21 week old girl

5 months – 21 weeks – first night in your crib

Ellis Ann is Four Months Old!

You are the absolute sweetest cuddliest little thing! This has been a big month for you. You’re doing well in daycare now. You brought home what was either a nasty daycare germ or covid, and the whole house went down. Luckily you were only sick with a low fever for about a day, the rest of us went DOWN with whatever it was. You’ve become very interested in Graham this month and are always watching him now. We met your Florida cousins this month which was so wonderful since we had never been able to meet Gracie due to covid. You’re constantly putting your hands in your mouth now and are starting to play with some toys. At 17 weeks we finally got the elusive belly laugh. At 18 weeks you rolled over from your back onto your belly, I think you even surprised yourself by doing that! You are making the most hilarious growling noises now, Graham makes them back to you and we all crack up! We love you big sweet girl!

13 weeks – the cuddliest girls

13 weeks – my little Tar Heel

13 weeks – the sweetest little boy and little girl holding hands and not feeling well

14 weeks – meeting your cousins and aunt and uncle

14 weeks – evenings are rough, but you love it snuggled up in here

15 weeks – the cutest little Pooh

15 weeks – matching jammies

15 weeks – little flamingo

15 weeks – a trip to the country for ice cream, too sweltering hot to do anything else

16 weeks – afternoon out for lunch on a hot Sunday

16 weeks – the sweetest picture from your teacher

16 weeks – little cuddle bug

16 weeks – trying out your frog chair

16 weeks – hanging with Daddy

17 weeks – tummy time

17 weeks and 10 weeks in the matching overalls

17 weeks – pool day

17 weeks – love this picture from your teacher

17 weeks – getting clean

4 month old – napping with Daddy after a bath

4 months old with the big bow

Ellis Ann is Three Months Old!

Three months! It’s hard to believe how fast the time is flying by! What an absolute joy you are! You are so smiley these days! You learned to roll from your tummy over onto your back at 9 weeks this month. You started daycare at 12 weeks old! I was sad to go back to work, and very sad to leave you at school but you are in wonderful hands! Ms. Jennifer & Ms. Eden, your teachers, and you have become fast friends. You’re the smallest one in the class so it’s still hard for me to leave you with the big kids, but you will be as big as them in no time! You’re making lots of cooing noises now, and we can tell the laugh is coming but no real belly laughs just yet!

We’ve had lots of family time this month. You met the Carter Family at Grandpa Jack’s memorial service. Kaki and Kaka flew in from New York for a visit. And of course Mina and Pop Pop have been with us a lot. Aunt Jody has also been to visit and stay with you quite a few times.

You went in the pool for the first time this month. You were not such a fan, I think because the water was too cold! We are hoping to get you in swimming lessons soon!

We still don’t have you on much of a schedule, since starting daycare you’re not sleeping quite as well at night. You’re waking up a few times to eat and are more restless at night. I think it’s the daycare germs. You’ve had your first stuffy nose and that seems to keep you up.

All in all you’ve just been our happy go with the flow girl. Along for the ride wherever we go! We love you big little one!

9 weeks – rolled right over into Bertie

9 weeks – meeting your Great Uncle Jim and Great Aunt Ann and the Carter’s at Grandpa Jack’s Memorial

10 weeks – Mom and Dad had a night out!

10 weeks – Visit from Kaka and Kaki

10 weeks – 11 pounds

10 weeks – shots at your check up

10 weeks – the most chill girl sleeping at the dinner table

11 weeks – it may be hectic at our house but I sure do love it!

11 weeks – you are the calm to your brothers chaos right now

11 weeks – stretching in the Snoo

11 weeks – hanging with Aunt Jody

11 weeks – First time in the pool

12 weeks – your first 4th of July

12 weeks – first day of daycare

12 weeks – Starting daycare is exhausting

12 weeks – Children’s Museum – happy girl along for the ride

3 months – Sunday morning snuggles

Graham is Eighteen Months old!

What a whirlwind the last few months have been. You’re a big brother now! You are all boy, all the time. You’re running non stop. You wake up in the morning saying “outside,” and you can play ball for hours. You request to watch ball on TV now, asking for different sports constantly, “te te,” “butball,” baeball,” “hoop,” “poccer ball.” You are loving school and finally happy to be left with your teacher Ms. Caitlin every morning. You will take a 2+ hour nap at school every day, but we still can’t get you to do the same at home. At home you take a morning and afternoon nap still. At your 18 month check up you were 26 pounds. You got one shot, and did really well until that night. It was the first time you called out for “mommy” in the night and it just broke my heart to hear you. You are learning new words constantly now. You repeat lots of things you hear and we can see you learning so quickly. One of the things that surprised me most recently was at 17 months you were carrying two pacis, you held them both up and said “TWO!” You are still loving swim lessons and we also joined a pool and have been spending lots of time swimming lately! You are a great big brother, you want to give Sissy a paci, pat her on the head, and share your snacks with her. You weren’t jealous of her at all and didn’t act out when she first came home. I love hearing you call for “Sissy.” Pop Pop and Dadima have been with us quite a bit lately and you are obsessed with them. You have started calling Dadima “Mina” and we all crack up. What a wild and joyful last few months! We love you big!!

16 Months

eating biscuits

Choo Choo book with Daddy and Bertie

reading books with Mommy (and Sissy)

Couch selfie with Daddy

loving swim lessons

The best Baby Shark bubble machine!

one last only child nap on the couch with Mommy

trying out Sissy’s bows

last family photo as a family of 3

Staying with JoJo waiting for sissy to come

Welcoming Sissy home

Marching off to school! You do the cutest thing with your right arm now when you walk!

Family of Four!

Such a wonderful big brother, keeping watch on your Sissy!

Downtown adventures

The coolest little boy

Big Brother on Easter

Broccoli!!

Elephant Feet!

Still loving hats!

Sissy’s bows come in handy for all this hair!

More downtown fun with Daddy!

You love grocery shopping with Mommy on Sunday mornings!

You are your Daddy’s little boy! You love cleaning!

Rowing the boat in Sissy’s Dock a Tot

17 months

School playground time!

Always with a ball!

Mother’s Day!

Beet burgers!

Meeting the horses!

Park adventures with Daddy!

Swim lessons!

Sprinkler time!

Cooling off with a smoothie

The cutest boy ready for a neighborhood picnic

Reading books in Bertie’s bed

New Ball! All ball. All the time.

Sick day on the mall train

Sunday at the baseball stadium with free carousel rides!

Memorial Day with the matching outfits

Haircut time!

Cake for Daddy’s birthday!

Park fun!

18 Months!

School Picture Day!

Meeting the Carter’s at Grandpa Jack’s memorial service

Pinehurst Number 5

Hanging with Pop Pop

Visit from Kaka and Kaki

Family outing to the Disco Turkeys game!

18 month check up

Obsessed with the Christmas book!

Pool days… you’re just here for the snacks

broom! broom! broom!

National Mud Day at school!

Loving our summer days at the pool!

Playing in your toy box!

Happy Fourth of July!

We waited a long time for this moment! Getting your FIRST covid vaccine!!!!

Ellis Ann is Two Months Old!

Ellis Ann,

You have been the absolute perfect addition to our family! We could not have imagined how seamlessly you just would just fit in. Although you’ve only been ours for two months, it’s hard to remember what we were like before you were here! You go with the flow so well, and have just been along for the ride so far!! As an only child, I had no idea what to expect adding a second child to our family. Seeing your brother bond with you is truly so special. You are starting to take an interest in him and always watching what he’s up to now.

It has been a joy to be home with you the last two months soaking up the baby cuddles. So far you are a total mommy’s girl and I just eat it up. You’re sleeping well in the Snoo at night, now waking up to eat only once. We haven’t gotten you into much of a routine yet, it doesn’t seem to bother you though. You’re able to just roll with things so well that we haven’t felt the pressure to get you on a strict schedule. You ride along in your stroller or nap in your car seat for just about anything we want to do! You’re eating about every three hours during the day, going to bed for the night around 10 or 11 and waking up once around 3 for a feeding and back to bed until 6 or 7. We were so thankful that you were a good sleeper pretty much right from the start. You have had no issues with feeding which has also been a blessing (especially knowing there is a formula shortage now). At this point you mostly cry only when you are hungry or sleepy. During the day you want to be held most of the time, and prefer to sleep in someone’s (mommy’s) arms. You nap well throughout the day as long as you’re being held. Around six or seven weeks you started smiling at us which melted us into a big puddle of love. Around nine weeks you flipped from your tummy over onto your back during tummy time.

You are still quite the petite little girl. Finally, wearing newborn diapers and newborn clothes. When you first came home we put you in preemie clothes & diapers because you were such a tiny thing! You are growing so fast and I wish we could slow down time to soak it all up a little longer. You are the happiest cuddliest little one!

Ellis Ann, you have completed our family in the most perfect way! I still can’t believe I have a blue eyed baby girl! I’m often in awe of the life your dad and I have built with two perfect little ones to love! We could not have imagined the joy that fills our home and our lives now. We love you big little one!

1 day old – ready to head home from the hospital – sleeping on Mommy’s chest (where you’ve spent most of the last 2 months!)

1 day old – Meeting Pop Pop and Dadima

1 day old – first stroller ride

2 days old – first trip to the pediatrician

6 lbs 7 oz

2 day old snuggles

2 days old – hanging with Daddy and Brother

3 days old – snuggle bug

3 days old – meeting Aunt Penny (Aunt Jody too!)

4 days old – family time!

4 days old – weight check – 6 lbs 12.4 oz

4 days old – First trip to Costco

5 days old – first trip to the vineyards

5 days old – trying out the bottle

6 days old – exploring downtown

6 days old – lashes for days

7 days old – First Easter

One Week Old – Big Brother keeping watch

8 days old – back to the doctor for an eye infection

10 days old – all the girls snuggled up

11 days old – neighborhood outing

11 days old – snuggling

12 days old – celebratory drinks for everyone

13 days old – watching big brothers swim class

13 days old – the sweetest face

two weeks old – milk drunk

two weeks old – 7.65 pounds

2 weeks old

16 days old – picnicking with Mom and Dad

18 days old – first trip to the grocery store

19 days old – you’re under there, I promise, another vineyard outing

19 days old

20 days old – a little blurry and a lot of love

3 weeks old

3 weeks old – our wild and wonderful family

3 weeks old – Daddy goes back to work

3 weeks old – meeting Grandpa Jack

3 weeks old – out for a spring stroll

3 weeks old – the ABSOLUTE SWEETEST girls!!

3 weeks old – getting a bath

3 weeks old – hanging with Aunt Jody and Bertie

4 weeks old – Celebrating Mother’s Day

4 weeks old

4 weeks old – trying out your chair

Growing this fast is exhausting!

5 weeks old – first tub bath

5 weeks old – the sweetest brother and sister

5 weeks old – your first girls day out

6 weeks old – first baseball game

6 weeks old – out to lunch to meet Aunt Amy

7 weeks old – Mom and Dad’s first night out to celebrate Daddy’s birthday

7 weeks old

7 weeks old – first Memorial Day with your first coordinating outfits

7 weeks old – our little snuggle bug

7 weeks old – Bertie loves snuggling just as much as you

Two months old – so fresh and so clean

and just for fun to see you grow into this GIANT bow!

two months old – wearing Daddy’s outfit

Easter 2022

Ellis Ann’s first Easter was so much fun! It’s hard to believe that just a few months ago, we took these photos to announce that she was on the way and now here she is celebrating Easter at 7 days old! Dadima and Pop Pop were in town. Graham got to open his Easter baskets and his sisters, which he loved! The biscuits and the balls were the biggest favs! We spent almost all day outside. Playing in the backyard and then to Renolda for a picnic. I adore the family photo that Pop Pop snapped of us at Reynolda. Aunt Amy sent the cutest crochet outfit for EA to dress up in for Easter. What a great first holiday for our sweet girl and a wonderful day of fun for big brother!

Ellis Ann’s Birth Story

Last family photo of just us three!

Jo Jo came to stay with Graham

Welcome to the world Ellis Ann!

I should start by saying I started having contractions around April 3. They would get stronger to the point I thought maybe that was it, and then they would go away for several hours or even a whole day. However on Saturday April 9, something told me they were a bit different this time. We got up and took Graham to swimming lessons, and then I met a friend for a pedicure. She jokingly said the pedicure would send me into labor (but I had a feeling it was already coming).

I was having contractions on and off throughout the morning. They were really not painful and I was able to keep doing what I had planned. Once I was at home, Sean wanted me to rest, hoping that the contractions would go away. I think he secretly wanted a few more days to prepare! As the day went on it just started to seem more and more like it was time! Late that afternoon I called Aunt Jody and told her to come over to our house to stay with Graham so we would be able to leave for the hospital when the time came. We called Dadima and Pop Pop and told them to head to our house the next morning because we thought it was close to time. We had dinner and Graham went to bed. We thought we would go to bed and try to get some rest before the time came. We were in bed no more than 15 minutes before I said “it’s time.”

Around 10:00 that night the contractions were starting to be very painful and getting closer together. Sean had already loaded everything in the car that afternoon, in anticipation of needing to leave quickly. Luckily it is a short drive from our house to the hospital. When entering the hospital I had been asked if I had any Covid-19 symptoms and I said no (but I wasn’t being totally honest, I had a terrible cough that I had for at least a week, but had tested negative at home several times). We were taken in and given a triage room right away and I thought things would move quickly. They checked me out and decided that I was in labor and it was time to be admitted. But then we had the two SLOWEST nurses come in and it took FOREVER to get triaged. Time passes much slower too when you’re waiting anxiously for an epidural! The nurses were moving so slow that it gave everyone on the floor enough time to notice my cough, so I had to be tested for covid and the flu, luckily both were negative.

Two hours later we were finally moved to a labor and delivery room. We had the sweetest nurse, who I think had just finished nursing school. She was just the nicest, but had no confidence and had to call the charge nurse to come check behind her over and over. I guess that’s better than her making a mistake though.

She called for the epidural and the anesthesia resident came right away. I had such a great experience with my epidural with Graham that I was expecting the same thing. And I did not get that. It took him several tries to get it placed and it was really not the most comfortable experience. Thankfully, it started to work quickly, but then out of nowhere I got so sick!

There was a nurse in the room setting up the warmer and we were just chatting away and suddenly I was like I AM SO HOT I AM GOING TO BE SICK! She jumped into action and took care of the situation. The sickness passed quickly and finally I was able to rest a little. It’s tough to rest though because people keep coming in and out of the room and checking different things. It felt like I had finally fallen asleep for a few minutes when I was awoken by my water breaking!

After my water broke things went QUICKLY and I sort of lost track of time. The nurse called for my doctor and he came right away. From the pictures it looks like he was gowning up around 4:50 am. I pushed for about 10 minutes and that was it! Our Ellis Ann was born at 5:06 am, weighing 6lb 9.5 oz., and 19.75 inches long! The tiniest little thing. She didn’t cry much at first and it was scary for a few seconds, but the nurse rubbed her and got her crying and said she was just fine!

We didn’t realize it at first, but when I asked if Sean was going to cut the cord, the doctor said he had to do it already. The cord was wrapped around her neck twice when she was delivered so he had to quickly get it off, but it did not cause her any issues.

Right from the start Ellis Ann has been the cuddliest little thing. We spent most of the rest of the day in the labor and delivery room because there was no mother/baby rooms available. Sean was hesitant to leave for food because we kept thinking I would be getting moved and he would need to help out. Finally after a few hours I was STARVING and so he had no choice but to go out and get lunch! I ate my sandwich snuggling the sweetest girl. We were still in the labor and delivery room another few hours before they found a room for us, but it wasn’t so bad because the L&D rooms are so much bigger and nicer.

Once we finally got moved we ordered our celebratory meal from the hospital (we knew better than to order the “steak” this time around). We spent the rest of the day snuggling our girl! She slept well the first night as long as she was being held. Ellis Ann had her bath and all of her required testing very early the next morning. She passed with flying colors so we were cleared to go home.

Once we were home she was able to meet Dadima and Pop Pop before we went to daycare to pick up Graham so he could meet his sister. Graham was happy to see us after being with Aunt Jody and Dadima and Pop Pop for a couple of days. When we got home to meet Ellis Ann it was very uneventful, Graham noticed that she had a paci and he wanted it for himself, but other than that he went on his way, which was funny enough in its own way. It was so nice outside that we loaded her up in the stroller and went for a walk to enjoy some fresh air.

We are feeling so lucky to have this healthy happy little girl!