Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mug Winner!

Oh, my friends, I am so very, very tired. I catered two amazing weddings this weekend. Both couples went through the Fully Engaged premarital counseling course that Pete & I teach at our church. I would love to tell you more about the weddings and the couples, but I'm not even thinking straight right now. My eyes are half open as I click, click, click across the keyboard. (I did up my nails yesterday to feel extra girly at the weddings and for my birthday, which presents a challenge in typing. I've even found it makes texting a bit ridiculous. These glam nails may not last much longer.) Even though I'm so tired, I wanted to announce the winner of The Little Yellow Kitchen mug giveaway tonight.

So here it goes! I made a list with numbers in the order of those who commented and then added numbers for those following. I came up with 21 entries and plugged it in to the True Random Number Generator (so fancy!) and came up with ...

Number 17 was Lexie! 

Yay, Lexie! You'll be getting your very own Little Yellow Kitchen mug in the mail shortly. I hope you like it! Thanks to everyone who left a comment. It was fun hearing about your favorite cakes and the stories behind them.

I'm off to sew capes to costumes and get ready for the big walk tomorrow. So excited! It's going to be a big day!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Countdown Begins {and Giveaway}

We're only five days away from Sammy's very first Step Up for Down Syndrome Walk! FIVE DAYS! We've been absolutely amazed at the support that has rolled in through the last two months. You can see on our sidebar widget that we're about 80% of the way to our goal of $2,000. I still can't believe we were able to dream of hitting the $2,000 mark.

With five days remaining, I'm feeling like our goal is definitely within reach. If you've been thinking about donating but haven't done so yet, this is the time. We'd really love to have as many people a part of the team as possible. You can give anonymously if you'd like, and no amount is too small. The money goes to the Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota for resources for individuals and families with Down syndrome. We have already benefited tremendously from the help they have given us during our transition to this "new normal" I talked about in Sammy's birth story. Since Sammy birth just four months ago, we've met three families here in Duluth with brand new babies who unexpectedly have Down syndrome. The resources for families are incredibly important. Thank you so much!!


I just had an odd mama moment. I heard Ella in bed calling for me, saying, "Mama, Mama, I'm thirsty." I went up to her room with a very small glass of water, and while she drank it, I thought, how did this happen? When did I become a mama?

Do you ever catch yourself in a moment like that, feeling like it should be years earlier, a time when you couldn't even imagine what it would be like to be the keeper of a little life, let alone more than one little life? Yet when I heard Miss Ella calling for me, I knew exactly what to do and exactly what to say to her that would encourage her to go back to sleep without wanting to crawl out of her bed and see what I was doing. Sometimes I'm just amazed at what has happened on this path of life. I'm married to the most amazing man alive. (It's true. I could write a book with all the proof.) I have two beautiful babies who brighten my world countless times a day with their smiles. I love practically every part of my life (I could do without laundry) and we're on an adventure that's about to take us halfway around the world. Whoa. I can't even get my head around it.

I know this is all rather contemplative. I'm pretty sure I know what's bringing it on. In just three days I'll wrap up the first year of my thirties. Yes, it's my birthday, just around the corner, on Friday. I will be the big three one. I'm not one who hides my age when the day comes around. First of all, I know I don't look it. I hear that all the time. What? You're married? Um, yes. And I have kids. Gasp. I'm used to smiling and saying I'm older than I look. I think it's kind of funny. Second, age brings so many good things - wisdom, experience, adventure. I'll gladly take more of all of the above.

This is going to be a crazy busy week, so I want to have some blog fun just for my birthday. I was recently playing around with a few ideas and created a mug for The Little Yellow Kitchen. I just received two of them in the mail, the only two that exist, and I want to give one away! Yes, you could be the winner of the very first Yellow Kitchen mug!

To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment at the end of this blog post telling me about the best birthday cake you've ever had. Be sure to include at least your first name with your comment. I'll end the comments at midnight on Friday, select the winning post with, and post the winner on Saturday. For an extra entry into the giveaway, become a follower of our blog! You can do so by clicking "Join This Site" in the column to the right. If you're already a follower, let me know in a comment. Be sure to check back Saturday to see if you've won!


Pete just headed to the hospital for a night of baby deliveries, the little ones are sleeping soundly, and I have a list of costume ideas to put together for the walk this weekend. Sometimes these nights alone are just what a mama needs. I'm going to put in a movie and get to work.

Happy end of September!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Photo Friday: Cake!

Yesterday I had the joy of having my cakes photographed by Rachel of Rachel Lee Photography. I loved making the cakes and then stepping back to watch her find all these cool angles and lighting options in my very own kitchen and dining room. Check out a few of the photos on her blog!

Along with the great photos she captured, she's created another way to get involved with Sammy's Superheroes. All the proceeds from prints sold from our photo shoot will go directly to Sammy's team. There are some great photos with pumpkins that would be perfect for setting a fallish theme in your own kitchen or living room. She's posted all of the prints on her proof page.

 Thank you, Rachel, for the fantastic cake photos!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

This Mama Heart

Oh, my mama heart has been all over the place in the last week. It's hard to even articulate the journey it's been on, but I can feel it immensely right now while I sit working at Starbucks without my sweet little Sammy. I'm trying to be productive, but I keep thinking about him, wondering if he's taking his bottle well or if he's missing his mama. I know he's in wonderfully caring arms, but I still want to be the one holding him. These steps are just hard for a mama with her new baby.

oh, hello, couch
The roller coaster began on Monday evening when we attended our first Down Up North meeting in the basement of an old church on Superior Street. Down Up North is the Duluth area group for families of those with Down syndrome. I was glad that we were able to go through the summer without the expectation of attending a meeting since they don't meet in the summer. I wouldn't have been ready. Yes, I want the support, and I want to meet other families and hear about more resources and such, but my heart just wasn't at a place to take it in. I often forget that my baby carries an extra special chromosome. Right now he's just like every other baby, so it can be tough when I meet others with Down syndrome. Not tough in a bad way, but tough in a way of realizing that there are so many things I don't know yet and so many things I want to be able to do for my Sammy. I want the world to forever see him exactly as I do. In all honesty, it can just be a little scary.

look at this!

So, anyway, we went to this meeting and it was wonderful. As we made our way to the church basement, we were greeted by a couple who led us to a play room where we met six or seven amazing families. Families that are so much like ours. There were even three little blonde haired boys, each right around two years, who melted my heart thinking of where we'll be in two years. They had the sweetest, bright-eyed smiles as their moms introduced them. Ella made herself right at home, showing off to the college girls who spent the meeting entertaining the kids and teaching the younger kids every new trick she could think of. Pete, Sam, and I made our way to a big room where we were able to pull tables together to sit in a big circle. The next couple hours were spent talking about life - our jobs, our families, our experiences with Down syndrome. By the time chairs were being stacked and kids were returned to parents, I didn't know if I was ready to leave. I have so many questions that I want to ask real people, people who have been to doctor visits and school meetings. Real people are a whole lot different than the black and white pages of a book. But I know I can't take everything in at one time. What I took in that night at our first family meeting, though, was incredibly encouraging and very sweet. We're certainly not on this journey alone. And that is good for my heart.

mama, I'm pretty tired

 Another loop in this roller coaster has been the decision to hire a nanny for Ella and Sam. We had a wonderful sitter last year who came two hours most weekdays to be with Ella so I could study. Shelby. Shelby was a junior nursing student and Ella absolutely adored her. Shelby still comes on Tuesday nights so Pete and I can have a date night each week, but her schedule didn't allow her the consistent weekly hours that I've been hoping for. About six weeks ago I began a search for someone who could make this a part-time job to give me time to bake at the kitchen in the afternoons and get in some research for my thesis. Let me tell you, we found a gem. God definitely had a hand in connecting us with Miss Donna. Miss Donna moved to Duluth just last week and will be getting married next month to a business owner here in town. She is sweet, sensitive, creative, gentle, and a grandma. A grandma! Can it get better than that for someone who is going to be spending almost every afternoon with my little ones? Oh, and one more plus. She's Southern. With an accent. That's like icing on the cake. Or sprinkles on the icing. Or a cherry on the sprinkles on the icing, because that's how good she seems. We spoke on the phone and sent emails back and forth before we met yesterday, which made me feel good about the choice to add Miss Donna to the family, but after meeting her in person, I'm quite sure of it. And to be extra sure? As Miss Donna was getting ready to leave yesterday after our first visit, Ella turned and asked, "Mama, can we keep her?" Yes, my love, we can keep her.

oh, my big sister, Ella
It's not been an easy decision to hire someone to be with Ella & Sam in the afternoons, especially since Ella is at preschool every morning. I'll be using the afternoon hours to establish more of a regular baking time to fill orders and to take online decorating technique classes. I know it's good for me to have my own time. I completely understand why lots of mamas (and dads) struggle with the desire to do our own thing while also wanting to spend our time with our little ones.

she thinks it funny to tickle my nose

So I did it. My biggest accomplish of the day was that I was able to leave my little Sammy with Miss Donna and have alone time at Starbucks to write and do some school work and get a little kitchen business done. It was not easy. My heart longed for him even before I walked out the door. It was good he was sleeping when I left or I probably wouldn't have been able to do it. When I get home, I'm going to cuddle up with both my babes.

oh, this is the best

We're just over a week away from the Step Up for Down Syndrome walk with Sammy's Superheroes! I plan to make their costumes this Sunday so we'll be ready for the big day. We're getting so close to our team goal of $2,000! If you're still thinking about donating to Sammy's team, just click on the button on the right side of blog. Whether you're able to give or not, we would love to have you join us for the walk. We'll be meeting at the DECC at 12:30 on Sunday, September 30 where there will be snacks and big bouncy houses for the kiddos. At 1:30 we'll all be walking through Canal Park. It's nothing strenuous. We'll keep our own pace and have a great time, no matter the weather! Dress like a superhero if you're feeling adventurous! We certainly are! Feel free to let me know if you have any questions.


Miss Ella decided to finish my workout with me yesterday. Look at her form! Pretty sure it's better than mine. 

Happy Thursday!


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