alt-j – left hand free | #notthemamawho

Hey, shady baby, I’m not like the prodigal son
Pick a petal eenie meenie miney moe
And, flower, you’re the chosen one

Well, your left hand’s free
And your right’s in a grip

With another left hand
Watch his right hand slip
Towards his gun, oh, no

N-E-O, O-M-G, gee whiz
Girl you’re the one for me…

I’m a mother of two. Neither of my hands are ever empty, nor will they be for quite some time.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This is the story of how we met our Millsy girl.

13

November 19th and 20th were wondrous days, our last as a family of three, our first as a family of four. Our {suddenly GIANT} firstborn son, our last born baby daughter {with the most amazing hair}, and us.

We spent the day before with Worth. We went to a fun kid’s activity center, snuggled him, and generally spoiled him rotten. I had BJ take a picture of my gigantic belly and then we settled in for our final sleep before baby. We woke up the next morning and drove to the hospital in the cool quiet darkness. They prepped me, cut me open, and handed me a baby with a  head full of hair. She was healthy and went straight to the breast for her first meal. It was all so very… calm. One of these days I’ll write Worth’s birth story out, and the contrast will shock you.

4a968101112QO1A8874

QO1A8901QO1A8891

We’ve talked endlessly about the differences between our birth experiences. So far, the experiences seem to align with our children’s personalities. Worth’s was exciting and tumultuous and challenging and endless and surprising and joyful. Mill’s was scheduled and easy and peaceful and mellow and simple and sweet.

Worth is a doting, attentive big brother and a wonderful helper {besides a few attention-seeking episodes involving absurd amounts of diaper cream…}. Mills is a content, happy baby. Watching their interactions has been the most rewarding part. Worth can’t get enough of holding his baby sister and Mills can’t stop smiling when he’s in sight. We’ve termed him “aggressively affectionate” and I think, “GENTLE!” is the most commonly spoken word in our household.

The weeks since those days have flown by, and my hands {and my heart} are always full. As I type this, I have a newborn asleep on my chest and a toddler tucked under my arm. My house and my kids are dirty and writing this is my current version of “doing something for myself”, but {for maybe the first time in my life} I can say that I am entirely content.

You can find the song here.

Sir Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Back | Love

I like big butts and I cannot lie
You other brothers can’t deny
That when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist
And a round thing in your face
You get sprung…

Full disclosure: I wrote this while watching the Parenthood series finale. Don’t ever do that two months after having a baby and five minutes after doing your makeup. Prepare for a little bit o’ sap.

Today is my fifth wedding anniversary. Fifth! I thought I’d celebrate by sharing a few wedding photos. It was so hard to choose! I love my wedding photos so much, it was such a perfect day. People always say that, but for us it’s actually true. We got the only sunny day in January for weeks in either direction – we had purchased umbrellas fully expecting it to pour on our outdoor ceremony. We all ended up rosy-cheeked with joy AND sunburns.

Year five.

It’s been a very busy one, in all the best ways. We got a new sister, nephew, puppy, and daughter. Our son is happy {most of the time}, healthy {most of the time}, and too smart for his {or my} own good. We have faced challenges as parents and as a couple and have ended up learning and growing. Okay, this is starting to sound like a Christmas letter… Though much has changed since our wedding day, the heart of our relationship remains the same – we laugh. A lot. We play, we argue, we love, and we laugh.

I chose this particular number from the list of “our songs” because it reminds me of when we were first dating . We were never very romantic, haha – but this man, this man that I love so much – I don’t have the words to describe how grateful I am to have met him. I don’t have the words to describe how kind and honorable and good he is. There is no grey area with my husband, if he loves you, you are loved absolutely. And oh how he loves us, me and this little family of ours.

094b466b499b522b 550b 586b 602 632bWedding3 721b 1142 1202 1249 134256325655Blogger bennebelle Marin Headlands Wedding
And oh how we love him.

This is the first milestone in my life that has made me feel just a little bit old. You’d think getting married, or having a baby, buying a home, having a second baby, or the prospect of turning 30 later this year might do it. But no, it’s having been married for five years. It feels like a real accomplishment, like I’m actually now grown up. {If you know me, you know that this is a ridiculous notion.} The count is now 5 years, 3 states, 2 kids, and one house.

I can’t wait to see what the next {fifty} five bring.

Song here.

21 Ways to Beat Winter Dryness| Beauty

Don’t worry, baby pictures are coming. As are some other excited blogging developments for the New Year. But first!

Last week, Worth was feeling so dehydrated, he covered his entire body and bed in A&D. Twice. {The Terrible Two’s are real, ya’ll. Very real.}

I don’t know about y’all, but I have been feeling like a piece of beef jerky with some straw glued to my head, real crusty crust lips and some puff pastry on the ends of my fingers. Even my eyeballs feel crunchy from having the heat on all the time! Every time I touch one of my babies a visible spark appears and we all appear to have been frothing at the mouth because of those tiny little white dried skin flakes that like to accumulate at the corners of lips. Yummy. Winter is here! We’ve {well, let’s be honest, this was all Emily, we all know the extreme limits of my beauty skill set…} compiled a list of our favorite products to battle our least favorite winter woe.

Hair

If you have as much of a scarecrow problem as I do, it’s Pureology all the way! Try these 4 products to improve shine and texture.

1. Hydrate Shampoo and Conditioner

2. 21 Spray

3. Shine Max Oil Serum

4. Hydrate Hydra Whip Hair Mask

Face

5. Marcelle BB Cleanser

6. Dr. Jart Water Sure Gel Moisturizer

7. Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream

8. Fresh Rose Face Maskacure Day Cream

9. L’occitane Immortelle Precious Cream

10. Acure Day Cream

11. Karuna Hydrating Face Mask

Skin

If you wash your hands as much as I do (new baby + dirty toddler…) or you must take multiple showers a day (see previous parentheses) not to mention constantly washing all that pumping crap, these goodies can be lifesavers!

12. Aveda Beautifying Oil

13. L’occitane Amande Supple Skin Oil

14. Body Shop Body Butter

15. Perlier Shea Butter

16. Honest Company Organic Healing Balm

17. Tocca Bianca Green Tea and Lemon Hand Cream

Nails

Because of all the washing… my cuticles and nail beds look like someone took a cheese grater to them.

18. CND Solar Oil

19. Aveda Beautifying Oil

Lips

Let’s be honest, I always have crusty crust lips.

20. Fresh Sugar Lip Polish

21. Fresh Sugar Lip Therapy

Most of these can also be found on BirchBox or Sephora’s websites. Be fancy!

Wild Wild {Mid}West Nursery | #notthemamawho

Well, hey there. ‘sbeen awhile! I really don’t have an excuse for being gone so long. Except that maybe I’ve been cooking a baby and I haven’t had the motivation to take pretty pitchas and/or write thangs. Oh, and I’ve been working! But more on that later. For the sake of warming back up (let’s be honest, I’m having this baby Thursday, so it will probably be months before I do this again…) I’ll keep it simple!

Let’s see, where to begin…

1. We’re having a baby girl! I’m so excited and terrified and surprised all at the same time. For some reason I always pictured a house full of boys for me. We even got a girl puppy because I was so sure I’d be grossly outnumbered when this baby arrives.

2. Like I said, this baby is coming on Thursday {cue excited squealing}. We decided to go the scheduled C-section route. After lots and lots of thought, research, conversations with my doctor, and memories of Worth’s little heart rate dropping with every contraction on the third day of my labor experience, we’ve determined it to be the best option for everyone.

3. If I’ve learned one thing in life, like, at all, it’s that whatever your plan is will NOT be what actually happens. Baby girl has been trying to trick us into thinking she’s coming early, a little dilation here, a few contractions there… And the moment I accepted that she would be coming early and NOT following our plan, all of that stopped. Haha. Whichever happens, I’m so excited to meet her. And also to see what color her hair will be. It’s the final countdown!

No matter what, her room is ready and waiting! When Worth was born, we were in a one-bedroom apartment. I had a corner to decorate. Just a crib and a little shelf. This was quite a different story. A whole room! It was the most fun I’ve ever had decorating. Except when I was drawing all those $%&^+ing lines. That wasn’t fun for anyone.

Beautiful Nursery for Baby girl in Kansas CityNursery, Baby Girl, Wild WestBeautiful Nursery for Baby girl in Kansas CityBeautiful Nursery for Baby girl in Kansas CityBeautiful Nursery for Baby girl in Kansas CityBeautiful Nursery for Baby girl in Kansas City Beautiful Nursery for Baby girl in Kansas CityBeautiful Nursery for Baby girl in Kansas City Beautiful Nursery for Baby girl in Kansas CityBeautiful Nursery for Baby girl in Kansas CityBeautiful Nursery for Baby girl in Kansas CityMy inspiration came from several different places – I had the old books and the brass stirrup inserts from my grandparents’ house, and the gold rocker was also theirs. I always loved horses growing up, and I kind of hope she does too! What 8 year old girl of my generation didn’t love watching “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken”? (I know someday she’ll watch it and be all, yeahokaymomyou’resoooooweirdwhyisthehorsedivingofftowersthatsjuststupid). The Ashworth family crest has foxes in it – so how could I resist the pillow and blanket in the crib? The record table came from BJ’s grandparents recently-sold home, it makes the perfect storage space for burp cloths and swaddlers! And if you know me at all, you know I love arrows, moccs, and anything to do with Kansas.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, I realize the red frame is empty, haha.

Wall tutorial:  Vintage Revivals Fox pillow: Gingiber Fox Blanket: Dwell Studio Moccasins: Freshly Picked Arrows: Mineral and Matter Boppy Cover: IvieBaby Vases/Clock/Frame/Rug/Lampshade/Crib/ChangingTable: Target Bison/Kansas Prints: Hammerpress (shout out local KC shops!)

 

Bright Eyes – One for You, One for Me | #notthemamawho

One for the bread lines, one for the billionaires
One for the missing, one for the barely there
One for the certain, one for the real confused
One for me, one for you…

 

Do you ever just get really good and sick of yourself? Like, if you hear you say one more word you know you’re going to vomit? That’s how I have been feeling, and it’s the reason I haven’t been writing. It’s not that I’m sad or angry, in fact it’s quite the opposite – I’ve been so happy I’m flat boring. I just haven’t felt like I have had anything good or intelligent or interesting to say. I think that’s because I usually write about myself.  So, to get the words flowing again, I will write this one for everyone else. There are so many people in my life that I find good and intelligent and interesting. This one is for you.

 

I don’t have any photos for this post, only words.

I don’t have any words for myself, only others.

Words for my baby, who is growing and moving and often neglected.

Words for my son, who illuminates my soul.

Words for my husband, who ignites my heart.

Words for my mother, who is healing from an injury left untreated too long.

Words for my father, who has made many sacrifices.

Words for my brothers, who are waiting.

Words for my sisters, who give me patient perspective.

Words for my friends, who have recently had to face the mortality of their children.

Words for my friends, who must parent their parents.

Words for my person, who constantly stretches for more, in every way.

Words for my grandmothers, who provide the example to guide me daily.

The words are all the same.

The words are: I love you.

The words are: Thank you.

 

You can download the song here.

First Aid Kit – Cross Oceans | #notthemamawho

It feels like I am
Waiting for the rain
I want to live that life again
I want to live that life again

Or an endless secret
Parade of change
I want to cross oceans
I want to cross oceans

A few weeks ago, Worthie and I took off with Janny Bob (GBop) for some sandy beaches. It was the perfect get away during that last awful week of winter, and these pictures are making me feel better on this dreary, dreary day. We had a full week of relaxation and sunshine, and it was simply lovely.

Worth wasn’t too keen on the waves, I think his dad and I probably traumatized him as a baby by dipping his feet in the freezing cold pacific on Rodeo beach before we left San Francisco, haha. While playing in the sand he would suddenly yell out “see ya!” and take off running for the stairs to the house. After a few occurrences of this, we figured out it was timed with any particularly large waves breaking on the shore. He did, however, love the wayward cow who had been separated from her herd. I think we followed her for a mile. She was not too keen on us!

Sometimes it’s hard to believe this place is real. The memories there are pure joy, moments frozen in a frame like grains of sand in a photograph. The rest of the world melts away and we dissolve into an isolated bliss made up of fresh avocados and salt in the air {and possibly lack of reliable internet connection.}

IMG_9362beach, toddler, swim zip, shark attack, shark tank, cow, mexico IMG_9328 IMG_9333 IMG_9338 IMG_9347IMG_9386 IMG_9403 IMG_9406 IMG_9410 IMG_9412Just look at the glee on that face!

On the days that he wasn’t in the nude, Worth loved wearing his SwimZip swimsuits. (This is not a sponsored post, I don’t do those!) We are lucky enough to personally know Betsy and Andy of SwimZip and Shark Tank fame, and we seriously LOVE the suits, and the people :)! Go get some for your kids, or yourSELVES, they seriously rock.

Download the song here.

Lissie – Little Lovin’ | #notthemamawho

I gotta lotta lovin’
I gotta lotta lovin’
I gotta lotta love in my heart

If you continue to read this blog, you’re probably going to see a lot of this place. It’s such a good place.

Just pack up your toddler, skip nap time, force him to sit still for three hours on a plane full of judgey faces {I wish many cranky two-year-olds upon you, Bitchfaced Flight Attendant}, and wait in line for the slowest customs agent in the history of ever.  Take a short break for Super Pollo and Mega, then it’s just a short {really long and impossibly rough} drive through Palo Escapeta towards the East Cape. In the dark. With no weapons. Or boys. (over 2). Being exhausted and pregnant, I was in possibly the best mood of my entire life. As I’m sure you can imagine. But, we arrived safely, went to bed, and woke up to this. This place!

Birds singing, sun shining, waves crashing, fresh orange juice, what else could you want? Besides a personal coffee delivery, of course. Worth engaged in banditry, GBop time, grinning, gifting of sticks, and LOTS of nudity (and Honest swim diapers). I put my very unmanicured toes in the sand, soaked up some vitamin D, and sloughed the winter off.

That last photo of Worth is my definition of the picture of boyhood. No shirt, with a dirty face and holding a stick. After being cooped up this winter it was so nice to let him run wild and free!

toddler, honest diaper, beach, mexico IMG_9262 IMG_9311 IMG_9316IMG_9276IMG_9273toddler, beach, mexicomaternity, pregnancy, first trimester, belly, beach, mexico

The last photo of me is terrible, and I love it.

There is a saying by Isak Dinesen- “The cure for anything is salt water – tears, sweat, or the sea.”

The only cure I needed was for the winter doldrums, but the combination of the sea, sun, and mountains really hit the reset button for me. For the first time in quite a while I feel peaceful and healthy.

Download the song here.