monthly mini – evie

blackblondebrunette | evie 37.52

blackblondebrunette | evie 38.52

blackblondebrunette | evie 39.52

blackblondebrunette | evie 40.52

blackblondebrunette | evie 41.52

blackblondebrunette | evie 42.52the 52 project : a portrait of evie, once a week, every week : 2014
34″ tall • 27lb 10oz • 19.6″ noggin • 14 teeth

oh evie. a full two years of her. it is hard to tell if a switch got turned on due to her birthday or her brother…but, this kid has gone full on crazy! she has some endless source of energy that must be released by bouncing off the walls, or usually my bed. sometimes we just stand back and stare as she rages on. we’ve had a lot of family in town over the past couple of weeks and that always kicks the vocabulary up a notch. she always comes away with a lot more to say after being surrounded by conversations. i love hearing her talk and seeing her figure out how to communicate what she wants. we still fight over the color yellow, she insists that all colors are “lellow” with a devious glint in her eye. i know she is messing with me because when i ask for something by its actual color she knows exactly what i’m talking about. punk! so far she is a pretty good big sis. there have been a few toys to the face and a couple of pokes that were too hard but overall she is very concerned about her brother and likes to take care of him. when she wakes up in the morning the first thing she wants to know is where the baby is. besides the occassional swiping of the paci and a refusal to share any of her blankets this brother and sister thing is working out just fine.

current obsessions: elephant sounds, our next door neighbor gracie, stickers, watching shows, curious george, airplanes, cats and dogs, singing happy birthday, blowing out candles, pushing butts (buttons!), legos, cake, balloons, sweeping, “outshide”, pumpkins, and the baby.

introducing – bailey scott

blackblondebrunette | welcome bailey

bailey scott lopresto made his grand entrance on thursday, october 9th at 11:40 am. he was sweet enough to let his big sis keep her birthday all to herself and he came a polite five days later. although they don’t share the same day, they do share many other similarities around their birth…bailey’s version was just at super speed. we were glad he was in a rush because we couldn’t wait to meet him. he weighed 7 lb 10 oz and reminded me what tiny truly is. we are happily adjusting to life as a family of four. bailey seems to understand that when you have a wild child like evie in the mix it helps to sleep in four hour blocks at night. i owe him for that one.

blackblondebrunette | family 2

blackblondebrunette |  bailey and mom

blackblondebrunette | family

blackblondebrunette | big sis 2

blackblondebrunette | big sis

blackblondebrunette | bailey scott

we couldn’t be luckier to call this sweet guy our own. welcome to the family, bailey!

monthly mini – logan

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52 project – a portrait of logan, once a week, every week, in 2014

logan. she’s adorable. she’s smart. she’s silly. she’s creative. she’s imaginative. she’s two and a half and currently knows all the right buttons to push. particularly mine! motherhood has taken on a whole new light most recently. i thought sleepless nights and finding the right formula were tough. but this, this kicks my egos butt on the daily. by nature i’m laid back and it takes a lot to ruffle my feathers. two point five has me ruffled. add a splash of gilt and a constant test of my patience and we’re working up a recipe for disaster. i question when to step aside and let the tantrum play out and when to stand strong and fight the battle at hand. this kid is depending on me to teach her the way and i’m determined to get it right. i’m told it’s her age and this too shall pass. here’s hoping it passes fast and that we can all get back to regular business. here’s hoping i don’t mess us up along the way…

tonight we found ourselves attending our first ‘parent/teacher night’ where both logan’s teacher and the school’s director shared their perspectives on our girl. ‘she’s strong. she’s confident. she’s decisive. she’s a leader.’ and as we sighed in relief i thought, ya know what, we’re all doing ok.

most importantly, she’s ours!

he’s here!

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we’re beyond excited to report that the littlest lopresto made his entrance into the world yesterday morning at lightening speed. another spa like experience to go down in the books. baby is adorably soft and squishy and chubby cheeked just like his big sister, and mama is beautifully glowing and on the move, as to be expected. if she has it her way, all four lo’s will be snoozing under one roof this evening, living their happily ever after. congratulations kids!

photo by molly miller

currently – blonde

blackblondebrunette | crown

blackblondebrunette | chalk

currently recovering: from a week long sugar high. we celebrated evie’s 2nd birthday party a week early and then again on the real day, this past saturday. that equals a lot of cake, cookies, and ice cream. we have had the best time singing happy birthday and blowing out candles while surrounded by balloons…over and over and over!

currently counting: down the seconds to the big delivery. i’m guessing i’ll know what day this baby is making his appearance after my doctor’s appointment today. after thinking he would be coming early i have now almost made it to my due date. family has started to make their way in and the freezer is full of soup…time to get this show on the road!

currently feeling: like our house is becoming a home. over the last month we have been checking projects off the list that have been long overdue.  i finally hung artwork, put the nursery together, made evie a big girl room, added cabinets in the living room and hung the tv. things that would have normally been done right away but we just couldn’t bear to do with old carpet, textured yellow walls, and ceilings. so half the house now feels fresh and organized…we’ll get to the other half eventually!

currently loving: the chill in the air. it may still get close to 90 during the day but the mornings are crisp the breeze at night is cool. that counts for texas fall weather in my book and i like it.

currently thankful: for all the friends and family who have made us feel so special recently. between a backyard full of people to party for evie to sweet showers at work for the new babe, thoughtful packages in the mail, and family traveling from all over to be with us this week, i’m feeling pretty lucky.

blackblondebrunette | elephant

we heart – lifecake

blackblondebrunette | lifecake

we have to share this newly discovered app, lifecake, that organizes all your kid’s photos like magic. i think between the three of us we have tried a million ways to do this without ever coming up with something this perfect. you can add photos each day or a whole bunch from the past at once and they all get sorted out into the correct date and even tell you the exact age of your child when it was taken. this is completely private with the option of sharing with others…like grandparents! the app gives you the option to write a little story to go along with the picture which is so perfect for keeping track of milestones or remembering the funny things that your kid says. the app works on the computer, iPad, or phone and honestly couldn’t be simpler.  you can download pics directly from instagram and facebook, there isn’t much they haven’t thought of. oh, and did i mention…it’s free!

a birth story – jess

blackblondebrunette | evie birthstory1

as the birth of our second baby draws closer i’ve been thinking back to the day evie joined us. the emotions that surround her birth story already seem different to what i am experiencing the second time around. everything was unknown, scary, and exciting at the same time. this time i have a pretty good idea of what to expect (i hope!) and there is a curly headed almost two year old keeping me on my toes. there’s no time to sit around and think and wonder and get pedicures! so, in honor of evie’s second birthday and before we officially become a family of four i wanted to share the birth story of my first and only girl – evie parker lopresto.

i used to tell parts of this story a lot. i told it as encouragement to my friends and co-workers that were about to go through the same experience as me: having their first baby. i don’t share it quite as freely now because it seems as though my story doesn’t match up with most ladies i know, and they don’t appreciate the build up for what i like to describe as a “spa-like” experience. i’m really sorry eris…okay!

thankfully, i have email records with a fresh account of the whole experience that i sent to a friend four days after giving birth.my friend sarah wanted to know everything and i’m so happy that i took the time to put it all down in words. words that were full of mis-spellings and some sentences that didn’t make sense but that’s as good as it gets when you are blissed out yet living like a zombie.

blackblondebrunette | evie birthstory2

so, let’s start from the beginning. we are having a baby in texas. my family is in mississippi and matt’s family is in delaware. how do you plan for everyone to be there when you just don’t know what day it is going to all go down?! evie was due october 6th, 2012. i was 3 cm for a couple of weeks before her due date, the goal was to get to 4 cm and we would induce. i was completely effaced and her head was all the way down (like, the doctor could touch it, i didn’t even know that was possible). my placenta was large so we were keeping an eye on that in hopes of avoiding placenta previa. as of october 1st i was feeling uncomfortable, bones creaking, sleeping was no fun…all of which helped me mentally prepare for what was coming. the idea of giving birth was getting less scary the more uncomfortable i became. no contractions yet and i was traveling with towels in my car anticipating my water breaking at any moment. i should also mention my ideal birth plan was for my water to break in the middle of the night, run to the car like crazy people, feet hanging out the window screaming as we flew through traffic on the shoulder to get to the hospital. who wishes for that? i wanted movie-quality DRAMA!

on october 2nd i was still 3 cm so my doctor stripped my membranes. she offered this up the week before and i passed, this time i thought it sounded like a good idea. although, it sounds painful i didn’t think it felt any different than a typical exam and it was super quick. usually labor comes within 24 hours of this being done so i went home ready for the contractions to start. matt’s older brother had already joined us from nyc and his dad was flying in from france asap (hello, grandpa, wrong time to take a work trip overseas!) people were making moves so i was too. that evening i remember we walked to a sports bar close by and i sat on napkins…you know just in case i got that dramatic water breaking scene in a bar. that would totally fit into my dream scenario. -it didn’t happen- that night i woke up feeling something that could be compared to a period cramp. my stomach tightened and then released. i woke matt up thinking that it could be something. we tried to start timing it but nothing else happened. i felt another similar cramp the next morning. this was the extent of the action. our next appointment was october 4th, first thing in the morning, and the plan was that if i had made it to 4 cm we walk over to the hospital and induce. all family is now en route. october 4th is going to be the day.

blackblondebrunette | evie birthstory3

i did in fact make it to 4 cm. so, even though i knew this was going to happen, things just got real. my doctor’s office is in the hospital, we just had to walk over to another building to get set up in the labor and delivery room. as it turns out all the computers were down in the hospital that morning. this was a fact that did not faze me at all. i figured nurses keeping track of things on paper was still a few steps up from the process that takes place in some parts of africa. i was ready. by 10am i was in my room and getting hooked up to a pitocin drip. most family arrived the night before. both of our moms were invited into the room and stayed with us through the day.

my first nurse was very young and seemed unsure of herself. she was very sweet but when she was putting the iv into my hand it took a couple of tries that hurt really bad without any success. i am not okay with needles or blood, at all. so, as a tear rolled down my face and i’m squeezing matt’s hand off he is about to ask her to get another nurse and she volunteers that idea herself. thank goodness. i think if she had stayed on as my nurse my entire experience would have been different. instead, a much more experienced nurse entered the scene, slid the iv in with ease and from that point on set a relaxed tone in the room. she was amazing. i am now all hooked up and contractions are starting. we only know this because they show up on the monitor, i still wasn’t feeling anything. the epidural was coming up next so that means i never felt any pain.

blackblondebrunette | evie birthstory4

the epidural is something i tried to stay ignorant about. i closed my eyes when they showed the needle during our hospital class, i didn’t read anything about it. the actual needle, not the process. i wanted to know what was going into my body, i just didn’t want to know how. the doctor that came in for this procedure was also amazing. he made me feel at ease and his conversation felt natural so i was able to let my mind drift. matt stood in front of me and held my hands as i went limp and bent forward. he talked through the entire process so i knew what to expect but never said more than i needed to hear. i remember hearing a couple of pops and a weird feeling in my leg, which was supposedly normal but doesn’t always happen.  my legs never went completely numb, just the “action zone”. i could always feel them and move them so it wasn’t a paralyzing feeling at all.

the pitocin got turned up to speed along my dilation. the contractions got stronger and i could feel pressure and a distant pain. but nothing that ever really hurt. i had control of the pain meds and had been told to push the button as much as needed so it would build up for the pain that was to come. i didn’t want to push the button because, even though it may be hard to believe, since i was all hooked up to meds at this point, i don’t actually like pain killers. thankfully, my sweet nurse leaned in and whispered to me that the less i pushed the button the better so that i could have some sensation of what was happening when i needed to push and it would make the process much easier. she was right. my doctor then came in and broke my water. there went all my hopes and dreams…that would never have made the cut in a romantic comedy!

i got to 9 cm pretty quickly after my water was broken. the next time the nurse checked i was 10 cm and she softly leaned in close and said, “it’s time to push”. i remember the lights being low, everything being quiet yet upbeat and happy. our moms were over to my right, my mom with camera in hand. it was a really nice experience and i was feeling excited. i trusted everyone around me and felt very comfortable in the situation. what i had imagined was much different: cold, bright, and harsh. this was a soft, quiet, soothing atmosphere. matt and i had discussed that there would be no reason for him to move past my shoulder. but as soon as it was time to push the nurse asked if he would be helping and he was at my side in a second. i don’t think you can plan this part. neither of us thought that is the way it would go but i can’t imagine it any other way. he made me feel comfortable and taken care of. since i couldn’t feel what i was doing i read my progress through his face and felt the emotion of what he was seeing. he was the only mirror i needed.  he was very much a part of evie’s birth, not the innocent bystander we had imagined.

 

blackblondebrunette | evie birthstory5

so, once it was time to push the lights were down with just a spot light above the nurse for her to see. she coached me to push for 10 counts, 3 times, during each contraction. they were reading my contractions on the computer but i was starting to feel the pressure and knew when they were coming before they registered on the screen. it felt like we had a nice little system going. this part went on for about 30 minutes. i didn’t push through every contraction so that evie could take a break too. it was strange to push with all your might yet not feel anything so i based everything i did off the encouragement of the nurse and matt. i remember the nurse telling me a i was doing a great job and so i started slacking off. i had to tell her no more compliments, i had to stay focused!

once evie’s head was out enough (that’s as technical as i get) the nurse softly said it was time for her to get my doctor. once my doctor came in i pushed through four more contractions which took about ten minutes. during the last contraction i was half way through the pushes, and concentrating so hard on doing well, that when my doctor told me to stop i was disappointed and said “why?!” thinking i had done something wrong. she told me i was done! i realized that i was now feeling (slightly) her head, which was just a very full feeling between my legs. when her body passed through it was a “crazy lumpy sensation” (i quote myself from the email i wrote).

as soon as she was completely out she started crying. i still can’t see anything so i keep my eyes on matt. as he starts crying so do i and i think maybe my heart will explode. as they lay her on my stomach, this perfect, messy, beautiful creature everything felt complete. it felt as though she was always meant to be with us and had finally arrived. matt cut the cord (another surprise for us that we hadn’t planned for). at this point i can feel her but i still haven’t gotten a really good look at her. she was very quiet and calm and i did my best to bend down to see her better. she gets taken away (just a few steps) to be measured, weighed, and cleaned up a bit. everyone goes over with her while the doctor finishes up with me. there’s the delivering of the placenta then a stitch or two. i’ll just say that part was weird.

then, finally, i get to hold her. i’m sure it was all very fast but felt like a lifetime of waiting to get my hands on her.  once i held her it felt like almost more love that one can handle in a moment. every cliched statement about childbirth i’d ever heard came true… “your heart on the outside of your body”…that becomes real.  i nursed her right away, it just felt right. we had about two hours together in the delivery room before they took her to the nursery and moved us into our room.

blackblondebrunette | evie birthstory6

the next couple of days the nurses were in and out of our room, constantly checking different things. once i was snoozing, in the middle of the night, with evie on my chest and woke up nose to nose with a nurse. it’s not the most relaxing few days. each nurse had a different perspective to offer and i found that i learned most of what i needed to know from this rotation of ladies. my exit nurse gave me the best advice by far and sent me home with the confidence to trust myself with breastfeeding and raising a small human in general. so ask all the questions you have and and ignore the answers that don’t feel right. i know everyone gives the advice that you should send your baby to the nursery as much as possible and catch up on your sleep but i couldn’t part with her. i had waited so long to meet her and there was just no way i could let her be down the hall without me. i think my experience was also not quite as exhausting as what some ladies go through…so to each their own. you’ll know what is right for you.

blackblondebrunette | evie birthstory7

i couldn’t have asked for a more perfect experience welcoming this little lady into the world. evie parker, 7 pounds, 2 ounces of sweet squishiness. we were surrounded by all of our family and everything went so smoothly, which was the opposite of what i had prepared myself for. we became a family of three the best part of life started that day.

any day now we are going to do it all again…fingers crossed for a repeat.

according to – jess

blackblondebrunette | kids chair diylätt children’s chair

evie has had this little table and chair set from ikea since last christmas (thanks sarah!). it has been a perfect art table in her play room, but i have been itching to get crafty on the simple lines and raw pine wood. i knew i wanted to add a cushion and during a trip to michael’s i happened to find a set of thin foam squares. i took that as a sign that it was time to get going on this project.

blackblondebrunette | kids chair diy 1

besides the foam i had these supplies on hand but you may need to purchase fabric and paint to suit your style. i had to take the chair apart to get started, if you buy it new it will come in pieces…ikea style!

blackblondebrunette | kids chair diy 2

the foam i found was bigger than what i needed so i just used sewing shears to cut it down to size. it needs to be measured to the inside notches of the seat of the chair. i drew the lines out with a sharpie and just freehanded the cuts. it doesn’t have to be perfect, if it did i would not be doing this project!

blackblondebrunette | kids chair diy 3

next – get your fabric ready, it should be cut to about 15″x15″. if you chose a fabric with a print that needs to be placed then you need to pay a little more attention before you cut. i wanted my fabric to be cut random so i just turned it over and went for it. the next part is only a tiny bit tricky, but important. when wrapping the fabric around the foam and the base you need to leave enough slack that it covers the edge of the base and then goes up the foam. the edges need to be as flat as possible b/c they have to slide into groves on the chair base. oh, and make sure you keep it classy and hold your fabric in place with duct tape.

blackblondebrunette | kids chair diy 4

once your cushion is covered and taped down on all four sides you can start putting the chair back together. get the cushion base into the grooves in the sides of the chair. the level of difficulty will depend on how thin your fabric is and how flat you got it to lay. the first chair i did required a lot more banging than the second one, so you get better with practice. once both sides are in place you can continue to put the chair together. keep an eye on the cushion area as you start screwing things in and make sure it looks nice and smooth.

blackblondebrunette | kids chair diy 5

it is a simple hack but it makes a pretty big difference. i cut out a triangle stencil from some junk mail and drew out the pattern with a pencil on all the flat parts of the chair to add a fun pattern and pop of color. at the time i thought we were out of painter’s tape so i just freehanded the lines. you could go about this any way that feels comfortable. i taped off the bottom of the legs with scotch tape to get the dipped look. the trick is to peel the tape off as soon as you finish, and the paint it is still wet. it leaves a nice clean line. blackblondebrunette | kids chair diy 6evie approved, she thinks “it’s cute”.

monthly mini – noah

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14 months + 100% ham! secure in what he wants + comfortable in his own skin, he plays hard to get at first, but lays it on thick once you make it in his circle of trust. the energy level is at an all time high. seriously, do kids out there nap for 3 hours and fall asleep during dinner?!? not here. not ever. the boy-ness is starting to peek through in fearless tricks like climbing up anything with vertical stacked surfaces + routinely sprinting from point a to b.

14 [very soon-to-be 15] month noah:
- starts + ends his day by ‘reading’ a book to us while on the changing table + tosses it over the dresser once complete.
- says ‘please’ + ‘thank you’ [i'm determined to raise a little northern gent].
- denies he is my baby, but responds to ‘do you love mommy’? with ‘i do. i do. i do.’
- is over the stroller. [that's for babies, + i gave birth to a tiny man, who likes to push instead of being pushed].
- still goes nuts over a spinning vinyl + prompts you to ‘play it, please’ as soon as the music stops.
- gives me good night smooches as he’s falling asleep.
- says ‘raccoon’ + ‘turtle’ + ‘moose’. [i have no idea where moose came from].
- takes pride in making us laugh. whatever it takes. kid is a showman.
- loves the city [alright with me!]
- routinely asks to facetime with nana + papa.
- kills me with his cuteness daily [did i really make this tiny human?!? well, don't ask noah that!]

 

monthly mini – evie

blackblondebrunette | 33.52

blackblondebrunette | 34.52

blackblondebrunette | 35.52

blackblondebrunette | 36.52the 52 project : a portrait of evie, once a week, every week : 2014

23 months of evie – the countdown is on and it is real, we almost have a two year old! this last month has included some changes for evie which i guess is good in preparation for a major change on the way…sharing the spotlight. she is officially in a big girl (toddler) bed. after falling off three nights in a row its been moved into a cozy corner instead of out in the middle of the room. lately, she pulls out all the stops when its time to go to sleep. needs to embrace me for a very long and tight hug, finds boo boos and bites that need lotion, needs a different blanket and to be covered just the right way, the list goes on. she wakes up around 8am and gathers all her favorite items and makes her way into our room in the mornings. so far i kinda love the tiny person alarm clock yelling “hellllllooooooo, wake up!”. potty training has been pretty loose, i wouldn’t call it “training” more like a “suggestion”. the count is up to 2 pees and 1 poo, and 1 million long sits while reading the land of nod catalog. we’ll buckle down soon and get serious, i’m not really looking to add a 2nd diaper genie to our set up.

currently evie:

-hilarious fake laughing – don’t know where she picked it up from but it cracks us up.
-when she finds something new or notices a change she let’s me know “it’s cute”.
-if she likes what she is eating she is the best at compliments: “mmmmmmm, it’s good” i don’t let it go to my head though, this morning she found an old chip in her car seat and it got the same reaction as dinner last night.
-gets scared and needs to hug really tight at things like – thunder, scary stuff on tv (ahem, matt!), anything that is too loud.
-loves to paint – we do a couple of canvases a week.
-loves to help cook, runs to get her chair so she get in on the action whenever she sees mixing going on. she cracks an egg like the hulk.
-fell in love with her cousin allie on her last visit. we hear about and wonder about allie everyday. she’s been on the other end of a lot of imaginary phone calls lately.
-all monkeys in general, but especially the curious one.
-if matt is in and out of the house evie will tell him “hi daddy! hi bubba!” with the same level of excitement every single time he enters. they call each other bubba, it’s a thing.
-imitates our daily routine-puts her deodorant on, shaves under her arms, puts contacts in, straightens her hair, wears “lips”.
-tells the nest protect goodnight, every night. “nigh nigh nest”.

coming soon…a picnic party for this little lady. we are ready for the big 2!