Christmas 2017

This year, Christmas was different. It’s the first Christmas where I haven’t been staying at my parent’s house for the holiday. I also have two more kids than the last Christmas. So, to say it was crazy, would be accurate. And to say that everything took way longer to do, including family pictures, would also be accurate.

We did get some in though. Take a look :

I made the twins shirts that have mistletoe and say sloppy kisser. 

We like to start Christmas morning with a brunch and sparkling grape juice. 

And then exchange presents and spend time together. 


Photography at Home- 8 Month Twins Edition

So, I had a great idea. I would try to take pictures of my very active 8 month old twins (and with the “help” of my 2 year old).

I definitely ended up with some good ones, but let’s just say it was a short photo session.

You can see some stinking cute boys below(and their sweet sister entertaining them):


20171013-IMG_060020171013-IMG_061120171013-IMG_061520171013-IMG_062120171013-IMG_062520171013-IMG_062820171013-IMG_063120171013-IMG_0634-220171013-IMG_063620171013-IMG_063720171013-IMG_063820171013-IMG_064120171013-IMG_064820171013-IMG_065120171013-IMG_065920171013-IMG_066120171013-IMG_0673-220171013-IMG_067420171013-IMG_067620171013-IMG_067720171013-IMG_068820171013-IMG_068920171013-IMG_0691P.S. Fintan is in the triangles and Weston is in the “Wild One” shirt (which is very fitting to his personality).

Senior Sessions-Katie

I got called for an emergency photo shoot by my aunt.

Katie had gotten some senior pictures taken, but wanted some more (and needed them by this week). So, on Saturday I got some time without kids and had the opportunity to take pictures of this lovely lady.

Isn’t she gorgeous?!

Check out some of my favorites:


These were all taken in Wooster, Ohio.


Our Own Fixer Upper-The Final Product

We have been living in our home for 6 months now and are finally (almost) done. There are a few minor things that still need to be completed, but for the most part we are finished.

Below I will post some before and after pictures of different areas of the house. You can also watch the video I created and see more of it.

FYI: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive money if you make a purchase using these links, but it doesn’t cost you anything.

This is the new kitchen area:

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We got our island chairs online from Joss & Main and our granite counter tops from Chippewa stone, who were great to work with! Our flooring was the original wood that we took from the house and finished it with a Carbon Gray stain by Verathane.


Here is the dining area and coffee bar:

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We re-finished the table and chairs and built ourselves a corner bench seat from Ikea shelving units. (Maybe I will need to do a separate post on those).


This is the view from the old kitchen and where we relocated it:

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We ordered all of our doorknobs and pendant lights from (for a good price!)
You can find the 3 tins in the corner here. My Napkin holder I got here. And, the galvanized tin holding the flowers is here. The “Bakery” and “Market” signs come from the P. Graham Dunn Outlet.

This is the living room:

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This room was so much fun to decorate. We used original beams from the house for the mantel and the shelves on the wall. We put up the shelves using these cool hand-made brackets that I got from Amazon and black screws. I had a lot of the decorations, and we also re-used some that we found in the house when we got it.

Here we have the old (dangerous) stairs and the new ones:

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This was the front room (now office):

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This desk (and matching bookshelf that you can’t see) took a long time to put together(thanks to my brother and sister-in-law), but we love how it looks in the office!

Here we turned the side entry into a laundry room:

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We restored the tub from the old bathroom. Who would have known there was a claw foot tub hiding under that?

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One of the more difficult tasks we faced was finding the right hardware that would fit the tub. We finally found it, though. (On Amazon, of course!)

We turned the old dining area into a mud room:

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Another shot of the living room area:

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We love our reclining chair that was meant to be in the nursery! It’s just too comfortable to put upstairs, though, so it has made it’s way into the living room! Also, you’ll notice a baby swing in this picture, which has been a life saver for the twins! (#sorrynotsorry it’s in the picture).

One of the upstairs bedrooms(the Twins’ Room):

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Another upstairs bedroom (Raelyn’s Room):

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And here is the new part we added to the second story that didn’t exist before (so there are no before pictures):

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We got the cool geometric lamp at Marshall’s (a while ago). The wood prints I get  from We got the tile for the shower and master bath at Menard’s and the shower floor was from Lowe’s. The bathroom countertops are (again) from Chippewa Stone. Our bedspread we got from Amazon (again)!

Here are a few more picture of the house (the details):

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I made the Wash Soak Relax Printable (and you can get it from my Etsy Shop here). There you will also find the prints on the wall in Raelyn’s room. I got my sliding door hardware kit on Amazon and the door came from my cousin’s remodeled house. (Thanks, Austin!)


Here’s the video of the full remodel. I hope you enjoy!



Engagement Sessions-Jaron and Haley (Miller)

I had the pleasure of shooting Jaron and Haley’s engagement photos. They are a fun couple (who also happen to be my brother and now sister-in-law). We attempted an initial engagement shoot in January at the OARDC, but it didn’t turn out as nicely as we had hoped! It was VERY cold outside and I was a little distracted. I was going in to be induced with the twins the next day.

We tried for a second time in the Spring  in Downtown Wooster and the OARDC and we were all much more pleased with the result (and a lot less cold)!


You can view more of their photos on Pixieset here.

And Then There Were Five

Well, for about 18 minutes there were 4. I thought it would be hilarious to turn to my husband after “baby A” was born (Fintan) and say, “Well, this is the only time we will know what it’s like to be a family of four.” But, of course, in the midst of giving birth to two babies in 20 minutes, I forgot!

Here are some pictures from their birth and stay at the hospital. Luckily we had zero NICU time. Weston (born second) was one ounce away from having to automatically go to the NICU. He was 4 lb. 13 oz. Fintan was 5 lb. 10 oz. and was born at 2:35 am and Weston 18 minutes later at 2:43 am. Oddly enough, my daughter was born at 2:16 am.

Well, here’s the pictures that my lovely husband took:



Our Fixer Upper-Progress Update

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive money if you make a purchase using these links, but it doesn’t cost you anything.

It’s been a while since I have updated on the progress of the Brown House.

The house is now a shell of what it used to be. We have been working on making design decisions and getting our kitchen cabinets figured out. We decided to order them from Northeast Factory Direct in Cleveland.

In the past couple of months, we have finished de-nailing the original hardwood from the house. It looks like this when it is sanded down.


The floor boards are getting sanded down, tongue and groove added and the next step is figuring out what color to stain it.

*Update: We have chosen Carbon Gray made by Verathane. It’s somewhat dark, but has the hint of gray in the color. We all love it.

On the building side, we are in the process of framing the inside to prepare for the plumber, electrician and dry wall to be installed.

The early stages of framing

We even got Raelyn a swing to sit in while she’s at the house with us. She loves it!


This past weekend, the framing was finished and three of our exterior doors were installed. It’s exciting progress and now we are, for the most part, waiting for others to do the next step before we can continue with painting, installing, etc.


The upstairs getting framed

See the before and now of the staircase below:

Below is where the breakfast nook will be (right). See before (left) where it was the living room.

Here is the opposite side of the breakfast nook. It will be the kitchen. (Was the living room-left).

Stay tuned for more updates!



Days That I Won’t Forget

You know when you have those dates that you won’t forget? Like the day you got engaged or the day you started that amazing job or the last day of that terrible job?

Or you remember that day someone you loved died or you lost a job or you found out some terrible news? Those are days you don’t easily forget.

November 11, 2016

January 2, 2017

These two days were supposed to be joyous that will forever remind me of something that I am missing out on. On smiles that I won’t ever see and diapers I won’t ever change and noses I won’t wipe. They are days that were supposed to be bringing new life into this scary and unpredictable world. Days that were going to be full of sleepless nights and more pain than any other thing I’ve ever endured, but instead, they will just be another day. To everyone else, they will be a normal day.

I have loved being a mother. It has been hard at times, but the good far outshines the bad. I think my baby is the cutest little human, as I’m sure most moms would say about their own. I honestly didn’t know how much love I was capable of until she was born. I love her so much it hurts sometimes. She is such a good baby. She has only kept me up a handful of nights in her life and is happy, for the most part, to do anything. Why would I not want to have a lot more children after her? She’s great!


When she was 8 months old, I had my first positive pregnancy test. I was going to have another baby. My husband and I were so excited. We want to have multiple kids and want them to be somewhat close in age. Since we are living with my parents (until our house is done being remodeled) we decided that it would be too hard to keep it from them, so we told them the news, along with my in-laws. They were excited, too.

That week, I had to go in to update the nurse with my current medical history, although my first OB/GYN appointment wasn’t until the next week. Right before I went in, I started having unusual symptoms. When I got there and told the nurse, they got me in to see the doctor right away. She confirmed that I was having an early miscarriage. I would have been 7 weeks pregnant. Due November 11, 2016.

I went home that day and just wanted to hide. I didn’t want to have to talk to anyone or see anyone. I just wanted to be alone. I didn’t want sympathy, I didn’t want to cry anymore. I just wanted it to be over.

I felt like I had failed that baby.
I felt like I had failed my family.
I felt like it was my fault.

After only telling a few people, I finally felt like I would be okay and was ready to move on. Then, I took another pregnancy test, and it was positive. Fearful for the same result of the previous month, I didn’t let myself get excited. I didn’t want to tell anyone this time. I didn’t want to have to tell them if I lost another one.

I waited and watched as the pregnancy test lines got darker and I started to get excited. I let myself think about what it would be like to have an 18 month old and a newborn at the same time and how much Raelyn would love to be a big sister and how she probably wouldn’t even remember being an only child. I thought about what it would be like to be a family of 4. I let myself dream. Dream about my unborn child’s future. Coming up with countless names. I couldn’t wait to tell people about this new life that would be coming after what seemed like so much tragedy was going on around me. And after just having lost one two months earlier. I thought it was just what we all needed…some hope.

Then, I started having stomach pain. It woke me up in the middle of the night on Monday morning. I couldn’t sleep because it was so achy and I couldn’t get comfortable. It progressed into a sharp pain and only on one side. I thought maybe it was gas or constipation, but it was never relieved. I tried to rest and thought that as long as I wasn’t bleeding, the baby was probably okay, and it was just something else going on in my body.

Tuesday morning I went to work, against my better judgement, and it got so bad, I called my husband and he told me that I should just go to urgent care. I went, reluctantly. I thought that maybe I was just over-exaggerating the pain. That maybe it was just nothing. At urgent care, they confirmed it wasn’t appendicitis and that I was definitely pregnant (based on a urine sample). They set me up for an ultrasound at another facility to rule out an ectopic pregnancy. I was on my way there and they cancelled the appointment with no explanation. So, I called urgent care and they said they would call me back, so I ran some errands and shopped while my aunt, who was watching Raelyn, had no idea what was going on. I finally decided to go pick her up and just go home when I received a phone call saying that they had an appointment for me in 30 minutes.

As the ultrasound tech was trying to get a look at things on the inside. I knew he was worried. I have seen enough ultrasounds from my first pregnancy when I had gestational diabetes and had one every other week, I knew that I should be seeing something that looked a little bit more like a baby and not just empty space. He referred me to the OB on-call. They rushed me to a room and took my information. When the doctor came in, she told me that she sees a lot of free flowing fluid in my abdomen and it looks like it could be blood.

She has no way of being sure without going in, but she thinks I’ve had an ectopic pregnancy in my Fallopian tube, and that the tube already burst. I would need emergency surgery right away. I should call someone to meet me at the hospital.

I was 7 weeks pregnant. Due January 2, 2017.

I wanted to scream and cry and give up all in that moment. But, I knew if I started crying, I wouldn’t stop. (And,she just told me how stable I look and that it’s a good thing for the surgery, so I figured I should keep that up.) I called my husband and he calmly said he would leave work right away. He called my mom and I went to the hospital where they met me later.20160517_164859

In surgery, they removed one fallopian tube. The whole surgery was done laparoscopically, so all I have to show for it is three incisions in my stomach. They call it a minimally invasive surgery, but I don’t think any surgery is really minimally invasive. I was put under general anesthesia and had a breathing tube in. Which just gave me a sore throat for the following few days. I had a few hours to recover in the hospital, where all I wanted to do was sleep. I was just so tired.

At this point, I was still numb. Numb to any pain, numb to any emotional trauma, numb to loss. I had not shed a tear. Yet. My husband sat by my side being supportive this whole time.

Throughout the next days, I wasn’t really sure how to grieve. I wasn’t fully able to process the fact that I lost another baby, had surgery (for the first time in my life) and had a piece of my body removed.

Ectopic pregnancies happen in about 2% of all pregnancies and hemorrhage from ectopic pregnancy is still the leading cause of pregnancy related maternal death in the first trimester and accounts for 4 to 10 percent of all pregnancy related deaths.

I know I am not the only one to have gone through something like this. I wanted to just deal with it on my own, but I need others to make it through this time. Don’t be afraid to talk about it.

Through all this I wonder what any YWAMer would;

“God, what do you want to teach me through this?”

What I know is that I am grateful to be alive. It could have ended much differently. And I am going to savor each moment that I have with my wonderful husband and precious, perfect little girl, because having a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby is a blessing that I won’t take for granted again.


As November 11ths and January 2nds come and go, I will probably eventually forget those dates, but I will never forget the beauty and value of each life that comes into this world and the Creator who made it happen.

Let’s celebrate these new lives, while remembering the pain of those who didn’t get the chance to celebrate theirs.

Our Own Fixer Upper- The Progress

After 3 months and many weekends of tearing out 137 years worth of house and dirt, we are finally coming to the end of the tear-out phase. While it doesn’t always feel like progress, there is much satisfaction that comes with seeing walls come down, dirt being cleaned up and stacks of wood being piled. We have torn out every interior wall, the whole second story, all of the flooring, all the old wiring and so much more.

The next stage? Start framing and re-building. Along with that, comes many decisions. What color cabinets to have, what flooring to use, colors for paint, etc.

Take a look at the progress we have made so far. (Click here to see the before.)


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