Sunday, December 9, 2012

i wanna be like dad.

 everyday when dad comes home, it's the same routine.  griffin hears the roar of the motorcycle, knows his dada is home and runs to the front door and into chad's arms.  he points to the helmet until chad puts it on his tiny little head and then looks around at his audience.  we all laugh of course and clap and think its the most adorable thing.  and it really is.  every time we go outside and he sees the bike parked in the driveway, he begs for a "ride".  griff sits on the bike while we make roooommm roooomm noises.  boy does he think thats cool.  so what do i do when one day he really wants to ride?  when he really wants his own gear and bike?  when he and dad go off on real rides at high speeds with idiot drivers all over the road?  i can't stop it from happening and i'll never just be the super cool mom who is okay with sending her son off to become road kill.  can't we all just get safer hobbies please?

ps, baby Avett is doing great!  he's 11 days old today; sleeping and eating like a champ.  it's hard to explain how much i love this little guy- every bit as much as my first baby.  these days, i'm always exhausted and usually found wearing sweats and a T but I guess that's just part of mommy-hood right now.  its like winning the jackpot if i've figured out a way to shower at some point during the day.  i'm breastfeeding this time around and it sure is a learning process, ouch!  avett loves it though and latched on very well during our first few minutes together in the hospital- unlike his older brother.  labor with avett was very different from our experience with griff.  more on that later.  Finals are half way over but this week will be another doozie.  yay for having babies in the middle of a crisis.  we wouldn't have it any other way, apparently.
avett, 2 days old.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Baby Avett.

Baby Avett Chad; born 11/28/12 10:25am, 6lbs 5oz, 18 1/2 inches.
we are so so blessed to have a new little miracle in our home.  He's such a sweet boy and I couldn't have asked for anything more.  we think he looks an awful lot like his big brother but definitely has a look of his own too.  I can't wait for the days ahead.  and now, if i can just figure out how chad and i are going to pass our final exams next week.  oh boy.  

 life has certainly been crazy this week with two babies and trying to recover from labor.  we've received lots of help from dear friends and have had yummy meals being brought to our home.  Thank you so much to all who have reached out during this time.  i can't remember the last time i was this exhausted!

love, us.

meeting brother.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

These days of pregnancy.

daddy snapped this shot the other night at the beach.
lots of action going on around here.  it's another big test week for chad and he's nervous.  griffey has taken me for quite a ride this week.  splashing around in the toilet at the doctor's office was probably the highlight.  he thought the whole thing was hysterical.  gross!  leaving a urine sample while tending your toddler isn't the easiest task, let me just say.

baby may just show up sooner than we thought.  this pregnancy has been nothing like the last and so i'm not sure what to expect but- it certainly feels like he's ready to be here.  those darn braxton hicks!!  how is anyone supposed to tell the difference between "real" contractions and fake contractions?  we've had a talk, he and i, and i say he's not allowed to come before 37 weeks, or full term.  we'd like to avoid a NICU stay if at all possible.  hopefully, he listens to his mommy.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

ode to my husband.

i just have to say a few words to my husband for a minute, so bear with me...or roll your eyes at this mushy stuff and continue your web-surfing.  either way, i would feel extremely ungrateful if i didn't write down my thoughts today.  for those of you who know my hubby personally, you can attest to the kind nature of his heart.  i have never known anyone (except maybe his mother- which explains things) who always has a positive outlook and who tries as hard as he does to be a good, helpful and positive person.  This is not to say, he's perfect-(we've banned that way of thinking in our house) but in my eyes, he's pretty darn close.

still, we have our ups and downs and we fail to communicate well a lot of the time.  our journey together hasn't been the easiest path.  falling in love with him was.  that part was so easy that i panicked and avoided his courting efforts for a good month (or as he likes to refer to it, i snubbed him).  anyway, i fell hard for this strong, upright, do-gooder man and his outdoorsy/hippie ways.  he had perspective, real life understanding and morals.  plus, he was tall, scruffy and super handsome.  wait, how many years had i been looking for this kind of dude?  a lot.  so, that was that and it was a no brainer.  that was almost 3 years ago.

yesterday, after a frustrating morning with our teething/tantruming one-year old, i became overwhelmed with the massive amounts of homework i had yet to complete and all of the little mental to do lists i had stashed away in the back of my mind.  I just couldn't compartmentalize all of it any longer, couldn't keep it all organized and it felt as if i was losing control of just about everything.  please tell me i'm not the only person who has these meltdowns!

the point... on his way home from school, chad brought home the ice cream i had been craving for days (without being asked).  he fed our son his dinner, bathed and put him to bed, cleaned the kitchen, sat with me at the kitchen table as i completed my homework and then proceeded to help me make a physical list of tasks that i had for myself.  he hung shelves, finished putting the infant car seat together for new baby's arrival, picked up the front room, fixed the printer that never works (because i needed it), and may have found a little time for his own homework.  he did all of these things while feeding me positive remarks about how i'm a great mom, how beautiful i am and how i'm not fat...just really pregnant.

i could not ask for a better team mate or a better supporter through these rough changes we've been experiencing.  and i just had to write it down, so that tomorrow, when the 35 week pregnant hormones are raging, and the baby is crying, dinner isn't made and my homework isn't done- i will still remember how much i love and appreciate this man and his selfless giving.  bless his heart.  i love you, chad.

photo credit: Lydia Gravis.

Monday, October 22, 2012


just a few fun shots from last week, via my iphone.
1. we spent all day friday at the beach with jon & cass, our good friends from utah.
2. Chad & griffey at the Southern Ground music festival- saw the avett brothers!
3. motorcycle rides.
4. grocery shopping with mama (17months).
5. i'm totally parking here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

so, how far is too far?

okay, let's talk.  i haven't stopped craving Cafe Rio since we moved to the east May.  I know Charleston is supposed to be known for it's amazing food and all but I've been less than impressed with just about everything local (ooo except the farmers market with the yummiest peaches ever).  and... everything is hideously expensive.  is it too much to ask to get a sweet tomatoes (souplantation) up in here??!  I do tend to have some irrational thoughts from time to time- as I'm now 31 weeks pregnant.  Tell me, is it too unreasonable to drive 8 hours to Virginia for some Cafe Rio?  because i'm seriously considering it.

and now, back to homework. and babies.

love, us.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


No joke, this little boy asks for "pancake" every single morning.  and usually most afternoons too when it's lunch time.  and, it's just so adorable when he says it, i melt, and then we have to make them.  and by we, i mean daddy.  it all started with daddy anyway.  griffey loves the weekends when daddy is home all day and doesn't go to school.  he's very territorial with his dada you see.  he's just not interested in anything or anyone else, and it's actually kind of nice because then i get a break.  anyway, it started a while back when chad was deemed in charge of Saturday morning breakfasts.  he makes a mean pancake and so i'd usually request them.  last week at 7am we had pulled him into our bed to snuggle and chad asked him what he wanted for breakfast and out of nowhere we heard "mmmmm, pancake".  hilarious!  In other news: HE WALKS!  Just last weekend Griffin started walking... and we love it.  i can't believe how cute it is, the little noodle legs waddling back and forth.  he's SO proud of himself- and we can't get enough of it.

love, us
happy weekend!
ps, it's 80 degrees in October here in Charleston.  Fall just won't cooperate.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

you & i, we're the same.

kind of our new favorite around here.  we love the avett brothers in this house!
we can't wait until they come to our charleston southern music festival in october...

love, us.

Monday, September 17, 2012

sister visits.

My little sister courtney came for a week long visit with her 13 month old, beckett.  it's been so much fun showing her our beautiful city!  here's a few of our photos from this weekend when we all hiked the Ravenel Bridge.  and when i say hiked, i do mean hiked.  it was quite challenging for me with new baby boy along for the ride!

Happy new week!
love, us.

Monday, September 10, 2012


we spent our sunday evening at the beach.  it was the perfect temperature outside, the water was warm, and griffin grux was in heaven.  clearly.  i cant believe we're lucky enough to call this home!  in other news: fall semester is in full swing for mama and daddy.  i actually look forward to my school work in the evenings or during nap time.  strange as it sounds, it gives me something of my very own to focus on.  something that has nothing to do with babies or being mom.

auntie courtney and baby beckett are coming for a week long visit this tuesday!  we are so excited to have our first visitors and for the boys to have a little playmate for a whole week!  not to mention, i get to pal around with my sis.  also, i'm seriously starting to feel pregnant- a week and a half shy of the 3rd trimester.

mama@26 weeks.

griffin@15 months.

happy monday.
love, us.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

the angel oak.

can you believe how gorgeous this tree is?  they call it the angel oak.  Legend has it, ghosts of former slaves appear as angels around this tree.  it's estimated to be 500+ years old.  today, we went to visit the tree for the second time.  griffin loved touching the tree and really...just being here felt pretty special.

for my 30th birthday last week, chad surprised me with unique angel oak jewelry in mixed metal- which he had picked out himself before I had even seen this beautiful tree.  my hubby knows me well.  thank you for the extremely thoughtful gift, honey.  i love it.

love, us

more about the angel oak tree.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

whose kid is this?

14 months old, already.  where is my baby and who is this toddler?  This kid is way too smart for his own good and he's learning to get just what he wants.  He's learned to shake his head no when mom or dad tell him not to do something.  He says cheese, baby, hi baby, say hi, baba, ball, daddy, mama, yah, bye-bye.  He points to everything he wants and is signing a few words (milk, all done, etc).  He has a major staring problem and refuses to wave, talk to or smile at strangers (apparently, I was the exact same way as a baby...extremely stubborn).  He's a pro at going down for his afternoon nap and has started weaning his way off of the second nap.  No walking on his own yet but we expect it anytime.  He loves to read books and can point to objects when quizzed.  I'll say,"where are the cars?  where are the bananas?"  Griff can point out his body parts- head, ears, nose and belly.  He loves to point out mommy's tummy or pull my hair- that one is hilarious for some reason.

Chad and I finally made it through our summer semesters, phew!  We did very well thank goodness and are enjoying the 2 week break before it all begins again.  It's been so nice having dad home all day, we'll sure miss him when Fall starts.  Friday we're off to holiday in Georgia for my birthday weekend celebration with Chad's brother's family.  I can't wait to get away and explore.

Love, us. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Our chalkboard wall.

in our old house in Ogden, we had a chalkboard wall.  i'm pretty sure it was Chad's idea to do it- and i'm so glad we did.  on the north wall of our kitchen, visitors, family and friends would all leave their mark with messages, pictures and quotes.  it was where chad and I left each other love notes, where my mom's famous cookie recipe was (because i can't ever remember it, i think i have to call one of my sisters for help every time i make them), where we kept track of grad school craziness- shown here, and where we wrote dumb stuff like phone numbers or the last dose of tylenol i gave the baby the night he got sick.  One time, my sweet husband tried to clean the wall and make more space for new messages.  When i saw what he had done, i strangely burst into tears (oh, the drama).  Until that moment, i hadn't understood just what that wall meant to me.  These were our memories.  and i loved seeing them everyday when i fed Griff or when we would all gather in the kitchen to make dinner.  Needless to say, we made new memories...but i think my very favorite was the day that we brought Griff home from the hospital.  Above our doorway, in big blue cursivey letters were the words, "Welcome home baby Griffin!!".  My sister Rachel had secretly made cute things around the house so that we would  have a memorable homecoming with our new baby.  Woogie, i can't thank you enough for that memory.

i have thought about starting again and painting a wall in our new place here in Charleston to carry on the tradition.  i don't think i can bring myself to do it yet.  having to leave our wall behind back in May was hard.  I didn't watch as the wall was cleaned completely.  in fact, im not sure if anyone wiped it clean at all.  if Chad did, he never told me about it (afraid of my reaction from last time, no doubt).  Our last day in the house, after all of the furniture was loaded into the moving truck and the rooms had been cleaned, the wall still remained- bright and cheerful as we said goodbye.  The great thing about memories is CAN take them with you.  and we did, thank goodness.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Us & Charleston

Things have settled a bit since the move and the baby news and so i figured it was time to update.  With the help of our dear friends PJ and Lydia Gravis, the move went smoothly.  Until the goodbyes that is.  My but that was dramatic, I blame PJ.  Everything is unpacked and we've settled into our little 2 bedroom townhome in Mount Pleasant, just over the Cooper bridge from Charleston.  We are about ten minutes from the city (chad's campus) and 5 minutes from the beach.  How lucky we are to be so close to the water!  Sullivan's island is 4 miles from our house and we plan to spend quite a bit of time there.  Let me just say, east coast water is like bath's warm, people.  Griffey is absolutely in love with the beach.  As soon as he sees the tall grass and the dock out to the sand, he starts pointing, laughing and dances with excitement.  He laughs and laughs in the water, loves splashing around in the waves and throws a tantrum when we get out (that's been a fun phase, tantrums all day).

Our house is small, but we love having a split level.  It's much more quiet for when baby naps or when chad needs to escape for studying.  I've hung pictures on the wall and tried to make our new place feel a bit more homey.  We have been blessed with bigger closets than what we had in our last home- a plus indeed.  Also, our kitchen has a little dining area and we were able to fit a cute round kitchen table to sit at!  no more eating dinner in front of the TV!!  We do miss having a yard of our very own but student living doesn't allow for such luxuries.  At least, not when you're trying to keep housing costs down.  We feel very lucky to have found a suitable situation- sight unseen before move-in.  

Chad is almost through with his first semester of school, just a couple of weeks left and one last anatomy test.  He's the only male in the entire program, the oldest (we kind of expected that) and nobody has kids.  Okay so yah, it's been a little bit tough to make friends.  Good news is that I'm the official hair stylist for the program.  I've gotten to know several of the girls from doing their hair- which has been quite fun.  It's been a wee bit rough for Chad trying to keep his head above water in anatomy, while balancing family life at home.  He's working super hard everyday and I'm so proud of him.  I must say, the work load they give these students is ridiculous.  Summer semester is condensed- so it's not actually a full semester.  Yet, they are expected to keep up and handle the load of a full semester with anatomy and surface anatomy thrown into the mix.  There are never enough hours in the day to actually LEARN all of the material, he just has to be great at memorization (which he struggles with) and somehow fake his way through it all (which he also struggles with).  Never mind what that muscle or nerve actually does, just remember it.  interesting, hmm.

Change is hard, and new is only fun for so long.  Around our 2nd month mark in Charleston, we kept thinking our extended "vacation" would end and that we'd be going home soon to what was familiar.  We are missing our home in the West, the mountains, friends, family and many other things we had to leave behind.  We miss our jobs(weird, right?), our daily routines- even the grocery store that saved us so many pennies.  Saying goodbye to our dog Gretschen was probably one of the hardest parts.  We think about her often and wonder if we really did the right thing in leaving her behind.  the answer is always the same, we just could not afford to bring her (i hate money).  her particular breed prohibited us from renting almost everywhere.  i think chad misses her the most.  her absence has deffinatley left a strange void in our family, one that i didn't quite expect and we are heart-broken.  Due to distance, we have been unable to attend funerals, weddings and other events that have been so important to us; we can only do so much from so far away.  To Grandma Poulsen, we love you and we will miss you.  You have taught us so much about love, responsibility and the importance of a good attitude!  Thank you.  To Jon & Cass, we love you both and are so excited you're taking the plunge!  Sorry we can't be there to witness it but we know it will be one hell of a party; congratulations!  To our dear friends, we think of you often and hope for your success.  To our families, we love and miss you so much.  I can't bear the thought of raising my boys without you near.

Love to all, until we meet again...
the sanders crew

Monday, June 25, 2012

on his way.

i think those were the first words out of my mouth.  is this a joke?  and then chad laughed, and i cried.  and i'm pretty sure we spent the next month trying to figure out just how it all happened.

PREGNANT.  Baby no. 2 is on his way.  That's correct, I said his.  IT'S A BOY!
We had a very early ultrasound confirm the sex of baby.  Actually, the technicians weren't even allowed to comment on the subject so early on, but- it was evident and there was little room for error (let me tell you!).  I'm 15 weeks along and already have a bump to prove it.  After weeks of processing this info (and trying to ignore it) and enduring the morning sickness,  i think we're pretty darn excited.  seriously, is first trimester fun for anybody?!

Sometimes, the best things in life, you don't choose, they just happen and, It took me a while to come around to this, i admit.  i mean, i know it all sounds a bit silly now but, i had a really hard time letting go of my fears and the fact that i didn't plan this!  How could i be a good mommy to 2 babies at once?  Do i have enough love, time and attention for another one?  I deffinatly don't have the energy.  When does one find the time for things like showering when there are 2 kiddos?  I realize tons of mommies are doing it and have done it- and i salute you and ask for advice!  But, i think this feels just a little bit harder knowing that i won't have help- we just moved 2000 miles away from our good friends and families (which is another post completely that i have yet to compose).

Babies are a blessing; that we know for sure.  we sure can't imagine life without our little griffey motoring around.  And, i can't keep from thinking this new little guy wanted so badly to come to earth and be with his big brother.  the boys will be 18 months apart and i can't wait to watch them pal around together.

Friday, June 22, 2012

happy birthday baby.

I can't believe he's one year old!  SERIOUSLY.  Where did the time go?  i'm so so so lucky to be his mommy.  literally, i think i have the sweetest baby on the planet.  he makes me laugh every single day.  at one, Griffey is a wild wild man.  he waves, smiles and says "hi"-all day long to's quite humorous.  we stop a whole lot of traffic wherever we go.  lately, G pulls himself up to everything and walks along the couch.  he takes steps if we hold his arms.  he says mama, mommy, dada, daddy, hi daddy, baby(kind of) and baba.  he shakes his head no (excuse me, who taught him that?), dances to music, sings to himself and adores rolling a baseball back and forth.  baby boy LOVES the beach.  i think he was born to be a fishy.  Griff loves to play with his aunts and uncles and cousin Beckett Flynn.  he has 4 bottom teeth and two top teeth just made an appearance this week.  his favorite foods are peaches, canteloupe, bananas, yogurt, black beans and cheerios.

Griff spent his 1st birthday in California with family (minus daddy who couldn't get away due to classes; don't worry, we had 2 parties).  everyone gathered together for my grandma's funeral.  it turned out to be a very bittersweet weekend.  we are so happy gran is out of pain and with grandpa again.  i think of her every time i play the piano.  I'm so thankful i was blessed with a slice of her musical gifts.  she was a very talented musician, although she'd never admit to it in a hundred years.  we love you gran.

ps, traveling alone with a baby really wears me out.  more posts to come soon.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

a laughing boy.

Laughing@8 mo from Ashlee Sanders on Vimeo.

This never gets old.  I love being his mommy.
Happy weekend!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

and the winner is...

Guys, we're moving to the South.  
I'm so proud of my hubby!!!  Okay now, brace yourselves- start date is May 23!  That's a little over 4 weeks away.  But, good news is the sooner Chad starts the sooner he's finished and making the bucks.  Somehow, over the last few weeks I was able to find housing for us online- in a good area  and in our desired price range.  Moving with kids is just so stressful.  The school offered no housing options for us (aren't we paying them enough?) and so we are left to figure it out for ourselves.  

Meanwhile, I'm trying to finish up my spring semester and find time to say goodbye to friends and family.  Also, Griffey started crawling- well, it's more of an army scoot but he's very determined to move.  Lot's of news and lot's going on right now... this is how we do things around here.  Somehow, it all works out.  it always does.  We are thrilled to be headed to Charleston!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

a new year.

2011 was full of surprises.  i feel like it passed us by at warp speed.  in february, i married my sweetheart and best friend.  our ceremony was simple, honest, hopelessly romantic and... perfect.  the two of us promised to love and take care of one another- no matter what.  in june, we welcomed our little son into the world.  I think i have sufficiently freaked out over enough baby what ifs and what to dos to last a life time.  its hard times when you have no idea how to take care of the infant in your arms.  the hospital staff handed him to me and i thought, okay, now where is my manual please?  luckily, i used my mommy powers and figured most of it out- along with the help of baby 411.  that book is a god send, ps.  griffin is our everything; our sunshine on those cloudy days.  i can't even begin to describe the way i feel about becoming a mother.  i am truly blessed to have this perfect experience.  this year- with the new men in my life, my heart has felt things that i never knew existed.  I feel emotion with a greater understanding and perspective and- gratitude- and... happiness.  More than ever, I am determined to enjoy every single day- every moment, even the hard stuff.  There is plenty of hard stuff, ehh?  Understatement.  Life is so precious and continues to move ahead at an alarming rate.  I don't want to miss a single second of it.  I love it.

Our family is changing and growing.  Griffey is sleeping through the night- uninterupted, as of this week!  um, yay.  He's learning how to sit up and entertain himself without mommy.  he rides in the cart at stores and sits in high chairs at restaurants.  it's all quite adorable.  Chad has applied to Occupational Therapy programs throughout the country in hopes of being accepted into a graduate program.  i have of course, been his personal assistant through this process- aka i did all the paperwork and organizing.  let me tell you, in terms of 6 grad applications, there's a lot of paperwork.  and organizing.  and, i think i have my life back now that it's over.  now we wait...and wait.  None of these programs are in utah and it looks as though we could be packing up and moving in time for the fall semester (fingers crossed).  although it will be hard to say goodbye, new adventures await and we are excited.  we will have more news hopefully by mid-march.  my fingers are seriously crossed.  and toesies too.

We drove to california for chirstmas- via the civic.  babies and road trips together are like, my least favorite thing.  maybe, holiday traffic in and out of the vegas is worse.  i did however, love the beach in december!  the weather was unbelievably lovely and it was the first time griff had ever been to the beach.  we put his toes in the water and you know, freaked because we had no sunscreen and my baby is like, the fairest of fair.  that was kind of one of those magical moments though, seeing my two boys playing in the water.  i will insist that my baby loves the beach- and hopefully, we get to go more often- with our sunscreen.  our trip was cut short with some sad news about our dear friend Sarah Songer-Smith.  her battle with cancer came to an end just after christmas and we said goodbye to her on the eve of the new year.  her passion and great zest for life has remained with me as i've reflected on my time spent with sarah.  i have heard her encouraging spirit just about every day since her passing, pushing me and convincing me i can do things that i wouldn't ordinarily take on.  that was her way.  even in the short time i knew her, courage and strength always stood out.  we love you sarah.  you indeed, broke the mold.

And so, we move into another year- full of promise and excitement and... snow.  yes, it's been dumping snow this week.  perfect for skiing (you know, if i had the money, time and gear for such things) and hopefully, more blog posts. :)  happy new year.  make it a good one.

ps- as always, thanks to miss Lydia Gravis for the photography. 


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