the hardest part

I've had friends recently ask me, "Is it hard?"
"Is what hard?" I would respond.
"Having three kids" they would say, as if it was so obvious they couldn't possibly mean anything else.

And for me, the answer was always the same. It wasn't so much "hard" as it was tiring. And I think as the weeks went on and the deeper in a sleep debt I crept, the more tiring it became. By week 5 after having our third baby, I found myself unable to crack an egg without getting shell in the bowl and stumbling over my own two feet going up the stairs carrying laundry; simple tasks I once did effortlessly had now become a challenge because my brain and body weren't getting adequate rest. I even convinced myself I could fall asleep standing up if I just had 5 minutes and no one at my feet asking for water or a snack. The other day I overheard my oldest daughter, Olivia, saying, "Mama, you need a massage and a vacation!"

"Girl, you are so right!" I thought to myself. 

So...hard? Not necessarily the first word I would choose. But completely and utterly exhausting? In every single way.

When I think of experiences that are hard, I most often think of the loss of my Grandma Bea, just weeks before we welcomed our second baby girl into our family in the Fall of 2015. The combination of grieving the loss of perhaps the most significant person in my life up to that point while simultaneously basking in the joy of a brand new baby and fresh new life had my head -- and heart -- spinning. I think of challenges I faced growing up, including battling a severe eating disorder in high school -- suffering silently and without the support of a single friend -- as being hard. I think of certain experiences in my life that shook my world in a way I never could have anticipated. And then other things come to mind that I haven't experienced personally but know so many who have...infertility, the death of a child, the loss of a spouse, cancer and other terminal illnesses, fatal car accidents, suicide. That stuff is hard. In fact, "hard" doesn't even begin to cover it.

But as my littlest baby girl was falling asleep on my chest after her middle-of-the-night feeding a few weeks ago, I sat in the darkness of the room, soaking in the silence that filled it, listening to her calm, quiet breathing in rhythm with my own, and I realized what actually has been the hardest part of having three. Perhaps the hardest part of motherhood in general, no matter how many children you have: letting them grow up. 

With three children, ages 4, 18 months and 1 month, you start to realize (if you haven't already), just how fast it really goes. I look at my oldest daughter and am still unsure how I have had the privilege of being a Mom for nearly four whole years. Where did the time go? Wasn't it just yesterday Dustin and I were bringing her home from the hospital and completely clueless as to what we were doing? I watch now as she unloads the dishwasher unprompted, makes her bed in the morning or asks if she can help me fold the laundry. I see her taking care of her baby sisters, putting a bib on Penelope before dinner and tucking Adaline in with a blanket, then kissing her forehead and saying, "Oh Della you are so sweet!" in her perfect little voice.

Was she really once a tiny little baby that fit in the crook of my arm and depended on me to meet her every need? Even as I type this, I find myself tearing up at the thought of her -- or any of my babies -- being that small again. They seem so grown up now. Were each of my daughters once without a voice? An option? An attitude? Independence? Was there really a time when I was their favorite sleeping spot, when their head fit perfectly on my shoulder or when their whole hand just needed a single finger of mine to hold on to?

The growing up part of motherhood is incredibly bittersweet. We can't stop our babies from growing up no matter how hard we try. Believe me, I have. I've even prayed that God would keep Adaline a baby, just for a little longer than my last two babies were. Somehow if He could just slow down the time I spent with her as a newborn. Or just to help me not to miss a thing. And to appreciate every second I spend with her in these early days and weeks. Because oh how quickly it goes by and slips away.

I found myself regularly in tears as my 3rd daughter outgrew clothing, looked differently than when I put her to bed the night before or someone commented on how much she's grown since they last saw her. Even more so than the first two times I watched my babies grow, it was so hard for me this time around. It was exciting and wonderful but equally painful. "An emotional rollercoaster" as I often explained to my husband after a particularly long day at home. It's exciting to see them grow and change but heartbreaking at the same time.

Why does it have to happen this way? That this perfect and tiny baby has to grow up to become her own person, with her own personality and preferences, one day having a tone, or throwing a tantrum, slamming a door or screaming in my face. How can the same person go from completely needing me from Day One to one day, perhaps thinking they don't need me at all?

I regularly found myself crawling into bed at the end of the day during those first weeks of being a Mom of 3 and looking over at my husband, as he looked back and saw the exhaustion written all over my face and in the dark circles under my eyes. As we listened to the hum of our baby girl breathing loudly in our bedroom and our two older daughters settling into sleep in the rooms beside ours, often with singing and giggles, I would whisper to him, "We're going to miss this, you know. One day our babies will be grown and our home will be empty and quiet. And I will cry because I'll want these days back." Bless Dustin's heart; I cry now because I'm so tired from being so needed yet admit one day I'll cry when I'm not. How's that for an emotional rollercoaster?! 

All too soon my children will be in school; my days at home will no longer be filled with bubble baths and untangling curls, changing diapers and folding little clothes, matching up tiny socks and making muffins, holding small hands and cutting up food, reading books at bedtime and rocking to sleep, sticker books and teddy bears, tea parties and bows. One day there won't be a baby in my arms or a toddler at my feet; the daughters that once asked to do everything with me -- or needed me to do everything for them -- will be learning to do things for themselves and others, and little by little, becoming who they were always meant to be. One day they will be too big to carry; I'll no longer be "mama" but instead "Mom"; they won't ask me to crawl into bed next to them to snuggle or want to hold my hand wherever we go like they do now. And the reality that was my world for so long as a mom of babies and young children will be replaced with things that seem so foreign to me now.

But as each day passes, I'm learning that it's okay to be sad that they are growing up. Because they are my babies. My truest treasures. The three greatest gifts I've ever been given. And that in and of itself carries a weight unlike anything else in the world. We all know that with each stage comes new joys, new heartache, new experiences, new emotion. With each new season comes excitement, but also some sadness that the season prior has come to a close. It goes by so fast and I know even in the hardest moments, I will never look back and regret the time I gave to my children -- whether in the middle of the night, early in the morning, all day long...I was present and there for them and they will grow up knowing I always will be. And I think as a Mom it's our unending love for our children that makes it all so bittersweet. I love my three little girls so much that it truly makes my heart ache to let them grow...because I know that means one day letting them go. 

So the next time someone asks me, "Is it hard?"
Perhaps my answer will be, "Yes. Letting my babies grow up is the hardest thing I've ever done."

Thankfully, it's up to me what I do with the time I've been given with them. I have the opportunity to wake up and make every single day count. I can make that choice. To cherish every age, every season. To be present. To live in the moment. To laugh a lot. And to let them be little. To stay up way later than I should while my baby girl sleeps on me, just because I can. To treasure these days. To appreciate it all...and to embrace every single messy, imperfect moment, even the sad ones as they grow. And most of all, to love them better than anyone else can. Because I'm their Mom. And no matter what, I always will be.


adaline's sip & see

Happy Thursday! I'm so excited to share a few details about the Sip & See we hosted for Adaline this past weekend for all our friends and family to come meet our newest addition and enjoy some yummy food and drinks. I had so much fun putting it together and pouring my heart into all the tiny details for my baby girl. We hosted a Sip & See for Penelope when she was about this same age, 5-6 weeks, and had such a great time I knew I wanted to do it again with our next baby!

The theme for Della's Sip & See was inspired by the very first book I bought for her, You Belong Here by M.H. Clark. I stumbled across it in a tiny boutique early in my pregnancy and the gorgeous cover is what initially caught my eye, but reading it brought me to tears, it is just so sweet. It summed up so beautifully exactly what I felt for our tiny baby girl even before I had met her and since then it has been close to my heart.

For the Sip & See, I knew I wanted to incorporate lots of fresh greens and stick with a really natural, neutral palette, with some golds and browns like those prominent in the book's illustrations. I found the perfect invitations from Minted of two birds sitting in a little nest and then chose coordinating birth announcements with gold foil to tie in the colors.

And perhaps the best part of it all, other than having our home filled with so many dear friends and family to welcome and celebrate our little girl, was being able to serve the most delicious desserts from Sweet Retreat Cupcake Boutique, located in Edina, MN. The weekend before Adaline was born, Dustin and I were out with the girls on a lunch date and had the opportunity to try cake balls (think cake pop without the stick!) and couldn't believe how delicious they were. I have never really been a big cake pop fan, as all the ones I've tried have been quite dry and boring. How's that for honesty?! But these were so fresh and full of flavor, I'm pretty sure we ate more than our fair share ;) Of course we had to know where they were from and when we were pointed to Sweet Retreat, I knew they would be the perfect addition to our upcoming party.

Everyone at Sweet Retreat was so wonderful to work with, which is exactly what I needed in my sleep deprived state after welcoming a newborn! In addition to providing all the cake balls -- in our 3 favorite flavors of birthday cake, cookie dough and chocolate -- they whipped up the most beautiful tree shaped sugar cookies and gold macarons. They decorated the cake balls to match my decor, with edible gold glitter on top of the chocolate ones and green frosting on the birthday cake. In the past for the girls' birthday parties, we've always served full cakes but I loved that these were bite size, didn't require anyone in the kitchen slicing and serving the way a traditional cake does, and were kid-friendly, since so many of our closest friends have young kids, like we do, who were at the party.

In addition to their cake balls and cookies, Sweet Retreat makes stunning cakes for all occasions, including weddings, showers, graduations and more and was voted #1 Cupcake in the Twin Cities via City Pages; owner and chef Robin Johnson was also on Cupcake Wars in 2011 featuring her strawberry balsamic cupcake. I absolutely love the location of Sweet Retreat, in the heart of Edina off 50th and France, surrounded by so many of our favorite shops and restaurants. We are looking forward to many more visits as the weather warms with our girls and having Sweet Retreat desserts at all of our upcoming events.

Seeing my vision come to life with the decor, food and desserts was so rewarding, and I absolutely love opening our home and entertaining. It just leaves my heart feeling so full at the end of the day.

I set the Sip & See up as open-house style, so people were encouraged to stop in anytime it worked well with their schedule throughout the afternoon, grab something to eat and drink, and meet sweet Della. Hosting it this way was absolutely perfect, as it allowed everyone to come at their convenience, work around nap schedules, etc. We had a wonderful turnout and Adaline got lots of love.

If you're having a second or third baby (or know someone who is) and don't want a traditional baby shower, a Sip & See is seriously the perfect way to go. Whether you host it in your own home or someone hosts it for you, you can keep the food and decor super simple and still have a wonderful excuse to get everyone you love together to meet your little babe and celebrate the gift they are. I think a brunch time Sip & See would be so sweet, with a pancake bar and fresh squeezed orange juice! Who knows, maybe someday I'll be writing a post about that! ;) 


sugarboo & co for spring

It's no secret we are big Sugarboo & Co. fans in our home; I have never come across art I love as much as theirs, and I love that each and every piece is made by hand in Atlanta, Georgia with so much character and attention to detail. I shared a round up of some of my favorite Sugarboo & Co pieces in 2016 in a post here, including their gorgeous Book Collection series, which the girls' have a piece of in their shared room in their reading corner, and I'm excited to share the pieces I am loving for Spring and also give away one of my favorites to one of you!

When I was about 30 weeks pregnant with Adaline, I decided it would be the perfect time to completely redo our master bedroom (#forevernesting). Nothing was wrong with it, it had just never been a room that I particularly loved or put much detail into the way I had every other room in our home, and especially knowing I was soon going to have three little girls to care for, I really wanted to create a space that felt like a relaxing retreat after a long day. After all the other updates were made (paint, furniture, light fixture, new rug & window treatments), the last piece of the puzzle was finding the perfect art and of course I immediately knew that meant incorporating Sugarboo Designs.

I have always loved the bold but simple design of their pieces, each capturing so much love and warm sentiment. You are my sunshine is a lullaby I've sung to all three of our daughters so having this piece in our bedroom above Della's bassinet is so special to me. I want every piece of art in our home to reflect my heart -- my love for Dustin and our daughters. Sugarboo Designs offers art which makes that effortless. 

Another favorite piece of ours is this love letter set, which we have hanging in our kitchen on our shiplap wall. Every time I look at each of the pieces in our home, my heart is so full and the list of what piece I want to add to our collection next is ever growing.

Because we love everything from Sugarboo & Co. so much, I've teamed up with them to give away a PILLOW OF CHOICE (up to $140 value) to one lucky winner! You can view all the pillow styles here. Head on over to my instagram @blessednestblog for details on how to enter. Giveaway runs Wednesday March 15 through Tuesday March 21, 2017. And if you have your eye on a favorite piece from Sugarboo & Co. you can save 15% off your purchase when you enter ABLESSEDNEST at checkout. Discount valid today through Tuesday March 21 2017 only.


march love list

Happy Thursday! Over the past few weeks I've been having so much fun getting all our Spring and Summer pieces together, doing a little shopping and some fun collaborations and wanted to share 10 things I've been loving lately, for our girls, our home and more in this month's Love List!

one | These mixing bowls. I do so much baking with the girls that when I came across these I couldn't get them in my cart fast enough. They were originally available from West Elm but are no longer available; I was thrilled to find them by accident on Amazon as I was browsing cook books this past weekend.

two | Speaking of cookbooks, I have been on the hunt for a few new ones for quite some time and am absolutely loving these: The Hands-On Home: A Seasonal Guide to Cooking, Preserving & Natural Homekeeping / First Prize Pies / The Year of Cozy: 125 Recipes, Crafts, and Other Homemade Adventures

three | This polka dot dress from Rylee & Cru. As soon as I saw it, I knew it would be perfect for Olivia for Summer. When it arrived, she wanted to try it on right away and officially loves wearing it as much as I love seeing her in it. If only it came in my size...or that I could pull polka dots off like she can ;)

four | This floral chambray dress for Penelope. I snatched it up last week with extra GapCash and a reward I had that was about to expire. There is something so timeless about the look of denim and I love the overall design of it. I put it on her and basically melted into a puddle because of how it just highlights her big blueberry eyes. Definitely a warm weather staple this upcoming Spring and Summer in her wardrobe.

five | This collar romper for Adaline. So tiny and so sweet. I can't wait for her to wear it all summer long.

six | I recently ordered this book and can't wait to start reading it. In all my spare time, you know...

seven | For each of our girls, I have found a unique way to display their birth stats (a print for Olivia, a wood slice for Penelope) and most recently added this wood birth plaque to the nursery for Adaline from Blue Fox Engraving. It was so much fun to design it with Becky and not only include her birth stats on the front but a little love note on the back. We just love how it turned out and I can't wait to find the perfect spot in her nursery for it! Enter BLESSEDNEST15 at checkout for 15% off your own or any of the other products in her shop today through Sunday March 19.

eight | For all the girl Mamas out there, I am loving the new Spring bows from Wunderkin Co. (formerly Free Babes Handmade). Our favorites are the Bee sailor bow and Freya sailor bow for Olivia, all the oversized schoolgirl bows for Poppy and the mini Annabelle bow for Adaline. They are sold out right now but a full restock is coming in two weeks! 

nine | If you are anything like me, at the end of a long day after my babies are all in bed, I look forward to unwinding and relaxing. One of my favorite ways to do that is taking bubble baths. This mint body scrub has been our favorite for as long as I can remember. I loved it so much that I bought 5 bottles a few years ago (probably in 2014) when they were on sale and we just finished our last one so I had to order a few more. I love using it on my legs after I shave, for foot rubs on Dustin, in the shower, etc. I love that it exfoliates but also smells ahhh-mazing! Right now online you can buy two and get one free (just add 3 to your cart and the price of one will come off)!

ten | A favorite shop of ours for beautiful dresses is Peyper Kids, run by beautiful Mama Tiffany out of Houston Texas and inspired by her two daughters. She made a beautiful floral top for Penelope to match a quilt that was given to Adaline using our favorite Rifle Paper Co. fabric and I just fell in love with it when it arrived, all the details, the quality, even the packaging. She just recently released her Spring line and this Wren Dress is on my wishlist for Penelope for Summer. Most all of her pieces are sold out (they're just that good) but her shop will be restocked on Monday (March 13)! Enter BLESSEDNEST15 at checkout for 15% off your total purchase from Peyper Kids today through Saturday April 1.

What has been on your love list lately?! 


our sliding barn door from beams & boards

I am so excited to share a project that has been in the works for quite some time now and I couldn't be more thrilled with how it turned out!

This past Winter Dustin and I had the opportunity to design a sliding barn door with Beams & Boards, a local woodshop run by husband and wife team Joe and Kristina. Beams & Boards specializes in one of a kind designs made from reclaimed wood, most notably barn wood from Minnesota and Wisconsin. After realizing they make quite the team while designing pieces together for their wedding back in 2014, they opened up their shop in January 2015 and have spent the past two years working to create the most beautiful custom pieces for homes throughout the midwest, including barn doors, tables, headboards, wall decor, floating shelving, other furniture & more.

Dustin and I have moved from a more modern to quite rustic style over the past 5 years since purchasing our first home and doing a lot of renovations (read: 5 huge renovations), which really led us to discover what our style is and how to thoughtfully incorporate it into our home. Our home was built in the 60s with a lot of the original woodwork, hard wood floors, etc. and having always dreamed of having a sliding barn door, I was thrilled to partner with Beams & Boards to bring our vision to life.

The process of designing the door was incredibly seamless; Kristina and Joe made it so easy for us to decide on the design itself as well as pick a stain color that would complement the wood already in our home and once it was complete, Dustin picked it up. All that was left was ordering a steel track and hanging it (recommended barn door hardware can be found here), which was a project he tackled during the week he was off work after Adaline was born. 

Our home is four floors total and on our main floor (living room, dining room and kitchen), we have a staircase leading down into our garage and basement. In that space we had a pocket door that was original to the house but that we honestly never used. Being that our living-dining room is the area we are most often in, especially when hosting and entertaining, we knew that would be the perfect place to hang the door. It finishes the space so well and I just love the rustic character it adds to our home, especially knowing that the wood was sourced from barns in our home state.

We had such a wonderful experience working with Joe and Kristina and would highly recommend Beams and Boards for any project you have in mind, especially adding a barn door to your home like we did. They can be contacted at beamsandboards@gmail.com and if you are local to the Midwest and mention this blog post, they will give you a 15% discount on a custom barn door order now through April 1st, 2017.

Happy Tuesday! Hope your week is off to a great start!


one month

Sweet Adaline is one month old. Hello, fastest month of my life. I feel like just yesterday I was headed to the hospital, wondering what she would look like and what life would be like once she was here.

Adaline is so calm and mellow; you can just sense something so peaceful when you are near her or holding her...that is perhaps one of my favorite things about her. Amidst the busyness that is three children, she has become my quiet place, as I find myself savoring the minutes spent nursing her, holding her, just being in silence and admiring her and all that she is. She is the littlest one that has stolen my heart and now that she is here I cannot imagine life without her. It's amazing how you live for so long one way, feeling like your family is complete and life is just so good...and then you add another baby and wonder how you ever lived without them or how life could possibly have gotten even better. But it does.

I also find it so incredible that you can love each of your children the same amount, but that the love you have for them individually is so different. Do any of you Mamas know what I mean?! Each of my daughters fill a different part of my heart and satisfy a different part of my soul. They each have different needs and abilities and make me laugh & smile in different ways for different reasons. I think one of the very best parts about motherhood is being able to experience love in so many different forms. And that when you add another to your family, the love just multiplies a million times.

I shared a peek on an instagram story today (@blessednestblog) of a delicious breakfast quiche that Olivia and I made this morning. I hope to have the recipe up this week on the blog. It was so easy and so delicious! 

And of course, happy March! We are looking forward to all that Spring will bring as a family of 5! XO

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