Thursday, December 25, 2014

Family foto

The stars aligned and we were able to snap a family picture before heading to the Christmas Eve service at church this year. Never mind that there were about 100 pictures leading to this that involved double chins, crossed eyes, closed eyes and/or thumb sucking : )

Merry Christmas from the Kellys!!

On next year's Christmas wish list: a tripod to alleviate stacking chairs and books on our coffee table...

Monday, December 22, 2014

Daredevil strikes again

This little girls loves to climb and chairs are her specialty!

Sunday, December 21, 2014


Thursday, December 18, 2014

A step ahead

Both girls LOVE to wear my shoes and Anna was thrilled to try on my new platform heels ... and I think she walks in them better than I do!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Santa babies

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The tail of two ponies

Both girls have dabbled in wearing their hair "all the way back" in a ponytail and I swear they look like they are ready to head off to college when they do!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


We finished a small basement remodel project, which included adding finished space that will serve as the girls' playroom. The dance party that took place as soon as the carpet was laid confirmed they loved it and the money was very well spent.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sharing is caring

Cookie Monsters get thirsty too! This sugar pie is a little Mommy through and through : )

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Future potty star

Charlotte wants to be just like her big sister when it comes to using the potty, so in an effort to keep her from physically pushing Anna off the toilet, we brought up the potty chair. It's been a huge hit and now both girls are happy ... next stop, potty training!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mid-week date night

More time in the car for work travel means more time to explore new artists on my Songza app (highly recommend!). A few months ago I fell in love with Ingrid Michaelson and was excited to see she was coming to Cincinnati for a concert in November. Mike and I don't do dates nights too often, and mid-week dates are almost unheard of, so this was a real treat! We enjoyed dinner downtown before the show at Nada (a fave!) and then realized how old we were upon arriving exactly at the start of the show. No worries, though, the opening act was great and we felt nice and settled when the rest of the crowd joined us an hour later : )

Friday, November 14, 2014

Happy half birthday to you

A half-birthday seems like a good enough reason to me for a Friday cupcake. A certain 3 1/2 year old agreed!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Scootin' along

Anna loved scootin' around this past summer and fall; she started getting pretty brave and loved going down big hills. Charlotte wanted in on the action too, so I guess we'll have to put a scooter on her Christmas list : )

Catching some air in the driveway

Bike / scooter day at school, always a favorite for the kids in her class!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Dinner theater

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Letter to Charlotte: Month twenty

Dear Charlotte,

Here we are at 20 months and I missed your 19th month letter. The best reason I can come up with is that I was just too busy soaking up all you and your sister have to offer in my free time, and I think that’s a pretty good one. I hate that I missed a month because you’re growing so much each day, learning new things, finding new ways to make us laugh, and becoming your own beautiful little person. You’re finding your voice, finding your way and we’re just along for the ride with you. And what a crazy, but fun, ride it is!

You’re a huge talker now, repeating everything we way and able to communicate most of what you want, although not always with fully-formed words. Others might now always know what you’re saying, but your Dad, Anna and I can usually piece it together based on where you are and what you’re doing. One of your favorite stuffed animals (and you have many) is your hedgehog (technically it’s Anna’s on loan to you) and I almost died when you started to call him by name. You melt my heart when you ask me “pease pease” for something and it breaks my heart when I have to tell you no. The careful way you sound out words and will repeat something until we understand gets me every time.

You were sick a few weeks ago and it tears at my heartstrings when you girls aren’t feeling well and there’s no magic cure to make you well. Because kids don’t know yet how to act sick, take a break and rest to let their bodies heal, we know you’re sick when you slow down to 30 miles an hour from your usual 60. It’s always weird being home with just one just one of my girls, but it’s even quieter when it’s because you’re sick. You’re small and pudgy enough to snuggle with me like a little baby and I since I know these days are fleeting (in the way of your long, lanky, bony sister) I cherish every second. I’m lucky that I have a flexible job and an understanding team, but that working-Mommy-guilt still rears its ugly head when I have to sneak away to answer an e-mail or multitask while you watch a TV show.

On the topic of being sick, you hated (with a vengeance) your 18-month check-up, specifically the shots. I understand the shots, those are literally a pain, but you would hardly let the doctor listen to your heart and the protective exam paper was torn to shreds after the wrestling match that was the rest of your physical exam. It’s not like the exam is something totally new, you and your sister spend hours “fixing” people and stuffed animals at home and you’re basically an amateur MD. If you’re anything like your sister, you’ll come around eventually, and if not, at least we know the vaccine schedule slows down from here on out.

You’re still a big Mommy’s girl … big is actually quite an understatement and I’m certain you would be happy if you were on my hip all hours of the day. I was pregnant with you at this age with Anna, but even if I wasn’t, I don’t think there’s any way I would have been carrying her as much as I carry you. I get that I’m a pretty amazing person, but sometimes everyone needs their space. Like when I’m trying to use the restroom, get dressed, or take a shower. I’ve taken to locking the bathroom door when your Dad is close by as I’ve had one too many instances where I have company and an audience.

You’ve developed a bit of a dramatic streak and love to react to situations with pretend emotions. One of the cutest is when you see a bug and scream “ahhhhhhhh” with all of your might and put on your best “I’m scared” face. The tantrums are the not as fun part of your dramatic streak and you’re all girl when it comes to letting your emotions fly freely. Luckily redirection, a hug, and affirmation that we love you generally make things all better and send you on the way to your next adventure.

You’re totally in awe of your big sister and want to do everything she does. And I mean everything. You want to walk up and down the stairs like her, climb on furniture like her, stand on a stool by my side in the kitchen like her, run like her, play like her. She’s your role model and although she may be frustrated at times with her shadow, I know that she loves having a little protégé.

You love to read the books in yoru room and sing songs before you go to bed and one of my favorites parts of the day has always been the sweet moments at bedtime. Lately, though I’ve had to take a break because you throw a literal fit when I lay you down, so you’re Dad has been on duty for a few weeks. After a long day at work, a rushed commute home, the craziness of daycare pick-up, to trying to get dinner on the table while wrangling two little girls, I don’t always relish carrying around 25 lbs of fun, but I know it will all be a memory in the blink of an eye. You don’t always know when you’ll experience a “last time” and I’ve already seen too many sweet moments disappear as you grow. So I’m doing my best to cherish the tug on my shirt, your soft breathe on my neck, and the gentle pat you give on the back of my arm because one day I’ll put you down to never pick you back up again. Even when you’re too big to carry, you’ll always be my little girl.



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Candy theif

We couldn't keep this little duck away from the candy dish! It's a good thing she's cute ...

Sunday, November 2, 2014


The weather was chilly and rainy, but that didn't stop us from having a blast on Halloween! Anna requested a purple witch costume a la a side character in one of her favorite TV show, Sophie the First, and Charlotte wore a hand-me-down duck costume, very fitting given that she "quacks" with a passion.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

I ran for life!

I crossed the finish line !!!!

You can read about my reasons for running here and here, but long story short, I ran because my life literally depends on the funds raised for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Race day was amazing in SO many ways and you couldn't have asked for a better day to run 13.1 miles! Race weekend started on Thursday with our Team in Training "carb-o-load" and send-off dinner, and it was a fun way to spend a little time with the people we've run so many miles with over the past five months. After dinner the Moms on a Mission enjoyed a little (or a lot of ) wine and decorated our race jerseys together. What a great start to the end of an amazing journey!

On Friday I picked-up race packets and perused the goodies and gear at the Expo before heading home to deliver to my neighbors and welcome my good friend and race buddy, Whitney, to Cincinnati. Of course we had to make a Target run for last minute necessities and it brought back memories of fun, random outings in college (and beyond).

The thing with races is that they start EARLY and there's some waiting in your corrals before you actually start working up a sweat. Serious runners have arm warmers for these occasions, but at around $50 a pop, and something you have to keep up with after they're shed, we weren't willing to lay down that kind of dough. Also, regular stores don't carry them and it was 8pm the night before the race. We had a moment of genius and purchased children's fleece-lined leggings and cut to fit our arms. BRILLIANT! We both went with multi-colored metallic hearts and received MANY compliments on them from fellow runners. They worked wonderfully and it was literally no sweat to pull them off and leave them behind at mile six.

If you've never run a competitive race, you MUST put that on your bucket list; even a 5K is an experience! There's just nothing like the excitement in the air, seeing the crowds and hearing them cheer you on, not to mention the sense of accomplishment. Cincinnati is known for it's hills and we were prepared for the course, and the monster hill at mile seven ... which ran by my old house, coincidentally! The last few miles were the hardest, mentally, as they were pretty flat and crowd support was more limited. But, there was something every mile as supported by the race organizers and those cheers and water stops and cheerleaders (that took many different forms) kept us going. I'd kept pace during training with a neighbor and we had a vague goal in mind, but nothing concrete. As we checked our watches each mile, we noticed we were going a bit ahead of our usual pace and were surprised, but kept on truckin' ... we motivated each other, pushed each other and wound up both setting huge personal records when we crossed the finish line!

We felt like a million bucks!

Outside of the physical accomplishment, I raised over $7,000 (thanks to a $500 grant from my employer received in January) and my Moms on a Mission team raised over $12,000! Thank you to everyone that supported me on this crazy journey. Almost everyone has a personal connection to cancer and my connection is obviously the most personal type. It doesn't matter how or where you give or support, something is better than nothing, and we're making a difference in the way we treat cancer and the life of patients today!

"When your legs get tired, run with your heart." 
Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving my heart so much power!

The Team in Training Queen Bee TEAM

The Moms on a Mission FINALLY got a group shot!

Huddling down pre-race


Post race pride! I crossed the finish line!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Meet Jack

O'Lantern, that is. The girls had fun carving pumpkins this year ... just like their personalities, Charlotte dove right in and Anna joined after casing out the situation and deciding it, in fact, was fun. Of course neither would smile at the same time and I forgot to get a picture of the finished products ... oh well, such is life!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


The girls' school held their annual trunk-or-treat the week before Halloween; Anna and I had (mostly) a blast while Daddy stayed home with a duckie that was a little under the weather. I got in on the action by wearing a witch hat with fake hair that thoroughly freaked out the girls when I first tried it on, but they later begged me to wear : ) We've learned that Anna has an extreme fear of costumed characters and DID NOT like the rhino from the local karate studio that was handing out candy, this bodes well in our decision to wait several years before heading to Disney World.

A little selfie, or should I say a witchie, before heading out

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Word(less) Wednesday

A girl after my own heart with her love of organization. She's also pretty dang cute!

Sunday, October 5, 2014


I think that my brother and SIL got this hat for Anna when she was a baby and because she had (and still does) have a tiny head, it was never worn, but it found its way back into her closet and therefore the dress up rotation. I laugh every time I see these pictures, she looks like such a little hipster!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Dancin' with Daddy

 ... to Frozen, of course!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Checkin' those chompers

Anna did great during her first visit to the dentist last month and received TWO tokens to the treasure chest! Now that vacation is over, we're going to work on less thumb sucking, but otherwise she received great marks from Dr. Lisa!

Monday, September 22, 2014

I run for life (a series)

Twelve miles down, a little over one to go! I ran my what was and what will be my longest training run, 12 miles (and an extra quarter mile thanks to a missing street sign), this past weekend and am now less than three weeks away from the Queen Bee half marathon! And I feel great!

I set out to get back into running last fall and quickly had to sit on the sidelines due to my bum knee. Seven months, a surgery to remove a cyst and the lining of my knee joint, physical therapy, and a lot of patience later, I was back in the game, but didn't feel like I'd found my stride when I ran the Flying Pig 5K (3.1 miles) in early May. Fast forward four months and I'm well on my way to setting a personal record with this race. I've shaved nearly a minute off my per-mile pace, and feel great after most runs. I've always been a morning person, but never thought I'd take it to the heights I have by running at 5am regularly. I cross-train with elliptical workouts and hot yoga and strength train by regularly lifting a preschooler and a toddler.

I finally feel like I've found my stride, and a little bit of "me" again!

This has, by far, been my most successful fundraiser run with Team in Training and I breezed through my first goal of $5,000 in just about 6 weeks and know I'll make it to $6,000 by race day, maybe even more! My team of recruited runners and I have done several fundraisers outside of direct asks and it's been amazing to see the support we've received from our neighbors and community. I know it sounds silly, but I get chills every time I see a fundraising e-mail come through and I truly feel the support as I run. There are SO many times I want to quit during some of my runs ... the time along gives you a lot of time to think and negotiate with yourself and running is VERY mental for me. But knowing I have SO many supporters, well, that keeps me running that extra mile, literally.

There's still plenty of time to donate, just CLICK HERE. If you can't make a monetary donation; I promise that your support and encouragement means just as much!

The Moms on a Mission after a "short" 6-miler in early August

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Listening ears

"Anna, what are you doing?"
"Just using my listening ears to hear what Snap, Crackle, and Pop are saying."
: )

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Letter to Anna: Month forty

Dear Anna,

Well, I missed another few months. I’m sorry, but time just has a way of getting away from me and I can’t seem to catch up some days. Also, I’m just tired and usually don’t feel especially thoughtful at the end of the day; I think I sound incoherent enough on my own accord without publishing my random and haphazard thoughts for the world to see.

I have no idea where the term “terrible twos” came from and I’m not sure how or if behavior at that age has changed since it did, but I agree with most mothers in this day and age and lean toward the third year being the most challenging. You’re giving us a run for our money on a regular basis, usually in a good way, and I try to step back and admire your growing independence, aptitude, and physical skills when we have challenging moments; even when all I want to do is run and hide for a few minutes of quiet and cooperation.

You’re Miss Independent to a T. You want to do everything your own way and in your own time. The morning routine is probably the most frustrating because we have a set amount of time to get you girls, up, dressed, fed, and out the door and to our respective workplaces, and you seem to take the phrase the mindset around “stopping to smell the roses” to new levels during this 45-60 minute time span. Every.single.morning. Granted I’m a morning person and I’ve usually been up for 2 hours before waking you, but still. From the “leave me allllloooonnnneeee” to the snail’s pace you use in getting out of bed, to the disagreement over your outfit for the day, it takes FOR-EVER.

You’re very artistic and theatrical lately and routinely put on “shows” for the entire family. You’ll go on and on and then instruct us when to participate, or clap at the end, and are always happy to take your  bow, telling us “thank you, thank you.” You pick up new songs at school on a regular basis, including “Mr Sun”, “the days of the week”, and “Two little ducks.” Your performances range from traditional children’s songs to a full re-enactment from the movie Frozen, to something of your own creation, usually involving one of us, one of the cats, and always lots of hopping, jumping and twirling.

You’re still shy, but are a little quicker to come out of your shell. You did great with the transition to both of your new rooms at school recently (you’re still an Orca, but now in a different Orca room, with a new, but old, teacher), and we were floored when you started running down the hall to your class versus sulking and being pulled against your will. You’ve started telling us more detail about your day at school, but for a few weeks it always involved you crying / whining, such as “I was playing with a doll and Avery came over and tried to take it, so I said ‘wah wah wah.” Upon discussing these scenarios with your teacher, she confirmed that you do still have a whiny tendency, but it was much improved and you were getting better each day. 

You’re continuing to have “smarter” conversations with us where you recall a situation or a day and a series of events; such as “Aiden said don’t chase me, And I said don’t chase me, And then we played tag.” Sometimes we can make sense of it, sometimes we just let it go. You’re still working on the concept of time and defer to yesterday or last year often, telling me the other day that “yesterday I was a baby and said wah wah wah!” You ask most mornings if it’s a “school day” or a “stay at home” day, and although we all wish that every day was a “stay at home day”, we can always find something exciting enough to get you out of bed …. well, in about 15 minutes anyway.

You had a blast on vacation this year and loved the beach and the pool, but not the ocean. We spent most mornings enjoying a walk on the promenade or into town with your Grandparents, then went down to the beach for a bit where you played in the sand, chased seagulls, and generally refused to get any form of wet, much to your Dad’s chagrin. In the afternoon we went to one of the pools and you had an absolute ball. You wore your puddle-jumper life vest and went to town. One day I took you down while Charlotte continued to nap and you entertained yourself for over an hour and wanted nothing to do with me. We checked out a small amusement park on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk, Funland, two evenings and you were in heaven. You rode rides both by yourself and with your sister and I’m pretty sure you smiled so hard that your cheeks hurt the next day. It took you a few days to realize we were on vacation, a few days in, you asked us “when does vacation start?,” but by the end of the week, as we were packed-up and heading out of town, you sulked that “I want to go down to the beach.” And, we all did! To be fair, you’d probably be happy anywhere there’s a pool and an alligator (elevator), so we’ll have to look at using some free hotel nights pretty soon. 

You’re at an age where you appreciate and recognize special time with me or your Dad and we try to make sure that we take you on dates regularly. Sometimes it’s a big outing like seeing Disney Jr Live with both of us, and other times it’s a trip to the dentist (your first, you did great!), a trip to the store, or out for ice cream. You don’t usually care what you’re doing, you’re just thrilled to be with us. Don’t get me wrong, you love your sister something fierce, but every girl needs some along time with Mommy and Daddy.

You make me proud every single day and I hope I tell you enough. I love to remind you that you’re smart, kind, pretty, and sweet, and all around of my favorite girls and that you’re going (we’re all going to) to have a great day. Just like my Mom did for me. I have plenty of time to remind you of these things during the one million seconds it takes you to get ready in the morning, a time you’re not usually paying total attention, but I figure that if I say it enough, it will sink in. Because you are the smartest, kindest, prettiest, and sweetest (big) girl that I know. And you’re all mine!