So glad to be here…


Getting up at 6am was NEVER something I dreamed of as being warm and fuzzy……but there is something so magically wonderful about a quiet, still house.  I know one day I’ll miss the sound of my two year old’s pitter-patter of little feet running through the halls of my home and the sweet little baby squeals of my almost 5 month old as she bats at a toy, but for right now, this sound of silence is heavenly.

I really have way too much to share to even try to start (since it has literally been over a month since I’ve visited this space).  This is place is becoming like my dusty journal–touched only on the rarest occasions.  I am trying to work on that–and one day perhaps my life will become more balanced the way I’d like it to be…..less work, more play…. or at least equal amounts.  hmmm…that would be nice.

So, here is a bunch of catch up memories from this summer–pictures and thoughts that I’ve wanted to post for some time.  Oh, and this is only the 1st installment—there will be many more to come…it may take me awhile to get caught up, but it’s all good…this blog is totally on Reale time anyway…..

Bay Beach~
This place is laced with memories from my youth–it was a monumental tradition in our family to always visit on the way up to our treasured cottage each summer.  I’ve gotta tell you….I cannot tell you how awesome it is to watch this one get passed down to the next generation.
Epically awesome.

And as with tradition, after Bay Beach comes a trip up north to the family cottage…which just so happened to be a surprise visit to congratulate my parents on their 40th anniversary.

We ALL showed up for this event–to say they were ‘happy’ to have us all up there together with them would be an understatement.

the family love flowed freely.

We had two different cakes to celebrate the weekend–one Pepsi one for Aunt Mara’s birthday and 1 Wedding cake to be cut by Grandma & Grandpa.

we reminisced about the day they tied the knot all those years ago through fun guessing games, and read words of blessing that came straight from many who had been touched by the joining of their one life together….the tears and laughter were in abundance.

such an awesome place to celebrate such an occasion.

We LOVE Lydia!!!  (I had to yell that)

the kids were drawn like a moth to a flame each time Uncle Bryan reeled one in.

and nothing is better to end a day with then family commotion around a campfire.

happy anniversary ma and pa–I hope to celebrate many more with you both.


next up on the ticker….

the beautiful Green Bay Botanical Gardens with the girls…
(with none other then our wonderful Grandma Kim and Grandpa Steve)

I was madly in love with this day….the weather was picture perfect, and I had both of my girls with me, in this most beautiful place, on one of our very first longer outings since baby sis came on the scene.  I loved it…sigh.

and where was baby sister you may ask during her public debut?

right next to momma’s heart <3

Thank you so much Grandma & Grandpa for the wonderful time!! I will never forget it =)

This is the beginning of many catch-up posts from our summer–

I hope to come back here soon….

’cause I’m so glad to be here.

Keeping it real my friends-



Selah Grace ~ a birth story


I guess it’s time.

On a whim, we packed up our bags and took off up north for a last summer get-away at our family’s cottage.  So this just has to be the time I have been waiting for since the time I first brought our little angel home from the hospital.  I have been painfully waiting to carve out the right amount of time to get all this out–to tell the beginning of her story.

Her birth was one of endurance and drama…she wasn’t as excited to meet us as we were to meet her…as her due date was May 4th, and she came to us on May 15th, after much coaxing.  My poor family and friends had to wait anxiously in suspense each day…not knowing if ‘today’ was the day…since I had one full week of contractions coming and going like waves on sand.  I’m not gonna lie, it was hard to wait and keep everyone (including myself) in suspense for that long…It truly felt like her birthday would never come—as silly as it sounds.

The weekend before she came, I felt for certain she was going to pick either her momma’s birthday (sat) or mother’s day (sun)….

On Saturday, my 31st birthday, my sister was in town (since I was ready to pop any minute, and she didn’t want to miss a thing), and all of us gals decided to birthday breakfast it up to start the day fully fueled in case active labor was just around the bend.

Tony asked me what I wanted to do for my burfday, and I couldn’t think of anything else that would make me as happy (and to get my mind off the constant coming and going of contractions) as watching my girl smile.  so, off to bay beach we went to watch her ride.

we (she) had such a good time—this was the 1st time she got to ride the kiddie rides like a big girl. And I know I will never forget standing in that wonderful place watching my girl laugh her head off all the while I was having some pretty intense contractions, to the point that I had to sit down because of the pain.  A memorable birthday to say the least.

My mom was a pillar of strength and love to me–she stayed by my side, taking as many walks as I could muster up in a day, and being a constant source of steady patience in my struggle of waiting. She is famous for her awesome ability to remain patient.  and I must say, it was wonderful spending mother’s day together sharing moments of motherhood that were pure magic.

my heart swells with love when I think of this day.


Monday finally rolled around, and it was time to see the doc, to see if all was well and to make an action plan.  She told me, before I left, that she believed labor was going to start by that very same evening, since she could tell baby was getting ready to make an exit–so, she stirred me up and sent me on my way and said, “See you soon!”

and see you soon was exactly right, because by that evening I was having contractions about 3 to 4 minuets apart, and these were sticking around–not too painful yet, just constant.  Happiness.  Tony and I left in a hurry for the hospital with smiles of hope written across our faces.

we ended up driving back home since no serious change was happening at the hospital, and home seemed to be a better place to get labor to the next level then that cold hospital room.
Home, a nice message by my sister Bethany and a warm soak in the bath seemed to be all I needed to set things in motion….and off to the hospital for the 2nd time, this time with less smiles and more grunts.

In fact, this may be the last smile on record prior to Selah’s arrival…..

cause here we go….

As soon as we arrived to the hospital the 2nd time around, I asked immediately to be put in the hot tub in our room (since I knew what wonders it did for me at home)–and the only answer I received was to wait to hear from the doctor…which took forever and a day (several hours to be precise)—to the point that I just said forget it to the nurse (the tub was my only hope for a natural birth), and get me an epidural if it’s gonna take this long.  Which was kinda a bummer, since I was truly excited that my body kicked in for this birth, and I was hopefully to see it through to the end without the use of drugs—but laboring on my bed (since they had me strapped down for monitoring) was not my idea of fun, so to the wonderful epidural I went running….and it really was wonderful….well, for my firstborn…for this one, not so much–it wore off and set in initially only on my left side.  I cried because I wanted it to work so badly–to take away all the pain, since I couldn’t move to a comfortable position now that it was administered–I had to push through the mine field of contractions on my back, with only Tony’s hand to squeeze for comfort.

The hospital staff tried to fix the problems with the pain medication, while I tried to center myself on that wonderful peaceful place I found in my tub at home…which made me realize that home births really aren’t for crazy people after all.

My mother and two sisters (and my baby nephew) were in our room to keep me company when I needed them and to give needed support–there presence let me know that I was not alone, and that soon our beautiful baby girl would be in the arms of so many who love her already.

the last few hours before pushing were the most intense, because my body seemed to get stuck around the 8-9 cm mark–

I was so tired….my body had been in working mode for a week of laboring–and it was ready to cross that beautiful finish line and behold the face that had us all in a trance of hungry anticipation.

Tony and the others found refueling energy in the deliciousness of orange slices (I know my man well).

finally, the pushing stage was near, and the family made final preparations….

and with 3 pushes, she was out on placed on my tummy, crying loudly with a full head of hair.

no words can describe this moment.

the moment where you feel both the weight of responsibility of an entire new life placed in your arms, mixed with the feelings of pure bliss..that this is your family’s moment, the moment were everyone willingly opens their hearts and eyes to behold the new person that you and your love made together…… and nothing and no one could ever take this feeling away from you…never.

we love her so much, it hurts.

she was 8lbs, 5ozs and 21 and 1/4th inches long–perfectly beautiful.

our doc who became a friend to us, she truly is a superwoman.

Mmmmm… sweet little Selah Grace.

she looks a lot like her daddy.

after I got a good fill of hugging her little body close to me, she went into daddy’s arms for the first time, and then the pass the baby around game ensued.

soon, it was big sister’s turn to meet Selah….my stomach was filled with butterflies.  Ok, I’ll admit, I was an emotional wreck–I so didn’t want Anna to feel replaced or rejected in any way–especially seeing her mommy in a strange room, in a strange bed, with strange clothes on.  I knew it would be confusing for her, and I just wanted the love to flow freely in the room–no stress, no confusion, just love.  So, I placed Selah in my mom’s arms, so that when Anna first arrived I could embrace her and let her know everything was going to be alright….and that mommy loved her.

I asked her to go find her baby—her baby.


Success!!  she was one happy big sister.  You could tell that she loved seeing all her family together in one big happy room.

Grandma holding her 4th grandchild for the 1st time…

the whole family together, for the 1st time….
(we could only hold Anna still for less then a minute before she wiggled free to go run with her boy cousins)

friends and family came pouring in, to give a warm welcome to our new little love.

thanks ma for the awesome bibs!!

once everyone had come, hugged and gone, we were left with a colorful welcome sign filled with well wishes and a gorgeous little face to stare at.

and when I say stare, I mean stare….I just sat and traced her face with my finger over and over again, breathing her in—knowing that this was sacred time, time just for her.

and within 24 hours, we were already making our exit from the hospital, excited to get home to start family life with our two beautiful girls.

























but, before heading home, we made a pit stop at Culvers for a momma’s much deserved victory custard dish.

and the sisters reunite.

the outflow of love from friends and family continued towards our newest little addition–which made this mamma’s heart smile big.

and without hesitation, summer continued it’s course within our home like it never lost a beat.

Selah Grace… are so loved baby….

and we are so thrilled to call you ours.

most days I still live in denial that I actually have you in my life, and yet I cannot imagine life without you.

Selah Grace, you are a bundle of sweetness full of smiles for anyone who talks your way.  And not really knowing why or how I see this, but your face is full of wisdom and your eyes understanding.  You have a mysterious peacefulness in those huge pools of chocolate, that melt my heart….gulp…a dream come true for sure.

I love how you watch your big sister…already.  Little Anna Lynn dances around the room, and your sweet little eyes follow her….

we move, breathe and discover each new day in a group of 3 now

this momma can hardly wait to see what the future holds with these two girls by my side.

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.” ~Psalm 127:3

Counting my blessings, ~rr