kristen-holly » the personal blog of kristen holly

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We have a fresh, updated dining room! We loved the dining room set we had, we got it for our first house about 8 years ago. It was awesome for a house full of friends and roommates, comfortably seating 6-8. But these days, we’re a happy little family of three. The table just felt too big for us, and honestly, a little lonely since we only used one corner of it. I found this gorgeous table at Pottery Barn and fell in love. Then saw these perfect comfy chairs with the Alessandra blue slipcovers.

Wait, wait… fabric chairs, slipcovers? With a one year old with a penchant for throwing the stickiest and messiest of foods? Are we crazy?! Maybe. We went back and forth on the chairs – I knew I wanted the fabric, and Jamie thought it was a terrible idea with a toddler in the house. So I had to be smart about it, make sure they wouldn’t be ruined in a week. Asher’s booster seat sits right on one of these chairs, so I did a little prepping first. I wrapped his fabric chair in plastic under the machine-washable slipcover. Then I put a waterproof crib liner on the seat, over the slipcover, under the booster. Finally, for a little extra insurance, we purchased one extra slipcover. The boy loves blueberries! I knew we had to be extra prepared 😉

So here it is, our lovely new dining set! It’s perfect for us three, and has a leaf to extend it to seat 6. We’re dinner party ready! Last weekend, we stumbled across this pretty little buffet at Marshall’s, and it matches the table perfectly! It was just what we needed to anchor the family portrait above it, and provide some extra storage for serving dishes. We’re so happy with the new look 🙂

Oh, and these amazing flowers? They were one of the centerpieces from our most recent wedding. Our bride Katee asked us to take one with us on our way out. She pretty much made my night. Fresh flowers can brighten up any space! And those pink roses… goodness, they smell heavenly!

pottery barn napa chairs alessandra tivoli table

In more fun news, Asher is ready to walk! He took three full steps by himself yesterday! Yeah!!

  • Mindy - So pretty!!!! I love it! Tfs 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Katee Aubil - O la la!! Very pretty!! What pretty flowers too haha 🙂ReplyCancel

I have never felt so much like a MOM as I do today. Yes, I’m a mom. I’ve gone through pregnancy, childbirth, and my baby’s first year. Two mother’s days. Lots of fevers, rashes, coughs. What made today so special? I can’t quite explain it, it just sort of came over me. I think it was the fear, and the stark realization that this teeny little person really needs me to survive.

I heard him wake up from the living room, his bedroom right down the hall. I heard him make a little noise, cough a little, then woah – cough a lot. The kind of cough that you get at the end of having a cold, where the crud in your throat is really thick. He’s had a cold for a week or two, with a fever on and off. I hope to myself that this is signaling the end of it. Finally, the cruddies are making their way out. Then I heard him choke on his cough and gag, right as I was opening his door. I saw that his favorite blankie had a little blob of puke on it, dark green thanks to those nutritious all-fruit smoothies he’s been loving lately. This one was kiwi apple mango. “Green Goodness”. Uh-huh. I scooped him up and held him for a minute, swaying side to side like I always do when he wakes up. He wraps his arms around my neck and plays with my hair, his cheek on my shoulder, head nuzzled under my chin.

Then he threw up for real. Like real, big-kid, serious puking action. It was running down my arm and chest, and was all over him. I sat him down on his window seat and tried to contain it and keep him calm. It pooled in his lap and under his legs. (Hooray for the faux leather upholstery! Wipe off! Win!) I held him up by his chest and patted his back, repeating over and over, “it’s okay baby, let it out, I’m right here…” It kept coming. Then it stopped, and the scream of all screams rang out. I pulled his soaked clothes off and wiped him (and me) down with a blanket in one swift move. He wrapped his whole naked little body around me, and I wrapped a clean blanket over him. Not a minute passed, and it happened again, and again. He threw up 5 times in 15 minutes. His little body was all white, he went limp, and his eyelids were blue. I made phone calls simultaneously while I changed his diaper, cleaned him up and pulled new clothes on him. I called the nurse on line at his clinic, my friend and fellow new mom Kristen, and my sister Melissa, a mother of 2. They all agreed, that’s a lot – take him to the clinic. I was already out the door. With Matrix-like speed and agility, I strapped him into his carseat, put a towel over him and tucked it under his chin. I was at the clinic within minutes, and there was no wait. (Hallelujah!) He threw up 3 more times in the office. The doctor surprised me with her diagnosis… turns out that “cold” that he’s had the past 2 weeks is actually a viral infection, Bronchiolitis. He has fluid in his lungs and a lot of infected drainage going in his tummy, which is aggravating his gastrointestinal system. She told me I can expect him to continue to have flu-like symptoms for a couple days, and that diarrhea would be likely joining the party soon. She said there’s no medicine to take, just have to wait it out. In the meantime, bland diet, lots of fluids, humidifier. Benadryl overnight if he seems especially congested. 2-3 days of constant puking? And Jamie’s up north golfing for the weekend?

Oh man.

This is it, girl. It’s all you.

Somewhere between whisking him to the clinic, holding his weak little body while he clung to my neck, and wiping the puke off both of us over and over… It just hit me. Motherhood. Parenthood. The ultimate responsibility, and our inseparable connection. How much he needs me, and how much I need him. I’m terrified of something happening to him, I have been since the moment we locked eyes in the delivery room. I think this is part of the definition of being a parent. To be desperately terrified of anything bad happening to your child. This feeling will never go away, will it?  I can already feel it when he starts running around, all those bumps and bruises. When he starts kindergarten, starts making friends, running into bullies. I can feel him getting behind the wheel for the first time, and I can feel him driving away to college. The first time he gets on an airplane alone. The first time he falls in love, and the first time he gets his heart broken.

I’m holding him in my arms, running my fingers through his hair, listening to him breathing. He’s rolling his blankie between his thumb and fingers like I used to do. I want to protect him from everything, everyone. I can feel my own mom holding me, just like this. I remember anytime we’d get sick, she’d run and get the puke bowl (that stainless steel one) and some 7-up and crackers. I’d hear the irritation and frustration in her voice as she called into work, said she was stuck home with a sick kid. She was a single mom for awhile there, after the divorce. A single mom with three kids. I don’t know how she did it, and I don’t blame her for being frustrated. And it never lasted long anyway. Pretty soon she’d be sitting with me, running her fingers through my hair, checking my temperature, filling up my 7-up glass. Maybe even glad for a reason to slow down, be still, and just love that sick little kid who needed her so much.

I love you, Mom. Thank you for taking care of me. Of all of us.

So we made it through the day. I feel like I’ve victoriously made it through some New Mom Rite of Passage. First pukey kid experience. There will be many more, I’m sure. And he will get bumps, bruises, and a broken heart. I just hope he always knows, no matter what, my arms are open and ready for him when he needs me. Always.


* Also, I wanted to add… Thank goodness for fellow mama friends. Kristen really helped me out today. She texted with ideas while he was in the midst of puking, came over after the appointment with her snow cone machine and a sick-kid kit, hung around with me for moral support, and even ran to Target to get us diapers, Benadryl and Pedialyte. I don’t know what I would have done today without her. SO thankful.  🙂

  • Dicie and Lila - We missed you so much on the 4th but sounds like you had a blast and got to enjoy a lake too. Nick and Angela were up a couple of weeks ago and we had a nice visit with them. They mentioned that you might be trying to get back to MN. That would be a dream come true for us. Keep trying really hard! Glad you survived Asher’s vomiting. No fun. The Dad’s and all the kids are going to Traut Lake on Thurs. Even Jenna and Abby look forward to this each year. 2 days without a shower is not a big deal when they can be in the lake up there. Keep in touch. Miss and love you lots. Always enjoy all the CUTE photos of Asher.ReplyCancel

For the first time in my life, I didn’t spend the 4th of July in my hometown. Big whoop, right? Who hasn’t spent a holiday away? I know, it’s certainly not whine-worthy, and also certainly not something new to us. Most of our Thanksgivings and Easters are spent away from our families as well, with them in Minnesota, us in Michigan. But the 4th of July is different – it’s as important as Christmas to us. It’s a time for us to frantically travel all over the state of Minnesota, from patio barbecues at Jamie’s family’s home to boat rides and campfires at my family’s cabin up north, to morning coffee on the porch with my mom, to the wild and raging party that is the 4th of July in Eveleth and Gilbert. When it comes to the 4th, my hometown doesn’t mess around. Everyone who lives there or who has ever lived there comes flooding back to celebrate. We pack onto the street edges to watch the parades, catch up with our friends and families and fill our bellies with egg rolls, fried rice and fried bread. Then we shut down the streets to follow the famous Eveleth Clown Band and get a little (er, a LOT) crazy with our friends. For two straight days. I don’t really know how to describe the fun and madness, but let’s just say our not-so-little party in our very little town has made Maxim’s list of top 10 places to be on the 4th 😉

Wait, what was I writing about?

Oh yeah, we didn’t go. I had surgery 2 weeks ago, so it wasn’t really possible for us. (I’ll tell you more about the surgery in another post.) We weren’t sure what we were going to do. Then our friends Jon and Laura invited us to their little neighborhood parade and out to the lake with their family. The parade was adorable, it’s the Hollyhock Lane Parade, the oldest parade in Grand Rapids. It’s put on by the neighborhood itself, and kids ride their decorated bikes and handmade floats go by. Politicians chat with neighbors, the pledge of allegiance is recited with a group of boy scouts. A prayer is said in a small decorated alley with neighbors and friends, many who have put out free cookies, water, and fresh brewed root beer. It was a stark contrast from the loud and head-spinning 4th of July celebrations I have grown up to know. It felt intimate and proudly patriotic. After the parade, Laura made a delicious brunch for 9. Us 3, those 2, and a group of 4 of their friends who were passing through on their way to northern Michigan. After that, the 5 of us headed up to the lake! Laura’s family and their friends gather there throughout the summer to boat and swim. It was about 100 degrees, so we spent the entire afternoon slathered in sunscreen and either standing in the water, sitting in a chair in the water, or swimming. By the end of the day, Asher was splashing up a storm with a big happy grin on his face. Jon and Laura and their families have pretty much adopted us over the last few years since we met them. They invite us to their holidays and gatherings, and make us feel like family. We are really lucky to have them, and are so thankful for their kindness and open arms. If any of you are reading this, thank you for being so awesome!!

We three headed back home in time for dinner and bath time for the little guy. He was tuckered out and we tucked him into bed at about 8:00. I realized on the way home that I didn’t take any pictures. Although it would be nice to have a few, it was pretty freeing to actually experience the moments happening rather than observing and capturing.  We had a great day.

Once the sun set, Jamie and I went outside to watch our neighborhood fireworks. We brought the adirondack chairs out to the driveway, Jamie lit a cigar, I poured myself a raspberry lemonade and tiptoed out the door in my bare feet. We sat out under the stars and fireworks and lightning bugs. We talked about life, plans, the future and everything in-between. Just us. Asher slept right through the noise. Lexi happily altered between curling up on my lap getting ear scratches, and jumping around chasing bugs and toads. It was a perfect night. Really perfect. Just us, enjoying this sweet little life.

I hope you did the same. Maybe not the same things, but felt proud, patriotic, and thankful for those you spend your life with. Happy 4th of July!

Pictures from Asher’s First Birthday party!  It was a gorgeous spring day! The night before, I made a batch of blackberry sangria and tested it out with my mom, who was in town from Minnesota. (Cheers!) That evening, my niece Grace and I made and decorated cupcakes (Andes mint and cotton candy flavored), cookie pops (oreo and lemon), and Asher’s cake (classic chocolate and vanilla). The house smelled like a bakery! That morning, we three girls squeezed fresh lemons and strawberries into real homemade lemonade and strawberry lemonade. Jamie fired up the grill, and we all set up and welcomed our closest friends for a barbecue. It was perfect! THANK YOU to everyone who came to celebrate with us! You mean SO much to us 🙂  Happy birthday, Asher!

  • alisha - BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!!!! Cutest family EVER!ReplyCancel

  • Alyssa - Stop it! SO cute and look at your dress – love!ReplyCancel

  • mom - Such a fun party, happy 1st b-day asher 🙂ReplyCancel