A portrait of Rory, once a week, every week in 2014. 

With that finger always in his mouth and his nose scrunched up in a smile and his rosy red cheeks after a cold stroll outside.

See more portraits here.


this mom thing

I think I'm finally starting getting this mom thing down.

Or at least we've eased out of the difficult newborn stage.

Don't get me wrong, having a itty bitty baby curled up on your chest sleeping is one of the most wonderful feelings ever.

But it is easily rivaled by an almost-6-month-old laughing his head off at my dancing to the Lion King while doing the dishes.

See? I can do this. 

This silly, laughing, obnoxious playing part? It is a riot. It's what I've been waiting and waiting and dying for during those cold hard months of no sleep and lots of crying. Now? I could sit on the floor with Rory playing with the same darn stacker toy for hours. I can endlessly entertain this kid. He will laugh at the slightest smile. He just loves. 

I'm just so so relieved that the worst of our sleep training is over.

Nothing is perfect yet. He still wakes up 2-4 times at night. Last night he took a few hours to finally fall asleep. But in comparison to months 3 & 4? This is CAKE. This is delicious, velvety, cream cheese frosting topped cake. My baby is HAPPY. And I'm happy! And we are really seriously enjoying our days together.

I've seen the light! I made it through that deep dark tunnel and I finally am getting back into the happy moments of parenthood.

So what's going on now?

I'm having a complete blast feeding Rory solids. Planning out meals, buying groceries, steaming vegetables, puréeing them, freezing them, and watching him eagerly chow it down? My culinary skills at their finest. It's exciting. And he loves food.

I've never really thought about how easily Rory has taken to eating. I mean, we had our struggles with breastfeeding at the beginning, but other than that? Easy peasy. If he is crying uncontrollably? Pop a boob in his face and he is immediately appeased. It wasn't until I started doing some research on places like wholesomebabyfood and babycenter that I realized that we completely lucked out. Some, or most, babies aren't really interested in eating solids for a while. It takes some nudging. For Rory? Good heavens, he can't freaking get enough. Bite after bite after bite, and then he'll start to complain if we run out and I have take time to go fix up some more. I have to cut him off after a bowl or two otherwise he'd never quit.

He's a natural big eater. Just like his mama. Heh.

So, life lately is pretty great. For you new zombie moms out there who struggle to make it through each endless day? I'VE BEEN THERE. And it gets better!


freshly picked moccasin review + giveaway!

Freshly picked

Owning a pair of freshly picked moccasins is like some kind of right of passage. You aren't a legitimate mommy blogger until your baby is sporting these in at least half of your instagram pics. The Kardashians are well known for their support of the freshly picked brand, so it goes without saying that they are basically the snazziest, stylish baby shoes around. So let's just start out by saying that I'm honorably freaked to be collaborating with Freshly Picked. I mean, these guys are the real deal! 

To start off,  there is a sizing guide to help you measure your baby's feet. Rory, who is 5 months old, measured perfectly for a size 3. But, since he's a giant and is in the 99th percentile, I knew that those size 3 moccs wouldn't last him long. I decided to size up, hoping that these shoes will last him through the summer, and maybe even longer. 

Deciding on a color? You guys, I became completely obsessive. I wanted a color that would work well with his wardrobe and that I could easily pass down to his next sibling, boy or girl (and hopefully like 2 or 3 years down the road, yikes). We've already got a pair of brown Minnetonka's, and so I didn't want another neutral color. It got to the point that I laid out all of Rory's summer clothes on the floor and took a picture, trying to imagine what color would work best. I know, I'm crazy. It came down to Golden Rod and Aruba, and I picked the yellow because Rory already has so much blue in his wardrobe, being a dude and all.

Freshly picked

So I mentioned before that we have a pair of baby Minnetonkas. I bought them before Rory was born because I so desperately wanted a pair of freshly picked moccs but couldn't afford to pay $60 for a pair of baby shoes. And even if I could pay for them, as if I'd be able to justify them to Andy. Ha! I think that might be the biggest downside of the Freshly Picked moccs. They are ridiculously priced. Good quality? Absolutely. But unaffordable, for us poor college folk at least. So we got a pair of $20 Minnetonkas, size 1, and Rory was finally able to fit in them about a month ago because they were so big. The sizing is so weird! What's that about...

The difference between the Minnetonkas and the Freshly Picked moccs is huge. They are completely different shoes. The Minnetonka's are made of suede and they have a hard sole. They are held on by a velcro strap on the back. These shoes are impossible to get on. For some reason, getting Rory's heel fully into the shoe is extremely difficult because of the warping velcro that gets in the way. They look great, don't get me wrong. Probably just as great as the expensive Freshly Picked moccs, who also make suede versions. But the difficulty of these shoes isn't worth it. I don't like the hard sole, as I feel like a baby needs to be able to clench his toes and have some wiggling capability to help him balance. They aren't soft on the inside and I always feel like I should be putting socks on Rory first to protect him from that gosh darn velcro. And because they are so hard to get on, they fall off way too easily and my baby ends up going barefoot most of the time. Unacceptable.

Freshly picked

Freshly Picked moccs are made with a thin leather, but it seems thick enough to be pretty durable for baby shoes. They are soft-soled and slip on easily because they are held together with an elastic. Freshly Picked sizes all the way up to a 10, and because they're soft-soled I have no idea how the leather holds up with a big kid who walks and runs and jumps around. What I do know is that these moccs will stay on their feet! Even going up a size, Rory has a difficult time pulling them off, and he's yanking and pulling and sucking on them any chance he gets. I was a little worried that the moccs would be too warm for summer, but I don't think that will be an issue. They seem pretty breathable. And the smell of them. Yum! Genuine leather. I don't even have a pair of shoes this nice.

So even though Rory looks a bit like Mickey Mouse with his too-large-bright-yellow-roundy shoes, I don't even care. Maybe in a month or so he'll have grown enough that he doesn't like a duck. Until then, I'm searching for a new pair of baby shoes that will fit Rory NOW because it's too warm for those Minnetonka's and they're driving me up the wall. I'm hoping to convince Andy to let me get him those Arubas in a size 3, and maybe since we're getting a monster tax return I'll be able to swing it (thanks Obama!)

So here's the great news!

Freshly Picked sent me a free pair of moccasins to review, and now I get to give one of you a free pair as well!!

I'm hosting a giveaway on my instagram page. Follow me at @ravidmar and repost this image using the hashtag #ifrolicandpickfreshly. That's it!

For extra entries, you can tag friends on my original instagram post or leave a comment below! You can regram up to once a day. When you leave a comment here, be sure to include your instagram username so I know if you followed and reposted.

The contest closes Monday, April 28, 2014 at midnight mountain standard time. US entries only.

Good luck! And thanks again to Freshly Picked!



A portrait of Rory, once a week, every week in 2014.

Watch out ladies. This little boy is perfect. But really, he is. Look at how classy he is in his Easter getup, and he's even showing off his new skill he is developing: sitting up! Everything about him, from his dimply hands to his giant ears and big blue eyes and silly feet. I love him so much and I can't even.... *dies*

See more portraits HERE



A portrait of Rory, once a week, every week in 2014. 

Rory started eating solids this week. So far he likes applesauce and hates avocado. This boy I birthed suddenly has a personality with likes and dislikes and I am so excited about it all. I didn't know anything could be so adorable.

See more portraits HERE. 


5 months old

Rory James,

This month has been a crazy one. Extreme highs and extreme lows, but it seems as though our lives are starting to balance out a bit more which is a huge relief.

Because you started rolling over last month, that meant that you started rolling in your crib. You'd never slept on your stomach before so we weren't sure what to do. We tried rolling up a few blankets and placing them by your sides but you'd roll right on top of them. We'd get up over and over and over every night to turn you onto your back because being on your stomach made you extremely upset, to say the least. We also had to wean you off your swaddle, which we'd always depended on to keep you asleep. You had just come off of your few weeks of teething as well.

I don't know that others will ever understand the desperation that comes with chronic exhaustion. You hardly smiled anymore. You would last barely 45 minutes between naps, and then those naps would never go longer than half an hour. My entire life was spent bouncing you to sleep while you cried and cried and cried. All day and all night. Andy would come home from school and I'd burst into tears and hand you over to him. Week after week after week of this. I finally talked to your pediatrician, who said that we needed to stop interfering and let you figure out how to put yourself to sleep. After multiple conversations with my mom, my aunt Lara, and Andy, we started trying the Weissbluth Method (Happy Sleep, Habits Happy Child).

We moved your crib out of our room and into your own. Andy couldn't figure out why that broke my heart. You're getting big, and you're no longer my newborn baby boy. You're suddenly old enough for your own room, your own space, and it makes me so sad. We hung up black out curtains and put in a loud fan for ambient noise. The first night you cried it out, we'd been bouncing you for over an hour. You were fed, you were clean, and you were overtired. There was nothing we could do to help you anymore, so we put you in your crib and shut the door. It was excruciating. You had flipped over onto your stomach, but we knew that you had to figure out how to fall asleep that way. It took 25 minutes, and then you were quiet. And you slept for a 3 hour stretch, which was longer than you'd slept in weeks.

I wish I could say that was it, and then you were an angel and slept perfectly from then on, but that's definitely not true. We made mistakes that confused you, and the next time we let you cry it out it'd be even longer. There was one day where you cried for over an hour, twice in a night. I can't even tell you how excruciatingly painful it was for me. I'd sob and sob. It was physically hurt to listen to you, I felt sick to my stomach, so I'd take the keys and go on a drive and call my mom and ask are we hurting him? am I awful? are we doing the right thing? but I knew we were. As hard as it was to let you cry, we were really honestly helping you and I believe that.

It's so much better now. The details of the past few weeks have been a blur, but it's all definitely easier. Not perfect, but easier. You've learned to fall asleep on your own. We can put you in your crib while you're still awake and you'll immediately roll to your side, yawn, and go to sleep. That is HUGE. We have climbed MOUNTAINS to get to this point. Your naps last for over an hour almost every time now. You'll stay awake 60-90 minutes before you're ready for your next nap. You take 3-4 naps every day, which is more than I'd like but I'll take it. You still nurse up to four times every night, which is our next hill to tackle. I'm not sure how to keep you from waking up so much at night, and when you wake up, I'm not sure how else to calm you down but to feed you. But we're all happy again, and I'm absolutely willing to sacrifice some of my sleep for us all to stay that way.

I kind of hate that this last month has basically been all about your sleep habits, but well, whatdoyado. These are still things I want to remember though, as hard as they were, like after you've been crying for a while you'll do that post-crying hiccup/gasp thing that is just gut wrenching. We can hear it on the monitor, and it makes me cry every time. Sometimes as I'm putting you to sleep you'll growl at me, just kind of a "ehhhh" sound, and you'll do it until the moment your eyes are closed and you're asleep. For a while, instead of a growl it was a gurgle. Literally, you'd be gurgling in the back of your throat. It was so annoying, but so funny. I can catch your tired signals way before your dad can. Your eyes get glassy and you start staring at things. If you get overtired you yell at us. You don't cry, you just talk louder and louder until you're yelling, and by that point we know it's going to take a lot longer to get you to fall asleep. After a nap you'll wake up with the most adorable tired eyes, and they look just like your dad's. I love that because it's showing me that you're getting a real deep sleep. There's a round light fixture in your bedroom that you stare at while your eyes are closing. You follow it with your eyes as we bounce around the room. We've centered on a lullaby that is yours now and I sing it every time I put you to sleep.

Your attention span is incredible. You can play with one toy for up to 30 minutes. But when I try and feed you you are distracted by everything. Seriously, if anybody says a word, POP! you're off and searching for the source of the sound. I used to watch tv while I nursed you but you get too interested in what's going on, I have to mute it.

At your last doctor's appointment you were 16lbs 6.5oz and 27.25 inches tall. 65th percentile in weight, 99th percentile in height. You are a giant. You got your second round of immunizations at your last appointment, and they barely affected you at all. You were smiling up at the doctor again by the end of your appointment, you goon. We've gone a size up in diapers and in clothes, so now you're in size 3 diapers and can wear anything from 3-9 months, depending on the brand.

You are getting super coordinated. You grab at everything. Grabbing books, grabbing hair, grabbing our food, grabbing grabbing grabbing. You make a claw-like motion with your fist, just open and closing it over and over. You're able to put your teething toys straight into your mouth now, though they don't entertain you for very long. Your favorite things to chew on are still your fingers, and occasionally you'll pull up your feet and suck on your big toe. Literally, you'll suck on it. It's adorable. I haven't noticed any teething for a while, though your gums are getting rather bumpy. I bet a tooth will pop through really soon.

Lately, our bedtime routine goes like this: every 3 days or so you'll get a bath, then we lotion up, daddy puts you in a clean diaper and fresh pajamas and he'll read you a story in the rocking chair, then I'll feed you one last time. After that, I'll sing you a few songs, rock you for a while, and put you in your crib even if you're still awake. You've figured out that it's bedtime and we're not coming back to get you for a while, so you'll turn over and go to sleep. As I'm rocking you though, you love to touch my face and smile and do everything you can to get me to laugh. I can't help it, I'll play with you for a while. You are just too gosh darn cute.

You roll over every single chance you get, but you still can't roll from your tummy to your back. I don't know what else to do but flip you over every few minutes. Moments after I flip you back, you'll roll over again. It's a tiring game we play. You're getting really strong and can look up at the ceiling from your stomach. Lately you've been doing everything you can to try and turn yourself back over but you just can't figure it out! You'll throw your butt up in the air and try to caterpillar your way around, you'll squirm and wriggle and do a superman pose, all to no avail. You can only roll to your left, so we have a certain spot in your crib where we'll place you specifically so you'll be able to roll over and not hit any bars. Still, I'll go in and check on you and you'll be completely perpendicular.

I sit you in your Bumbo on the table every time I make myself a meal and as I eat you watch me intently. You'll follow the spoon as it travels from my plate to my mouth, and sometimes you'll even make a chewing motion. I've been planning on holding off on solids for another month, but yesterday I was making banana bread and you were eyeing the applesauce like you NEEDED it, so I gave you a lick off my finger and you went nuts for it.  We don't have any baby spoons yet so I kept giving you bite after bite off of my finger and you were swallowing just like you should and kept grabbing at my hands to give him more. It's making me consider really 'officially' starting you on solids now!

You can sit up for a few seconds at a time and it's amazing! Sometimes when you start falling you right yourself and pull yourself back up. I can't wait for you to really be able to sit by yourself for a while. I know that will make bath time a lot easier. Whoever designed those baby bathtubs is an idiot, because we struggle with it every single time. You're finally not afraid of bath time anymore, though when I turn on the water to wash your hair you freak out every time, but daddy is usually there to calm you down.

Your hair is verging on ridiculous. You still have a bald spot on the back of your head, though some hair is growing back and it's getting prickly. Your hair on the top is so long and fuzzy it's starting to look like a toupee. You have a cowlick that always flies up on the back of your head no matter how much we wet it down.

Now that it's getting nice outside we take you on walks in the stroller. You never say a word, you just observe the world around you and are fascinated by it. The past few days have been extra nice and we've gone out and sat on a patch of grass and watched the cars go by. You love those cars. When the train whistle blows it startles you every time and you'll search and search for the noise. When the wind blows in your face your eyes scrunch up and you try and spit it back. It's hilarious.

You laugh now! You laugh multiple times every day! I think sometimes you even fake laugh to get a reaction out of us. You've been so happy lately. Things that make you laugh: Being thrown in the air by daddy - especially when you're naked or just in your diaper, tickle monster, when we eat your face and neck, when I hold you in my arms and squeeze you tight, whenever you are surprised, when we laugh back at you, when we make obnoxious noises or faces. Just today, I was squeezing you really tight and you were just laughing and laughing. I think that is the sweetest sound I'll ever hear.

I feel so optimistic now. Everything is getting so much better, and now that you seem to be caught up on sleep we are all so much happier and we are enjoying every day. I love you baby! You are my life, my best buddy, and I love being your mama so so much.

See other 'letters to Rory' here. 


someday i'll be rich

Sometimes I go online and put hundreds of dollars worth of clothes in my Zara shopping cart. Baby sneakers, baby t-shirts, sweaters, overalls, hats, shorts, skinny jeans... and then once I've found everything I could possibly want I look at the final price and close the window.

Sometimes I go to Zillow.com and look somewhere I really want to move to. Portland. Seattle. San Diego. Austin. I'll search for houses, usually 4 bedroom, with a large yard, twenty minutes or so from the big city. I'll study the photos, planning out my renovations. I'll look at the school districts. I've become extremely familiar with the school districts in Portland.

Sometimes I think if I just had five hundred dollars. Just five hundred dollars of my own! To spend on whatever, I could get everything I want right now: A good pair of jeans that FIT me, birkenstocks, a few high quality t-shirts, a jogging stroller, maybe a heart rate monitor, a yoga mat.... these things aren't outrageous. But they are so inaccessible right now because we are broke. When I say broke, I mean we are living off of our savings. Our "budget" is basically: spend the least amount possible because we don't even have the income to budget around. Buying a pair of pants? Even a highchair for Rory? We can make it happen, but both of us are gritting our teeth and keeping our eyes partially closed because, aghhh we don't have the money.

I guess I got such a large dose of FUTURE when Rory was born. Does that make any sense? Rory pushed us out of the honeymoon stage and now we're a legitimate family. But we're still living the lives of college students because we ARE college students and our living situation is so temporary. Still getting our undergraduate degrees, still renting an apartment with loud neighbors and no yard. I feel so stuck here, which makes a lot of sense since we're living in a college town that's been plopped in the middle of NOWHERE.

It's been addicting, to fantasize where my family will end up and what type of car I'll drive and where the closest parks will be and the quality of the farmer's markets in the area. Am I crazy? I feel guilty sometimes, that I might not be living in the moment and enjoying the "now", but that's not true. I know I am. But way too often I just want to burst from dusty Rexburg and drop in on my modern-midcentury-eclectic house where all of our closets are bursting with high quality clothes from Madewell and Rory's bedroom is decked with toys from The Land of Nod and we can run outside to our large private grassy yard where maybe we'll have a dog or chickens or a garden or something amazing.

Stupid mommy blogs. I know all these ladies I follow are in their thirties and have well established careers and they were all probably in our situation at some point in their lives but they have all given me HUGE EXPECTATIONS FOR MY FUTURE which may or may not be incredibly unhealthy.



rory's lullaby

Somehow, over the 5 months that I've been putting Rory to sleep over and over for naps and bedtime, I've sort of settled on a song. It was one of the first songs I ever learned on the guitar, and it really just came to mean a lot more as I've sung it over and over and over. I don't even mind how often I sing it, because it's such a simple melody and fantastic lyrics and, really, such a perfect lullaby. It happened so randomly, but I love that it's become Rory's.

So thanks Coldplay, for writing "Yellow" almost 15 years ago.


Look at the stars, 
Look how they shine for you, 
And everything you do, 
Yeah, they were all yellow. 

I came along, 
I wrote a song for you, 
And all the things you do, 
And it was called "Yellow". 

So then I took my turn, 
Oh what a thing to have done, 
And it was all yellow. 

Your skin, 
Oh yeah your skin and bones, 
Turn into 
Something beautiful, 
You know, 
You know I love you so, 
You know I love you so. 

I swam across, 
I jumped across for you, 
Oh what a thing to do. 
'Cause you were all yellow, 
I drew a line, 
I drew a line for you, 
Oh what a thing to do, 
And it was all yellow. 

Your skin, 
Oh yeah your skin and bones, 
Turn into 
Something beautiful, 
And you know, 
For you I'd bleed myself dry, 
For you I'd bleed myself dry. 

It's true, 
Look how they shine for you, 
Look how they shine for you, 
Look how they shine for, 
Look how they shine for you, 
Look how they shine for you, 
Look how they shine. 

Look at the stars, 
Look how they shine for you, 
And all the things that you do.




A portrait of Rory, every week, once a week in 2014.

We had a few days this week that were so unbelievably great. Rory either has completely caught up on sleep and his happy personality is shining bright, or he was just extremely happy to have his daddy home all day Saturday and Sunday. We loved having my sister Becca come up from Provo to visit for a day and watch general conference with us all. These were the best few days we've had in a long long time.

See all portraits here