Welcome, Colin Gabriel + Vivienne Kate!

Our friends Megan and Javan are basically experiencing much of what we went through, a couple years ago. They have a gorgeous son, Cam, and on February 8 they welcomed Colin (7 lbs., 8 oz., 21.4 in.) and Vivienne (6 lbs., 11 oz., 18.5 in.)—I know, Megan’s a rockstar—at 7:33pm and 8:03pm. They are doing so well. And it’s so fun to have someone else to discuss twin babies + toddler experiences with. I have visited several times, always forgetting my camera. So this is a borrowed picture, with them already four months old (look at those smiles!). Congratulations, Megan and Javan!

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” —Elizabeth Stone

Welcome, Ryan Mark Sickmiller!

5lbs, 14 oz., 20 inches—born March 11, 2013 at 4:56a.m. We hung out with him this week and he’s already up to 15 lbs. He’s perfect, and bringing so much happiness. Congratulations, Mark and Jen!

“Every child begins the world again …” —Henry David Thoreau

Welcome, Isaac Lemond Doench + Anya Lemond Doench!

Aimee, Shruti and I oddly became close friends near the end of high school. Why not all through high school, I don’t know. We spent that summer between high school graduation and college (each in a different state) forging a friendship that still stands strong, even when we only see each other a couple times a year. The summer between our freshman and sophomore year of college, Shruti and Aimee “helped” Andy and I get together. I liked him. I had liked him for a long time. So Aimee called him and invited him to a drive-in movie, with the three of us. He, strangely, said yes. They made a point to sit in the back of my parents’ pick-up truck, leaving Andy and I to sit together near the front. He said he liked the perfume I was wearing (CK One). At my bachelorette party, Shruti and Aimee gave me a new bottle of said scent.

We spent many evenings outside in my parents’ backyard, on a blanket late at night, looking up at the stars. We have some hilarious camping stories (one involved sleeping on top of the tent after we failed to figure out how to pitch it—granted, it was a huge, complicated 10-person tent with many, many poles but still …). We were in each other other’s weddings.

The year we each turned 30, Aimee, Shruti and I traveled to Spain and Morocco (I wrote a lot about that trip—my first post can be found here). After walking around the Medina in Fes we sipped on mint tea on the rooftop of our riad. We had delicious sangria at the Hotel La Fuente de la Higuera in Spain, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever stayed. We bought dresses in Grazalema, went horseback riding in Zahara and started planning our 40th birthday trip in Malaga. I think it’s rare to have three friends you can travel with for 10 days and not fight. We can go for weeks without talking to each other and then have a three-way call and it’s like nothing has changed.

So when Aimee found out she was pregnant, Shruti and I were eager to start planning her shower. Shruti flew in for a weekend in December and the two of us, along with Aimee’s good friend Adriana, celebrated Aimee and Jon’s babies-to-be.

Shruti spent much of the day with me. I told my kids that she’s a doctor so they insisted on checking her blood pressure and taking her temperature.

Adriana took care of all of the food.

It was delicious.

So many of Aimee’s good friends came, several from afar.

We had a draw-your-own onesie table. It’s such a fun idea if you’re looking for a non-game activity.

The beautiful parents-to-be.


And then, they came! Anya was born first at 5.5 pounds and 18.1 inches, and Isaac followed at 7 pounds and 18.5 inches. You must watch their Beautiful Beginnings Birth Photography slideshow here.

Also, I have to share a few snapshots of their nursery. I love the bold, painted ceiling and white walls. And Aimee and Jon made the mobile (isn’t it so cute)?

Congratulations, dear friend. I couldn’t be happier for you.

“Every child begins the world again…” —Henry David Thoreau

Welcome, Brendon Wade Wasz!

5 lbs., 15 oz., 18.75 inches—born December 15 to two of my longtime friends. I couldn’t be happier for you, Greg, Jenna and Hannah! Welcome, Brendon!

“Babies are such a nice way to start people.” —Don Herrold

Welcome, Kayla Marie Brosenne!

Beautiful Kayla was born September 8 to our good friends Mandy and Bill. Every time I’ve seen her she’s been sleeping peacefully (although I’m sure that’s not true always!). Bill and Mandy fell into parenting seemingly so smoothly … I love when Mandy talks about dancing around her house with Kayla. And although we’re done, I have to admit, seeing Kayla makes me think how nice it would be to have just one more …

“Babies are such a nice way to start people.” —Don Herold

Welcome, Emma Louise Den Herder!

Our friends Christine and Mark welcomed beautiful baby Emma into the world May 23. Christine is a wonderful mom. I know these first few months probably weren’t always easy but every time I’ve seen her she’s seemed so relaxed, laid-back and super-active with her son Connor. She inspires me.

“Every child begins the world again …” —Henry David Thoreau

Welcome, Alice Lillian Turner!

Our friends Alan and Melissa welcomed their beautiful baby Alice into this world March 15 at 2:55 pm. She weighed 7 lbs 11 oz and was 20.5 inches long. At John and Corie’s wedding, we finally got to meet Alice—and spent much of the next day visiting her.


Matt and Quinn


Sophie and Quinn

“Babies are such a nice way to start people.” —Don Herrold

Beautiful Nora


Every time a friend of mine has a baby, I post about it. (Search “welcome” for all the new beautiful babies I’ve had the pleasure of holding.) It occurred to me, only today, that I never wrote an official welcome post for Nora Helen Estridge, born July 5, 2011, 6 lbs. 15 oz., 20 in. Her parents, Dara and Mike, waited for and wanted her for a long time and I couldn’t be happier for them.

I was unable to see Nora when she was first born because of the awful c-diff (which I’m still on antibiotics for) but now, when on antibiotics, I’m able to hold babies whenever I want to. And lately, I want to. Often. I don’t really want another baby (and we’re not having another one) but now that my boys are toddlers, in every sense of the word, something hurts—physically hurts—when I hold a baby or have the rare pleasure of letting one sleep on my chest. I realize you can’t experience that forever, personally, but it makes me realize, really realize, how rare and fleeting that time was. Yes, there was sleep deprivation and projectile vomiting and unreliable hormones and nonstop crying but there was also this tiny, amazing human being who fit, toes at belly button, head at neck, perfectly. I miss that.

But enough about me. Back to Nora. She’s perfect. And her parents are amazing. She’s lucky—very lucky. Dara and Mike, I’m so sorry this is so belated, but I couldn’t be happier for you. You deserve her. And she deserves you. My most sincere congratulations.

“Where did you come from, baby dear?
Out of the Everywhere and into here.” —George MacDonald

Welcome, Colleen Jennifer Rees!


My sister, Katy, and her husband, Tom, welcomed the most perfect, beautiful baby girl into their family March 31 at 5:25pm. She weighed 10lbs., 15oz. and was 24″ long at birth. And no, Katy did not have a c-section. And yes, she is a total rock star.

Katy and Tom live in Winston-Salem, NC. March 31 was a Thursday. I had to wait until late Friday afternoon to start my eight-hour drive to meet her. The thing I remember most, though, about the few hours immediately following Colleen’s birth was talking to Katy on the phone and asking her how she felt. While many new moms would respond with “sore,” “nervous” or “tired,” Katy said, “excited.” And I don’t think I’ve heard her sound that excited since the time we convinced Patty Griffin‘s manager to let us into our favorite singer’s sold-out concert many summers ago.



Welcome home, Colleen and New Mom!


I could have taken a hundred pictures like this one—this is the look Colleen gave Katy and Tom almost always (OK, except when she was crying). 🙂


my parents


Tom’s mom, Andrea


Katy and Tom’s very good friend, Steve


tummy time


proud papa


I’m an aunt! (Although, here, Colleen doesn’t seem too excited about that.)


Katy, Colleen and Mom


a beautiful family


Luke (the cat) watching over her

Before I had babies I was awkward with them. I was stiff-armed when holding them, never knew what to say to them, was terrified of dropping them. Katy, though—I will never forget the first time she held my daughter, Sophie, and how comfortably she picked her up, calmed her, cuddled her, knew exactly how to love her. Then, I thought, she’s going to be an amazing mother.

And she is.

And Tom! At one point, during my visit, he came out of the bedroom (where Katy was nursing) and said how anxious he was for Katy to be able to do the nursing all her own (without that oh-so-vital-initial help of setting up pillows, etc.). Not to relax, though. But to clean! And cook! And, as he put it, do whatever he could to help make her life easier when she was done nursing.

Colleen, you are so lucky. You have parents who loved you, immensely, from Day One. Everything they’ve done—the house, the nursery, the classes, work, preparation, sleepless nights, everything, has been out of love for you. Planning for you. Excitement for you.

I’m older than Katy. And was the stereotypical older, bossy sister. When we played school, I was the teacher. When we played playset-was-actually-a-huge-ship-and-the-grass-was-shark-infested-water, I was the captain. When we played house, I was the mom.

And now, finally, she gets to be the mom. And I get this really cool role as aunt. Tom gets to be a dad (a role seemingly invented with him in mind), my parents and Tom’s parents get to be grandparents all over again and Baby Colleen, you get to be daughter—a role Katy and I can attest to as being one of the greatest of all.

Congratulations, Katy and Tom. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t look for cheap flights to NC—daily.

“If one feels the need of something grand, something infinite, something that makes one feel aware of God, one need not go far to find it. I think that I see something deeper, more infinite, more eternal than the ocean in the expression of the eyes of a little baby when it wakes in the morning and coos or laughs because it sees the sun shining on its cradle.” —Vincent van Gogh

Welcome, Mya Katina Beets!



Beautiful Mya was born March 22, weighing 8lbs., 2 oz., to our good friends Marty and Angel. When I asked Sophie what advice she had for Zoey in terms of being a good big sister, Sophie said Zoey should play with Mya. I’m sure she will. Congratulations, Beets family! We’re so happy for you!

“Where did you come from, baby dear?
Out of the Everywhere and into here.” —George MacDonald