Well, it’s certainly been a full year. We have not updated like we should be updating, so here’s the VERY fast rundown.

Ally is 2 now, she celebrated her 2nd birthday with Mommy, Daddy, and Grandpa Norman here in PA. She enjoys playing pretend, play dough, tea parties, Princess Sofia, Princess Elena, and “riding” her bike. She also loves to swim in the hot tub. She is talking like a normal little person and it’s incredible to see changes and growth in her every single day.

We added another member to our family. We survived pregnancy, although it was difficult again this time. Max Henry Norman was born April 26, 2018. He is now 3.5 months old and is holding his own in this crazy family. He loves to snuggle with Mommy and laugh with Daddy. It’s amazing how much he is his own little person even at only 3.5 months. He too has had some feeding issues just like his big sister did, but his was related to a tongue tie that was fixed when he was 11 weeks old.

Maggie is still our snuggle pup, although she gets less snuggles these days. Her favorite time is when both kids are in bed and she gets to snuggle with Mom and Dad by herself in our bed. She still sleeps in her box though ūüôā

Dad is training for a Marathon. Yes, you read that right. The 2018 Twin Cities Marathon. This is it people. The moment he has spent his whole life training for. It all comes down to this! I’m confident he will finish.

Mom is struggling to find a balance with work, Sparkle Strategies, 2 kids, a dog, a house, and life. Right now, I’m on day 43 of PIYO’s 60 day challenge, and on day 4 of the 21 day fix. The weight from Max isn’t coming off like it did with Ally so it’s taking some drastic measures. I miss carbs. But after cooking for a toddler for 2 years, it’s been a fun challenge so far to rediscover using seasoning instead of carbs. I’m hopeful that once I lose this 15 pounds I will feel like my old self again. Max sleeping through the night would also help. Man is he close!

If you read this, pray for us. We’re definitely feeling the distance from family more than ever before. We promise to update once a week at least!

Living in Central PA is not all sunshine and rainbows, but we make it work. But I miss the big city conveniences, namely shopping. I miss giant Targets that you can get lost in for hours and emerge with clothes, toys, goods, and food all in one Starbucks fueled shopping trip. I miss the Mall of America so much that I tear up a little when I think about it too much. I miss IKEA, and the luxury of buying a bookcase by driving down the road. I miss restaurants and cute little rows of shops with adorable items for purchase. IKEA is one hour and forty five minutes away. “That’s not far!” you say. You’d think that, but one hour and forty-five minutes with Ally is like an eternity. Thank God for puffs.

On our grand IKEA adventure I knew we’d have only a few hours to get meatballs and all the things on our list. Perusing the aisles and showrooms at a leisurely pace was a thing of the past. I did not plan on a FULL. ALLY. BEAR. MELT. DOWN. We got half way through and BAM meltdown.

Ever tried to exit an IKEA quickly? I mean, people- it’s a fire hazard in there.

We re-set Ally in a grassy area outside and let her wander around a department store for a bit and then returned to the scene of the crime.

We learned to start with meatballs. Always start with meatballs. And always Ergo-baby that baby! I had 2 hours of lugging around a 25 pound child and selecting all the things I needed. Ahhhhh much better. 

While I recognize that my days of leisurely strolling through any store are over, I’m glad that if I need to, I can drive to the store I need. Even though it’s a million puffs away.

We settled on a Besta system, and man, this thing is great. We custom designed our own that fit our needs and it looks great! Now to stick those cords in the wall….

You might ask what was wrong with the old thing. First, it wasn’t wide enough so it looked…odd…with our giant TV (that we soon will make even more giant). Second, no doors protected the cable boxes so Ally liked to push the buttons at extremely inopportune times.

Our new system has doors that she someday will be unable to open. Just as soon as we make our way to Home Depot for some security devices. So far, she’s left it alone.


This year, we did not make it home for Thanksgiving and I knew that I had to prepare a feast even though it was just 2.5 of us. The task was daunting. Even though I wanted to preserve tradition, I felt like I had to put my own spin on things.  So I did an herb roasted turkey, stuffed with a combination of 3 stuffing recipes, mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, made from scratch green bean casserole and a made from scratch pumpkin pie (crust and all!).

We decided to skip rolls entirely, and Nick prefers canned cranberries…like the kind where you can see the rings from the can. I didn’t even know that existed until I met him.

Made from scratch, crust to toppings!

Made from scratch, crust to toppings!

Everything was set, our pie turned out great.  We woke up Thanksgiving morning ready to rumble. Except the turkey was still partially frozen. AHH! 3 FaceTime calls with my mom later, our turkey was thawed and in the oven. It turns out, Thanksgiving is an exhausting day filled with carefully timed moments of kitchen panic and chaos. And never ending cleaning. All to sit down and stuff your faces for 20 minutes and then more cleaning.


Ally, before she knew what pie was.


Ally loved pumpkin pie the most. This was the first time she has ever really cried because we took something away. Uh-oh. I think we created a monster.


Ally, after she’d tasted the sweet, sweet taste of pumpkin pie

She’s also getting her first tooth. While it hasn’t yet quite popped through, it’s definitely there and we expect to see it in a few days. That is, if she will let us get close enough to her mouth to see.

We’re still struggling with eczema on her face, especially now that the dry winter weather is upon us. I’m putting Eucerine on her 3 times a day but she still scratches her face at night. It looks like we beat her. Or we have a vicious cat. Any suggestions?

We hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving with your family and friends!

Lots has happened since our last post. Ally was finally diagnosed with a mucocele in her mouth, a blocked saliva gland. ¬†It eventually got so inflamed and swollen that we saw it and immediately took her in. ¬†After being examined by 2 doctors, she was referred to Children’s Hospital here in St. Paul. 2 minutes into our visit, we had our answer. ¬†We gave it 2 weeks to see if it would resolve on its own and then scheduled her for out patient surgery. ¬†On August 1, Ally underwent a 20 minute procedure and BAM! 5 minutes after coming out of recovery she resumed normal eating. What a huge relief! It’s not reflux, it’s not a milk allergy, she’s totally normal. She’s eating normal formula and just moved to a big girl 4 hour schedule. We sure do love our Ally bear.

In other news, Nick has been given a promotion and a relocation to central Pennsylvania. ¬†We are excited for what our future holds. ¬†We will most likely be relocating within a month. Our house is on the market and we’re praying it sells soon. We’ve never sold a house before and out patience is wearing thin but we remain hopeful, optimistic, and prayerful.

Ally is weighing in at 17 pounds and is 27 inches tall. That puts her in the 95th percentile. She is about to start solid food and we are looking forward to the fun and messy time that will be. We’ve purchased spoons, a high chair and rice cereal and we’ll keep you posted on what happens next!

Our struggle continues, but we went to see a different doctor. ¬†This one really heard us and gave us a plan of action. We’re glad that we kept seeing different ones. ¬†She diagnosed Ally with severe acid reflux and a Milk Soy Protein Intolerance or MSPI. ¬†This is not very common, it occurs in about 3-4% of infants. Leave it to ours to be extraordinary.

She put Ally on nutramigen, which is a formula that tastes absolutely horrible. Poor little Ally, like her Zantac wasn’t disgusting enough. We can’t wait for her to be on solid foods so she can stop the madness!


Most children grow out of this intolerance enough to have dairy products back in their life, but probably will never be chugging a bottle of straight cow’s milk.

So far, she’s not been screaming during feeding. ¬†We can tell she doesn’t care for the taste of the new formula but she drinks it well enough. ¬†The doctor says she will get used to the taste and if it is MSPI we will see a drastic feeding difference in a few days.

Ally remains a happy, well developing child and is laughing and making all kinds of fun noises. She’s excited for Grandma Wilson’s visit this week!



We thought the formula switch solved things, but alas, things worsened. Ally would cry, scream and arch her back during every feeding. ¬†We finally went to the doctor who diagnosed severe acid reflux and prescribed zantac. ¬†The zantac doesn’t seem to be working, although it’s only been a few days. ¬†I guess it can take up to a week to see if there is a change.

When not eating, Ally is a pretty happy baby. ¬†She sleeps well, plays well, doesn’t fuss or cry. ¬†Occasionally she’ll start crying out like she’s in pain but we now know that’s the reflux.

Silent reflux is when you have very few symptoms because the baby is swallowing not spitting it out. So the acid burns on the way up and on the way back down- double the pain. Our sweet little baby just toughed it out though except when we try to feed her.

In this photo, she’s wearing an outfit that was given to ME from Grandma Wilson (Myrt) when I was a baby! Unfortunately Ally is huge and this doesn’t fit her that well. ¬†So the positive side to all this is that other than the difficulty eating, she IS eating and growing and developing at a normal rate. Pray for us that God gives us patience and calm and heals little Ally’s throat and tummy. ¬†Some babies grow out of this by 3-4 months, some have it until they are on solid food only and no bottles. We’re hoping it’s soon!

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September 3, 2013