Gwen’s First Photo Project

I was snapping photos the other day using a real life point and shoot camera (not my iPhone) and Gwen begged to take some photos. So I let her. This is Gwen’s first photo project and I must say, I like her eye! Titles as described by Gwen…Love this munchin.

Big Room

Big Room

Max's Rug

Max’s Rug


Silly Mommy

Baby Van

Baby Van





Time with Piggy


Panda Rug


Bedroom Rug

Bedroom Rug

Baby's Crib

Baby’s Crib



Van's Toy

Van’s Toy

Van is 9 Months

Van is 9 months old! He is adorbale and saying Momma and what we think is a varyation of Sarah that sounds like arah (his nanny/bestie). He is crawling like a pro, standing and all smiles. Two bottom teeth, a top side right tooth and his two top teeth are attempting to come in.

Van LOVES his big sister, his dog MAX and barfing. This kid can seriously throw up. Now I’m not being annoying or uncaring. The opposite my friend. We have had two ultrasounds, several tests and many many phone calls to the doctor. He just seems to like to randomly barf usually on me. But that is okay. As long as he is ok (which he is) that is what matter.

Gwen continues to amaze us and has an active imagination and vocabulary. She loves to garden (see sunflower photo below), be the leader of our family pack and go swimming. We love watching her grow and she is a great big sister. She shares with her toys well but really does not want Van in her business all the time. The next few years will be amazing with these two.

Should you be curious….Gwen is 3.5 years old and 27 pounds…Van is 9 months old and 21 pounds…he will catch her soon…

Van 9 Months Van 9 Months Van 9 Months Van & Max Van & Max Gwen June 2014 Cody and Van Gwen and her sunflower Van, Daddy & Gwen with her sunflower

Rock Star & Saying Momma

What a day we have had! Gwen revealed a fun little party trick her Dad taught her. Before signing a song on her little blue guitar (which is really a ukulele) she says “1, 1, 2, 3, 4” I feel like she has a little Bruce Springsteen in her and of course I love it. She sings most of the day and will round the corner to sing with her ukuele and it really could not be cuter. Cody said he taught her the saying weeks ago. One of his favorite pass times is teaching her funny sayings. She has caught the “Frozen” bug and loves watching the movie. I can’t complain as the broadway like tunes make me happy.

Little Van is thinning out and getting LONG! He is creepign super fast and into everything. We had to buy a baby gate/yard thing to help contain him from the step down areas we have in the new house. The all Spanish tile house is a little nerve racking with a creeping little man. He is saying “Dada” and starting using “Momma” when I come in the room or when he wakes up. It makes my heart melt each time.

We are getting ready for a Hawaii vacation for the wedding of our dear friends Jen and Andy. Can’t wait to catch some rays, waves and par-take in some good old U of A fun. Cody and I are meeting with contractors and finalizng our plans for our master bath/closet remodel which is super exciting. Photos of before and after to post soon! Enjoy Gwen’s video & a new photo of our little man Van


Gwen Playing Guitar from Jenna Rutschman on Vimeo.

Van 7 Months

Van 7 Months


Gwen is Three!!

I know everyone says this, but, wow where has the time gone. Our little panda turned three on March 9th. We celebrated with a super fun art themed birthday party. Gwen and her little buddies painted, ate snow cones and enjoyed homemade vanilla cake (that Aunt Shannon made). We had a great day with friends and family and love watching Gwen grown. My sister Shannon flew in from Vegas and we had a great time celebrating our little gals birthday. Having Aunt Shannon around that busy weekend truly saved the day!

Gwen is a pretty funny toddler. Getting a little “wild” at times to match her unruly yet amazing curly hair. Her vocabulary is amazing and she talks the majority of the time. If she isn’t talking she is singing and enjoys playing her guitar (ukelele), her drum and her mini piano. She has been asking to take a dance class lately and loves to dance around the hosue and “spin” like a ballerina. Her flair for the drama continues especially when she is playing pretend. Her pretend world is detailed and extravigant we go to the moon, the jungle, the beach, to school and of course to Shuga’s and Yaya’s house.

Gwen is a good little gal and great big sister. She pats Van on the head and touches him softly (most of the time) exclaiming what a “cute little guy” he is or calls him “buddy.”

Here are a few pics of friends, family and Gwen on her 3rd birthday.

Gwen is ThreeGwen, Van, Henry and Aunt Shannon

DSC_0026 DSC_0009 DSC_0093 DSC_0080 DSC_0048 DSC_0078 DSC_0048 DSC_0035

Sip N See

It is funny people wanting to give you attention when you are hugely preggo and it is a million degrees outside, funny as in it doesn’t sound like fun. So when our friends Gneiss and Dave wanted to throw a little party in honor of our little dude, Van after he was born I was intrigued. They suggested the idea of a Sip N See after he was born rather than a baby shower and we jumped at the chance.

We traveled with the kiddos down to Tucson and had an amazing day. We felt so very loved and got to visit with friends and family the best way we know how, with great tunes, great sunny weather, a few cocktails, lots of catching up and showing off our Van. My friend and freshman year roommate Dani, her hubby Josh and their three kids (plus one on the way) made it to the party and it was great to see our kids together. How time changes from dorm life!

Cody and his highschool friends all came over and we got to see about nine little girls ages five and under run around and play. Van is a happy edition to his crew, the first boy!!!

We want to thank Dave, Gneiss and Ruby for hosting yet another wonderful party and making us feel over-the-moon loved. We love you guys and feel thankful to have such amazing friends.

Pics from the party:

CabanaLove Decor Drinks EggmansandRutschmans Food Spread Food Time Gneiss and Jenna Gneiss and Van Gwen and Addy Playing House Shuga and Van Smore Time Van sleepign during the party


2013 – The Year of Becoming Adults

The holidays always bring on emotion of thanks and reflection. As Cody and I remember 2013 something rang true in our minds. 2013 was the year we became a legit adults. Which probably means I should stop using the word legit. But, that isn’t the topic. We started the year with focus. Pregnant with our second child we decided to sell our beloved 35ht Street house. Where we had spent so much time remodeling with our hands, having late (late) night parties, having our first dinner parties, bringing our first dog home, becoming a legit couple, getting engaged thusly married and bringing our first baby home. As we moved into our new house on Mercer Lane it was hot. I mean super hot and I was very pregnant. We embarked on DIY projects the moment we moved in. I started a new job (very pregnant) and the year flew by us.

Gwen kept us laughing the entire year. She is sassy and sweet with wild curly hair and bright blue eyes. We all prepared for the arrival of our little man, Van. He is a sweet baby and has been a delight in our family. Max has continued to have a few ups and down with his health but our old pup all in all is doing great. He still hates tile surface so our completely tiled spanish floor throughout the house has been tricky.

What has made me feel most like an adult wasn’t getting a new job while preggo, or having our second child or even moving to a quite part of town so we could “get more square footage” it was the holiday hosting. We hosted Thanksgiving (with Cody’s family staying several nights with us), Christmas Eve when my sister Shannon stayed several nights with us, a holiday potluck and a few small gatherings here and there. The entire time I felt more confident as a host knowing what to cook that we could get done easily but would still be delish, what wines to buy that taste great but won’t break the bank and how to plan the nights/days for prepping. It was crazy. We pulled off the holiday season without a hitch all while having two kids, a house guest and a barking dog.

We spent NYE home with the kids, cooked crab legs & a rib eye and chilled. Rather than hosting friends we spent the evening chatting with each other and laughing about our cute growing family and our crazy year. Thank you to everyone in our lives for all the help, love and support you gave us. We truly had a busy but fantastic and rewarding year. It gave us a few more lines on our faces and gray hairs but we loved every minute. Well…moving on the hottest weekend of the year in AZ kinda sucked but we survived.

Some Fun Facts of 2013:

Gwen asked Santa for a ChooChoo Train and a Pirate Ship. She also got a push bike and a circus tent (amongst many many more toys).

Van was born several days past his due date and weighed a whopping 8 pounds 15 onzes

Van loves to rub his head with his hands before he falls asleep and is an aspiring thumb sucker like his sister.

Gwen insists on us singing twinkle twinkle little star every night…many times. Usually making Cody.

Cody has painted almost every room in our new house.

Jenna took her sewing skills to a new level making Gwen’s Toodee costume.

We went to less concerts this year than we have any other year since we met. But, we did go see Yo Gabba Gabba LIVE. Biz Markie was there so that helped.

Gwen LOVES wearing her fake glasses. It is hilarious.

Gwen’s Funny Quotes of the Year:

“Carebears don’t wear socks”

“Momma, I’m the teacher. You are not listening. I tell Daddy, you go in time out.” Response when Momma sang out of turn.

After Gwen tooted and says “I hear my butt!”

Mom: “Gwen you are amazing.” Gwen: “Yes I am amazing.”

“What a mess! Clean this up Daddy.” After Cody dumped a bin of diapers over.

“Isn’t he cute?!?” While looking at her brother Van.

Happy New Year, everyone!! Cheers, Jenna, Cody, Van & Gwen

Gwen & Van Christmas Morning

Gwen & Van Christmas Morning

Gwen and Cody at the park skateboarding lessons.

Gwen and Cody at the park skateboarding lessons.

Van sleeping on his favorite pillow

Van sleeping on his favorite pillow

Van & Momma at Yaya and Poppi's house
Van & Momma at Yaya and Poppi’s house

Gwen playing on the swing set at Uncle Joe & Aunt Lindsay's on Christmas Day.

Gwen playing on the swing set at Uncle Joe & Aunt Lindsay’s on Christmas Day.

Holiday Hosting – Thanksgiving

We hosted our second thanksgiving (first was last year). On top of hosting dinner we also hosted Cody’s parents, sister, bother-in-law and darling niece for three nights. I must say it went off without a major hitch. We took an all hands on deck approach. Everyone brought a dish, my sister-in-law made beautiful center pieces and everyone brought a pie. Dinner was delish. Cody grilled two turkeys brining and glazing galore. Well worth the man hours if you haven’t yet brined and grilled a turkey i highly recommend.

Kameron was my right hand in the kitchen. Thankfully because it takes two to pull off the warming, mashing, heating, re-heating, baking that this dinner takes. The turkeys got done early (EARLY) but we stayed on top of it. We played a “thankful” game at dinner filled with notes about thankfulness for health, spouses, children, U of A beating Duke, new houses, graditude for work, laughter, love, delish food and drink. We reminisced and talked of those we missed and wished were with us.

Something that was on topic the entire holiday with myself, Cody, my brother Joe, his wife Lindsay, Cody’s sister Kam and her husband adam was that suddenly we were the parents, the aunts and the uncles. Our parents were letting the holiday reigns over to us (with a watchful eye) and we were the adults. The kids running around laughing and babies coohing all belonged to us. We were no longer the kids.

It is funny how fast it happens. As I try and embrace my new(er) titles of Mom, aunt and sister-in-law I try and keep in mind that my family, my nieces and nephews and my own kiddos will remember the laughter in our home, the welcome voices and holiday music they hear. They will remember playing with their grandparents and chasing their cousins. It isn’t about a perfect day it is about love, laughter and togetherness.

Approaching the holidays I want to keep our door open. Host gatherings, laugh, tell stories cook yummy food and remember it is a season to be thankful. I’m thankful for those who are gathering with me this holiday season and those I miss. Technology keeps us closer together than in past years but I strive to not focus on my next social media post but rather the people who are in front of me.

So I saw roast that turkey, try a new recipe, buy that good bottle of wine and break out the holly and Christmas tunes of Dean Martin & Bing Cosby (or Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers if you are like me). It won’t be a perfect season but we can have some laughs, make some good eats and drinks and tell a few stories.

Cheers to the best season of all!