A Beautiful 2013

Dec 31, 2013

There were a lot of hard things that came out of 2013. Really, a lot. But if you know me at all you know I'd rather focus on the positive. And if that's what we're doing then this, my friends, has been the best year of my life. It's the year Everly joined us and there is nothing that can ever compare to that. She is a gift for my soul. There are some nights I cannot sleep because I lie there looking at her and wondering what I possibly did to deserve her and how I can ever be good enough for her. There are other nights that I fall blissfully into sleep next to her, the sounds of her breathing lulling me to sleep. No matter the stage we're at or the other problems we're going through, Everly has a way of making me see stars. She is my joy, my light, my heart.

xo Sue

Everly's First Christmas

Dec 30, 2013

I can describe this Christmas with one simple word: Magic. Seeing the world through her eyes, seeing the magic through her eyes, was amazing. I bought her exactly one toy: this sweet little super doll, Joy. I'll explain more about that gift a different day, but it's very special to me and I hope that it will be special to her. All her other fun toys came from her grandparents. I would say she was spoiled rotten but I don't believe that, I think she was spoiled an appropriate amount! We had a Skype Christmas with Aaron's parents and Everly had a great time tearing the wrapping paper to shreds. Then we had a Christmas with my family and again E tore up the gifts. She had a lot of fun and even liked the presents once they were opened. Her favorite is a light up contraption Aaron's parents picked out for her that makes music for her to dance to and has lots of buttons, light, and noises. She dances around and shakes what her mama gave her. It's pretty adorable. 

The clothes for Everly were some of my favorite gifts (and the only other thing I bought her). Her little white & green leggings (seen in some of these photos) say "Evie" on them and came from jennifer ann. Are they not the cutest things ever? I loved picking them for her and put her in them way too often. Her sheep pajamas came from Grandma (Lizzie got a matching pair). The pink striped pajama was from her Nanny. And the red & white tutu I made one day, just for fun. 

Aaron and I each got a few fun gifts too. Books/clothes (me), collectibles/games (him), and movies (both of us) were the majority of our Christmas treats. I made myself an initial necklace to represent our little family (E, S, A) as something special and I love it. 

Christmas day most of the family went snowboarding/skiing. Shelly and I stayed with our babies, daddy, and a few other siblings for a quiet day at home. When Aaron got home E and I enjoyed our snuggles with him and watched movies and had treats. The day after Christmas my mama took all the sisters to get pedicures together. It was so fun to go and spend time with my sisters. We haven't been alone with just the ladies and no babies in a long time. Shelly couldn't make it and we definitely missed her. I love that for our gifts my parents gave us experiences instead of things. It was so fun to make special memories together and I'll always remember it. 

I spent a lot of time this holiday season reflecting on how blessed my life is. I have the most amazing husband and daughter. I have a wonderful family who loves me (us) and is always there to support me. Watching Everly explore this season in her own special way has been beautiful. Christmas has been magic with my darling daughter. I love her more than words can express. I hope your holiday season was your own brand of perfection! 

xo Sue

I'm Learning to Sew (Blogger Swap)

Dec 28, 2013

December is the month for swaps! I participated in 2 this month (the first was the scarf swap) and this was the second- The Snowflake Swap. For this swap we told a little bit about ourselves to our swap partner and then went out shopping for a holiday gift to send. I was partnered with Rachel and once again, my partner hit it right on the nose with my swap gift! I told her I'm beginning to get in to sewing and she sent me this book for beginners. It has so much great info, I've already referenced it twice for simple projects! Everly wanted to help me inspect it and show it off. And really, who am I to say no to that face? She loves books, especially ones meant for mama. I absolutely love this book, plus I got to make a new blogger friend. Aren't swaps the best? 

Also, E's insanely adorbs mustache leggings are from jennifer ann. Her baby clothes kill me with their cuteness. Size up though, I've found the leggings run just a touch small and you want your little one to wear these forever, I promise!

Linking up with Jane, Acacia, and Moira for the blogger Snowflake Swap.
xo Sue

Happy Everything!

Dec 24, 2013

From our little family to yours, Happy Holidays! We hope this season is everything you've hoped for and more. Indulge in a treat, play in the snow, sing holiday songs at the top of your lungs. Explore the world around you with new and wondering eyes. Tell people you love them. Tell them you're grateful for them. Remember that joy, love, and peace are some of the most important attributes you can share with the world. And keep a thankful soul all year long. Merry Christmas! 
xo Sue


Dec 23, 2013

STRONG WOMEN. May we KNOW them, may we RAISE them, may we BE them.

Thing on my mind: I am blessed. I have cherished the holiday season this year and I came out of it feeling like one lucky lady. Maybe life is hard right now, but give me five minutes playing alone with Everly and I can forget all of that. Even more if Aaron is playing with us too. 

Songs on repeat: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Christmas Lights.

Favorite show: Criminal Minds and The Big Bang Theory. Those are my all times favorites.

Favorite food: Street tacos. YUM.

Favorite activity: Dancing with Everly. I love love love that she dances now. 

Books I'm reading: Divergent series (read them already but must reread before the movie comes out!), Getting Things Done, and The Happiness Project (more to come on that).

Favorite moment: Attending my third birth in three months. I love birth and I love being a doula. It is the best job ever! 

Project: Making a tulle skirt. I keep changing my mind on how to do it so it's only halfway there. Maybe one day it will be finished. Also, sewing in general. I'm in love! 

Daily revelation: My daughter is going to grow faster than I want her to. All I can do is enjoy every moment and be grateful for each day. And encourage her to learn and explore, because she is curious and brave and fearless.

Favorite pictures: 

xo Sue

Winter Solstice ♥

Dec 21, 2013

I celebrated today. It wasn't a large celebration with parties or friends. It was personal and sacred to me. It was beautiful. I want to teach Everly about the Earth. I want to teach her the magic of the universe. The beauty of the known and the seen, the unknown and the unseen. I want her to understand her role in it all. I want to understand my role. I love this magical day.

xo Sue

Ten Months Old

Dec 20, 2013

Ten months. I struggle to find the words. Perhaps because it's the last month of the year that E was born? Or maybe just my denial that she could possibly be growing so quickly. I remember this time last year. I was seven months pregnant and working with my husband and my doula to prepare myself mentally and physically for childbirth. I was a little sad because pregnancy hormones (yep, we're blaming them) were making me miss home and family extra over the holiday season. Aaron and I were planning a quiet Christmas with just the two of us. It was the calm before the hurricane that is Everly. And what a beautiful hurricane she has been.

Everly is still my happy, growing girl. I'm still her happy, exhausted mama.
  • E is into EVERYTHING. I have a small cupboard on my computer desk that she likes to get into while I type (like right now). At first it held my things but after she proved that she's determined to get in there no matter how hard I try to keep her out I emptied it and filled it with things for her to play with. Now she can spend a good 20 minutes pulling things out and opening and shutting the door. 
  • She weighs 18 pounds now. It's not much of a jump from the last time I posted her weight but she's growing healthy and strong so we're not at all worried. She still has chunky little thighs (although not as big as before she started walking) and she's got beautiful baby chub in all the right spots. Including her feet.
  • Her beautiful blonde hair is getting longer and more blonde. She's going to go white blonde this summer, I'm sure. 
  • Pretty quickly after she mastered walking she taught herself to climb the stairs. And by taught herself I mean she walked over to them and just started going for it. This girl is fearless. 
  • Everly knows how to stand up without holding on to anything now. She puts her hands on the floor, sticks her bum in the air, and just stands right up like a big girl. I cannot believe my eyes sometimes. 
  • She also knows how to climb down from the bed. She only does it if I'm on the floor already. If I'm on the bed she'll play there happily. Occasionally she'll decide she's done with a nap and climb down to play without making a peep. I'm considering making her wear a bell for her naps... 
  • She's barely cut her third tooth, the top right one. It popped through yesterday and her gums are swollen on the left, ready to break open at any moment. As far as nursing is concerned, I'm okay if her teeth don't all come in for a while! She's very considerate about not biting me while she nurses though.
  • Everly had her first Thanksgiving. She loved mashed potatoes (I think because she could squish them), gravy (definitely for the flavor), and turkey (she really likes meat). She did not love mama being in the kitchen all day cooking. 
  • And my favorite thing she's learned this month: Everly dances. If she hears music she starts bopping her head and bouncing her knees up and down. It's adorable and it's about the extent of her daddy's dance skills. I joke! (Sort of...) We have dance parties now and they're amazing. She'll even dance when I sing to her.

xo Sue

The Sweetest Moments

Dec 18, 2013

Yesterday was... I'm not sure of the right word. It was good in the sense that I spent it with my sister and our babies. Our daughters played together (they are the best of friends) and her sweet son just snuggled because lets face it, you can't do much more than that at one month old. We indulged and had yummy food for lunch. I got a few errands done. But there was lots of bodily fluids from babies (they were gross... we'll leave it at that) and most of them landed on poor Shelly. And there were other things that made it not such a wonderful day. In our family I'm the fixer. I fix everyone's problems and I like it that way. I like being the one my brothers and sisters and even on occasion my parents come to for help, love, and advice. I love being that person (I'm not the only one though, my family is full of loving fixers). It made me sad today that there were things I couldn't fix. Things out of my control that I couldn't make better. Except with pizza and chocolate and diet coke, but not really better. That's hard for me, to just let things be a little broken for a while. Sometimes they can't be fixed. Or they can, but not by me. I'm learning to accept that, especially where Everly is concerned. It is so hard, learning that I'm truly not in control of anything

If nothing else good came from today, this picture did. Everly and Lizzie were sitting together in the back seat of the car. When I looked back to check on them this is what I saw. There is nothing more tender in the world than real loving connections. E is lucky she's found a best friend so young. 

xo Sue

The Most Fun Scarf Ever (Blogger Swap)

Dec 16, 2013

I love doing blogger swaps. I love to (try) and put together a gift for another lady that I know online. I enjoy picking out things that I think she'll like and sending happy thoughts and love along with a little gift. The hard part is when the other person totally outdoes you and then you feel like you should have done more! I also really loved the idea that Jess & Jess had of doing a specific swap (in this case scarves) instead of a general gift. It made shopping less stressful because even though I wasn't sure what exactly I was going to find, I knew what I'd be looking for. 

My swap partner was Cece. She and I exchanged a few emails getting to know each other before we went out hunting for scarfs to mail. She told me she's a corporate lady who blogs and runs her Etsy shop for a creative outlet, and she hates pink! (I really really hope that the scarf I found her fits into both those categories!) I told her my whole life story condensed to a few sentences because I do that... and I said I enjoy statement pieces when it comes to scarves. Remember what I said about your partner outdoing you? Yep she did. And she nailed it. And then she added in some nail polish and chocolate (does she get me or what?) just to make it special. I'm crazy in love with this darling scarf and I just have to say a huge THANK YOU to Cece for finding me the most fun scarf ever. 

xo Sue

Linking up with Jessica Lynn Writes and Being Mrs Beer for the blogger Scarf Swap

On Being a Mother

Dec 15, 2013

It's hard. Harder than anything I've done before in my life. Being a mother. At first you're so sleep deprived that you don't really notice when your wants and needs have ceased to matter. That tiny person in your arms does not know anything but themselves. Now that Everly is getting bigger she's starting to know a little more. But she still doesn't understand that sometimes mom just needs a break. She doesn't know that when she cries I don't always know the reason behind the cry. She is not crying to manipulate me. She's crying because she doesn't know how else to communicate. It's hard to always remember that.

Jess and Ashley both wrote great posts about what the first few weeks are like with a baby. They're HARD. There's no way around that. And remembering those weeks (or months) is what keeps me from even thinking about the possibility of another child. Maybe in a few years when the memories are no longer fresh I'll be able to consider it. For now this is enough for me. Maybe even for always, and that's okay.

But nights like tonight... They're reminiscent of those first two months. The ones where I wasn't getting any sleep and the baby needed me constantly. My sweet girl has been sick all night. I've been barfed on more times than I care to count and even though I just did laundry I already have a huge pile to get through today. I've changed sheets three times. I've bathed her twice. I've rocked and held her gently all night long. But that was the good part. The rocking and the holding. She's become such an independent lady that I try to cherish these moments where she lets me hold her tight, even if she's snuggling for comfort from the sickness she's feeling. She's so tired that she fell asleep sitting upright in my arms as soon as I'd put fresh pajamas on her.

My sweet, sweet baby. I will always hold you when you're sick. I will always comfort you when you need me, and even when you don't. I will always try to be the mama you deserve. I will fall short, but I will never stop trying. I love you with my whole heart.

xo Sue

A Holiday Mix

Dec 13, 2013

Every year for Christmas I like to make a mix of my favorite songs to listen to during the holiday season. Last year I made one and gave it to all my friends for a Christmas gift. That was such a fun thing to give! Everyone loved it and they all discovered some new songs while they were at it. I tried to have a good mix of classics and obscure or new songs to make a good variety. I thought I'd share this year's mix with you here today. I'm not sure if it will be going out to my friends this year but it's on repeat for me!

  Christmas Mix 2013 by Sue Crowder on Grooveshark

What is your favorite holiday song? I'm always on the lookout for new and great music. Let me know in the comments what you love to listen to!
xo Sue


Dec 11, 2013

There is something absolutely magical about a Christmas tree. The twinkle lights that glow. The ornaments that we've made and collected over the years, each with their own special story. The gifts slowing adding up under the tree. It's quite special. Growing up we always had a tall, real tree (16+ feet at least!) and I desperately missed that while we were in Japan. There we had a small space and everything felt overcrowded so we stuck with a small, fake tree. It was perfect for the two of us but I love being home now and seeing the magical giant tree again. Everly is fascinated by it. The glowing lights and the decorations call to her, begging to be put in her little baby mouth. It makes my heart happy to watch the delight in her eyes when she spots something new on the tree. Everything about this Christmas is new and exciting. Everything is an adventure. I will never forget Everly's first Christmas. The Christmas of Magic.
xo Sue

Every Day She Teaches Me

Dec 10, 2013

I was going to write something else today. Now I'm going to write this instead. Sometimes I have an "ah-hah!" moment in this parenting thing. Sometimes I step back from what I think is the right thing and I listen to what Everly is trying to tell me. She's always teaching me new things about how to be her mom. There's this funny trend that babies have of completely surprising you and it feels like as soon as you establish any sort of routine they decide to switch it up on you. This has especially been the case with Ever and her sleep lately. I finally got the nap thing figured out (2 a day, whenever the heck she feels like it!) and the bedtime down (sometime between 7 and 9) because we're really particular around here... Or not. But we had a rough outline of a schedule. I would nurse my little lady about an hour before bed. Then we would go cuddle up in bed when she was ready to sleep and nurse again while I rocked her and she fell asleep. It was sweet and simple and one of my favorite times of day. I always looked forward to bedtime if for no other reason than I got to rock her without her fighting to get up and play, or eat dog food. Then about a week ago bedtime suddenly became the most traumatizing time of both our days. Not just night, but naps too. It was awful and I started to dread it all. She was crabby when she was awake and she was angry when I'd try to put her to sleep. She is such an independent little lady that it was becoming impossible for me to try and do things the way we have been. So for the last several days I've been looking for a new way to do things. I tried everything I felt comfortable with (I do not believe in CIO- I'm glad it works for some moms but it isn't for me) and nothing was working. She cried, I cried, she cried more, I cried more. We both were exhausted and grumpy. I had to have a pretty deep therapy session with my amazing sister just to get through it all. Sometimes I'm so grateful that we're doing this mom thing together, but that's a post for a different day. The point is, I tried it all and nothing was working. 

Today I started to really soul search for an answer and think deeply about my sweet baby. I thought about when she was in the womb and so stubborn that she wouldn't flip out of breech position until it was absolutely necessary. I thought about how she's always decided when and where she would sleep. I thought about how she chose when she was ready for solid food and started feeding herself straight from my plate because she wanted to. I thought about how she started walking at 8 stinking months because she'd decided she was a grown up girl and was going to do what she wanted. And after a long nurse/cuddle I decided to just follow her lead tonight. She wanted to play a little bit so we sat on the bed and played. She wanted to trade off sucking her paci with me (gross but whatever) so we did. She wanted to lay next to me, but not on me, so we lay there in a very calm and content way. She wanted to play with my hair and hold my hand while she drifted off to sleep. So we did. It was beautiful and magical and exactly what I needed after so much fighting this last week. I don't know if we've figured out her issue with sleep. She's too independent for my mama heart, but I'm going to try hard to let her lead the way. I'm going to listen harder when she's trying to tell me something. And I'm going to let her teach me every single day how to be the best mom to her. Together I think we can do this.

xo Sue

Sometimes We Sing

Dec 9, 2013

I've been trying to get this on video for a while. It feels like she'll clap along while I sing every single time... until I pull out the camera to record. So this time we used the camera on the computer (sorry for the disastrously messy background!) so she could see herself. If there's one thing Ever likes to look at more than her mama it's herself. She's got her priorities straight. But this video... heart melting.

PS If you've had your eye on one of my handstamped sterling silver initial necklaces in my shop now is your chance to win one. My sweet bloggy friend Erika is having 20 days of giveaways and I'm day #8 with one of those babies! Go check it out and visit her other giveaways too! Except don't because I want to win them.

xo Sue

15 Things You May Not Know About Me

Dec 5, 2013

So I've been tagged lately in a few of those "11 things" or "15 things" or whatever else has been floating around on the internet. I shared a few randoms here and there but I thought it would be easier to do one simple post instead of trying to respond to everything everyone has tagged lately. I love them all but I just don't have the time! So here it is, 15 (pretty random) things you may not know about me.

  1. I never planned on having children. People would say I'd be a great mother someday but that wasn't how I saw things going for me. Luckily Everly had other ideas and joined our family at the perfect time. She is spectacular and I couldn't do life without her. 
  2. I've been married twice. The first time was painful and awful, though not always, and it taught me so much about love and life. Divorce was a difficult thing to go through but I am this person today because of the difficult things I've been through and I really like me. I count Aaron in my blessings every single day and thank all the good in the world for him. He is my better half.
  3. I am a doula, but if you told me five years ago that it would be my job one day there is no way I would have listened. I didn't understand the miracle of childbirth back then and I certainly didn't want anything to do with it. Now I can't imagine doing anything else.
  4. I love to sew. I was always scared of it because I "didn't know what I was doing" and everyone around me seemed to make amazing things that I could never measure up to. Then one day I sat down to a machine and taught myself and I've been in love ever since.
  5. I love to take pictures. I take all our family pics and do them for some close friends and family as well. I don't think I would ever want to be a professional photographer though. 
  6. I have a book collection to rival a small library. I will read anything I can get my hands on and often times I'm reading multiple books at the same time. I love getting lost in another world, another life, another story.
  7. I'm writing a novel. I've been writing it for a while now and one day I will finish it and (hopefully) publish it. Before my divorce I was writing a really beautiful story but I stopped because after the divorce it became very angry and bitter. I didn't want to ruin my story but I couldn't find any positive energy to put into it so I stopped. I don't think I'll ever finish that one.
  8. I love to help people. I think that's part of what drew me to doula work. But truly, I love it. I'm not saying I'm selfless (because I'm definitely not), I'm saying I help people and it makes me feel great. So maybe it's selfish to help other people just to make myself feel good? It's something to think about.
  9. I have played the piano since I was five and I'm quite good. I'm not to the level of concert pianist or anything like that but I can play almost anything you put in front of me. It wasn't until band class in middle school when my teacher was introducing us to the basics that I realized most people can't read music. 
  10. I don't like movies very much but I love TV shows. I prefer the in-depth stories and three dimensional characters that television offers to the quick burst of a movie. If I'm not in a theater I cannot sit still and watch a movie start to finish. 
  11. I work with the movement Sacred Pregnancy and I deeply believe in it. There is something about pregnancy that changes a woman and the world needs to put the sacred back into pregnancy. I love working with them and I count myself so lucky that I get to be a small part of this amazing organization. 
  12. I like to do things that scare me. Not in a terrified out of my mind way, but in a way that I get that adrenaline rush that makes my heart race. When I got my tattoo I planned and waited for weeks before doing it (since that's kind of permanent) but when I went in to do it I was thrilled and I had such a rush. When I jumped on a plane to Japan 2 days after buying a ticket just to have a new adventure I felt the same thing. I love to be adventurous. 
  13. Aaron saved me when I really needed saving. I was anti-love and that's not a good way to live your life. I completely credit him for helping me realize that it wasn't love I needed to be against. I tried pretty hard to push him away when we started to get close but he knew this was something special, extraordinary even, and he told me so. And he was right. I am so lucky he knew we would be worth it and he stuck with me through the bad to get to the good.
  14. Everly saved me when I didn't even realize I needed saving. Aaron and I were living a happy little life together but we had a gaping hole. I didn't know it. I didn't know something was missing. The day I found out I was pregnant that hole was filled and I realized how desperately I wanted the tiny baby growing inside me. I also became paralyzed with fear over the next 9 months that somehow I wouldn't get her. 
  15. Being a mom is the scariest thing I've ever done in my life. It is a daily fight to not be too protective, too overbearing, too worried about every step my daughter takes. It is the most terrifying, rewarding, difficult, amazing, wonderful thing I've ever done in my life. I think these pictures say it all.
xo Sue

Easy Chicken Salad

Dec 3, 2013

One of my favorite things to do is cook. If you come to my house I will feed you. It's a fact. If I don't feed you its because you're only here about five minutes and even then I can probably sneak some food in there. Since I like to feed people I'm also a collector of quick and easy recipes. Recipes I can whip up in 10 minutes or recipes that are made with food I usually have on hand are my favorites. This one falls into the first category and usually the second as well. Recipes that fall into both? They're the best recipes in the world. It also helps that it's delicious.

Easy Chicken Salad

  • 4-5 chicken breasts, cooked
  • 1 package bacon, cooked
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2-3 handfuls grapes, halved
  • 3/4 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp onion salt
  • 5-6 shakes Tabasco buffalo sauce
In a small bowl, combine mayo, sugar, lemon juice, pepper, garlic salt, onion salt, and Tabasco. In a large bowl, mix chicken, bacon, celery, and grapes. Pour dressing over it and toss to evenly coat. Serve on croissants. Makes 8-10 sandwiches.

This recipe is one of those that's to your own taste when it comes to the proportions. This is why I've listed 2-3 handfuls of grapes and 4-5 chicken breasts. If you want more or less you should definitely try it that way! This is the best ratio I've found so far. It's the perfect mix of crunchy, sweet, and salty. Enjoy! 

xo Sue

A Piece of the Story

Dec 2, 2013

A few days ago we took some photos to tell the story of my brand and this one just got me. She is my heart, my inspiration, and one of my favorite people in the world. She's also a mama's girl and loves to be in the center of everything I'm doing. She's playing with my necklace while I'm hard at work making other necklaces. She is so curious and bright. She's my absolute joy. 

wearing Everly in a maya ring sling, one of my favorites. 
sweater from target (similar), bracelets/necklace from foreverly.
xo Sue