It takes a village (with coffee)

Hello… is this thing on?

I have been MIA from pretty much everything lately because 2016 has been sickity-sick-sick.  These poor kiddos can’t seem to catch a break… strep, croup, viral infections, colds, 5 infected ears, flu and many more Mitchell pass-out episodes.

There have been many nights where Denny and I looked at each other with the what the heck are we going to do look that all you parents out there know so well.  The look that asks, “How high is too high for a fever?… “Who’s going to miss work again this week?”… “How can we possibly go another night without sleep?”   This year has included lots of looks.  Looks of concern, looks of frustration, looks of exhaustion.


The look of an ear infection 🙁

The look of a tired boy (dino jammies rock!)

The look of a little girl with strep.


But just when we thought we couldn’t juggle one more schedule, or squeeze in one more trip to the doctor’s office, we realized all the support around us.  And we realized we are incredibly lucky!
Our pediatricians have squeezed us in over a dozen times, our parents have driven hundreds of miles, our bosses have understood, our co-workers have done favors, our favorite Timmy’s drive-thru employees have kept the coffee hot, our neighbors have kept the thoughts positive, and the EMT’s have kept us calm in the most unexpected of situations.

And now that spring is getting closer, we’re hoping the season of sick is getting further away.  We’re ready for healthy kids & happy outings.   But before we get back to normal we owe a few Thank you’s to some of our favorite people.  Thank you, thank you, thank you to our awesome village!!  Thanks for all the good thoughts & thanks for all the hot coffee!



PS  Does springtime = blog time?  Let’s hope!

The look of Better days! 🙂


Vows 2.1

With this ring, I thee wed…

Seven years ago today at 4:55 pm, Denny and I said these words to each other.

We kissed to make it official, and then we threw an awesome party to celebrate (and it was awesome if I say so myself)!

We were so young!

There are few, if any, things I would change about these seven years as husband and wife.  I might take more opportunities to do something nice for Denny, and I might take less opportunities to take out my frustrations or tiredness on him.  Perhaps we could have found time for more date nights and maybe another vacation or two, but otherwise, it’s been a great ride!

But if I could go back to those vows… if I could take what I know now and go back to those words we stood up and said to each other in front of all the people we love so much, here’s what I would add to them.


I, Erin, take you Denny, to be my husband…

I, Erin, also take you Denny, to be my fellow explorer when we toured Aruba on four wheelers on our honeymoon, my golf partner, my taste tester of new recipes (sorry honey!), my fellow house hunter, my co-swearer when the basement flooded on day 3 of home ownership, my painter, my grad school study buddy, my fellow flip cup teacher to the new neighborhood, my pizza orderer because you’re so much better at it than I am, my car buying companion, my personal masseuse while in labor, my co-diaper changer, my listener during hormonal meltdowns, my supporter when I just don’t know what the baby needs, my photographer when our daughter took her first steps, my voice of reason when we found out we were pregnant again, my rock when we had an unplanned c-section, my coffee getter when we were just so darn tired that only a cup of Timmy Ho’s will do, and my favorite co-tourist when we feel brave enough to take the kiddos out & about.

To have and to hold…

to listen and to respond, to screw up and to try harder next time, to challenge and to be challenged, to aggravate and to apologize, to pick up dinner and to share cleaning duties, to support and to appreciate…

from this day forward.

For better or for worse…

for wedding weight and for baby weight.

For richer, for poorer…

for times of savings and for times of broken water heaters, for cheap pasta dinners and for overly-expensive trips to the beach.

In sickness and in health…

in times of emergency appendectomy and in times of devastating miscarriage, in times of sunburn and in times of diaper rash.

To love and to cherish…

to make laugh and to barely tolerate, to share the remote and to share kids bed & bath duties, to share glances when we get a chance and to share nights out when we get a sitter, to enjoy our awesome kiddos, to learn, to grow, to try my absolute hardest every day to be better than the day before…

And I promise to be faithful to you until death parts us.

This part never changes.

This is my solemn vow.


IMG_5955.JPGHappy Seven Years Denny McGee!  Looking forward to writing our next years together.


And miles to go before I sleep

There are few things I love more than words.  Words are so simple, yet when connected with other words they create powerful and meaningful messages.  Perhaps that’s why I love writing.  So I’m sure it’s no surprise that certain stories and poems regularly dance through my head.

One in particular is Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.  The final verse is this…

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
These words danced through my head while I stayed up all night packing before my many college moves.  These words danced through my head when I stayed up all night preparing for exams in grad school.  And these words definitely danced through my head during 3 am feedings with my little ones.
Tonight Denny and I drove home from his parent’s house and the words of Robert Frost again played over and over in my head as we made our way down the highway with our two little loves in the backseat.  Our initial plan wasn’t to come home at night but after our drive there we realized that Mitchell is not a fan of his car seat.  So around 9 pm with large coffees to go, we started the four-hour trek home in hopes that both Makenzie and Mitchell would sleep.
Makenzie was so uncomfortable and unable to sleep that I eventually had to climb into the backseat and squish between the two car seats with the hope of calming her down so that she could get a few winks of sleep.
The closer we got to home, the tighter I squeezed my buckled-up baby, and the more my mind raced.  We had miles to go, but I kept thinking about everyone else in our life who has miles to go.  During the past year we’ve seen some of the people we love most walking many long miles on life’s journeys.  Some journeys are to strengthen relationships, some are to learn to let go.  Some journeys are to find answers and some are to find cures.
It is now 3 am. We’re home and our babies are finally sleeping in their beds.  The Easter Bunny stopped by the house and we’re just a few hours from Easter morning, yet my mind keeps racing.  So as we approach the sunrise of Easter morning, perhaps the Hope of this day will bring new strength to all those who have miles to go before they sleep.  Perhaps we will all try to be more mindful of those around us silently trekking along on journeys.  And perhaps, if we’re lucky, our miles will have someone we love to hold us until we make it home.
 Sweet Dreams and Happy Easter to you and your families!

Glad to be a Q!

How I love this quote!

Dr Suess memory quote

It’s extra meaningful after this weekend.

For the first time since Makenzie was born I spent 3 nights away from her and I spent a very special weekend with 10 amazing ladies I’m lucky enough to call my cousins!  I missed Kenz like crazy but it was so very worthwhile.

Let me go back in time…

It all started with Sarah & Jimmy Quilty.  They were the most loving, wonderful grandparents anyone could have.  They had 5 children and my Dad was the youngest of them.  From the 5 children came plenty of grandchildren who turned out to be my awesome big cousins!  My sister, Melissa, and I grew up always loving the visits from our cool cousins.

Q family photo

Q Family reunion circa mid 80’s – Melissa and I were the ones rocking the sandals with socks.  Hotties!

Over the years we’ve all moved around the world for jobs, for love and for adventure – Cali, Florida, New Orleans, Detroit, Germany, Thailand, Cleveland, Philly, you name it – but despite the miles we’ve remained connected as Q’s.

Q fam reunion in Buffalo

Q Family reunion in September 2010.  You can’t see feet in this picture but Melissa and I were NOT wearing sandals and socks.

The last 4 years haven’t been easy for our family because we’ve lost 3 of our wonderful Aunts, but from the sadness came the reminder that we NEED to make it a point to stay connected.


And the Q Cousin Weekend idea began…

There were months of e-mails, texts, plans, more plans and ideas…

and then it happened.  It really Happened!!

On Thursday, Q cousins from Cali, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania & New York met up in Center Valley, Pa for 3 nights of fun.  It was Amazing!  We relaxed, we slept in, we talked, we went to NYC, we took selfies, we saw a Broadway show, we ate, we reminisced, we cried, we told secrets, we told inappropriate stories & we laughed.  We laughed a lot.  It was the kind of laughter that makes you sore the next day.

The pictures say it best…

Q cuz reunion trampoline selfie

All of us trying to squeeze into a photo.

q cuz reunion 1

Facetiming each other next to each other.

Q cuz reunion 2 Times Square

Times Square, we made it!!

Q cuz reunion kinky boots

Checking out Kinky Boots!

Q cuz reunion laughter

My favorite picture – Pure Hilariousness

Q cuz reunion Mel and Les kiss

Cousin love in the Big Apple


Q cuz reuniong 3 NYC skyline

City skyline! We took the scenic route into NYC but ended up with this great picture.  Life is truly about the Journey & not the Destination.


The weekend flew by and on Sunday we said good-bye and headed our separate ways.  I was very happy to see Denny (aka Daddy Daycare Pro – thanks honey!) and Makenzie, and they welcomed home a much more relaxed and recharged wife and Mom.

As for the moments my cousins and I shared, Dr. Suess was right.  From the time we spent together came memories…  awesome and very special memories that will remain as part of the Quilty story.  There’s no doubt that Jimmy & Sarah were watching over us (hopefully only hearing the G-rated stuff) and smiling knowing that they were the reason for this weekend.  There are few things in life more important than family and I am beyond incredibly lucky to be a part of the Q family.

LLKK to the Q cousins until we meet again!

My sister Rocks!!!

There’s no doubt about it, my sister Melissa is The Coolest sister Ever!

A few weeks ago she entered us in a contest (thanks to the fabulous ladies at The Honest Mom Project – check them out) for a spa day and we WON!  YESSSSSSSS!   And I thought… Hey my sister deserves a blog post.

Then her Birthday rolled around and I thought… Hey it’s my sister’s Birthday and she deserves a blog post.

Then more time passed, (and I ate cookies rather than finishing a blog past) and I thought… My sister deserves a blog post, darn it!  It’s time I finish it.

So here’s why my sister Melissa is the best…

She knows good fashion when she sees it, whether in jammies or in stylish Easter dresses.

Melissa 1

Where’s the Beef?


Melissa 2

We sure knew how to make sleeves look awesome!

She was a super cool teenager and a very talented driver (minus the incident where the flying mailbox jumped on her car – crazy!)

Melissa 3

She was a huge reason why my time at OU was as fun as it was.  She took care of me as a freshman and taught me everything I needed to know about happy little Athens, Ohio.

(And she bought me beer when I was 18.  Score!)

melissa 5

OU Graduation 2002 – Don’t you wonder what onlookers thought of us?

She (along with my best friend Sara) was the best MOH ever!

Melissa 4

Bachelorette fun!

She is an INCREDIBLE and loving Mom!

And she gives amazing advice and support to hormonal and clueless new Moms (not that I know).

Auntie Melissa, cousin Jack, Kenz and Mom

There’s no denying it, Melissa is an awesome big sis and best friend.

It sure is good to be a Q!

q family photo

Matching t-shirts NOT planned. We’re such dorks.

LLKK Melissa!


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You’ll meet some amazing ladies like my sis Melissa! 


One of those amazing melt-your-mom-heart Moments

Call me a rebel because it’s not a Wednesday night, but I feel the urge to blog a little.  It’s honestly a selfish reason… I don’t want to ever forget today.

Today in the middle of cleaning, in the middle of wrapping, in the middle of life, I had one of the amazing Melt-your-Mom-heart Moments.  Those are the moments that make all the hard parts of parenting worthwhile.

It started simple enough… one of our wonderful neighbors/friends brought Makenzie an awesome (and incredibly generous) Christmas gift: the super adorable Disney Princess Klip Klop Stable.   It’s so cute!  She was napping when they dropped it off, but Denny and I were so excited to see her reaction that we woke her up early (after we played with it ourselves of course).  Kenz came into the room and let out a shriek to see the awesome gift.   The picture below highlights her joy.  She just stood there with her little hands moving, and she had a huge smile on her face.  It melted my heart into a million billion pieces.



Kenzie played with it for a long time and didn’t even notice when I left the room briefly…  When I came back it was as if I watched her transform from our baby to a little girl.  Denny and I both snuck in the doorway and watched her picking up the little people and moving them around and babbling to them telling the ponies all about the storyline she was creating.  It was the first time we ever saw her play like such a big girl.

So cute, and so amazing!  There were tears in my eyes and there was a feeling of immense appreciation in my heart for what we have.  Our little pumpkin is turning into a big girl one klip klop at a time.

For all the stress and the anxiety I’ve been feeling as I try to make Christmas “perfect” I was reminded tonight that it has nothing to do with perfection,  It’s really about those super cool moments we get to spend with the little (and big) ones in our life we love the most.

Here’s to finding more of those moments in your holiday season!




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A funny hubby, a cute baby and the Target Cartwheel app

Thankful?  Yep, I’m absolutely thankful!

I have a funny hubby, cute baby and the Target Cartwheel app… what else could a girl need (seriously I think those 3 things make up the ‘basic’ level on the Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs)?

I think we all try to be extra aware of the good stuff around us at this time of the year (at least until we wake up at 2 am the day after being thankful to arm wrestle people for hot deals on laptops, but whatever).   I could write about all the obvious things in my life that I love, but who’s got time for that… there’s food to be eaten!  So I thought I’d go a different route and think about all the little itty-bitty things that make life sweet.


::  A day in the life of a Thankful mom  ::

5:30 am – Alarm, snooze, snooze, hear baby girl, slip out of bed to get sweet sleepy baby… and the thankfulness begins…

…Thankful for flannel sheets (even if I don’t want to get out of them), thankful for Kenzie’s adorable bed head, thankful for extra absorbent diapers, thankful for morning snuggles…


Little pumpkin bed head… melts my heart!

6:21 am

…Thankful for hot showers, thankful for tights so I don’t have to shave my legs, thankful for a husband who did laundry the night before (true story, Denny does all the laundry)…

7:05 am

…Thankful (SO THANKFUL) for Tim Ho’s K-cups, thankful for morning playtime with Kenz, thankful for the Today Show, thankful for binkies on a string, thankful for Cheerios…

tim hos k cup

Mornings haven’t been this amazing since the days of kegs & eggs in college!

7:32 am

…Incredibly thankful for a wonderful caregiver, thankful for a baby that (usually) doesn’t cry at drop-off, thankful for a commute that gives me just enough time to catch up with a few loved ones…

7:55 am

…Thankful for Pandora, thankful for cute baby pics to look at while I’m in the office, thankful for a system to prioritize e-mails, thankful for my OU mouse pad…

11_22 TUrkey 2

Speaking of pictures on my desk, here’s Thanksgiving 2012. Our little turkey was about 7 weeks old.

8:45 am

…Thankful for a job that I really truly enjoy, thankful for a cool view of medical campus out office window, thankful for funny co-workers…

11:45 am

…Thankful for flat shoes to run errands, thankful for $5 foot longs, thankful for texting to send a note to a friend I haven’t talked to lately…

flat shoes

3:10 pm

…Thankful for a husband who likes to check-in during the day, thankful for leftover Subway cookies from lunch…

4:35 pm

…Thankful for flex time, thankful for blue tooth in my car, thankful for a husband who does pick-up duty…

5:40 pm

…Thankful for fun mail, thankful for Digiorno pizzas, thankful for sweat pants, thankful for sippy cups…

7:40 pm

…Thankful for adorable bare baby bums, thankful for baby shampoo that doesn’t burn if it goes in eyes, thankful for the smell of a clean baby…

8:20 pm

Thankful for a chance to just sit, thankful for baby video monitors, thankful for ice cream, thankful for DVR…

9:40 pm

…Thankful for a few minutes to share my thoughts on the blog, thankful for YOU for stopping by to read it…

And at the end of the day (every day)

…I’m thankful for all the countless blessings we have, and I’m thankful the people in my world (both with us and the ones we carry in our hearts) for the impact they leave in my life…

(Speaking of, this is one of my favorite pictures of when Aunt Lorraine met Makenzie last Thanksgiving.  Tomorrow (Thanksgiving) would have been my Aunt Lorraine and Uncle Jim’s 50th wedding anniversary.   She’ll be in our thoughts all day)

11_19 Aunt Lorraine and Kenzie

What I would give to go back to last year for just a little more time with Aunt Lorraine…

Wishing you and your families an awesome, turkey-filled holiday as you celebrate with all the people who make you thankful!


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FIVE Years!

Five Years!  And Yes, I’d say I Do all over again!

(Denny, I sure hope you feel the same)

8_16 Wedding photo with veil

This year has brought the most change so far!  I can get wordy and sappy and long-winded about this year, but instead I’m going to use the same method to explain how I feel as 554 million users do each day… hashtags!

In honor of 5 years of marriage I’m going to recap our years together using only 5 hashtags for each year!  (Don’t try this at home)

Here goes…

2004 – The year we met…

#IWasOnlyCallingForADonation      #StarsAreAligned     #HottieHottieAlumni

#TimeToMeetTheParents      #SoHappySoSappy

2005 – A Year of Fun and new Zip Codes

#BricksAndBeer     #PompAndCircumstance     #TimeForABigKidJob

#UnexpectedJobTransfer      #WeMustLoveEachotherToDriveThisMuch

2006 – The Year we found out if we really liked eachother

#FinallyLivingInTheSameState     #LifesBetterInTheBuff     #Don’tTellGrandmaWe’reLivingInSin

#MeetLexiKitty     #WhoKnewWeEvenLikedCats

2007 – The Year of Will You

#WillYouMarryMe?     #YES!!!!!!!     #WeddingPlanningPalooza

#GoodThingWeGoToSoManyWeddings     #WhereWasPinterestWhenIWasABride

2008 – The Year of O-H-I-dO!

#TheCountdownIsOn     #FunHappyBestMostAmazingDayEver     #PartyInAthens

#WeHeartOurFriendsAndFamily     #AmazingAruba

2009 – The Year of Being Adults

#SOLD     #WereHomeowners     #RememberWhenWeThoughtPaitningWouldBeFun

#WhyDidWeThinkGradSchoolWasAGoodIdea     #INeedANap

2010 – The Year of Surviving on little sleep (or so we thought)

#75HourWorkWeeksSuck     #UhOhWeHaventEvenStartedThatPaper     #MmmmmCoffee

#SpouseStudyBuddies     #WeLoveTakeOut

2011 – The Year of Lots of Celebration

#GradSchoolGrads     #FlipCupAtTheMcGees     #BahamasBaby

#FreeTimeRocks     #BabyMaybe

2012 – The Real Year of Surviving on Little Sleep aka The Year of meeting our Makenzie

#WerePregnant!     #ItsAGirl    #MeetMakenzieRuth

#WereMadlyInLove     #BestYearEver

2013 – The Year of Hey We’re Parents

#ItRocksToBeParents     #WereCluelessAsParents     #MakenzieIsHilarious

#IStillNeedANap     #HeyWeMadeItFiveYearsAndWeStillLikeEachOtherMostDays


And it’s the truth!  We Still Like Each other (most days) and we still love each other all days!!

Denny, I don’t think I’ll ever stop asking, How’d we get so lucky?  With each other, with our families, with the opportunities and experiences we’ve been given and with our awesome little family.   We got lucky.  Really Really lucky!

Wedding laughsI Love You!  Here’s to 50 more, xoxo

PS  Maybe by then we’ll really figure out how to learn hashtags!


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Dear Makenzie, there’s someone I always want you to remember…

Dear Makenzie,

A few months back I promised I would use part of this blog to write to you all about life and lessons and love.  I promised I’d tell you all about the important things I always want to you tuck away in a safe spot in your heart.  I have something very important I want to share with you.  I want to tell you all about your Great Aunt Lorraine.


Aunt Lorraine at the Q family reunion a few years back with her “Q” award

This week has been a very sad week for our family because we lost your wonderful Great Aunt Lorraine after a courageous battle with a disease not worth mentioning.  I write this post to you because I always want you to know about Aunt Lorraine!  She was hilarious, interesting, beautiful, talented and SO FUN!!!

Your Great Aunt Lorraine was the coolest Aunt!  She used to have a light-up Christmas sweatshirt, which always made me smile when I was a kid.   And she and Uncle Jim were always taking Aunt Melissa and I fun places when we were little – Indians games, Nutcracker ballet, and even a trip to Canada once.


Your mom and Aunt Lorraine, sometime in the 90’s

I can write for days about the wonderful memories I have of Aunt Lorraine but most importantly I want you to know about her ability to always find the bright side of things.  She really really knew how to enjoy life.  I hope you someday do the same.

Pictures are really worth a thousand words so I have included some pictures below for you to know all about your Great Aunt Lorraine.  She will be forever missed.

Love you lots Kenz,

Mom, xoxo

Aunt Lorraine Uncle Jim

Aunt Lorraine and Uncle Jim – so in love!!

Aunt Lorraine camera

Aunt Lorraine loved her photography

Aunt Lorraine zany

Always so so fun!

Aunt Lorraine photography

Some of her photography talent

Aunt Lorraine taking a picture

Always capturing the sunsets

PS  I’m so glad that Aunt Lorraine was able to see your sweet smile and get to know you!  Check out her time with you…

Aunt Lorraine and Makenzie

Makenzie you were just a few weeks old when we took your first road trip to Ohio to meet Aunt Lorraine


Wisdom from Aunt Lorraine to you at your shower!


At your baby shower everyone wrote you notes. Aunt Lorraine wrote about you, “She will be a star in Hollywood” Maybe someday you will!


I think this was her secret…

Secret of genius

Picture of the Week *Happy Fathers Day!*

Melissa and I grew up with some of the best!

Best Dad, Best Grandpas, Best Families

I can’t say Thank You enough to each of the wonderful men in my world who helped me become who I am today, but Father’s Day is a pretty good opportunity to do it, so here goes.

Happy Father’s Day to…

Grandpa Quilty —  He was always full of wisdom & kindness, and he played a mean game of Chinese Checkers.

Grandpa Synk — I wish I was in Cleveland today to celebrate with him.  So many fun memories with him from camping in their backyard to games of Sandlot Slugger to trips to downtown Cleveland

Melissa & I with both sets of Grandparents.

Melissa & I with both sets of Grandparents.

Dad – The best Dad ever!!  A true Dad of daughters.  Dad conquered everything from dance lessons to dance parties with the Grease soundtrack and everything in between.   Dad we Love you so much!  And Makenzie is very lucky too!   She’s pretty excited to grow up having you to hold her hand.


Makenzie and Papa

Dad (in-law, Gene) – Thank you to a wonderful father-in-law for welcoming me to the family.  I’m thankful that you taught Denny to be a wonderful husband.  And Denny and I are very glad that you are a wonderful Pap Pap to our sweet girl!

I love PapPap too!

I love PapPap too!

And last but not least, Happy Father’s Day Denny!

Watching you become a Dad is better than I could have imagined.  There’s no one that can make Makenzie giggle like you can, and there is no one that she looks at the way she looks at you.  It’s true love and I consider myself to be very lucky to be able to watch you two together.   Thank you for ALL you do to make our world as happy as it is.  We Love You so much!

10_21 Kenzie with Denny

Snuggle buddies


Makenzie and her Daddy!   This picture makes my heart smile


True buddies – Makenzie watching her favorite guy