Weekend Update | Vol. 6

LIFE... Jared was at the cabin with his friends for a few days, so it was just me and the kids this weekend. My sister and her boys came to visit on Saturday, and seeing my kids with their baby cousin was almost enough to make me want #3. Aaaaaalmost.

ALLIE... Let Emma talk me into making Valentines for her and Jonah's classes this year. Because why spend $10 on store bought Valentines when you can spend $30 on the supplies to make them? That's my motto, anyway. ;)

JARED... Had a great weekend with his friends. Just the guys, no kids, no wives, celebrating the last days of being 36. Not too shabby.

EMMA... Yyyyyeah, definitely jinxed her by saying last week she was coming out of a rough phase. A crap week at school ended on a high note and her hard emotional work was rewarded with us starting her first chapter book together. Gotta love a kid who sees books as rewards. 

JONAH... I'll admit I was a bit wary when he asked to hold his baby cousin, but for a kid who's always been a bit of a bull in a china shop, I was in awe of how gentle and nurturing he was with Ethan. I have a feeling those two are going to be good friends growing up.



Emma (singing): Put a bean bag on your head / back to the 1950s / when they had a medicine man / who helped them feel better

Kathryn: You need 10 hands... 5 for Jonah, 2 for Emma, and 3 for everything else.

Allie: Do you need a safe space to calm down for a bit? It's not okay to kick the furniture.
Emma: (toot)

Weekend Update | Vol. 5

LIFE... This weekend was all about celebrating family, from the oldest to the youngest. We drove up to PA on Saturday for Jared's grandmother's 90th birthday. We got to see so much of our extended family that we don't get to see nearly enough, and the kids had a blast. And on Sunday I finally got to take my nephew's newborn pictures. Spending time with a teeny tiny baby that I don't have to feed and change and stay up with all night is kind of the best.

ALLIE... I'm head over heels obsessed with quilting and sewing again. I have way too many ideas in my head and not nearly enough time to make them all. Pinterest problems strike again.

JARED... Wants to be a Barnwood Builder. Or have a cabin built by the Barnwood Builders. Or just watch a lot of Barnwood Builders.

EMMA... Knock on ALL the wood, but we *might* be moving out of her latest rough phase. All of a sudden this week she started throwing way less 'tude our way and... what's that word... listening! It's kind of amazing and I really really hope it's not a fluke. 

JONAH... Figured out how to put his pants on by himself. He's very VERY proud of this accomplishment.



Jared: Huh... haven't seen an urgent care in a Sheetz before.

Emma: Dada, there's like googleplex houses.

Allie: If anyone ever wanted to capture and torture me, this song would be a real quick way to get info out of me. (Mairzy doats, guys. Mairzy. Effing. Doats.)

Emma to me and Jared about Jonah: I'm glad you guys made him.

Grandma Shellaway: Can you believe Mariah Carey is engaged? And Miley and Liam are back together. Both men are Australians. They must like 'em crazy down there.

Weekend Update | Vol. 4

LIFE... Snow, snow, and more snow. Like, SO MUCH SNOW. We managed to dig out by Sunday afternoon but there are snow banks taller than Jared in our front yard. We're taking bets on when the last of this snow will melt. I'm guessing March.

ALLIE... Nothing like two days of shoveling to remind me that I haven't worked out in 5 years. I should probably do something about that. Just not today. Mama's sore today. So so sore.

JARED... Total beast when it comes to shoveling. He was working so hard that when he stopped to take breaks there was steam coming off of him. Literally my McSteamy.

EMMA... Was over the snow about 5 minutes after we first went outside, but once it finally stopped falling and she had huge mountains to climb she was happy as a clam. 

JONAH... Big fan of apres snow drinks, not a big fan of trying to trudge through snow as tall as he is. Next year, buddy. Next year.



Jonah: No sticky O's!!
Allie: You don't have to have sticky O's. What DO you want?
Jonah: Sticky O's!!

Emma: What a blizzard!

Allie: Maybe someday we'll watch a David O' Russell movie that lives up to the hype. Today was not that day.

Emma: Uggghhhh. I wish this was NOT a blizzard.

Jared: Suck it, Tom Brady. Go home and cry yourself to sleep tonight with your supermodel wife and your pillow made of money. (It should be noted that he SANG this.)

Emma: Knock, knock.
Jared: Who's there?
Emma: Cowboy.
Jared: Cowboy who?
Emma: Cowboy says he has a pickle on his face!

Weekend Update | Vol. 3

LIFE... Why can't every weekend be a 3 day weekend? Extra time with the kids AND I don't have to work? Yes, please!

ALLIE... My sister sent me 5 pints of Salt & Straw and I struck gold at Madewell when I found a dress on sale that fits me perfectly. It was a good week, my friends.

JARED... Had to work on Saturday and didn't get MLK day off. Was not nearly as grumpy about these things as I thought he'd be. 

EMMA... Is apparently perfectly capable of getting dressed in record speed, so long as we have plans to go see her cousins that day. She's also taken to sneaking into our room in the middle of the night, putting her face right up to mine or Jared's and saying - in a very creepy whisper - "I have to go potty!" She passes her bathroom on the way to our bedroom. 

JONAH... Croup has been followed up with a brutal head and chest cold. Sigh. Poor kid can't catch a break. Like, his whole life. But there's no keeping him down. He's still a smiling, dancing, mischief-making machine.



Allie: Look at the moon, guys! It's just a tiny little sliver tonight.
Emma: Yeah! It looks like an invisible taco.

Emma: You know what I say when Jonah burps? 'Now THAT is a burp, baby!'

"They're like these massive, terrifying beasts. A thousand pounds of muscle. And you're just like, 'Oooh, I'm going to get on its back and go for a little ride.' When it could easily trample you to death at any second." - Jared explaining his inordinate fear of horses

Weekend Update | Vol. 2

LIFE... So croup kind of sucks. The humidifier has been working overtime this week but our poor Jo is finally on the mend. We had to postpone the kids' visit to meet their new cousin, so we made it up to them by taking them to the Maryland Science Center. Big Bird on a planetarium screen is kind of strangely wonderful.

ALLIE... Having a grand time day dreaming not about how we're going to spend our Powerball winnings, but about how we're going to maintain normalcy and humility once we're obscenely wealthy. Don't get me wrong, there will be some nice camera gear purchases. And I'm absolutely getting weekly shipments of Salt & Straw. I'm just saying, I won't let the money go to my head.

JARED... Finally got to see The Revenant. Will now be rooting for The Revenant at every awards show I force him to watch.

EMMA... Has insisted on playing "Arctic Explorers" and nothing else after our visit to the Maryland Science Center. I have to keep watch over the stuffed penguins and when they ultimately get injured by passing Orca whales or leopard seals she comes to stitch them up. I don't know why she keeps letting me watch the penguins.

JONAH... I slept on the floor in his room the night croup hit and woke up to him holding my hand through the crib rails. It's heartbreaking to watch him be so sick, but dang if he isn't the sweetest little sickling that ever was.



"I hate so many people. But I'm pulling for Leo." - Jared

"You're like a Ninja Turtle!" - Emma to me. (This was not meant as a compliment.)

Allie: I gotta dry your tushy.
Jonah: Why?
Allie: So you don't get a rash.
Jonah: Why?
Allie: Because rashes hurt.
Jonah: Why?
Allie: No more questions!
Jonah: Why?

"She normally looks very attractive, but something about her eyes looks like she's been smoking a lot of pot. She looks TURNT, perhaps." - Jared feeling proud of himself for using new to him slang while critiquing Golden Globes style

Weekend Update | Vol. 1

New year, new project! Every Monday in 2016 I'll be posting an update from our weekend with photos, tidbits, and quotes. My goal is to document our life from week to week with authenticity and humor, and I'm so so excited to kick things off with Volume 1. So without further adieu...

LIFE... The big news of the weekend: our new nephew, Ethan! I'm on my way to see him this morning and am so. freaking. excited. How many times can I smell his head before it starts to get awkward? 

ALLIE... Decided my three goals for the year would be filling my walls with photos, making twin size quilts for each of the kids, and evicting the mama flab. Goal one is off to a smashing success, and I'm Pinning a lot about the other two. You know, baby steps.

JARED... Finally finished his basement bar (a pretty darn nice coffin keezer) and is happy as a clam to have Flying Dog on tap.

EMMA... Do NOT ask her to get her shoes or coat on. Or to change out of her PJs. I'm serious guys. It's apparently the worst thing you could ever ask another human being to do and full body flailing with promises of never getting dressed ever ever again will ensue. Otherwise, she's awesome, creative, happy, hilarious, and all around wonderful. 

JONAH... Big on asking "Why?", not big on accepting the answer. Big on snacks, not big on meals. Must do everything himself. Ready to be potty trained, Jared and I are still trying to psych ourselves up for Round 2 of that whole business.



"A mummy is a person that's wrapped up in toilet paper." - Emma

"Meyee Kissmiss, Mama." - Jonah nightly as he apparently now thinks that's what we say instead of goodnight

"We didn't even kill the Doritos." - Jared lamenting our NYE performance

"All the birds in your life flew to south." - Emma

/Letters to My Children 2015/ December

Dear Emma and Jonah,

It's the last day of December AND the last day of 2015! We capped off the year with an awesome holiday season filled with all things Christmas... lots of yummy treats, Christmas light peeping, fun new toys, and a bit of giving to those in need.

The best day of the month was, as always, Christmas Eve. It's become such a sacred day in our little family... just the 4 of us and traditions galore.

Breakfast donuts were followed by Duckpin Bowling, where I had a blast watching Daddy's faces as Jonah dropped ball after ball onto the lane. THUD! (Cringe.)

I kind of got engrossed in the day after that and forgot to take pictures, which I 100% don't regret. But we had our usual awesome dinner of white bean tuscan soup and santa-boli, followed by Christmas books and driving around to look at Christmas lights, and all was wonderful.

Christmas morning was pretty darn perfect. Being a little kid at Christmas is awesome, but I assure you being the parent of a little kid is EVEN BETTER.

We spent the rest of the day at Nana and Grandpa Ed's, hanging with family and enjoying the chaos, er, magic. All in all, another fantastic day/month/season/life with my two favorite kiddos.

I love you to pieces and pieces,


PS... I'm joined in this project by a group of wonderful photographer mamas. Please head over to Ally's blog to read her December letter to her boys.

/10 on 10/ December 2015

It's my last 10 on 10 of 2015! And sadly my last for a while as I'm starting a new personal project next year that will take its place. It's going to be weekly and hopefully awesome, so stay tuned for that! Until then, here's what a typical Sunday morning looks like in the nuthouse...

/Letters to My Children 2015/ November

Dear Jonah,

You, my child, are kind of ridiculous. And I mean that in the best way possible. You revel in your ridiculousness, and we - your ever obliging audience - just eat it up. You have taken to putting on the craziest outfits when playing dressup with Emma, and while I'm sure one day you'll roll your eyes at these pictures, for now you're happy as a clam to walk around the house in a tutu and beret.

Don't lose your weirdness, Jo Jo... all the best people are slightly mad. And paired with a smile like yours? Well, kiddo, that's just about the best combination I could imagine.



/10 on 10/November 2015

I'm going to be blessed with another nephew at the end of this year! I was honored to take some photos for my sister and her family this past weekend...

I'm joined in this 10 on 10 project by a group of awesomely talented ladies. Please head over to Carri's blog to see her 10 then follow the circle around until you land back here.

/Letters to My Children 2015/ October

Dear Emma,

We finally made it to Sesame Place! After our first attempt a couple of weeks ago got rained out, gorgeous fall weather last weekend meant that it was all systems go for a road trip to Langhorne, PA. You were equally excited about getting to stay in a hotel as you were to meet Elmo, Abby, and the rest of the Sesame Street gang - especially because Nana and Grandpa Ed were coming, too.

I'm amazed you had any energy left for a day at the park after a morning spent wrestling with Ed and jumping on the bed. (Oh that's right, you're 4.) I was a wee bit nervous how you'd do with the costumed characters after a Pete the Cat encounter when you were 2 had seemingly scarred you for life in that department, but you did GREAT. You were a little apprehensive at first, but once you saw your girls Abby and Zoe you were all about it. You went on rides, saw a musical, and steered your brother around the park showing him all the cool stuff he could do.

All in all, it was a fabulous weekend for the Shellaway crew and once again your bravery and enthusiasm left me feeling all kinds of proud. 



I'm joined in this Letters project by a group of fabulously talented photographers... I encourage you to head over to Ally's blog to read her letter to her boys.

/VIDEO/ Our Everyday Happy

I'm so excited to finally share with you what I've been up to the past month. I've been wanting to learn DSLR video for a while now, and when I learned of Emily Mitchell and her awesome workshop, I knew it was time to sign up. Let me tell you guys - this workshop is INTENSE, but so so so worth it. Whether you want to learn to shoot video for clients, or just to document your own family (me!) Emily teaches you in a way that's approachable, thorough, and supportive. You learn camera settings, stabilization and shooting techniques, editing, audio, music... the whole shebang. I had ZERO video skills when I started this class, but now I feel like I have this awesome tool to help me tell my family's story. I really can't recommend this class more highly.

The video above was my final assignment... a month of taking video and somehow it all came together into this sweet glimpse into life with my 3 favorite people. It's not perfect, but it's us and I'm so very happy to have it.

/Letters to My Children 2015/ September

Dear Jonah,

In 2 more days you will be TWO years old! And what a difference a year makes... you went from bald crawling baby to a walking talking little boy. Full of energy, curiosity, sweetness and stubbornness. At some point this year you discovered that if you're going to have a mischievous streak, it's quite helpful to also be very charming. We both know that sweet smile of yours makes it awfully hard to stay mad at you.

This year also brought some big changes... right after your 1st birthday, we moved into our new house. And just last month you started Montessori preschool. It's been a tough transition at times, but your teachers adore you and you love having Emma right across the hall. The teachers asked me if you guys ever fight because you seem to have such a strong and loving bond. I had to laugh at that one. While the strong and loving bond part is certainly true, you definitely know how to push each others' buttons. But I promise you no one will be there for you like your sister, and vice versa. I'm excited to see how your relationship continues to grow as you get older and can do more things together... you want nothing more right now than to be able to keep up with your big sister!

Daddy and I love you like crazy and feel pretty darn lucky we get to be your parents... we can't wait to see what the next year brings for you! Here's to another year of adventure, snuggles, and endless smiles.



I'm joined in this project by some brilliant photographers... please head over to Melissa's blog to read her letter, then follow the links around until you end up back here. 

/10 on 10/ September 2015

My poor old laptop had to get sent off to Apple for a new logic board so my apologies that my 10 on 10 is actually a 10 on 20. These are from our Labor Day weekend trip to the cabin...

/Letters to My Children 2015/ August


Dear Emma,

Summer break with you sure flew by this year! Even though it's only 2 weeks, we always pack so much fun into that short time together. From the backyard to the creamery and many adventures in between, we spent our days being silly and carefree. I think my favorite day was when you and Jonah turned a simple art project into a full on body painting extravaganza. I hope I never forget the sound of your laughter as I hosed you off afterward. :)


As you head back to school this week, I want you to know how very proud of you I am. You have one of the kindest, most thoughtful hearts I've ever known, and that's no more apparent than in your love for Jonah. It's his first week at your school, and while you're very excited that he's finally in the same school as you, he's naturally having a lot of anxiety as he adjusts to new people and new routines. I can't even tell you how proud it made me to hear from his teacher that you went over to his room yesterday to help him feel better, and that his special treat after nap was to go see his big sister. It was your first day back, too, and you had every right to want to spend it playing with your friends. But instead you were there for your little brother when he needed you. That's a big job you took on, and you did it with the grace and generosity of someone well beyond your 4 years. They say our children are our greatest teachers, and you my girl make me certain that's true.




I'm joined in this letter writing project by some very talented photographers. I encourage you to head over to Melissa's blog to read her letter, then follow the links until you land back here!

/Letters to My Children 2015/ July


Dear Jonah,

If you have a season, it is most certainly Summer. You have been living it up the past couple of months, taking in all that Summer has to offer. We kicked off July at the cabin, where you loved playing in the water, palling around with your big sister, and generally being a messy, adventurous boy.


Summer wouldn't be summer without lots of water play, and you are definitely a water baby. You and Emma love when we chase you around the backyard squirting you with the hose. It's in those laughter-filled moments that time seems to stop and the afternoons feel like they could go on forever. But looking at these photos of you, I know time is moving way faster than I'd like. You're far more boy than baby these days and I'm coming around to being okay with that. Slowly.   


Summer coming to an end means big changes for you... the biggest being that you're starting at your sister's Montessori school. I'm both excited and nervous for you. I know you'll thrive in that school, but I also know you'll be confused at first and missing your beloved daycare provider. It'll be hard on all of us, but I promise to be there with extra uppies and snuggles when you need them. And when all else fails, we just may have to bring in the big guns - a vanilla cone with rainbow sprinkles. :)

Love you, buddy...


Head on over to my talented friend Ally's blog to read her July letter...

/10 on 10/ July 2015

Another great 4th of July at the cabin! The highlight of the weekend was Emma finally fishing on her own (she's been building up to it for the past two summers). She was fearless, persistent, and hilarious. She named each worm, named each fish, and comforted the fish as Jared removed the hook. She probably caught 10 fish all on her own by the time the weekend was over, and was so thrilled to be a "real fishergirl!" :) /1/ Taking this big sister thing to a new level


/2/ Perfectly capable of doing it on his own2015-07-09_0002

/3/ My favorite old door in all the land2015-07-09_0003

/5/ Got a bite!2015-07-09_0004

/6/ Back to wandering2015-07-09_0005

/7/ Time to cool down2015-07-09_0006

/8/ I believe this one was "Slimy Joe"2015-07-09_0007

/9/ Reel 'em in!2015-07-09_0009

/10/ My guys <32015-07-09_0010

Please head over to Dominique's blog to check out her incredible 10 on 10!

/Letters to My Children 2015/ June

2015-06-24_0001 Dear Emma,

Happy 4th Birthday, my sweet girl. People have been assuming you're 5 for a while now, so it's about time you finally turned 4! That assumption mostly comes from the fact that you're so tall for your age (91st percentile!), but also from your independence and maturity. It's been awesome to watch you blossom into this sweet, thoughtful, silly, creative little girl over the past year. It's like we can see the older you taking shape right before our eyes.

2015-06-24_0002 2015-06-24_0003

Don't get me wrong - you still have your toddler moments! Those moments can serve as (sometimes much needed) reminders that you've only just turned 4... there's so much you're still figuring out. You're just starting to navigate the social world - discovering both the joys and challenges of friendships. You've been asking hard questions about love, death, and what things mean. Daddy and I aren't always ready to tackle these topics, but we always try to answer you with respect, empathy, and honesty.

2015-06-24_0004 2015-06-24_0005

For your birthday this year, it felt like we celebrated all week long! We kicked things off with a princess party at the Little Gym where you celebrated with all your school friends. From the games to the Disney tunes to the Rapunzel cupcakes, you had a blast. After that, we headed home where our family was waiting to keep the celebration going. Your favorite gifts were your princess dresses and a book of Disney bedtime stories.2015-06-24_0006 2015-06-24_0007

For your actual birthday, I took the day off of work so we could hang out. It started with you finally getting your big present from me and Daddy - a new dress up cart! We built it from scratch just for you, and I even spray painted knobs bright pink for you to hang your bracelets and necklaces. If someone had told me when you were a baby that 4 short years later I'd be immersed in all things princess I would have told them they were crazy. But what can I say? It makes you so happy, and I'm learning to embrace the fact that our house is permanently covered in glitter.


Before meeting up with Nana, we stopped at the Frederick Rescue Mission to drop off the Backpack Drive donations you collected at your birthday party. Daddy and I were so very proud of you for thinking of others on your big day. One of the things that makes you so unique and wonderful is how innately thoughtful you are. You are always thinking of others' needs and feelings, even if it's something small like sharing with Jonah or bringing me an ice pack if I stub my toe. Daddy and I are hoping to teach you different ways you can use that gift to help others, because the world so desperately needs more people like you. 2015-06-24_0008

After that, we met up with Nana at Build A Bear where you - of course - built an Elsa bear. It even sings "Let It Go" which Daddy and I are super thrilled about. ;) We capped off the day with a family dinner at your favorite restaurant, Cafe Bueno. All in all, a perfect day and a great way to kick off age 4. As much as you want to skip ahead to being 5 like your older friends, I know this year will be filled with wonderful discoveries, important lessons learned, and happy, carefree times with family and friends.



Please head over to Ally’s blog to read her letter, then continue around the circle until you land back here!