Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ella is One!

I'm a little late in getting Ella's 1-year pictures taken - but I hear 13-month photos are the new thing anyways.

The most important thing to this momma is just capturing her at this stage. I know she won't always have the same adorable little faces or smiles and I just wanted to capture the joy she effortlessly oozes. And of course - I wanted to capture her love for her lion.

The kilt she is sporting was mine at about the same age. My 1-year photos were taken in the kilt as well. [I don't have a copy of the picture here, but need to do a comparison at some point]. Thanks to my awesome momma for keeping the kilt for me.

 I also wanted to complete the "series" of pictures we took this year with her in the pink tutu. [We used it for her newborn, 3-month, 6-month, 9-month photos as well.]

[props to Daddy for getting Ella to clap in these photos!]

Heirloom pictures seem to be really popular in the "baby-picture circuit" these days - and I love the idea. I gathered pearls from my mom and my mother-in-law for this picture. The pearls shared by my mom were actually her mother's - and she has gifted them to Ella, so sweet to have such a precious gift for her. Ella also wore the set of pearls that Josh gave me while we were still dating. I just love how these pictures came out - and how much of her sweet personality is captured.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Creamy Tomato & Spinach Pasta

I love a good pasta dish that allows me to just throw in the "veggie requirement" for that meal. One-dish dinners are my favorite. Now if you can make it one pot, I'm in heaven.

We had sweet friends from D.C. over this weekend as they passed through on their way home for the holidays - even though we only saw them for a few short hours - it was wonderful to have them here and meet their sweet baby.

For some reason - I always think it is a wonderful idea to try a new recipe for company. Luckily, this one was a big hit. I took the recipe originally from


  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried basil
  • pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
  • freshly cracked pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 oz. cream cheese
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • ½ lb. penne pasta
  • 9 oz. fresh spinach 
Hint: I used "small shells" pasta - and used 14 oz - and this barely served 4 people - so I would make an entire box of pasta in the future.


  1.  Dice the onion and mince the garlic, set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender (7-10) minutes. Drain the pasta.
  3. While waiting for the pasta, cook the onion and garlic in a large skillet with the olive oil over medium-low heat until softened and transparent (about 5 minutes).
  4. Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, salt, and some freshly cracked pepper to the skillet with the onions and garlic. Stir to combine. Add the tomato paste and a ½ cup of water to the skillet and stir until the tomato paste is dissolved into the sauce.
  5. Turn the heat down to low. Cut the cream cheese into a few pieces and then add them to the skillet with the tomato sauce. Use a whisk to stir the sauce until the cream cheese has fully melted in and the sauce is creamy. Add half of the Parmesan to the skillet and whisk until it is melted in. Add the remainder of the parmesan and whisk until melted in again.
  6. Add the fresh spinach and gently stir it into the sauce until it has wilted (3-5 minutes). Add the pasta and stir until it is well coated in the creamy tomato sauce. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Naps are for babies

Which of the following does NOT want to take a nap? 

Leaves in December

Growing up in New Hampshire, I've had my share of white Christmases. And sure they are beautiful, but honestly, I'm not minding seeing the ground for the second time this December. 

Even amidst the 50-degree rain, my wonderful hubby raked up the left-over leaves we had long neglected. 

Raking in December. 

Welcome to home ownership. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013


I just love little girls in pigtails. Every little girl can rock them. No exceptions.

Their time has finally come at my house! 

A shout out to the also-adorable "whale spout". 

Thanksgiving 2012 vs. 2013

Thanksgiving 2012 was without a doubt, the most magical Thanksgiving ever. (At least in my life!)

Ella's due date was November 16th, her Aunt Callie's birthday. And throughout our pregnancy I kept telling Josh, I didn't want to go early and have a Halloween baby, or go late and have a Thanksgiving baby - everything else was ok.

God had other plans.

It was a "Gillespie Thanksgiving" and everyone arrived in town on Wednesday. We hang out as a family and looked at about a million of those celebrity name memes, but this one did the trick.
My contractions started in full just a few hours later. Long story short - we arrived at the hospital at 6am on Thanksgiving morning. Although the day was exhausting, we met our 8lb 11oz turkey (just before the cafeteria closed...easiest Thanksgiving dinner ever) and our hearts instantly melted. The whole world stopped. Honestly, I really couldn't even image anyone else was still out there. My Ellanore was in my arms, and my mommy heart was bursting.

This Thanksgiving was awesome too. We had Josh's dad and sister, Katie, here as well as new friends from church, Ryan & Jessica.

I intentionally kept the cooking to a minimum - who wants to cook all day to eat for 30 minutes? Well, I guess, most of America.

Here is our sweet girl on her first (full) Thanksgiving - she only got about 6 hours last year - and missed the entire parade - what's Thanksgiving without the parade?

Ella's First Birthday

This last year has been a wonderful whirlwind. Almost every day had a "first experience" of some kind. I've loved my journey into motherhood and it has softened my heart and definitely increased my patience. Oh yeah - and there is that new ability to talk over total chaos.

For Ella's birthday I had lots of theme ideas but settled on something more simple - we can leave the themes for birthdays she will remember. :) I decided on a teal-and-pink cupcake party.

We served mostly sweets, and of course, mostly pink and teal desserts! I'm so glad my parents where here to help Josh and I with set up and celebration. They flew down from New Hampshire, and it was a treat to share the special day with them.

Ella was a little skeptical of her cupcake, and possibly a little overwhelmed by everyone watching her :) 

 Later that night, Josh gave her some of the chocolate cake - to which she emphatically declared "Yum!"

Happy birthday, sweet Ella!

Ella saying goodbye to my parents in her outfit brought from Scotland! :)