Maryland House Tour, part 2

Due to nap schedules and phone glitches, this is pieced together in 3 parts!

Without further ado… the upstairs!


Tour of the House, part 1 (downstairs)

My friend, Sarah, requested a video tour of our new house and I’m happy to oblige! However, life is crazy. You know this so… this tour comes at you unfiltered, un-anythinged. My house is not perfectly clean and straightened which, I guess makes it accurate. 

Part two coming tomorrow (I hope to film it later this afternoon after naps/quiet time is over).


The Ups and Downs of Maryland

Here I am again. Desperately trying to get myself into the habit of blogging. It’s so hard because there are so many priorities in our busy lives. Sometimes I’m astounded by my fellow moms’ abilities to budget time to blog. I’ve realized, it’s just about what’s important. 

I think regularly about how I want to write about this and that and, ugh, I hate that these ideas just seem to slip away from me. 

So here I am. Again. Except, I think (I hope) that now I’m feeling a *little* more committed than in the past. My new committment: to take 15 minutes every weekday at the beginning of Oliver’s afternoon nap/Henry’s quiet time and blog. Period. No excuses. No dragging my feet. 

I can blog about whatever comes to mind. I set a timer for 15 minutes and WRITE! 

So, here I am. Okay, enough intro… I’m gonna waste my 15 minutes today at this rate!

2.5 weeks ago my family moved to Southern Maryland. No, not Annapolis. That’s not southern Maryland. Believe it or not, there’s quite a bit of Maryland below that. In fact, we’re quite a bit south of D.C. 


Don’t worry, I didn’t really realize it was there either until about two months ago. 

Moving is hard. If you’ve ever moved more than just across town, or with kids, or when you’ve lived in the same place for several years, you probably know this. I just did all three at once. Two kids, one who isn’t even mobile yet, six years in our previous house (which means we’d accumulated a LOT of stuff), and 6.5 hours away. To a place where we knew exactly NO ONE (minus our realtor who, unfortunately, is still 45 minutes away). 

I’m just starting to get my feet back under myself. 

I’m regularly bouncing between utter joy at having a beautiful home twice as big as our last and downright terror at the fact that I don’t yet have a job and, oh my goodness, we can’t even afford to pay rent! Once I *do* have a job, we’re going to be doing famously. In the meantime, it’s major penny pinching and waiting to purchase this or that because we’d like to, oh yeah, buy food this week. 

So far, my favorite things about Maryland: our larger, beautiful home and the cool real “autumn” weather. It’s also nice to only be about 1.5 hours from D.C. and a good bit of extended family. We were blessed to be able to attend our niece’s baptism last weekend which we would have otherwise missed. 

Things I do NOT like about Maryland (particularly our little corner of it): the bugs. What the what?! There are SOOOO many bugs and I’m kinda going batty over that. More on that later. Being so far away from… anything. The closest gas station is about a 5 minute drive. The closest grocery store? 20 minutes. I used to be able to walk to the grocery store in about 5 minutes. Ugh. That has been tough. 

My time is up. Here’s a few pictures to chronicle our first weeks in SoMD…

Henry in his first bedroom in Charlotte, after we were all packed!

Henry in his first bedroom in Charlotte, after we were all packed!

Oliver in his first bedroom in Charlotte, after we were all packed!

Oliver in his first bedroom in Charlotte, after we were all packed!

Moving Day

Moving Day

Our first day in the new house

Our first day in the new house

Baby Name Pool

By popular request (seriously, I wasn’t even gonna do this) I’ve created a Baby Name Guess Pool.

Please fill out the form below to make your guesses! All names (first and middle) need to be selected from the following. These are all names we considered for this baby (however briefly — some were literally, “How about this?” “Eww, no.”) The actual first and middle names are on this image! Name will be revealed when baby is born. 

Additionally, if you’d like to guess baby’s birthday and stats, you may. For reference:

… baby is a BOY (just in case you didn’t know).

… my “official” due date is February 5, 2016. 

… Henry was born 9 days late (I was induced 8 days past my due date). 

… Henry was born at 6:45 PM. 

… Henry weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces and was 21 inches long

… Only the names are required… the rest is up to you! 

… I make no guarantees that I will tally these answers after baby is born. If anyone guesses the correct first and middle names, I’ll post that on Facebook and give you the kudos you deserve. That’s all. If you guessed more than that correctly, you’re welcome to post saying you did so and take the credit you deserve. 


19 Weeks + Gender Guess Poll!


We’re currently 18 weeks, 6 days (19 weeks, rounding) and chugging along. In general, I feel good! Baby is moving regularly now… I feel him/her more and more each day. 

Today we had our anatomy ultrasound which checks for all sorts of things: presence of all major organs (brain, kidneys, stomach, heart — with four working valves, spine, etc.) It also gives us the opportunity to discover the sex of the baby! We asked our ultrasound tech to secretly take a picture (while we looked away) and label it for the gender reveal party we’re hosting this coming Sunday… yay! Our tech was super nice (and fell in love with Henry) and said she didn’t have trouble determining the gender, which was a concern of mine. 

Henry was also very excited about seeing the baby. When asked if he thinks the baby is a boy or a girl, he has always responded “a boy.” Although there have been times when I’ve asked if he thinks he’s going to have a brother or a sister and he says “sister”… hmmm… 

What do YOU think? We’ll be revealing at 5 PM at our party on Sunday and I’ll be posting the reveal picture(s) directly after. In the meantime, take our poll!

Do you think Baby "Mamertius" (Baby Rupar #2) is a BOY or a GIRL?

  • BOY (62%, 8 Votes)
  • GIRL (38%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 13

Loading ... Loading ...


Countdown to the Gender Reveal!


We are super excited that in 22 Days (!!) we’ll be finding out if our little one is a BOY or a GIRL. I believe the general consensus among family is that it is a girl but I am really not sure… and I REALLY don’t care — I’m just excited to know! Our anatomy ultrasound is the Thursday before but we’ll be letting our tech secretly write down (and hopefully print a picture) to pass along to a dear friend who will be create the balloon box for the occasion on Sunday.

We have affectionately dubbed this tiny one “Mamertius” after St. Mamertius, whose feast falls near the approximate conception date. (For the record, NO we will not be actually naming Baby this. It is for in-utero purposes only!)

We will be posting the announcement here shortly after the reveal at our party on September 13. Check back around 5:30-6 PM for the result!! 

Coming Soon…


It’s been several weeks since that little pink line appeared so ridiculously fast I didn’t actually believe it. Seriously, I’ve taken dozens of pregnancy tests in my lifetime and I double checked the box to make sure that the line showing up meant I WAS pregnant. 

Because really. Two and a half years. And meds. That’s what it took for the miracle of Henry to be created. 

And then, poof. 

Two. Months. 

Two months… not of “trying”… of simply “not avoiding” (or “rolling the dice” as others might be more familiar with)…. and here we are!

I texted two of my best friends that day, before taking the test. I asked for prayers that I not freak out in hopes of being pregnant because I was ONE day late. 

I promised myself I would wait to take a test until the next morning, which is the best time of day to do so early in pregnancy. Yeah… Dollar Store pregnancy tests are WAAAY too tempting. 

Several hours later, I purchased three of those, went back home, and immediately took one. 

And then I was staring at that little pink line in shock!


Today, we told Henry he was going to be a big brother. He likes to jump on me (or anyone… or anything) and I finally decided to tell him a few hours early because it was a good way to explain why he can’t jump on Mommy anymore. 

“Mommy has a baby in her tummy… right here.” (pointing) 

Henry reached for my shirt to pull it back saying, “Let’s look!” 

We did look… but not then. Several hours later, having met up with Daddy at the doctor’s office, we were called into the ultrasound tech’s room, jellied up my belly and in less than 10 seconds, were looking at our baby on the screen…. and watching his or her little heartbeat fluttering. It never gets old. Even the tech was excited. So tiny, yet already a strong heartbeat. And moving around quite a bit. 

We’re so excited to embark on this next journey with Baby #2!



My 12 Year Journey with Back Pain… and how I got my life back

When I was 12 years old, I was on a softball team. If you know me at all you know I am not (and never was) the athletic type. So… instead of paying attention to the game one hot afternoon, my friend, Shannon, and I were sitting in the dugout alone (because we were the losers not good enough to be playing in the field) and decided to try our hands at swinging from the large horizontal support pole that ran above the bench. Jump! …from the bench. Grab! the metal pole. and SWING! Too much fun to last. 

After about my fourth try, my fingers missed their grip and instead of swinging, I slid and SMACK. Fell hard on my BACK on the solid concrete. 

Everything stopped. The coach happened to see it and screamed. My dad, who was an assistant coach, yelled to me, “DO NOT TRY TO GET UP!”

Amazingly, I seemed unharmed. I was in too much shock to actually follow the instructions I was given, I pushed myself up to a seated position almost immediately. I was terrified that I may have actually broken my back and wouldn’t be able to walk. (I knew logically sitting up wasn’t a good idea, but instinctively, I ignored that information.) I was bruised but otherwise fine. Or so we thought. 

About my junior year of high school, I suddenly began having intermittent back & sciatic pain. I think my mom thought I was crazy and being over-dramatic. One day I could barely walk, then the next day I was perfectly fine. I saw a Chiropractor. She helped very little.

The pain would go away for a few months… sometimes years. 


When I moved to Charlotte, NC in 2006, I totaled my car two weeks after landing my first out-of-college job. I replaced it with a manual shift. A few months after driving stick, my back and leg pain reared its ugly head again. I finally got an MRI performed and discovered mild degeneration in my L4 & L5 vertebrae. The solution: physical therapy which led to massage therapy… followed up by lots of OTC and prescription medication whenever a flare up occurred.

None of it helped much. The pain meds works but made me otherwise non-functional.

Last year, I spent about 90% of my family’s beach vacation sitting, in pain, on the couch watching TV. My husband or brothers had to help me just to get to the bathroom it hurt so much. 

I have always had to avoid strenuous exercise or activity of any kind. My toddler son knows that I cannot sit on the floor to play a game for too long because “Mommy’s back hurts.” 

I do have certain time periods where my back doesn’t bother me… but I have to be cautious of my activity levels or I’ll trigger a flare up. No running. No heavy lifting. Every time I’ve tried a new exercise regimen, the pain would return in full-force.

So, two weekends ago, I single-handedly took apart my son’s solid wood bunk beds. The following day, I took apart his old crib. The next day, I almost threw a party I was so happy. Back pain: ZERO. Can I tell you how?

This amazing little bottle of oils. 


Can I begin to tell you how skeptical I was of this idea? “Rub these smelly oils on yourself and cure all ills!” One thought came to mind: “Crazy nutso hippies.”

Until I read my friend Stephanie’s story of her son’s debilitating allergies and how Young Living Essential Oils changed her family’s lives. I messaged her that day to basically ask, “REALLY?!” I didn’t know her well then but I knew she wasn’t anti-doctor, anti-medicine… so why would she believe it this stuff?

It’s really simple: it works. 

It took some arm-twisting but I managed to convince my husband to let me buy the Young Living Premium Starter Kit as an Easter gift this Spring. That was two months ago. Since then, I have taken ZERO pain medication of any kind for my back. When I have signs of a flare up (as I did the eve of dismantling the bunk beds), I apply the proper oils and not only feel better — I feel GREAT within just minutes of application. 

What is PanAway? It is just one of hundreds of oils available from Young Living. This particular one is a blend of oils which includes: Clove, Peppermint, Wintergreen, and Helichrysum. I dilute it with coconut oil and apply it directly to my skin, wherever I’m experiencing pain. It took about a week of application for the full effect to take place, but since then, any application dissipates the pain within minutes.

Not only have I eliminated back pain medication from my life, I’ve also:

  • stopped my husband’s snoring
  • improved my forever-faulty digestive system
  • lowered my chronic anxiety
  • reduced pain and bruising from minor bumps & scrapes
  • found all-natural ways to repel mosquitos and other bugs 
  • and more!

If you are interested in more information about Young Living Essential Oils, or would like to try some samples, please email me at: laurenrupar at gmail dot com and I’d be happy to send you some oil samples and some basic information about essential oils – what they are, how they work, and how to use them. If there’s a specific health issue you’re interested in oils to help with, please let me know that too so I can try to include samples of the oils that would most help you and your family.

Allow me a small piece of advice to you before you run out to buy oils at your local health food store or dig through your bathroom cabinet looking for that bottle of eucalyptus you bought on Amazon one time: Not all oils are the same. Please do not try just “any” brand of essential oil and expect your life to change. (Maybe it will… but I would highly doubt it.) Young Living’s quality is a step above the rest. They are second to none. Let me send you a sample or come join an oils class with us before you try the other stuff. In the world of oils, you most definitely get what you pay for. Young Living cannot be beat.

If you are ready to try oils yourself, just visit my Oily Wonder enrollment page and follow the instructions!

“Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.” – James 5:14

Use that leftover Easter egg dye!

I stole this from another blogger but since I feel that I’ve greatly improved over their suggestions, I feel OK with writing my own post about it. 

I am super excited about making super-easy sensory pieces — and you can too! (Even if you don’t have left over egg dye.)

What you’ll need:

  • Dry, uncooked pasta (whatever shapes you desire)
  • Leftover Easter egg dye and/or various food colorings (I found I needed the extra food coloring anyway)
  • White vinegar
  • Cookie sheets or other metal tray
  • Several bowls or pans for soaking the pasta
  • Paper towels
  • Optional: wax or parchment paper


  1. Turn your oven to the “keep warm” setting if you have one or set it to 200 degrees.
  2. If using leftover egg dye, pour each color into separate bowls. Likely, you won’t have enough to put much pasta in and be completely covered. To this end, proceed to the next step…
  3. Add 1-2 extra inches of vinegar to each bowl, depending on how much pasta you’d like to dye at one time. 
  4. Squirt a generous amount of extra food coloring as desired and mix thoroughly.
  5. Add portions of pasta to each. Do not add more than can be completely covered by the liquid. 
  6. Let sit for 12-20 minutes, depending on the depth of color desired.
  7. Meanwhile, lay a thick layer of paper towels on each cookie sheet. 
  8. When each soaking is complete, remove pasta with a slotted spoon onto the paper towels. Let sit until initial moisture soaks into towels. Keep each color separate until completely dry to prevent bleeding.
  9. Here’s where I divert from what I did. I left the pasta on the paper towels and put them in the oven but they dried and partially stuck to the paper towels. I recommend instead moving the damp pasta to another sheet with wax or parchment paper and finish the drying there.
  10. Put the sheet into the oven until dry (about 20 mins). Optionally you can let them air dry but it will take much longer. 
  11. Store as desired and let your kids enjoy!

Henry had a great time sorting the pieces into the colors yesterday… I look forward to many more activities with these sensory objects!


On “Free-Range Kids”


I’ve decided I really like this “free-range kids” concept. I discovered it recently and it really speaks to me, especially as it relates to my current favorite book (“It’s OK Not to Share”) and her philosophy of: unless it’s hurting people (or animals of any kind) or property, it’s OK. 

This is basically the rule I live by with my parenting now and working to have “free-range kids” works with it so well.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’ll be several years still before I’d let Henry walk down to the grocery store alone (keeping in mind, the shopping center is accessible from our house without leaving the neighborhood, and only takes about 4 minutes to walk to). But I already love proudly claiming that I am NOT a “helicopter” parent

In fact, I can see the eyes of others around me frequently wondering (sometimes judging) why I allow my child to wander so far away from me. In the grocery store, he frequently likes to sprint down an aisle and, assuming he’s not getting in someone’s way, I don’t worry about stopping him. It wears him out and he has such fun. Why do I need to force him to sit in the cart and be still when he can enjoy himself? Again, who is he harming? I also know that he’s well-disciplined and that, if asked to stop or come back, he will obey (even if not always happily). I certainly couldn’t be comfortable with his little runs if I didn’t know that I had the ability to stop him with my voice. 

kids-playing-outsideSometimes, on these little sprints, he passes a few other people along the way and one or more patrons will turn, looking for a parent. I’m never so far out of sight that they don’t see me quickly, but there has been a time or two when a question is obviously poised on someone’s lips to say to Henry, “where is your mom?” I find it amusing. 

The mall. The park. Really, anywhere. Would I allow him free rein to run through a parking lot? Absolutely not. His ability to judge the proper time to cross the street and watch for cars isn’t there yet… but it will be one day. 

I let my child play in the backyard alone. (gasp!) I peek out to check on him through the door or window every few minutes. Usually, I’m busying myself in the kitchen so I have an easy view of the backyard. And our yard is fenced and gated and he isn’t big enough (yet) to unlatch the gates so I know he’s not going anywhere (I doubt he’d want to wander off anyway…) 

 Now, before anyone goes all crazy on me talking about how unsafe the world is and claiming that my child is going to be kidnapped if I leave him in the backyard alone longer than 3.7 seconds, please read this great article from the “Free Range Kids” blog.




Enter your email address to receive instant updates!


Hi, I'm Lauren. Mommy to two, nanny to two, wife, teacher, homemaker, Catholic, artist, writer, friend, sister, daughter. Here you'll find everything from updates about our family, info and advice about parenting and homemaking, or pretty much anything else I feel like writing. Welcome!