Tuesday, November 1, 2011


With all the goings on around here, it's really hard to keep up a blog. I'm really not sure how other moms do it. Moms? Advice?

Finn is now 14 months old, and he's so active! Between playing/learning with him, cooking all of our food daily, designing a monthly magazine from home, marketing for Little Lion and doing artwork for Little Lion ... I barely get time to shower, let alone blog. So, the blog gets left out. But it'll remain here for a day when I will be able to post how I want, more often.

I'm actually looking to point this blog back into the direction that I wanted it to go in. I'm very much a supporter of living green in simple ways, educating those who aren't aware of the impact of things they do on a daily basis; but also, the importance of supporting local businesses, artisans, professionals. I wanted this blog to be about all that and how it can impact your family's health, wealth and well being. All that with some updates on us and our kiddos for examples.

I'm not going to do the monthly Finn updates anymore. I have a few reasons for that .... protection, privacy, time management, etc. He's growing, and those of you who really want to know how he is can find me on facebook at www. facebook.com/crunchygranolamama . Not everyone out there is bound for good and positive thoughts, and, after a few weird events, I'm at a point that I'm a little fearful of posting him on my blog. So, there will be tidbits, but find me on FB if you want to keep up on pics and milestones. :) He's darn cute. Here's some of his latest pics. There are tons more, and if any of the family is interested in ordering, please message me on facebook for more details. Linda Ford is a local photographer (yay for local and not SEARS Portrait studio!), who you can find here. I met her at one of Finn's friend's birthday parties because she is also a photog for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. 
When she found out photos were never offered to us for Kaia, she offered to shoot Finn for us. She was amazing with him, and I highly recommend. Having been to SEARS, there is simply no comparison with the quality of work and the personability of Linda. She's outright amazing at what she does.

These pictures are all copyright of Linda Ford. Downloading them from here is illegal and subject to prosecution.
He would NOT wear the hat.

Finn is ONE!

Mommy's hand keeps me safe.

Where's my robe and cigar?

So, while I'm on the subject of shopping locally, I'd like to mention a great arts & crafts fair happening this weekend in Westlake, OH. It's St Bernadette's Annual Artisan Affair, and you can find information about it here. The proceeds from the event will go to their school and also to The Gathering Place to help people who have been touched by cancer. See, shopping at Walmart won't donate money like that. ;) It's a great place to find high quality gifts for Christmas, while keeping money in the community in which you live. Keeping money local means better education for our kids, thriving local business, which is the heartbeat of any community, and feeling good that your purchase dollars went straight to the hands that made it. I will be there for Little Lion Designs.

I have several new pieces showing, like this guy ...
Finn named him "Raffey".
... as well as a new product ... LLD Minis with Easels make great stocking stuffers!

I'll also have over 60 prints available for purchase. And, as always, a percentage of all of my sales will go to the Children's Heart Foundation. (Now that's something to feel good about!) Most artisans have gifts under $50/25/15, and all are handpicked and of the highest quality we have locally. Show is from 9am - 3:30 pm this Saturday. See the link for details.

In light & love, as always,

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Family is the most beautiful and fulfilling thing. My daughter gave me life. My husband gave me hope. My son gave me "the now". My family ... My life raft. My prayer is to be something major to them, in return. They are the stuff that makes the world go round. Love. Life. Joy.

I am a blessed woman.
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Thursday, August 25, 2011

No longer 0!

Finn is now 1! I can hardly believe it. Seems like yesterday he was this little teensy peanut.
Finn's first day.

I can hardly believe how much he knows already. I think he's smarter than me. He picks up things that I never would have realized that he was picking up. I caught him brushing his own hair the other day. When I saw it, I said, "are you brushing your own hair??? Can you brush mommy's hair?" and he walked over and brushed my hair. Smarty pants!

He loves to say "hi" and wave. He says it in this long drawn out way, with the sweetest baby voice.... "hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii". Darn cute. He calls me "mom" now. When he's trying to get my attention, it reminds me of Stewey on "The Family Guy".... "mom, mama, mom, mama, meme, mem, mom, mama!". He also knows when dad's not around and will call for him. He knows that our cat's name is mustache but that he's also a kitty. He's getting good with animal sounds. Here's a video of me asking him what a monkey says, what a kitty says, and what a fish says.....and he answers! Check out his fish face!

He also loves to give big kisses. He knows that at night before bed, he kisses Kaia goodnight. So, now, as soon as we say "say goodnight to Kaia", he makes a kissy mouth and leans in. So heartwarming. He'll point to her picture and say "kay kay".

He's an excellent walker now. He still falls when he's tired, but he's almost running and can get up without pulling himself up on furniture. He knows what "come here" means and is so good at listening and obeying to the word "no". Sometimes it hurts his feelings, but for the most part, he's good.

He also has grown accustomed to pointing to what he wants. When he eats, we have a few choices out for him and he'll point to the one he wants a bite of next. Or he'll point to his water and say "wa wa".

Climbing is his favorite thing. He tries to climb to get everything. It scares me, but I try not to inhibit him too much with it. He loves to climb the mommy mountain, and if I sit down, he's climbing me or rolling around on me. Here's a video.

Finn had his first birthday party at Wendy Park/Whiskey Island last Saturday. Thank you to all the family who drove from near and far....for all the food and gifts....Finn is a lucky little dude! I'm so glad  you all could make it. It was a beautiful day.  I made him a vegan/gluten free cake (because he is very food sensitive), and I figured he wouldn't eat it because he's not a sweet food fan. In fact, the cake actually made him cry. Here's a video.

I almost forgot! He loves to dance! I'm not sure if you can see this video, but it's the only one we have of him dancing. This was at Midwest Reggae Fest, where we took Finn camping for the first time. He loves reggae! Click here: Finn Skankin to Reggae!

Last but not least, you can see pics of finn's birthday bash at the lake at my facebook page here. 
If we aren't friends, send me a request, and then you can see them. :)

On his actual birthday, we took him to the zoo. He loved it!
We love Polar Bears!

Such a sweet little noggin.

Checkin' out the animals.

All in all, I have to say, this year has been the happiest of my life. It's strange to have such a happy year follow such gut wrenching times that were nearly impossible to get through. The light of life shines through this little boy, and everyone who sees him can see it. He's already been called an "old soul" by so many. I have a feeling he's going to lead a very special life. I'm sure all parents feel this way, and it's my job to nurture those qualities and let him be who he is. And who he is is a very short tempered, feisty, impatient little man with a huge heart, big smiles and warm hugs who just wants to be loved and who so obviously is loved....very very much.

Happy birthday, Finnegan!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Operation Healing Hearts!

Need a gift? Want something for yourself? There are tons of goodies at the Have a Heart: Auction for Operation Healing Hearts!

Little Lion Designs (my company) has donated my signature lion collage, which will be one of the many items available to bid on.
Bid on me and save a life!

In Iraq, 30,000 kids are waiting on life-saving surgery. Only a tiny fraction will get those surgeries.

Operation Healing Hearts is funding a "Remedy Mission" by the Preemptive Love Coalition. We will document the mission by going to Iraq next winter.

****Please read this before bidding****
The auction will run open at 5 p.m. August 5 and run until 10 p.m. August 8. To bid, simply comment by naming a price. Each item will include a starting bid amount. The person that bids the highest wins the item.

Payment will be via Paypal. You will be invoiced in the days after the auction. 

Please spread the word. Raise awareness. Help save a life. 

Thank you!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Finn is 11 months!

So, I totally skipped over the 10 month update. It went so fast, and we are so so so busy right now, that it went by the wayside. BUT, that just gives me more to report now. I can hardly believe this is the last monthly update before he turns one. Time flies! But he just keeps getting more fun with age.

The biggest news to report is that Finn walks now! He doesn't walk far, but he'll go from table to chair or cupboard to wall. He can probably take 10-15 steps or so and does it all on his own. So, I think that qualifies as walking. Here's a video!

Finn also has a girlfriend named Eliana. They met back in November when I did a craft show and met a woman who lost her son at birth one month before we lost Kaia. She started a company named after her son. Finn and her daughter, Eliana were born one month apart. I think that qualifies as soulmates. Finn just attended her first birthday party, and Ellie was walking. The next week, Finn was walking. I think he walked so he could impress her at his first birthday party. When Ellie saw Finn at her party, she was surrounded in adults, but she wouldn't take her eyes off Finn. And as soon as she saw her window, she beelined it to him. It was so adorable. Here's the two of them.

Finn is quite the character. He knows a lot more than I realize sometimes. This morning he pointed to a bird on a blanket and said "Bir". He'll also point at dogs and say "Da". He points at the hanging chinese lanterns in his room and says "Ba" (ball). He likes anything that's above his head. He's always pointing up and looking up for new things. Often, he'll look up and find something to hang from and then says "ooh ooh, ahh ahh" like a monkey. And if you say "what's a monkey say, Finn?", he'll say "ooh ooh, ahh ahh". Smart cookie we got here.

He celebrated his first 4th of July in style. His aunt Kim and Uncle Kenny found this amazing radio flyer wagon on a tree lawn (best freebie ever!), and we took him to Lakewood's parade in it. He loved the parade, but fell asleep on the way home because the parade was during his usual naptime.

He's a pretty big fan of the wagon and likes to help daddy push it.

In addition to being a walker and a talker, he's a super duper climber. I have to be careful because he climbs on EVERYTHING. He's as strong as a horse and never stops going. He thinks standing on everything makes him important. And it does. It really does!
We go swimming at least 3 times a week. He's a huge fan of the beach and will play in the sand for hours! He also loves the waves. He totally knows how to swim too. He likes to dunk and knows that if he doggie paddles his arms and frog kicks his legs, he'll propel forward. He does it with such joy and pride. Here's a pic of him and dada after a swimming session at Lakewood pool.

Typical boy, Finn is in love with playing in dirt and rocks. I took him to Rocky River yesterday. We took a jog in the jogging stroller and found this awesome spread of rocks along the river to have a snack at. Of course, Finn was more interested in playing in dirt than he was in snacking. Super duper cute moments (and one ruined outfit)....

I almost forgot to report that Finn has teeth now! It took him 10.5 months, but he got 4 all in two days. He got the bottom two middle teeth and his top two fangs. Can you say "Vampire Finn"? He won't let me take a pic of that, which is completely unfortunate.

Finn also loves music. He loves his drum, and I think we're going to get him a baby guitar for his birthday. He's obsessed with my guitar. So, it makes sense. Here he is in awe of Curtis, who knows how to play a mean bongo!

Lastly, daddy taught Finn (months ago) to shake his head back and forth when you say "crazy" or "where's crazy Finn?". It's kinda funny. I caught it on video not too long ago when we were having a cantaloupe snack.

That's all for now. We're off to enjoy our last few weeks of being 0 years old. The big 1 is coming in a minute!

Peace, Light and Love to you,
The Urban Clan

It's so easy to help the children

As all of you know, we lost our daughter to a congenital heart defect in July of 2009. Since then, I've made it my priority to focus on my family. This required a career shift so that my creative efforts could benefit children affected by congenital heart defects. Since starting Little Lion Designs, I've been blessed to be able to raise hundreds of dollars for chd research. Very little dollars are spent each year on chd research. And I want to help make sure these defects cease to exist. By spreading awareness of my daughter's condition (brought on by an antibiotic prescribed to me at 7 weeks pregnant), I hope to have a little flame pass from person to person and create a fire.

The Children's Heart Foundation has formed a chd walk that we, as a family, are taking part in. Other family and friends will be walking with us to show their support for us, for Kaia, and for all the children and families affected by these defects. Our team, Kaia's Krew, has a goal of $2,000 to raise. Every penny raised will go to the Children's Heart Foundation...one of the few foundations out there that give their money to research.

We are not even close to our $2,000 mark. We are just shy of $1,000. I'm asking for anyone out there touched by these children's stories, to donate anything they can....whether it's $1 or $100. Every little bit helps. And remember, 1 in 100 kids are born with one of these defects, and the number just keeps on growing. Chances are, you will know, already know, or (hopefully not) will be a statistic in these numbers. The most simple thing we can do to help is to raise awareness and raise money for research. If you feel so moved, please donate (or join us in our walk) to Kaia's Krew by clicking this link. Kaia's crew general team donation page.

We thank you for any support you can give to help these little lives to have a fighting chance of survival. 

As always, I'm plugging along with order after order for Little Lion. Word of mouth has spread and continues to spread, which means CHD awareness, Kaia's story and research funding is spreading, as well. Please join me on Facebook or Etsy, and don't forget I'm here for all baby showers, weddings, birthdays, anniversarys, pet portraits, etc! Here's a fact sheet that I send out with each piece of artwork I sell. (Please click image to view full size)
May your lives be filled with light and love, peace and prosperity, health and wellness. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Dear kk, you are loved more than you will know.
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Thursday, June 16, 2011

RIP my first little dude

My Kota love.
For years (14 years and 6 days, to be exact) you loved me. You hated all others who came between me and you, which was EVERYONE, in your eyes. I didn't mind. It made me feel special. I loved how you'd sit behind me in my office chair.
You comfy back there?
You always found a way to be near me or on me, no matter what. Even when I was pregnant, my belly couldn't get in your way.
I love you, mommy.
You played fetch with me with milk jug rings and wadded pieces of paper. Every time I balanced my checkbook, you were right next to me, waiting for me to crinkle a receipt and throw it for you to go fetch.

You sometimes even loved your brother, Mustache.
Brotherly love.
Everyone made fun of your short and crooked tail, but I loved it. It made you unique. It made you different.
You can kind of see my crooked tail....

I will always look for you when I turn on the hair dryer or my electric toothbrush. The sound was a cue for you to come sit on the countertop to get pet while I dried my hair and brushed my teeth. I looked for you this morning. I forgot you were gone.

Yesterday was your last day here. At 1:25, you were put to rest. I wish you had liked Finn. Attacking him and I is what led me to the decision to have you put down. You were not well. Severely diabetic and hating your daily double dose of shots, you had trouble walking and knew your days of alpha male were over. You didn't take this well and turned on everyone in this house, and I'm sad for that. But I know that it's your animal instinct to do so in the wild, because it keeps the others from making you their dinner. I have to remember that you are an animal, and those are your basic instincts. You didn't mean harm to me. And so, I sat with you and held you and told you I was sorry and that I loved you until the doctor said your heart was done beating. I hope you know I was there for you until the end.

True love
I even dug your grave myself. Almost 3 feet deep. I hit a slate deposit and couldn't go further, but you are down deep. I laid a milk jug ring in there for you to play with in heaven. It was very hard placing you in your resting hole. Seeing you down there, I swear I saw you breathing again. It took awhile before I could cover you up with earth. The first shovel of earth over you was the hardest part. It was the last minute I would ever see you here. I miss you already. But I want you to know that I was with you. I stayed through to your last minutes and laid you to rest myself. I did it because I love you.

Now it's your turn to do something for momma. Please find KK and Taffy and lick them for me. Be kind. Don't bite. I took this video of your last moments before taking you into the clinic.

I love you and will forever see your shadow bouncing around this house. I will miss your head butts and your sandpaper kisses. You were my first kiddo, and you will forever have a piece of my heart.

Love always,

Friday, June 10, 2011


This is a good thing to remember always. I always quote this to myself when I start to get a little angry at someone I love.

1 Corinthians 13:4–8
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


June 9, 2009....minutes before they took her to open heart surgery.

June 9, 2009....minutes before they took her to open heart surgery.

Two years ago, right now, I was saying goodbye to my little girl. She was on her way to open heart surgery. Little did i know the surgeon I trusted her life with would botch the surgery and leave her lifeless 3 weeks later. My birthday will always be a reminder to hold those I love, near and dear. I miss you, my girl.

I woke up this morning to Finn crying. He couldn't sleep. We both are moody today....and rightfully so. I'm not sure June 9th is such a great day to be born. I used to love my birthday. But now.... Obviously there are issues to work through. Mom, if you're out there and reading this, it'd be really nice to get  "happy birthday" from you this year. It would really mean so much. I can't imagine not doing everything possible to be with my children. I'm not sorry that that is the way I feel. I love you. I love my little girl. I love my family. And I just don't love this day.

Happy raw and emotional birthday to myself. Self pity is allowed on this day for one hour and then NO MORE! :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

In honor of Kaia's birthday

Kaia & Daddy, one week post-op.
My baby girl's 2nd birthday is today. She's celebrating in heaven. I ask that any of you who feel generosity in your hearts, please donate what you would have paid for a gift for her, to the Children's Heart Foundation's Heart Walk in September. I've set up a team and have a donation goal of $2000. We are already at $640! Over 25% there! Even $5 will help. If you feel the movement in your heart, please donate by clicking RIGHT HERE IN THE CAPITALIZED TYPE. When you get to the page, please click either "general team donation" or "stephanie urban" to make your donation. Again, any little bit helps find the cause and cure for these little hearts. There is VERY LITTLE funding to find the cause of CHDs. The American Heart Association, unfortunately doesn't help fund this much. It's our job to step in where the medical industry fails, and find the answers to fix this ongoing issue. One in 100 babies is born with a heart defect, and that number keeps growing. My baby's was due to taking antibiotics in my first trimester. The next baby could be your baby. Let's join together and take the steps to make sure this never happens to another family, down the line.

One love,
Stephanie Urban & Family

Happy birthday baby girl

Dear Kaia,
I miss you! I love you! I want to make those things clear. Papa and I just laid in bed at 9:16 and remembered the moment when you entered our lives. We were so scared, but had no idea the real fear was to come when your heart started to stop. Now it's two years later, and look how much you've grown us! Papa, brother Finny and I are going to the beach today to celebrate you, as a family. You've given us, us. We're a close-knit family of 4 with so much love because of you. I hope to see you there at the beach. I got you cupcakes and pink candles. Are you able to have one? I'll save you the pink cupcake. I cried picking out the candles. How many people have to buy candles for their child's birthday, when their child isn't on earth with them? It breaks my heart that I cannot hug you. It hurts bad. I know you are okay and you are free and happy and that your work here was done. But I will never stop being selfish about wanting you here. I will always miss you. As your mother, you, my baby, will always come first. You are the head of this family, and your little brother is your right hand man. He's kind of taken over the house right now. He kissed your picture this morning when we said happy birthday to you. He's such a sweet soul, and I know you know that. I see him looking at you and laughing. You're a good big sister. Today is your day. Nobody can steal that from you. Do what you please. And if what you please is to visit mommy and family today, then we would love to see you. All my love and adoration and thanks....from the depths of my ever growing heart.

Love, mommy

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Look at this amazing shot my friend Shannon Miller got of my two main men. She's incredible! Check her out at http://shannonmillerphoto.blogspot.com. She also did the shots from Finn's first photoshoot.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Finn is 9 months!

What fun. Nobody told me it would be this fun to be a parent. Holy moly. So, Finn is crawling like a champ. He's now added cruising to his repertoire. In seconds he's off and pulling himself up on tables and chairs and plants (to my misfortune). He stands well but still has to hold on with at least one hand. Walking is just around the corner. Changing a diaper is next to impossible. This is what I get on the changing table the second I put him down.
Mommy, I'm an acrobat.

He's a very social little dude. He always lunges after his friends and tries to poke their eyes out and pet their heads.
Sweet Rei Rei. I will trick you into liking me by petting your head. And then....

And then I poke your eye out!
We spent last weekend in Cleveland Heights at the Hessler Street Fair. I had a booth there for Little Lion Designs. It was a ton of work to prep for, and we were there from 8am till 10pm both days. Poor Finn went to bed so so late, but he didn't seem to notice. He had a blast. He even played his little bongo (that daddy got him at Christmas) in the drum circle with all the drummers. Here's a pic after he was finished drumming and decided to sit on the sidelines with a ball.

So, he had a blast with all the nice hippies at Hessler! He had his first wave there. I've been trying to teach him to wave for some time now, and he never got it. Then this really sweet old man came to my booth and waved at Finn, and Finn waved back like he'd been doing it forever. Sigh...
Lastly, He LOVES to give high fives. He now throws the ball back to you and loves to play catch!
All he likes to say these days is his Brrrsss brrrrrssss. If you don't know what that is, here's the video.
That's all for this month. It's been the most fun month yet! We wish you all peace and love and serenity in your lives. We are humbled by the blessings in ours.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Happy (belated) Mother's Day!

My weekend started on Friday, when my amazingly awesome stepmom drove here from PA just to spend a few hours with me and Finn. It was such a nice surprise to have her come. She's been such a huge support in my life, and it was so nice to spend part of Mother's Day weekend with her.

Last Mother's Day was hard for me because it was my first Mother's Day, only I didn't have my daughter here on earth. I also didn't get to share the day or any part of it with my stepmom or my real mom, needless to say. I was pretty bummed out the entire day. Of course, this mother's day wasn't short on tears either. I think I might always cry on this day. There will never be a day in the life I have left where I feel complete because such a huge part of me is not here. But making the best of what's left of me, and the new parts that are growing (hi Finn!) is what it's all about now. And let me tell you, even with the huge hole in our lives, we still have such an abundance of smiles, laughter and great times.

After losing Kaia, I kept thinking "how will I ever laugh again?". It seemed impossible. But Finn makes it easy to laugh. And my loving husband is amazing and gets more incredible every day. I couldn't feel more blessed, and I couldn't be in a better place that I am now. And tomorrow, I hope to say the same thing.

Sunday started with flowers, and Eric made me breakfast in bed. He then took me and Finn to the Metroparks for a picnic. The grass hasn't been mowed yet. So, it was tall and full of dandelions. It was beautiful! Got some great pics of Finn.

Dandelion, dandylion, you're so dandy!

Can I play with these, Mom?

Must. Have. Dandelion. Roar!

Super chubbalicious and squishalicious!

Darn grass poked me in the eye. I shall pull you now.

Oh. You. Smell. So. Gooooooooooooooood.

Lovin' mother earth.

I'm off to explore through the grass jungle!

Mama and Finn, sittin' in a tree....
After our picnic, we went out for sushi. Then it was bedtime for the Finn and relaxation time for mama. Eric did everything for me that day. I was in heaven. Thank you, my family, for making me such a happy mom. And thank you, Finn and Kaia, for making me a great mom, too. You kids are my everything.... with a papa to boot.....

Happy Mom's Day to all of you amazing mommies!