Hello and welcome to Happy Helmraths! Come for the baby pictures, stay for the navel-gazing. We’re never short on either. Let’s get this party started by introducing the cast and crew.

Natalie, Chief Executive Toddler

Natalie rules the household with a chubby fist. She burst onto the scene in July of 2013 and things haven’t been the same since, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Her hobbies include thwarting baby-proofing devices, climbing things that weren’t meant to be climbed, calling every animal she sees “mama,” and eating cheese. Lots and lots of cheese.

Alexis, Mom and Documentarian

Frequent abuser of the caps lock key and lover of all things pumpkin-flavored. Alexis is uncomfortable referring to herself in the third person, but would rather cross a bed of hot coals barefoot than not have the cases on her about page match. She loves to talk about cloth diapers and baby led weaning, but would never, ever consider herself “crunchy.”

Will, Not Mom

Will performs magic with Excel spreadsheets during the week, dominates the hockey rink on weekends, and always bows to the whims of cats and babies. Fun fact: Alexis and Will met on the first day of college and lived on the same substance-free floor. Even funner fact: Alexis’ roommate was most definitely not substance free and only got into sub-free housing because her mom wrote her application essay for her. Ahem. Will and Alexis started dating in 2004, got married in 2010, and it only took Will the better part of that time to teach Alexis what a hat trick is in hockey.


Thumper and Roo are brothers, believe it or not, and Beckham is their brother-from-another-mother. They all predate Natalie by several years and, except for Beckham, haven’t quite recovered from the shock of her arrival.

Thumper is our resident pirate cat who had an eye removed due to cancerous melanoma (he’s fine now). Fluffy, sneaky, and fiercely independent, Thumper deigns to grace us with his presence by sitting on our laps occasionally.

Roo is tiny and has the name that he does because he frequently stands up on his hind legs. He and Thumper both have radial agenesis, an unfortunate condition caused by inbreeding (they were both rescued from a cat hoarder’s house). All that means is that the bones in their front legs (one leg for Thumper; both legs for Roo) are much shorter than they should be and makes it look like they’re walking on their elbows (it’s not painful, don’t worry!). Roo’s mobility isn’t on par with that of a regular cat, but we love him inordinately in spite of that.

Yeah, Roo’s my favorite.

I’m not actually convinced that Beckham is a cat: he’s really a cat-shaped Golden Retriever. He’s the friendliest, cuddliest, dumbest cat you’ll ever meet. And sometimes he’s on drugs.

The Happy Helmraths currently live in Knoxville, TN, and will probably be drawn and quartered if word ever gets out that they are Detroit Redwings fans.

All photos on this page by Beth Oram Photography.

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