The Big 1

Happy 1st birthday sweet girl!










Remembering Three

Happy 3rd year to our sweet little Monster!









Family Stump

With our little family complete (I’m pretty sure…), we put it in writing and had a family tree made.


Well, it’s more of a family stump, but it’s my new favorite possession!

At the bottom is an E. E. Cummings poem – “here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life. i carry your heart with me”.  I bought it from this great Etsy shop and it now proudly resides on our mantel.

It’s been almost three years since we had our first little nugget, but every time I look at this picture I still think “holy crap, we have kids!”.

Get The Lead Out

We have lead.  Lead paint that is.  I had a hunch that our house was hiding this dirty little secret, but I wasn’t ready to face the truth until recently.  Our whole house had been freshly painted before we moved in so at first I wasn’t too worried about .  Then this happened -

Riley can go from calm to total spaz in two seconds flat and it’s usually cat induced.  As soon as Riley sees one out the window, she Looses. Her. Mind.  She sprints from window to window, barking, whining…and clawing the window sills.  After four years of this, some paint had been chipped and it was time to face the fact that we might have a lead problem.  So on a recent trip to Lowe’s I picked up a lead paint test -

And the result was…confusing.  At first I was psyched because the instructions said the test is positive if the tip of the swab turns pink.  Ours turned brown.  Score!  Then I read the instructions again.  It also says that if the surface that you tested turns pink, lead may be present.  And there was our window sill, staring back at us with a lovely shade of pink.  Dang.

After talking with a couple people, we decided the best route to go was to encase the lead paint by repainting the window sills.  While we can’t reroute all the cats in our neighborhood around our house, Riley has been banned from her favorite spot by the window.

Love Is in the Air


15 Minute Valentine’s Day Garland

Fifteen minutes.  Fifteen minutes of quiet.  Fifteen minutes to do whatever my little heart desires.  As a new mother of two, I’ve learned just how magical coinciding naps can be.  So when the heavens shined down on us the other day, I grabbed some supplies and busted out a quick Valentine’s Day garland.

I had some craft paper laying around, probably from some grand project I had planned last year but never finished.  After cutting out the letters, I attached them to some bakers twine with mini clothes pins and I was done.

Literally, 15 minutes.  It was a child free miracle.  Last years garland was a little grander (and more labor intensive), but I was just impressed I actually finished a project!

And p.s., look at all the live plants on the mantel!  My thumb might be turning a light shade of gray.

And p.p.s., see the wall behind the fireplace?  We painted again!  Pics to come…some day.



Movin’ On Up…Again

It was only a matter of time before Olivia’s toddler bed could no longer contain her.  Our long legged ball of energy was in need of something bigger, something better to sing Eight Silly Monkeys on.  Enter this guy -

We actually picked up the bed this summer, but stashed it away until we were emotionally prepared thought Olivia was ready.  The time came last weekend and so far so good.  To keep our little nugget from falling out, we stuck pool noodles under the fitted sheet to act as bumpers.


The bed takes up a good chunk of the room -

But we made a little reading nook next to her bed -

And there wasn’t any space left for her doll house, so this happened -

Yup, banished to the closet.  We still have some decorating to do in the room, but so far Olivia and Reagan approve of the  change.


Git R Done

Who’s got two thumbs and is a giant list maker?  This girl!  I have a list of places I want to visit, a list of things I want to buy, a list of what I want to do tomorrow, a list of books I want to read, a list of projects I want to do…on and on and on.  But actually getting things done on those lists?  Yeah, that’s a whole other story.  Most of the time we feel like we’re just keeping our heads above water, which means some really important things get overlooked.  To help us stay on top of things around the house, I created a monthly checklist of simple, yet seldom completed, tasks.


It’s nothing fancy, but it now resides on our refrigerator and is an in your face reminder of things we need to do.  The other thing the list really helps us with is remembering when we did something.  We always forget when we gave Riley her flea and tick medicine last.  And who knows when the last time I fertilized our house plants.  Bam, now it’s on the list!

So we’re seven days into the month and guess how many things we’ve check off the list?  Yeah, it’s gonna be a busy end of the month…


13 in 13: It’s a Wrap

Can someone please add a couple more months to 2013?  Another year has absolutely flown by and left a ton of great memories, like watching my life flash before my eyes trying to drive up to Snowshoe Mountain, watching Olivia try to eat the entire strawberry field at Chesterfield Berry Farms, pajama Christmas dinner with friends, and, oh yeah, the birth of our child!  Another big memory maker was my 13 in 13 list.  It was basically a list to keep me accountable for trying new things through the year.  Well, the year has come to an end so it’s time to see how I did.

1. Take a photography class – Done!  I finished an online photography class by Shoot Fly Shoot and it was great!  It was the perfect place to start for someone who had absolutely no clue how to use a DSLR camera.  I’m still not super comfortable in manual mode but at least I’m not terrified of it anymore.  Now someone buy this girl a tripod!

2. Wallpaper or stencil something – Fail…kind of.  I’m way to indecisive to commit to wallpaper right now, and I’m just not sure how much I’m feeling the stencil trend anymore.  I did use a homemade stencil when I created our chevron staircase, so I’m counting that.  Hey, desperate times call for desperate measures.

3. Drink only water for a month - Fail. Fail, fail, fail, fail fail, fail, fail.

4. Take Brian on a surprise date – Meh, another fail.  We have found a wonderful babysitter though.  Baby steps.

5. Sew something with a zipper – Fail, again.  But I’m thinking dog bed.

6. Use a Kreg Jig – Done!  We used one to build the table top for our desk.  It. Was. Amazing.

7. Visit a new city – Um, yes?  We went to one of my bestest friend’s wedding at Gun Lake, Michigan.  It was only 30 minutes from where I went to college but I’d never been there.  It was a great wedding weekend, including nearly capsizing a pontoon, me waddling down the isle at 7 months pregnant, and cops (totally unrelated to the wedding, but good entertainment).

8. Learn to use a photo editing software – Nope.  Just not a priority right now, time wise or financially.  You’re stuck with my plane jane pics.

9. Grow something new in the garden – Done!  We grew brussel sprouts and banana peppers, both of which we probably won’t do again.  Next year we’re shunning all plants in the cabbage family, they just get crushed by worms.  And we just weren’t a fan of the banana peppers.

10. Read 10 books (cookbooks and magazines don’t count) – Close.  I read Guns, Germs and Steel, The Happiness Project, Killing Lincoln, City of Scoundrels, The Happiness Project, Arc of Justice, and Thunderstruck.  I also “read” one amazing cook book, The Fresh Green Table.  And I already have a stack of books waiting for me in 2014.

11. Learn to change a tire – Brian wrote down instruction and they are in my glove compartment.  That’s as far as I got.

12. Take Juice on her first camping trip – Done, with a twist.  After the summer flew by, we settled for indoor camping.  Hopefully we move it outdoors next year.


13. Visit three new places in Richmond – They weren’t all new to me, but mission accomplished.  The first new place we visited was the grounds of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.  It sounds lame-o but it’s a really pretty park-like area and one of my new favorite places to take the kiddos.  The second new place was Pocahontas State Park.  This one wasn’t as mini-kid friendly as we were hoping but Brian and I can’t wait to go back next summer sans kids.  The last place wasn’t new to me, but I took Brian to Hollywood Cemetery for the first time.  Hanging out in a cemetery sounded crazy to me when I first moved to Richmond too, but this place is beautiful.  It’s located on a hill overlooking the James River, with winding roads and tons of history.  We also tried two Richmond traditions this year, the Monument 10K and Broad Appetit.

So with that, my 13 in 13 list comes to and end.  Even though I didn’t accomplish everything on the list, it definitely pushed me to finish some things I would have otherwise put off.  Some things I think I’ll try again in 2014, like visiting a new city and visiting three new places in Richmond, while others I will never, EVER try again (yeah, I’m talking to you water).

Seriously, can we add a couple more months to 2013?

It’s a Neon Christmas

With our family room/play room fully functional (I know, I know, I’ll eventually share some pics), we’re officially back to bi-level living.  But splitting time between two floors left us with one very large dilemma…what floor do we put the Christmas tree on?  Instead of choosing, we went big and put a tree on both floors.  And by big, I mean we have a small real tree in the play room and a fake Charlie Brown tree downstairs.  I know, fancy.  For the upstairs tree we went traditional and hung our hodge podge of ornaments we’ve collected over the years.  Downstairs I decided to go with something a little more fun…and a little more neon.  First I made garland out of felt poms and yarn -

Then Olivia helped me make some ornaments by squirting paint inside clear bulbs -

Add some lights and our tree was complete!