Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! The gifts are all open, our tummies are full of sticky buns, and we're enjoying the relaxation of the morning. We're looking forward to spending time with family later today and tomorrow! Wishing everyone a blessed day!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Time to mourn

I know I normally don't talk too seriously on this blog, but it doesn't feel right not saying anything about what happened last week in Connecticut.  Myself, along with everyone else in this country are devestated.  And as a mother, I cannot even begin to comprehend what these families are going through.   It has felt like there has been a black cloud following me around,  and to know that it is their reality...there are no words.

I have done my best to avoid the news.  I have not watched one thing on TV about it, and most of what I read is through the interenet news or things people post on facebook.  I don't want to read the arguments about the politics of it at this time. Quite honestly, I have tried my hardest to stay clear of all of it.  Mostly because I don't want to consume myself with it,  and I have wanted to respect the grieving town and families.  But, in doing so, I have suppressed my emotions.

I realized something last night as I read the eulogy that Noah's mother gave at his service yesterday.  I need to let myself mourn.  These children deserve to be grieved over, their families, mourned with.  So, I finally gave in.  I cried for a long time.  I prayed hard for the families, I thought about the children and how similar they are to my Aiden.  I cried and prayed over my sleeping children.

Life is hard.  It's scary.  Being a parent is the hardest and scariest thing I have done. I know that these children don't belong to me, that they belong to God...but that is a difficult reality, and one that maybe I haven't totally accepted.

So, right now, I am allowing myself to mourn for these children and their families.  I am choosing to focus on them, to learn about them, and to read the wonderful things their families say about them.  I will think about the too short lives they lived here on earth.  I will will hold my children closer and thank God for every day I have with them.

You can read the beautiful words from Noah's mother and his uncle here.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas Decorating Inspiration

Thanksgiving came and went and I can't believe the Christmas season is already here.  I haven't felt too motivated to start decorating, which is kind of unlike me, but the snow that we got today helped get me in the mood. 

I lit my favorite winter candle, turned on my Snow Angels record and broke out the twinkle lights. 

I've said it before and I'll say it again...twinkle lights are the easiest and best way to decorate for Christmas.  Just put twinkle lights everywhere.

I love this idea to make a twinkle light curtain (from the Land of Nod catalog)

Also from Land of Nod is this fun room

And last, this picture makes me swoon.  I love everything about it!

Hope you are all enjoying the holiday season and aren't too stressed yet!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

I am overwhelmed by how blessed I am; amazing husband, healthy children, warm house. There is so much to be thankful for. Wishing everyone a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fall Decorating and Entertaining

I've been trying to write this post for weeks, but it seems like every time I went to do it, something came up and I haven't been able to finish it.  Life feels very busy right now and it's only going to get worse with the holidays quickly approaching.  We've really been enjoying the fall season, and I'm doing my best to ignore the Christmas stuff in the stores and enjoy November.

A few weeks ago, we started to make some changes in the backyard.

This summer, Rob and I talked a lot about moving the picnic table closer to the house.  We liked it under the big tree, but we thought we might use it more if it were closer to the house.  We also thought it would be better for entertaining to have it be part of the deck area.  

Rob extended the pea gravel area next to the deck.  He also cut the benches off the table, thinking it would fit better without attached benches.  We're still working on a good solution for seating around the table.  Leg chairs are a little tricky with the gravel, but we don't really like the look of having slate or pavers down on top of the gravel.

We also bought some new deck chairs.  We have had our eye on these for a couple of years and when they went on sale at Target.com, where I also get free shipping and 5% off with my Target Red Card, it was hard to pass them up.  

We've already spent some time out in this area entertaining in October.  We got to use the wood stove twice too, which was great.  

Back in the beginning of October, we had Rob's family over to celebrate Gwyn's birthday.  For the past 4 and a half years, Gwyn has lived in Uganda and hasn't been home to celebrate her birthday.  So, we were excited to all be together this year.  

I love entertaining.  I love setting the table, and doing little things here and there to make things feel special.  

This wide windowsill in our dining room is one of my favorite pieces of character in our home.  It's the perfect place to set up drinks.

I also made this runner for the table out of a yard of fabric that I've had for years and never used.  Isn't it just perfect for fall?!  We're hosting Thanksgiving dinner here for about 8 people with my family and I am really excited to use this again.  

I've never done a great job of decorating for other seasons/holidays besides Christmas.  This year I have been trying to do a little more for fall.  I am definitely not one to decorate for Halloween, but can get into the pumpkins and coziness that fall brings.  

I took some pictures around the house the other day and thought I would share with you, Instagram-style.  

I made this little garland on the mirror out of fabric scraps.  I also go that little owl a couple weeks ago on clearance from the Patch NYC line at the Shops at Target.  

I actually made this wreath back in September, but never shared it.  I see stuff like this all over pinterest and it was surprisingly easy.  I just wrapped a foam wreath in burlap and to make the flowers I just kind of twisted and glued scraps of fabric.

I do have 2 mercury glass pumpkins that I've had for a couple of years and other than that I just kind of scattered little pumpkins around.  

I also did some rearranging in the dining room.  I swapped out the 2 lamps on the buffet for the one that has been up in the guest room.  Sometimes ya just need a little change.  

So there it is, the post that I've been trying to finish for weeks.  Hope everyone is enjoying the fall season.  Hopefully I'll be back soon!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

$5 Fix

We only have one bathroom, but it's a pretty good one.  There are a lot of things I like about it;  it has entrances on both ends, making it feel bigger and there is plenty of room to sit on the floor and give the boys a bath.  We haven't done much to the bathroom since we moved in.  We're hoping to at least paint in the near future, but we often talk about changing bigger things down the road to make it more our style.

Unfortunately I am a terrible blogger and took no pictures of the before of this project.  When we moved in over 5 years ago, there were some light fixtures in the house that were outdated, one being in the bathroom.  There is a small pendant in front of the shower that had a glass shade with flowers and bows painted on it.  We never changed it and eventually just got used to it.  It didn't start bothering me until we got the shower curtain we have now.  So, I took off the glass shade and replaced it with a small white shade from an old table lamp.  It looked kind of ridiculous but at least the flowers and bows were gone.

I decided it wasn't necessary to replace the whole fixture and after some research realized we could just get a new glass shade.  I loved the look of this one from Schoolhouse Electric but did not love the $35 price tag.  Plus, it would cost $17 shipping!!  Here' s a little fact about me, I hate paying shipping on things.  I will do everything in my power to get free shipping on things I order online.  So paying half the price of the already expensive shade for shipping was never an option.

I started to look around on Etsy and Ebay and then I had an idea...why not try and find something at Goodwill?  They always have random fixtures and shades, so I thought I will try and keep my eye out for something.  Sure enough, the first time I looked I found something.

Again, I forgot to take a picture of exactly what I found.  It was a gold hard-wired sconce and it was pretty ugly.  But, it had 2 glass shades that were in perfectly good condition.

This is one of those projects that was cheap, and minimal work, but literally looks 100 times better.  Plus, now I have an extra shade, just in case.  It only cost me $5 total and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out.

 Rob and I both agree we like the vintage look of the fixture and the shade goes along with that.  So, again, another positive Goodwill experience!  I also bought 90% of Aiden's fall/winter wardrobe there and most of it was brand new stuff from Target.

So, always check out Goodwill- you never know what you might find!

Saturday, September 29, 2012


When Aiden was a baby, he never really got into things.  Other than moving a few breakable things out of his reach, we didn't need to do much once he became mobile.  I'm embarrassed to say we never even put up a gate at the stairs.  But, we didn't need to, Aiden just didn't care to go up the stairs.

Brady is completely different.  He gets into everything and thinks going up the stairs is a fun game.

Back in the beginning of the summer I had mentioned that we were going to do a project and make closed cabinets in the living room.  Rob had done a lot of research and planned it all out.  But, when it came time to build it, we were feeling like maybe it wouldn't provide as much storage space as our current shelves gave us and that we needed.

After a quick google search, we found people had made doors for the Ikea Expedit shelves and we were convinced that we could make something with what we already have.

Again, Rob did lots of research and planned everything out.  I really can take no credit for this.  Rob is really good at stuff like this and other than getting the kids out of the house and out of the way, I did nothing.

He did have to tweak a couple things along the way to make it work, but the end result is perfect.  I am so happy with how they turned out.  We used the same idea as this dresser, with the stained wood on the top and sides, and then the white doors.

The other thing we did was get a gate for the bottom of the stairs.  I did a lot of research on baby gates.  We knew that we wanted one that was more permanent and that swings open.  We wanted Aiden to be able to open and close out with no problem and of course, I wanted it to not look hideous.

Even though it was a bit pricier, we decided to go with this one, the Munchkin Numi Loft Gate.  I figured we would have it for years and with our uneven walls being an issue, it seemed like this one would be easy to install.

I also like that there is no bottom part that sits on the floor and would be easy to trip over.  When Brady is sleeping, we just swing it open against the wall, out of the way.   You can also completely lift it out of the hinges and put it away if necessary, but we haven't had a reason to do that yet.

So, there is an update on baby (Brady)-proofing.  As he gets older, we may find there are other things around here we need to move.  I love how different he and Aiden are from eachother, it's like a whole new experience this time around!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!  We are loving this cooler weather!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

One Year

Brady turned one last week and we celebrated this past weekend with a birthday party.

I was a lot more emotional about Brady turning one than I was with Aiden.  I'm not exactly sure why; maybe I realize now how fast it goes.  The "baby stage" can be hard some times, but it goes by so quick.  Too quick.

Even though I feel a little nostalgic about him getting older, he brings us so much joy every day, it's hard to feel too sad.

I know I've mentioned before about Brady's fun-loving personality.  He loves being silly and loves to make people laugh, especially his big brother.

It's obvious he loves to eat.

The love that Brady and Aiden have for each other is so sweet.  I hope that they will always be freinds.

In so many ways I can't believe it has been a year.   But, it also feels hard to remember Brady not being around.

I still have such fond memories of those first few days we spent with Brady in the hospital.  Getting to know him, having that time alone with him.  It was a very sweet time that I am very thankful for.

I can't wait to see what the next year brings for Brady and our family.

Happy birthday Brady Boy!  We love you so much and could not be happier that God made you part of our family.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Summer Update

It's true, the summer is almost over.  I have been terrible at blogging (as usual), but we've been pretty busy.

We've had a great summer.  July was filled with lots of time just hanging out, going to the pool, and just enjoying summer.

We had a great trip to Maine a couple weeks ago with lots of relaxation and family time.

Slowly but surely, we have been getting stuff done around the house too.  It seems like it has been an ongoing process all summer and there are still things that we are finishing up.  I'm hoping to share what we've done in the next couple weeks.  But, here is a sneak peek of a little kitchen redecorating I've been working on. 

We have one more vacation before we call the summer officially "over".  I can't believe Aiden will be back at school in a week and a half and we'll be back in the grind of things.  Although, I am looking forward to being back into a regular routine.  

Hope you're all having a great summer and are doing something fun this Labor Day weekend to say farewell to the summer!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

4th of July

I realize that the 4th of July was almost a week ago, but I thought I'd share some pictures from the day and how we celebrated our country's independence!

We started out the day with a trip to Valley Forge Park.  We live about 10 mins from the park, and I think we often take for granted how close we are to such an awesome place.  Growing up, I spent a lot of time at VF park- sledding in the winter, picnics, riding bikes in the summer.  I have very fond memories of spending time there.  So, I like that we are starting some of the same traditions with our kids.  

Last year, they started a free event on the 4th with games and activities for kids.  All of it is free, and they give great prizes to kids, it's very fun.  The only thing that cost money is the food, which is very reasonable).  Definitely worth checking it out if you live in the area.  

Aiden's favorite part was the dunk tank, which unfortunately I have no pictures of.  He got really good at dunking the girl in the tank.  It was so hot that day, I wished I had her job!

Aiden also joined in the Continental Army and learned all about the disccipline of being a soldier, which of coures also included a wooden rifle.  I was impressed that he stuck with the 30 minute activity of marching and lots of standing and listening.  


Later in the day, we had some friends over for a picnic.  I'm so glad that our backyard and picnic table is getting lots of use this year!  

I had won a giveaway over at one of my favorite blogs- Jolly Goode Gal, which helped me decorate for the occastion.  When I received my little package in the mail a couple weeks ago, I immediately hung up this little flag banner- isn't it great?!

I moved the banner outside for the picnic- do you see it strung between the fence and the tree?

I also made a special dessert from a pinterest recipe.  I was very nervous about how they would turn out, but they were a huge hit!  The only thing I did differently in the recipe was added more flour.

I hope you all had a fun filled 4th and are enjoying your summer!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Backyard

This past weekend we had family over and got to spend lots of time in our backyard, which is something we really want to do a lot of this summer.  Rob has put a lot of hard work into our yard, and it's come a long way since we moved in.  I thought I would share some pictures of all we've (mostly Rob) done.

One of the (many) reasons we love our home is because of the large space we have for an in-town twin home.  When we looked at our house for the first time, Rob fell in love with the yard.  He saw all the potential it had and realized how much space we have out there.  It was basically a blank slate, which he thought was perfect.  Here are a couple pics of the first time we saw the house, 5 years ago.  Please excuse my ridiculous expressions.

Here's a picture that makes it look really pathetic, the first winter we lived here.  

I believe one of the first things Rob did that next summer was put in the garden in the back of the yard.  Rob spends a lot of time in his vegetable garden, and now, Aiden is old enough to help and gets super into it.  I can take absolutely no credit for this garden.  It is 100% Rob, and it is pretty great.  

The picture below is from a couple of years ago inside the garden.  You can see in the picture above that we also got a shed that summer. 

Rob started breaking up the sidewalk that runs down the middle of the yard and used it to edge around the left side of the yard where we have hostas and other ground covering plants.  He also filled it in with mulch.

A major project a couple years ago was the deck.  The patio off the back of the house is not in great shape, but, it would be out of our budget to get that all broken up and rebuild something else.  The other negative about the patio was that it was a few different levels, not giving a large space for any furniture.  So, Rob had the idea to build a deck off the existing patio, making one large space.  Here are a few pics of the process.  Rob did an awesome job.  I love the built in bench.

Another huge project was the fence on the right side of the yard.  Our yard backs up to a firehouse parking lot in the back and we wanted to add more privacy.  Rob built the "gate" door when we first moved in so that we could let Bailey out in the yard.  It wasn't until a couple years later that we extended the fence from that, but that was Rob's plan all along.  ( I took the rest of these pics this past weekend, when the yard was at it's best since we had company)

Of course, the newest addition is the "tree house".  Rob had the idea to build it into the fence and like I said, he found this slide in the trash along the side of the road.  I got it cleaned up and it was ready to go!  Here is a closer look:

Some other projects over the years was the picnic table, which Rob built, and some areas with pea gravel.  I love pea gravel.  It's an inexpensive way to make things look nice.  Rob dug out this area next to the patio and put down pea gravel after he built the deck.  We would like to expand it to make it even larger and we have plans to do pea gravel under the picnic table since grass doesn't grow under there and it can get to be a mess.

The fireplace came from Rob's family's cabin up in Maine.  A previous owner was a potter and actually made that!  It is extremely heavy but Rob and his dad were able to bring it home from a trip they took up to the cabin one fall.  It is my favorite thing on our patio.  

This past winter we hired someone to put the back covered entry off the back door.  We mainly use the back entrance to go in and out.  So, we decided we needed something with a landing and that was covered to make it easier to get the kids in and out, carry groceries, etc.  It has made a huge difference.  We'll stain it later this summer.  

(it cracks me up how Bailey is posing in this pictures.  He's so weird)

There are lots of little touches, like the potted plants, the sun shade (which we got years ago from Ikea for $20!!), pillows, and a few projects I just finished for this weekend. 

I made a tablecloth for the picnic table.  The picnic table is really long, so I decided to use this old duvet cover from Ikea.  I love how it turned out!

I also covered seat cushions that I found at Target.  I would like to get a couple more for the bench.  

I put these paper lanterns up for the party on Sunday.  I picked them up at Marshalls a couple years ago for a couple dollars.  If we were having a party at night, I could string up lights and put them inside.  

Doing this post has made me realize how much we've really done out back.  It has happened over a span of 5 years, so I didn't realize how much it really was.  It's good to look back and see all our (Rob's) hard work!  We're looking forward to many more great memories out there!