Back where we started

Two years ago today, I received the best birthday present to date: I was pregnant. I wouldn’t know it for a couple weeks, but as I sit here as a newly minted 36 year old, I couldn’t be happier.

Some birthdays were hard – the milestone ones after my father died, the one where I got snowed in, the one where I was alone – but this one feels just great. My fifteen month old brought me my present as I was standing in the kitchen, making her lunch for daycare. I can’t imagine anything cuter.

Life turned upside down over the summer, but I’ve finally embraced it and am – dare I say it – okay with it. I lost my job. Again. And I’m okay with it. I got to enjoy the summer with my daughter, celebrate her first birthday, and haven’t minded the near sleepless nights that come with teething and colds. It has been lonely, and challenging, and uplifting all at the same time.

I thought I would blog more once she was born, but there is something that made me want to keep those first months and moments private. I am still digesting all the emotions that come with being a mother instead of just wife and sometimes homemaker. It’s only the past month or so that I haven’t cried every night putting her to bed – tears of joy, tears of wonderment, tears of frustration and release.

Becoming a mother has been the ultimate life challenge and blessing, and for my birthday, a gift to myself is the time to be here again. To share what we’ve done in the house in the past year, to create beautiful things and a beautiful home, and to ask for advice when I decide to repaint a room or try a horrible Pinterest tutorial. So welcome back! I look forward to sharing this crazy life with you all again.



Rock-a-bye baby…

Our baby girl is due in 9 days which seems forever away right now as we go through a horrible heat wave and I feel about 1,000 months pregnant. Today begins the first day of vacation for me, though. I knew I didn’t want to work up until the last day because I’d be uncomfortable, and thankfully I had plenty of days saved up. Now begins the scramble for the finishing touches on the house but, on a positive note, my bags are packed and the nursery is done!


Literally. Our bags are packed! Mine is on the left, complete with a bag of snacks. On the radiator are the items that are “last minute, throw them in” like the coming home outfit, The Man’s pjs and socks, a stroller blanket from Pottery Barn that my BF from high school gave us, the quintessential nursing boppy, and a list of “grab this” items like chargers and my iPad.

The nursery was just a general use room before with a futon, all my yarn and crochet accessories, and my Oma’s steamer trunk. Well, the futon was sold and the steamer trunk and crochet paraphenalia found a new home in my office (which I’ll share another time).


the room before

From day one, I knew that I loved the color of the room and wasn’t going to change it – it’s Valspar’s Wool Coat. It’s a beautiful, rich neutral color that lends itself to a host of complementing colors. Once we found out it was a girl, we also decided to leave the carpet which was a $25 score at an estate sale a few years ago. As I started decorating the room, I realized the carpet was limiting me more than the paint color was, but the room turned out amazing anyway. The valances were one of the first things I purchased at Lowe’s (a glimpse is in the very first pic in the post), inspired by both the carpet and the witches ball which was a gift from my sister-in-law when we first moved in our house. I’ve always loved the way the light hits the brilliant red, and figured it was a good idea to have something hanging to ward off evil.

I love all the stencils and wall decals I see on Pinterest for baby rooms, but didn’t want to repaint the room as she gets older so instead I decided wall art would be the decoration/theme, which ended up being Storybooks.

We were lucky in that we were given a crib by a friend whose daughter had just transitioned to her BGB (big girl bed) and the dresser the previous owners had left in the room had been sitting in our garage for literally 5 years, just waiting to be rehabbed. It had obviously been painted in a hurry with a brush, and the scroll details were aqua and purple – not my taste.


dresser hell before (I had used the drawers as stands when I was painting something black…)

After a lot of sanding and many cans of spray paint for a glossy finish to match the crib (yes I used a Darth Vader-esque ventilator), the end result was nothing short of fabulous!


The inside of the drawers even got their own special treatment – they were painted pink and lined. My mother-in-law bought us the most comfortable chair in the world (rocks AND swivels) and the matching ottoman (which is covered in a blanket The Man’s coworker made for us) from Babies R Us. The print above the chair is another nod to Storybooks – Rapunzel! I’ve had the print since I was a teenager and figured it was the perfect home for it. We also purchased the bookcase from Babies R Us. The Man put it together in less than an hour and it’s super sturdy so we’re hoping it lasts for the long haul.


The shelves are adjustable so as she grows we can use the bookcase for storage AND books. The bins on the bottom hold toys, stuffed animals, and baby medicine essen


sorry for the cruddy picture – stupid glare from windows

tials. The large white bin which is within arms reach when I sit down holds all the nursing essentials. And of course, she already has a book collection!

Then of course she needs somewhere to sleep. Over her crib we put three prints that her cousins got her off our registry. I found them on Etsy and used simple frames and mats from Michael’s so we can change them out over time.

It took a long time to find the perfect ones but I finally settled on a quote from Little Women, one from Anne of Green Gables, and one from Alice in Wonderland.  And because of the colors and pattern in the carpet, I also agonized over her bedding. I know, I know. The bedding doesn’t matter and they barely ever will get use out of the comforter so who cares? Well, this dork cares. I finally found  an amazing comforter from Land of Nod that is reversable and had a matching dust ruffle that I love. Add in some super soft stuffed animal friends and the sleeping area is baby ready!

We also have one more nod to Storybooks over her dresser and on it in the form of a mirror and another print from Etsy which I loved, with different Alice in Wonderland quote.


And that’s it! All in all, we were blessed to have furniture and be gifted furniture. It made the whole process of getting the nursery ready so much easier. The room isn’t huge so I knew we had to be practical, and I definitely wanted a room that could grow with her.

We are so very ready for this little girl to arrive happy and healthy and safely.


Five Years

Closing Day, May 2011

It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since this photo was taken. I don’t know how you begin to summarize what it’s like to realize that in five short years we’ve been through so much.

Five years ago we were essentially newly weds, daring to take on this huge project of restoring a house, creating a life together, making a  home. We are far from done in this house. We’ve ripped out knob and tube wiring. We’ve removed countless feet of tired, dirty carpeting. We’ve scrubbed and sanded. We’ve towed out bushes with the truck. We’ve spackled. We’ve spray painted. Oh, the spray paint! We’ve gutted a bathroom. And we’ve begun to put everything back together again.

And now, in our biggest adventure, we’re bringing new life into the house. In three short months there will be a new little person living in that room that you can see in the top right corner of the photo. Her crib and dresser are in place. She has oodles of clothing already from loved ones that are going to spoil her rotten. We’re already stockpiling diapers and wipes. And I’m already anticipating all the sleepless nights to come, pacing the creaky floors we haven’t refinished yet.

Happy Anniversary, house. Your biggest adventure is yet to come.

Tomb-Sweeping Day

I saw an article on BuzzFeed today about Tomb-Sweeping Day, an ancient holiday the Chinese observe where they visit the graves of family members and loved ones that have past. Apparently, in recent years the holiday has extended to pet cemeteries as well.

It’s hard to believe, but Loki, who would have been six this April, has been gone for almost two years. We have his ashes in a beautiful wooden box, and his collar still sits on a bookshelf in The Man’s office. I still remember how beautiful Loki was, especially his eyes. This was his favorite time of year, because we would open the window in our bedroom for him and Luna to chatter at the birds that would begin flocking to the magnolia tree just outside.

One of the tombs in the BuzzFeed article reads, “Gently you left, but will be in my heart forever.” That’s how I like to remember Loki. I hope you’re over the rainbow bridge, laying in the sun and chirping at birds, beautiful boy.



this little finger…

This little finger is going to the surgeon 😦


I thought it was odd that the day after the injury I couldn’t feel the tip of my finger. The Man and I gave it until late on Sunday to remove the dressing because it felt like I had pulled a stitch and I had bled through the dressing overnight. It was then that I realized I actually couldn’t feel the side of my finger from the middle knuckle to the tip.

I was able to get in with the hand specialist on Monday – he squeezed me in thankfully. Short story? I’ll be going in for surgery on the 10th. It turns out, in my infinite talent and grace, that I managed to either mangle or sever a nerve, and possible damaged the tendon. It explains why I don’t have much pain, but is the oddest sensation in the world.

Keep my poor little finger in your thoughts and prayers!

gardening nightmare

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I had my whole Friday planned out.  I had already finished a transcription job and started another, but wanted to take a break and get some fresh air.  My garden beds were in sore need of attention, so I hooked Abby up to her lead outside and began weeding and pruning.

The Rose of Sharon that is near our backdoor had grown out of control, and despite the fact that it’s about to bloom, I decided to take out the hedge trimmer and give it a good cut. Armed with gloves and my ladder I began the task of taking about 2 feet off the top. I was almost done when the trimmer got caught on a branch and began falling. I think I tried to catch it but I’m not sure how exactly it happened.

All I know is that in the next moment I watched my finger get mangled in the teeth of the still running blade. It was about 1:15. I calmly got down off the ladder, went inside the house and started running my hand under water. As I watched the blood pumping out and filling the sink, I knew I was in trouble. I grabbed paper towels and wrapped them around my fingers. I knew I had to go to the hospital. I called The Man who was at least an hour away and left a panicked voicemail. I put the cat in the living room, ran up to the third floor of the house with Abby panicked and following, closed all the puppy gates and bedrooms, grabbed my purse, gave her a treat, and drove to the hospital as the paper towels saturated through with blood.

The hospital is exactly a mile from our house but I swear it took forever to get there. There was no parking in the ER lot so I had to parallel park on the side of the building and walked in the wrong entrance. I calmly asked where the ER entrance was, not realizing I was shaking violently. The receptionist gasped and ushered me to the entrance of the ER.

The triage nurse kept telling me how brave I was as I told her I was going to pass out. My blood pressure was around 85/60, and that’s after that horrible cold, muffled feeling of passing out began to subside.


I didn’t have to wait very long to see the PA, and it turns out I know her through my work at the university. I have to say seeing a friendly face put me at great ease. I even managed to take a “selfie” of my gauze wrapped fingers. I still hadn’t seen the damage. I knew my finger was still attached, but I didn’t know how bad it was, and the pain didn’t give any indication until fifteen minutes or so after getting into a room and the adrenaline of getting myself to the hospital started to wear off.

The Man arrived in record time, shaking his head, asking about nerve damage, and telling me I was never to touch a power tool again. It was then that I realized how terrified Abby must be, that my hand was covered in blood, and there were spurts of it on my shirt as well. The PA liberally numbed my fingers – in addition to lacerating my pointer, I had nicked my middle finger as well.

The good news is I didn’t get the bone, and probably missed the tendon. I did need four stitches, though, because as she washed the wound out, according to The Man, the skin was flapping. Armed with a bandage, splint, tetanus shot, and scripts for antibiotics and pain killers, I went home. I have to follow up with my primary care, and see a hand specialist. I still can’t feel half the finger and can’t reach for anything with my whole hand or I get a searing, electric pain shooting through the finger.


But I’m lucky.  The weekend I had so many plans for has been spent trying to avoid anything involving my hand, which is unfortunately my dominant hand. I’m terrified about permanent damage, and feel mostly helpless. I can barely fold laundry, have to eat and drink left handed (which is amusing), and can’t start my car. If I don’t get feeling back, I’m not sure how well I’ll ever be able to crochet again. But at least I still have my finger at all. My advice? Pretty common sense…  Don’t be rushed or careless with tools. Don’t wear damp gloves while using tools. And don’t try to catch a hedge trimmer.

Keep me in your thoughts, dear readers.

out like a lion…

March certainly is going out like a lion, with a ton of rain and maybe SNOW tonight (eek!) but above all, I can’t believe the month is over!!! March was jam packed with events for work, celebrating birthdays, and hanging out with friends.

Saint Patrick’s Day was quiet but I found out we have the coolest crossing guard ever in our town.


I took some corny selfies to show off my Irish.


We had some very pretty, albeit late in the season, snow.


Luna enjoyed the growing daylight hours by lounging on the radiator a whole lot.


And Abby continued being Abby, trying to take over the couch (and ignoring personal space).


All in all, I’d say it was a good month. Bring it on, April! I’m ready for you 🙂