Saturday, September 20, 2014


It started like this - I had been watching Mason for a few hours while Byron worked in the basement, and when he finished for the day, he came up and decided he wanted to do an activity with Mason. He grabbed some finger paints, a random plexiglass sheet we had in the garage, and headed out back. I didn't really think much of it until I heard a knock at the back food and Byron motioned for me to come out and watch. I could tell there was something fun going on so I grabbed the camera and ran outside. What followed was a very messy but very giggly little boy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


We've been up to our eyeballs in basement progress (just kidding...more like dust) but I think we are approaching the home stretch and can start to envision what having the extra space might look like.  The phase we are at now is quite possibly the worst, however - sanding drywall mud.  It isn't really a difficult task, but I guess it is just more...unpleasant.  If any of you have ever done it yourselves, then you know how messy it is.  All three of us were down sanding one night and man, it was literally like walking in a cloud of chalk.  Thank goodness for masks that make the job tolerable.

So we keep carving out chunks of time to make progress, and steadily trudge toward completion.  But as I mentioned, we are all getting in on the action.  Byron manned the sanding block, Mason manned the vacuum, and I manned the camera (when I wasn't sanding, of course).  Be prepared to see one of the cutest helpers you have ever laid your eyes on!

Sunday, September 14, 2014


I have seen other families host a back to school feast, and I've always said I was going to do the same.  This year, Mason is going to pre-school two mornings a week so I jumped on in.  Although this is more of a "to school" feast than a "back to school" feast since it's his first time, but oh well.

Because it was our first time, and I have a wild three-year-old, I kept it simple.  We featured a crown homemade by mama with a little help from the boy, and food that was just slightly fancier than usual (and I was pretty sure he would eat).

Green beans with almonds
Tomatoes with fresh mozzarella
Fresh peaches

We also recited our 2014-2015 family theme, which for this year is "Always Be Kind."  There were several I could have chosen that would be appropriate, but due to a few recent circumstances, this one won out.  It has been fun and even a bit rewarding to talk about what being kind is with Mason and to watch him think of words and actions that are kind; even more so when he tells other people.  Every morning before dropping him off we ask him what our theme is and he knows it by heart.

Here's something I made, just to remind us all of our theme.  I just need to figure out how to hang it (we lost the original hanging hardware), but once I do, it will be on display by our dinner table where we can easily see it.

I'm excited to continue this tradition, making it a little more special each year.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Today was Mason's first day of preschool.  He is attending a three year old class that meets two mornings a week for a couple of hours.  It will be so good for this wild child - we have high hopes!  Of course we had to do the obligatory photos.  He already looks so grown up (and handsome); I can't wait to compare them to what he will look like at the end of the year!

Monday, September 1, 2014


I got an idea to do something that I've never done before.  I'm going to do a giveaway.  (Because, why not?)  I made a purse, because, well, it was already cut out and ready to be sewn together and I've been trying to complete more projects lately, but truthfully, I have no need for it.

I have made similar bags to this before, so a few of you may recognize it.  This one is lined in a simple white fabric, so although it is technically reversible, you probably won't want to reverse it.  The picture kind of makes the straps look short, but really they are just normal.  The bag is probably 16-18 inches across the bottom...hopefully that helps you judge the size.

If you want to win this bag, simply click on the rafflecopter widget below for a chance to enter.  My only stipulation is that the winner must live in the United States.  If you win, I'll mail the bag to you.  Plus it might be interesting for me to see who actually reads my little blog!  The giveaway ends on Saturday and I'll contact the winner on Sunday (or a day or two later...but I WILL contact you!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Even though through the majority of this year we've been focusing on saving for our adoption, we did want to make a family vacation a priority for us.  So how do we get the best vacation experience on a dime?  We go visit family, of course!  This year, we had a whirlwind week visiting two of my aunts and our best friends.  It always felt like we didn't have enough time in any place, but the time we did have was so much fun.  It was just what we needed!

First stop was South Bend, to visit my Aunt Nanny and Uncle John.  Our first stop was the zoo.  It was a beautiful day!

We also toured a chocolate factory, which I thought would be a highlight of the trip.  However, our boy was tired, and not at all interested in following instructions, so it ended up being kind of a flop.  Not to mention the chocolate factory we toured doesn't even make its own chocolate.  (Spoiler alert - it's shipped in from Chicago.)  Needless to say, we were very thankful we opted for the free tour.

We stopped at some playgrounds, took some walks around the neighborhood, and played with cool toys only an art teacher would have.  Mostly, we just chilled out and visited.  And at ice cream.  Lots of ice cream.  John even took us on a driving tour of the Notre Dame campus, which was so cool, especially to Byron.  It was an impromptu tour, and it was around sunset, so by the time we got to the cool buildings, it was pretty dark so I don't have many pictures.  Here's the one that I captured of the candle Byron lit in the grotto.

The next stop was to Troy to visit my other Aunt and her family.  The next few days were full of swimming in the pool, jumping on the trampoline, visiting parks, cooking fresh vegetables, and plenty of relaxing time.

The last night of the trip was spent visiting our best friends.  Ice cream, toys, and good conversation filled the few hours we had together.  The most hilarious thing happened though.  At our house, we don't really have any costumes for Mason to dress up in.  However, in the short time we were visiting, Mason LIVED in their Spiderman costume.  It actually caused several meltdowns when it wasn't his turn to wear it.  Who knew?  Guess somebody better get this kid a Spidey costume of his own.

We wish our vacation was much longer, of course, but in reality we cut it short a day and headed home early.  It was so nice to have a day to catch up on laundry, get groceries, and do any other last minute home things before rushing into another week back at work.  The memories made on this vacation (even the ones involving meltdowns) were great, and it just makes us eager to plan the next one.  Right now we're hoping to explore South Dakota next year, but you never know where the wind will take us by the time vacation is here again!

Sunday, August 24, 2014


My baby is three.
He crossed into three year old territory about a month ago, and I've been wanting to reflect on what that means - for us and for him.

For us so far, three has been greeted with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  Mason is hilarious.  He says funny things and he does funny things, and I love to watch him learn new things and make new connections in his mind.  But three also comes with his need to be uncooperative (control?), not listen, and even hit, kick, etc., just to get a reaction.  And that part of parenting has me feeling like I've got an overwhelming task ahead of me to train this wild and free little person into the kind, sweet person I know he can be.  (Side note, tips are appreciated.)

But without dwelling on the hard part of things, which I remind myself is only a part of things, here are some of the things about Mason I don't want to forget.
1.  He uses the potty successfully, but he almost always insists on stripping down completely in order to use it.  I think he just likes to get completely comfortable?

2.  He loves animals (usually ammimals).  More specifically, tiny animal figurines.  He has quite a few by now, and often will want to carry them in his toolbox to the park, where, recently one of his tigers decided to hibernate for good.  It always amazes me how he can look at a pile of those little guys (which are scattered throughout our house) and say to me, "Mama, I'm missing a giraffe."  How he maintains his mental inventory, I'll never know.

3.  He believes that imagined situations could be real.  We have a book where a bad guy steals a piggy from a little boy and leads him on a wild chase to get it back, which includes running through a chocolate factory.  At one point they fall into the chocolate as well as the freezer, and (this is a prequel to our vacation recap I'll write) when we decided to go on a tour of a chocolate factory he was very concerned with falling into the chocolate and the freezer.  Good thing Mama can protect him!  (This also works to my advantage, as I may have told him if he doesn't go to sleep he will turn into a Beast.  Nap time and bed time has gone easier ever since.)

4.  He picks up on our words and phrases.  Over the Fourth of July, we were watching fireworks and at one point Mason said, "Oh, that scared me half to death!"  Ha!  At first I thought he picked that up from me, but having heard Byron say it several times in the past few weeks, I think it actually came from him.
5.  Mason's best friend is STILL his papa.

6.  He can't pronounce all sounds.  K and G and combos with R stick out to me the most.  And even the letters he can say, he sometimes substitutes.  He says tat instead of cat.  Lately he even says things like twease instead of please.  He can even say the P sound, so this leads me to make him say "Puh, Puh, Please."  He always replies with "Puh, Puh, Twease..."

7.  He still has the biggest feet.  They are bricks (cute bricks).  He may never learn to put his own shoes on because putting on shoes for him is literally like stuffing sausages into casing.

8.  He is legitimately fearful that his monkeys (from Barrel O Monkeys) that he plays with in the bathtub might get sucked down the drain.  Maybe our attempts to get him to pick up his bath toys were a little strong?

9.  He is the cutest little guy I know.
I am his number one fan, and I always will be.  He has changed our lives, and though it is hard sometimes, it is always worth it.  We love that little guy with all our hearts and can't wait for what the years ahead hold for us!