Friday, November 7, 2014


It is a sad reality that we have been in our house for so long and yet so much is still undone.  And I'm not talking about the big stuff, because we always said we would work at our own pace on the basement.  What I mean is that we will soon have been in our house for five years, and not a lot of art on the walls.  So I got a bee in my britches last weekend and decided to remedy that.

Two new holes went into Mason's walls.  The first was of a print that I had picked up years ago at a place like Target or World Market.  I just liked it, so I hung onto (cough...hoarder).  The second was something I picked up at a craft fair just the week before.  And...voila!

So after I accomplished that little task, I decided to just keep going.  Our family room is often overrun by the toys that I haven't quite figured out how to corral.  In the corner, though, we have a small bookshelf that houses all of Mason's books and a few other things.  We've managed to keep a plant or two alive on top, so I went ahead and added a bit more personality.  I had ordered the family print a few weeks ago, and the other two pictures were things I had on hand.  There is a reason that you aren't getting a wide angle shot, but what do you think?

These two small projects have really motivated me to get some more things checked off my list.  Are there any small updates you're making around your house?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


This will bring us to the end of this fall-slash-Halloween extravaganza.  The last thing that we did with Mason to celebrate Halloween was trick or treating.  As usual, I stayed home and passed out candy while Byron and Mason took on the neighborhood.  Well, taking on the neighborhood was a quick five houses, followed by Mason saying "Daddy, I shivering."  So they came home quickly.

But then Mason quickly adapted from collecting candy to passing it out.  He took his job very seriously.  Every time the doorbell rang, he would jump up and say "That's my job!"  He would open the door all by himself, put one piece of candy in each kid's bag and watch them walk away.  Several times after he closed the door he would even wipe is brow and say "That was hard."  Where does he get all that cuteness?

Here he is checking out his spoils.  It wouldn't be much, but we have a certain next door neighbor (Papa) who may have loaded him up with some special treats.  I guess this is all until next year.  It is neat to see how things have changed over the past years and it will be neat to see how Mason handles it all next year!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Remember when you were a kid, and carving pumpkins involved stabbing them with a steak knife in order to get triangle eyes and a jagged smile?  That was more or less the pumpkin carving experience of my childhood.  Fancy was when our pumpkins had a few teeth thrown in the mix.  Fast forward to today, when elaborate patterns and power tools are plastered all over Pinterest.  Those ideas are great and all, but let me tell you they are not for us.  At least not until Mason turns 16.

We bought the pattern book.  "This is going to be great!" we thought.  Mason and Byron conspire to select the best patterns.

They decide on two different skeletons.  SKELETONS.  This is where things started to go wrong.  Skeletons have dozens of teeny tiny bones.  I didn't realize it at the time, but like five minutes later I would see the error in our ways.  Second mistake.  How many adults does it take to understand the directions on how to apply the pattern?  She looks happy.  It's fake.

And then, when we were carving and carving and carving those tiny little slits, we all began to feel like this.

We did finally finish those pumpkins...right before Mason went to bed.  The redeeming moment was when Byron got them finished, he turned out the lights and showed Mason what they look like lit up. Mason exclaimed, "Daddy, you made a Halloween!"  Love him.

So next year, would someone please remind me that we will enjoy ourselves a whole lot more if we just cut out triangle eyes?

Monday, November 3, 2014


The second of our fall traditions is to go to the Great Pumpkin Party hosted by my sister's church.  Games, inflatables, candy...what could be more fun?  We stuck mostly to those three things, although the church offers a science show, petting zoo, pony rides, concerts, and probably much much more.  Mason was a bit hard to capture, so I only got a few photos.  But isn't he the cutest little Triceratops you ever did see?  Of course he is.

At the end of the night and after several turns in the bounce house, the costume definitely came off.  That dinosaur head is no joke.  We also did something that was a family first - we took our turn in a photo booth.  So not only did we come home with plenty of candy and a worn out little boy, but a cool souvenir as well!

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Just a warning - this year we did a LOT of fall-slash-Halloween activities.  This is just the recap of the first.  And yes, it's November already.  I hadn't intended for there to be such a lag in me blogging our activities, but happened.

The first of our fall activities is our favorite tradition, visiting Howell's pumpkin farm.  We have done this every year since Mason was born, which means this was our 4th trip.  Yes, I remember taking Mason there when he was just three months old.  I think Byron thought I was nuts at the time, but this year I even heard him say something about being thankful that I (ridiculously) insisted this become our tradition.  We all love it.  This year it was FREEZING but we still had a good time.

First up, the pony rides.  Mason rode our favorite horse, Mocha.  Why is she our favorite?  There is no good reason other than that's who he rode last year.

Up next were the swings and the wiggle cars.  I don't know if I have mentioned this but I am pretty obsessed with the wiggle cars.  I'm so good at them!  Okay, so the other drivers had the average age of four, so I guess I have an unfair advantage. Mason and I rode them for quite a while.  Long enough that I bet there are several families who get home and say "Why is there a weird adult in this video of our kid on the wiggle cars?"  Well, that's just me.

A definite favorite this year were the teeter-totters.  I don't know where this new love came from, but he didn't want to leave them!

We did actually buy pumpkins this year, but we still haven't actually taken the hayride out to the pumpkin patch to pick them.  I also didn't get any photos.  It was just too cold, I guess.  I love this little tradition of ours.  If it were warmer, I'm sure we would have done the corn maze and the corn shooter, too, but that will be fun to try next year!

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!