Happy Birthday Justin!

Today is Justin’s 32nd birthday, so today’s post is all about celebrating him (with a few throwback pictures sprinkled in!)

I first met Justin when he was 22 years old. We were friends for a long time before we started dating, but even so it’s crazy to think I’ve known him for nearly a full decade!

This was from our first “official” date way back in August 2011 after being friends for almost a year.

I had planned to surprise him with a weekend away with some of our good friends for his birthday, but that unfortunately we had to cancel our plans when this pandemic hit. I’m so bummed that we aren’t able to have the adventurous weekend I envisioned, but we were still able to enjoy some small celebrations at home.

2012 – We were engaged and he insisted on mutton chops because we were headed to a country concert that night.

I got some of his favorite sweet treats (root beer floats, Krispy Kreme donuts, and mint chocolate chip ice cream) to indulge in throughout the weekend, he choose our dinner menus (Saturday night pizza and Sunday ribs) and we gave him a gift we knew he would love: 5 free hours on Sunday afternoon to use however he wanted! He chose to spend  time walking in the woods and then in his woodworking shop – some of his favorite hobbies. When he gets home from work today, the kids and I will have a few other small surprises for him to celebrate with dinner and family time.


Truthfully, he has never been someone who likes to celebrate his birthday (a concept that I, as a huge birthday lover, just cannot understand) so I know he appreciated just a low key weekend with a few special treats and lots of time to relax.

20200308_093841Justin is full of energy. He is the kind of person that makes others feel comfortable right away. He can find a way to relate to everyone he meets, and he is just such a genuinely FUN person to be around that people always gravitate to him. Everyone just enjoys being around him!

He is also one of the hardest workers I know. He is competitive and athletic and spent years of his life honing his skills in various sports, then he chose a career in healthcare and worked his tail off to do his absolute best through years of studying and training. He’s one of those people who just seems to be good at everything he tries (which is  annoying when I just want to beat him at something one. time. haha). A lot of it is natural talent, but a big portion of his successes come from the fact that he just keeps working and trying to improve in whatever he does, from his job, to the way he takes care of our family, right down to hobbies like golf or woodworking or how he plays a board game.


I have loved watching Justin grow into his role as a father. He is truly a partner and our marriage and parenting feel like teamwork. LJ and Vi both light up when he comes home from work, and I’m constantly amazed by his ability to leave work at work and jump right into dad mode when he walks through the door. The picture above is such a great example of the type of guy he is – professional job, but he wears fun socks to show his personality. He gets home and the first thing he does is pick up one or both kids, and a dog is usually not far behind. We all love when he comes home. 🙂


He also is really thriving in his role as toddler dad with teaching LJ things like how to kick a soccer ball or reel in a fishing line and my heart gets all melty watching them together. 


He is supportive of my dreams and his constant affirmation and support has helped given me confidence in many areas of my life. He always finds a way to make me laugh and I have just as much fun traveling the globe with him as I do hanging out at home.

2016 – Adventures in Cinque Terre, Italy ❤

I could go on and on, but I know this post is probably already way overboard in his mind so I’ll just end with this: Justin is simply my favorite person to be around and there is no one else I’d rather be quarantined with.


Happy birthday to our favorite guy – we’re so glad to celebrate another year of your life!

Plans for our “Secret” Nook

I’ve been itching for a project.

We’re in the sixth week of quarantine, and I’m starting to get really antsy. Not to mention, all this extra time spent at home translates to having lots of extra time to look around and dream up things I’d like to do to our house. I’ve decided to join up with the One Room Challenge starting May 7 and tackle a more involved, yet still fairly low-budget room renovation (stay tuned for more details soon!) but in the meantime, I found myself in need of a smaller project.

I’ve already finished a few other projects in this time of quarantine: first with a simple basement refresh, then with a freshly painted garage landing with a really special purpose, and finally with a sweet scalloped accent wall in the nursery. It feels so satisfying to get a quick project done and see how a little work can make a big difference in improving a space!

I’m really motivated to finish one more project before the One Room Challenge so for the next 12 days, I’m focusing my efforts on the tiniest room of our house – a little Harry Potter-style cupboard under the stairs.


Since the first time we looked at this house, I knew I wanted to use this unique little closet as a fun nook for our kids to play in. Even though the door is by no means hidden under the stairs, it feels like one of our home’s little secrets and I want to make it a really special hideout/play space.


A few weeks ago, Justin and I had a DIY Date Night and made the two small floating bookshelves as the first little update. I’ve had some ideas for this nook swirling in my mind for a while, but seeing the shelf project complete got me excited to do more and I started dedicating serious time to forming a plan. The “room” is just over 7 square feet but I want it to pack a serious punch. I initially thought I’d do a fun wallpaper, but I kept coming back to really wanting this room to feel like a secret. I want it to be full of unexpected surprises. I spent some time just sitting in there, imaging ways to add extra character and fun into such a small space. After thinking through different plans and letting them stew in my mind for a while, a couple ideas kept resounding loudly in my mind.


I’ll be sharing the progress on this project over on my Instagram account, but I’ll leave you with a few hints for now:

  • One of the surprises involves this piece that I asked Justin to make for the space:


  • The room itself may not be hidden, but there are some aspects of it you can’t see without going inside…

I’m excited to share this journey with you and hopefully have a fun reveal coming soon!




My C-Section Experience

April is C-Section Awareness month, and I’ve been thinking a lot lately about mine, particularly my first c-section with LJ. I never really wrote about that experience before but today it is really on my heart to share it. I discovered after mine that c-sections aren’t really widely discussed  like other births are and if I can be a small part of making this a larger conversation and help even one woman with my story, I am honored to do that.

Twelve days after Vi was born. I wish I had a picture like this after LJ’s birth too. ❤

When I was pregnant with LJ, I knew one thing: I wanted Justin to be the one to catch the baby. Because of his medical experience, our doctor was 100% comfortable with this and I was so excited for Justin to be the first one to welcome our son or daughter into the world. I wanted his arms to be the first ones our baby felt. I was so excited for him to be the one to look up at me and tell me whether we had a boy or a girl.  I could see that moment so clearly and I wanted it so badly. I didn’t care if my birth was medicated or not, I cared about that moment. But I didn’t get it.

My water broke around 10 pm on a Monday. We headed into the hospital and I labored all night and all the next day. By 11:00 pm Tuesday, I had been stuck at 9 cm dilated for 5 hours and wasn’t progressing anymore. When the doctor came in to talk to us around 11:30 pm, we knew what she was going to say and my heart broke. I had prepared my heart for a lot of different birth scenarios, but I was not prepared for a c-section. It sounds silly, because of course I knew that a c-section was a possibility, but I did not prepare my heart and mind to actually have one. It just didn’t seem like it would happen to me! We knew baby was head down, there weren’t any known complications, and I assumed I would be able to deliver my baby vaginally.

The doctor did not say I outright had to have a c-section, but she did say that that was the direction things were headed if there were no changes soon, as they were concerned with how long my water had been broken (after 24 hours, the risk of infection greatly increases). I asked for everyone to leave the room for a minute so Justin and I could talk. We held hands and just cried – this was not the scenario we hoped for and we were both so discouraged and disappointed. I remember saying “this is just the first of many tough decisions we are going to have to make as parents in this baby’s life” and we decided to make the decision to go ahead with the surgery. We felt like it was the best choice for the health of our baby. I’m thankful that it felt like a choice – like I did have a tiny bit of power over the decision to move forward and wasn’t forced into it. And within 45 minutes, LJ was born. The doctor held him up, and Justin got to announce “it’s a boy!” We discovered the cord had been wrapped around his neck, and I was immediately extra thankful that he was alive and healthy.

I had a son, and I was of course thrilled about that, but laying on the operating table, I still felt robbed of the birth experience. I felt like I had failed. I felt like my body had once again let me down (the first time being our experience with a ruptured ectopic pregnancy). It was a bittersweet mix of happiness, disappointment, confusion, and just complete and utter exhaustion.

I was grieving but I didn’t really let myself accept and feel grief. People kept finding the silver lining for me: both me and the baby were okay. LJ was here safely. We were lucky. We were blessed. And I felt like I should just be happy and thankful and grateful. What kind of mother grieves when she has a healthy baby to love on? I kept reminding myself over and over again that it didn’t really matter how he got here as long as he got here. And truthfully, I was also just so so so tired from losing 2 full nights of sleep through this whole experience (LJ was born at 12:16 am Wednesday) that I didn’t really have the mental capacity to process my feelings in the moment. And then, we got the news of corioamnionitis – essentially, my placenta did get infected during labor and LJ would need to go to the NICU for 7 days for antibiotics. That experience is a post for another day but it was absolutely gut-wrenching to have to hand my baby over to the NICU nurses and leave the hospital without him. My postpartum hormones were an absolute mess, I was crying all the time, and I didn’t really allow myself to process my c-section because I was in full-on mama bear mode visiting my son as often as I possibly could.

I know that my number one priority was a healthy baby, but it did not happen how I wanted. It did not go the way I dreamed. And even now, 2.5 years later, I have tears running down my face as I write this because I am still grieving this experience.

I think it’s hard for mothers to outwardly grieve or process their feelings on their birth experiences for fear of responses like “at least you . . .”, “be thankful you . . .”, “you should be grateful that . . .” And I’m going to go out on a limb and speak for other mothers when I say: WE KNOW. We understand that there are worse scenarios out there. We know that we may be lucky compared to others. We are grateful for the blessings we have and for the things that did go right. Of course we are so dang happy that our baby has arrived! But telling someone they shouldn’t be sad because they could have it worse is like telling someone else not to be happy because they could have it better. You are allowed to be thankful for your baby and still feel sad about your birth experience.

Let me say it again: you are allowed to feel sad about your birth experience. Even if it still resulted in a healthy baby. There are all sorts of birth scenarios out there, and it’s okay if you’re sad the experience didn’t go how you wanted.

Looking back now, 2.5 years after my first c-section, even though I grieve the experience I didn’t have, I know that we made the right decision. I am not ashamed of my c-section. And when I got pregnant again, I felt much more empowered and prepared to schedule a c-section for Vi’s birth, and her birth experience was completely different (read more about that here). I know I’m not alone, and I know I’m not a failure. I am proud of the bravery it took for me to undergo a surgery to bring my babies safely into the world. I’m thankful for all the resources that helped my recovery experience actually be very positive, and I’m proud of how uplifting and encouraging the c-section community has been for me.

Am I still bummed that I didn’t get the experience I wanted? Yes. I cried writing this post, and then I cried again re-reading it! I will probably always have bittersweet feelings about the experience. But more and more, I am becoming comfortable with the paradox of my feelings. I am both overwhelmingly thankful for my son’s life and health, and incredibly bummed that his daddy couldn’t be the one to catch him when he was born. I am disappointed, but I am grateful. I have accepted it, but still grieve it sometimes. I feel both sadness and happiness when I think back to November 22, 2017, and I am okay with that. It doesn’t mean I love my son any less. It doesn’t mean I’m not a good mother. It just means that birth is a complicated experience with lasting effects no matter how it happens, and it’s ok to talk about.

If you’re processing a c-section (whether past or future), know that you are not alone, and it’s okay to feel however you’re feeling. ❤


35 Days

It’s been five full weeks.

Five weeks ago, we were supposed to be leaving for a trip to New Orleans. Justin had a conference and we were going to turn it into a little work + vacation getaway. I had been looking forward to it for months. But in the week before, things started to rapidly change. Talk of the coronavirus became more and more prevalent – it seemed like the only thing the news was covering. There was so much uncertainty, so much confusion about what this all would mean. I certainly didn’t know what to think about everything, but I could feel a rising sense of anxiety. It seemed like the entire country was collectively watching and holding our breaths, waiting to see what happened. Then over the course of a few days, everything started to stop.  Events got cancelled, destinations closed down. Tom Hanks had a confirmed case. March Madness was moved to a fan-free event, then cancelled altogether. I’ll never forget watching ESPN when they ran the headline “The Day the Sports World Stopped.” It was just so surreal. Needless to say,  Justin’s conference got moved to virtual presentations, out trip got cancelled, and life changed dramatically. Not only did we not go on vacation, but the era of social distancing began and I’ve barely left my house since.

35 days.

It’s been 35 days since we’ve had anyone else inside our house. 35 days without our usual routine. No library. No weekly cycling class. No church services, no play dates, no date nights, no babysitters, no events, no get-togethers with friends, no family gatherings. The past 35 days have felt a little like a bizarre alternate universe. Like it can’t really be happening, and yet, it is.

Since I am a stay-at-home mom, it might seem like my life wouldn’t be that different these days, but it still is. Before the virus, we would typically leave the house at least once a day. It was rare to have a day fully at home and rarer still to have two in a row. It has been a huge adjustment to lose all our activities and have to entertain ourselves at home every day. Same toys, same house, same people – monotonous and relentless. And now I am “on” 24/7. LJ is 2.5 years old and Vi is 8 months. They are both in pretty needy stages of life and demand a lot of my attention. I miss the mental breaks I had while driving in the car or going to story time where activities to entertain my kid were already planned and we just needed to show up. I miss the gatherings for play dates and small groups where I could gain fulfillment in talking with other adults and LJ had socialization with other kids instead of relying on me for all his interactions.  Justin works in healthcare and has actually picked up some shifts where they are short staffed, so this means less help for me at home. No babysitters, no grandparents, and less time with my husband home. I have felt exhausted. Overwhelmed. Discouraged. Isolated.

I’ve read many articles and listened to a few podcasts and one thing keeps coming up: the feeling that you’re feeling is grief. This deeply resonated with me. I feel like we are all grieving something right now. Big or small, everyone has lost something. People are grieving the loss of jobs. The loss of vacations. Athletes are grieving the loss of the seasons and tournaments they have worked so hard for. Seniors are grieving the loss of proms, graduations, and the time of their lives that is supposed to be a hopeful celebration. Couples are grieving weddings and honeymoons. Pregnant women are grieving the experiences they hoped they’d have: partners at the appointments, baby showers, gender reveals, family at the hospital, visits after the birth. Families are grieving the lost get together for Easter, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. People are grieving things that they have planned for and dreamed about for years. We are all hurting. We are all grieving the life we thought we would be living these past 35 days.

I know there is much to be grateful about. I do not take for granted the fact that my family has remained healthy so far. I am incredibly thankful for a safe place to stay at home, for the resources we have (reliable internet and utilities, enough food and supplies, etc) and for continued income from Justin’s job. My heart goes out to all who are hurting, whether from a loss of a loved one to the virus, loss of a job, or loss of stability in another way.

Another resounding message I’ve seen is this: you are allowed to be sad. While my losses may seem small in comparison to others, they were still loss. I think it’s possible, even necessary, to recognize the ways in which you are lucky while simultaneously acknowledging the ways in which you’re hurting. It’s okay to be disappointed. You can grieve and be grateful at the same time. It’s okay to just feel your feelings. It’s okay to not be okay.

It’s also okay to try to find the silver linings. I’ve seen an image re-posted many times that says “Staying positive doesn’t mean you have to be happy all the time. It means that even on hard days you know there are better ones coming.” And there have been positives to this time at home. I have loved seeing all the stories shared on social media of drive by birthday parades and people clapping for essential workers. We get to see kindness spreading in the form of donations, handmade signs, homemade masks, and hundreds of other ways, both big and small. There is a global sense of “we’re in this together” that I’ve never seen before and it’s amazing and so encouraging.


There are also positives in my own life. I have had some really special moments at home with the kids that we might not have had if we were filling our days with activities. Vi is sleeping better than ever because our daytime schedule is so consistent. We’ve had the opportunity to slow down and focus on simple family time. Without other plans, Justin and LJ spend hours outside on the weekends and it’s been so awesome to see their bond deepen.  Spending a peaceful evening watching them fish together while Vi and I rock on the porch swing will remain one of my fondest memories of this time at home. Vi started crawling and Justin and I were both home to get to witness it the first time. We’ve been able to use technology to stay connected to friends and family, and I would even say it’s brought us closer in some relationships because there is so much more intentional conversation.


When I thought about what I wanted to write today, I decided I just wanted to get my thoughts and feelings out there. I felt like it was important to document this time in history and I consider this post to be like a diary entry – a snapshot into how I’m feeling right now and a look at what this time has been like. The past 35 days have been surreal to say the least. I’m trying to stay positive, but allowing myself to feel sad when I need to. Some days feel almost normal. Some days feel hopeless and I want to cry. Our state’s stay-at-home order was supposed to end today but has been extended until May 1. We’re not sure when things will return to normal (or whatever our new normal will be).

I’m not sure what the next 35 days will hold, but I’m just trying to take things one day at a time. ❤





























A Scalloped Accent Wall for the Nursery

Today I have a fun project reveal to share! It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment project and got completed about 24 hours after I decided to do it – an accent wall in Vi’s nursery!


I’ve been struggling with what to do in this room for a while now. Since we didn’t find out Vi’s gender during my pregnancy, we decided to keep the nursery simple by painting it white. We knew we could always add color later. Well, it’s later. She’s almost 8 months old and still has white walls, a white crib, white artwork, white sheets…it’s boring and sterile and doesn’t give off cozy feelings. I’ve been itching to update it for a while and would love to add wallpaper or a fun wall treatment, but there are just too many uncertainties with the room’s future to do a big project. We don’t know if we’ll have a third baby someday. If we do, and it’s a girl, the girls will move to LJ’s room since it’s bigger and he will move in here. So why put a ton of money into a room that could potentially need to be re-done in 2-3 years? But also…why keep a room white and boring for 2-3 years just because I don’t know the future?

After I took this picture of Vi in her nursery on Wednesday afternoon I realized something: I don’t know the future, but I know what’s happening right now. And right now, this is my baby girl’s room. I don’t want to invest in more permanent changes, but I could still make a big impact with a small cosmetic change that didn’t take much time or money. I’ve was inspired by the walls Bre painted in her daughter’s room, so I decided right then and there to just go for it and paint a cute scalloped accent wall!

Indiana’s current stay-at-orders call for people to only leave their homes for essential travel, so I was determined to complete this project using only the materials that I already had. I had about 2/3 quart of paint leftover from the dresser changing table I recently re-purposed for my sister in law, so I decided to use that (Sherwin Williams Fading Rose in Satin) for the accent wall. Truthfully, it’s not the shade or sheen I would have chosen had I been able to go to the store and pick something out. However, I liked it well enough and knowing it would just be something to tide the room over for a couple years (if it stays Vi’s room, I’d love to wallpaper!) made it an easy decision to say yes to.

Here’s one last look at where the room started:


I wanted the painted section to cover roughly 2/3 of the wall. Since the room has 8 foot ceilings, I kept things nice and simple by marking 5 feet up the wall. Once I had marked it in a few places, I used a level to draw a thin, straight pencil line the length of the wall.


I placed painter’s tape just above the marked line so that paint would cover it, and I used the level again to verify that the taped line was straight across. I also taped out the side walls and baseboard.


We just painted the room 9 months ago, so the walls were in pretty good shape, but there were a few small dents that needed to be repaired. I used patching plaster and a joint knife to fill in the dents and let it dry overnight.

In the morning, I lightly ran a sanding block over the places I patched to make sure everything was smooth and ran a damp microfiber cloth over the wall to make sure it was clean and dust-free.

I had our pack n play and Slumperpod set up in our bedroom so Vi had a place to sleep during the day. As soon as I put her down for her morning nap, I turned on LJ’s favorite show (currently, Blippi on Amazon Prime) and got to work. I trimmed out the wall with a 2 inch angled paintbrush and then filled in with a roller. I rolled out a quick second coat after Vi’s nap and just let her play with a few toys in the nursery crib next to me for that <10 minute task.


As you can see from the various shades of drying paint above, I pulled off the painter’s tape as soon as I finished the second coat. I find this is key to the tape coming off easily and not sticking extra hard to the wall under dried paint.

While both my kids were up and playing nearby, I worked on deciding what to use to trace my scallops. Get ready for some super technical instructions…

I used a ruler to draw two straight lines on the back of the large paper that came in an Ikea frame, and tested out two different plastic lids from our recycling bin to see what size scallop I liked best. Ha!


I decided I liked the slightly bigger look, so the sour cream lid was the winner! I used a mini level and painter’s tape to mark where I wanted to line up the lid with the painted line on the wall.

I managed to get both my kids down for a dual nap after lunch and started tracing out the scallops, being careful to make sure to line up the tape marks with the painted line.


It almost worked out perfectly, but the last one was just a little bit too big for the remaining space. I went back to my Ikea frame paper and cut out one of the scallops so I could bend it at the edge – I barely had to bend it but I’m glad I took the extra step to make sure the pattern was consistent.


Ideally, I would have used a small stiff paint brush to paint over the outlines (something like this) but I didn’t have one so I improvised and used a sponge makeup applicator!


This worked pretty well for tracing the scallops, but it was a very tedious process.


Once the outlines were done, I went back to my 2 inch paint brush to fill in the rest. After getting two coats on, the wall was done!


Even though it’s not the exact color I would’ve chosen on my own, it did coordinate well with the things I already had for the room, and I definitely think it made it much cozier.



This also inspired me to finally have Justin hang a shelf that has just been propped against the wall for months. He made this triangle shelf several years ago and I think it brings warmth to the space.


All in all, including the time it took me to gather materials, prep the wall, and paint, I would say this project took about 4 hours of active, hands-on work time. And the best part is – it cost me $0 since I exclusively used items I already had on hand.  Not bad for a spur-of-the-moment project!


If there is one thing this project reminds me of, it’s don’t wait. Don’t wait years to know for sure exactly how a room might be used – rooms will always be evolving! Don’t wait until you have the exact perfect tools on hand – what you already have might do the job just fine! Don’t wait until you have a room perfect before you deem it worthy of sharing – celebrate the progress! There are still things I want to do here. We’ll eventually need to replace the carpet and trim. I’m waiting on a fun piece of artwork from my sister’s studio to put up a gallery wall next to the closet. The room will keep changing as Vi grows (or as our family changes) so I’m going to continue to just celebrate each step we take in making our house a home. I fall more and more in love with it in each change we make!


Welcome to your new room, sweet Vi!

A Look inside My Purse

Good morning! I’m linking up with Shay and Erika for the second time this month for their Let’s Look series. Past topics this year include a look into my bedside table, my winter wardrobe, and how I “do” Easter. Today’s topic is a look inside your purse!

This was supposed to be the topic in March but they pushed it back due to how crazy life was in the beginning of COVID 19 in the US. Can you believe it’s been an entire month since this all started? It feels both shorter and much, much longer at the same time. I’m only leaving the house for groceries these days, and I’m not taking my kids along, so it does feel kind of weird to talk about what I carry in my purse since I don’t really use my purse or my diaper bag at all right now. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to once again!

So I very very rarely even use a purse. Ever since LJ was born, I’ve made a conscious effort to simplify what I carry around when I leave the house. I don’t want to be schlepping a diaper bag on one arm, a purse in another, and try to loop an infant car seat in the crook of my elbow. It’s just too much stuff!

For the last 2.5 years, I’ve used my backpack diaper bag as my purse. I have blogged several times about what I carry in my diaper bag through the various stages of motherhood (newborn, infant, toddler, 2 under 2) and one thing has always remained the same: I keep the front pocket of my diaper bag reserved for only my stuff. I keep it super streamlined with the things I am most likely going to need when we’re out of the house.  As of today, the following things are in that front pocket:


I obviously always take my wallet in the main compartment of the diaper bag. Other than that, my most reached-for items are my extra hair tie or a snack (usually a granola bar). I also usually have a pen, tylenol, gum, headphones, hand sanitizer, and something for my lips. That’s it!

Sometimes, I do actually get to leave the house without my kids. (Whoohoo!) On those occasions, I do one of two things. If I’m just running out to do errands or go to a coffee shop or my spin class or something like that, I’ll just take my wallet. I love having a wristlet because it’s super easy to carry around just by itself. I always make sure mine has plenty of storage and love this one from Target.

If I’m going out for a girls night with friends or a date night with Justin, I like to take along a slightly bigger clutch. I love the one pictured below – it’s neutral enough to go with everything and it’s big enough to hold my wallet, phone, and something for my lips (it’s always one of the three pictured!) but small enough to use as a wristlet if I want.


I wasn’t always this minimal in what I carry around. I used to take everything from a mini first aid kit to tweezers, a nail file, lotion, even a mini notebook in my purse. But the fact is, for 99% of occasions, I do not need that stuff. I can go without them for a few hours when I’m out and about. And it makes things so much simpler to not be digging around in a cluttered purse to try to find something while my baby is fussing and my toddler is running around. Keeping my purse simplified makes life so much easier!

What are your must-haves to carry around when you leave the house?

Easter 2020

Easter 2020 was certainly not like any other year, but it was definitely one I’ll remember for years to come!

We kicked off our festivities on Saturday with cookie decorating during Vi’s naptime. My friend has her own cookie business and she created DIY cookie decorating kits available for people to do in their homes.


LJ loved this activity (especially the frosting) and we had a great time decorating.

20200411_11241120200411_1124450He was so proud of his cookies!


Next up, egg dying. Surprisingly, not as messy as I anticipated with a toddler haha!


We also did an egg hunt in our yard. LJ had SO much fun running around collecting eggs and it was hilarious to see which ones he found right away and which ones seemed obvious but escaped his notice for a long time.


Sunday morning I made us a pancake breakfast and LJ and I read through the Easter story and colored his Sunday School Easter packet together before our family sat down to stream our church service online.


I’m not going to sugarcoat things: Easter Sunday wasn’t some perfect, magical day. LJ woke up at 5:00 am (he usually sleeps until 7:30). Both he and Violet were pretty distracting during the church service, plus we were all tired from our early morning wake-ups. Quite frankly, both Justin and I are functioning at a different level these days. Our baselines levels of stress, anxiety, and frustration are higher thanks to all that COVID-19 has brought. I think when this whole thing started, we were relatively optimistic about everything, but as the weeks have gone on, it has taken its toll. This weekend we both felt like we were running on empty and we both struggled with impatience this morning.

Thankfully, after playing a game with my siblings and parents over Zoom, both our kids napped at the same time so Justin and I were able to rest and nap as well.


Our whole family felt refreshed after our naps, and the second half our our day was so much smoother. We got to dress Vi up in her Easter dress so I could take a picture (she’s growing so fast, it’s a real possibility that she’ll outgrow these clothes before she gets a chance to wear them!)


We got to do a family Zoom with my siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents since we weren’t able to all get together for Easter dinner and it was so nice to see everyone.

LJ has recently become really interested in fishing so he and Justin spent some time out by the pond. LJ was so excited to get to reel in the line on daddy’s fishing pole – melt my heart! Vi and I watched them while rocking on our porch swing and it was the kind of peaceful family evening that I cherish. Honestly, these sweet moments of quiet togetherness were probably my favorite of the entire day.


Afterwards, we came inside and Justin re-hid a few of LJ’s Easter eggs in the house so he got to do another little hunt before winding down for bed. As I reflected back on the weekend, I realized that even though it wasn’t a perfect weekend on paper, we got to spend time as a family, celebrate and worship together, have fun starting little traditions, and enjoy quiet moments of peace. Pretty perfect after all.

I know these days are uncertain, but I’m so thankful for Easter and the hope that I have in Jesus. ❤ I hope you were all able to find some joy and peace this weekend too!


My Favorite Wall in our Home

A couple months ago, I shared the initial progress on painting the staircase landing from our garage into our house, and as of today it is finally finished!


This may sound like a weird project to focus on when the list of things I want to do in our house is so long, but I had special plans for the wall along the landing. I wanted to make it a place where we mark the heights of our kids as they grow up. I have always wanted to do this once we got to our “forever” home and as soon as we moved here I started looking for walls that might work for this. I decided that this wall is perfect: it’s out of the way, so it won’t contribute to the overall aesthetic of the house and I’m not worried someday I’ll want to change the paint color, but the garage entrance is the one we use everyday (or do when we’re not staying at home all day every day ha!) so it’s a wall we will see every time we come home. I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on the space since it is our garage, but I did want to spruce it up at least a little from where we started here:


Dingy walls with tons of dings and nicks – I wanted a clean slate to start our measurements. What was supposed to be a very simple job of patching + painting walls turned into a little bit more of a project because once I painted the walls, I decided I also wanted to paint a fun color on the little door leading into our attic…


…which led to me thinking “well with the walls and the door painted, now the stairs are looking pretty shabby” so I painted them as well. If you give a mouse a cookie, right?


I also did a quick coat of gold spray paint to freshen up that little door handle. All of this was done with paint I already had leftover from other projects, which meant this project cost a grand total of $0. It took a lot longer than I anticipated, because I had to wait for warm enough weather to paint (tricky in March in Indiana). Eventually, I will finish the rest of the staircase leading down into the garage but I didn’t have enough paint and this project had already expanded enough at this point.

The walls were actually painted two months ago, so we were able to measure LJ in February. Honestly, the hardest part of this entire project was getting him to stand still enough against the wall to get an accurate measurement, ha!



He loves pointing to his little mark and now that the date is also marked there, he loves to talk about the numbers he sees there too.


I think we’ll measure Vi for the first time when she’s able to stand on her own. Eventually Justin and I will mark ourselves and I think it’d be fun to mark the heights of our dogs too. I don’t really have plans to measure ourselves on a rigid schedule, just maybe 2 or 3 times a year or when our kids hit growth spurts. I think this will be such a special way of documenting the life of our family in this home!

Someday, I may even expand it beyond family. My best friend growing up had a wall in her garage where her family marked their growing heights and they even had other friends mark their heights when they visited, which I think it a pretty awesome idea. Our wall is certainly big enough to have a section for other people, and I love the idea of possibly using it as a guest book of sorts. Can you imagine this wall someday with our kids growing up and all the people we’ve loved who’ve come through here and been part of our lives? For now, we’re keeping it just our family but that’s definitely something we may do in the future. We want our home to be well loved and I think this is just such a cool way of really making it “ours.”


It may not look like much right now, but this wall is already my favorite in our entire house and I can’t wait to watch it change over the years. ❤


Wall Color: Sherwin Williams Mindful Gray

Door Color: Sherwin Williams HGTV Oceanus

Stair/Railing Color: Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze


Let’s Look: Easter

Once again, I’m linking up with Shay and Erika for their monthly Let’s Look post, and this month’s prompt is to share how you “do” Easter.

Every year, I look forward to Easter. I am a Christian, and this holiday is the cornerstone of my faith since it celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I love the church services, I love the family gatherings, and I love the fun activities like Easter Egg hunts too. It’s just such a special holiday!

Easter in the middle of a pandemic is definitely not what I pictured for 2020. At first, I was hopeful that things would perhaps be back to normal-ish by Easter, but it quickly became apparent that that wasn’t going to happen. With all the other disappointments that have come along with having to cancel all activities and stay at home, this was one of the biggest ones for me. I was so discouraged thinking about not being able to do Easter.

Over this past week, I decided it was time to shift my mindset. Easter itself isn’t cancelled. I can still celebrate! I just needed to re-frame what that will look like and started to gather things for a sweet and simple holiday celebration.

I don’t have a lot of seasonal decor but my mother-in-law gave me these two decorative rabbits and they were the perfect addition to create a little Easter display in the playroom.


I already had a bunch of plastic eggs from previous years, so when I went grocery shopping last weekend, I picked up a few bags of candy to fill them ( I couldn’t help sneaking a few Cadbury eggs early 😉 ). It’s not the same as the big hunt we do every year with my extended family, but I think LJ will still have fun doing a mini hunt in our yard!


I also picked up an egg decorating kit. He loves Paw Patrol, so I think he will really enjoy this activity!


Before the social distancing and stay-at-home guidelines got super serious, I went out and bought a bunch of little treats and things to slowly bring out and keep us occupied during this time at home. I still had a few items that I haven’t shown LJ, so I’m going to put together a little Easter basket for him with some goodies.


We are also going to do a few activities to keep our focus on the reason for all these celebrations. In addition to streaming our church services, we’re going to do a big Zoom phone call with my family since we can’t do an Easter dinner. The woman in charge of our church’s preschool ministry was so sweet to send out a few little coloring packets for the kids since we won’t be in church for Easter. We’re also going to read from our Storybook Bible which does a great job of translating the Bible into super kid-friendly language.


I may or may not even dress Vi up in a cute little Easter dress – I already had a few options bought before all this craziness started. After weeks on end with nothing but pajamas and the occasional onesie, I just think a sweet little Easter dress would be fun! Or maybe that’s a little too *extra* haha. We’ll see!


This year won’t look like any other year, but I’m so thankful that I still have some things to look forward too and many simple yet meaningful ways to celebrate. I think it will be a great weekend after all! As I thought to myself while buying a bouquet of tulips on impulse during my grocery trip: it’s time to celebrate LIFE.


Happy Easter everyone! ❤

The Firsts and the Lasts

I was prepared for the firsts but not the lasts.

I read a similar phrase a while ago and it struck such a chord with me when I think about my journey in motherhood so far.

I have always looked forward to the firsts. First cry, first smile, first full night of sleep (praise the Lord). First roll over, first bite of food, first tooth. These are all things I anticipate and know to prepare for, and we celebrate each time there is a milestone moment.

During this time of staying at home, Vi reached a pretty big milestone: she crawled for the first time!


We knew she had been getting super close. She had been lifting her body up in push-up position for a while. Then she was pushing up to her hands and knees and rocking back and forth. It was only a matter of time before she figured out the mechanics of crawling, and Justin and I watched eagerly, cheering her on (kind of makes up for no sports on TV? 😉 ).

Then, this past Friday afternoon after Justin got home, I set her down on the floor and put the remote (her favorite thing) on the floor in front of her…and she slowly army crawled to it! It was such an awesome moment for Justin and I to witness together and we were so excited to celebrate this milestone in our daughter’s life. She’s getting so big!


For all that I look forward to the firsts, I don’t always anticipate the lasts.

The lasts are bittersweet.  While I am so very thankful for continued growth and development, sometimes it’s a little heartbreaking to see my child leave another piece of babyhood behind. And one of those big moments happened in this quarantine too.

I’ve talked before about LJ’s deep love for the pacifier. Weaning him from the pacifier was a milestone we planned for and anticipated, so that “last” was a little easier to prepare for. However, once we snipped off the end of his beloved wubbanub, he still continued to sleep with the stuffed animal part, an elephant affectionately known as Edgar, as well as two little lovies with bear heads. Every night, he wanted them tucked in his arms and every morning, he insisted on bringing “Edgie bears” (Edgar and the bears) with him. He carried them around everywhere. He looked for them to take to nap time, and smiled and laughed when he found them. He woke up and wouldn’t let us leave his bedroom without retrieving them from the crib. It seemed wherever LJ went, “Edgie bears” needed to come too.

Over time, he has been leaving them in the crib more and more. He stopped asking for them to come with him. He stopped insisting on making sure they were all three with him before he fell asleep. He didn’t need lovies tucked under each arm to fall asleep anymore. It happened slowly over time – sometimes he still wanted them and other times he didn’t – so it was easy to not really notice the gradual changes.

Then, one day in quarantine, I realized he is totally past this milestone. He no longer asks for them at all anymore. And even if he did ask for them, his speech has improved to the point where it wouldn’t sound like “Ed-gee bears” anymore. Such a big part of his life for so long . . . and now we moved past it and I don’t even know when the “last” time was. I didn’t know when it was happening, I only know now that it has. And just like that, my sweet little boy is a little bit bigger.


I knew to prepare for the firsts. I did not know to prepare for the lasts.

Even though I’m a stay-at-home mom, this time in quarantine has given me more time than ever with my children. I’m not going to my women’s group, so they’re not going to childcare. We’re not going to church, so they’re not going to nursery/Sunday School. Justin and I aren’t going out for date nights, so they’re not staying with a babysitter. There’s no visits with grandparents, no playdates with friends. We are together every day, all day long. And though the days are long, I know that the years are short.

While this time in quarantine can be exhausting and difficult, it is also a gift. It is the gift of time to enjoy their littleness right now. They are growing and changing subtly every day. I guess this long and rambling post is my way of reflecting during this time – a way to get all my thoughts out and remember the complex feelings of motherhood right now. I can’t wait for the day when life goes back to “normal,” yet while we’re here in this strange new normal, I’m choosing deep gratitude for the extra time I have to soak up each of my kids’ unique personalities right now. It won’t be long before they’re on to the next stage, and I’ve accepted that my mama heart will always straddle the line of bittersweet thankfulness for that. ❤