Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, from my family to yours!

May your holiday be filled with love & laughter!



Our Christmas Card

Now that most everyone has received our card, I think it is safe to share on the blog!

Our fall photoshoot with our photographer was cancelled because of Hurricane Sandy, and we weren't able to reschedule. So I decided to do our own photoshoot in Sparta one Saturday afternoon, and see if I could get any pictures of A to use on our Christmas card. 200+ pictures later, I found one Christmas-card worthy. I have to say, I was pretty proud of myself!


Linking up with
Kelly's Korner
Lil Light O'Mine


Heavy Hearts

There are no words. No words to explain exactly how devastated I am over the Sandy Hook Elementary School murders. Maybe because I am a mother now, or because I grew up in the town next to Newtown... maybe because I'm more aware of grief, having buried my brother well before his time... this tragedy has rocked me to my core.

I will not pretend to know what these parents are feeling, and I pray every day that I never do. But I know that the tears I cry are real, and that when I walked in the door on Friday after work, I sobbed harder than I had in four years. I hugged my baby boy with all that I had. And even at 20 months, my sweet little boy knew his momma was hurting. He came to me, and wrapped his arms tight around me, and let me hold him longer than he normally does. He wiped my tear the same way I wipe his, and patted my back. I've given him more hugs and kisses in the last 3 days than he knows what to do with, all because life seems more fragile now.

There are so many unanswered questions, and honestly, when they are all answered... it still will not change the outcome. 20 little babies. 6 adults before their time, too. Adults who died trying to protect the children inside that school. There is nothing that will bring them back, and all we are left with is their memory. I pray their deaths are not in vain, and that real changes are made, to prevent this from ever happening again.

I will be the first to say my faith has been tested, truly tested, in the last few years. This year, I read a book by Angie Smith, I Will Carry You. This quote has stayed with me for a long time, and seems appropriate in light of Friday's events. Angie talks a lot about how and why she remains so devout in her faith, despite her personal tragedies.

I want you to know, especially if you do not know the Lord, that He is real. This is not a fairy-tale, coping mechanism that I rely on when I need to escape from reality. It is not something I do because it’s nice to have a place to dress up for on Sunday mornings. It is my fervent prayer that somehow I can manage in this post to find a balance between not alienating people and sharing my heart. It’s just that I don’t know how people get through things like this without Him.

And so, I will continue to pray.


On Tuesday, December 18th, there will be a blogger day of silence. We will post the button and that's it. Please try to not post anything else that day if possible.

It doesn't seem right to jump back into posting, when so many are hurting. Blogs were an 'out' for me in my time of grief - something to get lost in, and forget about real life for a while - so sometime soon I will manage to post again. But for now, writing about anything else seems forced, and I always want to keep it real here.

I hope if you also have a blog, you will share in the blogger day of silence.

Continue to pray for the lives lost, and their grieving families. Newtown needs our prayers.



Bathroom Artwork

I'm that girl who dreams of having more walls. There are so many things I want to hang up around our home, and honestly, we're out of wall space.

So when we renovated our bathroom this fall, I knew I would have another opportunity for displaying some great artwork.

Two years ago, when cleaning out my husband's grandfather's house, my father-in-law came across this piece of artwork and thought it would be something I would like. I loved it immediately, and have been keeping it in a safe place ever since. I love the colors, the aging of the paper, and that it is something that has been in the family for almost 90 years. The back of the artwork is signed, with the date September 6, 1924, and we're all pretty sure it was originally painted in Italy.

Not wanting to chance using the actual artwork in the bathroom, and having it be damaged with the heat & humidity, I set out for a way to use this original piece of art...without actually using it. My simple (and cheap) solution? A color photocopy!

When I shared our bathroom reveal a few weeks ago, we were still missing a few key pieces... one of them being artwork for the frame next to the vanity.

As soon as I saw this print from Megan Balli on Etsy, I knew it would be perfect for our bathroom. The colors were gorgeous, and it reminded me so much of Vermont. I had to have it!

Megan was amazing to work with, and quickly set up a listing for me in a 4x6 size. It was shipped the next day, and as soon as I got the package, I ran upstairs to the bathroom to see how it would look. Even A pointed to it and smiled. We love it!

I'm already trying to figure out where else I can squeeze in a few more frames, just so I can buy more of Megan's work. It's all gorgeous!


Hutch Makeover

Hi friends!

Hope you all had a great weekend! We did - perfect mix of family time, projects & fun. We bought our tree, went out to lunch & decorated for Christmas. I was able to squeeze in a little shopping with my mom and a power nap on Sunday. And (one of my) favorite things from the weekend? C refinished my grandparents hutch, and I'm IN LOVE.

Here was the original picture (taken from my grandparent's condo over the summer)

And this is the spot in our kitchen that we were looking to update. The island was C's before we moved in together, and while it served its purpose, it definitely didn't fit our decor anymore. I wanted a 'statement' piece, that I could accessorize, but would also give us some much needed storage.

If you follow me on Pinterest, you already know I  been pinning a lot of painted furniture inspiration. I had narrowed it down to 2 Annie Sloan Chalk colors, but had yet to order anything online. The whole time I was searching, this was the one pin I kept going back to.... I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to whitewash, in order to achieve this exact look.

When C mentioned he'd like to get this out of the dining room & start refinishing it, I grabbed Anthony and ran some errands so that he could get started. When I went out to check his progress in the garage, I couldn't believe how much I loved it. We decided to leave it 'as is', until we decide on a paint color. Part of me is thinking we'll never paint - isn't she beautiful?!


I love the rustic wood tones and how it almost looks whitewashed. LOVE.

Here she is all decorated for Christmas (with and without the interior light on).

I'll be back tomorrow to share the new bathroom artwork, which I also love. See? I told you it was a great weekend!


Linking up with
Liz Marie Blog
Miss Mustard Seed 
Kelly's Korner


{What I'm Reading} 2012 Edition

One of my Resolutions for 2012 was to read 1 book a month, and I'm happy to say that I completed my goal well in advance of the New Year. I always love a good book recommendation, so I thought I'd share my 2012 reading list with all of you!

I'd recommended most of these to anyone. To be perfectly honest, the only one I didn't enjoy was Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. I didn't see the movie, so I don't have much to compare to. But this was a tough book to stay interested in, and I thought the writing could have been more compelling.

My favorite part of reading all 18 of these, was discovering some new (to me) authors. I will continue to read Diane Chamberlain, especially since I find her writing style similar to Jodi Picoult, and Elin Hilderbrand. Jodi is by far and away my most favorite author. Remember the questions you had to answer on those high-school "get to know me" surveys? ... one of them always was "If you could meet anyone for lunch, who would it be"? Jodi Picoult! Ahhh! Would be a dream come true.

I'd like to try and keep the {What I'm Reading} series running in 2013, so that I can share what I'm reading each month, rather than compiling them all at the end of the year.  Maybe we can start a little online book club?! I'm such a dork, but I'd love to be part of a book club.

What are you guys reading? I'd love to hear some of your favorites, too!

Happy Friday, friends!

all links above bring you directly to the print edition, on Amazon


Baby Product Favorites: 12 - 18 months

Seeing how our little guy is about to be 20 months old, I thought we should share his "must haves" from 12-18 months!

1. Little Tykes Crazy Coupe
My in-laws gave this to A first his first birthday, and it was an instant hit. If we're playing outside, you will find him in this. Before he was old enough to know how to use his feet to get around, you'd find us (and my parents) taking him for a spin (x27) on our deck. And now that he can move around on his own? Weapon-du-jour to chase the dogs. This kid can't get enough!

2. Mega Blocks
Great, great toy. Big enough for little hands, and comes with a zipper tote for easy clean-up and travel. A adores when you build something for him (he'll even pass you the blocks). But what he really loves? Knocking down your masterpiece. Added bonus is that this is my favorite toy!

3. Jellycat Monkey
Santa brought this monkey last year on Christmas, and after a few obligatory pictures, the monkey sat in A's rocking chair, not to move for the next 7 months. One day, A asked me to take monkey off the chair, and he's been a mainstay in our living room ever since. Monkey eats at the table, watches videos and takes naps on a pillow. A loves playing "pretend" with monkey, and snuggling him as much as he can. 

4. Anatex Activity Cube
Again, another gift that Santa delivered last year. While A definitely played with this often from 9-12 months, he's loved it more now that he's older. I'm not sure why, but he loves to tip it on the side. This is a quality toy that will stand the test of time.

5. Baby Bjorn Smart Potty
Post for another day, but A started potty training himself at 18 months. I don't want to come off as that mom who thinks my kid is a genius for figuring this out on his own, or that I'm super-mom because he's peeing on the potty. I'm totally not (see previous posts where I mention my child doesn't sleep). Moving on... we love the potty because A loves the potty. End of story.

6. Munchkin Suction Bowls 
As our little guy started to feed himself, these bowls became a staple in our house. They help him by allowing him to focus on getting his food on his spoon, rather than having to hold the bowl. My only complaint is that they are not dishwasher-safe, but otherwise, we love them.

7. Children's Ibuprofen
A has always had a rough time with teething, but we thought the worst was behind us. A's 4 canine teeth were by far and away the worst when it came to pain, and Children's Ibuprofen helped us through some rough days & bleary nights.

8. iPad
When your kid hates the car, you'll do anything for silence. Definitely not my proudest mom-moment, but we now have peaceful car rides and a happy baby. It doesn't hurt that the iPad is also a toy for C, but you didn't hear that from me!

9. Thomas Electric Toothbrush
This is toothbrush #3, and the only one that feels substantial enough to tolerate the hands of a wild 18-month old. Bonus points for being train-themed, and that A is now excited when we tell him it is time to brush teeth.

10. Baby Bjorn Bibs
See #6, but these are definitely a must have if your child is beginning to feed themselves. Pocket is large, and catches everything that misses his mouth. And I love that it doesn't add to my pile of laundry - a quick wash in the sink and we're done. Doesn't get better than that!

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.


Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I've been reaaally good this year, and wouldn't be upset if all any of these gifts ended up under the tree!

Save travels around the world :)

Love, Me