news

Well, I wanted to be a prolific blogger this year, but we are half-over and here we are.. oops. Let’s blame it on this life stuff:20 weeks

We have a baby boy arriving in November! As of today I’m 20 weeks and 5 days, but I have been hesitant to tell more than family and close friends until now. I just posted the news on Facebook and Insta yesterday. In 2016 we had two back-to-back miscarriages (an early one and a second trimester one) that really has had me reluctant to share early news. But at 20 weeks, things are going great and I’m feeling good.

The first trimester was rougher than my pregnancy with Hannah, so I have been pretty sure this would be a boy, and I was actually right! We are done after two kiddos, so I feel a sense of coming family completeness, which is a very zen feeling. 🙂

I’ll probably be doing a lot of planning and preparing for all things minimalist and zero-waste baby very soon, and I’ll be posting on that most likely. I do wish those were the types of posts I’d read when preparing for our first, as those “must have baby gear” guides are typically bullshit (I now know). I’m combing through all our stash to give away all the girly goods, and keep the gender-neutral items. We will also be acquiring a good amount of hand-me-downs again, which I’ll be choosier about this time around (in a polite and responsible way of course). Happily, our cloth diaper stash is gender neutral, as is most of the non-clothing gear we have. I can still afford to pare down just a bit, which I am slowly working on.

I can’t wait to see my daughter play Big Sis. She’s already so excited, and I just know she’s going to be amazing. ♥ ♥

yellowstone pics, better late than never (?)

It’s been almost two months since our Yellowstone/Jackson Hole trip and I can’t believe I haven’t posted something about it! My new motto in life is “done is better than perfect” so I’m putting up this no-text (except this intro) post. We had a great time! Such a beautiful place. The pictures and lack of post don’t do it enough justice, but at least SOME justice. I can’t wait to go back!

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IMG_1015 IMG_0997  IMG_1091 IMG_1074   IMG_1146  Continue reading “yellowstone pics, better late than never (?)”

315,532,800 seconds

weddingTen years ago, I married my BFF. It’s hard to believe it’s been a decade already. I don’t know if I’ve done any wedding-y posts (a few anniversary shoutouts, yes, but no details) so our ten year anniversary seems like a good time for a wedding story.

We dated through nearly all of high school and college. I graduated in December 2004, and we were engaged in February of 2005. The whole thing was a pretty good indication of our future relationship: One afternoon we decided to get married, and I chose my own modest ring. That’s the story we will tell our children, and while it may not seem very exciting, it’s perfect to me. There was something very feminist about making a joint engagement decision and choosing my own ring.

In a few months, with the help of our moms, we planned a low-key outdoor wedding. We chose a nice reception center that handled most everything, and we outsourced the flowers and cake to some budget-friendly local businesses. My dress was maybe $400 off the rack, and my bridesmaids dresses were cute little sundresses off a clearance rack at Macy’s. (Trust me, it’s a better alternative to custom, spendy, and usually terrible bridesmaids dresses!) No engagement party, rehearsal dinner, wedding dinner, bachelor/ bachelorette parties, open bars, etc. We’d have skipped most, if not all, of the traditional wedding stuff if we didn’t feel a bit obligated to do it for our families. We were ok with the compromise. After some quick Googling, I found out the cost of the average wedding in 2005 was $31K. I’d be shocked if we spent over $5,000 on ours and I still felt it was a little indulgent! wedding2

We did spend on hiring a good wedding photographer (I was concerned about preserving memories from the day more than anything), and I’m so glad we did. I love looking back at the photos, and as I’ve been working on Project Life I have been enjoying them again. We also tapped a talented cousin of my husband’s to take candid shots and he did not disappoint. (He also made us a cute wedding slideshow with photos of the two of us growing up and then our dating/engagement photos- SO fun. I still watch it from time to time).

Our Honeymoon was in Vegas – we road tripped it down and had some fun on our teeny-tiny budget. We came back to our teeny tiny apartment and started our lives together. ♥

5 yearsIn ten years we have had two homes we put a LOT of work into (after that teeny tiny apartment), been on lots of fun trips, raised two puppies into spastic-but-sweet fur-children, and had one beautiful little girl who makes the world brighter for both of us. I look around daily with so much gratitude for my life. I’ve worked on my education and career, and am now lucky enough to take a hiatus and be a full-time-mommy/work-from-home part-timer. While I have days I stress about work, or guilt about failing at total mommy-perfection (it happens), overall things feel really in balance. Hubby and I have both worked so hard over the years (at our jobs, fixing up our homes and yards, pinching pennies). There have been grueling times. Stressful times. But we’ve been in it together and that makes all the difference. I plan, he navigates. Weekend warriors. Team Mom and Dad. You know life’s good when you feel like high-fiving your spouse at least once a day. We are lucky. Hawaii

If I have any wisdom on achieving marital bliss, it’s mostly this: pick a good one. 🙂 And then.. live in the present. Don’t dwell in the past or wish away the present. Plan, have adventures, be spontaneous, be goofy, have fun. Make your current situation the best you can. Practice gratitude for each other, focus on the good, make memories. Keep it simple and authentic – don’t try to compete or compare to how others do it.

We are celebrating by going out to dinner when we can swing it – probably this weekend sometime. We rarely have/make time for just the two of us anymore, so I am looking forward to it!

Happy ten years to us, and many happy more to come. ♥

finished basement

It’s been a while since my last post, but it’s been chaotic around these parts. Our basement is finished! And our new tenants (/my brother-in-law’s family) has moved in. I managed to get a few pictures really quickly before they moved their stuff in, but getting it cleaned up was down to the wire! PS: husband did 99% of the work here. I am not trying to take disproportional credit.. He framed it, drywalled, did the plumbing, electrical, tiling, flooring, heat ducts… he’s that talented. I helped with the design decisions and a few little things here and there (namely keeping myself and a curious toddler out of the way). And we had two bedrooms carpeted professionally. Otherwise, it was pretty much all him!

Here’s a quick tour:

The entrance is through the walkout under the deck. Since snapping the photo Jonathan installed a light fixture. I still need to paint the door casing tan, but I did paint the door a fun eggplant purple last weekend. Also that shade garden is finally starting to fill in a little. I need to divide the hostas.. another thing to add to the summer to-do list.

Walkout basement door

When you come in the door, you walk in to the family room area. The French doors went into a room that used to look like this. It will eventually be our office/craft room. Right now it’s being used as a master bedroom. We installed Traffic Master wood laminate flooring in Hickory throughout this space and I think it looks great. It’s supposed to hold up well to kids and dogs so this will be a great test. The walls are a light grey (Behr Swiss Cream). The door you see to the left is our storage room. It’s completely crammed full of stuff, currently..

family room looking west

Looking from the other direction. The wall straight ahead will soon be a kitchenette area. It will be so nice when they’ve got a kitchen down there to use. We bought some used cabinets to refurbish. I will maybe do a separate post on that later. I have some fun ideas. But the cabinets are in the garage and totally filthy.. I haven’t worked up the nerve to begin cleaning them. Perhaps tomorrow…

family room looking east

Below is the little landing at the bottom of the stairs from the living area. The bathroom is to the left, the bedrooms straight ahead, and the staircase is to the right (to give you an idea of the layout). The bathroom is super cute! Jonathan built the cabinet, tiled the shower and flooring, and built a nice little nook for storage/laundry hampers. The flooring is tile that looks like wood and I LOVE it. The paint color is Behr Aqua Smoke (leftover from our bedroom re-paint last fall).

landing-hallwaybathroom vanity

bathroom built in shelving bathroom shower

The family living with us has three kids. The girls are sharing a room and the boy gets his own. They are roomy and have nice big closets. The carpeting is the same as our upper floor. (Phenix Lakefront in Iced Branches).

Left bedroomleft bedroom closet  right bedroom  right bedroom closet

Eventually we will be spreading out into this space ourselves and it seems hard to believe we will have so much room! It was a DIY job, so very budget-conscious, and adds a lot of value to the house. I am really pleased with how it turned out!

happy earth day!

IMG_1730Happy Earth Day, everyone! I went to my town’s Earth Day celebration last Saturday with Hannah and my parents and it was really fun. That’s Hannah and her grandpa enjoying the weather at the Ogden Nature Center for the Earth Day celebration!

Today I will be celebrating this lovely planet in a laid-back way; taking Hannah for a nature walk along the river trail, taking some photos, getting the hummingbird feeders ready, and making a yummy vegan feast (sweet potato and chick pea curry).

I may even work in an eco crafty upcycle if I find the time. I was inspired by these posts: 100 Ways to Repurpose Everything and 221 Upcycling Ideas That Will Blow Your Mind (I love a good round-up).

And since I have been thinking earth-y this week I rounded up some of my favorite ways to be eco. 🙂 Hope you think it’s fun, too.

earth day faves1. Reusable shopping bags. These are the best because there’s obviously less waste than plastic bags, but they hold WAY more stuff, so there are less bags to carry in from the car. I have been using the same set of 6 Envirosax for many years and they hold up great and are machine washable.

2. Composting. Between cooking, gardening, and feeding a toddler (who likes to throw things on the floor), I generate a lot of scraps. Hardly anything gets thrown away: it either goes to the dogs, the chicken scrap bucket (they eat all the veggie peels) or the compost bin.

3. The local library. Checking out books, music and movies at the library reduces our consumption as consumers (and saves us money). We go every week or two and Hannah gets a stack of books, I get a couple books and cds, and we rent a movie or two to watch throughout the week after Hannah’s in bed.

4. A nice recycle bin is awesome, because you can keep it conveniently in plain sight so it’s not a chore to separate and hide recyclable items. My brother-in-law built me this one for Christmas a few years back and I love it!

5. Mrs. Meyer’s (Basil) and Dr. Bronners (Almond) are my fave green products. I use them for so many things!

6. Cloth diapers. YES they are more work, but I love saving all the money and landfill space by using (mostly) cloth diapers. BumGenius are the best. We also love our toilet-mounted diaper sprayer. It makes it really easy, so it just fits into the day like it’s no big deal.

7. Gardening. It makes organic food cheap for the family, it provides exercise and therapy and fresh air for me, and it’s good for the planet.

8. Soul-flower.com is my favorite shop. I want everything. I love my Neverland crops and Earth Medallion tank and all the other things I’ve purchased from Soul-flower. It’s all eco and fair trade and great quality.

What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day?

updating our spaces (planning post #2)

I mentioned we are finishing our basement (it’s really close; I need to get some things cleaned up and take photos!). The space will actually be a temporary home to my brother-in-law and his family of 5. They are in the process of selling their home and will be building a new one (so fun/stressful!); while they are building, they will be staying with us. It will be chaotic to be sure, but I love them and I know we are going to have a blast and just enjoy being one big ol’ family for a while.

Jonathan did ALL the work himself which saved a bundle, and we definitely are going with budget-friendly options, but it still added up. It’s actually kind of perfect to have a span of time that we can’t do anything with our basement so we can recoup some money from the finishing expense. It also gives me a lot of time to plan.

I’ve been so excited to plan out the little play area we are going to incorporate into the family room. I love designing kid spaces, it turns out! Or at least I love the idea of designing them. So much less anxiety. Kid spaces can be so bright, and you don’t have to worry about perfection. Just practicality and fun. I actually feel like this is a lesson to just go with my gut on the whole house (it can all be fun).

Here’s what I’m eventually envisioning for the play area:

Playroom board

  • It WILL have a black and white (indoor/outdoor) rug. It just will.
  • I have a play kitchen my dad built me when I was a toddler (ahhhhhhh!). It’s really adorable, but needs modernized. I will figure out a way to incorporate it. I love the colors of the one above (just a cheapie from Amazon, but good paint inspiration).
  • Chalkboard. Either painted directly on the wall or a big framed-in version mounted to the wall.
  • Cute storage. I’ll probably just spray paint some big baskets or paint a cheap crate or two. I like the mustard yellow.
  • Bright bunting or something else I can DIY to liven up the corner.
  • Not pictured, but I want a cute little reading chair as well (or maybe just a pile of bright floor cushions). There will already be a large bookcase in this corner, the bottom two shelves or so will be dedicated to kid toy bins and books.
  • The play area will be right outside what will be the office/craft room. Hannah will get a little art desk area in there as well (where I can supervise the messes).

Hope to post an actual basement progress post soon!