Monday, December 5, 2011


My sweet Cameron turns three today (though I feel, from how big he looks in these pictures that he should be turning 5)! The amount of joy he brings to my (our) life is immeasurable. I wish he only knew.
The other day we were running some errands, and as we got out of the car, a nice elderly gentleman who was approaching the car next to ours asked Cameron his name. He responded "Cameron! What's your name?" The man matched Cameron's enthusiasm and told him his name was Frank.
The two went on to have a conversation lasting about a minute, with Cameron telling Frank his sister's name, informing him of his upcoming birthday, even telling him about the drywallers that had been working at our house that day.
I don't think Frank was ready for quite the earful that he got, but it was apparent that he was quite delighted by the conversation they had. I mention this story because I think it says a lot about who Cameron is: sweet, charming, smart and chatty. He is such a great kid and my life is truly enriched having him as a son!

Happy Birthday, Cameron!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

DIY wall ledges.

Decorating our new house has been a very slow process. I've got all these big ideas but when it comes to actually executing them, the time to do so is nowhere to be found.
We've got this great little area off the kitchen and dining area that's meant to house some sort of buffet or hutch. We don't have either of those pieces, and even if we did, we don't have any special china or dinnerware to be stored in it. I needed to come up with something to put in this space, because it was just staring me in the face every time I looked at it. I've always loved the look of wall ledges for displaying photos and small decorative items, and i figured that would be the perfect solution for such a large space.
My go to source for ideas and inspiration has always been the ever-so-pricey Pottery Barn. While my style is gravitating away from that particular style, I still find things I like from time to time. Such was the case with the PB Holman wall ledges- loved the idea, not the price. So being the DIY'er I am, I decided to make them myself. A trip to Lowes, $14 in lumber, and 30 minutes (not including staining time, of course) was all it took for 2, 6-foot custom made wall ledges.

I still need a few more frames, particularly in the top right corner where I had a picture fall and shatter everywhere (a wind gust came through the house, and slammed a door shut which made the house rumble a bit. Surprisingly, nothing fell during the earthquake we felt last Saturday!). I also need to swap some of the photos out, as I'm aiming for an all black and white gallery. All these photo frames were hung in different areas in our old home- and I like that they match only by color. I'm really happy with the way these turned out for just a few dollars!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A little Halloween fun.

Last night we partook in a little Halloween fun by taking the kids trick or treating in our new neighborhood. Cameron was a little shy at first, but really got into it when he started seeing all the other kids in their costumes. By the end of the night he was nothing less than a pro, saying "trick or treat" without being prompted, and even yelling "MOM! DAD! I GOT YOU GUYS CANDY!!!!" as he ran away from each house. Awesome.

The Super Hero, cape and mask made by yours truly:

And the ballerina/baby in a tutu, also made by me:
When we got home for the evening, we were looking forward to passing out candy, but by about 7:15 there weren't many people still trick or treating. Needless to say, we have much more candy than we know what to do with!

Monday, October 17, 2011

My little artist.

It's always been a hobby of mine to paint, color and draw. For as long as I can remember, I've loved coloring in books and been obsessed with crayons and other mediums. (Heck, my favorite field trip when I was in elementary school was to The Crayola factory, which I still remember very well.) I took my passion to college and earned a degree in graphic design, but to this day I really enjoy getting off the computer and designing pretty things on paper.
Someone else seems to be sharing my passion- my little Cameron. As soon as Kylie goes down for her morning nap, Cameron is usually begging for the art box containing all of our art supply goodies. Most days we color. Some days our arms are completely covered with paint and cleanup involves a bath. I've really gotten past my "oh, lets not get messy!" attitude and let Cameron explore whatever he wants as long as he's sitting at our dining table.

Recently I was looking for ideas for art to hang in the hallway of the kids bedrooms, when I realized the best art source was my little artist that's been painting up a storm. Enter some cheap frames from Michael's, and up went Cameron's artwork on display.

I hung four frames so that when Kylie is old enough to join in, they can each have two. I love that Cameron has his own little gallery here (instead of taking up real estate all over the fridge doors) and I love that we can switch it whenever the mood strikes or a new masterpiece is made.
Who knows if he will grow up and have a passion for art as I do, but for now, I enjoy that I can share my hobby with him!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Around the fort.

I have mentioned a few times that we are knee deep in projects (as soon as one ends, another begins) here at our new house, and today I want to share some of our outdoor completed projects!
When we first looked at the house, we noticed the deck (which had never been treated) was getting really grey and weathered.
June 2011

The house was built in 2009 and since we were the first owners it sat empty for those 2 years. When we decided to put an offer on the house, we knew staining the deck would be our first priority if and when we moved in. It took us weeks to finish it (due to the size and the heat of July and august) but it's finished and looks so much better.

Underneath the deck was a hot mess of weeds and bizare looking insects and it was honestly kind of odd to me why the builder didn't put concrete there. Knowing we would have a hard time growing anything underneath should we attempt to do so, it seemed like an obvious (not to mention maintenance free) solution to have a concrete slab poured. We ended up finding a concrete company who also did decorative concrete as well, so we had a stamped concrete patio poured at the same time. We spend a lot of time outside and knew this would be a worthwhile investment. I happened to be home over the several days that they poured the patio and it was really neat to see the whole process. I will admit though, that as they were pouring the cement into the framework, I was freaking out because it looked nothing like the color of concrete I chose (that I spent hours agonizing over). It was dark. And ugly. And sort of permanent.Here it looked dark red-brown, almost like a terra cotta planter. I wasn't a fan at this point.

I nervously watched from our patio and windows all day, and what I thought was looking less than great morphed into the most beautiful patio. I was a happy girl. I was so amazed at this stamped concrete process- it was pretty neat. (sidenote: everywhere I go now I notice all the stamped concrete around and there's such a wide variety of patterns and colors.)
After the cement was smoothed out, they threw a thick dusting over it and then stamped it with a mold that was somewhat rubbery, moving the molds piece by piece.
The stamping portion was relatively quick- it took about 30-45 minutes to do 400 square feet.
After it cured, it was powerwashed and then sealed. I love it. No, actually I LOVE it. Love the texture, love the color.
Next year we will probably do a little landscaping around it.

At the same time the patio was being poured in the back, we had a retaining wall put in the front. This is a project I seriously contemplated doing myself, but seeing as how I can barely find time to paint our laundry room, I figured I would never find the time to start- much less complete a project like this. Boy am I glad I didn't! I was able to watch the retaining wall go up and it was so much more tedious than I ever though in my mind, even after reading about DIYing it. Getting the concrete in the right consistency to be workable, keeping things level...definitely a learned skill. I feel though that I might be able to attempt a brick and mortar planting bed on a smaller scale ( like in the back of the house where no one could see my imperfections- ha) someday when I don't have a whiny, teething child attached to my hip I have a little more free time.

My goal was to landscape this area before winter hit, but the selection of plants aren't great right now, so I think I may wait until the spring.
So that's whats been going on outdoors! I have some fun stuff going on inside too- I'll be sure to share very soon. As always, thanks for reading!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Kylie is 8 months!

My sweet Kylie turned 8 months Saturday!

You are crawling faster and faster each day; your brother has learned not to leave his cups in your reach because you will steal a drink! And speaking of your brother, you certainly have a best friend in him (whether you like it or not). You are loved to pieces by him and he wants you near at all times. If you nap too long (which is twice a day, around 2 hours each) he will keep asking to wake you up until he hears you talking in your crib, at which point he runs like lightning to your room and bombards you, which makes you cry most days.
You have 2 teeth and are working on 4 more which explains your fussiness and your need to be attached to my hip if you are awake. It's pretty much the end of the world if I walk by you without stopping! My guess is that you weigh around 20 lbs right now- you are definitely starting to grow into your chunkiness! =) We rarely go anywhere without someone commenting on your bright blue eyes.
I love this girl with all my being!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Summer in a post.

It's been a long while. Time is going so much faster than I can keep up with these days. How is it September already? I for one am looking forward to fall and our first Christmas in our new house. It's just around the corner, ready or not!
I've obviously been missing in action around here. I didn't blog once in August. This summer has certainly been a crazy one and I'm going to attempt to recap a bit for record and for anyone who wants to catch up!

The weekend before Memorial Day, we listed our house for sale and sold it in 5 days. We quickly found a home we loved, and we were supposed to move right into our new house the same day we closed on our old. That would have been convenient, huh? Instead, because of bank/paperwork/appraisal issues, we sat homeless for the entire month of July.
Us in front of the old house a week before we moved out

July was a really hard time for a lot of reasons. It was extremely difficult to explain to my 2 year old that we couldn't go "home". That we didn't have a home anymore. I cried once on the way home from work one day because Cameron didn't want to go back to grandma's (where we were staying)- he wanted to go back to "Cameron's house". All I could say was, "I know you do, baby. I'm sorry" as I tried to fight tears. To be honest, I wasn't even certain that we would get this new house (or any house for that matter). Because my husband is self-employed, we had to show SO much more paperwork than the average couple looking to buy a home. Evey single day, the bank was asking for some sort of documentation of some sort, among many other problems we ran into. Long story short, we ended up switching lenders from Bank of America (who eventually denied us a loan despite our pre-qualification) to a different, smaller bank-and that made ALL the difference. That, and we were on our knees daily asking God to provide this house for us- with a lot of our friends and family praying too. Getting the house was certainly a testimony to answered prayer. Even with all of that said, we were still unsure about when we were closing until about 5 hours before it was scheduled to happen. So, yeah. Pretty stressful summer. At one point, I think Jon and I were in agreement that we made a huge mistake selling our house. As you can imagine, we were extremely relieved when we pulled the moving truck up to our new house!
The nice thing about staying with my parents was that we were able to go out on LOTS of dates since there was always someone able to be there with the kids. We would put them to bed, and go out to dinner, a movie, or ice cream several nights a week. We even took Cameron on a few of our outings after Kylie went down (which we probably enjoyed more than him!). It was nice do something special with just him.

mini-golf with Cameron

Several weeks ago, we took a last minute (and much needed) trip to Branson last weekend! One of the perks of Jon's job sometimes allows us to go along with him when he moves people to different states (like when I joined him in Vegas last September). The customer he moved to Branson encouraged him to bring his family for a weekend of fun, and we did just that. We stayed at the the most adorable, rustic little cabins called "The Wilderness" and we will definitely be going back there. Quietly nestled in the woods, the cabins bunked 7 people and had a nice little kitchenette where we cooked our breakfast each morning.
The Wilderness Lodges
We spent that Saturday at Silver Dollar City (so fun!) and Sunday browsing around Branson's downtown shops and flea markets.

We've since settled into our house and are now knee deep in projects- finishing the basement, staining a deck that's larger than our living room, pouring a new stamped concrete patio and landscaping when it cools down next month. Cameron loved watching the big concrete truck that came and poured the patio!

I have so much to share and I promise it won't be another month before I update- I hope to post much more regularly. If you made it this far, thanks for reading! =)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Come on in! (excuse the mess)

We finally moved!
I wanted to give a quick update and tour of the new place while I have a few minutes. We've been buried in boxes since Tuesday when we moved in, and everything is out of order and messy. I made no attempts to pick up for these snapshots- this is how it is right now!
We are loving our new home and it's a complete blank slate as far as decorating goes. I'm excited to get to work!

Master bedroom, Jon's closet

Master bedroom

Master Bath

My closet! The whole thing is MINE! =)

Kylie's room- the only room I have immediate plans for. I'm going to paint it this weekend (see the swatch on the wall- light lavender). This room also has a 10 foot window and faces the west- so we had to tint the windows already in addition to hanging blinds and curtains. It gets really hot in there!

Backyard- I love the view and it has a large, covered deck. I can't wait to sit out there in the evenings!

Basement- we're going to get started finishing it right away- it will have 2 additional rooms, a bathroom and a living room.


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