Sage | Nine Months

28 06 2015

Sage 9 months nine onesie

Sage. You’re a smiley, giggly, chunk. You’re nine months today and wearing size 18-24 months. There is so much to love about you! Look at that hair, for starters. Blonde and wispy and way too cool.

Teething: 4 teeth came in at once and you’ve been gnawing on EV.ERY.THING. You’ll pull out dresser drawers to chew on, and today when E kicked the drumset cymbal you were chewing on, it cut into the top of your gums. You love Pumkin Butt teething oil and your chocolate silicone teething bar.

Eating: 3 meals a day with lots of nursing and snacks in between. You might have tried wedding cake last night. And loved it. So just pretend on your birthday like it’s all brand new.


New tricks: Crawling forward! I didn’t want to rush this, but clearly you don’t want to be left out.


Sleeping: You’re not big on daytime naps, but you stick to your bedtime. You’re usually up to nurse a lot throughout the night, but I don’t mind while school’s out and we’re not rushing to be out the door by 6:45 AM. You’re still in our room!


Playing: Endless giggles shared between you and E. You are the very first person he looks for every morning when he wakes up. You have also said his name several times! Your giggle is much deeper then E’s, and your eyes absolutely sparkle when you look at him. And your dimple!



I can’t leave the two of you alone together though. E likes to say, “Baby’s all locked in!”


Loves: Movies in the theatre, Taylor Swift, listening to the sermon at church, reading board books, dancing at weddings, puppets, your brother, your parents, babywearing. How do we know you love all of these? Your arms and legs FLAIL. WILDLY.

During the last month, you have: been to 2 weddings (but the rest of us have been to 3!) and a rehearsal dinner, you were dedicated at church, attended a “Mommy and Me” yoga class, spent time with our LifeGroup, picked strawberries, went to Busch Gardens, went to a library kickoff program, helped Mommy teach Sunday School, went to yardsales and a Food Truck festival, ate lunch and watched puppets at an elementary school, went to the peach orchard, saw Paddington at the movie theatre, danced at the library, fed ducks at the park, enjoyed playgroup at church, swam at the lake, went to a birthday party, visited puppies (you LOVED), had several playdates and time outside, went to the river, and played on many different playgrounds. I love being at home with both of my boys for the summer!

Sage nine 9 month collage

Month by Month

birth | one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight

Five on Friday

19 06 2015

Linking up with Karli and Amy for oh hey, Friday and April for Five on Friday!

Now that I’m off work just for the summer, I try to leave the house everyday with the kids, which can be exhausting at times, but rewarding. It’s a lot of work to pack up everything for the day and make sure they’re fed/changed before we leave, but more fun than chasing them around the house all day long! And certainly more fun than packing up their stuff to be away from them all day while they’re at daycare – plus no pump parts and bottles to wash! We’ve been able to do so many things this week that I normally can’t do when I work during the school year, from trips, to playdates, to starting fun projects and trying out new recipes.

It makes me a little sad to see how close the boys get to me, and how sweet they are to me and to each other throughout the day. When I work, I come home to tantrums that last all evening after we’ve been apart for 10+ hours, and I miss out on all these little moments.

one | We scoped out a new-to-us playground. E always prefers the big kids’ playground to the toddler ones!


two | After visiting a puppet show and signing up for a couple summer reading programs at local libraries, we went to another program at an elementary school. They provided a free lunch during the puppet show, with BBQ sandwiches, chips, cookies, apples, carrots, and water bottles for the kids and for the adults!IMG_3628

three | I don’t have a green thumb, but I’ve been diligently checking our garden each day for progress. We planted tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, basil, lemongrass, and peppers. My favorite, though, is the sunflower my son brought home from school. I love that it was tiny when he brought it home, but it will eventually grow taller than he is!


Using my basil, I made a one-pot pasta dish this week with most of the little plant. It was so good, so easy, so PRETTY, and a keeper for sure!


four | Water balloons – fun to fill, fun to throw, but not sure they were worth the meltdown that ensued when I threw one at his little piggies!IMG_3684

five | I must have caught an exercise bug, because yesterday I got up early and ran on the treadmill, and last night, I attended my first free “Mommy and Me” yoga class at a natural parenting store taught by a friend from church. My midwife suggested I try yoga after several recent bouts of tachycardia. At the time, I just laughed, but I loved, LOVED it, and so did Sage. He was fascinated by the poses, laughing and clapping (probably distracting), and he loved participating and being held all the different ways. I was also surprised to learn that the instructor began yoga because of tachycardia, too. This might be something new to try!

Happy Friday!

Finding “Me” Time

18 06 2015

IMG_2999I just finished an excellent book that I borrowed from a friend – The Fringe Hours, by Jessica Turner of The Mom Creative. I highly recommend this for moms of little ones, for when it seems like there is never time to get anything done for yourself! I journaled alongside reading it but would still love a copy of my own! And no, this is not a sponsored post. Just thought it was great.

First – finding the time to read the book. Luckily, it’s a quick read because of its workbook format. I spend a LOT of time nursing the baby while (sometimes aimlessly) scrolling through my phone. I set social media down for about 2 days and put this book in my hand instead. BOOM. Done. Checked it off my summer bucket list and on to the next book.

Since reading Jessica’s book, I’ve actually found some of those hidden pockets of time to work on several little DIYs that I’ve been wanting to do… projects that all seemed daunting before reading this book because I was waiting til I had entire afternoons or days to devote to completing them. I realized that every time I have a pocket of 5 minutes, instead of spending it scrolling through my phone or cleaning up toys, I should put that time toward a checklist of little tasks that add up to a completed project! Like reserving books online at the library when I have 5 minutes, then running in and grabbing them when I’m there a few days later for storytime with my kids. It just takes some planning ahead.

For another example, to make some jean shorts – I broke up that project into little tasks that each took less than 5 minutes:

  • go in the attic to find old jeans to cut up to make shorts
  • find my sewing tape measure
  • watch youtube tutorials on the best way to distress denim
  • cut the jeans to the desired length
  • ask hubby for sandpaper
  • practice distressing the unused denim using a variety of techniques to find the best method
  • look online at the best way to stain the shorts a darker wash

While I did these tasks, I watched a movie on my summer bucket list (reserved online from library) in short, 5-minute increments until I finished it! I am rarely one to sit and watch a full movie, and never at home. In fact, I’m not allowed to – my orthopedic surgeon told me never to sit for more than 2 hours because of my spine condition. So even at the movie theatre, I sometimes have to get up and walk around the lobby.

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Another similarly-executed project was the process of lanolizing wool overnight shorties for my new little heavy-wetter! The shorties sat around for weeks because I didn’t think I had the time. But I finally broke the project up into DAYS of 5-minute steps until the shorties were lanolized and ready to use!


Even trying a new recipe! First, I found a recipe using the search term “easy basil dinner.” Another time, I wrote a list of ingredients needed. BOOM. It was ready to make after the next shopping trip.


My husband and I had an Amway Ribbon gift catalog from our baby shower that is older than our 8-month-old. I think in theory, the concept of the gift is to make it easy for the parents to select what they really need. Well, the baby has long-since outgrown most of the newborn and infant items in the catalog, but I finally broke the process of selecting a gift into 5-minute tasks:

  • browse the catalog
  • lookup the actual items on Amazon to compare retail values. The variety of price ranges is insane!
  • log in to the website
  • realize all of the items in our catalog were no longer available, all replaced with newer items
  • start process all over again
  • select an item that we both wanted (bonus: it was also the most expensive retail item)
  • order the item – a waterproof, easy-to-clean, play mat! This wasn’t even listed in our catalog.
  • our gift arrived today! Went outside and got it off the porch. Just before the baby turns 9 months old

Ribbon Gift

Jessica’s advice has really helped me to streamline the party-planning for my son’s 3rd birthday. I had actually considered taking him on a fun trip instead of dedicating the time and effort into a party, but I also don’t want to skip celebrating this milestone with his little friends! Party planning was broken into a series of 5-minute tasks:

  • gathering ideas
  • making an invite list
  • making a list of things to buy/make
  • making a food list
  • designing simple invites in PicMonkey using a free template
  • finding free printables as party decor that fits my theme – so easy!
  • printing the printables
  • cutting out the printables
  • addressing invites, etc.

My next big project might take the whole summer, but my goal is to finish it in the next 2.5 weeks. When I listed it on my summer bucket list, it seemed daunting, but the trick was just to START. Start with the first step! I give myself grace to know that it’s not going to happen all at once. I may never see a 4-hour chunk of time to myself in the next 18 years, but 5 minutes here and there eventually adds up to the time I will need to complete the things that matter to me, things worth doing.

I’m not talking about the big things – going to my women’s Bible study, volunteering (and I’m learning to say “no” more often now that I have little ones unless I know what I’m doing is truly meaningful), spending time with family, going to work — all that stuff is LIFE.


In fact, if my kids are awake, I try to prioritize so that I’m spending almost all my time with them. Don’t get me wrong, I want them to know I have hobbies, and I want them to be able to entertain themselves and be creative and have their own outlets, but when they’re grown up, I also want them to remember me and my husband playing with them, reading to them, listening to them, and including them in everyday tasks – like cooking, or our garden.



The little projects or hobbies are just little things that give me an outlet for myself in a crazy infant/toddler world when that time to myself is SO.HARD. to come by. And as an introvert, I NEED it. I’ll be interested to see how this works during the school year when I’m working and not at home with the boys.

And no…  I didn’t write this blog post all at once! And yes, all I still want for my birthday is this breakfast at Panera BY MYSELF! ;)


Five on Friday | Segue to Summer

12 06 2015

School’s out! I want to make the absolute most out of my time home with my kids, since I’m away from them a majority of the school year while I teach.

one | I made a quick summer bucket list and a calendar of activities that we can quickly check if we are looking for activities. I washi-taped them to our (non-magnetic) fridge. We bought a few supplies to have on hand.


two | My son started off the summer with a birthday party for a classmate. It was adorable, and I’m so grateful for these little friends he’s had for the past 2 years.


three | We attended a local “Touch a Truck” event – a perfect family outing :)

Touch a Truck

four | Why can’t every morning start like this? I’ve been devouring a new book this week and can’t wait to carve out time to read (and pursue other hobbies) more this summer.IMG_3508

five | I’ll spare the pics, but I spent part of my week hooked up to a Holter monitor and visited the cardiologist a few times this week. Instead, I’ll share some fun summer-y pics!

June 2015 summer collage

Linking up with Karli and Amy for oh hey, Friday and April for Five on Friday!

A Wedding to Set the Bar

1 06 2015

Over Memorial Day weekend, my family and I attended the fanciest wedding at the beach for my college roommate. Her parents live on the waterfront, so her occasion took place in their backyard, a truly serene setting.

It meant the world to me that she invited my whole family, and that my boys would get to meet her – she’s been living in Florida since the last time I saw her at my wedding 7 years ago. Before the wedding day, her mother let me know that she would have servers for my table, even though it was a buffet, since she knew it would be difficult to get our meals with little ones in tow. So thoughtful! And then offered that if we needed any sorts of high chairs or seats, we’d be welcome to bring anything we pleased. It was just the sweetest gesture.

Valets met us at the driveway to whisk our car away as we walked the grounds. We received an order of ceremonies, where we quickly realized the wedding would last well into the evening – 1 AM – and that we’d still have a 3.5-hour drive to get home that night before my work at 7:40 the next morning!

The setting was breathtaking!

5:00 Ceremony at the Waterfront, Petal Toss to Send Well Wishes as Mr. and Mrs.



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Guests were given doilies filled with soft pink rose petals to toss as the bride and groom were introduced and recessed down the aisle.

5:30 Cocktails on the Deck, Sweet Treat, Acquire Escort Card, Locate Table Name on Map

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Delicious almond macaroons!


The bubbly flowed all night from multiple bars scattered around the lawn.

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The bathroom trailer was super fancy and had everything you could possibly need in a pinch – Tide Pens, mints, anything!


The sound system inside the trailer was also playing the Jurassic Park theme song. You know, like when the T-Rex ate the lawyer. (Did I mention the bride and groom met at the same law firm?)




The front yard was set up with a bubble machine for the kids, and someone even offered to watch our kids for us!


7:00 Bubbly in the Tent, Dinner, Speeches, and Spectacular Dancing

The family set up a receiving line as we entered the tent for dinner. It was SO good to catch up with her sweet family again!

Aren’t she and her mother stunning?!

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Wrong fork. I know, I know.


I sat on the dock to nurse the baby while I listened to speeches as the sun set. Perfection. Soon after, servers brought plates out to the couples with small children.


We had been given our own monogrammed menus to fill out for our servers; even the baby had his own menu! With persistent instructions from the bride’s mother to “check every box! Order everything! Order the baby everything so you get two, and then go up to the buffet for thirds anyway!” No one was going hungry that night!


Every bite was DELICIOUS.


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She had glowsticks for us, just like at my little brother’s wedding!

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9:00 Cake, Coffee, and Cordials. Open Favors, Dancing

Our favors were wrapped up like Tiffany’s boxes and included light-up neon ice cubes, and we were instructed to drop them in our drinks and head to the dance floor with them when we heard the song “Firework.”

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Dessert bar menu


11:00 Bouquet Toss, Last Dance, Late Night Fare

As the dancing finished up, we were served cheeseburger sliders, fries baskets, and bourbon-caramel-glazed bacon by the monogrammed ice sculpture.

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E was still going strong with us, even into the wee hours! Sage slept off and on.


I happened to see alcohol in the garage, and the caterers told me this is what was leftover (unused) from the bar… she said they started with 4 times this much!


12:00 AM Loyal Order of Midnight and Moonrise on the Waterfront, Valet Keys Returned

The loyal order of midnight meant that we all met at the dock to shoot flaming arrows into the waterway.

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1 AM Couple Departs, Happily Ever After


Sage | 8 Months

28 05 2015

Sage - 8 month monthly photo

Sage, you are so happy, I can’t even stand it. At 8 months, you are ALWAYS happy.

Nursing: We are still going strong on our nursing journey together. You drink 12-16 oz. a day of my pumped milk at daycare, and you always nurse for a full hour when we get home, plus several times in the morning and several times in the evening. I think all this nursing is partly to blame for all the episodes of tachycardia I’ve had lately. I’ve spent too many mornings being monitored in the clinic at work and will see a doctor next week!

Eating: You eat lunch and dinner purees each day and seem to like most things that aren’t green. Just like your brother. I can’t blame you – who likes peas?

Milestones: Scooting, one giant forward crawl, and today you pulled into a standing position. You can easily get across the room with a combo of spinning, crawling backward, scooting, etc. You learned to clap yesterday and can identify all our family members by turning toward them when we say their names.

Teeth: Just lots of drool. One day, you got a Gatorate bottle lodged in your mouth (terrifying for everyone!), and you cut your gums so badly that I could see your tooth!

Sleeping: Hit or miss. Some nights you sleep like a champ, some nights you want to nurse all night every day for a week. You sleep in a pack n play in our room – we haven’t had time to transition you to your new nursery yet!

Wearing: 18-24 months, usually rompers with orange moccs, cloth diapers

Saying: Hi, Hey, Da-Da

Hair: blonde and wispy like cotton candy. Long in front.

Eyes: blue. The only feature you didn’t get from your daddy were his beautiful sage-green eyes. Go figure.

Toys: zebra teether, Wubbas, and J.D. Lester books are your favorites

Doing: You attended your 2nd wedding this week and had a blast! You also love to laugh and read books. I’m too tired to write anything else, but please know how much we love you!

Sage - 8 month collage

Month by Month

one | two | three | four | five | six | seven

Five on Friday | Spring Lately

22 05 2015

Oh hey! Linking up with April for Five on Friday and Karli and Amy for oh hey, Friday.

one | Did you see my nursery DIY post earlier this week? I made wall decor using a reclaimed pallet and love how it turned out! We also refinished a dresser, made closet built-ins, and hung the baby’s race medals.


two | Our family enjoyed strawberry picking this weekend! It was overcast and thundering, and a train roared behind the patch – we had a great time! We ended up with 8 lbs. of strawberries to use for salads, canning jam, milkshakes, cereal topping, and just eating!

5-17-15 strawberry picking

three | Every time that I think I want to move, I am reminded of why I love where we live. Here are 3 different views from my window that were all taken on Monday!

Virginia 5-18-15

four | On Tuesday, we woke up and quickly realized we needed to take E to the pediatrician. He had an ear infection, upper respiratory infection, and conjunctivitis. You’d never know except that his eye was pink! I took a rare sick day – E and I went to the doc and then on a Dunkin Donuts date! My husband and I pinky swore that we would not have a donut this year, and so far, we’ve stuck to it. My coffee came with a free donut, so E got to pick and he chose pink! He mostly just played with the sprinkles.

5-19-15 pinkeye

five | We are probably the last people to plant, but we got our garden tilled and planted over the weekend.

5-16-15 garden

Happy Friday!

Nursery Transformation

17 05 2015

Much like how any actual progress on our nursery transformation went down, I wrote most of this blog post on 7/3/14 and then didn’t return to it until today. We decided to move our oldest son out of his nursery and into a toddler room, and convert the nursery into a guest room/nursery with new decor.

We don’t have a theme for our new nursery other than “rustic,” but things are coming together. I don’t like themes because I think they lead to collections. Our first order of business was a closet makeover. It’s still a work-in-progress, but much more functional and keeps a lot of toys off the floor.

We worked our design around a crate we found at Homegoods. We never found the match after searching every Homegoods in a 3-hour radius, but we did find 2 matching smaller crates. My husband designed, built, and painted shelving along the bottom of the closet to fit the crate. We removed the closet doors, making that area of the room so much more open. Once I rearranged the furniture, it became a larger play area.

Closet reno part 1

[Wow. My child doesn’t look like this anymore]

Next up was the dresser. We have a super-nice baby dresser from my sister, and I was itching to try chalk paint – the dresser was the perfect piece, since its wood is already a different color than everything else in the nursery.


I watched a ton of Annie Sloan chalk paint tutorials, but in the end, the paint dealers were always either closed or out of what I needed, so I went with CeCe Caldwell’s chalk paint in Sedona Red. I had a one-day window in which to finish while my son finished out daycare for the year, so CeCe’s it was! I was able to support a small local business with this purchase – a win-win!


With chalk paint, there is no prep work or sanding required. I loved painting haphazardly on purpose! That’s what gives it interesting texture, especially when it’s time to add the wax.



After two layers of chalk paint, I applied a coat of clear wax:





And before you start thinking it looks too pink or coral for a boy… let’s change lighting. It reminds me of the red of a weathered picnic table. Or the natural clay at Arches National Park.


On to the hardware. I removed the existing hardware and searched high and low for spherical dresser pulls to cover. I eventually found what I needed at Michaels and bought 120 feet of twine (to resemble jute rope), which was just enough for my husband to cover all nine knobs with a monkey fist knot. He drilled into the knobs to make them compatible with the hardware from the original knobs, and they fit perfectly! These would have been expensive to custom-order, so I’m glad he knew how to do it.



Okay. Picking up now where I left off. Fast-forward 10 months. The baby is almost 8 months old and has barely visited the nursery. We’ve had a pallet in our yard since before he was born, waiting to be turned into wall art. While my husband tilled our new garden yesterday, I went to work on the pallet, removing 4 boards to expose the inner slats. My son helped me scrub it, and then I sanded off the rougher sides. I added a touch of wood glue here and there, and then hung it today – it’s so secure that you could probably climb on it. But don’t tell my kids that.

Pallet art - nurserywall art - nursery 2I cleaned the nursery up a bit and tried to hide the awful skirt on the guestbed that my vacuum burned. I took a few pics, although it was late and they’re dark! All we need now is the newest tenant to move in! But I’m not ready for him to leave my room just yet! :)

Nursery - May 2015

I’m terribly sentimental, so everything has a special meaning to me:

  • Ladder/medal rack: displays medals from 4/6 races I ran while pregnant with the baby, including 2 full marathons!
  • Laminated quotes from my “beautiful mess” baby shower and a Radio Flyer wagon painted by the art teacher at my elementary school
  • The bear card is also a watercolor by the same art teacher, but it was from my baby shower with E
  • Pallet art – by me! – full of all kinds of pieces sentimental to me. I think this might be my new quiet place!
  • The pail of daisies was one of our wedding centerpieces, and the clay handprints and footprints were molded when Sage was a week old
  • The bandana quilt was a labor of love from my mom

It’s kind of eclectic, but I love that it doesn’t scream “baby.” Which is good, because we wouldn’t want to wake him up. You know, if he ever moves in.

Five on Friday

15 05 2015

| Linking up with April for Five on Friday and Karli and Amy for oh hey, Friday |

Palindrome Week

| nifty right? |

one | We had much to celebrate on Mother’s Day! We dedicated our son at church alongside 12 other families.


two | Mother’s Day was also my husband’s birthday. While we didn’t do a huge bash like last year (I cannot even fathom pulling that off again with 2 little ones!), we did have 9 people over to celebrate after the dedication, including our mothers. My mother-in-law made a Boston cream cake, and I made him a creamy Swiss chicken bake for dinner. Who washes the dishes when it’s Mother’s Day and husband’s birthday??



Mother’s Day weekend this year started out especially difficult for me, but I was encouraged on Sunday and blessed to be with family all day.

three | I just LOVE Emily Ley and her whole story. So even though I had been toying the idea of a Plum Paper planner, I caved and purchased another Simplified Planner for my 3rd year in a row. And by “purchased” I actually mean tracked down, because right when they launched last week, my school held an unannounced lockdown drill and I had to go into lockdown mode with my students. By the time the lockdown was over, they were sold out. That evening, I called retailers all over the US and had one shipped from Kansas. I’m still debating whether to keep it – it’s much smaller this year! I selected the gold pineapple academic weekly.

emily ley simplified planner

| via |

four | I am now growing herbs in my kitchen alongside E’s sunflower. So far I have basil and lemon balm. I found several interesting ways to use lemon balm that I’m excited to try. What uses do you have for lemon balm?

five | Brothers. I love watching the boys together as they interact more and more. We have dance parties for them, we play outside, we watch them laugh together in the car, and we have lots of cuddles. I’m so glad they have each other.


Happy Friday! I will leave you with a toddler tantrum. You’re welcome.


Moccs, Rocks, and Kettle Corn

3 05 2015

This weekend was my 3rd weekend in a row solo with the kids. My husband was running in a 205-mile relay race across our state that lasted 2 days (which, by the way, WHAT?! And their 11-member team came in first in their division!), while I got in some quality time with the boys. There weren’t any tantrums, but Sage wanted to nurse pretty much every second that I was holding him, since there was no one to pass him off to. But we managed to squeeze in tons of fun together.

On Friday, I picked up some books on hold at the library and zipped into my local natural parenting shop to select some baby shower gifts and a cloth diaper wool overnight solution. I also bought a pair of baby moccs that I’ve loved ever since I saw them back in February. They are the softest, most buttery leather I’ve ever felt, and they are a perfect fit! The burnt orange is just crazy enough of a color that they can pair with anything.


That evening, we were listening to some chill music my neighbor recorded, and my 2-year-old actually got the baby to fall asleep to it before falling asleep himself, so I had a rare quiet evening to myself!


Saturday morning, I awoke to the happiest baby ever, plus a toddler in my bed.


It took me from 5-10 AM to get them ready to get out of the house! We headed to a friend’s yardsale to soak in some Vitamin D and pickup a fun playmat.


I just had to go back to the natural parenting shop to grab a few things I had been debating about. Like another pair of the same buttery soft orange moccs in a larger size, and one more overnight cloth diaper.

We played on the playground at our library and then went inside to feed the baby, read, and play – it was pretty much deserted because it was too gorgeous outside to be cooped up inside!


I thought I’d take the boys to Chick-fil-a, but it was so crowded that we grabbed it to go from their iPOS server and picnicked elsewhere. Our lunch began as a tailgate, with all of us in the back of my SUV, until I remembered the playmat I had purchased at the yardsale that morning. So we quickly moved our lunch to the grass – it was E’s favorite part of the day, he would tell me later. I topped off my evening with a 1/2 price frappuccino at Starbucks.


By Sunday, my husband was back home, and we covered the nursery at church – 13 babies! I came home and immediately inventoried our entire house with my camera after talking to a woman at church who just lost her home in a scary fire. We’ve been slowly getting things together for emergencies – I recently purchased a 2nd-story fire escape ladder as well.

We all headed out to the river for some rock-skipping, swinging, and running around the playground, then we decided to go driving, since it was too pretty to head home.

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5-3-15 park

5-3-15 park 2

We went back to Starbucks again for more half-price frappuccinos, then took our coffee and explored parts of our town we’ve never seen. We sampled the local kettle corn from a food truck and happened upon an old mansion. It was such a spontaneous, fun date while the kids napped in the car – they NEVER nap on the weekends, so this was a rare treat. The best weekend I’ve had in a long time! I hope you’ve enjoyed yours!


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