Friday, September 28, 2012

a two-month update and autumn leaves.


As the leaves are just beginning to change into their beautiful fall colors, we are celebrating our two-month Pittsburgh anniversary.  Can you believe we have been here for two whole months?  I suppose the most socially appropriate answer to that question is, "no way!  are you serious?  has it really been that long?  omg."  But honestly, to me it feels like we have been living here for two months.  Exactly.  Still new, still fresh, yet not lost, not hopeless.  Rather, hopeful.  In a house that just a few weeks ago felt like a vacation rental, I now happily feel at home.  I love my home, I love my neighborhood, and I love my Pittsburgh.  

The kids are all doing quite well too.  They love their schools and have been busy making friends and keeping up with school work.  There have been no tears, only smiles since school started.  Elyssa has made friends in her college classes and ventures out with them outside of class.  McKenna's new friends are literally across the street and just down the street a little ways.  Both of the girls keep in touch with Spokane friends by Skyping regularly.  Jackson keeps up with his old and new friends via online video games.  In Spokane, almost every weekend there was a sleepover happening at home, but we haven't yet reached that level of comfort here in Pittsburgh.  I imagine though, that it won't be long until we fall back into that same fun weekend routine.

As for me, I really haven't been putting myself out there in social situations, so getting to know people has not been happening so much.  I've been quite content to work on the house {all alone}, painting each room while watching Downton Abbey reruns {all alone}.  I don't necessarily feel lonely {I'm actually quite content with the quiet}, but then sometimes I surprise myself by leaving a very longwinded message when returning a call to the school nurse and at those times it's hard not to notice I might be deprived of human interaction.  Have you ever left a message like that?  When you find yourself sharing every small detail and random background information.  And then asking a question?  And then answering it?  And then giving a little guffaw?  And then realizing you're having a conversation with yourself on a stranger's voicemail?  So, I might not feel lonely, but sometimes the symptoms are a little obvious.  Like the one time I took the kids to a movie and said to the ticket guy, "Four tickets for Desperate Me please," when we were seeing Despicable Me.  

*Freudian slippage, dangnam you.







Two months, two things:

  1. When we moved, my priority was my children - seeing them successfully off to school and making friends and making a loving home for them.  So far, so good.  It's the sacrifice a parent makes for her children and I would do the same thing all over again the same exact way, because my kids are happy.  Soon I will be back to school and work and being social.  All in good time.  For now, the support from my husband, my family and far-away-friends, and fellow bloggers keeps me quite content and happy and feeling loved.  So, thank you all!
  2. My husband.  Pure awesomeness.  He's my bff and I love him so much.  In Spokane, I was so busy going to college full time and working part-time, while he traveled for work, so it was hard to find time for just us.  But now, we have been enjoying lunch dates and late evenings together. I'd say we've come out on top of the stresses of moving, even stronger in our marriage.  And he might just be wondering if he read that part right.  :)

friday foto dump

I have been trying to get in the habit of doing a friday photo dump - sharing those wonderful Instagram photos I've been taking of random stuff.  But I think I've only succeeded once in doing it.  So, here are photos from the last couple of weeks, lucky you!  And if you're crazy enough to want to follow me on the IG, then click here!  

1.  Breaking out my boots.  It's been a long while.
2.  An Autumn-appropriate wreath on the door.
3.  First hot cocoa & toast of the season.
Lounging with a cat.

1.  A new vase for my new dining room table.
2.  Plate arrangement.
3.  Who needs a plate to eat cake?
4.  My new owl and owlet hardware.


1.  Her majesty on the new table.
2.  My leather thrift-store find.
3. Two kids giggling.
4.  Showing our Seahawks pride.


1.  Nothing like a repeat photo.
2.  A natural-looking stache.
3.  Getting my hair did by McKenna.
4.  Homework project.

1.  The plan - for my mom's visit.
2.  A covered bridge sighting!
3.  Napping feline.
4.  More of the same.

1.  Guess where?
2.  More covered bridge fun!
3.  Ugly is so cute.
4.  My back.  A comfy spot for a cat-nap.

1.  Cutest restaurant ever ever.
2.  My pretty momma.
3.  A delightful setting.
4.  Best sweet rolls in the world.

1.  A random elephant.
2.  Bread for a bracelet.
3.  Mom found her strudel.
4.  Say yes! to hot cocoa!

1, 2, 3, 4.  Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game.

1, 2.  Pittsburgh at night.
3.  My front door at night.
4.  My Lucky Charms at night.

1.  Mom & I visit Abby Lee.
2.  My Mom, the crazy cat lady.
3.  Go Ducks!
4.  Monster Pooper poops candy.  :)


1.  Painting Elyssa's room.
2.  Framing photos for McKenna's room.
3.  Honey Boo Boo!
4.  The Great Chili Cook-Off.

Oh, and by the way... you can now follow me on Facebook!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

our halloween mantel. even though it's still september.


As I type this post, it is pouring rain outside like I have never seen.  It has been raining all day long, but this particular downpour has me feeling extra lethargic cozy and ready to nap at any time.  There's just something soothing about the sound of wet falling from the sky, while I'm safely inside tucked into the sofa with a warm laptop and a peripheral view of twinkly lights glowing from my fireplace mantel.  It makes me glad that I have a tendency to be overly ambitious when it comes to readying the house for holidays.  Today is a perfect day for twinkly candy-corn lights and softly flickering faux candles.  And spiders.  Oh yes!  Even fake spiders.


With all of the antique shopping and visits to the countryside lately, I have really been inspired by that kind of decorating - the gorgeous floral garlands, the vintage baskets and tins, the pumpkin-spice candles, the autumn inspired signs, and the large antique window frames.  All of those items would make a lovely Fall mantel display, I just know it.  And perhaps one day I shall see for myself, but for now... this family is all about the fun and all about the spooky {with a little bit of pretty tossed in for me}.  And when my kids came home from school today and "loved!" the fireplace {especially the spiders}, it was marvelous indeed!




Candy corn lights!



Trick or treat!

My inspiration for the FALL letters below.  And by inspiration, I kinda mean copy.  :)


So, that's that!  Now we just need October to get here!

Two other things going on around here:
  1. Even though it's still only September, I have taken it upon myself to build a small Halloween cemetery in the front yard.  I have also wrapped two trees in orange and purple lights.  This is in addition to the leaf garland and lights I put around our front door, of which the neighbor up the street from us remarked, "I thought you were already decorating for Christmas, and I thought I was early."  Oh boy, it's fun to be the overly-eager new neighbor.
  2. I put the faux cemetery up yesterday, on the windiest day ever.  And all the gravestones blew across the yard.  And I'm sure the neighbors got a good laugh about that.  I put the gravestones back into place {because I am a determined woman} and today, on the second windiest {most rainiest day}, they are blown across the yard again.  You are welcome for the entertainment, my dear bestest neighbor friends.


DIY Showoff

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

the seven stages of middle school homework.

We usually try to put homework off until we finally remember it five minutes before bed, but Husband got tired of that routine {as it often interrupts football-watching} and so he decided {being the better parent than I} that homework must be started much much earlier, like right after school.  And - because who doesn't like to sit & learn for 6 hours straight and then come right home and sit & learn some more - today we tried it out.  The kids had a healthy snack {obviously} and got straight to work.  Math!  Yippee!!  And I sat down to offer assistance, which basically means learn algebra all over again.  

The Stages of Middle School Homework

1.  Denial.  Have a sibling present to goof off with, while eating fritos and drinking diet coke.  What homework?

2.  Acceptance.  Look!  I am a multi-tasking master!  Texting and solving math problems simultaneously.  Maybe homework isn't so bad.

3.  Insanity.  Look how many problems my teacher gave me!  Doesn't she know I need time for video games?

4.  Depression is afoot.  One problem down.  15 to go.  My life is over.

5.  Narcolepsy.  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

6.  Extreme texting.  Why even bother with my math work sheet, when I can happily text my bff and razz my big brother about his homework?

7.  The upward turn.  Just look at my smile.  Still no work sheet insight, but I managed to get ahold of two phones!  Homework time is awesome!

And I am going to go ahead and publicly admit that maybe doing homework after school is not such a horrible idea.  It's nice to have it out of the way, so we can just relax later in the evening.  Husband has some good ideas sometimes.  That guy.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

what i've been wearing.

Ann Taylor cardigan, Gap stripes, Loft denim, Born boots
 Keeping warm in J Crew stripes and chambray tops, Old Navy skinnies, Born boots
 Freezing my legs off in J Crew sweater, Loft shorts, Payless sandals
Framing photos in Loft sweater, ModBod tank, MEK jeans, Dansko sandals
Loft stripes, Banana Republic blazer, Loft denim trousers, Franco Sarto boots


Painting.  That's the story of my life right now.  And I love it!  Tomorrow I'll be finished with the eldest daughter's bedroom and then.... I just don't know what!  Perhaps I shall get started on painting my own bedroom.  Oooh, I like that idea.  But maybe first I'll take some time to decorate for Halloween, gander at the changing leaves, and cozy up with some hot cocoa and Honey Boo Boo {don't judge}.  Pittsburgh's summer is officially dead and buried and I think I definitely need to take some time to switch out my closet this week.  Goodbye shorts and sandals!  I'll miss you!  But hello, hot cocoa!

Two things going on in our house these days:
  1. Here Comes Honey Boo Boo
  2. Dance Moms
We have become TLC junkies suddenly.  In my defense though, Dance Moms is filmed in Pittsburgh, so I feel like we're supporting our local citizens.  *pshaw, right.  And I really have no excuse for Honey Boo Boo except that I'm calling it research into other cultures.  Who am I trying to kid?  



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***I like shopping for clothes.  It's a weakness.  But I also like hanging out in sweats and pajamas.  Posting my outfits helps me keep my budget in balance while also keeping my cute stuff from going to waste.  Plus I'm just a big girly-girl who likes to play dress-up.  Every wednesday I link up with The Pleated Poppy and on fridays, with Two Thirty-five Designs.  Click on the cute boxes below to see what I'm talking about!

pleated poppy

Monday, September 24, 2012

covered bridges: a good place to gangnam style.


I'm pretty sure my mom and I are the most exciting covered bridge enthusiasts around.

mckenna's newly painted bedroom.


This room was {by far} the most difficult to tackle in this house thus far.  And from the looks of things, the other rooms in the house are all smooth sailing from here.  So, the beast is behind me!  For this room, it all started with the ripping out of carpet, only to discover that someone long ago had done a bang-up job of slathering white paint on the trim and surrounding wood floor, as well as splattering paint droplets like confetti.  So, once the little carpet nails and monster staples were removed from the floor via plier and blistered hand, I had the fortunate job of rubbing Goof Off {brief-high-inducing paint remover} all over the wood floors in small, tedious amounts, coat-after-coat-after-why-is-this-not-working-coat.  Finally it worked and I was done and the floors look so much better now.  But then... there was the monotonous, physically-grinding work of stripping wallpaper, which just about killed me.  It took me days of spraying and sponging and digging that stupid stripping tool along the wall.  Just horrid.  I kept myself company {because I did this all single-handedly, you know} by talking aloud about dumb people who put up wallpaper and how there should be laws against gluing such awful stuff to walls.  But then a miracle happened.  I somehow finished the job.  And it felt darn good.  And then another small miracle happened.  My mom showed up for a surprise visit!  And for the next 9 days, we had too much fun to even think about this unfinished bedroom.  And that event probably saved my life. Ok, maybe I'm being a bit dramatic, but it certainly saved my sanity.  So, when Mom said her goodbyes, I was refreshed and optimistic and motivated and I painted that room right up!





I am a big believer in allowing my kids to decorate their own rooms {with my assistance in the work, of course}.  This is their space and I want them to feel like it's their place and that they are the designers and creators of their space.  Their room reflects them and celebrates them!  And so, this room is by McKenna.  This was her vision and I tried hard to get it just how she explained.  And if you are lucky enough to know this 10-year-old girl, than you know this is totally her room: a little bit girly, a little bit rock n' roll.  A little bit lace and rainbows.  A little bit video games and cars.

The Spokane Wall.  
She wanted a wall for good Spokane memories with friends and family.
12x18's from Costco and frames from IKEA.  

Dolls and cars.  Even a doll in a football helmet.  That's totally McKenna.

Girly pinks and stuffed bears and polkadots and ruffles.

And then a video game poster.

The old-lady lace curtains left by the previous owner.  
I tried to replace them with something young & fun, but McKenna said no way!  
So the girly curtains shall stay.

A quick sneak peek inside her closet.  Little bit rock n' roll.

This little girl rocks!  And I hope she enjoys her new room!

And because every set of "after" photos needs a set of "before"photos... Here's what McKenna's room looked like when we first bought the house:



Holy cow!  Even I can see the difference.  :)

Now I'm off to work on Elyssa's room!  
Never a dull moment in this house!






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