Beach Bathroom Update


I have a goal to give a virtual tour of our house room-by-room showing updates and letting some people see our house that never have.

Let’s start with the bathroom! I originally showed it here, but have added a few things to make it more beachy or coastal.

Welcome to our little bathroom!

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There are no windows, so it’s going to look like the walls are different colors without the natural light, but I promise they are all a teal/aqua color. The mirror on the side used to be in our dining room, but got an update with some white paint.

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These hooks are from IKEA and not only add some fun pops of color, but work really well for hanging towels at kid’s height. That way, in the future, our kids can hang up their own towels. It’ll happen, right? And we’ve discovered they also work really well for hanging a potty seat when not in use. Just saying.

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This little nook got all of sorts of DIY updates.

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Mike built the top crate for me out of pallet wood and the bottom crate I found at a barn sale. The sand and shells in jars are from various beaches that I have been to. I still don’t have sand from Mexico though (where we went on our honeymoon and didn’t bring any back).

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He also built the mason jar tooth brush holder. Yay! I have wanted one of these for quite some time. There is an old faucet head on the bottom to hang a hand towel on. I was tired of having to reach my wet hands over the toilet to dry them and dripping on the seat. This is a perfect solution for a tight space. I made the simple “beach” sign with some driftwood from one of our NC vacations.

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This is my latest watercolor creation. I love experimenting with the paint and what I can do with it. I free handed the anchor and used watercolor pencils for the words. I also used some fabric to create my own matte. This painting is on the wall now that we added something to hang it on.

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Our pedestal sink is still here! Also makes good use of a tight space. Hubby built the step stool so that Ellery can reach the faucet.

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This is a clock that I redid by adding all of the sections with different scrapbook paper and used gold, glitter numbers.

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So, there you have it. It doesn’t stay this clean for long (the rug was in the wash—ha!) and it is usually pretty cluttered with kid’s toys and paraphernalia. But I love the little things that we added to make it fun and our own.

Fall Mantle for Free


Happy Fall!

First of all, is it “mantel” or “mantle”? I went back and forth with which one to use for the title, but it was mostly just eenie meenie miney moe.

Did you know that my AH-MAZING hubby built me a mantle/mantel/shelf for my birthday? Cuz he did and is one of my favorite things in our house. I went back and forth (indecisive much?) with painting it or staining it and decided on a dark stain and I am SO glad I did. Dark wood tones have really been growing on me as of late.

I didn’t really have a season or holiday to decorate for so I first just put some things on it to fill the space.

Oh, and p.s. there is an air vent on the wall right next to him. I’m trying to decide if this will bother be forever or if I’m okay with it. What do you think? There were a limited number of walls where we could put the shelf and both of them had an air vent. Should I paint it to blend in with the wall? Does it distract too much? Did you not really notice it until I pointed it out? Help me.

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You see how amazing it is, now don’t you? Wanna know a fun secret? The front is also a drawer that we keep our remotes in. LOVE it. Beauty and function.

Anyway, now autumn is upon us and I knew it was the perfect time to inaugurate that beautiful mantle with some decorating. Oh, and it was all for free.

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The books are Goodwill finds (from our wedding) that are wrapped in brown paper and turned around for the texture of the pages.

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The yellow lanterns I found at a barn sale a little while ago and this is the first time I have used them.

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The felt leaf garland I made last year by just cutting out several leaf shapes in autumnal colors and strung them together with some yellow yarn.

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I am especially fond of this wreath. It is made of pom poms! I was inspired by this wreath and spent a little time recently making all the pom poms, hot glued them to circle frame leftover from a clock, and hung it on an old frame with some Indian corn ribbon. I love how it kind of looks like a wreath of mums from farther away.

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I finished it off with some fake leaves I got from Michael’s several years ago. It’s amazing what you can pull together from stuff you already have.

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Here is is on the wall with our two windows that I painted and distressed.

How are you decorating for fall?
What should I do about that vent?

Thanks for reading.

Benjamin 4 months


4 months old Benji (2)

4 months old

This has been a BIG month for our little guy.

4 month Collage

Most notable would probably have to be the start of rolling over. He did it from tummy to back and we were so amazed, but then a week later he did it from back to tummy and now he hasn’t stopped. Seriously ever time we put him down on his back he flips right over. He can flip again, but he usually forgets and gets mad after a while that he’s stuck on his tummy—especially at night so that’s fun. Still, we’re very proud of our little mover. Sometimes he can be quite content if he just manages to roll to his side and stay there. He is still taking around 3 naps a day and sleeping well through the night. I pretty much always make a trip(or two or three) to his room at night to either give him back his pacifier, flip him over, or feed him, but he always goes back down fairly quickly so that helps. It’s funny how your body just seems to adjust to the sleep it’s gunna get. He has also gone back and forth with wanting to be swaddled. Sometimes it’s the missing piece of the puzzle to get him to relax and fall asleep. Sometimes he WILL break out of it no matter what and doesn’t seem to want to be contained.

He has really started to discover his hands (or whatever he can find to bring up to his mouth). He likes to fold his hands and put the bottoms of his feet together. His grasp has really improved and he is grabbing toys all the time. Sometimes Ellery brings him toys (awwhhh) and sometimes she takes them from him (we’re working on it). He has also started to grab hair so I have to be ever watchful when she is near him so that he doesn’t take a chunk out. Of course when he grabs my hair it seems to always be the little ones on the back of my neck—eeek!

He will sometimes wake up happy and lay in his crib and coo and talk and slam his legs down on his mattress. He will then start to smile as soon as he hears your voice talking to him, even before he sees a face. Ellery still loves getting in his crib with him and “bouncing”. He is very ticklish and I have gotten REAL LAUGHS when I have tickled him. He also loves giving and receiving kisses and squeels with delight when thrown up in the air.

He is an expert and holding his head up and has started to sit supported. I likes sitting in a bumbo chair or even the high chair so that he can see what is going on. He’s very social and likes to be around everyone.

He did get a little cold a few weeks ago (SO hard to see your baby sick because you just feel so helpless), but he got over it quickly. He just had his 4 month dr. appointment and he is doing so well! He is 14 lbs 9 oz (28th percentile) and 25 1/4 inches (50th percentile), so he is kind of a littler guy. That kind of surprised me since he is in 6 month clothes and 9 month sleepers, but as long as he is healthy and thriving it doesn’t really matter what any of the numbers are.

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He’s just so darn cute and I can’t imagine him ever not being in our family.


Ellery Two Years Old


So I am finally ready to post Ellery’s two year update. I have been mentally preparing myself for a month… That’s not true, I’ve been putting it off until I had her stats from her two yr. appointment which I then LEFT at the doctor and had to get them when I went back for Ben’s 4 month appt. In my defense she was borderline hysterical the whole time (no shots, they just did terrible things like weigh her and listen to her heart) and I had a baby in tow, so we left pretty quickly as soon as we were able. Oh, and she was potty training and going commando so I didn’t really want her making a mess all over the floor.

ellery 2 years old photo

I wanted her standing next to the chalk board, but she wasn’t thrilled about that. Oh well.

It’s hard to believe that my little baby girl is a full fledged toddler, but it’s very true. I do think that I was a little more prepared since I had been saying “she’s almost two” for several months. So when she did actually turn 2 it seemed like it was about time. As far as her official stats go, she weighs 28.6 lbs and is 2 ft. 11.5 inches tall. This puts her at about average for weight and above average for height—she’s a tall girl! This might explain her ever-growing feet. She started the summer in size 4 shoes and now that it is (almost) fall she needs a size 7. Whaat?


(this is her “smile”)

If you know Ellery at all, then you know that she has very verbal for a long time now. One of the really fun things has been seeing her correct her own words. It’s amazing and yet a little sad because “nana” is so cute, but “banana” is correct. I did try to keep track of some of the cuter versions of words like: La luuve (love you), henyay (elephant), ducks (stuck), shashage (sausage), mucas or mooscik (music), nilk (milk), Nika (Mika our dog), marshananan (marshmallow), and lemonanan (lemonade).

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She is now, of course, also speaking in phrases and sentences, which is amazing and also a little scary because she repeats SO MUCH of what we say. She says things like, “No barking Nika, iz jus a bunny” and “Tank you using your words” and “Listen to mommy. Listen to trees”.  One of my very favorite phrases that she strung together was “Mommy, kiss, mouth”—I don’t mind if I do. She is also kind of tricky because she knows that we usually repeat what she says to make sure we are understanding her and she will use that to her advantage. Like when we repeat when she says, “Do you want a popsicle?” and she says “okayyy”. She has also learned that if she doesn’t get what she wants the first time she asks, the second time she adds “please” haha. Actually she is pretty good at using her manners all the time and is very sweet (most of the time). She is a two year old, after all, so there is also a lot of whining and tantrums and even some hitting. I just wanna keep it real in case you thought everything was perfect over here. ; )


I am amazed at how many independent thoughts that she is now having and watching her imagination grow. She loves having tea parties and creating masterpieces with paint, markers, and crayons. She loves singing songs and listening to music. She loves putting puzzles together and is getting quite good at it, too. She has a chair that spins in her room and she would seriously sit and be spun all day if we would only push her all day. She will sometimes say “Ellery tired” and grab her blanket and some of stuffed animals and lie down in a bed or on the couch or in a laundry basket. Never to actually sleep, mind you, just pretend.

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She is still the sweetest big sister to Benji and asks to hold him more and more. Of course she doesn’t want help, but of course she pushes him away the second she feels like she is done, so there is a lot of supervision happening. We did start potty training a few weeks after she turned two and after one of the hardest weeks of parenting so far, I think it’s safe to say she “gets” it. There will of course be accidents and maybe even regression in the future, but she has been a champ and once we got rid of diapers that first day we haven’t gone back. (I’d love to share more details if you’re interested, but I know not everyone wants to hear them).


(a little blurry, but a lot adorable)

I’m sure there’s a lot that I’m forgetting since she learns something new every day, but we are just so proud of our girl and thankful that we get to be her mommy and daddy. She loves people, loves learning, and is such a good helper. She has even started helping me make dinner. Recently there was a lot of talk of kids going back to school and I didn’t sweat it because I knew I still have a couple years. But then she went to Sunday School for the first time this past Sunday and was such a big girl and this mama heart could barely handle it.

We love you, Elle. We’re so proud of you!


DIY Puzzle Picture Frame Artwork


This project was completed a while ago, but has not made it to the blog yet. I have gotten pretty behind with posting some of my DIY’s, so much so that recently when I’ve done stuff I’ve been lucky to just take before and after pictures. I’m going to try to catch up with some of my projects and be a little more faithful with posting. I will not apologize though, because mostly I’ve been busy with two children two and under so I think that’s a good enough excuse.

Let’s set the stage, shall we? As far as father-in-laws go I lucked out BIG TIME and got one of the best. He was/is a great dad to my husband, he’s a great grandpa, and he’s pretty nice to me too. Case in point, for Christmas he cut out six, interlocking, unfinished, wood puzzle pieces and gave them to me to do whatever I wanted to. So basically a super fun, blank canvas. He saw the idea in a bookstore, but knew that with our powers combined, we could do it for a lot cheaper and much more customized.

I found lots of pictures and quotations on the interwebs for inspiration, mapped out where I wanted everything to go on the puzzle pieces, and had my dear, sweet husband cut out four shapes to serve as picture frames.

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Then I painted all six pieces two different colors using white spraypaint and a really fun blue latex paint that was given to us. (Sidebar: that has been a very faithful painting sheet and has seen many a project.)

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Here they are all dry and put together. We ended up stapling them all together on the back so that they would stay together on the wall and we only had to hang it in one spot.

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And here are the individual puzzle pieces after I hand painted the designs and put pictures in the frames.

‘You are my sunshine’ with Ellery and Grandpa last Christmas and surprisingly the only other colors that I included.

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“Be still and know” Psalm 46:10

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Look at those two geeks. We were madly in love. (Still are!)


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“Trust in the Lord with all your heart” Proverbs 3:5 with those awesome in-laws of mine. ;)


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“Family” with Scrabble tiles.
This is us last Christmas meeting our twin niece and nephew.

I can’t even tell you how many times I have had to re-hotglue the “f” back on. Most of the time due to one little toddler (who shall remain nameless) prying it off.


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“But as for me, I will always have hope” Psalm 71:14

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And here it is all together. It just so happens to fit PERFECTLY in this spot in our little hallway. Almost as if it was designed specifically to fit. I love it.

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It sits right in between the door frames of the bathroom and Benji’s room.

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Thanks for the awesome Christmas present, Pop! I had a lot of fun making it “us”.

Oh..and lest you think that I have excluded all of our other family members, don’t worry there is a whole slew of other pictures on the gallery wall in the dining room.

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