The events that occurred 11 years ago today are, without a doubt, some of the most important of my life. However, that’s not all that I am remembering today.

Yesterday was Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day. A day devoted to preventing suicides around the world. Two years ago, my little brother walked with his fraternity to raise money to support this cause. But, even seeing the outpouring of grief he must have experienced that day was not enough to stop him from killing himself just three short months after that walk.


As I know that I have said here before, I was floored when my brother took his life. He was one of the happiest people I knew. And, it was quite clear that we had no idea how much he was suffering.

Despite what some members of my family feel, I know in my heart that there was probably nothing we could have done to save him. Some people are quick to decide to kill themselves; the decision is impulsive. And, some people plan it out for a long time. My brother was the latter. Through thousands of “I love you’s” and people asking “Dude, is everything okay?,” he still decided to end his life.

I think everyday what would have happened if he had reached out to just one person, one time. And, I “if only” everyday that we had learned more about the little pieces of the puzzle that created a scary picture of his mental health. But, we didn’t. And, ultimately, he followed through on what we thought was only a passing teenage angst of the desire to “die young.”

When I told the Boy about the significance of the day yesterday, he reminded me that more of our service members are dying right now at their own hands than that of the enemies. Soldiers that are separated from their families. Soldiers seeing what I can only imagine are some horrible things in the far reaches of the world. Soldiers that are there to protect our freedom after that horrible reminder 11 years ago today of what evil lurks in the world.

So, while I know that some of those soldiers that are deciding to take their lives might have been, like my brother, planning this end for a long time, there may be just as many that need a helping hand, a warm smile, or an “I love you” or “Dude, is everything okay?”

seems like a good time for a confession…

{everyone‘s doing it}

Life has been a little tough lately. I know that part of me is just recovering from last week’s 100 hour work week finishing up over 800 edited pages, but I am having trouble getting back into the swing of things. Too much time look at other people’s picture perfect homes while nested into my crazy desk with no fewer than three coffee mugs and two glasses of water. There are some days that I feel like I am drowning under a pile of paper and stuff. These are the days when I want to get rid of everything we own and go live in the woods somewhere (and, I am only kinda kidding).

And, I know that part of my frustration is a rough patch with my little man. Lots of screaming no and talking back.  Way too much attitude for a not-even-three year old to be spouting off.

Last night ended a rough two year period for my mom, trying to get the banks to refinance two properties that would let her move forward with her life and away from a bad situation. And, I am so happy that she persevered, that her life will be better for her efforts.  First, in small ways, and then in huge ones that she hasn’t even imagined yet. So, I am going to take her as a good example of what I should be doing.

Chin up, head down!  Keep going!


{tiny conversations}

Me: Baby boy, it’s time to go see Ms. Shawna!
Tiny Human: No, I don’t go see Ms. Shawna.  I go to the Moon.
Me: To the moon?
Tiny Human: Yes, to see the ocean.
Me: Oh, you want to go to Maine!
Tiny Human: Yeah, to Maine!

fourteen by fourteen

I am linking up to Devon on this one! Thanks for the kick in the rear.

1. What is your favorite book?  Why?

Tomcat in Love by Tim O’Brien without a doubt. The first chapter was originally published as a short story in the New Yorker, and I love everything about the way he plays with language in that book, particularly in the first chapter. It perfectly encompasses a passion I have about the significance of words in our lives and how one word can carry so much more with it. I am not really a rereader, but that’s one I go back to.

2. What song brings you back most viscerally to a moment in your history?  Where does it take you?

For me, it is more about particular bands related to the time that I was listening to them. And, the most jarring example would be Mumford and Sons. I listened to their first album heavily right after my youngest brother died, and hearing them on the radio or having them come up in my playlist takes me back to that painful time faster than anything. And, Dave Matthews “Stay or Leave” takes me back to when we were living in Oklahoma and thought Joe was going to have to go to Korea.

3. Who is your favorite character in fiction?

I am not sure about this one. I usually attach to the group of characters together and the way they make up a story. I was heartbroken when I finished the Harry Potter series because I knew that I was going to miss those “people.”

But, I think one of my favorites is actually Bill Bryson’s retelling of his childhood in Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid. I love the way he obviously embellishes his memories of his childhood while still encapsulating the nuances we all share, like knowing your home better than anyone else because everything was on your level.

4. What is your favorite food?  What about foods you abhor?

I hate to admit it, but french fries. I love them in a way I shouldn’t. And, I really, really dislike olives and spinach.

5. Are you a morning or a night person?

My acupuncturist told me that starting around 11pm is prime liver function time, so it is wise to be in bed preparing for sleep by then. I don’t know if she was just trying to get me to go to bed at a reasonable hour, but it was a big deal for me to give myself a deadline of when I should go to bed.

The funny thing is that I am a really an awake when I am awake kind of person. Doesn’t take me long to get going. Although, my tiny human as an alarm clock does make that a little more difficult.

6. What is your default font when you write on your computer?

Calibri, but that is really more about ease than anything else. I really don’t like serif fonts. But, I have really been digging Myriad Pro lately too!

7. How many siblings do you have?  

3 younger brothers: 2 living (one’s in the Army and has an amazing wife who I love and one closer by who has my beautiful niece) and my youngest brother passed away about a year and a half ago. Losing him was easily one of the most painful things I have ever had happen to me.

8. What season do you like best?

I tend to like the transition times the best, so fall and spring are my favorites. Winter is a little too dreary, but I prefer it to the overwhelming heat of summer. I am not really built for the super hot.

9. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A teacher. I always tell people that as I got older, it was just the ages of the kids that changed.

10. If you practice yoga (even sporadically) what is your favorite pose?

I would actually really love to get into yoga, but haven’t ever done it. I did take a few classes of Tai Chi once, and I really loved it. I found it hugely calming and centering. It gave me something else to focus on than the list going in my brain.

11. When was the last time you cried?

I have been pretty emotional lately, so I always feel like I am on the verge. I think I am getting closer to the point where I need to give myself a little bit of a break cause I am having trouble catching my breath. But, things are also getting pretty exciting with work, and we are about to embark on a huge new project at home, so who knows.

12. When was the last time you laughed?

I make a point to try to laugh as much as I can. And, my husband, little man, family, and friends help with that.

13. What technology/device would you not want to live without?

I think I would have to say that my phone is the biggest one for me. I think I am a little too attached, actually.

14. Red, white, mixed drink or beer? What’s your go-to?

After trying to get pregnant for so long and then nursing for 14 months, I wasn’t drinking for a while, and I never really started enjoying anything with any regularity.  Although, we have been making what we are calling Maine Lemonade lately (lemonade and blueberry vodka), and it is pretty amazing!

{i want} so, when can I move in….


There are very few times that I find something that someone else has built, made, sewn online that I want to replicate exactly.  And, this little bungalow from The Handmade Home is definitely one of them. I love everything about it, from the roof to the curtains (shower?) to the railing.  Seriously everything!

It reminds me of the little playhouse I used to play in at my great grandmother’s house. It was a tiny little house with cupboards and everything.  It was my mother’s when she was a little girl, and I always remember thinking how cool it was. So, while this may not work for us right now, there is no doubt that someday we are going to build one of these for our little man!

But, until then, I am going to keep drooling over this one!


101 in 1001

A while ago, I saw this post by Ashley over on The Domestic Wannabee, and I loved the idea of setting a list of things I wanted to accomplish over a longer period of time.  But, I kept waiting for some magical day that would be significant to start.  And, it never happened.  I have been planning this glorious start for two years, and I think it’s just time to jump in.

Some of the things on my list are going to be big things, and some are smaller, but overall, these are the things I have running through my mental to-do or want-to-do list all the time.  This just seems like a great place to capture them. And, the coolest thing about revisiting this idea is that there were 10 things I crossed off the short list I had started.  Not perfect, but it definitely tells me that this is possible.

Part of my problem has always been with this idea is that I get started and get stalled around 35, not because I don’t have 101 things I would like to do, but because I have so many things jammed in my head all the time that they won’t get in line to come out into one list.  So, to fix that, I am giving myself today to get as many down as possible and post this sucker!  Then, as I come up with more things that should be added to my list, I will just add them until I get to 101!  Seems simple enough!


Start: June 12, 2012

End: March 10, 2015

My List:

  1. build our bed frame
  2. finish quilt for Cade
  3. finish the quilts for the wedding gifts I already owe
  4. remodel our bathroom
  5. work towards taking more pictures
  6. read all the stuff I have already about photography
  7. actually get rid of the scrapbooking stuff that isn’t working for me
  8. make a quilt for our family to keep
  9. finish all the baby quilts I have started
  10. take a fun trip with my family, not just to see other family
  11. have another baby (told you some were big)
  12. perfect my whoopie recipe (told you some were small!)
  13. get our family’s recipes down somewhere permanent
  14. make book of the old blog
  15. work towards getting things done on time
  16. create a cleaning schedule that actually works for our family
  17. make a piece of clothing for myself
  18. make cade a piece of clothing
  19. finish the artwork for cade’s room
  20. go on a girls’ adventure (overnight away from our kids!)
  21. go to an Army/Navy game
  22. remodel our basement
  23. remodel our upstairs closets to be something functional
  24. work to make the outside of our home as pretty as the inside is
  25. go on a date with the boy at least once a month
  26. keep working towards a healthier way to live
  27. get a new camera and learn how to really use it
  28. create a creative workspace for myself in our home
  29. take cade to the zoo
  30. take a family vacation to disney
  31. explore dc while we are living here
  32. meet new friends
  33. take the time to visit the old friends
  34. finish the bathroom in the basement
  35. learn to long arm quilt
  36. reframe all my mom’s old paint by numbers paintings (they are amazing!)
  37. replace our front door
  38. try 50 new recipes
  39. post to the blog more regularly
  40. do a better job of leveling out family time with work time
  41. join a CSA and learn to use all that I get (I’m halfway there with this one)
  42. stop using auto-mode on my big camera
  43. turn the instagram pictures into something cool
  44. get a puppy
  45. paint all the trim we have been replacing
  46. replace the trim in the master bedroom
  47. add a screen door to the back porch
  48. plant the horse trough garden
  49. find a good ottoman for the basement or make one
  50. finish the art for the gallery wall in our bedroom
  51. install the shelves in the upstairs hallway
  52. make a growth chart for the little man
  53. make a bulletin frame wall to show off my little man’s artwork
  54. build a two-person desk
  55. find an old crib to use for parts (inspiration board and drying rack)
  56. make a wall shelf for our bathroom
  57. reupholster the new barrel chairs
  58. get rid of all old furniture taking up space
  59. make a bench for the dining room
  60. make concrete stepping stones for the side walkway
  61. get new area rugs for our room
  62. paint the guest bedroom
  63. repaint cade’s room with his new big boy bed
  64. finish cade’s crochet blanket
  65. repaint and hang the chandelier for the craft area
  66. redo or find new lamps for the rec room
  67. make cade a tent
  68. buy and install a playset in the backyard
  69. go on a family adventure to the blue ridge mountains
  70. make a large art piece with the Orla Kiely paper
  71. make our menu board (and use it!)
  72. make cade a lego puzzle book
  73. make artwork with cade’s scribble drawings
  74. read 25 books – any type
  75. read 5 classics
  76. add the beds and brick work around the new shed
  77. find a barn star for the shed
  78. go to the playground more often
  79. organize the crafting stuff
  80. go visit my brother and his wife in Alaska
  81. start working under my own business name
  82. build/find a new house
  83. sell our current home
  84. find an awesome school for the little man
  85. make cade an abc book
  86. print a yearly picture album for the last few years
  87. try to do project life again
  88. try to do a 30-in-30 month again

{this and that}

:: When I am trying to find something to read to waste time to avoid doing what I really should be doing, I can never find a new blog post anywhere and nothing on pinterest seems fun.

:: I have had a cold for weeks (it seems like, anyway), and my left ear is clogged.  I keep trying to clear it, but all I am getting is that little clicking noise that you get when you need to pop your ears.  So annoying.

:: We are super excited around these parts.  We bought a new mattress yesterday, had it delivered today, and I freecycled our old one this evening.  It is awesome when all the stages of a project that you have hemmed and hawed about for a year come together that quickly.

:: The next phase of our next house project, the basement, isn’t coming together nearly as quickly.  It is one of those projects where you have to figure out which step comes first.  The answer is not leaping out at us presently, so we remain in a holding pattern.

:: Because I am stalled with the basement, I have decided to repaint the little man’s room.  We are planning to build him a toddler bed (since we found out that the crib that we swore said it converted to a toddler bed only goes straight to a full) modeled after this one.  We are pretty excited to build him the bed; not so excited about the idea of moving him out of the crib.

:: I have a fun project to share with you as soon as I can get all my pictures together.

:: I confess that I am addicted to Instagram.  Evidenced below. Their filters are just too fun!

My happy bunch

Happy Monday, everyone!

{i want} a place to start…

:: I want to stop feeling like there is something wrong with me because I don’t fit into clothes from stores where the sizes stop at a size smaller than I am at my healthiest.

:: I want to set a good example for my son about food.

:: I want the image of myself that I see in the mirror to be the same one that shows up in pictures and videos.

:: I want to go back to my high school self with her rocking, strong body and tell her how awesome she was.  Same with my twenty-year old self!

:: I want to still be able to make food that people love.

:: I want to stop believing in the quick fixes.  10, 30, 7 days aren’t going to be the way I get what I want here.

:: I want to stop feeling as though I am carrying the weight of the national health crisis along with every extra pound.

:: I want to see myself as beautiful and important whether I ever lose a pound or not.

:: I want to stop defining myself by my weight.

:: I want to be kinder to myself and love my curves.

:: I want to stop being angry that the foods I love are the problem.

:: I want to see pinterest as what it really is….food porn.

:: I want to stop feeling guilty anytime I eat anything.

:: I want to stop being afraid of food.

:: I want to move again.

:: I want to stop letting other people’s remarks, looks, viewpoints stop me.

:: I want to remember that I am not going to look like a supermodel wherever I end up, and I want to remember that comparing myself to those images of photoshopped women will not help me reach my goal.

:: I want to figure out what my goal is, and more importantly I want to be able to make the decision about what my goal is without arbitrary guidelines never truly meant to measure the individual.

:: I want doctors to stop being rude to me because of my weight.  I have never felt as bullied as I have sitting in front of the people I should feel the most comfortable with.

:: I want to relish in the differences between me and “perfection” and, in the process, change my view of what perfection is.

:: I want to celebrate every pound that I am able to lose, but not beat myself up about every pound that might come back.

:: I want to realize I am worth it.

:: I want to start.


Thought it would be fun to link up with the other pretties out there today!

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

{thankful thursday} like a little gift

Today was a rough day.  I am still dealing with a super tough case of after-Christmas blues that are likely explained by the fact that I miss my brother like crazy, and the tiny dictator running around my house acts very much like Ryan did when he was his age.  And, he looks just like him, which makes it particularly hard.  And, if you don’t believe me, guess who this is….

Ryan CA

ryan - not much older than Cade is now

But anyways, so today was a rough day.  The little man is super cranky and a wee bit sickly, and I find myself in that in-between phase where I am not really sure if I should take him to the doctor or if this is just teething because, you know, he is the world’s worst teether!

That combined with the fact that he is two after all hasn’t been much fun lately.  “No” is definitely his favorite word, and he doesn’t just say it.  He expels it at you from across the room.  He even rolls the “n,” which I didn’t even know was possible!

But, I really wanted to post today, so I was trying to take pictures of him, which he used to love, and I really hoped that he would always be that kid that cheesed it up for the camera, but lately he avoids all camera shots if possible.  So, I decided to take a picture of the part of him that was still for the moment.

Tiny toes getting bigger every day

And, this is what I got.  Strong little legs in cute little shoes hiding those tiny perfect little feet that are really still tiny but so much bigger than the miniscule little ones that came home from the hospital.

Our favorite feet-ure so far!

taken almost two years ago to the day

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to use that picture for my thankful moment for today because I wasn’t sure it would be what I wanted to capture today.  So, when I had gotten to the end of the day and this was the best thing I had captured, I thought I was just going to blow the post off (again).

And, then I got a little gift from my RSS reader: this post from Karen Russell [Karen is one of the bloggers I referenced in my last post.  Her husband is deployed right now, and she has been having a hard time in general lately].  Karen posted today about having an ah-ha moment after reading this post from Glennon over at Momastery.  So, I followed the little worm-trail the interweb offered me today, and I was reminded to remember.

Glennon’s post is amazing, and it deeply resonates with me for so many reasons.  I too have had a hard time with people telling me that I should enjoy every minute of mothering.  And, I too find myself getting stuck in the chronos of the day, as Glennon calls it (that she puts it in rhetorical terms just makes my heart go pitter-pat): the number of minutes it takes to fight to put on shoes, how many slow bites of breakfast will be eaten, the thousands of seconds till daddy gets home and changes the odds.  I have always had the problem of getting stuck in the minutiae of the day, and that didn’t magically change when I had a baby.

So, in the chronos-induced haze I find myself in these days in particular, I couldn’t see how cool this picture of those strong little legs in those cute little shoes would be.  But, looking back at this picture from a kairotic point of view just a few hours later, I already love it.  And, that was before I had even thought to compare it to the little toes from when he was just a month old.

So, today, I am so very thankful for being reminded to capture the moment.  For taking the time to capture my moment of Kairos for today, even if it was just strong little legs in cute little shoes hiding perfect tiny feet lounging on the couch.