And Just Like That...

posted on: Thursday, May 28, 2015

Kindergarten is over. His first year of school went by in the blink of an eye. Didn't I just write this post yesterday? But look how much he has changed! Look how much his face has thinned out! Look how much taller he is! There's hardly a trace of baby in him any more. He has lost his first tooth, learned to read, made new friends and gained more independence and maturity than I ever expected in such a short time. He had a wonderful first year and I am wildly proud of this one.

So congrats Weston Silas, you conquered lots of big fears this year and you've come out of it braver, kinder, wiser, and more self confident than I have ever known you to be. And I could not love you more.

Powder Room Update!

posted on: Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I've got one more house update up my sleeve to share with you today. We finally got around to updating our first floor powder room. Watching this little room's transformation was wildly satisfying. One, because it's the first room in the house I've used wall covering in (hopefully not the last!) and two, because we actually hired someone to do the work this time. I have no paper hanging experience and I really didn't want to take my fist stab at it in here with all the eaves to consider and risk ruining all that beautiful wall covering by royally screwing up the install trying to do it myself. So, we hired a paper hanger and since he was already coming in anyway, we had him go ahead and paint the trim too. I can not tell you how amazing it felt to leave in the morning and come home to fresh paint in a room that I did not have to do myself. Such a luxury. It probably won't be happening again anytime soon, but man, I could get used to that.

So, I did intentionally take before photos of this room but I have scoured every file and hard drive I have and for the life of me I CAN NOT FIND THEM. Grrrrrrr. Anyway, if you want a visual for the "before" the walls above the wainscoting were a dark chocolate brown and the trim and wainscoting was all a light tan color. The sconces that were in here were two ancient pull chain sconces and one was completely broken so we only had one working light.  It was pretty stellar, obviously. 

So we updated it with new wall covering, dark trim, new sconces, a new rug and a few accessories. But here's my confession. I don't love the new sconces. It has been such a struggle to find replacements because they have to be pull chain, which (surprise!) hardly anyone makes anymore and good luck finding any that are stylish to boot. Old houses do have their down sides. I discussed rewiring the sconces to be switch operated with Josh's dad who is really adept at electrical work and the process was not going to be pretty. Because of our particular electrical situation we'd have to slice all the way through the walls to pull the wiring to a switch at the entrance of the room and then we'd have to re-drywall etc. Ideally, this is what we'd do, but for practical purposes it just seemed like way too much work for a switch. In the end we decided to stick with pull chain sconces to avoid the hassle, but I'm still wondering if we made the right decision. And I'm still on the lookout for better sconces. But for now, these were the best I could find, and hey at least they both work. Baby steps!

Josh and I also discussed switching over the faucet, towel bar and hardware to pieces with a brass finish, but of course the faucet I've fallen in love with is on the spendy side of things (always), so that may come as a phase two situation down the road. We also still need some artwork, so we're not totally done in here by any means BUT at least we have progress! I'll be sure to update with new pics if (when, let's be real) that happens ;)

For now though, here she is 


Source List: Paint color Benjamin Moore 2124-10 Wrought Iron. Wall Covering. Sconces. Rug. Hand Towels. 

p.s. special thanks to victor for taking pictures of this crazy, cramped little space for me!

Mother's Day Weekend

posted on: Tuesday, May 12, 2015

This year, mother's day was tea at the Ritz, just for the girls. A cookout for my mama and a garden full of new flowers. Pancakes for brunch and ice cream in Ohio City. Walks through cute neighborhoods with petal strewn sidewalks and a handpicked bouquet of my favorite flowers. And after that...a nap. Happy mother's day indeed.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

posted on: Friday, May 8, 2015

My mom and I are pretty different people. Where I long to hop on a plane and see the world, she would much rather stay home. While I love having a house full of people or a weekend packed with family and friends, she's more comfortable doing her own thing on her own terms. I have always been one to question the rules and status quo and she'd rather not rock the boat. Where I tend to expect too much out of people, places and experiences, she expects maybe too little. I want the world, she's happy just hanging out with her kids and her cats.
As you can imagine, these differences have caused us to have a complicated and sometimes difficult relationship over the years. It's only since becoming a parent, and now a parent to three little ones, just like she had, that I can finally begin to understand life through her lens.
My mom grew up in an Irish catholic family. The epitome of a middle child with five older siblings and five younger siblings. As one of eleven, she and her brothers and sisters had the bare minimum growing up. A room she shared with various siblings, two outfits to call her own (worn in rotation), one pair of shoes and just enough food on the table to get by. Life was hard, she felt invisible. Wanting desperately to begin her own life, she married young, (too young) she never got to go to college, had her first baby at age twenty and two more in quick succession. She was twenty five and had been working half her life already. At twenty six she was divorced and the single mom of three. From then on she did everything on her own, working two jobs and had no help at home. She did not remarry until I was well into adulthood with a husband of my own.
When you are a kid you don't see the whole picture. Where I was always disappointed that she never volunteered for school field trips or took me out on mother daughter dates I didn't understand then that it's not because she didn't want to. It was because she couldn't afford to miss work or hire a babysitter. When I wondered why she never seemed to want to go do anything fun, it's because she was too busy worrying about if she had enough money to pay this month's bills and keep us off public assistance (though we certainly would have qualified for it). Maybe things would have been easier if she would have gotten help through the welfare system. Maybe she would have had more time to play with us kids and been less stressed and had more fun. But in her mind accepting public assistance would have meant she was a failure (it wouldn't have). She thought she was doing the right thing by doing it all on her own. Even though it meant working two jobs and spending less time with us, she never asked for help.
I ask for help all the time. When Josh has to go out of town for a week I feel like I'm going to drown in the responsibilities of parenting on my own. I lean on our siblings for babysitting, my mom for picking up Wes from school, Josh for doing half the household chores, half the cooking, half the baths and bedtime stories. And you know what? I'm still dead tired at the end of the day. HOW did she do it? How did she get up, get three kids off to school, work all day, come home, cook dinner, keep the house clean, help us with homework, do the laundry, give us baths, cut our fingernails, brush our teeth, get us to sleep and THEN sit down at her typewriter to start her second job doing medical transcription from home. No wonder she didn't feel like playing with dolls or taking us to the park. No wonder she sometimes yelled and sometimes cried and definitely slept a whole lot less than she probably wanted to. No wonder she didn't think to paint my nails or read me Anne of Green Gables. She was in survival mode for most of my childhood. The whole time I was feeling sorry for myself did I ever think to stop and wonder what it was like for her? Where was her fun? If I was in her position I would have fallen to pieces long ago.
Now when I look back at my childhood I can see all that she DID do. Though the small trips we did take to the local pool or SeaWorld might not have seemed like much then, looking back on it now the fact that she pulled off those outings on her own and in her financial situation they seem damn near miraculous. The fact that she never once asked for or expected a single cent of help from the government or her family tells me just how hard she was working to keep the lights on and clothes on our backs. I had more than two outfits. I had plenty of shoes. We even had snacks and soda, plenty of toys under the tree Christmas morning and probably countless other luxuries she could only dream of having as a kid. The fact that she told us she loved us every single day, the fact that she still managed to bake us cookies and throw us birthday parties. She was providing more for us than her parents were ever able to provide for her. She was doing her very best with what she had and she still is.
So today I wanted to tell you, mom. I see you. You are not invisible. Everything you did, it did not go unnoticed. It is not unappreciated. You did everything you could. You did more than enough. You did more than anyone should have to.
Thank you. I love you and I see you.
Happy Mother's Day.

Six Months Old

posted on: Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Happy half birthday my sweet Ever Iris! That has got to be the fastest six months of my life. How the months seem to drag when you're pregnant and then absolutely fly by once your baby arrives. I'll never understand it. The newborn phase goes by way, way too fast. Like, tragically fast. I really don't even want to talk about it. Sigh.

And so.

At six months old Ever can sit unassisted, rolls from both her belly to her back and now back to belly as well! She enjoys eating solids in addition to nursing. She squawks, squeaks and babbles quite a bit (which is adorable by the way) and my favorite new development...she reaches out to be held now! Which will melt me in to a puddle in about two seconds flat.

She is just such an easy going baby. She has had her fair share of trips to the doctor the last few weeks. It started with a double ear infection, which turned into an allergic reaction to the antibiotics (the first time any of my kids has ever been allergic to anything!) then a switch to a new antibiotic when the ear infection returned and we're still battling a bit of a rash situation we can't seem to get rid of. Throughout all of this she has remained just as good natured and happy as ever. The only reason I even suspected the ear infection in the first place was the fact that she was pulling on her ears quite a bit.

I call her my little social butterfly because the only time she really seems to get upset is when she wants to be held or needs a little extra attention. And by upset I mean scrunches up her face and says "eh!" in a slightly disenchanted tone. When she starts that up Abby likes to say, "oh, she just needs a person" and it's true. Scoop her up and give her a little squeeze and all is right in her world. How on earth did I get so lucky?

At night time she's still co-sleeping with us in our bed. I look forward to bedtime all day long, knowing we have all those hours of un-interrupted cuddle time ahead of us. When everyone is finally tucked in and the house is quiet after a long day there is nothing better than crawling into bed with your sleepy baby in your arms. I love spending the whole night nuzzled up next to her nose to nose breathing in her sweet scent and feeling her warm little body curled up against mine. It's my favorite part of the day.

To my sweet baby girl, you are my dream come true. You may never know how wanted you were and how loved you are by your dad and brothers and me, but I hope we're doing a good job of showing you so far. Happy half birthday my little love, you light up our lives.

More Books!

posted on: Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Have I mentioned how much I love the Audible app?  (Just kidding, I know I have. It's practically all I talk about.) It's my desert island pick if I could somehow also bring along headphones and an iphone with an infinitesimal charge. It's the one app I can't live without. Ok, so that's a pretty strong statement, but honestly, it has been a game changer.

(Audible, feel free to start paying me for these endorsements aaaannnnyyyy time ;)

Anyway, of the six books below only one did I actually read a physical hardbound copy. The rest I listened to while driving, folding laundry and applying my morning makeup. It's the only way to get my book fix while having three children and a full time job. I gotta say, it's pretty nice to have someone read ME a story for a change ;)

First up, Maze Runner! Dystopian YA lit, so of course I liked it. I can be pretty predictable as it turns out. This is the first of a trilogy (aren't they all?) so I'll have to get to the other two here eventually. I didn't love it like I loved Hunger Games or even the Divergent books which is why I'm not rushing out to get the next two, but I'm certainly not opposed to finishing the series. 

This is the one book of the lot I actually read the hardbound version of. This is written by a blogger I like, Natalie Holbrook and it's her first crack at a bonafide book. It's written a lot like her blog and from her usual pov which I obviously like. But I have to say I was a little disappointed that it was more a collection of small essays (some of which were taken right from her blog so I'd read them already) and lists of things like "what every nest needs..."  than a cohesive book. I guess I was just expecting deeper, or different, or at least longer, more substantial essays?  I dunno, I wanted to like it but it fell a little flat for me.

Now this is a trilogy I can get down with! The audio version came HIGHLY recommended to me and I have to say Jennifer Ikeda's reading of it was as big a part of my enjoyment as the writing itself. She absolutely killed it switching between characters and accents. So, SO good! I'll admit I was a little leery at the beginning since it's not the type of writing I typically lean to - witches! vampires! forbidden love! But by the end of book three I was a believer. These books are long, but even so I didn't want them to end. If you can allow for a heavy dose of suspension of disbelief and a few minor plot holes than these books can be highly enjoyable and really fun reading (or listening as the case may be). Sucked me right in.

This was another really good one, This is a memoir/coming of age story written by a woman who grew up in the mill town of Mexico, Maine. In the book she recounts her childhood, the sudden loss of her father and the way her family of women came together to cope with the tragedy and forge ahead on their own. It's also quite a lovely time capsule for what life was like in the suburban 60s. I really liked this one.
What have you guys been reading lately? I just started this mammoth beast and I'm pretty excited about it. As always, suggestions welcome in the comments below!

Life Lately

posted on: Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Wes and I had a one on one day Saturday. He asked to go bowling and he really, really loved it. I bought us the two hour unlimited game pass and he completely ran down the clock. After we played a few games he even asked if he could take all my turns since "You probably bowled a lot when you were a kid, mom, and this is only like my third time bowling, ever!" How can you say no to that logic? So I just sat back and watched him wear himself out, haha.

^^^ also, can someone please tell me when he became a teenager?! ^^^

Last week for Oren's birthday we got him a bat habitat for the house because if there's one thing this kid loves more than sharks right now, it's bats. He really wants one for a pet but since that's not exactly feasible, we thought this would be the next best thing. We mounted it right outside his bedroom window so he can watch the bats coming and going from his bed at night. We still need to get a little light to shine on it to attract bugs (which attract bats!) and to help him see them when it's dark out but we can't wait to get our first little visitors.

Also, we had our first picnic over the weekend! It was all Wes's idea actually --- I was making lunch when he asked if we could eat outside. I said yes and had to laugh when he said he set up a "picnic" for us when it was really just a twin sized fitted sheet thrown on the front lawn. Oh well, it's the thought that counts, right? ;)

And last but not least, we all know mother's day is right around the corner, right? (cough-cough, hint-hint). I thought my mom could use an officially framed photo of her first granddaughter and mother's day seemed like the perfect occasion. So I tried out a new online photo framing company, Pictli. You can upload any photo you want or just choose one directly from your facebook or instagram. You select one of their fifteen frame/mat combinations (which it lets you preview with your image) and you're done. Then they ship it out to whomever you choose in a pretty little package tied up with string and a complimentary message attached if you feel so inclined. It could not be any easier and it's SUPER affordable.

Pictli is kindly offering I Am Emme readers 20% off now through the end of May! Just enter discount code EC1504 when you're checking out.
Hope your week is off to a great start!

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