thirty-two years

It's my 32nd birthday today. I know in the grand scheme of things, I'm not really that old but by golly - I miss my 20s! Haha! With age, comes some really great things like wisdom, experience, authenticity and perspective. I'm still learning all those things but I feel like I'm really gaining a lot more of these characteristics each year. I went out with some friends on Saturday night (David secretly planned a girls night out for me, which was so sweet of him) and we took this selfie. It makes me happy every time I look at it because I was laughing so hard at how difficult it was to get all of us in the shot.
Here's to another year of growth, acceptance and laughter. I love to laugh and I hope that this year will include more of it. If you want to make my birthday, can you leave a comment with your best joke, anecdote, embarrassing story, funniest thing your kid(s) have said? I would really love to read it!

Love you all!


these faces

These faces are from 2006. Newly engaged. Super in love and no idea what it was like to be married or, even, "adult" - but we loved each other a lot so that, and our optimism, carried us. In 2004, just a month after meeting him, I wrote in my journal, "I love his personality and motivation and kindness and even temper and friendly, charasmatic attitude. I love that he brings out a side of me that I like. Needless to say, I think I'm falling. Hard." I hadn't known him very long but I was pretty smitten with David from the first time I saw him. His smile melted me (and continues to melt me) every time. A year later, we got engaged and had this picture taken.
These faces are from 2015. I can't believe how much we've changed over the years. I was thinner then but we both had such baby faces! David now has a beard that I love. My hair is shorter and we both have more wrinkles than we did when we were 22 and 24. That's ok with me because I'm a lot more "me" now than I have ever been in my life. Just as you should as you grow older, I've learned who I am and who I want to be. I think it can be difficult getting married young because people often don't even know who they are when they're in their early 20s. Luckily, David and I have grown together and have encouraged each other to be our best selves along the way. We're celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary this fall and I am so happy to be living my life with him. Ten years in and even more in love than I was that August in 2006 when he asked me to marry him. I felt like my heart was going to explode because I loved him so much. I couldn't stop giggling for 30 minutes after he asked me because I was just so happy. Now, when I look at pictures like this one, my heart feels steady, happy and grateful. We have our struggles but there are ties that bond us that include love, respect and laughter. I love the family we've created and the lives we're living together. Here's to my #1.


house update: living room

After a year and a half in our house, we've made some pretty big progress upstairs. We finally put in wood floors - not real wood, because as much as I love gorgeous wood floors, they weren't justified in this house. We still have a lot of projects to do but I'm happy to be rid of the nasty 70's carpet that covered our entire upstairs. You may remember that we also removed the wall that separated the kitchen from the living room, which made it all open and much more attractive. Now, I'm going to show you some amateur pictures of my living room.
Full Disclosure: these pictures are FAR from the "afters" I have in my head. I feel like I have to justify how my house looks because, as a decorator, it seems like everyone expects my house to be picture worthy at all times. The reality is that my house doesn't really reflect my personal style (which is always evolving) and we are normal people who are saving up for things like furniture and remodel updates... plus we have three young kids so it's often cluttered and crazy. I do love it though and the light that we get in this space is really wonderful, especially in the PNW.

Anyway, here's our upstairs living space. We live in a split level so, as a reminder, here's what it looked like when we moved in. We still need to do a lot of things like put on baseboards, get NEW WINDOWS, new entry light fixture (considering this one and this one) and lots more! One of our next projects is to update the fireplace surround. More on that later.
Lest I sound like I hate my house... I don't! The cost of homes here is crazy and I'm trying to stay positive that someday we will be able to do a few things to the house that we'd like to, even though this fixer upper was almost at the top of our budget. Luckily, because the market is so hot right now we have a LOT of equity in this thing so that makes me happy. I just have to remember that it's a process and to enjoy it.
I love this house, and one of the main reasons is because we feel like we're in a tree house. It's so calming and beautiful to see green out of these windows all year long - it's the evergreen state, after all! If you're not familiar with the set-up of split levels, when you walk in the front door, you immediately go upstairs (to our living room, dining room, kitchen, 3 bedrooms + 2 bathrooms), or downstairs (to the family/playroom, guest bedroom, guest bathroom, and mudroom/laundry room). So, there's this really confined space right when you walk in, that lots of people hate about this style of home. It's not ideal but we were willing to make it work. We have plans to potentially bump out the front entry to give us a portico and more space in the entry. That's down the road, obviously because that would include putting on new siding (which is $$$), not to mention doing major structural renovations. 
Anyway, the entry is what you're seeing behind the sofa. There's a half wall there and it's kind of useless, and we don't have any storage in the living area, so we put a few IKEA cubbies next to each other to make a sort of "built-in" for our books and some toys. Once we put in the baseboards, we'll make it look more deliberate by trying to build it into the wall (or maybe moving it our altogether). It's really useful though. I love having all these books in our main living area because it really encourages our kids to read a lot. 
To the left of the fireplace (between the dining room and living room), I put this console table as a way to try to create a flow between the two rooms. It's one of my favorite spots. Mostly because I have some of my favorite things on this little table (which is from Home Goods, BTW). I love my framed postcard from Bornholm a few years ago (take me back!!!).
Don't hate... I'm learning Photoshop and I had to get rid of my reflection in a nightgown.
three of my favorite design books.

We got Lulu this dollhouse for her birthday and it's so cute that I mostly keep it out in the living room. One of these days, I'll move it into her bedroom but all the kids play with it so here it stays... at least until after Christmas because I plan to put little wreaths on all the windows during the holidays. :)
This is our sad fireplace. I dream of making it look like the picture below. Now, this is a little fancy for this house so I probably wouldn't do such exquisite crown molding, but the general idea is the same. Mostly, I just can't wait to get rid of those terrible cords!
I'd like to move the TV downstairs to the play room, once we fix it up a little. It's definitely a mess of toys and junk right now, and we have no furniture either, but someday!

Anyway, that's it for now! If you've seen anything epic lately, let me know cause I have the time to plan to perfection!



Can you believe that after living here for almost 2 years, we had never been to Mt. Rainier? A couple of weekends ago, David and I decided we had to go. It was such a gorgeous day at our house so we packed up the car full of sandwiches + snacks and headed out on the 3 hour drive. About 30 minutes before we got to Rainier, it started raining. Haha! We did not expect that and hadn't brought our rain jackets. Oh, how quickly we forget! We had planned to hike and get all messy so the kids are dressed rather... interestingly. But at least we didn't get wet!
Luckily, we were able to get between a few rain clouds to have our picnic. I'm still amazed at how beautiful the PNW is. Also, I love my family.
After lunch, we drove around the mountain a bit and then stopped at these waterfalls. It was really beautiful and the kids really liked the SHORT hike down, and exploring little hidden paths where they could jump across a small stream and repeat.
I love them. I can't believe they're mine. This is such a funny representation of each of their personalities.
And that's our trip to Mount Rainier. We're definitely going back. The End.


a week with G+G

David's parents came to visit a few weeks ago and the kids were in heaven. My mother-in-law just retired from teaching 2nd grade for 37 years (!!!) and they drove up from Southern California to spend the week with us. We asked David's dad to help David rip out all our carpet and put in wood floors while they were visiting. He agreed to help, cause that's who he is. For several days of their "vacation", he and David worked well into the night by putting a million screws into new sheets of plywood across the floor joists before putting down the planks. It was a lot of work and David would STILL be working on it without Bob's help. They were both pretty sore the next few days but the floors look great and I'm excited to share pictures soon!
We went to Volunteer Park one of the days they were here and it was so beautiful! I had to take this picture of them around this enormous tree we found. Someone had made a flower wreath and wrapped it around the tree. It made me so happy and it was such a quintessential PNW thing to do. Maybe it was for a wedding or something but I like to think that someone just really loved that tree... very much. And the tree was happy.
We walked around the conservatory and it was really interesting. This picture is making me laugh. Fritz kept tackling Bob (like he do), and Will was jumping into the shot while I tried to take a picture of the inside of the conservatory. I decided it was perfect.
Then Fritz touched a cactus in the Desert Plants room and flipped out. Those things hurt! He was technically fine but was screaming a lot so we left. You know, close quarters and public embarrassment and all that.

All was well again when we walked over to the park and let the kids play and run wild. It was funny for me to observe my kids at the park because their activities were so indicative of their personalities. William walked around the park climbing on the structures and imagining up stories and singing to himself, Fritz jumped to Grampa several times off this step and ended each "catch" with a big hug. He is such a lover. Meanwhile, Lulu was going down the baby slide a million times, galloping back up the steps as soon as she ended at the bottom. She has a true, abiding love for slides and swings. It's a good life.
My mother-in-law is the best at making the kids feel really special. Every time they come to visit, she sets up a treasure hunt before she leaves so the kids can have something to look forward to while they're dealing with the disappointment of them leaving. They have to find the clues around the house and figure out where the next one is and then there's always little prizes and candy at the end. They LOVE it! We're so grateful for all their help and generosity!