When I was a kid, the chorus of summer was a mix of “CLOSE THE DOOR!” and “TURN THE HOSE OFF!” because my parents were tired of paying to cool the outside and having ponds next to the foundation of the house. Needless to say, there was some peeing in bushes and drinking from the hose, both of which our neighbors probably scoffed at, but it makes for good stories later on. So when I found these water bottles, it jogged my memory, and I passed the torch, er…hose I mean, to Ana.Read More
Summer is here! We’ve been spending almost all day, every day outside. Mostly in the dirt. We’ve been tearing up the yard, planting all the things, and catching all the toads.Read More
I never understood what people really meant when they said a day was ‘a date they would never forget.’ I thought that was a weird thing to hold onto, out of everything wouldn’t you remember what happened? Why the date?’ But unfortunately, and I mean unfortunately in its true, woeful state, I understand. Sometimes events are so large, so bad, so complicated, that one single date wraps everything up in one, easier to encompass container.Read More
The four musketeers; the four amigos who occasionally want to kill each other. The four goons who have some seriously good blackmail on each other, and always annoy everyone else by saying ‘Remember when…’ and launching into a story only we’re privy to because, hello, it’s always been the four of us. Always.Read More
There are a group of people that exist, that spent their childhood in one of the sketchiest, but most iconic bar in Michigan. All bound by one thing; their love and support for their local music scene. These are two of them, and here are their engagement photos.Read More
Man, life goes fast. So fucking fast. I just want to grab the reins and slow it down, even if it’s just for a single day to soak in every second and memorize it like it is right then, because it’ll change tomorrow.Read More
It’s been since a Christmas or two ago since I’ve gone in and photographed the shop, so we combined the best of both worlds and did shop photos and Record Store Day 2k19 with our neighbors, the near and dear, Vertigo Music.Read More
Elissa and I go wayyyyy back. Like elementary school kinda back. I’ve been following along with her family through social media and their journey with her son’s Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis and have learned a TON about diabetes and insulin. I never knew much until Elissa posted such amazing information about it.Read More
Since this is Michigan, keep an eye out for my ‘Spring has LEFT the building’ post in a couple of weeks when it decides to snow…Read More
I’ve been trying to figure out how to write this post for a while. We get so many questions, I feel bad just kind of shrugging my shoulders as my go to response. So! Let’s start this off!Read More
“How many pets do you have?!”
That’s a question we get a lot. We have a lot. They’re constantly expanding. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Well, Chris would have, but he recently started looking at frog vivariums and…Read More
“I’m tired of going into work. Maybe I’ll just start selling drugs haha!”
This. This is the shit that will forever send me, my parents, my siblings, my husband, my grandparents, into a blinding hot rage.Read More
I, the perpetually-positive-to-the-point-of-being-annoying person, have about zero good things to say about January except for the fact that it is over with minimal casualties. I have never been so grateful for a January to end.Read More
A little while back when I posted about our 6 weeks postpartum life so far, I wrote about my anxiety. At my six week checkup, I was given a low dose for Zoloft that I started taking. I was a lot nervous to start it, but I did.Read More
This little chunk.
For some reason while I was pregnant with her, I thought the universe owed me a happy, easy baby because Ana was so difficult. The first month of her life, Eleni was so chill and went to everyone. Now, at 4 months, she seems determined to top her sister in the cranky department.Read More
Maybe you’re a poor sap like me who was gifted one of these little bastards, maybe yours is self inflicted. Either way, we’re both less than 10 days into this horrific ritual and I’m already thinking about blowing this Christmas time sham WIDE OPEN.
As most of you know, we moved. Well, we forgot our original Elfie at my in-law’s house. So as I mindlessly scrolled Instagram, a friends “I’m baacccckkkkk!” Elf post made me stop and do the Home Alone “KEVIN!” yell. Not for Kevin obviously, but for our appropriately named “Elfie.”
“We have to get an Elf before Ana get’s home from your parents house,” I told Chris. “We can’t have your Mom bring it with her because Ana might see it and it’ll be ruined.”
So out we went to grab a make-do Elf.
“Damn, these are expensive!” Chris exclaimed a little too loudly in the Christmas section at Meijer. “Don’t they sell just the Elf?”
“I already checked Facebook Marketplace, there weren’t any.” I solemnly admitted.
So we bite the bullet of forgetfulness and bought the ridiculously expensive elf. Get home, have a brilliant idea to make Elfie the Second ride a dinosaur. Success! I had all the time in the day to find the ribbon and tie it in place. It looked awesome. I was super proud.
Last time, Chris would wake up in a rush to move Elfie because I completely forgot all about him. This year, I was determined to be more creative. Night two? Hanging from the chandelier in a swing. Nailed it. So clever.
Night three into the early morning is where it get’s sticky. I put Eleni down, Chris was snoozing away, so I get up to move the Elf. I’m super pumped too because ‘Elfie’ was going to have Ana go on a candy cane hunt. All goes well until I go to get back in bed.
Back lit against the hallway, my footsteps have awoken Chris who loudly yells “AHH! You startled the FUCK out of me!” Not ‘you scared the shit out of me’ like every other human being would have thought of half asleep. Oh no. I have the eloquent sailor mouth in this house. So we get the fucks startled out of us.
Next morning, Elfie is majestically sitting in his throne chair with a candy cane in hand and a left-hand written Elfie note. Ana’s excited. She finds all the candy canes. Then, she has questions. Plural, not just one.
“How can Elfie move? He’s just stuffed.”
“I don’t know Ana, it’s magic.”
“I saw the Elf box. What is that for?”
“That came from storage, it had the book in it.”
“Why does Elfie have a tag?”
Shit. “Because they come from the store.”
“I thought they come from Santa.”
Chris chimes in. “Well Santa wanted every kid to have an Elf, so parents can buy them at the store.”
Ana walks off in thought and I thought I had miraculously escaped the interrogation. Little did I know, she was just waiting until there were no witnesses to continue.
“I know Elfies not real,” Ana states matter of factly.
“Oh really? How does Elfie move then?”
“You move him.”
SAVE FACE ASLYN. Don’t blow it now or it’ll snowball from Elfie to Santa and I’ll be the one who destroys Christmas magic for a 6 year old.
“Why on earth would I do that? I have enough to do, I can’t stay up all night and move an Elf around.”
“Tell me the truth. Do you move Elfie?”
She even leaned in for that one. Existential crisis. Do I lie? Do I do what all the other bahumbug parents do and kill Christmas magic in the name of teaching a lesson to Ana about telling the truth?
“No Ana, I do not move Elfie. If you don’t stop harassing me about Elfie, I’m going to make you clean the cat box.”
The threat was for good measure so she didn’t pull whatever other tactics she had out and finish me off. It worked. She might have walked away with a side eye and very skeptical ‘okay,’ but I won.
So to my Elf comrades, I’m in the foxhole with you staring down that shady plastic grin in the name of fostering a magical Christmas for my child. We can make it. Only 18 days left till we ship that sucker right back to the ‘North Poe’ shoebox in the nastiest corner of the basement with a kick to that little red felt ass.
Well, Chris is 32. Which happens to mark 10 years since the first birthday of his we celebrated! That’s right, we go back a ways. You see, when I first met my own (mostly) polished nugget of gold, he was still sleeping on plastic sheets, smoking a shit ton of Camels, and living in squalor, basically, although it was early adulthood kind of squalor.
The first birthday present I ever bought him was a Hank III tshirt, two packs of cigarettes, and a vinyl record for his 22nd birthday. HE STILL HAS THAT HANK III SHIRT. Ten years later and I still fold it and put it in his drawers.
After that birthday we went separate ways in life until right around his 25th birthday when we reconnected. By his 26th birthday, we were married and had JUST had our little baby Ana. Flash forward, and here we are! This birthday we got him an AMAZING waxed canvas vest from Mercy Supply, who I’ve bought multiple gifts for him from. Wallets, gloves, we even have his pants mended there. We love them.
Any ways, since I’m super awful at keeping gifts a surprise, he opened it early. Then my sister texted him a nicer birthday text message than I’ve ever gotten, my parent’s got him a card that almost made him cry, and Ana and I made him an epic cake. Here’s the recipe for the cake, here’s the recipe for the frosting, and we put a full 32 candles (+ a sparkler) on there with gold glitter sprinkles.
So, Happy Birthday to my number one. There will never be another soul like you and we’re so happy you’re here. Thanks for continuously blessing my life, I love you!
And what better way to immortalize it than a home video? Seriously. There’s just something about home videos that are to die for.
The day before Thanksgiving I feel can be a hit or a miss. Either it’s a peaceful day to reflect on all you have to be thankful for, or it’s a shit show of testing your patience and gritting your teeth, murmuring about how you’re not exactly thankful for THIS part of the day. By the photo above for reference, would you care to take a stab at which scenario was ours?
Yep, it was the shit show. At first.
I think I’ve complained to just about everyone on how much Eleni hates the car. It’s not the normal, cry, fall asleep relationship either. It’s the full blown meltdown until you remove her kind of hate. So when we were still living in Grand Rapids, we agreed to a Thanksgiving an hour away. Well then we moved and it became two hours away. To say I was nervous for the trek was an understatement, but I really wanted to try and make it work. So I called my Dad who flies for work every other week and he graciously booked us a hotel room with his hotel points at our half way mark.
So off we went. Eleni even slept alllllllll the way to the barber shop. She starts crying, we drop Chris off to work. Still crying, head to the hotel, no big deal it’s pretty close. Wrong. So wrong.
What happened in that car made Ana, a child who basically doesn’t go anywhere without food in her hand, willing to forego an entire meal WITH A MILKSHAKE in fear of a repeat of that ride.
So Chris and I made the call to stay the night at the hotel to let Ana’s trauma soften, then head for home the next day. I felt awful. I felt like I was disappointing my husband who had high hopes of spending Thanksgiving with his elderly grandfather (obviously this was just in my head because Chris is an incredibly kind human being,) I felt awful for putting Ana through the misery, I felt awful for putting Eleni through the ride, and I felt awful for feeling awful. I was supposed to be reflecting on how blessed my life was and how grateful I was for family, not ordering Uber Eats and crying.
To take everyone’s mind off of the morning, including my own, we all got our bathing suits on and headed for the pool that Ana was so excited for. Ana got one step in and refused to go any further. It was cold and a lot deeper than she had imagined it would be. Should I have been surprised? Not really, considering this is the child that has to shower with me because she fears the bathtub, but I was beyond frustrated. Not another thing going wrong. I got everyone out of the pool and angrily started the cold trek back to our room.
I watched Ana skip ahead, laughing when I realized I had two choices. I could easily have fumed and been consumed with the disappointment. Like me, Ana had looked forward to something, but it didn’t go according to plan. Instead of being upset by it though, she found happiness in something else. So that’s what I decided to do.
We ran a bath full of warm water and the three of us played in there instead. We broke out the camera and took photos of each other, played a game we like to call “Queen Baby",” and stole Chris’ fries when he met up with us at the hotel after work. The next morning we drove home (yep, still a lot of crying involved,) had Thanksgiving with family, and made an epic Jell-O cake for Ana’s birthday.
This Thanksgiving I learned that I need to be more okay with what is. What works for my family isn’t always what I hope for, but it’s what we’re comfortable with. Life is full of seasons and one day this will just be a past chapter in our lives. I don’t want to look back on it and wish I had just been less stressed about it and taken it for granted.
I always feel like a room is a work in progress. For me, I collect pieces along the way and they seem to find their own perfect spot eventually. A lot of Ana’s room was pieced together with stuff we already had, or stuff we found and thrifted. That beautiful copper ceiling light? $20 Facebook Marketplace find. So while looking at these pictures, don’t think I spent a shit ton of money, because I didn’t. We also still have a couple things left to do. I still need to swap out outlets, install quarter round, and paint the baseboards and door. I have new bedding ($7.50 brand new from shopgoodwill.com) coming too!
This room was my childhood bedroom. The first time my Mom painted it for me, she asked me what color I wanted and I told her blue with yellow and flowers. Then it was white and I plastered the walls in newspaper, which looked cool, but the ink was atrocious for the nose. Then it was a teal color, and eventually was sherbet orange with dark orange xxxxl polka dots and ceiling, which is what we painted over.
This is NOT the color I had picked in my head for Ana’s room. I wanted an emerald color, she wanted an electric lime color, Chris came back to the paint aisle to us squabbling about whose color would win like a bunch of loons, so we were forced to meet halfway. I HATED this color at first. I swore if a rainbow vomited, it would be this exact color. But then we painted the ceiling, put a new floor down, and finally hung up that copper light and that Dutch Boy Dill Delight became my favorite. I know white wall everything is in right now, but we are NOT white wall people.
Feel free to comment about where stuff came from, but here are some of my favorite finds:
Tyrannosaurus Rex Poster- this came from Microfiches! They make stunning educational posters of all sorts. They have two more dinosaur posters that I’ll probably order soon. They’re also incredibly nice. Our poster was super delayed from the Canadian Post being on strike and they were super helpful!
Framed Birds Nest- Ana and my Mom watched this nest for a while while there was still aa bird in it, but then she wanted me to get it down for her so she could keep it. We were surprised to find there was an egg embedded in the bottom of it, so of course we had to frame it. I had to order a special shadow box from Michaels for it though and since it was buy one, get one, I now have an extra that will get something extra cool in it this weekend and get hung right underneath.
Display Shelf- These are typekit or machinist drawers! I found Ana’s on Facebook Marketplace for $25 and it was the perfect place for her to put her fossils, gemstones, and Lego people.
Wooden Dinosaur Bones- My nephew had these and we had to get Ana some, so it wasn’t a huge bummer for Chris to go pick them up from Harbor Freight. They’re only $1.99, but you have to buy them in store. We’ll pick up a couple more for Ana so she has the Apatosaurus too.
Dollhouse- One Christmas while Chris was going through barber school, we were super fricken poor. I got the idea to build Ana a dollhouse for Christmas since my Grandpa had some plywood he offered to let me use and paint and scrapbook paper was cheap. I sewed little wire dolls of us and gave it to her for Christmas YEARS ago. She plays with it every day still. Now she’s requesting a dinosaur family for it, which I might just break out all my felt for. I still have to attach legs to the bottom since it’s hard to play with on the ground like that!
*Yes, she has a TV in her bedroom. Chris and I made the decision and we’re not asking for parenting advice so you can keep yours!
I haven’t forgotten about the blog, hopefully you didn’t either. Sometimes life makes you take a short hiatus to focus on other things, in our case, MOVING! That’s right. We live in a new zip code, actually my childhood zip code, and we’re officially hunkering down for the foreseeable future. Which is good, because we were starting to feel a lot like nomads. We almost have a camel too if you squint your eyes pretty good at Eloise.
So much has happened in such a short amount of time. Our November was an explosion of insanity. I can’t wait to share it all, but for now, I’ll just tell you about our awesome snow day. Living in Michigan, a state known for it’s snowy weather, it’s not possible to stay inside all the time with a baby. Especially with a 6 (yeah, she’s 6 now!) year old. So we put Eleni in a fleece sleeper suit, then stuffed her in a furry bear suit, and played outside.
I love winter. Maybe because it presents less of a sunburn threat to my pasty skin. Maybe it’s because a good 85% of my wardrobe is magnificent sweaters and I love making all the warm foods. Maybe it’s because snow is the most magical in all the world.
I’ll give you an example of how much we love winter over here. Chris and I take our trips in the winter. We usually go to Traverse City for his birthday in December, which we sadly have to forgo this year, but we’ve hiked trails, climbed dunes, driven to Munising, climbed waterfalls, and visited National Forests in the winter. We do none of these in the summer. There are no bugs, no burns, and if we get too hot we just get a blast of winter air and we’re good!
So for us, winter is something we look forward to every year. What’s even cooler is watching my daughter run around in the snowy yard I ran around in as a kid. Seeing her build snow forts in the same exact spot my siblings and I built ours a good 15 years ago is something I didn’t know would excite me so much. I had an incredible childhood and being in the spot I have so many great memories makes me feel so much at peace. While we were outside I waved to the neighbors who have attended our high school open houses, mowed our lawn while my Dad was at basic training one summer long ago, and even the one who is our very own “that neighbor.” I know them all.
While everything is so much the same though, it’s about to be so new. I can’t wait to share Ana’s room with you, the same room I had all my childhood, in it’s new glory. Here’s a hint: dead bugs. But for now, here’s something that won’t ever change. Our snow excitement.