Summer 2019: the halfway point

We’re halfway through our summer break here in the Pacific Northwest.

Today felt like the first Saturday in a LONG while were we did not have to be anywhere or really do anything.

Realistically, as I type that I am realizing that is true for only half of our family. The boys got on the road this afternoon to go on a fishing adventure to celebrate Reece’s 12th birthday.

Lorelai and I, however, are still lounging on the sofa.

Truthfully, I had a couple days this week where all I did was relax. After we returned from of weekend lacrosse tournament in Central Oregon we were all beat. The kids and Ryan were sick with a head cold and I think I was doing everything to keep from getting sick…including a lot of reading.

I’ll get back to what I have been reading later. For now, I want to do a brief recap of our Summer 2019 adventures up to now.

Our adventures really started before the kids got out of school for the Summer.

Lorelai and I road tripped to Spokane, Washington for The Farmchicks Show with our mom and daughter besties! We enjoyed a weekend of girl time while the boys had their own boys weekend at home.

When they returned to school Reece took part in the Junior Rose Parade with all of the 5th graders from his school.

We hopped in the car again to drive to Sunriver where we joined Ryan for a work trip and enjoyed time together in our friends beautiful Sunriver condo!

Horseback riding, pool, fishing, golf, and bike rides to see horses kept us busy.

Ryan’s parents arrived a few days after our return and we closed out the end of the school year with Field Day, a 5th grade promotion ceremony, and a celebration at the park with friends.

Father’s Day and my birthday were celebrated while Ryan’s parents visited.

The next weekend we went to the Tigard Festival of Balloons…unique annual event within walking distance of our house. Carnival rides, beer garden, henna, hot air balloons, and lots of steps walking to and from the park a couple times each day of the weekend.

While all of our summer fun was happening, Reece was also practicing 2-3 times a week for a travel lacrosse team. Ryan and Reece flew down to California for his first lacrosse tournament the last weekend of June. California sunshine, travel fun with teammates, half a season of games, and a visit to in-n-out filled their California days.

Lorelai and I had our own adventures a little closer to home. Paddle boarding and an amazing early 4th of July celebration with friends.

The kids and I took a day trip to the Oregon Coast to see one of the lowest tides of the year on July 3rd. We are so blessed to be able to get in the car and drive less than two hours to soak in such beauty.

On July 4th at 12:00am. Wait, let me start over. On July 3rd at 11:55 pm, Lorelai and I woke up from a couple hours of slumber to watch the entire Season 3 of Stranger Things right after it was released. No spoilers here, but it was intense and left us asking lots of questions. She continued to stay up for 23 hours until she crashed after watching 4th of July fireworks. I, on the other hand, took multiple naps on the 4th of July and it still took me a couple more days to recover.

Reece’s 12th birthday was on the 5th of July and we celebrated with bowling and ice cream with friends.

We caught our breath for a couple of days and ended up planning a spur of the moment camping trip. Lorelai had been wanting to camp since winter break and I decide that we should make it happen. It was a lot of effort, but I venture to say that we all thought it was worth it. I will write more about that adventure in another post.

Once again, a few days at home to catch up on regular life and we were on the road again to Central Oregon for the last lacrosse tournament of the summer. We stayed in a charming Airbnb near downtown Bend and got to spend a bit of time away from the lacrosse fields.

And, that puts us here. In the middle of Summer 2019. It’s been full. Really full. And, I am so thankful for all of the fun that I get to have with my kiddos each and every summer.

a dozen

Twelve years ago today we moved to Portland.

We drove our extended cab pickup loaded with our five fuzzy faces (3 black labs and two cats) towing our malibu (loaded with fragiles) from Denver to Boise (actually, Mountain Home) through high winds in Wyoming and a blizzard in Eastern Idaho.  We stayed with some dear friends for the night and drove the rest of the way through snow in Eastern Oregon, and a driving rain and darkness through the Gorge.  Only to hit rush hour traffic on 217 on the way to our rental house on Bull Mountain.  We stayed with friends in the exact neighborhood where we have ended up…and met the moving van on the morning of January 3rd, 2006….probably the only DRY day in that record setting wettest January in Portland.  Welcome to Oregon!

I am not sure how long we actually planned on living here.

At one point we almost moved, but ended up staying.

For now, I cannot imagine living anywhere else.

Colorado is where I was born, raised, and met my husband, but Portland is home.

It’s where we started our own family.

It’s where we have been through the best and the worst of our marriage.

It’s where we have made friends that feel like family.

It’s where we have planted our roots.

Cheers to a dozen years in the Rose City, Bridgeport, Stumptown, and all that keeps Portland weird.

easy christmas card photo books

I have been getting a lot of questions about an Instagram story I posted a couple weeks ago about what I do with all of the Christmas cards that we receive. I wrote this blog post 5 years ago and figured it might be a good time to repost it.

Don’t throw out all those cards, easily turn them into little photo books that you can pull out each year! We now have 9 years of books collected and I love to pull out the books in late November and look through them the entire month of December. 

One of my favorite parts about Christmas is receiving the cards from all of our friends and relatives. I especially like the photos.

They make me smile from the day I receive my first card until the day I finally take them down from their display…which is usually one of the last things to come down.

Over the years I have saved the photos in a drawer in my desk. You see, my aunt had albums full of christmas card photos and every year I loved to sit down on Christmas day and look through them. Although I didn’t know all the people, I learned to recognize the familiar faces year after year and enjoyed seeing how families had grown, adult children had gotten married, etc. My plan was to eventually start some albums of my own.

As I was trying to find space in the drawer in my desk for our cards from Christmas 2012 I finally decided to just put the darn books together. I mean, for goodness sake, all I needed was a hole punch (I used a 3 hole punch and a single hole punch), some chipboard, some rings, and a glue stick!

easy christmas card photo books

All of my cards were organized by year, so I started punching holes.

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{That’s my mom and dad in Italy}

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I used two holes of a three hole punch so that I would eventually be able to line up the cards that were differing sizes and shapes.

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Then I cut some chipboard that I had from the back of some thrifted frames that I won’t be using. I cut the chipboard a little larger than the largest card…three of the books ended up being 9″ x 6″ and one is 8″ x 6″.

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I punched holes in the chipboard and glued our christmas card to the front.

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I also made back covers for the books so the cards are protected on both sides of the book.

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This year our card was a post card and I wanted to include the back of the card, so I put it on the inside of the back cover.

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In less than an hour (it actually took 2 days, but I had to start and stop multiple times for various reasons…kids, dogs, cats, husbands, etc.) I had books from the last 4 years put together!

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For now, they are in our basket of photo books in the family room. I think, eventually, I will put them in the attic with the rest of the Christmas decor so they will be a fun tradition to pull out of the bins each year.

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Notice a change to the bookshelves? I’ll fill you in on that quick project this week!

Stay tuned…

I hope this inspires you to keep those cards! It’s a super simple project and feels so good once you have it done!

{in the garden} early june 2017

we  harvested {when i say “we” it was really lorelai and ryan} our first strawberries yesterday. they are a few weeks later than usual due to our LONG winter.

we got a late start on the gardening season this year due to weather. we had record rain and wet until just a few weeks ago. it was a LONG winter here in the pacific northwest.

our resident veggie gardener, ryan, also had knee surgery in march. he was in a full leg brace until late april/early may which limited his mobility and ability to really get down in the dirt!

ryan got the dirt turned and put tomatoes, kale, edamame, garlic and onions in the ground.

the strawberries and blueberries come back every year, so they were already going strong…just a bit delayed due to our LONG winter.

we will be adding a few other plants in the coming weeks, but i wanted to share a quick tour that i posted to my instagram stories!

we go all organic with our gardening…like bat guano, dead fish, chicken poop organic. as i mentioned in the video, we also have a resident snake…she/he and their offspring have lived in our rock wall for years and really keep a lot of the pests away {slugs, etc}.

we hadn’t seen the snake yet this year and i was afraid that the winter had been unkind to it…did i mention our LONG winter?!

sometime after ryan and lorelai picked strawberries, the snake shed it’s skin in the garden. the full skin was just nestled up in the strawberries when we returned from a family walk/bike ride yesterday.

we found the snake snuggled up in the rocks after we found the skin. i’m not a snake person, but i am happy to have a snake eating the pests in my garden because i am not going to spray chemicals on the garden to keep pests away!

although we garden organically, we still need to wash yucky stuff off of our fruits and vegetables and we use thieves fruit and veggie spray for that purpose. just spray it on, let it sit, and rinse.

hoping to share more of our garden as it grows. since we were gone most of last summer i missed our garden and backyard posts, so i am excited to get back to them this summer!

you can also see more garden posts on instagram at #homeisinthegarden and #ourfrontyardsuburbanfarm

home is…in the garden 2017!


blogs and bumwad

I used to read a fair number of blogs after I originally started my own.

It was interesting to find out other people’s reasons for starting blogs, and when I was new to Portland and motherhood it felt good to have something in common with a lot of other mom bloggers.

I sat down to read them during naptime.

Eventually, naptime stopped…and Instagram started.

And, so many of my favorite blogs disappeared…eaten up by the tiny squares of Instagram.

Mine included.img_0673And, what started out as a type of “mom blog” to keep family and friends in far away places aware of my mom-ing activities, is not so much a mom blog anymore.

What used to be Tuesday’s with Lola and The Little Guy Said, has turned into “what the heck do I write about when the kids are in school all day and I’m not doing my mom-ing activities?”

Some of the bloggers that I followed when I started my blog are still writing. In fact, this morning I read Kelle’s post about The Balance Bird. Her friend’s epiphany in yoga class about being erased hit home.

I felt that way when I was in the trenches of mom-ing activities while the kids were both so little. I have truly felt like I have lost pieces of myself while nurturing my kids. However, I am beginning to realize that my mom-ing activities are HUGE pieces of myself, and what I am pouring into my kids is a reflection and part of ME.

I’m not being erased, but redrafted, refined, remodeled.

Like a house with good bones, I am still here.

My structure is still here, there are just some parts that have been taken away…erased.

Sometimes you need to strip away the layers of wallpaper and plaster or drywall to get to the shiplap (and you can’t do that without demo day)! Other times there are parts that have been added because they are necessary and weren’t in place before, they just needed some updating, or were completely outdated and needed an entire overhaul!

When you remodel a house you have the original floor plan and you keep what you need and make changes where they are needed. Most times the original floor plan is drafted in pen, because it is the permanent structure, then you place tracing paper (my instructors in design school used to call it bumwad) on top of that and pencil in the new changes and additions. The eraser is used, and most times multiple drafts and layers of bumwad end up over the original floor plan. Eventually, you get to a final design that will, once again, be drafted in pen.Stephany Taddeo Interior DesignAnd, then you have change orders.

And, you decide to repaint your walls.

And, you need new floors because the old carpet smells like dogs.

Sometimes an eraser is what is needed to really get the changes we need to take shape.

At any rate, my blog is still here. I just might put some layers of bumwad on top and have to use an eraser from time to time to get it where I want it to be.

happy thanksgiving eve

stack up

the kids participated in the “stack up!”,  which was “the most people sport stacking at multiple locations stacking in one day”.


i volunteered to help in both of their classes…i also stacked, which contributed to the numbers to hopefully make/beat a world record!


some of lorelai’s artwork at school…if you didn’t know already, she is a bit obsessed with pigs.


reece created this piece of artwork during our most recent art literacy lesson…it’s the leaves falling from the aspens when we were in vail for my cousin’s wedding!

friendsgiving bunco

i have been playing bunco with a group of moms from our school/neighborhood since earlier this year. this month was my month to host and i decided to go with a friendsgiving theme.

mimosa bar…instructions written on mirror with dry erase markers.


candy apple bar…dip apple slice in caramel {or chocolate} and sprinkle with toppings .


if you got a bunco, you wore the turkey.


i had fun making score cards for the night…


it was a great night.

a very merry oil infused holiday


i recently talked about thieves household cleaner during a class for my young living team. if you are interested in learning more, please contact me!

the kids will be helping with a kids essential oils 101 class {online} on december 6th…contact me if you would like an invitation!

colorado buffaloes



we’ve become duck and beaver fans after living in oregon for 10+ years, but i am so thrilled to see my buffs at the top of the pac 12 and in the top 10 in the nation!

i cannot wait to see how this all plays out in the future…reminds me of when i was in high school and college (the last time they were really good…20+ years ago)!


it seems like it has taken forever to get our house back in shape after the remodel, but we are almost there.


gallery walls are back up.


craft supplies and toys are back in their places.


and, the powder bath is gallery walled again. this bathroom reminds me of the bathroom in the house i lived in at my kids ages…my mom had family photo collages all over the walls and said that people would take forever in the bathroom because they were looking at all of the photos!

morning message

lorelai loves to write messages on the whiteboard/chalkboard in by the stairs. this was her morning message today…




we are hosting thanksgiving at our house for FAMILY. YES! we have family way over here on the northwest coast of the US. a couple of ryan’s cousins have moved out here in the last few years, so we are hosting them! it should be fun!!


i am usually a wait until after thanksgiving to decorate for christmas kind of girl. the last few years, i have let the kids anticipation and excitement get a hold of me and i have started a bit early. this year i am holding back until black friday…when i will be pulling boxes out of the attic, listening to christmas tunes, and watching football.

that being said, i heard this from the attic the other day.


“we’re equal opportunity trees! we demand that you take us out of this christmas box you have kept us in for months. we don’t discriminate between the holidays…easter, 4th of july, columbus day…you name it, we will celebrate it! thanksgiving happens to be one of our favorites.”

oh what fun. falalalala.

happy thanksgiving eve, everybody!

hello, november

here we are.

two months left in 2016.

it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

here’s a quick recap of some of the things that happened in october…

grand river rainbow returned home after spending the summer in idaho…and this rainbow showed up to greet her!


i hosted my first yellow door vintage pop-up in our home, which was a sale of vintage goods that i have collected over the last few years. it was fun to see some of the items that were in our home go to new homes where people would appreciate them!




lorelai’s teachers came by for a home visit.



we finally made it to a pumpkin patch so we could carve pumpkins before halloween.









i am continuing to color in my bible.



thankful for sunshine streaming through windows, and walks through fall leaves.



right now…

reading…a stack of books.


  • the magnolia story – it just came out today! i cannot wait to dig into it.
  • healing oils of the bible – always trying to learn more about essential oils.
  • uninvited – this is the one i cannot put down. wow. just wow. i have this book dog eared, underlined, and highlighted all the way through. once i close the back cover i will open it up and read through it again.
  • boys should be boys: 7 secrets to raising healthy sons – this one is so good. any mom raising a boy should pick this up and read it. it is really helping me understand how i can help my son and be the best mother to him.
  • the message – i am working on reading through the new testament by the end of the year with a facebook group led by a local friend. this is the version that i chose to read.
  • wildwood – i love a good series. actually, i love a good young adult series. when i read fiction, i like a mystery, but nothing that is too hard for me to put down and pick back up in a month. i tend to read a lot more non-fiction than fiction, but i picked this up and hope to read the entire series…based in portland!

playingreverse charades. lorelai loves playing board games, but reece doesn’t like to sit for long, so this is a win-win for everybody! we played on sunday night and we all said, “let’s definitely play this again!”

watching…football. ’tis the season. and, gilmore girls. always gilmore girls.

trying…to blog more often. i miss it, and also miss having a chronicle of our life that is more than just photos (instagram).

cooking…homemade pizza for dinner.


drinking…milk, with the oreos i just ate.

pinningbathroom ideas. the upstairs bathrooms in our house are the only rooms that have not been updated (other than paint) since we moved in. trying to pin some ideas to freshen them up without an entire remodel…until we can remodel!

crafting…not much. i have been bible journaling, so this is filling the need for crafting…that might change when it gets closer to christmas.

going…to yoga! my yoga classes are one of my favorite things.

discovering…how much i really need to get over my dislike for doing laundry. if i just wash it, fold it, and get it put away it’s not that bad! it’s the unfolded baskets of laundry that stare me down and taunt me…ugh!

enjoying…silence. i crave quiet. if i don’t get enough of it i can get very cranky. #introvert

hoping…to make some time to learn how to use my big camera.

celebrating…the colorado buffaloes. they are looking pretty good this season! i’ve been wearing a hat i got in boulder this summer as much as possible around here!

smelling…a new diffuser combo. it’s called “sweet fall”…3 drops cedarwood, 4 drops bergamot.

thanking…mother nature. i know that fall and winter can be a very tough time for some, but i LOVE this time of year. fires in the fireplace, blankets, cozy layers, snuggling up early because it’s already dark outside. i love everything about this time of year just like I love everything about springtime…and summer.

considering…giving away all of the stuff i was planning to sell in a vintage sale. the timing. the work. i just cannot get it figured out, and we really want to park both of our cars in the garage again!

finishing…hanging up art in our powder bath. i gallery wall the entire bathroom. it takes some time to figure out what i want to hang and where i want to hang it!

starting…to share my love for essential oils and how we use them a bit more. honestly, they are awesome. i love learning about them, using them, and sharing that information with others! so, stick around if you want to learn more.

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