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As parents, there is very little that hubby and I want more than to just let our children be who they are. We want to expose them to whatever we can and let them choose what is right for them. I know that it’s not possible to open every single door out there and that there is certainly more than enough bias just from what we value being passed along to them. We aren’t going out of our way to show them things that aren’t true to who we are, for better or worse, but we are letting things be when our kids take interest in what we’re interested in.

I think the best we can do as mom and dad and the most trusted human beings for these two small people today is to lay a foundation with how we live and what we value and if they accept that and want to learn more, great and if they show interest in something more than that, we’ll do what we can there as well.

As an example, I always said from before we even started thinking about having children that I NEVER wanted to have a daughter take ballet classes. I suffered from anorexia for a long time and my sisters-in-law all did ballet at some point and as a result starved themselves. So I related ballet to anorexia and never wanted my child to go through that for something so silly as dance classes. I was never a dancer. I’m very uncoordinated.

Fast-forward a few years and we have ourselves a three year old who LOVES all things girly, all things princessy and all things ballet. I don’t know when or how it even started. She maybe read a book about Angelina Ballerina or something but whatever it was, she was hooked. She owns leotards, she does plies, and she begs to take ballet classes. And we’ll put her in them as soon as we find a class that accepts her age. Because she wants to. I just have to take a deep breath and let be what is.

I actually remember from early on in my first pregnancy, that I was afraid to have a girl. I wanted a boy to watch football with, to play rough with in the yard and to make fun of ballerinas with. I hated the color pink and all things girly. Then reality struck. And I was given the most beautiful gift that is my daughter, who shows me every day how to challenge my beliefs, she shows me that it’s okay for things not be as we expected and just to love and embrace what is. She has shown me to just let it be. She loves pink, ballet, princesses, and everything girly you can imagine.

Now we have our son, he’s 13 months now and we’re starting to see that he is a little guy who will challenge our thoughts and ideas about the world and people also. He’s a sensitive guy. So far, he shows no interest in sports, much to my chagrin.


Both of our kids, as young as they are, Drew 3 1/2 and Eli 1, have shown a keen interest in the project that is our home remodel. Both of them have found tools and projects beyond interesting. Drew has named herself “Daddy’s big helper” and Eli is right there in the middle of whatever he can be in the middle of.


As parents, we have both stepped back. We don’t take hammers away, we don’t stop them from climbing the ladder. We just let them be. They are, after all, learning. And they may or may not take from this time in our lives an appreciation for remodeling and home improvement projects, but all we can do today is let them take interest in what they like. We’ll keep letting them be involved and enjoying the moment as it is. There are only so many moments when they’re little. Neither one of us wants to steer who they are or what they become so we’ll keep just sitting back and letting them explore their world, learning new things and finding their way. We’ll keep just letting them be.


I haven’t thought about Freecycle for a while now since we haven’t had the need to use it but we’re gearing up to use it once again in the next few weeks as we start the renovations on the last 350 sf of our home. As we remodeled the other areas of our house throughout last year, we used Freecycle to get rid of what was salvageable from the old house so that it didn’t have to go into the landfill. The added bonus was that everything that someone else took off of our hands, we saved the gas money 20 miles to the dump and back and the $30 dump fee per load and saved big time when we rented dumpsters by being able to keep a lot of the bigger stuff from going in and adding to our cost. We’ll be doing it again this time, so that things like the siding on the house and the old tub/shower (someone will want an avocado green tub/shower, right?) don’t have to go to the dump when someone else can use them.

Freecycle is great for recycling anything you are thinking of getting rid of, from home materials to freebie samples you get in the mail but won’t use. If you go to The Freecycle Homepage you can find one in your area (hopefully!) and sign up for their mailing list. You’ll receive emails when someone is getting rid of something and it may just be something you need so you won’t have to spend the money on it. It’s a lovely nifty little thing.

Try it out and happy Freecycling!!

I have come to realize something through the process of remodeling our home. Well, I have come to realize and learn LOTS of things but one thing in particular is really amusing to me. The longer I live with something unfinished, the more normal it becomes. I just stop noticing things that horrify other people.

We’ve been through the what’s-wrong-with-having-a-blue-tarp-as-our-kitchen-wall? phase. We’ve been through the who-needs-a/c-in-the-south-in-the-summer? phase. And many other uncomfortable and atrocious things that make other people look at us like we have 5 heads each. And there is still stuff that is less than desirable if I really look around. It mostly becomes a concern when we’re about to have people over. I start thinking “oh my gosh, do you think they’ll notice that the bathroom doesn’t have a door?” That one has been taken care of but that is a true story. Well, no…an embellished story. It had a door. A glass one. Not the frosted kind. We avoided any awkwardness by using a sticky note leading to the bathroom door that said “occupied” when someone was in there. It worked well.

I have learned through this process not to take things for granted around my home. First, it was stuff like bedrooms – our beds were in the living room for a while – and as the bigger stuff got done, it became trim and baseboards. I really never knew how much I’d appreciate a few pieces of trim around a few windows until I lived without it for so long. And I didn’t realize how much I’d appreciate hot water, a dishwasher, and a bedroom of my own until I didn’t have any of those things for a while.

And because the house has come so far at this point, it’s hard for me to remember when others see it today, they still see exposed doors with no trim, lots of places that need paint and eeek we won’t even talk about the outside. So I find myself having a friend or family member over and having to restrain myself from beaming and being giddy that, say, we have a bathroom door now. “Hey, check out this door! It’s solid and has hinges and opens and closes!”

Blinders. Blissfully content with just having a home. A work in progress. So it has it’s imperfections, it’s flaws, and it’s got a ways to go before things aren’t so scary to others when they come over anymore. But it’s a great way to find out that my friends love me for me and not just my bathroom door. And really, how cool is that?

I mentioned that we were working on installing the new countertop on a section of our kitchen cabinetry last week. Well, the tile job went quickly as did the grouting but then it took another week before hubby put the trim around it. So I can finally share the completed product. I think it looks lovely. As a reminder – one side of our kitchen has a black granite slab for counter as can be seen here


And this is what the other side looked like a few weeks ago – still with really fabulous white plywood. Sexy, right?


And a week or two ago when the project was in full swing


And now – the nearly finished product. I say nearly because while the counter is complete, there is still that pesky opening above the curtain that I am trying to talk hubby into covering but in some astonishing way, it isn’t at the top of his priority list. And because we are about to paint the kitchen, he didn’t bother to clean off his black grouty fingerprints from the wall. So you can still see those even though I tried to cover them up a bit. So here, our $60 black granite counter!


To test the theory that black is slimming, I placed my very favorite little mug that I like to use to make me feel cute and sophisticated. And I must say, she’s looking stunningly svelte there on the new black counter, don’t you think?


I haven’t really had much to blog about the past couple of days. The big Burns’ night celebration on Friday was wonderful and fun. Here’s a pic of my family with a nice little backdrop of the river behind us and bagpiper playing on the dock at sunset.


Saturday and Sunday were spent doing some little projects around the house. We decided to finally do the other kitchen countertop with black granite to match the other side of the kitchen. We got a black granite slab on ebay really greatly priced last year and never bit the bullet buying matching at Home Depot at full retail. We decided to do black granite tile instead of a slab. Much cheaper and it looks really nice. There are some finishing touches to do still before I can share pictures but here’s one of the cute little monkey helping his daddy 102_0558.jpgwith it.

And the best news in a long time is that my brother called me today to tell me he got married this morning!! He and his girlfriend have been together for almost 5 years and live in a cute little studio in Brooklyn together. In August, when my grandfather was dying, he called to tell him that they were engaged to be married and would be going to the courthouse for a simple marriage there. My grandpa, true to his terrible at keeping secrets ways, spilled the beans before he died. So we’ve all been expecting it but hadn’t heard anything and I wasn’t pressuring on it. I am so thrilled for them. He’s wonderful, she’s wonderful and they’re just so darned cute together they make me want to throw them up in the air and catch them.

Now I just have to come up with a super cool gift to send them to mark the lovely occasion.

That’s all for now!