DECEMBER AROUND HERE

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


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As Monday rolled around this week, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I had forgotten what it felt like to have nothing looming over my head and no crazy tasks topping my to-do list. I have been so busy with what feels like everything that I haven't taken much time for myself. 

I was scrolling mindlessly through Instagram earlier this week and I came across a photo that had a caption that hit me. It went something along the lines of a mom posting that she was two years postpartum and a few months post breast feeding and she FINALLY felt like she was finding herself again and coming out of a fog.

Besides the breastfeeding part, that's how I am feeling. I wrapped up my last semester of school last week. I'm taking a semester off to figure out what comes next. I'm excited about the break! 

With school over, all of our Christmas shopping done, the surprise trip for the kids booked, and nothing else but that and Christmas left on our list for this year, I can guiltlessly choose to not stress this month and to binge watch TV during nap time. I can choose to just be for a few weeks.

Mundane tasks like folding laundry and scrubbing toilets is my top priority right now and it feels kind of nice.

My brain is starting to whirl again - ideas for my business, the desire to dust this blog off again, plans to clean out closets and drawers, and find ways to feel like I am on top of my game again. 

For now, December is going to be my jam. I'm taking a breather and soaking up the cheer and fun and twinkling lights with my loves.

A WEEKEND ROADTRIP

Friday, November 18, 2016

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We took a little weekend road trip to surprise my family! There was a local festival going on that my family runs a booth at every year so we helped out, ate all the fried food, and enjoyed weather that actually felt like Fall! 

TODAY

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

History was made last night. And, as with a lot of historical moments, it wasn't all good. It feels like America is torn in half. It feels like a situation that can't be wiped away and can't be explained.

For lack of words and answers, I am choosing to stay inside today. My quiet home holds all that I love and hold dear. I can wrap myself up in a warm sweater, binge watch Gilmore Girls and focus on the things that I need to do. All is right in my living room and that gives me hope and clarity. Because while I can't change the whole world, I know that we are raising our children in a home that is warm and inviting and inspiring. We are teaching them what we want them to know and how to love and respect others and we are taking care of every need that they have.

These kids are going to change the world some day. They have so much to add to it and we just have to keep pushing through to get their.

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Love and respect, guys. 
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HOME AND HAPPY

Thursday, October 13, 2016

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This is how we feel after coming back home to our beloved town! We evacuated and spent a week in a hotel four hours away in a different state.

I'll update later but for now we're safe and sound. Our house is safe and sound. We're reunited with our guy. Things are good for us.

We alternating between playing catch-up and helping out those less fortunate around town!

AROUND HERE.

Monday, September 19, 2016

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Hi, friends! I skipped out for a bit since I last posted. Things have been busy! As usual, of course. I cannot believe it's mid-September already. I'm counting down the days until this show premieres, buying mini pumpkins like it's my job, and dreaming of cool breezes and making caramel apples.

Actually, come to think of it, buying mini pumpkins is kind of like my job now. I recently opened up a design consultation business. It's in the newborn phase. I'm just getting started taking on a few friends who need some inspiration, making business cards, and getting my website going. It was something that once I decided to do it, I didn't look back. It terrifies me too much to stop and think about it!

I'm only 3ish months away from graduating with my associates! I'm scoping out a local university and making plans for what's to come next. While I love design, I'm really craving work dealing with children's literature.

The kids are doing well. School is flying by and Lia is thriving well, if not a little tired. Nico is a wild boy, STILL. He busies himself all day getting into things he shouldn't be into and trying to scale furniture and windows. It's an interesting stage. He's also 4 months shy of being two (for real!) and I can see a good peak into the terrible two stage again. I didn't miss it!

This bombing in Manhattan was terrible. My brother-in-law recently became an NYPD and now news stories put me on edge even more than before.

+ A polar/grizzly bear hybrid? It sounds strange but I kind of love the nod to interracial relationships.

+ 271 years before Pantone, an artist mixed and described every color imaginable in an 800-page book.

+ I'm sprucing up the playroom in our home and I'm eyeing this chair for a fun reading nook.

+ Milk and Cookies cake, yes please!

+ Halloween costume inspiration for my littlest wild one.

+ I think we should all go out and make this sign and hang it up in our neighborhoods.


+ My new business - The Gray Casa. Take a peek, if it's your thing.

Enjoy your week, xo!

THIRTY

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

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I turn the BIG 3-0 today. I'm actually looking forward to my thirties. My twenties were great. In my twenties, I found my tribe. My husband, my kids, a few good friends. I feel like my thirties can be about my goals now. In the past year or so, I've really started to dig deep and figure out who I am. I'm learning to live an imperfect and flawed life where I try hard to fill it with who and what I love. 

The idea of doing something different this year has been floating around in my head lately. Partly inspired by things I've seen happening in the social media/blogging world and partly because too often I find myself berating myself for not being put together/organized/good enough for this or that and the list could go on and on. 

I haven't ever made a big deal out of my birthday before. But, for my thirtieth year, I'm going to change that up.

I want to focus on finding joy and putting a better vibe and some kindness out into the world. I want do things that I wouldn't normally gravitate to. But I also want to do MORE of what I know makes me happy. I've made a list; surprise, surprise.

The DO 30 project
Read thirty new books.
Do 30 projects. This one is purposefully on the vague side. I don't want to set myself up to fail and I plan to come up with the projects along the way. It can be on a large scale such as house project or (and more often) on the smaller scale such as something I make.
Do 30 random acts of kindness.

"You attract the right things when you have a sense of who you are." - Amy Poehler 

CURRENTLY

Monday, August 22, 2016

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reading The Hypnotist's Love Story. I just finished it for book club and I'd have to say I'm a fan. My favorite recent book, though, was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It was so good but it left me feeling pretty bummed that the series is, yet again, over. 

dreaming of painting our front door the perfect shade of green. I'm thinking something like this.

starting to think about our family Halloween costumes!

watching Orange is the New Black.

working out the details of a new playgroup I am putting together for Nico.

looking forward to Fall. I'm ready to cozy up the house and fill the front porch with potted mums and  pumpkins.

working on the last semester of my Associate's degree. It's almost crunch time to figure out what my next step is!

cleaning out closets! Trying to declutter and freshen up our space.

sticking to our newly instated routine again. Nap time is a happy time!
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FIRST DAY OF FIRST GRADE

Monday, August 15, 2016

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It's quiet, you guys. My biggest little is in school. My wild littlest little is napping. The house is actually clean and I'm pretending the laundry isn't piled up.

I get an afternoon to MYSELF. I could read a book. Or, catch up on Orange is the New Black. Or, get caught up in all the crazy "back to school teacher gift ideas" on Pinterest. Kidding, I already did that one. 

But really, it's kind of nice to be on this side of things. We did the kindergarten thing. She's in first grade now. First graders know what they are doing. First grade moms are just excited that we got our crap together quick enough to get out of the door in time. 

I met some friends for donuts this morning and they had all just dropped off their kindergarteners. And I was just thinking, I love you women but I am SO not envious of you right now. 

First grade is where it's at. I'm off to make a list of all the things I can do in my newly found spare time!

BACK TO SCHOOL TRADITION!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

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Summer vacation is over...

I honestly don't know whether I want to laugh or cry. I think structure and schedules work really well for us here but both me and my girl are feeling the stress and unsettledness that comes with a new chapter.

She's also struggling with the idea that with school comes less time with me. I can really suck at balancing my time and her sad face telling me tonight that she doesn't want to go to school tomorrow because she won't have enough time with me pretty much shattered my heart. 

But! We kicked off the start of a new school year with our traditional backyard movie. We set up a projector, piled snacks on a tray and settled in the backyard with twinkly lights, comfy pillows, and The Peanuts Movie.

We're BIG fans of Charlie Brown and the movie had us all laughing and dancing. To be honest, it really just had us all being together, really together, in the same place.

It's probably one of my favorite traditions! 

That Little Thing Called Anxiety

Monday, August 8, 2016

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I have anxiety. Ugly, stressful, tears-me-down anxiety. 

I don't talk about it much. I thought ignoring it was the best way. I acted like things were normal despite how I felt inside. I remember going out to the movies with a group of mom-friends. I was paranoid about being out at night. My mind raced through the entire movie on how to get to my car safely in the dark. I even thought about using a soda to burn out the eyes of any potential rapist or car-jacker.

I mean, really? I was out without the kids and my mind wouldn't get it's crap together. I topped the night off with an anxiety attack right outside the theatre while having a perfectly good conversation with the girls. So, I faked an excuse of needing to leave and drove home with M on the phone in case the attack got worse.

In the past year or so, this has become my normal. Along with some breathing issues that have pestered me for years, it all became too much. I finally decided to get a PCM and talk things over. My mind had convinced me that I had thyroid issues or lung cancer or... any number of things that badly-chosen google searches came up with.

After a couple chats with my PCM, talking through my records, and running blood tests, it seems that I'm a big ball of stress and worries. I have anxiety that's probably mixed in with some OCD and ADHD. 

My color-coordinated bookshelves should have clued me in there, yeah? 

So, here I am. Laying it all out. I'm figuring out that I have to accept it. It's a part of me. And while medication can help keep it at bay, it's still there. It's always going to be there. It really sucks. The mind battles. The unnecessary worries. The ball in my throat that pops up whenever I feel the slightest bit annoyed or nervous or rushed or out of sorts.

It's a work in progress. I still have to find the medication that works for me. I have to find ways to relax and let go and stop caring so damn much. I have to let the little things slide because they are just the freaking little things in the grand scheme. 

So, anyways, I just wanted to put it out there. I wanted this space to be a little more honest and a little more real.

PS. If you have anxiety or know someone that does, this article nails it when it comes to awards that people dealing with anxiety should get. 
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SWIM LESSONS...AGAIN

Monday, August 1, 2016

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We started a new week of swim lessons this week. Free of tears, you guys. FREE. OF. TEARS.

Our girl is still struggling with confidence in the water. I know she can do it. Her coach can see that she can do it. SHE just has to figure out that she can do it. But, she is taking on this set of classes with bravery and an open mind.

And that - well that's better than anything. Imagine if we all just dove into our plans and the things we needed to accomplish with an open mind EVEN while we knew it was hard and it was scary.

Just imagine...

Anyways, I am off to dive into my own hard and scary thing. I've giving my very last speech tonight in my public speaking class. The impossible has become possible. Fingers crossed!

FAVORITE CLASSIC SUMMER MOVIES

Friday, July 22, 2016


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Does anyone else love a great summer movie? There's nothing like one to get you in the mood for the season. My favorite way to watch is in the backyard! We set up a projector and a white sheet I picked up at a local thrift store. Then, we make some popcorn or even take dinner outside and settle in. I think we'll set a backyard movie up right before school starts back to send summer off in style.

There's so many "summer" movies out there but these are our favorites. We introduced Lia to Troop Beverly Hills about a month ago and we all had fun watching it as a family. And, of course, Dolphin Tale. You can't live by the ocean without totally falling for this movie. Last week, a local park set up Flipper outside by the water and we fell for that one too!

If you want a grown-up movie night, you can't go wrong with Dirty Dancing and Grease and a pizza or a summer-inspired drink to go along with your popcorn.

What are your favorite summer movies? Anything I should add to our list? 

CURRENTLY

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

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reading Summer Sisters by Judy Blume. I can't decide how I like it just yet.

creating new spots to love around the house.

enjoying being entertained all day by these kids.


finishing my summer semester!

feeling well put in the current season. I'm usually itching for Fall but this time around I'm enjoying what's current.

spending our mornings at swim lessons and our evenings at the pool.

crossing things off our summer list.

eating all the strawberries and melons we can buy. And, tacos. Because tacos are always a good idea.

EIGHTEEN MONTHS

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

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This guy turned 18 months old about a week ago. He's right in that sweet spot where there's a tiny bit of baby chub left and he doesn't completely look like a full-grown kid. He just looks almost like a completely full-grown kid!

That hair! I'm stumped. I can't bring myself to cut it again. I just can't. Also, I don't even want to imagine how he'd do in a barber shop. He can just keep pulling off that shaggy beach look. It's works for around here anyways.

He's got 8-10 teeth. I haven't counted lately because he bites. He thinks it's something funny to do. He's a comedian, this one.

His personality is really starting to shine. He's active and outgoing. He's a major flirt. He likes to explore and figure things out for himself. He also loves to climb and play ball. He's independent but clingy. He's a total mama's boy and I don't hate it.

It's almost like I have my own personal Curious George and I kind of love it. Life with him is just really fun. It's really exhausting too, but it's really fun. 

SWIM LESSONS

Monday, July 18, 2016

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We finally took the plunge (ha!) and signed L up for swim lessons. Being surrounded by water and finally having a pool in our neighborhood meant it was time to get serious. She had her first lesson this morning and I can't say she was the biggest fan. There were some tears and pouting. She wasn't overly willing to try new things. Though, she did at least walk into the pool and put in some effort.

It's funny because I see so many qualities of mine in her yet those same qualities frustrate me when she won't open up and try something new. Parenthood, man. I know she WANTS to swim, but she can't be pushed. Her coach is laid back and keeps her patience while being firm, so we've got that going for us. Fingers crossed some swimming confidence finds its way to our girl this week.

SUMMER TIME

Thursday, June 23, 2016

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Warm evenings on the front porch. A little guy learning to climb the big play set all on his own. Running around town on a book scavenger hunt. Taco bars and a date night. Story time. Popsicles and chalk. Playing with water any way we can. Watching Troop Beverly Hills. Crossing things off our summer list. Trips to the Farmer's Market. Spending our afternoons at the library. Hikes and long walks. Dusting off my bicycle. And, ballet camp for my girl.

Summer has taken my heart. Maybe it's because it's our first "real" summer off from school or maybe it's because I am realizing that I need to enjoy every single minute with my kids because they are growing way too fast, but I have feelings for summer that I have never had before.

Here's to the rest of these hot, sweaty days and warm evenings, baseball games and a road trip, homemade popsicles and giant games of Jenga. Summer, I love you.

AND THEN SHE GRADUATED KINDERGARTEN...

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

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I don't know that I actually have the words to write this post. I'd like to say that they were pouring from my fingers but they aren't. My girl is in her last days of Kindergarten and I am struggling with the fact that I will have a first grader.

I can't be the only mom that struggles between the thought of being happy that her kids are growing up so well and being sad that time passes by so quickly. I was right here. I was RIGHT HERE. I brought them home from the hospital bundled up. I fed them and bathed them and I was there for every single moment. Soccer practices and dance recitals. Scrapes and bumps and hospital stays. Haircuts and first days of school. Birthdays and Christmas mornings. I saw them all. I was right there. Yet, it feels almost impossible that we are here. That we've reached this milestone where our girl has graduated from Kindergarten.

So, to my darling daughter...

You did it! This was all you, babe. I may have washed your uniforms and packed your lunches and made sure to drop you off every morning on time. I may have been there for a field trip and special events. I may have always been around to cheer you on and support you. But, this? It was you, my sweet girl. You found the confidence and bravery inside of you to find your way through Kindergarten in a brand new school. You opened your heart to new friends. You opened your mind to new things. You let your comfort circle grow to encompass your classroom and your hallway and your teachers and all the new situations you found yourself in. You worked hard to learn to read. You focused when you needed to. You picked up new skills and new words. You learned and you grew and you thrived. It was always you. I am so proud of you! 

You are just embarking on a new adventure again. First grade is another new beginning and before we both know it, you'll be moving on to even bigger and better things. It hurts to let you go even though I know it's something I have to do. I have to give you your space to grow and flourish. I just want you to remember one thing though. When you face something new and you are scared or nervous or uncomfortable and when you are dealing with people who do not make you feel like your best...just remember, it doesn't matter what others are doing, it matters what YOU are doing. And you, beautiful girl, you are rocking life.

Mama loves you, xo.