My Amelie

Age: 2 years, 3 months

This is not my biased opinion but simply fact. Amelie is the sweetest toddler in all the land!


Look at that hair!

Now that Amelie is getting a full night of sleep, she’s a dream. I have to give her credit when she was sick, she was up much of the night and miserable. This went on for months. She was crabby a lot, but so was I! The Real/Rested Amelie is happy, goofy, sweet, kind, polite, obedient, and imaginative! She is such an awesome human.

Schedule: Amelie wakes around 8am. I get her ready for nap around 1.30 or 2pm and wake her by 5ish, if she’s still asleep when Daddy comes home. We try to get her to bed by 7pm but it’s usually drawn out and more like 8ish. At least once every week, she ends up skipping her nap. Nowadays it’s not horrible – she happily plays upstairs in her crib the whole time. I can hear her singing, counting and talking in her voices for her stuffed animals. It cracks me up! If she skips her nap, we try to get her to bed earlier and sometimes I can tell the next day that she needs extra sleep. Even when she’s tired, she’s usually a good girl.

Likes/Dislikes: She loves peanut butter oatmeal (eats it every morning), chocolate ice cream, playing pretend, going to the water park, coloring, jumping, bath time, Daniel Tiger, temporary tattoos, and reading books. She doesn’t like change, most foods, wearing dresses (phooey) or messes (which is hilarious because the house is a constant wreck).

One thing that confuses me and kinda makes me sad: When she hurts herself, she doesn’t want comfort from me. In fact, getting hurt seems to embarrass and anger her. I wish I could scoop her up and kiss away her tears, but she runs the other direction. I usually end up gathering up her sleepsack and nuk then handing them over to her without saying anything until she calms down. I remember strong feelings of embarrassment over the littlest of things, so maybe she’s like me in that way.

On a related note, she’s not snuggly. She doesn’t want to cozy up on the couch or lay in bed with us. She likes to sit in our lap to read. I’m usually fairly affectionate and she’ll let me know when I’ve stepped over her boundaries.

Verbal: She talks in full (albeit, choppy) sentences now! This is my favorite part about this age: talking with her. Every once in a while she’ll tell me something that I can’t quite understand. She’ll repeat it a few times very slowly for my benefit but if I still can’t decipher, we both smile and move on.

She is extremely polite. She says “Thank you, Mama” unprompted! A lot! She’ll bring me my phone or my water bottle and say “Here you go, Mama!”


In the car, “Oh Bunny, I love this song! Do you?”

Amelie: “Yes.”

“Do you want to sing along with Mommy?”


She was with Daddy at the water park and noticed a round lady in a red swimsuit with black polk dots. She pointed and said “Ladybuggy.”

And the cutest thing of all: “I’m happy to see you, Mama/Dadda/Babba/Monkey”. What toddler says that?! Seriously, she’s wonderful!

Learning: She knows most of the alphabet. “A is for Amee!” “C for Cade!” “D for Dadda!” “M for Mama!” She only counts to three, I can’t get her to go further. I know she knows because one day I asked her what comes after nine and she replied matter of factly, “ten.” Her memory is very sharp – she remembers things in her books that I don’t!

Imagination: Her imagination is my favorite! She loves Daddy because he plays pretend with her. He talks in a high voice for stuffies/toys and she is over the moon for it. Now she uses different voices too. Best of all? Her sleepsack, which she still sleeps with every night and drags everywhere, has a very low manly voice! It’s hilarious! Every once in a while, I’ll play too although my imagination is rusty. One day we watched a baby sea turtle make its way to the ocean on Instagram and so I pretended we were baby sea turtles. She could not get enough of it! Here she is pretending to be a sea turtle at the water park.


Social: She’s shy and prefers to play one on one. She handles aggressive kids fairly well; she usually watches them from afar. She’s a good sharer, although most kids are not so I feel bad when she gets pushed around by them. It makes me very irritated!


Unlike Cade, Amelie is not overly smiley. She’s a very happy girl but a serious girl. She went to a birthday party last weekend and I asked if she wanted her face painted. She nodded and sat so still. And when she saw the result:


She was ecstatic! I love that smile. It’s so sweet to live these moments again, but now as a Mom. I remember feeling like this – how exciting it was to get my face painted!

Every once in a while, she’ll surprise me by waving or saying hi to someone spontaneously. Also to my surprise, she’s done really well with our summer visitors and sharing her toys. I expected she’d find it all overwhelming but she proved us wrong. She especially adored our friends Chris and Amelia – maybe it was the namesake that drew her in? She was pulling out all of her show off “moves” for them – twirling, “headstands”, dancing and balancing on one leg.


Cade: Seriously, she is an awesome big sister. She has never hit or shown aggression towards Cade. In fact, she’s done the opposite. This week, Cade started crying when I left the room and when I came back, Amelie was sitting next to him stroking his hair. He stopped crying and was smiling up at her. What a sweetheart!

Now that he’s been playing more, she’s been mimicking him, like sucking on toys which is funny because she wasn’t an oral baby except for her pacifier. Many times she wants what he’s playing with but will wait (impatiently) until he’s done (drops it out of his tiny fists) or she will trade him for a different toy, which suits him just the same! She is still jealous when Daddy holds Cade and will ask that he holds her instead and that “Mama hold Cade.”

Mommy stuff: Daddy is still her go to for Fun, but she’s not showing overt preference for only him anymore. She loves me for what I offer, which is different than what she gets from Daddy. I feel such strong love for this sweet girl. Like deep in my throat kind of strong, you know?

The “terrible twos” have been far from that. She is a delight!

Home Sweat Home: Outside Front Perennials

Perennials! I feel like such a big girl now. I did lots of learning googling and figured now is as good of time as any to dive in.

It’s overwhelming but I’m reminding myself that this is simply an experiment. I’ll try a few things and then see what works. I don’t think I need a grand vision just yet.

We started here with a very busy front yard. Lots of trees, mulch and a few perennials too:


We removed two trees and I weeded a lot but not nearly enough:


I have big plans – namely removing the juniper jungle (also seen here),


cutting back the mulch and adding more lawn. But for now, we are starting small by adding a few perennials to the mulched section by the corner of the driveway.

front_perennialsCan’t tell what anything is because I had to take these photos in the middle of the day, with sweat dripping into my eyes because that’s when both kids were serendipitously napping at the same time?


The placement was random. I’m a thinker and Hubs is a doer so we plopped them in without allowing me to think too hard about it. I really wished we didn’t put the dianthus right in the middle since it’s such a low plant but eh, it’s in the ground. It would be better as a border. I’ve already learned quite a bit about what I would do differently. The strawberry plant, although beautiful with its dark green leaves,


attracts bunnies and the fruit is nibbled off instantly. It would be better in a fenced garden. The asiatic lily, although stunning,


only bloomed once.


But, I do love the Happy Returns Day Lily (as does everyone) because it blooms frequently. I’ll be planting more of those!


I took the earlier pictures a while back. Here is how everything is looking now. Look at the Russian Sage, it’s huge! I guess my pruning this spring helped. It’s a beast!


I scored the irises for free from a lady that was thinning hers out. I had been wanting irises so the timing was perfect. Nap time was ticking away so I quick googled how to plant them because I know nothing. There was an empty spot where we removed the young silver maple tree:


I probably planted them too close but it’s difficult to dig through the mulch, sheet block, roots, stiff clay and rocks. I need a tiller but who has time for that? I’m praying they take root in spite of my amateur gardening.


Up close:


The second batch is looking especially sad but I’m hoping one or two survive. Forgive the lighting, the sun was setting and casting a gorgeous pink glow on everything:


Up close:


I planted a spirea on the corner and it’s barely clinging to life:


In July, I got overzealous and bought a few echinacea and phlox:


I planted them on either side of our sage (which I trimmed back because it was overflowing onto the sidewalk). They don’t look so healthy now:


And after weeks of slowing dying in their pots because summer busy hit me like a freight train, I finally planted the remaining two out back where our hot tub used to sit. They have lots of company with the weeds!


I have serious doubts they’ll live but at least I tried! Plus, it was good Mommy-Daughter time planting these together. She stacked the bark on the top. 😀


I know I was supposed to only talk abut the front yard but eventually, this will be an amazing place for a garden! Wouldn’t it be a pretty corner with raised garden beds surrounded by echinacea and shasta daises?

Anyway, the summer is closing in on me fast so I think I’ll focus on maintaining what I have before diving in any deeper. Along with adding a few perennials, I have been in major cleanup mode. I’ve trimmed, weeded and raked so much that our compost bin has no hope of keeping up! There is still much to do but I’m trying to make progress when I can. It’ll be fun to take a peek at this post next year and see what actually survived!

Our neighbor graciously gave us a tour of his beautiful backyard and it has Hubs and I very inspired. His lawn is lush and he has roses, peonies and raised garden beds! I wish I could wave a magic money wand and have someone come do the work for us while I drink iced coffee. Wouldn’t that be nice?

My Cade

AGE: 7 1/2 months

He is my Mr. Sweet and Sensitive!


Growing: He looks like a little baby boy now. I think he looks like my twin brother. His bald patch is filling nicely, although he’s got serious hair wings in the front. I should trim them soon but I’m hesitant because they have some curl to them, like his Daddy’s hair. They are hilariously cute!!


He’s a long skinny baby still, wearing 9-12 month clothes already. I love to smooch the back of his neck! He is seriously the cutest little guy!

Just recently, he’s showing signs of stranger danger. He’ll be subtle about it but I can tell that he is wary of new people holding him. He usually does ok if I’m near but if he’s tired, he’ll fuss. Amelie had serious stranger danger by the time she was 4 months old and would cry instantly if she was in anyone’s arms but mine or Hubs. It’s so interesting to see how different my two babies are!

Sleeping arrangements: Up until about a month ago, Cade was sleeping in a swing. I worried about it because he’s a long baby and since we swaddle him, we couldn’t buckle him in. “Do you think he could flip himself out?” I asked, concerned.

“There is no way. Think about the physics! Candace, it’s impossible.” Hubs replied.

Like usual, I woke to him crying one morning so I slowly shuffled down to feed him. To my horror Cade, swaddled like a caterpillar, was HANGING OUT OF THE SWING like a teeter totter hinged only by his hip!

Yeah. So, now he sleeps in a pack and play. We had to cut the swing cold turkey and as with everything Cade, it was fairly easy to do so. It wasn’t a piece of cake but rather a few bumpy nights. We bought a used crib many moons ago but haven’t gotten around to setting it up. It’s on the To Do list, along with putting together a nice room for him someday. He’s still sleeping downstairs but we have to move him for guests soon so I might try to start working on his nursery. I don’t know when though because I have so many projects in flight and so little time.

Milestones: He can flip to his tummy and back again and now he is sitting up unassisted! We never leave him because the opportunity to face plant or fall backwards is still very high.

He can feed himself a bottle which has come in handy when I’m trying to get Amelie down for a nap. I usually bring him upstairs with us and he sits in his chair feeding himself while I read Amelie her two books before nap.


He reaches for everything, especially my hair. He’s always ripping out strands in his tiny clenched fists. I don’t love that…

What a I do love? When I pick him up and he holds on to me.. His little hand holds my shirt, his legs wrap around my hip and his other arm links around mine. It’s the best!

What Cade loves? Amelie. He adores her. Every time she’s near him, he grins and laughs. He’s delighted by her!

Play: Unlike Amelie, Cade will play for a while. We prop him between our straddled legs and dump bins of toys around him. He loves to empty the bins, suck on everything and clang things together. He plays!!!

Nicknames: Mr. MaGoo, Gooies, Cade Man, Mr. Sensitive. We call him Mr. Sensitive because if he gets the slightest bonk, he cries. On the other hand, Amelie skinned her knee pretty bad this week and didn’t flinch. Cade is also scared of the the vacuum cleaner (Hubs had to take him outside one time because he kept screeching) and just recently he finds the washing machine concerning.

Feeding: Ugh! I hate this part. It’s really hard to find time to make food for him. He doesn’t like it, either. We’ve tried carrots, sweet potatoes, and peas. Unlike Amelie who gobbled up everything I made for her – even straight pureed kale – Cade refuses. He’s drinking way too much milk and not eating nearly enough. I may have to start adding apples or pears to everything to get him interested. I noticed Cade didn’t struggle learning to use his tongue with solids but Amelie had a lot of trouble with accidentally pushing food out (tongue thrust). I believe it was an issue when she breastfed too. I don’t think she was very efficient and it frustrated her.

Speaking of breastfeeding, it is not going great anymore. My supply can’t keep up. I used to feed him during the day and slowly I started to supplement at night with formula when my supply was the lowest. Now I feed in the morning and maybe once during the day. The rest is formula or milk that I have pumped and frozen beforehand. More on that someday! Luckily, he takes a bottle like a champ. It only took him a few seconds to figure it out, whereas Amelie cried during the first few bottle feedings. I felt so sad for her!

Sleeping: Bed time seems to be the trickiest with Cade, especially the few months when Amelie was sick. It was relentless! We’d finally get Cade to sleep after much bouncing and effort and then Amelie would wake from her cough and be up crying/coughing for hours! Cade would wake for his first feeding between 4am and 6am. And then everyone was up for the day shortly after. I thought I may not survive! Seriously, I was a total wreck.

About a month ago, he started going to bed around 8-8:30pm AND Amelie’s cough disappeared. It was a dream come true! What a beautiful schedule to have an hour in the evening to ourselves to get the house picked up, dishes done and be able to sleep during the night again. Now, he goes to bed anywhere between 8:30pm and 10ish. Sometimes he wakes for his first feeding around 6am, sometimes he wakes me at 2am!

Naps: His naps are all over the place. I should be keeping a log to see what schedule works best for getting him to bed before 10pm. But I’m trying to keep up with Amelie and I put him down when he’s fussy. Sometimes we are out and about and his nap gets pushed back and we all have to roll with it! He still takes three naps/day but his last nap can start late in the evening. That’s where it gets tricky because I wish he were going down for the night, but instead he treats it as his last nap and is up again. Luckily when he is awake, he’s a very happy pleasant guy so it’s not a big deal except for cutting into our kid-free time (which is pretty precious).

Cade, I get a little sad thinking about you growing up. You are my last baby. I don’t get to really enjoy your babyhood because I’m juggling you and Amelie. It’s unfortunate because you are such a loving, happy, smiley, wonderful baby. I always wondered how other parents were doing it – going out to eat (especially during the witching hour?), getting projects done around the house, going shopping and taking trips. Now I get it! I could have done it all with you.


Even so, I’m counting my lucky stars that you came second. Amelie is the most amazingly awesome toddler and you are a rockstar baby. I don’t deserve either of you!

Home Sweat Home: The Stairs Again

Remember when the Heavens opened up and the world rejoiced because we finally completed the stairs?


Lookin’ good, right?

Actually. No.

Like me from far away, everything is kinda looking alright. But when you get up close? Everything IS NOT LOOKING ALRIGHT.

For example, this huge hole in the caulking:


I’m to blame because the handyman caulked in a shred of blue carpet in his haste to get home. I was not having that so I carved it out, leaving a large gaping hole for bugs and things to snuggle in. Awesome, huh?

The caulking in the seams was also lacking in a few places. Can you see it?

crappy_caulkI tediously re-caulked everything and painted the primed risers a delectable white. Look closely and you will notice where it’s been painted versus the plain primed riser:

paintIt took three coats of paint to get the coverage I was happy with and of course our stairs sat like this for a few weeks along with my best intentions. Warning, adorable toddler ahead!


That swimsuit! It makes me weak!

Anyway, you’ll never believe this but here they are finished:


Here is where my husband and I differ. This is a project he would have never wasted his time on. From far away, it looks fine! On the other hand, the doors to the laundry nook are off and propped up in the den, the office is disaster, the bathroom is half painted, etc! I could be making a much bigger impact. But, my spare time is sporadic and comes in very small chunks. The stairs bugged me and it was a project I felt like I could take on in small steps.

Ending with a pun is so clever, isn’t it?

Toys! Everywhere.

I’ve been trying to control the chaos but it seems like the influx of STUFF happened over night. I have a system that’s kinda sorta working so why not do what I always do and tell you about it?

A long time ago, we had a grown up hutch that stored grown up things like candles and serving pieces.

PICT4760_1Now it holds toys, burp cloths, wipes and Aquaphor too! Look how fancy:


All of Amelie’s toys used to live in that white basket in the corner. The tiny toys sifted down to the bottom, never to be unearthed again! I knew I had to organize the madness so I bought a bunch of cheapo bins from Target and sorted all of Amelie’s toys by category.


I don’t love the look of a hutch lined with plastic bins but this new system is working quite nicely because Amelie is able to see what she wants to play with. It’s nice for when other kids swing by too; they can help themselves and it’s easy for me to pick up at the end of the day. Cade is even starting to play. He loves emptying the bins!

I plan to replace this hutch eventually. I’m not in love with wood tone anymore and I don’t want to go through the hassle of bolting this to the wall. Amelie leaves it alone but who knows what Cade will do as he gets more mobile and starts to pull himself up. Other kids like to yank on the doors which makes me nervous.

I’m hoping all of the toys in the living room will eventually migrate to Amelie’s play area and her room once she gets a little older and prefers to play more privately. I would like to have a living room where I don’t slip on tiny plastic dinosaurs and have to vacuum around battery operated singing things. But maybe by the time that happens, I’ll be wishing for these days back again?

So that’s the inside. Since this post, we’ve acquired a few more plastic monstrosities for our yard. They are so ugly/kinda awesome.

A water table, scored for free!


A jungle thingy, also scored for free!


It was grimy but I cleaned as much as I could. It’s hideous! Amelie loves it.

Although admittedly atrocious, I’m so thankful we have a few things like this now because Amelie has been playing on her own lately. This is new and so adorable. I love hearing her play pretend!

Not inspired? You have to see this play house that my friend designed and her dad and hubby built. It’s beautiful and classy and awesome! I asked if I could move in but I’m still waiting to hear back…

Home Sweat Home: Master bath

Just as I did with the office, I’m giving you a tour of the “master” bath. And it might make you a little sick.

It’s a weird space, with two doors. It’s small and hard to photograph. Here are a few pics from inspection day:


Can you believe Amelie was just a little nut in my tummy in this picture? AWWW.


That shower tile though? Yuck. It doesn’t look terrible but it has a gross vibe to it. I’ll get to that in a minute.

I’ve done very little to update this space but the few things I have done made it worse. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

There is only one bathroom upstairs and this is it. It’s the “master” bath that we all get to share. That’ll be so super fun for Amelie when she is a teenager.


It has two doors – one from the hallway and one from the master bedroom. Those two doors are annoying, especially during bath time when both Hubs and I are trying to get the kids bathed and ready for bed at the same time since this is the only bathroom with a tub.

In the name of progress, I did finally finish painting both doors recently and you already know I used Zinc by Martha Stewart. That can of paint is still going strong! 17 doors down, two to go…

Anyway. I switched out the hinges on one of the doors but as you can tell, the other is still bathing, if you will, in all of its brassy glory. The doors look great, it’s the walls where things get scary. Did you notice they were half painted?

You see, I’m crazy. Remember when my MIL gave me a few paint samples and I used one of them to paint the downstairs bathroom? I’ll have to show you that sometime, once you’ve recovered from this post, of course. Anyway, I lost my mind when I got to organizing the downstairs closet. WE HAD SO MUCH PAINT. Instead of giving it away or trashing it, I decided to use it up whether I liked the color or not. I ripped down the mirror last summer during nap time and started painting.


And then nap time ended. So this is what we’ve been living with for a long time now.


My husband has not uttered a single word about the half painted bathroom. He’s such a dear. He knows I’m trying to get there but time and efficiency are not something I have in high abundance.

We don’t want people using this bathroom but they do anyway. I wilt inside when I notice someone go up there. I need a sign that says “Please don’t use this! I’ve gone mad and I’m trying to hide it from you!”

Unlike the downstairs bathroom color, which is Sea Salt by SW, I’m not loving this color. It’s Rainwashed by SW and although very similar, it looks too bright in contrast with the tile and vanity. What’s that you say? You want to see the vanity?


Not cuuuute. *shudders*

The tile on the floor and in the shower is also not cute. It’s supposed to be “natural” looking with browns and white swirled throughout. But instead it looks like poop. Do you know how many times I’ve gasped and hopped over the threshold thinking someone didn’t quite make it to the toilet and shat here?


Both bathrooms in this house were recently redone by the previous homeowner but not done well. It has decent storage but horrible everything. The sink is too low to wash your face easily, the vanity and medicine cabinet are very oak-y and builder grade-y. The tile is uneven, the grout has cracks in it, the outlet covers are mismatched, and the trim is a wreck (just like it is everywhere in this house). We have a lot to do.

Here are the plans for Phase 1:

  • paint doors
  • replace hinges
  • paint bathroom
  • caulk & paint trim
  • remove anchor bolts & spackle
  • replace outlet covers
  • add art/accessories/organize
  • possibly repaint vanity and medicine cabinet
  • paint ceiling white
  • replace vent cover — weeee!

What’s Phase 2?

  • Rip out everything and replace it with lots of beautiful white and gray gorgeousness

I’m hoping to settle on a color and at least get this room FULLY painted sometime in the near future. I’m leaning towards painting it Sea Salt by SW to keep things simple. I’ll keep you posted. It can only get better from here? Right?


Friday Tidbits

We had lots of family in town for the 4th and everyone is worn out! Worn out in a good way but still a very a worn out way.

Remember when I prettied up our front door to detract from the peeling paint and mess of hoses? They look so perky in this pot MamaP gifted me many years ago.


Until they didn’t look pretty or perky anymore. See, the blue flowers are part-sun and after a while the hot afternoon sun was too much for them.


They were very sad indeed:


With company coming soon, I decided rip out the blue flowers and add more petunias. Amelie helped me pick out the colors; we added white, pink and a more purple to the existing batch.


I also snagged a used hose reel for $5 and while it doesn’t work great, it still cleaned up the space beautifully!

And now they look like this, just in time to greet our guests:


They are spilling out and filling in nicely, even though they are still a bit lopsided. I love them so. I know, they are just petunias, nothing fancy here, but they add some happy to my sad front step which is a very good thing since our guests had to walk by this compost pile to get there:


And another riveting post has ended so you can charge into the weekend inspired. You’re so totally super welcome.


Mommy Wallet

My purse carrying days are a thing of the past. I throw my wallet into my diaper bag and go. Today, I’m cleaning out my wallet and taking you along for the ride! Weeeeee.

I purchased my old wallet, from Target of course, a few years back with the best intentions of paring down to something simple that would fit everything I needed, including my phone.  At the time, I thought it fit all of my criteria: cute, small, and included a spot for my iPhone. Sadly, after I put a case on my phone, it didn’t fit in the wallet!

So, I went about juggling both separately and cramming as much random crap into the spot for the phone instead. I could barely shut it:


It irritated me. It was always such a mess.


I still like the idea of a wallet to keep in my diaper bag – but this time I upgraded to something bigger and made sure my phone, case and all, fit in along with everything else:

wallet_afterI bought this new wallet from Target too. Even though Target has lots of fun bright ones to choose from, most of them are a little young for me. I decided to stick with a simple brown one that goes with everything. My phone fits in the zippered side pocket perfectly.

Transferring everything over to the new wallet was also a chance to reevaluate what I was carrying around and organize. A fresh organized start always makes me feel better! Maybe when my diaper bag days are through, I might convert to a purse again or a cross body bag but for now, this is a great solution.

I’m sorry to subject you to this again, considering I’ve blogged about cleaning out my purse before here and here. Please don’t click through, my old blog posts are humiliating. Seriously.