Monday, September 27, 2010

Garage Organization

A few readers have asked for tips on garage organization so the last time I swept my garage out I took some pictures to share. When we first moved into this house I didn't touch the garage much - I figured it was Kenny's domain. But after a couple of years the randomness of all of our stuff piling everywhere totally drove me crazy! I spent two whole days gutting out and cleaning the garage - I still remember Ellie waddling around in her little walker the whole time I cleaned. :)

(Ellie - 2004)
So - I organized everything in 2004 and since then have just worked hard to keep things clean. I usually sweep out and straighten the garage about once a month while the girls are blowing bubbles, picking flowers, or riding their bikes in the front yard. If I don't do this, things get messy in a hurry. Garages are such catch alls for any and everything! It's an area you definitely have to stay on top of if you want it to stay organized.
Most of our shoes are in our closets, but we have these by the garage door to hold most often worn shoes - especially for the girls. We never wear shoes in the house (best way to keep your carpets clean!) and the girls know that before they can come in the they need to take off their shoes and put them on their shelf (top is Addison's, second is Ellie's). Straightening all of the shoes on these shelves is also one of the little jobs my girls do to help out.

We store a lot of things on the roof and walls of our garage to save room and make more space.

Space for more important things like Christmas trees, bikes, baby joggers, and the Barbie Jeep.

Oh.. and I also organized all of the loose nails, screws, etc. And I labeled them. And I put them in alphabetical order although they've been messed up a bit since then. When Kenny came home from work and saw this he seriously wondered if something was wrong with me. Now years later he KNOWS something is wrong with me.

Kenny won't admit it, but I know he loves not having to search all over the garage for a toggle bolt or a drill bit when he needs one. :)

**Re-organized shoe station here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Our Saturday

Kenny was gone all day today so it was just me and the little ones. I had such a good Saturday! We didn't leave the house. Not once. It was SO nice. I went into an organizing frenzy. We learned about this organizing system at the Power of Moms retreat that I am so excited to try out. do it you need a place to put several file folders, organized cubbies, etc. I have NO SPACE left in this house! I feel like we are busting out of this place. So after doing some serious analyzing, I found a space that could work on some shelves in the closet under our stairs. BUT... I already had holiday decor there. So I moved the holiday decor upstairs to my closet which led me to re-organizing all of my closet including going through all my clothes. Then I had to move stuff I had in my closet to the closet in the guest room...which was already full of other stuff so I re-organized that closet...and moved some of the stuff in it downstairs. This went on and on and by the time the day ended I had cleaned/organized three closets, four kitchen drawers, and three other areas that needed to be straightened and sorted through. I also decorated the whole house for fall (it's looking so festive!) and put up all of my outside decorations. Purple and orange lights and pumpkins are now covering my yard - love it! I can't turn the lights on until next weekend though or my neighbors will get mad at me again. They always give me a hard time for starting the outside holiday decor so early. I just can't help it. It's too much fun. :)

So what did my kids do while I tore apart my house?

First they colored and decorated ornaments for our Halloween Tree. (Addison found Ellie's pumpkin princess costume from a couple of years ago and hasn't taken it off. She has to have the whole thing on at all times including the hair accessory and shoes.)

Then the girls had a fabulous time playing with all of the mess I made. They brought down all of their barbies and polly pockets and princesses who had all sorts of fun "living" in my various decorations.

And Kole? Well, I was busy so I sort of just turned him over to the girls...

Sorry little dude. I'll make it up to you someday. How about a Thomas the Train on me? No pink involved....unless the princesses want a ride.... ;)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

And the winner is...

Winner of $30.00 to Amber's shop is.......

drum roll please........

Johanna Markworth!

who said:

"Love your blog! Love, love, love the necklaces! Thanks!"

Congrats Johanna! Email me at and I'll get you in touch with Amber. :)

Whew...that was stressful. So many darling blog friends who commented - I hate that I can't send you all a necklace! Last giveaway I had around 30 comments so Ellie drew a name out of a hat. This time we had to think big and use the random number generator. Johanna was chosen - she was #37 and 3 and 7 happen to be my mom's favorite numbers so I felt pretty good about that! Congrats again Johanna!

I wanted to let you all know that the next Power of Moms Retreat is coming up on October 22-23 in New Castle, New Hampshire. If I remember right from our days living in Virginia, the fall leaves will be absolutely beautiful! I can't say enough about how wonderful the Power of Moms Retreats are. I am so glad I did this! I learned so much and made some great new friends. If you're interested, you can learn more about the Power of Moms Retreats here and the New England Retreat here. Also, all of my readers can receive $20.00 off of this retreat by using this link. Go check it out!

Here are a few more pics from the retreat I just attended taken by one of the presenters -

(eating lunch)

(in the conference room taking notes)

(when we first arrived - meeting everyone)

Melissa, a new friend from the retreat, brought her baby boy. He is Kole's exact age and every time I looked at him I missed Kole SO BADLY. Funny how it always sounds so nice to take a break from your baby but after about an hour you're dying to hold your little one again...

Felt VERY good to come home to this smile. :)

Gotta go. It's WAY past my bedtime. Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Power of Moms Retreat

Last weekend was The Power of Moms Retreat in Dana Point, CA (about 45 minutes up the coast from San Diego) that I mentioned on my blog a while ago. My friend Ann and I went and had such a great time! Seriously. This moms retreat was so much fun. If you ever have the opportunity to go to one of these I definitely recommend it! Two days of staying in a beautiful hotel, eating delicious food, and the best part - making new friends with other moms and learning SO MUCH about how to be a better mom.

Here's the inside of our hotel room -

and here's my cute roomie -

and here's a picture of the outside of the hotel. It was right on the beach and the whole setting was just breathtaking. I'm so annoyed at myself that I didn't take more pictures, but we spent a lot of the time in the conference room taking notes like crazy! I have pages and pages of ideas that I'm so excited to implement and try out with my kids. BUT - this week has been crazy getting back in the swing of things and I have been recovering from a cold that just doesn't want to go away. As soon as I feel better and have time to try out everything I learned at the retreat with my family I will share what is working with all of you!

Some of us at dinner. Every time we ate we sat in mini groups and discussed "table topics." Topics on things like "being enough and finding joy in motherhood," "meaningful family traditions," "tips for keeping up with your home (and involving your kids)," etc. Moms are a smart bunch and it's amazing how much we can all learn from each other!

The whole group! It was so much fun getting to know all of these fabulous girls! We've set up a Google group to keep in touch and are already planning a reunion for next year. Ann and I voted that the next retreat should also include some spa time! :)

After this weekend I came home feeling so incredibly grateful to be a mom. There is nothing like motherhood. Nothing as exhausting. Nothing as rewarding. Nothing as wonderful. Being a mom is the best and it was so nice to spend time with other moms who feel the same. It was also so nice to have some time to share and learn great ways to be an even better mom. And of course, it was also so nice taking a break from being a mom!

I was a little nervous leaving Kenny with all three kids (first time I've done this since I had Kole) but I have to admit, he was pretty impressive! He sent me a text after his first night and said that all three kids had slept through the night and everything was under control so I shouldn't worry and should have a great time. He had the house (for the most part) clean when I came home and the girls were talking non-stop about how much they missed me and the fun weekend they had with daddy. Then when Kenny and I went to tuck Addison into bed that night, Kenny put his hands in his pocket and pretended to pull something out. He explained that Addison was having a hard time the night before because I wasn't there to give her hugs and kisses at bedtime. Kenny had thought quickly and pulled from his pocket what he told her were "hugs and kisses" from mommy. Addison felt much better and asked him to hold onto them so she wouldn't lose them. After Kenny explained all of this to me, Addison threw her arms around me and told me that she was so glad I was home. We hugged for a long time and I totally started to cry! I had just come from a weekend where all we talked about was motherhood and how amazing it really is and then to come home to a reunion like that just felt overwhelming. I promised myself to hold onto that moment and remember it the next day while taking my fourth Tylenol because of my sweet, little Addison.

And speaking of the next day and needing Tylenol, Ellie proudly came walking down the stairs in this ensemble...


Me: "Wow Ellie! That's quite an outfit you came up with!"
Ellie: "I know mom! I picked it out myself and daddy let me wear it all weekend while you were gone! I wore it to the grocery store and to the gym and to...."


What was I saying about Kenny being impressive??? Good thing mom's back in town.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


I am so excited to announce this giveaway! Amber, a darling mom from Kansas who reads my blog (and always leaves the sweetest comments), wants to give away something special to one of my readers. Amber has an Etsy shop and sells unique hand stamped jewelry. She has beautiful "timeless treasures" that you can purchase online or you can have her create something unique and special just for you.

I wanted something simple that included each of my kids' names and a blue jewel stone. This necklace Amber made me couldn't be more perfect!

I love this necklace so much! I wear it all the time and always get compliments on it. Plus my girls think it's so cool I'm wearing their names around my neck. :) I know they feel special whenever I have it on.

This is another piece I love from her shop! You can visit her Etsy shop or her blog to see some of the beautiful jewelry she has created.
Amber is giving one of my readers $30.00 credit to her shop so you can create something beautiful for yourself! Just leave a comment to enter the giveaway and I'll pick a winner Thursday evening (Sept. 23).
So take a peek at her shop and then go ahead and leave a comment - you have nothing to lose! And it's so great to support mom-preneurs. Especially really nice ones. Really nice ones who also make beautiful jewelry.

Thanks again Amber!

p.s. Thinking I need to audition for a job at QVC. I'm clearly a natural at this whole jewelry modeling thing. I mean look at those freckles! Nothing shows off sterling silver like freckles. At least that's what I always say... ;)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My sister, the star

You may not know this, but my little sister is now a movie star. Well - that's what we've all been calling her around here. Carly is the director of legal recruitment for Prince, Perelson and Associates in Salt Lake City (sounds important, right?) and she was asked to be on Studio 5 to talk about job interview strategies. We have all been SO excited (and by "we" I mean her family...the little people she will now likely leave in the dust for stardom, fame, and fortune). We were together in Utah last weekend and went shopping to find something perfect for her to wear for her big TV debut. She's six months pregnant with her second baby (due on Christmas Eve!) and we found a perfect loose purple silky top that screams "I'm professional yet stylish yet down to earth yet incredibly smart and talented." She did an amazing job and since I'm so proud of her (and of course taught her everything she knows) I had to share her 8 minutes of fame with all of you. :)

Car - Well done. Just remember to talk to me before signing any movie deals. There are a lot of sharks in the industry.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It's Fall

Still unpacking from our camping trip to Brian Head. Before we headed to the mountains I had a little time in Utah to hit a few of my favorite stores. Got some more scrapbook supplies (because I needed new paper flowers like I need a hole in the head). Also got lots of blue paper - can't wait to get going on Kole's book! (wonder if he'll care if his book is full of paper flowers?)

I also got a few new things to spruce up the house for Fall. I am SO excited for Fall this year. As soon as 2010 hit I just kept telling myself I needed to make it to Fall. By Fall I wouldn't be pregnant anymore. By Fall I wouldn't be dealing with a newborn. By Fall I would be past the trauma and recovery from my unexpected blood transfusion and hysterectomy. By Fall the girls would be in school and I'd have a few days with just Kole to run errands and get caught up. Just needed to make it to Fall.

Last night was the first Charger game of the season. The sounds of the crowds cheering on the TV and seeing Kenny on his feet all stressed out and excited confirmed it. Fall is here. And life is wonderful again. Not perfect (Addison threw a fit at the grocery store today that seriously topped them all), but wonderful. I feel like myself and I have been craving feeling like myself for a long time now. So last night while the kids were peacefully sleeping and Kenny was cheering on the Chargers I lit my Pumpkin Spice candle and pulled out my trusty little to-do notebook.

{Each night (usually after I blog) I pull out my to-do notebook and write a list for the next day. Kenny is constantly teasing me about my "to-do list." He'll say "what's on the list for tomorrow babe? Let me guess. Meet friends at park. Get pedicure. Meet friends at mall. Organize drawer. Meet friends for dinner. Do a blog post. Scrapbook. Meet friends at beach." I roll my eyes ... and then hide my list because while my days are nowhere near that much fun, there usually is at least one of those things written somewhere. :) }

Anyway, I pulled out my trusty little to-do notebook and made a to-do list for the Fall.

TO DO {Fall 2010}

- Keep pumpkin spice candle burning round the clock
- Switch from white summer purse to new hobo brown bag
- Go with Kenny to at least one Charger game (humor him. stand and cheer when the Chargers score. Curse the refs when they don't. Eat LOTS of nachos.)
- Crock pot something once a week
- Scrapbook last years pictures from the Pumpkin Patch and Halloween
- Change blog header from Summer to Fall
- Decorate the house for Fall
- Shop for a new Fall wardrobe (not just shoes this year!)
- Get Fall family pictures taken (check! did this last weekend before camping)
- Get Christmas cards going (check! my friend Ann and I hyperventilate if Christmas cards aren't in the works by September at the latest. Everyone thinks we're crazy. We're just glad we're crazy together.)
- Find kids' Halloween costumes. I am beyond excited to get a little something for my Kole. Baby costumes are the cutest. Fuzzy little animals, pea in the pod, doesn't matter what you put them in - ADORABLE.
- Help Kenny with our Fall Line Up (spread sheet of all of the shows we watch). I usually tease him about his intricate spread sheets, but not this one. This one is my favorite. It's carefully planned and executed. We take it very seriously. Need just the right amount of comedy vs. drama.

YUP. That list should keep me busy. And very very happy.

So glad it's Fall.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A quick trip and a quick tip

So as soon as school got started we decided we needed one last summer vacation! Just got back from a quick camping trip with my family. We had a great time and I'll share more of our trip later when I'm caught up on laundry, have groceries in the fridge, and have had time to sort through the 200+ pictures I took.

For now, I just wanted to share another fun Container Store find.

I bought this simple divider a couple of years ago and it has proved to be a great little home for all of my nail polish, files, clippers, etc.

I don't use it much for me because I live for pedicures, but my girls love it! I pull it out whenever they are in the mood for their own little pedicures. Makes it so easy to have everything we need in one place.
Rainbow pedis are a favorite around our house.

{I think I was in the mood to post this picture because it's such a contrast to the smell of dirt and camp fire smoke surrounding me right now} :)

Happy Monday!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

First day of First

Lunches are packed! Working on doing them the night before because our mornings are crazy. Ellie insists I draw pictures on her napkin notes. I did it one time last year and she has requested pictures ever since. I think they are appealing to her because my artistic talent is on about a first grade level. Next year she'll have surpassed my expertise and probably won't be requesting napkin note pictures anymore.
I could NOT get Ellie to stop posing. She reminds me so much of me at this age. She was beyond excited to start first grade. Couldn't wait to get to school and see all of her friends.

Just like last year for Kindergarten, the whole family took her. Yes, she's our first.

And again, getting Ellie to look at the camera and smile was just too much to ask. She kept seeing one friend after another and was way too busy with social obligations to stop and smile for mom.

At her new desk! Nothing like a classroom on the first day of school. All those new pencil boxes, new crayons, new backpacks, excited and nervous kids in new clothes, excited and nervous parents who don't want to walk away. When I was the teacher I remember thinking... "ok parents...any time now you can's just're kids will be fine..." Now I'm the parent. And I didn't want to leave.

And then one of Ellie's best buddies from Kindergarten walked in the room and happened to be assigned the seat right next to her. The two of them LOVE to chat. Kenny and I looked at each other both thinking the same thing - poor teacher - this won't last long.

Quick picture with mom. My face tells such a lovely story. It says - I went to bed too late, was up twice in the night with a baby who had a stuffy nose, then up at 6:00 am to get three kids dressed, fed and out the door by 7:30 for school. Hair straight out of bed and very little make-up. Teeth brushed? Questionable. {This year just might kill me}

One last picture of the backpacks and one last peek in the window of her classroom and we were off. Just like that. My baby is in first grade.

As you can see, we were excited to pick Ellie up at the end of the day. She was missed.

Side note*** Ellie came home from the second day of school and was so excited to tell me that her table was winning for table points. I said " must be trying really hard to be good and not talk to your buddy during class. Great job!" Then Ellie says "oh actually mom, I don't know why but yesterday after lunch the teacher moved him to the other side of the classroom. He's not even on my table anymore!"

I smiled. Hmm....imagine that. :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Kenny & Erin - 13 years


High School drill team practice was over and once again I was waiting for a Senior to give me a ride. The girl who offered to drive me home was taking forever - flirting with some guy. The guy she was flirting with also had a friend who was waiting around. That friend turned to me and asked if I wanted to drive down the street with him to get a drink. I said ok. Not because I was thirsty, but because he was a buff Senior and I was scared to say no. We chatted in the car and I was surprised at how quickly my nerves went away. He made me feel at ease. He had a quick wit and he made me laugh. He offered to buy me something to drink at the gas station we stopped at and I remember thinking that aside from being really cute he was also really polite. (At the time I was naive and mistook smooth for polite.) We went back to school and went our separate ways with our friends. The next night that buff, cute, polite Senior called me. My dad answered and after the Senior asked "is Erin there?" my dad whispered to my mom "there's a MAN on the phone for Erin!" (Guess the voice was a little different from the 15 year old boys I usually hung out with.) We talked on the phone that night for over two hours. He told me he thought I was "so fine" and immediately I felt my cheeks burn. We talked on the phone again the next night...and the night after that and the night after that. I found out that he was the captain of the football team and suddenly I cared a lot more about watching the game instead of just dancing at half time. Weeks later we went on a drive together. Months later he took me on my first date (parents made me wait until I was 16 to go to the movies, but a drive alone with him in his car was ok?) Years later he proposed to me.






13 years of marriage - 18 years of knowing each other and here we are. I think he's too intense. He thinks I'm too low key. I think he has too high of expectations for himself and everyone around him. He thinks I don't know the value of a dollar. I tease him about his spreadsheets. He teases me about...well...everything. We disagree often but never stay mad at each other very long. We laugh at something together every single day. We make date nights a priority and would rather be with each other than anyone else. I watch the kids every Sunday afternoon so he can take a nap on the couch (preferably with football playing in the background). He puts gas in my car every weekend. We never hang up the phone without saying I love you. I get annoyed when he doesn't immediately rinse out his cereal bowl. He gets annoyed when I don't pay attention to our shows because I'm blogging and then expect him to explain everything I've missed. We both want what's best for our kids, but have very different parenting styles and have to work hard to meet in the middle. We text and call each other often throughout the day just to say " is your day going?" Our favorite part of the day is the evening when the kids are in bed and we are alone together. I always pop the popcorn. He always runs the remote. I love what a hard worker he is. He loves that I am happy and content. He is extremely protective of me. I am fiercely loyal to him.

He makes me feel happy. He makes me feel frustrated. He makes me feel beautiful. He makes me feel safe. He makes me feel lucky.

Has it really been 13 years!?
They have been the best.

Bring on 13 more.