Oregon with the Fam

Tony and I love to travel. And we’re good at it, too! You may remember that a few years ago we traveled through Europe for a month with just one carryon bag each.

Then we had children, and this happened:

I had the two children, EO’s backpack, and the diaper bag. Tony had our two suitcases, the two car seats, the double stroller, our Pack’n’Play for EO to sleep in, and the Stand Up Paddle board! Traveling light is not something we can do these days. Nonetheless, we had an excellent time on our recent trip to Oregon!

The first part of our vacay was spent in the Columbia River Gorge area. Just over an hour east of Portland and nestled between Mount Adams in Washington state and Mount Hood in Oregon, the Hood River Valley is beautiful and lush. Here’s a view of the mountain as we drove to our first hiking spot:

This road is part of what’s known as The Fruit Loop as there are fruit farms all along the road. During nap time one day I actually went and picked fresh cherries at Draper Girl’s Fresh Fruit Farm!

I estimate it took me about 45 minutes to pick approximately 9lb. of cherries, and the only reason it took that long was I had to climb both trees! Totally worth it – they were delicious!

The highlight of our time in Hood River was definitely the hiking. Edmond loved seeing all the waterfalls. This one was right off the scenic Historic Highway and a short walk up a steep hill – Latourel Falls.

We spent one whole morning hiking to the Tamanawas Falls, a waterfall at the end of a gorgeous 2 mile trail. As we set out in the morning we thought, “Hmm, it may not be the smartest decision to take our 2 year old on a 4 mile hike…” but EO was a trouper. He walked the whole thing by himself!

The falls at the end of the hike were gorgeous, and the mist was refreshing as the day started to warm up.

On a different day we stopped at the Gorge White House, an old farmhouse along the Fruit Loop with a food truck.

The food was fantastic, and we really enjoyed sipping our hard cider flight with this as our view.

While I’m not sure we’d stay in Hood River again in the future, there were a lot of great things about the town. On Friday night they closed a couple blocks of Main Street for a big block party. The ice cream shop was delicious! And they had an incredible Riverfront Park for kids.

On our way to meet up with the rest of the fam, we stopped to see my brother! We hadn’t seen him for years, and EO was psyched to meet Uncle David!

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Diaper Drying Rack

We’ve been cloth diapering for just over two years now and have gone through no less than 3 of those darn metal drying racks! Finally I started searching for other options and came across some old crib rails on the Marketplace. They have been fantastic for air drying diapers, especially now that we’re washing every other day with two kids in cloth!

Well, EO’s recent rocker project inspired me to pull out a couple more cans of paint.

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE a good spray paint project?

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Rocker Makeover

Last weekend we were taking a family walk to the park and stopped in at a yard sale. They had several old rocking chairs, and this one was just the right size for EO.

We don’t typically bring cash to the park, so Tony and EO walked back later to pick up the chair. Apparently EO pulled the $10 bill from his pocket and handed over his “moneys” with such pride! He was very excited to be buying it himself!

The chair was in great shape, but the finish was clearly dated. Luckily I had a couple cans of yellow (marigold, to be more specific) spray paint in the closet!

I love a good spray paint project – so quick and satisfying. And let’s face it, that’s all I really have time for these days!

Now I just need to make the little man his own pillow for his chair, like mommy and daddy have for theirs!

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Party Time!

Last weekend we celebrated EO’s 2nd birthday on Saturday AND Gem’s baptism on Sunday. Talk about a whirlwind. Tony’s parents aren’t able to visit often, so it made sense to celebrate both events while they were able to attend, but that made for a very busy weekend!

We had a little backyard BBQ for the birthday party with a bit of a train theme. EO’s cake said “ChugaChuga Two Two” and we set up the train set all around the table. He raced around the table pushing the train for a solid half hour before guests started to arrive. That’s a long time for a toddler to stick with one activity!

To add a little height to the tablescape, I strung twine between two chunks of scrap 4×4 and put pictures from the last year on them (see photo above). After the family and neighbors left that night it was easy to switch things over to celebrate our Little Lady the next morning. We just put away the train, switched the photos out, and added some flowers from the front yard.

That way the table was all ready to go for brunch after the church service.

EO totally stole the show during the service! He climbed all over the altar, then strolled down the aisle with the pastor and Gemma as she was introduced to the congregation, and he never once glanced back at us! He would have walked right out the door if the pastor hadn’t called him back!

We all had a lot of fun… and we all took long naps on Sunday afternoon!

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Porch Sign

I’ve been LOVING my time with my little Gem. She is a spirited little lady who loves to move but also loves to cuddle! I can’t believe she’s 6 weeks old already! (Okay, technically she’s almost 7 weeks old now, but Tony and I both were struck with the stomach flu before I could finish taking the pictures for this post. Neither of us has seen the other that sick. Ever. And we’ve known each other for twelve years!)

And I can’t believe how little time has passed. It seems both like she just arrived but also that she’s been here forever. Isn’t time crazy like that?

I LOVE cuddling on the couch like this, but I have been itching to do a project! I had just the one too – a big sign for the back porch. We’ve been spending a lot more time outside lately, and every time we do, that blank wall just stares back at me begging for some attention! (And a new coat of paint… but that’s a project for another day.)

Tony was home the last couple weeks, and he found the perfect scrap of wood for my vision.

I primed and painted both sides of the board. Then I used my machine to cut out the letters and dry brushed the paint over the stencil.

It was missing something though.

Mom suggested a border, so an old stamp and the same paint gave me just the right look very quickly.

Now it’s hung…

…and will be ready for this little man’s 2nd birthday party this weekend!!

Goodness! A two year old?!

Update: Love the look of this spot at night!

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New Addition!

One week ago today we welcomed Little Miss Gemma Pearl into the world. On Tuesday, April 3rd at 8:33pm, she weighed 7lb. 4 oz. and was 19 inches long – a petite little thing just like her momma!


Gemma was due on April 7th, but we’d told her to come on Tuesday because it meant she could be delivered by the midwife and that Momma’s maternity leave could extend to the end of the school year. Gem listened well, but though I had contractions on and off all through the school day, things didn’t really get rolling until dinnertime that evening. She missed the midwife, but luckily the on-call doctor listened when I called, and all made it to the hospital in plenty of time.

Edmond was excited to hold his new “siser”… For about 8 seconds.

He asks to give her a kiss when he wakes up in the morning, but then he’s ready to start playing. His main coping technique right now seems to be becoming terribly independent. We hear “Edmond do it!” about a million times a day! : )

Charlie is settling in too and readjusting to nighttime feedings. He doesn’t even stir anymore. All in all, we feel so blessed to be a family of 5 – 4 humans and a canine!

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Slide Out Sewing Shelf

Moving EO into his new room and relocating our big desk meant I lost both my craft storage and sewing space. I got rid of a bunch of old craft supplies and decided to move the majority of what was left into my closet. When Tony built my closet, he included a storage space just the right size for those big 18 gallon storage tubs. I added some very basic shelves a few years ago and covered it with this polka dot curtain.


This was where the Christmas decorations were, so they went up to the attic to make room for the craft supplies. But I needed to do something different with my sewing machine. Sewing is not my favorite activity, so it’s much easier to motivate myself if the machine is easy to get to. If I had to lug it off a shelf and clear a space to use it every time something needed sewing, odds would be good that it wouldn’t happen. I decided a slide-out shelf that the machine could live on all the time would  be the best option.


The shelves aren’t fancy in any way. Most of them are scraps of prefab shelving from downstairs or plywood we had left in the shed. The slide out shelf is just a sanded plywood scrap nailed to a 1×2 frame and mounted with heavy duty drawer slides. But now my machine is easily accessible when I need to use it, and it stores away easily when I’m done – no lugging or cleaning necessary.


This project was the last one on my Before Baby list. Both kids’ rooms are done. Freezer meals have been made. And now my sewing station is ready too. Little Lady can make her debut as soon as I have time for a pedicure!

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A Little Boy’s Room

It’s taken me ages to finish EO’s bedroom, but I’m so happy with how it’s turned out!

A Review of Progress:

You may remember the closet project from a year ago. I still like to come in here and just look at it sometimes!


Then the new paint and board and batten made a big difference and covered some of the unsightly cracks in the sheetrock.


EO’s pop-up trundle bed was finished just before Christmas, but the room still wasn’t ready to move him in yet.


You see, this room had basically been our storage room for the last 5 years, and it’s taken awhile to relocate all the stuff we had in here! Here are some old photos of what a mess it was!


Most of those tools went into the closet when it was built, so they had to go somewhere else before EO could move in. We bought Tony a tool shed that holds most of it, and I moved some things out of the storage area in my closet to make room for some of my craft supplies.

And the Update:

And now we’ve finally made this space EO’s. It’s a little cramped currently because of the crib, but the kiddo’s not even two yet – I’m glad we made the decision to keep him contained awhile longer. And he LOVES the room! He has his reading nook by the window and can reach all his books from the chair. (I say all his books, but 80% of them are actually down in the library. He has his own cabinet down there.) He helped me put the clock on the wall, and like his mommy he’s obsessed with clocks!

We moved his pictures from the nursery in here, and he loves pointing at them and saying, “Pictures!”

I left a few craft items in the bins on the top shelf. Between the closet and the dresser, the kiddo has plenty of storage space!


All his stuffed animals and memorabilia are displayed on the wall shelves, and swapping the desk for this dresser really opened up the walkway to the bathroom.


Here are views from the bathroom doorway. 

This view is from the doorway. 

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Desk Makeover

Phase I of our desk makeover is complete!


We bought this old desk at an estate sale years ago – before we even moved into this house. It’s been in the office and has been great for sewing and craft projects, because it’s gigantic. I always intended to do a makeover, but I just never had the right inspiration.


Then it was time to make the office into EO’s room, and suddenly having this giant desk wasn’t so great anymore. With his big boy bed finished and installed, things were tight in the smallest room in the house! I wanted to sell the desk and get something smaller.

Apparently, though, it was quite a challenge to bring this desk up our curved staircase, even with Tony and his three friends working together. I was informed that this desk will likely be sold with the house someday! So, Plan B for the desk began to emerge. Tony said the desk had to stay upstairs, but it didn’t have to stay in the smallest bedroom. We decided to switch it with the dresser from the nursery. I turned to Pinterest for ideas to give this desk a more feminine touch and fell in love with this:


Isn’t that gorgeous?!

So Phase I was actually really simple. I tinted a little primer with some black acrylic paint then painted two coats of light gray paint over the primer and roughed up the edges just a little bit. It’s the same color I used in our bathroom and in EO’s bedroom.


I whipped up a version of the inspiration stencil with my machine and dry brushed it with some leftover white latex paint.

Don’t you just love that new hardware?


Once Little Lady arrives I’ll complete Phase II and work on the desk top and the slide out desk surfaces. I’d like them to be darker – more of a walnut color than the orangey color it is now. Ideally I’d take it outside and sand the whole top down, but you know that’s not going to happen! I’ve been looking into various refinishing products that don’t require sanding, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know!

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Baby Update

Have I mentioned that Baby #2 is a girl?!?


When I first painted this room a few years ago, I did so knowing it would be turned into a gender neutral nursery. With the news that it’s next occupant will be a little lady, though, I’ve been working on “girlifying” the room. It’s taking forever, but these snow days have really helped! Since we moved EO into his new room over the weekend, I’ve finally been able to get into the old one to get some stuff up on the walls during naptimes… after cookie baking and water painting, that is!

The biggest decor change was the huge floral rug, of course, but I also wanted to change out the artwork. In particular, I wanted to highlight that etched and leaded glass door.  It was the central door in a hutch in my parents’ dining room for as long as I can remember. When Mom tried to sell the hutch, there was an accident and this door was all that she could salvage. I primed (tinting the primer with a few drops of red paint), painted, and changed out all the hardware (including all the brackets holding the glass in, because they stood out a good inch or so in the back), and added a hanger to the back. Then I used coarse sandpaper to rough up and distress the edges.


The “little lady” frame above the G was a clearance purchase from Goodwill that’s been waiting for a new life for a couple years. My initial intent was just to paint it, but it looked worse painted than it did with the ugly horse picture in it! The frame was covered in pock marks, and the paint really highlighted them. So the coffee filter flowers were Plan B. I kind of like the texture it brings to the trio.

When my cousin came to visit from Green Bay a couple months ago, we went out for a girls night at Pinot’s Palette, and this is what we made! I chose the pink color knowing this would be the perfect spot to hang it.


We have been so blessed already by hand-me-downs for this Little Lady! I mean, check out this girl’s closet! I also made a couple little skirts to go with all the onesies from my baby shower with EO. The dye has faded a bit on some of them, but all the cute messages are still there!

There are still a couple more projects to complete, but things are starting to come together for little girl. Good thing, too! We’re only about 6 weeks from her arrival!

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