backyard fort phase 2 and 3

A few weeks ago Jamie and the gang tackled phase two of the fort- the second level. They built a second floor, a rail that goes all the way around the second level, added a fireman’s pole, a bucket with a pulley and a space for the rope ladder to go. The week following Jamie and George strung up the rope ladder and all was complete on our awesome fort. Jay happily “helped” with all of the construction and building and loves to play up there. Right now his favorite part of phase 2 is probably the bucket and pulley but he is really getting a hang of the rope ladder and loves to be on the second level. While Charlie doesn’t (can’t) climb the rope ladder just yet he still loves to be on the second floor and both boys are really getting a hang of the fireman’s pole (with assistance of course). Thanks so much to everyone that helped out; the boys LOVE it and I am sure will only grow to love it more.

getting measured to ensure safe positioning of rail height
getting measured by Daddy

love these next two with Uncle Sean
thumbs up

thumbs up returned

our free labor

wearing the “ear ma phones”
wearing the

so happy to be helping

power tools

putting out nails with Uncle Bob

happy helper

happy helper

Charlie wanted in on the action too. Don’t worry, that is a toy drill that he is playing with ;)
Charlie wanted in on the action too

Charlie loves that drill

helper Charlie

taking some measurements and marking things for Daddy and Josh

testing out the bucket and pulley

first turn on the Fireman's pole

Fireman's pole

Daddy wanted a turn at the Fireman’s pole, although we made the opening to reach the pole more Jay sized than Jamie sized ;)
Daddy wanted a turn on the Fireman's pole

getting stuck

Jamie giving it a try

Phase 3

adding the rope ladder

Jay enjoyed playing with the extra rope
Jay enjoyed playing with the extra rope

testing it out

still testing it out

bella and charlie

Out of our two kitties Dolce and Bella, Bella was most definitely not our “friendly” kitty. Dolce was in your face, right in the middle of the action whereas Bella always hung back at a safe distance to observe what was going on. She was always in the same room as everyone but she kept her distance from the action. However, since we lost Dolce almost a year ago Bella has become much more friendly; she sits in laps more, hangs out with the family a little bit closer and even lets the boys pet and lie on her from time to time. She’s a sweet girl.

Charlie and Bella

family yearbook 2012

For probably the last four years I have been saying that I want to make a family yearbook. We (mostly I) take thousands of photos each year and while I post and share a lot of them here on out little ole blog I don’t keep a physical album or print many of them. I have been wanting print versions of our photos mostly for the boys’ sake, so they can grab the books whenever they want and flip through them like I remember doing with my childhood photos.

Well each year has come and gone and each year I have not made a yearbook until now! This sweet little beauty arrived on our door step last week and I couldn’t be more thrilled! It’s 373 pages (and holds a fraction of the 5000+ photos, not including camera phone photos, that were taken last year) of our life and it is perfect. I designed all of the layouts myself using aperature (an apple photo program) and then printed the book through blurb. I would highly recommend blurb if you are interested in doing something like this on your own. The book is fabulous quality and even though I had to print using the standard paper (I had too many pages to upgrade to fancy paper) it looks great!

Now I just need to readjust my book margins a tad (they cropped a few pages more than I would have liked) and start working on 2013. My goal this year is to keep it up to date throughout the year instead of taking until April to finish it! I also want to include all of our phone photos. We’ll see how that goes, wish me luck!

Here’s a peek at the book but these photos don’t really do it any justice.



sample spread

sample spread

sample spread

sample spread

Jay loved looking at the book after we got it in the mail. He kept asking super cute questions about the photos, most of which he hasn’t seen since we don’t look at photos on the computer with him often.

phone photo of Jay looking at the book

officially a granny

It’s no secret that I have usually been categorized as the responsible, prepared person for most of my life. I mean I usually can be found at home most nights and not out partying (this was the case even before children) and in college I was known to have anything you might need… needle and thread to fix your ripped seam- I had it, bandaid- yup, tylenol- sure, stain stick- indeed, among many other things AND sadly I had most of these things with me at all times in my purse. I liked to think that it was good prep for having kiddos ;) That being said, I guess it’s only fitting that I have picked up a hobby to match my Granny ways- quilting! I have always enjoyed most types of crafting although sewing was never really my thing. I did a bit of it from time to time while working on projects for the kids or house projects but never loved it. However, this Christmas my wonderful husband got me my own sewing machine and since then I have been hooked! I love how simple it is to use my new machine (I was borrowing my Mom’s old machine prior to this and never quite got the hang of it) and I have been sewing during my free time. My first big project was a quilt for Jay. I fell in love with this cute car fabric, Peak Hour by Riley Blake, and thought that it would make a perfect blanket for my car loving kiddo. It’s not a perfect quilt (don’t look too closely at any of the seams, most of them are pretty wonky) but I did it on my own- including the machine quilting so I am pretty tickled with myself. And more importantly Jay loves it which means I am one happy Mama ;) I can’t wait to start working on my next project… now if only I could find a few more hours in the day to sew…

My sweet husband modeled the full quilt before leaving for work this morning, although his little helper preferred watching to participating.

Daddy and his helper

our helper

the front
the front

the back
the back

Jay also wanted to help show it off. The snuggling photos are my favorite, makes my heart smile.

Jay showing it off

not quite tall enough to hold it up

my helper



snuggling with elephant

missing you

new blooms

Grandpa would have been 83 years old today and not a day goes by that we don’t miss him. Which is why I am always thankful for the constant reminders of his presence. Like new tomatoes growing in the garden and a handful of new blooms on the tababula tree out back that he grew from seed. It’s the little things that make these difficult days just that much more bearable.

this guy

cool guy Jay

keeps me on my toes these days! We have hit full-on 3 year old status with an attitude and strong will to match. Most days we butt heads more times than I care to admit; he fights me on things I didn’t know it was possible to have opinions or battles over but oh my does he melt me…

He likes to pick out his own clothes (not all of the time) and recently has been choosing ties- because he wants to be “fancy”. He loves to help with anything I will let him do, always asking me “Mommy what is my job going to be?” or “Mommy, what can I help you with?”. He would live outside if we would let him. He loves books more than ever, if that is possible, and desperately wants to read. In fact, a few days ago he got really upset and started crying; when I finally was able to get him to tell me what was wrong he told me “Mommy, I can’t read!” It broke my heart a little; I need to start working with him on his letters more… He says the most hysterical and sweet things these days, including today when he told me “It’s just so hard to wait for Daddy to come home Mommy”, it is sweet boy, it is. He loves his brother and is always getting into some type of shenanigans with him- I see trouble in my future with these two.

I feel like he is growing up entirely too fast; which is why I sit just a little longer with him when he stops long enough to crawl up in my lap for snuggles. He still fits so well there next to my heart and for that I am so grateful.

Outfit and accessories all chosen by Jay and what you can’t see is the bright green flip-flops he has on his feet…

too cool for words

too cool for words


I don’t take many “formal” photos of the boys; however, I do try to make an effort on their birthdays and half birthdays to get some official/planned/shoot-like photos of them, especially since they are growing so quickly these days. And while they may be growing up quickly, I am not apparently quick to post the photos so please excuse the tardiness of the photos and focus on how darn cute our little bird is.

Jay 3 years old

Jay 3 years

book lover

book lover- Jay 3 years

Jay 3 years


the big 3

Jay 3 years

Jay 3 years

Jay 3 years

Jay 3 years

racing his cars

more cars

Jay- 3 years old

Jay and his cars

Jay- 3 years old

Jay 3 years old

close up

Jay and elephant

Jay and elephant

Jay and elephant

Jay and elephant

cool dude Jay

not entirely in focus but I love this one


Jay 3 years old

sweet boy

silly boy

and just because he will still hold my hand...