30 October 2009

Hello, friends! Can I first just say an enormous "Thank You!" to you all for your sweet comments and congratulations and encouragement! What a fun time to get to share with all of you - waiting to tell was hard enough, but if I'd known how much fun it would be to celebrate all together it would have been even tougher!

Thank you!

Now comes the part where I announce the winner and what we're having!

First, the winners (it was a tie):

Congratulations to....

(who does not have a profile so I cannot link her - Laura, can you please contact me with your info so I can get the book to you?)
...who was only 3 days off with her guess of March 18th.
(And, since she guessed a day earlier than the other winner, gets the prize!)


Mr. Nordmann
(who guessed specifically that the baby would be born at 3:09pm - and the last time he guessed a birth date/time was only off by 3 minutes!)
...who was also only 3 days off with his guess of March 12th.

(I am due March 15th, 2010) :)

(Though don't expect the baby to be born until at least the 22nd if it's anything like Oliver was.)

I'd also like to give a special shout-out to Chantelle who was so sweet to guess April 2nd and made me feel like I was not as enormous as I actually am for my due date (3rd babies like their space, what can I say?)

Oh, and another special shout-out to Jen who is practically my due-date buddy! She guessed her own due date and baby's gender and was only a day off with March 14th. If we were both having the same gender she'd have won!

And now, for a fun announcement!

The Lord has blessed us with another...


That's right, we're going to have a daughter! We're over the moon! And, busy nesting for our sweet baby girl!

We've been dying boring old white burp cloths and baby clothes
pretty, girly shades of pink and green...

...busy interviewing friends to keep our daughter company...

...busy at the fabric store buying girly patterns that will become lovely dresses and things...

... busy filling her side of the closet with sweet girly clothes...

... and busy grow, grow, growing a sweet little miracle!
(And after this photo was taken, busy hunting for better fitting clothes...) :)

And don't forget - we've been busy enjoying our days as parents of this little boy as well! (who, if you inquire, will excitedly point to his Mama's tummy and tell you all about his baby sister!)

We are so blessed to be the parents of so many sweet babies. We love all our babies in Heaven, the baby we had on Earth for only a short time, the baby who's becoming a big boy, and this new miracle of life that is growing inside of me! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward!"
Psalm 127:3

27 October 2009

Both figuratively and literally!

Yep, that's me! That photo was taken at Oliver's birthday party a couple of weeks ago. (I'll post more recent pictures soon, but I'm still in my jammies today so y'all will be glad I'm waiting) :)
The Lord has blessed us with a child! And a textbook, healthy pregnancy!

I'm a better secret keeper than you thought, eh?

Was that too sudden? Should I have eased you into that one a little more? Sorry, I'm finding myself in a weak moment and just cannot bear to wait to tell y'all any longer - so yes, it's a little sudden. :) Feel free to take a moment and collect yourself.

I'm past the halfway point now and I'm just bursting at the seams to share this glorious news with all of you lovely readers who have walked with us through the valleys. Now I get to invite you to come leap with us on the mountaintops!

I think this good news calls for a giveaway! Let's see... whoever can accurately guess the gender of this sweet child and come closest to guessing my due date will win a copy of the book Shepherding a Child's Heart that I talked about in my last post. (and those of you who already know what we're having and when I'm due are going to have to sit out on this one - sorry!)

Guess away!
(As you guess you can picture me doing a happy dance - feel free to join me in spirit!)

26 October 2009

Hello and welcome to Part 3 of me answering your questions from my "Ask Me Anything!" post. I really am planning to answer all of your questions, so hold tight if you haven't seen your question answered yet - it may be here or it may be still coming in Part 4. (Either y'all have a lot of questions or I am just really long-winded in my answers!)

Let's get started:

How do you stay so strong in your faith?

Fair question.

Let me start by saying that I have worked hard to be as transparent as possible on my blog. I think it's important to share my strengths and weaknesses - the mountaintops and very low moments of grief. (Yes, I've shared some rather un-lovely moments because it is a part of the process.) That to say, I am weak and a I fail often. More often than not oftentimes. I am in desperate need of God's grace every day as I fail to seek Him first, fail to call on Him in trouble, fail to give Him glory in triumph. The great thing is that God's good and perfect Grace is faithful to cover my multitude of failures.

How do I continue to standfast through it all? (As I said above, I don't - I fail. But I can tell you where I find my hope!) The truth is, over the last year and a half I have realized more than ever how uncertain almost everything in life is. Life is not certain, income is not certain, neither is safety, health, human relationship or even having pureed pumpkin at the grocery store when all you really want is to make a pumpkin pie. There are no guarantees. No guarantees that positive pregnancy tests will result in healthy babies. No result that healthy babies will grow up to become adults. And when we are faced with the reality of all of that, life can become more than a little overwhelming and hopeless. What can we actually count on - just death and taxes?

How do we standfast in the face of these odds? How have I continued to breathe in an out in the wake of burying my daughter, losing several babies to miscarriage and the deep and wounding betrayal of a friend? When all else seems to be spinning around me, sometimes in the moments of being completely overwhelmed, I just remind myself of the things I know to be TRUE. In the middle of the night when I can't breathe -let alone sleep - and I've checked too many times to make sure Oliver is still breathing and that the doors are locked and the alarm system is on - in those moments of overwhelming fear and uncertainty - I am reminded to ask: What do I KNOW? I don't know that my children will live another day, but I do know that God created me and them. I don't know if we will be able to make our mortgage payment, but I do know that God has promised, "I will never leave you or forsake you." I don't know who to trust or who to believe, but I do know that I am called to trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding.

Ryan is not my source of truth. Medical tests are not my source of truth. The Word of God is my only source of Truth - the only thing I can KNOW when the rest of the world is spinning around me. The Word of God does not change. His promises do not change. It is not I that stands fast at all, it is His steadfast love and promises that endure forever.

Sorry if that was super long, I tried not to write a book - hope that was brief enough yet clear.

On to a lighter question:

Okay, I've always wanted to know...what do you do with all your stuff? I mean, you always seem to have a place for all the neat things you buy. Does it clutter up your house? Do you store the stuff you are no longer displaying? Do you ever have your own yard sale?

Good question! A couple of things keep all the "stuff" at bay:

1. I am intentional when I garage sale (and definitely when I shop at retail stores) to buy only things that I know I will use right away. If it is a decorative item, I like to have a place for it in mind. The only exceptions really are things like candles (I do keep a stash of these in a closet because we use them all the time and I like to pack them away so I have enough to use all winter long) and children's clothes (every summer I try to buy not just summer things but up to two seasons ahead and up to one size ahead).

2. I am a compulsive purger. I get rid of things in my house just as quickly as I bring in new things. I regularly attack rooms of our house on the hunt for things that are no longer useful or pretty. A lot of times this stuff goes to Goodwill, the garbage, friends or our own yard sales. We actually had one two weeks ago in conjunction with our neighborhood-wide sale. We had lots of things out there but didn't have the time or the stamina (it was COLD!!) to stay out there, so we just put out signs that said "EVERYTHING IS FREE!!" and by the end of the morning almost everything was gone! It was a great way to get rid of a lot of stuff without having to haul it to Goodwill, plus it was fun to get to bless people with a bunch of free stuff that they'd have to pay for at a resale shop.

3. I also store some things that I love but cannot use immediately for one reason or another. Obviously seasonal decorations are stored. My whole house has a fairly cohesive style so that any one item should be able to move from room to room and work nicely (this includes all of our furniture). I keep a bin or two of non-seasonal items that work well in our house but have just found themselves out of rotation for the time being. (We like to rearrange furniture and accessories among rooms every couple of months).

**a note on seasonal storage: I do reevaluate our stored seasonal items yearly and purge things that don't make it out that particular year. I figure that if I can't use it this year, I probably won't use it the next.

***a note about purging: yes, there are times when my compulsive purging comes back to bite me. I have had moments, even recently, when I have looked high and low for something I want/need only to realize that I gave it away several months ago. It happens and I move on. But purging remorse does happen. :)

I am just learning to sew. I just took my first sewing class two weeks ago. I would love to hear ANY sews tips, tricks, or secrets you have!

I'll confess that although I took a few sewing classes in college, I too am still learning to sew. I guess my best advice is to take on projects that you love (and aren't too advanced if you're a beginner) and won't be sick of looking at after a day or two. Surround yourself with beautiful things and useful projects and start small. Be patient with yourself and expect to spend a good percentage of the time not actually at the machine (i.e. cutting, planning, un-doing seams :) and pressing).

What suggestions do you have for those (read: "me") who do not live in great yardsale towns but still want to find great bargains?

Hmm... Craigslist in most cities is still useful for buying and selling things (if you are looking for something specific). I've also heard of a site called FreeCycle where folks post things they're ready to be rid of and other folks post things they'd like to acquire. Matches are made, people are happy, and money rarely exchanges hands. I've never used it myself, but close friends of mine have had good success. I believe the way it works is that you subscribe through Yahoo (I think) to a local group so you only search items that can be picked up locally. (I'd love to hear if any of you have had good luck with this!)

What is your all time favorite garage sale bargain?

Hm... Maybe my brand new $1.50 Pumas or my 19 Yankee tarts for $0.50. I've also gotten some beautiful outdoor light fixtures and bags full of brand name boys clothes for just $1. If you search the Garage Sales label on my blog you'll see why it's hard to pick just one thing!

I have a question! What color paint did you use on your photo wall? I LOVE it!

Thanks! The color is "Nutty Brown" (330F-7) by Behr. I actually chose Benjamin Moore's "Aged Bronze" (231) for the wall but just couldn't bring myself to pay $10 more for the gallon so Behr's Nutty Brown was the closest match and what I have on that wall and our upstairs hallways. I'm pleased!

The next two questions I'll combine:

I love your style, I was wondering if you have or would show more of your house for me to drool over? How do you choose your colors and not go overboard on buying pieces that you like?


Love your blog! Quite possibly my favorite to read! I have a question for you ... where do you find your inspiration in your home decor? I love what you have done in the pictures that I have seen! :)

Wow, I'm flattered! Thank you!

Hm... inspiration... I'll tell you that my dear graphic designer husband LOVES the clean simplicity of modern decor. He subscribes to Dwell magazine and loves furniture designed by famous architects like the Barcelona Chair by Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe. (Many of these chairs are the inspirations for furniture you see in stores like Crate & Barrel today!) Visit his blog if you just want to see some lovely, modern inspiration!

That said, I love clean, simple design as well, but I like to temper it with a more liveable, traditional feeling. I can't live in a house with all glass walls or have a room with just a sofa and a big piece of art. Because we are both in creative field and have strong design opinions, our home has to be a balance of our styles.

Many of the colors in our home are shades of white/grey/black and if not they're bold statements of their own (see the bold green below). Our furniture is all either leather or solid and has lots of clean lines. Many rooms in our house do not have much "stuff" in them (in keeping with the simplicity of modern design), but we've kept it feeling warm and livable for raising a family.

(Ryan's office in the bonus room)

What's your discipline style with Oliver? Or is his disposition is sweet as he looks and there's no discipline needed :)

Um, discipline is definitely needed! Have I not mentioned that he just turned three!? :)

The short answer to this question: One verse we keep in mind as we raise Oliver is Luke 2:52, "And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man." Those three things are goals for us.

The slightly longer answer: We have surrounded ourselves with people we admire - people we want to learn from and become like. We seek the counsel of our friends, family and church. We encourage one another biblically and are intentional about spending time in each other's homes.

The long but still VERY abbreviated answer: We have been very encouraged by the instruction in Tedd Tripp's book Shepherding a Child's Heart. We've learned that the most important thing is not just training our son's behavior so that he does not embarrass us in social situations. (You can train a dog to behave a certain way!) Sure, it's a (sometimes necessary) short-term solution, but our vision is greater than that - our vision is for Oliver to increase in favor with God!

Again, this is a very short answer to a very involved question, but we believe in training his heart. We teach him scripture (often through song) and when we discipline/correct him, it is a process (that sometimes does involve spanking) of confession, repentance and forgiveness. We talk to him about why his behavior is unacceptable, what God's word says about obedience to God and his parents.

From 12 months of age we have been teaching him the Westminster Catechism for Young Children which walks even little people through why we believe what we believe. We started by just teaching him hand motions before he could talk and now we have a great cd with all of the questions and answers put to music. He loves it and it's a fantastic reminder for us as we sing it in our home and remember those "basic truths" that I talked about in the answer to that first question!


Alright, I think that's all I've got in me for this morning. I have a date with Oliver at Ikea this afternoon and that certainly cannot wait!

I have a list of a few more questions left for my final "answers" post including Christmas gift ideas, our plans for the possibility of more children, marriage and prayer.

Speak now or forever hold your peace if you have any other burning questions!

22 October 2009

I still have a list of about fifteen really great (and some really tough) questions from y'all that I am looking forward to answering. Don't worry (I know you are totally worried!), I plan to answer them and I plan to do it soon!

I'm going to step back for a few days to enjoy the weekend with the two most fabulous boys I know, and I'll return early next week with some lovely bits that are definitely worth waiting for!

Love and happy October to you all!

19 October 2009

When you're putting on make-up and your little boy asks if he can have some too...

what's a Mama to do?

You give your little boy a mustache,

let him wear it to Kroger and then to Grandmas.

That's what a Mama does!

17 October 2009

What is Oliver up to? Any new phases that he is going through? And also maybe some funny quotes from him?
Oliver gets funnier every day. Maybe that's the way all 2- & 3-year-olds are. He cracks us up with the big words or ideas that just pop out of his little mouth. The other day he came up to me with a hug and told me that my hair was "gorgeous!" I was so surprised I asked him to repeat himself and he said, "Gorgeous, Mommy! In the whole, wide world!" He's like my own little fan club! :)

Oliver's biggest passion for the last few months has been puzzles. Mostly floor puzzles at first, but now he's enjoying sitting down at the table to puzzles with up to 100 pieces. Most of his floor puzzles only have 40-60 large pieces but it still surprised us about a month ago when we came up to his room at the end of rest time and found all four of his floor puzzles completely assembled with him begging for more!

He's also super into coloring. He loves to freehand things with his colored pencils (that's our medium of choice in our house since we've found them to be the least destructive) on blank white paper and he's learning to layer colors to make whole new colors. He's funny about coloring books and coloring in the lines though - he'll stay within the general shape of the object, but likes to use lots of randomly placed colors to fill the shape. Here are two of his latest creations:

He did this one this evening:

And he did this one on his 3rd birthday. He managed to color the light, star and windows solid colors. For the body and the wheels he had his own ideas. It's fun to sit quietly and watch him work:
(Yes, I just scanned and posted pictures from Oliver's coloring pages. That did just happen.)

Thanks for asking about O, Tara! It's never too hard to convince a Mama to gush about her baby! :)

Oh, and a recent quote. Hmmm... Well, this one's funny only when you picture the tiny body from whence these words emerged.
Ryan and Oliver were in the kitchen at my Mom's house the other day. Ryan offered a cracker to take for the car ride home and Oliver's response was, "ACTUALLY, Daddy, it's a graham cracker."
It's only funny because "actually" feels like such a big word for a brand new 3-year-old to use. He's been busting out words (in the proper context, mind you!) like "nervous" and "risky" too. It's funny to watch his vocabulary expand before our very eyes (or ears...)

My question is, why homeschooling? Is that your tentative plan once Oliver is school-age as well?
For now, we have decided to home school Oliver because he's still so young and we love to have him at home and share that time with him. Most days it's hardly called home schooling, I'm just being his Mom and talking to him throughout the day about basic preschool skills. We have chosen to have one morning every week for an organized, classroom setting (our little, 5-family co-op) because we want him to learn to develop classroom and social skills. It is fun for him to be with his friends, to learn to sit quietly and raise his hand, to walk in a line and to follow the instructions of someone other than Mommy & Daddy (we five moms rotate - 2 teachers every week, so sometimes I get a Wednesday morning to myself at home!).

The future? We're not certain, but Oliver seems to be learning really well with the environment we've developed this fall and if it continues to go well, we would certainly consider formally home schooling him when it comes time for Kindergarten and so on. Our main focus is not on what is convenient for us but what is best for him. We want him to be home learning with his Mama and his friends if he excels in that environment. But, if he would do better in a school setting, we are definitely open to that!

I guess what I'm wanting to know is how are you dealing with the loss of Evie? Do you have a hard time everyday, once a week, randomly? I just wonder because its always hard to bring up the topic to my family members [who have lost children], but I'm genuinely concerned with how they are doing.

Thank you for asking. :) Grief is a process, and even 18 months later we are definitely still grieving (though breathing in and out takes less conscious thought that it once did). Thankfully, the pain isn't as sharp and new as it was in the beginning, so life looks and feels a lot more "normal".

Losing our daughter does not define us or our lives, but it has certainly shaped us and it shows up in so many parts of life. We miss her - she would be a year and a half old by now. I think about her a lot, even still. I cry still. Definitely not as often or as desperately, but a Mama never forgets her baby. I think a part of me will always ache for her.

As for bringing up the the topic to family members who have lost children, I will say that I love hearing now from people that they miss Evie. Even in the past several weeks I have had friends tell me that they miss Evie or that they have been thinking about me or her. It doesn't upset me - quite the opposite. I love hearing that I'm not alone in missing her. I love hearing that other people remember her and think about her, even when I might not be. It's always nice to hear that people love her and remember her.

Your relationship with Ryan seems to be so strong. Maybe it's because you have known each other for so long. Maybe you are able to read books together....I don't know. What is your secret?
Again, thank you. :) Ryan and I have been friends for twenty years (yes, we met when we were both 7 years old!). We were friends for years long before we ever considered each other for marriage material. I think that helps for sure.

We have also walked together through a lot of heartache in our six years of marriage. Surviving the loss of our daughter certainly taught us to give each other a lot of grace and to not sweat the small stuff. If he wants to wear contacts instead of glasses and leave his top button unbuttoned with a tie, I say that's his prerogative, even if I may have a different idea. We know when to choose battles and when to respect each other.

This is especially true in parenting - as much as possible, we do not contradict on another as we instruct Oliver. If Ryan says O can't wear Crocs and is standing firm in a moment of parenting, even if I know he'd be fine in Crocs I go with what Daddy says. We always choose each other's side. It's important that we respect each other for our child to see.

I also pray for him. He is the leader of our home and that is a big responsibility. He carries a lot of burdens so that I do not have to and I respect that tremendously. He is an excellent husband and the more I honor and respect him, the more reasons I seem to see that he deserves to be respected. (I'm no relationship expert, but I do know that even if you think your husband is not so "respectable", honoring him Biblically often makes a man want to give you more reason to honor him.) Did that make sense?

Learn each other's Love Languages and tell your husband you love him in his language. (This goes for children as well!)

Finally, we were advised early on in our relationship that when we are in doubt, to "trust one another's hearts". If something Ryan says or does is hurtful, I remind myself of how much he loves me and quite often give him the benefit of the doubt that he does indeed love me and did not intend his action for harm. I've been amazed at how many times he actually did not mean harm and I've been grateful for those times I've not jumped to a defensive conclusion.

Oh, and one last thing. One of the first verses we taught Oliver and one that continues to challenge us in our home:
"A soft answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1

Oh, and spend quality time together. Be friends and not just co-workers in your home. Make time for each other alone on a regular basis. Kids are important, but they need Mommies and Daddies who are deeply in love to feel secure.

That's really it. :)


Okay, that was only four questions and there are still a lot to go. Am I boring you yet?

I'm knocking them out bit by bit and really enjoying all the questions as they come in. More to come!!

16 October 2009

Friends, I am LOVING all the fun questions I am getting from y'all! I want you to keep them coming (they are, indeed, an excellent diversion as I had hoped!), but I am going to get cracking on answering as many as I can now just so I can try to keep up.

So, here goes...

We'll start with a few fun, easy questions:

What movie can you watch over and over?
The entire Ocean's series. I loved Ocean's Eleven when it came out and have fallen more in love with each of the two sequels. Brad Pitt and George Clooney together absolutely crack me up!

What song can you listen to on repeat?
I'm honestly a huge sucker for good, old hymns. For my birthday I went nuts on iTunes and grabbed up a lot of good versions of my favorites. I love "Be Thou My Vision", "Of the Father's Love Begotten", "What Wondrous Love is This" I could go on and on.
Beyond that, I'm sort of boring when it comes to music. I listen to whatever Ry's listening to. I love Broadway show-tunes and Harry Connick Jr.

What book do you never tire of re-reading?
My sister and my Christine are going to hang their heads in shame when I answer this question. I'm honestly not a big reader. I did read The Nanny Diaries about 3 times in a row a few years back, shortly after a 3-year career of working as a nanny myself.

What family activity never gets old? Eating with my boys. We have some of the best conversations. Oliver cracks us up and it's so fun to get to share the joy of parenthood with the man I love and who loves Oliver as much as I do.

Favorite Christmas Tradition? I love the evening we set up the Christmas tree. We play Christmas music for the first time of the season, eat good food, pull out all the familiar ornaments. It's festive and wonderful. My other favorite is our Christmas Eve service at our church. It's wonderful and worshipful and so great to celebrate our Savior's birth with our covenant family.

Any inexpensive decorating tips? I love the color grey. Okay, I'm a little obsessed. If you're looking for a neutral color and don't want to do a boring shade of white or beige or tan, may I recommend something like Benjamin Moore's boothbay gray or coventry gray? Grey is a nice, warm neutral that is a refreshing update that's still not too committal. (We have the boothbay gray in our bedroom!) How's that for a cheap decorating tip?

What is your favorite cleaning product? So glad you asked, miss Seraphim! I have actually begun to lean away from chemicals when I can, particularly in the kitchen. It turns out that you can clean a lot with just a mixture of 2T mild dish soap (I like Seventh Generation's rosemary lavender soap) and 2C water in a spray bottle. It's great for our kitchen table, countertops, even wood trim and cabinet fronts.

What are your favorite blogs?

Why do you write a blog?
That's maybe the best question yet. Over the past year and a half the reasons have definitely changed. My blog has changed. That makes me a little sad in someways. I miss having a small audience and thinking that I'm the only one reading. I miss feeling safe to share everything I have to say. I guess part of this little "questions" exercise is for me to figure out just what I am doing here anyway.

What sewing machine do you use? If you don't love it can you tell me which one you've been envying?
I use my sister's basic Brother machine. It is just fine for my needs, although I'd LOVE to someday have one of those fancy computer machines. Or, better yet, one that embroiders! Heaven!! Truth is, I haven't done a lot of sewing machine research - do y'all have any recommendations?

What's been going on with you over the past few months? We've been missing your frequent posts, and am tickled pink to see two in a row!
Another excellent question. The answer? A LOT! Lots that I wish I could share but can't at this time. Beyond those things, just a whole lot of summer and mothering and teaching and such. Life has been busy!

What is the strangest thing you have come across at a garage sale?
Ha! I love this question! Probably the most obscure thing I saw was a framed latch hook bit of 'artwork' (and yes, I use that term loosely) with a person's name, birth date and death date on it.
Yes, a framed rug headstone.
For sale at a yard sale.
I'm going to go ahead and guess that they packed that sucker back up or tossed it at the end of the day.
I know grief is a crazy thing, but how can something like that even happen to begin with?

What are your comfort foods or what foods do you love to make?
I love sweet curry chicken. My friend Danielle gave me this recipe a few years ago and it's one of my staples.
Have I mentioned that I also have a strange yet powerful addiction to Twizzlers.

What is your favorite game?
I love to play Hand and Foot with Ryan, my sister and brother-in-law. We play with Skip-bo cards, boys against girls. VERY good times!

Did The Scout eat your mums this year? No. Thank heavens no.

**Christine, for the sake of my male readership, I ought not answer your other question. If you'd really like to know, you'll have to contact me privately. ;)

What color is your hair right now?
It's a stunning shade of I-haven't-been-colored-in-almost-a-year-mousy-faded-light-brown. Sexy.

How much did you pay for your IKEA white (and gray) curtains again? Were they the $15 ones (per panel) or $30? I'm trying to decide with online pictures, and it's hard.
I bought the Ikea Merete 98" curtains in brown for my downstairs living room and bleached for our bonus room. They cost $39.99 a pair. And, for the record, totally worth it. I love the big grommets and 98" length!

Do you think you blog less because of Twitter? I hear everyone does.
Hm. I'd never thought of it that way before, but I totally think I do. I love to tweet! It's so nice and quick!

Where did Oliver get his beautiful blonde hair? Was yours that light? Ryan's?
Ry and I were both towheads. Evie's was the same way. Our children are destined to be blondies.

How did you decide on both of your babies names? I love them.
Thank you, Mary. I love them too :)

I first fell in love with the name Oliver about a year before he was born (2005). (Yes, before I was even pregnant with him). I was in my senior year of interior design school so I was required to read and report on design magazine articles all the time. I read an article in Traditional Home about the newish hot designer Kelly Wearstler and there was a photo in the front of her in bed with her two sons. They were adorable and one of them was named Oliver. I was hooked.

As for Evie Grace - we actually first heard that name our freshman year in college. My roommate's sister's name is Evie (pronounced with a short 'e', it rhymes with 'levy'). I don't know, we just loved that name. Grace is my Grandma's middle name. Evie means 'life'. We named her the evening we found out we wouldn't get to keep her. Somehow giving her a name that meant 'life of grace' seemed so fitting. It suits her well and has only become more meaningful and appropriate.

How is the dress making on Etsy going? It's officially nonexistent. I loved it while I was doing it but it soon became overwhelming. Too many orders for me to keep up with and there were so many other sewing projects that I was having to put on the back burner. The moment it became no longer fun was the moment I was glad to be done. I only wanted to do it for fun :)

Where's your favorite place in Nashville to eat? Any mom and pop places we haven't discovered yet? We don't eat in Nashville a lot but I have a lot of favorites in Franklin. Our number one favorite is McCreary's Irish Pub on Main Street. We also like Mellow Mushroom. Ry has a few Nashville favorites: LaPaz for mexican, SuhiYobi on Music Row and Ginza in Greenhills. We also love to go to PeiWei at the Hill Center for less expensive but quality chinese food.

I would love to know how you find all those AMAZING yard sale items you post each week? Do you typically go to yard sales in more upscale neighborhoods? Yes, the upscale neighborhoods definitely help.

When you go yard sale-ing, how do you scope out your stops? Do you just drive around until you find some or do you look in the paper and then call? What's your tactic? I mostly use Craigslist. Folks around here are pretty faithful to post their sales there so it works well. I never use the newspaper. Neighborhood sales are the best because all of the sales are concentrated into a walkable area. I've heard tell of a soon-to-be online garage sale search engine that I will tell you about when I know more!

I saw the pic of your kitchen and want to know what color it is because I love it!
Glad you like it, Holly! Our kitchen and dining room paint color is a Ralph Lauren paint called "Urban Living", a part of their Urban Loft collection.

Which kind of Twizzlers do you like better? Original or pull and peel? (or, gasp, black??)
My favorite is just the good old fashioned strawberry twists. Pull and peel is a nice treat from time to time though.
The even more important detail about my Twizzler fetish is that I am really picky about what bags I buy. I have been known to dig through the shelf at the grocery store to find a good "batch". They have to be thinner an dark and a little shiny. Sometimes they are a little fatter, lighter red and dull and those taste totally different. Call me crazy, but I just call it discriminating taste. :) (Has anyone else noticed these differences or am I totally alone?)

Have you finished your bag of Twizzlers yet?
No, not yet. A very wise friend reminded me when I got home from Target and Tweeted about my highly anticipated bag of Twizzlers last night that there is such thing as a too-many-Twizzlers bellyache. I heeded her gentle reminder and had a lovely and modest little bundle then went to bed quite happy. More for later!

What is your favorite smell?
Oliver's head. Ryan's cologne. Lilac bushes. Buttercream Yankee candles. And wet paint. (but not in a weird, huffing way) :)

My biggest question, because I'm a totally clueless type of person.... HOW DID YOU MAKE THE INDIGO COLOR?!
(FYI - Amy is asking about the rainbow cake I made for Oliver's birthday). I mostly just thought of it as a lighter purpler, like a lavender with just a little more blue. So just less blue and red than you'd use to make the violet, allowing it to lean just a little blue. Does that make sense?


Okay, that's all I can do for now. There are lots more that I've already got copied into another post awaiting answers. I just thought I'd knock out the easier ones first.

I hope this was enjoyable for you. It was a lovely distraction for me. Thanks for all your fun questions and sweet encouragement and KEEP THE QUESTIONS COMING!!!

Goodnight, friends!

(Okay, now that I'm re-reading I'm sort of kicking myself for not buying the bit of latch hook art while I had the chance. Could have come in handy for a moment such as this!)