fatz fixer upper

i’m usually too tired to generate words after the kids are down and tonight is no exception… but i have to start somewhere…



you may be thinking a number of things but you should be polite and keep your thoughts to yourself.

when we started house hunting it was exactly like the hgtv shows: “for a house in this neighborhood with everything you are looking for, you can either spend 12 million dollars or buy a fixer upper”.  deep down i really wanted to go the fixer upper route, but the fact of the matter is that it was really the only way to go in this town (unless you can throw down a million dollar mortgage) (no). this beauty was one of the first houses we checked out. we thought it was way over-priced. it was on a busy road, amazingly dated, and wait until you see the back yard. YET, it was a convenient location and i immediately saw the potential.

first and foremost we were looking for a house with walls that could come down (check). a vault-able ceiling would be nice (check). and there had to be storage options and a space for the kids (check, check). i basically ruled out colonials (boring). at one point my realtor was like “i knew steph wouldn’t like this house, its not weird enough”.

one of the biggest reasons we had the courage to buy this house was because of this blogger. if you are familiar with dana of house*tweaking, as many of you may be, you will see how i am copying just about her every move. not really, but sort of. she is good… quality over quantity, simplicity, efficiency, family togetherness, financial freedom… sign me up.




very long story short. we bought it, enlisted a contractor, packed up our 3,000ish square foot house and started renovating our very own, real life, fixer upper.

here are the official befores. i promise this house will be unrecognizable when we are done with it…



all the walls that separate the kitchen, living, and dining room will come down and the ceiling will be vaulted.



this little “sunroom” was finished by the previous owner and will be our cozy tv room.





the master bedroom. not much of a closet. we will improvise.


dane’s room!


bay’s room


the play/everything room (lower level).



oh yeah baby. belly-up at the fatz’s. bring your wide-collar shirts, pet rocks, and sex pistols cassettes…



you can’t make this stuff up


more recently! :


much more to comeIMG_7397

house tour – then & now

its almost official… we sold our house!.. closing one chapter and opening the next. when i walk out of this empty house – where i painted every wall and brought home both of my newborn babies – i will definitely be feeling all the feelings… but at this point, moving on just feels right. on the other hand, its funny how clearing out, cleaning up, and staging your house for showings makes you NOT want to move!
the photos below are from our listing (aka how our house never really looks because it is perpetually covered in toys and miscellaneous rubble).



50sherricksfarm_web-14 50sherricksfarm_web-16


















almost four

dane is in a funny little in-between. he still wears footy pajamas and still loves to cuddle… he actually requests hugs frequently (much to my delight). he still falls asleep in his car seat, cries for no reason when he’s tired and carries his stuffed animals into our bed in the morning. he generally still hides in the same exact spot every single time he wants to “surprise daddy” coming home from work (which is every day).IMG_6268but just about everything else is big time big kid. you can really hang out with him and talk about life… crack jokes and use sarcasm that he totally picks up on. most of his baby chubs are all stretched out – its like someone literally pulled him from each end and he became a string bean over-night.IMG_7193

he is entering the super hero phase with a vengeance despite never watching any of the actual shows or being allowed any formal exposure to the characters. all of his knowledge comes from what he hears from his friends at school, which makes it pretty entertaining to observe what he makes of the various superheros… any information we reluctantly give him, he eagerly soaks up with wide eyes, the wheels turning in his head…smanhe seems to be able to play with just about anyone, from the boy next door who is a year & a half younger, to his female, 7-year-old second cousin he only met once, to our friends’ kids he gets together with just a couple times each year… and he’s not terribly picky with toys. he’ll use his imagination to make anything a sword, a cape, a “shooter gun” (sigh) or any other form of contraband i refuse to buy for him.IMG_7292over the summer i invested in a little activity table from pottery barn. we call it his “craft table” (in the “craft room”). he loves crafts and i love that he loves crafts. whenever he asks, i try to take the time to do a little project with him.. a painting, a pipe-cleaner animal, a “garage” made out of a delivery box.

he loves the beach, his boogie board, collecting hermit crabs. he also loves to shovel snow. a true new englander.IMG_7083i can honestly say, he’s as good a big brother as any 3 year old could possibly be. he is sweet and gentle to his little sister with almost zero signs of jealousy.IMG_7053since i’ve been back to work, mike has taken over the morning and evening routine with dane while i do bay. divide and conquer. GOD BLESS the single moms. sleep is so big for dane. he is two different people when he is tired vs. well-rested. there are at least a few days each week he refuses to nap, and WATCH out… he is a hot mess those nights.IMG_6493he can be so frustrating in the morning getting out the door or anytime we really need him to follow directions .. but he is very sensitive to my feelings… if i yell at him about something, he almost always cries (then i feel bad) and if i tell him he is making mommy really sad, he’ll back down, say sorry and come give me a hug (usually). this is a huge relief to me. i’m so happy for these signs of compassion. before he leaves the dinner table, we have trained him to say, “may i please be excused? namaste”. its funny. i still cut his hair myself. its long and shaggy and uneven and awesome.IMG_6367he’s still so innocent. he’s completely sold on “carrots making your eyes sharp” and healthy foods healing boo boos.  i’ll be so sad when its gone, the innocence. i can’t bear to think of him out in the real world when i’m not nearby to hug him and tell him how wonderful he is. where there are mean kids at school or bullies on the bus.IMG_6751he is so fun-loving. he just wants to play (ok,… he also wants to “watch shows”.. a constant battle). he loves it when you chase him or just watch and see “how fast he is” / “how high he can jump”. he loves basketball and catch with the football… still warming up to soccer. he takes a gymnastics class which is basically bouncing around and jumping recklessly off mats, but he seems to love it. he is so beautiful and perfect and sweet and smart. a part of me feels so sad about him getting bigger, but its been pretty cool to watch. he says things like “and speaking of that”.. “i’ve been meaning to tell you”… he can count to 60 (on a good day) and spell multiple words. he knows the days of the week and towns his family members live in. he remembers everything.IMG_6318motherhood is an absolute whirlwind. i look in the mirror and i see the wrinkles and bags under my eyes… FOUR YEARS of being a real life mom. its showing. (i also can’t help but note that i am a full 10 years older than most of The Bachelor contestants. a DECADE).

what did i do with all my time before i had this kid? nothing nearly as worthwhile as how i’ve spent the past almost four years.IMG_7197xo daney. i’m so proud and lucky to be your mom.

changing table

hey! so my last post was depressing, huh!?! well, all is well and dandy here, i promise. check it out – i even have a furniture makeover post! this is so 2011-2014 of me… back when i was SO about the DIY everything. i was all, “you can make WHAT out of coffee filters?!?”… and, “look what i did with just trash, toothpicks and glitter… its just like YOUNGHOUSELOVE!”  these days, there is little time or energy for DImyselfing. and honestly, i’m less enthused about filling my house with homemade creations.

that being said, bedrooms are definitely the last place i’m inclined to splurge on furniture. we’ve never owned a single store-bought “bedroom set”. bedrooms are personal. your guests generally don’t see them. they need to be comfy and functional, and for the kids- fun and happy and safe. so when i started piecing together the baby girl nursery, i turned to craigslist for the only piece of furniture i was planning on purchasing. i found this changing table & we agreed on $75.

what a wordy intro… the rest is mostly pics. (as you can tell by this post title, my creative juices are really flowing lately).

(fyi – turns out taunton is far)


i spray painted some ring pulls to replace the knobs, painted the top white and removed the bottom right door for easy-access diaper storage.


here is some of the process… this was so long ago now. dane looks like a baby!IMG_4731








i’ll share the rest of the nursery soon… its about time. and don’t be surprised when i post my christmas photos in march… #itiswhatitis.

january blues

i sat down to move all my photos from camera to computer and maybe even download some christmas gopro footage. i was holding the baby with the nursing pillow strapped around my middle (my brest friend, there, i said it). i turned around for whatever reason and knocked over my very full coffee… all over the desk, the key board, the camera, the gopro. it looked like a complete electronics massacre, but i don’t think anything was permanently damaged.

true story.

there is just no time to keep up with life on this blog. i know i don’t have to, but a part of me really wants to! it shouldn’t be impossible, in theory, but it is.

7 months already. sigh.

any who, i’ve been feeling a little down… some post-holiday blues i guess and physically run down from the christmas hustle. i’m having trouble taking care of myself (that’s a gentle way of saying i’m fat & sloppy). again, “no time”. the kids are doing well so i could/should be proud of that. we have a lot of laughs when everyone is in a good mood (read: a certain 3.75 year-old has taken his much-needed daily nap) but weeknights and mornings are still a struggle (“struggle” used in that middle-class, privileged, American context, of course).


i want everything OUT of my house. baby stuff, OUT. unworn clothes, OUT. extra throw pillows that i normally hoard, OUT(ish). christmas decorations are all packed or disposed of… living simply may not necessarily be in the cards, but i am craving a simpler life with less clutter for sure.


today is FREEZING. so maybe the reality of winter is weighing on my mood lately as well.


i hate winter.

wah wah,


tipsy t-day photography

surprise! i DO have photos from thanksgiving (i wasn’t kidding when i said we drank a lot). some pretty cute ones actually…IMG_6549


while nursing bay last night, i sorted through what has made it into iphoto this month and found some gems. i wish i could be more organized with my photo system (and my LIFE). these are some of my favorites…

related much? :IMG_6573

the loves of my life:IMG_6579

kitchen hoops:IMG_6494

me & my girl:IMG_6583

fatz family Tday dinner:IMG_6532

listening to “let it go” on my phone (on repeat) and kissing nonnie:IMG_6587

late-night guinness milkshake creation:IMG_6593

ready for bed:

my beautiful little mop-top boy:
IMG_6489mr. pups:IMG_6507

the end.


i went to my wordpress dashboard to maybe start a post on life lately, and saw a draft titled “thanks” with this one picture from dane’s first thanksgiving. i created it in september when i apparently came across this old photo and wanted to be sure to include it in my thanksgiving post.D11i know it shouldn’t come as a shock, but bay looks so much like dane! i am so entertained by it.


we hosted this year… it was nice and low-key and we all ate and drank a lot. the night ended with mike passed out in bed snoring in his sweater and underwear with a mostly full can of coors light on his night stand (and shakespeare at his feet snoring along with him).

i have almost no photos from thanksgiving, sadly, but i did manage to get some ad hoc gopro footage (link to my video masterpiece (sarcastic) HERE!)

shopping frenzy!!

i’m having a nervous breakdown because everything is on sale! as a result, i have been on more retailers’ websites this week than i care to admit. to keep myself entertained (and to keep from buying everything) i have created a random compilation of things i really want or already got(!) for dane, bay and for myself!! (the images aren’t working in the “preview” mode, so, i don’t know, fingers crossed…)
for d, b & me




  1. festive holiday throw pillows $18-$30 Target
  2. handy  “twist fold” 3 tiered bowl @29.99 Uncommongoods
  3. magazine holder $49 $29.99 UrbanOutfitters
  4. LED star decoration $24.99 Ikea
  5. floral dress $49.90 Zara
  6. necklace holder $19 UrbanOutfitters
  7. carved wood coffee table $349 (+15% off) WestElm
  8. boots for my commute 69.99 Zappos
  9. funny tee $20 Etsy
  10. funny mug $9.99 Amazon
  11. comfy casual sweater $88 $59.99 madewell
  12. cutest boy toms $42 Zappos
  13. soft sweet owl $15 HannaAndersson
  14. spooner board 44.95 Fatbraintoys
  15. kid guitar $19.99 Worldmarket
  16. really big soft scarf $26 Oldnavy
  17. hoodie towel & book $59 $47.20 LandofNod
  18. high quality sleep sack $50 HannaAndersson
  19. knitted flag garland $19 HannaAndersson
  20. sherpa jacket $85 $42 (=50% off!) HannaAndersson
  21. penguin nightlight $39 $18.99 (=final sale!) RestorationHardware

weekend road trip

i’m sort of the opposite when it comes to social media. i’m the opposite of people who only post glamorous pictures of themselves or make sure to share all the awesome, interesting things they do and places they go. i don’t know if it’s because i’m overcompensating… trying extra hard to not be that person, or if because i just really love to take and share pics of my kids in those everyday moments.

last weekend all five of us ventured out on an aggressive weekend trip to new york and new jersey. we drove down together, then i spent the day with girlfriends in the city while mike stayed with family and watched the kids. the next day we swapped it out and mike went to the pats-giants game while i tended the coup.

i had a BLAST with my friends in nyc.. took zero pics (aside from a million of my little bride to be lindsey in wedding dresses, but those are not for sharing!!) but back in new jersey with all mike’s cousins, i took a bunch of pics of the kids together because they were just so so cute.

all of the girls were obsessed with bay. they passed her around and played peek-a-boo for hours on end. bayla was so chill about it.


bay ava

maddie is 6. she and dane were attached at the hip the whole weekend. i never expected them to play so well together. it was ADORABLE.

dane and mad


and that’s all i got for a weekend update! despite having monday off, this week is feeling looong. we are sticking around this weekend and i am SO looking forward to it. a little cleaning, a little thanksgiving prep, a little christmas decorating a LOT of eating that baby’s cheeks!

brewster fun floor revisited

i took some new pictures of our lower level (“fun floor / sleeping quarters”) last weekend. it recently got new tile in place of old berber, new bright paint, and some fun art. it is majorly improved. [see before here].


this full-sized bed recently got a little upgrade since we got a king for the master bedroom and cycled the queen mattress down here.IMG_6324

i’m clearly incapable of photographing this lighting scenario, but the whole room has a much brighter and cleaner feel (you’ll have to take my word for it).IMG_6336


IMG_6343so far so good with the new flooring.
IMG_6328i think this area is finally in pretty good shape.