the glass half full

the weekend we were in brewster discovering our flooded basement, the weather was really mild and beautiful and we stopped at our beach to play a while. just recently did i finally load all the pictures i took (beyond the wet basement rug) and realize that some are pretty awesome.
see, i was so focused on the doom and gloom that i didn’t take the time to remember the perfect afternoon and the smiles on my boys in their happy place under the glowing sun.
lesson learned.
from now on, this is what i will choose to remember about our weekends in brewster regardless of what part of the house is currently sucking our savings dry.

because I can’t come up with a non-cheesy way to say it: this is all that really matters.

any timer-cam attempt where we are all in the frame is considered a success in my book.

HAPPY 2015 FROM THE FATZ 4 (and counting)!

2014 holidays etc

just catching up over here. and so ready for post-holiday down time (and sleep!).

but first, c h r i s t m a s .
i was more excited this year than i have been in a long time.
“now!?” dane would say every time we talked about riley and avery coming over and our christmas “party” and santa coming while he slept.. (only if he was a good boy). there was so much anticipation this year, which i think is what the holidays lack when you don’t have little ones to experience the build-up and magic through.

also, santa threats. they really work. we are totally getting that elf next year.

i’ll skip over the early hours of christmas eve including when we let these two zone out in front of a christmas thomas show so they would stop fighting over this balloon (which dane would still not release for fear riley would get his hands on it… a fate worse than death…) (2015=sharing lessons) ).
at least he’s a hugger. riley clearly not feeling it.
later, my brother todd’s family arrived from california and the 3 cousins had their annual reunion. so special.
we bribed them with cookies to cooperate for some of these pictures. is that wrong?
who wants a cookie???

clam chowder and reubens is our xmas eve dinner tradition.

shakey’s christmas presents. every year.

and every year we sit these two down together with the night before christmas book. how precious are they? the little pottery barn kids jammies – worth every penny.

finally, it was here. christmas morning. they somberly walked down the stairs not knowing what to expect… riley was up really early & we had to make liz stall so they could come down together.

i think dane honestly would have been happy with just the little toys in his stalking.
i set up his new trains & tracks in the other room & we told them the elves were playing with them last night… they loved it.

and mike put two presents in the front yard & told them they “fell off santa’s sleigh”… they went nuts. this age is so fun.

christmas was really awesome. its pretty exhausting hosting, but i wouldn’t want it any other way.

then there is b r e w s t e r…
we had a guy renting it for about a month and a half. he left mid december and we went to check on the house.
not good:
there was a dehumidifier malfunction in the basement.. it was basically pumping all the water from the air onto the floor. soaking wet, ruined carpet. we tried to fix it and dry everything up, but it was too far gone. the pad was soaked and we didn’t want to risk any mold.

so we ripped up the carpet and are now faced with a major decision of what to do for flooring down here. more carpet? tile? paint and big area rugs? i wasn’t in the mood to think about this around the holidays. i mean, i usually am and to be honest, now that i’ve had some time to research, i’m sort of obsessed with a particular option that i will share later. of course its on the more expensive end of the spectrum, so i need to let it marinate.

the joys of multi home ownership.

in effort to not end the post with with damp basements and water buckets… here is the buffet with my new chairs and pillows. its coming along! i need to make the cushions and add a couple more pillows but its definitely progress.

pretty things :: etsy

It’s just that i’ve been doing a lot of xmas shopping on etsy. i totally wasn’t planning on creating any sort of “gift guide” of any nature… but i logged into etsy today and it gave me a little summary of everything i had tagged as a “favorite” over the past some-odd-months, and so i was like, hey this stuff is awesome, and if i were to make a “gift guide” for someone (well, someone like ME) this would be it.

so anyway, here are some fav etsy finds:

one. one of my favorite words

two. because i’m an emily henderson wannabe

three. for yoga or picnics or the beach or for dane’s future teepee…

four. we have this in brewster. i just think its funny.

five. see number two. also, we need them to get the white ones back in stock.

six. and lots of other rad pillows in her shop

seven. breathe

eight. pretty and $10

nine. i’m going to diy these soon. ish.

ten. one of my favorite hip toddler tees i’ve bought for dane. and btw, its gone missing. has anyone seen it?

eleven. hex love

big boy bed makeover

i have no real before pictures. i’m kicking myself because, you should have seen it… there were weird stickers and strange silly string-like gu all over the headboard and crayon scribbling everywhere. this is after we scrubbed and sanded and sanded and sanded. i found the bed on craigslist for $35. i need to learn to negotiate bc i bet it could have been less. either way, it was solid wood and totally paintable.
did i say “we” sanded? i meant mike sanded… with his poor little broken fingers. he’s the best.

this was the tedious part (the taping). i wanted to paint everything white except the dowels. i’m not sure if this was the best method, but it worked well enough.

we (there i go again with the “we”) used a can of primer and a can or two of white spray paint to cover everything but those dowels.

it was weeks and weeks before this was finally done. mike chipped away at it over the course of a few weekends when the weather agreed, we were actually home, and there was time.

and here’s how it looks… its sort of awesome, don’t you think!? i was so happy with the way it turned out. you know me with the white and natural wood combo. its my favorite.

i glazed over each of the headboard & footboard dowels with the same antiquing stain i used on the ledge in this bedroom, so it matches perfectly.

goodness my bed styling could use a lot of work. its totally bugging me looking at these pictures. everyone knows i’m supposed to drape a couple woven blankets on top of the comforter ever so imperfectly so that the bed is just begging for you to crawl in… i’ll be sure to do that when i take the final photos of this new bedroom 🙂

i came across this crib from the honest co’s the collective recently. totally the same vibe as our bed, right?! can you believe they are all sold out? i really do love the honest company.. they gave a crib to a family in need for every crib sold.

the plan is for this bed to be riley’s – or any other little person’s who visits.. there is a packnplay under the bed and a queen bed at the other end of the room, so it will be perfect for when my sister’s family visits (once her new baby boy is here in march!). i just need to finish decorating and making it cozy, then it will be all ready for them when they visit for christmas!!!

mv for riley’s big day

alternative title: 20 pics of cute kids.

friday was pj day at school…

then we woke up the next morning in mv for cousin riley’s birthday party!

the 3 year-old!

3 toddlers tearing apart the house…

the four-legged love of my life..

being spoiled by grandma…

dane’s “why don’t i get any presents” face…

smiley bday boy

cool hat.

dane having a 2 year old moment..

milk face smiles the next morning..

and just when we thought the weekend couldn’t get any better, they leaf surfed.


the end.


this wall.

it needed some big, colorful art – so that you got a peak of it from the top of the steps.

big art for small money is not an easy thing to pull off.
enter: the spoons.

these huge 55×22″ spoon canvases were $40 each at ikea, which is way less than blank canvases i saw at craft stores or on the internets.

(this is best comparable i could find… its slightly bigger and $120 on amazon. slightly smaller at $60).

so i bought a couple spoon canvases and covered those spoons right up. sorry jo de pear.

i set-up shop outside with my apprentice.

and painted away with no real plan. i just used two paint brushes and the three colors (two green samples and some left over blue from the dining room) and brushed on overlapping sections.

i wanted really obvious brush marks and a random blend of the three colors. once the canvas was covered and i thought it was looking decent. i forced myself to put the brush down and walk away. less is more.

i asked my loving husband to build a frame for each of the two canvases. just a realllly simple frame. 
then i stained them with my trusty antiquing mixture and popped the canvas right in.

amazing right? i’m a regular van gogh.

next came my instagram masterpiece. i don’t think i photographed the process, but i literally just applied a coat of mod podge to the canvas, stuck on all the photos, then another coat of mod podge over the top the next day. easy.

confession: i don’t love the instagram collage. it could be better. ever since i finished i’ve seen so many versions of this and they look so much better when the squares are spaced out evenly with a white border separating each photo. (this is what i mean if you are curious). i sort of overlapped them a bit randomly to make them all fit and it doesn’t look as nice.

but overall i love the bright, happy, personal addition to this wall and being greeted by it every time we come down here.

and it was satisfying creating these big statement pieces for under $100.

b e f o r e:

a f t e r :

b e f o r e: (way before)
a f t e r :

better than spoons, anyway…

overdue finished basement before & afters

i was working on posting some pictures of an art project i did for a wall in the basement, when i realized i never really posted a finished-finished basement update. i tried to a while ago, but the post is all busted now and the pictures don’t show up (a little example of my advanced technological blogging skillz).

so here are those before and afters. this was the biggest, most expensive process we have been through as homeowners (by far) and it was so rewarding. when we moved in, this was a moldy mess.. we had to have a professional remediation just for it to be safe to be in our house (to the tune of $2k to un-finish the basement.. fun!) but now we have this huge new living space and its just nice knowing its all clean and dry.

b e f o r e :

d u r i n g :

a f t e r :

b e f o r e :
d u r i n g :

a f t e r :

b e f o r e :
d u r i n g :
a f t e r :

the new bedroom (you can get a peak through the doorway above) is in pretty good shape as well. i’ll share some pictures of that soon.

the only furniture we have bought for down here (still to this day) is the black craigslisted couch, the two side tables from target and the little rocker from amazon. 

the rug is from amazon too if that counts… the bulldog is from hinsdale. 

the wall color is benjamin moore revere pewter.

this is what we’re looking like now that the plastic has invaded… in need of some toy storage! but i’m in no rush. i think we need some time to live down here to see what the best layout and use of space will be. we want to have a little exercise area and an art station somewhere for dane…

that’s all for now, more soon!

halloween and other mom things

some very important fall stuff:

for halloween, dane and riley (and mike) were chickens. they were painfully adorable and its hard for me to accept that we might not be able to dress them as matching farm animals for the next decade’s worth of halloweens.

they were so cute and funny and once they realized they got candy from every strangers’ house, they were so into it.

i think mike enjoyed his costume the most (the beer from all our neighbors probably helped).

i have a million pictures, but this little video should capture the essence of the night. 

rewind a week to our pumpkin carving party. we have so much fun with our neighbors!

rewind further to dane’s official half birthday. the big two point five!

 here he is (much blonder!) last year..

i can’t believe how big he is.

two and a half has been huge. dane potty trained like a champ and transitioned into his big boy bed all in a matter of weeks. i’m so proud of him. it was all so much easier than i anticipated. however, i must say that we are seeing a little bit of those terribles. he has some strong, not-always-rational opinions these days and it can really be trying. for example, a major meltdown in the car because the car carrier that drove by us only had cars on the top, not the bottom. he found this intolerable… then when we were at the pet store and i told him all the toys were only for dogs, forget it – super-sized tantrum. my sister promised the phase will pass. riley was a little saint when they visited over halloween weekend… i may have asked her if we could trade for a little while (kidding, kidding).
most of the time, he is the sweetest, cutest, most lovable thing. i am so so excited for this holiday season.

october damage

last month’s spending confession was pretty therapeutic for me. i intended to spend the next couple of months paying off my credit card, but alas,.. pillows. this month i spent about $300 on somewhat unnecessary things for the house. well that includes a cheese grater and a dirt devil dust buster thing from amazon (that came damaged and we have to send back. grrrr).

but here are the more fun, most unnecessary things:

1. libby langdon syldan hand crafted scalloped cotton decorative pillows (x3) $44.98 each
(22×22 emerald, blue & poppy)
i decided i needed these for the banquet dining bench in brewster. i will slowly but surely make this into a cozy, awesome looking bench with cushions and lots of pillows and all of that…

which leads me to a ridiculously amazing banquet dining set-up i came across just this morning.. off track, but i can’t help but share:


i sent this link to mike & he said, “why doesn’t ours look like that”? thousands of dollars worth of expensive pillows and custom cushions, that’s why! follow the link tho, this house makes me drool.

but back to the expensive-to-me pillows…
the scallops, colors and sturdy linen material (that looks fairly stain resistant and renter tolerant) all sold me. so $150 for three pillows. not good, but like i said, i needed them.

2. mainstays watercolor botanical decorative pillow $9.97
more like what i should be paying for a pillow. this will also live on the banquet bench.

3. mainstays rolling garment rack $9.97
i already had one of these and decided, for $10, i needed another for the clothes swap party i hosted earlier in the month. its currently serving as a little closet stand-in for the extra bedroom in the basement.

4. metal sunburst mirror $34.99 (i got on sale for $24.99) love. you should stalk this until its on sale and buy it (target stuff is always on and off sale). its on my rug wall.
5. pumpkins. yes pumpkins. $65                                                                                                               i went shopping with dane for a few pumpkins and somehow spent $65. dane requested a giant pumpkin, a few smaller ones, a haystack, a cheap little stuffed pumpkin (that shakey destroyed in 30 seconds) and some other random food items at our local garden shop. he was being so cute that i just went with it and let him load up the cart. 
a couple moments of weakness in october, clearly, but it could have been worse. i don’t plan on a november or december update because i don’t intend to do any frivolous spending. time for holiday shopping and saving up for our winter vacation!


mike’s new company has their annual meeting and a fun employee outing at the castle hill inn every year – so last weekend, we spent a really special couple days in newport, ri.. dane and i drove down early saturday morning to join mike for the rest of the weekend.
it was the seafood festival at bowen’s warf that day which is quite the event… big tents with hundreds of people eating oysters and lobster rolls and day drinking. a really fun scene.

we first hit up the kids’ tent where dane painted a pumpkin masterpiece and scored a balloon.

and then, the best place on earth. the bouncy castle.

he would have spent all day in this thing. he was grinning ear to ear the whole time. and he can really hold his own with the big kids!

we did a little exploring after. SO much to do and see in newport. it was SO nice out. like 70.

obligatory pumpkin patch pictures:

when we finally headed back to the inn to check into our room for nap time, i had a major orphan annie moment. his company had us staying in the cutest little beach cottage directly on the most beautiful sandy beach. the most luxurious place i have stayed probably ever. i was instantly sad that we only had one night.

pic from their web site

i sat on our little deck eating a [really delicious] sandwich and looking at this view while dane napped like a champ in the packnplay that barely fits him anymore. it was the most relaxed i had felt in a while.

when he woke up, we went out to play on the beach where i took a million photos and seriously struggled to narrow down to the few you see below!

dane does this thing where, when i tell him to say cheese, he’ll do a big exaggerated CHEEEEESE while looking anywhere but at the camera. its makes things a little difficult.

look at these twins.

there’s the cheese again.

later that evening we went out for a little cliff walk. there were tons of surfers and really big waves! i’ve never seen surfing like this in new england, it was cool.

we had pizza and beer with his coworkers that evening then mike passed out shortly after dane (i think he had been having a little too much company sponsored fun) and i stayed up reading on the couch in front our fireplace. ahhh. can we do this again next weekend?

dane was just the funnest, happiest kid the whole time. i can’t remember what life was like before he was part of my crew. he is pure joy. the only thing that would have made the weekend any better is if shakey could have joined us. he would have loved this beach!