a few kitchen updates

 I made a few kitchen updates last week, which completes the main floor transformation! The transformation that a couple of years ago I didn't even know would happen. DIY is a domino effect, I tell ya!
I am absolutely, 100% in love with open shelving. If I wasn't feeling somewhat lazy about this I would have taken down the whole cabinet and installed 3-4 shelves instead, but you know, laziness won. Happens. This also gave me a reason to by new dishes that actually match! (Which are from Ikea, by the way.)

I just took down the door and filled in the holes from the hinge screws. The background color is called "weather vane" by Valspar- it's the perfect gray with a touch of brown. I love that it gives the cabinet more depth and makes the white dishes pop!

I added a mail holder to the side of the cabinet because the paper pile problem on the counter is REAL. I found this one at Target for $15!
 I should probably add the word "less" after EAT. It's not like I need a reminder to eat...let's be honest.
My favorite addition is the light fixture. We swapped out the recessed light for a pendant light using this conversion kit from Amazon. And for only $14 that's a much cheaper option than any of the conversion kits I found at Lowes! The light fixture is also from Amazon here
We also removed the plastic paper towel holder from under the cabinet and I used plumbing pipe to make an industrial style holder on the other cabinet. It took about 5 minutes to assemble- you literally just twist the pieces together and I then screwed it into the cabinet. There's a good, quick explanation for the parts you need on this blog post here (though I used 3/4" in. pipe, not 1/2" like she did). 
And now some BEFORE before pictures:

(^Jillian was so tiny!)

Our main floor has made QUITE the transformation over the last couple of years! I found the pictures above before we made any changes. Since then I've painted the cabinets, walls, added back splash, upgraded our flooring and light fixtures, and stained/painted the stair banisters. WHEW. It was worth all of the effort!

Ahhh I'm so in love! It is incredibly fulfilling to dream up what you want your house to look like and then make it happen!  

Next on the list is the project that my sister has been begging me to start on for months now- the master bedroom! 
And I'm already overwhelmed with indecisiveness...more on that later. I'm gonna enjoy a few weeks off first. ;-)


father's day

Happy Father's Day!

I read a quote today that said "Dad's are ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers, and singers of songs." 

That made me think of my own Dad and the elaborate stories he told us before bedtime about fairies and princesses and ponies, and the dumb songs he taught us (like "My Bonnie has Tuberculosis"- doctor humor). It's both weird and cool to have an adult relationship with your parents. I still ask my dad all sorts of questions, he still fixes stuff when he comes to my house, but I don't get in trouble for staying up too late, or I don't have to endure long, uncomfortable "raging hormone teenager" talks from my high school years. But he still asks us to "pull his finger". See? Weird and cool. It's good. I prefer this adult relationship thing.

But seriously, when it comes to dads- I have one of the best! As do MY girls. I'm sorta biased.

James sings songs, builds forts, plays soccer, and endless games of hide and seek, goes to Disney on Ice, buttons up dress ups, fills endless sippy cups and bottles, reads goodnight stories and finds the missing teddy bear- he's pretty good at what he does. All on top of working 10 hour days and staying up until midnight regularly to finish grad school homework.  

He has every reason to let some of those things slide, in the name of sleep or down time, but he doesn't. And if there's anything that tells you what kind of man he is, it's that right there. 

I'm so grateful my kids have the same kind of dad that I grew up with- funny, involved, invested, caring, kind, smart- the list could go on. 
To my dad and James, I love you both very much!


san diego trip, part 3!

I finally got through all of the pictures on my camera from our trip! We spent our last day at the beach. That's really what spurred our vacation- I needed some shore. After growing up in Florida it's hard being so landlocked. Sometimes I when I look at Utah lake I squint my eyes and slightly cross them and it's ALMOST like I'm looking at the ocean. :-p

And believe it or not, all of the many times we've been back to Florida we've NEVER taken the girls to the beach! I know...sinful...

I think it was their favorite part of the whole vacation!

 ^This girl ate SO much sand despite our best efforts to teach her it was yucky. Her next few diapers were pretty gritty... haha!

 ^The water was FREEZING. Seriously, I don't know how Californians do anything with this water. For this reason Florida beaches WIN. :-p

 ^I know, I know...I'm pasty white. I gave up trying to be tan years ago and now fully embrace my paleness. 

 ^Mermaid tail!

 ^Olivia loved splashing in the frigid water! She was constantly crawling between our spot in the sand and the water. Once James wrapped her up in a towel and cuddled her she promptly fell asleep.

All in all it was SUCH a fun vacation! It was a little tricky getting used to all sleeping in the same hotel room- we pretty much had to tip toe around and whisper in the dark after the girls went to bed at 7pm. I totally understand the point of adjoining rooms now. 

Now I'm ready to enjoy the rest of our SUMMER!


san diego trip, part 2!

On day two of our vacation we took a ferry boat across the bay to Coronado Island. The beachy atmosphere of the island is so pretty against the cityscape of downtown San Diego! 

It was also James' birthday today! 30 freakin' years old!!! Holy smokes. He works 50 hours a week (which turns into 60 with commute time), is in grad school, and still finds time to be an amazing dad and husband. I don't know how I got so lucky!

 ^We rented a Surrey bike! And it was hard as crap! In my head I pictured us biking half way around the island...but then I realized how much strength it took from the both of us to get that thing going and we only made it 30 minutes. Oh well. It was still fun! Jillian was in charge of ringing the bell and took her job very seriously.

 ^After our bike ride we walked down to the beach and I showed Jillian how to fly a kite! She thought it was cool until she realized she could make sand angels. 

We also ate at a yummy Mexican restaurant. James got to pick the place (his birthday!), and of course he picked somewhere showing the soccer game- haha!

It couldn't have been a more gorgeous day!

On day three we ate brunch at an AMAZING brunch spot in Del Mar called Snooze. Seriously...I got eggs benedict with prosciutto, some fancy cheese, cream cheese hollandaise and arugula atop toasted brioche with a balsamic glaze. HOLY CRAP.

In very related news, I'm pretty sure I gained 5 lbs this trip.

The fair was in town so we hit that up next! I grew up in a VERY small town, so the fairs I was used to were pretty small in comparison. The San Diego fair is actually the 4th largest in the country! We didn't even make it around to see everything. 

 ^Something in the air must have gotten to Jillian, because my otherwise timid and anxious toddler wanted to ride anything she could! I was so proud of her hopping on rides like it was nothing.
The only one she cried on was the water bumper boats, but understandably so because her boat was stuck in a spin and she didn't know how to drive it really. Haha, poor kid.

 ^Obligatory deep fried fair food. At one booth they had deep fried Slim Fast bars. Oh the irony.

We all ate way too much junk and kept the girls up way too late- but it was a blast!


san diego trip, part 1

We had the best time in San Diego! It was our first "real" family vacation with just the four of us. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE our trips to Florida to visit my family but it was fun to explore all on our own! It was my first time getting a rental car- I felt like a grownup level 900.

Our first stop was Sea World! We opted for this over Disney World because Jillian gets a lot of anxiety in new situations and doesn't like rides much, so we figured she'd enjoy this more. She loved it! Both she and Olivia were geeking out over all of the animals. Olivia would get really upset when we would start to walk away from one of them. 

^Flamingos are crazy weird. Sometimes I wonder if these were created by accident or on purpose...caaauuusseee....

 ^Hanging out in some polar bear caves! Jillian ran out screaming when they played an audio clip of a bear roaring. Thanks for that, Sea World. :-p

 ^One of Olivia's favorites- the sea turtle aquarium! Probably because she could get right up next to it!

Feeding the sea lions was a fun experience! Jillian was too freaked out to actually touch the fish- haha! Those suckers are loud!

^ Dolphins are my favorite! Little did I know James was kind of obsessed with dolphins when he was younger so coming to Sea World was kind of big deal to him- haha! (Which means when we went swimming with dolphins several years ago he must have nearly peed his pants out of excitement). :-D

 ^I was super excited to touch the Manta Rays. They're so gross and cool at the same time. I'm convinced they're actually aliens. I mean LOOK at them.

 ^They both picked out the same souvenir (at least they won't fight over each others..). I think this is the first toy that Olivia has really clung to and it's downright adorable! Though it's a polar bear she calls it a puppy- I suppose it could pass as both.

 I was surprised at how well they both did with being there ALL day long. It was a fantastic start to our vacation!