Thursday, December 31, 2009


i know i've mentioned before about my dread associated with family pictures. i've hated getting my picture taken since i was a little girl, but now it's even worse because not only am i responsible for making sure i look okay, i have to make sure mr. a looks good, piper's looking at the camera, and quinn's not crying. not to mention trying to somewhat coordinate outfits for 13 people.
one year my sister and hubs paid for a professional photographer. which put even more pressure on us all. that was the year of the brown...

since then, we resorted to a simple snapshot. last year i was newly and secretly pregnant (aka: tired & grumpy) and piper was being a wild child. later i had to do some airbrushing to make piper not look posessed and me not look completely (pardon my language) pissed...

a few days ago my brother and sister in law arrived from california and the whole family was together again. this only happens once a year, so of course it must be documented photographically. but, lucky for me, no one told me about the family picture until 5 minutes before so there was no time to stress! plus, piper is finally old enough to be bribed so in only two tries, we got a great shot.


snapshots of christmas.
warning: loooong post ahead. like, if you make it past picture #6, i will consider you family and probably include you in our will.

few days before christmas we finally found our perfect little tree...

it's just the right size for our little home and family.

we spend a lot of time just staring at it and thinking about how cute it is. (okay, at least i do.)

at about 6:30 on christmas morning, we opened our stockings together in bed...
piper insisted on sleeping in her "pretty dress" the night before.

i personally think stockings are the best part of christmas.

while mr.a and i were distracted by the contents of our stockings, we realized piper had snuck out of the room. we found her eating a reese's peanut-butter cup in her bedroom. she graciously shared half with mr.a...
we were most excited to present piper with her very own dollhouse...

unbeknownst to us, she had asked santa for a PINK dollhouse.
she let us know, in no uncertain terms, and ran out of the room.

mr.a eventually convinced her to come check it out, but she was not thrilled with santa's mistake.

i, however, was quite thrilled with my gifts...

later we had a fabulous brunch at my parents house, followed by the traditional reading of the christmas story.

these two got lost on the journey to bethlehem...

after the reading, a few carols, and a moment to thank the Lord for the gifts he gives; it was time to open gifts from each other...

when piper received the little family for her dollhouse, she forgave santa for the mix-up. 

and the pink tutu and tiara more than made up for it.

don't you love when you find a gift that you know is just right?
this tote bag for my mom was one of those gifts. not many would shed tears over a highway sign, but she's a floridian stranded in iowa and now she can carry a little piece of florida with her all the time.

another christmas tradition in our family is this girl...

my best friend, erika, spends every christmas with us. she has her own amazing family, but she's also a part of ours and christmas morning wouldn't be the same without her.
(and the amazing gifts she always brings!)

the next morning we woke up in a winter wonderland.
mr.a's parents live in a beautiful secluded area. perfect for a quiet morning before more holiday madness began.

piper and nana made cherry vanilla coffee cake. it was amaaaazing.

later, there were more gifts to open.
the little girls' matching sleeping bags were a big hit.

quinn's only present was a big hit, as well.

our christmas has been filled with so many wonderful moments. we've laughed and cried and snuggled and ate and drank and sang and talked and listened and just, enjoyed one another.
i hope yours was as memorable as

Thursday, December 24, 2009


we took piper and quinn to see santa clause this week...
piper gave santa her wah-woos* in exchange for presents.
14 wah-woos for 14 presents!

we talked through it with her and let her decide if she was really ready. we put them all in a special bucket for santa...

and included a tootsie pop for him, too...

it hasn't been as tough as we thought--actually more heart-breaking than anything. the first night she just wept.
i miss my wah-woo!
i just want my wah-woos back!
and when i told her she should go to sleep so she could dream about all the toys she'll get instead of her wah-woos, she cried...
i just want to dream about my pink wah-woo!
she wasn't mad or naughty about it, just sad. but, last night (night two) was much better. after mr.a told her a story about each of the disney princesses (umm, the cutest thing to eavesdrop on. EVER.) she fell fast asleep without a wimper and didn't wake til morning. it may sound cheesy but i'm so proud of her. i know she really misses having her wah-woos but she's been very brave. lately i feel my heart wince a little when i think about her growing up. she's such a fun, quirky little girl and she just makes me laugh all the time. i want to freeze these moments. i never want to forget her funny phrases and cute speech impediments and....
oh, how timely. she just came upstairs to let me know she drew on the rug with permanent marker. sigh. lucky she caught me in a moment of nostalgia.
(and that the rug was really cheap.)

*piper named her pacifiers wah-woo pretty much as soon as she could speak. we have no idea where the name came from. she reminds me so much of  my little sister when she was young. ask me about the time my little sis convinced all the neighborhood kids that her sandbox was called Calottabread. Calottabread. yeah. she's a strange one. guess it runs in the family.

anyway, just want all of you to know, i'm honored that you take the time to read this little thing called blog. whether we know you or not, we wish you love, joy and peace during this holiday season.

merry christmas.
  mr.a   *   b.a.   *   spunky p   *   sweety q

Saturday, December 19, 2009


i love a good senior pic.
oh my word, i have so much to tell you but i don't have time to share it all yet. mr.a ran to the store (yes, he's home!) so i'm taking this little minute to show you what i wore today....

i really liked this outfit. it was one of those days where things just magically came together and really worked, at least for me.

this green cardigan is one of my standby's. i bought it 5 years ago for $98! it seemed like a huge investment at the time and i was really nervous about spending that much; but i literally wear it year round and in the winter i wear it at least once a week. it is my favorite and i will never regret spending so much on it. if my house ever burns down i will grab this sweater and then probably my children. these rubber boots were another great buy. they were really cheap but i remember when i bought them, i didn't know how often i'd wear them and i wondered if it was a waste to even spend the $7. i wear them all the time.
it's frustrating how some of the things we spend the least amount of money on get the most wear. but then, something like this cardigan has been well worth the money. sigh... how do you know what's gonna be the IT item in your wardrobe?

anyway, here's the breakdown:

j.crew ($98)

striped button-down: gap ($6)
corduroys: j.crew ($11)
scarf: target ($14)
rubber riding boots: bitten, steve & barry's ($7)
gold hoops: target ($10)

Thursday, December 17, 2009


me: how do i look?   
p: funny.
me: like...cute funny?  
p: no.

oh well. the hat was necessary. i didn't want to take a shower today because i want to take a shower tomorrow and i don't  like taking showers every day. especially in the winter. i get all dried out and, honestly, it just takes way too much time. today was a bit of a stretch because it was day 3. i usually go every other. anyway, i did not intend to go into such detail about my personal hygiene...

scarf: j.crew

sweater: j.crew

jeans: thrifted

mocs: j.crew

on another note...

the reason i want to shower tomorrow is because
drumroll please....
mr.a will be home!
can you believe it? yes, you probably can since i mention it every chance i get. i want scream every time i think about it. instead i just dig my fingernails into my palms since generally it's not acceptable to scream. though, piper and i jump up and down and scream when no one's around.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


we've been waiting for mr.a to get home before putting up our christmas tree; but i couldn't wait any longer to put a few decorations up around the house. sigh...i just love christmas decorations! i don't even have very much, but what i do have makes me verrrrry happy!

i love seeing the different styles of nativity set that people choose. they're all so different and beautiful. each year when i pull ours out i fall in love with it all over again and every year i think, "why don't i leave this out all year long?"

their clothing is carved to look quilted, and each character's "quilt" tells a part of the story.

in our dining room, i hung my favorite ornaments from our chandelier...

my sister bought these for me from anthropologie a few years ago, i just love them.
i wish i had a whole tree-ful of them!

i hope to get our tree decorated on friday night (we pick up mr.a at the airport on friday afternoon!), so i'll be sure to post pictures.
oh man, it seems like a dream that my husband will finally be with us again. a dream.

Monday, December 14, 2009


do i look like a grandma?

i mean, i have nothing against grandmas. i love my grandmas...
however, the turtleneck/sweater-vest combo may be a little too golden girls for me.
i got this vest on super-clearance at target, thinking i'd be able to throw it over all kinds of stuff, but i'm realizing my winter wardrobe mostly consists of black & grey basics. not a wholelotta brown. i think they may have even had this vest in grey--wishing i'd bought that one instead.

anyway, this is what i'm wearing. i'm comfy and warm. (geez, since when were comfy and warm prioritized above cute and trendy?! i really am getting old!)

vest: target
t-neck: j.crew
jeans: gap
necklace: express
shoes: converse

Sunday, December 13, 2009


girl crush confession:
oh man. do you ever see someone and just think,
"man, i want to BE them!" even if you don't really want to be them, you just want little pieces of their life to be little pieces of your life. take this girl for instance:

the little pieces of her life that i would like for my own?
her hair long and glorious and natural-looking.
her wardrobe amaaaaaazing.
her job stylist for anthropologie? uh, hello!
i am totally inspired. as lame and unoriginal as this sounds--i want to dress just. like. her.
i would wear every single outfit that she's posted. and she's a mom. bonus points! and she looks kinda short, right?
i'm short, so i like seeing people who do short well.
she certainly does. bonus, bonus points!
she has a handsome hubsy and a tot name hudson. hudson! sigh.
love her.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


"after three days in pajamas,
this is what you come up with?"*

yeah, yeah, so i'm basically still wearing pajamas. though i was more than ready to get out of the house** yesterday, i wasn't quite ready to get out of my comfy clothes. so the leggings, t-shirt dress***, and grandpa sweater felt like pj's but hopefully passed as an outfit.
in my defense, i added a chunky necklace...

and ditched the slippers for these guys...

cardigan: j.crew ($30)
t-shirt dress: tj maxx ($7)
knit leggings: j.crew ($5)
scarf: super-old, maybe target (?)
boots: steve madden ($40)
necklace: super-old ($5)

*notice piper sizing me up, already embarassed to be seen in public with me.

**post-blizzard...yeah, you may have seen our little iowa town on the TODAY show. woot-woot!

***okay, i admit, it's not really a t-shirt dress. it's just a t-shirt that i happened to buy 3 sizes too big. "t-shirt dress" sounded more outfit-y. i'm still trying to convince you that this is an outfit and not pajamas. outfitoutfitoutfitoutfitoufitoufitoufitoutfit.

****garance is the original queen of the asterisk. and many other things. check out her genius here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


it's official: