Wednesday, October 28, 2009


On my mind at the moment:

Blogging: I've been miserable at it. Enough said.

New windows: ...are going in at the house! {3 down, 8 more to go. my father-in-law is a rockstar. and Marty works at the house till 2am on lots of nights. Me? I just putter around and feed the guys lots of pizza.}

My Dad: It's his birthday today. I really love him.

Archery: My Dad's birthday activity of choice. {Seriously.}

Me at an archery range: Not sure the instructors will know how to handle a pregnant woman with a large belly. Ahem.

Les Miserables: Marty's all-time favorite play. {Did you know he majored in technical theater and design?} We're going to see the show tomorrow night. I'm excited, because of how excited he is :)

Cloudy days: I think there's something wrong with my brain. Because, for the second day in a row, I was ridiculously happy about taking hour-long walks under an overcast sky.

Little chocolate shops: I stopped by one today to buy nonpariels and double-dipped maltballs for my Dad's birthday. Oh, yum. Yum. Yum. Yum. I could stay in there for hours and just sniff the carmels and chocolates.

New computer monitor: It's black, and shiny, and skinny. It also blows out of the water any excuse I have for not editing that last photo shoot.

iMac: Speaking of shiny and skinny... I took a stroll down the Apple aisle while we were waiting for the salesman to grab the monitor from the back. Holy Toledo. I think I almost convinced Marty to forget the new monitor... what about dropping a few extra bucks {or so} on a macbook pro? Yes, yes, my really great, spiffylicious, accomodating husband-man?

Denied: My plea for a Mac. {Apparently, for my husband, things like food, clothing, and shelter take precedence over smashingly-awesome computer systems. Psshh. Whatever.}

One of my family members has gently pointed out that I was a bit misleading in my comments above... regarding the lovely little macbook I stumbled upon at the store. And since I'm going for honesty here, I have to set the record straight: really, truly, all I probably have to do is say the word, and a shiny, skinny, spiffy mac would appear, wrapped in a big fat red bow, from Marty to me.

Because Marty is the generous one. Money doesn't really matter to him. He's responsible, but he doesn't blink when he spends $5 or $500. When we wrote a monster check for the down-payment on our house... he smiled.

And I nearly fainted.

Because I am the penny-pincher. I'm the budgeter, the saver, the "hide your money in the sock drawer" kind of person. I'm absolutely terrified of what would happen if I ever said, "Hun, I really think we should get that macbook." Because, holy cow, he'd go out and actually GET IT.

So, yes, in the name of responsibility, I suppose you could say that Marty would say No to a brand-new Mac system. And it's true, I did prance up and down the aisle, rationalizing why "we really should get one, don't you think, my spiffylicious husband-guy??" But, in the back of my mind, I was thinking, "Nope, nada, no way." Because I knew, in the back of his mind, he was thinking, "Sure, hey, why not?"

Twisted, yes? But also very true.

p.s. This is why it's good to have relatives read your blog. They'll tap you on the shoulder when you write something that's just a bit off... and you've always got someone obligated to laugh at your not-so-funny jokes ;)

Friday, October 23, 2009

friday morning fun

Happy Friday! It's raining in Chi-town today, but this morning, I'll have a steaming mug of chocolate-y goodness to keep me company, and lunch with a dear friend this afternoon to look forward to. Tomorrow, while Mr. G works hard on our house, I'll be folding laundry {ugh}, catching up on small-group homework, calling a few friends I haven't talked to in awhile {yay!}, and *hopefully* buying a new computer monitor {we'll see if el husband-o and el credit card-o are both feeling agreeable...}.

Besides accumulating white pieces of furniture and taking pictures of sheet metal, I've recently delved into the wonderful world of Etsy, and I want to share some of my finds with you in the coming weeks. {Note: I used to be overwhelmed by the sheer hugeness of the website. For example, when I searched for "vintage notecard," I got 11,000 hits. Sheesh. But then, I started to enjoy perusing through the different shop pages... sort of like rummaging through shelves at a resale store, you know? Now, it's exciting to poke around and see what sort of things people are making and selling. Totally inspirational, instead of mentally draining.}

Earlier this week, I stumbled across the lovely work of Diana at City Light Photography. From what I can gather, she likes both photography and books just as much as I do {!!}, her prints are nostalgically awesome, and she offers free shipping in the US {YES!!!}. Here's a sampling of her work, all available as fine art prints, notecards, etc. You can click on each picture to go directly to the item on her site. {I'm thinking about getting the first image and framing it for Christmastime}:

So pretty and lovely, yes? Go check out her shop, and enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

he's been busy...

At the house, it's time for ductwork this week.

And since I'm clueless when it comes to this sort of thing, I sit back in my chair, take pictures, and offer unhelpful suggestions like, "Instead of spending so much time screwing pieces of metal together, why don't you just tape those two ducts together with some duct tape? Hmmm?"

{Poor Marty.}

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

mom{ma duck} ?

When I first heard the term, I thought of a little bird, carrying twigs in her beak and bringing worms to feed her chicks.


It's the name they give to a pregnant woman's urge to prepare her home for her family's new arrival. "They" say it can happen any time during pregnancy. Some women feel the need to scrub their floors with a toothbrush, while 9 months pregnant, at 2 o'clock in the morning. Others do a million loads of laundry, or cook carb-heavy casseroles that can be stuck in the freezer and pulled out for dinner after baby is born. I've read about women cleaning faucets with q-tips, painting ceilings that really didn't need to be painted, or organizing linen closets by color or texture.

"Nesting" sounds ridiculous, hm? Besides the fact that the term makes me feel like a momma duck, I don't like the thought that my life could be controlled by irresistible urges to clean something. Blech.

But then, it happened.

My first victim... A very sad-looking, Oscar-the-Grouch-colored ottoman. It had sat in our apartment, covered in a cheery blanket, for eighteen solid months. I was happy with it. It could be spilled on and sat on, and I didn't care. But then, something crazy kicked in {i.e., a little bambino started growing in my belly}, and a month ago I decided that I couldn't live one. more. day. with that ugly-looking ottoman in my possession. I went nuts: fabric, buttons, foam, spray paint, staple gun.

Here's the finished product:

Pretty, right?

This would all be well and good, if I left well-enough alone. But since I'm 6 months pregnant and currently don't have a house to clean {yes, we're still renovating...}, I've taken to upholstering, sewing, designing, and accumulating. You could probably call it decor-nesting. Which, yes, makes it sounds even more ridiculous.

Exhibits B and C: I reupholstered a pull-out sleeper sofa in white canvas. And sewed a few new pillow covers for good measure.

Exhibit D: My collection of paint samples, and doodles of floor plans, furniture placement, even down to where I want the lamps. {seriously? does anyone else do that?}

Exhibit F: A very chic tealight lantern that I found on sale... at a store I'd normally never go into... because the only people who go into stores like that are flustered moms with crabby toddlers in tow.

I could keep going, but I'll spare you.

The crazy thing is, this is not me. I don't spend my evenings sitting at the sewing machine, or hand-stiching pillowcases, or browsing through the IKEA catalog for the nine-hundreth time, or dreaming about rugs and paint colors. What's even more weird? Before, I was practical. Neutral tones. Dark carpeting that won't stain. Safe, comfortable colors. But now? Everything I'm buying is a shade of creamy white. White fabric. White sofas. White curtains. It defies all logic. {i.e., white couch + small child = total destruction, right?}

I should also mention that since there's not much work I can do at our house {who knew a pregnant woman shouldn't hang drywall?}, I've taken to painting things that don't really need to be painted, and organizing the work area. Marty tells me that never before has he seen a more orderly pile of hammers, drills, and circular saws.

This baby thing has thrown me for a loop.

{painting our back porch...}

Any other moms out there who can relate? I'd love to hear from you. We can start a support group... {I'll bring the ice cream. And a staple gun.}


Monday, October 19, 2009

recipe for a happy monday

*Homemade pumpkin muffins at 8:30 am {I'm still dreaming about it, Sarah}
*Driving with the windows down
*Being inspired by the creative, fresh work of other photographers
*Lunch: family, good conversation, coffee, and a turkey-avocado club
*Accepting the fact that nope, sorry, exercise just isn't going to happen today
*Throwing perfectionism to the wind {i.e., posting pictures without editing them first}
*Deciding to not get upset at Mr. SUV who cut me off for the third time in three minutes
*Thinking about fabric, paint colors, and hospitality
*Going to bed before 10:00

Friday, October 16, 2009

true love, latte-style

I was feeling particularly blue this morning.

Maybe it was the rain. Or my self-imposed to-do list. Or the fact that I didn't spend time with my bible and Jesus before dragging myself out of bed. Whatever it was, I was a grump. I muttered goodbye to my confused husband and left the house in a humph. The grumbly clouds and drippy rain matched my mood perfectly.

An hour later, I was sitting in my office, telling my coworker {hi Rochelle!} that I really, really hoped Marty would bring me a latte, gosh darn it. {Because, you know, I totally deserved one, after my crabby-pants routine at 7am...}

Literally ten seconds later, Marty popped his head in, with this in his hands:

My grumpy, ornery mood is gone. Instead, I'm more aware of my silly selfishness, my husband's unconditional love for his quirky-crabby wife, and the greater picture of Grace that it represents.

I'm also asking myself, How can I bless someone else today, regardless of how they're acting?

Have a happy weekend. Make someone smile. :)


{p.s. My photo-editing computer monitor is down for the count, but once it's up and running, I've got a few sweet pictures to show you of some lovely little ladies... stay tuned!}

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


In college, I had a friend who took a basic photography class during fall semester. About halfway through October, when autumn leaves were in brilliant display around campus, the prof had had enough. She told her class, "I don't want to see another picture of a leaf. I'm sick of looking at leaves. No more leaf pictures!"

{All that to say, my friend's professor would not like this post.}

Sometimes, I wish I lived in California, or Florida, or even Texas, where warm temps and golden-girl sunshine last all year long. But then I read a few blog posts written by California photographers who are dying for sweaters and woolly socks and a real reason to sip hot lattes at the coffee shop.

And then there's yesterday, when my sweet sister called from Minnesota and told me that it had been snowing there.

All. day. long.

Poor Minnesota!


I am counting my blessings, putting on my little jacket, and going for a walk in the crispy-crunchy fall weather that makes people from California and Minnesota jealous of us Chicagoans...

{for once!}

Friday, October 9, 2009

warm fuzzies {and a general update}

That picture was taken a few weeks after we were married. It was such a rush, being newlyweds: snuggling on Saturday mornings, sharing tubes of toothpaste, finding room for his giant scuba flippers and my crazy-big book collection in our 400-sq.-foot apartment, cooking dinner together, long conversations over lunch after church on Sunday afternoons, listening to his key in the lock every afternoon and thinking, "He's coming home to me..." Pure, lovely, happy bliss!

Fast-forward eighteen months: we've added a house, a photography business, and an incubating baby to the mix. Our apartment is long gone, and scuba flippers and books are shoved into storage, waiting for their new home in our yet-to-be-finished fixer-upper. Instead of coming home after work, Marty goes straight to the house for another night of wiring, or painting, or installing, and I bring him dinner on paper plates. I paint a wall, then run off for a quick photo shoot with a family down the block, then run back and paint some more. Instead of snuggling under the covers on Saturday mornings, we're up at the crack of dawn, ready to get a jump on the day's to-do list. I'm now on a first-name basis with our local hardware store manager {hi Jose!}.

And you know how most realtors give their clients a housewarming gift after closing? You know, a nice platter, or a vase, or something sweet like that. Yes. Well. Ahem. Ours {very thoughtfully} gave us a gift card to Home Depot. Oh, the irony.

Life is pure, turned-upside-down craziness. But it's still lovely.

The key is remembering why we're doing all of this in the first place. The renovating, the late nights, the early mornings, the paper-plate dinners, the knowledge that we're quite possibly single-handedly keeping Home Depot in business. We're doing this, because of us--because of family. Maybe, one day, life will slow down a bit, and we'll go back to cooking dinner and squabbling over where to fit those silly scuba flippers. Until then, we're working hard at being content in the here and now--construction, preggo belly, monster credit card bills, and all.

Have a lovely, love-filled weekend... {And stay under the covers a few more minutes longer tomorrow morning, just for me!}

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Malarie {senior}

Introducing... Malarie:

Malarie was so much fun to hang out with, because (1) she picked the most amazing, gorgeous location, (2) she was fine with walking barefoot through pretty much anything {she's all like "Psshh, no big deal," while I'm freaking out and offering her my flip flops}, and (3) she held it together while I rolled around in goose poop like it was a normal, everyday thing {"oh yeah, these stains on my jeans? they'll totally come out. i do this all the time..."}.


***Click here*** for the slideshow!

Friday, October 2, 2009

friday {hello!}

Since I'm not too adept at writing full-blown blog posts, I'll stick to what's working best for me right now--quick snippets, observations, and such. Here's the Friday edition:

*I'm thankful for cool autumn weather. And fuzzy socks. And the packet of hot chocolate, sitting next to me on my desk.

*We ordered new windows for the house yesterday. {Holy cow.} I find it ironic that we can drop hundreds {and hundreds} of dollars on windows without thinking twice, and yet I gripe and groan over whether to buy a $2 cup of coffee.

*To continue the fall theme... does anyone else have an itch to buy tons of wooly sweaters, chunky scarves, and slouchy boots? I do... but I won't be going on a shopping spree anytime soon {see previous *}.

*Chicago didn't get the 2016 Olympics. I think this is a good thing.

*Yesterday, my amazing friend Sarah gave me the most delicious cup of tea I've had in a long, long time {you can check out the flavor here}. Sarah has expanded my culinary horizons in a bazillion ways {without her, I would have never tried edamame!}, and I highly recommend her cooking blog.
{Ok. Now I'm hungry...}

*Speaking of awesome blogs... click here for another one. {Joy is my cousin's cousin. I traveled across Europe with her. She is incredible, and so is her writing. Would you tell her to write a book already? I've told her a few times before, but she just won't listen...} This is one of my favorites. And this one. And this one... {But they are all really good.}

*Anticipating a busy, full weekend: dinner tonight with some of my very favorite people {hi Grandma!}, dog-sitting while my parents are on vacation {hi Sugar!}, and lots of errands, cleaning, painting, and editing.

*I bought another white piece of furniture--this time, a creamy, cozy armchair. My mom keeps telling me that in our house, there will either be really clean children... or really frazzled parents with giant bottles of stain remover hidden under the coffee table.

Happy weekend :)