18 / 52

"A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, in 2015."

August: in the "kitchen garden." you stir and bang and declare "cook!"

Photo taken by Ranne Hammes

Find out more about Jodi's 52 Project here.



With mirth and laughter let the old wrinkles come. 


A Letter to My Son || Little Loy #2

My Dear, Youngest Son,

Until recently, it has been easy to pretend we are getting another son just like August. We've discussed the newborn August stages as if we will repeat them with you in the exact same way. I keep waiting for labor to start in the late afternoon- just as it did with August. But you are unique. Your cry will be different, your eating patterns will be different, and, presumably, you will even look different too. Some things will be similar- birthing you will be memorable; long nights without sleep are inevitable; our love for you will surge deeper and higher than imaginable.

But you will be your own particular child with your own special demands, your own expressions and preferences. While I cannot wait to hold you, I think this realization has me hoping you will wait until May to arrive. You will then have your own month- unique from your brother and three cousins.

We are all ready for your sweet presence: for chest nap cuddles and tight finger holds, for early morning smiles and late night laughs, for baths with your brother and bedtime stories. You are anticipated with a deep love that you've done nothing to earn. We love you because you are ours and you are a perfect gift from our Father. Come when you are ready; we patiently await your arrival. 

Your mumma 


17 / 52

"A portrait of my son, once a week, every week, in 2015."

August: lost in your own world of sunshine, trucks and ramps


Find out more about Jodi's 52 Project here.


Treetops Renovations: Part 3 [The Downstairs]

Treetops- April 2015
Renovating the downstairs of my grandmother's garage apartment was one of the most emotionally and physically draining tasks Brandon and I have undertaken together. For six months, every conversation, every thought, every Googled item, every store run revolved around the Treetops Renovation Project. I have never been happier to complete something and I have never been more proud of my husband than I am right now.

the drywall and mudding begin
our downstairs view from November-January
 We had the generous help of so many friends and family members. My brother often drove twenty minutes just to bring us a saw; my aunt painted late into the night; my mom brought home-made food so we weren't living off of Barbarito's and Chick-fil-A; friends (hi, Breity's!) came from hours away to help us install doors and countertops; family lent us their trucks and gave hours to help us move furniture (again and again), install drywall, lift a refrigerator downstairs; my 72-year-old dad lifted a dryer 4 feet in the air so I didn't have to; out-of-towners texted encouragement; my pregnant sister-in-law cleaned our house for new renters. You guys, we have been so loved, surrounded and served over the last six months. We are floored.

August was eager to help.

drywall is done.

I was just touching up trim, don't worry. Baby is safe.

"Daddy cut a hole in the wall!"

future laundry room/ pantry space
I explained The Plan in a post a few days ago. As a reminder, Brandon installed drywall throughout, replaced the garage door with French doors, painted the entire interior, created a small, usable pantry space*, installed kitchen cabinets, countertops and connected the plumbing for the kitchen sink. We hired a plumber to run water lines for the kitchen sink and washing machine and an electrician friend to install several new outlets as well as the dryer outlet.

*When we discovered the bathroom door was too narrow to fit the washer and dryer, we decided to install a faux wall to slide the washer and dryer in and out. To conceal the wall, Brandon created a narrow pantry with removable shelves and a screen door. Win, win for everyone.
Santa approves of Brandon's countertop cuts

cabinet staining is not my favorite task
This is not a perfect renovation. A lot of errors were made due to our inexpertise; Brandon learned much of what he did from YouTube videos and the advise of friends. We often had to chose the cheaper, more durable route than the aesthetically pleasing route. However, this is the exact renovation we needed to make this space usable for us today and rentable for future tenants.

Here is a fun before/ after panoramic shot for you:



The Bathroom/ Laundry Room:

one of the few Grammie-pink items left: the countertops

The Kitchen/ Pantry/ Dining Room: 

The Library/ Entryway: 

The Living Room/ Office:

If you have any questions about our process or resources, please ask in the comments. We are happy to pass on our hard-earned, still relatively limited, knowledge.

The Garden/ Porch:

Little Loy banner, hung in anticipation of baby's arrival

We still need to add cabinet pulls, paint the hardy plank around the French doors and grow some grass in the front yard. But this renovation is 98% complete so I am calling it done.

For additional Treetops Renovations posts, click here.


Treetops Renovations: Part 2 [The Upstairs]

writing on subfloors is my favorite
Almost everyone in my immediate family has lived in the upstairs apartment behind Grammie during his/her adult life. Brandon and I lived here for a year while building our house in North Charleston. The location is perfect: close to family, beach, James Island lifestyle, downtown. The major drawback was space and lack of laundry facilities. I think we all would have lived here longer had we been able to install a washer and dryer in the garage.
August, watching his daddy hard at work
our carpet and vinyl removal team

August's Room:

never clean- always loved
August's treetop view
We anticipated the garage renovation taking up the majority of our time and budget. I knew the walls were painted upstairs- pretty colors (pale blue, rich chocolate, avocado green!)- but I planned to re-paint them white to bring in more light and clean up the place. The apartment smelled of cigarette smoke so we used Kilz to paint the ceiling, walls and trim. As Brandon will testify, painting ceilings is basically torture. I have to offer up a huge shoutout to my sister-in-law, Jackie, and our friends, Will and Kaitlin McAllister for helping Brandon paint the upstairs.

One of the major setbacks in the project was discovering the carpets had been used for a litter box for over a year so required removal and replacing. Carpet removal would have added a big chunk to our floor installation bill so Brandon decided to tackle it himself. Patrick, a good friend, and my brother Andrew came over one Saturday to pull up the nasty carpet. When they moved the final loads to the road for trash removal, you could smell the urine standing a clear 20 feet away.

Little Loy's Nursery Nook:
The Nook for Little Loy #2

a hot air balloon from Prague ℅ my lovely friend, Jenn

The original plan was to remove carpet in the living room and hallway. However, during removal, the guys discovered another issue- the toilet was leaking into the subfloors. Hurray for renovation! Fortunately, the leak was a simple fix but overall, the carpet/ toilet issues set us back 6-7 weeks. I am thankful we discovered the toilet issue when we did though. We have lovely, clean laminate floors now that are easy to clean and are no longer pink! (My grandmother went through an intense pink phase.)

Our Bedroom:

our bedroom
With new paint and new floors, the upstairs received a good deep clean and the porch was power washed.  It was ready for us to move in by our Thanksgiving deadline. While we completed the downstairs renovations, we used the upstairs as our sole living space. While August slept in the walk-in closet, Brandon and I used the rest of the space as intended: bedroom for bedroom, kitchen for kitchen, living room for living room. We lived like this for two months before we moved our bed out into the living room and made the bedroom into August's room. I enjoyed the intimacy the four months of small living required but sorely missed having a table to eat around. August ate in a booster seat on the floor while Brandon and I held our plates and sat on the loveseat.

view from our bed of reading/ nursing corner
After four months of tight living, we moved our kitchen, couch, television and computer downstairs and turned the upstairs into its ultimate purpose: our retreat. The screened-in porch truly is nestled in the treetops (thus, the name of the house). The beauty of this place is such a gift.

The Upstairs Porch:
our porch
a carnival in the treetops

For additional Treetops Renovations posts, click here.