Catching Up on Portraits: Weeks 9-12 of 52

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

August: on the hunt for small spaces to climb into [9 / 52]

August: my shadow, you never stray too far even when curiosity strikes [10 / 52]

August: learning to love evening trips to Lowe's [11 / 52]

August: most weekdays we are at the park with Lulah for long walks in the woods and trips down the slides [12 / 52; photo cred: Ranne Hammes]

Linking up with Jodi's 52 Project here.


A [Quick] Pennsylvania Winter; or, The Delight of a Heated Blanket


As a part of the Loy "we are about to have another baby and may never leave the house again" Adventures, August and I flew to Pennsylvania to visit with our friends, the Unverzagts. Although Emily and I grew up together in Orlando, Florida, neither of our families still live there. Emily, her husband and three boys live in Grove City now; any chance to see them is a sweet blessing.

We visited the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburg our first day and found the cafe warm, the orchids welcoming and the Gold Rush train display mesmerizing. I was thankful to have extra eyes on August as he wandered (or ran) around to the different rooms. Josiah, the oldest, was particularly helpful in directing August back to our crew.

August revelled in having three big brothers and all of the attention. I drank warm tea and coffee with slippers on and watched as Emily balanced the diverse demands of motherhood (including homeschooling and tutoring). The temperatures were in the negatives most nights so when Casey retired for the evening while Emily and I stayed up to talk, he turned on the heated blanket on my bed. Crawling into a pre-warmed bed when snow is on the ground is one of my new winter favorites.

We woke one morning to falling snow and August watched from the window pointing to the "snow!" When the temperatures rose to 18 degrees, we ventured to the backyard for snow pictures. August was a bit off balance in his loaner snow suit. After a few wobbly falls, he was done with the cold and ready to be on warm, steady ground again.

Casey watched the boys one night (I was impressed!) so that Emily and I could get away for a dinner at the brewery in Slippery Rock. The uninterrupted conversation, warm food and celebratory music was a personal highlight. We love our sons but eating a complete meal without running to the kitchen for something or prompting the boys to eat felt indulgent. We later started the BBC mini-series Bleak House. I'm anxiously awaiting my copy from the library to finish it. (Mr. Widmore is in it too! Does anyone else get excited when Lost actors pop up here and there? No, just me? Okay...)

Thank you for taking such good care of us, Unverzagts! We love you guys and can't wait to have you here in June!


8 / 52

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

August: surrounded by the cold Pennsylvania winter, you made sweet music to warm our hearts


Find out more about Jodi's 52 Project here.

7 / 52

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

August: your face was full of curiosity as we taxied our way out of mild Charleston toward freezing Pittsburgh. 


Find out more about Jodi's inspiring 52 Project here.


Around Here

Around here, I am doing laundry and starting to pack for our tri-city trip. August and I will be flying to Pittsburg to visit Emily and family on Sunday morning then returning to Greenville where Brandon will meet us. August will have his first weekend away with friends while Brandon and I escape to the mountains for two days. "Excited" does not describe our sentiments well enough.

Around here, I am stitching up a little surprise for dear friends.

Around here, we are reading longer picture books to August as his attention span and understanding increases. It is the best thing ever.

Around here, August and I are listening to my aunt and Brandon finish painting the downstairs ceiling.

Around here, I am clearing my phone in anticipation of the pictures I'll be snapping in the snow.

Around here, I've been working every spare moment on my 2014 family albums.

Around here, we are all dancing to 60s music in the kitchen.

Around here, August watches me cook each night from his stool. That boy definitely likes to be involved in whatever we have going on.

Around here, I am thinking I need to start a "to do by baby's arrival" list of Writer's Muse related tasks. Don't worry, I'll use my tried and true bullet journaling method so that I stay on target.

Around here, we are wishing you a happy valentine's day. Hug the ones you love this weekend!



Brandon: August, are you stinky?
August: no. (Innocently)
Brandon: August, is daddy stinky?
August: yes!
Brandon: August is mumma stinky?
August: (no answer)

Learning young to pass the buck and charm the ladies.   

Bullet Journaling: Why It Works for Me

I have been "bullet journaling" for seven months and am 100% hooked! 

I heard about the method in late-July/ early-August after I had been in the market for a good planner for several months. I needed something flexible enough to help me organize the various facets of life (home, blog, work, Brandon's schedule, events) but the problem was that I was shopping in summertime with high expectations. I hated the idea of dropping money on a 2014 planner that I would only be able use for 5-6 months. I also tend to use my planner consistently for several weeks and then put it aside for a week or two before diving back in. When I heard about "bullet journaling," I thought I would give it a shot since I already had a spare moleskin on hand.

This awesome video will explain the method much better than I ever could. If you are interested in this method, check it out here. I (obviously) highly recommend it.

How I have customized this:

  1. Each month, I lay out three month spreads for: Events, Meal Planning, Blog Posts
  2. In addition to the monthly goals, I list weekly goals during busy times (so I remember to include them in my daily task list).
  3. If I am working on a project (like my 2014 family album), I designate a two-page spread for thoughts and notes. In this way, my planner serves as a brainstorm space for things I do not necessarily want or need in my personal journal. 
  4. I use it for packing lists since I'm a pen-and-paper gal but don't need to record in my personal journal that I took toothpaste with me to Pittsburg in February 2015.
  5. When I lay out my weekly spread of daily tasks, I often note the intended meal for the night so that I do not have to refer back to that monthly page as often. The month-long spread just allows me to plan further in advance than a week. 
  6. I use highlighter to mark completed tasks (sometimes).
  7. I decorate my pages with wash tape because its lovely and makes me want to use the planner more.

    I love this method because it allows me to plan everything in one place! This can include the details of an event (who to invite, what will we eat?, what color flowers to buy), the needs of my day-to-day activities (prep bread dough, buy stamps) and the diverse work tasks at hand (check support email, pay customers, email P about Google bug).

    This method also works for me because the weeks I do not use my planner, I am not wasting planner space. I just turn the page in my moleskin and start fresh. (This was especially wonderful during my first trimester- mostly September- when meal planning and creative thinking were last on my list of priorities.) When 2014 ended, my planner was not yet filled up so I turned the page and started my January 2015 spread. No need to start a new planner with every new season!

    I wish I had known about this method years ago. Do you think you will give bullet journaling a try?