3-Month Photos

We had Hudson’s 3-month pictures and our very first family pictures taken about a month ago by Shannon Bulla Photography. I planned these pictures for a Sunday afternoon, the end of the busiest week ever.  Nathan was out of town most of the week, I worked my usual 28 hours while packing up the condo, Nathan was in his best friend’s wedding which we attended as a family, and we moved to our new house.  No big deal.

Anyway, all that’s to say that Hudson wasn’t the happiest camper by the time Sunday afternoon rolled around- he fussed for most of this session.  But the awesome Shannon Bulla came in and worked her magic, giving us pictures we will treasure forever.


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Hudson, being your Mom is a delight!


I’ll Be Happy When I Make You Mine {Our Engagement}


Do you see that ring nestled in the rose?  Do you see roses?  Yes?  Well, I didn’t three years ago when Nathan was attempting to propose.


Nathan and I, along with his two sisters, went ring shopping at the beginning of January ’10.  We had a great time and I tried on all sorts of rings at something like 5 different stores.  Nathan ended up going shopping again a week later with his mom, which is when they found the ring he ended up buying.  From the start he loved the marquee cut, and I wanted a wedding band that wrapped around the engagement ring, since I have short fingers and not a lot of room for two rings to be stacked.

I knew he had the ring for about a month, and I was sure EVERY TIME I saw him for a whole month that THIS was when we were going to get engaged.  Yes, it was a lot of pressure for me to have great clothes, hair and makeup for a whole month when I was sure that THIS had to be the night, and everybody was going to be taking pictures, etc.

Three weeks went by and I was jumpy the whole time.  My friend would check my hand every time we had a class together, and we would wonder what in the world was taking him so long.  Even Valentine’s Day came and went, and we weren’t engaged.  (Actually, he meant to propose on Valentine’s, but he forgot the ring at his apartment when he came home for the weekend!)

So, a week after Valentine’s Day, it was Saturday, and I was on my way home from college for the weekend.  I slept in a little, ran some errands, and got home around lunch time.  I even actually thought, “Ooooh, maybe Nathan will be there when I get home and he will surprise me!”  But when I pulled in the driveway, his car wasn’t there, so I didn’t think anything more about it.


I went in the house with my cello and my bags.  I sat down at the kitchen island and chatted with my parents and little siblings.  My mom was really  adamant that I needed to go put my stuff away because it was right in the doorway, which I thought was weird, but she was just trying to get me to go to my bedroom.  I went back to my bedroom and put it away.  I noticed that there was a laptop sitting on a chest in my room and it was playing Jack Johnson music.  I glanced at it and decided my sister must have borrowed my grandpa’s laptop, because it was the same brand as the one he had.  I left the room and went back to the kitchen to eat lunch.

My parents didn’t seem any different from usual, but I found out that they were really worried about what was going on…did I reject Nathan or something?  You see, the laptop was Nathan’s, it was playing one of our favorite Jack Johnson songs, and I didn’t look at it long enough to see that there was a slideshow of pictures of us together playing.  I totally missed the roses sitting on my bed, and the ring sitting inside.

I got a call from Nathan right about when I was going to eat lunch.  He was acting really weird, and doing everything he could to get me to go back to my room again.  “Surely,” he must have been thinking, “she can’t miss it twice!”  He finally convinced me that I should go play him a song on cello, since he knew my cello was in my room.  I thought this was a very strange request, and I was not at all excited to do it, but he wouldn’t relent.

I went into my room to get my cello, and before I could miss it again, Nathan stepped out of the adjacent bedroom.  I couldn’t figure out what he was doing there until all of the sudden, I noticed the flowers, the music and the laptop slideshow.  I still didn’t see the ring in the flowers- I’m not making this up- Nathan had to pick it up and show me before he got down on one knee and proposed.


All You Need Is Love {Our Valentine’s Day}


We love Valentine’s Day in this house!  I know it’s kind of a made-up holiday, but hey, a day to remind the people you love how special they are sounds like a good idea to me!  We traditionally start our Valentines morning with a special breakfast.  Every year that we’ve been married the time this breakfast has to start gets earlier and earlier.  I guess that means we’re growing up.  I set my alarm for 5:30 to make this breakfast since Nathan’s out the door by 6:50, but let’s be real, I actually got up at 5:55.


It’s not exactly a “pretty” breakfast, but it’s exactly what Nathan loves, and that’s the point, right?  He calls pancakes, waffles, French toast and muffins “a waste”.  I think he means, “it has no meat”.  So, we had breakfast burritos.  These are so easy, I pulled them together in about 10 minutes.  I browned and drained a roll of sausage, then scrambled 6 eggs and cooked them on low with a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese, a splash of milk and a chopped tomato.  I had the idea to add the tomato at the last minute, but since we didn’t have one, I just picked out all the diced tomatoes from a salad leftover from the night before.  Very classy.  When that was all done, I just rolled about 1/4 cup of filling up like a burrito in the tortilla.  I think there was enough filling for about 8 burritos.

Pink Valentines Roses

I came home from teaching last night about 9 pm to find these beautiful pale pink roses and a long handwritten note from Nathan.  I cleared off the usual coffee table decorations to make room for the flowers so I can look at them this afternoon when I have students at home.

Pink Valentine Roses


On a different note, I enjoyed shopping my closet this week to pair together some new outfits from stuff I already own.  Shannon at Our Storybook Blog calls these sorts of posts “Modest Frugal Fashion”.  I couldn’t name it better!

I like to dress up to teach my students, and by “dress up”, I mean look put together.  I wear dark jeans, a nice shirt or sweater and cute shoes most of the time.  I teach little kids in their homes, so while I enjoy showing them respect by dressing up a little, more formal clothes aren’t always practical or necessary.  In the summertime, I go almost exclusively to dresses and skirts, which I love. With cold Illinois winters, I sometimes have trouble pulling together dresses this time of year.  And even though I like feeling a little more dressed up, I’m too cheap  to go out and buy lots of new things we have to stick to our budget and be grown up so we have money for boring things like electricity and insurance and an emergency fund.

Thus, shopping in my own closet.  I think this outfit turned out pretty well.  Please excuse the Myspace-style photos of myself.

Frugal Fashion

(Real Life Remodeling: That bin of clothes in the background is my “closet” right now while our real closets are out of commission.)

Dress: TJ Max, 3 years ago.  I’ve had it a long time, but hardly worn it.  I bought it in the summer (it’s sleeveless), but it never really worked as a summer dress.  I like it this way much better.

Sweater: Target (they still have them, in lots of colors) for $19.99

Belt: Several years ago at Maurices

Leopard Flats: Target in January, on clearance for $7

Frugal Fashion

How To Survive A Remodel (While Living In The Mess)

Leah: Adopt an “It’s Okay” attitude.  “Turtle living in the basement?  Can hear a herd of mice running around in the kitchen ceiling?”  “It’s okay!”  “Water from the upstairs bathroom is pouring through the pendant lights in the kitchen?”  “It’s okay!”  “It’s a 5-foot jump into dirt out the front door?”  “It’s okay!”    “I spent my whole morning hurrying around to clean the house before I left, and when I came home this evening, the teeny-tiny piece of drywall you cut out left a thin coating of white dust on EVERYTHING?!?”  “It’s okay!”

Nathan: Don’t let your wife overwhelm you.  She will talk through ten projects in two minutes.  Those ten projects will take thirty days to finish.  Start to tune her out when she talks about the house.  Only take note of her ideas if she repeats them everyday.  That means she actually wants them.


Leah: Offer your husband a helping hand with his projects.  Watch him cut the 9-foot opening for the triple window in the kitchen.  Help him out when the header (a heavy, 9-foot beam) for the window needs to be installed.  As you hold the heavy beam up, be sure not to mention that you can’t hold it much longer.  Instead, scream as your arms give out and drop the beam on his head.
Leah: Take advantage of  your sister-in-law’s offer to help out on the house.  Unload heavy items you purchased together into the old garage on the property.  Let her shut the old, manual, single-panel garage door.  Watch and laugh as she somehow shuts herself into the garage.  Pull really hard on the garage door, the only exit, trying to open it up.  Go get other sister-in-law to help open the garage door.  When that doesn’t work, call uncle to help.  Call other relatives to come look at her through the stationary windows as she is locked in the garage.  Take lots of pictures in 100 degree weather until her uncle can get her out of the garage.
Nathan: We didn’t have a working shower for a month when we moved into our house.  We had to go to our relative’s houses to take showers.  During that time I made a scientific discovery.  Well, it’s more like a formula: angriness = dirtiness^3 + C where C is a constant = how much time Leah had to spend at the house on that day. What it boils down to is this: “Clean wife, happy life.”
Nathan:  Listen to your wife when she finds a cute puppy online and tells you that it would be a great idea to get a puppy.  Everyone knows the best time to get a new pet, especially a 7-week-old puppy, is two days after you move into a house without a bathroom, running water and basic kitchen appliances.

Leah: DO NOT think through what it means when your husband tells you the bathroom might not be finished when you move in the house.  DO NOT be shocked when you realize that since the new toilet is not working yet, you will need to use a bucket.  DO NOT check the bucket you choose for cracks or holes.  DO NOT be surprised the next morning when you wake up in your new home, walk into the bathroom and wipe out on your shiny marble tile because your bucket leaked all night.