...because home doesn't happen overnight.

18house4

I haven’t written a blog post or been on social media for twenty-one months. TWENTY-ONE! That’s nearly two years!! Surely, I must have gone mad or something horrendous has happened to me and my family. Fortunately, the reason for my hiatus isn’t that dramatic. Simply put, I started working full-time as a pharmacist (my trained profession) again, and it was necessary to reprioritize (quickly!) for the sake of sanity – mine and my family’s. Blogging has taken a back seat and been there for a while. But I have a little free time on my hands at the moment, so I’m scratching the itch and giving it a go. It’s impossible to fit two years into one post, so I’ll hit the highlights (not necessarily in chronological order) and see what happens.

me and mabes

1. I went back to work as a pharmacist. Going back to pharmacy wasn’t something I specifically discussed on the blog (although I did mention what I missed about working outside the home here), but when I decided to stay home with the kids after our third was born it was always my intention to go back to pharmacy in some capacity once Mabrey started school. At the end of 2016, panic got the best of me when I realized Mabrey would be starting kindergarten the following fall. I wasn’t sure if anyone would hire me with a five-year gap on my resume, so I immediately began applying for jobs thinking it would take a while to get a bite. Steve and the kids were nothing but supportive. I think they were ready for me to get back out there. Ha! As luck would have it, I had an interview and then an offer within a week. The job, hours and pay were just too good to pass up.

I’ve been working full-time (actually overtime 90% of the time) since the beginning of 2017 and I love it. You may recall that the majority of my pharmacy experience was in retail and it wasn’t my favorite. Now, I’m in a hospital setting in an outpatient pharmacy where we collaborate with nurses, doctors and social workers to ensure patients have everything they need for a successful transition to home/long term care facility/shelter. Because we’re non-profit and have access to several community-based public health programs, we do a lot of work with low income and homeless individuals. I’m not sure what you know about Dayton, Ohio, but we’re in the thick of an opioid epidemic, so we serve many patients coping with addiction and overdose as well. We also fill prescriptions for hospital employees. Earlier this year, I was promoted to manager, so not only am I fulfilling pharmacist duties, I’m managing several other pharmacists and a half-dozen technicians, too.

The first few months were a HUGE transition period (mono, strep, frequent work travel for Steve and finishing up the pee house renovation were added challenges), but I feel like we’re in a good place now – especially with all three kids in school. We’re even enjoying this new normal.

18house1

2. We moved! You probably already guessed that from the photos. So, yeah, at one point last year we owned THREE houses for a short period of time and it was INSANE. The long story will have to wait for another post, but the short story is our forever house totally ambushed us, sneaking up out of nowhere. The timing was terrible. We were finishing up the pee house and hadn’t even contemplated putting the house we were living in on the market. In the end, it all worked out. Even though it’s all kinds of outdated (so. much. brown.) and we’ve only been here a year, our new place feels like home more than any other place we’ve lived. We love working on it, and every time we finish a project we love it even more.

pee house

3. We sold the pee house. Our first flip was a success! We sold by owner and made a decent profit. I promise to share more details and photos someday. I think the most difficult aspect of flipping for us was holding back from over-improving which meant diligently choosing what to do and what not to do. Our goal was to bring the old house back to life with modern conveniences but keep resale and profit in mind. Would we flip again? Definitely.

kids 30a

kids wv

4. The kids grew. Layne is thirteen and, let me tell you, thirteen is hard! For kids and parents. So many changes happening, and it’s a stage of parenting I feel completely unprepared for. Layne went through an especially drastic growth spurt. He grew 6.5″ and gained thirty-three pounds in one year! Even the pediatrician was blown away. He passed me up a while ago and is nearly as tall as Steve. He wears a size 11 shoe and tells me he has the deepest voice of anyone in his school. He’s still playing mandolin and recently acquired an electric bass which he really enjoys. He’s taken up tennis which seems to be the common thread holding us together at this point, so I’ll take it! He still hugs me goodnight voluntarily every night before bed (although he has to lean down to reach me) which is reassuring.

everett pizza float

Everett is ten and hilarious. His loves to make people laugh. You’ll be happy to know he has realized his life’s calling as a pizza float model :) He’s really into music and plays electric guitar. Steve took him to his first live concert over the summer, and he was awestruck. He’s an amazing artist, too. He doesn’t simply copy real life images; he’s creating images in his mind and bringing them to life on paper. It’s pretty spectacular to watch. We’re still dealing with remnants of PTSD left over from the scooter accident, but he’s made a ton of progress and I’m so proud of him. He’s a tough lil’ guy.

mabrey & hobbes

Mabrey is Mabrey. She’s spunky, social, wants to do ALL THE THINGS and has a raw sense of humor that inevitably comes from having two older brothers. She’s thriving in school. She’s six, in first grade and enjoys making new friends and generally staying busy. On the first day of school, a new kid was at the bus stop and Everett whispered to Mabrey, “Do your thing.” She can make anyone her friend in five seconds flat. She gets off the bus skipping. Literally. She loves animals (somehow she tricked me into bringing a second cat home on a trip to the pet store for only cat food – see #5), dresses and spaghetti but hates brushing her hair. She declares each day “the best day ever!” and when you’re around her, it’s hard to disagree.

mabrey & hobbes

5. We adopted another cat. Meet Hobbes. He and his two brothers were found stranded in a window well as scrawny kittens. We adopted him after Mabrey asked to *just* hold him at the pet store last fall. I mean, how do you say no to that picture?! Ugh. I keep insisting I’m not a “cat person,” but the last time I went to Aldi I walked out with two bags of cat food and a box of microwavable popcorn. If that doesn’t scream “CAT LADY!” I don’t know what does.

hobbes2

hobbes3

king hobbes

Hobbes lives up to his name. (Everett named him after his love of Calvin & Hobbes.) He’s social, playful, mischievous, cuddly and super sweet. He’s kinda bossy, too, eating Cheetah’s food and bullying her into playing chase. Cheetah is super chill about it all. She made the move to the new house without a single hiccup and has adapted well to sharing the house with another feline. She’ll entertain Hobbes for a bit then lets him know when she’s had enough. They’re alone together during the day when everyone is at school/work, and they get along just fine. Sometimes I even come home to find them curled up on the couch together.

lake michigan kids

6. We took some pretty awesome vacations. As busy as we’ve been, we’ve managed to squeeze in several vacations. Finding the time is the most difficult aspect of planning getaways nowadays. The kids are in school and have music/tennis lessons. Steve and I are both putting in long hours at work. Steve has been traveling frequently for business, and my PTO (paid time off) was restricted for the first half of the year due to the closing of a sister hospital in the area. For those reasons, we’ve done more long weekend versus week-long trips. We’re finding the busier things get, the more we need these little breaks to reconnect as a family.

kids 30a

kids wv cave

Specific details probably deserve a blog post of their own, but here are a few of the places we’ve visited over the last two years: an architect’s farmhouse in Connecticut, a Treehouse Masters treehouse in Kentucky, a cave in West Virginia, an artsy hotel in Columbus, Indiana (a little known midcentury modern architectural mecca), a family-friendly hub on 30A in the Florida panhandle and a boho bungalow in Detroit’s North End. (The Henry Ford museum is fantastic!) In fact, I wrote the majority of this post in Detroit.

me @IKEA

Putting the blog and social media on hold wasn’t planned, but it’s been most definitely necessary. I know my limits, and I know what ensues if I live beyond them. It isn’t pretty. Even so, I have felt like something is missing. I miss writing. I miss taking pictures. (I literally had to dust off my camera last week.) I miss having some kind of tangible documentation of the passing of time when it comes to our home and family. I miss the exchange of ideas, inspiration and support from other house-loving peeps. The truth is, I think I need both. I need the clinical day job that utilizes my college degree along with the creative daydream on the side. Over the years this space has served many purposes and I’m forever grateful for it, but I’m glad to have it as a hobby again. You know, blogging life instead of living the blog. That being said, I can’t guarantee any regularity in posting. Post frequency will vary and most likely depend on our work and family schedules. Is weekend blogging a thing? I’m going to try my hand at Instagram again, too, so you may be more likely to find me there on a somewhat more frequent basis just because it’s way less labor intensive.

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Finally, THANK YOU for all the emails, comments and thoughts during the radio silence. They may go unanswered (damn you, time!) but not unread or unappreciated. I know some readers may choose (or have already chosen) to move on, and I totally understand. Heck, I haven’t read a blog since…I don’t know when! For those of you who take time out of your busy lives to read, thanks. Hope all is well wherever you are.

221 Comments

16.September.2018

I’m glad you’re back! And, I’m glad you took time to prioritize your family and, well, life, for a while. Absolutely necessary and understandable.

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16.September.2018

I’m so glad you shared an update! So glad your absence was about work life balance and not something more worrisome. I am happy to read any posts you have time to share!

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16.September.2018

Glad you’re alive and well! I missed your blog!

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16.September.2018

You’re BACK!!!! Please know that you have been missed. Although I respect and admire your priorities and how you seek to balance your life.

I am so excited to be seeing and reading your updates again! I CANNOT believe how much your kids have grown – especially Lane (6.5″ )!

I’m so excited to see your new house and find out the details of the”pee house” flip!

Thanks for not disappearing forever

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16.September.2018

I haven’t even read yet (but will do so as soon as I hit submit on this) — first need to tell you how happy I am to see you back online! :)

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16.September.2018

Welcome back!! Can’t wait to hear about your adventures these past two years. And as a native Detroiter, so glad you enjoyed the city!

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16.September.2018

Okay now I’ve finished reading. I’m so glad you’ve been doing so well :)

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16.September.2018

So very happy to see you on my blog feed and to know that all is well with you and your lovely family. You have been missed. -ashley

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16.September.2018

This made my heart happy, thanks for the life update!

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16.September.2018

It was like CHRISTMAS MORNING seeing a new blog post from you! I am so excited to hear what you have been up to- welcome back!!

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16.September.2018

So nice to hear from you! Welcome back to whatever way(s) you come back to!

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16.September.2018

Welcome back! Housetweaking has been an inspiration for me – your whole house humidifer post dramatically improved the quality of my home during the past few winters and I’m thankful.

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16.September.2018

Woohoo! So excited for the quick rundown and the promise of more on Instragram! I’m not gonna lie, my mind kept going to bad places thinking of reasons for the radio silence, but I’m glad to hear all is well!

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16.September.2018

I kept your blog in my feed, hoping you would come back. Welcome back and I can’t wait to hear more!

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16.September.2018

Good for you! Look forward to seeing your posts again!

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16.September.2018

HOLY CRAP I MISSED YOUR BLOG! haha I never read blogs anymore and when your email just popped in I was confused on what it was but once I realized I was so excited to see the updates. Your house/style was always my favorite. Glad you took the time for yourself and your family! That’s what really matters. We will take whatever post you have time to share! Welcome back!

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16.September.2018

So happy you are back!! Glad you took the time off for you and your family! That is most important! Look forward to seeing your weekend posts ;)

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16.September.2018

Glad you’re back. Always loved your blog!

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16.September.2018

So happy to see this post and that everything is going well with you! Looking forward to your posts whenever you get a chance to write and post them!

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Yes! Hi! So glad to see you again! I’m so glad you’re happy and healthy and doing awesome! Your kids are HUGE, and your new house looks beautiful. Can’t wait to hear more about what you’re up to.

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16.September.2018

Welcome back! I really hope we can learn more about your new home. You have great taste and I really inspired by the Underdog when we did our remodel! I can’t imagine moving, but I guess you can never say never…

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16.September.2018

O.K. I am one who loves this post as it has real content and not seven (often seems like seventy!) different photos of the same item(s) and a post that is not hawking your own product(s). Good for you for knowing what is best for your family and for you. As for me, I prefer fewer “meaty” posts — maybe not for a two year gap; nonetheless, ones with vibrancy that reflect real-world smart choices.

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16.September.2018

I literally did a double take when I saw this in my email. I’m so happy to see you return in any capacity that works for you. Can’t wait to see and read about the new house- it looks amazing. Welcome home ;)

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16.September.2018

This post makes me so happy! I have always enjoyed your blog and fully support you blogging about life.

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16.September.2018

Ha! I did a double take when I saw your email in my inbox! Happy you’re all ok! Welcome back.

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16.September.2018

I did a double-take when I saw you pop up in my blog reader! So nice to see you back! I’ve seen you post on Pinterest during the blog silence and kept hoping to see activity on Instagram or the blog. Glad to hear all is well with you and your family!

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16.September.2018

When I saw the email in my inbox I had to do a double take! Welcome back:) I’m glad to hear that it was nothing serious that called you away. It certainly sounds like you have been busy, but you’ll have plenty of stories to share when you have time and when you are ready! The new house looks beautiful from the outside picture you shared, and I can’t wait to see more. I’ll definitely continue to be a reader whenever you have time to share:)

PS: Holy the kids have grown! Welcome to the cat lady family;) haha.

Sally

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16.September.2018

I’m so excited to see your post I haven’t even finished it yet! Discovered your blog via YHL. I used to live in Cincinnati & reading your blog made me feel a little closer to OH. Thank you!!

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16.September.2018

Thanks for sharing an update. Glad things are going well and I can’t wait to see what’s going on in the future.

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16.September.2018

Yours is my very favorite blog. I initially inhaled about 2 years worth of posts in a day, and soon after you stopped posting. I’m SO excited you are back at it and that I didn’t delete your blog from my feed reader. I think I was always holding out hope. And kudos to you for taking a break. Sooo necessary sometimes. XO

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16.September.2018

I nearly dropped my phone when I saw your post pop up in my blog feed! So excited to see you back and hope it continues!

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16.September.2018

Welcome back! I always wondered where you went! Your kiddos are so big! Can’t wait to see more house photos.

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16.September.2018

Glad you’re back. I always loved the rooms you decorated. You had the best decorated bedroom ever!

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16.September.2018

Dana!
So over the moon to reconnect!
You literally popped in my head and bam there your email was in my inbox! I applaud your ability to 100% step away – but Welcome back!!!!
Take Care!

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16.September.2018

I’m so glad to see you + the family are doing well! I had checked in on you a handful of times over the past 2 years, and missed seeing your beautiful home! Wishing you all the best <3

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16.September.2018

Hi! Welcome back, I missed you and your blog that I love so much! I hope you continue to write and inspire. A LOT of the stuff I do to my home was ideas and copying you. I absolutely love your style and advice. And…it always reasonably priced! I’m a Craigslister, Goodwilling, treasure hunter!

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16.September.2018

Checking my email tonight—your blog post was the best surprise ever! So happy to know all is well with you and I can’t wait to see more of your new house and projects! Welcome back!!

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16.September.2018

So glad to hear you are alive and well! I truly missed your blog but certainly understand the reasons you had to take a hiatus. I work full time and have 2 kids and a dog so I barely have time to read a blog let alone write one! Wishing you the best and I look forward to read potential future blogs that you have time for.

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16.September.2018

What a nice surprise to see your post in my inbox! Thanks:)

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16.September.2018

Props to you for doing what felt right and just recognizing your priorities! I missed your blog!! Happy to see your post in my inbox! Remember to keep doing YOU, whatever capacity that might be!

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16.September.2018

I MISSED YOU!!! So, seeing this post pop up literally brought excited tears to my eyes! Thank you for taking time to quickly catch us up on your busy life. I’m all for weekend blogging or whatever kind of blogging fits your schedule. I’ll read it any time, any where! Glad to hear you are doing so well and I just can’t believe how much the kids have grown. xoxo

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16.September.2018

So happy you’re back! Can’t wait to see pics of your projects if you so choose to share when you have the time. You were truly missed ❤️

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16.September.2018

I’m beyond excited that you’re back!!! Thank you for the update and please take your time with your posts. Not that I’m not excited to hear more about your house and family adventures but I really want you to do what’s best for your family. Dana, welcome back xoxo

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16.September.2018

Oh my goodness, you’re back! Welcome back, you made my day!!

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16.September.2018

Welcome back! I have missed your blogging.

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16.September.2018

Wow! I can’t believe it has been that long! And I didn’t realize how much I missed reading your posts until this showed up in my email. I hope to see more and for you to share more of your new home. Because those drapes and that green sofa… looove!

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16.September.2018

I missed reading your blog and I’m so glad you posted! Glad everything is going well!

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16.September.2018

Good to see you back and well! I don’t know why, but I decided to check your blog today and sure enough there was a post! Can’t wait to see more pics of the house :) Love your vacays, especially to Detroit! I grew up 10 min from Henry Ford estate and my dad would take my siblings and I there frequently to walk the grounds and see the waterfalls. Good luck to you and your family :)
Sincerely,
One happy reader

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17.September.2018

So good to hear an update and I can’t wait to hear all about the new house! I’ve thought of you often and I love that your family is well and growing! Welcome back!

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17.September.2018

Glad you’re back, however you want that to look. Thanks for the update. It’s great that you’re so fulfilled in your job. Can’t wait to see the Flip house and your Forever house.

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