...because home doesn't happen overnight.
03.23.15 / Made Me Smile

Dayton Art Institute

Dayton Art Institute

dayton art institute

dayton art institute

The last few weekends have been good to us. No snow, no traveling, no big projects, lots of exploring. It’s been wonderful having a wide open schedule and making (or not making) plans on a whim. I feel like much of the time Steve and I are tag-teaming our parenting responsibilities, so it’s nice when we actually get to do something all together as a family. And it’s more fun being a present parent than a serious one with a never-ending schedule.

This past weekend we visited the Dayton Art Institute and it was perfection. The kids were in awe and asked tons of questions. (They were mostly questions about boobs.) Sometimes I forget that we have one of the best art museums for kids in our backyard. If you’re ever in Dayton, Ohio, you should check it out. It’s not too big, not too small. A current exhibition, The Last Supper by Julie Green, was especially moving and it sparked an interesting conversation with our oldest. I love it when art does that.

I’m also loving…

*The hits of black and dark olive in this row house by Mazen Studio.

*Benita’s DIY bar cabinet featuring a Superfront door.

*Sunset’s special small space style issue. (So fun to see familiar homes in a different way!)

*The kid-friendly lunchbox of my dreams.

i carried a watermelon

*I carried a watermelon.

*The idea of a zero waste home. (Not sure I have the discipline to hit zero but every little bit helps, right?)

*Clare’s new large format prints. Use the discount code HOUSETWEAKING at checkout to score 15% off any purchase.

*A gauzy, floral robe for the summer ahead. (I wish it had been in my hospital bag when I had my babies!)

P.S. – It’s snowing now.

images: 1-5) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 6) etsy (listing unavailable)

03.16.15 / Made Me Smile

spring 2015

We had a few nice days over the past week and took full advantage of them by hitting up our favorite parks and opening the windows. (Mabrey laughs hysterically every time I give her an “unnerdoggie” on the swings. Pure happiness.) I almost forgot what it was like to breathe fresh air. It looks like we will survive another winter after all. Spring is so close! We are so ready!

A few links that stuck with me…

*Goodbye garbage house. H-E-L-L-O dream house. (I love all the well-placed windows.)

*A unique space that feels stylish yet not overdone.

*Note to self: an amazing loft studio makeover.

*Haven magazine volume one is now available! The print is based in Cincinnati, Ohio, and all volume one profits go to Freeset, an organization in Kolkata, India, helping women who have left or escaped sex trafficking.

*How to take successful interior photos, part 1 and part 2. (Thanks for sharing your secrets, Alison!)

be here now // Mary Lauren

*Be here now.

*The most practical travel makeup bag. (I use a similar, larger version for the kids’ Legos.)

*Esther’s perfectly imperfect parenting confession:

I find myself comparing to other mothers who are so productive and “successful” doing so many things while having even more kids than I have, although I know it’s okay to do less and live slower but sometimes I just feel “lazy.”

I can relate.

T minus 4 days until spring!

images: 1) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 2) Mary Lauren

03.10.15 / Life with Cheetah

life with cheetah 2

If I had to sum up life with Cheetah in one word? Smitten. She’s the fluffy pet we never knew we were missing. As you may remember, we adopted Cheetah at the end of the summer last year. Not knowing a thing about cats and having declared myself not a “cat person,” it was probably the best uninformed decision I’ve ever made. All of the concerns I had about living with a cat have dissolved. She is pretty much the best thing ever.

After the vet declared her perfectly healthy, I had Cheetah spayed. We lived through one of her heats and that was enough for me. Oh, the mooooaning. She had an uneventful recovery and has remained healthy ever since.

Luckily, Cheetah hasn’t given me any reasons to even consider declawing. I clip her nails at home with these every other week. She doesn’t hate it; she doesn’t love it. She isn’t much of a scratcher and when she does scratch she sticks to her post and cardboard lounger. I’m happy to report she hasn’t destroyed anything. (Our tree made it through the holidays unscathed.) She sometimes reaches up and stretches on the gray chair in the living room pulling loose a few threads (I just snip them with scissors), so when we leave the house I throw a blanket or two over the chair to protect it. It works. She likes to bat at and knock off the wood balls on the brass & string art in the entry. Currently, there are no balls on the strings. I just think of it as multipurpose: art + cat toy ;)

As for shedding, I’ve just started noticing a few clumps of hair here and there. I think she’s starting to shed her winter coat. We had a dog several years ago that shed like crazy. Like awful. So a few clumps are nothing. I can live with that. I give her a quick brush every week or so.

life with cheetah 1

Obviously, the kids adore her. They take turns feeding her. Cheetah meows at the boys’ bedroom door early every morning. (This is the only time she meows…she’s so quiet! Her purr is barely audible.) She has figured out that Layne is usually the first one up and she wants him to come play with her. Everett just loves on her. He holds her like a baby and talks to her and she soaks it up. Mabrey is a little more, um, rough. She carries Cheetah around like a rag doll and there have been a few hits / kicks. Cheetah is a good sport about it though. She hasn’t scratched Mabrey once. (If I were a cat, I think I would have.) I love spying on the two of them together during the day. Mabrey talks to Cheetah like they’re girlfriends. It’s so cute.

Cheetah is kinda a second mother to the kids. When one of them is upset, she sits quietly next to them like she’s concerned. At night, when we put the kids to bed, she always comes into their rooms as if to say goodnight. Then she waits outside the door until Steve and I come out into hallway. After the kids are in bed for the night, Cheetah is the cuddliest lil’ thing. Steve and I have been binge-watching Breaking Bad (yes, I know it’s 2015…we’re a little behind) in the evenings. Cheetah curls up in my lap and it’s the sweetest. I never knew cats could be so snuggly.

life with cheetah 3

I think it’s weird that she has a different favorite napping spot each day. It’s been the bottom bunk, my desk stool, a shelf in my closet, under a blanket, Mabrey’s bed, Mabrey’s closet, the mantel, the top of the media cabinet, the changing pad in the nursery (that we don’t use anymore but I can’t get rid of because Cheetah likes it…I AM THAT LADY), various baskets, the bench by the front door, the bench in the mudroom, a dining chair, a sheepskin rug, etc. Sometimes I can’t find her in the usual spots and I’m surprised when I find her camped out somewhere new. She finds all the places. She never naps on my and Steve’s bed during the day but she does curl up behind my knees at night. Of course, I contort my body around her so as not to disturb her. I am also that lady.

I think it’s fair to say this kitty has converted us, along with a few extended family members who previously labeled themselves “not cat people.” I’ve even caught myself going out of my way to walk past the kitties up for adoption at the pet store. Insanity.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking