...because home doesn't happen overnight.
04.11.16 / Liked & Linked

We celebrated Mabrey’s and Everett’s birthdays in the last two weeks. Fun fact: My due date with Mabrey was Everett’s birthday, but, like the majority of babies, she wasn’t born on my due date. Still, their birthdays are so close we usually lump them together to celebrate with extended family because it’s easier for everyone. On their actual birthdays, we do something special yet not extravagant.

For her birthday, Mabrey wanted a balloon, bubbles, bubblegum and to visit her favorite park. We made a special trip to Target just for bubbles and bubblegum. The look on her face when she laid her goodies on the conveyor belt at checkout was pure happiness. She smiled at the cashier and said, “I’m four!” Every time someone wished her “Happy birthday!”, she replied with “Happy birthday to you too!” It was so cute. We spent the entire afternoon at the park where we met another little girl also celebrating her fourth birthday with her father and little sister. Trips to the park must be in high demand in the four-year-old world. On the way home, we stopped off at a local bakery, and Mabrey picked out a huge chocolate cupcake as her birthday treat. All the excitement wore her out. She fell asleep in the living room with her balloon floating overhead while I made spaghetti for dinner, her favorite. She still can’t make the hand signal for four without putting up three fingers first. When someone asks her how old she is, she initially signals three then slowly raises her pinky. It’s hilarious. I hope she always does it that way.

Everett’s birthday coincided with spring break, so we celebrated it while on vacation. (More on our vacation later this week.) He asked for a Kylo Ren voice-changing mask, a lightsaber and pizza. Amidst the chaos of packing, I ordered the mask and saber before we left and had it shipped to our cabin. Seriously, what did procrastinating parents do before Amazon? I didn’t have any wrapping paper, so I presented the drab brown box in dramatic fashion. I screamed from the top of the stairs, “Ahh! Everett, I caught an animal in a box on your bed!! I need you to see what it is!” (We had heard a squirrel in the attic the night before.) Everyone came running upstairs. I secretly shook the box from behind (imitating a frisky varmint) while Everett cautiously opened one flap and the mask and saber came tumbling out. He said, “I knew it wasn’t an animal!” But he had a huge smile of relief on his face ;) We had the most delicious pizza at a local pizza joint later that evening followed by a cookies and ice cream cake from the frozen section of the grocery store. Everett said it was the best cake ever. #momoftheyear He’s been wearing his new mask out in public which has prompted some comical reactions.

A few things…

*Did you fall for it?

*I have this new album on repeat.

*The happiest nation in the world.

*Tiny house getaway.

*Bathroom goals.

kitchen / conservatory


dining / conservatory

*The house tour that made me add “conservatory” to my dream home wish list.

*Finally!! Super soft jeans that my tall, thin and picky boys will wear without complaining! They feel and fit great.

*Everett’s mask and lightsaber, if you’re interested. (More theme-y than I normally buy, but he loves them and they work really well.)

I hope it feels like spring wherever you are!

P.S. – THANK YOU for all of the book recommendations! My reading list is full and that makes me so happy.

images: 1-4) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 5-7) Emily Billings for Apartment Therapy



Dana, I always look forward to your posts, especially these kind. I’m having not the best of times, but this post put a smile on my face and warms my heart. Thank you for sharing. Much love to you and your sweet family. xo


I am loving the new Parker Millsap as well!! His first album is great, too. My son requests Truckstop Gospel all of the time.


I LOVE tiny houses!

I’m sofa shopping right now. Can you please share where you got your sofa in the first picture? (Or link me to a post if you’ve talked about it somewhere.) Thanks!


loved Parker Milsap …. downloading it now !!


I love that your kids get so much joy from such simple pleasures. Always wanted to travel to Denmark. Mostly to eat at Noma. Hell, I would MOVE to Denmark to eat at Noma. Ever watch the CNN Anthony Bourdain series Parts Unknown where he visits Copenhagen? You must. There is a lot of passion in Denmark.


My oldest turns 4 in August and dancing, tic-tacs, and Disneyland are on her wishlist. Oh to be a kid again. :D


Oh those stairs!! *drool


Haha, totally cracked up over Mabrey and Everett’s birthday stories. They are so cute (and awesome! I kinda wanna be like them when I grow up.)

Funny that you posted about the Trader Joe’s stores closing. My husband actually works at Trader Joe’s. And when that story posted, we were at a friend’s house for dinner who found it and flipped out about it. I was slightly scared at first but then realized that there was no way (did you know they are a debt free company? Completely cash company, they’re amazing!) My husband and I looked at each other and just burst out laughting knowing it had to be a April Fools joke. Hilarious.


I was pregnant with my oldest when you were pregnant with Mabrey and I can’t believe they’re four. We’re having a big flamingo-themed to-do in a couple of weeks – my little extravert loves a party. Anyway, happy birthday to both of your birthday babies!


Your birthday celebrations sound so fun! I love Mabrey’s excitement over getting her birthday prizes at Target!


I know, FOUR?!


Debt free?! I love TJ’s even more.


More to come ;)


You won’t regret it. His music and storytelling are beautiful.


The leather one? It’s the Soho by Elements Fine Home Furnishings. Google for best price!


You don’t know how much your comment means to me. xo

So cute and happy birthday to sweet Mabrey!

I know you’re always trying hard to find ways to be sustainable and environmentally conscious so I wondered if you knew that Mylar balloons never biodegrade and will be around longer than humans? Lots of sea life, especially turtles, mistake balloons for jelly fish and eat them, which leads to their death. I’m sorry I couldn’t help but mentioning it. I know kids love balloons too, but really they are so harmful. In case you were looking for any more information, here’s one quick link on the topic.

I love your blog and have commented before lots of time! I just cringe when I see them and if one more person knows how harmful a balloon or plastic bag is it can’t hurt. Thanks


Yes!!! Oh the suspense!


Yes, the leather one. Thanks for the info!


I really do appreciate this info, Michelle. In all honesty, I did feel guilty about buying the balloon even before reading your comment. I’ll probably think twice next time.

Your kids birthday celebration sounds so fun, exciting and special. Happy birthday to both the cuties Mabrey and Everett. And, You house is really beautiful. I like the the wooden chair with the fur cushion.


Please. Let’s let the kids have a balloon for their birthday. Soon they will lose interest in things like that, and the day will be a sad one for moms. I doubt Mabrey’s balloon hurt any turtles this year.

I’ve always taught my kids to use their words to say how old they are when someone asked them (vs. using fingers). They were doing it when they were as little as two. Somehow it doesn’t make them seem too grown up to me. But I am keeping balloons, along with party hats, if they want those.