...because home doesn't happen overnight.


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.


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.



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.


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.


I’ve mentioned it before: I’m a hand soap whore. It’s something I’ve always felt a little guilty about because I can’t commit to one brand and end up bouncing around, going through several bottles a year. I recycle when possible, but I know I could do better. I’ve tried all kinds of refillable dispensers but haven’t had much luck. The practical plastic ones leave a lot to be desired. The “stainless steel” ones have actually rusted out on me (I’m guessing they weren’t 100% stainless steel). My favorite glass dispenser fell to its demise one morning during the before school/work hustle. (Cleaning up shattered glass and a pool of liquid soap from the bathroom floor isn’t my favorite way to wake up. Ironically, soap is terribly difficult to “clean”.)

One of my friends told me she uses a refillable, automatic soap dispenser in her kids’ bathroom because it’s the only way she can get her kids to wash their hands. I thought it was a genius idea, but then she told me it was horribly ugly and required batteries. Hey, you do what you gotta do!

So when the folks at simplehuman asked if I wanted to take their new foam cartridge sensor pump for a spin I was game…skeptical, but game.


The pump itself is made of high-grade stainless steel (for real) and houses a recyclable, snap-in soap cartridge. Thanks to patented air-induction technology, it takes only a small amount of liquid soap to create a rich foam which means the cartridge lasts longer than traditional soap of the same volume.


A hinged top opens to reveal a power button that controls the amount of soap dispensed, a cartridge release button and a recharge plug. Yes, you read that correctly, recharge plug. NO BATTERIES REQUIRED. A solid green ring lights up to indicate a full charge. One charge lasts up to three months! When the soap cartridge is empty, simply press the orange release button, remove the old cartridge and snap a new one in its place. NO MESSES REQUIRED.




I snuck one in the kids’ bathroom and you would have thought I put a unicorn in there by their reactions. “Mom! That soap thing is SO COOL!!” It’s not like they’ve never used an automatic soap dispenser before. (Hello, restaurants and gas stations.) But I think they were so surprised because the simplehuman pump doesn’t look like your typical automatic soap dispenser. It’s metal, not plastic. It’s sleek, not boxy. And it’s meant to be placed on a horizontal surface, not wall-mounted. (The kids’ vanity doesn’t have a ton of countertop space, and the pump fits perfectly.) All of a sudden my kids think hand-washing is fun?! I’m going with it.

I love the new pump because I’ve yet to find globs of unused liquid soap around the sink. Also, the touch-free sensor means NO FINGERPRINTS REQUIRED. #notacrimescene (If fingerprints do surface, the pump is water-resistant and can be rinsed in the sink.)



I love the pump so much that I added a second one in the kitchen to hold dish soap. This might sound persnickety, but being able to add soap to my dish sponge while simultaneously holding a dirty dish is pretty freakin’ awesome. Luckily for promiscuous me, several different hand and dish soaps are available for use with the pump. I especially like the lavender hand soap and verbena dish soap.


It’s especially user-friendly when it comes to washing out paint brushes, for big and little people.

We’ve been using the pumps for a few weeks now and we’re all impressed. We’ve yet to have an issue. The pumps are proving to be robust, and it seems like the cartridges will last for weeks to come. One thing I’d love to see in the future is reusable simplehuman soap cartridges that can be (re)filled with homemade foaming soap and used in conjunction with the sensor pump.

Today, simplehuman is giving one lucky reader a foam cartridge sensor pump and an assortment of hand and dish soaps. Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck and happy hand/dishwashing!

*This post sponsored in part by simplehuman which offers tools for efficient living.