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Be as happy as possible

Some days- or weeks-, you just can’t keep it all together.

Right now, my house is a mess, I’m fighting the worst break-out on my chin I’ve had in YEARS <<years, people!!!!!!>>, and my toddler simply refuses to go number two in the toilet. Additionally, he keeps on forgetting he has to pee, and therefore wets himself, so we go through under-roos and pants at an alarming rate. My baby keeps on waking up in the night, not just once, but twice, and sometimes three times. Work is crazy right now… spring fever is real in my students, let me tell you. I’m exhausted, and I look like it.

But I have to remind myself, this is just a season. The acne will fade, the house will never really be completely in order because we live in it, my son will eventually figure out how to use the bathroom, and my daughter will stop waking up in the middle of the night. The school year will end, and I’ll have new students to learn about and with next year. Life is imperfect, messy, overwhelming… but its much more joyful, fun, inspiring, and beautiful if you choose to see it that way. I remember reading a quote that said “Stop waiting for Friday. Stop waiting for summer. Your life is happening RIGHT NOW.” We can tell ourselves it’ll get better in the future, but we miss out on the wonderful happening right in front of us.

I’m not trying to be melancholy… so many things are good. It’s important to be as happy as possible, to try to focus on the good as much as possible. I had to laugh when one of my students looked at me, straight faced, and with an accusatory tone, said “You try to find the silver lining in everything, don’t you?!” Well, yea, I do. I try to remember that happiness is by choice, and not by chance.

Don’t get me wrong- there are times where the brightness is harder to find. I went through this last May, when my daughter was born early and my grandmother passed away unexpectedly two weeks earlier. It was difficult to find that spark. There have been times I’ve had to seek help in order to find it. But the light is always there, I’m convinced. Sometimes it’s just shrouded with lots of heavy things.

So, here’s some happy photos, because it’s been a doozy, and I need a smile. O, and none of these are documenting the worst breakout ever. Happy Wednesday, ya’ll!



Kermit loves to express his deepest emotions through the majesty of song. 


Beachside in the Dominican Republic with my husband for a wedding. 



Sweet Caroline, 9 months old and happy, because she’s pretty much always happy. 



David at 3 months old. It just goes too quickly. Now he’s sassier than you can imagine. 


I remember when I first got pregnant with David, I feared that I would never, ever loose the baby weight and I would never have an interest in fashion or makeup or… anything… ever again. Our culture seems to expect a mom to loose herself in her children, and if she doesn’t, she isn’t a very good mom.

I’m sorry to burst that bubble, that’s total crap.

That’s not good for a woman, that’s not good for a family and a marriage or relationship, and that’s not good for a child (for a lot of reasons!)

You have to embrace AND. I can be a mom AND enjoy getting dressed. I can be a good mom AND need time away from my children to recharge. I can like expensive things AND like a bargain. Why does one thing have to exclude another? This all or nothing sentiment isn’t healthy. Life isn’t black or white- there’s so much grey. Love that grey area. You’ll be happier, from my experience.

This leads me back to my original sentence- as a soon to be mother, I belived I wouldn’t really have an interest in fashion again. I realized this was complete bollocks at about two weeks postpartum, as I stared eagerly at my pre-baby clothes. I couldn’t wait to reclaim that part of myself, in the midst of a sleep deprived fog.

Almost three years of motherhood later, and I still like getting dressed up. I certainly think differently about the clothes that I buy (can this be washed if my Caroline spits up on it? is a major concern), but that hasn’t stopped me from having fun with clothes.

My momiform this week balanced cold rainy weather, an evaluation meeting, and a grumpy toddler. (Any one else find that their toddler was particularly irritable this week? Full moon, maybe?) My husband kindly snapped some highlights this week.


Sundry clothing tee, Frame denim (no longer available) Frye boots (no longer available)



Abercrombie jacket (linked to similar), Target tee shirt and dollar spot scarf. 

I’ve fully embraced AND. I can be a mom AND still follow my love for good clothing.  You gotta do you, friend.


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When your Sunday routine gets pushed into Monday

I love Sundays. I CHERISH Sundays. It’s the day my family takes it slow. I finish up laundry, the babies take long naps (hallelujah), and my husband and I menu plan. Shoot, sometimes even I take a nap. Sunday blues are a real thing, and nothing makes me happier than investing time with those people who fill my world with sunshine.


Sundays are so easy… after breakfast, we play and hang out. (Some of us like to hang out in our undies. No judgement. )

However, sometimes, our Sunday routine gets pushed off, and yesterday was one of those. I couldn’t get to all of those little things I do on a Sunday that ensure the week gets off to a smooth start.

Here’s the deal. I could let this make me feel all flustered and hectic and stressed and icky, or, I could choose to grab Monday by the horns and say “not today, not ever.”

So, yes, I didn’t get my laundry finished yesterday and I had no idea what the plan was for meals this week, but I’m not going to let that make me panicky or stress me out for the rest of the week. I worked an extra long day today, which also added to the hailstorm of stress as I walked through the door at 5.45. (Side note- dinner is at 6 PM at our house, every night. We’re big on a schedule.) When I got home, my husband and I looked through the fridge, pulled a meal together [really grateful I at least grocery shopped!], and got the littles to bed.

After David and Caroline were in bed, I started that last load of laundry, got the day care bag ready for tomorrow, and finally, finally, got to pull out my cookbooks to plan what my family was going to eat for the week.


Menu for the week of Feb. 26. All ingredients are on hand. 


These aren’t all the cookbooks I have….

A few notes on menu planning in our house:

Firstly, I’m not a short order cook. I don’t make separate meals for our children (even Caroline, at 10 months, is eating a lot of what we have for dinner.) If David doesn’t like it, he can eat all the other things on his plate that he does like. Every family is different, of course, and you have to do what works for you, but this method has been pretty successful for us thus far. (David eats curry, sushi and Thai food without blinking an eye. Just about the only thing he won’t eat is broccoli. I don’t get it either.)

Secondly, I don’t plan sides. I probably should, but that’s just not for me. We keep a ton of fresh veggies in the fridge to pull from, and cook with whatever we feel like from our selections. We have a gazillion herbs and spices <not exaggerating> so this keeps our side dish game feeling exciting, not bland. (A recent hit has been carrots with crushed garlic, Everything But the Bagel seasoning from Trader Joe’s, and salt and pepper to taste. You’re welcome.)

Thirdly, I have a lot of cookbooks, so I make it a point to go use a different one each week to mix it up. Growing up, my family would play the “what do you want to eat for dinner” game, and that meant we ate the same 6 things all the time. That’s pretty dull, and I found Jensen and I getting into the same pattern. The cookbooks have been collected over the years, and all of them have been used. Okay, except for the 1976 cookbook I found at my grandmother’s. Hot dog aspic just does not sound appealing. This little gem of a cooking encyclopedia is best explored on another day, however.

So, here’s to those of us who are having a Monday that provides lots and lots of opportunities for growth. It’s going to be a great week.



Making the old new again

I have a passion for vintage furniture. Ever since I was a little girl antique shopping with my aunt in Mid-Coast Maine <which, BTW, has some of the best pieces I’ve ever seen, and every time I visit her and we go shopping, I curse how much it costs to ship items so large across the country>, I’ve loved finding those pieces that have real character and beauty. I’ve learned that many pieces of antique or vintage furniture are of a quality far superior to the particle board pieces that are made today. There’s a time and a place for Ikea, but sometimes, it just makes sense to get something that’s going to be able to withstand wear and tear from my family.

I’ve been hunting for a pair of matched chairs for ages- easily going on 6 years. I’m pretty frugal, and I know that if you buy vintage chairs, it’s likely you’ll have to get them reupholstered… which isn’t exactly cheap. I wanted the chairs to be a fair price with a good shape, with some interesting details, and I needed them to have  deep seat. (I love curling up in a chair… all of my chairs and couches have deep seats, like at least .)

As I was scrolling through Facebook, I found a link to a local business that specializes in used furniture. I haven’t ever been in, but thought I would take a peek at their offerings. And then, there they were. My chairs.

For $75 each.

Before I jumped and purchased, I got a quote from an upholstery company. Her bid seemed fair, so I had to do it. I know that if I wanted to buy solid chairs like this brand new, I’d spend several thousand dollars to get a matched set.

I have never gotten furniture reupholstered, and I’m really excited to pick out the fabric that I want. Any tips or hints? My current sofa is a soft muted wheat and my chairs are in the grey family.

IMG_20180223_143840_087Chairs from Farm Girls Vintage Finds

Hello, hello!

Welcome to Our Hilltop Home! I can’t wait to get my hands started on taking a home with “good bones” and turning it into a beautiful space that my family can live and love in.

I’ll be documenting our journey of remodeling, gardening, cooking and all the life that happens in a home.

I hope to share inspiration, get inspiration from you, and remind you that a beautiful life isn’t a privilege or for rich people or people with lots of time- it’s achievable, step by step, for every person.



Photo Credit- unknown