So Many Stories: Juliana

Earlier this week, I wrote about all of the non-Juliana stories from the past 2 months. Well, now it’s her turn. This is the fun one!

It was Juliana’s birthday! She turned ONE. SHE’S ONE. ONE.

She wore a tutu. A PINK TUTU.

And ate cake. (After she took off her PINK TUTU)

She ate grapes.

She liked One Direction.


And learned how to empty the dishwasher.

Her way.

She picked her own grapes.

She went for a long walk.

But had to take an apple break halfway through.


And thought she was a puppy.

She discovered the golf cart.

And then refused to get off of it.

More than once.

She discovered toilet paper.

Little Miss Juliana got spoiled. (What’s new?!)


Juliana was a daredevil.

Juliana was a silly babe.

Juliana was a sweetie pie.


And I just have to add this picture from a few days ago. I served as a baby mattress for nearly two hours.

And I loved it! Because I love that girlie.


Twenty One

Yesterday was my birthday. I so wanted to be writing about how my twenty first birthday was the best yet. There were so many reasons for it to be. But, of the birthdays I can remember, it ranks near the bottom. I’m not a big fan of alcohol, so going out to a bar was never even a consideration for me. All I wanted was a day with my niece followed by a family dinner and some champagne. And that is what I got. But nothing went above and beyond that in any way. I went to bed feeling disappointed and hoping that this wasn’t foreshadowing the year ahead.

So, I’ve decided to write a shortened version of the post I wanted to write anyways. But now it isn’t about looking good; it’s about reminding myself of my many blessings. In the grand scheme of things, an off birthday doesn’t matter that much. But being grateful for all of my blessings is one of the most, if not the most, important things I can do in my life.

So, here goes. Instead of writing about twenty one of the things I am most grateful for, here are a few of the things that had me counting my blessings this week.

Since J learned how to play the rope game, one of Cocoa’s ropes has been rapidly unraveling. I got him a new rope for MY birthday. That’s how much I love him! He was so excited and it has become his new favorite!

This weirdo was on a roll the other night. My dad told him he was wonderful and all of a sudden he was begging for corn (and eating some) and following us out to the pool. He kept a safe distance, but he even walked back in with us after the swim. When I settled in on the couch, he snuggled up next to me and started purring. He is by far my favorite cat.

That same night, we had a spectacular sunset! I’m a sucker for a good sunset!

She was feeling a little under the weather yesterday, but her puppy made her smile within the first three minutes of her arrival at grandma’s house! Nothing can melt me faster than that smile.

This guy is so good at conversing with animals and babies. It takes me back to the days when I called him “daddy” and makes me so excited for the days when J can finally understand and laugh at her grandpa. (Although she already laughs at him several times a day)

This. Cake. It may be the best decision I made yesterday. Mmmmm. Extra moist vanilla cake with raspberry filling and whipped cream. We also made some homemade vanilla ice cream to go with it. It was simply divine.

One week old. Hard to believe that we’ll be celebrating her first birthday in less than two months!

I think the best few minutes of my week happened yesterday morning when J fell asleep on me. There’s something so special about a baby falling asleep in your arms. As I looked down at her, I couldn’t believe how big she’s gotten! Most of our interaction during her first few months consisted of her sleeping on me. But, she’s almost one. Time flies.

Even though the first day of my twenty first year wasn’t what I’d hoped it would be, I am encouraged by the fact that there were still moments of complete joy sprinkled in. No matter what this next year holds, I’m looking forward to more of those moments.

Through the Years

My room has changed a lot through the years. A few days ago I shared the recent changes but I thought it would be fun to take a walk down memory lane!

Let me start by saying that my room was originally the master bedroom. We remodeled our house when I was about 5 and my parents turned our family room into a luxurious master suite so I got their old digs. Not too shabby for a 5-year-old!

But this has made my room hard to arrange. I like to shake things up in a big way every few years and when I reached the age when a double bed became appropriate there were really only two possible places for my bed: between 2 doorways on one wall or between two windows on the opposite wall. So until now, I was never really happy with the configuration.

I had all kinds of wallpaper/paint combinations. When I first moved into the room, we put up subtle butterfly wallpaper with a Barbie border. Oh, yeah. I was so cool in Kindergarten. Then I wanted a Tweety Bird border. Then I wanted blue walls. So I had blue walls with a psychedelic flower border. Then I got a froggy border. Then around my freshman year of high school I decided I was sophisticated and wanted more than one color on the wall. That’s how I ended up with my napoleon ice cream color palate.

This was obviously the blue walls/psychedelic flower era. Yes, that is lighted garland around my dresser. I was big into decorating my room for Christmas back then and I decided that I really liked the garland and left it up all year round. That pink thing on the mirror is a candy wrapper. I also kept candy wrappers I liked back then. This was the bed/dresser I just recently got rid of, but in this picture I think it was pretty new.

Wow, I don’t remember those hot pink sheets at all. Why.

Okay, I thought these pictures were SO cool when I put them up, but now it’s a little embarrassing. And those pictures above the lights on the left were extra special–they were “in the spotlight!” Oh, goodness. Thank God I grew out of this room.

Oh my goodness. This was right after we got the walls painted. That awful desk. It was awful. Things got very lost in there. We got that caricature on one of our many Disney World trips and even though I didn’t think it looked like me, I insisted on having it on my wall. This was the era where I would steal lamps from around the house for my room because I thought it would look more “grown-up.”

Okay, I just have to point out how weird I was. In the bottom of the picture, that’s one of those cheap white standup shelves that I turned on its side to serve as a “side table” for that awful beanbag chair I think I sat in 5 times. And those things that look like books under my desk are actually tons of Sims games. Actually Sims is open on my computer, too.

This was two years ago, but until a few weeks ago this is what my room looked like.  The ivy, like many other things, was awesome when I put it up but very quickly became annoying. And I just never took it down. The only thing that changed is that for the past year or so, I’ve had the brown side of my duvet cover up instead of the polka dots. This is another era I’m happy to leave behind.

Thank God we evolve.


I mentioned in my last post that I redid my bedroom. I did indeed. I was getting really fed up with my room because it felt like it belonged to a 14-year-old girl (probably because that’s about how old I was when I redid it last).

It all actually started when my mom spilled some of the liquid from a scented plug-in on my dresser and ruined the finish. I asked her to fix it and she insisted that it would just be easier to buy a new one since it was kind of a crappy dresser to begin with. Then I thought, while we’re at it we might as well buy a new bed frame, too. And if we’re getting a new bed frame, we might as well get a bigger mattress. And if we’re doing all of that and I’m bringing a ton of junk home from school, maybe I should think about a total overhaul.

So I started looking at headboards online and decided I really wanted a fabric one. I shared some options with my mom and she said it would be a hell of a lot cheaper to make our own. That intimidated me and the process kind of halted after that.

Until we found this place.

SO MUCH FABRIC.This place was INSANE. It was a huge warehouse filled from floor to ceiling with every kind of fabric you could imagine. They had a makeshift cutting table right in the middle and everyone had to cut their own fabric. It was overwhelming to say the least.

We must have been walking around for close to an hour before my mom found this fabric and, I’m not exaggerating, I literally screamed “I NEED THAT.” We had seen this print in a different color at a local craft store and I loved the print but didn’t think a dark teal would really fit with my pink walls…so I kind of freaked out when I saw this.


We brought it home and, of course, it was perfect. I started getting really excited about getting this done, but my mom had “better” things to do so the folded up fabric sadly sat on my dresser for a few months.

The day after I graduated, I sat my parents down and said “This is the week. We’re finishing my room this week.” And we actually did! I worked on the headboard Monday-Wednesday, ordered new bedding and lighting Thursday and we found my dresser and nightstand on Friday! Now, it still isn’t completely finished but all of the decisions have been made and orders have been placed. Now we’re just waiting for the final deliveries.

Here’s what it looks like right now.

Let me tell ‘ya, that headboard was not easy. I mean, if I ever do it again it’s going to seem simple. But it was so emotionally stressful. First of all, I had to decide on a shape and I was torn between the shape I really wanted (which I ended up with) and the shape that would have been easier to deal with (simple rectangle). Then I had to make a pattern that was absolutely perfect down to the last centimeter. Then it was deciding how many layers of batting to attach (which was also a bit clumsy). And finally figuring how to pull the fabric just right when putting in the final staples. We bought some nails to put around the perimeter but after all of that, I couldn’t care less about adding nails. It looked just fine the way it was! And throughout this whole process I had to deal with a mother who doesn’t know how to walk the line between coaching and saying “This is your project. You figure it out.”

Oh, and by the way, part of this process was bringing my bedroom set down to the guest room directly below my room and bringing that bed frame and mattress up to my room. That was a sweaty job. I slept very well that night!

The next thing that came was my duvet cover, which I was a little bit skeptical about. My mom adored it and it was returnable so I got it, but I was prepared to not like it. I was surprised when it came and I actually somewhat liked it. And now that’s been here a few weeks, I actually love it.

Then my dresser and nightstand came and I really started to fall in love with this room.

My mom was really surprised with the style I went with (“It’s very Mad Men!”) but she’s admitted that she really loves it now, too.

(Notice the pictures and “Live. Laugh. Love.” I mentioned in a previous post!)

And of course Pooh means a lot to me, so he needed to be front and center. I made those pictures that are leaning against the wall for my dorm this year and loved them so much that they had to be a part of this room. It’s just little squares of fun fabric in cheap frames but they add so much! (Yes, those are indeed my textbooks for my current classes. I didn’t even realize they were there…)

I was bothered by the empty space above my bed so after thinking about homemade options, we decided to just go to Ikea and get some wall stickers. I had these in my dorm at school this year and loved them so I knew what I was getting.

It was a lot of work, but I love love love this room again!


Juliana & Pooh

So I graduated from college a few weeks ago. I have to say, it wasn’t a sad day in any way. I was never really into the whole college thing. I’m glad it’s almost over. I just have a few more weeks of online classes and my diploma should be here by my birthday in August. Perfect way to celebrate my twenty-first!

Here are some of the non-cringe-worthy pictures of that memorable day. I just wanted to get the spotlight off myself so I wasn’t really interested in getting a lot of pictures. But I got the ones I wanted.

So there!

My brother being my brother wanted to really cheer as I crossed the stage and apparently this little one got pretty scared and started crying. I was so in the moment that I didn’t even hear her, but she made an impression on everyone sitting around them–a few old ladies nearby told them how precious that was and that they will never forget it.
imageThere’s a story here with Pooh. My parents got an adorable picture of my brother and I at his high school graduation and I was holding my Pooh Bear.
I’ve always loved this picture and honestly one of the first things I thought when we found about J was “I need a picture with this baby and Pooh at my college graduation!” We never planned on recreating the original, but I think it was my favorite part of the day and they’re definitely my favorite pictures.

“Okay, mom. Are you ready now?” I love how genuine this is.

so wish this was focused better (come on, Mom!) because this face is irresistible. Such a cutie-patootie. I’m glad she was there to take the spotlight off me!


So, I can check college off the list.

What’s next?

Well, I redid my bedroom…

Bring on the Rain!

In honor of our first “big” thunderstorm last night and of my “last” week of college (graduation is Saturday, but I’m still taking a few summer classes), I’m throwing it back to a piece I wrote for a class last semester. After writing this, I got really excited about starting my blog and was convinced this would be my first post. Unfortunately, I started my blog four months later…so it wasn’t really relevant anymore. But today, it definitely is.

It rained this weekend. In fact, it poured this weekend. The wannabe professional photographer in me was thrilled!

See, the thing about rainstorms just before twilight is that they leave behind the most spectacular sunsets. Those sunsets call to me. I start to get antsy waiting for the rain to let up so I can run outside and take hundreds of pictures.

There are always a few stages I go through during rainstorms:

  1. Oh, look. It’s raining. I know it’s supposed to rain, but it sure doesn’t look like it. Then all of a sudden, it is.
  2. Wow, it’s raining hard. One second it’s raining and the next it’s raining.
  3. Is rain supposed to be horizontal? The telltale sign that this isn’t just a rain shower. This is a rainstorm.
  4. I didn’t think it could rain leaves. When the driveway starts to look more like the jungle floor than a driveway, I know this is a powerful storm.
  5. Is that hail? The deck starts to turn white, but it’s too early for snow, and much louder.
  6. The sky looks brighter over there! Get ready! When the sky starts getting brighter, it’s time to slip on my navy blue rain boots and bright orange raincoat. This is also the time to get the camera out, figure out which lens is appropriate and, of course, make sure the memory card can handle the hundreds of pictures coming its way.
  7. Get set! Standing at the door looking like a freak, with my hand resting on the handle, I’m all ready to go.
  8. Go! The rain has slowed, the road is steaming and the sky is still dark from the rain, but the sun is shining on the tips of the trees, gradually making its way down the trunks.

Then the question is, where to start? There are so many spectacular sights and I know they won’t last long. I make my way around the yard and down the driveway, making sure to snap at least two pictures of every subject, knowing there’s a good chance of some being blurry. I can’t resist taking some puppy pictures while the camera is out.

I’m fully aware of how silly I must look while I’m shooting pictures. I’m a big fan of squatting and getting all kinds of weird angles just to see what I can come up with. Sometimes it feels more like I’m playing a game of Twister than taking pictures. Isn’t that how the pros do it?

Thirty minutes later, I’m back inside going through nearly 300 pictures on my computer. I’m disappointed to see that about 40 percent have to be deleted, but a few of the remaining pictures make me question why I’m not pursuing photography instead.

If you’ve never taken a walk after a rainstorm so close to dusk, I highly recommend it. It’s magical. If you’re up for it, grab the camera and pretend you’re a pro.

Bring on the rain!

Here are some of my favorite pictures I took that night.


Must Love Babies

I wasn’t planning on being a crazy baby person today, but then a little baby fell asleep on my shoulder and all I could think about is how much I love her. So here’s what she’s been up to at grandma’s house over the last few weeks.

She’s started wearing her sunglasses more often and I can’t stand how cute she looks!

I love these next few–my dad and I had gone to pick up my new phone (!) and stopped to get some coffee on the way home. J was pretty interested in my dad’s frappuccino so we let her try some!

20150410_112824 20150410_113426_001 20150410_113442_001

Of course a second after this next picture was taken, half of the remaining drink was all over the table…20150410_113445_009

And then she was feeling SOOO happy! Gee, I wonder how that happened 😉

And later that day, she was interested in the kitty!


It’s too bad she doesn’t have any pets that love her…


Here we go…


Let’s really grab him now!

Oh no! Where is kitty going?!


Okay, so maybe Charlie isn’t quite to the loving stage yet.

But J is definitely loving her swing!

20150410_155620Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go play with a little girl and her puppy! It’s a rough life, but, you know, someone’s gotta do it!