Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday Roundup - the beginning of Summer!

Happy first Friday of Summer y'all!! I can't believe how quickly time is just flying by!  Now it's officially Summer (as of Wednesday) and the livin' is easy.

We've kept ourselves quite busy this week and I cannot complain.  I've crossed off many things from my "To-Do List" (that's actually never ending and has repeat offenders almost daily - I'm looking at you vacuuming) and I couldn't feel more accomplished about it.

Speaking of that To-Do list let me tell you about my vacuum. 
As some of my older readers might know we replaced our lovely cream colored carpet from 1989 in our open living area back in 2015 and then more recently this April we replaced the same carpet in our bedrooms, we now have no carpet in home and just have wood floors, with the exception of a jute rug in our living room and some area rugs in the girls bedrooms (Ellie's, Finnley's).  Since 2015 I've been using our electric broom to do all of my vacuuming since our big vacuum was terrible on the bare floors and spit everything out behind the vacuum.  It was a chore in itself and I had move the plug for every room.  It did a decent job at sucking up the dog hair and rice crispies but I've been wanting something that does a better job.  I picked up this vacuum last week to try out since the one I wanted was sold out and Y'all, I got it because they called it a hardwood hero, I hated it.  The suction was great on it but I had to carry the canister around with one hand all over our house and it was just cumbersom.  So I returned it.  I made my way to a different Target and they had this vacuum in stock (only two left).  I have been wanting a Dyson for forever and I couldn't believe my luck.  They are currently having this model on closeout right now and it's only available "in store" so I couldn't use my beloved Ebates...but it turned out to be an even better deal!! In store they were selling it for $199.98 (a full $100 off the internet price) and with my 5% redcard discount I got a Dyson for like $189!  That is unheard of.  I've been using it every day since and I love it!!  Totally worth it.

On Wednesday we kicked off Summer with a visit to the Splash Pad.  Ellie loved it and Finnley was just fine until she got wet...not surprising.   Ellie saw one of her school friends there and just wanted to play with him the whole time, meanwhile I was trying to hold a conversation with my friend we met up with there as Finnley kept beelining it out of the spray park.  We had a fantastic time and both girls slept for over 3 hours!!  We might have to make visits to the Splash Pad a weekly occurrence this Summer.

Finnley has been a walking machine and is walking about 90% of the time now, she prefers to hold her little bunny (or any object for that matter) as she walks around and it just warms my Mama heart.  She's been getting so much more comfortable walking and I am loving it so much. I can set her down now and she will stand or start walking around and my back is so thankful for that.

Thomas' little brother has a boat, so we took advantage of the beautiful weather we're experiencing right now and took it out on the lake.  Ellie loved it so much, she got to "fish" and drive the boat around...we are going to have to work on her driving skills some more.  Finnley hated the life jacket and was just a crying monster the whole time it was on, once we took it off her she was happy as a clam...little turd.

We were driving in the car the other day and Ellie asked me if I missed my mom.  I said yes and then it got me to thinking about how hard it is to do this motherhood thing motherless,  all these questions I have and things I want to say to my mom.  But also about the relationship I had with my mom and how much I desire to have a more open and communicative relationship with both Ellie and Finnley.  I plan to write a post in the near future all about that so stay tuned!

Happy Summer Y'all!!

♥ Ashley

linking up here

Monday, June 19, 2017

Weekending - the last of Spring, Father's Day and Birthday edition

I am completely bewildered at how we just finished up the last official weekend of Spring!! We're headed into the homestretch this week with it being the last week of school for Thomas and then we get to spend the Summer together as a family.  I love this life.

I mentioned on Friday that I love Spring because all my favorite peeps have birthdays.  Well Thomas and I celebrated his birthday for the 12th time together on Friday and it was so special having our two girls with us.  We met Thomas for lunch and then he spent the afternoon with the girls.  I can't think of anything better.  We went out to pizza for dinner and sang Happy Birthday when we got home while he blew out the candle in his birthday Pumpkin Pie.  He truly is the man of my dreams!

Saturday we got up early (no surprise there) and headed into our town for a delicious breakfast of Eggs Benedict, homestyle fries and a side of bacon!  It did not disappoint but we want to try something new on the menu next time since it all sounds so yummy.  Then we made our way to the farmer's market - which was getting a slow start to the day so the girls played on the playground for a bit.  When the market still was not open we made our way to Costco to get some essentials (toilet paper and hummus) then back home so Thomas could get ready for his High School graduation.  It's been a while since I've shared a photo of our flower bed and I wanted to make sure and document all the peony glory before they're done blooming.  I have 10 plants in all and they are all my favorite ;) While Thomas was gone the girls napped and did some cleaning around the house (#storyofmylife) then we headed out to get a new vacuum, because my current situation is a bit ridiculous.  I'll let you know how I like it after I use it for a while.

Sunday morning also started out pretty early.  We had some breakfast, played a bit and then got ready to go see Cars 3 for Father's Day!!  Thomas truly is the bees knees when it comes to parenthood and being a girl dad.  He totally rocks it.  He is kind, gently, and nurturing while still being tough, and fun with a side of wild.  I always knew he would make a great dad and I am so glad we get to do this parenting thing together.

Ellie and Finnley's behavior during the movie left lots to be desired (but that's probably what happens when you show up an hour early) but the movie was so cute.  I think that it was my favorite Cars movie to date (definitely way better than Cars 2) and I'm so glad we had a chance to watch it.  Surprisingly the theatre wasn't very full despite it being opening weekend.  We've decided that the next movie we go to as a family will not be opening weekend...that way we won't have to show up so early to get prime seats ;)  After the movie we went out to eat at Red Robin and then off to the park.  Parks have gotten a whole lot better now that Finnley is walking.  She is climbing up on everything so she needs a helicopter, but the fact that she is moving around and walking on her own is just the best!  Good timing too since we're nearly into Summer and will be frequenting parks a lot!

we then headed home for naps.  Thomas cleaned his car, I worked with my horse and did some weeding.  All in all a very fun weekend!

Happy Monday Y'all!!

♥ Ashley

Friday, June 16, 2017

That Friday Post - the last one of Spring 2017

I really thought I was on a roll with three posts going live last week...and then all y'all got this week were crickets until today. Such is life.

I am really just blown away with the fact that this was the last FULL week of SPRING! I mean how on earth did that happen? Next week is the official start of Summer so lets recap a bit of our spring this year.  In all honesty Spring really is my favorite season.  I used to think it was Fall because the crisp morning air is so welcome after that hot Summer, but truthfully Spring is really where its at.  Flowers are my life blood and nothing, I mean nothing, compares to spring blooms.  All the flowering trees are spectacular (the Magnolia's, the Cherries, the Dogwoods, the Plums, the Crabapples) and then all the spring bulbs (daffodils, tulips, ranunculas, aliums, crocus) and lets not forget the beautiful Peony!  Here in the PNW we get so excited for Spring to arrive that when the mercury hits 60 degrees you're sure to see many sunbathers, hear the sound of lawn mowers, and you can bet your bottom dollar that all the yard/flower dept's are full of people purchasing flowers and other yard items.  It's hilarious because in the Fall when the temps are in the 60's everyone is out in their scarves, cardis, and tall boots over their jeans.  We sure do love our seasons here!

Ok, onto my Spring favorites!


We traveled a lot this Spring, we went to Victoria, BC for Finnley's first birthday, to Disneyland to celebrate both girls birthdays (and Finnley's adoption day), several visits to Vashon Island, over the mountains to visit Thomas' parents new house, and I even ventured to Spokane to go to the Farm Chicks show! 

The food was delicious in Victoria (read about it here) and I absolutely adored walking all around Butchart Gardens. It has been a dream of mine for over a decade to see the gardens and they did not disappoint, they were so beautiful and so many of the flowers were blooming, I can only imagine how pretty it is in the summertime with all the summer flowers. 

Our Disneyland trip was probably the best one to date (I can't wait to go back!). Ellie is a total Disney pro, she had no accidents the entire trip and Finnley loved the rides as well.  It was so fun going without having to worry about formula and Finnley wasn't quite walking yet so she was content riding in the stroller and being held for most of the trip.

I don't think that Vashon Island will ever disappoint for us.  We love how close it is and that we get to ride a ferry to get over.  The town is quite small but the people are so kind.  Ellie loves going to the playground right in town, the library is in the best location, and the beaches are all fantastic.  The Pharmacy is super cute and we always find the best things there.  Plus, the food is so good.  I don't think we've ever been disappointed there!

Holy cow was the Farm Chicks show a blast.  I tried going a few years ago and it was a total bust, not the show - ME!!!  I had no idea what to expect, showed up late with only $40 cash and was totally overwhelmed by the whole experience.  This time was so much better.  We got there early, made some new friends, brought a butt load of cash, and had a list of things to be looking for.  The entire show was pure eye candy and I was able to get three things off my list!!! I saw a giant traffic light (it was over 6 ft tall) and now I am obsessing over trying to find one similar with a much better price point.  This show is huge and has so many great things!  I'm going to keep pinching my pennies this next year so that I can go again next June!  While in Spokane we had dinner at the Blackbird, it was so delicious and I cannot wait to go back later this month, if you're local or are planning a trip to Spokane make sure you stop in for some super good eats!


We have three of my very favorite people's birthdays in the Spring! Finnley's is in April, Ellie's is in May and Thomas is today, June 16!! (I missed a spring birthday by about 4 days...)

Celebrating Finnley's birthday was a fantastic occasion.  First we celebrated as a family in Victoria and then a couple weeks we hosted her party in ONEderland at our house.  I loved having our friends and family there.  The theme was perfect and really helped us get into the Disney spirit.

Ellie turned four this year and she is so full of life and joy.  Spending her birthday on Vashon Island was just what this girl loves: beaches, playgrounds, ice cream and a ferry ride!  This year was extra special since we invited all of Ellie's ballet friends to her party and getting to see her in her element was perfection.  Ever since we saw Moana in the theatre, Ellie has been obsessed so it came as no surprise when she requested a Moana party.  It really was a special occasion with our friends and family and Ellie's friends too! We even had a pinata and those might have to make an appearance at every party from here on out ;)!!

I will always remember the first birthday I spent with Thomas.  We had only been dating for a few months but I knew I wanted to do something special for him...I had a feeling that we were a match.  So I took him to Blake Island to Tillicum Village where we were immersed in Native American culture.  Since then we have always tried to make birthdays special and more about an experience rather than the presents...but who am I kidding presents are pretty fantastic too!  Today marks the 12th birthday I will be celebrating with Thomas. I truly feel so lucky to have this man in my life, he is my biggest supporter and know for sure that we are a match!


Our biggest project this Spring has been converting our Chicken Coop into a Playhouse for the girls.  While we aren't finished with it, we really have made some great progress.  We have done a deep clean, Kilz Primered the entire interior, installed 5 windows, built a loft, and have started putting up plywood walls on the interior to cover up the studs!  In the big picture we just have a few things left to do, but when you get down to the nitty gritty of it there are quite a few items left to check off. Big Picture: finish up the plywood walls, beadboard the ceiling, install a railing on the loft, build a ladder and lay linoleum floors.  Nitty Gritty: finish up the plywood walls (caulk seams, add moulding and paint), beadboard ceiling (including moulding and paint), railing on loft (stain and seal), ladder (stain and seal), lay linoleum floors (add baseboard), finish up all trimwork around windows, and add in decor.  It's a large undertaking but I can't wait to see it all come together!

We did a major overhaul last summer on our deck and I did some finishing touches on it!  I finally got the pavers removed and planted my row of boxwoods I've been envisioning from the beginning.

I've been dreaming of a Tulip Magnolia since we bought our house back in 2008, and I am so happy that we finally found one (and a spot) and planted it!!  Unfortunately we bought it after it bloomed so we have to wait until next year to really bask in all its beauty.  But really how beautiful in our yard becoming?!

We also replaced the floors in the bedrooms.  Finally the carpet from 1989 is no longer in our home and we have wood floors throughout.  While the project was not without headaches it turned out to be so much better than I could foresee and I absolutely love having the wood floors.  I feel like our rooms are so much cleaner and the decor is just so much better.


This Spring has been the season for milestones.  Finnley started walking!! All the Praise Hands over Memorial Day weekend and hasn't stopped since.  She is also being much more vocal and says Mama, Dada, Ella, Sissis (sister), and More!

Ellie had her very first Ballet Recital, which was totes adorbs and I am now convinced that I never want her to stop dancing.  She also completed her very first year of school.  I can't believe that she is 4 and will be attending Pre-K next year! She grew by leaps and bounds this year and seriously is the best Ellie I have ever known!

I think that pretty much recaps all the things I love about Spring and what we did.  It was a full and happy Spring and while Spring really is my favorite I am looking forward to Summer.  Thomas is on Summer Break, we have a few fantastic trips planned, lots of bon-fires and even more family time on the calendar!!

Happy last weekend of Spring - make it a good one! I'm hoping we will have a chance to go strawberry picking!

♥ Ashley

linking up here