Saturday Smiler

Well, Sam’s not smiling but I know this picture cracks me up. She dug a hole to sit in at Chris’s old house.



4:09 AM


Classical music almost inaudible — just enough to mask the buzz of the air vent. You can never sleep when the air is on.

We’ve made it through a long day. A day more stressful than usual, but we have come out stronger people, with a stronger relationship. We may have struggled, but here we are —

our bodies intertwined. We always come together at the end of the day.

You laying on your back, me on my side.

My forehead against your temple.

My left hand gently holding your right.

I run my fingers through your hair.

You kiss me good night; your breath slows.

And finally, you sleep.

Thankful Thursday

Today has been a tough day, probably once of the hardest since the move. But, the good news is that I can call my husband and parents for advice and have really super classmates and professors to cheer me up.

So today, especially, I need to focus on the parts of my life that I am especially thankful for.

1. The pot of homemade sausage and sauce I made on Tuesday. It’s so nice to come home and know that I can heat up a little portion of my favorite food with no prep or clean-up.

2. My Subaru. The saga of the Volvo is for a different post, but all you need to know is that I’ve had it towed more times than I can count. This summer my dad found a salvaged Subaru Forester and fixed it up for me and Chris. Knowing that I have a car with working lights, windshield wipers, turn signals, etc. is a big blessing after using arm signals for 6 months. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my Volvo, but the Subaru was a good move.

3. This dog. She has taught me so much about life. I know she misses me as much as I miss her.

4. Knowing that for the rest of my life, I am a Virginia Tech Hokie. What an incredible community who taught me so much. I can’t wait to go home to them again.

5. Our new bed. So cozy. So renewing.

6. Bravo TV. Trash. Love it.

Special Gifts

These are”thing” gifts . Not the gift of life or love or happiness. While I love those gifts, sometimes “thing” gifts are just as special.

1. My engagement ring. I know, I know some people think well duh, almost everyone has an engagement ring. But when Chris and I got engaged he had just gotten his “real” job and was still living in a basement and working night shift at a pizza place. I knew he would propose before he moved, but I also knew there wouldn’t be a ring.

But, then there was. A beautiful, perfect and stunning ring. I was okay with not having a ring and I definitely didn’t expect one, but knowing that Chris so wanted me to have something beautiful to remind me of him while we were apart was so touching and made his proposal that much more special for us.


2. The dollhouse my dad made me for Christmas. Anyone can buy their little girl a dollhouse. There’s so many options. But, when I was 8 years old my dad built me one. A two-story, yellow and brick, colonial style dollhouse. Which he somehow knew I would love. And I still do. I remember thinking “Wow, he made this just for me!” Whenever I think about the little girl Chris and I might have one day, I get choked up thinking about her playing with it and making it her own.

I remember once time during the fall before that Christmas I started to go down into the basement and Dad saying “Do NOT come down here Mary!” I asked him why and he said “Just ‘cause! Just don’t!” It always makes me laugh.

I love my dad.


3. I’m not sure if this counts, but I write the blog, so it does.

My sweet, sweet Sammie. My heart.

Some of you may not know this, but Sammie lived with another family for about 6 years. They are some of my best friends and their two little girls were flower girls in our wedding. But, they found out their girls were allergic to Sammie, so Sammie needed a new home. Sarah and Jimmy know about a zillion people, so I know they had options. But Sarah emailed me and asked me if I would take her because she knew that Sammie would have a good life with me. Of course I would take Sammie! But, I was nervous bringing in a dog who had been with a family for so long. I wanted Sammie to love me and me to feel like Sam was my dog.

And of course I didn’t need to worry. Sammie is the best dog. She loves everyone. But secretly, I think she loves me the most. We cuddle. To some people, it may sound ridiculous, but Sammie really, truly is one of the best parts of my life. Coming home to her "”happy dance” and smiling face makes the world seem less overwhelming. She has been such a blessing in this move.

4. My previously mentioned salt and pepper shakers that my Aunt Janet gave me.

I just love them. They make me smile.


5. My sewing machine. Next January, it will be 2 years since Gracie passed. Gracie was our neighbor when we lived in Florida and was like a grandmother to my brother and me. She impacted my life, and I’m sure many others, in ways I can’t explain. When she died, I was not in an emotional place to handle it. At all. In some ways I’m still working through it. She died a month before I met Chris and not having her and Dom at our wedding made my heart hurt, but I  know they were looking down on us.

A couple months later, her daughter, Teresa, called me. Teresa and her husband Keith are essentially a part of our family. I grew up with them as neighbors on our street in Florida and a constant presence in my life. My earliest memories are of Gracie and Dom and Keith and Teresa. When Teresa called, she asked if I would like Gracie’s sewing machine. Gracie and Dom received it as a wedding present when they got married after Dom returned from World War II. Knowing that I would have a little piece of Gracie’s life to use in my own really helps me feel like she’s here with me.


Making this list made me feel more blessed than ever! Hopefully you can make your own, too.


My mom sent me a magnet with this quote on it last week. A much needed gift from her.

A little bonus. #6 – Monkey.That’s all I’m going to say.

I like to craft.

1. These adorable recipe cards.

2. These are beautiful. I hope I can perfect them one day.

3. I can’t wait to make these fun calendars for stocking stuffers. Anyone know where I can get linen paper? It would look so much nicer than cardstock.

4. This would be a great project for little girls.

5. I got the letters for my “Be Creative” banner here.

House tour

The house has changed SO SO much since we moved in. It’s been like my baby, keeping me busy when I’m lonely and missing home. It’s beautiful and cozy now.

Here are some before and after photos.

DSCN0242 DSCN0363  

Move – in                                                 Pre-paint

DSCN0368 DSCN0366

After – Things are still changing in here



Lord have mercy on this kitchen.         It looks a lot better in real life.


Before                                                    After! I spend so many hours in this room


DSCN0245 DSCN0244

Oh, this phase was so embarrassing.


The kind-of after. Still designing, almost done!



Sad little couch                                        Happy little reading corner



Beat up steps, weeds, sad                      Painted steps, mulch, evergreen bushes




Latest DIY – transforming this into a vanity for our bedroom since our bath is so tiny. It’s almost ready for a big reveal!

Where I’ve Been …

1. Finding my way, getting into a little routine

2. Working super hard in school and loving it!

3. Spending time with my wonderful aunt who came all that way just to see me!

4. Spending too brief a time with my husband, who is back at work.

5. Having the occasional “blah” day, but still getting up and carrying on.

6. More DIY projects

Writing/blogging is a touchy subject when your emotions are so wild. You don’t want to “over share,” but it’s also not fair to yourself to pretend you feel one way when you don’t.

So, I’m trying to get into a habit of one post per day. Week one.



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