A Charlie Brown Christmas

I was hoping to get this post written soon (at least BEFORE Christmas), but life got in the way and I was taking advantage of my December blogging break. But now I'm BACK (2 days early, I just couldn't stay away) and as promised, I wanted to share photos of our house decorated for the holidays. I didn't get as much up as I'd planned, but I think we did pretty good. And there's always next year, right? :)

At the beginning of December, we got the lights up (with Zoe's watchful eye)

She's watching Chris on the ladder...

She was very interested in the whole process.

A couple days later I tossed Zoe in the Ergo and carried her around while I decorated the yard. I put ornaments on some of the trees and plants, put up 3 wreaths and hung ornaments and the lighted star in our windows. I was planning on going with a more cohesive color scheme, but that didn't happen either... Oh well! :)

And of course it always helps when the city comes to light the tree in front of your house

And we got a tree for the first time in the 8 1/2 years Chris and I have been together. What those kids do to you... :)

And with that, we were done! I didn't get to putting the candy cane wrapping paper on our front door (though I did put a bow) and I never got to framing our larger windows with lights like I would have liked (and you all suggested). But I think we did alright.

Here's our house is during the day

I love our tree and all the ornaments we've gotten through the years on road trips

And the "baby's first Christmas" ornament that has no photo in it yet (there are several photo frame ornaments with no photos in them I'm ashamed to admit)

And then our house at night

I think the lights framing our larger windows would make a big difference, but I do love the star in the large picture window, and the nook really glows and the candy cane windows shine bright. It's not stupendous, but it's an improvement for sure. Our street gets lots of foot traffic too, so although the decorated plants don't photograph well, the twinkly lights really flicker off of them nicely for pedestrians

And, as always, our street looks beautiful

Our street is always magical at during the holidays. I hope you all had a great Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus or whatever else you do or don't celebrate! :)


Mark Your Calendars...

First off, I want to say thank you to you all for your awesome support and love. I was a little nervous to publish that time out post. I'm not sure why, I just was. I didn't want to feel like I was giving up or something and for some strange reason I thought you might be disappointed in me. Boy, was I wrong. You guys made me feel so happy and excited to start blogging again. So I've decided that I shall return to regular blogging in the new year, hooray! I'm thinking I might scale back a little more though. I used to average about 5 posts a week, post Zoe it went down to 4, and I think when I come back January 1st I'll do 3. That seems doable, fun, and not crazy. The truth of the matter is that I really love blogging, and I've missed it these last 10 days or so. But keeping up with that frenetic pace isn't possible. House posts Monday and Wednesday (on average) and family, Zoe, etc. posts on Fridays seem like a good plan. So look out blogging world, I'll be back!

Before then I'd like to do a short post of our holiday decorated house (it's not crazy or anything, but you all helped me come up with some decorations so I of course must share :) I was going to do that this morning, but we had our early family holiday gathering this weekend, then I worked the Raiders game yesterday, so I was pretty tired last night. Instead, I'll post some photos of Zoe's adventures :) Who doesn't love an adorable food covered baby?

See you again soon you fabulous folks!



I've had a rough last couple of weeks. I'm stressed, I'm tired, I'm frustrated, I'm exhausted. I have always loved blogging and while I've never really known what it was for, I always did it. I started to do it for my family so they could stay updated on things going on, but to tell you the truth, not much of my family actually reads it. Then I started getting excited that "strangers" were reading it after I wrote this post. I was fascinated that people I didn't even know had found their way to my blog and were reading it. And it made me excited.

Since then I've been writing for myself and you. It is wonderful to get to share our renovation with people who actually care what we're doing. People who are interested. People who give you advice. And people that share in your dilemmas and triumphs. It is a wonderful little strange community that I feel so lucky to get to be a part of. And then Zoe came. And it's been so exciting that people I don't know in real life are so willing to share their own lives and give advice and become part of another small community.

I always knew that renovating was hard work. Parenting was hard work. Having multiple jobs was hard work. Starting your own business was hard work. But Chris and I have pressed on as hard as we could. And just recently blogging had started some pretty cool adventures. Almost 4 years after I started blogging we got to go on the Renovation Roadtrip, we got an article on the front page of the SF Chronicle, we've been featured on Bobvila.com and just a couple weeks ago someone from HGTV reached out to us (which was fucking awesome). We've had companies write to us to review their products or give us things and we've always tried to keep things as authentic as possible along the way.

But I'm starting to get tired. And sad. I feel like I'm not devoting enough time to myself, Zoe, Chris, my jobs, this blog...it gives me anxiety just thinking about all of it. The hardest part is realizing that when I don't blog, I lose readers. That kind of sucks. And I realize that I shouldn't care at all and that I blog for myself, but it also makes me feel like a little bit of a blogging failure to know that because our life is so busy and we haven't had time to work on the house that all the blogging I have worked up to is starting to dwindle.

I realize that makes me sound incredibly ungrateful for the many, many of you who cheer me on every single day, who ask for advice, and who email me. Some of you I've even been so lucky enough to meet in real life. The truth of the matter is in a strange (but I promise not creepy) way, I love all of you people so much for sharing your lives, tips, memories and ears. Or, I guess actually your eyes :) I feel so lucky to have found a group of you who swear like me, complain like me, cheer like me and I must say: you are just flat out awesome.

But I must be honest with you awesome readers: I need a break. I'm not sure how long. But it's time for me to recharge. For the last 4 1/2 years I've blogged at least 4 times a week, nearly every week. During that time I've gone to school full time, had as many as 5 jobs at a time, been pregnant, had a baby, started a business, and various other endeavors. I've never wanted to be a quitter or admit that I've taken on more than I can handle. But, I think I have taken on more than I can handle. And, for a little while I have to hit the reset button. I don't know if that will take 1 day, 1 week or 1 month. But it will take some time. I'm not sure if I'll return to the same frequency either. I know that some of you won't stick around and I'm okay with that. I started this blog to share my thoughts without ever realizing that there would be more than 5 people listening to them. So it's okay if you find yourself somewhere else. To those of you who do stick around: thank you for always virtually being here for me. I truly do get a big fat smile on my face whenever I get a comment, email or read something that you too have written that hits so close to home. You are amazing.

And one last thing before I go: happy 6 month birthday to my wonderful little daughter Zoe. It's time I spend more time with you not stressed out and overwhelmed. I love you my babbling, toe grabbing, rolly polly, little beautiful, smart and determined stinker. You are the best thing there is


Two More Done!

I was an overachiever yesterday and painted TWO windows :) I was thinking about just getting all 4 that were left done, but I think the remaining two are actually operable (I know at least one is) so those will take a tad more work. And, I was lazy :)

But, hey hey hey, I cleaned them

And then primed them

And then they got two color coats. You might think it's weird to be priming these already white windows when the color coat is white also, but there are some spots here and there where the wood is raw and I've always found using primer before (even with white) results in a much more even and solid finish with your color coat

Oh hey, and look at that I cleaned! :) I showed a little preview on Facebook yesterday afternoon because I was so proud of myself. This is the cleanest the nook has been since we moved in. I am both ashamed and proud of that. Pathetic :)

Aaaannnd, after the two color coats were dry I even put up the candycane wrapping paper in the windows. I wanted to do the paper on a diagonal, but the windows are 5 ft. tall so I'd have to use several sheets per window to make it work because the paper isn't wide enough. And, well, I was too lazy. But they still look awesome

And it even looks pretty awesome in morning too

I'm on fire! :) Now I just have to get to the rest of those windows and Christmas decorations by the end of the day on Saturday...


The First One's Done

Yay! I did something yesterday! And actually today too because I got the second color coat on right before Zoe woke up this morning.

The window got cleaned (because man it was filthy)

Then please excuse the rest of these pictures - even with the light on in this room it's hard to see anything (because there is so much natural light and because the ceiling light in this room sucks)

It got the primer coat

And then 2 color coats

See, told you you can't really see anything. Damn awesome natural morning light! :) But I promise this first window is done and it feels REALLY good that it is. I'll have to work hard today during Zoe naps to make some progress because I got the second color coat on this morning on this first window and tomorrow Zoe and I will be out and about most of the day - so I have to make sure I stay on schedule to get all 5 painted by Friday. But I can do it damnit!

In other exciting news...

The city of Oakland arrived this morning to light the big tree at the center of our island. That's always exciting :) It also means I have to get up the rest of our Christmas decorations too.

Time to start blogging and start painting and decorating. Well, actually time to feed, change, play with Zoe and then hope she takes longer than a 30 minute nap. Not very likely. But there's always hope :)