my {thanksgiving} week in pictures.


{Eloise & her new friends – the Browns!}


{we got to see my friend Paige who I have known since pre-school – we were 3! – & we haven’t seen each other in about 20 years. it was so, so good to catch up & meet each other’s families!}


{Eloise & Grammie playing with some pom poms. About 3 seconds after this picture was taken Eloise grabbed that tube off the wall!}


{Also playing with pipe cleaners & a colander.}


{Eloise rocking at Grammie & Grandpa’s! She loved it!}


{We had a reunion dinner with my very BEST girlfriends from high school & their families. I wish we could do this every week. Thank you for all of these amazing years of friendship fellow CBC ladies!}


{Eloise & Grammie reading a new Pout Pout fish book. It has flaps which is E’s favorite!}


{Cuddles with Papa on Thanksgiving & watching football. Eloise was not feeling well but she was such a trooper!}


{The Thanksgiving table! We used all of my late grandmother’s china & silver, but I didn’t even think to bring all of my décor from Friendsgiving!}


{Eloise reading with her Aunt “Dollie” who is my eldest sister.}


{Happy Thanksgiving from the Lowers!}


{Playing with Aunt Yaya.}


{Thanksgiving leftover sammie. One of many I consumed this weekend!}


{An old family friend came over to watch the Boise State game & Eloise loved her!}


{We watched my beloved Huskies win the Apple Cup this year!}


{Reading books with Aunt Yaya.}


{A baby friend came to play & Eloise wasn’t sure at first. Soon enough they were playing together & Eloise mostly shared her toys!}


{Gobble gobble.}


{Aaron’s sister Cari sent this turkey costume for Eloise to wear. All three of her kiddos have worn it & it has become quite the tradition.}


{A good reminder in my fortune cookie!}


{We left Boise this morning around 5:30 AM – partly to get on the road early so we wouldn’t arrive home in the dark & partly because Eloise refused to go back to sleep around 4:45 AM! We stopped in La Grande, Oregon for breakfast & Eloise was in a pretty good mood. She is finally feeling better!}


{Eloise took a few naps in the car, but this one was particularly memorable since she fell asleep looking at pictures of herself. That picture is one of her & Aaron on a swing.}


{We stopped in Yakima for lunch & thought Eloise might do better in a booster seat rather than a highchair since we were in a big booth table. She looked so old sitting there with her crayons. And 5 seconds after this photo was taken, she was out of the seat & walking all over that booth seat!}


{I fell asleep shortly after lunch – I wasn’t driving! – & woke up to see we were already making our way thru Snoqualmie Pass. It is breathtakingly beautiful up there & pictures do not do it justice!}


{The realities of a car trip – all of the things to be put away!}


{We finished the weekend with more football & were so excited – & surprised to be honest! – that the Seahawks got a win over the Steelers!}

We had such a FUN week in Boise for the holiday, despite all three of us being sick the entire time! We are all on the mend now after runny noses, coughing, & me losing my voice for a few days, & fingers crossed we didn’t get any one else sick too! There was lots of catching up with family & friends, & it reminded me just how much we can be thankful for this year. We also got hair cuts (I still go back to Boise to see O’Dell at Graeber & Company if you need a recommendation!), a movie date to see Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II, & watched SO much football!

How was your Thanksgiving weekend?


happy thanksgiving!

I just wanted to pop in & wish you & yours a very happy thanksgiving! We are spending the week with my family & are enjoying all of the family & friends!

Last week we did our family photo shoot (for our holiday cards) & we just got them back – LOVE! You can see the pictures on The Happy Film Company’s blog, & the little video/slideshow below.

Happy turkey day!


DIY curtain lengthening {west elm}.


{our living room in 2012 – this picture is SO dark, long before I knew how PhotoShop!}

Three years ago I finally bit the bullet & hung the BEST curtains in our living room {see that post here}. It was my first real trek into window coverings, & I was so excited about having these beautiful, long, perfectly-pooled curtains {they are these ones from West Elm in 108″ length}. Fast-forward to our house remodel & despite my best efforts to keep these curtains out of the construction zone, they ended up needing cleaned before being hung back up. During that cleaning (a cold wash cycle) they shrunk a few inches. Boo. Then we had to have the curtains cleaned again after I over-boiled my pump parts & caused some smoke damage, & when we got the curtains back & hung, they were so, so short! Like high-water pants short (about 4 inches off the ground). It was awful. I was so embarrassed every time someone came over, & even though not a lot of people probably even noticed, I knew they knew. I didn’t even take a picture. Seriously. Just trust me that they were short enough that it seemed like I didn’t know what I was doing – I promise I know curtain lengths!

Any-hoo, this post is not about never washing your curtains or being mad at West Elm for having magically shrinking curtains (nope, I could never hate West Elm!), this is a post about how I made my curtains longer so they perfectly pool on the ground again!

Over months, I thought about how I could add length to the curtains (rather than replacing ALL of them – eek!) but was caught up on what fabric I would use. Fabric shopping is super tricky these days with a toddler in tow, plus I wanted to make sure the fabric was the right weight & color. Then I had an epiphany: why not just buy one curtain panel, cut it up, & sew pieces to each of the curtain panels? Genius! Plus, my mama gave me the idea to add the length to the top of the curtain, rather than to the bottom (so there wouldn’t be a weird break in the fabric as it hit the ground). So that’s what I did & the bonus was that West Elm frequently marks curtains down 20% (so take note if you are in the market for curtains).

This was my basic plan & it worked! I ripped out the top seam of the hidden tabs on the back of the curtain, & then cut off the bottoms of the tabs right at the seam. Then I cut a 7 inch piece of the extra curtain panel, hemmed the top edge to include the tops of the curtain tabs, then sewed it to the top of the old curtain panel, & finally I sewed the bottom of each tab down. This way the curtain hung in the exact same way as it did before & I didn’t have to cut & sew all of those tabs! I didn’t make an effort to try to match up the patterns on the old curtain panel & the new piece; even if I was that good of a seamstress, I probably would have needed another curtain panel.

In hindsight, I should have added an inch or two more, but I was worried at that point about adding too much length! This is a super simple project that took me just two days’ worth of naps (about 4 hours) & you can’t even tell that I added any fabric!












have you ever had issues with curtain length or is it just me?


my weekend in pictures.


{yay for the Broncos game being on ESPN Friday night. boo for a tough loss!}


{Eloise likes to take apart the Xbox remote, it’s one of her favorite things. On Saturday she took it apart & then hid the back. When we asked her where the back of the remote was, she went into the kitchen & laid down on the floor, looking under the stove. Aaron got a flashlight to look, & sure enough, the back of the remote! #toddlershenanigans}


{The entire Lower family came down with a cold – thanks Eloise! – & we made a pit stop at Bartell’s for necessities before hitting the road.}


{as we started into the Blue Mountains in Oregon, it was so, so foggy! & then we were above it & it was so pretty!}


{Eloise has a large noggin’ & it is almost big enough to wear an adult hat (like mine)!}


{we arrived at my parent’s house in the dark & close to bedtime, so once we fed, bathed, & put Eloise to bed, we enjoyed a pizza & cable (football)!}

Towards the end of the week, Eloise & I both started coming down with colds, & by Saturday night, we were all sick! Not horrible, but E’s two days at day care the past two weeks has definitely effected the Lower house. Immune systems building! We had zero plans for the weekend, which ended up being fantastic, except for driving to Idaho for Thanksgiving. We are hoping to be all on the mend by Thursday for the big feast! How was your weekend?


{project house} our backyard makeover.

our yard has always been a bit more than we could handle since day one. there was lots of landscaping done by the previous owner, but without a strict yardwork regiment & a very green thumb, the plants just took over! there were big privacy hedges on two sides of the yard that needed at least annual, & very expensive, professional trimming, & lots & lots of plants planted right next to each other. needless to say after three years of minimal yardwork on our part, things had gotten a little out of control. plus, the lawn (at least in the backyard) was super uneven & very spotty.

sure enough, I got a bug this past spring to get our yard under control so that it looked as nice as the rest of the house! (apparently a big house remodel will do that…) we started figuring out what we wanted our yard to look like, what our budget was, & reaching out to landscapers to start getting bids. we also decided it was worth it to hire a landscape designer since neither of us know anything about landscaping & we didn’t want to put a lot of time & money into our yard without some kind of design. a friend/neighbor of ours gave us the contact information for Erin Lau Design & she was wonderful! we initially had her out for just the front yard design, but brought her back out later in the summer to do a backyard design as well (we did two 2-hour consults, if that helps anyone who is interested!). not only did she give us simple, easy-to-maintain designs, she gave us a plant list to choose from, & the offer to buy any plants we were interested (cheaper than going to a big box store & saved us from having to drive out of town to a nursery).

of course though seattle had other plans for us & really tested our patience with this project. even though we started the process in the spring (may-ish), our spring & summer were so warm that it didn’t make sense to start any work. if we would have had removal of the old plants & grass done that early, our yard would have been a dirt/mud pit the entire summer! some times it stays cool enough to plant grass in the summer, but everyone we talked to told us to wait until the fall to plant grass & other plants & trees. so we waited. but, the wait did allow us to do some of the work ourselves & save some money. we removed all of the plants from the yard over the course of the late spring & summer, aaron chopped down the laurel bushes that ran the entire east side of the house (with a hatchet & a chainsaw!), & we removed a lot of the rocks that were all over the flower beds. we hired some crews to take out the big bushes that lined our back fence (north) as well as a stump grinder.

after going back & forth with a few yard contractors, we decided to go with EcoYards to do the sod removal, levelling, sprinkler & drip-line installation, & new sod installation. yep, you read that right sprinklers. it was a decision that we sat on for a long time, mostly due to the high cost, but we decided it was worth it after hearing from a neighbor who has the most beautiful front yard that sprinklers were the big secret & a friend who is in the lawn & sprinkler industry. for us, it was worth the investment since we both knew it was the best chance we had at keeping everything alive! {side note: most homes in seattle don’t have sprinklers. we get quite a bit of rain, & during the summer almost everyone lets their lawn go dormant (yellow) & then wait for it to come back green in the fall.} plus, a major selling feature was that this irrigation system has rain sensors so it can adjust the amount of water it puts out based on the rain fall – so cool! we have a little weather station on the back of the house.

finally (finally) we had the crew on-site & they were here for two weeks. it was crazy to see the transformation & we are super happy with the results! we have planted six trees in the backyard, plus mulch in the flowerbeds. then in the spring we will plant the remaining plants in the backyard, & do the removal & planting of the front yard.

without further adieu, before, during, & after pictures! {sidenote: the yard was really hard to photograph with the privacy hedges!}

BEFORE {May, June, & July 2014}:

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{the back hedge & rhodie (left).}


{the back hedge. you can see our neighbor’s garage back there.}


{the laurel hedge that was on the east-side of the house.}

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{the back hedge coming down!}


{& the hedge is gone!}


{we actually had the laurels trimmed this spring since we were on the fence about whether we wanted to get rid of it or not. we quickly decided we wanted it gone… oh well!}

20150530_235614269_iOS  {aaron putting together the shed.}20150627_190245140_iOS

{after years of being behind the back hedges, the side of our neighbor’s garage was in rough shape.}

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{the side fence (west) coming down in July, along with all of that ivy!} 20150703_195756981_iOS

{aaron & our neighbor taking down the old back fence.}

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{setting the new posts.}

20150705_173758172_iOS{a new fence!}

20150712_200407391_iOS  {the old laurel. you can see the gap to the right where we had a quince taken out in the spring.}20150809_180438419_iOS

{aaron chopped down ALL of the laurel hedges – by hand! – over the course of the summer, & then we slowly got rid of it in our yard waste.}

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DURING {September & October, 2015}:



{the lines sprayed for irrigation – white – & the flower bed boundary – orange.}






{aaron planting our new trees.}



AFTER {November, 2015}:

20151115_214648396_iOS{peering in thru the east-side gate.}

20151115_214706282_iOS{along this side of the yard are three trees which will hopefully give us privacy in a few years.}

20151115_214718293_iOS{there are two more threes along the north/back edge of our yard.}

20151115_214725856_iOS{I wanted to keep the old rhodie!}

20151115_214739720_iOS{another tree at the end of the flower bed.}

20151115_214749660_iOS{a work in progress, but on the west side of our house is a dog run – the dog door is on this side of the house – & the new home for our little shed.}

20151115_214754487_iOS{we still have this giant tree in the back corner. it’s nice to have a big, mature tree, but boy it has so many leaves! i also added our little lawn flamingos!}

20151115_214806594_iOS{& back towards the east-side gate.}

we are thrilled with the work that was done & how the yard is shaping up. it has been a lot more work on the weekends, since we are actually doing work. & by “we” i mean aaron! he is out there every weekend raking, mowing, etc. we are SO excited for this next spring & summer! i’ll be sure to update this spring too!

have you done a yard makeover lately? any suggestions or hints for us newbies?


friendsgiving 2015.

This past weekend Aaron & I had the pleasure of hosting a Friendsgiving with some of our closest Seattle friends. It was our second time getting all together (see last year’s festivities here) & I definitely think this is a tradition in the making!

Jess hosted last year, but since she just got married, she asked me to host this year &, of course, I obliged. I LOVE hosting parties & we haven’t really hosted a big dinner party at our house before. I had so much fun planning & hosting Friendsgiving this year!

As you know, I am a big fan of snail mail, & specifically mailed invitations. I briefly perused my usual e-invitation sites (Paperless Post, TinyPrints, & Minted) before I sat down & designed my own in Illustrator.


One of the first things that I do when party planning is start a board on Pinterest. I have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest though; I love it because I am super visual & love all of the images, but I hate it because I think it sets completely unrealistic expectations about what a simple dinner party should look like. I was able to find some cute ideas (shared below!) & pick out a fun theme: pumpkins & gold!

Our final guest count was 13 adults, 1 child, & 3 toddlers, so even with the addition of three leaves to extend our dining room table, we still had to rent an 8 foot table & chairs. {Locals: we used Aurora Rents.} I also decided that since we were having a somewhat fancy event, we should use real plates, silverware, & glasses. So I busted out our brass flatware to mix with our everyday flatware, & my late grandmother’s crystal. We don’t have nearly enough plates, so I ordered these re-usable plastic plates (which we can wash & reuse again next year!). But, because we did use “real” place settings, it means we had to wash all of it too, & the kicker was that the brass flatware & crystal glasses have to be HAND washed! Oh well, it was worth it!

The company was so great {it is so good to see everyone all together!} & the food was so delicious! Jess cooked the turkey (at our house) & everyone else brought something to share {potatoes – au gratin, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes; Brussels sprouts; salad; cranberry sauce; stuffing;, green bean casserole; gravy}. It’s nice to have a potluck style dinner when there are so many people!

{prepare for picture overload! I was slightly obsessed with the tables…}


{Jess made the cutest turkey appetizer!}


{Both tables. We had eight adults at our dining room table, plus two toddlers, & six at the other table, plus one toddler.}













{crayons & coloring pages for Jaz – she’s 7!}


{leftovers boxes & stickers!}



{thank you Jess for the family photos!}


{all the babies!}

This was such a fun event to be a part of & it feels like Thanksgiving is already over (even though it’s still two weeks away!). I am trying to stay in the Thanksgiving-mode & not just jump right into Christmas (but see what I am up to in that department here!).

Happy Friendsgiving!


Source List: white pumpkins: Target (old) {tip: buy them before Halloween!} // gold mercury glass votives: Michael’s // gold leaves & berries: Michael’s // gold pinecones: DIY // placemats: DIY {here}  // leaf placecards: DIY {spray painted fake leaves & write names with black Sharpie} // white tablecloth*: Linen Tablecloth // white napkins*: Linen Tablecloth via Amazon // pilgrim hat crayon holder: DIY // coloring pages: here, here, here // cake stands: Crate & Barrel (old) // polka dot banner: DIY (leftover from E’s first birthday) // give thanks flag: DIY // thankful napkins: Michael’s // leftover labels: DIY // leftover boxes: Sweet Party Shop}

*Note: it was cheaper for me to buy tablecloths & napkins than it was to rent them!

this post contains affiliate links.

my weekend in pictures.


{Eloise liked pointing at the fish while we waited for her 15 month check-up!}


{reading stories while we waited for Dr. Susie.}


{working on the dessert table for Friendsgiving.}


{Eloise & Aaron had a music/dance party on Friday evening. Eloise loves holding the phone up to her ear!}


{making cranberry sauce – so, so delicious!}


{trying to get a picture of all the kiddos!}


{Friendsgiving after-math. I need to get bins to store all my décor!}


{after washing, I organized all of my brass flatware.}


{that is Eloise waving at me while I try to take pictures of the yard – for a future post!}


{Eloise snacking at her new table & chairs. I am working on getting her to sit still while she snacks; it is going as well as you would expect…}


{Eloise discovered she could hold this colander up to her face & see thru the holes. She loved it!}

On Friday Eloise had her 15 month check-up & it went well. She is right on track with development, & has a 95th percentile head (!) & is in the 50th percentile for both height & weight. Her doctor (she’s really an NP) was pleased with her growth, her walking, her teeth, & the fact that she is weaned from a bottle. Eloise had two vaccines & barely even cried. Tough kiddo!

Almost immediately after her check-up, Aaron & I dropped Eloise off at day care. Yep, day care. First day ever I haven’t been with her. It was really hard. I cried, but Eloise didn’t, when we left. I made sure she was distracted when we left so she didn’t see us walk out the door. Apparently though, she only cried one time; the kids were outside on the playground right before lunch, so I am sure she was cold & hungry. She slept just 20 minutes (!) during nap time (there is only one nap for toddlers) but ate a great lunch! The teachers told me she was happy & socialized really well (even for a kid that stays at home with mama all day!). When I got to her room to pick her up, she didn’t see me at first. Once she figured out I was there, she started to cry. And then I started to cry. But it was really good, the entire thing. We are proud of our little E! I am still going to stay home with Eloise, but day care will be a sometimes thing, so I am glad it went well for all of us.

And during the time when Eloise was away, I got to getting the house ready for Friendsgiving. It took me nearly three hours, seriously, to set the tables, but that included washing all of the flatware & ironing those darn tablecloths! Plus, I took my time because I knew I wasn’t on the clock (like I usually am during nap time). And then I took a shower & washed my hair, & it was glorious! It was wonderful to have a “day off” but I sure did miss that little bug!

Saturday was busy & Friendsgiving was SO fun! There is a big post to come later this week, so stay tuned. Today was such a lazy day since we were completely exhausted from the week, but was much-needed so I am trying not to feel guilty about doing next to nothing!

How was your weekend?