refreshing reveal

last year at this time we were packing up our entire house and getting ready for a big refresh of our spaces.

i never really got around to blogging about the updates, and I have really missed blogging, so i thought i would jump right back into it with posts about the updates we made in our home!

if you’ve followed my blog for years, then you have already seen the transformation of our kitchen BEFORE last summer…if you’re new, you can jump to this post to see where we came from.


9-kitchen 2-2008

4-kitchen 2-2008

12-kitchen 2-2008

2-kitchen 2-2008

fast forward to twenty-sixteen…

1-kitchen 2-2016

4-kitchen 2-2016

5-kitchen 2-2016

7-kitchen 2-2016

and, here is the PRESENT…

we didn’t change the layout.

we didn’t buy new cabinets.

we kept our appliances.

we didn’t change the lighting.

what did we change?!

i’ll tell you in my next post…stay tuned.

home is…finally revealing our refresh.



it was a LONG, cold, wet winter here in the pacific northwest, but i think we are finally out of the worst of it and spring is FINALLY here!

spring around here means lacrosse season.

reece is playing and ryan is coaching.

lorelai and i love to watch.

when they have home games {and it’s not a downpour} we bring odyssey along with us. he is the perfect lax dog.

luckily, only two of the games have been in a miserable downpour…there’s no such thing as a rainout in lacrosse!

it sure has been fun to watch this team play!

home is…loving being a #laxmom!

{home is essential} mother’s day essentials

Oh, how I wish I had known about Young Living Essential Oils when I was a new mom…or when I was pregnant! Last week I hosted a Facebook class on Essential Oils for Baby and Mom-to-be and there are so many good oils in the Young Living Premium Starter Kit that promote wellness while you are pregnant and when you have a new baby!Seriously, there are so many ways to spoil a new mom-to-be, or your own mom,  with Young Living…As a reminder, if you sign up with a Premium Starter Kit in May, you will also get a 15-ml bottle of Tangerine! Tangerine is one of the oils in a mood boosting diffuser blend that was included in the Baby and Mama class I hosted on Facebook last week…Check back here often, as I will be sharing a few more tips and recipes for Baby and Mama before Mother’s Day!

{home is essential} MAY 2017

May is the perfect time to show the women in your life some extra love and young living has some awesome opportunities to do just that with some incredible promotions that are worth sharing with your boss, parent, daughter, or anyone you feel makes a difference!


Young Living is offering its first enrollment promo in months…

May 1–31, Young Living is offering new members a free 15-ml bottle of Tangerine essential oil when they enroll with a Premium Starter Kit.* With its sweet, sunny aroma, Tangerine is the perfect introduction to how Young Living essential oils can brighten your life!If you join Young Living in May with the Premium Starter Kit, you will receive a FREE TANGERINE ESSENTIAL OIL!!

May PV promotions…

In addition to the awesome enrollment promotion, Young Living has some pretty amazing PV promotions for May! It always love to place an order

and get such incredible freebies!

As a reminder about how the monthly promotions work, if your order reaches one of the PV levels (100, 190, 250, 300PV, or 340PV), you will receive all the items at that level for FREE!  For example, with a single 340PV order in May, all the following will ship FREE with your order:


    • 5-ml Valor®: Known for its empowering aroma, Valor is perfect for strong women everywhere. With Black Spruce, Geranium, and Camphor Wood, Valor has a spicy-sweet and grounding aroma that’s made it a YL favorite.
    • AgilEase™: With a long list of to-dos, busy women are often on the go. Give the gift of easy movement to loved ones or yourself! AgilEase supports joint health and reduces inflammation, so it’s easier to keep up.*
    • 5-ml Manuka: Also known as New Zealand Tea Tree, Manuka is great for women looking for natural skin care solutions. Use its beautifying properties to support healthy-looking skin and reduce the appearance of blemishes.
    • 5-ml Ravintsara: Know a yoga-loving lady? Ravintsara has a clean, crisp aroma that’s popular in meditation and spiritual practices. Its Eucalyptus-like scent is perfect for creating a clear headspace before or after a busy day.
    • 5-ml Jade Lemon™: Jade Lemon’s sweet, uplifting, and lemon-lime scent makes it truly unique, just like the women in your life. It can be diffused to create an inviting space or simply worn on its own as a signature scent.
    • Bonus Essential Rewards exclusive: 15-ml Citronella: A relative of Lemongrass, Citronella has a slightly citrus scent that’s made it popular in perfumes and cosmetics. Share it with your free-spirited friend or family member to support her bright, fresh take on life.
    • Bonus Essential Rewards exclusive: 5-ml Orange Vitality™: Use Orange Vitality to give a lucky lady a surprise treat. This oil easily enhances water, juice, and smoothies and upgrades breakfast in bed with citrusy-sweet pancakes, waffles, or yogurt!

The best way to place orders is with Essential Rewards which is Young Living’s optional monthly autoship program, where you earn up to 25% back on your monthly orders!  You also receive less expensive shipping AND the “ER Exclusive” items that are part of the monthly promotion if your order reaches at least the 100 or 190PV level.  You can read more about Essential Rewards here.

May 2017 Young Living Monthly Promotion


If you order at least 100PV through the Essential Rewards program in April, you will get a FREE 5ml Orange Vitality essential oil!


  • 5ml Jade Lemon
  • 15ml Citronella – Essential Rewards Exclusive
  • 5ml Orange Vitality – Essential Rewards Exclusive


  • 5ml Ravintsara
  • 5ml Jade Lemon
  • 15ml Citronella – Essential Rewards Exclusive
  • 5ml Orange Vitality – Essential Rewards Exclusive


  • AgilEase
  • 5ml Manuka
  • 5ml Ravintsara
  • 5ml Jade Lemon
  • 15ml Citronella – Essential Rewards Exclusive
  • 5ml Orange Vitality – Essential Rewards Exclusive


  • 5ml Valor!!!
  • AgilEase
  • 5ml Manuka
  • 5ml Ravintsara
  • 5ml Jade Lemon
  • 15ml Citronella – Essential Rewards Exclusive
  • 5ml Orange Vitality – Essential Rewards Exclusive

Essential oils are a fantastic way to start swapping the toxins OUT of your home and using a much safer alternative.  If you are ready to make the change and get started with essential oils, the Young Living Premium Starter Kit is the best way to get started! It is the only item that is 50% off and gets you started with essential oils and oil-infused products.


And, that’s not all…

You can now use PayPal to pay for your Premium Starter Kit and any other Young Living orders!

one last thing…

You no longer need to give Young Living your Social Security number to sign up as a Wholesale Member! If you have waited to become a member because you did not feel comfortable sharing that personal information, you can do it!

*Disclaimer:  The information on this website is based upon my research and personal use of Young Living Essential Oils. I am not a doctor. Statements, products, and techniques mentioned have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  Read the full disclaimer here.

our pack…8 years later

The following post was published on my blog 8 years ago…when Reece was almost 2 and I was about 5 months pregnant with Lorelai.  Much has changed…Murphy, Oak, Ben and Hobbes are no longer with us; Lorelai and Rainbow have joined our pack. However, the kids love for their dogs has stayed the same. 

When I wrote the original post, Odyssey was 5 years old and the puppy of the family. The words I wrote about Oak, “Oak is pretty much blind, deaf, and very needy so I try to give her extra attention whenever possible. I am not sure how much longer we will have her around..” now ring true for our sweet 13 year old Odyssey.

Our first “children” were animals.  In December 1999, a diluted calico cat named Murphy was adopted from the Dumb Friends League in Denver.  In March 2000, a black lab puppy named Ben came from our good friend and Grand River trainer/breeder Mike Gould.  In September 2000, an orange and white tabby named Hobbes was adopted from the Dumb Friends League.  In November 2003, an 8 year old black lab named Oak was adopted from Mike Gould.  In April 2004, a black lab puppy named Odyssey, again came from Mike Gould.

For almost 8 years we were the proud parents of our five-fuzzy-faces.  The dogs would go everywhere with us.  We drove across the country to Upstate New York with a stop in Chicago for a family wedding…all with Ben in tow! We went on many roadtrips through Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho with all 3 of them…learning what hotels were pet friendly along the way.  My husband would take the boy dogs hunting anywhere from 40-60 days each fall.  They would all go camping and hiking with us during the summer.  They drove with us from Colorado to Oregon when we moved.  Oak used to go to work with me almost everyday here in Oregon.  They lived the high life!

Then July 5, 2007 came.  The world as they knew it stopped.  Our baby boy arrived and they were relegated to the dog runs and scolded for getting too close to the baby.  Oh, I was afraid that we wouldn’t be able to give them the attention they were used to…and we weren’t…but our little guy is!

The little guy LOVES his doggies!  The first word-like sound he made was “woof”; his first word was “doggie”; his first 2-word phrase was “good girl”;  the second 2-word phrase was “bad dog”; and his first 3-word phrase was “no bark dog”.  When he wakes up in the morning he asks where Oak is.  He loves to share his toys and food with the dogs.  He crawls all over them, snuggles on their dog beds, and loves to play chase with them in the house.  He is part of their pack.

When we are outside in the back yard he loves to play in their dogs runs.  He opens and closes the door, pretends to fill up their water buckets, and likes it even better if they will play along with him…Odyssey usually obliges.  Oftentimes, I will find him hiding in the dog crate we keep in the house for “doggie timeouts”…sometimes he will be in there with one of the dogs.  I am sure that he thinks every kid has a house full of black labs  just like he does.

The dogs (and cats) may not get the attention they used to from us, but our little guy sure thinks the world of them.  Their days are lazy, and they get to stay in the house most of the time, now.  My husband runs the boys down at the river once or twice a week…when he can. Oak is pretty much blind, deaf, and very needy so I try to give her extra attention whenever possible.  I am not sure how much longer we will have her around…she has been a mom to around 30 puppies…and acts as a “doggie nanny” to our little guy.  They are all wonderful pets and “children”…including the boy who was raised by Black Labs.

eight years

eight years ago this month i wrote my first post for this little blog of mine.


reece and oak

while it wasn’t my first blog post ever, it was the first one that led to another, then another, and then a move to pretty consistent blogging.


me and lorelai

i was pregnant with lorelai and reece was 20-months old. i had officially been a stay at home mom for a year, after going back to work for a bit and making the decision that i did not want my children to go to daycare…even if it meant giving up a job i absolutely loved.


reece and oak

i’m so thankful that i am able to be here for my kids. they have both been sick with a nasty cold the last few weeks, and it is such a blessing to be able to not have to think twice about having them stay home with me.


reece and odyssey

there are sacrifices that are made for me to stay home and there are things i miss out on when they stay home with me, but i wouldn’t change it. i wouldn’t change the memories that are being made and the life we are living.


me, reece and lorelai (in my belly)

i am so thankful that i decided to write things down here in this space…so much of it would just be forgotten if i didn’t have the words to read and remind me…

“He says (and waves) hello and goodbye to everybody at Safeway, Target, Whole Foods, or wherever we may be. He is perplexed when he is pushed by another child while at OMSI. He loves his three dogs and two cats more than anything in the world. He gives lots of hugs and kisses. It melts my heart when I am sitting on the floor and he comes up and gives me a great big hug (and pats me on the back). He has a heart of gold.”

img_0144i’m going to go snuggle my not so little boy, who happens to be home with me today.

learn something new

i received a new camera body a couple of years ago.

just like my blog posts have become fewer and far between since i loaded instagram on my iphone, my photography with my big camera(s) has also lessened.

it’s just so easy to snap a photo with my iphone, which is usually in my pocket.

last year, i had hoped to learn to use my big camera in manual mode as i have always just used automatic mode. it just didn’t happen.

again, so easy to pull my iphone out of my pocket to snap a photo.

however, i REALLY want to learn how to take better photos and use my big camera(s) to capture more of our life!

so, my first stop is back at ashley’s snapshop!

i actually signed up for her basics of DSLR course the first time she offered it online.

the bad news…i never really kept up with the content as it was being presented and never took the time to go back and learn it.

the good news…now, i use a monthly subscription to her snapshop online to view the DSLR course…and the iphone course…and all of the additional lessons that she (and others) add!

so, i’m going to start today and try to spend 30 minutes a day learning my big camera(s)!

i hope post some of my photos here along with notes from my journey…stay tuned.

{this post contains affiliate links}

blogs and bumwad

I used to read a fair number of blogs after I originally started my own.

It was interesting to find out other people’s reasons for starting blogs, and when I was new to Portland and motherhood it felt good to have something in common with a lot of other mom bloggers.

I sat down to read them during naptime.

Eventually, naptime stopped…and Instagram started.

And, so many of my favorite blogs disappeared…eaten up by the tiny squares of Instagram.

Mine included.img_0673And, what started out as a type of “mom blog” to keep family and friends in far away places aware of my mom-ing activities, is not so much a mom blog anymore.

What used to be Tuesday’s with Lola and The Little Guy Said, has turned into “what the heck do I write about when the kids are in school all day and I’m not doing my mom-ing activities?”

Some of the bloggers that I followed when I started my blog are still writing. In fact, this morning I read Kelle’s post about The Balance Bird. Her friend’s epiphany in yoga class about being erased hit home.

I felt that way when I was in the trenches of mom-ing activities while the kids were both so little. I have truly felt like I have lost pieces of myself while nurturing my kids. However, I am beginning to realize that my mom-ing activities are HUGE pieces of myself, and what I am pouring into my kids is a reflection and part of ME.

I’m not being erased, but redrafted, refined, remodeled.

Like a house with good bones, I am still here.

My structure is still here, there are just some parts that have been taken away…erased.

Sometimes you need to strip away the layers of wallpaper and plaster or drywall to get to the shiplap (and you can’t do that without demo day)! Other times there are parts that have been added because they are necessary and weren’t in place before, they just needed some updating, or were completely outdated and needed an entire overhaul!

When you remodel a house you have the original floor plan and you keep what you need and make changes where they are needed. Most times the original floor plan is drafted in pen, because it is the permanent structure, then you place tracing paper (my instructors in design school used to call it bumwad) on top of that and pencil in the new changes and additions. The eraser is used, and most times multiple drafts and layers of bumwad end up over the original floor plan. Eventually, you get to a final design that will, once again, be drafted in pen.Stephany Taddeo Interior DesignAnd, then you have change orders.

And, you decide to repaint your walls.

And, you need new floors because the old carpet smells like dogs.

Sometimes an eraser is what is needed to really get the changes we need to take shape.

At any rate, my blog is still here. I just might put some layers of bumwad on top and have to use an eraser from time to time to get it where I want it to be.

snow much fun!

i’m hitting publish on this one without photos and editing…just want to get it out there. i will come back and add photos/video/etc, but i need to go play in the snow!

we’ve lived in the pacific northwest for 11 years.

it rains here almost 9 months out of the year. not a steady grey rain everyday, but from november through june you can expect rain in some form a lot of days. it’s really the worst in december and january when the days are so short and any gray and rain just makes them seem even shorter.

people around here just get stuff done in the rain. you have to.

i learned that a good rain jacket and some hunter boots will get you through most of the rainy weather. in fact, i love my patagonia rain jacket so much that although it needs some patching, i just couldn’t part with it when ryan bought me a new one for christmas.

umbrellas are optional. we keep them in the car if it is just a crazy downpour and you have to walk more than a few blocks. mainly, we keep them around for people who visit from out of state who might melt in the rain. heck, my kids don’t even bother with the rain jacket and rubber boots, but they are oregon kids…it’s in their blood.

when the sun comes out, especially when there are sun breaks between rainstorms in the spring, people get out and take advantage of it. yes, sometimes it takes us a little while to recognize that bright yellow orb in the sky, but once we confirm that is is indeed the sun we take advantage of it.

go for a run.

go for a hike.

get out on the water.

go to the beach.

just get out and enjoy whatever isn’t possible in the rain…or, at the very least, get out and enjoy what you usually do in the rain without getting wet!

get out in the sun, because you don’t know how long it will last!

and, then there is snow.

we get snow in oregon. plenty of it. in the cascades.

portland, doesn’t do snow very often.

an inch of snow will close schools.

a few inches of snow will create havoc on the roads where people will literally abandon their cars and walk.

the topography, and lack of snow removal equipment just don’t help us out when the snow hits the ground.

in fact, in the 11 years we have lived here we have only had three BIG (relatively speaking, of course) snow storms.

december 2008.

february 2014.

january 2017.

this has been the snowiest winter i have ever been a part of in portland. since december 1st my kids have had EIGHT snow days.

four of those snow days occured before christmas break when we had some small 1-3″ snowfalls. yep, the schools close because the buses cannot get into the neighborhood with hills.

one snow day was this past monday, january 9th after we had a small snow storm and then a layer of ice on top.

there was one more storm forecast before the weather people said we would finally warm up and return to normal portland winter weather…rain.

on tuesday night i took the kids to the store to get some milk in case we got the 1-4″ that were forecast. school would certainly be closed, and i wanted to make sure we had milk for hot chocolate!

ryan had driven down to bend for work on monday night and it was snowing so hard in central oregon that he decided to stay on tuesday night rather than drive back into portland.

well, as we walked out of the store and drove home the snowflakes started falling. by the time we got home they were sticking to the roadways, our deck, and our front yard.

the kids and i ate dinner and watched some tv as we saw more and more snow fall. the big districts of beaverton and portland had announced their closure by 9 pm as snow in some areas had already reached 3-5 inches.

the snow kept piling up outside, but we kept waiting for word of our districts closure. lorelai went to bed, but reece wanted to stay up and wait to hear about school. i went downstairs to watch the 10 o’clock news and he was up in my bedroom. right before 11 pm i heard branches cracking as the wind was blowing the snow through the trees. then the power went out. more loud pops and a bright light.

reece came running down the stairs scared of all the noise and the dark house. we decided to sleep downstairs with a fire in the fireplace. i moved his sister to her room, away from the trees at the back of the house.

it was a rest less night of sleep for me. at 3:21 am i woke up and noticed we still were without power. when i reported the outage to PGE at 11 pm, they had expected to have power back on by 1:30am. my mind started churning with thoughts of how i was going to make coffee and hot chocolate. i texted ryan and he told me where the camp stove we bought him for christmas was. i was certain that i was going to need to use it. i was going to need lots of coffee.

at 5 am, the house woke up. electronics chirped, beeped, and began to hum back to life. we had power…just in time for coffee! while it was inconvenient, and a bit scary, to be without in the dark of the night with a storm howling outside, it was not as inconvenient as i imagined being without power during a snow day with two kids home would have been.

shortly after power was restored our school district also announced, officially, that we had a snow day!

7-12″ of snow had fallen all over the metro area and the storm was not over. highways were littered with abandoned cars. power was out all over the area.

by then end of our first snow day we had 8+ inches of snow and other areas in and around portland had up to 15″.

the mayor of portland and governor of oregon issued a state of emergency for the entire state.

central oregon, where ryan finally was able to drive home from, had received even more snow, the gorge had not thawed out from the ice event from the previous storm and was getting dumped on.

the school districts all called another snow day for thursday.

and, another one for today.

while a couple of inches of snow may shut down the city, and a foot of snow may cause a state of emergency, portlanders know how to have fun in the snow!

snowball fights.



cross country skiing.

igloo building.

snowman building.

you name something to do in the snow, we are doing it.

i have never seen so many snowmen in my life.

our neighbor built a legitimate igloo.

we have been sledding everyday, multiple times a day. streets are turned into mini ski/sled runs!

we still have plenty of snow on the ground as we also have record low temperatures. and, although the sun is shining, the snow is not melting.

so, sun and snow, we are going to get out and play…before the rain comes to wash it all away.

we have friends headed over for playdates, and a huge mound of snow waiting for us to create something with it!