Easter Family Photos


I wanted to get some photos of our last days of a family of three. Easter was the perfect opportunity since we were together all day, dressed up and it was gorgeous outside. Between church and lunch we went to Centennial Park and took turns taking photos of each other. After lunch, we went to Cheekwood Botanical Garden with Jason’s parents and took a boatload more photos. Ali took quite a lot of these. She’s pretty impressive as a three-year-old with that big DSLR! She took all of the ones of me alone (or my belly!), and of Jason and me.

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Oops, that first one should say 2012, not 2013. 🙂





“Forzinnia” … that’s a combination of forsythia and zinnia. A couple weeks ago Ali helped pick out and then plant some zinnia. Last week our forsythia started blooming and she helped me clip some to put in vases. It’s no wonder she was getting the names mixed up! I love, love, love Spring in Nashville. Achoo! The allergies are a small price to pay for the beautify of this time of year.

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Our zinnias should hopefully start blooming this month. Hooray for April! It’s a great month to have a baby.


Swinging into Spring


On March 5 we had a snow storm that brought 2-3″ of the dreaded white stuff. I don’t ever recall getting snow accumulation in March in the 10 winters we’ve lived in Nashville. On the bright side, I got to work at home more than usual this winter. And of course, Alianna loved it and was sure it was Christmas all over again.

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It was too stinkin’ cold to play outside that day so Ali brought a bucket of snow inside and played in the tub until it melted.


One week later the temps were in the 60s and we were playing outside with no coats. A few budding flowers have been spotted. I can’t wait until everything really bursts into bloom. Spring is so breathtakingly beautiful here. And of course, I’ve been looking forward to Spring for another little/big reason this season. AccuWeather already has the extended forecast up for my due date. It’s currently looking like April showers and upper 60s. (Seriously, how can they predict the weather a month in advance? Crazy…) I’m so thankful for the longer daylight hours in the evening brought by Daylight Saving Time and I’m trying to get some more exercise with evening walks, lots of playing outside with Ali and eating meals on the back patio whenever possible.


Feeding the chickens one of their favorite treats: black oil sunflower seeds (birdseed).


Homemade Orange Julius popsicles. Mmm!

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Look! Dresses and no socks!



Eating Outside: Toddler Solutions


As soon as it was warm though, I enthusiastically moved Ali’s high chair outside. Food throwing is one of my biggest pet peeves with her lately. (The other is splashing in the bath tub and soaking the mama, in case you were wondering.) Eating outside provided a temporary reprieve. I didn’t change the rules but it allowed me to stay more relaxed while correcting her, rather than getting stressed out about a strawberry smacking the white wall or a green bean getting smashed onto the wood floors. And getting stressed out makes me more likely to lose my temper with my sweet little girl. I’m a work in progress, as is she.

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We’ve also been spending a lot of time outdoors in general. My favorites (during Ali’s nap time) are lounging in the hammock, occasionally joined by a dog…


Walking around our property and picking up shards of glass (we started a jar for our collection about a month ago)…


and spotting beautiful creations while I’m picking up glass…


Ali likes to climb up the steps of the hot tub…


swing and spin in her swing…


And play in her giant sandbox…




I’ve been on a roll making homemade popsicles. (My current go-to is frozen mixed berries blended with plain whole milk yogurt and a bit of sugar to sweeten.) Ali loves them and she’s totally adorable and photogenic.

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Gosh, I love this kid so much! By the way, Happy 20 Months, Alianna!

Prickly Plants


Normally this time of year, I’d be snapping pictures of our garden and the plants around the house. The pink dogwood behind our house… I missed it this spring. However, our new yard has a gigantic beautiful white dogwood out front. I wonder if our prickly pear cactuses exploded with yellow flowers this spring. I’m sure the azaleas were blindingly vibrant. And the gorgeous Japanese Flowering Plum—I missed that one, too. Is the new home owner keeping up with the weeding?

Jason did bring quite a few plants over to our temporary home at my parents’ in pots. Recently the spineless prickly pear has been having it’s spring grow spurt. I love this thing. It’s so fun! It grows these soft, thick “spines” that dry up and fall off, leaving a polka-dotted paddle. The spineless prickly pear in front of our old house was (and still is) getting huge. We hope to grow these salvaged babies big in front of our new house, too.

We recently bought a huuuuuuge round pot for this agave at Old Time Pottery. It’s happy.



Yesterday was the first day of spring, though it has been looking and feeling like spring for weeks now in Nashville. I’ve always been a summer lover. Bring on the heat! Spring temps here are reminiscent of the summers of my childhood in Pennsylvania and Michigan, but the flowers here are just amazing! Especially the flowering trees like red buds, cherries, plums, pears, magnolias. It’s decidedly the more beautiful time of year. Monday morning I snapped pictures during Lucy’s and my morning walk and on my drive to work:

Hanging Out: Spring Swings and an Adoption Update


We took Precious to the playground for the first time last week since the weather has been reaching into the upper 60s and low 70s more frequently here in Nashville. She seemed to really enjoy the swings. Not much reaction to the slide and that’s about all she’s big enough for yet. So lots of swing pictures pictures…

I haven’t given an update on our adoption situation in a while, mainly because not much is happening. Later this month we’ll be celebrating our 6-month familiversary (a term I got from the Foster Parent Podcast) and Precious will be 8 months old. We were anticipating being able to finalize her adoption around the 6-month point but now it seems we’ll be waiting two more months…until the beginning of May. At the earliest. We did everything we were supposed to do. Got our home study done in less than a month and our attorney submitted everything to the court. And then we waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, the judge’s clerk got back to our attorney to let us know they would start the process of publication* in order to terminate Precious’ biological father’s parental rights. This week. And the process takes 8 weeks. It feels like the papers were just sitting around in a stack in the courthouse for over a month. It’s frustrating to be stuck in this waiting period—just hanging out in limbo—for an indefinite amount of time.

But we could be in such a different situation that we’re in right now, and that perspective keeps us in thankful mode rather than impatient mode. We have full custody of Precious, she’s with us everyday, we’re her parents, we’re not in any real risk of losing her—we’re very blessed. Situations don’t often turn out this rosy. But that finalization is going to feel so good. Everything will be permanent and official then. We’ll get a new birth certificate for her with our names on it as her parents and a new name for her—which I plan to reveal here once it’s a done deal. She’ll take our last night, get a new middle name and keep the same first name. We’re just changing the spelling of her first name slightly because her biological mom gave her a beautiful name and we’d like her to keep it. But a little modification will allow us to incorporate in our favorite family name as well as honoring her original name and her history.

*In case you’re really interested in adoption and foster parenting technical processes, here’s an explanation of “publication” as best as I understand it here in Tennessee. When a biological parent is unidentified or his/her whereabouts is unknown, every effort needs to be made to find him/her. There is a Punitive Fatherhood Registry in Tennessee where a father can post that he is looking for a biological child. A child’s information is submitted and if it matches a father on the list, more information/testing can be done to see if they’re a match. If there is no match there, the next step is to run an ad in a public newspaper for 4 weeks. I think the ad says something like, “If you are looking for your child, born on blank, please contact blank for more information.” Pretty vague for the child’s protection. The parent has 30 days to respond to the ad. If no one comes forward and no match is found any other way, the adoption process moves forward and the biological parent’s parental rights are terminated.

So that’s where we’re at. We’re just waiting. Hanging out. Having fun. Going about our day to day lives with our precious 7.5 month old little sweetie pie. And being thankful everyday. She makes my life much richer, messier and so much more joyful…

More Signs of Spring


I’m having a lazy blogging week (blame it on the new mattress…) so here are some pictures of spring around our back yard. We had a major spring storm on Monday and in the days following the grass has been so green, the flowers so intensely colorful and the sky so blue.


(Sorry for the weird dusky color going on here…)

Succulents. The tips of my boots. Lucy.

Dogwood Tree.

Surprise! And a little sneak peak of the fence. Jason was busy staining while I was snapping these pictures. Daylight was almost gone so I’ll be taking some more photos over the weekend for the next official Modern Wood Fence DIY update.



Happy First Day of Spring! I’ve always been a summer girl—bring on the heat!—but spring in Nashville is breath-taking. (Especially if you have allergies, harharhar…) I love all the flowering trees. Here’s the view out my front door in the morning:

And some various signs of spring from around our yard: