19-20 months

Dearest Calder-loo,

I'm sorry I missed your letter last month. It's been quite busy around here lately with the holidays.
I don't even know where to begin because you are changing so fast. You are starting to look like a little boy now. Your legs are getting longer and (sadly) less chubby and your face has thinned out a bit. But you've still got those plump kissable cheeks, thank goodness. Your legs are getting faster and you can practically run now.
A lot has happened in the past 2 months. You wear glasses now. Dr. A noticed that one of your eyes wasn't focusing properly, so we took you to the Va Eye Center to have things checked out. They want you to wear glasses for a awhile to help train that eye and side of the brain. Hopefully the glasses will help and you won't need surgery. So we found you some stylin' toddler glasses and you look pretty adorable in them. Sometimes you'll gladly wear them and other times you're NOT a fan.
Two weeks ago we had to take you to the ER. It was a very scary time for Mommy. It started out as a minor cold and by the end of the day you couldn't breathe. I know what that feels like and I'm sorry you had to go through it.
You got your first guitar for Christmas and you're completely obsessed. One of the first things you do in the morning is pat your tummy and say "gi ta gi ta gi ta" (you're making the noise of the guitar). You're already very good at it and will tap your foot to the beat, just like Poppy. I think it's safe to say that music will be a huge part of your life. You also continue to love to read. Thank goodness you got some new books for Christmas...it was getting hard to read the same ones over and over:)
Lately you've been a bit of a parrot and will copy anything we do. I've even caught you throwing things in the trash like me (including my Christmas tree skirt:) Dr. A noticed how you mimicked him with the stethascope and told us that you're very smart for doing this already, but that we're going to have to watch you very closely from now on!
You're such a little boy. You love to do "1 2 3 boom!" on the couch and body slam me. You love to be tickled and chased around the house. You squeal with delight!
You discover new words every day and are starting to put together two words like "big truck" or "Mommy shoe." It's amazing to watch you make the connection and say a new word for the first time.
You're just the cutest thing and always the life of the party. Thank you for being such a sweet little boy and bringing tremendous joy into our lives.



the living room

So the living room is coming together nicely. As you may remember, I was going to use this fabulous Orla Kiely pillow as a jumping off point:

I was also going to go with a cute little yellow danish modern sofa from cb2. Hubs was NOT into the tiny yellow couch and I must admit that it was pretty impractical. We like to curl up on our couch and that petite thing was not conducive to curling. I'm glad I was patient because instead, I got my DREAM couch! I had seen this couch used in a few of my favorite design magazines (Cottage Living, Domino, etc) and hunted it down. It's made by Lee Industries and low and behold, most of Crate & Barrel's furniture is made by Lee. I was also informed by my favorite sales associate (yes, it's sad...they know me well over there) that I could order any Lee product through Crate & Barrel AND get 25% off during the custom upholstery sale...YIPPEE!! Without further ado, here she is...

I love everything about it...the single cushion, the low track arms (that prevent cricks in the neck when lying down to watch TV), the fluffy down back cushions and the clean lines. I went with a soft grayish-brown linen to hide stains and hold its own against a toddler. It's also made with a removable slipcover so I can wash it or switch it out if I get bored.
I tried the Orla pillows on it, along with a rug that I had bought on clearance awhile back:

The rug is cute, but SUPER annoying. It's wool (not soft), shows dirt like nobody's business and super thin so it slides around easily. Kennon HATES this rug. With a passion. So, it was back to square one. I decided to use the pillows with my African patio furniture in the sunroom instead, since those pieces have a mod egg shape and the pillows have a mid century feel. So off I went in search of a different scheme and wouldn't you know it, I came right back to a pattern I fell in love with ages ago:

It has gray in it, so it looks fabulous with the couch. And then there's my favorite color, robin egg blue. I decided to do pillows and two chairs from Target that I blogged about here in the pattern and I found a Dash & Albert rug that compliments the scheme perfectly:

I spray painted the wicker coffee table (previously icky brown) a bright white, but I'm not sure about it. I feel like it sort of looks like a white blob. It may look different when the chairs are in, but I may need to repaint it a lime green...or repaint the walls robin egg blue so there's not so much white.
I'd also like to use this fabric as an accent, maybe as drapes or on a long pillow for the center of the couch:

I'm really excited about it and hope it all comes together!


the kitchen

I LOVE my kitchen. It's basically what sold me on the house. They kept the original drainboard sink and updated everything else. I love the open shelving and the subway tile. I'm not normally a fan of white appliances, but these have a touch of stainless and blend in with the white cabinets, so I like them.

One of the things we did was replace the globe on the pendant light. It was this ugly brown thing that did not go at all. Thankfully Lowe's had a white one for $5...easy fix!

We also painted the walls and open shelving "chic lime" by Benjamin Moore. They had painted a butter color that was nice, but not me. The lime really pops against the black + white and it makes me happy every time I walk in. We also used chalkboard paint underneath the chair rail on the opposite wall:

There are still a few things I want to do...like add a rug, replace the cabinet hardware and switch out the track lighting (too mod for me), but it's great for now.


Dearest Calder-loo,

Are you really a year and half today? Where has the time gone?
You have grown so much in the past month. You no longer fit on the changing pad and your legs are starting to thin out. You had an ear infection this month and you weighed in at 30 lbs at the doctors office...yikes!
You're becoming very agile and are getting very good at climbing. Yesterday morning I turned around and you were halfway up the stairs! I've even caught you standing on chairs, you little daredevil! We've been going to the preschool tot lot in the afternoons to burn all of that energy!
You're talking so well! Some new words in your vocabulary are: baca (vacuum), broom, "ay-dee-dee" (umbrella), raining, two, nine, "O," "D," bike, "ah-boo-ba" (applesauce), boot, boat, sock, ni-ni (sleep), "wicky" (monkey), block, knee, eye, hand, "noney" (nose), diaper, walk, screw, hammer, hug.
You LOVE to read. All day you bring me books and say "book!" As soon as I say it's bedtime, that's the first thing you say. It's very funny because you say it with such diction. You also love balls, kitchen utensils and cleaning appliances. I think I need to get you your own little vacuum for Christmas because you are obsessed.
You have definitely discovered your free will. Lately I've been asking for hug & kisses and you shake your head and say "nooo." It breaks my heart, but hopefully it's just a phase and you're saying no just because you can.
You're so full of energy and life and you love to laugh. You continue to be a people person and will walk right up to a complete stranger to say hi.
I love watching your personality bloom and your little brain soak it all in.

Let's have fun together,


so blessed

Ugh! How has another month gone by? I'll try to be better about keeping up the blog. House transformation is in full effect...pics soon to follow. I have so much in my head but I have no energy to write after monster man finally closes his sweet little eyes.
I'll try to break the silence tonight with a little story. It's amazing the people we randomly meet in life and how God can use them to shed light on our rough spots. Last Monday was Columbus Day and Kennon had a rare day off. We were running a few morning errands and I was in line at Martin's with little man. Thankfully Kennon met up with us in the knick of time and whisked him away before I had to tell him for the 100th time that we were NOT going to get the pumpkin balloon. A sweet lady in line behind me at been ooing and ahhing over Calder and commented on how lucky I was to have a husband like that. Then she proceeded to tell me how hers had held her and her young son at gun point for three days. WHAAT?! She didn't call the cops because she figured someone would die that way. She talked him out of it and got him some help. He ended up falling in love with the woman in the room next to him at rehab and left her. Wait...there's more. This son was not her only child. She lost three others at birth and blamed herself...come to find out, there were high radiation levels on the air force base where they lived.
If anyone has a right to be depressed and bitter, it's her. But she has nothing but high hopes for her ex-husband and wishes him well. Talk about grace.
I've been a bit naggy with Kennon lately because toddlerhood is is no joke. But don't you know that I saw him in a new light that morning. I know how good I have it. He is an amazing husband and father.
Thankfully the person in front of us needed a price check so that I could hear this woman's story. I don't think that was a coincidence. Just a sweet little 8th grade teacher for Chesterfield County. She needed to share her story and I needed to hear it...you never know what people are going through.


SO major

Even though I feel like I lose a few brain cells after watching it, I love the Rachel Zoe project. I feel a little sad for her because her career is #1 instead of family and friends, but I love watching the fashion part and seeing the looks she puts together. In true Rachel Zoe Piperlime fashion, here are my fall boot picks:


17 months

Hey chicken,

You are growing up so fast. This age is a bit of challenge for me, but a lot of fun too. You are becoming very independent and learning how to do more and more things. The biggest change in the past couple of months has been your vocabulary and your mobility. You are walking faster and can almost run now. This morning you climbed onto your little chair all by yourself! You can go down the stairs with the help of my hand or the railing. You're getting faster at climbing...you went all the way up our new stairs yesterday without any help! 
I'm going to list all of the words you currently say so that you can look back on it one day:
Poppy (the Grandpas)
ba (ball)
ba-ba (balloon)
ca (car)
gee (key)
sta (star)
bok (box)
bu-bu (blueberry)
ra-zee (raisin)
cookie (I did NOT teach you this one)
ber (bear)
sue (shoe)
ka-koo (thank you)

You are very curious and want everything identified by pointing and saying "that?!" You love to help around the house. Yesterday you helped me sweep and you always help me with my socks and shoes before our morning walk. 
You love Elmo. I usually let you watch him in the morning so I can make breakfast and have a cup of coffee (Mommy is not a morning person). You LOVE balloons. Completely obsessed. Lately it's been a challenge to take you to the store because you go nuts over them. You like to draw and color...yay! Grammie gave you your first set of crayons so we've been coloring together at your little table. It's my favorite activity to do with you. You still love music. As soon as you hear a song come on, you either start bouncing, swaying your head, or spinning around. Either way it brings a huge smile to your face. You love to be outside. We've been going for a walk every morning and you always fall asleep because it's so relaxing to you. Yesterday we all went for a walk with you in the backpack carrier and I've never seen a bigger smile on your face. You looooove your Daddy. To the point of pushing me away whenever I come around you two. 
You have finally figured out how to purse your lips like a fish for kisses instead of giving open mouth kisses. It's so cute. 
I am so proud of you. Yesterday was your first time in the church nursery...first time with complete strangers and you did great. They said you were an awesome kid and didn't cry at all. It made me a little sad because you didn't even look back at me...went straight for the toys! But I'm proud of you for being such a little man and being so independent. You are definitely a people person like your Daddy. Probably could make friends with a rock like him. 
I love you more and more each day and you have my heart forever.



i love fall!

nature's bounty

This morning we walked over to the park to check out the farmer's market. There's only one other farmer's market that I know of in the city and we're thrilled that the other one is within walking distance. It was a gorgeous fall morning and it felt wonderful to finally put on a sweatshirt! 
I thought it was only going to be a fruit stand or two, but there was about 20 booths, live music, food trucks and strollers everywhere. After sippin' on some java, we stocked up on organic veggies and herbs. I think we'll make a pizza tonight with those fabulous juliet tomatoes and fresh basil. Mmmm. After living in Nigeria for two years where the tomatoes always looked like prunes, this is pure heaven. 

We also stopped by the Montana Gold Bread Co. booth (they have a store in Carytown) and after listening to a totally unsolicited sales pitch from a bystander on those garlic knots, I was sold. He said you don't even have to heat them up...just put them in your mouth. Yum.


out of africa

I am no longer a "diplomatic housewife," so I had to switch up the blog again. What is this, the 4th one? I'm sorry. Hopefully this will be the last one...unless we move...again. 
We are thrilled to be back in the States and in our first home as a family. I am totally in love with my new house and neighborhood. Calder and I have been walking every morning and it's just gorgeous. No two houses are alike and it has that Norman Rockwell charm. We've already met 6 of our neighbors...I don't think we met one neighbor when we were living in DC. I just love it. 
We were all set to go to South Africa, but something in us longed to unpack our suitcases and stay awhile. After much prayer and consideration, we decided to make the move back home. We are so excited!!