Penny Firsts

Penny Firsts

I have to say, I wasn’t the best at keeping up with P’s baby book as far as remembering all the things to write down about each month. I’m kind of glad once you hit 12 months, the baby book doesn’t ask you to keep track of monthly milestones and memories, because I certainly never remembered everything or when exactly it happened . But even though I don’t have a book telling me I should be recording all the new things Penny does or experiences every month, I’m surprised by how many “firsts” we are still enjoying.

This week, I took her to her first “Toddler Time” at the library. I thought she would do okay since she was in daycare for so long around other kids, but she was a grade A clinger for most of the time we were there. She warmed up towards the end once they brought out the bubbles (kid loves her some bubbles!) and would venture a little bit away from me. Introvert me really doesn’t love having to be in a room full of strangers, but I think it’ll be good for her so I’m going to try to suck it up and take her every week for the rest of the summer to get her used to socializing again before she starts daycare in the fall.

This weekend, Derrick took her to the pool for the first time (I was at home with cookies in the oven because it was a spur of the moment decision for him to go). Apparently, the water was a little chilly and she only really would sit in his lap on about the second step of the steps going into the pool. She met some of the other neighborhood kids too, so I think if we just keep taking her throughout the summer, she’ll end up really enjoying it. We are, apparently, going to have to have a come-to-Jesus meeting about wearing hats to the pool though…


I think she’s totally rocking the look, personally, but I’m basically the most evil mom ever for daring to put it on her head <eye roll> The hat, like the pool, will require some getting used to, I suppose. The little stinker did manage to get out the door without it, as Daddy promised only 10 minutes out in the sun for the first pool adventure.

I’m a sucker for that ruffle on the bottoms 

Saturday night, we took Penny to her first baseball game. We went to a Gwinnett Braves game; a minor league team with ticket prices that are wallet-friendly for parents with kids who will definitely not be staying for the whole game. Mostly she just wanted to run around and they have a lawn section where a lot of other families camped out on blankets, so she was entertained for awhile. We did have seats for the game and she sat through about an inning in the seats with us. She loved clapping and celebrating with everyone else, which was pretty cute. I’m teaching her the Tomahawk Chop and chant and she kind of gets the idea of that, so we practiced at the game…gotta start ’em young, of course 😉

We took it pretty easy on Sunday, but yesterday we ran errands (and discovered there is a carousel at the mall. We didn’t go on it this time, but next mall trip, Penelope almost certainly will take her first carousel ride because this mama never gets to old to want to get on too!) and then worked a good bit on the front of the house. I have to say, it felt good to put sweat and hard work into our own front yard. Thunderstorms chased us inside, but we definitely made a lot of progress with it.

I bought a bird feeder. We were at Home Depot and I was picking one out and Derrick came over and said, “I thought you hated birds?” to which I responded “Not when they’re outside and I’m inside.” (I know, I’m a woman of contradictions, and therefore unpredictable about these kinds of things). So we hung it up yesterday. I’m kind of feeling a little offended though, because I have yet to see a bird come over to eat. I hear them in my backyard, so why aren’t they coming to my window when I’ve been so nice as to provide them with food? See, this is just another example of why you can’t trust birds….

Well, I’m off to get my favorite little monster up (who has taken to making little nests in her crib by reaching through the slats to the basket of blankets next to it) and to refill this empty coffee cup.


Hope everyone has a great week!

(oh and important roach update…besides a small roach (like small enough that squishing it was a lot less disgusting than normal) in the bathroom on Saturday, it has been 8 days since the last cockroach. Praise the Lord and let’s hope it stays that way!)

Family Fun

Family Fun

One of my favorite things so far about moving back to Georgia is definitely the fact that we are so much closer to family.

At the beginning of May, my parents were able to come down for a visit. Penny had a lot of fun with them and they bought her a cute little shopping cart. My dad did some odds and ends projects around the house for me (Derrick was gone for 3 weeks right after we moved so he didn’t have much time to do anything in the house) that I’d been wanting to do. Mom and I made a trip to the most ginormous Hobby Lobby I’ve ever seen. One of the highlights for Penny, I’m sure, was our trip to get ice cream.

Derrick’s mom has been to the house numerous times already; she helped out with the move and helping watch Penny while I had job interviews and she did me the huge favor of mowing the lawn for me while Derrick was gone. She always brings fun things for Penny, the latest of which is this cute mirror that Penny loves to talk to:


Last weekend we made a drive down to Augusta to see the rest of Derrick’s family that we hadn’t seen yet since moving. Penny did pretty good in the car:


And we got to eat some good food, play with grandparents, and head to Derrick’s family reunion to see a whole lot of people there.

And then when we got home on Sunday, Daddy was home, so that was pretty awesome in Penny’s book. It was cute to watch how excited and playful she was with Derrick after he was gone for so long.

This week has been strangely busy. I’m not even sure where all the time went, but we have made a lot of progress in continuing to organize and decorate the house. I think this weekend we are planning to knock out several more projects as well.  I’ve also been doing a little consulting work for my old company and filling out paperwork for my new job that I’ll start in the fall as an assistant professor at UNG; I’ll be teaching general and/or organic chemistry classes and labs and I’m really looking forward to it. In the meantime,  I get to enjoy the rest of the summer with Penny and several more visits with family and friends!

Have a happy Friday Eve!


The House: Part 1

The House: Part 1

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a month since we moved into our new house! As I’ve quickly learned, there are a lot of great things about being a homeowner but a lot of not-so-great-things as well. Example: Having all the extra space, including a basement is amazing. What’s not amazing is the amount of cockroaches, centipedes, earwigs, and spiders I have had to deal with (am still dealing with! I might need to torch the house at this point because I had 3 cockroaches in my kitchen in the span of two days) in all that space. I’ve been spoiled by a pretty large lack of bugs in California, but I’ve got my pest control guy programmed into my phone so that they can come respray if these cockroaches don’t die.

But besides the bugs, I really don’t have any major complaints. Of course there are a lot of little things I would like to change or fix or redo or decorate, but overall things are in good shape and we’re just settling into a summer routine.

So without further ado, here’s a little bit of the house all put together.

Let’s start with the kitchen, which is, essentially, finished (except at some point I do want to replace the tile and maybe lighten up the walls a little bit).

Before (I realized I did a terrible job of taking “before” pictures because I kind of forgot until we had already started moving stuff around, but you’ll still get the idea):


And After:


Here’s the living room, which still needs an area rug and some stuff on the walls and mantel (I don’t really have a picture of the empty room, so here’s what it looks like with the furniture in):



And the final stop on the tour today is Penny’s room, which I’m hoping to paint this summer but is otherwise in good shape. It went from this:


To this:


The master bedroom is mostly done as well but I’ll save that, the basement, and some of the bathrooms (I know, you’re just beyond excited about bathroom decorations) for another time since the tilapia we’re having for dinner just finished and someone is getting hangry….

Happy Friday Eve!

Moving Back East

Moving Back East

Well, I’m sitting in my house, PJ is running around, and I’m putting off all the things I should/could be doing instead of blogging. But as unpacking boxes doesn’t sound very appealing to me and my cup of coffee is calling my name, writing and getting my caffeine boost for the day seemed like the right choice.

If you’ve been here before, you might notice a new blog name and design. Since we aren’t in the Bay Area anymore, I felt like a new name was needed. But as I am not very tech savvy when it comes to blogs and domains and wordpress, I’m not changing the actual web address to get to the blog. Maybe one day I’ll figure out how to switch everything over. Maybe.

Because I aim to please and I know y’all have been anxiously waiting for a blog post (or 2, or 3 or 4 if you’re really lucky) about the move and the house, etc, here’s the beginning of the tale.

The past few weeks have been nothing short of chaos, with Derrick traveling to China, me trying to get to Atlanta for a job interview the week the storms wrecked everything and Delta seemed to suck more than United for canceling thousands of flights, packing, and wrapping up things at work. Last Saturday, with the help of our awesome California friends, we loaded up a u-haul with all our things. One of my father-in-law’s employees flew to California on Sunday and then got in the u-haul and set off for GA with our stuff and my car in tow.

I really liked that our u-haul had a Viking longship on it. Skol!

We managed to get dressed up for Easter though, and had a chance to say good-bye to our church friends.


Sunday seemed like the longest day ever waiting for 8:30 when it would be time to take the cat, the baby, and 4 suitcases to the airport for our red-eye flight to Atlanta.

Makeshift crib using suitcases and a sleeping bag since everything else was on the truck

But finally, the taxi van arrived and dropped us off. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 10:44, but because of mechanical issues, was delayed until a take-off close to midnight. Penny was awake the whole time at the airport, despite it being waaaaaaaay past her bedtime. Thanks to all of DQ’s travel, he was able to get us upgraded to first class for the flight, which was amazing because we had the extra space and a row all to ourselves. Thankfully, Penny slept the entire flight. The cat meowed/cried the whole time during take off and we were worried it would be a long flight if he kept it up, but he quieted down until landing, so somehow, we managed to survive the flight. I never knew 4 hrs and 11 minutes could feel so long.

Exhausted but thrilled to have the flight over with, we got all our stuff, met my sister-in-law at pickup outside the airport so she could go get on her flight while we took her car to get to the house.

Derrick saw the house for the first time and didn’t fall on the ground weeping because he hated it, so that was a relief for me. Our u-haul showed up early Wednesday afternoon (which has to be a record for getting a u-haul across the country in just about 36 hrs!). We spent Wednesday unloading the truck and by Thursday night we had everything in the house (we left stuff in the garage on Wednesday then hauled the rest in on Thursday).

So our days have been busy with moving things and unpacking boxes, buying furniture, picking out a refrigerator (which was delivered yesterday! yay!), and settling into the house. There’s so many small (and some big) projects that I want to do in the house, but I’m trying to be patient because obviously we don’t have unlimited time and money to do everything all at once. So I’ll live with an interior paint color I hate and a tile floor in the living room and a horrible light fixture in the half bathroom, among other things, for the time being and just appreciate the fact that we finally have a great house.

I’m so thankful that we have been blessed with so many great people who made this whole move go so well. Even though I was feeling stressed about it, I know that it would have been a million times harder had it not been for all our family and friends who gave us prayers, support, time, effort, and everything in between. So thank you to everyone!

Penny is supervising.

I’m hoping to show off some pictures of the house once we have things a bit more settled, so stay tuned if you’re one of those people who likes “before and after” room pictures!

Happy weekend, y’all!


Georgia, You’re on My Mind

Georgia, You’re on My Mind


Because we are moving back to Georgia!

Just picking up some moving supplies
The most helpful helpers when it comes to packing…

{Important poll: Which version of Georgia on My Mind is your favourite? I pick Ray Charles’ followed closely by Michael Buble’s version}


Most of you probably have already heard the news, but in case you hadn’t heard the full story, here’s the short version:

After an interview or two in January,  DQ got a job offer in February. It was not only a great opportunity for him and his career, but it also would be a position that would move us back to the south and back closer to all our family. It was kind of a no-brainer when it came to making the decision to accept the offer.

So then, we bought a house! And when I say “we” I mean I flew to Atlanta with PJ and went house-hunting with my father-in-law because DQ was at a conference in Austria. And I picked out the house I thought we should buy so Derrick looked at pictures and agreed. So when we actually move, he’ll finally see the house he bought! He promises that if I love it, he will love it, which I think he will.

So the past month really has been full of craziness of doing all the things you have to do when you buy a house and planning a move and working out all the details of our lease and our jobs etc., etc., etc. It has been (and continues to be) so stressful (like having to get a Power of Attorney notarized not once, but twice because the first one wasn’t good enough and we have to get the POA in order so that we can close on the house without being there because we don’t have time to fly back to GA to sign papers for 30 minutes), but every step of the way things have just fallen into place. So I know this is where God is leading our family and all I need to do is trust that He will take care of us as He always has. I keep trying to remind myself of that as I feel the anxiety sweeping over me.

But by the time we hit my birthday, we will have the whole move behind us and will be settling in to our new life and so much of this will (hopefully) seem like a distant memory and I’ll probably feel a little silly that I stressed so much about so many little things.

So, that’s the scoop! While I am very excited, I also will miss the friends we’ve made here, the pretty nice weather, the great scenery, and amazing food. We’ll be trying to pack in trips to all our favorite restaurants and get-togethers with friends in the upcoming weeks, along with wrapping up with jobs and getting the house packed (with a crazy toddler running around), so April is sure to be another wild month!

Relax, Mom, we got this!


Let me just throw myself a little party because I’ve kept another human being alive and well for a whole year!! Well, okay I guess I had help from Derrick and family and some friends too 😉

Penny kind of had 4 different birthday celebrations!

We got to celebrate with my SIL and BIL and FIL in Atlanta (we were sans Derrick since he was in Australia for 10 days):


We got to have birthday cake ice cream with the family of one of my closest friends out here (again, sans Derrick because he was in Austria for another 10 days):


On her birthday (Derrick was home for that, happily), we took her to IHOP for some birthday pancakes, opened presents, went to the park to swing, and tried to give her cake, which she wouldn’t eat (she decided the next day though that she loved it and I was a horrible mom who didn’t have a limitless supply of cake to shovel in her mouth)

And this past weekend, we flew to Chicago with Derrick (who had a conference there this week) and my parents drove up to hang out with us. We went to the Shedd Aquarium, had some delicious pizza from Giordano’s, and walked around downtown a bit when the weather wasn’t too beastly cold and windy.

These days, she is just crazy busy running around, playing with all her new toys, looking at her books, and just generally being pretty fun and entertaining. She waves and claps and nods her head “yes” and “no” and is the best retriever right now. She will pull all her stuffed animals out one by one to bring them to me (now we are working on teaching her to put them back!) and clap her hands for herself because I guess she feels she’s a very good sharer.

I realized it’s been over a month since I last posted, but February was insanely busy and this month is shaping up to be the same, but that’s all for another post sometime to keep this post short and sweet and Penny-centric 😉

Happy Weekend, y’all!

February Friday Five

February Friday Five

I have an addiction to alliteration and assonance. Is there an Alliteration and Assonance Anonymous meeting I can attend? (why yes, I do feel very clever for that comment, let me just toot my own horn for a quick minute 😉 )

Moving on…

Happy Fri-yay! Has this week been incredibly long and tiresome for anyone else? Work has been super stressful for me and I’m just really glad to hit the weekend for a little refresh.

Not too much here to report…the past few weeks have just been busy in the ordinary way. Work, chores, and Penny on repeat. But the routine isn’t all that bad.

  1. I’ve been making them for a few weeks now, but I’m totally a fan of overnight oats. I even bought some little mason jars that are the perfect size for the serving size I make. If you aren’t familiar with overnight oats, you basically just soak your oats in milk overnight with lots of tasty additions and eat it cold in the morning. My favorite version so far is to do vanilla, banana, peanut butter, and chocolate chips. Perhaps the nutritional value of oats goes down when you add things like peanut butter and chocolate chips, but I feel like I get credit for having oats for breakfast anyway. I worked off this recipe initially and do 1/3 c oats and 1/3 c milk, for any of you interested in giving them a whirl. I made them in a bowl originally, but mason jars really do make it more exciting (and portable for mornings when I’m a little behind getting me and Pen out the door).
  2. I wanted to buy the first issue of the Magnolia Journal but never got around to doing it, but I decided to treat myself (thanks credit card cash back rewards!) to the new spring issue and I’m really excited to enjoy page after page of Magnolia/Joanna Gaines/Fixer Upper-related goodness.
  3. Not that I’m really actually in the market for spending money on home decor and kitchen things, but I can’t help myself and I do a lot of online window shopping and I’m eyeing this clean/dirty tea towel and these sweet French canisters from Magnolia Market. I’m also currently having a love affair with all things rose gold and would love this throw pillow for the family room. Maybe with the approach of spring I’m just feeling the need to clean and update. What are your favorite home splurges?
  4. We took PJ to Toys R Us this past weekend because her birthday is coming up and we thought we’d see what kinds of things caught her attention (spoiler alert: anything with Mickey Mouse was a big hit, but we did manage to interest her in some other things too).We got her some Mega Blocks which are good primarily for building towers for her to Godzilla-destroy but we also got her this little tiger xylophone/piano and she is quite the Mozart already, let me tell you (because she already got it even though it was a birthday present because Derrick wanted to give it to her). I also found a little Captain America toy because you are never too young to love Marvel (consequently, we had chicken shawarma this weekend and all I could thing about was when the Avengers all go for shawarma after saving New York/the world).
  5. Got some new reading material besides Harry Potter (I’ve been rereading for only the second time ever and have made it about halfway through PoA so far); I love that Amazon Prime gives you a “Kindle First” book every month. This month I chose a book called In Farleigh Field. It’s a WWII novel with spies and intrigue and general British goodness, I think. One review wrote that it was like binge-watching a great British Drama on Masterpiece Theater. And y’all know how I do love my Masterpiece Theater shows. So. I have big expectations for the book.

All right, this post was full of words and links and no pictures, so here’s a few pics of the Pen Monster.

Happy Weekend!