Of all the things I’m thankful for, I am thankful for my wonderful little family. They make my heart so full on a daily basis. Even when we’re dealing with crappy situations…like a stressful move, financial stress, or dogs who’ve been poisoned and are sh*tting and vomiting everywhere…we just put our heads down and push through. The kids giggle, my husband gives awesome hugs, and all is right in the world.

Today we’re getting together with wonderful friends we’ve made here in Fayetteville for the Holiday, and tomorrow I plan on making a Beef Wellington for our family. It’s so good, and I haven’t made one since last Christmas! Far too long. Maybe some other people will join?

The kiddos are getting so big so fast. Bennett has started to master the stairs, both up and down. I practice with him daily, spotting him the whole way. But he’s getting pretty good! I still feel anxious about it, but I figure the more I let him practice the better he’ll get. I really hate gates. Plus, it’s good gross motor skill development.Stair climbing

He also got a pretty rad early Christmas gift from one of our good family friends. He giggles the whole time he rides it! Pretty adorable.IMAG6866_1

And the box was fun too:


McKenzie is also doing very well. She’s at school most of the day and has been doing great! She had an all “on grade level” report card, so that’s good since we were a little concerned at the beginning of the year. Her writing skills and reading have developed very well so far. I really like her teacher, and the school is wonderful. And she’s had 100% on all her spelling tests for the past 5 weeks. That’s my girl! For her good behavior, we like to reward her with a special breakfast at IHOP every Friday morning before school:IMAG6739In other news, Bennett got his first haircut a couple weeks ago! He was suffering from chronic bed-head, so we needed a change.


And the move into the new house has been really stressful. Even though it’s only 2 doors down, it’s still a matter of being in-between places, and taking apart and putting back together two 2,000 square foot spaces. Not to mention the kitchen in the new house STILL isn’t done. I don’t like how the cabinets are turning out, so we are looking into cabinet “refacing”—which means using existing cabinets, but adding new veneer and doors. It basically looks brand new for half the price.

But it’s been a rainy, crummy week. And as I mentioned, the dogs were poisoned by eating some wild grapes in the yard. Wow, that was stressful, scary, and expensive. Just horrible all around. Plenty of drool, vomit, and diarrhea. They’re fine now, though, $1700 later (ouch). But we believe pets are family, so it is what it is.

Here is a photo of our new backyard on this rainy day from our kitchen window. You can tell we’ve cleared much of the brush and over-hanging trees. We opted for a black chin-link fence, so the view of the woods/trees and creek remain unobstructed. Based on the dead patches of grass (where the brush used to be) you can tell we got about 15 more feet of yard by clearing it out before it was fenced! Visitors welcome anytime. ♥ Love to all, Happy Thanksgiving!backyard

And Buzz at featured on of my posts in his blog: 9 Parent Sanity Saving Rules for Elf on the Shelf! Because making Mr. Elf bendy is the best thing ever. Check it out. =)

‘Tis the Season!


Foil Stamped Holiday Card from | Photography by MD-Photography

I’m so excited to share some of the amazing photos we had done last weekend by Melissa, the very talented owner/photographer of MDPhotography! I’m extremely happy to have some gorgeous photos of the 4 of us together. So, so happy. Like most mommas, I’m always the picture-taker!

Annnnnd I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but with stunning new photos in my possession, of course I’ve already designed  & ordered our beautiful Holiday Cards from! They have some amazing new products this year, including Laser-Cut Holiday Cards, Foil Stamped Holiday Cards, and even personalized metal & glass ornaments! I can’t wait to share some of the products I ordered! And I got 4 different varieties of Holidays cards, so for my family/friends out there: you’ll have to wait and see what you get. =)


Laser-cut Holiday Card! How cool is that?!^^


As always, I love the customizable edges & colors, quality paper, and gorgeous designs. I’m beyond excited to get these in the mail—Christmas is coming a little early for me!


New Letterpress Card Design^^^ And you can’t see it on here obviously, but it has polka-dots on the back…love it!


This design is so great, it features all my favorite photos!^^^


Annnnd check out these beautiful ornaments (below), I ordered a few metal ones (I loved the designs) and one glass one. I think these are a great idea for close family, friends, or even your own family! I’m definitely keeping one for our tree, it will be such a treasure to look back on when the kiddos are older ♥


Dana P. - November 10, 2014 - 11:05 am

They all look wonderful, Nicole!! You all look great and so happy!!

Liz @ The Lambent Life - November 13, 2014 - 9:57 am

Amazing photos! Images like these are priceless. I love the smile on Jon’s face in the image that you’re holding his lapels. So sweet!

The last month…

Wow, I haven’t posted in a month! Too long. We’ve been ridiculously busy since closing on the new place, trying to get everything set up & organized before we need to move in. Our current lease is up in December, so over the next month or so we need to start officially moving in! Since we closed we’ve had quite a bit done:

  • Cleared the woods
  • Powerwashed the deck
  • ALL new floors throughout the house
  • Granite countertops
  • New curbing for the garden/landscaping
  • Fenced the yard
  • Paint throughout
  • New mailbox
  • Red door!
  • New stainless steel appliances

Geez. It’s a lot. And expensive, but we got a deal on the short sale—so we should still come out on top for resale! We’re still in the process of painting the cabinets an espresso color and I ordered the new hardware today. We’re going with the “euro-style” drawer pulls (the modern look). It’s been overwhelming, but it’s comforting to know we’ll get the money back out in the end. And we love all the colors and finishes we’ve chosen. =) Here are pics of some of the updates (door got 2+ more coats of red, but you get the idea!):


We’ve also gotten quite a few visitors the past month! Papa & grandma were able to come for a visit. It was a fun time! They took McKenzie for a fun beach day solo, and she had a blast. =) They also got to see her first soccer game, so that was special! Daddy is the assistant coach, but fills in when the head coach is away for work. 10690205_10204144223661431_4363371312224463823_nIMAG5854IMAG5849

Aunt Jennie also came for an amazing visit! It was cut a little shorter than planned due to flight troubles (BOO US Airways!). But it was great to see her! We got to go to a pumpkin patch, carve pumpkins & watch spooky movies (Hocus Pocus & Coraline!), and we also went out to a yummy dinner at The Mash House. Jennie also gave McKenzie a new pair of Cowgirl Boots! They’re pretty much amazing.


In our spare downtime, Jon and I have caught up on The Walking Dead. It’s such a great show, I really enjoyed Season 4! I was also trained for another position at work, which has since changed again…but I’m very grateful that they’re keeping me around! I feel so fortunate to have a work-from-home position. =)

Bennett and I went to do some “paint-your-own-pottery” while Kenzie was at school the other day with some friends. It was so much fun, and he did a really good job (aside from eating the brush…haha)! And here are some more pics of the kiddos, just because I love them oodles. ♥


Liz @ The Lambent Life - October 20, 2014 - 1:16 pm

I LOVE the red door! I’m having house envy. There’s something special about making something into you own, isn’t there?

Dana P. - October 21, 2014 - 8:27 am

I love your red door! All the house pictures look great. Happy to hear you guys are doing well. :)

Angie - October 21, 2014 - 8:58 pm

The house looks great! Is this house the same size as your current rental?

Nicole | Life So Lovely - October 21, 2014 - 9:48 pm

Thank you! It’s a little bigger (about 400 square feet), completely different set-up though since it’s a 2-story, and our rental is a ranch. =)

What’s new.

Here are some updates from the past couple weeks:

1. I got a haircut/highlights. This hasn’t happened in awhile. My wonderful friend, Callie, watched Bennett so I could get it done while Kenzie was at school. I felt spoiled! =) Along those lines, I’ve made some amazing friends here. We have lunch and girl’s nights all the time. They’re all a lot of fun, and I love them all! NikEdit1

2. I love my job. I got a new position, so now I’m a scheduler and I’m training this week. I love the flexibility of being able to work from home (like, seriously…I can nurse Bennett while I work), and being able to help contribute financially to the family is great. It also keeps my  brain busy. Anyway, I had to get a new computer because the scheduling program doesn’t support Macs. I got an HP touch-screen laptop from Best Buy, and I like it so far.

3. Kenzie had her first soccer practice last week! Daddy was the coach, and will be coach again this week. The regular coach is out-of-town for work.ZFirstPractice

4. Bennett is getting so big. He toddles all around, it’s adorable. His favorite words are ball and balloon. And “nom nom” for food. He got his 2 front teeth last week, they’re still not all the way in yet (so he’s been a crabby sleeper). He’s also been working on using a fork, and he’s really getting good at it!BigB

5. We were supposed to close on the house TODAY. But OF COURSE it fell through. We’ll close on Friday pretty much FOR SURE, but still. Honestly, it has been such a pain to deal with Well’s Fargo (the bank for the Short Sale). If I banked with them, I would switch out of principle. I’m trying to get everything squared away to have the floors done, fencing, and curbing done. Our lease is done Nov. 30, so we’ll have to be moved in by then. Friday for sure!

Hope all is well with you, friends & family!

Karen Nelson - September 16, 2014 - 5:39 pm

Nicole your picture is beautiful. Who took it for you? Great cut and color. The kids are growing so quickly. Bennett looks like fun as was his dad. How long will McKenzie’s soccer last? So nice Jon had the chance to so a little coaching with her. I bet he laughs a lot in his head because they are so adorable at that age…..chasing the ball.
Thanks for keeping up the blog….

Angie - September 16, 2014 - 8:20 pm

Your hair looks amazing!!! It’s great you’ve made such good friends there – it’s so important to have that girl time without kiddos around.
Good luck with the house on Friday – my fingers are crossed for you!

Nicole | Life So Lovely - September 17, 2014 - 7:32 pm

Thank you! How are you liking your new house?! I wanna see pics!

Just trying to get everything lined up for the house! We need so much done right away before moving in!

Nicole | Life So Lovely - September 17, 2014 - 7:33 pm

Thanks Karen, I took it with my phone. =) They are getting big fast, I’m not sure how long Kenzie’s soccer lasts. Jon is having fun with it!

Birthday girl!

We were lucky enough to have Aunt Jessica, Cousin Abbey, and Baby Mark come visit us for McKenzie’s birthday weekend! It was so much fun to see them all. Baby Mark is an adorable, sweet little baby. Bennett kept trying to pet him and poke his eyes.

Grandpa Jeff also flew in, and we went mini-golfing on McKenzie’s real birthday. It was so fun, and McKenzie had a great day.

Anyhow, McKenzie’s 6th birthday party was also a blast. We rented a bounce house, had some ice cream cake, and beheaded a unicorn piñata. The whole party only lasted two hours, which was the perfect amount of time. Most of her neighborhood friends stayed longer, but it was great fun. And boy, those bounce houses are exhausting! They slept well, that’s for sure.IMG_5441IMG_5457IMG_5444IMG_5446IMG_5461IMG_5465IMG_5476IMG_5493IMG_5498IMG_5511IMG_5534

And we FINALLY heard back from the bank (dang short-sale): WE GOT THE HOUSE!!! It’s at the end of a cul-de-sac in the best school district in the area. It needs a little love inside and out (cosmetic), but it’s a solid investment. It’ll get a nice makeover. =) The best part is that it’s only two houses away from our current rental! McKenzie can still play with her friends all the time, and it’ll make for an easy move!

3500 1


Angie - August 31, 2014 - 11:09 am

The picture of McKenzie with the bat over her head about to smash the piñata is hilarious!!! The bouncy house sounds like such a great idea.
Congrats about the house! I love the look of the outside. Will you guys do most of the work or hire people?

Nicole | Life So Lovely - August 31, 2014 - 12:09 pm

Thanks! The bounce house was really reasonable, too. =)

We’ll probably do a lot ourselves, but hire people to paint exterior, do the fence, and floors right away.