We’ve been doing a few cute little things to the house lately I’m going to share. First up:silhouettes!

A few years ago my family went on a big trip to Cape Cod. Lillian and Ephram were 1&2, Kate was 8 months prego with Vera and Judah was just a dream. Dan and I decided to drive from 9pm-5am (I wouldn’t recommend it!). Our bodies and our marriage barely made it there but my dear family took Lillian with them for breakfast while Dan and I took a nap. They were walking around the town and happened to walk by a toy store with a guest doing silhouettes. They came back with one of Lillian and I immediately got teary! He captured Lillian so sweetly and it was an instant treasure!

Fastforward a few years to sweet Judah and Vera joining our family and we have been on the lookout for a silhouette artist to complete our collection. I was scrolling facebook one day and saw an ad for a Guest artist at the local mall. So we went! It was equally precious and a joy for my mom to get to take the picture in for Kate to see. Funny enough the two artists are brothers! Erik and Karl Johnson. They both travel a good bit for their work so check out their sites for their schedules, I highly recommend both as they captured our kids perfectly.

The two silhouettes are now hanging proudly in my foyer and I love them! Since Lillian was about 15 months when she got hers I wanted Judah to be a similar age-18 months is close enough!

A few other fun decor changes coming soon to the blog! In addition, the old tenant is out and a new one moved in just a few days ago to our rental property. I’ll share a few tips we’ve learned our first year as landlords once we’re completely finished with the process.


Our First Year Being Landlords

In the midst of a chaotic year, our tenant decided to move out after a year (and a month). So we found ourselves with stress on stress on stress in October. We learned a few valuable lessons in that first year that I’d love to share!

  1. Get sewer line insurance. This is not just for rental properties. If your sewer line is old, just get insurance. We paid $6,000 to replace it and a neighbor of ours had the insurance and paid $50. Gulp. So check with your insurance company and add the rider! So important.
  2. We didn’t do a great job checking references. What would have been a few more detailed calls could have saved us the stress of lots of chasing late payments when our mortgage was due! Even if someone seems great, do some detailed reference calls.
  3. Have a lawyer draw up your lease. There are lots of great online resources to create a lease but get a living, breathing person to create your lease! We did this and it saved us when it got a little tense in the last month of the lease. We were so thankful we didn’t have a generic lease.
  4. If the way the lawn looks matters to you, hire a lawn care company. We had in our lease that the lawn was the tenants responsibility but that really is not very inforcable. The relationships we have with the neighbors of the rental property are important to us, we care what the lawn looks like, so we will likely pay from here on out for lawn care. It’s a tax deduction so it really is totally worth the peace of mind. Snow is still their responsibility!
  5. Get a good tax accountant. Find someone who can brainstorm with you over all of your potential deductions. Things like cell phone bills and internet can be deducted but we’d never have known that if someone didn’t tell us! This will end up saving lots of money in the long run.

Good luck! We’re happy we decided to keep the property as a rental and hope we can keep it for years to come!

Do you have anything to add? Any questions for a newbie landlord?

For Katie the Warrior


So I’ve been wanting a tattoo forever and decided when I turned 29 back in June that I’d get it before I turned 30. I wanted to get a compass and even picked one out but as everything started happening with my sister I felt drawn away from that for now.

A mentor of mine who has been a great help in navigating the last six months was praying over me one day and started using the word “warrior”. I immediately saw it as a tattoo on my arm and the decision was made! I was looking for fonts I liked and Dan suggested I use Katie’s handwriting. Sob.

So my sister Lex went through lots of writing samples she has of Katie’s and Dans cousin put all of the letters together.

Lex and I went last night to the tattoo shop I chose. I was nervous at first but as soon as he started I looked at Lex and said “oh my gosh it’s nothing”. So about two minutes later it was done! Easy peasy.

A constant reminder to keep fighting. For Katie, for her family, for my own sanity! It’s a battle worth fighting.