My parents live in Iowa, about thirteen hours from us, so I don’t get to see them nearly as much as I’d like. But they were just here for six days, and it was absolutely wonderful.

In those six days, my dad absolutely transformed our back yard. He raked a bazillion leaves. He trimmed trees. He pruned bushes. He weeded and cut back overgrowth. He hung lights. He planted and potted. He fertilized and watered. He laid a flagstone patio entirely by himself, for Pete’s sake. And now it doesn’t even look like the same back yard. It’s amazing. I want to hang out back there all the time.

And while my dad was doing all that work, my mom was being the world’s best grandma. She entertained Quinn constantly, watched him so I could get stuff done, cleaned my house, took us shopping, helped me plan Q’s birthday party, and just generally took the best care of us.

I have the best parents in the world and I’m really going to miss them.

Here are a few shots of the back yard I took on my iPhone yesterday evening. There’s still an appalling lack of grass, but we’re working on that. Everything else back there makes me so, so happy.

Thanks for everything, Mom and Dad!

  • Marian

    Very nice to see your parents enjoying their grandson! Precious time togetherReplyCancel

Happy Valentine’s Day, from my little love bug!

I had intended to write a post last week about some of the Valentine crafts I made this year, but I’ve been under the weather and couldn’t pull it together. So instead, I’ll just share some photos!

I hope you’re all feeling the love today from those you love the most!


This is my brother, Neal, and his wife, Stacy (and my kiddo with them). You’ve met them before here, here, and here, when I shot their engagement and wedding photos a few years back. Well, now they’ve got a new house, and it is absolutely awesome. It’s newly built—they moved in just last September—and Neal and Stacy worked with the builder to design it themselves. Ben, Quinn, and I took a little trip to Iowa last month to visit them and see their new home in West Des Moines, and the house is so incredible I just had to share.

Through that relatively unassuming front door is one of the most amazing living rooms I’ve ever set foot in:

Am I right?? Those windows are to die for! And here’s a better shot of that gorgeous pendant light:

This is the kitchen, which is open to the living room:

And the dining room, right off the kitchen:

The dining and living rooms are separated only by this beautiful see-through gas fireplace:

I want it all! Including the glass paneled staircase:

Here’s the money shot—the view of the living room from the second floor:

Those windows! I just can’t get over them. Too, too perfect.

Here are a couple bonus shots of my little dude enjoying the space:

And hanging out there with his grandparents (my parents):

We had a great trip to Iowa, and one of the highlights was definitely seeing Neal’s and Stacy’s beautiful home. Sleek, minimalist, modern style that’s still comfortable—that’s a tough combination to achieve. Good thing they have a well-equipped guest room so I can come visit often!