Maypop Moments: what we’ve been up to

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in more than a week. Yikes! I suppose we’ve just been caught up in summer fun. Here’s a little peek at what we’ve been up too.

The boys hit a few golf balls.

Maypop Moments | the Maypop

Maypop Moments | the Maypop


I hit the 29 week mark.

Baby bump at 29 weeks | the Maypop

And the kids had a wonderful visit with their cousins, including a trip to the Fire Museum. I only wish we lived closer and that they could see each other more often.

Sweet snuggly cousins | the Maypop

Cousins in Fire Hats | the Maypop


I have lots in store for you this week, including a new recipe and an update on my goals. I hope you’ll stop back by.


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Babiators Rocket Packs

My last post on learning to love where we live and getting outside with our boys made me think of the new Babiators back packs. Have you seen them?

When I think of a children’s brand that embraces the idea of getting outside and exploring, it is Babiators. Their “living the Babiators life” philosophy is spot on, and their products are legit too. (You may remember this post about their Submariners Goggles).

If you’re looking for a bag for your own little explorer, look no further than the Rocket Pack.

Babiators Rocket Pack | the Maypop

I’ve mentioned it before, but Harrison is really into dinosaurs. I’ve also explained that he takes his passions very seriously. And, his latest passion is finding a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton. Last week, he decided that we were going to find one in the neighborhood. He was convinced we would find a skeleton, and he knew we had to do it asap, before the construction trucks in the neighborhood moved the dirt he had his eye on.

We didn’t find a skeleton that day in the neighborhood, but we did have a great time making memories together. We were outside. We were dirty. We were happy. And, our lack of success was certainly not due to a lack of preparation on the part of my junior paleontologist.

Harrison packed up his bag with the necessary tools – specifically something to hammer the bones from the hard dirt and a paint brush to sweep away the loose sand. These tools were both from a science kit I’d bought him, and I’ll tell you more about that later, but the point is he packed his essentials in his backpack. I love how he obsesses over the right gear, over making sure the tools are real and not toys, and I adore how seriously he takes himself. He has the sweetest little seersucker monogrammed book bag now. It is perfect for taking his toys to Mimi’s house, but it is not exactly right for hunting for dinosaur bones. And that’s why I am so excited about the new Babiators bags – they are exactly the right bags for exploring outside. Perfect for toting dinosaur bones, pirate treasure maps, ropes, rocks, and other adventurer essentials!

Babiators Rocket Packs

After an evening of modeling, Harrison cried when he had to give his pre-production Rocket Pack back. That is how much he loved this bag. In his mind, it looked just like an explorer’s pack should look. He told me how he’d fill each pocket and strap with his tools and important things.

I can’t wait to surprise him with a new Babiators Rocket Pack now that they are available.

Of course, they’re perfect for back-to-school too.

Babiators Rocket Pack | the Maypop | Gray Benko photography
Babiators Rocket Pack | the Maypop | Gray Benko photography

Babiators Rocket Pack | the Maypop | Gray Benko photography

Finally, and speaking of loving the place we live, the last photos were shot at the historic Timrod Library, which opened in 1915. I had driven by this charming building several times and had been curious about it, but I hadn’t made a point to stop in yet. When Gray and Molly with Babiators were looking for a “bookish” location for these photos, I knew the quaint, historic library would be the ideal setting. I’m so thankful we had time to check it out (no pun intended) and capture these sweet photos of the kids.

What gear have you found to be essential for exploring with your children? Tell me in the comments.

Photos courtesy of Babiators; shot by Gray Benko.

On wide open spaces and loving the place we live

Around this time last year, we decided to buy a new house. We looked and looked in our current area, but nothing seemed right.

We debated (and still occasionally toss around) the idea of moving back to one of our hometowns, either to Bradenton, Florida or Hawkinsville, Georgia. Eric’s family is still in the Bradenton area and mine is still in Hawkinsville. We love the idea of our boys growing up near cousins and grandparents. The appeal of Bradenton is, of course, the beaches, the white, sugar sand beaches. Here we picture boys with brown skin and hair bleached in the sun. Eric dreams of teaching the boys to surf, and I dream of a stucco home with a Spanish tile roof, of a garden with lush tropical plants, and of visiting the Ca’ d’Zan whenever I want.

For Hawkinsville, it’s the wide open spaces that we are attracted to most. When we think of moving back there, I’m sure Eric dreams of buying lots of acreage and riding his four wheeler. I dream of restoring an old historic home on said acreage and having my morning coffee on the back porch. I picture watching hummingbirds zooming to sip nectar from a feeder and deer eating corn in the distance, just as I watch them do at my own parents’ house.

When I imagine this life, I can see my boys doing the things I did as a girl – fishing in creeks and ponds, jumping from hay bales, learning to drive down dirt roads and in fields, and of course, going to the hometown football games on Friday nights. I imagine them spending hours in the woods, just like they do at Mimi and Papa’s house. Harrison fills his little John Deere Gator up with tools for the day and off he rides to do “his work”. I never know what he has in mind, but he rifles through Papa’s shop and finds what he needs – work gloves, bungee cords, ropes, large clips, and a few toys. He picks up sticks and loads them in the back, feeling very important and accomplished. He confidently hooks up a rope to tow things, like his little brother’s stroller (I saved that one in the nick of time). And, now that Whitt is a little older, he’s right beside him for the day’s adventure.


They rarely venture into the house; Papa has everything they need to survive in his shop. In addition to the tools and lawnmower and four wheeler, there is a small refrigerator with drinks, a television to stay current on the Georgia game, and, ahem, a “bathroom” too. I’m sure part of Eric’s dream includes a large shop with similar essentials.

The allure of living close to family was, and still is, very strong. But for now, and for practical reasons, like work, it doesn’t make sense for us to leave the Charleston area. I’m okay with that too. We have beaches, and the part of me that loves old homes and buildings can’t think of a more rich setting. Most importantly, we are blessed by such a tight group of friends that we have created a little family here.

Long story short, since we couldn’t find a house in our current suburb and since moving back home didn’t make sense, we broadened our search. In the process, we found the perfect neighborhood with the exception that it is 45 minutes from most of our friends, from our sweet family away from family, and from our favorite restaurants and shops. While I still see my friends often, it’s the last-minute moments I miss out on. I’m not able to grab a quick coffee, or meet up for a glass of wine in the evening, or go for a walk after the kids are in bed.

Sometimes, being “way” up here feels like such a sacrifice. Like most things in life, though, I guess it’s more of a compromise than a sacrifice.

You see, while moving back home didn’t make sense, we were still craving the wide open spaces for our little boys to explore. And, included with our neighborhood are hundreds of wooded acres them to roam, miles of trails for them to get lost on, and ponds to canoe and fish in.

When the boys and I are having a picnic lunch in the treehouse in the ancient oak trees, I am happy.


When I bring them home, covered in mud from an afternoon of exploring, I feel like I’m doing the right thing for their little bodies and minds.


When I witness their firsts – Whitt learning to skip stones and Harrison catching a fish, for example, my mother’s heart knows this is what is good for them.


And, when we’re all piled in the Ranger for an evening trail ride, I know we are where we are supposed to be.


(It’s hard to spot him, but Whitt is in the carseat.)

Slowly, but surely, we are learning to love the new place we call home.


PS – Have you read Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder? It’s on my list. If so, please tell me what you thought of it in the comments.


Lindsay Letters: Christmas in July Sale

Hello friends. Just popping in to share a little Christmas in July sale from Lindsay Letters.

Calligraphy is a long time passion of mine, and I love anything hand lettered, so naturally I’m smitten with Lindsay Letters. Her instagram images are especially lovely! When I saw this O Holy Night print on sale for $10, I couldn’t resist snatching it up for Christmas. This is my favorite Christmas hymn, and I am immediately transported to the Christmas Eve candlelight service at my hometown church when I read it. Closing my eyes now, I can almost hear the choir singing it.

Lindsay Letters O Holy Night Print

The print nailed several loves for me – it’s hand lettered and sentimental. I can’t wait to frame and display it for Christmas, and I hope the boys grow to treasure this song and its meaning as much as I do.

If we didn’t have the television mounted over the fireplace, then I would have ordered it in a large canvas, as Holly Mathis did.

Lindsay Letters O Holy Night Holly Mathis


The Nester used another line from this song in her house, and Lindsay printed it up too. I think it would be lovely to pair the two O Holy Night prints together in different sizes, one leaning in front of the other.

Lindsay Letters Weary World Rejoices the Nester

Navy is my go-to color, and the idea of “calm and bright” seems like such a balm to my spirit, especially as a mom of two boisterous boys. I really loved this one. Maybe I should order it for the boys’ room…you know, as a subtle hint? 😉

Lindsay Letters All is Calm

This hot pink is adorable too. It would be such a fun gift!



Hurry and pick one up for yourself or for a gift while they’re still on sale through the end of the month. Merry Christmas in July!

Heirlooms: Tips on arranging and hanging plates and platters

I love heirlooms. I love their stories, their histories, and their patina. Some of my heirlooms are valuable, but mostly, they are just sentimental. I think it is important that heirlooms are used and that they are part of everyday life; at a minimum they should be visibly on display. I think using or displaying them ensures their sentimentality; my hope is that my children will remember using my grandmother’s carnival glass butter dish and that it will be even more special because we used it too. They will have their own memories to pass along with the dish. Displaying and using heirlooms not only keeps them relevant, but it also helps them seem current and fresh too.

That’s right, heirlooms do not have to equal “stuffy antiques that sit on a shelf and collect dust”. 

To prove it to you, I’m starting a series on heirlooms. I’ll feature a few of my favorite sentimental things and will tell you how I use them, and I’d love to feature some of your special treasures too.

First in the series: a few heirloom plates and platters.

This past weekend, I checked an item off of my Home To Do List: I hung a small collection of plates and platters in my dining room.

Arranging and Hanging Plates | the Maypop

This was not the arrangement of assorted metal platters I originally had in mind, but most of my vintage and heirloom brass, silver, and bronze platters were circle-shaped. And, instead of the stunning effect below, I was ending up with something that more or less resembled a large snowman.

Arranging and hanging plates and platters | the Maypop


Luckily, I don’t suffer from a shortage of platters and plates. I am forever finding them at thrift stores and garage sales and in my grandmas’ cabinets. So, I grabbed these oyster plates and a piece of blue willow to round out my silver. Every room needs a little blue willow, right?

In the end, I’m so pleased with this little arrangement. A few plates handed down from my grandmother, two I recently picked up thrifting, and one that was a thoughtful bridesmaid gift. It is a mix of old and new, of sentimental and heirloom pieces, and that’s the curated effect I am after.

Hanging and arranging plates | the Maypop

Tips for Hanging and Arranging Plates and Platters

If you decide to tackle an arrangement like this in your own home, here are a few tips.

1. Test your arrangement on the floor. Lay everything out on the floor before you put a nail in the wall.

2. Pick a focal plate/point. The focal plate does not have to be dead center, but it should be close to the middle of the arrangement. In my arrangement, the large silver platter is the focal point. I hung this platter first, and its placement anchored the others.

3. Work up/down and left/right from your focal point. I’m a traditionalist, so I tend to use symmetry as my guide. The images that inspire me are also balanced. That said, I’ve seen some great abstract and more asymmetrical arrangements. Either way, you’ll want to work out from your focal point.

4. Mix it up! Sure, a great collection of white plates artfully hung on a wall will always be tres chic. That said, don’t be afraid to mix styles and patterns of plates, or to mix pictures and other art with the arrangement. If you’re uncertain, take a look at the images below.

Inspirational Images

Whether they’re working together or apart, James Farmer and Maggie Griffin are experts and arranging plates and platters. (We all grew up in the same, small Georgia town. Maybe this is a local, Hawkinsville-bred talent, one that I’ve hopefully learned too?)


via James Farmer

via James Farmer

via James Farmer

via James Farmer

via James Farmer

via James Farmer

via James Farmer

via James Farmer

via Maggie Griffin

via Maggie Griffin

via Maggie Griffin

via Maggie Griffin

via Maggie Griffin

via Maggie Griffin

Here are a few more that inspire me too.

via AD

via AD

via Traditional Home

via Traditional Home

via Harrington House

via Harrington House


Watch Hill, RI

If you follow me on Instagram (@mrsmaypop), then you may remember that when I picked up the boys’ vintage metal beds, the previous owner explained that they were purchased at an estate sale at a mansion in Watch Hill, RI.

Vintage Metal Beds | the Maypop

Since then, I’ve been mildly obsessed with Watch Hill. It looks like the quintessential New England coastal village, full of charming cottages, a grand hotel, and shops I’d love to spend the afternoon browsing. Although I’m a Southerner born and bred, I’ve been lucky enough to travel. Florida beaches, especially on the Gulf are undeniably beautiful – the white sugar sand, the crystal blue water; they’re perfect. I love the West Coast landscapes – the rocky cliffs, the smooth tall palm trees, and the evergreens as you get farther north. Of course, I love our local beaches too. I love the mix of marsh grasses, the egrets, herons, and fiddler crabs, and the twisted old oak trees that are ever present on the Georgia and Carolina coasts. But, it is the East Coast, the New England coast, that is most picturesque to me.

Eric’s family lives on the Rhode Island coast, so I think we’ll make a trip to Watch Hill next time we’re visiting. Until then, I can only swoon over images of the classic architecture and pore over the local history online.

As we head into the weekend, want to join me today for a few home tours?

First up, Tom Scheerer’s All-American Colonial Revival, featured in House Beautiful. See the full tour here.

Tom Scheerer, Watch Hill

Tom Scheerer, Watch Hill

Tom Scheerer, Watch Hill

Tom Scheerer, Watch Hill



Next up, a couple of cottages from Kate Jackson Design. See more images of both homes here and here.

Watch Hill home tours | the Maypop

Watch Hill home tours | the Maypop

Watch Hill home tours | the Maypop

Watch Hill home tours | the Maypop

Watch Hill home tours | the Maypop
Watch Hill home tours | the Maypop


Finally, and my personal favorite, a guest house from Bardes Interiors. It is my perfect mix of comfortable and elegant, traditional without being stuffy or stale. When I think of a home whose pieces are curated over time – blending old and new furnishings, art, and heirlooms – this is exactly what comes to my mind.

Watch Hill Home Tours | Bardes Interiors | the Maypop


Watch Hill Home Tours | Bardes Interiors | the Maypop
Watch Hill Home Tours | Bardes Interiors | the Maypop
Watch Hill Home Tours | Bardes Interiors | the Maypop

Watch Hill Home Tours | Bardes Interiors | the Maypop


Elf on the Shelf Gets His Own Door

One of my goals this year has been to keep Christmas all year. Mostly, I set this intention with the idea that “random acts of kindness” would happen more often, that we would give more generously, help more often, and forgive more easily, in the way that we all do “because it’s Christmas”. It was the essence of the Christmas spirit that I was (and am still) hoping to capture all year long.

Many of my own childhood memories of Christmas are wrapped up in the magic and fun of the season. My parents always made a really big deal of Santa and of encouraging us to Believe. For example, I have a distinct memory of my Dad calling my brother and me to the front door one Christmas Eve. “Hurry,” he said. “Look! See that flashing red light? It’s Rudolph, flying across the sky! Listen. Can you hear Santa’s sleigh bells?” Another time, I remember Santa Claus calling us on the phone at home to make sure we were being good. I can remember asking him about Rudolph and Mrs. Claus. My Dad has continued that tradition, making certain Santa Claus calls my own little boys.

So, in addition to keeping the Christmas spirit all year, it was (and is) important for me to capture some of the magic and fun of the season too. And friends, that’s just what we did Sunday night.

Our little Elf of the Shelf, Seymour, made an impromptu mid-year return visit. The boys quickly and excitedly spotted him perched on top of the table on Daddy’s Yeti.

Elf on the Shelf | Christmas in July | the Maypop


After carefully removing him from the cooler with kitchen tongs (so as not to touch him), the boys were excited to see that Seymour had delivered a treasure of CapriSuns and popsicles. I let the kids drink and eat this stuff at parties, but I have never bought either for the house. So trust me, this was an exciting moment and very in line with Christmas magic and fun. (Plus CapriSuns were $.79/box at Publix this week!)

Elf on the Shelf | Christmas in July | the Maypop


Then, the kids immediately noticed the new door. Harrison, ever sharp, immediately knew that “Seymour had built his own door!”

Elf on the Shelf Door | Christmas in July | the Maypop


With this post from Modern Mrs. Darcy as my inspiration, I picked up two of these little MDF doors at Michaels for under $3/each. They measure ten inches tall; the perfect Elf size.

Unfinished MDF Craft Door for Elf on the Shelf, from Michaels | the Maypop

I painted them white to match the trim in our house (which clearly also needs to be repainted. And, I’d like to paint our walls something other than this manila envelope shade the builder chose, but we’re digressing deeply into not-in-the-Christmas-spirit territory.).

Back to the Elf doors – I then added an old large faux-pearl stud earring to each door for doorknobs. Eric pre-drilled tiny holes in the doors for the earring studs, and then we used super glue to attach the earrings. I’d planned to paint the doorknobs too, but I didn’t mind the pearl color once they were attached. Using 3M strips, we hung one door inside and the other door on the outside of the house. I don’t like that you can see the little 3M tabs, though, so I may end up cutting these off and just chance a little peeling paint when we remove them.

Here’s another shot of Seymour, our Elf on the Shelf, with his door. I think he likes it.


Elf on the Shelf Door | the Maypop

He even came back this morning! This time we found him indulging in a little frozen treat of his own. (Cue Olaf with “What Frozen Things Do in Summer”).

Elf on the Shelf Ideas |Christmas in July |the Maypop

My boys have been so excited to have Seymour return, especially unexpectedly and out of season. Magic and fun are in the air around here, for sure, and that’s really what I wanted. I hope they look back and remember these sweet summer days.

Friends, bring your elves back too! Let’s make the rest of July as magical and fun as Christmastime. Tag me on Instagram (@mrsmaypop) or post a link to your blog in the comments. Facebook is great, but it is harder to look back on it for inspiration. And, that’s what I want – to inspire and to be inspired by you.

So, please help me make this post an amazing resource by sharing your Elf on the Shelf ideas in the comments. I will do a round up of Seymour’s visit at the end of the month and link back here too.

Merry Christmas, in July!

PS – When I asked Eric to get in the attic to get our elf, he admitted that he was so relieved to see my labels and said finding him was a snap. He thought it was ridiculous when I was labeling each box at the end of the season, and he didn’t hesitate to roll his eyes at every label. My OCD feels so redeemed!

Inspiration: a Carnival Themed Birthday Party

Meet Farris.

photo by Gray Benko

photo by Gray Benko

My little muse had just turned 3 in this picture. Her mommy is an amazing photographer, and one of my best friends. This picture sits in their foyer, on top of an heirloom table that I love. (You know I’m a sucker for an heirloom). Anyway, I’ve always been inspired by this photograph. Let’s have a carnival party, shall we?

Carnival, Circus, Fair Party Inspiration and Ideas | the Maypop

Clockwise from the upper left: Candy apples / Popcorn / Cotton candy / Fair food photo / Goldfish game (cute read; the source post author is actually boycotting them) / Goldfish soap (as an alternative) / Pony rides! / Facepainting / Carnival masks / facepainting kit / Dart and balloon game / neon gorilla prizes / Vintage food baskets (I saw some at Hobby Lobby in turquoise and melon too) / Felt corn dog and snowcone (how fun are these? don’t miss her green eggs and ham too) / Lemonade stand banner / Invitation (center photo)

Funny thing is, I’ve had this post sitting in my drafts folder for months, collage and everything ready to go. I suppose I was hesitating to post it, just in case I could share this idea with a friend first. I’m so glad I waited too, because just this weekend, a friend contacted me for help planning her daughter’s 4th birthday party. Serendipity!

She emailed me saying she was wanted “pony rides for the kids” and “something adorable and non-commercialized”. Plus, she mentioned she is a self-professed “sucker for Hawaii and all things luau-ish without being cheesy”.

So I suggested a carnival, Hawaiian style! That’s right – we’re going to put a tropical island twist on this Carnival. I think it will be the perfect way for her to blend the pony rides and backyard games with her passion for Hawaii.

To keep it from being too cheesy, I suggested a sophisticated color scheme, steering clear of red, yellow, and blue. Maybe melon and aqua?

Obviously, we’ll use some of the same things from the carnival inspiration board above, such as the food baskets and face painting. But, we’ll put a twist on things – think pineapple snow cones, rainbow cotton candy, coconut-covered candy apples, and maybe a tropical Betta fish instead of goldfish?

Here is another Carnival inspiration board, this time with a Hawaiian twist.

Carnival, Fair, Circus, Hawaiian Party Inspiration and Ideas | the Maypop

Clockwise from left: rainbow cotton candy / ticket invitation / hibiscus leis (of course!) / bean bag toss game /tropical snowcones, (pineapple flavoring is a must for this party) / hibiscus print* / color inspiration / Alba Botanica sunscreen (the birthday girl’s name is Alba; tell me these aren’t perfect for favors or in a basket on a table) / pony rides / goldfish soap for games or as favors

*(For the hibiscus print, I envision it striped like a circus tent as an accent or backdrop for invitations. I added the stripes. I’m not a graphic designer, but I think you get the idea.)

We’re just starting to plan this event. I can’t wait to see how this little backyard soiree unfolds! I promise to keep you posted.

PS – this party is in Washington state, where the weather is “beautiful in August” according to my friend. I’m super jealous. August in Charleston is just hot and humid, so hot and humid you almost don’t want to move at all, much less have a party in the backyard. Did I mention I”ll be 8 months pregnant then? :)


Baby G3


Eric snapped this for me on the 4th of July. I couch slipcover is filthy, and I am shopping for new pillow covers, so the pillows are naked. Just keeping it real for you.

Eric snapped this for me on the 4th of July

As you can see, I’m pregnant with Baby # 3. 25 wonderful weeks pregnant, to be exact. When I was pregnant with Harrison, we called him “Baby G” because we didn’t have a name picked out. Whitt, then naturally, was Baby G2. So this little one is Baby G3 for now. (My last name begins with G.)

If you’ve seen me, then you know I’ve been open about sharing my obvious pregnancy. But with the exception of briefly mentioning it in my goals post last month, I just haven’t been able to announce it to social media or here on the blog yet. You see, with each pregnancy, I’ve become more guarded. I think it’s because, as a mother of two, I know now just how precious babies really are.


Harrison as a newborn. Photo by Gray Benko.

Harrison as a newborn. Photo by Gray Benko.

Whitt as a newborn. Photo by Gray Benko.

Whitt as a newborn. Photo by Gray Benko.

When people tell you that there is no love like the love for a child, it is true.

But what I was rarely, if ever told, is a fear like no other also comes along with that love.

If they’re sleeping too soundly, I will check to make sure my boys are still breathing. I will even nudge them, risking waking them, just to be absolutely sure. And, I’m always thinking about the worst case what-if’s scenarios. You know, the crazy stuff – if our car falls over the bridge I’m driving across, how will I get us all out of the water? Why don’t I have a seatbelt cutter? Should I crack the windows now, or wait until we’re submerged? If the house catches on fire while we’re all sleeping, how will I get the boys outside safely from the second floor? Should I buy a fire ladder for each bedroom? Is Harrison big enough to climb down by himself while I carry Whitt, or will I need to come back up?

And then stories like this one bring those crazy fears to life. And my heart just breaks.

Red Balloons for Ryan - send the Saldanas your support

Red Balloons for Ryan – send the Saldanas your support


I’ve also watched friends lose babies, two lately at or past the 20 week mark. My heart has ached for my friends. I have felt their losses, as much as one can hurt for another. And, I’ve worried even more about the fragile little one growing inside me.

Love and fear aside, I am so excited about the idea of another little baby around here. So excited. I’ve always wanted three children, so this really feels like a dream coming true. Because this may be my last pregnancy, I am trying to savor it. I am trying not to rush it or wish it away, despite the 20 weeks of morning sickness all day nausea or three months of heat and humidity that will be my third trimester.

I “winged it” with Whitt because he was my second boy. I tried to be relaxed and to go with the flow. But the truth is, I’m a planner at heart, and going with the flow was much more stressful for me than having everything ready. So, for this baby, I’ve made a list and am checking it twice. You can expect several “getting ready for baby posts” and many more thoughts on motherhood.

Especially for you new mothers, what would be helpful? What do you want to know?


June recap and July goals

With all of yesterday’s fun festivities, it’s taken me a couple of days longer to recap my #StartFreshJune and to post my July goals than I’d planned. As awkward as sharing this stuff online is for me, it’s also been incredible source of motivation and feeling of accountability. So, here we go.


June Recap

#StartFreshJune. I’m so glad that I was inspired by Lara Casey to “hit the reset button”, if you will. Here’s what I was able to accomplish this past month.

1. Get up early. My main goal for this month was to get up earlier, and I nailed it! I’m rising two hours earlier on average, and I’m so proud of myself for fighting the urge to sleep in.

2. Improve my fitness. I was consistently in the gym this month, 2-3 days per week.

3. Read. I read quite a bit, but I didn’t log my books as I’d planned, and I still didn’t tackle a classic.

4. Make this house a home. We got the boys’ rooms painted, and most of the furniture and linens in place. We also put toy storage in the closet.

5. Financial. We paid off the credit card!

6. Keep (the spirit of) Christmas all year. Eric and I agreed not to do any Mother’s Day/Father’s Day gifts this year, so his Father’s Day was low key. But, I still wanted to do something to show him how much we love and appreciate him. On a whim, I gave him a new t-shirt as a surcee when he returned from a work trip. And, I surprised my own dad with his favorite meal – fried pork chops, fried potatoes, great northern beans, and cornbread – when he visited this month.

What didn’t happen? Well, we’re still not back to church. I didn’t finish the volunteer training I’d planned to complete. I struggled with my usual day planner and planning system. I put together a new binder and am looking for a new day planner, in fact. And, I’m questioning whether a true schedule would be better for us, especially for Harrison, after all. Nothing was curated – no recipes written or blogged about; no pictures printed. And, I’m still not blogging as frequently as I’d like.

Overall, #StartFreshJune was a great month. I’m excited about July!

July Goals | the Maypop

July goals

For July, these are my goals (same categories as I started the year with; just new action items).

1. Get up early. Interestingly, my usual little late sleepers have sensed me getting up earlier and have followed suit. So, even though I got up earlier this month than before, I still didn’t have the quiet time I was hoping for. For July, I want to work on getting up even earlier, on getting them to sleep a little later, and on creating a morning ritual. My plan is to use Hal Higdon’s The Miracle Morning as a guide. If you missed my post on books that will inspire you to get up earlier, check it out here.

2. I’m still hoping we can make it back to church regularly.

3. Fitness. This month, my goal is to try a spinning class.

4. Read. I am determined to tackle a classic this month. Determined. Any suggestions? I’ve attempted Pride and Prejudice and Brideshead Revisited and couldn’t get into either one. Should I pick one of them back up or try something else?

5. Make this house a home. This month, I aim to complete at least two items on my home to do list and work towards completing the boys’ room. Specifically in their room, I want to:

  • hang the curtains and cornices.
  • put up the existing artwork and wall sconces that we already have.
  • find a dresser.
  • install a ceiling fan. It’s so hot in this room that a ceiling fun is a must. I’m on the hunt for something that’s attractive, but this is proving to be a more difficult quest than I’d imagined, especially on a budget. Why can’t ceiling fans be pretty? Send any suggestions my way – think little boys’ room, somewhat traditional in style.

6. Financial. File our 2013 taxes. Don’t judge; I don’t have any excuse for why we filed an extension. April 15 just snuck up on us.

7. Plan daily. I’m a wonderful list maker. I have list after list of things I’d like to accomplish. And, for the most part, these lists serve me well. For July, I think I can be even more efficient by listing and focusing on three Most Important Tasks for the day.

8. Curate. This month I simply want to handwrite the family recipes that I’ve posted so far and print and frame two pictures.

9. Blog regularly. Again, I let a lack of perfect pictures, not a lack of ideas, keep me from blogging more regularly. So, I’m hoping to blog more frequently and take and post more bad pictures. :)

10. Keep (the spirit of) Christmas all year. I have some fun ideas for a little Christmas in July. I’m thinking Seymour, our elf, may even make a midyear appearance.

I’m off to a great start already; here are a couple of sneak peaks…

sneak peek mantel | the Maypop

Sneak peek boys room | the Maypop

What are you working on this month? I’m linking up with The Tiny Twig and look forward to checking out the other bloggers who’ve shared their goals too. Let’s keep each other motivated!