About Me

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Pittsburgh, United States
35 Y/O wife to Tim and mom to Emma,Noah,Caleb, Stella and 2 babies in Heaven.Trying to walk in the path of the Lord and carrying my family with me. I love our 1902 home we purchased more 10 years ago. It is constantly evolving and goes through whatever changes my little heart desires. I love vintage treasures and I'm always on the hunt for them! My hope is that this blog will be a constant scrapbook for my family and home,a place to make new friends and just somewhere to lay out my thoughts,even if they aren't beautiful or inspiring. XoXo-Nikki

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I never.............

.......write blogs anymore. I never read them anymore. I suppose I just distribute my time differently these days. But I really want to record what is on my heart right now.

The past few weeks have been very difficult. My husband lost his dad. Before I get into every thing else I want to tell you a little about him. Paul was the first of my husbands family members I met. I got out of the car on a cool January day in 1999 and I was greeted with a warm hug. I told him I liked his house and he smiled a big smile and said. 'Thank you! We're real country around here!'.  Emma came along that October and was the first to make him a Pappy. We have many photo's from over the years-birthday parties,Easter egg hunts,a trip to the zoo etc....- that showed he enjoyed this role. Only in the past few years did I realize this is where my sweetheart gets this from. Being a loving husband and amazing daddy is something he learned from his own dad.


So a few weeks ago Tim got that call that call. The one noone wants to get. But at least there was a little time to say goodbye. We packed up in a hurry. Found the cheapest hotel rate we could at a place we were comfortable having the kids at (Thank you Days Inn Carlisle! You guys were so good to us!)and we were on our way in a few hours. We had no clue how long our trip would be. We forgot a lot of things. (Did you know you can buy underwear for 96 cents a pair at Walmart? Neither did I until now!) We spent all of the next day at the hospice. All 6 of us plus my husbands mom and sister. While it was nice family time we all wished it was for different reasons. I made sure to tell Paul what I said above about him teaching Tim to be a good dad and husband. I thanked him for welcoming me to his family, for loving my kids and that I was honored to share his family name. While watching someone at the end of their earthly life is heartbreaking it is also beautiful. To see family come together. To remember someone and have the chance to tell them what they mean to you before they go. It's not something everyone gets to do. I took the little kids back to hotel while by husband stayed by his daddy's bedside all night. The big kids stayed too. I am so proud of them. (Pretty much the whole trip (8 days) my kids were so well behaved. Not that they are bad kids but it was a long week and they didn't let it wear on them much.)


Brandt Family, Christmas 2010


Paul passed away on Sunday morning. It was a sunny day with the bluest sky over the mountains that surround that part of Pennsylvania. Tim and his sister Jessica got to work immediately helping their mom make plans for the service. How is it watching my husband be so strong while being so sad makes me love him more than I already did? And my mother in law seemed so beautiful amongst her strength and pain...... Also she included me in on much of the planning for which I'm so grateful for. She told me I'm one of their kids too. (ok, yes I'm crying now)

So while all of this is happening over 3 hours away from home, things were happening here in Pittsburgh. Our church family stepped up like nothing I've ever experienced. One of my good friends talked to my boys teachers and principal to make sure they knew why the boys were gone for so long and to get all of their work together. She called to check on us. So did our pastor. We had a beautiful flower arrangement from our church at the funeral home. We had tons of texts.

We also had flowers from my parents, friends of Tim's and our very good friends the Cross' actually made the drive out there and back in one day to support us. Crazy I know. So much love but that's who my father in law was- a loving man. It's evident from the short time I knew him but also in photos and videos that showed him as a dad over the past 36 years and the love story my in-laws shared. They would have been married 40 years this coming October. My husand made a beautiful tribute video for his dad that you can see HERE.

         Being away from home unexpectedly came with a few worries. 6 of us, a hotel room, food,incidentals, gas and tolls. We were not prepared for that. We checked out of the hotel on Friday to be told our room was already paid for on someone else's card. Then we were gifted with another amount by a loving family member and then something that just about covered our tolls exactly. I'm not bragging here. I'm sharing how overwhelmed with love we are. With gratitude. SO MUCH Gratitude! We came home late on Friday night. Our dishes were done,the house was vacuumed, a stack of cards lying on the table and we have had other families bless us with dinner every night since we got home. When one of my dear friends came over yesterday I kind of lost it on her. I was so overwrought with emotion. When she left I literally got down on my knees in the kitchen thanking Jesus for the goodness of others,for our church.(Man,I stinkin' LOVE my church!!) How do we pay this forward? The Brandts are feeling love here you guys. Like pure, selfless love.  Even though most of our friends never met Tim's dad they are honoring him by loving on his son and his family. And for that we thank you.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013







I woke up today. I felt like I had run a marathon in my sleep. And when I crossed the finish line someone beat me in the back with a metal bat. I got out of bed and my feet hurt with every excruciating step to the loo. I'm pretty used to this. I'm learning to endure everyday chronic physical pain. (I refuse to use that stupid 'spoon theory' though. It's kind of lame.)

What I can't endure is some of the ick going on around me. Ever feel responsible for someone else's actions? Being caught in the middle?  Raises hand. Yep, that's me right now. It's stressful, humiliating, eating at me. My physical pain doesn't make me want to curl up in a ball and hide but this mental anguish indeed does. I just want it to be over and I don't know what else to do.

I've been praying almost nonstop. I'm in such an uncomfortable place emotionally right now.
 I'm tired. So, so tired.


Monday, October 28, 2013

On Blogging

So I've had this space for almost 6 years now. My first few posts are mostly about couponing because  I was doing the extreme couponing thing before it became a lame tv show. I didn't have any photo's. Then slowly I started opening up about what goes on here at our house, all the domestic stuff. Then our family started to really love Jesus and wanted a new baby. What a time that was here in our house! Jesus still lives here and so does that baby (she's 3 now!)


LOVE my app from Rhonna DESIGNS


I can't say that having said baby has taken over my time from writing here. It's just that other forms of social media have. Like Pinterest and Instagram. I started following people by their ideas and pictures but not their words and I suppose I expected them to do the same. But guess what?! Some really cool chicks are still out there in blogland writing all the time.

Whilst playing catch up I found 2 posts that I LOVE and wanted to share:

The Cottage Nest: The Good Old Days

Jolly Goode Gal: I'm Not Jen Hatmaker

I think both of those made a few points that totally resonated with me and how I feel about blogging right about now.........................

Friday, October 25, 2013

A little bit of catch up in October.......

Oh,October.....you always seem to get the best of me!!! This has always been since Em's birthday is this month and so is Halloween but 3 years ago we had Stella and we also have a kid in Marching band. It's crazy! Here's a little bit of what this month has brought us.......



So this pic is kinda crappy but we purchased this really cute faux stove with a heater. None of the fireplaces in our house work so I love having this little thing for the ambiance and it keeps the room warm too.




Some of my recent thrifting finds! I put the shelf together on a day I was bored (ie ignoring housework)


Me and some of my girlfriends. The top one is dinner for a friends birthday,the bottom one cheering on our kids highschool football team!

I took Em to see Peirce the Veil and All Time Low (A Day to Remember was there also) for the second time in less than 6 months. She better never tell me I'm not a cool mom. I even got in the pit with her and dragged her out when I got kicked in the head. When she complains that so and so's mom isn't with them I remind her that I went to hundreds of shows over the past 20 years and know better than to let my kid go unsupervised. Also when we were waiting in line Vic from PTV came out. All the little teen girls squealed like crazy and I snapped that pic of him.


Our little 10-10-10 baby turned 3!!!! We were able to hold her party in our church basement. We kept it at a short 90 minutes. Perfect for toddlers. We did face painting and a pinata. Had kid friendly food like chicken nuggets,apple slices and homemade corn dogs.I found a local lady who does AMAZING cakes and she did this awesome Aquabats cake for Stella. Stella watches Aquabats  All. Day. Long. My brother used to do the same thing with Ninja Turtles and he turned out ok so it's just whatever.....
She got some cute clothes,toys and a bunch of Mooshka Dolls. They are so adorable.


I pounded a bunch of holes in the walls.........

Took lots of pictures of this one. She makes me laugh everyday even if she is the hardest kid so far!



























My first born turned 14! I've been a mom for 14 years. Amazing. I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out how this happened! We are expecting around 25 Jr. High kids over tomorrow night for a party. I'm a little nervous. Praying it will be drama free!!!

Hopefully I will remember to post a little more. I miss blogging, the blogging community etc.....










Thursday, October 24, 2013

I had no idea..........

That just me, writing on this teeny,tiny blog would bring me to a fun night out! I got an email a few weeks ago from More Than Mommies and See's Candies to attend an event for local family friendly bloggers.

I was a bit taken aback. How was I chosen to be invited? (I'm still not sure!) but I'm glad I was. I was able to take a 'plus one' who happened to be my husband.
We were greeted at the entrance by a women in a super cute,vintage type uniform bearing chocolate. The chocolate. It never stopped coming. We were offered any piece we wanted to try. There were about 100 different kinds behind the glass. Over the course of the evening I tried an Apricot Delight, Pumpkin Truffle and the Milk Bordeaux.


Higher ups from the company were there and gave us some history on the company.(Glad I listened closely! There was a quiz at the end!) We learned that the famous episode of I Love Lucy was filmed at their factory!

 And guess what? We got to try that ourselves. We partnered up to pack our boxes of candy. Tim and I didn't win but we did get to take home the half pound boxes we packed. So fun!!


The store was beautiful, all black and white with all the focus on the candy. The delicious candy.
Remember that quiz? I got a question right and was awarded a box of Bridge Mix-Tims favorite!

When we left we were given awesome 'Swag Bags' full of See's goodies to share with our family.


 I struck up a few conversations with other bloggers there and found out there is a whole world of local blog events I had no clue about. I think something like this is exactly what I needed to kick me in the pants and get me blogging again. Guess we'll see what happens!




Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I want my passion back

                              
                       Way back when..... when this blog had just started.......one of my very favorite thing to post about was my love for this big,old,falling down 1902 home. When we bought this house in 2001 I was so very proud of it. We were 23, most of our friends still had apartments. Some even still lived with their parents but here we were with a real grown up house.

         It had only been 5 years before that I was still deciding how to hang up a Rocky Horror poster in my bedroom and now here I was picking out paint swatches,trying to figure out how to get rid of the ugly wallpaper in the bathroom and decorate the nursery as Noah was on his way. The first room we painted was the dining room in Cranberry Zing. I was excited to use a daring color and just to have my very own dining room. A room for dining. As I sit in that very room right now I can tell you not much dining happens in here. Crafts happen,coloring happens. Sometimes homework. Mail piles up in here. Lots of mail. Sometimes I fold laundry in here but dining.......no, not really.


Cranberry Zing.....I'm so over you.


       So anyways, I guess what I'm getting at is that I miss loving my house. I miss the passion I had for decorating and making it a home. A unique living space just for us. It's a mixture of lacking things: time,energy and I guess even money although I can really do a lot with a little. These days I'm lucky to be feeling well enough to pick up after Stella and vacuum up Cheerio's.

     So I have this plan in my head to LOVE my house again. I'm not going to spend any money on craft stuff or other junk that I think I have to have. I want it to go into the house. We've talked about moving.. But we know it's not a realistic dream anytime soon. We raised our kids in this tiny community and they are completely rooted. So I just need to have the best place possible so these babies can bloom where they have been planted.

     I'm not sure what I can do in here. There is a lot of painting that needs done and we desperately need new living room furniture. This stuff is only 5 years old and looks horrible. I solemnly vow to never buy microfiber ever again. Because right now stains made by water are being covered with quilts and such. It's kind of funky and not the kind of eclectic funky I like. More like white trash funky.

     I also have to say goodbye to Cranberry Zing. It's dark and sometimes cozy but our house doesn't exactly get a lot of sunshine and I need to brighten things up around here. Speaking of brightening I want to add windows to the living room flanking the fireplace. I'm hoping this is doable. Let there be light! Then again all the existing windows already need replaced. I can't really open any of them without breaking a nail or having them slam back down on me.
 I said this house was falling down. I meant it.

        I want to love this place again.....to want to want to be here....to feel like being hospitable again.....to not go to someones house for the first time and think 'Oh, no way are they ever seeing my place.'


            So now I'm sure some people may read this and think 'Wow, she is so ungrateful! God has blessed her with a nice family and a roof over her head. Tisk,tisk.' and I suppose some of that may be true. I'm only human. I realize that I've been blessed with a home and family but I want to make it better. To make the most of what God has given me and make it BETTER for my husband and kids.






Monday, July 29, 2013

Hanging my head.....

I'm exactly 1 month away from turning 35.(eek!!) I don't feel 35 at all. Mentally I still feel about 25 while physically I feel what I guess 60 feels like.  60-25 is 35 so I guess that's about right then.....

A few weeks after my birthday last year I posted a list of 35 things I wanted to accomplish in the coming year. Well I failed big time! Here's what I did manage to get done:

*Half of #12
*#14
*#31
*#34

3.5 out of 35 goals. Yes, I suppose I have a month to go so I'm going to shoot for 2-3 more and then give add the rest to next years list :)

So 2 months in between posts. Not because I suck at life,but because I suck at blogging.....
Here's what's going on:

Our baby-man graduated Kindergarten. He also had the highest amount of points for Accelerated Reader in his class. 

This also means our time is up at Bellevue Elementary but we have decided to embrace our new school and are now a little excited about it.



Our whole family became Doctor Who geeks.



Our girl had her first parade as a member of the NHS Flames Marching Band.



We now have Froyo just up the street from our house. This is good and bad.

We love spending time with our friend's-The Cross family.


We had fun attending and serving at our church'sVBS. Emma and her friend Matt made awesome Counselors in training! 

Ok, this is half of #12. I was baptized at our church picnic. It was a Blessed day indeed.

The little kids and I had so much fun finally experiencing Sandcastle thanks to our neighbor Kate! 



Took Emma to her first Warped tour where she met her favorite band!



And lastly, we finally had a little family get away. We took a drive up to Erie. Went to Waldameer park,Presque Isle,ate a whole bunch of good food. Shopped for some fun stuff (Doctor Who t's) and spent time together. Just the 6 of us. We stopped at the Spillway on the way home.

Now today,Tim is back to work.....Em is at pre-band camp. She's going away for a week for regular band camp and I'm excited and sad at the same time. I have to share so much of her now!!

Well hopefully I will post again before I actually turn 35! Until then...........