First Day

Only two girls to send off this year…two more with a first day next week.  Halle headed off to her first day of Middle School and Lainey to her first day of High School and her first volleyball game.  Both were nervous and excited for a new year and a new school.  So was I.  And apparently we were not very good at getting ready this year.  Let me explain…

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Mom Moment–Halle’s Memoirs, Age 11

Halle has been writing her autobiography for a school assignment.  Each day she adds a new installment which makes me laugh and sometimes cry a little.  I wish everyone felt so awesome about themselves and their life at age 11…and I wish that feeling of awesomeness was with us forever!  I hope it will be for Halle.  I hope she doesn’t mind, but I thought I would share a few of her chapters (I love the titles):

The Beginning of Me

Halle Jo Cartwright, also known as the most amazing person on the Earth, was born July 18th, 2000 in Spokane Washington. My birthday is extra special not only because I am amazing, but I was born five weeks early on vacation! My whole family including my Gammy and Grandpa were there, and that is a lot of people because I have my three sisters and two parents. It was a really exciting day especially since my two year old sister came walking down the hallway cradling, and loving her jello more than me. Even though it was a very odd day we still got a lot of memory saving pictures, and moments.

All About Me

I am very beautifull with my golden brown hair, and my golden eyes. I may be a little young for my grade, but I do have a normal shoe size and height. I wear 6’s in womens, and I am 5 feet tall. A few distinguishing features that I have are that I have golden skin, long legs and feet. Luckily, since shortness runs in the family, my sister is short so I am as tall as she is and I am trying to grow taller. I may be a little bit different but I am still a human being, like you.

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Tween Girls: “Too Old for Toys, Too Young for Boys”


This is my daughter Halle.  She is my baby and my fourth tween girl.  She is currently in that confusing time between childhood and adolescence where here body and emotions are changing like crazy.  She is a bit reluctant to leave childhood behind, but she is also excited for what lies ahead.  She is happy that she is changing, but wishes that nothing else would.  She is watching her sisters grow up, go to college, get married…and it is rocking her little world.  She is happy, but she is starting to sense that life is a bit uncertain for everyone including her.  And sometimes that is hard.

So what can a mother do to help?  There are so many things…really listen, lots of time together, encouragement, understanding, consistency, honor traditions, let her play, but let her grow up, too.  I think it is especially important at this stage to help her understand the beauty and power of being a girl, and all of the incredible opportunities that comes with the roles of woman, wife, and mother.

The tween years are also a great time for building mother/daughter relationships.  Daughters still enjoy time with mom and value her opinion.  Moms enjoy “girl time” with daughters and feel important in their lives.  This time can really form a strong foundation for the sometimes rocky years ahead.  I try to take full advantage of this time and really bond with my girls as much as possible.  So far, this strategy has been very rewarding. One specific thing that I’ve done with each of my girls at this stage is create a bedroom space for them that reflects who they are and what they are becoming.  Although each of my daughters’ spaces have been very different, the basic process has been the same…


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A Room Fit for a Tween

Last week I gave you a quick preview of some of the inspiration behind my recent bedroom redo.  Today, I thought I would share a few before and after images.  Then, I’ll follow up throughout the week with more images and lots of details (maybe more than you want to know).  This bedroom redo makes me so happy!

My 4th daughter, Halle, is growing up too fast!  3 years ago she was a little girl so she had a little girl bedroom…lots of flowers and very pink!

But, she isn’t a little girl anymore.  My baby is almost 12 and she will be going to junior high in the fall and she is a bit of a tomboy and mostly over flowers and pink walls.


So, it was time for a bedroom redo.  My goal for this project was a space that was happy and fun, but also easy to update because someday she will be a tween instead of a teen.  So I went with neutral backgrounds, pops of color, and fun accessories. 





Tomorrow I will share what makes this a tween room and a few details on my wall art.

Design Changes—A Bedroom Redo

Besides my family, few things in life make me as happy as a decorating project.  It is definitely in my top 5 Happiness Hacks!  I’ve been working on a project for a while now, and I’m almost ready to share.  First, though, I thought I would share some of the images from Pinterest that inspired my design plans.

I can’t wait to show you my interpretation of these images, and how they all came together to create a super awesome tween bedroom.

Image Sources
Color Inspiration
Gold Circle Artwork
Glass Ball Chandelier
Nail and String Letters
Gold Antlers
DIY Basket Light
Ombre Dresser
Flowery Garland

Family Vacations and Happy Birthday to Halle


Welcome to a new week!  Over at the Cartwrights, we are working on recovering from one of those awful summer viruses that has hit everyone of us.  It has been a long time since that has happened in our family.  Even Joe is sick, and he rarely catches anything from the rest of us.  I think we are on the mend, though, so on to a new week…

…But, back to last week’s subject:  Family Vacations.  Last week while you were reading my posts about preparing for vacation, I was actually doing research on going on vacation by going on vacation.   You forget a lot about vacation when you’re not there…and some parts you don’t want to remember.  This time our vacation was quite wonderful, they usually always are, but I was struck by how many changes we made along the way while we were vacationing.  We had to because there are a lot of unpredictable factors that come with combining multiple personalities, interests, and moods with weather, illness, and sleep schedules.

This time around, we had to change plans because Lainey and I were sick, the river was too high to float on, the hot air balloons couldn’t launch in the rain, one of our debit cards had expired the week before, and there were thunderstorms every afternoon.  But, we were flexible and made different plans because that’s how we roll when we are on vacation.  We learned a long time ago that things don’t always go according to plan when you are on vacation!

Exactly 11 years ago today, daughter 4 Halle Jo, was born while we were on vacation.  Really!  Talk about messing up your vacation plans…and your birth plans.   Because it has been 11 years and I’m sure I’ve already forgotten some details, I’m going to write about it now.  I hope you’ll indulge me because how many people do you know that leave for vacation with three girls and come home with four?

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Frog Olympics

Over here at the Cartwright house, we are gearing up for the Frog Olympics. Are you ready for the Frog Olympics at your house? No?…No Frog Olympics you say. Well, I’m sorry about that and if you are sad, you can create the Frog Olympics at your own house or school.

Our Frog Olympics are headed up by our super amazing school librarian. She teaches the 5th graders how to fold an origami frog and then hosts a fun school day event where the kids compete in such Olympic-like contests as the biggest frog, the tiniest frog, the farthest jumping frog, and my favorite category, the funkiest frog.

These are Halle’s entries:

Tiniest Frog (she folded this with tweezers)

Biggest Frog

Funkiest Frog

Click here for instructions on how to make your own origami frog.

Click here for a newspaper article on another school’s Frog Olympics.

Now gather your family and friends and create your own Frog Olympics. How fun is that!

Chaussures Giclee Print

A Cultural Change

Halle at the China Fair sharing many, many interesting facts about China:
*there was only one Empress in China
*foot binding was “weird”
*the abacus was invented in China
*Chinese calligraphy is beautiful and hard to do
*the great wall of China has human remains in it (really?)
*Chinese dragons are really cool and so is:
Halle–you know lots more about China than I do! But I was proud of myself for:
*dressing you in a Japanese kimono
*buying you a fan at Hildi’s that was “made in China”
*using RICE Krispies to help you make your dragon
*painting little lips on you with red lipstick
*coming to your open house to admire your hard work, snap photos and
deliver you a lunch of
wait for it…
…a Subway turkey sandwich (don’t ask).
I Love you “Little China Girl.”