calvin’s 1st birthday

Be prepared for an onslaught of photos, people. Cal’s birthday, for me, was so relaxed and fun. I really prefer hosting parties at my house for one reason: being able to slowly prepare and decorate before the day of. If you show up at my house within a month of a major event (i.e. Calvin’s birthday), you are almost promised a peek at the decorations. Food somehow always comes last but also always manages to be pretty fantastic.

For Cal’s actual birthday, we had just the fam. Jerry took the day off from work and we started at Balsam Bagels because that’s where all good days should start, am I right?

Olivia was just as into celebrating our little guy as we were. She kept asking to feed him, hold his drink, laugh at his antics…grade A big sister, over here. And, yes, we are all still in pajamas except my “pretty dress” daughter who lives and breathes (and sleeps in) dresses.

We spent the rest of the day playing with Cal’s favorite toys, eating his favorite foods and taking a family nap (my favorite part) before it was time for dinner and cake – Calvin’s first cake!

Of course Olivia and I were close by to help him finish what he started.

Then the obligatory post-birthday cake bath!


Personal space, much, O?

That weekend we had Calvin’s party!

We went minimalist woodland for the theme and, as I mentioned, the decorations started going up well before the big day. We stuck with the black/white/grey color scheme to avoid the decor being overwhelming for the mostly over 1 crowd.

Ollie really liked pointing and giggling at all the pictures of Calvin on the wall since they were right above “her seat” at the dinner table every night. Somehow, no one pulled on any of the gold triangle garland until after the party was well over.

Even though I think the decorations were super cute, the food was excellent.


The Menu

  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Chicken or Beef Sliders
  • Corn Dog Mini Muffins
  • Berry Salad (Blue, Black, Straw, Rasp, Done)
  • Veggie Platter
  • Cheese Curls
  • Mini Donuts
  • S’more Cupcakes
  • Hedgehog Shaped Oreo Bites
  • Smash Cake

I feel like there was more but I don’t have photographic proof to back me up.

The weather ended up being amazing for mid-March and the party ended up outside…where I didn’t decorate. BUT it meant that Cal got to smash his birthday cake in the same chair in the same place that Olivia did!


Cue the Momotions!

It really was a great day. And all of this “we” mentioned in the post means me, my girlfriend, Tori, and my sister, Sarah. I really couldn’t have done it without them and come up for air to actually enjoy Cal’s first birthday party. It was the most fun I’ve had a party I’ve been in charge of probably ever. Yeah. Ever.

Posted in Calvin Dexter | 2 Comments

goals: 3

MARCH! I’m refusing to get any farther behind on sharing my goal posts, guys! Ugh. I wrote this post a month ago. Why do we like photos so much? Anywho, since I’m a little behind I get to tell you what the weekly goals for March were and how I did all in one neat (I hope) little post!


I’m working on a post all about our favorite cheeky man’s birthday so this is just a taste of the decorations. With the help of my dear friend, Tori, I was able to complete all of the decorations on my wish list for Calvin’s birthday with plenty of time to kick my feet up and not worry about it. Points for me! Then the weather was incredible and we all ended up outside anyway. Points for mother nature! I’m not mad about it.


Holy freaking cow. How many photos do we have? So dumb. After seriously purging, I still have over a thousand per year. Are my kids really ever going to look at them all? Really? Seriously? I still need to make some photo books but that’s another goal for another week. This one is DONE!


Here’s something I know about myself: If I don’t make it a point to get something done, I don’t do anything. I forgot to give myself a goal for this week and guess what? Nothing got done!


*Don’t look at the floor! That was an April project!*

This ended up being a much bigger endeavor than we imagined. The cabinets are original to the house and once we removed the ones surrounding the oven, we were left with a cabinet sized hole in the subfloor. No big deal except Cal loved to sit in there and once I found him with a rock of mortar in his mouth while PMSing, I freaked and proclaimed the floor to be done next. But that was a bit of a problem because we have awesome plans for the floor and it needed to be hashed out so…


Our front door actually comes into our living room but no one uses it since we have a breezeway (a long, enclosed room that connects our garage to our house) and an entrance to the kitchen. Everyone comes in through the kitchen. However, lots of things like coats, shoes, mittens, scarfs, rain boots – anything that you where to deal with the outside weather – builds up in the breezeway. I have a nasty habit of quickly decluttering by grabbing everything I can hold and shoving it into a closet we have by the actual front door in the living room. It was bad. It’s still not super organized but at least you can see what’s in there and everything has a home.

I have had some wild ideas about decorating our home but I decided the kitchen floor really needed a punch of fun. The problem? All the “fun” tiles are crazy expensive. I found this inspiration photo and hatched a plan on how we could do it ourselves on the cheap. Much to my surprise, Jerry was totally on board. It probably helps that we needed to do a bit of math to figure it out and the Jer Bear is nothing if not a math nerd. God love him. LOTS more of the kitchen floor in April’s goals! Stay tuned!

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anniversary photo tradition

It came to my attention recently (like this morning, recently) that I haven’t given an update on the one tradition I’ve been able to keep in regards to mine and Jerry’s wedding anniversary. It also happens to be my favorite: our yearly photo tradition!

October 8, 2011: Jerry and I were married on the beach in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It looked a little something like this:

Anniversary Photo Series - According to Boyle

1st Anniversary: I actually remembered to start this tradition which is the most difficult thing for me to do. Remember. We picked our location based on what we were working on/doing at the time and decided the freshly stained shiplap in our breezeway was a good symbol of where we were at – working on house projects. Ah, newlyweds.

Anniversary Photo Series: Year 1 - According to Boyle

2nd Anniversary: We had ourselves a little baby! Any parent will agree here there wasn’t much else we were doing besides being parents. So we took our anniversary photo with Olivia, in her nursery (decorated by me) and next to her crib (built by her dad).

Anniversary Photo Series: Year 2 - According to Boyle

3rd Anniversary: With Ollie being a bit older and the weather being unseasonably warm that year, we got a lot of outdoor projects and yard work done. I was also in the very early stages of my second pregnancy. People actually thought this was a pregnancy announcement and started catching on to our photo tradition once I corrected them.

Anniversary Photo Series: Year 3 - According to Boyle

4th Anniversary: Calvin joined the party! The parties lasted all night, too, so we were constantly trying to sneak in naps and basically it felt like our lives were revolving around our bed/bedroom.

Anniversary Photo Series: Year 4 - According to Boyle

Who knows where we’ll be posing this October!

Posted in A Year in Review, Baby Boyle | 3 Comments

goals: 2 – how i did!

Guys, March was crazy and April seems to be flying by at lightening speed, too. Maybe it’s all the snow? Ugh. Anyway. February is long gone and I did just peachy on my goals! You guys! This may be working!

I already told you I finished my week 1 goal: sort kids’ clothes. I’m happy to report that I got them sorted, sold and donated and now pulling out clothes as they no longer fit is a million times less stressful. If it doesn’t fit, it goes into a bin in their closet and when the bin is full I bring it to our local children’s consignment shop and whatever they don’t buy from me goes straight to Goodwill on my way home. I do keep some things for future children (not pregnant, just know I want more) or heirloom type pieces. I made about $100 selling their old clothes (and a few toys, too) and I have mixed feelings when I report I spent all of it yesterday on a wine tour and dinner with my two oldest best girlfriends in a joint birthday celebration for the 3 of us.

NOTE: If you’re not following me on Snapchat (emilymcboyle), now is a good time to start.

Onward and yonward!


Clearly I went with a super original photo gallery for the space instead of the shelves. I also need to purchase another large frame for the top left (I already have a picture chosen). I think I may use the shelves on a different wall in the living room at could use a little more dimension. It was so much fun picking out a few of my favorite shots to print. I have to say I’m quite pleased with the quality of the photos from my old iPhone 4s blown up to 8x10s at Walmart. Two thumbs up, Walmart. I have no idea why I didn’t do this sooner!


Shoooot. That table is so nice. It can fit 3 of the four chairs we already had and it’s so dreamy. I want new chairs but that’s besides the point. It’s the perfect height for Cal to stand at since he’s not exactly ready to climb into chairs. I really wanted a simple design and colors because everything else in a playroom is colorful by nature. It was more difficult than it looks and if I was doing it again, I wouldn’t do a stacked plywood top. Just one layer would have gotten me the look that I wanted and been even that much more height appropriate for the kiddos.

The next step here is going to be installing pegboard to the ceiling and adding storage for arts and crafts and some wire up top to display said arts and crafts. One project at a time, folks!

I was on top of my game, though, and remembered to get a little personal with this table before sealing it completely. If you find yourself crawling around under the table (I do more often then I ever dreamed thanks to clean up time), take a quick turn of your head and you’ll see what I mean:

We used Crayola’s finger paint and it did smear a bit trying to add the topcoat so be wary of that if you try this one!


DIDN’T HAPPEN. I’m really starting to think I just need to get rid of the damn thing. If i can’t figure out how to fix it maybe I just don’t want it? UGH! Send help. I’m clearly out of mind on this one and I’ve decided it’s not going to be a weekly goal to get it done any time soon. At least it won’t be until I can get the living room painted. And a new rug. Shoot, guys. Shooooot.

Posted in Around the House | 6 Comments

birthday wishes: calvin

Holy crap. Calvin is about to turn one. In like, 17 days. When did this happen?! BAH! The only way I’m getting through it is planning his party like a crazy person and looking up gifts. So, here, I present unto you, a gift guide for my soon to be one year old. Or any soon to be one year old, I suppose.

Sunglasses / Gentleman / Huckleberry Finn / Sleep / Teether / Tobbles / Puzzle

1. Babiators – I’m sorry but these are impossibly cute. We tried a red pair on him awhile ago and I pretty much died. Plus, these are indestructible. Win win win win win.

2. Books – Olivia thinks all the books are hers so it may be time to gift the little man with his own little selection of literature. Except for How to Raise a Gentleman – that would be for us for him. Cal is the first boy on my side of the family since my cousin Tommy. He’s like, 10? We could use some pointers. I’ve called Cal our little Huck Finn on multiple occasions and the entire BabyLit series is pretty much the coolest. The Book of Sleep? I’m hoping it will give Calvin some gentle encouragement. Mama and Dada need some Zzzzs.

3. Teether – ALL THE TEETHERS. This kid is much more vocal about his teeth coming in than his sister ever was. I think we’ll be handing these over to him for the rest of his toddlerhood.

4. Stacker – These Tobbles are the coolest! They’re weighted and look like dinosaur eggs. Need I say more?

5. Puzzle – I can see Cal and Ollie both enjoying this one. Maybe together? Is that too much to ask? Calvin is proving to be one of those kids that’s interested in the details – the little specks of something found in the carpet, a tiny twig found in a mass of overgrown grass. I think he’d get into a puzzle like this.

Now, if we’re going to be practical, we really need a new stroller. We currently have 3 strollers: one umbrella, one jogger and one double we’re borrowing from our neighbor. Basically, none of them are useful to us right now. The umbrella and the jogger are both singles. I have 2 babies. The double is great for the fact that it’s a double but it’s an older version that is really difficult to push or turn (even Jerry has a hard time maneuvering it). Plus, it’s our neighbors? So. There’s that.

I’ve narrowed it down to 2 strollers: BabyJogger City Select Double or the UppaBaby Vista with Rumble seat. They’re both pretty pricey so I’ve been scouring Craigslist. The main difference is that the UppaBaby has a better handle for adding the boogie board which we’ll need when baby #3 comes along (not pregnant, guys, just trying to plan ahead). It puts the rider in front of the handle instead of behind it like the BabyJogger board which, at 5’3″, I’m sure would be much easier to navigate than trying to reach around a toddler (who at 2 1/2 is already over 3′). Then again, the BabyJogger gives the kids more space and both seats are adjustable for height where the UppaBaby isn’t. At this point, whichever one I can get used on Craigslist for a STEEP discount will be the winner. Unless the grandparents all want to go in on it???

WAIT! If you’re still reading, can I make a suggestion? Are you going to a birthday party for a small child? Heck, any child? Put money in a card and call it a day. After Olivia’s first birthday, I don’t bring gifts anymore. You know why? If the parents are able, they’ll put that cash into a college fund for the birthday kid but if they need something for the kid, say, a stroller? *coughcough* They’ll be able to put that gift towards something they’ll find useful – even if they use it for groceries or diapers – money, in my opinion, is always the best gift, especially when the child won’t remember the toy or clothes you picked up. Just my two cents!

PS I just started Breaking Bad and how good is THAT?!

Happy shopping! Or not!

Posted in Baby Boyle, Calvin Dexter | 1 Comment

goals: 2

Look at me posting twice in a month! I had a non-written, non-keeping track of it goal of posting once a month just so we’re up to date on the important goings on and whatnot but apparently I’m feeling chatty this month.

Let’s move right along shall we? Weekly goals!


WEEK 1: SORT KIDS’ CLOTHES Done! I gave myself the weekend to finish this up because I hoard children’s clothes. You guys, they’re just so tiny and cute and I want more kids so I’m basically saving my future self money which I know my future self will appreciate plus when I look at some of these clothes I very distinctly remember my children wearing them and I get all soppy. It’s really quite pathetic but I’ve accepted who I am. Plus, I don’t distinctly remember much these days so I feel like I need to hold on to that alone.

WEEK 2: DIY SHELVES FOR LIVING ROOM There has been an awkward space to the left of our television forevvverrr. I recently feasted my eyes on this image and my poor, strange corner will be no more! I may try to get some family photographs into the mix to try and save some pennies plus I have a lot of pictures and art and it’s just not up and out, you know? Not like we moved in 10 years ago or something, I should cut myself some slack. I’m also considering just doing a gallery wall. I have an entire stash of frames stuffed under the guest room bed. But don’t tell anyone.

WEEK 3: TABLE FOR PLAYROOM My aunt gifted us this great, solid wood little table and chair set for the playroom but it just doesn’t work for us. We need something rectangular, large and sturdy that we can bolt to the wall so chubby little babies can’t tip it over. Also, I have big plans for the wall it will be up against that includes new lighting (what’s there currently is hazardous at best) and lots of space for art supply storage. It makes me happy just thinking of that artsy fartsy little space. For the table, I’m thinking of something simple like this this or this.

WEEK 4: FIX OTTOMAN Ugh. This is the best photo I can find to demonstrate how disheveled this thing is. Jerry read a quick tutorial that suggested cutting the cushion a bit longer and wider than necessary so it will soften the sides better but all that it’s done is made it shift about 4 inches to one side leaving two corners very hard and dangerous to pass and the other side looking like a roll top something or other. Also my sewing machine was broken when we made it so the fabric isn’t even sewn at the corners, it’s folded and stapled and just…sloppy. It’s holding up my feet right now. I love it but it’s so nasty. Also, we made this ottoman when I was pregnant with Olivia just before Jerry’s 30th birthday. Olivia will be 3 this year and the fabric has never been washed. Ha! Come over to my house and TRY not to think of that as you sit on my couch! (Which, FYI, was deep cleaned in December, thank you very much). I found some fabric that is so close to what I want but it’s apparel weight (ie thin and won’t stand up to the constant use/abuse we give the ottoman) so I’m trying to find a way to make it more durable. Any suggestions? It also clashes with the rest of the living room SO hard but I’m hoping this quick, inexpensive change will lead Jerry to agree to some bigger changes. Or it will just backfire in my face. We. Shall. See.

WEEK 5: There are 2 days left in February that sort of make it have a 5th week but it’s pretty much the first week on March but. I think I may try to DIY those Dining Room curtains while I’ve got the sewing machine out for the ottoman.

Guys! I’m not done! I’ve also instituted monthly FAMILY goals! Who do I even think I am!? Emily Getting It Done McBoyle is who! Darn tootin’. One for us old folks and one for the wee ones:



AAAAAAND now we’re done. XOXO

Posted in Around the House | 1 Comment



Can I get a “what, what!”

I’ll wait.

Gotta love unrelated (and 5 month old) photos!

Guys. I love February. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I love February. It’s when I really start feeling that itch to get stuff done, wrap things up, start new adventures, whatnot. I dabbled in January this year and things went only okay (as in, 50% completion okay). Plus, also, my DAD. He had this major thing. I don’t want to downplay said thing but it’s still fresh and makes me sobby like the 12 year old girl I continue to be emotionally am so January was kind of a bust? But only 50%.

I’m giving myself one weekly to-do that has been sitting on my “get it done” list for probably 10 years because LISTEN. We have been living in this here hizzouse for 10 years in July.


I’m 30.

We’ve been living in Rochester, specifically our little cape, for a third of my freaking life and that wigs me out. Straight up.

FBF: Spriiiing!

Sidebar: We moved into our house on the beginning of the July 4th weekend in 2006 with the help of my Dad and Step Mother and didn’t even get to spend the first night it belonged to us in it because my oldest sister wouldn’t let us skip on her annual July 4th bash. It happens every year and us moving into a house happens, well, less frequently. Next time, I will not be strong armed and I will not camp! I will sleep in my own damn house, damn it! And because also next time I will have at least two children and she lets me get out of a lot with that little excuse. Muhaha…

Sidebar to my Sidebar: And because also, how proud are my English teachers right now!?

Reigning this thing back in now! This is what the goals for January and February look(ed) like:


WEEK 1: Sort all the paper materials in the house *Why, yes, those are “Jackson”s sides from the last day of filming the last episode of Gilmore Girls in 2007 because, yes, my sister was in that episode and she loves me!* Basically, for a very, very, very long time Jerry and I had been letting heaps of mail pile up on our kitchen counter – to be dealt with at a later time. We then would invite people over and I would STUFF those piles of paper anywhere they would fit: kitchen cupboards, dining room built ins, TV cabinet, guest room (please, remember to shut the door before anyone gets here). We had storage ottomans filled with nothing but old paper work. Why?

I kicked this one’s ass. Judo chop, hi-yah, got it dooone. I have converted into a responsible mail recipient who puts junk immediately in the recycle bin and pays and/or files (GASP!) the rest. I have also converted into one of those crazy women who freaks on her husband when he doesn’t obey the new system. So there’s that.

WEEK 2: DIY Dining Room Chandelier *Old photo – J&E&O&C is still on the wall, there is a small rug at the back door and I actually painted the moulding around the said back door but that’s all that’s changed* This goal morphed because I couldn’t figure out how to DIY the chandelier of my dreams plus it is out of our budget and actually a bit too large for our dining room. I then found this and used all of my Christmas gift cards to amazon to make it a price Jerry couldn’t say no to. It’s happening. We own it. It’s in a box in the guest room.

PS Having lived in this house for nearly a decade, my taste has changed DRASTICALLY. Everything in this house is pretty traditional and I’m really more into…mod bohemian minimalism? Those last three words took an ungodly amount of time to type so I’m not sure how accurate they will be translated. Have you met Emily Henderson? Anyway, a new table and chairs and fresh paint on the walls and those built ins would be just swell. You can’t tell from this photo but the floors are in pretty rough shape, too.


WEEK 3: FINISH KIDS’ CLOSET Another 50%er. I just snuck in during Olivia’s nap for those photos, that’s how dedicated I’m feeling to this post right now. Don’t mind the pile of art on the armoire, either. It’s not getting hung in there…I don’t think. I left 2 walls unpainted because I was going to try to do some sort of cool fabric installment but you could see the nasty yellow wall color through the fabric so I had to paint it. Which I did. Then I stopped because I couldn’t find a fabric I liked enough to cover the entire wall so I nixed it but I still need fabric or contact paper to cover the shelf above their clothes and I have a DIY planned for the light in there. I just need to gather my supplies.

WEEK 4: DIY DINING ROOM CURTAINS See a theme here? When I’m in the living room or the kitchen, I’m looking into the dining room. It has been changed more than any room in the entire house for this very reason and also, it’s basically the size of a table and has at maximum 1 1/2 walls to paint. I didn’t get to this at all because I’m thinking something heavy and warm with texture (a nice velvet or a bold pattern?) that go all the way to the ceiling and are a bit dramatic and lovely buuuuuut I also want to paint because the walls are currently tan buuuuut I don’t want to paint the dining room (again) before I paint the living room because the living room is RED. I’m wanting to move my bold color choice (not RED) to the dining room and have the living room white (ish?) but RED to white (ish?) is going to take a ton of paint and time (which I currently only have in bursts of about 2-3 hours if I’m lucky). I’m going to need a gift card to Lowe’s and a couple of friends who think a painting party sounds like a good idea. Takers?!

Holy hell! Let’s talk about February tomorrow?

Think about that painting party, though. I don’t know, it sounds like a good time?!

Posted in Around the House | 1 Comment


Guys. January blues are hitting hard here at Casa de Boyle so we’re going to look at some pictures of my kids at Chirstmas, k? K.

We did a lot of pre-Christmas events just like last year – tradition, what not. There are some pretty wonderfully, obnoxiously lit houses in our area but one cul-de-sac takes the cake every year. I took way too many pictures but the one above is just theeeee best. It would have been nice to have a bit of snow for any of these outings but it was ice cold so at least there’s that?

Lots of baking and tree hunting, and Liberty Pole lighting but I’m in a mooooooood so I’m only posting pictures of cute little people. Take it or leave it.


Our neighbor came over on Christmas Eve for dinner. It was very low key but Olivia was PUMPED. She loves “Grandma” Wendy! She’s truly the best neighbor in all of the land and she brought over ornaments to decorate with Ollie who clearly was beside herself.

Then it was CHRISTMAS! We’ve reached official “parent” status over here and only let Olivia open one present (b/c it wasn’t really wrapped more than it was draped with a blanket) before breakfast and church.

Also, matching pajamas for life.


We ended up having two little celebrations instead of one big crazy one because somehow the kids decided to take alternating naps. It was actually really nice because we got to focus on Calvin for his first Christmas and not have to worry about Olivia stealing all of his toys the second he opened them.

This might be my favorite Christmas photo because it’s the most reflective of every day life with these two knuckleheads. If they aren’t eating, they’re probably asleep.

Merry Christmas, ya filthy animals!


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in april

…we had a one month old!

…my mom and step-dad finally met him!

…there was Easter and we made it to church ON TIME andI took all of one photograph (which is inexplicably small).

…my Aunt and cousin came to meet Cal and distract Olivia! A++

…I turned 30! In my pajamas! I made my own cake! There was singing! Friends dropped off dinner and dessert! I didn’t hate it!


…we were tired but deliriously happy and I was taking a hell of a lot of selfies! I think this is also when I stopped wearing my contacts except for “special occasions”? My eyes hate me if I wear them for more than a couple of hours these days. Getting old, amiright?

…someone thought we could easily fit 2 adults, 2 kids and a 9×12 rug in the Jeep b/c it was SUCH a good deal and a chance to take our first spontaneous road trip as a family of 4. SPOILER ALERT: It was me. Is it weird I feel it’s just as important to document Olivia’s new rug acquisition as it is to mention I turned 30? See, I didn’t think so, either. How’s it going up there, Jerry Boyle?

…we had a picnic at the playground and it was painfully adorable.

…and by the end of the month, Ollie got really into the big sister role! Collective, “awww…”

The End!

Posted in A Year in Review, Baby Boyle, Calvin Dexter, Olivia Frances | 1 Comment

punkin catch

Olivia speaks really well and has reached a pretty rad level of comprehension but for one reason or another (maybe she likes our reactions?) she can’t seem to grasp the idea of a “pumpkin patch.” It’s a “punkin catch” all day long where one goes when they want to catch some punkins – I mean pumpkins – and run around in the sunshine. Kinda like we did last week – minus the catching – at Powers.

We met up with my girlfriend Mackenzie and her daughters (who are both within 6 weeks in age to Ollie and Cal). It always makes for an interesting trip when the adults are outnumbered 2:1.

Powers is really cool for younger kids. They have a petting zoo type area where you can feed sheep, goats, etc. Oh! They have llamas!

Or aplacas? How do you tell? I have no idea. However, I told Olivia both names and llama wins because have you heard a two year old say llama? C’mooooon. They had three, all different colors: white, tan, black. I’m adding one of each color alpaca llama to my living on a farm wish list (b/c by then I’ll know how to shave them, turn it into wool and knit, right?)

Of note: as I type this from the couch, I’m watching Ollie lick the inside of her pumpkin spice pudding cup that we just made. I’m so happy I can pass on the finer things in life. Ha!

Powers also has this giant teepee. Toddlers for size.

I love that the outside is all fall family fun and the inside is a little spooky Halloween. Olivia didn’t want to go in at first but had enough courage after she saw her BFF Aria walk in without hesitation. Once she made it through, though, she went back in and told a bunch of strangers about the “cool skeletons”  that they were admiring so that’s a win.

The end.

Posted in Calvin Dexter, Friends, Halloween, Olivia Frances | Tagged , , | Leave a comment