Kiss Me I’m Irish, Really!

St. Patrick's Day banner

I’m a Quinn. Never really thought about that last name much, but I’ve done a bit of research for this post. I wanted to know more about my surname. My husband knows quite a bit about his father’s Scottish surname and history. He hails from the McLean Clan. I reasoned that I needed to know more about mine as well. We are competitive in that way. Plus, I have the added boon of an Irish holiday to spur the curiosity.

Here goes.

Quinn Clan Coat of Arms

Quinn Clan Coat of Arms. Pretty cool Pegasus.

Irish Derivation is Ó Cuinn.  It means the descendant of the Conn (or chief). Quinn is the Anglicized version, and can be spelled Quin,too. It hails from the legendary High King of Ireland, Conn of the Hundred Battles. Sounds pretty impressive, right? Conn is derived from ceann (or head) which signifies someone of intellectual ability. Pretty much sums me up, don’t ya think? I also found out that the Catholic descendants spell the Anglicized versions with 2 N’s and the Protestants with 1 N. Probably made those religious battle lines a tad easier to distinguish later in history. The most prominent Quinn clan hails from County Clare in Ireland. They date back to 1014 and Niall O’ Cuinn, who was the first to use this surname before dying that year at the battle of Clontarf.  Quinn’s began immigrating to the British North America as early as 1685 with David Quinn landing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Other means of migration occurred with soldiers hired as mercenaries in Europe, the resultant aftermath from the Protestant Reformation, the lure of freedoms and wealth in the New World, and smaller crop famines throughout Ireland’s history. The biggest influx of Quinn settlers was during the Great Potato Famine of Ireland in the 19th Century.

I hail from the Quinn’s of Wisconsin. I’m really not sure how they got there either. My dad left there as a young adult and joined the Navy. He met my mother, who hails from a Baron that signed the Magna Carta, in Florida. Modern day Quinn’s move around and migrate, too. Our family ended up in Virginia thanks to the military. Good thing… cause I don’t really enjoy the cold. Although if I could afford or take the time to knit a Quinn Clan Aran sweater, I might feel a tad warmer.

The Quinn Clan Aran Sweater.

The Quinn Clan Aran Sweater.

I had no idea that each clan had a different pattern for their Aran sweaters. It looks toasty doesn’t it. It also looks like it might take me 10 years to knit.

So, I think this St. Patrick’s Day I won’t wear green. I will just tell everyone that I am Irish, that I hail from Niall O’Cuinn, and that my blood runs green. Oh, and I will gladly accept any and all kisses from “hot” guys instead of pinches.

Oh, and just to prove I’m legit, I signed up at The Home of the Quinn Clan and received my certificate.


This may have to go on the wall.

The Best Compliment Evah!

So, this one time at a birth…

Home birth gives you bunches of good stories. And, yes, we can find connections to these very vivid stories to the mundane life events. And, yes, we will dramatically reenact these stories anytime and anywhere.

I have one of those stories.

As the senior apprentice in our practice, I go to ALL of the births. It also means that I am actively catching babies and filling out tons of confusing paperwork (this paperwork comes from the NARM Portfolio Evaluation Progress). Catching babies definitely trumps the paperwork part. Catching babies is one of the most incredible things in the world. Gives me goosebumps every time. I also get the opportunity to meet, bond, and establish meaningful relationships with our clients.

All of our clients are great at expressing their appreciation for home birth and midwifery. Some are down right HI-lari-ous!

So, onto the story….

This one time at a birth. In a galaxy far, far away… well, actually just in a neighboring city, but I love that opening and am a huge geek.

This birth was lovely. The family was awesome (And just for clarification, they all are cause they choose us to give birth with at home). The mother trusted birth. She trusted her body. She felt loved and comforted by her husband and mother. And, she entrusted us with her care. She felt safe.

She worked hard during her labor. Even though this was her third baby, the baby’s position remained posterior throughout labor and birth. Posterior births are usually long; lots of prodromal labor. I have attended many posterior births, but this was my first posterior catch. This was a super cool experience, but not even the best part of this story.

The best part of the story was the next day. Postpartum visits are some of my favorites. You get to witness this new family in the glow of oxytocin. It just doesn’t get old. You can’t help but feed off the oxytocin and glow of home birth. And this mom was glowing more than any other mom! She was radiant and exuberantly complimenting her midwives. Her feedback to me, her compliments, and her joy made me feel like a “real” midwife. All this hardwork over the past four years felt vindicated by her simple words… - I would totally give you a card that said,

Yep. She said this to me. And, yep, as an apprentice, I took this as the epitome of compliments. 

I am still smiling thinking about this birth. 

A New Addition to the Family: DIY Tufted Ottoman

before and after Collage

Every now and then I get a wild hair to “Dee-Eye-Why” something… These moments consume my thoughts for weeks and days before I actually gather all the pieces to make my vision come to life.  Pinterest (click here to find my profile and boards) is such an incredible resource for ideas and links to DIY blogs.

My latest DIY bug has been a new ottoman. We have two small rectangular brown leather ottomans. They have been “boyed,” meaning one is ripped and the hinges for the storage tops are broken. My boys are great at “boying” furniture. Forts and parkour are their main means of destroying anything nice in my house. I know, I know… I could punish them for putting their feet on the furniture and jumping on it, but this is usually the time when they play without arguing and fighting. So, I let it slide. I also had some intense therapeutic conversations in my own head and came to the conclusions that: 1.) I am a #momof3boys,  and 2.) I need to let go of any expectations for a neat, pretty house until they leave. So, I was off on a search for the perfect ottoman. 

Here was my list of wants and needs:

1. Size. Large. It needed to be big enough for all five family members to put their feet up. Our sectional is also large and the previous ottomans just seemed too small

2. Caster wheels. The boys like to wrestle and they always push the ottomans out of the way. The former ones never had wheels and were just awkward and a pain to move. 

3. Tufted with buttons. They look feminine without being too girly.

4. Light blue with durable fabric.

Here was my inspiration:


I did my research and thought it out very carefully. I placed all my ideas and links onto my Cool Ideas Board in Pinterest.  Then, I went on a hunt to find all the materials I would need without spending more than $100 dollars. I used that price point after scoping out the stores in the area. I found several that would have fit my needs and most of my wants for around $295. I also tried to not bug my husband too much with this project. He gets kinda annoyed with my DIY projects, especially if he feels we don’t “need” them. I have tried to explain to him that the word need has different meanings to women. He doesn’t buy it. So, I kept him out of the planning process as much as possible.

Here is my list of materials:

Base for the ottoman, ideally an old coffee table

Foam and batting (lots)

3 yards of material – durable and light blue

Delicate-ish legs and casters

Peg board and 1/2″ plywood

Button making kit

I turned to Craigslist hoping to find the perfect cheap coffee table. I spent two weeks trying to find the “one.” I never found one that would work and for the right price ($20 or less). My sister came to the rescue. They were moving in a few days across the country. She was leaving behind her dining room table. I acquired said table… for free!  I also remembered we had leftover carpet padding in our shed. I love repurposing stuff. I visited Lowe’s for the legs, casters, peg board, screws, and plywood. I found the fabric at Joann’s a light blue burlap. It was made even more perfect being on sale for $2.99/yard plus a 20% off coupon.


Instructions for a DIY Tufted Ottoman

(They are not perfect instructions. Please use them as a starting point.)

ottoman materials collage

1. Gather all your materials. Lowe’s will cut your plywood and peg board to size. 

2. Attach legs with casters to table. I found these metal plates that screw into your frame that allows you to attach the legs more securely to your ottoman. I found them in the same aisle as the casters. I used a drill to make the hole for the caster. Just make sure that you use a drill bit slightly larger than the diameter of the caster’s bolt. I decided to use the “top of the table” as the underside of my ottoman. I wanted to give height to the ottoman without having to build it up with foam.  My husband built the support to place in the middle of the table’s underside. This gave it much needed support for a family of 3 boys.

3. Make your fabric covered buttons. You can purchase the kits at any fabric or craft store. I also highly recommend purchasing an upholstery needle. I needed the 8 inch long needle to successfully attach the buttons.

4. Cut your foam or padding to the proper size. Pile it on the peg board and cover the foam with batting. This gives the ottoman a softer, smoother feel and protects the padding. Place your fabric on top of the batting. Since my ottoman is oversized, I did have to sew two pieces of fabric together. This made a seam down the middle of the ottoman, but

5. Attach your buttons. Using the upholstery needle and upholstery thread (very strong, durable thread), sew your buttons on pulling snugly and tightly. Metal washers can help keep the buttons attached. Use the washers to tie the thread onto and secure the buttons. I marked the holes  for the buttons on the peg board with painter’s tape. 

Ottoman steps collage

6. Then, using wood screws attached the plywood to your ottoman’s platform. The pegboard with the fabric covered foam gets attached next. Make sure your wood screws are long enough to penetrate the plywood and the platform.

The next part takes patience, a strong grip, and no fears about staple guns.

7. Turn your almost finished ottoman upside down… meaning the fabric is on your floor and the legs and bottom of the ottoman are face up. Take a moment to pull the fabric and make it taut. This is very important, so that your fabric is pulled tight when you staple it to the wood frame. Using your staple gun, attach the fabric. Start with the middle of each side and work out towards the corners. Make sure that you check the tautness of the fabric with each staple. I am a firm believer in the more staples the better.

8. Attach the fabric at each corner last. Take the time to pleat and fold the fabric so it lays nicely and looks finished. This is always the most frustrating part. But, the payoff is totally worth the patience.

9. Next cut a piece of the same fabric or a piece of white fabric to cover the bottom of the ottoman. This will cover the staples and give your piece a polished look. This fabric is easily attached with a hot glue gun. Just create a hem by folding under the edge of the fabric. I also took the extra time to place tack nails into this edge. I had leftover tack nails from another project. Another score!

All in all this project took about 5-6 hours to complete. And, yes, I had to plead with the husband to help. He did because he has to keep the peace.

after photo ottoman


Here is how much we are enjoying the new ottoman:

Yes, that is a 12 year old and 6 year old laying on the ottoman watching the Olympics.

Yes, that is a 12 year old and 6 year old laying on the ottoman watching the Olympics.


It has quickly become my coffee table when the boys aren’t sprawled upon it.


It is the perfect size for 4 sets of feet and a cat.

Being the wife and children of a Chiropractor, this ottoman also serves as our home adjusting table. It really has become the perfect addition to our family.

A Year of Setbacks: Injuries and CrossFit

The CrossFit Open 2014 is fast approaching. And, I have signed up, but now have to sit out. 

It sucks. Big time. Not that I ever had any chance of making the Mid-Atlantic Regionals… I am not that deluded. But, the Open is a wonderful test of your fitness level, your fitness improvements, and another opportunity to participate in the CrossFit Community.

In 2013, I had just recovered from slicing the tip of my right thumb tip clean off. I even attended my Level 1 Certification Seminar with it splinted and bandaged. It healed just in time for the Open.

 Fast forward to April 2013… I joined a co-ed indoor flag football team with other members from my CrossFit box (CrossFit Chronic). That was not my wisest decision. I have never played football and didn’t even understand the rules. I broke my left ring finger at the distal phalange (exactly where the tendon attaches) and the intermediate phalange. Note to self: don’t try to catch a football thrown by a semi-pro football quarterback. This means I cannot make a tight fist. Holding onto a barbell, hanging from a pull-up bar, swinging a kettlebell, climbing a rope or flipping a tire –pretty much anything requiring grip strength is a struggle. This injury took over 12 weeks to heal. Mainly because I kept trying to WOD. The orthopedist finally told me to stop… I think I freaked him out a bit. I was, admitted by him, his first CrossFit patient. He did not know how to respond to my concerns about dead lifting or pull-ups. Let me add that 8 days after breaking my finger I went to the box and decided that I would instead run a few miles. I was 600m into the run when I ungracefully avoided a rock in the road by tripping on my own shoelace and sliding across the blacktop. I got up from that fall brushed myself off, took a mental check of my body, and took off running to finish the run. When I returned to the box, I received many incredulous stares due to my bloody knees and disheveled appearance. I noticed that my right big toe was throbbing. Yeah, I broke it. So, now I have a broken finger and a broken toe. 3 weeks later I teamed up with another injured coach to complete Murph, a Memorial Day WOD in honor of a fallen Navy Seal. This was definitely part of that “taking forever to heal” issue.

Memorial Day WOD "Murph" 2013. Team Injured.

Memorial Day WOD “Murph” 2013. Team Injured.

Fall 2013 was a time for healing and recuperating for me. I pretty much started over in CrossFit. This is tough to do when you are experienced… I lost strength and my endurance/stamina suffered greatly.

Fast forward to 2014… My big toe doesn’t really bend –at all– but I can still do most things. My finger is no longer broken, but I have lost a great percentage of my grip strength. It still hurts and I am still working on getting back to many of my 1RM in Olympic lifts. Now, I am having hip, low back, and pubic bone issues. When I had my second son in 2006, I decided to jump right back into running at just two weeks postpartum. Once again, not a wise decision. At two weeks postpartum, the pubic symphysis (a midline cartilaginous joint that connects the right and left pubic bones in women) has not returned to its pre-pregnancy state. Meaning: it is soft and susceptible to dislocation. I basically messed up this joint causing me to compensate with my lower back, gluteal muscles, and adductors during squat movements.

What does all this mean to me?

It means that it hurts to WOD. It means I can’t overhead squat a PVC pipe. It means box jumps are more difficult than ever. It means squatting or kneeling over a birth tub is uncomfortable.  It means that I want to cry when I do my scaled WODs. It means that I am cranky, uncomfortable and having to start all over. It means no Open in 2014.

The good news is that I am being very proactive and aggressive in my journey towards healing this problem. I am utilizing Chiropractic care (in my husband’s office, not the house table ottoman), my colleague at the box is providing some Sports Therapy and Modality treatments, I have reincorporated yoga 2-3 per week, and have a love-hate relationship with a foam roller and lacrosse ball.

Injuries just plain suck!

The bright light in all this… Injuries give you a window into how your body is working. I always wondered why my back squat was weak and why overhead squats and snatches were so difficult. This hip/pubic issue was in place before I started CrossFitting, but CrossFit exposed this weakness and injury. It brought it to my attention. Although, an email would have been less painful and preferred. 

So, I’m kinda glad I have to work through this injury, but it’s been a rough year of injuries and I’d just like to be better. Please.

Fall 2013. WOD'ing with my son (in red). Team WOD with Push Presses. Dead Lifts, and Front Squats.

Fall 2013. WOD’ing with my son (in red). Team WOD with Push Presses. Dead Lifts, and Front Squats.

Xmas WOD 2013. At this point, I can do 1-2 pull-ups before I have to drop off the bar to regrip.

Xmas WOD 2013. At this point, I can do 1-2 pull-ups before I have to drop off the bar to regrip.

So, I guess I am done whining –for now, until I have to roll out and stretch.

Vignettes: Capricious Decorating

fb february cover

I love changing the decorations in my house. I’m pretty sure this seasonal decorating was instilled in my psyche thanks in large part to my mother. My mother had a wreath for each holiday. She handmade each of those wreaths. My mom is the MacGyver of the craft world. She taught me everything I know and then Martha Stewart filled in the very small holes. So, my LOVE of vignettes was born.

vignette sign

Vignettes give your interior space a break from the original decorating scheme or add to that scheme with a small collection of thematically similar items. All of mine are seasonal in nature. I use a hall table with narrow dimensions. It is out of the way and since the table is for decorative purposes my husband doesn’t get too annoyed that it is filled with chachkies.

Most of the main elements stay on this table. These include: the oversized white-framed mirror, the key bowl, the black framed picture, the starfish garland, and the Buddha statue. The black frame has a decorative blue piece of scrapbook paper that stays year round. I use Sharpies and dry erase markers to change the quote. It currently says “All You Need is Love” (a quote from a Beatles song).

vignette closeup

My Buddha always gets something new to hold. He has a glass heart ornament. It is from the Red line of products (a gift from a friend a few years back). The felt heart garland is from Michael’s and was a steal for $1.99 for 60 inches. I got a second garland to mix in with my book page garland over the mantle. The orchid is from Trader Joe’s and set me back $12, but totally worth the beauty that only orchids can provide. The “LOVE” sign is from my talented sister-in-law and features the cutest little feet and hand prints of my niece.

vignette collage

Close-ups of the garland and orchids!

vignette garland closeup

vignette orchids

So, give vignettes a try. Be capricious!

New Year, New Resolutions, New You!



Anybody else shocked that 2013 went by so quickly? I know I am… This year I will officially have some big kids in the house. A 12 year old, an 8 year old, and a 7 year old all under one small beach cottage roof! That is a ton of boyness and all the smelly stuff that goes along with #momof3boys syndrome.

Onto more important issues now. NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS!

Yep, I said it. The “R” word that everyone and their brother spits out once January 1st rolls around, but no one mutters a week later. I feel we should continue to talk about these resolutions throughout the year. Goals and intentions make up “resolutions” and it is our desire to always be better that drives us to set these every new year. So, how do you make a resolution? How do you keep them once you make them?

Here are 4 ways to make your resolutions better and you a better person in the process.

1. Goals are part of a resolution. Goals should be attainable and of interest to the person making the goal. They should be specific enough to have focus but not too specific to be counter-productive. Goals should also be positive and have a good effect on your life and others around you. Here is a great goal worksheet from lululemon athletica. Click on the PDF  vision_goals_worksheet to download your own copy.

2. Intentions. Setting intentions for the new year is also important to make your goals happen and effect positivity in the world around you. Intentions guide your actions and your aim. Make your intentions positive and bring them back to your goals. Use these intentions to direct your life.

3. Find a partner in your resolution setting. A partner keeps you accountable. A partner also motivates you to keep chugging along. Your partner should be someone that is positive and makes you a better person. My partner is always my husband. He is the supportive person I need to hold me up and encourage me to follow my intentions and attain my goals. Each year, we review what we did accomplish and have an open discussion about what we want to do in the year to come. 

4.  Resolutions should be rooted in what makes you happy. Too many times, we sacrifice our happiness for the everyday life. But, I really don’t think we have to do that. I think our everyday life should be happy. Yes, we have chores and other ‘jobs’ that must get done to make our lives run smoothly. Find your HAPPY. What will it take to get there? Then do it! Happiness should never be sacrificed or pushed to the side.

Here are a few of my Goals for 2014:

1. Finish my NARM PEP and sit for my Certified Professional Midwifery exam.

2. Attend and receive my Olympic Lifting Certification through CrossFit. I am already registered for the seminar in March at my CrossFit box!

3. Hold an unsupported handstand.

4. Get a strict pull-up and ring dip.

5. Help my family save money for a house renovation. This means finding extra money in our family budget.

6. Find expression through blogging, crafting, and creating.

Good luck with your New Year’s Resolutions!

Holiday Traditions. Don’t got ’em? Get Some!

What are your Holiday Traditions? 

Traditions are important. I love them. They are tied into my fondest memories from childhood. I try my hardest to build traditions with my boys – unique to our family- and instill in them traditions from my past.

Traditions give symbolic meaning and special significance to our holidays… they keep us connected to our origins and our pasts. Fall heralds the holidays… These holidays are filled with tradition in our family. This past Thanksgiving we made a paper “Thankful” banner. Each person in the family wrote on the banner exclaiming what it is they are thankful for in life. We hope to add our “thanks” each year and build upon these blessings. What a wonderful reminder of what we have and those around us to share these “thanks”.

thankful banner

Every Christmas season my family <meaning the girls and the kids> gather and bake cookies. Lots and lots of cookies! My favorite sugar cookie recipe is here at Martha Stewart. The kids decorate the cookies and gorge themselves on sugar. Then we package the cookies and mail them to family far away. We consider it a box of homemade love. It seems stressful and chaotic in the moment. That is mainly because there are 3 cooks in one kitchen. But, as my sister’s family prepares to move cross country to Arizona, this tradition will have a more important impact on the family. Next Christmas we will be sending each other these boxes of love. This tradition will mean more to my kids and me.

We also spend weekends watching our fave Holiday movies. Here is a good list for movie ideas.  Not all the movies on the list are kid appropriate. Our must sees each year are Elf, A Christmas Story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Christmas Vacation, and Home Alone. These movie days are excuses to slow down and just chill on the couch. With a fire in the hearth, cookies in our bellies, and snuggles under shared blankets, those movies are made special by the laughs from the boys.

Come Christmas morning we have fun opening presents that repeat themselves each year. There is always a wrapped gift with a humorous T-shirt for each person in the family. The funnest part is picking the shirt for the person. The kids also know that there will always be a pair of socks from the cats and pajama bottoms from the dogs under the tree. 

This year we are adding the Pickle Ornament to our fun traditions. Here is what contributors say on Wikipedia. I bought it today at Target for $4. A Google search finds many buying options if you can’t find one locally. I chose lots of sparkles. Cause, who doesn’t like a sparkly green pickle ornament? I have already prepped the kids, too. Here is how it will go at my house… We will hang the ornament in the tree until Christmas Eve. Then, the kids will take it down and place it by the cookie and carrot plate left out for Santa. They also plan to leave a note asking Santa to hide it well. Santa will then rehang the ornament but in a hidden location in the tree. The first kid to “eye spy” the pickle will be able to open a special family gift from Santa and that kid will get “good fortune” for the new year. The middle Green boy exclaimed, “I will find it first, then I will go out and buy the lotto-ry and win millions!” I like his go get’em attitude – most of the time. And, great minds think alike. I was actually considering Lottery tickets as the special gift. One for each family member.

Put some simple and fun traditions into the Holiday mix! 

merry xmas picture

Photography by Stacey Pryce of Cute E’s Photography. 2013. Lynnhaven Fishing Pier, Chesapeake Bay.

Legacy: Nelson Mandela



It is with great sadness that Nelson Mandela has passed away at his home in South Africa. It is important for everyone around the world to remember, honor, and act in his legacy.

His legacy is powerful. Mandela was a politician, an anti-apartheid revolutionary, and most importantly a humanitarian. He promoted peaceful, non-violent defiance against the apartheid system of South Africa’s government. President F. W. deKlerk and Mandela were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 for their efforts in dismantling and changing the country’s apartheid system. Most of these accomplishments came after 27 years of imprisonment in a South African jail. 

I remember his release from jail in 1990. I was a sophomore in high school. That memory ranks right up there with the destruction of the Berlin Wall in 1989. How impressionable! These moments in history give you hope as a scared teenager. The world is so big and it is frightening to think about wading through it. But these moments in history, fill you with the strength, the hope and the desire to make the world better. 

We all should cast aside this YOLO nonsense. We should live as if to inspire hope, strength and desire in those around us. Get past the selfishness and self-preservation and give voice to those who have no voice. 


The Nelson Mandela Foundation is allowing for condolences to be posted to their internet site. Also, consider making a donation to the Nelson Mandela Foundation or the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund in memory to Nelson Mandela and his life’s work at equality and peace.