Thursday, March 29, 2012

Embracing the Camera

If you have clicked through your reader or visited the blog directly in the past day, you will see that I have made some changes to the ol' blog.  I'm still adjusting to them, but I am liking a  more simple look overall.  If you look to the right, you will see a picture of me and my boys, and I realized as I was looking through my pictures that we haven't gotten a single photo of the four of us since Luke was about a month old.  Dude will be six months old in about a week, so that makes me a little sad.  Something to work on in the coming week!

That about some pictures of the four of us!?  We recently got all of our pictures back from our wonderful photographer friend, Trinity, and I have been itching to show some of them off!
I mentioned it before, but our session was kind of a disaster.  Luke screamed more or less the whole time, and Jack just fell asleep about two minutes after cuddling onto Matt's lap. 
Those are Matt's 'this isn't working!' eyes. 
I think this may have been the last photo before Jack took his nap...
Yep.  He is out.  Luke on the other hand?  Still screamin'.  Poor kid.
It's funny though, for as much of a 'disaster' as the session may have been, I absolutely LOVE these pictures. 

Did you ever have a photo session go a bit off course?  It seems ours typically do, but I feel like that is the way we get the most 'us' pictures out of them!

Also - what do you think of the new look?  If there is anything all messed up through your screen, let me know! Thanks!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

House Tour: Jack's Room

Maybe it is because I am a parent, and always looking for ways to spice up my little one's rooms, but I just love seeing children's rooms that other people have put together.  I guess I feel like that is where you can really have some fun with color and off-the-wall elements.  I've touched briefly on different aspects of Jack's room before (paintings here, and big boy bed here) but I have never done a legitimate tour of his room, so I am pretty excited for this one!

When I was pregnant with Jack, we decided not to find out if he was a boy or girl, but I don't think that would have changed the way we did his room.  We love Dr. Seuss, so it was perfect for us to make a space for our child with Dr. Seuss characters at it's core.  Once Jack arrived and we started knowing him better, we added more things that fit his personality.

Here is the his room when you stand in the doorway.  Paintings, bunting, and curtains are made by me.  The beautiful blue quilt was made for him by Matt's mom, and she also made the Thomas the Tank Engine pillows for him.  He loves those pillow so much! It's pretty cute!
There is a little nook where the door opens, which is nice because we didn't really lose any space behind the door, and you can see a portion of the bulletin board that he has in there, which is where we hung his train calendar.   The bed is the top half of a bunk bed set, which was perfect for us because we now have Luke's big boy bed in storage, and should the boys ever want bunk beds when they are older, we have that option as well. 

Here is the view of the other wall.  Due to the size of the room, I had to shoot these vertically, but for reference, his dresser is on the other side of the window in the above picture.
Those toy bins used to be organized, but now they are kind of just stuffed with toys.  Hey, if it's off the floor, it's fine with me!  The gallery wall is an ongoing work in progress.
I've just been adding to it as inspiration strikes.  The pictures from the movie Cars are actually from a sticker book that I got for Jack at the grocery store, but when I saw how vibrant the colors were I thought they would make nice (CHEAP) wall art for a Cars lovin' little boy.  The picture in the green frame is one that my sister stitched for Jack on the night he was born and gave to us at the hospital the next day! It's such a sweet thing for me to see on the wall!

I'd like to touch on his dresser for a minute.  Both of the boys have a beautiful dresser that Matt's uncle made by hand, specifically for them.

 I love that they have these heirloom pieces, and I am so glad they will be able to keep them for years to come (maybe even for their own babies! Eeek what a thought!).  On top of the dresser is his piggy bank, his crayon bank (dude loves saving coins!), and his goldfish.  Side note: I had to move the fish food off of his dresser because one day I came into his room to find him standing on a box at his dresser, eating the fish food.  True story.

Now...I usually steer clear of closet pictures, because really - hanging clothes are pretty standard, but in kid spaces, it is important to make the most of your toy storage.  We put a foam puzzle mat in his closet and he uses that area as more play space.
We put his tool bench on one side, and some other larger toys on the other.  He can open the sliding doors, so he can get to these toys anytime he likes.  He isn't really into stuffed animals, so we keep them on the top shelf. 
There is just enough room for him to hunker down and actually sit on the floor with his toys in there, and it is very cute to hear him playing in his closet. 

So there you have it! Jack's big boy room!
I'm so glad I finally added this to the blog! If you have any questions about anything in his room, ask away! I will answer in the comments!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Inspired by Pinterest

I was browsing Pinterest the other night - as one does - and I saw a very cute Easter Egg garland that was (most importantly) free, and nice and bright. We happened to walk past a paint counter a few days later, so Jack and I snagged a few bright swatches.  He and I worked on it on Saturday morning, and by that I mean I worked on it while he mangled a paint chip with his plastic Play-doh scissors.  Good help is hard to find, you know?
I didn't particularly have anywhere to hang it in mind when I started my project, but since I needed to remove the St. Patty's Day 'art' from the chalkboard, I figured that was as good a place as any!

I rather like it there!

Friday, March 23, 2012


So.  We have been sick.  Tuesday started off with bang at 4 am when Jack came crying into our room. I scooped him up into my arms, assuming that all he needed was reassurance that we were there, then tucked back into bed.  Nope.  Within a few seconds I had received a face full of vomit (I know, I'm really selling this whole 'kids are great' thing huh?).

Needless to say we took it easy that day.  Jack rested on the couch while watching movies, and thankfully it seemed like a very short-lived bug, by that night he was back to almost normal, and by Wednesday he was completely himself again.

HOWEVER, Wednesday evening both Matt and I came down with the same bug.  I'll spare you the majority of the details there, but the evening culminated in me passing out in the bathroom, then (upon waking) crawling into the bedroom where Matt had to practically carry me into bed.  

It was so pathetic it is actually funny now.

We both felt a little better by the next day, although I'll be honest and say that Paddington Bear did more parenting than we did.  We were both counting down the minutes until 7 o'clock when the boys go to bed so that we could do the same.  Bath time (finally) rolled around, and as I knelt over the tub washing the boys, Matt brought in their towels, looked at me, and said

"You are such a pretty woman."

What a guy, huh?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I Guess We're Doing This...

I'll be the first to admit that Jack is ready for this step well before I am.  I would be fine keeping him in diapers for a few more months, but he wants to potty-train, so potty-training is what we will do!
Potty Chart printable found here.

I'll let you know how it goes. So's not awful.  Any 'must-know' advice from you experienced moms?  I welcome it all!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

House Tour: Eat-in Kitchen

I feel like this portion of the house tour is kind of silly.  We live in a rental, and unless I want to see our landlord's head explode, I really can't do anything drastic here.  I mean...I'm thinkin' they would be upset if I painted the cabinets or replaced their tile (it is awful though, so maybe not?).

But like I said, I want there to be a record of the place where my babies were babies, and let's be honest...we do a lot of our living around food, so yeah, this room is important - if not beautiful.

Basically, the entire back half of our house is devoted to the storage, preparation, or consumption of food. One half is the kitchen, one half is the dining area, and the pantry is there as well.  We can start with the kitchen.
There is really only so much you can do to personalize a kitchen in a rental, and since too much in the was of visual clutter grates on my nerves (in my home, anyway) I don't like to have a whole awful lot on the counter tops.  In fact, I am thinking about taking down all of the stuff up top on the cabinets.  I'm just...sick of seeing it, you know?

The newest addition is something that I whipped up on Sunday night.  We had gone to the craft store to pick up a new wreath form, and I saw that wooden letters were on sale, so I snagged a few and painted them a nice springy green.
I'm certainly not the first person to do this, but I like the bright pop of color in an otherwise neutral space.   

The little owl napkin holder was my grandparents, so you are looking as some authentic 70's decor right there! After they passed away, my Uncle brought over a box full of stuff, and I snagged that little guy.  He just seems happy.
 I've toyed with the idea of painting him, but I think I rather like him in his wooden state. 

Let's move on to the other side of the room, shall we?  Do you remember when I said that our bedroom furniture was the first big house-related purchase Matthew and I made?  Well, I lied.  I mean, I didn't lie on purpose, but I honestly forgot about this particular story until I was taking these pictures.

Shortly after we returned from our honeymoon, Matt and I decided it was time to start looking for a table.  What can I say, a week or two of eating at the coffee table will do that to you.  We hit up a few stores before we found one that we really liked, and as I recall we got a pretty good deal on it.  The employees at the store helped load it into Matt's truck, and it wasn't until we got home that we realized that we now had to haul a 300lb. marble topped table up a hill, then up a flight of exterior stairs into our tiny little apartment.   Somehow we managed to get it all the way to the top of the stairs before my chicken arms gave out.  I dropped the box containing the table, but I tried to brace it with my body.  I didn't take into account that it weighed more than twice my body weight, so it knocked me backwards into my neighbors door, which FLEW OPEN.  I fell flat on my rear in the middle of their living room, their tiny little chihuahua was FREAKING OUT as I scrambled up and shut the door behind me, yelling my apologies as I went.  

It was kind of mortifying.  So yeah...THAT was our first big purchase.  I can't believe I forgot that story. is that table.  We did switch out the awful brass chandelier with an oil-rubbed bronze one of our own, and will just put the old one back when we move.  Seriously...the original one was so bad.  SO bad. 
Due to space concerns, we pushed the table up against the wall.  Eventually, we will have the two leather parson's chairs on the ends, and we actually have four of the wooden chairs that we will put on the side.  For now though, this works well for us.

See that 'centerpiece'?  Matt isn't a huge fan of my propensity to bring home 'junk'.  He was especially not too happy to see that this was a little on the big side, but since it was the original candy scale at my step-grandfathers parents grocery store, he just shook his head and loaded it into the back of my car.  (Poor guy didn't know he married a closet hoarder)  I later did a little research on the makers of the scale, and what do you know?  That sucker is over one hundred years old!
Matt likes it more now, and I like that it is a very out-of-the-box centerpiece.  To the left of the table is the sliding glass door out to our deck, and to the right is the pantry.  I'd love to show you a picture of a beautiful organized and labeled pantry, but I am more of the shove-the-groceries-on-the-shelf person, so we can just skip that. 

The kitchen is also where we keep Jack's art supplies, easel, and art line.

To the right of the art line is the door to the laundry room, which, again - is not fit to be seen.  It's not that it's wrecked, but there isn't much to see.  So yeah....
There you have it.  Oh and yes, we do have two coffee makers.  What can I say, Momma likes her legal stimulants.

As far as house posts go, this one was pretty let's all just focus on the part where I fell flat on my rear in my neighbor's living room shall we?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Weekend Irish

St. Patrick's Day was such a beautiful day.  We woke to a very 'Irishy' mist shrouding our view off of the deck.
 One of my most vivid memories from elementary school is that of my second-grade teacher teaching us about St. Patrick's Day.  I remember she told us all about the legends/traditions surrounding the holiday, and I especially remember coming into to school that day to find all of our desks and chairs turned upside down, and little black leprechaun footprints all over the room.  Even though I knew it was just pretend, I was so excited.  It seemed so extraordinary.

I am excited to keep that up with our boys, so for the first time this year, those naughty Leprechauns turned our breakfast green on Saturday.
Jack especially excited by the green milk! He kept asking all of us to drink at the same time.

After a nice green breakfast, we dressed ourselves in green and headed into downtown York for the festivities.  There was music, dancing, food, and a parade!  Jack watched the dancers for a while...
....and then he gave it a whirl. 
Such a clown!  Speaking of clowns...these guys were excited to sport their kilts again.  People kept asking if they were playing anywhere later...I guess anyone in a kilt must be part of a Celtic band?
Jack called it 'Daddy's dresser'. After walking around town for a little while, we found a nice shady spot to watch the parade.
What was the little guy doing during the parade, you ask? know...
...sleepin'.  Can someone explain to me how this kid can sleep through bagpipes, but wakes up at the sound of a pin dropping overnight? 

After the parade we went home so the boys could nap, and then my Dad and Step-mom came over to watch the boys while they slept so that we could head out for a few hours for a grown-up St. Patty's Day celebration.  It was a lot of fun, although EXTREMELY crowded.  I got stepped on more times than I can remember!

 All in all, it was a really fun day, even if I realized after the fact that I didn't manage to get in a single picture with my guys! Oh year!!
Are you a member of the Weekend Irish?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Little Boy

When we were in Florida last summer, we took Jack to a park near Matt's parents house so he could splash around in the fountains. I rested my hot pregnant self on the stadium type seats while Matt and Jack played in the water.  I was enjoying watching them, and as I sat, I listened to the women talking around me.

They were talking about their kids, as we moms do, and I heard one mom say about her son 'he is just getting so big, he is starting to lose that baby look'.  This is memorable to me because 1. yeah...I get that feeling, and 2. I also overheard her mention that he was starting 5th grade that year.  I remember thinking 'whoa lady, reign that in, he lost the 'baby' look a long time ago'.

I thought about it a little more though, and honestly?  That will be me.  So much of me wants to cling to Jack's baby years, to keep him this way, to slow this steady march of days and weeks. When I look at Jack I see my baby Jack, but when I really look, I see that he is quickly growing into a little boy.  His legs are getting longer, his face is thinning out, his smile has changed, his little muscles are getting more defined, and I see more and more of a 'kid' personality emerge. 

Just a few days ago he ran excitedly into the house to get his pirate sword to show to his friends in the neighborhood.  He was so excited to show it to them, to fit in with these older boys, and for some reason it kind of broke my heart as I stood at the window and watched.
There is the little baby that we brought into this world just 2 and half short years ago, but...he isn't a little baby anymore. He is a kid, outside making friends with the other kids. How did that happen?

I mean, this is what I want for him, this is what we have worked towards, right?  Teaching him how to be a person in today's world, showing him how to meet new friends, to share his toys, to be independent.  I just didn't realize it would be so sudden I guess.
I called my mom not too long ago to lament how quickly time is passing, and I realized how foolish that is, not that she doesn't understand - she does, but because I am the baby that she watched grow into a child, then a woman, and now a mother. 

It is so hard. Sometimes he seems impossibly small, but then I pull his shirt over his head in the morning to find that his arms are too long for his sleeves.  He has grown even more.

It's not that I am sad about it, no, I want this for them!  I want both of my sons to find what I have found.  A loving marriage, the joys of raising your own children, navigating the complexities of this blessedly wonderful world as they become the men God created them to be.  I wouldn't hold him back from that, but the momma in me wants this to last a little bit longer.

I hope that I can always catch a glimpse of the 'baby look', even if it is hidden deep inside the men they become.   So I guess, in a way, I hope that I AM that mom on the playground who looks at her son on the cusp of manhood and thinks 'he's starting to lose that baby look'.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

House Tour: Bedroom

While I have never actually shown off our finished bedroom, I have shown our room in several different posts, most recently our room was seen in our newborn photos with Luke.  Sure, it was just a little glimpse here and there of a detail or two, but it was there nonetheless.  When we first moved in, we focused on all the other rooms of the house while Matt and I slept on the floor on two twin mattresses shoved up next to each other.  Glamorous huh?

Our bedroom furniture was the first major furniture purchase we had made together, and we were very excited to have it finally arrive after about a month of sleeping like vagrants on the floor.  I’ve read many times that bedrooms that are too matchy-matchy are kinda predictable, maybe a little boring…but you know what?  I don’t care.  I like it! I know Matt likes it too, because every time we stay somewhere else, upon our return he flops down on the mattress and declares his undying love for our bed.

As I mentioned in a previous post, since Luke was born we have rearranged the bedroom three times.  First the bed was on the wall across from the windows, then the windows were behind the bed, and now it has finally come full circle to where it should have been all along.
The metal wings were a clearance find back when we were first married and living in our first apartment.  They have graced our bedroom ever since, aside from a brief stint in the dining area of our old house.  Almost everyone who sees them asks about them, and Matt and I joke that we should make up a better story than ‘Oh…we found them on clearance…”, something more exciting like me learning the art of metal working from Peruvian monks or something….

…moving on….

Towards the left of the windows is the closet, and while it’s a nice sized closet (that the dog believes is his own room), I don’t really think we need a picture of that in here.  Picture clothes, shoes, and a large lab-mix snoring on the floor.
We decided to have the bed off center in the room a little bit, in order to give the dresser a little more space to breathe.  No one likes to wake up, swing their legs out of bed, and stub their toe.

Like I said before, that is not the mirror we originally had there, and to be honest…I’m not a big fan of the mirror at all.  It went to the old hand-me-down set we had when we first married, and although it does the trick, it doesn’t fit the space like the old one did.  In pictures…I see that this wall looks a bit bare, but I also don’t want to overcrowd it.  I’d say a nice potted plant would be pretty in here, but let’s be honest…I’d kill that thing in no time at all.

Oh, and notice the second drawer down on the right is missing the drawer pull?  Yeah, you can thank a very industrious two year old for that one.  I have the pull part, but it is missing a piece to connect it.  I was in the room with him, so it has to be here SOMEWHERE.  Toddlers.
The trunk at the foot of the bed is a gift from my brother.  He moved into his first apartment last year, and I went with him to look at furniture.  We stumbled across this one for $20 at Goodwill, and I convinced him that it would make a great coffee table (it does), all the while drooling with envy because I love that thing.  He no longer lives in that apartment, and told me he doesn’t need the trunk so I could have it if I wanted.  I mean…if he was going to twist my arm! Sheesh, I’ll take it! Haha, thanks Everett!

The blue glass owl was my mom’s, I remember it hanging in her bedroom window when I was very little.  The typewriter is one I found while digging around on my grandma’s farm, and the yellow birdcage to the right was a gift from my Aunt Lucy.  It was the card holder for our wedding, and it now holds candles and rocks from the riverbank where Matt proposed!  Awwwww
This little nook has just enough space for my tiny little secretary desk (Craigslist find!) where I keep my camera gear away from little grubby hands.  The picture above the desk was made by my Great-Aunt Joyce in 1982 so…yeah…older than me! There is just enough space on top of the desk for some pretty green glass bottles and a picture from Jack’s dedication.  At some point I would like to find a chair to go with this, but I’ll wait patiently for the right one to come along.

And there you have it.  And just for the record, yes…I totally shoved two baskets of laundry into the closet before I took these! Hey, it was clean laundry…so in my book that’s a plus, but in all likelihood it will not get put away before we end up wearing it.  I’m just being honest here!  Man, I hate laundry.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Weekend Project

Do you remember about a year ago when that big ol’ tree fell on the old house?  Well, in that same storm, I accidently left a window cracked in our bedroom.  The wind was strong enough that that teeny little crack let in a gust strong enough to blow our big mirror off of the wall.  The mirror shattered all over our room, and let me tell you,shattered glass is a HUGE pain to clean up.  I’ve always loved that mirror, so I was sad to see it go, but I saved the frame with a future project in mind.

I stored it in the basement and promptly forgot all about it for about a year.

Fast forward to this weekend, we knew it was supposed to be beautiful outside (i.e. painting weather!), so we made a quick trip to a home improvement store. to pick up something to replace the back of the shattered mirror.

Once we got home I put my two handsome assistants to work, and work they did! I’m such a slave driver!
I took the frame outside and spray-painted that bad boy glossy white, then I dug into my craft corner for…
Chalkboard paint! It took two coats, and to be honest I should have used a primer first to smooth things out underneath the paint, but hey – you live you learn, right?

We took the boys to the park for the afternoon while everything dried,then came home and did some grilling.  After dinner we set to work assembling our chalkboard, and once again…we put our little assistant to work (Luke watched from his exersaucer).
Once Jack had finished measuring the wall, we hung up our project.

 I couldn't resist adding some Shamrock charm, because St. Patty's Day is just a week away, and my kilt-loving husband can't wait to show off his legs!

And there you have it…easy peasy chalkboard, created over the course of a weekend.  If you have an old frame laying around, grab it and go!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Luke: 5 Months

Brace yourselves for a slew of baby pictures.  I tried to narrow it down,, this kid is stinkin' cute!
So. He is five months old today. Yep.  FIVE.  Not quite sure how, but time seems to be going at warp speed these days.  I've started calling him my Luke-appotomus, and while I'm not sure why that nickname came about, it seems to be one of the first things I coo to him in the mornings. 
He has just started to eat food, although he is not on a set schedule, usually he eats 'dinner' with us in the evenings.  He is loving his rice cereal, and bananas were also quite the hit.  When Jack started to eat, it was more just spooning cereal into his mouth and watching it dribble back down his chin.  Not so with Luke.  He gobbles up all of his food, then looks for more.  You would think he doesn't get enough food from the way he eyes up any and all food in the vicinity, but really...look at that bod.  This kid isn't starving. 
He has one tooth, and I am fairly certain that there are more on the way. He loves to chomp on anything he can get his little paws on, be that my hair or his own feet...if he can grab it, he will bite it.  
He is such a happy little soul.  His recent loves are his brother and the dog.  He just lights up when they are next to him, especially if he is in his exersaucer and they stop to check it out.  He bounces and flaps his arms like the happiest little chicken you ever did see.  As he is becoming more and more interactive, Jack has really started to take an interest in him, bringing him books and toys, asking to have him sit next to him, and once or twice he has even asked to hold him.
About a month ago he moved from sleeping in our room to sleeping in his own room, and although that initially went well, his sleep patterns have really gone to crap in the last two weeks.  We think it is partially because he is ready to be unswaddled, but when he sleeps without a swaddle he flaps his arms and legs so much that he scares himself and wakes up...yet when he is swaddled he strains against the swaddle until he wakes up rather angry.  QUITE the baby sleep conundrum.  We will get there, if there is anything that parenting Jack has taught me, it is that phases come and go, and although this is difficult now, in a few months he will be bigger and sleeping more...and I will miss our late night snuggles. 
We are pretty sure those baby blues are here to stay at this point, and I gotta say...I really never thought I would have a blue eyed baby.  Sure, my eyes are blue, but with Matt's dominant brown genes, I expected both my boys to have the same beautiful chocolate eyes that their daddy has. 
As you can see from the picture above, the kid is full of sass.  As much as he is a happy guy, he also isn't afraid to voice his discontent.  In this case, he was done with pictures and wanted to be held. 

Oh, and if you ever wonder what Jack is up to when I am taking pictures of you go...


Another interesting little tidbit, while I was in labor with Luke, Matt and I looked up into the night sky saw a shooting star, and just the other night we saw that Luke's belly button is a tiny perfect five-pointed star.  God never ceases to amaze, does he?

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