Thursday, November 28, 2013

A thankful heart

(Do you like how I'm all over the place with my holidays? I do.)

I have a lot to be thankful for this year and each and every day I count my blessings for a husband who makes me laugh constantly and who puts up with my craziness; the most beautiful baby boy who sings to me in the car and makes me laugh with his adorable personality; a job that looks nothing like a usual 9-5 but still brings in money so that I can have new boots and Maddox can have diapers and Evan can have plaid shirts (I think if we were each a thing, we'd be those things. HA.). I'm thankful that we live near both sets of our parents so that Maddox will grow up with grandparents near by (something I didn't have) and aunts and uncles and one sweet little cousin to tide him over in the sibling department until we decide to tackle that endeavor.

I'm so thankful that even though this year has flown by and suddenly I have an eight-month-old daredevil child and am inching in on my 26th year and my fourth year of marriage, that this has undoubtedly been the best year of my life. This year brought forgiveness both granted and given and I think that that is one of my top three most thankful things. That before all of the things I'm thankful that one of my best friends and I could make up and start over.

So yes. This year that is already weeks away from being over has been pretty dang sweet. I think about how one year ago I was baking a sweet potato casserole and so thankful for maternity pants to accommodate a real baby but also a food baby. This year, I'm thankful that I still have those jeans and wondering if anyone would notice if I wore them to dinner.

This year I'm making mac and cheese instead of sweet potatoes (because we like to live life on the edge) and as I'm sitting in my kitchen, watching my husband prepare our contributory food and listening to our baby bang his toys on the highchair while laughing hysterically, I am just reminded how blessed I am and how thankful I am for the little things in life that happen, the sweet unexpected that keeps life exciting.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The beginning of Christmas

Tonight we're going to decorate the Christmas tree, turn on the Pandora Christmas station and teach Maddox about the most magical time of the year. I'm so sad that Thanksgiving is so late this year because there are hardly any Christmas tree lots ready to go, which means that the tree will barely be up for a month before it's time to take it down. I don't like to cheat on holidays but I think this late Thanksgiving can be an exception.

Anyway. While getting out all of the Christmas things today, this happened.

He's pretty smitten with those lights. He also tried to eat them and let me tell you, photographing a child is a two-person job.

[Also, this child can no longer be left alone anywhere. He turned eight-months and became a daredevil. Today: pulling himself up on his crib, pulling things off the ottoman, getting into the bathroom trash. I have my hands full these days. But I love, love, love it.]

I cannot wait to see his expression tonight when a giant, lit-up tree arrives in our livingroom. I think salt dough hand and foot print ornaments are in order, too.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

eight months//dear maddox

Dear Maddox,

EIGHT WHOLE MONTHS. Unreal. I know I say this every time, but this? This right here? This is my favorite. Oh boy, you are SO much fun. And you are funny! And you think I'm funny! I can handle this getting old thing with the promise that the next phase will be that much more fun than the last.

You can crawl! Kind of. Mostly. You've taken a few wobbly crawls across the floor and after just a few seconds you fall flat onto your belly and flail like a fish until you work up the courage to try again. You've been doing this (adorable) thing for a few weeks where you rock back and forth on your hands and knees. I call it "revving your engine" and I know you'll be rocking back and forth, back and forth and then you'll just take off like it ain't no thang. I know you're just testing the waters and pretty soon you'll be the best crawler in all the land. Just like you're the best roller and the best sitter and the best at every single milestone you've already reached.

You also play peek-a-boo (I mean, you've always played it but now you cover your own face with the blanket). Whenever you hear me laughing, you laugh. You give open-mouth, slobbery slob kisses. And those kisses melt my heart. You also really like to look in mirrors. Like, you could probably spend the better part of your day looking in the mirror at us. So, I gave you a toy with a mirror on it and you kissed yourself! Over and over again you gave yourself, that adorable baby smiling back at you, kiss after kiss after kiss.

This eight-month thing has brought with it quite the personality. You are hilarious and you know it. You made us laugh pretty hard the other day and even though you didn't know exactly why we were laughing at you, you kept lowering your head and popping it back up with your mouth cracked into the biggest smile in the whole world and we couldn't help but spend A LOT of time laughing with you.

I am kind of obsessed with you, sweet baby love. I do this thing when it's time for your nap where I've planned out all the things I'm going to accomplish during your nap time. It's usually quite a long list and it usually will take up all of your nap. So, I nurse you and usually you fall asleep in my arms and then I sit there, staring at you as the clock ticks by and instead of tackling my to-do list, I stare at you. And smell your breath and the top of your head. I count your fingers and toes and pat your back and kiss your forehead and your cheeks and those sweet baby lips. I hold you until I work up the courage to put you down for the remaining (very few) minutes of your nap and attempt to get some things done. But you are more important than all of the things combined.

And at night, every night before bed, our new ritual is to watch all of the videos of you. The very first video we ever took of you was when I was probably 20-something weeks pregnant. Maybe a little less. The video is during one of our checkups as the nurse listened to your heartbeat, and that sweet, sweet music filled the room. Your dad took the video for me and it's one of my favorites. Then we watch the videos of when you started talking and then the ones of when you first laughed. We watch the one of you rolling across the floor where your dad shouts, "You found the boob!" at the end (because you rolled over to me). We watch every single video, sometimes multiple times and I tell your dad over and over and over how much I love you.

I am a little ridiculous. I know this.

You're still not sleeping through the night and your dad and I have no self-control when it comes to teaching you how. You're not real great at taking naps, either; and anything over 30-minutes is a long nap when it comes to you.

But still. Putting you to bed is one of the sweetest traditions. We give you a bath in the kitchen sink and you reach for everything around the sink. We dry you off and spend a few minutes blowing raspberries on your tummy and playing in your room before I nurse you one last time and you usually fall asleep within five minutes. I rock you for a little (long) time and then I carefully put you in your bed and sneak out. We sneak back in your room before we go to bed to pray over your growing body and I sneak one last kiss in before I go to sleep.

Every night before I go to sleep I say, "I miss Maddox." And your dad tells me, "He'll be awake in a few hours. Don't worry." And you are. And we cuddle as I put you back to sleep and I thank God for another day spent with you and another day that I was given to be your mama.

Even though time is flying by at warp speed and you'll be turning a very big one-year-old in a few short months, I wouldn't trade this for anything. My life is absolutely perfect just where it's at. I am so thankful for the precious gift that you are. I have said many prayers of thanks for you, sweet boy, during this month of thanks. I have found myself being extra thankful for the diaper changes and the times you spit food onto your highchair tray so that you can stick your fingers in it and smear it all over yourself. I'm thankful for the messes and the fact that I only have a limited number of minutes in my day to get things done. I'm thankful because those messes and those limited minutes, those dirty diapers and the thirteen loads of laundry and the spit up in my hair means that I have a little baby boy. A little baby boy that I get to love and care for. And I'm doing all the un-fun mommy things like laundry and dishes and dirty diapers with a heart of gratitude because I am so undeniably thankful for you. Every minute of every day. I will never stop singing praises for the gift that you are.

I love you past the moon and the stars, forever and ever.

I love you, I love you, I love you.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Arts and crafts

Sometimes you just have to S T O P and create. Just make something. Ignore the todo list for a hot minute and just do something for fun. I've been go, go, going this week and even though I should have kept go, go, going, I needed a break from everything.

I kept seeing everyone's pictures on Instagram about how amazing the Target $1 spot is right now (Seriously. If you like paper + office supplies, GET THERE RAT NAOW.) and so I had to check it out for myself. And indeed. It's amazing. I bought lots of goodies but I specifically bought some silver chipboard letters (A-Z) for a little project for the nursery. I've been meaning to make an alphabet print for Maddox's room since like the first day of my pregnancy but I just never got around to it.

And obviously my laziness paid off in the end because HOW CUTE is this new little alphabet banner that I made? I'm not totally happy with how it's hanging up but it's the best I could do without an extra set of hands.

Also I get super proud of myself whenever I start and finish a project. I am the Queen (Bee) of abandonment. For real. Good thing this only took me five minutes from start to finish and cost me exactly one dollar.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Welcome, winter.

I used to be anti-winter. But I think that was mostly because I was always forced to go out in it. I can definitely be a "winter girl" from the comfort of my own livingroom. Under three to six blankets. With candles lit and soft music playing. With a snuggly baby and a hot mug of tea. With my little heater cranking out warm air in my direction.

Yes. This is the kind of winter I can live with.

That and taking Maddox out into his first snow. He's been staring so intently at the windows today I figured this could be THEE first snow. Because it did snow the week after he was born, but there was no way I was taking him out to document that. So, everyone forget that snow and all the others after it until this one, and we'll all pretend that this was Maddox's first snow.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Happy birthday, house!

Two years of home ownership under our belts. I am kind of amazed that we have kept our house standing for as long as we have. I'm amazed that I have yet to burn it down, considering that I have put a plastic bowl on a hot burner multiple times. I'm amazed that Evan still let's me have a Pinterest account, considering how many projects I start and do not finish. I am amazed that I have not ripped the carpet off the stairs but let's be honest, I'm using all of my self-restraint to resist that adventure.

I promised that I would keep my house full of people who make it a home. It took me a full year to realize that a home is not determined by the pictures you hang on your walls or the colors of those walls. It isn't determined by the position of the couches in relation to the TV and the windows. It doesn't matter if the curtains are hung on your windows or if they are stacked neatly in your closet. It doesn't matter if you tear off the wood trim in your livingroom and then take an entire year to repaint the room.

What matters are the memories. Like the time you and your husband have a water fight in the bathroom because you dumped a glass of cold water over the shower curtain in the middle of his shower. Or the time you brought home a seven pound, three ounce newborn after five long days in the hospital. Or the nights you lay in bed for hours and hours talking with your best friend (because being married is an endless sleepover with your best friend). Or our monthly ritual to celebrate another month of Maddox, another month of parenting. Or the very first time I realized I felt a baby kick; and then lying in bed for an entire week pressing on my belly to continue feeling those kicks.

There's the places in this home that hold all of our memories like a living, breathing scrapbook. There's the scratches in the floor underneath the rocking chair in the nursery. The scratches that show how many hours I've spent in that chair rocking a precious newborn as he became a baby and as he becomes a child. There's my white glitter fireplace that I love so much. There's the kitchen sink where I stood when we told our parents that we were expecting; the same sink that is filled with water and bubbles every single night for the bath of a squirmy babe. There's the carpet in the livingroom where my baby learned to crawl by reaching for his toys. There's the spot in the garage where Evan tickled Maddox and he laughed for the very first time. There's our brand new bathroom that was only completed by the grace of God and some blood, sweat and tears.

I'd say that this year was our home's best yet. I can't wait to see the projects I dream up, the crafts I complete and the dinners I cook. I can't wait to scour Pinterest for more projects and ideas and decorate for Maddox's first Christmas, first New Year, first birthday. I can't wait to tackle year three with my project list, to paint more things and do more crafts and to fall more in love with our home.

See our first birthday post here.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

happy birthday, house//a bathroom story

In honor of our home's second birthday on Sunday (to us, because it's really like 60-something), I'm going to finally share our bathroom remodel and some other projects we've done over the past year. So, happy birthday house! Your present was a $2,000 bathroom remodel! Yeah, you welcome.

When Evan and I bought this house, I was majorly concerned with the bathroom. It was pink, green and maroon and screamed GRANDMA to me. I hated it. There were a lot of other problems with it besides it being ugly and outdated--like there was only one outlet, the sink was in bad shape, there was no ceiling fan, there was a lot of mold everywhere and the previous owner smoked in it so it stunk. We moved in and painted our entire house except for the bathroom because we knew it would be our first remodel project. So my mother and I cleaned the bathroom multiple times from top to bottom with the harshest and roughest chemicals known to man and it still felt dirty and not my own. Evan and I kept putting off the remodel for every excuse in the book but finally when I was pregnant and only a few months from having a baby, we decided to just do it.

I'M TELLING YOU: IT. WAS. BAD. Like, what are those vine things on the walls?! The colors and the tiles. The old, broken mirror. The vanity that was 5 feet high. HORRIBLE.

One Sunday night at like 9 pm Evan and I hauled everything out of our bathroom and into our basement bathroom (our house doesn't have a master bath =[ ) and I then sat in the livingroom and listened to Evan rip the tile off of the wall and make a general dusty, moldy mess. I was pregnant so obviously I couldn't help (like I wanted to. Let's be real.) so Evan and our dads did all of the work.

We chose to do everything ourselves to minimize cost and that was the only reason we were able to completely renovate a bathroom for under $2,000. That was also the reason it took us almost three months to complete the project and I had to wake up in the middle of the night and walk all the way to the basement to use the bathroom. Pregnant lady NOT happy.

It was a total nightmare and two minutes into renovations I was ready to just give up and sell the house as-is and not have to deal with the stupid bathroom. There were lots of errors that previous owners had done and cheated their way through remodels and so we ended up paying for it and fixing all of that. It ended up being the un-fun stuff that no one sees but is totally necessary like these random metal brackets that hold the frames under your tub. Expensive, not fun.

We also had to change our minds about 300 times about what we wanted. I had picked out a surround for the tub and ceramic tile for the floor and glass tile for the backsplash. The surround was too small to be functional so we had to switch to actual tile. It ended up being about $200 more than a surround would have cost and so we decided to do linoleum tiles on the floor and grouted between them. The floor is probably my favorite part of the bathroom. EVERYONE thinks that they are actual tiles and cannot believe it's only linoleum. I love, love, love that we grouted them and even though it was a huge pain because we had to buy 45 different glues and pieces and tools to make it work, it was so, so worth it.

We finished the bathroom in March, right before Maddox was born. Actually, we had the bathroom in working order about 5 minutes before 30 people showed up for my baby shower. My dad was screwing the toilet into place as my friends and family were showing up and about 10 people had to use the bathroom all at once. He's a miracle worker! We had barely moved everything back upstairs and we were heading to the hospital to have a baby. It was worth it, even if it took like four months. We still want to replace the toilet and have the tub resurfaced but the bathroom is usable and CLEAN and it smells good. There's no mold, no smoke smells, no grandma-style junk in there.

A big, big, BIG thank you to Evan, my dad and my father-in-law for working their butts off to give me a brand new bathroom (for a fraction of the cost) before Maddox was born. Without them our bathroom would still be duct taped shut (Evan's doing to keep me out) and the toilet would still be sitting the livingroom. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

So, here are some during-the-remodel pictures and some after-the-remodel pictures. I'm sure you're all going to look at these and wonder why we didn't just leave it half finished. I know I wonder that every single day. ;]

I basically stopped taking pictures at this point. This is where I was really OH-VER IT. I didn't take pictures of my dad installing the vanity or the sink fiasco or tiling the shower which took an entire Sunday (but I wrote this post while he did that) and then the grout had to dry for TWO WHOLE WEEKS.

But it is finished. I even have proof!

Sorry that there are 4 million pictures. (I'm not really sorry.)

/Shower curtain-Target.
/Window curtain-Urban Outfitters.
/Vintage sugar and creamer-Gift from my mema.
/Towel "bars"-Tutorial here, pulls from Urban Outfitters.
/Mirror-Hobby Lobby.
/Paint-"Soft leather," Columbia.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

hashtag worth it.

Evan, Maddox and I took our Christmas card pictures this weekend. I wore a white button-up shirt that I thrifted for less than $5. I tell you this because I had to lay on the ground, in the middle of the street, to capture these pictures. (And I tell you that to say that I would hang upside down by my toes in my wedding dress to take pictures of these two.) I did lose a button and my shirt now has dirt on it. But, let's be real. hashtag WORTH IT.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Today all the things can wait because today I'm staring into these blue eyes and teaching this baby how to feed himself puffs and we're working on crawling and his sign for "more" is to open his mouth as wide as possible. So, you know, all the things that are hollering my name? All those things get to take a number and wait their turn because today I'm just doing this.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Ten things.

Ten things that I want to say but these ten things probably don't need their own blog post. Except for one. Maybe there is one with its own blog post on the way.

1. The other morning we were sitting in our living room enjoying some snacks and together time when I felt something on my foot. I thought that it was my pajama pants because they were long and I was leaning forward and moving around. But it was not my pajama pants. It was a spider. And I screamed. And Evan was holding Maddox and he screamed. Maddox didn't cry, so good for us/him but he looked at me like, "What in the world, woman?!" And then I made Evan go on the hunt for the spider and it was a lot bigger than I thought and I contemplated cutting off my diseased foot.

2. Instagram sales are seriously my kryptonite. (Also Take 5's.) I cannot stop buying things because it's like Goodwill, but classier. I got the cutest shirt from an Insta sale and every time I pass a mirror, I'm all, "Daaaang. That's a cute shirt."

3. It took me literally TWO WHOLE DAYS to vacuum and steam mop my living room, kitchen and dining room. Related: I came up with a formula for the amount of time it takes you to do anything with a baby:
[Time it used to take you to complete a task: ___] TIMES [300 hours] = [The task won't get completed, just start over/give up.]

4. I am eating all of Maddox's Halloween candy and not feeling bad about it. Also someone asked us the other day if we give him sugar yet. Because yes. A seven-month-old needs sugar.

5. How do you say Halloween: Hal-low-ween? OR Hollow-ween? I say the former, Evan says the latter. Also, I'm right and he's wrong.

6. Two of our couple friends just had their babies on the 30th and 31st and dang if that didn't make me have some sort of baby fever. Not a real baby fever, because I don't really want another baby? Question mark? But I just wish Maddox was still a newborn baby. Or that I could just hit pause on my life and go back and do that again whenever I wanted and then hit play and pick right back up where we left off. Because itty, bitty newborn froggy babies with their itty bitty diapers and clothes and adorable newborn wail. Ugh. Want.

7. When people ask me if I am going to have another child [soon], it makes me want to cut them. Do not ask me that question.

8. I am doing Project Life this year to document my life. It's scrapbooking for cool kids. Google it. I'm doing weekly updates in my book and guess what week I'm on. I'll wait. May. I'm on week May. I just ordered 101 free prints from Shutterfly and that brought me up to August. I know. Every week as time slipped further and further out of my grasp I just pretended like that wasn't happening.  Except for that it was. Yikes.

9. You know how I am home all the day long and Evan is at work all the day long? I'm thinking of using some of the time that Evan is not home this week to break out the Christmas decs. JUDGE ME.

10. So, I got my hair cut yesterday. I went to a beauty academy and they charge five whole dollars for a hair cut because they are students. I went in September before Seattle and got the best haircut of my lifetime. Ask Evan how many times I told him I loved my hair. He will not be exaggerating when he says a million. (And it's funny because the school messed up because I wanted to see some other girl and they put me with my girl and it was fate. Destiny. Whatever. I love her.) And so I went back to her yesterday. And I still love her. She's great. Whatever, blah blah. But she gave me crooked bangs. I have to wear a headband or a wrap or something on my noggin to cover up the fact that my bangs are not straight. And I have straight across bangs. That's my thing. And Jamie's. And Zooey's. We're all BFFs. But they're probably going to kick me out of the bangs club because mine are not good right now. It makes me laugh hysterically because this is something I would do to myself. And did to myself earlier this summer when I cut my own bangs. Then I promised myself I wouldn't cut them anymore. And then what happens? I think this is the universe's way of saying that it's okay that I cut my own bangs. The rest of my hair is real good though. I kind of love it a lot. And I will still go back to her because it's $5. I can stand some crooked bangs for a week for $5.