Sunday, September 14, 2014

It's about time...

I'll admit, we have been in a grumpy slump over here for about a month. I had a few posts (now deleted) that were simply written just to give me a little therapy. No one wants to read about that. But things have turned around. Here is what's making me smile these days...

I finally bought the baskets I have been lusting over (Threshold at Target). I stacked a mobile coupon, RedCard discount and Pharmacy rewards to bring them down a bit. Not sure what to put on the labels? And yes, the cords will go behind the wall. Eventually.


Lavender!  Sorry, but I've been kind of rolling my eyes at essential oils for the past year. After using it on all of our feet this week, I am a believer. We usually hear Larkyn talking and reading in her room for a while after I put her to bed, and now she is zonked out almost immediately. The chapstick is my new fave. Thanks, Jill!


Also to note, someone has some teeth around here. That may have contributed to his better sleeping this week. I'll take it. He's actually enjoying some Clove on his gums right now...


Starbucks "Discoveries" iced vanilla latte. Larkyn pointed to it at Target a few weeks ago and I have her to thank for my new habit. We don't live near a Starbucks with a drive through anymore, so this is my (cheaper) treat before school.

from starbucks.com

I have watched this video more than I'd care to admit.

Fall clothes!  There is so much more interest when you can add layers, colored pants, and big accessories like scarves and statement necklaces. These are a few of my fall inspirations...



Speaking of clothes...can you handle it?

shoes: sperry, bodysuit OshKosh, hoodie Circo, jeans Childrens Place
A full-of-fun calendar. 'Tis the season for festivals, farms, and Homecoming. That's Larkyn's preschool calendar on top of mine. Her "assignment" each day is to wear the color of the day. I want to go to preschool.


Nana slumber parties. We had a tough few weekends with our new preschooler. By Sunday evenings, everyone was drained. Nana to the rescue one Saturday a month, giving Larkyn a new setting and us a little bit of time to do household jobs, run errands, and watch TV that doesn't involve a Disney character.

I am happy that I had a few minutes to record our lives from the last month in the books!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

5 months of Rhys

I am a few weeks late, but Back to School is my excuse for everything. It is the catch-all reason why my world is upside down for about a month each year. Lots of adjustments, but we are getting used to them and celebrating another month with this handsome boy. As I think back a few weeks ago...


How big?  At our last ENT appointment, he was 16.5 pounds and 24.5 inches. He's kind of a shape shifter, where some days I see him as tall and lanky like daddy, and some days he seems like a little Buddah.

Sleep?  Oh my...if you had any personal contact with me in the last 6 weeks, you know that this was a struggle. Every day I questioned, "Is he cold?" "Does he want the swaddle or NOT!?" "Does he need the pacifier?" "Is he hungry?" "Is his reflux bothering him?" "WILL I EVER SLEEP AGAIN?"  At its worst, his sleep pattern at 21 weeks was waking up every hour. Every freaking hour I was up with him. Finally, I tried giving his mattress an incline, drawing his shades allllll the way down to block out any sort of light, and swaddling under his arms. Something in there may have worked.

New routines:  Rhys is going to Miss C's house 3 days a week and stays with Matt and Nana the other days. So far, so good. When he gets home from Miss C's, he is worn out.

Eating: Still 5 6oz. bottles per day plus cereal. Larkyn turned her nose up to rice cereal, but my friend Mara gave us some Earth's Best oat cereal with banana. He eats a bowl and wants more!

Skills: He's a master at rolling back to belly. In the morning when I go in his room, he is all the way at the bottom!

Faves: Exersaucer, trucks in his mouth, really warm bottles, The Infantino mei tei carrier, relaxing baths, smiling. He is so distracting when I talk to people, but I love it. They'll be talking to me and then look down at him and all focus is lost because he will give them a huge grin.

Everything is getting too short for him! I'm sad to put away his little 6 month nautical tees already, but they're looking like cut-offs. Since it is MUCH hotter here than it was all summer, I'm trying to snatch up 6-12 month summer clothes on clearance. I thought I'd be buying long sleeve in 6-12...good thing I didn't buy ahead with him!


Saturday, August 23, 2014

A soothing fox nursery for Rhys


As soon as I knew I was having a boy, my brain started to race through ideas for his nursery. Everyone has their own tastes and there is a room that is perfect for every baby. I knew I wanted muted colors, gray being the dominant, and some sort of animal. We moved into our house one month ago, and I am finally ready to show you a room for Rhys...

It took only a few hours to do this and it was so easy!  Have a buddy (mine was Ann!) help you paint the room. I used Benjamin Moore Ozark Shadows, color matched by Behr Ultra Premium (paint plus primer).

1. After the paint has dried (we only waited an hour, everyone told us wait 24!), run Frog Tape (green, not blue) from the ceiling to the floor, making sure to get a complete seal. The width between your tape will dictate the size of the trees. It does not need to be perfect, and vary the size.

2. Use a 3" roller to paint between the tape, it is OK if you get it on the tape. I rolled it twice.

3. Before the white paint dries, remove the tape.

4. Get a set of artist brushes (mine were at Home Depot with the rest of the brushes. I ended up using the smallest of the set (a lot smaller than I thought I needed!) Paint branches and leaves
sticking out of the trees.

5. Use that same tiny brush with your base color (gray) paint to make bark notches on the tree. Make sure the paint lines don't stick up too high on the surface and are flush with the wall.

That's it!

 The side table is from Target, as well as the striped bin. My mom used the fabrics I collected to make a banner. I just love it.

 And just before I was about to commission a custom quilt to be made with my favorite fabric in the world, Ann gave me this quilt from an Etsy shop. I'm not sure of the shop, but just search for Birch Organics Fabric Woodland Party.

 Both prints are from RusticBabyBoutique etsy shop.

 Once my mother in law discovered Jelly Cat animals, both kids were set. This guy has been ready for Rhys' nursery for months!

 A torn-paper fox made by our friend Mara, and the only football I would allow in the room.

 I asked SweetMelodyDesign etsy shop to make a custom piece for us, including her sweet fox character and Rhys' birth stats. I love unique pieces, and this is one of a kind!

 My parents have had this rocker forever, and all it took was a coat of bright white from my dad and a burnt orange cushion from Pier One to make it part of the nursery. Metal R is from Hobby Lobby and both prints from SweetMelodyDesign etsy shop.

 More Jelly Cat woodland friends and Rhys' daily calendar (I use those instead of baby books!)

 Never knew how much I'd love this color combo!

 I spent WEEKS trying to find the perfect bedding. I couldn't find what I had visualized (story of my life) and creating a custom set was over $400 using the fabrics I liked. Finally, I decided to focus more on the accents and the birch tree wall and simplify the bedding. I got the Alison Glass Sun Print Feathers in teal fabric and my mom sewed a fitted sheet only. Paired with the Woodland Party quilt, I think it is just fine. 


 One of my favorite parts of the nursery; a hand/footprint keepsake kit my mom gave me. It didn't actually put ink on his skin and was so easy to put together. 

I use the striped bin for bibs and burp cloths and the basket for books. 

I couldn't help but add this little detail to the tree closest to the window

So, there it is!  The room that stayed up in my imagination for almost a year. Finally ours, finally with our sweet baby boy sleeping in it. 

If you have questions on any sources, there are more details on the January blogpost that I linked to at the top of this post. Or just ask.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Niagara Falls with a toddler (and baby!)


We were a little bummed about not going on the annual beach trip to Bald Head Island, especially because my sweet Godson Henry was being baptized. But, keeping in mind we just moved our kids twice this summer and I am about to go back to school, we decided it was best to either stay home or make a smaller trip.

Matt suggested Niagara Falls, and at the last minute (about 24 hours before!), we pulled the trigger and made reservations. We weren't able to find his passport in our mess of a garage, so we knew we would only be able to visit the American side. We still had a great trip, though.

Before a million photos, a few tips if you are planning to travel to the American side of Niagara Falls:

1. Find your passports (adults) and birth certificates for the kids. Though the American side was beautiful, clean, and not crowded at all, there would have been a lot more to do on the other side.

2. If you stay on the US side, stay at the Comfort Inn at The Pointe. It was inexpensive, accommodations were clean and comfortable, and we literally looked right at the entrance to the park (Niagara Falls is a national park, if you didn't know:) It may not be the fanciest hotel, but you can look it up and see how many people agree that it is fantastic. Also, the breakfast is not to be missed.

3.  Don't bring your double stroller!  We don't have one, and that ended up being the best way. The paths can be steep, and I can't imagine pushing TWO kids up the hill in a double. We just brought Rhys' travel system and Larkyn's umbrella stroller.

4. Don't buy the Discovery Pass if you have little ones. For adults or older/more adventurous kids, it is a great value. But for us, we never knew who would be cranky, who would suddenly be scared, or all those lovely unknowns that come with 0-3 year olds. I kind of cringed that we didn't actually "do" anything other than go see the falls each day, but did I want to put our family through a boat ride when one of them is terrified of water? We asked her at least 20 times, hoping she would say yes to the Maid of the Mist. No luck.

Cave of the Winds would have been cool and we saw people on that tour. They were absolutely drenched and it is not stroller accessible whatsoever. Last- if we had had a rainy or really hot day, we would have done the Aquarium. The locals all recommended it, but I didn't want to go inside when it was so nice out. So technically, we spent ZERO dollars on enteraintment because the park is free. PS- if your kids stay up a little later, there are fireworks a few nights per week and the falls illuminate every night.

5. Be ready to drive if you want to see things OTHER than the Falls. There is lots to do across the bridge in Canada or if staying in the US, further East in the little towns along the lake (Olcott and Lewiston). It all requires packing up and heading out. You can see all of Niagara Falls USA in a day, so plan to take a day trip or two.

6. Bring layers. We went in August, which was absolutely perfect weather. Breezy and sunny (which means a little chilly in the morning).

7. Ask around (which I do on every trip). Every time I bought something, I casually got some information out of each merchant. People love to tell you about where they live. That is how we found where to buy Niagara wine without going to a winery (The Trading Post, 427 1st Street).

OK, business out of the way. Here is a glimpse of our little trip up North!

 Both boys happy to be out of the car

 Prospect street, where we stayed. Since it is all part of the park, it is SO clean and pretty!

 Minutes away from our hotel, the Three Sisters Falls to the left
 On the observation deck. Rhys was asleep.

 Looking the other way off the Observation deck at Rainbow Bridge (where you cross to CA)

Across the street from our hotel were our favorites: NY style pizza by the slice at Mario's (we LOVED it and are picky pizza eaters) and ice cream

The next morning, we walked across the pedestrian bridge over the rapids. It was a beautiful walk and we were the only ones out at 9 AM.

 We were headed to Luna Island for the prettiest views...



 Luna Island. This is looking at the 3 Sisters, Observation Deck, and Rainbow Bridge. That lookout is not stroller accessible yet (but the entire park is under construction to make it all accessible-yay!)

Another reason Luna Island was awesome: rainbows galore! 

He didn't get to go down there because of the stroller issue, but Matt and I took turns taking Larkyn down there. He doesn't look concerned.

 I wish there was a better way to photograph Horseshoe Falls from the US. It was cool to be right on top of it, but you can't see from this picture how massive it is all the way around

 Breathtaking
I think this was a really fun trip for her. This was the first time I saw her really comprehend a vacation. She was excited every time she saw our hotel, got over her fear of elevators, and enjoyed the sights of  new place balanced with a schedule that was not overloaded. That is just her speed.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

House Tour: Big Girl Room

This was Larkyn's room at our old house. When I designed it, there was no Pinterest and owl decor was tough to find. It felt unique, serene, and innocent to me.

When buying our new house, I knew I had to transition her room to a Big Girl room as well as furnish a new nursery for Rhys. To balance the budget, I needed a way to keep most of her existing decor but remix it to represent the spunky, vibrant girl that she is. Come inside!


I started with the bedding. I knew I wanted Pottery Barn to match the feel of her old Hayley set. When I found the Daisy Garden set, it was perfect. It has strips of the green gingham, ties in with the flower/bird/owl scheme of the old room, and is so cheerful. Even better, I found it on eBay for 50% of the retail cost.


Since Matt is in the furniture industry, finding a bed was easy. This is the American Signature Colorworks full size bed. I hate the way the rail looks, but safety first, right?



No more pale yellow walls. The paint color, Sherwin Williams Moonraker, is greenish-yellow that I love even more than the Benjamin Moore Moonlight in the nursery. And that was the existing paint color!


Instead of individually hanging the PBK letters (which we painted white from off-white a few years ago), I got a canvas, painted it (3 different times to get the right blue, and it is still too bright!), added ribbon, and hot glued the letters. I know, hot glue and PBK...blasphemy...but at some point, you just want a project to be done.


We kept the same curtains, lamp, glider, and accent table from her nursery because, why not? Can you tell she has a favorite author already?


I love the way that the wood floor warms up the room. It might be my favorite part!


I re-worked the wall decor to only use one PBK shelf instead of two because, to be honest, I'm not crazy about them. (1)I hate that they don't make their stuff in regular white, (2) These are AWFUL to hang and (3) The little railing blocks your view of anything you want to put in them. I spent too much money on them to waste them, so I'll put one in each kid's room and I tried stacking things to have a better view.






I finished her footprint project this spring, which is one of my oldest and most re-pinned ideas!  I got the tree from Hobby Lobby last week.



This wall was fun for me. If you know me, you already know that I have lots of patience for humans and that is about it. I hate waiting for things in the mail and DIY projects need to be done NOW. Anyway, last night, I searched etsy for and found some perfect instant downloads. I wanted art that represented Larkyn and wasn't run of the mill.


We have her favorite song, her initial, her favorite food (we could easily make a gallery wall with donuts, sprinkles, waffles, pancakes...), and a fitting quote for Miss Sassafras. I easily downloaded the files (ranging from $3.50-$8.00) and printed them at Staples today. That is washi tape from Michaels because I actually don't want to see a hammer and nails for a very long time.




She has a great closet, which will be a project for another day. Or year. 

Larkyn is so excited about her room that she shrieks to anyone who comes in (including the pizza man and ATT installer) "COME ON!! COME SEE MY PRETTY PINK ROOM!!"


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