Just put on that pot of chili!

I had this whole big post typed out tonight and then I read something that virtually smacked me in the heart.

“Making your home pretty is nice, but making it nourishing is holy. Sister, paint that chair or hang that mirror, sure, but for the love, don’t wait until everything is done before putting on a pot of chili and inviting new friends over for football. Your neighbor wants to belong far more than she wants to be impressed.”-Jen Hatmaker

On one side of me is a box of things and two suitcases to unpack and the other side is a box to take to Goodwill.  Near the front door are tracks of dust coming from a little brick project we have going on out front…and to the other side is a kitchen that is still giving me the side eye about when we are going to get around to fixing her up!

I really WANT to get back to blogging house stuff.  “Once a week! You can do it!” I tell myself….MONTHS go by.  “You really should set aside time to write” Blake says.  And he’s good on his word…he would totally carve out time for me to write.  It’s me stopping me.  The excerpt from Jen’s new book made me realize I have been not wanting to share things because I’m waiting around until they are done and perfect (is anything really ever?) Call it the Pinterest effect I suppose.

By not just putting on my pot of chili I’m totally missing out on the whole reason I started this blog in the first place!  It certainly wasn’t for Pinterest! So at least for tonight, I’m reclaiming my teeny tiny little piece of the internet.

We’re hoping the rain can hold off this weekend so we can hang some shutters…something this old house should have had long ago! I scrolled through my camera roll as I put Hollyn to bed and picked the first 9 pictures I saw of projects we have done or are doing! Who else has a fun project going on right now?  Are you in the middle….or waiting around for things to be perfect? Do you need to put on your pot of chili, too?  We can have a chili cook-off…..that’s a thing right?

🙂

Disney with two under 3!

So I just took a casual NINE MONTHS off here…… is this thing still on? Mom, Dad, can you hear me?

We recently went to Disney with a 2.5 year old and a 9 month old when the crowd scale was measuring a 9 out of 10 and the result was worth resurrecting the blog over. I’m here to share a few tidbits of info others may find helpful or encouraging before they embark on taking mental terrorists to the happiest place on earth. This post is over 3000 words so grab a cup of coffee and dive in or feel free to skip! I have a lot to share about our house that I need to circle back to! It only took me an hour to remember the password to login to this bad boy and a little longer to remember how to post…

The most important part of going to Disney with babies: Ready your heart, Mama.

I kind of joke (but not really) that I set my expectations at rock bottom going into this. When I thought of Disney I thought of crowds, a lot of crying, a lot of sweating, and a lot of waiting and to be honest a week or two before we went when we realized the crowds were expected to be almost at a 10 we questioned if we had lost our sanity. (This little trip was tacked on to the end of a family vacation in at a Florida beach) It is expensive right? You feel like you have to sell an arm to go and you can’t do that right? Because you need that arm! For holding a kid or two! And what do we adults do when something is expensive? We want to get our money’s worth of course! So you want to savor every minute? Come away with a treasure box of photos where everyone is smiling and wearing adorable matching Disney clothes? You want to ride all the rides and do all the things? Hold it right there. Order the tickets, set aside your cash to spend in the park, and forget about it completely. Don’t think about it again. You’ll get your monies worth but it won’t at all be in the places you thought you’d find it. So mamas, let’s recap step one. Ready your heart. Start each morning being grateful you’re there and remember that your kid won’t be the worst behaved one there that day. TRUST ME. They won’t die if they have cotton candy for breakfast, sunscreen WILL find a way into their eye despite all your effort, and there might be tears…they might even be your own but you’re about to see your kid have the best time of their life. The image of Everly’s face after she left Tinkerbells house is forever burned into my memory.

Dad’s—The best thing you can do is be a little extra attentive to your lady in the mornings. They are preparing for battle so tell them they look nice one extra time, for the love help them pack those bags for the day (Mom’s will likely forget the things THEY need for themselves…does she have her sunglasses? Does she have an extra shirt for herself for when the baby spits up or poops on her mid day?), and remember the pace you’re setting…slow it down partner. You will not ride all the rides and see all the things (because, kids) so trust me when I say it’s fine if your toddler can’t find her shoe and you miss the parking shuttle 3 times because of it. Your wife will be SO thankful if you don’t act like you’re in a hurry to get everything right and perfect the first time. Breathe in, breathe out…it’s only 8:30am. Oh, and try to snap a few pictures of your wife with your kids…I bet she’ll take a million pictures of them, a bunch of you too, and she’ll treasure the ones you got of her with the babies! (I swear we weren’t really holding up this line this badly!)

Diving straight in…..

EATING

What is your #1 defense against cranky tired tiny humans? SNACKS. Disney is gracious enough to let you bring in your own snacks and drinks so you don’t have to sell your other arm (you need those arms, remember??) for a lemonade the size of their head and a pretzel they’ll declare is “nasty”. We brought in the kid’s favorite things right down to the apple juice. In a completely overstimulating environment I think having 5 minutes of something familiar helped re-center everyone. In the Magic Kingdom at the end of main street before the castle are some little AstroTurf areas that were my favorite spot for the girls to chill out for a minute.

So lets talk food. If you want to eat in a sit down restaurant you most likely need a reservation. We just didn’t do this…I was not at all impressed with the food in the Magic Kingdom…I’m not a hot dog and fries girl on a hot day so maybe it was just me.

We found the best place for food options and value was actually the Starbucks on Main Street. They had sandwiches and salads that seemed not only healthier but just more appetizing for hot weather. The prices were better for what you were getting ($10/person/meal) vs. $10 for a hot dog. The coffee prices were also very similar to what they would be anywhere….we were surprised at the lack of mark up. An iced coffee in the middle of the day was clutch. And if your kids can handle getting off the routine just a little it helps tremendously not to be eating meals at the usual meal times because it will be a lot less crowded!

NURSING

Speaking of feeding….Each Disney park boasts that they have a baby care center for nursing mothers. This was the only thing I found disappointing about the trip. It’s a TINY space at the very front of the park that smells like the worst dirty diapers you’ve ever smelled and only has two stalls for nursing. I assumed it would be like a big room for mothers where they could nurse…false….it was a small “waiting room” full of dads and other kids and a line of mothers waiting for the stalls. I gave up on it because I’m truly in the camp of my kid shouldn’t have to wait in line to eat in a stall so the rest of the world isn’t offended. It took us a few minutes of walking around to find a bench that wasn’t smack in the middle of 600 teenagers. Hollyn won’t take a bottle so that was our only option. Even if you have bottle fed babies taking breast milk I’d choose wisely because I can’t imagine finding a place to pump there. Just a heads up to nursing moms, choose your own outfits with all this in mind. I found myself in a dress one day feeding Hollyn in a bathroom stall while 100 toilets flushed simultaneously around us. YUCK….but because of my dress (which I thought would be cooler for me) I was locked in to this.

POTTY BREAKS

Regarding bathrooms. The very first show we went to was Disney Junior Live at Hollywood Studios and we had such high hopes for Everly loving it. We had a fast pass (more on this below) and so we got all situated inside and Everly announced she had to pee. Of course, right?? That’s how this thing works. My Disney rookie self panicked a little and asked her if she could hold it (what was I thinking??) So, I went to a “cast member” and told them our situation and she flashed a huge smile and told me there was a bathroom right through a nearby set of doors. It was the nicest bathroom I saw while at Disney and we were back in our seats just in time for the show to start. It was there that I first noticed how tailored Disney is to small children and I counted that as the start of the magic. When it came to diapers I changed Hollyn’s wet ones in the stroller quickly. There were changing tables in all the bathrooms for more complicated changes but I avoided it as much as I could because I just am not a fan of public changing stations….ya feel?

At the advice of a friend I got this little potty seat a while back for use in a public restroom. It folds up small and makes it easier for a tiny one to sit on a big potty and keeps them off of it. Just keep it in a zip lock bag along with some wet wipes and potty breaks will be a breeze.

DON’T CRY OVER SPILT BEER

While in Epcot one day we decided to try a beer in the Mexico section. At $10 a pop it was a little cheers to us for surviving (and enjoying) our trip! Before Blake could even take a sip from his Everly accidentally knocked it over. No crying over spilt beer right? Blake said “I wonder if they’d give me another….” I laughed and said “no way it’s not their problem we spilt it!” He went to the counter and explained what happened and pointed to the park bench where we were with a wet ground under it. Wouldn’t you know it Disney replaced his beer for him at no charge….I’m telling you…they are dedicated to your family having a magical time 🙂

PARKING & STROLLERS

If you stay off property (we did) parking will cost you $20/day and you can reenter as you would like. This is just a fun fact in case you’re staying off property and trying to get an idea of budget together. The parking lots have little tram looking shuttles running back and forth which you will have to fold strollers up to get onto. Just an FYI don’t deck out your stroller to perfection just how you want it for the whole day as soon as you get out of the car. Because 20 yards later you’ll be folding it all up and then having everything checked at the entrance.

You don’t have to fold up your strollers on the monorail or the ferry which is definitely a plus if your kids are snoozing away in them. Everly hasn’t napped in a stroller in well over 2 years and she was sound asleep in hers by the end of the day all 3 times. Disney World is magical like that!

Speaking of sleep….we stayed out pretty late with ours (9ish each night) and Everly went straight to her bed and straight to sleep every night. Do not pass go, do not collect $200…she was absolutely ready to sleep so that’s a win to not fight a toddler bed time after you’ve walked 14000 steps that day. The baby on the other hand….I’d say whatever kind of sleeper you have at home you’ll probably end up with at Disney as well. Hollyn still got up to feed at night the same way she does at home.

Stroller parking was something I’d read about before going but was a little unsure of to start with. Everyone just leaves their strollers and all their contents while they go into shows and on rides. I was nervous the first time so I took in our fans and a couple other items but quickly realized parents are so totally on the honor system there I wasn’t worried. There are also attendants constantly reparking strollers so don’t be alarmed if yours is in a little different spot when you come back….count it as lucky someone was looking out for your stroller I guess. I walked by a stroller one day that had two big YETI cups in each cupholder….if that’s not trust in society I don’t know what is.

We own a double stroller but we opted to take two umbrella strollers instead because they take up less room in the car. I’m happy with our decision because we could split up if we wanted to and it seemed easier to maneuver around crowds. If I had it to do over I may have purchased one of those universal stroller organizer bags and a cupholder? We were just throwing all of our stuff in the baskets under the stroller which was fine but a little disorganized at times. Also, we spotted this squirrel in Epcot feasting on snacks he could reach.

Unfortunately he actually chewed through this stroller basket despite us shewing him aggressively away….we left a note on their stroller that their apple had been contaminated.

A must have for a warm weather visit is a stroller fan!

We had one already but got this one on Amazon and everyone in the park was asking us where they could buy them. The park sells the fan mister bottles for $20 each but those were the only in park options we saw.

DISNEY WITH AN INFANT

I really didn’t realize that Disney let’s you take your baby on pretty much whatever you want. Hollyn rode nearly every ride that Everly rode which I was surprised by…we figured one parent would have to wait at each ride. It was so much fun to ride everything as a family. Some of the rides I just turned Hollyn in to me because I felt like they were too stimulating for her. We also rode Pirates of the Caribbean which has a little drop in the dark that no one warned me about…..I held her tight and it was fine but just FYI if you go on that ride holding a child….I was surprised about it. Here I was trying to take a family selfie on the Toy Story ride.

FAST PASSES

We were new to the fast pass game but caught on fairly quickly. You get 3 fast passes you can schedule ahead of time and <em>after you use all three </em>you can get one more at a time. Because of the way this works it would benefit you more to schedule your fast passes during the first part of the day. People constantly pick up and drop rides so every time you refresh the fast pass options new rides may pop up…it’s worth constantly checking. We used these for nearly everything we did there and we were able to do everything we wanted to do in Magic Kingdom without standing in lines (for longer than 10 minutes). There are kiosks in the park you can check fast passes with or you can download the Disney app and do it on your phone. It may be worth taking on of those extra battery chargers for your phone because if you use it for your camera like we did our batteries were very low towards the end of the day.

WHAT WE RODE

Our favorite rides (for a two year old) were the jungle boat, the little mermaid, magic carpets, dumbo, people mover (in Tomorrowland…there’s like no wait for that), it’s a small world, swiss family tree house (no line…just walk through), Mickey’s Philhar magic (this was AWESOME), the carrousel, teacups. This may not seem like a ton but ya’ll…it took the ENTIRE DAY. We ended up being there for the 9pm light show which did not disappoint but it was actually the perfect time to see some princesses. If your little one wants to see princesses and could do without the fire works head to the Princess Hallway during the night show….we walked right in with no line to meet Cinderella and Rapunzel and a couple others.

Things that we didn’t love—peter pan (WHAT is the hype over this???), the laugh floor (Monsters Inc comedy thing…it all went over Everly’s head).

We didn’t get to do Winnie the Pooh because it closed but we heard good things! We visited Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom, and Epcot. I’ve listed the things we did in Magic Kingdom just because it was largest but if anyone has questions about the other parks feel free to ask!

Another thing I had no clue about was the playground at Dumbo. When we went there was a 35 minute wait (we had a fast pass though so it was maybe 5 minutes for us). However, if I’d known about the playground inside the circus tent I wouldn’t have wasted a fast pass on this. You get a buzzer like at a restaurant and your kids can play in a really cool black light playground within the circus tent until it’s your time. To me, an indoor playground would have been a great spot to hang out and a bonus!

WHEN IT RAINS

I haven’t mentioned yet that it rained every day we were there. At some times it was POURING. We knew they were calling for rain so we bought ponchos at Walmart prior to the trip for $4 a piece instead of the $10+ ponchos you can by in the park.

It’s a pretty nasty feeling strolling around when it’s raining but it’s another one of those “adjust your attitude” moments. It is what it is and you’re there and can’t do anything about it so just don’t let it get to you. Your kid definitely doesn’t care about the rain and it’s still really warm outside. Have towels in the car (and we had pajamas to change the girls into) and it’ll all be ok. The parks do allow umbrellas but that just seemed like such a hassle. Take a zip loc bag to put the wet ponchos into when done. And trust me, you’re going to look like George Bush a few times fighting with those ponchos haha!

WHERE WE STAYED

So I mentioned previously that we stayed off property (near Sea World). This wasn’t any big deal for us. We drove in each day with no trouble, parked and were in the park with little hassle. The day we went to Magic Kingdom the monorail was down in the morning and it took nearly two hours to get into the park because they could only take people by bus or shuttle. Even those staying on property had to do this so that still wasn’t an advantage. Kids were absolutely losing their minds, parents were at their wits end by 10am but Everly thought the ferry boat was the first ride and she was PUMPED about getting on it. We had snacks and it wasn’t ideal but we just kept getting Everly excited about the “ride” (the ferry) and she was fine. We are just lucky she didn’t pull a “I have to pee moment” in THAT line.

You can definitely find affordable rooms in the park as well! For us, with the two kids we prefer the hotels that are more like a suite style where Everly can sleep on a pull out sofa. If you have Hilton points or something where an off park hotel would be better for you I would definitely not feel discouraged at all about the convenience of it all. With small kids you’re going to be moving at a slower pace no matter where you are! I mean, who would be in a rush to get this babe out of her Minnie pjs??

DISNEY SPRINGS

The last day we ended up leaving Epcot early and going to Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) to have dinner at Rainforest Café. I would highly recommend this for small kids! We had read the reviews saying the food was terrible but the atmosphere is just so cool for kids! We ordered a really large appetizer for dinner and drinks and actually thought everything we ate from the sampler platter was really good food! So I was again, pleasantly surprised!

We didn’t spend much time at Disney Springs but it seemed like a fun atmosphere and there is a GIGANTIC Disney store where your little one can pick out just about any Disney toy they could dream up! There was also a cool Lego store. Parking at Disney Springs is complementary and the best place to park we thought was in the “Lime” parking deck.

We had such a fun time and will definitely be taking the girls back! Maybe next time we’ll aim for the off season but if you find yourself going during peak season, with two small kids, and only rain in the forecast…FEAR NOT! You can have a great time!!!! I’m so happy Blake snapped this picture of me and the girls before we headed out for the day… Even though by the end of the day everyone was a wet mess, this is how I’ll remember it! For those wondering where I found the girl’s ears, here is the link for the hair clips. The headband is under that same link. Both stayed in really well for us given a day of running around the Park!

Anyone else have any great hacks for doing Disney with babies? I’m sure people would love to know them (I know I would!) So feel free to drop them in the comments!

The space between

I resigned from my job in July.  It feels wrong to call it a job.  The only job I’ve had since college….so I resigned from my career feels a little more appropriate.  The weight of those words felt heavy then and it still feels heavy now typing it.  But the weight of those words has also made me feel lighter than I have at any point in my 20s (I’ll turn 30 in December).

I need to preface all of it with saying it was a hard decision, a long time considered decision, a prayed over decision, a decision over which many people gave their blessing.  I’m forever thankful for all the things I learned and all the resources people poured into me. There’s something so comfortable about getting up and going to the same place every day.  I think it many ways I could have easily done that forever.  But there has always been a quote that has haunted me for years.

I think this is troubling in particular for the creative variety.  You feel like your corporate job isn’t stretching you enough in all the right ways? So any smart person would tell you “make it your hobby”, “why don’t you volunteer doing that”, “you can’t make money doing that”.   And 99% of the time they are right.  As someone who has a Masters of Accounting, I’ll be the first to tell myself you have to have a great adjustment of expectations to be willing to give it all up for the arts.  But thank God people do….the world would be so ugly without all those people.

I’m within two weeks of being a mother to two.  Resigning when I did left this space for me to savor what I had left of being a mother to one.   I wrote it all over my calendar to treat it like the sacred time it really has been. Some moments are really tough and others are so rich in the matter of life it will move you to tears.  The feelings of not contributing monetarily to our family during this space between are offset by becoming absolutely filthy rich in memories money could have never bought.  I’ve never felt called to stay at home.  I have friends who are SO good at it.  It’s clear they are doing what they should be doing.  I have not found this in myself.  So this space between won’t be forever and maybe that makes it all the more sacred to me.  As we welcome in our new baby to the fold and adjust, I will return to something new.  It’s exciting, scary sometimes, but mostly exhilarating to find out what you’re really made of.   A friend and I recently had lunch and talked about the importance of living a significant life.  How it’s really not enough to work hard and tithe to your church or write checks to charities.  We are all capable of changing the world for someone so we should be boots on the ground each day using our talents, using our resources, finding new resources, pouring in, pouring out, using a prayerful compass and listening to our callings.  Life is fleeting, and in the end, we ALL know it’s not going to ever have been about the things this world will have you think it is.

helping-cook

This space between has been something out of a movie and that will never be lost on me.  One day when I’m commuting to work or I’m missing my girls once they’ve left the nest, I’ll dig up these riches I’ve stored away.  We live within walking distance of both my parent’s house and Everly’s preschool (she still goes two days a week).  There have been mornings where I have been given the gift of a slow morning of coffee on my parent’s porch, mornings where I have strolled Everly to preschool with the sun beaming in between tree branches on the street in front of us…nowhere to be.   I’m writing this from a busy little coffee shop down the street from her preschool.  One I’ve dreamed about working from since we moved here but never taken the time to. Days where I’ve been given the gift of time to pick up a paintbrush just for the fun of it. This space between, no doubt, will be one of the greatest gifts of this lifetime.

greer-city-park

I’m learning the art of being present in the “spaces between” so that when I do go back to the hustle and bustle of another time I’ll recognize them for what they are.  Maybe it’s an extra 30 minutes in the morning you could have a cup of coffee with your spouse, maybe it’s a family dinner you let yourself linger at the table for 15 minutes longer.  Maybe it’s that phone call you make on the way home to a relative you haven’t talked to in forever. I’ve said it here before and I’ll say it again…we must stop the glorification of busy.  Celebrate productivity and celebrate quality time…but it’s time to say no to all we can and start saying yes to the things that are going to make a difference.

If you’re still reading this mess of thoughts, happy Thursday friends! I’m headed home to put the FINAL coats of paint on the china cabinet turned bedroom armoire.  Glass is going back in tonight and she’s scheduled for a photoshoot tomorrow…all the praise hands!

DIY Frosted Coffee

Have you had the new-ish Chick-Fil-A frosted coffee? It was supposed to be limited time only but they announced last week it’s going to be a permanent addition to the menu. This is both a) the best news ever and b) enabling me. Enabling me to frequently consume a glorified milkshake while pretending it’s a cup of coffee and also to spend money at a fast food restaurant way more frequently than is fiscally responsible to do.

 announcement

So, upon their announcement I decided to try a DIY version at home. While it’s still really the same ingredients I can at least control the sugar and flavoring that is likely added to their version. Here is the nutrition facts per their website. 38 grams of sugar in a small is sorta killin’ my vibe.

nutrition

 So, I got a little pint of regular old vanilla ice cream. I used about 3 small scoops of this. A serving of this is 1/2 a cup which is almost exactly what I used. 160 calories and 18 grams of sugar. While we should just call this what it is, a dessert, at least it’s better right? Right.

I added the ice cream to 6oz of cold brew coffee I made a couple days ago and blended for like 3 total seconds using our bullet. Don’t overdue this or you’ll lose the milkshake consistency.

 I topped it off with a little whip cream…lets be honest…just to fill out the glass for the picture. It doesn’t need it but if whipped cream is your thing then go for it!

done

 Consume in the sun to cool off with an economical and somewhat healthier version of your beloved frosted coffee!

enjoy

 Side note: we cold brew our coffee with the Primula glass system from Amazon and love it. You can cold brew with a filter and a mason jar really but this comes with a reusable filter and just having everything made to go together makes it easier. [[cold brewing just means you let coffee grounds soak in cold water for 24-48 hours–nothing special]]. Cold brew also has significantly less acid which is overall healthier for you and helps prevent the dreaded coffee breath.  What you make will also last for weeks in the fridge vs. that one hot cup you keep microwaving all day and pretending like it still tastes fine.

And I use half decaf grounds and half regular (or all decaf) while pregnant for a lower caffeine treat. My friend Kelly and I branded this decaf iced coffee “Ice Ice, Baby”. Logo and all, it’s probably something I should actually brand instead of putting on the internet for someone else to take to Shark Tank but hey, gotta pick what I spend my time doing wisely…like DIYing my favorite fast food beverages…

label

The Blender.

3I spent a really inappropriate amount of time during 2015 trying to figure out how to wear all my hats.

Follower of Christ. Wife. Mother. Daughter. Friend. Employee. Supervisor. Renovator. Housekeeper. Cook. Volunteer. Coffee addict. Wannabe Writer (totally FAILING)

I’ve been asked before how we get everything done we do get done.  1. we have A LOT of help. 2. I don’t know…I think it gets done somewhere between the 5th cup of coffee and insanity. During my quest for instruction I stumbled upon some really incredible and inspiring women who seemed to all live by the same motto…. Just STOP.

There are days I think a few more pages in all my half read devotional books will make it all come together.

FullSizeRender

There are a few days I think about how it’s unfair women have to put an extra hour into the day trying to live up to society’s normal version of pretty. (seriously. This on top of pay inequality? Ugh.)

2

There are a few days I pour an extra cup of coffee just so I can sip from this mug for a few more precious moments.

5

I made a huge decision during the last part of 2015 to reduce my workload to 50%. I want to preface this paragraph by saying how lucky I feel to have the opportunity to be able to do this in the first place. However, the decision came with some heart ache. The decision comes with the need to reconcile why I’m making that choice about 3 times a day. Every day.   I earned my degree. I passed the exam. I worked hard to establish relationships. And whether I think I’m competitive or not, well, you put enough work into anything and you’ll become competitive about it. I lost a lot of sleep before I decided about how I was inevitably going off pace from the peers I started with.   About taking a significant pay cut. And if I’m honest, about if I would be enough for Everly at home. I didn’t get a degree in how to raise a toddler….didn’t pass an exam about how to be a stay at home…anything.

Don’t get me wrong. Everly is worth every lost part of work. Because things you can never get back will never have a price tag. I get about 5 years before a significant portion of her will be shaped by teachers and peers. I have to tell myself that every. Single. Day.     Sometimes I feel guilty about the fact that I have to tell myself why I’m doing what I’m doing.   I’m excited to start a new year and a new-ish role.

6

Although I don’t actually know what that role is yet. I’m in the process of trying to figure out how to walk around with my legs in two different buckets. I’m tripping a lot…but I’m going to get it. And if I don’t…well…..life wasn’t really meant to run quickly was it?

Seeing new numbers on a planner is so darn inspiring.

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Here’s to 2016. Here’s to giving ourselves grace. Knowing we are enough. Here’s to drinking more water, flossing, and spending more time in God’s word. Here’s to doing the things we find important, writing more, worrying less, playing more, working enough, and loving big.

 

things.things.things.

I have what I would consider major projects to be blogging about. However, I cannot seem to make myself sit down and commit to finishing painting said projects and until then they cannot be photographed. [[update: I have painted so we are so much closer]]

I miss my blog though so I thought I would just write up a short [[edit: this got long!!]] post about some things we love. I’ve formed a bad habit of internet window shopping during nighttime feedings….and then window shopping turned into real shopping 🙂

So sawdust is just a THING in our house so this year I put these drink toppers into Blake’s stocking. This way when he is in the basement he can cover his drinks up and not take a big gulp of saw dust. They run you about $8. Worth it.

drink savers

We also felt like a lot of times Everly would be hanging out in the living room and we would need to use the nail gun for a quick second. I kept having to carry her out of the room so we found some baby ear protection. I’m a little crazy about protecting hearing. Truly men (or women!) you should be wearing protection even when you mow your lawns. It will make a difference when you’re older!

ev

This pillow I think makes a wonderful gift for new parents! It’s $35 and is a special and fun way to document things. We have this in Everly’s room now and I think it’s just so cute.

pillow

Gnocci. It’s still a starch but it’s wayyy easier than cooking pasta. It boils in about 3 minutes. We’ve started serving it mixed with a meat, veggies, and a pasta sauce. We love it and truly makes a quick meal. This also seems to keep as leftovers better than pasta for us. It’s perfect for that new mom brain that just explodes at the idea of cooking pasta. A lot can go wrong with pasta….you can spill the noodles everywhere trying to get them into the pot (one hand makes everything so much harder) and you can forget to set a timer all together…no timer needed here. They just float. And float quickly. Time is of the essence when a baby is in arm.

gnocci

Reusable K Cups –We love anything we can reuse …we also love buying the whole bean coffee and grinding our own the morning we are having it. We have had the same 4 cups for at least 3 years now and they are holding up just fine! We rinse them out after use and run them through the dishwasher maybe once a week.

k cups

This isn’t really something you buy but is just something that made our lives easier. After Everly came things got a little blurry for a while and we were constantly RE-feeding the dogs because we thought they hadn’t been fed yet! Seriously….Finley has gained 10lbs…. one night Blake started inventing a little thing we could use to track when they had been fed. We fashioned this together using a magnetic picture frame from the fridge, a piece of paper, and just a basic magnet. We move the magnet each time we feed them so the other person knows the last time they were fed.

dog

Heated mouse pad. I don’t even feel like this needs an explanation it’s just one of those things you should immediately purchase if you work anywhere close to an office. It was like $6…probably because it’s shaped like a giant fish and a more professional one would cost more. But it’s just powered by the USB and I can tell you first hand it gets TOASTY!

mouse pad

Travel heated blanket : My mom received this as a gift for Christmas and I think it’s pretty genius!! This would make a great gift for a lot of people in my opinion. I feel like Blake and I always think the car is two different temperatures 🙂 no spouse ever has to freeze again.

heated blanket

Other things I have been up to include:

I’ve put a dresser in the dining room. I LOVE it! So. Much. Storage.

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I’ve been inspired by this post to do this type of thing in our dining room. It’s rather charming I think.

dining

I found this sweet little paint can at the Lobby of Hobbies for something like $3. I’m not really a collector of small nicknaks but this reminded me of our pregnancy announcement so I wanted to add it to the nursery.

paint jar

Lets see… I’m not sure I ever shared this wasp/hornet (not sure which) nest I picked up at an antique store in the mountains. About everyone I know told me it was really creepy but I love it hanging in our office! I’m truly amazed because it really is a very natural work of art. Mom thinks I should gold leaf it. I might…

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I’m working on adding a tab to the top of our blog about blogs/websites which I love to frequent! I’ve found some great blogs perusing this feature on other blogs that I would love to share. Now that I have a camera I am also going to be slowly updating the house tour pictures with some current pictures. It’s easy to forget just how far some areas of the house have come!

Before I go, I’ll leave you with some more random information 🙂 Another new middle of the night pass time has been surfing Instagram for interior design /blogger/neat thing accounts. Here are some of my FAVORITES if you’re also into Instagram and use it for more than the occasional selfie 🙂 Maybe in addition to the aforementioned proposed blog updates I’ll figure out how to share my own instagram feed on here…

instagram 1

instagram 2

instagram 3

As for our projects…here is a hint at the biggest one we’ve done in a while. This is BEFORE.

laundry before

See you soon!

SAP.

Week 29 must have something extra special regarding a symptom of being overwhelmed with emotion. I feel like my normally dry from staring at a computer screen all day eyes have stayed in a constant state of about to spill over for a week now.

I am particularly disturbed about the speed at which our child is growing. I mean I get sweaty palms about how fleeting pregnancy seems. Being constantly sick for weeks on end seems like it happened lifetimes ago…or never at all. I cannot seem to remember a time when I didn’t have a soccer ball sitting in my stomach. And I feel like I spent so much time at 15 weeks waiting to feel the tiniest movements that now I’ve missed all the big ones as she slows down due to lack of wiggle room.

We went to see her on a 3D ultrasound yesterday (our last before we see her in person) and I just couldn’t believe how human like she looked. I can remember thinking “wow she looks like a cute alien” at 20 weeks and I couldn’t wait for her to put on some weight. Now I’m finding myself pleading with her to slow down. As much as I can’t wait to hold her and meet her and to have Blake hold her I just wish I could preserve all this. It’s such a blessing and once it’s gone all you have left are the memories (and a pregnant lady’s memory is not exactly exceptional….) I mean you can’t just stay pregnant….unless you are a Dugger. And I am NOT a Dugger. I believe in the power of birth control…like really, strongly, passionately believe in it. No offense to the Duggers or anyone who wants their own football team. I just don’t.

People tell me I’ll like all the phases and they all have things that are wonderful…and I suppose it’s sort of like how you love puppies and wish they could stay puppies…but Finley has really been a treasure every day. From 7lbs to 70lbs we have loved to see him change. So maybe it’s like that? I hope. I’ve already warned Blake that I’ll probably have a meltdown at the hospital when I realize she has turned 1 hour old. Or 24 hours old …even though each milestone she reaches is a blessing. There’s no way I’ll blink….so I’ll depend on tears Visine to keep my eyes from drying out.

Anyways, enough about that. I’ll share a project Blake did as we get one step closer. We have been insanely fortunate to not have to purchase nursery furniture. It’s very special to me that Everly (oh yes, we chose a name…I’ll come back to that) gets to use her cousin Kerwin’s crib! She will have my childhood furniture but we had to slightly modify one of the dressers to become a changing table. We knew we didn’t want to permanently deface the dresser so it can grow with her so we needed a temporary solution.

Blake somehow/magically created this “tray” one day in the basement. He took great care in his precision (maybe his days working at the cabinet shop or the fact that only the best will do for his little girl).

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We matched the paint color to the dresser and used that grip tape you put on the bottom of rugs to keep it from sliding. You can pull it straight up but you can push/pull/bump into/swing from it and it won’t budge. We love that we didn’t have to put nails through the dresser but feel good the little one can’t pull it down on herself once she is tall enough to scale the knobs of the dresser like her own personal jungle gym.

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photo 1

You can see a pegboard there and a Raskog cart from IKEA I’ll have to be back to blog about later. Back to her name.

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Everly comes from Everleigh (B preferred the shorter spelling) which is the last name of my Aunt Fran and Uncle Bob. I love the name. Yes, I know Channing Tatum and his wife named their baby Everly last year and I did have a little ping of jealousy when that happened but at least they fly somewhat under the celebrity spotlight so maybe it won’t spread like wildfire….at least not until there is another Magic Mike movie… And of course, Blake comes from my…and hers now (!) Blake.

Until next time…I’ll just be over here trying not to realize I do not even have 2.5 months left of this season!