Thursday, April 17, 2014

My Big Girl {for Hannah Renee - Almost 3}

My sweet Hannah will be THREE years old in just a few short months, and it is bittersweet for sure.  Three seems so very big and grown up. She is becoming the sweetest little girl. So kind, and gentle and polite. She loves to get all dressed up and has recently been requesting a specific bow for her outfit each day. She tells Mama that I look "fancy!" when I get dressed for church (or actually get out of my mom clothes for a date). She loves to put on lip-gloss and carries around her Sofia the First amulet, singing "Let It Go" into a microphone made out of legos. Although she knows every word of the movie Frozen, she doesn't discriminate when Disney is concerned... we watch just as much Cars, Planes, Lion King, and Aladdin as we do princess movies.

She loves ballet, and asks her Daddy before leaving for class each week; "Look Daddy!" as she twirls for him, showing off her tutu and tights. He always tells her how pretty she looks and she beams. She has a deep love for her family and is constantly asking when Papa, Gramma and Auntie are coming over, or whether we're meeting her Pops and Lola for lunch that day. She prays for them all each night before bed. She asks Mama to sing the Cinderella song before going to sleep each night and to leave the door "just a lil' bit open." She sleeps with a huge array of stuffed friends, taking turns cuddling with them each night.

She has a fierce love for her Sissy, and often asks to go home to her, after an outing with just Mama. She prefers for us all to be together, all the time. She gives Liv hugs and kisses all day long, yet also tells her "no no!" if she's getting into something she shouldn't have. She praises her and claps for her each time Liv learns a new skill squealing; "Good Job Sissy! You're doing it!" Hannah would love to be outside all day long. We color with sidewalk chalk, blow bubbles, and take walks in our double stroller to observe all the birds and trees and flowers. She's scared of dogs, and most other animals, but likes to look at them from afar.

Her favorite foods are fruit, yogurt, "appy" (applesauce pouches,) potatoes, sausage, PB&J, pizza, and ice-cream. She also likes to share gummy-bears with her Daddy and munch on "chee-ros" (cheerios) throughout the day. When we ask where she would like to go eat, she usually replies Chick-fil-a (even though she doesn't eat chicken) or Freddy's (because who doesn't love french fries & ice-cream?)

Hannah loves to paint and color and put stickers everywhere! She can almost write her whole name unassisted, and loves to practice. She can count to 30, recognize and recite all her ABC's, and loves to play educational games on her Leapster, and Mama's iPhone. She's starting part-time preschool in the fall at a Christian Academy and she's so excited! She plays "going to school" all the time, and asks "where is my new school? Can I go there?"

She's been potty trained for about a month now, and we decided it was time to be done with her binky, which she kept in her bed for nap and bedtime. We woke up on Saturday morning, and after our special family breakfast (cinnamon rolls), we decided to have a special big-girl date, just her and Mama. She kissed her binky good-bye and put it in her memory box in the closet for safe keeping. We headed to the Plaza and ate a side-walk cafe that was definitely more for adults than children. She did so well, and sat there like a lady eating her lunch. Then we stopped in at Barnes and Noble to pick out a new book. Hannah LOVES to read and kept saying "there's just so many!" when looking around at all her choices. She decided on "Olivia." We went into Gap and tried on so many clothes... she kept saying "look at these! Oh, look at these!" She put on a straw hat and said "Yee Haw! I'm a cowgirl!" When it was time to go, she asked for "just ONE more store!" We stopped into Starbucks for coffee (milk for her) and a pink cake-pop, and just and my girl. It was the most PERFECT day, one that I will always remember.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Olivia Grace {weeks 41-44}

I can't believe we're at 41 weeks, but here we are. It seems that with baby number two, it sure goes a whole lot faster, that's for sure! I'm getting a little sad that Liv is quickly moving towards being a toddler, and I'm enjoying her squishy, cuddly little self so much these days. This week was a rough one, as Hannah, Liv and I all caught a nasty cold. Both girls were up every hour most nights for a week. Brian and I took turns sleeping with the girls and taking one downstairs to cuddle so they wouldn't keep waking each other up. Liv is still getting over the yucky cough she had, poor baby. Like Hannah (and Brian,) she'll cough and gag herself and then spit-up. 

We joyfully welcomed 42 weeks, since the weather was gorgeous and we spent a LOT of time outside! We celebrated Papa's birthday at our favorite BBQ restaurant. Liv LOVES french fries and is eating everything we eat now. She devours pasta, bread, veggies, yogurt, fruit... and anything that Hannah has! She gets so excited and flaps her little arms like a bird, or hits Mama in the face. She can STARE you down and it's the most hilarious face! Then she'll laugh. She calls for me and Hannah when when I take her to the potty, and cries or crawls after us. She hates to be all alone, so we take her with us everywhere. 

At 43 weeks, Liv just stood up in the middle of the room without holding onto anything... just like her big sister used to do. She's cruising the furniture and has to be standing as often as possible... why do my kiddos walk so soon?! Our girl LOVES Legos (Duplo) and plays with them for up to an hour at a time! She can even put a few together. She waves 'hi' and 'bye' by opening and closing her hand, and will shoot you a big smile while she does. Liv has SO much personality... she keeps us laughing and brightens our days. We sure love our Sissy. 

Oh goodness this girl is cute... I'm sure I'm a little biased, but seriously. Her two-toothed grin just slays me. She gives kisses now, and loves to give them to her baby dolls and pat them gently. She's always on the go, but when she crashes, she sleeps HARD. She started getting up at 12 & 5 again after her sickies, but I honestly don't mind the cuddles... she falls right back to sleep after nursing and sleeps so sweetly. She LOVES to be outside and even played with sidewalk chalk for the first time... she mostly drew on Daddy, but it was cute. 

I can't believe I'm getting ready to start putting together her big 1st birthday bash, but I'm just loving this girl more and more each day... can't wait to see what she'll be up to next!

Hannah's project HERE

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Our newest family pictures...

A couple weeks ago, we had our pictures taken again by April over at Freeland Photography. We LOVE them y'all. They work so well with our little ones and their pictures speak for themselves. It can be quite an ordeal planning and doing outfit changes with a 10mo and 2year old, but April was so patient and got some great pictures of Liv before she decided she was DONE. They even have toys up at the studio and a play area for kiddos. We did a "baby package" with Miss Hannah... pictures at 6wks, 4mo, 9mo and had them shoot her Birthday party too. We are doing the same with Olivia, and couldn't be happier. We are loving the gorgeous images and I'm FINALLY planning a gallery wall to display them in our house. So glad I have these pictures, as this is becoming an adorable phase for these girls...

I hope you are all having a lovely week!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Olivia Grace {weeks 37-40}

Olivia Grace... what a fun month with our littlest princess this has been! She is getting so big and developing such an adorable personality. A feisty little thing who lets you know what she wants, when she wants it... that's our Liv! At 37 weeks, she learned to clap while Hannah and I were singing "Happy and you know it" ... and does it ALL the time now. It's the cutest thing ever. Hannah will tell her "Good job Sissy!" when she does a new task and then Liv smiles a HUGE grin and claps for herself. She also got her very first tooth this month... a tiny bottom one. She was extra cuddly and needed Mama a lot, but it wasn't too bad. She's pulling up on all the furniture, and loves to be standing all the time!

At 38 weeks, our sweet girl is moving ALL THE TIME! She seemed to have lost a bit of chub in those cheeks too, since she NEVER stops moving! She fell off the bed... just like Hannah, but it was more of a slip-off-the-bed this time. I still felt horrible... we're two for two on that. Liv is so very cuddly lately... I absolutely LOVE that if she's got blanky, soothie, and Mama, she'll snuggle for long periods of time. She slept EIGHT hours straight this week... I couldn't believe it! She's done it again, and another 7hr stretch since then. Considering Hannah didn't do that until she was 13mo old, I am one HAPPY Mama. We think it's because she plays so hard and eats so much during the day... girlfriend definitely snuck some chocolate chip cookie and LOVED it. That's my baby!

Liv's blanky has become a crucial item lately... it's what calms her down when she's cranky, sleepy, or out and about. At 39 weeks, she cut tooth #2... the other bottom one. She was pretty upset and needed lots of nursing & chewing on everything. She's been crashing into everything this week, since she ALWAYS has to be pulling up! I'd worry more, but she rarely cries about it. We had such amazing weather this week though, and the sunshine sure seemed to help her! Olivia LOVES to be outside! She sits on a picnic blanket while Hannah runs around and just watches contently. We also had a few epic car rides lately... I'm praying she learns to like her carseat SOON! 

Liv has been playing more and more with Hannah lately and it is precious! They play legos together, picnic, puzzles, and even sit and look at books! She says "Mama, Dada, Nana (Hannah), and Gah (Gramma). She'll yell for Mama when I leave her sight and has been doing the same for Hannah too! She eats EVERYTHING lately... anything Hannah has (cereal, french fries, pancakes) plus her fruits and veggies too! She can wave "bye bye" by opening and closing her hands & she started pointing to people/things that she wants this week. I can NOT believe that 40 weeks have gone by with her! Brian and I feel like she was just a teeny little peanut yesterday, but at the same time, feel like she's always been a part of our family and couldn't imagine life without her. She may be loud, and is keeping us on our toes, but we are so in love with this girl! 

Hannah's photo project HERE.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Making our house a HOME {The Dining Room}

I've been wanting to show y'all the work that Brian and I have very slowly been doing to make our house a home. We've been here two years this May, and we're finally checking a few items off our to-do list! We'll start with the dining room...

If I invited y'all over for a cup of coffee (or a latte), this is the first thing you would see when I open the door and you step foot in our home. We live in a "reverse ranch" which means that the main floor is as high as it goes. Our dining room is just to the left as you come in the door. Beyond that, and to the right, is the kitchen, living room, and the little hallway you see in the picture above, leads to the garage and the basement. 

I LOVE that everything in this room has a special meaning/memory for me. The gorgeous hutch, and old school desk were given to us by a very special family that lead our church home group when Brian and I had just moved back from California and Miss Hannah was a baby. They made us feel so welcome, encouraged, and were very generous to us. I filled the hutch with dishes that are constantly being swapped out as I use them. The bottom half is used to store my scrapbooks/photo albums on one side, and Hannah's art supplies on the other. The wall hangings were collected over our first 4 years of marriage. I cross-stitched the embroidery hoop, and the print is from Little Light Prints (LOVE her work, and have several more prints throughout our home.)

The GORGEOUS farmhouse table was built by my wonderful husband, after I showed him pictures and ideas of what I wanted. The vintage doilies are from my Grandma, and although I have every intention of actually stitching them together at some point, they are currently just arranged that way and get fixed on a daily basis. I also collect antique blue Ball jars... so you'll see more of them throughout my home!

I am sad to admit, after MUCH searching and searching for a vintage/industrial light, I succumbed to buying our chandelier at Pottery Barn. I'm well aware of how overpriced they are, but this particular fixture was PERFECT. It was just what I wanted and it was actually pretty affordable. The light is on a dimmer switch, and I love the warmth it gives the room when the sun goes down. 

The rugs and chairs are also Pottery Barn, but were bought during a CLEARANCE sale that was way too good to pass up. There are actually two 5x8 rugs laid next to each other, which saved us a TON of money on an 8x10 area rug. I also planned on stitching the rugs together, but that's one of those things that happens when you have two littles running around. 

The cute little distressed bench was a great find at an antique show with my Mama. The moment I saw it, I knew just where it needed to go! I love the big windows in this house... all that natural light makes me so happy! I also love that the window are low enough that Miss Hannah can peek out them and watch birds play, and snow fall. 

The antique church pew is actually from an old church down the road in the small town we live in. It was converted into a delicatessan when I was in elementary school, just a block away. My Mama worked there for a while and she brought it home when the Deli closed. It now lives in our dining room, and I love that it has such a rich history! 

Here's a much better look at that farmhouse table! Brian used 2in steel piping, primed and painted a textured black. For the top, he used 2x12 pine boards, that he distressed, stained and clear-coated. I'm so in love with that table, and we get lots of compliments on it whenever guests are over. 

I'll post the rest of the rooms we've finished as I get some time! 

Monday, February 24, 2014

A Toddler Valentine's Day Party!

Valentine's Day is a BIG deal in our house... like a really big deal. So when Miss Hannah asked for a party, and had been asking for a party since Halloween (girl after my own heart), how could I resist? We invited all her little friends and their Mama's too. I really wanted to give those Mamas something fun to do with their little loves... community with each other is so important to me.

The hoops are from last year and were made by wrapping the inner and outer pieces of the embroidery hoop with contrasting fabric. I hot-glued paper bunting that I ran through my sewing machine to the back. The tissue tassels were super easy... lots of tutorials on Pinterest. I also punched glittery scrapbook paper and then ran them through my sewing machine to make garland.

I bought most of my supplies at the Target dollar spot... they have insanely adorable stuff, and at a dollar a pop, I filled my cart with adorable washi tape, tissue paper, cups, plates, napkins and paper straws! I also found the ADORABLE photo booth props at Target for 5 bucks. Cute parties don't have to break the bank y'all!

The valentines that Hannah made for her friends were an idea I found HERE. We bought a pack of stiff card stock, heart shaped washi tape, and a tube of zoo friends from Hobby Lobby. The stamps were also from the Target dollar spot! Hannah picked out a certain animal for each friend and it was such a fun craft to do together.

Probably my favorite part of the decor was the tissue swag garland with the glitter "Valentine." I found the idea HERE, and I love it! It was the perfect backdrop for our photo booth. A special thanks to my dear friend Whitney who's adorable daughter Molly (Hannah's BFF) is pictured above. She helped me prep everything the night before the party... it's so much more fun to decorate with a friend right? 

We decided to do both breakfast food and kiddo snacks including sprinkle donuts from our favorite local shop, a breakfast casserole, sugar cookies, yummy toddler trail mix, animal crackers, fruit, and breakfast casserole. I wish I took a close up of the trail mix... I got the idea HERE, but used organic 'Lucky Charms,' Strawberry Yogurt O's from Trader Joe's, strawberry yogurt drops, & mini pop tarts. 

I love all the pink and red, and especially the donuts... I'm such a sucker for those.

Little Miss Norah slays me with her little skirt and moccs! And seriously... what a handsome little toddler Liam is!

The drink bar served Trader Joe's strawberry lemonade for the adults and Horizon strawberry milk boxes for the kiddos. The cups and straws are from the Target dollar spot. 

Aunties sure do love their nieces! There were 7 toddlers, and 4 babies at the party. I must say it was MUCH quieter and a lot less chaotic than I was expecting! I think that's what happens when Mamas of toddlers get together... we all help each other out, making things run smoothly. 

I had 4 areas set up... the kitchen for painting and cookie-decorating, the dining room for food/drinks/photo booth, the entry way for the sensory table, and the living room for eating/chatting. There were cheerios to be strung on red heart-shaped pipe cleaners and THESE worksheets with red crayons on my coffee table too. 

There were more activities than I thought we'd have time for, but those kiddos moved QUICKLY through each station! We made the noodle valentines above, using the free template found HERE. I set up large pieces of paper with noodles and pink, red, and white washable paint. After carefully (and some not-so-carefully) dabbing paint on each noodles, we moved the papers away to dry. Then they decorated sugar cookies with icing and sprinkles... very festive! After the noodles were dry, they quickly strung on them onto the pre-cut bakers twine and wrote their names on it. I think having it all prepared ahead of time made it really stress-free. 

Another friend brought a couple sensory bins for the kids to play in, and it was quite a hit! I don't have her recipe, but there were cookie cutters and valentine cupcake wrappers... so cute! I swallowed my OCD tendencies and let Hannah get messy! I should do that more often... she brushed right off and had such a good time. 

Seriously... the toddler photo booth slayed me! They were so cute! Miss Moriah was so sweet and polite. I hope they all had as much fun as Hannah did... she's still talking about it. 

It was such a fun way to celebrate with our little Valentines!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Lumberjack Shower for Baby Kade!

I recently had the privilege to throw a baby shower for my best friend, Casey and her soon-to-be-here little man, Kade. What was even more fun, was throwing the shower with her sister, Emilie! It was Casey's family shower... which is very fitting, since these people ARE family to me. They are warm, caring, wonderful people. Throwing the party at their parents' house, where Casey and I stayed up late all through our adolescence giggling about boys and holding each other's hands through break-ups, just seemed right. I may or may not have shed a few tears in the realization that we're all grown-up and sometimes that just seems crazy to me. Before I start the waterworks again... here are the shower details...

Casey's cousin Kenz made the AMAZING invites. She has crazy talent and they were perfect!

Working with Em was a DREAM. She has great taste and we both seemed to mesh on our style/ideas for the shower. I mean... obviously we were on the right track when we couldn't find the buffalo plaid ANYWHERE because, duh... it's the hottest thing since sliced bread right now. After searching the web for hours and making quite a few frantic phone calls, a fabric store in St. Louis came to our rescue and we scored a few yards for the table.

The buntings were so simple to make... and HELLO, my favorite thing to do! The black triangles are felt, cut and run through my sewing machine with black thread. The Trees are scrapbook paper, cut and run through my machine as well. The red Pom-poms were made with yarn and a borrowed pom-pom maker. I strung them onto the same yarn with a large needle, and I have to admit, I LOVE them. 

Being lovers of good food... Em and I came up with a simple brunch Menu that was sure to please. We served tiny pancakes (Trader Joe's), s'mores donuts, fresh fruit, an apple galette (made by Emilie) and an assortment of delicious quiches made by their Mama, Kandy. 

I ordered donuts from our favorite local shop, Lamar's and then added the marshmallow bits and graham cracker crumbs myself. As a donut-lover, I have to say they were pretty good!

Our spread was enjoyed by both kiddos and adults. Hannah of course was way more interested in the fruit than the delicious donuts... crazy kid. 

We used her Mama's cloth napkins, and our combined collection of Pottery Barn dishes, and gorgeous tartan plates. The fabric was just folded and pressed for the table runner, and we used leftover Christmas garland for our greenery. The raw wood platters and cake stands were made from firewood I snagged from a friend, that my wonderful Hubby cut up for us!

Dark-chocolate covered marshmallows and graham crackers near the drink bar for little snackers.

We did a hot cocoa bar, complete with mini marshmallows and whipped cream! We also served coffee, (Starbucks of course) and milk/juice for the kiddos. Once again, we used our pottery barn dishes and the insane amount of mason jars I've collected over the years. 

It was simple, and so much fun to put together! I loved the relaxed atmosphere at these kind of showers. People can graze on brunch, sit in cozy chairs and have good conversation. It was so much fun to watch Casey open all the adorable cloth diapers, and sweet boy clothes. I'm hoping to get a photo tour of her gorgeous nursery soon and give you a peek! 

Love this girl and so very excited to hold that sweet boy and love him like she's loves my girls. 

Em, Case and their Mama. We're so excited to meet you baby Kade! xoxo