Friday, January 30, 2015

These Days // 6

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These days we are:

Reading: the Bible with Mission119.org. I’ve been out of a daily Bible reading habit for a long time now, and it’s something I really want to get back into. This app (along with daily morning nursing sessions) has made it pretty easy so far. Each day you are given a few chapters to read and it’s paired with a 10 minute or less audio lesson on the day’s reading. This is the part that really makes it nice. So many times I’ve read a passage of scripture and left not really knowing what’s important about it. This app basically gives you a pastor/professor to explain the entire Bible to you. I’m excited to continue with this program throughout the year and see what new things I learn!
If you’re interested in doing it too, just go to Mission119.org and register for an account. That way the site will track your progress and remember where you left off. (There’s also an iOS app, but it’s honestly pretty awful. Just stick to the website. It works well enough.)

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Wearing: cloth diapers! Not me, my baby. We used Applecheeks cloth diapers on Charlie and had always planned to use them on our second child too, it’s just taken us a little while to get settled into enough of a routine to feel like we could stay on top of the laundry. Also, cloth diapers on a 6 lb baby are bulky to the point of extreme ridiculousness. She’s filled out a little now and the diapers are only slightly ridiculous. I’ve been happy with them so far.

P.S. Check out my post on why we chose cloth diapers.

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Playing: in the snow! We had the best snow we’ve had in a long time this week, so naturally we had to go out and play in it. It was a fun time.

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Fitting: in some real pants! I was able to comfortably wear some non-maternity jeans today. Now, these are my “transition jeans” that I bought after I had Charlie, not my actual pre-pregnancy skinny jeans. I still have a ways to go before those can see the light of day. But it feels good to be in something that doesn’t have an elastic waistband.

Finishing: the hall coat closet makeover! Our tiny hall closet has a big job and it’s finally able to do it without exploding. I’m excited to share more details in a post next week.

So that’s what’s going on around here. I hope you’re having a great week!

P.S. My friend Tina (check out her blog here!) has been doing a post called High Five for Friday for several weeks now and this week I decided to join in on the fun. Take a look at all the HF4F posts over at Coffee with Caitlin.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It feels like Christmas was a million years ago by now, but I wanted to take a minute to share ours because I think it might go down as my favorite Christmas yet. I have three reasons for this:

1. This girl

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Penelope was born a week before Christmas. So rather than spending Christmas in the hospital, or spending Christmas sitting around hugely pregnant, I got to spend Christmas cuddling a brand new baby. That was definitely the best scenario.

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2. This boy

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At two and a half, this was the first year that Charlie really seemed to recognize Christmas as a special time and participate in some family traditions. Christmas traditions form a huge part of my childhood memories, so it is exciting to get to share some of those experiences with Charlie. And then his big gift on Christmas morning (Duplo train set!) was a smashing success. Chris had it all set up the night before so Charlie could walk out to a living room full of train tracks. Needless to say he immediately started playing with it. And then he wouldn’t stop. It took a good hour before we were able to persuade him to open any of his other presents.

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3. This guy

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Chris and I have been married 7 years. We’ve been together for more than a decade. And I think this was the first year that I actually surprised him for Christmas. Normally he’s the kind of guy who only wants a few very specific items. So much so that it’s usually easier to just give him money to go buy the thing himself. It means he gets what he wants, but it’s a super boring way to give a Christmas gift. But this year I got him a Wii U, a gift I knew he would love, but one he hadn’t considered putting on any sort of wish list. When you can make your husband’s face light up like a little kid’s you know you’ve done a good job. And now he and Charlie can bond over Mario Kart.

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Most of all, I spent this Christmas enjoying my little family and feeling oh so grateful to the One who put them in my life.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Introducing… Penelope Kay

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Much to everyone’s surprise, our little bundle of sweetness joined our family a couple of weeks earlier than anticipated. We weren’t able to complete all the laundry and decorating that we were planning on before she arrived, but I think when all was said and done she had perfect timing. We’re looking forward to a holiday week full of family visits.

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A few notes from the first week of her life:

  • I had forgotten how sweet newborn cuddles are. I’m soaking them in.
  • Penelope has a loud and angry cry. Thankfully she doesn’t choose to employ it very often so far.
  • Little girl clothes are so fun!
  • Charlie has been such a good helper and sweet big brother. I know it’s been a big adjustment for him, but he’s handling it as well as I could have hoped.

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It’s amazing how the heart just creates a brand new space you didn’t know was there to fill up with love for a new baby. We’re so happy to have her in our lives.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

These Days // 5

These days we are:

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doing: the dishes. I’ve managed to keep my pile of dirty dishes under control for about a month now. “Under control” means that most of the time the counter is clean, and if there is a small pile it doesn’t stay more than a day. Unfortunately, this is a major accomplishment for me. What am I doing differently? Only what my mother has been trying to teach me since childhood – cleaning up my messes as soon as they are made rather than leaving them for later. Turns out she knew what she was talking about…

counting: the days until Christmas! We are using our activity advent calendar again this year, along with a simple ornament advent calendar that Chris used growing up. Charlie looks forward to putting up each day’s ornament and doing each day’s activity. It’s been so fun to see him get excited about the season this year. Thankfully it’s not all about gifts for him yet. He seems to just be enjoying all the other things that make each day special. Hopefully we can keep it that way as he gets older.

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moving: furniture! All of my paper planning is starting to take shape in real life. We’ve got our living room all set up with a new couch and soon we’ll be rearranging a few things in the master bedroom to make a space for the baby’s bed and changing table. As strange as it feels to remove several pieces of furniture from our rooms (like my desk, and some large bookshelves) I’ve been happy with how much space it seems to open up in our small home.

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eating: ALL the food. We celebrated Thanksgiving with each side of the family in November. We’ve also been enjoying lots of fallish foods for dinners at home. Pot roasts, soup and chili, and my favorite – stuffed acorn squash.

folding: baby clothes. There’s a lot of cuteness going on in these drawers.

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playing: pretend. It’s been fun to see Charlie’s imagination really start to take off in the past few months. At any moment little boy Charlie may morph into a fire truck, monster, or robot. His cars now have conversations and order food, deliver notebooks, and play baseball with each other. And today there were apparently a couple of invisible monkeys running around my house causing all sorts of trouble.

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So that’s what we’re up to these days. I’ll be taking a short break from blogging for the holidays, and then a longer break for having a baby! If you want to stay in the loop and make sure you get future posts (like a baby announcement!) you can always subscribe to get this blog through email (just sign up in the form at the very bottom of the page), or like the Facebook page.

Happy Holidays friends!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Project Life: A Day at the Zoo

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I’ve been wanting to take Charlie to the zoo for at least a year. Somehow it never happened. But as we started to near the due date for baby number two I realized that if we didn’t do it soon it could be another couple of years before we’d be able to try again.

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So we made it a priority. Chris and I picked out a couple of possible weekends and watched the weather and finally landed on our day.

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It was perfect. It was early November so it was a little chilly in the morning, but the sky was clear, the wind was calm, and it warmed up by the afternoon. It turned out to be one of the last warmish days of fall before the temperatures plunged and it turned to winter.

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Charlie had a great time. We didn’t take a ton of pictures – we spent our time just enjoying our day together. But we got a few cute ones and I was so excited about our fun day that I really wanted to make sure I captured it before I forgot some of the little details. So I went ahead and printed some pictures for my ProjectLife album and wrote down a few of my favorite moments. I’m so glad I’ve started this album and have a nice way to remember such days.


Free Printable!

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I made a few of my own 3×4 inch journaling cards for this project and thought I’d make them available to others. They are pretty multi-purpose and use some fun bright colors. If you’d like to use them for your own projects just download the pdf and print them out!

Download the cards here

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

All the Yellow

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Fall was short-lived this year. But it had some pretty glorious days.

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I took some time to break out the fancy camera and play around with it a bit.

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It’s easy to get beautiful pictures when the light is acting like this.

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I wish there were more days like this in the year. But at least I captured a few memories.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Super small space storage

As a part of my quest to get to the house ready for a new baby, I realized that making some of our closet and storage areas more functional would be a key component. When you live in a small space, you really have to use what you have wisely.

So this past weekend I made some plans and got some supplies to fix a few of these areas in our home. One space on the agenda is our hall coat closet.

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Here it is right now. I have big plans for this tiny space, but first I had to do a little something with an even tinier space. You may notice that on the floor of our coat closet sits the parts to a vacuum cleaner. I have a Dyson Digital slim, which I love. It transforms easily from a floor vacuum to a handheld and runs on a battery so I never have to mess with a cord while I’m using it. But it comes with several attachments that just get thrown in the bottom of the coat closet, simply because I don’t really have a better place for them. Until now…

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Here’s our hot water heater closet. This is right off the kitchen in the middle of the house. It would be a convenient place to store things if it wasn’t full of a hot water heater. But as it is the door rarely even gets opened. When I was assessing our storage situation I realized that I might be able to make this tiny space useful after all. So I did!

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I managed to squeeze in just enough storage to hold my vacuum and all it’s little attachments. I can finally keep my vacuum off the floor! I can finally devote my coat closet to only coats! So exciting!

Here’s how it went down.

First I measured. That was essential. It really is a tiny space so I knew I would have to be careful to get supplies that could actually squeeze in there.

Then I went shopping. I bought 3 plastic bins, some shelf brackets, and some screws with washers and nuts (A big thanks goes out to the helpful Lowe’s worker who helped me pick out the right screws. Who knew there were so many overwhelming options?)

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Along with those new supplies I needed a drill, a screwdriver, and a measuring tape.

Then I measured again, this time knowing the size of my bins and brackets. I made marks on the wall of where each screw should go for my brackets so the bins would be spaced nicely apart.

Then I drilled. I made pilot holes for each of the screws to make everything go in a bit easier.

Then I screwed the brackets in place. By far the most difficult part of this project was maneuvering around the hot water heater to get the screws in the right place. If you do a similar project in space where you can actually stand in front of the wall you’re working on, I guarantee it will go much more quickly for you.

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Once all the brackets were in place it was time to attach the bins. Since these bins were transparent I could just sit them on top of the brackets and make a mark for where each of the screws should go. Easy!

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I then used my drill again to make holes in the bins where the screws would go. Then I fastened the bins to the brackets using the screws, washers, and nuts.

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Even though these bins are pretty cheap and slightly flimsy feeling, the brackets provide plenty of support so I feel confident that they will be able to hold anything I need them to. My vacuum cleaner is thoroughly enjoying having a tiny space of it’s very own.

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Friday, November 7, 2014

Toddler Leaf Collage

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This little craft is a simple way to collect and display bits of the outdoors with your toddler. All it takes is a bit of contact paper and a short walk outside!

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I stapled a sheet of contact paper to a piece of cardboard so we would have a sturdy surface to work on. Then we took a walk with our board and picked up pretty leaves. When we found one it was simply a matter of sticking it on the contact paper. No glue, no tape. It was very easy and simple for little toddler hands to manage. By the end of our walk we had a nice collection of leaves.

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When we got home we stuck the contact paper to the glass of our back door so we could admire our work.

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Before sticking contact paper straight to glass I googled it to make sure it wouldn’t leave some sort of horrible sticky residue for me to clean off. In the process I found this blog post of a similar idea with flower petals that produced really lovely results. You should take a look if you want to see what this idea can become if you spend a little more time and effort on it.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

DIY Robot Costume

We haven’t done the trick or treating thing with Charlie yet, but we’ve decided we’re going to give it a try this year. Our town has a nice little main street trick-or-treating event that I think he could find fun. However, I’m not a person who is super into Halloween. I mean, it’s fine, I guess. But I don’t get excited about it, so an elaborate costume is not something I care to spend my time on. Therefore, I thought we’d try a robot this year. Charlie’s been in a bit of a robot phase lately and it seemed like it would be an easy and cheap costume to make.

There are lots of cute robot costumes out there made out of boxes, but we didn’t have any boxes that would have fit Charlie. I originally planned to cut up a paper bag, and glue some foam shapes on for the robot buttons. But Charlie had a better idea to just use the big sheets of foam for make the body of the robot. So that’s what we did.

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I cut a neckline at the top of the foam sheets and then used gaffer’s tape to connect the front and back together at he top of the shoulders (kind of like a sandwich board sign). Then I cut circles and squares out of other colors of foam and helped Charlie glue those on the front for the buttons.

Charlie decided halfway through that he wanted to be a “plane robot,” so we added wings to the back.

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I love that this costume was free (I already had the foam sheets lying around from some previous craft idea) and that it was largely Charlie’s idea. It also only took about half an hour or less to put together.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to persuade him to try it on for a picture yet. I’m interested to see if we can actually get him to dress up for the big night.