Archive | March, 2010

Details of the Nursery

I’ve had a few questions asked about sources for the nursery, so I thought I’d share:

PAINT

walls: Rhino by Behr {home depot}

bed & shelves: Raging River by Sherwin Williams

IMG_1572

IMG_1573

WALLPAPER

Peonies gift wrap by Caskata. I have not seen this line in many stores, but you can look for a retailer in your area. I used wallpaper paste, rolled it onto the paper {you want to make sure your paper will hold up to the paste} then adhered it to the wall. Super easy and I love the result. Keep in mind that many papers are not a continuous design and do not meet up when you put them next to each other. Mine did not and if you look closely you’ll notice, but it doesn’t bother me.

IMG_1571

BEDDING

bumper: made myself {!} using linen curtains from IKEA and white piping made from IKEA curtains as well.

crib sheet: 2 yards of fabric folded over the mattress. This material was my first inspiration for the room. Rarely do I find a fabric that I adore, especially one with a pattern. There is just a tiny hint of blue in there and while it doesn’t really go with anything, I sort of like the eclectic feel it gives. And it helps tie in the gold of the wallpaper.

IMG_1316

crib skirt: Pottery Barn classic stripe twin bed skirt in porcelain.  I cut it apart and remade a crib size skirt. Then I added tulle and grey grosgrain ribbon to the bottom.  I run into this problem often: I have an idea in my head and the product just doesn’t exist {or, if it does, it is far outside of my price range}. Thus, I end up making my own stuff. And very rarely is it made properly or expertly, as evidenced by this crib skirt. But it is the look that I wanted and cost very little.

IMG_1315

coverlet: about 10 years ago I bought two of these on sale from the Martha Stewart line at K-Mart.  Perfect for a little girl’s room {interesting purchase for a 21 year old, but so glad I did!}

pillows: made by me from left-over crib skirt fabric, crib sheet fabric and fabulous velvet given to me by a friend who used to work at the design center and has quite the collection of discontinued fabric samples.

IMG_1320

ruffle pillow is from pier1.

IMG_1310

MOBILE

created by me {here is the tutorial}

IMG_1314

CURTAINS

Again made by yours truly. I bought this satin in the holiday garment section of Joann’s after Christmas last year. It was 70% off and I think I paid $2.50 per yard. They are lined with IKEA white curtains {which makes them thick and dark at night}.  They were originally hanging in our master bedroom, but my vision for our room didn’t really work, so I decided they would be the perfect ‘party dress’ set of curtains for our baby girl. I added the ruffles to the bottom just to make them fancier.

They are hung with shower curtain rings that I find so charming.  They are from the Rachel Ashwell line at Target {sorry, I couldn’t find a link}.

IMG_1308

IMG_0099

ARTWORK

The gold frames are old – collected from my mom & mother-in-law. I cut foam core to the size of each frame then fabric glued the same linen IKEA curtain fabric to it. Each little item is just pinned to the foam core.

IMG_1293

Hope that helps!

Continue Reading | 3 comments

shopping

I’m in the market for some new jeans. I love jeans. Wear them everyday. We joke in our family that it is the commodity I most favor {want to buy yourself flight lessons? Sure, but I get a new pair of jeans.}

So I figured I should start searching online to see what is out there.

Good Lord, look what I found:

image

I don’t really get the skinny jean thing. Very few people can actually pull it off, and even then, I don’t find it very flattering. Sorry if I offend you.

image

And apparently The Gap wanted to bring back the terrible mom jean. Geesh.

So I flipped over to American Eagle. They have lots of inexpensive jeans and are dressing the teens of the world.

Not much better.

image

Again, a terrible skinny jean.

image

And then a bootcut one that looks like leg-warmers.

image

This one is called the boyfriend jean {yes, the boyfriend who wads up his jeans, throws them on the floor, then rolls out of bed in the morning and puts them on – that is exactly who I’d like to base my fashion on}.

No luck on American Eagle. So off I head to Martin & Osa. A brand I like for their casual sophistication.

image

Not so much. This is a MODEL and she looks all bumpy. What in heaven’s name would these look like on a girl who just birthed my fourth baby?!

image

WHAT???!!!!

Seriously, the are selling slouchy pegged leg jeans. In a light wash. With PLEATS.

I think I need to just stick with my tried and true Seven A pocket.

Continue Reading | comments

today’s thoughts

1. I am ready for a living room facelift.  We have a built-in next to the fireplace that needs to be finished as well as a fresh coat of paint on the walls. But I’m also wanting some new pillows {which I’ll make}and a change in accessories to freshen up the space. I get this way at the onset of every season : the itch to change things around. My poor husband. I’ll take some before and after photos and post them when we’re finished.

2. My mother-in-law is a thrift store shopper. I am definitely not. She always comes out with the best treasures. I just come out feeling like I need some hand sanitizer. But, I benefit greatly from her thrifting trips as she tires of her collections quickly and I get to take what I want. Tonight, I’m headed over to her house to pick through her give-away pile. Hope I come home with some good stuff!

3. My daughter, while precious in every way, has a major spitting up problem. My goodness we go through a lot of outfits and burp cloths each day.

IMG_1549
4. My husband is at work tonight and I’m planning on watching every show that he can’t stand: project runway, shear genius and america’s next top model. So looking forward to my date with the dvr.

Continue Reading | comments

It’s a sunny day

My mom taught a song to the boys:

“It’s a sunny day, it’s a sunny day, it’s sunny outside so we can go out a play. All the little children say ‘hip-hip-hooray!’ It’s a sunny, sunny day {boom boom}”

Most days when it is unexpectedly sunny {quite frequently, I’m afraid}, we all break out in song. Today was one of those day.

GORGEOUS.

So we headed outdoors.

IMG_1344

I realized that since having our little girl, I really haven’t photographed my first three loves. So I grabbed the camera and snapped a few shots of our beautiful day.

IMG_1345 IMG_1356

We met up with my mom and her wonderful husband for a lakeside lunch.

IMG_1381

Then ventured to another park to meet up with cousins. {Note: it was only 68, which is really a nice spring day, but certainly not warm enough to be shirtless – unless you are 5 and you really don’t care}.

IMG_1378

My silly six year old found posing for the camera quite entertaining. He had some awesome poses.

IMG_1373IMG_1388

IMG_1390 IMG_1391 IMG_1395 IMG_1397

Hope you are all enjoying your weekend. We loved today.

Unfortunately, I think we’ll be singing the “It’s a rainy day” version of the song tomorrow.

Continue Reading | comments

the nursery

My heart is happy every time I walk past Audrey’s nursery. The colors, the patterns, the fact that it is the girliest place in our house.  At first, when my husband saw the color I was asking him to paint, he questioned me. Why blue? It was my one chance to go pink, and I chose blue.  I guess I’m just not as crazy about pink as I am blue. I’ve realized as I’ve spent time in her room, that if I could decorate my home any way I wished {without considering the four males that reside with me} it would look very much like our sweet girl’s room.

So let me welcome you to the nursery {beware, there are many photos!}

First, the before.

IMG_6006 windows

This was previously a boy’s nursery {go figure} and I loved the stripes. I originally wanted to use our guest room as the new nursery and us this room as the guest room so that I wouldn’t have to paint over the stripes, but that didn’t happen. So goodbye stripes.

And here it is now:

IMG_1234

IMG_1287

IMG_1243

IMG_1286

IMG_1289

IMG_1284 IMG_1283 IMG_1293 IMG_1296 IMG_1297 IMG_1299 IMG_1303

IMG_1290

IMG_1314IMG_1304

IMG_1307IMG_1271IMG_1306 IMG_1328IMG_1308 IMG_1310 IMG_1313 IMG_1316 IMG_1322 IMG_1326

We’re still missing a few key elements {a chandelier – I just haven’t found the right one; a large sheepskin rug; a canvas painted with her scripture verse on it; a few more pillows}, but it is as good as it will get for today. The rest will happen over time. I’m learning to be okay with that :

Some of my favorite things:

:: the wallpaper {actually flat sheets of gift wrap that I have adored for a long time}

:: the ruffles on the curtains

:: the old gold frames {from my grandparents’ collection. They passed before I really knew them, but I think we would have gotten along beautifully. Both were actors and artists – my grandfather did set designs for theater, my grandma taught acting classes to Judy Garland. My mom mentions often that I would have loved her home growing up – glamorous and eclectic at the same time.}

:: the vintage little dresses {I bought one before I was even married and the other was my mom’s}

:: the pink ruffle pillow {I was not planning on putting pink into the room, but I found the pillow and then my mom gave me the crown artwork and it just came together.}

I really love all of the room. I was concerned that I had a vision that I wasn’t going to be able to translate into real life, but I think I got it pretty close.

IMG_0090

Continue Reading | 30 comments

sick day

It’s a sick day around here. It started on Saturday in the middle of the night and continued through until late last night. I think we’re over the hump, but we’re laying low today, just in case. My husband’s first day back to work since our little girl’s arrival was Sunday {conveniently, also the day I got sick. Fortunately, we had spent the night at his parent’s house and they took care of the boys while I spent the day resting}.  He’s back at work today and I was a little nervous about having three boys with the flu and one baby who likes to eat a lot.  But it’s been good today.

Sometimes sick days are just what I need. Mellow kids. Lots of movies. Coloring. Comfort foods like applesauce and graham crackers.

IMG_1186 And hot chocolate {its a proven sore throat remedy, right?}

IMG_1191

Time for reading {Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl}

IMG_1193

Catching up on my bible study {Walking By Faith by Jennifer Rothschild}

IMG_1207

Making flower headbands for a few special new babies.

And taking photos of my Audrey-girl.

I had a few minutes while the boys were napping to play around with photo editing. I’m fascinated by what you can do with photos and eager to learn how to do it correctly.  This is just me messing around with some color, cropping and photo effects.

audrey sleeping

Here is the before : IMG_1203

audrey awake 60s

And another before:

IMG_1200

Kind of fun to play around and see the difference.

Time to get back to my book :

Continue Reading | comments

tonight

IMG_1174 IMG_1177

{lots and lots of laundry}

IMG_1184

{these sweet dainty little fingers}

IMG_1172

{the best chocolate chips}

Not pictured:

cleaning up vomit {yuck : even when it is my own child’s}

watching dumb tv { i am definitely no smarter after watching The Bachelor: behind the scene}

finding some new fun blogs

feeding the little darling every hour.

Continue Reading | comments

i can’t live without …

well, actually, I can’t live without a lot of things {God, my family, chocolate}.

Instead, I should call this, I COULDN’T BREASTFEED WITHOUT :

because, truly, I don’t know what I did before this invention.

My very good friend created this brilliant undergarment. I wear one everyday.

I am pleased to introduce you to the

image

image

This little wonder is much like a tube top, only it is worn under your bra line. It doesn’t seem too impressive upon first glance, but believe me, it is amazing.

Here are my top three benefits:

1. It keeps you all tucked in. We all know that after expanding incredibly, a stomach takes quite a while to go back to normal {if ever :}. This is just tight enough to slim you without the uncomfortable squeeze of wearing spanx.

2. It hides the beautiful reality of back fat.  Have you ever sat behind someone who is breastfeeding? Ever noticed that no nursing cover can quite cover a mamma’s side and back? You lift up your shirt to feed your baby, and out pops the flab leftover from growing the precious darling. Not something I’d like to show the world.  An empire tank is worn under your bra so that when you lift your shirt, you keep your torso covered by the tank. IN.GEN.IOUS.

3. Do I really need another benefit? I’d say the first two are enough. However, I will also say that I love supporting my dear friend. She has worked tirelessly on creating a company for moms, she is creative beyond belief, such a thoughtful friend and great mom. I think supporting other companies created by moms is one of the best things we can do for each other.

Check out her little company video {shot at my house! How fun it was despite my nasty nausea at the time}

Rae has generously offered a 25% discount on any of her AROMMY products.

image

{the smib – part smock, part bib}

image image image

{another product I can’t live without once my kiddos are eating real food. And just look at that little cutie in the orange shirt – my darling no. 3}

image image

{stationery}                                                                                                                                                 {flowers}

image image

{door bumper. Yet ANOTHER one I can’t live without. No more slamming doors}

image image

image image

{placemats}

image

Visit AROMMY’s blog. If you’d like to place an order with the 25% discount, please email rae@armommy.com directly.

Continue Reading | comments

affirmation and a necklace

First off, thank you to all the sweet women who commented on my last post. I debated about whether this was the right place to ‘journal’ and I think after reading your comments, it was.  After I pressed ‘publish’ I said a prayer that somehow my total honesty would make some sort of impact on someone and that ultimately God would be glorified.  I hope that both have occurred.

Sometimes I just need to write out my thoughts and process through things so that I can get past it, so thank you for being my listening audience. It seems like this idea of unrealistic expectations is something that I am not the only one struggling with which, believe me, feels good.

I was doing my bible study last night {yes, night, not morning like I thought I should do} and it put into words just what I needed to hear. Paul writes:

“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me,

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

That is good, yes?

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

On a completely different note, I am not really a jewelry girl. I generally wear my wedding ring {my great-grandmother’s and I love it} some fake diamond studs, a watch and this:

IMG_1034

About two years ago, I searched and searched for tiny charms that I could have my boys’ initials engraved on.  It was hard to find such little ones, but etsy came through for me.

IMG_1039

When I got the package in the mail I cried. They were perfect. One little charm for each of my darlings.

Once we named Audrey, I placed my order {kathrynriechert.com} and was delighted once again when I received the tiny package.

IMG_1038

So now my necklace is complete.

IMG_1036

My FOUR darlings.

I sort of wish it spelled out something cooler than ebma, but we weren’t really thinking about my necklace when naming our first three {it was, ridiculous as it sounds, a consideration when naming baby no. 4 – that’s just kind of how I am}.

IMG_1048

It is petite and makes me happy.

Continue Reading | comments

I should

I had a hard day today. Not bad hard, just emotional and challenging hard.

I realized, with the help of my best friend, that I have some unrealistic expectations.

As a side note, do you have a best friend? I hope so. They are so wonderful and necessary. I adore my husband, and would probably call him my very best friend, but a girl friend is different. Today, without even knowing it, I needed my girl friend. I needed to be able to confess some things that only another mom and wife would understand.  And it helps that mine has known me since I was 18.

Back to my hard day.

It all started when we got on the subject of home school.  It is something our family has gone back and forth on and in thinking about next year with our oldest in first grade and gone every day for 7 hours has brought the idea back up. So I was just casually talking with my friend about my thoughts and got a little teary.  We moved on to another topic {or maybe just got interrupted by our little ones and their play-doh needs} when she said, “it seems like every time you talk about home schooling, you cry”.  Hmmm. She was right. WHY? And this led into quite the counseling session.

I cry because sometimes I feel like home school is the best option for our family. And yet, I am terrified of it. I don’t know how to do it; I’ve never seen it done; I don’t know how to teach one child while my three other are needing me; it is a huge sacrifice of my time and energy and I am not sure if I want to make it. I like {selfishly} the idea of sending my kids off to be taught by a teacher and play with friends while I get a little break.

I feel disappointed in myself for feeling this way. I should be able to figure it out if it is the best for my children. I should be organized enough to do it. I should, I should, I should.

I should have a daily routine for my kids.

I should have a weekly meal plan and all the ingredients ready.

I should keep up with the laundry.

I should be up and dressed and ready before the kids wake.

I should exercise.

I should do my bible study first thing in the morning.

I should keep the house clean{er}.

I should send birthday cards.

I should stop eating anything with sugar in it.

I should call my friends more often.

I should have all our photos organized and made into albums.

I should mop my kitchen floor.

I should teach the boys scripture.

I should play with them more.

I should. I should. I should.

I was trying to write out some of these thoughts earlier tonight and my little girl just didn’t want me to put her down. I should have been processing, coming up with a list of unrealistic expectations and figuring out a solution so that I don’t feel so overwhelmed. But what I needed to do was hold my baby.  And she was so sweet, just looking at me and studying my face.  What really is more valuable?

I’m not sure where all of these expectations come from. I don’t have one particular person in mind that I’m trying to measure up to. I think I just take the culmination of everything I hear another mom doing and think I should be doing the same.  My friend Jen takes her kids on daily walks, so I suddenly feel like I am less of a mom for not doing the same. My friend K.C. makes really healthy {and tasty} food for her family. Amy is a photographer and takes amazing photos of her kids and has some really great traditions centered on family photos.  Nicole loves the Lord, talks about Him whenever she can and is beautifully dressed everyday.  Rae is always designing something more darling than before.  Annie has a gorgeous home, adores her kids and can’t wait for them to wake from their naps.  The list could go on and on.

Sometimes I just don’t feel like I measure up.

And the worst of it is, the only one telling me this is me.

These are all expectations that I am creating for myself, all the while feeling like if I don’t do this, Ryan will be disappointed. If I don’t do that, my children will somehow suffer.

My girl friend reminded me of two things:

1. This has always been my struggle.  I create these lofty expectations and then get really burdened when I can’t meet them. It happened when she first met me and its happening now.  Striving for perfection is not a fun problem to have.

2. This is not what the Lord thinks of me.  He is not shaking his finger at me telling me I should do a better job of keeping the kitchen floor picked up. Nor is it what my husband or children or friends think of me.  Don’t get me wrong, I can be a better wife, a better mom, a better friend.  There is always room for improvement and I am all about continuing to learn and grow. My problem is that when I feel like I have so many shoulds, I get overwhelmed, stuck and so afraid of failing or disappointing, that I don’t even try.

And I’ll add one more:

I did have a baby two weeks ago.

My sweet girl eats so often during the day that I’ve spent more time sitting on the couch in her short lifetime than I have in months. All that downtime has made me feel unproductive.  I am not sleeping as much as usual, so my motivation and energy level is slightly lower than normal.  And I do have three other children.

I should probably cut myself a little slack.

So Audrey’s nursery is not done. She is healthy.

So the laundry is heaped in baskets, still unfolded.  We have clothes.

So I haven’t written thank you cards for all the meals we’ve eaten these past two weeks.  My friends understand.

I’m going to work on getting more organized, especially with meals and our daily schedule.  I’m going to create a list of what is important to me and what kind of wife and mom and woman I want to be.  It is good for me to regroup, set new goals and try to improve on myself.

But I’m also going to remember that no amount of striving will earn greater love. My kids just want to hang out with me. My husband has already chosen me. And, most of all, my Heavenly Father takes me just as I am and fills in my many gaps with His grace.  How amazing is that?

Continue Reading | comments

my house plant woes

When my husband and I were first married and moved into our first home, I bought a maidenhair fern. I’ve always loved their frilly leaves and I figured a home is more homey when plants are present.

plants 6

The fern didn’t live too long.  I learned quickly that 1. maidenhair ferns are quite temperamental and 2. I am not very good at keeping plants alive.

See exhibit a:

IMG_0989 IMG_0990

my nearly dead topiary. This is my third one {the first two met a similar ‘oops, I went out of town and forgot to water you’ fate.}

And exhibit b:

IMG_0994 IMG_0996

The bay leaf topiary that my sweet husband bought for me for Mother’s Day last year. I have tried SO hard to keep this one alive and I think it is time I just admit defeat.  The leaves are all dried out and I’m pretty sure they are not going to perk up no matter how much water I give them.

Last spring I found a perfect maidenhair fern at Pottery Barn.

IMG_0998

One that I can never kill as it is made of plastic.

IMG_0999

I’m not really a fan of fake plants, but sometimes you just have to go with it.

I love the way a room looks with some fresh greenery in it.

plants 5 plants 2 plants 4

Which is why while walking through the grocery store the other day, I decided to give it another shot.

IMG_1001 IMG_1000

It is nearly spring and I’m just needing some green in my life. Plus, for $7.49, I can afford to replace miss azalea when she meets her inevitable fate.

If you have any tips on keeping houseplants alive, feel free to send them my way. Clearly, I could use all the help I can get.

Continue Reading | comments

newborn photos

We know a great photographer that we were so fortunate to have take our little Audrey’s photos last week. Stacy is so good at taking candid, natural, adorable pictures of children, babies and families.  She likes to do newborn shoots within the first 10 days so that the babies are sleepy, which, of course, our Audrey was not.  But she captured some really sweet moments and we’re so happy to have these!

Untitled-114

Untitled-312 Untitled-49 Untitled-215

Stacy has this fabulous new studio along an old main street.  If you live in the Seattle area and are looking for a photographer, please contact this talented lady.  Or for more of her work, visit her blog.

Continue Reading | comments