Thursday, May 28, 2009

{ridiculous}

So I'm ridiculously excited about the boys' birthday. Seriously I think I might be just as excited as I was on my wedding day.

I went to the party store today and bought balloon bouquets (don't worry...they will be picked up on Saturday to avoid a deflation crisis). I was tempted to buy the 5 ft. tall Elmo but settled on the usual round "happy birthday" mylar...simple and sweet. Got two of course, one for L and one for B. And I added two party hats to the cart with metallic fringe. I was going to pass on the hats but all of a sudden I thought of the picture of them eating their cupcakes and that picture would not be complete without a shiny cardboard cone on their cute little heads. We'll see if they actually humor me and wear them for more than 10 seconds.

We still have a TON of little stuff to get done around the house. Thankfully both of my moms are coming over tomorrow to help. My Mom is making the cupcakes with funfetti cake, of course. And lots of sprinkles and my handmade cupcake toppers. You'll have to wait for party pics to see those. :) Getting my hair done tomorrow morning which is a treat I'm looking forward to. I haven't had my highlight done in months...the grays are starting to take over!

I'm trying not to stress too much about all of the little things...my biggest fear is that I will miss out on that perfect picture or perfect family moment in the midst of all of the birthday chaos. But I will have two cameras on hand AND a video camera so hopefully that will cover all bases. I know...I'm a little obsessed with capturing memories.

I am putting together a photo wall of pics of the boys from birth - 11 months to hang over the gift table, and fun pennant strings that will have bags of cotton candy, peanuts and animal crackers hanging from them. The boys have special shirts to wear...the hubs is a little iffy on those but he is humoring me.

I know that I'm going to get teary on Saturday. It has been a year like I don't think I'll ever experience again in my life...the hardest, scariest, most wonderful, love-filled year of my life. Even though I would never want to do it again, I'm a little sad that it is over. My boys are almost officially not babies anymore. Wow.

And my Grandma is coming...can't wait to see her. What a day it will be!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

{belly}

I am amazed at how quickly the boys are learning words and what they mean these days. This weekend I taught them "belly" and here is Landon showing off his new trick! (sorry the video is sideways...I must learn to never video with the camera on its side!)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

{full}

What a great weekend we had! Full of time with family, house projects, an IKEA trip, and lots of fun with the boys. I didn't accomplish everything around the house that I wanted to do, but got quite a few things done.

Finally got Ben's curtains hung up and I love them...the fabric looks so great with his Ben Harper poster, and his custom pillow from my dear friend Kelly...



Dan and his mom got my Mother's Day present put together and I'm loving it. They got me a swing for our patio and I've already gotten to enjoy it, along with the boys. They would rather try to climb up the sides though, while momma much prefers enjoying the view.

I must add that Sunday night while I was enjoying a few minutes of me time on my swing, a lovely bird decided to crap on my ankle. Welcome to nature! And we have a TON of mosquitoes in our neighborhood. I must have at least 10 bites on me right now, with 5 or so being on my forehead and behind my ears. Super itchy and annoying. Bring on the OFF!

Our IKEA trip was pretty much a bust shopping wise. The curtains that I wanted were sold out in white...big bummer. So I'm still on the never ending hunt for dining room curtains that won't cost me an arm and a leg. We still had fun though and spent a whopping $16 on a few random items.

And finally, a baby-proofing project that I'm really excited about. When we first moved in, we were using the pillows from our sofa to keep the boys from cracking their heads on the concrete fireplace hearth. Not so effective or attractive as you can see here...



Well, my mother-in-law came up with the brilliant idea to use one of the boys' crib bumpers, which we aren't using on their cribs anymore, to pad it. It was the perfect size! She cut it in half, sewed the long edges together, and used velcro on the ends to make a perfectly padded slipcover for what used to be an awful baby hazard. I love how it turned out! (luckily the pattern on the bumper matched our decor)




Started working on birthday party stuff this weekend also...made decorations and special shirts for the boys. I'm getting sooo excited!!!!

Hope everyone has a good day!

Friday, May 22, 2009

{*long* weekend}

So what is everyone doing this weekend? I'm really excited to have a three day break from the office, but even more excited that the hubs has all next week off of work. He desperately needs a break from the night shift life, and it is much deserved.

I wish I could have taken the week off too, but I don't have enough vacation time left. I am taking Friday off to get ready for the boys' party though...that was a no-brainer. :)

This weekend will hopefully consist of:

1. Organizing/cleaning the house
2. Finish touch up painting in the dining room
3. IKEA trip on Sunday! *fingers crossed*
4. Time with family of course
5. Maybe a picnic in the park with the boys? I love those.

Hope you have a fun weekend ahead of you!

{the fashion show}



Is anyone else out there watching The Fashion Show on Bravo? I have been a hard core Project Runway fan, and when I heard about this, which is a blatant copy of PR IMO, I thought I had to check it out. The first few episodes didn't really draw me in...of course I fell asleep and missed the last 10 minutes of the 1st one. But after watching three episodes I must say I'm sufficiently hooked. It will definitely fulfill my reality fashion TV fix until the real thing is back on the air in August! So excited about that!

Anyway...I'm pretty annoyed that Anna lost last night...and last week. She has gotten jipped the past two weeks for sure. Her coat last night was awesome...I would definitely wear it. I loved the tween she chose and the shape was beautiful. I can see how they weren't wowed by her "surprise" element, but I think she made the best choice by making a gorgeous coat instead of what she called a "go go gadget coat".

{Stupid Bravo website won't let me copy the photos...so I'll have to use links instead. Grrr...}

{double grrr...just noticed that these links take you to the beginning of the slide show, so you'll have to scroll through the designs to see them}

Anna's Coat

While Andrew's winning coat was well made and I thought it was attractive, I didn't like how poufy it was when it was rolled up...us ladies don't need any extra junk in the trunk, am I right??

Andrew's winning coat

I thought it was awesomely funny how Isaac and Norma totally put Daniella in her place though. I'm not a fan of her at all. We'll put her in the Kinley category (she was on last season of PR if you don't recall.)

And Reco...well...he may be talented, but that boy needs to shut up. Seriously. He has enough confidence (or should I say cockiness) for all of the designers with some to spare, and I thought it was fitting that he didn't win. Although I think it sucks the way they have the judging set up. The best design should be able to win, period. I wonder if they are going to make them stay in those teams the entire season? Kind of lame.

Can you believe the judges would have picked his as the best look though? Who would wear this?!

Reco's design


And is anyone else a little shocked at how few of the designers don't know basic sewing skills? How did they even get chosen for the show? I'm starting to think on these shows that they make decisions based on what will get good ratings, and not what is the best decision regarding the competition. But will I still watch...of course!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

{stay happy}

I'm thankful for a new day today. Yesterday was a rough one for me emotionally, but thanks to the wonderful support of friends I feel much better today. I found these in our front yard this morning and decided to bring them to work to remind me to stay happy. The cute vase was a gift from a dear friend a few years ago...



I was having a super pity party for myself yesterday. Feeling down about my body and struggling with those extra baby pounds. I feel a lot more optimistic today, and am taking steps, no matter how small, to feel better about myself.

1. I'm switching to 2% milk in my coffee instead of fat free creamer. Sure, it has some fat in it, but it is natural and has to be healthier.

2. Making sure I get some exercise in every day. Last night I took the boys for a walk, which in our new hilly neighborhood is quite the workout. I also did 50 crunches and leg lifts to help tone my tummy. My dear friend Dawn is sending me her 30 Day Shred video...I'm kind of scared of it, but I know I can do it! And our Direct TV has a fitness channel, so I'm going to DVR some workouts so I can do them when I have time.

3. Keeping track of what I eat and not allowing myself to over-indulge. I'm quite the stress eater, but I'm trying to change the way I think about food. No more late night snacking binges.

These are the steps I'm trying to take right now and hopefully they will help me feel better mentally and physically.

Do you have any tips to share on how you work on your mental and physical health? I would love to hear them!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

{closed}

Well, we closed on the old house yesterday. I feel relief mixed with a bit of sadness, but mostly relief. The couple that bought it are so cute and getting married this summer. Seems like a perfect fit for them. I'm still amazed at how well all of this worked out. We even made a whopping $150 off of the old house...sweet! ;)

Ben took a few steps by himself yesterday. Talk about a jaw-dropping, grin-inducing moment. I swear that boy is going to be walking by their birthday, which, btw, is 11 days away!!! So much to do to prepare for the party. Trying not to stress out about that.

Discovered yesterday that we have a ton of honeysuckle growing in our back yard, and a big patch of mint right outside our kitchen window. Both of these things comfort me and remind me of my childhood. My grandparents had honeysuckle in their yard, and growing up we had mint in our backyard for all of those pitchers of iced tea we consumed in the summer. Every day this house is becoming more of a home, and that is a great feeling.

Looking forward to the three day weekend...hopefully we can fit some fun in with all of the work we need to do around the house. What are your plans for the holiday weekend?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

{you say goodbye...I say hello}



So Ben is turning into quite the social butterfly, and very vocal. Lately Ben has been screaming. A lot. Not really because he needs anything, just to scream. I know I'll probably regret this later, but I can't wait until he can talk so he will hopefully stop screaming so much.

Yesterday we did our necessary trip to Walmart for the essentials and a quick Subway dinner. Fun times. And Ben screamed his way through the store. More fun times.

But when we got to the check out he became all smiles, and started waving at the check out ladies. Of course they fell instantly in love and I just couldn't stop smiling. He is such a flirt, my Benny. But he only waved hello to them...no goodbye waves. Guess he knows we'll be going back sooner than we would like.

Monday, May 18, 2009

{sobbing and smiling}

I did a lot of both of those things this weekend. One thing I've learned since the boys came into our lives...a day can go from "just shoot me now" to "can life get any better?" in a matter of hours.

Friday was a bad day all around. Water heater broken. Cold shower. Landon having potty issues and an awful diaper rash. I couldn't get him to sleep that night so I literally held him from 10 pm until 7 am when the hubs got home from work. Horrid night for L and Momma. Needless to say I was physically and mentally exhausted and since the hubs had to go to bed, that meant I had both of the boys on my own until at least noon. I did quite a bit of sobbing off and on that morning. A definite "just shoot me now" moment.

Then MIL saved the day...went to her house to get a hot shower. Heaven. She took Ben out for awhile, Landon napped, hubs got some more needed rest. Dining room walls received more paint and are almost complete! Got a few more organization tasks and decorating projects done. Including this one...

This vintage drying rack used to hang in the boys' nursery in the old house, but I decided to put it in the family room and use it as a photo display. It works pefectly with magnets and I love the mix of new and old family photos, and of course my button M that I made a few years ago. I hung it using an old glass knob and a fabric measuring tape I found in my Grandma's sewing box.




And here is a sneak peak of the dining room wall color...


I'm now obsessed with finding curtains for that room. As much as I would like to do something unique and different, I'll probably go with my faithful white panels that go with everything.

Sunday was a complete turn around from Saturday. A full night's sleep and happy boys in the morning. L was feeling much better thank goodness. That awful diaper rash was freaking me out!

It was a day of lots of firsts and exciting moments for me. L stood up without using anything to pull himself up! That was a definite jaw dropping moment for me. Both boys are clapping now, and they both did it when I said the word "clap"...it is so exciting to see them recognizing words like that. AND they both drank from a straw! It is so amazing to see how quickly they are picking up on things. Lots of great stuff was written down in their baby books yesterday. :)

The countdown to L&B's 1st birthday is getting shorter and shorter! 13 days and counting!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

{comfort}

Its days like today, when I'm going on three hours sleep (thanks to a teething Landon), the weather is gloomy, and I'm stressing about getting our last bits of stuff before we close on our old house tomorrow (yay!)...that I'm glad to have simple comforts like this lavender scented neck pillow from my sister. Don't you just love that fabric? I'm thinking it is probably Amy Butler. :)



And I'm feeling a bit better about myself today...thanks to those who left uplifting comments yesterday. They were much appreciated!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

{discouraged}

I feel like I need a makeover. When I look in the mirror these days, I have a hard time not being discouraged by what I see.

Wrinkles appearing on my forehead. Those extra 15 baby pounds I just can't seem to get rid of. Upper arms that you would think would be toned from lifting my two hunks of baby love, but look nothing like they did a few years ago. Hair that used to be shiny and stick straight that is now course, with bends in weird places and more than a few gray hairs in the mix.

I guess I should wear all of these things proudly. They are the badges of honor a mom earns, right? I think now that the boys are nearing their 1st birthday, I'm discouraged because I expected to be back to my old self by now. Unrealistic? Most definitely. I guess I watch too much television and see too many celebrities post baby.

Regardless of the why, I am discouraged. I am trying to eat better and exercise but could be doing much better in both departments. I'm a stress eater, and the events of the past year could be summed up by one word...stressful. Happy, but stressful.

I'm realizing that I spent the past 15 or so years taking a lot of my self-worth from my appearance. I was proud of being thin and in shape. I was blessed to be able to go into a store, try on something I thought was cute, and have it look cute on me. I was in Target Sunday and tried on some capri pants. Big mistake. Even the ones in the size bigger than some of my current clothes were too tight. It is hard to adjust to shopping not being fun anymore...I miss that. I never thought I would be one of those people that hated clothes shopping. Big reality check.

And I found out yesterday that my Granddaddy is being moved into a nursing home on Friday. He is nearing 90 years old and has Alzheimer's, so it is time. But I'm sad...sad for him, sad for my Grandmother who will be living alone now, sad for a marriage of over 60 years that is facing a death of sorts. I'm praying that he will be OK there, and that she will be OK facing this big change in her life.

My apologies for such a bummer of a post, but I needed to get this out. Hopefully now I can make more room in my brain for happy thoughts.

Monday, May 11, 2009

{high}

I'm still on a high from my 1st true Mother's Day weekend.

Last year when we celebrated I looked like this (notice my belly was too big to fit in the shot)...



Oh what a difference a year has made! Here I am with the boys yesterday...I know I am a little biased but aren't they just the most handsome boys you've ever seen?!?!



I was definitely spoiled this weekend, and it start on Friday when I got home from work. I walked into the house to see this...



My lovely mother-in-law had started painting our dining room!!! And she got so much done in just a short amount of time. She also made the curtains for Ben's room. Wonder woman she is, I tell ya.

Then, the hubby leads me to the garage to show me my Mother's Day present...

A swing for the back patio!!! I can't tell you how excited I am about that swing. Our porch swing at the old house was one of my favorite places to relax, so to have one at the new house is so exciting. I can't wait to get it put together so I can enjoy it.

On Saturday, we had a Mother's Day lunch at a local restaurant. My mom and sister came, as well as my Wonder Woman of a mother-in-law, her sister, and my sister-in-law. We had so much fun, ate some yummy food (especially the desserts) and exchanged heartfelt cards and gifts. Here are a few pics from our lunch...





Mmmmmmm....



And yesterday, the hubs and I spent a leisurely morning with the boys, then had a nice lunch at mother-in-law's house, followed by a much needed trip to Target. What a great weekend it was...perfect for celebrating being a Mom.

Hope all of my other mommy friends had an equally great weekend!!

Friday, May 08, 2009

{lovely}

I don't know if I have told you all this yet, but I love our new yard. LOVE it. Now that all of the plants are in bloom it is so green and lovely. We have lots of hostas, some peonies that have yet to bloom, lilac bushes and some other things that I don't know the names of. :)

Here are a few shots I took the other day...







I love how my planter and topiaries from the old house were a perfect fit by the front door.


I want to add a hydrangea bush somewhere but other than that it is in good shape!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

{put together}

I hadn't done a post in awhile about fashion, so I thought I would share what I'm wearing today. Since I'm still struggling with those last 15 post baby pounds, it is hard to find outfits that I feel great in. Thankfully today is one of those days that I feel "thin" and put together. I love this top...the yellow, black and gray combination is really fun. And the gray flats are super comfy and cute. I had to break down and go buy a pair of black dress pants in a size larger than I wore pre-pregnancy, but it is the way they look that matters, not the size. Or that is what I keep telling myself. ;)

I'm also wearing the necklace I got last year for Mother's Day from the hubby...it has two small pearl "peas" in a silver pod to represent my two boys. All together now... aaawwwweeeee. :)



Wednesday, May 06, 2009

{progress}

Over this past weekend, I was able to do a little more decorating at home. Since our master bedroom was very neglected at the old house, I decided I was going to focus on it first this time, since every parent deserves a pretty, relaxing space to go to at night (or during the day for my hubby who works 3rd shift.)

Almost everything in here is stuff from the old house, except for the tree print which is a new purchase from Walmart. I love the arrangement over our bed...




Above the dresser...



And in the corner next to the door...gotta have a cheesy wedding photo collage somewhere people! The plaque has a favorite quote..."Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be!" Thanks to my sister...it was an anniversary gift last year. :)



I also got the prints hung in our main bathroom. They were in our master bath before, and were a perfect fit in the new bathroom!



Now for the boys' rooms...they are looking so bare without anything on the walls. Stay tuned for more of my decorating madness... :)

Monday, May 04, 2009

{the fun is in the hunt}

Ever since I knew we were moving into the new house, I was on the search for a new buffet/credenza/sideboard-ish piece for the dining room. The one we have now was a $50 cheapo office credenza from Office Depot and we've been over it since the day Dan put it together. But, it has served us well and been a good home for Dan's LP's and my scrapbook supply madness overflow etc. Here it is in all its glory...



A few weeks ago my lovely Mother-in-Law mentioned that she saw a really cool 60's Danish modern-esque piece at a local antique shop that she thought I would love. Little did she know that I had been looking for a piece exactly like that on ebay and craigslist and anywhere else I could think of. She found it on a marathon antiquing day, when she hit up every antique shop in a 45 mile radius. She was pretty sure that she had spotted it at a particular antique mall in a neighboring town, so one Saturday a few weeks ago we took a trip over there. The boys stayed with Dan which was a good idea since this place is so crammed full you could break a vase just by breathing too hard.

Anyway...we scoured that entire mall with no luck. Sigh. But I did score these two adorable vintage school house chairs for the boys...for $6.50 a piece!



So I went on daydreaming about my buffet for a few more weeks, and MIL kept trying to remember where she had seen it. Then fast forward to yesterday...my cell phone rings around 1pm...its MIL and she found it! It is at an antique shop about 20 minutes away. She rushed over to pick me and the boys up and we were off on our adventure.

I was super excited to finally see it, and also see if I could haggle the price down to fit my budget. There was a sticker on it asking $325...a little high for my liking.

About 15 minutes into the drive was when the trip started to take a dip south. Landon starts screaming. Then Ben decides, why not, I'll start screaming too! It was a lovely high volume opera the MIL and I were treated to. I cranked up the Jack Johnson on the stereo and they both calmed down. They do love their Jack.

We get to the antique shop and the screaming baby culprit is discovered. Poor Landon was soaking wet. Somebody didn't check his diaper before we left the house...of course it wasn't me! Someone else must be to blame. So I change his diaper in the back of the car while his screaming continues, and carry him while dragging this stroller along beside me, knowing the minute I put him in it he will start again. I must say it is a wonderful feeling to know that your embrace can make someone feel so safe, even if your arm is going numb in the process.

We get into the store and said buffet is on the second floor...no elevator...so MIL and I pick up the boys in their umbrella strolers (yes, by this point I was brave enough to put Landon down), and carry them up the stairs. We get up there and one of the store owners starts flirting with the boys. They usually love this, but for some reason Landon takes one look at her and totally freaks out. Scream fest #2. I pick him up, tears streaming down his red cheeks, and all is right in the world again. As a side note, isn't it crazy how quickly babies can produce tears? Just amazes me. But I digress...

We come upon the buffet. I must admit at first glance I was a tad disappointed, just because it wasn't exactly what I had pictured in my daydreams. Not quite the right wood tone, not the exact configuration of shelves I had envisioned.

MIl helps me move some pictures away from it that are leaning up against the side so I can inspect it fully. Landon is once again in his stroller...holding his own. I inspect the back of the piece...then walk back around to the front. All of a sudden I feel something weird under my feet and simultaneously hear a loud craaaack. That was breaking glass, wasn't it? Yep...you planted both feet directly onto a framed print, Mandy.

"You break it, you buy it." is the first thing that came to my mind. I think I actually said it out loud, after the look of frozen fear wore off of my face. And I was worried about the boys breaking something! Oy.

The store owner comes over to use and reassures me that it is OK, while I apologize all over myself while trying not to cry. Landon's two rounds of scream fests have left me a bit raw. After she reassures me it isn't a problem, I giggle a bit as I tell her that I am interested in the buffet but would like to negotiate the price with the owners. (the shop is made up of booths, so she wasn't the actual owner of the piece).

I can just imagine the conversation if I was talking directly to the owners..."Hey, I just broke one of your antiques, but I want to buy this piece of furniture...for $100 less than you have it marked." Suuuuure.

The owner goes off to call the booth owner and we browse around with the boys a bit. Another sweet lady walks past and says hi to the boys. Scream fest #3 ensues. Apparently not Landon's day. Another few minutes in Mom's arms and all is right with the world again. Back to the stroller.

A few negotiations back and forth with the owners and they come down to $225, the price I told the shop owner I couldn't go over. I'm excited that they agreed to my price, but have that little knot in my stomach telling me that it isn't the perfect piece for our house. I felt like after all that trouble I had to buy it. But it just didn't feel right.

So after all of that, I don't buy it. I did get a couple cute necklaces though. Brand new ones...that's what I bought at the antique mall yesterday.

Thank goodness my MIL has a way of turning even the most harried events into fun times.

Friday, May 01, 2009

{oh mother}

Mother's Day is a week from Sunday, May 10th. And I like the following items...

Just sayin'...

Caged Bird Locket




Audrey Earrings



Woodgrain Bag



Oak Jewelry Stand



Forever 21 Knit Top




That is all. :)

{11 months}

My boys are 1 month away from being a whole year old! Countdown to birthday fun begins!





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