As I sit here writing this on a Sunday afternoon, all my babies are asleep. Yes, all of them (Alex and Charlie included). So it’s the perfect time to finally post some of my favorites from Nora’s newborn photoshoot!
We considered hiring a professional photographer for these pictures but it really came down to us being too cheap and too lazy to look into it much, hah! So with my little Nikon DSLR in hand (and the free editing apps on my phone, yep that’s how cheap I am), I went to work on capturing these moments for our family. And you know what? I love how they turned out. Not because they’re perfect (they’re certainly not!) but because they’re our family and because there are four of us now and because there’s just a whole lot of happy in these pictures. 🙂
The blanket my sister made for her. 🙂
How most of this photoshoot actually went haha! Toddlers.
We love you SO much, NoJo, and we are so incredibly thankful that you’ve officially joined our family!
With the new baby coming so soon, I’ve been trying to find special things for Jameson and I to do together. Nothing too fancy, just little ways to fill our days with fun and sweet memories. I’m so excited to add a new little friend to our family but these last few weeks with just my boy are so precious.
Right now, one of Jameson’s favorite things to do is help me cook or bake. Whenever I start prepping food he gets all excited and pushes a chair right up to the counter and says, “Awight. I help Mommy.” And even though it may take five times as long with him “helping” me, I can never say no! I love teaching him how to follow directions, add specific ingredients, mix and knead and measure and spread, and of course taste-test along the way. 😉 The pride on his little face when he’s doing his part is totally worth the extra flour on the counter or the crumbs dropped on the floor. Someday I know I’ll be begging him to spend time with me.
So for now, we cook everything together. A few weeks ago I decided to try my hand at baking some homemade bread. I don’t own a bread machine or anything like that so I found a super simple white bread recipe that you can bake right in the oven. It came out delicious! Soft and chewy with a crispy crust. Jameson loved eating it straight up but I preferred mine toasted with plenty of butter and jam. 🙂 Either way, it was gone in minutes. We took it outside and enjoyed our snack together, just the two of us.
If you’re interested in trying the recipe for yourself, you can find the one we used right here. And then let me know how it comes out! 🙂
I’m so excited to share this today! Our baby girl’s nursery is complete. I’m almost 36 weeks right now so we still had a bit of time to finish it up, but I’m so happy it’s done! (Nesting totally takes over my mind at the end of my pregnancies.)
We chose to go very simple and minimalistic this time around, partly to save some money and partly because my style in general is pretty subtle and classic. The room has a sort of shabby-chic vibe to it, but the decor is really just the basics and a few statement pieces I found along the way.
Our color scheme was mostly neutral (whites, creams, and grays) with hints of dusty pink and very light green. I figured this would be easiest to customize later based on her personal style. 😊 We started with the dresser and glider, which we already had, found a crib to match, and added the rest here and there over the past few months.
Some of the pieces came from Hobby Lobby, some from Target, some from Marshalls. But my favorites are the ones that are homemade (my sister and I each crocheted a blanket) and the ones that came from my childhood room, like the framed picture and “The True Princess” book on the bottom shelf. Basically I’m a sentimental sap, pregnant or not. 😉
Beautiful blanket and bow made by my sister.
The first complete blanket I’ve ever crocheted! (Don’t ask me about the one I tried to make for Jameson…it was a hot mess. I’ll try again soon haha.)
This room has quickly become my favorite in the house. It’s so naturally light and pretty that it didn’t need much work to begin with. Adding a few little personal touches here and there was all we really had to do.
I can’t wait to bring our little girl home to this pretty space and fill it up with love and sweet memories and that perfect newborn scent!
And I can’t resist posting one of my little photography assistant. Because look at that face.
Third trimester already! We're almost there! This pregnancy has been flying by and simultaneously dragging on. It makes no sense but that's how it's been. Some days I'm like "OH MY GOSH SHE'LL BE HERE IN 11 WEEKS" and then other times I'm like "oh my gosh, I can't believe how much longer I have to go." It's equal parts exciting and frustrating.
Anyway, we had our midwife appointment and final ultrasound this morning! Once again we got a great report, praise God. Little miss is growing right on track (48th percentile), her heartbeat was strong (134 bpm), and the ultrasound showed that everything about her is perfect, which we already knew. 🙂 She's still breech right now (about half of babies are breech at this point) but she should flip by the time we hit 34 weeks.
I was a liiiitle bummed about the ultrasound today because we could barely see her face at all. She was pretty much folded in half so her feet were covering her face and what wasn't covered by her feet was covered by her arm flung right across her eyes. No matter what we did she would not move, which was not surprising to me at all. She's never cared much about being poked or prodded. She just does her own sassy thing. The ultrasound tech couldn't really show her to us in 3D (which is what I was most excited for) so we only have a few profile shots. I was so looking forward to seeing what she'll look like when she's born because I was hoping it would help us finally settle on a name, but it looks like we're waiting 11 more weeks to figure that out. Oh well, babies rarely follow the rules anyway. 🙂 I should be used to it by now!
As for my health, things look mostly good too. My blood pressure was perfect and I did the 1 hour glucose test while we were there (we'll have the results of that on Monday hopefully). My weight gain is still a bit of a problem, though. I was so sure things were looking up but I only gained a little over a pound since my last appointment four weeks ago. That makes about 8 pounds total this pregnancy, which wouldn't be a huge problem except that my daughter makes up about three pounds of that and the placenta/fluid/uterus is another part of it. My belly is only measuring at 26 weeks right now, even though the baby is right on track. My midwife straight up told me to start eating ice cream every night haha. Not so much for the baby right now (she's doing fine), but more so that I can get some fat storage in place for breastfeeding after she's born. I'm not sure why this is so hard for me this time around but I'm going to try my best to eat more protein and healthy fats and hopefully get the ball rolling these last few weeks.
Phew! That was a long introduction! Let's get into the actual bumpdate. 😂
How far along: almost 29 weeks How big is baby: About the size of a pineapple. She’s approximately 17 inches long and weighs around 2 lbs, 10 oz (according to our ultrasound today). Movement: From what I can tell, she's a pretty routine type of baby. There are certain times a day where I can almost guarantee she'll be awake and moving around. She has an active time in the morning, another right around 1pm, and another around 10pm. Of course she moves around at other times throughout the day too, but those are her most active times. She also loves music and will usually start kicking whenever something comes on loud enough, or when I sing. In fact that might be why she's always awake around 1pm…that's when I read and sing to Jameson before his nap. I often wonder how many of the songs and the books we read will be familiar to her after she's born. 🙂 Her hiccups are picking up a bit too; she usually gets them a few times a day and they last at least five minutes or longer. Major symptoms: Typical third-trimester symptoms happening over here. I pretty much always feel like I have to pee (and sometimes she reminds me with a swift kick to the bladder), I have lower back pain here and there, and the shortness of breath comes and goes (although it's actually subsided a bit since my last bumpdate, possibly because she's changed positions). It's getting harder to stay comfortable all night between the peeing and the big ol' belly and the sporadic shifts in my body temperature. I've also been dealing with some common cold stuff which isn't directly related to pregnancy, but kind of is because I never get sick. This is the second time this pregnancy I've had a really horrible cold so I'm almost positive it's because my immune system is lower in general right now. Still getting Braxton Hicks contractions every day too, which I'm all for because the more practice my body gets now the easier labor will be (right? hopefullyyy). Best moments this week: Definitely getting to see our girl at the ultrasound. Even though we weren't able to see much of her face we did get to see her little lips making kissy faces and watched her stick her tongue out a few times (so adorable!). Her mannerisms were so much like a newborn's already and it was really sweet to see. Cravings: I'm just not a craving type of person I guess. I should probably just take this category off haha. Looking forward to: Umm cooler weather? It's been so hot in AZ and I'm so ready for fall, especially because that means it's baby season. 😀
I’m almost halfway done with this pregnancy so I figured it’s about time I write one of these! I was so consistent when I was pregnant with Jameson and posted a bumpdate once a week for the entire pregnancy. But it’s much harder to be on top of things like this when you have a toddler in tow. 😉 So instead, my goal for this pregnancy is to post an update whenever I find the time and that’s going to have to be good enough.
How far along: Almost 19 weeks (I’m a little early with this post). Gender is still a mystery! We have our anatomy scan on the 15th which will tell us for sure if it’s a sweet little girl or another beautiful boy. How big is baby: About the size of a mango, or 6 inches long. Weight is right around half a pound. Movement: Totally different this time around. Jameson moved a LOT and very often. I actually felt him moving several weeks earlier than I felt movement with this baby, which is not usually the norm. It makes total sense, though, now that I see his personality. 😉 This baby is much more chill and doesn’t get annoyed by me poking him/her or moving him/her around the way Jameson used to. And this baby hasn’t gotten the hiccups yet, which is another difference. Jameson had hiccups at least once a day by this point and continued to get them every day after he was born (for awhile at least). Even the times of day for movement are different between the two of them. Jameson was go-go-go all day and then totally still as I was going to sleep. This baby is more sporadic throughout the day and picks up the pace at night, which worries me for after birth hahah. Based on what we know about me and Alex’s personalities as kids (from stories and old home videos), I was a lot like Jameson is energy-wise and Alex was a lot more mellow. So it would be fun if our kids happen to match each of us in that way. 🙂 One last difference, though, is that Alex has felt this baby move already, which took a lot longer with Jameson. He actually felt this baby for the first time on our 3 year anniversary – a sweet little gift for him! Weirdest symptoms: Symptoms are all pretty tame, just like with Jameson. Besides the minor stretching and pulling feelings, and starting to feel a little heavier in my stomach, everything is mostly normal. Best moments this week: Monday was a holiday so we had Alex home – always so nice. 🙂 Wednesday one of my closest friends and her two little ones came by for a playdate, which was so fun. And tomorrow is my other close friend’s bridal shower! Lots of great stuff this week. Cravings: Nada. I never seem to have cravings while pregnant. Although I have been tending more towards fresh foods this time around. With Jameson I wanted french fries and greasy hamburgers and chocolate and all that bad-for-you-but-delicious stuff. This time, not so much. Looking forward to: FINALLY finding out the gender in less than two weeks!
P.S.The outfit I’m wearing above is all from H&M. No one told me with my last pregnancy that H&M carries maternity clothes and I’m so bummed I missed out the first time around! I went last weekend and found so many great things. Super cute and comfy and reasonably priced. I’m a huge fan already!
One mistake I made with my first pregnancy was not investing in a few maternity things I really loved. I ended up stretching out a lot of my regular shirts and just sort of “getting by” on cheap and kind of ugly maternity clothes the rest of the time. I remember being confused about why I never liked the way my baby bump looked and never feeling like myself. I think a lot of it had to do with not knowing how to dress for pregnancy. So this time around I’m doing things differently. I invested in a few really great staple items I actually love (and kind of hope I can wear beyond pregnancy) and I already feel so much better and more like me.
Ever since we bought our first house a few months ago I’ve been itching to start a little patio garden out back. It’s been a sort of dream of mine for awhile to grow fresh produce for my family…for health reasons, for teaching purposes (homeschool curriculum down the road?!), and just for the fun of it! I wanted to start while Jameson was young to make sure I got a handle on how things are done by the time he’s old enough to learn about it. And since Arizona has two growing seasons (spring and fall), October was the perfect time to get started.
We have this big old slab of concrete off the patio where the previous home owners had a hot tub, and it’s the perfect little corner for a raised vegetable garden. Good sun exposure, close to a water supply, and empty/ugly enough to need a little spruce up. (Eventually I’d like to add flowers and wall vines and other pretty things like that, but maybe in the spring.)
When I brought the idea of a raised garden bed to Alex, he had two criteria:
#1. It had to be easy to put together. And…
#2. It had to be relatively cheap.
(But not in that order. Ah, my sweet penny-pinching hubby. ❤ I love him so.)
Anyway, challenge accepted. We originally planned to build it completely out of wood, but why do things the easy way when you can find an even easier way? Laziness, my friends. This plan stemmed from laziness. When all was said and done, our raised garden bed was made entirely without the use of any sort of tool.
And it only cost us about $67.
This is way cheaper than any DIY raised garden bed kit you can find at the store. (The closest I could find was $88 and it wasn’t even as wide or as deep as I wanted mine to be). Following this method allows you to get creative with the size and even the shape of your raised garden bed without costing you a fortune. Plus it looks super cute! Sort of a mix between farmhouse style and urban industrial, which I really like.
We got all our supplies at the good ol’ Home Depot. Probably the only time in the history of our marriage that we went in and came out with everything we needed and avoided an angry whisper argument in the middle of one of the aisles due to our confusion and/or our inability to make quick decisions. (We’re really not the home improvement types.)
The supply list for this do-it-yourself project is very short. Our garden bed is 3 feet wide by 6 feet long, with a depth of 1 foot. In total, all we needed were six pieces of redwood (2in x 6in x 6ft each, four of them being full length and two cut in half) and eight planter wall blocks (two for each corner, stacked on top of each other).
After we decided how large we wanted our garden bed to be, the rest was easy. We chose redwood for our lumber because of its resistance to rot and warping ($8.27 per board, but there are even cheaper versions if you’d like). We had a guy at Home Depot cut two of the six foot boards in half, we grabbed two more full-length six foot boards as well as the eight cement blocks ($2.87 each), and we took it all home.
We stacked two cement blocks for each corner of the garden bed (making it about a foot deep), used a little heavy duty glue to keep them solid, and slid two boards in the grooves on each side. Tada! All done!
The most challenging and most expensive part of this project really came after everything was built. We invested in some good, organic soil (in addition to some soil amenities) to make sure we’d have rich, healthy crops. This is where things can get pricey. But that’s for another post. 🙂
This project was really so easy and so much fun. And we already have cute little sprouts popping up all over the veggie garden! Jameson loves to look at all the plants and even give them kisses, and I’m so excited for our first harvest!
Good luck to anyone planning to give urban gardening a try! Trust me, if Alex and I (two of the least handy people on the planet) could get this project rolling…you most certainly can too. 🙂
Our baby boy’s first birthday is fast approaching (next Monday, how?!) and we wanted to do something special as a family to celebrate his first year of life and all the wonderful ways he makes our lives better. So yesterday we had a photographer friend (Marissa Adams, of Lux & Arrow Photography) come to our home to capture some of the everyday moments that are so special to us. We are THRILLED with the results and I wanted to share some of my favorites from the session here today! What a blessing these photos will be for us to show Jameson later on.
We love you, sweet baby Squish!!! You’ve made this year the best of our lives. We’re so thankful that God placed you in our love and care!
Yay!!! I finally finished my first home improvement project for our new house and I’m so excited about how it turned out! Ever since I can remember it’s been a dream of mine to live in a house with a red front door. And even though our new house has almost everything on my dream home wish list, the front door was definitely in need of a face lift.
Sad. It just looked so sad. First of all, it was painted this weird creamish color (terribly done, by the way, streaks just everywhere) which faded it completely into the side of the house. No character or charm to report there. And second of all, the previous home owners had a large dog who apparently liked to scratch at their front door and lay right up against it, so it had taken quite a beating (not to mention it was filthy and it smelled like dog, ew). I couldn’t just leave it like that.
So, I did a some quick Pinterest research, looked at a few front door painting tutorials and thought to myself, I can fix that. (“Holes” quote, anyone? Anyone?) And so I did! And you can too if your front door is as desperate for some personality as ours was.
I’m putting together my own DIY tutorial now to add what I’ve learned to the mix. There are some things that worked great for me and some things I wish I had known beforehand, both of which I’ll share with you today. But first, here are the supplies you’ll need:
120 grit sandpaper
High density foam rollers (at least two) – make sure they’re relatively small so you have more precision with where you get the paint
Small foam paint brushes (at least two)
Primer (we got about one quart)
The red paint! (about one quart)
**Optional: spray paint for the hardware
We went to Home Depot for everything. I picked up some sample paint chips a few weeks prior, went back and forth a zillion times on which color I liked best, and finally settled on a gorgeous shade called Red Delicious (by Glidden). Make sure you ask for the exterior version of whatever paint you choose, as your door will be exposed to the elements.
Your first step will be to remove all the hardware and tape up the holes from the inside so that no dust/dirt can get in your house. Then, if you’d like, remove your entire door and place it somewhere you won’t mind dripping paint on (I laid out a few garbage bags on our back patio and put the door on top). I’ve read that you can do this entire project with your door still in its frame, but we chose to take it out completely because #1, it’s summer in Arizona and we couldn’t have our door just hanging open while the paint dried all day… #2, I didn’t want to spend all day trying to keep Jameson away from it… and #3, I didn’t want to take any chances with paint dripping and ruining the project. But it’s entirely up to you! If you’re using the foam rollers you probably won’t have issues with dripping anyway.
Once your door is ready, you can start to sand it down. I guess sanding isn’t necessary for everyone, but for us it was. I wanted to get off that top layer of ugly cream paint (plus nasty dirt and grime) and give my new primer and paint a clean surface to grab onto. No need to break your back over it, though! A light overall sanding (with special focus on any rough parts or imperfections) will do the trick. When you’re done, wipe the door down with a damp cloth to get rid of the dust.
Next, prime your door using a foam roller. I used this deep gray primer that was recommended to me by the nice men at Home Depot. (The can says “white” but it was actually the gray version.)
Our door only needed one coat of primer but the original paint was pretty light to begin with and, again, I was using a deep gray shade of primer. You may need a second coat if you’re painting over a dark color door, or if you’re using a white primer. The guys at Home Depot told me that red is tricky in general to get thick and even coverage with so it’s better to be liberal with your priming than to get stuck doing like six coats of red later on.
Give your primer an hour or two to dry and then break out the red! There is a particular order you need to follow when painting a six panel door to get that smooth finish. There are a couple of slight variations, but I found a general example online to follow and I love how my door turned out. Here are the steps (shown as I painted on the primer, which isn’t necessary but I did it to give myself practice before starting on the red):
Paint the insert parts using a paintbrush or a small foam brush. (I used a paintbrush but in hindsight I wish I had used a foam brush because the regular paintbrush leaves brush strokes. Not absolutely crazy about that, but oh well!)
Paint the raised panels using a foam roller.
Paint vertically between each set of panels, stopping when you reach the end of a set.
Paint horizontally between each set of panels, stopping when you reach the end of a set.
Paint vertically along the two edges of the door.
Give your door a good 3-4 hours to dry really well before you start on the second coat of red (advice given to me once again by my friends at the Home Depot). I only needed to do two coats of red total and I still had a little bit of red paint leftover from the quart I bought (I actually ended up using some of that to touch up around the peephole). After you’re done with the second coat give the door a few more hours to dry again before you reattach it to the frame and close it. Otherwise it will stick to the weather stripping and mess up your beautiful work!
Once the door was done and lookin’ real purty, I knew I couldn’t just leave the hardware all brassy and outdated. But I also didn’t want to buy all new stuff either because $$$. So I did a little more Pinterest research and found a great alternative… spray paint! Seriously, so cheap (I think the can was like $7) and so easy too (I just sprayed the hardware, let it dry, and screwed it back in). And the results look awesome and super professional! I used an oil-rubbed bronze shade and it’s exactly what I was hoping for.
I left a little gold on the deadbolt because I was afraid of tampering with the lock’s functioning, but I may go back and touch it up carefully. And when we repaint the outside of the house (hopefully this winter), we’re planning to fix up the door casing as well. For now, though, the front door makeover is complete! What do you think??
I’m absolutely loving it. Makes my heart so happy! I also added a couple of pretty plants to make the patio more welcoming, and eventually I’d like to replace that light with something to match my newly bronzed hardware (because right now it is yeesh). But that’s for a later time! For now, I live in a house with a red front door and I am happy. 🙂