Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Owls and Caterpillars.

I recently found the following two parties. Oh-my-goodness. I've cannot even get over these two showers.

This baby shower for Jessica Claire. I adore every detail of Jessica's photography, decorating, and I was drooling over this baby shower. And, I guess, you could say the theme had SOMETHING to do with it.

This fun 1st Birthday party idea. I adore any and all Eric Carle's books, so what better way to have a unique party than to create a theme around a favorite beloved book?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Advantages To Having a Boy

Where The Wild Things Are....on Steriods

Where the Wild Things Are Pinterest

Fudge Banana Swirl

And lastly, this ADORABLE photo session:

I'm especially in love with the cupcakes.

My mind is brimming with ideas. What's entertaining your noodle-creative brain?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Just Ben and I

(It's been a while since I've just talked about Ben and here is an update!)

We started this year out with one thought in mind: simplify. We wanted to simplify our life.

We were busy. Too busy. Four jobs between us, two dogs, opposite schedules, coming and going and passing each other every day of the week. And weekends were a foreign concept because we had never had full and consistent weekends together.

So we simplified. In April, our schedules merged to be more similar. Jobs dwindled down, and instead of passing each other, we actually get to spend quality time together.

The result has been...incredible. Really. We have more time to do fun things together. We aren't rushing. We get to rest and rejuvenate together. The impact on our marriage has been amazing. We don't argue as much...and I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that we aren't competing against life for each other.

In the last couple of months, we've taken a mini-trip, planted a garden, gone swimming  (a LOT), spent a lot of time with friends, laughed, gone to the movies, tried out fun restaurants...and overall, we have had great conversation.

Being married to Ben makes my life sweeter, fuller and overflowing with laughs.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Dad

There are a lot of great dads out there. I'm definitely not going to dispute that. However, I have been overwhelmingly blessed by my dad's influence and impact in my life.

All growing up, my dad was actively involved. He never missed a recital, play performance, swim meet, softball game, homecoming,graduation, wedding, nothing. He missed nothing.

Five-and-half years ago, dad took on the mom role when he became a single parent. My amazement of him has not ceased. By the grace of God, he has done a great job. Truly.

Sometimes, I think others think the lives of my siblings and myself are deficient without my mom. But that isn't true. Dad has picked up both hats of mom and dad and he has worn them well. I'm sure he would say it hasn't been easy. But my respect of my dad has only grown.

To my dad, for all you to see, I say thank you. Thank you for truly, truly, being an incredible father who somehow manages to stay involved in the ever-changing and ever-evolving lives of your children. All eight of them, at that.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Baby A Update: Week 19

This week could not have gotten here any faster!

Monday: We made cake balls. If you haven't tried them, you need to go to Bakerella and learn all about them!

Tuesday: We continued the working on the cake balls.

Wednesday: Our small group made bets on whether we were having a boy or a girl. The majority said girl, while Ben and one couple said boy. I did not participate - it was more fun watching the entire event! After our small group left, Ben watched me have a meltdown over the cake balls and then, he saved the day.

Thursday: the day we had been waiting for! We almost didn't get the ultrasound because the doctor said their doctor's office air conditioning was out....I was going to go along with the decision to wait a week, but Ben nicely objected and the doctor agreed to go ahead and give the ultrasound.

We are very excited to announce Baby A is a: BOY!
My favorite part of finding out what we were having was watching Ben throw a fist pump and say, "It's time to go buy a baseball glove!"

When we announced it to our family, we gave out our little treats we had been working so hard on:
Owl Cake Ball with a blue bowtie!
A lot of people have asked if we have a name picked out. In fact, within 30 minutes of us finding out we were having a boy, Ben asked me if I would continue to call our Baby A on the blog, or just announce the name? Well, I can't guarantee I won't continue to call him Baby A, but I might as well  announce the name: Madden Gideon.

Now, we can begin the countdown for the maternity pictures!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Baby A Update: Week 17 and 18

Week 17 and 18 have been a blur, really. I'm sure that has something to do with the countdown for "Discover-Baby-A's-Gender-Day". We are just a tad bit excited.

For Week 17 and 18, we did several fun things:

- Ben painted the baby room. I'm not going to talk too much about this because I plan to do a bigger post about decorating the nursery later. But, I will say the color is better than I ever could have imagined.

- We were asked: Is the heartbeat fast or slow? Apparently, you can tell the sex of the baby if you can tell whether it is fast or slow. We have noticed. We just like to hear the heartbeat. I will say that I think these wives' tales are hilarious. I think this is the third or fourth one I've been told so far and I can't wait to see if they are all right or wrong!

- A mild case of acid reflux has set in. It isn't too bad, which I'm thankful for, but it is definitely enough to notice it.

- The tears. Oh, the tears. I cry about the most random stuff. I thought the waterworks were suppose to happen in the 1st trimester? I guess not. Either way, there is nothing like crying over Man vs. Food.

- The change in my body. Most days, I just feel like I'm all stomach. Other days, I notice my feet swelling, my fingers swelling and in general, I feel blah.

- The controversy.  I've become acutely aware of the controversy surrounding: breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding, cloth diapers vs. disposable diapers, all-natural birth vs. epidurals, stay-at-home mom vs. working mom, finding out the baby's gender or not finding out, etc. As these subjects come up, I have been reminded over and over again that these decisions are intensely personal. And, that really there are no right and wrong decisions because they are so very personal and must work for the individual family. In thinking of the personal decisions, I have also become aware of how others can take your decision(s) as judgmental or criticize you for not selecting the "right" decision. This is has become one (large) way pregnancy has become extremely uncomfortable and at times, hurtful for me.

- Feeling Baby A move around. This is so fascinating to me. It is strange to feel life moving inside of me, but it is so fun too. Ben is able to feel it more and more,  which has been extra fun. The only downside, is that quite OFTEN, Baby A starts to squirm around at 11pm. This is NOT GOOD NEWS. Sure, I'm doing the nursery in owls, but that was absolutely NOT an invitation for Baby A to become a night owl!

- Ben has been practicing how to properly hold a newborn baby. Thankfully, Miko is the perfect candidate to practice!! Ben is doing a great job, and I think he will have no problems at all when Baby A gets here.

- A special note for Baby A:  It is really hard for us to believe you will be here in about 4.5 months. We are excited, but nervous too. While you will come to us as a tiny baby, the responsibility for you is huge. We don't take this lightly. Continue your little growing!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Outdoor Inspiration

Now that Ben and I have a real front porch and an actual backyard, I have been dreaming and drooling over outdoor furniture.

For the front porch, I was dreaming up these pretties:
Thank you, Google Images
Of course, I'd want red. One, because I am obsessed with that color. And, two, to pay homage to Ben's favorite NFL team, the Atlanta Falcons (who may or may not be playing this year, but that is another blog post).

For the backyard area, I was thinking of something like this:
Thank you, Google Images
My Grandmother had one of these at her house, and any time I see one, I think of her.

But then, I found this post on my newest favorite blog. Now, I'm dreaming about wooden pallets and tarps. Never mind the fact that I don't have a clue how I'll get it in my car, I want to make an outdoor lounging area SO much!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Why I Love Handmade & Etsy

I've been wanting to blog about why I love handmade items, and specifically, Etsy items. I could easily sum it up by saying: One of my favorite things is to purchase handmade/uniquely made things from the direct artist. While that is true, there is more to it.

I Love Unique
Don't get me wrong, for as much as  I love Target and shopping at other big name stores, I love purchasing unique things. That's why my goal for decorating my house is that each decorating item by handmade/homemade by me or someone I know. This includes knick knacks and all art pieces. Aside from a couple of pieces, I've managed to do this. The result is incredible. For one, I never have to worry that someone will walk into my home and say, "I've got the exact same piece at my home!". Plus, it provides a lot of great conversation starters (Like the art piece that was a custom-made wedding present for a friend of mine...that now sits in my home!).

The decision: Make it myself or Not?
A couple of months ago,  I purchased a crocheted hat for a baby shower gift. While everyone thought I had made the hat, and could easily do so, I love being able to support these artists who, for many, make their living creating items (toys, hats, art, etc). The result of this is that I can see the pride of the artist and their strive towards excellence. (With the exception of one item for Baby A's room, I have been pleased beyond words by what I've selected for my entire home).

I know it seems (almost) like an oxymoron - handmade quality. But, my love for Etsy shops and my belief in purchasing handmade has only grown by the exceptional quality of product I have received. Like I mentioned before, with the exception of ONE piece, every item I've bought has been a superior product. Plus, I've noticed that part of an artist's strive for excellence is how the item is packaged. A lot of times, I'm not opening JUST a box, I'm opening something that not only is beautifully made, but beautifully packaged. It makes the experience that much more special.

Commissioning Artists
I'm cheap. Really, I am. ( I love beautiful things, but my budget doesn't allow me to throw caution to the wind) When it comes to art, in particular, I have a consistent dollar amount I won't go over. That said, it takes time to find what I want. Which is fine with me - I'm patient. However, if there is an artist whose work I really love, I'm not afraid to stuff my money in mattresses to save to buy what I want.

Using Etsy for Inspiration
I'm not against this because I do it all the time, but I think this comes with a good balance. It's one thing to see something and figure out how to make it for yourself. It's a completely different thing to do that, and never support the sellers on Etsy. Like I mentioned before, this is how a lot of the Etsy sellers pay their bills. So, be selective in your inspiration, but don't be afraid to purchase either. Etsy crafts itself around inspiring people to be creative, to embrace the homemade, so be wise when you select what you can make for yourself and what you can purchase for the principle of supporting someone's craft.

This has turned into a fairly serious blog, but it is certainly a topic I really believe in. What are your thoughts? Do you buy handmade? Share away, I'm eager to hear your thoughts.

Start shopping at:! 
Etsy has no idea who I am; this blog was not for advertising purposes in which I benefited, it's simply because I love Etsy products, and want to share them with you.