1.30.2014

.Big ONE year old.

This post is a little late coming (okay like two days) but it's been a whirlwind of birthday preparations, decor making and birthday boy celebrating. Family flew in real quick and just as fast flew back.

A year ago this week Josh and I sat waiting for our boy to arrive. We were naive in thinking we already loved him SO much. Nothing can prepare you for the overwhelming surge of love that comes over you the moment you give birth. To this day I still can't watch the video of holding him on my chest for the first time. Too many emotions return and it's too much to handle for me. From kicking on the inside to laying on me. So much love. So much happiness. So many tears.


Just like birth and labor was all for love, so was his party to me. It may seem frivolous but I enjoyed every minute of it and it wasn't stressful at all to me. It was a small party full of people who enjoy him and us. My parents walked in the door just as the party was beginning, good timing on their part. Nothing fancy or over the top, just a lot of flannel and love.
 
Our theme was tee pee/camping/outdoors. I saved our Christmas wreath but took off the faux holly and bow. Took off all the ornaments and lights off the small fake tree we have and made tin can lanterns. Josh's dad gave us a whole bunch of camping gear recently, most of which is vintage, so I set the canteen and saw next to it. The branches you see on the ground there, those are from trimming the bottom of our Christmas tree. Yeah, I saved those.
 

I love chalkboards, so I made sure I utilized them all for his party. Really simple decor actually. My friend actually made the thank you tags for the treat bags, with a mini brown paper sack, some bakers twine and a compass rose stamp. Voila! Thank you treats. Oh, they were filled with trail mix, which I found appropriate.
 

I found some wood grain wrapping paper at a local shop and used that to cover my counter top with food. Took a black thick felt pen and wrote food item names next it such as, 'S'mores Dip', 'Sticks' (pretzel sticks), 'Roasted Dogs' and so forth. Trying to be creative while keeping with the theme.
 

We all take a million and one photos on our phones so I printed off all the photos I've taken leading up to his birthday using PostalPix . A super simple app on your phone (iPhone or Android) that you upload the photos directly to and they ship them to your home. Seriously, its SO easy. Rather then purchasing crepe paper and cheesy garland (that wouldn't have worked) I strung photos with clothespins and twine throughout the house. It was really special to me looking back throughout the year as he's grown and everything that's happened.
 


We pulled out our camping chairs, stools and table for extra seating and food space throughout the room. Put chilled fruit sodas in my picnic basket with black striped straws. Oh and we wore flannel. That was on the invite, "Don't forget your flannel." Everyone thought it was cute and we loved seeing all our friends get creative with the flannel they have or didn't have. Overall the party was a lot of fun and we thoroughly enjoyed it.
 



He ended up being more interested in the graham cracker tent on his cake then the cupcake we put in front of him. Then again, I'm not complaining. He's really not into sugary things. The cake and cupcakes were Josh's grandmother's recipe, I just adjusted the sugar content to my liking.
 



Oh and he officially has enough super hero clothing to last him until he's five. I'm not even kidding.
 
Josh and I made him a tee pee for his birthday. I decorated it with it's own tin can lantern and photo garland.

Now for all the iPhone photos. Enjoy friends.
 


My friend Angela made his wood grain thank you tags on her century old letter press. Check out her etsy shop here. If you haven't had any letter press in your life, do it. I love her stuff and she will work with you on anything! 

My idea of a simple cake. Carrot cake with a caramel cream cheese frosting. 
Eli, your growing up and we can't seem to stop time. I love playing with you and watching you discover things. Your dad and I are so proud of you and we can't wait to see what God has in store for you. Remember to keep on going when things get tough, rely on him, put one foot in front of the other and love deeply. When the world gives you ugly, you give them love. Because we don't need anymore ugly in this world. We definitely need more love though.
I love you.
We love you.
Jesus loves you.
.mama.

1.10.2014

.A Few of Our Favorite Things. (almost) One Year Edition.



It's been a while since I did a favorites post. Favorite baby items change often as Eli's gotten older, as they should. So it was a little hard to keep up with it. Since Eli is almost a whole year old (yikes!) I figured I would share some of our current favorite items. One thing I've discovered with baby items is the cheaper things you buy tend to crap out on you faster. Not saying everyone needs to buy the top of the line item, but somewhere between midway-higher price point and your pretty golden on it lasting you a couple kiddos (unless you have a dog who enjoys chewing on his brothers things...grrr.).

Buy it here. 
This is the Marpac Dohm Sound Conditioner. I'm not quite sure how to explain it, so I'll just use amazon's description. It was recommended to us by quite a few friends and we LOVE it. Eli's naps have gone from 20-30 minutes to 1.5-2 hours. In my book that is a win no matter what! We LOVE our sleep sheep, but the fact it shut off after 20 minutes just wasn't cutting it anymore, he needed something constant. I have a happier kid who sleeps how much his body is requiring him to now. We were able to purchase it at babies r us because we price matched to amazon.
Here's the info:
"This is what serious sleep is all about. The Marpac Dohm is the original sound conditioner, invented by Marpac in 1962. This simple, effective sound conditioner creates the natural, soothing sound of rushing air to block distracting noises across a range of frequencies for deeper sleep, relaxation, and concentration. The Dohm also helps protect confidentiality in places where sensitive information is shared. This compact, lightweight sound conditioner fits easily on a desk or nightstand, or in a suitcase. The Dohm-DS has two levels of sound, so you can choose the volume and tone of white noise most pleasing to your ears and best suited to your application."



This is the Playtex flip top snack cup. There are many different types of these on the market and this is the one we happened to have picked up at our store. We like it, Eli's figuring it out which keeps him entertained and our dog has chewed the second one to get to his brothers snack. So clearly it keeps food in from both parties...sigh. It's not something we are in love with, but it does the job. 
 
Purchase here. 
We love our Crane humidifiers, no need for filters and they work really well. Our brown monkey recently broke (I think it fell and the plastic cracked) so I contacted the company and they gave me a pretty sweet coupon code for it. We bought the elephant above for Eli's room and the drop shape version for our bedroom.

 

This nasty cold/flu season has been harsh on us the past couple months. I'm pretty positive we are on the mend and almost through it at this point. In saying that all three of us have been congested at one point or another. A lady in my food swap group (separate post on that soon) made VapoRub without all the nasty ingredients Vicks has. As you can see, Eli really enjoyed 'eating' the label off, but I'm sure you can tell what most of the ingredients are. We love it and it's helped a lot. I'm glad to have this in our 'sickness' arsenal now.

 
Purchase Here
In continuing with the above, I've recently discovered DoTerra products. Now I'd like to say I'm not committed to any brand of essential oils, I tend to buy what works for us and is convenient at the time. I'm not committed to DoTerra, Young Living, Aura Acacia or any other brand. You can find all those brands in my closet and I love them all and use them. I know Young Living has a similar product called 'Thieves' oil (which I've actually ordered to have as well to try). I know people who put On Guard or Thieves on their feet and their childrens feet nightly and RARELY ever get sick. We started using this at the end of our cold, so I'm not sure if it shortened it, but I DO know Josh had gotten over being sick and started getting sick AGAIN two weeks later. He was sick for ONE day, congested, coughing, dripping nose (he couldn't tell it was dripping. So sad) and other gross bodily functions. I gave him DoTerra's On Guard cough drops and put this on his feet, he felt 10X better the next day and he was SHOCKED. He also got a headache, so I rubbed peppermint oil on his temples, the nape of his neck and ears and his head stopped pounding not 20 min later. Good stuff. Find a local distributor to support them if your interested or purchase from amazon. The distributor will save you money though. I am a complete essential oil convert now.

 




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 


 Purchase here 
We love cloth diapering. A lot. Even Josh has mentioned how much he loves it. We hate POOP. When Eli wasn't eating solids poop was easy and water soluble, just toss in the wash with no worries. Not so much anymore. I really didn't want to buy a diaper sprayer and all the accessories, just not my cup of tea. GroVia diaper liners were suggested to me and I'm so happy someone mentioned them. You literally just put the liner over the part babies bum touches (we use prefolds and covers). Then when it's soiled you just pick it up and flush it! They are biodegradable so no worries about clogging your toilet. I love that you can reuse them if there's no poo, so I really get my $11 out of the pack of 200. We've had these almost five months now and I'm not even half way done with the roll. I just wash them with the diapers and then hang dry.

 
Purchase Here
Eli is really into figuring things out right now and stacking them. We bought him this stacker from hape for Christmas and he loves it! He spends about 20 minutes each day taking the rings off and putting them back on. He's not so interested in the clown head, but the rings are fabulous!

What are your favorite baby items currently?



Upcoming posts:

.Eli's birthday decor.
.Birthday Food.
.Birthday TeePee made with Love.
.How We Did it.

1.09.2014

.Compassion.


The holidays are over and a New Year has begun with new resolutions, more winter and more of January. I always feel a little nostalgic this time of year. I read quite a few blogs weekly and around this time of year I see more often people talk about the 'winter funk'. Where the sparkle of the holidays is gone and winter has really set it. Especially with the crazy snow storms around the U.S. lately! One thing I see this time of year is how the giving nature of Christmas tends to trickle away after the new year. It seems as soon as the Christmas cards are packed away and boxes put back into storage the reality of the spending of Christmas sets in. I've been really trying hard to put technology down and finish the book I started after Eli was born last year. How pathetic is that? It's taken me almost a full year to finish a 260 page book!

Ben Carson's 'The Big Picture' has a whole chapter on how he challenges people to be more compassionate. He calls in 'Compassionate Action' and calls people of all races and genders to stop using race, gender, stature or any disadvantages the person may have and give them compassion and acceptance instead.


Go buy it here.
Ben Carson says,
"Compassion action would mean that consideration could and should be given in admission policies and in jobs to any person who has come from a severely disadvantaged background, whatever it might be."

He is talking about admission in universities and programs. Certain schools have long had a preference on the 'type' of students they want among their body of people. Laws have been put in place to accept people of different backgrounds forcing the schools to accept certain amount of people from different races, genders and backgrounds. But that's beside the point. The point I want to bring to the table is to remember compassion doesn't have to start and end with the holidays. It should be year round no matter what the person or persons situation is at that point.

1 Peter 4:10 says,
"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms."
 
We have each been given gifts, kindness, humility, gentleness, love, joy....yes these are fruits of the Spirit, but each of us excels in them more then others. I challenge you to try and excel in your gifts this month and every month for 2014. Try to remember people are in need throughout the whole year and not just around the holidays. Jesus is compassionate year round. Can you imagine what life would be like as a Christ follower if you asked for forgiveness one day and He says, "I don't feel like forgiving you today, maybe tomorrow?" It would be awful!

Just a few ideas to get you started,


     .Pay for the person behind you in the drive thru.
     .Shovel your neighbors driveway.
     .Mow your neighbors lawn if you notice they haven't gotten to it (Spring time of course).
     .Pay for part or all of someones groceries.
     .Find a favorite organization to support.
     .Instead of donating to goodwill, give it to a shelter.
     .Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
     .Help an elderly person with groceries. 
     .Make a baked good for your neighbor and leave it on their doorstep.

What will you do to show compassion this month? 

1.03.2014

Covered

We have a green couch. 
With modern retro pillows.
The ottoman is in the same fabric. 


Those are facts. Josh despises our green couch. He says it looks like split pea soup. I happen to like it. The couch, not the soup (yuck!). The modern retro fabric totally clashed with everything in our home. Now I'm not about to go dissing on retro, I like retro things. But they have to be authentic, not fake. I have a friend who's boyfriend is a coffee roaster. She mentioned they give away those giant burlap sacks the coffee comes in for free. Free you say? Yep. This got me thinking what I could use them for. After I learned of these free sacks, I immediately forgot about it.

Seriously, I have a child. 

Well I just happened to have jaunted in a coffee roaster about a mile and a half away from us. Trying their coffee and went on my merry way. Then just before leaving I remembered those free sack information so I asked them if they gave theirs away. The answer was YES! Thus an idea was born. I took four sacks home and it took almost three to cover the ottoman. I recently covered the pillows with thrifted sweaters. Yes, sweaters. I love the cable knit sweater look from Pottery Barn, but no way in heck will I spend  $70 on a pillow! I just can't do it. So off to Goodwill I went, $7  and three months later (I learned how to sew zippers! Yippee!), pillow covers were born. I already have to redo one of them because this whole sewing thing totally has a learning curve. But I love them.


So here's the ottoman with a coffee sack covering it. I've been wanting to replace it for a while. Looking on craigslist for tables to redo. No luck on the 'perfect' one. Plus, hubby loves being able to put his feet up on the ottoman and I do like how soft it is. Eli doesn't hurt his noggin on corners or anything.


Close up of plans and the awful modern retro fabric. There's also some lint. Josh helped me a lot with measuring and such.


We unfolded the sack we wanted for the top, taking out all the thread and string. It didn't take too long, but these are large sacks and there were three total used for this.

I decided to sew the wrong side...thank goodness we left extra material. I cut it off and restarted since I had already sewn it twice! I was extra careful after this mistake. So were my fingers when it came to sewing up the sides. Needles hurt.

The final product. It's not perfect (in fact one side is a tad longer then the other) but I don't want it to be perfect. I hate perfect because it's not realistic. So this is 'perfect' for our house and home. I love how it turned out.
With the rest of the sack I am going to make a table runner and possibly a small pillow. I also plan to go back for more sacks to make a throw rug for our bedroom. I've been inspired and you can't stop me now!

1.01.2014

Resolutions

I'm not one to make new years resolutions. Something like that doesn't encourage me. Is that odd? Well in the spirit of the new year I actually do have a few resolutions for 2014. Maybe it's having a baby encouraging me to be a better version of myself, maybe it's just the 'year' for resolutions.


.Live healthier.
We already eat very good, are fairly active and are outside often. We need to tone down the sweets though. Oh those sweets are awful. I did pretty awesome on halloween and thanksgiving, staying away from it all, but Christmas...ack! I'm positively ashamed to say I know I've gained at least five pounds. I guess a little rolly-polly-er never killed anyone, but I did work hard to lose all that baby weight.

.Be less controversial.
In 2014 I want to stop posting things on Facebook that may cause controversy in someones life or make them think they aren't doing a good job as a parent. I know I've calmed down in posting things or sharing them, but I do comment on those that still do. I want to stop both. Disclaimer: For me this does not include religious topics. My religion is what makes me, ME. My job as a Christ-follower is to share His gospel. I take that seriously.


.Get our food budget under CONTROL.
We spend way too much on food. Not eating out budget, but actual grocery budget. I'm proud we eat whole, real food that is not processed. I am not proud at the little, "Oh just have to go to the store for this and come back with $80 worth of stuff" part of our spending. It's a little bit too out of control.

.Be a better Christ follower.
Since having Eli I haven't been able to get in the word as much. I've also been using my 'down' time to be online often. It's not healthy. Time to work on it.


.Go on a legit vacation.
We love our family, a lot. We love seeing them, often. But lets be real, seeing family and friends back home isn't a vacation. You often come home more tired then when you left, especially with a baby. Our goal is to go on a vacation for our five year anniversary in August. I think this will be doable if we can get our spending on food under control.

.Put down the media.
I know this is a common struggle now a days. As I'm nursing Eli I have my phone in hand browsing. Put him down for a second, hold up let me check instagram. Oh is that a notification? I should check that. It's SO easy to get sucked in. I need to put.it.down.



.Read.
I miss reading. I knew I wouldn't be able to devour books as often with Eli, but now I go to the easy solution, media. See above. I started a book right after he was born and I still haven't finished it. How embarrassing. Put down the remote. Put down the phone. Shut off the computer. I need to let my brain remember what it was like to think for itself and really learn. Also, this unhealthy media relationship is giving me insomnia.

So in the end, I have quite a few resolutions. Ultimately I don't want this to last just a year, I want to turn this all into a lifestyle change. Just like we've changed how we eat. It's doable. It's not overwhelming and in the end, it's better. Better for Eli, better for my husband and most important better for me.

Happy 2014,