Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Henry and Mama: A Day in the Life of Us

Breakfast as soon as he wakes up.
We brush our teeth.
He practices his cow sounds.
Praise the Lord, he naps.

He is cute. Enough said.
He walks the dog after lunch.
He reads all the books.

I pick up blocks and sort toys one more time.

I finally get to work on some things while he takes another short nap.

He rearranges my potatoes, onions, and pasta under the island while I cook dinner.

After dinner is a blur with Daddy coming home, bath time, and one last hoorah before sleep. He is so wild and keeps us busy, but my goodness, I love him so big.


Monday, February 26, 2018

Navigating Motherhood

This baby of mine is the best thing ever. I say at least 100 times a day how cute he is, and sometimes I just can't handle it. I want to squeeze him to pieces. It is impossible to explain how deep my love for him is, and I have never seen a more precious face on this earth. Those teeth are the most adorable thing ever, and his blonde big-boy hair is my favorite. I am obsessed.

It is funny because I used to think I didn't want to be that mom who was obsessed with her kid(s). There was a time (before he existed) when I didn't want my life to completely revolve around my child, and I was afraid of losing my identity in just being mom. But there is so much more to it than that. There is no such thing as being "just mom". Being mom is the greatest thing ever. Is it hard? Yep, but I am pretty sure there is a saying about how the hardest things are usually the sweetest or something like that. In this case it is true. I am okay with my life revolving around my kid because you know what? I made him. I chose this life, and I owe it to him to give him the best care I can. That requires a lot of my time and attention, but at this stage in our lives, I think that is necessary and best.

All that to say, I think it is so important not to lose ourselves. It is important to take care of ourselves so that we can be our best selves. It has taken me a while to get my footing, and some days are definitely better than others. Some weeks we feel like we are finding our stride. Other weeks we both cry.  The first several months of his life I just held him. We snuggled, he slept, I smiled. He fought sleep more and more as he got a little older, and I cried a lot of tears. I thought I might lose my mind when he refused to nap for what seemed like 4 years, and then I decided I needed to do something for myself. I decided that I could take on the business that I had been thinking about for some time so I got the equipment, set up my site, and threw myself into it. Then I was spending all my weekends and evenings working and not spending time with my people. I stepped away and decided I was okay with being mom and focusing on that role for a while. I feel that I have found a good fit (notice I don't use the word balance because that is basically the unicorn of motherhood) with blogging. I am still spending time with my boys, but when Henry naps or they both fall asleep early I can enjoy some quiet time baring my soul and sharing my newest project here with you all.

To all you new mamas, it is hard. Phases come and go, tears are cried, but just know it is worth it. I am still a new mama myself, but you are forced to learn quickly. Priorities shift, stress cookies are just happens, and that is okay. Find what works for you, and don't look back. If that looks like going back to work, do it. If that looks like working from home, do it. If that looks like leaving the baby with your mother-in-law once a week so you can paint your bedroom wall navy blue on a Tuesday afternoon, do it. It may take a while, but you will find your fit. In the meantime, just hold your baby and thank God for the bittersweet taste of motherhood.


Friday, February 23, 2018

A DIY Mama's Best Friend: Dixie Belle Paint

As a mom of a busy toddler who has been walking since he was 10 months old I don't have a ton of time for projects during the day. I have had to adjust my mindset of not starting a project unless I have a large chunk of time to get it done, start to finish. I am lucky if I get a couple of hours during nap times to tackle what I can, and I would never have accomplished any of my recent painting projects without Dixie Belle Paint.

Dixie Bell Pink Champagne and flat clear coat
Dixie Belle Paint is a "mineral chalk paint perfect for painting on furniture and can be used on wood, metal, glass, ceramic, fabric and more." The big bonus? No priming or sanding! With a baby who takes 30 minutes naps you don't have time to be out in the garage sanding 3 layers of paint off the dresser you bought off Facebook. Dixie Belle to the rescue.

As long as the existing finish is free of bumps and globs from previous paint jobs, with Dixie Belle you just have to clean your piece well and start painting! It dries quickly, so typically when I finish one coat I can go back and start a second. It is zero VOC, so I was able to use while pregnant, and I haven't stopped since. I used it on Henry's dresser and changing table, my kitchen island and cabinets, the cute record cabinet my dad built, and most recently, a dresser for our bedroom.

Dixie Bell Colonel Mustard, Best Dang Wax in black, Dixie Dirt, and satin clear coat.

Just clean, paint, and seal. If you want to give your piece more dimension or a special finish they have tons of products for that as well. There are waxes, Dixie Dirt, glazes, patinas, crackle finishes...the possibilities really are endless.

If you are local to Odessa, you can get all your Dixie Belle Paint supplies at Tilley & Co. in downtown, but no matter where you are, you can find a retailer on the Dixie Belle website. Now go dig out all those old picture frames and worn out furniture pieces! Dixie Belle will help you bring them back to life.


*This is not a sponsored post. I just like the product and feel like it is worth sharing.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Before and After: Dining Room

This is probably one of the most low-key rooms in the house, but that window lets in a ton of light and has the best view. After getting rid of those awful yellowish walls that I think were meant to be beige and ripping up the disgusting carpet we had a blank slate.

There aren't a lot of husbands who will just nod and say 'okay' when you say you are going to spray paint metallic gold triangles on the wall while he hangs brackets for the shelves you requested, but God bless my sweet husband. He lets me paint and drill and change and rearrange to my heart's content, and I love him for it. Add the awesome chalkboard, light fixture, and table all made by my super talented daddy, and we have a bright, cheery space to pile all our junk...I and entertain. Or something like that...


Monday, February 19, 2018

Do or Don't: Changing Table

Since we waited longer than a lot of married couples to have our first child we had several years of advice to chew on from well-meaning parents. However, after 15 months of parenting it has pretty much all been thrown out the window because you just do what you have to do to survive. One thing we got advice on that has less to do with parenting and more to do with our routine and what has worked really well for us: the changing table.

It was also Henry's favorite place for several months. He always loved laying there.  PC: Kathryn & Co.

I can't tell you how many people told me not to bother with a changing table because they said we wouldn't use it, because we would just change the baby wherever we were, it will just take up room and never get used, etc. This could not be farther from the truth. I could probably count the number of times we have changed him somewhere other than the changing table on one hand. Seriously. It is just what works for us.

Wire baskets are from Target, and I love them!

Here is why.

1. It keeps everything we need in one spot. There is no searching multiple rooms for the diaper cream or wipes. Everything is right where we need it to be every time.
2. We don't accidentally have dirty diapers laying around. We change him on the changing table, and the diaper pail is right there. Since everything gets pretty chaotic with a baby, anything that has a place is a good thing. I don't need any help making things messier.
3. It also serves as much needed storage for things we need anyway. We have to have diapers, wipes, and cream, as well as his lotion, hair brush, nail clippers, thermometer, and a number of other items. You have to keep all these things somewhere, and the changing table has been an extra source of storage. Why not store them in a place where you will consistently use them?

Some people don't have room for a changing table, and that is totally understandable. We are lucky, and our home has larger than average bedrooms and allowed for it. Maybe an actual changing table isn't in your budget, but if you think it will work for you I encourage you to explore a variety of options. Ours was used and given to us by a friend. It was painted a terrible, dark brown when we got it, but after a few coats of Dixie Belle Paint (my go-to) it fit right into Henry's bright and cheerful nursery. If you don't have space or can't find a changing table, you can still create a designated space by placing a changing pad on top of a dresser and storing necessities in the most accessible drawers or small baskets. 

What about you? Did you use a changing table with your kiddos? Would you recommend it? I think it is totally worth the space it takes up...even if it takes three coats of paint.


Friday, February 16, 2018

Before and After: Entryway

The second room in my series of before and after pics isn't exactly a room, but it is a clearly defined space that is so much better and brighter now. Getting rid of all that brown and yellow really was key, and adding new lights, a little styling and some greenery didn't hurt either. 


 Sources: Baskets from Target, Shelf and planters from Ikea

Now when I catch myself thinking how much I dislike the tile or the placement of that return air vent (why must they be so big and awful?) I will just look back at these photos and be thankful for the transformation.

If you missed my other before and after post, click here.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Love and Marriage

This is not the super serious and heartfelt post you might be expecting, but I am sure more than a few of you can relate. This is real life, and marriage is no joke. Love is not defined by the highlights and special date nights but by the day to day, digging through the hard stuff together on less than enough sleep and leftovers in the fridge. Love is...

 Photo from a set of my favorite pre-baby photos ever. PC: Kathryn & Co.

Love is putting the baby to bed so she can sit on the couch and numb her brain with Instagram after a long day of no naps.

Love is just picking up his dirty socks out of the floor instead of nagging because keeping peace and enjoying each other is more important than a couple of dirty socks.

Love is making a frozen pizza for lunch so she can snuggle the baby a little bit longer.

Love is leaving the good leftovers so he can take them to work tomorrow.

Love is letting her put her cold feet on your legs every night.

Love is not kicking him with your cold feet when he snores every night.

Love is using your Amazon gift card to buy her the book she has been wanting.

Love is making him meatloaf even though it is gross.

Love is not saying anything about her constant projects around the house, no matter how crazy they may be.

Love is hating to cook but making sure there is always something for dinner...even if it is just a frozen pizza.

Love is not complaining about how often you eat frozen pizza.

Love is working endlessly to keep house so home is a refuge at the end of the day.

Love is working your tail off every day to make sure your family has even more than the necessary provisions.

Love is having someone watch the baby so you can mow the he doesn't have to do it after work.

Love is sitting in the car with a sleeping baby while she shops at the craft store.

Love is letting him sleep on the couch during the movie because you know he is exhausted.

Love is helping her hang a gallery wall in the place where you just hung a shelf a few months ago...

While I am aware that there are much deeper, spiritual and philosophical ideas of love, when you are married with kids the honest truth is sometimes it doesn't take much. So even if you aren't the most romantic and don't have a big, fancy dinner date planned, chances are you don't have to. It's the little, everyday things that really matter, and I will take new sofa pillows over roses any time.

What would you add to the list?


Sunday, February 11, 2018

It's hard to be a Daddy

Disclaimer: No, I am not a daddy, but I am pretty tight with a really good one. This is written in my words but with his insight and experience. For the partner piece read my mama post here.

It is hard to be a daddy.

>It's hard to have a piece of yourself out walking around in this big, scary world.

>It's hard to love someone so much it hurts.

It's hard to not be able to give as much of yourself as you would like to your favorite people.

It's hard to be the best daddy you can be when you don't get to be home as much as you would like.

Sometimes it's hard to find time to shower.

It's hard to be a daddy and husband and son and employee and manager and leader and all the other things.

It's hard to watch the weekends fly by while mama just tries to get caught up on the laundry.

It's hard to be a daddy when you just want to listen to your music and maybe watch a movie, but you don't want to miss any chance you get to be daddy.

It's hard to be a daddy when it feels like the baby goes to bed as soon as you get home from work.

It's hard to be a daddy when you are out the door for work before everyone else is even out of bed.

It's hard to be a daddy when the house smells a little bit like a dirty diaper, and you know mama is doing the best she can.

It's hard to be the one to go to work all day every day, keep up with bills, take out the trash, fix the heater, feed the cats, and often bathe and put the baby to bed.

It's hard to be a daddy when you feel like you are missing so much by going to work every day. He is growing so fast, and you love how much he is learning and changing...but you really wish he would slow down a bit.

It's hard to be a daddy when you have to work late again, everyone is tired, and the dryer isn't working...but it is also amazing and rewarding when you walk in the door after work, and his face lights up. It is a wild ride, but an awesome one to be on.


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Before and After: Henry's Room

As I am finally making time to do some small projects and improvements around the house, I also find that my slow progress can be frustrating. In an attempt to make myself feel better about our current work-in-progress I took a look back at the photos we received when we were just looking at the house for the first time. It worked! So much so that I decided it was worth sharing the progress that has been made since we moved in 2.5 years ago.

I have shared Henry's room before, but it looks even better and brighter in comparison to its "before" state.

The before was an atrocious paint job (or two), thick paint drips, giant holes in the walls from the craziest wall anchors I have ever seen, and carpet stains I would be better off forgetting.

The after is a space I still love. After some major elbow grease sanding those walls and laying new flooring, I just filled the room with diy projects and sentimental pieces to treasure.

I love a good before and after, so when I came across these old photos, I knew they would be fun to share. Stay tuned for more before and after posts!


*For more details on this room visit this post.


Master Bathroom: Painted Floor Project

When we moved into our current home there was a long list of things I wanted to change. The disgusting carpet, the yellow-beige walls, and t...