Kids Were Here - December

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

At the end of each month I'll be taking part in a "Kids Were Here" blog circle.  The goal is to capture a childhood well lived without little AB actually being in the photo.


This month yielded plenty of opportunities to capture HUGE messes, but I found myself tiding up as quickly as possible in order to stay ahead of the avalanche of toys, books and puzzles. 

One thing that I've been finding pretty funny is the little guy's desire to drop toys behind the couch.  Actually, I shouldn't limit this to toys, as it has also included remotes, phones, mail, books, and more.  Move any couch and you are sure to find a few things left behind by little hands, and possibly the echos of "uh-oh" still ringing in your ears.


Now, please continue on with the circle and visit Anna's blog to see what she captured this month.

Letters to My Son - December

Friday, December 20, 2013

I'm taking part in a blog circle with some other fabulous women, where each month I will include a letter to my baby boy along with a few pictures that capture the emotion and love I feel for him.  I hope that you will enjoy this feature as much I have enjoyed the process, and will also take the leap to the next blog in the circle each month.

Dearest Baby Boy,

This month I'm not featuring photos I took which is probably taboo for a photography blog circle, but photos that were taken at your new school by your teachers and I'm so thankful for that.  We made the decision to move you schools recently after having a few concerns with your last daycare and we have been so pleased with our decision.  You are learning and growing so much each day, and we just love your new teachers.

 Your new school emails us home a daily report that outlines all of your activities and best of all, the daily report includes several photos that were taken throughout your day.  As a mom I'm so happy to see those glimpses into your daily routines, and as a lover of documentation, of photographs, of memories, my heart beats faster just thinking that we have this record of your preschool days.

 I love seeing you experience new crafts, play on the playground, read with your little friends, all while smiling and being mentally and physically challenged, while being emotionally supported.  You come home each day so tired, but seemingly so fulfilled.

Keep learning, keep growing and I'll just be here loving you all along the way.


Now please take the leap to continue on with the circle and visit Chantell's blog to read her monthly letter.

December 1st: Kicking off the Advent Season

Sunday, December 1, 2013

This year in addition to December Daily, I have created a list of daily activities for the little guy.  My hope is that this becomes an annual tradition and helps us celebrate the season together.  I purchased an advent calendar from Bronner's that I can put a slip of paper in each day that includes our activity.  

For December 1 we opened up a felt Christmas tree to put on the wall.  I really thought that this would be hit, but so far the tree has been played with more by me than the boy.

I'll let you in on the secret of the other activities since I'm sure you won't spoil the surprise.

2. Christmas Coloring Book
3. Donate a Toy to a Child in Need
4. Holiday Mickey Mouse Play Pack
5. Play with Jingle Bells and Sing Songs
6. Make a Tissue Paper Wreath
7. Go Look at Christmas Lights
8. Make Penguin Ornaments
9. Christmas Matching Game
10. Create a Cotton Ball Santa Hat
11. Open a new Christmas toy (Little People Christmas Train)
12. Put up Window Clings
13. Make Pipe Cleaner Candy Canes for Christmas Tree
14. Play with Christmas Stickers
15. Jumbo Coloring Activity Book
16. Watch Fireman Sam Holiday Heroes
17. Make Paper Plate Snowman
18. Go See Santa
19. Watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas
20. Decorate Christmas Cookies
21. Watch Charlie Brown's Christmas
22. Decorate a Gingerbread House
23. Donate Food to those in Need
24. Make Reindeer Food and Leave Cookies for Santa

Kids Were Here - November

Saturday, November 30, 2013

At the end of each month I'll be taking part in a "Kids Were Here" blog circle.  The goal is to capture a childhood well lived without little AB actually being in the photo.


This month the messes surprisingly got picked up pretty quickly by singing the "Clean Up" song together so I only have one photo for this month's blog circle.  I snapped this memory Thanksgiving morning after the little fellow ate egg casserole, butter braid, banana and a nutrigrain bar.  Despite what you would think, I have a two year old, not a teenager. 


Now, please continue on with the circle and visit Natasha's blog to see what she captured this month.

Fall in CA

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

We traveled to California over the weekend to visit family and to share in the celebration at my cousin's baby shower.  Here the leaves are long past, and the greens of summer grass have faded to dirty browns, however there the leaves are just turning, and the grass is holding on to its color.

Family Photos at Wash Park

Monday, November 25, 2013

A few weeks back we had got the family all ready to take our annual photos, got to Wash Park and the rain decided to unleash.  So we packed the family in the car, and graciously thanked our photographer who juggled her schedule around to reschedule us for the following week.  Keeping our fingers crossed all week for good weather paid off, and we were blessed with a gorgeous fall day with plenty of sunshine and crisp fall colors.  I also realize how great it is to combo up our holiday photos and our yearly photos of our baby boy into one session!

Here are a few images that the very talented Caroline Leigh captured of my little family unit.

Banner Day: DIY Burlap Banner

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I've been feeling a little crafty lately - generally the change in weather does that as we spend more time at home.  I have also been having the itch to decorate for the holidays.  I loved a burlap banner that Pottery Barn carried, and decided I should set out to make something similar.

We stopped one night at Hobby Lobby and I purchased one yard of burlap, some stencils, and some craft paint, all for about $15 (a fraction of the cost the Pottery Barn banner would have been).  This past weekend, I was able to sneak some time in to create my sign while the baby napped and the husband chatted with his parents that were down for a visit.

I cut out small rectangles from the burlap and then spray painted the edges with some leftover bronze spray paint using a cardboard template.  After that dried, I sponged on the letters using the stencils.  I then used some twine we had around the house and threaded it through the burlap. 

Give Thanks DIY Burlap Banner

 I was really impressed with how successful, smooth and quick the project went, so I figured why stop there.  Later that night after the baby went to bed I set about creating a holiday banner as well.  This time I used painters tape and some cardboard as my stencil for the border, dabbed on some circles with my stencil sponge and then stenciled on the letters.  This banner will be nice and cheery for the upcoming season.

Be Merry DIY Burlap Banner for Christmas

I plan to probably make a few more banners with the leftover supplies.  My $15 is probably able to make 6-8 banners depending on the number of characters.  I could see having one for every holiday to hang in our living room (and who knows maybe I need to craft a few for gifts).

Forest Flyer

My little boy is growing up in an age of technology.  I didn't want him to know how to operate an iPhone before the age of 2, and I didn't want him to have those types of words in his vocabulary shortly after.  It all started with our trip to Disney when I knew the plane ride would require diversions of every kind, and that included the iPhone.  He now gets a little screen time a few times a week, but only because he sees the phone out and asks so kindly by saying "pease" and signing it with such excitement and determination.

He first enjoyed playing peek-a-boo barn on the phone, listening to all the animals, acting surprised when the bard doors opened.  Now all he wants is Forest Flyer, or "bird", and to fly that little bird around the screen.

Letters to My Son - November

Friday, November 15, 2013

I'm taking part in a blog circle with some other fabulous women, where each month I will include a letter to my baby boy along with a few pictures that capture the emotion and love I feel for him.  I hope that you will enjoy this feature as much I have enjoyed the process, and will also take the leap to the next blog in the circle each month.

10 Things Right Now.

1. You love all sports on TV, and will stop dead in your tracks to cheer on whichever team has the ball or puck.
2. You were a champ getting your haircut the first time in Disney World, the second haircut involved a major meltdown.  You look like such a big boy with your locks neatly trimmed.

3. You like playing basketball with your daddy even more than watching it on TV.
4. You are really into hugging right now.  You run over to us and throw your arms around our legs if we are standing, or around our necks if we are sitting.  You bury your head into our shoulders and we soak up the moment, the tenderness, the sweetest of you.
5. You are slowly learning animal sounds.  So far you have mastered alligator, lion, monkey and dog.  You enjoy hearing all of the animals make their sounds on your Little People Talking Zoo.

6. You are 2.  Throwing tantrums before dinner has become routine the last week or so.  We get home from school and you are tired, hungry, want to play, want to eat, want to sleep, want to push for independence and want to be held all the same time - the choices are challenging.
7. You like playing games on mommy's phone when you get a chance.  Your favorite game is this silly little bird game where you can move the bird all around with your finger and depending where you fly and land the bird it does a little activity.
8. You are starting to enjoy playing with stickers.  You haven't mastered how to spread them evenly across your papers, so they commonly end up in one big stack of stickers.

9. Your favorite show is Fireman Sam.  It is on Sprout, from the UK, and episodes are 10 minutes long, just the perfect length for us to be able to distract you while we need to get something done. 
10. You love the playground.  You clap your hands and squeal with excitement when we pull into the parking lot.  Swinging brings you such joy and the slide is endless fun.  Although you don't like to leave the park, you understand and say "bye-bye" as we leave. 

I love you sweet boy.


Now continue on with the circle and visit Anna's blog to read her monthly letter.

The Best Camera

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The saying is something like, "The best camera is the camera you have with you."  My trusty iphone is probably in my hand more than I like to admit, and maybe a goal for the month of December should be to disconnect more, but regardless, here are a few recent photos captured on my phone.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The photo is a little washed out, but I look at this little guy climbing the stairs at the park and think of how far we have come.  The tears of PT, from both of us, were all worth it to be able to see him conquer the playground.  He makes my heart swell.

December Daily Foundation Pages - Studio Calico DD Kit

Saturday, November 9, 2013

I finally had some time this week to sit down with my scrapbooking supplies and work on putting together some of my foundation pages.  It has made me realize how much I miss crafting.  I've used mostly the Studio Calico supplies, although I've also pulled a few things from my old stash.

Photo Wall Display on DIY Restoration Hardware Shelves

When we were preparing for baby boy's arrival we were so fortunate to meet several fabulous couples expecting their first child at the same time in our child birth class.  We have stayed in touch and although we haven't had a chance to see each other a lot recently, it is still so fun to see the little ones grow.  Anyway, not long ago we went to a 2nd birthday party for one of the little boy's from our fall baby group.  Their house was absolutely beautiful.  I loved everything about it and could certainly use a decorating lesson from them.  In their living they had these powerful shelves from Restoration Hardware that I fell in love with, the only problem was the reclaimed wood was far too light to match the other wood in our front room.  The shelves were the perfect place to display family photos.

DIY Restoration Hardware Shelves

Using their shelves as our inspiration we set out to recreate them, but be able to stain them so they could more closely match our other furniture.

The handy husband went out and bought 2x10 that was 16 feet long and had it cut into three 4 1/2 foot  lengths with a little extra leftover.  He also bought six 3/4" x 10" galvanized pipe, 3/4" floor flange and 3/4" end caps to be the wall bracket for the shelf.

We used old screws, a hammer, a screw driver and a razor blade to distress the wood.  Next we sanded the boards down and stained them with a Classic Gray Minwax stain.

We also spray painted the bracket pieces an antiqued bronze so it would match the finishes of the other furniture instead of being a steel color.

After all of the prep work, we hung the shelves with one side screwed into a stud and used self-drilling drywall anchors on the other side.  We spaced the shelves 21" apart in height in order for the frames and decorations to have a little breathing room.

How to Make Restoration Hardware Shelves DIY

I love how the shelves turned out.  They really help to own the wall space and now I just can't wait to get some photographs printed for the frames.      

Life + Lens {Thankful}

Friday, November 8, 2013

This month's Life + Lens theme is Thankful, which is so fitting given it is just the beginning of the holiday season.

Although it is so cliche, I'm thankful for the clean loads of laundry waiting to be folded, as it shows we have clean and warm clothes to wear.  I'm thankful for the dirty dishes piled in the sink, as it shows we ate a nutritious meal.  I'm thankful for the little boy messes scattered throughout the house, as it shows he played.  I'm thankful for my husband lounging on the couch, as he is my partner on this crazy adventure.  I'm thankful. I'm blessed. My heart is full.


Please continue on with the blog circle and visit Katie's blog to see what she is thankful for this month.

Things to Do in Oregon - Multnomah Falls

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Another thing we did on our weekend in Oregon was visit Multnomah Falls.  It was one of the things I wasn't sure we were going to be able to squeeze in, but I'm so thankful that we made it there because like just about everything else in Oregon, it was so incredible.