Tuesday, July 30, 2013

the gallery wall : inspirations

(For those of you that think ALL I have on my mind is babies...this one is for you.)

Gallery walls.

It's "the thing" right now in home decor, and has been for a while.  I have wanted a gallery wall for ages, and have been pinning quite a few that I absolutely love.  

But the task seems so daunting.  Who has that many pieces of art just lying around?  Who has the money to print off a ton of pictures and buy cool frames?  

Plus, since we are in the middle of a very slow-going home renovation, the wall that I want to put this gallery wall on is not even painted the color I want as the backdrop for said display.  I don't even know what color that will be!  

But you have to start somewhere with a project - or it will never happen.

So I started with getting inspirations, and deciding what type of gallery wall I actually want.

There are all kinds - eclectic, uber-organized, frames instead of actual pictures, etc, etc.

The style I have always envisioned in our home is a large-scale, dramatic, mostly black and white version...with a pop of color here and there. 

I want it to be paintings, personal photography, and just things that I love and are meaningful.  I even want to throw a few chalkboards in there.

Here are some of my inspirations...




We are going to put this gallery wall in our foyer, with the frames hung from floor to ceiling to create that dramatic effect.

They will be arranged around that white bench I purchases a few months back.

The wall will be painted eventually, when I decide on a color.

But - I think I will start on the gallery wall before that happens.

No time like the present, right?

Here are some items I have collected so far, which sit in our front entryway until I can convince Hubby to start hanging things...
l-r: le paris painting I've had forever, dancing couple print we got as a wedding gift, map of cincy I got at an antique mall, paris quote print from etsy, photo of my dad's canoe,  subway sign I made of street names meaningful to our marriage, typewriter key print from ikea, and a homemade chalkboard.  I have a couple more not shown, but - I need more!!!!

the paris print has a frame now, and I reframed the photo of my dad's canoe

I might do pops of red here and there...but I'm not sure.

So I know lots of you out there have a gallery wall in your home -- how did you get started?  What type is it?  What inspired you?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

{how motherhood has changed me}

  • I used to really care what I look like.  I still do - sometimes - like if Hubby and I are going out on a date or we are going to a special event.   But in general I don't seem to have time or energy for that. I exit the house looking bedraggled half the time.  Forgetting makeup, hair in a messy updo, wearing yoga pants and a spitup stained shirt, praying that my nursing bra is in place.  I don't tan anymore - not even a spray tan (and who has time to apply self-tanner???)  When I do put on makeup it is usually with one baby squirming on the floor and another running around my feet impatiently, so it ends up being a rushed, half-finished look.  (Ever put eyeliner on one eye and forget about the other??? This girl has.)  I still want to look good, and I am not at all saying that when you are a mama you just "let yourself go."  Buuuut...it definitely takes a backseat to a million other things.
  • I used to be extremely selfish.  What I mean is: life was all about me.  How was I feeling?  Was I happy?  Was I getting to do all the things I wanted?  I won't lie - I pretty much thought the world revolved around me.  Now my focus is on two little ones.  Are they sleeping enough?  Are they eating enough?  Are they developing at a normal rate?  Are they happy?  Am I giving them enough attention?  It is funny how your mindset totally changes when you have little ones.
  • I used to live recklessly.  Not that I am some rebel...but I didn't put a lot of thought into the results of my actions.  In my 20's I made choices that could have ended up badly.  I won't elaborate but I can look back on many moments and thank God that I came out okay after each one - whether it be mentally or physically.  I could write some interesting stories.   Now I worry about each thing I do.  You can't be reckless with kiddos.  Your actions affect them.  They see it all.  They hear it all.  They need you.  I worry every time I drive them anywhere.  Every time they leave with their dada and I imagine how awful it would be if it was the very last time I saw them.  I try to be adventurous, yet after each adventure I have a inner mini freak-out thinking about all the things that could have gone wrong on said adventure.  
  • I used to go to bed between 11 and midnight.  Now I fall asleep on the couch at 9pm.
  • I used to get annoyed at the mamas with the screaming children out and about.  Now I am one.
  • I used to work out to look good.  Now I work out to be able to lift a carseat and a toddler at the same time.  Okay, and to look good.  And the endorphins.  And so I can eat copious amounts of ice cream.  Alright, I work out for a lot of reasons.  But, first and foremost - mamas gotta be strong!
  • I used to skip breakfast.  Now that I have a little guy that needs a hearty breakfast I have been making hot breakfasts every morning.  I thought back to my dad making us hot breakfasts every morning before school, and decided Hey, I can do that!   I love it.  The girl who used to get stressed out at the thought of scrambling eggs now slings out breakfast to kid and hubby like a short-order cook.  I even eat some myself!  Progress, people.   
  • I used to drink a normal amount of coffee.  Now I drink coffee whenever I have time to make some - or pass a Starbucks.  No joke.
So those are just a few ways being a mama has changed me.  It will continue to change me.  I welcome the changes, for the most part.  I think motherhood has made me a better person.  Maybe slightly frumpier...but better.  :)

How has motherhood changed you?

Friday, July 19, 2013

finola - two months!

Dear Daughter,
I have begun to fall in love with you.  Sure, I have loved you from the start...but now that I have gotten to know you a bit more I can't help but adore what I see.  Especially now that you smile and make little baby noises like "ahhh" and "eeee" and "goooo!" and try your best to "talk" to me.   We have great "conversations."  I know exactly how to make you laugh and smile --  which makes me feel pretty talented...because I'm really not all that funny.  I especially like when you make serious eye contact with me while breastfeeding and I smile at you and you smile back and milk runs out of your mouth.  {Yep - total overshare - but I'm sure there are other nursing mamas out there that find this magical and not weird/awkward.}

Anyway, you are pretty much a peach.

Here are some photos of you from month two...
snoozing with dada
goofy grins - with spit bubbles

the 'ford V' hairline

meeting great grandpa

sleeping through another fun outing

still unsure of the whole 'camera in the face' thing.  give it time, girl.  give it time.

the elusive missing sock
Your personality:  Patient and tolerant and sweet.  Sure, there are those rare occasions you get annoyed {um, scream your head off}, usually when I have to set you down to handle something to do with your brother...but in general you go with the flow.  You love to look at your brother as he talks to you and plays around you.  You make funny faces when he hugs you and kisses a little too roughly...but you never cry when he does it, so maybe you like it???  You still rarely cry in general - in fact, you tend to just breath heavily and grunt before you will actually deign to cry.   And your cries are kind of like, "Heeeey!  I'm here!  I want a little attention!"  rather than the really sad, inconsolable cries.  I have actually only seen you shed tears once...but that was enough - so sad!  You are not naturally smiley...but I know how to get you to smile and make happy noises/faces, moments that I now totally live for.  Your smile is completely infectious, and I love that your eyes get really big and you take in deep gasping breaths when you are happy.
on a date with dada
Your relationship with your big brother:  He adores you.  You are still not sure.  You stare at him a lot like you are trying to figure him out.  (Don't worry - I am, too.)  You are very tolerant when he grabs your hand roughly, yelling "Grab! Grab baby hand!" or pats your tummy just a little too aggressively, or tries to give you "big uuuuugs!" while I'm feeding you, or rubs his head against your feet.  (Yeah, that one confuses me, too.)  

kisses on mama's 32nd bday

You love to eat:  Mama milk...and a bit of formula every now and then.  You have gotten good at taking the bottle...but you hardly ever get one.  You eat fast and are easy to put back to sleep, so I rarely make your dada get up at night for a feeding.  Plus, I hate pumping and don't want to compromise my milk supply this early.   

You sleep:  GREAT!  You still wake up for a feeding twice a night, but right around seven weeks you started sleeping 4-5 hour stretches at night, which has helped Mama get some better rest.  I also was able to start doing a normal bedtime routine with you, putting you to bed about the same time as your brother - 8pm.  I'd like to make this earlier...but that will come when we start officially sleep training you.  Still waiting for you to sleep all the way through the night - not holding my breath!  You nap about 3-4 times a day, for 1-2 hours at a time.  I do the "two hours of wakefulness max" rule and that is working great.  I continue to put you down awake, and you soothe yourself to sleep.  Thank goodness too, because with Cormac around I don't have time for a rigorous soothing session with you.  Sometimes I basically have to throw you in the crib and then go deal with a "toddler crisis."  
tired mama, tired baby
You love wearing:  Jorts!  You {I} love baby jean shorts.  All the sweet dresses are great for dates and church...but we are veeeery casual most days so you sport a lot of cotton onesies and often a pair of girlie jorts.  
"I love my jorts!  Can't you tell by my expression?"
We call you:   "Toots" - because you tend to do a lot of passing gas.  "Girl" or "Sister" are still my standbys.   Cormac still calls you "Beeeeeebeeeeee" most of the time...but at 8 weeks he started saying your name!
"Din-ola!" since he cannot pronounce F's.  
You love:  Being held.  Whether it is in our arms or strapped snugly in the Bjorn, you love being close to our chests.  You also enjoy hanging out with Dada at night.  You get really alert and nuzzle your little face against his.  He will blow on your face and you throw your arms and head back and make a squeaky noise.  You also seem to really like the tummy time mat.  You have started to bat at the toys that hang above you and grip the rings.  You also grab my necklaces, shirt, and hair quite often.  You even were mad once and pinched my arm really hard!   Baths.  You do wonderfully in you baby tub, and don't cry except for sometimes when I take you out.  You still like the Bjorn and the swing okay...but I use those only if you are awake and I really need my hands free to get something done.  

You look like:  a little old man - still!  You have bulgy blue eyes and ears that stick out just a hair more than your brother's did.  Your eyebrows are still invisible, but your eyelashes are growing in and getting slightly darker...and they curl up in this super cute girlie kind of way.  You still have a "stork kiss" on the back of your neck, and your sandy blonde hair is getting longer.  It swirls around on the top of your head into the tiniest little curl!   Sweet girl, you may not be a looker yet...but you are my little doll with the infectious grin!  Oh, and I am in love with the upper thigh fat rolls you have.  They are currently my favorite spot on your little baby bod.

Mama feels:  Pretty dang good!  I started working out immediately after everything checked out great at my six week postpartum appointment.   I still have 5-7 pounds to lose to be back at my pre-baby weight...but I haven't started cutting calories yet, and am not too worried about it.  I will crack down once I stop breastfeeding you, but for now I enjoy every bite.  I am running 3-5 times a week with a trip to the gym on the weekend.  I am not ready to bring you to the gym playroom yet, even though I could.  In my opinion you are still too tiny.

Your health/measurements: 
Weight: 12.5lbs...the rest I forget and they didn't give me the printout! (will update later)

This Months' Memories:
  • Fourth of July @ Mimi's! This was your first time meeting most of your relatives on your Dada's side.  They passed you around and you endured all the commotion really well.  You will have to get used to that.  Mimi's house can get loud - and Gramma and Grampa's might be even louder!!!
meeting great grandma
  • First zoo visit.  I have no photos of this.  But it should be noted that it down-poured rain and you and I took shelter under a tree, only getting slightly wet.
  • A night out with Mama and Dada.  We got a delish dinner out with you while Cormac played at home with the babysitter.  After dinner we drank a couple beers on a patio until it got smoky and we had to bail.  It was kind of fun having you out with us!  
"Look at you!  You've got a baby...at a bar!"

  • Your brother's 2nd bday party!  You wore your party dress and were passed around a lot.  Mostly you snoozed.
snuggles from mimi during cormac's party
  • You had your first real smile!  At about 5 weeks your Dada got you to grin at him, and since then we have been coaxing them out of you every day.  I love to spend time looking into your eyes, making goofy faces, and being rewarded by your elusive grins, coos and giggles.  
  • Way better head control this month!  
  • You bat at hanging toys and are very interested in gazing into the mirror on the tummy time mat.
  • Slept six hours straight - our longest stretch yet!

Now, of course I like to compare what you and your brother looked like at the same ages.
Here you both are at two months...
(He definitely had a bigger, rounder head.  Your ears stick out more.  You have more hair, less eyebrow.  Your noses look pretty similar.  He had crazier facial expressions.  I think you will be more chill.  Here is the post I wrote about his second month - just for fun.)

Finola - You are a little piece of baby heaven.  You put up with a lot.  You take it all in stride.  You seem to love both us and your brother, despite the chaos we mix you up in.  I seriously fall more in love with you every day.  As I like to say - you are a good one.

Love, Mama + Dada

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

{you are two}

You are two.
You call fireworks "big booms."  You still are petrified of the vacuum cleaner.  You now say please and thank you - though not as consistently as I would like.  Your hair is thick and grows like a weed.  You hate when I cut your fingernails.  You say "I love you" like "wuv yooo-OOO!" which completely melts my heart.  You can sing the entire Bob the Builder theme song without my help.  We cannot pass by a rock pile or gravel patch without you snagging a few for your pockets.  You give me "flowers" that you pick out of the grass and do so with a shy, boyish smile.  You throw some crazy tantrums.  You also give kisses randomly, with wild abandon.  You say "no" a lot.  You say "yes" like "wes."  You sleep from 8pm-7am with no problems whatsoever.  You nap 2-3 hours a day.  You love trucks and trains. You have no interest in potty training.  You weigh 28 pounds.  You can count to five.  (Sometimes ten.)  If there is something in a book or on TV that you like you try to "GRAB!" it with your hands.  You will grab my hand and pull and yell "run, run, RUN!"

You make each day interesting.  You have a LOT of personality.  You are a challenge.  You are a joy.

I could go on and on.

But let's get to some photos, shall we?

you help me in the garden every day.  er, sort of.
you like to wave and say "HI!" to everyone

you eventually figure things out
popsicle lover like dada?
"Cormac, screaming is an 'outside noise'"
you still sign "more" and "please" 
your eyelashes are incredible.
you are the best big brother.

+ + + + + + + + 

And here are a couple two-year-olds that would someday grow up to create you.  Crazy to even think about!

oh my gosh - there are those dimples I fell in love with.  and those pacman cakes are AWESOME!

You are two.  You are awesome.  We love you.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

sweet somethings : 2nd birthday party!

The "construction truck" party turned out great!
The weather was absolutely gorgeous.  We had it at a local park, so the kiddos/parents could venture to play at the splash park or playground.  I managed not to go overboard on the decorations, and even enlisted help with the food (both of these are great feats for me!)

We had about fifteen guests {some of hubby's fam and friends with little ones} plus our little family of four.  It was perfect!
Here are some photos from the day....

hubby's sister and me
Rocks and trucks was the theme for the day!

 This plastic bin full of rocks and trucks and scoops was a big hit with the littles!

me and hubby - prom pose
the boys - playing in the "rock quarry"
hide and seek?
watermelon eatin'
eating cake with nana
finola in her party dress, with mimi - I love this picture.

Cormac had a blast - and promptly fell asleep in the car on the way home.
Thank you to those that helped celebrate -  
your kindness is great
 and we appreciate you being in Cormac's life. :D