Monday, April 30, 2012

Wesley's Baptism

On my 30th birthday we baptized our little man at church. It was a weekend event full of family, friends, and food. Jarrod already wrote about the sanctity of the event on his blog, but I'm prepared to share all the details of the party! My dad, stepmom, sister, and brother in law all traveled for the occasion. Dad and Marie threw one heck of a party for some of our very dearest friends.

We shopped for the party on Friday afternoon - Dad and Marie had decided on the menu before they arrived. Here's what we had:
Nacho cups - scoops chips filled with taco meat, refried beans and sour cream
Caprese skewers - cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzerella and basil drizzled with balsamic vinegar
Strawberry Bruchetta - maserated strawberries on toasted bread with marscapone cheese
Chips and guacamole - my dad makes the best guacamole!
Chocolate for dipping - pretzels, fruit, angel food cake, and pound cake
a duck cake - handmade with lots of love!

I'm disappointed that I didn't take many pictures of the people at the party. We  intentionally only invited a family and friends-that-are-family. It was a delightful and intimate time. I loved watching people meet and interact. I loved introducing the family to Wesley's nanny. I loved watching people love and celebrate my little boy. It was a beautiful time.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

A Green Rocker: Revisited

Hopefully you read about my green rocker experiment. I learned that just because the rocker was free and all I had to do was paint it, doesn't make this a cheap project. Four cans of primer and three cans of green paint and we finally had a chair that was mostly solid green.

After allowing the chair plenty of time to dry in the garage (about 3 days) it was time to bring it back into the house!!

Meanwhile, I got to work on the cushion. I knew the perfect fabric was fabric from Wesley's nursery. It's beautiful and I have been looking for something to make with it. Because it's fairly girly, nursery projects were out. But it had all the colors we intend to use in our new living room, so it was perfect!

I planned to purchase foam to cover for the cushion but decided the bag of stuffing in the closet would work just fine. I measured the chair, cut my fabric 1/2" longer on all sides, made the ties, and got to sewing! I sewed two ties on each back corner and stuffed the seat before hand-stitching it closed.

Once the cushion was completed, I added a covered button. The kits are sold at any fabric store and are very simple to put together. I added one button on top and one on bottom and sewed them together. Easy peasy!

It has taken a home in the corner of our living room...the previous home to Wesley's swing, which has been relegated to the empty space between the kitchen and the living room. The colors aren't perfect right now and make the curtains look even worse, but once we begin the living room transformation, this rocker will fit right in!
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Goodbye 20s!

I turned 30 on Sunday. It was a crazy day full of family and church. I haven't really had time to process being a new age. I do feel tired, more tired than I have in a long time, but I am excited about what this new decade will bring.

A few weeks ago when someone heard I was turning 30 and were encouraging of me getting older. "It's not that bad, don't be depressed about it." Oh, okay...

I'm not depressed. Should I be?

I'm thrilled to be 30. I am working in a job that I absolutely adore. I feel fulfilled and excited to go to work every day. I have a wonderful husband who is my best friend. We work well as a team and have a fantastic life. I have the most beautiful baby boy in the world who sleeps through the night and nurses like a champ. We have a wonderful nanny and great child-care. Lots of people love our boy and support us. We have a remarkable church and great friends. Life is grand.

I haven't felt this way about every birthday. It's not about the tangible or intangible things that make this birthday and new age easier than others. I've made the decision to be content. Are things perfect? Not at all. We don't own a house, we still have debt, and I drive a million hours a week for work. There aren't enough hours in the day, my house is never clean enough, and my stress level is often sky-high.

I am 30 now. My face has more wrinkles and I'm no longer a crazy 20-something...if I ever was. But I'm choosing to be happy.
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

This is what I do Tuesdays: Birthdays, Anniversaries, Valentine's Day

We just celebrated a big birthday around here. When I say we I mean me and when I say big I mean 3-0! I thought I'd take this opportunity to tell you how we do birthdays, anniversaries, and other random holidays. I've shared with you before a few of our experiences including our anniversary last year, Jarrod's 30th birthday, my 29th birthday, and Valentine's Day 2011. You can tell very quickly that we love food and we celebrate events by having food experiences.

Unlike a lot of my friends, most holidays do not include jewelry. It's not that I don't like jewelry, I do. I just prefer experiences. Jarrod bought me a piece of jewelry for the first time since my wedding band after Wesley was born. I will cherish it as much as my wedding set. Jewelry is special, but I do not need a new piece of jewelry for each holiday. (But of course I'm not judging or jealous of those of you who do!)

We celebrate with food. Sometimes that means making reservations at a fancy restaurant and sometimes that means upping the food budget and cooking a nice meal together. One of us normally takes the reins and plans it while the other is surprised. It's wonderful fun.

When we do exchange gifts, they are, more often than not, very practical. I got Jarrod a lot of kitchen gadgets for his birthday and Christmas last year. Jarrod got me stuff for my camelbak for our anniversary. We're just practical people...and I like that!

This year for my birthday we celebrated Wesley's Baptism all weekend! We had family in town and a party on Saturday. On Sunday, Wesley was baptized at church and Jarrod had my dad and step-mom watch Wesley while he took me to dinner. Jarrod got me a very practical present. It was perfection.

How do you celebrate holidays and birthdays? How do you make the day special for your children? 
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Monday, April 23, 2012

Menu Plan Monday - April 23, 2012

This weekend was a little crazy. Between my 30th birthday and Wesley's baptism, lots of family in town and lots of meals out, we are ready for some regularity for sure! We did stick to the menu last week and had delicious pork and great BBQ chicken.

Check out my recipes idea board on Pinterest to see what we'll be having soon! Want to see my comments on what we've already made? Check out this board.

Menu for April 23-29

Monday - Leftovers from Wesley's Baptism Party and other random leftovers in our house - caprese salad, grilled chicken, and stromboli
Tuesday - Tamale Casserole
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Huevos Rancheros
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Crockpot Chicken Taco Chili

I'm linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie!
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Friday, April 20, 2012

Birthday Weekend!

It's birthday weekend around here! It's a very special weekend, not just because I'm turning the big 3-0, but because we will be having Wesley baptized this weekend! We have lots of family around and I couldn't be more excited.

Of course there are things on my wish list this year including:

But none of these things are as important to me as finding a cure. This year, as with most years, I'm asking for you to donate to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Recipe Mash-up!

I am not a big recipe-follower. Jarrod tends to follow them to the letter, but I use them as a useful guide while typically going off on my own path. Regardless of our recipe style, one thing we do NOT do is make up our own. It's something I used to do a lot - long before the advent of Pinterest. Now that I have a whole board of recipes waiting to be made, I don't do a whole lot of creating anymore.

For the month of May, Jarrod and I are taking on the challenge to create one new recipe each week during the month of May. I'm already thinking about how we're going to do this - I have ideas swimming around in my head about sweet potato hash, breakfast casserole skillet, slow-cooker chicken, and a polenta enchilada bake with green enchilada sauce. Because I'm not great at following recipes, it's going to be a challenge for me to create measurements.

I am hopeful that this will also encourage us to take more pictures of what we create! We are really great at taking pictures of Wesley with our phones and camera, but aren't as good at taking pictures of our food creations. Hopefully this will help us get back on track with that. I'm excited to share with you a new recipe each week throughout the month of May!

How do you cook - are you a recipe follower? Do you use a recipe as a guide? Do you make up your own recipes? I'd love to hear how you create your delicious family dinners! 
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Our Living Room: A Transformation

We love the open concept of our home. We have a very open eat-in kitchen with a bar that opens to the living room. The living room is spacious with lots of windows. The living room leads into the entry way. All of our bedrooms essentially flow off of the living room.

Because this space is the biggest, it's been a design dilemma for us. For one, there are three windows in the living room, one in the kitchen, and a set of sliding doors all in the same space. That's a lot of window treatments! Should they match? Coordinate? You can see better what I'm talking about by checking out the floor plan here. Add a big room and a small budget and you get lazy decorating. Jarrod and I have done very little in terms of decorating this area...but it's time for that to change!

We purchased this couch the day we moved in. There is a TV tray serving as end table. Everything else in the room (with the exception of our new TV and Wesley's swing) are old pieces of furniture repurposed to make the space work. We have two Billy Bookshelves on either side of the TV with a small TV stand to hold books, games, and our cable system.

The green rocker will soon replace the swing in the corner (spoiler alert - the rocker is done!!) to get the color palette started. Let's start in the living room and I'll show you my plans.

That middle section drives me insane. It's a catchall area of games, books, and entertainment stuff. I'd rather have one long shelf for the cable box and DVD player and that's it. Something that fits exactly between the book cases and sits right up to the DVD shelves. Something really basic that would just serve a purpose but would be simple. Perhaps something like this, turned horizontal...
with doors:

Then I want a new table for under the cross wall. 
You can't tell from the picture, but there are about 4 feet between the end of the couch and the wall. It's a perfect place for a table or storage unit for toys, keys, and other random stuff collected in the living room. See the fruit bowl in the picture above? We currently have a catchall basket where we keep mail, coupons, keys, money, receipts, etc. I'd like to move this to a drawer in a piece of furniture under the cross wall. Preferably something with space for baskets for toys and drawers for Jarrod's stuff.

I like this Hemnes sofa table, but it needs drawers...
Something like this is just practical. We can display picture frames on the top and inside it can hold Wesley's toys and stuff we want put away but easily accessible. If we could add drawers on the top and baskets on the bottom, this would be idea. Not too wide, so it wouldn't compromise the walkway.

Other things in this room are not as vibrant window coverings!

We're starting with the fabric from the nursery that I used for a seat cover for the rocking chair.
The rocking chair brings in the green and we plan to use the yellow in the curtains in the living room. Because the wall of windows is so wide, we plan to use 4 panels of brightly colored curtains. I envision something in fabric like Waverly Modern Essentials Groovy Grill in Citrus.
I might have an obsession with Waverly Modern Essentials... This is the same fabric in a different color as Wesley's nursery curtains, but Jarrod and I are okay with that. If we go with these curtains, we can bring in some more bold colors by adding funky pillows on the couch in this colorful print:

This print would tie in the curtains and the green from the chair. That way we could do something complimentary in the kitchen on the window and sliding glass doors. I'm leaning towards something like this:
Or maybe this:
 I know those two fabrics are completely different styles - we're not entirely sure which direction we want to go. We just want to be sure to bring bright colors into the space. And use things that aren't too customized so that we can bring them to our next home also.

I'm in the process of dreaming up a mood board for this space. You'd think that's be simple given the details I just shared. It probably is, but there are about 45 Photoshop things that are before mood board on my list. :-) For now, you'll just have to deal with these random thoughts until I get around to giving you more. :-)

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

This is what I do Tuesday - Evening Routine

Last Tuesday I wrote about my morning routine. This week I'm bringing you the exciting topic that is my evening routine! Things haven't changed that much since Wesley was born. And I hate to break it to you, but my life is still rather boring. I should preface and say that I am not a night person. I'm great in the mornings, but come 10pm, I'm fighting to stay awake.

Jarrod and I are very intentional about going to sleep at the same time. He is a night person, but he's adjusted his schedule so that we can go to sleep at the same time. Sometimes he reads before he goes to sleep, but we are both in bed at the same time nearly ever night.

In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times we haven't gone to bed at the same time. The only time I can remember is when he was sick. He went to bed around 8pm and I stayed up and deep-cleaned the kitchen. It was glorious!

Back to my evening routine...

I typically arrive home from work sometime around 6pm. Most nights I'll set off for a walk quickly after walking in the door. I arrive home to dinner on the table by 6:45pm or so. Jarrod and I eat dinner and at 7pm it's time for Wesley to eat. Jarrod cleans up from dinner while Wesley gets dinner. Once Wesley is done we either bath him or play for a little while. By 7:30pm it's time for him to wind down and get Wesley ready for bed. He goes down around 8pm. Before Wesley goes to bed, we put him in his jammies and pray together. Sometimes we read stories or take a bath, but we always put him in his crib and pray together.

After Wesley is asleep, Jarrod and I will pick up the house and relax. We normally get ready for bed and catch up shortly after putting Wesley to bed. Sometimes we chat over a glass of wine or bowl of ice cream. Other nights we have TV shows on the DVR ready to watch. Whatever we do, by 8:15pm we are relaxing!

Wesley eats again at 10pm. I normally feed him in bed while Jarrod and I chat. Once Wesley is done eating, we put him back to bed and crash.

Every night is just a little bit different, but the night usually includes couch-time for Jarrod and I. The couple of hours after Wesley goes to bed are very special for Jarrod and I. We don't get much time together, so we use that time wisely.

What is your evening routine?
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Trash to treasure...

Over a year ago I found this rocking chair in a storage room at work. I asked if I could have it but was too late - it'd already been claimed by a coworker. Several months later, shortly before Jarrod and I moved back to Texas, I found the rocker again - the coworker hadn't taken it. I claimed it as mine!

I started sanding the rocker with the intention of having it done before we moved. Turns out it had been pained many, many, many times and the paint was very thick. It took me forever to just get as far as I did. I insisted we keep it and it made the trek to Dallas with the rest of our belongings. It has lived in our garage since we moved in almost a year ago...

When I read this post by Sherry and John and decided to see if I could spray paint the chair. I bought a can of white paint and a can of bright green in hopes of making a cushion and using the chair in our living room.

While I was painting, I decided I wanted to spray an old high chair that has been in our garage as well. I decided I wanted the high chair to be bright blue. Of course Wesley can't use it right now and I'll have to seal the tray with something no-VOC, but I thought I might as well spray them at the same time.

Little did I know that this would be an incredible challenge. Beyond just the challenge of it being Easter weekend and having a 3 month old, we had a stray dog I picked up living in our backyard and had the grass mowed this weekend also... Perfect circumstances for painting!

On top of that, I accidentally bought the wrong kind of primer and didn't realize it until I took this picture! 

Another tough element was that the rocking chair was sucking up paint. It took nearly 4 cans (not coats, cans!) of white spray paint to get an even coat of printer to begin painting with color. Two cans in on the color and I still wasn't getting even coverage.

On the other side of the patio I had the blue can going on the high chair. Because the wood was sealed and stained, the white primer went on much more uniform. I didn't get to prime the chair as much as I would have liked, because I couldn't bring myself to buy a 5th can of primer! Thankfully, the blue seemed to take just fine. I prayed about 5 thin and even coats before I was satisfied. It was difficult, like with the rocking chair, getting the spray paint in the tight spaces of the chair.
 I'm beyond thrilled with how the high chair turned out. I don't think we'll be using it for quite some time - it's obviously not "safe" as it doesn't have a lap strap, but I know someday Wesley will be big and strong enough to sit in it with us at the table. For now, it'll sit in the corner of our kitchen making things just a little brighter!

Back to the rocking chair... After 2 cans of green, I was so over spray painting. I'd turned the chair over and back more times than I could count. Because the blue high chair was done, I decided I was done with the green rocker. I'll probably do one more can someday soon, but that day is not today. Because the baby swing is where I'd like this rocker to go, I'm really in no hurry to finish it. I might even start on the cushion before I finish the chair... I'm thinking about using my favorite fabric from the nursery. I still have several yards left and because Wesley is a boy and has no need for flowery fabric, I figure the living room is the perfect place for it.
So there you have it. One fairly successful project that won't be used for at least a year and one not as successful project that won't be done for at least a year... ;-)
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Meal Plan Monday - April16, 2012

We had a great week last week - busy but we stayed on top of the menu and stuck with it for the week! As a reminder, here's what we had last week. I actually didn't make the Shepherd's Pie. We ran out of week. Instead we're using the potatoes for the BBQ chicken on Tuesday, the green beans to go with the pork, and the ground turkey got used making an enchilada casserole for a family who recently welcomed a new baby. Check out my recipes idea board on Pinterest to see what we'll be having soon! Want to see my comments on what we've already made? Check out this board.

Menu for April 16-22

Monday - Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork
Tuesday - Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken and Baked Potatoes
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Family in town!
Saturday - Wesley's Baptism Party (Recipes and pictures coming soon!)
Sunday - Birthday Celebration

I'm linking up at I'm an Organizing Junkie!
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Friday, April 13, 2012

Three Months

Wesley turned 3 months old this week! It's incredibly hard to believe our little man has been in our lives for just 3 short months - we cannot imagine life without him! On the other hand, it's pretty remarkable how much he's learned and grown in such a short period of time.

Dear Wes-man,
You learned how to do so much this month! You giggle and it's incredible. You found your hands about 2 weeks ago and are fascinated by them. You hold your hands in front of your face absolutely amazed that you can move them. You watch our hands and hold on to your toys. You rolled over for the first time on Wednesday, April 4th. I don't know who was more excited - you or me! You laughed and I had tears in my eyes. You don't like to be on your tummy at all so you don't roll over often. You do roll from side to side a lot and love that. You enjoy being on your play mat or a blanket and are always the center of attention.

You are the most handsome baby we've ever seen. You have very expressive eyes and your hair is absolutely incredible. People stop us in the store or out in public all the time to compliment (or comment!) on your hair. Although some people thought your hair would fall out, it has not. It's continued to grow. Despite my best efforts, it does nothing but stand straight up. We try to comb it down when it's wet with no luck. We do attempt with some success, the faux hawk. That's about the best we can do. I predict that you will have gorgeous auburn curls someday. But right now your hair is a very pretty brown with a lot of red in it and sticks straight up from your head.

This month you also began sleeping through the night! You did it for the first time on March 29th and then waited a few days to do it again. We're getting the hang of things now, but you still have a few screaming fits in the middle of the night. Sometimes you eat and sometimes you just settle yourself and go back to sleep. Daddy and I are really starting to feel more human now that we're sleeping better. You are much less fussy now also. You are a champ when we cart you out to run errands, bring you to work, or take you to church. You have very serious faces but you are one of the happiest babies I've ever met. You smile and coo all the time. You follow us with your eyes and love when we play with you.

You also survived your first tornado! Tornadoes touched down all over the metroplex on April 3rd. Mama was out visiting youth ministers and dad was at work. You were home safe with Nanny Haley. She kept you safe in the bathtub after the sirens went off. Thankfully, tornadoes didn't touch near our house, but they did do a lot of damage very close to here. Our friend's neighborhood was damaged and one of our conference churches had a great deal of damage. We are so thankful that you were safe, our neighborhood was not damaged, and your nanny loves you!

We celebrated Easter this month. You went to church a lot. We went to a Palm Sunday service, a Maundy Thursday Seder, Good Friday service, Easter egg hunt, and two services on Easter Sunday morning.  It was important to me for you to experience Holy Week from start to finish. We talked a lot about what Easter means and why we celebrate the days leading up to Easter. I'm excited to continue to have these conversations with you as you get bigger. Sometimes I want to sleep in or skip a church service but I remember you're watching. Going to church is very important - living a life congruent with the gospel is very important, so we try to live a good example for you to follow. We are honest, compassionate to others, and patient - as best we can - and go to church even when we are tired or it is inconvenient. I hope to continue this lifestyle as you get older and can pay more attention. We want nothing more than to set the best example for you as possible.

You are getting bigger every day. While it excites me to see the new things you're learning, it makes me sad too. You are no longer the tiny little newborn we brought home from the hospital. You're opinionated, serious, silly, and growing. You will be sitting up very soon, which means mobility is not far. I know if I blink, I'll miss something.

Your daddy and I cannot imagine our lives without you. In fact, we don't remember our lives before you! You have brought an incredible amount of joy to our family. We are so blessed to have you and are thankful God chose us to be your parents. We take this responsibility very seriously and are excited to watch you grow!

Mama and Daddy
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Blue Bonnet Pictures

We're Texans and it's standard practice for Texans to take spring pictures in the blue bonnets. Our first trip was with the cousins and my in-laws. It was the middle of the day and the sun was high and bright. Wesley had just been to the Easter Egg Hunt and petting zoo. We got some fantastic pictures of the cousins, but none with a happy baby!

After several failed attempts before Easter to take my family to a field to get pictures, Jarrod and I finally decided on an impromptu trip after dinner one quiet Tuesday night. The lighting was perfect and Wesley was in a decent mood. We captured some gorgeous family shots.

I think they came out pretty good, considering it was a quick after work decision. I didn't obsess about wardrobe or even do much research about camera settings. I dressed Wes in a cute jumper, asked Jarrod to put on something in the blue/white family, and hopped in the car. This field isn't large or the most beautiful, but it's in a secluded area of town on a very quiet street. I put our tripod to good use with the 10 second timer...The next day I purchased a remote!

I loved these pictures so much I decided to design our blog around the colors... Hope you like the changes around here - I'm sure things will change again soon!
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