Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Before & After - The Office

We've been busy putting our own personal touches on our house. It's all a process and I'm sure we'll  change our minds repeatedly over the years, but we're happy with what we've been able to do so far.

When you first enter our house there is a room immediately to your right.  The previous homeowner used it as a sitting room but I knew that wouldn't be very practical for me.  Initially we put some of the kids' toys in there simply because I didn't want to banish them to the basement every time they wanted to play, but I wasn't thrilled about a room full of clutter either.  So we cleared everything out and started from scratch.
 Because of our recent painting projects {more on that later} I decided that the red wasn't working well with the overall color scheme.  I changed it to a more neutral gray... with a little help.

Then, after LOTS of back and forth, I decided to transform the room into an office.  A play room would have been convenient and a guest room would have been nice, but an office would be something that I would get plenty of use out of.  Since I live by my calendar, I decided to make that the focal point of my accent wall.  Go big or go home, right?

I used dry-erase paint to create the calendar and added vinyl lettering to the top.  I love that I can write directly on the wall!  {The markers are put in a very safe place.  I've learned my lesson.}

A few decorative elements were added.

Perhaps my favorite part of the entire room is the wall saying.  For years I've wanted our family to have a motto of some sort but everything I came up with seemed impersonal.  I wanted it to be something that could have meaning for all of us, regardless of the stage of life we're in.  When I found this one, I knew it was the right one for us.  These days there is a lot of bad stuff out there, but there is also a lot of good if you look for it.  If I could only teach my children one lesson my whole life it would be that they can bring kindness and goodness and love wherever they go.  And they should look for opportunities to do so.

Now that it's done we spend lots of time in this room.  I love that I can check emails while looking out the window for Kylie's bus, or pay bills without getting breakfast crumbs on them.  Someday we might jazz this room up a little more but for now it's serving its purpose beautifully.

Saturday, September 12, 2015


Jackson is TWO!  I'm still trying to figure out how the time passed by so quickly - and how his hair got so blonde!

He is 34 1/4" tall {25th percentile} and 29 pounds {50th percentile}, my biggest two-year-old yet.

Per tradition, the birthday boy got to sit in a specially decorated seat.

This boy LOVES cars.  A lot.  So we added to his collection a bit and he couldn't be happier.

Like most boys, he's very particular about his cars.  He will line his cars up in a meticulous fashion several times a day.

Jackson has added such a fun dynamic to our family.  He's all boy and loves to run, jump, climb, and throw.  He adores his sisters and enjoys playing outside with them.  His favorite TV shows are Blue's Clues, Team Umizoomi, and Veggie Tales.  He's recently become a picky eater but is always up for a cup of yogurt or a fruit smoothie.  He still isn't a huge fan of books but he does enjoy music.

I love so many things about Jackson but here are my top two favorites:

1. He's a mama's boy through and through.  From the moment he wakes up {"MOMMY!"} to those sweet bedtime kisses, he's my little shadow.  I'm his whole world and right now I'm soaking it in.

2. He is very laid back.  It doesn't take much at all to keep him happy. 

Happy birthday, sweet boy.  Love you to the moon and back.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Birthday Season

Summer has been begging for a birthday party since... oh.... February.  We knew that we would probably be moving into a house this year but were unsure of the timing.  Unfortunately for her, everything seemed to happen in August: packing, moving, beginning a new school year; and then there were all of the things associated with those events: unpacking, school supply shopping, clothes shopping, school registrations, meet the teachers, etc.

I think this poor girl knew that a party just wasn't going to happen this year.

So we chose to celebrate her twice: once on her actual birthday, and again while my parents were in town over the weekend.  That's sort of like a party, right???  The kids all feel like it's their birthday when they get to see Grandma and Granddad!

Summer got to open a few more gifts from Grandma and Granddad.  My mom made this darling display of Summer's "favorite things."  She can't wait to hang it up in her room!

We told Summer that she could pick a fun place to visit rather than having a party.  She chose Conner Prairie, which is an interactive historical park.  Kylie was the only one who had ever been before and she raved about it.

The girls had a lot of fun learning about the early 1800s, or the "eighteens" as Kylie calls them.  They pet animals, tried hand-churned butter, and played old-fashioned games.  Despite the 90 degree heat, they really enjoyed themselves.

Personally, if I never go back to Conner Prairie again it will be too soon.  Maybe it was because of the heat or something, but I just didn't think it was very fun.  Or interesting.  Or kid-friendly for that matter.  One of us had to stay outside with Jackson at all times because whenever we inside a building he was told not to touch anything.  Lame.

He didn't seem to mind.

And the girls really did have fun exploring "Prairie Town" so I guess that makes it all worth it.  Just don't ask me to go back.  Please, don't ask me to go back.

There was one place that was super kid-friendly and that was the Discovery Zone.  There were forts to hide in, simple crafts to do, and blocks to build with.  Jackson could have stayed at the train table all day.

After we got home, we had brownies and ice cream and sang to Summer a second time around.  She felt pretty special about that.

The birthday fun only continued.  Earlier this week Summer checked the mailbox and was thrilled to find something for her.  It was a card that her sweet cousin Sean made for her.

One of our old neighbors turned six and invited the girls to her party.  They had such a blast dancing to kid songs.

On Labor Day Josh got to go on a lengthy motorcycle ride with some friends.  He was so happy, I'm sure he felt like it was his birthday!

Afterwards we hung out with some of our very best friends at their neighborhood pool.  Their son has the same birthday as Summer.  Despite being a year apart, they were inseparable in the pool.

We've got one more birthday celebration left.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Pan Cakes and Pancakes

We kept Summer's birthday celebration very simple.  Since her first day of Pre-K was the very next day, we had rainbow pancakes for dinner.  After opening presents we all sat down to eat the funfetti cake that she helped me make earlier in the day.  All in all, she thoroughly enjoyed being in the spotlight!


The next morning was a bit crazy.  We had scheduled the girls' dentist appointments six months before and, although we had moved, they wanted to go one last time.  This meant a 25 minute commute in morning traffic, a quick check-up in the dentist chair, and another 25 minute commute back the other direction... all before school!  We dropped Kylie off just in time for the morning bell, went home to gather a few last-minute items for the day, and then headed off to Preschool. 

I think the chaos was just too much for Summer and I.  She had been looking forward to preschool but by the time we got to her classroom she was in tears... and I was close.  Her teacher was so great though.  She scooped her right up and enlisted her help in passing out "important papers" while I snuck out the door.

My day only got crazier from there, but Summer actually had a wonderful first day of school and can't wait to go back!  Despite the fact that she is technically old enough to go to Kindergarten, I feel so confident that we made the right choice in sending her to Pre-K instead.  I can't wait to watch her blossom this year.