Wednesday, March 19, 2014

the good stuff

i've been going back and forth on what to write here for a few days now.

i could blog about how i've felt impatient with hero lately and surprisingly down on myself and my abilities as a mother and wife. we all have those days, right?

but i've decided that there is SO much more good that outweighs any current frustrations and challenges and that i think i'd rather document the happy today rather than delve into the other stuff. besides, it's the little happy things that get so taken for granted and easily forgotten- they deserve some real air time.


i bought hero a little trike off of KSL earlier this week. ever since the weather became a heavenly spring, we've been seeing lots and lots of kids riding their bikes up and down the street. hero loves to watch them while enthusiastically pointing and informing us of the "bikes!" outside. so i got her a bike of her own and we took it out this morning for a spin. it has a detachable push handle on the back so i don't have to lean over to help her ride it. she just sits, thinks she riding "a bike!," and i push her along just like she's in a stroller. we rode up to a neighbor's house after breakfast to watch frozen. hero giggled and "wooooah-ed!" the whole way. loved it. i can't believe she's big enough to know about and "ride" a bike. such a kid.

within the last week or so, hero decided to finally kick her morning nap and do just one nap a day. that transition plus the fact that she's also been teething is making going down for even just one nap pretty rough for her. but this afternoon, as i wrapped her in her "mimi" (blanket), and was singing her songs, she just couldn't stop giggling. total girly giggle fit. i'd start singing softly, and she'd immediately burst into the biggest, cheesiest smile that makes her look so much like i did when i was her age. and then she'd just laugh and laugh. she'd eventually stop, i'd start singing again, but she just couldn't hold in those silly giggles. i love catching glimpses of her little girly-ness like that.

a few nights ago, i was putting her to bed and rocking her slowly in her chair. i started talking to her about her baby sister (a topic that she's been a little ambivalent about). suddenly, she pulled back from me a bit, looked into my face and said, "hug?". she then laid down right on top of my belly, both arms stretched all the way around as far as they could go, and her cheek pressed closely against my shirt. as if that couldn't get any sweeter, she then started giving my tummy kisses intermittently with more hugs. i hope that along with the sure-to-come bickering, tears, and struggles to share that there will be lots and lots of hugs, kisses, and dress-ups shared between these two baby girls of mine.

chas and i have been busy thinking and thinking of what we want to do this spring to spruce up our front and backyard areas. it's fun to actually have the space and ownership to make these kinds of decisions but it's also a lot of responsibility and potentially expensive. still, the adventure of home ownership marches on and we're loving it!

Friday, March 7, 2014

it's a girl!

at our 20 week ultrasound on monday, i come out from another bathroom break (because, you know, pregnancy) and see this. just taking the ultrasound bed for a little spin and checking out pictures of her baby SISTER!

to be honest, i TOTALLY was convinced it was a boy. might have even been hoping just a little bit for a boy. but now that i know we're going to have another little girlie, i couldn't be more excited for sisters close in age! there are so, so many fun things about girls!

we loved getting to see the 3D photos of the baby's face. it was crazy how much she looks JUST like hero did at 20 weeks. same button nose and chubby cheeks. sweetest.

i can't believe i'm already halfway through this pregnancy. it's all going by so fast this time around!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

making your house a HOME...on a budget!

owning a house and getting to finally make it a home- just how i like it- has been more fun than i imagined! to be honest, though, it didn't necessarily feel that way at the start.

as soon as we purchased the house (ok, ok- WAY before that), i started looking through my pinterest boards again and again- making huge plans and decisions about how i wanted to decorate our new space. it was going to be amazing- i was sure of it- and i was finally going to be able to actually recreate some of my most favorite pinterest images!

...cue reality check.


oh yeah- decorating costs money and it can really add up fast if you're not careful. after all the gazillion unforeseen costs that come with home ownership (inspection, insurance, window coverings, making our garage door automatic, hard water removal from exterior windows, etc, etc, etc), there was little money left in our budget for all my wonderful decorating plans.

but anyone can make a house look amazing with unlimited cash. i decided to let the fun be in the thrill of the hunt for the best bang for my buck when it came to decorating. we've been in our new home for five months now and love the way the interior is coming together so i thought i'd share a few things i've learned throughout this process.


i've got nothing against the boob ceiling lamp that we all know and love but sometimes switching it out for another option can really make a huge difference in a room.

example: our dining area.

the biggest downside to our home is that we only have a small eat-in kitchen. no formal dining room. to help make this area feel special and a little more separated from the rest of the kitchen, we swapped out the boob lamp for this hanging fixture from ikea.

grand total: $40

we also updated our two outdoor lighting fixtures on the front of the house which also made for a nice change at only $40 each. eventually, i have plans to continue on my boob lamp upgrade mission and put in some more appealing and fun lighting options in the living room, hero's room, and our bedroom.


when we bought the house, the whole thing had been dipped in beige- every wall and ceiling. thankfully, it was a nice, light shade of beige so we didn't have to get rid of all of it but it was still rather boring. i knew that i wanted to have white walls. i love how they make a room feel so fresh, clean, and bright. in a perfect world, i would have painted the whole house in white and two or three other soft and pretty coordinating colors. but our budget had other plans. so i just picked a few areas to paint- the living room, three upstairs bedrooms, and hallway. chas had the genius idea to paint the hallway the pretty blue/gray color. he's a keeper.

it's amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do to a space.


love a look but can't afford the price tag? be patient and keep your eyes open for a more budget-friendly alternative.

example: i wanted to buy these mirrors from pottery barn for our entry way but couldn't justify the $200. so i just let that space sit bare for a while until the perfect solution came along- and eventually it did!

while at target yesterday, i came across these square mirrors for only $5 a pop! i also found this little foot stool/bench for $40. i love how the mirrors and bench look together and love knowing that i got it all for a fraction of the price of those pottery barn mirrors!

grand total: $55


for the first almost 4 years of our marriage, we had the same bedding. it was fine but after so long, we were dead tired of it and needed a change. we got rid of our quilt and purchase a white duvet cover, new white sheets, bed skirt, throw pillows, accent blanket, and lamps.

my mom and i made a day of shopping all our favorite bargain stores and, of course, target, and were able to create a whole new bedroom!

grand total: $170


chas and i painted this same mural in our apartment's unfinished basement (tutorial here) when i was pregnant with hero. i thought it would be fun to recreate the same mural in her room. i love this mural because it's relatively easy. you for sure don't have to be an artist or anything to do it- as long as you can wield a paint roller and painter's tape, you'll be good to go.

for just the cost of a few basic paint supplies and a little DIY labor, hero's room is unique and special.


i don't hunt at thrift stores often but have definitely found some treasures thrifting and/or searching the classifieds online ( here in utah).

although both this little end table and chair will eventually be upgraded. but for now they look pretty great in our living room.

speaking of the living room, i also think it's good to save up and invest in some nice, staple pieces. chas and i purchased this sectional (on sale) when we bought the home. it was definitely a big investment for us but we knew that it would be a great couch for the space and something that could last a long, long while. up until now, the couch we had was actually an outdoor couch. cute but not amazing. we waited 4 years to buy this sectional and it was for sure worth the wait!


while putting together hero's basement playroom (again, on a tight budget), i knew i wanted a really big print framed and hung on the wall. unfortunately, big prints cost big money. so, i got creative and asked my amazing graphic designer friend, stephanie, to design this simple image for me. then i got it printed it costco and purchased the frame from ikea. done and done.

grand total: $40

the slide in the playroom is second-hand and i got those "p-l-a-y" letters from hobby lobby (on sale) and painted them white. this whole room ended up coming together for only $230 total. (a little more than my budget of $200 but i just couldn't say no to that pink striped ikea rug!).

this little library set-up just makes me happy. (wall shelves from ikea)


when we first moved in, i started having this weird anxiety because i suddenly felt like i had to decorate and perfectly furnish every single corner of this new house RIGHT THAT SECOND. wrong. my mom, as she always does, talked some sense into me.

trying to do everything all at once is like a kid stuffing allll the marshmallows in his mouth at once. it sucks all the fun out of the process. instead, i'm trying to just be patient and calming eat the marshmallows one at a time and enjoy the fun of the process and hunt for great finds.

there's still lots and lots to do but it's nice being able to both enjoy the areas of the house that are more put together AND having future projects to work on (our basement office, new baby's room, laundry room, basement bathroom, and guest bedroom).

Monday, March 3, 2014

a few things worth remembering

i love quiet sunday evenings with my family. we haven't been driving out to utah county as much on sundays to have dinner with either of our families lately. i miss them but am also relishing the hours of just sam-chas-and-hero time we've been having- especially since saturdays can be so busy.

we've been making dinner together while opening up the kitchen window to let in the fresh early spring breeze and listening to music. sometimes it's the mormon tabernacle choir, sometimes it's arcade fire. either way, hero especially loves it and always asks for more "song??" in the 2 second quiet in between tracks.

after dinner, i clean up the kitchen and listen to chas and hero playing, coloring, and generally laughing their heads off together downstairs. it's a welcomed break for me and a chance for hero to just wrestle and be all sorts of silly with her dad.

for the past two sundays, after hero is asleep, chas and i have made cookies together. yesterday's batch was particularly yummy (which may or may not be due in large part to it being a pre-made mix). as they came out of the oven, we ate a few hot with ice cream on the side and then piled the rest onto 4 plates to take to neighbors.

generally, small and simple events but filled to the brim with joy and contentment nonetheless.


i did my second session practicing shooting film last weekend. photography is making me so, so happy right now. even though i have to wait a few days to see the results of my work with film, just driving home from that shoot, i felt so ALIVE and on a total creative high. getting the scans back from the lab and actually seeing the images for the first time brought back that same feeling of "yeeaaahhhh!! this is awesome!" (dorky photographer stuff)

you can see the full session here.


on friday night, chas and i tackled our basement storage room together and finally organized it all. while sorting through boxes, we found a photo frame set holding a picture of both my grandmothers (who have both long since passed). because hero's middle name is my maternal grandmother's first name (marilyn), i thought it would be nice to put the photos in her room on her nightstand. the next morning, after we've all been up for a bit, i hear hero in her room making the sweet little sound she makes when she's giving kisses ("mmmwaaahh, mmmwaaahh"). out of curiosity, i go into her room to see what random object she's bestowing so much love onto. she's on the floor, with the photos of my grandmothers lying down, face up, in front of her and she's leaning over giving each one a big kiss- one right after the other. back and forth, back and forth. it was the most sweetest thing. i had even forgotten that i'd put those photos in her room and hadn't showed them to her or anything. she just noticed them on her own, grabbed them off the nightstand, and started giving so many kisses. through tears, i asked if she knew her great grandmothers and she replied very matter-of-factly, "yeaaahhh!," with just a little hint of "duh, mom" in her voice.


we find out the gender of baby #2 today!!! stay tuned :)