A Nursery Filled With Love (Because of You)

IMG_2806.JPG Photo by Lyndsey Sullivan Photography

The sweetest part of my day is the time I spend with Grace at bedtime.

Sitting there, rocking her in the nursery, feeding her and whispering softly to her, or maybe not even making a sound, it’s just soothes me so.

I never expected to come to need that time for myself too. Those quiet, serene, love-drenched moments truly recharge me after a full day of work and baby rearing.

Often times, once Grace has dozed off after her bedtime bottle, I remain. Holding her. Staring at her little face. Thinking about how much I love her. And as she falls deeper asleep, I find myself looking around the dimly lit nursery.

What I see, beyond the reddish starry-sky night light, is the generosity of others – of the people who care about us and filled the room with its contents.

I see my 3rd grade school teacher in the humidifier she gave us. The one that helps keep Grace’s sniffles at bay each night.

I see all of Grace’s grands when my eyes land on the gorgeous crib and dresser. Pieces that will stay in our growing family’s home for years–probably decades. A constant reminder of the love they had for Grace, long before she was born.

I see my sweet friend Kami in the two little fox jars keeping the changing station organized and tidy. She found them and just had to get them for Grace’s fox accessorized nursery, even after she’d already gotten me a gift and helped throw me a shower. Those jars now also remind me of how eagerly she watches Grace for me sometimes. How she knows I have no family in town and lovingly wants to help (and cuddle a cute baby).

And my eyes always wander to Grace’s closet. The rocking chair is right next to it, so it’s hard to miss. Usually ajar, I’m able to see the fullness of all the racks. I bring a picture into my mind of the monogrammed sleep sack my neighbor had made for Grace after she was born. And I picture–cause it’s dark and I can’t see it–the clothes with little whales that my Grandy so excitedly picked out. The effort put in by Susanna who made baby clothes by hand. Her excitement to give gifts always makes me smile.

Each night, my thoughts hop about to various items in the room and an overwhelming feeling of gratitude fills my heart. I just can’t believe how many people cared enough about us to give us the things we rely on to care for our baby.

I mean, really. When you stop to think about a shower gift you are giving … You’re gifting new parents with the things they will use to pour out love on their new baby in the form of feeding, swaddling, changing, bathing … Parents use those things with love. They help create a bond between parent and child. Each item adds to the collective, and that collective powers us parents along. It gives us the tools to lovingly care of our babies.

So it’s not just a gift. It’s a beautiful, generous, amazing thing.

And that’s why, sitting there, with my innocent little baby asleep in my arms, I can’t help but take a deep breath and send up a prayer of thanks to God for it all. A prayer of thanks for you and your giving hearts.

Thank you for helping me raise my baby.

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Photo by Lyndsey Sullivan Photography

Taking to the Skies

Readers, if you live in the South, you know we are experiencing a ice storm. In a couple days it’ll warm up and life will go back to normal, so until then stay safe and warm. Most people from the South, do not … Continue reading

“Stay”cation…what is it?

outside waterfall cabinWe always need a vacation. Whether you’re a stay at home mother, work a full time job, or just got back from your vacation! I can’t tell you how many times I return from a trip, and am ready to hit the road once more, after the laundry is piled up from a week of fun, and I’m preparing for Monday.

A few people consider a “staycation” as taking a week off of work, and seeing the sights around town, but at night returning to sleep at their home. However personally, I consider a “staycation” as getting OUT of the house, staying in a hotel, motel, cottage or cabin…just so long as its still within a couple hours of home. On my “staycations”, I don’t want the distractions and duties that come along with my homebase. I physically have to leave the premise and not return at the end of the day, in order to welcome that fully relaxed state that occurs with “vacation”.

Earlier in the year I wrote a list of goals to try and accomplish for 2013, and while I won’t complete all, I was able to check #8 off. My #8 was to purchase a groupon getaway, for my husband and I to escape for the weekend. I found a site called “yelp“, which is similar to groupon’s deals, and purchased a one night $95 coupon that was good for $125 at the Anderson Creek Cabins located in Glen Rose, TX. We booked two nights: Friday & Saturday, applied the coupon, & were able to pay a little less than $300 lodging for the whole weekend!

I would recommend this refuge of accommodation for couples, families, or those not into “roughing it aka camping in tents”. We had all the amenities that are present with a normal hotel, except we were away from the hustle and bustle of city life., oh, AND we had a full sized kitchen.

The pleasant innkeepers of the quaint cabins provide: pancake mix, syrup, popcorn, starbucks tea, & coffee in each cabin, and then cut firewood which could be picked up any time throughout the day at a designated wood pile, for an enjoyable cozy campfire at night. Propane grills are provided on the deck of each cabin for grilling, and the spacing of the four cabins, is far enough from each, that you cannot hear or even see your neighbor “campers”!

We stayed in the “Waterfall Cabin”, which when provided with a decent amount of rainfall, produces a waterfall that can be viewed from your personal deck. Unfortunately, as we’ve been in a bit of a drought, there was just a lovely view of the rock face sans water.

If you enjoy hiking, nature, or have children who like dinosaurs, Dinosaur Valley State Park is less than five minutes from the Anderson Creek Cabins. The hikes are easy, not even intermediate, unless of course you are going to “get primitive” and decide to hike the path less traveled.dinodino printusAn amazing dessert place in downtown Glen Rose called, “Pie Peddlers“, creates homemade cream & fruit pies, so if you have a sweet tooth, make sure to try a slice of blackberry pie and key lime pie. It was delicious and so worth it!!pie peddlerspie

Next time you are interested in a inexpensive getaway for the weekend, check groupon or yelp, because you just might be packing your bags sooner than you realize! Have fun friend & share your finds!

UPDATE! the painting progression…

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So its only been four months since we moved into our new home, even though it feels like a year. Working ourselves a little too hard every weekend… we had/have a goal to get every room painted (we’ll see), crown molding and … Continue reading

AMAZING shower/bath soap scum remover

7We all have many “pins” in our Pinterest accounts. However, instead of adding new ones to the “I can do this” board, I decided to try my saved DIY’s and see if they are actually  Pinterest “pass or fails”. Here is one that passes with flying colors!!!

I saved a soap scum removal idea a couple months ago, and this weekend was shocked to find it was the best cleaner I have ever used. EVER! And I’ve tried everything from: Clorox, bleach, Tilex, Clorox, you name it! This cleaning recipe calls for only 2 ingredients, and you won’t find yourself breaking your arm scrubbing for endless periods of time. Please try it, I swear you won’t ever use another tile cleaner/soap scum removal ever again 🙂

What you need:

  • 1/2  cup Dawn detergent (already had)
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar (heat this in the microwave until boiling) (already had)
  • (1) spray bottle (already had)
  • dirty shower or tub

HOW:

  1. Heat 1/2 cup white vinegar in microwave until boiling. Remove from microwave to cool for about 30 sec. (or at least long enough so as not to melt your spray bottle)
  2. Pour the white vinegar into spray bottle
  3. Pour 1/2 cup Dawn detergent into spray bottle
  4. Shake Well. It will turn into a sort of foam inside your spray bottle. Not to worry. This is good.
  5. Spray glass walls on inside of shower and on tile, or bottom of tub.
  6. Leave to soak for at least 3 hours.
  7. Wipe down with sponge and water. (I did this while I showered!)

FYI: Our shower is small so I only needed 1/2 cup of white vinegar and Dawn. If you have a bigger shower or tub, or are wanting to clean more than one bathroom, double your formula! Also, your bathroom will smell a little weird for a couple hours after you have wiped glass and/or tile clean, but it is nothing you can’t get rid of with a nice candle.

BEFORE PICS:

Letting the sprayed formula soak in for a couple hours:

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AFTER PICTURES:

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Try it and Thank me later!!

The De-clutter Bug Bit Me, Right Along with the Baby Bug

Ok so maybe I’m nesting or maybe I’m just the girl who gets Spring Cleaning Fever a tad later in the year, but either way, I’m full-throttle into cleaning, re-organizing, purging and de-cluttering mode.

I’d say decorating but really I don’t think this counts as there is no furniture involved (if I could afford to, I’d completely decorate and furnish the front living room, replace or reupholster the dining room table set and also get a buffet piece for in there, and buy a king mattress for the master…..but we have to focus on the nursery and the new guest room first).

So anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to the past couple of weekends around the house in preparations for Baby Irvin’s arrival:

1) Spruce up the backyard. Check.

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2) Begin the transition from guest room to baby room. Meaning, EMPTY CLOSET, RELOCATE ITEMS, FIND SPOT FOR THEM ELSEWHERE IN HOUSE. Also know as… closet re-organizing mania. See pictures.

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Baby Irvin’s closet: newly emptied and cleaned, save for baby’s first little things.

To get to where I could empty the closet, I had to relocate my entire linen storage (it was previously in the guest room), relocate my golf clothes, and soft shells and sweatshirts; and I took the opportunity to purge items I didn’t need or use and could donate.  Here’s a peek at my new linen closet and more … spiffy with labels and all!

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I know. As organized as I am, I refuse to take the time to fold sheets properly. Or blankets for that matter. This is the best I can do.

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As a result of emptying one closet, this one got re-organized. Now my scarves are neatly hung for me to grab on a whim this fall/winter when I grab a jacket or coat.

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Another closet that fell prey to my re-organizing. This has always held some of my shoes and misc. clothes. Now it will be my designated MATERNITY CLOSET! Yay!

3) Deep clean the entire house.

4) Tidy. De-clutter. Re-arrange knick-knacks. 

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5) Finally frame some wedding photos after 5 years (instead of buying new frames like I wanted to, I re-used some boring-but-satisfactory frames I found in a box from my college townhouse.

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6) Organize and decorate the office built-in in our master bedroom. For the past two years, it’s been a wasteland of clean and dirty laundry, new and old mail, a to-shred mail pile, a to-file mail pile, dog toys, random cords to electronics, etc. A MESS. AND MY WORST NIGHTMARE. Finally, I cleared it all off. Sorted, shredded, cleaned, filed, and headed to Target to buy some cute desk accessories. Here’s the end result of that over-due project (sorry no before photo!):

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I labeled the slots and storage boxes and such to help keep us accountable!

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My amazing co-workers bought me this NEST Candle in “Moss & Mint” and it’s the best, most relaxing bedroom candle ever. NEST Candles are pretty pricey but well worth it! Fortunately, this fragrance doesn’t seem to bother my allergy-prone hubby.

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Oh, and I’m OBSESSED with my small glass lamps. $60/2 at Target. DEAL!

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I chose to do a his and hers side, where the books under each lamp are gender-friendly, and themed to our aesthetics (kind of). Note: Michael’s sniper, war, politics and business books and my childhood keepsake fairytale books, personal memoir books, and a motivational, personal enhancement book … fits us too a “T”!

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These baskets – which I placed at both sides of our built-in – correspond with our drawers for clothes in the built-in. I bought these for us to store clean laundry that we’re too lazy to put up at the moment. If the basket is full, I told Michael, too bad, time to put it all away. LOL. We’ll see how long that lasts.

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ta-da! clean, peaceful room with a view of our serene backyard!

Now, the next two projects on my brain are….

1) Paint the mud room and decorate it. (No picture, sorry). Ever since we got broken into and the door had to be replaced…no, scratch that…ever since we moved in and I’ve had to live with this weird wallpaper that you’d have to see to understand, I’ve been waiting to paint over it. We will be DIY painting over wallpaper … stay tuned for the post!

2) Renovate and customize our media cabinet  in the main living room – aka, the blue room – to fit modern TVs and such. We’ve been talking about doing this since we moved in too and now I’m super motivated to get this eye-sore of a TV stand from our college days out of the house and off the floor, so Baby Irvin has more room to spread out and play. And so mama and dada can buy a 70″ TV haha! Ok, that’ll actually have to wait a while but it’s def. in my future plans for this room too.

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Until then…

Baby on the Way: The 100 (er, 40) Parenting Questions Swirling in My Pregnancy Brain

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As you may already know from our announcement post, my husband and I are expecting our first child.

I was never a baby person. My sisters and I were never exposed to babies, never had baby dolls as toys (even if we did, they weren’t played with), and I rarely babysat anyone (let alone anyone under the age of 6). Usually babysitting for us was just hanging out with kids younger than us and “watching” them (aka watching MTV and ordering pizza while they played video games in the other room).

And while this whole thing is very exciting and has my heart filled with a joy I can’t explain, I’m also fearful of and questioning a lot of things these days.

1) How will I know what to do?

2) Will I be a good mom?

3) How tiring will it really be?

4) Will my baby be cute?

5) Will I miss my baby-less life a lot?

6) Are my friends going to avoid us?

7) When do I need to get the baby room ready?

8) How do I know what to register for and how much of each item?

9) Will the delivery hurt really bad?

10) How will I ever be able to go back to work and concentrate on work – how could I possibly stop thinking about the baby all day?

11) Will the daycare place really let me come visit 100x a day, and to feed as necessary?

12) Do we need to go to a birthing class?

13) Should we go to a parenting class?

14) Will they love God as much as I want them to?

15) How will I lose the weight?

16) Can we afford to give them the life we want to give them?

17) Will my parents be as involved as grandparents as mine were – I want them to be super close to my kids, as my grammy and poppop are/were unbelievably important to me?

18) Will I be able to breastfeed as long as I want to – with all the complications of going back to work and such?

19) How do I avoid fighting about how to parent, finances and the stresses we’ll face after the baby is born?

20) Is there any way to be sure the daycare we pick is better than the others we’ve toured?

21) Am I gaining too much weight? Too little?

22) Should I be showing more or less right now?

23) Why do I feel like crying sometimes when I think about the baby – happy tears, tears of anxiety, tears of impatience, etc.?

24) How is it that some girls my age were born with this baby thing where they’re aching to me moms the minute they hit puberty and then become instant rockstar moms the minute they find out they’re pregnant?

25) Is it OK if I am still ME as a mom? I want to be the same old Lindsay but with a baby on my hip and my designer bag on my shoulder (sorry, no Vera Bradley Diaper Bag for me). I want to still see my friends all the time and have fun.

26) How soon am I supposed to start educational stuff for the baby? Immediately? Does that mean reading to them and that’s enough? That’s adorable and I can so do that, but what else can I do to make them smart?

27) Sort of along the lines of question 26 … how do I ensure they’re smart and learn what they need to, when they need to?

28) Should we have stayed in Dallas so that we have family close as we raise a family?

29) How hard will it be without family nearby to help?

30) Is sending them to daycare as an infant going to be harmful to my bonding / my husband’s bonding with them?

31) Will I experience post-partum? And what the heck is post-partum anyway? 

32) Is it bad that I think some moms are just so cheese-y and I don’t want to talk to my kids like that at all? I’ve heard that baby talk is bad for them, and talking to them normally makes them smarter – is that true?

33) How will our dogs react to the new baby? Will they behave? Will they love the baby and protect it? Will they be jealous and act out? Will they have to become outside dogs full-time?

34) Are other moms going to judge me for the way I am as a mom (which I don’t even know how I’ll be yet)?

35) Why does it take so long to make a baby – I want to meet it now?

36) Will a boy be better for me getting used to this mom thing first, or a girl?

37) Am I going to be mean?

38) Am I going to be a push-over?

39) How do we ensure we are a super tight-knit family and are always close throughout our lives?

40) When will I know the answers to all these questions and more?

I decided to share these here in hopes that it would be somewhat cathartic and elicit advice, wisdom and encouragement from you. If only these all magically became answered when the baby is born. 🙂

DIY Chalkboard Frame

You many have seen pictures of a chalkboard frame at the recent surprise maternity party I helped throw for Mrs. Irvin, and due to many requests…here is how I made it. Supplies: -old frame (already had) – 1/8″ 2×4 temp … Continue reading

A Facelift…

Q: Easiest & Affordable way to change the look of your home?

A: Paint

Here are a few amazing room transformations and furniture makeovers with paint.  FYI, these are not images of my home, as it will be a work in progress for the next couple years.

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Sherwin Williams has a sale about 2 or 3 times a year with their paint being 40% off, and about 3 weeks before we were to move into our new home, I went ahead and bought about 27 cans during their awesome sale! Something people don’t know, is that you can buy their “paint in the can” without having color added. Then, at a later date when you have decided on your colors…. bring the paint back & they will add color (free of course, since its already been paid for at an earlier date.) Also, if you estimated more paint than necessary, you can return it (with receipt), unless of course you have added the color to it. (I believe there is a 60 day return policy, so just figure it out sooner than later.)

Another paint estimated tidbit: Apparently, when you have popcorn removed from ceilings, its likely to need double the amount of ceiling paint you actually think is necessary, because the ceiling will just drink it up.

About a week ago, I mentioned reader, that there would be pictures of my updated laundry room…but guess what? I’m not finished. Between working full time, and driving about 2 and a half hours a day for this job…I am usually exhausted when I finally get home at 6:30 in the evening. My husband and I have been trying to push through our “paint reno”  after work everyday, but the process has been slow going.

Today I just have some progress pictures…but next week I promise, I will have images of our finished “completed for now” master closet & laundry room.

Goal for this week: Finish painting ALL closets & complete laundry room

Ongoing Project: Painting Living Area, Question Room, Kitchen, & all bedrooms