Tuesday, August 20, 2013

'Twas the Week Before Pre-School....and Mommy's a Mess

School starts next week.
Jackson will begin Pre-K on Monday. I'm happy to say he is over the moon excited to go back! He'll be in school 5 days a week, so I'm sure it will be a bit of an adjustment for all of us, but I think we're all looking forward to our school year routine.
And on Tuesday, sweet sweet Super P will begin school as well.
So if you need me anytime during the next week or so, I'll be in the corner trying hard to not let the kids see me crying. No, really. I am a mess.
It has been a long two and a half plus years. We have been through so much to get to this point. I have held my sweet Super P while we've talked to a neonatologist, a cardiologist, a neurologist, an audiologist, a urologist, and a hematologist. He has been intubated and on a ventilator. He has had a spinal tap. I sat terrified holding him as he received immunoglobulin to treat a problem with his platelets.
I pray for him, over him, with him. I have pleaded with God. I have fallen apart and pulled myself back together for him. I waited almost 18 months to see him walk and two years to hear him talk. All this time, I have been his voice.
And now, for two mornings (7 hours a week), we will be apart. And he will find his voice.
And I will, for the first time, need to trust someone outside our circle to love and protect him.
I knew that this wouldn't be easy.
But I didn't expect it to be this hard.
So forgive me if you're expecting to hear from me this week and you don't. I'm holding my 2 year old close to my heart. I'm crying. And I'm learning how to let go.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

House Stuff

I have a confession to make.
We have lived in our house for {just about} a year and a half now, and I haven't finished decorating a single room.  Not one.  We still have boxes we haven't unpacked.  We don't even have real bedding in the master bedroom.
I, Nicole, a lover of all things project and craft related, have not even really started decorating.  The house was move in ready, so there weren't any pressing needs to address.  But I am finally ready to dive in and get some things crossed off the to do list.
First up was an easy project.  Every night that we sat down to dinner for the last year at least one of us would complain about the blinding sun coming in through the door to the deck.  And Brian and I would mumble to each other about curtains or blinds.  But we just never got around to it.  I finally picked up some fairly inexpensive window panels from Ikea {and blackout liners, but I haven't put those up yet}.  And just like that, I can cross something off the to do list!
I actually love the way it looks.  Our tall ceilings look even taller!  But now that the curtains are up in the kitchen, I think I'll have to put some up in the family room to balance the wall.  {Ignore the off centered pictures on the wall.  You were right mom ;)  I should have centered them to start with.} What do you think?
I had originally hoped to have Mamie's room complete by the time she was 6 months old.  Well, she'll be 16 months old next week and it's finally close to being complete.  I finally bought her a chair and a bookshelf that doubles as a bench.
I still need some pillows for the chair and bench, and I hope to make a cushion for the bench as well.  And looking at this picture, I think I'll pick up some baskets for the bench.  Notice Mamie swinging her Jedi Mickey by his light saber.  Star Wars.  Sigh.
The wall behind her crib is just a big blank canvas.
I spray painted a large frame from Ikea ages ago.  I am going to hang that up to frame a wooden cutout of her monogram...eventually.  I'll get to it.  Soon.  Probably.  Here is the frame.
I also need to hang up a few shelves, but adding the furniture made her room feel cozier.  The wall color is Sherwin-Williams Iron Ore.  I love it!
The last project {for now} is the laundry room.  Here is a before picture.
Just a super simple {itty bitty} blank slate.  I took this picture from the entry hallway.  The door to the right is the garage.  I guess that means the laundry room is technically a mudroom, but it's a little too small for that.
I chose a color scheme months ago, but for some reason it has taken me a long time to get started.  The first project was a chandelier makeover.  I picked up a chandelier at Goodwill for $6 and painted it with a few coats of Krylon's Coral Isle spray paint.  
Most of that mess in the background is not mine.  Honest!  I picked up a throw rug (I forgot to take a picture of it) and my mom found some aqua and coral decor.
I have some fun art planned for the room (sequins, etsy love, the raven...Oh My!), but before I can hang up any art, I need to paint.  I chose this color from Glidden.
And because the laundry room really is MY room {5 people in the house, 3 of them are male, you do the math} I decided to go for it and have some fun with the room.  Horizontal stripes.  This was a much better {more exciting} idea BEFORE I started taping off the room.  But the taping is done and I hope to paint over the holiday weekend.
Here is the view of the room from the hallway.
And here is the view from the back corner of the room so you can get a sense of the size of the room.  
I pushed the washer and dryer back into place after I finished taping, and I must say that the room looks better already...
I still don't know if I'm going to go with open shelves or cabinets, but I can't wait to see the room with fresh paint on the walls and the chandelier instead of that awful exposed fluorescent light!
That's what I'm working on, how about you?  Hopefully I'll have a freshly painted room to show off next week!

Thursday, June 13, 2013


A few weeks ago, after a wonderful dinner with some very sweet friends, my sister and her husband hung around and kept me company while I cleaned the kitchen.  My brother in law is nosy.  He is totally the guy who goes through people's medicine cabinets at a party.  So he decided to flip through (and read) my yearbook from my senior year.  Yes, my yearbooks are that accessible.  No, it is not on purpose.  I was 8 months pregnant when we moved in.  My husband unpacked all the books he could find and I still haven't gotten around to fixing up our bookshelves.  His yearbook WAS accessible...until the night my sister and his youngest sister found it and decided to read it.  It was the night I had Mamie.  As soon as he left the hospital, he put the yearbook up high enough that you need a ladder to get it.
It was funny to see my yearbook through my brother in law's eyes.  He teased us.  We tried to downplay our nerdiness.  And every time he saw a phone number he asked if so-and-so and I kept in touch.  It was just a great trip down memory lane.
In my yearbook, one of my friends wrote a note that has stayed with me all these years.

I don't really remember how we became friends but it must have been a really great day.

It is one of the nicest things a friend has ever said to me or about me.
I don't remember how I became friends with most of my friends.  It's as if each of them magically appeared in my life just when I needed them most.  And looking back, I am certain it must have been a really great day.  I am blessed.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl

I can't believe my sweet baby girl is a year old.  I know it's cliche, but it really was over in the blink of an eye.  We are so incredibly blessed to have Mamie in our lives.  She is wild, silly, loving, brave, wonderful, and so so loved.

Brand New

Eating Birthday Pancakes

Of course, a girl this sweet needed to have a super sweet birthday party!  Honestly, I just love an excuse to entertain.  And is there any better excuse than a first birthday party??  My first thought was a sprinkles/cupcake party.  I love this sprinkle party.  But that was going to be a lot of work (and a lot of sprinkles), and I needed this party to come together a little bit easier.  Maybe next year.  Then I liked this idea of a pancakes and pajamas party.  Really liked it.  But I think that will be a better theme when Mamie starts making some little friends.  
I started to think of color combinations instead.  I have a stash of party supplies, so I started to dig through those to come up with an idea.  I was heavy on yellow supplies, so a sunshine theme made sense.  I love yellow and pink together, so I did an etsy search for yellow and pink invitations.  I found an invitation I loved from Sunnyside Print & Party Shop, and the party planning got underway.

Mamie's Invitation

Side note, please ignore the blue tint to the pictures.  I started to edit the pictures, but it was going to take me an eternity.  Okay, are you ready for picture overload?

I kept the decorations pretty simple.  I saw this party and really liked the look of the wreath.  I made it following this tutorial.  The wreath was the perfect amount of "sunshine" on what was a dreary and gray rainy day.  The tissue poms came from Hobby Lobby.  That was about it for regular decorations.  
When our guests walked in they were greeted with a VERY sweet table of sweets.  

Hello Sunshine Vinyl Decal from Kreative Corner Designs

The plastic cups are from Party City.  The miniature wooden spoons and the mini cupcake liners are from DK DeleKtables.  I purchased the twine last year and the gems on the spoons came from the craft section at Wal-Mart. 

The recipe made 40 cookies.  I filled half the cookie sandwiches with lemon frosting and the other half with strawberry frosting.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

Mamie's Cupcake

The monogram came from Pinky Dot Gifts.  The cloche was a gift from Hobby Lobby.  The cake stand is Martha Stewart from Macy's.  I used double stick tape to attach the pom pom trim.  The table scatter is just chevron scrapbook paper that I picked up at Hobby Lobby and punched with a scrapbook paper punch.

I could not find the Pink Lemonade frosting mix in ANYWHERE!  I just purchased pink lemonade frosting instead.

I made all the sweets.  Our party was small, so I had our guests bring containers with them and sent as many of the sweets out the door as I could.  Jackson's lucky teachers got cupcakes this morning.  We really spread the sweetness around ;)

Mamie's no frills Ikea high chair became a lot more "frilly" with the addition of her monogram.  I love this high chair-so much easier to clean than Jackson's fancy high chair was and it is crazy inexpensive!

I kept the drinks simple as well.  We offered lemonade and bottled water.  The adorable straws are from DK DeleKtables and the vinyl M monogram came from Kreative Corner Designs.  I got the idea for the doilies on the mason jars here.

The party was later in the afternoon-too late for lunch, too early for dinner-so we had heavy snacks instead of an actual meal.  I ordered a popcorn chicken tray from Publix.  We also served pasta salad, a regular salad, cut up fruit with a yogurt dip, cut up veggies and bagel chips with hummus, a spicy ranch dip with cucumbers, assorted cheeses and crackers.  
I actually remembered to take pictures of our guests!  {Sorry we missed getting your picture Danielle!}  This really is a first for me ;)  

AND we took a family photo!  I mean seriously, y'all should really be impressed!

And last but not least, I created these favors for the party.

The flowers on the bags came from BitsNBaublesCouture.  Inside the bag there was lemonade mix, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, pink lemonade snacks, a strawberry lemonade cookie, and a thank you note.  On the thank you note, we encouraged our guests to perform a Random Act of Kindness in honor of Mamie's birthday.  I created an email address for Mamie and asked that our guests email the details of their RAOK.
I had so much fun planning this party for my sweet girl.  It was the perfect ending to her first year.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Showers of Love

I hosted a bridal shower for my little sister over the weekend.  It was a beautiful party and my sister told me that she felt so loved.  Success :)  My mom and I were determined to take lots of pictures during the party to share with all of our loved ones who couldn't be here to celebrate with us.  But our terrible track record still stands.  We never take pictures DURING a party.  Next time we are just going to hire someone to take pictures for us!  We did remember to take pictures before the party started, so I'll share the details with you.  

I made this wreath for the front door.  I used a wood letter from Hobby Lobby that I bought on clearance and about 400 mini coffee filters.  It took me about 2 hours to make and was really easy to do.  I got the idea for the wreath here.

For dessert we served pink champagne cupcakes, chocolate covered pretzels, white chocolate covered popcorn, M&M Hershey Kiss pretzel bites, pretzel turtles, Snickers salad, and cannoli dip.  My mom and I made all of the desserts.  Over the dessert table is a handmade wedding countdown sign.  It's hard to read, but it says "days until Amanda and Buck say I do".  

My mom bought these pillows for my sister.  Aren't they adorable?

There were 8 of us at the shower, and we fit perfectly in the living room.

Each table had a cupcake in a cloche, fresh flowers, paper straws with hearts on them, and the party favors-homemade praline pecans.  I used this recipe.  They were so easy to make and absolutely delicious!

We had plenty of pink champagne to help us celebrate!

We kept the drinks simple-water, pink lemonade in mason jars, and wine.  We bought the little wine bottles. How cute does that look with the heart straw??

We served salad, pasta salad, asian coleslaw, chicken salad with croissants, pinwheel sandwiches, fried raviolis, and fruit salad.  That ruffled streamer on the table is actually two rolls of streamers that I sewed together to create the ruffle.  I know.  I'm crazy.

I know our friends had a great time, but I think no one was more excited than my boys.  Here they are sneaking some desserts :)

I love my sister so much and I had so much fun putting this shower together for her.  Only a few more weeks until her big day!!!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Our Christmas

I'm procrastinating a bit today.  I had big plans to take down the Christmas decorations today and get everything packed away.  But the littles and I aren't ready to see it end so soon.  This was the very best Christmas.  I never managed to send out Christmas cards.  I didn't do much baking.  We spent more time at the pediatrician's office than we spent at church.  Mamie only got to wear her special Christmas dress one time.  And still, as simple as it was, it was just the very best.  

This was a year of firsts-our first Christmas in our new house; Mamie's first Christmas; the first time I hosted Christmas dinner.  It took me a long time to get the house decorated, and I never did finish.  I think it will take a few Christmas's in this house to really get in the groove ;)

I was pretty nervous about the Christmas tree in the living room.  I was sure that our three curious kids would send the tree crashing, but they loved it and were just excited to see it lit up every day.  Peyton would turn on the lights constantly, and he gave people tours of the tree, pointing out all of his favorite ornaments.  Jackson immediately claimed all of Brian's Star Wars ornaments and moved them up to the tree in his room. Mamie never tried to take the ornaments down.  It was a big success!  I didn't have a plan for our stockings, so I found myself digging for push pins on Christmas Eve.  I'll be better prepared next year!  My Starbucks tree found a home in the kitchen, and we kept all the cards we received on display in our main hallway.  

Peyton's Tree * Jackson's Tree * Guest Room Tree

The hat.  Peyton has been wearing a Santa hat since Thanksgiving.  I'm not sure he'll give that up so easily.  One day we were at Target and Peyton picked out a box of red star ornaments.  He had to have them!  He carried them all through the store and didn't want to let the cashier scan them.  He loved his tree.  We would unplug the lights in the morning and he would sneak up to his room and plug them back in.  He loved reading Christmas stories, drinking hot chocolate, his Mickey Mouse Christmas shirt, and all Christmas movies/shows.  He still didn't really understand the concept of Santa, so when he came down on Christmas morning, he was confused but happy. 
Peyton on Christmas Morning

Jackson has a good collection of ornaments already and he loved all of Daddy's Star Wars ornaments.  His tree is almost full!  His favorite Christmas movie is Elf.  He was able to explain advent to me this year in the sweet way that only a child can.  He sang Christmas carols and made magic reindeer food.  This was the first time he made a Christmas list.  He was concerned about our visit to see Santa because he knew that Santa was super busy this time of year.  He and I went to the children's vigil at our church on Christmas Eve.  He asked me questions and was so well behaved.  I love that he wants to understand the story of Jesus.  He made our Christmas magical, joyful, and one I will remember and treasure always.  

Mamie was so lucky-she had TWO trees in her room!  My mom gave her a little tree that we kept on her dresser and then she had a bigger tree, just like the boys.  They loved coming into her room to check out her white tree and sparkly ornaments.  I even wrapped some tulle around the tree to make a tree skirt.  I made Mamie a Christmas crib sheet-you can see she was completely unimpressed.  Mamie's first Christmas was so much fun.  She loved her new toys and was a pro at opening presents.  It is so much fun to add some pink to our house!  The boys are so sweet with her-they've had tea parties and picnics and in the last few days the boys Star Wars toys have made themselves at home in Mamie's new princess castle.  

We made some Christmas art with the kids and even sneaked in some fine motor skill practice for Jackson.  He made a paper chain and he took his paper cutting VERY seriously ;)

I didn't bake, but we did enjoy some special Christmas treats.  One morning I surprised the boys with Christmas tree waffles (and snowman donuts).  I think their favorite treat (and Brian's too) was the chocolate chip candy cane pancakes.  I found the idea here .  It was easy to do and the boys were crazy about them!  (I actually found all of these ideas from blogs through Pinterest-there are so many awesome people out there with fun and easy ideas).  We made candy cane shaped pancakes (I actually just made mini pancakes and made the candy cane from there-I am terrible at making shaped pancakes).  And Jackson proudly made reindeer cookies which we gave to his teachers and the pre-school director.  He had so much fun being my kitchen helper, and I was able to sneak in some more fine motor skill practice.  Win, win.  

But these last pictures sum up our Christmas, our year, our life the best.  We spent time together.  Snuggling, laughing, playing, making each other crazy.  But always together.  Our house is so full of love.  I can't wait to see what 2013 has in store for us.