Monday, September 30, 2013

Because Fake Ivy Makes Me Cringe.

So, one day I walked into my kitchen to discover this (which I immediately posted to Instagram):

That is a Shaq Attaq Paq of Pepsi, circa 1993. My husband found it in the attic and took it upon himself to place it atop our kitchen cabinets. See ... the top of our kitchen cabinets are bare. I just cannot, for the life of me, figure out what should go up there. Clearly, my husband felt that he had the solution.

And, sadly, the Shaq Attaq Paq stayed up there for a while before I took it down. It was just so...classy! Ha.

The space above our kitchen cabinets has always presented itself as a mystery to me. Had I been the designer of the kitchen, I would have simply extended the cabinets to the ceiling. Bam. However, this isn't exactly an option now. The problem is that I typically associate cabinet decor with clutter. But, last week, I ventured to my cousin's house for a play-date and found myself ooo-ing and ahhh-ing at her kitchen cabinet decor (and her entire house, actually). It was grouped nicely and had a good mixture of textures. I loved it. If she could do it, surely I could, uh ... try?

So, this morning, I tried my hand at some upper-cabinet-decorating, and I need y'all to tell me if it looks terrible.

Now. The photographer in me is a tad disappointed that I did not try to make these pictures appealing with angles and aperature; however, today has been a nutty Monday and my phone was the best tool I had. So, try to imagine that, in person, it is a bit more...dynamic? Incredible? 

 (Three cheers for an off-centered tray! I will fix that after bedtime tonight when I can stand on a chair without the children also trying to stand on chairs.)

I do not have a "before" picture, so just try to imagine the blank space. And can you tell how big the space is?? It's kind of daunting. Also, note the pot on the stove and the crock-pot on the countertop. It's about to get all chicken stock-y in our kitchen, y'all.

So. Opinions. Should I leave the decor, or tear it down? Blank space, or usable space? More? Less?

Shallow topic for a Manic Monday. :)

Have a lovely day!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Capturing The First Visit.

We went on vacation with my husband's parents this past week. It was relaxing, refreshing, and pretty much wonderful in every way. We were humbled and blessed by their generosity, and there is nothing better than to see your children being loved on by their grandparents. 

This is a place we've visited twice before and for each child's inaugural visit to the beach, I did a photo shoot. Since this was Lydia's first time to see and taste its salty loveliness, the photo shoot was hers.

There is nothing so sweet as the simplicity of seeing a child experience sand between their toes for the first time. Lydia stopped in her tracks and started wiggling her toes. Soon she erupted into a fit of giggles, shuffling through the sand. And then there is the experience of the water. The expanse of it, the rhythmic movement of its tide. I loved my childhood near the ocean and while we are landlocked now, I am thankful that they are able to experience it, if only once in a while.

 (The canvas of this shot is already ordered, in the mail, coming to my house in a week. Her lips and eyelashes, sigh.)

After I uploaded Lydia's pictures, I hunted through my files and found Caleb and Naomi's beach pictures, too.

(Cub, eleven months.)

(Naomi, sixteen months.)

Look at Cub's cheeks! And Naomi's tiny ponytail! Time has flown, y'all. 

Time to unpack.

Have a lovely day!

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Bedtime Story.

A mess of smooth, shiny blonde hair, burrowing beneath blankets, until a pair of radiant blue eyes peek above the covers.

And the story begins.

Once upon a time, in a kingdom far far away, there lived a kind, smart, princess named Naomi.

Princess Naomi was a very good painter. Everybody knew that Naomi was the best painter in all of the land.

One day, a DRAGON! flew into the kingdom. He told everyone that HE was the best painter in all of the land.

Princess Naomi knew that this simply was not true. So, they decided to have a painting contest, with the townspeople there to judge.

They settled in the town square and started painting. The dragon only used browns and greens, but Princess Naomi used every color in the rainbow!

And what are the colors of the rainbow?

The little blonde head speaks up, in a sing-song voice, 
"Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, gold, it's a rainbow!" 
She believes no rainbow is complete without pink and gold.

They finished their paintings. The dragon held up his painting and asked, "WHO THINKS MY PAINTING IS THE BEST?" and two or three townspeople raised their hands (but we think they may have been dragons).

Princess Naomi held up her painting and asked, "Who thinks my painting is the best?" and all of the townspeople clapped and cheered because clearly, Princess Naomi was the best painter in all of the land.


The dragon was sad, but Princess Naomi made him a pretty pink cupcake to take back to his cave, and this made him happy.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Good night, sleep tight.

Have a lovely day.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The List!

In case you are interested in doing your own fall list, here are some examples from ours! We have some family trips planned, too, but these are the activities that I hope to accomplish in our family. What I love about these lists is that they provide opportunities for our family to grow together. The activities don't have to be complicated or over-thought--the joy of being together is usually found in the simple things, anyway. Just something to keep in mind. :)

Here you go!

-Jump in a leaf pile
-Make s'mores in the fireplace
-Build a bonfire
-Visit a local pumpkin patch
-Make homemade caramel apples
-Celebrate Thanksgiving with G-Ma and Papa
-Handprint turkey craft (pretty self-explanatory)
-Thankful Tree (starting November 1st)
-Performing a random act of kindness
-Trunk or Treat (church activity on Halloween)
       *Quick note: The boxes are due the week of November 18-25, hence, they are part of our fall list! Also, if you haven't done these with your kids before, I encourage you to do it this year. Here is an awesome video you can watch to see the kind of impact your shoebox can make (if you have a pulse, it will make you cry). For information on what to pack or where to deliver your box, click here

There you have it! I hope this list is a helpful one. 

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Making FUN Things Happen.

In May, I came up with a summer to-do list for our family. I had heard of the idea for a "summer bucket list" and thought it was a great way for the kids (and myself) to beat the summer boredom blues. I typed out each goal and printed it on its own piece of paper, before clipping it to a string of jute rope in our playroom. This is how it looked last week, when we finished our last goal!

My original intent was to take pictures of each item as it was accomplished, with my good camera, and adhere the pictures to their appropriate paper. However, I soon realized that most of these pictures were probably going to be taken with my phone, thanks to last-minute planning and such, so I printed them from Instagram instead. It was so much fun! The kids loved seeing new pictures added to their summer bucket list, and I loved that it kept me accountable to actually do the things we had planned ... :) We liked it so much that I decided we should try to do one for the next season, and maybe every season. Each season has new stuff to offer, so, why not make a list for each one? Then, once the list is accomplished and the season is over, we can put them in a three-ring binder. 

As much as I loved the jute rope, I thought it would be fun to make a more permanent home for our bucket list. I scoured Pinterest for ideas and saw a few things I liked and used, but nothing was EXACTLY what I was looking for ... probably because I didn't know exactly what I was looking for! I knew that the idea would have to just come to me, because, well, that's how I roll. So, I loaded the girls in the car while Cub was at school and we hit up Hobby Lobby for some black clothespins and cardstock. I knew I at least wanted black clothespins and cardstock. Then we headed to Lowe's where I found pre-cut 1x4x8 boards. The room is 14 feet long, so I thought 8-foot boards would fit nicely. I hauled them onto our cart and lugged that thing through Lowe's, whilst wearing espadrilles. I'm sure I was a klutzy sight.

I knew I wanted to put some sort of phrase on the wall above our list, to help define it. I found sayings and quotes that I liked, but I wanted to use free-form letters and I knew it would take close to forever to hang each letter on the wall. Then, as I loaded the boards in the car and strapped the girls' car seats, it came to me: Fun. That's it. Short and easy and, really, quite accurate. So, we headed BACK to Hobby Lobby (waving at the cashiers as we zoomed through the doors, again) and I found the letters I needed. During nap time, I painted the boards white and the letters black.

My husband came home to the mess and just started laughing. Without even asking what I was up to, he threw his hands in the air and said, "Whatever you need me to do, just tell me and I'll do it!"

Bless his heart. For reals. He's learned so well and he loves me so well.

After the kids went to bed, I measured the boards and used hot glue to adhere the clothespins, making sure they were evenly spaced. 

Once that was finished, I called in my husband for help, and he helped me hang the boards and the letters. 

(Hanging the "U" without complaint. He wins.)

After the letters and the boards were hung, I typed each of our fall goals and printed them on brown cardstock. And, voila! 

I was honestly a little nervous about the end product ... would I regret having massive black letters on my wall? That also happen to be the name of a band?! But, my fears were gone as soon as I clipped the last piece of paper in its place. I absolutely love this wall. And the kids love it. And my husband even nodded in approval. Win! Plus, if we get a little distracted with the seasonal bucket lists, we can use this wall to display the kids' artwork and such. We finished the first item on our list this weekend (spending Labor Day weekend with Memere and Pepere, yay!) and the kids were happy to hang the pictures.

I know I may not always want "FUN." in big black letters hanging in my house ... but for this season of life, it's just right.

Have a lovely day!