Saturday, January 19, 2013

What I love right now--

-I love that Hayden tries his hardest to repeat everything we say, and his babbles are starting to have a bit of a tune to them.

-I love that Leeland likes to pretend that he's a fireman and is really into "sliding down the pole" like a fireman.  He shouts, "There's an emergency" and will pretend to slide down a table leg... or sometimes my leg.. and run away to "rescue" someone/something.

-I love that every time Hayden is near, or crawls by a pillow, he just cannot fight the urge to lay his head down on it.  So even mid crawl, down goes his head onto a pillow.

-I love when Leeland hugs and kisses "brother".

-I love how incredibly excited Hayden gets about bath time and stands by the tub as the water is filling it, bouncing up and down practically trying to climb in himself with his clothes still on.

-I love how incredibly snuggly both of our boys have been in the recent weeks, and that Leeland will actually say he wants to snuggle.

-I love that Leeland has become obsessed with one of his blankies, and like Linus and his blanket, it travels most places with us.

-I love that Leeland has become a great helper and wants to do things like push the cart in the grocery store and load up the conveyor belt at the check out, along with pick up his toys (most of the time) when asked and hold the dust pan when I sweep.

-I love Hayden's precious giggle, and how incredibly ticklish he is.

-I love that both boys enjoy church and get excited about playing in their classrooms.

-I love that kisses make all "boo boos" better.

-I love that I'm nursing an 11 month old and that we've made it this far.

-I love that Leeland tells me "good job" when I go potty on the toilet. (Potty training was very entertaining.)

-I love Leeland's yearning and anticipation of what's next and everyday before nap time and every night before bed time asks "What we doing?" to know what's going to happen when he awakes.

-I love the joy that birthdays bring to Leeland, how excited he gets about parties, cake and singing happy birthday to others. (Can't wait to see how excited he gets for his own this year.)


My world of bunting. (+tutorial)

I'm a little behind the curve and it's rise to popularity, but I've recently become slightly obsessed with "bunting." Bunting= adorable triangular shaped banners.  I'd actually like to go ahead and request bunting on my tombstone.... if I have a tombstone-- I've watched Sara Snow's episode on "green" burials/cemeteries and am a little undecided... but that is not what this post is about and is even a bit morbid.  So bunting... I made my first one a few months ago which actually turned into 3 separate ones for Leeland's room.  Leeland's room at the new house came with drab curtains and no blinds.  The goal is for me to make some new curtains, pretty, manly, boyish curtains, but until we get blinds put up, it is unfortunately important to leave the drab up to block out the light for nap time. So to dress up the drab, I made bunting.

Then the past few days I spent making a couple more. One is a birthday bunting which I hope for it to be our go-to for everyone's birthdays.  I made it a variety of colors so that it will match whatever theme we may come across for the boys' birthdays.  And then the other is a bunting for a baby shower that I'm hosting next month.   So that leads me to the tutorial:

There are LOTS of bunting tutorials out there, so I'm by no means re-inventing the wheel.  Just sharing how I do it if you like it. 

Step One: Pick out your adorable fabric and cut it into triangles.  Any size you want.  Two triangles for each piece because it's double sided.  I honestly don't remember what size I made Leeland's-- the baby shower bunting I made has triangle dimensions of 8 inches across the top and 9 inches down both sides.  The birthday bunting, since it was going to be long (Happy Birthday takes quite a few triangles), I cut down the width a little, 7 inches across the top and 9 inches down both sides.
Step Two: Sew the right sides together on the downward sides.  DO NOT sew the top at all.  I use a straight stitch for this.  And then flip the whole thing right side out once your done.  Trim the thread and you can trim the top fabric if it is fraying.
*For the "Happy Birthday" I used Heat-N-Bond and cut them out of the black fabric and ironed them on.  I reinforced them with a zig zag stitch all the way around.  I didn't want my letter stitching to show through on the back side of my bunting, so I sewed the letters on before I sewed the pieces together and then when you flip it right side out you can't see any of it. 

Step Three: Iron all the triangles flat.  (I've found this step to be pretty important for the overall look and so that you can get your top stitching straight, so don't skip it.)

Step Four:  Top stitch the two downward sides of the triangle.  I use a zig zag stitch for this because I like the way that it looks in the end.  Remember, the top part of the triangle is still completely open, do not sew the top.  For the top stitching I match the thread to whatever color bias tape I use to put them together.  You could match your thread to your bunting fabric, but when you're using a variety of fabrics, that would get to be a lot of thread changes and quite frankly, I don't have the patience or enough bobbins for that.  So if you look above at Leeland's, I top stitched with red, for the birthday one everything is top stitched black.

Step Five:  Sew all of it together with bias tape.  I use double fold bias tape and it needs to be at least 1/2 inch wide, though it could be wider.  Open it up and slide your triangles in.  (This is where the top finally gets sewed closed.)  I find it easiest to just add in the triangles one at a time as they're going through the machine. (Who needs pins!?)  And I use a zig zag stitch for this as well.

Step Six: Enjoy! :)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A VERY anti-climatic birthday

 I guess I'm a little backwards that our anniversary post for the 3rd made it up before my birthday post which was the 1st, but that's just how it goes.  We had a very busy week between recovering from Christmas and jumping into birthdays and anniversaries.  (And we still have Daniel's birthday coming on the 20th!)

I'm slowly learning as I get older (and have kids) that birthdays become more and more anti-climatic. (Haha!)  I still get really excited about my birthday, but I'm beyond the days of balloons and roller skating parties.  (And it seems that others don't get as excited when you're an adult.)  Daniel had to work New Year's Eve unfortunately and so much of my birthday he had to catch up on sleep-- such is life being married to a man who works nights. 

Me and the boys ventured out in the morning to IHop to get my free birthday breakfast.  Go here to sign up for the pancake revolution-- they'll email you a coupon for your free pancake breakfast on your birthday.  Make sure you do it far enough in advance of your birthday, and also make sure you actually print the coupon, the manager at my location hassled me about having it on my iphone. (And who hassles someone on their birthday?)

After pancakes, we had a few errands and then headed home for nap time.  I was anxiously waiting for nap time to end so that everyone (Daniel included) would wake up and we could go out and celebrate..... Every year up until this year, we go to my parent's house for dinner.  Traditional New Year's dinner in Southern fashion-- pork, greens, black eyed peas and cornbread.  My sister's birthday is the 28th of December so we celebrate both at the same time.  Unfortunately this year, my Dad wasn't feeling well and my parents post-poned to the weekend, so it was a little weird having my birthday to myself....

Once everyone woke up we had planned to go to Ulta to get my free birthday brow arch.  (Everyone knows I love freebies, so naturally cashing in on all the free stuff is the perfect way to spend my birthday.)  See here on the Ulta website when you scroll down to the very bottom and read the fine print that your brows are free on your birthday.  Unfortunately for me, Ulta hadn't updated their site and the location near me that we went to no longer has a "Benefit brow bar."  I called the secondary location near us and they said I could come the next day and we never made it back because of our work schedules.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't bummed, because I was, but I share this freebie with you anyway in case anyone else wants to cash in for their birthday.  I now know that you should call your location before you go, not only to make sure it's something they offer, but also to check the hours of the Benefit brow bar.

Once we left Ulta, we headed to Red Robin to get my free birthday burger. Go here to sign up for "Red Royalty" so that you can get your free birthday burger.  Sign up in advance, so that it's available for your birthday.  Leeland was really excited about this.  He's starting to really understand birthdays and understand that we typically go to people's birthday "parties", so much of the day when he wasn't singing happy birthday to me (So cute by the way!), he was saying that "we need go momma birthday party." So off to Red Robin we went for my birthday "party" which was really just the 4 of us out to dinner.  Unfortunately for us, we got a crappy waiter and terrible service, but the food wasn't bad.  (And the assistant manager was very apologetic about our crappy service, in the sense that he is sending us a $30 gift card to come back.)

After we left Red Robin very frustrated with our service, I started to throw myself a pity party about how anti-climatic my birthday was, so we went to pick up some Ben & Jerries "smores" ice cream to top off the night.... because Ben & Jerry really know how to fix your problems.

I still knew leaving Red Robin that I had one thing to look forward to-- the "Love & Envelopes" birthday girl club.  I wrote about Love and Envelopes last year, but essentially it's a club where people send you birthday cards.  You are assigned a person each month to send a card to and the idea is that when your birthday month comes, people are assigned to you and your mailbox is filled with love.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE to get mail so this is just perfect for me.  There was minor confusion when I updated my address with the club back in October since we moved, so unfortunately my address didn't get updated and I had to wait for my birthday cards to be forwarded.... I didn't receive the first one until the 4th, but I did get them and I guess that's all that counts.  Also the downside of having a birthday on a National Holiday I guess is that my mailbox can't really be filled on my birthday anyway.

Not trying to be a "Debbie Downer" about my birthday and I'm not one of those people who dreads getting older, but this is just how my day went-- though I VERY much so looked forward to my birthday, everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Such is life as an adult....  I guess I just don't understand why people don't get excited for your birthday when you're an adult?  I made it another year.  Be excited! ....maybe next year I'll throw myself a roller skating party. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Anniversary Celebration/Date Night!

We celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary on the 3rd!  I know, I know what you're thinking... only 4 years?  Well yea, we get a lot accomplished in 4 years.  (Haha!)  We celebrated with a date night, which we are pretty certain was our first date since Hayden was born.  Is it lame that I don't remember if we've been on a date?  So I guess either way, it had been a while and we were FAR over due.

We started the evening going to the indoor shooting range.  Daniel has been asking me to go for a long time now, and so I told him, "I'll go if it will toot your horn." I'm a little nervous and anxious around guns, which I think is totally normal and healthy-- they are weapons, and we all need to be safe and cautious with them.

When we got there, because I was a first timer, I had to watch a safety video about the rules and proper handling of the gun and then we were assigned a stall to have some "fun", and in the end it was very fun.  I'd go again!  (Plus, what a unique date! If any of you are looking for ideas.)

We've already decided next time we're shooting zombie targets.

After shooting, which didn't take long, we went out to dinner to one of our favorite restaurants.  A fancy one, where we could select anything on the menu and didn't have to share with wee ones.  We even splurged on an appetizer and got dessert to go.  As Tom says in Parks and Rec, "Treat Yo Self!"  And since I made it very clear in the beginning of this post, that these dates don't happen often, treat ourselves we did! 

It was so much fun!  Special thank you to the G-Ma and the Papa that kept our little boys, they had so much fun spending quality time with you guys.  Now our goal is to make these date nights happen a little more often.  I'm thinking once a month-- what about you guys?  Regular date nights after kids?

New Year's Resolutions.

Here's a link to last year's resolutions. Last year was focused on taking care of myself and saving money.  Taking care of myself and getting my running in had it's ups and downs last year.  Once I was cleared to get back to regular exercise after Hayden was born, I literally hit the ground running, and then I hit a point where it got too difficult-- with Daniel's crazy schedule added to the time it took to get ready, nurse and/or pump and get out the house was overwhelming. I had lots of fun couponing and finding sweet deals though, along with entering LOADS of giveaways!

The year before my resolutions were revolved around becoming a more natural me and a more natural house, which we are still working on today.  We switched to cloth diapers when Leeland was a baby and gave up paper towels.  Using natural/re-usable feminine products, re-usable shopping bags, natural household cleaners.  I use coconut oil for nearly everything and I no-poo.

I'd say that we have been pretty successful with our resolutions and I've had fun making changes for the better-- baby steps, but changes for good.

So this year, what's in store? Again, I have 2. (haha!)

1.) Eating better.  (Yea, me and millions of others right?)  This is the cliche resolution I know but it's what we are pursuing.  I have been convicted recently about all the natural steps I have made in the house and with my outward body compared to what goes in my body.  I will say, that I've never felt like we necessarily eat bad.  Especially since the move, eating out has become rare and we cook from home.  98% of what we eat is baked, not fried.  I serve veggies with all of our meals.... So what's the problem, you say?  I want to eat more fresh!  I want to buy fresh produce, I've began cooking dry beans instead of canned, we make our own pizza crust.  I want to be more in control of what's going into our bodies.  We've also toyed with the idea of going gluten free, but that's a whole other beast.  We're trying out some gluten free recipes and seeing how it goes-- Even if we don't commit 100% to the idea, we still want to limit those things.  We're also attempting to eliminate soda, and tame our sweet tooths. 

2.) Getting my concealed carry and purchasing a handgun for myself.  Should a situation ever arise, the Mama bear in me just wants to protect my boys and myself.  I feel safe where we live, but often times I am home alone-- maybe it's paranoia from the news and crazy stories, but I just need to be prepared for anything.  It's my duty as a Mom to protect my boys, plain and simple.

Do any of you make resolutions?  If so, have you had much success keeping them?  Even if you don't call it a New Year's Resolution, or even if you don't even choose them around the New Year, goals are important.  Constantly striving to do better and to be better.  Happy New Year friends!