Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Some August Thoughts

Every single time I say I'm going to be a good, faithful blogger it's all lies, y'all. So, I'll just give you some (random) thoughts on the second Tuesday in August.

1. Jonah is at his Grandparent's house. Simultaneously I miss him, and I'm breathing a sign of relief because I forgot how easy having one kid was. Whew.

2. One month until pre-school starts. He's ready. I'm ready. And he's upset he's not going to school five days per week. Go figure! I have a social butterfly.

3. Jeremy and I went on our first date in probably a year- to see John Mayer (MY FAVE) and had the BEST time together.

4. We are half-way into 2017. Which means Sutton turns 6 months old this month. Life isn't fair in terms of the way time flies. It totally does. And I'm 99% sure she's our last little baby, so. JUST SLOW DOWN TIME for me. Someone. Anyone? Help.

5. Jeremy and I are in a weird season of life. We are both really evaluating our life, and re-evaluating our priorities. But not for today- our priorities for five or six years from now. We will both be 40. FORTY. I can't even. And it has brought around a lot of questions about what we want to put our efforts into, and direct our finances for the next five/six years. We're calling it the six-year plan jokingly around here.

But not really joking. I'll talk more about it later. Still turning it over in our minds, thinking it over.

Have you ever taken big steps away from the direction everyone else's life around you is going? Going AGAINST the so called "American Dream" of bigger houses, SUV's and materialistic things??

I think we are :)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Patriotic Potatoes

Today Jonah asked if we could do "a craft" about twenty five times. So I made something up on the fly- a potato stamped table runner. I thought it would be fun to share here in case anyone else needs an easy and fun (kid friendly!!) craft for these long summer days.

We had a back of russet potatoes in the patry (any potato will do, in my opinion) and I cut a couple in half and then started cutting stars with a paring knife...obviously the making of the stamps will be an adult only task- Jonah stood and supervised letting me know that my cuts didn't LOOK like stars to him...

(I'm a rookie potato stamp maker and didn't remember that I should cut the "S" opposite so when stamped it is going in the right direction!! Pshhh.)

Then grab some kraft paper, or whatever you have on hand, washable paint and start STAMPIN' those patriotic potatoes!!

After we covered the runner in stamps I grabbed two small paint brushes and we drew on the paper. This project kept Jonah busy for over an hour and was a cinch. He loved it!!

^^^ Jonah's "usa" at the bottom right of the photo above. Priceless!!!!

And, our finished table runner is now dry and the cutest addition to a patriotic situation we have going on in the breakfast area!!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Hello, it's me

I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet.

Just kidding. It hasn't been years. But seriously- a LIFETIME has come and gone since I last blogged. I sort of gave up blogging to keep my sanity while I was working full-time, momming full-time and also pregnant.

BUT. I think maybe I'm back. I have tons of projects I want to work on and share and also something else happened...


So, yeah. There's that. And I'm planning Jonah's fifth (hold me!!!) birthday party in two weeks and I have a few fun crafts I want to write about.  I'll be back soon. I want to use this as a creative outlet.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Sutton's Nursery: Part II

After many months of gathering and DIY'ing Sutton's nursery is almost complete. Here's where we left off after Part I. The pink gingham accent wall. Can you even deal?! I cannot. This is officially my favorite room in our house (and I think it may be all of our favorite room right now because we keep walking in, and talking about our girl together!!).

So, back to where we left off- I decided to go BIG and order the palm leaf fabric for the window rather than use it as an accent pillow. Bold move? Yes. But I love bold colors and pattern mixing. I've been wanting to use the palm leaf pattern in the house for awhile now and decided this was the perfect spot for it.

Soon after hanging the palm print, I knew that I wanted to incorporate Jonah's crib and French provincial dresser. The dark walnut stain of the crib and dresser top totally grounded the space. There is a LOT of color going on in here. Originally I wanted a green Jenny Lind and thought about painting Jonah's, but after Jeremy put it together (with Jonah's help, of course) and we moved it in- it just worked. It doesn't compete with the wall and bright window panels.

On my original inspiration board there was a pretty watercolor floral fabric that I found on Etsy. I debated back and forth about it for awhile, but decided to order the crib sheet and see how I liked it in the space. I knew if I ordered the floral (this would be the third bold pattern in the space) I would need to tone down the other crib bedding.

I bought the gold tassel crib skirt that was on my inspiration board from Pottery Barn and tried it on the crib. I hated it!! It really needed something soft and more girly in here with all the bold color. So, back it went and I came home with this new light pink pom pom crib set. (I was kind of nervous at this point because I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted, didn't want to order custom bedding and hate it. So I purchased from PB. It totally worked out through trial and error! The staff at Pottery Barn was super kind and helpful, too. I think you need to see crib bedding in your own space to really know if you like it or not. Stressful much.)

I love how the bumper and crib skirt turned out! It works with the floral bedding and the wall/windows but doesn't compete. The perfect accent! (We have the crib on the highest/infant setting right now in preparation for our girl, otherwise their skirts touch the ground, which I really prefer.)

(Do you see the tiny baby in the left corner of the photo? Jonah went with his Grandparents to the dollar store to get a few prizes for himself and came home with that for Sutton. I seriously thought that was so cute that he thought about her!! He carefully put the doll in her crib to "keep her company in case she's scared". Can't wait to see him become a big brother!!)

So, at this point we are about finished with it! Jeremy hung the picture ledges for me this past weekend (thanks babe!) and now that the left wall is complete, the room feels more cozy and almost done. I really think the finished result is preppy, southern and girly. Exactly what I wanted for my sweet girl--

My Mom saved my Raggedy Ann doll, and also several of my Cabbage Patch dolls + accessories and handed them down to me for Sutton's room. Jonah picked out the white furry heart pillow at Target because he thought it matched Shep and went well in Sister's room. I agree! 

I covered the plain white pineapple lamp shade with some of the left over palm fabric. I think it turned out so cute! Still trying to decide which bins/boxes I want for this Ikea shelf that will eventually hold Sutton's toys. Right now I just made do with a few little things we had around the house. Oh! And I still haven't quite decided on a color for the monogram. Still debating that... I think I will probably go light pink. Something as neutral as possible.

I love the mix of the palm, the floral and the sweet pom pom crib bedding!

(Funny story- I put Jonah's "Shep" in Sutton's nursery and added the grosgrain bow. When Jonah spotted it after school he was SO MAD at his Momma!!! It was so comical and funny. He put his fists on his hips and furrowed that brow, "NOW HE'S A GRILL"... He says grill instead of girl and it's literally the last thing he pronounces incorrectly and I loooove it. He was so hot mad that I made Shep into a girl. But I kinda love it, and thankfully Jonah Knox decided he's too big for Shep so he will "show Sutton how to ride it"....) 

How cute is the monogrammed bow holder? Bows on bows over here!! The blankets are all vintage- my Mom saved them and passed them on to me. Love that I get to use things for Sutton that she used when I was a baby! 

I added the hooks for the future so we can hang Sutton's dress up clothes right here. Love that she has a place to display her pretty tutu's and costumes!

I am so proud of and pleased with how my girl's nursery turned out! Lots of love went into this little room. I'll be back with more photos and updates as we get closer to Sutton's arrival (8 weeks!!)...

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Sutton's Nursery: Part I (and DIY Gingham Accent Wall)

I started working on Sutton's nursery pretty soon after we found out we were having a little girl (we found out gender on October 14th). Girl world is a totally new place for me to be living!! I thought it would be fun to share a little bit of the planning and progress along the way thus far.

When thinking about our girl, I knew I wanted something preppy and bright. Southern and girly. I didn't want it to feel vintage or bohemian. It's a well known fact that I'm a color lover, so I figured I would go big in her room and design a space that I would love to live in (aka, wake up every three hours to feed in, play in, etc..). Here's my original inspiration board for her nursery-

The key elements are-

1. A preppy Pink + Green color scheme.
2. Buffalo check in a cheerful pop of color (bubble gum pink, preferably).
3. A couple of fun accent prints (loving the palm print and a pop of watercolor floral).
4. Monogram all the things!!
5. Sweet and/or feminine decor (maybe a flamingo mobile, or pom pom trim, scallops, pink/white seersucker and/or bows)

And here's a bit of the progress along the way.

Gingham Accent Wall:

The first phase was cleaning out and repainting her nursery. No small task. We have been using her room as a guest room/pile all the moving boxes we haven't really sorted through kind of room. Or mess. Whatever. So I spent a lot of time in there sorting through that.

Then, paint.  The previous homeowner sponge painted the entire space and had purple butterfly border (that was a nightmare to remove!!!). Soooo, yeah. I spent a good week peeling border, priming the walls and painting the entire room a clean, bright white. Our guest bedrooms aren't that large, so I wanted to keep it bright and as light as possible.

I decided to paint one accent wall (the wall behind her crib) in a fun bold pattern. I debated ordering wallpaper for that wall, but the one I selected would have been upwards of $350 for just one wall, so yeah. I nixed that because what?? Home girl can paint. Plus there are other things I can spend that on (bedding!).

After I made up my mind that I wanted the buffalo check, the first order of business was deciding on a scale for the print. I decided to go with a 4" scale because I didn't want it to be too large, OR spend the rest of my life measuring 2" squares. Ain't nobody got time for that. Did I mention I'm a messy, impulsive creative?? Totally.

I grabbed a trusty yard stick (no fancy level for this DIY'er) and started from the top right corner. I started there because that would be most visible and right above her crib once finished. I measured a few rows across, then down. Over and over. Annnnd over and over again.

The next step was taping and painting all of the horizontal stripes. I only did one coat of pink paint on these. I also mixed in a tiny bit of the white wall paint to tone down the horizontal stripes and (hopefully) create more dimension.

Let the paint dry for a few minutes and remove a mountain of green frog tape (verrrry carefully). Also, MOST IMPORTANT NOTE. Anytime you're painting stripes or a pattern, be sure to score the frog tape with a credit card to really seal the edges. I spent a lot of time doing that because I didn't want to have to go back and do a bunch of touch ups (boring).

I loved how the pink stripes were looking and really debated on stopping at this point. But I wanted gingham, so I pressed on and next I taped all of the vertical stripes. Seriously a pain in the rear. So much tape, and re-taping to get the lines straight.

((To be honest, I just eyed it at this point. Some lines are straighter than others but that doesn't bother me personally.))

I waited a couple of hours in between two coats of pink paint on the vertical stripes. I needed a little dimension since I only used one paint color. Two, or better yet three paint colors would have given more depth to the gingham pattern, but who has time to tape off yet another set of squares? Mmm, not me.

After both coats of paint were dry I removed the last bit of green tape and let it dry overnight. You can see the effect below. The vertical lines are slightly darker than the horizontal. I think it turned out so perfectly adorable. I can't wait to show you guys the outcome and more progress later this week.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Family Photos in Central Park

When we started planning our trip to New York I knew right away what I wanted my big souvenir to be. Professional photos taken of the three of us IN Central Park. I mean. Bucket list, right?!

After a bit of google research (I'm the queen bee "googler" as Jonah calls himself) I found a fab photographer that was willing to meet us one morning and do a Central Park mini-session on our last full day in the city. I sent her shots of what I wanted in the background of the photos and we met in front of the Plaza. We had so much fun exploring the park after our session!!

I could not be more happy with these photographs of Jeremy, Jonah and myself (and our sweet Sutton bump!). Meg did an amazing job. I will cherish these forever!! Our last photo session as a family of three- so many wonderful memories we've made together the last four (almost five!) years.

November 2016, Central Park, New York City, NY

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Sutton Claire Strickland

Our sweet girl has a name-

Sutton Claire Strickland will be joining our family in three short months. THREE MONTHS, y'all. Eeeek. Makes me a little nervous to say that out loud. I totally can't remember that newborn phase. It passes in a blink!!

When we discussed names we liked, Jeremy and I tend to agree on most of the combinations we came up with. We like classic. Southern. Preppy names. This one stood out. I have loved Sutton for awhile, and he and I both loved Claire.

Sutton Claire, we can't wait to meet you!!

(And of course, Jeremy is already calling her lots of nicknames- his specialty!!)

Monday, November 28, 2016

New York City Adventure

In early November we took Jonah on THE BEST adventure our little family has been on yet...


Jeremy and I talked about summer vacation plans for 2016 and we decided to do a Fall trip to NYC rather than a summer beach trip, and I am SO GLAD we did. I am totally a beach girl, but I've always wanted to go to NYC with Jer. Taking Jonah was the icing on top. We had more fun and adventure in four days in the city than we've ever had together. We made tons of memories with Jonah that I'll cherish for always.

Here's a (long) recap of our adventures.

We flew out early Saturday morning from Houston to La Guardia. We landed around 2pm, and began our adventure. Jonah was so excited to fly- and loved everything about the plane...especially the seat back tray table (sorry lady in front of him!!) and ordering orange juice as the beverage cart came around. He also kept asking me to read the safety card, which totally creeps me out. But I humored him. Thankfully we stayed in the sky (yes, I am a frequent flier and yes, I am still a nervous flier!).

His face. I can't even deal with how excited he was to see the big planes. I love this photo!

Once we landed and grabbed our bag (I'm pretty proud to say that ALL of our junk fit in one 49.5lb suitcase, Jer's duffle and Jonah's backpack and duffle!!) we bought unlimited metro cards for each of us and headed out to the bus stop. We took a bus from La Guardia to the 74th and Roosevelt stop, and hopped on a train in Queens straight to Grand Central.

Jonah fell promptly asleep by the time we got on the train. He was a tired little traveler.

From Grand Central we walked a couple of blocks to our hotel (stayed at the Shelburne Affinia and highly recommend- we had a great stay here!) and dropped off our bags. After showers we walked to Bryant Park via way of the NY Public Library. Isn't the library so pretty?! I would have loved to
have had time to explore the inside of it.

I was really excited to shop at the Winter Village. We ate dinner from street vendors at the Winter Village and topped it off with THE MOST AMAZING waffles + Nutella + ice cream (yes) at Waffles and Dinges.

I snapped this pic later that night and I think it's the cutest. He loved looking at the city lights out our hotel windows. Little boy in the big city!

We had big plans on Sunday. Jeremy's wish was to see the NY Giants v Eagles game, so much to Jonah's delight we got a cab to Grand Central and then took several trains out to the stadium. He was so excited to be in his first yellow cab. His excitement was contagious. It was the cutest!!

It was standing room only on the train to the game (we stood the entire time) and was the most fun experience to be with all of the hard-core Giants fans. Their accents cracked me up. Everyone was so friendly and we had the best day at the game. Strollers aren't allowed inside the stadium so we made the ENTIRE trek without the stroller. I was so proud of our little guy. He sat through the ENTIRE game (he's FOUR, y'all!!!) and happily munched on his popcorn. What a champ!!!

After the game we made the long trek back to Grand Central and decided to hit up Shake Shack for dinner inside the Grand Central terminal. Of course, Jonah fell asleep on the train to back to the city...

The next day we kept completely open to explore and shop. Jonah and I woke up and went for a coffee run while Daddy slept in. He caught the eye of the morning commuters with his bright stripes, and looked so cute on the big city streets!

After breakfast and coffee we headed out for the day. I have always wanted to go to Fish's Eddy in Flatiron (go, y'all!!), so that was first on the agenda. Flatiron did not disappoint. The cutest shops and restaurants! We explored Union Square for a couple of hours and then decided to head downtown for a special treat for Jonah Knox.

When we asked Jonah what he wanted to do on our trip to NYC his response remained constant- "I want to see Lady Liberty". So, we made that happen. We jumped on the Staten Island Ferry round-trip and he got to see it up close twice! He loved it, and it was the most beautiful day...

After we got off the ferry we decided that it was now or never for my bucket list item- walking over the Brooklyn Bridge. And, I'm not going to lie. I thought I was going to DIE. We probably walked 10 miles on Monday. Soooo much walking. (normally walking isn't an issue but this girl of mine is totally burried down low and it HURTS to walk!!)...... But walking on that wooden bridge was so worth the aches and pains!! It was the coolest, and as we were walking across the sun was setting.

I will always remember that sunset on the Brooklyn Bridge, and I'm thankful I was able to experience it with my two favorite people.

When we made it to Brooklyn pizza was first on the agenda. Juliana's to be exact. And it was just as delicious as I imagined it would be. I'm not even telling how many of these pieces I inhaled.

After pizza we hit up the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory and then called it a night. I was more tired than I've been in years, so we caught a cab back to our hotel. Worth every penny because I literally COULD NOT walk another step. Thought I was going to die at that point. Haha.

The next day was our last full day in the city so we wanted to make it count. We spent it playing the day away at Central Park and ended it at Rockefeller Center.

I have four days of memories with Jonah and Jeremy to last a lifetime. We laughed and laughed, made tons of rookie traveler mistakes and generally had the most fun vacation of all time. Sometimes pictures make a trip look more fun than it really was (thanks to social media) but I can honestly say that the photos don't do this trip justice. I tried. I did. But they're stored in my head and heart. It was the best trip.

Can't wait to see you again soon, New York... (and next time with a little girl in tow!!!)...