Thursday, September 22, 2016

Living Room Media Unit

Hi peeps! How's everyone's week going? I am having a great and relatively stress-free week (that basically never happens in my work-life) so I'm totally enjoying it! Plus the weather outside, although still blazing hot, FEELS a little bit like Fall to me. The light is changing and I can just sense the new season. Or maybe just wishing it here??

So I have a little project today to show you that Jeremy and I worked on this past month. Remember this wall in our living room?? When we bought this house the entire living area and hallways were different shades of dirt. I kid you not. Dark tan, taupe, chocolate, dark sage, and khaki. That's totally okay if that's your jam, but it's not mine. I like our spaces to feel more open and airy.

Here's where we started in April of 2015-

And, before we moved in we painted it light gray-

And then around September of last year we were starting to get settled and I felt like it was this HUGE BLANK SPACE. Just drove me nuts. So I hung a vintage quilt my Mom gifted me as a house warming gift on the wall, and called it a day.

It worked for awhile. A year I guess. But honestly the whole granny chic look just isn't my thing. I went through a farmhouse, gimmie all the chippy and rusty things stage when we lived in Birmingham and I'm kinda over it. But I have all of this vintage-y stuff so until I can replace/sell/buy new things I like that are more in my bubble I had to figure something out. A mix so to speak (and isn't life always about this mix? Where you are, where you want to be?? I could preach about that, right? Amen.)

I lived with the above look/feel for basically the past year. Annnnd, about a month ago I decided enough was enough. No more quilt on the wall. Enter an idea. A media unit. Big. Filling that wall. Something that makes an impact and adds function to the space. So I started pinning some things I found on the inter-webs and came up with a plan-

An Ikea hack!!

I sketched out an idea. Two tall BILLY bookcases flanking two short BILLY cases in the middle. I wanted the shorter ones below the TV to have doors to hide all the junk. And, of course. I couldn't leave the back of them plain so I painted it... you guessed it. Navy! My go-to color of choice.

I also bought these library lights to go at the top of the two taller shelves. They are the same brass lights as pictured in the photo above (bottom left bookcase).

And, here's the current progress:

 A TOTAL transformation, right?! Jeremy was a champ and installed it for me (I know he literally cringes when I come up with a new "idea" I need his help with. Sorry babe!). All we need to do is add the crown molding at the top of the two tall bookcases, add brass pulls to the doors (haven't found the perfect ones just yet) and install the brass library lights up top. Easy peasy. I really do love it so.

And, because who doesn't love a good before and after shot. Bam-

A few things I learned along the way-
1. The BILLY bookcases weren't tall enough for my space so we bought two extenders. The top shelf on each of the the tall bookcases are the "extender" part. Basically just another shelf to make it unit taller.
2. If you paint the mdf back before you slide it into the bookcase it will get chipped up/scratched. Nothing a little touching up won't fix, though.
3. These definitely need to be bolted to the wall! They are lightweight!
4. It is possible to cut through the thin mdf back. We did so to plug our TV junk in (Hi, Matt! Thanks for your help!!). You can (barely) see the box sitting on the second shelf (from the bottom) on the left side. I love that its camouflaged now!!!
5. I put the bookcases together myself (with Jonah's help) one evening when Jeremy was on his way home from work. Time consuming and tedious, but not difficult at all. No power tools required for the assembly of the units themselves.

I love that it adds character to our big living space and makes it feel more put together.
What do you guys think?!?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Weeknight Winners

Here's the lineup for the crock-pot this week:

SUNDAY:  Slow Cooker Chicken Marsala (this turned out SO good)
MONDAY: Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas (I modify this and changed pork to a lb of chicken breast. Have made this probably 20 times and it's one of our favorites for Chicken Taco night. So delicious!)
TUESDAY: Slow Cooker General Tso's (New recipe alert. I'll let ya know how it goes!)

Also tried recently and liked-
Thai Basil Chicken (not a slow cooker recipe, but quick and easy)
Crock Pot Sesame Honey Chicken

What are y'all cooking up??

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


15 weeks, y'all! It's so true. This pregnancy is flying by way faster than with Jonah. Maybe because I'm busy keeping up with him???

I decided to document my pregnancy in five week increments this go-around. I was super ambitious with him and documented it weekly- every five weeks will give me a little breathing room to ohhh, be busy keeping up with a four year old that has weekly soccer practice, games and just LIFE.

So here we are.

I've been craving all the sweet and sour things. Jelly Bellies. Gummy Bears. Sour Patch sno-cones. What in the heck. SO WEIRD.

1. I hate candy
2. I hate candy
3. I hate candy

Uhm, yeah. Jeremy just looks at me with a grin when I fill my little bag up to the brim of sour patch bears like a CHAMP.

I swear I'm already feeling little movements. The gurgling kind. Butterflies. Like my stomach is growling but not. I remember it from Jonah, but I am feeling it earlier than with him. I'm at that weird middle area where I do not look pregnant (at all) but I'm gaining a little weight so my clothes are getting tight and super uncomforatble around the mid-section.

I bought some maternity clothes and tried them on for Jeremy this weekend. Looks so funny!!! Definitely have an itty bump (more like a little food baby, really) but NO WHERE NEAR ready for those maternity digs. Feeling out of sorts about that.

Here are two recent photos with Jonah to document my size at 14 and 15 weeks-

14 weeks: September 11th, 2016

15 weeks: September 18th, 2016

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Mixed Emotions

Soon after we found out that we were expecting a baby we made a special trip home to see both of our parents. We wanted to share the goods news with them as soon as possible. I wanted to surprise my Mom, Sister and MIL with a cute little handmade gift when they least expected it. Honestly, the look on each of their faces when they unwrapped the box and found the tiny little diaper tied with ribbon was really priceless.

Our families didn't know we were actively trying to have a baby, so our news did come as a bit of a (BIG) surprise. I love that. 

Jonah just turned four years old this past June. I have always (from the very beginning) said that I wanted our kids to be more spaced out. I wanted Jonah to be around four years old before we added a new baby to our family. When all of our friends started trying to have babies when our kids were two, I stood my ground firmly and (very loudly) proclaimed not yet. Not ready! Not now!!

And now I am. Our baby will arrive in March, and Jonah will turn five in June. It's really hard for me to believe that he's already four. Having the new baby will definitely feel like starting all over for us. But I love it, and I'm so excited and really mentally ready to love on a new little one.

Having four solid years with Jonah is priceless to me. Learing to be a Mama, making memories with him, my first baby, I'll always cherish this time we've had just the three of us together.

After much discussion, Jeremy and I decided to wait until I was further along to publicly announce we were expecting a new baby. Although we were no less excited than when we found out we were having Jonah, we had several difficult conversations to navigate that we didn't face five years ago.

Several of our close friends and family members faced years of infertility, loss of a child, or other personal child-related complications that gave us serious pause. I considered what it would be like to walk each of those roads. No, I haven't walked in their path, or felt their pain. The very best I could do was imagine how I would want to receive this "new baby" news from a friend and act accordingly. We opted to wait for a bit, giving us time to talk to each person face to face or on a more personal level than via social media. This was our way of honoring our friendships.

To say that it was a difficult road to navigate would be an understatement. I was incredibly anxious, stressed and honestly riddled with some guilt for "my plan" to seemingly "work out". To be completely transparent, that guilt was also mixed with a healthy dose of anger at the unfairness of all of these feelings during a time that should be exciting and joyful for us. We sacrificed telling Jonah our news for several weeks because we knew he would never be able to keep this secret and-- why would we ask that of a four year old?! Would our friends do the same for us if our situations were reversed??? I knew there would be some judgement of our actions, regardless of how gently or privately we broke the news. I doubted it would ever be the "right way" or come at the "right time", and I accepted that.

I feel completely at peace about it now. Strangely enough, once I shared the news with each person, my guilt and apprehension went completely away. It no longer became about their story, or grief, or situation.  Now I can freely celebrate the awesome gift of life that Jeremy, Jonah and I have been given.

A new baby to love on and cherish!