Oh man! Let’s go into today’s “surprise” post with an apology! This Life Blip is almost 2 FULL WEEKS late. I have promised to get it posted MANY times and have come alarmingly farther from the original posting day. So here we are. I’m eating lunch, trying to type this out and post it within the next 30 minutes. Let the writing of “Life Blip | Baptism” commence!
I can’t believe that the last Life Blip was back in January! Yikes, I need to get better at these!
June 1st brought a bunch of family and friends together and we celebrated M3’s baptism. It was a really fun family affair weekend that isn’t able to happen nearly enough anymore!
We started the weekend off on Friday by going up to Idaho Springs for lunch, ice cream, and to tour the town!
From there, we went to my in-laws for pizza, beers, and some solid family fun time before the craziness of the baptism took over! M3 refused to go to sleep at their house that night, so we decided to throw routine out the door and let him stay up and hang. The poor kid is too stubborn for his own good and could barely hang! I think his favorite part of the night was rolling on the floor with Dad.
The day of his baptism was also his second swim lesson! He is a tiny little fish who LOVES splashing, “jumping” in the water, and cruising around the pool! My parents and grandfather were able to come and watch his lesson, which was so fun!
Rounding out the weekend was his baptism! I was a little nervous how he’d handle the blessing and anointing process, but he was a champ! He talked to and over the deacon that preformed his service and was a little ham for the photos!
I asked, you answered…here it is! I haven’t done a Room By Room post in quite a while! In fact, my last Room By Room post was about the Nursery back in SEPTEMBER! Yikes, that was far too long ago!
Anyway, as the title shows, we are talking ALL about our entryway and entry nook area. This has, by far, been the hardest room to decorate and maintain functionality. Not only is this area our welcome center into our home, it also doubles as my little office space. It can, and does, get overrun with papers, baby gear, shoes, coats, and more!
All that said, this room will always be a work in progress. Our needs for this area will always change as kids get added to the family, as we all get a little older, as we entertain more (or less). There are so many factors.
Currently, our foyer is only used to welcome guests, which allows us to keep this area pretty clean and simple. Even though it is a tight space, I still wanted this area to feel homey and inviting. I truly believe first impressions are everything.
In the little corner of our foyer I’ve set up what I call my seasonal station! Everything in this area is easily changeable. The signs get swapped out every season and for every major holiday. It sounds expensive, yes, but it’s NOT!
I get all the decor after the season ends and the stores deeply discount it. Each season/holiday has cost me, at most, $10. The key here is patience! The first 2 years may look sparse to you, but if you wait for the good sales, a coupon, or maybe even a hand-me-down you can achieve a nicely decorated space, inexpensively! Bonus points if some of your pieces can work for multiple seasons/year round!
For reference, it has taken me about 5 years (and counting) to gather all of the pieces.
Ahh, this nook. This is my little office space and love it! It can be tricky keeping it functional, but pretty. The best way, I’ve kept it pretty (and tied into the rest of the room) is by putting a few decor pieces on the wall.
My only requirement that I had for what went on the wall was that every piece be a natural wood tone. This way, it can easily tie into the rest of the space without me having to worry about or over think what was being placed.
Again, this area has taken me time, was gathered inexpensively, and is still a work in PROGRESS! The wall hangings were all under $10 each. If I did my math right, the entire wall cost about $15.
Then there is the actual working space. This is a trouble spot for me. I use this desk to write, pay bills, plan, manage our life. Trying to keep the clutter to a minimum is highly important and an incredible challenge!
If you have any ideas or tips leave them in the comments below!
My plan is to get a filing cabinet for the basement. This will remove A LOT of the paper work that gets trapped in this area. Once that is done, I can repurpose the folder holder and computer stand to hold the stuff I actually use. I’m also thinking of getting a little self to display notebooks and planners.
These frames, and a lot of these photos, have lived in many houses! Less than half of them have lived in 4 houses, which means they’ve miraculously survived Army moves. If you are curious what our gallery wall looked like at our last house, click here!
Let’s get this out of the way! All the frames have come from either Target or Bed, Bath, and Beyond. The decor pieces have come from several different clearance locations. Target, Amazon, Hobby Lobby, and even a garage sale. Because styles change so quickly, I am not willing to invest in these pieces.
Placement and Decisions
The most important part of setting up a gallery wall is to measure out the area you are using and then mark it on the floor. Know where your mid-point is and be willing to leave it and come back to it. When I did my first gallery wall in Texas, the frames stayed on the floor for an entire 3 day weekend, so that we could change things with ease!
Once our placement was decided, we started hanging. In the beginning, we left space to add more photos. Yeah, it looked a little funny for a couple of months, but I didn’t want to completely have to redo the entire wall any time we added another frame or decor item.
Tricks and Tips
Three tricks I’ve learned, over the last 5+ years, are to buy an equal number of frames and/or decor pieces, to hang the frames you plan to use (even without the photo), and know when to stop.
What I mean by an equal number of frames or decor pieces, is this. If you are slowly adding to your wall and you’re ready to add a frame, add two. It will balance you wall. You could add one frame and one decor piece or 2 frames and 1 decor piece. Look at the size of the bigger item and balance it out.
Secondly, if you’re wanting to add 5 frames, but only have 2 photos, add the photo-less frames to your wall. While you may notice the stock photo at every glance, your guests may not. To their eyes, the gallery wall is filled. In doing this, you can also see the photo sizes you need instead of guessing which makes your life easier!
Lastly, know when to stop. This will look different for everyone, but knowing when to stop adding pieces is important. If you’re nervous about the wall not looking fresh, remember you will change out the photos in the frames. Maybe dedicate 4 frames that get new photos every season and one frame that highlights the family every year. If you want to change out your decor pieces, take it off the wall and bring it to the store so you can compare it to new items. Or take measurements and go scour different places for new pieces.
I’m not kidding when I tell you that this takes time and some (though not a lot of ) money. We’ve been in this house for 15 months and are just now finalizing decor pieces. Oh, that gallery wall? We’ve been working on that and collecting pieces for it since we got married. In 2013!
If you have any thoughts on how we might be able to better utilize space in the entry, leave it in the comments below!
In a desperate attempt to give my arms a two minute break, I tried out (what I’m calling) a highchair activity. Now, I know I am not the first to come up with this, but I have been so impressed with this paint in a bag activity!
You can also customize it to the age and ability of your child, which is pretty darn cool!
What do I need?
Plastic Bags Scotch Tape–clear is best Washable, Non-toxic Paint Baby Seat with Tray
What do I do?
Put a dollop of paint in the bag. I choose 2 colors so that it’s a little more stimulating. I remove the air, zip the bag and then attach it to the tray. When attaching the bag to the tray, I tape down all 4 sides and put the opening side farthest from baby!
Then, step back. At first–almost always–he’s unsure. After a couple of minutes, though, watch out! He gets so interested and excited about the bagged paint! I can typically get anywhere of 5-10 minutes of handsfree, no entertainment time.
A plus? Little to no clean up! I pick up the bag and throw it away.
Another plus? You can save the bag and reuse it.
I’ve reused the same bag up to 3 days in a row!
He loves this activity. He still seems to feel like he’s involved in whatever is happening in the kitchen AND is distracted enough that I can get a couple of chores done!
What are some highchair activities that you’ve thought of, tried, or maybe want ME to try first?? Tell me in the comments below!
First, let me start by saying that this is not to send anyone towards a guilt trip. This is meant to be a hand extended towards those in the baby-trying season of life. An explanation of why this holiday is complicated for so many….
I remember celebrating this day and thinking how fun it would be to, one day, be celebrated. This year will be my first Mother’s Day, depending on who you ask. It’ll be my first Mother’s Day, celebrating with our baby and my 5th Mother’s Day, total. These last 5 years, I have found myself absolutely dreading Mother’s Day.
If I’m being honest, I’m on the fence about it this year, too.
The last 5 years, I’ve successfully avoided brunches, church, dinners, and so on. Not because I don’t want to celebrate the mom’s in my life, but because the nosy questions will always be asked.
Do you have children? Do you want children? When do you think you’ll have children of your own? Will you give your child a sibling? How many will you have? The list is huge…
In 2017, I had my second miscarriage, two days before Mother’s Day. That was, hands down, the HARDEST Mother’s Day.
I know that there are MANY women (and men) who would love to answer the above questions, but can’t yet. Or want to answer, but would do so in a way that would lead to pitiful looks and having to comfort strangers. Neither of which are enjoyable.
How do you tell someone…
Yes, I do have children. I have “x” amount, but they aren’t able to be here with me.
No, I don’t have children. I’ve been struggling with/to…for months, years, etc..
Any derivative of those 2 sentences tends to cause complete strangers to reel as if I have struck them. Sometimes, most times, it’s not worth it and is better to answer with a simple “not yet”. Those two simple words, “not yet”, aren’t so simple. They bring on a whole slew of thoughts and feelings that can’t always be expressed.
You are not alone.
I want to tell anyone who is dreading this holiday (or any holiday), feeling guilt, anger, sadness, you name it–you are NOT alone! At the very least, I know that it is hard.
Sunday will either drag or fly by, situation dependent. You may or may not leave the comfort of you bed, couch, house. Maybe you’ll turn your phone off, keep the lights off, and binge a TV show all day. You might cry, scream, or sleep. Whatever you choose to do, allow yourself to be.
Too many times, I have tried to grieve the “right way”. There isn’t a single way to get through these hard days.
For those that have no idea what I’m discussing, but know someone who might, shoot them a text. Talk to them. It might be exactly what they need. If they don’t respond for a while, that’s ok, too.
So, this Mother’s Day…happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas out there. Happy Mother’s Day to the obvious, and not so obvious, mom. Happy Mother’s Day to the mom struggling with the infertility process, whatever stage you may be at.
This schedule and routine works for us and we LOVE it, however, I know it’s not for everyone! I’m telling you about our schedule and routine because I’m always curious about how people make their days work, both with and without kids.
It has taken us a solid 5months of committed practice to get to this point and 2 months to tweak it, as he’s gotten older. This is not something that has always been easy for us. At 2 weeks old, we started implementing Babywise practices about 50% of the time. Around 6 weeks old, we got the green light from our pediatrician and implemented the process 70-80% of the time. That’s a story of another time, though.
Don’t forget to share any insight and wisdom down below in the comments!
We allow the schedule to vary up to 30 minutes and every once in a while M3 will stay up a little later, if we have dinner with family.
06:30 – 07:00 AM — I wake up, brush my teeth, and change my clothes 06:45 – 07:00 AM — M3 wakes 07:00 – 08:00 AM — M3 eats (bottle and solids), plays 09:00 – 11:00 AM — Nap 11:00 – 01:00 PM — Wake, eat, play 01:00 – 03:00 PM — Nap 03:00 – 04:00 PM –Wake, eat (bottle), play 04:30 – 06:30 PM –Eat solid foods, play 06:30 PM –Final bottle, meds 07:00 PM — M3 Bed! 09:00 – 11:00 PM — House falls asleep
Typically, while he his eating his solid foods and/or playing in the morning, I will empty and reload the dishwasher, grab some breakfast and then join him for some play time.
Once that first nap time comes, I high-tail it. I will get myself ready for the day (if I’m not already), start a load of laundry, and clean 1 part of the house. Here is a cleaning schedule that I used to follow pre-kids. It has since changed, but you get the general idea of what I do. Also, if I can squeeze in time, I will write, plan, etc. for this blog!
After he wakes up from this nap and eats, we run quick errands, go to a baby class, go for a walk/to the park, etc. Basically, we try to get out of the house for the entirety of his awake time. IF we are staying around the house that day, I will bring M3 with me to get some more cleaning done, or sit in the backyard and hangout.
At the next nap time, I eat lunch, start prepping dinner, and try to finish the laundry. Occasionally, I will take a quick power nap during this time. Let’s be real, mom-ing is hard and if we can take a quick nap we should! At this point in the day, the dogs have gone outside 3-4 times, I’m losing motivation to clean the house, and Mike will be home in a 2-3 hours.
From 04:30 PM to 06:30 PM, it is a MADHOUSE here! I’m feeding the baby, trying to finish dinner prep, feeding the dogs, entertaining M3 during the–oh so lovely–witching hour, and trying to maintain my sanity! Twice a week, during this time, M3 gets a bath.
Right around 06:45 PM, we head upstairs as a family and start M3’s bedtime routine. He gets lotion and eczema ointment every evening (with or without a bath). We fill the humidifier, read 2 books, turn on the noise machine, and zip up his sleep sack. While he is still awake, but getting sleepy we lay him down, and close the door.
From 07:00 PM on, it is Mom and Dad’s time. We eat dinner, clean up the dishes, and collapse on the couch to try and watch an episode or two of any given t.v show. Hopefully, we haven’t fallen asleep in the living room…but, hey, parenthood calls for quick naps on the couch before bed! On most weeknights, we are asleep by 09:30 or 10:00 PM.
I know, it either seems like our days are crazy or boring or too full or whatever! But, again, this is what works for us. I’m not at all telling you that what you are doing is right or wrong. I simply find other people’s daily schedule and/or routine intriguing.
If YOU are curious to SEE what a random day looks like, head on over to Instagram Stories to follow us around!
Can you believe that Easter is this weekend?! Holy cow, it sure did sneak up on me! After having M3, I’ve been trying to think of creative ways to remove the candy from the gifts he gets from us. Today, it is all about no candy Easter baskets!
I know, the younger they are the easier it is. As he gets older, we know that he will get candy from other sources (festive events, grandparents, Easter bunny, Santa, etc.). While I am not saying no candy, I am simply saying that he won’t get candy from mom and dad.
This basket is actually quite small. We purchased it last Easter after finding out we were pregnant to announce that we were in fact expecting! Needless to say, we didn’t need a large basket. As you can see in the left photo, the 4×6 frame takes up the majority of the basket, just as the stuffed lamb does.
He won’t need a bigger basket for several years, hopefully, and this one was a cheap Target find.
For those who are curious, the bunny holding the “M” on the basket was a Target find, too!
Ok, let’s talk baby rattles and noise makers. Those things can be so cute AND darn expensive! I’m sure he’ll love the Amazon foot rattles, but we wanted him to have something he could hold onto, thus…
Bring in the creative side! We decided to fill the plastic Easter eggs with dried beans and seal them shut, instead of candy. We filled them with different beans and different amounts and gave them to him a little early to see if he’d like them. Boy, does he LOVE them!
Books, books, books! We buy him books more than anything else–possibly even clothes! Our goal is for our kid(s) to have a full bookshelf with everyday reading books, seasonal books, educational books, and so on. Slowly, but surely, we are making that happen!
This Easter, we got him two. The first is a female empowerment book for kids called Tough Chicks. It could NOT be any cuter! It’s a touch a feel book and seems to hold his attention because of the different textures throughout the book!
Secondly, is a book from the Llama Llama series, called Llama Llama Easter Egg. All three of us love this series for many reasons. Most importantly, the holiday books are short, easy to read, and have a sweet little concept.
After a few years, I’m sure we will be surrounded by stuffed animals and loathe them. For now, however, I will purchase them happily. This little lamb is still bigger than he is, but will be easy for him to hold onto. Currently, he has an owl that he loves with the hard eyes, like the lamb has. With the owl, he loves to touch and pinch the eyes and then touch the soft mouth; I have a feeling he will LOVE to do the same to the lamb.
If your child is a little older and you want them to open something to distract from the no candy baskets, you could always put a couple of things in these cute draw-string bags. I found these specific ones for a dollar in the Target Dollar Spot. I’ve, however, seen similar versions in craft stores, dollar stores, and kid’s clothing stores.
Tip if you have older children…
I overheard people in the store, saying that these sacks would be their child’s Easter basket and egg hunting sacks, instead of the traditional baskets!
I’m sure everyone else has some no candy Easter basket ideas for all ages! Go ahead and drop them in the comments below to help out our fellow readers!
I am LOVING this weather! Sunny, a slight breeze, and temperatures in the 60s and 70s! You know what this means, right? It’s time to get outside! I’ve been looking around our area to find free or cheap activities and thought that I’d share my ideas and findings.
I know that your first that may have been similar to mine–neighborhood play dates, community pool days, park visits, walks around the neighborhood, etc. I wanted to find groups or activities that would be as engaging for me, as it is for M3.
First, story time. Your library will have several age-appropriate story times for different age groups. A lot of them will even have a craft, snacks, or play time after the reading to allow parents (and kids, too) to socialize.
With it being at the library, the most you’ll have to do is create an account with them so that you can sign-in and sign books out. Registering, and attending the story time, are both FREE! If the story time can fit into your schedule, you’ll get a designated hour each week out of the house–minimum.
Community Pages/Listings: Free or Cheap
Second, seasonal gatherings. Your Chamber of Commerce, the town/city website, and your local Facebook Events section will highlight all of the upcoming events. The events are typically released at the start of each quarter/season, giving event-goers PLENTY of time to prepare!
These three community resources are at YOUR disposal! By having these “databases”, you’ll be able to find out about free (or SUPER cheap) concerts, festivals, socials, fairs, farmers markets, consignment sales, holiday character meet and greets…the list is SO LONG!
Hint, if you really plan and know about some events way ahead of time, they will offer free registration (tickets) for whoever is going. You may only have to buy dinner, or your souvenirs, or nothing!
Recreational Centers: …Cheap
Third, recreation center activities. Depending on your area, prices will vary. Most classes offered, however, are in a group setting, are 8 to 10 weeks long, and possibly discounted–if you’re a returning customer. Whether it is your community recreation center, a local YMCA, or a private company, you could have a nice parent-and-me time or up to an hour by yourself.
You could read, workout, make phone calls, enjoy some quality one-on-one time with baby…the possibilities are endless.
Some activities that may be offered are:
Parent boot camp
Mother’s Day Out
Common meeting space play dates
Resource Stores: Free or Cheap
Fourth, Lakeshore Learning Free Saturdays. A lot of times, your local teacher supply store will have free classes for preschool/school aged children. Our teacher store is called Lakeshore Learning. If you purchase something from the store, you will get a flyer detailing the free kid classes they are offering.
According to my local store employee, you do not need to buy anything to get this flyer. Just ask!
These classes are free, usually have a wide time slot (i.e.: 10:00AM to 3:00PM), and help to develop different skills your child needs to learn.
The fifth, and final, freebie is a hospital group. Throughout the year, some hospitals either offer, or can recommend, different group get-togethers for parents and babies.
My local hospital, for example, offers the following:
New mom’s group (for mom with babies up to 6 months)
Working mom’s group (no age limit)
Birth Trauma group (parents only, therapy type session)
Playdate group (usually for babies from 6-24 months)
Breastfeeding group (there is a lactation consultant to help).
Every community (or a surrounding community) offers MANY free or cheap activities for families, couples, singles, girls (or guys) night out! You may have to do a little asking or sniffing around, but it is there–I can promise you that!
In the comments below, leave any other free or cheap activities/ideas that I left out!
At the beginning of January, I decided to pick up some old habits that I’ve been missing. The first one I decided to reintroduce back into my day-to-day living was reading. Reading has been a HUGE! part of my life! After having a baby, it became the last thing I had time to do. The few times that I had a couple of minutes to read, I was either reading a bedtime story or would fall asleep with the book in my hands.
For 2019, I promised myself that I would read a book a month, minimum. It could be anything I wanted…fiction, non-fiction, self betterment, screenplays, short stories, anything! Well, it very quickly became apparent that I was not going to accomplish that goal the traditional way. I mean, let’s be honest, reading, right now, is damn near impossible!
So, I went on the hunt for a better method. Audiobooks are now my best friend and I am LOVING the Audible app.
This post is NOT sponsored. I am sharing with you what I’m enjoying and will not make any type of commission. I have purchased all of the books I will be talking about today.
Quick side note: I purchased the monthly plan from the app, so for $14.95/month I get 1 book of my choosing PLUS 2 free Audible originals. Each month, I can listen to 3 books!
have found that I love hearing the authors read their book. There is something about hearing them feel their words that is powerful and even more convincing and motivating! Listening to Rachel list out the myths that we’ve all heard and then smash them into a million pieces left me feeling inspired to kick ass and take names!
This is a MUST read!
Becoming by Michelle Obama is a look at her life. Politics aside, her life is very interesting. I find myself feeling beyond empowered when listening to her story.
This book is on the longer side, and to be honest, I haven’t completed it yet. That being said, the way she writes and speaks sounds like she is only talking to you–the individual reader.
Yes, you read that correctly. Two books by the same author, within the first 3 months of the year.
When I tell you that this lady has motivated me to get my s..stuff together, I mean it! I’m ready to get moving, on fire, and ready to conquer ALL. THE. THINGS!
This book, Girl, Stop Apologizing, is all about finding your potential and USING it. She walks you through the process, roadmap (if you will), of finding and using what you’ve got. Once you know exactly how to apply the steps to your life, whatever that may look like, you’ll feel excited and ready to get started!
Apparently, the first 3 months of the year was all about self-empowerment, self-betterment, and finding my voice. While that wasn’t planned, on my part, I think that was the PERFECT way to kick of 2019!
What book or books have you read this year? Leave your book recommendations in the comments below and maybe I can read and discuss that one next!
His hair is starting to grow back and that’s not all!
He is cutting 4 teeth, trying to roll from back to belly, and LOVES solid food in any form. Purées, hard pieces, soft foods, etc. He’ll eat just about anything…except bananas. M3 HATES bananas!
He’s babbling (read: screaming) and blowing raspberries more and more everyday, laughs when the dogs bark, and YELLS when you’re out of sight!
The 7 to 9 hours of sleep he was getting per night (plus three 2-hour naps) has turned into 11 to 12 hours of sleep! That’s right, I said it–11 to 12 hours every night (plus two 2-hour naps and one 1-hour nap)! Can I get a hallelujah?
Wow, it’s hard to believe that tomorrow I will be 6 months postpartum already! These 6 months have FLOWN by and have been JAM-PACKED.
I was planning on sticking to the same layout as my 3 month postpartum update, but life happened and there is really only 1 thing to discuss.
In February, I finally was given an answer to why I was in so much constant pain since giving birth. Because my labor and delivery were so long and difficult, I developed 2 inguinal hernias.
Incorrect. Not at all. No. I could continue, but I won’t.
No amount of physical therapy, kegels, or ibuprofen would take care of this problem, so off to the surgeon I went. A week later, I was in the hospital ready for surgery.
I was told that recovery for me would be a long and slow process. Very little exercise (read: walking), limited daily activity (stair climbing, cleaning, cooking), and no lifting anything over a gallon of milk.
You read that right–a gallon of milk.
If your first thought was like mine, again, you are right–no holding (read: carrying, lifting, etc.) M3.
FOR FOUR TO SIX WEEKS!
The doctor was serious, like far too serious.
I was physically prepared for what that meant, but it did a number on me mentally. I was NOT ready for that part and couldn’t have prepared myself. For the most part, I have listened to the doctor. The exception being when we flew to the East Coast and I needed to hold him, lift him, etc. during our flights. Prior to and since then, I’ve followed directions.
The first 2 weeks were brutal. I was on medication. I was exhausted. I was in pain. I couldn’t wear anything, but oversized sweatpants that went above my bellybutton, oversized t-shirts, nightgowns, and robes. Almost five weeks later and I can only wear high-waisted jeans, for a short window.
While I know I needed this surgery, especially before getting pregnant again, I wish I could have waited until M3 was in school or have completed this when he was still very small and new. That way I could have lifted him after just a couple of weeks. That’s realistic, right?
Needless to say, my postpartum figure is less than what I was hoping for. No lifting and lugging? We can forget working out. That has killed me. I haven’t been able to exercise since BEFORE getting pregnant and still can’t do anything truly active, so the weight hasn’t disappeared. I very much look like I did 1 month postpartum.
Yay! Can you feel the sarcasm dripping from that yay?
Next week, March 27, I head back to physical therapy and will hopefully be cleared to walk more than 15 minutes/day, 3 times per week.
Head over to Instagram Stories, if you want to talk weight (loss, gain, plateaus). You name it, I’ll discuss!
I’m curious for those who have been fortunate enough to be postpartum what did your first 6 months look like? How did you deal with and overcome the issues you faced? I feel like (read desperately hoping that) the six month mark actually marks the crest of the hill and things drastically change. But I have no idea, so tell me if I’m crazy…or not!