Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Documenting the Mile[style]stones.

I am having fun trying things with Nadia that I didn't with Genevieve.  Since I was unemployed for Genevieve's first 9 months, had my mom here to help for most of it (yes, I was super duper spoiled!), and didn't have another banshee- um, I mean toddler running around, I had plenty of time to take pictures of Genevieve.  I made her a scrapbook, journaled throughout my pregnancy (loved this book), took maternity photos and at least bi-weekly belly shots...and more.  My fear has been that I will never be able to live up to that for baby number 2 (don't consecutive kids always get the shaft?!)!  But I am trying to do the things I missed doing for Genevieve so they will both have fun memories to look back on as they grow up. I already posted about the newborn photos we did for Nadia, and now I want to talk about documenting the milestones.

 I've seen this done with such amazing style and clever ideas.  Sherry at Young House Love actually did weekly photos and the finished product was simply amazing!  I considered that idea (loved the fabric element), but was afraid of the commitment it required.  I plan to keep it simple with monthly photos in the same chair with the same backdrop and outfit,- white onesie with a pink flower headband.  I'm a bit bummed because I meant to take her first one in Genevieve's adorable pink chair but forgot before she (Genevieve- the banshee I referred to earlier) ripped the sticker off of Nadia.  Have I mentioned how much fun it is to have TWO kids?! ;)  Anyway, I love that YHL added the dates en post via photoshop but if you are not that technologically savvy or ambitious (I'm neither!) head over to Etsy where you can buy fun labels in tons of fun patterns and colors to achieve the same effect.  After searching for a bit I settled upon this seller.  She was very professional, great customer service, and created the labels in the color of my choice.  [I didn't choose the labels pictured above but how cute are they?!] 

I love how the first couple turned out.  Hopefully I can keep it up and at the end of her first year, I'll have an adorable collage that I can hang on her wall, put in a scrapbook, feature at her 1st birthday party, or all of the above. 
Inspiration:





My little cutie at just over 2 weeks (if I hadn't procrastinated I could have gotten the 13th label to say "newborn" or "brand new" but it's me... uber procrastinator!) in the first of 13 photos.  Labels from here. Banner Bow from here.





How did you document your kids' growth?  Any creative or fun ideas to share?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Simply Incredible.

Just wanted to share our latest photography venture with you.  I was determined to get newborn photos of little miss Nadia.  I didn't do that with Genevieve and regretted it.  On the flip side I took SO many pictures of Genevieve and made that awesome (if I do say so myself) How Fast Time Flies scrapbook for her, so I also liked the idea of Nadia having at least one thing that Genevieve didn't! Is that weird?  ;)  Anyway, I really wanted something affordable since I'm no longer working (cutting our income nearly in half--ouch), but quality.  I try so hard to like places that I won't name (i.e. in the mall) but I just can't do it.  I like the more natural approach to photography...you know- the expensive kind.  I also have gone the other direction- getting portraits done by fabulous photographers only to agonize about spending $50 on a print.  The reality is, I just can't afford that (Dave Ramsey's advice to "act your wage" resounds in my head).  So imagine my happiness at discovering Simply Mella Photography.  2 words: Simply awesome.  She doesn't have a studio (I assume that's one reason she can be affordable), but she'll come to your home, or an outdoor location where lighting is plentiful.  So if you can imagine two exhausted parents, one extremely "high energy" toddler (high energy sounds so much nicer than little spaz doesn't it?!), and one newborn who refused to sleep for nearly the entire shoot, and turn that into awesome photos...then you'd be Melanie of Simply Mella! I wasn't sure how the photos would turn out based on the the factors listed above but she got me previews the same day and I love them!  If I'm being honest I'm kinda scared to tell you about her...there's a part of me that wants to keep this magic all to myself.  (yes, that is a bit weird.  ha).  But I just can't help myself...

I'll post more photos on facebook at a later date, but for now, I thought I'd give you a sneak peek of what I'm talking about. 


My little family of FOUR.


Genevieve was saying "wee wee wee" as in "This little Piggy..." :)


Me and my baby.  Well really, my big girl.  How fast time flies [insert sniffle here].

Do you have any photographers in the area that you love? Have you spent tons on family portraits and regretted it? Or thought it was totally worth it?  Do share your photography tales...

Friday, September 16, 2011

There's an App for That

As I fully embrace being a SAHM, I’m realizing I need help!  Not mental help—at least not yet ;) but organizational help.  I am just not naturally organized.  I don’t mind cleaning (I mean it doesn’t compare to shopping but it’s not torture either) but I am in such a rush and get so overwhelmed with what needs to be done that I end up constantly surface cleaning and even that is spotty.  Not to give the impression that I’m a dirty person…I’m really not!  That’s what’s so frustrating.  Before I can relax I have to at least straighten up or my brain can’t function; but between the busy-ness of life and the clutter…it’s just too much at times.  Especially while working full time (though I have a hunch that it won’t be much easier with an infant and a 2 year old but a gal can hope can’t she?!) 

Anywho, I figured there must be an app for that.  I searched and found the Momo-Motivated Moms app.  Now I don’t think this is my answer necessarily but it’s a start.  Every day there is lists of tasks- they range from everyday tasks such as clean the kitchen sink (which really is very clever since you can't clean the sink without first emptying it.  And you can’t empty it if the dishwasher is full.  You little smart app, you) to weekly or even monthly tasks like defrost and inventory the freezer, or de-clutter your desk.  Since I love checking things off of a list it really motivates me to squeeze tasks in here and there.  I also like that the tasks are manageable- rather than "clean the bathroom" it will tell you to "wipe the bathroom sink,"  so you can do a little at a time.  I’ve been using it for a few days and already my house seems a bit less messy.  Now, with that said come its flaws.  First of all, it’s $10.00 per year.  This to me is a bit much for an app!  I am using the “lite" version which is free but is only a trial version.  I’m not sure I’m prepared to pay $10.00 for an app so I will probably try other cheaper or free housekeeping apps before settling on this one (anyone heard of or use the Home Routines app?).  Also, it seems like it would be impossible to get all the tasks done in one day unless you don’t have a life (or at least don’t have a job or kids!).  I typically do what I can and then I’ll go back to previous days and mark tasks off as I complete them later. Also, you can't prioritize tasks or add tasks.  Nor can you hide a task on one day- only on every date.  However, even with it's flaws, it’s a start.  And if it was free (or less expensive), I'd for sure continue using it as I kept researching other options.

 Stay tuned for 2 other apps I’m finding super useful right now.  I’ll give you a hint of what they are—one will help me get back into my skinny jeans and one will help me remember to feed the baby. ;) 

Your turn: any apps that you can’t live without? They don’t necessarily have to be related to housekeeping!  Do share!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Nursery Progress: Dressing up the Dresser

For Genevieve's nursery, I went with an old dresser (see this post) and loved the idea of repeating that for Nadia's nursery.  You can usually find something less expensive and with a bit more character and better quality than one you'd find at a furniture store or even a box store.  In a happy coincidence, I found the matching dresser to the one I bought for Genevieve at an antique store.  It was exactly the same down to the adorable heart cut out at the bottom, but was small enough to fit in the room with the changing table.  But when I went to the store the bottom drawer wouldn't open and I knew that would drive me crazy.  I was so sad but in the end this other number was cheaper and actually works perfect with the space.  It's not quite as high quality- it's basically one of those affordable pieces you'd find at an unfinished furniture store like a the mill store.  But at only $20 at a yard sale, it was good enough to do the trick. 

So now that I'd found the piece it was time to choose a color.  The primary colors in my inspiration 'piece' were yellow, blue, and pink.  I knew I wanted a cheerful yellow.  I'd gone back and forth about painting a jenny lind crib a bright yellow (see this post) and love the look of yellow against aqua or pale blue (the color of her walls).  Since in the end I decided I didn't have the stamina to tackle a crib project, I figured I could get the same effect with the dresser.  I picked the happiest, truest yellow I could find and went to town.  I ended up doing a couple of coats of primer (tinted for the last coat) and then two coats of the yellow paint.  For finishing touches, like in this project, I skipped the pricey anthro knobs for Hobby Lobby ones.  And they were on sale!  This project cost a total of $52.  That's a fantastic price for a decent quality dresser, especially after adding unique touches in a fun paint color and 'custom' knobs).

I've included before and after pics, as well as a couple of my inspiration pictures for the dresser.  Even though I'm a big fan of paint, I'd never gone with such a bold color so it helped seeing someone else do it with such success.  I LOVE color so I don't think I'll tire of it and I could totally see it growing with Nadia or in the girls' playroom later on for extra storage.  (uh because right now, we don't have a playroom, or wait, are toys strewn about the house considered a play room because if so, than yeah, we totally have one).  I also included the 'better' pics I promised in this post.   Oh and please ignore the super close up off center photography. If you want the honest truth I was zoomed in so tight so that I wouldn't have to sweep the trash up around the dresser.  Yes I was that tired, exhausted, busy, lazy.
As you can see, I've had a ton of fun pulling together old and new pieces for her room. So far, the magazine rack was from the side of the road, the dresser from a yard sale, and the changing table from a thrift/antiques store. Totally loving the re-use, re-purpose, recycle approach to design!

Inspiration:


Click here for details and to see the before.  This girl is amazing!


Click here for details- once again, from HiSugarPlum!

Love the yellow crib against the blue wall.  Just darling!  From here.
and now MY work of art.  Ok that is a bit of a stretch.  ;)


What do you think?  Have you painted any furniture (or anything) a bold color lately?  Do share!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Please Welcome...

Nadia. Sophie. DeLangie.
8 lbs 9 ounces.
21 1/2 inches.
Arrived at 4:29 am.


A few random facts (I'll spare you the play by play):
  • Nadia is named after Joe's nana, Nadia.  She's from Italy (moved to the US after marrying his grandpa) but the name is Russian and means "Hope."
  • Sophie means "wisdom" and was on my names list (well as Sophia) when Joe and I got married in 2004.  However it is now (or maybe it was then and I just didn't know it?) VERY popular so I never wanted to use it as a first name....but never stopped loving it!  I love the shortened version even more.
  • I literally pushed Nadia out in 3 pushes.  Totally made up for the 2 hours and 38 minutes it took to push Genevieve out.
  • It was also completely in keeping with the entire delivery.  Contractions started (or at least I started noticing them) at 10ish pm.  It went like this [on phone with mom] "I think I'm having contractions...but it feels different than it did with Genevieve.  Am I the only woman in the world who has a baby and still doesn't know what contractions feel like?!"  Mom:  "Honey why don't we start paying attention to the time.  And call your husband"  This was at 10:09 pm. I was at the hospital by 1 am and had her at 4:29 am.
  • If she hadn't come on her own, I would have been induced on Joe's birthday, September 7th.  Instead she came on my brother's birthday.  She was also just 4 1/2 hours shy of being born on her namesake's birthday (yes there are tons of September birthdays in my family and Joe's).
  • This labor was completely opposite of Genevieve's.  It was still hard (please note: "fast" does not equal "easy." ;) I've never felt so much pain.  Ever.  BUT it was totally worth it to only have to push for 10 minutes.  No denying that part was easy!!
  • Nadia looks very much like her sister Genevieve.  It's honestly quicker to try to find differences than it is similarities.  One major difference- her adorable, raspy cry.  If you can love a cry, I love this one.
I am totally in love with my two girls.  I'm still sleep deprived and overwhelmed at times.  But I'm also in awe of God's grace and love...to bless me with a second miracle.  "Hope," is very fitting.  Welcome to our world, little Nadia.  We love you more than you will ever imagine.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers and well wishes!!



Friday, September 2, 2011

Taste{full} Deal Alert- Amazing Sale at Banner Boutique

I've blogged about Banner's headbands before.  They are well made and simply adorable.  Turns out they are launching an awesome new site (No, I haven't seen it--I'm just assuming it's gonna be awesome) and in preparation (or celebration?) they are having a 40% off sale on some of their best sellers.  Although I love their stuff, I'm also a cheapskate er, I mean frugal (does that even sound any better?), so I only have one headband from them.  Until now.  I have like 10 in my etsy cart but I'm sure by the end of the checkout process I'll have whittled it down to two.  okay, maybe three.  This sale is just in time as I try to figure out how to dress new baby for her newborn photo shoot.  (cocoon? knit "bowl?" cheesecloth? knit diaper cover and beanie? ruffle butt bloomers? Petit lace romper?  Oy. So many possibilities!!!)  In any case, these are super cute, fit newborns through adults, and make great gifts (new baby is due any day now, hint, hint). ;)  Check out their blog with all the details here.  Oh and please let me know if you have an opinion or source for what to don new baby in for her first pictures!

yes, this one is in my cart. :)

Happy Shopping!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Make Your Own Changing Pad Cover


A while ago I posted about finding instructions on making a changing pad cover on Chic & Cheap Nursery. I'd been daydreaming about re-learning to sew anyway and this seemed like the perfect, simple project. Of course I initially wanted to make an entire crib bedding set--sheet, bumper, and crib skirt--but then it dawned on me that I'm not freakin Martha Stewart. That said, I figured I could still manage a changing pad cover. I bought the material from Hawthorne Threads and Fabric.com. They have an amazing selection and reasonable prices. This post isn't really a tutorial because a) I am such a beginner that I am in no way qualified to walk you through this process and b) there is a perfectly swell tutorial posted at Prudent Baby that I followed. I will offer one piece of advice- Make sure you sew the tube big enough for the elastic. I didn't on my first cover (yeah that's right, I made two- are you impressed?!) and it was the most agonizing process using a tiny safety pin to string through the elastic. What took me 5 minutes or less took me at least 20 minutes the first time around. Oh and the fact that I made two should tell you that this is definitely a project you can handle. I haven't sewn since I was 13 or 14 and had no idea what I was doing--but I followed the instructions and the cover came out fine. The first one is a bit rough if you look at the details but the reason this is such a perfect project for beginners is that none of those details show! The second one came out much neater and though still not expert quality, a little more polished looking. The other thing I love about this project is that a 'designer' changing pad cover or a custom cover from a site like etsy usually will run you $40+.  Here is the cost breakdown for this one:

2 yards of fabric: $21 including shipping
elastic: $0 already had
thread: $0 already had
Total: $21

As for the final cost, it could cost even less...the tutorial calls for a bit less fabric, you could buy locally to avoid paying shipping, and you could also use less expensive fabric, so this number can be whittled down.  Also, for one of the two covers, I ordered the material from fabric.com with another fabric purchase, got 20% discount, and didn't pay for shipping so that brought the price down.

So, I think I will keep at it. I really like making stuff. :) If you try this you MUST email me pictures (tiffandmeg@gmail.com) or post a link to a photo. I'd love to see it!


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