Lovin on New Mamas

After having a baby myself, I learned the true needs and desires of a new mom. First, mom doesn’t want you to show up for a visit empty-handed. Second, once the baby has arrived it’s likely she has everything (plus some) she needs for the baby; so don’t show up with 100 outfits. Third, she wants to hold her baby and she has every right to; so unless she has the “I have to go to the bathroom, please hold my baby look,” don’t swoop in for the hold.

I have been guilty of all of the above. And if you’ve done any of these things, mom likely understands and appreciates your love, presence and support – even though it may not have been in the way she’d have preferred.

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My beautiful niece, Sophia Anne

On September 6 I became an aunt to a beautiful baby girl named Sophia Anne. And while I am so full of joy over her arrival, she lives in another country and I will not be able to see or hold her for months. Also, I’ll not be able to love on my sister-in-law and make her dinner, clean her bathrooms or walk up and down the street with a screaming child so she can nap. All things my sister did for me.

My in-laws took a short trip to England to help with the new baby and to help my sister-in-law, and since I could not go I opted to send a new mommy survival kit. These are all items I wish I would have been gifted after baby Grace’s arrival. Because honestly… mom needs love, too.

This survival kit revolves around my life’s mantra – Ain’t nobody got time for that. Because new moms don’t have time for ANYTHING except holding their baby, feeding their baby and having an emotional breakdown.

TIMG_0167his kit included:

  • granola bars
  • gum
  • face wipes
  • tinted chap stick
  • nursing tanks
  • Mother’s Milk tea
  • a book

Here is a download of the content I used for each of the tags. You can modify, as needed. I should also mention the gift included a hilarious card that asks, “How’s your va-jay-jay?”

Hopefully this will give you an idea of how you can love on new moms and not just on their babies. Flowers for mom is also a lovely gift!

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Living Room Progress – Still a Work in Progress

We met the neighbors behind directly behind us the other day, and they are a nice young couple who put recently just put in a chicken coup! I am so envious of their chickens, as I’ve been asking Chris if we could do this for months. I mean, I don’t plan to clean the chicken coup – that would be Chris’ job – but his excuse for not building me one is that  it will be too big of a mess. I’m hoping Tommy and Dani (our neighbors) make it look clean and appealing enough for Chris.

We’ve been discussing our home exterior more and more as the weather turns warmer, but there is still much to do on15-color-yellowground-1108-xlg the interior. And while that’s the case, I’ll share a few photos of our living room. First, I should mention that every room in our house (except the kitchen) was a yellow/beige color. And not the pretty kind of yellow/beige (if that even exists). So when deciding how to decorate the living Chris suggested we just paint over the color, and I’m SO glad he did.

After painting our ceiling and walls, the biggest obstacle was covering our hideous eye-sore of a swamp cooler. If you’re not from Colorado (or another state with an arid environment) you most likely don’t know what a swamp cooler is. It’s basically an evaporative cooler that cools air through the evaporation of water. Despite my overwhelming desire to  desire to take it out of the wall, I know I’ll be thankful for it in the summer time. So with the help of my brother’s wife’s mother (I know you had to think about that for a second) and her creative catering and party planning friend, I was able to successfully cover my ugly swamp cooler AND put together a few items I already had to semi-complete our living room.

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Can you guess where the swamp cooler is?? It’s behind the big map. Yeah – that’s how big it is. I purchased several maps from http://www.paper-source.com for $4 a piece, put poster board behind it ($.25), attached magnets ($2) and snapped it onto the swamp cooler (I should mention that the swamp cooler cover is metal). The additional frames surrounding the swamp cooler are map from our travels, money from our travels and a collage made by a very special person.

IMG_9557I should also mention our unusual pendant lamp. Our living room is dark and in need of all the light it can get. A hanging light was definitely the best option, but I definitely did not want to pay a lot of money for one. So, the solution was a $5 pendant light chord from Ikea, an awesome vintage lightbulb we found in our basement and a $3 lamp shade from Goodwill that I ripped the cover from. I covered the metal of the lampshade with yarn and the light chord with twine. And voilà – a $10 hanging lamp. We still need to hide the chord coming down the wall and hide the wall outlet with a floor plant. But those are minor details…

On to my favorite piece in the living room – our dresser turned TV stand! I IMG_9560LOVE this dresser. There’s an adorable mid-modern furniture store down the street from my house that was having a 50% off sale; so I got this gem for $75. It took a little convincing for Chris to go for it, but he did and I don’t think he regrets it.

We don’t ever want the TV to be center of our living room or our lives. But we do enjoy watching SNL and, Chris, the occasional baseball game, so we do own a TV. Among the globe I found at a flee market and Chris’ field guides (including Rocky Mountain Scats and Tracks) held between the extremely heavy jade lions he brought back from China – the TV isn’t much of a centerpiece. Also, above the TV are a couple other maps I bought for $4 and attached to poster board.

Lastly, can’t have a map themed room without some vintage luggage. Chris’ mom and grandma were here a couple weeks ago and seemed very puzzled that I would use these as decoration – since they use them for traveling. Oh well. Not everyone can get my decorating style. But I will tell you that the adorable blue vanity case is hiding diapers and wipes for a convenient changing station in the living room.

So these are the living room highlights! Again, the house is still work in progress but Chris and I are slowly making it our home.

Grace’s Shabby Chic Nursery

The long-awaited photos are here!! While it’s not 100% finished, it’s picture ready. Items left to do: rug and glider. The glider should be arriving shortly before or after Grace.

IMG_9520If you know me, you’ll know that part of the joy I have in decorating is doing it well… with as little money as possible. Embroidery hoops are cheap – especially when you have a grandmother-in-law who sews and a friend who hordes an excessive amount of them. The fabric in the hoops was all thrifted and includes pillow cases, fabric shower curtains,  and twin sheets. Each cost only $1-$3.

The mobile is an old lamp shade which I tore the fabric from and wrapped the wires in scraps from one of the pillow cases. I got the idea here. For the hanging pieces, I bought a HUGE book of scrapbook paper from Michael’s and some clear jewelry wire (which resembles fishing wire).

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IMG_9524We needed to figure out to do with the awkwardly shaped window in her room. The window is small and high – so it’s unlikely that anyone would be peeping into it – but it makes me feel better to have some sort of covering. I had tons of fabric left from the embroidery hoops so made a fabric garland using fabric strips, some lace ribbon and twine.

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IMG_9525With all the extra scrapbook paper left from the mobile I modge-podged paper onto some cardboard letters from Hobby Lobby (each cost $1). I was going to do the entire alphabet, but I thought better of the idea and thinking I might become hateful toward modge podge – and the alphabet – by the end of the project. So instead I simply completed the letters of her short, 5 letter name. And just to instill the English language into our sweet little genius, I bought a vintage-style alphabet poster that I hung from a wooden pant hanger. The poster was purchased from http://www.paper-source.com/ for only $4 [note: it’s actually wrapping paper]! I also loaded up on awesome maps for $4 a piece that are in my living room. This website is worth a look.

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Considering we received a TON of books from my baby shower we needed a bookshelf, and I wasn’t really loving any I was seeing while thrifting. Our living room makeover freed up a cheapo laminate bookshelf I bought at Walmart 8 years ago. Instead of throwing it away, I found a great tutorial on how to paint laminate furniture and enlisted my husband (dad of the year) to do the job. NOTE: do not do this tutorial if your an expecting mama. The fumes are are horrendous.

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And now for the changing area. Chris’s grandparents had this old dresser in their basement so we snatched it up! The changing pad (which is HUGE, by the way) doesn’t quite fit, but Chris will cut a piece of wood that will help stabilize it. No one wants a poopy baby falling off the changing table! The hanging dress is Chris’ family baptismal gown that Grace will wear at at her baptism. However, my baptismal gown (which was made for me by my Aunt Robin) will actually hang there once Chris’ grandma gets the puke stains out of it.

So that’s Grace’s room! Glad to have it [mostly] finished. More photos of the house coming soon!!

Dictionary Flower Bouquet Craft

So amongst the craziness happening in our life (moving, holiday, family visits, pregnancy) I found time to make a gift for Chris’ grandma Effken. It took a bit longer than I expected, and I wish I thought of the idea months ago so I could have finished it before the move – but alas, I was not totally efficient with my Christmas list this year.

Anyway, here is the final product from the fruits of my labor.

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Grandma Effken is a former English teacher, and loves words and grammar. She’s a lady who has everything she needs or wants so I figured it would be better to make her something than buy her something useless that will sit in her house. She’s also an extremely thoughtful gift giver, so I think she’ll appreciate it. IMG_9282

I found the vase at a flee market for $1.99 and a huge Webster’s dictionary at a thrift store for $2.50. The pages of the dictionary were a little too thin, but I persevered. I got this idea from my brother’s wedding – which used all paper flowers made by her mom and a family friend. You can see them here – they are way better than mine. Here is the tutorial for the origami flower and here is the tutorial for the roses.