Tuesday, May 31, 2011

One Little Word : May

Our May prompt for Ali Edwards One Little Word class was to create a to-do list. Rock on! You know I love my lists. 

Back in January, completely unrelated to this class or any other project, instead of resolutions, I made 12 lists - January through December, so I could keep running to-do lists for myself and what I wanted to accomplish each month. I included tasks as simple as reminding myself to backup my laptop, to other more involved projects like my monthly One Little Word assignment, creating a weekly dinner planner, purging iPhoto, making Parker's art canvas for his room and finishing my December Daily album. Some of them, unknowingly, were 'focus' related - organizing and simplifying our home, creating 'me' time, spending quality time with my family - so looking back on the year so far, and looking ahead to what else I wanted to accomplish, was quite easy.
click to enlarge if you'd like to read the details
Ali created templates that we could print and fill out our to-do lists and just slip them into the page protectors. The hardest part for me was figuring out which projects to include. :) So, I printed two templates so I had room for 10, instead of 5. Actually, I have space for 2 more. It's all still a work in progress.
click to enlarge
The numbers are American Crafts Thickers (white, foam, Rockabye) from the same set I used on my pre-class assignment. Love the little bits that are keeping this album consistent yet simple.
The 5x7 page protector, which is part of the back of April's letter to myself, was for a simple piece of patterned paper + embellishment (or a photo, I suppose). I had an old old old Harley-Davidson magazine ad I tore out years ago (and kept, and remembered where it was at...go figure) that was basically a list of things you should do (and not do). Perfect little piece of ephemera for this month.

Fellow OLW classmates, my photos are in the Big Picture Classes gallery. How are you doing with the May prompt? I'm giddy to see what Ali has up her sleeve for June. Can't believe we're going to be halfway through the year soon...

Friday, May 27, 2011

M + P : party sneak peak : the final countdown

I am rainbow crazy over here and the party preparations are in full swing. Here is the condensed version of my to-do list for Morgan + Parker's birthday shindig in just over a week:
  • make pinwheel cupcake toppers
  • order balloons
  • make streamers
  • decorate party hats
  • finish gift shopping
  • wrap gifts
  • shop for party food
  • make cupcakes
  • prep party snacks
  • make frosting
  • frost cupcakes
  • decorate!
  • clean and straighten up the house, just enough, before we get to watch it get destroyed. :)
  • chill out + celebrate my sweet kiddies. I will, I will!
But first, we have a long holiday weekend to enjoy! Ours is planned to be filled with sun, yummy food, awesome friends, a parade and lots of American flags. Have a wonderful Memorial weekend.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

flashback video : Morgan + Shake Your Booty

Morgan has had a thing for KC and the Sunshine Band's song "Shake Your Booty" ever since she heard it during their daily dance parties at daycare. She requested it again (should I be surprised she remembered it?) back in March and was happy to oblige, with video camera in hand. I love how she likes to dance in front of the TV and look at her reflection. :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

the view from the loo

Our master bathroom has been in a state of un-done for quite some time, as it's taken a back seat to other renovation projects in our house. Mark busted his butt to get our main living area finished before Christmas and I knew he needed a well deserved break from the constant drywall work, painting and installing something-or-other. Our bathroom is perfectly functional, for the most part, except we can't take a shower in there. Until now. The bathroom is super small, so seriously, this is the view from the loo:
We now have nice clear glass doors for our walk-in shower and Mark also cut four Corian shelves (from scraps left over from the vanity countertop) for the little niche to store our shower essentials. I had to take a photo of them last week before I cluttered them up with my crap:
Pretty, huh? I love having lots of built-in storage and the shower itself is so roomy. I'm looking forward to giving you the grand tour - but there are a couple things that need to happen first. Left on the to-do list:
  • install door trim
  • install mirror over the sink
My desire to call it 'done' by Morgan and Parker's birthday party next weekend has been expressed to my better half. I wish I could do it myself, because I would be soooo helpful if I could. Here's to hoping.

Monday, May 23, 2011

3 years ago

I was 38 weeks pregnant with my first baby.
I was anxiously awaiting to find out if baby wait and see was a boy or a girl.
It was my last day of work before maternity leave.
The crib wasn't finished.
I bit the bullet and started recording it all with my first blog post.

If you have been reading all this time - thank you! For those of you who haven't, and you want to read more about our beginning, here are a few of my favorite posts from the early months as a new mom and blogger:

It's a...
There's no place like home
Sleepy Girl
New Adventures
The Anatomy of a Nap
Our Week in Review
Go Baby, Go!
Lying is fun!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Morgan was here (and more)

As Morgan's independent play time increases, I've been noticing a lot more of these little 'scenes' around our house. I love seeing this evidence of her creative and imaginative mind at work. This collection of photos would make a fantastic scrapbook layout.
"mommy, look, I made a peacock!"
monkey is ready for lunch
drawing people on her magnadoodle
shhh...baby is sleeping
legos and the remains of a snack
pretty new sandals - lined up perfectly. That's my girl!
Today: I got an early start before the kids wake up (they are actually still both sleeping!) - shower + coffee + quiet. Ahh! Can we all make this a habit, please?

I am loving that it is a week of visitors. Kristin got out of the house yesterday with the boys and visited for much of the day (all by herself, which is completely amazing to me because there are days that I don't like to haul my little ones around alone). They will be 7 weeks old tomorrow (already?) and are so damn sweet - I love seeing that they are more alert, noticing the differences between them and how much Parker and (especially) Morgan love them. Of course, Parker just wanted to tackle them and play (soon, Parker, soon) and Morgan was the nurturing one - asking to cover them in blankets, offering toys to play with and rocking the carseats while Aunt Kristin finished packing up their bags. Adorable! Today, Grandma Frahm is coming over and we've got guacamole and magic bars waiting (well, not to be eaten together, of course). Very much looking forward to chatting and catching up with my mama. It seems our visits are never often or long enough so I will be soaking this all in.

Have you noticed I've been a little blah on the blog front lately? I can't explain it other than I'm burnt out. Ever feel that way, bloggers? It's not due to lack of things to write about, that's for sure. I have a list (naturally) of post ideas but no ambition/interest to write + add photos / links + edit. Don't get me wrong, I love love love it (and I love all of you) but, some days it's a lot of work. So what does one do when they are in a funk? Take a break. I'll still be around, just not as frequent as I have in the past. I think some time to collect my thoughts and adjust my focus is just what I need. Oh, and a pedicure, which is already in the queue for Saturday.

I'll be back, full steam ahead, soon.

Monday, May 16, 2011

flashback video : Parker practicing walking

Parker took his first steps a few weeks ago. It was completely random and, despite the clapping and screaming after he stopped, he hasn't done it since. Every time I try to stage him and cheer him on, he just sits down and sprint-crawls to me with a big ass grin on his face. I know he can do it, and he will do it on this own time, but in the meantime, he loves to walk anything he can around the house. Usually Morgan's little Radio Flyer bike or baby stroller. This video really isn't 'old', it's from April, but it's cute and sharable:

Thursday, May 12, 2011

M + P : party sneak peek : the invitation

The party prep to-do list is long but two big tasks are complete. I decided on a theme and also designed invitations for Morgan and Parker's joint birthday party next month. The theme: rainbows. Not really physical rainbows, but the colors of the rainbow. Months ago, I was dead set on having a Yo Gabba Gabba theme after finding the most adorably perfect fondant cupcake toppers on etsy. The shop, and apparently many others, either closed up shop or were evicted by etsy because their items are tagged with the phrase "Yo Gabba Gabba". Boo! And I haven't found anything even remotely close to cute. Double boo! I don't dig character-crazy parties, but the cupcake toppers would have set the kids over the top.

There are so many great birthday ideas out there. I needed to just pick one and go with it. We have many more parties to plan in the coming years. Well, until Morgan and Parker start to form an opinion. ;) After seeing lots of fun rainbow-inspired party decorations, the theme stuck. Plus it's gender neutral. Good enough. While I started to collect ideas on pinterest (which you can see here), I got to work on the invitation design because they need to be sent out asap.
It's very simple, graphic, and most importantly, rainbowy. You can't quite see it all for privacy sake - but I hope you get the gist. I still have to address envelopes but they are pretty much ready to go. I need to remember to print two extras for Morgan and Parker's scrapbooks.

Today: my babies are battling runny, stuffy noses, coughs and sneezes. Allergies? Cold? I dunno. Parker has been up since 5am and Morgan is bathed and laying on my lap on the couch. It's not even 11am and I already feel like this has been the longest day ever. We need to make a run to Michaels for some party ideas and other goodies. (hey, if you need any craft stuff too, hit their website for a 20% off friends and family coupon!) I'm thinking about lining the invitation envelopes but first I have to find the perfect paper. Not an easy feat.

P.S. I have some pinterest invites to pass along if anyone wants to join in the pinning fun. I stayed away for as long as I could, but now that I've been on it for a week or so, I'm finding this is the perfect way to bookmark and share my favorites - visually. I love it! It's addictive, but not as bad as I thought. Give it a try!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

flashback video : Morgan + Daddy playing

I am sharing this video mostly because I am in complete awe of how little Morgan looks (it was about 11 months ago, the day before her 2nd birthday) and how much she's grown and changed in the last year. And how much she loves her Daddy! My favorite part is when she climbs up on the fireplace ledge and yells "get down!" Hmm...think she's heard that before? :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

a Mother's Day gift to myself

A few weeks ago I got an email to make a free 20-page Shutterfly photo book. So, as a Mother's Day gift to myself, I uploaded photos of Morgan and Parker, some together, some with me, highlighting my first year as a mommy of two. It's uber-simple, since I'm a fan of the full page photo. Check it out here:

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Parker: eleven months

doesn't like when we go into his bedroom and I close the door and blinds. Like he knows it's time to take a nap.

is officially getting into everything. Parker figured out how to get into the kitchen cabinets and loves digging in the drawer under the stove and in the recycling bin under the sink. He is not a fan of the childproof latches.

loves playing at the library and watching the other kids.
says 'yeah', often in context. "Parker, are you hungry? Yeah. Do you want more? Yeah."

loves being out and about. Stanger anxiety hasn't really seemed to hit him. He smiles at everyone! His sister on the other hand...

likes to walk on his hands and feet, no knees.
loves to chase, be chased and tickled.

laughs easily and a lot.

stands well on his own. And often. He even took his first steps last week!
Teeth #4 and #5 (his two top teeth) finally came in.

devours whatever food is in front of him and acts like he hasn't eaten in days. Parker is pretty much done with baby food and will gladly eat whatever we are eating. And more.

exclaims "ahhh!" after drinking water. He also likes to sneak milk from Morgan's sippy cup!
uses his forearm to catch food that didn't quite make it into his mouth. Must always remember to roll up his sleeves before eating.

squints his eyes tight when he's falling asleep.

One more month, can you believe it? You can see Parker's last 10 updates here:
one month
two months
three months
four months
five months
six months
seven months
eight months
nine months
ten months

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thankful Thought | 003

I'm thankful for motherhood and everything, good and bad, it has brought out in me. I am thankful for my mother, my mother-in-law, and all of the wonderful mommy friends I have. We have shared many funny stories, tears, advice and comforting words in past years and I'm so happy to have them in my life. Thank you!

Ali Edwards Thankful Thought No. 03 overlay can be found (free!) here.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

how to make a chalkboard meal planner

Thank you for the nice comments about my meal planning board from last weeks My Day in Photos post. Now that I've been using it for a few weeks, I thought I'd share how I put it together.
For years, I've been planning our dinners a week at a time. I've never been really happy about the way our dinner options were displayed (or not displayed). In the most recent past, I was using a pdf I found on the internet to make my weekly meal plan and grocery list. It worked fine but it didn't look nice hanging on our kitchen chalkboard. Ever since our kitchen remodel was complete, I've been making a conscious effort to not put any and every piece of paper up there, so I finally came up with this simple and reusable system.
Inside the frame, the chalkboard is almost 18" square. I punched seven 2" circles out of some scrap patterned paper, one for each day of the week. I used some old American Crafts stickers for the initial of each day (s-m-t-w-t-f-s) and then double stick taped the circles to the top of the chalkboard, leaving a little bit of room around them for as a margin.

Then I made a list of all of our favorite and most often cooked dinners. I went through my recipe binder and my cookbooks and wrote a pretty extensive list of all of my go-to entrees, side dishes, soups, salads, veggies, fruits, breads and more.
In Microsoft Word, I made a table with cells that measured 1 3/4" wide by 3/4" tall. I centered the text in each cell and started typing out each and every item from my list above into the table. I also added in a few 'new recipe' options, plus cells for 'leftovers', 'takeout', or 'restaurant.' I then printed the tables on printable magnetic paper that I found at Michaels.
I started using my cutting mat and X-acto knife to trim all of the magnets apart, but it was kind of tedious cutting apart all of those little rectangles. I found that the paper was very easy to cut using my Fiskars portable paper trimmer and the cutting was done fairly quickly.
To keep all of the pieces together, I divided the magnets into categories: pasta, poultry, side dishes... and I stacked and slipped them into a business card page protector that I keep in the front of my recipe binder.

Do you see why I chose the magnetic paper? Now each week when I make our dinner plan and grocery list, I can just pull out the magnets that I need and put them up on the chalkboard. Two things that I love about this new system is if I need to move some meals around, like if Mark is going to be unexpectedly working late, or if we make last minute plans to go out, or if I change my mind, then it's easy to swap them around. And the infamous 'what's for dinner?' question is no longer heard around here. Not that I minded it that much - but now it's kind of fun when Mark comes home and asks "What's for...oh, yeah" and he spins around to the chalkboard to check out our dinner plans.
Some of the magnets aren't terribly specific either. For example, on Saturday I put 'burgers, fries and jello salad' on the chalkboard, but more specifically, I know we are having turkey horseradish burgers with sweet potato fries (a new favorite meal!). And if a 'new recipe' turns out to be a favorite, I have a running list inside my recipe binder of new magnets I need to print.

This turned out to be a really cool little project, once I figured out what I was doing. Displaying it on the chalkboard turned out to be perfect in our kitchen since our stainless steel refrigerator isn't magnetic. Or you could decorate and hang a cookie sheet for the magnets to stick too. There are so many possibilities!

Do you plan your meals ahead of time or do you take each dinner as it comes? Does anyone else have a fun meal planner they made or like to use? Please share!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

flashback video : Morgan + Parker discuss world peace

Last weekend I finally dumped all of the old videos off my Flip video camera onto my computer and I thought I'd share a handful of the cute clips here. This first one is of Morgan and Parker 'talking' to each other back in December. I'm excited to see how these 'conversations' evolve over the years. My mom has told my sister and I about how I used to 'translate' for Kristin, because when she was little, her talking was more of a caveman grunt and I would have to tell my mom what Kristin was asking for. :)

More videos to come throughout the month!

Monday, May 2, 2011

hey, May!

I'm pretty happy to see a new month. To flip the calendar to a new, fresh page.
We had a fantastic weekend around here. Morgan, adorned in her handmade crown, and I watched the Royal Wedding (and I'm not afraid to admit I LOVED it!), Parker took his first (5!) steps, Mark and I had a wonderful and long anniversary dinner, we did some plant and flower shopping (the orchid below is for our master bathroom) and Morgan took her first tractor ride cutting the grass with Daddy.

Ah, May. So much in store this month. Our prompt for the One Little Word class this month is just my speed : a to-do list! I'm going to do this assignment pretty quickly and will share my layout soon. These are my top three for May:
  1. I have a huge birthday party to plan for my two favorite little kids - invitations, decorations, food menu and cake. Oh, and lots of presents! I cannot believe Morgan and Parker are going to be 3 and 1 in just over a month. 
  2. I'd like to get Parker moved in to his real bedroom, which means I have a little shopping to do for accessories and wall decor. Oh, and the physical moving part.
  3. I want our master bathroom to be done-done. There are really just two more things to do. Buy and hang a new mirror (the first one fell off the wall!) and cut and install the Corian shelves in the shower. And finally share it with you! :) I guess this is really a Mark-to-do.
Thank you sooooo much for all of the comment love on our wedding album.

I am outta here for today. Plenty to do - I just need to figure out where to start. Right after I catch up on the amazing breaking news from last night.

What are your big plans for May?