Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My Thrift Store Jackpot!!

My mom came to visit us today. I've been stressed out and very nostalgic about moving, so she decided to come by and help with the kids and help pack. I had recently made some purchases at our local thrift store and I had also gotten some awesome finds off the side of the road! <--Yes, I have turned into that crazy person who stops on the side of the road when a particularly enticing pile of trash calls my name! And yes, I've turned into my mother. When I showed her everything I had gotten, she said, "Let's go to the thrift store today!" How could I say no to that?? On top of everything else, once we got there, she bought everything for us. She's the best.

I've recently learned how to really appreciate vintage items. I don't want my entire house to be full of antiques, but I love a good eclectic mix of modern and vintage. I also love refinished furniture and spray painting everything I can get my hands on. Here are some photos of what we found, along with what I plan to do with them.

The mirror is for the girls' room. They're sharing a really large room in our new house and they need a larger mirror for dress up and getting ready in the morning. This is about 4 feet tall, which is perfect for them at this age. It's a very heavy wooden mirror and I plan to paint the frame to match their new color scheme-once we decide what that's going to be. Here is my inspiration from Pinterest:

Moving on...

In this photo you can see two vintage plates, there is also a third one. There were stacks of plates at the store and I just happened to spot the one on the left which was the same pattern as the plates that my great grandmother used to have! I remember eating many homemade meals around the table with my family off of those plates. It was such a wonderful find that brought back so many memories. I found two other plates with different patterns and I'll hang them all in our new kitchen. In the top right hand corner is a pretty little bowl on a pedestal. I'm thinking about using that in our bathroom for cotton balls or something. Those two vintage sheets are in perfect condition and one of them will be used for curtains for the girls room. I may make pillows out of the other one. I have a vision for their room and it's slowly coming together. 

You can see the third plate in this photo. In the top right is a wire basket that I'm planning to use in Noah's room. I want an industrial, rustic, fun room for him. The vintage tissue box and toothbrush cup were a really awesome find. They're both metal and have the prettiest pattern and awesome colors. Our half bathroom is a beautiful blue that I'm actually going to keep, so this will match. The sconce is for the girls' room. I'm going to spray paint the entire thing find a shade for it. 

All of this cost around $20. It's all vintage and worth so much more than mom paid for it. It's very unique and will add so much interest to our home. I can't wait to see how everything turns out. I'll be posting before, progress and after photos of our home on here so we can document our work.

Only 8 more days!!!!

Friday, April 17, 2015

We're MOVING!!

This time last year we put our house on the market. Jonathan was reluctant, but I convinced him it was the right thing to do. I'm very convincing and he loves making his wife happy. (He's a really awesome husband) I should have listened to my husband. Instead, my family endured a ridiculous amount of stress because I decided it was time to sell our home. Keeping a house "show ready" with a preschooler, potty training toddler and newborn was insanely difficult. Our house went under contract very quickly, but a week in, they backed out. We couldn't find anything we liked or that fit our must-haves list and it was very hard on us. Finally, after walking away from what I thought was our dream home, we took our house off the market. Jonathan said from the very beginning that it wasn't the right time. I was too impatient to listen and the whole family paid for it. We agreed we'd try again a year later.

So here we are a year later and BOTH of us agreed that it was time to put our home on the market. We contacted a great realtor and within a week of calling her, the house was up and listed. The first day that it was listed on MLS, we had a showing. The next day we had an offer! We were 30 days away from being homeless! So we put a list together of houses we wanted to see and the next day we went out with our agent. At the last minute, I added one more house for us to see and we went to see it last. I immediately fell in love. The next morning I saw it a second time and we made an offer then and there. FOUR days into putting our house on the market, our house was under contract and we had a contract on a new house. 
Our New House

There is NO way I can take credit for this. This was 100% God. Last year was not the time for us to move. Our house sat on the market without anyone coming to look at it and our realtor had no idea why. We know now that it wasn't selling because it wasn't time for us to sell. God always has a plan and try as we will to interfere, it's not going to change anything. The buying and selling process has gone so smoothly this time. We are so excited about moving. 

We're less than two weeks away from closing and I'm just now getting some jitters, but overall I'm not very nervous. It's more that I'm being nostalgic about leaving the place that we brought our babies home from the hospital, that they took their first steps, that we grew and transformed right before our eyes as a couple and as children of God. The place that I have painted and repainted a hundred times. The yard that holds my favorite tree that we picnic under and play under during the hot summers. This was our first house as a married couple and almost all of our memories from the wedding forward occurred here.

Our memories will come with us and we'll always love this house, but I can't wait to make more memories at our new house. I also can't wait to dive in and start painting and upgrading the inside! The kids have the coolest bedroom situation and they're also going to have a really fun basement family room. The backyard is huge and fenced in, so they and the dog will be safe and sound in the backyard.

Only 12 more days!!   

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Happy 3rd Birthday, Annabella Grace!

We celebrated Annabella's THIRD birthday last week. This year she really understood how much fun she was going to get to have on her birthday, so it was extra fun watching the anticipation build as her big day arrived. Well, it was more like a big week. :)  

On her actual birthday mom took the kids and me to lunch at the Mexican restaurant, per Annabella's request. They LOVE going to "Mexicans". The staff sang to her and let her wear this crazy sombrero, which she pretty much hated! But she loved the dessert and talked about it all day.

After spending the day with mom and decorating birthday cookies, I cooked a special dinner and we had dinner and gifts with daddy. Then we played outside until well past her bedtime. She had such a great day. It was so sweet seeing her soak up every bit of extra attention.

Since her birthday fell on a Thursday and Jonathan had to work, we planned a special Saturday outing for just the five of us. We woke them up and got on the road early to surprise them with a trip to the ZOO! Annabella and Noah have never been and Madelynn has only been once when she was really young. We enjoyed it so much. The kids behaved perfectly and the crowd was not overwhelming. The girls have really been into The Lion King lately, so it was really cute watching them see all of the animals in person that they watch in the movie.

On Sunday we had her birthday party. The location was a surprise to her, but as soon as we pulled into the Kroger parking lot, she put two and two together. She screamed "Night Owl!!" as loud as she could when she realized that's where we had planned her party. We did a Luau theme and had the whole party room to ourselves. She had so much fun playing with the other kids and visiting with her family. The party was excellent, sugar filled fun!

I did a mini photo shoot with her on the morning of her birthday. She has changed so much this past year. She's so, so smart, funny, LOUD, and silly. She and Madelynn are the best of friends AND enemies. ;) She and Noah have recently started playing together too and it's so sweet watching their bond grow. In fact, while we were getting ready on the morning of her birthday Noah walked right up to her and wrapped his chubby little arms around her and gave her the biggest sweetest hug. She usually doesn't let him touch her, but she hugged him back and they exchange "lovies" for a good 10 minutes. He was also giving her high-fives. It was like he knew it was her birthday. 

I am so incredibly blessed to be her mommy. She is an amazingly special little girl and I can't imagine my life without her. Now that she's three, she's officially not a baby anymore. While I miss her being a baby, I love watching her grow and gain her independence and learn who she is. I love being able to have conversations with her and experience how she sees the world. 

Happy birthday, Bella Boo.  Mommy loves you.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Our Journey: Breastfeeding

Noah turned 15 months old this month. We have had a strong nursing relationship from the very beginning. It definitely hasn't always been easy, but it has always been successful and insanely rewarding. For 24 months, my body grew and nourished my son. I was his primary source of nourishment until he was around 9 months old and even then he was only snacking on solid foods. It wasn't until he was around a year that I reduced his nursing schedule to two times a day: naptime and at/through the night. As long as he was eating something, he was completely happy with that decision. 

Noah was never able to sleep through the night without nursing at least once, usually up to three times if you count a really early morning session. But around 13 months, something clicked with him and he was up nearly all night long. The slightest disturbance would wake him and throw him into a tantrum unless I let him nurse. It was getting out of control and I was beginning to hate nursing him. I could not handle taking care of my three kids so sleep deprived, so I took another step toward weaning him. I eliminated his nap session. The first three days were not easy. He did NOT respond well. I always made sure he had a full tummy before naptime, so I knew he wasn't hungry, it was just the comfort that he needed. I made sure to lie down with him and cuddle him until he fell asleep, so he was still getting the closeness with me that he did while he was nursing. After three days, he never asked for naptime nursing again. 

The next step I took was eliminating nursing overnight at 14 months old. I still nursed him before bed, but I refused to let him nurse during the night. He was going to bed with a full tummy, so I was sure that he was only nursing for comfort and out of habit. Our routine was for me to nurse him until he fell asleep and then I'd put him in his crib. He'd wake up around midnight and want to nurse, but instead I held him and sang to him until he went back to sleep. The first few nights were horrible. I almost gave in, but I knew that I'd just have to start all over again the next night if I did. I didn't want to give him mixed signals, so I stuck to my decision. That also meant no more early morning feedings. Even though it was hard, it only took 3-4 days before he stopped asking to eat during the night. He was still waking up but he was easily comforted. After the first time that he'd wake up, I moved him into our bed and let him spend the rest of the night there. And each night, he was waking up less and less. I think that him knowing that we were right there and being able to feel us while he slept is what helped him transition so easily. 

I intended to keep our bedtime nursing session for as long as he wanted. I had no idea that he'd give it up so quickly. Three days ago (at 15 months old), we were coming home late from dinner and shopping. It was past the kids' bedtime, so they had all fallen asleep in the car. Jonathan took Noah upstairs while I took the girls. Noah fell asleep easily and I just assumed it was because he was so tired and never fully woke up from sleeping in the car. The next night I took him to bed and decided I'd let him ask me for milkies. He didn't. He just wanted to snuggle on my chest and after some singing and cuddling, he went right to sleep. On top of everything else, he slept in his crib until 6:45am! The next night was the same thing except he slept all night long. Last night was the same thing.

It's bittersweet not nursing him anymore. For the first time in two years, I have my body back to myself. And I'm getting a full night of sleep for the first time in a very, very long time. I keep thinking that it's a fluke, that he'll start asking for milkies again or that he was just sleeping through the night because he had a busy, fun day. But I really think he's just adjusted exceptionally well. Before weaning him, I prayed that God would make it easier for him. That he'd be open to weaning and receptive to the changes we were facing. He no longer needed to nurse for sustenance and he's confident that we're right next to him if he wakes up. Nursing him, wearing him, and co sleeping with him hasn't spoiled him like most parents assume, it's given him the confidence he needs to step out and be independent when he's ready. I did have to lead him during most of the weaning phase, but I was confident that he was ready to move on, he just didn't know how.  

I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss it already. It was very abrupt to me. I didn't soak up that last feeding and really enjoy the moment knowing it was our last. But I do have 15 months of memories and lessons learned. I'm so, so grateful that I was able to nurse him at all, much less for as long as we did. I had difficulties with both of the girls, but with Noah it was so different. If you're expecting a baby, please try your hardest to breastfeed. The benefits to you and your baby are endless. The bond is indescribable. It's completely worth the pain, sleepless nights and nearly constant nudity! ;) 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Easter 2015

Every year I am more and more amazed and thankful for the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us. That gratefulness shows me how much I've grown the past year and I'm very thankful for that growth. I remember when Easter was an egg hunt and a good meal. It was fun, but meaningless. Now, Easter is this overwhelming celebration of gratitude for the one who gave up everything, endured unimaginable pain and sacrificed so that we can be forgiven. We don't deserve it, but he did it anyway. We don't deserve his love, but he loves us anyway. 

Here are some memories from our Resurrection Sunday.

And now for the family photo...

Take 1:

Take 2:

Take 3:

Family photos are clearly a work in progress!