Monday, December 15, 2014

New Home Tour - Main Living Room

I figured I would do a mini home tour, since we recently moved into our new apartment. I know it's not a house, but every place that we can live as a family is home to us and I would like to document Emma's first official living space for posterity. Since our main living space is the only one that's completed....and the only reason it is was because we needed to put up Christmas decor, we shall start with that space.

Our front door opens into our kitchen and main living space which houses our dining table and desk. While it's not ideal to have three spaces in one large room, it has to work for us. Our kitchen is the largest one we have had and we LOVE it!

We have a bar area, and lots of counter space for cooking. While the appliances could use some work, and the laundry area is in the kitchen, it is super functional and we can utilize every square inch. I need to find some decor for the upper cabinets....they are too plain right now.

Once past the kitchen your in our living space. Which has our television sitting area, dining room and office. I did straighten up for the photo's, but since we are still in the midst of unpacking there's paperwork on our desk and randomness all over. Please forgive any oddities.

Most of our furniture is hand-me downs but we make it work for us. I love our counter high dining table, although it may not work for us once Emma starts eating solids. Behind the table is our desk and work area, where all this magic happens. We have two hand-me-down Lay Z Boy recliners that my hubby loves....around the corner across from the couch sits our media center and GIANT tv, that's not pictured.....honestly those aren't pretty to me. Also the hubby got a wall mount so he needs to install that. Any tips out there for hiding cords for renters?

These guitars were my fathers guitars. The acoustic one is signed by various country artists and he won it at an auction. They will always have a prime spot in my home....and so will my piano, when I have room for it.

The complex offered to paint one wall for free so I picked the "blue" color. Honestly its a cool grey, but I think it works well with our decor and I really like the way it looks.

We love blankets in this home and most of them are homemade quilts and afghans made by my mom. It the winter we love to snuggle up under them and have huge stashes in our closets and trunks. We will never be cold!

Since we are in the age of gallery walls, I knew I needed to incorporate on the large wall space by our front door. I didn't want it to be the same as the one in our last apartment. I knew that I wanted to have it be special and have some significance to us, so I made a "patriotic" wall. I pulled together various pieces that meant USA, in our eyes and pulled it together with some gold elements. I used photo's from our travels around the country, pictures of us, a photo of my dad in his Air Force uniform, classic cars, martinis and of course a map of the United States.

I have been on the hunt for a unique map of the US and I was finally able to find one. I discovered the Fulcrum Gallery website and they had tons of different types of art including different maps of the world and have a whole section for "Art of Places." Once I selected my print I could choose whether to have it framed, put on canvas, or just sent as the print. I chose to have it framed to be cost effective, but I think that it would have been really nice on canvas. While their matt color selections were a little limited, I was able to find one that worked well with the print.

Since all the work is done in the good ole USA and done by a person and not a machine, it took a little time for production and shipping, but it was worth the wait for a quality piece. I was impressed with the paper back finish, the hangar system was wonderful also. It was nice to not see a cheap hangar or a wire, but a real art hangar. It was super easy to install as well as my hubby stated since he did the hanging. Also included were felt backers on the bottom of the back to help from scratching your wall, and a signed sticker assuring quality American craftsmanship. Perfect touch for this patriot lover!

While the amount of prints and art pieces on the site can be overwhelming, I think that the Fulcrum Gallery has something that everyone will love, at any budget. I will be shopping there again. Keeping money and jobs here in the USA is important to me and I am glad to have found a retailer their sticks to those values as well. Good job! Head on over if you need a gift for the holidays or an empty spot on your wall that needs filling. Walls are meant to be filled with meaningful art.

I was sent my artwork in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Watch Emma Grow - Month Five

Month five in Emma's life has been very rewarding. We are getting into the swing of things living in our own place again. Juggling the schedules, making dinners and being able to spend quality time with our little girl has been the main focus. We are almost done decorating her room, although she still sleeps in our room....most of the time in our bed, but more on that later.

Emma started talking, I mean not using words, but trying to figure out sounds and playing with her tongue to see what different sounds made. We started making the dadada and mamama and bababa sounds to her in an attempt to get her to start to learn sounds. She squeals and grunts and makes all sorts of noises including loud giggles and belly laughs which warm my heart to hear! She's mastered the art of rolling from back to tummy and vice versa and has found her feet. She can be seen grabbing her socks or bare foot and trying to put them in her mouth. Warning Gross Alert: When getting ready for her last doctors appointment, she was playing with her feet while I was changing her diaper. She grabbed both feet and shot poop just as I was about to place the diaper over her booty. Needless to say she has great aim and I had a lot to clean up.

She loves toys that sing or talk, and loves to be on the floor playing or reading a book. We will read in mommy's lap or lying on the floor, squealing at the pictures and trying to grab the book. She still loves music and has started to sing back with you. Singing or certain songs calms her instantly and most of the time puts her to sleep when she's fighting sleep. The teething is in full force and we are soaking through bibs left and right. Even though her gums are bothering her, she is still a pleasant and happy baby. Teething rings only work for so long before she gets mad and throws it. Her playmat is another favorite place to be because she loves to swat and eat all the hanging toys. This is where she got the hang of rolling over. Such fun to watch her excitement.

Last Month Stats:
Weight: 12 lbs 10 ozs (23%)
Height: 23.75" (26%)
Head: 16.5" (73")

Eat: Breast is best. I'm still pumping every two hours at work, if I can get it in....most times its about 2.5 hours. When I am with Emma it's whenever she wants it. I offer at the two hour mark and most times she will take it. When I am not with her she eats between 8-10.5 ozs so she still needs those night feedings, which is fine with me. I am looking forward to starting her on solids, but I just love spending that quality time with her.

Ahhhh her sleep habits, how they changed. I really think she hit the four month sleep regression coupled with daylight savings time, we got a double whammy. She was falling asleep super easy by putting her down on the bed or co-sleeper. Now with us being in a new space we needed to get back to our system before....we changed it up on her and she let us know that it wasn't happening for her. So usually I feed her to sleep in our bed and gently rock her until she's completely out and I put her in her co-sleeper. This is usually at 8:30pm. She will stay asleep until about 11pm-12 and then I feed her and unless I am wiped out will put her back in bed. The rest of the night is fair game and usually I just pull her into bed for her to eat and we both fall back asleep. I love snuggling with her, but some nights its hard and I don't get a lot of sleep....I should feed her normal and put her back into her own bed so we can establish a nighttime's a matter of just doing it. Here's her updated schedule:

7:30am - Wake/Diaper Change
8:00am - Breast Feed
8-9am - Playtime
9-10:30ish am - Nap
10:30-11 - Bottle Fee/Breast Feed
11-12:30 - Playtime
1pm - Bottle Feed/Breast Feed
1:30-3ish pm - Naptime
3:30-5pm - Playtime, mommy gets home and feeds. We eat, read and sing.
5-6pm - Final Nap
Between 730-745pm she gets bathed, then lotion and pj's then we read a book or two or three. Then if she hasn't nodded off yet I rock her asleep. I feed her most often right before she goes to bed.
11pm-12am - Dream Feed

Diapers: We moved up to size two diapers and have almost gone through our stash from my shower! It's been really nice not needing to buy diapers. Still love the Pampers brand diapers and wipes. We also still love our Desitin for diaper rash.

Milestones to date:
Bringing her home: July 2nd (1 day old)
First Bath: July 4th (3 days old)
First Holiday: Independence Day (3 days old)
Held Up Head: July 11th (1 week old)
Lost Belly Button: (8 days old)
First Walk (2 weeks old)
First Smile: (3 weeks old)
First Trip: Lake Tahoe/Carson City (5 weeks old)
Found her hands: (6 weeks old)
First Swim: (6 Weeks old)
Laughed Out Loud (12 Weeks Old)
Rolled Over: (3 Months Old)
Found Her Feet: (4 Months Old)

Here's a photo dump from month four:
Playing in our room with Daddy and Uncle Jaye

Daddy, there's fuzzies on your face

Tummy time

I love my feet!

Sleepy snuggles

Learning to play cribbage with Mimi

Sitting in my walker at grandma's!

Talking and playing

Teething rings are yummy


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ole St. Nick

Last week was a week of major firsts, but I can't really start to go over those until I write her 5 month post.....which I am behind on, AGAIN! Oh well. Sometimes life happens and things get put on the back burner. I knew I wanted to get Emma in to see Santa before the mall got really crowded and we had to wait in a long line....which sounded like torture to mommy. So last week we decided to take her to visit our mall Santa.

First of all, we walked straight in to see him and as you can tell by the photo, he was an awesome Santa! No stuffed suit and fake beard here! They asked if we were buying a photo...of course! It's her first Santa visit. Now I fully expected her to not cooperate for the camera. She was looking every which way and when the photographer was shaking their noisemakers she looked up at them as if to say "that's really unnecessary." Finally Santa said, "mom why don't you try." I got down low and waved my arms and smiled big and made a fool out of myself but we got this shot! Totally worth it! Cannot wait to see next years photo!

We put up our Christmas decorations and of course Emma's first Christmas tree. I found a frame ornament in our stash and put one of the wallet size photo's that we got in our package from Santa in it and on the tree is went along with the sled ornament I made last year. My mom gave me some ornaments from when I was a baby to put on our tree so this years tree is very special to me.

My mom suggested that we get professional photo's done for Christmas of Emma, but honestly I don't like that JC Penny studio feel at the other night after her bath when she was relaxed and happy, we plopped her on a blanket and plugged in some white lights and went to town with the camera. Under the tree she went and everything tried to go in her mouth. From the strand of lights, ornaments, to the tree branches themselves. I love that she's exploring new things and I love experiencing life and the holiday's through her eyes! While these aren't professional photos I still love them and they capture her personality at this time in her life!

We have some new traditions to start and old ones to pass on, but I cannot wait to experience everything with our little one!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

DIY Custom Mobile and a Peek into Emma's Nursery

For as long as I have been wanting to plan a nursery I knew that I didn't want it to be a cookie cutter from the store bed in a bag look. I planned out Emma's nursery dreaming of when she would sleep and play in it. I wanted something that would grow with her but still be graphic, fun and have a sense of playfulness.

That being said I couldn't find a mobile that I liked at all. I knew that I would have to make one. But I couldn't figure out what style I liked. I thought that I may just buy some wooden animal shapes and paint them in the teal, pink and grey color scheme and hang them on a makeshift hangar. Or just settle for something that was purchased, because I honestly didn't think that I would have time with a baby to make something cool. I was saving tons of ideas to a nursery board on Pinterest but nothing was making me scream out "This is perfect!" So I dropped it from my mind for months. It wasn't until I was looking for things to make with the leftover felt that I had from Emma's Halloween costume that I found it. A ceiling mobile kit from Apostrophe-S. It was made with felt and cardstock, but you had to buy the whole kit and even though everything was ready and all I would have to do is assemble, I thought to myself...."Self, you can make that!"

The weekend we moved into our new apartment, my mom and I hit up Michael's with coupons to get the extra things I needed. Wooden planting rings (18", 12", 6"), craft paint, grey felt (I had the pink) and beads. I had plenty of embroidery floss on hand and my mom brought the other items needed to help make these.

I don't have a tutorial for exactly how I made this, but I can give you the steps. First off I scaled in Photoshop the shape for the hangars. Then we traced them onto freezer paper and cut them out. We needed 36 pink and 20 grey to make them doubled when completed.

We used an iron on adhesive to press the felt pieces together, but you can use any type of fabric glue to get them together. We used embroidery floss to string the rings together and to attach each shape to the wooden rings. We also hung two beads to the tops of each pink shape. Darin needed to drill extra holes into the rings, to make it evenly spaced (which he had to buy a new drill for, he was ecstatic) and then hot glued the strings in place on the top. It's not pretty from above, but who sees that anyways. Figuring out placement of each tier took some finagling but the end result was far better than I could have imagined.

It took far longer to accomplish than I thought and between feedings and napping and fussy baby wanting my attention I didn't take photos along the way to show the steps. My apologies. Hopefully you can use my haphazard directions to make your own mobile. If you have any questions shoot em my way!

And now a peek into the nursery!

What?! It's still not done! I have things to hang and some things to put away and then I will reveal it all to you....just thought you'd want a teaser!