Friday, May 31, 2013

big boys need big boy dressers: a reveal

The addition of Rad to our family has changed our family dynamic.

Especially for Rhett as he is now a BIG boy.

Or a "huge boy" according to him. 

So we've been working on giving him a big boy room, especially now that he is out of his crib and in a twin bed. 

Here is the before of his dresser and nightstand. 

I got these for a steal ($40 for both) at an auction over a year ago and I'm so glad I held on to them. 

The storage is awesome and they are pieces that can grow with him.

Here they are now.

I used Old Navy by Benjamin Moore on the dresser in matte finish and sealed it with Minwax Wipe on Poly in Satin. 

The nightstand is also in Old Navy, with the drawer in Dove White by Valspar, and the doors are original finish, restored with Danish Oil. 

Old Navy is by far the best navy blue I've found. 

It's a true, deep, blue with no purples, and without being too sports team-y or nautical-y.

Don't you love how you can add -y to the end of anything and it somehow makes sense?  

We've still got a few projects, like building a bed frame, to finish before I show you the rest of the room, but if you look you'll see some hints as to where we're going. :)

Stay tuned!

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

That time I got pulled over on the way to my emergency C-Section

One day (Feb 26th to be exact) I headed into my 38 week check up with my OB. We knew that Rad had some heart problems so I was being monitored twice a week to make sure he was doing OK. They hooked me up to the stress test monitors and it became apparent pretty quickly that Rad's heart was not doing well. His heart rate kept decelerating and getting dangerously low. Scary? Yes. My doctor came in and said that it was time for him to come out and that I should call Jake and head straight for the hospital for an emergency C-Section.

Slight problem with that was that Jake was still at home with Rhett who had woken up with the stomach flu, (usually Jake came with me to appointments) and we only have one car right now and we live about 35 minutes from my doctor. (When we moved into our house, I was over 25 weeks pregnant so I didn't want to switch doctors. Looking back I totally would have if I had known the health issues that we would face with him.) So I told my OB the situation and asked if I could go home, get Jake and come right back. Although he wasn't thrilled, he said that it would be OK so long as we didn't waste anytime. 

So I called Jake, told him to get everything ready, and hit the road. I was emotional and scared and praying that everything would be OK. Looking back, I think we might have done this differently. We might have tried to get a friend to pick up Jake or something like that, but at the time I could not imagine going to the hospital without him and since I had my OB's blessing we went for it. 

As I was approaching our neighborhood, I realized they had changed the speed because the construction that had just started on the road.  I was going 45, the normal speed limit, but because of the construction the speed limit had dropped to 25. I immediately hit my brakes but not before I saw the lights flashing in my rear view mirror. This sent me over the emotional edge and I started to sob as I pulled over. 

I pulled out my info as the officer approached and when we got to my window I tried to explain the situation. I could not even get 3 words out without him interrupting me and telling me to stop crying. When I finally managed to tell him what was going on he looked at me and said "You don't look pregnant enough to be having a baby today." and then walked back to his patrol car. 

Now I do carry small. I don't get very big when I'm pregnant. But I was so taken aback by his "doctors opinion" that I didn't know what to say when he came back. I tried to explain again what was going on and he told me to be quite and sign for the ticket. I started to cry again and I dropped his stylus pen as I signed for the ticket. He told me to get out of the car and find it. So I got out of the car on the side of a busy road, got down on my hands and knees and looked for the pen while he stood behind me and watched. I finally found it after about 2 minutes of looking (2 minutes can seen like forever!), handed it to him and again told him what a mistake this was. 

His response, "Well your life and your baby's life are not important enough to justify speeding." And then he walked to his car. 

At this point I was pretty much beside myself so I rushed home, got Jake and Rhett, and headed quickly to the hospital. 

Thankfully, everything worked out fine with the C-Section. We got to the hospital, Rad was born less than an hour later and his little heart is the biggest miracle  It's fine despite every scan and test that said otherwise. 

But I still had to deal with this ticket. Once we got home I wrote a formal complaint against the officer to his station and went to court to appeal the ticket.

Last week was my hearing and I went to court, gave my statement, showed the medical records from my doctor and the hospital, and expressed my unhappiness with how the officer had treated me. 

Despite everything surrounding the situation, I was still ordered to pay the ticket. ($300...) To be honest, I kind of think I should have gotten a warning. But it is what it is and I know we have laws for a reason. And in the end I am so proud of myself for standing up for myself and making it known how the officer kind of abused his authority. I'm not usually the kind of person to do that. 

I've realized from all this how hard it can be to forgive someone. I wish I could say that I've forgiven this officer, but I'm still working on that. It makes me so angry sometimes when I think about it  and I keep replaying in my mind what I said in court and what else I could have said. But either way I'm so grateful that Rad was born healthy. I know that years down the road this won't matter and I probably won't even think about it. The biggest lesson I'm trying to take away from this is that to really forgive someone you have to let it go. Let it go completely. 

I can't dwell on it or rehash it in my mind. I can't change other peoples choices. I can't try to understand why the officer was so rude, I just have to accept that he has his agency to act that way and I have my agency to chose not to dwell on it. 

So Mr. Officer. While I am working on meaning this with all my heart, I do wish you all the best. I hope you were just having a bad day. I hope that if you are going through a hard time that is making you rude and insensitive that it comes to an end soon. I hope that you know that I'm choosing not to think about you anymore. I really hope you have a good day today.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Those morning moments

One of the best parts of having little ones is their incredible enthusiasm for the morning hours. Their tousled hair, the full diapers, the snuggle-blankies being pulled behind them down the stairs for breakfast. The mad dash for the toys they left abandoned in the playroom.

And each morning when I go to get my boys from bed, I feel like they've grown leaps and bounds. Rhett tells me about his "big dreams" and likes to tuck me into his bed and have me pretend to go to sleep. Rad just smiles like he thinks I'm the greatest thing ever. And I want to hold these moments forever. I want to remember why it was worth it to wake up when the sun rises. I want to know the first thing my boys think when they wake up. When their little worlds are perfect and full of possibilities.

So I've been filming and recording those moments. Every morning I take my phone in and record the first few minutes of their morning. What Rhett tells me. The way Rad looks. I've been doing this for a few weeks and I thought that I would sporadically share some of what I've recorded.

Here is one from Tuesday. I love this one because it's the first night after Rhett slept in his "big boy bed", not his crib, and he has to tell Rad all about it.

Early mornings are much better with little ones. :)

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ikea Dresser Hack: How to stain IKEA furniture

I searched for a long time for a vintage dresser for Rad's nursery. 

 My list of needs for the dresser included that it would have a lot of storage and that it could act as a changing table.

And my list of wants included that it be stained and had clean lines. 

Oh and did I mention affordable?

So I scoured Craigslist and local auctions for weeks but kept coming up with nothing. 

Nada bing nada boom.

So then I started looking for a new dresser that I could customize and I found this one from IKEA

IKEA Tarva $149

It fit my criteria for dimensions, storage, and price but I was pretty worried about getting a good even finish on it. IKEA furniture is primarily made from pine, a soft wood and soft woods can be finicky about taking an even coat of stain.

So I did some research and decided to go with Minwax Gel Stain in Hickory.

Minwax Gel Stain is designed to give full control over the staining process. Its formula is non-drip 
which makes application super easy to get uniform color even on hard to stain woods, like IKEA pine.

And the results were GREAT so here's a tutorial and some tips. :)

Step 1: Clean and prep the surface

Since the wood on the dresser was already unfinished, I didn't bother to rough it up or sand it, I just made sure all surfaces were clean and dust free before I started applying the stain.

The directions on the can say to prep with wood conditioner (you can also just use a damp cloth as well) but we skipped that step and the results were even and we had no problems with splotching. 

Step 2: Mix your stain

Minwax gel stain is similar to pudding, so make sure you mix it really well before you start. It should look kind of melted chocolate when it's throughly mixed. 

Step 3: Wear gloves and apply with a lint free cloth. 

Gel stain is some sticky stuff and at first we didn't wear gloves and our hands ended up looking something like this. 


Step 4: Start applying the stain in the hard to reach areas and work your way outward.  

Trust me on this one – if the underside is hard to reach, it will be even harder to reach when the rest of the project is covered in wet stain!

Step 5: Apply liberally and wipe the stain with the grain. 

We found it best to wipe the stain thoroughly so that we left very little excess behind and then re-coat  We did 2 coats total.  

Step 6: Let it dry.

It took about 12 hours for the gel stain to completely cure. We sealed it with Minwax Wipe on Poly in Satin.

Step 7: Customize!!

I debated between 2 designs (you can read more about the choice HERE) and settled on simple lines framing the drawers.

I used Scotch Blue Tape with Edge Lock to tape off my lines.

Here's a little trick I use when taping off anything with a 90 degree angle.

I start by taping off each side of the box/rectangle/whatever with the desired thickness and spacing.

PS (these picture are a little blury, but you'll get the idea. Sorry!)

It looks something like this.

The problem with the above pictures and tape is that parts of the lines of the rectangle are blocked off by the tape. 

Which means once you peel the tape off you need to go back and retape the parts that didn't get painted. 

Annoying right?

So here's what I do.

Nice right?!

Knobs from Anthropolgie.

For more of Rad's Nursery click HERE.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

The other night I was in the kitchen making cookies.

I was getting ready to clean up and I told Jake he could have a spoonful of cookie dough.

His response, "Wow, really? You've never been more sexy."

Thank you honey. 

Photo by Heather Bliss 

Good to know that after 4 year, 2 kids, and a great collection of sweatpants later I still got it. :)

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Fry Jesus!!!!!

Ok, so I never thought the hardest part of being a mom to a 2 1/2 year old would be trying figure out what the heck he's talking about some times. 

I read books on dealing with tantrums.

I have boards on Pinterest with go to activities to keep him entertained. 

I am an amazing fort builder and I can wrestle and play chase till the cows come home. 

But no where have I found a dictionary or thesauruses for translating....Rhett. 

(Come on Webster, help a mother out here.)

So for weeks we'd be out driving to the park, or to run errands and randomly Rhett would scream out from the back seat, 

"Mom!!! FRY JESUS!!!!!"

And I say, "Umm, what honey?"

"Mom! Fry JE-SU-SSSS!!!"

"That's great honey, Jesus loves you too."


And it would go something like that. For weeks.

We raise our boys with religion. We say prayers as a family in the morning and at night and at meal times. We read scriptures as a family and go to Church every week so Rhett talking about Jesus didn't seem unusual; in fact I thought we were doing a pretty stellar job since he was talking about fry Jesus in the car and at home. 

Until we were out one morning and we stopped at a red light and Rhett started yelling fry Jesus again. 

And I looked out the window and saw a McDonalds. 

And then it clicked. 

Fry Jesus = French fries.

French Fries.

Religious upbringing = 0

McDonalds Happy Meals = 1

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Monday, May 13, 2013

rad aaron, at month 2

dear rad, in a few months we'll be celebrating your big brother's 3rd birthday. until you were born he

 was my everything; and then you came, and you have completely wiggled and cooed your way into

 my heart. you have made my heart grow a hundred times over. you are our smiling boy, our little 

squishy, our midnight snuggler.  we love your old man hair (thank goodness for hats!), how you're 

smiling so much (well mostly for your dad) and the rolls you're getting on your thighs.  3 years ago, i 

never thought that we would be so lucky to have another little boy. 

i love you rad.

you are my squishy. :)

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Letter to Your Baby Wall Art Tutorial

By far one of my FAVORITE parts of Rad's nursery is the letter we wrote to him.

It was the last project we took on before he was born. 

At the time we had been told that Rad had 2 heart defects and had a high probability of being born with Downs. 

So for me, this letter was a way to kind of deal with what might happen during and after his birth.

Thankfully he was somehow born completely fine, and healthy and handsome can be.

(You can read more about it here and here.)

The idea came to me one afternoon while I was sitting in his room.

I wanted something that would be a reminder at a 3:30AM feeding of all the good that lay ahead. 

Plus I had like exactly $18 left in my budget so I had to get creative. 

Here are the supplies I used:

A 24X30 white canvas from JoAnn's

A sample paint pot from Lowes in Canvas by Valspar

A white paint pen from JoAnn's

Chartreuse acrylic paint from JoAnn's

Small paint brush

Small foam roller

Step one was to paint the canvas. 

I just poured a small amount of paint on the middle of the canvas and used my roller to spread it evenly. 

In the end I did two coats to make sure there was even coverage.

Once the paint had dried (it took about 20 minutes) I just started to write.

I wanted it to be from my heart and my biggest concern wasn't that it was perfect; but that it said what I felt toward my little boy.

If you want to be a little more exact in the spacing of your sentences, try marking down the sides of the canvas with bits of painters tape to get a visualization of where your lines will be.

As a side note, when working with a paint pen, make sure to follow the directions and shake it often. Also, test it on a scrap piece of paper after each shake to ensure it won't splatter or bleed onto your canvas.

Once the letter was done, I used a small paint brush and the acrylic paint to free hand his name and the heart just to add a little more color to it. 

They do sell paint pens in a variety of colors, they just didn't have the color I wanted so I opted to free hand it. 

And there you have it.

Easy, affordable and most importantly from the heart. :)

Total cost breakdown:

24X30 canvas (JoAnn's): $13 on sale for 50% off plus a 20% off my order coupon

Tester paint pot (Lowes): Already had on hand, but are about $3

Paint pen (JoAnn's): $3 after %20 off coupon

Acrylic Paint (JoAnn's): $.80 after %20 off coupon

Small foam roller (Lowes): Already had on hand, but are about $5

Paint brush: Already hand on hand. (Honestly, you could use a Q-Tip and get the same result.)

Total: About $17

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Friday, May 3, 2013

Rad's Nursery: Source List

Thank you all for the sweet comments for Rad's nursery! 

I love designing kids spaces because the same rules of standard design seem to be a little less structured. 

It almost makes me want to have one more little one just so I can design a nursery for them. 

Almost. :)

In this post I'll be sharing the source list for what we purchased for Rad's room.

And next week I'll share some tips and tutorials for the projects we did. 

Rad's Nursery Source List

Chair: Previously owned and reupholstered. Fabric from Joann's,

Pillow: Target (it looks really yellow/gold-ish online but it's more of a chartreuse color)

Poof: Target 

Rug: Urban Outfitters (it's on sale now!)

Curtains: Etsy (I ordered 1 pannel and made it into 2)

Dresser: Ikea Tarva (refinished) 

Knobs: Anthropologie

Changing pad cover: Etsy

Green elephant: Urban Outfiters (no longer available)

Lamp: Ikea

Lamp shade: Target 

Wall art: DIY'd (Canvas with a letter we wrote to Rad on it)

Crib: Ikea Sniglar (refinished)

Wooden Letters: Hobby Lobby (refinished)

Floating Industrial Shelves: DIY project from Vintage Revivals (more on them later)

Stuffed Animals: Various stores over time, but Anthropologie carries some similar to them.

Wooden blocks: DIY'd

Frames: Walmart (refinished)

Prints: DIY'd
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