Sentimental Saturday: 30!

It most definitely has not sunk in yet. I am 30 today? 3 decades?  I just remember everything so vividly that it seems like I was just at United Skates for a birthday party, begging for Ring Pops and buying hideous stuffed animals with tickets. Or that I was just having sleepovers where I always moved the Ouji board to freak everyone out. Or celebrating my 21st with my sorority is this possible?  I am not really upset about it, just not really seeing at as a milestone I guess. I feel like I have a lot to be proud of, a lot to learn, and a lot to look forward to in the years down the road. This calls for a list!

Things I am most proud that I did in the last 30 years...
-Played high school sports. It opened a lot of doors for me and gave me confidence I didn't have.
-Graduated all 3 times...and got my dream job:o)
-Bought a house
-Became a mama
-Became a working mama!
-Kept in touch with good friends from high school and college (we are all headed out to celebrate tonight!)

Things I hope to do before my NEXT milestone birthday...
-Learn to cook dinner a little better. Get 10 or so meals that I can cook well and that my family will actually eat.
-Learn the fundamentals of sewing and do them well enough to make a few things each season.
-Have baby #2 (don't be looking for that any time soon though!)
-Take Larkyn on a great vacation that she will always remember (Hawaii? San Diego? Disney?)
-Read more. I love it. I miss it.
-Get much better at photography. I desperately want to be good at it!

Looking forward to the next 30 with my babies (animal and human) and Matt, my supportive family, and my loyal and hilarious friends. Love you guys!

Birthday Thursday: Happy 49 weeks!

Man, did we live up our week home together! I think Larkyn missed her friends at Miss C's, but we had fun. We had a great trip to the zoo (flamingos and the aquarium were a hit), made it to the church preschool playground a few times, and tried to get out of the house at least once a day. When it was time for me to go back to work, I was sad to leave her, but excited at the thought that summer is just 2 months away!

Throughout our week, she started doing a few new things. She has her own version of waving bye-bye. It's a hilarious, very serious and deliberate hand raised in the air. No waving funny business, just a hand straight up to acknowledge the other party. Silly.

She is working on animal noises (tiger is the only one that has stuck so far), and parts of mama's face. Like everything else, she knows it one day, then refuses to show anyone else. We are on the road to walking, but I still think its a month or two away. She knows she can crawl much faster! 

Here she is, beating Memorial Day to the white-wearing punch...

She'd live in the bath tub if she could.

Style Saturday: The bathroom "after"

OK! I was tempted to show you shots along the way, but I hate half-finished things as much as I hate muddy paw prints on the hardwood (go away, rain!)

Let's start with the color. The color remained the same (Carolina Inn Club Aqua), much to the displeasure of the man of the house. Of course, I didn't hear his thoughts on "seafoam" being outdated until I bought a gallon of it an hour before. I did a quick Pinterest search that turned up with the evidence that this shade is certainly still hot. It is relaxing and very Restoration Hardware-looking to me. That's my side of the story:o) Here's our step by step...

1. Dennis pulled out the old tub and shower surround and replaced it with this beauty. He had to come back another day and fix the fact that the company didn't include a foam backing for the surround. This included cutting through a wall in another room and he did it out of the goodness of his heart and to get the job done right!

2. I removed all the chrome towel bars and replaced them with a shelf/hooks and a towel ring. No more folding towels to put on a bar for the next person to dismantle. I watched this to help me.

Those Thomas O'Brien 3 inch frames (Target) might be my favorite accent in the house. I filled them with scrapbook paper.
3. Next, I took off all the "cute" hardware from the cabinetry, painted them white, and replaced them with brushed nickel knobs. You can see the pictures of these at the top.

4. We went to Tile Outlet to find granite tiles to refinish the vanity. We came home with a vanity top that included a back and sidesplash as well as an undermount sink. Matt and Rex took a day to install this mother, and then we just had to fix the giant gap that was left from installing a 37" countertop in a 38.5" space. We knew this was the case, but knew it could be fixed.

5. After some panic, Dennis came to the rescue and was able to cut the back/side splashes to fit in a way that would work (yeah, they only include ONE sidesplash in the box. That is "standard".) He tiled the glass tiles I've had my eyes on. This tile and the Moen faucet Matt picked out are mesmerizing. I love them!
We even found some matching tiles (at $3 each!) to do the alcove. Bonus!

6. I actually put up the light myself. I thought it would be easy, and I can assure you that it was not. During the hour-plus installation, I had to make sense of a stripped screw, two white wires instead of a black and a white, and make a quick call to dad regarding "grounding". But it is up and is SUCH an improvement. I didn't know what we were missing. Thanks, Dad for putting up the second light!

You can see the vanity light at the top. These are those fabulous $20/set of two lights you can get at Home Depot or Lowes.
7. Storage. Oh, this was a doozy. For as much room as there is in this room, there is really no usable wall space except the spot under the towel hooks. But we had to go lower. I traded out the seagrass drawers for a low white drawer unit from Target.
I know, this awful picture again. It's for emphasis on our improvement.

Do you know how happy this drawer makes me? We have been trying to find a spot for TP for 2 years.
8. And finally, the mirror was a situation. We checked Target, two Lowes, Bed Bath and Beyond, Pier One. Finally, I just chose one that was "OK" and Matt toned down the massive glossiness with some flat white spray paint. Dad hung it up today after he inspected my terrible estimate of where to drill. You can see a picture of it at the top.

What did I learn from all this? I need to know what I should and should NOT do, and delegate. I should NOT have installed that light by myself. I enjoyed the transformation and am thankful for the help from Dennis, both the dads, Matt and painter Kate! Thank God it's over is all I have to say.

Birthday Thursday: Happy 48 weeks!

With a month to go before the big day, Larkyn is really changing so fast. Maybe because I have been home with her all week that I notice it more. She is babbling up a storm and starting to hold out her hand to "point" in the direction of things. She is fascinated by opening and closing doors as well as putting things in and out. My closet changeover for her took about 3 times longer than it should have because she was "helping" put things away. We now have a closet full of spring clothes!  Oh, she also cleaned my purse out...

After our storytime performance, I decided that maybe Barnes and Noble would be a better place to be around books. She loved crawling up and down the aisles and pulling out all the books, and no one was there to judge!

And finally, here is her picture from today. It was too bright for eye contact and a smile, but that's OK.

Mama Monday: Storytime fail

So, it is officially Spring Break and I have learned a few things about myself in the last 3 days...
  1. I do like to clean. You wouldn't notice if you walked in our house, but now that I have some extra time on my hands, it is making me very happy to get rid of all these piles.
  2. There is a direct correlation with my mood and motivation and sunlight. I never know how much I miss the sun until it is spring and it comes back!
  3. I consider myself a calm mama. I am. But we are starting to make more public appearances and with that comes some anxiety. Observe...
Being a kindergarten teacher and having a masters in childrens literature means that I have been dying to get Larkyn into story time. Being a working mom also means that today was my first chance to give it a try. We donned our cutest spring poppy outfit and ladybug shoes and got out of the house on time. We were going to rock this story time and she was going to magically love reading.

I opened the door to the Dublin Library Baby Laptime expecting to have a cozy room of 10 or so noisy babies and their caregivers. Instead, there were no fewer than 40 (I am not exaggerating) parents lining the 4 walls and everyone knew the song that was being sung. There are songs! And the parents sing! And their kids sit in their laps watching quietly or stand up doing all the motions and singing. Want to know what mine did?
Can you see everyone in the background sitting nicely and following along? The running little girl was standing and dancing to the song that just ended.  Larkyn sat in the middle of the circle making "CAN YOU TELL I'M TEETHING" sounds with her hand shoved in her mouth.

I expected a little bit of chaos, that kids would be doing their thing, and that no one would care. However, I was getting looks. We were the new kids and we were getting looks, so sister and I packed up and went to the garden to have a bottle in the sun. Ahhhh, the sun. We hit the road and had the most expensive lunch we have ever had at Whole Foods. But look how happy we are...
$12.54 of blueberry bread pudding, mashed potatoes and mac and cheese.

Happy Spring!

I know its a few days early, but I couldn't resist when she was dressed to match the flowers...

Birthday Thursday: Happy 11 months!

Oh dear, this is the last time I will get to say "months". Next month it'll be "Happy one year". Which is something to celebrate, but a little hard to swallow. Where has time gone? This week, Larkyn enjoyed a rite of passage in my world... frozen yogurt from Orange Leaf! Kate joined us (and then helped paint the bathroom. What a good sport!) and took a few pictures to document the moment.

It turned out pretty similar to our first time in the pool, so that sad little sample cup of vanilla was not sufficient. I had to get Kiwi and then try to scrape peanut butter-free parts of my giant mess for her. Yeah, she liked it. a lot.

Man, we are missing those upper teeth. I don't think she minds it, but I am getting bored of feeding her the same old cheese, crackers, cereal bars and oatmeal. I love when she can eat what we are eating, but we don't often eat things that don't require much chewing.

She came to school today to see me before my conference night. She was happy to see the kids (she LOVES watching big girls) and they were cooing over her "pudgy hands".

I missed her going to bed tonight, which was a first. Ugh. But I get to spend spring break with her, starting on Saturday. I have a list of things I want to do with her...Jax's first birthday party on Saturday...zoo with daddy on Sunday...story time at the library on Monday...Play date with Jill & Alyson and kids on Tuesday...Thursday is MAMA's day out for hair and maybe a pedicure. And hopefully many walks in this unseasonably gorgeous weather we are having. It is hard to stay inside!

Nana was in charge of pictures tonight. She got her in the chair, got the sticker sticker on the shirt...good job, Nana!

I wonder what she said that was so funny?

Reaching for Dolly

Hello, my St. Patty's Day princess!

Foodie Friday: Snickerdoodle Blondies

Well, it has been a while since I have posted about food. That's not because I haven't been trying, its because I have had a series of unfortunate results. Homemade peanut butter cups...absolutely delicious but I vowed to post only simple recipes. They took all day.  Cast iron skillet lemon chicken (that required me to buy a cast iron skillet)...ugh. I finally decided this week to try something that I was actually not interested in at all. Something that others might like. Something without chocolate. And to my surprise, these were addictive!

Snickerdoodle Blondies

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
a pinch nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and/or line a 9×13 inch pan. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and set aside.
2. In large bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar for 3-5 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, and beat until smooth.
3. Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Spread evenly in prepared pan (mixture will be thick, so it’s best to spread it out with a greased spatula or your hands). Combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a little bowl. Evenly sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the batter.
4. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out cleanly from the center. Cool before cutting (don't try them until they are cool...resist! They are WAY better when cool and you will be disappointed if you try them too early!

Birthday Thursday: Happy 46 weeks!

This was a week of more "fun" firsts than last week. We are all healthy now, thank goodness. I am not sure if I have discussed our journey toward the sippy cup (geez, I never imagined myself writing those words). It started 6 months ago when I saw the "4+" label on a Playtex sippy cup and thought I'd get ahead of the game and start transitioning her right away. HA. ha. For monnnnnnths, we have been filling it with all natural white grape juice, suggesting it to Larkyn, and pretending to drink it while saying "Mmmmm". It was met with violent hand swipes at the cup and flying juice. When she started refusing the bottle last week, I knew we had to try harder.

My friend at work (also a mom, also a special ed teacher), came to my rescue. This is good advice for any of you who might be in the same boat one day. She suggested skipping the sippy cup altogether and going with a straw cup for better oral development and control. And it worked for her daughter, so it was worth a try!  I used an adult drinking straw, full of delicious Dole orange peach mango juice. I stuck it back by her molars and let it go. After a few guzzles of the juice, she was hooked. She started using the adult straw, and then I put the straw cup (with the same juice, diluted with half water) in front of her. Survey says...
Hooray! She carries it around with her and uses it like a champ. Thanks, Amber!

In other fun news, she started saying "Uh oh!" when we drop things. She really played this cute card while grocery shopping last night. Here she is in her cute outfit from Aunt Jeanette!

Style Sunday: Appliqued tees

I know! I was surprised at myself, too. But I have recently rediscovered my need for creativity. I am happiest when I have a project, and I have been busy with the bathroom and preparing for Larkyn's first birthday.  I wanted to make her outfit for the day. Inspired by many Etsy first birthday get-ups, the wheels started turning. With a little trip to Sew to Speak, I was overwhelmed with the itch to CREATE!

I snagged some cute "fat quarters" for 2.95 each and ordered some solid tees and onesies from Rockbottom T-shirts for $2.59 each! So far, we are sitting at under $6 a shirt. I watched a few tutorials here and here. I didn't think a tutorial from me was necessary because these 2 got me through it and I'd just be repeating their steps.

Also, I used advice from my mom, who by the way, owned a sewing store for 18 years. And she just bought me my first sewing kit. You could call me a late bloomer. But really, there was not much sewing involved. Just careful following of directions (which I am honestly not good at, so I worked slowly and deliberately).

Here are my finished products. I like them because no one else will be walking around with these this summer. And, I can make them for holiday outfits and gifts. There was quite a bit of leftover fabric, so I am excited to make more. And I experimented with fabric flowers, which I adore. What can I make for you, my friends?

Birthday Thursday: Happy 45 weeks!

I wanted to post on Monday to chronicle my misadventures as a mom sick for the first time. I was sick but thought my "24 hour bug" was waning. Ha! Fast forward 3 days and I became a sick mom/kindergarten teacher. I was fighting it and thought I was beating it, until my voice became non-existent at school yesterday. Kids had to take over. Lydia read Duck for president. They watched what I wrote instead of listening for directions. I went to the doctor today (thank God for my mom, who could come watch Larkyn for a few), and its the old sinus infection/laryngitis duo I had once in college. In college, it was easy to call off my part-time job and make up work from my classes. Adults have to arrange for substitutes and be a mom. Many of you are probably like, "Yeah, I know", but now I know. Anyway, Thursday posts are supposed to be about my girl.

This week, Larkyn has dressed for the occasion of Dr. Seuss' birthday (3/2). She has been trying to stand by herself for a second or two and has a new affinity for Raisin' Cane's chicken fingers. My mom and I went out to our favorite fabric store, Sew to Speak, and picked up materials for her first birthday outfit. Also, invitations from Olive+Star are being made as we speak. I'm so excited!

After these photos, we had to run to school to leave some things for the substitute. She discovered the Listening Center and I got all excited when she turned it on. You know, a literary moment that I die for. Ha. This is like most book experiences we have, including whimpers and preoccupation with buttons.
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