Thursday, September 26, 2013


Today my baby turned one. I still can't believe it, but at the same time I can. It does seem like just a couple of weeks ago that we brought him home, but then again, it seems like we have always had him and it's hard to remember what life was like before him.

It's amazing how much growing happens in the first year of life. To go from being completely dependent for everything, unable to get around, feed yourself, or make your feelings known, to being able to do all those things and so much more.

For my own poor memory's sake, I want to document a few of the things that have gone on recently and in the past year. Will has a great temperament, I don't say that just because I'm his mom and I have to, he really does. He is happy most of the time, doesn't fuss except when he's hungry or tired for the most part. He loves playing with us, knocking down towers, spinning plastic rings, wrestling on the bed. He also loves playing by himself. He goes into his room and pulls down all his books and just stays in there looking at them for 15-20 minutes at a time. Will loves to read and turn the pages of the books you are reading to him. He's chilling in his stroller at the Library of Congress in this picture.

This kid also loves to eat. We have only found a couple foods that he won't eat, which are grilled zucchini (he'll eat it sauted though), mushrooms, and swiss cheese. He loves feeding himself, and has been the one in charge of feeding himself since the beginning. Nothing is off limits for him, Chick-fil-A, avocado, green beans, all kinds of fruit. In fact, we have to watch whenever he eats an apple, plum or peach to make sure he doesn't eat the core/pit too (or watermelon rind, as you can see in the last picture, we sometimes fail).

The caterpillar pictures are from his one year photo session. Just to throw it out there, we use Moments Captured by Emily, and love her, so if you need some pictures taken you should definitely check her out. She also did the newborn pics at the beginning of this post. Now back to Will. Bath time is another favorite right now; he loves the water, and has since he was only a few months old. He's been swimming a few times this summer and seemed to take to it pretty well too. He will stay in the bath for as long as we let him, which is usually until he stands up a few times.

Swinging is another favorite past time of Will's. He can sit in a swing for an hour at a time if we let him. He also loves riding his bike with Daddy. We have an ibert that he rides in and he has a great time with it.

Birthday festivities today began with a birthday breakfast of whole wheat toast and a fried egg. Then Papa came over to wish Will a happy birthday and to do a little work on one of the windows. Will hung out with Papa for a while and then stood and watched out of the screen door as he worked. After getting bored of watching Papa and realizing that Mama was not paying close attention because of doing the dishes and she thought he was still enamored with Papa's work, Will decided it would be a fun birthday project to pull all of the kleenexes out of the box.

After a little kleenex cleanup and watching Papa work a little more it was time for the morning birthday nap. A short 45 minutes later Will decided the birthday nap was over and it was time to watch Papa do a little more work. As Papa finished and it was nearing lunchtime Grandma showed up with some Chick-fil-A for lunch. The birthday boy dined on chicken nuggets and a fruit cup, both of which he thoroughly enjoyed. After lunch Grandma left for work and Papa took a few pictures of the big birthday boy outside and then headed home. Will and I came back inside and he played while I worked on a few things. Then he once again realized his advantage of Mama not paying super close attention and decided to work on opening the kitchen cabinets, a feat he has only achieved one other time. Birthday luck was with him and he soon had a cabinet open and was exploring.

I decided to work with him rather than just telling him "no" completely, so I got out a pot and spoon for him to play with, with which he performed a drum solo for a while on afterward. 

As drum solos can be very tiring it was time for a second birthday nap. This nap lasted much longer thankfully and Will woke up just in time to go meet Daddy for some more birthday fun. We went to the park to get in some swinging.

We finished up the day by going to one of our favorite local places, the Eagle Drive-In, where we had some great burgers with Grammy and Grandad. It was a long and fun birthday, and we haven't even gotten to party day yet, that is coming on Saturday. To my little man though, Happy First Birthday, Daddy and Mommy love you so very much and we can't wait to see you continue to grow into the wonderful boy and man that God is making you to be.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Simple and Sweet Handmade Art

I actually made both of the projects I am going to show you today over a year ago, but they are still some of my favorite projects and I feel like they really added a little more character and hominess to our gallery wall in the back room. I got the idea for the first piece of art from a sweet friend who has since moved away, but who is awesome when it comes to upcycling things. She made a button monogram like this for her house and posted the picture on Facebook, and after seeing the idea I just had to copy it.

I actually even got all of my buttons from her too. It was a very simple process. First, I found a font on the computer that I liked the look of the "S". Next I just printed, cut, and traced it onto my painted canvas.

Next I simply laid out the buttons that I wanted to use to figure out exactly where they should all be glued. I stayed roughly within the same color pallet for this project, but I'm sure a mix of colors would be fun too. After laying out the buttons in an order that I liked I simply hot glued them onto the canvas and slapped it into a frame. BAM, done. And yes, the rhinoceros button in the center is my favorite part of the whole thing.

The next project was another little piece of framed art, but I got this idea off of pinterest. It is actually meant to be a Valentine's Card, and was originally from here, but when I saw it I thought it would make a super sweet piece of art.  You start by punching small holes through the grey dots.

After punching all the holes out pick your color of embroidery floss. I went with a simple off-white to keep the art neutral and able to be put up in pretty much any room.

The next step was just a simple cross stitch, and since the original post had such great directions I will let you check it out  right from the source on how to do the stitches where they look the best. 

It now holds a spot of honor on our gallery wall, along with the button monogram. I love them both, and I love the warm fuzzy feeling I get from having homey stuff hanging alongside family pictures and more professional art in there; the eclectic feel just makes it more unique and personal.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Tulsa Day Trip

Well, we knew it was bound to happen, some day I would forget to do my Thursday update. I really had hoped that it would be longer than three weeks in to the decision to start actually writing on the blog again. Oh well, at least I remembered the next day. Since I obviously hadn't been thinking about my post for the week, I am just going to do a little update on our recent trip to the Tulsa aquarium with some of our friends. So, without further ado:

Since we all live in several different places in the Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas area we met at the Aquarium. Will was fine with hanging around outside for a little bit though.

Here's a look at our whole group once we all got together. We love each and every one of these people so much, they are some of our best friends and we love that even though we don't all live in the same town anymore we still make time to see each other and when we get together we can be ourselves and just be happy to be together, no matter what we are doing.

The aquarium isn't very big, and it seemed a little overpriced, but we were there with people we enjoy, so we had a good time. They did have a few cool displays though, like this one where you could touch several different sea creatures. Will is tormenting a starfish in this particular display.

This tank had a bunch of tiny shrimp in it that you could put your hand in the water and hold them. Once again though, Will thought it looked more like a place that needed some good old splashin' more than calm shrimp holding.

Although it is a small aquarium, they still had some beautiful tanks. Sea life always amazes me at the seemingly endless colors, shapes, and textures that can be found in the ocean. It is a great reminder of the creativeness of our God.

Looking at all that also kind of makes you question the Little Mermaid's judgement a little bit. I mean, when you live down in all that beauty, why would you want to be "up where they play all day in the sun"? Living in the ocean looks pretty good from where I'm sitting, but to each their own I guess.

They also had several places in the aquarium where there were less exotic animals, like this area where you could watch the turtles.

There were some crazy looking animals at the aquarium as well though, like this eel that we decided looked like the Shrieking Eels from The Princess Bride. It was kind of giving Will the death stare too, so I'm glad it was safely encased in glass.

They also had a shark tunnel, but my camera batteries were dying so I didn't end up with any pictures there. I always thought a shark tunnel would be super cool, but after being in one, I think a tropical fish tunnel would be a lot more fun, and definitely more colorful. They also had a cage like the ones you use when you go swimming with the sharks, and let me tell you, after seeing the size of the holes in that thing, you will never catch me swimming with the sharks. (Sorry for the poor lighting, I had to use my phone since my camera batteries died.)

We found Nemo.

And jellyfish. Not to be confused with jelly fish (does this video pop into anyone else's head when you see a jellyfish?)

That pretty much covers the aquarium. After we got done we decided to go to a park that had a splash pad to let the kids get down and run around a little bit. Not much happened at the park, so I'm just going to throw a whole bunch of pictures here without much narration since they are pretty self-explanatory.

I just have to say, I think this next one is super sweet. I love the way they are looking at each other. 

Will loves to swing, he just laughs and smiles the entire time. 

We ended with a meal at a great little pizza place called Hideaway Pizza, if you live in or are visiting the Tulsa area I would highly recommend it. So that was our trip to Tulsa at the end of July, we had a great time with some really great friends, and I am so glad we got to do it. We always love spending time with friends and getting to check out new places.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Kitchen Update

Over the summer we have worked on updating our kitchen. When Jake bought the house in 2006, the kitchen was a hideous baby blue color, walls and cabinets included. So, when our friend who flips houses offered us some cabinets that he was taking out of a house, we jumped at the chance to change out those old ugly cabinets and put in something a little more our style. We also repainted, took out a wall, and planned to get a dishwasher, new counter tops and a back splash. That was five years ago, and to our shame, that is where our kitchen renovation stalled for quite a while.

 We had set the old counter from the other cabinets back on (we didn't even worry about securing it too much since we weren't planning to have it there very long) and the other part of the counter where we had added a new section of cabinets was graced with a piece of plywood covered in some leftover linoleum flooring from my parents' kitchen. There was also a hole where we planned to put a dishwasher and an awkward corner that needed closed off since we didn't have a corner cabinet for it. So finally this summer we decided to go for it. We wanted to get this thing tackled once and for all. The first step was taking off the current counters so that we could fill in the corner.

We did all of this in a pretty short time frame so that we wouldn't have to deal with no counters for a long period of time, hence the new counters sitting on the cabinets in this next picture. They had been delivered but not installed yet. That's my dad in this picture by the way. He is super handy and loves helping his kids out with things around the house, so he comes over and works on projects with us sometimes. He even built our upper open cabinets for us when we realized we would need more than what we got from our friend. Anyway, back to the kitchen, Dad came over and put in the corner piece and also replaced the side piece for the dishwasher since the one we had gotten back in the day wasn't going to be quite the right size.

The next day the guy from Lowes came over to install the counter tops (Lowes actually hires out their installation, but I don't know the name of the company they use in our area). We could have installed them ourselves, but since it was only about $100 more to have them professionally done we decided to save ourselves the headache. Some things are worth doing yourself while others are worth having the pros do, and for that price we decided to have a pro do it. It was also nice having them install it since that meant they would come out and measure the space for us, so if the counter came in the wrong size it would be their responsibility to fix it, not our fault that we have a counter that is four inches too short. The counter we went with was a laminate. I know some people can't stand laminate, but it was quite the upgrade from the laminate flooring that we previously had as a counter top, so I have no problems with it whatsoever. They have also come a long way with laminate in the last few years, so it doesn't have to be a cheap looking one tone counter, ours looks kind of like some sort of expensive granite, but without all they annoying upkeep of granite. We went with Ebony Fusion from Wilsonart Laminate.

I really like the marbled look and the subtle browns and greys that it has in it, it really gives the counters some depth. Our system for picking our counter was very simple, we just grabbed several samples we liked at the store, held them up to display cabinets that they had in the store that were the same color as our cabinets and found the one we liked the best. We both really liked Ebony Fusion at the store, but we went ahead and brought it home to look at it in our kitchen so that we could see it with the lighting, wall and cabinet colors before we made our final decision. We are very happy with the results. 

After the counters were installed the kitchen was looking much better, but the sink that we had ordered to go with our new counters still hadn't arrived. We ordered this sink from Lowes and it was supposed to be delivered in store the same day the counters were installed, but it took an extra couple of days to come in, so we just set our old sink in the hole, but we didn't use it since it wasn't sealed in and we didn't want to mess up the new counters. Once the sink came in, Jake got right to work installing it, unfortunately, since the basins are different depths, the plumbing underneath took a little more time and more trips back to Lowes than we anticipated. After a couple hours he got it installed though and we had a sink and faucet that fit much better with our newly upgraded counters.

I couldn't find our exact faucet on the Lowes website, but it is basically this one. We picked it out at the store and splurged a little to get the pull down faucet with the different spray options. I've never had a faucet that does anything but just spout water normally, so the fact that if pulls down and has three different spray options makes me feel so fancy, it's like I should be cleaning dishes at the White House or something. Just look at its curves, meow!

After getting the sink installed we ordered our dishwasher. Because our house is small and these cabinets weren't made for this kitchen, we ended up having to get an 18" apartment sized dishwasher instead of the standard 24". Any dishwasher is definitely an improvement over no dishwasher though, and it actually holds quite a bit. We rarely have problems of it not holding everything we need it to, even when we have people over. We got this whirlpool because the reviews we read were good and it had a pretty good price. Unfortunately, even though our dishwasher is smaller, since it is more of a specialty item it costs more than a standard size dishwasher, so $650 for it wasn't really a bad price. My dad came over to do a little cabinet work before we installed it and then he and Jake installed it after Jake got off work. They also had a little helper.

So that's where the kitchen is at now. We still need to put up the tile back splash, we have all the materials, we just need to get it done, so hopefully we will get that done pretty soon. So there's our kitchen updates so far. I can't wait to get the back splash done and we get to see this kitchen all put together and looking good for the first time in this house's history!