Thursday, January 27, 2011

Here’s Looking at You 30.

It’s a new year. Both on the calendar and in my life. This happens when your bday is one week after New Year’s. I get extra reflective in January. Then it comes: Inspiration. New goals. Clean start.

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This is me. I’m 31 now.

I’m over catching up on this blog. Today I free myself of almost (one or two gems I’m saving) all old drafts. All those posts I began last year and never finished were building up and stressing me out. Today I’m taking their main points and slapping them here with a picture or two and calling it good. Turns out, this post is a look back at the last six months of our lives. Makes sense because we moved in August and that’s when I really fell behind. Harley and I analyzed 2010 over dinner on New Year’s Day, and we decided the beginning of 2010 was pretty not so great (sick, Harley work woes, so cold, sick again, Snowmageddon, pregnant, babysitting, more sick, funk, living in da ‘hood, etc.) and the back half was pretty fabulous. Yay for the fabulous half.

So here it is, my Top 10 Back Half of 2010 Shoulda Woulda Coulda But Didn’t Blog Post.

1. My in-laws visited in August. They kept things calm while I STRESSED about having no place to live in 2 days. Ed & Bo entertained my kids and ran errands, while Katie & Debby cleaned and packed their brains out, while Harley worked, while I dealt with house-hunting horribleness and via true miracle and true miracle only scored our Dream Townhouse. In the middle of it all, we blessed Max (and spoke in church, and taught lessons and nearly missed the entire event because half our group was lost an hour north, then hosted dinner for 12+ at our ghetto apartment amid moving boxes packed with no place to go). Memorable.

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My FIL told us before he arrived: “I will not be abused.” Pretty sure we abused him alright that week. But we rewarded him with a big bowl of Cap’n Crunch in our new home. We even gave him a pie pan and measuring spoon to eat it. Of course then we made him share.

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2. We moved. In August. Sweaty.

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3. The kids and I drove to Pittsburgh in September to visit my mom, Cheryl & co. and meet my new nephew. Little did I know my dad, Allison & her baby would be there too. HUGE, WONDERFUL SURPRISE! Get the full story here.

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The “Triplets:” Max, Hannah & Sawyer. All born within 4 months.

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4. Anderson started preschool. It’s a once a week, swap between moms, joy school-esque gig. He loves it. We’ve hosted twice, teaching the letters G and N. We made Glitter Gs and Noodle Necklaces. The inner school teacher in me rejoices.DSC_0054-1

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5. Halloween happened. Dinosaur & Monkey. Cuteness. DSC_0062DSC_0033-4DSC_0137-2

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6. Cheryl and her boys visited for 2 weeks. We hosted a small cousin reunion, shopped, swapped clothes, spent time in the ER and bonded a lot. We were sister wives. Sort of. More like sister moms. This is pretty much what it looked like:

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There were some calmer, cute cousin moments.

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7. Our dear friends hosted us for a perfectly decorated, deliciously satisfying Thanksgiving meal. It was the first time in nine years I didn’t travel or work on Thanksgiving. So what did I do? Wake up at 3:40AM the next morning to door bust on Black Friday. (Not pictured.)

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8. Then there were those days in between when my kids were especially cute, hilarious and loveable.

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9. December came. We got festive in so many ways.

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Theatrical Thursday ladies at Ford’s Theater after A Christmas Carol. You can’t tell because of our cute coats but we served as ushers… which got us free seats!

10. Max started (inhaled) solid foods.

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Bonus 11: Anderson succeeded in quitting the tat (pacifier). Cold turkey. With a shockingly low amount of drama. May be my best thing of 2010. Oh, after having Max.

Bam! I am free! Free from the ghosts of drafts past that haunt me every time I turn on the computer. Time to move forward without being bogged by the blog. How I love a good clean sweep.

2011, back half and front, welcome.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Season Set: Winter 2011

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A few months ago, I made a goal to dedicate a full morning to playing and shooting outside every season. I want each of Maryland’s extreme, beautiful times of year to leave an imprint on Anderson’s mind and on my lens. After said morning, I select a set of four shots and frame them in my “seasons frame” in the kitchen. (This is actually the hardest part. Taking pictures is easy. Pouring over them, editing them, selecting them, ordering them, picking them up, blah, blah… this is why I struggle updating picture frames. I am trying to do better. This project is helping me.) I did my first set in the fall. I have loved looking at those pictures every time I do dishes, which is a lot. Last week I did winter. Here’s my new set.

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And here are some others. Because I just love them. And him.

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All shots were taken in our backyard. Our backyard! Still can’t get over it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Tour de Jour: Anderson’s Big Boy Room

People ask me what theme I picked for Anderson’s new (yeah, yeah, it’s been 6+ months) room. I reply: Design on a Dime. Which turned out to be a sort of jungle theme, because that’s what was on sale. And I liked it. And it fit my monkey child. So I embraced the jungle and went wild. I love the way it turned out.

But let’s back up a bit.

When we moved to the Dream Townhouse I asked Harley to assemble the crib for Anderson (meaning mattress on the floor), but somehow Harley heard “assemble the crib for Max” (meaning mattress at the highest level). This was probably a good miscommunication as it forced Max into the crib and me to get going on Anderson’s room. Otherwise I’d probably still be in analysis paralysis over every little decorating decision (I tend to do that) and my 2 3/4 year old would still sleep caged.

So I got going on his room, but I was still slow. Meantime Anderson, his 80 tats (pacifiers) and Halloween spiders, slept -- no doubt uncomfortably -- in a pack n play. Pretty sure one of my sisters called it child abuse.

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We upgraded to a sleeping bag. The first few nights he wouldn’t get in the bag and he’d have nothing to do with a pillow.

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Eventually, his room started coming together. I framed the final pictures last week. And here comes the blog post. At last I can say, done, Done and DONE! I can also say SCORE because the ONLY things I did not buy on sale, clearance or with a great coupon were the bunk beds and the mattresses (and those were very reasonably priced at walmart.com!).

BEFORE

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AFTER

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Let’s go section by section, shall we?

I’ve been hauling around (and using) three of these peg racks since college. They were all natural wood. I spray painted this one dark brown for Anderson’s room. The best part is he uses it.

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When we were house hunting I hoped and wished and prayed we would find an affordable 3 bedroom. It was kind of a wildest dreams thing. But it happened! I still have to pinch myself sometimes. I really wanted a 3rd bedroom so we could get bunk beds. I love these bunk beds and I love that Max will share them someday.

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This is an old picture from September. Max is only 3 months. I actually thought I was going to finish this room and blog it back then. We removed half of the ladder rungs so Anderson can’t get to the top on his own. But Max can . ;)

Speaking of love, I love the stenciled animal sheets. Special shout out to Bear Bear & Blue Bear. They’re like members of the family.

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I kept Anderson’s initials from his nursery but re-painted the J. Was red. Now orange.

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On the other side of the bunk beds hangs Anderson’s personalized growth chart. Great gift from Sara.

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Every bedroom window in our new casa came with drapes. I wasn’t sure about the yellow at first. I added brown ribbon. I think it works. I bought the canvas at Target on clearance for $11.38. Harley thought it was too mature (or modern?) for the room. That’s why I liked it. Plus, hello, it’s a jungle leaf. In the right colors. For $11.38! DSC_0066DSC_0072

I found the chest of drawers below on Craiglist. One coat primer, 4 coats “lemon grass” paint, 2 coats “espresso” spray paint on the knobs and I was staring at my first furniture painting success. (Remember that big ol’ wood pile?) Thanks Mom for teaching me all the tricks. Thanks Mindy for convincing me to go green.

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Sometimes the best way to capture a small room is from the top bunk.

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I was going to spell Anderson’s name out in blocks again, like I did in his nursery and like I did in Max’s nursery. That’s kind of what I do when I decorate. Grab an idea, love it and never think to do anything else next time. I forced myself to try something else here. So what if that something else started because I didn’t have the right letters for his full name? The point is I did it. Behold the Pyramid of Anderson Adjectives. (AB is one of Anderson’s nicknames. It used to stand for Anders Babe. Now it stands for Anders Bug.)

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I give you AB having fun, wild, happy times in his jungle room.

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Let’s not talk about Anderson’s unbuttoned pants. Let’s do talk about how much I love that rug!

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Anderson: 2 3/4, Max: 6 1/2 mo.

Anderson’s room has a good sized closet with two things I love: shelf space to spare & nothing on the floor.

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Harley’s happy I stayed below (!!!) budget.

I’m happy it’s finally finished.

Anderson is just plain happy.

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