27 February 2012

500th

This is my 500th post.

I can hardly believe how much this hobby has evolved in the past four years.

I was skeptical about starting a blog at first. I didn't want to buy into another social media outlet that would waste my time.

But seeing that very first post hit the screen, just days before our first child was born, gave me an enormous rush of triumph.

I quickly discovered after launching our blog that it was an tremendous source of happiness for me. It was also a challenge and often drove me crazy with frustration as I learned to format. But the more I did, the more I wanted to do.

Blogging gave me a new identity, new skills, and a new set of friends. Those things filled me in a way that I never anticipated they would as I shared my tiny corner of the world.

A few months ago, I was asked to teach a class on setting up a blog. I was sure to mention the things that trouble me about blogs. How I sometimes view the "tip of the iceberg" that others portray on their blogs and compare my worst to their best. How I forget that most bloggers keep 90% of their icebergs under the water and hidden from view. And how technology is the latest means of comparing ourselves to others.

But, in preparation for the class, I also gathered my top ten reasons why this hobby has become such a passion of mine, and how the positive aspects make the time spent worthwhile.

1. Our blog keeps a record of family life for myself and our posterity. It makes me feel great to have a record of our lives under my belt. And because of that, I make it a priority.

2. I am able to stay in touch with family members and friends sprawled across the country.

3. I have always been an avid journal keeper so our blog is the perfect step-up from a journal.

4. It is a forum to share photography and creative ideas. I don't think I would have ever started to dabble in photography if it weren't for blogging. And now, even though I am far from professional, it is such a huge part of my life. I dream about lenses and editing techniques and thoroughly enjoy the nitty gritty details.

5. Our blog gives me an avenue to share thoughts that are swirling around in my mind. I don’t have the best memory and I’m always worried that I will forget the details of the moments that matter most. I feel like I must have a photo and writing about things to really grasp them before they slip quietly out of my brain never to be remembered. To me, the photos and written descriptions are like a safety-net, holding on to those things I cherish most in life. I can relax at the end of the day knowing that moments have been recorded and I no longer have to keep the details in the forefront of my memory.

6. Writing and sharing my ideas helps me be more deliberate about my mothering and other personal goals. Somehow spilling out how I feel makes me more conscientious of how I live my life. When I write something on our blog it motivates me to really follow through.

7. It is a way to gather ideas from others. Some of my challenges have literally been answered by friends and strangers from across the world. Just knowing that I’m not alone in certain struggles is so comforting and it really builds me up. I love all the inspiring things people write back and I have taken so many comments to heart.

8. I love to promote the joy and power of motherhood. One of the nicest compliments I ever received was that my blog "makes motherhood 'cool'," and I have carried that close to my heart ever since. Motherhood is the most important "career" in the world and I want to popularize how rewarding it is.

9. I am fortunate enough that my passions of blogging and web design have evolved into a part-time, work-from-home career. The design work challenges and thrills me. Getting to know new people each week and transforming their little corners of the world wide web into something beautiful encompasses everything I love; creativity, organization, mathematical trial and error, positive feedback, and an enormous sense of accomplishment.

10. Writing is a way of reminding myself to savor the moments of everyday life and to pay more attention to people rather than to things. For my own sanity, I feel happier when I am able to put all my thoughts down in the written form.

I can't wait to see where the next 500 posts and beyond will take me.


20 February 2012

Baby Boy Showers

I have had the pleasure of hosting a couple baby boy showers for friends in the last few months.

The first shower was for my lifelong friend from Michigan. She was kind enough to let us host the shower at her house which was a huge relief because it was the day after we got home from Hawaii. I did the invitations and decor and another friend of ours did most of the food, which is exactly how I like to do showers.

The other shower was for a sweet neighbor and was scheduled for the end of January. However, she was induced early and had her baby the day before the scheduled event. So, we postponed for a few weeks and showered her with love just before she brought her baby boy home from the NICU.

One thing is for certain.

My friend Julee and I should never be given MORE time to plan a party.

Because then things like this happen:
DSC_0368

DSC_0458

DSC_0434

We did a hot chocolate bar with a variety of toppings.
DSC_0455

DSC_0372

DSC_0407

The hot chocolate was rich and delightful.
DSC_0386

But, of course, we didn't stop there.
DSC_0422

I kept adding gray and yellow touches while my friend Julee kept adding elaborate treats.
DSC_0378

DSC_0392

The brunch wouldn't be complete without orange rolls and cinnamon rolls.
DSC_0395

Some more of my friend's amazing creations:
DSC_0384

DSC_0411

DSC_0391

My friend Liz was awesome to bring a delicious breakfast casserole as well.
DSC_0394

Which left me to the fruit and lemon drops. I am really good at providing things that can be bought at Costco. It's just much better for everyone when I stick to the decor and delegate the food.
DSC_0419

Troy about died when he saw my water label. He thinks I should have made a label for the spout as well.
DSC_0435

Moving to the party room, I hung up my signature baby apparel.
DSC_0366

And completed the decor with a boy banner.
DSC_0463

DSC_0466

One of my favorite lines from baby boy showers is; "They make baby boy clothes so much cuter now than they used to!"

That line will always be said. Guaranteed.


17 February 2012

Go Out/Get Sick

The boys are sick, again.

We only had two completely healthy weeks and now we are back to being homebound again. Usually I can count on at least a month in between coughs and colds but we can't seem to catch a break this year. I am beginning to think that it's not worth it to go to outings with friends during the winter if the boys are just going to get sick over and over. Whatever is going around just keeps coming back to us. 

However, we all go really stir crazy when we have to cancel playdates and miss preschool and stay within the confines of our house. So, it's just a viscous cycle of go out/get sick, go out/get sick, despite my religious hand-washing efforts.

The boys disassembled the entire couch on one of our many sick days. It was nearing bedtime and I was calling out countdown minutes to the dreaded event, when Blake announced, "Mom, take a picture of us on the cushion!"

Normally, it would not have been a "picturesque" moment. The lighting was bad, their hair wasn't done, and I was so ready to put them to bed. But then Blake wrapped his arms tightly around Nash and showed me his widest smile.

How could I resist actual cooperation for a picture? That happens almost never without me making a fool out of myself or dishing out heavy bribery.

I obliged to Blake's request, and even though they were hacking their lungs out, it made me like our stay-at-home days a little better.
DSC_0352

Because how often do I capture genuine smiles mixed with a cough drop sucker?


16 February 2012

Rollie Pollie

For Nash's birthday, I made him a beanbag.

Since I built Blake a kitchen back when he turned two, I wanted to make something special for Nash as well.

The beanbag wasn't technically finished until six days after Nash turned two, but he will never know.

He is thoroughly enjoying his new landing pad.
DSC_0274

DSC_0281

I used this pattern. It is one gigantic beanbag. I originally stuffed it too full and actually had to de-fluff it to get the cover on.
DSC_0269

Blake is a fan as well.
DSC_0260

DSC_0262

DSC_0264

DSC_0285

I have a feeling that the rollie pollie beanbag is going to provide hours of entertainment for our active jumper.
DSC_0288


14 February 2012

Valentines

Happy Valentine's Day!

Blake is very excited to give Valentines to his classmates today.
DSC_0343

DSC_0315

DSC_0344

He helped me chop up the crayons and place them in heart molds to be melted. I especially love that he signed each one individually - although it took about a week to do. He wasn't interested in signing more than three or four at a time, so we spread out the work over several days.
DSC_0349

DSC_0337

XOXO


10 February 2012

Machines

Blake is in a serious machine phase.

Everything that he plays with gets turned upside down, stacked up, hooked together, and transformed into an intricate "machine."

Each day after quiet time, he struts down the stairs and explains to me the new combination of toys that he orchestrated into a machine.

Usually there are tickets, seatbelts, and start and stop buttons involved with operating his machinery. Sometimes his machines even convert into roller coasters or other modes of transportation.
DSC_0056

Back when we were in Hawaii, it came in handy that he could scrounge up household items and turn them into machines. There weren't a ton of toys to play with there, but he hardly noticed. He was perfectly content with laundry baskets and a cooler stacked in about 34 different combinations.
DSC_1371

DSC_1375

When the laundry baskets got old, he ventured out to the garage to round up items for another new contraption.
DSC_1783

I sure love his imagination. And who wouldn't want cleaning devices (I mean gates) maneuvered into their couch cushions?
DSC_0202


06 February 2012

Celebrating Nash

I tried to make Nash's birthday exciting - for a two year old. I didn't do anything too elaborate that would be lost on him, but instead, filled the day with things he loves.

After dropping Blake off at school, the two of us went out for donuts.
DSC_0012

DSC_0017

I was surprised that he totally "got it" that it was his birthday. He sang Happy Birthday to himself approximately 79 times throughout the course of the day.

We went to storytime at the library, picked up Blake a little early from school, and headed to the children's museum.
DSC_0032

I think it's safe to say that Nash was in pure bliss.
DSC_0024

After naptime, Troy joined us and we took Nash out to dinner. He was pleased as punch to be sung to and indulge in his very own ice cream sundae.
DSC_0040

A few days later, we had a small family gathering to celebrate Nash.
DSC_0088

Nash caught on fast that he was the main event.
DSC_0121

He opened a few presents with help from his eager older brother.
DSC_0160

DSC_0163

DSC_0170

His Grandma surprised him and came into town for a quick birthday visit. She made him a new "nie-night," but he wasn't fooled into passing up the original article.
DSC_0177

He blew out two candles, all by himself.
DSC_0193

The excitement of the party put him into cuddly, tuckered out mode; my favorite.
DSC_0150

I don't think we could possibly love our Nash any more.
DSC_0138

Happy Birthday Buddy!
DSC_0143