Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Always redesigning {my kids shared space}

Oh my, oh my....I'm my own worst client.  My kids' shared room is driving me bananas.  Ever since we moved here, almost two years ago, I've yet to be fully happy with the way their room has come together.  It is that battle of trying to incorporate items I already have in order to save money and yet, not really liking any of them.  If only I could truly start from scratch.  Since I can't I'm switching my focus to trying to simplify what I have and bring in very few new items.  I also want the room to reflect a bit more of the lifestyle we live.  My husband used to surf professionally so we have a plethora of boards in our garage.  One in particular that I've always loved is bright yellow and has such a classic shape to it.  I just think it would be so fun to feature this item in our kids room.  Yellow being such a neutral color and so cheery, I thought it would look pretty rad hanging on the wall.  I've seen a few images on Pinterest that struck my interest in this idea.

  With that being my inspiration I've pulled together this design board.
The subtle touches of pink in the art print and the pillow will give just enough of a feminine touch to the space.  My daughter has enough girlie toys scattered through out this house, she won't miss not having an overly girlie room for now.

Surfboard image

Friday, October 3, 2014

Bathroom dreams {home update}

We have not taken on a new large project over here in awhile.  Life has gotten in the way and priorities have been put ahead of home updates. I'm kind of missing the many projects that we tackled when we first moved into our home almost two years ago.  You can see some of those updates here.  I've done a few smaller updates like painting the front door, the backyard lounge area etc. As for really tackling and changing this home for the better, we just haven't been able to do that.  I'm itching to get on it.  Right now our bathroom vanities are driving me a bit crazy!  They are old, outdated and just not working for me.  When we first moved into this home we immediately had the old wood cabinets painted white so that we could live with them for awhile.  I think two years is awhile right??  Now I just want to rip them out!!

Here is what they looked like originally before we moved in....eeeeeekkkkkk!  This is the small little vanity that my kids and guests use.  It is an awkward little space that I am working on making better.  Until the day comes that we can knock down some walls, this just has to do.  I'm not worried about it looking sad forever, I know I can make it aesthetically pleasing.  Unfortunately, it takes some disposable money to do this.  We are working to fitting it into the budget, as what I have planned won't take too much and I know it will look fantastic.

Here is my plan for this space.

You can find all the items I have featured on this board here.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Our front door's backside {painting the interior of our door}

I had always wanted to buy a home where I could paint the front door a super fun color.  Who doesn't just love being greeted by a pop of color?  Unfortunately, when we found a home, it was in an association where the front doors all need to stay!  Then one day I started thinking...why not paint the interior of the front door a fun color?  Well, heck ya, that's what I was going to do.  We all know that is easier said then done.  What color would I choose??  If the amount of time we have lived in this home gives you any idea of how long that decision took me then you know, it wasn't an easy choice.  We have almost lived here for 2 years!  I posted on Instagram the day that I finally pulled out my swatch book and started really thinking about it.  I have two kilim floor pillows in my family room, which is open to where the front door is, so I thought I'd pull out one of the colors in them.  Pretty, pretty colors, but which one for the door...

I continued to think about it and then one day got a great email from Valspar offering for me to try out their newest paint.  I was so excited because I had seen their commercials on television and just thought the idea behind the Valspar Reserve and its durability just seemed so perfect for this highly used item in my home.  I also loved the fact that one decision had already been made for...the type of paint I'd be using.  Check that off the list.
 Valspar Reserve is a new innovative paint and primer formula that delivers durability that stands up to real-life applications, resisting more stains, scrubbing and fading than any other paint on the market today making it ideal for any area of the home. Additionally, Valspar Reserve provides maximum hide and exceptional one-coat coverage even over dark colors and bold patterns.  
For me I was sold on the withstanding of real-life applications because we are a rough and tumble family where our kids are allowed to play in any room of the home.  They can use any surface as a place to create and use their imagination.  It is often that I find my daughter hanging her little backpack from the handle on our front door saying that that is where she's supposed to put it "for school."  With that being said, our front door gets more then the usual use of just open and close.  I couldn't wait to try out this new, super durable paint on my front door.  
Once I finally decided on a color I did my research on tips and tutorials to painting the interior of a front door.  I wasn't sure if it was as simple as just rolling the paint on.  I'm glad I did some research and found out that others had pulled together some amazing posts from their own painting experiences.  With anything in life, you have to take into account your own skills, patience and environment to decide which steps fit best for you.  Here is the post I read through for any of you looking to tackle this same project. 

        Driven by Decor

I started the process by taping off the windows and the hardware on our door (insert my husband did this part.)  I chose to keep the door on the hinges and keep all the hardware on because, like I stated in the above, know your limits when it comes to projects.  I knew my husband was going to be heading off to work in the afternoon and I was not confident that I would be able to reassemble our front door handle.  Therefore, taping it off with precision was the way we were going to go.  Following the tips from my research I knew which section of the door I was to paint first, second, and so forth.  This was such a helpful tip.  It really allowed me to feel like there was direction to this project and with the ease that the Valspar Reserve paint was creating by going on so smoothly, I knew this project was going to be far easier and satisfying then I expected.   

Another feature of the Valspar Reserve is that it is made with HydroChroma Technology which is a new color system that has super-strength pigments allowing for a broad range of deeper, more vibrant colors.  I can attest to the vibrancy of their colors as the Sea Breeze color we chose is the epitome of vibrant.  It is bright and cheery, completely saturated and has become such a great addition to our home.  Just you wait and see with the before and after of our door!

Her is our door before it got a coat of Valspar Reserve Sea Breeze.

And here it is now!

I just adore the way it turned out and appreciate Valspar giving me the opportunity to test out their new Reserve paint.  If you have an upcoming paint project I suggest you look into all the colors Valspar has to offer. Valspar is carried exculsively at Lowe's.  I don't think you will be disappointed.  

*although I was offered this paint, all opinions are my own.  

Friday, August 29, 2014

Celebration sales {it's my birthday weekend/week}

I've always been lucky because my birthday is right around Labor Day or actually on Labor Day.  I'm sure there is some precise amount of years between when it actually falls on Labor Day, but I've never really spent the time to look that up.  Call me lazy.  Either way...what this means is sales! Sales, sales and more sales.  For a lover of shopping like me, this is fabulous.  I thought I'd share with you all the items I'm coveting.  Because I'm kind of dreaming of fall to arrive, I'm looking forward to the items that I think I'd love to have when the weather starts to change.  I can't wait to wear a pair of perfectly distressed jeans and a pair of booties or mules...yes, that's my new obsession, mules.  I think I just need a pair.  With that being said here are my fav shoes at the moment.

via Zappos

Bring on the scarves, denim and brown leather!!  I hope you all have a fun and safe long weekend.  

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Greatest Gift {a birth story}

Me and Tucker 3 days after I gave birth to him

I have truly enjoyed sharing this journey with all of you over the last few months.  The day that I finally got to share that I was carrying my cousin and his wife's baby was a small victory.  We had tried and tried to become pregnant so that they could be parents and when we finally made it out of the first trimester we were all so overjoyed.  Over the last few months I've given small updates on this blog.  My instagram followers have had more of a play by play with how this was progressing and at the end, how I was feeling about it.  Anyone who has ever been pregnant knows how tough those last few weeks can be!  As the induction day approached we were all getting so excited.  My emotions were a bit more complex than just excitement.  I felt so responsible to keep this baby boy in til his parents arrived from the East Coast.  My braxton hicks had been slowly intensifying over the course of the last two months and towards the end I was doing a lot of lying down just to get them to subside.  I knew in my head it was my job to not let my cousin and his wife miss the birth of their baby boy!  I was also feeling very cranky.  Let's be honest, being pregnant in August isn't the most pleasant month.  Its been hot, I've been sticky and you just feel so swollen from the heat.  So, yeah, I wasn't necessarily happy in my day to day events, but I was pushing through.  And then there were the emotions that dealt with just my own feelings about this birth.  When you are about to birth your own baby all you are focused on (or primarily focused on) is a healthy baby.  That was definitely in my thoughts, but more with this birth than those of my own children, was that I needed to be OK.  I needed to make it through this healthy.  Nothing could happen to me, I needed to make it home safely to my own children.  I'm not sure why these thoughts were so strong this time, but they were.
As my countdown til induction day had begun and I knew that on Monday around 10 am the parents would be arriving, I felt a sense of relief.  They would have a few days to get settled in before Wednesdays 7 am induction and I finally knew I had passed one of the biggest hurdles.  They had arrived, if baby boy came Monday night that would be just fine!  Now as a little background, I had to be induced with both of my own kids.  I always dilated on my own but never went into labor.  I was expecting we were probably on this same path with this pregnancy since I had successfully been "holding him in" and was also dilated and nothing had happened...yet!
I went to bed Monday night and had an amazing nights rest.  I woke up wide awake at about 5 am on Monday morning and just couldn't go back to sleep.  I finally got up to use the restroom and noticed that some signs were showing that things had started to progress.  (Read this as I lost my mucus plug, yuck, sorry tmi)
I decided to lie back in bed to try to fall back asleep which I was able to do for a bit.  In the meantime, my husband had left early for work.  I woke again and was just playing on Instagram in bed, cause who doesn't do that early in the morning, when I felt a bit of a gush.  I lay there for a second and had that moment..."did I seriously just pee myself?!  Who does that?!"  I got up again to use the restroom.  Again, signs were showing.  I had that mental moment...this may really be happening today.  It was probably about 7 at this time.  I decided maybe I should get myself together, do my hair and make-up cause, again, let's be honest, there are a lot of pictures that were probably going to be taken if this was indeed happening!  At about 7:15 my sister texted me with a "woohooo one more sleep" message and then asked if I wanted to meet up that day at the movies.  I called her and said I thought things might be happening, we had a little giggle that my body just knew the parents were here and it was done holding this little man in.  As I was talking to her it was confirmed I had not peed myself, my water had broken!  I could not believe it!  I had always hoped my water would have broken with one of my own pregnancies, but it just never did.  And then here I am with the most planned out delivery situation for so many reasons and then my water decides to break!  This was the first moment of many to follow where things just didn't quite go to "plan."
So I got off the phone with my sister and called my cousin's wife.  It was early, but I had seen her like a photo of mine on Instagram so I knew she was up...gotta love that.  She answered the phone with a "hi" and I followed with "would you like to become a mommy today?"  Let's just say I shocked her and all that were at the house with her.  It was go time.  I let her know I wasn't heading to the hospital just yet as no contractions had started, but that it indeed was going to be a birthday party day!
Ironically, my younger sister had an appointment scheduled with my OB/Gyn that morning (my sisters and I all see him) and let him know my water had broken.  It isn't every day your cell phone rings and it says it's your sister calling, but it's actually your OB on the other end saying "are the rumors I'm hearing true?"  It was pretty funny...also funny was I was using the restroom once again when this conversation was occurring...awkward!  He said he wanted me to head to the hospital, that they'd be expecting me.  Somewhere in the middle of this process I had had to call my husbands work and told him to head back home.  He had been there all of 30 minutes haha.
Off to the hospital we went.  The family would be meeting us there.  We got to the hospital around 9:40 am and waited for a room to be available.  Once in a room it was confirmed I was 3 cm already, which made me happy since I had always gotten to the hospital at 3 cm so I was used to laboring  from this point forward. My mom and older sister arrived to be some support for me.  And then my cousin and his wife and their support team arrived and you could just feel their excitement.  Today was the big day!  The day they had waited for for so long.  Our journey together was coming to it's grand finale.
From about 11:00 til about 1:15 nothing had been done for me yet. There was full nurse shuffling going on.  My original nurse had another patient who was delivering, so I got a new nurse.  She started to finally get me admitted through the computer, which decided to crash, when they decided to switch my nurse again!  It was crazy annoying.  I just wanted the pitocin started and to get the show on the road.  My doctor had stopped in to say hello early in the day to meet the parents and the rest of the visiting family and he thought we'd be seeing baby around 4:30.  Considering it was 1:15 and we still had no pitocin hooked up I knew his prediction would be off.  Finally, around 1:20 the new nurse walked in with the pitocin and the pump and I knew things were going to get started...yay!!  You can only imagine how anxious the room was since we had just been hanging out for over three hours.  And then you can only imagine how irritated we were when the pitocin pump decided minutes into it administering the medicine that it wanted to break!  Yep...comedy.  Out that pump went and in came a new one.  Finally, at about 2:00 pitocin was in.
This is when the "fun" started.  Pitocin kicked in real quick so we called in the anesthesiologist to get the epidural.  Unfortunately, the epidural only took on the right side.  We flipped me to my left to try to get the medicine to shift and take effect there, but no such luck.  Now I was feeling lots of contractions and a crazy amount of pressure.  They called the anesthesiologist back into the room after us trying to just hit the epidural button once ourselves to no avail.  I was now going to receive another direct injection of medicine into my spine...finally this worked.  Unfortunately, it worked way too well on my right side so that I was complete dead weight over there.  That is always the worst feeling, but I guess it's better than me feeling the intensity of the contractions, cause that was definitely not in my plan!  As the epidural was now working and taking away my pain all I could feel was a whole lot of pressure...crazy town pressure!  The nurse decided to check me and from 2:40 to 3:15 I had gone from 5 cm to 8cm!  At 3:30 my doctor stopped in again because he had just arrived to the hospital to perform a C-section.  You can only imagine my facial expression when I heard this, because to me that meant I now was going to have to wait for him to be done with that in order for me to start pushing.  That didn't make me happy!  But, I again was feeling lots of pressure so they checked me again and in just a few minutes I was at 10 my doctor pushed back the poor other lady's C-section in order for me to start pushing.  Bless him!  He was confident that this was going to go real quick...and that sounded great to me!  There was a flood of emotion that took over the room.  Tucker's mommy knew he was going to be here so soon and the tears just couldn't be held back any longer.  Pushing started at 3:45 pm.  We all thought it was possible that my doctor's original prediction of 4:20 pm could, indeed, be correct.
No such luck!!  By 4:45 pm I had been pushing for an hour, was exhausted and so frustrated that no position we were trying seemed to be working!  Tucker's mommy and I had even played the tug-of-war game with the towel.  That was a new position for me. I just couldn't believe with this being my third labor that this was taking so long.  At about 5:00 pm my doctor came in and said he was going to go ahead and take care of the C-section and have me take a break and let my body labor down.  Those are the worst words you can hear EVER when you are just wanting this laboring to be over.  I felt defeated.  I had been so strong and so determined throughout the entire experience so far that this completely popped my bubble.  I lost it.  He promised he would be quick and because at this point my epidural had started to wear off, I was now emotional and in lots of pain.  I had to really go within myself to find a place to calm my head down.  I had to cry it out.  I had to breathe through every contraction and really find strength to get through the worlds worst pressure without pushing through it.  It was rough I am not going to lie.  At 5:30 pm I finally had been given more epidural and wasn't in pain, but was still just trying to gather myself and find some hidden strength so that I could get this baby boy out quick once my doctor arrived.  Everyone in the room was quiet.  Looking back I don't even know where my husband retreated to during this part because I was in such a zone.  I only knew that Tucker's parents were sitting near by at the table and I could feel their emotions.
This is when things started to get a bit tricky.  I could tell our nurse wasn't liking what she was seeing on the monitor.  She had mentioned she thought there was possibly a cord being pinched somewhere which we all know can happen, but baby boy wasn't responding after each contraction as she wanted.  I was still lieing in the bed, eyes closed, really just trying to stay calm and talk to my body that we needed to work together.  I was given the 'ol uterus a good talking to.  (TMI? sorry! but I was)  I really really wasn't going to be ok if this ended in a C-section.  I knew we had to do whatever would get baby boy here safely, but it just wasn't what I wanted for this last and final pregnancy.  At some point the nurse decided to turn the pitocin off to try to calm the contractions and let the baby rest....BAD IDEA.  When my doctor came in soon after he just had that look on his face that you don't really want to see.  He was calm, but he meant business.  He said to me "two pushes, let's get this baby out." pressure.  I gathered myself and waited...waited for a contraction to come....kept waiting....I felt nothing!  This couldn't be happening, where did they go?  I looked at my doctor and told him I thought I was too numb I couldn't feel the contractions and he would have to tell me when they were coming.  He was looking at the monitor and had his hand where he could feel the building of the contractions, but they were so weak, but we had to just roll with it.  I'm telling you at this point I wasn't contracting, I would say I was more cramping, but you can bet I pushed with that cramping and I pushed hard!!  With the first "contraction" I locked eyes with my doctor who didn't break his stare with me and I pushed, counted to 10, did it again, did it again and did it again.  With that little cramp I pulled out 4 full pushes.  I finally just had to bare down and get pissed off.  The room was silent through this all.  Even though we had two nurses, my doctor, a pediatrician, my mom, my husband, the parents and the grandma you would have thought the room was empty.  They all just let me do what I needed to do, they let my doctor and I have our plan and they watched me pull it together to get this baby OUT!  I rested after those 4 pushes and then again waited for another wasn't coming.  I had a moment of "how, how was this happening? These contractions can't just quit on me now, that is not fair!"  Again we went with a little cramping and again I pulled out 4 full 10 second pushes...I was pushing when you probably shouldn't be pushing, but I wasn't going to stop.  Thankfully while this was happening the baby had started to look a lot better on the monitor so I had more time to try to get this done myself.  Repeat what I did before and when another cramp started this was it...we were going to get him out.  After the second push the baby had finally moved down to where he wasn't slipping back up and we all knew his birth was near.  The intensity in the room changed to excitement.  Two more little pushes and all questions were answered to why this was such a hard and painful labor...this little guy was coming out staring right at me!  He was sunny side up and had his eyes up to the ceiling.  Oh hey there Tucker, welcome to this world!  I finally had such a huge overcoming sense of relief.  He was here, his parents had seen him and I was doing just fine!  I had a quick moment with my doctor who really pulled me through this.  He is my hero.  His silent intensity gave me the confidence and the strength to get this little guy out.  What followed was a room filled with emotion for all involved.  Tucker checked out with the pediatrician to be doing just fine and him and his mommy got to enjoy an hour of skin on skin.  He got to hear her heartbeat for the first time and you could tell he just knew she was his mommy!  He cuddled up and just went to sleep.  It was amazing.  I was doing great and the aftermath of the labor went together as it should.  I was able to lie back and relish in what I had just accomplished.  Fist pump to me!

Getting to the hospital that morning.  
If you are pregnant and looking for some super comfy and cute clothing one of my favorite sources was Belly Dance Maternity.  I purchased the greatest pair of jeans from them that got me through my pregnancy and just adore this outfit that I wore to the hospital and will very well wear again.

A moment with Tucker's mommy before the Pitocin got started.  I helped make her a mommy, but she was born to be one.  

Filled with emotions of relief, happiness and excitement that this day had finally come.

Headed home from the hospital less then 24 hours after having Tucker.  My husband and I went straight to Yard House for lunch so I could finally enjoy some Poke and a nice beverage.  It was perfect!  

You can read more about this journey here, here, here

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Target finds {black and white}

I was at Target yesterday, shocker, and just had to share a few new discoveries with you all.  If you are in the midst of creating a big boys room for a little guy in your life, these just may be a few items you'll love.  I know I did, a few are already in my home...others are still on my wish list.

I just can't stop thinking about this map and truly think it may have to come home to our house.  Where will it hang...not quite sure, but for only $17 I just can't let is sell out. They are available in-store only, but here is the link with some info.

I had to grab these plus sign sheets for my son's bed, cause they are just the perfect subtle pattern.
And who doesn't just love the plus sign trend at the moment...if you don't, no worries, total general statement, but I love this pattern.  
Even better, right now until Aug. 2nd they are 10% off through the Target Cartwheel app.

This arrow lamp has already made it into my son's side of the room.  It is the perfect amount of light for him to read with at night when his sister is already asleep.  And for only $9.99 it makes such a cute statement.
Here it is in my kids room reminding my son his head goes on his pillow. =)

These saucer chairs are so comfy and would be a great addition to a little reading corner in a modern kids space.

Those are just a few of the items I'm coveting at good ol' Target.  Happy Sunday and happy shopping all!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Greatest Gift I'll Ever Give {an update and a thank you}

I have shared a few times with you all my journey of becoming a gestational carrier for my cousin and his wife, and a few belly shots along the way.  If you missed them you can read about it here and here.  If you follow me on Instagram you've seen a few more updates and moments.  I wanted to give a little update today because this road is about to come to an end.  We are currently 36 1/2 weeks along and only have 2 1/2 weeks til induction day.  We have it all scheduled in the hopes that all goes to plan so that this little guys parents make it from the East Coast for the most special day of their lives...the day they become parents.  I am feeling a bit of stress because of this situation.  It is what really separates this experience from my own two pregnancies and births.  With my own pregnancies I had the mentality of "sure, I wouldn't mind if I went into labor before hitting 40 weeks.  That would be awesome!"  This time around it is more like "STAY IN THERE BUDDY!"  With this technically being my 3rd pregnancy we all know nature can take it's course and anything can happen.  I am just trying my darnedest to sit and rest often, when those braxton hicks kick up in the afternoon daily I sit there a pray that they go away.  I have so many emotions about this upcoming experience because it is a bit of the unknown.  I want to make sure all parties are taken care of and that we all come out of this healthy.  I am hoping for a smooth delivery soon to be followed by a swift recovery because my kids are really ready for their bouncing around, fast moving mommy to be back.  My kiddos have been champs through out this journey.  My son understands what is going on and I have appreciated his maturity involved in this.  Yes, he's been frustrated and a bit "difficult" too because he just wants me to be able to do what I used to do on a daily basis, but he's 7, I have to understand that he can't fully understand this situation.  I just want to make sure that at the end of this all he has the right amount of closure with the experience.  If that means seeing this little guy, then that is what we'll do. My daughter is a bit young.  She knows the baby in my belly isn't ours, that it is my cousins and his wife's, she knows his name and talks to him often.  We have just reminded her through out this entire time that he'd be going home with his mommy and daddy once he was big and strong enough to come out of mommy's belly.  I just hope we are able to give them both the kind of ending that they expect to this journey.  With kids it is always hard to know the real emotions they are feeling and how to address them properly.  I just hope my husband and I can pull through and make this an easy transition back to "normal" life.  As for my husband...he's been a rock star!  Not many men could watch their wives carry the baby of someone else, let's be honest.  He, on the other hand, was game from the start that this is family and of course we would do this for them.  He then was there through every step of the way...I'm talking legal contracts, meeting with psychologists, medical exams, administering my injections, watching me in such pain because of them, really stepping up in December when I could barely get out of bed and then just being there through out the course of a full pregnancy.  We are almost at the end and I just know we will be such a stronger unit because of this.  I know I haven't always been easy through out this pregnancy because it isn't ours, the responsibility just felt larger.  It's been quite the road and as much as I've enjoyed it, I'm ready for the end to come.  I'm ready to see my cousin and his wife as parents, and know that that is because of me, I'm ready to not be pregnant anymore, I'm ready to have a drink (let's be real), I'm ready to pick my kids up again and spin them around, I'm ready to sleep on my belly at night, I'm ready to be ME again.  This situation takes a lot and really isn't for the weak.  You give all of yourself to the reason behind this journey and for however long it takes to get a successful pregnancy test and full term pregnancy, you really are at the direction of others.  I knew that coming into this and I was completely on board and ready.  I'm am now 36 1/2 weeks pregnant and just tired.  Like any woman at the end of a pregnancy, especially one ending during the summer, you are just ready for it to be over.  I am ready to see the look on my cousin and his wife's face and on their families when this little miracle baby arrives.  I'm ready to get my huge pat on the back!  And I'm ready to say to myself...
"great job girl, you did it!  You are the ROCK STAR!"  

35 weeks

36 weeks

The start of maternity leave yesterday!

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