Thursday, November 27, 2014

I'm Most Thankful For...

...These guys!

We've all got so very much to be thankful for. Let's celebrate it today, and every day!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Let's Happy Dance For Friday

I don't know where Silas learned to dance like that, but I have re-watched this video more times than I can count in the last week! (With those samba moves, I think he has a future on DWTS! Ha!)

Thanksgiving is coming up this week, and I have so very much to be thankful for. Life is good, but that doesn't mean it's always easy. The last few weeks have been a little rough on me. Bad weather, a bad cold, sick children, moments of feeling sorry for myself (hate those) and strained relationships. Do you ever go through patches where nothing's really wrong, but for whatever reason you just can't communicate and get along with the people you care about the way you really want to? It's weird and frustrating and can make a person feel lonely and out of sorts.

Enough rambling. I'm hoping a quiet weekend with warmer temps, a coffee date with Matt and almost-totally-recuperated children will be just the thing to get me back on track. :) Happy weekend, guys!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Blizzard Day

It's been snowing for days. Last night and this morning have been the worst of it, with heavy snow, high winds and dangerously cold wind chill temps. A legit November blizzard! I'm glad that Olive's school closed for the day (it takes a really bad storm for schools to close around here.) Snow is best enjoyed when you don't have anywhere to be, plenty of milk in the fridge, and all your loved ones nearby to snuggle on the couch with.

Monday, November 17, 2014


We drove to the outskirts of Detroit last weekend to pick up some things at IKEA. It was such a fun trip - I totally get now why my Mom's friends would get so excited to go to IKEA once a year. It's like a grown up wonderland (maybe that's a little dramatic, but seriously, not much!) Here are some of the things we brought home...

The RASKOG cart, in the color beige. I can think of a million + one ideas for this cart, but for now I'm excited to use it for potted plants. Matt and I agree that we'll probably purchase a couple more of these beauties down the road, for the bathroom and kitchen.

I picked up an aloe vera plant and a Christmas cactus (yes, IKEA even sells plants) plus several of these pretty planters to pot them in. I like how delicate and festive they are!

We've wanted a sideboard/credenza for our dining room since we moved in, but were having a hard time deciding what we wanted. While we liked the idea of a vintage, mid-century style credenza, they are usually really expensive and often don't have the type of storage that we want. This HEMNES sofa table is not a traditional dining room sideboard, but it has the exact amount of storage that we wanted, and is at a fantastic price point. 

Olive and Silas' shared room is very small, and with two beds in it already there was little (if any) room to spare for a dresser. Luckily their closet is fairly good sized (though awkwardly shaped, with its sloped ceiling.) We got two of these narrow TARVA dressers and they fit perfectly in the kids' closet. I am so excited to FINALLY have spaces to organize their clothing! 

Speaking of the kids, I could not resist bringing home the LATT table and chairs set (only $19.99!)  It only comes with two chairs, but instead of buying a third, we chose the quirky MAMMUT children's stool ($5.59) so that all three children can (eventually) sit at the miniature table together. (Olive and Silas have insisted on eating every meal at "their" table since we assembled it. It's been a big hit!)

We picked up two new pillow covers for our sofa pillows (I can't find these particular ones online, unfortunately, but they were only $5/piece.)

Lastly, I picked up a HOLMO floor lamp on a whim, (at only $7.99, I was intrigued.) I am so impressed with it! It's a heavy, solid lamp - and so tall! It puts off a beautiful, soft light (we used this bulb.) 

Friday, November 14, 2014

T G i F

A warm scarf is a daily necessity now.

Watching a firetruck go by on what may have been our last warm, "green" day till May.

My happy place, with my happy coffee. (Still can't give up the cold brew!)

This week:

-We got hit with our first snowstorm of the season. This year's going to be a learning experience for me, as I'll be having to drive in it everyday getting Olive back and forth to school. Hopefully I'll feel a little less scared when we get new snow tires on the van next week.

-I'm excited to go into Detroit tomorrow for a big IKEA trip! It's been in the works for months, and I can hardly wait!

-I've been reading Susan Howatch's book "Glittering Images" on my Kindle. It's such an interesting story, (pretty mature themes, but presented extremely well.) I love a book that you have to take slowly and really chew on.

-After mourning what I thought was a total lack of anything worth watching on the internet, Matt and I found "Falling Skies" through our Amazon Prime account and - wow! We're so impressed with the quality of writing and acting on the show! I usually think sci-fi is too cheesy, but alien-invasion-storyline be darned, this is a great show! (I love being sucked into a good story during cold, snow-bound nights.)

-At the very beginning of this week I determined our family was going to eat really healthfully, and things were going swimmingly until Wednesday when I made a small batch of cinnamon rolls (I used this Chebe mix) and then ate most of them myself. (Oops.) 

-Are you starting to worry think about Christmas gifts yet? I am, and was really inspired by these ideas!

-I know I am embarrassingly late to this party, however - can we talk about T-Swift for a quick sec? I have "Shake it Off" stuck in my head 24/7, and funny thing is I don't really mind too much. A good song to run to. Also, THIS video makes me cry laughing.

-Another song constantly stuck in my head...

You should hear Silas sing it - it's the BEST. (Wait, why am I admitting that?)

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

32 / 52

Portraits of my children once a week, for a year.

Olive - Has been asking every day for me to teach her how to weave. I have procrastinated way too long, but today is finally the day I'm going to surprise her with my loom all set up and ready for her to start practicing on when she gets home from school!

Silas - I got to sleep in a bit this morning, (hallelujah!) and when I came downstairs Silas barreled towards me with the biggest smile on his face and arms outstretched. Made my day! I am so thankful for my affectionate, funny, sweet son.

Oona - Has developed the habit of needing to tug my hair every time I feed her a bottle. I simultaneously love and hate it - (ouch!) 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

DIY Christmas Card Family Photos

Last Christmas was I think the first year since Matt and I have been married that I did not send any Christmas cards out. I was almost 9 months pregnant, exhausted and stressed and just decided cards were an easy thing to cut from my holiday to-do list to make life easier. The funny thing was, it really bummed me out not sending anything out last year, not because I think Christmas cards are all that important but because they've always been something I've really enjoyed doing every year.

After missing out on the fun last year, I made getting cards done this year a priority. I wrangled my family of 5 into somewhat-coordinating plaid outfits and coerced them to accompany me to a local farm on an unusually warm November day to take family pictures. 

We're do-it-ourselves kind of people, so we knew we wanted to take our own pictures and save the expense of hiring a photographer. I just set all the settings on my dSLR for my sister and coached her on taking the pictures. It wasn't the easiest set-up but it worked out well in the end! (You did a great job Grace!)

We personalized and ordered our cards from Tiny Prints this year, and we couldn't be happier with the printed results! 

Getting pleasant pictures of three children under 5 years old together is no easy feat. Some tips I would recommend if you are a do-it-yourself photographer like me:

-Make sure the little ones are well rested and fed! Also, pack a special treat to use as a motivator for following directions and being patient. (M&Ms are great for this!) 

-After dinner, around sunset, is a great time to plan for outdoor family photos. The lighting is ideal!

-Try not to think "matching" outfits, but rather "complimentary" colors/patterns etc. Your pictures will look more natural and relaxed.

-Trying to get children to pose is often exhausting and fruitless. Aim for happy candid shots by making the shoot fun! When our kids started getting crabby we made a game out of throwing leaves into the air and ended up getting our favorite shots that way! Incorporate fun props, do a human pyramid, play ring-around-the-rosie - I promise everyone will look happy and animated in your photos. Photos that tell a story are always more interesting than posed portraits.

-Get "perfection" out of your head before you even start. Life with young children is unavoidably crazy and messy and it's ok for your photos to reflect a bit of that honest, beautiful chaos. Remember, this is a special, short lived season of life - embrace it and just go with the flow!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Oona at 10 Months

I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that our little Ooners turned 10 months old yesterday (will she really be one year old in just 2 months?! How can it be?) 

Oona is a seriously delightful baby. (And I'm not just saying that 'cause I'm her mama.) She just oozes charm and - cuteness. From her husky laugh, mischievous grin and crazy antics - she knows how to enchant every one she meets! She's very active; always climbing and crawling and walking along the edges of furniture. She really likes to feed herself now - she loves her puffs. She is sleeping much better these days, but does not like to go to sleep when her older siblings do. I think she just likes having an hour of mom and dad all to herself before going to sleep.

We love you so much, Oona Caroline! Slow down on growing up so fast!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

31 / 52

Portraits of my kids once a week for a year.

Olive - Just came home from school and we're curled up on the couch together watching "Ella Enchanted." I love hanging out with her.

Silas - Obsessed with Matt lately. He asks repeatedly "where's Dad?" (which gets old pretty quickly since Matt is always in his office, just a few steps away!)

Oona - She had us rolling with laughter during her bath last night. She gets so crazy - trying to eat bubbles and splashing everything (and everyone) in sight!

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Very Pleasant Morning

Is there anything better than waking up to a clean house, happy + healthy children, sunny skies and a cup of pumpkin spice coffee? I think not.