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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Catherine's Room

I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner today to show you Catherine's room.

Not much has changed since this post {when we hadn't even decided on her name}.

I still love it, though. It's a calm kind of room.

It's about time to change out the prints above her bed...perhaps some Cs?

This is still my favorite spot, of course. :)

Love her mobile {via Brittany} and curtain {Target}!

The elephant brigade on her desk...Dolly is sitting in for elephant lovey, who's been missing since the Alabama trip {yipes}...

Friends were right when they said her stuff would probably take over the office part. We moved the big bookshelf into the library and replaced it with her swing. And we're actually thinking of putting our {giant} desk in the garage to open up the space a bit more. I hope she likes her room as she grows up!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Weekend Reading

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I'm pressing pause on this...


...to read this.


Nevertheless, that's what I'm reading this weekend. What about you?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cousins!

My cousin {first cousin, once removed, if you want to get technical} and his wife were in town from New Mexico this week, so they stopped by the house to visit.


We were so excited to see them! It's always fun to get together with family, and it's one of the things I miss most about living in Alabama--connecting with extended family like this.

It had been years since we got together. How long?

Well, this is the last known picture of us from a family reunion.

And where was I for all the group picture-taking fun?

Examining credit card application forms{?!?!} apparently.

This photo keeps cracking me up. The hair, the outfit, the expression. Oh my.

Anyway, we had a great visit, and Miss Catherine was on her best behavior, even though it was just about bedtime.

When she got a little fussy, I rocked her while we talked, and she went straight off to sleep. I told Jason that I have so many memories of crawling up in my mother's lap and dozing while the grown-ups talked at visits like this.

It felt weirdly wonderful to be the grown-up holding my own little one.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Organizing the Closet

When I was a kid, I {independently} lined up all the clothes in my little closet and started to wear them in order. That meant shorts in the winter, inappropriate clothes to church, etc. {Think my ISTJ tendencies started early?}

My poor mother.

Fast forward to adulthood, and I still wear things in order. But now I split up my tops and bottoms. For instance, I keep my skirts and pants in the order I wear them {so as not to repeat too often}, but I organize my shirts by style and color.

However, this all changed with the maternity period.

By the last few weeks of the pregnancy, I was happy with whatever fit, and that wasn't much! {Flashback...aw...}

As I've slowly started to get back into my regular clothes, I've kept things divided based on what fits and what doesn't yet as well as divided between work clothes and weekend clothes. {This will get even more complicated in the fall when I'm back to wearing a skirt or dress every day.}

So this is the closet now. {The only carpeted space in our house, oddly enough.}

I'm thinking its reorganization might be a fun little weekend project, and, looking at these pictures makes it even more clear that it is needed!

Any suggestions? How do you organize your closet?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

If We Couldn't Laugh We Would All Go Insane

So, in an effort to actually use our dining room, we had dinner at the table last night. Everything was going pretty well. Jason and I had just about finished our meal like civilized adults when Miss C plunged her hand into my mashed potatoes.

We got that cleaned up but really could have left it alone since she ended up smearing her sweet potatoes all over herself {including in her hair} and all over me.

After she'd finished, we left to clean her up and came back in to find Fred ON THE TABLE cleaning off the rest of the food.

We are apparently hillbillies.

{Rest assured--baby, table, and plates were all well cleaned by the end of the night.}

Monday, June 25, 2012

Resting Weekend

Jason pitched in to help with the house {thank you, darlin}, and we got almost all of the cleaning and laundry accomplished on Friday night, leaving a glorious Saturday ahead to work on projects, read {!}, spend time with my little one, and let Jason hang out at Starbucks. {Bless his heart, he deserves some introvert time on the weekend.} I think the Friday night cleaning might be a staple for us from now on; it helped make Saturday feel like a Saturday.

I also made a couple of batches of baby food, and it really was so easy.


Honestly, I can't imagine buying it pre-made would have been any easier or cheaper, and I like the thought of knowing exactly what Catherine is eating right now. I also bought organic bananas and sweet potatoes for her, something that we've not done before because of the difference in price. And I could have sworn they tasted better, but I wondered if that was only because I knew they were organic. So I foresee a tasting experiment in our future.

With a wonderful Saturday like that, you might think Sunday would have been equally wonderful. You would be wrong. ;)


I don't know if it's a growth spurt, teething, or what, but Catherine the Great {earning her nickname at times like these} has been awake at night for the past three nights. I know, I know, I shouldn't complain since she started sleeping through the night at six weeks old. But once you get used to sleeping through the night, it makes it hard when it unexpectedly just disappears!

So we were worn out on Sunday morning and decided to have church at home. And she decided that naps were overrated that day. At one point, I had the brilliant idea of napping with her in our bed, and it was...just...didn't go well. {For someone who loves naps as much as I do, that afternoon was terribly sad!}

Anyway, grouchiness resulted after the failed nap and when I realized that I had gotten overly secure about the weekend's to-dos and still had to do the grocery shopping and the budget as well as finish the laundry. Our first triple-digit day didn't help either {summer is my nemesis}.

So, by the end of the day, I was just in a tizzy, and I think Catherine sensed that as well. She was fussy going down last night, and we had been doing the Baby Whisperer's "pick up-put down" for an hour past her usual bedtime. Finally, I just stopped, sat down in her room, and held her, patting her back and resolving to stay for as long as it took.

But then as I put my cheek on her little head that was snuggled up on my chest and looked down, amazed as always, at how long her legs have gotten, I finally started to unwind, breathe more slowly, and just "be". And so did she. We had some sweet time, and, in about five minutes, she was happily asleep {waking four hours later, but that's beside the point}.

It was another time that God reminded me that it is always better to rest in Him. Jason also reminded me that, even when I'm grouchy, we're still friends. :) So the night ended well, and this morning looked a little brighter.

This week, inspired by the baby food, I'm planning to make a few {simple} dishes from scratch instead of from a box. We're also going to attempt to eat dinner at the table instead of in front of the television. A slower pace, quieter evenings, and resting in the knowledge that God loves me.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bama Bathroom

This is another favorite room in the house: the guest bathroom. {Seriously!}

Before you get to looking, I wanted to do a quick disclaimer. I hope these house posts don't sound like bragging {or whining about what I still want!} or as if I'm overly focused on the house and material things.

We're first-time homeowners, so it's been fun to document the changes and improvements we've made in the last year. We're also on a shoestring budget {more like half a shoestring actually}, so I'm always encouraged to see what other people have been able to do on the cheap and wanted to share what we've done, too. So much of what is in our house has been generously given to us, so, in every room, we're reminded to be thankful and to be generous with others as well.

With that said, this is our guest bathroom! Actually, it's the one we use too when guests aren't here because the water pressure in the shower is about 50 times better than that in the master bath. {Need to get that checked probably.}

This is another room we painted the "official" Alabama gray {a darker shade than we used in C's bedroom}, so we thought we'd go all out with the Bama decor.

Houndstooth shower curtain {found on Amazon}...


Alabama records {via Half-Price and Ebay}...


And a couple of DIYs. I made black and silver photo frames a few years ago, so I just repainted one of those white and added a picture from our trip home.

And one of my favorites! We had also picked up a small can of the Alabama crimson when we bought the gray paint, and I kept telling Jason I wanted to do a sign like this that looked like a piece of scrap wood. We actually have some genuine ;) scrap wood pieces around the house, but nothing seemed right. Then I just found this piece on one of our walks, and it was perfect! {And we received the Denny Chimes print with our diplomas.}

In here, the only other thing I'd like to do is replace the floor one day. Otherwise, we love our Bama bathroom! Roll Tide!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Reading...er, Dining Room

I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner today to show you our dining room.

This is one that I've been meaning to post for awhile because we've changed it a lot! This is the only "before" picture I have; it's from my pal Shelley's baby shower.

Basically, we had the piano, one bookshelf, and the dining room table {another piece courtesy of Dad}. And it just wasn't working for us.

Except when friends or family are here, we mostly eat in the living room {shameful, I know}, and it just felt like wasted space that we were "supposed" to reserve for a few times each year.

So one day Jason asked what I would think about turning it into a library. Moving most of our bookshelves in, using the table for study space {except, of course, when we do need to eat in there}, and just creating this cozy little area.

I loved the idea! We really enjoy studying and reading in there now, and it seems like it will be a fun space to do things like Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. {Our Bama bookshelf is below.}

I'm so thankful to still have the piano I got when I was 11! Playing is an instant stress reliever for me, and I can't wait to teach Catherine to play as well. The Renoir print was picked up on a high school trip to France, and I always envisioned it over the piano. I get overwhelmed with gratitude to think about how we have a place for it now--complete with a little girl!

Dad had also brought the cushions we used growing up with the chairs, but they were country blue and flowered, so my talented friend Audra recovered them in houndstooth. The chair is also from Dad, and it's one of my favorite places to curl up {as well as Fred's}. At some point, it would be nice to have another similar chair to go on each end of the table for family dinners and such. The silver bowl is an Arthur Court piece we got for the wedding {we love the elephant line, of course}.


The print on the wall was a wedding gift from Jason's friend. It's a Chinese character that means "double blessing," and she brought it back from China when she was living in the area. The lamp shade and the little table were both tossed out at our apartment complex, so I snatched those up promptly, gave them a good cleaning, and made them ours.

There are only a few things on the project/wish list for this room. I'd like new lighting that's not brassy. And I'd like to do some letters kind of like this {shout-out to Cougar Town} Maybe have an "eat" and a "read" for the wall just beyond the bookshelves.



We've also debated getting a rug. We don't want anything that's too much like carpet, but we're not sure what material {or pattern} we would like. No rush on that, though.

So there's our dining library. Can't wait to see yours!

Friday, June 22, 2012

In Which I Recommend Reading

You know when you find a blog you really like, and you have to go back through and read all the archives too? {Please tell me someone else does that!}

Well, I've been doing that this week with Sarah Bessey, and I've officially moved from really liking to loving her writing! It's as if she has some kind of secret messaging system going on with my brain and heart, and then she writes down what I think and feel more beautifully than I ever could.

I keep catching myself saying "Yes!" and "Amen to that!" and wanting to quote entire blog posts to Jason. She talks about faith and mothering and takes lovely pictures {and starts all of her posts with "in which"}, and I really really think you should check her out. Her writing will do your soul good.

Also recommended is Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. My bestie, Shelley, loaned this to me AGES ago, but I'm just now getting to it.

It's such a beautiful little book. And it's amazing that she wrote it more than 50 years ago, but she was tackling so many things my friends and I still stress about.

I mean to lead a simple life...But I do not...For life today in America is based on the premise of ever-widening circles of contact and communication. It involves not only family demands, but community demands, national demands, international demands on the good citizen, through social and cultural pressures, through newspapers, magazines, radio programs, political drives, charitable appeals, and so on. My mind reels with it. What a circus act we women perform every day of our lives. It puts the trapeze artist to shame. Look at us. We run a tight rope daily, balancing a pile of books on the head.

And this was before Facebook! ;)

It's one of those books that makes you slow down, breathe more deeply, and remember the importance of reflection, solitude, and purposeful living.

So that's what I'll be reading this weekend. What about you?

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Stripes!

Pardon the Photo Booth photos, but Jason was still asleep when I left this morning. {Although, not for long, thanks to Miss C.}

Thanks to generous friends who let me borrow their clothes, this shirt is one of the few maternity items I purchased. And it's not technically maternity, I just got it when I was getting a bit chubby at the beginning, but now I love it! The stripes feel very summery.


Shirt: Target...on sale
Pants: Good ol' Parisian...bought on sale before we left Alabama
Shoes: Coach, a splurge when I was still splurging on such things. In my defense, they were on sale {notice a trend?}, and they have lasted for 10 years. Not too shabby!

As for what the little gal's wearing...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Five Months!

Happy five months, Miss C! Boy oh boy, we love this little girl.

She's looking more grown up to me and keeps changing on us. She's about 14 pounds, and her 6-9 month clothes are getting short on her {even though they swallow her around the middle}. Here's the rest of the latest.

At five months, she is...

-loving rolling over. It's hard to keep her on her back these days! She flips after she's finished eating {not surprising then that the spit-up continues}, on the changing table, and when she's just hanging out. Occasionally, she'll roll over when she's sleeping, so we have to roll her back over. {She still has trouble going from her tummy to her back.}


-eating some solid foods. We were nervous about this transition, but we should have known that she would take it in stride {easy-going, this one}. So far, she has really enjoyed bananas and sweet potatoes. First time: she grabbed that spoon from me and tried to feed herself!

-showing some independence. {See the engrossing spoon story from the previous paragraph.} ;) She's also holding her own bottle {gets two during the day while I'm at work}. She also likes to try to wipe her own mouth with the burp cloth and is starting to grab for glasses {both the drinking kind and the kind Jason wears}.

-reaching for us to pick her up. This melts my heart, and I love it! Tough to resist, though, when it's time to go to sleep, but she's not quite ready.

-still doing sweet things like giving us "kisses" {leans open-mouthed into our cheek}, "talking" {mostly babbling, but she frequently will say "hey," although not on command just yet}, snuggling, smiling, laughing, and so many other fun things.


She also likes to feel different textures and keeps reaching for the track pad on my laptop. Jason thinks it's just because she wants to touch it, but I have decided she is trying to operate electronics at an early age. Clearly, brilliant.

Aaaand...she's a piano prodigy...all at the young age of five months.

Exaggeration aside, we love our girl, and we're so thankful to have this time with her!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day Weekend

We had a great time celebrating Jason's first Father's Day!

This little girl loves her daddy, I tell you, and I'm so thankful that the two of them get to hang out every day. {Although, I admit, sometimes I miss being part of the party, too!} ;)

And I'm thinking that God took this post as a prayer, or maybe some of you have been praying for me. If so, thank you! And please keep it up!

Because, somehow, with the same amount of work and hours and everything, all the to-dos were done this weekend {even the ironing, despite what you see in the background}.

Not only that, but we also had time to visit with friends, Skype with family, eat out for Sunday lunch, take a nap{!!}, and do a couple of house projects {one I'll show you later this week}.

I'm not sure how it all came together, but I sure am thankful. I had an extra little spring in my step this morning after being reminded that I am loved by my King, and it makes my heart want to sing!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Le Boudoir

I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner to show you our master bedroom this weekend. {The guest room still needs a lot of work.}

There are a lot of things I like about our bedroom. We've got a bit of a coffee shop feel going on in there. Jason painted it a light brown, and we use a lot of calming blue as well. Even Fred's bed is blue! And one of our house rules is no TV in the bedroom, so that helps keep it quiet. Mostly we sleep and relax in there. {Sorry this photo is a bit blurry.}

But there are a few areas for improvement. Mainly, I hate our curtains. We needed something to cover the windows when we moved in, and these matched our stuff. And I don't know why, but I hate them. I haven't been able to find something else I like yet, though, so this is it for now.

We also recently moved out the big bookshelf we had in there, and I have no idea what to do with this wall.

The bedroom feels a bit like being back in my childhood room. When we moved in, my dad brought a truckload of stuff {literally}, so I have my old dresser {above} and vanity {both found at an antique store in Tuscaloosa when I was a kid}.

I'd like to get a little stool to go with the vanity at some point. The plate is from a high school trip to Greece, and I use the little box for some of my jewelry. The idea is to keep fresh flowers in the vase, but that's become more of a special treat! {You can partially see a mirror behind the vanity--it will go in the guest room once we decide what color to paint it.}

This old sewing machine is one of my favorite pieces {my brother-in-law's art on top}. My dad said it should still work but just needs a new belt. Anyone know an expert in sewing machine repair?

I also really like the area where our bed is. {We recently switched the bed to a different wall, so we're still getting used to the placement.} My bookshelf is next to where we sleep, and the coffee prints on the opposite wall are fun.

I'm not crazy about our bedding, though. We had a white down comforter that Fred ruined {that makes twice he's done that!}, so, like the curtains, we had to settle for something quickly. We got this tan one that is thinner than the white one was, and I'm just not crazy about it. The pillows could also use refreshing, so there's a lot on the project/wish list for the bedroom!

And I love our art above the bed, but this is a classic example of why we're not big DIY people. I found the art from this fellow, and I knew I wanted them in one big frame instead of two small ones. We had trouble finding an affordable frame, and then we spotted this one that our neighbor had tossed out. {While I'm not big on DIY, I am all about reclaiming and upcycling someone else's junk. ;) }

Jason painted it white, and I thought a cork board backing would be fun. So I took it to Hobby Lobby and told them what I wanted. The {well-meaning} worker there convinced me that I could put it together myself for a fraction of the price, and I got all inspired.

Six months, many tears, and much frustration later...

Jason said, at one point, that doing stuff like this reminds him of why he'd rather work with digital art. I told him it's why I'd rather "pay the man" to do it for me.

But it's pretty, and we did it ourselves. So there's that.

And, finally, this is my bookshelf/nightstand. On top are the indispensable Kate Spade books, a catch-all basket, my worry dolls, books I'm currently reading {an encyclopedia entry each day}, and a picture of my grandmothers.

Below you'll find the CatherineCam, an elephant ring holder, the bank used to save my pennies, an engagement photo, and, sadly, my to-be-read books. Yep, three shelves worth.

Can't wait to see some of the other bedrooms since I need some inspiration!

Read from the beginning...