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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Spring Refresh.

Spring!  It's here!  Can you believe it?!  Because I barely can.  I mean, here in Michigan spring means that it might be 60 degrees one day and 30 degrees the next, but hey, after the nasty winter we had, I'll take it.  

Spring always puts me in the mood to shake things up a bit.  I'm trying not to let myself start yet another project, but I can't help but brighten things up a bit.  The upstairs "hallway" is already a really bright space because it gets tons of light, but it was looking kinda drab and impersonal.  

I started by adding a couple of personalized wreaths on our bedroom doors.  Truthfully, I don't love them.  I think I might like them more if I painted the wreaths white and pulled the letters out front more.  Who knows!  Something for a later date.

I also took the time to finally hang a set of square shelves that I snagged from Target a few months ago.  I added a few fun things on the shelves, including a photo of Brian and I.  We have so few photos of us, and I just love this one, so outside our room seemed like the perfect spot.  


In the family room, I dusted off the shelves and all of the decor on them, and then started playing around with what might go where.  I tried to make sure that each shelf has a little bit of green on it, even though most of them are fake.  

I actually love fake plants!  Partially because I'm not very good at keeping things alive (other than children and pets of course) and partially because I can keep them in these little places that don't get much sunlight.  

After approximately 8 weeks of not seeing the top of my dining room table, I finally cleared it off.  Look at that shine!  A simple white tray holds a few pretty things -- nothing too fancy, just fresh.  Especially because things on this level seem to disappear quickly.  My boys like to rearrange things for me, hence the fact that the turtle was soon replaced with a wooden apple.

It's amazing how easily a few changes can freshen up a home.  Colors, flowers, photos ... or even just a clear table :D

Happy Spring!!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Project 365: Week 5.

Apparently this was Mr. Beckett week.  It's funny how some kids are more camera-friendly than others at certain times.  I'm thrilled with my natural light photography.  I'm finally feeling comfortable with a solid exposure triangle, and I think my white balance is getting better.  One thing I was trying to practice this week was low-light photography.  The dentist photo turned out pretty good, but the sleeping photo was not great.  I tried to get away with not using the tripod ... big mistake.  It's something to work on!  

April 18 - Pull-up head.

April 19 - Zoo peacock.

April 20 - Sleepy Beckett.

April 21 - Cleaning the pearly whites.

April 22 - Roses and apples.

April 23 - Cooper got a haircut.

April 24 - At the park.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What a difference 3 years makes.

 Do you use the Timehop app?  If you're not familiar, it's an app that pulls up your social media history each day.  If you're not huge on social media, you may reap many benefits.  My history from over 4 years ago is a bit light, but man, since then I have lots of ... history.  Specifically, 3 years ago.

As you may or may not recall, 3 years ago I had two 7 month olds and a 2.5 year old.  So, life was a bit chaotic.  I had a hubby who worked all the time and was home alone with my chaos all the time, so social media was the way I connected with the world.  This was also the time that I was deep in fight against postpartum depression and anxiety, so I love to reminisce and see how far I've come in the last 3 years.

Yesterday's Timehop feed really hit me.  I posted to Facebook 6 times in one day.  SIX TIMES.  Reading through everything, it's painfully clear that I was feeling lonely and in need of someone to talk to.  But this was also a very momentous day.  I will never, ever forget this day in my entire life.  It was the day that I got my Mommy-Groove back.

See, the day started out being very, very crazy.  So crazy, in fact, that I posted this at 9:43 a.m....

I'm sure it got worse before it got better.  I'm sure that the 2.5 year old was whiny and the babies were chaos.  I'm sure that I cried.  I don't remember the specifics, but I do remember the exact moment that I decided that we were getting out.  I was in the kitchen, Brennan was hanging on my leg, Beckett had just woke up after only 30 minutes sleeping and had woken up Kiernan with his screams, and now they were both screaming in their beds which I was frantically trying to get lunch ready for Brennan and bottles ready for the cranky ones.  

It hit me like a ton of bricks.  I HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE.  Like, now.  So after they babies had bottles and Brennan had lunch, I packed up the crew and headed out the door.  I clearly remember trying to decide where we were going.  Park?  Too chaotic.  Grocery store?  Not necessary.  Zoo.  The zoo!  I place I could push the littles in the stroller and let Brennan roam without getting too far from me.  So, to the zoo we went.  

We strolled through the zoo, treated ourselves to some Dippin' Dots, and I remember thinking to myself, "Wow.  WOW.  I just did this.  I DID IT!"  I was on such a high from my new found Mommy-Groove, that I had to tell Brian about it in person, so we even stopped by his office on the way home.  I just remember feeling so ... PROUD.  

And apparently all of the pride continued, because I also shared this gallery of Twin Pregnancies over on Babble ... which my belly and I happened to be featured in.  

Oh, and then there was a storm!  Because that's what happens in Florida -- sun one minute, thunderstorm the next.  

Then some cute babies ate some dinner and smiled a lot afterward.  

I'm sure Brian came home super late that night while I was dead asleep.  Or maybe I was awake, I probably talked his ear off until we both fell asleep. I really don't remember, but those are really the only 2 ways our evenings went back in those days.  Regardless, I will always remember that day.  The day that I finally felt like I could wrangle my babies all by myself.  It was a beautiful, beautiful day.  

Any time I have a crazy day, I think about my life 3 years ago and remind myself that I've been through much, much more chaos.  At least now leaving the house doesn't require an hour of preparations.  At least now I can tell my kids to jump in the car and buckle up instead of carrying everyone to the car and buckling them myself.  At least now I can drink my sorrows away without worrying about the pump-and-dump.  Hehe.  I mean, I miss the cute, chubby baby stage, but my sanity is oh so sweet.  

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Project 365: Week 4

Another week in the books, er, blog!  This is getting easier. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I'm leaving my camera out on the kitchen counter. Not great for keeping the kitchen clutter-free, but good for the Project 365!

April 11 - My subject for my painting class.  

April 12 - Waffle blocks.

April 13 - My pretty sister.

April 14 - Just messin' around.

 April 15 - Cooperzilla.

April 16 - White.

April 17 - Dinner inspection.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Project 365: Week 3.

My friend Jessica asked me the other day why I blog a ton for a little while and then there's radio silence for a bit.  It made me laugh, because she's spot on.  The short answer is that I'm in project mode, so any free-time I have is projects, projects, projects.  Remember this post about all of the things that I wanted to accomplish in March?  Well, I'm still working on it :D  Maybe it'll all be done by the end of April!

Anywho, here's the latest photo lineup!  I struggled a bit to remember to get the big camera out every day, so there are a few pics from the phone camera, but that's OK too!

April 4 - Daddy's birthday cake.

April 5 - Lashes.  Lashes for days.

April 6 - Stray Easter grass on the Easter wreath.  

April 7 - Spring is here!!

April 8 - Phone camera selfie

April 9 - Watching the storm roll by after the tornado warning.  

April 10 - Bubbles

Monday, April 6, 2015

Project 365: Week 2

Taking a photo every single day is hard.  I'm hanging in there though!  I feel rusty with my camera. I'm trying to push myself to shoot more difficult (for me) situations - using my speedlite, shooting my kids doing something cute even if conditions aren't optimal, etc.  I love searching for great light, but I also want to get good practice capturing the unexpected kiddo moments.  I'm working on it!

 March 28 - Movie night.

March 29 - Morning snuggles.

March 30 - Trucks, blocks, and policemen.  

March 31 - Apples.

April 1 - My Mr. Beckett.

April 2 - Superhero convention.

April 3 - Egg art.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Coat closet remodel.

A little coat closet remodel has been in the cards since about the minute we closed on the house.  Both entrances to our house are through the foyer - the front door and also the laundry room, which leads to the garage, our main point of entry.  The laundry room is too narrow to function as a mudroom, so all of our shoes, coats, and bags land in the closet in the foyer.  

I tucked a little set of bookshelves into the closet to catch shoes, but there was no place to store bags and the boys couldn't reach their own coats.  A massive lack of practical storage led to the foyer always looking like a disaster zone.

And I can't even blame the little boys.  Brian and I are insanely terrible at maintaining an orderly space if it's not practical.  We need it to be easy to keep clean, and this space was anything but easy!

I mean honestly, why is there a random pool cue and other crap taking up space?  Because it was shoved in there at some point and that space wasn't practical for anything else, so the pool cue stayed.  Until one day, when I tried to take the art supplies out of the closet for the boys and the pool cue fell on my head.  

When I stopped seeing stars, I pulled everything out of the closet and decided to start from scratch.  At first, I thought I would add some shoe storage outside of the closet, turn the bookshelf sideways, and find another home for pool cues and Halloween costumes.  

I grabbed a Bissa shoe cabinet from Ikea to help, but that wire shelf.  It was taunting me.  My kids cannot reach it.  And they're at the age where they actually can put their coats on and off by themselves.  But if they cannot reach them, it defeats the purpose.  So the wire had to go.  And the bookshelf went to live in the garage.  

I decided that hooks at the kids' level was the way to go.  I researched the cost of hooks, hooks and rails, and all kinds of other options.  The cheapest way to go was the Leksvik rack from Ikea (it's listed for $12.99 now, but was only $6.99 when I got them).  

Next up, I needed more shoe storage.  The boys' shoes fit into the Bissa shoe rack, but I needed something for Brian & I as well.  I grabbed 12 shelf brackets from Lowes and Brian used some plywood we had leftover from the basement shelves to make shelves for the closet.  

The shelves were already stained, but some of the edges were raw wood from Brian cutting the shelves.  I thought about painting the edges, but went the lazy route and used washi tape instead.  Spoiler alert - washi tape does not stick well to raw wood.  Not even with double stick tape, super glue, or a variety of other things that I tried. There is paint in the future for these shelf edges!

 I'm in love with the end result.  It's pretty, and more importantly it works.  The little blue cube holds hats and gloves, as it still gets a bit chilly here in the mornings and evenings.  Once the warm weather hits, it'll be a landing spot for flip flops.  And it's also a great stool for me to sit on while I tie shoes.  The white bin on the top shelf holds adult hats and gloves now, but will be swapped out for sunscreen once warm weather really hits.  

I also love that we have a little drop zone for the boys' sunglasses.  They looooove sunglasses and we have a million pair, but we could never find them.  Problem solved!

Nice smelling flowers are a must in the foyer, to create a welcoming smell and to cover boy-shoe-stink.  Hyacinths fit the bill!  Also, we like to keep a pencil on the floor next to the shoe cabinet, just in case anyone might need to write something down in that exact spot.  (<<< sarcasm).  Come on, be honest.  Did you spot it before I mentioned it? 

Snow boots have been swapped out for rain boots, and they sit on the lowest shelf for the shortest people to be able to reach.   The boys can get their own shoes and coats and put them away when they're done!  Independence is a big step for 3 year olds, and mine are becoming fiercely independent when it comes to coats and shoes.  The 5 year old, on the other hand, leaves a trail of his stuff from the door into the kitchen.  We're working on it.  

It try to keep the closet clear of too many coats and bags.  Only what we're currently using belongs in there; spare bags are in upstairs closets and out-of-season coats are in basement storage.  

Brian and I only keep our most used shoes down here. Anything that isn't getting much use goes upstairs into our bedroom.  Wanna know a secret?  Those heels are my fave, but they get much less use than my running shoes.  They're prettier than my running shoes though, so they got to steal the spot for the photos.  Keepin' it real folks.

To say that I love this makeover is an understatement.  It helps make our foyer a bit more welcoming and a bit less of a disaster zone.  It proves that a space just needs to function well in order to keep clean.  And it was very budget friendly!  The  Leksvik hook & rail were a killer price when I got them, making it extra affordable.  

Budget Breakdown:

Ikea Leksvik hook & rail - $6.99 x4 = $27.96
Shelf Brackets - $1.68 x12 = $20.16
Wood for shelves = already had!
Ikea Bissa shoe cabinet = $24.99

Grand total = $73.11

Some kind of camouflage for that 90s-tastic doorbell is in the works, as is adding another family photo or two to that wall.  But I'm sure that will happen some random Wednesday afternoon when I walk past it for the 982734238472nd time and decide that I've had enough and it's time to do something about it.  Because that's how I roll!

Linking up at Link Party Palooza @ Tatertots & Jello, Creative Collection Link Party @ Classy Clutter, The Inspiration Gallery at Chronicles of HomeHandmade Hangout @ A Glimpse Inside