Friday, December 31, 2010

Confession Friday - New Years Eve!

Happy New Years Eve, everybody!

I confess that we're spending New Years Eve with my parents, and I'll be lucky if I get Eric to last until 9:00. I'm almost positive I'll be ringing in the new year all by my lonesome.

I confess that out of all of Evelyn's crazy antics this week, my favorite has been the underwear backpack. Observe:

 The girl is fashionably ahead of her time.

I confess that Eric and I big-time splurged on a new flash for our camera this week, so we don't have to take washed out pictures like the ones above anymore. 

I confess that we received chocolate covered cookies for Christmas from a financial planner in Hawaii again this year, and I have eaten every single one so far. At least a dozen a day. For real. They are so addicting, and I want them out of my house! And if that means I have to eat them all myself to ensure that they are gone for good, then so be it. :)

I confess that I am so getting some work done after I'm through having children. I'm only on baby number two and it's quite apparent that some things are just never ever going to be the same. So go ahead and start the gossiping now, cause if you're ever asking "did she or didn't she?" you can bet she did. 

I confess that I have indeed become a closet Oprah viewer during her last season, and I am actually looking forward to the launch of her new network tomorrow. Bwahaha...don't shoot! I have some friends who are looking at me cross-eyed right now, I'm sure.

I confess that Grace is only two months old and...wait for it...I'm already getting baby fever. What?? No one is more shocked by this than me. Evelyn was a surprise. Grace was a surprise. If things would have worked out according to "my life plan" then I would probably be pregnant with my first child about now. So why in the world do I want three kids at 25? I have no idea. I guess this mommy gig is cooler than I thought! And being a mom of more than one is not NEARLY as difficult as I thought it would be. But don't worry, Eric and I both want to wait to have any more kids. Well...of course...the first two were surprises, so.... :)

I confess that I'm not that sad about taking down all of the Christmas decor this year and getting the house back to normal. Usually I dread taking down all of the holiday pretties, but I've been stopping myself all week and making myself wait until after the New Year. 

I confess that Eric and I have already agreed that when we own a home, we're going to hire one of those services to come to our house and hang lights for us, haha. Hanging the lights is fun, taking them down in the dead of winter...not so much.

I confess that our trip to Gymboree for the big sale on Sunday did not go as planned. UGH!! Yes, we went. But guess what? I didn't realize until the night before (Christmas day) that all of my coupons had expired. We spent more time hunting down coupons than I did shopping, and we NEVER found one. Luckily, over the course of this week I've tracked down three, and we're heading back to the store for a price adjustment and some more shopping this weekend! 

I confess that I'm going to miss 2010. Such a nice number. 

Have a fun and SAFE New Years Eve!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

CJT: Swimming in Flowery Letters

Alright, so any time you see the letters CJT, just know that I'm referring to this whole room makeover thing, because it gets tiresome typing out "Change Jar Transformation" all the time. <-- Whew! Like that. See, now I'm beat. :)

This is what happens when lilies and violets meet. :) 

"Sisters are different flowers from the same garden."

Sigh. What a beautiful little sentiment. And so appropriate for our girls, too. Evelyn and Grace are OUR little flowers, and we named them accordingly. Evie's middle name is Lily, and Grace's middle name is Violet. (I believe "Daisy" will be next up should we have any more girls. I'd prefer Rose, as it's much easier to match a first name with Rose than with Daisy, but alas, the name Rose reminds Eric of a crabby old lady we once knew, so it's out.)

^ I was taught to never end a paragraph in parenthesis, but I do it all.the.time. Bwahaha, take that English professors!

So I knew I wanted to use this quote in the girls' bedroom somehow. I never dreamed what a nightmare it would turn out to be to make that happen. The story really isn't all that interesting. Just know that it took me literally all day long to cut out the letters of that quote on my Cricut machine, because I had babies that would wake up from naps, squeal for attention, and/or scream until I thought their tonsils would bleed every single time I sat down for one second to cut some letters out.

The dreaded pile 'o letter's. (Get it...pile "o" letters. Okay, I'm done.)

It took me so long just to do that, that it's literally the only thing I got accomplished yesterday for their room. BUT... I think it's going to be so worth it in the end. Because, once again, I have a vision, my friends. It's a vision for the focal wall of the room - the first one you see when you walk inside. Across the top will be the quote, and then on either side of the window there will be a nifty little project involving the girls that you'll see a little later. (I'm waiting on some items to come site-to-store for that one!)

Okay, I can't wait to tell you about my idea, so here's a little sneak peek of the project that is to come:

And that's all I'm showing you; no more hints. :) This idea does require cutting out more letters, and I'm not gonna lie, I'm dreading it. Love my Cricut machine, dislike the instant reaction my girls seem to have the minute I press the power button. 

So unfortunately, that's all I have for you today. So many projects, so much waiting around for my materials to be purchased or shipped in. Believe me, I want to get this thing done as soon as possible! Eric and I would like our bed back, please and thank you.

I'll leave you with just one more hint of things to come:

Krylon Watermelon. It's bought and waiting patiently. :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Change Jar Transformation: Castles and Canopies

If you haven't already, start here. :D

Do you remember the show Clarissa Explains It All on Nickelodeon? It had it's first run in the early 90's, and I absolutely loved it. If there's one thing I will always remember about the show, it's Clarissa's funky, mis-matched style which translated not only in her clothing and hairstyles, but also in her famous bedroom.  Forget coordinating bedding and table lamps. There were no matchy-matchy accessories. There were hanging hats on one wall and hubcaps on another. Black checkered boxes were painted haphazardly over traditional wallpaper, and the furniture was painted in bright jewel toned colors with random patterns.

It was a super fun room, and whoever designed the set for the show did a great job making it seem as though a teenager had totally done it themselves. Someday my girls will have rooms like that. :) But they're not teenagers yet, so this mommy has to find a balance between fun and funky, and remembering that this room remodel I'm undertaking is for a couple of baby girls. Still, there ain't gonna be no matchy-matchy!

My original vision for the bedroom was to totally deck it out in the Love N Nature bedding theme that I had purchased at Target over the summer. There were matching pillows and lamps, wall art and rugs, and every little accessory you can possibly imagine to coordinate a little too perfectly with the set. I have nothing against anyone who LOVES to have every single piece of a bedroom line hoarded into one tiny space, but deep inside I am a Clarissa girl. I don't want everything to match just so. So I ditched that idea.

I started brainstorming ideas for what I would do when the time came to redo the girls' room. Should I do a princess theme? Or elaborate on the candy shoppe theme that's already going on? Or maybe flowers. Flowers are nice. Well, I just couldn't decide. true Clarissa form, I'm doing them all! And today's project focuses on the two PRINCESSES in my life.
Nothing says "princess" more than a canopy, and I just HAD to have canopies in the new bedroom. Knowing that I was working with a budget of under $100, I thought that I would have to make a couple of these babies myself. All of the instructions I found online claimed that this would be a simple project, but, er... it didn't sound as simple as all of the claims. I'm all about DIY and saving cash, but at the end of the day, it was going to cost me at least as much money to buy the materials as it would to purchase a $20 canopy, and then I would be risking not even having the darn thing look right. 

So I began my hunt, because twenty bucks a pop was not in the budget. I was about to lose all hope, when I stumbled across the Heavenly Rainbow canopy on Amazon. What grabbed my attention? The $9.43 price tag, that's what! Seriously? I could get two of these things for the price of one? Sold! (And the reviews are pretty great. I never buy something just because it is cheap.) Unfortunately, the price has jumped up a bit since I nabbed my two, and it's now up to $12.40. But that is still a great deal. Eric and I have Amazon Prime, so we also got free shipping, and our rainbow canopies arrived lightening fast just before Christmas. (You can qualify for Amazon Prime if you have a legitimate .edu email address!)

These canopies will hang over Evelyn's toddler bed and Grace's crib. I have plans to tie them back with ribbon, and I hope it works out the way I have envisioned it in my head. But I didn't want to stop there. Yes, canopies are pretty wonderful as a focal point, but I wanted something else. I wanted to add a little personalization somehow to make this feature of the room even more spectacular. And since I had just spent $18.86 of my budget, I wanted it to

So I came up with these:

I just whipped out my All Season's paper pack and a paper trimmer and started cutting out some shapes. For real. I had this idea in my head of how to make a castle, and they turned out EXACTLY the way I wanted them to. Don't ever be afraid to go back and pretend like you're in fourth grade art class again! I absolutely adore my princesses' new castles, and I cannot wait to hang these above each of their beds. I love them even more that they are personalized, and they didn't cost me a dime since every single one of the materials were already at my disposal. :)

So catch the vision with me, okay? Evie's toddler bed is centered on her wall. About 6-12 inches above her bed will be the hanging castle, and flanked on either side will be the flowing sides of the rainbow canopy. Repeat for Grace's crib. Can you see it? I can! And I love it already. If you'd like to know how I made the castles and the dimensions I used, you can watch the video below. Otherwise, keep checking back for more little projects and ideas as I aim to redecorate a bedroom for two baby girls on a change jar budget!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Change Jar Transformation!

Whew, Christmas is over. At least until Saturday. Haha. We have just one more festive family gathering to attend...well, if you don't count New Years Eve. Okay, I give up. The holiday season is definitely not over, BUT it is finally time for me to begin a project that I have been chomping at the bit to start! I told you here about a little idea I had before the holidays. But before we jump into that, there's a little background information I should probably clue you in on.

When Evelyn was about, oh, six months old she got a little sick and absolutely refused to sleep in her crib one night. As soon as her head hit the pillows in our bed, she was out. As soon as I picked her up and laid her in her crib, she screamed bloody murder. And finally after about an hour or so of groggy fighting with my baby, I let her sleep peacefully between her mom and dad. The same thing happened the next night. And by the time Evie was well again, we had started a lovely little habit.

Some people refer to it as the "family bed" and do things like this on purpose. I call it, "mommy and daddy haven't gotten a great night of rest for over a year now." I suppose if you had just one child and a king sized bed, sleeping as a family wouldn't be a huge deal; however, Eric and I have a FULL sized bed. Yes, that's right. Not even a queen. We barely fit on the thing ourselves, and we have a toddler who sleeps like all toddlers do smack dab between us. You know, arms and legs stretched out at odd angles, roly poly flip floppers...I've been smacked in the face more than once.

I jazzed up our change jar a bit so you would think I was cool...when really I collected the change in an old cookie batter tub. Teehee. :)

We've tried to put her in her own room a couple of times. Failure. And I'm going to admit that it wasn't always Evie's fault. Either Eric or I would feel bad and end up bringing her back to bed with us. I know! We shoot our own selves in the foot all the time. So I decided that once Grace was old enough to be on her own, that we would move them both to their room together, and then maybe I wouldn't feel so bad about putting Evelyn in a room apart from us.

That time has come. I've tested the waters for well over a month now, and it looks as though I have a newborn who is a genuine bonafide through-the-night sleeper. So there's absolutely no reason why she needs to stay in the bassinet right beside our bed any longer.

To mark this big transition for our family, I want to make the girls' room more comfortable and fun for them. I'm hoping that this will incentivize Evie to want to sleep in her own bedroom. Well...okay...let's just be honest. I wanted to do a little redecorating anyway, and this is just a great excuse for me to do it. :)

I told you all here about the white wall dilemma we have in our current household. I tried my best to spice things up a bit in Evie and Grace's room, but I really didn't have a whole lot to work with. So I took a bunch of Evelyn's first birthday party decorations and hung them up. Haha. Tada! That was my decorating job. And while tissue paper pom poms have serviced our family well, it's about time for them to retire as every day decor.

But how in the world will someone who isn't spending money on extra things right now afford to redecorate a room in her house? I wondered the same thing. And that's when a light bulb went off in my head. The change jar!

I've been saving loose change, like so many of you do, ever since we moved to Red Bud in the summer of '09. I had no clue what I was saving it for, but I knew that someday something would come up and I would have a worthy reason to cash it in and have some fun with it. The time is now. There isn't a lot in that jar, but it's enough for me to add some decorative touches here and there and make the room fit for Robert family royalty.

Nope, I didn't tidy up for you. Take it as a compliment. We're tight likethis. :)

At my last count, there was about $80 collected in that jar. I've since added a few coins, but I guarantee you that my budget for this project is under $100. I may do a little creative exchanging to stretch my dollar further. I will certainly be doing DIY projects. And I've been scouring the internet for the best deals on accessories. I've already begun doing a few crafty things, and my first official order for a couple of fun items has already arrived on our doorstep. Woohoo, for once I'm ahead of the game.

I hope you'll check in over the next several days as I take on this decorating {ad}venture!

Now, for those of you who do NOT get motion sickness, you can check out this really poor video that I made in an attempt to show you the girls' bedroom in it's current state. Don't feel bad if you get nauseous and have to turn it off, haha. All you need to see can be seen in the pictures, anyway. We have perfectly good camera equipment, but I'm too lazy to use it. Maybe someday. Maybe. :)

Vimeo has this uncanny ability of catching me in my least flattering moments. Case in point:

Monday, December 27, 2010

"It's Like a Postcard Christmas"

It was seriously as close to perfection as I think anything on this earth can get. We were so blessed with an incredible Christmas this year. And who knew that "incredible" could translate into "zapping all of the energy from your body until you're down on your knees begging for your pillow at the end of the day." I cannot think of a time I have been more exhausted in my entire life. But it was worth it. It was so worth it.

We woke up on Christmas Eve to find our little Dickens village of a town blanketed in white. Big, puffy flakes would fall off and on all day as we gathered with our families. And in a place where there's never a guarantee of a snowy Christmas, it was definitely a treat to behold.

Evelyn rolled out of bed and took her diapered bottom straight to the front door to get a peek for herself. And after she marveled at the winter wonderland blowing around outside, she wandered about the house to look for our good friend, Moe. Just where would his last stop of the holiday season be? Why, to the manger, of course. 

Moe loves Jesus. And Jesus...loves Moe. Let's just go with it. And in case you were wondering, Grace was also present. :)

As the smell of sweet cinnamon rolls wafted throughout our cozy home, Eric and I stood together and looked out of the kitchen window. And then he said it. "It's like a postcard Christmas."

And that's when I knew. I could feel it in my bones. This was going to be one for the memory book. 

After sudsy bubble baths and and snowflake jumpers, after lots of kisses and candy-cane striped sleepers, we were ready to load up the presents, pack ourselves in the car, and head out for a day spent with family. And as usual, we were greeted at our first stop by the formal Robert family Christmas table. You know, the one I told you about here. :)

And stockings, hung by the chimney with care...

We were among the first guests to arrive, and it didn't take long for our darling oldest daughter to make herself right at home. Evelyn discovered her first gift of the day, and without hesitation, she hopped right upon it. 

Evelyn loves her special little seat! And mommy loves that Evie has a little rocking chair of her very own. I want to eat it up like Christmas candy. And it's going to go perfectly in her soon-to-be redecorated bedroom. :) Thank you, great Grandma Robert!

There were games to be played (Eric and I won two for two. Score!) and there were appetizers to be eaten. And before we knew it, the entire family had trickled in. The house was busting at the seams, and the natives were getting restless. Gifts were being ripped open prematurely. Babies were walking, army crawling - whatever they could do to get into those packages as soon as possible. So we finally threw up our hands and said, "Time for presents!"

Stockings are always first, and this year there were beautiful clay ornaments personalized for everyone tucked deep inside. Evelyn's was her favorite character, Elmo. And check out Grace's gorgeous "first Christmas" ornament!

She doesn't look so impressed here, but I promise, she loves it. :) And as the evening continued, there was lots of laughing and present opening. I know that Christmas is not all about gifts, but I still cannot get over the generosity of ALL of our family members this year. Even Eric and I received some awesome gifts - like an ice cream maker, an outdoor fireplace, and some GREAT gift cards for date nights. :) (And every parent knows that the gift of a date night is one of the best gifts of all, haha.)

I wish I could share with you every single detail and every single gift, because they were all so wonderful, but that would just be ridiculous. :) Our evening was split between Eric's grandparents' and my side of the family. So after presents with the Roberts, we raced down the street (how convenient!) to my mom and dad's where we pigged out on homemade pizza and exchanged gifts.

It was a great night. Lots of family. Lots of love. But mommy and daddy still had lots of work to do when we got home. So we called it a night and drove a few blocks to put our babies to bed.

The next morning was glorious. We are fortunate this year that both of our children are still kind of in their own little world when it comes to Christmas stuff, was probably 9:00am before we were all finally out of bed. I'm treasuring these days, because in a few years, I'm sure we'll be up at the crack of dawn. :)

I couldn't believe that the day had finally come that I would see every single day on our advent calendar covered up. It seemed like I had just made that darn thing!

We didn't get ANY pictures of the girls opening their gifts, because we were too busy video taping and opening gifts, haha. But we did get a few afterwards. 

Eric totally made my morning by making his famous biscuits and gravy. (He had already started before I was even awake. AND he had already showered and was ready for the day. What a guy!) And once we were ready for round two of Christmas, we packed up, and headed out the door once again. We spent a lovely day with Eric's mom's family in Arnold, MO. Oh, my goodness. Next year, remind me to tell you about my first Christmas with that side of the family, haha. 

We just had to stop in and see what uncle John got for Christmas! (And Santa leaves stocking stuffers for us at their house, too. Can you believe it??)

I cannot begin to express to you the amount of trouble these two are going to get into with this thing. I can see it already.... :D

And while the tradition used to be that we would see a movie at the theater on Christmas night, we now have little children which makes that totally impossible. So instead, my brother and sister-in-law came over for a game night. (Which was totally fun, by the way, guys. Even if the boys are sore losers...hehe. Right, April?) 

It was wonderful. It was amazing. And now my house is so full of STUFF that literally half of it went straight down to the basement to be rotated for another day, haha. Seriously, Evelyn is going to be getting a new toy a week until her birthday. My house looks like a bomb went off inside. I am dreading the clean up tomorrow. But for one fabulous weekend, it was totally worth it. 

I seriously feel sorry for next year. High expectations, 2011; you have some high expectations. 


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