January 27, 2016

# Art speaks.

We have owned our house for almost two and a half years. We bought it 3 days before our wedding, so it was a bit of a hectic time. We did a few projects, and then we moved in slowly. We moved all of our boxes into the basement and started unpacking them and bringing things up as we needed them.

Two and a half years later we still have boxes in our basement. Mostly, the things left in them are our keepsake, sentimental things and extra kitchen appliances. There are many boxes that are mostly empty but still contains a few miscellaneous items, so there they still sit. #RealLife

It also took a very long time to start to decorate. I'm still not sure why exactly... Perhaps it was the fact that the walls were pristine and freshly painted, and I didn't want to be the one to put holes in them... or the fact that I was working a job that zapped my energy and enthusiasm and made me want to go home and veg out.

Whatever it was... we didn't decorate. Until Hazel. We went into full blown nesting mode for her nursery and there were more decorations in her room than the rest of the house combined.

When I was home on maternity leave, the lack of decoration in our living room really started getting to me. I was home on the couch a lot while recovering and nursing, and eventually the blank walls started to bother me. A lot.  So I did something I haven't done in a long time. I made art. Nothing complicated, but something to bring some color to the bland, tan walls.

{  Pardon the poor lighting... and by golly, I didn't realize they were so crooked. #Notaprofessionalpicturehanger  }
Once I started putting holes in the walls. I couldn't stop. I hung mirrors, paintings, and photos. We hung up quite a few photos from Hazel's newborn shot, but it's a little weird if every wall has pictures of yourselves (we probably have too many as it is... like really big ones) so we needed to differentiate.

{  Photo canvas was a gift from our friend Alesha and the N from/made by my sister-in-law Cara  }
We've also been baby proofing. Installing a gate and we just switched out our TV stand to one (that was my grandma's... thanks gma!) that can actually hide all the electronics and cords from Hazel. The one before had everything semi-hidden in baskets that were open to baby hands.

But back to the art... During my leave I did quite a bit of shopping for more art to bring more color and life to our walls, but I had a hard time finding something that I really liked. I searched places like Target, Home Goods, Garden Ridge, and other stores that sell affordable decorations (hello being on partially unpaid maternity leave). There were plenty of things that matched, but I couldn't commit because they didn't make me care about them.

Well, this week was a different story. There are a few consignment stores in town that I'd been wanting to visit. One was full of old, funky smelling things. But on the wall I saw some paintings and immediately knew they were mine. I checked the price tag just in case, but the grand total for 2 paintings came to $28.

The one that spoke to my heart, was the maple wings (or helicopter/whilybird/samara). My love of trees runs deep, as you well know, and I have a particular soft spot for maples. The nest compliments it nicely and I wanted something else to hang with the other. It also reminds me of the robin's nest that was on Hazel's window ledge (which made me debate incorporating these into the nursery).

They are quite possibly someone's high school art. They are signed in sharpie on the back, a name I cannot read, and one is dated '04 the other '07. Made while I was in high school. Or perhaps the owner of the items in that part of the store is a hobbyist painter. I'll probably never know who made them, but I love that someone did. They were made by human hands. I can still see some of the pencil lines where the artist first sketched the shape of the whirlybird.

I am really no judge of good vs. bad art from a technical stand point, but to me these are perfect. They have found their home with someone who loves them. The more I look at them, the happier they make me, and THAT is the best thing art can do. That makes them perfect. They speak to me.

{  Also, in the spirit of #RealLife... our couch normally has haphazard pillows/blankets and lots of things sitting on the arms... and you can't see it, but the dog hair is a problem.  }


January 23, 2016

10 Months of Hazel

** Late posting again! We've been busy beavers! **

Dear Hazel,

At 10 months old you have now lived outside my belly for longer than you were inside it (including the 12 days you were overdue). For me, that’s a big milestone, but you are oblivious to it. What you do know, is how much fun you are having practicing all your new skills.

You weigh 18.2 lbs and are 29.5 inches long. You are wearing 9 month-12 month clothes with some 18 month pants as well. Your food has expanded so much that I can’t list them all anymore. You are still nursing and eating purees. Some new flavors are peppers, strawberries, peaches, and zucchini. We’ve been giving you a lot more table foods though, and whatever we have that we think you can eat little pieces of, we let you try (excluding the really sugary stuff and mammals). We haven’t really come across anything that you haven’t liked!

You can now say “mama!” although you still don’t use it as a name for me… I just like hearing you say it. Your dad thinks you say “Amy” sometimes when you are blubbering, but again, it’s not intentional. You have intentionally said “Hay-yo” after we’ve said hello! You’ve done it enough times, that we’re counting it as your first word. It also seems like a lot of your noises are actually attempts at speaking now, and that some of them actually have meaning that we just haven’t picked up on yet. You can “woof” and “moo” too. You sign “more” and “all done.”

You’re becoming an excellent patty-caker, recently mastering the rolling part and starting to pitch them in the pan as well. We taught you how fun it is to move a finger up and down on your lips to make silly sounds and you often try to do it yourself, but you still like the sound better when we help you out and let you use our fingers.

A major event happened the day after Christmas when you TOOK YOUR FIRST STEPS! You took a hesitant first step and kinda fell over. I documented it by writing it down and saying that it wouldn’t be long before you were successful, and sure enough, about 10 minutes later you took a few steps all by yourself.  You were carrying a coupon (that we’ve had around since Halloween) and going back and forth between me and your dad. It was a big moment however, you haven’t really walked since. You tried a couple times at daycare but they weren’t there to catch you like us, so you fell down (backwards like a plank apparently, not bending and landing on your tush) and maybe scared yourself. So you’re waiting to walk again, and that’s fine.

You are great at walking along our furniture though! You pull yourself up and are cruising around everything. Sometimes you’ll push a chair across the room or hang onto the back of your little toy car. You also stand for long periods of time unassisted and can control your ability to squat down again.

When we turn on a good beat, you are ready to do some dancing! I love the way you bounce your knees to the music or bob up and down if you’re seated. You have a bunch of toys that sing now and you really get a kick out of them (and they get stuck in my head ALL THE TIME).

You are sleeping through the night more than not recently, and it has been great!! All that sleep has been good for all the learning you’re doing, I’m sure. You are becoming more opinionated and throw mini tantrums occasionally; especially getting upset when we take something away from you. But life is full of disappointments (along with all the wonderful things) and I hope we can teach you to handle them with grace… eventually. For now, your disappointment doesn’t last long, though you shed some tears, you move on to the next thing pretty quickly… and sleep tends to cure all bad moods.

I can already see that you’re not going to be a baby baby much longer. Soon you will be toddling around getting more and more independent. But I have no doubt that you will continue to be our brightest star. You have captured our hearts completely, and though it’s important that we keep our own identities outside of being parents, sometimes it’s fun to get lost in your universe and let ourselves just revolve around you, our little sunshine.

Loving you as much as ever,


{  Approximately 41 weeks in and 41 weeks out  }

{  Her new friend Dustin Beaver  } 

{  Play date with friend/neighbor, Sam!  }

{  Family Vaca to Southern Illinois  }
{  Giant City State Park  }
{  Ferne Clyffe Waterfall  }

{  We went to Hazel's yoga class  }

{  Does it look like she likes it?  }

I've been having issues with my videos, so once I get it sorted out, I'll need to make a video post! Cuz we gotta show off those first steps!! <3


January 16, 2016

Christmas 2015

Hello, mid January. Let's keep the spirit alive and go back to visit Christmas. For us, it was certainly one for the books. A larger family with a LITTLE ONE made things pretty exciting, and although Hazel didn't really understand what was going on, she still enjoyed it immensely! The lights, the music, the new toys...

We celebrated with family and Hazel got sooo many nice gifts (thank you all!). She took all day Christmas to open them. She was pretty good at unwrapping the wrapped ones with a little help, and she loved the tissue paper that came in bags. The holidays are so special with children in the mix.