Tag Archive | "family"

When all else fails, blog about cats! Meet our adopted kitties, Marilyn and Monroe.

As I juggle a lot of different projects outside of the blog itself I find it harder to devote the mental energy and time to get a good post up for you guys!  So… let’s talk about cats, man.

About 3 weeks ago we welcomed two cats to our family.  Inspired by an episode of Hoarders where there were 12 cats trapped in boxes, pacing back and forth and looking neglected and miserable, I immediately drove to one of the pet stores that has a cat adoption center.  My local store works with a charity that fosters cats, and they go to the stores during the day and on weekends in hopes of finding a forever home.

I’ve wanted to get a pet for the boys and for us but the timing was never right with various travel plans, but with no family trips planned at all in the near future it felt like a good time.  At the adoption center the cats were in their cages.  Everett was sleeping on my shoulder and Fletcher was getting to know the animals.

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One kitty meowed at him.  That was the one.

There was a catch though… that cat could only be adopted in conjunction with her brother.  Uh-oh.   My son was head over heels in love with her, and she had a sweet face.  The brother on the other hand, was curled up in the corner and never came to greet us.  My “savior” complex kicked in and I knew I wanted to give both kitties a home.  We didn’t have any pets at all so adding two at once would be easier for us to do than others.  I wanted the kitties to stay together and wanted Fletcher to get the cat he loved.

We put in our application (I wrote it all out with 25 pounds sleeping in one arm) and we waited.  Fletcher cried each day for his cats and didn’t understand that it could take time.  Finally, we got the call 4 days later to bring out cats home!

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The cats have adjusted really well!  They went from their foster home and their daily cage time to a large, open home with two kids dying to play with them.  They still aren’t comfortable with the more hands on cuddling the children want to do, but hopefully they will be more willing as they get older.  They’re 9 months old so they have a little bit of playful kitten left.

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Marilyn (the shelter named them) is our girl cat, she has a distinctive mark next to her nose.

Monroe kitty

Monroe is our boy cat, he has a gorgeous angular face with shorter hair just on the face.

Are you wondering how I can tie this all in to cloth diapering?  Well, both cats are obsessed with my light box where I do my filming and product photography.  Every time I begin working they follow so close behind I can’t even shut the door before they squeeze into the room, then I can’t get them out of my box!  They leave their hair behind so I’m constantly lint rolling it.  I was taking photos yesterday and guess who just had to squeeze in?  This pretty much sums up our new life with cats.  They get into everything, drive us batty with their antics, but they make us smile and having a house with pets makes it feel more like a home.

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Pssst… I’ve turned into the “cat lady” on Instagram, so if you love cute kitty pictures and videos and want to follow me I’m Kim_Rosas! I use the #newkitties hashtag for the cat pics!

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A look at “Life After Diapers”

It has been about 8 months since Everett potty trained.  This time in my life can now be referred to as “AD.”  I suppose the previous 5 years were “DD” and pre-kids my life was “BD.”

Life “BD” is nothing like “DD.”  Even though there aren’t diapers to wash, there is still plenty of other laundry that needs doing, including a set or two or sheets that tend to get wet.  In fact, since transitioning to “AD” I’m even more behind on laundry than ever!  At least when I had diapers to wash it kept my other laundry moving.  Anything lingering in the dryer absolutely had to get moved to a basket (for eventual folding) in order to dry the diapers (gasp- I used a dryer all these years!).   “BD” I washed laundry infrequently but back then it was just the two of us, my husband and I.

Now, I have piles of dirty laundry and piles of clean laundry.  By the time the clean laundry gets folded the dirty pile is ready for a washing.  That, and I’m in my last clean pair of underwear.  My boys have the largest stockpile of underwear and shorts- I have no idea why Everett has about 20 pair.  This just means we can go a long time without washing!  The motivation to launder clothes is now only to not be smelly.  I’ve never had the desire to have everything clean at once, and if I did, those days are simply impossible now.  With a family of four, in one evening you practically have a load of laundry when everyone has undressed!!!

Fletcher, my oldest, is in VPK 5 days a week from 8:30-11:45.  Everett is waiting for a spot at the same school.  In the Fall I innocently assumed he would have a spot there and booked myself up with new work opportunities outside of the blog, only to find we would have many months to wait.  We still wait.  He is able to entertain himself fairly well but certain tasks like filming with live sound (no voiceover, so the house has to be silent) are not possible.  This work must be done on the weekends when my husband can take them out to play.  We are managing and I spend many nights up until after midnight working on the computer doing my editing.  Now that “AD” also means the children very rarely nap, this has cut out even more of the time I used to have for working.

Even though Everett is out of diapers he is still dependent on me around bathroom time.  Homeboy does not understand that he is fully able to potty without alerting me, like a fire alarm, and with equal urgency in his voice.  ”Mom I go pee.  And POOP!  Hurry, hurry!”  Then he usually gets onto the potty himself and I am forced to watch until he is done.  Self-wiping badge has not been achieved by either son.  That will be a glorious day… or a terrible one where I spend nights scrubbing skid marks.  Only time will tell.

One of the milestones of parenthood for me was self-buckling.  When Fletcher could successfully buckle his own carseat (and do so correctly) I wanted to throw him a parade, in the style of that ridiculous pull-up commercial.   At the time our family was living in a colder climate, and I had a baby to also buckle.  Having him self-buckle was like hitting the lottery!  It saved so much time for me when getting to and from places.  It was still nothing like the “BD” era when just getting in the car myself was the routine, but still enough to make outings less stressful.

Everett is getting closer to self-buckling, and can do the chest buckle.  Having an older child means that my big boy can UN-buckle the littlest.  Rather than hearing one child scream to be let out when we get home as I unload groceries, my oldest will gently unbuckle him from his restraints and everyone is happy.  This little things are not to be overlooked, they make life much easier.

On the worst days when I’m too tired to move, or sick, or both, the worst part of parenting is by far the food one.  If I could not feed my kids real food I would have many more children.  The thought of having to go through the solid foods transition for another baby is great birth control.  I hate the mess, I hate the time it takes them to eat, and I hate the wasted food that often goes along with it.  I still dislike feeding the bigger kids even though it is much easier than a 1 year old.  It is a constant back and forth of “I’m hungry, I want a snack” so I find one and then “I don’t like that.”    Breastfeeding, in comparison, was the most convenient way to feed.  I could lay there, asleep, and still be feeding.

With older kids having a snack cabinet that is accessible has alleviated some of the struggles.  Fletcher can get to fruits on the counter himself, can get grapes from the fridge, can grab some crackers or granola, and can even get his own water.  Everett is also learning these tricks and loves getting his own water.  I don’t mind when water is spilled as much as milk or juice so they can have at it.  We are past the sippy cup and straw cup days, another huge perk of babies growing up.

My next milestone is hopefully the one where the kids have more responsibility around the house.  Legos… legos everywhere.  And matchbox cars.  Dinosaurs on my tables, papers and crayons on my other table.  Shoes… where did all of these shoes come from?  They are at every entrance and then in random rooms.  The toys and clutter never end despite cleaning out so many toys last month.  And even if I removed every single toy they could still take my couch cushions and every pillow in the house and make a giant fort.  At least incentives work, and we can get the toys cleaned up before going outside to play with a friend.

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Since the life from “DD” to “AD” has been a gradual transition I take for granted some of the smaller freedoms that I missed when I was in the thick of diapering and breastfeeding.  I can just say “I’m going to take a shower” and take one.  I can say “go color in your room” and have a quiet second (notice I said second, not hour) to gather my thoughts.  My kids are still kids, and sometimes even mischievous ones (Everett came in 2 days ago with chocolate all over his face, I assumed he ate a candy from the counter bowl by using a step stool, but in reality he ate the top off of the chocolate donut we saved for Daddy.  He was very sorry…) so life is not boring in the least.

It is easier in many ways, and harder in others.  Diapering, compared to behavior problems at school (think bullying) is an easy one.  Kissing boo-boos and making them all better is easier than mending a little boy’s feelings.  And having two boys?  Well, now they can both talk and sometimes they say pretty mean things to each other.  Little people, with their own minds and hearts, make parenting more of a mental challenge.  I’m still clinging to Everett as my last baby.  He still gets bed privileges and sleeps with me part of the night because that is his happy spot and it is mine too.  Even Fletcher enjoys sleeping with me for a nap every so often.  I lucked out because my boys are both cuddlers, and will still sit with me on the couch and watch a movie while we cuddle in one big lump.

I occasionally miss the babywearing, folding those tiny little diapers, and the sweet togetherness of breastfeeding.  I’m glad to have many of those moments captured on photo or in videos because they go by so fast.  It won’t be long before every “baby” part of my last one is gone.  I’ll have one child in Kindergarten next year and another in Pre-K.  Early morning feedings are being replaced by early morning soccer practice and school start times.

To those reading with little ones in arms right now, there is so much to look forward to “after diapers” but also so much to cherish, even changing the diapers themselves while you wiggle the baby’s toes and blow on their tummies.  These days I look forward to our family movie nights on the couch and riding our bikes outside.  It is a different life than 1 year ago and we are all figuring it out as we go along.

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Rosas Family Christmas 2013- The Video

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Since 2010 I have made a video of our Christmas mornings as a family.  If you read the blog regularly you know that I take on the role of “historian” for our family, doing most of the photography and video.  Since most people don’t go back to watch the long footage of their videos I make sure to compile the best moments into one shorter video for our family and friends.

This year I tried something new- I set up the camera on a tripod and used my remote to take photos, hoping I would actually “be in the picture.”  Instead, my camera kept resetting itself so I only got a few photos from that morning.  And my idea to leave the video camera on another table and using the remote to take footage so that I could also be “in the video” was unsuccessful so I ended up holding it to capture video.

For everyone who may be wondering, I used Final Cut Pro X to put together this video, however in years past I’ve used regular ol’ iMovie with great success. And if you have Windows, they have a free editing program called Windows Movie Maker. You don’t have to be a professional to make a movie. I have an iMovie tutorial and some tips on how to make a kick-butt home movie if you’d like to try making one with your family videos. Even though this tutorial is geared towards making a yearly slideshow it can also help with creating a Christmas video. And making a movie from a day of footage is easier than tackling one year’s worth.

I hope you enjoy this glimpse into our home and of our family. I’ve been fortunate enough to share moments like these for many years on this blog and hope that by doing so, inspire a few people to try their hand at learning the basics of video editing in order to have a few special videos to cherish down the line.

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The Christmas card that almost wasn’t- featuring my son the axe murderer

I tend to go to extremes when doing certain things.  Christmas is one of those things!  I go way overboard for the Elf on the Shelf, I deck the halls as much as I can afford to, and I make sure my Christmas Card is awesome even though our list is rather short.

When thinking of ideas I decided the ’57 Chevy Bel Air that was in our possession, temporarily, would be perfect!  My head was swimming with amazing ideas, like putting the tree in the ginormous trunk and having the family in vintage attire next to the car.  Or posing next to the car with tons of shopping bags, wearing one of the vintage hats I found at an estate sale.  Or one shot IN the car with the kids’ heads sticking out of the amazing window.  All of the ideas involved trying to create a “period” photo from the 50′s and using the car.  Then… poof.  Car was already being shipped out to my Father-in-Law by my husband while I was attending ABC Kids Expo 2 months ago.

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I still had my heart set on something with vintage flair and since I would see the car again, I was going to try for a second time.  I found the perfect outfits from a thrift shop to wear and had Instagram vote on which to wear.  Then, when we were in NC for Thanksgiving, the car was in the shop.  We had hours to come up with a new plan- the next few days were all rainy and by the time it cleared up we would be back in Florida.  I was loving the cold weather opportunity to take photos and didn’t want to take them in Florida.

The next idea was to head out to a tree farm, pretend to cut a tree (since we didn’t actually need a tree!) and use them as a background.  I was going to buy a wreath there in order to not feel guilty.  Closest farm was 45 minutes from our location and we only had maaaaybe 2 hours of light left for photos.  Had we left earlier we would have been OK but someone (I won’t name names) didn’t get home when he said he would.

Hormonal me (it was THAT time) started breaking down in tears.  All of my plans were ruined.  I take these things very seriously.  My Father-in-Law promised to drive around to look for a spot to take photos but I was not thrilled.  It wasn’t the theme I wanted, we would look so silly wearing our “period” style outfits in a random place.   I was definitely, definitely hormonal and irrational.

We packed into the car and first went to a park.  It wasn’t suitable and there were no evergreens that made for a nice backdrop.  So… we made due because there was NO time.

Next hurdle?  The kid.  The 5 year old kid to be exact.  He had cried the entire 5 minute drive, and insisted he would not be participating.  Yeah right.  ”Taking pictures is SO BORING!  I don’t want to take pictures.  I want to go to Chuck E Cheese.”  I’m not above bribery when it comes to photo taking.  I know it sucks when you are a kid to be dressed and asked to sit still or not look goofy.  The bribe?  A donut.  He favorite thing in the world.  Still, he was not happy… so… we let him hold the ax we brought in case we could find a place to pretend to cut trees because it was the only thing that stopped his crying.

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I set the camera manually and made sure the aperture was wide open (This is why learning to use a manual DSLR is so, so handy!)  My Father-in-Law, a former photographer in his own right, took our photos.  The thing is… my son wouldn’t put the ax down… so we have dozens of family photos with my son the ax murderer in them.  Eventually we got a few without.  I was satisfied with the outcome, but still sad that they were just normal family photos.

On the way to eat donuts my husband redeemed himself.  ”What if we go downtown and do a few street photography shots?”  OK!  We went to downtown Pineville, found an empty street, and took about 10 photos of the family walking together up the sidewalk.  There were no modern cars parked so it has the illusion that it would have been from any time.  I still wish we had the Bel Air parked on the street but it was not available.

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With the street photos and the family shots in the park we had a card.

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It wasn’t until Facebook got involved that the card got more interesting.  After the family session on the park I took some photos of the boys, then a few of my son posing with the ax for giggles.  I posted the ax shot and friends were commenting on it.  One friend, Marisa, said “Have a Merry AxMas!”  Another friend, Maria from Change-Diapers, said “You received my list, right Santa?”  These were too good not to steal for my card!  I added this photo to the back right before ordering and used both of their ideas.  They get total credit, they’re both genius ideas.

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This is the first year we had someone else to take photos for us.  Our last 3 Christmas Cards were all taken with a tripod and a remote.  If you’d like to look back at other cards, here are the 2012 and 2011 versions.  We used Minted.com for our cards this year and I’m annoyed that they include their logo on the back but oh well.  They turned out very nice.

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Happy 3rd Birthday Everett!

The youngest member of our family, Everett, is the big 3 today! I can’t believe it either. He graduated from diapers to undies and recently weaned after he decided a T-Rex was cooler than boobs. everett1-3yearsforweb He has a little personality all his own. Unlike his older brother, Everett is more reserved and doesn’t open up to strangers quickly. He is slowly starting to talk more and is finally putting together pretty complex sentences. Since he has an older brother he has learned the hilarity of a good fart joke far sooner than Fletcher ever did. Dinner conversations too often involve a symphony of mouth “farts” and laughter. As is tradition in this family, and on this blog, it is time to share Everett’s 3rd Birthday video and Pumpkin Photo. Just like this blog has been a learning experience, video editing has been a long time hobby that I enjoy learning more about. Each year I use what I’ve learned through working on videos for the blog and apply those skills to make memorable keepsakes for our family. I love inspiring others to consider making their own videos and have a tutorial on how to use iMovie that was posted a few years ago. All of the birthday videos are in a YouTube Playlist as well, you can catch up if you’d like to.

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To Grandmother’s House We Go!

Today we are off to Oma’s house in North Carolina for a quick visit.  It’s been about six months since our last trip so we are all excited to see family and friends for a few days.  That also means I’ll be away from my computer and taking a blog break until next week.

I’m sure you all understand!  I didn’t line up any guest posts or work on posts to fill the void since I’ve actually been doing work for another company on a video for a new product (shhh I can’t say!) and adding extra blogging wasn’t happening!  Oh, and you know when you leave town and hate the thought of coming home to a dirty house so you spend a whole day cleaning just to know that when you walk in the door a few days later you get to say “ahhh….. home.” and not “crap my house is so dirty, tomorrow I have to go right back to cleaning.”  That is my job today!

Filming takes over my house...

Filming takes over my house…

The next few months are a string of trips, holidays, birthdays, and large scale projects.  North Carolina, husband’s birthday, big website development for Giving Diapers, Giving Hope, Sanibel Island, Vegas, Everett’s Birthday, Thanksgiving, Fletcher’s Birthday, Christmas, New Years, My Birthday.  I’m pretty sure we should have had our kids in the spring because this is just nuts!

I’m been doing a piss poor job of balancing work and home life.  When it comes down to it, I often neglect my house and put my time into working and playing with the kids.  My work hours have been drastically reduced now that Everett no longer naps.  I’m hoping when a spot opens at his brother’s school he will make a smooth transition to 2-3 short days a week so that I can get more work done and spend less of my free evenings on the computer instead of relaxing or spending time with my husband.

I’ll still have a video and review for you next Monday, so check back then.  If you are bored you can always look back at old posts.  My bar up top gives you topics to browse and my New to Cloth Diapers page links up helpful articles to all of you who are just getting started on your cloth diapering journey.  I’ll be snapping photos on my trip so if you aren’t already you can follow me on Instagram too (Kim_Rosas).

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Technology Keeps Our Family Together

For all the times I curse the invention of the smart phone and the 24/7 connectedness that threatens to swallow my life, I’m also just as thankful that it exists.

Both of my children were born in a state that was a solid 12 hour drive from our closest relatives.  In the early days we stayed connected by taping videos on our phones and uploading them to YouTube- then emailing a link.  This was how we shared our son’s first smiles, laughs, and steps.  Soon enough, FaceTime entered out lives and we were able to connect with family like never before.

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Facetime from the laptop while they sang Happy Birthday- 12 hours away

What once was a one-sided relationship became a dynamic interaction between my children and their grandparents.   Before FaceTime, my kids hardly knew their grandparents and saw them infrequently due to the distance between us.  Suddenly they could speak to them, and the grandparents got front row seats to their biggest moments.  Fletcher had his Aunt, Oma, and Pawpaw watch him blow out his birthday candles when he was 2.

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Watching the boys open Christmas presents

We opened Christmas gifts while Oma and Pawpaw looked on.  They’ve watched the boys ride bikes in the street, even saw Fletcher ride his two-wheel bike the very day he learned how.   When Everett took his first steps I FaceTime rights after to show them.  One time, when I was very ill and spent the day trapped in the bathroom, Everett called Oma from the iPad and she was able to interact with him while I couldn’t.  It was a little peace of mind that she could keep an “eye” on him and entertain him since I hadn’t been able to much at all that day.

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Tea Time with Oma

Today I brought my phone to Fletcher’s school and invited Oma to the Grandparent’s Tea so that he wouldn’t feel left out when none of his grandparents could come.  Of course, I’m sure his Oma was just as thrilled to be able to attend.  She went as far as making her own cup of tea to enjoy while they chatted.  The school said it was a first for them (I did ask permission yesterday and tested the signal to make sure it worked) and the other grandparents were looking at me strangely- but who cares?  It made two people very happy.

There are days that I wish all of our devices would disappear.  I know I am distracted by them, my kids use them more often than I want to admit, and at nights there are days when my husband and I are each on our phones vegging out instead of talking to one another.  Then I remind myself that before these were invented we did the same, just less comfortably.  We are the generation raised on computers.  I’m older than the Internet, sure, but I came of age at the same time it did.  I was making websites in high school and spent late nights with the “uh-oh” sounds firing off while using ICQ.

My kids say “lets call Oma!” and they really mean “Facetime.”  They often get confused when on the phone and try to show people things, assuming every call is a video chat.  This is their normal.

Life is lonely more than it isn’t when you live so far from all of your family.  I would rather be back in NC where the rest of my technology challenged family members could spend time with my boys and I.  At least some of our family will use the “internet machine.”  For the rest, I send them all a DVD of each boy, each year with their birthday videos to catch them up on all of their milestones and big adventures.  Soon, I’ll be making a 3rd and 5th year video (!!!) to ship out.

So thanks, really really smart people (Steve Jobs and co.) for creating technology that can make a few hundred miles disappear for 30 minutes a week.  Life wouldn’t be the same without it.

 

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…I Wish They Could Have Slept With Me Just A Little While Longer

My husband caught this moment while we were on vacation.  It was the best nap of my life.

My husband caught this moment while we were on vacation. It was the best nap of my life.

This is my happy place.  It’s the place I look forward to being in as often as I can.  It’s the place where everything is peaceful, warm, safe, loving, and familiar.

Every night I start the evening off in my big comfy bed with my big comfy husband.  Some nights I don’t get the “call” to snuggle my youngest son until 5 am, some nights the call comes early at midnight.  On very rare occasions he never calls at all and I wake, confused, in my own bed and see daylight streaming into my own windows.  It doesn’t matter how old my kids get- if I’m not woken before 7 am I’m checking to make sure they are breathing before celebrating.

I’ve spent at least 30-50% of each night sleeping cuddled up with my 2.5 year old in recent memory.  In our earliest days he slept all night with me.  Now that he has a queen sized bed in his room I just sleep with him.

On our worst days when we are butting heads and my boys seem to be doing everything in their power to test my sanity- those are the days we need a family nap the most.

But more than co-sleeping at night, the thing that I look forward to most in life is co-napping with both of my little ones. I have two very cuddly boys who fight over who gets to cuddle with mommy. Punches have been thrown over the issue. My solution? A family nap. Mommy sandwich… if you will. And while I may play it off as a way to give each child their fair share of cuddle time with Mommy, secretly I’m overjoyed at a reason to slow down and savor time with my kids with no interruptions.

The primal mothering instinct in me prefers sleeping with my children.  When I’m sleeping in my room they are so far away it is unsettling and truthfully it often keeps me awake.  “Are the doors all locked?”  “What if one of them wakes up and leaves the house while I’m sleeping?”  Before our pool fence was installed the thoughts were of them escaping through the back patio door (even though they would need a key they couldn’t possibly obtain) and drowning in the pool.  Co-sleeping is my selfish way of sleeping deeper and more peacefully.  There- I said it!

Maybe the irrational thoughts stem from the fact that, about 2.5 years ago, a car drove into our duplex.  It drove into the house to our left, the mirror image of our floor plan, into the room that was the mirror image of Fletcher’s room.  Luckily, no one was harmed even though our neighbor’s young daughter was in that room at the time.  And yes, after that incident she began sleeping with her mother again.  I would have too.

So often I fight that inner battle when my oldest son won’t sleep in his own bed- should I make him sleep in his bed or should I give in and let him sleep in mine?  Usually a cuddle session in his bed will convince him to stay in his room… but sometimes he comes into my room and I can’t say no.  I try to put myself in his shoes and in his world where monsters could be real, and shadows could hide them…. where mommy’s presence takes away all those fears.  I have fond memories of crawling into my mother’s bed in the early morning hours and I see nothing wrong with him having those memories either.  In fact- I hope he looks back on this time of his life and feels loved and safe.  I’m a mama tiger protecting my young from the predators (both imaginary and real).  What could be safer for a child than sleeping next to a mother who sleeps light enough to hear even the quietest cry for “mama” or who can sense when her baby is close to the edge of the bed and will pull them in tighter and closer?

On our worst days when we are butting heads and my boys seem to be doing everything in their power to test my sanity- those are the days we need a family nap the most.  Both boys are calmed and centered by our cuddle time.  I can literally feel my older son’s bad mood slough off when he puts his head onto my bare stomach- his happy place- and centers himself.  It is warm body and heartbeat that can often reel him back in from his worst moods.  For Everett, it is a nursing session and a sweaty cuddle in the crook of my arm.  He still fits, but just barely, under my head.  Truth me told, I need that nap just as much as they do to quietly reflect on how much I love my boys; I love them more when the house is quiet and they are asleep in my arms and can forgive the tantrums and forget the messes they create.  I can soak up the pure love that emanates from their little bodies.  It is healing after a morning, like yesterday’s, when my oldest yelled loudly during a tantrum “I dont want nothing is this world!”  ”I don’t like anything except my room!” after refusing to buy him a ukelele.  As moms we have to pull them close when they are the worst and love them the most when it’s the hardest.

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I want to look back at this time in life when my boys are still almost babies and know that I took advantage of their willingness to still snuggle.  In the not so distant future my boys won’t want to lay in the crook of my arm with their heads on my shoulder.  I won’t get to run my fingers through their hair and my boys won’t tell me how comfy my squishy belly and boobies are.  I won’t be thinking… “I’m so glad I made my kids stay in their beds” because no child goes to college sleeping with their mothers.  I’ll be thinking…

“God, I wish they could have slept me me just a little while longer.”

 

 

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One Year at Home in Florida and One Year of Busting Arse

One year ago, on July 4th, I drove down to Florida with my two kids (and my sister, who was helping) and our family was reunited again. For those new here or for anyone who has forgotten, my boys and I lived for 6 months in North Carolina while my husband lived in Florida. We moved from Syracuse after bidding on a home in Florida. My husband’s job transferred him to Tampa so he had to go straight there, but we have nowhere to live other than a hotel, and no timeframe for when we would get the home. It was a short sale so these things can take as little as 1-2 months, or as long as a year. It was a HUGE gamble because they never give you a time table.

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After the six month wait for the home, we finally moved in. That is when the real work began. The home was in bad shape- liveable but not pretty. I took a lot of time away from the blog in order to focus on painting and remodeling the bathroom. Between the 6 months I lived in Charlotte without access to most of my filming equipment, and the 6 months of intense work on the home, this blog suffered a lot. Shockingly, the traffic didn’t dip like I thought it would.

I was a woman on a mission and painting took first priority. I woke up every day and painted for 5-8 hours a day. I would take off every other day and do something fun with my kids to make up for the previous day of ignoring them while I was painting.

Now I can finally say that things have slowed down in the home remodeling department. I won’t lie and say that we don’t have more work to do. We have replaced all but two doors and need to replace all of the door hardware and paint the trim around the doors…. you can really see how dingy they look in the second photo.

newdoors newdoors2
There are holes in the drywall from moving the water heater to the garage to make room for a pantry in our laundry room and that is being done this month.

laundryroom

holeindawall

I still want to rip out the giant stone planter with my bare hands but it will be a lot of work or a lot of money, or both. And the outside of the home is basically crying out for the help of HGTV or DIY- we have a rotten deck that needs replacing, a pool deck and pool that need major help, and our landscaping is the shame of the cul-de-sac.

Regardless of what we haven’t done, I’m so proud of the work we have finished over the year. We checked off every major interior fix we had on our to-do list to make this house a home. No more orange paint, no more peeling doors, no more ugly grey front door, bye-bye 1970′s bathroom, and no more hideous and filthy light switches and outlets. Hello thrifty mid century furniture finds and modern colors.  You can go back and look at the before/afters on this old post (a lot of changes have been made since the post but not enough to take new photos, except for the family room- the blue recliner went bye bye):

livingroom

Before and After Rooms

I am still on the hunt for the perfect mid century furniture and decor to complete our home but that will take time and patience. Now we have the time to actually enjoy our new life in Florida, see the sights, visit the parks, and spend our weekends as a family rather than spending them at Home Depot.

I’ve blogged a heckuva lot about our home progress, I’m linking the old posts for anyone who wants to look back at the work and projects we have done this year.  Thanks to everyone’s patience as our family and home took priority over the blog.  Things are picking up in the productivity department and I can’t wait to share all of the fun projects and ideas I have with you!

Before/After House- Photos of each room

Guest Bathroom Remodel- The Octopus Bathroom (featured on Offbeat home!)

Entryway- The Fated Thrift Store Chairs

Master Bedroom Makeover- Serene Retreat

Laundry Room- Utilizing a Small Space

Front Living Room- Orange to Grey

Front Door- Grey to Purple

Golden Girls Room-Downloadable GG Quotes

 

Projects-

Thrifted Night Stands- Traditional to Modern

Thrifted Chair- Painted upholstery (it works!)

Thrifted Dresser- Ombre Mid Century Mod masterpiece

Thrifted Frames+DIY Silhouette- Easy Tutorial

 

 

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Life With Two Boys: Dirty, Hilarious, Amazing. I Wouldn’t Change a Thing.

“It’s a boy!” the sonographer exclaimed as I lay on a table with globs of cold, clear jelly on my expanding belly.  My husband was relieved.  I was heartbroken.  I already had one boy so I was hoping for that magical equation where baby number two was a girl.  Sure, I lied to everyone who asked and said I would love either.  I’m like everyone else and just assumed the odds would be in my favor for that perfect set of children.  My husband would have our first child to go to races and play video games with; I would have a girl to craft and shop with. By the time my due date came (and went… my second son was 10 days past his due date…. boys) I had come to terms with the gender.  I loved him of course!  He was my baby.  Still, a part of me wasn’t as connected to him during my pregnancy as I had been to Fletcher.  I worried that I would never be able to love him as much as I loved Fletcher.  How could I?  I loved Fletcher an overwhelming amount, I would cry sometimes just thinking about how much I loved him.  I didn’t think I had any more love than that to give.  I wasn’t anxious for him to come, in fact, I enjoyed his tardiness because the later he was the longer I had with my beloved Fletcher.  We cuddled for weeks before my due date because I knew life was changing in a big way. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Everett entered the world peacefully in the comfort of my bedroom after a quick 4 hours, 45 minutes of labor.  I fell in love all over again and he was instantly as much a part of my family as I or my husband or Fletcher. What everyone said about your heart expanding and your love growing with each child was right.  I didn’t love Fletcher any less than before his brother was born but I loved his new brother just as much.  I had no reason to worry at all!

These days I find myself grateful that life dealt us two boys.  Each day I watch their bond grow stronger and see them both growing into little boys with distinct personalities.  Fletcher is my goofball, my comedian, my social butterfly, my cuddle obsessed young man.  Everett is the “baby,” he is brave and fearless, a little mini-me of his brother, and a sensitive soul.  He also sucks at sharing.  Before Everett came into our lives I knew already that Fletcher was meant to be an older brother- he needed someone as a playmate and partner and he was a nurturing little boy.  It is clear that I was right.  He thrives as a big brother.  Since Everett is no longer a baby he has taken to accosting babies in public to coddle and I catch him helping them in public play areas.  It make my mommy heart proud.  theboyslaughing The older the boys get the closer they become.  I tell my boys that “having a brother is like having a built in best friend for life.” and often remind them to stick together.  I want their friendship to last a lifetime. Lately I’ve noticed that they choose to spend time together, that they miss one another when one is gone, and that they are teaming up to create elaborate games and adventures.  Everett asks when “bro bro” will be home from school.  Fletcher translates his brother’s fragmented words and gestures for us “Mom he SAID he wants a SANDWICH!”   They are concocting obstacle courses from pillows and will hang out in a fort for long stretches of time just laughing about who knows what or playing Angry Birds. Each time I witness them offer up affection unprovoked I can’t help but be in awe of their relationship and kick myself for ever being disappointed in having a second son.   Who decides what makes up a perfect family?  I’m ashamed to admit that I bought into the tripe being fed to me by family and even passing strangers about the baby yet to be born.  Having two boys is the most fun, most amazing, most perfect family I could have.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So to anyone reading this right now who might have those same feelings of disappointment over gender, or the fear that you can’t love your second baby as much as you love your first I’m here to tell you that those feelings will pass.   It is magical and powerful and indescribable how much you fall in love all over again when a new baby is born.  It saddens me how often I’ve heard strangers and family push their gender expectations onto pregnant women- if you have done it, even innocently, think again before you say “Oh I just know this baby has to be a boy, you already have two girls!”  It might not sound malicious but you are fueling the hopes a mother might be having, you are putting an expectation on them that is in no way something that have control over, and if that mother ends up with a third girl, you are part of the voice in their head that makes them wonder what is wrong with them?  Why weren’t the odds in their favor?  Every mother deserves to be overjoyed about their pregnancy.  Families are dynamic and not a recipe with the ingredients of “One Mom, One Dad, One Baby Boy, One Baby Girl.”  There is no such thing as a one size fits all perfect family.  There can be your perfect family and that is all that matters.  

Oh, and don’t get me started on the “Are you gonna try for a girl” question…. 

Posted in Personal PostComments (16)



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