Monday, October 29, 2012

Blanche's Room

I wouldn't consider myself a "blogger". I mean, you have the writer bloggers, that just have amazing stories or input on society. You also have the bloggers that have beautiful photography. Then you have the crafty bloggers, who have all these amazing talents. And you also have the thrifty/DIY/ all things homemade types of blogs. I'm sure the list goes on and on. And I don't know if I really fit any of them. All I know is that when I did a self reflection a few months back in this post, was that I wanted to write, take photographs, and sew more. I needed to refocus. So thats what this blog helps me do I guess, and whether people actually read it... I guess that's a bonus.

Even though I don't always feel like much of a "homemaker," I am at home all day. So, for me, what things I look at (or stare at while rocking Blanche to sleep) are very important. When Andrew and I first got married I knew that we were sort of entering a new stage of life, and for some reason I thought that meant I needed to have target bedding with matching pillows. I thought I had to have matching towels and tablecloths for each season. I don't know, I sort of went all crazy 50's housewife. Then one day after having Blanche (and yes, it may have been after looking at Bohemian homes on pinterest) I realized that getting married didn't mean changing who you are. So, having the awesome husband that I have, we went to Lowes and bought a whole bunch of plants. And I started doing things how I wanted to do them. All this to say I am starting a little mini tour of our small home to show some of the favorite details.

First and foremost, we start with the "nursery." Which only really stayed the perfect nursery I had created up until Blanche was born. Now, Blanche has sort of a "bohemian pad" of sorts. Well when Blanche was only a few months old we completely switched bedrooms. We did a lot of things. Like we decided we didn't need to keep a crib in a small town home when she didn't even sleep in one. Blanche still co sleeps at night, but now we have a bed for her to grow into or nap on whenever in her room. It also makes a great bed for all our single friends that pop in on occasion and stay the night.

One of my favorite things about Andrew and me is that almost everything we have in our home has either been giving to us, has been found thrifting, or is some memory. When Andrew's mom came up to Siloam for Blanche's party this month, she brought up a lot of old things. I love old things. Basically things that hung in her children's nursery twenty to thirty years ago now can hang in Blanche's room. I think I love old things because they always have a story. The blanket hanging above Blanche's bed Andrew's mom finished after her sister Joan had started it. I think its all cross stitched. I guess Aunt Joan had made it to the letter "R" and mom finished it from there. Which was extra sweet since she was pregnant with Rebecca at the time. See, you don't get that kind of history with a bed set from target. You just don't. The blanket on Blanche's bed Andrew's mom made. I am jealous of how crafty and efficient the older generations before me were. Blanche also has her father and mother's old toys and books scattered about the room.

The button mobile I made Blanche is hanging over her changing table alongside a huge frame that has polaroids of my own childhood inside. All of the polaroids are at least 25 years old, and I love that Blanche can look up and see all these beautiful people that love her right there. I think the thing I've realized is the most important about creating a child's room is that it needs to be fun. Its also needs to be practical. Like if your baby crawls, you may need to block the trash can. But it is so sweet to see Blanche crawl from our room to hers every morning and see her face light up when she sees all of her special things. It sometimes seems as if its Christmas morning or that she is seeing them all for the first time. For me its double the joy to see Andrew read Blanche a story before bed that he loved when he was little. And for me to rock Blanche in the rocking chair that my meme was rocked in, while being wrapped in the blanket that Andrew came home from the hospital in. Yes, like I have admitted before, I am sappy. I am sentimental. One day Blanche will come to visit her mom after she has left the house and is grown. She will open the door and probably find me buried in every toy she ever played with or piece of paper she has ever scribbled on... Nah, I think I'm a bit too much of a neat freak for that. But I'm sure I'll have a special memory box for each child.

I love having a home that I really do love. Not that we don't desire certain things at times (like a garage), but what's important to me is that my home is beautiful because I think it's beautiful. I once read  something like, "have nothing in your home that you don't find necessary or beautiful". I think it is so important to have beauty. I wish Americans especially could learn that having beauty and spending a lot of money are two completely different things. Materialism is so easy to fall into, and when you change your idea of what is beautiful or even needed, you find yourself saving money and being an individual. So that's the first part of our little home. More to come... : )

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Danielle's Baby Shower

Today I was thinking about how I thought I was already grown up when I came to college. Now I may feel younger and less experienced in life than I did then. What's funny about that though, is that when I met the friends I made my freshman year (which was over seven years ago...crazy), I felt like I was already grown up... that I had lived so much life and had to fill them in. But now looking back I realize that for me college was the time I really learned what relationships with people look like. When I look back at the friends I have made and spent almost the last decade with, I can see that we have truly been living and experiencing life together. Its almost weird. Having some of my friends that knew me as a crazy freshman doing really embarrassing things, now see me as a mother. I NEVER would have thought that I would still be in Siloam, three and half years after graduating, married with a one year old. And that many of my good friends would also be living in Siloam.

All of that to say, us girls are kind of getting good at "throwing showers." I feel like as soon as one baby is born we find out someone else is pregnant, or engaged, or coming into town to visit. There seems a reason to get together almost monthly. It seems that in a blink of an eye I've become an adult. A mother. A housewife.

I like to think of myself as still pretty hip though, of course. Hopefully I'm not as boring as I once thought the moms in the "mom club" were. Okay, I probably am boring to a lot of people. I mean I get excited about cloth diapers. I guess its just a new season of life, not only for me, but for many of my friends. And like all seasons, you have to adjust.

October has been super busy with homecoming (still need to post a few of those pictures), Blanche's party, and a couple of baby showers as well. This past weekend we threw a shower for Danielle and her soon to be baby boy. I'm glad that I have awesome friends that can all work together. Everyone either works full time or has a baby. So even though I'd love to throw some awesome pinterest baby shower, we mostly split jobs and all brought something good to eat. We had a little brunch and gave Danielle presents. It was fun. We mostly wanted to see her and tell her we love her. Which for me is the reason for a shower.

I loved the few pictures I took. Pregnant Danielle enjoying her much craved cinnamon rolls made by Ellen, while Ellen stands in the back holding her baby. It made me laugh. A little foreshadowing I guess. Also, Blanche thought it was a fun game to take True's pacifier in and out of his mouth. I don't know if he thought it was as much fun. Then we have the hip and single girls. Who to me just looked so put together. Ha. They may look sort of mad, but actually we were testing out the camera timer for our group shot. I guess when I saw them I thought, "wow, time to put yourself together." Haha. We tried to get a group shot but a few girls had already left. I think I probably look the most awkward. Hitting the timer and running into place. And then lastly, little True and his two front teeth. I love how smiley he is.

Well I wanted to put up these pictures, and let all of my many dedicated readers know what I've been up to. I wish I had more time to write. More inspiration to take beautiful pictures and write thought provoking posts. Truth is much of my day is cleaning up messes and trying to sit down for five minutes. An older gentleman saw Blanche and I at the cafe this morning. We were out of coffee at home, and I would walk ten miles for a cup of coffee. Luckily I only had to walk ten minutes. Anyways, as Blanche and I strolled out of the cafe, me pushing the stroller with one hand and drinking my coffee with the other while Blanche hugged her baby doll, the man said, "have fun." At first I thought, well its not all fun. But then I thought again, that maybe to him it would be just that. It always seems the older one gets the less they remember about the crying and diapers. It is good to have that reminder. Blanche is only this little today. I should try and have some fun.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Blanche Turns One

My baby is one. Well, she will officially be one in four and a half hours at two thirty am. So right about now one year ago... I was ready to have my baby. Really ready. Like almost thirty hours of labor... so ready.

And now she's one. Blanche is crawling, standing (until she sees we are watching), saying mama, dada, papa, hi, bye, buh (boo) baby (sort of) and can make signs for milk and all done. She also has one little tooth! Blanche has more and more personality every day. Some days she seems so big, toddler-like. Other days she's just my little cuddly baby.

Andrew's mom and her husband Keith came up for a long weekend, and we had such a good time visiting with them and celebrating little Blanche. They stayed for Blanche's birthday party on Sunday afternoon before they left. We did a simple and modest sock monkey party. Perfect for Blanche. The decorations were my watercolor banner and pictures of Blanche all over the place (which may have been her favorite part). I hung twine and used little clothes pins to hang them. We had cake (made by the cafe's amazing baker Betty) and coffee at the bookstore/ cafe where Andrew manages. Because Blanche can't really say "Mom, make sure and invite this friend," we invited our own friends. And as you can see above, some of our friends have very handsome babies that come to celebrate Blanche. My step-sister and her family came from Oklahoma as well, which was a nice treat for Blanche since they have a young daughter.

Its funny because as a visual/ artistic person I often look through pictures again and again and those become my memories. But I am finding as a mother that sometimes its best to put the camera down and live in the moment. To sit beside Blanche as she eats her cake and help her unwrap her presents. So, I didn't get every "detail" shot of the decorations, or capture the best picture of Blanche eating cake, but I did get some photos that will always be special to me. I also felt like I was able to talk to people, and most of all I got to carry around the birthday girl for most of her party : )

Blanche was sleepy at the end but so sweet and curious about what this thing called a party was all about. It made me realize that once again birthdays and holidays have become something filled with wonder that only a child can bring. This time though, I am on the other end, watching my daughter smile and laugh as she explores the world. It does make me thankful, not only for the year behind us but hopefully for the many more to come.

Cake Eating Video

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Adventures and Waffle House

Whenever I dreamt of having a "baby" I never really thought through a lot of things. To be fair, you can't logically think through all the details of something you have never actually experienced. I guess everyone's ideas of what it must be like to be a parent is just watching others... and trying to remember what you have been told or read somewhere. But actually having your own child is nothing like that. At all.

I say all of this because I've been thinking about how I never really knew how young a baby really was when they started crawling and walking. I always thought in my mind, "Oh those cute little toddlers." We are actually talking about 7 and 8 month old babies being able to go anywhere.

And then all of the sudden, you have a full time job that requires you to be constantly running and bending over to pick up and "redirect" this baby. I say "redirect" because lately that has turned from taking Blanche away from something and introducing her to something new, to me trying to take Blanche away from something and her being completely emotionally distraught. As you can see in the pictures above, Blanche was playing he loves me, he loves me not with the flowers in the park, and then was very upset to be swept away.

Tonight as Andrew was laying on the floor in Blanche's room reading a golden book about Jesus, I said to him, "You know what kind of sucks? That whenever we are bored out of our minds, Blanche is so content and happy. But as soon as we try to entertain ourselves she isn't." I didn't get a response. He was really into the golden book.

What I said sounds a little harsh I guess. But its an honest reflection. When we are both just giving our full attention to Blanche, or even just in her room, reading golden books to ourselves, she is happy. But then it just seems that every time we put on a movie she needs us. Which is what it truly means to be a parent to a small child. And I do love those precious family moments together, but sometimes you just want a moment. Which I guess is what night time is for. Anyways... I'm just rambling about parenthood. No one is probably even reading anymore.

But there are benefits to having a baby that gets into everything. You get to go outside a lot more. You have a reason to sit in the park for an hour. You can also bring Blanche to Waffle House and she will be very content making friends with the bikers. And its those moments when Andrew and I exhale slowly, and he sips his black coffee and I sip mine with a bit of cream. And we smile at each other and smile at Blanche, who has no idea we are looking at her. And then its like the world is perfect inside a  waffle house.

Monday, October 1, 2012

DIY: How to Cut Your Own Hair

As you can clearly see in the second picture from the top, I have big hair. Really big, curly, hair. Almost untamable at times. That picture is showing the innocent reader (you) how crazy my hair is after taking it out from it's famous "bun." I have prided myself in the fact that I haven't gotten a "mom" haircut since Blanche has been born. Basically, I think my face is to round to cut off my hair, and with one pregnancy down, and many more to come I'm sure... I feel like my hair is the one thing that keeps me feeling pretty when my weight is going up and down.

At the start of this summer I decided to go chemical free with my hair products. Actually we as a household have decided to go chemical free or "organic" in as many ways as possible. You really only have to read so many books or watch so many documentaries before you start to realize why it is necessary. Eventually, I am going to do a series of posts on how we are making these changes. For now, here is my herbal shampoo recipe.

Like I said in the post, I love my shampoo. I also love coconut oil. A lot of my mama friends use coconut oil on their babies. I tend to just put it on everything. Blanche always smells like she is going to the beach rather than to bed each night. So after taking my hair out of its nest of a bun tonight, I added coconut oil to try and give it a "drink." Most of the time even though my hair may look kind of big and messy and maybe even "cool" or something... its honestly just really really dry. So adding coconut oil and letting that sit for even just a few minutes can do wonders.

Then, time to shower and wash it out. I used my herbal shampoo which helped get a lot of the oil out, but didn't leave it dry. Then, I used the trick I have learned from my awesome neighbor via youtube. It always goes back to youtube. Okay maybe not. But this time it does.

There were lots of these "how to" videos. But this girl is cute because she's British. So, for the second time I cut my hair all by myself! And it is even layered! I'm sure one day I will cut Blanche's hair like this too.

So there you have it. A visual description on how I go from in desperate need of TLC to freshly cut hair within 30 minutes or so. And its completely free!