Noah: Two Months

Jan 27, 2013

Dear Noah,

You are two months old today! I cannot even believe that time has gone by this fast. You have changed so much from that first week we brought you home and even since a month ago! I have loved being with you every single day. I love waking up to your smiles. You bring us so much joy, sweet boy.


 In the past couple of weeks you have really gained some neck strength and can almost hold your head up on its own when we hold you on our side. You still "bobble" around some, but you're getting there! You don't really like tummy time, but don't mind being on your belly with your boppy pillow. You really can push away from our chests when you're laying on us. You can focus on our faces more now and usually follow us with your eyes when we walk by.

You get more expressive with each new day. Some of the faces you make just crack Daddy and me up! You also have been very, very vocal lately. With all kinds of adorable "ahhhs" and "coos" and something that sounds kind of like "hey". I really think you'll talk early and hopefully be very musical, too!

You are now using cloth diapers and they have worked great so far! They are kind of bulkier than we're used to, but your 0-3mo clothing still fits great. My favorite pair of your hipster Gap jeans-not so much. I put you in those all the time. I guess I'll have to find another favorite. I know you're disappointed.

We really haven't done much this month. I took you to the lake (which is really a pond, but I suppose in a small town....) on one of our warm days and walked a mile. Be impressed. I haven't done that since I was trying to help you find your way out the weekend before you were born. You are worth every bit of new junk in my trunk, but I'm more than ready to downsize now, thanks. Anyway, you slept the entire mile and the ride home, too. I know in the blink of an eye I'll be telling you to slow down and stop throwing rocks at the ducks. *sob*


You still LOVE bath time, especially with me! I lay you between my legs and just pour warm water over your body. The look on your face is just one of pure relaxation. We started using Dr. Bronner's lavender soap instead of the Burt's Bees and I can already tell a huge difference in your skin- it's much softer now and seems less irritated. Bath time is a team effort and Daddy is our designated de-clother, supply-grabber and towel-wrapper. And I'll just go ahead and admit that your little tiny butt cheeks make us giggle. I promise not to bring that up to any of your future girlfriends.

Lately you've really been needing to snuggle to sleep during the day. You are perfectly content hanging out on the boppy or blanket for a little while, but when you get fussy all it takes is some rockin' in my arms and my own version of "Hush, Little Baby" (even though I completely forget the words after the first three items!). At that point I just go rogue and make up my own lyrics. Thank the Lord you don't get what I'm saying at this point. I actually thank the Lord for that quite often throughout the day, actually. ;)

On a more serious note, I honestly cannot convey just how much my heart has grown since bringing you into this world. I have to remind myself to trust God concerning you, because otherwise I will literally freak out at the thought of anything ever happening to you. I'm reminding myself daily, just like Nana always told me she did with me, that you are given to me for a short time to raise and care for; and that God has a specific plan on how your life will go. So for now I'll hold on so SO so tight whenever you let me and care for and teach you with 200% of everything in me. I have never been more in love, sweet boy.

Love, Mommy

House Update: Living/Dining Room

Jan 24, 2013

I have always loved home decorating and was really excited to have somewhat of a "blank canvas" when we bought our first home. We did have to paint almost every room in the house, and I appreciate all the help we had with that as it was done when I was pregnant and couldn't be much help. 

I've always been told that a home evolves over time into the style that is truly "you". That has definitely been true in our case. It's also taken awhile because we've saved up and paid cash for everything. As much as I like to do things in a hurry, it's actually been better that things have happened slowly. I've had time to wander West Elm fifty times and browse Pinterest to really get an idea of what I like. 

When we first moved in, we had big, bulky furniture that was in the brown color family. After sending some of it back with our parents and selling the rest online, we were able to come up with enough money to buy our sectional, the piece that I've kind of centered the entire room around.
Because of my piano and the sectional, we are limited to two ways the living room can be arranged. The first way, shown below on the right, left the room feeling separated and somewhat dark. When we moved the sectional to the other side of the room it really made the open concept space truly open.






I really like the way the house is coming together. I love the natural light we get in the main part of the house and although our house is not big at all, the space works well for us. 

Item List:
-Couch: World Market
-Pillows: World Market
-Rug: West Elm Marquis Rug 
-Hive Vases: West Elm
-Chevron Frame: Urban Outfitters
-Mirror: Target; Threshold Collection
-Frame Ledges: Ikea 
-Key Holder: Made by Michael 
 
What's left to do? 
  •  HIDE THE UGLY TV WIRES!
  • Fun, colorful pillows for the couch
  • Side table for the chair
  • New Chair or Slipcover for cream chair
  • Patterned curtains
  • Different Dining Room Chairs, maybe these?
  • Stain Kitchen Table Darker
  • Wall decor for the blank spaces above the piano, before the hall, in the hallway, and above the kitchen table (shown below)
  • Rug for doorway


Next update to come? Guest room update!

Healthy Living: Coconut Oil Toothpaste

Jan 22, 2013

In the past year or so Michael and I have made drastic changes to our lifestyle. Part of these changes has included educating ourselves on what we put IN and ON our bodies. For the most part, we have eliminated processed foods from our diet, begun eating more whole and, when appropriate organic, foods, and tried to pay attention to the daily-care products that we ingest and use on our skin.

After researching some of the toxins, chemicals, and carcinogens found in our skin-care products,we realized we needed to get rid of a ton of the things we used daily. One of those things was our toothpaste. Two main ingredients in toothpaste stood out to me: sodium fluoride and glycerin. 

Fluoride has been thought to prevent cavities for years and is often prescribed for children and even added to our public water systems (including bottled water). Since, studies have shown that IF fluoride has any kind of anti-cavity effect, the dose required for that effect would be toxic. I won't go into a spiel, but if you're curious, here are a few resources:
Another main ingredient in many toothpastes is Glycerin, a substance that is supposed to coat the teeth and give toothpaste a creamy texture. However, glycerin prevents remineralisation, our body's ability when fed a healthy, pH-balanced diet, to essentially heal our teeth and reverse tooth decay. 

All of that to say, we wanted to make changes. After finding out about the amazing benefits of coconut oil, and talking to several people we knew who use it and love it, we decided to introduce it to our lives in all kinds of forms. One of the first ways we have used it is as a substitute for our regular toothpaste. Coconut Oil helps our body absorb Calcium and contributes to remineralisation. There are several recipes I've found to make toothpaste, but the one I ended up using worked out really well! 
Ingredients:

5 TBS Calcium Magnesium Powder(or Calcium Carbonate)(we didn't have any o this on hand so my current batch, and the one pictured above, doesn't include it)
5 TBS Coconut Oil: Depending on the texture you like, you can add more or less coconut oil. I bought this jar of Dr. Bronner's brand at Whole Foods for $10. I think most Krogers, as well as Amazon.com, sells some kind of coconut oil.  
6 TBS Baking Soda
~25 Drops of Essential Oil: I chose peppermint for obvious reasons, but I have seen where some people choose Eucalyptus oil, as well. You can also add more or less of this according to your desired taste.

Directions: 1) Combine ingredients in a container of your choice. This one was the only clean one available, but I plan to buy some smaller sized mason jars and store our future batches in one of them. 2) Mix it all up really, really well. Other people use a mixer, but I made half a batch just to try it out and didn't find a mixer necessary. 3) Apply desired amount to brush and "brush-a, brush-a, brush-a" (a big thumbs-up to anyone who gets that movie reference).

*Some people add Xylitol to help with the bitterness as well, but we didn't find that it was necessary. 

THE RESULTS? WE LOVE IT!

Michael and I tried it at the same time and after getting used to it, we really like it. I actually look forward to brushing my teeth because I like the way my teeth feel after using it. We both agree our teeth feel really smooth and our mouths cleaner than normal. This toothpaste is truly more of a paste-like texture and does not have the suds-ing effect of normal toothpaste. It's been advised not to dip your toothbrush in the paste because bacteria could build up, but rather use a clean finger or a wooden, flat stick to apply it to your brush. 

Skeptical? Give it a shot! I wasn't sure about the taste, but now I highly doubt I'll ever go back to normal toothpaste in a tube, even if it is fluoride-free and all-natural. 

See the Healthy Living title? I've decided to do a series of these posts from now on and plan to include not only more of our uses and experiences with coconut oil, but also healthy, whole food recipes and other "crunchy" discoveries along the way! Stay tuned! 
 

 
 


Nursery Reveal

Jan 17, 2013

With as much time as I spent on Pinterest in those first few months of pregnancy, while I was super nauseous and laid in bed a ton, I saw so many ideas for baby rooms. I LOVE interior design and home decorating and I was so excited about creating a space that I would feel comfortable in taking care of Noah, but also more importantly he can enjoys as he grows. When we learned we were expecting, we were in a rental and could not change any paint colors, etc. I am so glad, for many reasons, we decided to buy our own home.  I wanted Noah's room to be really light and fun with simple, personal touches. I've had an obsession with grey and chevron this year and knew I wanted to have it in the nursery in some way. I decided to go with a mint green color and found Mint Condition from Sherwin Williams. I also chose this color because it coordinates well with the rest of the house colors. Without further ado.....welcome to Noah's nursery!  


Here's a breakdown of the items in the room:

Crib:  Ikea's SUNDVIK collection, grey-brown

Dresser: Ikea's HEMNES collection, grey-brown

Crib Sheet & Changing Pad Cover: Skip Hop Complete Sheet, Treetop Friends - so nice because it has design around the side of the mattress so a skirt is optional! 

Book Ledges: IKEA

Collage Graphics: I designed these on my own using the editing site PicMonkey. I used a program similar to this to design the save-the-dates, invitations, and program for our wedding. Most of these pictures were Pinterest-inspired and I really enjoyed designing them. The frames I've collected from different places over the past few years and I think they all look great together. Confession: The first week Noah was born I would cry every time I changed his diaper and looked up and saw the lyrics to "Forever Young". I may still shed a tear when I hear the song.

Rocking Chair: Thrift Store, $15- needs to be sanded and stained. I've had this for about a year and it has been just sitting in the garage- I'm so glad I found a place for it inside!

Curtain Rod: Our Woods. No literally, our woods. We just went out and snapped it off a tree and used regular curtain rod brackets to hang it. I like it! 

Drawer Handles: Michael's Craft Store. This was such a fun addition, in my opinion. They were super easy to screw on and I think they'll be super fun for Noah once he learns how to open his drawers! His dresser drawers, that is. He can keep his other drawers closed, thanks!

Fabric Pennant Banner: I made this with different fabrics from the local fabric shop, Granny B's. I waited for awhile for them to get their chevron fabric in and love how it turned out! 

Baby in the Crib: He's homemade, too. ;)

The only thing left to get for this room is a rug. I need rugs in every room of our house and  I'm having a really hard time finding affordable ones that are modern and work well. I'll keep looking and hopefully will find something that complements the rest of the room- I'm thinking about going crazy and getting some kind of animal print!

I change my mind so often when it comes to decorating, and after finding even more amazing nursery inspiration, I do sometimes wish I would have gone with a different look. But overall, I'm really happy with how it came together. Noah will take naps in his crib occasionally, but we are still cosleeping and probably will until he stops breastfeeding. I'm excited for the time when he is old enough to enjoy being in his crib and playing with his toys in his room!



Holidays

Jan 16, 2013

Better late than never, right? We had such a great time in Virginia for Christmas. Noah was a wonderful traveler and slept almost then entire 7.5 hour car ride - there and back! We were so excited to see some family we hadn't seen in awhile and had so much fun introducing them to Noah. 

It worked out this year that we spent all day Christmas Eve with M's family and Christmas day with my family. Usually our holidays end up being split between three or four different places and we have to leave one place early to get to the next. This year, we had all day with M's family and all day with mine- a win-win. I feel like it contributed to some really nice quality time with everyone. 

S'mores treats for the neighbors and M's co-workers
Christmas snuggles with Grandpa

 M's parents' tree- beautiful!
Snuggles with Daddy!
Will

Little Bear
Noah with his Gma- he slept the entire time we opened gifts!
All bundled up with Poppy for his first snow!
Smiles with Nana Lisa!
Stephen, Megan, & Grant
Sisters

Auntie Meg!
First Great-Grandbaby!

Meeting cousins and his great-aunt!
Opening gifts with Mommy!

We really enjoyed this special time with our families. M and I have both acknowledged that it may not always work out to go to Virginia for Christmas, but we are so glad it worked out this year. Family is so important to us and we love them so much. 





Miscellany Monday

Jan 14, 2013

Monday's almost over, but I'm at least accomplishing a post! I've missed writing a ton, but during the day I don't have long periods of quiet time when I don't have my sweet boy in my arms. And that's totally okay with me! But my goals for the next year included trying to blog at least 2-3 times a week. I'm terrible at writing in a journal, and although those thoughts are usually more personal, I still find blogging a great way to record memories and share things throughout the year.


So here goes my Monday randoms....

1:: I am loving being a Mommy. I feel like I'm still trying to find the balance in it all, but I think that is probably a continual thing that changes with each stage of life. I have promised myself that I wouldn't take a single moment with my sweet boy for granted. 
 2:: I've been trying to figure out what my style is for our house. On one hand I love bright colors, but then I walk into Restoration Hardware and crave mature neutrals all over again! After a ton of trips to West Elm and a ton of YoungHouseLove browsing, I may have found my balance. I'm working on a post now with some house updates, including some changes in our bedroom and guest room, Noah's nursery reveal, and some small accents in our living room that include these awesome  Hive Vases from West Elm - I got the blue and yellow ones!
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3::  I've been doing a ton of research lately on healthy and natural living- further than what I already knew. We've cut out almost all of our processed foods and opt for organic, whole foods. The latest information I've found is on the many benefits and uses of coconut oil. A friend suggested I post a review once I've tried it out, so that's in the works as well! Also, I truly am passionate about staying healthy and what TRUE nutrition really means. I'd love to share what I find and plan to write about it as I go! 
 4:: I've been trying to work on my photography lately, especially now that we have Noah. I've had a DSLR for a couple years now but have just learned how to use the settings and what they mean in the past year. It's amazing what you can do when you take it off "Auto"! Most of the time it is more convenient to take pictures with my phone or my smaller point and click camera, and I also feel awkward sometimes getting the bigger camera out in certain places, but I'm trying to overcome that so I can start getting some better pictures and work on the skill. I've read tons of helpful tutorials on different blogs and hope to tackle Photoshop or Lightroom next! 

5:: Tomorrow we start cloth diapering! I got a wonderful deal from Jilliansdiapers.com and was able to get about 30 BumGenius Freetime AIOs for the price of about 20. It was suggested to us to use the chemical-free disposables until about 6 weeks because newborns usually dirty a diaper quite frequently in that time frame. Noah has way fewer poopy diapers now at almost 7 weeks and while they're still pretty runny (thank the Lord they don't smell like formula-fed poos), it's definitely more manageable at this point. I pre-washed about half of them just to try them out and see how it goes and they're currently hanging up to dry overnight, ready for tomorrow morning! I'm really excited to start using them and feel another review post coming in the next few weeks! 
That's it for this random post. I've got a fussy baby who needs to nurse to sleep! I'm excited to really try to stick to my goal of writing more often and am looking forward to some upcoming posts! 

miscellany monday at lowercase letters


Happy Monday!

Birthday

Jan 11, 2013

Well, I'm officially a year older! It's been a wonderful year and I enjoyed getting to celebrate it with my two wonderful guys and my in-laws! I stayed in Virginia past Christmas to get a few extra days in with family and friends and rode back to Tennessee with M's mom. It did mean that Noah and I spent New Year's Eve apart from Michael and that was super hard (it was mine and Michael's first NYE apart and I admit...I shed some tears at midnight)- I ended up wishing I had come home with him, but I did enjoy the extra time at home.

 On Friday, we picked up M's dad at the airport and grabbed some lunch before heading home. On Saturday, we went to Amerigo's in Nashville for a delicious dinner and dessert. We spent Sunday getting our traditional Ace's Breakfast in downtown Dickson before taking a walk at the pond. It felt so nice to get some fresh air and I loved getting our stroller out because we hadn't had a chance to really use it yet. I spent some of my birthday money at West Elm and Urban Outfitters on some home decor items that I can't wait to show in a "house update" post! Overall it was a good birthday and I really am thankful for the life God has blessed me with.
Noah & Mommy
Family picture with M's parents!
He was so content during dinner and enjoyed looking around and taking it all in.

THE best Tiramisu I have EVER had!
Breakfast at Ace Diner! Pancakes every time!
Walk around Luther Lake- we LOVE our Britax. It is amazingly easy to get up and going and is a smooth ride for Noah.

 Here's to another year! :)