Have a Bearific Halloween!

Since Parker is still too young to trick or treat this year, we decided to take him in his costume to ride the carousel and play in his favorite soft play area at North Point Mall. The costume was a little warm for the low 70’s weather today, but he got lots of smiles from onlookers and he was really diggin’ all the attention. Here’s some pictures of the cutest little brown bear you’ve ever seen…

As apart of our small group service project this quarter, I coordinated a visit with the local nursing home.  We dressed the kids up in their costumes and delivered candy.  They absolutely loved visiting with the kids, and the kids enjoyed putting on a “show” for them!

 

Perfection

I’m not sure if the pressure to be perfect comes from society or my own internal pressures not to fail, but while fully enthralled in pregnancy hormones,  it’s hard not to get over-emotional about my imperfections and feel overwhelmed on how I can balance trying to succeed in all areas of my life without in turn muttering something’s gotta give

Although I know I’ll never be perfect in every area of my life, for some reason there still no desire to ever stop trying to be.  Is that a bad thing?

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Health

REALITY: I eat too much and I don’t exercise enough.  It’s that simple.  Not hard science.

GOAL: To eat healthy… meaning, plenty of the good fruits and veggies my body needs, and less of the carbs and junk food that makes me feel like crap.  To exercise every day even if its just a walk around the neighborhood and to take vitamins and keep up with annual dr visits.

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Professionally

REALITY: I work occasionally for my previous employer, but haven’t had a real desire to go back to work full time because of my lack of professional accreditations.

GOAL: Decide on what professional accreditation I’d like to pursue, and take the time to study and pass the exam.

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Ecofriendliness

REALITY: I have a big desire to use less, recycle more and reduce waste.  However, often times I’m looking for the more convenient thing to do instead of the right thing to do.

GOAL: To use less paper products, water and electricity.  To focus more on efficiency instead of convenience.

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Budgeting

REALITY: We have very minimal debt, but we could always do better to save more and spend less

GOAL: To get rid of the mentality that if I want something, and the bank account is low, then I’ll just slap in on the credit card and pay for it out of savings later.

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Spirituality

REALITY: I don’t pray enough until something bad or wrong happens.  I’m selfish and I use my free time for me instead of prayer and meditation.  I don’t take the time to read scripture like I should unless I’m preparing for a bible study.

GOAL: I would love to have that intimate connection with my creator and move from a “sometimes believer” to a living example of his grace and love. He doesn’t stop believing in me, so why do I act like I’ve stopped believing in him? I want to feel connected enough to know where he is leading me in the  journey through life, and I want to praise him more and more wholeheartedly, like the amazing God that he is.

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Parenting

REALITY: I have a fantastic son, but I’m not always a fantastic Mom.

GOAL: I have to learn to be clear about the things that are important, but then let the small things go.

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Friendships

REALITY: I sometimes selfishly wait for people to reach out to me before reaching out to them

GOAL: To enrich the close friendships that I have, be there for them when they need me and make some new friendships along the way

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Marriage

REALITY: I tend to over-analyze the efforts of what each of us put in, and somewhat critical and bossy over how things should be done

GOAL: To focus on being loving and supportive and do things to build on the marriage instead of focusing on being “right” all the time.

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Homemaking

REALITY: Cooking isn’t my favorite thing to do, but when I do cook, I expect heaps of praise and admiration.  Aside from making the bed and laundry, I usually only clean when Dan is on his way home from a business trip or the maids are on their way to our house.

GOAL: To make delicious meals I’m proud of, and that me and the family enjoys eating. To have self discipline to keep the house tidy each day and not just right before expecting company.

Let the nursery designing begin!

This weekend after our vacation, we went scouting for the perfect nursery furniture for baby Mason.  We bought Parker’s furniture at Ga Baby and Kids, and since they have such a great selection, we decided to go there again.  We were drawn to the clean lines of  Capretti, which is the same company that we got Parker’s furniture from.  It’s a great company, and we’ve been very pleased with Parker’s furniture (with the auto-closing drawers) so it only made since to use them again.  We were really only there to look, but the sales person gave us an incredible deal with over 25% off the showroom price, and this time we didn’t have to buy the floor model to get the discount (like we did Parker’s).  So, this is what we’ve decided on.  Nothing too fancy… but I think it’ll be a great for baby Mason.

The best part is, that we got it in the same exact finish as Parker’s furniture…so if we have to move some pieces around between rooms once the cribs become full size beds, we don’t have to worry about them matching.  In case you don’t remember what Parker’s furniture looks like, here it is pictured below:

We had thought about going with a cheaper quality crib that wasn’t convertible in case we decide to have them share a room later, but we decided that it was best that they have their own furniture right now.  If it comes to a bunk bed situation later, then we can revisit that then.

We also decided on the rug for the room.  It was a reasonably priced wool rug from The Land of Nod, which is Crate&Barrel’s kids line.  I know it’s a little busy, but it’ll be all the color for the room.  The walls and curtains will be muted. I’m in love with it.

We also wanted to use a No VOC paint for the room, and we love the company The Freshaire Choice which is what we used for Parker’s nursery.  This time we’re looking to do the room in a soft brown to pick up the background of the rug.  “Pinecone Hill” to be exact.  I still have a few others that I’m contemplating, but for now, that’s my top choice.

I also found these wall decals on Etsy.  What do you think?  It’s for the scooter, car, hot air balloon and helicopter. I think they’re pretty freakin’ cute.  I think they would look great in Mason’s room, all in a dark brown color above the crib,…perhaps.

A step in the right direction!

Parker took his first steps last night!  Fortunately, Dan was home to see them! For the past week or so, he’s been standing pretty well on his own and per usual, Dan held him a few feet from him and said the all too familiar words.  “Okay, come to Daddy!”  This time he was able to take a step before wobbling to the ground!  Woohoo! Here he is, making Mama proud!

Ashevilivin’ it up

This is our second trip to Asheville and this time it was much different.  Now that we are officially traveling with a toddler…this makes for interesting vacations. It’s certainly not a vacation in the traditional sense (spa treatments, adventure excursions, shopping, eating at nice restaurants) but it is a nice change of scenery and a chance to grow a little closer to the ones you love and create lasting memories.
We left on Saturday morning after Parker’s morning nap. He got up at noon and we headed out for a quick meal at Chick-fil-A, (only the best fast food restaurant on the planet) before we started our journey and then off we went. We stopped off at a place about halfway to Asheville called Tallulah Point Overlook and they had a cute little shop where we got some local strawberry apple cider.  It had a nice view and it was a great opportunity to stretch our legs.

Our cabin was awesome.  It was only five minutes from downtown, but it still managed to be completely secluded in a wooded area not too far from the Grove Park Inn.  It was a small little cabin with two bedrooms, a cozy living room with a gas fireplace and an enormous bay window, and it also had a nice size kitchen equipped with everything you would need to make yourself a nice homemade meal.  The back patio had beautiful views as well as a nice little patio furniture set-up and a wonderful jacuzzi.

The next morning we decided to head over to the Grove Park Inn to partake in their incredible Sunday brunch.  The food was quite tasty and the view we had was amazing.  The entrance was outfitted with only the best in Fall decor.

After the delicious brunch, we decided to head over to the WNC farmer’s market and grocery store to pick up food for the week.   The farmer’s was just okay, but we did find our most favorite grocery store ever.  Have you heard of Earth Fare?  It’s similar to Whole Foods, but smaller and… just overall better.  They have only the best in foods and pastries that reminded me of a market in Europe or something.  We loved it so much that we made several trips there during the duration of our trip. They also had “hippie” artisans strumming their guitars and selling the latest in organic cotton fashions in front of the store as you walked in….and it’s a grocery store PEOPLE! My kind of place for sure! You know, because I’m such the granola wanna-be and all…

The cabin was so cozy that we enjoyed spending time there whether it was outside grilling out and enjoying the jacuzzi, or inside cooking and lying by the fire.  Parker enjoyed exploring this cute little cabin too.  Since Dan is gone so much during the week, it was really nice to spend some quality time with him that didn’t involve tackling all the chores that he missed out on while he was away on business.

Parker has really turned into a Daddy’s boy though.  Kind-of makes me sad.  He was spoiled with all the daddy attention he wanted during this trip too, and was enjoying it thoroughly.  Even today as I type this, three days after our trip has ended. Dan is back to traveling, and I’m left with Paker, who thinks its cute to yell out the window “DADA!” to people walking down the street of our subdivision,… As if to say “Dada, please come rescue me… you left me with MAMA again!!…Help!”  He’s got it rough.

Okay, but back to the story of our trip… One of the places we visited that we really enjoyed was the WNC Nature Center.  Parker loved all the animals and enjoyed the picnic we had beforehand.

Since Parker isn’t a fan of staying in a stroller or carseat for too long we also made sure that we included plenty of time for him to crawl around and play.  We visited the Health Adventure in downtown Asheville Science center, and he had a blast.

We devoted a few days to attending some local parks and shopping around the Biltmore shops.  There are quite a few beautiful parks in Asheville that have plenty for even little toddlers to do.  The weather was absolutely perfect in the high 60’s low 70’s each day.

On our last day we went to the local Arboredum and it was beautiful.  It totally made up for the fact that we didn’t make it into the Biltmore gardens.  Did you know that they charge $60. per person just to get on the estate grounds!?  That MAY be worth it if you haven’t been there before (and we have) and of course, didn’t have kids and you planned on spending the entire day there touring the gardens, estate and boozing it up at the wine tasting, but not if you have a one year old and just want to stroll through the gardens and maybe have a picnic.  I’m convinced that the Arboredum was even prettier than the Biltmore gardens anyway.

Oh Boy!

We’re excited that we’ll be having another boy! We got the news today during my mid-pregnancy ultrasound. They also checked all the vital organs and measured the bones to ensure that they were growing properly. Everything looked great!  The only thing that they’re going to keep an eye on is the location of my placenta.  My uterus is pretty low right now, and the placenta is low, but this could change and shift away from my cervix as I grow.  They’re going to check it at 30 weeks via ultrasound to see if it has shifted.  If the placenta is blocking the cervix (called placenta previa) then unfortunately I’ll need a c-section.  Let’s pray that this isn’t the case!
So….Holy cow…I’m going to be a Mom of two boys! I don’t know if I’ll need a padded room for myself or them.  (just kidding!) Parker and Mason. I’m loving the sound of it. They’re going to be best buds. I’m sure of it!
Now I can officially start the planning for the nursery! I’m trying to gather some inspirations for the room from magazines and different things I see on the internet. We decided on this artwork from Maple Shade Kids for Parker’s nursery, and after revisiting it, I think we may use them again.  I just found some new artwork on a peg board that I love.  I think this will be my new inspiration piece! The best part is, the lady is wonderful to work with and will do as many custom pieces as I want.  I love when I find cute creative things and I get to put my design skills to work. Yay!

I’m sure some of you are wondering… “Is she upset because she’s not having a GIRL?” If we’re keeping it real… then I would have to say this: I know that God only gives me things that I can handle. Let’s be honest, what woman doesn’t want a little girl to dress up with, do fun crafts with, get mani/pedi’s with and attend ballet recitals with..am I right? It’s like a mini self version that you can relive your childhood with. However, I have faith that God knows what’s best for our life and our family, and I will in no way love this little baby any less just because I already have a little boy. He will be different from Parker with his own personality and we will learn and grow with him too, as we have with Parker. We will find out later what God has in store for us in a way of increasing the number to of children three, but if two ends up being it, then I will be thrilled that God has blessed us with a two healthy boys!

Much to say about something…

So, life has been a little crazy lately. Here’s a little ‘cap
1. I think my need to have everything perfect was just the mojo I needed to kick this baby nursery into motion. Dan and I finally got dates to all of our tasks outlined on our excel spreadsheet last week, and we’re happy to report that we have some things crossed off. Yippee! I need to say for the record that my husband is a real trooper because I know it hasn’t been easy dealing with my list of demands and detailed action items and my “Hey sweetie…Can you move this please!?” in the middle of his workday.

2. Everyone tells me that babies/toddlers go through phases. I’ve experienced this a few times with Parker and most of the time, I’m happy to report that the unpleasant phases are short lived, and I get my cute little pumpkin face back to himself in no time. However, why does it seem like the unpleasant phases are never ending? For the past week, Parker hasn’t been the Mommy’s boy that I’m used to him being. Oh no. He LOVES his Daddy. Wakes up calling for Dada, cries until he gets Dada, and heaven forbid I ever try to take him from Dada’s hands. That would be a nightmare. It’s sad because I miss the days when he NEEDED me. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he’s also started to really test boundaries and get VERY temperamental when removed from the situation or forced to do something he doesn’t want to do (ie; go down for a nap). I was pretty embarrassed last week when I had him over at someone’s house for a play date. He kept trying to crawl into their office to play with the cords, grab old lamps in corners, open china cabinet drawers, etc. Everytime I removed him from the room or item, he had a full blown temper tantrum with screaming and arching and shaking his head! What has happened to my little angel? Please…someone out there tell me there is hope. Please tell me he’s not turning into one of THOSE kids…the ones you whisper about and say that your kid will NEVER be like…yeah, those.
3. Parker loves to have visits from his Nanny (what he calls my Mom).  My Mom just lights up when she sees him, and he does the same.  He’s always so good for her too (at least that’s what she says…like she would say that he was BAD) so they’re perfect together.  Dan and I in the meantime have been enjoying some great nights out…just the two of us. Last Saturday night we went to see the movie “Life as we Know it”. It was really cute.  We just couldn’t resist seeing a comedy that depicted two adults who have no idea what they were doing, caring for an adopted one year old. Oh, and did I mention that Josh Duhamel is in it? BONUS!  The little girl was really cute.  I hope I have a little girl one day.

4.  We were invited to a birthday party last Saturday.  It was at a cute little farm north of Atlanta.  The party started at 10, so we thought we’d try and make it and see how Parker would do with just one nap.  Well, let’s just say he’ll be keeping that am nap for quite some time.  He was SO tired!  He still managed to have some fun helping Mama paint the pumpkin and feed the fish.  He also LOVED feeding the goats and letting them lick his fingers.  Poor little guy was exhausted though.  It was unseasonably warm too, which didn’t help matters.  We did decide that we would return for a family trip to pick out our first REAL Christmas tree.  I’m looking forward to that!

5. I love the random things my husband says to me.  While wiping Parker’s face the other night he looks at me and says “Are you using a clorox wipe?”  Yes, dear…I AM that neurotic about things being clean.

6.  At the end of this month we’re planning on going to an assisted living facility locally and deliver pumpkins and goodies and bring our kids dressed up in their finest Halloween costumes.  We’ll be doing this with our bible study group, who also has small kids around Parker’s age.  This year Parker will be a black bear.  It really is the cutest little costume. I can’t wait to see the looks on their faces  when they see all our kids all dressed up.  There’s something so sweet about the elderly and young kids coming together that makes me smile.  Pictures to follow!

7. Only three days left until we get to find out how little wiggles is doing.  It’ll be exciting since I’ve only seen 7 week old ultrasound pictures and I’m really curious to see!  I pray that everything is developing as normal and that the baby cooperates so that we can see the sex of the baby.  Some people can wait, but I just can’t.  There’s something about knowing if it’s a boy or girl that helps me to form an even closer bond with the little one growing inside me.  I can’t wait to see what it is.  Any guesses?

8. I’ve been having such a great time with Parker at the Park lately.  It’s been our favorite place to play and laugh.  I bring my trusty waterproof picnic blanket, and Parker’s cheese bread, turkey and sippy cup of milk, and walker and we’re set.  However, we could leave all of that behind and Parker would be happy just swinging in the swing.  It is his absolute favorite thing to do.

9. Did I mention that Parker was able to meet Darth Vader? We heard about a fundraiser called “Music for Megan” and there were lots of fun things for kids to do, which included inflatable slides, ginormous bubbles to pop and Star Wars characters! Those of you who know my husband, knows what a big deal this is. He (Parker) was SO fascinated by him!

10. We’re leaving soon to enjoy a nice week in Asheville. I can’t wait to spend some nice time with my family enjoying each other, the local attractions, and the beautiful fall foliage!

The NEW principals of design

Some of you may know that I have a Interior Design degree (and for the record, this is not the same thing as an “Interior Decorator” in case you were wondering) and although I don’t dabble in it as much as I use to, I still have a love and appreciation for tastefully designed interior spaces.

Now one thing they don’t teach you when you’re in Design school is the baby and toddler design dilemma  Those of you who’ve been there (or may be there right now) know what I mean.  It’s about giving up your space to accommodate your little one.  For me, it  means totally bending the principals that they taught me in design school…so that I don’t have to say “NO!” every five seconds while in a room with a baby or toddler

Here are how the design principals have changed:

Create a living space where your furniture faces a focal point such as a fireplace or entertainment unit

Create a living space that blocks your child in and enables them from touching the entertainment center and remove the coffee table to allow more play area

Proportion your space using asymmetrical or symmetrical design to create balance

Move your crib over so that your child can’t reach the socket with cords, thus throwing off your centered wall decal that was perfectly placed when the crib mattress was full height

Adding small home decorations such as candles, frames and other chachkies can give life to the space as well as showcase the overall theme or design aesthetic

Removing all candles, frames and other chachkies from the reach of your toddler, ensures the safety of your child and your property

Design the master suite with fluid movements and relaxing cool colors to encourage peaceful rest

If your Master suite is large, turn a portion of it into a colorful play area with lots of exciting toys neatly organized into wicker bins accented with a box of building blocks to encourage excitement and learning for your toddler

When space planning an interior all wall outlets should be at least 12′ apart.

When you have a baby, wall outlets should be hidden, capped and corded areas avoided

Select window treatments that add  texture to your room with a mixture of soft materials and structured valance

Take your sheers and stuff them into the half drawn blinds, out of reach of your toddler, giving them ample space to blow raspberries on the glass without ruining your window treatments