You Capture: The Feeling of Fall

September 1st I always go out and buy a smelly fall candle. And then I try to hold off for days on putting out fall decorations. But I fail. And put them up right away. Fall is just awesome, isn't it? It calls for bonfires. Hoodies. Hot Carmel Apple Spice from Starbucks (um, delicious). And cute little girls wearing brown and pink polka-dot vests.

I was obviously excited when Beth over at I Should Be Folding Laundry had this week's challenge be the feeling of fall. I love fall. In fact I love it so much, that I would be totally content with going from fall to spring. Okay, maybe winter on Christmas, but that's it. Fall to one-day-winter to spring.

I didn't capture Audrey (yet) in her pink and brown vest. But I did get her frolicking in the leaves at her Grandpa's house. [Are most babies obsessed with leaves? Or is mine just weird? Which either way, I would be okay with.]

Be sure to go and check out more lovely fall photos at I Should Be Folding Laundry!


Going Through the Motions.

I tweeted this a couple of days ago:

"Do you ever feel like you are just going through the motions? ugh."

And I got responses on it right away. And it felt good to know that I am not the only one feeling like that. I mean, I know I am not the only one. But sometimes it feels that way.

It can be tough with Facebook, Twitter, and reading other blogs. I read things like "Just finished canning tomatoes for the entire winter." Or "Homemade pasta ready for dinner with strawberry cheesecake for dessert." Or "Went running three miles and I feel great for being 35 weeks pregnant." Or "Just cleaned the entire house with a toothbrush."

Okay, I made those up. But I have read things pretty darn close. Don't get me wrong, I love reading things that people accomplish or enjoy doing. Sometimes I write like that. It's normal. It's what we do. We like to talk about the good things we are doing. But sometimes. Sometimes it's tough to read it. When all you feel like you are doing is going through the motions.

I wake up. Make coffee. Feed breakfast to Audrey. Do laundry. Dishes. Make sure the house looks okay. Then we leave to do something for the morning. Come home. Eat lunch. Audrey naps. I sometimes nap. [Because gosh darn it, I have been so tired for no reason. And I don't like it one bit.] We come up with time fillers until daddy gets home. We eat dinner. Daddy works more. We do bath. Then bed.

I am just going through the motions. I am waiting. Waiting to move. Our house is half-filled with boxes. Our new home is half-remodeled. Okay, not even half, like one room is complete. When October 19th gets here, I won't be going through the motions anymore. I will have a purpose. I will be decorating a new home. Painting more. Life will move on.

But I want to stop going through the motions now. I want to take in these moments I have left in this house. I want to take in the moments I have left with my not-quite-one-little-baby. I want to take in life. Take in the strong breeze outside. The leaves changing. Falling.

I need a pick-me-up. Not a cup of coffee that is going to get me through the next couple of hours. A real pick-me-up. But I think the only way to get that is just to do it. I am going to stop going through the motions now. And take in life. Because these moments are passing me by.

Etsy Won.

After much deliberation and research I have finally bought Audrey's first birthday presents from us. Remember the list? Um, yeah, I ended up not buying anything from it. (Except the hat idea, but not from my original choice.) So feel free to use my awesome ideas, since I am not. Ha.

Etsy was my pick to find unique items for her. I purchased this beautiful sterling silver bracelet from Sophia's Closest. Obviously, it won't have "Bella" on it, but it will say "Audrey Rose." And have the October birth gem on it. Isn't it lovely?

We also bought her a hand-knit hat from Aura Knits. I went with this hat with recommendations from Steph over at Adventures in Babywearing and because I follow her daughter' blog. I can't wait to get it in the mail, I love that it has a rose on it, so appropriate for my little Audrey Rose.

That's it. Two things. I am cutting myself off from any more gift buying for her. She doesn't need much. But I feel like these are both practical [Don't argue with that. You know a one-year old needs a bracelet and adorable hat.] and memorable.


Caught at the Scene of the Crime.

How messy can a house really get with just one child? One 11 month old sweet little girl?

[I did not stage any of it. Seriously.]

Oh no, Momma, you caught me.

[Disclaimer: The things she pulled out of the cabinet were really in there. Yes, random stuff, I know. But I have random stuff EVERYWHERE right now, because we are in the middle of our move. And I have packed up the unnecessary items and kept the essentials out. Like popcorn containers. Which are very essential. Kettle corn is awesome. Thanks. And I have it pretty much every night in one of those containers.]

You Capture: Happiness

Finally. I am doing You Capture again. I don't know how I let it slip away. I love participating in You Capture and checking out other great snapshots.

This week's theme was happiness. And let me tell you, no matter what kind of day you may be having, when Audrey flashes that grin, everything else that seemed like it mattered becomes so minute. I love how babies do that. Put things in perspective for you.

Without further-ado. Here is that grin.

I love the details in the photo. The scratch in the corner of her eye. The drool shining off her chin. The left over lunch crumbs all over her. The exposed roll on her arm.

This is pure happiness to me.


Time to Unplug.

Sometimes you have to disconnect and unplug. From the t.v. From the internet. From everyday life. No matter how busy you are.

We were able to do just that this past weekend. As much as we wanted to work on our new house remodel, we were committed to attending a wedding reception that I was a bridesmaid in from the destination wedding back in July.
I am so thankful we were able to get away this past weekend. And unplug. We stayed in a cabin in the middle of the woods with a lake. And the wedding reception was right there. It was amazing. No air conditioning. No dishwasher. No internet. Just a beautiful view. We laughed. We had some good girl talk. We drank wine and sat in a hot tub. We danced. We celebrated.
When is the last time you unplugged?


11 Months and Walking.

Audrey is one month away from one (as of Friday the 18th). All of a sudden she became a little person. She discovered she has a will this past week, with the lovely sounds of screams and the word "nooooooo." She doesn't always use it in the right context, but I know she knows what it means. Like when she stood in her crib when it was nap time and I heard "no. no. no. no." Over and over. And over. Until I came in and saw the biggest grin and swooped her out and we played instead. Because that's what we do.

She doesn't see herself as a baby anymore. But every single kid around her is one. Even if they are five. And she LOVES babies. I can't wait to get her a sling so she can carry one in. I think I might make one.

Having a baby doll is a great motivator to get her to walk. Yes, that's right folks, she is walking. A couple of weeks ago she started taking steps but didn't know how to catch herself. But now. She can move. Very cautiously and carefully. But she does it. And it makes my heart go boom boom. Maybe it will make your heart go boom boom as well. Here just watch...

Okay, you know one video just isn't enough...

So did it work? Did your heart go boom boom? Mine just did, again.


1st Birthday Gift Ideas.

I have been thinking about what I want to get Audrey for her first birthday. [Which is only about a month away- eek!] I am putting a lot of thought into it, because well, I think her birthday is a celebration. I am so blessed to have Audrey and I want to celebrate. I don't buy her a lot of things. When I do it is usually second-hand one way or another. We didn't even get her anything for Christmas last year or Easter or Valentine's Day. You get the point. But for her birthday, I want something special for her.

Here are some great gift ideas I have found in my search for Audrey's birthday present...

Prince Lionheart Wheely Bug at Amazon. All of a sudden Audrey has been into climbing and trying to ride things. This would be perfect to scoot herself along. It has won numerous toy awards, so it must be good.

Bath Designer Toys and Scrubbies by Boon Inc., but is sold at Target. There's no doubt, Audrey loves bath time. However, lately, she has been getting tired of her toys. I mean, who can blame her, she has had the same pile of bath toys for the last year. I think she would love this set of cool, hip bath fun.
Robeez Soft Soles Classic MJ Bow Black by Robeez. Shoes as a gift? Most definitely. Audrey has a shoe fetish. No, seriously. And these are just plain cute. The soft sole is important since she is learning to walk. These would pair up nicely with much of her wardrobe too. Of course, I would be ordering the size up to 12 months- Audrey has some tiny cute feet! Touch and Feel Baby Books at Amazon. My little bookworm LOVES to read. One of the first thing she does in the morning and after naps is point to her basket of books. Sometimes she even hangs out in her crib for 10 minutes looking at them all. She especially likes the ones that you can touch and feel. Some of her favorite themes in books include: other babies, cats, dogs, and other animals. Learn-to-Play Piano by Melissa & Doug. This is on the more expensive side, but I think it could be a great investment. ['Maybe one day Audrey will become the next Mozart' investment. Just kidding. Sort of.] Audrey has a plastic piano that she is borrowing from a friend right now and LOVES it. This might be a good next step up for her.

The Safe Sippy by Barefoot Kids (A local store for me!) A sippy cup might sound like a funny gift idea. But if you know Audrey, then you know she LOVES to drink water. I could just picture her getting all giddy about a new sippy cup. And this one is straight up safe, wash after wash. Not to mention really cute.

Wooden Roller, Sorter, Stacking Ring Maker by Land of Nod. Any of these toys would be great for a one year old. Audrey loves to push/roll things. These are durable and made out of natural, non-chemical materials- definitely a plus!

Here are some fun birthday gift ideas from Etsy...

Crocheted Flapper Beanie by ZJohnson. With the cool weather approaching that just means adorable head coverings for Audrey. I love that you can custom order this hat with specific colors and size.

Tunic Dress: Pink Vintage Loopy Roses by Illia Designs. Need I write more? This dress shouts adorableness. It would be perfect in the fall with Baby Leggings.

Wooden Name Stool by Timeless Puzzles. This would be great because 1) it gives Audrey an early start on learning the letters in her name 2) she loves to take things apart right now 3) she is starting to climb on things.

Now the hard part. I have decide which one to get her. I am going to try to stick to just one or two things. Which one do you think would make a great gift? Do you have any other gift ideas to share?


Just Call Us Crazy.

I have been packing, and cleaning, and painting, and shopping for bargains like for a $45 toilet. [Yes, brand new, at Lowe's on clearance. Well, actually it wasn't on clearance but they matched the price to the one that was because it was all out and still on display. I love a good find.]

We now have one room almost ready to move in. Our bedroom. It has been primed and painted. We just have to install a ceiling fan, new windows, and change out some electric, oh, and get carpet. And that is my idea of 'almost ready to move in.' Gah. But it's way better than some of the other rooms.

The kitchen and bathroom are still gutted. But a lot of progress has been made.

This is what the bathroom used to look like:
Doesn't look too bad does it? It had nice real tile on the floor and behind the tub. But the floor wasn't level at all. So we took the tile out. And found a leak in the toilet. Then took toilet out. Found rotten floor board. Took floor board out. Realized under tub was rotten. Took tub out. Tub was also rusted out. Took sink out. Because, well, it was just ugly. Took drywall out because of dampness. And this is what we ended up with...
(See my most awesome friend, Stephanie. She has probably already spent 15 hours or more volunteering to help us demo. She is fabulous and very talented with demo and rebuilding. I have some sweet friends. And family that have helped tremendously already.)
In a month I am suppose to be able to use the toilet in there. What do you think? Are we crazy, or what?

Um, don't answer that.



It's crazy to think in one month how different our lives are going to be. I sit here with the windows open listening to the crickets. I woke up to the sun creating a mist over the trees. It was beautiful. Will I still have all this in the city? I am taking in every moment I have left here. Here in our first home. Audrey's first home. The place we retreat to. Then I really think about it. And remind myself that we make the home. And our next place is going to be just as much as a home as this place was to us. And I am grateful for that.

I am grateful for change. It makes me appreciate. And love. And be hopeful. With the seasons changing, our home changing, Andrew's job change, it has made me really reflect on how my life has changed in the past year. Being a mom has brought a whole new meaning to my life. I'm a mom. I have been one for almost 11 months and it is still sometimes strange for me to say. But I am ever so grateful to be a mom.

I think about Labor Day last year and this year. Each holiday has been completely different from the last.

Here I am wearing Audrey in my Ergo on Labor Day this year at the annual Old Car Show we go to.
Audrey and cousin Jonathan getting in some good bonding time. 3.5 months apart, they are great friends.
And this is last year. Same car show. Still wearing Audrey. In the belly. 7.5 months pregnant. (Um, ignore my Vanna White wanna-be pose. Why did I do that? Note to self: Do not pose like that in pictures ever again.)

Times are a changin'. And I am embracing it.


Celebrate Good Times. Come On.

I want to write more and share pictures and talk about all the crazy things we have been doing. But I am going to get straight to the point.

We got an offer on our home tonight. Oooooh, yeah! A full-asking price offer, that is. [Insert dance here.]

Tomorrow we are going to accept it. And if all goes as planned, we close October 19th. Wait, did I just say October 19th? Whoa, we have so much to do before then. Our home that we are suppose to be moving into in about a month is uh, can I say, non-livable right now. [Insert long deep sigh here].

So just as we have been going out on a leap of faith, we will continue to do so. And put major hours of man-labor in our home.

We are super excited about it all. And know that it is all in God's timing and plan.

Random Sidenote: I won a pair of maternity jeans this week on the Simple site from Boob. Yes, I just wrote the word Boob. And I love the brand name. Simply genius. So I have these awesome maternity jeans coming my way, and well, I'm not pregnant. BUT I have definitely been thinking about baby number 2 more recently. I already have hubster on board, what am I waiting for, right? Maaaaybe we will wait just a little bit longer. I think I have enough on my plate right now- selling our home, fixing up another one, hubster starting his own company, to name a few. Oh, but babies are just so dang cute. And smooshy. And squeezable. And lovable. And oh yeah, I have one in the room right next to me. Peacefully asleep.


Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My.

We hit up the zoo yesterday for the fourth time this year. [You bet, I am getting my moneys-worth out of the zoo pass we bought]. My friend, April, over at Midwest Magpies, and I brought our girls. They were super sweet together.

It was a lovely time. We watched a gigantic walrus stand straight up and down in the water. We got to pet sharks and goats and try to avoid stepping on the little goat droppings everywhere that Audrey thought were neat little rocks she should pick up. And we watched baboons pick bugs off each other and eat them. Animals are just fascinating, aren't they?
The day was another great reminder of how blessed I am to be home with Audrey right now.


Things are Starting to Look Up.

Or maybe it's because I painted a freakin' ceiling today and I got a cramp in my neck from looking up for two straight hours. A most annoying textured ceiling that is.

We are trying to make progress on our new-old home we bought. Progress in the sense that it actually has to look worse before it can get better. Take this for example...

Kitchen before gutting it:

Kitchen after gutting it:

Lovely, right?

The bathroom has no toilet, sink, floor, and soon to be no tub. Oh, and three rooms have had the ceilings ripped out of them. All this demo work is making it slightly difficult to see my vision of a nice beautiful home to live in.

That's why I needed to paint. I need to see improvement. So I painted a ceiling. That's where you have to start when the entire room needs painted. And have I mentioned it was so not fun? I bought all the nice gadgets to go along with painting a ceiling, thinking it would make it easier. Um, fail. I saw this No-Splatter Shield painting tool at Lowes. Perfect. I won't get any paint on me or the floor and I will just leisurely roll the ceiling. Right? Wrong. Have you ever had paint in your eye? Mouth? Ear? I wouldn't advise it. Unless you think it is cool to look like you have some weird skin disease that involves white dots spreading around your body.

While you paint you have plenty of time to think. Like, I never want to look at another ceiling again. [Even though I have 5 more ceilings to go. And yes, this is a plea for anyone who wants to help me. I will love you forever. And ever. Promise.] Or, now I know why people give me crazy looks when I tell them we are remodeling an entire home. Or, when I am finished painting I am going to reward myself with an awesome dinner. Because food solves everything. [And yes, I did get rewarded with a nice dinner from Texas Roadhouse. I was not lieing, it was my motivator to finish painting.] Or, if Audrey was older I could have her help me and disregard any child labor laws. Joking. Sort of. Or, we are going to live in this home forever for all the hard work we are putting into it. And our kids will be forced to live in it forever. And their kids. And we will never move again. [Even though our plan is to live there for 2-3 years.]

I will just blame all my crazy thoughts on the fumes. Yeah, that is what it was, the fumes were just getting to me.

Things really are starting to look up.