battery-less toys.

Christmas shopping has begun and surprisingly I didn't really feel like doing it on Black Friday. [Yes, I've been known in the past to use the day to shop for deals. I'm a bargain shopper, what can I say.] Instead, I have been doing a lot of internet shopping, which is so much better than standing in a long line. Plus I can drink eggnog while I shop and stay in my pjs. The two places that I mainly have shopped? Etsy and Amazon. And I'm making a conscious decision to pick toys that do not require batteries. Too quickly will Audrey be requesting a cell phone or ipod or laptop for Christmas in the years to come, so I'm keeping it simple as much as I can now. She doesn't need much, really. Yesterday we spent a good thirty minutes pretending to be going on an adventure through the jungle, mountains, and a waterfall in search for baby jaguar and Diego (yes, she is obsessed with Dora and Diego right now, more on that in another post), the only toy we used was a pretend map. I'm telling you, kids do not need as much as they have nowadays.

So what is Audrey getting for Christmas? A set of dress up shoes that I bought on clearance at TJ Maxx for 5 buckaroos and a couple of wooden dollhouse sets from Amazon. That's it. Because, we all know she will be getting spoiled by relatives. Oh and Naomi? We probably will just get her one little toy, if that. Audrey didn't get anything from us her first Christmas, she was only three months, I don't think she minded. And neither will Naomi. Both of them will be showered with love though.

For my nephew, I bought him a custom superhero cape by Pip and Bean. I can't wait to see his imagination run wild with it. Not to mention, she is a local Etsy seller for me.

To expand Audrey's love for playing with her dollhouse, Here are a couple of dollhouse sets I bought off of Amazon. I love the wooden, classic ones that aren't Barbie-like.

Plan Toy Doll House Nursery

Melissa & Doug Wooden Family Doll Set
Ryan's Room the Pet Set

After Cyber Monday yesterday, I'm about 90 percent done with my Christmas shopping. And I can't wait to check the mail everyday to see what packages arrive. That's half the fun with ordering online, right?

So what gift ideas do you have for toddlers?



This Thanksgiving weekend has been full. Plenty of everything and I'm feeling incredibly blessed by it. Plenty of family. We were in three different cities on Thursday to celebrate with our families. Plenty of food. Which, we all know, I love, like a lot. And aren't turkey leftover sandwiches the best? Plenty of activities. I love embracing this time of year by going to all the events our city hosts. Last night we went to the Canopy of Lights, where they light up our downtown and it is just absolutely beautiful. Today I went to a Holiday Craft Show and bought Audrey a super cute handmade crown, because you know, she had to wear her tutu there and what's a princess without her crown? And we just got back from getting our Christmas tree at our favorite tree farm, Twin H, which I have been going to since I was a little girl. [By the way, I love living where I grew up for reasons like this.] Plenty of babywearing. I had Audrey in the sling at the downtown lighting and had Naomi in the sling at the tree farm. They both better watch out, I might be wearing them till they are eight or something, because I like it so much (and they do too).

My heart is overflowing with love right now, plenty of love.

Hope you are having a lovely Thanksgiving weekend, as well. Now you will have to excuse me, I have a Frasier Fir to decorate with my cute little family while Pandora plays my favorite Christmas songs.


monday rambles.

I used to do monday rambles almost regularly, and I might just start them up again. Maybe.

My words are locked up right now. I mean, I have a couple of posts I have began and they are just sitting in my archives collecting dust and probably will never be shared, but that is how {my} writing goes sometimes.

I have had a lot on my mind, as usual. But right now it's too hard for me to place the words. So instead, this week, I'm spending a lot of my time embracing the holiday seasons coming. I brought my Christmas tubs up to go through so I can be ready to decorate on Friday. I made an Advent calendar yesterday, which I will share sometime this week. And I have been listening to Christmas music all.the.time. Oh, and the Christmas movies have begun too. Like, Elf. Gah, I love that movie. One year for Halloween Andrew and I dressed up like Elf and his woman. Oh, wait you want a picture? Mmmmkay.

Here we are 2006, baby. Young and in love. And also? It was October, I totally was not that tan. It's called fake bronzer. I used to use that stuff, I'm not going to lie.

Today has been unseasonably warm. We spent a lot of time outside. It was nice. And it made Audrey really tired and she took a fabulous nap. Double bonus.

Tonight I'm going to do something by myself. Without any kids or husband. I starting a dance class on Monday nights called Zumba. I'm super excited about this. It's for me. Just for me. This little hour to myself is going to be so, so good.

Alright, that's it. Now go and watch Elf and see how our costumes (which I made) totally rock it


tea, please.

Audrey woke up from her nap a bit grumpy today. I tried a number of things to make her happy. Nothing worked, except for a tea party.

I love that she loves having tea parties. I hope this becomes a strong childhood memory for her {and me}.

Have a lovely weekend, folks. I'm off to take pictures for a friend, which makes me super excited, because it means, she thinks I take pretty good pictures. In other words, I'm pretending to be a photographer tonight, score.


it's a tough job, but i'm thankful i do it.

When I was pregnant with Audrey I thought being a parent was all rainbows and unicorns prancing around eating cotton candy all the time. I dreamt about the first smile, the first time she would run to me and say mama, family vacations to the beach, all the hair bows I would put in her hair, painting her nails, even her wedding day.

I had no idea that there would be times I would wake up in the middle of the night and think what did I get myself into after my two-year had woke up for the third time that night. Or the times where I would just lose it and break down when the husband got home because it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. I definitely didn't dream about the time when you (and by you, I obviously mean me) don't return to a store for at least a week in hopes they would forget about your child throwing fit [This hasn't happened yet, but duh, it's going to, hey, at least I have a plan].  I didn't think about the things that I would be giving up. Like, oh you know, sleeping past seven in the morning ever again. Or calling it a night at 8pm because bed time is calling (for you and your child). And your birthday and Christmas gifts turning into presents like a car seat or cloth diapers or a diaper bag.

What did I get myself into, right? This whole parenting thing is for the crazy people, right?

Well, it's worth it. Totally worth it. Those dreams I had when I was pregnant with Audrey? They are coming true, one-by-one. And now I get to live them again with Naomi.

The difficult times get washed away, while the most beautiful moments are
 stowed away in our hearts forever.


my view.

don't be jealous. {or do.}

[I'm wearing Naomi in a Maya Wrap ring sling. And obviously, she is lovin' it in there.]


mama time.

When you become a mom, time is no longer measured by actual hours and minutes instead you begin to see life in mama time.

It's not 7:15 in the morning, it's oh my gosh, she slept for eight hours straight last night and I'm ahem, about to explode.

It's not 9:30 in the morning, it's I have 15 minutes till the next feeding, quick, get a load of laundry in the washer and do the dishes.

It's not 12:15pm, it's just about an hour till naptime, thank goodness.

It's not 3:30 in the afternoon, it's just two hours till the husband comes home (if we are lucky and he is on time).

It's not 5:00 in the evening, it's just a half an hour till the food is done in the crock-pot and I'm so hungry, I forgot when nursing you pretty much do.not.stop.eating.

It's not 8:30pm, it's I'm exhausted, if I stay up until 10pm I'm doing good.

And in mama time, you look at your babies and think...

I can't believe she is six weeks today, which means she is almost two months, and then six months, and before I know it she will be a year.


When did she become an actual toddler? With a voice and ideas. And oh my, I just love her and I wonder if there is a stop growing button somewhere on her.

[At least once during the day Audrey will look at me and say "I'm a bootiful princess." Then she goes to her room and comes out in her tutu. And we dance together in the living room.]

And right now my mama clock is telling me it's time to hit up Starbucks for a non-fat peppermint white chocolate mocha with whipped cream. Just kidding. But maybe I should add that hour in my day somewhere, perhaps.


hair, there, and everywhere.

When I was 32 weeks pregnant I had a heart echo done with Naomi and I also had a 3D ultrasound. The tech said "Wow, she has a lot of hair, I can see it!" I responded with "Ha, yeah, I'll believe it when I see it, our first child had hardly any hair at birth and still doesn't have a whole lot."

Well, I believe it now.
For good {hair} measure, here is Audrey about the same age as Naomi in the picture.

Everywhere we go I get comments on Naomi's hair. It feels weird to me to have a baby with well, hair. She may lose it, but I have high hopes she will keep most of it. I kind of love giving her a mohawk after bath. She sports it really well too, if I do say so myself.

And people, she is getting so big. She will be six weeks on Tuesday. Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?!


give thanks.

I want to so badly get out my Christmas decorations right now. I love the twinkling lights, the smell of pine, the festive spirit that goes along with the season. (Not judging, if you already have decorations out. Seriously.) But, I'm settling for playing just Christmas music (yes, I caved and started listening to it yesterday) until the day after Thanksgiving. So, I'm keeping my fall decor up and giving thanks.

[I made this banner out of burlap, ribbon, and used a stencil to paint the letters. Super, easy. I like the reminder that it brings as it hangs in our living room.]

Sometimes it seems so much easier to think about all my wants, instead of my haves. I want those new pair of shoes. I want a bigger house with a master bathroom.  I want to go on vacation. I want new dishes. But in all reality, I have so much. So much more than I will ever need.

So I'm searching for contentment and giving thanks for what I already have. I'm so thankful for my home, my sweet swaggerwagon that I drive everywhere that pretty much screams I'm a mom, the camera that I have to capture the little moments, my hard-workin' husband, my two little girls, and especially thankful for good health in my family. Oh, and I am thankful for Nutella. [Have I mentioned how much I love food?] If you have not tried that stuff, you should stop reading this and go to the store right.now (they sell it at Target). Nutella is the perfect excuse to have chocolate hazelnut spread for breakfast.

What is something you are giving thanks for this holiday season?


come on in. {the kitchen}.

It's here--another house post! And this one is a doozy. It's our kitchen/dining room area. I'm even shocked looking at these before and after pictures.

Since I have a lot of pictures to share, I figured the less words the better. So here it goes.

When we bought our 1930's bungalow in August 2009, this is what our lovely (using this term very loosely) kitchen looked like. [Brace yourself, folks. We really did take on this challenge all ourselves.]

So what type of remodeling did we actually do in the kitchen? Alright here's the list: remove cabinets, flooring (which had a couple of layers), appliances, remove washer/dryer hookup (who has this in their kitchen, in the open, for real?), all new electrical (done by my dad), remove drywall due to mold, redo plumbing, one new window installed (still need to replace four), new back door installed, install new cabinets and counter top (we had the counter top hired out because our house is so not square and it had to be custom made), installed new appliances, new sink with a garbage disposal, the ceiling fixed in spots, laid new floor, and painted (which isn't just painting, that means cleaning the walls and priming).

Did I mention for about two months of living here I did not have a working sink or counter tops? Imagine me carrying loads of dirty dishes in a box outside in the freezing cold to my dad's house to use his dishwasher, or don't think about it, because I am trying to forget that I actually did that.

After all that hard work, it did finally pay off. Here are the after pictures:

There you have it folks, my kitchen. Is it my dream kitchen? Nah. But I do enjoy being in it. I especially love all the natural light that comes in. And keep in mind, it's not finished yet. Notice there isn't trim up yet, and we have to figure what to do about a space that doesn't have room for a cabinet, and see those cute vintage aprons hanging up by the dining room table? Yeah, those are covering the old electrical box that still needs to be removed. We also need those really cool windows replaced--- I wanted to keep them because I love the originality of them, but they are so not efficient.

Our house is always a work in progress and never will be perfect, and that's okay with me.

Wanna see other parts of our remodel? Check it out here, here and here.


brought to you by the letter, c.

I feel like I'm constantly tweaking my style. [Kind of like life, right?] Both with what I wear and how I decorate my home. It's ever evolving.

Right now I'm really into whites and greys and mixing woods and industrial metals. I like the Scandinavian/Farmhouse look (combination I just made up), but my house looks nothing like those. I would paint the inside of my house grey right now if I could, or had the energy, and money, and well you know, time. But I don't. So I will stick with my vintage-hotel blue. And eclectic taste.

With my birthday money, I have been able to add a little spice to our bedroom. [Get your mind out of the gutter, folks, not that type of spice.]

This type of spice.

I bought the owl print and chair print at a Handmade Market our city puts on (which is totally amazing). You can find the artist who created the prints on Etsy, right here. (The frames are from Michaels. Super cheap ones, I didn't want anything elaborate to take away from the prints). The little glass dish was a gift, from Anthropologie. And just yesterday I bought that super cool letter C at our Antique Mall. I love large metal letters, and they seem hard to come by, so I had to snatch that one up. I haven't quite decided if I want to paint it or not, so I thought I would hang it up and see if that blue grows on me.

I also bought this pillow from Target. It makes me smile every time I walk into our bedroom. I like the way it looks with the picture that hangs above it.

Our bedroom is slowly starting to come together. For some reason, our bedroom is the one place that I have put off on decorating, when really it should be right up there with the other rooms. I want warm, cozy, happy, and simple in my home.

(p.s. sorry for the poor quality of photos- I had to use artificial lighting (yuck) because it gets dark at like 4pm now (not really, but it gets dark super early). And also, I am an overuser of parentheses.)


this is what you would see on a sunday.

Yesterday we were at the park [Folks, it got up to 73 degrees here, it was amazing.] and some boys were playing football. I told Audrey to yell "Go, go go!" and instead she yelled "Go, Colts!"

We are a football family, specifically an Indianapolis Colts family. There's no denying it.

Most Sunday afternoons this is what our home looks like.

Let's talk about this picture for a sec, shall we? My little sister (who was in the hospital just the previous weekend) is playing with Audrey and Jonathan on the floor- they were having a blast. My dad is hiding in the back, laying down on the couch. Andrew is probably checking his football stats on his phone while watching the game. My older sister is holding Naomi. And who knows where my younger brother, Caleb, is, he was there, somewhere, probably getting more food. My other younger brother, Isaiah, was also there with his beautiful wife, Allie. For a total of eleven people. That doesn't even include my oldest sister and her husband who live too far away for my liking. [Lisa, feel free to move back anyday now.]. My family is big and ever growing. So when we invite over just my family, you get a herd. Maybe one day we will have a herd of our own, just maybe.

Our Sunday afternoon home is filled with family, lots of food, and chaos. Just the way we like it. Our home isn't big. We have one bath. Three bedrooms. A living room. And eat-in-kitchen. But it's filled with a lot, I mean, a lot, of love. 

It's our messy, Sunday tradition.


it's not even 10 yet.

So apparently with this whole day-light savings time change, I will be getting an extra hour in my day, everyday. Also known as, my child wakes up at normal time, no matter what. So what would have been her usually eight o'clock wake up is now seven. [Not totally complaining, because, I know it still isn't that early].

Now we have an extra hour to do, you know, stuff.

It's not even ten o'clock yet, and so far we have had a tea party, played play-doh, painted a picture, played ballerina with a tutu and fairy wand no less, attempted to put baby down for a nap three times (finally a success right now, failed fourth attempt due to a toddler who just went into her room and announced she is awake after climbing up her crib and touching her. Why yes, Audrey, she is awake after you scream and touch her), ate waffles, cleaned a trash can, did dishes, started laundry, changed three diapers, nursed twice, and drink two cups of coffee. [Note: my list does not include getting out of pajamas or even looking in the mirror for that matter.]

Let's not forget the most important, ate bon-bons. Right? That's what we do all day.

My life isn't glamorous, but it is beautiful. See...

[I love this picture of Audrey. It was taken right after her FIRST haircut, eva. Yeah, she's two and finally had a haircut in hopes of getting rid of her mullet. And yes, I said mullet. She is quite the doll though, isn't she?]


a month ago.

[A letter to my Naomi Fae.]

You came into this world one month ago. And my dear Naomi, I was ready. So ready for you to be here. But I also had my worries. How would I love another as much as my first? How would I find time to shower? Would I ever sleep again? Will I be able to nurse you and nourish you as I did with Audrey? But all of these worries quickly vanished as soon as I held you in my arms. I didn't worry, I just did. I did what felt so natural from the moment my motherly hands touched your fresh, new skin that was knitted in my womb by HIM, our Creator. You latched on to me immediately and nursing has become our time together. No matter how much you get passed around (which is a lot, baby), I know that every couple of hours, no matter what, you are back to me. And I love this.

You are beautiful. Both inside and out. You have your daddy's personality, I can tell already. Laid back and go with the flow. You hardly ever cry, except sometimes in the car. My dear, you don't like your carseat, but we manage. You are a fantastic sleeper in my books. By week three you moved right up to sleeping five hours in a row, and you have even given me a couple of seven hour stretches. Thank you for this. Oh, you also gave me your first true smile this week. Like a smile that didn't result in gas afterwards. Many more smiles are coming and I can't wait. Have I mentioned you are growing like a wildflower? I'm pretty sure you joined the 10 pound club today. (A couple of days ago you were just shy of 10 pounds at the doctor.) Which means I just want to eat you up all day long, especially that second chin of yours.

You are very loved, by me, and so many. Your sister adores you. And your daddy can't get enough of you. In fact, you seem to enjoy having him put you to sleep at night. It's awfully sweet.

You are one month old today, darling. And I can't believe it.

See those hats? My friend, Shanea, made those for my girls. Isn't she so super-duper talented? And, I love that she put bows on them! I didn't even ask, but she knew I loved bows. She sells these hats, just so you know.


these days.

These days are good. Like, I'm actually really enjoying this whole I have a toddler-and-newborn stage. And I think I'm getting the hang of it (sort of). Now before you go and grab a tomato to throw at me, know that I'm so far from perfect. Because there are days where I want to lock myself in the bathroom and have a second to myself with a coke in hand. And just Monday, it was 4pm and only one of us were out of our pjs (which was Naomi only because she had a blow-out). And last week I let Audrey watch way too much tv because I was so, so tired. [You are getting the point, right?]

But, for real, these days are good.

I may just be sayin' this right now because Naomi gave me 7 hours of sleep in a row again last night. But, hey, I'll take it and be all happy about it.

Or I may be sayin' it because I really love what I do. And this is the truth. Motherhood rocks.

Being a mom makes you get bundled up and go outside on really cold days just because your two-year-old wants to play in the corn, mama. And then you get to see the fall beauty outside and feel the beautiful crisp air all because of your little one.

Like I said, motherhood rocks. I recommend it to anyone.


my little family {photo shoot}.

Friday evening we had family pictures done by the lovely, lovely Liz. I found out about her through my friend, Jade. (Who I have never met in person, but I pretty much think we are really sisters. Also, she has a contiguous passion for Jesus.) Liz is just plain awesome. She lives in Georgia now, but is originally from Indiana. She comes back every now and then, and I just happen to catch her when she was visiting and scheduled a photo shoot. She drove all the way down from the Fort Wayne area just to take our pictures. I love her style and her natural, outdoor approach. Not to mention she is so cute.

We went to a rustic warehouse that just happen to have an old fire truck in it, which I found was totally sweet. Here is a sneak peek of some pics...

Now how am I ever going to choose just one for a Christmas card? Eek!

Also, there is a super adorable video Liz took, but I'm lame and can't figure out how to save and upload it on to here. So, if you wanna see it you can check me out on facebook. Mmmkay.