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You.

You. The one who jumps up and down in your crib with glee when I come get you in the morning. The you who downs ice cream like it's no one's business. The adventurous spirit that pursues and fixates on the tiniest thing on the floor until you get it between your chubby fingers.

You. The cuddler. The snuggler. The one who clings to the bottom of my pants to remain steady on her feet (for now).

You. The one who changed my entire life in one moment, with one glance at your writhing, discontent, little red body. The one who kept me up at night and pushed my exhaustion to the limit that I never thought I could reach. The one who I loomed over in wee hours of the night, just to watch you breathe.

You. The sloppy, wet kisses on my cheek and the clingy puff I found on my dress at the end of the day. The little toe prints on my kitchen floor. The mound of toys in the TV room I clean up every. single. night. All you. 

You. The strong-willed, sweet girl you are... I pray for you every day. I pray for compassion, kindness, and gratitude to be your life line, your go-to. I pray for God - Jesus Christ - to be so REAL and so tangible to you at a young age that you wouldn't even recall a day where you weren't a child in God's family.

I loved our first year together. I will love the next one even more.

I love you, Rowan Elisabeth.

I love YOU.

 

ox,

mom

 

 

 

DIY : Photos on Canvas

So, here's the truth. All my DIY (Do It Yourself) come from me having a huge problem and having to find a solution to fix it.

Current Problem: I take pictures of Rowan all the time and FINALLY had the motivation to print them, so I grabbed my digital negatives and I had TONS of prints done. As a result, my home is full of frame after frame of photos. And I'm tired of it. My honest opinion is that you can only do so many frames on one wall until your photos drown and they lose their *POP* appeal on your wall. Boring, boring, boring. 

Solution! Photo canvas art. It's beautiful and adds another texture and interest to your home decorating. But of course, with this solution came another problem.

Subsequent Problem: Getting a photo canvas done is MAD expensive. Like I'm talking anywhere from $40-$120, depending on the size. To which I say, "What the WHAT?!"

GENIUS Solution! I'll do it myself!

After perusing on Pinterest for awhile, a few friends re-pinned this DIY tutorial for mounting a photo on canvas. This was an absolutely perfect solution to my boring wall woes. I'm on a budget (as most of you are), so this is a fantastic and easy gift to do for others - and it doesn't look "homemade" at all. I wouldn't be putting these on my wall if they didn't look clean, crisp, and somewhat high-end.

I don't have a picture tutorial like above, but I'll show you my end result at the bottom. For a more detailed tutorial, feel free to visit the site listed above. :)

 

So, let's start with the supplies:

Modge Podge (I used the matte)

Canvases (they sell them in photo sizes - and this 16x20 from Joann's is only $10.79 on sale! CHEAP-O!)

Your photos (have a few copies available in case you mess up). I took a series of photos of Rowan sleeping when she was about three months old. I printed an 8x10 and two 5x7 photos.

A foam brush for the Modge Podge

 

Steps:

1. Take your canvas, paint a layer of modge podge on, and let it dry.

2. Paint another layer on, then position your photo on the wet layer of Modge Podge. (Note: this stuff dries QUICK, so have a quick hand)

3. While drying, take the outside of your palm, and smooth the photo CAREFULLY on the modge podge to eliminate any bubbles. Let dry.

4. Add another layer of Modge Podge to the top to seal the photo on. Be sure to stroke all the way from one side to the other completely, and not just go back and forth with your strokes. Otherwise, the modge podge will collect and make clumps on the photo. It has a really cool texture when it finally dries. :) 

 

The end result:

I included the photo on the right for you to see how the edges look :)

 

As you can see, the edges don't "wrap" like normal photo canvases, but I'm OK with that. I like this just as much because the edges are so clean.

My grand plan is to buy the wood letters "S-L-E-E-P", paint them white, and mount it on the area above the photos to tie it in :) So cool, right?!

Modge Podge: $3.49

Canvases: $13.29 (for three)

Photos: $7

Brush: Already had it.

Grand total: $20.29 (for THREE!)

 

And apparently, modge podge can be used for SO MUCH. They even have dedicated blogs to this craft supply. I can't believe I didn't know about this before! My next wall art project will be this. Only I will probably be experiementing with Modge Podge instead of tacky glue because I already have it :)

So, what do you guys think of the end result? :) Have any of you ever done any pojects with Modge Podge? Feel free to share the love! 

5 Must-Haves for Mommyhood

OK. So there is always things people don't tell you about pregnancy or the post-partum phase after you have the baby. I do appreciate the discretion some people give me (as in: "Ignorance is bliss"), because I tend to be overdramatic if I don't have all the information. However, sometimes that backfires.

The truth is, motherhood is a scary adventure where there are lots of opinions and unsolicited advice around every corner and you never know whose advice to heed. In addition, every mom has their favorite baby products and will go to battle with another mom (no, seriously) for their product to come out on top. There are so many unknowns that you just have to figure out by yourself.

I know this is a stretch from my normal photography blogs, but I have put together a list of things that I personally love and make my life easier. Of course, in reference to the paragraph above, this is just my opinion and the stuff that I came to love in my mommyhood journey. I won't cry in a corner if you don't think the same ;)

 

1. Baby Jogger City Select stroller. Although this is slightly against my nature, I tried to think far out into the future for my stroller buy. When I went into Buy Buy Baby to test drive some strollers, I gave the sales associates the following criteria:

+ Lightweight

+ Easily collapsible

+ Can hold more than one kid (eventually)

I didn't want to get a double right away, but I didn't want to buy a single stroller and then have to update to a double (costing me an add'l $300 in addition to the single stroller cost). I did research. Watched Youtube videos. Perused Amazon for reviews. I finally came up with the City Select. Not only is it a single, but it can convert to a double when that extra kid comes along. Not only THAT, but you can also buy a glider board for your older toddler to ride behind the handle... coming to the total of being able to carry THREE kids if needed. AND (and!!!) it can convert into 16 different positions (see website above). Holy guacamole. I was sold. It also has a ginormous cargo area where I can grocery shop and it's not a big deal.

Is it expensive? Yes. Is it worth it to not have to spend any more money? Yes. Can you get it cheaper? Probably. The 2011 version is retailing for $500... but I got a 2010 model (brand new) for $380. Soon, the 2011 version will be old and will probably be selling it at the same price. Worth every dollar in my opinion.

 

2. Aden + Anais blankets. These things are soft, huge, light, and amazing. Probably the best bankets you'll ever find. They're made out of muslin, which is SO light and wonderful for Florida summers. They're so big you can use them as a nursing cover. You can buy these at Babies R Us, Kohls, Buy Buy Baby, Target or online. It's around $30 for a pack of four. A little pricey, but TOTALLY worth it.

Even if you're friend doesn't have this on her registry... just take the plunge and buy it for her. She'll thank you later.

No. Trust me.

 

3. Little Tummys Gripe Water. This stuff is thebomb.com. One day, Rowan cried for literally 10 hours straight (around 6 weeks old). We couldn't figure out what was wrong with her. She wouldn't sleep, she wasn't hungry - she was just fussy, uncomfortable, and clearly very upset. Out of desperation, we gave this to her (we weren't sure what it did... and we were new parents. So our troubleshooting skillz weren't the greatest.) She passed some gas, fed one more time, then knocked out for TEN (count 'em - TEN) hours straight.

This medicine helps colicky babies and babies with stomach trouble and pops all the little troublesome bubbles floating around in there. Apparently, babies can have bad tummyaches. And there's a remedy for that. Who knew?

 

4. Baby Einstein Sea Dreams SootherThis is a little aquarium that you attach to the side of your crib, once your little one is finally in there. Once you hit the big blue button at the bottom, it goes for a 25 minute interval of music and starts rotating the fishies inside. It gets quieter and darker as the time goes by, and finally stops. I started using this with Rowan at about 6 weeks old, and it helps her go to bed every night. I bathe her, feed her, stick her in her crib, and turn this on. She watches the fishies and gets drowsy while sucking on her paci. She's usually out in 10 minutes and it's a great distraction.

It retails for about $40 at Target, and it was definitely worth the money to me.

  

5. Any Infant to Toddler Rocker (or - in my personal words - a portable chair).

I didn't really know how much I needed this. A friend gave me hers for free, so I kept it around and BOY has it helped me a lot. I put Rowan in it when I eat and rock the chair with my foot, I put her in it when we are at the pool or the beach, traveling, at someone else's house, etc. Plainly put, Rowan gets sick of her carseat because it gets hot and boring. This vibrates, has fun colors and toys, and is a LOT cooler on her skin. She falls asleep in it all the time. It is so convenient to bring with me to other people's houses and Rowan always has a place to sit and hang out no matter where she is. Thank you, Kelli, for blessing me with this!

 

But enough about what I love.

 

Moms - what products can you absolutely not live without? Share with me!

Slippers & Giggles

Rowan Elisabeth,

You're almost four months old now. Time has gotten away from me. I remember when you were teeny tiny and could barely hold your neck up only months ago. Now, you're (practically!) independent. Well, at least to me! Sitting up, grabbing, constantly kicking and moving your little limbs. You smile like a champ, and you most recently started giggling. Very rarely still, but daddy got you to do about 10 consecutive "hee-hee-hee's" while playing peek-a-boo. I think you're clever and are still holding out on us for some reason. 

Today, I was inspired by some fun slippers one of your friends gave you. We had a lot of fun today :)

I will always love you. I pray for you every day. I pray you are wise and virtuous, compassionate and have a good sense of humor. Smart. Loving. Enthusiastic. You are a wonder to me already and I can't wait for the fun the next couple months are going to bring.

I love you, little bun <3

Mommy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 months!

Rowan,

Here we are, two months in. You're already smiling a goofy, gummy smile and you're cooing a lot when I talk to you. One of your new favorite things is drooling. On everything. And you love sucking on your fingers to help yourself fall asleep. We're finally in a rhythm now and I can usually tell the difference between your little raspy cries. I love learning about you. Do you know that you've grown THREE whole inches since you've been born?! You're long and lean. Dr. Cyrlak calls you a "growing machine". :)

You are the absolute joy of my life and I can't imagine my life without thinking about you first in everything. 

I love you, little bun.

Here is a video of you smiling. You melt my heart <3