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Thursday, April 16, 2015

wood slice coasters {DIY tutorial}

A couple of weeks ago, my little brother got married. A full weekend of family and wedding festivities! Other than fitting my pregnant self into a bridesmaid's dress {no easy feat!},  my main focus during the weekend was helping my mom with the rehearsal dinner. We had a great evening of food and fellowship and of course, super cute decor. As part of the table centerpieces, I found these wood slices and used my wood burning tool to create a sweet design for Ashley and Daniel.
My thought was that after the dinner, I could take the slices home, seal them and then they'd could be kept and used as coasters! So today's post is about how to make these darling coasters! 

I found the slices for $1-$2 each at my local craft store. You could also get super thrifty and find the perfect branch. With the right saw and a steady hand, you could slice these yourself! 

Once you have your coasters, decide what sort of design you'd like to put on them. I love the wood burning idea {and talk more about it here} but you there are so many options to personalize these! 

{in the close up shot, you can see more of the texturing that wood burning typically leaves on the wood}

After you've added the design you like, you simply need to seal the coasters. You can used a brush on or spray wood sealant {also a matte finish or glossy finish}. I sealed both sides and the edges with several layers of sealant to hopefully keep the coasters in tip top condition, using this spray

In the end my brother and new sister in law got these great coasters from their rehearsal dinner to keep for always! 

I'm not going to lie, now I'm itching to make some for myself!

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

inspiration for a neutral nursery

One of the things that I'd really like to get to work on sooner rather than later is Eliza's nursery. Especially considering how up in the air the next couple of months actually are, I know I'll feel a lot less anxious to have that sweet space ready for her.

And I'll be honest, I was a bit stuck. It surprised me! I thought I'd be blazing forward in full force with an opportunity to do a second nursery. I think there are just so many fabulous ideas out there that I've been really overwhelmed. It wasn't until I picked a paint color and we had it on the walls that I had my "ah ha!" moment.

And contain your shock...
Because we're going with neutrals. 

 While I finish dreaming up my design board and start to put my plans into action, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite inspirations.


I'm totally swooning over that pallet wall. J.B. and I had considered doing something similar to this awhile back, but the thought of all the work basically overwhelmed us. The end result though, wow!



That ceiling!!!




I'm just dying for these animal head prints. So darling!

Lots of lovely things to ponder on! 
The idea of a calm and soothing place for Eliza seems to fit just right.
Now back to work!!

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

when everything changes...

A month ago, if you had told me that life was hectic, I would have quickly nodded. I would talk about the backyard birthday parties and family weddings and spring fun. I would have been frustrated by flowerbeds that need weeding and spaces that need cleaning. But we're never ready for how things can change so quickly.

Just a few weeks ago, we heard the news: Our sweet girl Eliza has been diagnosed with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. 

The term spina bifida literally means “split spine.” It happens when a baby is developing in the womb and the spinal column does not close entirely. There are varying degrees of it, but the most common is also the most severe, causing paralysis and nerve damage to the parts of the body below the opening in the spine. Hydrocephalus is a secondary disorder that is common caused by spina bifida. The pressure from the spinal issues can create a pulling force on the brain. Portions of the brain actually shift downward and keep the cerebral spinal fluid in the brain from being able to flow properly. Obviously anytime you're dealing with issues in the brain, the consequences can be dire.
I was fortunate enough to find out about Eliza's conditions early by way of a genetic screening that my OB offers to all of her patients. When the results came back extremely elevated, we were quickly set up with a maternal fetal specialist that confirmed our fears. From there, everything has seemed to happen very quickly... and very slowly at the same time. 

There is a innovative fetal surgery that is offered to some spina bifida patients that has seen great results. Yes, I said fetal surgery. As in, Eliza would be operated on while I'm still carrying her. It carries great risk to both of us. And right now, we don't even know if we qualify. Spina bifida is known as a "snowflake condition" because every single case is so different from another. Surgeons must analyze and over-analyze each specific case. Only a few fetal surgery clinics in the country even offer this program, and as you would expect, they are very particular about who they will have on their operating tables. The tiniest details can allow you to be a candidate or be disqualified.

The secondary option for spina bifida babies is to carry them normally, and as soon as they're born, have the surgery needed to close their backs and if needed, additional brain surgery to treat their hydrocephalus.

Eliza and I have been invited to come to the Spina Bifida Clinic at Vanderbilt Hospital next week for a full evaluation. Basically we will undergo a full day of testing and at the end of it, find out what route would be best for our little girl. Fetal surgery or newborn surgery.

{a link to Vanderbilt's fetal spina bifida surgery page}

{my mind was blown by the fetal MRI, and especially this giant film that we were given to keep}

It's a lot. And its such a shock. We're learning so much about spina bifida, potential surgeries and what we can try to expect in the coming months. That's probably been the hardest thing, not know what to expect. Our evaluation next week will give us loads of information about this sweet girl and we are not so patiently waiting for that day.

Until then, we continue to focus on what we know. That God made this precious little girl just as He intended. That He handpicked our family for her to be a part of of. And that regardless of what happens in the upcoming months, she will be perfect. We're trusting fully in His plan because frankly, we don't have one.

I intend to create a sister blog to this one exclusively for Eliza. Feel free to keep watch for that in coming days. 

Ans please pray with us this week. Pray for wisdom because we need these big brilliant brains at the clinic to have the greatest minds. Pray for discernment because J.B. and I need to have the greatest hearts in knowing what path is best for Eliza. Pray for patience because we are so eager to understand, help, and love on this sweet girl. Pray for peace because we are both so anxious and scared for her. But especially, pray for our girl Eliza. That she will always feel loved and cherished.

{at 20 weeks}

"Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness!" 
- Lamentations 3:22-23

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Easter basket goodies

Has Easter snuck up on anyone else? No? Just me? 

Between cute kiddo birthday parties and family weddings, it seems like time has been flying by. Thankfully, with a little help from the Target Dollar Spot, I was able to grab some awesome goodies for an Easter basket for my little man. 

I don't do a big gift, but rather a bunch of small inexpensive things that he'll enjoy. He's really into Little Critter books and Veggie Tales at the moments so those were an easy given.

And we're still rocking our Pottery Barn Kids Easter basket.
Definitely a purchase that I'm glad I made!


What about you guys? What is in your kiddo's basket this year?

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

toddler art tuesday {#12}


Another happy {and holiday} edition of Toddler Art Tuesday!

Jake and I enjoyed some sweet Easter crafts recently. He loves the beautiful pastel colors and talking about Jesus. That sweet soul just makes everything so precious.

We started with a sun catcher cross. These are awesome toddler crafts because decorating the center of the design us perfect for little hands. Plus the amount of shapes and designs you can use is limitless. 

I started with a card stock cross, then used a razor blade to cut out the center area.

Prep the sun catcher by laying it down on the sticky side of the contact paper.  I usually also try to trim the extra sections of contact paper off to give them a more direct area to decorate. Plus, less sticky space makes it easier to work with, I think.

Cut up bits of colored tissue paper and let the little ones decorate to their hearts content.

Lastly, you'll lay another piece of contact paper {sticky side down} onto the tissue paper to seal it. Then just trim off all the excess around the shape.

Flip it over for a beautiful sun catcher.

It looks especially great in the light!

Of course, dyeing Easter eggs is a token craft this week. Jake and I tried a little something new with our eggs this year.
It's a simple trick. Just add a tablespoon of vegetable oil into the cup of dye. When you dip the egg, keep it moving constantly in the water. The oil will adhere to parts of it and create a marbled look.

My other trick? Used a whisk to hold the eggs instead of those insipid egg dippers! Great for tiny helping hands too.

Unfortunately, we seemed to have gotten a dud batch of dyes that never really dissolved in the water so most of our colors were a bit weak. But Jake had the best time dipping the eggs and picking the colors. I suppose that's what really matters!

Enjoy the beautiful Easter season! 
What a wonderful time to talk about a risen Savior!

For more Toddler Art Tuesday ideas, click the image above.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Jake's tree house

This winter, J.B. and I decided that we really wanted to revamp the yard a bit to make it more Jake-friendly. Translation: We wanted some sort of play area. Tree house, swing set, sandbox, whatever.  My younger brother Daniel just so happens to be super handy with designing and building things, so one quick word to him and we had a plan going. 

Jake was going to get an awesome tree house. 

Daniel spent some time drawing up the plans for a custom house, listing supplies, wood cuts and cost. By January he and J.B. were ready to roll. Of course, that's when it snowed. And rained. And was generally gross, as January and February's happen to be. 
But they trudged on working for a total of about four full days. 

The tree house (or fort, since it's technically surrounded by trees but not in one) starts with a 10x10 platform about 5 feet in the air. The building itself is about 7x7, leaving a little porch area in the front and a side porch for the slide and climbing wall. 

Jake even got to put in the final screw!

Once they finished all the manual labor, I got to bring the finishing touches with some shutters, a flower box, and interior decorations. Add ons include a telescope, a ships wheel, and a bucket on a pulley to raise and lower fun things

It was quite the staple piece for Jake's birthday party last weekend. And he has a ton of day-to-day fun on this thing. 

Next up, we plan to add a rock quarry underneath the tree house. It was such a hit at the party and now we already have a huge bulk of the supplies that we just slid right under the space until the weekend.

 Later on the docket might be some swings jutting out one side. For now, I'm pretty sure I shouldn't push my lucky with Daniel and J.B.. Gotta keep the free labor happy!

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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Jake's third birthday party!

Our sweet boy had a party fit for a king this weekend!

Jake asked for a construction themed party, and we happily obliged with a backyard bash.

J.B. and my brother Daniel spent much of the winter building Jake an awesome tree house in the backyard {I'll devote a post specifically to that later this week} but it was an awesome place for the kids to play.

Other fun party activities included a super popular rock quarry...

A place to decorate your own construction hat...

A wrecking ball...

And a hammering station.

I had a ton of fun throwing together decorations, food, and fun! Construction is a fabulous theme with seemingly limitless possibilities. 

All in all, I was so incredibly happy with the outcome. Everything looked and tasted great, The kids played until their parents dragged them out of the yard and Jake has begged to have the party again every day since.

Only 365 days until we get to do it all again!!

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