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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.

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!

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!!

Friday, March 20, 2015

three little years...

Y'all. This precious little face is three today... 

I just can't fathom it. Wasn't it just last night that I was lying in that bed in the hospital? Up all night with back labor while my husband snoozed next to me on the pathetic excuse for a sofa. I can still remember that obnoxious clock opposite the bed. And the awful wallpaper. 

I remember wondering what he would look like. If he would like me. How our lives were going to change. I was so anxious. So excited. So scared.

But then I remember holding him those first few moments. It was everything. 

And I held him last night. And it was everything. He's sweet and silly and smart. He jabbers your ear off and hugs your neck so hard. He loves everything. Everything, I mean it.

His little spirit is so big. He imagination is so giant.

We've been through so much with this little fellow and he's worth it a thousand fold. I'm absolutely honored to be his momma.

I hope his day today is perfect. I hope every day he has is perfect.
Happy birthday, sweet Jake. We love you to the moon and back!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

wooden storage boxes {tutorial}

When I first introduced Jake's new explorer room, I had this glimmer of an idea to create some under the bed storage. Then came pregnancy, the holidays, Jake's surgery, etc etc. It's been mass chaos, but I'm really excited that, only four or five months later, this has actually happened. 

Props go to my father-in-law, who gladly took on the job of building the boxes for me amidst the craziness. So I don't have a step by step of the building of these. I just gave him some general measurements for what would fit underneath our bed. No science to it...

I can tell you that he used 1" x 8" boards for the sides and some sturdy plywood for the bottom. J.B. added the rolling casters and drilled two holes in the front of the boxes so I could make a rope handle. After some stain, these bad boys were ready to go!

It's a fabulous way to store toys and stuffed animals out of sight. Plus even my tiny almost-three-year-old can pull a full box out from under the bed since they're on wheels. 

Finally a home for alllllll the MegaBloks, since we own every piece ever invented.

{Y'all know you're totally digging our tied down pool noodle as a bed rail. It's small, covered by the sheets, and totally works!}

I'm pretty stoked about how great these turned out. Now its just time to get all the toys out of the nursery so Miss Eliza can have a place to call her own!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

baby bump update

Finally! A long awaited baby bump update on Baby Wilder #2!

How far along: 16-18 weeks... See, already a weird start, ha ha. This should be a really easy, straight-forward question. But apparently that's not how my life works. I've been given two different due dates at this point so I'm sort of hanging in limbo between the two. My OB is planning to get all the growth and sizing numbers from my next ultrasound in a couple of weeks and make an official decision. But for now its somewhere between 8/11 and 8/21.

Gender: Just in case you can't tell from our announcement picture... It's a girl!! We had a gender scan last week and the tech felt 100% confident. 
To be honest, J.B. and I are still in a bit of shock. We knew we'd be happy with either and frankly had no preference, but now that its reality... A girl? We don't know what to do with a girl! But its already been so fun to shop and dream about hair bows and dollhouses.

Name:  Eliza Grace. We settled on this just before our gender scan. {read: I settled on it months ago and had to spend some time convincing J.B.} It's a take on mine and my grandmother's middle name, Elizabeth, but with a but spunkier kick. Classic but still a little unique. 

Weight gain: 3 lbs so far, which I'm pretty happy with. Looking at me, however, you'd never know it was only three pounds. I'm way bigger than I was at this point with Jake, but I'm seriously hoping that's just the whole second pregnancy thing. Fingers crossed that I'll level out a bit in the next few weeks.

Clothes: Because I'm so ridiculous short, I can still wear a lot of my normal tops, just with a decent bump underneath. So its nice that I haven't lost my whole wardrobe. But otherwise, it's all maternity clothes, all the time. 

Sleep: It's missing. I was prepared for this with #2 since I had insomnia my full pregnancy with Jake. So it doesn't seem as bad. A super mild sleep aid still knocks me out so I won't be complaining until that quits working.

Missing anything:  Sunshine. I'm over this dreary rain and sleet that has taken to the skies for the last few weeks. And adult beverages. Sigh.

Movement: Feeling some fun flutters here and there!

Cravings: Everything. Any commercial creates an immediate craving. Darn those marketers! But my craving go to this pregnancy is definitely candy. Sour Straws Bites to be exact. I'm starting to think that they are becoming one of my love languages.

Best moment lately: Finding out the sex!! Y'all know I'm basically the least patient person on the planet so I'd been dying to know. The day before my appointment, there was a massive ice storm in our area. I was so nervous that my OB's office would be closed! But thankfully, they decided to open to patients that could get to them. Of course, we were going no matter what! So we left an hour and a half before my appointment and trudged to the office at a measly 25 mph. We made it with time to spare! Jake went with us and was so excited for the ultrasound. He kept pointing at the monitor and yelling, "My baby is on TV!!" It's was the most darling thing. 

Worst moment lately: Realizing that I have 8 tubs of boy clothes in the garage that I will now have to sort through and sell {in order to fund all my new girl clothes buying habits}.

Looking forward to: Designing the nursery! {contain your shock!} I've had quite a few ideas but I'm not to the point of getting started yet. I still need to clean out and sell all the fabulous Eric Carle/Hungry Caterpillar pieces to Jake's nursery. Plus we have a fabulous three year old birthday party coming up, followed immediately by my brother's wedding. It looks like it'll probably be April before I jump into Eliza's nursery head first.

Just so excited about this little gal!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

5 things to do when you are overwhelmed

I take on too much. It's my thing. 
 I agree to basically everything and am often scrambling to make sure it all gets done up to my own ridiculous standards.

Right now? I'm prepping for Jake's birthday party in less than three weeks {we do a big blow out party in our backyard}, which means party prep and house prep. And I'm helping with several things for my brother's wedding the following week. March is a hectic month and at this very moment, I'm a little nervous about finishing everything in time.

How do you handle being overwhelmed with things to complete?
Well, here's my usual strategy...

1. Get organized. For me, this always means making a list. Some folks are paper list people. Others like to have something in their phone they can refer to. I'd say, whichever works for you as long as it works. 
One of my most used iPhone apps is the Do! app.

It's a great {and simple} app that helps you get daily or weekly to do lists super organized. 

Say you have a boring day of housework and errands. Just list your tasks, then use all the Do! options to organize them. You can assign dates, pin certain tasks to the top of the list, add alerts to particular tasks, and even color code things. When you finish something on the list, you still have the satisfaction of scratching it off your list and seeing how much you've accomplished. 
It's must have for me!

2. Prioritize. Once you have your list made, look over it and see what needs to be done asap and what might can wait. Take care of things that are weather, nap time, event (etc) sensitive first. Be realistic with your availability and the tasks that carry the most value. 
On your list, you can mark these items and you'll already know where to start!

3. Avoid distractions. Maybe one of my biggest issues. I always have things recorded on the DVR {y'all, I still haven't watched the season finale of Downton Abby, waaah!} books to read, things to shop for and fun creations to make. Add in an almost three year old and I'm Distraction City. 
But when you've set time aside to complete something, do everything in your power to make it happen. For me that might mean settling in a room of the house without a TV. Or setting Jake up with a stack of puzzles or a game to play by himself for awhile.

{distractions at my house.. }

4. Ask for help. I doubt your friends or family want to fold your underwear or take care of your dust bunnies, but I'd bet that if you're in need of an extra set of hands, you have some folks that would happily help you stamp envelopes or watch your minions. 
Truth? I'm really bad at this. As an independent to the core, I hate it. But in recent times, I have tried to rely on others more. J.B. is one of the most helpful people I know, lucky me! I might not ask him to use his chicken scratching to create all the place cards for my brother's rehearsal dinner, but he can certainly help me set up and prep everything so I can write them out quickly.
So ask for help! Share the burden!

5. Let it go. No, don't sing Frozen at the top of your lungs {unless that helps?}. But in the end if it all just can't get done, let some things go. Utilize your priority list and lighten your load. I wish I had a dime for how often I have to tell myself "you can't do it all, and that's okay".
It seems like there's so much pressure to to be the perfect mom or perfect employee or the perfect housekeeper. But no one is perfect. So take some joy in that and let yourself off the hook. You work hard. Keep that up and be proud of yourself!

Maybe this seemed like a post that was supposed to help you out. It really wasn't. 
It was a reminder to myself today. I need to take a load off and step back. I enjoy prepping for Jake's party. I enjoy revamping things around my house. And I enjoy helping out with my brother's wedding. But the craziness I put on myself robs me of any fun.
So know today that you're not alone. Just work hard and do what you can. And when all else fails... sing Frozen at the top of your lungs.