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Thursday, July 30, 2015

waiting for Eliza

I can't believe we're already to the "any day now" point! While the days have seemed long at times, the weeks and months of this pregnancy have absolutely flown by. 

To say that its been nothing like what we expected would be the understatement of a lifetime. We never anticipated having a child with special needs or all of the crazy planning and emotions that come with it. But ultimately, we're super excited about this little munchkin joining our family. I know she'll be the perfect fit!

In case you missed them, here are a few of the previous posts about Eliza:

And if you'd like to follow along on the specifics of Eliza's birth, surgeries, and medical-schmedical whatnot, feel free to jump over to her little space online at Expecting Eliza. I hope to keep it updated with what's new as we try to navigate our way through spina bifida with this beautiful little lady. 

But enough with the links, right? How about all the deets on this pregnancy?

How far along: 37 weeks... She'll be born sometime in the next two weeks for sure!
Gender: Girl!
Name:  Eliza Grace
Weight gain: 14 pounds. If you looked at me, I'm sure you'd call me a liar. I have a much bigger baby bump this time around that when I did with Jake, but I really haven't gained a ton of weight. I'm not mad!
Sleep: Still not happening. Sad. This girl really loves her sleep.
Movement: Eliza is a busy girl! It's been surprising to the doctors, who have told us that she really shouldn't be moving much from the waist down. Too bad docs, this lady is jumping and jiving all the time!
Cravings: Everything. Especially fruits!
Sibling Love: Jake is so so so excited about his sister! He gives her hugs and kisses all the time and talks about all the awesome thing he and Eliza are going to do together. I can't wait to see how it all unfolds.
Best moment lately: All the nice moments when the specialists tell us how boring our case it. Spoiler alert: when specialists tell you that you're boring, that's a great thing!
Worst moment lately: Nothing much to report yet. I imagine it might be the moment when we drop Jake off at my parents house for an indefinite amount of time. There will be so many tears...
Looking forward to: Meeting her!! That's a given, right?

So what's new now?
Like I said, we're ready! We've had the last of our appointments at Vanderbilt with all the surgeons and specialists that are seeing to her care. Now it's just a waiting to game to see when she'll make her debut! Once she's born, we'll be spending some time in the NICU as she recovers from her initial surgeries. Hopefully after a stint of time there, she'll be able to come home and do all the normal baby antics like looking adorable, keeping us up all night, and modeling my latest ridiculous baby creations. 

{so so so pregnant, guys!}

Ultimately, I think J.B. and I are both equal parts nervous and excited about the next few weeks. It's a lot to take in. A lot. But we're also confident that God is working and has His hand in all things. There's nothing more encouraging than that!

Can't wait to share her with you all!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

toddler art tuesday {#14}


Probably our last only-child Toddler Art Tuesday post! What???
It's pretty fun to watch Jake get more and more coordinated and be able to do more things. But a sweet little baby joining us at the table in a couple of months sounds awesome too. I miss those chubby little hands splattering in the paint!

Jake was totally into this one! Probably the combination of paint, rolling marbles and getting the shake the pan all by himself. What's not for a three year old to love??

I used washable paints and one of my cooking pans. 
{A box lid would probably have been better, but I couldn't find one}

I used a piece of thick cardstock paper so the paint would absorb a little better. 
Also, I figure there are about 238792 ways you can do this. Maybe coat your marbles in paint first? But I just stuck a couple of dabs on the paper itself and let the rolling marbles disperse it. 

Jake loved rolling the marbles back and forth!

Obviously this creates a crazy looking pattern on the paper depending on your colors and whatnot. 

Daddy got the copy of this one for his office!

I seriously have no idea what it is about stamping things, but holy obsession! Jake would spend hours and hours stamping everything we owned if I let him. 

I found this little thumb print set in a local kid's shop. They had several varieties {princess, fairy tales, dragons, etc} but I went with the more general kid. It basically comes with a couple of stamp pads, a set of small colored pencils, and a few stamps. They also have a set of patterns to show you how to make different creatures with your thumb prints!

He. went. nuts. for. this. 

Let me just say that neither of these projects were incredible time consuming or expensive. And they aren't crazy complicated as far as kiddo crafts. That's just not always a necessity when it comes to doing projects around our house. 

My main goal with the Jake's little art posts is to keep him busy and creating. I always want his brain working hard to dream big and know that he can do whatever he wants. Music and art are such amazing ways to expand any kiddo! 

So don't brush it off if you aren't a "crafty parent". No experience necessary! Just keep these kiddos dreaming and creating!

For more Toddler Art Tuesday posts, click here:


Thursday, July 23, 2015

baby crafting

So its no surprise that I've been busy whipping up some fun projects for my soon-to-arrive baby girl. I seriously loved how her sweet dolls turned out and I thought I'd share a few other baby crafts that I've checked off my to-do list. 

So many of these are great if you're expecting yourself or if you're looking for some creative gift ideas!

burp cloths

Remember these baby burp cloths? They were all we used with Jake and so stinkin' handy for everything! So of course, Eliza needed to have a stash of her own in some sweet vintage prints. 

nursery door quieter

I happened upon this Pinterest tutorial a year or so ago and thought this idea was genius. It seems like all of the doors in our house are so loud and this was a simple solution! 
I was excited to have zero cost for this project too since it only took a teeny tiny scrap of fabric and some elastic that I already had on hand. Start to finish, this was done in 20 minutes to! Win/win!

ruffle bottom onesie

I first made this onesie over four years ago before my niece was born {so enjoy going waaaay back in the blog vault for the tutorial!}  It's such a cute idea that I wanted to whip up one for Eliza as well. Again, super low cost. I already had some white knit fabric scraps so my only purchase was a white onesie from Hobby Lobby {under $3 with coupon!}. For Eliza's, I decided to only do the ruffles on the back side though. Nice and simple.
I promise some sweet ruffled onesie pictures when she arrives!

baby lovie

I've made several of these for babies over the years, so Eliza's was a no brainer. After picking some fancy fabric and ribbon, I stitched this lovie up in around 30 minutes for about $7.

diy moby wrap 

Another Pinterest tutorial that I've been waiting for.
At the store, you'll pay $40-$50 for a moby wrap, but a diy version will only cost you $10-$15! This is an awesome project for people that don't sew too. All you have to do is buy the fabric and then trim the ends! Literally three minutes of your time! I can't wait to try Eliza out in this {once I figure out how to wrap it...}. 

hospital door sign

I just finished up this last project this week. I love a sweet hospital door sign, but I was seriously stumped about what I wanted to do for Eliza. It seemed sort of sad to have something hanging on my hospital door when I know my sweet gal will be in the NICU during her entire stay. And until our NICU tour last month, I really didn't know what those rooms looked like and if an door hanger was even an option. Guess what? It totally is. The Vanderbilt NICU is impressive, with glass walls all along the front of the rooms where you can hang personal things if you like. 
So I decided to go with a flat wooden hanger that I could attach to a hook on the interior side glass. I used a jigsaw to cut the super thin plywood, then hand painted it.
I think it turned out pretty well!

nursing cover

Again with a repeat project to save on cost! Nursing covers can easily run you $40-$50! That's crazy talk when supplies to sew one are under $10! I followed my tutorial from Jake's baby days to make this pretty grey and white patterned cover for Eliza. 

Can you tell that I've had tons of fun prepping for this little lady? Until I put this post together, I didn't even realize how many things I had whipped up! Now I'm sad to say that my baby project list is pretty much complete at this point. And right on time since she's scheduled to arrive in about three weeks.
{Though I'm sure I'll come across some fabulous ideas after she's born!}

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

homemade strawberry pancakes {recipe}

A few weeks ago, I joked on instagram that my spiritual gift was making awesome homemade strawberry pancakes. 

Or was it really a joke? Because they are pretty amazing...

The great thing about pancakes is that they're simple. Jake loves to pull a chair up to the counter and help us stir the batter or toss in the fresh fruit. 

: :  Ingredients : :

 - 1 1/2 cups of flour
 - 1 egg
 - 1 1/4 cup of milk
 - 3 tablespoons of butter
 - 3 teaspoons of baking powder
 - 1 tablespoon of sugar
 - 1 teaspoon of salt
 - 1 teaspoon of sugar
 - 1/2 cup of diced strawberries

 *makes about 8-10 medium pancakes.

You know the drill with pancakes... Toss all the ingredients into a bowl and mix up the batter. 

I melt a little butter over medium heat in a skillet.
It could totally be a personal thing, but I like to add my fruit pieces into the pancakes after I pour the batter into the pan to cook.
 I love this recipe because it makes the most perfect, fluffy pancakes. What more is there to life, really?

Done cooking? Time to devour! 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

the sweetest little dolls

In all my scouring for fun little girl ideas, I happened on some photos of the sweetest handmade dolls for sale on Etsy. It reminded me so much of how I was obsessed with my own handmade dolly when I was a little girl and I was 100% certain that Eliza needed a doll or two. But I surely wasn't going to drop any serious cash on a project that I thought I could make myself {and would so love to create for my own daughter!}.

Did I say a doll or two? I meant four, haha.

I purchased this great pattern/tutorial from You Can Make This and was thrilled with the walk thru. The purchase includes the pattern pieces and also a very thorough step by step tutorial. Remember I'm no master seamstress! The first doll definitely had a bit of a learning curve and took me around three hours. But by doll two and three, I was rocking and rolling. My project time was cut down to about 2 hours each from start to finish.

I carefully selected some sweet fabrics for the dolls' outfits and had a great time "dressing" them, imagining what she might name each of them someday. 
Cost-wise, I spent about $40-$50 total on all four dolls. Easily the cost of just one online!

For now, they're all sitting in various places to decorate my gal's nursery.
I'm so excited for the day that she'll nab these sweeties off the shelf to play with!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

brownie crusted cheesecake {recipe}

Umm, yum. Just yum. 

J.B. has informed me that this is one of his new favorite desserts. I might have to agree. 
And the fact that it's pretty simple to make really doesn't hurt my feelings either!

: :  Ingredients  : :

 - brownie mix {and additional ingredients on the back of the box}
 - 16oz of cream cheese {softened}
 - 1 cup of sugar
 - 1 tsp of vanilla
 - 3/4 cup of heavy cream
 - 1/4 cup of mini chocolate chips

 You can use any brownie mix you want. So if you have a favorite, go with it.
I think I just nabbed a Betty Crocker original mix. It called for an egg, water and vegetable oil on the back of the box.

First up, make the brownies! Mix all the required ingredients into a 9" spring form pan and cook as directed. Make sure to allow your brownies to cool completely before moving on to the next steps.

Next, mix your softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together. 

In a separate bowl, whisk your heavy cream until frothy.

 Once your first bowl is thoroughly combined and the heavy cream is ready, mix to the two together, gently.

Finally, toss in your chocolate chips.

Now all you have to do is top your brownies with this cream cheese mixture.
Refrigerate for at least four hours before eating. 

This dessert tastes a little different from regular cheesecakes. It's almost like a brownie cake, with a thick, delicious cheesecake frosting on top. So stinking good!!!

Preggo lady, toddler and husband approved!!

Friday, July 10, 2015

DIY decorative tassels {tutorial}

I debuted Little Miss' nursery  in this post.
And then talked about the handmade name art over her crib in this post
What I left out was the decorative little tassels that I added on. So after a few emails from a couple of folks, I thought a neat little tassel tutorial might be just the thing. 

What awesome about these little tassels is that they could really be added to all kinds of things! And they're super quick and cheap!

 The only supplies you need is some embroidery thread! I used a shade of pink for the tassel and some gold for the trim. 

So first, grab the thread that you'd like to use as your main color. Gently slide off the wrapper, leaving the thread folded as is. 

Next, use your trim color to tie a little circle around the middle of your thread. Not tightly!

Fold your thread in half, with your trim circle at the top.

Next wrap more trim thread around the top to hold the folded thread. I like to make this nice and thick before knotting it off. 

Cut off your access from the knot, then cut all the loops at the bottom of the tassel.
Tassel complete!

Just the pizazz this little piece needed!

I love these little trinkets. They add a little smidge of fun to anything!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

written on His hands

I'm taking a break from creating today. 
I've had so much on my mind lately. And while I love sharing design ideas and fun things here, sometimes it's nice to just be real for a bit. 

Here's where I am lately...

I don't know about you, but in reference to an almighty God, I'm often feeling pretty dang small. My silly problems are so tiny compared to famine and diseases and war and the terrifying evils of this world. Sometimes I can't help but wonder if I'm just another speck that God has stumbling around. Does God really see me? Does He know what I'm going thru? Does He care?

Well, follow me here... Think back, ten years ago. What if, you needed to remember something important? Something you cared about. No scrap paper, and this is before the reminder app in your phone was invented. 
Do you guys remember the days of writing it on your hand? 
It's right there in front of you all day long. Those study notes, that reminder, and hey, maybe that phone number. It was a surefire way never forget that crucial information. 
 It's funny because that's what I think of when I read this verse.

"I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands. Your walls are continually before me."
 - Isaiah 49:16 

God is talking to His people. He tells them that He has not, that He will not, forget them. The walls in reference are the crumbling walls of Jerusalem. He's reminding His people that He sees their circumstances, He sees the broken city, and He doesn't forget. Our problems are continually before Him. Our names are written on the palms of His hands. 

So does He see us? Does He know? Does He care about little old me?

He does. 

Just like that crucial note of importance that we scribble down to make sure we don't forget, I'm written on His palm. Just like the crumbling walls of Jerusalem, my circumstances are continually before Him.
 I'm written on His hands, you guys! God's own hands!
He sees my anxiety and worry over what will happen over the next few weeks as Eliza is born. He sees my fears in raising a special needs child. He sees all my short comings and struggles as a mom, a wife, a sibling, a daughter and a friend. I'm right there in the front of His mind. 

We are not forgotten. 

It's something I so desperately need to be reminded of today. And word that I need to commit to memory so I can bring it up at any moment that I feeling so camouflaged in this world.

"I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands. Your walls are continually before me."
 - Isaiah 49:16

And how about these:

"Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous hand."
 - Isaiah  41:10

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid and do not be discouraged. For the Lord God is with you wherever you go."
 - Joshua 1:9
(one of Jake's favorites!)

"The Lord your God is in your midst, a Mighty One who will save. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will quiet you by His love. He will exult over you with loud singing."
 - Zephaniah 3:17

So if you're having a day where you feel so small and insignificant, maybe overwhelmed and anxious, just keep in mind that the God of the universe has you written on His palm.
He is with us. He remembers us. He cares for us.