Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Sunday, April 17, 2016

He's Here!

I had the best of intentions to introduce this sweet little guy last week, but...

Here is Levi Matthew, born on April 5th, 9 lbs 10 oz, 21 inches




He is a dream come true and is such a good baby. We are all doing well. =)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Bless This Nest Bird-Themed Baby Shower

I can't believe that my baby shower was a whole week ago! It was a beautiful, sunny and warm day, just the perfect Spring day, and I was so thankful. We're facing a snowstorm for tomorrow.  :(

I had the most wonderful time at the shower, so grateful for everyone's joy and generosity as we welcome this new little love into our family. My Mom and one of my best friends from church put everything together for me, except the decorations, which I volunteered to do myself. It kept me busy and suits my perfectionistic personality to a tee, so win-win.

Blurry pic- actually, most of my photos on Blogger are "fuzzy" now, totally annoying, and I'm not sure why- of me with my best girl. She isn't in any other pictures because she was off and running around with her friends the whole time. She's my social butterfly for sure. (If I look tired- and super swollen- it's because I am!!! ha)


Our entryway. I made the wreath on the door by snipping off the flowers of some bunches and hot gluing them on. There is also a little feathered birdie on there. Toss some tall blooms in a galvanized bucket to dress up en empty corner and you're done.


There is also a sweet ceramic bird with a couple of faux eggs in the plant pot. Just a little something to carry on the bird/nest theme; plus, they are all decorations that I can use from year to year for spring.





Our shoe storage became the table top for the party favors and a few other spring touches.

There were rice krispie pops and dipped Oreos. Originally I had planned on making cookie pops from the Oreos but I could not get them to cooperate. Like, at all. The cookie kept cracking or breaking every time I tried to push the stick in the creme filling. After a dozen fails, I opted for Plan B. The krispie treats were still kind of a pain but at least they worked. If I were to make them again, I would insert the stick to make the "hole," then take it out and dip it in the melted candy before inserting it back in so it would form a sort of glue when it hardened. I couldn't find the right size plastic bags, either, so I got a bigger size and simply cut them down and tied the ribbon around. Just call me MacGyver.  :)

I'm not a fan of this brass chandelier (at least it's the real deal and not the faux really cheap looking brass that's on the market today), so let's pretend it's a lovely black one. I never did get a photo of the table when all the food arrived- it covered the entire table runner! Thank you, family and friends!

This little bunting is hanging by the crib now- it fit perfectly between these windows. They are the fabrics I used in baby's quilt. You can kind of see the gift table in the other room- didn't get a photo of that either. The white table houses or TV until we can get it mounted above the fireplace, so my husband brought the TV to our room for the party and it became the perfect gift table. I draped a swaddle blanket over the top, and it looked very sweet.

The sweet ceramic birds were on sale at Michael's. I had been searching everywhere for birds and they were all too bright or just plain ugly. Hooray for Michael's!

Word document on basic card stock- simple but effective.

Adorable bow tie napkins- after making a few of these, I decided that it was kind of a pain to have to unwrap your fork from a napkin, and then the napkin was all wrinkled and looked used, so I settled on these for decorations. I think that worked perfectly.

White tulips, carnations, roses, baby's breath, and a handful of bright daffodils were the perfect assortment.


More birdies and a bird cage, so simple and they can be used again and again. (I'm thinking of adding a small plate collection to highlight this wall...)

Easter time is THE perfect time for a bird-themed baby shower. No shortage of egg candies, decorative grass & faux eggs! That poor table runner looks sooo wrinkled- I ironed and ironed it but to no avail. Hmpf.




Things got busy before I was able to snap a picture of the drink stations. There was a punch bowl and some pretty pitchers, that's easy enough to imagine, right? One thing I did that I will definitely do in the future- I bought some colorful sticker labels for each guest to label their (clear plastic) cups and it worked wonderfully. No wondering whose cup belongs to whom. I've seen people use tags with mason jars, which I love, but I didn't want the expense of purchasing all of those.

Our sun room was the perfect spot for setting up a little diaper station for guests to write notes of encouragement for those middle of the night diaper changes. I also added a basket of envelopes (for thank you cards) and asked everyone to please fill one out with their address- nobody minded and it sure saved me a ton of time and effort from having to look up addresses and write them all out.



I love how this turned out. We jokingly refer to this ginormous mantel as "the beast," but I think it looked sweet like this.

I still pinch myself at the thought of a little baby boy wearing these precious little things! Just two more weeks!!!

You gotta have a baby shower selfie. =) I made this dress thinking that it would be very forgiving after baby's birth, without the belt anyway...we shall see, ha

I realized too late that I should've had my Mom take pictures on my camera and not hers, so I'm waiting for those pictures. They're mostly of my friends & family and me, but I think there may be a few other miscellaneous ones as well. I'll add them to this post once I get them.

I may have already shared this picture but I don't care- it makes me smile so. Now we just need the baby!

Okay, now I'm off for some last-minute things and then the big plan for later today is to pack my hospital bag. What do you even put in a hospital bag anymore? I think I'll only need my camera and our going-home outfits...

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Maternity Photo Session...Using a Selfie Stick (and the Hubs)

I never had maternity pictures taken when I was expecting the first three boys...many years ago.  :/ It became one of those wish list kind of things for me to do during this pregnancy, and I figured I'd have a friend take some or hire a local photographer. And then suddenly we were planning our trip to Florida and the idea to take them there just sort of took over. I knew I'd have to rely on myself, maybe with a timer, and my husband to take the photos. I bought two dresses, dreamed of sunshine and warm breezes, and hoped for the best.

And I'm thrilled that I have some photos that I truly like, ones that capture so much of what I've been feeling. I'm not one who particularly enjoys being in front of the camera, so this seems like nothing short of a miracle. I'll start with the ones that I took using a regular ol' selfie stick, which I had just gotten as a joke the day before, ha ha. I'm truly surprised by some of the images I was able to get...you should try, too!

Destin, Florida
34 weeks 










My advice for trying self-portraits with "the stick" is this: take LOTS of pictures! Try millions of angles and then try some more. Even if you only love a handful of photos, like I did, it will be worth it to have those few special ones. (And I use Pic Monkey, upgraded, to edit- their basic service is absolutely free!)

You'll also want to pay attention to any shadows that the seflie stick creates. Several photos looked pretty good but were ruined odd stick shadows trailing across my face or neck. (Check your background, too! I liked some other photos but there was an ugly porch floating above my head. If I had noticed, I could've easily moved to one side to avoid that. There may also be random people- okay, family members- playing games in the backyard, and while you love that, you don't want them to be your background.)



 Note that I didn't edit this one; if I had, I would definitely adjust the angle to make everything more upright, which brings me to the next tip...

This is unedited also, but no amount of rotating the image could ever justify the strange angles of the porch columns, the railings behind me, etc. These are the things that can truly make or break a photograph. It may take a few (hundred!) tries before you get the hang of holding the stick just the way you want it, but it's worth it. Promise.

These were taken the day after the tornado that zipped through Pensacola, so the wind was a downright nuisance at times. However, when looking through all the pics, I discovered that that annoying wind blew my hi-lo dress just right and made it look much more flattering than when it simply hung there, basically like a ginormous floral tent. Thanks, wind.
Here are some that my patient husband took:

(Helpful Tip # Whatever: you may want to avoid dead grass as a background as well. ha ha)




They aren't perfect- me, either (do you see those icky swollen legs, feet, wrists and hands?!?!), so it's all good.  =)


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

These Days

Wow, this month is flying by...and that means baby is coming! Soon! We are beyond excited to meet this little fella. I don't think I'm ever going to put him down once he's here. Aside from not being able to reach my feet to deal with some serious calloused and cracked heels, I'm feeling pretty good. Babe is measuring in at just shy of 8 pounds already, and I can tell by the way he moves that things are getting pretty crowded in there. I'm so ready...and I'm not ready all at the same time. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous, especially about the delivery; I just want him to be healthy and safe.

We celebrated Jonah's birthday last weekend- fifteen years old!! Say it isn't so. And I've got tons of random pictures that I'm going to post, just so I'll always have something to look back on and remember this time in my life. Hope your week is off to a great start!

35 weeks here- stripes for daaaayyyyyysssss

My birthday boy...don't count the candles. It didn't occur to my pregnancy brain that I'd need two packs of candles. #momfail

Family party and then out to eat at Pizzeria Uno - it was so, so good!

This boy earned some special rankings. So proud of him. Isn't he the cutest cadet airman ever?

Mommy-Daughter morning out. I forgot to schedule an appointment at my regular salon so we popped in to a chain place...which ended up costing more! What the what! Well she looked darling so I guess it was worth it. I was a little nervous about letting them at my hair but it turned out fine. Whew.

Celebratory strawberry shakes afterwards

Oh goodness, instagram has lovely filters for skin  :) (especially since I keep getting hot flashes, ugh!)

 This was also Week 36. Whoa!  ha ha

I was wearing this exact outfit in FL two weeks prior when we were waiting to be seated at a restaurant (I was already sitting down). When the hostess finally brought us to our table, her face fell as she noticed the bump, which was at the same exact time as I tried to seat myself in the tight booth, and there was no way I was squeezing in there. By this time, a manager had come over and was apologizing profusely- I had a little chuckle over it and wasn't offended at all, but they were acting horrified. Bless their sweet souls, they said they couldn't tell I was pregnant when I was sitting down up front. Not sure I'd get away with that today. =)

This crib is in the dormered part of our bedroom and it makes me so happy to see every time I go in there- on Saturday I fixed it all up and it is ready for baby! Still not totally decided on his going-home outfit, I may make one, don't know...

We've finally had some spring weather so we've enjoyed being outside at our new house. I love watching them goof around out there.

 
This marks 37 weeks, though technically this was taken on Saturday after my baby shower. I made this dress and was really happy with the way it turned out- there's a ruffle along the hem, too.

Here's a teeny peak at the shower. It was such a gorgeous day and I had the best time celebrating with family and friends. I'll share more shower pics soon. I love how everything came together!