November 27, 2013

Finn's Big Boy Room

I have no before pictures of Finn's room. Imagine a messy guest room that had a couple pieces furniture, an air mattress and pack n' play for when my nephews sleep over and a whole bunch of sewing crap that still needs to find a home. That's definitely one downside to Finn moving in here from the nursery - we either need one more closet for storage space or I need to offload some stuff. I'm going to go with needing another closet. As for the new room, I didn't go with a theme. Because all the other furniture in the room is gray, I decided to just go with navy, gray and white as my main colors and just leave the decor very simple. Mostly because I don't want Finn to be getting out of bed instead of napping or sleeping and the fewer distractions the better.

Here's a few more shots of the bed as well as the rest of the room. I bought all the bedding at Target except for the transportation pillow which I sewed from cute fabric my sister-in-law discovered at Hobby Lobby. The rug is from Zulily. Oh, and we did attach a railing to the side of the bed, but that wouldn't have looked as cute in pictures now would it?

The dresser has a plate my friend sent me after Finn was born as well as a frame of the meaning of his name. This corner of the room seemed a little empty so at 9pm Saturday night I went to Target to get a bean bag chair because cartwheel had them 20% off but they were expiring that day, plus a trip to Target with no kiddo is just a little bit of Heaven on earth.

I'm tempted to make some curtains like these, but that will have to wait. I scored the shelves at Target for $5 each! I still am not really sure what to put on them, but for now I like it. I have Finn's framed birth announcement, his baby cup, a cute giraffe from the Dallas zoo, picture of huppy, one of Finn's newborn pictures, letter F, and a globe. A little random, but it works.

Bins on the bookshelf are from Target, free name printable from here, vintage airplane printed in powerpoint, and I typed up the cute Christopher Robin quote in matching colors, because I love it. The nightlight turtle, while adorable, proved to be too much of a distraction so is no longer on the nightstand :)

I'm really pleased with his room, but it's definitely bittersweet not to have him in the nursery anymore. Just one more sign that he's growing up far too fast.


November 25, 2013

The Making of a Big Boy Bed

Finn slept in his bed last night for the first time. We've been talking about the bed for a while now and he's been very excited about it which I think helped the transition. As I type this, it's almost 8:00am and he is still sound asleep so if nothing else, at least night one was a success. Here's hoping the same can be said for naptime later today.

After soliciting feedback on beds, I was very much leaning towards just purchasing one. Problem was I could not find one for the life of me! I schlepped Finn to new furniture stores, used furniture stores, Goodwill, garage sales, checked Craigslist, E-bay, online stores, you name it - I looked. I did find several good options that were way out of my price range (ahem, Pottery Barn) and found some cute ones that were similar to the look I was going for, but the quality of them (particle board) would not be conducive to military moves, and even those were the same price or more expensive than if we just built it ourselves. I wanted solid wood but wasn't willing to pay $400+ for it. Besides, I kept coming back to the style of the Ana White Farmhouse bed and knew we could make it for a fraction of the cost for a new one in store or online. So, I gave up the hunt and while Miles was away at a course last month, I purchased all the lumber so that there would be no going back! Here's a little rundown of the making of the bed.

1. Pick out wood
2. Have nice man (named Miles!) cut it while you nuggle
3. Have another nice man load it in car
4. Unload in garage and patiently wait for Dadda to return to begin building bed

Because we went to Wisconsin not long after Miles returned from his course, we waited a bit longer to start building the bed. Miles and his buddy started working on it last Saturday and were done by Sunday. So the actual construction of the bed didn't take very long. The original plans call for it all to be built as one piece - but because we know we will be moving in the near future (and probably several more times after that) we adjusted the plans slightly so that the rails can be removed from the headboard and footboard. I also wanted the headboard a little bit lower than what the design calls for, especially since we won't be putting a box spring on the bed anytime soon.

5. Build Bed

6. Fill in nail holes, sand bed
7. Apply Conditioner
8. Apply Stain (times three, plus sanding)
9. Apply Protective coat (times three, plus sanding)

 All those steps were completed over the course of several days. I would use nap time and bedtime to put on coats and gave them adequate time to dry in between. So from start to finish, the bed was constructed, stained, and assembled within one week. It certainly could go even quicker if you don't have to work around a toddler's schedule or if you were painting it and not staining and don't have to wait as long between coats. Once the bed was good and dry, Miles applied the hardware to the rails. This turned out to be the biggest pain (probably since we didn't have thorough directions guiding us like the rest of the project) and I was worried a few times Miles would let his rage get the best of him and all our hard work would become fire wood. But he figured it out and got it assembled just fine. We purchased a bed slate like this (twin size) for under the mattress since we don't have a box spring.

10. Apply rails in a fit of rage

11. Assemble bed
12. Have toddler test out durability
13. Make bed look cute for pictures and blog post
14. Put baby big boy to sleep in his new bed

So there ya have it - Finn's homemade big boy bed. In case you're curious here is the cost breakdown:

Lumber . . . . . $176.88
Slatted Bed Base . . . . .$20
Supplies (stain, poly, etc) . . . . . $36.64
Hardware for rails . . . . . . .$23.47
TOTAL . . . . . .$256.99

Basically, what I'm trying to say is suck it, Pottery Barn.


November 21, 2013

A Little Pumpkin is on the way: Surprise Baby Shower

There is a great little breakfast place about 20 minutes from our house. We hadn't been since April, so when Miles suggested we go this weekend, I thought it was a great idea.  When Miles came home from hunting, he showered and we left. As we headed out there he mentioned that the last time we were there it took awhile and maybe there was somewhere else we should go. Knowing that if he doesn't get food, particularly breakfast, he gets really hangry (read, totally annoying to be around), I threw out the suggestion that we just go to Cracker Barrel instead, but we decided that we may as well see what the wait is like first. So we walked into this restaurant and I knew there was no way Miles (and probably Finn as well, who takes after his dad with his passion for breakfast) would be patient while we waited. Miles said something about "let me just check and see what it looks like" and I was about to tell him he was an idiot because clearly all these people in front of us were waiting for a table, but he walked further into the restaurant, so I followed. As I walk in, he turns and says "well, you could sit here" and points to a table where I first look at my friend Julia who was sitting there. My brain was starting to think "oh, Julia is here" but then I looked around the table and saw several other friendly faces and then saw my sister-in-law Jenny smiling with this totally cute, mischievous smile and I knew they had all pulled a fast one on me.

Miles took Finn to get breakfast elsewhere and I joined the ladies for a really lovely brunch/surprise baby shower. Jenny had contacted some friends and family a while ago and had absolutely surprised me which was not only incredibly thoughtful and sweet, but it took out any anxiety about having a baby shower. We didn't play typical shower games - in fact the game Jenny had for us was a cute pumpkin trivia game to go along with the "little pumpkin" theme (fact: the largest pumpkin ever grown weighted 1,140 pounds) and the whole thing was just relaxed and comfortable which is all I could ever ask for as we celebrate this little baby.

One of my favorite things Jenny did was collect "wishes for baby" that she mailed to my friends and family. They filled them out, and sent them back to her so that I would have them the day of the shower. I didn't open them until I got home knowing that they would make me cry, but some of them were also cute/funny so I should have read them out loud.

Some of my favorites:

I hope you never forget: to put some $ in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas (Nana)
I hope you love: oreos and Target! (Anna)
I hope you love: like Finn - he is so sweet (Jen)
I hope you ignore: gossip, pettiness & infomercials (Aunt Kate)
I hope you learn: all about your Uncle Daren (Amy)
I hope you aren't afraid: of snakes (grandma)
I hope you become: the person your dog thinks you are (Nana)
I hope you never forget: your brother Cale (Aunt Jenny)
I hope you grow: to be taller than me (Miles)
I hope you become: A Navy Pilot (Pop)
I hope you laugh: at the little things (Aunt Carmen)
I hope you learn: how fun life can be - and how to juggle, please master juggling (Aunt Kate)
I hope you get: to marry your best friend (Luciana)
I hope you grow: up happy (Aunt Jenny)

As I was going through those I realized I really wanted to type them all out - they are just so cute and it's such a great idea - to write down all the hopes and dreams and little wishes that people have for this baby. We have so many ourselves and while these last few weeks are scary and filled with anxiety, they are also so exciting because hopefully in just a few more weeks, one of our biggest wishes will come true.


November 16, 2013

Wisconsin, Don'tcha Know

Over the long holiday weekend we flew to visit Miles' family in Wisconsin, eat cheese curds, attend a wedding, and go to a Packers game at Lambeau Field. But the most exciting aspect of the trip for Finn was by far the travel to and from.

This was our first flight with him where we had to buy his own seat (sigh), but honestly it makes traveling a LOT easier when you don't have a babe climbing all over you and struggling to get comfortable. We brought his carseat on the plane which I absolutely recommend to anyone travelling with a little one. I know there are safety benefits to it, but the biggest benefit for us was that Finn was strapped down the entire flight! Hallelujah! He could see out the window because he was sitting up higher and was able to fall asleep both times which I think would have been harder for him had he just been sitting in the airplane seat. He really was a great little traveler, but when the plan was making its descent Finn got excited and loudly exclaimed, "Airplane going down!" which isn't exactly what you want to hear on a plane.

We had a layover in Dallas, but were able to find a smartecarte which made schlepping all the bags much easier. I actually had planed to buy something like this for the carseat, but ran out of time. Finn loved walking through the terminals because it meant a ride on the tram, and the escalators and we found a play area where he enjoyed "flying airplane so high."

While in Wisconsin we attended the wedding of a high school classmate of Miles. It was held at the same church Miles and I were married in and the church Daren's funeral was held in - in fact, the Priest who preformed the service was the same one who did Daren's funeral. It was bittersweet, but mostly sweet, to hear him speak again - I found it more comforting that anything. This was the first time Miles had been back to Wisconsin since Daren was killed.

Finn was very well behaved during the mass (thanks to a back hoe on loan from his cousin). At one point a baby cried when it was very quiet and Finn felt the need to point out "baby sad. baby crying," but it just made for some laughter around us.

The next day we pawned Finn off on his Aunt and went up to Green Bay for a Packers game. Thanks to some tickets my father-in-law got through work we were able to enjoy the game from the comforts of a suite, which made the painful outcome of the game, and the fact that our third string Quarterback was put in, a lot more bearable. The last time we went to a game at Lambeau was in December of 2008 so I know how cold and uncomfortable it can get in the stadium - not something I would have enjoyed as much eight months pregnant.

Finn also saw snow for the first time. He's hit or miss with wearing hats, but I think he enjoyed how warm this hat kept him because he wouldn't even let me take it off in the car. Oh and he got to take a picture by a dump truck. Because of course.

We left Wisconsin when it was NINETEEN degrees out. As I type this it is currently EIGHTY degrees in Texas. So no big shocker that Finn got sick promptly upon return and has been fighting a nasty little cold the past few days. But he seems to be on the mend and I if given the chance, he'd hop on an airplane again in a heartbeat. This trip concludes our travelling for 2013. Time to incubate, catch up on projects around the house, and hopefully get ready for a very exciting December.

November 11, 2013

Happy Veterans Day

This picture was taken in 2008 when Miles and I were in Afghanistan on our first (my only) deployment. We were lucky enough to see each other two or three times throughout the year. 

My service on active duty ended in 2012 when this little guy became my new boss:

He can be a really demanding boss at times, but it was a great career move. 

We found out a few weeks ago that our next move will be back to Georgia, but this time we are headed to Savannah. Miles, mostly likely, will be making the military a career though that's certainly not set in stone yet. But if so, at least he pulls off a uniform well. Why hello, handsome:

This Veterans Day I think of all those I was lucky enough to meet during my time in the Army, I think of Miles' brother Daren who gave the ultimate sacrifice and is missed every day, of all those from my family who have served, and I especially think of all those still deployed in harms way and wish them a safe return home. May they come home to as much love and excitement as shown here: 

For the record, I wish I recorded it, but when Miles returned from his two more recent deployments, Roscoe's reaction was similar to these - Enjoy, and Happy Veterans Day.

November 6, 2013

Cale and Finn's Nursery

The plan is to move Finn to a big boy bed in the next couple weeks. It's strange to picture him in a new room, but also exciting. I also plan on re-decorating the nursery and when I get around to finishing both rooms, I will share how they turned out, but first I wanted to share what the nursery looked like originally.


Miles deployed when I was six months pregnant with Cale. Before he left, we ordered the nursery furniture and he put it all together so that I wouldn't have to tackle it later on:

My sister came out to visit when I was about eight months pregnant and helped me with some more decorating, to include hanging this cross stitch my grandmother made when I was born:

The bedding that I had ordered worked nicely with the cream furniture and cross stitch:

I made a bulletin board to match the bedding, hung a few more things on the wall, and got the room all ready for the little boy we so hoped would live there:

Before we even left the hospital, Miles had Daren remove all baby things from the common areas of the house, put them in the nursery, and shut the door. And so for nearly a year, the room sat like this - a total mess of things somewhat packed and stored away:

With a couple weeks remaining in my pregnancy with Finn I summoned the courage to get the room ready once again. My reasoning was simply that I had prepared for Cale, and felt Finn deserved the same, but it was really hard. I remember crying when we hung new curtains because I thought it may be a waste of time. I remember how slowly I unpacked the tupperware, reminiscing about each thoughtful and loving gift Cale received, and how everything still smelled like Dreft.

We made a few changes to the room, but not many. I framed and hung the sketch of Cale, purchased a glider, and added a more touches, like the small frame below Cale's sketch that reads "Wherever you go, Whatever you do, May your guardian Angel watch over you," and the frame with Cale's maternity picture and one with Finn's ultrasound.

And then we waited, and hoped, and by the most amazing stroke of luck, we got to add one final touch to the room: