March 22, 2014

Mary's Nursery

Several months before Mary was born I knew I wanted to redecorate the nursery. This was a pretty big deal for two reasons. First, because I was thrilled that I was hopeful and excited enough to decorate the nursery prior to actually bringing home a baby - something I had a hard time doing when pregnant with Finn. But also because it meant that I would part ways with the things that were so carefully placed and chosen when I was pregnant with Cale, and what Finn ultimately used for over two years. I shared their nursery decor here, and while there was the possibility we could have had another boy, I still just felt like I wanted a change in there. But that meant I would need to go with something that was gender neutral. I stumbled upon a clearance rug at Target (where most of the items for the nursery were purchased), and decided that red and aqua would be my colors!

What I love most about the room are the little personal touches. So much loved poured into this little baby and so many people who have helped us celebrate her and it just makes me happy to see those sprinkled throughout her room.

The rug shown below was my original inspiration for the room and the colors. I wanted to make a lot of the bedding and I found a clearance curtain that I ended up using to make the crib skit. I eventually plan to make a bumper, but haven't decided what print to use yet as I don't want it to be too busy as there is already a lot going on. The quilt was made by a family friend (who was also my 2nd grade teacher). She asked my mom what colors I was going with and put together this amazing quilt. The bunting was a little project I did the weekend before Mary was born. I just felt that the wall behind the crib needed a little something and love how it came together.

I bought the letter 'M' at Hobby Lobby and painted it aqua to hang on the door. The 3Sprouts Peacock mobile is just hanging on the closet door for now as I just got it through a discount website for $7! The curtains (also on clearance!) are from Target and I didn't get them until after Mary was born as I thought they were a little too girlie and in the event we had a boy, I would have gone with something different.

I recovered an old pillow with the aqua chevron, and Miles made the shelves above the bookshelf from this Ana White tutorial. Finn often comes in the nursery to pick out a book and read. I hope Mary loves books as much as he does.

On the shelves there are some pictures I took of Mary as a newborn, as well as one from our photographer Neely. Some free printables found here and here, the willow tree angel was a gift from my friend Rhiannon on Cale's 2nd birthday - she is holding forget-me-nots, and the ceramic tile which reads "Our Dear ones never leave us; they live in our hearts forever" was a gift from a family friend after Cale passed away.

On top of the bookshelf is another Neely pic, basket full of cards Mary received and some pictures, and the lampshade (from Target)  matches a picture frame from my friend Julia as well as the fabric for the crib skirt). The other side of the bookshelf has a picture of Mary in the rainbow bloomers - a gift from my dear friend Megan and it is next to framed rainbow quote "Tell me what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" which was a gift from my friend Brooke upon Mary's arrival.

On the side of the room with the changing table, there is a mirror that I found in the clearance section of IKEA - I just painted it the same aqua as the 'M' hanging on her door and made a mini bunting to hang across the top of it. Next to it is a sweet frame my friend Danielle sent Mary, and a little hook for all her hair bows and headbands. Her changing pad cover is an Aden & Anais cover that someone purchased online, but returned in store to Target so they discounted it 50% - it has little aqua and grey stars.

On the opposite wall is her dresser which isn't any different than how it was in Finn's room - I have the framed sketch of Cale (which happens to have a litle blueish aqua matting to it), some stuffed animals, and this quote:

 So there ya have it. Mary's red and aqua nursery!

Hands down, the best part of it all is having this sweet baby fill the room with smiles and love.


March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day {2014}

I let Finley off the hook today and didn't subject him to a photo shoot (mainly because he didn't have anything green!) but Mary was fair game:

And other than rocking these baby legs, Mary spent the whole day in her special  St. Patty's Day PJs :


March 15, 2014

Unused Hand-Me-Downs

I recently went through the bins of packed away baby boy clothes. I had pulled out some gender neutral things before I delivered Mary, but eventually I weeded through a lot of the boy clothes and donated a bunch and sold a bunch to a consignment store. But even in doing that I still have a bin and a half of little boy things that I'm just not anywhere close to being ready to part with. Because so many of them have a memory - either of when I was given them during my pregnancies with both Cale and Finn or when Finn got to wear them.

Other than some monogrammed items, there are very few clothes that we were given or purchased for Cale that Finn did not wear. Having both boys in June, it made reusing the unused clothes very convenient for me. But it was definitely very bittersweet. To know that Finn was wearing all the clothes that were originally intended for his brother - I was so thankful he was getting to wear them, just wished they had already been worn, ya know? Mary has worn two sets of pajamas that Finn wore - both items that were intended for Cale. I'm glad she's able to wear them and there's a little bit of a connection there - that she can share clothes with her brothers. I have one more larger sized gender neutral set of pajamas, but then that's it - she probably won't share any other clothes with them.

As I went through the bins, I came across so many special outfits. Like a little dog outfit that I had packed in my hospital bag as it had both long sleeves and short and I didn't know what we would dress Cale in so I wanted options. And even though I never dressed him in it, I always think of it as his "going home" outfit, so I'll never be able to part with it. Here's a (not so flattering) picture from my baby shower of the little outfit:

And there were a few other things, that while they definitely have a connection to Cale and were special to me, I wanted to pass them along to some of my baby loss friends. The first is a little Julius the monkey outfit that my sister in law gave me when I was pregnant with Cale. Finn wore it a couple times, but I wanted to pass it along to my friend Tiffany. Her first son Julius passed away from SIDS in 2010. She went on to have a little girl in 2012 and just recently welcomed another little boy who I hope will get some use out of this outfit. Two big brothers loved and remembered, and two little brothers who get to wear it.

The other outfit was again one that was given to me when I was pregnant with Cale. It's a set of onesies and pants that have a little Duck on them. My friend Brooke is pregnant with her third "baby Duck" and I wanted to share them with her.

I couldn't find any other pictures of when Finn wore this - hard to tell, but there's a little Duck on his shirt. He was seven months here:

Before I even mailed these outfits to Brooke she had sent Mary some pajamas that were intended for her little Eliza, stillborn in 2010. We got a head start on St. Patrick's Day and Mary has been wearing them the past two nights.

I love babies in pajamas - they are squishy and snuggly and I think Mary looks just precious in these shamrocks. But it was bittersweet to dress her in them. Because they should have already been worn in and Eliza should have looked squishy and snuggly and oh so cute in them and I have no doubts she would have. I'm grateful Brook shared a little connection to Eliza with Mary, and I'm grateful to be able to share a little connection to Cale with some of my friends, but it's just so heartbreaking and beautiful all at once. It just reminds me so much of when I first dressed Finn in those special and meaningful clothes, passed down from, but never worn by, his brother.


March 9, 2014

Finley and the Diggers

Around the time he turned two, Finn really began to identify and enjoy seeing construction vehicles, diggers in particular. His infatuation with them has only grown stronger.

Finn was given not one, but two copies of Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site as Christmas gifts. My parents spent the holidays with us and I swear by New Years we had all read the book 50 times. When Aunt Kate recently came out to visit, Finn was sure to have her read it to him as well. You don't even need to read it anymore as he has the whole thing memorized!

My mom even gave him a stuffed digger like the one in the book. We had to take it away from him at night as we soon learned he would just stay up talking to the digger. So instead he started to put the digger to bed (in Mary's crib) and would say, "gotta be quiet" as he shut the door to the nursery.

While Finn clearly has a favorite in the digger (which he sometimes refers to as an excavator, because of course he knows the proper name), he loves any and all construction vehicles. There is some construction going on further back in our neighborhood and we usually go out to see the vehicles at least three times a week. If it's during the day, Finn knows that he can only watch as they are all at work. But if it's in the evening or on a weekend, he gets to walk up around and explore and now requests to take pictures with them. Every single time.

I'm starting to think that a Construction Zone should be the theme for his next birthday. Finn has more than his fair share of construction vehicles and can point out ones we see in the car - front end loader, scraper, back hoe, fork lift, bulldozer, trencher, you name it - he knows them all. I always look for construction vehicles when we are driving and find myself wanting to point them out to him even when he's not in the car with me! It's a fun phase he is in and I only hope he finds as much joy in life as he does in a digger.


March 5, 2014

Lent: 2014

This was my view on Saturday evening - Mary was in the ergo and Finn was holding my hand, waving his firetruck with his free hand:

I took this picture because Saturday marked a first for myself and for Mary - it was her first time going to mass and my first time taking kids by my lonesome. They were so well behaved it made me feel guilty for not going with both of them before. And we didn't even sit in the cry room! Finn sat next to me and stayed mostly quiet. Mary slept most of the time and when she was awake she was just as content as could be. 

Today marks the beginning of Lent and for the last few days I've been really thinking about what I wanted to "give up" or rather, what I wanted to get out of this season of Lent. In the past I've given up sweets, given up Facebook - the sort of things that may feel like a momentary sacrifice, but do little to assist in my spiritual growth.

So this year I've decided that I will just work to be an ever so slightly better Catholic. Ambitious, egh? It's not just going to church more, though I do need to and hope to get better about that, but also I feel fairly ignorant on not just things related to Catholicism, but basic Christianity.  So each day I am dedicating at least 10 minutes to learning more about the Catholic faith. I think it's very doable and 10 minutes will actually turn into more as it did today when I was reading about Saints.

In addition to doing something I think it actually in line with the spirit of Lent, I also am giving up something that has nothing to do with getting closer to God. I'm not allowing myself to touch my phone while in the driver's seat of my car. I'm pretty good about not texting, though am guilty of reading texts while at a red light, but Texas is not hands free and therefore I've talked on my phone many times while driving. But it's a distraction too and something I want to stop doing altogether. I have Bluetooth in my car as well, so there's really no excuse. I will leave my phone in the backseat with my diaper bag to avoid any temptation and hope this brings about a permanent change even after Lent is over

 Anyone else, Catholic or not, giving anything up this year?