Quinn’s Feminine Woodland Nursery

A lot of time was spent planning Quinn’s nursery. The older she gets, the less nursery it becomes. It’s quickly filling with plastic toys and I find myself removing some of the decor that only serves to be cute and is now taking up valuable space.

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I used Pinterest for almost all of my inspiration. I had started out thinking I’d do a feminine woodland theme. I had changed my mind to do just birds but had again changed my mind into incorporating bunnies as well. And not long after that, I decided to add a few foxes. I didn’t want a cartoonish looking room or something too brown and earthy. I just adore the mint/coral combo. I also love it accented with gold. So, I knew I somehow wanted that incorporated without going overboard. I began saving my ideas to my Nursery board and got to work.

Slowly, Quinn’s room started to come together. First the paint (Behr Pondscape), then the crib, and then it was to Hobby Lobby for decor. One of my favorite pieces is the mobile, which has since been torn down by tiny little hands. I found the idea on Pinterest (Original Link to blog here).

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The Dresser was a yard sale steal at $10! We painted it a peachy/coral color (I know I have the name of it somewhere. I will investigate and edit the post with the information later.) I found THE most perfect knobs for it at Hobby Lobby! I bought two bird pulls and four leaf pulls. (I believe they’re leaves and not feathers- but it goes well, regardless.) It’s just perfection.

The artwork above her dresser was another easy DIY. I bought the frames from the Dollar Tree. I removed the inserts and painted the frames. I used Google Images to find silhouettes of the animals I wanted, then printed them. I did make use of the copier at the office that I work in to blow them up to the size I wanted. Then, I chose scrapbook papers from Michael’s which complimented the color scheme of her room. (I adore these feminine florals!) I cut out the silhouettes and traced them on the back of the scrapbook paper and cut them out. You can’t tell from these photos, but the white background is a very thick scrapbook paper with a texture to it. I used adhesive spray on my cutouts and centered them on the white paper, which I had cut to fit the frames.

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We picked up a rocking chair someone threw to the curb and painted it the same color as the dresser. I bought an inexpensive pillow from Walmart and a mint and gold chevron pillow cover from Lulubeansboutique on Etsy. This inexpensive DIY has seen many nursing sessions, heard a lot of bedtime stories, and hosted a over a dozen mini photoshoots.

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I found this great little table in the basement of the office I work in. I had it for years with intentions of refinishing it and finally was inspired to do so while working on Quinn’s nursery. I painted it the color aa the nursery walls. The crate beneath it, which I store baby blankets in, is from Michael’s. I painted it using the same color as the dresser and rocking chair.


I hope this post has inspired someone to get creative in a nursery or another room in your home. When I completed this room I had such a sense of pride! And I realized I’m capable of pulling together a look in any room of my house and now I can’t wait to start! Feel free to contact me with any questions! I tried to link as many of the products as I could.  If you’re looking for items to fit this theme, particularly, Land of Nod and Pottery Barn Kids are also great places to shop!

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She Slept the WHOLE night.

In this blog’s short existence, the most talked about topic has been my daughter’s sleep habits. Or lack thereof. Back in January I wrote about how my husband had started to sleep train Quinn. There were a few rough nights. The plan was I wasn’t allowed to go to Quinn if she woke. Only my husband could.  If she woke crying my husband would rub her back, talk to her, sooth her, and, sometimes, he’d give her a bottle. Yeah- a bottle at bedtime. Sue us. Taking the bottle away at bedtime is a separate battle. (Which since turned out not to be much of a battle. More on that later). While my husband sleep trained Quinn, her sleep habits changed dramatically. She woke much less and for very short periods of time.

After about two weeks, though, my husband stopped waking up with her and it was Momma to the rescue. Slowly but surely, she got back into her old habits-  waking more frequently and for longer durations. The girl plays me. I should note that my husband and I have discussed it and neither of us believe in crying it out. As least not with Quinn. I truly feel each child and every situation is different. Quinn is stubborn and so strong willed. She will scream like a banshee and never stop if we don’t  go to her.  If she’s crying like that it is because  she needs us. Even if it’s just for a hug, to be put back to sleep, or just know we are there. A lot of people don’t agree with that. But that’s okay. I beat myself up for a long time and finally convinced myself that it is okay to go to my child every single time she cries. I’m not spoiling her. She needs me.

In the middle of this regression there were, apparently, other factors contributing to Quinn’s poor sleep habits. So, we held off on sleep training again. One night when we put Quinn to bed, she screamed like she was in pain. We knew she was getting molars and gave her Tylenol or Motrin. She fell asleep for a few minutes, but awoke screaming. As I was rocking her and trying to calm her, she puked curdled milk. This happened twice and she slept terribly that night. She didn’t get sick at all the next day, but come bed time it was the same thing all over again and she threw up curdled milk. But the screaming was so much worse. I was in tears after a few hours. My heart broke for her. She screamed almost the entire night. I had done some reading on night terrors and thought that was what she was experiencing. A few days later, my husband and I had an upper abdominal pain. My husband threw up but I did not. I did, however, almost go to the Emergency Room because I was in so much pain. Our 7 year old came down with it a few days after we did and then our sitter.  Even after my husband and I felt better, we still didn’t feel 100% for over a week. We felt terrible knowing this is likely what poor Quinn was dealing with but couldn’t tell us.

Fast forward to March. On March 11th Quinn had a bottle when she woke. But come time for her morning nap, my husband said he wasn’t going to give her a bottle. He did give her a sippy cup. (Mind you, she’s been mostly drinking from a sippy cup for a few months except when it’s time for bed. Again, sue us.) She went to sleep. No bottle! He put her down for her afternoon nap. No bottle. And at bedtime. No bottle. He would leave the room and she put herself to sleep. This is something that never happened before January when he initially started sleep training. And for it to happen without a bottle was mind blowing. Do you want to know the best part? Quinn would only would take a few sips from the sippy cup when he put her down, and then just snuggle it. Now, we give her a little water in a sippy cup at bedtime and I can stop worrying about her little teeth.

My husband got back into the habit of putting her to bed and waking with her and on March 15th, it happened….she slept the whole night without waking. Mind you, she was up at 5:30 am. But, we will take it. She has slept through the night every other night since then, so a total of three times. The nights in between she only woke once and went right back to sleep when I went to her. I don’t think it’s coincidence that the nights she has woken up were the nights that I put her to bed. Ha! But, it’s progress. In a week and a half she has made HUGE strides. 1) No more bottle. 2) She’s self soothing to get to sleep. 3) She slept through the night for the first time EVER. 4) No milk at bedtime.

I can hear the critics judging us- that if we had let her cry it out or never gave her a bottle at bedtime she would have been sleeping through the night for months by now. But, we struggled in so many different areas of sleep with her, that I really don’t believe that. It was time. She was ready. We were ready.

Now we just pray there are no more regressions. Only up from here?!

DIY: Kids’ Canvas Art

Our playroom was in need of some fun and color. So I picked up a two pack of canvases from Michael’s craft store for $5 and let the kids do the rest. Asher, who is 7, used brushes and acrylic paints. I got out the Crayola finger paints for Quinn, who just turned 1.

I just love the way this turned out. Asher had a blast. But Quinn, apparently, is not a fan of the arts. She had a shit fit 3 swipes in. I washed her up and half hour later, tried again. The result was the same, but she got enough paint on the canvas to hang before she completely melted down.

I got the wooden letters to spell out “PLAY” from Target. I used acrylics to paint them and Loctite mounting putty to hang them.

Save The Bees!

I have wanted to start a wildflower garden for a few years, now. Not only are they beautiful and low maintenance but the bees need them! And we need bees.

I didn’t know how I wanted to start. I could buy a hundred seed packets but hat seems like a pain. I did a lot of searches through companies that sell flower bulbs and seeds in bulk but never ordered anything.

A few days ago, a friend shared a post to facebook about a company called Seedles. They (a husband and wife team) sell colorful seed bombs and wildflower seed balls through their website, growtherainbow.com. Their mission is to “inspire kids to grow one billion wildflowers to bring back the bees and ensure a sustainable food system for their future”. Sold. This was my chance to start my wildflower garden, do my part to help save the bees, teach our children the importance of bees, and support a small, family business. (They currently make each seed ball themselves!) I placed my order right away. 50 North East Wildflower Seedles, 1 pack of Thyme Bombs (herbs), and 20 Hummingbird and Butterfly Seedles.

It’s been difficult to convince our 7 year old that we need bees! It’s difficult to explain the difference between the wasps and hornets, which he has had bad experiences with, and honey bees. We are finally making some progress but I think this will really get him interested.

I will  be sure to update this spring when we have planted our Seedles! In the meantime, I encourage others to check out the website and support the mission!

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Making a Return

After a few semi-regular entries, I thought I was finally getting the hang of this blog thing. Wrong.

Life is busy. And exhausting. Even more so with a little one who doesn’t sleep well. Her sleep habits went from not so great to pretty bad to awful. My evenings were spent holding her and ultimately taking her to bed to co-sleep. Zero time to myself.

I have thought about so many topics to write about but haven’t had the time (nor energy) to sit and write. I also  inadvertently deleted the Instagram account which I link to this blog. (Which reminds me- I’m going to have to change the link in my blog….just not tonight). It was one thing after another. I told myself I could start back up at any time. So, here I am.

Six nights ago my husband started sleep training our daughter. I’m not allowed to put her to bed for the time being because, let’s face it, I’m the main component of her poor sleep habits. I’m weak. He said I’ve gotten up with her for a year, now and he can handle it for a week or two.

It’s working. A few rough nights and some tears. But tonight my husband laid her down and walked out of her room and she went to sleep.

Let’s hope this is the beginning of better sleep for my babe and more time for Mommy to workout, read, or write.

Let Them Wear The Ugly Shoes

Today marks one week since Asher went back to school and I’m still feeling guilty over an event that transpired the morning of his first day. It’s likely it has had zero effect on him and he has already forgotten. Yet, the guilt is there and I’ve learned yet another lesson. I feel motherhood never stops teaching you what it really important.

As parents, many of us make a huge production out of the first day of school. Although, I think that’s another fact of life brought to us by social media. Pretty sure before facebook and cell phone cameras were around, kids were just thrown on out the door and onto the bus. But thanks to Pinterest we now feel the need to take 132 photos with a sign stating the date, their age, grade, and favorite foods.

Approximately two weeks before the first day school, it occurred to me that Asher didn’t yet have a “first day” outfit. I picked up an orange Chaps polo, from Kohl’s, that was on ridiculous clearance for like $7.00. And an even less expensive pair of navy shorts from Target. Summer in western New York has been a scorcher this year and the first few days of school were going to be the same.

I knew the red and black sneakers my husband let him pick out wouldn’t match. I’m not a fan, but whatever. I’m pretty sure I’ve been the one to pick out almost every pair of shoes he’s worn the last few years, with the exception of a cute pair of brown leather dressier boots that my husband picked up last fall. (A+, husband!) So, a few days before the start of school, I grabbed two pair of fresh slip on canvas sneaks for him to wear with shorts on the warmer days. They are identical to two pair he already owns and loves, but cleaner. I had told  my husband, “I’ll grab size ones”. He said the sneakers he just bought him were thirteens. I couldn’t remember if the slip-ons I’d bought previously ran small or big and Asher was visiting his Mom, so I made the shopping trip solo and bought size thirteens.

Fast forward to the first day of school. (Asher returned home at 7pm the evening before). Asher gets dressed and is lookin’ spiffy. He brushes his teeth. I put a little gel in his hair so he’s extra spiffy for his first day and he then heads to his room to put his shoes on. And as I’m scrambling to finish packing Quinn’s diaper bag and my lunch it hits me that he has not tried the shoes on. And this kid has a lot to say about how shoes fit. And then my fears are confirmed- the shoes are too small. So, he comes out with the red and black sneakers on with his orange blue outfit and my vision of first day perfection is shattered and I turn into a much less dramatic version of “Mommie Dearest”.  I said, “Nope. No way. You look ridiculous”. I told him he could wear the khaki and orange pair of boat shoes (that he tried on and OK’d last year, wore a few times, then boycotted because they were “too big”). He tried them on without a fight but said he didn’t like them. I expected this, because of his boycotting them the previous year but told him, “They will be fine for one day”.

I continued finishing up morning routines and hear my husband puff, “Fine- just wear whichever are comfortable”. After Asher had been dramatically throwing himself on the floor and whining. (Yeah, he’s 7.) So, because of his behavior, which wasn’t that of a seven year old, I walk in his room and more or less tell him to suck it up, it’s not the end of the world, and be a big boy. He’s balling at this point. I calmly tell him how ridiculous this is, explain we will have new shoes, to wear on the hot days, by the next day and this isn’t the end of the world. He calmed down, his tears were wiped, and we get ready to head outside for blotchy faced pictures. Just then, I see the bus approach…fifteen minutes before we are expecting it. Shit. Asher’s mother, who was also expecting the bus later, wasn’t at our house, yet. Just as we are running outside, we see her pull in. My husband and I looked at each other knowing this spelled disaster. When we saw the bus, I thought we were in the clear. Not that we want her to miss his first day of school, but knew that if she pulled in at this instant, the tears would start again. We’ve been there before. He lays it on as thick as he can for her and then she coddles him, making the situation a thousand times worse. Every.Single.Time. Without her there, we’d take hurried pictures of him in front of the bus and he’d be on his way. But no, that’s far to easy and the universe had other plans, probably to teach me the lesson I’ve learned from this very day. So, my husband waved the bus on, knowing she loops back by later. As expected, Asher had a ridiculous sob fest enabled by his Mother. He eventually got through it. We managed a slew of pictures and he got onto the bus with a smile on his face once it returned.

It wasn’t until I got to work that this deep feeling of regret came over me. Was it really worth that? Was it worth starting his first day of school off in tears? He just wanted to wear his brand new (ugly) sneakers that he picked out. That’s all.  He’s 7. Just because we want him to look nice as a representation of ourselves, doesn’t mean his happiness should suffer. He’s a kid. I sat there that morning telling him it wasn’t a big deal, yet I was the one making a big deal out of it. I apologized that evening and the next day I laid out a red star wars shirt with dark shorts that he could wear his brand new red and black sneakers.

He has since worn those sneakers each day he’s been with us. They have yet to match an outfit. The socks my husband picks out to go with them are too tall and look silly with his shorts. But, that’s okay. He loves them. I’ve had my days as a kid. He deserves to enjoy his. He’s happy and that’s the only thing that matters in this world.

But I still hate those shoes.

 

Blurred Lines

I dropped Quinn off at her sitter’s this morning as I always do. It was a beautiful ride in this morning. The sun was bright and the clouds were fantastic. When I stepped in the house with Quinn I saw one of Asher’s t-ball teammates who isn’t always at the sitter’s.

With a big smile, making her dimples more pronounced, she said, “How come Asher didn’t come?!” Before the words even met my lips, I knew her response would reflect her confusion. “He’s at his Mom’s today.” She scrunched up her face as if to say, “Whatchu talkin’ ’bout Willis?!” But instead said, “But you’re his Mom!”

And there it was. I’ve been in this position so many times before. It’s not unusual for people to think I’m Asher’s biological Mother. His father and I are at every school event and sporting event. Winter, spring, summer, fall. We are there. We are friends with the other parents, we communicate with his teachers, and all the kids know who we are. We are involved. I don’t know why it felt so awkward as I stumbled to find an explanation for a six year old. I simply could have said, “No. I’m not his Mom”. But that’s not the case, either. I’m not the Mom, but I am a Mom. And though I’ve said it thousands of times, I’m not trying replace his Mom, there is always a guilt associated with the thought of denying him as my own.

As I drove to work after leaving the sitter’s, the awkwardness passed and I was flooded with feelings of happiness and pride. I’m doing it right. Whatever it is. Nothing matters other than doing what is right for our kids and our family.  The fact that I don’t stick out like a sore thumb as a “Step Mom” means I 100% care for Asher as my own. I treat him no differently than I would had I birthed him. I don’t need validation from the dozens of people who regulaly mistake me as his birth mother, but it is a nice pat on the back and reminder that I’m doing okay.

Asher yearns for the approval of his Mother. So, he clings to any miniscule glimpse of an effort on her part. It can feel defeating to care and do so much, only to be pushed aside and have efforts go unrecognized while someone who is hardly involved gets all the praise. But then I remember he’s seven years old. And I’m not doing all that I do for myself or for recognition. I’m doing it for him. Amd though he may not appreciate it now, one day he will.

Having the time to reflect today made me realize that as much as it feels like we’re screwing the whole parenting thing up- we are actually doing a really great job at making a family and loving home for our children.

We spend so much time building our kids up that we sometimes forget we could use a little lift ourselves. Just keep chugging, parents. You have got this.