Life Lately: Birthdays and Braces!

By far, the biggest excitement lately was Edison’s first birthday. We flew back to Iowa for a week to celebrate it with family and friends. I was planning on a low key affair, just grilling in the backyard, but it sort of spiraled into something bigger with a lot more people and decorations. But, the more the merrier! 
Since we weren’t sure how Edison would react to cake, we did a practice run on his actual birthday. He thoroughly enjoyed it!

On the day of the party, of course, Edison refused to nap. That stressed me out considerably, but somehow, he made it through the day. We also narrowly missed being rained out. Instead, the weather was perfect!

 The decorations were a mix of nautical themes, naturally. I bought plain cupcakes, and decorated them myself. I also made Edison’s smash cake!

Unfortunately, Edison was not a big fan of his party hat. 

Once the hat was off, I cheered him up from the trauma we’d put him through by distracting him with his cake. Pro-parenting tip there – sugar rights a multitude of wrongs.

It took him a little bit to get into it, but once he did, he had a blast.

He put on a great show, laughing and giggling for the paparazzi.

Helped unwrap a few presents, but by then, the lack of a nap was starting to kick in.

He preferred to play with his new trucks and his cousin and leave the presents to his parents.

A few more photos from the day: 

Edison and Addyson’s stuffed bunnies are from Cuddle + Kind. Each one provides 10 meals!
All the birthday photos above were taken by friends and family. Thanks so much everyone!
In all the business of getting home, trying to get Edison back on schedule, unpacking (it took me a full week!) and the house appraisal, I almost forgot about my birthday! Thankfully, other people didn’t!
We went out for dinner to Joe’s Farm Grill, one of my favorites.
Then came home for cake and presents!

My sisters-in-law know me so well!

Brian got me a necklace from Honeycomb Baby Goods! Edison approves.
After all the birthday festivities, we had a really rough week – Edison got a cold, that turned into a double ear infection, pink-eye, sore throat, cough, really high fever, and then after the fever, a rash. I stayed home from work with him a lot, which meant of course that work that week was really busy, and I started getting sick too. Then on Friday, I had two teeth pulled in preparation for getting braces. And Brian stubbed his toe, and thinks it’s broken. So, not a good week.
Lots of sleepy cuddling though.

But today I got braces! I’ve needed them for a long time, and we finally just bit the bullet. I have three baby teeth still that are wrecking havoc, so the two on the bottom were pulled, and the rest of my super crowded teeth will eventually fill in the space. On the top, that baby tooth will eventually be pulled, and I’ll need an oral surgery to fix a bracket to the permanent canine tooth and pull it down. It’s only two years, but sometimes, two years feels like forever. At least, I have clear braces on the top, so they’re less noticeable. And lots of people get braces as an adult, and everyone I’ve talked to has said that it’s been totally worth it. 
Brace face!
But really, they do blend in pretty well.

That’s life lately! Soon I’ll post about what we’ve been doing in our kitchen, which I’m pretty excited about. Here’s to a better week!

Inspiration: Outdoor Living

What a crazy last few weeks! Celebrated Edison’s first birthday with family in Iowa, which I’ll get around to posting about eventually. Then we decided for a fun weekend project, we’d just tear out our upper kitchen cabinets and replace them with open shelving. 
“Quick weekend project.” Famous last words. 
It just so happened that Brian also scheduled an appraisal for refinancing our house on Thursday. It also so happened that that was my birthday. So we had until Thursday to get our house looking good, and cleaned, and we had cabinets and tools and dishes EVERYWHERE. It took many late nights, trips to Home Depot, and maybe a few tears, but Thursday morning, we were as ready as we could be. 
And after the appraisal, I came home from work early, and took a three hour nap. Happy birthday to me!
Although it’s not how I would have liked to spend my birthday week, it was nice to have a deadline for finishing up several things around the house and motivation to do some de-cluttering. I took a trunk load of things to Goodwill, sold some furniture on Craig’s list, and we took our old cabinets to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore
We’ve done a lot to the inside of the house, but the outside is a different story. Of course, curb appeal makes a big difference in an appraisal, but our house is lacking in that department. Aside from a new plant, with all the work going into the kitchen, we didn’t have time to do much of anything to the outside. But it has motivated us to start making progress there – we have a painting company coming on Monday to give us a quote.
Before the appraiser arrived, I took the opportunity to take photos of every room in the house, and the outside. Here’s our before: 
That’s the view looking out from the French doors, and below is the view looking toward the doors from the side of the pool. 
To the left, we have these massive garden beds. I’m not a gardener, although I’ve tried. The basil above is still barely hanging on, but succulents are the basically the extent of my gardening ability. I’m pretty sure I can see the plants trembling when I walk past that section at Home Depot. 

To the other side, is this massive section of patio.

That’s where I’d like to create our outdoor living room – a comfy sectional, coffee table, and fire pit. Under the overhang, I’d like to create the outdoor dining room, right by the grill.

So basically, we’ve got a blank slate. Just imagine instead of beige and brown, our house is white with navy blue trim. My favorite patio of all time is Emily Henderson’s blue and white patio at the top of this post, and here’s a picture of it from another angle: 
It’s pretty much perfection. Arhaus asked me to share inspiration for what I’d love to do to our patio to make it into a cozy, comfortable extension of our living room, and it was just the push I needed to make a plan.
First things first – lights. We have one string of cafe lights on our patio now, but I’d love to add more, especially draped over my dream fire pit and couch area. The patio above is actually a restaurant, and I love the white fireplace and touches of copper, the blue and white cushions, and amazing chairs.
This patio space is small in size but makes a splash with bright colors. The lanterns hanging in the corner are super cute, and I’m a fan of the navy and white striped curtains and complimentary orange. I think, based on the sign with street names, this is somewhere in Ames, Iowa, where I went to college for a couple years! 
A porch swing is my dream! The brick patio is lovely also. 
And from Arhaus’ blog, I’m a big fan of the row of tropical plants behind the sectional, the neutral rug, the chevron chair, and most of all, that coffee table! It’s actually made out of resin, but it looks just like the real thing. I love the rustic touch that balances the modern.

Sectional in Sundial Blue / Outdoor RugRoot Outdoor Coffee Table / Seabrook Chair / Ikat Pillow / Tie Dye PillowCoral Pillow / Feather Pillow / Patio lights / Swing / Planters

For my dream patio, I’d love to carry the navy with coral accents from inside, to the back yard with some accent pillows. I’d use a big sectional with navy fabric, anchored with a neutral gray rug, and add some fun with the chevron armchair and blue swing. I’d bring some greenery up around the patio in the form of succulents – but no cacti. That’s too much of a risk with curious boy and dog!

What would you include in your dream patio space? Share your #patiogoals in the comments below!

DIY: Repurposed Mirror To Chalkboard

Yes, I know that the height of the chalkboard craze was like, so 2014. Like everyone else, I wanted a giant chalkboard, but without having to paint an entire wall or pay for an expensive board. I entertained the idea of building one for a long time, but just couldn’t muster up the motivation to do that much work. And then one day, I realized that the perfect chalkboard had been right under my nose. 
Actually, I think it was hidden away in a closet. 
Ever since we moved, I couldn’t find a spot for the large mirror we’d bought with a dresser we found on the curb for $30. The dresser I eventually painted and it found a home in Edison’s room.
With a few supplies and couple hours, you can turn any large frame into a chalkboard. Here’s what you’ll need: 
  • A frame. I used a mirror, but you can also use photo frames, or framed art from Goodwill.
  • Chalkboard paint. I used chalkboard paint in a spray can originally, and eventually used chalkboard paint in a can for touch ups. Also, you can make your  own
  • Painters tape.
  • Paintbrushes for touch ups.
  • Paint for the frame. Those little samples from Lowes or Home Depot only cost a few bucks, and they’re perfect for this.
  • Sandpaper for sanding the frame.

Start by sanding your frame lightly, just to be sure your paint is going to stick well. Then, spray on your chalkboard paint. Spray from about a foot away, using a continuous sweeping motion from side to side. Go slowly so you get a nice thick coat. Let it dry according to the instructions on the can, probably about an hour. Then repeat, until you’ve covered the glass well. 
Then, use the painter’s tape to protect the chalkboard surface while you paint the frame.

Two words of caution: First, put down enough tape that you don’t paint beyond it onto the frame, or else you’ll have to touch it up. 
Secondly, be careful not to stick the paint down too well – this is the opposite of advice where you want to be sure the paint doesn’t bleed underneath. We’re just using the paint to protect the chalkboard, and in this situation, if the paint sticks to the chalkboard too much, it might pull off the chalkboard paint from the slippery glass surface beneath. Again, you might have to do some touch ups with a paintbrush. It’s not that big of a deal.

Then you need to season your board. If you skip this step, your fresh chalkboard paint will retain the outline of whatever you write on it first. To avoid ghosting, rub the side of a piece of chalk all over the surface of your chalkboard, and then rub it in before erasing it.

Hang it up, and get to work!

Another word of caution. Around Christmas, you may see some gold and silver metallic chalk markers on Amazon. You may begin dreaming about all the sparkly, glittering possibilities for how these chalkboard markers will transform your hand-lettering into a work of art. You may buy said markers, and create a masterpiece. And then discover … it will not come off. Even after googling how to get it off, and using Windex. 
It. Will. Not. Come. Off.

And that means you’ll have to repeat the steps above to paint over it. 

It may not look as pretty, but it will come off!

Do you have an inspirational message or message board chalkboard anywhere in your house? If you haven’t joined that bandwagon yet, what would you write on one? Share in the comments below or on Facebook!