March 30, 2015

Easter Dresses 2015

True to form, I spaced that Easter Sunday this year landed on General Conference (the weekend when leaders of my church and the Latter-Day Prophet address the world with instruction and uplifting from the Lord). Therefore, the Sunday before Easter (today) would be the day when my girlies got to wear their pretty dresses.
I didn’t remember this fact until last night, which meant staying up until 4:00 AM to get these beauties ready. Was it worth it? At the time, I wasn’t so sure, especially since the girls were both a little sick and I didn’t think we’d make it for all three meetings anyway, but after I took these photos, I decided that it totally was (and that I would be taking a nap later on for sure).
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Chelsea’s dress is based off a dress I found on Pinterest from Nordstrom. I decided that making the girl’s Easter dresses is a tradition I’d like to have (do any of you have that tradition?), so instead of buying it, I found some similar fabric online and got busy!
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Chelsea love it! She calls it her “Cinderella dress” because it’s blue, just like Cinderella’s. <3
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I’ll admit, it’s a little bigger on her than I intended it to be (I thought she was big enough to fit into a 4T!), but the good news is that it will fit her for a loooooooong time!
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And Alexa! I’m sure you’ve seen this dress floating around on Pinterest. I love the shop that sells these dresses, but because I was able to find the EXACT same fabric online, I decided to save some money and make it myself. Did I save money? Yes. Did I save myself time, exertion and sleep? No. Do I love it? Duh.
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I was super bummed that I didn’t have enough time to sew my Easter Outfit to wear, but my Pretty Periwinkle Shift Dress was a suitable substitute!
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I’ll just have to find an excuse for all of us to get dressed up next weekend! “Because I said so,” normally works pretty well.
Have a great week everyone!
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March 22, 2015

Chelsea-isms and Hair

There’s this mother in my ward who has two young daughters with the most beautiful, intricate hair-dos every Sunday (you know who you are)! I’m pretty sure if she and her girls knew how often I stare and oggle over their heads, they might be a little freaked out. For reals.
I don’t know how she gets them to sit still for long enough to do it because when I try to do anything with Chelsea’s hair? It’s gotta take 1, maybe 2 minutes or less.
About a week ago, I got lucky that Chelsea was interested enough in playing with my phone that she would hold still. I got even more lucky that it turned out as good as it did the first time. Naturally, I documented the momentous occasion, so that said amazing hair-mama could see my handiwork and be proud!
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This girl has been in a “The Little Mermaid” kick recently. Almost every morning she asks for “Little Mermaid and apples please!” and then again in the afternoon (I can only handle the movie and an apple once a day).      
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This is her face when Ursula is about to vaporize Ariel.

There are a few things I’ve learned about Chelsea (and myself) recently, plus some Chelsea-isms that I like to share on Twitter:
“When I am big, I have pink hair. Daddy have blue hair, Alexa have blue hair, and Mommy has purple hair.”
Dad: “you're a nerf-herder.” Chels: “I'm not a nerf-herder. I'm Chelsea!”
*bam* “Sorry wall.”
"We're all kind of funny."
“I’m sorry about that!”
“I love you Mommy!”
Chelsea is potty trained (has been for quite a while, actually)! It didn’t take too long to get her there, but there were some accidents in the process and a lot of tries and give-ups at the beginning (we probably started trying about three times before we finally stuck with it). However, she doesn’t like to be told to go to the potty. This has been a little frustrating when we’ve been getting ready to go somewhere and I don’t want to take a potty break, but I learned that I need to let her be in control. If she needs to go, she will go. She still wears diapers to bed. I’m not ready to tackle that monster yet.
I swear that girl is ready for a for-real bike. She has great balance and now knows how to pedal!
She is really sweet when it comes to other’s injuries. She is very concerned about others and their feelings and is always ready to help by getting a band-aid, giving a hug, and saying, “I’m so sorry you have an owie.”
She is the best at making miss Alexa laugh! I love hearing their little giggles at each other at various moments in the day. The other night I put them both to bed, but I guess neither were very tired because I could hear them giggling and squealing in delight for nearly a half hour! I love it.
She was looking for a show to watch on my phone on Saturday and found… the teletubbies. Shoot. me. now.
No-nap-Chelsea is, simply put, awful. And here is where I’m going to share an experience and something I learned today…
. . . . .
This morning, I took Alexa with me to a friend’s ward whose baby was being blessed. There was a Senior Couple who had just been called to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints to Italy who spoke as well. The first speaker shared a story about two men in a hospital. Both had health issues that required them to lie down all day, but one man was allowed to sit up for one hour each day. This man’s bed was positioned next to the window, and every day when he was allowed to sit up, he would relay to his hospital roommate the things he saw out the window. He told this man about the sparking blue water on the pond, the ducks diving for fish, the couples walking hand-in-hand, and the sun glimmering all around. The second man grew to rely on these precious hours that he listened to the descriptions offered by the first and would close his eyes imagining all the beautiful sights of the outside world.
After a time, the man by the window succumbed to his illness and passed away. When it was appropriate, the second man asked the nurse if his bed could be moved over to the window, to which they agreed. With great effort the man propped himself up on his elbow and looked out the window. There outside the window, he saw a blank wall. He lay back down and wondered out loud to the nurse why the man would tell him all those visions of the pond, the ducks, and the couples. The nurse replied to him that the first man was blind and had never even seen the blank wall.
This first man is an example of compassion. Each day of his stay in the hospital, he spent one hour sharing some beauty with the second man lying in bed.
After hearing this story in the woman’s talk, I was impressed that compassion was the thing that I needed to be praying for. I think as frustration and monotony has come, that over time, I have lost some of my empathy. I determined that I would remember to have compassion on my daughter and remember that she is only two years old and to have realistic expectations.
My first opportunity to really exercise compassion came not too much later right after church when I was getting both girls to the car. With great effort and some howling, wailing, and hitting from an unhappy toddler, I pulled Chelsea along behind me through the parking lot to our car. I buckled in Alexa and then buckled in Chelsea who continued to wail. Once she was buckled in, I closed the doors and took a moment. I thought to myself, “What would Jesus do?” Well, first of all, he wouldn’t be in this situation because any child would want to be where he was, because they loved him. But that didn’t mean it was too late for me to do something about the situation I was in.
I went around to the other side of the car again, unbuckled Chelsea and sat her down on my lap in the front seat. I hugged her, rubbed her back, and talked to her very calmly, discussing the trees, the sidewalk, the birds, and other wonders of nature. We both settled down and what started out as an ugly experience turned into something beautiful for the both of us.
Even though being a mom can be really, REALLY stressful and extremely trying, it is so worth it.
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March 20, 2015

Alexa – 8 months

My little rose is 8 months old AND it’s the first day of spring!

*read until the end of the post for a first day of spring celebration announcment!

 

The time is getting away from me. You are growing and moving from one stage to the next so fast.

Your eyes haven’t lost any of their sparkle.

Your smile hasn’t lost any of its shine.

And it especially presents itself when the camera pops up!

You still wake up once or twice at night, but I’m learning to cherish those uninterrupted moments.

Your laugh is heart-melting.

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Your face positively glows when you see me or your sister.

For some reason, you especially like it when I open the car door. Your face beams and your smile radiates!

Being tossed in the air and spun around in circles still makes you laugh.

You’re crawling and scooting to whatever toy or other item of interest you want now.

You are so curious about the world around you! You want to touch and explore everything!

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You cry when I turn my back, even for a moment.

You still pull my hair and like to stick your fingers in my mouth.

You love to hear me sing and often sing along!

When you get really excited, you bounce up and down on your bum and kick your legs. It. is. a. dorable.

Still only have two teeth!

You have become quite cuddly (I LOVE IT) and sometimes you even give me wide-open-mouthed kisses on my lips, cheeks, and chin.

Your soft blanket is your favorite.

You still have a thing for your pacifier.

You enjoy solid foods now.

Your baby babbles are my favorite, particularly the “ma-ma-ma’s” which I think really do mean “Mama,” or “more food please.” We’re working on “da-da.”

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You’re starting to pull yourself up onto things to a standing position.

The past two nights we’ve put you to bed at the same time as Chelsea and you have been wonderful!

You still have your daddy’s, your mommy’s, and your sister’s hearts completely!

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I love you so much, my little Alexa.

*And if you’re not following me on Instagram, you really should! Spring is one of my favorite seasons and I’m celebrating. Visit my Insta to see how… @suesnews_cl

More months:
 
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
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March 18, 2015

Shared rooms: pros and cons

Wow! When was the last time I posted? I hardly even remember. It feels like forever. I’ve finally got the bulk of my orders finished and mailed off *fist pump!* and have some time for a blog post! It’s good to be back.

Shortly after Alexa was born and happily settled into her little nursery, Chelsea started waking up in the night and coming to our room to sleep. Not long after that, the naps started to go downhill, too. Andrew didn’t mind Chelsea coming in to sleep with us, but I am NOT a co-sleeper (nothing wrong with it, it’s just not for me).

After weeks of this, and just before I would put Chelsea down for a nap in her room one day, it hit me that maybe Chelsea didn’t like to be alone in her room. So I asked her.

“Chelsea. Would you like to nap here in Alexa’s room?”

And so began our experience with shared rooms.

Of course I had some concerns about the girls sharing a room together (a baby that wakes up screaming and crying in the night being one of them), but I tried it anyway and have a learned a few nuggets of wisdom that I’d love to pass on to anyone else seeking advice/opinions.

So here’s my list:

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Shared rooms – Cons

if either of your kiddos is a light sleeper you’re in a world of trouble

even if they’re a heavy sleeper, one can only handle screaming and crying for so long before they wake up, so the “crying-it-out” method is not really an option

naptime is a little more complicated. alexa usually takes her naps on our bed, but now that she’s crawling, we may have to try something else

if i need anything for one kiddo in their room and the other is asleep, i either have to tip toe in there quietly to get it or wait for them to wake up

if yours are social, putting them to bed together (at the same time) just won’t work

and you also run the risk of an excited, “morning-person” toddler who just can’t wait to say hello to little sister

 

 

Shared rooms – Pros

they give each other comfort knowing that someone else is there

having them together just makes me feel better, too

it frees up another room in your house

getting both little ones ready for the day and ready for bed is a little easier

less travel time from room to room, child to child

messes are contained to one room instead of two

the amount of sister-ly bonding that goes on in there is absolutely priceless

 

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In the end, you just have to weigh and prioritize what’s most important to you and what your littles (and man) can handle. For us, it’s more important to be able to get a full night’s sleep without being interrupted by a third sleeping partner, Chelsea isn’t really bothered by Alexa’s crying, and the sister-ly bonding is adorable, so it works well to have our girls room together.

 

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What have you noticed works well for your little ones? Have you tried shared rooms? How did it go?

xoxo!

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March 13, 2015

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookie Cup

Have any of you seen this cookie cup of deliciousness? My father-in-law often sends his family e-mails with good recipes, interesting foods, and anything else that he thinks we’ll enjoy. This Chocolate Chip Cookie Cup was one of them!

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Ingredients:

1 c. shortening (or 1/2 c. butter + 1/2 c. shortening)

1/2 c. light brown sugar

1/3 c. sugar

1 egg yoke

2 tsp. vanilla

2 c. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup mini chocolate chips

4 oz. baker’s chocolate (melted)

Aluminum cups, muffin tray, or jumbo muffin tray*

 

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Directions:

In a large bowl, cream the shortening (+ butter), light brown sugar, and regular granulated sugar together with a large spoon until combined.

Add one beaten egg yoke, and vanilla.

In a separate, medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the large bowl and stir to combine. Mixture will be crumbly.

Pour in mini chocolate chips (it’s important that you use mini chocolate chips or the cups won’t hold up right) and use your hands to combine.

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Spray your aluminum cups, muffin tray, or jumbo muffin tray thoroughly with cooking spray then press dough firmly inside, creating a well for the milk. The cookie dough should be pressed VERY firmly against the sides and no more than 1/4” thick, otherwise the cup won’t hold up.

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Refrigerate cups for 30 minutes. Turn oven to 350 degrees, take cookie cups out of fridge and bake for 20 minutes. Once baked, allow to cool for 15-20 minutes, then shimmy the cups out of their containers (I used a knife around the outside of the cookie to help shimmy it out).

Cut your baker’s chocolate into small pieces, put in microwave safe bowl/liquid measuring cup and melt (2 minutes did the trick!) Be careful when pulling out of microwave because it will be HOT!

Pour the melted chocolate inside each cookie cup and fill about halfway. Turn the cookie cup until the entire inside is coated with chocolate and quickly pour the excess out into a new bowl. The chocolate acts as a barrier between the cookie and the milk. You can imagine what would happen if there was no barrier.

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Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Pour in some milk, or scoop in some ice cream and enjoy!

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So yummy! It has this family’s stamp of approval!

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*I found my jumbo muffin tray at Hobby Lobby for $10.00. You can also use small glass jars if you don’t have any of the above mentioned trays/cups.

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March 10, 2015

Chelsea just got 20% cooler

Chelsea is articulate. I love this stage when she can describe how she is feeling and when she uses some of my own phrases against me (most of the time it’s funny). Here are some of the funnier things she said lately.
In the morning: Turn on the light on!

Mom: Do you need to go potty?
Chelsea: No.
Mom: Are you sure?
Chelsea: No <<which actually means yes>>

Mom: Chelsea! Right now!
Chelsea: Okay okay!

When someone is hurt: Ohhhh! I’m sorry about that!

Mom: Ohhhh… I have a cold!
Chelsea: Don’t say “I have a cold.” I don’t want to hear that.

Chelsea to Daddy who was getting ready to go to a soccer game: Don’t go! Your wife is sick!

Chelsea: What is your name?
Mom: Mommy.
Chelsea: No, what is your name?
Mom: Mama.
Chelsea: No! What is your name?
Mom: Mother.
Chelsea: Yes. Your name is Mother, Daddy’s name is Andrew, and my name is Pretty Chelsea.

Everything ends with “huh?” and everything is cool. Chelsea is not cute, she is cool, and that wasn’t silly, it was cool, huh?
So really, this outfit is perfect for her personality (and everything else, for that matter)!
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She LOVES the rainbow pocket on front! Perfect place to store all of her rocks and moneys!
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Now, here’s what I love about it:
Handmade
Quality fabric
Sewn with precision and meticulous accuracy
Attention to detail
The colors are fantastic!
It’s rainbow dash
She loves it
It looks so cute on her
Perfect for pretend play

And Melissa (Little Miss Pinny) has so many other characters to offer, including Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, Apple Jack (she’s my favorite!), Pikachu, Elsa, Batman (also a favorite), Robin, Mario, Luigi, and even Princess Peach. Didn’t see your favorite character in there? No worries! Melissa takes custom orders and is so easy to work with!
Seriously, guys, this pinafore is the best. If you want to get to know its maker a little more, she guest posted for me here, and she also has a blog.

Cool.
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March 8, 2015

Thoughts from the week and my favorite Sunday Outfit

It’s okay if my house isn’t spotless all the time. Toys all over the floor add… personality!
Waking up when Chelsea wants me to isn’t always easy, but the days I decide to get up quickly and happily with her go much better!
Walks with friends in the morning make for a great day, guaranteed!
Chelsea is probably not going to be the pretty princess little girl that I had always kind of imagined having. I got my tomboy first!
My daughters are absolutely beautiful.
This warm weather is making me think of Summer-time, and I can’t wait!
The best part about 1:00 church is that Spring Daylight Saving doesn’t affect you too much.
Don’t over-police your toddler.
Prom dress alteration makes for a great skill to trade for babysitters.
I need to plan out my week better.
I need to get back on the ball with blogging!
The Habit Burger is super good!
I’m not here to be a perfect example. That is what Christ is for.
By the time I leave this earth, I will be an expert at apologizing!
Sometimes I expect too much of myself.
Forgive yourself.
Depression comes from living in the past. Anxiety, the future. But peace comes from living now.
My ward role-model gave me a hug today and made me feel so loved.
Tried a new cookie recipe and, boy, is it yummy!
I am so grateful for my hard-working husband!
This is probably my most favorite Sunday outfit!
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I found this fabric at Hancock before Christmas and knew I had to make something out of it, so a skirt it was! The best thing about it is that it’s made of a denim material so it’s stiff and holds its shape better than most skirts. Definitely a favorite, and NEED to make more! What do you think? Do you like the pleated skirt style?
This is going to be a great week!
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March 5, 2015

Showcasing your Instagrams - my favorite wall hanging

So awhile back I wrote a guest post for Alexa from He and I for some Instagram frames that I have hanging in my house. This is by-far my favorite wall hanging throughout the house and it's just too good not to share on my blog as well as on Alexa's!

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You guys, this is so easy and it probably ended up costing me about $10.00 or less. All you need are some frames, possibly spray paint, string, tape, and your favorite photos.

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The pictures really say it all, but for the detail-oriented in all of us, here are the steps:

Step 1, find a frame or two (or four). You can find plenty of frames at thrift stores! Remove the glass and backing. If it isn’t the color you want, purchase some spray paint and quickly give it a couple of coats. I love the Rustoleum paint and primer brand. It adheres to plastics, wood, and I think metal, too!
Step 2, print off your photos. I went to Walmart and ordered 4x4” squares. You can do it all online and it can be ready within an hour.
Step 3, lay out your photos in the order you want, then flip them over, face-down. Space them out evenly.
Step 4, cut long pieces of string and lay them out on top of the photos. Use strips of tape to secure the photos to the string, or if you have any of those mini clothes pins, I’m sure they would be adorable, too!
Step 5, tie the string at either end to the top of the frame and to the bottom in an attractive little bow.

And that’s it! Even if it weren't one of the only things hanging in my house, it would still be a guest favorite, and my favorite, too.

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See you next time!
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