The Red House

So, a few weeks ago, we bought ourselves a house. Judah calls it “the red house.” It’s a bit of a project, but it’s in a great neighborhood where quite frankly, we couldn’t afford anything but a little project. And, our family is a little quirky, so it suits us well.

After seven moves in five years, a house is oh so welcome. We haven’t gotten everything finished…obviously…but we were able to make a few updates to the house prior to moving in, thanks to a connection to the seller. (You rock, Charles!)

But before we get to the photos, I have some people to thank for our first huge adult purchase. It’s never easy to move, but it’s especially hard when you don’t have family close by to help out. Thank goodness for great friends, right? So, thank you to Kyle’s parents for making it even possible, to the Geer family for never hesitating to watch Judah, help us paint, assist with moving, and clearing out all our boxes, to Alex and Harvey for always letting Judah come over to play while we were taking care of the house, and to Charles for thinking of us for our home and answering all of our questions no matter what day of the week.

Okay, here’s the first set of pictures. And my apologies, you have to deal with really crappy iphone pictures. We still have some work to go, but this is the first room in our house that is almost near completion.

This is our living room/ dining room before:

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Photo Sep 25 copy

It was a hard call, but we decided to purchase the house minus those creepy dolls by the door. I know…I’m already experiencing some buyers remorse about it.

Charming huh? Here’s what we did:

Replaced the carpet with a laminent floor, removed the wood stove, painted the room a light blue/grey.

Here’s the after:

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Sorry, my panorama skills are clearly not up to par.

 

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Still to go in this room are a wall decor like a photo wall (behind the Christmas tree), painted dining room chairs, and curtains. I think it’s a pretty good transformation so far though.

Stay tuned for more renovations to come…although they will be much later…our budget is pretty tapped for the time being, if you know what I mean.

Oh, and we also added this gem. Meet Lucy. She’s a German Shepherd/Lab mix, and Judah is (mostly) over the moon about her. However, she just pooped all over the bathroom floor, so she’s lucky we haven’t renovated that space yet 😉

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Paying It Forward and Christmas Ideas!!

Wow, it has been a bit since I have posted! Sometimes the days just creep away and apparently they have been creeping away from me for the last month.

Before I get into the point of this post, I’d like to say thank you for the many words of encouragement I received after posting my last blog. So many of you have prayed for Kyle and I and we felt each and every one of those prayers. Thank you so much for reading and for being such a blessing. Healing is an amazing thing, and we’re definitely experiencing it and I think a large part of that is due to you.

That being said, I’d like to “pay it forward” a bit with this post. Because of the overwhelming support I felt/feel from my blog readers, I’d like to throw a little support out to some amazing women that I have the privilege of knowing. Plus, with the holiday season just around the corner, who doesn’t want some gift ideas and the chance to support local business?

Just so we’re clear, these ladies did not ask me to write this, in fact, they don’t even know it’s coming. They do not sponsor me or my blog, they’re just pretty inspirational and I think we should show them a little love by checking out what they do.

First up is Aaron. Aaron and I went to college together and were even on the same floor my freshman year. We were just more of acquaintances, but years later, I ran into her at a children’s consignment sale a few towns over from where we live. Turns out, we only live a short distance apart! We have been able to connect a few times via play date and have been able to chat about life as moms while we watch our little guys play. Aaron is one of the most laid back, even keeled people I’ve met. She’s so go with the flow, and from what I’ve seen, I think her calming temperament has really rubbed off on her beautiful son. He is one handsome, carefree, happy, and delightful boy.

Aaron has recently launched her own business, “Hannah’s Prayer Mommy-Baby Boutique.” She is very talented with sewing, something I wish I could do as well. Her Etsy site is in the works, but you can check out some of the products she is capable of making here. Some of my favorites are the carseat blanket (genius!) and the nursing pillow made specifically for rocking chairs. If you’ve ever tried to breastfeed a baby at 4:00 am in a tiny rocker with one of those ginormous boppy’s, these pillows are for you! So, check her out and show this first time mama some love by liking her page!

Next up is Cristi. I know Cristi via her husband who I also attended college with. He is good friends with my husband and through him, I was able to meet his amazing wife. She is a mother of two beautiful and adventurous children (aren’t those the best kind!). Cristi is funny, caring, and one of the most gentle-spirited people I’ve met. Recently, she announced the opening of her Etsy store, GOODWINTERBALMS, where she makes all-natural body butter. When I was pregnant with Judah, Cristi kindly made me some belly butter and I used it faithfully every night and was a bit heartbroken when it ran out. I don’t know if it’s just luck or the Cristi’s concoction (personally I’m going with the belly butter), but I managed to carry Judah for 41 1/2 weeks and come out stretch-mark free. I don’t know about you, but I plan to order a handful of these for the ladies in my life this Christmas! Again, check out Cristi’s business site here.

On to Rachel. Rachel is one of my sister’s closest friends from college. I consider my sister to be my BFF, so anyone that she loves is pretty great in my book. Rachel is hilarious. She is generous. And she’s super hardworking. She also has two beautiful babes, who in my opinion via the Facebook quotes I see, got their mama’s great sense of humor. Rachel is an independent consultant for Jamberry Nails. She has been doing this for a little while now, and I have just been biding my time until I make a purchase…I keep telling myself, “Christmas, just wait until Christmas,” every time Rachel posts a new product or offer. These are chemical free nail wraps and have pretty much the coolest colors and designs ever. They are easy to apply and stay on for weeks! Best part is, if you have a little lady in your life, they come in children’s sizes! Check out Rachel’s Jamberry page here.

Lastly, we have Annie. I have known Annie for a few years and what a fun-loving, creative, and generous soul! Annie also has two beautiful girls who are free-spirited and just delightful. Annie is a very talented photographer, and lucky for our family, she has been able to capture some significant stages of our life. In January, Annie will be retiring her photography business for a some time to focus on family and help out her husband’s merch business. (Click here to check out his sweet site!) But…she has been sneak peaking a new endeavor called “Child In The Wild,” that she will be pursuing soon. Now, I don’t know what it is yet, but trust me, if it’s coming from Annie, it’s going to be awesome. If you have kids in your life, you won’t want to miss it. Check out her sneak peaks on her Facebook page here and like her page so you can keep up to date with her latest announcements.

Thanks for reading the blog today, and I hope you take some time to show some love to these wonderful mamas! Happy weekend!

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Our Top 10

As I stated in this blog post, being a stay at home mom can sometimes be really boring. Well, after having my pity party about it, I decided that some day, when Judah is older and too cool to spend time with his mom, I’ll be wishing we were right back to those days. So, I decided to snap out of it and get my non-crafty butt in gear and utilize good ol’ Pinterest.

love Pinterest. I mean, seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I also love my new job working here, but if I could be a professional “pinner” I’d totally do it. It would be a dream. I definitely have my fantasy boards of a dream house, but most of the time, I try to be intentional about what I pin, especially when it comes to things for Judah, recipes, photography, or clothes. (Yeah, you better believe when we hit it rich I’m going on a major shopping spree and making that Pinterest closet of mine a reality. 😉 )

Anyway, I got on my “Baby Baby” Pinterest board and started to look at what I had and decided to try a few things out. Judah is a very curious baby, so I wanted to keep that in mind when picking out activities for him. Also, I’m not a big fan in buying tons of things that he’s only going to use for a short season. We don’t have the room, and I’m not made of money.

So far, we have done a few that I’ve looked up, and a few that we’ve thought of on our own and I wanted to share some of our favorites with you, because every year there is a winter where we are trapped indoors for far too long, and every summer there are those rainy, yucky days that you’re stuck inside. And when your child is continually going to the door and pointing at his shoes, you know it’s time to distract them or your in for one long, long day.

1. Simple exploration. I used to get super annoyed when Judah became mobile and would get over to our bookshelves and pull all our books down. Then I realized it was basically his favorite activity and he never damaged them, so why not? So, I moved our favorite books that we want to keep semi decent, in case he gets rambunctious, and left the rest for him to pull off the shelves and flip through. photo4 photo7

He also has a bookshelf in his room that he loves to do the same thing with. Can’t complain that he’s already into reading!

2. Finger Paints. I used a basic recipe from my Pinterest board. It was very easy, and it’s 100% edible, which is good because we definitely did this the first time when Judah was a bit too young. It went from lets paint, to lets eat the paint really quickly. There are several different kinds of make your own paints online, and we are definitely planning on doing this again soon!

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3. Sensory Play. Going along with finger paints, sensory play is great for the curious baby, at least my curious baby. I filled a left over turkey dish from Thanksgiving with some cream of wheat, threw in a few measuring cups and a spatula, and there you have it, a homemade indoor sandbox. Judah really enjoys feeling the cream of wheat and dumping it out of the container. Mind you, you will be vacuuming and cleaning up cream of wheat for a while, but it’s totally worth it in my opinion. And, it’s also edible. As you can see in this picture, my son ate this too.

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4. Laundry basket rides. So, one day I really needed to get the laundry done and Judah didn’t understand, “hey, follow me in here,” so I improvised. I put him in the laundry basket and made a game out of pushing him around our apartment while I got all our laundry put away. I don’t know if it’s the ridiculous train/car noises I make when doing this, or what, but the kid loves laundry basket rides now. Just today, I pushed him around for a solid 20 minutes. And bonus, it kind of works out your butt and quads.

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5. Treasure box. I think this one is Judah’s favorite, and I’m so sorry, but I don’t have a picture. Because he is so curious, he loves to pull things out of a box one at a time. The more stuff in the box, the longer it takes, and the more time I have to get something done! But seriously, this has been a great activity for Judah. We keep a treasure box (just a cardboard box) full of random things in a corner by my desk. It has some kitchen utensils, socks, a flashlight, containers, shoes, and some other fabrics. That way, if I need to work for a few minutes, he’s able to exercise his curiosity in a safe and supervised way. We also have a drawer in our bathroom full of other safe household items that he can feel free to explore while I get ready for the day. And, we keep most of his toys on the bottom shelf in our living room in an easily accessible basket for that very same purpose. It’s also a great learning tool because we can tell him the names of what it is he is taking out of the boxes.

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6. The classic big box. Okay, this one is so true, a cardboard box can provide hours upon hours of fun for a small child. Judah really loves going through tunnels. We happened to get a package delivered in a gigantic box, so we set it up like a tunnel for him and he was over the moon about it. He crawled through it so much that we had to get rid of it, so we did cave and bought him a real one for his upcoming birthday. We purchased this one and are really excited about it.

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7. Water games. Summer time is the best time. Thankfully Judah loves going outside and exploring our yard. Unlucky for me, our yard sucks and there are so many things he can get into, but he has not eaten dog poop yet, so there’s that. Also, he crawls like this outside.

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Anyway, besides the kiddie pool and sprinkler, which are always great, there are other ways to play outside with water. Judah loves splashing in the dog bowl (who wouldn’t? :/) so I created another homemade bin- a water table. I used a storage bin that is relatively shallow, put some water in there, threw in my trusty measuring cups and a few bath toys and there we have it, hours of outdoor water fun with things we had lying around the house.

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8. Coloring. Okay, this is pretty basic and everyone knows about it. Kids love to color. It’s pretty awesome and you get great works of art for your house! Plus, there are tons of free printables online.

9. Sorting. Judah is just now getting into this, but loves it. Anything you have that your child won’t swallow is game. Just put a few containers in front of them and there you go! You can play with different textures, shapes, and colors too.

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10. Bath time. Sometimes, you just gotta do it…a couple times a day. We try to mix bath time up a bit by adding bubbles, blowing bubbles, or adding different effects, like bath paints or glow sticks. When all else fails, sometimes time in the tub just does the trick.

This is our list of activities and we hope to continue to add to it as time goes by. I would love to hear about other things you moms out there do with your littles. Post a comment below with any suggestions, and good luck to you all on those rainy or wintery days!

Father’s Day

We had the privilege of having some photos done this weekend by the talented Annie Cline of Furore Photography. This gifted mama gave up the better part of her afternoon and precious time with her daughters and husband to photograph several families and give the profits to Destiny Rescue, a ministry dedicated to fighting sex trafficking. It’s very near and dear to both our hearts, and I’m so happy there are people like Annie to help spread the word and support such a wonderful cause.

I realized that I never wrote a post about Kyle’s first official Father’s Day. I’m sure it doesn’t bother him, but I feel like his day deserves a little recognition on the blog 😉 We didn’t have any big “to do,” just a nice, relaxing Sunday at home. Judah and I made Kyle some breakfast and gave him a photo album full of some great father/son moments. It was a great family day.

This preview that Annie posted from our session just melts me. My husband loves his son in such an amazing way and he deserves to have an outstanding Father’s Day every year. He is patient, kind, loving, playful, and nurturing in all the ways a father should be. The way my husband loves our son is a beautiful thing. Thank you Annie for capturing this moment and for using your talents to further the Kingdom.

Photo taken by Furore Photography

Photo taken by Furore Photography

Kyle is a fantastic father, simply put. It’s such an honor to be able to partner with this great man in raising a family. Judah and I are certainly two lucky people to have snagged this one. We love you to the moon and back.

Judah’s Nursery

A while ago, I wrote a post about my wishes to create the perfect nursery for my baby boy and the disappointment that came with not being able to. Well, he has his nursery now and I thought I would share it with you. I was not able to paint due to renting and certain restrictions that come with it, and it’s not exactly what I had pictured in my head, but he has a space that is all his own, and I am so grateful for it.

He finally has a crib! He’s out of the pack-n-play, thank goodness, and now has plenty of space to stretch out.

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DSC_8418DSC_8419We bought an old repurposed dining room buffet and decided it would be the perfect changing table. And as an added bonus, instead of having a changing table and not knowing what to do with it when we are done having kiddos, we’ll have a useful piece of furniture to display elsewhere in our home.

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The chair in Judah’s room was something I wasn’t sure I wanted to put in. I knew having a rocker of some sort would be beneficial, but I didn’t really want this particular one. However, now that it’s there, I love it. It was mine when I was younger and I spent many days in my room sitting in that chair, reading, writing, just hanging out. It’s nice to have something from my childhood as a part of Judah’s nursery. (excuse all the dog hair….our other baby is shedding profusely at the moment)

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The beginnings of what we hope to be a well loved library 🙂

DSC_8427These are some prints that I received for Christmas for Judah’s nursery. I am on the hunt for frames to repurpose before hanging them, but I cannot wait to get them on the wall, I love them!

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DSC_8433So there you have it, Judah’s own nursery!

(You can find the products Judah has along with other great purchases by clicking on these links: changing table, mobile, prints, bedding)

Embracing Reality

When Kyle and I decided that we were ready to try for a baby, I immediately began imagining what our little Alcock would be like. Would we have a boy or girl? What would we be like as parents? I fantasized about buying cute little baby clothes, setting up a beautiful and perfect nursery, staying at home and playing with my cheerful little bundle of joy. Life would be amazing and we would ride out the sleepless nights on the blissful happiness of having our new baby.

Some parts of this fantasy of mine did come true. Despite Judah’s rough couple months, we get through it with some sort of bliss, whether it be caffeine induced, slight insanity, or the possibility of a 10 minute cat nap. We are definitely love drunk on this little boy and so happy to have him in our lives. We did buy him plenty of cute little baby boy clothes, and I am fortunate enough to be able to stay home with my precious babe each day; although, as stated in my previous post, this is not as glamorous as I had envisioned, however, it is far more rewarding. I was not, however, able to set up Judah’s nursery and this is something that I grieve each day.

Things are not always as you expect them to be. When Kyle and I were ready to start our family, we had the prospect of a steady future. Kyle was in his final year of graduate school and with this degree and some pretty great references in the college world, we thought for sure he would be a shoe-in somewhere for the job he has always wanted, a Resident Director at a college. As my pregnancy progressed, Kyle had more and more promising interviews, but all to no avail. Job or no job, Judah was coming. Because of this, Kyle and I had to make one of the most difficult decisions we’ve had to in our married life- we decided to move back in with Kyle’s parents while figuring out the next step for our family.  Because of this, Judah has yet to be given a nursery.

Once we found out that we were having a boy, it was decided that his nursery would be full of sailboats, anchors, and whales. I carefully researched crib bedding and color pallets on Pinterest and Etsy.  We found a unique changing table at our favorite little store in Warsaw (find them on Facebook here). I even had an old high school friend specially make him a mobile. Go here to see her other wonderful creations. I had the crib, the bedding, the decorations, even the paint color picked. I envisioned where everything was going to be placed in our house and was so excited to put it all together. But, the reality set in that this would be put on hold and currently, everything is boxed and stored, waiting to be set up someday.

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So many of my friends and family had babies during the past summer months. It was such a fun time to watch all these new families being formed and added to. I loved seeing so many photos of the preparations unfolding as eager parents awaited there little ones. I loved seeing every photo except for the pictures of their nurseries. It brings tears to my eyes to this day, knowing my little boy is almost 4 months old and is still sleeping in our room in a pack-n-play, his beautiful nautical decorations stored and stuffed away in boxes in a cold dark storage unit.

Things rarely turn out as we expect them to. I will be forever grateful to the generosity of my mother and father-in-law for opening their home to us. It’s been a very humbling experience for my husband and I to give up our independence, grieve the loss of what we thought was our sure future, and await whatever it is that God has planned for us next.

Throughout this season of life, I have come to learn that grieving is important. It was important for me to grieve that fantasy of the perfect baby that I had imagined and to embrace this beautiful baby boy that is my reality. Sure, he screams some days for hours on end, but I can no longer possibly imagine any other little baby boy stealing my heart as much as he does.  It has also been extremely healing and strengthening to my husband and I to work through the grieving process of where we thought we would be compared to where we are now. No, it’s not where we wanted to be, and yes, it’s hard. But we have grown in our marriage, know now, more than ever how we want our family to look and how we want to raise our little Judah, and what things are important to our happiness.

No, Judah doesn’t have a nursery right now but someday soon, he will, and it will be even better than what I imagined.