Monday, August 14, 2017

A 5-Date 5-Year Anniversary Celebration

July 14th was our 5th anniversary. The first milestone one. With a 9 month old baby we weren't able to get away and celebrate big. But that's A-OK because we came up with a plan that was just as special as any weekend trip.

Our shirts are from Emerson Grace Boutique! #momlife #dadlife

We started in late June by discussing things that define marriage to us. We individually came up with words that finished the statement "Marriage is..."

Some of our answers were: teamwork, romantic, fun, adventure, family, growth, humor, and love.

We then got creative and thought of dates that could embody each of these words. Finally, we narrowed it down to 5 and scheduled them throughout the month for a fun and festive 5-year anniversary.

Date #1 -- Marriage is Adventure
For this date, we chose to take a drive around the lake near where we live in our '72 Chevy Blazer.

It was a beautiful day but also hot. Thankfully we have automatic AC with our convertible rig.
Such beautiful scenery all around the lake.

This date only cost us the gas to drive for a couple hours.
Date #2 -- Marriage is Romantic

On our actual anniversary, we went out to dinner. We both love sushi and the first time I ever had it was on our honeymoon in Cabo. Nate read reviews and found a great place in a nearby city. We ordered 5 different rolls and it was AH-Mazing! was the most beautiful sushi I've ever had and oh man it was just so good. We would try one roll and go "oh this is our favorite." Then try another and say "mmm, no this one is!" 
Definitely a fun experience and romantic dinner out since it's not something we eat often. What's more romantic than raw seafood!?
Our most expensive of the 5 dates, but hey, it's a our 5 year anniversary so we get to splurge a little!
 He likes my hair straight and I like him clean-shaven so tonight was a win-win for us both! 
Date #3 -- Marriage is Humor

On the same night, we went to an improve comedy show after dinner. We have gone to The Blue Door several times over the past 5 years. It's an inexpensive ($7/ticket) entertaining date night that we enjoy a lot. Tonight was no exception and we also laugh so much.
Date #4 -- Marriage is Fun
 Just north of where we live is the largest theme park in the Pacific Northwest. I used to go here many times during the summers growing up and Nate had been several times in the past as well. Neither of us had been in probably 10 years though so there were several new rides to try out. We realized after ride number one that we are both a lot more sensitive to motion sickness than we used to be! We didn't get sick, just queasy enough to cross a few things off our list without even going on them. Our favorites were the 2 newer waterslides that are for 4-person rafts.

This date was free thanks to a friend who works there. He gets several day tickets each summer and never uses them all so offered a couple to us.
Date #5 -- Marriage is Family
Our final date included our son. We had professional family pictures taken for the first time. We haven't gotten them back yet so this is all I could post for a arranging several different outfit combos to decide which looked best. This is the one I went with by the way.

It was a lot of fun but I'm not very confident that we will get several frame-worthy pictures. For no fault of the photographer...she was awesome! our kid. He is Mr. Serious around new people. He wasn't grouchy or whiny or shy. He just was stone faced and refused to smile in the slightest. So you have him on the one extreme and then Nate and I were over-smiling to try and get him to smile! So I'm sure the dichotomy is hilarious. But that's okay because that's what real life is like right now and we captured it and will love looking back someday saying, "Oh Easton you used to be so stoic in a new situation and dad and I were big goofballs trying to crack you." And yes, I will still pick one to frame and put somewhere in our house. It just may not be a 20x30 canvas on the mantle! haha
This date was also free. The photographer is the mom of one of Nate's former basketball players from the last 7 years. She offered to take family pictures for us once Easton came along and insisted that our money was no good with her because of all that Nate had done for her son. So sweet of her and I cannot wait to see them!
So that's a wrap on our 5-year anniversary celebration. I had a lot of fun with the plan we came up with and think it was a great way to enjoy multiple things that encompass our relationship. Here's to the next 5!!!
What fun anniversary dates have you had? What has been the most memorable? Any great recommendations of cheap or free dates?

Friday, July 14, 2017

An Anniversary and Five Favorites

Today is my 5 year wedding anniversary! Each year goes faster but it also seems more full and even better than the year before. A lot has happened in five years - international trips, buying a house, job changes, state championships, new car, a baby and of course a million ordinary but wonderful things.


As I write this, I'm sitting in my new bedroom chair which is opposite the gallery wall in our bedroom. I see 10 pictures from our wedding day and it brings back so many memories. We were chatting this morning about a few funny and random things from that day such as these five:
~how it was raining when we woke up in the morning but it didn't rain a drop and was HOT all day!
~the guys having to go buy socks because we had totally forgotten about socks!
~the groomsmen and bridesmaids swirling the water in the centerpiece jars to aerate the water so the goldfish wouldn't die.
~the "10" scorecards that the wedding party held up during "you may kiss the bride" and I didn't know about it until we got our wedding pictures back!
~how delicious our white chocolate berry cake was.

We're going to go out and celebrate later tonight with dinner and one of our favorite date nights: comedy improv at the Blue Door. I've been thinking of a "favorites" post a lot lately and had some free time today so it just felt right to share 5 of my current favorite things on a day I'm already celebrating the number 5. So here you go.

Number 1:
Our latest finished house project - our pipe bookshelves.
They took a lot of planning and work but we are so happy with the result and it's a great addition to our loft room. I love books and have waited a while to be able to display them in a beautiful and usable way. I hope to share some tips and tricks on how we built it later on.

Number 2:
The Ombré Pink Drink from Starbucks! It's just so refreshing and ahhhh. I have convinced three people they need to try it and they have all fallen in love. They've texted me a few days later saying they were hooked and had got it again a few times. See...I won't steer you wrong! Note: I customize my order by doubling the lime slices and light ice, it's still cold enough and more lime is always a good thing.

Number 3:
Boom Chicka Pop kettle corn! I grabbed this (and another bag) during a BOGO Free sale at Costco. It's my new go-to snack. Got just the perfect hint of salty and sweet to satisfy both cravings. Easton loves it too...smashing and hearing the crinkly sound of the bag when he explores the pantry that is. 

Number 4:
"Merci" fine fragrance mist from Bath & Body Works. The scent is rosé champagne. It smells just so perfect. I smelled it when they were previewing before it came out and I knew immediately I was going back to buy it. I won't mention that when I went in to buy THAT and THAT ALONE, I added like 5 other things to my bag. Oh that store is my weakness. If you are wanting a fun summery scent, I highly recommend checking this out.

Number 5:
The song, "God, Your Mama And Me" by Florida Georgia Line and the Backstreet Boys. Every time it comes on the radio I have to turn it up and jam along. I finally bought it on iTunes today and it's been on repeat while I sit here and write. SO good. If you haven't heard it (or even if you have) go take a listen right now.

Are any of these a favorite of yours too? What are some of your current faves that I should know about?
Happy weekend!!!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

My (Reality) Dream Living Room

I don't know about you...but I LOVE the show Fixer Upper. It makes me laugh, it makes me smile, it inspires me, and is the perfect me-time TV show to snuggle up on my couch, eat ice cream, and enjoy some peaceful relaxation in my seasonally-decorated living room. 

After reading "The Magnolia Story", I love the show even more. It was so great to learn their story and how they've gotten to where they are now with the successful business and TV show. I feel like I know them and if I saw them walking down the street we could chat for the first time ever but feel like old friends. They are just so endearing to me and I love what they do and how they live. I everyone else who watches the so in love with the homes and designs they create. Talk about dream homes and dream rooms! I told my mom recently that the next time I move its going to be to Waco so I can get a Fixer Upper home.
All decorated for spring on my piano "mantel". I love my new felt ball garland. It makes me so happy to sit on my couch and see this happy and colorful little space.

But that's truly just a dream, that's not reality. I won't be moving to Texas and I won't be getting a Chip and Joanna Gaines home. So for me, to "dream" about a house - or even just a room - like that will only cause me to feel envious, mopey, and discontent with the home and rooms I am blessed to have. From what I've read and seen, I know Joanna would agree and not want me to live that way. She would say I need to find the charm and character in what I already have and then use some creativity, resourcefulness, and effort to enhance it even more.
Always fun to fill each nook with a cute little something. Shelf from Target

And so, while I could easily make a blog post about my DREAM living room that I will never have, I'm instead choosing to enjoy what I love about my living room the way it currently is, and find a few ways that I can realistically make it the best room it can truly be.

I used Olioboard to create my first room style board. It was a lot of fun and will be useful to show my husband my overall vision for the room so he can help me make it happen. Some items were in the Olioboard library already, some are from Amazon, and the clock and built-ins are from Pinterest but I could not find a source.
Sources: Benjamin Moore Paint Color / Ladder / Striped Throw / Window Mirror / Plant / Candle / Coffee Table / Sofa / Striped Rug / Compass Pillow / Home Sweet Home Pillow / Globe / Wire Basket / Rifle Paper Co. Books / Lamp

If my living room were a bit bigger, I would love to include a cozy armchair like this one from Arhaus. It looks so comfy and inviting. They have a great selection of chair and sectionals including this option which is very similar to the one shown above.

I already own a very similar couch, a globe, and the Rifle Paper Co. books. I plan to make a blanket ladder as well as a similar rustic coffee table.This year, we are planning to make "built-in" shelves just like the ones in my mood board. Cupboards below to hide toys, movies, games, etc. and then open shelves on the sides and above the TV for pretty decor, books, and pictures. I would love to use that paint color on one of the walls adjacent to where the shelves will be to help break up all of the "white". I have aspirations to use that same paint color in two other places in our home as well.

I love farmhouse, rustic style but can't accept only neutral colors. I need pops of color to brighten and liven things up. All shades of aqua-y blue-greens (from teal to mint) and coral are my current favorites!

My original inspiration to make the built-in shelving unit was from a crafter I follow on Instagram - Katie @justaddsunshineinc. She is a huge lover of color and her feed is so bright and cheerful! She redecorates the little shelves and posts about them regularly. I'm a big fan of all her globes, mason jars, and colorful books!

Another Instagram account that I follow is Kara @kailochic. She also has a great built-in with lots of cute decor and happy colors. For our family, we will need to build something more like this one with the TV spot and cupboards below. I love the different sizes of her shelves but not sure that I can convince my husband to do this as he is already apprehensive about such a big project. 

Another super fun option for "built-in" shelves is this beautiful, rustic, barn-door style unit from Arhaus. I love that you can hide the TV when not in use. Although I don't think I could bring myself to hide all my pretty decor while watching TV so I think I'll save the barn door concept for somewhere else in my home. But I've never seen this before in all my built-in shelving searching so definitely a unique and fun idea.

I am looking forward to taking on this big DIY project with my husband this year to turn my living room into a space I love even more. Adding some sweat-equity to the great inspiration we already have is sure to create a very happy view for me when I relax to watch future seasons of Fixer Upper and smile as other people receive their dream living rooms too.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

2017 Goals

Hello again! After a couple years where blogging took a backseat, I'm finally back! I am now a stay-at-home mom with a three and half month old baby boy. Life is so different than when I last posted, but it is wonderful.

We are just a couple hours away from being done with the first month of 2017 already! How does time do that? That time-flying-by thing seems to have sped up ever since I've become a mom, which everyone warns it will. He's growing and changing so fast and I'm taking dozens of pictures and videos and writing down moments and memories as quick as I can.

I'm so excited for the next 11 months of 2017. I'm excited for all the development my little man will go through and all the fun family memories we will create. I always feel like a new year is a blank slate, with so much potential for creativity, serving, relationships, growth, and experiences. During the last couple days of December, I sat down to really think about how I wanted to spend my time this year, what I wanted to work on, to strive for. Here are the goals I came up with for 2017.

Monthly Goals: Here are the things I hope to accomplish each month:
  • memorize a verse/small passage of Scripture
  • read a book
  • go on a baby-free date with my husband
  • visit Easton's great-aunt and/or great-grandma
  • call 2 different friends
  • invite another couple/family over to our home
  • write at least one blog post
  • do one craft project
  • deep clean one part of my house
  • re-organize one part of my house
  • make a new dinner recipe
  • make a new dessert recipe
  • take Easton's monthly milestone pictures
  • weigh and measure Easton
  • send an email to Easton for the future 
This month, I accomplished all of those goals! This blog post is just barely making it into January and was the final thing to check off. I'll write another post next week sharing what I did for some of those and what my plans are for them in February.

Weekly Goals:
  • email with pictures to Easton's grandparents
  • phone call to my brother
  • me-time
  • take Easton's weekly milestone picture
  • exercise 3 times (yaaa....that hasn't been happening yet this year)
Then I also have tried to designate each day of the week with a different focus. I've tried cleaning schedules where you do one task each day, but that just doesn't work for me. I'm either in full-on cleaning mode or I'm not. So this new approach helps me to have one main focus for the day and know that if other things get accomplished too that's great, and if they don't it's okay too.

Mondays - Errand Day (grocery shopping, library, post office, etc. I try to save up errands for this day so I don't waste lots of time throughout the week going out to multiple stores)

Tuesdays - Sewing Day (go to my mom's house and sew for at least 2 hours--working on a quilt right now!)

Wednesdays - Cleaning Day (I alternate every other week with what I clean and add in portions of my deep cleaning and organizing projects for the month)

Thursdays - Project Life Day (devote at least 2 hours to working on my scrapbook albums. Unfortunately, I was only able to do this 2 of the 4 weeks this month)

Fridays - Creative Day (this was meant to be more open-ended to work on whatever I felt like whether it was my monthly craft, or more Project Life, planning, cooking, baking, etc. So far, this day has been filled with my part-time job and basketball. Hoping to be able to re-focus this day for more of a relaxed day)

Saturdays - Monthly Day (work on those monthly goals)

Sundays - Family Day (church, watching football, spending time chilling together, going out to dinner with my parents, getting ready for the next week by meal planning and figuring out our schedules.)

Daily Tasks
Each day I strive to:
  • do my Bible reading and a devotion
  • take a picture of something from my day
  • take a picture of Easton
  • take my vitamins
  • read for 20 minutes
  • drink 8 cups of water
  • do my Bing rewards (if you're curious, ask me! It takes me 5 minutes each day to earn points and I can redeem $10 in Amazon gift cards in one month).

To keep organized with all this as well as meal plans, meetings, appointments, to-do lists, reminders, basketball, etc. I use an Erin Condren Life Planner.
This is my second year owning and using one and IT IS MY FAVORITE! No this, is not a sponsored post, but I love this planner a lot. So if you are searching for a great do-it-all planner, check this one out! I will do another post with more details about my planner and how I use it. Everyone has different styles of how they like to plan and it took me a couple months last year to figure out my system. But it helps me stay so organized, plus its super pretty and fun with all the stickers! Oh, and yes even therapeutic, but that may just be me. 😃

You may think that seems like a lot! Too much to try to accomplish for a new mom. And to be honest, some days it is. Some days, I get us fed and dressed and that's about it. And I'm learning to be OK with that. After this first month, I did pretty well on accomplishing it all. I wasn't able to get to Project Life a couple weeks and totally didn't read at all one week, but other than that I was able to catch up on things here and there. All the snuggles, books read, and play time that happened in place of it was so wonderful. Each day, week, and month will be different as he grows and his needs change. His nap times will fluctuate and his independence will progress. But I'm the kind of person who needs goals in place so that when I do have those free moments I know exactly what I want to do. If I didn't write all those things out in my planner each week, I would waste a lot more time watching TV or browsing social media.

So yes, maybe its' too much sometimes, and maybe it's a bit backwards to plan for all these things I may never realistically have time for, but it works for me and it helps me to stay creative. (And to my brother, if there's any chance in a blue moon that you are even reading this, yes I know you are rolling your eyes and laughing at my OCDness with being organized and goal-oriented.) But to anyone else who chose to stay with me for this long post about my desired plans for this year, I hope that maybe some of my goals sparked some ideas and inspired you to try and work towards something new. My method may not work for you, that's okay. Find what works for you and find ways to enjoy the little and big moments of 2017!

Whew, and now I'm off to bed. So goodnight to January and hello February!