Sunday, August 14, 2016

Creating some Curb Appeal!

The front of this house has been driving me crazy since Day 1 but we are slowly tackling that and crossing things off the list, which is super satisfying! This month the project was landscaping and a few things to add some curb appeal. 
I still have plans to paint before the end of the year but working with a designer to get just the right colors picked out. Since that is such a huge change I want to make sure we get it right! 
Below is my inspiration pic:

Now for some before and after yard pics. A local nursery marked all of their shrubs and trees 1/2 off so we took advantage of that and got to work. All the previous landscaping was outdated and had not been maintained so there was not much we could do to bring it back to life. Most of it had to be cut down and pulled out. Bubs spend an entire day clearing the Canvas! 

Pics from when we bought it :

Before Pic ( remember we cut down the trees in front yard in march)

Front Porch Before:
Front Porch After:

Front Right BEFORE pic:

And After :



And then we also copied a tutorial from Pinterest where we used Gel Stain to update the finish on our  faded garage doors. Those garage doors will soon be gone ( in a few months) so I didn't think it would be to risky to try this out. Overall it worked well and I like it better, however it has a slight sheen that I don't love. I wish it were a flatter finish. Thank goodness BeBe was here to help us knock that out! :) Erik likes to point out that I am more of a foreman than a helper these days on our projects :) HA

And one last detail... drainage. Y'all !!!
 I am shocked how much this comes up on home inspections when I am at work. It is recommended that you keep all gutters clean of debris/properly draining, AND to extend the downspout  at least 5' from your house with these plastic pipe extenders you can buy at home depot. Super easy thing to do and trust me, what might seem like a maintenance pain or unimportant is actually VERY important and could save you thousands of dollars down the road. In the pic below we buried the pipes in the flower bed so that they don't look ugly. (If you look real hard you can see the end coming out at the end of the flower bed.)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Fenn's 6th Birthday

I think this is the part where the years really start flying by!:(

 Once he hit 5 he became so easy to take care of do stuff with that everything goes by much faster now I think! It is really hard to believe we are celebrating 6, and starting 1st grade!

Time Hope is killing me lately!! Look at this little HUNK!
 Birthday's all through the years!

We celebrate at home on the actual day with a Breakfast family party.  We also celebrated this year with family in Alabama with an awesome fishing cake! 

Since he and bubs almost have the same birthday,  they spent the whole day together all over town. This was at Cummings falls where they did some hiking and swimming.

The " Puff-Puff" Golf over by Opry Mills. Fenn got a hole in one! 

Then a Sounds Baseball game! 

While they were out I picked up the special birthday cake Fenn designed himself. He told me he wanted  " 3 levels, chocolate with chocolate icing with white writing that says " Happy Birthday Fenn" and will have 3 candles then a #6 candle , then 3 more candles on top " HA Unfortunately , Diabetic Ralph tackled this cake while I was giving sister a bath. Obvi that was pretty infuriating.

Snocones and Ice-cream after golf!

And per his instructions a Pokemon Party at Chuck E Cheese.  He LOOOOOVES Chucky Cheese and had a wonderful time. He got 2,071 tickets HA 

Sister was pretty sure that was her party too. She loved it and ate at least 2 cupcakes.

Our boy is an excellent 6 year old. Smart as a whip and sweet and determined. He loves fishing, basketball,dancing, pokemon, the pool, playing with friends, catching bugs, fudgecicles, and any kind of science experiment or project. He likes to stay busy like his momma. He is also a very sweet big brother and enjoys his sister so much. ( not to say he doesn't give her bops on  the head, but for the most part, he is kind to her).

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Sister's 3rd Birthday

I was in such denial of my girls 3rd birthday that the first invitations i ordered said “2nd Birthday” and only when I emailed them to  Erik and he said “ those are great but she is 3 not 2” did it really sink in . HA 

My wild and opinionated little Diva is a lot of fun these days. and a lot of WORK.   She gets into more messes and trouble than you can imagine. All she needs is a good 10 seconds to get started. She adores her big brother and tries her best to be just like him!

Some Stats:
Weight 38lbs
Clothes Size 3T or 4T depending on brand and I think she is moving to a sz. 9 shoe.

What she is into right now:

  • Peppa Pig. Peppa anything. We loooooovvvvee PEPPA. That was what kind of party she had. (She still likes Curious George, Blues Clues and Teletubbies to watch on TV but for toys she loves Peppa. )
  • Dancing and singing. This girl has loved to dance from the beginning. She especially loves “ Florida - My House” and The Weeknd.  She loves nursery rhymes too like “ Daddy Finger, Thumpkin, Wheels on the Bus, ABCs and Twinkle Twinkle. She sings all the time ( kind like her daddy) and in general makes a good amount of noise. 
  • She loves to pretend play a lot. Stinky Bunny ( her lovey )is always part of her cast. She will also make regular objects  like a spoon, talk and act out things.  
  • She LOVES any kind of water play on the patio and we usually spend at least 1 hour a day out there for that. 
  • When I asked her daddy what he thinks her fav things are he said “ she likes to move furniture so she can get into stuff, she likes to spill drinks, she likes to play with the water hose, she likes to make lots of noise without words, she likes to jump when we dance and go to the pool, and play zombies and hide and seek.” lolz
  • She does love to run through the house playing chase, and hide and seek and ANYTHING her brother does. she copies him move for move.
  • She probably still loves art stuff but I have had to restrict that a ton because she refuses to follow the rules.

Favorite Foods: She is more adventurous with food than her brother and boy are we thankful for that. She won’t just eat anything but she has a nice rotation of normal kid foods and what not. Her favorite thing in the world is ICE CREAM. she looses he rmind over ice cream and follows me around the house with a gallon of bluebell hollering at me to give her some.
I still give her a daily probiotic and feel like she has some sort of food allergy that we have not yet figured out. 

Accomplishments & Milestones

This is a hard one to quantify with her still not being 100% talker. She has improved her talking ALOT lately but still does so much non-sense talking. Her receptive language I would say is now 100%, so she KNOWS what we say, and acts accordingly, but she can not express her own feelings properly and that leads to lots of hissy fits.  If I ask her questions, “ Which one of these is pink” she answers all of that stuff correctly, by pointing, but it is hard to see if she really knows her ABC’s or how far she can count without speaking. I try to remind myself to always talk to her as if she understands everything and to expect of her to use some words instead of catering to her because when you have a  non verbal child it is easy to sort of treat them more like a baby than a 3 year old, that is my natural  reaction to it and I am always practicing to break myself of that. 
Her frequent words that she says (without prompting or repeating after us) are : Momma, Daddy, Bubba, Ralphie, Flossie, More, Juice, Awe Mannnnnn, No, Where are you, hello, there you go, Thank you, sit, there it is, bubbles, peppa, Okay!, Yes, stinky, bye bye, see you later, poo poo, TT, and she sings, a few songs but doesn’t know all the words so sings the words she knows. 
We are so blessed to be going to a pre-school in the fall that will provide her therapies there so she can continue working on catching up and I won’t have to drive her all over the world 5 -8 times a week. She will actually be riding a school bus that has 5 pt harnesses. That thought scared me at first, but I know how much she will LOVE riding a bus bc. she sees her brother get on one each morning. School will be 4 mornings a week which will be a nice consistent schedule for her. 

Transition to Big Girl Bed : went really well! My family was in town for her birthday and Aunt CC worked her magic on turning sister’s room into a big girl room. The first night or 2 we had no barrier for the door and that girl got up 1000 times ! Finally Erik reversed her door knob and hung the video camera so we could keep an eye on her and once she realized she coldly escape she stopped getting out of the bed.  She will still ask to nap in her old baby bed, (which is now set up for baby Rad) and sometimes I let her b.c I am too pregnant to argue with her HA 
She sleeps from 7:30 PM - 6 AM. Naps from 1PM-2 or 3PM depending on the day she has had. She is a girl who really needs her sleep and sleeps well thankfully.  We pushed her nap back over the summer  ( used to be 12) b.c I knew her new school would get out around lunch and I didn’t want her taking her nap on the bus 😃

Potty Training - I tried to start that around June 1 since she was turning 3 on the 20th and she was somewhat agreeable, but didn’t ever initiate it at all, and one day we went to walmart and she peed her pants and didn’t even mention it which I thought was a bad sign. So I pumped the brakes a bit. Then one day, about a week after her birthday, she was with me in someone else’s house and she just ever so casually went in their bathroom, and peed in the potty, all by herself from pulling her pants down to getting on the potty. I was flabbergasted! So that moment is when I decided we were gonna go back to potty training and she has done marvelously. Right now we are in about 1.5 weeks and she is averaging about 1 accident a day, and I have begun to remind her less and take her less often as I can tell she is getting the hang of it. I saw her take herself to potty twice in one day and realized she was ready to sort of take over.  Using pull ups at bedtime only ( or at the pool) for now but hoping she will do like her brother did and just one day tell me no more diapers and that can be that. We are taking a road trip this week and that should be an interesting test!  I have been using this app called “ Perfect Potty” for recoding her progress and I love it.

She has had a fun 3rd year with Mothers Day out at Harpeth Hills, Disney World Trip, Beach Trip, Murfreesboro Science Museum, Birmingham Adventure Science Museum, the Zoo, The Pool, Trips visiting various friends and relatives, some quality time with all my family. I can’t really remember where all we have been ha 

Sister has no idea that she is about to be a BIG sister. Not sure how that is gonna go for my girl.... or me HA I imagine it will be complete chaos. 

At the moment my biggest worry is being able to keep a sharp eye on sassy sister while caring for the baby ( nursing etc).. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer Sensory Activities and Shopping Lists (printable plan)

I have had lots of questions from my various instagram post about all the fun sensory activities we are doing this summer. For those that don't know sister is on a " Sensory Diet" and these activities are good for her development ( google it). Fenn also struggled with SPD as a toddler so he still loves all these activities and ideas, plus... it's just something different. They know that generally during the week days we will try one new " activity" or " experiment" and they really look forward to it. The surprise of what it will be is probably half of the fun. 
Don't go getting any wild ideas about how its just super fun and awesome over here though because some days might be fun and interesting and other days I might work 16 hours and they spend too much time on TV and iPads.. Just a reminder to keep it all in perspective when it comes to social media. That is a mere GLIMPSE not a whole picture... 

Because it took me hours and weeks to get a good plan together I wrote it all up in Evernote so that anyone else who wants to try it could just print and go. :) 

First off is this amazing little DIY table some mom put on pinterest. ( she has full instructions and materials list on her blog) . Bubs whipped this out for us and I spray painted it gold because, well everything looks better gold, and I had some left over gold spray paint on hand. 
These plastic bins are really helpful for keeping sensory messy projects contained. I also use an old vintage sheet ala Goodwill underneath the table to make mess less stressful. Sister can NOT stay inside the box to save her life.

Currently Sister is into Peppa Pig and Fenn is into Pokemon and Shopkins so I use small plastic figures for those for several of these little activities.

And also.. both of my kids LOVE watching you tube channels where they play with and review toys. If you have not reached this stage of parenting yet, you will. Most kids I know are really into this. Fenn asked me if he could make a video like that so I have been filming him talking about his toys and not only is it hilarious, but it is good for him to pretend and play and I like that he was inspired and wanted to do it himself. You can "Subscrive" as he says it to his you tube channel HERE. The actual videos are pretty loooonngg and boring but the last few seconds are hilarious. 

Next up: The Plan.....

Puzzles & Beans ( Mix puzzle pieces in the bean box and let kids search for them. 
1 Wooden Puzzle ( preferably with many pieces like ABC’s) , Several bags of dried kidney beans, Plastic box with Lid.  
Pouring Station
1 Long shallow Plastic box, multiple cups, measuring cups, funnel, dropper , food coloring or bath tabs. 
Orbeez & Toys
Bag of Orbeez, Plastic box with lid, spoons and scoops, small plastic toys of some sort. 
Frozen Block of Toys
Plastic Container or bowl, small plastic toys, salt, small blunt hammer
Salt Painting
paper, elmers glue, salt, paintbrushes, colored water
Ice Box
Ice Cubs, big plastic shallow Box, helping hands tools, colored water
Baking Soda Fizz
Pyrex or Plastic shallow dish, baking soda ( 2 boxes) Vinegar, food coloring , droppers
DIY Moon Sand
Flour, Baby Oil
Ivory Soap Clouds
Bar of Ivory soap, Food Coloring, Dropper
Sock Bubbles
water Bottle, food coloring, dish soap, sock, duct tape or rubber band 
Chains and Cups
Lengths of chain ( from hardware store), cups
Play Dough and cookie cutters/Tools
Sandbox and tools
Car Wash
Bucket, sponge, water hose, Scrubber, soap and riding toys
Box Playhouse
Big Cardboard box from appliance or furniture, markers/paint ,Scissors or exact knife.
Bake a Cake
Cake Mix, Pan, Icing, 
Paper Mache Head
Balloons, Newspaper, paint, glue, water, (decorations for face/hair optional)
Rainbow Spaghetti 
Spaghetti ( 5 boxes) , Gel Food Coloring, Big plastic box
Balloon Tennis
Balloons, Fly Swatters, 
Make a Water Blob
Painters Plastic, Iron, Duct Tape, Parchment Paper
Play Silks 
Play Silks, Empty Wipe Box
Make a Bird Feeder
Empty Tissue Roll, Peanut Butter , Bird Seed, String

Supplies List Via Amazon

Clear Boxes with Lids:

Bath Tabs ( I like these b.c they don’t stain and last about a year):

Helping Hands Sensory Tools:

Big Shallow Plastic Box:

Twisty Droppers:

Painter’s Plastic

Play Silks

Links to Explain Activities:

Ice Box Activity
Salt Painting
Baking Soda Fiz
Ice Block
Moon Sand Recipe
Soap Clouds
Sock Bubbles
Rainbow spaghetti
Balloon Tennis
Water Blob
Toddler Car Wash
Puzzles & Bean Box
DIY Bird Feeder
Foam Sand

Sunday, June 12, 2016

25 Weeks with Baby #3

I think I have ZERO posts about this pregnancy :( which is so sad but I have been too busy with the other 2 who are outside the womb! 
 I am almost 26 weeks and almost to the 3rd trimester PTL!  It was going by really fast till I hit about 22 weeks and started getting bigger and more uncomfortable. and I am gaining weight like WOAH!  up 6 lbs in the last 2 weeks. 
I cut out lots of my usual beauty products on this pregnancy(due to the chemical content ) after reading some studies of the chemicals found in those and how they effect fertility and pregnancy. 

Other Notable Pregnancy Symptoms:

  • Pregnancy Cold ( swollen sinuses etc)
  • MAJOR Braxton hicks contractions that feel like mu stomach filling up with concrete.Lots of heavy pressure.
  • I can't keep my iron up. I have been taking supplements but am still anemic on last blood draw
  • Baby is up to 2 lbs now and measuring big which is no surprise. I predict him to be as big as Fenn with a gigantic head and some hair like sister :)
  • Pretty tired and pretty irritable 24-7 ( yikes) 
  • Eating ice cream daily which is weird for me because it normally makes me sick and I never buy it. I hope it ( craving) goes away once i have this baby !

I don't think I have mentioned on here but we are having a BOY and we were all very excited about that!  Fenn especially wanted a brother. Due date is Sept. 23rd. 

Still have not settled on a name yet but right now we are leaning toward 
Radnor Michael Graham (and calling him "Baby Rad") . 

 He has no nursery as of yet and not even an idea of what that will look like yet ( yikes!)

I think my favorite thing about this pregnancy has been the fact that Fenn is old enough to understand and talk about it all. He has been so excited and so cute about it all. He wants to kiss my belly all the time. He fills my prenatal vitamin box every Sunday and each night will bring my pills to me with water to take. He also told me this week several times " Momma anything you want me to do , I will do it because you are Preg-a-NANT" ( **melt**) 
I just love hearing him talk about it all and am glad that I am getting to experience what it is like for a sibling to understand the whole birth process. This morning on the way to church he told me " When we move to our 4th house, we can have our 4th kid" HA and I reminded him how long it takes to get a kid here and that maybe 3 was enough for our family. Not sure he absorbed it HA

Monday, May 23, 2016

Gold Hardware in the Kitchen!

One of my current clients has the coolest gold hardware in her kitchen and it really inspired me to try it in my own kitchen. I have a billion pulls and knobs so I really wanted to avoid buying all new hardware, which lead me to a little trial DIY  run. 

I read THIS post and THIS post about spray painting gold hardware and got inspired. 

I bought this spray paint from Home Depot for $5.97

Painting it was super easy and the finish and color turned out great! 

However, even about 2 months later it still looks exactly like this because I can't make up my mind which one looks best. :)

I did a poll on instagram and Facebook and got some excellent feedback! However I am pretty sure it was 50% for Gold and 50% for silver.....

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Summer Schedule for the Kiddos

I have spent the last week pouring over the internet late at night to come up with a great schedule and activities for summer break. My boy loves some school and will soon be missing all that activity. Also with all of sister’s stuff she has going on we need to implement a “ Sensory diet” annnnnd then there is the thought in the back of my mind about how baby #3 is coming and we better get things as organized as possible before he gets here ( and get everyone more self sufficient  too) . 

Start with some Goals:

  • Get Sister potty trained
  • make sister use words to request anything and everything. ( No giving in to cries or demanding noises)
  • Teach Fenn to put his own seat belt on and off ( so I can move him to the 3rd row when baby #3 is here)
  • Get both kids involved in chores/responsibilities ( ones that help me out like making their own beds)
  • Take some day trips or fun activities to keep them engaged and educated. 
  • implement a currency system ( I learned this from kindergarten! See below)
  • Get Fenn to stop coming in our room at 3am ( plagued by bad dreams lately )

Set up a Schedule.

Routine is important for all kids, but especially mine with the sensory stuff. It is challenging for me as I have never been very routine and Erik and I both have very unconventional work schedules . Since Erik, Rose and I are all running this circus and need to be on the same page a routine will be super helpful.  Also gives kids an idea of what to expect so I don’t have to deal as much with badgering about whatever they want like say breakfast at 5am. “ The chart clearly says Breakfast no earlier than 6:30 AM” HA  We will see if that works. 

Copy of our new schedule:
( I am sure I will tweak this once we get going and see how it works out/fits)

Currency System:
I picked up  this sweet little trick from kindergarten. I bought a roll of raffle tickets from Party City and I call them “ Mommy Feathers” (at school they are called Eagle Feathers). I hand them out for each completed chore. I amp up the feathers for things I really want to encourage. Every thursday they can turn in their feathers to buy things from my store and I have a chart showing how many feathers it takes to buy things they want like fudge pops and pokemon cards HA.  

Then I searched pinterest for any fun arts and crafts or interesting activity we could do and made a list of those so that each Sunday when  I do menu planning etc I can plan out their activities and what supplies are needed and have that sorted out so whoever is in charge that day has everything they need. 
Most of my problems in life from from indecision… like not knowing what I want to cook all week, or how to do something so If I dig in and plan and make it easy for myself then I should be able to stick to the plan.

Also sidebar: I took all of these schedules and such to Fed/Ex and laminated them so we could use dry erase markers. While I was there I printed out and laminated THIS road trip scavenger hunt and it was great for our recent drive to Alabama. Fenn LOVES scavenger hunts and this kept him busy for quite a while. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Back Yard Project / Porch: Before and Afters

When we bought this house, one of our biggest objections was the sloped yard, and leaving what was still ( IMO) the most beautiful backyard in all of Brentwood.  We spent so much time out there and it was really hard to give that up. But as it goes with any move, you don't get everything on your list, and I had plans of creating a better space at this house.
Here are some great BEFORE Pics:

Step 1: Get rid of Tree and Brush. We did that in January or February. There were 3 or 4 large " Trash Trees" back there that made that black film on your outdoor furniture.

Step 2: Down goes the Deck. I always hated that thing but Erik loved it so we kept it for a year and never used it once. We did paint it during that year which you can see from the pics. :) . Losing the deck was a game changer because it made it seem so much bigger back there and opened up lots of flat space. ( Don't worry, the upstairs door will become a window)

Step 3: Stained Concrete patio, Retaining Wall, and lots of underground drains added just incase.
Step 4 : Landscaping, grass seed,  and Furniture. This is all our same furniture from the old house.  We made sure to leave room enough for Fenn to play basketball and for the kids to ride their little cars around and play with sidewalk chalk etc.

Still lots of projects left but oooo mmmm geeeee we are so thrilled to have an outdoor space again and we spend so much time out here.


We are currently working on my little granny porch. Before and After pics of that to come soon! 

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