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introducing our son, garrett alexander.


1

tomorrow he will be four months old.  four months and i am just now finding our routine.  finding time (and honestly, motivation) to write.  i want to document this extraordinary, ordinary life that we are now embarking on.  you know the one, parenthood.  i have lots of ideas for mama related posts, our birth story, cloth diapering, sleep patterns (or the lack thereof), not fitting into real pants, etc.  i want to keep this space my own, for my musings as not only a mother, but as just me.  this is my little world and i want to keep it sacred.

2

we have set up a private blog for everything garrett.  one day i will proudly make it into a book and give to him.  he will see our words, our thoughts and stories at each milestone and every moment in between.  i knew this would be a more simple way to document than a scrapbook.  a scrapbooker, i am not.

3

we had his “newborn” photos taken at three months.  this is telling of our first three months.  we had feeding issues that took up the first month of his existence.  then the second i got hit with a viral infection, strep throat and pneumonia all at once.  then he was three months old and the husband and i realized we were finding our way.  slowly, beautifully, and sometimes painfully so.

4

having our son has forever changed who we are.  in many ways i can’t yet comprehend.  it has been everything i have ever wanted along with nothing at all what i thought it would be .  to say it is an adjustment is not doing it justice.  one of the hardest challenges and yet, perhaps, one of the greatest blessings of being a mother is the basic fact of being needed.  i have these two little hands and body hanging from me at all hours of every day.

5

the endless diaper changing, frequent nursing, spit up, tears.  this neediness, this constancy of having to be everything for this little person can certainly take its toll.  those early days it was so difficult to see beyond that moment.  some days, it still is.  but there will be a day where i won’t be needed.  this realization has shown me that those frequent nursings, up multiple times each night exhaustion is a privilege.  it is such an absolute privilege to be needed and this moment is fleeting.

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his fingers will only be this little, his legs with the adorable chunk, his perfect big round belly for such a short droplet of time.  i am intentionally soaking up every moment.  the good and the bad.  being honest that yes, there are really crappy moments.  moments in this short four months that i feel i am failing.  feel like i can actually do this.  feel like no one understands.  feel like i have surrounded myself with an amazing village of friends to support me.  feel every cry.  every smile.

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my favorite book to read at night is “wherever you are.”  here is the text:

i wanted you more
than you ever will know
so i sent love to follow
wherever you go.
it’s high as you wish it. it’s quick as an elf.
you’ll never outgrow it…it stretches itself!

so climb any mountain…
climb up to the sky!
my love will find you.
my love can fly!

make a big splash! go out on a limb!
my love will find you. my love can swim!

it never gets lost, never fades, never ends…

if you’re working…

or playing…

or sitting with friends.

you can dance ’til you’re dizzy…

paint ’til you’re blue…

there’s no place, not one,
that my love can’t find you.

and if someday you’re lonely,
or someday you’re sad,
or you strike out at baseball,
or think you’ve been bad…

just lift up your face, feel the wind in your hair.
that’s me, my sweet baby, my love is right there.

in the green of the grass…in the smell of the sea…
in the clouds floating by…at the top of a tree…
in the sound crickets make at the end of the day…

“You are loved. You are loved. You are loved,” they all say.

my love is so high, and so wide and
so deep, it’s always right there, even
when you’re asleep.

so hold your head high
and don’t be afraid
to march to the front
of your own parade.

if you’re still my small babe
or you’re all the way grown,
my promise to you
is you’re never alone.

you are my angel, my darling,
my star…and my love will find you,
wherever you are.

you are loved.

~ Nancy Tillman

10

my baby boy, you are loved. you are loved. you are loved.


a nursery complete. {almost}

i have so loved putting garrett’s nursery together.  we opted to not go with a theme.  we couldn’t pick just one.  our interests range vastly and we ultimately wanted a variety of images and influences for our little guy.  with, at the most 18 days!, until his arrival we are mostly finished.  i just have a photo/painting collage that i will put together above his changing dresser.  his essentials are complete and in place.  now we just wait.

this is what the room looked like before.  carpet.  a not so appealing baby blue.  then came the hardwood flooring.  new neutral paint color.  lots of days sitting and dreaming what it is going to be like having a little one call this space his own.

i love the colors navy and white.  i have a great piece of artwork that will go above the changing dresser that is the red sox, red sox.  so i tied in a few pieces of red.  his toy basket under the bookshelves and laundry basket.  i love the black out curtains.  they are navy and don’t have cords!

i really wanted a minimalist furniture approach which led to the wall mounted bookshelves.  they don’t take up floor space and i love how inviting the books are.  i walk in and immediately want to take a book off the shelf and start reading to garrett.  hopefully, he will feel the same way.  the planet mobile might be one of my favorite things.  who knew i was such a space nerd?!

the husband installed an entirely new closet system, one that will grow with garrett.  the shelves are adjustable and there are tons of accessories to personalize what will work best for you.   top shelf is 0-6 months.  baskets have socks, hats, shoes.  bottom shelf is 6-12 months.  after taking these photos i quickly realized i have a stripe problem.  apparently i have envisioned my little guy in a lot of stripes.  i am good with it.

garrett’s toy basket.  oh how i would love to have his toys forever fit in this little basket.

three drawers of diapers, cleaned, stuffed with inserts and ready to go.  only one is brand new, meaning we are tremendously blessed for cloth diapering mama friends that have either just given or sold very cheaply their diapers.  i am still a bit overwhelmed but i figure it is going to be a learn as you go experience.  i am pretty excited.

my sweet girl.  not quite sure about all of this new stuff that is suddenly in almost every room of the house.  i have found her sleeping in the nursery a couple of nights which makes my heart melt.  so many changes these past nine months have happened, with the biggest one yet just days away.  we are all so tremendously blessed and filled with love.


slow cooker freezer meal day.

i am hoping that freezer meal day becomes much more of a habit than it has in the past.  it is one of those things, like working out, i drag my feet to do it but once done, i am so glad i did.  with just three hours spent in the kitchen, the husband and i have approximately 44 meals slow cooker ready.

click here for round 2 of slow cooker meals.

my time breakdown.  i spent monday night planning.  it took about an hour to find exactly what i was looking for.  the last couple of freezer meal days have been successful but left me wishing i had made healthier choices.  plus i liked the idea of finding slow cooker freezer meals because it meant less kitchen time upfront.  then on meal day, i just throw my raw, frozen food into the slow cooker to do all the work.  my previous freezer meal cook days involved me actually cooking everything and then freezing it.  being on my feet for that long of a time was just not an option at this point.  so i had two criteria, (1) whole food, healthy food. food that included meat because i have a tendency to be on the low-iron/borderline deficient and need to keep iron levels up during my final pregnancy months and post baby.  (2) foods that required little prep (i.e. used the slow cooker).

i found and bought this ebook.  Click here to visit Mama And Baby Love.  it is on sale ($4.99) and was super helpful.  she met both criteria’s and the recipes didn’t sound like soup this, stew that, or chili.  don’t get me wrong, all delicious at times, but not every night of the week.  i wanted to find unique slow cooker recipes. the paella, cumin-cinnamon beef stew, and ginger-cranberry pork roast all came from this ebook. Click here to visit Mama And Baby Love. seriously, these aren’t the only recipes i will trying.  head on over and get these delicious recipes today!

tuesday afternoon i went to three grocery stores.  this took by far the most time, but with my food allergy and my pickiness of meats, it is what had to be done.  i went to trader joe’s first to find as much organic, natural meat there.  they have a pretty good selection and is hands down cheaper than whole foods.  there were a couple of meat items i couldn’t find there, so i went to whole foods.  whole foods has everything and i was able to mark my allergy items and meats off my list.  then to walmart for odds and ins.  chicken stock, organic vegs, etc.

wednesday morning was kitchen time.  i timed myself from start to finish.  three hours and four minutes.  from labeling the freezer bags to cleaning up, that was it.

on the menu:

paella, cilantro lime chicken, cumin-cinnamon beef stew, pear-raisin oatmeal, and ginger-cranberry pork roast.

each bag has 6-8 servings.  each recipe made two freezer gallon bags. the oatmeal made 5, half-pint glass jars.

paella.

 cliantro lime chicken.

6-8 chicken breasts
4 Tbs olive oil
2+ limes, juiced
2 (16oz) bags of frozen corn
4 minced garlic cloves
1 finely chopped onion
2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tsp cumin or chipotle powder
salt and pepper to taste

directions:

take ingredients and split everything into two freezer safe containers. mix bag by shaking, seal, label and put in the freezer.

the day of cooking: cook in slow cooker on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

cumin-cinnamon beef stew.

raisin-pear oatmeal.


i started this first since i actually cooked it in the slow cooker before freezing.  i don’t know why i have never made oatmeal in large batches in the slow cooker before but i am now a fan.  not only does it make the kitchen smell amazing, one batch and breakfast is done for the next week.  i see many overnight oats in the slow cooker in my future.

2 cups milk

1/4 cup brown sugar {i used rapadura sugar}

1 Tbsp. melted butter

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup regular oats (not quick cooking or instant) – i used gluten-free.

2 cup pear, pealed & diced

1/2 cup raisins, diced {i left them whole. who has time to dice raisins?}

1/2 cup walnuts, diced

directions:

spray the inside of a slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. combine all ingredients in the slow cooker and mix well. cover and turn on LOW for 5-7 hours until oatmeal is tender. stir well before serving.

freezing directions:  portion into 8 oz containers or pint freezer bags and freeze. to serve: warm in microwave for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.

ginger-cranberry pork roast.

 

my biggest tip of the day: place freezer bags into a bowl so that you can easily {and quickly} dump all the ingredients.

voila! a freezer full of yummy, whole food goodness.  i am hoping to do a freezer meal day each of my remaining four months to help prepare for life after baby.  i can’t believe it is only 119 more days until our due date.  i absolutely can’t wait to meet my little man.  with the amount of kicks and movements, i feel like we are already getting to know each other pretty darn well.  i am so in love.

please feel free to ask questions or leave your favorite freezer meals in the comments section.  my goal to show how easy it is {with a good bit of planning} and to remind myself to keep at it.  i gain to much pleasure and sense of accomplishment when i have a plan of the daily “whats for dinner” struggle.


{diy office desk} the husband has a new office!

nowadays i am pretty darn sure the husband looks forward to going back to work, especially after a four day weekend spent working every muscle and bone on home projects.  we made the mistake of working on two rooms {nursery and the husband’s office}, simultaneously, and getting frustrated that we were not finishing either.  as saturday came to an end, we decided to focus all our energy on completing the office.  after all, the office furniture has been filling my dining room, foyer, and living room for about two weeks and my patience was running thin.  i needed some clean space again.

if you remember, last christmas we moved my “kelsi creates” business from the green and black chalkboard office into the much larger red room office.  this move was great for my business but left the husband with glitter filled furniture that didn’t fit his 6″3′ frame.  nor his number of computers.  and his most favorite blue chair clashed HORRIBLY with the green/black walls.  it was quite the eye sore.

here before shot of my old craft room. soon after we first moved in, we removed the french doors and put up a wall.  this made both rooms tremendously larger but three years later, still hadn’t painted.

next up, flooring.  thanks to a full saturday a couple weeks ago with my mother and father in law, they were able to finish the flooring in one day.

i wanted to pitch in some help and hired painters to paint our neutral color of choice, valspar wicker.

now the fun part, building a desk.  i found a couple of “how-to” diy desks online matched with the cabinets and tools we could find, we came up with a great diy desk for us.  we started with unfinished kitchen cabinets from lowes.  sanded and painted white to match the other existing furniture in the room.

we then bought 2, 2x6x12 and 1, 2x4x12.  the husband sanded and stained and then did several coats of polyurethane.  then one by one brought them inside to top the cabinets.  we wanted two “work stations” for our desktop and our mac.  this will make it wonderful for the days when the husband can work from home.  once the desktop was in place, there was lots of clamps used to get the wood to cooperate.

slowly coming together.  martha stewart was a great helper.  well, about as great as i was.  she and i had fun keeping cheerful company. {she had her teeth cleaned last week so she had to be sedated, which is why her front leg is shaved.}

finish office space! i have to say, this was a lot more work than we had originally thought.  it cost a bit more than our budget due to a couple mistakes and having to buy replacements.  but the husband and i are so thrilled with the way it came together.  we bought a rug to coordinate with his favorite blue chair and two “kitchen” chairs at ikea.  the desk is approximately 36″ tall, so basically a standing desk for my short self.

we kept two pieces of furniture from my old craft room days.  both were craigslist items and they worked out perfectly.

the pride of the room, the desk.  it really is beautiful.  and since it was a diy, i know i am tremendously proud of it.

and a preview of the before painted nursery.  i went to take a nap {a normal occurrence on weekends} and the husband woke me up telling me bean {our nickname for baby until we have a name to call him or her} had left me a message.  adorable.  cue tears.  {also a normal occurrence on all days.}


paint, flooring and more paint, oh my.

in the last four days our downstairs has had quite the facelift.  thanks to my in-laws, dylan was able to start and finish his office flooring.  in one day people.  we are setting records.

here is the before progress photo.  please note the unfinished wall from, oh two years ago.  paint from when this was my office.  definitely not what dylan would have picked for his.  and the original, 15 year old laminate flooring.

in the process of removing the laminate.  the board were glued together at the seams, which actually made removing easy.  completely destructive, but simple.

and here is the completed floor.  ahhh.  with each room complete, we love it more and more.

i decided the husband {and his family} were working so hard on the floors, that i would try to hire painters to come in and paint his new office.  if you know us, you know we don’t hire out for anything.  this was a big deal.  but my kelsi creates account was looking good and i really wanted to treat the husband.  i found painters that had a cancelation and came out monday morning for an estimate.  $330 for the office AND the foyer.  i couldn’t believe it!  i have been wanting to get the foyer painted ever since the day we moved in.  the peach/pink neutral and i did not get along.  at all.  the guys work out of durham and if anyone wants their contact info, just shoot me a message.  they really did a great job.  here at 8am tuesday {due to the cancelation} and finished by 1pm.

deep breaths in.  simple. classic.  the husband was definitely surprised and excited.  i love the new paint color with the new floors.  this is the same paint color that is in our kitchen and sunroom, it is valspar wicker.

say goodbye carpeted stairs, your days are numbered.

the husband is taking a flooring break next weekend and he is painting the nursery.  exciting!  if any paint friends in the area want to come out and help him, a huge thank you.  i am obviously thrilled as to why i can’t offer any assistance, but it is frustrating to see him doing all this work and he won’t let me offer any help.

i just keep walking into the foyer and his office this morning and smiling.


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