Mar 14, 2014

30th Birthday Celebration

My youngest sister, Emily, turns the big 3-0 this month. Along with my other sister and mom, we tried to think of something fun to do for her birthday. Way back when I turned 30, they made me a book of letters from friends which was so sweet! We threw Allison a surprise dessert party for her 30th birthday. Being that Emily's husband is throwing her a party already, we racked our brains for something special to do for Emily. We decided upon a surprise girls' night out- pedicures, shopping, dinner, drinks, and a night at a hotel. Super fun, right?!

In order to have this pulled together in a way that makes sense, Al and I made up '30 things to do in 30 days before you turn 30'. It worked perfectly because we had the surprise night exactly 30 days before Em was to turn 30.

We started with a lunch at Allison's to celebrate Em's and my dad's birthday. This is nothing out of the ordinary so Emily didn't suspect a thing. In fact, when we gave her the list for her present, with the note 'we will cross off at least 5 things from your list today', she was quite confused!

Thankfully my mom made her a little certificate listing out what we were doing, which is when it finally clicked in her cute little brain. 

Her hubby had her bag packed in the car ready to go so we took off for a girls' day right after lunch. First stop was pedicures. 

What is a girl's day without shopping? and price checks? 

We got all dolled up at the hotel before a nice dinner out in Fort Worth. 

After dinner we checked up the newly updated Sundance Square, braved taking a picture in the fountains, and got drinks at a local bar. That's right folks, we went to a BAR! And stayed out until TEN PM! How crazy are we when we don't have kids with us?! :) 

So, perhaps we were all asleep by 10:30. Whatevs. However, we were also all awake at 3:00 am when a guy in a nearby room was not too happy with his girlfriend and was shouting at the top of his lungs. I felt like I was back in college again with all the crazy drama! :)

In the morning we headed back to my mom's house where my dad had a yummy breakfast waiting for us: donuts, corn muffins, pancakes, and bacon. The table was set and everything, perhaps proving my dad is a lot of time on his hands how that he is retired. :)

We had a great time with the four gals. I hope Em enjoyed her special day...and she completes her '30 to do in 30 before 30'! 

 Happy Birthday, Em!!! I love you!

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Mar 4, 2014

House To Home - Part II

Welcome back to my mini series, House to Home! I am sharing how my house has changed up in the past 18 months since moving in. Today I will be showing of my living room, which is still a work in progress. Well, the whole house is a work in progress, but I digress. In case you missed the post about the formal living room, you can check it out HERE.

Here is what the room looked like for a couple months after moving in. Notice the fall decor on the mantel which means we had been living in the house for at least fives months here. Some of the challenges of this room: SUPER tall ceilings (goes up to the 2nd story), one HUGE TALL wall (where the TV is on the left), SUPER tall windows (ie no buying premade curtains at the store without spending a small fortune).

Now, several (SEVERAL) months later, the room is almost put together!

The biggest change was getting a large entertainment center to take up that expansive wall. I searched high and low for an entertainment center that was large enough to fill up the space and I was dead set on it being white. Apparently this was a tall order for pre-made furniture. We ended up having to get this piece custom built and I absolutely love how it turned out. (Plus it sounds fancy to say 'I had this custom built'.)

I used a local carpenter, Wayne Fiorenza, of Fiorenza Custom Woodworking. Guys, this man is a saint. He was so patient with me as we designed this up, gave me different mock ups, and patiently changed them to meet my specific requests. He even bought a new router tip so he could make the doors exactly how I wanted them. I could not wait until it was here (hello...toy storage!!!) and it was bigger and more gorgeous than I expected! This bad boy came in three pieces and they assembled, bolted, and screwed it all together. Not only does it fit all our needs (having display area and lots of storage), but it totally changed the whole look of the room. Love, love, love this thing!!

My sister helped me shop and accessorize and I finally finished up the last pieces yesterday. Are we feelin' the horse head?! That was my big find yesterday! I am hosting a party at my house soon so Al will be over here to help edit this down to make it look extra nice.

 I mean, guys, look how tall this thing is!

The other thing that I love in this room are my window treatments. Like I mentioned, the windows are extremely tall. Nothing at the stores came in this length unless I wanted to pay the big bucks. And I mean $500 a panel kind of big bucks. Um. No. So, instead I bought these panels from Ballard Design. I bought two in the longest length they had and then bought a third panel to sew onto the bottom to lengthen the drapes. Well, let me amend that statement. My wonderfully talented mother-in-law sewed them for me. For some reason I can not match up a pattern to save my life so Diana saved the day! Unless you are looking for the seam, you would have no idea these are actually two panels joined together. I think we got the drapery rods at Home Depot. Again, I couldn't find a rod that would extend the length of all three windows, but I like how the two separate ones look.

Above the couch I used old picture ledges from Pottery Barn to create a small photo gallery. I remember buying these ledges on sale when I was in college. If you can believe it, that was over 10 years ago! Goes to show you shouldn't throw anything away because you never know when you might use it again. Anywho, I LOVE pictures so they are all over my house. I probably have too many displayed but I don't really care if I am breaking a big design no-no. (Is it a faux paux???)

I also picked up a basket yesterday for my blankets. If I am sitting on the couch, 9 times out of 10 I have a blanket on me. Even in the summer. In Texas. In 100 degree heat. So I snagged this beauty to keep the blankets corralled and not pulling on the curtains too much.

The last thing that needs some attention is my mantel. I have yet to find good 'non seasonal' mantel decor for the house. I grabbed two topiaries yesterday and have commissioned my dad to making a really cool wood artwork. Then I just need to take down the shutter, throw up some framed photos (breaking a possible faux paux again!) and I will call it a day. Then maybe in 10 years I will redo the 90's fireplace surround. Right after I get to my hardwood floors. And after I win the lottery.

 Just in case you wanted a peak at what is in my entertainment center, here ya' go:

-Baskets of kid toys, a couple games, and a couple puzzles. The other million pieces of kid paraphernalia is upstairs in the playroom or in their bedrooms. However, when we didn't have toys downstairs the kids were always getting in trouble because they had nothing to do. The entertainment center really helped store toys so they can play while I am 'cooking' and 'cleaning' (which really means checking facebook).

-Kid books, library books, more assorted toys

-DVDs and CDs, burp cloths, and two random books. You can see that I was given the gift of storage with the entertainment center! I still have lots of space to fill up.

-'My' cabinet filled with camera stuff, pictures and the printer/printer supplies for printing my Etsy orders. Boring.

This is the view when I am standing in the kitchen. Pretty soon I will have a couple bar stools at the counter and I can't wait! You can see those in my kitchen reveal. :)

So, if you made it this far into the post, thanks for stopping by and taking a look into my decorated living room! And in case you thought 'How in the world does Jen keep that room clean with three kids and still has time to check Facebook?!'. I most certainly did NOT throw all the extra baby toys and 'upstairs toy's that made it downstairs into the entryway so I can take pictures. I instead placed them there carefully. 

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Feb 20, 2014

A Day in the Life

As most of you know, I am a stay at home mom to three precious boys: John who is 5, Matthew is 3, and Thomas is 1. I tried to document one of our days through pictures (and text!). I picked a random day since our schedules are pretty varied depending on the day being that John and Matthew are in preschool two days a week. So, this day in the glamorous life of Jen was on Wednesdy February 19, 2014.

...and here we go...

I got to sleep in today!! I try to wake up at 4:30 to hit the gym and shower before Brad leaves for work, but Wednesdays are my days to sleep in. Thankfully ALL sweet boys also slept until 7 which doesn't always happen. However I did wake up with a headache so I took care of that before getting T Bone.

John waited for me to change Thomas' diaper by reading one of the baby books. I am so proud of John because he is teaching himself to read so I don't doubt the could read that whole book by himself!

I often find Matthew at the top of the stairs when he wakes up. He takes a while to get moving when he wakes up so he is usually lounging for an extra couple minutes.

T Bone flipped through a book after a diaper change. He is now getting into books which I love! He will bring me books to read which is similar to John when he was a baby.

We head downstairs and the first place Thomas heads is the pantry. He knows where the good stuff is!

Our usual breakfast is french toast (the egg free kind since John is allergic to eggs) or a whole grain waffle with yogurt. Thomas also has fruit.

While the boys finish up breakfast I try to clean up the kitchen. Notice the word 'try'. Doesn't always happen especially on a day that they boys go to school and we are more rushed. One thing that never fails to baffle me is how many kid cups we go through in a day. Usually the top rack is full of kid cups!

Mr. Messy helps me switch out laundry after breakfast. He loves to help me but I am sure this will be short lived and he will follow in his brothers' footsteps in the laundry department.

A little play time before getting dressed. T Bone and John had 'races' on the donkey and a rocking horse while Matthew drove his car 'to Walmart to get a potato'. Haha!

Today is Aunt Allison's birthday so we call to say Happy Birthday (since she didn't answer her facetime call!). We decide Matthew is feeling well enough, and the weather is holding out, so we make plans to  meet her and my other sister at the park. We are so lucky that all three of us sisters are stay at home moms, have kids the same age AND live near each other. We try to meet up every Wednesday so the kids can play and the moms can try to have an adult conversation. Anywho, this means we actually have to get dressed so we can pack up and head out!
We make it to the park. Yes, it takes us about an hour to get 4 people dressed, pack up our bags and pack lunch for the park. Thomas is probably the easiest baby ever EXCEPT when it is time to get dressed. I think he gets jealous of the attention I am giving John and Matthew so he wants to be held or get in my lap the WHOLE TIME I am getting the boys dressed. Makes things a tad more difficult! But, we made it!

My dad is retiring next month and happened to be home from work. So he came along to play at the park with his favorite grandkids!

However, Grandpa did not pack his lunch (not surprising to me!) so we all went to Central Market for lunch instead. I hadn't been there before and they actually had good food and a big playset for the kids to play.

T Bone crashed in the car on the way home and stayed asleep as I put him in his crib. I really wanted to do some work on the computer so I broke my 'No iPad Wednesday' rule and let the boys play for a little while. They did not complain...and actually were a little surprised. John said it must be a special day. :)

I finally fold the crap load of laundry piling up in my dining room. The boys actually helped me sort and match socks which was a HUGE help!

T Bone wakes up so Matty B reads while I change yet another diaper. (Matty B got a little messy when he went to the bathroom thus the no-pants attire!)

We put away Thomas' laundry while we are in his room. And by 'we' I mean 'I'.

In the playroom and I think 'Ok, Brad will be home soon. This is the home stretch!'

Brad gets home right as Thomas is getting fussy from being bored, hungry, and thirsty all at the same time. Since we are having burgers for dinner, we hang out outside while Brad grills. Of course, this is the best time for some races and luckily Batman joined in for the fun!

Thomas learned how to climb the ladder to the playset and today was the first time he realized how fun it was to go down the slide...over and over and over again. Easy for Brad but I am too short to help Thomas at the top of the slide. Guess I need to get a stool for over there now!

We head inside for dinner and then go upstairs to put away laundry in John and Matthew's room. We also try to pick up their rooms a little but didn't quite get finished.

Bubble baths for all three boys!

See, Thomas is the sweetest baby ever! Always giving me hugs! (don't mind my crazy was SO humid outside and that really messes with my curly hair!)

This is Brad's fake smile because he is about to kill me at this point. Apparently I didn't fill him in on my picture documentation of our day so he thinks I am just taking pictures for the fun of it. :)

And my picture taking isn't helping in this situation: a squirmy upset baby who needs a diaper and pajamas!

T Bone is asleep. The boys watch a show with milk and a cookie.

John and Matthew are asleep and amazingly they didn't get out of bed once beforehand. They must have been worn out!

Brad and I finished up watching Jimmy Falon which we dvr'd. (I needed a break from Breaking Bad which I CAN NOT get into...and we are in the 3rd season!) So we head to bed. Before get comfy under the covers, I set out my gym clothes so I can wake up at 4:30 the next day to work out before I start another crazy day with the boys.

And there, in all its glory, is a somewhat typical day at home with the boys. I love these days even when we go through the spectrum of laid back to crazy all in one day (sometimes in a span of one hour!). Man, writing it all out makes me feel tired thinking about our day!

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