Pictures {My House}

It's no secret that I like taking pictures. Between both kids, I take more than a thousand pictures a month. Don't worry though...I only consider a couple hundred of them to be good. I know, a little overkill. But I don't want to forget anything.

Given my obsession with documenting life, it shouldn't come as a surprise that I like having pictures up in our house. One of my missions lately has been figuring out how to display all these pictures.

One idea I implemented was a photo collage wall over our fireplace. The fireplace has built in bookshelves on both sides, so it really is just a half wall. Anyway, I decided to make the picture frames non-matching. That way I could just use what I already have. Genius, right? I originally started the picture wall from one of the sides, but ended up re-doing it in the center of the wall. And what better center picture than our wedding picture? I probably shouldn't admit this, but this is the first time in our 8.5 years of marriage that a wedding picture has adorned our walls. Don't judge. Its up now!

Over the couch I have a collage of matching frames. These frames have traveled the world with us and have adorned many a walls.  I originally bought them for my office at work back in the day. Then they were one of the only household things we took to Scotland with us. And they obviously made it back to California safely.

One thing that I wanted to do consistently with each kid is display some of their baby pictures. So, I ended up framing the same pictures of the Connor and Isla together in the hallway - their birth announcements, a picture of them being weighed at the hospital and a favorite picture of them taken soon after they were born (both of these pictures were also in their birth announcements). 

And my last little thing of the day. My mom scored a Pottery Barn shadow box at a thrift store for $3 with the tag still on it!  She was nice enough to give it to me. I took it and put some of Isla's special things from her birth in it and hung it on the wall. I realize that none of these items I kept will ever matter to her (who doesn't want the clip that was on their umbilical cord?!?), but they matter to me and that's all that matters! (Do you think I said "matter" enough in that last sentence?) 

Think that is enough pictures hanging in my house? Hardly. I have tons more in the playroom (and the kids rooms). But I will show the whole playroom on my blog soon, so I don't want to spoil it by showing you the pictures on the walls!

That God...

He's a smart one!

You see, he eases us in to parenthood. When babies are born, all they need is to eat, sleep and poop. Sure, the crying and sleepless nights can stretch us to our limits, but that's nothing compared to when they are teenagers! I think Connor stretching his will is challenging, then I talk to my friend with kids in school. Her 7 year old give an attitude like she is a teenager. Its crazy!

Its not just budding personalities that we are eased in to. Its other things too. Like poop...

This may look bad, but it really isn't. Breastfed poop doesn't smell bad. It smells kind of like buttered popcorn. And its always the same color and consistency. Easy. Its God easing us into this whole parenting thing. Seriously, Connor can emit some smells and poops that practically knock me out. Speaking of Connor and poop, he pooped on the toilet the other night. Now that's something to write about! We aren't potty training yet, but it certainly is a step in the right direction...and one less poopie diaper for me to deal with!

I'm thankful for the learning curve God gives us...allowing us to start at kindergarten rather than high school. I look forward to the challenges of parenting, both with fear and excitement. When I pray for my kids at night, not only do I pray for them, but I pray for me and Ian. We want to do it right.


I've always done well with chaos in my life. In fact, the more I have going on, the more organized I become. The less I have, the more I slack off. Makes sense, right?

I was with another mom today and she asked me if I had been napping since Isla came. It was a valid question. I napped almost every day while I was pregnant. And now I am getting less sleep. Yet, I am not napping. In fact, I think I have only napped once or twice since her arrival. Of course, there is coffee to get me thru it all!

That got me thinking. With Isla around, I have actually been getting more done around the house. The house is staying cleaner. I have gone back to meal planning. The laundry is getting done. Heck, I have even been managing to get small projects done around the house. So why have I been so lazy before Isla arrived?

Again, more thinking. Which really made me realize I just need to give myself a break. I was pretty on top of things before we moved back to California. Then, we lived with my parents for a few months. And by the time we bought our house, I was 5+ months pregnant. I was starting to regress. Starting to sit around a lot. I think that is just a part of pregnancy. Call it being hard to bend over, or the fact that you are hot all the time. I just didn't do much.

Then out comes the baby and I seem to have hit the ground running. I like it. I like the more organized Jessica who already has planned what's for dinner. I like the Jessica that finally unpacked all the boxes in her house and is getting things done. I like the Jessica that plays with her kids and is productive during their nap time. All this organization makes me feel good. Makes me feel happy.

Feeling happy about organization? That makes me feel old!

P.S. I also realized maybe my house is staying cleaner because I don't go out as much now that I have two kids! Leaving the house by myself with both kids can sometimes be a challenge.

The Escape Artist

A few months ago Connor started crawling out of his crib. We considered taking the side off his crib as we didn't want him to hurt himself. I watched him do it one time and realized he was actually doing it rather safely. And, as quickly as he started doing it, he stopped. He only did it like three or four times.

Then all the sudden, he started it up again the other day. It was nap time and I heard Connor's door handle rattling...its a round handle and he hasn't quite mastered turning it enough to open the door. Ever since then (it's been like four days) he has only taken one nap. The other times, he has let himself out of his crib and played in his room...quietly.

Today I actually thought he was napping. Then I walked past his room and noticed he had pushed something under his door. But I still didn't hear anything, so I thought maybe he fell asleep on his floor or something. Then I opened the door and caught him playing.

Yes, I did bust in with the camera in my hand. I am cool like that!

Now there is a we take the side of Connor's crib off? I am still thinking no. When I go check on him before I go to bed, I find him every which way in bed. And so far he is staying in bed at night. Because of this, I am thinking the crib does provide some comfort for him and am not yet ready to make him give that up. Plus, I have heard of kids going from sleeping great to being bad sleepers when transitioning out of a crib. I'm already dealing with one not great sleeper. I don't know if I am ready to take on another one.

A Coffee Kind of Day

You see, it was a rough night for a certain little girl last night. Thus, it was a rough night for a certain mama, leaving me today to depend on coffee. I thank God for coffee. I also thank God for baby smiles. I am pretty sure he makes their smiles so cute so we can't be annoyed with them. One smile from my baby and its like everything that happened last night didn't happen. God did some of his best work when he made baby smiles!

And Isla has discovered herself in the mirror. She smiles at herself. It is so stinking cute. I plop her in her bumbo in front of the mirror when I get ready in the morning and it keeps her entertained the whole time. Of course, she is turning out to be just like her brother and has discovered if she arches her back, she can pop herself out. Once again, the bumbo tray saves the day!

What I Wore {three}

Last night Ian and I had the opportunity to get out of the house without our kids. My parents watched them and we went out to a party of sorts. I wore the exact same outfit I wore for new year's. Since I didn't share the outfit then, I thought I would share it now. And sorry about the flash in the pictures. We don't have good lights in our house for flashless photos at night.

Dress: Hand-me-down
Leggings: from Scotland
Shoes: Steve Madden
Bracelet: Coach

I actually scored this dress (brand new, with the tags still on it) at a clothing exchange that I went to a week before my due date. I tried it on 9 months pregnant (no joke) to at least make sure it fit in the shoulders before I took it home with me. It fits great and I like it a lot. Its just the icing in the cake that I got it free. And in case you have never been to heard of a clothing exchange, its basically a get together where everyone brings clothes/shoes/accessories they no longer want and leave with new to them items they do want. They are really fun. I hosted a small one at my house a few years ago and helped with a larger scale one just a couple months ago.

Because I know you care, Connor was standing under the tripod while this picture was being taken. Thankfully he didn't topple the whole thing over!

On a side note, is anyone else as devastated as I am about the closure of picnik? That's where I made all my photo collages for my blog. I used to make them myself in photoshop, but that took way too long. Anyone have any suggestions for something like picnik where I can quickly make photo collages?

Entryway {My House}

Because I know you can hardly contain yourself wondering what I have been doing around my house lately, I thought I would show you two projects.

Project #1
This project came about for two reasons. It started with me making a fall wreath. Well, then there was Christmas and the wreath that went along with that. When I packed up all my Christmas decorations, I felt like my front door (and house, for that matter) felt so plain. Then, I saw a wreath that a friend of mine made and it inspired me.

Because I am cheap, I opted for a metal wreath frame rather than a foam one. Hey, it was half the price! I got the twine at Walmart and made the flowers out of fleece that was sitting around my house. In total, this project cost me less than $4 and took about an hour...all that twine wrapping takes time! I used twine to hang it from the wreath hanger on my door, so it would be centered around the awesome hummingbird window in my front door.

Project #2
Originally I had the idea of painting all the bedroom doors in my house with chalkboard paint. Then I thought that might be a little much. So, I decided to paint the coat closet door (which is the first thing you see when you walk in the front door) with chalkboard paint. I am more than thrilled with how it turned out. And, I may or may not have painted a whole wall in my house with chalkboard paint while I was at it, but that's for another post!

And to think that not so long ago, I didn't consider myself crafty! Of course, I still don't when I see to projects that some of my friends do.


We've been busy around our house lately. Doing a lot of little projects...building gates for the side yards, painting, changing hardware, rearranging furniture, hanging things, rehanging things. Apparently the Lowes giftcards we got for Christmas were burning holes in our pockets! Because of all this busyness, I could really do with some tlc. Thankfully a little man in my life obliged.

Pictures of all these projects (and some of my adorable babies) will come shortly.

Isla {3 Months}

Weight: 14lbs (my measurement)
Length: 23.25" (my measurement)

Laughs...even does it in her sleep! 
Talks, well coos
Grabs at her toys
Puts her hands in her mouth

I feel like Isla is growing up so fast. And this past month, she really left her newborn status behind and became a full blown baby. All the smiling and laughing she does really melts my heart. I love this age. Isla looks at me and smiles so easily for me. She is such an easy going long as she doesn't have gas! She is mostly wearing 3-6 months clothing and they fit. Not too big, but actually fit. Craziness!

Isla really is a champion sleeper. She sleeps, though waking to eat, about 12 hours every night. And when she wakes to eat, she goes right back to sleep. She puts herself to sleep in the evening about 50% of the time. I am a softie and don't let her cry it out, so if she doesn't go to sleep, mommy or daddy rock her to sleep. During the day, Isla catnaps in the morning and takes a mammoth (usually about 3 hours) nap in the afternoon in her swing.

In the last few days, Isla has grown to love her bumbo. I can set her in it while I get things done and she is just content looking around. She also really likes her little play gym she got for Christmas. She can pull on the toys and make them make noise.

Isla still enjoys being worn. I've been taking the kids on walks lately wearing Isla and pushing Connor in the stroller. Isla sleeps the whole time during the walk. I wear her when I go in stores too. It assures me that she will be good.

When laying down, Isla always shifts her head side to side. Like pretty quickly and a bunch of times in a row. It is like she is trying to get comfortable or something. Because of this, she has a bald spot on the back of her head. I am embarrassed for her, but I am pretty sure she doesn't care.

And I leave you with some more adorable pictures of little miss Isla.

Awkward/Awesome {five}

Awkward: A lady saying (in a condescending tone) "You look like you have your hands full."
Awesome: Both my kids were perfectly well behaved at that moment.

Awkward: I pushed Ian out of the bed in the middle of the night to check on my car because I heard a car alarm going off.
Awkward: My car wasn't in the driveway
Awesome: I had parked it on the street the night before. And it was just my neighbor's car alarm acting up. Sorry Ian!

Awesome: I cleaned out our refrigerator
Awkward: Now it looks like we don't have any food

Awesome: My friend came over and watched my kids while Ian and I went out to lunch
Awesome x2: She asked me what she should feed Connor for lunch
Awkward: I suggested rice and black beans
Awesome: She let me know that is a healthy and nutritious meal

Awkward: Isla's bow attacked her while she was sleeping
Awesome: No one was home to see it, except for me
Awkward: Now I am sharing the picture with the rest of the world

Awkward: I woke up to someone repeatedly ringing my doorbell
Awesome: It wasn't a crazy person, just a city worker wanting to cut our tree away from the power lines

Awesome: I posted a picture on instagram of a funny text conversation between my brother and I
Awkward: I realized there was a word error in there and it bugs me
Awesome: It's still a funny conversation

Wordless Wednesday

I know, two posts in one day. I am pathetic! But I couldn't resist sharing this adorableness with the world. 


I know I don't normally post super serious stuff, but my little head is on overload the last couple days and I thought I would share it with you all. 

It started the other day. It was the 9th anniversary of a dear family friend's death. This man meant a lot to my family. When he was killed, it shook my world. He has kids the same ages as me and my brothers. I remember thinking at the time how it sucks that his daughter, my friend, wouldn't have her dad around to walk her down the isle when she got married. I thought the same thing when she had a kid this past year. It sucks that her dad isn't here to see her beautiful son. To see what an awesome person she has become.

Then, last week a former co-worker of mine died tragically. When I heard about it, my heart was heavy. He wasn't old enough to die. He wasn't sick. It was just out of the blue. And sometimes I think out of the blue is harder to deal with. There is no processing what is happening. It is unexpected. One moment someone is here, the next, not.

To comfort myself, I thought well...

2 Corinthians 5:8 (NIV)

Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

I know heaven will be amazing. And I know my little mind can't even comprehend what being in the presence of the Lord 24/7 will be like. It gives me goosebumps. It makes me want to cry. Happy tears. But here's the thing, I don't want to die before I see my kids grow up, before I meet my grandkids. And I think the reality is most people don't. And then I realized, I am in my head so much about this because of my own fears and anxieties.

I want my kids to grow up in a safe and loving home where both parents are there. I don't want either Ian or I to die before we are old and gray. I want to leave a Godly legacy that people can talk about. I want people to be able to focus on the incredible life I lived for God, rather than how I died.

It is because of these things that my heart is heavy. These men lived Godly lives. They are in heaven experiencing everything they preached about. There are no tears, there is no sorrow. They are worshiping God with all the people that went before them. I'm sure it is an incredible experience that can't be matched here on earth. The problem is here on earth we hurt (and are confused) when we lose people.

And I end my jumbled thoughts with one of my favorite scriptures:

Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

It is because of  my awesome God that I am able to rest my weary mind in Him, knowing that He is always with me.

Shrouded in Mystery

In December, I received a surprise in my mailbox. A copy of Martha Stewart Living came in the mail. Addressed to me! My first response was laughter. Seriously, I am no Martha. Not even close. I thought one of two things must have happened:

1. Someone was trying to give me a serious hint
2. Someone really doesn't know me

I thought for sure during the holidays I would find out who this mystery gift was from. Christmas came and went and I forgot about my new-found Martha subscription. That is, until the next one arrived.  I have no clue who got this subscription for me. And it makes me kind of laugh...probably nervous laughter, but you know.

So now I sit here all confused. I have no clue how or why these magazines are coming to me. But, I guess I will flip through them, stare at the pictures and think about what it would be like to be Martha...cause there isn't a way in the world I would actually get around to doing stuff Martha style!

Twelve Dates of Christmas {nine}

On the ninth date of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

A date night at home

Some of the best dates to me are ones spent at home. Its kind of like the best of both worlds. Spending time together and being in your pajamas! And since little miss is getting older every day, she is starting to give us our evenings back. Insert happy dance. Thus a date night at home. 

Given my total dork status, and the fact that I didn't consume any alcohol for 10 months, I asked for wine for Christmas. No joke. Ian and I got a case from his parents - score. And Ian gave me a bottle of port in my stocking. I love me some port!  We have been slowly* enjoying our spoils. Add cheese and crackers to that, and I had a wonderful little time with Ian at home.
* I am still breastfeeding, so I can't go crazy. Wait a second, I'm 30, maybe I have just learned to be reasonable and responsible and that's why I don't go crazy! 

Family Pictures

A couple weeks ago we had family pictures taken with Ian's family. There is something about family pictures that becomes stressful. There is trying to work around everyone's schedules.  Figuring out what to wear. Then dealing with nap times, which became a total failure on our part. Pictures were at 3pm, smack dab in the middle of Connor's nap time. We woke him up and he was crying. He was so tired. And when we got to pictures, he became full of energy and had NO interest in taking pictures. Seriously no interest. He refused to take any pictures with Isla and even family pictures were difficult. Oh well.

Now allow me to introduce you to Ian's family:

Like I said, Connor was rather uncooperative with pictures. You can especially tell with our family pictures. And me, I should have buttoned my vest. I had it buttoned, but decided to unbutton it at the last minute. A minor detail, but it is all I think about a distraction for me when I look at these pictures. I feel like I look shapeless and don't like it.

I think my favorite family picture is the one of Connor kissing Isla.

I think this next picture of Isla and my mother in law is rather adorable.

And we end with Ian and I. I think it is a really cute picture, though I am still distracted by the thought that I should have buttoned my vest. Oh well. Life goes on.

Challenge Accepted

The title is a little homage to How I Met Your Mother. If you don't get it, that's ok. It just means I watch way to much of that show.

I have this friend that has always challenged me to be a better person. Not in an annoying way. And not even in a way that I think she realizes she is doing it. She just always points out the right (and sometimes wrong) things in my life and always challenges me to be a better person without even realizing she is doing it. What a genius! 

I don't live by this friend anymore. In fact, I haven't for years. But, I get to see her about once or twice a year and every time that happens, I walk away feeling refreshed. She is a true friend. It doesn't feel awkward that we never actually talk except when we see each other. It doesn't even matter that we have lived apart for way more of our friendship than we lived by each other. She is a great friend to me. 

But back to my point.

We were having breakfast last week and I was talking about people who have impacted my life and how I would like to impact people's lives as well. She pointed out that most of the people who have impacted my life didn't do any big, grand gestures. They were just themselves and loved me. She also pointed out that I probably have already impacted people's lives for the better (who knows if this is true, but I would like to hope it is). All this talk inspired me...

For 2012 I would like to impact someone each month. I haven't quite decided how it is going to work. I don't know if it will be a different person each month or if it will be the same couple of people throughout the year. All I know is I want to make a difference in people's lives. I want to be a blessing. I want to be an encourager. So every month, I will pick a person and figure out how to bless and encourage them. It could be thru cupcakes (that hopefully turn out edible), a starbucks card, a homemade scarf and the list goes on. Anything to make them feel loved.

So there you have it. My challenge of 2012. It may not seem huge, but it really is the little things in life that matter.

Lately {in Photos}

1. Cutie
2. A before nap snack
3. Trying out sophie the giraffe
4. Smile
5. Carousel ride
6. little mr. practicing his photo skills
7. Cool afternoon shadows
8. Squeaky clean
9. After 8.5 years, we finally have our wedding pic hanging in our house!
10. Happy girl

Twelve Dates of Christmas {eight}

On the eighth date of Christmas, my true love gave to me...

A date planned by Ian
that seemed to take a random course throughout the night.

We were in LA last week for my family's Christmas party and Ian wanted us to slip out while the kids were sleeping for some "us" time.  His idea? Hit up a trendy coffee shop just up the street from my parent's house.

This wasn't our first time at this place, but it was our first time being there when it wasn't super busy.  Because of this, I was able to snoop around at some of the crazy coffee accessories they sell. Really expensive machines and stuff from other countries. Coffee dorks like me think looking at that kind of stuff is fun. 

While sitting there talking (our coffee had been quickly gulped up) I couldn't help but think about food. Instantly my mind went to a taco truck that my parents introduced us to a while back. I suggested it to Ian and away we went. 

We ordered our tacos and sat down on milk crates (fun, right?!?) to wait for our food. Just then (at 10:45pm) Ian's phone rang. There was drama with someone claiming our tenants (we own a townhouse in Pasadena) were having a party. Because we were nearby and we wanted to see about this "party" ourselves, we ate our tacos, jumped in the car and headed to Pasadena. 
When we got there, there was no party to be had. Kind of what I expected. I personally think our HOA picks on our tenants, but that is a whole other story. So, we headed back to my parents. Our babies were sound asleep. Of course, one woke up as soon as we got home...she wanted her mama! 
It was a fun, albeit random, night. But that's just the way I like it.

Goodbye 2011. Welcome 2012.

As I was getting Isla ready for bed last night, I had a tinge of sadness that we were leaving the year of her birth. I feel like her infancy is flying by and I want it to slow down a bit. Oh well. Such is life. In honor of the last night of 2011, I had her wear her "born in 2011" onesie. I'm not bias or anything, but she rocked that onesie!

Connor wasn't quite as excited about an end of the year photo session, but I did manage to get one good decent shot of him. 

We tried and tried to get a good one of them together, but it did not happen. We even bribed Connor with chocolate. Nothing. The kid just did not want a picture of him and his sister together.

After the kids went to bed, we headed out to a new year's party. We left the kids at home alone with Ian's parents. And of course both kids were well behaved and slept. Why can't they be that way for us when we are home?!?

We rang in 2012 in style. This party had props and everything! We played some fun games, rang in the new year with champagne in plastic cups, then ran home to our little ones.

Goodbye 2011. You were a great and eventful year.

Hello 2012. I can't wait to see what you have in store for me!
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