Thursday, September 27, 2012

Elizabeth’s Nursery {A Reveal}

When daydreaming of Elizabeth’s nursery, Winslow and Wellesley inspired. Far before she was born I found my inspiration. While reading one of my favorite blogs 2 years before Elizabeth came to be, I saw this, and my heart swelled. “I love you, friend.”

Cottage, vintage, and yet feminine. That was the space I wanted for her. Along with our friends, W&W, I fell in love with this line of bedding. We could have gone so many ways with her room but my heart kept coming back here. Lived in, comfortable, cozy. And that is what we’ve accomplished and I hope she comes to love it as she grows up. For we had so much fun creating her room.

Elizabeth’s room is not large by any means, only 10x11, which I guess isn’t small either. But the way it is laid out, with windows, closets, and doorways, we couldn’t figure out a floor plan to accommodate furniture without getting rid of her closet. And so that’s what we did. Eventually we can always put the doors back on but right now she doesn’t have much to hang in there!


The view from the doorway into her room







Closet components: Ikea Hemnes Dresser, Billy Bookcases

Mirror: Homegoods

Chandelier: Ikea

Baskets in bookcase: Target (in store)

Bookshelves: Ikea Ribba Picture Ledge

Rug: ZGallerie Casablanca Dhurrie

Crib: Franklin & Ben Arlington Crib

Glider: Little Castle Valentino in Charcoal Linen

Pink Pouf, Bedskirt, & Bumper: Land of Nod

Curtains: Custom Made from Ikea Merete 

Artwork: Sarah Jane Studios

Gray Shelf: Salvaged from a rental house

Lamp: Goodwill with DIY Lampshade

Nightstand: Target

Letter E: Custom made by me

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Baby Wise, {A Review}

*This is my review on the book Baby Wise by Ezzo/Bucknam, copyright 1995/98. It’s been brought to my attention that there are two versions of this book…the book I am reviewing is the mainstream, secular version of Baby Wise. I am not endorsing the authors, their beliefs, or their other works. This is just an honest review of a mainstream childcare book.*

To be honest, I’ve been hesitant to even write this. I know first hand there are people who have been hurt by false teaching, legalistic upbringing, and the works of the Ezzo’s. This book receives so much criticism that if you happen to have read it, you most often don’t want to admit it. I remember when I picked the book up at a local JBF sale I didn’t want to tell anyone that I was going to read it for fear of negative backlash. But my mentor, whom I highly respect, had good things to say about it so I splurged and bought it for the $2 it was selling for. And I’m glad I did. The version I read was not only informative but also helpful these first months of Elizabeth’s life. Like we learned at our dedication class at our church, most everything you need to know about parenting is instinct and common sense.

Our Experience with Baby Wise

I started reading Baby Wise during my third trimester and I ended up putting it aside because I realized 1.) I wouldn’t remember much, 2.) I had no idea what Elizabeth would be like and 3.) it was hard for me to read about things I wasn’t yet experiencing. So when she was just a few days old I cracked open the book and began to read. What struck me first was the lack of Biblical instruction and all those absolute statements I kept hearing about. What I’ve later learned is there are different versions of the book and I’m so glad I picked up the secular version! Knowing I would be the one providing the daily care for Elizabeth while Alex worked I knew that I wanted some sort of semblance to our lives. So I dove right in.

And just to note, I think whether your baby sleeps through the night, eats every 3 hours, or doesn’t do either of them isn’t because of your parenting but instead due to the child.

Feeding & Babywise:

Because I had read Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding alongside this book, I didn’t really see many differences. Essentially all feeding of a baby is parent directed, that is, the mom chooses to feed the baby. But like you know, I knew from the beginning that I didn’t want her to use my nipple for comfort. I’m just not comfortable with that and I feel that’s okay; instead I gave her a pacifier. I noticed through trial and error that most often when Elizabeth was crying, had just eaten or had only gone an hour since her last feed, that she was tired not hungry. How did I know this? She refused to eat! So I learned quickly that she could go 2-2 1/2 hours between feedings because she was able to and preferred to. Now that being said, she’s an efficient eater, always has been, and doesn’t tend towards comfort feeding. So as her mother, I was following her cues. And of course, there were times when she was hungry earlier than the 2-3 hours she usually can go. And of course, if she was hungry I fed her. I also knew she was doing fine on our “routine” because she met all of the healthy growth indicators.

Routine vs. Schedule:

Despite not being a Type-A person, I actually do thrive on routine. And after so many years watching children, I really believe that they also thrive when things are fairly consistent. That being said, I do like flexibility…with Elizabeth we, as a family, wanted to still maintain some parts of our “old life.” By tracking her feedings & sleep I was able to see patterns form which help us better plan our days. We knew that any routine we came up with would NOT be rigid…our life just isn’t like that and to Elizabeth’s benefit neither is her mother. For the first 8 weeks of her life, I didn’t do anything but feed her when she was hungry, let her sleep, and snuggled her as much as I could. No routine. But after that I began seeing a pattern to her ways.

Elizabeth was consistently sleeping 5 hour stretches by 7 weeks old. And as she grew, her nighttime sleep lengthened. Now at 3 months old, she goes to bed around 7 pm and sleeps 9-10 hours until between 4:30 and 5am. She then eats and goes down until right around 8am. And again, I don’t think it’s because we did BabyWise. I think it’s because our daughter is a hibernator and LOVES to sleep like her daddy. I also borrowed some advice and instituted the Dreamfeed from The Baby WhispererI feed her and put her down around 7 and gently rouse her to eat around 10pm. Interestingly enough, she doesn’t need this. She’ll sleep 9-10 hours without it, but I NEED it. If you nurse you know what I mean. I CAN’T go 9-10 hours without her eating!

I also highly recommend the Eat, Wake, Sleep cycle. I believe The Baby Whisperer has another name for this as do some other baby books. In reality for our hibernator at 3 months, this means she eats for 10 min, is awake for 50 more minutes and naps for 2 hours. Then it all starts over again. It’s fairly consistent. This is another piece that I experimented with. For a few weeks I would let her fall asleep right after she ate and the result was a short nap and a very cranky baby. So we’ve continued the EWS cycle and things have been really good. I still run errands and then she’ll take a cat nap on the go but I try to be home for at least one of her naps so she can get a good one at home, in her bed.

As far as our routine, well, I NEVER wake Elizabeth up in the morning so our daily routine doesn’t start until she wakes up. But she’s fairly consistent, give an hour or two, so most days her eating pattern looks like 7:30/8, 10:30/11, 1:30/2, 4:30/5, 7:30, and then she dreamfeeds at 10. On her own, around 2 months old, we switched from a 2 1/2 hour feeding schedule to a 3 hour schedule based on the fact that she wasn’t all that interested in eating at the 2 1/2 hour mark but was at the 3 hour mark. As she grows and stays awake more our routine will keep adapting, that’s why I like routine…it’s not RIGID!

Lastly, I liked the book for its guidelines. So often I would be wondering, now at this point, what is she capable of? Not what SHOULD SHE BE DOING, because every baby is different. I found their guidelines very helpful for breastfeeding, waketime/naptime, and sleeping.

Crying it Out:

At this point, we don’t really let Elizabeth Cry-It-Out…not because we feel like it’s harmful or bad-parenting, but because often she doesn’t need to. We’ve tried it a time or two and let her go up to 10 minutes crying and the result is not a baby that can calm herself back down, she just gets more mad. And while we want her to be able to self-soothe we’re not going to force her to do that. Instead when she’s crying she most often has relinquished control of her pacifier and all she needs is for it to be put back in place. So we’ll do that for her a few times and so far that seems to have been all she needs. We know that can be a slippery slope with the pacifier and she may decide to manipulate us and make a game of it. At that point, we’ll face the consequences, but right now, we’re all better off this way. That being said, the crying section of the book was very informative and helpful…there was so much more to it than just Cry-It-Out and for those opposed, new research did just come out stating CIO is not harmful.


So there you have it, our unbiased review of BabyWise and how the information within its pages helped this family of three establish some semblance of routine. For another fantastic review, check out Styleberry Blog.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Applique Onesie Tutorial

It’s football season and that means cheering for our favorite team! Alex and I were born and raised cheese heads so our blood runs green and gold even though we live in Viking country. Of course when Elizabeth arrived she was destined to become a Packer fan from the start and now that it’s football season I decided she needed her own Packer apparel to wear for games.

Instead of going the pre-bought route I decided to see if I could come up with something to make. I’ve made a couple appliqued onesies for her before so I thought going this route would be fun! Of course, if your blood runs different colors you can change it up for your favorite team. If you happen to be a Viking fan, “SKOL Vikings” might be fun for the front. I love using applique on onesies because not only is it beyond easy the finished product is unique and super cute!

Note: I never do anything perfectly so the final product is not perfect. That being said, I tend to like the imperfections … gives the final product character:)

Before you start appliqueing there are a few things you need to gather.

NFL Onesie Tutorial

-a shirt/article of clothing


-fusible web

-either a sewing machine or floss to finish it off

I used this type of fusible web that I found at JoAnn Fabrics:


Next, trace out your design onto the fusible web. Follow the directions…there are 2 pieces of paper stuck together, trace backwards onto the one with the sticky backing.

NFL Onesie Tutorial

Then, cut out your design. Layout the design onto your article of clothing.

NFL Onesie Tutorial

Remove the paper and adhere to the article of clothing.

NFL Onesie TutorialNFL Onesie Tutorial

Iron the design to adhere. 10-20 seconds is good on the cotton setting.

Once the fabric is set on the article of clothing you can either machine stitch around the edge, leave it as is, or hand stitch with floss and an embroidery needle around the edges. It’s up to you. I tend to hand stitch because I like the way the finished product looks but it’s a personal choice. Either way the applique should stay put once washed. I’ve never had an issue!

NFL Onesie Tutorial

Enjoy the finished product and cheering for your home team!

Go Pack Go!

Here’s a view of the back:

NFL Onesie Tutorial

Thursday, September 20, 2012

getting away

Now that autumn is here, life is busier. Good busy.

Bible study started, MOMS (like MOPS) is underway, and we’re finding our groove through routine (held loosely of course). I love the start of things, how Autumn gently encourages us back to routine. Day to day consistency.

But more than routine, I love that at our house, Autumn usually means a getaway weekend. We love Autumn. Have I mentioned that before? :) And we love getting away. Especially if that getaway includes a fireplace, view of a lake, a golf course, and fallen leaves.

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Alex and I are lovers of going “up north.” We both grew up going “up north” on the weekends to our family’s cottage; or cabin/lake house depending on where you are from. “Up North” for our family meant driving 45 minutes north of our house to our cottage. We were there most summer weekends and into the fall. Some years we went year round. But for me, there’s something about getting away that makes the stresses of the new season just fade away.

We realized when we were dating that we both LOVE getting away. In fact, we’d rather spend our money getting away than remodeling our bathroom (which I DETEST by the way.) Every year since we’ve been dating (1st year we went with friends) we’ve headed “up north” to Brainerd, MN for a weekend in the fall. Some years we didn’t think we would get there, be able to afford it, or find the time, but every year somehow we’ve made it work. And we SO look forward to the time of just relaxing and leaving behind work and life.

Our favorite place to stay is Madden’s Resort. They always have fantastic fall specials that include meals & golf. But they also let us be a kid again: Friday night Bingo, fires with s’mores, and tandem bikes. We also have our favorites in the area as well, like Rafferty’s pizza and the Chocolate Ox. It’s almost as if we’re remembering our childhood when we go up there, embracing the season and forgetting reality. It’s like our fall school break all over again.

This year I was sure our looming bathroom remodel and new life with Elizabeth would make the trip unlikely. But just this week Alex surprised me and we booked a quick trip up there mid-week. This year we’re staying at Grand View Lodge in some pretty swanky cabins due to a great mid-week deal. I’m so excited to go and experience Autumn as quintessentially as we can. I keep staring at the cabin online making plans in my mind as to how we’ll spend our time. I’m envisioning coffee sipped at break of day with Elizabeth on the porch overlooking the lake, cozy nights with a book in front of the fire, sweatshirts and leaves all around. It’s sounding mighty inviting…

I can’t wait. For me, getting away is what makes Autumn one of my favorite times of year, because it usually means we’ll be going “up north.” And this year, we can share one of our favorite getaways with our daughter. I pray we’ll have so many more times to help her experience life by the lake with leaves all around.

What’s a favorite thing you look forward to doing in the Autumn? Do you go “up north?”

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

DIY Ruffle Lampshade

Elizabeth’s room is almost finished. Finally. So many projects were slated for completion in the last few weeks of my pregnancy and then BAM…my water breaks early. So it’s taken some time to get them done but we’re in the home stretch.
When we compiled a vision for her room so many little details were missing. The bigger key components were there, but little items like the lamp were awaiting discovery. Not wanting to spend a lot on a lamp…(they’re expensive!)…I kept my eye out at our local goodwill. Seriously, great lamp shopping there! And I came home one day with a vintage charmer that I fully expected to spray paint and be done. But then the charm won us over. Well, it won Alex over first. And then I was faced with the task of finding a shade. Again, why are these things so expensive! And of course, anything with a little style was even more $$$. So DIY it was. I found the shade at IKEA for $2 that fit the lamp and so I used that. It was pink. Then I searched and found a simple tutorial online for a ruffled lampshade and knew it was easy enough for even my novice sewing skills. (but you don’t really need to machine sew this)
So enough rambling…here’s how you ruffle:)
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Cut fabric into any size strip…mine were around 2” wide.
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You can either hand sew or machine sew a straight stitch down the middle of the fabric. When you have all strips sewn you are on to step 3.
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You can either sew the edges down or leave them be. I left them because I didn’t mind the unfinished look. Then clean up the edges. Then to make the ruffle pull one of the threads from the straight stitch while slowly pulling on the fabric. You will need to keep pulling the fabric down in order to keep ruffling. You can make the ruffle as tight or loose as you like.
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Then use a glue gun to attach the ruffle to your lamp shade.
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Isn’t it gorgeous…and easy peasy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

a day to remember

The air was still that morning.

Crisp with the coming of autumn it enveloped us as we ventured off to class. Deb and I. And as we walked we chatted about everything and nothing, knowing a stop for coffee was inevitable. And into the corner Starbucks we walked, as if nothing had happened. For to us, nothing had.

And we were met with silence. Only the movements of the making of coffee filled the space. And in the silence a man on the radio conveyed the news. As if we had traveled back through time. Oblivious we walked in, chattering, ordering, sipping. And out we went, walking off to class. And when we arrived, the news met us. For me it was written on the chalkboard, scarce in white…class is canceled. Our teacher spoke…"the news, the towers, New York…” It was all a blur.

And we all in silence picked up our things and walked back out the door. It was the morning that history was being made. And when I arrived back home, us girls sat, mouths silenced, hands covering as we watched this history unfold. It was and is still horrific, saddening, unbelievable. And as we watched, we prayed silently for it to be over. That it was not reality. And yet, some of us knew people working in New York City. And the phones rang, mouths chattered, eyes wept.

And still today we remember vividly the accounts of the day the towers fell. Because it was horrific. Because it was history being made. Because we couldn’t tear our eyes from the television. Because it seemed so unreal. Because…

Every year I remember on this day the same as my mother remembers the day Kennedy was shot. The events, the images imprinted on my mind, the horror and sadness. The families that lost. That miss, that ache. And I’m reminded that life is a gift. Everyday is one to be held close. Everyone to be loved with all I have.

Today is not just a reminder of the day history was made, the day life altered, the changing of a skyline…it’s also a reminder to love, to give, to pour out for one another. Change the way we live.

And so we remember…the events and to love. Because there’s only one life we get to live, one chance, one go ahead at the day. Because we never know when it will be our last.

Make today count.

(If you have children that don’t know the account this book is great: Fireboat by Maira Kalman.)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Looking ahead

This cooler weather we’ve experience up here in the north has me longing to put on a scarf and jump in the leaves. And yet, tomorrow it could be balmy and warm…such is life up here. So as I wait for the day when the cooler weather is here to stay, I’ve got autumn on my mind. Every year we try to do some fun things to celebrate one of our favorite times of year and now that we have Elizabeth I think we’ll actually pull off more than usual. That might seem odd, but now it feels like we’re making family memories that are far more fun even with a 3 month old in tow.

So while some of these are rather idyllic and cliché, they really are some of our favorites and anyone with kids can I’m sure relate; we’ll probably only get to a few. Even so, the few we get to will be enjoyed wholeheartedly!

Without further ado, our fall bucket list…

fall bucket

And with that, I’m off to switch out our closets in hopes that cooler weather is here to stay. What are your favorite ways to enjoy autumn?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Behind the mind

C.S. Lewis just might be one of the most influential thinkers and writers out there. I’ve always wondered what influences and inspires those who influence and inspire us. Now I was given the chance to find out.

In the book From the Library of C.S. Lewis, the authors compiled multiple short selections of poetry, literature, and writings all of which inspired and influenced C.S. Lewis himself. As a Lewis and literature fan, I found the compilation intruiging and interesting. Although it’s written as a non-fiction treasury, I would expect that most would find it appealing as a reference book or casual read that gets picked up here or there. There are excerpts from Andrew Murray, George MacDonald, Saint Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Wordsworth, Aristotle; not to mention many more. This is a great read for anyone who is a Lewis fan and is interested in knowing more of what went into some of the best works of literature.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

the simple things

cause for abundant celebration

tiny baby toes


hot steaming coffee with a cookie or two


fresh flowers in bloom


celebrating today the simple things, because I believe…

How will you celebrate simplicity today?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

on love


celebrating 6 years today…
I love this man of mine more than life itself

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.

I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,--I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!--and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

-elizabeth barrett browning