Monday, December 28, 2015

It's the most wonderful time of the year

So, how about my triumphant return to blogging?!  HA!  One post a month does not a triumphant return make, but that's all I've got my friends.  I write in my head all the time but when it comes to getting it on the computer, life ends up happening and I never get around to it.  Oh well, let's talk Christmas!

This is the first year that Sofia really gets what's going on, and despite my Santa misgivings, Sofia has decided all on her own that Santa is real and we're going all in.  I still won't do the damn Elf on the Shelf, but for now I won't burst her bubble with Santa.  It's actually really interesting because neither Drew nor I have even really talked about Santa, which goes to show you the power of influence that school has on kids, even this young.  She already knows that Santa brings presents on his 'sled' and you have to go to sleep for it to happen.  We'll go with it for now, but I still have my misgivings.

This is the first year that I really got into decorating the house and I have to say, it was so validating to have Sofia get excited about all the details in the house.
I bought some red seat cushions for our porch furniture and sewed green pillow covers and switched out the bow on the door wreath and it looked so festive!

Remember Andrea's crib skirt fabric?  That was back when I didn't know how to do sewing math and if something called for one yard, I bought eight yards just to be safe.  Therefore,  I have a TON of leftover fabric and the burlap and gold was just right to make a runner for the dining room table.  I cut it to length, hot glued the hems and I had a nice free table runner!  I found the red sparkly candles at Marshall's and Sofia LOVED them.  The early morning light hit them just right and the sparkles made her day.  "Mom!  Check out these candles!"  

The girls each had gingerbread houses this year and I nearly had a heart attack because they kept wanting to eat the candies and all I could think about were the toxic dyes and preservatives and I must have said "Not for eating!!" a million times.  Next year I'm making my own gingerbread houses.  I think every parent has their one thing they go nuts over, and mine is definitely food.  I'm not as neurotic over other stuff, but food will put me over the edge.

Anyway, when I was single and living in an apartment, this was my Christmas tree and it sat on my dining room table.  It plays We Wish You a Merry Christmas and every day I'd put another ornament on the tree.  Now, it's on our dining room table and it's *my* older daughter who's putting the daily ornament on the little tree.  So cool, right!

ALSO, check it!  I sewed those placemats!  They were such a festive addition to the house and I'm so looking forward to using them every year; I even put a decorative border around them and everything!  Of course, it's still me we're talking about here so they're not perfect rectangles and the decorative border isn't straight but they'll do!

I have a crap-ton of jars of various sizes so I went to Target and got some sequin trim and decorative garland and made a little centerpiece thing and put some little candles inside; it took me about ten minutes and I love how it turned out.  I went to a gift exchange in the neighborhood and came home with the Santa mugs and the girls promptly claimed them and thoroughly enjoyed having hot chocolate in *their* Santa mugs.

Also, here's Santa on a plate.
Why did I get two mugs but only one plate at the gift exchange?

I was trying to get them to say cheese, 
but it looks more like an 'arrgh.'

This is also the first year we've had actual stockings.  I got them from Pottery Barn and they had S, M, L and XL.  The mediums looked too small so I went ahead and got the large ones and when they came they were enormous!  However, they're growing on me and I think they go well in the living room.
They are huge though; It's almost as big as Sofia!

My sofa pillows got the festive treatment too!  I have one big pillow and that got the green pillow cover and the other three small ones got the red and cream chevron.  I'd intended to use the red and white striped fabric but next to the existing cream pillows and throws, the white made the cream look dirty.  So those became the placemats and the chevron worked out perfectly.  

Christmas cards are my absolute most favorite thing about Christmas.  I love everything about them and I get a little thrill every time I got one in the mail.  I have to find our earlier ones, but my plan is to decorate our stairs with our yearly cards.  

Christmas morning was awesome.  The girls loved their presents and seeing the look on their faces was priceless.
I live for matching Christmas pjs.

I wanted the girls to get presents for each other and of course right now, it's more of a thing for Sofia than Andrea and I'm so proud of Sofia because if you ask her what Christmas is about, she'll tell you Christmas is about giving.  Now, picking out the gift for her sister was a bit rocky because I know she would have liked it for herself, hence the identical Pup Pads.  But it was still sweet to see them give their gifts to each other and I hope they'll keep it up as they get older.

Now if we're being honest here, I'm quite glad the holidays are over.  There were a ton of parties and I went out more this month than I have since the kids were born and I do NOT have the stamina for that!  I'm exhausted!  Not to mention, Drew was gone for the majority of the month so all the shopping and decorating and Christmas concerts and going to see lights and Disney on Ice and school parties and cookie exchanges and baking and cooking and staying up late and wrapping and wrapping and wrapping ALLLLL fell on my shoulders.  I need a nap.  But as stressed out as I was, it was truly worth it and I know that's super cliche, but it really was.  The girls had a wonderful time and it filled my heart to the brim to see their faces and watch them really get the magic of Christmas.

It was a good Christmas and it's been a good year; I hope that you can say the same and I hope that next year is even better!


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Fall traditions

Fall is over, my friends.  The Christmas stuff has been out since late October and that gets on my last nerve.  One holiday at a time, punks.

I love fall.

So let's have a quick look back before we say goodbye to Fall 2015 and gear up for the craziness that is the Christmas season.

Halloween!  I actually didn't used to get into it, but peer pressure is real out in the suburbs, my friends.  My neighbor was busting out the ghosts and shit like at the end of September.  Then my other neighbors started pulling out all the stops, putting up the spiders and lights and tombstones, so I figured I better do *something.*
Did you know that patio furniture is stupid expensive?  Because good God, it is.  One morning, I was online and saw that someone in my neighborhood was selling two chairs and a table for $50 and I snatched that up in the blink of an eye; it doesn't come cheaper than that.  The pillows weren't anything I was interested in, and that's what spurred me to sew my first pillow covers.  I bought a tablecloth from JoAnn's for $3 and I cut it up one night the girls blessed me with a long night's sleep.  That first attempt took me an hour but I'm super proud of how they came out.
I even got the pattern to match up on the back side!

I picked up some orange cushions from Pier 1 and I got my Halloween porch!

I also went to Home Depot and got a mess o' mums and some pumpkins.
Sadly, every last one of those poor mums died because I have a black thumb
but they sure were beautiful while they lasted.

This fall marks the first time that Sofia was really into painting pumpkins.
I was so excited at how much she was into it.
Her masterpiece had gold glitter eyes, a gold mouth, 
a ring of navy hair and pink ears.  It was awesome.

Andrea's was more abstract.  She slapped that paint and glitter on there
and was like "It's gorgeous Mommy." I fully agreed.
Our gym had a big Halloween party and it was actually a ton of fun.
I'm including this picture because I'm so proud of Sofia being able 
to write her own name.  The kid is a genius, what can I say.

I live for matching everything; as long as the girls will let me, I will dress them alike.
It also helps when Target has buy one get one free sales on costumes.  Holla!

All that was before Halloween; we spent the actual holiday in Myrtle Beach because they were doing work on the house (AGAIN) so the girls got to do their trick or treating at the hotel.  

This was right before we were going down to the activity center for their Halloween party.

I tried to get a more posed shot of them, but I'm such a ridiculous amateur that 
I put my poor babies in what was pretty much direct sunlight and I was all, "Smile pretty!"
My poor kids.

The girls had a blast checking out their loot!

I was afraid that they would be the only kids in the hotel for Halloween, but they weren't alone, and the hotel did a great job with all the activities for the kids.  There was a dragon egg hunt and everyone got a 'best costume' prize.  The girls each got 'best big sister witch' and 'best little sister witch.' It was so cute, and I'm keeping their little certificates.

So Halloween was a success; hopefully we'll be in town next year and they'll actually get to do the whole neighborhood thing.  But you know? It was pretty awesome the way we did it too.

Also, the beach.
Always, the beach.

And then came the rest of fall.  We took family pictures, and I switched out my porch decor.
My neighbor's 18-year-old daughter took this, can you believe that?
Talk about skills!
This is going on the Christmas card for sure!

My mums bit the dust, so I clustered all the pumpkins near the front door
and added a wreath that I made in about twenty minutes and 
it makes me smile every time I come up the driveway.

I bought another $3 tablecloth from JoAnn's and this time it only took me 
about twenty minutes to sew the pillow covers.
Right now I'm down to about fifteen minutes and most of that is lining up the fabric
and making the cuts.
When I make my Christmas pillow covers, I'm going to post a tutorial because it's 
so easy I'm kind of addicted now.

Alas, I don't think I'm going to get my bookcases done by tomorrow, but you know, it was fun to dream for a little bit.  However, I WILL get them done by the end of the year.  Hell or high water, my friends.  I mean it.

We're having friends over tomorrow, we're going to stuff our faces, fall deep into a food coma, and then, and ONLY then, will I think about decorating and celebrating Christmas.  I have big plans and I have lots of places inside and outside my house that I want to decorate so for real, stay tuned.  But for now....

One holiday at a time, punks.

Turkey turkey fall fall!!

PS - I was going to do a post outlining all the things I was grateful for, but it was sounding like gross humble bragging and just saying I'm thankful for my family and my health and that bullshit didn't come close to how I feel so I'm just going to say that I am STOOPID blessed.  I know JUST how blessed I am, how fortunate I am, how awesome my life is, and for a moment every single day, I give thanks because truly, it's a good life I have.

It's a good life indeed.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Living Room Progress: The Sitch with the Niche

So how are we saying 'niche?'  Do you say Nitch?  Or Neesh?  

I say 'hole in the wall.'

As in, there's a hole in the wall in my living room and I want to do something about it.
Like so.

I don't know why it's only on one side; the lack of symmetry is silly and I would have loved two narrower 'neeshes' on either side of the fireplace.  Pay attention, builders.  The word of the day is symmetry.

Alas, the builders didn't consult me before they built the house and this isn't a custom home where you get to pick everything down to where you want your light switches. (That's the next house.)  

So I've got this hole and I knew I wanted to put a built-in-esque bookcase in there because we have no bookcases in this house and books are life.
Books are life.

There's a guy in my neighborhood that builds things and he came over to give me a quote and I was this close to hiring him but then my DIY spirit took over and I was all "I have all the time in the world!  I can build something MYSELF!"

My husband's laughs could be heard from all over the world.  

That didn't bother me; there are IKEA Billy bookcase hacks all over Pinterest and I knew I could do this.  So, we went to Charlotte because we don't have an IKEA here.  Which makes no sense because there are like a thousand colleges in Raleigh and where there are colleges, one needs an IKEA.  But it's whatever; we went to Charlotte and I came home with two small Billy bookcases.

Like so.

Putting the bookcases together was super easy and I was extra proud of myself.  I bought Kreg mini jig and made pocket holes and everything!  The bookcases were about half an inch too wide so I had to screw them together and the nitch isn't perfectly square, so that bad boy is wedged in there like nobody's business.

Now, the reason why I'm writing about this is because I'd like to get it done before Thanksgiving and there's nothing like putting it out to the Universe, aka you guys, to give you the ol' kick in the pants.

I want to trim it out, put in library lights, and get it all styled and pretty before we have guests next week.  Now whether or not that actually happens will remain to be seen, but it's always good to have goals.

A bit of a wider shot of the living room.
Those are my fall pillow covers; they look more
golden and fall-ish in real life I promise.
And one day very very soon I'm painting all our interior doors black.
Wait for it; it's going to be awesome.

But this is about my neesh.  I have plans for it, my friends.  Plans that I hope to execute in the coming weeks and then I'm going to write about it and it's going to be wonderful.

Oh, and let's talk about my sofa for a quick second.  It's pretty much the most awesome sofa ever and I love it so very very much.  Our old sofa wasn't cutting it in the slightest.

You can kind of see where we were putting the TV in the nitch and the rug was too small and the sofa was too small and it just wasn't working.  We needed a sectional.  I wanted to get a nice one but my neighbors talked me out of it, saying that my kids were still too young and would trash a super nice sofa so we got the Amalfi sectional from Haverty's and let me tell you; I'm so happy with our choice!  Navy doesn't come standard but I had my heart set on a navy sofa and seriously, I love it so much.  Navy is an excellent neutral, did you know that?  It seriously goes with everything and now that I know how to sew pillow covers, I plan to change them out with the seasons and navy is the perfect backdrop.  Even though I'm not about celebrating Christmas until after Thanksgiving, I kind of can't wait to make some Christmas pillow covers.  Because that's where I am in my life; I sew and get excited over pillow covers.  Call me Eunice.

Anyway, the sectional is amazing; I got a jute rug from RugsUSA and the living room is slowly but surely starting to come together.

Keep me accountable, my friends!  Help me finish my neesh before the end of the year!

*PS - I went to my neighbor's house tonight for a party where you buy stuff and I had lots of wine, so I'm really hoping this all makes sense and is entertaining and you like it because your girl has a straight up buzz and I'm loving it.

You're so pretty.



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