Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Our Fourth House-iversary

We've now been in our sweet little home for four whole years! It's crazy to think of all of the joy, laughter, and memories that we've shared within its walls. Our third year in our house really focused on lightening up our rustic, oak-trim home- especially in our dining room and farmhouse front room. Year four was mainly about getting a nursery ready for our sweet baby. I've also taken a look around and set my sights on a few projects that we're getting ready to tackle. Here's what we've been up to this year!

Eli's Gender Neutral Nursery

Our biggest project of the year was one we completed in mid-February, which ended up being just days before little Eli joined the world. We didn't find out if our baby was going to be a boy or a girl (best surprise EVER), and so we went with a gender neutral nursery theme.

 Aaron and I love traveling and going on adventures together, and we just knew our sweet little one would too. This inspired my travel + adventure theme. My very favorite pieces in the room are ones that people made for us, like the awesome wooden map of the world Aaron made, the hand-crafted mobile that my brother and his fiancée stitched, and the "You are Our Greatest Adventure" sign that a YoungLife girl painted for us.

Eli has already gone along on several adventures, and he seems to be a big fan. If you'd like to see more of the details on his room, check out this post. You can also check out my inspiration for his room.

Sweet, Slow Moments

To be honest, a lot of the other projects and things I hoped to accomplish this year just didn't happen. And you know what? I'm okay with it. We spent March and April just snuggling our baby boy and getting used to being parents. And when May, June, and July came around, we focused on traveling and making new fun memories together. And spending lots of time outdoors, of course. We're still due for a little deck update, which may be a fall or next spring project.

Next on the List: Our Bedroom! 

It has been a LONG time coming folks, but we are finally going to revamp our bedroom. I pushed it to the end of our room updates because I feel like no one really sees it except for us. We have all hand me down furniture in there right now, and a cheap bedspread that I got on clearance. Oh, and a cheap queen bed that we bought when we first got married that Aaron has hated since day one. All that to say, the walls are beige, the bedspread is brown, the bed is old, and the furniture is orangey. It's time for a little change!

I've got a white king-size comforter packed away and waiting, I've picked out paint colors, and Aaron is starting to design our furniture (which he is going to build). Now we just have to make it happen with a six-month old in tow! I'm thinking it could be a good fall/winter project when I can't be outside as much. Anyways, check out my Pinterest board for some of my inspiration, and stay tuned for after photos once we finish!

Our house feels like even more of a home now that our little family has grown to three. We may not have made a ton of visual changes or progress this year, but our hearts are full and our photo albums are growing. This is the home where Eli came home from the hospital, where he slept through the night for the first time, rolled over, and tried food. It's where I cradled him in my arms and wondered how I was going to get through it all. It's where he'll take his first steps and say his first words. And those are priceless memories that no amount of decorating could ever top. Love to you all!


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Fun Things to Do in Long Beach, California

If you're like me, you're always looking for a fun new place to travel. Traveling is the best, and I love it for a variety of reasons. Now that we have sweet Eli along for the adventure, even places we have visited in the past are worth revisiting, especially because everything is different with a baby! California is one such destination...somewhere we've been before, but are always looking to visit again for new experiences. Today's destination of choice is a fun one: Long Beach. Located south of Los Angeles but north of Huntington Beach, Long Beach doesn't always get the attention it deserves. In fact, it can be a great place to find affordable hotel options in pricey Southern California. Here are some fun things to do in Long Beach, California!

Hop on a Boat 

In any city with the word "beach" in the name, you can usually count on finding water nearby. Long Beach does not disappoint in this area. In fact, getting out on the water in a boat is one really awesome thing to do in this city. The Catalina Express is one especially fun option: an hour-long boat ride takes you to Catalina Island for the day. Another option is to explore the historic WWII style cruise ship "The Queen Mary".

Enjoy Nature

Of course you'll want to enjoy the sandy beach areas of Long Beach, but did you know that there are also other areas of nature worth visiting in Southern California? The El Dorado Nature Center is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Consisting of 105 acres, the center offers trails, a lake, educational displays, an art gallery, and more.

Take a Tour 

Whether you're into helicopters, Segways, bikes, boats, or food, there are a plethora of tours for you to choose from in Long Beach. Tours are such a great way to explore the city and find out a bit more about what you're seeing or experiencing. One awesome tour option is the Downtown Long Beach Walking Tour, which includes sips, tasting, and bites.

Source: Luisa Azevado

Visit a Museum

Long Beach offers some diverse museums for you to explore on your visit. From Latin American Art to history museums and more, culture definitely abounds in Long Beach. And although it may not technically be a museum, the Aquarium of the Pacific is an incredible attraction that is definitely worth a visit.

Take a Day Trip

One of the best things about Long Beach is that it is so centrally located and close to so many attractions. In fact, it is a great place to plant your roots and be able to see a variety of places without having to check in and out of hotels each night. Long Beach is an hour or less from Universal Studios Hollywood, Disneyland, Disney's California Adventure, and more. Go play!

Long Beach is definitely a hidden gem in Southern California. Hopefully we'll make it there soon!


Friday, September 1, 2017

August Recap

And just when I thought life couldn't go any faster, I think maybe August just did?! Anyone else feel me on that one? August was a whirlwind of a month, mainly because it involved school starting back up and all of the crazy that comes along with that. We may have been tackling a new routine, and I may not have written much, but this month was still a sweet one filled with new fun with our sweet Baby E and visits with dear friends. Here's our August recap!

Eli's Six Month Update 

Holy smokes, Eli is half a year old!! I can't believe how fast the time has gone- it truly does go just as fast as everyone tells you. Since we had a six month doctor's appointment, I actually have solid numbers this month. Eli is weighing in at 16 pounds and 2 ounces, which puts him at the 21st percentile in weight. He is 26.5 inches long, which is the 38th percentile in length. Rounding out his numbers is his big ole 17 inch noggin, which puts him in the 40th percentile for head circumference. He is growing healthy, big, and strong, and we couldn't be more blessed. And those eyes!!

This month, Eli spent lots of time splashing in the pool and playing in his exersaucer. He started daycare, where he goes to an amazing in-home three days a week, and then plays with his Grandma Elaina at our house the other two days. He's doing great with it, and seems to love being around other kids, while also enjoying taking two two-hour naps a day. He made it solely breastfeeding for six months, and usually eats every four hours before he goes to bed around 8:30. We are just starting to try solids, and are still working on sitting up.

E also visited Columbia for the first time this month for a baby shower (go Tigers). He actually got to visit Mock Recruitment and see Aunt Angie and the Theta house! He's still rocking 3-6 month clothes, and is about to outgrow size 2 diapers. He loves clapping his hands and watching Mama and Daddy play basketball at church. He's still a snuggler, which Mama loves! We love you so much Eli, no matter what, and we always will!

Back to School 

The biggest change for us this month was going back to school, which meant going back to work (for me) after almost six months off with our baby boy. To be honest, I was totally not excited to go back and leave Eli behind. I basically cried myself to sleep a couple nights before just thinking about it. But once I got into my routine (which includes getting up an HOUR earlier than I did pre-baby), I was actually surprised at how normal and easy it felt to be back. I am blessed with thoughtful co-workers and friends who have supported me and made the transition much easier. Nearly all of them are working moms, so they get it! It definitely helps to know that he's in good hands during the day too. Pumping multiple times a day is a pain and has to be structured when it fits into the school schedule, but I am thankful I can continue to feed my baby. I truly do enjoy my job and I teach a lot of fabulous kiddos who make the day go quickly, but when that bell rings I'm out and ready for my favorite kiddo of all! Every afternoon when I come home, I really cherish my time with Eli, and you better believe I love all of the snuggles, baths, books, and laughs. I think I'll like snow days this year :)

A Weekend in Des Moines 

Last weekend, we were able to squeeze in a quick Des Moines trip to see our very dear friends and their sweet, almost two-year old daughter. She really enjoyed playing with Eli, and kept yelling "Baby! Baby!" It was pretty fun to see the two of them together, and Eli saw Iowa for the first time! A weekend filled with laughter, cheese plates, Rook games, and some parents-only trip planning is always a good one. I even managed to fit in my six mile long run for my half-marathon training. The weekend went too fast, as they always seem to do!

Showers and Fun 

Another fun part of August was getting to attend a baby shower and a bridal shower for some awesome ladies. Marriage and being a mom are two of the best things I'll ever do, and it's so fun and exciting to help cheer and usher my friends into these new chapters of their lives. Eli attended both showers with me, and he did awesome! He napped through both of them (without crying and fighting me), and he was a champ in the backseat by himself for the two hour drive to and from Columbia- all in one day!

In Case You Missed Them:

I Carried You
My Travel Bucket List
Visiting Baltimore with Kids

August was a big month for us. I stepped into the world of the working mom, watched my sweet son grow and become even more fun, and got to celebrate and hang out with some fabulous friends. We are so blessed. I am excited for the fall, and I look forward to all that we are sure to enjoy in the coming months. Love to you all!!