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Loving Lately: Little Fat Baby, Struggling Mommas, Books and Foods
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2016-09-29_0001

Getting back to this sweet place that I love as our sweet, second son gets to growing and I get to sleeping more.  Excited to hop back on board and share a backlog of images, miles of words and a bucket load of favorites, which can maybe benefit my reading/lady/mom/human friends.  Before I get caught up and can properly introduce our wonderful Calvin David – just know he is a literal dreamboat of a baby.  He’s squishy, cuddly, sleeps well and is just an easygoing, dependable sweetheart.  The past couple weeks he’s really woken up and is busy smiling and giggling and showing off that fabulous dimple.  Couldn’t ask for a better baby boyfriend.  

2 & 3.  Second love behind Cal?  The Kindle Paperwhite I upgraded to right before he arrived.  I took advantage of Amazon’s program that lets you trade in your old Kindle for a credit.  So worth it!  The Paperwhite cost me under $100 and the THING GLOWS!! I can read at night while I nurse, I can read without the light on, and it’s just a much smoother interface than my ancient Kindle.  Super LOVE it.  Also am LOVING this leather case that my family gifted me when I turned the big ’29’.  Allows me to toss the kindle in my purse, turns the Kindle off as soon as I close the front, which has come in very handy when a certain toddler needs attention ASAP – I can toss the Kindle without losing my page.  Fave part of this little guy?  I’ve charged it twice in 3 months and read up to an hour each day.  Crazytown.

4. My fave kindle accompaniment is Modern Mrs. Darcy’s kindle deals page.  She’s not only opened me up to some great new reads, but she’s helped me catch a few on my ‘to read’ list for $1-2.  SO.  AWESOME.  And you can sign up and have it come right to your inbox.  As I’ve mentioned before, I really love her podcast.  Super interesting for my book friends.

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5.  I’ve blogged about my love for podcasts on a few occasions, but I need to introduce you to the Mom Struggling Well podcast.  Emily is just so great!  She’s a fab interviewer, has the best humor and asks for itunes reviews (standard annoyance in podcast world..) in the funniest of ways.  I love most how she interviews her guests FOR her listeners.  As in, she’s always asking for ways to apply what they’ve learned or wisdom on how to go through the processes they’ve gone through to get where they are.  They’re also consistently shorter episodes (which I’m also sad aren’t longer…ha!) that I know will be waiting for me each Monday morning.  Check her out, enjoy her guests – so much goodness there!

6.  VIVIAN HOWARD!  Whether you’re a foodie or not, Vivian Howard’s show, A Chef’s Life is absolutely worth a binge watch.  They’re currently in the middle of the 4th season, so you can get up to speed and enjoy the rest of the episodes as they come out.  A Chef’s Life is what I imagine FOODTV should be.  Beautifully shot, this documentary covers the life of Vivian and her husband, Ben, as they move home from NYC to a small North Carolina town, to open a restaurant.  Each episode centers around a particular food, takes you to the farms where they grow (Truman loves this part, too!), hops back to restaurant life, is full of tidbits about how Vivian uses the particular food and often follows Vivian through various parts of famous chef life: cookbook writing process, cooking competitions, large catered dinners etc.  This fantastic show is on PBS, so you can enjoy it FO FREE.  Pull it up, show your babies where their food comes from, enjoy the Howard’s family and run to pre-order her cookbook, releasing this fall.  I’m basically the biggest fangirl and hoping for an overnight one day at one of her farmer’s airbnb’s.

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7.  Last, but not least, I’m loving this little corner of the guest room that we turned into my sewing space.  I slowwwwlllyyyy work on a couple quilts, as I have the time and it’s been so sweet to be able to get to do this more.  Having my machine out and ready has allowed me to pop in and piece together a couple panels, then come back to it later.  In this season with tiny dudes, I really do only get windows of time.  Bonus: Cal’s crib is in the guest room and he likes to nap if he hears my machine buzzing along, so we’ve been getting in the afternoon shuteye and pinwheels: teamwork! 

Loving Lately: Grove Collaborative

Lots and lots I get asked how I keep up with all the things.  From my photo friends, mom friends, ladies I work alongside...all you ladies trying to do the illusive balance routine while still earnestly desiring to love your own people well.  So first things first: I don't. Long ago I was taught a helpful rule to ask myself often;  if THIS TASK is something my family, friends, clients don't need ME to be doing, how can I outsource or hire this out?  Deep cleaning our home, bookkeeping, shopping and cleaning the dog top the list of my favorite things to pay for someone else to do.  When I get in a weird, guilty place about having someone else clean my house or paying to wash an animal I could clean in a half hour, I keep in mind it's this practice that increases my capacity.  This allows me to do two things - 1. Do more of the work that I love to pay for these services and 2. Spend time doing the things I LOVE, with the people I LOVE.  

One of my most faves lately has been Grove Collaborative.  It's been a few months of receiving their shipments and I have to say after being super leery of mail order, scheduled household stuff, I'm hooked.  They offer GREAT prices on so many items I use to clean, care for Truman, our health and a host of other things.  They ship them to my door monthly after asking what it is that I need and I am never sucked into the temptation tornado I like to call Target when I run in for a quick pack of diapers and come out $100 poorer.

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This month, Grove is offering you ladies (and gents!?) a little bonus for getting started: One Mrs. Meyer's Hand Soap, Dish Soap and Soy Candle, A 2-pack of their walnut scrubbers and Free Shipping to your doorstep.  You just drop another $20 of items in your cart and it's all yours.  You can keep receiving monthly shipments of just the items you choose and need or you can cancel as soon as tomorrow, but I doubt you will.  Each month I spend a quick 5 minutes adding and subtracting products we need in the month's shipment and my household shopping list is done from the comfort of wherever my laptop is sitting with me. Good stuff y'all.

Top ways I use Grove Collaborative to simplify:

  1. I LOVE Mrs, Meyer's smells and formulas and I love that I can choose my scents and swap them out seasonally at my sink.  This Christmas will be the third year running I whip out her Iowa Pine soaps come December.
  2. That lime green scrub brush sticking out behind the soaps works like a dream, has a wooden handle that my numb, pregnant hands can latch onto and cleans all my grandma's vintage pyrex great but still scrubs wonderfully with the Mrs. Meyer's surface scrub on my crusty dutch oven.
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3. Those walnut scrubbers are awesome, they're neutrally colored (I KNOW a bunch of you appreciate my distaste for the traditional neon sponges) and they work great.  I keep this one in the sink of Truman's bathroom.  His sandals tend to get pretty stinky, so we give them a scrub on nights he's in the tub, then leave them over the air vent to dry at night.  Works like a dream.

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4.  While I've always liked Mrs. Meyers, I never ventured past the hand soaps until Grove suggested I give her tub and tile cleaner a go.  It's my new bestie.  Our old cast iron tub needs reglazed, which means it picks up the dirt Leila brings in and often absorbs the bath paint Truman enjoys.  A few squirts of this and a weak wipe down with the walnut scrubber and all is new.  I also LOVE that I'm not gagging from the smell or feel like I'm endangering my pregnant body from chemicals.

5.  LOVE Seventh Generation's liquid dishwasher soap.  Cleans better than anything I've tried and I used to be a die hard Kirkland dishwasher pod person.

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6. Grove has these AWESOME glass spray bottles.  I like to mix up my own cleaning solutions occasionally, but mostly I love that I can water my seedlings and house plants with them.  They spray upside down and sideways and haven't gotten clogged for me after 6 months of use.  Plus they're gorgeous and glass and I love.  We also keep a bottle for Truman's cloth diaper solution in his room for gross hiney issues. 7.  Speaking of gross hiney issues and bottoms, Truman goes through phases of soaking his overnight cloth dipes, so I LOVED that Grove has my favorite Seventh Generation's overnight diapers as an option.  Not even my bestie, Target carries these.  And they work.  I keep a pack standard in my monthly shipment and it's been just the right amount for our overnight travels, thirsty days and nights to grandmas.

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8.  Another Mrs. Meyer's that I was suggested to order: glass cleaner.  After I finished up my last bottle of the blue stuff, I ordered this bottle.  If I'm honest, I didn't think it would work nor did I expect it to be a match for my fingerprint and dust spotting eyes: I like my mirrors and windows and anything I'm looking into: spotless.  This does the job, doesn't have nasty junk in it and smells super.

9.  Grove has also come in handy for having me ready to roll to a baby or bridal shower.  I keep a few extra items on hand that are my most fave to wrap up with a gift or gift card.  They also have a sweet cleaning caddy that is white and simple and perfect for popping supplies in and wrapping up gift-basket style.

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10.  Vitamins and meds!  They offer up a lot of Zarbee's kid's products that I can't find in the big box stores.  I also love their prenatals and their immune support gummies for kids. That's that folks.  I love opening my monthly box and love all the new items I've been able to change over to from my chemical laden past.  I also love that they offer so many kids products that I can't find in stores.  If you're even thinking it over a bit, I'd say jump.  I wouldn't tell you about something I loved if I didn't reallyyyyy love it.  You'll never find me selling ya snake oils or any host of other things that make the rounds these days, but this company has been a sweet little time saver that keeps on giving.  Head over and grab up a couple of my favorite items and your free Mrs, Meyer's items, too!  

So I made a lil bunting!

Soooo I originally threw up an old window display on the chalkboard, but wanted to use scraps from my yoyo making stack of quilt fabrics to make a bunting.  There was no real method to this thing.  I made the triangle stencil out of an empty amazon box, cut out the little flags, cut out felt triangles just a bit smaller to add durability and strength (still thinking about ironing a little stitch witch between the two). I then used a scrap from the curtain I made in the kitchen to whip up a piece of quilt-like-binding and pinned all the flags in between.  After a quick zip down with the sewing machine, I had a pretty decent looking bunting to hang up on the board.

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Silly Things I Do When House Planning

So I'm visual.  Real visual and I don't like to spend our money, I'd rather stack it away in an account and watch it grow...but I do love a cute, personal, encouraging, approachable,  cozy and inspiring home...so I think and think and think about purchases before we get close to making them and I often make ghetto photoshop pictures like this one to solidify choices as wise before spending.  I'm crazy.  It's cool, I know. Last weekend we picked up this beautiful little table our friends made for our house.  Really.  Go check out Ben's whole site - really great pieces he's making.  So.  So. Cool.  We settled on the apartment sized table with a breadboard top for our kitchen so we could squeeze around a table with 8 folks if we needed, but sit 6 comfortably.  Priority numero uno: petite dining room table for the little nook is complete.

Next up is more encouragement on the walls.  The kitchen wasn't a place I had too much 'hanging stuff' for as our kitchen in the loft was tiny, full and each place had a purpose, so I was free to do what I wished with one.  whole.  wall.  Exciting!  I'm quite encouraged by rotating scripture in front of my eyes, but also love the constant change and incorporation of different prints, colors.  So encouraging to me.  (Spring colors inside mean spring must be coming, right?)

So....a chalkboard for writing notes, scripture, pictures and paying my more talented friends to stop by and chalk some beauty up.  I plan to sew a few garlands for hanging from the board and the little brown boxes and clipboards.  I'm thinking this is the best plan for the printables I use to post on our fridge before we got a fridge we couldn't use magnets on.  AND it lets me hang up pictures and swap them out as much as me heart wishes to, simply and quickly.  Excited about thatTo the left, there is a wall (edge of this is a corner), to the right is a hallway to the potty/bedrooms, so it's gotta stay open and easy to navigate.  We shall see.  I ordered a chalkboard which I will report on when it arrives Thursday and am collecting clip boards to hang on the wall, too.  Stay tuned....

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What's been happenin.
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This season of rest has been nice.  A little challenging as the house is still a hot mess and the back yard is solid mud, but we're making it more and more like a home and getting progress made in the off-season tasks of website updates, cleaning, organizing, purging and have even had some time for creating a little bit. Leila likes morning quiet times in the nook, but isn't sure why the chair was purchased that doesn't allow her space to sit.  Poor spoiled kiddo. So, I gave in....and while there won't be space in my lap for too much longer, Leila makes herself at home along my right side most mornings.

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Can't get this photo to rotate, but I'm really loving my Val Marie prayer journal more and more.  It helps me be more intentional, see God answering prayer and keeps my mind focused on scripture for each area of my life for the month.  So, so, so worth every penny - order one, or ten for your friends!!

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Headed to Bowling Green, stayed with fabulous friends, Brad & Brie and had some great food and sweet friend time.  The next morning, wandered town with friends and taught the studio lighting and advanced lighting class.  I jacked these photos from Jabin and Drew's instagrams, so forgive the stealing and quality - they would give me their blessing, don't cha worry ;)

SO FUN and SO GREAT to be able to encourage the students in the program who aren't hoping for news to be their career, but rather some other sort of patchwork, commercial-maybe, portrait driven job.  It's a hard place to not be headed at news, but a WONDERFUL place to be trained and kicked out into the real world of photo biz.  Just nice to know that I could be an encouragement to those forging a different path as I did - there was so very little encouragement brought in when I was there pursuing Lizzie Loo and it's GREAT to see the program growing and accepting other forms of livelihood than newspaper life.

Back home and little Leila's been doing her fair share of resting, ear-infection fighting and hair growing.  She gets a haricut this week and should be sporting a pretty puppy cut soon.  Girl gets so excited about her haircuts.  Really.  She knows a 9am trip towards Simpsonville means time with doggie friends and she starts talking as soon as we pass the Big O'Tire on 60.  Crazy girl.

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I started painting an armoire I bought a couple years back at the 127 yard sale.  Will be used in the baby's room, has taken quite a bit of time, but has been fun - update on that and the process as soon as it's looking complete.  As you can see Leila is a great support as she sits and whines over my shoulder.  And a little peek at the family Jenny Lind bed I slept on as a kiddo that will add another place for someone to stay.  Yay friends!

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Lastly, I've been using my new sewing machine (Thanks mom + dad!) to stitch up sheer curtains in our bedroom and am slowly making progress through the rest of the house. Made this little shade out of reproduction feedsack material I found on an antiquing trip to Glendale.  On that trip we also bought an AWESOME old back door that should be installed on our house soon.  Couldn't be more excited about restoring that thing and giving it both life again and giving our home more character.  So.  fun.That's about all for now.  More to come, soon, we sure hope :)

Moved in and a snow day!

Leila and I are home working today as we woke up to an inch or more of snow in the yard.  It's continued to snow on and off pretty heavily all day bringing us to 3-4 inches for now.  Woot, woot! We're moved over, but not moved in yet.  While the house is covered in blue tape denoting drywall boo-boos and soon missing paint, it's slowly become our home.  Will be very nice to be able to put things away and be here continuously without regular kick-outs for painting, staining and poly-ing.  But for now we're all adjusting to the difference of living with real neighbors, planning for furniture purchases, continuously sewing curtains and enjoying much, much more space.  And amazing washer machine...I mean oh my gosh the washer machine.  I washed 4 quilt/blankets and an armful of towels and it all got clean and dried in under two hours.  Fantastic.  At the loft, I had to have a 'sport' sized washer/dryer because they fit inside a closet with a water heater and HVAC. So thankful to have laundry in-house - they were great when it was just me - but I had no idea how much time I was spending on laundry when I didn't need to.  Crazytown.

Leila is settling in.  She's a little annoyed that she can't watch the cars go by and does her best to climb high on the couch for a shot out the windows.  For now she's settled into the sunroom's sort-of bay window.  As soon as construction and dust has passed I plan to make a little cushion and line it with pillows for her little fluffy self and anyone else wishing to watch the yard and enjoy the sun.

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