Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bella's Room Makeover

I've been wanting to do something a little more permanent and "little girl" in Bella's room. I didn't do a lot of decorating as far as pictures and paint goes when the room first became a nursery, so as she got a little older, I wanted to make some changes. This weekend, we got it all done! Mel watched Bella, Steve offered moral support, and I was able to finish the whole room in just one day - it was a huge relief knowing that it wasn't going to drag out over many days. I'm not going to post "before" pictures, because I have quite a few "after" pictures and don't want to put up too many.

The main "before" issue was the windows. For months, I have had blankets tacked up to block the light. It's effective, but so ugly. I wanted something that could block the light and look cute at the same time. Without further's Bella's room!
My original color choice had been purple, but I decided to change it green so that it would match the curtains I found. I didn't want the color green to be too overwhelming, so we added some bright accents. Mel found the blue elephant at WalMart and one of my friends gave me the yellow, antique lunchbox at a baby shower.

I found some cute, brightly colored frames to put pictures in. Each one was about $3.00, which made Steve even happier with the deal! They were one of my final touches and I really like them!

Just a little touch, but I found her a yellow clock at Target for $5.00. It was a cute addition to the bright colors!

This is the main view of the room.

The crib is between the two windows, but eventually, this will be where her "big girl bed" will be. We have no interest in rushing her to a new bed, so the crib will be fine for now. The big girl bed will be white to match the dresser.

I painted all around the owl and the top of the tree. The pictures on the right are two drawings from Kenya.

I haven't had a chance to paint in between the individual flowers yet. It's going to require a smaller brush and some attention to detail. I absolutely LOVE this mural that our friend, Ben, created for Bella's first birthday, so I want to be very careful to make sure I don't ruin any of his design.

A close-up of the new valances. There are little owls and porcupines; we really wanted something that was girly, but also a little funky.

This is the first section of wall that I'm not sure what to do with. I really like the idea of painting a square of chalkboard paint with a border and letting that be a drawing area for Bella.

This is the second large expanse of wall where I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet. I'm not sure if I'm going to put some shelves or pictures up there, so for now, it's blank.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

How We Spend Our Day...

This video pretty well sums up how we spend our day with Bella. She quickly switches between needy, grabby, adorable, giggly, and back again. She decided a long time ago that we should be at her every beck and call. Bringing in a new baby has only strengthened her resolve and made me very thankful that we didn't bring in our own second baby when she was this young! I know a ton of mothers who have done it (successfully!), but I don't suffer in silence very well, and I'm not sure I could handle it. :)

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Baby! (Just Not Our Own Yet)

This morning was our first time with little Camryn! She is so little and squirmy - I forgot how many sounds newborns make! She's been battling with some acid reflux, so our first day was spent getting to know each other and figuring out new strategies that I haven't had to think about in awhile.

Bella was fascinated! She kept pointing to Camryn and saying, "Baby? Baby?" She also loves all of the new gear - pacifiers, bouncers, bottles, and carseats. Here she is exploring the new little human in the house.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up

We've had a good weekend that seemed to go much too quickly. Friday night, Mel and I went to a "coupon party" and it was so much fun! I discovered that a coupon party is basically like Mary Kay, but two wonderful, hilarious ladies taught us some good tips for how to use coupons and be a good steward of the money that God has given you. Here's their website:

Saturday morning, we decided to take a deep breath and try to take Bella to a restaurant. It was a rough start, but eventually, she seemed to calm down and have a good time. I pretty much let her get as messy as she wants and just clean her up afterwards. Here's a picture of her chowing down on breakfast; she was a mess!

The rest of Saturday was a lot of errands and a date night for Steve and I. We are planning an overhaul on Bella's room this week, so date night gave us a chance to be alone, as well as look for some supplies and ideas. I'm going to post some "before" and "after" pictures later this week. I'm hoping to have it completely done by the weekend!

At Target, I found a tree tent for little kids. It's so cute! It was on a great sale and I thought Bella would love it. Isn't is adorable?

We also reached a new stage this week in our life with Bella. We bought a "time-out chair" for her and we're hoping it will help with some of her behavior issues. We've talked with friends, read some books, prayed for wisdom, and asked a lot of questions. We've placed the time-out stool in the dining room where she will not have an audience and be able to calm down.

We're praying for a lot of wisdom over the next few months as Bella learns to communicate better. We know that this is simply the next stage and she's acting exactly how a toddler acts.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Just The Way We Like It!

One of the ways that Steve's bank has been so generous to our family was to send over a cleaning lady on two different occasions. I wasn't raised with a cleaning lady and I've never hired one now that I'm in my own home, so I wasn't really sure what to expect. I have to say...she was amazing! Her name was Amelia, and she didn't look much older than I am. It was a lot of fun to come home and find our rolls of toilet paper in every bathroom folded like this...
One of the other things that she did was clean the front of the refrigerator. To do this, Amelia had to take down all of the pictures and mementos that were taped to it. It was nice to have a sparkly, shiny fridge door for a day, but this afternoon, I put it all back up. I like having my fridge door taped with a bunch of "junk." I like having my little sister's picture taped down low so that Bella can recognize "Aunt Rachel." And I love the Taco Bell sauce packet that reads, "Will You Marry Me?" on the front of it that Steve gave me a couple of months ago. So once again, our fridge looks like this...

A huge thank-you to Steve's bank and to Amelia, but the memories beat clean anyday!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Great Snow-pocalypse of 2011

You have to know something about people in Atlanta...if it's not 70 degrees outside with sun and blue skies, we tend to struggle. Heavy rain, lots of heat, ANY doesn't matter what it is, we're plunged into chaos. This past weekend, we had about five inches of snow which effectively shut down our city for about four days. Needless to say, we've all been going just a little stir-crazy this week! We finally dragged the little human outside to play in the snow and enjoy some fresh air!
Making snowballs to throw at Daddy, who was watching from inside.

Bella wanted to spend most of her time eating the snow.

Making a snowman with Mommy and Auntie Mel

Bella and her little snowman

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Life With Our Two-Year Old

Our child has entered her "Terrible Twos" and yesterday was a particularly rough day. She had her choice of Mommy, Daddy, Auntie Mel, or Grandma and nothing made her happy. I mean, nothing. She woke up cranky and that pretty much lasted all day long. Whew! She does have her sweet moments, so I'm posting some pictures from this past week...

A favorite activity...snuggling with Daddy and watching a movie.

Snuggling and reading with Grandma.

We took everybody for a walk yesterday (including Steve), and it was comical! It took Mom and I forever to bundle up Bella, Rex, and Steve, and when we finally got out the door, it was exhausting! It was funny to watch Mom shoving Bella and Rex up the hill and me shoving Steve in the wheelchair. Oy! I only had "girl" jackets, so Rex got put in hot pink. Poor kid!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Counting our Blessings...Even The Ones In Disguise

Things that have made me frustrated in the last week:
  • Steve tried to sleep upstairs, but got too sore, so we are on week 3 of sleeping on the couch and hospital bed.

  • I used our tub last weekend for the first time in a few months and the drain clogged. This caused the toilet to overflow and then leak down into the kitchen causing multiple water stains and a call to the plumber.

  • Our truck, which just had about $5,000.00 worth of work done, had the "Check Engine" light come on. (Seriously?!)

  • I was supposed to watch a 3rd baby this week, but the mom called me 2 days before and cancelled. She said her mother-in-law really wanted to watch the baby, so they didn't need me anymore. We've had these plans for the last two months, so it was extremely frustrating and discouraging to suddenly lose that income we were planning on.

Okay, that was my honest moment. Now on to all of the things I have been really, really thankful for this week:

  • Steve's mom came on Sunday and has been a huge help already! She is making meals and helping with the babies...I actually took a nap on Monday!

  • The plumber came today and said we just had a clogged drain (not a cracked pipe). He said we could easily cover the water stains with special paint without having to replace all of the ceiling in the kitchen.

  • We have been so blessed by people in our church and Steve's bank bringing meals and checking in on Steve.

  • Through everything, I'm still so thankful to have Steve here, and I'm actually excited to have him home for the next 4 weeks.

  • Rex and Bella have been wonderful through this whole's a picture of them watching the Lion King today. Love these kids!

Thank you so much to everyone who has been praying and for all of the phone calls we've received! This is a little thing, but with all of the food we've gotten, we actually haven't gotten many repeats! We've had great food! So many people are better cooks than I am!