Wednesday, January 30, 2013

2012 Yearbook (on the cheap(er))!

I instagrammed this picture recently, noting that my 2012 family photo yearbook was going to be pricey.  I hit the max pages (100) pretty quickly, and had to do some selective editing to get everything I wanted in there.  Turns out having a baby causes someone like me to take a billion pictures, all of which are EXTREMELY important and MUST be in the book... 

I have used MyPublisher to make the book twice now and I really like the quality and use of the software.  I've tried a bunch of companies over the years, and this is my favorite.  My book was $115 when I was done with it ... which was not happening.  Luckily, I discovered today that their current promo (coupon code HEARTPAGES) takes off the cost of the add-on pages (anything over the 20 that come standard).  So I was able to order it for $35!! (plus $11 shipping).  

Still, that's a fair bit of money.  But it's one thing I indulge in each year, and it's important to me.  Tony luckily understands.

I just wanted to share this in case anyone out there was looking to do one of the same.  Looks like this expires Feb 4th.  For my purposes, the free pages promo was the best deal out of all of the other promos I have seen them run.  I was afraid I was going to have to wait months until it came up again, but luckily, it's happening now.

(FYI- I'm sure it's obvious, but no one pays me to write anything on this blog (or it would probably be a lot better...)- I just really like this product and wanted to share a deal!)

Here are a few of my pages, just sharing for fun:

This has been my favorite addition to my yearbooks - a page outlining the highlights of each month (similar to this blog post I did).  I love reading these from years past.


Here are my books from prior years:

Monday, January 28, 2013

Embracing Pink

Harper is not a girly-girl.  But for her six month birthday, I decided we should do a princess ballerina photoshoot.  She agreed.  Sometimes you just gotta embrace the pink.

Telling secrets.

Ruffle butt.

See my tiny teeth?
Even princess ballerinas get sleepy...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Avocado Adventures

Little Baby Harper Kate (LBHK as we like to call her...) turned 6 months old yesterday!!!  She celebrated by developing her first little cold (stuffy nose, mostly) and eating her first real food.  I'm still nursing, but now we get to add the fun stuff to her diet!  Because I have the time and need a project, I'm going to make her food, at least for a while.  

For a variety of reasons, we skipped the rice cereal stage and went straight for the green stuff:  avocado, thoroughly smushed.

At first she was all...
Wait, what's happening?  Where are the toys?
 Then she was all...
Oh look at me!

I need to add on to these chins
 Then it was...
Um.... mom?

OH! It's food! I love eating!
 But then it was all...
Wait this is weird.
Final verdict - she liked it!

She maybe ate about a real-person spoonful or so. (I froze the rest of the avocado in ice cube trays for later)

At this stage, baby feeding is fun.  I want to try all kinds of things and feed her all of the time.  I'm doing neither, for obvious reasons.  We will take it slow, but I can't wait until she's eating what we eat.

[Each month I write a letter to her - full of irrelevant detail, mostly for my own memories.  I will probably share her 6m one here - along with more pictures!  (When I actually write it...)  I feel like my "omgmykidisamazinglookatallofthesepictures" has dropped significantly here on the blog and that's not ok.]

Anyone have any baby food making advice or sites they want to share?  Right now it's pretty basic, but still!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cabinet: OUT!

As a followup to yesterday's post about our kitchen fix-up - The cabinet is OUT!  

Sandy's excited about it!

We were hoping to keep it... but the person who put it in ... put it in for LIFE... so it didn't make it out alive.

See the big difference already???  I get excited every time I walk in there.  

It helps that I can see my Law & Order from any room.  (SVU of course - duh.)

I somehow found a place for everything.  It's not 100% practical - but if it fits, it ships. 
And that counter top feels so much more useful since you can stand there working and have a little elbow room.  Wall demo starts Saturday!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Opening Up

Tony and I bought our house in July of 2007.  Ya know, mere months before the housing market really crashed and houses became cheap... We were fresh out of college, living at his parents' house, desperate for a place of our own.  There were literally six houses for sale in Peachtree City that were within our budget at that time (mere months later - hundreds! I'm still a little bitter...).   

The other five houses had crazy things like diagonal 80s pink wood siding.  We actually only looked at our house - the others got axed just by looking at the listing.  We liked this house and went for it.  We told ourselves we would probably be in it for five years max and move to a bigger place before we had kids (ya know, back in the day when you were actually able to move without selling your firstborn...).

Going on six years later, we are still here - and will be for the foreseeable future.  Although things have rebounded some, and our city/neighborhood is definitely in much better shape than other areas of Atlanta, we still could not sell our house now for what we owe on it (womp womp).     

And oh! I wish I could go back to those silly fresh-outta-college kids and tell them what a person should really look for in a house...  I have such a long list now - things I never even thought about back when we were so eager to buy.

One of the biggest on my list is an open floor plan and natural light.  Our house has neither.  It is pretty closed off, with a dark hallway connecting all of the rooms and a living room and kitchen that are  closed off from each other.  Our windows are small (with the exception of a big one in the kitchen) and the house always feels a bit dungeony.

So we decided to move forward with a project we had been kicking around for years, but didn't think we would ever get to.  It helps that my dad is Mr. Handy and can help us do just about anything.  

We are going to open the wall/doorway between our living room and the kitchen, opening up the floor plan and also allowing more light to flow between the rooms.  I'm so excited!

So here's what it looked like before: (um, I didn't clean up before taking these - Tony was all "I'm tearing stuff out rightnow")

Yeah, we have a bajillion cabinets.  We hate them, they are impractical and inefficiently-sized... but we deal.  They are going to get some TLC in this process eventually... 

See that giant cabinet - it's going to make room for more doorway!

Tony tore off the trim before I could get a picture...  That's our living room you can see into a bit there on the right.

We are leaving that right side portion of the wall alone, since that door out to our garage opens against it... But we are going up a bit with the opening.

Here's what it looks like from the living room (specifically from my indented-in spot on the couch...)

The wood is showing where the opening will come to...Big difference!
So great, right??  Well, yes, it's going to be awesome.  If one of us is in the kitchen and the other in the living room, it won't feel like we are doing our own thing separately.  We can talk while I lounge on the couch and Tony slaves away at the stove. :)

The only bummer is we are losing that very big, very packed cabinet...

It's the only cabinet where we can store big stuff like pots and cutting boards and cookie sheets.  But see how that monstrosity really blocks off the room?  It sticks out and really creates a barrier there, making the kitchen feel smaller and isolated.

Soon you will be able to see that entire window from the front door, which will be great for light flow.

My parents are coming this weekend to help us do it.  

On the future list for the kitchen is:
- Repaint
- Beadboard/trim
- Refinish cabinets
- New cabinet hardware
- Valence?
- New light fixtures?

I will share our progress as we go!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Clean Calendar

From the time that Harper was born in late July, it seemed like the rest of our 2012 was filled up.  There were weddings and trips and doctor appointments (oh! the doctor appointments!).  Add to that holidays and holiday planning and shopping. The fact that I hit my personal insurance max due to baby-having meant that I was maxing out my (free!) doctor visits for myself - I went the the dermatologist, I went to the chiropractor weekly, I got my eye exam and a cavity filled.  

We were busy.

Now it's January and my planner is blissfully empty.  Harper's ortho appointments are now only every three months, the regular pediatrician visits are less frequent, and I can no longer afford to go to the doctor (just kidding, kinda...).

It's awesome, yet a little daunting.  Ok, now what do we do with our time?  What I've discovered so far about being a SAHM, is that the day seems to fly by.  We live our life in 3.5 hour increments (Harper does really well on a schedule).  By the time one round is over it's time to go to the next.  She eats, we play and clean and do lots of things - we all get out to run errands or grab dinner sometimes when Tony gets home from work - we are busy.  Yet the day goes by and then it's the next one and then it's been a week and then it's been a month.  And I wonder what I've been doing with my time.

Yet there is something about January's fresh start status.  Christmas decor comes down and the house feels more open and airy.  I can see my house and our lives with fresh perspective, and the projects are already bubbling over in my mind.  I've already moved around the furniture in our bedroom to mix it up.  I'm organizing Harper's clothes and toys.  The deep clean comes next.  We are going to enjoy some quality time as a family while we have so much of it.

Fresh start, clean calendar.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Simple Pleasures

It's about time they came back, I think.

[In case you are new around here, I used to post one picture with minimal text every Saturday, as my Simple Pleasure of the week - pretty things or things that made me happy (mostly dog/kid/flower pictures, lets be honest...).  I sort of stopped doing it.]

It will be harder in our Instagram world - that's basically what IG is - daily simple pleasures that are a snap to share with the rest of the world.  But I will try to post a unique one on here each Saturday.  I need weekly reminders of the beauty I have in my life.


My sister's Pinterest-worthy DIY wrap job on Harper's Christmas present:

Friday, January 4, 2013

Proof We Celebrated Christmas

[Because if you don't blog about it, it didn't happen, right?...]

Christmas:  It happened.  It was wonderful.  Here are the pictures.  :)

Christmas Eve at Tony's parents' house with Jon, Jennifer, and Ava

"Christmas Ava" - as she was calling herself.  Such a cutie.

My little crazy-haired tartan-wearing baby

Good thing they make Christmas bibs...  Also, I need to stop trying to use my baby as a shield against photos of my double chins...

Papou Claus

Santa looks terrified.

Our first nephew is due in May!!  Hooray!  

And to all a good night!


On to Tennessee on Christmas Day with my family:

I love this one.

She kept saying "I need to dress up now."
I ate some food.  Tony photographed it.  I was happy.

Cousins! Harper looks obese.

My dad built Lyla the YHL dollhouse, complete with Olivia's family and all.  It's super cute.
Well, we managed one good family photo.  Harper is doing what she does best.

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