One year

Someone at our house had a birthday today.  

Despite my best efforts to stop it from happening, my sweet little man turned one.
Kole was excited.  For what he didn’t know.

What he did know was that everyone he saw throughout the day was awfully happy to see him.  And smile at him.  And sing to him.  And he quite enjoyed all of the attention.  

What he didn’t enjoy was his birthday hat.  He humored mom just long enough for a few pictures, and then was done humoring.  

He was a bit unsure about his cake,

but after immense coaxing and excitement from his sisters,
he decided it was a good thing after all.

So now my little man has moved from size 6-12 to 12-18 months.  

I have survived my very last “year of the baby”.  I thought it would feel so good.  And can I be honest?
 It doesn’t.  

I sat down last night and started a post at around 8:00 pm.  A post all about my sweet Kole.  Random pictures from the past year and random things about him that make him so special to me.  By 9:00 the tears were flowing from my eyes so quickly that I couldn’t see my computer screen.  I couldn’t finish the post (obviously).  I cried for two hours straight and have continued to cry on and off throughout the day today.  Words can’t express how much this little boy means to me and how grateful I am to have him in my life.  And I guess I’m having a harder time than I thought I would watching him grow so quickly.  Where did that year go?  I was just bringing him home from the hospital.  It feels like last week.  Those of you who have followed my blog for a while know that I can’t have any more children, and I’m so ok with that.  This isn’t about wanting another baby.  I guess it’s just about wanting Kole to stay my baby forever.

Happy birthday sweet boy.  You bring so much joy to this family and I treasure each moment I get to spend being your mommy.  

Recent pics

An early morning rainbow out the dining room window.

Girls saying their good-byes before Ellie heads to school.

 Addison gets ready for pre-school and wants to wear mom’s boots.  Again.
 Someone was being very quiet…
 and then was caught…
 and then scooted away leaving a fun mess for mom.
 A favorite traveling companion.
Saturday afternoon lounging – photo taken by Ellie.
 Flowers blooming in the back yard.
Date night. 
 Story time.
Dancing to a favorite song – just home from swimming lessons.  The girls love swimming with daddy after their lesson.  They also love dancing.  Mom loves capturing moments like this one.  

Spring Decor

Hello friends!  Sharing pics of my home with a few touches of Spring!  I had so much fun decorating my mantel for Valentines Day

that I decided to change things up a bit for Spring–

It was hard for me not to use red!  But I love the way the green and white work with the black to give my mantel a cleaner, softer, more “Springy” look.

I already owned most of the stuff I used.  Just switched out the candles, added a simple white pitcher,

and moved the plant around.  I found these cute Easter eggs and put them in some Apothecary jars (how can you not love Apothecary jars!?),

and of course kept up my favorite little black jars.  I first tried filling the jars with Easter candy, but ended up just leaving them empty.  I like the simple, clean look for this simple, clean time of year.

Here are a few more Springy updates:

Welcome!  A fun Spring wreath on my front door.  I fell in love with this wreath when I saw it because it looks so real!  It reminded me of all of the wild flowers that grow on Boulder Mountain (a favorite family camping spot).  Plus it cost me a whole 11 bucks.  What’s not to love about that!?

Of course there have been all sorts of tulip arrangements in various spots around my home.  Tulips are my favorite flower and my friends and family all remember that every March for my birthday.  This particular arrangement was left on my door step a week ago.  A special gift from Kenny.  While I didn’t get my diamonds last March because I opted to have the baby early ;)  I did get a year of fresh flowers.  Kenny gave me a card that said he had ordered me a year of fresh flowers (one arrangement would be delivered each month) to get me through the “year of the baby.”  I have so enjoyed finding a new bouquet of flowers on my doorstep each month that represent the current season and time of year.

LOVED the tulips.  Almost enough to forgive Kenny about the diamonds.  :)

This really has nothing to do with Spring, but we finally hung the family portrait…

and the picture of the two of us.  The individuals of the kids will be trickier because I need to figure out how I want to collage them on the wall.  I found this plant when I was visiting family in Utah in February and fell in love with the vase.  I can’t get seem to get enough of yellow lately!  Yellow is such a happy color, isn’t it!?

Speaking of yellow, I fell in love with this little yellow and gray set.  I put them on our black coffee table in the family room because this has become a landing spot for Kenny’s keys, wallet, and Blackberry after he gets home from work.  I have tried putting other decor here only to be annoyed when it is tossed aside so that he has room for his loose change.  I finally decided — why fight it?  Now he has a place to put his things after work that is stylish and makes us both happy.  Ok – Kenny is actually pretty indifferent.  I’m the happy one.  :)  Would have photographed it with his keys and wallet in their new stylish home, but those items are only there at night and I’m usually too tired to think about taking pictures at that stage in the day!

Last year I filled this fun, little set of jars with flowers from my yard… 

This year I filled them with Easter candy.  We had to have jars of Easter candy somewhere!  It has been great motivation for kids who choose to have a good attitude during homework.  And for a certain mom who feels she too deserves a reward for maintaining a good attitude during homework.

Found these shiny Easter eggs and hung them from the kitchen shelf.  They look a little cheesy, but my girls love stuff like this.  

This is a fun little tree I picked up at a great specialty store I just love called “my mom’s house.”  (for real – I stole it from my mom’s last time I visited.  Her house is one of my favorite places to shop.  You can’t beat the prices.  ;)  Love you mom.)

I’m crazy about these little lemon trees I bought at Pottery Barn last year when all of their Spring decor went on sale.

I love them so much…

that I have to share them…

from every possible angle.

Our Easter tree didn’t really work with the decor I had going on downstairs…

so I brought it upstairs into the girls’ bedroom and created a festive little Easter display for them to enjoy.

Ellie’s contribution was the little framed picture she made of herself last year in Kindergarten.  She even put the scotch tape on the back herself and got it all ready for me to hang.  :)

You all know that I’m in a constant state of “Spring cleaning” at my house no matter what the season, so Spring cleaning doesn’t feel like much of a change.  But I do have my one shelf of dishes I make sure to wipe down from top to bottom every time Spring rolls around.  My little way of welcoming in the season!

The Bougainvillea in our yard is growing like crazy!  It always brings a smile to my face when I pull into my garage.

Welcome Spring!!!  So happy you are here!

p.s.  That may have been more than “just a few” touches of Spring!  Sorry for the picture overload.
p.p.s.  Linking up at The Stories of A2Z!

Kids’ School Work

I can’t believe it’s already Thursday night!  My house is a mess, my fridge is empty, and my kids have been totally fending for themselves.  Kenny and I have been consumed this week with our quest to find our dream home.  I’m a bit burned out and am starting to think our dream home is just that: a nice dream.  Oh well!  Gonna keep on dreaming…and keep on hunting…and while I’m at it, I’ll also dream about my current house cleaning itself and my fridge stocking itself with groceries (I like my peppered turkey super thin thank you very much).

Anyway, switching gears – I wanted to answer a question that has popped up quite a bit from time to time.  “What do you do with your kids’ school work?”  My previous post touched on this so I thought I’d wrap it up with this post.

I LOVE my kids’ artwork (what mom doesn’t!?) but it can sure be overwhelming because they come home with SO much.  The stuff I hang on to always falls in one of these categories:

A)  Shows their personality
B)  Shows their growth in a certain area
C)  Speaks to me and makes me smile

Everything else gets trashed.  Of course, before I trash a lot of it, I display it all over the house.  I display things in the playroom…

And the door to our garage is always covered with happy art work… 

Here’s my very own Vanna White (or maybe Princess Leia?) showcasing her originals.

This picture of our pantry door was taken last November.  Makes me in the mood for Fall!  :)  Here’s the thing with seasonal artwork – the kids always bring it home from school toward the end of the season!  These cute turkeys and scarecrows came home two days before Thanksgiving.  Since I like to have seasonal artwork like this up at the beginning of the season, I save things like this just to put up the next year.  I have a place for seasonal art – the stuff I want to display for a year or two during a certain season and then trash.

In my hutch organization post, I showed these boxes on the right side of my hutch for keepsakes.  I don’t have a picture to share, but the left side of this hutch is where I store seasonal artwork.  Next November I’ll hang up my girls’ artwork from previous Novembers.  They love to see their past work displayed each season.  Plus it gets us all excited about the upcoming holiday!

The stuff that I really treasure (usually written work that shows my girls’ personalities) I save for their scrapbooks.  You all know the new system I’ve developed to keep this work organized!

Everything I want my girls to have, I try to some how work into their scrapbooks (Project Life albums).  I fell in love with the Project Life albums because of that very reason – such a great way to incorporate everything I want my girls to have as keepsakes.  (Updated school file folders here)
I think having these hand prints of Ellie’s on her first day of Kindergarten displayed with pictures from that day makes the memory extra special. 

Anything I want to save that is too big or just doesn’t make it into the Project Life albums I am currently keeping in these bins.

I bought one for each of the girls (5 bucks at Target) and hope one is all I need.  I really try to keep this in mind when saving school work:  How much do I really need to save?  My mom saved a couple of boxes of stuff for me from my school days and I treasure it all, I really do.  But how often do I look at it?  Not that often.  I look through my childhood photo album a lot more than I go through my box of school work.  I really don’t want to hand my kids’ 20 boxes and 20 albums full of their childhood (which would be easy for me to do!).  At some point when this box is getting too full, I’ll go through it and decide what’s really worth hanging on to.  
So that is my system!  Some on the walls, some stored as seasonal decor, some in their albums, some in storage bins, and the rest (about 85% of it) gets recycled.  
What about you?  Any other fun ideas/systems for saving kids’ school work?    
Any other fun ideas/systems for getting your house to clean itself?  Keep dreamin’…right?  :)

Project Life Organization

So I’ve been running into a couple of minor snags in my system lately.  First, you all know that I “borrowed” a corner of Kole’s room for my scrap space…
and then I “borrowed” a few of his drawers to hold all of my Project Life supplies…

making his room a perfect place to work on my Project Life Albums.

All of that would have worked wonderfully – except for…
 {Minor Snag #1}

The napping baby.  I can’t work on the PL albums in my scrap space while Kole is napping and of course, that is the only time I can work on the PL albums.

Because of this, as you all know, my kitchen table has been looking a tad messy lately.
{Minor Snag #2}

The messy pile of school work.  There wasn’t enough room in my PL drawer to hold all of the girls’ school work I want to eventually put in their albums.  AND because their work was just in a big unorganized pile, it was taking too much of my precious “baby is napping I can finally get something done time” to organize everything.
{Minor Snag #3} 

My homework drawer that used to look like this…

has lately been looking like this.  Too many papers and workbooks for one little kitchen drawer and it was becoming hard to keep track of things.

So as you know, I treated myself to a little St. Patrick’s Day trip to Target and Staples to pick up some organizers.

I bought this green crate to hold all of the girls school work/memorabilia that I might include in their PL albums.  After adding all of their work I still had plenty of room, so I also used this for extra school stuff from my overflowing homework drawer.  I created three tabs (A for Addison, E for Ellie, and S for school stuff).  I divided the folders into seasons (spring 2010, fall 2011, etc.)  because I usually do about a season at a time when I work on these books.  This will be so easy to stay organized!  Addison brought home a beautiful self portrait from pre-school today and I just slipped in into her “spring 2011″ slot and it will be there waiting for me when it’s time to work on that section of her Project Life album.  I’m hoping to stay caught up enough that I only have about a years worth of work in this crate at a time.  Then I’ll just write new tabs for the new seasons as needed.  The folders in the back are for school stuff we are always working on like Ellie’s journal and spelling pages.

 Now that all of the paper has its own home, I can just keep workbooks and supplies in my homework drawer.  I’m so happy to see it looking like this again!
Next, I decorated a PL journaling card to put on my cute little green portable caddy…

and turned it into a place to hold a all of my PL supplies.  (I just knew I bought those blinged out green letter stickers for a reason!)

It’s the perfect size for all of my journaling cards and scissors and pens.  Love it!  

I’m going to keep these somewhere in my kitchen (in a cupboard or the bottom of my pantry) so I have easy access to them.  Working on my Project Life albums while Kole is napping will now be a much easier task!

Minor snags are solved and all is right in the world again.  :)