Friday, July 26, 2013

The Hay's Invade Tahoe

       At the end of June, my whole family came to Tahoe for our annual family trip. We did some calculations and realized this was the seventh (!!!!) year that the tradition has lived on. We rented a gy-normous house in a private little neighborhood with a pool and it's own beach. At any given time, there were between 11 - 18 people at the house, including 1 teenager, 2 kids, 4 toddlers and 2 babies.  In random order, here's the onslaught of photos, with a little commentary for good measure.
Most mornings we headed to the beach to take advantage of
the sand before the crowds and heat.
We usually frolicked there until the kids were starving
and they needed their afternoon naps.
Stud muffin.

Let's just pretend that I have amazing triceps in this next one.

They're four months apart in age.

This was the first time in YEARS that I got in the water. 
I take after my mother and cold water just kills me. 
This year it was amazingly refreshing in the heat 
and I had to take a pic so that  Jon would believe me.

Cousin Kat. 
She's about to turn fifteen, 
and we wouldn't survive the week without her help.

Grandpa and grandma did lots of baby holding for us too.
It was very much needed and appreciated.
On closer inspection, I'm pretty sure that's 
a zip tie topping someones carefully crafted sandcastle. 
That's her name.
She'll be wearing that brand for a long time, 
whether she likes it or not.
After nap time and before dinner, 
we usually headed to the neighborhood pool.
It was just a couple of blocks away, yet
it still involved quite the load of gear 
(this is just for 2 of the families, mind you).

And then, there was just a whole lot of random summer vacation goodness.
Pretty sure this is the only picture I have of Jon from the entire week.

"Pirate" Nolan and "Mermaid" Roxy 
had some cousin time in the jacuzzi bath tub.

Water balloon fight!!!
Quincy at five months and
Delaney at seven and a half months. 
Quincy doesn't know it yet, 
but they'll be best friends for life.

       This was the first year that I could see the value of this trip for the kids, over the value of the trip for us. Seeing them interact with each other and seeing their relationships taking shape was awesome.  Relationships with cousins are as valuable and special as a relationship with siblings, and those relationships keeps giving for many many years. 
On that note, my cousin and longtime playmate will be in Tahoe
this weekend with her two young boys 
so I'll be back at the lake for some more fun in the sun in two days!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Inspiring Images

       There are a lot of beautiful homes in the world and there is no shortage of images to take inspiration from. But some images will strike you more then others, and you can't get those special-to-you ones out of your head. This happened to me the other day, when I saw this beauty:

{If you love what you see, head over to the blog 
where the talented owner talks about this room and wall in detail.}  

       When I saw this image, I had an aha-moment. Sure, the room in general is layered to perfection and mixes so many textures, finishes, and colors that you would be kinda nuts not to want to hang out in that space, but that wall of frames is what really stopped me in my tracks. 
       Since we've moved into our house, I've spent lots of time parked on our couch, nursing Quincy (TMI?). And any woman that has nursed, knows that it involves a lot of sitting. And sitting. And sitting. You can really only look at your oh-so-perfect baby before you get a bit bored and your eyes start to wonder. And from my vantage point on this couch, I've been staring at a massive wall in our living room. I kind of hate this massive wall. I haven't talked a lot about our living room yet, and you're about to find out why:
OMG. So embarrassing.
It looks like this is where hand me 
down furniture and baby gear go to die.
But it's not. IT'S OUR LIVING ROOM.
       But lets ignore the mess that is our current furniture and carpeting and discuss the wall. She's big. She's unadorned. She is dressed with some hideous lights. She has an outdated door (that door leads to our small mudroom). She's got very little going on for her in general. And because this wall is one of the biggest expanses of wall in our living room, uninterrupted by windows or TV, she holds so much potential. So I think about her a lot. Like too much.  I've considered all kinds of options for her; a gallery wall of family photos, a mixed gallery wall of artwork and collectibles, a few large prints, library style built ins, etc. But all of the sudden, after one glance at the image above,  I think I know which direction that I may go in. Enter my behemoth wall board:
Let's break it down, shall we:
1)  I'm dead set on adding white planking to this wall. It's just so much wall, it really needs some character. Jon and I have been mentally game planning for the planking in our bedroom and we're finding that because we want to do it right and not opt for a cheap looking, may-not-stand-the-test-of-time option, the wood is going to get pricey. But even still, I think it will be completely worth what it adds to the room.

2) Them lights. Them beautiful oil-rubbed bronze swing arm wall sconces. Them's is out of my budget. Like $315.00!!!! EACH!!!, out of my budget. But I loves them and I can't find another comparable option anywhere. 

3) A single pane french door painted in a fun green tone. The day we walked into this house I knew I wanted to put one in. The biggest challenge will be figuring out the exact shade of green that I want. Oh, and the other challenge will be the cost of the door.

4) For that little half window, I want to add bamboo blinds and a curtain from Ballard Designs. Those curtains deserve a post all of their own, but to sum them up for you, I have been web stalking them for months. I love them, just haven't pulled the trigger on them yet (or determined what color that I want them in). 

5) That expanse of wall is long, like 9'-10' long. I still haven't determined what kind of furniture placement that I want to go with. I'm wavering between a long leather couch ($$$$!) or two over sized chairs in a great print. These buffalo print chairs are the perfect stand in for my mock up planning. I loves me some buffalo check. 

6) And finally, the idea that inspired the whole post, a wall of botanical prints. Lots of botanical prints. I would love to utilize Sierra botanical prints to reflect us a bit more, if I can track them down. I'm thinking I'll probably need to do three rows of nine or so, so I'll need about twenty seven prints. My plan is to nab a book of botanicals on ebay and cut the pages out to create my artwork. For as big as that expanse of wall is, that will probably make for a really affordable display. The designer in the image went with frame less frames (oxymoron much?), which was pretty ingenious. I would never have thought that I would be attracted to that type of frame, but maybe it's time for me to push myself a bit. She mentioned that it took her husband days to hang them all (if not done correctly, it really won't have the intended impact), which sounds like the perfect concoction for some marital frustration.
       The reason that it was super easy for me to commit to this idea, is that for the past year, I've found myself loving two things, over and over again: symmetrical frame arrangements + botanical prints.
The symmetry speaks to my OCD side,
while the botanicals are understated.
They infuse subtle color.
They bring in the outdoors.
Grouped together, 
they provide big impact.
They add some history,
which all homes (especially new ones) need.
They provide some calm
in a room of bright toys, baby bouncers, and dog toys.
       Ironically enough, when I celebrated my birthday this month I received a totally unexpected and thoughtful gift from my aunt. My aunt lives in the sierras, like us, and gardening is one of her past times. She has seen our garden and I've asked her lots about the types of plants that we have, etc. Well low and behold she sent me the most awesome little book of hand drawn and painted sierra flowers. I was already planning on using many of the pages framed somewhere in our house (our half bathroom? Quincy's room?). Unfortunately the pages are far too small for the scale of our wall, otherwise I'd get to work now on framing them. Here's a peak inside:

 Oh, and please note, all plans are completely subject to change.

Do you have a wall that's unadorned? A wall that you hate staring at? Do share!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Dear Buzz,

Dear Buzz,
       If I could bottle up the last three years I would. If I could go back and take a snapshot each day, I would. The time has gone far too quickly, and my baby is now a little boy. That thought is hard to wrap my head around.
Two days
Five Weeks
Two months
Three months
       Being your mom has not been easy. You had colic. You didn't sleep through the night until you were two years old. You came down with so many colds and fevers those first two years in daycare. We have made many a trip to Urgent Care (bees sting on your lip, hitting your head on your bike, dropping you at three months {sorry about that one}). There was your hitting phase (that made for some awkward moments with other parents). And I didn't think you would every potty train.  You have your father's stubbornness and your mom's sass. You've shown us that we have even less patience then I thought we did. You are my fiesty one.
Six Months
Six Months
       You are a mama's boy, but your daddy's sidekick. You love riding your bike like daddy, and I tell you to slow down all of the time.  You are a home-body like us, and you like having your own quiet time. Having too many kids or people around overstimulates you, and it always has. You are always dirty. Always. You never let me wipe your nose, and there is always food on your face, but you don't notice. You are now swimming like a fish, but you eat like a bird. People comment on your hair several times, every day. They love it. They can't get enough of it.   You are cautious, which I am thankful for. You still carry your "baby" with you everywhere we go. And your thumb soothes you when you are tired, over done, or cranky.
Eleven Months
Eleven Months
Eleven Months
       You rolled over late. You crawled late. You walked late. But talking, you blew that one out of the water. This year you watched your sister's birth (sorry about that one bud). You have little friendships that are budding and growing. You transitioned into a big boy bed without a hitch.  You don't yet care about computers, phones, or i-anythings, and I hope it stays that way for a long while. There will be plenty of time for that when you are older.
Fourteen months
Fifteen months
       You are a boys-boy through and through, but your sweet heart surprises me every day. You transitioned into the role of big brother this year so easily. You have never shown jealousy over Quincy's arrival. You make her laugh. You coo at her. You bring her toys. She loves watching you. When anyone new comes near, you hover over her and make sure they know you're the brother. You introduce her to strangers as your sister "Kincy". You can make her smile the way no one else can. I hope that bond continues, and only grows stronger and deeper.
Twenty seven months
Twenty eight months
Thirty three months
       We hope to foster in you a love of books and the outdoors. To let your personality grow as large as can be, while instilling manners, empathy, and a gentleness. You have been a gift to your daddy and me, and we hope to gift you an adventurous and playful childhood, filled with attention, dirt, and laughter. Your daddy and I work hard (and often too much) to provide for you, and we hope that you learn the value of working hard in this lifetime to achieve your own goals.
       Happy 3rd Birthday to my feisty, funny, loves to ride bikes like daddy, talks back too much, always covered in dirt, charmer of a boy. I wouldn't have you any other way. I'm thankful for your health, wild spirit, and kind heart. Thank you for being ours, and for making us a family.
       This year we didn't do a birthday party. This mama was tired. It was too much. We kept it small, and intimate and played in our backyard. And you know, that was just fine. A few years ago my friend (Hi Carrie!), a mom of four, told me that for her daughters birthday all she got her one of those fancy grocery store balloons. I was bewildered. A balloon? And now I get it. They need very little. We think they need a lot, but they don't. Nolan has never been to Toysrus or walked down the toy aisle at Target.  He doesn't long for possessions and for the time being, I'm very much enjoying that. This year, we gifted him his first fishing pole to use at our neighborhood pond with his daddy. Hopefully that pole will gift him with many memories.