5.30.2014

a mom post: year one

*note: nothing crafty in this post. :) this one is a mom post, a lifestyle post, a diary of sorts about year one of being a mom of two...hope you enjoy!

i started thinking a couple of weeks ago about all of the big and little things that have happened since may 30, 2013. yes, we added another adorably spicy peanut to our family. but, as a mom, i have learned so very much. about being a mom to two little peanuts. about horrific diaper rash in a two-week old. about random rash breakouts two days before christmas and fighting to find out why. about "even stevens". about the struggle of being a mom that works outside of the home with a too-long commute (thus keeping me from my kids) and wanting to be closer to home and praying for and getting the absolute best professional situation i could have ever asked for. about understanding that having another child doesn't mean you split your love between two kids, but rather your heart literally grows that much bigger. 



join me on this little journey as our family celebrates the one year birthday that we became a family of four. our celebration of little mr. re-nest #2 and the marking of little mr. re-nest #1's first (and biggest) job of all time: big brother.

what i've learned (and also kind of stumbled my way through) in the last 365 days:

- momnesia. there is truth (honest truth) to the theory that, as a parent, you forget certain things that come with those early days and months. it's true. but i found myself often looking at mr. re-nest and saying "uh, did this happen last time?" and he would look at me sweetly (with his steel trap mind), and say "yes, yes it did." 

- time doesn't just fly. it warps past you. that's all. simply stated.

- the second baby gets to milestones waaayy more quickly than the first. oh, and forget baby toys. because the second goes right for the oldest's toys. little mr. re-nest #2's favorite toy? a matchbox-size lightning mcqueen from little mr. re-nest #1's collection. yep, it's metal. parents of the year, right here. but you know what? that car calms him when he's melting down. as long as he doesn't bang it into his noggin.



- baby food making. confession: little mr. re-nest #1 got gerber. and somewhere between little mr. re-nest #1 was old enough to grab food and feed himself and growing little mr. re-nest #2, i found the baby bullet. which is a small version of a food processor but it comes with all of these super cool little containers for getting homemade baby food ready. and thanks to some great work friends, we added this to our ever-growing list of kitchen gadgets (and this was actually used!) you know what? i love making baby food. it's way more economical but it's also kind of therapeutic. and i just felt better about having little mr. re-nest #2 start eating real foods that he'd eat eventually. mr. re-nest swears i'm conducting some sort of experiment (he's a scientist, so what can i expect?) to see if the second child will eat better than the first. personally, i fully expect many, many, many days where the food pickiness will be the exact same.

- the ongoing struggle/balancing act of having a young boy + a baby and paying the appropriate amount of attention to both. this is a day-by-day thing. yes, babies need attention. but you know what i didn't expect? those early weeks and months where little mr. re-nest #1 and i didn't spend much time together. yes, the new peanut was nursing so naturally he needed me. but there finally became a moment where i stopped and we figured out how i could go back to seeing the boy who made me a mama. i couldn't tell you when it was, or what prompted the realization that we could make it all work, but we did it. and, while little mr. re-nest #1 loves and adores and idolizes his daddy, he also very much needs his mama.



- doing laundry for four instead of three. let's face it, i'm still trying to figure out how to do laundry for two. thank the lord for my mom, is all i have to say.

- two kids = it's time to accept help. this is a tough one for us type-a personalities. when little mr. re-nest #1 came along, i wanted to handle it all. i could do it. two kids later, and oh, you want to make me dinner? sure. oh, you're offering to mow our lawn? well, sure! accept the help. 

- it really takes a village. and for me, a smartphone. and that's ok. our closest relative lives about an hour away. so, our neighbors have become our family and our village. and for that, we are forever thankful.

today is an amazing day. in my opinion, the birthdays are the days to step back as a parent and say "wow. i'm doing a pretty damn good job at this." it's the day to look at your partner and say thank you. 

i'm off now to say thanks to my amazing mr. re-nest and enjoy a gorgeous day with my two amazing little boys.

xoxo,
ashley


5.26.2014

#peanutturnsone

yep friends, little mr. re-nest #2's big first birthday bash has its own hashtag. (now that i write that, it sounds so ridiculous. ridiculously cool.) :)

it seemed completely incomprehensible that almost one year has gone by since that thursday at the end of may, when our spicy little peanut with the most perfectly coifed head of hair (dark brown with highlighted tips!) decided to make his way into the world. to say that this little guy has been the absolute perfect addition to our family is a total understatement. he's made little mr. re-nest #1 a big brother. he's shown mr. re-nest and me how to multitask to the max. most importantly, he's showed us that even more love is possible.

so, to celebrate this little man, we threw a "very hungry caterpillar" first birthday bash this weekend. it was a smaller bash, with just as much cake as little mr. re-nest #1's party. and to say that i had a blast doing the decor for this party hardly even scratches the surface. this party was the bomb.

let's get to it, shall we? once again, lots 'o pics and full-on credit list at the end because a mama who has two parties in just over a month needs a little help from her friends.
let's start with the invitation! 
invitation layout and design by digipartyshoppe on etsy
one of my very fave pieces of the party: the tissue puff number one.
made by me (and my mom helped too!). finished off with
little mr. re-nest #2's wooden wall letters from
pottery barn kids, a fabric wrapped canvas, and my
vase of white sticks. a nice little entryway decor element!
 
just another cool angle shot. plus you get a view of
the handmade paper circle garland i made. :)
it's not a renest party without a giant birthday banner!
complete with "very hungry caterpillar" fabric from fabricdotcom
another little caterpillar banner for our little peanut!
the high chair banner! layered effect with "very hungry caterpillar"
fabric and paper.
little mr. re-nest #2's official first birthday stats print!
huge thanks and props to pink poppy design on etsy for the
amazing layout and work with this!
and, the centerpiece...the gorgeous party cake
from polka dot bakery in sycamore, illinois!
little mr. re-nest #2's smash cake!
from polka dot bakery
more sugar! gumballs + rainbow suckers
with personalized stickers from caring designs
my new obsession: cake pop adorableness!
don't you love these caterpillars?
once again, the fabulous sugar grubbin' in sycamore, illinois
made these happen!
another shot of the cake pop caterpillars
because they are just so darn cute!
love these adorable water bottle labels!
thanks to digipartyshoppe on etsy!
and, the finale? the giant tissue puff caterpillar.
(note: this was not an easy feat! thanks to
my stepmama and brother-in-law, this
made it to life at the party!)



and, like i said, none of this would have been possible without a little help from some friends...

party invitation inserts: "very hungry caterpillar" design by digipartyshoppe on etsy. super easy...i received a jpeg of the finished invite, sent them to wal-mart for printing and got them back in about a week!

"very hungry caterpillar" themed fabric: from fabric.com

birthday stats chalkboard print: design and layout by pink poppy design on etsy. here again, amazing! i sent her all of the details, color preferences and within a day i had a jpeg to review! sent this off to wal-mart too for printing in 16" x 20" poster size, and framed it up!

centerpiece cake + smash cake: loveliness by polka dot bakery in sycamore, illinois. paige has been our go-to for our main cakes and she did not disappoint! i absolutely fell in love with the 3d caterpillar she made....and all of the fondant food (complete with the one bite through each piece!)

caterpillar cake pops: this adorableness is all from sugar grubbin' in sycamore, illinois! hannah is a master. i literally sent her a pic i had found and she duplicated these cute little guys to perfection! not to mention, her cake is amazing!

water bottle labels: "very hungry caterpillar" themed from digipartyshoppe on etsy! 

and, one last share: i came across this adorable custom jewelry maker on instagram, called trinket charms, who just happened to have a "very hungry caterpillar" bracelet in her shop. well, i got in touch with her, and asked if she might consider doing caterpillar earrings for me...and she did! so, during the party, i was fortunate enough to get to wear these adorable little guys...



and, this party is officially wrapped! thanks for taking this little journey with me, and hope you found some inspiration for your next party!

xoxo,
ashley

5.25.2014

love for our teachers

i confess: i missed the boat this year on teacher appreciation week. it completely flew past me. (i am so, so sorry, ms. nadine and ms. rachel.) but never fear, the week after was preschool graduation week, so i got my stuff together and started figuring out what exactly we were going to give to little mr. re-nest #1's amazing, awesomesauce preschool teachers as an end of the year gift.

of course, i hit up pinterest. i decided against making a vase out of crayons or making a brownie mix in a ball jar. (both awesome ideas, i just knew i needed to do something different.) as i was scrolling through the eight million ideas, i came across an amazingly touching saying that just hit me:


it takes a big heart to help shape little minds

wham. i'm not a teacher (admittedly, for about two months when i was eighteen, i was set on becoming a kindergarten teacher), but this just hit me like a ton of bricks. i'm guessing that's because i have two little minds around me at all times.


so, i had two options: do a printable of this or figure out a way to do this as paper art with my silhouette cameo. what i love about the cameo and the design studio is that i have pretty much the world at my fingertips when it comes to designing. fonts, spacing, size, anything is at my disposal, which i love. i got to designing and what i came out with is a new favorite of mine...a nice blend of traditional fonts with modern fonts.


once cut, i decided on a reversed out design with the white layered on navy, with a pink heart accent. then, it was finished off with a navy mat + an intricate white frame for a pretty nice gift for the fabulous teachers that have welcomed and loved little mr. re-nest #1 this past school year.



thank you, thank you, thank you to every teacher
who has one of the most important jobs in the world

i hope you love this new piece...i am going to be adding it to the etsy store (as the unframed die cut print) which i think would make a fantastic gift for any new teacher (a start of the school year gift, maybe?) or for teacher appreciation next year? be sure to check it out on the store!

xoxo,
ashley

5.23.2014

a minor refresh

two boys. juice. sneezes (gross, i know, but hey, it's the reality of having kids.) cheddar bunnies. sticky little hands. all are our everyday reality. it still didn't stop me from needing wanting to just refresh a few things in the re-nest house. it's spring and well, i needed it.

a refresh doesn't have to be an overhaul. it can be small, simple and inexpensive things that just make you smile when you walk into a room. (now, these are small. if you've seen any of my posts on facebook, you'll know we also reprinted a good chunk of the house interior. not inexpensive. but it does make me smile everyday, so totally worth it!)

a couple of weeks ago, i made a few updates. again, small. but good.


1. throw pillows. (mr. re-nest's two favorite words). i had a couple of lovely pottery barn pillow covers on our family room couch pillows. one has been with us for ten years. (no joke.) but when i saw the piping had finally busted through the linen fabric, it was time to say so long. here comes the best part: i found super cute, super inexpensive pillow covers at hobby lobby...like the new chevron one below? yep, $7.99. so when the boys sneeze or spill juice on it, i won't cry.


2. updated birth announcement frames. confession: at ten months old, i did not yet have little mr. re-nest #2's birth announcement framed (something we did with little mr. re-nest #1). perfect excuse to frame them up in brand new frames and liven up the shelf in our master. shelf is from target. frames from michaels



3. a new little eames addition. mr. re-nest got an incredibly cool gift for christmas 2013: the eames small wire-base table in white. no joke, for about five weeks, this amazing table sat behind our couch while we figured out where we could put it (where it wasn't going to be used as a smashing place for small, metal cars and other toys). finally, i found a place. it now sits on our landing, with our eames house bird perched on it. 


so, you see, these are little changes. it doesn't take tons of money or tons of time to just do a few little things that make you smile when you walk through your home. and...this little refresh has inspired me to do something fun and exciting over on facebook and pinterest. watch soon for a series called "the re-nest house: my faves"...more details to come, but it'll be fun and i'd love for you to participate!

xoxo,
ashley

5.15.2014

#redballoonsforryan

thanks for stopping here. thanks for reading this. because this post matters.

there's something that's been on my mind for the past week, and it's time i share it. it's sad and tragic, but what is happening now is nothing short of amazing.

if you have not yet seen anything about #redballoonsforryan, please click here

ryan's mom is a handmade artisan, and part of the larger handmade community that many of us are a part of. and the saldana's are going through what no parents should ever have to go through. i do not know the saldana's personally, and didn't know of ryan's mom until this terribly sad event, but i'm a mama. i'm a mama to young boys, and this has been a startling reminder that everything can change in an instant.

what the handmade community has come together to do is, like i said, nothing short of amazing. there are donations. and there is an auction. where hundreds of artisans (yes, i said hundreds) have donated their goods and services to raise money for this family.

and, as of this afternoon, i am so proud to be one of those artisans who is doing just a small something from my little place in northern illinois to help this family who i have never met that live in california. my mini you are my sunshine canvas wall art has been placed up for auction to help the family of this beautiful little boy.

the auction is taking place on instagram only, tomorrow, may 16 from 7am pacific time through 7pm pacific time. there are literally hundreds of items that are beautiful and in honor of ryan and have been donated to give a little something back to this family. if you need more information, you can also search instagram for @reneststudio, and i will have posted the info there.

if you feel the draw to check out the auction on instagram, please search for #redballoonsforryan. every item has been photographed, along with its starting bid. all you do is comment on the item you like with your bid and your e-mail address. if the instagram auction isn't for you, that's ok. all i ask is that if you are able, please send a prayer, thought or a bit of love up for the saldana's. 

from the bottom of my heart, from this mama, thank you for reading this.
ash


5.11.2014

to mom. love, me

it's mother's day weekend. yes, it's considered a big weekend in our house...when you are surrounded by boys, this is my weekend to get to do some girly stuff for me. but that's not what this post is about. this one? it's for my mom. 

simply said, my mom is my hero. she's superwoman. it sounds cliche, but i can only hope that i can accomplish half of what she has personally and professionally. she is my female role model.

so for today, i need to say thanks to my mom for all of those things that i have to thank her for (that i can remember!). mom, here goes:

1. always trusting my judgment. and knowing when to step in to help steer me otherwise.

2. allowing me to make mistakes. the university of kentucky. that's all i need to say.

3. working so damn hard to make it to the dance recitals, tennis matches or whatever else i was getting myself into.

4. not being a stage mom. but instead, being the mom who stood in the wings with my inhaler during every dance competition. (dang asthma.)

5. showing me that you can have both a career and a family. 

6. fighting for my health and never giving up. 

7. being the "second one to know." two times over. and keeping the biggest secrets of my life, even from your husband.

the night little mr. re-nest #1
was born.
8. literally holding my hand during one of the biggest days of my life. at thirty + years old, i still need my mama and i still need to hold your hand.

9. always, always, always respecting my/our parenting decisions. never questioning. knowing that i/we know what's best for your grandkids and that it might be different than what you did, but that that is okay. 

10. going forth with my big, giant dream of the wedding i dreamed of. even when it might not have been the most fiscally responsible idea, you respected my dream. 

11. allowing me to never be afraid to call and say, "any chance you can come up and check out a house we are thinking of buying/stay with the kids while we have to work/keep me company when mike is traveling/go shopping with me?"

12. being you. we both have strong personalities and that sometimes means we have healthy, expressive discussions. but that's okay. 

this mother's day (and everyday), thank you and i love you. and thank you for becoming an amazing mimi to joys of my life. i love you to the moon and back. 

happy mama's day, mom.

love, me

5.06.2014

a look back at the weekend...

this weekend was a great one. often when i get to sunday night, i'm looking at my weekend to-do list and feeling terrible about all of the stuff i didn't get done. feeling stressed about all of the things i'm going to have to try and cram in during the upcoming week...you know the drill: you find five minutes in between bathtime and bedtime and that's when laundry gets worked on. or, you find a few minutes while you're waiting for the pot of water to boil for dinner that night and you log on to e-mail that friend back (who e-mailed you two weeks ago). yes, this weekend and this sunday evening, there are still a lot of those things on my list that were neglected. but tonight, i'm thinking more about all of the great things i did get done. some expected, some unexpected. join me as i relive this weekend....

1. time with mr. re-nest. without the kids. this was friday afternoon/early evening. (warning: this is going to sound so lame to those of you without kids. to those of you with kiddos, you'll understand.) we had an appointment for 4pm on friday for our house. yes, we got a sitter because we weren't sure how long it would take. turns out, it only took 45 minutes. all of a sudden, we had almost two hours to ourselves. so, we decided to go do boring, married people with kids things: go to sherwin-williams to pick out paint (more on that later), we headed to target to exchange something, and checked out the new dsw in our town (which is the biggest news in a while). i do have to give major props to mr. re-nest though: when opening the car door for me, he had gotten me flowers. knowing this was going to be our date, he did it up right. (side note: it is incredible how much you can get accomplished when the kids aren't with you.) 

2. paint. it's been five years since the main part of our house was painted (this being the mud room to the downstairs hallway to the foyer to the staircase to the upstairs hallway). after begging putting together a very convincing argument to mr. re-nest, we have officially hired out having this space painted. (note: five years ago, we painted it. me, in my nine months pregnant glory with little mr. re-nest #1.) looking at it and remembering and now with two kids, there was just no way it was going to get done if we left it up to our own devices. so, painters arrive this thursday and by saturday night, it will be finished. oh, and most importantly, here's the color i chose: rain by sherwin-williams. (the third one down) like it?

just a few more days and a new paint job!
3. little mr. re-nest #2's birthday invitations. these had to get finished this weekend. and they did. with some late night work on friday night and some early morning work on sunday, they are done. 

the official invite for #peanutturnsone!
4. ikea. yep, another trip to ikea happened yesterday. to pick up eight cabinet feet for the basement bar. short trip. with two kids who were melting. down. (thank goodness they have ice cream there.)

5. sorting the kiddos' clothes. this has been on that ever-growing to do list and i finally did it this weekend. out with the small, in with the clothes that fit. little mr. re-nest #1 is finished. little mr. re-nest #2's closet is almost done. 

6. yardwork. i can't take one single bit of credit for this, except for talking to one of our neighbors and hiring him to help us. best. decision. ever.

7. thank you notes. for little mr. re-nest #1's birthday. i'm not sure i've ever actually gotten these done for his previous birthdays. but they are done now. even signed by little mr. re-nest #1. 

8. some good old fashioned outside family time. play time on the swing set. shooting hoops on the new basketball goal. these are the moments i'll really remember from this weekend.

weekends are crazy. this weekend was nuts. but it was so amazingly wonderful and not just because of all of the stuff we got done. it was wonderful because of all of the little family moments that we shared together.

how about you? do you feel like your weekends balance time together and getting the to-do list done?


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