Wednesday, June 30, 2010

becoming a home

It's been way too long since I updated on the status of our new house. Mostly because it's been very slow going. 3 months in and we still have quite a few boxes. I know, I know, everyone keeps telling me it'll take a year or more to really settle and that they have unpacked boxes from 10 years ago in their house {yikes!} but I really wanted to throw a house warming before 2011!

Anyway, as of now there will be no house warming party. Perhaps we'll change our tune and throw one in the fall...after we've been here for 6 months. Is that allowed?

So here are some photos of our house "as is" meaning, I didn't clean up {aside from throwing the duvet over the bed real quick}. I even took photos before the dishes were done, gasp! Maybe this will help you see why this unpacking and settling in process is driving me CRAZY!

{the front room... we obviously don't spend much time in here as there is no room for people}

{our bedroom-there is a large dresser and vanity to the left and our closet is to the right}

{we got the cupboard up in the bathroom!}

{Malakai's room is the most put together}

{the guest room is a "catch-all" right now}

{living room}

{dining room}


Yep, nothing on the walls yet. It's weird because I've gotten used to it. I'm so excited for when we get to the point where we can actual figure out where to hang things and really spruce things up around here!

For now I'm off to try to get photos for Malakai's 1st birthday invitation and then to pack for our camping trip this weekend.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Featured {ETSY!} retailer, review, + GIVEAWAY! {CLOSED}

This is my first review + giveaway featuring an Etsy shop and I'm so excited to introduce you Red Baby by Redrane. This lovely shop is run by Katrina, mama of Luca. 

While lining up Etsy sellers to introduce you to I came across Katrina's shop. First, because I was browsing baby wraps and slings but I also fell in love with her hand made shoes, blankets, burp cloths and more!

One of the great things about Etsy is that more often than not you can contact the person who is making the item you want, I just love the personal connection and I've really enjoyed meeting new people this way. Katrina is so sweet and I've loved working with her during this process. 

Well enough from me, here's a little bit more about Katrina of Red Baby in her own words...

Where are you located + are you from there originally?
We live in Longueuil ( pron: Long-gay ) which is more or less a suburb of Montreal in Quebec Canada. My husband is a Montreal native but I moved here 8 years ago from Ontario when I came to study Art and Psychology at Concordia University.

How did you come up with your shop name?
My middle name is Rane and red is my favourite colour! But really there is a bit more to it than that. For some years I've been a hobby photographer and after doing some self portraits with a friend using red lighting ages ago we came up with the name Redrane- it seemed like a good photographer / business name, and it has just kind of stuck since then.

How long have you had your shop?
I opened my shop just before my son was born in March 2009. 
A group of friends who had seen all the things I was making in preparation for my son's arrival suggested I start selling similar items and suggested Etsy as a great venue to do so. 
I dipped my toe into the water and listed a few items. I made a few sales in those first months but I certainly wasnt devoting much time to the shop after Luca arrived in the middle of April. I would say that things started to take off in September when I launched the "Moo Shoes", a limited edition fall "Luca Wrap" and then the fleece Owl hats.

What inspires you?

SO so many things inspire me! I would have to say that a lot of my inspiration
comes from need, practicality and functionality - thats why I like to make things that are reversible, or have pockets or duel purposes whenever possible. 
Of course the colours,textures and patterns of fabrics inspire me as well. I love to drift through fabric stores running my hands over the bolts of fabric imagining what they would be good for, or how they would look with something else I have hidden away in my collection!

What is your favorite item in your shop?

I have a special fondness for the Moo Shoes and Owl Hats, probably because I made each of them originally for my son. I love the swaddling blankets and Luca wraps for their practicality but I'm coming to love the ring slings more and more as Luca has reached a weight where my biceps just can't hold him for long!

Do you have any other jobs or hobbies?
I teach art and dance at a high school in another town just outside of Montreal and I love to dance, take photos, play games with my son and husband, and once upon a time I loved to run but its a passion I havent managed to rekindle since Luca was born.

Share an interesting fact about yourself.

Even though Im coordinated person who danced and figure skated for years without any major injuries I am ridiculously clumsy on a day to day basis - dancing in 3" heels- no problem! walking down the street in running shoes- forget it! I trip all over! My husband cant understand how I possibly made it through childhood without any broken bones =)

What do you hope your future holds?

My hopes for the future are simiple - I would love to keep teaching but on a part time basis so I could devote more time to my business while still having a minute to myself and time to spend with my family. 
I want to go on a belated honeymoon with my husband and build a "container cottage" together as a family project, and at some point finish all the little renovations around the house.


Shandell's Review

Katrina is so awesome that when I contacted her about a review she sent me TWO of her gorgeous XL  cotton gauze swaddling blankets. These blankets are so beautiful and functional. 

Within days of receiving them we already put them to many uses. We went on a walk and used the seascape {blue + green} one to cover the stroller and it did a great job of keeping out the sun while letting the breeze through the lightweight fabric. It's the perfect size for our big stroller. 

Malakai loved playing with the blankets. We played peek-a-boo and even made a fort with them!

I really wish we would have had these extra-large blankets when Malakai was in the swaddling stage. I know that they'll surely get a lot of use with our future little ones.



Want one yet? Of course you do! Well Katrina of Red Baby is offering one of my lucky readers not one, but TWO of these lovely cotton gauze blankets in the colors of their choice...and there are a lot to choose from!

Please leave ONE comment for each entry and be sure to link your email to your blogger/google profile or include it in the comment so I can contact you if you're the lucky winner.

Giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada. Contest ends on Tuesday July 6th 2010, 9pm PST. Winner will be announced on Wednesday July 7th, 2010 {my anniversary!}. 

Mandatory entry: 

~ Please become a public follower of Breaking New Ground {google friend connect on the upper left} then visit Red Baby by Redrane on Etsy and come back to tell me your favorite item. 

Additional entries:

~Become a fan of Red Baby by Redrane on Facebook. Leave a comment with your facebook name as we will verify each entry.  

~Follow me on twitter and tweet: "win 2 XL cotton gauze baby blankets from Redrane + @ShanLeAnn at" Leave a comment with your twitter username. This can be done once per day.

~Purchase any item from Red Baby by Tuesday July 5th, 2010 9pm PST and leave a comment to tell me what you bought. 

All comments will be verified. Any comments that do not complete the requirements listed will be removed without notification, so please be sure to read the instructions carefully!

Disclosure: I was sent 2 XL cotton gauze swaddling blankets by Redrane for the purpose of the review. I received no other compensation. All opinions are my own. Click for additional disclosures and PR policies.

Monday, June 28, 2010

first summer days

Of course I avoided all the sickness our household went through just to get something else during the first weekend of real summer weather. It has been in the 80's here, sunny and beautiful and perfect for a day by the pool or a stroll through the neighborhood in the evening.

Despite being sick, I did both of those things. I know I'm bad and it probably didn't help to subject myself to the Willamette Valley's infamous pollens, but I couldn't help myself. This weather could turn at any moment and we could have cloudy rainy days for the next 3 weeks. {no, that is not an exaggeration}

On Friday Ben came home from work early as he already had enough hours and some over time and I was struggling with my cold. I sounded (still do) like a frog man. So he brought me some decongestants and some propel and I vegged-out on the couch while he took over the care of the house and little mister.

When Malakai woke up from his nap we decided to take him to the park down the street. We lounged on our picnic quilt in the shade and Malakai got to swing, one of his favorite past times.

Ben and I love going on walks. When we were dating we used to stroll through the neighborhoods behind his apartment complex and daydream about what our house would be like some day. After enjoying the park we took the scenic route home and explored parts of the nearby neighborhoods we hadn't yet discovered. Malakai fell asleep in the stroller while Ben and I talked about the houses and yards that we liked or what we would do differently if they were ours. The conversations are similar, but mean something different now that we have our own place.

Saturday we slept in {after a rough night up with Malakai, something about the weekends...} and I once again took it easy as the nights and mornings seem to be when I feel the worst. We went to my in-laws for a belated Father's Day lunch. Malakai got more adventurous in the grass than he'd ever been before.

Sunday we went to church and after Malakai's nap we headed out to my parents' place to visit and take advantage of their pool while it was still hot outside. Malakai went on a floatie {isn't that what everyone calls them?} for the first time and really enjoyed himself overall. I think his swim lessons may really be helping him get used to being in a pool, yay!

That evening my mom made spaghetti so we let Malakai dig in. Another first for him. It was a lot of fun to see him eat and get so messy. He LOVED the sauce, he kept sucking it off of his fingers.

It was a wonderful weekend and although I'm still pretty sick, I'm glad I took advantage of the great weather instead of staying indoors.

Today I'm sitting out for swim and taking pictures of Ben + Malakai in the pool.

Keep checking back this week for a featured retailer and giveaway that I'm sure you'll just LOVE!

Friday, June 25, 2010

sniffle, sneeze, whine

Thought it was allergies but I most definitely have a nasty cold. Just in time for Eugene to decide that it's ready for summer weather.
I'm taking a sick day.
Happy Weekend!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thankful on a Thursday: a notebook

This week has flown by and now Malakai and I are sick again. I felt better when I recently read that little ones get between 6-10 colds a year. He literally goes back and forth from teething to being sick, poor kiddo never gets a break! Yet, he's still a super happy baby, thank you Lord!

Ben and I have let life get busy all around us and have been flying around on separate wave lengths for a while now. I miss him. I also let myself get increasingly frustrated with him in little to no time at all. I've given in to anger and I know that the enemy has a hand in it. I'm not usually so easily or quickly irritated.

Yesterday was not a fun day, but we NEVER let the sun go down on our anger or sadness and things were resolved and prayed through before we went to bed.

I've been trying to "do it all" on my own, forgetting to take time to breathe and let God be in control. Let him guide me so that my way will be smoother, better.

Today I was looking for a blank sheet of paper and came across a notebook. I didn't remember what was inside and it took a second glance to jog my memory. It was full of letters that Ben and I wrote back and forth to each other when we were dating. It started in June 2006 {while Ben was working at summer camp} and we filled it in just 4 short months. When he was at camp I'd drop it off when I came to visit and watch him put on the programs at campfire and he'd bring it back to me when he was off for the weekends.

I can hardly believe I'd forgotten about it.

I haven't read through it yet. Instead, I started a new notebook and slipped the old one inside for Ben to find. I left a note on the door so he'll see it when he comes home tonight {he should get home about 30 minutes or so before me}.

Whenever I heard about how marriage relationships change after kids I always thought, "that'll never be me". I figured we were prepared. Now I don't think anyone can prepare for the changes that occur when something so incredible as the birth of a child into the family happens. The best you can do is adapt, be flexible, and communicate. I'm happy to say that with help we've been pros at it so far, but things change and it's easy to neglect yourself and each other when you're caring for your child.

I think we're on the other side of this and I'm so blessed to have such a sweet, patient, + caring husband to learn and grow with.

This week I'm thankful for:

171. The obvious- my husband and our {mostly} Christ-centered marriage.

172. the HOT weather today!

173. 2 hours I had {mostly} to myself with both babies snoozing away earlier today.

174. another new pregnancy! I mentioned my cousin last week and now one of my best friends from college is expecting. Both had been trying for 2+ years and now they're both due in February 2011! A literal answer to prayer, God is AWESOME!

175. the gift of getting to watch Malakai grow, learn + develop. It's happening so fast, it amazes me every day {he now dances on command + says "uhoh" when something gets dropped}.

176. air conditioning: something we did NOT have last summer.

177. coffee

178. 1st BBQ of the summer tonight!

179. fresh strawberries from our own backyard

180. love.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

lists, notes, boxes, + checkmarks

I love lists. I'm always making new lists, referring to old lists, trying to find lost ones so I can remember what I wrote down so I wouldn't forget...or to prove to my husband that I DID tell him something that he inevitably forgot. Sometimes, lists save my life.

Other times, lists take over a bit.

I have a list for almost everything. Recently we went from one shopping list to two. One is for groceries and the other is for non-food items and sometimes {like right now} the 2nd one has a to-do list on it instead. Every time we run out of something I add it to the shopping list so that when we're at the store next, we won't forget. Except....I usually leave this list on the fridge and sometimes I remember to transfer what's on it to a smaller list.

The newest list is written in sharpie on an old dry erase board. It's a weekly chore list adapted the cleaning plan of another blogger. I like checking things off with my red dry erase pen. Sometimes I get more of a thrill when Ben notices how many of the boxes have red check marks than from actually checking them off..

The list from our move {packing, cleaning, address updates} is still on the wall. Below it is a list of things that need to be done here at the "new" house. Below that is another shopping list of sorts...a reminder for a lot of gifts we had to get or need to get soon for weddings, birthdays, + graduations. This one is very important in avoiding our usual trip to the store just before the event. I HATE doing that!

I also have lists that I make when I read. I jot things down when I'm reading through a magazine; fun ideas, websites to visit later, other things that pop into my head. I'm currently reading through The No-Cry Sleep Solution {more on that in the near future} and am making notes and to-do lists on our plans to implement it's advice.

Often I'll scrawl out quick to-do's in my pocket calendar, trying to keep track of all the events we have going on each day of the week/month/year. I also have a notebook of questions and advice from all of Malakai's pediatrician appointments with a list of things to ask at his next well visit.

Writing all this stuff down is really helpful for my tendency to forget things {that started with the infamous pregnancy brain}. Like I said, sometimes my lists save my life.

However, sometimes I need to stop writing stuff down and just start doing. I like to make lists of what I want done around the house. This is actually really helpful when Ben is also here and working along side me so he knows what to do next {he asks for this kind of help}, but when it's just me I need to forgo the urge to create a list and just get going.

This week- that's what I'm doing! Wish me well...

Monday, June 21, 2010


We had quite the busy weekend for Ben's 1st Father's day. The weather was gorgeous on Friday as I mentioned in my post that day. Here's Malakai at the park.
{he's still not so sure about the sand}

{or grass, this is his "pick me up" pose}

On Saturday Malakai let us sleep in {til 9am... a new record I believe} and then we let Ben stay at home and play video games while we ran a secret errand for an early Father's Day gift...

These are from a friend of ours who is an expert at quite a few things, and she currently runs a business call The Sassy Cupcake. She did a Father's Day special of {from left to right} pancake cupcakes with maple frosting and bacon toppings, Chocolate Ninkasi cupcakes with Ninkasi creme frosting, + Rootbeer float cupcakes. yum!

When we got back we sampled them, and daddy got back to his videogames with a little help from Malakai.

While Kai napped we did some work in the yard...MUCH need work...

After his nap we played on the floor and Malakai decided to snuggle daddy...he did this all on his own. I  still can't get over how cute this is!

On Sunday Malakai hadn't slept well so we decided to stay home from church to catch up on the rest we missed. I made Ben's request of chocolate chip pancakes and during Kai's morning nap we watched some tv. Later we gave "da-da" his gifts. 

I bought Ben a couple "Lost" items from the abctv store and Malakai and I made him some special artwork with his footprints and I wrote out Proverbs 4:11-13

Here's a peek at the making of...

Then we headed out to my parents' house for the day to spend time with my dad.

Ben is such a wonderful, caring, involved dad and it was a joy to shower him with gifts and show him our appreciation. 
Happy 1st Father's Day my love!

Eddie Bauer Diaper Bag Review

CSN stores so generously sent me the Eddie Bauer Bainbridge duffle diaper bag for review:

We currently have a wonderful diaper bag that we got before Malakai was born. However, I really needed something bigger for how much I pack to go to daycare during the week. I also wanted something with a more sturdy shoulder strap instead of a messenger bag. Being only 5'2" makes carrying a messenger a bit difficult. I'm sure I'm not the first mama to own multiple diaper bags and I'd bet we'll probably add to that number before we're done having kids. 

When I first got this bag in the mail I took everything out of my usual bag and packed the Eddie Bauer duffle. I was so excited about how well our things fit and with extra room! My other bag is literally tearing at the seams from overstuffing. 

Friday, June 18, 2010


Today I took advantage of my unplanned day off. I slept in, followed Malakai as he crawled and cruised all over the house, had some unexpected visitors {and even to my own surprise actually answered the door without my makeup on}, successfully showered while Kai napped {I usually wait til Ben gets home}, ate lunch at a leisurely pace, headed to the park, watched the bebe explore sand + grass, walked around the neighborhood, and strolled Malakai straight through the front door...

...and into his bedroom.

He didn't fall asleep during our 2 mile walk until right as we turned into our cul-de-sac. I knew he would be grumpy and take forever to fall back asleep if I tried taking him out of his stroller so I just pushed him into the house and stopped in his room. Whatever works, right?

Well I'm off for another grad party tonight, and fun father's day celebrating all weekend long.
Happy Weekend!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thankful on a Thursday

Malakai turned 11 months yesterday. We did our usual photo shoot. It was harder to get him to smile at the camera, not because he's less smiley but because he's much more interested in exploring his surroundings. Still, I was able to get this photo of my sweet baby

The last 2 weeks I've started to think more about his birthday. Not only in terms of party planning, but reflecting on what it means and how blessed we have been by his little life every single day.
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