Monday, April 30, 2012

the latest

We just finished the process of refinancing our home. We'll save a nice amount of money every month, but it was a NIGHTMARE of a process. I'm so glad we won't be doing that again anytime soon! Thankfully my wonderful husband took care of every little detail and all I had to do was gather a few documents here and there. Thank God everything turned out well after missing the window once and having to apply for an extension (at the fault of our broker). So beyond glad to be done with that!

As the weather warms up and spring fades into summer we are in full swing planning to re-landscape the backyard with my father-in-law. It was actually our Christmas gift from Ben's parents to re do the yard and we are so excited to have nice grass! When we bought the place the yard was pretty nice, but unfortunately as it sat on the market, empty, nobody took care of the grass. So the leaves from the two towering maples fell and created a ton of muddy holes that were then filled by weeks and subsequently moss.

Unfortunately our raised beds that were here from the beginning weren't very well built. There was no foundation to secure them to the ground and they were all warped. We decided it would be best to take them apart and rebuild after the ground gets torn up with the rest of the yard. I won't be planting anything until we can rebuild, which is a bummer because who knows if I'll even make it in time to have anything edible, we shall see!

Desmond and Malakai are growing bigger and smarter every day. Des is really talkative and very close to crawling forward (instead of scooting backward). He can move himself from sitting to crawling and back. He's all over the place these days! Malakai loves to "see Desmond" and is doing much better at interacting with him gently...most of the time.

Ben + I finished reading The Hunger Games trilogy last week and are possibly going to see the movie with his parents this Friday. We have really enjoyed reading them simultaneously and talking about all the drama. We've been able to go out quite often with thanks to numerous family member willing to babysit.

Work has been busy as ever and I'm doing my best to keep up, which is one of the main reasons I haven't been updating here lately. I save blogging for times when the kids are napping simultaneously, IF I'm caught up on work that I can do from home. Since the boys haven't been cooperating by napping at the same time I've been behind on work and thus not blogging. I'm finally caught up for the moment since they finally slept for a few consecutive hours during the day!

Speaking of sleep, Des has been transitioning to only sleeping in his crib and it's been so great! He only comes into bed with us when he wakes to nurse after 5am and we both go back to sleep for a couple of hours (if Kai lets us). There have been a couple of rough nights between both kiddos the last couple weeks, but not unbearable! This morning though for some reason they both woke up at 5:45am ...OUCH!

There's surely a lot more going on that I'm missing, but that's just a quick recap of what is at the forefront of my mind at the moment...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I have at least a dozen different blog posts swirling around in my brain. When I'm making breakfast, taking a shower, or driving to work I mentally "write" them. By the time I have a few minutes to sit down I've either completely forgotten about them or my attention is needed elsewhere (or a million different elsewheres). Just thought I'd let you readers out there know, that in my absence from this space I'm at least thinking about blogging...

Thursday, April 19, 2012


1021. a garage that (usually) fits our car. It's cramped but it keeps us out of the rain. Although, right now, it's undergoing some spring the car is in the driveway.

1022. borrowing cars. We are borrowing my in-laws car again- because our 2nd car is having some issues. I won't pretend to understand them enough to explain...hopefully it'll be back in use soon!

1023. nap time. Today was rough, but I realize that most days I have it pretty good since at least part of Desmond + Malakai's naps overlap.

1024. support. We have such a wealth of support in our family, church family, and friends.

1025. my smartphone. It seems silly but it makes a lot of things convenient for keeping work and home life organized.

1026. snuggles from my boys.

1027. PBS kids. Kai can't get enough of Curious George, which has been essential on occasion.

1028. a husband who is willing to share the load when it comes to getting up in the night.

1029. when the house is quiet.

1030. patience as an answer to prayer.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

welcome interruptions

I've been working, snuggling my boys and NOT cleaning house (only partly because our vacuum just died).

I did however do some catch up over at Project 365 (once again I was a whole week behind).

Lately though, I've had my nose buried in Catching Fire. Thanks to my sister who lent me Hunger Games, I'm totally hooked. I'm almost done will book 2 and will no doubt be totally consumed by the 3rd one. I just have to do my best to not read them before bed if I want to sleep well...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Desmond: 6 months.

Yep, it's been another month and suddenly Desmond is 1/2 a year old (as of April 10th) and yes...I'm thinking about his 1st birthday celebration already. It'll be here so fast I have to at least have it on my mind and on my pin boards now!


At 6 months Desmond is super active. He is sleeping much less during the day which is a lot of fun for both myself and Malakai. He absolutely loves his big brother. My favorite part of the day is after Kai has been up a while and Des wakes, I'll bring him in and it's like they are reuniting after being apart for days. Kai says "Desmond! He's awake, I wanna see 'im!" Then comes right up to his face and says hi. Des lights up, giggles and wiggles his whole body with excitement. Every.single.morning.

{these look posed, but Kai totally just came up and did this on his own}

Des has been a drooling machine for the past couple of months, teething like crazy but nothing has popped through yet. He loves to blow raspberries and is babbling more and more every day. Lately he has been kind of growling/shouting and it sounds like he's angry but he'll be grinning and laughing all the while. We call it "testing his voice". Kai used to do something similar but he did high pitched squeals.


We just had Desmond's 6 month well-check this morning. According to Dr. B he's perfect...confirming what we already thought. He's 27 inches long (tall) which puts him in the 75th %, 22lbs 1oz. which is off the charts as he has been since about 2 days old. His head is 18 1/4 inches, big ol' noggin just like his brother.

At just 6 months he's growing out of 9 month clothes and fitting Kai's hand-me-down 12 month clothing which just boggles my mind. For those of you who don't know, Ben's younger brother is actually quite a bit bigger than him (Ben is 6 ft. tall and David is 6' 5") so we often wonder if Des and Kai will be the same in that regard.

At the end of March he started pushing up on to his hands and knees and sometimes onto his toes, lifting his whole body off the ground! He is one strong little man! Then he started trying to crawl towards toys but ends up scooting backward which really frustrates him. Late last week he actually crawled a tiny bit forward on his knees for Grandma Debbie + I! It was so exciting, but whoah it seems too early to already have a mobile baby.


He is also sitting upright really well, but I always put a boppy or other pillows around him because he'll randomly get excited and fling himself backward. He almost instantly figured out how to move from sitting to a crawling position on his tummy without any issues.


Unfortunately he has started crying more. He never really cried when he was upset, just got a bit fussy. He's been a good sleeper since he got over his first bout of colick around 1 month old. BUT once he started learning so many new things he started to wake more and get more crabby. The other night he woke up at 4am and wouldn't go back to sleep, which was a first. Big bro has always been our difficult one when it comes to sleeping, I'm hoping Desmond doesn't follow in those footsteps! Last night he did sleep unswaddled all night, but he was nursing pretty frequently and ended up staying in bed with us from 4am-7am. After chatting with Dr. B we'll be trying some no-cry solutions to get him sleeping longer and more independently.


We started him on "solids" over Easter weekend, just doing some baby oatmeal cereal and breastmilk once a day. We'll ease him into my homemade veggie and fruit purees soon and more frequent solid feedings by 9 months per his Dr's recommendation.


About once every week or two he had a couple of days of almost constant spitting up, but it never bothers him. When I mentioned this to Dr. B she laughed and said that "happy spitter" is a actual medical term, we all laughed. It was good to know that it's common enough to have a term and that it's not something to worry about.

Des is still quick to smile and easy to get laughing. He is so friendly and snuggly. He was smiling and babbling to the Dr and nurses during the whole visit. After his vaccines he quit crying as soon as I picked him up and nursed to sleep. He only recently is able to stay asleep during transitions from car seat or mama's arms to his crib, which has been really nice.


Overall he is a happy healthy big baby boy and we are enjoying the journey of watching him grow, both in body and in skills and personality.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thankful on a Thursday: Time.

Thursdays sneak up on me most of the time. It's funny because I'm guessing for most people that it's Monday that is sneaky. I always work Thursday mornings and we always seem to have plans on Thursday nights so they're rather busy. Like right now it's almost 11pm and I had to think about what day it was...already Thursday again!!!

We've got a LOT going on, and I keep waiting for it to slow down even though I know it's not going to. Busy is becoming our new normal for a lot of reasons and that's ok. We are doing the most important things as best we can: serving God,spending time with our families, loving and caring for our boys and each other without restraint. If the busyness were to get in the way of those things- then we'd have a problem.

So despite my feeling like last Thursday was really just yesterday, here's another list of what I'm thankful for.

1011. the flowers outside finally getting some warm weather to keep them alive (the ones that survived the snow last month anyway)

1012. Kai's growing ability to communicate. He is such a talker and learning more and more how to tell me what he wants or needs without tantrums over miscommunications.

1013. Desmond's speedy developement. Within the last two weeks he has mastered a number of new skills.

1014. My sister letting me borrow Hunger Games. It was such a nice little break from reality and it's such a good read. I just finished it today and Ben currently has his nose buried in it.

1015. Easter candy. I'm also really not thankful for this at's a daily conflict really.

1016. starting to feel more caught up at work.

1017. Everyone being healthy in our household for the time being.

1018. Kai's independence outdoors.

1019. Desmond's sweet little voice as he starts to babble more and more.

1020. a clean house.

Soon I'll find some time to post Desmond's monthly update!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter(s) 2012

As with every big holiday we had more than one celebration to be at for Easter, and it was Desmond's first. As overwhelming as it all is, we are blessed to be so near family that we want to spend time with during the holidays. In addition, we always save time for just the 4 of us to keep our own little traditions going.

Unfortunately on Good Friday, Ben was home sick. He'd been coughing every morning for months and months and it had finally become really bad all day. After a visit to the doctor they said Ben had bronchitis and started him on antibiotics. He slept and coughed most of the day away while I did my best to take care of all three of my guys.

That evening I did manage to color some eggs with Malakai. He really enjoyed it and after we did a dozen he wanted to do even more.

{yes my son is wearing sequins}

Saturday morning Ben still wasn't feeling all that great but composed himself for the gathering at his parents' place. We dressed the boys in Easter outfit 1 (of 2) and took photos before anyone necessitated a wardrobe change...

{Their first matching outfits}

Then we were off to visit with both our immediate families. First our kiddos were showered with gifts from Ben's parents and his brother David's girlfriend, Vanessa.


Then they hunted eggs...


Okay, Kai hunted eggs and my mom took Desmond around to motivate Kai to keep up with his "competition". Every egg Malakai found, he would stop and open it to see what was inside.


Once all the eggs were found we took a couple group pictures before Ben headed inside to rest until it was time to eat. The rest of us visited and after a while we had lunch. A little later we gave Des his first "solid" food- baby oatmeal. He was a pro. It was such a stark contrast from Kai's first food at only 4 months old.


After a bit more visiting we headed home and rested up for the events of the next day.

On Easter Sunday I headed to church/work early in the morning like I do every week while the boys stayed home until 2nd service. Ben got the boys into outfit 2 and took some quick photos for me.

{Des is wearing Kai's 1st Easter outfit...which is 9 month size}

My family joined us for church and we had an awesome spirit-filled service to celebrate our risen King!

After all my work duties were done we had a bit before the lunch and egg hunt at my Aunt + Uncle's house. My parents gave us some Easter goodies, then Ben and my family took Kai to play outside while I nursed Des to sleep. Shortly after we headed out and Kai fell asleep for short nap in the car, just enough to keep the grumpies at bay.

It was a relatively small gathering and oddly enough the only "kids" for the egg hunt were Kai and his cousin...2nd cousin? once removed? I don't know how it works... my cousin's daughter, Delia. So an almost 3 year old and a 1 year old. It was adorable. Sadly I don't have any pictures cause I was holding Des and Ben was taking video so they're all on my mom's camera.

After playing a bit and some dessert we took the boys home and gave them their Easter baskets from us (or The Easter Bunny). This was the best picture I got of that moment...
{Desmond's outfit didn't last the whole day}

Not super cute or posed, but pretty authentic for the stages my boys are in at the moment. Ben and I were actually cracking up at how Desmond was grabbing his bucket and trying to get to the stuff inside. Malakai loved the memory game and alphabet cards he got, but his most favorite "toy" has been the colorful eggs he collected over the past few days. On Monday he played with them almost all day...


Next up...Des' 6 month update. Yowza!

Monday, April 9, 2012

It's coming...

The gratuitous after-holiday blog post full of photos of us doing the traditional things will be coming soon. Sadly, all weekend long we've also had illness to deal with so we're recovering from the holiday events as well as a case of the sickies.
Be back soon...

P.S. I did bring my 365 page up to date. I was only about 9 days behind...yikes!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thankful on a Thursday- gratefulness.

So I haven't posted a Thankful list in almost 2 months. Apparently when I hit 1000 I subconsciously thought it was time for a break. I didn't realize just how long it had been (felt like maybe a week or two) until I looked back to find the last post. Yikes!

I was reminded this past Sunday during a really great sermon how important gratitude is. I need to remember all the blessings on a daily hourly basis. It helps to keep the grumpies in check.

Here's a small list of some recent things that I have to be thankful for...

1001. my health. I've been whining about this lingering cold (or whatever it is) but looking at the big picture I'm relatively healthy.

1002. fun grandparents for my kids. Both my parents + Ben's parents are so playful with our boys, they are so blessed to have grandparents who are happy to get on the floor or go outside and play with them.

1003. food. If you've been to our home you know our kitchen is TINY. It's the source of much frustration on my part when I'm trying to prepare meals, especially big ones. I get really irritated when it comes to storing large items. I digress. I am just thankful to have a home, a kitchen, and food to fill our bellies.

1004. jobs. So many people are jobless right now and are forced to relocate for work, or worse. Ben + I are well aware of how precious our jobs are. Not just for the income they provide our family, but because we both enjoy what we do and who we work with.

1005. saving money. We are in the middle of a refinance on our home. We already had a super low interest rate, but we have an opportunity to save even more per month once we're on the other side of this tedious process.

1006. My children love each other. Desmond grins and gets so happy he can't help but squirm when he sees Malakai, especially first thing in the morning. Likewise, Kai lights up and giggles just being in his brother's presence. I really hope this lasts for years to come!

1007. a happy marriage. "They" all tell you that marriage is a lot of work, and it's true. It's also beyond worth it. I couldn't imagine going through life without Ben, he's my soft place to land after a hard day.

1008. knowledge. I'm learning so many things with the new part of my job and I'm even able to apply them to the job I've been doing for over a year now. It's so nice to work with people who are willing to teach me what they know and show me patience as I learn.

1009. friends. One of my very best friends just recently got engaged and I'm over-the-moon excited for her! I can't wait to celebrate her big day. I also just appreciate the rare opportunities to sit and visit with my girl friends. Let's try to meet up more often ladies!

1010. sleep. I don't nearly get enough these days, and we've just started sleep training with Desmond (resource: The No-Cry Sleep Solution.) but when I get a few consecutive hours it feels so nice!

Want to join me? Tell me what you're thankful for this week, or do a blog post of your own and link back, I'd love to read your list!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

DIY: Reupholstered (and kid-proof!) Dining Room Chairs

Look everyone, I'm posting something on my blog besides an apology for not posting something on my blog in forever! Not only that, but it's a tutorial, which means I've made myself do something besides work recently!

This past weekend Ben + Kai played out back while I whisked Desmond away for a quick trip to the store. I wanted to get some groceries as well as some fabric as quickly as I went to the big fat Walmart because yes, they have both.

I've been meaning to reupholster my dining room chairs for at least 2 years now, ever since the cats we used to own tore up the original fabric. The desire to fix them up increased when Kai started spilling things on them after we moved him from a high chair to a booster. Now he insists on sitting in the chair without the booster and sadly this coincided with a potty training accident which left us with a ruined chair the need for new fabric (and padding!) became much more urgent.

I grabbed way too much fabric (I'm a total beginner at yardage and such) and just enough vinyl. Since I planned on using clear plastic vinyl over the fabric I just chose the cheapest version of what Ben + I both liked the most, which was a dark red. Then I asked the gal working there which weight of vinyl I should choose and she suggested the medium one. I also grabbed a small package of cotton batting to replace the ruined chair pad. It all came to about $25.

When I got home and the boys were down for nap, Ben helped me take the chairs apart. At first I planned on removing the fabric from all the pads but after how long it took for just the ruined one we decided that was far too much work and it would be fine to just cover the other 3 chairs.

Here's a little before picture of how bad the chairs looked, along with me working on taking one apart.


I had planned on taking the chair apart before going shopping to see what I was working with. That didn't happen which led to me wishing I would have purchased a foam chair pad instead of the cotton batting but I didn't want to waste precious time so I just used the whole roll to replace the one cushion. 


You can see the scratches from the cats on the pad to the right. We've been putting this off for FAR too long! The pad on the left is the batting I purchased which I just cut to a little bigger all the way around than the cushion, since the cushion had some overlap to go around the wooden seat of the chair. 

Then I used the cushions to roughly measure how big my squares of fabric + vinyl needed to be and cut. Next I ironed all 4 squares of fabric, while lamenting over having purchased far too much red fabric. Thankfully this is such a lovely color (my fave) so I'm sure I'll find other uses for it down the road. Lesson learned...and a much better one than having too little fabric. 


Somewhere in here the boys woke up and Ben left me to my project. As you can see my workspace was in our garage because in our teensy house there just isn't a lot of open space, especially once the boys are up and about.

Next I just put the fabric onto the table (Ben brought the dining room table out for me to have an elevated and clean work surface), then the cushion upside down on to the fabric and began stapling like crazy. I started at the front of the chair, stapled the middle and worked my way out to the corner of each edge. I also had to use a hammer since our staple gun is light-duty and the chair seats were rather thick.

When I got all the edges done I folded the corners as nicely and tightly as possible without making the fabric pucker on the other side.


I found all sorts of help online by searching for "reupholstering dining chair seat". Reading through a couple sites helped me visualize the best way to go about the process. Next though, I could find nothing on how to cover seats in vinyl. I wasn't so sure about how to fold the corners since a sturdy plastic doesn't fold or lay as nicely as fabric. I just had to figure it out myself.

I started the same way I had with the fabric, by doing all the edges first. When I got to the corners I had to figure out what would work best. I wanted to make sure to cover evenly but not have a bulky piece of plastic. I just snipped one edge (as pictured below) so that when I folded the corner up there was one less layer of plastic to work with. 


So I just kept going as I had with the fabric and stapled down all the corners by pulling tight around the edges. With the vinyl, there's a bit of space on each corner between it and the fabric, but it isn't very noticeable. Otherwise, my little technique worked! Take that internet!


All shiny and new! Next I traded posts with Ben and hung out with the boys while he attached the seats to the frames with the original screws. After just a few hours of work (including shopping for supplies!) we had new chairs!


I just love the way they look, they now match our kitchen decor. My favorite is how the red pops against the grey wall. Actually, my MOST favorite part is how my son can spill all over these and I can just wipe them off...


At this season in our life, having wipeable furniture is a must if anything is going to last through not one, but two toddler boys! Spill away kiddos, spill away!

After I did this I also got a tip from a friend that you can reupholster/kid proof furniture by using waterproof shower curtains as your fabric. Has anyone done this or something similar to toddler-proof at home? I just love a good tip to keep things from getting ruined or having to keep the boys off of certain things. Again, with the size of our house, it's just not very doable to have much be off limits. 

What's your favorite DIY?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

still blogging

It has been hard to find time to blog since Desmond was born. The last 5 6 months have gone by faster than any time in my life prior. I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again when we add to our number (yes, we'll probably have one more kiddo some day).

I have so much I want to document about my family, especially our children while they're young. I want to remember every little detail. I've been keeping track of Kai's milestones since he was a baby and now have a sheet of paper on the fridge just for writing his quotes down before I forget the hilarious or smart things he says. I also have one for Desmond's firsts and it's filling up quickly!

I also want to continue to write about the other areas of my life beyond motherhood; being a wife, a sister, an employee, daughter, friend, follower of Christ. I wish I had time to elaborate on the thoughts that pop into my head during a quick shower or the moments just before sleep. As much as I want more time to do these things, I know I'm doing exactly what I should be. I'm living out what I've always wanted most, and while it can be exhausting and it wears me down (I've been sick for almost 2 weeks now) it's my dream life and I'm so blessed that God has given me the desires of my heart.

In church today during the message I was inspired to at least get back to my Thankful on a Thursday posts. These always did me good to bring things back to perspective when my day or week (or month...) had been a bit rough. It's a direct way for me to reflect on my blessings and give the glory to God. I had also received a lot of feedback that it inspired others, so in a sense it's a win-win.So, next Thursday I'll be bringing that back...if I realize it's Thursday before it's already Friday!

In the meantime, I do the most updating on instagram these days since it's so quick and easy from my new phone. If you want to follow along with me there, my username is ShanLeAnn. You can also find me on twitter, although lately I must admit most of my tweets are my instagram photos!

Thanks to all of you who are still following along with me here: friends, family, acquaintances, and anonymous readers alike!

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