Tuesday, December 13, 2011

christmas present

this year christmastime feels different. i suppose some things are the same: my christmas china is set out on the dining room table, we have the same collection of ornaments on the tree, and i'm listening to all my same carefully edited pandora christmas stations. but instead of spending free moments searching out items for my wishlist, i'm spending that time brainstorming how to make christmas special for my little girl. i know she's only 6.5 months old and won't remember anything about her first christmas. but i also know christmas traditions have to start with deliberation and have to be carried out consistently. all that for the hope that one day she can look back on her childhood and have peaceful and warm memories of us doing special things together around the holidays.

my {awesome} sister in law is good at this. she is steadily and intentionally creating a childhood for each of her boys that is special, sweet and full of little moments i know they will always treasure. she told me about an idea to get 25 christmas books, wrap them up and put them under a special tree. the kids unwrap one each night starting on december 1st and they read it together as a family before bed. the same 25 books are used each year. well, because i shamelessly copy everything she does, i went out and got some christmas books so we can start this tradition too. we don't yet have 25, so we'll have to build up to that, and i didn't wrap them. but every night mr. heat's been reading them to me and maley as she nurses, before maley sets sail for slumberland.

sidenote: this 10-15 minutes is by far my favorite part of the day. the three of us are huddled into the corner of maley's room, it's dark with only the star lamp dimly shining, maley is all snugly in her pjs and mr. heat is sitting on the ottoman reading to us. i know it won't last forever, so i hope by writing it down here i can remember the wholeness i feel during those 10 minutes. anyway...

so far it's been fine that we don't have 25 books because, well, maley doesn't mind if we re-read some of them, and also because i want mr. heat to read this one every night:
it is a scratch and sniff book. you know, with little stickers on certain pages that smell like oranges, pine, peppermint, gingerbread, apple pie, and hot chocolate. i loved scratch and sniff stickers as a kid, so this feels a bit for me like going back. mr. heat reads and comes to the scratch and sniff sticker and i ask him not to go crazy with the scratching because i fear all the smell will run out. my drive to protect and preserve the scent is disturbing. i hope confessing it here will help me let go a little bit. i also hope this becomes one of maley's favorites year after year.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

house sharing: maley's room

today i am sharing maley's room. but before you read any further, please click here and read this.

maley's room might be my favorite room in the new house. i have a special fondness for it because she and i have logged some serious hours in there. when i was planning her room in the bungalow, i had no idea what having a newborn baby would be like. when i thought about her room, i hardly ever thought about the practicalities that come with a baby. sure, i knew i'd need a place for her to sleep, a place to change her diaper, and a place to sit and rock her, but foremost in my mind was the aethetics of the crib, the changing table, the rocking chair.

and then, as i mentioned HERE we sold the bungalow and moved in with my mom. we took our clothes, our bed and maley's crib to my mom's house and everything else went in storage. when maley was born we took her home from the hospital to my mom's house where we had her crib set up in a spare bedroom. it didn't really matter that she didn't have the full-on nursery set up because she slept in my arms (while i slept on the couch in mom's playroom) for the first week or so anyway. when maley was three weeks old, we moved into the new house and we pretty much just unpacked the things we purchased for the bungalow nursery. the layout of the two rooms was not at all similar, but the things we already had fit well and i pretty much loved her new room instantly. i think getting her room settled so quickly and easily made this house feel like home to me right from the start. i am really grateful for that.

one thing i realized during the three weeks at my mom's house was that the rocker i planned to use (a hand-me-down from my mom, the same one i'd been rocked in when i was little) wasn't working for me. it had wooden armrests which hurt my elbows as i was learning to hold maley and nurse. when i saw jess mcclenahan post about her rocker from walmart i ordered it right away. this is a weird random memory, but i remember mr. heat came home from work that day and i was still all hormonal and baby bluesy and i cried as i told him i had ordered that chair. he was all, okay whatever you need. it's crazy the things i could not say without crying in the weeks after maley was born. i also cried while telling maley's pediatrician that i was emotional. i choked "i'm really emotional" out between sobs. isn't it funny that i felt the strong need to verbalize that? like he couldn't already tell? anyway, all that to say that it is really something how much emotion gets wrapped up in explaining about maley's room. everything in that room was a fixture in my fragile little postpartum world, and it all brings back so many memories-- such a huge range of feelings. maybe other new mamas can relate?

so anyway, here it is. i'll try and describe things as we go.

the wall color is "watery" by sherwin williams, but in benjamin moore aurora line paint. i didn't choose it, it was already like this when we moved in. but i love it and don't intend to change it anytime soon.
the lockers are probably my favorite thing in the room. they came from a flea market in nashville, tennessee. we bought them while visiting my brother and his brood and since we flew there, we imposed on my brother's family by leaving these lockers in their garage for close to a year i think. it was one of those "bargain" purchases that ended up costing triple in the long run because we had to figure out how to transport it home. i don't regret it though. i love seeing maley's little tutus and stuffed animals in there. and i love having the closed storage for holding wipes purchased in bulk and other randomness.
see that purple crocheted blanket and the pink knitted one? the purple one was made for maley by my mom's cousin, and my mom made the pink one. we used the purple one for maley's birth announcement photos. i treasure all the gifts we received for maley, but the handmade ones like these will forever have a special place in my heart.

the star lamp on top of the lockers will probably have to be moved somewhere else when maley is more mobile because i already get panics thinking of her pulling on the electrical cord and that heavy, pointy star crashing down on her. but since that lamp is on a dimmer it has been great for sneaking in her room for nighttime feedings.

while we're on the subject of nighttime feedings.... this may sound crazy but maley sleeps through the night now and so those have become a thing of the past, and i miss it already. i remember people telling me that i should pump or otherwise bottle feed maley so that mr. heat could share some of the nighttime feeding burden and i could rest. but now that that phase of maley's babydom is over, i am glad i sort of horded that time all to myself. i loved sitting in a dark room, just me and my girl in our quiet house, snuggling and nursing. i didn't always love getting out of my cozy bed to do it, but i am so pleased i have those moments to look back on. i made the drapes. one day i decided the blinds were insufficient and i went to our local $7.99/yard fabric store and this fabric with the little waves which just so happened to match the wall color was there just waiting for me. i lined it with blackout material, and threw it all together with iron-on hem tape. no sewing.

here is the opposite side of the room. that is the changing table {an old buffet} i wrote about HERE.

to the right of the changing table is maley's closet. hanging on the door is a little "shift dress," as my mom calls it, that my mom made for me when i was little. it has a little bunny on it. maybe maley will be able to wear it this easter. the crib is from walmart.com too (just like the chair). i think the crib and mattress came in a special set together and were a really good deal. we've been happy with it so far... it's no frills and pretty simple, which is the way i like it.
i didn't know if i'd want a bumper or not, so initially i didn't get one. then i noticed maley was pushing herself to the crib rails during the night and i went out the next day and got one. this one is just a white dot matelasse and it's super soft. i got it at tomlinson's. now that she's rolling over and is all over the crib, i have taken it out again because it makes me nervous. the crib sheet is from garnet hill. i have a few of these and they are great; they wash well and are the perfect weight. i want this bedding for all the beds in my house.
the framed art is explained HERE.
the mobile is shown in THIS POST. maley has only recently noticed it, and when she did, she grabbed that bottom center moon and ripped it right off. that means she likes it.
i made this shadowbox about a month after maley was born. it took all of 5 minutes-- just a sheet of scrapbook paper in the back with the items pinned on with a straight pin. it contains the shirt maley came home from the hospital in, the little cap the nurses put on her minutes after birth, and all three of our identification bracelets. i remember looking at her wearing that identification bracelet, which only has my name and the time & date of her birth, and feeling like my chest could puff out and explode with pride that she was wearing MY name, that she belonged to ME!

originally i planned to put these items in her scrapbook, but i am enjoying having them in the shadowbox instead because i can see them every day.

that rocker was the first thing i bought for our baby. i was probably only about 12 weeks along when i bought it. see those little notre dame mittens? they were mr. heat's when he was a kid. i think they're pretty sweet.
see that canvas leaning on the toychest? that was a sweet gift from my talented friend erin. i think she might do a blog post explaining how she makes them soon. check out the one she made for her baby's beach cottage bedroom right HERE.
the toychest was my mom's when she was little. i love that it was hers and i love the look of whatever kind of wood that is. a total win-win.

okay i think that about does it! hit me up in the comments if i've missed something.

Friday, December 9, 2011

house sharing

the blogs i love the most are home improvement DIY blogs. not really the blogs with professional photos of impeccably designed rooms. those are great and beautiful and all, but i am less drawn to them because it looks like no one actually lives there. the rooms look straight and careful and sooooo 'on trend' and like you wouldn't want to walk through the room for fear of trampling the rug or scuffing the hand scraped african rainforest hardwoods, or whathaveyou. i like the rooms where the homeowner cannot afford the custom handwoven rug and is not bothered by that fact. instead, they've happily thrown down a splashy ikea floorcovering or are ignoring the stained linoleum altogether and are training their eyes on the thrift shop distressed hutch standing proudly in the corner. meanwhile, there's a bucket of kids toys or a stack of gossip magazines taking a place of prominence in the room because, well, that is what the room is actually used for: living. and reading gossip magazines. which is part of living, right? anyway, i love seeing how people live and use their homes. how they create spaces that are cozy and friendly and most of all, how they create spaces where they want to live. where they will drink their morning coffee, kiss their kids good night, laugh with friends, you know... the good stuff. we're all interested in making these good moments better, which includes living these moments in places we love.

why am i telling you this? since i love seeing the real homes, i figure there's a good many of you who like the same thing. and since blogging is a two-way street, i want to share our home. so i guess i'm telling you this partly as a disclaimer, partly as a confession, and partly as a mercy plea.

the disclaimer: i feel fortunate beyond words that this is my home. god has blessed us not only with a safe peaceful country, but also a beautiful coastal town where we can raise our little family. this house is bigger than we need, and prettier than we deserve. that we get to put our own little spin on how it looks is a pure treat. if i say something that sounds crabby, or sounds like a complaint, please know that i am a brat. i am blessed far beyond anything i deserve. i do know that, but sometimes it might not convey.

the confession: i am not an interior designer. {did i even need to say that?} i am a girl who likes pretty things and really enjoys tinkering around with the aesthetic of my home. i like it to change and evolve and grow over time. i don't enjoy a room that looks like it was built in one day. i don't like to think of any room in my home ever being "done." actually, i like for them to be a little unfinished so when i give someone a house tour i can comment about it being 'a work in progress,' you know, to explain the mess. i like almost anything that can be described as refurbished, distressed, from a flea market, from the trash pile, reclaimed, and most of all, anything that looks like it was once in active use in a school or industrial setting. i also really like things that are free.

the mercy plea: there are loads of bigger, flashier, smarter, more beautiful, more ingenious, more expensive, or just all around better houses than mine. if i say something that makes me sound all high and mighty, righteous, or like i think i have just invented the internet, please ignore me.

cool. onward...

Thursday, December 8, 2011


i am sure you've read erin's blog. you already know how awesome she is at being a mommy, wifey, and bringing us all kinds of daily inspiration.

i am lucky because i knew her in real life, before the blog. i met her in law school. it was our first year and i think we bonded over the daily fretting of being called on in class to recite a case, which would (for me) inevitably lead to some form of humiliation in front of a classroom of 95 fellow students. just writing that sentence made me start fretting and sweating again... great now i have a new zit. anyway, she was nice to me even though i had adult braces. gosh i am making myself sound like such a winner. but really, she was kind and sweet to me, even after she came over to my tiny dingy apartment and jackson bit her (on the bum i think?). she has a heart of gold, is sharp as a tack, and is more crafty than martha stewart.

and now she has totally outdone herself. she has created wynnbaby, a super sweet, heirloom quality line of handmade nursery and children's bedding (and furniture). as if that wasn't enough, she honored my little maleygirl by naming the most beautiful cribset for her. check it out HERE.

vintage quilt crib bumper!

skirt with pom poms!

it is so gorgeous i could scream.

and look at the little gent who inspired it all, wynn himself.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

so fresh and so green green

i am a girl that has to live by a budget. a very very strict budget. this is all fine and well except for that i often get a strong urge to shop, to root out deals and just generally see what's out there. and i have discovered that the shopping urge is somewhat calmed with a little online perusing, even when i don't buy a single thing. i sometimes allow myself the joy (?) of adding things in my online shopping cart, just to see what my total (with shipping!) would be and then i close the browser window entirely. then i can continue on with the knowledge that i have saved that amount by, well, not spending it! brilliant. sometimes i show the online shopping cart to mr. heat just so i can see him shake his head.

below are some recent finds, all in the green family. maybe if your budget allows, you will want to click on the picture for a link and go ahead and put it in your online shopping cart. or just shake your head. it's up to you.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


rainbow colored hearts. they make your heart happy don't they?

about 2 weeks or so ago i told mr. heat that i thought it would be a while before maley would have the strength to sit up by herself. determined to prove me wrong, maley started sitting by herself 2 days later. just like that. so now i'm telling mr. heat i think it will be a while before maley agrees to take 2 real naps in her crib per day. i'm hoping she will be determined to prove me wrong on this too.

i sure do love her.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

my new favorite photos, ever

the other day i read karen russel's photography tips and thought to myself, self, you should really be using your 50mm f 1.4 D lens, as karen recommends. it has been sitting in a cabinet the whole time maley has been alive. this lens is hands down the best thing in my photographic equipment arsenal and i am flabbergasted that it has been sitting around all this time while i've been using the dinky 18-55mm. i cannot explain my actions. it's heartbreaking to think of all the great shots i missed because of this colossal misstep.