The Top 10

Every once in a while, I like to comb through some of my old posts…that’s one of the beautiful things about having a blog. It’s like a little diary of all the things we’ve done to our house, along with some little life updates along the way. It’s so fun to look back and see what we were doing a few years ago, and marvel over how much things have changed.

The other day when I was doing this, I realized that there are probably quite a few of you out there who haven’t been reading since the beginning of this blog (and if you have, a million points!) and I thought it might be fun to do a round up of some of the best posts of all time. A list of our greatest hits, if you will.

So, I grabbed the stats on the top ten posts since this blog started, and I figured I’d write ‘em all down and do a quick update on the projects. Sounds like a good time, yes?

Let’s dive right in.

10. Dining Room Inspiration

I imagine this post is in the top 10 because it’s the post that preceded our most popular project/post of all time, but we’ll get to that in a minute. It was fun to look back at the post and remember the horrible, horrible light that used to be in the dining room, as well as think about all the other options we went through before landing on our current fixture – it’s crazy to think our beloved dining room light was almost something different!

9. An Island Dream Comes True

I wrote this post right after we bought our kitchen island, and I have to say I’m not sure why it’s as popular as it is! We absolutely love our kitchen island, and it still lives in our kitchen and gets used on a daily basis, so I can definitely say this was a project that stood the test of time! We recently saw in Ikea that they’ve added some different versions of this island – they have one in black – and they’re gorgeous! We briefly wished that we had the black on instead, but ended up agreeing that white is probably till best for our kitchen. But man, that shiny black island sure is pretty!

8. More Form, Same Function

Oh my word, this is an old post. Corey actually wrote this post back when we tried to convince ourselves that he enjoyed writing enough to participate in writing blog posts! The pictures are awful and all taken in our old little duplex in College Station, but I stand by that project! That dresser is still in our house and we still use it under our television, though I have to say it looks much better in this house than it did in that one.

7. Enabling Our Dogs

Another old one! This little old bench has seen a lot of love in the years since we bought it…and it has definitely reached the end of its life. It is still in our bedroom for now, only because we haven’t bought anything to replace it and our dogs are still spoiled and need a bench at the foot of the bed. But, it’s looking very rough. It’s starting to fall apart, the fabric is horribly dirty and has holes in it, and it’s clashed with our bedroom decor for a while now. We’ll be saying goodbye to this bench just as soon as we buy a new one to replace it!

6. Summertime Staples: Sangria

Mmmm, I don’t blame you guys for loving this post. This is my favorite drink recipe in the history of ever. Seriously, it’s the best sangria I’ve ever had in my life. We’ve already made it several times this summer and I’m planning on grabbing the stuff for another batch the next time we’re at the store! All of my “summertime staples” recipes are pretty high on the list of popular posts, so I’m thinking I’ll have to write up another post or two about our favorites before the summer is up – we have a killer shrimp taco recipe that goes really well with this sangria…

5. DIY Black & Gold Globe

I love this project! It was something we got the idea for when we participated in Creating With the Stars, and we loved it so much that we decided to go for it after the contest was over. This guy is still in our living room, but to be honest I’m not sure how well it fits in. I’m not ready to get rid of it because I like it too much, and I’m on a “get rid of all the things” kick right now, particularly in that room, so I’m hoping I’ll get struck with a brilliant idea for what we can do with it. In the meantime, I still really love looking at it!

4. Creating With the Stars Week 4: Home Decor

Speaking of Creating With the Stars… It’s so fun to look back at this project and think about how different that room looks now – that’s Jackson’s nursery! We loved this project but, of course, a reading room wasn’t really practical for our house. We did this entire thing knowing that we would eventually be transitioning it into a nursery. Honestly we both thought we’d leave the wall color the same, but I’m glad we ended up changing it to the more neutral gray we have now. I’m pretty infatuated with how the room looks now, but we’d never have gotten here if it wasn’t for this project!

3. Home Sweet Home

I still love this project just as much as I did on the day I finished it. It still makes me smile every time I walk down our hallway, and it’s still one of the projects I’m the most proud of! I want to do a few other updates to our little hallway so this pretty guy isn’t all alone up there, but it’s still pretty low on the priority list. We’ll get there someday.

2. A Homemade Curtain Rod

The only project that is no longer in our house! We loved these curtain rods and they served us well for a few years! I do wish we had done a few things differently – I’ve seen tutorial where people made them sit out from the wall a bit so that you can actually close and open the curtains, and I wish we would have done that. I also wish we would have made the rod more easily removed – it was a pretty permanent structure so when we wanted to replace the curtains we had to take the whole shebang down…and that’s how we ended up replacing them. We wanted something that was a little nicer looking and easier to swap out, so we ended up buying new curtain rods for the living and dining room as we replaced the curtains…but I do love looking back at these guys!

And finally, our #1 viewed post of all time…

1. A Handmade Dining Room Light

The dining room light. The one that always makes people stop in their tracks when they visit our house and ask where we got it. The one that still makes me smile every single time I turn it on. The one I will be clinging to, screaming and crying on the day (many years in the future) when we move away from this house and have to leave it behind. I’m a big fan of this light. It is a huge statement piece in our dining room and makes the whole thing feel elegant and put together. I still get regular emails about this project and have had many people tell me they’ve attempted it themselves, which I love hearing! Definitely my favorite project we’ve ever done!

And with that, if you’re new around here you are officially caught up on the best of the best posts! It’s pretty clear you guys are big fans of project posts…and I’m a big fan of writing them. I sincerely miss having more project posts around these parts, and I’m hoping we’ll be able to get back to it soon. We haven’t been putting hardly any money into the house lately, but Corey and I have both agreed that we miss it dearly and are hoping that within the next few months we’ll be able to loosen up the purse strings a bit. Our house is feeling neglected!

What kind of posts would you like to see more of around here? Any requests? Anyone else love going back and looking at old blog posts, or diaries if you don’t have a blog? I love reading what was on my mind all those years ago!

Curtains & Chairs

Ever since we added some new flooring in the dining room, Corey and I have been all about working on the room. Something about that shiny, happy new floor just makes us want to make the rest of the room pretty. If only we could get our butts in gear to get the living room done so we’d feel the same way about it. Still crossing my fingers it gets done before we go back to school!

We’ve been talking about new curtains in the dining room for months – ever since we replaced the windows on the back of the house, really, but we haven’t been able to really settle on what we wanted. We’ve got patterned curtains in the living room and I already feel like the living room is entirely too cluttered looking and was desperate for something neutral, calming, and not at all cluttered for in here. When we found these navy blue jute curtains at Target, we new we’d struck gold – they’re gorgeously textured, they flow well with the curtains in the living room, and they look amazing against our bamboo blinds. Basically, they’re perfect. We had white curtains in here before, and while we enjoyed the breezy and fresh look, when you have three dogs it’s almost impossible to keep white things clean. Add to that the fact that one of the curtain panels is right next to the doggy door and you’ve got yourself a formula for perma-dirty curtains and they had to go. I feel like this look is so much better and I love how much more polished the room feels now. We also, as I mentioned on Monday, got some new chairs at the table. We found these chairs on Craigslist and actually bought them with the intent of painting them red. Now that we have Jackson’s red high chair in here, I’ve been wanting to sprinkle in some other red accents throughout the house (which Corey is thrilled with, since it’s his favorite color), and we thought that having red chairs on either end of the table would be fun. We both love the look of the cane back on these guys, and we thought that they’d look fantastic in a bright, shiny red. And then we got them home. And we looked at them, and we looked at each other, and we both declared that there was no way we could ever even think about painting these chairs. They’re gorgeous and in amazing condition, and I will never touch a paint brush to them. I don’t even care that I swore we wouldn’t be bringing any more wood tones into this room because we already have more than enough. So now, we have a dilemma. With the addition of the (dark) blue curtains and the (dark) wood chairs, this room is feeling pretty heavy and, uh, dark. We both agree that the rest of the chairs at the table need to be white, but we also both agree that the chairs we currently have don’t really fit with the look we’re going for. We’ve got a few ideas on what we’ll do for the rest of the chairs, but it’s low on our priority list for now. We also want to replace the art on the back of the fireplace with something else (no clue what yet) and find some accessories for the table to break up all the wood. Oh, and we’re eventually going to add baseboards back into the room. Just in case you thought we were digging the exposed sheetrock look, we aren’t. The plan is to wait until we get the flooring done in the living room (since the two rooms are open to one another) and then we’ll start working on the baseboards in here and in there. And it will be a glorious day when it is complete! What do you think? Any suggestions on fun tabletop accessories that could brighten our dining room back up? What about some awesome large-scale art for the fireplace wall?

Brain Dump

Well, hi there! Have you noticed the radio silence around here lately? I sure have… my free time lately has been completely consumed by graduate school and I’m getting sick of it. I’m currently 3/4 of the way through my last class of graduate school (as in, ever…I graduate next month!) and it’s kicking my butt. I think I’m finally over the hump of the hardest assignments and am starting to wrap things up so hopefully I’ll have a little more time for blogging soon.

Since my mind is completely bogged down with writing papers, turning projects in, and reading research articles, I figured I’d do a quick drive-by post today with a few things we’ve been up to lately…and issue a promise that I’ll have actual content up soon. We’ve actually done a little bit more work around the house!

The first thing I want to tell you about is the new chairs we got in the dining room. I don’t want to spoil anything because I want to do a more thorough post on them later, but I’m in l-o-v-e with them. We finally gave up on the head chairs that we’ve been talking about reupholstering for like two and a half years now (do you remember those? no? that’s because it’s been over a year since I’ve even mentioned them…) and got these instead – and I’m thrilled with the decision! More on them later, just know they’re awesome.

We had a fabulous Fourth of July weekend – had some pool time, had friends over, did lots of relaxing, and just enjoyed our time together. So basically, it was like every other day we’ve had so far this summer. Perfection!

Jackson is officially starting to actually eat some of the food we put in front of him (mostly just avocado as of now, but he had a few bites of squash and sucked on some toast the other day) and it’s so fun to watch him start to explore it. We’re doing baby-led weaning and we’re taking it very slow, since he isn’t quite six months yet. We’re mostly just letting him play around and try a few different things at this point, but I have a feeling that within the next couple of weeks he’ll be ready to start eating more – he ate a whole slice of avocado last night at dinner!

I’ve had a lot of questions about Jackson’s high chair – it’s the Blames high chair from Ikea and we also bought the Pyttig support pillow, since he’s still a bit small for the high chair on his own. We love both of them and have been very happy so far. The high chair is very easy to keep clean and actually looks great at our table – some reviews I’ve read complain that it sits kind of low, but it’s perfectly level with our table, which we love because it feels like he’s really participating at meal time. The support pillow has been fantastic to help him feel more secure in the chair, and we’ve even brought it with us to restaurants a few times so he can sit in the big high chairs there too – we’re thinking about getting another one to keep in the car! I’d highly recommend both of them for anyone looking for a high chair.

(Just because I can’t resist a couple more cute photos)

And that’s our update as of right now. I’ll be back soon (hopefully later this week!) with a real post, promise!

How was your holiday weekend? Anyone do anything exciting?

Jackson: Five Months

Stats: No appointment this month, but our scale at home tells me Jackson currently weighs about 16 pounds (with a wet diaper and clothes, so a bit less!).

Clothing Size: Jack is still fitting pretty nicely into his 3-6 month clothes for now! I thought he’d grow out of it this month, but they all still fit very well. He actually had several of pairs of 0-3 pants that still fit him up until a couple of weeks ago, and most of his 6 month pants are pretty baggy on him. I honestly think he may still have one or two pairs of 0-3 pants that fit, since baby clothing sizes vary so much!

Sleep: We’re finally settling back into a good sleep routine and it seems that the worst of his sleep regression is over, thank goodness. Naps are officially happening in the crib, and he generally takes 4-5 naps a day that are anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, though over the last week or so he’s started to toss in a few longer naps. I’m hoping that means he’s getting ready to consolidate them into three good naps a day, but we’ll see! At night, he seems to be moving towards a 12-hour sleep schedule. Most nights he’ll go down around 7:00, sleep until 5:00 (with one or two wake-ups for his pacifier, though I don’t really count them because they take us less than 30 seconds to deal with), eat, and then go back to sleep until 7:00 or so. I feel like we’re still very much in a transitional time with his sleep, though, so I’m not confident in saying anything is going to stick right now!

Eating: Still breastfeeding exclusively, though he’s showing us more and more every day that he’s ready to start solids. He’s constantly lunging for our food when we eat around him – the other day we were at a restaurant and he was sitting in my lap, and he grabbed my plate and pulled it right up to him! He also sometimes will sit at the table with us while we’re eating, open his mouth, and shout “ahhh! ahhh!” like he’s waiting for us to plop something in there. We’ve said in the past we were going to wait until 6 months to start solids, but our resolve is wavering as he gets more and more eager, so we’ll see…I predict we’ll start this month!

Milestones: He is rolling all over the place now! He rolled across the living room one day, and we always come into his room after naps to find him in a completely different position than where we left him. He’s getting really good at sitting up – his balance is still a bit off (he’s a bit top heavy with his big head!), so he needs support, but he’s can hold himself in a sitting position for a long time now! This month he also found his voice and when he’s in a good mood our house is full of the sound of a shrieking, giggling, shouting baby. He absolutely loves to let out little screams and then giggle at himself. It’s probably the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

Things we want to remember: I want to remember how adorable this phase is. He’s just starting to be able to explore a little bit more – he hasn’t figured out crawling but he is learning how to manipulate his body a little more and he’s finding creative ways to get where he wants to go. I never want to forget the adorable little shrieks he lets out when he’s excited, or how eager he is when I’m drinking or eating in front of him and he thinks maybe, just maybe, I’ll give him some. I want to keep soaking up any cuddles I get because they’re starting to become more and more rare as he gets more mobile. And I said this last month, but I don’t ever want to forget that sweet little look of concentration when he’s trying to figure something new out…I love watching him learn!

Special outings or adventures: It’s summer, so outings are becoming more and more common around here! We’ve been all over the place this month – he had his first water adventure, he met his future wife (aka my best friend’s daughter), we kicked off his first ever summer spent at home with his family, and he got to try out his stroller without the car seat for the first time. This month also marked Corey’s first Father’s day!

Favorites: His current favorite things include Sophie the giraffe, rolling around on the floor, playing with Cullen (they are OBSESSED with each other now!), and diaper changes (he giggles the whole time). Our favorites include making him laugh, watching him explore and learn new things, and just how interactive he’s becoming.

What we’ve learned: We’ve learned a lot about his napping and sleep patterns this month! We learned how important it is to stick to something, even if you think it might not work, because it can revolutionize your whole life (I’m not exaggerating when I say naps in the crib have changed my life). We’re also continuing to learn every day how to work together a little more efficiently, and how to be the best parents possible to this awesome little kid.

Our Summer So Far…

Y’all, summer is the best. Ever.

I feel like this is the first summer Corey and I have really been able to enjoy together as adults – last summer (the first year we were both teachers), I was pregnant and sick most of the time. The whole summer was a blur because we were so caught up in the newness of me being pregnant, and I spent the vast majority of my time sleeping or laying around on the couch. This summer, though, we are both home with no obligations (other than one last graduate school course that I’m finishing up) and we are enjoying it as much as we possibly can.

I said in our summer bucket list that I wanted us to have at least one fun outing every week, and we’ve stuck to that so far. I’ve been really good about taking photos of what we’ve been doing (another one of my summer resolutions!) so I figured I’d share a quick roundup of what we’ve done so far.

Week One

We kicked off the first week of summer with some serious nap training for Jackson, so we tried to stick pretty close to the house for the most part. We’re the type of people that need to get out of the house frequently, so we went somewhere most days but it was usually just a quick trip to Target or the grocery store. We did, however, manage to squeeze in a couple of fun outings.

We took a long walk to the local park one day and let Jackson sit in his stroller without the carseat for the first time ever. He loved it. He was talking and cooing almost the whole time, and he didn’t get fussy once on the entire 45-minute walk. I think we’re going to try to make this a regular outing for us, because it was fantastic.

We also spent one afternoon at my sister’s house playing in their inflatable splash pad. It was Jackson’s first non-bath experience with water, and he was fascinated. It took him a little while to warm up to it – for the first fifteen minutes or so he was just sitting there staring at the water, trying to figure out what was going on. But once he got the hang of it, he was all about it. He kept trying to lunge away from me and crawl across the pool area (he can’t crawl yet, so that didn’t work out too well for him…) and he loved just hanging out in the water. We spent forever playing around with the water that afternoon, and I can’t wait to do it again with him!

Week Two

The second week of summer (last week) we headed up to San Marcos to meet my best friend and her family for lunch at a gorgeous restaurant. They used to live in Fort Worth, which is about a 4 hour drive from us, but her husband is in med school and just started his residency in San Antonio, so they’re only two hours away…and San Marcos is a perfect halfway point for us to meet up! She has a daughter that was born exactly six weeks after Jackson, and it was our first time meeting each other’s kids. It was a blast and I can’t wait to start meeting up more often with them!

Week Three

This week is a bit crazy for us because I’m at a conference for work today, tomorrow, and Friday…so things have been busy! We spent most of Monday doing work stuff – Corey had an interview and I worked on moving stuff to my new classroom (I’m moving to a new school within my district this year). I’m still hoping we’ll be able to squeeze in an “official” fun outing this week, but we’ll see how things go! If nothing else, we’ve been doing a good job of going on lots of walks and spending some extra time outside!

What have you been up to so far this summer?