Friday, March 29, 2013

Their Easter Best

There’s not much cuter than little bitties in Easter clothes. It just takes some ruffles and a couple neck ties to convert my gremlins into cherubs! Here they are in their Sunday Friday finest and ready for church.
 
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Ben can really rock a tie – this is a skill that his handsome Daddy has passed down. :)
 
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Our future President. Vote for Ben.
 
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Gracie is just getting too big too fast. 
 
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She is such a little lady... 
 
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and she is pleased as can be to let me dress her up!
 
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Noah is happy to report that every girl’s crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man.
 
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Happy Easter!!!
 
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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Choo Choo, Noah is TWO!

The plan was to have a small, low-key party for Noah’s 2nd birthday. I don’t know how well I accomplished that goal, but we did have a wonderful time celebrating our littlest guy!
 
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I made the invitations and other printables in Publisher.
 
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I included a train ticket for each kiddo in their invitation.
 
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I added a number 2 and a train to a cute plain shirt I found on sale at Old Navy! Noah loves it – he kept pointing to his belly and saying “Choo-Choo Shirt!”
 
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Our party guests started to arrive and all of the kids headed to the playground. Someone was happy to have his BFF in town – I love their matching gaps!
 
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Gracie & Aubrey headed straight for the swings.
 
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These sweet girls headed off to do their own thing. 

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The little guys took off in search of some BIG slides. Padon was a little apprehensive at first.
 
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Noah had Grant to coach him along…
 
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so he jumped right in,
 
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as Luke cheered him on.
 
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While the kiddos were playing, we set up lunch and the party tables.
 
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I found these wooden train whistles (aka mini recorders) from the Dollar Spot at Target.
 
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We made popcorn snacks for the upcoming train ride.
 
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And of course, there was a train cake!
 
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Once everything was set up, we called the troops over for lunch.
Did somebody say EAT?
 
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We had pizza, chips & apple slices. Everybody chowed down!
 
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Our Young Life girls came to par-tay!
 
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And they photo bombed approximately 75% of the pics I took.
 
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Lauren and I marveled at our matching outfits.
 
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After all of that, the kids ran off to feed the leftovers to the ducks.
 
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This activity gave me a slight panic attack. Does anyone else agree that a railing would be helpful in this situation? Thankfully, everyone stayed high and dry.
 
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Once the ducks were full, it was time for cake and singing. Gracie sang the loudest.
 
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Then the birthday boy pretended to blow out his candles (that wouldn’t light in the wind).
 
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This continued to happen.
 
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The birthday boy got the first piece of cake and he went to town. Nom nom nom.
 
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We sent the kids back to the playground to run off the cake while we cleaned and packed up. Then we headed over to the zoo train. (Noah was saying “Ride Choo-Choo!” from the moment the party started, so I was glad that it was time to hop on that train!)
 
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Our group of 22 all made it onto the same train. Noah was glad that his buddy Padon was right behind him.
 
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Gracie, per her request, was sitting with Liz, Rylan & the YL Girls.
 
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All aboard!
 
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The whistles were a big hit!
 
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The train was a really fun way to end the party. Noah was a little sad when it was over, so his daddy distracted him with a little walk down the tracks.
 
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Then his brother & sister distracted him with some birthday smooches.
 
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Enough!!!

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We had such a great time wishing Noah a Happy 2nd Birthday! The train theme was a little last minute, but I love how everything turned out. I love all of these people lots more!
 
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Even though they’re a little bit crazy.
 
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We are thankful for all of you who celebrated with us!
Happy Birthday, Noah Bug!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

To Noah, From Mommy

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To my crazy Noah Bug,

Two years ago you made your own way into this world a tad bit earlier than any of us were ready for. You haven’t stopped doing things your own way since. You spend most of your days looking for ways to get into T-R-O-U-B-L-E. You make it hard for me to be the disciplinarian because you are SO DARN CUTE. I imagine I’m going to wear out the knees in my Mommy pants praying for you as you get older. For your safety (my little dare devil)… for my sanity… I’m sure the list will be long.
 
As wild and crazy as things have been since you’ve joined the family, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I CAN NOT get enough of your face. You have the biggest, most beautiful eyes that I’ve ever seen. Your eyelashes go on for days and days and days. When you smile, my heart melts and I want to just kiss all over those sweet dimpled cheeks. You have the funniest little voice – it is equal parts precious baby and indignant German dictator. I particularly enjoy how you don’t really “call” for me with the sing-song “Moooommmmy” that most toddlers do, but instead you shout “MOM-MAAAAY” at the top of your lungs. Even though you can be a little rough around the edges, you are still my sweet boy and I cherish each and every snuggle that you are willing to send my way. As you’ve gotten older, you’ve become more of a snuggler, and I could not be more thrilled!

While I love the increase in hugs, I’m not happy that you are getting older. Five seconds ago I was keeping a vigil in the NICU next to a teeny little preemie… I blinked and you became a toddler. You are ALL boy. I know you are going to get tired of me saying this year after year, but you will always be my baby. You filled the final spot in our family and have stolen my heart since day one. Try not to use that against me, ok? I see you working hard each day to make your presence known, almost like you’re trying to make up for being the littlest. I want you to remember that, just like your big brother and sister, you are my treasured blessing and I will always love you – no matter what. You don’t have to try so hard… you just have to be you!

Remember that we named you after a hero of the Bible. Scripture teaches us that while Noah was far from perfect, he was counted as righteous because he walked with God. That is my prayer for you, my Noah bug. Walk with Jesus! If your big personality requires it, you can run, karate chop, or cannonball with Him, too! You can call for Him in your loudest tyrannical voice and He will answer you even then. God certainly has mighty plans for a little guy as strong-willed, smart, and charming as you, and I look forward to seeing the ways he uses your passion and strength as you grow.

You are my prayer that came true, baby boy, and I love you as big as the sky!
 
Love, Mommy

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A-door-able

I have wanted a painted front door since for-EV-er. For some reason, we never got around to it at the old house (probably because the existing door was a decent neutral color that didn’t bother me too much.) The door at the new house, however, is a different story. It is a beautiful solid wood door. I love the glass and the panels, but the honey colored stain just didn’t seem to go with the exterior of the house AT ALL.

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And it just got worse the closer you came. It was dingy and fading and did I mention that it just didn’t go? Kudos to whoever thought, “Mauve brick, orange door… yeah, that works.”
 
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We also wanted to change out the hardware. I wasn’t a big fan of the gold finish, and Mom bought us a new lock & handle for a Christmas/housewarming present. I was chomping at the bit to replace the old with the new.
 
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Speaking of Mom, she was here at the beginning of February and offered to wrangle some gremlins so that we could finally get this project done. As usual, I consulted a Young House Love blog post before we started… they just do a great job of breaking down projects like this step by step and giving lots of details. As suggested, we cleaned the door, removed the hardware, and gave everything a good sanding. Because we were dealing with wood that had never been painted before, we primed it first. Brian just asked the guy at the paint desk at Home Depot and he suggested this.
 
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I taped off the outside edges and the hinges and then we slapped on one coat of primer. So far, so good.
 
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Just the primer was a vast improvement, but I was super excited to bust out the paint. After digging around the internet googling things like “pink brick, painted door” I landed on the idea of painting it plum. I dare you to tell your husband you want to paint the front door plum. It goes something like this:
 
Me: “I’m going to pick out a dark plum color for the front door.”
 
Brian: “Plum? As in purple? You want to paint the front door purple?”

Me: “Yes.”
 
Brian: Silent stare. Wanders off into another room, pretending like the conversation never happened.
 
I interpreted that as a sign NOT to ask him to choose between the paint chips that I later brought home. Instead I just asked every friend that visited and they all agreed that Behr’s Aubergine (N100-7) was the way to go. (Side note – this is a discontinued color. They have a new paint chip called “Deep Aubergine” that is NOT the same. I think you’d have to give them the name and number at the paint desk in order for them to bring up the old formula.)

The folks over at YHL suggested Valspar Duramax Exterior Paint in a semi-gloss finish, so that’s what we used. Because I still had the old Behr paint chip from Home Depot, I just had the guys at Lowe’s color match it. We applied two thin coats. This paint didn’t require any sort of top coat, so we let her dry and called her done.

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I feel like the old door only offered a weak "Hi there" to our visitors. The new door, on the other hand, says, "Come on in! Our door is purple and we want to be your friend!" It stops just short of Joey's "How you doin'?", because that would have been too much.
 
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The new hardware is awesome! We found it on Amazon. I love using the key pad to lock and unlock the door. No keys required!

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The next step was to slap a wreath up there. I made this one (based on this tutorial) just in time to welcome Spring!

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So now when I drive up, I see this.

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I love it lots! It’s been about six weeks, and if I had it to do all over, I would pick the exact same color.

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Plum for the win!

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