Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sprinkled With Love

I was lucky enough to have an adorable sprinkle thrown for me last week by some very sweet friends- thank you Leslie, Alissa and Christina! I really wasn't sure if it was the norm to have a shower for the second baby, but it was nice to have an occasion to celebrate our baby boy's impending arrival. 

The invitations were custom designed and printed through Zazzle. The little rain drops pattern on the back is my favorite part!

Picture by Christina Clark Photography
There was the perfect mix of yummy treats, adorable decorations and great company at the sprinkle. I was so thankful for the advice from the veteran mamas. (It's only been 3 years since Grace was a newborn, but I have clearly blocked those sleepless nights out of my mind.) I've also been bowled over by the generosity of my sweet friends to share their baby gear and experiences. My talented friend, Kathleen, owner of Little Hipsters Apparel, even made matching outfits for little brother and big sister and how cute is this lion hamper I received?! I love how big it is! 

3 Sprouts Laundry Hamper
I've also been working to try and build up a stash of cloth diapers, so I was thrilled to be gifted a couple of new diapers. I am totally new to the cloth diaper scene, but I am really motivated to make it work, if possible. I mean, cloth diapers are better for the environment, we can save money vs. buying disposables and they are super cute! My fingers are crossed that I can figure this out. I know it can't be that difficult, but there is a steep learning curve full of acronyms and poop talk. Fluff mail, AIO, wet bags, etc... :) If you have any tips for me, I would LOVE to hear them! What is the one thing you wish you had known when you started cloth diapering?
A collection I begged, borrowed and bartered for
We moved the final piece of furniture into the nursery (spare room), and now we are ready to put the finishing touches on the walls. I definitely have the urge to nest, and get everything ready! So far we haven't painted the room ***although I'm hoping hubbins and I can do it over Christmas break*** maybe, possibly, there's a chance, right, Cole?!

I found these awesome letters on a blog called Daily Drop Cap, and I decided to make a piece of alphabet art for the room. The designer created illustrative initial caps regularly starting in 2009. There are currently 9 full alphabets posted on her blog, and they are all beautiful. I love the pops of orange and gold in the letters I chose, and I think it looks fun in a simple white frame. I'm considering making a mini gallery wall with this piece, a mirror, and a few other frames, but I haven't decided yet!

Letters by Jessica Hische, Daily Drop Cap
Meanwhile, the days are flying by and Christmas is just weeks away! Grace is so enthralled with everything related to the holidays this year. She was thrilled (and mostly speechless) when she got to meet Mrs. Claus and Santa. This was a huge improvement from the screaming traumatized toddler of years past.
Asking Santa for trains for Christmas
 She loved helping decorate the tree inside and outside, and she is filled with anticipation each morning as she looks for the Elf on a Shelf. (He is a very well-behaved elf who hangs out mostly in high, hard to reach places. Grace calls him "Little Girl," so maybe it is a she and not a he...)
#34 weeks

Cravings: Coffee and a nap or watching Breaking Bad

Feeling: Like the accommodations are getting tight 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I Love This Girl

Sure, she can't wipe her own bottom or use a tissue by herself, but she sure does bring a smile to my face with her silly ways and sweet smile. 

Holding her "camera" and taking my picture

She's like a little wizard training at Hogwarts!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Grace's Donut Birthday Brunch and {Chalkboard Party Favor DIY}

I think I know why fall is my favorite season... October and November are full of holidays and opportunities to celebrate! Last year, Grace didn't really seem to care about her birthday, but this year she was so excited for her big day.

I can't blame her. Turning 3 is a pretty big deal. We decided to celebrate with donuts (my Grace's favorite) and her closest pals. She even got a special visit from her Auntie Jen!

Thanks, Auntie, for making Grace's special day even more special!
I created this invitation and then had it printed with Vistaprint
We planned to have the party outside and crossed my fingers that it wouldn't be raining or too cold. The week of the party the weather app kept showing Saturday's temperatures getting lower and lower. After much debate, we decided to move the party inside. I was worried there wouldn't be enough room and the kids would be bored, but it turned out perfectly and the kids were thrilled to play with the toys, eat donuts and run up and down the stairs. We just decorated with some pink table clothes and streamers and these cute little donuts that I printed and cut out. (We also used them for decorating our thank you cards.)
Source: Free Printable from Oh Happy Day
Our guests decorated their party hats with sparkly stickers and polka dots when they arrived. I was surprised by how entertained they were doing this. More proof that simple is better when it comes to toddlers. 

Decorate Your Party Hat Station
The "brunch" menu was very simple:
  • LOTS OF DONUTS (from Donut Country, a Murfreesboro favorite)
  • Yogurt (greek for the adults and Gogurts for the kids)
  • Bananas
  • Cheerios (otherwise known as donut seeds)
  • Coffee, milk, chocolate milk, OJ and water
Grace sang right along as everyone sang her "Happy Birthday," and she had no problem blowing out her candle, which we stuck in the middle of a coma-inducing cinnamon roll. 

Grace's extra large frosted cinnamon roll with sprinkles
Cheerios as "Donut Seeds" 
I had a lot of fun creating the party favors for each of Grace's friends- monogramed chalk boards inspired from here!

The process was super easy, but did take a couple nights to finish all of the coats of paint on each side of the letters. My goal was to give our guests something that they would use and that wouldn't add more junk to the toy box. Here are the DIY instructions if you want to make your own chalkboard party favors:

How To Make Monogramed Chalkboard Party Favors

MDF Letter 
1 Bottle of Chalkboard Paint
Paint brush
320 Grit Sandpaper
Small rubber bands
Jute and/or Ribbon
  1. Following the instructions on your chalkboard paint, paint 1-4 layers of paint onto the letters. Make sure you use solid strokes alternating horizontal or vertical for different layers. 
  2. Once you've painted all sides of your letters and they are dry, rub the 320 grit sandpaper over the entire letter to smooth it down. (This will make the chalkboard easier to use and erase.)
  3. Prime each letter by rubbing chalk on all of the surfaces and then wipe clean. (If you don't do this, the first thing you draw on your chalkboard won't ever completely come off.)
  4. Attach a few pieces of chalk using a rubber band and some jute to the letter. 
  5. Add your party tag and some curly ribbon, and you're done!
Putting the finishing touches on the party favors. 
Overall, we had a wonderful party and felt so lucky to be able to celebrate our baby's third birthday with our new Tennessee friends. Grace was over the moon! I was so proud of her throughout the whole party. She was kind to her friends, shared her toys and used good manners when opening her presents. I really do enjoy being able to throw her birthday parties, but I also want her to be a gracious host and to be appreciative for all she has.

We had a polka dot themed party when Grace turned one and an ice cream party at a farm for her second birthday.


A maternity update!

#30 weeks

Cravings: Pumpkin Pie with whipped cream (Let's not talk about how I ate half of a week old pumpkin pie with a can of whipping cream on the couch while I watched Revenge.)

Feeling: Rotund 

I can't believe we're in the final stretch until baby Anderson gets here! I am so excited to meet him!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lilacs and Lemons: Making Murfreesboro Our Home

October seems to be flying by- just a few weeks until Halloween and Grace's third birthday and then we'll be well into November and the "holiday season!" I feel like having kids makes you (re)learn how to enjoy the small things in life. Holidays have a sense of wonderment and anticipation. Seasons changing mean discovering fallen leaves and stomping in puddles with rain boots. I love watching Grace discover new things each day and being able to rediscover them with her.

Enjoying the last warm days of fall. 
Our baby is still growing and healthy (and Grace still calls him Baby Market). I have no idea why she calls him this, but she insists that is his name and has kept it up for a good couple months. While we don't plan on calling him "Market," we are still discussing names and haven't 100% settled on anything. I think naming a boy is harder. There's more pressure to find a name that will be strong and fitting for both a child and an adult. Cole seems to be into historical names, while I'm more a fan of older names or surnames as first names. We both like the idea of using family names, too.

Cole, Grace, Baby Market, our $12 popcorn and I at Frozen on Ice

We have been in Murfreesboro for 8 months now, and I could not be happier with the town and all it has to offer. My only wish was that it was closer to our families. From the start, I was lucky enough to find support and friendship in the MOMS Club, which has given us a chance to explore middle Tennessee with a wonderful group of moms and their little ones.

Equally as important, Grace's Pre-K school has been the perfect fit for us. It is right around the corner from our house. Grace wakes up each morning excited to go to school. She loves to play pretend school at home and emulates everything from me dropping her off, to getting a green light at the end of the day for good behavior. She loves her teachers and her classmates and seems to be learning so much.
Grace chose these funny glasses from the Treasure Box at school after she got 4 green lights for good behavior.
We also have a family pass to the gym, which has been awesome. The gym has a really well run Kid's Club that Grace is pumped to go to.  It makes me feel less guilty about dropping her off, when I know she's having a fun time, too. This is my first time back at the gym in three years (I did Stroller Strides and at-home work outs mostly since Grace was born). I feel a little intimidated, and round, but I like being able to lift some weights and do some cardio that is gentle on my knee. I've also been taking Gentle Yoga and a Zumba class at a dance studio. This time around having a fit pregnancy is really important to me, and I like knowing that I will have a better fitness foundation to start from once the baby is born.

I haven't been too uncomfortable yet with this pregnancy, but I've recently started having a hard time falling asleep because my mind won't turn off. There are just too many thoughts bouncing around in my head and baby feet bouncing around in my belly. Here are just a few:

"Is Grace eating too many Grape Nuts and is it ok that the only meat she will eat is BACON??"

"Can I use spray paint on a lamp shade?" **Pulls up phone to check on Pinterest. Then goes to Facebook and Instagram. Checks email.**

"Do we seek shelter for a TORNADO WATCH or a TORNADO WARNING?"

"Griffin is scooting again. Eww, anal glands."

"Is it acceptable to wear the same black stretchy pants all week?"

"I hope it doesn't rain for Grace's OUTDOOR Birthday party."

"The downstairs toilet needs to be tightened." 

"How much extra does it cost to have a C-section?"

"Tomorrow we should get milk shakes. Mmmm, pumpkin milk shakes."

Part of what is stressing me out is anticipating the sleepless nights yet to come. It's like so many people say, you have amnesia after you have a newborn. You quickly forget the pain of labor and the multiple feedings a night. I know it was rough for the first few months, but at least this time around I'll know it gets better. I need to enjoy the time now in which Grace sleeps a solid 11 hours without waking up. Those days are numbered. 

My Lemonade: I'm thankful that I have so many blessings and that we are fortunate enough to be expecting an addition to our family. I try really hard not to complain about the annoyances and hardships of pregnancy because I know it is a gift and not every family dreaming of a baby is able to take this journey. 


Cravings: Blueberry Eggos with cinnamon, sugar and syrup

Feeling: Lots and lots of kicking


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Lilacs and Lemons: Bills Look for Win # 3 and Struggles to Become Street Legal in TN

Welcome to my second Lilacs and Lemons write up- brimming with the good and the bad from the week!

My husband is a big fan of the Buffalo Bills. He has been since he was a child, and he can remember crying when they lost the Super Bowl four years in a row in the early '90s. Year after year he continues to cheer for his team despite the fact that they have not made the playoffs in 14 seasons.

As his wife for the last 10 years, I've borne witness to the hope at the beginning of each season that is quickly replaced with disappointment and heartbreak as the loses stack up. Cole tells me, "If we don't root for them, who will?"That's true. I have to cheer for them.

This year the Bills started the season 2-0. TWO WINS, ZERO LOSSES! It's a start... At least they're giving the fans hope. Tomorrow they face the Chargers and hope to keep their winning streak alive.

Daddy and Grace, 2013. 

Also, Grace seems to be getting excited about her baby brother.

        -She wants to call him Baby Market.

        -He can sleep in her bed, but he can't use her bath tub. 

        -He'll probably be hungry for Lucky Charms. 

        -He'll share all of his things with her. 

Becoming such a big girl. 

It took FOUR visits to the County Clerks office plus a trip to the emissions to get our car legally registered in Tennessee. I'm not saying TN is wrong, but maybe they could take note from other states and find a way to expedite and simplify the process. Not to mention, our leasing company failed to put MY NAME on a Power of Attorney that I REQUESTED. Enough said. It was annoying.

I know, I know, "wah, wah, wah!" Complaining about the DMV is nothing new, but to make things even more fun, our other car's registration is due next month. See you soon, Linda at the County Clerks office!

I'll also mention there was a diarrhea incident at the park. I'll spare you the details and the photos (just kidding, there aren't any photos), but it wasn't me... 

My Lemonade: I'm thankful that I have so many blessings, that complaining about the everyday annoyances of life are a reality in my life. Of course there are many more serious, frustrating, frightening and heartbreaking things happening in my tiny world and the great big world around me.


Cravings: Nachos

Feeling: Like I miss sleeping on my stomach

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Blue or Pink: What Do You Think?

Last week was our big ultrasound appointment in which we got to see our little one swimming around on a fuzzy black and white screen. We discussed whether or not we would find out the gender, and both agreed we needed to know! We wanted to plan for Baby # 2's arrival and prepare Grace for the life-changing addition of a little brother or sister. 

She is very sweet to my belly, and she seems to understand there is a baby in there. She pets it, plays little drum beats on it and kisses it goodnight. Although I'm pretty sure she has no idea that the baby will eventually live outside of my tummy... crying, pooping and touching her stuff!

Grace wore her "I'm Going to Be a Big Sister" shirt to school
The appointment and ultrasound went well, and we even found out that our little one was measuring a week ahead of my original due date. 

We sent announcements to our families via snail mail, so that meant we knew the big news, but had to waaaaaiiiiit a few days until their packages arrived. That was torture, and they were very impatient to know whether it would be a baby boy or girl. 

But the boxes finally arrived...
Quail Egg Pregnancy Announcement from TheQuailCottage
With special instructions...
Cute packaging keeps the egg safe during shipping. 
and a special announcement..


Due January 16, 2015

Eek! A Boy! Now we are busy organizing, preparing and discussing names for our sweet little boy's birth. Over half way there!


Cravings: cheese

Feeling: the need to organize

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lilacs and Lemons: Grace Starts School and That Time I Didn't Watch Divergent

Welcome to my first Lilacs and Lemons write up- brimming with the good and the bad from the week!

This week Grace started preschool! She's going two days a week, and has been so excited to get to use her new backpack and lunch box.

She got up early on her first day of school, and could hardly be persuaded to eat breakfast. I had to stall her for two hours until it was finally time to go to school. I felt like an impostor as we were walking into the school. How could I possibly have an almost-three-year old to drop off for school?

Once we got to Grace's classroom, she got worried that I was going to leave her. I tried my best to put on a cheery face, distract her and sneak out, but she was definitely crying (along with 8 of the other 12 kids in her class)! I did not expect to cry, but leaving her crying in the classroom really did break my heart. Would she be ok? Would the other kids treat her kindly? Would she eat paste?

I knew she was in good, loving, capable hands. I knew she was going to love preschool. I knew I was excited for my 5 hours...BUT....I still felt sad to leave her!

When it was time to pick her up (my five hours flew by), I showed my ID, and Grace spotted me. She ran to me with a huge smile, flung her arms around me, and said, "You came back!" Awwww! *heart melting* 

She wasn't very forthcoming with the details of her day. All I know is that they couldn't go outside because it was raining and she told the teacher when she had to go to the bathroom. Her lunch was gone and she had scribbled very impressively with orange crayon on a piece of paper. I'm so proud!!

I can't tell you the last time I successfully rented and watched a movie.... It's been probably over a year. It just never works with my schedule/priorities/timing, and I'm cheap, so I don't like keeping a Redbox movie for more that one night. That combination means I'm stuck with TV or Netflix. Anyways, I decided I wanted to watch Divergent. I read and loved the books, and I'd heard good reviews about the movie. My husband couldn't be persuaded to watch it with me, so I thought I would try to watch it during Grace's nap and when she went to bed.


The disc I rented was Blue-Ray.

My Blue-Ray player was mysteriously not working. Apparently because the Comcast guy used the HDMI cord from the Blue-Ray to connect our cable box. WTF! (I can not even imagine trying to call Comcast to ask them to bring a replacement cord...I'm sure that will only take 75 minutes and me entering my information 14 times!)

My computer doesn't play Blue-Ray.

The Wii doesn't play Blue-Ray.

Whatever. I'll watch it when it comes out on Netflix in 2025.

My Lemonade: I'm thankful that I have so many blessings, that complaining about a missing cord and an unwatched movie rental are a reality in my life. Of course there are many more serious, frustrating, frightening and heartbreaking things happening in my tiny world and the great big world around me.


Cravings: Cereal

Feeling: Like my pants are tight 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Math In My Head Lives On + (18 Weeks)

I started this blog about 4 years ago when I found out we were expecting our first baby. We were also PCSing to North Carolina to begin Life In The Army: Round Two. Since then, my blog has highlighted our daughter's birth, a new house, surviving a deployment and getting my AFAA Group Fitness Certification to teach Stroller Strides. It's been a place where I post birthday wishes, recipes, crafts, DIY home projects and writer's workshops. My loyal readers include my parents, my sister and some of my closest Facebook buddies. Despite my low subscriber numbers, I've surprisingly passed 25,000 page views, mostly from Pinterest traffic! 

Recently, I've been struggling to find time to update the blog with purposeful posts. For a while I was toying around with the idea of changing the name of the blog from "Math in My Head" to "Lilacs and Lemons." I liked the sound of it better and I was hoping it would make a better title and more focused blog. BUT... after playing around with logo designs (fun) and looking into changing the blog address, I decided to leave the blog as Math in My Head. It works for what I use it for- family updates, ramblings, and creative projects- and I like that there are people of the "interwebs" who find my posts interesting or useful. What do you think of my new header logo design?

I'm sure the next year will bring many more changes, challenges and adventures both personally and for my family. Meanwhile, I enjoy having the outlet to write down memories and share stories and ideas. My goal is to continue posting announcements and milestones, but I also want to have some weekly and monthly features:
  • Lilacs and Lemons will be a wrap-up off the week highlighting the good and not-so-good. 
  • My Dinner Menu will be, well, my weekly dinner menus for the month. Revolutionary, I know! I've been trying to do a better job of meal planning, so this seems like a great way to keep track of what works and get some more ideas. 
We'll see if this is too ambitious, but I will adjust as necessary. 

Now for a little update. We are starting to feel settled in Tennessee, but we definitely wish we lived closer to my parents, so that we could be nearby to help and support my dad as he undergoes radiation treatment for Prostate Cancer. Down goes Cancer!

Cole and Grace are getting ready to start school (MBA for him and Pre-K for her). I'm surprised by the number of supplies required for a 2-almost-3-year-old!

Practicing dressing up. 
I'm feeling extra motivated to get some projects done around the house. I ordered some curtains for the bay window in the living room and got some new throw pillows for the couch. Surprisingly, I chose a gold/mustard yellow color... I hope that it makes the room feel warmer and more homey! I also hung a gallery wall of pictures in our office/den and rearranged the desk and rug. Next up window treatments for the kitchen and shelves to organize the downstairs closet.

Not the greatest picture, but I'll get a better one when the drapes are up. 
Hung using craft paper taped up as a template. Now, to update the photos...
I'm counting down the days until my sister, Jennifer, comes to visit in October! We can't wait to show you middle Tennessee and introduce you to some our new friends!

Baby Anderson # 2 is growing, and I can feel little movements now. We should be able to find out if we're having a boy or a girl in 2 weeks! I'm excited to start planning his/her nursery, and Grace is very curious to find out if she will have a little brother or little sister. She started commenting that my belly is big because it gets in her way when she tries to sit on my lap.

17 weeks
18 weeks with this cheese monkey!

Cravings: Hot lemon and honey, turkey sandwiches 

Feeling: Bigger, but more energetic