My Little Family of Four

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

As you can probably tell from the blog, we don't exactly have a lot of pictures of the four of us together. Scratch that. There is only one picture that I know of, from Jackson's first Birthday in March. DOH! The grandparents and great grandparents have been nicely pleading for us to send updated pictures for months now and finally, we can send some decent ones. When the kids went back to school this fall, they started just in time for fall pictures, so that bought me some more time with the grandparetns, but I was still dreaming about pictures of us as a family of four. I have been wanting professional pictures of my little family of four since the day The Squishy was born.

Prior to the babies coming into our lives (you know, back when I had a lot more time on my hands) I had actually started a wedding planning business with one of my coworkers. We did mostly day-of-coordinating but we were a full blown legit LLC. Little did we know, business was going to boom like it did and we ended up having to get stop because neither of us got rid of our regular day job (engineers) and it was too much to handle with a regular 45 - 50 hour work week before any of the wedding planning work started. However, it was one of the most fun and exciting things that I have ever done and I still keep in touch with some of the brides and vendors that I worked with. I still wonder sometimes if anything happened to my day job, if I would try that again.

Any who...where was I going with this? Oh yeah. Pictures...I digress. Since my wedding coordinating days, I have kept in touch with my all time favorite photographer, Jen Lowe of JLowe Photos. Not only does she take amazing pictures, but she is an absolute blast to work with. It's like getting back together with an old friend every time we see her. She is a mom herself, which makes her a dream to have around when trying to get pictures of the monsters babies. So, I couldn't dream of going anywhere else when it came to wanting pictures of my little family of four.

So without further ado, here is a snip-it of our little recent family photo shoot. Emma Kathryn at 3.5 years old and Jackson The Squishy Douglas at 20 months old. Mommy and Daddy are 29 years old, for the fourth year in a row. I know! Weird huh?

Disclaimer: We found out the next day that The Squishy had walking pneumonia yet again ::: head desk ::: and it was pretty cold and damp out that day so that explains the lack of smiles from him, Mommy's frizzy hair and Daddy trying to keep his hands in his sleeves.

Here Goes Nothing! (New Playroom Ideas)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Now that I am off my soapbox about the trouble sometimes with Facebook, Pinterest, etc, on to some more fun, slightly hypocritical stuff! Despite my issues with looking on the Internet for home inspiration, I'm still totally addicted and probably always will be. There is so much that I would love to do to our home, I had to take a step back and pick one room to start with, despite the fact that Emma's room and our master bathroom still aren't finished. Isn't that the best time to start a new project?!

I decided to tackle the playroom as our next home project. I picked the playroom because A) it's for the babies and they are amazing and deserve something special and a change B) it's on our main floor with an open doorway into our hallway and family room so it would be a space that we are always in and C) it's a big fat mess right now and it drives me crazy.

With all the inspiration out there, I started to feel quite overwhelmed, so I started to copy and paste some pictures into a "design board". And by "design board", I really just mean a PowerPoint slide so I wouldn't forget all the stuff I was thinking about and would stop changing my mind a thousand times. I will also be the first person to tell you that I STINK at decorating. Especially when it comes to pulling pieces from multiple places and trying to figure out if they work "together" or not. So, this was my attempt at trying to figure it out on paper, before I made a big disaster of the playroom in real life.

So here's what I came up with so far (and surprisingly, got the blessing from the hubby too)!

It's a mixture of stuff that we already have, stuff we have but need to paint and new stuff. Let's start at the top left....

Lighting: I'm a little wishy-washy on the green lamp but am trying to fight my strong desire to have everything neutral and trying to remember that this is a playroom, and it should be fun. But, this baby is from Target and is pretty cheap so why not. There isn't any overhead lighting in the room, so we definitely need to add some lights probably in a couple of places.

Wall Art (Top Middle): This is one area that I always fail at. I have no idea what you put on the walls of a playroom! A while back, I made a couple of signs in PowerPoint (are you sensing a theme here), had them printed on card stock, along with a few of our very old family pictures. The pictures were a mix of ones that we had taken when Emma turned one, and some that I took. Here is look at what is on the walls now. I'm going to stick with the green, blue and orange theme, but will probably have these reprinted in a colors that will better match. Directly below the pictures is a line up of shelves, but we will get to that in a minute....

The other side of the room has this guy hanging. Yup, not exactly playroom material. The plan is to maybe spray paint the frame and come up with something to have printed for the inside.

Magnetic Chalkboards (Top Right): This is one of those good ideas that might ever not actually happen but why not include anyway kind of things. Again, blame my love/hate relationship with the Internet. The idea is to make some cheap magnetic chalkboards using some metal backing and spray chalkboard paint. Just need to find some old frames to use. Ideally I'd like to have two. Why? Because I have two toddlers that fight over who gets to breath what air. So if there are two and separate from each other, I will only have to worry about them fighting when Jack runs over and erases the picture on Emma's board. ::: head desk :::

Ikea Expedit Bookcase Turned into Bench (Middle Left): I had originally planned on making the kids a little special reading center with the Pottery Barn Kids Anywhere Chairs that I have been stalking since the day I was pregnant with Emma, but decided to go the more economical route since we are redoing the whole room. The plan is to buy an Expedit Bookcase from Ikea, and similar to our hallway, add a cushion and some pillows to the top for a little reading bench! This would go on the opposite wall of the pictures shown above, which is a shorter wall that has the opening to our foyer. The playroom needs storage like I need a glass of wine at night, especially as the kids get older and the toys get smaller. For a little touch of texture, I'd like to get some baskets woven baskets. If that's even the right term, I really have no idea. :)

Wall Lined with Billy Bookcase (Middle): We already have three of these small bookcases which hold a good amount of toys but the wall can fit at least one more. I would love to get one more, paint them all white (we have the black/brown now) and add even more storage.

New Rug (Bottom Left): I have been stalking this rug on Overstock for probably months now and finally decided to pull the trigger when it was on sale and free shipping. It's in the playroom now and helps to bring in some fun patterns, although looks a bit out of place since we haven't really started the updating (and it doesn't really go with the current paint color).

Fabric Storage Bins (Bottom Middle): Another target find and we already have four each of the blue and green, just need to try to find some orange!

Wall Decals (Bottom Right): I haven't yet figured out where these would go, but I have loved the idea of tree wall decals in any room for a long time. This part may be optional if we run out of spots to put them, but I threw them in the picture just in case.

Paint (Background): If you couldn't tell, I changed the background of the picture to a light gray because I'd love to repaint. The color scheme doesn't really go with the tan ~ish color that we have in there now, so why not a quick change!

That's about as far as I have gotten. Now I just need to figure out where to start. Since we already have the rug and navy fabric bins (that match relatively well), and we just had some family pictures taken, I think a quick and easy update would be to replace the prints in the frames now. Since I want to repaint, those might move, but I can at least update the pictures until we get to that point. I might just try to tackle some of the smaller easier project until I get up enough nerve to clean out the playroom and repaint that bad boy. It's not the paint that scares me, its the fact that all the toys need to be moved and placed anywhere we can stash them in the house. Ack! As much as I would love to run out and pick up the new bookcases from Ikea, probably need to paint first of that's just one more thing to have to move out of the room!

Don't worry, I'll be sure to post pictures, and real life ones at that, of the before, during and after progress. You know, if I actaully make any progress. :)

The Real World vs. Highlight Reels

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, my cousin shared an article online about how moms compare ourselves to others, and how we compare our insides, with other people's outsides. I started to think about it more and I came to realize this is a huge deal for me when it comes to still struggling with anxiety. In fact, now having a good twenty months to over-analyze my anxiety (its just what I do), I'm pretty sure its one of the biggest factors.

First let's take a step back in time. Remember when I posted about Perceived Perfectionism? Yup, the article was a big reminder of perceived perfectionism. Ack. It was almost a year ago exactly, when I wrote this...
One of the things that causes me a high level of anxiety, despite fully knowing that it's ridiculous, is getting ready to take the kids to any type of party/gathering. I'm not talking about the usual chaos that ensues when you have a two and half year old and eight month old anytime you try to leave the house. I'm talking about my NEED to have it look like I have the perfect little family with nicely dressed, recently bathed babies. I can not force myself to leave the house after nap time (even when we are late) without having given both babies a bath right after nap time. In my head, I think, you big dummy, just give the kids a bath BEFORE nap time, because that's one less thing that you have to do when trying to leave the house because its crazy enough. Nope. No can do. The thought of giving them a bath then putting them down for a nap drives me crazy because kids get sweaty when they sleep. Their hair gets messed up. What if I take my babies to a party with messy hair?!?! The world might actually end. Obviously, that's an exaggeration and my brain knows that's not true, but that's not what my body tells me.
I didn't really realize how long its been going on until a recent weekend when we were heading out to a Birthday party after nap time. Yup, I woke the kids up to give them a bath first. Although I have to say that it was mostly because they didn't take a bath the night before. I feel like I am to the point now where I can at least leave without the bath thing (although they were just extra dirty and stinky this time). After bath, I was getting Emma dressed and she really wanted pig tails because I always tell her how much her Mimi and Pop love pig tails. She was pumped. We get dressed and Mommy can only find one of the two bows that match her shirt. Yikes. As crazy as it sounds, the panic totally set in. What makes it hard is that Wes will see me running around the house like a crazy person all because I can't find two matching bows. He doesn't understand that although it seems insignificant in the scheme of things, it's not insignificant in my head. The thought of putting two different bows in her hair, or putting two of the same bows in her hair that didn't match her shirt made me feel ill.

Okay, okay, I know....where the heck are we going with this? Here is how it all ties together....

You know how you hear so much about the pressure that magazines and TV and models put on young girls to look rail thin and how it's society that we have to change and embrace "real" women? Yup, same thing here just with moms and the Internet.

It’s natural to make comparisons, I think especially for females. Us moms compare ourselves to every other mom we meet. It's just what we do. Any mom out there that says they don't do it is lying. But now-a-days (I always feel old when I say that) a lot of what we have to go on and compare ourselves to is what we see on the Internet. We compare ourselves to what we see on Facebook. We compare ourselves to what we see on Pinterst. We compare ourselves to what we see on blogs. We rarely get to compare our reality, to other's reality. We look around at the women and moms online and we see perfect houses impeccably decorated that the mom of four young kids did it all herself. We see amazing crafts and recipes that moms just whip up at the drop of a hat. We see the pictures of a perfectly put together family on Facebook.

Whenever I have a bad anxiety day, I start to question why "life" is so hard for me to handle and not for others? Why doesn't my house look like what I see online? Why did my kid go to school that day with half his breakfast stuck to his pants? Why did my kids have to eat mac and cheese for dinner and do nothing but scream and whine the entire night? My house is a mess, there is dog hair on the floor, stuff is everywhere despite the fact that I cleaned the kitchen three times the day before. I spend half my weekends cleaning, never get the entire house clean, and the parts that I do get cleaned, are messed up before I even go to bed that night. There are home projects half done everywhere. My bedroom still looks like it did the day we moved into our house in 2005. Why doesn't my kitchen look like this? Heck, even if it was decorated like that, where's the dog hair? Where are the shoes and toys and ripped books and hats and lunch boxes and dirty dishes?

It's because we don't see what "reality" is for all these other people. We see their "highlight reel". I'm starting to try to remind myself that life isn't always sunshine and rainbows for everyone. But sometimes that hard to do when all you see if perfection. I bet that if we all posted about what life is really like, we wouldn't feel so bad about our in ability to keep up with the Jones's.

Don't get me wrong. I love looking around the Internet for DIY project ideas or inspiration pictures and I always love what I see. But find myself with the same feeling when I'm done that you get after walking through a model home and then coming back to your own house. Ugh.

I better sum this up because who knows how long I could ramble on! I don't even really know what the point of this post is. Maybe its just to help convince myself that it's okay for Emma to go to a party with two different bows in her hair. Maybe its to make myself feel better that my house is a wreck seven days a week. Maybe deep down I hope some of the famous bloggers out there see it and start to post what "real life" is really like for them as well, as opposed to the staged pictures. Maybe its just in the hopes that one other person who is struggling with the same thing sees it and just knows that there is someone else out there who has a love/hate relationship with the Internet. Who knows, but whatever the point is, it makes me feel better just writing it all down, so I guess it was worth it. And in the end, I suppose none of it really even matters. What matters is that my babies are happy, and healthy and having fun.

Next time I post about a room makeover or a DIY project, I'm going to post the picture you would normally see online (cleaned and staged) and then what it looks like in the real world.

Yup, that would be The Squishy checking out what is across the creek at my parents house through his binoculars. Backwards. Every time he looks through them, he yells "Cheese!!" God love that little manly.

Happy Friday! Love, The Squishy

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Squishy wanted to wish everyone a Happy Friday!

The Squishy's "Say Cheese!" Face

One of these days...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I'm going to get a decent picture of the two crazies together. Unfortunately, that day is not yet upon us.

We decided to take advantage of some of the nice weather the other day and head out for some playtime in the backyard. It was pretty chilly, but warm enough to let the babies get out and burn off some steam. I've been back to dreaming in La La Land where I can actually afford to buy the new camera that I would love, but it at least inspired me to break out the one I have now since it's been a while.

One of the games that the babies like to play outside is chase. Where Emma takes off sprinting and The Squishy isn't far behind. At least for the first three or four feet when he then starts tripping and falling all over the place. God love that little man! He just eats some dirt and goes on about his business like it didn't even slow him down. Eventually, The Squishy decides to go off on his own and falls sprints his way to the fence in the back. Emma gets wind of this and then follows. Mommy then gets wind of it, and then proceeds to try to bribe the little ones to stand still for just ten seconds to snap a picture. Below is the little monsters version of "standing still".

Disclaimer: These aren't the best quality pictures but they sure do make me laugh when I look at them. :)

This is what happens when Mommy tries to take a picture one handed, while raising her other hand above her head and snapping and making a fool out of herself to get the kids to look towards the camera. Yeah. They raise their hands, make a fool out of themselves and refuse to look towards the camera. Guess I have to change my technique.

There must be something really important behind Mommy! I actually love this picture of The Squishy. Blown up, its crisp and clear and his eyes are amazing. I'm not sure what Emma is doing here though and how her glove got stuck to the side of her coat. :)

This is what happens when Mommy tells the babies to say "Cheese!" One of them usually does a great job, which causes the other one to stop looking at the camera and look at the crazy person next to them yelling about dairy products. Maybe I should clarify to the kids, that when I tell them to "say cheese", I also don't mean "stop looking at the camera like you were a half of a second ago and look somewhere else."

One of these days it's going to work. And work while they are awake. What are the chances it will magically happen just in time for Christmas cards this year?

Yeah, I don't think so either.

Halloween Fail

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

You know, I'm starting to think that we are Holiday cursed a bit. We were extremely lucky when it came to Hurricane Sandy though so I can't really complain about not having the perfect Halloween given what a lot of families are going through now. There just seems to always be something that happens on holidays around here. Here's a good example: Easter 2012. Another FAIL. We spent most of the holiday stuck in a McDonald's parking lot because our car broke down on the way to Easter dinner with the babies in the back, dressed to the nines. Luckily, we were at a good place to pull off the road since our car completely died and if the babies got hungry after the 4,000 Cheerios that Mommy had packed, we were in a good spot. My Dad came to the rescue, we swooped into Auto Zone and got enough Juice to get us home that night after the quickest Easter dinner known to man. With nothing else to do stranded in the parking lot, I broke out the camera and started snapping.

The Squishy was not impressed and did not appreciate being stuck in his car seat while in a parking lot that smells like nothing but french fries and chicken nuggets. Even when he is all saucy he is friggin adorable.

However, his Pop swooped in to help, and The Squishy immediately turned that frown upside down. This was the first time that I had seen him clap his hands. EVER. Emma on the other hand was happy as a clam most of the time thanks to Mommy's iPhone. #thanksappleforsavingtheday

We did escape Halloween with no automobile issues thankfully, but got hit by a whopper of a stomach bug leading up to the big day. Emma's costume had been set for a while but I was still trying to figure out The Squishy. Emma was Snow White, so I was really hoping I could make Jack one of the seven dwarfs. There was no question he would have been "Grumpy". However, Mommy's plans were foiled by the dreaded stomach virus.

Jack woke up bright and early Saturday morning, covered in throw up. ::: barfs ::: He then proceeds to get sick that morning, take a four hour nap, only to wake up and sleep for another two hours in the middle of the family room floor.

Sunday, Daddy is bed ridden with a fever and aches.

Monday, we are all home because of hurricane Sandy, all feeling a bit "off".

Tuesday, Mommy gets the virus. Emma gets the virus.

Wednesday, Mommy is feeling a bit better, Emma is still having a rough day. We all perk up just enough to go trick or treating to a handful of houses.

Wednesday night, it strikes Daddy yet again. 

Thursday, our house turns into the start of the zombie apocalypse.

So needless to say, Trick or Treating was very short, pictures are limited and Jackson was in his Lion costume from last year (which was pretty tight so I just cut the feet off the bottom). So that's why he looks like a lion wearing Capri pants. I'm not even sure I got any pictures of their faces.

It was pretty cute though. Emma was really shy and certainly not 100% so she wouldn't say anything when she got to the doors. But as soon as we turned to walk down the steps, she would yell out "Mommy! I'm going to say Happy Halloween next time!" Then she would go silent again at the door. She did that probably 10 times and finally, on the last house, said Trick or Treat.

The Squishy on the other hand wasn't shy. I know, go figure. He also didn't say "Trick or Treat" either, as he thought the use of "more" was more appropriate. Once he got the hang of things, as soon as someone would open the door, he would yell "MORE!" and stick his chunky little hand right in the bowl of candy.

We may not have had the dream Halloween that I was picturing in my head (where Snow White and Grumpy skip hand in hand to each house saying please and thank you while perfect strangers compliment Wes and I on how adorable our babies are and how we look way to young to have two kids of our own - okay, so that may be a bit much) but once we were home, the babies did nothing but sort through and throw around their Halloween loot. It didn't matter to them that we were only out for 20 minutes and Emma had just as much fun giving out the candy at home. The Halloween candy has provided hours of entertainment already, so it was all worth it.

Even the lion Capri-pants costume circa 2011....

They Will Always Be My Babies

Friday, October 26, 2012

Remember this post about how hard it was to see how life changes so much every day, but yet at the same time some things stay the same? Well, I couldn't help but start the feel the same way lately, and it took a blog post to remind me that even though our lives and our babies get bigger every day, they will always have little pieces of them from when they were babies.

I can't believe my Emma Kathryn is three years old, and my Squishy gets bigger by the day. We are going to be planning his 2nd Birthday in no time. Although it doesn't seem like much and they still seem so little, its like they got this big in the blink of an eye. It seems like just yesterday Emma was in her crib, and just yesterday, we were trying to teach Foofy to crawl. Now we are in big girl beds and my baby boy is putting multiple words together (and you can actually communicate with the little naughty now haha).

They are so different in so many ways, but if you look close, you can find lots of little ways they are alike.

Case in point.

I feel like I am just going to wake up one morning and they are going to be married and have babies of their own. But for now, they are my babies, always will be, just in bigger packages later in life.

Shiver Me Timbers! Me Babies Be Paintin'

Thursday, October 18, 2012

These pictures are from probably about three months ago but I wanted to share them anyway. This was after one of many trips to a craft store for a fun weekend activity. Emma picked out a wooden pirate ship and The Squishy picked out a bird house.

Some days, you just have to let things slide and let the babies get mad covered in paint. Just make sure the water is running before you drag the half naked, paint covered babies upstairs and make them walk the plank into the bath.

This is Emma's typical face that she makes when Mommy breaks out the camera and makes a fool out of herself trying to get her to smile. I like to refer to it as the "Ugh. Put the camera away Mommy" face.

Although looking at her, you wouldn't think she was related to me (she is ALL Daddy's side of the family), there is one way that I know she is part mine. It's the tongue-sticks-out-of-the-mouth-when-concentrating thing. That and the whole OMG giving birth to you was mad painful thing. :)

Now, onto the Foofy. Despite Sissy being 99% Daddy, the Foofy is 99% Mommy. We like to call him our "OCD Baby" because he is very meticulous and has his own way of doing things. Painting is no different. He will paint one spot for 15 minutes, until it's just right. He very strategically picks the areas that he wants to paint and he gets very serious. I tried my hardest to get that little stinker to smile for a picture but not while he is in "the zone". He then gets very concerned if he gets paint on his hand. Despite the fact that he tried to eat the paint and has it all over his face. ::: headdesk :::


The black pearl.

Painting done! Jack's finally outta the zone! Back to happy babies!!!

Updated Hallway

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

One of the projects that we did "finish" during our little blog hiatus was our hallway. This one only took us like 6 months!! I probably have whiplash from the speed at which we complete our home projects. We had already added the board and batten back in February but took a couple of weeks to put on the final touches. Then we finally ventured out and bought a TV stand from IKEA that serves as our hallway storage unit. I ended up having a good amount of leftover fabric from when I tried my hand at making window valances a while ago so I handed that over to my mom who whipped up a seat cushion for our bench! I tossed in a couple of pillows that I already had (need to change those out still) and we added some pictures to the walls and voila! Hallway is done!

And by "done" I mean there is still a bunch of other stuff I would still like to do, such as repaint, add crown molding, find different prints, bring in some more color and maybe change out the cushion cover based on the season.

I know...the suspense is just killing you! Without further delay, here's the big reveal!

Wait, just kidding...let's take one last look at what we started with...

And here is our hallway now!

Haha. I totally just realized that Shamie is in the first picture, not the second one, but then back in the third picture laying exactly like in the first one. Ha! He loves his front door spot!

Another "before" view, looking down the hall into the kitchen....

And the after....

Here is a little more of a closeup of the hooks that we added and cushion. I need to replace those pillows and normally during the week, the hooks are covered with little baby jackets and hats.

We went back and forth on this bench because it takes up some decent space in the hallway but I can't tell you how glad I am that we got it. Its the perfect fit. It's just low enough that the kids can sit on it when we are putting shoes and socks on. Every morning, we line up the kids clothes for school and my work bag here so everything is in one spot ready to go. We keep Emma's shoes in the first drawer, and Jack's shoes in the second drawer along with hats (which is coming in even more handy as the weather cools down). The third drawer has some catch all stuff that we will probably use as the new hat/glove drawer as it gets colder. Its been so nice though to have little things like sunscreen right where you need it. The kids love to run over and pick out their own shoes too! With two toddlers, easy storage of the everyday stuff close by is key to not going insane.

I haven't quite figured out what to do with the little shelves above the drawers yet. We started to keep some small toys there but that seemed to be too tempting for the monsters babies, so they ended up spread out throughout the hallway.

Here is a quick shot the valence that I made a while ago with the same fabric that my mom used for the cushion. She did a fabulous job on the cushion cover!!

So there you have it! Little by little we are working on the house making some progress! Although every time we fix something, I add three more things to the list!

Last Season on "Life with The Odom's"...

Monday, October 15, 2012

So, you know how they re-run the entire last season of a show and then play the 30 second recap just before the season premier comes on that night? Yeah, well, we are going to skip over that re-rum of the last season and jump right to that 30 second recap before we move on to the season premier. Where the premier is me most likely talking about how I am going to blog more, but then getting side tracked and not actually doing it. Dang. I think I just gave away way too much of the plot. #seasonpremierfail.

Here's a little bit about what we have been up to over the past three months since Emma's third Birthday...

Wes's best friend's wedding, date night, beach vacation with the babies...

Braving restaurants for dinners out with the babies, tumbles, tumbles and more tumbles...

Little men with big smiles, and also big fevers that send you to the Emergency Room...

Special shopping trips with my baby girl, her first trip to Friendly's, home improvements, failed transmissions, you know, the usual....

Did I mention tumbles? We also had some big changes and went from the kids being at home with a Nanny to full time daycare for the Foofy and full time preschool for Sissy. They have thrived. Oh, and I have dark hair now too....

What do you do two weeks into putting your kids in school?

Well, you rip them right back out for a week to go visit their Gigi and Pap on the other side of the country. Babies were amazing on the airplanes. Outside of the 35 minutes Jack screamed because he was tired. He eventually fell asleep, drooling on my foot on the floor of the plane....

Disney and big cousins. That is all.

The babies...

Then we flew back into Fall, trips to the farm and the occasional special treat before school because my babies are awesome.

Not pictured: Jackson with croup, Emma with croup, Jackson with walking pneumonia prior to hoping on the airplane, Mommy working until 2:00AM, school pictures, Jack's 18 month appointment, play dates, trip for Mommy and Daddy back to college and probably a lot more.
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