Monday, April 30, 2012

Going Green


When we bought our house, the backyard needed a little help. The previous owners had planted a plethora of plants and fruit trees, which were beautiful, yet a bit high maintenance for Jason and I. To be honest, neither one of us would exactly qualify for the Green Thumb Club. After the first freeze of the year, we lost most of the them, since they were tropical plants. 

Oh, and did I mention that our yard also looked like this?



With three tall trees blocking out sunlight, it was hard nearly impossible for the grass to grow. Jason took it upon himself to cut a few limbs, but it didn't help. So, we decided to bring in a professional.

They started by trimming the branches of the two main trees, then completely chopping off the top of our crepe myrtle (which is supposed to be trimmed yearly, but by the looks of it, had never been done).





Then a crew arrived bright and early one morning and dug up what little grass we had. They also put in a french drain to help with some drainage/flooding issues we were having. Dirt was brought in and the yard was leveled. 


Then, this showed up in our driveway. Sod, beautiful sod!

In no time... our yard looked like this!




Before:

After:

Can you believe the difference? 




The look on Aidan's face as he plays in the sprinkler made this transformation worth it. We are so happy with our new yard! 

What a difference grass makes. :)

~Emily

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Plant Situation


Our living room is one of my favorite rooms in our home. It is, afterall, our only living space, so I thrive to make it as cozy as comfortable. Growing  up, my mother filled our home with live plants. She tended to them with love and to this day, she has many plants in her new home that were around in my childhood. 

I have always wanted my children to associate our home with love and comfort; and I think plants can convey that perfectly. 

Unfortunately, I live with a very troublesome toddler and an almost crawler. So, that leaves me with limited areas to actually place plants. On the kitchen table? Nope. On the floor? Definitely not! A plant stand? Ha!

This Mama had to get pretty creative to incorporate plants into our decor. Interested to see what I did?



Ta da! Plant on the mantel. 

And, not just any plant. One of sentimental value. We drove it all the way back from Ohio (1600 miles) with us. This is a plant from Jason's grandfather's funeral. I really wanted to bring some type of flower back with me, but I knew they wouldn't with stand the trip. 


This hearty, little guy was all ready planted and placed in this cute little basket. He did just fine on the trip back to Texas. He seems to enjoy his new home next to my ceramic owl. And everytime I look at it, I am reminded of a wonderful soul that I dearly miss. :)

Next up is another great idea you can use to incorporate plants in your home, even with the looming threat of curious, little hands close by.



Simply hang one on the wall! We both love hanging a plant over the fish tank. It just seems so cozy and nature-like (right?!).


We bought the shepherd's hook, cone shaped basket and plant all separately at Lowe's. When we got home, we put them all together, drilled the hook into the wall and called it a day. 


Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name of this plant. But, it's a grower, due to the awesome amount of  Texas sunlight it gets daily. Twice a month  I take the scissors to her to trim up the longer vines that seem to grow rather quickly. On more than one occasion I have found Aidan tugging on a long vine with all of his might, hoping to pull the plant down. But, as long as I keep it trimmed, there are no worries of that happening.


And, as a last minute addition to this post, I picked up this sweet, little potted daisy at my local grocery store yesterday. At only $2.99, I couldn't resist. I was feeling daring, so I placed her on my new (Craigslisted), blue table.


She adds a happy, fresh floral addition to the room. (Those yellow flowers in the background are fakers!)



Even though I don't foresee this plant lasting very long on an end table, I love how she looks. 

 

So friends, that's how we use plants here in these parts. How do you use plants??

I'm linking up with the Nester's planty party today.

~Emily

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Talkative Two Year Old

There's a little boy in this house who LOVES to talk. He literally has something to say about everything. He is one continuous running commentary... observing everything he sees and talking incessantly about it.

 

He must take after his Mama. Ha!

There are still moments when we're unsure of what Aidan is saying, as some of his words are less than perfect when it comes to pronunciation.

 

Here are a few of my favorite "Aidan-isms"...

Aidan- "Yay Yay" (We all get a kick out of the fact that he calls himself this... and when he says 'Yay' he says "Yay! Yay Yay!" It's adorable.)
Semi Truck- "Ooh Ooh Truck"
Monkey- "Ooh Ooh"
Santa- "Toosha"
Gram- "May" (This is what he calls my Mom)
Connor- "Cotter"
Caleb- "Kaytoe"
Chocolate milk- "Chocky Moke"
Potty- "Poppy" 
Diamond- "My May" (Our foster puppy)
Hokey Pokey-  "Oh Hee"
Ohio- "I Ho"



Some other anecdotes are...

* He puts his toys and our dogs in timeout
* Every morning he wants to go into Connor's room with me and say "Morning Cotter!"
* Whenever he sees a  park he says "Play slide!"
* He likes to help Mommy with the laundry, dishwasher, and recently has wanted to start feeding Connor "Mommy's milk"... He actually puts the boppy around himself and wants me to put Connor on it. It's so cute!

 

* When we are going somewhere in the car he either thinks we are going to see "Norma" (his teacher at school) or that we're going to Target... (I think that's a sign that we visit the old bullseye too often!)
 * He loves counting and saying his ABC's.. Most mornings we'll hear him doing a combination of both over the monitor.. You know.. "A, B, C, 5, 6, W, X, Y, 10!"
 * He is Daddy's little helper. They work together outside and in the garage. He also spots "stinky poos" in the yard for Daddy to pick up. Yuck!
*  Aidan loves to build things with his legos and blocks, play with trucks, dance to silly songs, do puzzles and read books.



I sure do love our boy! It's so awesome that we can have actual conversations. :)

~Emily

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Off and On

This past January I made a few resolutions. One of which was to lose some weight before our fast-approaching June wedding. I joined Weight Watchers and very quickly lost about 14 pounds. And then 20.

I was vigilant about tracking my points and getting my butt to the gym 5 days a week. And it showed. And it was working! I felt fabulous, looked great and even fit into a few pairs of jeans in my secret stash.  Success!

And then....it happened.

I missed a Saturday yoga class. And then a Tuesday night Zumba class. Life was getting in the way. Between sick kids, a death in the family and Jason working late in the evenings I wasn't able to make it to the gym.

And shortly after that I gave into a craving. A bad craving... a McDonald's medium fry craving! McDonald's is the devil, I tell ya. (Now, I'm not going to lie.. they tasted delicious. But, my stomach had other ideas on the matter. Since I had become accustomed to not eating all of that grease, it did not sit well for long afterward. Yuck.)

And slowly, I reverted back to the way I was before. I stopped tracking my points. I ate whatever I wanted. And usually I'd eat late at night. Another problem I had averted since starting Weight Watchers.

So, now my friends... I'm here to tell you that I'm hopping back on the wagon. Today I've been tracking my points. And I weighed myself, too.

I also went a checked out the local YMCA. A valid problem I had was that it has been hard for me to workout. Jason has been working later and traveling more, so it makes it hard for me to get the gym. My current gym is Gold's Gym... and let's just say that their childcare is less than desirable. So, as of today, I am a member of the Y. And I'm so excited! They offer awesome classes, dependable childcare, a fabulous pool and splashpad to take the boys to... and it's only 10 minutes from my house. I think it's just the motivation I need to restart myself.

After weighing myself today I realized that I've gained a few pounds since my last weigh-in. But, that's okay. We all have slip-ups. As of today I'm down 16 pounds. And I would like to lose another 15.

And I know I can do it!

I don't think I have any good pictures of myself before I started this weight loss journey. So, here are some I took today as reminders that I've gotten this far and I just need to lose a few more pounds.

 

 

Wish me well as I set out to finish what I started... to lose weight and to keep it off!

Linking up with Shell today. :)

~Emily



Monday, April 16, 2012

Rainy Day Gardening

Today was one of those wonderful, rainy days. We desperately needed a bit of a cool down here in Southeast Texas, so I welcomed a break from the heat. 

While Connor was napping, Aidan and I did a fun little project together. We made an indoor herb garden!
I bought this cute little planter from Michael's a few months ago (only $6.99 with a coupon, holla!) with the intention of planting some herbs in it. Except, I never did.

 

It sat forlorn and alone on our kitchen windowsill... But today, it's finally seeing its true purpose in life!

My  little helper scooped potting mix into the four compartments...

Then he sprinkled the seeds on top.


In case you're wondering, we planted rosemary, cilantro, sweet basil and parsley.


Afterward, I simply placed it back up on the windowsill and watered the soil. I plan on making some cute little plant markers to identify what each herb is, too!
Now we just wait. For sun and for sprouts.

Aidan really enjoyed this easy, rainy day project!

~Emily

Friday, April 13, 2012

Puppy Love

There's a girl in my life...


And she's as sweet as can be.


But, also a bowl full of trouble!


It's our foster puppy, Diamond. Except, her name is actually Queenie. We didn't choose the name.. do you really think I'd name my dog that?! She was one of a litter of ten pups, and her previous foster thought that she was Diamond when we picked her up to bring her back to our house. It turns out, she is actually Queenie, but we didn't want to confuse Aidan who all ready thought she was Diamond. Did you get all that?

 

Anyway, she loves her foster Mama. She's learning to walk on her leash without eating it.
She's curious about our cat.
Flippy is her best bud.



And she and Aidan have a love hate relationship. He loves to pet her, but hates that she tries to "play" with his toys.


She is growing up so fast all ready!

 

Oh, and did I mention she's deaf?

 

It's been a bit of a challenge trying to train a deaf dog.. but we're doing the best we can. We hope that she'll find a good forever home soon.

Do you know anybody who'd like to give this beautiful girl a home?

 
I will be honest though, I'll miss her when she leaves. She has many "Charlie-like" traits about her... and did I mention that she was born on the day he died?
 Did you just get goosebumps? We did when we found that out...

Have a great weekend!

~Emily

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Baby Connor {Seven Months}

Dear, sweet Connor,

A few days ago you turned seven months old. SEVEN MONTHS! Mommy is having an extremely hard time processing that. You are without a doubt the sweetest, happiest baby I have ever met. There is a constant smile on your face and you absolutely love everyone you come into contact with.



You are enamored with your big brother, Aidan. He plays peekaboo with you and wants to include you in everything we do. Aidan loves to share his toys, dance and play ring around the rosey with you.

 



We started feeding you a few months ago and you LOVE food. If you don't eat immediately upon being set into your chair you start to grunt and whine because you don't like to wait. You've eaten everything from chicken to refried beans to avocado to mangoes. Your appetite seems to know no bounds... although you're not the biggest fan of peas. I guess you take after Mommy in that department.

 

In the past few weeks you have started rocking back and forth on your knees and have started to crawl backwards. You are extremely curious and love to explore everything with your hands and mouth. :)

 


You are an excellent sleeper and soundly sleep for 10 to 12 hours every single night. You have also traveled in the car from Texas to Ohio and back with Mommy and Daddy. You were an amazing travel companion and enjoyed looking out the window and spending time in hotels.

 

 

You love to play with your toys and jumping in your jumperoo, reading books, playing outside and going for walks. But, you seem to have a bit of an obsession with the t.v. Mommy doesn't keep it on during the day, but your eyes are glued to the Baby Einstein episode that you watch every night before bed!





We love you so much little man and can't wait to watch you grow into a curious little boy!

 

 

Love,  Mommy :)

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