living simply

life is sweeter when it is simple

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not a bad saturday

this past weekend i turned 30.  it wasn’t monumental or really anything special, but i did feel a shift.  small, maybe, but a shift none the less.  i feel a pull toward something greater.  greater than myself.  i don’t know what it is yet, but i’m excited to allow myself to just enjoy these coming years and really open my eyes to the beauty around me.

saturday we spent the morning at finley’s rodeo.  i can’t think of a better way to spend my birthday weekend.  watching my kids in their element is something special.  rodeo has been so beneficial for finley.  she used to be very timid in new situations and i would watch her second guess herself when it came to bravery.


recently she has been riding her horse, princess, all on her own.  while princess is still a little stubborn in following along, finley is confident and never let’s that pony get the best of her.  i hope she keeps that mentality, not just in her riding abilities, but in life.



finley very proudly said that mutton busting was her favorite part of today’s rodeo.  ugh the pride.  i never want her to feel she can’t do something.  and watching her get on that sheep and hold on for the joy of the ride made me so proud.

here are a few more photos from the day.


i mean really – look at that face!




love and light


well deserved nap for the cowgirl


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an invitation

i finally got around to sending out finley’s birthday invitations this past week.  i am pretty happy with how they came out.

i searched the internet for invitations, but i just couldn’t find one that i loved.  so… i proceeded to combine a few of the ones i did like into one that i really really liked!  i designed the invite in photoshop and illustrator – working between the two.  i find that working with two adobe programs is better than one!  we printed them on regular white cardstock that i had laying around the house, and for a more ‘professional’ look, i used an edge cutter to gently round the edges and make them look not so homemade.

the ‘theme’ of her party will be elephants.  hence the cute little guy with the balloon.  she is my little peanut after all!  very excited for this big day and can’t wait to share it!

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best part of the day….

its been a while since i have had a post up.  i don’t really have any good excuse, other than finley.  i feel like i had a rough time around the 6 month mark.  she was more active and more clingy, and it just exhausted me.  we are now officially at 8 months and i am sad.  every month i get sad.  i miss how little she was.  but with every new month comes new milestones – and boy is she hitting those in stride.  she now is crawling everywhere, pulling herself up on everything, and i fear walking is not far off.  i miss my little newborn…  but my little baby girl is the BEST.  i mean, look at this face!

my favorite part of the day is right before she goes to sleep.  she gets a little cranky, so the three of us (plus cope and hagen) head upstairs to mama and daddy’s room.  as soon as we hit the top of the stairs, that cranky girl is gone and a smiley, laughing baby is back!  she loves bedtime, and she knows when we get upstairs that it. is. on.  She normally rolls around the bed for awhile, gives hugs, laughs at the dogs, and just makes us pinch ourselves because yea, this is our life… she is our life.

lately she is really into books.  we usually read a couple of books before she gets her final bottle for the night.  once the stories are over, she rubs those little eyes and daddy turns the lights off and gives her a bottle.  this is sacred time with daddy – mama is not to interfere here.  since i stopped breastfeeding, daniel has given her that nighttime bottle.  then she falls asleep in his arms and daddy gets quality snuggletime.  it is so incredible it watch.  a man with a baby is just beyond.  ya know?

even before i got pregnant with finley i wanted a boy.  i have always wanted a boy.  and not that i don’t like girls, but i came from a family of three girls, my sister has three girls – see the trend here?  and i was always such a tomboy.  i just figured i wouldn’t be able to be all girly and what-not.  right after i gave birth and daniel told me that she was a girl…. all that went out the window.  she was a girl, and she was mine.

now?  i am so glad i had a girl first.  we eventually want a boy somewhere down the line – god willing.  but i can’t imagine how different things would have been with a boy.  daniel is wrapped around that little girls finger so tight.  i don’t know if it would have been the same with a boy.  she is his world.  they are my world.  and everything is as it should be….

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Happy Friday and Happy Sleep!

Our Little Peanut is turning 5 months next week.  I can’t believe it.  Sometimes I still look at her and can’t believe she is MY child.  Mine!  She is all mine!  And this really is an awesome stage.  She is so active and so alert and her personality is so fun to be around.

We FINALLY put her in her crib to sleep at night.  The co-sleeper was amazing, and I am so happy we used it, but – it was time.  In the final weeks of sleeping with us she starting tossing and turning more and waking up because she wanted her pacifier.  So we decided to put her in her crib.  I had the week off work, so if she had a rough night I would be able to take a nap during the day with her.  Well, to our surprise, she slept 8 hours.  Stirring a couple of times because she wanted her pacifier. She slept like a champ.  A freaking champ!  It’s like she was trying to tell me she wanted to sleep in there for weeks!  And last night she slept straight through!  Every night is getting better and she is sleeping longer.  It is amazing.

I have also been introduced to Instagram in the last month.  Yes, I know I am the last person on earth to hear about it, but I am now obsessed.  OBSESSED.  So here is some photos from our last month.


A Nursery for Finley

(photo by Denise Rooney Photography)

Even though Finley is still sleeping in her co-sleeper for now, it is nice to know that her nursery is ready for her when that day comes.  We played it old-school and didn’t find out the sex of our baby when I was pregnant.  It was tough at first, but as the pregnancy went on, it was actually a lot of fun to image what in the world was in there!  It also made it more fun to design the nursery.  More fun, but not necessarily easier.

I love gray.  Love.  It is such a classic neutral and it is definitely edgier than beige.  So of course we wanted a neutral nursery, so we went with neutral gray.  For the walls, I chose a gray with a bit of a blue undertone that made it appear more charcoal-like.  The accents would be yellow, white, and hints of black and aqua.  This is neither boy nor girl.  Instead, it is universally fun.  I loved this chevron fabric and decided that this was the perfect fabric to brighten up the dark walls.  I paid just under $40 for 5 and a half yards (hello, steal!).  Our 1900s farmhouse is great, but the 7’6″ ceiling height in the nursery made it a little squat, and the dark walls and small window didn’t help much.  Daniel added the gorgeous tongue and groove ceiling and simple molding to draw the eye up.  This bright yellow chevron fabric is perfect to flank the window and help the room with it’s height and darkness issues. After measuring the length I wanted the curtains to be, I cut and used iron-on fabric tape to hem the ends.  We bought an inexpensive black curtain rod.  We could have gone with white, but I love the contrast that the black color brings to the room.  And I love the texture of the wood ceiling with the pattern of the curtains.

The changing table was a garage sale find.  It was actually in the room before we turned it into a nursery.  Since it is a veneered piece and in rough condition, I didn’t feel bad painting it a high gloss white.  I took out the bottom drawer which was in pretty rough condition and added 3 wood totes I got from Target years ago that I painted yellow.  Once I added a basket for diapers, a changing pad, and a small owl mobile above, it was a pretty inexpensive conversion from worn-out dresser to changing table.

I love the bookcase.  My husband thought I was crazy when I brought this home.  Well, it didn’t look anything like it does now, so I couldn’t blame him.  I found it at Green Oaks up in Rochester, IN.  It was originally a solid, unfinished wood TV stand.  You know, one of those bulky ones we all had before our TVs went on diets and became skinny.  It had a huge hole in the back from where the owner needed more room for the TV to fit.  It was hidden in the store with crap piled up on it and it wasn’t much to look at.  But I saw potential.  And for $30, it came home with me.  After a few coats of white paint and a new back panel piece, it was looking much better.  To give it an extra special touch, I wallpapered the back portion with this allen + roth wallpaper I found at Lowe’s.  It isn’t too flashy, but gives it a nice sophistication to the room, where it could have gone very child-like.  I adjusted the shelves to create some interest, added some inexpensive baskets I found at Old Time Pottery, and it was done.  I am really happy how it turned out and I love that I could move this to any room in the house and it would still work.  Right now it houses Finley’s shoes and books but I’m sure it will be filled in no time.

Baby furniture is crazy expensive.  Not only that, but the choices are awful.  Awful.  Everything is very ornate and clunky and just not cool.  And of course the really amazing stuff is $$$$.  The Eames Rocker was a birthday gift this year from my mom.  It is the most expensive thing in the room.  Furniture design is near and dear to my heart and Charles Eames is one of my favorite architects.  It is going to be in our family for a long time.  I really lucked out with our crib.  It is simple, clean and thank-the-lord affordable.  It is exactly what we were looking for at exactly the right price of $99.

Above the crib is Finley’s one-of-a-kind mobile.  I remember the day I put this together for our Little Peanut.  It is made of different size and color Poms and some Chinese lanterns.  I love the way it turned out.  It moves slightly when there is a breeze and Finley already loves staring up at it.  It really is the statement piece in the room.

All of the accessories just kind of came together.  The dog hooks we picked up from IKEA.  They are so fun and useful.  The art I already blogged about (here).  I did add an “F” since then.  I was waiting to see whether little Peanut was  boy or girl before adding this.  It is made from a cut out “F” and I hot glued wine corks that I cut to differing lengths.  It brings great texture to that wall.  The pouf is from etsy.  I am hoping when I learn to sew, that I can make more of them myself.  They are really perfect for kids.  And the rug I got from Lowes as well.  It was $25 because it is a 5×7 remnant rug.  In the future I would like to change it out for a different one, but right now it serves its purpose.  The little riding horse we got for $3 at a garage sale and the yellow dresser we got for $30 at an auction.

So here is the breakdown:

Paint: 1 can Olympic $12 + 1 can white Olympic $12 + 5 cans spray paint $24.90

Crib: $99

Changing Table: Already owned

Bookcase:  $30 + $20 wallpaper

Yellow Dresser:  $35

Baskets (7): $41.30

Rug: $24.99

Pouf: $56

Pom Mobile: about $48 with all materials

Eames Rocker: gift from Herman Miller

Wall Hooks:  $5.97

Yellow and Blue Toy Totes (3): $7.50

Curtains: $41.80

Curtain Rod: $21.69

Mirror: $3 garage sale

Total: around $260

This was by far the cheapest room we have decorated, but it is our most loved.  :o)