Thursday, July 24, 2014

Gallery Wall Pictures

I debuted the gallery wall in yesterday's post and I have to say, I'm still loving it.  Although all the effort it took to get it done resulted in me doing NOTHING last night.

That's not totally true... I made lasagna.  So I did something.  And I watched Frozen.

Super productive.

Anyway, I realized that the picture of the gallery didn't show off the pictures we chose to put up.  And some of them are just too good to keep to myself.

{From the day we took pictures of Henry in the snow}

{Engagement picture making out in a waterfall by Kelly Miller Photography}

{Helicopter ride in Hawaii during our honeymoon}

{Taken on a hike at Silver Falls}

{Maternity picture by Annie Groves Photography}

{Maternity picture by Annie Groves Photography.  She's so amazing.  
Made me look great when I was huge.  That's talent}

{Taken using Ed's camera during Thanksgiving}

{I love love LOVE this picture and will probably treasure it forever}

{Newborn picture by Annie Groves Photography}

{Annie Groves Photography.  She moved to Hawaii and 
I'm contemplating a trip just so we can get some awesome family pictures done}

{From fishing at the Beach.  I was on the LID diet, waiting to have follow-up scans done and pretty scared.  But everything turned out great and the extra scan actually gave me HUGE peace of mind}

So there you go.  A small collection of some of my favorite pictures.  There are so many more I could have picked, but the good thing is that now that the frames are up it will be pretty easy to switch pictures in the future.

Ok I will stop patting my own back about hanging up pictures.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Gallery Wall

I haven't posted many (if any) pictures of our new house on the blog and we have lived there for over 2 months now.  I have been hesitant to share because we aren't totally settled yet.  There are no pictures on the wall.  We still have some boxes that have been unpacked.  And the landscaping needs some serious TLC.

Phil and I weren't in a huge hurry to buy a house before he finished his PhD because we didn't want anything to distract him from his work.  The next big life goal has been for Phil to finish graduate school and we didn't want to lose sight of that.  So when we bought the house, we agreed that there would be minimal (if any) projects for Phil to do until he was finished.

Do you know how hard that is?  We love our house the way it is, but we also want to make it our own.  A graduate school income and little time make that super challenging.  And I didn't really want to share pictures until it was all done.

I'm a bit of a perfectionist.  Shocking, I know.

But then I realized the before and after concept was a whole lot of blog material.  So it is silly of me to not capitalize on the blog posts, amiright?

So here it is... the first new house before and after post.

We have some nice, high ceilings in our great room and I really wanted to do a gallery wall using different size picture frames.  Plus the previous owners had left some anchors in the wall and rather than fill those in and paint them and run the risk of the paint color not exactly matching, I thought it would be better to just cover the anchors until we decide to paint the room again.

{Please ignore Henry's hat and the Mountain Dew can}

We received A TON of picture frames when we got married.  And then the Christmas after that, my cousin gave me like a dozen more picture frames (they are my absolute favorite, by the way Lindsay!).  So we already had the materials needed to stay on a budget (hooray for the one income family!).

The first step was picking out some pictures.  I knew I wanted a variety of pictures, some of us and some without people, and a mix of black and white.  I picked out several from our wedding, a couple from our honeymoon, some pictures I had taken over the years, a picture from our engagement pictures, a few from our maternity session, a few from Henry's newborn session, and a couple of Henry.  They were all electronic files, so the next step was figuring out what size I would need for each picture.  That meant laying out the frames.

It took several iterations, but I finally got a layout I like.  It felt like a good mix and not too cookie-cutter.  I didn't want it to be symmetric, but I also didn't want it to be cluttered.  Phil and I figured out what picture we wanted where and then ordered the prints.  We ordered them from Wal-Mart and I really liked how they turned out.  Much better than the prints I have gotten from Costco.

The next stage was to actually hang them on the wall.  Do you ever look at a project and go, "Where do I start?"  That's kind of how I felt.  I tried an intermediate step of hanging similar size pieces of paper on the wall.

I started with measuring down from the ceiling at a level that would cover the anchors.  This helped me get the outside parameters of the pictures figured out.  I also chose to use painters tape for the most part instead of pencil on the wall.  It helped me to visualize things a little better.

I started at the top and went down the sides, using painter's tape to get my nail placement just right.  I put a piece of tape along the top of the frame and then tape down to the hanger and punctured a hole where the nail would go.  Then I peeled the tape off the frame, made sure it was level and it the right spot and then put in my nails.  I can't believe I didn't take a picture of this part.  That was dumb.

I worked my way around the edges and then did the middle frames last, making sure I had the spacing correct.

Three and a half hours later, we had a finished product.

I have to say, it isn't perfect but I LOVE IT!!  And all of the anchor holes got covered!

If I were to do this over again, I might go through the process a little differently.  I know there are several different ways to hang a gallery wall, but they require a lot more prep and I really just wanted to get it done.  I ended up only needing to move 1 nail in the entire process, which I think is really good, considering there are like 16 frames on the wall.

The nice thing is that now that the frames are up, it will be VERY easy to change out the pictures.  I want to do something similar to this on our staircase, but I need some time to recover from this process.  And I need a couple more picture frames!  (I can't believe I just said that!)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

And he's off!!!

Please ignore my annoying voice in the video.

But we have a walker!!

This happened last Sunday (the 13th).  What's funny is that he was more than capable of walking for at least the last month.   Probably longer.  But he just wouldn't do it.  Maybe a couple of steps here and there.  But for the most part, he wanted to crawl.

Frankly, I needed him to be able to walk.  The dude weighs about 30 lbs and my lower back is basically in constant agony from picking him up.  Not to be dramatic or anything.

I know some people have told me that once he starts walking, all we will be doing is chasing him.  But honestly that kind of started when he started crawling.  And I'm ready for his hands to get off the ground.  Plus I could use the extra cardio.  :) 

Monday, July 21, 2014

You win some...

I figured the first post of the week had better be about Cotton's dog show, because I know everyone is waiting with baited breath.

The first show was Friday night.  It was a specialty show, done by the Oregon Brittany Club.  Even though Cotton wasn't the best behaved, he still did really well.  Just not good enough.

He basically got second place.  Or as we like to call it, "First loser".

As Ricky Bobby says:

Just kidding.  Here's how he he took it:

{Pouting like a baby while the Best of Breed was being chosen.  
And I'm not even kidding.  He climbed up in Phil's lap and cuddled like that.}

But in reality, it is his own fault.  It's like he didn't know how to run properly on the show lead.

So Saturday, we arrived nice and early to make sure he had plenty of time to get out his excitement and run around on the lead.  But we had a judge that likes smaller dogs, and a puppy won over Cotton.  We weren't thrilled.

I showed Cotton to that judge when we first started showing Cotton, and he was a jerk to me.

Basically we won't be going to shows judged by him anymore.

Henry had a blast at the show.

He loves the Brittany ladies.  And he loves our breeder's dogs.  Seriously, he doesn't do it to other dogs in crates.  Just Cotton's litter mates.

{Man-pris and TOMS.  He's too cute}

Playing with dogs can be exhausting though.

It was definitely disappointing to not get anymore points for Cotton.  But that's how it goes.  You can't win them all.  And it was still a fun outing and great to see the show dog people.  They are seriously the nicest group of people.

There's a show nearby at the end of September and I think I might try showing Cotton at that one.  We will see.  I have a couple of weeks left to decide.

I find it interesting that my competitive spirit has branched out to dog shows as well.  I see the professional handlers in the ring and think "I can do that."  Apparently I can't.  But maybe that's why they are professionals... they make it look so easy.

Oh well... I guess I will just keep practicing.  Cotton and I will get it down eventually.  :)

Friday, July 18, 2014

5 Things Friday

Oh Friday...  You are my favorite.  Honestly, Friday evenings are my favorite part of the week.  I think it stems back to my childhood.  Every other Friday night, when my siblings were with their other parents, my parents would take me out to dinner and then we would maybe go to a movie or go home and I'd spend the next 2 hours enjoying TGIF without my brothers or sister bugging me.

For some reason, I also remember doing puzzles while watching TGIF.  I don't know.  Specifically, this one:

{Found HERE}

This evening, we will be at a dog show.  It's pretty much the last one we will do until later this year, so we are hoping Cotton gets some points.

In honor of my love for Fridays, here's this week's 5 random things.

1.  I finally started going back to spin class.  I went to my first class two weeks ago and was thrilled that I didn't die.  It was my first time at a spin class since Labor Day 2012.  I knew it would be painful and it did not disappoint.  So when my coworker/friend asked me to go to a class last weekend, I said, "SURE!"  It was her first class in a while too, so I figured we could be in pain together.

About halfway through the class, I can feel that my face is matching my bright pink workout shirt.  Huffing and puffing, I glance over at my friend, thinking she will also reflect the physical agony I was experiencing.


She barely looks like she has been exhorting herself, aside from a tiny bit of sweat at her temples.

Oh well... at least I survived again.  And my fingers are crossed that in the next couple of classes or so, my butt will adjust to the bike seat.  Ouch.

2.  I made tilapia for dinner last night because it was something I knew Henry would eat.  Boy loves his fish.  I felt confident he would easily eat an entire filet like he did last week.


Wanted nothing to do with it.  He would, however, eat the pasta I made last week that he wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole.

Keeping me on my toes, that's for sure.

3.  In case you were wondering what Cotton thinks about getting his hair blown dry, I think it is pretty clear:

He was thrilled.  As always.

He really needs to win some points this weekend because I am a little tired of blow drying my dog.

4.  It is really hard to be a baby.  It's also really hard to go bra shopping with your mom.  At least Henry thinks so.

He stayed asleep as I took him out of his carseat, brought him inside, and put him on the floor.  Then he slept for another 15 minutes while I got his dinner ready.  Poor baby.

5.  You know I like to talk about my underwear (see HERE and HERE).  The topic of underwear came up the other day with a friend and she mentioned that she wanted to get a set of panties all black that could be worn during a certain time of the month.  I thought that was brilliant!  Honestly, I wear black pants or jeans almost always anyway, so black panties would really be appropriate.  I stole the idea and bought a set of black underwear while Henry and I were bra shopping.  When I told the sales clerk the black pantie idea, she thought it was brilliant  I'm thinking it will be the next big thing.

Not that I didn't have black underwear already.  It just happens to say, "GIMME YOUR CANDY" across the butt.  No joke.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Obviously I'm a professional barber

Let's talk about the Dude's hair for a second:

It was out of control.

Phil, my dad, and Phil's dad all have full heads of hair (I hope I didn't just jinx that for anyone).  I actually found out after Phil's dad passed away that he was actually really proud of his hair.  I think that's funny because I never would have thought of him being proud of his looks.  I think it's cute.

It looks like Henry inherited the luscious locks of his forefathers.  But the mane needed to be tamed.

I found a children's salon in town, but they have pretty much the worst hours EVER!  They are open from like 10-5 Wednesday through Saturday by appointment only or something like that.  I just couldn't make it work.  And our Saturdays are full for the foreseeable future.

I knew I needed to take matters into my own hands.

I mean, I've cut the dog's hair.  I've cut my own bangs.  When I was little, I cut the hair off my dolls.  How hard could it be cutting a little person who moves constantly and tries to grab the scissors every time they come close to his head?

Piece of cake, I'm sure.

Worst case scenario, I would be frantically calling my sister-in-law so she could buzz off all his hair.

When I mentioned it to Phil, he got a little terrified look on his face.  But at the same time, he knows that when I say I want to do something, that means I have thought about it immensely and it is happening.

So it happened.  I told Phil to take pictures of the process and he proceeded to take 11 of the most unflattering pictures of me imaginable.  NOT good for the self-esteem.

Drum roll for the finished product?




Thanks to The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and cheerios (and my excellent barbering skills), it turned out ok.

Phil pointed out that the hair above one ear was higher on one side than the other.  I pointed out that Henry's ear didn't get cut, he never once got a hold of the scissors and he doesn't look like a fool.  Plus I saved like $30.

We'll call it a win.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Quick Bite

This working mom stuff is tough.  One of the hardest parts... dinner time.

I work until 5, then rush to pick up Henry from daycare.  By the time I get his things gathered up, give him some snuggles, and get him in the car, it is 5:30.  Then it is another 15 minutes until we are home.


And what time does Henry go to sleep?  Maybe 8.  Lately, it is more like 7:45.  And in that 2 hours, we have to make dinner, eat, feed Henry, do a bath, play, snuggle, and put him to bed.  I feel like the evenings are a race.  It is a test to see if I can get everything done before he melts down.  Ever tried to feed a sleepy baby?  We just end up with food ALL OVER, rubbed into the eyelashes, smeared into his hair, etc.

I completely understand why some people either wait to eat until after the baby goes to sleep OR end up eating out/processed foods.  It is HARD to make things from scratch in a hurry.

But I am getting better at it.  And the main thing I have been trying to do is keep it simple.

-  Ham (already fully cooked, just warmed up), with mashed potatoes and peas

-  Baked skin-less bone-less chicken thigh filets (so easy, juicy, and almost impossible to make up) with ranch potatoes and green beans

-  Grilled pork chops with cheesy rice and any vegetable

Sometimes I will make things ahead of time on the weekend and then just pop them in the oven during the work week.  Tuna Noodle Casserole is perfect for that.  Shepard's Pie is another favorite in our house.

And never discount crock-pot meals.

Unfortunately, Phil is getting tired of the old standbys.  I kind of am too.

Do you have any good, quick recipes?
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