In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:6

Friday, July 25, 2014

Parenting Twins - The First Year (Month 4)

Growth and Development:
The boys turned four months old on Tuesday!  They had their four month checkup yesterday and are doing great! Ethan is in the 5th percentile in growth and Aaron is in the 15th percentile.  That's a good jump from only being in the 1st percentile at their two month checkup.  They can still wear 0-3 month clothes, but 3 month clothes fit them best.  They quickly outgrew size one diapers.  They were in them for less than a month and are now wearing size two diapers.  Other than growing like weeds, they are very alert and enjoy focusing on their surroundings.  The baby cooing has turned into full baby jibber-jabber!  Aaron really goes to town "talking" to us.  We always knew he was more vocal of the two!  They love it when I lay them on my bed and sing all sorts of children's songs to them.  Aaron will often chime in, as if he is singing right along with me.  While they still have their bouts of crying, they are pretty happy babies at home and can often be found with smiles on their sweet little faces.  Ethan laughed out loud for the first time this week.  Out of nowhere he just started chuckling very loudly while Daddy was talking to him.  It was the cutest thing ever!  Aaron has still not cut his first tooth, even though the doctor told us several weeks ago he was starting to teeth unusually early.  We can still see the white buds and his teeth appear to bother him off and on, depending on the day.  Ethan is also a drooling machine and puts anything he can find in his mouth, especially his hands.  The boys love their baby equipment, which is awesome for Mommy.  The days of holding them all day in my arms while they sleep are long gone, and I am now able to get things done around the house. They love batting at the toys hanging from their baby gyms and grabbing the toys on their bouncy seats.  They also enjoy dozing off in their swings for an afternoon nap.  They're not big fans of tummy time.  They prefer sitting up in their bumbos for play time.  We are very pleased that they are meeting all of the appropriate developmental milestones for four month old babies. 

Birth – 5.7 (A) 6 (E)
Home from Hospital– 5 (A) 5.8 (E)
One Month – 6.14 (A) 6.12 (E)
Two Months – 9.4 (A&E) 
11 Weeks - 10.1 (Aaron)
Four Months - 13.13 (A) 12.13 (E)

This month the amount of food the boys eat has increased to four ounces every three hours during the day.  At night we let them wake us up to feed.  They have also started taking rice cereal in their night time bottle this month.  My breast milk supply has dropped.  I never really had much to begin with, so the babies are now only breastfeeding at night and occasionally snacking in between daytime bottles if they seem a little hungry. 

They are still eating every three hours during the day and napping anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour in between feeds.  Ethan has been sleeping through the night for over a month.  He occasionally wakes up for a feeding, but it is very rare for him.  Aaron has never slept through the night.  He wakes up at least once, if not twice to be fed.  This explains why he is a pound heavier than his brother.  Those extra 4-8 ounces of milk are going straight to his chubby little baby thighs!  For the most part, not waking the babies up to feed them at night works for us.  The only night's when it is challenging is when Ethan wakes up to be fed, because it is never the same time as his brother.  For example Aaron might wake me up 12am, then just as I get back to sleep Ethan will wake me up at 1am, and then Aaron again at 3am, and then they will both be up by 6am ready for their day.......yeah, those night's are no fun!  Most recently, Aaron has decided that he not only wants to wake up to eat, but he wants to wake up to play!  This is so NOT ok with Mommy!  After about three nights of getting maybe three hours of sleep total, I decided that instead of putting the boys down for bed at 7:30-8pm, I was going to change bedtime to 9-10pm.  Matt and I don't go to bed until 10-10:30 anyway, so now if Aaron wakes up it is around 3am instead of 1am, giving Mommy a little extra sleep.  It was really nice to have a couple of hours to ourselves at night when the boys were going down earlier, but I'd rather have a decent night's sleep than have time to myself.

Mommy and Daddy:
Life gets a little easier each month.  It is still difficult to take time for ourselves, but that is to be expected.  We are just in baby mode all the time, and life revolves around their needs.   I  am making time to keep up with managing the home, as well as making time for my blog.  When they are napping, I am accomplishing my weekly to-do-list.  It feels pretty great to be able to get things done for me.  And as silly as it sounds, I enjoy managing my home and keeping up with my blog, so yes those things are for me.  Being the mom of twins is a ton of work, and I'd be lying if I said it didn't completely wear me out most days.....BUT they are so worth every bit of the work!  We love them to pieces!

Week Fourteen

Week Fifteen

Week Sixteen

Week Seventeen

Week Eighteen

Thursday, July 24, 2014

DIY Flower Lamp Shade

This week I've been sharing projects that I completed for our guestroom last summer.  I’m finishing off this week’s blog posts with a lamp shade project.  I think I originally saw a lampshade project like this on Pinterest and was inspired to make my own.  While this project is easy and inexpensive, it is time-consuming.  It’s a lot like the Coffee Filter Lamp Shade I made.  I recommend watching a television series on Netflix while working on this project to help the time pass;)

To start this project, I bought a yard of white linen at the fabric store and cut/tore it into one inch strips.

Then I started rolling the fabric around my fingers….

….until I had something that looked like this.

Then I loosened the fabric until it looked like a flower

Lastly, I hot glued each individual flower to the lampshade I found at Goodwill.

I strategically placed each flower around the shade making sure the shade looked full but not crowed.

And a few hours later, I had a lamp shade that looked like this.  I'm pleased with the outcome of this project.  I think the lamp is beautiful when it's turned on. The lamp and shade were from Goodwill, costing around $5 before the project.  After purchasing fabric and a package of hot glue, the cost of the finished lamp was around $10.

To see more of the projects for the guestroom, click the following links:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Upcycled Coffee Bar

What do you do when you see an old microwave stand out in the neighbor’s garbage?  Well, if you’re me, you have your husband go get it, so you can re-purpose it as something else. 

I wasn't sure what I was going to use the old microwave stand for right way, but eventually an idea came to me.  I decided to use it in our guestroom as a coffee and snack bar.

To do this, I cleaned it up and refinished it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (old white paint and clear wax) that I had from a previous project. I like ASCP because 1) no sanding is required and 2) it is a great paint to use for distressed pieces of furniture.

I applied two coats of ASCP with my ASCP brush, one coat of ASCP wax with an old rag, and then I sanded the edges to make it look a little distressed.

I finished the piece with new glass knobs and decoupaged the doors with scrapbook paper and Mod Podge.

Lastly, I had to give my upcycled piece of furniture some purpose by making it a coffee bar for our guests.  I bought a place mat for a few dollars at Old Time Pottery and put it underneath a small coffee pot and coffee mug stand from my first apartment.  Then I went to Goodwill on the first Saturday of the month when everything is half off and purchased a set of coffee mugs for $.50 each. Inside the doors, I store extra sheets for the guestroom bed.  On the shelf, I keep snacks, coffee, teas, and bottled water in a tray I purchased from Home Goods. 

My husband likes to tease me about this project.  He reminds me that we don’t run a bed and breakfast.  But I do like having coffee and teas for guests in their own room when they come to visit.....and by guests, I mean family who come to visit once or twice of year and my mom who comes to visit me every few months.  My mom looks forward to the chocolates and biscotti in her room when she comes to visit, so I think that this little coffee bar is a nice hospitable touch in the guestroom.  

What can I say, I just want my house to feel like home when they walk into my house.  Any little project that helps make that happen is a successful project in my eyes.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

DIY Vintage Insect Wall Art

Today I want to share a fun project that I made for our guestroom.  I really liked the look of vintage insect art. I know it sounds kind of unusual, using images of insects as art.  But when it looks vintage, it kind of makes it feel like nature is being used as art in a beautiful way.

This projects re-purposes two large Goodwill frames, and it uses a fun new purpose for two small Dollar Tree frames.

First, I found images that I liked on clip art and enlarged them to fit my frames.

Then, I printed them on regular computer paper to see how they printed.

Once I was happy with the result, I cut vintage scripted scrapbook paper down to size and printed the images onto the scrapbook paper.

Using two light-weight frames from the Dollar Tree, I framed the images and set them aside.

I then moved on to two larger pieces of framed art I found from Goodwill.  They were originally Target pieces, marked $10 each at Goodwill.  I purchased them on the first Saturday of the month from Goodwill making them $5 each.  While they were great winter pieces of framed snowflakes, I had no place to put them as they were, so I re-purposed them.  For this project, I was only using them frame.  I disassembled everything, being careful to salvage the other pieces for future projects.

Once I had two empty frames, I measured enough green burlap for each frame.  Burlap is an inexpensive fabric, usually only a few bucks a yard. I purchased mine at JoAnn Fabrics.

To cut burlap straight, pull a piece of the twine……

….and keep pulling until the entire piece is pulled out of the fabric…..

….leaving a visible straight line to see where to cut with a good pair of sewing scissors.

Once I had two perfectly measured pieces of cut burlap, I hot glued the pieces of burlap to the back of my frame.  Note that I did not use the original backing of the frame for this project.  I only used the frame.  The burlap is visible on both the front and back of this project.

I then measured and securely hung the frames to my wall.

And lastly, I put a nail through my burlap in the middle of both frames….

….and hung my two light-weight framed pieces of vintage insect art made out of the Dollar Tree Frames, creating a frame within a frame:)

Then I stepped back and admired my work.

This project cost me less than $20 for both finished pieces, and I’m very happy with the end results.  They make lovely pieces of art in the guestroom and it was a fun, creative re-purpose of frames.