Thursday, October 21, 2010

"Pretty on a Penny" Interior Design

This past summer Jim's mom stayed in a condo ten minutes up the road from us.  It was fantastic.  She got to spend lots of time with the kids, I got lots of projects done, she had a few house guests, (including my mom for two weeks) she felt empowered, and she had her own space to go home to at night.  Last summer, before Cora was born, she visited for a month, and this summer was two months.  She and Jim don't want to move here and leave their lives in Jamestown forever, but they do love being able to visit for long stretches.

Sharon has said several times that she wishes she had her own place here, so she could stay in it whenever she wanted.  Well, in September her dream came true.  She and Jim were able to purchase a two bedroom condo in Lenox Village!  The idea is that they will rent it out on a month-to-month basis and then stay in it themselves for a month at a time at various points in the year.

Of course, this means the condo has to be completely furnished.  From scratch.  On a budget.  For renters!  Sharon finds this task to be slightly daunting.

I, on the other hand, find it invigorating and thrilling.  Bring on the shopping.  (And shopping, and shopping, and shopping...  You would be shocked how much can be stuffed into a Honda Civic!)

Sharon and I have made countless trips, logged hundreds of miles right here in Nashville, and started stocking the space.  It has been insanely fun.  And the best part is that Sharon has given me free reign.

I haven't infused much personality into the condo on purpose.  I want it to be a balance of masculine and feminine, modern and traditional.  I am really going for a transitional look that can appeal to most anyone.  And although the space isn't done, it is well on its way.

This is what it looked like just a few weeks ago.  For one week we lived, breathed and ate condo.  That meant the kids did too, but they didn't care.  Brennan just made forts out of new boxes and blankets.

The whole condo is being done in white, chocolate brown, and shades of aqua and other soft blues.  It is all tying together so well, and I can't wait to post photos of the final product.  In the mean time, here is a picture of the mood board I put together for Sharon when we first started discussing furnishings.  We ended up using a few pieces exactly, while others just helped to establish the overall feel we were going for.

Jim and Sharon would love to start renting the condo in December, so if you know anyone who wants to come stay in Nashville for a month at any point, let me know! In the mean time, I hope to post completed photos sometime in the next few weeks!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Three Cheers for Pizza!

Last week we were invited to a Halloween party with some of Brennan's preschool classmates.  Little siblings were invited to come along, so I dressed both kids for the occasion.  Sadly, sweet Cora is at a horrible hair stage, where her puffy bangs just hang in her eyes, and she will not let me keep a barrette in her hair for anything.

Also?  Choosing Cora's costume was super tricky.  She's very, very small for her age (less than the 10th percentile for weight but above average height means that pants don't stay up no matter what).  She's a new walker in the last month, so I didn't want to put her in something that would cause her to trip and get frustrated, and her small size means that she still fits in infant costumes not intended for walking. In the end, a simple cheerleader dress seemed like the best option for this year.  (Even it is too big!)  Oh well.  Next year Cora will have adorable hair and a perfect costume to match!

I was so pleased with Brennan's costume choice.  It suits him perfectly.  It's simple, it's clever, and it's one of his favorite foods.  I love that he isn't yet interested in wearing superhero costumes or creepy, bloody things.  Sweet boy.

The lady who organized the party did a fantastic job.  The kids created a Halloween monster mix, made acorn necklaces, participated in a "parade" around the house (kinda funny, considering we were inside the Governor's Club), and decorated pumpkins. 

Good times.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Reasons to Smile

We had such an awesome day today!  I smiled all day long, for so many reasons.

First, the weather was amazing.  I had windows open all over my house, and a cool breeze blew through and made the whole house smell fresh and clean.  Nothing makes me as happy as a perfect fall day when we have waited so long for a break in the weather.

I took the kids across the street to Hicklen Farm to take some pictures today after lunch.  The farm is literally across the street from our subdivision, and next year, when Cora is a little bigger, we may just walk over there.  We were already there on Monday to buy pumpkins and a mum for the front porch, but we returned today to take photos.  The Hicklens were so gracious about letting me take photos, and they invited me to come back any time.  Mr. Hicklen told me about stories about the house and what it looked like during the Civil War, and he even showed me a photo of his great-grandmother in front of the farmhouse.  I just love that the farm has been in their family for five generations, and I hope it stays that way for at least five more.  I want to bring my kids there every year and get to know the family on a first-name basis and have Brennan and Cora tell their own children stories about growing up across the street from a working farm.  Love it.

After we left the farm, we ran a quick errand, and I got a Toffee Mocha.  Yet another reason to smile.

When we got home, Brennan helped me pick up the whole house.  He asked me to make him a list, which I loved.  He is really into lists, and he is starting to read high-frequency words, which is a lot of fun.  In fact,  I wrote him a simple story yesterday, and he read the whole thing without help.  (The first sentence was, "Brennan loves to go to the zoo," and when he read it, he was so proud!)  Anyway, I was so thankful to have a clutter-free house and a willing helper!

After we picked up, Brennan and I made applesauce.  This is a fall tradition in our family, and I look forward to "applesauce day" every year.  I wait until the weather is just right, because just like drinking Pumpkin Spice Lattes when it is still hot outside, making applesauce before it is truly fall is just wrong.  To me, homemade applesauce truly kicks off autumn.  I love the way it smells, the way it tastes, and what it represents.

Tonight before dinner we got a new loveseat delivered for our playroom.  Brennan helped Jim to put it together after we ate, and the kids were so excited!  I'm excited too, to have a place to sit while the kids play!   Now we can actually use the playroom!  And, of course, now I'm getting motivated to paint the walls, buy new light fixtures, find some artwork...


More reasons to smile.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

First Birthday Festivities

Cora's birthday was so much fun.  I think it was fun in its simplicity, really.  We didn't plan much, which allowed us to enjoy the little things.

On her birthday morning, I brought her downstairs, all dressed up for her one-year Lulu picture, and she walked straight into the family room to find her first present:

Later that night, we opened the rest of her presents.  I thought Brennan was going to explode, he was so excited.  He could hardly keep his hands off her things.  But Cora still managed to have fun!

On Saturday we celebrated with some friends at a local park.  The older kids played on the playground and colored with sidewalk chalk, the adults, talked, and everyone had cupcakes.

What started out innocently...

...quickly became a disaster.  And we loved every minute of it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Look for Less

I am obsessed with adorable boutique clothes, but I am not obsessed with the prices.  I think there are certain clothes that are worth the extra cost, and there are some that are not, especially when it comes to children's clothes.  Recently I tried my hand at a few things that didn't seem worth the extra dough.

First, I did my first applique.  The car was much easier than I expected (I thought that stitching around it would be impossible, but it wasn't), and Brennan is really happy with it.  He now has requests for several other shirts, including one with a letter B.  I'll just add that to my "too much to do, not enough time" list. :-)

For Cora I made a little outfit for $9 that would have otherwise cost around $30 or $40 at my favorite boutique.  I just bought a $5 tee-shirt and a $4 pair of pants from Target, pulled out some of my scrap ribbon and buttons, and dressed it all up.  (Forgive the photo quality below, but have you ever tried to get a full-outfit photo of a one-year-old in a room full of birthday toys?)
Someone's pants keep falling off...

 Voila!  Major cute without going broke!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Cora's First Year of Lulu Pictures

In our family we have lots of traditions.  One of my favorite traditions involves a big stuffed lamb named Lulu.  Lulu was given to Brennan by his grandparents before he was born, and we use Lulu to track the growth of each of our children through their first year of life (and beyond... I'm still doing yearly pictures of Brennan).  It is super fun to see how the kids grow and change before our eyes.

It is hard to believe that Cora's first year is over.  I'm such a nostalgic person, and I have had moments in the last few days when I have had a painful lump in my throat, thinking about how my baby is now a toddler. 

I hope you enjoy Cora's first year of Lulu pictures.

5 days old

1 month old

2 months old

3 months old

4 months old

5 months old

6 months old

7 months old

8 months old

9 months old

10 months old

11 months old

1 year old!
Happy birthday, Cora Katherine.  You've come a long way, baby, and we love you more every day.
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