Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Day? More like Halloween Week... + a DIY Tinker Bell Costume Tutorial

I feel like Halloween has already come and gone... oh wait, nope it's this Friday. We've already dressed up 3 times in the past week. I hosted a Halloween themed pack meeting last Thursday (I'm the Cub Scout master for my ward/church) complete with spooky decor, costumes, and holiday themed games. We of course showed up sporting our costumes, and I stayed up until 3 AM two nights in a row teaching myself to sew so I could make Klair's Tinker Bell costume in time. I'll be honest, the Costco Tinker Bell was looking really tempting... but I'm glad I stuck with it. I'm actually quite proud of the results. Klair loved it, which is most important. I would spend another 10 hours on it just to see her smile the way she did. Plus, I have a lot more confidence sewing now!

Homemade Tinker Bell Costume
Here is a link to the tutorial I used for the bodice (sewing machine necessary): Tinker Bell Bodice Tutorial

Here is a tutorial I made for an easy no-sew tutu like the one for her costume: Easy No-Sew Tutu Tutorial
(*note: I wanted her tutu to be less full and slightly jagged to make it more Tinker Bell-esque, but you can make it more full by adding more tulle)

No Sewing Option
Here is a link to an adorable no-sew Tinker Bell costume option if you want to forego the whole sewing of the bodice thing (this was my plan b): No-Sew Tinker Bell Costume Tutorial

I searched high and low for a pair of Tinker Bell shoes that would fit her, and the only ones I found were $30 or more plus shipping. I simply went to our local thrift store, found some shoes for $2, and spray painted them a sparkly green (Well, Sam did the spray painting--I try to avoid the fumes for the sake of pregnancy). Then I hot glued white pom poms on them. She was more excited about her Tinker Bell shoes than anything else, so I consider them a nicely priced win.

For the wings I was too lazy to make them, so I bought them at a Halloween store. If you're feeling more ambitious, here is a homemade tutorial: DIY Fairy Wings

Wendy & Peter Pan
Our costumes were comparatively easy. I simply wore a blue night gown that I borrowed from a friend, and made a bow for my hair (you can see my Easy DIY Bow Tutorial here). Then for Sam's costume we were lucky enough to borrow his hat, shirt, belt and dagger from our brother-in-law. I'm sure you could find a similar costume at any costume store. He opted not to wear the tights, and instead wore khakis and some brown boots. And, voila! We had a cute little family themed costume ensemble to compliment Klair's Tinker Bell get up.

Halloween Party 

On Friday we teamed up with some friends hosted a Halloween party at our house. We had a chili bar and an assortment of treats and appetizers. We also played some fun games--most of which I stole from my experience with the cub scouts... some games are just fun no matter how old you are! Cheesy, but fun :) I'll post them with links to instructions in case you're looking for something for your own holiday get together. Look back for that. Oh and we had a photo booth, the results of which you can see below:

Then, on Saturday we finished our Halloween themed weekend at our ward party (a ward is essentially a Mormon congregation--they're the people we meet with every week for church).  They had a carnival theme, and since Sam teaches the 9 year olds in primary he was in charge of one of the game rooms. It was fun to see him interact with the kids, and Klair loved showing her costume to anyone who would look.

It was all so fun, but I'm glad to have a bit of a break before Halloween itself. I attempted to explain trick-or-treating to Klair, and now she'll tell you "knock on door, get candy!" She's so excited, and I'm thinking we may have a hard time teaching her it only works on Halloween...

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Mother-Daughter Photo Shoot + New Friends

Bloggers Pictured Above: Cecilia of Dearest Lou, Sandy of Sandy A La Mode, Sarah of Our Life is Beautiful, Jessi of Haircut and General Attitude, and Fatima of Les Dedrickson

Klair's Outfit

Recently I've been branching out a bit more into the blogging community. Until now, I've had a handful of friends with blogs, but they were people I was already friends with. Lately I've been venturing out of my comfort zone to make new acquaintances, and in the process I've met some women who I'm quickly becoming great friends with. There's something about being with other people who spend their time writing posts and taking endless pictures. We understand each other. We can talk openly and honestly about blogging--the pros and cons. I don't feel like I can talk about blogging with anyone. And, since I spend a significant portion of my spare time working on my blog, having someone to talk to who can relate is extremely therapeutic and frankly refreshing.

A few weeks ago I was invited to an event for the grand opening of Uptown Cheapskate (an awesome consignment store) in Sugar House. I went with some fellow bloggers, and we had such a great time. They were extremely generous to us, and I scored the tribal print sweater in the photos above, two pairs of boots, a dress shirt, and a dress that will be perfect for a flapper costume I'll be donning this next week--all for about $50. I love thrift shopping. I always feel so triumphant afterwards--stretching my dollar as far as possible. Later that night we headed to a blogging event hosted by Nordstrom, and walked away with some awesome gift bags full of samples. Apart from the free swag, the best part of the night was spending time with my new friends. I hardly ever get away, especially for a girls only night. I needed it.

This last week I met up with some of these lovely ladies for lunch and a play date with our kiddos. We went to this delicious little cafe called the Wild Zucchini, and headed to a nearby park afterward to let the kiddos play and to take some photos. Klair and I enjoyed ourselves so much that we're planning to have our new friends over for a play date--a tradition we're hoping to continue. When I started blogging I did it simply to record important aspects of my life--an online journal of sorts. I never imagined I would enter such an amazing and supportive community of women, but that's exactly what happened. I'm incredibly grateful for the connections I've already made, and I sincerely look forward to more to come!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Gender Reveal | Klair Bear Style

We are having a boy! It took two tries yesterday to get him to reveal his gender (the umbilical cord kept getting in the way) but the second attempt was the charm. I am undoubtedly pregnant with a little man.  We have a son! I have a son. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around that one. I'm honestly so excited though. And I have to say, it was really fun watching him on the ultrasound. I didn't even mind the fact that it took awhile to discern that he was indeed a he. I just loved watching his tiny movements, seeing his profile, and witnessing his self-soothing technique of keeping both hands by his face. 

Klair is really excited too. Although she told the world in our pregnancy reveal video that she wanted a "girl," she started changing her tune lately and would occasionally tell us she wanted a "boy" or a "brother." At the end of the ultrasound she cried out, "Yaaaaay!"--an exclamation unprovoked by any of us. I think she is genuinely happy to have a little brother on the way, and I can't wait to see my two babies together. 

So now we have some work to do. Is it just me or is it harder to try and find good boy names? I want to name him a good, strong, classic name... and most are taken, or have been stolen by girls. We really need to end that trend... it makes it so much harder for those of us tasked with naming a boy. If the baby had been a girl, our name would have already been chosen--not so with a boy. We have some ideas, but we're divided on what to do. Wish us luck. Also (and I'm not sad about this) we are going to need to buy an entire wardrobe of clothes. Good thing boy clothes are so dang cute! I really am pretty excited about that aspect. 

Oh! And the nursery. That's another thing I'm really stoked about. Pinterest, here I come! 

Also here are some more photos of the big-sister-to-be because I love them. 
I love this girl. And her little brother. And their dad. And all the people in my life who show is much love for my kids. Our baby boy is already so adored.

And, of course, this post wouldn't be complete without acknowledging my love and gratitude for our Heavenly Father who blessed our family with such a beautiful, bright little male soul. A son!

Life is good.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Oh, This is Gonna Be a Good Life.

"This could really be a good life. "

I was laying in bed after a heartfelt prayer of gratitude, and this song popped in my head. Suddenly, it dawned on me that I really do have a good life (and then I felt impressed to grab my computer, so the following will be the spontaneous, albeit heartfelt expressions of my mind).

It's not that I haven't realized this before. Daily I am awestruck by the quiet, simple, beautiful moments that I'm blessed to experience. Like a tender embrace from my husband after we've both had a long day. His warmth and reassurance envelops me and eases all my tensions. Or, the quiet moments when I am able to sit and think of the life within me--my child to be--and allow the joy of pregnancy to overtake me. And, truth be told, often times my beautiful moments are much louder--full of songs, animal noises, giggling, and squeals of "that tickles!" from my ever-energetic toddler. Basically, I'm tremendously blessed.

But, as this song entered my mind and began playing (without much thought on my part) I was suddenly taken back to another time in my life. In past posts I've mentioned that my dad died when I was a kid. I was 14 to be exact, and the entirety of my universe came to a screeching halt as I watched his monitors flat line one cold and dreary January morning.

I remember that shortly after his passing someone gave me a blessing. Sadly, I don't remember exactly who it was... likely an uncle or a close neighbor... there was a considerable outpouring of love at the time from many we were close to. The priesthood and blessings from amazing men in my life were a great comfort to me. And, honestly, the surrounding weeks around my dad's death are pretty foggy in my mind... likely due to some unintentional yet very real suppression on my part.  Defense mechanisms of the brain I suppose. Anyway, it's not the vessel through which the blessing came that really matters (although I am grateful to whomever it was that gave it) but the fact that words came from my Father in Heaven. Ultimately that's who I remember speaking to me. They were his words, it was his promise to my aching soul.

I remember being told that despite this pain, I would continue on to live a good, happy life.

The line stood out among the rest, and it has survived the past 11 (almost 12) years and my brain's attempts to erase every memory I have of those days. At the time, I couldn't even begin to imagine a happy life. I was too caught up in the grief and despair of losing one of the most important people in my life. I was a young girl, and I had just lost my daddy. Happiness, and the promise of it, seemed unfathomable. Yet, I clung to those words and the promise inherent within them.

Now, more than a decade later, I can say with complete and honest transparency that those prophetic words delivered to a little girl in her time of need were true. My life is good. My life is immensely happy! Is it perfect? Of course not. Am I perfect? Heavens no! Far from it. I am flawed. Life is still often quite hard. But, I have the gospel and all of the hope that comes with it. If, even for a moment, I can stop focusing on the trees in front of me and allow myself to take a step back, gain some perspective, and look at the bigger picture... it's enough to render me speechless and utterly humble. The tapestry of my life is being woven with such beautiful, vibrant, happy threads. In these moments of increased vision there is no room for anything but gratitude for the weaver, each piece bound together by His love.

"If the world could remain within a frame like a painting on a wall then I think we'd see the beauty then, we'd stand staring in awe at our still lives posed like a bowl of oranges, at the beauty told by the fault lines and the soil."- Conor Oberst 

I still have insecurities and fears about the future. It's hard not to in this world. Yet, as our beloved prophet President Monson so eloquently and succinctly put it:

God is good. His gospel--the good news of Christ--is on the earth in its fullness. It gives me strength daily. It affords me the ability to cherish the present, and maintain high hopes for the future. Because of Him, I am able to hold my head up, looking towards the unknown with the utmost certainty that--

"This is gonna be a good life. A good good life."

Friday, October 17, 2014

It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Klair's Outfit 
Blazer: Target | Dress: H&M (similar) | Hat: H&M | Boots: Target | Sweater Tights: The Children's Place (Similar)

My Outfit: 
Cardigan: Target | Dress: H&M (similar) | Leggings: Forever 21 | Boots: Pink Blush (They're sold out, here is another pair I love)  

Last Monday we embarked on a family adventure to a nearby pumpkin patch to purchase the orange, seasonal, decorative produce. I told Klair earlier in the day where we would be going, and for the rest of the day she proceeded to inform me very matter-of-factly (and repeatedly) that "we go pumpkin patch!" Her excitement level was off the charts, and it made the experience that much more enjoyable.

It also helped that the pumpkin patch by our house is the coolest ever. Everything was decked out with Halloween decor, play areas for the kids, and their pumpkins were very reasonably priced (comparatively speaking--obviously all pumpkins are ridiculously inflated this time of year). They even had a friendly dog that Klair was able to pet. She was in heaven, and it made me us very happy parents. We loved watching her run around, attempting to pick up giant pumpkins--trying her hardest before giving up and telling us unapologetically "it's heavy." Our choices from the night are now residing on our porch, waiting to be decorated. If Klair thinks they're awesome now, I can't wait to see how she reacts when we paint them next week (we've decided to forgo carving in favor of a more toddler friendly activity).

Oh Klair, my girl you make everything so fun with your bright, happy, ever-enthusiastic personality. I love spending traditions, holidays, and life in general with you!