SING... make it simple, to last your WHOLE LIFE long!

I just discovered that March is National SING WITH YOUR CHILDREN month! 

How cool is that?  I don't mean to brag (yes I do), but Hazel's musical ability is already shining!  I'm totally gonna be that mom that says "I quit piano lessons in 11th grade and regret it, so you will not be allowed to quit.  I didn't even consider going to St. Olaf College (the best college choir in the world), so that decision is already made for her.  Tiger mom WHO? 

She is already the choir conductor for our church choir.  For reals.  Ok, her Grandma Orris is the "real" director and Hazel loves nothing more than watching her and copying her every move.  Needless to say, when Hazel gets in front of the group and waves her arms (shall I pause to mention that she can keep a beat!), the choir collectively shifts its gaze to Hazel and our sound changes as everyone breaks into a smile.  Maybe this week I'll remember to take my video camera to church?  All she needs is to get her hands on Grandma's paycheck :)

She has a tambourine and a drum... and various pots, spoons, toys that make great musical instruments.  Hazel will stop in the middle of a cry when she hears a good beat to start her bootie shake dance.  She is a dancing fiend.  On days when I need a little break, all I need to do is turn on a Barney sing and dance video and she is captivated.

Hazel adding some percussion and dance to Eli's first mandolin lesson...given by my friend, Kirk, an extremely talented musician.  Recently we spent a weekend at a retreat center with about 20 of our friends.  I barely spent any time with her as she bounced from adoring fan to adoring fan.  Hazel is officially his #1 groupie!

Though there is no shortage of music in this house, I'm gonna step it up for March.  We're gonna learn some new songs... any suggestions?

In case you're feeling like Hazel is Miss Perfection herself, let me tell you about her other favorite hobby:  blowing her nose into the couch, leather ottoman or when push comes to shove, her hand.  It's gross.  Oh, and if you stop by for a visit... watch where you sit!


I love my Beluga Belly (skin ALERT)

Such a precious gift.  Would you believe that I feel sad that I'm nearing the end of my pregnancy journey?  Each day, the physical discomfort grows and yet, each minute of each day, I'm acutely aware that the miracle of pregnancy that I'm experiencing will soon be over.  The flutters, the kicks, the bulges... all of it is awesome.

Last week, Jamie stopped by to give me a gift... the gift of capturing the beauty of this season of my life.  Here are a few pictures from that day:

Hazel pulls my shirt up and hugs her baby sister multiple times each day!  Sometimes her timing is a little awkward :)

It blows my mind that an entire baby is in my belly!

Singin' "Itsy bitsy spider"... not so itsy belly!

One picture defines the word "LOVE".

"really, she's in there mama?" 


Goodbye 35!

If you're lucky enough to live in my area and chat with my on occasion (ahem), you have undoubtedly listened to me wax on and on about how I'm approaching the gestational date when I had Hazel (about 6 hours after I hit 35 weeks).  Seriously, I'm a bit obsessed with this topic.  Though Hazel was 100% healthy, I do not want to have #2 so early.  Plus I am getting so excited about my home birth and my midwife wants me to make it till next Sunday... so I WILL!

I just finished reading through some old posts I wrote at this point in my last pregnancy.  It's amazing to me how different things are.  Not physically... well, my feet are less swollen (one plus of having a winter/spring 3rd trimester as opposed to summer!), but after talking with 2 friends who have similar due dates, I realize that pregnancy is not as hard on me as it is on many others.  This very likely has a lot to do with being able to nap regularly!  The big difference is in my mental state.  I'm starting to day dream about holding my little baby girl, but I admit that already having a baby at home has made me more nostalgic for these last precious days with just one sweet girl and less overcome with amazement that I'm about to have a baby.

**I started this blog a few days ago and this morning I'm officially more pregnant than I've ever been :)  WOW!  It's funny 'cause though I feel HUGE, I don't feel as big as other women in their 3rd trimester.  That is until I catch my reflection or see myself in a photograph.  WOWSERS!  It's amazing that I can even stand up :)  This baby is breech (just like Hazel was and she turned at some point before delivery), but I'm trully not worried about it!  My midwife will deliver a breech baby, it's just a little longer and more uncomfortable for mama.  In the meantime, I'll be doing inversions, visiting the chiropractor to realign/loosen up, and a few other techniques for encouraging baby to flip.

As for nesting, let's just say that the elusive sewing machine has been working all weekend!  Jake thinks it's funny that I've been working on making my own bedroom prettier as opposed to the kids room.  However, I will be spending A LOT of time in bed with our newborn in the very near future, so it makes sense to me.  On Saturday, I invited some girlfriends over for a craft day.  I have the sweetest friends!  Not only did they bring me ideas/ encouragement/ laughter... they brought all the food!  So, my bedroom make-over is almost done... stay tuned :)


Smartie PARTY!

Today, sweet Hazel turned 20-months old.  I've stopped taking the monthly pics and writing her monthly accomplishments, but today is TOO IMPORTANT TO SKIP!


photo from zomgcandy.com
HAZEL WENT PEE PEE IN THE POTTY!  (stop cringing... this is everyday language for me)

I canNOT believe it!  For the past month or so, we've had her potty chairs out and she likes to sit on them (when mama is doing the same.  we're tight like that.) and she LOVES to wipe with toilet paper.  A few times I've taken her diaper off and cheered for her just sitting there.  So tonight, right before putting her pjs on, my preggo-smooshed bladder insisted that I first visit the ladies room.  It seemed convenient to put my 1/2 dressed baby on her potty and 5 seconds later she stands up... and there was liquid in the pot!  HOLY CRAP (he he)!  She IS a child prodigy! 

Ironically, I just bought smarties and dum dums today to use as rewards for baby steps towards toilet training.  So, Hazel enjoyed her first SMARTY PARTY (a tradition we've adopted from her babysitter)! 

I'm thinkin' this girl might just be toilet trained in time for #2's arrival... ok, I don't really think that.  It'll probably be another 6 months till this happens again.  Don't fret, I'll be sure to keep you up to date on her progress ;)  (sigh, there goes the last of the non-related readers...)

*Since I'm at it...other highlights of a 20-month old:  She's pretty fluent in terms of understanding directions.  My favorite example happened last week when Jake ran upstairs and I asked him to bring my slippers back downstairs with him.  He got distracted and before either of us uber-attentive parents realized it, Hazel had climbed the stairs, found my slippers, returned downstairs and handed them to me!; She is really good at responding to statements and questions with "oh", "yes" or "na".; She receivied a Dora "mp3" player and has a tireless fascination with it (who doesn't want to hear the Dora theme song 20 times an hour from 7am to 7pm?).  And no, she doesn't watch the show... she'll watch 3 minutes and then off she goes to play.; She LOVES her baby sister and frequently pulls up my shirt to lay her head against my stomach, say "baby", and give my belly kisses.

**It was all I could do to refrain from taking a picture of said "liquid" and posting it.  I did save it for Jake to see... I'm sure he appreciated it :)


Be Brave... another one for my interior decorators

I'm getting greedy.  Your ideas were SO helpful with my Master Bedroom (which will be completed soon!). I'm floored with all the great advice I've received on this blog, on facebook, in my email, and even phone calls!  So, because you gals (come on, don't any guys have feedback?) are so talented ... I NEED your wisdom one more time (until the next time).

Last year, Jake's sweet Grandma Tippytoes passed away.  We were lucky enough to receive her dining room set which included a table, 6 chairs, a buffet table and a china cabinet.  We need the furniture and it's the perfect size with tons of extra storage... but it's not my style.  I've confessed before to not knowing my style, but I know what's NOT my style.

The hardest part is I want to DO IT MYSELF and it must be an improvement, not a disgrace to wooden furniture.  Therein lies the rub.  Repainting wood furniture is a crime in some social circles (or is it just the dads in my life that feel that way?).

I recently stumbled upon this inspiring blog post.  So, I'm ready to finally quit talking about it and jump in with both feet.  I'm ready to pull out a paint brush and modernize!  Still not sure if I'm making the right decision?  Spend a minute scrolling through these before and afters!  WOWSERS!

So, help me out... what visions do you have for this CHINA CABINET TURNED TV HUTCH? (the green ball thingy on the top is the accent color I'm going with for the room.  This room is an addition jutting off of our living room so it has lots of windows, a huge brown couch, a dark brown leather ottoman, this hutch, and a few green throw pillows.  A wide open canvas!)



Have you stumbled over to Dangling through a Year?  My Aunt has pledged to wear a different pair of earrings everyday for a year.  The reasons behind her choice everyday are inspirational, educational & poetic.  A few weeks ago she wrote about a pair of Tibetan earrings inscribed with the prayer:  Om Mani Pame Hum.  I'm not going to go into detail about the meaning of that prayer (click on the link to her website above), but it really struck a chord with me and the day I read her blog post, I promptly wrote it down and stuck it on my desk.

On our recent trip to Berkely Springs, the prayer was constantly passing through my thoughts.  Then on my 2nd visit to a cool Nepalese store, to purchase the Om change purse (seriously, say Om slowly out loud.  Feel more peaceful?), I noticed these earrings...within my "spend only $20 on souvenirs" budget!  Om Mani Pame Hum is carved into the Yak horns... the perfect thing to dangle from my ears as I pursue the constant struggle to practice perfect generosity, ethics, tolerance, patience, concentration & wisdom.


Master Bedroom * Take 1.

As I sit here to write, my heart is literally smiling.  Ever have one of those weeks when everything goes wrong, and yet... you're still flooded with JOY?  Perhaps I should blame the pregnancy hormones?  Or the fact that my long-term subbing job has come to a nice close?  Or the fact that I'm married to a good man?  Or the fact that Hazel is trying to figure out how to jump and it's HILARIOUS? 

A very happy J-ROK.  Holding both of my baby girls.  For the record, I had NO idea my stomach protruded like this until Jake snapped this pic last night!
So, what went wrong?  Let me start by explaining that on Sunday, husband offered to put all of his projects on hold and paint our bedroom.  The room was rarely used before we moved in and the original (30 years people!) white walls were in good condition, just very dull and in need of a little oomph.  He even took a swatch of the headboard to Home Depot to have it color matched... more on this later.  Sunday evening, I was doing some banking and discovered that we went way over budget last month.  Strict orders to tighten up for March... and then MONDAY arrived with a huge thunderstorm.  Roof leaked, basement FLOODED, furnace broke, property tax bill arrived.  GULP.  There goes the goal for March!

God will provide and isn't there something about a peace that passes all understanding?  And so my heart is full of joy, love and peace!

On to the bedroom make-over.  Here is the BEFORE:
YAWN... apart from the awesome headboard (made by yours truly out of a door, some batting and some IKEA fabric) and the vintage stacked suitcases (they came with the house.  thanks Grandma and Grandpa!), this place is BORING!  If you look really closely, there is a dark blue and a lighter grey/blue in the headboard.  I wanted to paint the small headboard wall the grey/blue and the other three walls a nice beige/tan.  Other ideas:  I have extra fabric from the headboard, so maybe I can make some cool throw pillows to spruce up the bed?  How 'bout disguising the wires hanging down from the lamps?

The AFTER * Take 1.

please disregard the cell phone cord and the cheese head camera hog.

No, your computer is screwing with you... the wall is the EXACT shade of the WRONG blue!  Boohoohoo!  I know hubby asked for the right color 'cause he was quizzed repeatedly before he left.  So, clearly the Home Depot paint GUY wasn't paying attention.  I just don't think I can live with this.  It's much better than before, but not what I wanted...  The tan is OK.  I didn't want a yellow-y tan and while this color can have a faint pink hue, but it's very faint and we can live with it!

SO... what do you think?  I think I need a large plant in the corner next to the suitcases and some nice romantic pics of hubs and I and/or meaningful places on the wall... but not sure where.  While you're thinking... I'd like to pick your brains about a few other problem areas in the room:

No, I do not pose her... she sees where the camera is pointing and puts herself there.  I've created a monster!
This is the corner of the room diagonal from my suitcase bedside table.  The print was a gift from my sister years ago when she first moved to Alaska (my handy dad made the gorgeous wooden frame).  It has the perfect shades of blue, the circle motif, and an earthy-vibe.  The chair is just another thing left by my gparents.  I love these wooden chairs, but someday I'd love to have a comfy reading chair here.  My main questions for you:  is the lamp salvageable?  Spray paint, some kind of lamp shade revamp, pitch it and get a new one?  What about window treatments?  The vertical blinds just don't do it for me!

Ok, I'm truly counting on all of you to help me finish this make-over!  Don't be shy :)