Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I have known I wanted to be a writer since I was in the third grade. I didn't know the other plans for my life, but writing I was sure of.  I wrote short stories all the time, I went to writing workshops and even submitted a "book" to be published in fourth grade.  As I got older I got into newspaper staff and eventually majored in journalism with a minor in creative writing.  I can't say that I have been the most loyal friend to writing.  There have been many months and years that I didn't write anything at all.  (Not so easy to be a writer when you don't write.)

Recently I became a contributor for Murfreesboro Magazine and this month I got my first article published!  I had an internship in college with the Daily News Journal and aside from that this is the first time I have actually used my degree for what it was intended. The cool thing is that it was about decorating so I was able to incorporate a lot of the things I have learned through event planning and use both my skills!

My article was about decorating for Halloween and Fall and I was able to put together a few sample decorations for the photos that would be published in the article.  Below are some of the things I came up with:

Mantle, I added a "Trick or Treat" banner and some cobwebs behind all this but didn't get a photo...

Fall tablescape

I love apothecary jars and was happy to use them!

Silhouettes printed out and put in a black frame and candy!!

Outdoor set up
More outdoor set up.  I love the giant gourd but think he might be inappropriate??

Luckily Bill and Karen (Steve's parents) let me use their house because I didn't think our house was much suited for the modeling job.  (Right now think of my house as the mom who desperately needs to take a three minute shower but hasn't had time and their house as the prim and polished woman that never looks disheveled.)

I hope you enjoy!  If you want to read my article please pick up a copy of Murfreesboro Magazine where you can see the professional pics and read.

Dancing in the Mine Fields

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My sixth wedding anniversary was a couple weeks ago and it seems the topic of marriage has been one I have seen a lot lately.  Ok, I work in the wedding industry so I deal with weddings all the time, but a wedding and a marriage are two completely different things.

This song I think is how we feel before and on our wedding day.

I met Marie at the Hallmark event and I have been following her blogs ever since.  She is the mastermind behind Nashville Marriage Studio and McKinney Oates Cereal.  She recently blogged about marriage not being a photo shoot here. I loved her post (and I had the idea for this post before I read hers, I promise).  She talks about the pretty pictures (which I am addicted to looking at) and how pretty pictures do not a marriage make.  I also had a conversation with a friend recently whose marriage is not at the "frolicking through the fields with balloons phase."  (Is anyone's???)  I should post a disclaimer that says my marriage is not at the "depths of the earth, I can't even stand to be around you phase" but I am realistic and have been married long enough to know that this marriage business is hard work.

I think people naturally only want to show off the clean, polished and pretty part of our lives and that includes our marriages.  We only want you to see the smiling faces and the impromptu dance parties we are having in our living rooms.  While these are the pieces that we love and want to remember there are also the fights and the times you feel like you are living with a room mate who doesn't seem to care at all what you want.  There are also the times when you are the room mate who shows blatant disregard for what the other person living in your house wants.

The song above (by Caitlin Cary and Thad Cockre) is one that I think really shows where a marriage can go if you just leave it on the shelf as a pretty picture.  The smiling couple from your wedding day sitting looking down at you from a canvas on the wall will not be able to fix your real, day to day, hard marriage problems.  In this song, the couple doesn't seem to work out, which happens a lot.  The truth is, sometimes you won't want to do it anymore.  You just won't feel like trying so hard at home, in the place where you should be able to do whatever you want.  We will call those days, weeks, years the "dark side".  (Thinks of it like Anakin becoming Darth Vader.)  You might marry a jedi and then realize two years later he has turned into a sith. (I have two boys obsessed with Star Wars in my house, this is my train of thought these days.)  It can take a long time to walk through the dark side but I think with enough work even a sith can be turned back to the person you married.  (Even Vader redeems himself at the end.)

Let's face it sometimes your spouse travels too much, is home too much, won't ever do the dishes, takes too long to mow the grass, bugs you too much about doing the dishes and other day to day annoyances.  There are also the deeper problems like infidelity, mental and physical abuse, etc.  All these things can seem really hard to deal with and in the midst of the "dark side" can seem as if you will never see the light again.  I am on the other side of the "dark side" and Steve and I have walked through some places that were not fun.  I wish I could say we walked through them hand in hand but we didn't.  I think we more stormed through casting angry stares at each other and hurling insults.  We could easily have been the couple in the song above and could have found ourselves not married right now and living two separate lives.  Guess what is awesome?  Being able to stand on the other side hand in hand and know that you did make it through.  Definitely not unscathed and your relationship is not the same one that looks down at you from your wall but it is better. Better I hope with every trip through the "dark side".  Better because you didn't give up, neither one of you fell out of love with each other at the same time.

(*I am by no means saying stay in a marriage where you are insulted and beat every day, it has to be a conscious effort on both parts not one where one of you tries and the other throws punches.)

There are many things that can be hurled at you while you are married, things you can't predict on that beautiful wedding day when you can't stop smiling.  Things that when you say "I will" you completely can't imagine. There are also amazing things you will go through together and times when you will look at your spouse and know that despite the problems they know you completely and they are there for you.  You can't get to fifty years without a few dark periods and fifty years is my personal goal.  Not just fifty years of tolerance or living in the same house with the same man but fifty years of good times and bad, laughter and screaming, babies, teenagers, grandkids, storms and sunny days.  I want to be able to sit back and look at our beautifully messy life and know that it was ours and we did it together because we didn't give up on each other, didn't give up on the promises we made and the person God gave us.  Below is a song where the couple stays together, not happily ever after but in it together.  I like to think mostly happy with some sorrow and maybe misery thrown in but nothing that can't be overcome.

Clone Trooper in Our House...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

We have a celebrity living in our house.  No joke, Captain Rex (from The Clone Wars) has taken up a permanent residence in the George house.

With the exception of his brief stint as Frodo, Cian has been saying he wanted to be Captain Rex for Halloween for quite some time.  We went to Party City about a month ago and found a Captain Rex costume in the clearance bin for $5.  This should be enough to explain to you that the costume is from last season and is fairly cheap looking.  Who cares when it's five bucks right??  Normally we are costume snobs.  There, I said it.  For Cian's first Halloween he was an Ewok with a costume that I paid far far too much for.  Last year we borrowed a Yoda costume from a friend. The Yoda head was too small for my child's melon so he went as a Jedi instead.  This year, Captain Rex will be ready to make his appearance.  (Can you see a Star Wars theme going on here??)  At first Steve wasn't too excited about buying the cheap costume but when he thought we might be able to go buy a cool Star Wars helmet to go with hit he was sold.  Who is this costume really for anyway??

Rex with his helmet that is much much too large for his head

Ready with his costume and helmet, we had a full Cian to Rex transformation.  This kid wore his costume for the first two full days we owned it.  He has also worn it many times since then.  Some mornings he will wake up and come right out of his room carrying his Rex costume and ask me to put it right on him.  And yes, I have been that parent that lets my kid walk around all day in his costume.  Daddy has also made a transformation into Slide, who is his made up clone trooper.  They dubbed me the purple menace as I am clearly a bad guy.  (Thank goodness I won't be outnumbered for too much longer, though one day Isla might decide to take their side and not the dark side.)  Steve and Cian have "battles" on our bed where Rex gets thrown around a lot and then eventually gets Slide or the bad guy down.  This is especially funny to watch because Cian likes to look at himself in the mirror while he is battling.

The hat that came with the suit is too small for Cian so naturally Daddy gets to wear it
As I mentioned, Rex lives with us pretty much full time now. Many times when I ask Cian to do something he corrects me and says he is not Cian, but Rex.  The other night Rex and Slide has some fun with clone "training".

Getting ready to Jump

Aaand he's off

The dismount
Cian, ahem, excuse me, Rex could have done this for hours.  too bad it was bed time.  That's also how we roll, get the kid all riled up and then send him to bed.  Mad parenting skills people.

Tummy Tuesday: 39 Weeks

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

39 Weeks

 Well folks, we made it.  I officially have five days left until my due date.  This, however, does not mean I have five days until my child arrives.  It could be five, could be two, could be nine. The waiting game has begun (cue Jeopardy music now...).  I have been having random braxton hicks contractions off and on for almost two weeks now and last Thursday I had them for five hours then they went away.  I didn't actually feel strong contractions with Cian because I didn't have any before I went to the hospital and then I got an epidural and didn't really feel them so this whole waiting for the real thing is kind of new to me.  From what I hear it is one of those you will know things so I am just waiting until I go, "holy crap this is a real contraction".  This pregnancy has flown by but at the same time the last few weeks have seemed to drag.  Each day I think, "is this our last day as a family of three?"

I had to have an  ultrasound a couple weeks ago and little Isla Kate weighted 6lbs 8oz.  I am getting to the point where I am so excited to see what she will look like. Will she have hair? How much? Will she look like me, Steve, someone else in our families?  Will her fingers be long and skinny?  Will she be a chunky monkey?  There are so many questions, I know that no matter what she will be one of the most beautiful little babies I have ever seen.  (And by that I mean one of the two most beautiful babies I have ever seen.)  I have come to the conclusion that even if your kids are not actually cute you will think they are cute.  I wouldn't know though because my kid is pretty darn cute, hehe.

39 Weeks
39 Weeks with Cian

I am kind of hoping that this is my last Tummy Tuesday post.  It is funny how I didn't mind the waiting during the entire pregnancy but now that we are at the end I am so anxious to meet my little chick.  I think the last few weeks are the absolute longest.  It is hard to enjoy my last few nights of uninterrupted sleep because I am so ready for Isla to be here.  (Yes, the getting up four times to pee is somewhat annoying but I keep reminding myself that I am getting six or more hours of sleep total, this will not happen again for another few months).

Hopefully I will be posting her pretty little face very very soon!!

Isla's Room: The finished product

Monday, October 10, 2011

My vision for Isa's room was kind of a mish mash of different things but I wanted it to have a crafty, home-made feel that was girly and maybe a little vintage.  The things I decided to put together didn't turn out exactly the way I envisioned them in my head but I like the way the finished product looks.  Without further adieu...

 This is the view from the door. We used Cian's old crib, changing table and dresser.  We also moved a futon that had been in our computer room.  The decal you see is from Etsy and I love it! It is really tall, all the way to the ceiling.  This puppy took forever to put together.  It came in a few different pieces with each owl, flower and bird being a separate piece.  the tree also came in four pieces.  it was worth it!

 The little futon that I plan to use for feeding and maybe some late late nights.  My boppy is already there and ready to go!

 Isla's dresser with the owl I bought from Goodwill.  The photo and lamp are from Target and there are some cute little owls made of felt that my wonderful girls made for me.  The adorable fluffy white owl is from Karen and came from Asheville, NC.  He is cute little guy.

The crib with the Potter Barn Brooke bedding--I love it!!  Jessie and Laine made the accordion flowers hanging from the ceiling for my baby shower and the two small frames were made by my friend Bonnie.  The larger one is a magnetic board and was my latest craft project. (I have to admit that Steve did all the work on this one).

The owl and bird pillows were gifts at my shower and they look nice and cozy in her bed right now.  Of course they will have to leave once she starts sleeping in there.

The owl pillow was a gift from Karen and came from Target and the blanket was a gift from some sweet girlfriend's as well.  they are sooo cute!

Laine made this Isla banner and I think it is a perfect addition to her room.

 Here is my original guy and the cute puffy baby owl.

Felt owls and lamp from Target.  I sort of  meshed the owl theme stuff at Target with the Potter Barn stuff but the colors were so similar that I think they went well together.  There will be a sweet baby girl in this room soon to enjoy her owls!  We can't wait to meet her.

Isla's Room: Part 1--the paint

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I knew before I even got pregnant that I wanted to decorate our next baby's room with an owl theme, regardless of whether it would be a boy or girl.  One day a couple weeks before I found out I was pregnant I found this big black wooden owl at goodwill and bought him immediately.  I wonder if this was God's way of telling me I was prego?  

Well fast forward a few months to when we found out Isla was a girl.  I already had the owl idea but now I could hone in on colors and what types of owls I wanted.  I fell in love with the Brooke bedding from Pottery Barn.  It has a ton of colors and textures that I loved and I really really wanted it.  The only problem, it was waaaay more than I wanted to spend. Well, it turns out I have amazing family and friends who chipped in an bought it for us at one of my showers!

Somewhere along the way I decided that I wanted to do stripes in Isla's room.  We had done a few horizontal stripes in Cian's room and decided on vertical stripes in our baby girl's room.  I wanted to do the same color but make the stripes in different finishes.  Seems easy enough, right?

 We stared with painting the walls with a flat coat of yellow.  The yellow turned out to be B-right!  Cian liked helping daddy paint this part.

After the flat coat Steve taped off the first wall and started testing the stripes.  Because of my lack of willingness to spend a lot of money on tools we bought a cheap laser level.  Mistake number 1.  Steve attempted to use the level but it was in fact so cheap that it wouldn't work unless you were holding it.  Turns out it is difficult to do a straight line and tape while holding a level.  He used a pen to mark some of the lines and then this thing that make a straight chalk mark on the wall for some of the others. Mistake number 2.  We took our eggshell paint and started on our test wall.  Mistake number 3.  We did about five stripes and then took the paint off to test.  Well, yellow is a light color and much to our dismay does not cover pen or chalk.  At all.  We also noticed that you could only tell the difference in the flat paint and the eggshell if the light was on it.  Bummer.  Steve was less than thrilled.  He had to get primer and prime over the pen and chalk and I had to get a can of semi-gloss so the stripes would stand out more.  So far paint=3, George's=0.

After this trial and error and two weeks worth of making mistakes we had it figured out and taped off the rest of the room then finished the paint.  If you ask Steve whether or not it was worth it, he will undoubtedly say no.  I think it is cute though and I am happy with the paint!

Ok, this is sneak peak and tomorrow's full post on her room and at Tuesday's Tummy Tuesday

Craft Week: Halloween Decorations

Friday, October 7, 2011

Recently I did an article for a local publication about decorating for Halloween.  (Yeah, I am squealing on the inside and I will post about that when you can see the article!!)  I made the mummy jars and a trick or treat pennant banner for a photo shoot for the article.  I set them up at Bill and Karen's house for the article photos because it is much more conducive for decorating than our little guy.  This friends is not about the article though, it is about the banner.

I love making banners.  Since Cian's second birthday I think it has become one of my things.  I knew with this decorating I wanted to have a cute Halloween banner. They are actually pretty easy to make but take some time!  I haven't made one out of fabric but when I learn to sew I really want to.  There are some of the most adorable fabric banners out there!  The tutorial I used to craft these was found here.

I started by making the decorated triangles out of festive scrapbook paper.  After I cut those I traced them onto card stock and cut the cardtstock triangles out with some majestic shears to get the fun edges.  I glued them together and had my framework. I have two different size round punches that I use for cupcake toppers so I used my extra scrapbook paper and those to cut the circles you see under the letters.  I put the circles on the triangles completely at random so each one had different sizes and designs.  After this it was time for letters.  I have since bought a cricut that can cut the letters out for me but at the time I made this I did not have one.  I had a template for the letters and cut each one out of cardstock.  I had to put the template letters backward on the page and cut each one so it would look right on the banner. This is what took dang forever.  (I must admit that I made a banner for a friend once and one of the letters was facing the wrong way.  Way to be a a good proofreader ms. journalism major...)I put a mindless movie on and set out to cutting the night away.
After cutting and gluing the letters on with a glue stick I hot glued each triangle to a strand of black sheer ribbon.  The fun part about this is laying it out all across the floor and making sure your ribbon is even.  I may have sat on my hot glue gun before while doing this.  Genius.

That is my finished product.  We hung it up on the wall using tape and it has since fallen down around all the photos and mummies.  Guess I should go hang that back up...

Auction Display Craft

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

So October doesn't just bring nice weather and my anniversary (and an impending birth of a certain baby someone) it is breast cancer awareness month.  For a Power of Pink Auction here I, along with some other very talented ladies in Murfreesboro, donated a kids party.  It is a fall fest party that can be cowboy themed held at Dreamcatchers, a children's rehab center here in town that is on a farm.  Gigi's is in on it and the kids will get to make an adorable stuffed animal from Noah's Ark Workshop.  I am doing decor, so that is my contribution.  We all decided that our display for the auction should be enticing and make everyone want to bid on this awesome party! 

 I didn't get actually go to the auction but I made a board (using my brand new cricut) and a little candy topiary.

Please excuse the dirty vent next to the sign, haha
 I covered a thick poster board with some burlap.  I made the banner with cardstock and scrapbook paper and the cut out the shapes from my cricut and glued them together.  With previous banners I have made I have cut the letters by hand, let me tell you how much easier this made life!  I made a simple page with a description of the party and cut some leaf shapes with the cricut as well.

This guy had one too many tootsie roll pops, he couldn't stand up straight
Ah, the candy topiary.  These things seem to be the bane of my existence.  I have made three of them now and can't seem to get them supported correctly.  They are always top heavy!  This is a photo before I corrected the problem this time. (Yep, this blogger didn't take her camera to shoot a photo of the finished set up).  I put thick floral foam down in a pot and stuck a dowel rod wrapped in ribbon down in it.  This is not sturdy enough to hold up a styrofoam ball stuffed with mini  tootsie roll pops.  I fixed the problem by putting marbles down in the pot beside the styrofoam.

The auction set up was cute complete withe board and topiary, four Gigi's cupcakes and a stuffed hope bear from Noah's Ark.  I am not sure how it went but hopefully whoever bid on it will enjoy their party!!

Halloween Mummy!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It is October, time for crisp fall weather, bonfires, jeans and jackets and Halloween!  I love being able to dress up and get free candy, I mean who wouldn't??  I was working on some Halloween decorations for an article and again came across something I wanted to do on Pinterest.  If you haven't noticed I spend entirely too much time looking at this site. 

 My starting tools were:
  • 4 different size mason jars
  • sheer fabric (like chiffon)
  • googly eyes (yep, that is the technical term)
  • glue gun
I already had the small mason jars and was able to get some huge ones that I really ended up liking.  My original intent was to use gauze to wrap them with but when I went to buy it and saw how expensive it was I decided on a sheer fabric.

 I started by cutting the fabric into long, thin strips.  My next step was to glue a piece of the fabric to what I wanted to be the back of the mason jars starting at the top.  I wrapped the fabric around the jar until I had it looking the way I wanted it and glued it to the bottom of the jar.  I glued a little in the middle on the ones where my fabric strips weren't long enough. I tried to cut the strips so they were long enough to cover the entire jar.  After finishing all the jars I wanted I hot glued the googly eyes onto each one.  I should say that there was one casualty, I knocked one of the eyes I had already put hot glue on off the couch and it landed on the back of my leg.  This didn't really hurt, it was the ripping it from the skin part that left a mark.

After I hot glued the eyes on I had my finished product!  I stuck candles in the bottom and now they are a cute Halloween decoration and candle holder! Yay for fall.

Craft Time

Monday, October 3, 2011

I haven't just been lounging around the house propping my feet up. I have been busy getting things ready for shoots, crafting for Isla's room and for events!  I love to craft.  Sometimes the things turn our great and other times not at much. I am dubbing this week craft week on the blog. (Hey sharks get one). So I will post a different craft or fun thing each day!!

Canvas for Isla's Wall:

 I got the idea for this one from Pinterest.  I thought it would be relatively easy to replicate. (Disclaimer: mine are not nearly as neat as the ones shown on pinterest and I didn't love it as much as I thought I would but it was a first attempt).  I bought four 10x10 canvases, wooden letter, spray paint and some fabric and I was ready to start crafting.

 First I gorilla glued the letters to the canvas and let them sit over night. This glue will hold anything, and I mean anything!  The only problem with it is that it tends to run from behind what you are gluing and it left some bubble beside the letters.  I didn't do the Isla letters because I had plans for them to be over some fabric so that canvas would stand out.

 My next step was to spray paint the canvases.  I took them outside (yep, pregnant lady with some paint--watch out) and sprayed them a bright raspberry color.  I did a couple coats and let them dry in between.

After those were dry it was time to finish the Isla canvas.  I simply took a remnant piece of fabric and wrapped it around the canvas then hot glued it to the back. I pained the Isla letters bright yellow and glued them to the top of the fabric and voila--we are finished.

There are definitely some imperfections if you look closely, for instance the spray paint is not totally even everywhere and the yellow paint I had wouldn't cover the wood grain on some of the letters but there are imperfections in my life if you look closely as well, hehe.

Enjoy, and I will see you here tomorrow for another day of craft week!

I Come From...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Photo by Chris and Adrienne Scott Photographers
so years ago I promised I would post the writing exercise from the Hallmark event.  Without further adieu...

I Come From...
  • barefoot summers
  • porch swings and hymns
  • sneaking up creaky stairs to "surprise" my grandmother
  • dancing in the living room
  • ice cream on the way home from school
  • listening to my mom sing lullabies
  • long summer days on a bike
  • quilts and coke bottles
  • early morning cold water
  • lazy days at the beach
  • radio shows and skits
  • giggling into the night
  • being tickled by the jabberywocky
  • Christmas eve with my brother
  • outdoor concerts
  • fried okra and cornbread
  • passing notes
  • driving to college
  • young love
  • love that endures
  • laughter throughout the house
  • tickling little tiny feet
  • forgiveness and grace

Photo by Chris and Adrienne Scott Photographers


Sunday, October 2, 2011

So I realized I haven't blogged in almost a month. Yep, I have been slacking for a month!  I have lots of stuff stockpiled to write about so here is the first of what I hope will catch me up on what has been going on in the George house!

  I completely didn't expect anyone to throw me a shower since this is our second kid.  (I also didn't want to seem like a greedy brat asking for more stuff when we already have baby stuff).  My friends insisted and it was fun since everything we have is for boys and getting girl stuff is fun too!

I actually had a diaper and wipe shower at work and then a shower in Chattanooga on the same weekend!  My camera conveniently broke the day before the showers so I didn't get any photos of the one in Murfreesboro.  Luckily my mom came to the rescue in Chattanooga and let me have her photos.  I work with a great bunch of people and they got me all stocked with diapers.  I also got two incredible diaper cakes, it was so fun to get one!  I should interject that it is sad to take it apart, they are so cute I hated to dismantle it!!

My best friends are wonderful and I am thankful for all the hard work they put into my shower. They made a bunch of adorable owl decorations, which are in Isla's room right now.  (Another post coming soon).  They had cute ideas on games and we had a great time!
Cian got to enjoy the shower too

Baby game: you had to pick which baby was which person at the shower (Thank God they didn't play the game where you measure how large the pregnant woman is...)

Isla wreath!

Onesie decorating!!

Cian was a big helper when opening gifts

The girls

Jessie, me and Laine.  I love my girls!!

A few weeks ago I had brunch with Karen and Bill (my in-laws), Amanda (my crafty sister-in-law) and Rachel, (my cousin in law) to celebrate little Isla.  I also have an incredible group of girls I exercise with.  They threw me a "shower"or dinner at Carabas.  We drank wine, ok they drank wine, ate cake and had a really fun evening.  I am so thankful for all the women God has put in my life!!

Cute little basket for baby girl!

The girls

Megan, Becca and Lauren

Joanna, Becca and Carla
Adorable cake made by my friend Jill

 I feel so blessed to have all the friends we have and for everything we were give for little Isla.  This chick already has a better wardrobe than I do!  I can't wait for her to get here to meet all her friends and family!!

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