DIY :: Home "Office" Makeover

My maternity leave is quickly coming to an end and we have some big changes coming our way within the next few weeks. I am transitioning to working from home. Full-time. Without childcare. Which means 1) I'm crazy and 2) I needed some place to work while keeping an eye on the little munchkins running around beneath my feet.

Enter my makeshift home office. Set up smack dab in the middle of my living room full of baby dolls and infant toys.

I found this cabinet on Craigslist for $45, slathered some leftover white paint on it and called it good. It's not huge -  we didn't have a ton of space to play with - but I think it'll serve its purpose. My main concern was being able to close it off to keep tiny hands away from my work computer. Also, I wanted to be able to hide the equipment after working hours were done since it's not in a separate, dedicated office space.

It took me a couple of layers and a few days to get it painted (nap time only lasts so long...) but we finally got 'er done. A few stellar iPhone-quality photos for your liking:

The backboard and shelves are covered in contact paper, which I had never used before but ended up being super easy to put on. I ended up removing the drawers in order to fit the computer tower so it didn't have to sit outside the cabinet.  

In an attempt to keep Gracyn occupied for approximately 13 minutes a day, I painted the inside of the doors with chalkboard paint so she can color her little heart out while I work.

I want to find a cute little chair to go along with this but I'm not sure how it'll fit in the room. We're pretty much maxed out on the number of pieces of furniture we can fit in here so I might just end up using a chair from the kitchen table. We shall see.

It's a cozy little space, that's for sure.

It's a huge blessing to our family for me to be able to stay home with the girls while still contributing financially. I'm sure there will be an adjustment period for everyone involved - me, the kids, my coworkers - but I'm determined to make it work.

Say a prayer for us as we get used to our new routine over the next few weeks! And maybe send some wine my way?!? I might need it...

This DIY makeover was super easy and required essentially zero skills when it came to operating a hammer or screwdriver. Check out some more do-it-yourself projects that can be completed without tools here!

P.S. I set up a Facebook page for the blog so if you could go give it a "like" I sure would appreciate it! Thanks a million! :)

Zoo Day

Springtime came early! Or, maybe just for the day. Either way, it was close to 75 degrees yesterday so I gave myself a pep talk and decided to take the girls to the zoo. I prepared the night before to spend all day outside of the house with two kids on my own. It went surprisingly well.

The girls actually slept in a little bit (yay!) so we didn't get as early of a start as I had hoped but it was all good. We got dressed (jean jackets all around - except for me - I didn't want to be too matchy-matchy...) and stopped to get bagels for breakfast.

I'm sure we went as a kid, but I have only been to the Kansas City Zoo one other time in my adult life. It was before we had kids; Justin and I went with his sister and her family. All I remember is walking. A lot. From what I remembered, the zoo is pretty spread out and we had to walk for what seemed like miles in-between animal exhibits. It was also a hot summer day and I was probably hung over or something like that so my memories are probably a bit skewed, but I was not loving the zoo that day.

Anywho, having kids changes your perspective and what kid doesn't love the zoo? I felt obligated to take them. Plus, we were experiencing a heatwave in January so it was the perfect day to get out and about. I loaded up the van with snacks, drinks, and our new double stroller and told Gracyn that she had to ride with Leighton otherwise the leopards and cheetahs would eat her. Not really, but I was nervous she'd run off or not listen to me when it was time to move on so we did have a rather lengthy convo at breakfast about listening to mommy and being a big girl.

She did so great. She walked half the time but always stayed close by. The zoo was busy but since it covers 4821 square miles it didn't seem terribly crowded. Leighton slept pretty much the whole time and I timed it so we'd be at the penguin house when she needed to eat to take advantage of the private mother's room so I could nurse her quick.

We saw polar bears, elephants, tigers, seals, and I even pushed 40 pounds worth of children (plus all of our other crap) alllll the way to the very furthest corner of the zoo to see the chimpanzees. They were laying in the grass, not moving or doing anything interesting at all, but still - worth it.

Leighton was still hungry by the time we stopped for lunch so I nursed her again while we ate. First time nursing in public, too. Not a huge fan and even though we were in the corner and I was covered up I still felt like everyone was staring (even though they weren't...). Me pausing to take pictures to document this milestone probably didn't help facilitate my desire to be discreet either but, you know how it goes.

We had such a good time exploring and walking for miles and seeing all the "am-inals!!!!" We couldn't wait to get home and tell daddy all about it. The girls were asleep by the time we left the zoo parking lot and I ended the night with cuddles. And a beer. Because, duh.

Celebrating TWO

We are back from a whirlwind weekend visit to Sioux Falls. The drive up was rather uneventful and the girls did great. Leighton started crying about 40 minutes away from my parents' house so I spent the last half hour of the drive leaned over into the back seat trying to soothe her. We can't complain, though. The drive really did go well.

Gracyn had a great day celebrating her 2nd birthday. I still can't believe she's two. I'll never be OK with her growing up. We had a quiet day on Friday playing with Grandma and Papa while we waited for the rest of the family to get to town. My little brother from Minneapolis came down to see us and my older brother and his family made the trip from Lincoln, NE. It was so nice - and rather loud - having everyone home.

We had a small birthday party for Gracyn on Saturday afternoon with cake and ice cream. She opened some presents - Frozen everything - and played with her new toys. A couple of my besties from high school stopped by and seeing them always makes my heart happy. My cousins and one of my aunts were also there to show G some birthday love. 

Girlfriend got approximately 47 new Frozen toys, including a Frozen-themed birthday cake (kind of). There was one meltdown over sharing the Elsa doll but other than that, it was the perfect weekend.

Gracyn :: Two Years Old

Age: TWO years old!

Stats: 28 pounds and 34 inches of pure perfection

Clothes: Mostly 2T/24 month stuff. I'm not sure what the difference is between the two sizes since they seem the same to me but we gravitate towards 2T nowadays.

Favorite Foods: She continues to eat pretty well. Yogurt (gogurt) is a huge hit and she asks for it pretty much once a day. She also LOVES chips and cookies and if Justin or I am eating a chip or cookie, we have to be stealth about it otherwise she comes running asking for a bite.

Favorite Toys: Um, hello Frozen! I thought we missed the Anna and Elsa craze but nope! We've become obsessed. She asks to watch "no-man!" every morning and will walk around singing "Let it Go" at the top of her lungs. She's also still very in to her babies and taking care of them - feeding, wrapping them up in blankets, taking them for walks in her little stroller.

Words: All the words. She talks so well and we can understand pretty much everything she says. I love having actual conversations with her where we talk about our day or while we're playing. She'll run into the room to tell me what she just saw on the TV or what Leighton is doing. She's shy around strangers at first, but once she warms up she will talk your ear off. She can count to 10 (sometimes 15) and can sing the ABCs fairly well.

She's absolutely the best big sister in all the land and has handled the transition so well. We are so, so proud of her.

I typed up a few questions to ask Gracyn each year on her birthday starting this year. It took a couple of days but she eventually answered most of them. I got a few blank stares when I asked what made her happy and sad so we'll save those and try again next year. I'm excited to see how her answers change from year to year. I also think the way kids pronounce words is the funniest thing so I tried to put her take on the words in parenthesis...

My sweet Gracyn girl, I cannot believe you are TWO! Daddy and I love you more than you know. You are smart and funny and caring and gentle. You are independent and strong-willed and you have been working on your negotiating skills - you ask to do everything "one mo' time" while holding up your index finger. And, yeah, you are incredibly gorgeous. Thank you for making me a mama. You absolutely rock my world and I would be nothing without you.

Happy birthday, baby. I can't wait to celebrate you today. Mama loves you.

Leighton :: One Month Old

One. Month.

It's been a whirlwind of a month, that's for sure! It went by so quickly but we're starting to get the hang of this whole "two-kids" business. This little lady has been the best addition to our family. Gracyn adores her, although I'm waiting for the novelty of a new baby to wear off one of these days. If Leighton starts crying, Gracyn will run over and try to soothe her by saying "I knooooow, I knoooow, ooooookaaaaaay..." She'll try to jam a pacifier into her mouth and tell me if she's awake or sleeping. And her number one thing is throwing away the dirty diapers. Such a good helper :)

Leighton is a pretty chill baby so far unless you are at our house between the hours of 6pm and 10 pm. Witching hour starts promptly and she's fussy and seems uncomfortable for a few hours each evening. We're hoping she outgrows it soon but we also know it could be a lot worse so we'll survive.

She grunts and snorts and sounds like a tiny dinosaur. She'll give us a 4-hour stretch of sleep at night every now and then but usually she's up every 3 hours to eat. She's starting to be more alert during the day and I swear she almost smiled at me yesterday. Getting so close! She loves to be held up so she can look around - probably keeping an eye on big sister. We're taking our first road trip this next weekend to head north to Sioux Falls to visit family so that should be an adventure as well.

Sweet Leighton, we love you more than you know. Thanks for joining our family. I already don't remember life without you.