January 30, 2017

My current Photography Subject

So I mentioned that I have been getting to know our new camera and all of it's settings.  I've gone through several lessons in the blog series that I mentioned and have learned a lot so far!  I've taken lots of pictures of our house and different set ups.  And I am trying to learn the different settings before Cooper is here so we can get good pictures of him.

But until then, we have our tried and true subject: Lily.
It's been fun playing with the shutter speed setting to try to get good action shots of Lily.  We took her out the play in the backyard yesterday and I showed David some of the different modes

 I love the ones where you can see her leaping into the air as she runs!
And she gets bored of chasing a ball really quick and resorts to just chewing on sticks for the rest of her time outside

Our loyal sidekick

And then we went inside.  This is how we find Lily 95% of the time, curled up next to us asleep.  I tried a few pictures without the flash, but the color was off since it was getting dark outside.

So then I turned on the flash...
 And this is what Lily thought about that.  She was asleep when I hit the button to focus and take the picture, but as soon as the flash went off she looked up wondering who had disturbed her.

And then quickly curled back up and stayed by David's side the rest of the evening!

It's been learning all the settings on our camera and I still have a lot to learn.  Next project is trying to capture good pictures of the nursery so I can share those soon!

January 25, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

It's hard to believe January is coming to an end!  I've been doing a whole lot and nothing all at the same time.  Not much to blog about in the day to day, so I thought this would be a good update!

What we're eating this week
I've been trying out several new meals from some freezer meal lists.  I want to plan some freezer meals for when Cooper comes and I've got some that we've had before and liked, but wanted some new ones.  So I've been cooking through some of them for our dinners this month to see which ones we like enough to make and freeze.  So far our favorites have been Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas and Hot Ham and Roast Beef Sandwiches.  

What I'm reminiscing about
I've had a chance to catch up with both of these good friends this week and it's hard to believe it's been almost 10 years since we graduated from Baylor together.  We've been through a lot together over the years and now it's fun to be entering into parenthood with both of them too!

What I'm loving
I found this idea to keep a 5 year journal, so I decided to start it this year.  Basically you have a prompt for each date and you write in it every day for 5 years, but you do the same prompt each year.  So it's a good way to look back at where you were each year on that date.  It's been fun to get started and I hope to be able to keep up with it!

What we've been up to
Trying to get prepared for Cooper.  We took a preparing for childbirth class over the weekend where we got to tour the hospital and on Tuesday we went to a breastfeeding class.  So we are trying to get ready!

What I'm dreading
Nothing specific that I can think of right now

What I'm working on
In addition to all of my projects to get ready for Cooper (someday soon his nursery will be set up and I'll be ready to share all of my projects!), I've been trying to learn about my camera.  We got a Canon DSLR camera for Christmas so that we would have a nice camera for pictures in the coming years.  So I figure while I've got time I'll try to figure out how to make the most of it.  I've been following along with this blog series 31 Days to a Better Photo and I've learned so much about shooting in manual and different tips and tricks.  Looking forward to hopefully learning a lot!

What I'm excited about
Meeting my little guy in a couple of months

What I'm watching/reading
Keeping with the theme, I've been reading a lot of baby books.  I've read several about childbirth and breastfeeding and also some books about infant care.  

What I'm listening to
Mostly podcasts still.  Along with The Happy Hour, The Big Boo Cast, and the Popcast I've also added a few pregnancy podcasts into the mix that I listen to when I go on walks.

What I'm wearing
A lot of leggings and yoga pants.  And enjoying the cooler days when I can wear by Bearpaw boots because they are so comfortable.

What I'm doing this weekend
We really have no plans this weekend.  We've had a few busy weekends in a row and a few busy weekends after this one, so it'll be nice to have a weekend in the middle that's a little more laid back.

What I'm looking forward to next month
My baby shower is next month and invitations went out last week!  I'm excited about celebrating Cooper with some of my favorite people.

What else is new
Not a lot.  

January 6, 2017

Handmade Gifts

I really love to make gifts whenever I can and since I have a whole lot of time on my hands I try to find ways to craft as much as possible!  When we were getting Christmas ideas from my family, my sister-in-law talked about how Piper didn't really need anything.  Her favorite thing right now is Elmo and she has all of her brother's old Elmo toys to play with.  So I started trying to think of something I could make for her for her Christmas gift. 

Last year for Christmas, she got a play kitchen so I had found lots of patterns for making play food out of felt.  When I found this tutorial for felt cookies, I decided to take that and run with it and I created a box of Elmo and Cookie Monster fun.

I started with the cookies and decided to make them counting cookies.  So I made 10 cookies with the numbers 1-10 on them.  I put a certain number of chocolate chips on each one and then used embroidery thread to stitch the number onto the back, so if you count the chips you can then check yourself with the number on the back.  Piper is just starting to count, but I figured she can use the cookies just for pretend play and then work on counting whenever she wants to!

I also made her an Elmo hooded towel using a pattern from the same site I've made hooded towels before.  And I found this tutorial for making an Elmo hairbow, so I made her 2 Elmo and 2 Cookie Monster hairbows.  And I threw in stuffed animals of Elmo and Cookie Monster from Target to complete the Christmas package!

For her birthday, her mama said the main thing she could use is clothes.  They are taking the kids to Disney World next month, so I decided to make a few Disney inspired shirts for Pie.  Their parents were originally planning on telling the kids about the Disney trip on Christmas, but they still haven't decided when they are going to tell them.  So I actually made My First Disney Trips for both kids and will give them to my sister-in-law to give to them whenever she wants:

Piper's is Minnie Mouse with a Purple Glitter bow and wording, I used some of the leftover purple glitter vinyl to make a matching hairbow too.  Chase's is Kylo Ren who is his favorite Star Wars character--he asked for a Kylo Ren costume for Christmas so he can be him next Halloween, so I found a cut file for Kylo Ren with Mickey Mouse Ears on Etsy, so I bought it and cut the vinyl.  These were made with Heat Transfer Vinyl that I bought from Expressions Vinyl.  I designed them and cut the vinyl with my silhouette and then ironed it on the shirts.  They were super easy to make!

I also decided to try my hand at a few Applique shirts for Piper that I will give her for her birthday this weekend.  For both shirts, I used the directions from Step by Step Guide to Appliques.

First up was Minnie Mouse.  I actually had both of these fabrics already, so I just bought the Wonder Under and a t-shirt.  I printed out the picture and letter and traced them by hand instead of using my silhouette since it was a fairly easy pattern.  Then I pressed it on.  I used a zig zag stitch to go around the design for the applique to help it hold up to washing, etc.  I went very slowly so that it would get good coverage of thread around the design.  

I looked at several applique tutorials on Pinterest and unfortunately I didn't save them all, so I can't remember where I got these specific tips from, but the 2 biggest tips I used were 1. Always lift the presser foot and turn the shirt/fabric so that you are sewing in a straight light.  So many of the designs have curves and when I try to just go around the curves the thread gets messed up.  So this was a good reminder for me to constantly stop and turn and it worked out so well! 2. Don't backstitch at the beginning and end of the applique stitching, just start and then end.  After you're done, use a needle to pull the top thread through the shirt and tie it with the bobbin thread and then cut it--makes for much cleaner stitching lines!  These 2 tips made a big difference in how the designs turned out for me!

 I also decided to make her an Elmo shirt since she is having an Elmo party.  I used the pattern from this tutorial and again I just traced and cut everything by hand.  For this one, after I ironed on the pieces, I used a straight stitch around all of the edges.  Since there were so many little pieces and curves I decided this would be easier than trying the zig zag stitch and it definitely was!  I'm looking forward to trying out so more applique designs in the future!

We also bought her an Elmo flashlight that has a regular light and projects pictures on the wall-- since clothes aren't the most fun 2 year old birthday gift, we had to throw in something extra too!

I had a lot of fun trying out some new projects for our sweet niece!  Now back to all the projects I'm cooking up for Cooper!

January 5, 2017

Happy Birthday Piper!

Our sweet niece is 2 years old today!

It's hard to believe that it's been 2 years since this day when we first met her!

 She was such a fun baby and is an even more fun toddler!

 In the last few months she's started playing with us a lot more and not being as shy with us.  We love hearing her call our names and try to play with us.  On Christmas she was throwing her new giggle Elmo and would say "I throw David" or "I throw Laura" when she wanted us to catch it.
 And she and Uncle David had a lot of fun with peek-a-boo!

She's a spunky and sassy little girl, but so much fun too.  She is talking up a storm and tries to tell us everything she is thinking!

Happy Birthday, Pie!  We can't wait to celebrate with you this weekend!

January 2, 2017

Kicking off 2017

We brought in the New Year at a party with friends on Saturday night.  Our friend Matt is in town from Washington and he and our friends Katie and Melissa coordinated a get together for New Years Eve.  We hadn't made any plans for New Years, so we were glad to be able to go.  It was a low key night with some of our favorite people.  We have spent a lot of New Years Eves with these friends over the years through the Young Adults Group parties, so it was fun to all be together as we rang in 2017.

We all headed home and to bed pretty soon after midnight and David and I had good intentions for going to church Sunday morning, but I woke up sick.  I have had a cough for a few days, but it was pretty rare and wasn't accompanied by any other symptoms.  But I think spending Saturday evening outside and not getting enough sleep caught up to me and I woke up feeling pretty bad.

So we rested and then went and got breakfast tacos at our old favorite Chiloso.  When we came home we watched some of the Cowboys game and watched a movie.  We had put away all of our Christmas stuff on NYE and worked on organizing our office a little.  Yesterday we spent some time putting together the shelves in Cooper's room and getting some things set up there--more pictures to come once things are a little more put together and once we have an overhead light in there again (we're having some trouble installing the ceiling fan, so everything is being done by lamplight currently).

Around dinner time we took a break from working on stuff and watching TV to enjoy some food and 2017 planning.

 I made the Pioneer Woman's Black Eyed Pea dip which we enjoyed with chips and sparkling cider.  I didn't really grow up eating black eyed peas on New Years, but I made this dip for the first time the first New Year we were married and we both really liked it, so I've made it again a few times.  I usually leave out the jalapenos and hot sauce and just use the black eyed peas, salsa, sour cream, and cheese.  So it's basically like a bean dip and a fun way to get in our black eyed peas for the New Year.

We also talked through Jennie Allen's Dream Guide together.  We've done this dream guide for 3 years now and really like it.  It's a good way to reflect on the past year and talk through areas of growth.  It's broken down into different areas of life (spiritual, relational, home, work, family, etc.) and it's a good way for us to set some goals for the new year.  

We aren't being too ambitious with our goals this year.  We are now less than 3 months from Cooper's due date, so we know that anything we set out to do will probably all get messed up with that change.  So we set a few goals to try to start implementing now and hopefully carry over once he's here--but our main goal for 2017 is to welcome Cooper and learn all about him together!

It was a low key start to what's sure to be a busy and crazy year.  Can't wait to see what all 2017 holds!