{Bathroom Renovation}: The Reveal - Part I

Today is the big day... part one of the Bathroom Reveal!

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves... but in case you can't tell, WE LOVE IT!

I'm working on a source list & price breakdown, all to come soon. I also have a lot of in-progress pictures to share... and a good story, including how we had to replace the tub twice, and how a pipe burst in here during Hurricane Sandy. But looking at the finished product, I could almost forget those things even happened! (Sorry, babe - I know you can't!)

In the next few weeks I hope to have all the final touches in place, and will share them as we go!
• Artwork for the frame above the outlets
• New mirror (you can see the picture here)
• Window treatments (so that I can stop flashing the neighbors in the morning)!

And in case you can't wait for the final recap, you can see all the before pictures, here.
Linking up to:
Savvy Southern Style
DIY By Design
A Bowl Full of Lemons
Live, Laugh Rowe
Its Overflowing 
Kelly's Korner
Liz Marie Blog


The Little Things

I'm back (again)! Between a sick baby and the Holiday Card rush for Bella Carta, this little blog was neglected last week. Little A decided last Tuesday was the perfect time for a 103 fever and a case of croup, so we spent our Turkey Day at home in our jammies, trying to get a few smiles from a sick little boy. I'm happy to share he's on the mend, and yesterday was the first day we started to see the 'old' A coming back!

So while I may have missed the token Thanksgiving 'thankful' post, it's never to late to share all that I'm grateful for.

I'm thankful for my husband, my baby boy and our puppy. The three of them are my life and my joy.
I'm thankful for my parents, and all they do for us. They define the phrase "it takes a village to raise a child".
I'm thankful for my friends, for making me laugh and keeping me grounded.
I'm thankful for my job, and all that it provides for my family.
I'm thankful for my health, and the health of my family & friends.
I'm thankful for the men, women & dogs who fight for our freedom everyday.
I'm thankful for Bella Carta, and the creative outlet it gives me.

And while the rest of this list may seem materialistic (it is), I am still thankful for all of these things...
I'm thankful for coffee, and books, and shoes that don't hurt my feet. 
I'm thankful for Pinterest, heated seats and good wine.
I'm thankful for a clean house, and for the 3 boys that make it messy again.
I'm thankful for naptime, and for the knowledge that being thankful for naptime does not make me a bad mom.
I'm thankful for my iPhone & camera, and the thousands of pictures I have of A because of them.
I'm thankful for blogs, and all the inspiration & reassurance they provide.
I'm thankful for pedicures, even if they only happen three times a year.
I'm thankful for rainy days, and an excuse to stay inside and be lazy.
I'm thankful for gorgeous fall days, for long walks and playing in the leaves.
I'm thankful for makeup & my blowdryer, and for their ability to morph me into a human every morning.
I'm thankful for this space, and for all of you that come here everyday to see what we're up to.
and I'm thankful for pictures of mommy & A... few & far between, I cherish every one of them.

P.S. stop by tomorrow for pictures of the bathroom reveal!

Linking up with Dear Baby Owen & Everyday Love, for Mommy & Me Mondays!


Thanksgiving Mantle & Otto

Happy Friday!

Wanted to share some small changes we made to our "mantle", just in time for Thanksgiving. As soon as Halloween was over, I was itching to get all of our spooky-decor put away, and make way for some more fall decor.

If you look really closely you can see Otto hanging on the couch, looking out the window - his favorite past time. Otto turned 3 the day before Halloween (and in the middle of Hurricane Sandy), but still acts like a puppy most days. He has so much energy, and such a good heart. I'm so thankful for him, and all that he brings to our family.

I added a little turkey platter, from Home Goods, and a picture of A from last fall. He was 6 months old in that picture, and had just learned how to sit up. And now? He's getting time-outs for diving on the couch, trying to ride Otto, and for jumping off the stairs. Amazing what can change in a year!


Six Things

Can't believe it is Wednesday! I finally feel like I'm getting my footing back after the storm, and I'm so happy to have life back to normal.

1. With all the damage to the NJ Transit rails, I've been spending a lot of time in the car. The 80's on 8 XM channel has been my go-to, and I'm pretty sure most of my fellow commuters have seen me belting lyrics and dancing while I'm driving. Most days, I can't remember where I put my cell phone... but the lyrics to "Brass in Pocket"? Know every word.

2. My little guy has been on a little hitting streak. Ok, it's not little. At least, not with me. Every once in a while he will hit the dogs, or Craig, or my parents... but he seems to hit me more. And harder. When I'm least expecting it. Maybe he loves me the most?

3. This post by Erin yesterday was a perfect mix of funny & insightful. Just what I needed to read!

4. And this post by Kelly made me feel like I wasn't failing as a mom. I've never shied away from talking about A's sleep, and most days I feel pretty confident that I haven't screwed him up for life. It is hard to be the only mom whose kid doesn't sleep through the night! This is why I love blogging. That post renewed my mom-confidence, and it was everything I needed to hear. One woman, halfway across the country, has a baby with the same sleep issues as me? Well then, all is right in the world.

5. We made some impromptu changes in our master bedroom this weekend. And now, I have a giant blank wall, begging for some artwork. One more project, added to the list! Can't wait to share what I'm thinking.

6. I promised myself in the spring that I would be better about updating the pictures of A in our home. Fail. Giant fail. I still have his newborn pictures up and one from his 6-month shoot. Did I mention he just turned 19 months? 

And because I always love a post with pictures...

He looks so little in these! But that face - I can't stand the cuteness. I could eat him up...but then he'd probably hit me. Maybe I'll just stick to kisses :)


{Holiday Traditions} DIY Advent Calendar

I'm all about enjoying one holiday at a time, but some crafts need to be done early to have them in time for December. 

After feeling inspired by all the Advent Calendars I had seen online, I decided to try and make my own!

Large Frame
Spray Paint
Chicken Wire
Muslin Bags (from here)
Stencils (from here)
Mini Clothes Pins (from here)
Permanent Marker

It is pretty self explanatory how to make this with all the supplies listed above, so I won't go into great detail. The large frame was one that we had found from C's grandfather's house. After a light sanding and two coats of spray paint, it was the perfect red for a Christmas Advent Calendar.

We stapled the chicken wire to the back, pulling it as tight as it could go. To stencil the numbers on the muslin bags, I used a cardboard insert so that the permanent marker wouldn't bleed through to the other side. Craft paint would also work well, but permanent marker made the muslin bags look weathered & worn.

This year, I plan to put the name of the book we'll read that night in the bag (see this post for our Christmas Book tradition). As A grows, it will be fun to use this for small goodies & candy. One of my favorite memories of our childhood Advent Calendars was discovering the little chocolates hidden inside, so I plan to do the same for A!

I'd love to hear about the crafts you guys are working on for the holiday season!

Linking up with
Debbie Doo's
It's Overflowing
Savvy Southern Style
DIY By Design
A Bowl Full of Lemons
Live, Laugh Rowe


I'm Back!

Hurricane Sandy proved to be a lot worse than we imagined. Thankfully, we had almost no damage to our home, and managed to stay safe & warm for the last 2 weeks.

We were without power for 10 days, and now that I've been able to watch the news, I'm astonished at the devastation in the tri-state area. For those 10 days, I thought we were struggling - struggling to stay warm, while running our generator only twice a day, struggling to find gasoline in spite of the shortage, struggling to entertain an 18-month old via candlelight, once the sun set at 5:00. Looking back, we were so lucky. So many lost their lives, their homes and their jobs. I pray that they all can begin to pick up the pieces, and have the support and resources they need to continue moving forward.

We were home this weekend, catching up on house chores, 2 weeks worth of laundry, and quality family time. While I was home with A for 10 days, C was out, trying to keep us sane. He was running to Pennsylvania at 4:00 every morning for gas, heading to the office, coming home to start the generator, going back to the office, and then rushing home again to dinner. So this weekend we enjoyed time together as a family of 4, and relished having life back to normal.

Thank you for checking in on us during our absence, and making sure we were OK. I'm amazed that my "friends" have stretched well beyond those I know in person. It warms my heart to know that you guys check in here everyday, and genuinely care about my little family.

Regular posting will resume tomorrow. In the meantime, I'll leave you with some pictures of my little guy (who also happened to enter his terrible-twos last week... but I'll save that for another post!). I'm so happy to be back!