The skinny on Maternity Leave

For pretty much the entirety of my pregnancy, I kept fondly visualizing maternity leave coming. I remember anxiously awaiting it, thinking “oh my gosh, I need a break from my job” or “I‘m really looking forward to 7 weeks of vacation.” You see, I rarely took days off at work. I always feel guilty or like I’m going to get behind.  The last actual vacation I took? My honeymoon. And that was almost 5 years ago. I was going crazy and needed some time to not have to worry about going to the office or waking up to an alarm every day. Hurry up Grayson, this mama needs a vacation!

Then Grayson came. Early. I quickly was thrown into understanding what maternity leave is really like, and let me tell you, the last thing I would consider the past 7 weeks is a vacation. I would consider it more like mommy boot camp and my orders were coming from an adorable tiny terrorist. Since I have so many friends who are expecting, I thought I would share a “day in the life of my maternity leave” segment today. This is being written as if I’m talking to myself, because I want to share the 18,000 thoughts that go through my head each and every day now! Let’s begin..and I’m starting the day at midnight, as if Grayson is waking up for his first bottle of the new day {which he usually was}.

Oh shoot, is that Grayson crying? Can I shush him back to sleep? Come on Grayson, 5 more minutes. Rockabye Graaayson. No? Not working. Okay. Let’s get up and change your diaper. Hey, stop screaming at mommy, I didn’t mess up in my diaper. Alright, all changed. Let’s go make your bottle. Well this is a fun task one handed. Man, formula smells disgusting when it’s warm. Okay Grayson, I get it, you want a bottle, I’m making it, stop screaming at me. Okay, back in bed, let’s give you this bottle. I wonder if I can shut my eyes for a few seconds while you eat…..oh shoot, dropped the bottle. Okay I better just stay awake. My GOD will he ever finish this bottle? There we go. Let’s lay on mommies chest and burp. Crap, I can’t reach the burp cloth. Okay, got it, NOW let’s burp. He’s whimpering at me, why is he whimpering at me? There we go G, good one! Alright, burp cloth down. I’m going to snuggle him now and get him to sleep. Wow, he’s so adorable. Oh. My. Gosh. You WOULD spit up the second I take the burp cloth off. Alllll down my shirt. What the legitimate heck. You never spit up on daddy. Why me..He better not be smiling at this, he looks pleased. Yesssssss, I think I finally got him to sleep.

….Oh shoot, he’s crying again. Is it 3 already? Okay let’s skip trying to get you to bed this time, straight to your nursery to change your diaper. Kid, we’ve been through this, I’m not trying to hurt you by changing your diaper. You’re so louuuud. Oh here comes Cholla to help, I guess the dogs didn’t care for the crying. Bottle making time again. Grayson, I swear I’m trying, just chill out. Here you go, let’s give you the bottle. I promise I won’t fall asleep on you this time. Man, you really like to take your time with these bottles. Oh LOOK Grayson! Your daddy is next to us. Look at how peaceful he looks sleeping. I could strangle him, Will I ever look that peaceful sleeping again? Maybe I should hit him and see if he wakes up and offers to feed you. Okay okay, I won’t. Back to bed, finally. Let’s get comfy. Oh SHOOT, now I have to pee. But he just fell asleep on my chest…to pee or not to pee..ok, nope, I’m just gonna have to hold it. Think dry thoughts. I kind of wish I had my own diaper right now, you’ve got it made, Grayson.

He’s crying again..it can’t be 6am already. Oh it’s not. It’s 445. It isn’t feeding time, why is he crying? He’s not smelly, he doesn’t need a diaper change, why are you cryyyiiing? HOW is daddy not waking up? He HAS to be pretending to not hear this. Let’s walk around. Okay, not working. Let’s go sit outside in the heat. Ahhh, it worked. Let’s countdown the minutes until 6. Bottle time again, and I swear you’re going to daddy after this so mama can get the happy coffee and maybe a nap. Well, looks like a nap is out of the question, look at all of these BOTTLES to wash. Let’s go ahead and clean them while I have two hands. And these counters are nasty, let’s wipe them down. Come to think of it, I need to start a load of laundry. And your clothes need to be picked out for the day. How has an hour already passed? Now I missed my chance for a nap and daddy has to leave for work. Let’s go get Grayson from daddy. Ok, pick him up and…no. freakin. way. You just spit up on me again. Is this a conspiracy?? Must be. You were JUST with daddy for an hour! No spit up on him. Now daddy is laughing at me.

Daddy has now left for work. It’s you and me kid, let’s make today great. Where’s your boppy? Okay, there it is. Let’s sit down and get calm. I’ve got the remote, my phone, your paci, your blanket. Let’s relax. Well crap, just dropped the remote…can’t reach. I don’t want to wake you up…I’ll just sit here. In silence. So. Bored. Thank goodness I at least have my phone. Man I’m so tired. Maybe I’ll slowly drift asleep…

Aaaand there’s the crying again. Wet diaper? Let’s check. Blue line on the Pampers, yep, we have a wet situation. WHY haven’t you pooped today, child? I can see you trying. Should I research special drops? Target has them! Okay, mental note, go to Target. Oh who am I kidding, there’s no way in hell I’ll remember a mental note. I’m setting a reminder in my phone.

Okay let’s try to make lunch. Will he let me set him down? Aaaand, negative. Okay, one handed it is. Wow, look at me, rocking I just made a sandwich with one hand. Hashtag goals. Charles would be proud. Man I can’t wait until this kid can lift his head on his own. Okay, now let’s make his next bottle and let him eat. Thank goodness sandwiches can’t get cold while I’m feeding him.

Wow, that afternoon nap felt nice. Must have been like two hours..Oh, twenty minutes. Well twenty minutes of sleep FEELS like two hours to this tired mama. Let’s watch some tv and rock Grayson to hold him off from his next bottle..rock, rock, wait. Wait a second. Why is my shirt warm? Why..ah man, this child just peed through his diaper, his onesie, AND MY SHIRT. Now I have to change his clothes. Good thing he loves that. HA, I kid. He hates that.

Dinnertime already? Thank goodness I made all of those crockpot meals, dinner is SERVED and I barely lifted a finger. Where the h e double hockey sticks is YOUR FATHER. That’s it, don’t care, I’m eating without him. One handed eating is a new skill. I should add that to my resume.

Daddy is home! I get two hands back again! I feel liberated. Oh thank you, he’s holding Grayson. What should I do with all of this free time? Shower? Nap? Wash my face? Brush my hair? Yep, on it. Oh wait, all the bottles are dirty. Gotta wash those. Okay NOW I’ll go to the shower. Wait, hold on, dinner dishes. Let’s get those out of the way. And here’s some laundry, I’ll fold those up real quick. Okay, headed to the..oh no, it’s time to start his bedtime routine, let me run set out his pjs and get his bath ready. I wish I knew how this bath temperature duck was supposed to work…

Bedtime routine = done. Maybe I’m getting the hang of this parent thing. Oh wait, bottle time. When did he have his last bottle? I forgot to chart it..uhh..yeah I think now is good. Yes. Now will be good, he’s screaming again. Okay G, let’s get into bed and have your bottle. Oh shoot, I forgot to shower..when even was the last time I showered? Yesterday? Ha, no. I have no idea but judging from the amount of hair on my legs, proooobbably at least a few days. Maybe tomorrow? Okay, he’s finished his bottle, let’s burp and rock to sleep, then I’ll go wash my face.

He’s crying again! Bottle time. I must have fallen asleep..

So there you have it. My days in a nutshell. Don’t get me wrong, I love my son, I’ve loved this time. But it’s hard work. Mamas, you’re amazing. Your job is hard. And maternity leave can be lonely! Let’s just keep it real, okay? Don’t feel like you’re failing if some days you feel like you have the baby blues. I’ve been there. I still have those days. I’m not going to lie about it. But it’s all worth it. 

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Hush baby hush

As new parents, why do we get so frustrated when our babies won’t stop crying? Is it because we can’t get them to stop and we just want some peace and quiet? No. Okay..maybe a little bit. For me, when my baby is crying, my heart breaks a bit with each sob. I can tell something is wrong. I can tell his cry means something. It sounds so helpless, so defenseless. It sounds like my baby is saying “mommy, help me.” What I can’t tell yet is what each cry means, which makes me feel as helpless and defenseless and his little cries.

When I was a little girl, I used to suffer from chronic migraines that would leave me bed ridden and crying. I remember my dad coming in one night when I was having an episode and him saying “I would do anything to switch places with you right now.” I understand how he felt then, because every time Grayson cries, I think to myself “I would give anything to make you feel better.”

The other day, Charles said “it doesn’t matter if we eat, as long as he eats. It doesn’t matter if we sleep, as long as he sleeps.” It’s amazing how quickly that parental love kicks in, and how easily you are willing to sacrifice your own needs and comfort for the comfort of your child.

Don’t worry. You’ll start finding things that will help. My bouncing baby boy loves to sit outside in the heat and be snuggled {what a coincidence, I’m writing this on my deck outside, listening to thunder in the distance and snuggling my son as we speak!} So future mommies and daddies out there, if you find yourself getting immensely frustrated by the consistent crying of your newborn, don’t waste your time thinking you’re a bad parent or that you can’t do it. You can do this. You’re not angry they are crying, you’re angry that you can’t immediately ease their pain. Is there anything more “parent like” than that?

Our budget friendly gender reveal

I am beginning to sincerely dislike days where I update my husband and I’s calendars. That was this mornings coffee-time task. You know what I realized? We have three weekends between now and May that we have absolutely nothing planned. Only. Three. It’s only the beginning of February! Frightening. I’ve already told Charles that we are reserving those weekends for alone time unless something drastic comes up. We have so much to do around the house / for Grayson’s arrival and we are going to have to start saying no to people, something neither of us are very good at, ha! Thankfully, I think we can make everything work, and it may even pass the time before baby arrives, but still, there’s a limit! Our world is about to change in a big way, so spending time together, just the two of us, is something high on my list of priorities!

Today I want to share with you a few pictures of our gender reveal party! Now, we didn’t know what we were having until the day of the party. Our party was on a Saturday,, but we had our gender ultrasound the Tuesday before. We wanted to be surprised at the party, so we had the tech place the gender in an envelope, which we promptly gave to my sister. Spoiler Alert: It was the most brutal few days. It almost makes me wish we just found out at the ultrasound!

We didn’t want anything fancy, nothing over the top, just very relaxed, limited amount of “fuss,” so we could just enjoy the day. We ordered “exploding golf balls” from Amazon, {called stork balls, HA!} because Charles loves golf so much. Aside from that, we had chicken salad croissants, tortellini pasta salad, the cutest cookies, chips and dip, and fruit. We had a few decorations, and that was that! All in all, we were extremely pleased with how it turned out. We actually were so nervous about finding out the gender that we forgot to take pictures of our guests! Or ourselves, for that matter, but we still had a wonderful time. Obviously you all know the outcome of our gender reveal, IT’S A BOY! Grayson Lowrey Alley will be making his debut in June. Enjoy a few pictures from his sweet, simple, and budget friendly gender reveal!

 

 

I hope you all enjoyed the not so slightly delayed photos of Grayson’s gender reveal! Mommy and Daddy are thrilled to meet this sweet baby boy. I hope you all have a wonderful Saturday night. Me? I have a brand new comforter sitting that just came out of the dryer, a clean room, two puppies cuddling at my feet, and a kicking baby boy. It’s also 7pm on a Saturday night, I’m in pjs, it’s raining outside, and there’s a marathon coming essentially through our neighborhood tomorrow which means I’m not leaving this house until Monday morning, happy pajama Sunday to ME. I hope your Sunday is just as pleasant!

20 week bump date – Happy Halfway!

Being pregnant can pose a few challenges. There’s rules to follow, there’s a child to make preparations for, there’s doctors appointments, there’s that whole “too tired to function” segment, there’s random aches and a rapidly increasing belly, and wait – what else? Oh yeah, there’s everything that you normally do. Maneuvering can be a a struggle at times, but one that I’m so happy about!

Take this weekend for example. For the past five days, I’ve had a pretty awful cold {don’t worry, it’s not the flu, I went to the doctor and confirmed that I’m flu negative. Let’s just say that was one test I was happy to fail.} Friday night, Charles was having guys night, so I planned to happily take this opportunity to clean the house and catch up on some much needed chores. Combine congestion, an awful headache, a sore throat, an aching back, a glorious thunderstorm, and pregnancy exhaustion {by the way..hello to all of you big fat fakers who told me second trimester bursts of energy were a thing. I mean, I’m not falling asleep at 6pm anymore, but still, so tired..} and take your best educated guess to see if you think I accomplished anything I intended to. If your answer was no, congratulations! You’re a winner. No, there’s no prize or anything, but nice deduction skills. I ended up taking a tylenol, slathered on Vicks, sat with my beloved heating pad, and turned on my humidified filled with eucalyptus essential oil as well as my diffuser, and I caught up on rest. I did nothing. My body was begging me for this rest, yet I ignored it all week. I mean, Grayson is already taking a lot of my energy {and food…and nutrients} and the told was zapping up the littler I had left, so I should have realized sooner I needed to stay in bed all night in order to get well.

Enter Saturday morning. I woke up feeling refreshed after sleeping in {woohoo, I slept until 7am! If you know me at all, this is a victory for me!} and I knew I had wifey duties to tend to. The house was a disaster{remember aforementioned thunderstorm? Well, we have our two dogs as well as my mother in laws two dogs this weekend. Combine wet grass, mud, and the paws of four dogs and you get an idea on how messy the house was when I woke up Saturday} I had also volunteered to watch my nephew Liam for a few hours, and I needed to address and mail invitations for a couples shower we are co-hosting. Somehow, I managed to address + mail the invites, watch Liam, take a hot shower, make a grocery list, sweep + mop all of the floors,  cleaned the mirrors, had all of the humidifiers and diffusers cleansing the air, replace scentsy’s, wash all of the sheets {I had a cold, this had to be done}, clean the counters, scrub toilets, scrub the showers, and make a grocery list. And let me tell you – It. Felt. Incredible. 

enjoy my wife duties. I absolutely love being a wife, and these are just the kind of things you look forward to when you take on the role of someone’s wife. More than anything, I love how the house feels now that I’m finished! From the way clean sheets feel, to the way the house smells, to the calmness it brings. Take last night for example. I was so happy to be done with all of the cleaning and so exhausted from doing it, I was sitting in my clean sheets, with “sleepy pillow spray” on my pillow, my heating pad on my back, next to my humidifier, and the house felt wonderful. I felt calm, I felt peaceful, and I felt exhausted. But it can be a tad harder to achieve constant calm when you’re expecting a little one, especially if you’re sick.

I don’t feel like I always have to have it together, but I’m going to try my hardest to make sure I have it as close as I can possibly get. Today will be a Sunday well spent with coffee, grocery shopping, washing Grayson’s new crib sheet in newborn detergent, putting together his crib, and meal prepping for the week to come. This is the life that I love. This is my best life. Taking care of my husband and soon to be son makes me feel fulfilled.

Quick “20 week bumpdate” – HOORAY we are HALFWAY to meeting you, sweet Grayson Lowrey! Your mommy has been feeling great, just tired. The only thing she has been craving is beer, so daddy got her some O’Douls {non alcoholic beer} and that seems to keep mommy satisfied. Daddy has painted your room and put together your crib. He is so excited to meet you! He also goes around showing EVERYONE the pictures of your gender ultrasound, saying “THAT’S MY BOY!!” He talks to you every night and has to “hold you” aka hold my belly every night before bed. Mommy keeps buying you clothes and knows she needs to stop, but she can’t help it, you’re going to be the best dressed boy on the block! Mommy was talking to a stranger the other day and said “my son…” and then started to cry. of happiness. Your fur sisters Cholla and Milli are excited to meet you, too! We can’t wait to get another sneak peek at you in a week, but until then, we are going to post a few pictures of your 16 week ultrasound to show everyone!

We get to love you

I had every intention of posting several months ago about my skin care routine {I’ve found some fantastic products lately that don’t break your budget..} but right about the time I was going to be writing our my content for that post, something else happened.

We found out we are expecting a Baby Alley!

Needless to say, there were too many thoughts + emotions going through my head to remember “Oh hey, about that blog post on skin care routines…”  My free time quickly became overcome with worry {is the baby ok in there?}, with excitement {let’s look at baby names! And baby items!}, and with the feeling of being a bit overwhelmed. It was a time I got to spend with my husband keeping this little secret about this sweet little miracle we have created.

Now, because I like talking so much about my experiences with life so much, I thought I would share some of my “first trimester tips” with you {because hallelujah i’ve made it to trimester 2!} So here we go:

First trimester experiences {from an extremely unexperienced pregnant lady}

  • You don’t always have to get morning sickness. And thank you sweet lord for that. That was actually one of the first fears I had upon finding out I was pregnant. People make it out to seem like every woman will be drastically ill throughout the first trimester {and don’t get me wrong, some of you will!} Luckily, I did not have this problem. I didn’t get sick a single time {I had a few small waves of nausea here and there albeit nothing unmanageable} A tip I learned from my sister was if you start to feel sick, even if you’re not hungry at all, eat a snack! It will help you stop feeling nauseous. Luckily, if you do have morning sickness, it should start to subside around good ole trimester 2.
  • You’ll be tired, OH SO VERY TIRED. I never realized how exhausted I would be. I work 6-3, so it’s rare you’ll find me up past 8:30 or 9pm anyway, but now it’s hard to find me awake past 7pm! I won’t be feeling overly exhausted and them WHAM, I’ve fallen asleep with my phone on my face and I don’t even realize it until an hour later. This is something I don’t think others fully understand if they haven’t experienced pregnancy before, because lately I’ve gotten the feeling some of our friends have thought I’m being lazy or something. .Let me tell you, mommas, I understand. This symptom has hit me and hit me with a vengeance. Our bodies are working in overdrive to provide support not only to us, but to our sweet littles. Now supposedly we’re in luck, this is supposed to start subsiding and we’re supposed to get a “burst of energy” in trimester two, but I haven’t gotten there yet. I’m only a week in to trimester two, and I’m still just as tired as I was before.
  • Stay OFF of the mommy forums and mommy boards on the internet. This is something I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to do until I started and ended up getting TERRIFIED of everything. But once I had started googling all of my questions, I couldn’t stop, so my advice? Don’t even start. If you go looking for a board on advice if there’s a problem, you will inevitably find someone who had a problem. Usually people who do are hooked to those boards, so stay off of them or you will worry yourself sick. I know I did. I wouldn’t even allow myself to think of names or nursery ideas or anything until after my 12 week appointment with my doctor because those boards freaked me out so much. If there are no signs that there is a problem, I’m sure your baby is completely fine in there. Let your body do what it was created by God to do. If you can’t help it and do end up getting worried, I saw a recommendation from a doctor that said if you’re really worried in trimester 1 and you can’t get in to see the doctor until 12 weeks {which is normal}, then take one pregnancy test per week. If something were going wrong, likely your HcG levels would drop and it would be reflected on a pregnancy test. I did this a couple of times to calm my nerves, and by george, it helped.
  • Don’t let people “preggo shame” you. If I am asked one more time why I’m drinking a cup of coffee when I’m pregnant, I may actually throw hot coffee at someone {okay, an exaggeration, but you get what I’m saying.} I know how much coffee / caffeine I’m allotted in a day {and trust me I use it wisely}. You’re going to get asked about epidurals, about chromosomal disorder testing, about breastfeeding, about staying at home, about co-sleeping, about your exercise routine…everything. It’s like being pregnant is an open invitation for everyone to voice their opinions. At first, this severely bothered me, but now I realize that people are just trying to help. Their opinions are most likely what they were taught is the best for their babies, and they are wanting to share that advice with you, so let them, and then choose to use what you wish. It’s also a time where you and your spouse will start forming a new bond, and you’ll have to become a team. Charles and I have recently had a discussion about not discussing important decisions in front of family or friends, because these are decisions we need to make in private as a new parental unit. All you have to do when someone asks you something you haven’t discussed yet and may have different opinions about is say “we haven’t discussed that yet, and we will discuss it later in private.” There are big decisions that come with being a parent. My husband and I were raised similarly yet completely different, so it will take time for us to blend our backgrounds to parent the best way possible, but those discussions are personal, and you don’t need family or friends in the background trying to sway your decisions one way or the other.
  • Keep dating your spouse. One of the reasons Charles and I didn’t start talking about children immediately after we were married is because we wanted to get to know each other in our knew roles as husband and wife. One of my greatest fears is that we will start making everything about our child and stop putting our marriage first, which, I know may be an unpopular opinion, but your marriage should always come first. Charles and I have “mini date nights” where we fill out the baby book together, talk about baby names, do projects around the house, order in food and binge watch our favorite shows, etc. They say husbands can often feel left out of the pregnancy process if you don’t make them feel involved, so I’ve been trying to keep that in mind and letting Charles contribute whenever he can. He was the husband that was there to help make every decision with our wedding, and he wanted to be there, and he’s been there wanting to be a part of every decision with Baby A as well. I cannot wait to see him in his new role as “father.”

Here’s a few pictures from the talented N.M. Franklin Photography of our baby announcement!

“We get to love you” 

So Fresh and So Clean

The days are getting shorter, your to do lists are getting longer. How’s a girl supposed to keep the house clean? If you’re anything like me, in order to get back on track with your cleaning routine, you need a free day {because they are so easy to come by…} where you can wake up one morning, grab a cup of coffee, and take the entire day to do nothing but Deep. Clean. Everything. Now we’re talking.

Most of the time, I can get by with an hour or two of “spot cleaning” here or there, but there are about 4 times a year when I just need something more. Typically, these line up with the season changes, so I’m already in the spirit of change, kind of like right now, actually. There’s just something wonderful about waking up to a spotless and refreshed house that makes you not want to leave {HA! As if I needed another reason..}

Now, doing a whole house deep clean isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes the right mindset, attitude, and most of all, it takes a house so messy you can’t stand another day of it. It also takes zero interruptions, for example, a husband saying he’s bored every twenty seconds.

Since I like sharing so much, I thought I would share some tips on how I stay sane and organized when a deep cleaning marathon event is on the horizon, so without further ado, I present to you my “husband isn’t home to get in the way, finally have a free day, house is a disaster” cleaning routine.

  1. Make a checklist – No, I’m not kidding. This is the first thing I do every single time. It helps me remember what I want to accomplish, and it’s gratifying to check things off! You can also appreciate the work you’ve done once you see the list diminish.
  2. Clean one room at a time – This isn’t mandatory, but it helps me stay on track. This advice comes straight to you from my momma. Her theory is that when you have a large task at hand, it makes it less daunting when you can at least walk into one room knowing that it’s completely done. Here’s the order I typically use:

Ø    Master bedroom

Ø    Bathrooms

Ø    Guest bedrooms

Ø    Living Room {heads up, if it’s the fall time, like now, it’s a good time to check and ensure that your fire place is in functional order. FYI, ours is not. Looks like a call to the repair man is in order at the Alley Homestead…}

Ø  Finally, the kitchen. I save this for last because this is typically the most trafficked room in our home and usually has the most work ahead.

  1. Open the windows – Let your AC or heater breathe. Turn it off, open your windows, and let the fresh air make your home feel renewed. We’ve actually had our windows open for about a week now and it just plain feels better. I also like to turn my essential oil diffused on to further cleanse the air. This weekend was a chilly one, with rain in the morning and sunshine and cool winds in the afternoon, and this girl loved every minute of bundling up and having the windows open and the sound of leaves rustling.
  2. Multitask when you can – Work smarter, not harder people. If you’re washing sheets for the master bedroom, throw the guest sheets in there as well. Same with blankets. If you’re needing to take a minute to fold the laundry, make sure you have the tub in a deep soak, or turn on your self-clean mode on your oven. Make sure you’re maximizing your time.
  3. Make it fun – When I first get my coffee in me and I’m getting my head together to start cleaning, I put on a Netflix or Hulu show that I’ve already seen on to distract me and keep myself entertained while I start cleaning. After a while, I need something a bit more fast paced to keep myself going, so I switch to Pandora and throw on a fun station, like 90’s hits or Hip Hop BBQ radio.
  4. Don’t forget the miscellaneous chores – This is the perfect time to give those pups a bath {you have fresh sheets, after all..} or to clean your makeup brushes. You’re already in cleaning mode, so why not get everything in great shape? Your day well spent will bring weeks of content.

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I bought these placemats at Dollar Tree and I cut them to fit the size of the shelves in my fridge, that way when I need to clean my shelves, I just remove the mat and clean it instead of stuck on goop in my fridge drawers!

 

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Walmart SCORE – these new products are incredible! I used the Plink drain cleaner on every drain in this house to make it smell nice and clean stuck down objects. The Dishwasher cleaner will be used tonight, and I’m excited to clean the dishwasher!

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How incredible is our new macrame wall hanging? A friend’s wife made it for me, and she is in the process of creating a business, “The Knotty Momma!” More details to come. 
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Spent all Sunday with a screwdriver and these slippers

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I had the most random thoughts while cleaning this weekend. Everything from “How the heck do you clean a cowhide rug?” to “can dogs glare at you?” to “I really think I’m annoying Cholla with my Abba sing along.”

What are some of your “deep clean day” rituals? It seems like this is the exact way I clean my house every time. I’d love to hear how you clean your home! Stay tuned next time for some of my favorite face cleansing products. In the meantime, here’s some pictures of some neat new cleaning products I found, as well as how clean the house looks now!

 

 

Love where you Live

When Charles and I got married, we were living in a house that he purchased when he was 21 years old. It was a cozy, wonderful little house where we had fantastic memories, but everything other than a few decorations that I had brought from my old apartment belonged to Charles. We knew we wouldn’t live in that little house off Grand for more than a few more years, so one random day, just for fun, we started looking at some houses for sale in Fort Smith {just to get an idea of what we might want} – and we found the perfect house. Charles said it had “potential” which typically scares me {he loves a good project; he is his father’s son}. Was it everything we wanted in a house? No. Was it a great location and an even better price? Yes!

We decided to just go “look” at the house to see if we would like it. Even though it was years before we had planned to buy our first home together, we ended up deciding “we’ll just throw a really low offer out there that we doubt they’ll accept and see what happens.” We never in our wildest dreams thought that they would actually accept it. So there we were, buying a house, not having a set budget, just on a whim, years before we planned.

Looking back, that was a really rash decision, and probably not the most mature thing to do. But in the end, it all worked out. The only thing was, we didn’t have any leftover money to purchase new furniture or decor for the new house, it was all of the items leftover from the old house, so we ended up having a lot of “empty space” in the new house. We slowly started trying to fill up some of the empty space by buying some cheaper items that we could afford at the time to fill some of the void, but it was never anything we actually liked. There was no consistency, no theme, and it drove me insane!

We have lived in our first co-purchased home together now for almost 4 years. We have put in all new appliances, knocked out walls to open up our space, added a dining room, replaced fans and light fixtures, added a shop in the back, planted flower beds, etc. but we have just now started to give the house a much needed interior design makeover, primarily focusing on the living room area to start. Let me tell you a bit about what we have done:

Ø  Charles redid the hideous orange tiles around the fire place with rock, and added a granite hearth and a mantle {this was done a few years ago, but still, it was an update}

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Ø  We removed the two larger “conversation chairs” from the corner of the room by the window and moved them into guest bedrooms. They took up a lot of space, and we didn’t even realize it until we moved them!

Ø  We added the blanket ladder {can you insert squeals of joy into a blog post?}

Ø  We replaced the LARGE area rug {pause, we bought this area rug from a coworker right before we moved for $50 and it was a HUGE rug. Fit perfectly in the room, but it was never the color scheme or anything we wanted}. We replaced this rug with a real cowhide rug {insert praise hands here} from ecowhides.com and for an amazing price. It is a Brazilian cowhide and we looked and MANY rugs before deciding on this one.

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Ø  We replaced our $300 sectional that we bought right before moving. I got to choose the couch I wanted from Hank’s {the most beautiful saddleback leather couch with power recliners on the ends and a USB port…swoon} and Charles got to choose the chairs he wanted. He ended up choosing two red recliners from La-z-Boy. Growing up, Charles parents {as well as his Aunt Donna and Uncle Richard} had a set of recliners. One was his dad’s, one was his mom’s, and they always sat in “their” recliners. Charles decided he wanted “his” recliner. He sits in it every day {I spend most of my time on the couch, because it’s wonderful in every way..} And can we TALK about those STUDS? The studded detail on the edge of the couch just sealed the deal for me, and it’s what I’ve been getting most of the compliments on!

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Ø  We had Charles’ brother make us our dream farmhouse coffee table. Y’all, I have wanted this coffee table for longer than I can remember. When I envision what a coffee table should look like, this is EXACTLY what I picture in my head, to a t. I fought tooth and nail to get this coffee table built for me, I was very patient during the process impatient while waiting for my dream coffee table to be sitting in my living room. The thing was, without the coffee table, the giant cowhide rug looked incredibly out of place in our living room. It looked like we were trying to mix western with vintage industrial, and it was. not. working. I knew that once the rustic coffee table with a few industrial looking metal baskets was complete, that it would tie the room together, I just needed to see it. The coffee table is {almost} completely finished, and BOY OH BOY, it’s better than I could have envisioned. Even Charles, who was a bit of a skeptic about what I had in mind at first, cannot get over how amazing it looks. Now, all I need to complete the room is for a smaller scale and slightly taller version on this coffee table to be made for a “tv stand” to hide some cords around the TV. I added in a few baskets from Target to make the farmhouse table look a bit more “industrial modern” and I’m quite thrilled with how it tied it all together.

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We aren’t completely finished with our living room, but it’s coming along swimmingly, and I’m extremely happy with the progress we’ve made thus far. I’m anxious to get my hands on a few other rooms in the house at some point in the future, and I can’t wait to decorate our new living room for the holidays!

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Ignore those pesky cords, I just need to get the console table built and then we will be FINISHED with this room

Now if anyone has any tips on how to get your husband to keep his dirty socks off the living room floor, please comment below. I may just have to let this one slide and learn that the second I wake up, I should walk over to his recliner and pick the socks and shoes off the floor and put them where they belong..I don’t think this is a battle women will EVER win.

I can’t wait for the holidays, so I can show you how we will decorate our new space for the season!