Monday, January 31, 2011

boyish pink

As much as I love to make things, I rarely make anything for my own children. Two reasons. One, it is more fun to give presents than to show off your own child, and two, I have boys. Dresses are the most fun thing to make, and I don't really like the way a lot of "homemade" boys clothes look. Despite these issues, I wanted to make my boys something to wear on Valentines Day. Applique is easy, but I have done it a million times and wanted to try something new. My friend Emily used embroidery floss to stitch around the applique for her little girl's Valentine Day outfit, so I thought I'd give it a try. Why not? I stole some design ideas off of Etsy and voila, my boys can now be festive. They aren't even close to flawless, but I like them anyway. Oh, and I was bored one night and couldn't sleep, so I made one for my precious nephew-by-friendship, Lincoln, while catching up on some DVR. I was a little worried about coming up with ways to make pink and red look masculine, but I think I pulled it off. Can't wait for love day with my three men. How blessed am I?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Parker's Singing Debut

I know that I've already posted something today, but hang on, I'm getting a little wild. There is just something that I feel you cannot wait another minute to see. It's that great. Yeah. Your life will be more full after watching it. Ok, now I'm just getting cocky. I'll stop rambling and tell you.

Since Parker was around 20 months old, we realized that he had an uncanny ability to memorize things. No, I'm not claiming my kid is a genius, I'm just saying he is pretty darn good at storing information. I like to believe he has many higher order thinking skills, but this talent is quite obvious. We have read to Parker since he was born. We noticed at 18-20 months when he first started talking, he would memorize children's books. I'll never forget the fist time we experienced his little memorizing skill. I was reading him one of Sandra Boynton's rhyming books and stopped a minute because something else had caught my attention. Parker then proceeded to finish the book. Not just one page, the whole book. I couldn't believe it. I started pulling out every book on his shelf to see which ones he knew. David and I sat in his bedroom that night amazed. We even busted out songs that we had sung to him since birth to see if he knew them. He did. Many of them. Crazy stuff. (For those of you who have genius children...don't role your eyes..we really were amazed.)

I've said all that to say this. After realizing that he liked to memorize and learn, I thought I'd teach him the 50 states. Why? I don't know. Lol. Really, I just pictured a 2 year old singing it and thought it would be cute. I was totally right. He was soooo cute. I just taught him a few each week and we'd sing the song I learned as a kid while driving in the car. Think I'm weird yet? I never posted it when he was two because it was hard to understand some of the states, but now most of them are pretty clear, though Indiana is still Indy-nana. Enjoy!

big (baby) boy bed

I don't know why, but it seems like moving my babies from their crib to a toddler bed grows them up so quick. It felt so weird the other day when I was taking the crib down. I just kept thinking, "I can't believe Baby Graham is 17 months old." I seems like just yesterday we moved into this house and Parker went to a toddler bed. He was 20 months old when we made the move...and now Graham is almost that age!!!! Back up a little bit. Why was I putting Graham in a toddler bed?

I decided the other day that I wanted to switch the boys rooms around because they were sleeping in the bigger room and playing in the little room. It seemed backwards. I'm not very patient, and when I get an idea, I want to run with it. However, I didn't want to move the big bulky crib into the little room, which meant it was time for Graham to grow up. Ok, I'm just joking. A little.

I've never been a "gradual" person. When something needs to happen, I like to just get it over with. Don't get me wrong, I don't always think cold turkey is the way to go, and I've at times paid for my haste, but it works the best for me and my personality. The whole toddler bed experience is not an exception. When Parker was 20 months old, we moved into out current home from David's parent's house where we had been living for 6 months. When we switched, I decided that we might as well switch his bed since the new house would be out of the norm anyway. We needed the crib soon since baby Graham was about to make his grand entry into the world and it seemed cruel to get Parker comfortable in the new house for a month and then do the old switch-a-roo. So, I opted to leave the crib at his parents even after the move, so that I wouldn't chicken out or give in during a weak moment. Parker did well, but we did have a few occurrences where he stood at the door and cried and then proceeded to lay down in front of the door to fall asleep. He slept under the toddler bed once and fell out a couple of times. Besides some of the small drama, it was a successful and pretty quick switch.

Here's one of Parker's first few nap times with his new bed. Apparently the floor was more comfortable.

Now it's Grahams turn to become a man. A very little 2 ft 6 in man. I bought another toddler bed for $59.99 and in one week, I had it and built it. In the mean time, I started putting Graham in Parker's bed for nap time. I thought if he could learn to stay in bed for nap time, then night-time should be a breeze. I was pretty much right. After going in 15 billion times to lay him back down and scold him for getting up, he would finally fall asleep. Sometimes he didn't fight it too bad, and then other times, I'd walk in and he had every book in bed with him along with 52 stuffed animals. Grrr. These moments are why I took the crib down, because if it had been an easy option, his butt would have been in it.

Update: After one week, Graham is doing well. It still takes him longer to settle down and go to sleep because he's aware of his lessened boundaries and subsequent new freedom. Once he goes to sleep, he does well in terms of staying asleep. Staying in the same position with head at the northern end of the bed, not so much. I took a picture of him every night for a week to document our little toddler bed adventure. Precious.

Night 1: Look how nice and peaceful.
 Night 2: Apparently he's a rough sleeper. He threw his pillow out on the floor and fell asleep upside down.
Night 3: Ah. That's better.
 Night 4: This is why I call him Sweet Face.
 Night 5: He refuses to stay under the covers.
 Night 6: Ditching the pillow. And yes, he went to sleep with socks on.
 Night 7: Much improvement. This night I didn't even have to go in to put him back in bed.
 I'd have to say that our total toddler bed experience with Graham has been good. Nap times are definitely tricky. Yesterday,  he figured out how to empty all is drawers quietly. In fact, he was so quiet, I thought he had been asleep for an hour. When I went in to check on him,I found him smiling while sitting on top of a pile of his pajama drawer. Nice. I've had to blockade his drawers for every nap since. Good times. Other that those shenanigans, he's a peach and has totally cooperated.

Good job, Graham!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I feel like I am a pretty opinionated, decisive person....until it comes to decorating my living room. I've done all the other rooms in my house without too much hesitation, but I freeze with confusion and hesitation when walking into my empty living room. I'm not sure if my issues stem from the fact that I'm in this room the most, or that I have couches that I don't want but can't change. Or maybe I realize that I have to find "real" art and quality curtains to make it look nice, not cheap. Whatever my problem, I'm bound and determined to conquer my living room.

I have an extremely neutral palate to work with. My walls are a light beige, my couches are dark brown, my rug is cream and tan (are you yawning yet?), and my shelves along with every other piece of wood is a close relative to white. Last month, while feeling annoyed by the weird bronze color of the fireplace, I painted the whole front of the mantle and brick white. It's incredible plain and screaming, like the rest of the room, for color. I know that I will have teal-ish blue in the room because it's in the dining room next door. The rooms are closely adjoining and I need them to flow well into one another. I also really love yellow and red. Trust me, this room is sooooo plain, it needs bold colors.

Here are some of my problems. I need curtains. I really feel like this room could handle bold, patterned curtains, since I no longer have a crazy rug to contend with. However, I'm scared to use printed curtains in fear that I won't like them after a year and because they will set limits on the other fabrics and prints I bring into the room. But then I wonder if I simply do solid colored curtains, pillows and art won't be enough to give the room enough interest and action going on. I feel like somewhere in a living room there has to be a bold print, whether on the curtains or in a rug. I'm probably wrong.

I also need a few pieces of key furniture.  I'm lacking a stand to go under my mounted tv.  I love the antique look (who doesn't right now?) and I love painted wood. I have hard wood floors throughout my house and I'm not a big fan of mixing too many wood tones. Whatever I buy, I'll probably paint it. I just need to find something! I've looked and looked, but can't seem to find what I want. Then, I also need two sitting chairs for in front of my big window. Do you see why I feel intimidated to conquer this project?

Here are a few pictures I'm using to guide/inspire me. Maybe they're just stuff I saw and liked. Who knows?

This first picture was from YHL's website this week. Sometimes I love what they do and other times their taste is a little too modern for me. I've kind of figured out that I lean towards more traditional stuff. Either way, I loved this pictured living space. It has the blues and reds I want.
I don't know why I like this, I just do.

I really like what I can see of these curtains plus they were working with tan walls like I am. The elements in this room are little graphic for me, but I still think it's pretty.

 I love this space, Not so fond of the couch and I think it could use a little more red. I love the chairs.

Ok, so I just figured out that this blog really was for me. I needed to collect my thoughts and writing them down helped me accomplish that task. Really, if you have any advice or ideas, please do share!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

momma and her boys

I have one of those little books that you get in Cracker Barrel or Hallmark, you know, the ones that are miniature and have pages of little sayings pertaining to different subjects, mothers and sons in my case. Though they often contain cheesy, stereotypical information, there is also lots of inspiration to be gained and emotions to be felt while reading their pages. These little books tend to be read and then misplaced.  That's exactly what happened with one my mom got me a few years ago right after Parker was born. I read the whole thing and then did who knows what with it. Well, I found it yesterday while cleaning out a drawer and read it again. This time the book seemed more relevant. Not only did I have two boys in which to use in context, more of the pages came to life as I thought about situations where the phrases in the book had actually occurred (or need to occur) in my life. So neat. I figured I'd share a few with you, while narrating some of the quotes' importance in my life. I'll warn you, this post is a little lengthy.

1. Spend as much time with him as you can. This is for your sake as well as his. Enough said.

2. Read all the advice and baby guides you want, but trust your instincts. They're good. Insecurity makes this hard at times.

3. Don't forget, he needs one-on-one attention from you. This is more difficult with each subsequent child.

4. Accept the fact that boys and girls are different. This one was/is hard for me. I have definitely longed to see Parker have his stuffed animals hug one another [I think it's happened once] rather than fight. I've been frustrated with the fact that with most boys excitement equals loud noises.

5. Don't forget that as a baby, he will always be looking for your face. It will be that way forever. Just the other days while Parker was walking in line at Awanas (I was stalking him to see how he acts when I'm not around), he saw me and proudly yelled out, "That's my mommy!" with a huge grin. Such a small thing made me so happy.

6. The sooner he learns to follow the rules, the easier his life will be. And Yours. This is truth if there ever was any.

7. From you, he'll learn the importance of telling the truth. Be a good model. I try to be very careful about the answers and information I give my boys knowing that they inherently trust my every word. I don't want them ever to feel betrayed by me.

8. Remember these words: It's just a phase. I cannot tell you how many times these simple words have given me the encouragement I needed to keep on chugging. To name a few eras I've survived: sleepless newborn nights, acid reflux, separation anxiety, hitting, teething, throw yourself on the floor tantrums, food on the floor, cry it out in bed, and so many more.

9. Don't forget: Praise is contagious. So is criticism. I want my boys to be men who know how to compliment and encourage people, not simply adults who only know how to criticize. I have watched Parker light up again and again when I've praised him for right behavior. I love when he tells me or his brother, "You're doing a great job!" or "Wow, mommy, dinner smells so good." Though he has so many little flaws from his sinful nature, I love when I see glimpses of goodness coming from his own little heart. It makes the hard work of being a parent worth while.

10. Take him to the store with you. Let him pick out the juice, the apples, the cereal.  I love grocery shopping. OK, more correctly rephrased, I usually love grocery shopping. Taking both boys isn't much fun, but just taking one is a pleasure. I like teaching Parker how to pick out good produce and which foods contain too much sugar, etc. He is listening and learning even at 3 years old. He sometimes make believes that he's reading the food labels. He'll say, "This one has 15 pounds of salt mommy. It's not healthy for us." I laugh, but am still happy he is beginning to care about and understand nutrition.

11. Take walks with him at his pace. This is hard for me. If I find the time and drive to get out there and walk, I want there to be a distance objective or physical advantage gained from my motivations to get out. Well, a walk with Parker means it'll take and hour to go a mile because he is so interested in every stick and flower that passes by him in a 50 foot radius. I am getting better with this and try not to mind so much. We take turns. Sometimes we stroll for him, other times he rides his tricycle so I can walk with some kind of a pace.

12. Always be his cheerleader. This goes back to number 9. I want him to always know I'm his biggest fan. I'm still learning ways in which to show this true fact.

13. If you buy him something ever time he goes to the store with you, you'll soon be buying him something every time he goes to the store with you. No, there's no typo. You read it correctly. We naturally as parents want to give our children gifts and rewards. I learned early on that there shouldn't always be a physical reward for obedience. Obedience isn't an option even if nothing material is at stake. Though I was only buying Parker a $0.99 matchbox car, I watched him learn to ask for one every time we were out. I put a stop to this. Obedience shouldn't be about what you'll get if you oblige. Also, though I don't really have a perfect grasp on the balance of material possessions myself, I know I want to fight the mindset that seems to be prevalent in our nation: more is better and things are what matter.

14. Teach his how to set the table. This will amaze future girlfriends. What's behind this quote is what spoke to me, not the actual words. I want to teach my boys to be domestic. I don't want them to be girly necessarily, but knowing how to cook, clean, launder, decorate, etc. could really make the life of their future wives much easier and quite exceptional. I have a great husband, but if he knew how to cook, he'd be perfect. So close.

15. Remember, your encouragement breeds confidence. It always will. We're back at 9 again. There's just something about how a child feels about his parent's approval. I feel like if I never give it, they'll quit asking for it and I do not want that to happen. I want my boys to be independent thinkers, but always at least CARE what momma thinks. I want them to be successful confident men and I truly believe that begins here in my house before preschool ever even starts.

Sometimes a little quote is all it takes to spark inspiration to be a better mom. I'm sure glad I stumbled upon this book again. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Capitalizing on 7 years!!

You get it? Ha! We went to the Capital of the US to celebrate. You liked that pun, didn't you? I'm feeling a bit cheesy today and you reap the benefits. Lucky you. I seriously cannot get over the fact that David and I have been married seven years. It's not that I thought we wouldn't make it (I always knew we would and will), it's just that seven years seems like a really long time. (Don't role your eyes all you people with marriages lasting 25+ years, you once thought 7 years was an eternity too!)

David and I have a really great relationship. I don't say that to brag, well, maybe just a little, but mainly to prove that in a society where 50% or more of marriages fail, there are still people out there willing to do what it takes to succeed because they see value in "the long haul". Though we don't always succeed in meeting one another expectations and/or needs, we do try on a daily weekly basis to truly be unselfish and become better for the other person. If there were ever two people who could have had marital issues, it would have been us. Because we came into the marriage with lots of baggage? No. Because we are both opinionated, independent, and stubborn to name a few. I think what makes us work so well is because we think a lot alike and because we have so much mutual respect. After 7 years of getting to know all of his annoying flaws unique personality, David is definitely one of the best men out there and I am one lucky blessed girl to have spent seven years with him. Here's to at least 50 more.

We headed to Washington DC for a four day mini vacation free away from the little Dunns. So needed. The last time we have been somewhere without any children was to Jamaica for our 5th anniversary.  Technically, Graham was with us there too. He was making a ruckus in the womb even at 12 weeks. I was sick as a dog and went to bed at 8:00 every night. What a party girl. Well, in DC, I was feeling much better than I was 2 years ago and we had such a great time with each other. Sometimes in the commotion of every day life, David and I forget to be friends in addition to parents and spouses. I was elated to get to spend 4 uninterrupted days with my best male friend. Don't laugh that I put that adjective "male" in that sentence. When I am talking to David, he gets his panties in a wad when I refer to Heidi as my best friend (not really.) Anyway, I'm sorry for all the self-portraits and cruddy cell phone pictures, I felt too bad to ask people to take their gloves off in the frigid weather to take our picture.

Our hotel. Though the rooms were rather small and plain, the lobby of this historic hotel was incredible.
 Even though Christmas was over, it was beautiful to see DC all lit up for the holidays. (Our hotel's tree)
 One evening we had dinner in an award-winning restaurant located in our hotel. So yummy!
 All we needed was formal gear to make this a very prom-esque picture.
 Check out the walls of our elevator...interesting, eh?
It was so cold to be out walking around, but we bundled up well and managed keep warm with frequent trips to coffee shops.
 Starbucks commercial.
My surprisingly favorite part of one museum was the crystal and gem display. Wow. It was incredible to see the extreme detail and varying colors. Really, it just made me want to go shopping and buy clothes in all the vibrant colors.
 We took a bunch of dinosaur pictures for Parker. Really, do boys ever grow up?
 The natural history museum has fantastic architecture. I mean, it doesn't quite compare to the buildings in Europe, but for our 200ish year old US, it's pretty stunning.
 I thought I'd be bored looking at all the gems and jewels owned by famous historic people, but apparently I am a huge nerd because I loved it. Check out the Hope diamond. Her little crazy life story dates back to India in the 1600's!!!! So interesting...and beautiful at 40-something carats. I'd like to wear this for my 10th anniversary, David. :)
 If you like to cook, then you'll be jealous. I'm standing in front of Julia Child's US kitchen. You can see the excitement in my eyes. (They look a little crazy, no?)
 Favorite fact about the Smithsonians as a whole collection of US history? The man, James Smithson, donated (by way of his will) all of his fortunes to create "an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men" had never even visited the United States. There is only speculation as to why he gave so generously to a place of neither origin or familiarity. David is standing in front of the first Smithsonian, which is now the welcome center.
 I wanna kno where da gold at? If that doesn't make any sense to you, then you need to spend more time on YouTube.
 Obama's crib. Oh, wait, I need to snap out of Ghetto. The beautiful home of our country's leader.

 I have never done more walking in my life. Unlike other big cities, everything is close enough in DC that you should walk, but far enough that you get some major distance in on your feet. I kind of enjoyed it, though I would have rather been in a sundress accompanied by 80 degree weather. Oh well, insulated undies it had to be.
We spent a few moments at the WWII memorial because David's grandfather fought bravely in the war.
 Favorite place this trip hands down.
 I always knew what a great man Abraham Lincoln was, but I was unaware of all the personal hardship he endured while still managing our deteriorating nation. A real hero of the US.
 David and I were able to get tickets at Ford's Theatre to see Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol" our last night there and what a show it was! The actors were so talented and I was not bored one second. Our seats were directly across from Lincoln's box seating where he was shot. It was kind of eerie, but surreal at the same time. I will never forget that experience, David, so thank you for taking me!
Now I am back home and back to mommy reality. I am looking forward to my next getaway with David, but for now, I'll enjoy life with the two little men who have been born because David and I love each other. (Let me hear the awwwwws! Ok, enough mush for now.)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas 2010

Let me start by saying, Christmas is so much fun with a three year old! We had a great time this year beginning new and carrying on old traditions, teaching Parker about Jesus and His birth, and spending lots of time together as a family.

Though I know the true meaning of Christmas does not exclude adults, obviously, there is just so much more excitement when children are around. I love it.

The boys eating sorbet on Christmas Eve Eve.
 We started a new tradition of sleeping under (around) the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve Eve. Graham didn't participate this year, because I wanted the rest of us to get sleep. He'll join the party next year when he isn't in a crib anymore. Good times. The ordeal got started a little late, but in the future, we plan on watching Christmas movies, eating popcorn and spending the whole night together as a family.
 Parker woke up in the morning asking if we could sleep all together every night. I shut that idea down real quick. It was fun, but one night is enough, if you know what I mean?
 I let him jump on the air mattress. He went nuts.
 We went went to Nana and Poppy's house on Christmas Eve for soup, deserts, and presents!

 When we got home, we had to bake cookies for Santa. Parker did it all by himself this year. I'm sure Santa was thankful.

 Parker had to make sure the reindeer could find our house, so he sprinkled oats and glitter.
 Reading the Christmas story before bed. He still has a hard time grasping that baby Jesus is God. Shoot, I still have a hard time understanding the concept. Hello, faith.
 The boys building the train set after Parker went to bed. It took nearly 3 hours. Lesson: don't wait until the night before Christmas to build something with 52 billion parts. Y'all did and great job, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned. I just kept picturing Parker coming out and seeing it. Glad that didn't happen.
 Completed and wrapped. Yes, I ran out of paper half way through.
 Ready for Christmas Morning.
 After they opened their train set, it was hard to get a picture. Parker was so excited. He just kept saying, "This is exactly what I wanted." Too funny. Graham was semi-hyperventilating. It was hysterical. He kept moving his feet up and down and chattering. He has never done that before. We have it on video and I can't wait to watch his reaction for years to come.
 Basketball from Uncle Jeremy. Big hit.
 Reading a Thomas book.
 David and I got an X-box Kinect. Wow. Total entertainment and exercise. Love it.
 Graham kept stealing my money. Might start using him as a pick pocket.
 Christmas family shot.

 It was nice to have my mom and dad here with us on such a special holiday.
 Parker enjoying the Kinect. It is beyond funny to watch him figure this thing out.
 Best buds, or at least working on it.
We are so blessed. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!