Thought Bullets

 

  • I was going to post pictures of some of the sewing projects I’ve been working on lately, but I ran out of time this weekend to take pictures and actually write something up.  Normally when I fall behind on writing posts I would just work on it on Monday morning before Wyatt gets up, but it so happens that Wyatt and I have about a million places to go today too.  So instead, you all get bullet points!  I’ll try to get going and post about my projects later this week, or next week though.  I’ll bold the important things for you skimmers.

 

  • On Saturday we went to my cousin’s 16th birthday party, and then on Sunday we went to church and then I met this girl in real life (we first met in blogland through our mutual friend, Danae, and we had a really nice visit).  When I actually type that out it doesn’t sound like we did a whole lot, but the weekend actually felt pretty packed.

 

  • I have to admit that some of the time I might normally spend blogging I instead spent reading this book.  I’m really enjoying it so far – October Sky is one of my favorite movies, and the book makes me want to watch it again.  But now I have to wait until I finish the book!

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  • Remember those New Year’s goals I was forced to make for work?  Well, I just found out  that our whole office is going shopping together in July, and my boss is going to give us money for each goal we’ve completed to shop with!  Ah!  So now I’m really trying to get going on my reading and such so I can get all my reward money.  I told her that I’ve already failed on a couple of my on-going goals (I haven’t walked with Wyatt every week or cleaned my car every month), but she said that as long as I improve by July I can still count it.  So now I’m focused.  I used to think that I didn’t need outside motivators to get things done, but they sure don’t hurt.

 

  • Speaking of those goals, I actually have been drinking more water lately, and I feel pretty good about it.  My secret weapons have been those water flavoring drops I mentioned before, and lemons and limes.  I love water with lemons and limes, and I tried mint leaves in my water last summer and I loved that too.  I think I need to try a mint leaf/citrus combination though (and maybe put it in my own bottles too, like this):

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Doesn’t that just make you want to snatch one of those drinks up?  I must try this during the summer to help with my “more water” goal.

 

  • I finally went on a big grocery shopping trip after slacking on it for a few months.  It feels good to have the cupboards stocked.

 

  • Over the weekend I also discovered this website, Design Seeds – and I went a little crazy with my ideas for color schemes. My current color scheme is kind of like these citrus tones, with a little yellow thrown in. I like it, but I’m just ready to switch it up a little bit.

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Eventually I would like to get a new coffee table set for my living room (the one I have isn’t really what I’m going for, I just bought it when we were first married because it was cheap).  And then once I have a new coffee table set to warm it up a bit, I think I want to re-do some of the details with this asparagus color scheme:

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You like? I really like these colors together, and this scheme would go with my couch.

  • I could go on, but I’ll end there.  It’s Sunday night and the hubs and I are getting ready to watch this movie:

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Yes, we watch kid movies.  They are usually our favorites, actually.  I liked the other two, so I’m hoping this one is good too.

Happy Monday!

P.S. Remember those polls I did last summer to get to know my readers better? Well, I have decided to re-instate the weekly and/or biweekly reader polls. It was fun for me to get to know more about you, and summer seems to be a better time for me to do these! Check out the new one in my sidebar and pick the answer that best describes you! The poll ends next Monday, and I'll post the results here soon.

My Husband, The Bull Rider

 

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I haven’t said anything about Derek’s bull riding all week!  The main reason I haven’t sat down to write about it is because I didn’t get any really good pictures of it.  The school had a photographer who took some better ones, but they won’t arrive for a few weeks, so in the meantime I’ll just tell the story and I’ll post the pictures later.

He did great, and he didn’t get seriously injured!  I was most worried about him getting trampled and sent to the hospital.  And that didn’t happen.

Not to say he didn’t get beat up at all though.  Notice I just said he wasn’t seriously injured. 

The bull riding school he went to was right near my grandpa’s house, which is about 2 1/2 hours from where we live.  I went to spend the night on Friday night down there with Derek, and we got to visit with my grandpa too.

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(Wyatt with my grandpa.)

Wyatt and I went to watch Derek ride his first bull on Saturday morning. Here is the one and only picture I got:

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Pretty blurry, and I snapped it just as he was falling off.  I could have tried to take more, but I missed his whole ride trying to snap this one and I didn’t want to miss everything again, so that was the last attempt I made at taking a picture, since I learned that the school had a photographer.

The bulls they had them riding were not trained – they were the real deal.  The guy after Derek got caught by his bull a couple times, and he ended up needing to go to the hospital for a dislocated shoulder.  It was sobering to see someone really get hurt.

I have to say though, I thought my hubby looked pretty sexy in all his bull-riding gear!  What can I say?  I’ve always had a thing for bull riders.

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He kept his end of the bargain and wore all the protective gear.  He even bought a mouthgaurd, just for me.

The plan was for me to go home with Wyatt on Saturday night, and then ride back down there with my parent’s on Sunday for the rodeo, so Wyatt and I headed out after lunch. 

On our way home, Derek sent me a text saying that he rode again and landed on his neck, and he was feeling nauseous and dizzy.  At which point I freaked out a little and tried to call him ten several times.  I wondered if I should turn around, but I figured I would at least drop Wyatt off at my parent’s house and then go back if I needed to.

Finally Derek called me back and happily chatted away about what he thought went wrong – while I repeatedly asked him if he was alright!  Sheesh, he can’t just send me a text like that and leave me hanging.  But he was okay.

The next day I went down with my family and Derek rode in the school rodeo!  I was so proud of him and I thought he looked great on the bull.  He didn’t stay on for the full 8 seconds, but I thought he did great!  It was only his third bull ever, after all.

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(My sister and brother-in-law.)

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(My mom and dad with Wyatt.)

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(That’s Derek getting on the bull.)

So overall, it was a successful weekend!  Derek didn’t get hurt too badly, and he had fun.

Though when I agreed to let him go to the bull riding school I was kind of hoping that he would get it out of his system . . . but when we left on Sunday he was talking about a guy at the school who owns bulls and told Derek he could come ride them anytime.  And he’s already mentioned going back next year.

Oh, boy.  What have I done?

He’s been pretty sore all week though (obviously, after landing on his neck), so I have hopes that he will change his mind and not want to go again.

Knowing my husband that’s unlikely.  But hey, a girl can only hope.

Blog Design–Details


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I’m just going to cover some remaining blog design details this week, but before I do, notice I tweaked my social media buttons a bit?  I figured out through another social media button tutorial that the images will line up side-by-side as long as they are small enough to all fit in a row.  So if you want to make the small round buttons, follow my social media button tutorial and just make them smaller.   Go read my social media button tutorial to see which fonts to use for the Facebook and Twitter buttons, as well as a tip on how to do a Pinterest button since there is no Pinterest font.

Okay, on with some of the details!


Colors

If you want your blog design to look cohesive, it helps greatly to have all the colors exactly the same.  In order to do this, you have to be able to find the color code for each color you want to use.  Once you have the color code, you can insert them into your blog design to make them all match.  It’s also important to make note of you color codes when actually designing your social media buttons, header, and background in your scrapbooking/photo program, so you can make sure the colors in all your page elements match exactly.

In any scrapbooking or photo editing program or website, when you adjust the color of the text a box like this shows up.  When you get the color just how you like it, write down the color code.  Make sure to do this for each color you use in your blog design. 

(Once again, click on any picture in this post to see it larger.)

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A lot of programs also have an “eyedropper” tool, so you can pull color off of any of your blog elements to make them match exactly.  Open the color box and then drag your cursor anywhere else on the page and if the eyedropper icon appears, just click.  Most programs and websites will allow you to pull a color from the image you are working on so you can match the colors.

Once you have all your color codes, you can use them for the text or highlights in your blog.  Do this by opening the template designer and clicking on the “Advanced” tab.

With Blogger’s new interface you can open the template designer by going here:

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From here you can insert the color codes for various areas of your blog.

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You’ll just insert the appropriate color code into the white box.  Notice the list of things you can adjust on the right side: Page Text, Backgrounds, Links, etc.  If you didn’t know, you can also pick a font for each of the text elements too – I have my “Tabs Text” set to “Walter Turncoat” for example.  It’s best to pick a basic font for the page text though, so that if your page has trouble loading at least the font for your posts shows up easily.  Just fyi.

Note: If the main background for your blog is not plain white (#ffffff), then you’ll want to find the code for the background color that you are using before you even start making a header or social media tabs.  This is important because you want the background of your header and social media buttons to be the same as your page background so they will blend with the rest of your page and look like they are embedded into your page.  Find the color you are using for your background here:

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Just for fun, here are the color codes for my current color selections:

Peach: FA8A74

Mint: 9ADDA7

Grey:  808080
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Though I did use a darker grey for the page text so you could read it more easily, and it still fits with my color scheme.

Fonts

When designing your header and other buttons, you’ll want to have more font choices than just the basic fonts that come with your computer.  There are a ton of free fonts out there.  Two websites that I like to use are 1000 Free Fonts and Urban Fonts - they have a ton of fun fonts.  Once you find one you like, download the file, and save it somewhere where you can find it.

Open the file, then double-click on the TrueType font file.

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Click the “Install” button at the top of the page that comes up.

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And voila!  The font is installed on your computer.  Once the font is installed any scrapbooking or photo program you use on your computer should have the new font listed (try closing the program and reopening it if you don’t see it right away).

The possibilities are endless when you have thousands of free font choices!

Sidebar Intros

This is going to sound redundant, but I really made the sidebar pictures introductions with the same methods that I made the social media buttons and header.  Once you know how to make a header image, you really can make any page element you want.  Once again, just make sure the background of your introduction image is the same as the rest of your page background.

To make my sidebar introduction images I opened the photo I wanted in Photoshop Elements, used the cookie cutter tool to cut the shape I wanted out of the image (in this case, a circle), then dragged it onto a new blank file.  Then I just added text and played around with the fonts and sizes until I had it how I wanted it.

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See my header design post for more tips on how to do this.

Once I had the image how I wanted it, I sized it so it would fit perfectly in my sidebar and inserted it into a gadget.  I used the html gadget and photobucket html code that I discussed in this post, but you could also upload it as a “Picture” gadget – just make sure you uncheck the “Shrink to fit” box and have it sized exactly how you want it – otherwise Blogger might re-size it too small.

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Pages

And finally, I had a question on pages, so I thought I’d cover that quickly as well – it’s the last thing I can think of that you might want to add to your blog, if you don’t already have it.

When people come to visit your blog, it’s really nice if you have an “About Me” tab.  You can go a bit more in-depth about yourself when you have a separate “About Me” page, and this way your new visitors don’t have to search through tons of old posts to learn more about you.  I highly suggest adding at least an “About Me” tab if you don’t already have one.

Blogger has made this nice and easy.  All you have to do is go to your layout page and then click “Add A Gadget”. 

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Find the “Pages” gadget.

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Once you add that gadget you can create some pages by clicking on the pages option in your blog dashboard sidebar, and then “New Page”.

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Add as many pages as you want, and then go back and edit the pages gadget you created to change the order.  If you want the pages to appear as horizontal tabs, as opposed to a list of links in your sidebar, drag the gadget under your header. 



See? And that is all you need to do!


Okay, I think I’ve now covered almost every blog design question that I can think of, at least the ones that I know the answers to!  Please let me know if you have any questions for me about anything I discussed, or any other questions about blog design and I’ll see what I can figure out for you.

This concludes my series on blog design!  Thanks for hanging in there with me.  Now you see why there was no possible way I could fit it all into one post!

When You Have An Infertile Friend

 

It was brought to my attention (via my blog friend, Ashley) that this week is National Infertility Awareness week.  Like her, I didn’t want to let the week go by without saying something on the subject.  Check out Ashley’s blog post, because she had a lot of good things to say!

Though I’m not technically medically infertile (it took 11 months for us to get pregnant with Wyatt, not the full 12), I’ve had to deal with a lot of fertility problems.  For me it hasn’t been “oh, we’ll try for 12 months and then see the doctor”, it’s been “there is something clearly wrong with me, and until we get this fixed I won’t be able to get pregnant”.  I didn’t need 12 months to figure out I had fertility problems. I relate so much more to infertile couples than to those who don’t have any problems getting pregnant.

Since sharing my own problems I’ve met so many ladies who have struggled with infertility, both online and in real life.  When a couple is having trouble, they don’t usually talk about it to just anyone, so a lot of times people aren’t aware that they even know anyone who is struggling with infertility.  But 1 in 8 couples do struggle with infertility, so most likely there is someone in your life who is dealing with it.

There are a lot of articles out there about how to be sensitive to someone who is dealing with infertility (Ashley linked to one), but I wanted to give you my take on it.

First I wanted to say that there are two things that are never helpful to an infertile friend, no matter who you are or how you say it.  One is complaining about your pregnancy symptoms and/or your children without showing any of your gratitude for the blessing of being pregnant and having children.  The other is talking about how fertile you are (or how fertile someone you know is).  I don’t really have to explain why, do I?  If you are not sure if someone is struggling, just stay as far away from these two as possible.

However, through talking to other ladies who have dealt with infertility, and through my own experiences, I’ve come to the conclusion that almost anything you say about the subject could come across as hurtful.  Some girls I know have been bothered by comments that didn’t bother me a bit when they were said to me.  I’ve heard some even complain about comments that I would have found comforting.  As far as words go, I really don’t think there is any safe ground.

Wait, before you throw up your hands in despair, hear me out!

I think whether what you say is comforting or not depends a lot on what’s in your heart.  Some people just have no sympathy for people who are struggling, and that comes across in the comment.  If you really can’t understand what the big deal is or think they just need to try such-and-such, it’s probably better for you not to say anything.

However, if you truly do care for your friend, and hate to see them hurting (even if they don’t show it, trust me, it hurts), make it come across in what you say.  There is a big difference in hearing about “so-and-so’s” story from someone who is hurting with you and trying to encourage you than it is to hear it from someone who isn’t really trying to understand (at least in my opinion).

It’s okay if you haven’t dealt with infertility yourself – you can still be a comfort to your friend just by showing them you care.  I still remember the sweet words of encouragement from my friends who had never had any trouble getting pregnant.  They meant the world to me, because I knew they cared about my pain. 

Tell them you are praying for them.  Just listen.  Be optimistic for them, but let them know your heart aches for them too.  Send them a note in the mail to encourage them every now and then.  Let them know you are thinking about them.

As a song I love says, “just love them like Jesus”.  You can’t go wrong when you are doing that.

 

 

Song from Casting Crowns.

Moms And Babies–Andrea



 

This week I’m featuring Andrea from Dear Baby Boutique!  I love reading Andrea’s blog – she writes about life with her sweet little girl, but she also posts about the sewing projects she works on, and I’m always so impressed with her skills!  You can also check out her shop here.  Read on to learn more about her.

 

Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi there! I'm Andrea.  I have been married to my amazing husband for {almost} 4 years and last February we received the greatest blessing when our sweet daughter, Gracie, was born.  I work 4 days a week {while Gracie stays with her Grandma's who love and dote on her ALL day long}.  I love spending time with my family, sewing, crafting, shopping, sweet tea and a good cup of coffee with hazelnut creamer.

What's your baby's name and how old is she?

Gracie Ann, she just turned 1.

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Give us an idea of what a typical day looks like for you.

On days that I work, Gracie wakes up at 5:30, we cuddle and play in bed for a bit, I give her a sippy cup of milk and she drinks it while sitting inside my bathroom sink watching me get ready.  We leave the house by 6:30, she goes to one of her grandma's houses, I go to work.  She plays, I work =)  I call about a million times a day.  I pick her up around 5:30, go home, cook dinner, play, give G a bath, read some books and she's in bed by 7:30.  After that, I get things ready for the next day, blog, check e-mails, sew, do laundry and hang out with the hubby.
On days that I don't work, she wakes up at 5:30, we cuddle and play in bed.  I give her a sippy cup of milk while I make my coffee and unload the dishwasher and make my grocery list.  We play and she eats breakfast at 7 or 7:30, and then takes a nap after that usually for around two hours.  I either work on work stuff, or do house work while she naps.  She wakes up, has a snack and we play some more.  I usually try to run errands during this time as well.  Gracie really likes to be on the go and love to see people!  She eats lunch around noon and goes down for a nap sometime between noon and two and sleeps for another hour or two.  I try to prep dinner and do laundry and maybe sew something or make a craft while she's sleeping {on a good day}.  When she wakes up, she has another snack and we play for several hours.  Sometimes I take her for a wagon ride depending on the weather.  Eric comes home around 5:15 and we repeat the same night time routine as before.

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If you had to choose three words to describe your baby's personality, what would they be?

strong-willed, giggly, serious

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What's your favorite part about being a mom?

I love the amount of love and joy she brings to us everyday.  Something as simple as her laying her head on my shoulder changes my whole day.  I love that she teaches us so much, even though we are her parents.  She has taught us about the important things in life.

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Do you have any tips on losing the baby weight?

Well, everyone is different, but I will say that nursing worked for me.  I nursed Gracie for a year and I can definitely tell that I have to watch what I eat now that I've stopped.  It literally melted the pounds off for me.  And let me be honest, I rarely find time to eat much now, and when I do, she normally eats half of whatever is on my plate!  It never fails that when I start to eat something, she gets into something and I have to chase after her.  By the time I get back and warm my plate up {like 10 times} it's not even appetizing anymore.  So I guess that helps too..

What have you and your husband done since your baby's arrival to keep your relationship strong?

This is something I really need to work on.  We have only been out a few times the last year because I have a hard time leaving G when I don't have to {She's just so sweet I love to have her with me all the time!}  Does anyone have any advice for me?

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Are there any must-have products that you would recommend to other moms?

We loved the Boppy, her cradle {she slept in our room for about 6 months}, the little lamb cradle swing, the moby wrap and a vibrating bouncer  when she was younger.   And honestly... now she is more interested in cardboard boxes and whatever tiny specs she finds on the floor than any toy I can buy.  I wrote a post about a few other baby items here:
http://www.dearbabyboutique.com/2011/12/my-list-of-favorite-baby-items-3-9.html


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What has been your favorite moment or outing as a family so far?

I love going anywhere now as a family.  At first, it was easier for one of us to stay home with her, but she love to go places now and she's so funny! She loves other kids and always tries to get their attention.  We were all out to dinner the other night and she just stared and smiled at a little girl next to us and yell "hey!" at her every once in a while.  Then she would laugh and clap when the girl would wave back.  It's just little things like that that make going out with her so much fun!

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Any advice for first-time mothers?

Well here is what I wish somebody would have told me:  Stop worrying so much!!! If they get a few ounces less per day than the books say they're supposed to have, it's going to be okay.  If you pump a few ounces less one day, it's going to be okay! If they don't eat or sleep much some days, or eat a ton and sleep a ton some days, that's all normal!  Stop googling everything and just go with it.  You know your baby better than anyone and you will KNOW if something is wrong.  I would research baby gassiness for hours upon hours while Gracie was sleeping because she had a sensitive little tummy.  And every baby is so different, so while I always enjoyed hearing what worked for others, don't be afraid to let an extra-pushy friend or relative know that you're going "in a different direction" because she's your baby and you can =).  And MOST IMPORTANTLY, pray pray pray!! I have never prayed harder in my life... for my child's health, future, salvation, my patience, for her to know that she is loved, the list goes on and on.  And thank the Lord every day for the little blessing that he has trusted you with.

 

Thanks Andrea!  Check out Andrea’s blog to read more from her!

Cake Smash Photos!

 

Here are the photos from Wyatt’s cake smash!  This wasn’t his first cake, since he already had cake once at his birthday party, but he liked it just as much the second time and we got some cute ones!  Thanks again to Scott and Danae for doing our session!

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And then he cried when we took the cake away . . .

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I have such a cute 12 14 1/2 month old! Sheesh, where does the time go?
P.S. As always, if any of you want Scott and Danae's photography business info, just shoot me an e-mail!
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