Ikea Craziness

So we just got an Ikea in my area recently. I’ve been hearing about Ikea for a couple years now, and when I heard we were getting one, I was so excited! Inexpensive furniture and home décor items? Yes, please.

Derek and I tried to go check it out the weekend after it opened, but guys, it was insane. We pulled into the parking lot, saw how crazy it was and decided to come back another day. It took us probably ten minutes to get back out of the parking lot. That’s how busy it was.

That was a month or two ago, and Derek had tickets to a football game a couple weekends ago, so I decided to head over there with Wyatt and finally check the place out.

We pulled into the relatively calm parking garage, I strapped the baby into the carrier, and off we went.

Can I just say the whole experience felt like a sporting event? It was still pretty busy because it’s still a new store. The feeling of walking through the parking garage, up the escalators, into the main showroom, with tons of people all around and a line for the café that was several hundred feet long . . . it did feel like we were at a convention or a game or something.

I found it interesting how they set up the whole store like a big maze. Or a big, long line, I couldn’t decide which. Basically you start with walking through the showroom maze, then you are corralled into the marketplace where you can pick up all the items you liked, and finally you are directed to the checkout lines – and there really isn’t an easy way to get to a specific part of the store. To get to one section you have to walk through all the others too. Are all Ikeas this way, or just ours?

Anyway, I’ve decided the small home décor items and the linens are probably the best deals in the store. I ended up getting this gorgeous Ofelia throw. I’m planning on putting it in the spare bedroom and/or just using it for very special things. It’s so pretty.

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I also got a tea ball while I was there (I’ve been looking for one), and a baby toy for Wyatt – he handled the whole thing like a champ, so I figured he deserved it.

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I’m wondering if it felt like a sporting event because our city is so Ikea-deprived? I’ve never been to another Ikea store. What is your local Ikea store like?

Fashion To Figure Winner!

Time for the Fashion to Figure giveaway winner! I used Random.org and the list of comments to choose a winner. Here's the Random.org result:



And the winner is:



Yes, the same Lauren who is hosting the link-up today! I promise I didn't rig this. What are the odds?

Congratulations, Lauren! I'll be in contact with you shortly.

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway!


Moms And Babies–Brittney





Today I’m featuring my blog friend, Brittney from Far More Than Rubies!  Brittney and I have been blog friends for a long time – she was one of the first blogs I followed, and I still love reading her posts!  We went through a lot of the trying-to-conceive/pregnancy/new baby journey together, and it’s been so good to see how the Lord has worked in her story as well!  Read on to learn more about her!

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Brittney and I am 24 years old. I grew up in Orlando, Florida and graduated with my degree in Elementary Education. Ian was my friend in high school, we began dating long distance in college and we got married a month after we both graduated from college. I started blogging about one month before we got married in 2008 and we began trying to get pregnant in 2009. We moved to the Middle East in 2010 for my husband's work and gave birth to our little girl in April of 2011.

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

Grace Madeline and she is almost 6 months old!

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

Our days look about the same, every day, with weekends being a little more relaxed.
6:45-7:15 I get up, shower, and get dressed
7:15-7:30 Ian and I eat breakfast together and pray for our day
7:30-8:30 Grace gets up, nurses, I change and dress her while Ian gets showered and then we play with her for a little bit while we get things around for the day
8:30-9:00 Drive to school and walk Grace to her daycare classroom, then get set up in our own class
9:00-11:00 We are in our first 2 classes for the day (we're studying Arabic)
11:00-11:30 I either eat lunch at my school or walk to her daycare to nurse her, depending on if pumping was successful the day before
11:30-1:30 We have our last 2 classes for the day
1:30-2:00 Pick up Grace from daycare and go home and nurse Grace
2:00-4:00 Grace sleeps while Ian and I relax from a long day of language learning, this is our time for emails, chores, or dinner prep
4:00-5:15 Grace gets up, nurses, and we play with her
5:15-6:00 Usually, Grace naps and we study or I cook dinner, but she is about to drop this nap
6:00-6:30 Turn the water heater on, feed Grace 4 tbsp of rice cereal, and eat our dinner
6:30-7:00 Bathe and get Grace ready for bed, bedtime routine of family prayer and Bible story before she nurses and I lay her down
7:00-11:00 Homework, Homework, Homework! Clean up the kitchen from dinner (I don't clean as I go, ha!) Ian sometimes goes out on visits during this time or we meet with our accountability partners. TV and blogging is done and I skype with friends and family during this chunk of time, before falling into bed and doing my quiet time.

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

  Wide-Eyed, Mimicky, Contagiously Happy

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What's your favorite part about being a mom?

I had no idea the joy I would feel of just being with her. I love her with all of my heart and can't wait to hold her as much as possible. Still, 6 months later, school and sleeping time are torture since I am not with my baby girl!

Do you have any tips on losing the baby weight?

Breastfeed! I know that is not helpful for you ladies who can't nurse, but it is probably the only way that I got back down to where I was before I was pregnant. It took about 4 months, but I wasn't watching what I ate at all and do not have the time or place to exercise. Even if you are averse to breastfeeding, like I was, give it a try!

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

Being intentional with each other is what has helped the most. I must make sure I make time for us. Communication is key- I've gotten better at expressing what I am stressed or tired from so that he can help with those things so that we have more time together. And some days, you will be super tired and emotionally drained, but you'll learn to appreciate half an hour watching a tv show with him.

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

A swaddle blanket! And a larger one than most stores sell. I know alot of moms think their babies don't like being swaddled, but it is a natural reflex to struggle against something holding them down. In the end, the Moro reflex can be present and active in a baby up and through their fourth month, making solid sleep hard to attain. Learning how to swaddle correctly and tightly saved our sleep during the first few months!
Footie pajamas- I'm not sure if Grace is cold natured or if living in the desert means we crank our AC higher than normal, but our baby will only sleep in footie pajamas- for naps and nighttime sleep! There are some great footie pajamas out there and we've become experts at what materials and button types we like the best.
An instrumental CD- Grace falls asleep every night listening to the same CD, and it has become very much a part of our nighttime routine. Find something that you enjoy listening to so that those late night feedings are relaxing for you as well!

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

Our trip to France in August. It was alot of quality family time and was a  great adventure I am sure we will remember forever.
That, and any time I can be out in public as a family. Pushing our stroller, changing diapers in public bathrooms, feeding in a restaurant, has all been things I longed and dreamed for, so now it is surreal!

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Any advice for first-time mothers?

Routine routine routine! I don't mean live on a strict schedule, but find a routine and try to stick to it. Even before I became a mother I knew that children (and even babies) thrive with predictability, and I've noticed that I became more flexible in my scheduling when I knew that Grace was comfortable with her routine.
Also, try to forget about the pressure out there to be hip and trendy with your child rearing. I think so many people stress themselves out by trying to do too many things because it seems like it is the most accepted. Remember that your child is not your project- she is your family!

Thanks Brittney!  Check out Brittney’s blog to read more!

Three Things

 

I heard three stories today that just broke my heart.  I wanted to share them quickly in a blog post so all you ladies could say a prayer for these families too.  I know a lot of you are great prayer warriors!  I can’t remember the locations of all three, but I’ll give you the basics.

First, I heard about two teenage boys who were out in the mountains with their dad.  The dad was rock climbing and the boys were fishing.  He could see them the whole time except for fifteen minutes, but sometimes during those fifteen minutes the boys and their truck disappeared.  They most likely weren’t out joy-riding, because that was yesterday, and there is still no sign of them.  Please pray that they would find these boys before harm comes to them!  They could have been kidnapped, and anything could happen after that.

Second, I heard about a family with a ten month old baby girl.  I guess the mother put her down for a nap in her room, and after the father came home they went to check on her and she was gone.  Disappeared right out of the room.  Can you say nightmare?  Please pray for that family, and that they would find their baby girl before anything bad happens.

And thirdly, I heard about a women who was pregnant and lost her baby because she ate some cantaloupe that was contaminated with listeria.  That would be so heartbreaking.  Please pray for comfort for her.

It’s rare that a news story catches my attention enough to make it on the blog, but I can’t get these three out of my mind.  I think that happens for a reason sometimes when the Lord wants me to pray especially for a certain situation, so I’m asking for you ladies to join me in praying for these families too.

Banned Book

I live in a small town with a tiny library. For most of my book reading needs, I go to a larger library in a neighboring city. But recently I discovered that our tiny little library that’s just a few minutes from my house actually has a pretty good movie selection.

I made a trip to library recently to get a couple movies, and as I was waiting for the librarian to check them out for me, I saw written on a board behind her that September was Banned Book Month. The library is encouraging people to read books that have been banned.

I’m not exactly sure what I think of this, because a lot of those banned books are banned because they are inappropriate. But as I thought about what books they are encouraging people to read, I began to wonder about the greatest book that has ever made a “banned books” list – a book that is banned in 52 countries today, because it tells the Truth.

I wonder if the Public Library system included the Bible on their list of recommended banned books?

I guess I inadvertently may have participated in Banned Book Month in September.

How about you?

Cloth Diapering Question


So I’m considering venturing in to the wonderful terrifying world of cloth diapering.

I’m just starting to think all the money I would save would be worth all the hassle.  Disposable diapers are expensive. I also hear babies potty-train easier when using cloth diapers.

Plus, I have to admit, they’re pretty cute.

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Thirsties Duo Wrap Snap pictured here.

I’m not jumping in with both feet. I’m going to get one cloth diaper, and give it a try. If it’s not too scary, I’ll gradually add to my stash until we have enough to go full time.

Now, I know a lot of you have written posts on cloth diapering, and trust me, I have them starred and ready to refer to. But I wanted to ask a couple questions here, so I can get a consensus.

1. What is your favorite brand of cloth diapers, and why?

2. Do the one-size-fits-all ones work well, or would you suggest getting specific sizes? If I’m going to buy some, I’d like to be able to use them with the next kid too – would I need to buy them in bigger and smaller sizes?


And any other tips you could give me would be appreciated. I think I’m going to order one from Amazon (after I get some input from you all) and see how it goes.

It Turned Out Pretty Well

A few weeks ago I bought a new shirt for Derek. He had been mentioning how he needed some more shirts, and I found on on clearance for six bucks!

However, it must have been on the wrong hanger, because when Derek got around to trying it on, it turned out it was a size small. I am sure it was on a medium hanger, because there is no way I would buy Derek a small shirt - I know his size.

Of course by this time I had lost the receipt, and they won't take back clearance items without a receipt. I know because I tried to take it back, and they wouldn't even let me exchange it. And we don't know anyone who could benefit from a size small men's shirt.

I figured we just wasted six bucks, but as I got to thinking about it, I wondered if I could alter the shirt to fit me. Now, I've never attempted to alter any piece of clothing before, much less a major alteration like this. But I figured I might as well give it a go, since the money was spent anyway.

I tried it on so I knew how much I'd have to take in.



Then I turned the shirt inside out, pinned up the sides, and just started with that. I actually used a Sharpie to draw a line on the inside of the shirt - it had two layers of fabric, so it wouldn't bleed through, and I'm not the best at sewing straight lines yet, so this worked for me.


After sewing up the sides and trying to figure out how to take in the shoulder seam, I realized it would be easier to do that step if I just took in the sleeves first - so I continued the line that I sewed on the side down to the end of the sleeves.


Then I cut off the extra fabric on the inside.


I knew I was going to have to do something about the shoulder seams, because they were too big - so to take those in, I turned the shirt right-side out, then I stitched around the sleeve hole/circle from the inside (this is wear I'm glad I was working on a button-down shirt, because it made this way easier). So it narrowed the arm hole and made the shoulder seams shorter at the same time.

I ended up doing a little rouching (I think that's the right term) on the sleeves. The rouching around the sleeve started out as a mistake I made on one side (just being honest) - but then I kind of liked it, so I did it intentionally on the other side. I think it adds some feminine detail.



And this is the finished product.



I think it turned out pretty well! Not perfect, but not too shabby for my first try. So I guess if I ever accidentally buy a small men's shirt again, and I can't return it, I know what to do!


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