Friday, June 29, 2012

Show Us Your Life - Benjamin & Jonah's Rooms

This week's room on Kelly's Show Us Your Life Series is kids room & nurseries.  I love the idea of "capturing" on the blog what my boys' rooms looked like, I wish I had detailed pictures of each of the rooms I grew up in, it'd be fun to look back on.

So here's a peek into Jonah's nursery:
 crib is from ToysRUs.  I'm sooo glad we didn't get a crazy expensive one because it's full of "character" teeth marks from Benjamin!
 I love this recliner, we bought it new before Ben was born.  I spend lots of time here!
 valance is from Wal-Mart.  We also use a roller shade behind our blinds to help block out extra light
 I love this dresser.  It's solid wood, provides sooo much storage and I love having the mirror on top, the boys have so much fun.  The best part is that we found it at a local thrift shop for $40, score!
 we found this bookshelf off craigslist and right now it's just full of random knick knacks that are often rearranged by the older brother!
 this quilt came with his bedding set so I hung it as "art"
 I found these wooden animals at JoAnn Fabrics, glued them to hooks, then sewed ribbon loops to the quilt so I could hang them in a cute way
 love this super deep, 2 drawer storage from IKEA, it fits perfect under the crib
sweet blocks from our baby shower spelling my little guys name

Now, here's a peak into Benjamin's "big boy" room.  This room was previously our guest room and actually becomes our guest room again when we have out of town guests.  I trid to make it a cute, little boy room without being too "annoying" since it serves as both rooms.
 we had the white quilt on the bed while it was a guest room and it still works in his room now (its from Target)
 this used to be a mirror that I found at a garage sale, but I covered the mirror with fun fabric, then painted wood planes & stars from Michaels and glued them in each section
 bookshelf from Goodwill for $5 that used to be pink but I painted it white.  Lampshade from Target and lampbase from garage sale.  I thought putting books in Ben's room would encourage him to read in the morning and let us sleep longer.....ha ha ha, what a dream that was.  Why oh why does he wake up between 6 and 6:30.
 collection of frames from Goodwill that I painted white, his B-E-N letters brought over from his nursery now hanging on the shelf
 lots of pics of family and friends
 all the trucks in the frames were cutouts from Olive Kids that I bought on ebay.  I made a matte of scrapbook paper and it made for super cheap artwork!  The sunshine printable is off pinterest, it's the song I always sing to my boys at bedtime
 alphabet printable off of pinterest.  I need to re-print it though since I resized it incorrectly.
 sorry the picture is crooked.....shelf is from a garage sale, and all the vehicles are from the Dollar Spot at Target
 little end table with one of my fav pictures of the of the first moments Benjamin went over on his own to talk sweetly to Jonah during our first days home from the hospital
 more Olive Kids cutouts in an IKEA frame leftover from the old guest room decor
 I love this wooden verse sign.  I might get new curtains for this room eventually, these were used in the guest room
 Benjamin looooves this Olive Kids Transportation sheet set that I got for a steal on ebay.  I do too, they're so cheerful and have all of his favorites
 dresser with pictures of some of his cousins and his grandparents
green frame of vehicle scrapbook paper, leftover boat art from the guest room that's actually been replaced.....I found some Thomas the Train wallpaper at a garage sale so I cut out the adorable Thomas, Percy and James trains and put them in a white frame.  Benjamin says goodnight to them every night so I think it was a hit :-)  I'd take a picture of it but he's napping right now and there's no way I'm interrupting that, ha!

We definetly don't have fancy decorations and I'm not super creative, but we love our boys' rooms.  I will always look at these pictures and remember reading stories on Benjamin's bed each night surrounded by trains and dump trucks.  And remember rocking Jonah in our comfy brown chair and pointing out all the animals on his quilt to him. 

Can't wait to see other kids rooms today!

Day 5: Dream vacation

It's Day 5 of Jenna's comment challenge and today's topic is all about your dream vacation.  This is a tough one for me because there are so many places I'd like to go for different "types" of vacations.  In no particular order, here's some places I'd love to visit!

*  China - Peter taught English there for 10 months when we were first dating and I'd love to go back there with him and experience everything he enjoyed during that time.  I can only imagine how impressive the Great Wall is...

*  Any all-inclusive resort in a tropical location - doesn't it just sound amazing to wake up, through on a swimsuit and flip flops and read all day at the beach while someone brings you fruity drinks, then enjoy unlimited amazing food?  Um, yes please.

*  Disneyland - Someday when our boys are a little older I would love to have all of our family and extended family enjoy Disneyland for a week.  I've been to Disneyworld as an adult and we went to Disneyland when I was 4 while we lived in California, and I can only imagine what a blast it would be to have our whole family there.

*  Israel - though it's a little intimidating and scary to think of traveling in that area, it would be amazing to walk where Jesus walked

*  Family Roadtrip across the US - we did a lot of driving across the United States growing up (you can't afford to fly anywhere with 5 kids in the family).  I would love to take a few weeks one summer and explore all the sites of America, it's just amazing how much diversity there is within this country.  Peter loves to drive (so do I), and as long as we had plenty of snacks and leg stretching breaks I think it'd be awesome

So there you go, I completed the Comment Challenge week!  Looking forward to seeing some places other bloggers would like to visit.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ice cream before dinner

Yep, we sure did.  We ate ice cream before dinner AND we're not in the least bit sorry.

It was beautiful yesterday so once Peter came home from work we went for a walk, which took us to McDonalds, where we just had to enjoy a kiddie cone for Benjamin and a couple chocolate dipped cones for ourselves.

Benjamin realized his didn't have chocolate and wanted ours.  Bummer, I was hoping he wouldn't realize that they served anything other than 35cent kiddie cones.

After our walk, we ate leftovers outside on our patio.

Any guesses as to what we ate?  Ha!

We spent the rest of the evening enjoying the sunshine, kicking the soccer ball, sliding, and chasing.  It was wonderful.  I remembered two things last night:  that the sunshine does wonders for your mood, and that my boys make hilarious faces.

Day 4: Hobbies & Free Time

Today's topic for the Comment Challenge is all about your hobbies and stuff you like to do in your free time.

I sometimes debate in my mind what I would do if I had 24 hours without kids, responsibilities, etc.  Part of me thinks it would be glorious to sleep in, and watch HGTV while eating ice cream in between naps.  The other part of me would love to go Par 3 golfing with my hubby, eat HOT food in a nice restaurant, go for a long drive, and stay out really late at an adorable coffee shop playing Scrabble.  Please, please, please grandparents move closer so at least one of these dreams could be reality??

Okay, back to my hobbies and things I enjoy during free time.  I like lists so I think I shall make one.

1)  playing piano - I've done it since 2nd grade and I love it.  Not being able to play would be devastating

2)  playing basketball - I'm not great but I have long "ape" arms as my family likes to call them which help block shots.  I only watch men's college basketball, in particular during March Madness

3)  garage sales - my Dad got me hooked on these.  You can find the most amazing deals.  Yes, there is a lot of junk too but you quickly learn how to "drive by" those kind of sales and find some great deals.  I buy nearly all of my boys clothes at garage sales and have recently found some great deals like Ikea bookshelves for $1 a piece, Costco garage shelving for $40 (orig. $150), and Children's Place clothing (some still with tags on) for 50 cents a piece.  Going to garage sales is one of my favorite things to do!

4)  Camping/hiking - both Peter and I love to be outdoors and so do our boys. 

5)  Eating out - we don't do it that often since our boys are so young and its kinda crazy keeping them happy and occupied while trying to eat dinner, but I love a good meal.

6)  watching tv - I know how lazy that sounds but I really do enjoy tv.  Which is probably why we don't have cable.  Peter claims its because we can't afford it but I think it's because he enjoys an evening with me without having to guess whether the couple is going to buy House #1, 2 or 3 :-)  I'm really excited to watch the Olympics this summer, I totally get sucked into it and can't stop watching (hooray for being able to get NBC through a little indoor antenna)

7)  Traveling with Peter - I am a great traveler, as long as I get some sleep and am fed.  Peter learned this very early on in our marriage and its helped us survive, ha!  Peter loves to travel and we enjoy getting to spend time together.  Before kids we went to DisneyWorld, Washington DC, Chicago, San Francisco, and New Hampshire.  Maybe we'll plan another one for our 10th anniversary in a couple of years.

8)  Reading/playing/singing with my boys - Actually, doing just about everything with my boys is my favorite thing.  I absolutely love parenting our sons with Peter....we go to bed most nights just exhausted but with the sweetest smile on our faces because we enjoy our life so much. 

Well, the boys are napping and I need to get a few things done before one of them wakes up so I will leave you with the two reasons why we fall asleep with a smile on our faces each night!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Day 3: Social Media

I'm afraid my post concerning social media isn't going to be very exciting, at least in comparison to be riveting posts about our trips to Wal-Mart and the park!

Because you see, my cellphone is well....a prepaid, no frills, actually used as a phone, phone.  Kinda just makes those fun apps like Twitter, Instagram, etc non-existant in my world.  And that's okay, iphones fascinate me but I'm about 99% sure they would confuse me.  If our budget would ever allow, I'm sure that confusion would quickly turn into fun obsession and I would be converted, but that's not going to happen anytime soon.

I have recently entered the world of Pinterest though.  I have found so many new dessert recipes or toddler craft ideas.  And I recently tried my hand at some DIY artwork.

You can read more about that HERE

I think husbands must have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest.  Love that they can work on their own stuff in the evening because we're content to be frantically pinning "inspiration" for every aspect of our lives.  Hate the fact that their honey-do list triples thanks to that "inspiration". 

As far as websites that I love, there are a few.  I love craigslist.  We have found so many pieces of furniture, baby gear, gifts, etc from sellers on the site.  I recently found a used-once Kindle touch for $50 as a bday gift for Peter and he uses it all the time.

I also love amazon.  Living in a small town gives very little selection on gifts so I buy almost all of them via amazon.  We even buy our diapers from them.  They are delivered to your door.  And with the Prime discount and Mom discount it makes for some pretty cheap Pampers.  Which is good when you have 2 boys in diapers.  And did I mention they deliver to your door?  Awesome.

I also love for watching shows when I have a free moment since we don't have cable.  I used to check for all the silly celebrity stuff but I found myself checking it too often and getting sucked into the false reality of that world, so I haven't checked the site at all this year as a personal goal/discipline.  I need to get back into the routine of using because those extra amazon gift cards were awesome.  When it comes time for grocery shopping I usually check a few couponing sites to see if there's any great deals.  I don't have the time to coupon consistently but I always check for deals on our staples.  I like,, and

Wow, if you actually read this post, I'm sorry for stealing those 2 minutes of your life.  Basically I'm a gal who has a boring phone, but loves her computer and enjoys kicking back in the evening by watching some online HGTV show or Storage Wars and browsing for deals on craigslist.

Off to enjoy the day, we're supposed to have sunshine (come on Oregon!), so after I teach piano we're off to the park to meet some friends. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why I Blog

Today is Day 2 of Jenna's Blog Commenting Challenge and the topic of the day is "Why do you blog?"

The short answer:  because I am a horrible scrapbooker.

I am a horrible scrapbooker.  I had a huge piles of books, found great deals on stickers and embellishments, stocked up on the cutest paper.  And it looked amazing sitting in our guest room closet.

Who am I kidding?  All that stuff overwhelmed me, perhaps I'm not as crafty and creative as I thought I was?  I think part of it was how time consuming it all is....the idea that all that stuff will sit out on a card table for days until you find the perfect spot for that adorable little sticker, with all the paper scraps scattered everywhere.  Not ideal for the *tiny* control freak in me.

And yet I love the idea of documenting our lives so we can remember those day to day moments, be able to show our kids the details of their childhoods.  Another huge motivation was finding a way to share those daily moments with the grandparents who live in a different state. 

Enter blogging.

Blogging has provided a way to feel connected with friends and family.  It gives me a simple creative outlet to organize and document life's moments.  A way to process through my thoughts as a wife, mom and woman.  How many times have I remembered to take a photo of something we're doing because it would make a great blog post!  I love having an avenue to remember the frustrations of the days my boys don't nap, my feeble crafting attempts, our date nights (pretty sure we used to have those!), and our low key weekends.  And yeah, I love posting pictures of my adorable little boys.....their Auntie Amanda gets annoyed when I don't post them often enough.

I realize that the majority of my "readers" are family and a few friends in real life, but the amazing thing about blogging is how connected you can feel to someone simply through viewing their pictures and reading about their life.  So if you're reading this and I don't know you, poke around and get a glimpse of our simple but blessed life.  And to the grandparents - Grandfather, Nana, Poppy & GongGong....aren't the boys getting sooo big?  We miss you!
 we love Jonah's giggles
Benjamin's doing his best Oscar the Grouch impression :-)

Monday, June 25, 2012

An hour and a video

I have the best husband.  Ever.  Jonah was up 3 times last night, Benjamin woke up at 6am, and they only napped at the same time for 35 minutes and Peter worked late.  So it's been a bit of a long day.  So my amazing hubby took the boys out to play for an hour. 

Yes, my amazing hubby took the boys out to play for an hour.

And right now, its quiet and I am enjoying this sweet break of an hour to myself.

I just uploaded the cutest video of Benjamin and I from this afternoon.  We were playing the piano and singing together and I plopped the video camera on the piano to try to capture one of my favorite parts of this age.  His enthusiasm and his adorably sweet voice.

I've loved this "mommy" break but I'm ready to have my boys back!

A bit about me

Blogging is such a fun way to get a peek into the lives of so many different kinds of people.  It's still crazy that I read the blogs of gals I don't even know, and that there's been people who have read my blog who don't know me in real life.  I just love seeing how other families do life, finding tips and tricks and new ideas.  So I'm linking up with Jenna's blog for her comment challenge.  Her topic for today's post is to share a bit about yourself so here goes....

Hi!  I'm April.  I'm a 28 year old gal who was born in Cailfornia, lived most of her life in Iowa, and now is back in the Northwest living in Oregon.  I live a life far better than what I deserve and am covered in the saving grace of Jesus.  I've been married for 7 1/2 years to my best friend Peter.  He is super easy going, I'm a bit emotional.  He's hard working and single focused, I thrive when I'm multi-tasking.  He's a bit introverted, I'm a bit extroverted.  We both love the outdoors, sports, coffee, traveling, good food and being with family.  I'm a happy wife :-)

Together, we also have two adorable boys!  Benjamin is 2 and Jonah is 5 months. 
Benjamin: spunky, strong willed, smart, articulate, loud, energetic
Jonah:  back, cuddle bug, goofy, a bit of a temper, curious, observant

They've taught me the joy of immediate, unconditional love.  I worked as an Executive Assistant before I had Benjamin, but now have my dream job taking care of them at home.  We spend a lot of days in our pjs, I change a lot of diapers, and use a lot of OxiClean.  It's not always glamorous, in fact, it rarely is.  But I also play a lot of chase games, work a lot of puzzles, color a lot of shapes, have a lot of tickle fests, sing a ton of silly songs, play at a lot of parks and give lots of kisses and squeezes.  Even on its worst days, it's still my favorite thing in the world, I love being a mom.

We don't have any pets even though Peter is a huge dog lover.  So is Benjamin.  Me...not so much.  Peter would love a lab or a golden retriever, but I'm thinking that my hands are pretty full at the moment.  Sorry babe :-)

Thanks for reading, looking forward to checking out some new blogs this week!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up

This weekend was pretty low-key for us as a family, but it seemed like it was a nice blend of relaxation and getting things done.  Friday we just ate dinner at home and hung out.  Saturday morning I hit a few garage sales and I scored 2 Ikea bookshelves for $1 a piece.  $1!!!  My super handy hubby is going to cut them a bit so they become built in storage in our closets.  We already have one bookshelf Peter custom cut for the closet in Jonah's nursery and it provides soooo much extra storage, I love it.  So he's going to put one of the shelves into Benjamin's closet and the other on my side of our closet.  Yeah!  Benjamin lucked out when I found a couple fun Thomas the Train items for him at another garage sale. 
 he is just so RIDICULOUSLY cute
this shot is so Benjamin.  Wearing his favorite Thomas trains and jumping

Saturday afternoon the boys took naps while we relaxed.  Then we headed out to buy a few more 50 cent flowers at a local nursery.  I had found a few planters for 50 cents at a garage sale and I spray painted them dark brown and they look great with bright, cheerful flowers.  I forgot to take a picture today but will try to remember to do so tomorrow.  We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening playing outside, planting flowers and vegetables.  Some of my favorite moments lately have been in our backyard, watching our garden grow, kicking the soccer ball with Benjamin, pulling the boys in the wagon.  I'm really enjoying these longer summer days and my sweet boys.

One of the best moments of the weekend was Saturday night.  We had just put Jonah to bed and Peter and I were lying with Benjamin in his bed.  We usually sing a few songs to him before he goes to sleep.  But tonight he wanted to sing with us.  And for the next 10 minutes we sang, all 3 of us.  We sang his current favorite "He's still working on me" a couple times, because everyone that knows Benjamin knows he loves repetition, ha.  We sang "Jesus Loves the Little Children", "The B-I-B-L-E", "My God is so Big" and "Ho-ho-ho-Hosana".  Peter and I smiled from ear to ear as we sang with this precious son of ours and his sweet two year old little voice.  Hearing him sing with such joy about a God who loves him even more than we do as his parents is a pretty amazing thing and one of those simple life moments that will just stay etched in your memory. 

Today we enjoyed a wonderful church service, ate leftovers, relaxed in the afternoon though the boys didn't take great naps.  Peter worked on the bookshelves a bit, we played outside, and Peter watched the 3 Little Pigs with the boys on the Ipad.  I took a few pictures of my boys in the morning before church because they were just so cute together.  Benjamin loves to climb into Jonah's crib after he wakes up and they will talk to each other.  They are adorable brothers.

All that play time must have worn Jonah out because he conked out on the bed while we were getting dressed....

It was a wonderful weekend with lots of time spent as a family.

Here is my new favorite picture of my two boys together. 
I just adore the way Jonah is holding Benjamin's hand.  And the way Benjamin is resting his head on Jonah.  I can't help but smile at these sweet brothers.
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