Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I wanted something big and bold over the crib in our daughter's nursery.  I spent hours hunting around Etsy, but decided to try my hand at painting something.

I used a 50% off coupon to purchase the biggest, deepest canvas I could find at Michael's (4'x5').  It sat in the nursery for weeks...I felt like those underpants gnomes from Southpark.  Step 1: Buy Giant Canvas.  Step 2: ??????  

I finally found this on Pinterest and figured it looked simple enough.  I grabbed 2 quarts of paint from the hardware store in pink and white, a few paint brushes, and got to work.

Even though I took my time planning and sketching, I messed up my first two attempts.  I was able to paint over my mistakes, but was completely stressed by the experience and began searching around for less intimidating alternatives.  I wound up in my gift wrap closet, and had one of those 'aha!' moments when I saw a pile of red tissue paper.  A quick search on pinterest for 'fox illustrations' revealed some simple geometric designs and I got busy cutting.  

The process is pretty straight forward...cut out the pieces, place them on the canvas, move and trim as needed, then mod podge the pieces down starting with the bottom layer and working your way up.

I loved the freedom of being able to tweak things before committing to a shape or placement.  One downside to this method is the tissue paper can tear if you are not careful..I had to water down the mod podge a little to keep it from pulling the paper too hard.  It's also helpful to have a few extra pieces cut out in case something goes wrong, then you can just peel up the botched layer (while it's still wet) and put another piece down.  Each layer needs to dry for an hour or 2 before moving on to the next, but I found this process worked well with my mom-schedule.  I could pop in and lay down a layer in just a few minutes then walk away for days if I needed to, rather than trying to find a large chunk of time to spend on the project.  
The other speed bump I encountered was how transparent the white tissue paper became once it came in contact with the mod podge.  I ended up doing about five layers of white to get it to show up, and it was still more transparent that I would have liked.  You could save a lot of time by doing one or two layers of white tissue, then going over it with white paint, but after my failed attempts with paint, working with more tissue paper seemed easier to me at the time. 
In the end, I kinda like how the various layers show through...I think it gives it character!  
The gold leaves were a late addition. I didn't plan on doing anything else besides the fox, but he just looked so lonely all by himself, I pulled some inspiration from my original design idea.  Fun fact, that tissue paper is from's what they used to wrap some purchases I made for the nursery in.  Waste not, want not! :)  

This project probably ended up costing about $90 ($50 of that was for the canvas), but could easily be done for a fraction of the price if working on a smaller canvas.  Time wise, I spread it out over two weekends, but you could knock it out in a weekend or even a day depending on the number of layers your design has.  

I'm thrilled with the outcome, and so is Grace!  She loves the bright colors and contrast and I absolutely love that I was able to create something special and one-of-a-kind for my daughter's nursery.  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

It's not pretty.

Hahahaha....wrote this a while back, so I can say, we're doing better!  But honestly, having a baby is TOUGH!  We were so glad when Grace hit the 6month mark. NO MORE INFANTS IN THE CHILDRESS HOUSE!  WOOO WHOOO!!!

So, we've recently added another human to the house.  She is wonderful, beautiful, adorable, healthy, and everything we prayed for.  And at this moment she is crying herself blue in the other room because she refuses to sleep, and I refuse to feed her AGAIN (to recap, she ate at 7, 9 and 10).  We need a schedule STAT, I am losing my mind.  She cluster feeds 24-7 and never. goes. to. sleep.  I have never felt so resentful towards something the size of a watermelon.  So when you see those soft-focused, black and white pictures of moms gazing lovingly at their precious children, know that it's all an illusion.  REAL motherhood is not pretty.  It's me sitting here in pajamas I had on yesterday, hair that hasn't been washed since last week, teeth that haven't been brushed because I'm guzzling coffee and blogging to keep from crying.

As for going from 2 kids to 3....I wish someone would have warned me!!!!  When I was pregnant with our second, everyone felt the need to tell me just how hard having 2 kids would be.  Granted I was having 2 under 2, but every single mom, grandmother, aunt or postal worker I encountered seemed to feel compelled to let me know how hard the first 6 months would be. Some people said it would take a year to adjust.  The general population had me so terrified of the challenge that the stress I felt anticipating 2 under 2 far outweighed the stress I felt actually raising 2 kids under 2.

When I was pregnant with number 3 however, the only comments I got were, 'Do you know what you  are you having? another boy??'  Seriously, that was it...people just wanted to know if it was a third boy.  No one seemed to feel the need to tell me that my brain was about to explode from levels of exhaustion and stress I didn't think humanly possible.  Maybe people just thought, 'She has two kids already, she knows what she's in for!!'

Um, NO!  Here's the reason, my second child SLEPT!  Don't get me wrong, that kid makes me pull my hair out and pushes my buttons like no other, but for the first six months of his life, he was the perfect child...never cried, never spit up, never pooped (no exaggeration, he only pooped every other week), and he slept all the time.  In fact, he slept so much I would repeatedly ask the pediatrician if he was mentally ok.  We travelled all over, and called him our little hotel baby...when he was hungry, I'd feed him, and the rest of the time he slept.  When he finally did wake up between 4 and 6 months, I was excited about it - it meant a chance to finally interact with him.     

Grace on the other hand never actually slept before she decided between 6 and 8 weeks that she no longer need any sleep at all, and is only happy if she is being fed and/or held, something that is impossible to do 24-7 when you only have 1 child, let alone 3.  And mornings are THE WORST.  For instance, it is 11:30 and she has been awake since 6 AM. This is no special circumstance either, she does this EVERY DAY.  We can't get anywhere in the morning without having to listen to her scream.  I have even started putting her in the car and coming back into the house to get all out stuff ready because it is literally impossible to pack up 3 kids and my haggard self for school, church or whatever without forgetting 20 things when you can't hear yourself think due to the infant SCREAMING in the background.

So needless to say, this momma is tapped out.  And while I know at some point I will regret wishing her childhood away, here's me, throwing handfuls of money into fountains, craning my neck for shooting stars and scrambling for any other opportunity to WISH HER CHILDHOOD AWAY.  I can not WAIT until she sleeps, preferably through the night and is done nursing/bottle feeding.  While we're at it, I'd really like her to be potty trained and in school at least 3 days a week.  

Like I said, it's not pretty.


Having a little girl has given me a reason to reflect like never before.  I had a happy childhood and an amazing up-bringing, but I have to admit that I struggle every minute of every day with self-doubt.  I am so incredibly blessed, but even in the face of all we have been graced with, I struggle with finding happiness and contentment, and I often wonder if this is an inherently female trait.  At the end of the day, I have found that happiness is a choice, if not a direct side effect of your choices.  Surrounding myself with positive people, especially women, and choosing to focus on what I DO have instead of what I don't, has become more important to me as life marches on.

I want (all my children, but especially) my daughter, to realize that you don't have to be the smartest, or the best looking or the best dressed in the room to be special.  All you have to do to be special is to make other people feel special.  That's all anyone feel special.  Don't ever deny anyone the opportunity to feel humans, we need it!  Notice something unique about others and let them know that they are special.  If you think of something nice, SAY IT!  So often we keep compliments to ourselves...out of fear of sounding dumb, out of fear of giving the person we compliment power over us, out of FEAR....that's all it is.  March past that fear and spread love and compliments and  encouragement, and what you will find is happiness.  Give people a moment of relief from their own insecurities, and that will give you joy.

So maybe it is selfish of me to encourage my children to be positive, but I'm ok with that.  I want (all my children, but especially) my daughter to chose to see that glass as half-full, because if you do, you will never be in-need of friends...I learned that from your Daddy! That man is the biggest ray of sunshine God ever put on this earth in the form of a man.   Learn from him and not me!  I love you so much and I will try every day to grow into a woman you would describe as 'confident'.  Until then, look to your amazing daddy and know that you are all incredible, and loved, and because of your blessings, God wants you to bless others!!!!