the tour

{pardon the blurry-ness of these pictures. Blame the phone-computer connection. boo.)

Oh did I have DREAMS of how to put Cole's nursery together! There were so many colors, patterns, and accessories to choose from...it was like 9 solid months of tearing my hair out. 
It began with us wanting to finish the basement, so everything that was going to go down there had to be stored in Cole's bedroom for a few months. Just look at the mess. There was nothing, I repeat, NOTHING I could do to organize this better. Not a day went by when I wouldn't cry over how messy this room looked. Wasn't it supposed to be my baby's room? Come on now. 

We still got moving on picking out furniture and accessories for the baby's room. Shane and I found this super cute and sturdy dresser at a yard sale fundraiser for $25. If you don't remember how incredibly and unbelievably awful this dresser was to re-do, I am not going to repeat the story. It's too painful to resurface into my memory.
To make the story short, after 6 attempts at sanding and repainting the beautiful beast and getting off-spray all over my parent's car and newly refinished garage floor at the end of the summer and pregnant, it turned out just fine.

I had my heart set on this adorable and simple khaki and white bedding from Land of Nod. However, just for the crib skirt, 1 sheet, and blanket, it would have cost $145.
for sheets and a blanket that would get spit up on, blown out on, and worn out within a few short years. I just couldn't do it! Shane and I decided that we'd rather put the extra money into a savings account for the little guy than spend it on bedding that he would never even care about.
So, every week I would check TJMaxx, Marshalls, and Home Goods for some deals on bedding. Each week I found the same 101 Dalmatian set that I also just couldn't buy (for obvious reasons...).
Luckily, while on vacation in Newport Beach, my sister in law spotted this adorable bedding! It was from Marshalls, and came with the embroidered skirt, bumpers, duvet cover with comforter, and 1 sheet. It was so well made, and cost $40.
We were more than thrilled.

 I then purchased two framed canvases that after the sale price and a coupon, came to $3.50 a piece. I asked my 8 year old niece, Anna, if she would paint on them for Cole's room. I didn't tell her any specifics of what I was looking for, because I wanted her to use her imagination. I couldn't have hand picked anything better to hang on my little boy's wall! The picture on the left has a snake, chameleon, lizard, and monkey, and the picture on the right has a frog.
They are PERFECT for his room!

 We were so blessed from our parents too...my parents purchased our crib, and Shane's parents bought us the glider and ottoman.
On the wall behind where I am standing is a sepia toned picture of Christ holding a baby and they are both smiling. Shane gave it to me for mother's day because we had agreed that we always wanted Cole to see Jesus Christ the way we all picture him to be...joyous, and full of love.

Cole's room turned out completely differently than I had planned, but I wouldn't want it any other way! After all, it is HIS room, not mine, right?
It should be exactly the way HE would want it...reptiles and all!


a day in the life of a 5 month old

I like to wake up right as the sun comes over the mountains (or sometimes a little bit before...). Mom always says, "if you miss the sunrise you miss the day!" sometimes I wonder if she really means it, because she seems so tired when she comes in to get me. I give her my best smile and giggle as she helps me sit up.
Then we go snuggle in her bed...

She sometimes brings toys for me to play with,

but most of the time we play with each other. Mom makes funny faces at me and it makes me laugh and laugh!

Duke and Dundee never seem ready to wake up...but they'll be up soon.

I get to lie down in my favorite spot while mama gets my bath ready. I love to look out at the trees and hear the birds through my window. I also like to grab at my blinds and shake them as hard as I can! Mom sometimes seems upset when I do this, but most of the time she smiles and laughs.
I laugh back.

When mom brings me in for bathtime, Duke and Dundee quickly jump off of the bed to be with us. I like to grab their fur and watch them walk around. I LOVE my animals, even though they make the bathroom really crowded!

After I've splashed all of the walls in the bathroom with water, mom pulls me out and wraps me in a towel. I like to roll over to my side and put the towel in my mouth right as she puts it around me!

I get lotioned up and go back to my changing pad to practice grabbing my toes. It is so much harder than most babies make it look...I must have gotten both my mom AND my dad's non-flexible genes.

Then it's time to decide what to spend my money on...I get a monthly budget of $10, but mom and dad always make me put it in my savings account! Soon they'll realize that I've got big plans with that allowance...have you checked out the toy section at Target recently?!
I mean, seriously.

I sit in mama's lap while she responds to emails, works on church lessons, downloads pictures, and works on the blog. I think blogging is a source of stress for her...but I can tell that she really loves it in the end!

 Yum! Time to try some solids. I'm improving my skills, you know...I'm just working on focusing my eyes a little better.  Those spoons are just so huge!

Ah, time to take a break and practice being cute. Mama thinks that I have mastered that talent, but I remind her that we aren't all perfect.

I love to spend time outside to watch the sky and my doggy play fetch. I wear myself out laughing at Dundee while he barks!

Mom very, very gently takes me inside to put me in my crib. 
She finally buckled down and made this sign for the door so that Dundee wouldn't bark and wake me up. 
I try to tell her that he's only trying to protect my castle, but she tells me that sleeping is just as important.

Twenty minutes later, I'm awake! Those cat naps are so refreshing.
I go back to my changing pad (which has a different blanket on it now...I spit up on my outfit and the other cover, so they're in the wash).
I practice grabbing my toes again...

While mommy finds me a new outfit.

On some days, we get in the car to go somewhere, like Aunt Brookie's house.

Mom and Aunt Brooke go for a walk, while I rest in the stroller.

 Daddy is home from work! He says it is important for me to practice standing.

 But I don't like to do that for very long...

I'd rather sit on his lap!

I ask him if we can roast s'mores. Sometimes he says yes!

 We play,

And then it's time for another bath.

 While I am in the bath, this is what my family does.

 Mommy feeds me a bottle, while I wiggle out of her arms.
There...I've found the perfect position.

 Mama knows I'm really asleep when I pucker my lips just like this.
I can never tell if I am awake or dreaming, but I feel like I can hear her singing my favorite lullabies. I feel like I can hear her talking to Heavenly Father about how much she loves me. 

And she does.
I can feel it in my heart!


teething: a tough and never-ending job

It goes something like this:

My teeth hurt so much that I scream and scream and mom tries so hard to get me to calm down but I just can't! Eventually, in desperation, she sets me in my chair with a handful of toys. Within two minutes I am asleep.

Then I wake up and I chew on anything that I can. Most of the time it ends up being my bib or burp cloth. Mom always cringes when I chew on these...the thought of me biting into cotton makes her feel weird.

Ah! Daddy is home! I can play for a minute to get my mind off of these sore gums.

But not for long.

I try again to fall asleep but I can't! So mama holds me, and walks me, and rocks me, and the whole time I squirm and grunt because I just don't like to be held. This time, mama found the perfect position for me to fall asleep in. One leg on the chair, one leg off.

 Soon I am up again and I join mom while she fixes dinner.  This time she was making sandwiches and I begged her for the ham container. It didn't feel as good as I was expecting.

 Then I wanted the butter knife. Oh boy did I want that shiny thing! Mom wouldn't let me have it, so we compromised on a spatula. I liked the spatula.

After dinner it is time for bed. I take a bath. I eat. It hurts. I cry. I chew on my bib. Mom cringes. I try desperately to wiggle out of her arms. She puts me in my crib.
Somehow, I fall asleep.

Until midnight.
And 2:00 am.
And 3:00-5:00 am.
Then we start all over at 6:30.

anyone have a burp cloth for me to chew on?

Keith's 60th Surprise

Shane's Dad was celebrating is 60th birthday, so the kids and their spouses put together a surprise birthday party for him.  Tons of people came...it was so neat to see so many of his friends and family there!
I was put in charge of the "Book of Memories" for Keith.  I collected letters and pictures and put them together in a binder.  It ended up being a huge project...much bigger than I had expected.
All in all, I think it turned out great!
(You see the animals are really helping me out here...)

Shane wrote this beautiful and funny poem for the cover of the book:

Here are some of the pages I did for the inside of the book.  My father in law is quite the joke-ster and loves to laugh.  I knew he'd enjoy some good quotes!

Cole fell asleep for most of the party...

Some of the gals...

 It turned out to be such a fun way to celebrate the wonderful life of my amazing father in law.  I am so blessed to be a Stratford!