Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Life Lately - ballet recital, playhouse progress and a birthday

We've been busy again and I can't say that I can complain.  Life is just going sweetly and I am trying to soak up every single minute of it.  As usual I have about 5 different projects going on and juggling them all is getting a little crazy - which might be why I haven't been on here much.

But First...
Ellie had her very first Ballet Recital this past weekend.  On Friday she had her dress rehearsal and got to put on make up - including lipstick.  She was so adorable and I knew her lashes were to die for but once I got the mascara on I just about lost it. She was too cute in her Rainbow Connection costume.  I almost got tears in my eye watching her perform and she did fantastic.

On Saturday we gave Ellie her birthday present early, it's actually a combined gift for both girls but since Finnley isn't too interested at this point Ellie is having a blast driving it all around the farm.

Speaking of the farm, Thomas and I got to work on Project Playhouse during the girls naps and cut some holes for a pair of windows I picked up at a junk show as well as made a door jam for the dutch door on the left side of the house!  I am so excited for the progress we are making.  Hopefully we'll get the windows installed and some plywood up on the walls and the girls can start playing in there!

I woke Ellie up from her nap and got her ready for her Ballet Recital.  It was so fun getting her all dolled up again and then watching her perform in front of an audience.  She did awesome and was so serious but having fun at the same time.  I must mention that she was very concerned about staying in her assigned spot on stage!!  Despite Finnley's face she did have a good time.  She wasn't feeling too well...we found out later that she has a UTI and is now on antibiotics and doing much better.  After her performance Thomas gave her a bouquet of fresh flowers picked from our farm and she was totally smitten.

That evening I had to take a final picture with my main girl before she turned 4!

Her love for her sister is something fierce!

Sunday was Ellie's 4th Birthday and we celebrated by going on a ferry ride to our favorite island for some time on the beach, at the park, and stopping at our favorite bakery for some goodies before heading back home for dinner.  While Thomas was preparing Ellie her elaborate meal of Top Ramen ;) I went outside to plant my new Magnolia tree and flowering currents.

♥ Ashley

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Farmhouse Master Inspiration

 I'm not sure why but our Master Bedroom has always been at the bottom of my list.  Maybe because I haven't really been that inspired or figured since we had a matching bedroom set all I really needed were some nice linens.  That is SO NOT the case.  Turns out I stopped liking our furniture several years ago and just felt like the whole room was so dark.  For the past year (or maybe longer) I've been pinning ideas for a lighter and more Farmhouse inspired look.

Farmhouse Master 

I am so excited to get started on our room!!  We finally replaced the old carpet from 1989 with some wood laminate and it's all just spiraled from there.  We loved how much brighter the room was with a fresh coat of paint and our heavy furniture out of the way.  So we have decided to redecorate our Master!!

If you follow me on Instagram (@lifewithkidsblog) then you've seen some sneak peeks.  I already had some things for the room from when my mom passed away and I am so excited to get them out of the garage and to start incorporating them into our home!!

First lets start with the bedframe.  We got a king size of this bed and I love it.  It was relatively easy to put together and anchors our room while still keeping it light and airy.  I am also obsessed with the bedding (in white) I picked out and cannot wait for it to arrive.

I've been going back and forth with our dresser.  I was hoping to use a piece of furniture that belonged to my mom but its just not the right size for our our TV would be hanging from the ceiling!! So I decided to go with the Hemnes since they have it on sale right now (as long as it's still in stock in my store) I mean you can't beat a large dresser for under $200!   I also have some curtains from IKEA that continue with my white and light theme!

Our bed tables will not be matching.  Currently we have a black iron table (I had it in Ellie's nursery and then we moved it into our room) that used to be my moms and then I will be bringing in another wood and glass table (similar but much more vintage) that was also my moms for the other side.  Our lamps are similar to these, but were also my moms.  I'm sure you've spotted them in some of my previous posts. 

I also have this awesomely large mirror (similar) that my mom had hanging on the wall above the couch in our family room growing up.  It's been chilling in our garage for about a year now and I cannot wait to bring it in.  I just have to figure out a way to hang it so that it doesn't come crashing is heavy y'all. 

And then my most challenging thing is to find a rug.  I was thinking about another jute rug but I don't want that in our room.  I'm leaning more towards a vintage style rug and am hoping to find one that is green toned and won't break the bank...wish me luck!  But I might have to settle for something in the blue tones like this one.

Once all those major pieces are in place then I can work on the details. Like photos, frames, and little decor pieces.  I'm so excited!!

Where does decorating the Master Bedroom fall on your list??

♥ Ashley 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Weekending - the Mother's Day edition (and an update)

I switched things up a bit...when I first started this blog it was to detail happenings of our life, then infertility struck and I wanted to try and focus on the "Farm" aspect of our life and then adoptions happened and we became parents.  Truth be told, I always wanted to be a Mom Blogger and once these bundles of joy joined our family my blog has taken a complete focus on them.  I have been toying with the idea of changing my blog name for a while but couldn't come up with anything and almost ditched this one to start a new one...but then it hit me this weekend and I decided to just make the change now!!

Changing the blog name was the easiest part,
Welcome to the Life with Kids blog...
now changing all my social media and emails is another story.

Let's get onto my 4th Mother's Day shall we?

It all started out with an impromptu visit to our favorite island for dinner, the park and driving around on Friday afternoon.

Then on Saturday I had some much needed pampering done and spent a few hours with my girl getting my hairs colored.  I have so my grey in my hair and it's been a part of my life since I was 17 years old.  Not only did we do our regular root touch up but we also added in some balayage (it's been well over a year since my last one) and I am in LOVE!!

Saturday afternoon we hopped in the car and drove halfway across the state to spend the holiday with Thomas' mom at their new house.  We arrived and had dinner, sat around and talked for hours and even Finnley warmed up to them quite a bit.  Then it was time for bed.

Sunday we got up had coffee, chatted a bit, went out for coffee, visited a farmers market, took the girls to a park, headed back to their house for Finnley's nap, chatted some more and then had an early dinner before we jumped in the car and drove back home...but first we had to stop at our favorite drive in for a milkshake and fried mushrooms.

When we got home we sat down in front of our pantry door and attempted some Mama and Girls photos...I'm learning to take what I can get ;)

Overall it was a super laid back weekend and I got to spend it with my favorite people.

this one might be my favorite.  We were taking "silly" pictures and obviously Ellie was totes into it while Finnley does what she does ;)

Finnley just observes and takes everything in...but I have to admit that she really does make the funniest faces and I have on occasion been able to capture them.

And then when they're both smiling my heart just melts.

This journey to motherhood wasn't easy, nor is navigating it motherless, but when I look back and see who these girls are becoming and my unmeasurable love for them.   I don't take being their Mama for granted one second and am so grateful for the generosity of their birth mom's to choose me to be their Mama.

♥ Ashley

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Adios 1989 - A Great Floors Review

Y'all when I chose my Word for 2017 I really had no idea how satisfying it was going to be.  I am so happy to have crossed off another two things off our list and am really enjoying this whole new mindset of just doing things.  Not everything I do has to cost money to accomplish my Word for 2017, we've done plenty of picnics, impromptu visits to the park and painting for Ellie.

We finally did it, we have replaced all of the flooring in our house from 1989...well almost!!  This past month we put new floors into the bedrooms, which was long over due since I'm pretty sure the carpet was original to the house and the previous owners had cats.  The only floors we have left to replace are the Master Bathroom and our laundry room (and the entryway but that is the lowest of low on the to do list - so low that I don't care if we ever replace them)

After lots of himming and hawing, I was able to convince Thomas that wood floors were the way to go.  It wasn't too hard to convince him since Cooper has had many a middle of the night episodes requiring us Thomas to get out the carpet cleaner (if you catch my drift).  So the thought of being able to easily wipe up any messes became more appealing by the night ;)

Even though we had a horrible experience with Lumber Liquidators (and their installation crew) we wanted to go with the same flooring.  I have a family friend who lays floors and he came out to give me a quote on the installation.  I knew he was the way to go because we would get quality installation without any of the headache - and what's better than supporting a friend?  So off to Lumber Liquidators to get the flooring and it turns out that our floors were discontinued and they only had 2 crappy boxes, some other stores in the state a few boxes but I would have had to drive to pick them up because they don't ship from store to store...not to mention that the sales staff are missing 3/4 of their brain cells and have the worst customer service.  There is much more headache to the story but let me just say that based on my experience and that of my extended family DO NOT use Lumber Liquidators their company is shit!  

So I made my way over to Great Floors (which is about 8 miles closer to my farm #winning) the staff was super helpful, kind, and quick to answer any questions.  They have all of their brain cells and superb customer service.  They actually had a floor that matched almost perfectly and even though it was in stock at another store they would ship it to their store free of charge!! #winningagain The flooring was in store a couple days later and the loading into our truck was quick and seamless (unlike our previous experience).  We got home and unloaded into our home just before a hailstorm hit...the timing was perfect.  The flooring sat in our home for about a week and then we scheduled the installation.  It was a mad dash because he was available the next day to do part of the job so we cleared out the girls room (and made a chaotic mess of our room and dining room) and then pulled out all the carpet, padding and tack strips.  We vacuumed and swept like mad people and then were ready for install the next day.  Ellie had school and I had an appointment, it was so nice having a friend do our install because I left him at our house to work without a worry in my heart to run around for a few hours.  When we got back after lunch Finnley's room was complete and Ellie's was 1/3 of the way done!!  Just a couple hours later and her rooms was done too! I was able to vacuum and mop and get both rooms back in order!

I can't get over how much better Finnley's room looks with the new flooring.  The match is barely noticeable and I am so pleased with our install experience this time around.  Luckily Finnley's room was relatively easy to put back together and I was able to sift out some unneeded items ;)

Sifting through Ellie's stuff was a bit more challenging. I learned that we have a lot of stuff and am working on simplifying our life a bit.  I love how her room looks and I feel so much better that she is no longer sleeping in the cat carpet room ;)

We were then able to schedule another day for install of our room.  Decluttering and cleaning out our room was a chore!  Our furniture is heavy (and we're selling it if you're local) and big.  It's going to be really nice going through and simplifying all our stuff.  Then Thomas got to work and pulled out all the carpet, padding and tack strips and vacuumed like a maniac.  Then he and Ellie left for the weekend and I took advantage of the cleared out room and painted our room.

**I have been wanting a new, lighter color in here for several years but the thought of moving all the furniture was a major road block.  I decided to go with a simple creamy white and I couldn't love it any more.  In truth I actually had to paint two different colors.  I originally went with Swiss Coffee but it wasn't creamy enough and made my white trimwork and doors look dirty and dingy.  Instead of painting all of that I decided to switch colors since the walls needed a second coat anyways.  I went with the same color white that is all throughout our house "Crisp Linen" which is an old color from Valspar back in 2010 that is no longer available, but I keep a can on hand with the barcode in tact and they are able to continue to blend it for me.**

We then left for our trip to Victoria and my friend had a key to our house and he was able to come and install our floors while we were on vacation.  We arrived home to the flooring complete and were able to vacuum and mop and bring some things back in.  It was so nice to finally have our bed back to ourselves...I had been sleeping with Ellie and Thomas on the couch.

Since we are selling our bedroom furniture we didn't want to bring it all back in, so we just have the dresser and the bed in our room.  We are using some extra table we already had for our nightstands.  I cannot wait to finish up this space - so if you know someone looking for a solid 5 piece bedroom set send them my way!

The rooms aren't done because we still have some touch up work, transitions and then I need to paint and install the new baseboard that matches the rest of the house!

I seriously cannot get over the difference these floors make in our rooms (not to mention the new white walls in our master) and I smile every time I look in them.  I really am starting to love this house of ours and might actually miss it when we decide to move.

All in all I think we had a wonderful experience with Great Floors and they continue to have spectacular customer service (and timely too) each time I call because I realize that we need just one more thing.  When it comes time to pick out tile for our bathroom I am pretty confident that we will happily become return customers.

♥ Ashley

This post was NOT sponsored by Great Floors, I was just so impressed with our experience that I wanted to share!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Finnley's First Birthday in ONEderland

This past weekend we celebrated Finnley's First Birthday!  I went with an Alice in ONEderland theme and it was so cute.  I got lots of inspiration from my Pinterest board (and let me tell you there are lots of ideas on this theme) but ultimately had to do my own thing.

Let's start off with some of the pre-party shenanigans.  I worked some chalkboard art on our pantry doors and this has become my favorite way to celebrate!  Thankfully our girls were willing to take naps the day of the party so we could finish up last minute details (and get ourselves ready....I always leave that to the last 10 minutes).  The birthday girl woke up about 30 minutes before the party - she takes a while to warm up after a wake up and was a good sport about getting dressed.  It was so fun having a themed party and we all got into it.  I dressed as the Cheshire Cat, Thomas was the Mad Hatter, and Ellie went as a Pansy!  We took advantage of the calm before the storm and took some photos.

But first her invitations.  I ordered them off of ETSY and printed them at home.  There were so many options but I loved these the best.  Here is where I got them from.

my ears, tail and socks

Thomas hat

Finnley's dress (similar)

Ellie loves to take pictures with our phones and I love how she captured me and Finnley (laughing emoji)

she actually did a pretty decent job of the three of bad for sitting right in front of the window...

Me and my girls

Our family of Four!!!

The girls got started on eating before anyone arrived and I love that Finnley is sneaking some of Ellie's chips ;)

Now on to the party details:

I used the banner I made for Ellie's first birthday and then got some balloons to frame either side.  I was hoping it would act as some sort of photo background but also a great spot for Finnley to have her cake!

Alice balloon, flamingo

I loved taking Finnley's weekly photos and since I knew what I was going to do with them for her party I am so glad that I was mindful of how I set them up each week.  I made a giant 1 from Ellie's first year photos that I knew I wanted to do it again.  Finnley's was a much more cohesive look and I can't get over how well it turned out.  Many of our guests loved checking it out and picking their favorite weeks, I'm tied between weeks 20 and 45 (strangely enough she is wearing the same headband...)

Thomas caught my creative bug and not only made the signs for the presents and guest book but also the sign for the front door!!

I grabbed a copy of the Golden Book's Alice in Wonderland and had the idea for people to sign it as a sort of guest book for Finnley.  *notice Finnley's cute little hand in the picture.

I made Finnley's cake, it's our traditional Strawberry birthday cake and it finally turned out right after a bit of tweaking the recipe the past 2 years.  I wanted to try and go for a naked cake and I think I did a decent job.

We actually saved the 1 candle from Ellie's birthday so I loved that we got to reuse it.  To make sure that the cake was on theme I used some Alice figurines to decorate the cake, along with some left over mushrooms from Ellie's second birthday.

Alice figurines, cake stand (similar)

I got some foam core poster boards and turned them into Ace's, I was contemplating doing some other numbers but since Finnley is only 1 I kept with the aces theme.  I think they were such a fun addition to the decor and really weren't that difficult or expensive to make.

I tried to keep the table pretty simple and love the tablecloth I found for the party.  I used some more Alice figurines to decorate, along with a stuffed Cheshire Cat, and pansies as the centerpiece.  I got the cutest little cookie display cloches that were just perfect for the party, along with some cute little drinking vials, and adorable tea cup lollipops.

Cheshire Cat, cookie cloches, drinking vials, Alice figurines, plates, napkins, lollipops

On the menu:
Assorted Sandwiches from a local grocery store
Rice Crispy Treats
Chessmen Cookies
Chips and Salsa
Hummus and Veggies
Macaron's from our local farmers market
Cheddar Bunnies
Strawberry Cake
Assorted Wine
Assorted Beer

and how about my new stools?  I

Finnley is a shy girl and gets a bit overwhelmed when there is a lot going on.  She spent most of the party being held by someone in her tribe (mainly me) but as the party went on she got more comfortable and was quite into the present opening part ;)

The cake was delicious but I think this girl had more fun smashing it around than actually eating it!

My brother and his twin boys came down for the party.  They are only about 5 months older than Finnley and she is already taller than both of them!! Once she starts walking I don't think you'll be able to tell an age difference ;)

And this is basically how Ellie feels about babies, especially her sister!! Girlfriend is totes in her element.

And when you have great friends who dress up for your party!  When there is more than one Mad Hatter you have to vote for who wore it best!


♥ Ashley