Three 31


Gallery Walls

Despite my elaborate Pinterest boards for home décor and design, our home is anything but picture perfect. We’ve lived in this house eight years and I wouldn’t win any design awards. Heck, I wouldn’t even be nominated! There are bare walls, paint drips on the carpet, mismatched drawer pulls and handles in the kitchen, paint color samples adorning a wall in the utility room, and the realtor’s key-box is still attached to the front door handle. This comes in handy when you realize you are outside, all of the doors are locked, the garage door opener is in your car, and the garage doors are down … not that I’ve done this or anything.  Ahem, moving right along!

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with gallery walls. I really want to create a unique focal point with a gallery wall somewhere in our home, maybe in multiple locations. One thing that really annoys me about our home’s current décor is the over-abundance of straight lines. Every where you look, there is a square or rectangle … the couch, picture frames, kitchen cabinets, ceiling and floor trim, dining room table, tile floors, and even the lamp shades are all square or have straight lines! To combat this, I found Cut It Out, an affordable website for unfinished decorative frames. I’ve looked at specialty frames like this in home goods stores and craft shops, but they are super-duper expensive. I don’t like expensive, so I’m excited to buy unfinished frames and paint to my liking. I’m currently working on props for an upcoming photo sessions and cheap frames are always great to use as props and to display the final images! I’ve also been introduced to Craft Cuts, a site specializing in wood letters in a variety of materials, fonts, and customizable colors. In other words, Husband should be worried because I’m getting my design on!

I know I gripe about straight lines, and there are way too many in our house, but some gallery walls are way too “busy” for my taste. I love frames with unique edge designs mixed with more traditional ones (square, rectangle, round, or oval) for contrast. As dark as our house is, light-colored frames would be eye-catching, especially with color photos. The layout below would be great in the front entry hallway. Instead of a table, I already have a bench that I might consider painting a bright, bold color. I love the quote and “H” initial too.

gallerywall5{ source }

Speaking of “H” initials, how about this gallery wall? Simply put, I love it. This would be perfect either on the opposite wall from the front door or in the living room. Our house’s walls are so empty, the possibilities are endless! I like the ribbon for hanging too, that’s a great idea.

h-wall{ source }

Our living room is very oddly shaped. It’s a long, narrow rectangle with three large windows at one end and a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace that’s haphazardly placed between the living room and dining/kitchen areas with a guest bedroom and main bath nearby. As much as I love the MASSIVE kitchen, the space is quite awkward. In the living room, near the windows, there is a large wall but it can’t be seen unless you’re coming from our master suite or Kamden’s bedroom. The wall is in desperate need of attention. On a separate but related not, I wish I had this L-shape sofa too.


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Before I start hammering nails in the wall, a gallery wall needs to be carefully planned out. And because I’m a little (okay, a lot) OCD about pictures being straight, using craft or wrapping paper to sketch the layout beforehand is pure genius.

gallerywall4{ source }

Besides our main living space, I also want to create a fun gallery wall in Kamden’s bedroom and add a reading nook. He has built-in shelves inside his closet, but I want books, mementos, his own artwork, and framed portraits on the walls. I am in LOVE with this design, not necessarily the striped walls or cardboard-looking deer antlers (that’s a little weird, even for this country girl) but the framed art, comfy chair, and shelf ledges are amazing. I can see this idea becoming a reality in his room someday.

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To encourage a love of reading, and to unplug from technology, I want Kamden to have a place he can read, play, or simply chill. A cozy nook with books, toys, puzzles, flash cards, and comfortable seating will become a treasured sanctuary. I love so many things about this reading nook, from the bean bag chairs to the book shelves made from a wood pallet, and especially flash cards hung on fishing line with clothespins. This is definitely a room for inspiration. It’s also a kid-friendly design that Kamden can help make a reality when he’s older – he’s more likely to enjoy and use the space if he is part of the creative process too!


When I was looking at nursery and children’s bedroom décor before Kamden was born, I fell in love with a particular theme that incorporated zoo animals and the alphabet. I wanted to create an alphabet wall but purchasing letters individually was going to cost a fortune, not including the time and money spent to paint them all. At Craft Cuts, they sell letters individually or an entire alphabet set. My heart is rejoicing! You pick the style, size, and color and viola! you’re done. Easy-peasy. This alphabet set is going on top of Kamden’s birthday and Christmas list. I love the look of different fonts and sizes.

alphabetwall{ source }

I’m not a very crafty DIY-er but I can paint and hang pictures. If the projects are easy and cheap, I’m even happier. What’s easier than hot-gluing clothespins to a frame and painting them a bright, festive color for an original art gallery? Even I can use a hot-glue gun and can of spray paint! Want to know another secret about the gallery wall below? The designer hot-glued the letters (P-L-A-Y) directly to the wall. OH MY CREATIVE, BALLSY STARS! Husband would freak …. but it’s a great idea and I might do it anyway. HA!

gallerywall3{ source }

While we’re discussing Kamden’s bedroom, I ADORE these corner shelves! They would be perfect for books, framed portraits, matchbox cars, boxed board games or puzzles behind his closet door to maximize space in that “empty” corner.

cornershelves{ source }

Kamden’s room is the epitome of work in progress. Eventually, I want it to be a space that’s personal and functional for him to rest, relax, and enjoy. Right now, his name is in big letters above his crib and a set of four prints are above his dresser and changing table. The wall color is Stony Creek by Porter Paints and accurately depicted in the four prints photo, sorry for the terrible picture of his crib and letters! The letters were a baby shower gift from a friend in Kentucky who owns a wood-working shoppe. She even painted them to perfectly match the bedding and prints!


This bedroom example incorporates a lot of what I want his room to have: name or initial (done!), bookshelves, and a ruler growth chart. I’m currently researching different types of DIY bookshelves and the growth chart is in the works as we speak. Don’t worry, I won’t be making a chevron striped wall, that would take way too much work!


Ultimately, I want a gallery wall in the center of our home that highlights what is most important: faith and family. I want to include a large “H” in a great typography font and some of our best portraits and favorite quotes. We have wedding photos that are framed but stowed away in a closet and lots of pictures of Kamden, including his birth, that have never been printed or framed. There is just one thing on my birthday and Christmas wish list this year: a family photo session with Husband and Kamden. Not only do I want photos for our first Christmas card as a family of three, but I want photos to display in our home. As Kamden gets older, I can simply replace photos in the existing frames.

gallerywall7{ source }

To make some of my ideas a reality, I might have to bribe friends with wood-working skills with a home-cooked meal. (Hint, hint Billy and Brandon!)

Have you created a gallery wall in your home? Do you find home décor and design as challenging and overwhelming as I do? Do you have any tips or tricks to share? I’m all ears!


Nine. { Kamden’s Monthly Update }



Teeth, crawling, and growing – oh my! I swear I was nursing a newborn yesterday and, blink, here we are with an energetic, joy-filled, happy, mobile little man. As active as Kamden is and becoming, I’m really loving this new phase. He’s like an Indianapolis 500 racecar driver when he’s in his walker. I love playing on the floor with him because he’s crawling and climbing and using me to pull himself up and stand. Yes, our Mini Man Child is crawling and standing with assistance!

SOUND OFF // Kamden is quite the noisemaker. His sounds range from a balk, squeak, and cackle to a growl, scream, and holler. He yelps, yaps, squeals, and grunts. Sometimes, it sounds like he has a raspy cough, is trying to speak German, or roars like a baby dinosaur. It’s hilarious and scary, random and cute, and definitely entertaining. He’s such a social butterfly and it’s easy to make him smile, so the new noises are an added bonus to his already adorable nature. I’m so proud (grateful) to be his Mommy and my heart smiles when strangers comment how handsome, content, and well behaved he is.


GROWING // All of those hiccups Kamden suffered as a newborn are finally coming to fruition, this kid is beefy. He weighs 24 (solid) pounds and is 28 inches tall. His hands are as big as saucers and he can pick up balls, blocks, and other large objects with ease. I keep saying I’m going to buy his next car seat but I really – really – need to get serious about this. Kamden fills up his infant carrier and, quite honestly, he’s getting too heavy to carry. When I’m out running errands, I no longer try finding parking spots close to the door. Instead, I park as close as I can to the corral of shopping carts. Most people think he’s a year old but a late bloomer since he doesn’t have any visible teeth or walking. #MiniManChild

TEETH // A few days ago, while changing his diaper, I noticed two white specks along the bottom of his gums. He’s had the typical teething signs and symptoms for many months, including a constant pool of drool, but never a sign of teeth until now. We’re anxiously awaiting for them to break through the gum!


EATING // We’ve had an epiphany with Kamden and solid foods: he doesn’t like the baby spoon. Mini Man Child wants pieces of solid food, not the smooth (BORING!) purees. In addition to five or six bottles of breast milk (six ounces each) a day, he eats tiny pieces of banana, mandarin oranges, avocadoes, scrambled eggs, and smashed potatoes. If I’m eating yogurt (it’s vegan and made by WholeSoy), he’ll accept a bite from a regular spoon. He might turn his head away or shut his mouth tight like he doesn’t want what we offer, but if we act quick and shove it in, he realizes it’s tasty and opens his mouth for another bite. I’m hoping by increasing his solid food intake, he will resume his usual pattern of sleeping through the night. He gets frustrated by his growling belly when he’d rather be sleeping.

SLEEPING // This month has been quite the roller coaster. The good news: Kamden is reaching major development milestones. The bad news: Kamden’s routine sleeping habit of sleeping 10-12 consecutive hours has changed to 6-7 consecutive hours of sleep, awake for a diaper change and bottle, then sleeping another 4-6 hours. Kamden wants to sleep but his belly wakes him up needing to be refilled. Plus , having two teeth appear may be adding to his sleep disruptions, ya know? He has started to sleep on his tummy most of the night with his butt straight in the air, or slightly turned on his left side. He’s quite the mover in his sleep and makes at least one (sometimes two) circle around his crib during the night. The first time I woke up and didn’t see his face on the monitor I panicked, until I realized his feet were where his head was and he had rotated 180-degrees. By morning, he had rotated again and was near the same position as when I laid him in the crib. It was also cause for celebration when he greeted me one morning by STANDING UP in his crib, holding on to the top rail, with a giant grin on his face. He does the same thing in the Pack-N-Play, which we are using again as another independent (but safer than the hardwood floor) play area. It’s also great because I can easily move the PNP from the living room to the kitchen and when/if Kamden gets tired of playing, he’ll lay down and nap. Most days, Kamden naps 30-45 minutes before noon and at least an hour (sometimes two) in the afternoon. If one or both of these naps are cut short for whatever reason, or we’re busy running errands, he’ll sneak a third nap (less than 45 minutes) in the early evening. We’ve pushed his bath to 9:30 and he’s in bed, sound asleep, before 10:00.


PLAYING + CRAWLING // While playing on the floor in his bedroom, Kamden suddenly started crawling. He and Husband were playing with several toys when Kamden saw a ball on the other side of the room, he got on all fours and moved across the floor like a champion. He stopped midway, looked at our stunned faces, then resumed his adventure until he reached his final destination. While playing on the floor, he’ll roll and scoot all over until he can reach something that’s tall enough for him to leverage his weight and stand up. He’ll stand, with assistance, for several seconds then PLOP! right on his padded diaper butt. Then he’s right back up again. And again. And again. And again. Husband and I have started a new routine of taking one of our laptops into his bedroom during the evening play time for an impromptu dance party. Kamden loves the music and laughs at us dancing like fools.

TABLE-TOP SHENANIGANS // Our dining room table has morphed into another play area. Husband and I sit at the table while Kamden sits ON the table. He loves touching, grabbing, tearing, and wrinkling pages from magazines and newspapers. The floor around the table is littered with paper shreds and toys that have been tossed overboard. I think Kamden drops his toys on the floor to see who retrieves it and how long they take to do so. The little stinker!


WEARING // To give some perspective on how large Kamden really is, a friend of mine bought all of the 2T clothes Kamden had outgrown for her 3-year-old grandson. (What!) Kamden wears toddler-size (3T) tops and bottoms, except for the 24-month Carter’s onesies and Ralph Lauren Polo t-shirts that are generously sized. Kamden continues to wear size 3 diapers (Pampers Swaddlers) and his Baltic Amber teething necklace. Husband thinks I’m crazy, even calls it “voo doo” but if the necklace will help alleviate teething symptoms, I’ll give it a shot. I really got the stink eye when I purchased a Premium Starter Kit of essential oils from Young Living ($150) and began rubbing lavender oil on the bottoms of Kamden’s feet a night before bed. Again, I’m willing to try (almost) anything. If anything, the oils (which aren’t really oils but that’s for another time and post) smell amazing and I’m using them myself for a variety of reasons, including the eczema on my hand, wrist, and left ring finger. After just three days of application, the itching and redness are gone. The Wise Men were on to something with that frankincense and myrrh!


DADDY’S BOY // Husband and Kamden are two peas in a pod. Kamden has a huge grin on his face every night when Daddy gets home from work. These two spend lots of time together, especially on Husband’s off Fridays and weekends. Husband has spoiled me rotten on the weekends because he turns off my alarm and takes the monitor into the living room so I can sleep an extra hour or two. We also try to sleep when Kamden naps on the weekend. A few weeks ago, I ate sushi with a friend and when I returned home Husband and Kamden were sitting outside on the tailgate of the truck. I fell in love with both of them all over again. Being with Kamden the majority of the time, I know it’s important for him to have “boy time” with Daddy too. On cooler evenings, Husband takes Kamden to the barn to feed Blue and fill the water trough, which he loves. Kamden hasn’t been on the tractor yet, but it’s just a matter of time.

LOVING // Turning pages as Mommy reads a book, play time and watching Looney Tunes with Daddy, climbing on the pillow fort built on Mommy and Daddy’s king-size bed, frozen teething toys, animal noises, laughing at Daddy’s tickles, chewing on the handle of the pacifier, drinking water from a Camelbak sippy cup, watching Wheel of Fortune, splashing water all over the bath tub, playing with or intently watching other kids playing in the kids’ area at Mommy’s gym, and “singing” praise music at church!


LOATHING // Being still (especially during a diaper change on the changing table), being pushed away from the dishwasher while Mommy and Daddy are unloading it, wearing funny hats, and being alone. It’s not that Kamden has separation anxiety because he likes to entertain himself and play independently, and he certainly does not want to be held all the time (Hallelujah!), but he wants to be within ear/eye sight of others. He hasn’t decided if he likes noises from household appliances such as the vacuum, stand mixer, or garbage disposal either – the verdict is still out on these!

FALL BUCKET LIST // Kamden and I had so much fun with our summer bucket list we decided to make one for Fall. We’re going to be busy!

  • Go to a high school football game.
  • Decorate a pumpkin.
  • Go trick or treating (trunk or treat).
  • Take pictures in pumpkin patch.
  • Donate to the food bank.
  • Wear a Halloween costume.
  • Pick apples at an orchard.
  • Invite friends over for chili and football.
  • Bake an apple pie.
  • Go on a hayride.
  • Visit the State Fair of Texas.
  • Go to a fall festival and/or craft fair.
  • Eat Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Picnic / Movie in the park.
  • Go to the Perot Museum.
  • Go to the Grapevine Aquarium.
  • Go to the zoo.
  • Make handprint turkeys.
  • Have a family portrait session.


Finish This #37

IT’S WEEK 37 OF FINISH THIS … if this is your first time here, welcome! If you’re a repeat customer, thanks for playing along again. Your co-hosts are LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and NICOLE (Three 31) and the instructions are simple: answer the prompts on your blog and add the post to the link up. Next week, we’ll do it all over again with a new set of prompts (located at the bottom of this post). Let’s get started!


CHALLENGE FOR YOU … visit at least three (3) blogs and comment on their “Finish This” post. Even if you don’t know the person, introduce yourself and leave a genuine comment. If you know a blogger who would like to participate in this link up, invite them to join us. Blogging is about building communities!

1. I am the type of person who
if I decorate for Christmas, I start before Thanksgiving and leave it out until Valentine’s Day (or later). No joke, the last time I really decorated, like Hobby Lobby exploded in my house, was 2008. It was our second Christmas in our home and I found the mother of all deals on a beautiful pre-lit tree and my snowmen and snowflake collection was bursting at the seams. I put the tree up the first weekend of November and I took it down, reluctantly, the week after Saint Patrick’s Day. That’s a solid FIVE months of looking at day-core, as Husband likes to call it. He was afraid there would be snowmen and tinsel on the mantel in August so he threatened to de-decorate himself, which prompted me to light a fire under my big girl pants and do it myself. In my defense, in 2008, I worked in corporate marketing and business development and a SLOW week was 80 hours. I lived and breathed climbing that corporate ladder and collecting overtime pay. My priorities were whacked (to put it nicely) and I was sadly disconnected from the truth and reality that is Christmas: the birth of my Savior. In 2009, I left that job and the stress that went with it. For the first time, in a long time, I could breathe again. As Christmastime approached, I had no desire to decorate. I participated in an Advent study which further validated my decision to focus on Jesus’s birth. It was the first time I really paid attention to the miracle that is Christmas: What if Mary had said no to God’s invitation to bear his Son? What if Joseph had abandoned Mary when she suddenly became pregnant before marriage? What if Mary had been stoned to death for a sin she did not commit? What if Mary and Joseph were unwilling to obey God and trust him with the consequences? These questions, from a Christmas Eve sermon (Rev. L, I was listening!) gave me a brand new perspective to the spirit of Christmas. The tree, the lights, the perfectly wrapped presents, the stockings, garland, and even my beloved snowmen collection did/does not hold a candle to why or how I celebrate Christmas. Jesus’s PRESENCE is the reason for the season, not the PRESENTS under the tree.

Now, I said all of that to admit I’ve been thinking about, planning, and decorating for Christmas for several weeks. I’m combining decorations for Kamden’s first birthday party and Christmas since the majority of what I already have fits the theme I’ve chosen for his birthday. I am not a very crafty person, so the less I have to do to decorate the better. I am, however, looking forward to cooking and playing hostess-with-the-mostess for our family and friends as we celebrate Mini Man Child’s first year. As for the DIY projects, one is complete, another needs ribbon for hanging, one needs Instagram-size photos, and I bought supplies for a fourth project yesterday. I also need to paint, sand, and stencil a piece of lumber for Kamden’s birthday present … stay tuned for this big reveal. Husband has asked me twice – TWICE! – if I’m pregnant because he considers all this preparation “nesting” and that’s what pregnant women do. I kindly reminded him that my tubes were tied in March and not to get his tinsel in a tangle over my sudden desire to be Holly Housekeeper and Cindy Crafter. This year, Christmas will be a memorable one. Even though Kamden was born before Christmas last year, I consider the one coming up to be his first. It’s only fitting since 2014 has been a year of firsts for him. As an only child, it’s really important to me that Kamden’s birthday and Christmas are celebrated independently. My birthday (December 17) has always been separated from family festivities at Christmas and I intend to do the same with Kamden, whose birthday is December 19. His first birthday will be more of a celebration for Husband and I as parents and giving thanks to family and friends for supporting us every step of the way. Believe me, we all deserve a giant piece of cake! Next year, we’ll celebrate Kamden’s birthday at Chick-Fil-A and I’ll buy everybody an ice cream cone.

2. My favorite joke or riddle or funny is
oh gosh, I have to pick just one? No, I started this link up so I can bend the rules. Who’s gonna stop me?






3. All that really matters is


My beautiful friend, amazing author, and cancer survivor Margaret Feinberg shared this mantra in her best-selling book, Wonderstruck. I’ve read every book Margaret has written and this quote is one of my favorites. I get goose bumps every time I read it, even now! Think about it: God IS good; God IS on the throne; just breathe! Whatever I’m going through, these four lines nudge me closer to The One who created me, desires me, seeks me, loves me, protects me, and soothes me. Breathe in the wonder of God and breathe out every thing that is getting in the way. Another favorite line from Wonderstruck:


Invite your blogging friends and come back next Wednesday for another round of Finish This where we’ll answer another set of prompts!

Prompt for WEEK 38 — September 24
My relationships thrive because
My favorite piece of advice
My worst habit


10 Things

I need this rooster print like I need air to breathe.
As a former educator in middle school, I know too well the financial strain on teachers pressured to spend their own money on classroom and teaching supplies.

Mistakes to avoid in your 30s.

A beautiful post on marriage.

Ohhh, I can so relate to being tired!

25 unique ways to ask your kids without asking the treaded “How Was School Today?”

Do you think parents in the 70s and 80s had it better than modern parents today?

Life’s too short for crappy friends.

Parenting classes that SHOULD exist.

Inspiration for our family photo session.


Finish This #36

IT’S WEEK 36 OF FINISH THIS … if this is your first time here, welcome! If you’re a repeat customer, thanks for playing along again. Your co-hosts are LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and NICOLE (Three 31) and the instructions are simple: answer the prompts on your blog and add the post to the link up. Next week, we’ll do it all over again with a new set of prompts (located at the bottom of this post). Let’s get started!


CHALLENGE FOR YOU … visit at least three (3) blogs and comment on their “Finish This” post. Even if you don’t know the person, introduce yourself and leave a genuine comment. If you know a blogger who would like to participate in this link up, invite them to join us. Blogging is about building communities!

1. I am serious about
cleaning our house and maintaining a more well-kept living space. I absolutely LOATHE cleaning, and I’d rather ignore the clutter and procrastinate my to-do lists than dust or vacuum, but I’ve challenged myself to complete a cleaning schedule for one week. The schedule pictured below is currently taped to the front of the refrigerator. Since Sunday, I’ve cleaned and organized the fridge, gone to the grocery, and thoroughly cleaned the kitchen and bathrooms. I used to keep lots of stuff on the kitchen counter, like big containers of utensils, two knife blocks that I hate and never used, jars of sugar and flour, and all of Kamden’s bottles, two drying racks, and a sterilizer I never use. Notice a trend? I organized a drawer beside the stove for the majority of my cooking utensils, put the flour and sugar in the pantry, and the rest is either going to be sold on Craigslist or donated to the thrift store. Our kitchen is very large and there is tons of cabinet and work space, and clearing the countertops makes it look more efficient, organized, and clutter-free. Today, I’m working on bedrooms and I know I’ll have more stuff (a.k.a useless crap) to add to the thrift store pile. My goal is to repeat the schedule below, or something similar, every week in order to maintain my sanity and keep the clutter chaos to a minimum. I have several “big projects” that I want to complete before the end of the year too, specifically clearing out closet space and getting rid of things (clothes, household items, seasonal décor, etc.) that we no longer use. As Kamden gets older and becomes more mobile, it’s going to be even more important that I keep things picked up. I’m not applying for a white glove test, don’t misunderstand, but I need to make domestic chores a higher priority. Even 15-30 minutes a day will make a huge difference. (I hope I don’t sound like I should be on the show Hoarders, my house isn’t THAT bad.)


While on my hands and knees scrubbing grout lines and tile in our master bathroom shower, I tried to think of ways to keep the area cleaner, especially the glass door. I found a bottle of Rain-X windshield spray in the garage and thought, “What the heck?!” Needless to say, our shower’s glass hasn’t been this clear or streak-free since the day it was installed … in 2011. (What!) Hopefully it will repel water and keep the area clean(er) longer. Anything’s worth a shot, right?!


2. I am most relaxed when
Husband and Kamden are happy.

And when I’m doing the relaxation pose in yoga. It’s my favorite. I hate to think what I look like while doing it, but this might be a pretty close, pretty accurate depiction:


3. There’s no place like
home, where the pants are stretchy and the Wi-Fi connects automatically. :)

Invite your blogging friends and come back next Wednesday for another round of Finish This where we’ll answer another set of prompts!

Prompt for WEEK 37 — September 17
I’m the type of person who
My favorite joke or riddle is
All that really matters is


Mama Monday // Grandparents, Football, Essential Oils, and Monkey Business

1. In case you missed my post for Grandparents’ Day, you should definitely check it out.

2. Fellow blogger and knitting extraordinaire, Jennifer, sent Kamden two adorable hats she made from scratch. I’m trying to get photos she can use on her website, but Kamden is not cooperating. He’s not a fan of photo sessions seconds before a feeding and nap!


3. Thank you, sweet and precious Baby Jesus, football season is upon us. Any weekend is a great weekend when football is on the tee-vee!

4. What wasn’t so great about last weekend was Kamden’s sudden change in routine and nighttime sleep pattern. Friday and Sunday, he was his normal self – even going to bed at the same time – only to get up an hour later, around 10:45pm, wide awake and ready to play. He was not soothed by a pacifier or Mommy’s coos, he wanted to be up and about. So, Husband and I were up and about, playing, tearing paper, building block towers, reading books, singing silly songs, and entertaining an 8.5 month old after midnight. At 12:30am, three hours after his bedtime bottle, he ate again and immediately went to sleep. There are 12 common symptoms of teething, Kamden has six of them: excessive drool, coughing, biting and chewing, irritability, refusal or disruptive feedings, and wakefulness.

5. In desperation, I bought the Young Living essential oil starter kit. Lavender and lemon oils are known to help with teething and insomnia. A lack of sleep is difficult, but I’m worried sick these extra nighttime feedings will become a habit we’ll have to break later. Goodness, I hope these essential oils work!

6. I’m on a mission to subdue the chaos that is our home and create (and follow) a cleaning routine. I accomplished Sunday’s tasks and ready to tackle today’s project: the kitchen.

7. During one of Kamden’s insomniac moments, see #4, he pulled himself up and stood inside his crib only to smack his perfect, porcelain-like chubby cheek against the side rail before I could catch him. Now, he’s got a bruise and black eye. MOM. FAIL.

8. I’m joining Leslyn and Logan for Mama’s Monday link up. If you’re a mama with a funny/frustrating/silly/embarrassing/scary stories to share, come join us!

Leslyn's Lovely Life


Operation Clean(er) House

No one could steer me right but mama tried, mama tried
Mama tried to raise me better but her pleading, I denied
That leaves only me to blame ’cause mama tried

I empathize with Merle Haggard. No, I didn’t turn 21 in prison facing life without parole, I was (and still am) too chicken to do something stupid, scary, or illegal. My issue is more domestic. Literally.

Growing up, my mom, bless her heart, ran a tight ship. She modeled, very effectively, how to be a devoted wife and mother, an efficient homemaker, and selfless community leader and volunteer with a professional career. Despite typical assumptions of being an only child, I had chores, responsibilities, and that dreaded, handwritten to-do list Mom or Dad left for me on the kitchen table. Tasks included emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming, dust furniture, mop floors, or clean bathrooms. During the summer, I also mowed the lawn. When I was old enough to drive, I ran errands, went to the grocery, and took our garbage to the city’s collection center. It wasn’t until Husband and I were married and living in our current home that I had a paid garbage collection service. Growing up, I did not receive an allowance. I was not paid to complete chores around the house and I most certainly did not receive compensation for grades or good behavior at school. As a living, breathing, functioning, able-bodied member of society, I was expected to contribute and give my best effort at home, at school, and on the golf course. My payment, if you will, was a roof over my head, clothes on my back, food in my belly, and a used Volvo sedan. I was privileged because Mom and Dad paid for my golf equipment, private lessons with a professional, tournament entry fees, and fuel and lodging expenses when I traveled to junior tour events.

Reminiscing about my childhood and upbringing, I’m disappointed in my adult self. I look at this house and I’m ashamed. It’s not the home I want to create for Husband and Kamden. If guests rang the doorbell, I’d be embarrassed! I don’t make our bed. Yesterday’s mail is on the counter. A plate and two bowls are in the kitchen sink. Clean dishes are in the dishwasher. Dirty clothes are in the hamper. The floors need to be mopped. You can write your name in the dust on the TV console. I could go on and on.

This week, I am challenging myself to creating and keeping a cleaner, less cluttered living space. To make the endeavor more manageable and less overwhelming, I’m focusing on one or two specific areas per day. I’ll do some ‘maintenance’ things each day, such as load/unload the dishwasher, sort the mail, and clean sinks and countertops. Honestly, most of these tasks take 30 minutes or less to complete.

Organize + empty refrigerator
Make grocery list / weekly menu

Deep clean KITCHEN
Collect garbage for pick-up
Wash + put away laundry

Deep clean BATHROOMS

Deep clean BEDROOMS
Wash + put away laundry

Deep clean LIVING ROOM

Wash + put away laundry

Wash bed sheets
De-clutter for 15 minutes

My goal is to create a realistic schedule that I will follow each week. If the experts are correct, and it takes 21 days to develop a habit, our house will be a neater, cleaner, less cluttered home before the end of the month! Who wants to come over for dinner and a white glove inspection on September 30? (I’m serious about the dinner, but not the glove inspection.)

Do you follow a cleaning schedule?


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