Monday, July 29, 2013

Normal is pretty fantastic

So, I heard a really stupid commercial while watching something on Hulu the other day. I don't even know what the commercial was for- maybe a car or something. Anyway, it said that normal is boring and ugly and can never be fantastic or exceptional. What??

 I beg to differ. As one who, from many people's points of view, leads a very "boring and normal" life, I think it's really great! There's beauty in the least "exceptional" days, even if it's just that you're still chugging along. I get to worry about wiping off sticky hands, cleaning a little house, and whether my toddler ate enough for dinner. I'm grateful for people with successful careers in the workforce-- gosh, I am married to one! And I couldn't be home doing what I do without him. But I'm also glad we have separate, equally important roles. We allow each other to reach our potential by reaching our own! This isn't making much sense anymore. This note is just to say that I am so thankful for my normal, beautiful, messy, love-filled, tiring, exceptional-to-me life.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The instawall

When I saw the pin on Pinterest, I immediately knew that THIS would be perfect for our large, empty living room wall. I didn't hang anything on it for a long time because I wanted a statement piece- something big, and not multiple pieces. I showed Tyler and his words were: "Do it! I love it! Go!" so that was nice encouragement. It's not often that Pinterest gets such enthusiasm from him! 

So I followed the tutorial... mostly. I printed my pictures at Walgreens because they were on sale for 9 cents per 4x6. All 90-ish pictures cost just over $8! Not bad. I did have to cut them down to 4x4 by myself but it was worth it at that cost. I used an old sheet from my college days, and bought a 4x8' piece of drywall at Home Depot for $8. They cut it down to 6.5x2.5' for me. The tutorial says 7x3 but that just felt a bit too big. I was so excited!

I played around with a few different sizes with paper.
Stapling the sheet to the board. Thanks to Sharon for lending me her staple gun!
Arranging pics
I put coins over each picture when they were in the right place
 Do you know how heavy drywall is? It's pretty heavy. I just couldn't figure out how to hang it without big holes (which equal a big commitment, and what if I didn't like it??), so I was stumped. I slept on it, and Tyler came up with the winning idea in the morning. Styrofoam! So I went back to Home Depot and found a 4x8' styrofoam insulation board. PERFECT. It was more expensive ($12), but so worth it to me. I took the pictures and sheet off the drywall and transferred it over to the styrofoam.
Coming home with the styrofoam on top of our heads. Luckily styrofoam is light!

Arranging pics- again. Much easier the second time because I knew my dimensions already.
 When it came to pinning the pictures in, I made another change from the tutorial. I loved the idea of straight pins because that makes them so changeable, but all the straight pins I found were over an inch long, and the styrofoam is only 1/2 inch thick! I didn't want them sticking out. So I found shorter pins (3/4") at Hobby Lobby- called sequin pins, in the wearable art section. They were also cheaper than straight pins- win win! So I stuck them in at an angle and they totally disappeared.

Thanks to its light weight, I just nailed three brackets on the back of the styrofoam and three nails in the wall to hang it. SO EASY. I love it!!

Millie loves it too. I finished and hung it while she was napping, so when she woke up, she ran right over and started jabbering about the pictures. "Mama! Dada! Gigi! Wawa! Cookie!" and all the other things she saw. She's been spending lots of time on that couch, pointing and talking.

We love the board! I'm excited to change out pictures as we take more (not gonna lie, most of these are within the last couple months. We take a lot of pictures). Sometimes when I hang something up, I spend a lot of time looking at it because it's new and feels a little weird and I'm not 100% at first. With this, it just feels like it fits! So I look at it, but not because it's odd- because I enjoy it! Anyway, that's the story of our instawall. The end.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


Millie and I got to visit my family in Lufkin this past week! We drove up right after saying goodbye to Uncle AJ at the airport. Steph was also there with her kids so it was a party! We swam every day (sometimes twice a day), went to the zoo, got some things done for Laura's upcoming wedding, shopped at Lufkin's awesome antique shops, ate a lot of Blue Bell, performed a little concert at my dad's work, went to Damien's baptism, watched "Bernie," and of course talked a lot. Millie loved being with a few of her cousins! It made me so excited for Laura's wedding, when we'll have all the kiddos together again.

TX shaped waffles on Wednesday morning
Eva and Leighton drew Millie lots of pictures

When you come to Texas, it's natural to want a pair of cowboy boots.

Coolest Grandma Award
Dean's "power face"

Night swim with Grandma and Grandpa

Zoo on Thursday morning! 

The peacocks were roaming all over

So excited to ride the train

Grandma and Dean preferred to watch us ride the train

Address, stamp, lick, seal. Here come wedding invitations!

The more Millie watched her cousins, the braver she became in the pool.
Avoiding the evil vacuum 

The kids were so good while antique-ing with us! 

The awesome duck canes we found for $2 each
"Cream. Cookie. Cream! Cookie!"
Eva and I made "Creation City" out of MagnaTiles

Grandma's wallet was the only thing that kept her quiet at Damien's baptism
Playing catch... with children.
We got caught in a crazy downpour on the way home and had to pull over for a little bit. Luckily, we made it home safely! Millie was so happy to see Daddy.