Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mudroom in Garage???

So I am still daydreaming of a mudroom area in our garage. I keep seeing them all over the blogosphere. Peeps like me with homes built before the mudroom craze are adding them in their garages. And seeing how Kim over at the Money Pit did her's makes me want one even more! We really have the ideal place for it, and I think it would be SOOOOO wonderfully useful. But here is my question..


Yes, that is a serious question. I have had a long running fear of spiders in my shoes. I beat them in my closet before I put them on. Ever since I was a kid and heard about a woman dying because she go bitten by a brown recluse that was in her shoe, I have been paranoid. And we do have icky spiders in our garage. So would they nest up in our shoes???
Serious question people. SERIOUS. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Show Us Where You Live: LAUNDRY

Kelly is hosting another Show Us Where You Live Friday over at her blog, and this week it is all about the LAUNDRY ROOM! Now, I will say, our laundry room is nothing to write home about...YET. I do have big plans for this room, but because I am having to do two kids rooms at once, the laundry room (and the board and batten I want for the dining room) are on the back burner for a bit. And that is okay. My babies come first, and so do their rooms! But I will get to it. Eventually!

I first wanted to share our laundry room before & after's from our old house. You see, friends, I am no stranger to laundry room makeovers!!! HAHA!

Here is our OLD laundry room, BEFORE the makeover:

The space was functional. But not pretty at all!!!

The space was large, and doubled as our pantry area/kitchen storage. Not ideal, but we made it work.
And now, the OLD laundry room AFTER the makeover:

I re purposed the shelf into a folding counter of sorts, so we still had a bar to hang clothes as well.

Baskets above the shelves were the most economical solution to clean up our storage area and make it more organized and pretty!

The biggest addition was the pantry cabinet that we added. I later painted the top cabinet raised panel with chalkboard paint to make a fun kroger list/menu area!

We did that makeover at the same time we did our kitchen makeover, so the costs were all kind of rolled into one. Honestly, I had pretty much every thing I needed. The biggest expenses were the pantry cabinet, the baskets, and a quart of accent paint. Very inexpensive but a lot more practical and a huge impact!!!

Now here are the BEFORE pictures from our NEW house!!!

See. Nothin' special. Lots of potential, but not pretty at all! That will change! Eventually! And when it does, I will do a post about it!!! Stay tuned!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Decisions, Decisions

Okay y'all. I am typically a very decisive person when it comes to how I want a room to look. I tend to have a vision and work towards it. But, be it hormones or whatever, I cannot make a decision on Archer's crib bedding to save my life!!! Not that big of a deal, I know. But seriously...this is what has been keeping me up nights lately. I don't know why, but it is just consuming my every thought!

I think because when I did Ava's room, I started to regret the fabric choices. Not that it wasn't adorable. But it was so busy and I got tired of it so fast. Plus, I started Pinterest, which is idea overload and makes it difficult for me to commit to anything!

So I decided (I think) against the Harper bedding from PBK. This bedding...

Not that it isn't still adorable. But there were a couple of things I was unsure of, the least of which was having white baby bedding. That just seems like it is asking for a mental breakdown. The other thing is that it is just too crisp and white for the look I want. Which is vintage. Old. Worn. I want new bedding that looks like it could have been his grandfather's. Which really only left me with one choice. Restoration Hardware. My wallet just ran screaming from my house.

So I found some that I *think* I am going to use from Restoration Hardware. Here is the plan, as it stands today...

This is the fabric we are going to make his bed skirt out of...


It is actually a sheet set from Restoration Hardware's Kid's collection. They (sadly and for unknown reasons) don't use it in any baby bedding.

I am going to pair it with a navy toddler quilt, also from RH, and some off white or navy sheets. Probably will order those from Amazon, since the ones from RH are super expensive for something that I will need several of!

This is the bumper (and actually the quilt, too) that I am considering for his room...


You will just have to use your imagination as to what it will look like with the crib skirt we are making. But I can't decide if I want to use that, or go with a denim bumper like this one that I found online...


I really like the idea of the denim one, but I don't know if that would be too much blue in his crib- blue bumper, blue sheet, blue walls....

Regardless, this is the mobile for his room-


I think I am going to copy what was done in my favorite inspiration room, and hang this over either his changing table or the glider chair. I also want to hang a few metal planes from the ceiling. I scored a heck of a deal on some that a friend of a friend was selling (three for $25!) so I was able to return a few I bought (at full price) to HobLob. I was super excited about that!!!

So that is where I stand now. What do y'all think??? RH striped bumper or denim bumper???

Monday, August 13, 2012


I am writing this post mostly for my AS and Special Needs mommy friends who find themselves where we were just one short year ago. Wondering about bringing another child into the world while having to cope with a special needs child. It is a major decision for any family, but one that is complicated by a child that requires more from his or her parents than a typical child.

When Cole and I got married, we knew we wanted at least two children, probably three, all close in age. That was our plan. Well, my plan. Cole isn't too much of a planner. The only plans he makes are flight plans! But I am (what I like to call) an "adaptable planner." I like to have a plan. A baseline. I am okay to deviate from that plan should the need arise, but I like to have that starting point. Sometimes that trait doesn't serve me well. But most of the time, it does.

Cole was deployed for a year when Ava was just 2 months old, so in my mind, I was thinking we might start trying for #2 shortly after he got home from Kosovo. But during that year, very early on in fact, I started noticing the red flags that would eventually lead us to where we are today. She was too happy. Too social. Didn't make direct eye contact. Was slow to meet early milestones. Was inhumanly strong. Things that concerned me but that I just tried not to worry about, since the doctors kept assuring me that she was perfectly healthy. Well then she really started missing big milestones and things started happening, and we ended up where we are today. With Angelman Syndrome.

Once we had the diagnosis, we were first concerned for and about Ava. But we were also concerned about what that meant for our potential future children. Both of us agreed that, if Ava's genotype was one that had a high risk of recurrence, we would not have any more biological children and instead adopt. Which was a heartbreaking thought for me, but one that I could accept. If Ava's genotype was Del+ (which it is), and had a low risk of recurrence- basically the risk anyone in the general population has- then we would leave it in the Lord's hands. And that is what we did. After some very in depth and costly tests (which, thank you Tricare, insurance covered in full! Praise the Lord!) on both Ava and myself, we were deemed "genetically typical." Cole didn't undergo any tests since AS comes from a deletion or mutation of the maternal side of the 15th chromosome. On a side note, Harvard Medical School, if you are reading this, I am expecting my honorary doctorate in genetics any day now. Tick tock. :)

So after that, we started trying for another Brewer baby. And a short time later, we got pregnant with sweet little Archer. As soon as I got pregnant, I had another child to worry about. To wonder about. To dream about. A whole new set of hopes and dreams. When we found out he was a boy, I had a new room to plan, a name to decide on, things to do and paint and design. My sole focus wasn't on Ava anymore. And you know what...


Having any one child, I think parents- especially mothers- tend to obsess and focus too much on the child. Which is natural. And if that single child has special needs, I think that obsession and focus is magnified. Sometimes to an unhealthy level. There are many marriages that break up, many parents that fall into a deep depression, after a child is diagnosed with something as significant as Angelman Syndrome. And I fully believe it is because your entire focus and energy goes to that child- no one else. Not your spouse, not yourself. It is a very daunting and taxing thing, having a special needs child. But having another child to balance that attention is already proving to be a breath of fresh air to me! And that is what I was told by my AS parent friends.

I know it won't always be fun and happy times with Archer. He may (Lord forbid) have health or medical issues of his own. He may be a wild and rowdy boy that tests my patience to the very end. I don't know. But I do know that being pregnant with him has already helped balance the dynamics in our family. I can already see myself paying more effortless attention to Cole. Something that, before Archer, I had to work at doing because I would get tunnel vision on Ava.

I still worry about Ava, and much of my time is spent- and will always be spent- on her. Therapy sessions, research, doctors visits, tests. It is all still going to happen after the baby. But now I have someone else, another child, to lay in bed and wonder about, pray for, love. It has brought a peace and balance to my life already, and I am excited to see the changes in the rest of our family once he arrives!!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Archer's Pottery Barn (knock-off) Airplane

Those that are on FB with me know that I have been working on a large piece of art for Archer's vintage aviation room. It all started when I saw this beauty in a PB catalog several months ago...

I loved it! But, I didn't love the price! So I kept it stowed away in my mind, wondering how I could recreate it should the need arise. Well, as it happened, Archer turned out to be a boy, and I knew that it would look fabulous in his room. But I also knew that spending $300 on this would mean he wouldn't have anything else in his room. SO, I started where I always start: GOOGLE.

After google and Pinterest, I found this tutorial! I was thrilled! Not only did she explain how to do it, she provided the images ready to go! SO EXCITED! I printed the images, and started playing. My first attempt didn't go so well. I failed to print the images correctly (I will explain that one in a minute) and I couldn't get the missing image to print. I also wasn't able to get modge podge to transfer the image like she did. I still don't know what I was doing wrong, but obviously it was something. So back to the drawing board.

In the meantime, I went off to Lowes to find my boards. It was funny because there were about 6 women with kids in tow in the lumber section. I have some building and handyman experience, so I knew right where I was going, but the sales guy asked if he could help me find anything. I laughed and said I knew what I was going for, but asked if Pinterest has created a whole new demographic of customer for him! He laughed, and said "Ah, Pinterest. Yes ma'am, it sure has!" HAHAHA!!!!

So after getting my boards and painting them, and after a few days of thinking on it, I realized what I did wrong when printing the images. I had printed them "fit to frame" which distorted the sizes of many of them. So I reprinted them. I also spent a little more time playing with the missing image and was able to print it. Here it is as a .jpeg to save you the headache I had. If you do this project, you will need to print this!!!

But I still needed to figure out how to transfer the image. After more googling, I decided on using a gel medium transfer technique. But this required that I use photocopied (basically laserjet ink) because it needed to not run when wet. So my lovely mom photocopied the images for me, and off I went!!!

I honestly didn't take the time to take pictures to do my own "tutorial" because Michelle at Cre8tive Outlet did such a good job! But here is my process and supply list if you are interested in doing it the way I did.

List of materials & appx cost:
*4 pieces of lauan plywood, 24"x24", at Lowes, about $3.50/ea
*gel medium from craft store art dept, mine was $27 at HobLob, and I had a 40% off coupon.
*printed images (do NOT print to frame)
*copies of printed pages from photocopier.
*charcoal pencil
*acrylic paint for background, if desired. I think you could probably go straight to wood if you wanted, but don't hold me to that!

1. Paint your wood. I used a tan paint with a watered down brown wash over it. I also scored the boards like Michelle did, to give it more of that "plank" look.

2. Print off your images and photocopy. Then trim the edges and piece them together, tape together on back. I used painters tape. It's easier if you leave the white spaces on and only trim the boarder area. After you get the image taped together, cut it out.

3. Lay your image face down on the boards (which should be butted against each other) and cut them in 4 pieces. Be sure to keep the pieces in the same place after cutting so that they will "match up" after you are done.

4. Brush the gel medium on the boards and press the paper onto them evenly, getting all of the air out. Let it dry for a couple of days.

5. After its dried for a few days, then comes the fun & messy part!!! Get a rag & bowl of water. Soak the paper and use an old gift card or credit card to scrap off the paper, leaving the ink. You will have to repeat this process several times to get all of the paper off.

6. After all of your paper is off, you can take a charcoal pencil and "clean up" any areas you want to. Michelle also went over her's with her brown wash to cut some of the purple out of the ink. But with this method, being photocopied, it cuts out this step. Unless you just want to do it! :)

And voila! You have PB style art for pennies on the dollar!!!! Super easy and cheap! Have fun! And don't tell your husband's I told you how to do this!

TIP: I worked on my dining room table, with a plastic painting drop cloth over it. This is great for the scraping process, because when it is over, you can just throw it ALL away!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Ava and Archer's Rooms

So, truth??? I have been planning Archer's nursery since before he was a glimmer in my eye! As soon as we saw his little "boy part" on that ultrasound screen, my mind started racing toward how I wanted his nursery to look.

I knew that, boy or girl, I wanted to do what I call a "subtle aviation" theme. No teddy bears flying cartoon airplanes or anything. Just simple, subtle nods to Cole's profession and our lives. Because anyone who is married to a pilot knows that aviation isn't just a job or a career, it is a lifestyle for the entire family.

I had been planning both nurseries before the ultrasound, and they pretty much looked the same in my mind- one in Navy and White, and one is Pink and White. Here are my ideas for the nursery...

I am planning on painting the top half of his walls navy, like this sweet aviation room. Source

The bottom half of his walls will be white board and batten treatment, like this. It will come to just below the light switches. His room has 12' ceilings, so we might take it higher, not sure yet. Source
Pinned Image
This is the bedding I plan on using (unless I change my mind!). It is the Harper Bedding in Navy from PBK. The mobile here is from Restoration Hardware I think, but other online stores have them as well. We will certainly have one in Archer's room! Love it! www.pinterest.com
Pinned Image
I am going to frame Cole's flight patches like this person has done. I want to use white frames and white matting so that it really stands out against the blue. www.pinterest.com
I am going to get model airplanes and have them around the room. I also want to get this frame from HobLob for his room! I love it! Source
nted wood letters come in many heights and thicknesses.
I am planning on getting wooden letters that spell his name, and modge podging an old aviation map of his daddy's over the letters, so that instead of painting them, they will be aviation map print. Source
I am in love with the overall feel of this room and it is my #1 inspiration room! Plus, with it's ceiling height and dark furniture, it reminds me very much of Archer's room. The art in this room above the crib is from PB. It is about $300. I am going to do a knock off version for about $30 to hang above his closet doors. That tutorial can be found here. Source

And I haven't forgotten about BIG SISTER Ava's room either!!! My dad is building her a big girl enclosed bed, because we just couldn't find one that was pretty and looked like it could hold up to her over the years. Because we are designing it, I don't have a photo. BUT, we used this built in bed as our design inspiration...

Pinned Image
From www.houzz.com

We are planning on painting her room a limeish green color, and use this bedding...

Dena™ Home Moroccan Garden Quilt, 100% Cotton
Moroccan Garden Bedding from Bed Bath and Beyond

I am using this dresser as inspiration to rehab a dresser for her room too! I can't wait to finish it (or at least finish sanding! Sheesh!)!!! 

Pinned Image

I can't wait to show off the after pictures of both rooms! Hopefully in a few months, they will both be ready! HAHA! Who am I kidding! ;)

Saturday, August 4, 2012

It's A....

Well after a little bit of drama on Thursday (original ultrasound appointment got cancelled so we had to find another place that could get us in to do an elective!), we got to see our sweet little baby yesterday afternoon!!! B2 was so sweet, and kicking mommy the whole time!!! B2 was also not shy ONE BIT!!! B2 let us know right away that....


We are so excited to welcome little Archer (middle name still undecided) Brewer to our family!!! He was much more calm than his sister during her ultrasounds, and much more cooperative. I am hoping that says something about his personality! Haha!!!

Cole was making me laugh as we were leaving! I told him that I thought he would be giddy that he was having a son! He said that he is excited, but that he had kind of hoped that I would be wrong! I knew with Ava and I pretty much knew with this baby, although I hated to come out and say it. But all I could look at and think about were boy things. It was a different kind of knowing, but I still knew.

I am still a little scared about having a boy. Much more overwhelming I think than having a girl! But still so excited and blessed!

I will share the photos from our little gender reveal gathering soon, but for now, here are the pictures from Archer's first photo shoot! Well, except the one of him at 8 weeks looking all bean like! Sorry some of them are not straight. I am a bad scanner!

Archer's sweet little profile.

Archer looking at the camera. Still a little skeleton baby at 20 weeks, but the cutest skeleton ever!

Proof. He was very willing to show that off! We are in trouble!

Long little legs! Looks like he could be another tall boy!

Our sweet BOY!
I also wanted to just explain his name, Archer. Archer is my maiden name. My Daddy is my grandfather's only son, and my dad only had daughters. So I always knew that, if I ever had a boy, I was going to name him Archer so that I could honor both my Daddy and my Pa Jim, and carry on the Archer name for at least one more generation. I like to think that my Pa Jim is looking down from Heaven and smiling, knowing that this baby is partly named after him! And I know my dad is happy! Though I am not sure if it is because of the name or because he gets a 4th grandson!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What I Want

Now that my baby bump is now a full on baby belly, I get asked the question, "Are you wanting a boy or a girl?" pretty often. A common question for all pregnant women. When I was asked this with Ava, my immediate answer, without any hesitation, was "A girl!" I wanted a girl. I needed a girl. And I knew very early on that she was a girl! I used to daydream about her first dance, going shopping together, mother/daughter spa trips, dance classes, her wedding.... And I got my precious little girl! But I never dreamed or anticipated the challenges she would face, the challenges that WE would face, and having to let go of all of those daydreams of special moments in her life. But that heartbreak taught me a very valuable lesson, as heartbreak often does. And I know that those special moments are now replaced with even more precious and amazing milestones that my baby will reach with me by her side each step of the way.

With this pregnancy, when I am asked that question- "what do you want it to be?"- my answer is always the same. "I really, honestly, don't care." Because I don't. I am overjoyed to be able to have a second child- thankful and blessed beyond words- and I don't care if this baby is a boy or a girl at all! I never pictured myself being a "boy mom" and before Ava, I never really thought I could handle boys. They are loud, dirty, wild, and rough- not what I ever pictured for myself. But oh how life changes you! And having Ava has made me a bit fearless, in a way! Because I know that it doesn't matter what life throws at me. I can handle it with the Lord's help, and the love and support of our family and friends.

I also have the privilege of knowing that it really doesn't matter if this baby is healthy. Of course I hope and pray and want this baby to be a healthy, typical child more than anything in the world. But I know, without any doubt or uncertainty, that if this baby does have special needs, or medical issues, or whatever, that we will not love him or her any less. And we will be just as proud and just as blessed-if not more so- to be the parents of this child. And that we can handle whatever comes our way, because of the love we have for this child. A parents' love doesn't fail and it isn't dependent on what a child looks like or is able to do. A parents' love is unconditional. I have experienced that love from a parent's aspect. I am so in love with Ava- a child that many people might have chosen to abort or give up for adoption had they known about her condition. And the honest truth? I feel so much pity and sympathy for those people. Because they would have missed out on the most remarkable blessing anyone could ever receive.