Friday, February 25, 2011

Nathan's Room!

**Warning: Picture overload!!*

I know a lot of you have seen this on Facebook, but for those of you that haven't, I'm FINALLY done with our little monkey's room! (Now that he's almost 4 months old, right!?)

Here is the tour. I tried to do it as inexpensively as I could. I started by picking 4 different fabrics to use everywhere in the room. I bought it all on sale in Kansas City in August 2010, after we knew he was a boy. I still have fabric left, and planned it that way, so I can update it when he's a "big boy" and not a baby anymore. I tried not to go to "babyish" to begin with!

This is the adorable door decor my sister-in-law made. I wanted something to put on his door, and she made this as a baby shower decoration, and it's lived here ever since!

This is a shadowbox frame I found at the thrift store here. It had a weird-looking ladybug thing in it so I just took all that out, recycled the green mat it came with, and made my own.

Here is the view looking into his room from the doorway:

It's a small room, so I wanted to make the most of the space and still leave room to play.
(Usually the curtains are tied back, but he'd just woken up from a nap and I hadn't opened them yet!)

Here is the first wall:
This painting was the whole "inspiration" for the room. Mitch and I fingerpainted it on our first date!
I tried to do a theme that would reflect the "starry night" painting and pulled colors from it to use in the room. Animals and fishies soon invaded, though, so it's a half-starry night and a half-bright colors theme :o)

This is the rest of the first wall:

I wanted to put a lot of color on the walls, but since we're renters we can't paint. So, I tried to use what I could find around here. I found six canvases at our thrift store over a couple months (with some of the corniest paintings you've ever seen painted all over them) and covered them with fabric with my trusty hot glue gun as I found them. Or in one of them's case, wrapping paper. You use whatcha got, right?

I fell in love with this animal fabric. (Animals are not something I'm usually fond of). I found it at a little quilt shop on sale in KC. Needless to say, I bought the whole bolt and i'm so glad I did! It's hilarious: the giraffes have blue faces and the crocodiles and hippos have little birds and chickens riding on their backs. It was a bit off-beat, and I love it!

My saint of a mother made these rocking chair pads when she was here in November, after Nathan was born. They're perfect and oh-so-cozy, and we just love them! We found the upholstery fabric at the same quilt shop for $10/bolt!!

Our little chair-side table. It's not the sturdiest table, and we hope to find a cute little nightstand or something soon, but for right now it hides diapers and wipes!
The lamp was super fun to make. It started out with a black shade. I found a turquoise microfiber twin sheet set on sale and grabbed it to use the fabric in the room. I cut apart a pillowcase, sprayed both the shade and fabric with spray adhesive, and stuck them together. Then I just took ribbon i'd been using in other parts of the room and tied random knots. It definitely works for someone who can't tie bows!

This is another canvas hung behind the chair. Nathan Patrick is named after his grandpa, Patrick Larson, and his uncle, Ethan Patrick. We thought this would be a fun way to pay tribute to them. They're both wonderful men that we hope Nathan really gets to know well during his life.
(This is the one done with wrapping paper.)
I'll add a picture in the orange/yellow picture mat in April. In our church, when a baby is born they're given a name and a blessing. We haven't been able to do that yet because our families live so far apart from each other, and far away from us. But, we get to bless him in April! I wanted a picture in his cute blessing outfit when he's officially given the name Nathan Patrick Dooley.

This is his dresser & window wall. The dresser was a gift from his Dooley grandparents. It's the absolute perfect size for this room and works very well for us!
I bought the curtains at Wal-Mart. I tried to mix blue and turquoise, which I learned has to be done very carefully. So the turquoise fabric I found has blue in it to try and tie them together, and I also threw thick blue ribbon on the lampshade. I made the valance and tiebacks with help over the phone from my mom.
I found this cute wooden tree for $6 at Hobby Lobby in KC in January and it just had to come home with me!
It has three little magnets on it that I plan to stick three little picture frames on, with pictures of each person in our family. I got the metal "family" word title from a scrapbooking aisle somewhere.

This is the crib wall. Because I could never find anything with my name on it as a child I wanted Nathan's name to be in his I can live vicariously...?

The crib was a gift from his Larson grandparents (see how much furniture you have to buy when you have the first grandbaby on both sides? Nothing!!) The cutest thing about it is the little door on the front. When he's older you can unlatch the door and he can climb right in. It'll be cute to watch him kneel at the little door and say his little prayers!
The frames hanging above his bed were just a collection of things I wanted to hang in the room. I tried to use oak, white, and black throughout the room. There's an 8x10 from his first JCPenney pictures, a baby footprint (I just photocopied the one the hospital gave us and cut it out), a picture of a little boy with Jesus and, my favorite, an embroidery Mitch's mom did for him. It was a Christmas gift to him, and is just gorgeous!
Still reading? Nice. We're almost done, I promise!

The NATHAN above his bed was made from six 5x7 canvases, you guessed it, covered in fabric. That was the one thing I had to buy new, but they were 50% off, so it worked out. I bought the chipboard letters for 50 cents apiece and painted them, then added fun details.

I made his quilt and bedskirt twin-sized, so they can be used on a bigger bed. (Actually, my mom made the bedskirt. I had planned on it, but after my c-section my mom was the one sitting at the machine!) Then when she put it on the bed she just folded it over in places. It's pleated anyway, so you can't tell at all! Plus, now we have twin-sized "big boy" bedding!

The bumper pads are reversible and velcro open to slip off and be washed. They're made of one-inch high-density foam, not batting, so they're "safe" (And it was cheaper...) The ties are just double-folded binding with a seam down the middle and the ends finished to keep them in one piece.
I wanted the quilt to be something he could keep for a long time. I used his daddy's work jeans (and fun pockets), the four fabrics I'd picked, and others I had lying around that coordinated. It has a turquoise border around it that's just strips of the fitted twin sheet from that sheet set, and the back is the same fabric, taken from the flat sheet. Yay, cheap fabric!

I wanted to find a poem or something that had to do with stars, that hasn't been overdone. What I landed on were two children's songs we sing in our church. I've been in charge of the children's music for over a year, so these have grown on me! I chose the songs "I am like a star" and "Every star is different". I put both up on the walls with my trusty Cricut!
I put the second song up around the perimeter of the room, by the ceiling. I wanted some color up there, but didn't want to overdo it. Oh, how I wish I could paint!

I borrowed a neighbor's ladder and did this while I was 9 months about exhausting!

(I'm not showing the whole thing, just bits and poor people have been through enough!)

Wave hello to Mitch doing our taxes, and check out our classy fire hydrant screwed right onto the wall...oh, apartment life!

I have one empty gap that I wasn't anticipating. I have green and black vinyl...I was thinking putting his full name in green with stars on either side...? What do you think?

Finally, the little man's closet, shelf, sign, clock, and toy box (which we use for older kids' books that he's not ready for and blankets). The sign reads "For I know Heavenly Father loves me", which is the last line of the "I am like a star" song. I found the wood plaque at the thrift store and went to town with paper, mod podge, and vinyl.

The stuffed animals are special to us. Mitch's dinosaur from his childhood, and my teddy bear from mine. Our parents wanted them out of their houses, so we found a nice home for them in ours :o) (You can't just throw best friends like these away!)

If you look closely you can see our "lifesaver swing" sitting by the crib. On nights where he thinks 3 am is a perfect playtime, this guy can get him to sleep when no one else can!

Well that's it! Thanks for looking :o)

Still Dating

My Mitch and I love to go on dates. We love going to the dollar theater here in Rexburg, and we love going out for (cheap) dinners. It's just nice to not have to cook or entertain for a few hours. We've found ourselves getting very bored when it's just the two of us.

But, since Nathan's debut in our family, going out has been impossible. Who wants to sit next to the parents of a colicky baby at dinner? Or movies? It's impossible.

Better yet, who wants to try and tote a colicky baby everywhere and not get embarrassed or offended by the rude looks? Not us.

So, we've decided to use a part of our "date budget" every month to get Netflix. We stream it through our blu-ray player (thank you, Christmas gift!) and get dvds in the mail. That way we can make an event out of it. We really miss going to movies so we'll add a movie we haven't seen to our instant movie lineup, grab some popcorn, and make an event out of it. Or we'll play a game and then watch the movie. Or order a pizza and eat in the living room. It's been a great way to still get some "us" time during Nathan's naps...or while he's awake. We've gotten used to tv with subtitles! :o)

And, just for the heck of it, here's my favorite picture right now:
(It's straight off my scanner, so it looks kinda rough!)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Valentine's Day...only a week and a half late!

So Mitch and I had plans with his sister and her hubby on Valentine's Day night, so we ended up celebrating on Sunday.

I talked about being kind of nervous/indecisive about a nice Val day meal, but it ended up working out just perfectly! Mitch was a great help and Nathan slept from the time we got home from Church until we finished eating, so I got to enjoy a (still) hot meal with two hands! :o)

These were some of my only Valentine's Day decorations...I just can't justify buying a lot of decorations for holidays when we're still in school! One day I'll have a whole bunch :o)

(My sign says "true love leads to housework"...if you think about it, it's totally true!)
I made his mom's famous "caramel-bottom rolls" which are amazing. Lion House Dinner Roll recipe + rolling the dough out flat + brushing with melted butter + cutting into strips and rolling + baking in a muffin tin with brown sugar & butter in the bottom = pure amazing!!

This is what they look like before you bake them:
I didn't get an after picture b/c our oven cooks really hot, so after five minutes they were browning on top but doughy in the they were a little dark up top but still delicious!

We got to pull out our china for this meal, which I was really excited about! We spend pretty much every holiday with Mitch's family since they're only a day's drive away, so we never get to use our china. It was great! :o)
Then I bought 2 glass goblets at the dollar store so we wouldn't have to use our regular cups.
It was inexpensive and they served their purpose: holding Martinelli's, a Mormon's favorite "wine"! :o)
We enjoyed salad first and then a crock pot turkey with vegetables and mashed potatoes/gravy. I know, nothing fancy, but it was still a good meal!
I love pulling out our gravy boat and platter. We were able to pay for the china and the platter completely with wedding gift cards and the gravy boat was a wedding gift. I felt so grown up using fancy dishes that were ours! We almost didn't buy china when we got married, but i'm so glad we did. Especially because it was nothing out of pocket for us!
It was a great dinner.
Afterward we had Valentine's day cupcakes that I'd made the day before. Mitch frosted them while I finished the rolls on Saturday night. I love his frosting job :o)
We weren't going to do much in terms of gifts for this holiday, but Mitch happened to have a gun part that he'd returned to Cabela's about a month before and they gave us store credit for it instead of cash. :o( The good thing was that we each picked something from the site to get. The store credit expired in 30 days! I got a North Face and Mitch got a "thigh platform" for his holster...whatever that is :o) It was great, and definitely worked out conveniently!

Sunday, Feb. 13th also happened to be 18 months since we were married. It's nothing we'd usually celebrate, but we thought it was a fun coincidence!

Monday, February 14, 2011


I haven't counted my blessings in too long...

I am grateful for my Mitch for many reasons. Today's is that he was willing to step in as a substitute for one of the three year-old classes at church. Mind you, I work with kiddos for 2 hours of the 3 hour-long service, so Mitch had Nathan as well.

I am grateful for friends who keep in touch, even though I'm just at home all day and don't get out much. I really appreciate the invites and suggestions to get together, even if it can't happen right away.

I am grateful for two sets of wonderful parents, Mitch's and mine, who understand that, even though we're not perfect, we're doing our absolute best with their first grandbaby.

I am grateful for our apartment. As small as it seems sometimes, it has been a great first home for us. Nathan has his own room where he can stare at colors all day. We happened to get nice things passed on to us by family members and friends, or gifted to us, and we feel extremely blessed. We couldn't have made it happen ourselves after paying for a wedding.

I am grateful for the 18 months (to the day! We were married August 13, 2009!) I've gotten to spend with my man. It seems like we got married, oh, about a month ago!

I am grateful for the Internet. It keeps me sane when the only person I'm home with is 3 1/2 months old and is entertained by the singing toys all around him.

I am grateful for our Church. It has been so uplifting to know that we have a church family to turn to, and a foundation to build our lives on. Our children will grow up with a strong religious background, knowing who they are and why they're here, and I love that.

I am grateful for a partner to pass off a fussy baby to :o)

I am grateful for a sister in college, living (close to) the same way we are, paying bills and going to school. We can text when we're feeling discouraged, especially when it's about the same thing. It really helped me out the other night!

I am grateful for "me time" and the people around me that let me have a little bit of it. A shower, a nap, a scrapbooking session, it's all awesome!

I am grateful for this little face that smiles and talks with me all day:
Even when he looks like this...

I am grateful for a lot...probably several things that will come to mind as soon as I turn off the computer. Oh well, it's sleep time...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

"I love you when you're human!"

Gotta chalk it up to Modern that show.

Life is good, and we are blessed. It's been so important to remember this as schedules get hectic and semesters get hard and decisions get bigger.

I remember hearing in church as a teenager that i'd be making the biggest decisions of my life in the next ten years...where to go to college, what to get a degree in, who to marry, when to have kids, etc. (Obviously they haven't happened exactly in that order!)

I want this blog to be more of a journal, so i'm trying to write about everyday things, too, not just life's milestones.

My mom and I were in a store when I was visiting KC and we found this mirror for sale. Nathan smiled and smiled at "the baby" in the mirror. It was hilarious! He didn't know it was him--self-awareness doesn't hit until about 6 months old--but it was still hilarious! I pulled my little camera out of my bag and snapped away. It was awesome. I love having a camera on me all the time! He hasn't done it since (another reason i'm glad I got pictures!), but he's very interested in the baby in the mirror. He loves to study his face and is amazed with his expressions! :o)

Nathan's getting on a schedule a bit better, but still sleeps like a teenager. However, he now stays up from about 8 to 1 am, not napping at all in between, so hopefully he'll slowly start moving up his bedtime to at least 10:30 when Mitch heads to bed.

This week my goal is to vacuum, get ready for Valentine's Day, and cook 2-3 new meals. I have the time to experiment with new recipes, so why not? This is going to be the semester where I have the most time, even if Nathan tries to take up most of it. From now on, kids will always be taking my time, so I might as well learn while there's only one in the "little people hogging my time" club!

Speaking of Valentine's Day, i'm going to try and make a really nice dinner for us on Feb. 13th. It'll be Sunday, so a great day for a nice roast or something that can cook for awhile (we get out of church at 4:30 and are completely starved...and our oven doesn't have a timer!). I want to use our nice china that we've never gotten to use, and get out my nice red tablecloth. At my house growing up we dyed everything pink or red, but I don't know that we'll go that far this time! I want to make the famous Dooley woman caramel-bottom rolls (that's what I call them anyway), so we'll see if that works. I want to have sparkling cider, even though we don't have nice glasses, just nice dishes. Oh well! :o) I put Mitch in charge of what to have for the main course; all he has to do is tell me what he wants and I'll do it. I'm not picky, and I know he has more preferences than me! I'm excited, and i'll be sure to post pictures.

Here's a little "subway art" to celebrate Valentine's Day. I want to take some nice pictures of Nathan as well. He has a cute red polo that would work perfectly!

Happy pre-Valentine's Day! :o)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

3 months old...already!?

You don't look a day past 2 months, my dear! :o)
I can't believe our little Nathan man is already 3 months old, as of yesterday, Feb. 2nd.

I still go through the day he was born in my head when I go to sleep, as if it were yesterday!
I assume this is a mom thing, and that i'm not the only one who does this!

Our little love has learned how to do so much in his short little life, and we've seen huge changes over the last month!

Here's 10 fun facts about our Nathan:

1. He is still the noisiest baby I know. He's a noisy eater (who makes little piggy eating noises, which still kind of weird me out!), noisy sleeper, player, breather, talker etc. The ear, nose, and throat doctor we took him to with that sleep apnea scare said he'll probably talk in his sleep. He has his overly-chatty mama to thank for all his talking, i'm sure!

2. He loves his hands. He's not quite reaching out to grab things yet, but if something's in his reach (fabric, jewelry, hair) he grabs right onto it. He still does this less than most babies, though, because his hands are always moving when he talks.

3. He is the best cuddler. He has always loved to cuddle, and I hope this doesn't end as he gets older. Although, as he becomes more mobile and can do more, i'm sure it will wane a little. The poor little guy has thrush right now, and the discomfort makes him especially cuddly. Not that he needs an excuse!
4. He is SO curious about everything. He always wants to see what's around him and is learning the little details of his home. We still haven't had him in the same place for more than 4 consecutive weeks (so much travel!), so I hope he knows this is home!

5. He sleeps like a champ at night, and finally likes his crib! He'll usually sleep for 5-7 hours straight, meaning MOM gets REM sleep! :o) However, he makes us earn it and sleeps like a teenager! He usually won't take a break from all his alertness and curiosity until about 1:30 am. Then he'll sleep until 6 or 8 am, wake up to be fed, and wants to sleep again until 10 or 11! So, i'm trying to keep him up after he wakes up between 6 and 8. Not cool for his non-morning-person mother, but it's better than partying all night, which I can NOT do anymore!

6. The poor boy is the worst napper. He sleeps for 20-40 minutes. Usually, in the afternoon, we take a nap together in our bed. I know, it's frowned upon & whatever, but it's not like he sleeps with us any other time. If he's cuddled up to someone he'll sleep for a good 1 1/2-2 hours, so this is the only time I get a nap!

7. Nathan is very social. He loves to smile at people and mimic their expressions. However, he still always looks overly concerned about something! He doesn't like to be left alone in a room when he knows we're doing something in another one, especially if he can hear us. About a week or two ago he had an explosion of noises and has been jabbering nonstop ever since! If we're talking he can hear the tv "talking", he's talking right along with us. I'll put up a great video I got when I find the cord to our camcorder!

8. We can't quite leave him alone on the couch anymore. If he's left sitting up he'll either rock forward too much and faceplant, or fall to either side. (So we have to be careful not to leave a blanket or jacket on the couch where he can bury his face in it) He tries to sit up on his own all the time and not lean on whoever he's sitting with. Although, if he's tired enough, he'll fall asleep sitting up: in his bumbo seat, on the couch, wherever. This is a picture I just snapped this morning of him on the couch: I left for 2 minutes to brush my teeth, only to find him fallen over and dead to the world! (Don't worry, he got moved to a more comfy position!)

9. He loves his daddy! He's always looking up and smiling at Mitch, making noises to try and get his attention. I think it's because i'm with him all day, but daddy goes to school and work, so being around him is a bit more of a novelty. I love watching Mitch with Nathan: they are so cute! I'm so glad he has a son to have fun with and "teach him how to be a man!", as he puts it.

10. Nathan is starting to outgrow his colic. I think it's due to a mix between a wonderful chiropractic adjustment he had that left him much happier (one of his hips was completely out of place and another was off quite a bit, too!), and just getting older. Man, has he taught us patience! I'm hoping he's our only colicky baby, but I'm sure we won't get that lucky!

We love you, little Nathan! We can't believe you've been with us for three months, and we can't wait to see what else you have in store for us!