Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wedding Wednesday: 9 DIY Projects

Three days! THREE!!! I'm not sure if this is normal or not but I had a nightmare that everything that could go wrong did. We're talking lost rings, lost license, super duper late getting ready, sicknesses, and on and on. And as beautiful as our venue is, I'm questioning the wisdom of getting married on a cliffside when a certain one year old ring bearer likes to break free and take off running every chance he gets. So there's a little glimpse into the neurotic landscape of my mind lately.

That being said my to do list has actually dwindled significantly and aside from packing (a bajillion things) we're pretty much set for the big day. I'm just constantly reminding myself that we'll be surrounded by loved ones and if things go a little crazy no one will mind (I hope).

When it comes to DIY projects I kept things to a minimum. The florist is taking care of centerpieces, the self serve candy buffet will take care of favors, and that just left a few personal touches to add to the guest sign in table. Here's what I came up with:

1. Wooden initials decoration. This was just me grabbing a bunch of clearance stuff at Michaels, getting home, and saying what the heck am I gonna do with this??? Solution: superglue it all together and call it a day.

2. Love collage frame. I already had this frame (also from Michaels) so I picked up those metal love letters (magnets) and printed out some new photos to tell mine and Joe's love story. Every time I see it hanging on the wall I smile.

3. Ring box. I saw something similar on Pinterest and immediately wanted my own personalized version. Plus I think a box is a better idea for toddlers than a pillow. I got the box and wooden heart at (where else?) Michaels. I painted the heart white, wrote our names on it using a metallic gold marker, and super glued it to the box. I couldn't find the right size pillow so I put my novice sewing skills to use and we'll just call the results rustic and leave it at that ;)

4. Cards box. Wooden box from Michaels, ribbon, clothes pins, card stock, and white letter stickers = a super simple card box. Thankfully rustic is in right now.

5. Seating chart. I saw lots of beautiful printable seating charts on Etsy, but that would've required having everything planned out weeks ago, and we didn't, so this was a mandatory DIY. Instead of table numbers we used the street names of all the places we've lived together (6 in 5 years) as well as the streets each of us were living at when we were born. I used a frame we already own and hand wrote everything on gold-framed card stock.

6. Here comes the bride sign. This plain white heart already had string attached for hanging on a wall, so I cut that and tied on longer white ribbon instead and painted Daddy here comes our girl. This was a 5 minute $5 project and Declan will look adorable carrying this down the aisle. If he doesn't rip it off and throw it at our guests instead. That's a big if. And if you happen to be the guest that gets pelted with a wooden heart, sorry! We love you!

7. Guest sign in book. I already mentioned that I made our book on Shutterfly using our engagement photos. Here's a little sneak preview:

8. Advice cards & chalkboard. I mentioned that I really loved these advice cards but couldn't find them anywhere so I made my own. I also ordered these mini envelopes and made a little chalkboard sign so people would know where to return them after filling them out.

9. Candy bags with tags. These aren't really DIY per say, but I did tie all these super cute tags to our personalized bags, which was surprisingly time consuming, so we'll call it pseudo-DIY. 

Other than a few last minute projects (that may or may not get done) that's pretty much it in the DIY department for me. What kind of DIY projects did you do for your wedding? I always love hearing what kind of favors people give out. There's so many creative options out there, but we're sticking with the tried and true candy. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Ezzyisms - 3.25 Years

It's been about 7 months since my last Ezzyisms post (you can read them all here) and looking back it's striking how his vocabulary grown. He used to be all about sounds, he wanted to know what sound everything makes. Yes, even stop signs. And in case you're wondering, saying something doesn't make a sound is not an acceptable answer to a two year old. Thankfully we've grown out of that stage because my sound impression game is not strong. You know what we haven't grown out of though? This kid's love of vehicles. Planes, race cars, motorcycles, emergency vehicles, you name it, he loves em all. But his current most favorite vehicle of all is monster trucks. I can basically name fifty different monster trucks, along with their drivers, and chart you the lineage of connection between all the drivers (because most of them seem to be related or married) and I can pick from a lineup all the crew members and which trucks they work on. I kid you not. That's a whole lotta brain space attached to a subject I really don't care that much about. But I get pop quizzed daily, and oh boy, if I fail there's hell to pay. Here are a few other typical Ez interactions and sayings. 

I'm assuming this is just a three year old thing, or maybe my kid is a weirdo (and most definitely a control freak), but most things can't get done unless we follow a specific ritual. Pretty much the first time I suggest anything (let's put on our shoes, throw your trash away, brush your teeth, etc.) Ez immediately refuses. When I reach a sufficient level of frustration he says, "What are we gonna do???" to which I have to respond by repeating exactly "what are we gonna do?" and then he'll say "we're all gonna put our shoes on!" like it was his idea. That's a big thing right now, it's all gotta be his idea and he wants to do it all himself. Then he reminds me that I'm supposed to tell him: "You're the best!" even though in my head I'm thinking the best kid would've really just put his shoes on the first time without this whole ten minute run around that we have to go through every. single. time.

On the topic of doing everything himself, there was that time Ez wanted to know where his Nemo stuffed fish was so I grabbed it and handed it to him. He immediately took it, hid it, then repeated asking over and over, "Where is it??" before going and retrieving it from the hiding place and saying, "Look! I found it all by myself!" To which I'm expected to reply (you guessed it) "You're the best!"

Probably another toddler trait, but Ez loves to ask a question repeatedly and with urgency like it's a life or death matter, aka - "Wanna watch monster trucks???! Wanna watch monster trucks??? WANNA WATCH MONSTER TRUCKS??!!!"
Me: You want to watch monster trucks?
Ez: Wellll...otay (ok)...
The kicker that gets me every time is how he responds like I'm twisting his arm but he'll humor me just this once. Maybe he's trying reverse psychology on me?

We're going to Gangy and Grampa's house! (anytime we're in a residential neighborhood.)

Need tickles??! when he wants daddy to tickle him.

Falls down on purpose just so he can say "I'm otay!"

"Let's watch it go!" (anytime he wants me to watch him play cars.)

"The motorcycles are sleeping" whenever I tell him we can't go to our local motorcycle dealership.

If I tell him no he says, "Gotta say please!" The idea that sometimes the answer just really is no is not something he accepts willingly.

"Where is it??!" Referring to the truck I refused to buy him from Target, now known as the one that got away. It's been a week and he still brings it up daily, which is pretty impressive considering the toddler attention span is not renowned for lasting longer than a few minutes. 

Whenever we go to the motorcycle dealership he asks what each motorcycle sounds like then proceeds to do elaborate and different engine sounds for each one. The cruisers get loud rumbling sounds, the race ones get fast zippy sounds, and the list goes on and on. How he acquired dozens of different engine sounds I have no idea.

For some reason I catch him randomly singing the Mr. Clean jingle to himself pretty frequently. It is a catchy tune, I have to admit.

I'm happy to report that his enthusiasm for the hot dog dance continues to increase. He sings along while jumping around like he's in a mosh pit. 

"Gotta fix it!" (Referring to his toy monster trucks) followed by "errrr! wooo! eeee! errrr!" (Simulated pit stop sounds.)

On the same note he likes to race around the couch stopping in front of me to ask "pit stop??" and then I do all those sounds to his elbows and knees before patting him and telling him "Gooooo!"

"We'll be back Deckles." Whenever we go upstairs without Declan, followed by "we came back!" When we walk back downstairs.

Whenever the zombie monster truck comes on TV he wanders around the house doing his zombie arms.

He likes to announce the families on Family Feud along with Steve Harvey (aka - It's the... CRAIG FAMILY!!)

Every time the barracuda kills Nemo's whole family and Marlin tries to fight him off Ez laughs hysterically. I really hope that doesn't mean he's a future serial killer.

Three is an...interesting...age. You just never know what you're gonna get with a three year old. There are lots of rituals and patterns, and we often have the same truck-related conversation multiple times a day, but there are also so many new thoughts and connections being made daily. I read somewhere that babies and toddlers make 700 new neural connections every second. It's amazing to think about and I am so impressed by how Ez's little sponge brain soaks everything in and puts it all together. There are times when it feels like nothing I'm doing or saying is getting through, and then all of a sudden one day he wakes up and it clicks like a light bulb went on over his head. 

There is so much energy in his little body. All the caffeine in the world wouldn't give me half as much energy as he has at any given moment. Somehow even watching TV is a workout for him. He likes to run laps around the couch, climb on and jump off the ottoman repeatedly, or just dance around pretending he's racing cars. 

Some days I spend what feels like hours just timing his time outs, and when I go to get him he'll tell me he's not ready and actually asks to stay in his room longer. Then other days he doesn't need a single time out, and he's so gracious, and polite, and says please and thank you like a little gentleman and tells me how much fun he had playing at the park with me and my heart just melts. 

The emotions run high this year, but so do the rewards. Seeing him make sense of his world, express himself better each day, and explore his imagination have been some of the best parts of parenting. Watching his crazy, loving, stubborn, sensitive, energetic, playful yet serious personality unfold is such a blessing and while I'm pretty sure I'm never gonna look back and miss those public grocery store meltdowns, there is so much I know I will miss from this age. Like the way he can't pronounce f's, and how he does a happy dance whenever he's excited, and knowing that even though he's oh so independent right now, if he gets hurt or doesn't feel well I'm the first person he looks for and comes running to. And on that note, I think I need to go tackle him and steal all the snuggles right now before he gets even the teensiest bit bigger. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wedding Wednesday: Bachelorette Weekend in Tahoe

Ten days till the big day!! I've got people messaging me about when they get here next week and I'm like, "next week?? that can't be right..." I'm so excited, not too stressed, but still in a bit of disbelief that the big day is right around the corner. 

I really wanted a low key girls' getaway for my bachelorette party, not so much as a last hurrah before we tie the knot, because we're already basically married anyway, but because I haven't had a single girls weekend since I became a parent. I was way overdue and this happened to be the perfect reason. 

It was a great weekend spent with my oldest and dearest friends and my mom. Well, not old, just the longest lasting friendships ;) We dipped our toes in the lake, got a contact high from the reggae festival which we happened to be staying right next to, won some money, lost some money, ate plenty of yummy food and drinks, and did some shopping. My mom forced me to wear my wifey sash and a bride headband, which was awkward because I don't like being the center of attention and people kept stopping me to either say congrats (the girls) or "don't do it!" (the guys). I kept forgetting about the sash and wondering why all these people were talking to me. But as my mom pointed out, she's only been planning this day for 33 years, so I kept the sash and headband on for her. It was lowkey fun and as we stayed up late noticing everyone around us getting drunker and drunker I was definitely ok with lowkey.

We happened to see three brides within an hour of being there, so I'll take that as a good sign. We even saw one couple's sweet first look and the groom looked so happy and emotional, it was really touching to see and made me even more excited for our wedding. 

Meanwhile, back at the grandparents' house, Grampa and the uncles did an amazing job holding down the fort, even with a feverish teething baby who threw up (again). This is right after Grampa and the uncles just got over their Declan stomach flus, so I'm sure they were having PTSD flashbacks, but they did such a great job taking care of the boys in less than ideal circumstances. A million thanks Grampa and uncles! Thanks to my friends for coming along and adding to our already long list of lifetime memories. And a million more thanks to my mom - your 33 years of planning has paid off and I couldn't ask for a better wedding. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wedding Wednesday: 10 Keepsake Ideas

I think as bloggers we probably all understand that innate need to record and preserve our memories. I know for me I've been writing down the mundane details of my life since I got my first journal aged seven. I'd write down stuff like: Today I ate macaroni and cheese for dinner and played outside with the cats. Riveting stuff. In high school I moved on to scrap booking (complete with a full two page spread on Leo Dicaprio, in all his Titanic and Romeo & Juliet glory), and now, as an adult, I blog. It's not that I think my life is super interesting, I just think I'll forget details I'd rather remember if I don't write them down or record them in some way. So when it comes to the wedding, I've probably spent as much energy looking at wedding keepsakes as I've spent on any of the actual planning. Of course we'll have plenty of photos and videos, and definitely a blog post or two, but since a wedding only happens once why not go all out? That's my rationale, anyway. So here you have my ten favorite wedding keepsake ideas: 

1. Custom wine box - I saw this marketed as the "first fight box", and the idea is to write each other love notes on your wedding day, seal them up in this box with a bottle of wine, and open them up when you have your first fight as a married couple. Or you could designate a specific anniversary to open them up and reminisce. I'm very nostalgic and I think love letters are romantic, plus this box has hummingbirds on it, so it was basically made with me in mind ;)

2. Wedding portrait - You all know how I love my yearly family caricatures, but this year I thought we'd switch it up and do a wedding portrait of the four of us instead. There are so many great artists out there depending on your budget and style preference.

3. Shadow box (inspiration photo) - Such a fun way to display all those little keepsakes that would normally get hidden away in a box and forgotten about.

4. Guest survey - It turns out there are a million fun versions of guest sign ins, and I've really had to reign myself in because I want to do them all. I love this survey because guests get to share a favorite memory, and how long they've known the bride and groom, as well as marital advice. Reading through everyone's notes will be a great way to keep that wedding excitement going after the big day has passed. I couldn't find anywhere to buy this printable, so I wound up making my own on PicMonkey. 

5. Photo booth (inspiration photo) - If you can fit a photo booth into your wedding budget it's just too much fun to pass up. We're also going to have a little scrap book and double print outs so that guests can leave us a copy along with a little note.

6. Wedding dress locket - This is a sweet way to keep a little piece of your dress with you after it's been safely wrapped up and stored away.

7. Embroidered bouquet necklace - I saw these necklaces long before I'd even thought about wedding planning and I immediately pinned it for later. So much thought and planning goes into picking out that perfect bouquet, and the flowers set the tone for the whole wedding, but then we brides just toss it and that's it. Oh My Heart Embroidery does an amazing job of replicating your bouquet into a little necklace.

8. Wedding cake ornament - I mentioned before that I was never that little girl planning her wedding, but I have to amend that a little, because if there's one thing that I have given some thought to, it's the cake. I mean how often in life do you get a tiered cake? So when I saw that Aberrant Ornaments makes these tiny little replica cakes I thought that was absolutely brilliant. It's definitely a splurge, but one day, just maybe, this would make an amazing Christmas gift.

9. Heart guest sign in - Since I've already got several guest sign ins I decided to pass this up, but it's just too adorable not to share.

10. Photo sign in book - If you know me at all you probably know that I'm a little obsessed with Shutterfly. I make several photo books a year for our family alone. And then I make more to give out as gifts. I decided to splurge a little and got the 10x10 book with lay flat pages using our engagement photos and making sure to leave lots of white space for guests to sign. I LOVE the way it turned out. I know a lot of people say guest sign in books just wind up getting put away and forgotten about, but I personally love going through our photo books, as does Ez, and probably Declan too one day, so I'm sure our guest book will be no different.

What are your favorite wedding keepsakes? Do you have any anniversary traditions, like re-watching your wedding video or flipping through the guestbook?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tourists In Our Own Town

Our one year anniversary of living in San Jose is coming up in about a week. Crazy how fast that flew by. I'll never forget that night we moved here, when Declan was exactly two months old, after I'd spent the morning frantically packing up all the last odds and ends and throwing them into random boxes while trying to direct the movers and sneaking out to my car to nurse Declan whenever he started fussing, since that was the only place left to sit aside from the floor. We drove about four hours with one mostly well-behaved toddler and a sleepy baby, and then another hour or so with an extremely unhappy baby, which eventually led to an unhappy toddler. Somehow we made it to our hotel (since our furniture wasn't arriving till the next day), and immediately sprinted to the bathtub because Declan was literally having a poosplosion as we walked through the door. Fun times. Now that tiny little baby is gone, poosplosions have become a rare occurrence, and that foreign place that felt so different from Southern California has grown to feel like home. 

Part of settling into a new place is to find your favorite spots and frequent them often. We love our neighborhood park, our favorite breakfast spot is one of the first places we ever ate at in town, even before we'd moved here, and whenever we meet my sister for lunch we tend to head to our old standby cafe with the amazing salads and views of airplanes flying overhead. But every now and then we like to branch out and find new to us spots to explore. Last week we decided to wander around after brunch and came across the City Hall, which we usually only see from a distance. It has really interesting architecture and a nice inviting fountain that Ez and Declan couldn't resist splashing in it. Of course. Then we saw the tiny little obscure sign saying it was recycled water and quickly went on our way. Whoops. It was fun while it lasted.

Later in the week we headed over to Mountain View to walk around a lake that we never even realized existed. Turns out you can rent paddle boats or go wind sailing there, something we'll definitely keep in mind for the future. They also had a little ship playground where Ez happily plopped in the sand and covered himself in dirt while Declan was assaulted by a very maternal little toddler who wanted to pick him up and carry him away and make him her very own life-sized baby doll. He was having none of that, and our usually social little boy kept sprinting off in the other direction whenever she came near. I think he was offended that she thought he was a baby. Doesn't she realize he's just as big as everyone else??

Even though we never actually went in the water Ez and Declan were pretty content as long as there was a steady stream of pebbles to throw. Ez would carefully pick out the biggest rocks, throw them in the lake, and do an excited jump with each splash. Declan indiscriminately grabbed handfuls of tiny little pebbles and dirt, wound up real big, and usually managed to drop them about three inches from his feet. Then he'd stare off toward the water, waiting for that big splash that for some reason didn't come. 

This past weekend we took a slightly different walking route than usual and came across a big mostly shaded playground complete with not only a play train, but a view of real trains just across the street. Toddler paradise. Even though we're definitely not giving up our old standbys, it's been a nice reminder to shake up our routine every now and then and add some new favorites to the mix. Sometimes it feels like we've barely scratched the surface as far as exploring the bay area, and the fact that we've explored as much as we have is really thanks to Joe, who does most of the research looking for family friendly spots to add to our Bay Area bucket list. Thanks babe! We appreciate it.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Declan's 1st Haircut

This past weekend we checked off a pretty big milestone: Declan's first haircut. His hair had reached full on mullet status with some pretty gnarly sideburns. If anyone could pull off that crazy hairstyle it's Deckles, but it finally got a little too crazy. Especially since mommy barely even likes to brush it, let alone style it. So to the barbershop we went.
prehaircut, in all its wild glory
I did the whole kid's barbershop experience for Ez, where he got to sit in a Lightning McQueen car and pick out a toy afterward, and you know what? He hated it. He still hates having his haircut. So in true second child fashion we skipped all that and Grampa took him to Great Clips instead. Grampa is our secret weapon when it comes to haircuts and he has the highest success rate of getting Ez's haircut with no injuries for anyone involved. No small feat, trust me.

Here they are, precut:

So far, so good...

Oh wait, is she spraying water on my head??? Uh uh. NO.

Are you seeing this?? Call social services immediately. 

A sucker?? You think you can bribe me with a sucker???



At least big bro prepared us for this moment. Not sure why they hate haircuts so, but fingers crossed Declan grows out of it sooner than Ez. And can we just take a moment and talk about how this kid grew like six months in ten minutes? I kinda miss my baby with the three inch sideburns. This new older kid is pretty cute too though. Also, immediately after his haircut he took his climbing skills to new heights and climbed onto the kitchen table. Clearly he actually did grow and it's not just in my head.