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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Gallery Wall 3.0

While working on our floors I was getting antsy to change up our gallery wall (seen HERE). I like to change things up or move things around, just to keep it fresh. I took advantage of a huge frame sale from West Elm back in May and stocked up on some gold leaf frames and a few white gallery frames as well. After we had some family pictures taken, it was time to take everything down and re-organize that wall! Creating a gallery walls is like a puzzle. I arrange, rearrange, and do it all over a million times. I ended up with fewer and bigger frames to keep it cleaner.

  Another small change that made a huge difference was getting rid of our coffee table at a recent garage sale. Now that our surface area of carpet was significantly reduced with the wood floor, I didn't want a large table to take up all of that space. I'm loving how open the room has become. And, for the record, that bucket of toys is usually dispersed all over the rug. :)

Now all I need is a new light fixture to get rid of the final boob light left on our main floor! Hooray!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Floor Project

When we bought our house over 3 years ago, the very first thing I wanted to change about the house was the floors. The people who built the house had tile in the kitchen and really poor quality carpet in the entry way and living room (by the way, who puts carpet in the entry way?!). We very much disliked that carpet as it would roll, we would have it stretched, it would roll again, etc. It was matted down and had stains. Yep, we hated it. We finally got the courage to tackle this huge project around Memorial Day. Some called us crazy for doing this project with twins, and although it would have been easier to have done it before they were born, at least we got it done before they were moving around! 

Honestly, doing floors is totally doable - really, anyone could do it. The worst part, by far, was the demolition of the existing tile. I have never sanded so much in my life. It took about a week from start to finish, and I am just so in love with the final product. We found the laminate wood during some crazy 50% off sale at Lumber Liquidators, and doing the project ourselves saved a ton of money. It has made the house look so much bigger and more open.

Ok, now for some pictures.


Here is a poor quality BEFORE picture from the front door point of view. This was before a few winters had their effect on this carpet. 

A close-up of the floors. We went with a lighter wood after a lot of people told us to avoid super dark floors, especially with little kids. Apparently they are next to impossible to keep clean! Also, since we were used to a "lighter" floor with light tile and carpet, we were hesitant to all the sudden bring in really dark colors. It's definitely a "cooler" tone, but that works with the rest of my house. I'm totally in love.

View of the front door

And because I always love seeing a few "during" pictures, here they are. Like I said, the demo of the tile was the worst part of the project. We used a crazy drill to get the tile up, and then had to sand all of the grout away. Ugh! 

Laying the floors in our front room (sorry for the poor quality phone picture). Once we figured out how the system works, it went pretty fast. We definitely had to do some areas 2-3 times. Live and learn.

Finally, I just have to quickly mention our lovely, plush, oh-so-comfortable rug that I am in love with. We had a thin flat-weave rug there before that I knew would need to be replaced with something more plush for the babies to play on. I had seen a rug from one of my favorite bloggers that she had in her home and loved. Two years later I still couldn't get that rug out of my mind! Thanks to a Memorial Day sale at Rugs USA, that rug is now mine! We love it.


And I couldn't finish a post about our floor project without publicly thanking my dad for his incredible DIY wisdom and free time and Russ's dad for giving up so much of his Memorial Day weekend and helping us out. Oh, and my mom and Mother-in-law for helping watch the babies! Couldn't have done it without them! 

We have a few more house updates that I've been excited to share. So stay tuned!

Hello, We're 10 Months!

What?! My babies are getting so big! They have little individual personalities and quirks and are rearing to get moving. Clara figured out crawling about 3 days after these pictures were taken, and Max will be moving any day. Both Max and Clara have two little bottom teeth, and I can tell some top teeth are coming soon. We hear lots of baby talk and giggles between the two, as well as twice the amount of melt downs. :) But truly, they are really good babies who love sticking to their schedule. Sleep schedules are bittersweet - super sweet when you are able to stick to them, a little bitter when "life" gets in the way. 

I am loving each new month - it's so fun to get to hang out with my little buddies every day. They crack me up, and I could not love them any more! 

On a side note, my favorite sweatshirt for the last few years has been from Hello Apparel. So when I saw they were having a huge sale a few months ago I couldn't resist picking up some matching onesies. And now for a picture overload!



I wish Clara was in focus, because I totally love this picture. 

Baby feet. mmmm mmmm.

I love those two little teeth!

Her eyes melt me every time!

And pretty much every photo session ends up with one of them falling over. :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sunny San Diego

Last week we packed Russ's truck full with baby gear and luggage and drove the 11 hours west to San Diego. We spent a lovely week with Russ's extended family - 51 people at one house! Luckily it was a huge mansion that could accommodate everyone. It really was such a great week seeing family from near and far. It's amazing how everyone from the entire Lewis side of the family comes to the reunion (one family even came from Thailand!). It was a blast. 
 
We tried out taking the twins to the beach. It was fun to see them get excited about the waves and the sand, but other than the 15-20 minutes where those two things were enjoyed, the rest of the affair was incredibly exhausting and, needless to say, we did not go back. :) Maybe next year when they will actually be excited about being there. Luckily the house we were at had a beautiful pool (which the babies love) so even if we stayed put we still had fun. 

I sure love those chubby beach babies.





Like I mentioned, the pool was a hit. Those babies could have floated around in there all day, every day. Too bad our house doesn't have a pool in the backyard. :)


Russ is absolutely obsessed with the beach. I mean, look at that happy face!

We even brought our new bike trailer out to go for some family bike rides. The babies are still getting used to being in there. We have yet to have a ride where one of them doesn't end in tears. Hopefully they get used to it soon!!

This picture is deceiving, because usually Clara is the bully. :)

... and swings. They love swings. 

All in all, it was a great week in Sunny San Diego with family!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

National Twin Day?

Apparently yesterday was National Twin Day? I'm not sure who decided that, but to me everyday is twin day! These little babies seem to rule my life, and I'm okay with that. However, in honor of celebrating twins, here is my new favorite picture of these two little crazies.


We were fortunate enough to have the talented Arash Armin come out to our house and take a few pictures of our little family. This is behind our backyard (and our view daily). I love that we have our normal view in these pictures. I have a feeling Max and Clara will have a lot of pictures taken from that bench in their lives. :)

Here are a few of my other favorites.







This is on our back patio below our kitchen window


Clara had just figured out how to smack her lips and consequently looks like she is sucking her top lip in every. single. picture. Ha. Such is life. Either way, I love my family and am so grateful to be a mom to two babies - whether it's National Twin Day or not. :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lately

* Because I appreciate when a tried and true recipe is passed on, I made THIS last night and it was a hit. Direct quote from Russ, "This is everything I've ever dreamed about in a pasta." Haha. Dramatic much? Also, I must mention that it was quick and easy! I used polish sausage instead of beef for a little extra "zing," and I added some salt to taste. Try it out! 

* We've been busy, busy with house projects! As I mentioned a while ago, we redid our floors (pictures to come!), we built a shed outside, we are working on getting a fence along the river, and lots of organizing and yard work. Yay for home ownership!

* The babies have been swimming a few times, in real pools and in the kiddie pool outside. They like it!

* Max wakes up at 5 or 5:30 every day. I know. I have tried changing bed time earlier AND later, I feed him, we've made it super dark in the room, turned on fans, noise-cancelling machines... everything! I am desperate for him to sleep a little longer. Does anyone have any amazing tips? 

* We are gearing up for a few vacations in the next month. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a bit anxious about them. We are finally into a good routine and I hate the idea of messing that up. But I know they will be fun. They will be fun, right? ;)

* And because babies in sunglasses are always adorable, I'll leave you with this.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Geranium Dress(es)!

Those who follow me on Instagram probably saw that I've been busy with the sewing machine lately. I have caught the sewing bug and I can't stop! Growing up, my mom was always making dresses and clothes for my sister and me. She made Easter, Christmas, everyday dresses, as well as all of my formal dresses for dances in High School. She truly is an amazing seamstress, and I have always had a goal to be better with the sewing machine. I needed some motivation... Enter Clara!


I found an amazing pattern from Made By Rae for a dress that I could modify a million ways and that would last until size 5T! The Geranium Dress pattern was totally worth $10. It comes with the pattern pieces and step-by-step tutorial (with pictures!). As long as you can work a sewing machine and generally understand how things are put together, this is the pattern for you. The pink and mint dress was my first attempt (definitely a first trial-run dress - don't look too close :)), the denim tunic was next, and then I finally felt like I had it "down" and made the perfect little gold polka dot dress. I'm in love with it.


As I mentioned about the Geranium Dress pattern, you can have a lot of variations. I tried out the sleeveless dress, flutter sleeves, cap sleeves, scoop neckline, knotched neckline, gathered skirt and pleated skirt. And like I said, I made 3 dresses and 1 top. All from one pattern! I think I also concluded that I like pleats more than gathers - gathers are tricky to get perfectly even and looking nice!

Flutter sleeves!

Gold buttons galore! For some reason I love gold buttons. Although button holes and I are still not friends. I will get better.

 

I finished this dress this morning. That pom-pom trim took a little longer than I was expecting, but I just love the result! Clara is wearing it today and it is just way too cute. 


If you are still reading (ha ha), hopefully this post has encouraged you to try creating something with the sewing machine! For some reason it seems so intimidating, but I quickly learned that nothing is permanent (except perhaps scissors... :)). I have had to tear out a lot of seams and stitches, but eventually I get it right. And also, it doesn't need to be perfect! There is so much satisfaction in putting something I created from just fabric onto my little girl.


I think she likes the gold polka-dot dress! :) 

Now... to find a pattern for little boys. I can't wait to make some thing for Mr. Max!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Swingin'

Max and Clara had their first adventure at the playground this last weekend. This was the first of many playground adventures to come, so of course it had to be documented. I really love the picture below for some reason. It was a quick moment in time. I love their hats, their chubby legs and dimpled hands, the draped arms over the swing - all of it.


Sometimes Max will flash this smile at me and it cracks me up. It's like he's saying "hey mom! Just hangin' out on this swing with my twin sister. Life is pretty great, huh?

Yes, Max. Life is pretty great.

For some reason I couldn't quite capture Clara's smile on the swing, even though she was loving it. But who could miss those thunder thighs? Mmmm. I could just squeeze them.

Both Max and Clara have also been loving when we play the guitar or piano with them. I'm still loving the idea of a family band. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Dads Are the Best!

We've had a busy and wonderful weekend of celebrating the Dads in our life. Without getting too mushy, I am so incredibly grateful for Russ and the amazing Dad he is to Max and Clara. I love watching him interact, take care of, and show his love for them. Watching Russ grow into the role of "Dad" has made me love him even more. He brings a smile to their little faces no one else can! It sure makes my heart melt.


Father's Day Sunday also happened to be Max and Clara's "8 month" birthday, so of course we had to attempt their monthly photo shoot. Unfortunately, Clara was not a huge fan of the grass. In fact, she pretty much cried the whole time. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. Either way, these babies are getting cuter by the day (if I do say so myself) and I am loving this 8 month stage! .... now only if we can make them good sleepers again. Yikes. 

This was pretty much the best we got. :)

... because this was how most of the other pictures looked. Although I do love this one and how Max is reaching out to her while she is crying. Twin love. It's a real thing, people.

Since Max was obliging we had a little solo photo shoot with Mister Smiles. :)


.... And back to the Father's Day weekend post. Both of our Dad's birthdays are within a few days of Father's Day, so we usually celebrate both Dad's birthdays and Fathers day in one weekend! Whew! My family came over Friday night to honor my wonderful father. I love you, Dad! I couldn't ask for a better dad. You have taught me so much by word and example. And plus, you know how to have some serious fun! :)


(We were missing Jace and Bella who are up in Seattle for an internship)

Saturday we had a fun barbecue in the American Fork canyon along the gorgeous, raging river. Well, sadly no photos were taken. Darn. It was a wonderful afternoon spent in nature and honoring Russ's father. :) 

Hope everyone else had a fantastic Father's Day! Aren't Dads the best?!?