a big girl bed

It has been a few weeks now, but Gracie is officially in her “big girl bed.” We moved her about 6 months later than we did with Luke, but not intentionally. It mostly had to do with the fact that I wanted to make her quilt first, and I didn’t create space to do so until a few weeks ago. It turned out just as I hoped, and with minimal mistakes on my part (a rarity in my sewing endeavors). Sentimentally, it was hard for both Ian and I to see the crib come down (the one both our babies used) and finally be transformed into a toddler bed.

This almost-3-year-old was excited and proud, though at bedtime the first week she said she missed her crib. And bedtime has taken longer – she wants the security of my presence much more than she did with her crib. But overall, she is doing great. And when the two kids wake before it’s time to get up and want to snuggle, it’s a lot easier for Luke to move to her bed than when he had to haul all his blankets up into her crib!

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a room for little ones

I’ve been meaning to post photos of the kiddos’ room since, oh… November of 2013? I figured I better take some photos since inevitably Gracie will move to a toddler bed in the next while.

I feel very sentimental towards their tiny little bedroom, and I know it will be a sad day to me when we move them to the slightly larger guest room. And while their room is never as tidy as it is in these photos, this is how I choose to picture it in my mind’s eye.

I love how the light floods in the window in the morning.

IMG_1199Luke’s corner, complete with the birth announcement that my mom made; Ian’s badges from his boy scout and eagle scout days; the quilt that I miraculously made for him when he moved into his bed; and the IKEA wall pockets that he has ignored or knocked off the wall since we got them. Yes, I could take them down… but then I’d have to fill in the holes in the wall. 🙂IMG_1200I love this cheerful little spot, and someday I will miss seeing the cloth diapers all stacked and ready.IMG_1203

IMG_1204Gracie’s corner is sweet – I made the little trio of woodland animals before Luke was even born, and I convinced my mom to embroider another lovely birth announcement for our girl.IMG_1206And the stork that I made – it has been plucked from the sky many times by curious little hands, yet still survives.  IMG_1210I love our IKEA Expedit systems (we have 3 throughout the house). IMG_1212And the room wouldn’t be complete without some amazing family photos from Evantide Photography.IMG_1213I still have the Noah’s ark hanging that my mom made for me – it was over my closet growing up, and now it’s over my kids’ closet. Next to it are two baby bibs that my oma embroidered – the bottom one was mine, and the top one was given to my mom’s best friend when she had a son. My mom’s friend was so kind to give it to me when I had Luke (and yes, I totally cried when she gave it to me). IMG_1225

So that’s their room at the moment. I know they won’t be little forever, but I sure am treasuring this time while they fit perfectly in this tiny little room together.

the last of luke’s nursery

Sigh. The day finally came when we decided to move Luke to his “big boy bed” (aka teeny toddler bed).

We had talked about doing it on a week when Ian was working an earlier shift, so we’d have a good amount of time for an extended bedtime routine if we encountered any difficulties. But when we looked at our calendar, we realized that most nights we had commitments that were going to push bedtime back anyways. So we made the switch kind of spur-of-the-moment on a Sunday morning. Which was for the best, since it didn’t leave me time to be overly sentimental about “his last night in his crib” and whatnot. Which I tend to do.

Anyways. We did it – Ian put together his toddler bed and we re-arranged all the furniture so that it fit. Luke and baby sister will be sharing a room, so we had to be creative about fitting everything in a small room. But it will be cozy and cute and Luke is really excited about sharing his room. Once we’ve settled everything in and decorated, I’ll share some photos. But don’t expect it before December!

I loved how Luke’s room was for the first couple years of his life. When he was born, we had a bare skeleton of a room – a crib with no mattress, and a couple dressers. Hey, when you have an adoption come through after the baby is already born, you don’t exactly have time to nest before bringing him home! So it took a couple months to come together, but it was a sweet room that worked well for us. And honestly, the style of the new shared room won’t be that much different. If there’s a theme to the room, it’s probably a woodland theme, which I still love. But I wanted to remember what Luke’s first room looked like.

I loved his little crib area. I designed his birth announcement, and my mom made it with her mad crewel embroidery skills (I’ve already given her baby girl’s design to work on!). My mother-in-law got those super cute animal prints from a local artist – Luke still loves to point out the animals and make up stories about them. The little collage area over his dresser is a modge podge of fun little crafted or thrifted goodies. Both the dresser and the lamp is from my childhood. The lamp also plays a lullaby and the crib figurine rocks when you wind it up (it totally freaks Ian out, but I love it).

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This room gets some nice light, and it was nice to have his changing table under the window. The stork always looked great there – I’m excited to be adding a new heart to it soon! To the left of the window is a photo of Luke’s first father’s day (only a couple weeks old) and a bib that my oma made for one of my mom’s best friends when she had a baby boy. When I had Luke, she was so sweet to pass it on to me. I absolutely love it. I don’t have a full photo of it, but my mom made the Noah’s ark hanging above the closet. She made it for me before I was born, and it always hung in my room growing up. That’s probably Luke’s favorite art in the room since he’s obsessed with Noah’s ark. 🙂

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This side of the room is fun – I made the trio of woodland animals before Luke was born. My BFFs made the little raccoons and twig tree for my baby shower. The good ol’ IKEA expedit has served us well, and will continue to do so!

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So that’s the grand tour – I did say his room was small. 🙂

And here’s a photo of the big boy in his new bed. I made the quilt for him – my first since the lap quilt I made in high school home ec! It was actually a remarkably smooth process, and Luke loves it. Overall, he’s adjusted well to his new bed – bedtimes are great, naptimes are usually fine, though he definitely uses his freedom to get up and play for a few more minutes before settling down. We are thankful for a kiddo who generally likes to sleep, so we try not to get too worked up when we have a shorter or skipped nap day.

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I’m excited to put together their new room… once that nesting instinct kicks in, I guess!

eleven things on the eleventh

11 things on my mind today…

1. Jon Foreman’s Spring is my album of the moment.
Your Love is Strong is the song I play over and over and over.

2.  A trip to Value Village secured the goods I needed to begin yet another craft endeavor – hopefully a simple project, but it has the potential to go awry.
{follow up post to come, hopefully as soon as this weekend!}

3. People watching at Costco always amuses me. Fave quote of the day: “Why did you lie to daddy about biting your arm?”

4. All Luke wants to do is be assisted in standing up.
all.the.time.

5. When he’s not standing up (okay, and sometimes when he is), he’s eating cheerios. I’m pretty sure he would eat an entire box if given the opportunity.

6. Our church has officially been around for 3 years, and our launch team was meeting together even before that. Crazy! It feels like we’ve been together awhile, but 3 years seems to have flown by!

7. When we decided to adopt, we knew we would be open to a baby of any racial background. What I didn’t expect was that our baby would be translucent. Seriously, who knew you could even be more pale than Ian and I?!

Photo Credit: Evantide Photography

8. Did I mention that Luke and I discovered a giant slide at a nearby playground?
I was super pumped, but Luke was very casual about the whole thing. He was more intrigued by the rusty bolt and gravel at the top of the slide. Of course.

9. I’m thankful that we were able to find a rug to go in Lukey’s room! Much better than laminate for a little guy that’s trying to be mobile.

10. Luke is 10 months old. Insane.

11. I can’t stop laughing about this photo. The bunny ears belong to Luke’s older cousin Wes, who is obviously old enough to run away from anyone trying to stick those ears on him.

luke’s birth announcement wall hanging

crewel birth announcement wall hanging embroidery

Even before Luke came into the picture, I knew that I wanted a handmade birth announcement to hang on his wall. My oma (my mom’s mom) had cross-stitched one for me, and I wanted my baby to have one made by his or her oma. I love my mom’s crewel embroidery, so I wanted her to embroider the announcement. The only catch was that there were few patterns or kits to be found, and nothing really impressed me. So I decided that we would just have to make our own design.

crewel crewel yarn emboridery

I got out Aimee Ray’s Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection, which has so many cute patterns that fit my style, and perused her collection of woodland critters. The awesome thing about the book is that it comes with a cd of the digital files, so you can resize, rotate and tilt the designs exactly how you want them. I came up with a good layout, printed it off, then traced it with a washable marking pen onto some linen.

The main difference between crewel embroidery and traditional embroidery is that instead of embroidery floss, you use crewel wool yarn. That presented the next problem – none of our local craft or yarn stores carried any. Luckily, there is this great store in Yakima, WA called the Wooly Thread, and they carry all of the colors for great prices. We ended up getting a few of the seasonal packs, and it was perfect. I marked the pattern with the color numbers, and it was all set for my mom to take over!

  crewel crewel yarn embroidery

We had no idea how long our adoption process would take, or how much notice we would have before baby arrived, so I told her she better get started! She spent some time working on it on our annual Leavenworth getaway weekend, and then did bits and pieces here and there. And as it turned out, only a couple months after completing our paperwork, we became instant parents! With the pressure on, she finished it in time to give it to me at my family baby shower last fall.

It turned out SO great, even better than I expected! Though my mom would never admit to being crafty, she is awesome at crewel embroidery, and I’m so happy she made this for Luke. It looks great in his bedroom too!

nursery birth announcement wall hanging embroidery woodland

crewel embroidery birth announcement

Are there any sentimental things you’ve made or want to make for your kids? I love this tradition and plan to have one for each of my kids, if we have more – so don’t get too comfortable, mom, there may be more to do! 🙂

sweet dreams swaddler

With life just begun, my sleeping new son
has eyes that roll back in his head
They flutter and dart, he slows down his heart
and pictures a world past his bed
It’s hard to believe
As I watch you breathe
Your mind drifts and weaves

When you dream,
what do you dream about?

– from “When You Dream” by Barenaked Ladies

We’ve been incredibly lucky when it comes to Luke’s sleeping. From the first night we were home with him, he seemed to understand that night time was for sleeping. He wasn’t super fond of sleeping in the bassinet, so we spent the first couple weeks taking turns sleeping on the couch with him – it was a such a sweet time that I’ll always treasure. Ian had purchased Sara Groves’ Station Wagon: Songs for Parents for me right after Luke arrived, and I would listen to that and pray for our new son as he slept so peacefully on me, eventually drifting off to sleep myself.

When Ian went back to work, we tried to keep him in the bassinet more, but Luke and I both woke up between feedings more frequently. So at three weeks we moved him to his crib and he loved it. We all slept great, and soon he dropped a feeding so we all slept even better. 🙂 Our friends had gotten us an infant swaddle pouch, and it was clear that it really helped Luke sleep soundly. All was well in our sleep world until he turned 2 months – suddenly there was a rash of wakings in the night due to his wiggling loose of the swaddler that he was fast out-growing. Luckily when we were at small group that week, our friend found their daughter’s old swaddlers for us to borrow – problem solved immediately! The only thing was that the swaddlers were quite pink, so Ian made it clear to me that it was a temporary solution (it probably didn’t help that I would throw out comments like “good morning princess!” to get Ian worked up…).

Enter sewing project. I am slightly obsessed with Lotta Jansdotter and her Scandinavian craftiness, I’ll admit. Last year for Christmas my mom got me her Simple Sewing for Baby book, and I was super excited to finally make time to sew something for Luke: a swaddler.

This project was pretty quick (maybe about an afternoon’s worth all together? I did it in chunks when I found time) and I added a few twists that maybe added a bit of time. I didn’t want to buy fabric, so I re-purposed a couple of Ian’s old white t-shirts and stenciled them with a hedgehog stencil I’d made a couple years ago.

Also I decided to make it larger than the pattern in the book, so that it would last him longer. I am not very precise or patient when it comes to sewing, so I just sort of eye-balled it as I cut out the pieces. And of course I managed to not only run out of thread, but later I sewed an entire section with the tension off, so I had to rip it out. This is typically how sewing projects go for me.

in process.


my friend the seam ripper.

Eventually, I had it put together and Luke was able to test it out!

Despite his smile, he did wiggle out in the night, which didn’t surprise me as it was quite large. So I added some more velcro the next day.

The extra velcro is great, it holds his arms in nice and tight. The pouch for his feet is looser, which I hope will help him transition into more of a sleep sack at some point in the future. He seems to love it, and lately has been wanting to go down in his crib earlier in the evening than he has previously. He’s a good little sleeper and we are very thankful!

When you dream,
what do you dream about?
Do you dream about
music or mathematics
or planets too far for the eye?
Do you dream about
Jesus or quantum mechanics
or angels who sing lullabies?

-“When You Dream” by Barenaked Ladies

stork mobile


photo by evantide photography

Last Christmas, Ian got me a super fun book: Little Birds: 26 Handmade Projects to Sew, Stitch, Quilt & Love. Right away I knew that I wanted to make the Stork with a Heart Mobile for our baby – we were in the homestudy phase of our adoption process, and it was fun to think about something to make to celebrate baby’s arrival. I actually got around to doing it in the spring.

I had gotten a grab bag of felted wool at a garage sale the previous summer, and I knew there was some natural color wool that would be perfect. Ian helped me pick out a small bit of fabric that he deemed fun and gender-neutral, and I found some fun yellow buttons for the stork’s feet at a yarn store in Leavenworth when I was on a weekend girls’ getaway with my mom. I already had embroidery floss and stuffing, so I only paid a few dollars for the stuff I had to buy.

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This was a super fun project that came together pretty quickly. Easy pattern, easy sewing and embroidery, quick gratification at the results. I did everything but the name/birthday side of the dangling heart – that had to wait until we had a baby to celebrate!

And how overjoyed we were when Luke joined our family! I embroidered his name and birthday onto the heart when he was just a few days old, so we could take it to our photo shoot with Meg & Aaron.

Then we hung it over his changing table; it’s fun to walk in his room and see it hanging in front of his window.

But what is even more fun is that in the last week Luke has finally been able to really see it, and he LOVES it! He watches it intently – sometimes the heart, but mostly the stork – and smiles when I spin it around during his diaper changes.

It makes my heart happy to see that something I enjoyed making for Luke is also fun for him at this age. I also love it because if/when we have more kids, I can add another heart. But for now I’ll just enjoy Luke’s sweet smiles when he spots it flying above him.