Sunday, November 20, 2011

Where did this big boy come from!?


These are from his first day of preschool. :) He goes two days a week, for two hours a day, and has a little backpack and everything! I can't stand the cuteness, it's just too much. He even says "pre-cool". I can't take it. It's like all of a sudden he's this little boy who's all grown up!

The month before preschool was a whirlwind of potty training (yes, it's early. yes, I'm an idiot), hand foot and mouth disease (hideous and awful), Brody's 2nd birthday, holiday and newborn sessions, and a trip to Utah to shoot a wedding and visit family. I feel like we got a jump start on the holiday mayhem!

But the great thing is that he's completely potty trained, loves preschool, and can't wait to see Grandma and Grandpa J in California over Thanksgiving. (Is it just me or did Thanksgiving totally sneak up on us this year?)

But preschool is really making me realize that time seems to be going by so much faster. Which I'm really banking on getting me through the sleepless nights this new baby is going to bring with her. Oh the joy. But it also motivates me to consciously slow down. Things aren't going to magically get less crazy or less busy, I'm pretty sure those things are just going to escalate at a faster rate. But if we can be happy crazy and happy busy I'm going to count that as a win. :)

So on days like today - with dishes piled in the sink, a to-do list a mile long, and a mangled peanut butter and jelly sandwich sitting next to my keyboard (thank you Brody) - I have a preschooler. Who poops in the potty. Life is good.


Thursday, October 27, 2011


That's how Brody says "jumping", but it's more like Bumeee, BUmeee, BUMMEEEEEEEEE MOMMY! I'm kind of glad the guest room is pretty much an unfinished box with a bed in it right now, it's the perfect place to bumeee.


I can't decide whether he looks more like Dennis the Menace or Draco Malfoy.


At least this keeps him busy for at least 5 minutes. At what age does "high energy" become "needs medication"?? Haha, just kidding. Sort of.

But really he's getting to that really fun age where he kind of listens to what I say or ask and answers back. He's my little buddy. He LOVES turning on music in the kitchen and having dance offs. His two favorite songs right now are Baby by Justin Bieber and Black Horse and a Cherry Tree by KT Tunstall. He sings along to both of them and it's to die for cute. We have a few of his funnier ones on You Tube, you can check them out --> here.

We find out what baby #2 is in two weeks, let's all hope for a calm, sweet little girl. Mmmmm K? Actually another little boy would be fun, Brody could have a partner in crime. So it will be good either way. My sister, Kellye, is due three weeks after me and they are having a girl!! (Their doctor does a Jack and Jill blood test and mine doesn't, boo) So either way we will have a little girl to play dress up with. :)

For now, I'll be running after this little maniac. Well, I guess he is kinda cute.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Vintage trunk love


I found this aviator trunk from World War II at a flea market a couple months ago (it had pieces of the original shipping label still on it, so cool!). FOR $40!!! Flea markets usually bring out a fierce bargaining gene in me (from my mother's side) but I practically threw two twenties at the guy and carried this thing on my back the rest of the day. Well, not all day. And not on my back (thanks to my sister Kellye), but if I had to I totally would have!

Now what to do with it? Polish it up and stare at it's beautifulness was first on the list. I stared for a long time. What do you want to be lovely trunk? Then it spoke to me - I want to be an awesome console table with storage underneath to hide your husband's ridiculous array of playstation materials. I knew I loved you, trunk.

The problem was the size - not tall enough to be a table on it's own, but too tall to sit on top of any normal table. So I decided to take matters into my own I've-never-built-anything-ever hands, smiled really nicely at the Home Depot lumber guys, and attempted to just make a table that wasn't hideous. Oh boy.


And you know, it worked! Although a tad hideous, for my first venture into building stuff I'm just glad it's sturdy and level. :)


It seemed a little plain so I slapped some corner braces on the outside of a few slats to make a little lip at the top for the trunk to sit inside.


Much betta!


And the final before and after:


I was so in love with this trunk and I'm so excited that it's now actually a functional piece of furniture. I think Jared was pleasantly surprised too, could I be winning him over!? Possibly so...

Moral of the story - if you can't find it, make it. Even if the end product is more on the slightly hideous side than you planned. If I can do it, I PROMISE, you can do it too. Home Depot is your friend. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

They say we all have a twin...

When I got an email last fall about scheduling a family session and the "From" line said Tyan I definitely did a double take. Did I send myself an email? I've never met someone with the same name, let alone same spelling! It was so much fun finding out that we have so much more in common than just our name. We both graduated from A&M the same year, we got married within three months of each other, and we had our boys three months apart. Crazy!!!

So this is Tyan, her Yell Leader husband John (Aggies out there know how cool that is), and their adorable son Jack.


We had so much fun. They are the cutest, most gorgeous family. I love them.


Big squeeeeeze!!!!


Oh I love, love, LOVE, this one. Nothing like a beautiful mom and her sweet baby.


And a few more at the tail end of a Texas sunset.


Isn't she gorgeous?

I got to see them again about a month ago. Here's a peek at that session.


She's due three months before me. And she's having a girl. :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pregnancy Envy

Pregnancy does not look good on me. I'm not one of those people who glow or seem more at peace while pregnant. I'm not a fan. Especially during the first trimester. My skin is breaking out, my digestive system is rebelling against me in every way possible, if I could forever surrender my sense of smell I would, and I'm ready for bed by 6pm pretty much every day. This is me whining.

But the good thing is that I'm blessed with examples of perfect pregnancies and parenting all around me. Maybe there's hope.

Exhibit A: my sister Melissa.


Tall. Beautiful. Did pilates multiple times a week throughout her entire pregnancy. Her labor was maybe, mmmmm,  6 hours start to finish? We call her Mrs. Duggar because apparently her body was made for this.  If only I could hire her as a surrogate. That might be weird.

Exhibit B: my sister Kellye.

Also tall, gorgeous, very zen. Very at one with her pregnancy, and not sick one day. She definitely has the glow for sure. She's such a good mom and always so calm. If she wanted to raise kids professionally she totally could. I would hire her, she would be hired.

And Exhibit C: my sister Paige.

Not pregnant, but tiny and so pretty. She's pretty much a miniature person. And I'm sure she'll be a miniature pregnant person (which are the worst kind). Her jeans will fit until she's 8 months, I'm sure of it. She's moving to London next week so I'm going to live the jet setting, skinny jean & scarf wearing life vicariously through her.

Having sisters who are pretty much perfection is a blessing and a curse I think. It gives me hope that maybe, if I ever get pregnant again (I will need a serious pep talk), just maybe I won't want to die. Or I won't look like I want to die. I'll take one out of two!

Okay, I'm done whining now. :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

When the house gets quiet...


things like this happen! By the time I found him he had scooped out almost all of the Vaseline and was rubbing it in his hair and all over his face. And thought is was HILARIOUS.


As soon as I saw him I knew I had a choice - go into immediate cleanup mode or grab my camera. Needless to say I chose to cleanup later, it was funny until he started chasing me around the room with his slimy self.


And then it started to coat his eyeballs...


So it was bath time. Have you ever tried to wash Vaseline clumps out of hair!? IMPOSSIBLE! Dish soap, peanut butter, and two beaten eggs later (the eggs worked the best) he was a little less slimy. I think it took a week before it was all out.

peanutbutter bath

He keeps me on my toes, that's for sure. And it's really going to get busy this spring when he's not the only child anymore. Yep, Brody will be a big brother in late March/early April! We're super excited, and I'm sure Brody will be happy to recruit a partner in crime. I have a feeling the shenanigans have just begun. :)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Paige & Will


Today is the last Murray wedding. I can't believe it! I'm sure my parents can't either. I think what makes a fun day even better is the fact that she's marrying the best guy. We absolutely love Will and he fits right in with the now complete group of brother-in-laws. And they just make the cutest couple!


I love that Will brings out Paige's silly side. While we were taking these he was constantly making her laugh. I love them together.


When I asked them to practice their first dance in the middle of this park I think it sunk in a little bit for both of them, you could just feel it. I love when I get to be there when moments like these happen.


The rest of the time there was this calmness about them. It wasn't the giddy/nervous/excited side of love but the comfortable, calm, quiet side. They just fit.


I love it because it reminds me that this is what it's about. It's about looking to the person next to you and being so amazed that they are yours and you are theirs. So today the last Miss Murray becomes Mrs. Simmons, and it couldn't be more perfect...


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Little tiny...

Remember this sneak peak of little Landry? Here's the follow up that I meant to post afterwards, I can't believe how fast they grow. He was the cutest little tiny with all that hair, now he's crawling and giving Brody a run for his money! But he's still just as sweet as the day we took these.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Featured on Design Sponge

One of my favorite blogs, Design Sponge, featured my sideboard makeover on their site today. WHAT!!??!!
Click --> here <-- to check it out.

Screen shot 2011-07-21 at 10.45.45 AM

I'm not going to lie, I'm dancing pretty spastically around the house right now. :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

$69 dresser-turned-sideboard makeover


I recently saw this dresser at Goodwill and fell in love. I love the lines, the long narrow shape (72" wide & 19" deep), the amount of storage, so many things! What I didn't love so much was the color of the wood, the 70's style mirror, and the fact that it was a bedroom dresser. We don't need a bedroom dresser. But we do need a dining room sideboard. So my wheels started turning and it was obsession level madness in full force.

I knew I was in for some serious painting and sanding time but that wasn't the biggest hurdle of this project. Convincing Jared that a) we neeeeeheheheeeeded a sideboard in the dining room and b) that such a "big hunk of turd" (direct quote) could be transformed into something remotely cool were the biggest tasks. And did I mention said turd weighs about 400 pounds?

So after promising it would be cool and that he wouldn't hate it and if he did he could chop it up and set it on fire and that I wouldn't screw up the garage in the process, it was mine! For a grand total of $69.


I loved the straight clean lines of the drawers and molding but one little thing was kind of throwing it all off. The not-so-straight lower edge molding on the drawers.


So I grabbed a putty knife and pried off the the bottom pieces. I thought I could take the pieces to Home Depot or Lowe's, match it to existing molding, and just buy new pieces to tack on. Could things be so easy? The answer is almost always not quite.


There was no molding that even came close to matching so it was either pry off all the molding and replace it with something different or get creative. With a miter saw, some wood putty, and a Dremel I was in business.


I cut the pieces of molding at the joint with a miter saw and tacked them back onto the drawers in a straight line. Now I had gaps where the corners didn't meet so I glued some of the scrap pieces in the hole to give some support, and filled in the rest with wood putty. After the wood putty dried I used a grinding bit on the Dremel and carved out the wood putty so it looked just like the molding. This took a long. time. Because so help me if I made all those promises and it came out looking crappy.



After my brief, and hopefully last, stint in carpentry I sanded the whole thing inside and out. The piece is solid wood and I wanted to strip off the pretty thick coat of varnish so I used an electric sander. And coated the entire garage with a layer of dust.


Then it was time for primer and a few coats of white paint. Paint and primer are always my favorite because then it starts to actually look like what you had in mind at the start.

To spice it up at bit I decided to tape off a geometric border on the top, after the white paint dried, and go over it again with black paint. So when I took the tape off the white design would show through.


The final steps were just a couple coats of poly to seal it, re-attaching the hardware, and voila!



The thing that first caught my eye in Goodwill was the awesome hardware. I love that the handles are heavy and straight, a little industrial looking.


The border on top turned out really well! I think it adds a little bit of interest and helps the piece stand out in the room.


But my FAVORITE part of the whole thing!? The black paint on top isn't any black paint...


I didn't want it to look like a plain old sideboard, or for it to be too formal either. Chalkboard paint was the perfect solution to add some fun and quirky-ness, it just makes it more US. It will be fun at parties to draw arrows and write things like "delicious cupcakes" or "Brody's favorite", or to give kids something to do while helping set the table. The possibilities are endless! (This was part of my spiel to sell Jared on the whole idea.)

I painted the front of the inside drawers with chalkboard paint too for a little more labeling fun.


Brody loves opening and closing these doors, such a big helper. :)


The $69 dresser-turned-sideboard makeover:


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