Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Happy & {Grateful} Christmas...

{Please click directly on photos for enlarged view}

I should preface this by saying that Brayden was ALL the fun we had anticipated he would be this Christmas.  We prepped him prior to Christmas about Santa Claus, and continued to ask and probe him about what he wanted from Santa.  He seemed clueless about all of it at times, as we naturally expected from our little two year old.  We pressed ahead anyway ;-)

We told him Santa would bring him presents if he was a good boy, and all that Christmas jive.  A few times he told me he wanted "boots and dora" known better to Bray as "Boots and Bora"...but that is beside the point.  That was his normal response to us after he got used to the questions about what he wanted. 
Moving on...

Following my family tradition {and probably a million others tradition as well}...I did not put ANY gifts under the tree until after Bray was fast asleep.  Naturally the next morning...he was more than impressed with all the newfound things under the tree.  Yes, I know he did not know Santa actually brought them to him, but I DO know he KNEW they were NOT there the night before when he went to bed!
 I appreciate those little things-yes I do!

Christmas morning his first reaction was pure curiosity.  Then he looked at us and said "wow....presents!"  {woot woot!}  Yes baby-presents!!!  He was so excited unwrapping his toys, playing, pointing, giggling, stomping and unwrapping some more.  It took him over two hours to navigate through it all.  That was fine with us though.  We relished in the simple moment of happiness he was having.  We relished in our family time in our own home again.  We just sucked it all in.  It was really nice. 

He recieved some really neat gifts from everyone in our families.  Everyone knows him so well and picked out just the perfect gifts for him.  Thank you.

He spent much of his time lining up and categorizing his gifts.  He likes to do this.  He is quite good at it.  He is soooo type A and obsessive compulsive...poor kid.  He had a blast though. ;-)

He also lined up, and played with all of the bows from the presents.  Here he is as we dropped bows on him while telling him it was raining bows.

One very special gift was his Christmas ornament from Grandma Strong.  She always gets an ornament for each of her 7 Grandbabies every Christmas...and this year sent Brayden a neat little ornament that she said she HAD to get because it was so perfect for him, {among the many other awesome gifts she sent}...  A little drum, with metal drumsticks.  Here is a photo of Brayden and Daddy hanging it on the tree Christmas morning.  Beautiful.

I should mention that these jammies were C/o Grandma as well as the plaid little chair in the background too ;-)  Thank you Mom he loved everything! {so did we}.

It was a beautiful Christmas.  We spent time with family and friends, and felt very blessed, and loved.  What more can you ask for?

Well....perhaps some quiet in the near future... but since he recieved these for Christmas...I don't know that we will get that anytime soon. ;-)

He jammed out for hours Christmas Day, and has continued to do so.  This coupled with his guitar, microphone, tamborines, flute, and many other musical instruments he was given this year...it is going to be QUITE noisy around this Snow house.  That's okay though because that means we have the joy of seeing him react like this everyday...and who could'nt LOVE that?

Hope you and yours had a great Christmas, and that you have an even better New year! 

-The Snow Family.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

This Christmas...

The other night we got Brayden dressed all snug and comfy in his new jammies he got for Christmas from Grandma Strong.  We took him upstairs and snuggled in our bed with him watching cartoons.  He giggled and played under the blankets and pillows...offered hugs and kisses {several of them}, and enjoyed our undivided attention.

It was beautiful.

It's that same feeling you have as child when you recieve that gift for Christmas you so longed for, and you endlessly play with it and enjoy it to no end. 

Brayden-we longed for you.  So many nights we would dream about having you, what it would be like to give you tubbies, take you to baseball games, and play with you....endlessly.

We longed for our time to share our home and love with our child, decorating the tree, baking cookies, playing in the snow, and reading to you.  We prayed for you so many times.  We pray for you still.

You are that big shiny present on Christmas morning.  You my child...are a gift from God...plain and simple.

We are so blessed.

Christmas is different for me now that I am a Mommy.  I am no longer wondering what gifts I am going to get...yet spend so much time wondering what I should get you.  I wonder if you will understand what Christmas is all about as you get older.  I wonder if you will be motivated to help others, be kind and caring and selfless.  I hope you give more than you want or recieve in life.  I hope you feel God's presence in your life like I know he is in mine.  I hope you understand the true meaning of Christmas.

God, love, family and giving to those less fortunate. 

This Christmas you are two years old.  You ask me to turn the lights on the tree.  You know it's too pretty to touch {which I think is adorable}.  You love the way the cozy house feels.  You love the snowman that shakes his booty and you keep trying to steal his poor glued on candy cane.  YOU love candy canes. 

Tonight, on Christmas Eve...we will decorate the tree with candy canes with you, set cookies out for Santa with a glass of milk, get you snug as a bug in your jammies and tuck you into bed...together. 

THAT in and of itself makes my life full.  So full that gifts seem silly to me now.  YOU are my gift Bray.  Your happiness, your hugs, buzzers, kisses, snuggles and smiles are my gift. 

We love you Brayden.  Merry Christmas.
-Mommy and Daddy

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Master Bedroom {It's a start}...

Here is the start of our Master Bedroom.  As you can see...this room is small, and our bed...well....rather large.  It's my fav piece of furniture to date though.  Ron got it for me for my 28th birthday I think...for $50.00 from Haverty's Outlet store.  It was missing some finnials, which we ended up getting replaced for free, and the wooden side rails {which you never see with a bed skirt anyways}....so naturally...I LOVE it, even if I struggle to get up on it every single night ;-)  I digress.

I seriously do not have room for end tables, so they are currently in the basement, and we moved our dresser into Brayden's room.  My vanity fits in here...barely.  It looks sort of-well....ridiculous at the moment where it is {hence no picture of it}. ha!

I used old curtains to hang in here because they match the comforter we have, and all of the decor.  I really had wanted to go with more muted colors this time around, but I hate to have to replace all of my color coordinated decor right now.  I used two extra valances I had on hand from the same fabric to make the two coordinated pillows seen in the picture.  I actually bought the fabric from a garage sale four years ago from a drapery maker who had used this fabric and messed up on a project, so she sold it to me for like 2$.  I had to seam wrip it, cut it, re-sew it back together and so forth.  I made 5 valances from it.  Now I have three valances and two pillows...that two bucks spent has certainly been worth it!!!

The photos make all of these greens looks like they clash, but in person...they really don't look this non matched.  I am far too fussy for that!  My camera is kicking it's last flash dance these days, so bare with me until I can get a new one.  Moving on...
The vinyl saying I adore.  Ron got it for me last year, and I packed it away waiting to use it.  I love that it comes right down with a hair dryer.  It's not perminent, and that I love. I also love that I was just given a practically brand new Cricut from my sister inlaw Tara and I discovered I can make my VERY OWN vinyl wall sayings.  I am so excited.  Now I just need some cartridges ;-)  {hint hint honey}.

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Like I said, the end tables are in the basement...but after a fussy husband complained for a few nights I finally dragged up one of our dinner trays to serve the purpose for the moment.  The lamp will soon be moved to another home, but for now this will have to do. 
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I am not in love with these old paintings either, so I am thinking of a new life for them currently...maybe paint the frames, new matting, new artwork...who knows.  I still need/want room darkening drapes to go under the valance, but I am not a huge fan of that style, so this material may make life change #4 and turn into cornice boards, with room darkening drapes...silk and flowy.  Ahhhh.
I'm thinking I need stairs for my bed too.  Anyone have a wood working shop?  Let me know. ;-)
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My view into the hallway from the bedroom.  I finished my family photos wall today, and I LOVE it.  It's adorable.  I love seeing Brayden's happy little face in the hallway, one of my FAV pics of him.
{Oh, and a picture that I don't know where to put sitting lovingly on the floor at the moment.  I just moved two weeks ago...don't judge me just yet!}
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It is a start at least.  My closet seems bigger than the entire bedroom, and is need of some organization at the moment, but I will save that for another post.  I will keep you updated with the updates when I feel this room is "done", but I thought if anyone has storage/decorating advice for this Tiny bedroom...please share ;-)  I am all ears ladies.  Happy Decorating!!!

{Big Boy Bedroom Reveal}...

So...as you all know I have been dreaming of how I was going to decorate my big boy's baseball bedroom.  Well ladies...it is done! {well almost}.  I still have some finishing touches to do to his room, but this is about as done as it's going to get until the Holidays are over with.  Since we just moved into our new house two weeks ago, his room was our first priority to get done.

 So...presenting Brayden's first real big boy baseball bedroom tour...

First...you remember his bed we found at Salvation Army for 29$ right?  I thought long and hard about painting it, but once in his room against the rich tan walls, the dark wood was too gorgeous to mess with, so we left it alone.  His quilt set I found at a second hand store for a steal, and it was the exact colors we wanted for his room, so I snatched it up quickly...of course!
I made the roman shades for his room, and just re-painted the letters from his baby room, and added ribbon to hang.  The two light blue pillows with baseball print I also made from some old fabric I had on hand to coordinate with our theme.
The red and tan sham was a steal at Pottery Barn outlet for $3.49!  It ended up matching everything else perfectly.
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{I still need to make his bedskirt, but that can wait for now}.
The blue chest was my Dad's from his old Army days.  It is one of the only things I recieved after his passing, so it is very special to me.  It even has his name etched on the top border of it.  It holds all of Brayden's baby blankets.

Here is his very own dresser we found at an estate sale for 25$.  Of course you can see we altered the handles to coordinate with our baseball theme.  Ron went to our local hometown bat maker {A-bat Co.}, and he gave us some bats they could not use...so we sprayed them, and Ron simply screwed screws into the bats from the existing holes on the dresser {we did not alter the dresser in anyway, and saved the old knobs so we can replace them as he gets older}.  We did also add the little baseball ball knobs on the top drawers.  I loved the dresser because it matched his bed so well, and is even on wheels like the bed...we could not pass it up.  Too cute.  His lamp was the original from his baby room, just embellished it with some new ribbon.
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Here are shelves we spray painted and added baseball's to.  One was Ron's old hat rack from when he was a little boy, and the other we have had for years.  We found his little blue glove over a year ago while on vacation.  The brown dish with baseball's was a gift from Uncle Todd he got for Brayden's baby room when he was born.  The baseball book is from Uncle Scott and Tara, and the squirrel is one that we bought for Rons Dad "Papa" because he loved these little singing squirrels.  After he passed away in 2004, Ron's mom gave it back to us.  So it was only fitting it go in Brayden's room. The Tampa bay bells and bear came from our good friend Janice in Florida.  Everything is touching and has meaning to us in this bedroom, which makes it even more special.
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His little 4$ Salvation army tv stand, painted red.  Remember the chairs???  Those were the ones I got last year {4 of them for 15$} and painted in anticipation of this very room.  He loves them.
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Loved this little piece.  We hung a sign in there I bought Ron many years ago while we were dating.  Naturally Bray's hats went perfectly here.
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More pics of the little chairs, with Braydens singing horse Molly and Todd picked out for him as a gift a few weeks ago.  He bobs his head and swings his arms.  They bought it because the horse dances just like Brayden does.  Too sweet.
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Another photo of one of two of the red roman shades I made.
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This is my favorite part of the room so far.  My Mom bought this floor puzzle for Brayden over the summer at Pottery Barn.  Ron and I sat on the floor putting it together the other night, while applying hot glue to a foam board.  I made the hanging tassle from leftover fabric and ribbon from his pillows, curtians and other decor.  Just knot after knot, and this is the end result.  So fun. So free.
{The dresser belonged to my Grandmother Delphine and Grandpa Harry.  I used it since I was 13 or so in my bedroom.  Ron and I have used it in our room, and now it is in Bray's room.  I just do not have room for it currently in our room...our bed kind of takes up most of the room itself right now, but it is special it's in Bray's room.  Don't worry-you won't see us replacing any knobs on this one ;-)}
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Another pic of his LIFE photo and bed.  Uncle Scott and Tara gave this to Ron a few years ago at Christmas.  It is from the 50's I presume from LIFE magazine, people watching a baseball game on a rooftop.  This photo does not do it justice, but it is perfect in this space.  The blue shelf above it will hold Braydens Blue engraved baseball bat we got him for his first birthday, but we have to figure out a way to hook it safely up on the shelf before we put it up.
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So...it is getting there.  I still need to make the red bedskirt, and red bumper pillow for the space in between the wall and the bed {hence the body pillow stuffed there currently}.  Brayden loves his new room.  The first night he slept in there he stayed in bed all night long.  In the morning, I heard him get out of bed and pitter patter into our room while whispering "Mommy, ahhh Mommy?"  He enjoys his own space, and we too enjoy having our space back.  This is actually the first room he has slept in all alone for the first time since the day he was born.  Even though he had a nursery-he never slept in it because he was in the bassinet in our room, then we moved the crib into our room, and now....he is Mr. Independent...and VERY happy about it.  We are so thankful he has embraced this like such a big boy.  He crawls into his bed every night and says, "nap, weeping"...aka: sleeping.  He is too funny. 
Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday, and I will be blogging more house projects as I complete them.  I am one busy Mommy right now unpacking, decorating, sewing, and more....so stay tuned ;-)

Friday, December 4, 2009

My little big boy...

I have realized more and more over the last few months how quickly Brayden is growing up.  He is so talkative, intuitive, funny, explorative and curious.  His level of compassion and understanding with things is touching and sweet.  He is so happy.  He is so proud of his accomplishments, as are Ron and I.  Playful, smart, decisive, head strong, determined and set in his ways are all ways to describe his bubbly little personality....or Big & Bubbly Personality I should say. 

Every night before bedtime as we snuggle with him to get him to sleep, I ask him if he had a good day today.  His response is always "yeah".  Ron asked him the other night "are you always going to say yeah?"  Brayden replied "yeah".  I hope so.  I hope that at the end of every single day of your life you can find the good in it.  The good enough to be able to conclude the entire day as a good one.  It's a way of thinking positive that I hope you always carry with you, long into adulthood.

You always say please, thankyou, and your welcome now.  You are such a polite little guy.  It's really precious.  You like to "Shake your tushy" to dance, and sway your little head side to side.  You dance and sing to the Fresh Beat Bands Loco Legs on Noggin all the time. You can name every wonder pet, wubzy, and yo Gabba Gabba character.  You love going to Walmart, riding in the car with us, and watching Charlotte's Web-your current favorite movie.  Tim Bit donuts are one of your favorite things, as is chocolate milk {caulk-it milk}.  You ask Mommy for hugs all the time, and give me snuggles and kisses if you think I'm sad.  You even tell me to "cry" when you want to give me a hug and you tell me "I help you Mommy".  You love to sing to us also, and that just steals my heart.  You sing Twinkle Twinkle little star, Taxi Taxi Noggin song, You are my sunshine, Yo Gabba theme song, and Oo-eee-oooh-ahh-ahh from the chipmunks by singing {ooh-eeee-Bam Bam}.
 You are too funny. 

You are very determined and are learning patience right now.  When something goes wrong, you ask for help or say "Ohhh Mannnn".  That's when you don't throw yourself on the floor in tantrum mode {which is not that often thankfully}, but you do have a very head strong nature. 

I could just go on and on about everything new you are doing.  I hope to document as much of it as I can, because I don't want to forget any of these wonderful little things you do, and are doing.  We love you so very much Brayden.  You are the sunshine in Mommy and Daddy's days-everyday.  We never knew at all how much we would be enamoured with your presence.  We never imagined we would kiss and squeeze you as much as we do, and still feel like it's not enough.  We never knew we would worry about your health and well being as much as we do {we are a bit neurotic-we know this}.  We never imagined how much we needed you in our family.  You are a blessing we thank God for every single moment we can. 
You are just beautiful Bray. 

We love you,
-Mommy and Daddy

A Gift of Hope...

The Lupus Foundation of America has many great ways to give the gift of hope this Holiday Season.  As many of you already know, I have Systemic Lupus, and have been diagnosed since 1997.  It has been a long 12 years of many challenging moments in regards to my health.  I am happy to say though that many great strides have taken place with treatments and advancements in understanding Lupus since 1997.  

I am asking this year for the Holidays a small request.  If you want/choose to do anything for my family, please consider taking a look at ways to contribute to the Lupus Foundation.  You can do so by clicking on this link  HERE.  It would aid with research, clinical trials, and so much more. 

Hoping you and yours have a wonderful and very blessed Christmas.


Fun ideas...

As you know, we are moving into a new home this weekend {so I may not be blogging for a few days until I get unpacked}, but I thought just before I take my bloggy sabbatical, I would post some fun pictures of decorating ideas that are being filed into my idea book for future projects.  As soon as I get settled and situated, I hope to be able to start on some of these fun ideas.

I think this is such a great way to organize fun little ditties on a wall.  I am loving the red border as well as the dress form {I want on of those honey!}.

Our stairs are not carpeted, and are in dyer need of a new paint job.  I love this idea without the diamonds of course, but I love the wording, the clean white on the base boards.  I think I will do numbers perhaps...it could help with Brayden's counting as he explores the stairs at least. 

Speaking of the stairs....I have some really gorgeous black and white prints I have taken since Brayden was born, and really need to display them.  I love the vinyl wall quotes, and I know I have a few of them already packed away in my artsy stuff...so I may re-create a wall very similar to this one.  I love the placement and how it is so personal and well done.

Our bathroom in the new house is rather spacious.  I thought I could even put a nice terrycloth ottoman in there to sit on while giving Bray tubbies, or getting dressed.  I love this bathroom.  I love the shower curtain and it's clean lines {which could totally be made from drop cloth and growgrain}, and the little wooden bench as well.  I have tons of topiaries, so in the bathroom they will go.

Can we ever stop looking at Roman Shades?  No....I can't.  I love them.  So clean and classy.  Im still reading articles on how to make them...the string concoction is plagueing me at the moment.
roman shades

I just love the colors of these bedrooms.  I love the silk material, the aqua with the white, everything, the curtains-oh...I could just get lost in this bedroom.

I love the plates on the walls, the colors, the damask design on the pillows, and the monogrammed framework.  This is my dream bedroom.

I think these curtain/cornices are adorable.  They would be so simple to make with the many yards of remnant fabrics I have stashed around.  I'm not quite sure where to do these yet, but I am sure in the days to come of unpacking I will figure it out. 

Well ladies, I am off to book the moving truck, and get ready for moving day!  I will be back shortly!  Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Turkey Day 2009

I thought I would share some photos of our Thanksgiving this year. My brother Scott and  SIL Tara hosted the holidays at thier place.  We were able to visit with family we don't get to see very often.  It was nice.  Earlier the day before my mother actually let me cut her hair!  She has naturally curly hair and can NEVER get a stylist to cut her hair the exact way she wants it.  She is a bit picky.  She was also a tad demanding before I began the cut, and as I stood behind her staring at my brother Scott laughing at me shaking his head {as she was giving me "directions" on how to do this the RIGHT way}, I gently raised the scissors behind her head while looking at my brother and "pretend stabbed" her a few times.  Ha ha!  Yes I know...sick-but I had to share it.  A true Strong family fashionista holiday story. Thankfully...I KNOW how insanely picky my mother is about her hair so I took her advice, and cut it the way she demanded wanted. It turned out so well she is bummed that I cannot be there to do her hair ALL the time from now on.  
Who knew I could cut hair!
Here is the Momma below pictured with my SIL Tara {far left} and my cousin Candy.
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Another fun moment of the day was picture time.  I am always the one running around with the camera taking photos.  We decided to do a girls photo shoot on the stairs.  We had some funny other photos I cannot post or I will be a dead woman, but needless to say-this one was a keeper. 
{Mom, Aunt Jo, myself, Candy and Tara}
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I then chased the kiddos around and was able to wrangle them for a few short moments in this picture.  Brayden had so much fun playing with his cousins, and second cousins...he did not know what to do with himself.
 The attention and love he gets from all of them is just too precious.
{Casey, Kaiti and Brayden, Bailey & Nathan}
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We all then spent some time on Skype with my cousin PJ and his wife Violaine {Vi} who live in Belgium.  She is from Belgium, so after they married-they headed there for awhile to live.  They are expecting their first baby, so it was nice to talk with them and discuss the up and coming Belgium-American Baby Brady!  They finally announced it to friends, so I can blog about it now...that wait felt like forever!
 Congrats Peej and Vi!
{PJ and Vi-photo taken a few months ago while they were in the states for a wedding}.
At this point Brayden was getting anxious for dinner.  Why I don't know because he refused to try the turkey, and ended up feasting on rolls dipped in ketchup.  He did take one bite of Tara's famous sweet potato casserole, but did not eat anymore of it.  He totally missed out, so I ate his serving for him....along with {two additional helpings} of it after that-but who's counting?
 Here is Brayden naturally being a ham...on turkey day.
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The night ended with Brayden insisting on helping Grandma pack away the rest of the turkey.  He got to sit on the big boy stool at the island in the kitchen.  He thought this was very cool.  He requested "rackers" and happily ate a million crackers while observing "gamma".  It was very cute.
 I just loved the way his little chunky butt looked sitting on this stool all independent like.
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All in all, it was a very nice Thanksgiving.  We rested, relaxed, and spent time with family eating some great food.  We browsed Black Friday ads, drank coffee, ate pie, got caught up on our life happenings, and just vegged.
 It was nice
Hoping you had a wonderful holiday as well!
-The Snow Family