Dolce & Gabbana Endeavors

 I have been planning a jeans refashion in my head for several weeks now, inspired by these Dolce & Gabbana jeans. Aren't they lovely?

I finally finished planning it in my head these last few days, and since I found that giant lace tablecloth, I'm ready to make them! I will post a picture tutorial later tonight. Unless somehow I get distracted watching episodes of Grey's Anatomy, which is surprisingly likely to happen. I will try to channel my inner-seamstress until I finish. Or sew while I watch. That sounds like a good plan.

I can't find the price on these, but it's something astronomical...


$745 Dolce & Gabbana

Something expensive, also.
So, channeling my inner Dolce & Gabbana love, I'm going to try to mimic these.

Happy Monday!

This weekend...

...we drank margaritas and had the happy birthday song sung to our party of 12 three different times to three different people.

...we got silly at the Panther Lounge, a little hole-in-the-wall in Cedar Falls.  We played ACDC on the jukebox, played pool, and wore t-shirts that said 'everyone loves a langenburg.  I still don't really know why. 

...we devoured biscuits and gravy and Iowa stuffed toast with fresh berry au jus at our favorite breakfast joint, Newton's, in downtown Waterloo.  
...I won an award.  The NCTE Emerging Leader Award, which earns me two presentations at the Vegas and Boston NCTE Annual Conferences.  Now if only i had a job...

...we stayed in our jams and ate Lucky Charms and pb and js for lunch.

...we got some yummy groceries - granola for yogurt, fresh berries, and a loaf of sourdough bread.

...we celebrated our friend's birthday with dinner, cupcakes, and black jack at the casino.  

...we came out even on black jack, and one penny ahead on slots.

...Cruz had special time with papa and grandma - The Pizza Ranch, How to Train Your Dragon, and snuggles.

...we took naps and watched three episodes of Restaurant Impossible on Sunday morning.

...we dipped tomato bacon cheese sandwiches in warm tomato soup.

...I collected paint samples and began to clear out Cruz's soon-to-be upstairs nook.

...we (Beau) built two raised garden beds.  Can't wait to plant!

...we made weed-out-your-pantry trail mix.  Craisins, sixlets, chocolate chips, and these adorable mini animal crackers I scored at Sweet Basil Market.   

...Cruz tried to brush his teeth with Neosporin, tried to swallow an Advil, and dumped an entire box of Rice Krispies on the kitchen floor --- all in about ten minutes' time.

Long lost pictures from our last warm day.  Hoping for sunshine and May-like temps this week!  

12 months old...the big O-N-E!

Can you believe it? She's one! One year of stickers. One year of monthly photo shoots. Now we're to the big one year mark. I suppose it's only fitting that while uploading pictures for this post, I ran out of photo storage space on my Blogger account! Can you say too many pictures! Who me? Never!

Luckily, I just went ahead and purchased additional storage for $2 a month, and I learned how to re-size my pictures appropriately (thanks to this awesome blog post over at Texas Chicks Blogs & Pics). So hopefully I won't run into this problem again, because lord knows this mama likes to take pics!

Any other bloggers have this happen? I had no idea I was uploading such huge pictures (resolution-wise that is) all this time! Live and learn I guess.

Now onto the milestone of the year for Avery...turning one! Here you have it, the final sticker of the pack: 12 months.

"You see these numbers? I'm a big
girl now!"

"Can I get a round of applause?!"

A closer shot, with some teeth visible...there are 9 now!
2 of those being molars- yikes!

Her favorite way to sit right now is cross-legged.

Playing with the iPod always makers her

As well as this guy...or "Daddeeee!" as she calls him.
Now although I will miss certain things about these monthly photo shoots I won't miss trying to wrangle "Little Miss Independent" into sitting in one spot!

"This chair is for standing, right?"
And now that she's officially walking, it was funny to see her just "walk off the set" as we finished the photo shoot.

"Later Mom, I've got stuff to do!"
Although challenging at times, these photo shoots have given me an amazing way to look back and see how much she has grown in the past year. Let's take a look at month one through twelve...

What a difference a year makes!

Now that we've gone through the sticker pack, you may be wondering what I've got in store for next year. I still wondering that too myself. I've got some ideas brewing, but I feel like something new. Just this past month she was darn near determined to pull the sticker right off her stickers are probably out. And And keeping her in one spot and sitting, well, you saw how that went! So since I want to continue posting monthly updates for at least the next year, I'm going to be trying some new things for our photo shoot. Stay tuned next month to see what I decide on, or what Avery decides on for me!

Now onto her stats for the months. Nothing major here. In fact both her height and weight stayed the same from last month, which I consider to be good because with her now walking (everywhere) I bet she's burning a lot more calories than before, but yet her weight seems to be staying stable. Kind of crazy to think that back when she was born she was 8 lbs. 21 inches!

Since we're getting all reminiscent on here I might as well throw up a favorite picture of mine from a year ago. It was our first "family" pic that we took an hour or two after I had given birth to her at our home. I had so many emotions going at that moment it's indescribable. I had no idea what this year would like to be a mother, to be a family, and to how I was going to take care of our baby. I've learned so much in the past year and made so many new memories.

So I only found it fitting to re-take the picture of us on the bed, just like we were a year earlier (only this time we took it much earlier in the opposed to around midnight when it was taken on her "birth-day").

Speaking of changes that have taken place in the past year, let's talk about my body. That sounds lovely. But if you've followed my blog, you know I've posted about this topic before. I was curious what my body would look like while pregnant and especially after I had Avery. How long would it take to go back to normal? Would there even be a normal? Here's some pictures to show the changes.

I sooooo tried to get Avery into the shot so that it would be just like all the other pictures I've taken this past year, but when she looks like this and won't hold still...I had to say "pass" on that idea.

"I'm done with photo shoots Mom!"
In case you want the numbers recap, here you go:
Weight gain during pregnancy: 25 lbs.
1 week after: lost 20 lbs
6 weeks after: lost 5 lbs
6 months after: lost 11 lbs
1 year after: lost 4 lbs
Total loss: 40 lbs

So there you have it, my body 12 months after birth. Amazingly, I feel healthier, more toned, and stronger than I did before I was pregnant. I can't believe I weigh 15 lbs less than I did before I got pregnant on top of that. I'm pretty sure I've got Avery to thank for that one...mainly because of all the breastfeeding we've done, and continue to do. On top of that, my vegan diet and love of daily exercise (especially pilates) have definitely come in to play as well.

12 months after birth
After looking back at the whole year, I remember times, especially right after I had Avery when all I wanted was my old body back and I was willing to work out as long as I needed to to get back to a result, I'd wear myself out! Little did I know that by just giving myself some time, trusting what I was doing (breastfeeding, exercising, eating right), the weight would come off. 

I'm a big fan of affirmations, and I wrote one while I was still pregnant that read, "Pregnancy and breastfeeding make my body stronger and healthier than ever before."  I relied on this quote a lot through this past year and instead of thinking, "My body will never be back to the way it was." "Pregnancy just messed me up." I saw the reverse..."My body was meant to do this." "I can heal, move forward and be stronger than I ever was." It's all in how you think about it...

Moving on to some fun stuff...this past month, Avery got to celebrate Easter. It all started with a little bunny fun (as you may remember on this post). And although I was in full-Birthday planning mode, I did manage to do a little Easter decorating around the house, my new favorite thing to do.

Bunny figure from Hobby Lobby

Egg wreath (love!) from JoAnn Fabrics
Then we went and spent Easter with our families.  Here we are enjoying the nice spring weather we got on Easter day.

With Grandma Karen and Uncle Austin

Happy Easter!

Now our monthly posts would not be complete without one of my New Year's Resolution's to complete one Pinterest-craft a month.To be honest, I've got no trouble completing this resolution because I love crafts! Right now I've probably got about 5-10 crafts that I'd love to do if I had the time. Even worse, every time I go to Hobby Lobby, I seem to find inspiration or materials for some new craft I want to make. Anyone else get bit by the "craft bug?"

Moving on to this month's craft, it's an ode to our dogs, Jackson and Jilly...I'll call the craft:
"Dog Love Frames"

I don't know about you, but we sure love our dogs.  I wanted a special way to honor them and show our love for them in a decorative kind of way.

My Pinterest-inspiration: Dog foot print frames.

The Before Pictures: Here's where I wanted to put them, this side wall where my dining room connects to the kitchen (on the right) and my living room (on the left). This is the dog's spot. We keep their food and water here and I wanted  a way to personalize their space a little more.

Before the "dog love frames"

Don't mind Avery just working away in the cabinet, finding
all kinds of fun stuff to get into!
So one night, I got out some Crayola black paint, some card stock paper, and a tray. I figured we could stamp the dog's feet into the paint or paint them then just stamp them onto the paper...simple enough right?

Wrong. Very, very wrong.

Our dog Jilly, freaked out the second her paw touched that paint and she went running around the kitchen, stamping her foot everywhere. I had a bucket of water nearby to dip her painted paw in afterwards, but on her tailspin away from us she tipped that over and the kitchen was left a doggy crime scene. I was about to give up on this project completely, but I had already bought the frames so I tried to think of something I could do with them that still involved the dogs.

I chose these black-outlined 8 x 10 matted frames from Wal-Mart
for about $10 each.

Pictures...of course! So I found my favorite pictures of them, had them printed in black and white, and then I typed up their names in cool fonts onto some cardstock paper.  I mounted the dog pictures onto black paper and then glued them onto the name cardstock.

I attempted this craft with someone close by...

But before I knew it, she was up and walking away...which was good because at least she stopped trying to touch and eat my dog pictures, but bad because I had to chase her down!

In the end, I got the dog pictures mounted, and hung on the wall above the dog food and water bowls. Here's the finished product:

Some "dog frame love" for Jackson

And of course for Jilly as well.
Avery loves to stop by these frames daily and say her favorite word: "Dog!" 

Anyone else have a favorite craft or decor item to show some love to their dogs or other pets? Share below.

I also followed through on my 2nd New Year's Resolution to go on one date night a month. This month's date...dinner and a movie! Our first date 9 1/2 years ago was to the movies, and we used to go all the time. Since Avery's been born, that's pretty much stopped because it just seemed like so long to be gone (as opposed to just going out to dinner).  But we were itching to go see and movie and that's what we did this month. We went and saw 21 Jumpstreet, which although not the greatest movie we've ever seen, it did make us laugh and we had a good time going to see a "real movie". Sometimes just going to the movies is so much better than just watching a Netflix at home.

Date night at the movies.
It really must had been a while since we'd been to the movies because we both commented on how "loud" the movie was. Clearly it had been a long time since we experience "movie volume". We keep it pretty low at the house, sometimes even with closed-caption on as not to wake the sleeping baby. Either that or we're just getting old.

 Then we picked up Avery and did a little walking before heading home.

Well of course we had to say "Bye" to the dogs.

Anytime she even sees something that remotely resembles a
dog, she'll throw out her pointer finger and yell, "Dog!"
Here's some other fun highlights from the past month:

Other word she loves to say: "Shoes" which comes out,
"Chews" or "Dad chews" for Dad's shoes.

She has become very inquisitive this month too. You can
ask her a question and she'll raise a hand or two, and
say, "Oh?"

She has really started showing preferences to things
she likes and doesn't like. One thing she doesn't like:
the word "no". Say the word to her, and this will happen.

If she happens to snatch one of our phones, you'll see her
pretend talking on it.  She looks like a busy, business
baby in this pic.
Last but not least, we have decided to move Avery out of our room and into her own room, or her "big girl room" as we call it. A few months ago, I blogged in this post about our sleeping routine at that time where she spent about half the night sleeping in her own bed, and the other half in our bed...all of which was in our room. This worked out great up until a few weeks ago, when she decided she had no desire to sleep in her own bed other than when she first went to sleep. She would cry and scream from her bed, as we tried to ignore her and encourage her to go back to sleep. I'm not a fan of letting her cry it out, but both her and I struggled to get comfortable together in our bed. She needed more room and I was tired of getting karate kicked all night. Some nights she would do it less, but others, it would seem like she was up all the time either wanting to nurse or re-position herself. When I would try to put her back in her bed she would start crying and screaming, only to calm down when I brought her back to bed...and the cycle continued.

One and done...moving into her big girl room.
Something had to be done.

So right about on her first birthday, we enlisted my Dad's help to take down the crib, move it to her room, and reassemble it. That night we put Avery to sleep in there and tried to create a new plan/routine.

With this new location I was going to try and keep our feeds to the rocking chair beside her bed, as opposed to bringing her back to bed with me (why would she want to leave a soft, cozy bed with a constant milk supply next to her?) and after feeding her, I'd put her back in her bed.

That first night was rough, but she's gotten better since. She seems to sleep longer and is more comfortable in her bed. I'm sleeping better too and enjoying the added room in the bed. Although I'm sad our co-sleeping journey is coming to an end, I've enjoyed it while it lasted and I feel like now is the right time to make a change. Granted, our new routine isn't flawless. As I said before she's got some molars coming through and she's been battling a little cold lately, so some nights she wakes up more than others, but I'm trying to stick to it. I'm a routine person, so I'm all about getting Avery on a predictable routine that so she can take comfort in knowing what to expect when it's bedtime.

Wish us luck.

One last pic for you to wrap up the 12 month post...

In case you're ever curious how I get her to look so happy in some of the photos I take of her...well, that's because enlist the help of lots of photo assistants (aka family members and pets)! I couldn't do it without them.

My family (aka photo assistants) at the O-N-E photo shoot
in the backyard.
Thanks for following Avery's journey these past 12 months. I can't wait to see what the next year will have in store for us! ( :