Friday, May 1, 2015

Gallery Wall on the Cheap...Plus a Free Printable!

There is one large section of wall that you stare at the second you walk into our home.  For the last few years, we have been trying to figure out what to do with it.  We bought a massive print of Portland from Ikea hoping it would work, but it looked too large for the space.  Just one or two 8x10 framed images looked too small.  A big mirror would be nice, but we can't afford that right now.
I settled on the idea of a gallery wall because it's a nice way to infuse character into the room and I wanted to put some of our family photos up.  I chose a favorite from our family photo session with Margaret Jacobsen to be the focal point.  I had that one printed out as a 20x16 mounted print through Tiny Prints.
We really don't have the funds right now to go out and buy a bunch of new artwork and frames so everything else was collected from around the house.  I chose a white frame theme because we had more white frames than any other color.  The animal illustrations have been in our hallway for years and are from Berkley Illustration.  The heart painting was done by my daughter Pearl.  The adorable watercolor of my family was given to me as a gift from my sweet friend Lauren.  I created the Love your neighbor print.  You can download a pdf of it here.
The gallery wall sets the stage for who we are as a family when you enter our home and I love how it fills the space.
-Kira

Thursday, April 9, 2015

1 Month Old!

Flora is one month old!
I am only a week behind on this post which feels pretty good since even managing to open my computer feels like a struggle these days.  During Flora's first month, all of the kids ended up getting sick.  Pearl and Axel had fevers for over a week along with other intense symptoms, but thankfully Flora has only been congested.  I would like to think her mild symptoms are due to the magic of my breast milk.
Flora has grown a ton this last month.  We don't have a scale, but she has already grown out of her newborn and 0-3 month outfits.  I will have to go into storage and pull out the 6 month clothes pretty soon.  
She slept a lot in the first few weeks, but is starting to have longer awake times.  Flora mostly likes to nurse, cry, and stare at us while awake.  She doesn't like to sleep on her own and generally wakes up within five minutes if I set her down somewhere.  She isn't a fan of the baby swing and doesn't like going to bed either.  Flora sleeps decently at night once she finally falls asleep, but it's definitely a struggle to get her asleep in the evening.  We usually end up closing our eyes somewhere around 11 pm.
If I really need to accomplish things around the house, I will put her in the ring sling.  She generally sleeps well while being worn.  She has weeded the garden beds with me, gone to doctor and dentist appointments for her siblings, and even attended two work meetings with me in the ring sling.  That thing has been a life saver.
Pearl and Axel love their little sister and want to hold, hug, and kiss her constantly.  Axel calls her "Rora." and is always coming up to me with his hands out saying "Rora, help."  That means he wants me to help him hold her.  So far Pearl has been very helpful and considers herself to be a great babysitter.  Pearl has even taken an interest in assisting me with diaper changes.  Maybe I can get her to manage that task on her own soon.  That would be pretty sweet.
I just didn't find the time to pull out the camera for these photos so I took them with my cell phone.  I'm no photographer, but I know the photos I took for Pearl and Axel were generally better than these.  I will try to step my game up a bit next month.
See how much she has grown!
-Kira

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Family Photos by Margaret Jacobsen

My friend Margaret Jacobsen stopped by over the weekend and snapped some photos of us at home.  I'm forever grateful to her for these.  I wanted to share a few on the blog here.  You can also visit Margaret's website to see more.
-Kira

Monday, March 9, 2015

Flora is Here!

Our daughter was born on 3/1/2015 at 3:44 am.
We named her Flora Nell.  
Flora was born over a week ago, but I have been pretty busy with three kids.  Any time I find to write this post usually turns into a baby cuddling session instead.  I think I have my priorities straight.  
Her birth ended up being a very surprising induction due to the awesome liver condition called cholestasis.  On Saturday 2/28 Jeremy and I planned to go see a movie while my parents came up to watch Pearl and Axel.  I had some blood work done the previous Thursday because I mentioned to my doctor that I had started itching all over my body.  It wasn't unbearable, but it was annoying.  She said it was probably no big deal, but had me go to the lab just to be safe.  The majority of my results came back that day and were normal.  There was just one last test that needed to be done at an outside lab.  My doctor concluded prior to that result coming back that I was most likely fine and there was no reason to worry.
My doctor called on Saturday morning to say that my results had come back and they were not what she expected.  I definitely had cholestasis and she recommended that I be induced that afternoon.  She explained the longer you go into your pregnancy, the worse the condition gets, and it is associated with higher levels of still birth.  That was enough for me to agree immediately to come in.
We arranged for my mother-in-law to come watch the kids.  Then we grabbed lunch at Burgerville and headed to the hospital.
The induction process took forever.  Jeremy and I sat in the hospital room all day.  We both finished a book.  We also watched What About Bob.  I had regular contractions for a number of hours, but they were not very painful.  After spending the majority of the day there, I was dilated to 3 cm.
Sometime after midnight, the midwife decided to break my water hoping that would get things moving.  She was right.  The contractions were immediately terrible after that point.  I got an epidural when dilated to 8 cm.  I told the anesthesiologist that I wanted to be able to feel my legs, but didn't want to be as uncomfortable as the state I was currently in.  He gave me a half dose of what they usually would administer in an epidural.  I had no idea that was even something they could do, but it was great.
I started to feel pressure to push about ten minutes after my epidural took effect.  The nurse didn't really seem to believe me, but eventually called the midwife back to check and it was time to push.  Flora was out in three contractions.
The midwife set Flora on my chest.  She looked so tiny and quickly fell asleep.  She started snoring right there on my chest.  It was the cutest.
Flora's stats at birth:
Weight - 8 lbs 1 oz
Length - 19 3/4 inches
Head circumference - 13 3/4 inches
We are both healthy and doing well.
-Kira

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Pearl Plays PDX #8 - Cinderella at the Keller Auditorium

Full Disclosure - I received two free tickets for this event as a media guest, but was not required to write about the show.  All opinions are my own.

Last night Pearl and I attended Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella at the Keller Auditorium.  I knew the basic Cinderella story going into it and felt it would be decently suited for Pearl (at 3.5 years old) to enjoy.  She loves princesses, but I was a little nervous the stepmother character would be too mean and scare her.  Thankfully, the stepmother was more comically rude than evil.  The stepsisters were also great.  One was rude, but hilarious and the other sister was very sweet.  Pearl wasn't afraid at any point during the show.
Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella is a bit different than the story you might remember from your childhood.  There is a lot more comedy infused into the show which I appreciated.  They added in positive messages around kindness and caring for the poor.  It had more substance than the Disney version I grew up with.  Pearl especially loved Cinderella's magically quick costume changes and was in awe when the fairy godmother started to fly.
The show started at 7:30 and I wasn't sure how that was going to work out for us.  Pearl is usually in bed by 8:30 so I knew she would be up substantially later than normal.  Sometimes that results in a really cranky kid, but she was so entertained that it didn't seem to matter.  She almost fell asleep near the end, but really wanted to see the wedding and managed to stay awake.
Pearl did extremely well during the show.  It kept her entertained and in the moments when she would lose focus, she mostly started looking around for other kids in their princess dresses.  She never left her seat except to sit on my lap occasionally.  I was honestly a little afraid she would try to get up and wander around, but that never happened.
The Keller Auditorium caters to bringing small children pretty well.  They have booster seats that are available for rent for just $1.  I would highly recommend getting a booster seat if you take your toddler to a show.  I noticed kids as old as 7 or 8 using the booster seats as well.  
The one thing I wasn't prepared for was how much cash I would need to have.  I didn't even consider the need to bring extra cash, but it would have come in very handy.  We parked in a nearby garage so the two of us didn't have to walk far which was $6 cash only.  I knew we would need to buy water which was also a cash only purchase.  Then we paid $1 to use a booster seat.  After those purchases, the $10 I had in my purse was gone.  I would definitely take more cash next time.  I just assumed you could use a card for all purchases at the event, but that was not the case.
Another thing worth mentioning is that you are not allowed to take any photos at all once you are in the auditorium at Keller.  If you want pictures to remember the evening with your child, take them before you get to your seats.  They are sticklers about it and everyone who tried to take a photo near us was caught.  I was thankful we took a few photos at home to remember our evening before we left.  I should have gotten one of Pearl in front of the theater, but there were so many people by the time we arrived.
It was a special evening for Pearl and I as we don't usually get one-on-one time like that.  Pearl really thought it was magical and even the people around us kept commenting on how happy she looked to be there.  I can't wait for an opportunity to take her to another show in the future.
-Kira

TICKET AND PERFORMANCE INFORMATION

February 17 - 22, 2015  |  Keller Auditorium, SW 3rd & Clay

Tuesday  |  7:30pm
Wednesday  |  7:30pm
Thursday |  7:30pm
Friday |  7:30pm
Saturday  |  2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sunday   1:00pm & 6:30pm

Most shows have American Sign Language interpreted and
Open Captioned performances.  Please call the Portland Opera Box Office
for more information or email boxoffice@portlandopera.org
Ticket can be purchased:
www.BroadwayInPortland.com
Portland Opera Box Office: 503- 241-1802 or toll free at 866-739-6737
Portland’5 Box Office: 800-273-1530, All TicketsWest locations

Monday, February 9, 2015

Guest Bathroom Remodel

My amazing husband finished work on our bathroom this weekend.  Sometimes I feel like I won the lottery landing such a handy guy for a husband.  He remodeled our master bathroom when we first moved into the house, but this one is larger and a lot more work so we had to save up the funds for a few years.  This is our guest bathroom and the one our kids will use as they get older.  It was a source of embarrassment for me whenever people came over to our house for the first time.  Some features of the original room included old stained linoleum, chipped paint, and a water damaged door.  Here are some before photos:
The vanity cabinets were custom built at a local place because the size of the large one is not standard.  Jeremy stained them himself.  The porcelain tile, backsplash, and counter tops all came from Home Depot.

We went with mostly grayscale items.  Our shower curtain features a photo of Mt. Hood which is a mountain that can be easily seen from most parts of Portland.  We decided that a pop of color would be a nice accent to include in the hand towels and bathroom rug.  We went with yellow and found most of those accents at Target.
I made the Daniel Tiger print to put above the toilet and I also created the line artwork to mimic the shape of Mt. Hood from the shower curtain.  We also have a large framed photo of Multnomah Falls that was given to us as a wedding gift by a family friend.
I love that it's a room that we can easily change by updating our accents over time and I'm excited for all of our guests to use the restroom now.
-Kira

Monday, January 26, 2015

Daniel Tiger Potty Artwork Free Printable

We are working on a full remodel for our bathroom.  It should be done in the next couple of weeks so I have started thinking about decor for the space.  We are going with a grey scale color theme that is a bit sophisticated, but this will also be the bathroom that our kids will grow up using.  I wanted to insert a little fun into the room through artwork.  Since Daniel Tiger helped us so much while potty training Pearl, it seemed natural to use a quote from that magic potty training song.
People seemed to love the print when I posted a photo on Instagram over the weekend so I figured I would offer it on the blog as a free printable.  Click here to access a pdf of the print.  Please let me know if you use the print, I would love to see photos of it up at your home!
-Kira

*A few tips for using online printables - I have archival paper, but basic card stock will probably work for you.  There is a lot of black ink in this print so recycled printer paper is not ideal as it will get wavy.  To avoid any sort of streaking in the text, set your printer to a higher quality print as it is most likely on a standard printing setting.  The artwork will fit in an 8x10 frame.  You can easily print it on 8.5x11 and cut it down if needed.**If you need potty training assistance, the episode number is 111 and I highly recommend it!