Lucy hit the two month mark and I am still looking very, very postpartum. This three baby business is no joke. I’m ready to hit the gym and get back into my pre-baby jeans. I find that a little accountability does wonders for my willpower so I use a few apps to keep me moving and thought I’d share.
Run keeper//Right now it is really tough to get to the gym. Lucy can’t go until she’s 6 months old so that means a 5 am gym call or an 8:30 pm stop. Both of which feel impossible when I’m still getting up a couple times a night to nurse her. I try to get my exercise in pushing that behemoth of a stroller, filled up with 80 pound of kid + gear. I love being able to track my walks and see my miles add up through the week.
FitBit//Obviously you’ll have to buy the actual fitbit but I find this fun because you can connect with your friends (find me here!) that also have a fitbit and a little friendly competition never hurt anyone. It definitely makes me get up and move a bit more if I’m thiiiis close to hitting my 10k steps for the day.
Gym Pact//I really like this one. You start with a “free” $5 from the company and set your own pact. Mine is workout (30 minutes=workout) 3x a week with a $5 loss via PayPal if I don’t hit my pact. You can adjust your number of workout day or loss payment amount to whatever makes you the most motivated. I like that the app syncs with Runkeeper and FitBit. So if I don’t make it to the gym, my 10K steps count as my activity.
DietBet//Another competition app, specifically targeting weight loss. You can join a diet bet for a weight loss of 4 or 10 percent of your body weight, depended on the length of the diet bet. If you hit your goal, you win money from the pot and if you don’t, you can kiss those dolla dolla bills goodbye. If money is your motivation, this one is for you.
Any apps that I’m missing? What motivates you to get to the gym? Help a mother out.
This weekend we celebrated our little lady turning 2! I always say that 0-1 is a quick year but 1-2 flies by for me. She is such a funny little lady, she has so much to say (she comes by it honestly) and I love seeing her personality break out.
This year I decided to throw toddler party customs out the window and hold a morning shindig. We invited all of our best pals over for pancakes and cupcakes before naps. You’re welcome parents! 🙂
Jillian designed the cutest little invites that had a floral/woodland theme so I just sort of ran with that. We started the party at 10 so we had pancakes + toppings, donut holes, bacon, and yogurt parfaits for brunch. Mimosas and coffee kept the mamas and dads bright eyed and bushy tailed.
We went round and round if we should hire some sort of entertainment (it’s pretty standard round these party parts). In the end, laziness (and cheapness!) won out. We just put out the teepee and our new (to us) slide and let the kids run amok. It was honestly the best decision. A bunch of the kids built a fort with the outdoor furniture cushions and the others just ran around the yard just burning off that syrup high!
As a little activity, I had woodland animal face masks that the kids could color + fairy wands (that I made, thankyouverymuch, hope you caught that snap) and party crowns. I would say about half of the kids were into the coloring. The other half enjoyed beating each other with the wands. That’s my event pro tip, if you can make your favors or party activity pull double duty as decor, do it! I would much rather spend time + money on something that adds to the party table than a bunch of throw away theme decorations. Just my opinion though, so you do you!
I was SO happy that we didn’t get rained out this year. It made decorating so easy. I used the DIY fabric mobiles (does anyone want a tutorial on this?) on the pergola above the patio. We cleared out the patio furniture and added kid tables and about 20 balloons to disguise our prison yard chic cement wall.
I love our magnetic chalkboard, probably more than the kids. It’s super easy to make, using Stefanie’s tutorial here. I threw on a floral swag from the Michael’s clearance section (I have big plans for it later) and called it a day.
I used pink kraft paper for make our kiddie tables look a little more festive. It’s the best for kids’ parties, roll that business up and toss it out, making clean up a breeze.
Mom fail on the candle. I did not realize it was an actual sparkler. We had to sing happy birthday a few times before it fizzled out. Harper’s face looks like…”well this is awkward”.
All in all, it was a great little party celebrating our girl. We’re so thankful for our family and friends for helping us celebrate.
Happy Birthday Harper! We love you so much, we can’t believe you’re two! We can’t wait to see what this year has in store for you.
I know I promised pictures of Hudson’s room but it’s not finished yet (just being consistent here!). I do have a fun update for you though, Lucy’s little nursery nook. We have three bedrooms in our little rental and two are currently occupied by toddlers with finicky sleep habits. I am all for sharing rooms but until Lucy is sleeping through the night we’ll be sharing our room with our littlest lady.
Our upstairs “suite” is a converted attic. As thankful as we are to have the extra space, air quotes are completely necessary here as the room is the most inefficiently designed room ever. There is no full wall to put our bed against and the pitched ceilings make arranging any other furniture pretty impossible. BUT! Silver lining here, the awkward roof shape and room design made a perfectly cozy area to house Lucy’s crib and a rocking chair.
I was overzealous to get this project started so the before pictures are a little more like in progress pictures.
I wanted to make this little area special for our girl since she doesn’t have a nursery to call her own but was pretty limited in terms of decorating since it’s our room too (nothing too babyish) and we’re renting. So, nothing permanent. Enter…removable(!!) wallpaper. I loved how the vinyl stars turned out in Harper’s room so I was up for another foray into adhesive wall decor. I ordered the gold peonies wallpaper from Chasing Paper and it is amazing.
Forget the days of wallpapering = marriage enders. I had this up by myself in less than an hour. It’s easy to cut (use a sharp exacto knife) and easy to stick and readjust if necessary. The pattern is extremely forgiving which I would not have guessed. I had to do a lot of cutting for all of the windows and awkward angles. Below is a picture where there are about 5 seams. If you squint and look very closely you can see where the pattern doesn’t match exactly. They are essentially invisible in person.
I used three sheets of the paper, which isn’t exactly inexpensive but since I had to buy exactly zero nursery or baby items this time around I felt like splurging. The paper is so beautiful, I would do my whole room if I had a million dollars lying around. It feels like very thick fabric printed on contact paper. I’m sure that description is as clear as mud but you can just tell it is well made and doesn’t feel like it will rip if you pull on it or move it around.
Without sounding like a big bad bragger, I really love the way this turned out. It’s better than I thought it was going to be which feels like winning when you take a risk (money/time) like this. I recently participated in the Nester’s Cozy Minimalist course and she really encouraged investing in large scale pieces for small spaces instead of trying to over-decorate with a million tiny tchotchkes. So in the end, $100 for a big impact space was well worth it to me.
So, all we need now is for Lucy to sleep through the night and we’ll all be happy campers.
If you’re interested in the decorating course (which I highly recommend!) and would like a $10 discount, just enter my name: Brittney Ahrens as the coupon code. You’ll get $10 and I’ll get $10.
I’m sure you’re all tired of the Christmas post recaps but bloggers gotta blog. We spent the holiday in California with just our little family. It’s our third year of doing this and I will selfishly shout from the roof tops that I love it. No running all over the place, no packing up tired, cranky kids, or living out of suitcases. It was glorious.
On Christmas Eve we managed to shower, dress and hustle all three kidlets out the door in time for the 6:30 pm candlelight service. We were pretty self congratulatory on managing that Christmas miracle until we pulled into the parking lot and saw the big sign out front welcoming everyone to the 6:00 pm service. Face palm if there ever was one. Unfortunately we also told the kids that Santa would only come after we had gone to church (behaved!) to celebrate Jesus’s birthday. Sooo…we had a lot of backtracking to do as we could not find another service before midnight mass. We’re hoping we get an A for effort and we’ll try much harder next year. #sorryjesus
Back at home, PJ our elf, had left the kids a gift to open on Christmas Eve (new PJs!) and we set out our cookies for Santa and the kids went to bed without a peep.
I still can’t believe we have three little nuggets to dress up in matching Christmas jammies. I live for matching sibling outfits.
We smuggled in our big Santa gift from the garage and I filled up the stockings while Matt struggled to put together a last minute gift addition, a balance bike. It just wouldn’t be Christmas Eve without drinking and cursing while building toys.
Thankfully we haven’t entered the crack-of-dawn wake up for Christmas morning era so we enjoyed a late wake up and were able to capture the kids coming into see their gifts.
They were so overwhelmed with everything and Hudson’s little mind was blown that Santa actually scooted down the chimney and left him a kitchen in the living room. I’m convinced that seeing their faces on Christmas morning is the crowning joy of parenting.
We took our time looking through stockings and playing with our new toys all morning. And toys there were thanks to our VERY generous family. It looked like ToysRUs up in here but as Matt said, if worrying about how many toys my kids get on Christmas is my biggest problem, we’re probably doing ok.
Well played by Pottery Barn Kids on the GIANT size of those stockings. You drop something in them and it falls to the bottom like a pebble in the Grand Canyon. Luckily, Santa is super sneaky and filled them up with exciting items like band-aids, undies and diaper wipes.
We spent the rest of the day alternating between gift opening, snacking and napping. My kind of day!
I hope your holiday was very merry and we’re looking forward to a fab 2016!
Better late than never, right? I’m afraid that is my new life motto now. Here’s what’s been happening around in our neck of the woods. We’ve been busy, busy, busy around here but here’s the highlight reel for the week.
5. Broke the blog there for a bit! Apologies as I still have no idea what I did. Matt gave me a shiny new Mac for my birthday and while lots of room for pics/videos and other mother must haves, it has essentially turned me into my grandmother dealing with the tech side. I’ve probably scarred my domain IT dept (bluehost- so good! So helpful!). Anyway, if anything looks weird or broken, let me know. I can’t promise I can fix it but I’ll do my very best to serve my dear readers. And if you’re looking to get my drivel delivered directly to your inbox, subscribe by typing your email addy into the box on the sidebar promising Ahrens in your Inbox. It’s only going to be fun mail!
4. WE HAD A BABY! Life’s been full and crazy with three but I feel like I’m back in the swing of it since hallelujah and amen, I am not pregnant anymore. More on that plus a birth story adventure to come. If you’re looking for real time updates, you’ll find the filtered moments on IG and the uncut footage on snapchat (beahrens).
3. Got that Christmas shopping done and feeling pretty smug. I used all my last minute pregnancy nesting to wrap it up (sorry). I have since realized that I’m going to have to be on my game for oh, the rest of forever since I now have two children’s birthdays sandwiching the holidays. I am also now realizing that my mother should be canonized as a patron lady of birthdays having all 4 kid’s birthdays within 3 weeks of each other and Christmas. The sheer logistics of that makes me want to take to my bed for days. So, gifts: our kids are getting The Big Santa Gift + stocking stuffers from us since our present crazy families can’t be tamed so I’m not sure I have more to add to the gift guides of the internet this year. If you’re looking for suggestions for your tots, Kate and Emily rounded up a nice selection!
2. Speaking of birthdays! I am currently crafting (while trying to be low key…right) and planning sister’s 2nd birthday. We’re going with Pancakes and Pajamas in an effort to keep it easy. Jillian made the cutest invites for us so of course I had to up my decor game to match.
1. ROSE BOWL! As in, the Hawkeyes are coming. We are obviously thrilled for that sort of bowl procurement as fans but as residents of Pasadena, we couldn’t be more excited to have an onslaught of Iowans on their way in January.
We’re planning a tailgate/parade brunch because, why not?! Here’s hoping this is not my reality.
Being due with a baby at the end of November will kick a mother’s rear into gear like nothing else friends. We have tons of birthdays + Christmas (obvs) in November and December so I got started on the kids’ Santa gift really really early this year. Like, I’ve been stashing that sucker in the garage for the last 3 months. You may think I’m a little bit cray (which…) but I am SO glad that I am not out toiling away working on this project with my giant belly right now. My friend Emily requested a post on the before and after and not one to disappoint my tens of fans, I’m happy to oblige.
The kids are getting a tweaked IKEA kitchen and I’m making all my Pinterest project dreams come true. I loved the look of a few I found online, here and here. DISCLAIMER…this project is pretty easy but you know what’s easier (maybe cheaper)? Just buying a kitchen and giving it to them. I toyed with that idea but again with the crazy. I also really wanted a kitchen with a smallish footprint so I could keep it in a bedroom or the sunroom without it taking up all the playspace.
I bought this kitchen and got to work. While everything is unassembled, you’ll want to get painting. I sprayed the bottom cabinets with a grey chalk spray paint. I used the chalk spray paint because I preferred the color in store but I can’t say I would recommend it. It seemed to have a tough time looking even and it took three cans for full coverage. I love the final look because it is matte but be warned, extra work for this.
Next, spray your upper cabinets/microwave portion with white spray paint. You could leave this the Ikea birch look or paint it to match your lower cabinets. Whatever your heart desires here.
I also sprayed the hardware accessories gold because I can’t be stopped with the shiny things. You can leave them as is (silver) or even replace them with real hardware which looks nice too. I didn’t because I just did not want to deal with the additional cost or work involved. My insanity has limits people. I also sprayed 4 basic (around $1 each) cabinet pulls gold to add on later as oven knobs since the kitchen doesn’t come with any. I couldn’t find the exact knob online because it is so inexpensive but just go rummage around your favorite hardware store to find what you like!
As the paint dried, I adhered the three subway tile panels to thick foam poster board (found at any craft store) for the backsplash. I adhered the marble contact paper at this point too. I will say it’s not perfect around the corners as they are rounded but I like the overall look, plus Santa’s elves are not perfect craftsmen. 😉 I also added pebbled glass film to the microwave and oven windows. This step is completely unnecessary and I probably makes zero difference on the overall look but I had left over film from another project. Waste not, want not!
Put that sucker together friends. I have zero pictures of this process as it was me alone in the garage at night slaving away on this. I would guess it took me about 2 hours to put together by myself. Not a Christmas Eve project!
Use liquid nails to adhere your foam backsplash and let dry overnight. Install your tap lights in the microwave and oven shelves. Last, install your four additional oven knobs. These are super simple to install with a little pilot hole. Mine are actually a bit long for the piece of wood so they spin like real knobs. I find this to be a bonus but you can add washers to the back if you’d prefer them stationary.
That’s it! Totally easy, right?! Now just spend the next few weeks brainwashing your kids into believing that all the every wanted for Christmas is a play kitchen. Not that I would know anything about that.
Poor second baby, girlfriend just got her own room when we moved here and now it is finally nearing completion. Remember when I posted her inspiration board, like almost a year ago? Whoops. Anyway, stick a fork in this one, it’s pretty much done. Juuust in time to have to switch it up for new baby. I’m planning on having baby #3 sleep in Harper’s room in a few months just because two toddlers in a room together seems like a recipe for disaster. Plus, I like to keep my little angels in their cages cribs as long as possible.
I mentioned it in my home tour post but we decided not to paint any of the walls in the house. The color is fine, it’s a warm white (is that the most annoying description or what?) so I don’t think it screams rental, or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. I really wanted to add some jazz to Harper’s room and once I saw Dina’s nursery, I had to have it for our little lady. I followed her tutorial to a T but ordered my stars from Urban Walls and it worked perfectly. I would have loved to paint the ceiling a pale pink to mimic the actual wallpaper but mama ain’t got time for that. You may have gotten a sneak peek on IG a million years ago, here. Also, I have no idea why it looks like giraffe has been sent to the corner.
Onward to the pictures. I apologize in advance for the blurry look but this room is THEEE hardest to photograph since we essentially get no light from those west facing windows. I had to pump up the light/exposure for these shots which = nice and blurry.
I didn’t end up finding a long dresser on Craig’s List like I initially wanted but this one made all my pretty in pink nursery dreams come true. I have a post allll about it coming up. I just kept the changing pad and supplies in Hudson’s room and he doesn’t seem to mind.
This little book nook is my favorite. Harper is SO careful with her books, even the paper page ones. She loves picking out which 15 she wants to read before bedtime. I was planning on doing some floor pillows but we’ll see.
So, that’s where we’re at for Harper’s room! I’m almost done-ish with Hudson’s room (try to believe me!) so I’m hoping to have pictures for you all to marvel at soon.
Here are my favorite sources from the room, let me know if I missed anything you’re dying to have.
Well, it’s already November so how about another Halloween recap post for your feed? This year we decided to host a little neighborhood trick or treat pre-party. I had Matt and the kids drop off these cute (free!) invitations from Minted to our neighbors a couple of weeks before Halloween.
Last year we moved into our house a right before Halloween and were totally floored with how our neighborhood goes all out for the holiday. I dare say it is more neighborly and fun than the Christmas season. Sap alert ahead… it really made us feel like we made the right decision to move and that we had a chance at really connecting in our community. It warmed my grinchy little heart.
Sorry for the impressively crooked shot here but you get the idea. Lots of treats with the finest orange paper products Target had to offer.
We went the easy route on food and decor because 1. kids and 2. I’m super pregnant and don’t have the capacity for the over-enthusiastic Pinterest crazy that usually takes over my to-do list before a shindig. I think it still came out pretty cute and no one was complaining about bakery cupcakes.
So pizza and store bought treats for everybody. I will say that the sprinkle dipped ghost peeps were the hit of the toddler set. Sugar on sugar on sugar, parenting wins all around.
Around 7 pm we hit the streets with the cutest fireman and dalmatian you ever did see. Harper didn’t even mind being called a “cute little guy” at every door. Should have put a bow on it.
Also a video because I can’t handle how cute their twick or tweeet is.
Unfortunately I don’t have any footage of Matt’s questionable parenting decision to take the kids up to the scariest/haunted house on the block for some candy begging. The image of him running down the front stairs with a crying kid under each arm was pretty priceless and basically worth all the therapy they’re going to need to recover from that incident. The twix bars were worth it kids!
Hope your holiday was festive and filled with all sorts of hoarded treats from your kids’ candy haul.
Time flies when you’re having fun! I can’t believe that we just hit the one year mark on living in Pasadena but TimeHop tells me it’s true so I thought it was high time for an update on our abode. You can see what it looked like all decked out for Christmas riiight here.
I wish I had some dramatic before and after pictures for you but it’s really been a snail’s pace of making this house a home. Every time I go to buy or decorate I’m struck with the internal conflict of how long will we be here/should I buy furniture to fit this space and basically being overall indecisive and just doing nothing. Luckily(!) I’m super pregnant and anxious to get a bunch of crap crossed of my very long house to-do list and have decided to just get some dang pictures on the walls because done is better than perfect. So come on in and I’ll show you around our main spaces!
No fancy foyer here, right into the living room we go. Can we get an amen, hallelujah for fixing the mirror height?! Crooked lampshade featured just to make everyone feel right at home.
I added the kids silhouettes from Disneyland and that giant chalkboard with a seafan hot glued to it. Idea stolen directly from here. I love it but most guests + husband are like, uh…what is that? I’m like people, I needed a giant piece of art/photo/whatever and had about $8 spend. I personally love it but what do I know?
I added my cute fiddle leaf tree (which is not faring well under my care/negligence) and a mirror from HomeGoods over in this little corner. We are still hemming and hawing over getting a new couch but can’t commit because hashtag, kids ruin everything. I’m sure we’ll come up with a decision in the next year or so based on our current progress execution.
If you turn to your right from the front door, you go into the dining room. I truly loathe that light fixture but haven’t decided if it is worth it to replace for the time we’re here. This is the one I love. Stay tuned for that exciting installment.
We swapped the direction of the dining room table and moved the sideboard under the little windows. Matt suggested it and the flow of the room works much better since the other wall is basically a hallway to the rest of the house.
If you were to stand on the other side of the table (in the sunroom/kid playspace) you’d be looking at this wall. I can proudly say I measured and hung that whole grid of frames all by myself. I am beyond impressed with my skills, as you should be too.
Bedrooms and bathroom to your right and living room back to the left. I feel like these pictures aren’t doing a great job showing the layout of the house. Apologies on my continued mediocrity.
This glass console table was a recent Craig’s List score. After some confusion with the seller (they lost the glass before we arrived? I don’t even know.) they ended up giving it to us for $50. A local glass shop had new glass to us in two days for $40. As I scraped the $500(!!) Pottery Barn sticker off of it I was feeling pretty smug about my little find. I’m planning on adding something more to the wall but just haven’t found anything perfect just yet.
The kids’ little playroom is right behind the dining room. I believe it originally was a side porch (it’s about 5 ft deep) that was closed in at some point. It is all sorts of cabin chic with that wood paneling so I just decided to embrace it and added the deer bust and faux fur. About 90% of their toys and books live in here.
On the other side of the door frame, we added a little makeshift bar, I can’t wait to use those moscow mule cups soon!
There isn’t much I’ve done to the kitchen but add our (undefeated!) Hawks chalkboard and spruce up the little cabinet with a few odds and ends. Let’s focus on the cute containers for the everyday necessities, okay?
Any suggestions on distracting from the glaring pink tiles that are everywhere? This is not just bad lighting, all of the tiles are really this pink and the cabinets are that exact hue of orange.
I haven’t touched the master bedroom except to add a king size bed (glory!) and squeeze in a nursery nook. The kids’ rooms are coming along but I’m waiting on artwork to arrive and I’ll post all about it.
So that’s where we’re at right now! If you’re dying for any sources (laugh, laugh, laugh) or links for anything just let me know! Otherwise, catch me on Insta for some real life views of our digs.
My number was up on the hosting duties of our monthly moms group playdate; I decided pumpkin painting would be a fun and easy activity (foreshadowing). I mean, if Pinterest says it’s so…
We ended up having about 15 of the under 4 set over for what can only be described as an exercise in insanity.
I will say that in terms of hosting, it was really really easy. Washable kiddie paint + Amazon’s finest (read:cheapest) craft brushes + store bought goodies. I had all of the moms and kids BYOP cause ain’t nobody got time to round up 20 pumpkins in this heat.
You’re looking at Trader Joe’s finest selection of pumpkin everything with a heavy sprinkle of Costco’s chocolate chip cookies. The play date started at 3:30 so I was betting that moms weren’t going fill up the minis with snacks and treats right before dinner. Such an easy way to host, throw the party on a non-meal time. Less to make, less to clean makes for an easy breezy event.
The kids really did have the best time painting their little hearts out (and running around like little lunatics). I was surprised how much the little kids loved this activity. Harper added her personal flair to every single pumpkin, with or without the pumpkin owner’s consent.
Wrapping the tables with kraft paper was key here. I just rolled everything up (paint and all) and tossed it.
I could not stop laughing at the carnage left behind after everyone left. You may have caught all my snaps here. My dad came over to help clean up and said he has seen frat parties with less destruction. Toddlers are cray.
After we were all cleaned up Hudson decided that fourth graham cracker pushed him over the edge and threw up everywhere. Another Pinterest perfect party, #nailedit.