our master bedroom (and a cozy update)

Master Bedroom | www.lifeinyellow.com
Master Bedroom | www.lifeinyellow.com

I haven’t shared much of our master bedroom since we moved in almost three years ago. But as the temps dropped this fall, I was ready to cozy up the summery-feeling bedding I had in there, and make a couple other small changes as well.

Because of our geriatric bed (two adjustable twin mattresses on a king frame), I’m pretty locked into the plain white sheets we currently use — otherwise I’d be buying three sets of some cute design to get the two twin fitted, one king flat, and various sized pillowcases I’d need to outfit our bed. So keeping the sheets white, I brought home a flannel duvet/sham set, and added some velvet, waffle knit, and faux fur. Just give me all the comfy textures for cold weather!

The wrapping up of the year always means we’ve recently updated our family photos, and our bedroom is one particular spot I love to have those on display. So I’ve been swapping out a couple here and there and adding a couple more frames. A couple of new candles with woodsier/wintery scents and the seasons have officially clicked in this room.

The only furniture in here aside from the bed are our two nightstands (you can read more about how we hacked these from IKEA furniture here).

I recently sold my jewelry armoire and would like to use the newly freed-up wall space for a BIG leaning floor mirror. I’m pinned some inspiration for Page and my birthday ask is for him to build me one (coming in January!). I’m long over the five dollar dorm room wonder that has been hanging in our closet since we got married!

Finally, what’s a freshened up space without purging some STUFF? We did some serious donating and consigning this fall both in our wardrobes (which we still LOVE — read more about how we built them here) and in our closet. Having less to keep organized is seriously helping the zen factor in here. Bring on winter – I’m happy to hunker down in here for a bit!


Decorating for Christmas // Our Holiday Home Tour 2017

Welcome to our *home for the holidays*!

We have yet to get any snow, so there isn’t much to share outside (we did the same outdoor lights and potted trees flanking the front door as last year). It IS cold here, though, so come on inside!

We kept it simple in the kitchen this year — a little hot cocoa station, and a gingerbread house that is already mysteriously missing most of its candy…

…and our little felt tree and lots of mercury glass on the table. I love these all lit at night!

I wanted a little more color than last year when we did mostly white, black, silver, and copper. I’m a sucker for red at the holidays but didn’t want traditional green, so I pulled in pieces with a more blue-green hue that feels a little bit vintage.

In the flex room, I didn’t feel like I had to do much, since our emerald green sofa steals focus anyway. I did add a trio of collapsible tinsel trees I’ve had for years (love when decorating takes under a minute!), added a snowflake tray with a favorite read and heirloom snowglobe that a certain someone is OBSESSED with. #pleasebecareful #itsnotawreckingball #twohands!

A separate post on our master is in the works, but for the colder months, I added some cozier textiles. I don’t decorate holiday per se in our room, but I like to change it up with the seasons, since it’s visible off our main floor and is actually seen by visitors from time to time.

Pass under the mistletoe (muah!) and I used some coordinating garland on the stair rails. In the past I’ve used a really full, prelit garland and loved the effect. But it was scratching the stained banisters to death and I just wasn’t up for touchups again this year. So I went with this simplistic felt version to try something new (and softer on the finish).

I love having a second tree upstairs on our landing that can be seen out the back windows. Plus it feels like an unexpected surprise to go upstairs and find a tree off the main level. I also love having this all-kid-stuff tree for all the fun and whimsical ornaments, and Crew loves a tree he can be “hands on” with and rearrange to his heart’s content.

Nothing is breakable, and all of it is fun and has some little significance for us. All of the color just makes my heart happy. Would I do a flocked tree again? Not sure because it does shed, but I LOVE the snowy look.

Naturally, a garbage truck parked on it this year.

Thanks for stopping by!

(And hey Big Guy, we’re ready for you!)


Our Favorite Christmas Books

I have the fondest memories of pulling out favorite Christmas books each year as a kid and it’s been so fun to continue that tradition with Crew. Our stash has grown quite a bit this year, as we’ve moved firmly out of the baby/board book phase, and into the “real” storybooks. It’s fun to pull out old favorites, and discover new works and authors.

WHEN SANTA WAS A BABY. For a little boy who LOVES to talk about how he used to be a baby, and thinks Santa is his bestie, this book hits all the right notes. Love the illustrations in this and the story is so charming.

THE POLAR EXPRESS. Of course. Whether or not you have a train fanatic, this is a classic. And hit home especially hard this year when we were able to ride a “Polar Express” train in a nearby town and Santa handed out bells. The movie has been captivating as well!

OLIVE THE OTHER REINDEER. Crew is drawn to stories with animal main characters, so I knew this one would be a favorite. Love the clever take on the classic song lyric.

WHY CHRISTMAS TREES AREN’T PERFECT. This is one I remember loving as a kid and while it’s still a bit wordy for an almost three-year-old, we paraphrase it to get the message across.

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS. Another classic and we are big fans of Dr. Seuss in general. Crew is starting to find the silly words and quirky characters funnier as he gets a bit older and understands the oddity of this writing style. Again, we love (both) movie versions of this fun story.

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. We have a couple versions of this story but this one is, hands down, the coolest pop-up book I’ve ever seen. It’s truly a work of art, and Crew is fascinated with each page (some of them interactive). For a rather wordy and old fashioned story (who is this St. Nick they speak of?! And why is he smoking?! LOL) the elaborate art keeps him engaged and following along.

OLIVIA HELPS WITH CHRISTMAS. Crew has been an Olivia fan for a while — he gets a kick out of her naughty antics. So of course, this was a natural pick to keep the mischief going.

THE SWEET SMELL OF CHRISTMAS. This was one of the books that really helped Crew to “get” the whole idea of getting ready for Christmas (decorating, baking, etc) but also that Santa just comes on ONE night, not all month long. 🙂 Plus the scratch and sniff stickers are a fun sensory way to experience the season.

(Looking for younger readers? We’ve loved both Little Blue Truck’s Christmas – complete with twinkling lights at the end! – and Dream Snow by Eric Carle — love that you can feel the bumps of snowflakes!)

I’m a sucker for children’s books in general, so I love to hear what others are reading. Which good Christmas reads did I miss??


flex room update (yes, again!)

flex room | www.lifeinyellow.com

Peeking in on our flex room again…

flex room | www.lifeinyellow.com

…We have some new lovelies setting up shop.

flex room | www.lifeinyellow.com

These chairs are so comfortable and the mid-century vibe was exactly what I wanted more of in this room.

flex room | www.lifeinyellow.com

flex room | www.lifeinyellow.com

This space finally feels pulled together to me with the balancing of the sofa with two chairs, and a coffee table and floor lamp to ground it all. It’s fun to swap out the accent colors in here with the season and right I’m playing around with mustard yellow and cozy gray flannels.

flex room | www.lifeinyellow.com

Similar Sofa | Pom Pom Pillow | Gold Pillow | Floor Lamp

We hang out in this room a LOT –more than I anticipated.  I think it’s the huge dose of sunshine and light/bright walls, the zen that comes with a toy-free/TV-free zone, and the room itself is just a cozier, more defined space than some of the more open-concept parts of our home.

flex room | www.lifeinyellow.com

Rug | Chairs | Dot Pillows | Brass Frames

The final thing we’d like to do in here is to add some built-ins. We want to draw attention to the high ceiling and dormer window above, so we’re talking through adding some chunky, open shelving beginning at chair rail height and staggering all the way to the break in the ceiling. Inspo picture from Yellow Brick Home below!



…and here’s my quick and dirty sketch of where I’d place them.


Shelves are one item on a very long list of projects right now (and Page is currently busy OUTSIDE our home building a project I can’t wait to share — soon!). I’m hopeful that this one might get ticked off the list while we’re inside and restless this winter. But until then, I’m enjoying this room that feels blissfully “finished”!

flex room | www.lifeinyellow.com


Decorating for Fall // The Halloween Edition

Decorating for Fall | www.lifeinyellow.com

Fall has officially hit our home, and we’ve added a few Halloween items for the month of October.

Decorating for Fall | www.lifeinyellow.com

I love to decorate with books — stacked, on display, covers framed — so naturally a couple of our seasonal faves are within reach at all times! (If you haven’t picked up Gilbert the Ghost or The Scariest Book Ever, you have to! Crew is obsessed with both.)

Decorating for Fall | www.lifeinyellow.com

I’m not a huge fan of classic Halloween orange, so I kept it to a minimum and went for more corals and pinks and coppers. I made the felt ball garland after ordering a range of colors in berries and corals and black/white/greys.

Decorating for Fall | www.lifeinyellow.com Decorating for Fall | www.lifeinyellow.com

The truly Halloween stuff gets set up right inside the door to greet our trick-or-treaters!

Decorating for Fall | www.lifeinyellow.com

Decorating for Fall | www.lifeinyellow.com

I didn’t buy much new this year, but these three skeletons (hello! the glasses!) jumped in my cart and I couldn’t resist.

Decorating for Fall | www.lifeinyellow.com

After a trip to the patch a few days ago, we are stocked up and ready to carve later this week! Hope you are enjoying a festive fall! <3

Decorating for Fall | www.lifeinyellow.com

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Crew Does Two — The Third Quarter

Crew Update // Year 2 Quarter 3

You are officially in the home stretch to three (insert disbelief face here!).

This last quarter-year has been a dynamic one. You have been making huge leaps developmentally, and while we are amazed with how much you are learning each day, the growth comes with frustration — for you, and then by proxy, for us. Your brain is working overtime — so many questions, more complex thoughts, first real fears, and you are talking ALL. THE. TIME. You are hyper-aware of when you are and aren’t capable of doing something yourself — and are super frustrated when it’s the latter.


Your growth this quarter has translated to interrupted sleep — we are working through a sudden and intense fear of sleeping in your room by yourself. What started as freaked-out meltdowns at both naptime and bedtime have thankfully, progressed to a point where you can now calmly get yourself to sleep for a nap, and at nighttime, with us out of sight — something we took for granted before! You do wake up at 2am to the dot most nights and after trying several methods to get you back to sleep in your own bed (some gentler, some firmer), we’ve called a truce and opted for SLEEP over everything else. For now, you end up sleeping with us (thankfully, you go right back to sleep and are a pretty decent sleepover companion). Neither your dad or I are thrilled with this arrangement, but for the short term, we’re riding it out and focusing on the fact we’ve navigated two of the three get-to-bed scenarios. Paci and “brown blankie” continue to be necessary bedtime companions.


You tell us all the time that you are big, and brave. You like to point out the things you can do because you’re a “big kid”, and it’s so awesome to watch you work through things that I KNOW you are intimidated by, but you try anyway. Somewhere in the break between winter and summer swim lessons, you developed a fear of being submerged underwater for more than a split second. I sat at a swim lesson with you recently and watched you come up from a turn at diving for rings with your teacher, and you looked back at me through the glass, stiff-jawed and holding back tears, determined to be tough. (I was so proud of that brave moment!) I’m happy to report a few weeks back into it, and with the addition of goggles, you can’t wait to get to the pool for your lesson.


You continue to be a huge lover and snuggler. Depending on time of day and mood, you prefer to be as close as possible, and ask us to “snuggle me!” with a blanket. You do these funny little sigh sound effects and smile at us and close your eyes in happiness. Those moments make up for the frustrated ones!


You want to be the number one helper ALL THE TIME. We can’t go to the car without you announcing, “Only Crew can be the door holder! I will open the door!” and you want a hand in everything that is going on. You are no happier than when you have a special task or job to do that is all yours. You LOVE to help cook and clean, and we’ve established that Mom gets a turn and then Crew (and then Mom again) so that I can ACTUALLY accomplish some decent vacuuming or complete a meal. I love that you’re developing some skills and vocabulary around the kitchen — even if you can’t actually muscle it, you know how to use a can opener and you have a set of kid knives that you use to help me chop veggies. We’re learning the basics of measuring ingredients (“Fill it up to 1!” were your exact words when I said we needed 1 cup of water the other day), and you can actually crack an egg with precision (and then pick out any pieces of shell you drop in, while announcing, “we don’t want any shell in there!”). I don’t pretend to be a fantastic cook, but I do love that it’s something we can enjoy together.


You suddenly seem so big boy to me in how you play — rougher and louder. I love that you love to be active, and while you do get screen time (you’re obsessed with Blaze and the Monster Machines!) you will drop it in a hot second at the promise of going to play outside or doing an activity with us. You’re into Legos if we’ll build something WITH you, continue to obsess over garbage trucks, and love anything the park has to offer — the climbing rock walls and ladders are particularly popular with you right now, especially when you can do them unassisted.


You love school, your class of friends, and your teachers, and can actually recount brief bits of your day to us now. You sing songs you clearly learned at school (and are confused if we don’t know one of them and can’t sing along) and sometimes you surprise us with something we didn’t even know you had learned, until it comes up randomly at home — just the other day at the park we were talking about “today” and “tomorrow” and you started referencing days of the week. So we asked you what came after that day, and low and behold, you knew your days of the week — in order — neither of us knew you had any idea!


You’re beginning to express bashfulness and embarassment — if we giggle at something you say or do, you either laugh along like you get the joke, or shake your head and roll your eyes to not look at us. You’re trying to string together much more complex sentences as you get more detailed thoughts across — but sometimes you mix up your phrasing, leaving us to ask, “what are you saying? tell me again?” and you realize you’ve not making sense and do the same shaking of the head, and mutter total babble under your breath as if to say, “oh forget it” ha!

You’re repeating a lot more now (for better or worse!) and picking up on our key phrases. When you had an accident at the park a couple weeks ago, I took you to the car to change, during which you sighed and looked at me, then said…”I’m a hot mess!” 🙂 Another fave is when you grabbed my face the other day, pulled me in close and said, “Mommy, you’re the cutest!” Man, are toddlers good for your ego! 🙂


Swim lessons are going great and we have no plans to stop them anytime soon. As opposed to the baby-level classes which seem to get pretty repetitive, it’s fun to see you at a point where you’re making real progress and learning skills. You love to plug our noses and instruct us to close our mouths (something your coach asks you to do at the start of each class, to practice breath control!)


I love that you are picking up on things we love to do. You will sit and watch golf on TV with Dad (truly watch! and yell “get it in the hole!” lol) and when a toy camera showed up in a happy meal recently, you went full-throttle into taking pictures of everything. It cracks me up that you will pretend to show me a playback and say, “Look! There’s Crew and Mommy in dat picture!”


You continue to live joyously and love fiercely and I’m more aware than ever that that is exactly what the world needs right now.



View More: http://aprilandaugustphotography.pass.us/des-moines-photographer-smith2017

Photo cred: April & August Photography

It’s been an entire decade since we exchanged vows, walked up the aisle, and started married life together in a little apartment in Des Moines, a city we had moved to just the month before. Married life has been nothing short of grand, and this city we love is a big piece of that joy.

View More: http://aprilandaugustphotography.pass.us/des-moines-photographer-smith2017

As we celebrate both a decade of marriage and a decade of life in Des Moines, we continue to live in the moment and our life goals are ever evolving. I’m proud of what we have embarked on, both as individuals and as a couple, these first ten years. I so look forward to what the next ten bring. Cheers to more adventures!

View More: http://aprilandaugustphotography.pass.us/des-moines-photographer-smith2017

In the spirit of anniversaries, I compiled a little playlist. It’s nothing overly lovey-dovey, just a collection of songs that bring on some anniversary vibes and have degrees of meaning to the two of us over the past decade.

Decade Spotify Playlist | www.lifeinyellow.com

Happy anniversary to the handier, more patient, more tech-savvy, in general COOLER half of this duo of which I’m lucky to be a part. <3


Halloween Classroom Treats

Bugs + Kisses Halloween Treats | www.lifeinyellow.com

I’ve always loved Halloween — it’s smack dab in the middle of gorgeous, festive, fall and the costumes, treats, and traditions are all so much fun. It’s a new (less spooky!) kind of fun with a kiddo, and this is the first year that Crew can actually understand reading and talking about trick-or-treating, answer people who ask him what he’s going to be, and (somewhat) understands how far off it is…(“I think Halloween is in two more tomorrows, Mom!”).

Bugs + Kisses Halloween Treats | www.lifeinyellow.com

The minute the merchandise hits the stores, I’m all over it. Because we can’t bring homemade treats to school, I kept an eye out for individually wrapped candies, and per Crew’s interest in bugs, found some little spring spiders that you push down to “lock” and then a few moments later they jump a couple feet in the air, to the delight of a certain two-year-old. Sold. I can’t take credit for the “bugs and kisses” — I saw it somewhere on Pinterest at some point and it stuck in my head! The spiders are from Target and I used these treat bags), and whipped up a business card size design to fold in half length-wise and staple across the tops. Quick and cute!