season of love.

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I have to keep the seasonal momentum rolling around here — otherwise I’d still have Christmas mixed with Camp Crew all over my house. There’s something refreshing about moving on to gearing up for February and beyond with the decor. In Iowa, I think it’s the promise that winter WILL eventually end!

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But while I’m a sucker for pink and red personally, I live with boys and appreciate when brands can think outside the box with their V-Day color palettes. I loved the mix of navy blues and aquas from Target this year, especially with my navy Adamo frame that hangs in our entry year-round (currently housing one of the – many! – photos of Crew he will someday roll his eyes at…when I put Cupid wings on him this time last year!)

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I like making Valentines less about having a significant other and instead focusing on ALL the people in your life that you love. He won’t get it this year, but I picked up the heart-topped mason jar for future Valentines when I thought we could do something in our family where we collect slips of paper about who/why/what we love. For this year, the mailbox is PLENTY entertaining enough and I’m pretty sure the entire focus of the day will center around the always-exciting concept of mail! Ha!

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Cheers to everyone surviving the holiday season, resolving to do whatever you plan to do in the new year, and looking forward to Spring! <3

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Camp Crew (Crew’s Second Birthday Party)

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We had so much fun celebrating our two-year-old Crew Man this weekend!

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I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking, but between some painting with pinecones, scooping and dumping ingredients to make our own trail mix, chucking marshmallows into a bear’s mouth, and munching on hot dogs (and barbecue for the adults!), Camp Crew was a raging success thanks to his buddies who made the morning so much fun! I refrain from posting others’ kids (even my friends’ kids) here on the blog, but imagine lots of squeals and sugar-highs! :)

(Click on any photo to view it full-size!)

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Every camper went home with a canteen and a bag of gear (a.k.a. flashlight, whistle  –pretty sure the parents hate me! — and adhesive glow stars…so even if they didn’t get to at the party, they can sleep under the stars!)

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Page built the A-frame tent and I used the Target bear as a muse to paint a piece of plywood for the marshmallow toss.

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Biggest birthday wishes to our happy camper! #campcrew

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Crew is TWO!

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And just like that, you’re two.

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Our smart, silly, raised-eyebrows-and-mischeivously-grinning guy who loves to dance, hug, give kisses while grabbing both sides of our faces, LEAPS from his seat when he hears the garbage truck outside, and points to the floor telling us to “sit DOWN right HERE!” when you want us to play with you..has officially been on the planet and at the center of our world for two whole years.

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This is the focused face that gets up close to my nose, then breaks into a grin and says “Hi!” first thing in the morning :) You are such a lover and have always been fiercely expressive about showing it. I hope that never changes!

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And this is the cheeseball performer grin we get when you know he have an audience in the palm of your hand. I love that you’ve never been shy, thrive on the energy of people, and find joy in expressing yourself — talking, dancing, pretending, creating.

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I’m relishing the days when all bad moods can be solved with a sucker, you love to nuzzle noses with us, and your sing song voice is rattling off every thought you have, all day long.

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Your sentences are getting longer, and your thoughts string together more and more. The passion for diggers and garbage trucks is unwavering. You’ve become obsessed with the Minions, the only movie you will actually sit and watch for upwards of a half hour at a time before you get the wiggles.

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You continue to be an amazing sleeper — 11 to 12 hours at night and a 3.5 hour nap most afternoons, but a typical toddler when it comes to eating. Some days we literally serve you the same thing at every meal, or multiple days in a row. Thankfully, you still love pouches of fruit and veggie purees, and you’re an avid milk drinker. Throw in a multivitamin and we’ll get through this picky stage!

You clocked in at just under 26 pounds and 34 inches tall at your two-year appointment. You handled your last immunization for a while like a champ and I did a little mom-beaming when everyone (doc, nurse, lab nurse and admin) ALL commented separately how brave and friendly and go-with-the-flow you are…coming from an office of professionals who see kids all day long (and probably a lot of meltdowns) this made me so proud of your laid-back temperament!

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Your pacifier and security blanket are a package deal — if you want one, you want them both, NOW. It’s your only vice, and you’ve regressed a bit in terms of wanting them during the day, not just to go to bed. We’re trying to encourage that the paci just stays in the crib, but you aren’t a fan of that idea. We are picking our battles and after talking with a couple different peds, there doesn’t seem to be a huge reason to force the stopping of the habit. So we may just let it roll for now.

With two years under our belts now, we’ve learned that parenting is a series of screw-ups and forgiving yourself, coupled with pats on your own back for little successes here and there that the rest of the world would probably not even notice. It’s all a learning curve and changes by the week it seems and I’m thankful to your dad for being such a fantastic partner in all of this. Through it all, we couldn’t have asked for a sweeter soul to guide us through this adventure of being “mom” and “dad”. We love you Crew Man, and are so, SO excited to embark on your third year. It’s going to be a fun one!

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home for the holidays (part 4)

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I’m so grateful we got a headstart on the decorations this year, got our baking done a couple weeks ago, and thanks to good old Amazon Prime, our gifts arrived in plenty of time to wrap, leaving the last couple nights to soak up the anticipation of the holiday.

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The gifts moved to their rightful place under the tree, and the advent calendar hung empty.

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Our wreath was filled with family and friends’ faces.

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Crew was enjoying playing with a couple new (early) gifts from friends.

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I loved just walking around the house the last couple days, taking note of all the little Crew infusions that make up Christmas for us this year.

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Per our tradition, a freshly-bathed Crew came down to admire the tree one final time in his jammies, and I grabbed a couple (more mobile this year!) shots.

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Off to bed he went, so Santa could come…

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I won’t rub it in, but one of our best gifts is the ongoing gift of a child who (somewhat) sleeps in. Around 8am, our buddy came down to start Christmas!

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Shortly after this, I put my camera down the rest of the day, to just enjoy and partake. With no real present-unwrapping since his birthday (almost) a year ago, it took a few gifts to understand the concept of opening, but as he gained momentum, the squeals and “oh my gosh!” chants became more intense and the paper-ripping skills improved 😉

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Today we’re enjoying a still-in-our-jammies day at home, running loads through the dishwasher, unboxing and building a couple of our gifts, and packing some of the decorations away. It’s calm and content, and kind of amazing to have such an entertained little guy while we play with our own new stuff!

Merry Christmas to you and yours. Wishing you safe travels home if you’re headed that way, peaceful and content last days in 2016, and an oh-so-happy new year. 

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merry everything | 2016

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Wishing you a very merry everything — Page, Liz, & Crew

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home for the holidays (part 3)

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Today I wanted to document the rest of our decor for the holiday season. I have some traditions and photos and little details of things I want to share and remember as well, but I’ll save that for another post. (I purposely didn’t call these “3 of 4” or anything, because I never know how overly ambitious — or lazy — I may end up getting, but I’m hoping to put together at least one more post this month!)

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One of the additions I made this year were these two potted pre-lits for the front patio. The pots they came in were a womp-womp flat antiquey gold, so I shined them up with some copper spray paint to coordinate with our exterior light fixtures and accent roof. I feel like it made a huge difference, and I’m always for more shine than less. I love the extra glow they bring to the front of the house at night.

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(Note to self — consider less noticeable white cords for next year!) But I digress. Please, come in! :)

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I’ve had several of what I call the “slinky” silver sequined trees from Target, for a few years now. I love how easy they are to store flat and pop open onto stands. I didn’t get them out last year, but love having most of them on the credenza in our entryway, along with a white IKEA star lamp I’m thinking needs to just stay out all year. It worked perfectly with the big gold star (last year, Target) hanging from fishing line in the ceiling.

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The flex room’s permanent plan is still a work in progress (goal for 2017 — focus on this room!), but for this season, it’s a play space and window light-filled spot to curl up with our Christmas reads.

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We sold the HUGE tree that took over this room last year, and scaled down a couple feet (both in height and diameter!) for something we could incorporate into our main living room.

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I was feeling more neutrals this year, so instead of picking a color scheme, it stayed to copper, silver, and white. I had to double-count when I realized we incorporated our tenth (!) Crate&Barrel frame ornament this year.

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This is only our second Christmas in this home, and I feel like I’m still getting a grip on not just how to decorate it for the holidays. Not everything from our previous house works here, and style and taste evolves, and of course new merchandise hits the market. I am really liking combining some more rustic/lodgey type of Christmas pieces with just as many shiny elements this year. I don’t like to lean too bling or too log cabin — the balance this year feels just right, and none of it is too precious that it can’t survive a toddler. (Case in point…those adorable melamine dishes just waiting for Santa’s cookies and milk!)

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I do love to set the table, and in years past, it’s been so fun to create a full-out holiday tablescape. But this year, who am I kidding, it gets in the way of our everyday meals, and frankly, takes up prime lego-building real estate.

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So I kept it simple (and edible, should you need a snack) with some faux pinecone garland, interspersed with some clementines for a little kitchen-flavored pop of color.

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In the kitchen, I stashed some pre-lit boxwood garland on timers above the cabinets. My favorite partridge in a pear tree plate and some simple berries in a vase sit on the counter. Of course, the lights on the garland hadn’t clicked on yet mid-day and I was too lazy to climb up there yet again, so one will just have to imagine. :)

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For the first year, we hired someone to hang our outdoor lights and we were thrilled with the result. Neither of us was about to climb up and reach those highest peaks, ourselves.

It’s pretty crazy that it’s mid-December and there still isn’t a decent covering of snow — I’ll have to capture this again when it looks more like the typical Iowa wintery scene.

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From our home to yours, Merry Christmas (and happy decorating!).

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