19 December 2012

O Dangling Tree...



Let me explain.

So as you know, Chris and I tend to sway from tradition in many areas of life. Christmas is no exception. With Miss Camdin being fully mobile during this holiday season, I thought it best to do away with the "traditional" fake tree that we have. I wasn't so much worried about the ornaments as I was the fake plastic needles that she would undoubtedly try to eat. I also, envisioned her walking by the tree, wobbling and reaching out for it to steady herself, and then both tumbling down together (tree and baby). No bueno.

As I began researching, I found no solution to my problem. I wanted something to replace a tree, and something to put presents under. But what? I saw this cool felt tree that my good friend made with her adorable little girl, but we didn't have a great wall to use. 

Then I found this:

http://christmasshortstory.com/store/category/christmas-trees/
Funky. Right up my alley. But still at risk for falling over.

Then, I remembered my tomato cage trees I made for outdoor decor last season. 


http://www.nedesignbuild.com/holiday-design-tip-alternative-christmas-trees/
My ideas were beginning to mesh together, and then my brain nearly exploded. I created the most brilliant idea of all.



Behold.


I bought a green tomato cage, wrapped it with lights (just like I had done for outside)... but then I HUNG IT FROM THE CEILING. 

Not many of my ideas are very original (I'm great at copying things), but this- I will take credit for. 




I used a simple heavy duty screw hook that we had in the garage.


(Don't mind the extra hole that I made too big and have yet to patch.)
I used white crochet thread to have the tomato cage.


If you noticed the Santa hat on the bottom and wondering how it's staying on... Magic. i.e. fishing line. I sewed a small bit through the hat and looped it up over the first "crossbar" on the tree.


I hung ornaments on the "crossbars" and the light strings themselves. 


To light 'er up, I just used a small extension cord (that doesn't show if you stand at other angles).


Isn't she glorious? 


The perfect solution for any toddler/pet/real tree issues that may arise in your home!
Well done, me. I think I'll pat myself on the back for this one. 

10 December 2012

The Fastest Year of Our Lives

Here is our annual year in review... Enjoy!


END OF 2011/ JANUARY 2012

I apologize for not getting a review out last year, but as you know, my world turned upside down in the best way possible on November 30, 2012.
Everything has been about this beautiful baby girl for the past 12 months!



We celebrated Christmas with both sets of grandparents in our home. 
It was a relief to have family come to us while Camdin was so small!


We had just 6 shorts weeks together as a family before Chris shipped off to the Middle East for a 4 month deployment. Time flew by (pun intended!) as Camdin ate every two hours, slept like a champ at night, but awoke every.two.hours during the day. My mom was amazing enough to be here as Chris left, lending her extra hands to help care for the little lady and I during these exhausting beginning months of her life.

 


FEBRUARY

After Camdin's 2 month check-up at the doctor, Mom and I headed north to see family in Iowa.
Camdin was a great traveler in the car, but stopping every two hours to nurse, quickly changed a 10 hr drive into a 16 hr drive. Oy! I was fortunate enough to visit with several Aunts, Uncles, Great Grandparents, and friends.



After 3 weeks in the cold, Mom and I headed back home to Cabot to settle into a routine with the little lady. My best friend Casey came to visit for a long weekend,
and absolutely adored her time with our little life here in Arkansas. 
After Casey's return, Camdin switched from her bassinet in our room, to her big girl crib in her own room. She continued to sleep 7 hours consecutively at night, as she had since Chris left in mid January.

MARCH

Chris and I continued to speak at least once everyday. Sometimes we could have several chats in a day.
 I can NOT complain in the least bit about how open our
communication was with one another during that time apart (thank you Skype). 
He was able to receive texts from me with lots of pictures
and video of Camdin as she grew and changed daily. 
Speaking of changing- She rolled over from her back to tummy at 3.5 months. 

video


Uh oh. She needs to slow down with the accomplishments! At the end of the month, Mom headed home, and Tami (Chris' mom) came for her 2 month shift.

Oma singing to me with my duck

Nana helping with monthly pictures

APRIL

Tom (Chris' dad) came for a visit, and loved getting snuggles with Camdin.
Then my dad visited shortly thereafter.


My time was spent at many girls nights over wine (just a few sips, since I was still nursing), while we supported each other through the deployment. Camdin also became quite proficient at talking- see for yourself!

video


MAY

Chris came home this month!!! I spent the beginning of the month getting everything ready for his return. He landed on base 5 days after my 28th birthday. BEST PRESENT EVER!


Camdin started solid foods and began sitting up.

  video


JUNE/JULY

These months flew by as we celebrated summer with friends, and tried to stay cool inside. We went on several drives with the BMW club, and Camdin loved it! Mid July, we trekked up to Cincinnati to visit Chris' brother Will and his family. We also had the chance to meet with my brother at a Reds/Tigers game, and he got to meet his niece! Camdin began crawling at 6.5 mo.




AUGUST/SEPTEMBER
Labor Day weekend was spent with more friends at their boat house on Lake Ouachita. It was beautiful up there, and so nice to be near water! Camdin enjoyed sporting her swimsuits.



Mid month we set off for Europe. Yes, we traveled to England to visit friends and family with a 9 month old. Had it not been for the 4 hour delay on the plane, we would've made it all the way there without so much as a peep of a cry from Camdin. Regardless, she did well, and we graciously accepted compliments of her being an easy traveler. We saw a cute little coastal town and spent lots of time hanging with our friends in adorable eating spots. At the end of the visit, we were privileged to meet up with Chris' brother Will and family again, as they had JUST moved back to England for his job.

Walking in an alley in Cambridge 
In front of the Lincoln Cathedral (featured in The DaVinci Code)


Last dinner with friends Sam and Kim DeMass
Sleeping on the plane

OCTOBER

Chris and I celebrated 4 years of marriage, and then shortly after Chris pinned on a new rank. He's now USAF Captain Chris Freed. I feel like I'm married to a superhero. Camdin was excited to wear her peacock costume for her first Halloween... right as she began walking at 11 months.
Ah! She's FULLY mobile now and totally loving it!


NOVEMBER

We traveled to Austin, TX mid-month for the inaugural Formula 1 race at Circuit of the Americas. Since Camdin couldn't go to the races because of the noise, I snuck in a visit to IKEA and grabbed some cabinet locks (to prevent things like this from continuing).



Camdin and Daddy having fun at California Pizza Kitchen
 Thanksgiving was spent with friends, and then I had a week to prepare for a big 1 year old birthday celebration for Miss Camdin. Minus a nap in the middle of her party (due to teething/12 mo shots), everything went off without a hitch. We are so lucky to have so many friends here locally that seem to love Camdin as much as we do.








Look how much she's grown in a year!




DECEMBER

We are preparing for our first Christmas with a little one, and wishing for colder weather. It doesn't seem like Christmas when it's 70*...even with the neighborhood lit up in lights. 

We want to wish you and your families a joyful holiday season. Thank you to everyone who helped us survive our first year as parents. We couldn't have done it without your support and advice! May there be lots of laughter and love in your homes to carry over to the new year. 

Love,
Chris, Aimee, Camdin, Kingston, and Remmie








27 November 2012

A November's Resolution

First off, let me apologize for taking such a long hiatus from the blog world! It turns out that being a mommy and trying to keep up with the things you love like friends, family and crafting, tend to take up all of your time. (In addition to cleaning, cooking and general homemaker duties.) We now have a full-time walker on our hands, which oddly enough leaves me more time to myself. Miss Camdin is able to get around on her own, drag all of her toys out, and chase the puppies in circles...and I'm loving every minute of it.

Now, let's get on to my resolution. I know it's not January, but who says a resolution needs to start at the beginning of the year? From now on, I vow to never text again while I'm operating a moving vehicle. This means if you text me while I'm driving, you may not get a response for 5, 10, 25 or even 45 minutes. I admit, I've occasionally responded with a short text every now an then, but it ends here.

Why am I writing about this you ask? Because now that I'm a mother, responsibility has a whole new meaning when I'm looking after my baby. This afternoon on my drive home from running errands, an older style Lexus pulled out in front of me, going miserably slow. I couldn't even see a head peeking over the headrest, and I assumed, as many of you would, that I was now following an elderly driver. I followed this car for a mile as it drifted here and there, sometimes jerked, and continued to move at 30 mph in a 40 mph zone. As I enter the left turn lane and drive passed the Lexus, I make sure to glance over and see who I was following. A teenager. A new driver. Texting. UGH!!

I don't know why this particular incident made my blood boil. I've see it countless times before. Maybe because she sort of resembled me as a 16 year old. Maybe because Camdin was singing in the backseat, and she was catching my attention to her sweetness. There was a strange connection between the old me and the new me.

The message that I want to get out to the new generation of drivers, is that you only live once. That's right. YOLO. This is a phrase that teens especially have fallen in love with and used as an excuse or reason for crazy clothes, and crazy behavior.  Unfortunately, when you're texting while driving, it's not exactly a heart pumping activity, but it can get you killed.

When I was 16, I couldn't WAIT to get my license and drive on my own. DRIVE on my own. I was so excited to get behind the wheel, roll my windows down, turn the music up of MY choice (but not too loud, of course), and just drive. I feel like the new generation of drivers is completely missing out on this privilege.

To you, I say, when you get in the car, put your phone in your pocket, in the backseat, or even in the glove compartment. Then there's also the novel idea of turning it off. GASP! You are a new driver. I know texting is second nature to you, but multitasking while driving is not. Why? Because driving in itself IS multitasking. You should be paying attention to other cars around you, watching traffic signals, and keeping your eyes on the road. You are not the only car on the road! You've heard it before, but no text is more important than your life. Besides the fact that in many states now, it's ILLEGAL. If you want to hang out again the friend that you're so diligently texting, then put your phone down and drive to their house. Your best years in life are yet to come. Anyone older than you can vouch for this. Don't miss out on college, a meaningful relationship, or children because you were dumb and texted while driving when you were young. If you have respect for yourself, then turn your phone off. It'll even save you precious battery power! Use your time in the car to think, sing at the top of your lungs, or just be alone. I know that being a teenager can be overwhelming at times. This is your chance to just be you, and still feel like an adult, because you're driving on your own! Just don't take for granted this new privilege you've been given. They call it a privilege for a reason.

OK. Rant, complete. Almost.

And to you seasoned drivers who I see texting and swerving- grow up.

I feel like getting that off my chest will help me sleep a little better tonight. I'll try and do my best to continue this blogging trend and update you on all of the changes that have got on in our lives over the past 9 months.

If any of you out there feel the same or have a similar story, I'd love to hear about it. Now go DRIVE safe.

28 March 2012

It looks like a real house!

So, after ripping out the landscaping from the previous owners... 
a year later, it is complete.


Let's go back to where we started.


I'm sorry it's not the best picture, but it'll have to do. When we bought the house in November 2010, there were two bushes, two small trees, and a bunch of red brick landscaping edgers that didn't match the house in the slightest. Don't forget to notice that the bushes are only evenly spaced, not centered under the windows. As if the front of our house needed more awkwardness to add to it's flat facade. 

Jumping forward to March of 2011, we were gung ho about giving the front of our house a face lift. 


We ripped everything out, replanting the foliage elsewhere. 
The edgers also bit the dust. See?


Then for whatever reason, it took 12 months to revisit this project. 
(a pregnancy, maybe?) I apologize if you visited our home in this time frame, as it looked like a hick family lived here with no landscaping (and for a few months, a car on jack stands- sorry, babe). I also decided to tackle it alone this time while Chris is deployed. It'll be a nice little something for him to come home to. 

First, I drew up a landscaping plan. Don't laugh. It came as no surprise to my mother when I mentioned I drew one up. She'll back me up when I say that every time I rearranged my room as a kid, I drew a plan (to scale, of course) for the new furniture placement. I still do. [See house layout below that I made on floorplan.com].



After determining the number of plants I needed to acquire, mom and I set off to Lowes. (Can't ignore that military discount!) I purchased a Pink Flowering Almond for the end of the bed, 5 Big Twister Rush grasses, and 2 Firepower Nandina bushes. I also have a handful of Liatris and 'Blue' (which I think is a Balloon flower) bulbs to plant here and there. 

After setting the edging and adding some good topsoil, I set out my plants to check my locations.


I planted everything, making sure to add in some Miracle Gro soil. 






The final step was to add mulch. I used newspaper as my weed barrier after seeing it posted on Pinterest a hundred times. Doesn't it look beautiful??



Now we just have to wait for the bulbs to come up to add some color, and for the bushes to fill out a bit more! I'm also planning on adding a trellis between the windows for some Morning Glories. I'm pleased as punch.

You probably noticed the 4x4 post on the right side of the bed. That's my new flagpole. Chris and I had a bracket on the house that kept loosening and was about to fall off, so this was my solution. And yes, I set it in concrete. I can't wait to get the bracket up and give the flag some air! 

What do you think? An improvement?! :)