Target Runs and Chill with a side of Chaos

rolling stonesOkay so when I created this blog I actually went places. I went to work every day, went shopping on the reg, even went out with friends and my husband. BAHAHAHAHAHA not anymore. I do go to work 3 days a week so I definitely try and use that opportunity to flaunt my style. When I go shopping I have my boys in tow (and let’s be real you have to feel comfortable), “going out” with friends means staying at one of our homes watching the kids run around (likely in our jammies), and date nights with my husband have diminished. Not because we don’t want to, but because we feel guilty asking someone to watch BOTH of them when we already have to have someone watch them other times during the week. Do I sound bitter about it? Honestly maybe to a degree, but here’s the thing, I fucking LOVE where I am in life. Sure I’d like to go shopping more often without my kids and I would love to go out and get hammered with my friends but most of them don’t want to do that anymore —If anyone wants to go get hammered and shake their ass sometime soon, holla I’m down like 4 flat tires. Date nights are great and all but anymore we’d both rather just stay home and watch movies but it would be nice to do that kid less on occasion.

My style has changed drastically because I do not go to work every day. Many of the clothes I used to wear I’ve either sold or are in a tote in my basement. I wear leggings on the daily and I have become so obsessed with graphic tshirts. lol. I know I sound crazy but I am a sucker for a themed tee or tank.

I love winter because I love to layer, blame my Hollister days for that one. I threw this outfit together amidst my toddler trying to show me out to trim his nails with daddy’s fingernail clippers and while my baby refused to nap. What should have taken 3o minutes took me an hour and half… sigh….#SAHMpropz. By the time I got myself ready, chased my naked toddler through the house to clothe and get all the baby stuff in the car it was 11am. Shew.

This outfit was less than $50 and when I saw myself I went, “damn ok, okayyy”! Super stoked and you will see it again. I will never NOT love holey jeans, to me they will always be in style. My jeans were $5 at a resale shop, the vest was $10 from another resale shop (Express brand), the cute flannel was $15, and the tee was only $6 both from… DRUMROLLLLLLL Kohls!!! YES because shopping with deals only happens at Kohls and Target, at least around here.

I’ve got so many of these plaid flannel tops laying around right now all to match my tees. Check your closet, find your favorite tees and start shopping around for a flannel cover up. Easy, super stylish outfit ready in a snap.

 

#Realtalk, the dog is about 3 ft in front of me in this picture and my toddler is directly to my right standing on the kitchen table. I LOVE and fully embrace the chaos.

Carpe the Hell Out of Your Diem
Laci Jane

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Remembering Farmer Bob, my hero

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“What a man”…. as I read this response someone posted on my Facebook page in regards to his passing I thought, wow how true. So much meaning in those three words. This could be the simplest way to sum up our grandfather but anyone that knew him knew that he was much more complex. Grandpa had so many layers that didn’t just make him a man; they made him the perfect man, and quite frankly our hero. If you were fortunate enough to know him you get it, you fully understand the Bob we all knew and loved. It’s hard to put in to words what he meant to so many people, but I will do my best to provide you with a picture of the man our grandfather was and what he taught us.

I’ve never seen a harder working man. He was up at dawn, dressed in his denim, blue button downs, a cap, complete with his cold cream jar, a pair of pliers, and a black watch where a permanent tan line forever rested. Man’s best friend typically followed along beside him as he took the same familiar steps out the front door every morning, namely Smokie and Rem.hpqscan0008

As a fourth generation farmer he was born on the farm and died on the farm. He loved to tell us the story about the day he was born. There was an old schoolhouse where my parents live today which is just across the field from my grandparent’s home. This schoolhouse is where grandpa’s six older sisters went to school. According to grandpa they let out the whole school that day to go over and see the first “little (his last name here) boy.” We assume this is true, but now that I think about it I’m not sure if it is or not! I just heard it so many times I assume that it is. He loved to tell stories and would tell them for as long as you would listen. If only we could remember all his stories and have the ability to tuck them away in a secret vault in our memories. What I wouldn’t do for one more tractor ride full of his tales. —-Heed my advice and listen to those stories, treasure them.

Grandpa was the definition gma and gpa of class. His outfits were carefully selected and placed together before every mass or event. He loved to dress up and he looked damn good when he did. As a matter of fact, in discussing the absence of a suit in my husband’s closet for my grandfather’s services Grant made it very clear that purchasing one was the utmost priority, that he would not be able to look himself in the mirror if he didn’t have respectable attire to pay tribute in.gma and gpa

Being a farmer was in grandpa’s blood, but at his core he was the truest of gentlemen. He doted on our grandmother, always making sure she was taken care of and had what she needed. He put our grandmother on a pedestal and worked his entire life to provide for her. We will never forget how they would enter a room together, hand in hand, side by side.

 

Grandpa taught us about friendship. If you knew grandpa you loved him. He had the ability to touch so many people. If there was something you needed, it was yours. If you needed help, he was there. If you found yourself between a rock and a hard place, he’d help you figure your way out. You could find him on Wednesday evenings, shooting the shit around a card table with his buddies. I can remember looking out my bedroom window one evening when I was in college and watching his truck travel down the long lane back to their white, two-story farmhouse. I was in utter disbelief that it was midnight and my 85 year old grandpa was just returning home. Where were the pumpkins? The glass slipper? Was this real life?!  He was breaking all the rules!

He knew no stranger and would have your life story upon introducing himself. He’d also probably know somebody that knew somebody that knew you. He always welcomed our friends and significant others in to his home passing no judgment and asking no questions. If you were a friend of ours you were a friend of his.christmas w roman

He taught us how to have fun and be ornery. I will never forget the hot afternoon my cousin and I spent in the ditch in front of the house. It had just rained a couple of days before and it was full of water. We rode our bikes as fast as we could down the hill and straight into the ditch, where we flipped over, covered in mud and rock scrapes. Grandpa couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was about so he thought he should join in. He plopped down into that water fully clothed and wrestled and laughed with us until our bellies were sore. That same cousin and I also strung grandma and grandpa’s entire bedroom up with yarn, pulled the ol feather and shaving cream trick on grandpa and then almost sent him to the ER when we dropped a fake spider down in front of him as he walked up the steps. Before our very eyes grandpa flew backwards, down the steps and landed on his back. We looked at each other in complete horror and feared for our lives. But after getting after us, in true grandpa fashion, we got hugs and he told us how much he loved us.

Grandpa taught uhpqscan0010s about the earth, whether it be the crops in the fields or the vegetables in his garden. He would relish in the yummy goodness of a freshly picked strawberry or a peach he plucked from the tree. In the summer when we put up sweet corn he would sit down to eat a roastnear and exclaim, “By God that’s the best ear of sweet corn I’ve ever eaten,” he said this every.single.year and we laughed every.single.time. Behind the wheel of a tractor is where many of us will picture him for the rest of our lives. There was nothing quite like watching him cut hay at sunset, the scent forever ingrained in your memory, the dust still high in the sky.gpa1

He was a gentle, emotional man. Our grandfather was never afraid to let us see him cry. As a matter of fact, I remember seeing him cry often and it did not embarrassed him. He loved hard, everything and everyone. When we were little they raised hogs on the farm which meant piglets and LOTS of them. He would snatch them up and have them nestled cozily in our arms in one swift motion as we giggled with delight. He would stand there and talk to momma, assuring her that her snorting bundle of pink fuzz was in good hands while we snuggled and kissed its tiny snout. I remember watching him run his hand down a momma cow’s side while she labored with her first born. She was having a hard time and grandpa did his best to keep her calm. I saw my first baby calf born that day and it was as if it was grandpa’s first time too. He kept telling me to watch, “see what she does, see how they just know what to do.” He marveled at new life on the farm and was heartbroken when life ended.

He was the same way off the farm. He used to cry during church when I would cantor at mass, he loved to hear me sing. He would cry thinking about lost loved ones and friends taken from him too soon. He had no problem shedding a tear when holding his first great granddaughter and each one that came after. Sometimes his tears were the words he didn’t have whether it was in happy times or sad times.

Of all the things we learned from him, the most important thing he taught us was how to love. He  may not have been around quite as much as grandma while we were there visiting but when he was you can bet that he made you feel like the most important person in the world. He would tell us to slow down, or “a little louder” but he listened intently to any story we told him. He showed up for us too. He and grandma were well known cheerleaders at our events; they loved to watch us show off our talents.  Sometimes I would look over at him during our family Christmas’s while we gathered in a room much too small for us to fit in and I could literally see his pride radiating out of him like sunshine. —-Side note, the family does not in fact fit in that room anymore, we’ve spilled out in to the hallway but it doesn’t stop us from trying.

Grandpa was truly our supein tractor wheelrhero. We are thankful that we were chosen to be his grand babies and we are proud of who he was, what he stood for, and the legacy he left behind. For 91 years grandpa graced this earth and we are blessed to have had him to treasure for so long. His passing was like something out of a movie, those of us who witnessed his last words to family will never forget that moment we had together and with him. He passed on a Sunday morning, surrounded by his wife and six children. It seemed only fitting that Farmer Bob would pass on God’s day of rest just before sunrise. It was a beautiful day to join his family and friends as an angel in heaven. I know he’s already found his place among the clouds and is looking down on each of us, giving us the strength to face life without him here.

 

I found this online and it has helped me cope with his passing.

“We knew that morning that God would call you your name. In life we loved you dearly, in death we do the same. It broke our hearts to lose you; you did not go alone; for part of us went with you the day God called you home. You left us peaceful memories, your love is still our guide; and though we cannot see you, we feel you at our side. Our family chain is broken and nothing seems the same; but as God calls us one by one, the chain will link again.”

 

Carpe the Hell Out of Your Diem…. I know he did
Laci Jane

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I’m NOT Voting, here’s why….

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I know I’m not the only one watching this election, scratching my head. It’s really hard for me to wrap my head around what this country has come to. Two candidates for president; one a corrupt, lying, pompous DC puppet and the other a corrupt, entertaining, loud mouthed, idiot. This is really who we have to choose from? Not me. I did not ask for any of this, I will not take part in this circus and I CERTAINLY will not vote for your candidate just because you believe in one or two things they are “promising” to do.

First of all, I am fully aware of those who came before me who fought for my right to vote, to live in America and be free. I don’t need a lecture on what my duty is as an American.

Second of all, voting is not my job and it certainly is not my duty, it is a privilege bestowed upon us and one that I have no problem denying (this year). These candidates for president go against so many of my values and I morally cannot vote for either one, so I won’t. Here I am, an educated, white female and I will not be casting a ballot for president. I do not want any part of this. I will be able to put both my hands up and say, “nope, I had no part in this, I did not want any of this!”

The third party candidates? Don’t get me started, their chance of being president is like my chance in winning the lottery. Let’s just face it, it’s a great idea in theory and I totally support what these people are trying to do along with their followers but it’s our reality for now that they are NOT going to win. Maybe we should start doing something about that NOW so that in the future their is a viable third candidate.

I watch these two individuals in debates and I just get sick to my stomach. The bickering, the lying, the back stabbing, his desperate attempt at getting a laugh (at anyone’s expense) and her fake ass smile. Americans have been able to achieve some incredibly magnificent things and this is all we could come up with?

I firmly believe, along with many others, that we are doomed. If there aren’t other countries watching our debates and laughing at us, there should be. There has been a gradual breakdown in this country. We  are the target of terrorist attacks, it’s just a matter of time before the next one hits, everyone thinks your racist if you have opposing views, our police officers are living in fear of their lives, our LGBT communities are still struggling with acceptance, children are victims of extreme cases of bullying, we have millions without jobs, our veterans are dying every day from PTSD, and parents fight the judgement of their peers around every corner. God forbid their child get killed, it will certainly be their fault. So here we are, One Nation Under God and we have two candidates doing nothing but adding fuel to the fire. How do we come together when our nation’s leaders are immature children at best? They are teaching us nothing about respect and acceptance. Their moral compasses are shattered and they should probably both be in jail for the crimes they have committed. It’s a funny thing what money and power can get you, what gets lost and what gets swept under the rug.

You can try to convince me, but it won’t work. You can say, “pick the lesser of two evils,” do you realize how absolutely insane that sounds?! I saw a quote on the internet that said, “voting for the lesser of two evils is STILL voting for evil.” NO, NO, NO if you don’t like either candidate then don’t just pick one of them people! Stand up for yourself and exercise your right NOT to vote.

In closing, I want to apologize to both my dad and father in law. I love you both dearly but I will not be casting a ballot and participating in this joke of an election…. XOXOXO

Carpe the Hell Out of Your Diem
Laci Jane

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How My “Busy” Has Changed

I  have silently been cussing myself for not writing here. I have so much to say, so many ideas, but no time to actually write. I know that will change soon but I have to laugh when I look back at my busy life. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve always been a busy person. I thrive on chaos. In high school it was multiple sports, extra curiculars, and jobs. In college it was clubs, volleyball and 4, yes, 4 jobs at one time. After college it was three jobs, then back to four. Shortly before I had Roman I knocked it down to just three again before I decided that I could no longer do it all because I had a human being to take care of. I found time for everything I wanted and more. When I had Roman I felt like life slowed down for a long time. It was wonderful, I had all the time in the world to spend with my tiny baby.

Here we are now with baby Ryker, oh you sweet thing. I stay home, I have one part time job, I train a few clients, and I have a handful of things I do on the side as a free lancer. I’m home almost every day, so I have time for everything right? HAHAHAHAHA. Yeah um no. Since we had Ryker I really don’t sit down for my own rest time until about 9:30. I am a night owl so this gives me approximately two hours to do everything I want to do before I feed Ryker, except all I want to do is nothing at all, well that and drink Bud Light. I wouldn’t say I’m exhausted but I AM tired. I don’t want to think, writing here requires me to think even though I love it.

I find myself having these conversations with other women who are also busy, we are all just a different kind of busy. Kind of like the busy I was before kids. I sometimes wish I could slow down and enjoy Ryker like I was able to enjoy Roman, but I know this is a common symptom of the second child syndrome. I do my best but it’s definitely difficult when Roman is streaking through my house naked screaming “MOOOOOOMMMY” and roaring at my like a dinosaur. Ryker has been a wonderful baby despite me not having the time to REALLY sleep train him like I did Roman. He’s learning to self sooth very quickly, poor kid lol. He’s 2 months tomorrow and slept his first 8 hour stretch last night! Up until then he had been doing 6 or 7 which I was totally ok with it.

I hope I can get to all the post ideas I have written down soon, just need to find a smidge more time and a lot more energy.

[Sigh]

I can say without hesitation I am BLESSED beyond measure and I am SO in love with these boys of mine, all 4 of them (I’m counting the furbaby).

Carpe the Hell Out of Your Diem
Laci Jane

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Three Becomes Four

On July 26 we welcomed you, our second son Ryker, into the world. After a relatively easy but stressful pregnancy you made your debut at 38 weeks 4 days. They handed you over to me and I just couldn’t get over how little you were, especially compared to our plump little Roman who was born at 40 weeks 5 days. You curled right up on top of me and struggled to open your eyes but you just kept your focus on me as if you weren’t going to stop until you got a really close look at mom. At two weeks old you still look up at me sometimes as if in awe of me. Of course, if you knew me yet you wouldn’t think i was quite as awesome as you make me think I am right now 😉 You have the ability to say a lot with your little blue eyes.

Your brother has been quite taken with you. He loves to help us with you, gives you kisses any chance he gets and becomes quite frantic if he doesn’t know where you are in the house. He has literally floored us at how well he’s adjusting. We love you both so much.

From our 20 week appointment on we were told there were a variety of things that could potentially be wrong with you. First it was your heart, then it was something on your brain, when they ruled both of those out we were told your long bones weren’t measuring long enough. We were referred to the maternal and fetal medicine department at the hospital where they ruled out dwarfism and after a 2 1/2 week wait on genetic testing they also ruled out Downs Syndrome and Trisomy 18. Whew…. The only good thing about any of it was that we saw you at every single appointment we had until 38 weeks. We also got to see you a couple times at our maternal and fetal appointments. Your daddy and I were so positive you were going to be just perfect but we worried nonetheless. It was interesting to find out that your brother’s long bones had also measured 5 1/2 weeks behind the day we went in for his 40 week appointment but we were never told bc we went in to the hospital that day!! I was like what?! Yours were measuring 3 1/2-4 behind on the ultrasounds. We concluded after watching your brother run naked through the house that you were both going to have long torsos and shorter legs just like me. Your pediatrician didn’t even know we had been through everything had, she said you were perfect, but of course I already knew that.

So far you’ve been such a good baby for us. But I will tell you a secret, we do call you Hot Mess Express, you’ve peed and pooped on us, yourself, the walls, and your blankets more in your first two weeks than Roman has in 2 1/2 years, as a matter of fact I know of two times he peed on me…… you will hear about this later, stinker butt.

As I write this we’re watching Rikki and the Flash and you’re sleeping peacefully in my arms. I didn’t keep a baby book for you lol so I decided I would devote this post to you. Sorry buddy it has something to do with being the second child.

Carpe the Hell Out of Your Diem
Laci Jane

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Choices

first daySo a week ago today we made the choice to give one of our fur babies up and re home her. I picked up Jerzie Ann in 2009 in Missouri. I had seen her breed somewhere and became obsessed with the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The economy was tanked so I was able to get her much, much cheaper than what a Kind Charles normally costs. She was perfect from the very beginning. Not only was she incredibly intelligent, she was sweet, loyal and not aggressive at all. She became our child and she was treated as such for many years. She went everywhere with me.IMG_0900

When we adopted Boss in 2012 she never complained or got upset with us she accepted him as part of our family and we all got along great for almost two more years before wild man entered the picture. When Roman was born she accepted him as well. She didn’t necessarily “like” him but she never got upset, she went with the flow. She did her best to bob and weave to avoid him but she put up with him for two more years.

 

 

my 3 babiesThat brings us to a grand total of seven years that Jerzie was a part of our lives. Literally one of THE best dogs you could ever imagine having. I never dreamt I would end up giving her up. When we moved into our new house in December she started to change. I can’t tell you exactly what it was that caused this personality disruption but I am venturing to say that she sensed I was pregnant. She is incredibly intelligent. I don’t believe she wanted to go with the flow any longer and I think she became anxious to a fault about the impending doom that the addition would bring to the home (her getting less attention). She began to attach herself to my feet. I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything without her right next to me. She began whining incessantly any time I would go behind a closed door or leave her for a moment (her whine isn’t a whimper it’s an all out chalkboard scratching squall. ), frantically trying to find me in the house. This resulted in her being put in her carrier way more often that she needed to be throughout the day. This meant less time with me which resulted in her greater demand for attention while she was out, a vicious circle and my husband and I losing our sanity with her on any given evening.

I began to see the difference between how she and boss were acting. He still sat around like a normal dog, he would raise his head if we came into a room but he didn’t feel the need to follow us around and her certainly did not care if we left him alone. He was fine, you could tell he was unaffected by the new house or that there may be another addition in the future. But I mean he’s the orphan puppy, the rescue dog. He’s not as used to being the center of attention as she has been for the greater majority of her life. I think she felt it slipping through her tiny, fluffy paws.

My husband and I discussed giving her away several times but we just couldn’t stomach the thought. Eventually it got to a point where we knew we weren’t being fair. We were getting upset with her for her actions, it’s hard to be understanding when there is a 2 year old running through the house screaming, one dog chasing the toddler, the other dog squalling, all while you’re simply trying to have a conversation about how your day went!! She would get booted to her carrier where she would quiet down and we were living as a family without her until Roman went down for the evening, we managed to get showers and eat. Leaving us with a grand total of about two hours a day where she could really get our full attention and cuddle and even then sometimes I am on the computer doing work. Let’s throw in a newborn and see how that same saga would play out every evening. We decided.

For about a week I messaged friends privately on FB asking for their help in finding her a new home. We knew we wanted her to live with a family who had the time, one with older children, a single individual, or an older couple. Someone who would treat her like the little princess she is, she absolutely deserves that. I wanted her to be someone’s child again not just a dog in a home where she wouldn’t get attention. Trust me I wanted to give it to her but what we could give just wasn’t enough anymore.

 

A friend of mine messaged me back and we decided to have him meet her. He fell in love (how could you not) and a week later we gave her away. There were several times during that week I felt the emotions sweep over me and I promptly pushed them away. This wasn’t about us this was about her, I just prayed she wouldn’t be brokenhearted and she would allow someone else to love her like we had all these years. I received a few updates over the weekend that she was doing really well. I haven’t heard anything for a couple days so I assume they are getting a long just fine. He’s posted a couple pictures and they warmed our heart. He is one lucky guy I will say that.

While I know it’s easy to judge someone’s decision to give away a family pet I hope you will not judge us. This was not a choice we ever thought we would have to make but our family has evolved and I think it was Jerzie’s way of telling us she wasn’t ready for more changes and I completely understand that. I just wish it could have been different. We gave her so much love over the last seven years and we have memories with her that we will never forget. Jerzie girl, I love you forever and always, you’re always going to have a piece of my heart… XOXO.

Carpe the Hell Out of Your Diem
Laci Jane

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Dressing the Bump with the Help of LuLu’s!

lulus2In my never-ending quest to find the perfect outfits to wear during pregnancy I stumbled upon Lulu’s. There were plenty of dresses on the site that I desperately wanted but price was definitely a factor. I settled with this amazing black dress which I knew I could wear to work and every day…. wait who am I kidding, I wear yoga pants every day UNLESS I am going to work.

I tried it on within minutes of receiving the package and fell madly and deeply in love. The problem was they didn’t have it in a small, which I needed. I was forced to order a medium instead which meant it was big on me even with my round baby bump, especially in the chest area. I will definitely have to have it altered to fit after I have baby. I wanted to wear it to a graduation ceremony I was attending that evening so I made it work. It was a cool evening so I wore a sweater over it which helped hide the extra material I had stuffed into my over sized belt I wore with it. I also wore it a couple days later to work and kept a black, fitted vest over it so that you couldn’t see it then either!

I always look for length in the dresses I purchase, I want them long enough so that if I wear a decent sized wedge or thick sandal that it will not be too short. For me, I know that a dress with a length of 42 inches is perfect. I usually get that from waist. My black dress from LuLu’s I believe was even longer than that. The model was 5’7 with heels on and it was still dragging the floor. I knew it would be perfect.

lulus1The top of it is busy enough with color that it really had me stumped with what to wear in terms of accessories. I ended up choosing my chunky red necklace and bracelet and out the door I went! #LoveLulus

Definitely a dress to snatch up, especially if you want some style to dress your bump. It has the length to accommodate the lift your bump creates. If you don’t have to worry about the bump just make sure you realize that you will likely need to get it hemmed if you just want to be casual and wear flip flops with it. I find that wearing heels with a maxi just isn’t comfortable. I mean they are supposed to be the nicer version of leggings right haha??!

Let me know what you think of this dress. You can get it here at this link.

Carpe the Hell Out of Your Diem
Laci Jane
Bathroom Rennovation

Shhh! Secrets to Building a Home on a Budget

I have so much catching up to do in regards to our new house and all of the little projects I’ve been doing to ensure that it looks absolutely perfect… even with the tiny terrorist and shedding fur children who live here and wreaks havoc on it every day!

From the start of our building process it was very important to my husband and I that we make it as easy as possible so that it would not be a stressful experience. I am happy to report that the build was easy, so easy. We had an issue with the county on where the city said the driveway could be and where the county said it had to be but aside from that everything went smoothly.

We also knew we weren’t going to spend a fortune on the “extras” for this house. There are just some things that we felt we could go without and I am ecstatic with the more frugal choices we made. So today I am going to share how we saved thousands during the build of our home. I have them in sections so you can skip over areas you may not be interested in.

Lighting

This was one of those areas I couldn’t wait to get started with. I knew lighting would be fun but I also knew it was going to be a challenge because everything is so DAMN expensive. When explaining how I saved money to a group of friends I was told that I was “lucky I had the time to scour sites for used lighting,” I chuckled under my breath? Time?? I don’t have any more time than someone else! I just stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to make sure that I found something I loved. Some people need to learn what is okay and what is not okay to say to people!

So below I have posted the pictures of all of my secondhand lighting that I found either via Craigslist, Habitat for Humanity or FB groups. I was able to find large and small chandeliers, ceiling fans, bathroom lights, and even small closet lights. It did take my husband and I quite a few Sundays to spray paint them all the colors that we wanted while my parents helped and watched our son but so worth it. It’s definitely really hard to do when it’s October and the weather is 20 degrees one day and 75 degrees  the next! Bu, thankfully I was doing all this right before I got pregnant. Otherwise baby would have been chillin in the womb singing Bob Marley.

Anyway, while searching for them caused me a few lost zzz’s and the painting kept us from watching Sunday football it was totally worth it. The lights don’t quite match in the great room, kitchen and entryway but if anyone wants to analyze them that closely I will gladly show them my front door. I think they look amazing and brand new. All in all we spent about $1500 on the indoor and outdoor lighting. I did purchase the outside garage lights, one bathroom light, the pendants over island and a light over the sink brand new, those are included in that price.

If you are building or redoing a home get started now and start browsing around to see what you can find. It’s a lot cheaper to buy spray paint than spend hundreds more on a brand new light.

[Side note: We did check all of the lights before installation to ensure they worked].

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Lucky for me I wanted white appliances which are the cheapest ones (from what we found) that you can buy. However, just a little tip, purchase from Lowes around black Friday with a military discount or open their card to get 10% off and you can save so much more. I ended up saving close to $750 with the Black Friday adjustment and the military discount (BOOM BOOM)! We went several places and they had the best deals every time we went back and checked. Our fridge came in with a busted handle but they took care of it and had it replaced within a week.

Paint

Our contractor had included two paint colors in the bid. Most of the time you are going to want more colors than just two in the home. However, by trying to cover your largest rooms in the same color you can save a lot of money, not only if you are contracting out but also if you are doing it yourself. We painted the entire great room, kitchen, entryway, first bedroom, hallway, bathrooms, and our bedroom in the same color. It’s a gorgeous color used in our first house. I’m totally obsessed with it.

I used my second color for Ro’s bedroom and the two additional colors I added were for small rooms so I knew they’d only need a gallon. I used a coral in the laundry room and a bright aqua in mudroom off of garage. I also had leftover green paint I wanted my closet to be painted so they just used that.

Tips here: Limit your paint choices, is it necessary to have every room a different color? I love the cohesiveness of our home and the neutral allows me to make every room different with décor. You can also look for great discounts from Sherwin Williams. I believe they over like 30% off a couple times a year? Pair that with things like military discounts or opening an credit card account and you can save quite a bit.

Tax Rates

This was something I had NOT even considered until my girl Mandy enlightened me. The large city where we shop locally has a much higher tax rate than some of the smaller towns around it. I was able to find the exact same cabinets I found in the city at a smaller town and saved a ton on the tax side because their rate was so much lower. I was also able to do the same with lumber and counter tops. Seriously check this out.

Cabinet Hardware

It would be a lot easier if you just went in to local hardware store and bought knobs for all of your cabinets which I did at our first house when I re-did the kitchen. However, my girl Mandy encouraged me to check out some online stores and I am so glad I did! I was able to get the perfect knobs and handles and saved a ton of money.

Custom Made Furnishings

I won’t detail how I kept myself from spending THOUSANDS in furniture costs to furnish the new home. That is for another blog post. However, I will say that I was able to purchase a CUSTOM made GORGEOUS island piece for HALF, yes HALF of what the cabinet places wanted to charge me to just put in an island. It is exactly what I wanted, unique and adds a ton of character to the kitchen and great room. They used reclaimed wood and I was able to help an up and coming business get some exposure! Think out of the box and ask for quotes. There are a lot of talented locals that would love the business.

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Garage Doors

This seems so funny to even bring up but we saved $400 just by getting plain doors for our garage. I desparetly wanted fancier doors for the front of the house. But I was not willing to shell out $400 more dollars to get them. Why? First of all you don’t really notice a garage door anyway unless you are looking at them to decide what you want and two I wanted to put that money towards adding windows to the home that we added on to the contract and a screened in back porch. While I can’t get my dream garage doors I can spend $20 and get accessories to slap on the front and give them a nice clean look. We haven’t done it yet but we will get to it now that it is warming up.

Ask questions and make sure you know how much all the little extras are.

Mirrors

I found some gorgeous mirrors at an Old Time Pottery for a fraction of the cost of what big box retailers wanted. Don’t be afraid to look for used mirrors either. Someone’s “trash” may be another man’s treasure!!

Curtain Rods

Ok, so I may have stuck this one all the way at the bottom because it was my favorite!! When we moved in I knew there was no way in God’s green earth I was going to spend hundreds on curtain rods. I’ve bought them before and I was totally aware of how much they could end up costing me. I shuttered at the thought. I knew there had to be a solution for this and lo and behold there was. I found a blog post by Ashley on 3 Little Greenwoods where she was able to make her own curtain rods for pennies. I thought, even if I fail I will not have invested much anyways so it was worth it to me.

Here is the link to the blog post I did regarding DIYing my own curtain rods because this one is long enough already! So I have included a sneak peak at my $10, yes I said TEN DOLLAR, bay window curtain. CLICK HERE to see the post on how I did it.

Anyways, if you’ve stuck with me until the end, GREAT! Good luck, I hope you save all kinds of money on your build or renovation. Please leave your comments below on how YOU were able to save money!

DIY Curtain Rods for less than 10$

You can learn about my 9 secrets to saving money during a home build or renovation here. However, it was necessary for me to expand on how I was able to create super amazing curtain rods for our new home for just a few dollars in a separate post from that one!

I sought out several ideas on Pinterest but finally settled on Ashley’s tutorial on 3 Little Greenwoods. Please show her some love and check it out!

Here is how I did it:

My first step was to head to Lowes and purchase the electrical conduits that Ashley mentions in her post. I was able to get I believe 6 conduits for less than $10 and some I would be cutting in half. I ended up having two left over we won’t be using so they were a waste for me. Due to our home having such large windows it was necessary for me to go back and purchase the metal conduits over the plastic because the plastic sagged on the big windows. Seriously though, even the metal ones were super cheap. If you have large windows definitely use three hangers. Even if you are unsure, just use a third hanger in the middle to maintain support.

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Next I got home and had my husband cut them with his hand saw (we don’t do large power tools at our home) to fit the measurements we’d taken for the windows. Then they were ready for me to spray paint. I just placed them on boxes with a larger box underneath to catch the over spray that way they were lifted in the middle. It took some twisting and turning but I was able to get them sprayed in a couple days. They are not perfect but no one is getting that close.

My next trip was to Hobby Lobby during the week they had their metal hangers on sale, 50% off. This is a huge savings. I bought those for my son’s room and the entryway in one style, 2 for our room with these cute little birds on them and then 10 for the larger windows in a style that allows them to stick out from the wall a little more. I didn’t realize it at the time but those would have been the best choice on ALL the windows. The hangers I used in the bedrooms and entryway create a really tight fit against the wall, once the conduit and the curtains are on they don’t slide very easily at all. The others hangers are PERFECT!

oil rubbed bronzeI brought all of these hangers home, laid them out and then got to work spraying them to match the conduits. I used a flat black in my son’s room, a metallic silver in our bedroom and an oil rubbed bronze on the rest. This is the same spray paint I used on almost EVERY single light fixture in the house. It was perfect, it goes on nicely and has a little shimmer to it that I just love. If you are out there RUST-OLEUM you should send me a gift certificate because I spent hundreds on spray paint to DIY the lights and these curtain rods! It still saved me money but I should own stock in spray paint now. No, but seriously, I probably didn’t even spend a hundred on the spray paint.

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IMG_1138[Roman’s Room]

What I really want to show you is the “how to” for the bay window which is my favorite, it turned out better than I could have ever possibly imagined.

1) We had to measure how long we wanted it. I had to measure each a
ngle of the wall and calculate it out a couple times.

2) I then crbay window templateeated a template of sorts with card stock to get the angle just right when it came time to bend the metal conduit.

3) My husband brought in the conduit and we used our island to bend it. We put down a couple thick towels so as not to damage the top of island and steadily bent the conduit until it was pretty damn close to the angle.

conduits

4) Then we went over to the wall to see if it would fit before we bent the other side. The first time we thought we had gotten it just right but it wasn’t until we did the second one we realized we were going to have to adjust. Just go slowly and keep checking. They bend pretty easily and so what if it breaks! They’re so cheap go get another and use the bent one was practice to get the next one right!

After a screaming match (my husband did NOT believe this was going to work), I was able to hang my amazing curtains and the window looked absolutely perfect!!! Bay window rods are hundreds of dollars and I made mine for less than $10.

Ashley added finials and her own DIY curtains too. I haven’t gotten around to adding finials but I am pretty happy with how they look now. If I feel inspired and bored (HAHA) some day I may attempt at adding some at least to the windows in our large, open living space.
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Carpe the Hell Out of Your Diem
Laci Jane

Staying Active During Pregnancy- 1st and 2nd Trimester

Sleep Training Your Baby


I have been promising this post to some of my Facebook friends for awhile now. This is how I sleep trained my son.

Roman has been sleeping through the night since he was 8 weeks old. In that time he has woken up 6 times in the middle of the night (yes, we know the count). Even then all I had to do was go in and give him his binkie and he was back to sleep. He sleeps, on average, 12-13 hours every night, usually from 7:30-8p.m. until about 8:30-9a.m. I have not lost any sleep as a mom because of my child. He napped regularly twice a day up until he was about 14-15 months old. Then we slowly started transitioning into one nap a day which lasts on average approximately 2-2 ½ hours daily.

halo sleep sackSounds glorious right? Well what if I told you that YOU can do the same thing we did?! Seriously, if I can do it anyone can. I am not incredibly organized and it was frustrating at times but the key is consistency. We stayed with it and Roman became conditioned to the routine and welcomed sleep. Our little boy does love his sleep. We say “night night” and he just lays down by the crib, SO cute.

However, I want you to keep in mind that this may not be the right plan for you, you’ll have to make that decision for yourself. I wanted to sleep!!! Therefore I was willing to give it a shot in order to ensure that neither my husband nor myself lost any sleep with our precious little boy.

Below I will give you the steps on how we did it.

1) Research sleep training online, I read several blogs on Pinterest which helped me make the decision to purchase a book to help me.
2) I went to Barnes and Noble and purchased “The Baby Whisperer” for only $20.00. Because I had time before my son was born I actually read through the book before he arrived highlighting the main points and bookmarking sections for easier reference. You can click here to get it much cheaper than I did. It’s really not hard to follow so don’t worry about reading it ahead of time. I will give you the general idea of the routine the book lays out.
3) Have the discussion with your spouse, significant other, partner, babysitter or anyone who may be helping you sleep train. You all have to be on board with and keeping to the routine. My husband supported me 100%.
4) You will want to keep track of your schedule on a piece of paper throughout the day. We tracked what time he got up, what time we fed, when he went back down for naps, etc. This will also help you find patterns in their own natural routine, track their habits when you veer off track with the EASY routine and just keep everyone organized and informed.
The sleep routine is based off the acronym EASY
Eat
Activity
Sleep
You Time (that means you)

baby whisperer

The first 8 weeks (prior to him sleeping through the night) was a learning nightmare for my husband and I. Obviously we were new parents stressed to the max with no idea how to care for a baby. You can read more about my new mommy escapades in these posts. By the second week we were able to work out a plan. We kept Roman in the living room in the evening because we did not want him to ever be in our room with us. One of us would go to sleep at 9-10p.m. (which was me at first) and the other would put Roman down for the night because typically this was bedtime. During these first few weeks he was generally waking anytime from about 3:30-5a.m. wanting a bottle, the one on duty would wake up with him, give him his bottle, then lay him back down to sleep. We would then switch at that point and I would wake up and go out with him in the living room while my husband went into our room to sleep. Generally we both got 8+  hours a night into late morning. Grant was getting up usually by 9:30-10a.m.

BUT, here is the kicker. Roman was sleeping from the time he went down at night 9-10p.m. until his early feeding. So that allowed both of us to sleep. He woke up when Roman did to do the feeding and since Roman went right back to sleep after feeding I was able to go out into the living room and crash on the couch until he woke up in the morning which was generally 7:30-8:30a.m.

We were careful to create a peaceful, darker environment for him to sleep at bedtime (like the book recommends) and brighter during the day for naps to make sure his own circadian rhythm wasn’t interrupted and he knew bedtime vs nap time. At or around 8 weeks old he started sleeping through the night entirely so we transitioned him from his swing (this is the swing we used, it’s less expensive here) into the crib during daily naps and then after a couple weeks he started sleeping in the crib all the time and that’s where he’s been ever since.

Now for the EASY routine

In the mornings when he would wake up for the day I would begin EASY. I started with his first bottle of the day, I always wrote down what time he got up and then when I got him started with his bottle. The routine schedule in the book gives you an idea of what kind of activities to do with your new baby and about how long they should last until they are ready to go back down for their first nap. Please pay special attention when they mention over-stimulation. A couple times someone watched him and let him watch TV the whole time and it completely OVERLOADED my son. It was amazing at how bad it messed the routine up. All of a sudden he wouldn’t sleep and SCREAMED. Roman never cried when he was a teeny tiny baby unless someone thought we were crazy (which MANY did) and let him get over stimulated. Seriously people this is a real thing.

Once you get baby down for a nap, it’s your time to get things done. They mention having a routine for nap time also. The key to getting them to stay in the crib is putting them down riiiiight before they fall asleep but not when they are totally asleep. This lets them get used to falling asleep without you. It took me weeks to time this right but that’s ok because he was learning also. I would sing him and shush him and then lay him down when I learned he was about to fall asleep. The book teaches you to look for queues and you will learn them. The book also makes you wake them up from naps which everyone says not to do, but hey guess who’s kid is a sleeping dream? Mine, and I followed what the whisperer told me to do!!

This is the routine we stuck with for months. Obviously you start to realize when they can start eliminating naps. Fun because they’re growing but also means less you time. I don’t remember exactly when we started two naps a day but I do know that he was taking two naps for several months longer than what the book projected he would. AMEN! Somewhere around 15 months he started to “tell” me he was done with his morning nap so we finally switched to one nap a day. Ever since then he has been taking a two hour (sometimes 2 ½ to 3) nap. He still goes to bed about 7:30-8 and gets up at about 8:30 every morning. This is the most ideal schedule for me as I am NOT a morning person; I’m a night owl through and through. I would much rather have him up a little later so he sleeps a little later. I get up with him every day, he’s the best alarm ever. My little guy is a clock. I almost know exactly what time he will wake up from a nap and then sure enough there’s his little voice, “moooooommmy”. I love it and I owe this book everything. However, the ultimate test will be when my next one gets here, will this work again? I sure as hell hope so! I told a friend about it and her baby was on the same schedule and miraculously sleeping through the night after just a couple days on the routine. She hadn’t slept through the night in almost 3 months!

 

Swaddling
halo sleep sack2Another huge part of sleep training for us was swaddling. This was something the book really stressed we should do. Your baby comes out of your womb into a world they know nothing about. They are used to being warm, cuddled, and confined, don’t try and deny them that (and if you must, wait a few weeks before you let them out of their swaddle). We swaddled our son until he started getting out of them and waking himself up. I am not entirely sure when that was but my husband and I really thought we were geniuses when we came up with the solution on how we would keep him kind of swaddled but kind of free to move on his own also. We simply decided to use a Halo Sleep Sack which you can purchase here. We (HAH, I) sewed the armholes shut and a little bit of the neckline so it was comfortable for him. My son is two and still in his sack, he loves his sack lol!! Everyone thought we were nuts because he slept in a sack but guess who was sleeping through the night and getting a ton of sleep? Yah, US,halo sleep sack1 so suck it.

—-I want to mention that I am NOT urging you to do this as this is NOT the way the Halo Sleep Sack is intended to be used. The design is to allow their arms free but not their legs, a tiny sleeping bag. As he has gotten older we cut the arm holes open and zip him up in it. By the morning his arms are out of the holes.

I really thought we needed to go into business until, much to my dismay, we sat watching Shark Tank one evening and saw Brett and Stephanie Parker and their Zipadee-Zip. Essentially they had created what I did with the Halo but this was designed to be used in the way that I was using it. Damn geniuses beat us to it 😉 Kidding, I am so happy they are giving the gift of sleep to so many parents, just wish we had beat them to the tank!!! Haha. They offer lots of specials and you can purchase their sacks here.

You can always send me any questions and I will do my best to answer them but GO BUY the book! Here is the link again where you can get it here for pretty cheap. I got mine at my local Barnes and Noble for $20 so save some money and buy on Amazon.

That’s all I’ve got, you can DO this, your body and mind will thank you.

Carpe the Hell Out of Your Diem

Laci Jane

A Nursery to Grow Up In