Fourth of July Camping

A few weeks ago for the holiday weekend, we went up North to spend time with friends. We went to our usual favorite spot in Flagstaff (you can read about more of our camping adventures here and here). When we got there, we headed over to the Priest Draw climbing area so Jordan could get on a couple of boulders. It had been a while since he’s been able to climb (he’s been more into to mountain biking lately), but he did great, like usual! ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  And Buddy was SO excited to watch Dad!


Jonah kept wanting to get on the rocks and try routes. And use the crash pads as a trampoline. It was the cutest. Jordan also helped him climb some of the smaller rocks a little bit.


Little man was such a trooper. He got into some stinging nettle or some plant that he had a bad reaction to… his legs were SO red and bumpy. It broke my heart. He still just kept trucking along playing with our friends’ dog, Molly, and making friends with new people that came to climb there. One of my favorite things about him and something I admire a lot is how social he is… the kid can make friends with anyone! He has no shame or shyness and just loves people, in general. It is the sweetest.


After Priest Draw, we went back to our campsite and made some MREs for dinner. Not long after, it started raining on us. Of course! Thankfully, my hunky man had made me a super soft and comfy bed to sleep on in the Element, so all three of us just opened the back and snuggled in there, listening to the rain and thunder. It was heaven! It poured pretty heavy most of the night…. we backed the tailgates of our two cars together with our friends, folded up the seats, and all had a pow wow in them. It was a nice way to make lemonade out of lemons and at least get some fun hang out time. There were these huge and prehistoric-looking flying bugs that kept dive bombing us and our lantern that we had hung up. SO nasty. I’m not normally that afraid of insects, but once one flew directly into my hair and made that weird buzzing noise in my ear, I was kind of done for the evening.

Buddy and I slept in the car, and Jordan used the tent. When we asked Jonah earlier if he wanted to sleep with me that night, he said, “No, you too BIG! Daddy is smaller!” Out of the mouths of babes ๐Ÿ™‚ We were all so exhausted, we had a nice rest.

The next morning, we had breakfast and headed over to meet up with our good friends, Ammon and Jes, and their family at the parade in downtown Flagstaff. It was sunny and maybe a little too warm, but I think it made us a little nostalgic for small town living. Down in the Valley, it’s way too hot and big to do anything too exciting on the Fourth… you mostly just try and watch fireworks from inside of the car in the air conditioning somewhere. Jonah waved his little mini flag the ENTIRE time and was really excited to see the remote control cars going over jumps and the fire truck that sprayed us with a hose. He also was SO excited to see his friends Emma and Adele (or Miguel, as he called her… hahahah). This picture of them warms my heart.

IMG_0261Later on, we went with the Barkers to a BBQ in their friends’ beautiful backyard and got to enjoy the nice weather. And eat apple pie, which is obviously the best part! Buddy kept disappearing into their house and looking through all of their rooms, which was cracking me up. Seriously, no shame! We had a really great weekend, and I’m so glad we all got to spend such a fun time together celebrating our country. Maybe it was just the pregnancy hormones, but I kept getting choked up during the parade and feeling really teary and proud. I’m just so grateful for our lives and my sweet family, and I know we are lucky to live here. ‘Merica!


Easy DIY Upholstered Headboard

I have a pet peeve when it comes to do-it-yourself and home decorating blog posts… My Pinterest is constantly flooded with it. Title: ” Oh Em Gee, Easiest Project Ever,” “You Can Make This Intricate Looking Macrame with One Arm Tied Behind Your Back!” “I Created This One of a Kind Adirondack Chair in One Hour… With the 8 Different Types of Power Tools I Own and Have in My Garage” PEOPLE. I’m a mom. With a normal amount of tools, a budget, and very little time. I’m sure your project DID take you two hours, because your entire shed is full of Kreg Jigs and power sanders. And you don’t have an almost three year-old climbing on you like a rabid monkey the entire time. And, for the love, why is your supplies list SO. LONG!? I have about 20 minutes in between entrance and exit time at the store before my little one finds copper pipes to use as light sabers on fellow shoppers or something. This headboard really is easy. It took me roughly 3 days on and off, which includes shopping for supplies and only being able to work on it for an hour-ish for 2 days during nap time. The only somewhat out of the ordinary item you will need for it will be a staple gun and staples. I borrowed one from my sweet mom, but Home Depot has some options that are cheap and get great reviews here and here.

I based it on this tutorialย I found over at The Everygirl. I have thought about upholstering a headboard for a long time… I love the tufted look and different shapes and styles of backing, but I inevitably decided that ain’t nobody got time for that. So, I chose a very basic rectangular style and used some fun fabric to make it pop. The fabric is from the Nate Berkus collection at JoAnn’s, and you guys…. It took me forever to decide on just one. All of them are so so good. The man can do no wrong! I know a lot of home dรฉcor fabric is on the pricier side, but I got it for 40% off, so it ended up not being that bad at all!


Supplies List (for a Queen Sized Headboard):

-2 yards of desired fabric (you will have a little leftover)

-1ย  1″x4″x*8′ wood board, cut in halfย (This is for the side pieces. Just measure how tall your want your headboard to be on the wall and go from there. I decided about 4 feet high would be good. I had them cut this board into two equal pieces in the store)

-1 1″x4″x10′ wood board, cut into two pieces that are equally 50″ long (These are for the top and bottom horizontal pieces. I measured our mattress as 58″ inches long, subtracted 8 inches for the width of the two boards on the side, and got 50 inches. Yay, math!)

-1 1″x4″x8′ wood board, cut into three equal pieces (For the inner boards. I wasn’t too picky about how far down the upholstered area went, as long as it was longer than 33″ so that it disappeared behind our mattress. You can do more exact measurements, if you prefer. These are to make it more sturdy and to give the foam something to stick to.)

-Foam mattress pad (Twin size)

-2 yards batting (I just used this)

-Staple gun and staples

Spray adhesive

-Mending braces (Enough for each joint where the boards match up. USE THESE AND ONLY THESE! TRUST ME!!)


First, I laid all of the boards out on to the ground to make sure that they were in the correct places. I just placed the three middle boards by sight and didn’t measure them to be exactly the same distance apart. It worked fine for me, but you can always measure if you’d rather!


At first, I used these smaller brackets on the front and back of the joints to hold the wood together. News flash: they didn’t work. I’m sure they would have been okay if I had glued the pieces together first, but they started falling out and shifting and causing all kinds of shennanigans as soon as I started upholstering. After I had a mini freak out, my sweet husband went over to Lowe’s and got me some mending braces… the bigger rectangular metal pieces with two holes for screws on each end. They worked so much better! Most of the photos will show these smaller ones, because they worked okay until the end. Just completely forget you even saw them and USE THE MENDING BRACES!!


After I had attached all of the wood pieces together, I laid out the upholstering materials like so: batting face down on the bottom (touching the floor), then the foam mattress pad on top of that (I put the indentations facing upward so that they would face the inside/back of the headboard, and then the wood on top of that. I left a good deal of batting and foam around the edges (enough to fold up and be stapled) and then cut the excess. Once I figured out even placement on all sides, I lifted up the wood and sprayed a little bit of adhesive on the front pieces that would be touching the foam. Some people choose to use an entire piece of plywood underneath the foam, but I thought the planks worked just fine.





After that, the fun began! Starting in the middle on the top and bottom, I folded the foam and batting up and around the wood and secured it with the staples. I may have gone a little overboard and used lots of staples close together, but I really wanted to make sure that everything was secured. I also pushed down on the wood piece a little bit with my knee while I was stretching and stapling to ensure that everything stayed tight. The top photos are after I had finished stapling and gone around with the scissors to cut off any excess foam or fabric. They should be trimmed pretty close to the staples.


On the front, I took those pieces that were hanging a little on the boards, tucked them up and under, and stapled them (you will need to do this with the fabric covering it, as well. Thankfully, it is behind the mattress, so you won’t be able to see anything!). After this, I laid the fabric out on the ground good side down, measured the same way as I did with the foam and batting (leaving a little more for it to overlap and cover the previous staples), laid the upholstered wood piece on top of it, and then stapled it to the wood support the same way I did with the materials underneath. One thing to be sure of is that your fabric is even and laying correctly! I tripled checked that the pattern was level and matched up horizontally across, but it still looks a little wonky to me sometimes.






Here is the finished product in place behind our bed! Super easy, super fast, and something fun, colorful, and comfortable to lean up against when we are reading (or, really, watching Community) in bed. We have since put up some wall lamps, and I need to paint our side tables to match. Our room is finally coming along!



The Links


Jordan and Jonah have been spending some father/son time on the golf course lately, and I think its safe to say that both of them love it. Little man brings along his toy club set and gets to help Dad drive the cart… the best! I’m so grateful that Jordan has been off of school this summer and that we’ve been able to spend more family time together (and, honestly, that he’s been able to give me a mommy break sometimes and have fun “dude time” with Buddy ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

They sent this sweet video from the course a couple of weeks ago, and every time I watch it my heart turns to mush. I love my guys! And I can’t believe Jonah is growing up so fast. You stop it right now, little man. Okay? PLEASE!!?


This past weekend, Jordan and I went on a little “babymoon” to Chicago. Neither of us had ever been and had always wanted to go see what it was all about. My sweet family stayed with Jonah for four and a half days… It was the longest we have ever been away from him, and it was a little difficult (but much needed). Things have been so crazy lately that we haven’t even been able to find time to go out on dates, much less be foot loose and fancy free for multiple days. We missed him SO much and were happy to get home, but it has been a challenge to adjust back into normal life and not going out whenever we want and having all of our meals made for us ๐Ÿ™‚

Basically, all we did the entire trip was EAT! It was my favorite. Trust me, the best place for a pregnant woman who is just finally coming out of her morning sickness to go is Chicago. So much yummy food everywhere you go. I felt like one of the kids in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory… except probably not Veruca. She is THE WORST. I’ve concluded that this baby is going to be part sumo wrestler when she comes out, but it was all worth it.

Other than stuffing our faces, we walked around a lot, went on a Wendella boat tour (Highly recommend… except if you’re going on a weekend, maybe show up 30-40 minutes early. Or else you will end up standing the entire time and not able to hear as much), saw Jurassic World, and went to the Blues Festival. Before we left Arizona, the forecast was rain and thunderstorms for the entire weekend. Thankfully, Saturday and Sunday were beautiful (albeit warm and muggy) days, and it poured off and on our last day, which was fine. I’m sure it’s a different and miserable story in the winter time, but we were ready to move there after the perfect weekend we had. Such nice weather, so many things to do.

Big props to Jordan who was super patient with his rotund and whiny wife. My body is just not what it used to be and was struggling with all of the walking. He is the sweetest!

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We stayed at the Marriott Downtown right on the Magnificent Mile. It was AMAZING. There were so many places that were walkable or easy to get to by bike. Our room was on the 35th floor, which was hard for me to get used to at first (because, you know, heights=death). After a day or so, it didn’t bother me as much, and it was so nice to come back in the evenings to the pretty views and city lights.

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The Bean in Millennium Park. Super neat!

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We walked around Maggie C. Daly Park Saturday morning, and it was probably the coolest park we’d ever been to. I think it was newly renovated or something? Everything was brand new, and it seemed like there was a celebration going on for the re-opening. There were tons of playgrounds, splash pads, walking/skating paths, and even a free climbing wall. Jordan, of course, had to hop on it immediately! And check out those calves! Rawr

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Alyssa boat tour Boat tour 2

On our boat tour!

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Wrigley Field and Lincoln Park. Lincoln Park was gorgeous! Such lush gardens, and the zoo was free and fun. We felt a little guilty, because Jonah would have LOVED it! The whole area around the park was reeeeally nice… beautiful tree lined neighborhoods and very ritzy. After this, we rented city bikes and rode them back to our hotel along the waterfront on Lake Michigan.

deep dish Jordan

Of course we had to get a deep dish pizza at Giordano’s! It was pretty good, but not my favorite. There was just sooo much cheese. Jordan was a fan (and had the rest for breakfast the next morning. ‘Cause vacation!).

blues festival Chicago Panoramic

The Blues Festival (and my hubby’s awesome panoramic photography skills). I think this is the largest free outdoor blues concert in the world? Don’t quote me on it. The music was great, but the people watching was better. Everyone was dancing and feeling loose. And I was just praying the entire time that my unborn child wasn’t being exposed to second hand Mary J. smoke.

stained glass

Stained glass celing in the Chicago Cultural Center building.

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There was an exhibit going on of vintage graphic art from Valmor beauty products. It was super neat, and right up my alley!

We did and saw so many more things and had such a good time! I’m so grateful we were able to take a trip and have some time together before we become a family of four (!!). Big thanks to my sweetheart family for taking care of our little Buddy for so long. He had a blast on his “trip,” too!

For any of our friends that are planning to go, here is where and what we ate. Because that is, obviously, the most important part:

-Breakfast: We LOVED Wildberry Pancakes. We had plans to go to other breakfast places, and just ended up going there two days. They get super busy and waits can be over an hour, so order it to go and go eat it in Millennium Park across the street! We recommend: Red Velvet French Toast, Pancakes, Eggs Benedict, and our ultimate favorite SOUTHERN EGGS BENEDICT. SO. GOOD. (biscuits and gravy with sausage and poached egg… droool)

-Shake Shack: I know this isn’t native to Chicago, but we had one right across from our hotel and it was super convenient and super delicious. Good place to go when the waits everywhere else were too long. We got burgers, crinkly fries, and a chocolate shake.

-Gyu Kaku: Japanese BBQ. They bring you marinated meats and veggies and you cook them on a grill right in the middle of your table. It’s a little bit pricier, and this was kind of our splurge meal for the weekend, but it was definitely worth it. I am salivating just thinking about it right now. And making that weird Homer Simpson drooling noise.

-Giordano’s Pizza: There are lots of deep dish places, but this one lets you order your pizza before you’re seated, so you have less wait time

-Portillo’s: We were super excited to have a Chicago dog and eat somewhere really authentic and native to the city… then we found out there is one in both Tempe and Scottsdale. Ha! Regardless, the hot dog was delicious and so was our chocolate cake shake (a piece of chocolate cake mixed up into a chocolalte milk shake… just let your tastebuds stew on that for a second!)

-Big Bowl: We ate here on our last night when our bellies were kind of done with heavy food. Jordan had yellow Thai curry and I had a big salad. It was good and light Asian inspired food. They also do a stir fry bar where you can make your own, buffet style.

It’s A…

The long wait is over. I know all three of you that read this blog haven’t been able to sleep for a month in anticipation that I would post something about the gender of my fetus. Well, hold on to your boot straps, everyone! (that’s not even a phrase, is it?) Baby. Is. A. GIRL!!!!

Baby Girl Ultrasound3D 3D 2

I will spare you a picture of the lady bits, but trust me, they were there. And let’s all pretend that she doesn’t look like the aliens from Signs in those 3D ones, mmkay? She is the cutest! We went in to the doctor just before I turned 18 weeks, so I was a little worried that we wouldn’t get a good glimpse of anything. We wanted to try and get it done before we left for Utah so we could tell our family.

Our tech kept checking organs and different things down towards her bum for a while at first, and we were both kind of thinking that we didn’t see a whole lot, so that must mean it was a girl? Then, at the end (of course they make you wait until then, while your full bladder is about to explode), it was confirmed! We are all very excited… Jonah has been saying it was a baby sister this whole time, so when we told him, he just kind of looked at us like, “Yeah, I know. Duh.” While we were going to be happy either way, Jordan and I have both been kind of hoping that it would be a little lady, so we could have one of each. And maybe less pressure to have six kids in hopes that we get a female one eventually.

Now that I am 22 weeks, she is moving like CRAZY! I started feeling flutters around 13 or 14 weeks this time, but they haven’t been super noticeable until the past few weeks. Jordan was able to feel her move from the outside about a week or so ago, and now when I’m sitting still I can see little kicks and punches on my belly. So so sweet.

I have been trying to not go crazy with the girl clothes buying, yet, but it has been rough. Have you SEEN the baby clothes at H&M lately? Death by cuteness. My Pinterest has kind of taken the brunt of my girl window shopping. All I want to look at are nursery schemes, clothes, how to make headbands and leggings, etc. It’s ridiculous. Right now we are in the process of figuring out how to work our rooms and move things around. I have also been nesting like a mad woman who has just downed three Red Bulls. It’s hard for me to even sleep in anymore because A). Baby starts kicking up a storm, and B). All I can think about is what is not getting organized while I am laying there in bed. Does this mean my house looks clean? Heavens, no!

All in all, we are just so thrilled for our new little sweetie to come join our family. Two kids is kind of terrifying when I think about it, and it feels like forever since we’ve had a newborn, but we’ll figure it out. Yay for babies!