Monday, October 31, 2011

Contest winner (finally!)

Dear Readers,
I realize I am way behind on this, but I finally have a prize ready for the winner of the gender guess contest from a few weeks ago! I know I said it would be candle-related, but I changed my mind and made this rosette necklace instead:

Of course, I learned how to make the rosettes on Pinterest, and I am now obsessed with them. So easy and SO cute!

So the winner, picked randomly via, of those that guessed BOY, is Jenny (of My One Wild and Precious Life). Congrats! Please send me your mailing address when you get a chance and I'll get this out right away!

Since I like making these so much, I decided to do another quick giveaway. If you want to win one (might be the same colors, might be different!), just leave a comment on this post with your favorite Halloween candy. I will pick a winner on Wednesday.

Thanks friends! 18-week update...coming soon! :)


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spoken Word Blog Round Up (video)

Dear Readers,
I've decided to participate in Angie's Spoken Word Blog Round Up project. I've gotta say, It was pretty strange talking to my computer screen, and I don't think I'll ever be much of a 'vlogger' (I am much better with writing words than speaking them!) but it felt good to do this.

Please excuse the messy in-progress nursery in the background, and my crazy over-use of the word 'um.' I swear I don't say it that often in real life! :)

If you want to get involved in this awesome project (you really should!), click here for details and to link up your video.

Thanks for watching/listening!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Dear Stevie,
I was feeling unusually brave this morning and decided to tackle one of the things I've been putting off doing for a while now: going through all your things in the nursery. When I packed everything up awhile back, I didn't actually go through anything; I just wanted to get everything put away and out of sight as quickly as possible. I pretty much threw everything into a couple giant totes and that was that. Now that I'm at the point where people are starting to ask me what we need for the new baby, where we're going to register, and all those types of questions, I figured I should really sort through all the baby things we got for you, knowing there is probably quite a bit that we could re-use for Elliot.

I was surprised at how emotional the whole experience was. How difficult it was seeing and touching these things--your things--that were never put to their intended use. Tights with frilly butts that never made it under frilly Easter dresses. Blankets that were never cuddled. Bibs that were never spit up on. Toys that were never played with. Stuffed animals that were never clutched by sticky hands, or drooled on, or left outside in the rain.

Before going through everything, I didn't realize just how much of what we bought for you will work for your little brother. I bought a lot of stuff before we found out you were a girl, and even after that, a lot of what I bought wasn't very girly at all. I really like that so many of your things are (hopefully) finally going to be used like they should have been all along.

And what I like even more is that each time I see little E wearing, or playing with, or chewing on one of "your" things, it will make me think of you.

This stuff, it's more than hand-me-downs. I like to think of your old things as gifts. Gifts to E from his proud big sister.

I am especially excited to pass these items, these gifts, along to Elliot:

The onesie was the first thing I bought for you, before I even knew that you were a girl. The hat was also one of the first things I bought, and you actually wore it on your head after you were born. It was way too big, but you looked so precious wearing it. My sweet little bear cub.

I also can't wait to see Elliot snuggle with this little bear stuffed animal:

We brought this little guy to the hospital when you were born, and have pictures of you laying next to it. I also slept with it, cuddled up under my chin, during many sleepless nights. Maybe E will somehow feel close to you when he sleeps with it someday, too.

Last but not least, I am excited that most of the Baby Legs (leg warmers) I bought for you are going to work for Elliot. I'm not sure why, but I was kind of obsessed with those things! Boy can rock them too, right? :)

I miss you so much, Baby girl. I hope you know how much I still think about you. How much I still love you.


Monday, October 24, 2011

17 weeks and another craft project

Dear Elliot,
This post is going to be a two-parter.

Part 1: brief 17-week update

We made it to 17 weeks on Friday! You were measuring further along at the last ultrasound, so I'm not sure if that also technically makes me further along as well, but whatever! I don't have much new to report on the pregnancy front. I'm eating all the time, still have that annoying cold, still peeing like crazy, still incredibly happy to be pregnant, still incredibly scared. And I swear I am getting bigger and bigger everyday! Here's the most recent belly shot, from a few days ago:

Part 2: cool craft project

Have I mentioned how much I adore Pinterest? I tried to avoid it for a long time, convinced the last thing I needed was another online time-suck to get hooked on. But hooked I am. It's awesome. I've found so many great ideas and I am just loving getting into crafting again!

So this weekend my friend Kristie and I had a little Pinterest-inspired craft night.

I started with this beautiful framed piece of swan art that I found at the thrift store for $5:

I got rid of the glass and the lovely pastel swans, and painted the frame with a really dark wood stain. Well, actually Dad did that part for me, since the fumes were quite strong:

After it dried, I decided that it wasn't dark enough. I really wanted it to match the black frames I already have up in the room where it was going, so I ended up just spray-painting it black:

Then I drilled holes through the sides and threaded thick hemp through, knotting at the ends. Using some mini craft-sized clothes pins, I hung pictures (that I printed using our photo printer at home, and cut out to look like polaroids) along the hemp lines:

I absolutely LOVE how it turned out! I'm thinking these might make the perfect gift for quite a few people on my Christmas list this year :)

I've got about a million other craft ideas lined up to try next; I'll say it once more, I love Pinterest!

Alright, E, talk to you soon!

Love you,

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Dear Elliot,
I've been hating the idea of turning "Stevie's room" into "your room," because it feels like I am undoing everything I did for your sister. By getting rid of her girly things, and replacing them with your boyish thing, it sort of feels like I'm erasing her. And I hate that feeling. I've been trying to think of a way that I could somehow make Stevie a part of the new nursery (without displaying her pink decor, of course!), and then it hit me. Trees. Trees are my special reminder of Stevie, and I think they would be pretty awesome in a little boys' room as well. I'm really not into nursery 'sets,' where everything from the crib bedding, to the laundry basket, to the pictures on the wall, matches. I think an outdoor/trees theme will be perfect because there are lots of fun ways to incorporate trees into a room, without it being too cutesy or matchy-matchy.

So yesterday I decided to get started. With a little inspiration from Pinterest, I made this sweet and simple mobile:

All it took was yarn, cardboard, hemp string, hot glue, and a tree branch from the backyard.

To make the leaves, you just cut out whatever shapes you want out of cardboard, then wrap yarn around the sides, front, and back, and use a hot glue gun to keep it all in place.

Attach the leaves to a tree branch with some hemp or twine, and that's it! I plan on hanging it with clear fishing line and ceiling hooks. Here's the full tutorial for anyone that's interested.

Yesterday I also started working on a four-panel tree painting, using the colors of the leaves in the mobile. I'm hoping it turns out alright. It's been way too long since I've spread out on the floor and gotten all messy and crafty like this. I'm totally loving it!

Deciding to use a tree theme for your room makes me feel about a million times better about this whole thing. I love that now, when I'm rocking you to sleep someday, we'll both be surrounded by your big sister.

My Stevie tattoo

I love you, Baby Boy!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Dear Elliot,
You should be proud to know you come from a long line of thrift store extraordinaires. Your grandpa (my dad) is the Master of Deals, the King of Bargains. I've never understood if he has some sort of magical deal-finding powers, or if it's just that he goes to thrift stores that often, but he is the best there is. From $6 old bikes he cleans up and sells on Craigslist for $200, to $2 golf clubs he turns around and gets $150 for on Ebay, to the 13 pairs (yes, 13!) of Doc Martins he found for me in middle school (when Docs were obviously the coolest thing a 12-year old girl could own!), your grandpa definitely has the magic touch. There was even one time in college when we walked into the thrift store and he said to me, "okay, what are we hoping to find today?" I said, "how about a pair of leather Birkenstock sandals, size 7." No joke, he somehow found a pair that had never been worn for $5.99.

Anyway, now that I'm both broke and bored, I've been practicing my own thrifting skills this week. It seems like the deal-finding talent may just be genetic, because I've scored some pretty awesome bargains!

First, I found these cute maternity jeans for $4.99. You read that right--I said "cute" and "maternity" in the same sentence! My biggest problem with most maternity pants is that they fit in the belly, but are frumpy and baggy in other places, namely the butt. Maternity jeans makers do realize babies grow in the belly, not the butt, right?? Well these jeans are nice and snug in the legs and actually make my butt look quite nice, if I do say so myself (ha). I can't believe I finally found a pair of maternity pants I like, and for under five bucks!

Then, at the same store, I found a pair of adorable Cole Haan leather flats for $5.99. They seriously look like they've never been worn! For anyone who doesn't know what Cole Hanns are (don't worry, I probably wouldn't either if I hadn't sold shoes at Nordstrom in college!), these probably retailed for around $150. When I called my dad to brag about my find, he said, "oh good, because you really need more shoes!"But whatever, I could totally hear the jealously in his voice :)

I can't totally take credit for this next find, because it was technically your dad that found them for me, but either way, I got these super comfy Sierra Designs down booties/slippers for $4.99. Again, pretty much brand-new. I've been saying I really want a pair of slippers since Dad insists on keeping the house at a frigid 66 degrees, and now I not only have slippers, but slippers that literally feel like I am wearing sleeping bags on my feet. Awesome.

And of course I had to pick up some deals for you while we were out and about, too. I got all these cute little boy pieces for $.99 each! My favorite is the baby blue United Colors of Benetton wool sweater. I also found out that Goodwill has all their baby/toddler clothes and toys 50% off on Thursdays, so I think I may have found my new Thursday activity! 

I also picked up a brand-new Crate and Barrel pumpkin candle for under $2, and a few glass vases/candle holder thingys that I'm going to decorate with lace. Dad found a couple cookbooks, and a really nice flannel shirt that actually fits him (2X tall), too!

I can't wait until you're here and can start learning your own thrifting skills, straight from the Master himself.

Love you lots, Elliot!


Monday, October 17, 2011

Hopes are up

Dear Elliot,
We rode out the 'high' from our great ultrasound on Friday well into the weekend. I don't know why exactly, but finding out you're a boy just suddenly made this whole thing a lot more real. I felt the same way after finding out your big sis was a girl; everything changes. On Friday I went from growing a baby, to having a son. You're no longer an 'it,' you're a 'he.' No longer an idea, you're a mini person, complete with a name. It actually scares me, because I am still deathly afraid of something going wrong again. And now, if it does, I know it will hurt so much worse. I keep trying to tell myself that if the unthinkable happens again, it's going to be awful (obviously a bit of an understatement), whether or not I try to protect myself or not get my hopes up. Right now, my hopes are up, and I'm choosing to keep it that way.

Anyway, I had been toying around with the idea of going to the big Birth and Baby Expo in Minneapolis this weekend, and decided to go for it. I was feeling more confident and hopeful than I had in a long time and I figured it would be good take a little 'step of faith,' if you will. Up until Saturday, I was so afraid of "jinxing this" that I had yet to really look or think about baby things. So deciding to go to this big baby fair, with hundreds of other pregnant moms, was kind of a big deal for me.

So Dad and I got there right when it started, mainly because I wanted to make sure I got a gift bag (I mean the real reason for going to these things is all the free crap you get, right?!), but also because I wanted to go when it was likely to be less crowded. Overall, it was a fine experience. A little overwhelming, but okay. The one thing that I hated was having every freaking person at every freaking booth ask me if this was our first. I lied and said "yes" every time, and every time I hated doing it. I just didn't feel like repeating the whole story to the random chiropractor I am never going to see again, or the annoying lady trying to sell me a $200 post-delivery hospital massage (although that does sound kind of amazing!). But each time I smiled and nodded when asked if you were my first, I felt a pang of sadness mixed with guilt inside. And then whoever I was talking to would assume I knew nothing about pregnancy or birth and would start explaining things and giving advice and all I'd want to do is interrupt them and scream, "I KNOW! This isn't my first time being pregnant or giving birth!"

Like I said, the free crap was really the best part of the whole experience:

Okay, the green onesie was actually not free (I wish)...keep reading for more on that!

After the Expo, Dad and I stopped at Whole Foods to pick up some fruit and cheese for brunch. After stocking up on Honey Crisp apples (on sale for only $1.99/pound!), I was still feeling brave and wandered over to the baby aisle. There, I found the cutest onesie ever, and I just had to buy it for you. You know, as another 'step of faith,' or something.

I had no idea what exactly that funny creature is, but according to google, it's a Mouse Lemur.

Mama and her first official purchase for you :)

While we're talking about onesies, can I just say how much I LOVE baby boy clothes?? I mean, I got really into shopping for girly things for your sister too, but being more of a tomboy myself, I am definitely more naturally drawn to the boy stuff. The dinosaurs, the monsters, the stripes, the Star Wars...oh my! Dad and I spent hours this weekend looking at stuff online and adding things to Pinterest (I know I'm way late on the boarding the Pinterest train, but everyone was right--it's so cool!). Here are a few of my favorite things I want to see you rock someday:

Hand-knit dino hat from Etsy

Elephant onesie from Etsy

Goldfish onesie from Etsy

Batboy onesie from here

Star Wars onesie from here

Darth on a bike onesie from Etsy (this one might be my fave!)

Another Star Wars onesie from Etsy (you're gonna have lots of Star Wars attire, my boy!)

After Dad and I dreamed about our little boy on the way for most of the afternoon, our friends Brady and Erin came over with their own little boy, Isaiah, who is 6 months old, to take some fall family photos. I actually took Brady and Erin's engagement and wedding pictures, so it was pretty fun to now be doing their first baby/family pictures, too! Here are a few of my favorites:

I've been asking all my friends if I can take their pictures so I can get more practice with my camera (in hopes of being able to make some money on the side, someday!), so if you're in the Minneapolis area and want free pics this fall, let me know! :)

After all the busyness of the weekend, I came down with an awful cold last night. So it's soup, mint tea, juice, and Netflix for me today! But before I go, here's one last picture, the belly at 16w3d:

This is quite possibly one of the worst pictures of me ever (I told you I was sick!), but I didn't want to skip a week!

Okay, Baby Boy. Please keep growing and thriving and living! I am seriously beyond excited to meet my little man-cub.


Friday, October 14, 2011

It's a...

Dear Elliot,
That's right, Baby, you're a little BOY! Well, not so little, actually. You're already measuring big, just like your giant of a daddy (he's 6'10!).

The ultrasound this morning was amazing. Both of your grandmas came with us and it was so special having them there. The only ultrasound my mom had been to before today's was the one where we found out your big sister had died, so I really wanted her to have a happy ultrasound experience, too. And boy oh boy (yep, pun intended!) was it happy this time! It sounded like there was a fireworks display going on in that little exam room. Every time the ultrasound tech would point something out, both of your grandmas would "ooh!" and "ahh!" over it. "Look at the little fingers," the tech would say, and they would pretty much scream with joy. It was so cute, and so much fun to see them both so excited about their little grandbaby.

Once the tech asked whether or not we wanted to know the gender, you weren't shy about showing off your goods! She found your legs, then said, "dink!" and we all knew right away you were a boy (or "manchild" as Dad and I keep referring to you as. That's a Jungle Book reference for anyone who didn't get it!)

Here are a few pictures from the scan:

I'll be getting sprayed by this thing right here in just a few more months!

Love the hand shots. So incredible! 

 Another hand and your big, smart brain :)

Sweet baby boy

After the ultrasound, your grandmas both had gifts for us. The entire waiting room got to watch us open up your first baby boy outfits (don't worry, I checked and every single women in the room was obviously pregnant themselves). Guess it's the pink that they'll be returning to the store this time around!

After seeing my doctor, Dad and I went out to an amazing little Mexican place to celebrate our son. Hope you enjoyed the burrito and unlimited chips and salsa bar as much as I did!

And of course I had to document the wonderful morning with a picture of me and you before we left to go home:

Whoops, please ignore the awesome leopard-print bra I did not realize showed right through my shirt.

It was such a great morning. I love that we can finally start calling you by your name. Elliot James Cook. Maybe you'll grow up to be a drummer, just like your namesake. Dad was already looking up Pantera onesies in hopes we have a little rocker on the way (he used to listen to Pantera with the Elliot you're named after all the time, apparently!) I just can't wait to meet you and see who you become.

I can't explain how wonderful I feel right now. I have a daughter and a son. Wow. My heart is so full of love for both of my babies today.

Keep growing, Elliot (but not too big, okay?)! Your dad and I are so proud to be your parents.

Design by Small Bird Studios | All Rights Reserved