Office Art

I've had my own office now for almost a year. In one week, I'll hit the one year anniversary and I'm just now adding art to the walls. You shouldn't be all that surprised because it took me 15 months to put the art up in our living space at home, two years to put up our faux headboard, a few months to hang the nursery art, and I have yet to put up the gallery wall in our bedroom. To that, I'll say that one year isn't so bad. I'm not quite done yet but it's close enough and I can't wait to share it!

My office has four walls, two with doors and one with cabinets. It's a nicely spaced office but needed some color to make the room pop. It also needed to serve as a positive space as sometimes the interactions in my office aren't always happy. Working in Higher Ed with students, let's just say it can get a little emotional or dramatic. Who knew? ;-) I wanted to evoke calm, positivity, happiness, cheerfulness, etc., and I think I covered that pretty well. Also, I wanted some of the art to serve me since I'm looking at it and then some of the art to serve those coming to our office since they'll be looking at it.

This is always the first art to be placed, since it's simple and easy to put up. All I needed was pushpins and luckily, my desk already had those. As you can probably tell, I'm missing a photo of my littlest niece but I hope to get a nice one soon when they come to town! I would also love to update our family photo since we'll soon have a new brother-in-law and of course all the little kiddos. The other art - definitely needed a photo of the handsome Mr., a photo with a college bestie (the SAC office went through photos and found this!), a Rubaiyat guest receipt with a really nice thank you from a diner to me, a tip calendar so I can see it every day to keep inspired, and a couple kid art pieces. 

The first art piece I hung up was one I created myself. I wanted anyone that came in and sat down to see it. It reads, "Positive Mind, Positive Vibes, Positive Life". Nothing fancy but with a pop of color, it's a gentle reminder to everyone the positivity starts with yourself.

The second art is my vintage Chicago photo. I ordered a print from Brim Papery and this was a free addition that I got to choose. I was so excited because I adore Chicago. I have such fond memories of time I've spent there. Gspice and I went there after only dating for a couple of months, we got engaged there, I spent a semester there, and had a great weekend with my good friends from college. We can't wait to get back there!

The gallery wall stumped me for a bit which is partially why this took so long to complete. It's a work in progress as you can tell but it'll be done soon. It started out a little different and it morphed after I ordered the circle frames way too large. My bad. But I'm actually really happy with how it turned out. It's not too overwhelming and is less artsy than I originally planned. I was going to hang up kids' artwork from daycare here but couldn't quite figure out how to do it. Then, I decided that I'll (eventually) hang those at home instead. In the meantime, I had painted and filled the circle frames and put photos in two of the other frames. For awhile, only the two frames with the kids' photos hung on the wall. It looked way too simple for my taste. So on a random Friday, I whipped out the measuring tape, hung up some paper to get my spacing right, then hung everything up. I've since ordered the photo for the small Luther postcard place holders and then hope to fill the remaining picture frame with a family photo after my sister's wedding. It'll come together very soon!

Lastly, you have these beauties to feast your eyes upon. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. These hang on the wall across from the door to my office so everyone can see them when they walk in. I love the colors and that they fit the bill for adding calm and color in one shot. I first fell in love with these when I took my kids to the pediatric dentist. We love that office already but they had these canvases all over the place so of course I asked where she got them from. Much to my delight, they were easily accessible and in the right price range. So, when you have a few spare moments, go to to Wayfair.com.

I share an update after I've completed the gallary wall and share some tips I have for hanging photos. Can't wait to share!


Our Debt Reduction Update

This time last year, Gspice and I made a pretty insane awesome decision. We wanted VERY badly to be out of debt and we decided to do that as fast as we possibly could. That meant taking on a second job and Gary spending a lot of nights in with the boys all by his lonesome. You can read more about our journey here.

Our days were tough, the weeks were long, and the months slowly moved on. There were definitely times I wanted to quit and there were definitely times Gspice wanted to throw in the towel. When we were feeling weak, the other would smack the other across the head and say, WE CAN DO THIS! Okay, it didn't really go like that but we did truly work through those weak points together.

Though we aren't completely out of the woods yet, I am amazed at how far we've come in the last year. Our goal is to be debt free by the end of August and while we may not fully make it, it will be pretty damn close.

I created a fun little graphic to see our progress but I'll be honest - didn't look at this until March. 

I got really excited when I saw that we went from $50,000 to $15,000 in that time frame.
HOLY $%!#! We definitely kicked it into high gear.

And here is where we sit today. 

The $0 is in sight and we're getting there as fast as we can. I think you'll see a celebratory dinner once we get there!


Jack {15 Months!}

We are firmly planted in toddler town these days. Jack is now 15 months and breezing around all over the place. It's been fun to watch him develop the past few months - walking, saying more words, understanding more commands. It's also been really interesting to see his personality come out a little bit more.

Jack had his well child check up last week and my oh my it was such a breeze. He doesn't yet mind going to the doctor so there were zero tears or meltdowns. It was delightful. Jack didn't mind the doctor poking and prodding and actually preferred to be carried by him. He did have to get a few shots but cried for about 3 seconds.

15-Month Appointment (6/14/2016)
Weight: 23 lb
Height: 30 in
12-Month Appointment (3/7/2016)
Weight: 19 lb 15 oz
Height: 29.5 in

Jack is one goofy kid. He loves to laugh and often does things just to make us laugh or to make himself laugh. It's sweet to watch. We love to play the "Night Night" game where we say "Night Night" and the boys lay down wherever they are and then pick them back up when we say "Wake up!". Owen often likes to initiate that one. Jack will sometimes do that too and can say "Night Night" himself! Jack is also VERY ticklish so I have a lot of fun with that.

Jack responds really well to routine but does express some stranger danger with people he doesn't know well or see every day. It takes a little bit for him to warm up to newer people or new activities. And if we break up his routine, we'll get a little meltdown. Often it's more non-verbal with a little lip quiver (not like Owen's hysterical tears!). For instance, I had to take the boys to daycare for a week earlier this month but we had to be there much earlier because I have to be at work earlier than Gspice. Well, because it was so early, Jack needing to go to his room first versus the kitchen to eat breakfast. He didn't freak out when we left the kitchen but promptly melted to the floor in his room when I dropped him off there. I get it, I'd freak out too if I was used to eating right away! I do anticipate his transition to the next room at daycare to go well. He seems to feel comfortable already with those kids and teachers so that should be nice - Jack is just more laid back than Owen.

A couple of new things since his last update:

Jack can walk! I forgot that Jack wasn't walking at 12 months but that was soooo nice since we are so busy with life these days. His first steps were at around 13 months and he definitely walks really well now. Jack can turn around or stand up on his own and I love that he just holds my finger when I let him walk next to me.

The tooth count has gone up. Since his 12 month update, Jack got the second lower lateral incisor and has also got all of his first molars popping through! His upper lateral incisors have not come in yet so we'll keep an eye out for those the next few months. Our dentist didn't seem concerned but I bet will intervene if they don't appear by his next appointment in six months.

Naps are little more consistent now, down to one between noon and three. Opposite of how Owen did, Jack naps really well at daycare and not so well at home. He'll be down for an hour and then wakes up. Gary has a nice little system where he grabs the crying babe and lays down in bed. After a few seconds, Jack will plop his head down and sleep for a bit longer. I've tried it a couple of times and it hasn't worked so it must take daddy's special touch. The boys do still share a room and it's still going well! Jack typically falls asleep within 10 minutes and isn't bothered by his brother that takes a bit longer to fall asleep. However, it does seem that Jack can fall asleep just about anywhere. Proof is in the pudding.

Feeding is still pretty easy with Jack. He eats a LOT but still will try just about everything and eats without much fuss. We've introduced a plate, bowl and spoon to him and he seems to use those well enough. The spoon needs a bit more work because he understands how it works but doesn't always scoop actual food onto the spoon each time. Much to my chagrin, Jack also likes to throw things on the floor when he's done, just like his big brother. That's a habit that we haven't been able to break from either child, and one of the most frustrating (and messy!) One day, we'll get there. One day.

Jack also likes to do whatever Owen is doing. I do seem to get better photos of them together than I do apart but it's so darn cute! Owen, on the other hand, usually doesn't like doing the same thing as Jack so there's that...



I've got four little nieces that I don't see very often so it's extra special when we are all together at the same time. This happened very recently, as a surprise to my youngest sister who is about to get hitched! We held a bridal shower for her and she had no idea that our far away sister with her two kids in tow would be there as well. It was AWESOME to see her newborn, already almost three months old and to have all of us together. '

I don't take as many photos as I once did, but below are just a few of the most adorable we were able to capture that weekend.

I enjoyed that whole weekend but one of the highlights was meeting Miss Emily for the first time. I'm obsessed with little babies and she was so crazy adorable and squishy. And Leta was so surprised! Look at the tear in her eye!

It was great to see Arya too. She's a busy body just like my kids but at least I got a slight pose from her for a photo!

The four of us sisters went out for dinner in Waterloo together and went bridal party dress shopping. It was nice to catch up and do something together, which we haven't done in years!

Now, to the fun part! First, Gspice created a little house for the kids out of a box on my parents' porch. He cut out a door and window and the girls had so much fun inside. Owen was scared but he did go in for one hot second.

At one point during the bridal shower, Gary went to the park (bless his heart!) with Owen and Arya. He captured an adorable photo and a fun video too! I was getting a little overwhelmed with both boys so it was nice to have just one with me during the party.

Bridge, Drew, Gary and I went on a walk later on and played at a park by the civic center in Strawberry Point. It's crazy to think that we played here as little kids too way back in the day.

Erin and Liza LOVED the swings!

The other highlight? Getting a few cousin photos! We opted to bribe them with mini Reese's. I'd say it worked!