Fall Home Tour 2016

Last week my best friend and I went on a floral adventure to celebrate her 30th birthday. We took a class to learn how to create a preserved pumpkin flower arrangement. We had a lot of fun, and we came home with gorgeous flowers.

It was just the kick in the pants I needed to lug the fall decor down from the attic and make the house feel a bit more seasonal. I actually thought about not decorating for this season at all since we are so busy with the babies, but the husband told me he really liked it when I bring out the fall decor. Who knew he would actually care?! I bet her secretly loves all of my throw pillows, too. :)

Using my new pumpkin as a jumping off point, I injected some orange into the formal dining room. All of this decorating took about 20 minutes. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you think your babies are going to wake up from there nap at any minute!

I use the same pumpkins and gourds every year but just change up how I display them. It's like autumn in a box. It's both easy and affordable, two of my favorite things.

Just a few feet away, I snuck a few tiny pumpkins into the formal living room. 

You may remember that a couple months ago I simplified the shelves in the den to make the color scheme really calm and neutral. In keeping with that theme, I added a bunch of white and beige pumpkins and gourds to the mantel.

And just for fun, I asked my mom to send me a few photos from her house. She always does a great job making her house feel more autumnal by bringing in more texture and warmer colors.

Wondering how I used the exact same pumpkins (minus the pretty floral arrangement, since that's new) in past years? Here are some of my previous fall home tours. I LOVE fall so much. Now if only our weather would actually feel like the seasons are shifting, I'd be in heaven.

2015  •  2014  •   2013

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Reflections on Motherhood: My First 6 Months as a Twin Mom

I've been planning to write this post for a few weeks now, but there is just so much to say. I'm going to attempt to narrow it down to the important stuff, but if you have any questions, please let me know. You probably figured out by now that I'm an open book!

It's hard to believe the twins are six months old already. I feel like I've been in a bizarre time continuum every since the babies were born. When I was grinding through the newborn days I had many friends tell me, "The days are long, but the years are short." I'm only halfway through a year in this mommy club, but that certainly rings true for me.

Fresh out of the c-section, I was so out of it when they took this photo. It was the definition of an out of body experience because I still couldn't feel my body! And I couldn't believe those were OUR babies.
I already wrote about their first week of life, so I'll just pick up where I left off. When we came home from the hospital, I was running on an incredible adrenaline high. Part of it was the true joy of finally welcoming our miracle babies into the world. I think the other contributing factor was my time spent on bed rest. After 8 weeks of not being allowed to do much of anything other than lay down or sit at a steep recline, I was just so happy to be able to walk around freely again. I had been in so much physical discomfort at the end of my pregnancy, both from the load of carrying twins and the constant back pain from laying down all day, that the physical recovery from the c-section felt like a minor blip on my radar. I was able to ignore it pretty easily most of the time, although I remember trying to get up in the middle of the night to tend to the babies was painful for a week, at least. I didn't realize that you're not supposed to drive after a c-section (oops) so I drove myself all over the place and that felt great after being confined to the house or the hospital for so long. I had regained my independence! I didn't even mind that my new independence included two new passengers in the car at all times, both of whom really disliked stopping at traffic lights.

After the first couple of weeks, the honeymoon period was over and exhaustion set in. I would say weeks 3-8 were very, very hard. Evan was struggling with tummy problems, so he was fussy for a lot of his waking hours. And that boy has some serious lungs, let me tell you. It hurt my heart when he would wail. I had to take deep breaths and give myself pep talks, especially during the evening "witching hour." My mantra: "Babies will be babies. Babies cry. It will be OK."

My mom could see very early on that I was not sleeping enough to stay sane (one time I stayed up for 24 hours straight and I do not recommend it!) so she started coming over at nights so I could get 5-6 hours of uninterrupted sleep. That was a godsend. I was never able to take any naps during the day, so that nighttime sleep would power me through 19 hours straight with newborn twins. That and my new Ninja coffee maker and a 4 p.m. can of Coke. Ha! Whatever you have to do, right?

So I'm wondering, did this happen to anyone else? For the first several weeks I kept having the same situation in the middle of the night. I'd wake up in a panic during my nightly stretch of sleep, thinking I had accidentally fallen asleep in bed with the babies. I would frantically feel around the covers looking for the babies, but of course I never found them because they were in another room with my mom. But man did it ruin my little sleep stretch every night. It always took me a few minutes to calm down and go back to sleep. UGH. 

One of the hardest parts was trying to keep up with feeding the babies. At first I was tandem breastfeeding, but when Scott went back to work it became so hard for me to do. I decided to pump and bottle feed instead. I was blessed with a good supply, but making enough milk for two growing babies was still a full time job. As soon as I could get them down to nap, I would sit down at the pump. I felt like that was all that I did. It was a beating, to be honest. I reminded myself often that the babies were benefiting from the nutrition of the breast milk. Not only that, but I was saving money on formula and helping myself lose weight. That helped, but it was still one of the hardest parts about the first five months, which is when I stopped breastfeeding and switched to formula.

I feel like the turning point for us happened at their 8 week doctor appointment. We put Evan on acid reflux medicine and switched his last bottle of the day to a sensitive formula. He started to be less fussy, and things started to slowly get easier. The babies also started sleeping longer stretches.

Let me back track a little bit. One of the things I did while I was pregnant was research sleep schedules for babies. Many twin moms told me that the schedule was so important because if you didn't get both babies sleeping and eating at the same time, you would never, ever get a break during the day. I ended up choosing the Moms on Call (MOC) book for scheduling and parenting tips, and it was (and still is) so helpful.

I started trying to get them on a napping and nighttime sleep schedule at 5 weeks. It was really hard work, but we used the MOC schedules to get them fairly sleep trained by three months. We slowly transitioned them from the Rock 'n Plays in the living room to their own cribs in the nursery. They slept 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. for five nights straight, and we were so surprised/relieved/happy. PHEW.

From three months on, it has been getting more and more fun. I'm overwhelmed with how much I love those two miracle babies. I think about them constantly. I went back to work full-time at 12 weeks, and I'm always texting my mom to see how they are doing during the day. She watches them half the time, and the rest of the time they are in a part-time daycare at a local church.

The first smiles? Amazing. The first laughs? The best. Of course we've had some harrowing moments in the last three months as well (teething!), but the babies are so sweet and fun. It's fascinating to watch their personalities emerge and see how fast they pick up new skills. It feels so slow and so fast at the same time. The hardest part about this season of life is the other season we are dealing with - football season! Scott is working 7 days a week (long days, too) so that's hard. In an ideal world, caring for twins is a 2-person job. But we've established systems that work for us and help us care for them by ourselves, so we're surviving.

Motherhood has changed me in some ways that completely caught me off guard. I'm so much more organized now, but that's out of necessity. There are so many things to juggle. I have systems for laundry and dishes and cleaning the play area, and I get upset when the dishwasher isn't loaded properly. You guys, that is so NOT me. But I have changed, and all of these systems are part of my survival as a twin mom. Suddenly the dishwasher setup is important. It's so weird.

I have a lot more anxiety than I ever did before. Actually, my motherhood anxiety gets better and better every day as I gain more confidence in my motherly instincts. But I was very anxious in the early months as I tried to get into a groove as a mom. I'm not used to the lack of control you have as the mom of a newborn (or two). I channeled my need for control and structure into mastering my homemaker skills, frenetically writing thank you notes and doing laundry and washing bottles and just trying to earn an A+ for my stay-at-home life. Again, that caught me very off guard.

I remember sitting on the floor at the end of the day, exhausted, holding a pacifier in each baby's mouth, thinking that motherhood was teaching me a lot about myself. Now I'm sitting here on my couch after wrestling a fussy, feverish baby to sleep, and I know the lessons are only just beginning.

I have another post planned where I list all of the baby products that have been essential for our survival, and I'm working to finish that up. I will post it shortly just in case someone out there is building their registry and would like to see my recommendations.

Thanks again for reading this humble blog. I really enjoy having a place to dump my thoughts, and I hope you get something out of it. :)

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Two Vintage Chair Makeovers

This is the story of two old chairs that waited patiently for someone to give them new life.

The first was holding down the corner in a perfectly preserved 1950s ranch in Stephenville, Texas, owned by an elderly couple who believed in having the type of formal living room where no living was allowed.

A sweet, broke college football player took his girlfriend to an estate sale at this house so they could purchase furniture on the cheap for his bachelor pad. They picked out two mid century sofas, a pool table and more for his house, but she called dibs on this chair for herself. It was just like a chair she had seen on the cover of her favorite magazine, Domino.

via Domino
 The auctioneer asked for bids, but no one wanted it. "Five dollars?" she asked. "Sold," the auctioneer said casually, moving on quickly to the next piece of furniture no one wanted.

The chair was well loved and well used, owning new corners in her two apartments. It made the trip to her first house, when she married that football player and put down roots.

She loved that chair, but another member of the house loved it even more.

The dog hair started to ruin the upholstery, and she flipped the cushion over to hide the dirt and dander. She spotted a label underneath with a name that she recognized: Milo Baughman. It turned out this $5 chair was actually an original piece by one of the best know mid century furniture designers!

The second chair had no such lineage, but it was beloved nonetheless. Found for $50 at the flea market in Canton, Texas, she gave you a bear hug every time you sat down.

The upholstery was a rusty brown that had seen better days, but she still got a lot of use. The shape was unique, and the pedestal base was perfect for rocking back and forth. What she lacked in style, she made up in comfort.

This summer, the time had come to finally show these chairs some love. The turning point came when I reached out to one of my favorite bloggers, Grace Mitchell from A Storied Style, via Facebook. She's an interior designer who is also based in the Dallas area who finds the coolest treasures at estate sales. I figured she must have a great upholstery guy, so I reached out to her to see if she would share her resources with me. Sure enough, she gave me the name of an upholsterer named Gabriel who had fair prices and was willing to work his magic on my precious vintage chairs. 

First, my Baughman was covered in an outdoor (yet still soft to the touch) fabric for maximum durability - Richloom Solarium Outdoor Forsythe Peacock from Fabric.com. I never tire of the color teal, honestly. It works with all of my decor and is husband- and child-friendly. I just love it!

She has found new life in the twins' nursery, right at home with the bright, happy colors.

I bought 8 yards of fabric for just under $8/yard, so that was $64. The cost for the new upholstery was $300. Giving a Milo Baughman chair a fresh start in our favorite room in the house? Priceless!

The husband has claimed the bear hug chair as his own, so he requested a masculine fabric. I bought six yards of this fabric at the Round Top flea market for $10/yard last year with this particular project in mind, so it was nice to finally use it.

We hoped we could keep the leather backing and just replace the fabric part. Luckily Gabriel was skilled enough to pull that off for us. I think the combination of the warm leather and grey fabric looks pretty sharp.

The fabric cost $60 and the upholstery labor was $200. I think $310 is pretty great for a special chair like this, especially when a similar option sells for $1850 at Restoration Hardware.

When Gabriel opened it up, the chair was made of wood, metal and styrofoam, which is a combination he had never seen before. It's one of a kind, for sure. He beefed up the padding to make it even more comfortable. The best part? It is perfect for rocking babies!

 Just for fun, here are the before and afters.





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