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This is my humble collection of attempting to live a life full of lovely things. A blog highlighting crafty projects, inspiration, and all things delicate & detailed. To learn more click here.

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Here is a peek of my lovely wedding day! We were married July 20, 2008 in the gorgeous Black Hills of South Dakota. Find more images and details about my incredible wedding day on Style Me Pretty.

                    

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Shop now: Minted

Monday
Apr252016

itzza pizza party

My first baby turned 2! While he loves almost everything, pizza is his ultimate favorite—so that's theme of his birthday party. It was soooo fun.

The littles at the party were given chef hats, tutorial from Anders Ruff.

Then the toddlers got to play at the pizza dough station, which was conveniently located outside on the deck.

My best decision was to outsource the pizza crusts to a local pizza shop, Pizza Carrello. This not only saved my sanity but they were super tasty.

Birthday treats were tiramisu cups. I used this recipe for the mousse and this recipe for paleo cupcake layers.

The most time intensive detail was the party favors. I designed a custom "coloring placemat" that I put into a mini pizza box along with crayons. Pretty much adorable.

Those are all the party details! It was such a blast for me to plan & execute—I just love kid parties!

Sources: Wall confetti decals from Luxe Loft, Mini pizza boxes from CM Party Supplies, and Wood banner from Target

Photography and design elements by me. More inspiration on my Pinterest board.

Monday
Feb012016

birth story ::: arden skillman

My first labor & delivery didn't exactly go as planned. Well my second one....sorta went as planned? Meaning it was still a little crazy. My husband was (again) the one to help deliver his child. Apparently I should have included that in our wedding vows.


Shortly after our first son was born, my husband and I had decided a homebirth was best for our situation (aka a precipitous birth). While I am a crunchy kinda gal, I never thought I'd be "that lady". But we knew it would take a lot to convince me to get back into a car while in labor. We also LOVED spending the first 24 hrs at home as a family. Those precious hours are pure magic.

A few days before my 40 week mark I had a some cramping that lasted a couple hours each time. By cramping, I mean they gave me ptsd flashbacks of the pain involved with childbirth. Can I un-pregnate myself please?!

Around 4pm on the day that marked 40 weeks, the sporadic mild contractions started again but this time didn't subside after a few hours. I informed my midwife that this might be happening tonight. She had a 3 hour drive and had been to my house earlier that day for our prenatal. Oh the joys of living in rural Wyoming.


At 7pm the contractions are still random but we are convinced this won't stop. We have a shared moment of panic where my husband joins me in a ptsd flashback. He then makes a dash to Walmart for last minute supplies. The garden hose, which we needed to fill up the birth tub, was delayed because of holiday shipping (this comes in real handy later). I take a bath and relax....still hoping the contractions might stop.


Some time before 10pm I realize things are picking up and I now inform my midwife that she should start the drive. By picking up, I mean I can no longer lay down or do anything. Sitting on the toilet is THE ONLY comfortable place to be in the whole house. And so now I sit there. And endure what is quickly becoming not fun (people call this active labor). Doubts creep in about preferring to go to the hospital.


The next two hours fly by. My first labor felt out of control and miserable. This time I felt pain but it was much more manageable. 1) I knew the labor wouldn't last 15 hours and 2) there was a few minutes of reprieve between each contraction. I had neither the first time around. At 11pm I tell my husband to fill the tub because I think I'll want to be in it soon and we share a moment of clarity. We know we want to have this baby at home and we know the chances are good that the midwife won't make it on time. And we are okay.

Now. I don't understand how women don't know they are pushing out a baby. But somehow I didn't realize I was pushing out a baby. I just know that my mom walked in to ask how I was doing (she had just arrived to make sure if the toddler woke up he'd have someone attending him). I looked at her and said things were "not fun" and then all of a sudden I yelled that she needed to find Trevor...NOW.


I was (still) sitting on the toilet. And there was a baby's head beginning to emerge. Dangerously close to a very small porcelain birth tub. My husband walks in like he knows exactly what to do, giving both me and my mother instructions (me to get off the toilet and her to get towels). With the next contraction he catches our son's head which was still contained in the amniotic sac. Another contraction—the sac breaks and we hear a little war cry as our baby gracefully falls into his hands.


It was just after midnight. That garden hose had managed to fill the tub a whole 8". Just like my first birth, I looked over at the tub with jealous eyes thinking "it sure would have been nice to use you". But alas, all was well and I was comfortably laying on my bed snuggling my sweet babe. The birth assistant arrived within 15 minutes of the birth and my midwife about an hour after. They both did a great job caring for us and cleaning everything (there was surprisingly little to clean actually). Postpartum care lasted about three hours and we laid down around 3:30am to sleep. Gunnar had slept through a rather noisy ordeal just across the hall—until 4:30am when Arden made a small cry. He walks into our room and says "BAY BAY". We introduce them and then my dear dear husband gets up to play with our toddler so I can rest.


While we didn't *quite* get the relaxing stress-free birth we intended, it was an amazing experience. I feel honored to have my husband at my side to experience such craziness. He is my champion always. We named our second son, Arden—which is a Celtic name meaning eager/ardent. Skillman is my paternal grandfather (whom I was never able to meet) and an ancient Norse name meaning trustworthy. Arden was born on January 3rd at midnight, weighing 7 lbs 2 oz and 20.5" long. He's also real cute.

I am hopelessly in love with all three of my boys and look forward to watching my babies grow up as brothers together.

Photography by Smiling Eyes Photo

Wednesday
Jan062016

winter maternity + family session

HAD to share these amazing photos that I will cherish my whole life! I had no idea how much I'd appreciate them—having captured these moments of our family. My sister-in-law did such an incredible job. If anyone lives in the Denver/Fort Collins area, you won't be disappointed!

Photography by Smiling Eyes Photo

Friday
Dec252015

merry christmas

Wishing everyone a beautiful Christmas full of love & laughter.

Wednesday
May062015

party animal birthday party

It's all fur and fuzzies at this party! My handsome little fella turned one and we partied like animals to celebrate!

Party activities included picking out an animal outfit and face painting to match. I bought the ears from Partyears and made corresponding tails. For the face paint, I used the homemade recipe from Mommypotamus. Agh I just loved how stinking adorable the animal outfits turned out!

A highlight of the party was our second guest of honor, Louie the rabbit. Do not be fooled—this rabbit is as big as a medium sized dog. He is sooooo amazing and a huge hit with the kiddos! Also, there were two sets of twins at the party. They make the best cute party accessories.

The food table was not complete without animal crackers & cake batter dip. I tried to limit the sugars and unhealthy foods, so I tried out this recipe by Desserts With Benefits—it was DELICIOUS.

It was such an amazing day celebrating our little man with family & friends. He had a ball and devoured his smash cake. And I, of course, had a ball putting this all together. Nothing I love more than a fun party concept coming together! Don't you agree?!

Thursday
Apr302015

styling for this old house magazine

Sharing my most exciting styling project to date! The publication This Old House magazine hired me to style a gorgeous bathroom for their May issue.

Here's the first image from the layout—not too shabby, eh?

And another shot that wasn't used in the layout.

The "his vanity" pictured above is my favorite part, I just loved the little shaving details. And below is my name PRINTED in the issue. *pinch me!*

Such a great project and an incredible team to work with on location. Not to mention a beautiful subject (the historic/modern bathroom in St. Louis). And to make an incredible job even better—I'll be styling another project for the magazine next month! SO exciting. 

All photography/design owned by This Old House magazine // Produced by Tisha Leung

Photography by Alise O'Brien // Styling by Me // Interior Design by Joni Spear // More bathroom details on this Houzz feature

Tuesday
Apr282015

my babe turned one

I'm blogging! There must be pigs in the sky. But how could I resist showing off this little light of my life?!!!!

It's been over a year since this insane day happened—and yet it feels like yesterday. Party pics coming soon!

Thursday
Dec252014

plaid tidings to you

Merry Christmas to you as you celebrate the joy of the season! 

Tuesday
Dec162014

8 months old ::: gunnar james

My little sprout is eight months old! This warrants a mini shoot. In the midst of the bustle of Christmas moving into our new home. He sure is a distraction. But I don't mind catering to his every flinch. Not one bit.

He has a complex range of emotions, this being the pensive one. Absolute genius I tell you.

Agh I love that face sooo much!

Friday
Dec052014

leaving our home of 7 years

Three weeks ago my family left our St. Louis city home and arrived at the rural plains of Wyoming, the home of our childhood.

(2600 Penn Street)
My life has been everything but manicured the last two months. The dust is finally settling and I can breathe a bit easier. While the stress of moving 1200 miles (with a 7 mo old) in a few short weeks was burden enough—there was also the internal processing of leaving the life we knew behind. Moving. Was. Hard.

(The view from our front porch, looking down the street)
In seven years we had built a life and community we loved. I moved to St. Louis just after graduating college. In my twenties—I started my professional career, went from single to married, bought my first home, and became a mother. In the shadow of that famous arch, I grew up.

(One of the gorgeous old mansions just blocks from our house)
Suddenly I have regret. Did I spend enough time with the people there? Could I have made a bigger impact? Will the city miss me? Was my scope of influence too small? Did I take advantage of all the great things that this city had to offer? Did I shop at Target enough? < Actually, yes. Yes to that last one. I shopped there way too much.

(View down the street)
I now have much respect for those that, for whatever reason, have to pick up their lives and move often. It’s a lot of work. And maybe roots go a little deeper each year, making it a little bit harder. But I don’t regret those roots. That city and the time spent there will always be special to me. So many great memories.

And now I look up and see a big sky. A really big sky. Which is fun. I may never have to parallel park again. Also fun. New adventures await, and I embrace them.