Thursday, August 20, 2015

It's a...

It's a girl, y'all!

As you can imagine, we are totally shocked and totally over the moon.

After having two of the same gender I truly, honestly just expected another boy. I had no reason to think otherwise- I've had the same type of pregnancy for all three kids, in fact I felt the worst when pregnant with Benjamin (which the old wives tales tell you means it's a girl, but now that I know him I know the real reason). And, odds said so anyhow!

However, there was one small part of me that thought that maybe it was a girl.

Why you may ask? Because my oldest son Cooper told me so, that same day he told me I had a baby in my belly. Remember that strange part of the story? During that conversation he told me "Mom, you have a baby in your belly. Like Ben, but it's a girl. We won't get to meet her for awhile, but we will when she's ready to come out." And he didn't stop there. He called her "Alex" and anytime we would read books where he saw a baby girl, he would say, "Look mom! A baby like Alex in your tummy!" Again, this all happened before we even knew we were expecting.

And since we are on the subject, can we talk about Cooper for a second? This child is such a blessing to our family. He is unbelievably kind, caring and loving. There is not one ounce of meanness in him and I'm incredibly proud of who he is becoming. So, of course an angel gave him a heads up to this baby! What perfect planning that he was the steward of this wonderful news, even though I didn't believe him at the time.

In closing, I will obviously need all your favorite shops for bows and dresses and any other information I need to know about where to get her the cutest clothing items of all times. Because that's all I've been doing, shopping for her.

*All photos courtesy of Hillary Wheat Photography.
Keep in touch! Follow along on Happy Haven Blog's Facebook page.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Party of...FIVE!

About four months ago, out of the blue, Cooper told me that I had a baby in my belly. HYSTERICAL, right? Three year olds say the craziest things! 

Cooper was right.

And now that I've caught my breath again, I can now share the news here on the blog:
 It's happening y'all. 

We are expecting our third kiddo this winter, Christmas Eve, to be exact. Yes, yes, that is my actual due date- December 24th, 2015. And yes, Cooper has demonstrated either psychic abilities or a lucky guess, which one I'm not sure. If you're trying to do the math here, I am 18-weeks along. YES, further along than most that share their news but see aforementioned about catching breath.

So let me answer your questions: was this planned?
Nope. But no one worry, we wanted three children eventually. So, now works great!

Will you find out what you are having?
Yup!  But let's be real, it's a boy.

How far apart will the baby and Ben be?
17-months. Barely.

So as you can see, it's about to get busy around here. Scratch that, busier

With the new addition on the way and entering life of three children under three, I know that blogging will take an even further backseat than it already has. First of all, I find it hard to allot the time to sit down and write. Second (and truth be told), where I want to spend my time has changed. I plan to keep the Happy Haven Blog name active and post from time to time. Maybe one day, when the kids are slightly older and out of the "need-you-at-every-second" stage, I will consistently fire it back up; but I imagine when that happens, the blog will be less of a mommy-blog, and more of a home blog- decorating and so forth.

In the meantime you can catch our family updates on Instagram and I will continue to guest blog over at Denver Metro Moms Blog and Her View From Home.

We found out what we are having just this week, I'll share soon! Crazy town over here, party of FIVE!

Lots of love, friends!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Baby's first birthday.

I have a three year old and one year old. 
My baby celebrated his first birthday over the weekend, which makes him one. This was an emotional day for me. Because really, as any mom will tell you, the first birthday is about the kid SURE, but mainly it's about us. The moms and dads. Mainly the moms.
We had a backyard water party to celebrate our main man, and the kids came in their suits and had a blast! 
Summer birthdays rock.
It meant so much to have our family and friends with us to celebrate. People that have supported me through this first year and who have loved Ben all together in one place is pretty special. 
Happy birthday to my toothless, handsome, fearless and happy little boy. Ben, you are such a fun personality and bring a bright, new light into this home.
We love you.

Keep in touch! Follow along on Happy Haven Blog's Facebook page.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Our Staircase: Reno Series Vol. 3

Greetings and happy Friday!

Today I'm continuing our Renovation Series, i.e.  the never-ending project that is our house. Luckily we have made a lot of progress, even just over the past few months.

Other than the kitchen, the renovation of our staircase probably makes the second biggest difference in the overall appearance of the home. The stairs are the first thing you see when you walk in, and they were bad. The spindles were thick and far apart, Cooper could fit right between them and there were gaps between each stair. Super safe. The carpet was brown shag. Need I say more?

As I began research on how to remedy our situation, I was surprised to find that I could literally, replace our staircase; my husband was thrilled! And that's what we did. Take a look at the before and after pictures:

Right when you walked in the front door BEFORE:
BEFORE view from office:
AFTER view:
Who's sad I didn't keep the lovely yellow paint? 

I love the end-result, regardless of the huge headache it was doing this project while living in the house with a toddler and a newborn. Chew on that for a bit.

Paint colors used:
Benjamin Moore Clay Beige (Walls) - Note: we darkened the paint 50% because we have a ton of natural light come in the front of the house.  
Benjamin Moore Alabaster (Trim/stair spindles and risers).  

Here are 5 sources of some of what you saw in the pictures:

Thanks for stopping by! We have a few more projects to do around the house, but in the meantime, I am just trying to finish one room at at a time in - I'll share pictures as I complete them.

You can check out other posts in my Renovation Series here (the kitchen reno) and here (the simple front door reno).

Have a great weekend!

Keep in touch! Follow along on Happy Haven Blog's Facebook page.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

One piece of advice for the new mom.

I've been a mom 3-years and 4-months now, and I can tell you, I have changed.

Old me was a resource-hound. Any little thing I deemed a problem with my child (sleep, eat, illness, behavioral) you name it, I was online and finding the solution. I spent way too much time and energy stressing about, well, what exactly? I wasn't worrying about problems per say, more like looking for problems. This ushered in by the "comparison game": why is her baby sleeping at 6-weeks, and mine 6-months? Why isn't breastfeeding working for me? Why is my son falling back on the growth chart?
And now, here I am almost 11-months into baby number two (GASP) and a TOTALLY different, MUCH happier mama. For all who were wondering, it turns out baby's just sleep through the night at different ages, because, you know, they're different people, nursing isn't a breeze for everyone, and well, we just make short babies. Now I don't just know, but I understand that every child is different. If I could go back and give new-mom-me a piece of advice, it would be: put the book down, and don't worry so much.

My mom-mantra is grace and my mom-motto hangs on these three beliefs:
  • First, 'this too shall pass.' Seriously! Your child WILL sleep through the night, AND eventually be potty trained. I promise.
  • Second, we find our mom-joy in the little moments with our kids - and THIS sustains us through challenging times. Little voices saying "I love you mommy," happy smiles and coos. Small, easily missed moments are our life-line.
  • And finally, any type of parenting revolves around a whole lot of trial and error. Baby not napping well at 9am? Put her down earlier and see if that works. And by the time you figure it out, guess what, she'll change her schedule once again because, haha! So is life with a baby.
I can't be sure, but I believe my second has greatly benefited from my laid-back shift in parenting. Nothing is ever a big deal or a problem to be solved, it is simply a baby being a baby.
So, to you new mamas, as a recovering by-the-book-mom, heed my advice and soak in the imperfect moments. Know your child is perfectly made and you are doing a great job. Simplify parenting; follow your intuition and the lead of your baby. Don't be a slave to books or the comparison game. You will be less stressed, your child will be less stressed, and your family will be much happier.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Five on Friday: Guest blogging, lipstick, pictures and decor.

Ah, Friday. Bless you. How are you folks this week? It's been pretty breezy for us over here, I'm starting to figure out our schedule for the summer and I am excited to soak it all in with my boys: pools, zoo, water parks, hopefully some workouts for mama- all squeezed in between our two-nap-a-day schedule. Should be special.

I'm back linking up today with the Five on Friday crew, sharing more randomness from the week!

One. I'm over at Her View From Home blog this morning, guest posting about the greatest gift we can give our kids. Hint: it's all about numero UNO. Check it out!

Two. Found a new lipstick I adore. Brave by Mac. It's like a Twig, which I consider a colorful neutral, but more summer-y. You know for the two nights a month I put on makeup. I don't even recognize myself anymore!

Three. The sun is out here in Denver, hallelujah! I mean, these two are cute right?

Four. I talked about my favorite Memorial Day shopping snags on Wednesday but can I just reiterate how much I love these shoes? They are the perfect, lightweight, summer shoe. And they're cute on, I love them.
Five. Decor is on my brain every day. So much to decorate around here, folks! Anyways, at long last I've ordered what I think will be THE pillow cases for our family room. 
They'll be going on this stone colored couch.
Reminder: this room looked like THIS when we bought the house:
I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. And, yes, I am a neutral gal and my rooms start with a neutral palette. I plan to add pillows with pops of color seasonally. E-ventually. I'll be sharing more of the house reno next week, next up, staircase! You'll be shocked.

Wishing everyone a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Mid-week ramblings: monologue from a threenager and weekend purchases.

Back again this morning with "shit my threenager says." I mean, people, you just can't make this up. Lately we've been talking- correction, HE has been talking, about what his "weenis" (but it starts with a 'P'), will and will not do.

"Cooper, go potty and wash your hands before nap time please."
"But mommy, my weenis doesn't want to go potty! My weenis says, 'nope! no potty for me, sorry!''" 
"Um, okay Cooper, just go wash your hands please."
"OK mom."

I mean, how you can I argue with his weenis you know? YOU KNOW?

I hope everyone has had a wonderful week so far. I wanted to share some pictures of my favorite cowboy from his last day of school.
And my favorite baby who is finally recovering from a terrible virus over the last four days. Ben scares me when he's sick, y'all. He's mean. And ladies who have young babies, take lots of pics now when they smile on command. Because when they become threenagers, they get weird.
In other news I snagged some shoes this weekend during Nordstrom's annual sale. I love Nordstrom so much.

And the K&K flats have already arrived and are SO comfortable. I'd highly recommend if you are looking for a summer flat. We'll see if the other two will be staying or going back.

I shared this article on Facebook this week from One Thousand Gifts author Ann Voskamp. Here's an excerpt:

"We won't act like what's happening with ISIS isn't the story of our times, isn't the story that defies geography, isn't the story that threatens the cradle of civilization." 

Deep stuff, heavy stuff, but important STUFF. The organization she talks about is doing incredible work, I was glad there was some small thing I could do from my little part of the world. "I am only one, but still I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do." -Helen Keller

And THAT my friends, is a whole lot of RANDOM. Happy mid-week!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Am I a mom-hole? Raising up tough-minded kids.

I am so curious your thoughts on this post; mainly, if you think I'm an asshole after reading it.

I heard a quote once that literally changed my perspective on fear and parenting. More specifically, the fear of the obstacles my children will face, the fear of poor decision-making which could somehow lead my kids down the wrong path in life. What can I do to set them up for the greatest opportunity to succeed? I asked myself.  Put them in the right schools? What is the "right" school anyway? How can I make sure every single friend of their's is a good influence? I mean it's exhausting. And OBVIOUSLY, I can really control none of these things.

Then I heard this:
"You can't prepare the journey for the child, you must prepare the child for the journey."

It helped me let go of my need to make sure my kids were constantly in what I deemed the "right" situations.

You've met those parents. The ones that do anything to make sure their child has the edge over other kids in sports, organizations, any type of activity. I recently read an article one mom wrote about kindergarden, saying she won't start her child until they are 6, turning 7. I mean, what about the rest of the classmates who are 5? What are we doing to those children? And listen I think there are definitely situations when younger kids should be held back, after all, I did grow up in Texas where it is commonplace to hold kids back who have end-of-May birthdays. So let me be clear: this not about my opinion on kindergarden, this is about the growing movement of parents to shield our kids from uncomfortable and challenging situations. It's the constant need to keep our children one step ahead (of what, I'm not quite sure).

Our children will face adversity, and people will be better than them physically, academically and socially. THEIR WHOLE LIVES. No matter what we do as parents, there will be tough times for our kids. I know, I don't like it either, but I do not subscribe to the mindset of trying to do all I can to avoid little Sam from ever getting his feelings hurt or not making the team.

That's the reality of the journey folks and it's a tough one. Haven't we heard, "Life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% how we react to it?" We are forgetting to teach this to our children.

Here's what I believe I CAN control: making sure my children have the means to deal with rejection. To laugh it off, to learn from it, to use it as fuel to drive them further towards learning where they excel. I can teach them that most of the time, nothing is really that big of a deal. There is always a solution, a Plan B, and a silver lining.

See these two?

They will do many things well. In fact they will do great things. But, they will be challenged, they will fail, and my proudest mommy moment will be when they realize that it is all OK.