Thursday, July 31, 2014

Letting Go of Control and Learning To Pick the Biggies

Our 1 year old boy makes me insane. I N S A N E. Crazy. Nuts. Stressed out. Lunatic. The kind of insane when you can't remember the last time you got dressed, did your hair (possibly showered) and looked presentable enough to speak with other human beings, brand of insane. I'm not sure what I expected when we had our son, Andrew (AJ, Hammy), but I'm pretty sure it was the exact opposite of what it's turned out to be.

Raising Lilly (who is now 4), has been incredibly uneventful. She tests our patience, and I'd be worried if she didn't. She's independent, sweet, polite, a great leader, a tomboy ballerina, creative, active, and (too) smart, a gigantic pain in our asses when she rolls her eyes, gives attitude, and is otherwise a teenager trapped in a preschooler's body.  When I was pregnant with AJ, I had a feeling it was a boy (we didn't find out the sex of any of our kids), and was trying to mentally prepare myself because I had no idea what to expect.

And I should have known, right then and there, that I was screwed.

From the second he was born, he was constantly doing something, whether it was eating, pooping, sleeping, thrashing out of a swaddle, throwing his body away from you in an effort to get his toys, trying to claw his eyes out with his little un-manicured hands, and trying to eat those stupid mittens. I couldn't figure out his eating schedule nor his throwing up schedule, and I was trying to keep Lilly as much to her schedule as I could, while trying to figure out my own new schedule. The first few months after a freshly hatched human spends navigating the sea are complete insanity - but I really didn't think things would mellow. Did I mention 2 weeks before AJ arrived we moved into our new home? Which, was probably one of our best ideas yet, in all honesty. They finally mellowed out, but I still couldn't catch up. Blogging was impossible, school work was impossible, and all I could manage doing was keeping the 3 of us alive until Andrew got home from work. Once AJ was 6 months, I started school again, and did a few things with the blog and home projects, but nothing consistent except school.

Then we were a mobile roller at 3-4 months. He started crawling and pulling up at 5-6 months, cruising at 7 months. Walking at 9 1/2 - 10 months, running at 11 months. Climbing on the couches and climbing off without face planting on things, at 12 months.

Lilly was much the same in her meeting the developmental milestones, but I wasn't nearly as stressed out. Maybe because it was just 1 kid, or maybe her personality wasn't thinking heart attacks were funny, and when I told her to get down off something, she did it (after the 3rd time). Not Andrew. Instigator. Button pusher. Needler. Thrill seeker. Smarty (I hope).

Everyone with boys tell me that it's all normal and it's just the way they are. I'm 99% sure I believe them. Like I said, I'd be worried if all he did was sit there with no desire to explore. But, really though, can I have 5 minutes where the kid sits still, doesn't try to eat cat food (it's happened twice now), climb a shelf, break through the locking baby gate, roll off the couch face first, or make me question whether or not we have to go to the ER? I didn't think so.

In the last 2 months or so, I've finally found a mental place where I feel completely in control. Ok, maybe 80% in control.

The most important thing I've learned in AJ's first year, is this:


The more I tried to control AJ (in general), I realized I had no control at all. I would stress myself out over so many things, and it would just get worse. Then, I would try to control things even more because I felt so not in control. When I let go of wanting to be in control of everything, I felt more in control. Kids are going to explore, get into situations, defy everything you say, be independent, and essentially grow up. I felt the need to place parameters on AJ because his exploring was just balls-to-the-wall, where Lilly was safety-cautious-yet-still-pretty-ballsy.  I let them turn the living room into a circus, the sofa becomes a trampoline, they jump in the real trampoline, roll in the sandbox, play on the jungle gyms. There is no controlling what AJ (or Lilly for that matter) is going to do, so I got over that real quick. If their environment is safe, it's go for takeoff (usually literally). If you're in a parking lot or crowded area, I've got you on lockdown. Don't get it twisted, kids.

I pick the biggies. Crap, I sound like my mother. She had to pick the biggies with me. I should've seen it coming. I said I would pick the biggies with Lilly, but never really had to, and it took me a year to realize I should've been doing that months ago with AJ.

Life is so much easier, and I am in more control and feel more in control, when I pick the battles that need to be fought, rather than obsessing over everything... just in time for baby #3!

If you have a kid (or a few), and that kid makes you feel like a crazy person, please let me know what works for you!
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Monday, January 27, 2014

Pie Safe with DIY Chalk Paint

I hate painting furniture. Whenever I do, it always dries tacky and I am really awful at not getting brush marks in it. The only pieces I've redone that I'm totally in love with, are the kitchen island and Lilly's dresser. Both I painted from the same can of paint (which was free but normally high-quality paint). I think it's the quality of paint I must use that gives me crummy results, rendering me hating to paint furniture. Read: I'm cheap.
Two Ten Handmade - Pie Safe w/DIY Chalk Paint
Which brings me to this concept of chalk paint. I've used chalkboard paint before, and I kept hearing people talk about chalk paint. I never knew what it was, until I started reading up on it. I'm jaded with painting things, remember? As it were, I decided to read up on this magical expensive paint. I really want to try Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, but I didn't want the cost involved with possibly hating it. Chalk paint dries with a soft, matte, chalk-like finish, and lends itself awesomely to distressing furniture and waxing for texture and dimension. It also dries incredibly fast. Since it needs no primer, sanding or other prep work, I was on board. Did I mention, I hate painting furniture? The sanding. Anyway.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Calling All My Girls...

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll already know how much fun I had on Wednesday with my friend Liz because we photobombed Instagram with a ridiculous amount of pictures. We went to a taping of bethenny on Wednesday in New York City, and it was so much fun!

I really like Bethenny, though I know some people can't stand her. She had a colorful past, and really made herself a success. I liked her on RHONY, I liked her spin-offs, I loooooove me a SkinnyGirl margarita, and I think she's got substance.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Holiday Stuff That Should Have Been Posted 2 Weeks Ago + New Beginnings Gift Guide!

Oh, Monday. Monday.

I heard somewhere that today was supposed to be the most depressing day of the new year, not the 1st or 2nd. First real Monday back and all I suppose? Doesn't matter to me, I've been freezing for weeks now; my seasonal misery just blurs together during this time of year. I need sunshine and 50 degrees. I'm just glad the snow has melted here, I cannot deal when it gets all dirty and brown and gross. Good riddance.

I finally took down 90% of our Christmas decorations today, am I the only one? I usually take them down inside the house 2 or 3 days after, but this year was so minimal I actually enjoyed them longer. And our tree wasn't in the living room, so I think I enjoyed it much more. Since I never bothered to show off my holiday anything, here are a few goodies!

The hair, right? CHRISTMAS. JAMMIES.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Please update your bookmarks and email contact for Two Ten Handmade (there's no more Two Ten Designs). I figured since I've really honed in on products, I wanted a more handmade-craft-friendly name for the business and blog, so I decided Two Ten Handmade was the right name for me. Since I'm starting with a new name, I've decided to migrate to Wordpress during the next month or so, along with updating all my information across the blog, so please hang in there while I learn everything all over again! Because I've got the new name, I'll no longer have or Please point your browsers and bookmarks and all that fun stuff to and my email to  I've also updated my Etsy, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts to reflect the new updates. Thanks so much!!  

I thought I'd fall asleep, so far it's 10:30 as I'm writing this post. I'm living on the edge! Who knows what I'll be doing at midnight! Sleeping, snacking, watching the ball drop, watching Animal Planet, watching Bar Rescue on my DVR? Nail biter, folks.  I'll tell you what I was doing at midnight... I was watching Jenny & Donnie make out, and watching Miley and her own brand of awkwardness as I was trying to update my DNS entries for this blog, after which I decided that I screwed it all up just like Miley screwed up by not knowing the words to New York, New York. 

What a year 2013 was in my house. The last time I managed to update, was when I got one free minute after Andrew was born and Lilly was napping or something.  I severely underestimated the length of time it'd take me to get back into the swing of things!

As some of you know, we bout and built a new house, and are renting the other house out for now. We moved into the house about 2 weeks before Andrew was born, and my organization basically disappeared after that.  So, we've since made the house super cozy and comfy in the kids' rooms and the first floor, leaving me to make random trips to my favorite places to pick up tchotchkes. I can't wait to post a bunch of our projects and a little tour of the house for everyone to see.

Andrew popped on the scene in June, and he's referred to as Hambone because he is ENORMOUS. He's 6 months old and is definitely wearing 12m clothes to fit his 18" head, 28" height, and 20lb body. He's fantastic, Lilly absolutely loves him and they get along so great. We really couldn't ask for anything more awesome. Lilly is also doing amazing - she's in gymnastics and is cartwheeling all over. These two keep me insanely busy, all day long.

The Etsy shop has been massively updated too, which is great because Ashley Suzanne has her New Beginnings Baby Gift Guide posted - & I've got swaddles and baby shoes up for grabs! I'm so glad I could be part of the New Beginning Gift Guide -- stop over to see what else is happening all month long! I'll also be posting it right here to share with all of you.

The shop has new hair clips, super adorable onesies with bow ties for little guys, swaddle blankets and of course, baby TOMs-ish Personalized baby shoesies! Please feel free to pop on over and see what I've been working on!
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