Thursday, August 30, 2012

HUGE Print for Cheap!

It is a GREAT feeling to actually finish something you set out to do. Before the boys were born, I found this pin. My baby shower was an adventure theme and my little sister knitted these adorable aviator caps for the boys. We tried taking pictures of them in them a while ago for our family shoot, but the boys were too young to get a shot like I was envisioning. About a week ago, we tried again. And oh, I am in love. The process was really easy. Start to finish, this only took us about an hour. And the printing went just like the tutorial said it would. $7 at Office Max. I emailed them the file. It was ready in minutes. Something they didn't mention [that I should have known, but didn't] was that the print is on regular paper, not photo paper. It looks perfect, though, so  don't worry! Our print had streaks through it every now and again, but I totally love the imperfections. I feel like it gives it personality. Not that the boys didn't add enough of that on their own... ha.

We measured the print onto the foam board and cut it out. Cutting foam is tricky. It's hard to make it smooth. Try to do as much in one shot as you can. If you have to stop and reposition your knife, you'll almost always get a jagged edge. Once the edges are painted, it's not very noticeable, but I did have to smooth a few places out...and it was annoying.

We used this spray adhesive. It is what I use to extend the life of my silhouette cutting mats. It is repositionable. And one of our corners needs to be re-glued. I would use permanent adhesive if I were going to do this again. But it's only one tiny corner and it's really not a big deal. We had this on hand, so we used it. But if you're going out and buying some, get stronger stuff.

We painted the edges black. I added an inky edge on the front face of the picture as well. I like how it finished and smoothed everything off. It was at this point that Cameron commented how nice and expensive it looked and he couldn't believe it. That, my friends, dubs this project a success all on its own.

We duct taped loops of twine onto the back and Cam hung it on the wall. It is SO light! I am in love. Also because if it falls off the wall, it won't hurt my boys. All the edges are rounded and it couldn't smash them if it wanted to. It's too big. If it did manage to get IN to the crib, it weighs about 2 pounds. I'm not concerned. And I feel like it packs a graphic punch. Plus, how cute are those boys? Makes my heart melt in a major way.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Custom Design: Baby Details

I have had these gorgeous pictures of the boys since they were less than two months old. I've been wanting to put them together in a collage for their nursery and I am completely thrilled at how they turned out. They add such a sweet feeling to the nursery. A reminder of just how tiny they once were.

So much so, that I made a freebie for ya! {And you can use it for whatever you'd like - Not just baby stuff!}

It fits in an 8x10 frame and is compatible with photoshop and photoshop elements. You'll need a basic understanding of clipping masks.

To download, just click here.

And if you make something with this, I would LOVE to see it! Send it to me in an e-mail or something. For real.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Jet Setters

I feel like my boys have been all over the country since they were born, and in a sense they have. We've been from Utah to Arizona to Utah to Idaho to Arizona and now to Texas. In the move, Cameron drove all our stuff to Dallas and my mom and I flew on the red-eye flight out to meet him. The airline we went on {Spirit Airlines} is a super discount option, but they're really strict on what bags you can take with you. Well, you can take whatever you want, but you have to pay for it. We were trying to keep things as cheap as possible [$26 one way.] So we packed everything in our "personal items" that we can carry on free of charge. [Actual carry-on bags cost $25+]. We were allowed a backpack a piece, a diaper bag for each baby, car carriers for the boys and a stroller PER baby. We got to the airport at 11:30 and checked in with all our stuff. We had packed perfectly. No extra charges. I was thrilled!

Getting through security was seriously a joke. We had SO MUCH STUFF. And they make you take your babies out of their carriers. And then you have to flip the carriers over and put them through the x-ray machine. And then you have to take your shoes off. And then your mom, who is holding Nash, is randomly selected for extra screening. Oh boy. If it weren't for the extremely nice and helpful security workers and the fact that the airport was near empty, I may have just got back in the car and gone back to Flagstaff. Once we made it through security, things went much smoother. Isn't that how it always is?

We found our gate and got the boys out again to play for a bit. They were being really well behaved but they were up so far past their bedtime, I really didn't know what to expect. Around midnight, they started getting fussy. I fed Nash and then started to feed Gray when our plane arrived. Wayne and Jared were on the return flight, so we got to say hi to them before taking off, which was nice.

I started to panic while waiting to get on the plane. Can you tell? lol.

My wonderful mom offered to take Nash during the flight. I was so stressed that the boys' ears would hurt and that they would be inconsolable. Lucky enough we took our seats and the boys fell asleep before we even took off. Gray loved looking at all the lights outside for a while and then pulled his blanket over his head and knocked out. Nash didn't make a single peep. He just cuddled up and went to bed in Grammy's arms. I worried about take-off. I worried about turbulence. I worried about landing. I shouldn't have worried.

And then we landed. And I dubbed the flight a success.

It was at this point that Nash started losing it. But I didn't care. The other people were getting off the plane. And more than a few people mentioned how they didn't even know there was a baby on the flight. A screaming baby when you are all packed into a small area and can't go anywhere? That's terrible. But a crying baby when you can get up and walk away? No big. We had so much stuff that we waited until the plane was basically clear. Daddy met us at baggage claim, loaded up the car and we went to my brother-in-law's mother's house to get some good sleep before the unpacking began. I was pretty much a zombie until noon, but we were here. and finally together.

Friday, August 24, 2012

DIY Reusable "Paper" Towels

When I stumble across something that totally changes my life, I HAVE to share it and tell everyone I know about it. For real. And these? These are currently "The best idea I've ever had." I know that I am far from the first person to do this, but I don't want to be the last! For the cost of less than a pack of paper towels [I spent $4 and used other materials I had around the house], you will never have to buy paper towels again. Genius. Also, this took like 15 minutes to make. Any project that can be completed start to finish in one naptime or less? Sign me up. It is so simple, it hardly needs a tutorial, but just in case my thoughts are not as easy to goes!


  • Pack of washcloths [Mine were $4 for a pack of 18 at walmart. I bought white ones so I can bleach them when I need to. They're for kitchen messes, so bleaching is inevitable. I also like the look of white paper towels on the holder, so I stuck with the basic.]

  • Paper towel tube

  • Snaps [2 full sets per washcloth + 2 extra sockets for the paper towel tube] I had these left over from making my cloth diapers.

  • Snap Press [$12 with a 40% off coupon at Jo-Anns. Again, I had mine from making cloth diapers.]

  • Awl [You might not need this depending on your washcloths. If the weave is loose enough for the snap to go through on its own, this isn't necessary, but most snap presses come with one anyway.]

  • Paper

  • Pen

1. Make a hole 1.25 inches from either edge of one corner of the paper.
2. Use that template to mark a dot in all four corners of each washcloth.

3. Use the awl and snap press to install two snap prongs and two snap sockets on each washcloth. You want them facing opposite sides of the washcloth. So if your prongs are facing up, you want your sockets facing down.

4. Snap the washcloths together in one long strip.

5. Measure 1.25 inches in from either end of the paper towel tube.
6. Install the two extra sockets onto the paper towel tube.
7. Attach your strip of washcloths to the paper towel tube, roll up and place on paper towel holder.
8. Check out your handywork, you're done!

I have a little canvas bin to throw the used ones into in our laundry room. It has been a dream, seriously. Every time I use one, I get excited again at just how good of an idea this was, and how inexpensive! I had seen reusable paper towels before, but they wanted you to sew each towel yourself out of multiple layers of fabric, which ups the cost and time involved. I couldn't commit to that and I was dang sure there was an easier way to do it, so here you have it. This works for us!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Garage Sale Score!

During the week I was in Flagstaff while Cam was driving all over the country, my dad watched the boys so my mom and I could hit a few garage sales. One boasted a bunch of baby toys so we went out with high hopes. That one turned out to be a bust. BUT, there were signs all over the neighborhood for other garage sales so away we went.

We pulled onto a pretty deserted road and after a quick pep talk to my mother about how if there is satan music, we are not getting out of the car [once upon a time, her and I stumbled into a bad craigslist situation with potentially stolen leather couches, satan music, and wannabe pro-wrestler salesmen...perhaps I should tell that story] we pulled into a storage complex. The "garage sale" was in a couple units on the front row. We drove by the unit, decided there were no toys and started to pull a U-ey. My mom had driven by the unit again on the way out and I made her back up. I couldn't tell if it was a camping chair or a stroller, but I jumped out to give it a better look. Folded up in the corner was a double umbrella stroller!

We bought it for $25 before we realized we couldn't get it to open. A half hour of working on it with my dad and we had ourselves a darn near perfect umbrella stroller for the boys. And so we went on a walk. And it rocked.

This is my ticket out of the house. It is so much easier to pick up and go when I don't have to haul the carseats and that massive stroller. And the boys get to hold hands if they want. Win-win. We have fully enjoyed it so far.

AND last major perk, we were pretty calculated as to what we could take on the flight for free and the ONLY other thing we could possibly bring was another stroller. Two babies, two strollers. Boom.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wedding Design: Brie + Beau

A major congratulations to Brie and Beau. I cannot wait to see the pictures from this classy bride. She and I played softball together all through high school. She is a beautiful and talented and incredibly inspiring woman. I love her very much and am so grateful I had the chance to help with her wedding celebration! My favorite part of this project was the calligraphy. It took us a bit to get it just right, but I really feel that the effort paid off in a major way. I am in love.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Cam!

[True to form, we'll be spending our birthdays on Lake Powell again this year, so you probably won't read this for a good long while.] Regardless, I love you babe. For real. You make life so awesome. The 3 of us are so dang lucky to have you. Happy 26th! Let's celebrate with tons of food, wakeboarding, and annihilating everyone else in the family at water baseball, 3-legged swimming, and beach volleyball. You know how we do. Team lanky-lank4eva.

p.s. i'll bring the swimcaps.

Monday, August 20, 2012

English Muffin Bread

YOU GUYS. Stop whatever you are doing and go make this bread right now. For real. It is the easiest, yummiest thing you will ever make. [Besides putting chocolate chips on a scoop of peanut butter and horking it down.] I made the entire recipe with Gray on my hip. [poor babe is teething.] AND, we have eaten half the muffins and half a loaf already. And Cam is currently toasting two more slices for immediate consumption.

Recipe found on Pinterest; originally from: One Good Thing by Jillee


  • 5.5 cups warm water

  • 11 cups flour

  • 3 packages rapid rise yeast

  • 2 tablespoons salt

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Mix it all together. Spoon into 4 greased loaf pans. Let rise to the top of the pans and bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely before slicing.


I admit I was skeptical that the batter/dough would reach the top of the pans, but it totally did. And it baked up beautifully. I didn't have 4 loaf pans. In fact I have 3 loaf pans that don't even match. All turned out perfect. I put the remaining batter in 12 muffin cups. And those turned out perfectly too. [I baked them all at the same time and pulled the muffins out about 8 minutes before the loaf pans.] They make incredible toast. I put homemade mango raspberry jam on top and man oh man it is GOOD.

The crannies my friends. The crannies. [Those blessed little air pockets that hug the butter & jam...oh boy.]

And there are 2 more loaves in my freezer.

I can hardly handle it. We'll be making this a hundred times over.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

5 Months Old

I always thought my boys would be in this middle part of babyhood and I would get all weepy and miss them being as little as they once were. I was very wrong. They are a total riot. I get stronger crushes on them every minute. They are surely sick of all my kisses and squeezes and tickling. I love hearing their little laughs. Gray will get in laugh wars with you. I laugh and then he laughs and then we repeat that over and over again. It cracks me up. And without fail, he gets the hiccups. And then he laughs and hiccups until he can't handle it any more and he's all out of energy.

I took the boys on their first "big boy" walk. [a.k.a. a walk without the car seats.] Their facial expressions make me so happy.

Much of their fifth month of life was spent in the great move of 2012. We spent a week in Flagstaff. For the first 2 days we were there, my family was in Idaho. I don't like being alone much, so I let the boys stay up past their bedtime and we watched the women's gymnastics competition. We also learned what a flash on the camera was. It was craaaazayy!

We were pretty hard up for entertainment in Flagstaff because I had to pack light for the week. I didn't pack any toys for the boys. And thus we discovered the back of the couch. Oh it became our favorite, and fast! Gray loved it especially. They would both get so excited their arms and legs would flail and they would end up on their backs on the couch cushions just squealing away.

It was also in Flagstaff during that week that we discovered the high chair. We put Gray in the high chair during dinner one night with a set of keys and some other toys on the tray. He looked so absolutely grown up. And it broke my heart a little bit, but he was also so darn cute that I couldn't help but love it. And then that smart little boy picked up the keys and shook them all on his own and I got so excited about the entire thing that I interrupted JT's story about something that happened that day. I can't believe how quick they go from being completely uninterested in their surroundings to being totally interactive and curious about everything around them. In their blessings Cam blessed Nash with a love of learning and Gray with a natural curiosity. I love being able to see those traits become an inherent part of them. I really feel like all the technology and "progress" of this century squelches imagination, curiosity and creativity. I hope I can combat that at least a little bit in the way we're raising these boys.

Oh, the smiles! Nash. Is. A. Flirt. He can turn on the charm at a moment's notice. He definitely has a thing for the ladies. He is such a blessing in my life. He is probably my harder baby, but he makes it so easy to teach him with love as the motivation because he shows me he knows who I am and that he loves me. And I know it frustrates Cam sometimes because he's such a mama's boy right now, but I love being needed. It feels wonderful.

Speaking of being a charmer. Nash charmed Grammy right into giving him a Nilla Wafer for his first "real" food while I was in the shower. Grammy tried to blame Uncle Rick. Yeah right. However, he was so happy! Judge all you want. I believe in real food. I believe in having a healthy relationship with food. And I believe you get cookies at Grammy's house.

Oh these two. This is Grandpa. Him and Nash hit it off in a major way. If Nash is the flirt. Grandpa was his wingman. They were joined at the hip the entire week. Nash wouldn't go to sleep unless Grandpa was holding him. Nash wanted Grandpa during dinner, the olympics, church, etc. I love seeing two men in my life getting along so well. And it shocked me a bit at how little my dad minded being needed by Nash so often. I was grateful for the help [Cam was making the long drive to TX.] And it made my heart so happy to see them together.

And before we even had the house unpacked in Texas, we went to a thrift store and bought this exersaucer for $13. I attribute us being able to get the house set up completely to this little wonderful piece of plastic. I also get so excited when either of the boys figures out one of the toys attached to it. Gray talks to the dragon hand puppet. He also eats him. Same - same. Nash likes the animal buttons that make animal noises. His favorite is the duck. He also figured out that if you hit it 3 times in a row it plays an entire song. It took Cam and I much longer to figure out how he was getting the toy to play songs. Nash also like the clicky wheels. He rolls them and once he makes noise with them, he squeals so loud. In fact, he got so excited about it he is now hoarse. Too much fun.

We have introduced oatmeal, green beans, and couscous to the boys. Gray has just been waiting for this day his entire life. His whole world has changed. And he is stoked. "You mean there is more food?! MORE. FOOD?!"

Augh. Be still my heart. I love them so much. Shortly after this, we had to talk about kneeing each other in the mouth and how that is not nice. I am so grateful for little boys. Oh I just can't believe they are mine.

Gray likes new food. Nash has a hard time with spoons. We are slowly but surely learning. Most of the time we wait until he freaks out. And then he wails with his mouth wide open, I sneak a bite inside and he calms down while tasting the goodness that suddenly appeared there.

I love getting to know my boys more and more. They continue to light up my life. Cam and I truly are the luckiest. There have been a few nights where we just hand the baby back and forth because we are all out of ideas, but honestly I love it. Sure, we get tired but it is the best tired in the world. I wish everyone could feel what this feels like. It's impossible to explain. It's so much better than I ever imagined and it is absolutely worth fighting for. I am so grateful for the many miracles that brought our boys home. They are so needed. They are so loved.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Moving Day

Our move from Arizona to Texas was pretty carefully orchestrated. Because we were in such a hurry to get down to Arizona earlier in the summer, we left 90% of our stuff in a storage unit in Utah. So, we had a load of stuff in Arizona, a truck full of stuff to load up in Utah and two babes who really didn't want to spend 37 hours in the car, much less a mom who wanted to brave that drive.

So, we decided Cam would drive up to Utah and rent a Penske - load up all our stuff and tow the Honda to Dallas. Meanwhile, Wayne and Jared would drive our Arizona stuff out to Dallas. 4 days later, my mom and me and the boys would take the red-eye flight to complete the move. A little nuts.  Add in two little boys who really were NOT excited to move away from their grandparents, and a mama spending a week on her own for the first time and we had quite the mix.

I still don't know how all of this worked out, but somehow we actually got all packed up and on the road. We sure are going to miss everyone, but can't wait to experience this new adventure!
On an unrelated note, we just found out that Amberlee [total babe in the purple] made the VARSITY SWIM TEAM as a FRESHMAN. Woot woo! We are so dang excited for her. And proud. Boo yah! We got to go to her swim meets over the summer, and I completely fell in love with the sport. She is up to break some school records for sure. Good luck Amber!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Perks of living in your husband's high school bedroom

When we moved to Queen Creek, our little family of four slept in Cam's old high school bedroom. With the same furniture that he had during his glory days. Every morning, I opened the armoire to this little gem.

Oh sweet angst.

That's the man I married ladies and gentlemen.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


A couple years ago, my aunt asked me to design a website for her vacation rental in Idaho. She paid me with a free week at said rental. That summer, we were all ready to go up to "the cabin" and figured out we were smack in the middle of IVF, so we had to postpone it. This summer, with Wayne having cancer and us moving away so suddenly before Kenzee was born, everyone was looking forward to "the 2nd Wayne Call Reunion". And it did not disappoint. What a blast!

We split the drive up into parts that would hopefully make it easier on the boys. The cabin is only about 5 hours from Salt Lake. And it's the prettiest drive I have ever been on. I wish I had been thinking clearly enough to snap a picture of the amazing lake you drive around. It looks like Hogwarts. No lie. Once we arrived, we unpacked our stuff and set out to check out the house. So gorgeous. And the river runs right through the backyard.

Each family was in charge of an activity. For Cam and I, we decided to do a series of relay races in honor of the Olympics. One was a popcorn race. We rigged a couple cups with rubber bands to fit around everyone's shoes. You had to fill the cups, run across the yard and dump whatever was left into the basket at the other end. After everyone had a turn, you see who had the most. Wayne and Adrienne went first. Once Wayne was on his way back, Adrienne grabbed his team's basket and dumped the entire contents into our team's basket. And thus began the first of 4 cheatings that went unnoticed. Those Calls sure are competitive. ;)

The next race was called the "Soggy Jog." We brought two pairs of sweatpants, dunked them in a cooler a piece and everyone had to put them on, run across the yard and back, peel them off, re-dunk them and hand them to the next teammate. Hilarious. And Jared and Adam got into it as well. Although I must give points to Jared for creativity. Logan decided to busy himself by eating the popcorn from the previous race. lol.

The 'tie-breaker' after 3 races was a crossword puzzle with everyone in the family's names all mashed together. I can't remember who won. I'm sure it was my team. :)

One afternoon, we decided to take the boys for their first ride in the bike trailer. Nash was pumped. Gray was less than enthused. Rookie parents decided not to close the flap on the bike trailer because it was so nice outside. Figured out later that the flap is more for blocking debris and dirt from getting all over your babes from the back tire.

The bike ride was really fun though! We went to the bridge because a friend had told us there was a swimming hole underneath it. We tried the life vests on the boys for the first time. They didn't hate it. But the water was ice cold. So they didn't get in.

We packed them up in the trailer again - flap closed this time, and headed home. And then the chain fell off my bike. And so I did this awkward little push - shuffle - coast all the way home, hoping and praying I made it there before the truck full of Calls left to float the river. I barely made it to the driveway as they pulled out. I stopped all nonchalantly to wave them off and then continued my push - shuffle - coast into the garage. And then I busted up laughing. I am still laughing writing this. oh that someone could have videod that. hilarious.

This is the view from the bridge where we would put the tubes in, and then float to the backyard and get out. Figuring out where to get in and out was tricky the first time, to say the least, but after that it was a total hit. 20 minutes start to finish meant I could go 3 whole times during the boys' naps! YEAH. Oh I loved it.

One time, so many people wanted to go that Cam offered to ride on the small tube. LOL. Oh my gosh so funny. Cam was too heavy in all his 6'5'' frame that the tube couldn't hold him up and stayed submerged an inch or two the entire time.

We took family pictures up there as well. Emilee took them with her tri-pod + timer. Pretty impressive. Gray's hair normally stands straight up like a little dandelion fuzz head, but I decided to gel it a bit for the pictures. And then he decided to start flashing smiles like this. Kills me.

[it has been brought to my attention that you all want to know how I did my hair. So here goes. Step one, if you are in the AZ area, get Melissa Nevitt at Country Cuts to cut your hair. If you are in the UT area, go ask Lisa Crane. Both are phenomenal. Step two, I used my straightener to shape it. Mostly straight, but with an overall bend. The ends aren't curled, it's just kind of bent. Step three, rat the heck out of it. I have fully embraced big hair. Stop fighting it. It's worth it. Step four, wear your mother-in-law's lipstick/lip liner. Life changing. For real, it's so good it makes your hair look better.]

Now, all you non-rookie moms can write a how-to in the comments for me. HOW DO YOU TAKE PICTURES WHILE HOLDING A BABY WITHOUT GOING ALL HUNCHBACK? I seriously look all bent up in every single family picture. And super far away from the rest of the family. Blech. But I do like this one. :)

The rest of the week was spent playing games late into the night, watching a little Lion King (and falling asleep). Lots of playtime with daddy and fuzzy warm jammies we can't wear anywhere else.

Amberlee slept really well. Obviously.

Elisha and Baylee were such huge helps with my boys. They were so excited to play with them all the time it made me so happy. Really fun to watch.

All the grandkids together before we drove out. I love this picture so much. I love all these kids. Man, we miss you Becks!

[On a total sidenote, I'm patting myself on the back a little over this trip because I totally cloth diapered all the way up to Idaho, the entire time we were there, and all the way back down to AZ. I did laundry at friends' houses and the cabin had a great laundry room. So major thanks to Danica for doing a load for me and my Aunt Carrie for letting me use her washing machine. And it totally wasn't as hard as I was anticipating. And I'm slowly being converted into a cloth-nut. I LOVE CLOTH DIAPERS. For real. It breaks my heart a little every time we put them in disposables for one reason or another. Cloth is clearly superior in my book.]

Oh, and if you need a place for a totally amazing family reunion, let me know. I can get you 10% off the rental.