First of all: I updated the "The Story" page at the top, so you can click on it if you feel so inclined.
Soon I'll get that Faves page updated.

I've been working like crazy to get projects done around our little apartment before a certain little boy arrives.
I'm so in love with painting furniture right now because it's an easy way to make a cheap find from craigslist look unique and cute and brighten up the whole room.
That bookshelf in the picture above was $10 on craigslist.
It was just a boring wood color and I painted it blue and then bought some black and white fabric baskets from Amazon to use as drawers to put Baby Boy's clothes in.
I love it next to the school bus yellow changing table.
And now can we just take a moment to talk about how awesome Amazon is?
It is seriously the greatest.
They carry EVERYTHING (including food, did you know you can order groceries from Amazon?) and you can look at reviews to figure out which brand you want the most and it has the cheapest prices and free shipping over $25, does it get much better than that?
I don't think so.
Above the shelves is this angler fish painting.
A bonus to being an art major is that you end up graduating with a ton of class assignments to put up on you kid's walls.
Is an angler fish too intense for a baby's room?

The other project is the little table above that we bought from Ikea when we were first married.
It used to be black but now it's teal and adds so much color to Lala's room.
She asks me all the time to help her sit at her desk so that she can read books, especially Brown Bear Brown Bear.
The red folding chair came from a children's consignment store for $7 and that dresser to the left I got from a thrift store for $40, I absolutely love it!
(Thanks to my brother-in-law I figured out why my pictures are blue, but I took these pictures before he told me how to fix them, so you get another dose of frosty blue photos).
Oh wigwam curtains, I just love you so much.

The word that Ella says most in a day is "Peez" (please).
She is constantly, and I mean constantly, saying "peez. peez. peez. peez."
And then I have to look around at what she is pointing at or looking at and see if it's something she can have or do.
Peez a bagel.
Peez play outside in 110 degree weather.
Peez play with toys.
Peez a drink.
Peez remove this wrapper that somehow got stuck to my foot.
Peez get the drink I threw in the farthest possible corner of the car while you are simultaneously driving 55mph on a windy road.
Peez put this diaper on Gerard.
Peez let me play with those pop-it fireworks I somehow found in your closet.
Peez let me eat whatever is in the trashcan because it just looks so much yummier coming from there.
Peez put me on that chair.
Peez take me down.
Peez put me back up.
Peez down.
Peez get me something, I don't know what but just keep giving me things until you finally give me something I like.
And sometimes I think, if she says "peez" one more time I will go insane.
And then it hits me, "Hey, I have a 1 1/2 year-old who not only says "please" but says please rather than throwing a tantrum for what she wants (we still have plenty of tantrums, of course, but they are much fewer than they would be otherwise because she knows that if she says please she is much more likely to get what she wants).
She also is pretty pro at saying "Dee dee" (thank you) when she gets what she was asking for.
So peez is good.

And here is a rather dashing fellow who has been very into bow ties lately.
He's pretty much a pro at tying them and his socks are always worth noticing:

10 Pictures and 10 Things

I kind of have a frosty blue light going on with these photos, let's just pretend that it was intentional.
Reality: I don't even know how to use this camera.
But even with the frosty glow going on it looks better than our old point-and-shoot so I still feel like a winner of a photographer.

The things you get excited about as a parent are kind of hilarious/ridiculous.
I just danced around for joy and excitedly told Adam that I found the brand of overnight diapers that we need to get for Ella because it sounds like they will actually work!
Who gets excited about things like that?
Moms of girls who have soaked their bed every single night for the past two weeks, that's who!
Once I get those diapers in my hands the amount of laundry I have to do will greatly be reduced-- yeehaw!

Went to the doctor last week, I am 2cm dilated and 70% effaced and I've had mild contractions for the past several days (strong enough to wake me up in the night), this baby is getting ready to show his cute face!

What is going on in these pictures: 
Ella is a far more intense organizer than I had ever guessed before now.
In these pictures she is carefully transfering almost every single toy from her toy bin to the bottom two stairs, lining them all up.
This is an absolute favorite activity of hers.
Not pictured:
The toys sat there for majority of the day.
I was in the kitchen making dinner (a rare moment when she actually let me make dinner instead of needing my attention) and I heard Ella start singing a little tune that involved the words "meekah meekah (clean up clean up).
I glanced over and noticed that she was transferring the toys from the stairs back into the toy bin.
A few minutes late I glanced over again and ALL of the toys had been cleared from the stairs and put back in the bin.
Um...what child does that?!
Voluntarily decides that she needs to clean up her toys, I mean for reals?
And since then she has done it several more times with her toys and her books and the tupperware in the kitchen that she had thrown around
I don't even have to mention anything, she will tell me, "Meekah meekah!" and start putting things away all on her own.

 Ella calls me "Annie."
She sometimes calls me "Momma" too but she most often calls me "Annie."
I kind of love it.
It just kind of fits her personality for her to call me by my first name.
When we are at the store or even at home and she doesn't know where I am she calls out, "Annie? Annie!"
Um yes, I love her.

Rockstar wrote about this thing at this bakery in NY called a Cronut.
It's a doughnut and croissant combined.
I desperately need one.

Along with the clean up song she sings E-I-E-I-O.
And ABCs is a favorite, she asks me to sing that one to her all the time.
Sometimes people look at you funny when they hear you singing ABCs as you walk down the aisles of the grocery store.

In the past 4 weeks there have been about a dozen occasions where I went into Ella's room in the morning to find that she had thrown up in the night. 
All day she would act totally normal but every few nights she would throw up. 
I started monitoring her diet and how close to bed time she would eat and other things like that and finally figured out what is causing it: the water from the faucet. 
We drink bottled water because we think our water tastes nasty and when we first moved in Adam got sick and he claimed that it was because he drank the tap water.
I scoffed at this conclusion, claiming that the we lived in the United States, not some 3rd world country.
Surely our country would not allow regulated city water to be contaminated. 
But then I realized that every time Ella had thrown up was after she took a bath.
One of her favorite bath time activities is to drink from the faucet.
She just recently started doing that but now it's her favorite thing to do.
So then I started watching her closely during bath time, making sure she never drank the water and she hasn't thrown up since, which means that it was the tap water that was upsetting her stomach so much.

A problem I have: how hard it is to not buy adorable kids clothes at the thrift store when they are only 50 cents-$2 a piece.
I found this little blue and white dress at the thrift store for $1, I love the scalloped collar with the lace on it.
And it's so well made and just cute.
And I've found that it's even easier to find cute boys clothes at thrift stores that I like than girls clothes, so I keep coming home with more and more things for him.

I LOVE Ella's sense of humor.
It is seriously the best and I cannot wait to see how it develops as she grows up.
It's hard to explain a sense of humor so you might just have to take my word for it, but I'll try to explain.
She laughs at herself all the time and funny things that she accidentally does.
Example: She was wearing a shirt over her face so she couldn't see (a normal thing for her to do, because she thinks it's funny) and she was walking around this way and slipped on a book on the tile floor which made her do a kind-splits thing and fall to the ground and she laughed hysterically at how crazy the whole fall had been.
And she laughs at funny sounding words and knows how to make the words sound funnier to make them even better to laugh about and will repeat the joke later on.
How does a 1 1/2 year old know how to joke like that?
She must get it from her Dada.

And two bonus pictures of her first ice cream cone:


It's That Time of Year Again for My All-Time Fave Show of Beautifulness

So You Think You Can Dance has been on for several weeks already and I haven't even mentioned a single thing about it on this little blog yet, which is shocking, considering how crazy I am about that show.
Here is a dance from this last week that I can't stop watching, I think it's so creative and gorgeous:

New Blog Design and Some Projects

I have sat here and typed three different first lines to this blog post but I really just don't even know how to start it off so maybe I'll stop trying to be creative and just say what I really want to say: LOOK AT THIS INCREDIBLE NEW BLOG DESIGN!!!!!!
Is it okay if I say that about my own blog, especially since I didn't design it myself?
This beautiful and wonderful and just downright talented friend of mine, Amy, who I have known since clear back in the 5th grade (when we would make pets out of little dried white beans that we would color eyes on and build furniture for) is an amazing designer and she designed this whole look.
I am pretty much in love with it.
I would definitely recommend checking out her blog.
One of my favorite things is her moodboards.

In addition to the new design, a while ago Adam and I decided that we wanted to get a new camera to take pictures of our kiddos, so we started setting money aside and doing research and asking around and finally decided to get a basic "fancy" camera, a Canon Rebel T3.
If that doesn't mean anything to you, that's okay, it didn't mean anything to me until recently.
Anyway, after much waiting and price checking we found an awesome deal for the camera we wanted and we took the plunge and bought it!
And now we have to figure out how to use it.
We don't have a clue.
I've been watching videos on YouTube on how to use this gorgeous new picture-taking device and I have to pause the video to go look up words like, "aperture" and "ISO" and "shutter speed" because apparently those words are so basic they don't explain them in the video.
 They just assume you know because after all you own a "fancy" camera, surely you wouldn't have bought it if you didn't know at least the basics of photography, right?
But I am determined to learn and eventually we will have gorgeous pictures of our children to show for it and so far it's been really fun trying to figure it all out.
As I tried to get a basic idea of how to use the camera I went around my little apartment and took pictures of things I love in it, I'm sure one day I will look back and laugh at how horrible some of these pictures are (I'm already flinching at how the lighting looks in some of these) but hey, that's okay!
So I have pictures of a lot of my latest projects that I've done around the house that I've posted on Instagram but am just now getting around to posting on here.
You guys, I am obsessed with home decorating blogs and projects these days.
Project #1:

This changing table for Baby Boy.
I hadn't been planning on getting a changing table, I never had one for Ella, I just used a changing pad on the floor and that worked perfectly but I saw this one at a garage sale for $10 so I decided to grab it.
It looked and smelled pretty awful.
But after lots of cleaning and scrubbing and Lysol and then some yellow paint it looks (and smells) a million times better.
I made this retro flannel cover for the changing pad.
And as a bonus I can use it as a visual to one day explain to my children what a cassette tape is.
(Ella calls that monkey "Elmo")

Project #2:
I saw this on Pinterest and fell so in love with it I had to make one.
It was a surprisingly fast project, just one Sunday afternoon and I made it completely out of scraps of fabric I already had.

There are several projects going on in here:
That is our table and chairs that we got from Craigslist for $50.
We painted the table white and the chairs green. teal, and blue.
We are in the process of collecting mismatched shaped chairs (that you can see against the left wall) that we'll also paint (yellow, grey, and coral) to add to the table.
That adorable garland was made out of paint swatches (this lovely friend taught me how to make it)/
And that chandelier makes me want to dance for joy every time I turn it on.
(Oh dear, looks like I need to straighten that candle)
That chandelier was my very first spray painting project.
I found it at a garage sale for $10 and it was just a brassy color before.
This is my go-to place for furniture refinishing and spray painting advice.
I asked Adam to hang it up for me, and even though he had never wired a light fixture before he said "yes, my love" and now it looks so beautiful!

And then these are just beautiful things that I love in my dining room:

And some more beautiful things:
Yeah, I found those Tillamook beauties for $2.50/each at Albertson's this week.
That new white chocolate raspberry flavor is pretty lovely.
These jars line the top of my kitchen cupboards and I just really love them.
Please take note of how effectively I used my camera to focus on that one jar in the middle but left the rest blurry, I'm feeling pretty impressed with my learning curve right now.

Now onto Miss Lala's room:
One day there will be something hung right about the bunting, like a picture or Ella's name or something else but right now it's just blank.
Tissue paper pom poms are so easy and add so much to a room.
Bunting isn't as quick to make as I wish it would be but it sure is cute.
That's a crib that I found on Craigslist (mattress included) for $50!
I bought a can of stain to cover up some chips and scratches.
I keep mentioning the prices of things because I love hearing where people got deals on things and how much it was because it motivates me to look in those places for deals.
Thrift shopping is definitely a game of patience and I think it helps to hear that other people are having success to give you the motivation to be patient and wait for the deal you really want.

Mmmk, now lets just zoom in on those curtains that I love:

I found this fabric on Hawthorne Threads, it's covered in teepees and wigwams and I just like it a lot.

Another beautiful thing in my little apartment that I love:

A lot about food and traveling with a toddler

Here are the last of the pictures from LA, the babymoon we went on with baby #1 before baby #2 came:

I was really excited to take Ella to the zoo because she loves dogs so I thought this was an obvious sign that she loved all animals.
I was kind of wrong.
Ella pretty much could care less about the zoo.
But I think the main reason for this is because the animals were too far away to really appreciate.
She sort of liked the goats since we got to be inside the pen with them.
Her disinterest was also probably due to the fact that she was running a fever the whole day, which I didn't realize until we were at the mall that night (another zoo of sorts) and she was acting so groggy I asked a cop at the mall for a thermometer and found out that she was at 104 degrees-- I kind of freaked out when I saw that because downtown LA is the last place I want to have to take my kid to the ER. 
Luckily after a bath, some fever reducing meds and some prayers we got the fever down, so we didn't have to visit any hospitals.
Anyway, back to the zoo...

Ella loving the goats and you know, just me with a goat, because who doesn't want a picture of themselves next to a very handsome white goat?

Please note the matching sunglasses that all three of us are wearing.
Adam and I got ours while on our honeymoon and when I was pregnant with Ella we found a matching toddler pair that we obviously had to get (Adam loves when we all match).

Oh, what was that you said?
You want to hear me ramble on endlessly about the wonderful food we ate and hotels we stayed in while in L.A?
Well that is such a coincidence because I feel like rambling about it!

The Food
Some people, when they go on vacation, they just want whatever food is cheap and easy and quick so that they can have the energy to just keep on exploring and having fun, the food doesn't need to be anything special.
That is not me.
The food is one of the most important parts of a vacation for me.
I will remember the food we ate on a vacation for years to come.
For example, when I went backpacking through western Europe with my dad five years ago, I can remember what we ate in each and every country we stopped in. 
That deliciously cheesy panini in Rome, the best and thickest hot chocolate I've ever had in my life in Paris, and the warm chocolate croissants in Venice (chocolate was a major theme of my entire summer living in Europe, it resulted in major pound gainage but it was worth it).
I think food is one of the best parts of daily life.
So as you can imagine, some serious planning went into the food we ate while in LA. 
It doesn't need to be expensive, it just needs to be good.
I looked up the most highly rated restaurants in LA on Urbanspoon and wrote down the addresses of the ones that sounded the best to us (and that were actually in our price range) and then we carefully plotted out where we were going to be each day and saw how close we would be to each restaurant and chose out which restaurants to go to.
This actually turned out to be an awesome way to go.
^Walking to breakfast, it's crazy how LA can be all cement on one street and then turn the corner and it's gorgeous and green on the next.

With a toddler it was vital that we had every detail of the day planned out before we even woke up because on the few days when we decided to just "wing it" Ella would inevitably be grumpy and crying in the backseat and I would desperately be looking up places to eat close to wherever we were and then it just involved a lot of driving and Ella getting more frustrated and hungry and getting lost in LA traffic and not being sure where to eat. 
So having it all planned out was good, plus it made sure that we could hit the highest rated restaurants.
Although, even when we did plan it out last minute we would look up the restaurants close to us and look at their ratings on google and decide on where to eat based on those ratings and that resulted in some really yummy meals as well, but it was just a lot more frustrating to get to them. 
So here were a few of our favorite places:
The #1 rated restaurant in LA on Urbanspoon is Porto's Bakery and Cafe in Glendale.
We loved this place.
It was yummy and cheap, a combination that we are big fans of.
There were yummy sandwiches and tons of desserts and pasteries that were all cheap as can be, we ended up buying two sandwiches, a couple of potato balls (I know, sounds weird, but they're good and very recommended on Urbanspoon) and 3 desserts and we loved all of it.
We sat outside under an umbrella and it was perfect!
The #2 place is Bay Cities Italian Deli and Bakery in Santa Monica.
We got the Godmother sandwich, which is very highly recommended on Urbanspoon.
We liked it, but to me it didn't belong in the #2 spot on the list.
The sandwich was certainly better than anything you'd get at Subway, but it isn't anything I would rave over and the atmosphere wasn't anything special.
We skipped #3 because it had $$$ next to it, but #4 we LOVED!
#4 is Diddy Riese Cookies, next to UCLA.
A friend of ours had recommended this place as well and we ended up going there twice and would have gone more if we could have.
They make incredibly delicious cookies and the thing to get there is an ice cream sandwich with two of their cookies and some Dryers ice cream.
It is a mere $1.75 for a ton of deliciousness.
There were long lines both times we went but it was well worth the wait.
#7 is Phillipe, which apparently has the original French Dip Sandwich, we tried to hit this spot on a couple of occasions but it just never worked out, but we definitely want to try it next time.
#13 is The Griddle Cafe and it definitely deserves it's spot up on that list of top places to eat.
It is a breakfast place that serves frisbee-sized pancakes that are heavenly!
I'm really picky about my pancakes but I loved these!
Apparently they have the nation's best french toast, but unfortunately I was a less than impressed by it (when you've had Kneader's French Toast, it's hard to find anything as wonderful as that).
The pancakes, on the other hand, were fabulous.
We hit this place twice and the best time was when we simply ordered one stack of pancakes and split it between the 3 of us and we couldn't even finish it all.
Plus, they have about 20 different flavors of pancakes, some of them are really exotic (like throwing frosted flakes into them) but they are so good!

A few places we liked that weren't on the list:
Layla's Cafe
We found a groupon that made this place totally worth it.
It's a Mediterranean restaurant with good food and a lovely atmosphere.
Tomato Pie
A hole-in-the-wall pizza place, Adam thought it was fine, I thought the perfectly crispy soft crust made it awesome!
C+O Cucina
This is an Italian restaurant.
The pasta is okay, not amazing, but the thing that makes this place worth going to is the garlic rolls, oh my gosh, I died with how deliciously buttery and garlicy they were.
I've never had bread at a restaurant that tastes this good.
Ella ate like 10 of them.
They just keep bringing them by your table throughout the meal, hot from the oven.

And then we hit a few that we've eaten at before and love, like Earl of Sandwich, Macaroni Grill and The Cheesecake Factory.
My crazy lists of where to eat, where we were staying, places to visit and the cost of everything, I love lists!

Another thing that is necessary to a good vacation is making sure your toddler gets enough sleep so that you aren't dragging a crank-monster everywhere you go (Ella is a definite grump when she is tired, she plays hard and then she crashes hard).
So we stayed in 4 separate hotels while in LA so that we were always within a 20 minute drive of where we were having fun and where Ella's bed was.
We stayed at Knott's Berry Farm in Anaheim so that we were close to Disneyland, we stayed in this adorable inn that I would totally recommend (called The Inn at Marina Del Rey) on the days when we were playing at the beach.
^Little Girl met Snoopy at the Knott's Berry Farm hotel

And for the days that we explored downtown and the zoo Adam found this amazing Hotwire deal for this incredibly glitzy Hotel called The W Hotel Hollywood (in a room that normally cost $400+ per night, and we paid MUCH less than 75% off and in a city where a dumpy hotel costs $80+, that was a major steal).
This place was crazily high class (at least by mine and Adam's standards).
We were escorted in and out of the hotel by body guards...seriously.
It cost $40/night to park your car there (we parked our car a block over so that we wouldn't have to pay that crazy fee and just prayed that our car didn't get broken into).
Everything was ritzy glitzy and so were the people.
This is what the very classy lobby looked like:
And what our room looked like:
And this is a picture of the rugs in the elevators that they switched out three times a day to say "Good morning," "Good afternoon," and "Good evening."
More on this hotel later...

So as soon as signs of grumpiness began, we finished up whatever we were doing and drove to our hotel to put her to sleep.
The hotels were super accommodating to making sure we had a room with a bathroom that could fit a pack-n-play in it so that Ella could sleep there.
^Ella's bed in the bathroom, she had just woken up and was a little bit upset that I was taking her picture instead of getting her out.
^And this is what we would do while Little Girl was napping, eat desserts and plan out the rest of the day.

This meant that if we ever needed to use the bathroom in the evenings after she was asleep we had to go down to the lobby.
At The W, the downstairs turns into a club in the evenings so going down there to use the Little Girl's room was an adventure.
Clubs aren't really our thing.
I seriously started wondering what country we were in because is it legal to only wear only a shirt and underwear with no pants on out in public?
I've seen that in other countries but never in the U.S.

There were security guards that stood in front of the elevators up to the rooms and most people have to show them their passes to be able to get to the elevators and go up to the rooms but to show you how totally out of place I was at this hotel, I never had to show them my pass because they remembered me out of the hundreds of people who passed by.
I was the the one with the pregnant belly and a shirt with sleeves on it and actual pants.

^I pretty much live in stretchy skirts and dresses and leggings these days, the stretchier, the better.

^Ella found these water fountains far more fascinating than any animal we saw at the zoo.

^While we were exploring downtown one day, this little boy walked straight up to Ella, pulled her into his arms and started kissing her on the face.
His mom insisted that he had never done anything like that before.
Ella was rather upset with his forwardness.
We laughed about it for a while.
And that concludes the babymoon of wonderfulness!
It was so fun and I'm so glad we could do that before our lives totally change, but it was also good to get back and get Ella on her regular schedule.
 The day after we got back I took Ella to Walmart to get groceries and she was absolutely ecstatic to be in a place that was familiar to her, Walmart has never been such a joyful experience.
Now it's time to finish prepping for Baby Boy to arrive in 6 short weeks.