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As excited as I was to move Jack out of the crib, I was a tiny bit heartbroken when I realized I’d soon be taking down the mobile I so lovingly created. I hated to just cast it aside.

I’ve got a plan to reuse the yarn balls, but first I tackled a smaller project: creating a piece of embroidery to fill the green painted hoop. I started working on it several weeks ago using a spare embroidery hoop, then just moved it over to the green one after we’d set up Jack’s new bed and taken down the mobile. My first attempt involved tracing an image of tree rings that I found online. When it was finished I wasn’t sure about the outcome so I texted a picture to my friend Lauren and asked what it looked like to her.

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So with that I started over, this time keeping it simpler. I used a backstitch for the rings and lettering and two rows of split stitches for the bark. And to avoid any unintentional resemblance to anatomy I stitched his name in the center instead of ever-narrowing rings. It’s supposed to look like his name was scrawled on a tree stump.

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The green and brown are perfect accents in his room.

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I love the addition of something round to the collection of items on his wall. I’d like to add something else to the right side but I’m not quite sure what yet.

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It’s kind of symbolic–the rings of a tree are a visual marker of growth and this is a space for a growing child to play and rest.

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It’s hung on the wall with a nail and secured in place with some museum putty. Since he’s not confined to the crib anymore I went ahead and added a bit of putty to everything else on the wall, too, just to make sure that he doesn’t accidentally pull something down and hurt himself when he’s in there alone.

I’ve been working on this embroidery project on and off since May so I’m thrilled to finally have it completed. Next project: stringing those yarn balls into a garland to hang from the ceiling!

 

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image from here

Parenting is one of those things that almost everybody over a certain age has some experience with. If they haven’t been parents themselves, they’ve at least observed enough to form a few opinions. And boy, do they make their opinions known. When Jack was younger, people would say things like, “Oh, look at the cute baby! Where’s his hat?” Or they would ask whether he was sleeping through the night and tell me what I needed to do to make him. Or ask conspiratorially if I was one of those moms who breastfeeds in public. One lady even told me I was holding him wrong! As he gets older, the comments have changed. Now it’s all about how I respond when he acts out and whether I’m keeping a close enough eye on him. People act like he has no sense of self-preservation and I should be on constant suicide watch.

No matter how active Nick is in parenting our child, others will always view me as the primary caretaker and address their comments as such. I’ve struggled with accepting criticism for as long as I can remember. I developed a much tougher skin after my first few years as a social worker but parenting brings it to a whole new level. Add to that the fact that I bristle at unsolicited advice or being told what to do unless it comes from someone who’s paying me and you have a recipe for frustration. I can seethe for days over one comment.

In my line of work I have seen some people really do their kids a disservice. You’d think that this experience would be reassuring, but really it just makes it easy to see all the ways that I’m falling short. It’s like a friend of mine who’s a social worker on a neuro unit and thinks every headache is a stroke. I know too much.

But at the same time, I know that there are only a few ways to really mess up your kids and a million ways to do a perfectly fine job. I feel like my mantra these days is, “he’s fine.” And you know what? He IS fine! Just because somebody says something doesn’t make it true, and even if their way of parenting is actually right that doesn’t mean that my way isn’t also right. But more importantly, I need to stop taking these comments so personally. What kind of example am I setting for Jack to get so worked up about what other people think?

Parenting is a lot like living in a fish bowl. Everything you do is under scrutiny by the general public. I can’t do anything to change that, but I think I can work on letting those comments roll off my back. Any tips?

I knew that having drink dispensers that closed for travel would be the easiest way to transport beverages to Jack’s splashpad birthday party, but dang those things are expensive! I searched high and low, unwilling to pay upwards of $20 each for something I might use once a year, and was thrilled when I finally found these for only $10 each at Target. I could have used them on their own just fine, but they would have had to sit at the edge of the table so that folks could fill their cups and that just felt awkward to me.

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I wanted to find a way to raise them up a few inches if possible. I couldn’t find any drinks stands that had the look I wanted and were worth the money so I started looking for everyday objects that might be repurposed. I really only needed something about 3″ high to accommodate the small cups we were using but whatever it was had to be pretty sturdy. Enter this wood box from the craft store! I think it was about $11 with a coupon. I totally laughed when I saw the text on it, though. I feel like Pinterest has taken our collective penchant for decor that states the obvious a little too far.

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To cover up the text, I painted the center slat kelly green. I was originally planning to stain the rest of it but that one colorful slat looked a little off so I painted the others navy and white. These are the same colors used in Jack’s room and in varying degrees throughout our home so I knew I could repurpose it to store toys or books after the party without having to repaint. I stained the remaining sides and bottom. I was going to stain the inside as well, but after some green paint dripped I painted it green. The green interior is my only regret.

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For the party, we just flipped it over to use as a platform! It was a little breezy that day so we tucked the napkins between the slats to help them stay put. I was a little worried about how the thin wood would hold up to all that weight and moisture from condensation but it did fine.

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The box is currently corralling cleaning rags in my laundry room, but the colors are so great that I think I will eventually just add some felt pads to the bottom and put it in Jack’s room. I might get another one just like it to paint yellow for the laundry room, though!

Happy Tuesday, my friends! Did you have a great weekend? We have been really making the most of these long summer days with lots of time spent outside (despite it being so oppressively, mindnumbingly hot). Maybe it’s because I’ve been so busy having fun that I’m a little late this month with my sponsor shout out post, but better late than never!

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Sprigs Jewelry and Accessories is my newest sponsor! Ashley has has over 100 items to choose from and they are all adorable so you’re sure to find something that you or someone you know would love. She also has lots of options for customizing colors and finishes so if you don’t see exactly what you’re looking for just ask! The majority of her creations are earrings but this simple and elegant birthstone bracelet is actually my favorite.

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Anna Birthstone Bracelet

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Little Eli is the brainchild of friends Amelia and Meghan. Meghan makes jewelry, Amelia works with concrete, and together the two of them have some seriously covet-worthy creations, like their new line of concrete jewelry! They also have several pieces that would make great gifts for wedding season. They’re on a brief hiatus while they expand and move studios but you can still view some pretties in their Etsy shop.

Concrete Hexagon Pendant. Metallic Gold or Silver Finish. Gray or Black Concrete Jewelry. Necklace. Minimalist. Subtle. Cement. Gray.

Concrete Hexagon Pendant. Metallic Gold or Silver Finish. Gray or Black Concrete Jewelry. Necklace. Minimalist. Subtle. Cement. Gray.

Every month I like to feature a worthy nonprofit. Goodwill has been the victim of an unfortunate email rumor for some years now claiming that it’s a for-profit business whose CEO makes over a million dollars every year, but according to snopes.com that rumor is false. I LOVE shopping at Goodwill. If you’re local to Baton Rouge, the new one on Burbank near Bluebonnet is really nice.

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Have a great day, y’all!