belly show & tell: 34*weeks

It seems like life is flying at the speed of light lately. Is it really time for another belly show and tell? Guess so. I can't believe it's been a month since our last little pre-term labor scare that landed me neck-deep in anxiety and in the wonderful world of maternity leave at the same time. We're so so thankful that baby has decided to hang in for another month. Soon I can stop worrying about keeping him in and start worrying about how in the world I'll ever get him out.

It's all pretty exhilarating. And amazing. We are getting more and more jazzed about meeting this kiddo every day. I've been happily hauling my Dreft to the laundromat now and then, washing up all of his little sleepers, blankies, and onesies. Last week we even set up his little crib. I can't wait to fill in the last few missing pieces so I can take pics of his finished little nursery {corner}! :) But somehow all of these exciting preparations didn't jar me as much as the fact that my mom just booked a plane ticket to fly out and meet the little man. Reality check: I will not, I can not stay pregnant forever. {But sometimes I'm tempted to trade in my sleepless nights of reflux and bathroom breaks for sleepless nights of baby crying, feeding, + bonding.} It's weird to be making definite plans about life after his arrival! It's like this: I am due April 6. Easter is April 12, and I'm thinking it would make a cool story if he got here just before or on Easter Sunday. And my mom comes April 18...So he really needs to be here by then!! Cra-razy.

I just know that no matter how much we plan and prepare, our whole world will turn upside down and we'll be completely blown away by it all the day he is born. Such big changes are headed our way. Goodbye freedom, girlish figure, sleeping in, and other childless luxuries. Hello stinky diapers, sleep deprivation, and motherhood OCD. But I also have a feeling that it's going to be the best thing ever. I have faith that God is blessing us big time here. Am trusting that He knows what He's doing; sending us this little babe at the exact right time in our lives...Even though I feel like we are both still babies! And I'm praying that He'll fill us up with all of the love, patience, strength, and wisdom we need to raise this little guy. I know it won't be easy, but I'm feeling up for the challenge. It's going to be such a ride. I can't even wait.

project du jour

It's been a busy little week around here and I must confess, I've been one holed up busy bee. I was determined to meet my goal and conquer a project a day this week...Even if that meant being asocial & avoiding the temptations and distractions of blogland as much as possible, because free time is a terrible thing to waste. {Hard core, I know!} So as a reward, here I am lumping together one big post of a week's worth of adventures:
Slaving over catching up on baby thank yous. Why am I even complaining? It's safe to say that our little man will be born with a silver spoon in his mouth. I can't even believe all of the baby gifts (and therefore thank you notes!) we've received already, with just one shower down and 2 to go! And the babe hasn't even made his debut yet!! We're feeling beyond blessed by all of the precious little baby things + loving cards coming our way. It feels a little bit like getting married all over again; it's one sweet way to start a family. And I feel like making extra-cutesy handmade thank yous is the least I can do in return. {Chartreuse stationery, buggy & thank you stamps, striped paper all from Paper Source!}

Tuesday night sewing classes are fully underway! And am having such a blast. Meeting some cool new girls in my class. Feeling super excited and inspired by the possibilities that lie within my sewing machine. Picked up this book last weekend at Barnes and Noble, mostly for its pretty pictures and also for its variety of straightforward, practical patterns. So far I love it! My only gripe is that the patterns are all lumped together on two big pages. That means get out your tracing paper! {Annoying, but worth it for such cute patterns.} I am starting out by making a quick pair of PJ pants with this cute Amy Butler fabric. Then moving on to baby projects galore! Can't wait! Ooh, and I've just learned that Lotta Jansdotter is coming out with a book of baby sewing projects later this spring. I am dying to get my hands on it...
I'm on a mission to get Jeff's life history nailed down in a photo album. His mom had a great start on his first 6 years, but unfortunately that album took a lickin' with all of the years of love {and moves} it endured. So I've started over at day 1, and am hoping to speed through the rest of his years before it's time to start archiving our baby's life! I'm averaging approximately 2 years, 10 pages, and one roll of adhesive per day. :) It's been so fun spending time with all of his kiddy pics. I've just been daydreaming, wondering if his son will have the same cute expressions, or the same little habits {e.g. his munchkin trademark of cozying up with 2 left fingers in mouth, right hand in hair}. Am using the 12x12 Martha Stewart albums from Michael's. They seem really classic and durable, and so far, so good!{Thursday:}
Got out of the house and got into a little trouble...I needed to make a quick run to Target and found myself at the maternity store in the mall doing a little damage. {Dear Jeff, I know I only have a month and a half to go, but wearing the same clothes every week was killing me. I promise this was the last shopping spree. I promise to be cute + content for the rest of this pregnancy...And look at the bright side, I have a jumpstart on my wardrobe for baby #2!} Round out the afternoon with a little Jamba Juice, {my newest little obsession is Pomegranate Heart Happy}, and my day was pretty much bliss.
Starting on Thursday night, I curled up on the couch for Office + E.R. and set out to breathe life into another batch of monkeys. Finished them up this afternoon in between yoga + hanging out w/ Jeff. :) And this, the newest generation will have velcro on their hands to make more monkey mischief with. I still need a few as personal gifts + a special order brewing, but I am still planning to add a monkey or two to the etsy shop (along with some other fun goodies) in the next few weeks!!


chasing elephants

My amazing forever friend, Steph just opened up one of the hippest new etsy shops I've seen in awhile. It's called Chasing Elephant Tracks and its filled with handmade bags and wallets in mod Amy Butler fabrics like this one. Seriously, I can't rave enough about her designs! This girl has been sewing since forever, so I know everything is extremely well-made. Get them while they're hot!


24 birthdays later.

1. It is Jeff's birthday today! 2. He is my best friend + sweetest husband ever. 3. He loves Batman. 4. His favorite tool is a Nikon D80. 5. He is the only person who remembers to charge my cell phone at night. 6. He has the world's largest appetite. Together, we have the world's cleanest fridge, sans leftovers. 7. He loved his blueberry pancakes this a.m. 8. He loves the cinema. 9. He is a hard-core libertarian. 10. He wouldn't mind naming our son Ron Paul. 11. He reads 900-page books like Man, Economy, and State by Murray Rothbard just for fun. 12. He's 99% on time for everything, except when I am being a slow-poke or when random acts of God are involved. 13. He doesn't mind cleaning bathrooms. 14. His favorite TV show is Man vs. Wild. 15. He hates those dinky little Smart Cars people drive around here. 16. He loves kitties. And I'm not joking. 17. He has our credit card numbers {and just about any other identifying number} memorized. That is so freakishly cool. 18. He's a pretty good back scratcher. 19. He's beat me at any game we've ever played together, but sometimes he lets me win tennis matches. 20. He loves naps. 21. He wants to be a film maker when he grows up. 22. He can drink espresso after 7pm. 23. He has a butt chin. 24. I love him more every day.

c + k + e family pics

While in Denver last weekend, Jeff took some pretty stinkin' cute family pics of Christopher, Katie, & Elijah. Fun, candid family shots like these are definitely his forte. Though hard to narrow them down, I'd have to say these are some of my absolute favs! Just look at Elijah's huge moon pie eyes. You just get lost...{Yeah, my bro is pretty much the goofiest daddy ever...Sometimes I don't like to admit that this is my gene pool...}


This year marked an extra-lovey-dovey Valentine's Day...My little bro just got engaged to his long time gf Kimberly! We think she {Kimberly} is an angel and we are so excited for them! And after growing up with only 4 nuts-o brothers, collecting each new sis-in-law is a dream come true. :)


look who's 1!

Look who just turned 1!?! Our dashingly handsome little nephew, Elijah. We just got back from a fun trip to Denver last weekend to visit my big bro and sil Katie, and help celebrate the little lad's birthday in a very big way. It seems like just a second ago we were meeting him for the first time. And now look. He's turned into a chatting, cruising, Thomas-loving, 4-toothed, solid-scarfing, ring-stacking little wonder. We're so head over heels crazy about this kid. It's so amazing to watch him grow! And so crazy to think that in less than 2 months he'll have a mini cousin to grow up and get into all sorts of trouble with...
Here he is enjoying his official 1st B-day cake!
And a new birthday sock monkey {from this auntie} to love.

sugar sugar

Every year Jeff and I make an effort to dodge the vortex of commercial Valentine's Day. You won't catch us at a restaurant on Valentine's Day night. You won't see a dozen roses arriving at my door. And even though I'm a complete lush when it comes to chocolate, we don't even exchange too many heart shaped boxes around here. And I love it this way. That's what makes Valentine's Day (and pretty much all of February) one of my favorite times of the year.Part of it stems from the fact that both of our birthdays land within a week of Feb. 14...By the time we think of and buy b-day gifts for each other, our ideas and funds are often exhausted. But mostly it's 'cause we don't need a special day of the year to celebrate the fact that we're crazy about each other. So our rule is: Keep it simple. Spend only what it takes to go a little bit out of your way and do something special to remind the other how much you love them. Make dinner. Leave random love notes. Surprise him/her with ______. Whip up a batch of heart-shaped sugar cookies, glazed with sweet deliciousness in various shades of pink. You'd be surprised how much effort it takes to be a thoughtful, cheap valentine! ;)

and the winners...

Thanks everyone for joining in on the big birthday bash around here. We just got back from a super fun 3-day weekend visiting our lil' nephew, so am a little late at announcing the big winners! So let's not waste any more time...the winners are:
1. A kit of Martha's pretty party decorations go to Cottage Mommy
2. Can't wait to send a cutie cupcake pincushion to Noah & Ryder's Mommy
3. And a fun little flower pin is heading Rebecca's way.

Hooray for you 3 ladies! Just email me your name + mailing address at swell{dot}life{at}gmail{dot}com and I'll have your goodies in the mail in no time.

And thanks for all of the linky-love! You're all so inspiring! I am tucking away these sweet heart day ideas for next year. I am pretty dazzled by each and every one of them:
love scrapbook
heart garland
brownie bags
matchbox valentines
fortune cookie valentines

Also, I'd love to try making a few of these elegant bookmarks as Mother's Day or Christmas gifts.

And last but certainly not least, I am loving this interior design website: sproost



{Alright, I've kept you in suspense long enough! Jeff had the camera this morning, so I just now took these pics!}

...Since today is in fact my birthday and birthdays are all about friends and fun and pretty parties, I thought I'd throw a little fling right here to celebrate all of the above. What could be more fun than sweet surprises and sharing a few minutes of my day + a few of my very favorite things with you!? So please, please cozy up, grab yourself a sweet treat and get ready to mix + mingle.

To join the party, all you have to do is leave a little comment on this post for a chance to win some pretty stinking cute free stuff. Spread the word to all of your friends and please don't be shy! For extra credit, include a little link-love about what is inspiring you today: A certain blog post? A sweet crafting tutorial? A great Valentine's Day idea? You have 'til Sunday to enter and I'll pick 3 lucky winners promptly Monday morning!

Now on to the parade of party favors:

1. Pretty party decorations. These paper flower kits from Martha Stewart Crafts are seriously essential for the next birthday bash or shower you throw. I would love to have these blooms hanging over my head just about any day!2. A tasty little cupcake pin cushion...to whet your creative appetite at your crafting table. All you have to do is add your own pins {the sprinkles on top!} Handmade by me with the help of some recycled sweaters, but ingeniously inspired by Betz White.3. And last but not least, a fun little flower pin from my etsy shop. The perfect fix for that ho-hum purse, pillow, or cardigan of yours...

Thanks for sharing my b-day with me...Now let's let the good times roll!


things making me happy today...

: A little handmade valentine love: this adorable package of heart-shaped soap from a crafty friend

: Some sour gummies + a bowl of the juiciest pineapple pieces ever in my fridge

: One 50% Michael's coupon

: A stack of valentines ready for snail mail

: A sweet *surprise* post I've planned for tomorrow...Am so giddy to share!


weekend love.

Crazy how quickly spring comes to Cali. {Then again, it never really leaves when winters consist of 50 degree days and a few inches of rain.} I am loving the fact that trees are blossoming all over the city. Oodles of pretty pink blooms just in time for love day. It's oh-so dreamy. We had the nicest little weekend enjoying it all:
Friday night we went on a date at our neighborhood theater to see Slumdog Millionaire. I know, I am probably the last person on earth to see this movie! But I loved it. It was such a fresh story and has a little bit of everything--from drama, to romance, to bathroom humor. Definitely one of the best movies I've seen in awhile, and not one I will soon forget. A word of warning; I would not recommend it to anyone who is squeamish about creepy torture scenes, though...Saturday a.m. we slept in and had the yummiest brunch: Croissant breakfast sandwiches with bacon, spinach, eggs, + cheddar cheese. We worked on some random projects around the house and took the most amazing walk to the beach. I then went on a mad cleaning spree and completely neatened and reorganized my entire crafting world. I even folded all of my fabric scraps and hung a new French bulletin board inside one of the closet doors. {Note this year's Valentine prototypes on display.} There's something about a clean desk that makes me want to dive back into a new, messy project! :)Sunday after church we had lunch w/ Jeff's grandma, and headed to PB Kids to splurge on the finishing touch for baby's nursery: This beautiful upholstered rocker! I just couldn't find anything like it on Craigslist and considering that we scored the rest of the nursery furniture there, I'd say the splurge was justified. ;) As an added bonus: it is slip-covered for easy clean-up and it will look great in our living room once baby outgrows it. Doesn't even look like a rockin' chair, does it!? Am so giddy about all of the cuddling and story times that are going to happen here!
Sunday eve we cuddled up in front of the flat screen to catch a little Pro-Bowl + Grammy action. Between sock monkey sewing and during commercial breaks, I spent time staring at my ugly bare toesies, complaining to Jeff about how unruly my toenails had become...That over this basketball belly, I can no longer reach them without serious cramps, body contortions and tingling limbs. And that's when cupid came...An early Valentine's day miracle: He trimmed and painted those gnarly toenails of mine. Lavender. He'll be embarrassed to discover that I posted this, but seriously, if that's not love, I don't know what is. :)


new groove

It is official. As I alluded to in this post, this week marks the official beginning of my maternity leave! And while I hadn't planned to end things so abruptly at work, after the events of last week, I am so so glad to be done. I am tickled by the seemingly infinite time ahead of me...Two whole months fully devoted to the business of nesting and resting before my due date. I am vowing not to be bored for a second. This time is so precious to me...time to fully enjoy being a mama in the making, time to set up the little man's nursery, time to spend with Jeff. My to-do list is filled with so many happy things:1. Breaks: Mid-morning breaks to enjoy warm cups of {decaf, herbal} tea and to spend more time blogging about it all. {Tangent: Just got that adorable Valentine's dish towel along with matching pot holder in the mail from Jeff's parents = immediate impetus for chocolate chip cookie baking!} Mid-afternoon breaks for yoga time, walks, and naps (gasp!).

2. Finish knitting the sailboat sweater. How embarrassing that I started this over a year ago for my little nephew, who's already outgrown it. Funny how much can change in one year! Hoping to have it finished for real this time--so that a certain someone else can snuggle in the fruits of my labors.

3. Nest: Make way for baby. Set up his little crib, fluff his blankies, and line up his already completely overwhelming number of stuffed animals. Organize his goodies in baskets below his changing table. Fill his dresser drawers with infinite sleepers and onesies. Clean this apartment 'til it sparkles. Make more balanced meals. Try new recipes. Throw things in the freezer in preparation for the post-partum drain.

4. Craft: It's high time for a shop update. Wouldn't you agree?
5. Operation sock monkey: Half a dozen pairs of uber cute socks in various stages of monkey development are haunting me. I want to be a monkey making machine these days.

6. Scrapbook: our wedding. Can't believe 2.5 years have passed and I still haven't even touched our sweet memories. Once baby is here, I'll be even less inclined, with less free time to wrap up this daunting task. I need to get busy!7. Thank: I have about a jillion thank you notes to write after my double shower {w/ cute pregnant cousin, Alisha} back home last weekend. Shower is an understatement. We got drenched. It was so completely crazy and fun to unwrap endless goodies that our little man will soon be wearing and using. All ridiculously cute things like the itty-bitty sock monkey slippers above from my friend Kayt.

8. Party: That's right. We're planning another trip next weekend to visit + celebrate our adorable nephew's first birthday!

9. Sew: I am starting a sewing class in 2 weeks at SF City College. I can't wait. Any project ideas?

10. Study up: Even though I've been doing tons of reading, I am so looking forward to our upcoming birthing + baby care classes! I think it will help us both to feel more prepared and at ease about the huge changes and responsibilities ahead. Most of the classes we'll attend together, but I also signed up for a breastfeeding class {for me} and infant CPR {for Jeff}. Look at me! I am already a completely neurotic new mom who lives in a world of worst-case scenarios! ;)


i heart.

My oh my, it seems that heart day is creeping up extra quickly this year! Winter doldrums aside, February has always been my very favorite month. Perhaps it has something to do with so many birthdays to celebrate, heart day to melt over, and an extra dose of my favorite color, pink. I've been clickety-clicking around this afternoon to find a little inspiration for the Valentine's crafting+baking I've yet to begin:Loving these yummy sugar cookies + other sweet party plans via inchmark journal.
Think I need to make a mobile just like this one...
But instead, stock up on felts and craft my hearts into something like these super sweet Valentine's pins from the purl bee.And last but not least, after seeing the k.werner's sugary-sweet card inspiration here, I'm so ready to dip into my hoard of pink+white buttons.