Saturday, December 8, 2012


Ugh. I'm alive. Not blogging, but alive. I've had the best intentions to get on here and tell you all things that you probably aren't even that curious about in the first place. But then... I just didn't.  

You see, when I travel I shut off. I want to see people, but texting? Too hard. Emails? Who needs them! And who these days actually knows how to use a phone for it's original purpose anyway? I've even fallen behind on blog reading. 

Couple my severe disconnect with the fact that we journeyed over and yon, driving to Bristol then Nashville then back here to Baltimore. The ten day span included Thanksgiving, seeing family, and preparing for and celebrating a fantastic wedding (which I am superdee-duper excited to share with you!)

And the cherry-on-top of this grand excuse for silence is a nasty sickness which has called me home since last Monday. The same Monday that happened to follow a broken four hours of sleep and contained our thirteen hour trek back to charm
cit-ay. Probably not the best for fighting illness and contagion. 

So there you have it. I had these excuses, every day planned on being here typing away, and as the days ticked by I became a scaredy-cat about coming back.

You know how it goes- you don't write and don't write and the pressure builds to do something great but you just don't have the inspiration or energy to make it happen. And as time passes the pressure mounts and you just curl up and hide.

So here I am, not with something great, but at least with an explanation as to where I've been.

I wish I had excitement to share. I wish I'd gone through the 1500 photos from our time in Tennessee. But all I've got right now are some antibiotics and a strong desire to start enjoying this Christmas season through more than just instragram photos.


Friday, November 16, 2012

A Friday Quickie

I'm not usually one for short posts, as any one who reads this blog ever knows, but right now I just want to get it down that we are in Baltimore. Cold, crisp Bal-tee-more. We've been busy this past week cleaning and packing and getting ready to leave our house until 2013. And now, with hours of flights (and a few delays) behind us, we have arrived. Dex is cuddled up in the only warm room in the house, Peyton is planning out our Tennessee Thanksgiving plans with family, and I am typing away with Grey's paused in the background and a piece of cake staring me down.

So for now, have a wonderful Friday evening and I'll be back with more soon!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Weekly Photo - 25

First off, a HUGE thank you to everyone who voted for Declan. He came in second place out of almost nearly one thousand babies, and I am just so touched by all the people who really were getting into voting. I realized how much of a stay-at-home mom I really am when this became all-consuming. Yeah,  not doing that again for a while.

Now we can get back to normal business. Get the house cleaned. Get in our groove. And then get our bags packed since we leave for our six week holiday trip in just a week and a halfEep!

Cold weather, east coast, friends, family, and food HERE WE COME! (Speaking of food, we shared our last half cup of oatmeal for breakfast sans milk this morning three mornings ago. I'm telling you, everything was put on hold for this contest. Helllo life, and hopefully grocery store.)

So now on to a State of Our Declan address. Weekly photo numero veinticinco:

{9 month onesies. long-sleeve now for fall/winter}
As for new developments, huge milestones are on the horizon but not quite here.
The rundown:

His first tooth is a-knockin'. ANY day now I will feel the razor blade of death. 

Tummy --> Back Rolling is a go.
Back --> Tummy... not so much.

Got a little yogi on our hands. He doesn't want to roll because he is enamored with his feet. Hit mouth for the first time the other day. And he's learning that even the best attempts sometimes fall short.  

Exhibit A:


And C:

Every day solo sitting gets better, but there still are tons of flop overs. He is super strong in his core but needs to get that pesky balance thing down.

 He wants to crawl, you can see him ache to get to where you are, but just a bit of rocking and appendage flapping is all he can muster.

He is noticing objects much more. Even though he only gets a bottle when I'm out of the house, he recognizes anything in a bottlesque shape as something he might enjoy. He also grabs the paci from our hands within a second, making it clear that he's got this, then proceeds to only get the side in his mouth. Sometimes this ends up in frustration, sometimes with him happily munching.

Fascinated by faces and anything on them, he will grab your lip, beard, or glasses (hence this week's photo.) He carefully controls his shaky hands as they go up, up, up and grab those dark frames. Everything is so gentle until - WUP!... in the mouth. 

Basically our little man is becoming more and more independent. So bittersweet. But isn't development simply fascinating?

So grow, brain, grow! 

(And please, grow a bit more to the right. That baby's flat spot needs a bit of help.)


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Back to Basics

Yesterday I had plans. Plans to post a weekly photo, update you on Declan developments, and basically just be a mom. And then I read a disarming post.

This writer discussed God and our country and our future. It talked about how we have food, shelter, and freedom because of our belief in God while those in bondage, starvation, and poverty lack this belief. It talked about how the votes we were casting to add "freedom" were really taking us to hell in a hand basket.

I was pissed. I sat here and wrote and wrote, deleting sentences and paragraphs that began my thoughts but didn't end them. None of my feelings were being properly conveyed. There were too many "and this'" "and that's" whizzing around in my head to catch them all and slap them down here.

So, with a baby strapped to my chest and a german shepherd by my side, I went on a walk. The air was crisp and the sun was fading. Neighbors were going around their lit houses preparing dinner. Garage doors were opening and closing, welcoming workers, parents, students, and babies home to warmth and comfort. Life was abuzz.

It was on this walk, seeing political signs and stickers all over, that I was comforted. I once again felt united with my fellow Americans. Sure, there were those that I outwardly agree with based on the name posted, but then there were others who had no stated allegiance or one that differed from mine. I felt proud to have the freedom to show our choices, use our voices, and come together to make things happen.

From what I see, we might differ, but in the end we are oh so similar.

We want security for our friends and family.

We want good health and help when it's lacking.

We want our children to grow up confident in who they are, know they are loved, and have strong values to guide their way.

We want education and knowledge.

We want freedom to voice our opinions, believe our beliefs, and follow what we think is right.

One of the beautiful tenets of this country is the freedom afforded. It is in this freedom that we get strength. To me, diversity is desirable. If we can learn from and respect our differences as a nation we will be that much mightier.

We have work ahead, but I do not think that it is as simple as needing to keep God in our nation. Countless groups of people have been held down by religion over time, so how 'bout we get back to the basics? We need more love, respect, and compassion. We need to be generous with our thoughts and understand other viewpoints. We need to realize that there are things that we don't agree on, but that many of those things are personal and have no impact on others. We need to focus on the positive, stop trying to control, and be giving to one another.

I feel that yesterday we took strong steps in this direction. I hope we continue on this journey, striving for the best for our country, for our citizens, and for ourselves. Let's show compromise and compassion, respect and no judgment. Let's work together and erase divisiveness. Hate and fear will get us no where. Let's bring back the love.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Our Halloween Takes The Cake

**Psst- It's day 4 of the contest and Declan has gone from 18th to 5th place because of ALL YOUR VOTES! 
Have we said how much YOU ROCK?!

It's not EVEN CLOSE to over yet though. We need to get him to 1st! So please will you vote again?

Remember, you can vote on every device and browser

I even have come up with a GREAT idea to help it get shared!! 

Think of three people who you know love babies, are bored at work, or just are crazy about anything internet or voting related. Got em? Now share directly with those three! Maybe they can do the same, and BAM! A gazillion votes. 

Or maybe on facebook? Or by email? Or on your blog!!

As warned in the beginning, I will be annoying this week (sorry), but he is SO close and there are just a few days left. So please just take a few seconds and click. 

And is SUPER, DUPER important. 



Yesterday was busy. There ain't no beatin' round that bush. Was it busy in a life threatening way? No. Was it busy in a must-do or bad times will fall upon us way? Nope. It was simply a busy day filled with mama bear duties, fueled by a fierce focus to have my baby win a contest (have you voted, by the way?), and an even fiercer dedication to having a fully finished family costume. It was busy, and it was good. It was the type of day that ends with feet up, SVU on, and two spent parents passing wine back and forth. But above all that, it was Mr. Declan's first halloween.

Halloween with an infant is one of those in betweens where you want to dress them up and take them around because they are so gosh darn cute, but putting time, money, and effort into it? mmm. Not so much. It's not like they care that they are the most adorable thing since baby uggs. Excitement to them can come from a plastic Starbucks lid.

But there are the photos. Oh, the photos. So possibly needing pictoral leverage years from now, we decided his first Halloween was a must. In true Brunyate-Staebler fashion, I buckled down to a sewing machine, came up with a costume, and was sweating up until the minute we left. So glad I whipped it up, but the house is a'hurtin. If you've seen my cleaning motivation, please send it over my way. Thanks.

The drumroll please....

{we found that baby costumes are nearly impossible to keep in their proper places, hence the ankles and falling hooves}

Do you get it? I mean, DO YOU GET IT?!

Probably not, because it's kind of obscure, and definitely meant for big fans of a certain band. Here are a few more hints.

So Peyton was ________. He was meant to be holding a microphone, but at least sported his trucker hat.

I was Kitty-turned-Karen, definitely snazzed up a bit with my attire.

And little man Dex was a sheep with a ticket to heaven attached.

A few more seconds of pondering...




And with the suspense killing even me, I'll just tell you.

Peyton was CAKE, as in the band, I was representing their song "Short Skirt and Long Jacket", hence the clothes, and Declan was "Sheep Go To Heaven." AHHH!!

That probably excites me more than it does you, or anyone else, but we thought it was fantastically clever. (We don't get out much and really enjoy foosball, could that explain it??) I'm not typically one to dress up, but this was simply too good to miss.

{blurry, but what fantastic mother/daughter matching!}
There was lots of this:

Followed by this:

As it should be, of course.

The night ended with sugar induced shenanigans centered around a piece of cake. You know the saying, "Give a kid a box..."

So clearly, the whole night was a success. There were cuddles, costumes, and treats galore. Declan loved kid watching and was the sweetest little lamb I've had the pleasure of enjoying. And years from now we can threaten to unearth those photos when he's being all uppity. That's what this is all for anyway, right? ;)

How was your night of ghouls and goblins? Did you have a themed costume? Stay at home? Trick or treat with the kids dressed as a responsible mom? 

And I'm super excited to say...

Let the holiday season commence!


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Weekly Photo - 24

**Psst- It's day 3 of the contest and Declan went from 18th to 7th place yesterday because of ALL YOUR VOTES! 
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

It's not over yet though. We need to get him to 1st! So please will you vote again? 

Maybe email it to some baby lovers? 

Vote on multiple browsers? 

Vote on each device?

Just throwing those ideas out there...
As warned in the beginning, I will be annoying this week (sorry), but he is SO close and there are just a few days left. So please just take a few seconds and click. 


Now on to the weekly photo! Aren't you just a bit proud of us for getting it done and posted in the same week? Don't worry, we've already patted ourselves on the back. No big deal.

This week we decided to use this one of him holding his little toesies because that is a brand new skill he's developed. He's always loved diaper changes, with laughs and giggles all around, but now he's added swinging his feet up for inspection to the game. So this is to commemorate our baby's first gymnast move at 24 weeks old. 

(To see past photos, click here)

and of course...
Happy Halloween everyone! 

What are you and yours going as? Any fun day of events that the littles (or bigs) can't wait for? Trick or treating with friends? Dressing the baby up for the first time?

We'll be back tomorrow with our family costume. We think it's pretty awesome so hope you do too. 
Be safe!


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dream, Baby, Dream

**Psst: It's day two of the competition. Declan is 18th out of nearly 1000 babies. Have you voted today?!?**

Click the photo to vote or you can use the link:

 Remember that you can use multiple devices and browsers if you feel so inclined...
Thanks for all the love yesterday as well!

Peyton talked me into it. He talked me in to posting one more project that, while not done for the Pinterest Challenge, was totally inspired by Pinterest. This leads to more flattering photos of the nursery. The prior post didn't quite give the warm and fuzzies. It made the room look more like a basement of a rundown hostel with a piece of art slapped on the wall. With the amount of work Peyton put into this fixture, he deserves to have an entry.

So officially, we are making this a Pinterest Challenge post. dun, dun, dun, duuunnnn.

As explained in the previous post, the Pinterest Challenge is where you stop pinning and start doing. This edition is hosted by the creative chicas Katie, Sherry, Carmel, and Sarah, all of which have projects worth taking a gander! You do a project, blog a post, then link up and blog-hop all day long.  They need to offer babysitters, or even better, make it a holiday. There's just no way kids get as much attention on P.C. days. 

We really needed a big, inexpensive piece of artwork to go above the crib. The opposite wall (shown earlier) is going to be a gallery collection, so we didn't want to shove a ton of frames in both spaces. But finding a long slice of pretty for peanuts? Not going to happen. Until we saw this beaut:

And then that was topped like chocolate on peanut butter with this:

Our nail hitting hearts were sold. Even though we thought about doing a combination of both, we really loved the way the second one fills the letters in, so we followed that tutorial. 

Instead of cork we used some heavy pressed particle board that we had around, some white paint, and about 500-600 nails. There was a lot of nailing. As in, somewhere in the range of seven hours worth. Luckily this was all the mister's doing, as he is much more careful than I am. I can assure you, each and every nail is the same height and distance apart. Hence the seven hours...

First he printed out the lettering found on Honey & Fitz. In an OCD moment, he proceeded to spend another hour or so perfecting the sizes of each letter. (Honestly, I couldn't see a difference at the beginning, sooo I'd say that you're fine with theirs.) Next was taping it onto the painted wood backing.

Then came the nailing. The hours and hours of nailing. But that led to this. 

We were tempted to keep it here, since the simplicity itself is so retro and lovely, but decided it blended in with the grey walls too much. So I swooped in to take over for the stringing. You see, Peyton had a plan to go every fifth nail to the diagonal by the 19th power times pi, over and over again, and I just could not see this getting finished before our son's first birthday. He stepped away because my haphazard manner was close to heart-attack inducing. Fifteen minutes later I ushered him in, he hung it up, and we smiled. 

Ta-da! We love, love, LOVE it. And so does sweet Dex, who stares at it from his crib when we fail to come rescue him quickly. 

And how about a real throwback pic, taken one week before the boy's arrival?

{sorry for the immediate boob shot there... I want this as a reminder, but I definitely get ya good!}
And with that, I will go sit, rub my belly, and miss his little kicks from within. Pretty good job though, right? This is one of those things that constantly remind me of the greatness that is Peyton. Thank you, sir, for getting on board with the honey-do wish list and making this happen ten times better than I could. You're pretty darn awesome. 

Now off to check some more of your lovely works. Please leave a comment so I can love on your creations some!

Look At The Stars - Fall Pinterest Challenge

**Psst: It's day two of the competition. Declan is 18th out of nearly 1000 babies. Have you voted today?!?**

Click the photo to vote or you can use the link:

 Remember that you can use multiple devices and browsers if you feel so inclined...
Thanks for all the love yesterday as well!

So now, back to pinterest business

Two of my favorite bloggers, Katie of Bower Power and Sherry of Young House Love, came up with this lovely challenge back in the day to help conquer the all too easy to fall into trap that is Pinterest. We love this place, pinning and pinning and pinning, living in a virtual world of loveliness and chalkboard paint and gorgeous weddings that look to be $100,000 but really are $250 with DIY, while some of our physical homes want some of the love. So these two said each season the blogging world should make an effort to not simply pin, but do. And so began the Pinterest Challenge.

The rules are simple. Pick something from Pinterest that has inspired you and use it to make something all your own. Blog about the experience, post it on the general wall, and enjoy all the other creations!

This time round I decided to tackle a little art work for Declan's room. I am way overdue for a nursery tour, partially because it's never fully clean and partially because this one wall is bare. Or was bare. Because now we have one little frame chilling out in the middle.

My pinspiration was as follows:


This artist, Katie Daisy of The Wheatfield, is amazing. Take a look around her shop at all the beautiful, down home quotes she has. They are so naturally done and just calm soothe the soul. I actually posted another one that I loved way back when here. Anyway, I decided to try my hand at a much simpler version of hers using a quote from "Yellow". This was one of my favorite songs to sing to Dex as an itty-bitty baby, so it seemed like the perfect one to use. 

Using some freehand pencil work, topped with sharpie pen, then redone with watercolor, I came up with this:

I then attached it to black card stock and attached that to the black glitter paper to seem like a starry-night sky. We are having problems keeping it flat, especially since it currently isn't framed under glass, but maybe a few days of heavy books weighing it down will help. Here it is in it's frame:

We have it right above his changing table so every time I see it I can momentarily get away from the task at hand.

I'd love to show you the whole look complete with better pictures, but that would mean touring, which would mean cleaning, and maybe even other picture hanging. So this is what I can give ya today. Baby steps my friends. (tee-hee. pun totally intended.)

The plan is to have a little gallery wall around it, so now I just need to get on making that happen. Next on the list: get frames, things to put in frames, and nails to attach to wall. As you can see, we are far down the road on that project.

It is no where near as complex and creative as Ms. Daisy's, but it works for us for now. Something sweet and small for our boy. 

Head on over to see what Katie, Sherry, Carmel, and Sarah did, then browse through other posts on their bottom link-ups! It's so inspiring to me to see the creativity that others shell out and share. 

Did you participate in the challenge? Make some other project but didn't know about this bloggy get-together? Do tell, do tell. I'd love to see what you made as well!


Monday, October 29, 2012

Shameless Plug For Dex

Getting in to the election spirit and looking for a vote you can get behind?

**Disclaimer: We, for a week, are going to be those annoying parents that ask you to vote for their amazingly adorable child. Yes, it's like spam to the eyes, but it must be a love so blinding that we are unable to stop, so maybe the best thing to do is just vote and make us super happy and we will thank you endlessly instead of bugging?!**

So here's the deets:

First round is reader's favorites so all you have to do is go to the following link, click on "Vote For Me", enter some code they show you (might be an ad but not spam), and bada-bing, bada-boom, YOU VOTED!


If he makes it through, he wins a prize. The photo is then judged for attractiveness, personality, and quality. And as the photo says clearly enough, our beautiful boy is chock full of personality and expressions. Shoe-in, I say.

We are asking with lots of "prettys" and "pleases" for a week of daily voting. Possibly on each of your browsers. Possibly on each of your devices. Possibly with some sharing on the side if you find him so extremely photogenic that you just can't BARE to not spread the joy and smiles and giggles to others. Just pass on this link!

Thank you SO much for reading, voting, loving us, loving him, and just being awesome. 

You all rock!


Friday, October 26, 2012

The Unity in Our Divisity

Days like today are gems in Austin- cold breezes blowing, bundling up against fifty degree weather, grey skies threatening a storm. They are autumnal and real and deserve American tributes like drinking hot Starbucks chais while standing in line at a voting poll. Not ones to fight fall's beckon, the mister, baby, and I all made our way down to the local Texas early voting station.

The grocery store location does not hold quite the same ambiance as Baltimore, where a stroll through my neighborhood was the prelude to casting a ballot in the old stone 1920s basketball court. There weren't the beautiful maple leaves blowing around us nor the sweet golden glow that the fall sun brings, but we will take what we can get. Today that was the opportunity to wear a scarf and rub a baby's naked head to keep it warm. Done and done.

Once there, the experience was pretty typical. Stood in line, casted our votes, didn't really know much about 95% of the candidates. There was a little run-in with a man who was overly angry at Peyton for wearing his "Democrat" pin. There were calls being made and pictures being taken for who the Sam Hill knows what. Apparently any sort of political statement is banned in line (as is any picture taking, just sayin'). So to you sir I say- sorry, we didn't know, now please go grab a nice hot tea, take some deep breaths, and chill the freakdizzle out. In the end the pin came off after a much kinder poll worker gave us the info. And so resumed the typical experience.

But this time was slightly special for me. Today I read over the list of names and pushed buttons with a baby snuggled close. A totally unaware, drooling little man who could care less who becomes president as long as he has some fingers to chew on. It was important to me to have him there, to bring him to this first voting experience, to raise him knowing the importance of making his little voice heard.

America has problems, sure, and I have been known to complain about them a time or two. But really, we have a lot of wonderful things going for us as well. We have hope, optimism, and a right to be heard. We go with our ideals and sometimes make the seemingly impossible possible. We are the land of dreams, where a black boy raised by a single mom can become president and rights can be fought for and earned.

Each year I am overcome by our oneness at the polls. I look around, seeing multiple skin colors, men and women, democrats and republicans, old and young, and I get all teary-eyed. I love these people. I love what we stand for. I love that we all came out to vote for what we think is right. And while I don't actually respect some of the positions people believe in, I do respect them as people. We are all human beings trying to navigate life the best we can. We are all Americans fulfilling our civic duty. I'm a woman, honoring those before me who fought tooth and nail for my right to vote. You're a man, honoring those from centuries ago who braved a vast ocean for freedom. We are doing our part, and I really, really love that.

So in the end, I want Declan to see what makes us unique. I want him to feel the unity beneath the political lines and hopefully step away from all the b.s. that is thrown around. I will show him the picture from today, where I hold his tiny body upright as he proudly stands on his strong chunkster legs, donning an "I voted early" sticker tucked away beneath a winter vest. He's my little American, and today there's no place we'd rather be.


Monday, October 22, 2012

A Modern Mixed Tape

I'm one of those people who play songs over and over until you just want to bash your head against the dashboard the next time you hear it on the radio. It's like kids and food. They love, love, LOVE cereal and are always running out, but it's a guarantee that as soon as you buy four boxes, it's the most disgusting thing they've ever seen. Seriously, who hasn't this happened to?

That being said, I'm trying to be adult here and grow out of this stage of musical listening, but it's hard. What's amazing is that no matter how many times I've listened to a certain playlist, I will not remember it a few months down the line. That's why mix cd's were so important to my individual history. Yet, being a technologically developed gal and all, I don't really do those anymore.

So what happens when I upgrade computers and save the playlists?! Who knows! I sure as one never find them, and too many memories of dances, kisses, tears, and simply times have been lost to the great technological abyss. I may be technologically developed in some ways, but computers and memory and the internet are simply magic. Magic, I say!

In an attempt to keep these treasured goods in the family to be passed down for generations to come, I am going to document them on this here blog. There's nothing sweeter than finding a forgotten song, cranking it loud, and being transported to a time (such as this) that helped shape you. So this is my mixed tape for me.

{need help deciphering? just ask!}

Remember, sharing is caring. The best part of posting my tunes on here is getting some back from you! So please, do tell- What songs can you not get enough of? Do any of these jingles get your toes tapping too? Do you love dancing around blasting old mixes? Do you still make cd's so that you can always have a hard copy to love on? 

I love hearing new music and returning to some throwbacks, so spread the love!