Aug15 Guest Blogger: Sarah – inspired by: vintage california 2013

As soon as I laid eyes on this vintage map collage print of California by Green Nest I knew it was perfect for this post.  I love the earthy colors and the surfer vibe, it strikes the perfect balance of being sooo California without being over the top.  I decided it would make the perfect backdrop for a little girl’s outfit and came up with this inspiration  board.  What do you think?  Are you in love as much as I am?  Baby girls are just SO fun to dress!

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1. Glasses Jumper; 2. Wooden California Teether; 3. Gap Ombre Sunhat; 4. Fawn Top; 5. California Print; 6. H&M Paradise Shirt; 7. Crew Cuts Tumbler Short; 8. Mini Rodini Palm Leggings; 9. Organic Baby Shoes; 10. Striped Bikini; 11. Ugg Button Boots

Jul31 Guest Blogger: Sarah – inspired by: Lindsey Letters 2013

I am a huge Lindsey Letters fan. Have you seen her darling new line of prints and cards for baby? In. Love. I especially like the “You Are My Sunshine” canvas because it is bright and cheery and makes me think of spring (something that hasn’t quite arrived yet here in Chicago!) I crafted a mini inspiration board for baby girls based on this print. I had so much fun “shopping” and collecting pieces that reflect the same springy, happy, floral, and handwritten charm as the canvas. Do you ever find inspiration for your children’s clothing in unusual places? It can be so fun to look at things not only for what they are, but what they can be!
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1.Spring Cape; 2. Nellystella Chloe Dress; 3. Zara Embroidered Shirt; 4. Lindsey Letters Sunshine Canvas; 5. Rikshaw Design Baby Bloomers; 6. Jennifer Ann Personalized Name Leggings; 7. Mini Rodini Frill Swimsuit

Jul19 Guest Blogger: Sarah — raising creative kids 2013

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A friend of mine recently asked me how I’m able to let my five year old be creative without obsessing over the inevitable messes he will make.  How do you just let go and let him create, regardless of the spills and chaos?  Her question got me thinking.

People create in all kinds of ways, for all kinds of reasons, and all of it is beautiful.  For me, the process and beauty I find as I let myself unwind and be taken somewhere through the swirls and lines of color is why I do it.  It gives me something and fills me up simply because I am engaged in the act of making something new.

How does this transfer to our children, though?

Our kids see the world completely wide open.  Anything is possible.  Isn’t that a beautiful approach to life?  I see a huge part of my job as Emerson’s mom is to encourage him to try things.  I want him to learn how to use his imagination, and I want to do everything I can to encourage him to make new things.  You want to make a box of string so the birds will have colorful nests this spring?  Okkkkkay, let’s imagine a way to do that.

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The process is the point, not the end result.  That perspective has helped me immensely as I spend time creating with my son.

When it comes to engaging our kids creatively, what can we be doing to encourage their imaginations without opening up our entire house to chaos?  I think two things have helped me: get outside and enter the process.

Get outside:  I first gave my son a brush and paints when he was about two.  I stripped him down to his diaper, set up paper plates full of paint and thick brushes, and we spent the majority of the day on our back patio in the California sun, splashing paint and water on a massive canvas.  It resulted in the most lovely art, which now hangs in our family room.  There are smears and every color you can imagine and in certain corners there are even tiny footprints where he’d run across, taking blues and yellows over the canvas with each step. I adore it.  If asked what one belonging I would grab if I had to, without hesitation my answer would be that canvas.

Whenever we create artwork together we try to do it outside.  I use paper or plastic everything for the paints and water, and have also stocked up on large plastic tablecloths from Target or other party stores.  This way, if it’s a rainy day and we’re looking for something to do, I can spread the plastic on the floor and lay the canvas on top.  Some parents swear by washable paints, some by tempra, others by water colors.  I say, YES.  All of it is great.  I tend to let him use my acrylic paints most often, but that is really just because its what I always have on hand.

Enter the process:  When you invite kids to create, messes are going to be a part of it.  They will spill the paint.  The cups will be kicked over at some point.   They will splash dirty water across your shirt and face and arms.  The tactile experiences they are gaining as they create are all a part of the creative experience.  Knowing that upfront and reminding myself of why I am doing this with him is what helps me overlook those things.

If I’m working on a project I try be intentional about doing at least some of the work while my son is around.  Rather than using only kid-free time to create, I try to stretch my canvases and make my studies in front of him, so that he sees me doing it.  I don’t do this because it’s easier (it’s not) but because I believe that making time to create is important and beautiful and good, and I’m trying to build that truth into his world.

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How about you?  How do you find ways to create with your kids, and how do you go about making the experience kid-friendly?

Jul05 Guest Blogger: Sarah — Meet Mercy June 2013

Dear Grey Likes Baby friends, I’m thrilled to introduce you to our baby Mercy, who joined the planet on May 22nd!  We are so blessed after nine months of anticipation to now dwell in the awe and wonder that IS the newborn stage.  Emerson is reveling in being a “big brother” and rushes to her side at the first sign of a whimper, eager to sing her a song or kiss her head.  There is something so special wonderful about the way a daughter instantly wraps your heart up in hers.  Thanks for your joy!

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Jun19 Guest Blogger: Sarah — a fiesta baby shower 2013

Just weeks before my baby girl was due, twenty friends gathered on an unusually chilly May evening to celebrate her upcoming birth.  Shauna, one of my dearest friends, hosted a fiesta-style baby shower complete with Annette’s famous Enchiladas, Beer-ga-ritas, and countless artful touches.

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Florence and the Machine played softly in the background as we gathered in her warm and welcoming home, a buzz of excitement thick in the air.  An expert at making things feel completely special yet not fussy, Shauna had laid white craft paper over her massive table and left jars of colored pencils scattered so that our guests could leave messages and doodles throughout the night.

We ate well (if you have read any of Shauna’s books – you know what I mean!) laughed much, and dreamed of what the next few weeks would hold for our growing family.  At one point, each guest shared a blessing and piece of advice as we move from one child to two, from only knowing the world of little boys to expanding to the sparkly world of girls.

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Then our sweet friends Blaine and Margaret prayed over us, strong and brave and beautiful prayers that stayed with us long after the night was through.  As a lovely nod to my art, Shauna had set aside a blank canvas with instructions for each guest to write out a blessing for our girl.  It is a piece I will treasure always, knowing the profound love that already surrounds her as she joins the planet.

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I loved that it was couples shower, both because it was wonderful having Steve at my side as we celebrate our little girl and because having other fathers there to affirm him as much as me was a gift.  There really is something so important and valuable about taking the time to celebrate and honor new life, growing families, and expanding hearts.  Community makes life so rich and sweet and good. ¡Olé!