5.24.2011

7 and 4

This weekend was our 7 year anniversary.  I know 7 years isn't one of the "big" anniversaries but it seemed like a big milestone.  I think it is was because we are now a family of four.  The addition of Alex makes our family feel complete.  We are also entering a whole new phase of our relationship.  The next several years are going to be the "kid years."  This had us both feeling a little nostalgic.  We love the boys and are thrilled about this next phase but that doesn't mean we didn't take a few moments to remember life before they came.  We used to get to sleep in and go to concerts.  The difference was quite obvious when we woke up to a chorus of crying at 6 am on our anniversary.  We just laughed, this is our life now.  In addition to looking back, we took sometime to look forward.  The next several years are going to be such fun.  I love watching the boys grow and change.  I can't wait to get to share the world with them.  Kids bring such excitement to even the smallest activities.  Anyway, enough yacking . . . . here are a few photos.

This is something I made for the family.  It is our family tree. I made it using a pattern from cozy blue.  I was going to design something myself but when I saw stump I knew this was what I wanted.  This was my first big embroidery project and I loved it.

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This is a little print that I made for Jason.  We are going to do a photo/art wall a la Young House Love at some point and this will be in one of the frames.  It is seven things about the last sever years.
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Jason got me these tulips.  He had them delievered the day before our anniversary, they were such a lovely surprise. I love fresh flowers.  He also included the sweetest card.  Can you find the toddler in the photo?  He is busy scuffing the walls, which I am glad to say cleaned up nicely.

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To celebrate we drug the whole family to the Chattanooga Market.  It was wonderful.  We had so much fun and our outing went surprisingly well. With a toddler and a newborn going out is kind of risky.

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All in all, it was perfect.  A perfect way to celebrate our past, present and future together.

PS.  I tried to post this yesterday but it was a triple threat kind of day.  I was peed, pooped and spit up on. I was actually peed and pooped on by both kids.  We are introducing Henry to the potty, it is harder for mommy than Henry.

PPS.  Pinterest?  Do you pin?  If so, please find me so I can find you.  Pinterest has been a great way for me to dream while I can't really do.  I have a 101 ideas for projects, once I find the time . . .

5.19.2011

At home with my boys

If you would have asked me before having children if I would ever be a stay at home mom, I would have said no.  Yes, I was certain that I was going to be a working mom.  It was never really a question. Then, I had Henry.  And, much to my surprise, going back to work was much harder than I anticipated.  I only broke down in tears the first day, but every day was a struggle.  I can't explain it and I don't know why but I no longer wanted to work.   I just wanted to be at home with my baby.  I know for lots of moms working outside the home is good for them.  It is healthy, they feel like the time away makes them better moms. I really thought I would fall into this category. I was shocked that I didn't.  Over the next year, I cut back my work hours.  This allowed me to have more time with Henry.  Even with the extra time, I still wanted to be home.  Despite this desire, I kept working because I loved my job and the money that came with it.  Then, I got pregnant again.  Paying for childcare with one kid is pricey.  With two kids it would cost so much it made working pointless (I did nonprofit work which is awesome but not lucrative). So, it was decided early in my pregnancy that I would not be returning to work.  That brings us to the last two weeks.   I don't really think the reality of situation has fully set in.  There has been so much excitement that I am just now starting think about how different my life is going to look.  Even though I know it will be hard at times, I am really excited.  Right now, I feel like this is the right choice for us.  The right choice for me.  I tend to come from the school of thought that true feminism means giving a woman the freedom to make the choice that is right for her.  That can be having children, not having children, working or not working.

To be honest, I am kind of loving putting around the house. I have enough hobbies to keep me busy and I love being with my kids and homemaking.  I like baking bread and keeping my laundry caught up.  I know I am still in the honeymoon stage of this transition but I think it is going to suit me just fine.  I do want to focus more on having some sort of creative business.  I launched a little store but I still haven't been able to find an area of focus.  I am hoping in the fall to regroup and get serious.  For now, my goal is to make it through the summer.  I just going to kick back and have fun with my guys.

There will be lots of swimming.

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And, hopefully, napping.

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Maybe some baking.

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A little crafting.

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Certainly some gardening.

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More snuggles than we can handle (this picture is a iPod photo, not the best quality but still darn sweet).

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Of course,  a little sibling harassment.



I am building up a body of proof against Henry. This way in a few years when his little brother is getting on his nerves I can explain to him that he has it coming.  Alex hardly gets a moment of peace, but it is super cute.

So, for now, this is my life and I couldn't be happier.  I know there will be days when I will want to pull my hair out.  But, right now being a little homemaker feels right.

PS.  I am lucky to get to have this time.  I know being at stay at home mom isn't for everyone.  I also know there are people who would like to be stay at home moms but can't afford it.  We had to make a lot of sacrifices to be able to live on one income.  But, we were able to make it work.  We drive crap cars, have a small house, share a cell phone and pinch every penny.  I just thought I'd toss that out there in case you were wondering.  The Barks family is most certainly not rolling deep cash.

5.15.2011

Homemade Lotion

Update:   I have made this recipe so many times that I know it by heart.  I love it!  The site that I adapted the recipe from has added a version with preservatives, you can view it here.  I've never used preservatives (I always add tea tree oil) but I use mine quickly.  Thanks for stopping by!  Please let me know if you have any questions! Much love, Jaime.

Over the last year, I have been on a big natural bath and beauty kick.  I haven't shared much about it because I am the kind gal who likes to try stuff out and do some research before I start running my mouth about things.  I realize this may seem funny to some of you because,  I run my mouth a lot.  But, I do promise there is a method to my madness. Anyway, my internet searching and book reading has finally got me a couple of good recipes that I would like to share.

Now it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why someone would want to make their own health and beauty products.  The biggest reason is ingredients.  For the last few years I have been working to cut back preservatives in our diet.  It is only natural to start applying the same scrutiny to our bath and body products.  I love having control over what I am putting on my body.  I actually started looking into making soaps and such because Jason gets crazy dry skin in the winter.  Nothing was working for him.  In attempt to get Jason to stop whining give Jason some relief, I started researching and experimenting. The thing is, once you start messing around with making your own bath products you get kind of addicted.  There is a certain "damn the man" quality in making something that most people have to buy.  Perhaps I am odd, but I love the feeling independence that comes from making basic staples (like soap).  When you make your own bath products you end up with a high quality product made for pennies. Well, pennies once you build up your ingredient arsenal.  The initially investment in things like essential oils, cocoa butter and such can be a little pricey.  Once you have them, you get a lot of mileage out of them.  I have been slowly filling a cabinet up with hippie stash of natural ingredients.   I try to get as much as possible from my local natural food stores.  What I can't get locally, I order from Mountain Rose Herbs.  This place has crazy good reviews, and for good reason.  They have great products (and containers).  Most their stuff is organic and/or fair trade. Anyway, once you get a stash you can make all kinds of fun stuff.

Now on to the lotion . . .

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Disclaimer #1:  I made these before the baby came.  I just didn't want anyone to think that I am spending my first week with a toddler and a new born making lotion.  This last week I considered the day a success if I got dressed and washed a load of laundry.

Disclaimer #2: These were gifts.  I don't decorate the jar I use at home, I am far too lazy.

I found this recipe on A Sonoma Garden, which is great blog with some lovely natural living information on it.  I only made one small change. I added a little tea tree oil for it's anti-fungal properties (more on that below).  This recipe is a great jumping off place for whipping up your own creations.  You could easily add different scents and/or oils to create all kinds of unique and awesome lotion.  I just happen to really love the lavender and tee tree oil scent.  I am getting ready to make up a 1/2 batch with no sent for Alex, he has some crazy dry skin.  But for now, the basic recipe adapted from A Sonoma Garden:

How to Make Homemade Hand Lotion

1 1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup emulsifying wax* (NOT beeswax)
1/4 cup olive oil
24-36 drops lavender essential oil
1/8 teaspoon of tea tree oil (vitamin E oil could also be used)

*I had to order this online, I couldn't find it anywhere locally.  It has to be emulsifying wax for the lotion to . . . well . .  emulsify : ).

In a glass bowl (I used my trusty pyrex measuring glass) combine the olive oil and emulsifying wax and microwave for 1 minute until it is all melted. The temperature on this reads about 155 degrees.

Heat 1 1/4 cup of water in the microwave for 1 minute or until about 120 degrees. While that is heating up,  add the essential oil and tea tree oil into melted wax/olive oil mixture and whisk together.

Pour the hot water into the wax/olive oil mixture and watch it turn milky white.  Then pour the hot lotion into wide mouth pint size jars and let cool overnight. I like to put the lid on it while they cool to keep it free of germs.  I always have to stir mine once it is cool, the top tends to be thicker than the bottom.  A few good stirs (I use a chop stick) and the lotion is good to go (it won't have to be stirred again).

Disclaimer #3: This is lotion doesn't contain preservatives.  That means, if not used in a timely fashion, it will get moldy.  If you use sterile jars, very clean measuring cups and utensils it should last around 3-4 months.  I use mine pretty quick, so I haven't had it spoil.  It is important to put it in a clear container, that way you will know if it is going bad.  I've read that storing it in a place that get light will help it last as well.  While tea tree oil isn't a preservative, it has anti-fungal qualities which I why I added it. I keep mine on my night stand and try to remember to use it each night before bed.  I find it a very relaxing scent.

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Happy lotion making!

PS.  If you make this recipe or have any other homemade bath product recipes I would love to hear from you!

5.13.2011

Only a moment . . .

On this rainy Friday afternoon I had planed on posting a few project from the last couple of weeks or write a review of my first full week as a stay at home mom of two little boys.  While both would make absoulty lovely post, all I think about today how children are only babies for a moment.  Just like that they are walking, talking and gaining their independance.  I am not one of those mom's that bemoans the fact that children grow up.  I have no desire to freeze time.  I have throughly enjoyed watching Henry grow and learn.  But, that doesn't mean from time to time I can't just take a moment to think about how fast life moves.  I just want to take a second to marvel at Alex's tiny perfection.

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So sweet and completely dependent on us.

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So fragile and cuddly.

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So kissable.

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When I look at Henry I see so much potential in Alex.  It has been amazing watching Henry's personality form.   I can't wait to see what Alex will be like.  I feel so lucky to have the chance to watching my little guys grow.

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Thus concludes my mussy musings about life with a newborn.  I promise to be back soon with our usually silliness and crazy projects.

PS.  Special thanks to our sweet friend Cassie who took all of these awesome photos for us.  As always, she rocks!

5.08.2011

Collecting Myself

This week has been wild.  My baby is finally here and our family is complete.  I am excited, overwhelmed, tired, elated and nervous all at the same time.  Basically, I am a ball of emotions.  Mostly though, I think I am in love.  In love with Henry.  In love with Alex.  In love with Jason.  I know the next few weeks are going to be an adjustment.  I also know that my life is going to look so different now that I am going to be a stay at home mom. And while there is a part of me that is trying to process what all this means, for the most part I am just excited.  I am glad that I get this chance to be with my guys.  I know I will find the rhythm of what our new normal is in time. And, as Jason reminded me this morning, it hasn't even been a full week.  I think I still have plenty of time to get into the swing of things.

Thank you for all the kind comments, messages, phone calls, visits and emails that I received.  We are truly blessed to have such a great support system.  Labor and delivery was amazing.  In a few weeks (we I can think a little straighter) I plan on writing all about it.  My recovery has been great and Alex seems to be adjusting well to life in our silly home.  Here is Henry talking to his little brother, please note the adorable "I don't know" line at the beginning of the video.



I couldn't even begin to count the number of times I hear this during the day. It is always with this level of excitement.  We got Henry to say Alex once but he insist on calling him baby.  He likes to kiss the baby, count his toes, point out his facial features (nose, eyes, etc.) and sing to him.  Henry makes up songs all the time. The last few days he has been making them up and singing them for baby.   Seriously, it is so sweet it almost breaks a momma's heart.

Speaking of heart breakers, here is Mr. Alex.  It is amazing that you can love someone you just met so much.  Today, I feel like one lucky lady.  Even if I have been peed, pooped and spit up on.

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PS.  Just for fun, here is a video my sister took of Henry on her iPhone.  On Saturday we decided to go out for lunch.   You read that right, we took a 5 day old and a toddler to a sit down restaurant.  And you know what? It wasn't bad at all.  In fact, we had fun.  Henry was hilarious because he kept asking for sushi.  We couldn't stop laughing.  I love this age, he is a constant source of entertainment.

Collecting Myself

This week has been wild.  My baby is finally here and our family is complete.  I am excited, overwhelmed, tired, elated and nervous all at the same time.  Basically, I am a ball of emotions.  Mostly though, I think I am in love.  In love with Henry.  In love with Alex.  In love with Jason.  I know the next few weeks are going to be an adjustment.  I also know that my life is going to look so different now that I am going to be a stay at home mom. And while there is a part of me that is trying to process what all this means, for the most part I am just excited.  I am glad that I get this chance to be with my guys.  I know I will find the rhythm of what our new normal is in time. And, as Jason reminded me this morning, it hasn't even been a full week.  I think I still have plenty of time to get into the swing of things.

Thank you for all the kind comments, messages, phone calls, visits and emails that I received.  We are truly blessed to have such a great support system.  Labor and delivery was amazing.  In a few weeks (we I can think a little straighter) I plan on writing all about it.  My recovery has been great and Alex seems to be adjusting well to life in our silly home.  Here is Henry talking to his little brother, please note the adorable "I don't know" line at the beginning of the video.   I think that is one of my favorite expressions he says.



I couldn't even begin to count the number of times I hear this during the day. It is always with this level of excitement.  We got Henry to say Alex once but he insist on calling him baby.  He likes to kiss the baby, count his toes, point out his facial features (nose, eyes, etc.) and sing to him.  Henry makes up songs all the time and they last few days he has been making them up and singing them for baby.   Seriously, it is so sweet it almost breaks a momma's heart.

Speaking of heart breakers, here is Mr. Alex.  It is amazing that you can love someone you just met so much.  Today, I feel like one lucky lady.  Even if I have been peed, pooped and spit up on today.

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PS.  Just for fun, here is a video my sister took of Henry on her iPhone.  On Saturday we decided to go out for lunch.   You read that right, we took a 5 day old and a toddler to a sit down restaurant.  And you know what? It wasn't bad at all.  In fact we had fun.  Henry was hilarious because he kept asking for sushi.  We couldn't stop laughing.  I love this age, he is a constant source of entertainment.

5.03.2011

There's a new guy in town.

Hello everyone! Cassie here. Just like last time, I have taken over Barks Blog to present the newest member of the family. But would anyone really be surprised if Jaime was blogging from the hospital bed? I didn't think so.

Onto the real reason you're here: meet Alex James Barks.



He arrived on May 2, 2011 weighing in at 6 lbs 1 oz and 20 3/4" long.

You guys, Jaime did awesome. We met her and Jason at the hospital and check-in to birth was maybe 40 minutes. 40 MINUTES!!!! She arrived at the hospital dilated to a 5/6 and sweet Alex was here in no time. And Jason was an amazing coach. Jaime went totally med-free for this birth and she did just what we knew she could. They made/make a great team. I will let her tell the birth story in her own time if she chooses, but it was perfect and incredible. I was completely honored to photograph this birth. It was one of the greatest experiences I've ever had. Thank you guys and congrats!










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