// Things I Love Thursday v.223

It's been a while, TiLT. The past few weeks have been a bit hectic (as I've said every chance I've gotten) but summer is on its way and I'm ready! Here's my (almost) weekly picks for all things wonderful! xo

♥ these cute baby goats ♥

this gorgeous painting ♥

this incredible campaign ♥

♥ this sunset ♥

♥ these snoop photos ♥

♥ the struggle is real ♥

this series from east nashville's own emily blincoe ♥

this is hilarious. 12 disney princesses as lukewarm bowls of water ♥
these handmade-in-Guatemala bowties! ♥

// The May TeaBoxExpress box is up for grabs until May 5th! You can use CLUELESS20 or TRYTEABOX20 to get 20% off your first month! The April box was an Earth Day theme and had the most delicious tea in it.

// 10 reasons why this generation is loving the ability to be in love.

// I got a bunch of Community Coffee in the mail a couple of weeks ago and I've been enjoying some cold brew iced coffee ever since. I'm so excited for summer! (Creme Brulee iced coffee = SO GOOD!)

What are you loving this week?

// Linden Atlas - Nine Months

Linden Atlas is nine. months. old! I need to start thinking about his first birthday at this point... yikes! This past month was all about asserting his independence. Crawling everywhere, trying to climb on things, learning to stand all on his own (!!!)... it's been pretty exciting (and exhausting and stressful haha). He's starting to really "see" the world, I think. He's my happy little guy.

At 8 months old, Linden:
- weighed 21.5 pounds (!!!! - at his 9 month visit)
- was 29" tall (at his 9 month visit)
- learned to clap and thinks it's just the best thing.
- started eating three full meals a day.
- dipped his toes in the water (at a waterfall!) for the first time
- learned to stand up all on his own.
- learned to ride his little push-car.
- fell a lot. (So many little bumps and bruises to try and doctor up)
- is finally starting to get some actual hair (!!! - it's wispy, but it's growing!)

Next month brings the double digits... y'all, I am not ready for this!

// Celebrate Teacher - 5 DIY Teacher Appreciation Gifts Under $10!

For my final Michael's Makers challenge of the "year" I was tasked with coming up with FIVE DIY teacher appreciation gifts. The catch was that they needed to be a specific color palette, and each one needed to be made for under $10. Whew! I wanted to do a variety of gifts so they'd span different personalities and skill sets. Here's what I came up with!

Monogram Door Hanger

I snagged a wooden letter and some fun gift wrap to make this little number. The wrapping paper was actually from the $1 section! (Have you ever paid much mind to that part of the store? You should! I always find so many awesome things!) I simply used ModPodge to adhere the paper to the letter and I added a contrasting ribbon! Easy peasy. You could do this in just a few minutes even! It'd look so cute hanging on the chalkboard or on a classroom door!

Tissue Paper Coffee Mug

How cute is this watercolor-inspired coffee cup?! I just used various colors of torn tissue paper and the new "Dishwasher Safe" ModPodge to stick it on! I made one for myself and I can happily report that it has made it through the dishwasher without so much as an issue! And what teacher doesn't need a coffee mug?! (You can also do a little tea or coffee gift basket and use the cup!)

Handpainted Family Sign

I love how this one turned out! I used a thin wooden hanging and just covered it with some chalkboard paint. I tried some chalk markers but didn't like that I could see through them so easily. Instead I used an acrylic paint pen. You could paint so many different things on it. Maybe a teaching quote or the teacher's name.

Geometric Throw Pillow

Whether you make it to decorate the classroom, or for your child's teacher to take home, a throw pillow would be so cute! I picked up this burlap ready-made pillow and used some masking tape to tape off the negative space. I used fabric paint to fill in the open spaces and afterward I sprayed it with waterproofing spray so it's safe to use outdoors! Most teachers have a Summer vacation coming up, so it'd be lovely to give them something they could use on their patio and remember your (totally awesome) kid by haha

"Apple" Candy Jar

I painted this terra cotta apple jar with some fuchsia paint since it fit the color palette better, but you could also do it in red! I love how fun and different the pink is though. I just took a terra cotta planters pot and the saucer, added a "twig and leaves" and filled it with yummy stuff. This would be a great treat jar for a teacher's desk. It could even be used to hold small desk supplies like rubber bands and paper clips.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Michaels is celebrating every occasion this summer with gifts for Moms, Dads and teachers, and parties to celebrate birthdays, graduation, and the 4th of July. It's never too early to get started on your next party or celebration! Michaels.com has more project ideas and instructions for you and your kids to make this year - check out projects for Mother's Day, Father's Day, graduation, birthday, and even Summer! Let's celebrate!

An InLinkz Link-up

// Cedar Lake

These photos were taken back at the beginning of March. We spent part of the day roaming around Long Hunter State Park one Saturday. Everything was still wet and dead basically, but I'm itching to stop back by now that everything is blooming! It was such a stunning view of the lake. I could totally see us venturing over for a family picnic or something, too. I like to lurk through the geotagged images on Instagram to get an idea of what parts to scope out. There's so much we haven't explored! I wrapped Linden up in my Sakura Bloom Cedar sling and it was the perfect way to tote him around. It's crazy looking at these photos because he already looks so different! My baby will be 9 months old this week... I can't even handle it.

This outfit was one that I wore entirely too much! I'd wake up, put it on, wear it all day, and then maybe wear it again the next day. I know that sounds terrible (I promise I did laundry! haha) but it became my comfortable "go to" outfit. The dress is from LuLu's several years ago. (I wore it here!) The booties are from Blowfish even longer ago I think! It's been fun to scour my closet for things I haven't worn in quite some time. I'm finding old favorites and making them new again. (Speaking of which, I really need to do a Kaelah's Closet clean out... I keep saying I'm going to. But I'm really going to this time!)

Taking the past week off from blogging really helped me deal with everything life threw my way. It really was nice to just sort of unplug a bit. Ever since I stopped making such a fuss to blog X number of times a week I've found that I can just enjoy life. It's sort of sad how tedious and chore-like things like blogging can become. Especially if you rely on it for any sort of monetary compensation. I've agreed to some campaigns here and there, but for the most part I just want to share photos from our days. The new blog design (and name) will be up soon. I know some of y'all already know the name as I've been testing out an email signature with it for the past month or so. I thought that'd be a nice and easy (and non-intrusive) way to see if I could stick with it. I actually almost just named it "untitled" or "blog" because since I'm not worried about marketing myself or growing my blog, the name really doesn't matter. Those would have been totally creative, right?! ha

Life's current struggles include trying to find time to grocery shop and keeping up with washing Toby's baseball uniform in time for his next game. I feel like we're at the baseball fields 24/7 so the house is messy, the fridge is bare, and I'm so sick of drive-thru meals. What is time and how do I get ahead of it?! There are worse things in life, I guess! xo

LuLu*s dress
Mak cardgian via ModCloth
No Nonsense tights
Blowfish booties
Mama & Little teething necklace (c/o)
Sakura Bloom "Cedar" ring sling

// Valedictorian

Mike graduated (the first phase) of nursing school on Friday! You may remember last year when we announced he'd be pursuing this career path, I was oh so excited and ready for him to get started. Well, a year has come and gone and boy am I glad that's over! Y'all, this year has been the hardest of our lives. I'm not even going to sugarcoat it. There were a lot of tears, a lot of nights going to bed at radically different hours, lots of missing each other and feeling generally overwhelmed and stretched entirely too thin. I think we would have both felt that way even if we didn't have a new baby to toss into the mix... but that dangerous combination was almost too much to bear at times.

Mike has worked so hard and he put in so many hours over the past 12 months. I've always known he was a dedicated, capable guy, but this past year showed me just how incredible he is. And that's exactly what landed him the top spot in his class! Yep, he was the valedictorian! Such a testament to his perseverance and work ethic. He still has to go to school this entire week (because that makes a lot of sense...) and study for the NCLEX coming up, but then he'll be home for a couple of weeks potentially while he waits for his NCLEX placement and then hunts for a job. Part of me is so relieved to soon be a two-income family rather than trying to juggle my design clients and painting clients in between naps and feeds, but I'm also nervous about the hours he'll be scheduled and the hectic world he's about to be thrown into. Not only that, but he will start with his pre-req classes for RN school soon, too. We'll have ~2 years of RN school to struggle through, and then another few years of grad school until he gets his Masters and becomes a Nurse Practitioner. The goal has been Dr. Michael Flynn, DNP when it's all said and done, but I'm personally taking it one day at time. I think anyone else with a spouse in the nursing field can attest to just how difficult it can be to be their partner, especially in the thick of the schooling. I'm hoping this was our hardest year, and that things will get a little easier since Linden is getting older and we both know sort of what to expect from nursing school.

I knew it'd be difficult, but I was absolutely not prepared for just how hard it would be... on both of us. We're still not out of the woods just yet. Boards to be taken, licenses to be acquired, jobs to find and new routines to get in the swing of. My hope is that if we can make it through this, we can make it through anything. 

I'm so proud of my husband. So proud that I even suggested he buy a new guitar and amp... so clearly all the stress has made me insane haha xo

// Bunny Hop

Here's another Zombie Bunny outfit post! This cardigan is so bright and fun and frilly. I love that the little zombie bunny is sort of a "surprise" when you see it. Generally I tend to prefer cardigans with 3/4 sleeves, but you can't deny how cute the lace trim is. I know there's the whole "no white" rule before Memorial Day/after Labor Day, but who really goes by those?! I picked up this dress at Old Navy a few weeks ago. Of course I paid full price and then it was 40% off like 2 days later... haha I bought the navy version, too. The eyelet detail is so perfect for Spring. I couldn't decide between two necklaces so I let Mike choose. He opted for this cascading gold number that I got from Stitch Fix a while back. I thought it was only fitting to pair my zombie bunny cardigan with my skull flats haha I realize now that we didn't get a good photo of my Amore bangle from Stitch Fix, but I love how dainty it is. I'm also all kinds of in love with this jade ring from Rocksbox. I ended up sending it back, but I think I might request it again and then buy it. (I'm having way too much fun with Rocksbox. I forgot how fun jewelry was! Even though I still can't really wear it a lot because baby hands!)

Last week was kind of crazy at our house. My birthday, heading out of town for a few evenings, lots and lots of driving, Toby being on spring break, Mike and Linden both starting to come down with a cold, and days worth of Easter festivities with family. I am zonked! Don't even get me started on the design work and signs I didn't manage to do. Luckily everything is still on schedule, but this week won't be much better in terms of spare time. Toby's baseball games start this week, so we have 2 nights a week to spend at the ballpark. Mike is gearing up to take his last final! He graduates next Friday! (WHAT!) I've been working on organizing a small party for him after his graduation. Then it'll be full time studying for the NCLEX. I'm just over here trying to keep everyone alive haha My best friend Elle called me on my birthday and asked how things were going. I told her I live very simply these days. If everyone makes it to bed breathing, the day is a success! 

April showers bring May flowers is in full effect this week. Rain out the wazoo! I'm hoping there will be a few thunderstorms sprinkled in because I love me some thunder and lightning. I know the heat isn't far off though, so I'm trying to relish in the 70 degree temps as much as I can. I can't wait for next weekend because I'll be in the clear to start planting flowers in the front yard. Ahhhhh, I love Spring! Hope y'all are having a great week so far! xo

Stitch Fix necklace
Stitch Fix "amore" bangle
Margaret Elizabeth ring via Rocksbox
Martina flats c/o Loly in the Sky

PS; Get your first month of Rocksbox for FREE with the code KAELAHBFF. You basically get to "rent" the jewelry for as long as you want, and/or buy it at a discounted price. Don't love it or you're done with it? Ship it back in their prepaid mailer and get another box!

// Linden Atlas - Eight Months

I'm only two weeks late posting this, but you know, life. Linden turned eight months old on March 23rd and he's been a little hellion ever since! He's crawling, standing, grabbing things he shouldn't possibly be able to reach, and he finally got a hold of the dog food. We take it one day at a time around here! All of these pictures and milestones are from when he was seven months, of course, but it's so crazy how he's already changed so much in just two weeks. I'm honestly not sure how I'm already posting his eight month milestone post! I feel like you don't really understand the concept of time until you have a kid. Maybe I'm biased or jaded or whatever, but time feels so different with a baby around. Even with Toby, it seemed to go much slower. Maybe that's because he came to live with us just after turning three, whereas we've seen Linden evolve since day one. Of course I catch myself looking at Toby and thinking "Who is this teenager?!" haha Six has it's own set of challenges, but six years and eight months... phew! I have my work cut out for me.

At seven months, Linden:
- weighed 19.5 pounds. 
- slept through the night twice! 7.5 hours and 9.5 hours (!!!!!!)
- started growing some actual hair! even if it's super wispy still haha
- transitioned into his own room (!) and sleeps in his crib every night
- pulls up on everything and can stand on his own for a few seconds
- got the thumbs up to slowly start introducing dairy again
- was the lucky recipient of 300 ounces of donor milk from a friend (!)

I can't wait to share all of the exciting things happening at eight months, too! I know I'm going to love being able to look back on these monthly posts and remember what the days were like. Seriously, just two weeks late and I've already forgotten most of what happened when he was seven months... Yikes! xo

See other Monthly Linden posts here.