Month: November 2015

Piano…Here! (Please)

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The Goal: Raise bright, motivated and cultured children and musicians.

 

The Problem: No piano.

 

The Solution: The Brigham Larson Piano Giveaway!

 

Hi, we’re the Barbers.

 

We are a young, blessed family who love…pretty much everything. Today I’m going to tell you about our love of music. My husband and I have made an effort to introduce music to our children since birth. We sing and dance throughout the day, rely on music as a strong part of our bedtime routine, have opted for album after album of music instead of movies on most road trips, take our family to the symphony, ballet, plays and other exposures to the arts as often as we can and try to always share our appreciation for all kinds of expression available to us.
All three of our kids at their first symphonies. 

 

We are devoted to raising a generation of musicians. Neither my husband nor I are much of musicians ourselves. (I no longer refer to us as “not musically talented” as I believe everyone has musical talent if nurtured.) I took a few years of piano in my pre-teen years on the side of playing many sports and live to fulfill my mother’s prophecy of regretting not continuing with it further. My husband was also mostly involved in athletics and wishes he had better taken advantage of the guitar lessons he was offered – but we’re glad he is taking it back up! While we both still have a passion for athletics and value the lessons that can be learned through team sports, we know that time will come. The time for igniting and nurturing a love and appreciation of the gift and heritage of music is now.

 

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 Bravo!

 

 

I’m thankful as I look at our ever-filling schedule full of great opportunities for our family. Each of our children start with music and singing class at three years old, our youngest will start next year. Since then we’ve progressed to private violin for our seven year old daughter, which she looks forward to each week. (And as her at-home teacher I have spent many nights practicing the note flashcards I had to make for myself and placing video calls to my sister for help with rhythm and chords so I’m ready for practice the next day.) She and our four year old daughter are also enrolled in a three year music program. This first year is teaching tone through singing and bells, introducing staff awareness and rhythm, and even music reading. (All of this has been so beneficial – especially for me!) The second and third years will focus on keyboarding. (That’s where this contest comes in.) That in addition to dance, tumbling, Chinese immersion and more. We also have plans for our second daughter to start private cello and are excited to find which instrument best fits our son and also our fourth baby coming in April that we can’t wait to meet.

 

With all these instruments in our home there is one centerpiece, one nucleus, one heart to our trio soon-to-be quartet that is missing. The piano. It’s been on our list to acquire since we’ve been married. It’s just never felt right. We’ve shopped, browsed classifieds, and visited estate sales at length. We even brought home a piano to refurbish and could tell, even as untrained musicians, that it was not the quality piece we wanted our children tuning their instruments and ears to, so we sent it on its way.

 

Let me introduce you to our music room:

 

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A lot of time spent practicing, reading and serenading in this room and many memories still to be made.

 

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You could say we’ve got the perfect spot all ready for the piano you’re giving away! 

 

We’ll even give our budding musicians a chance to serenade you with their impromptu concert:

 You have got to really give it to that imaginary pianist and singer – imagine what she could do with a real piano!

Being the lucky recipients of the piano Brigham Larson is graciously giving away would be a dream come true. I can’t even imagine the excitement our children would have to see it being delivered and finally know the answer to the question I am asked daily; “When are we getting a piano?” It would mean confidence that our family has an instrument to learn on and fill our home with joy and music for a lifetime. It would mean the world to us.
Their faces say it all…

 

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Please!!!

 

(And thank you.)

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Sharing Sisters New Room

With the gender of Barber Quattro remaining a mystery the two girls have been the lucky beneficiaries of my nesting.
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These girls have always shared a room. We previously had two twin beds that took up most of the space and one that never got slept in besides by stuffed animals because they insisted on sleeping together. Adorable, I know. But not the greatest use of space which is a commodity for two girls who love to collect every single thing and need to be outfitted five times a day.
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Be still my heart.

I considered just getting a full bed for them to share, but wanted the option for them to have their own space if/when the need so arises (tell me they’ll still want to snuggle and tell stories as teenagers!) These bunk beds with stairs were my favorite. I love that they feel more safe and sturdy and offer cute storage. Once I saw them I couldn’t choose anything else. A lot of planning and saving later they got delivered almost exactly one year after I first started considered them for my daughter’s birthday last year. Sounds about par for me.
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I bought them bedding with their old beds. I’m picky on bedding since I’ve been spoiled by an amazing seamstress mom who makes beautiful quilts and bedding for their nurseries. I hoped the bed-making would be a bit easier since the comforters just laid on top of their mattresses and didn’t need to be tucked in. But most nights they ended up sleeping on top of the quilt so they didn’t have to mess with it and just their minky blankets. Then they’d get cold, or one would, and there wasn’t really enough room for two pillows so they had those ugly (sorry!) animal pillows that I cannot stand.
I’d heard about the Beddy’s company for a while but I actually was reminded about them by a mom who told me to NEVER buy bunk beds. Unless of course I wanted to buy Beddy’s bedding for them. I looked into them and tried to convince myself of literally every possible way I could get around justifying the investment. I even priced out how much it costs to make these babies and found Beddy’s sells them for a steal.
In the end the week before the beds were to be delivered (I’d planned this room’s big reveal in my mind over and over) and after an embarrassing amount of deliberation (we’re talking dreaming about zippers and colors and which patterns coordinated the best) I sold their old beds, dresser, clothes, shoes, and if we’d had a pet or kid I didn’t like I would have sold that too in my raid! With the cash in hand I knew exactly what I was buying. Luckily Pinners Conference was coming up and I heard that this awesome company would be there offering a great deal and chance to see these beauties (the bedding, and their employees) in person.
Friday afternoon was the funnest Gingerbread Birthday Party for the seven year old.
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Exhausted and with a full day planned Saturday I cleaned up the afterparty and left our kids at grandmas for a bit, grabbed my husband and told him we were going on a date. I was so excited to see him and actually have a real conversation since he’d been at grad school and traveling for work all week I kind of forgot to tell him where we were going.
So as we pulled into the expo: “Hey, we’re here at a Pinterest conference of sorts, full of women and their blogs and businesses and we’re looking to buy some stuff for the girls’ room.” Cool, he says. Because he’s awesome like that. Then he grabs his Pinners bag and proudly starts filling it with every flyer, giveaway, knick knack and sample he can find. I lost him several times and on one occasion he came back smelling very nice!
We found Beddy’s booth and Betsy, the cutest owner and inventor ever. Before I could tell her I was basically sold with an envelope of classifieds cash burning a hole in my pocket she and another lady started giving Luke the sales pitch. I had also forgot to tell him the details about the bedding, including the price, which I was a little hesitant about his reaction because he knows I’m a (self-proclaimed) Frugal Fannie. After the demonstration on the bunk beds, him trying them out a few times and asking if he could take a nap there for the rest of the night he says; “Well we’re definitely going to need two for the girls, one for their little brother (the gingerbread man from the party above) and we’ll eventually need one for the baby on the way, and I want one for us too so we may as well get them all while we’re here.” Did he think my envelope grew money? But consider us both sold.
I had deliberated which patterns to get and in the end I’m really glad I drove down to see them, especially the Always Enchanting design. I have to say it’s even more beautiful in person and a much more aqua color than I thought showed in the pictures online. I was worried it would be more of a sky blue that wouldn’t mesh with the room design in my brain. I really love the Vintage Blush because it looks so girly and thought it would be perfect on the top bunk. I like the original with all the ruffles but was excited to learn about the Vintage Blush II coming out with a less-ruffled look that would better match the style of the Always Enchanted. (These are the things of my dreams, my friends.) I gladly handed over my molaah with a promise to be back for the remaining beds.
Just a few days later I get this text from the hubs: “They came. They both came!” I knew he was hoping that meant we could move the girls back into their own room, which was mostly painted and had the adorable bunk beds installed and a “Do Not Enter, Surprise In Progress” sign with tape all across the door. But we needed to finish the details and a few more sleepless nights to be reminded how beautiful children that sleep are.
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I’d had our weekend planned down to the minute to make sure we could get paint to dry, vinyl adhered, trim and shelving hung for a Sunday morning reveal. Because the school week needed sleep.
Saturday morning we were blessed to take our family to participate in a fundraiser 5K for my friend and coworker who is undergoing his second battle with Male Breast Cancer. It was a great event and opportunity for our children to support someone who is going through a trial harder than they could ever imagine. Harder than any of us could imagine. We spent a lot more time there than I had planned but it’s hard to think of anything more important than supporting a friend and being reminded what’s truly important in life.
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In the end this is how the room looked Sunday morning. Not totally finished. But beautiful and so fun to surprise two sweet, thankful girls with. Not only have our mornings gotten better, our story time, play time, laundry time, and bedtime.
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Finished the sign way late that night, but I couldn’t sleep anyway I was so excited.
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My favorite corner.
My oldest every time I look in this corner: Mom are you going to stare at the pictures and ask us why we grow up so fast again? Yes, yes I am.
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I Love You to the Moon and Back. 
Pillows from Pick your Plum a while ago, but had to happen because that’s our saying.
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The Light. 
All us girls wanted a chandelier in the room. I wanted the function of a fan so we could get rid of the ugly one floor one. So we made a hybrid, thanks of our awesome electrician friend installing and reinforcing this fan for us. The crystal jewels in the center are from one of my grandma’s fancy necklaces she always wore that I got when she passed away. It’s been nice to have a piece of her in their room. And with a little help from Hobby Lobby’s Christmas section and daddy’s fishing line and I really love the way these sparkle in the sun.
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The beds. 
The final piece. I withheld my excitement putting on the bedding until everything else was ready and painted. Well past midnight I honestly exhausted myself putting on the mattress covers alone and was so relieved to know I wouldn’t have to perform that lift, shimmy and tuck ritual every morning.
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The one shelf we did get added was on the bunkbed itself for their books.

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I loved the grey walls and white ceiling and paper flowers rescued from my friend’s garbage pile.

This is the bedding right out of the boxes. So bright and beautiful! It made the bright white ceiling and perfect grey walls really pop. I was expecting them to be even more wrinkled. I know you can steam the top layer and ruffles to have them lay even better or after you wash them but I think they look pretty great.
The Vintage Blush II – it’s not even supposed to be shipping yet but of course Beddy’s delivered. I love it. The “So Loved” sign above is pretty fitting.
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The reveal. 
We make things a big deal around here. So getting a fancy new room (probably the nicest in the house right now!) couldn’t be a small occasion.
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Girls Take on the New Room: 
“I’m so excited to sleep can we go to bed right now?” — We got one night of that, we’ll take it.
 
“Mom, there is no food in our room OR our beds!” — There goes my lunch plans.
“How lucky it’s all our favorite colors!” — Luck and some lost sleep…
“Everyone! If you make a mess in here, you clean. it. up.” — Rev.o.lutionary.
My favorite story from our new zippered life: 
The first night our oldest chose to sleep on the top bunk. The little sister woke up in the the middle of the night, scared I’m sure from being alone for a change. I walked her back to her room and told her I’d lay down with her. When we got there she had to carefully remove the pillow shams and unzip her bed again. I asked her why it was zipped up, I was pretty sure I had tucked her in earlier. “Because mom you have to make your bed when you get out of it!” 
Anything that gets your kid to make make their bed at 2 AM wins in my book.
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Genuine

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 12.54.50 AM.pngIn October I helped my friend Janelle celebrate her wedding. I like phrasing it as such because it was a true celebration of our happiness for two people falling in love and committing to each other.

Second marriages usually come after the pain of a first marriage ending or the pain of losing a spouse. Pain that I would never wish on anyone. But they can also bring hope and new life that is truly wonderful to witness.

I’m 30 years old. I’m super blessed to have a great group of friends and even luckier when I get to spend time with them. Most of them are older than me. Enough years older that they are often surprised that we are friends. I’m not. I’ve always gotten along with those who are older than me. Partly because growing up I looked older (side affect of being crazy tall I suppose) and I figured I should act the part. But I’ve also realized the benefit that comes with experience.

There are so many benefits of getting older. That night as we were sweeping up after Matt and Janelle’s celebration confirmed this for me.

The era of life when most of my friends and I were getting married was fun and innocent, also full of comparisons and insecurities. You’d show up to a wedding after spending great care about how you look, concerned who you’re seen with, glancing around comparing it to your own wedding, or adamantly professing to everyone (including yourself) how glad you are you aren’t married yet!

I reflected how different this evening was for all of us. The bride was more concerned about those attending enjoying themselves than herself. (As the self-appointed wedding planner I took a little convincing that a blow up slide and cotton candy trumped centerpieces and wedding cake.) My husband Luke had spent the day building a photo booth with me, gathering and transporting every serving dish we could find and happily setting up tables because he wanted a nice evening for Matt and Janelle. Our friends showed up with smiles from ear to ear as their gifts and asked how they could help. Many of their husbands had never met the bride but spent the entire evening warming hot chocolate and bussing tables because they knew how much she meant to their wives. Guests stayed longer than I’ve ever seen at a wedding reception because of the wonderful spirit of gratitude and excitement in the air (the limbo line didn’t hurt either). We laughed as smeared cookies on their windows and tied cans to their getaway minivan, so excited for where that road would lead. We waved goodbye, they both thanked us profusely, family assured them they’d take care of their nine (yes 9!) children while they honeymooned in Europe, and we all hugged each other when they were gone. It’s a beautiful thing when you can be truly happy for someone else’s happiness.

I went home more content and appreciative of my life and my marriage, and especially for the gift of good, real friends and the happiness and the rounding out of ourselves that comes with time.

And so it is, genuine. May we all be it, may we appreciate it when it finds us.
I think my Instagrams do a pretty good job documenting our celebrations:

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