1.31.2014

The Little Fishy

Zoe absolutely loves bath time


Since she was born she has enjoyed herself, but the last several weeks she has started loving it and splashes, kicks, plays with the water, plays with toys, etc. I know having her in the bathtub will be even more fun for her with more room to play around, but our tub is cast iron and even though she is a super champ at sitting up now, I still am a little nervous about her taking a spill in the water, and, well, cast iron isn't too forgiving.

I have always wanted to have her take swim lessons, and the damn kid has so much energy, so I figured starting them sooner rather than later is a good idea. I did some research on lessons in the area for little ones and found a program that offers an hour of drop in time for babies and parents to stop by and to get the little ones comfortable in the water. Chris' mom bought her a couple editions of it for Christmas, and this past weekend we took her for the first time


The class started right at nap time, so I brought along the pacifier in hopes that it would help her be calm, despite her being a little tired. And it worked very well.

She was SUPER into watching everyone. While we waited for the big kids to finish before it was baby time Zoe just could not stop staring at all of them playing in the pool. And when it was our turn she had just about no reaction to getting into the water because she was so fascinated with everyone else. It was pretty cute


It was a much looser program than I had anticipated and it was mostly all the parents hanging out and playing with the kiddos (6 months - 3 years) with several instructors making their way through the pool and answering questions, playing with the kids, giving advice, etc. I'm always one to dive right in so I asked how to get her comfortable enough to really get her going in the pool adventure. They suggested that I slowly get her in deeper and deeper until you tackle the dunking adventure. So that's just what I did. I held her and went in into the chin, then the mouth, then the nose, then the eyes


And about 40 minutes into the class I dunked her


She was a little worried about it and certainly coughed up some water, but I think she took it like a champ. And most important, she was totally recovered and watching and playing with her duckies in about 17 seconds. So I did it a couple more times :) (bad mommy! :) But I really want her comfortable in water from a young age. I think not teaching kids to swim is really a disservice to them - both for their enjoyment and for their own safety. My step dad could swim before he could walk and I remember my parents having me in swim lessons from a very young age and my step dad teaching me further when I was around 11 or so.

There were aspects of this program that I liked and disliked - I wish it was a little more formal and taught the babies how to hold their breath, etc. (I know there's only so much you can teach a 7 month old), but having the freedom to just play with her in the water was also a lot of fun. One of the other moms that was there I had met in another baby class and I was talking to her and she told me about a groupon that was being offered at another local pool that offered more formal lessons (I had looked into it before, but it was a tad pricey), so Chris snatched it up and I think we might do a combination of these free time classes and then the more formal ones as well.

Possibly the best part though? Zoe slept like a champ that night. She also napped really well. And I will take any extra sleep we can get!


I love our little water baby :)

1.29.2014

2014 House Goals: Maybe, Possibly, A Finished House?

I'm a little late on this this year, but it's still January, so I'm thinking I'm not too late. And the goal for this year? Maybe getting the house done! And when you look at it, there really isn't a ton left that has to get done - this is our smallest to do list. Pretty much ever


See? Not much! Of course, I'm not sure if this will actually get done this year because there are three fairly large building projects. But it's always important to dream!

The list is really in no order at all and we'll probably jump around a ton, so don't think the 1-5 actually mean anything. And even when we do put projects in "order" we never actually stick to it.

1. THE LAUNDRY ROOM

Half of it is looking like this



(well, actually, it's not this pretty anymore because we have all the drawer fronts for the bed sitting on the ground, but you get the idea).

We started this room the year we moved in - yes, that's 5 years ago. So I think it might be finally time we get this room done. Especially because the other side of the room looks like this



There are some smaller items on the list - like installing the rest of the floor, but then there are larger items - like building and installing cabinets. Those cabinets will take a fair amount of time, but we're also going to paint them, so building paint grade cabinets instead of stain grade will go a lot quicker. Then there are finishing touches - a counter over the washer/dryer, trim, etc. - but hopefully this room doesn't take forever. Well, forever more than forever has already taken.

2. Backyard projects

Our "grass" looks like shit



So this weekend we're actually going to rip it alllllllll out, install some sprinklers and then lay sod (well, the sod will come next week). I realize laying sod after the dryest January in recorded history in California is slightly irresponsible, but we also have all of our other landscaping on drip, and after the initial heavier waterings to get things established we will only need to water once a week (we researched for drought tolerant sod). This will be especially nice to get done because Zoe is getting to be quite the mover lately and we don't really have a baby friendly area in the backyard for her to hang out.

After we finished building the pergola, we left it alone for 2+ years, so I'd like to finally finish it. That includes putting some twinkly lights up, and figuring out the seating because this doesn't look terribly inviting


And we might also put some lattice around the addition by veggie garden 2.0, but I'm not sure about that one.

3. FINISH ROOMS!

The front room


Yeah, it's filled with a lot of crap at various times. And all we need to do is buff that tile around the fireplace and build that sports ticket table...

Then there's also the bedroom


This one is super, super nearing the homestretch. We just need to build the drawers for the bed, finish the headboard, and hang up some miscellaneous items. Hopefully this one is finished up soon!

4. The nook


This room doesn't actually need much. The ceiling and walls need a little bit of repair and then they'll need to be painted (which will be slightly challenging because the walls are curved). I want to paint the top of that table in a fun pattern and we'll need some chairs for it (though for the time being I have 2 chairs meant for the sports ticket table in here). The pantry also needs to be more organized and touched up. Oh, and let's not forget about finally getting those last two windows painted and some proper curtains hung (no more drywall "curtains" please!) Then there are little finishing touches. So yeah, not too much?

And lastly, Chris' office


This room actually doesn't have much to do. The most glaring problem is the ceiling


There's clearly some repair that needs to be done. Then paint of course. The walls also need a little tiny bit of repair here and then, and then paint. But really, other than that it's fun stuff (hanging artwork, maybe something cool with the curved mantel).

So what do you think? Can we get all of this done this year? Zoe is mobile and will be even crazier once she can walk (ahhh!) so I know it will be fun learning to renovate with a toddler running around


For the time being I'll take her army crawl.

1.27.2014

Finally Getting to that Headboard

It's been a long time since I posted about (or even thought about) our headboard. In fact, it's been 3 months. Jeeeeezzz. So I finally decided it was time to get on it. About a month ago I finally ordered the fabric for it. I went with the solid antique velvet, instead of the pattern

Antique Velvet Sky Blue
found here
I just figured it would be a WHOLE lot easier to upholster in this fabric rather than make sure the pattern was always lining up properly. And I worried I would get sick of the pattern.

I had the fabric, but I still needed the foam and batting to make it nice and fluffy. A couple weeks ago I went to a local craft/fabric store to check out what they had. I was thinking 2" foam would make it super soft and scrumptious to lean up against and that at least one layer (maybe 2) of batting should go around it as well. Unfortunately, I wasn't super pleased with the prices



The price for the batting seemed decent, but that foam was pricey. I wanted the headboard to be tall enough so that when we sat up in bed our whole bodies would be leaning against it, and at 76" wide, that would mean we would need several of those $33 pieces. In addition to the $12 roll of (not very plush) batting. I was looking at at least $111, plus tax. I vowed to find it for cheaper.

I hunted around online and definitely found some for cheaper, but when I factored in shipping, it honestly came out to almost the same price. And I couldn't feel it to make sure it wasn't too firm, soft, uncomfortable, or whatever.

Then I remembered that there was an upholstery supply warehouse on the drive that we make to HD several times a week (Bay City on High St. for any of you locals), so I figured I'd give them a shot. And I'm glad I did. Not only were their prices better, but the guy who was there was super helpful. I told him what I needed the foam for and he suggested I actually use 1 1/2" foam (which was cheaper) because it wasn't as tough as the 2" so it would feel a lot more comfortable. I wanted to double up on my batting, and he thought one layer would be good enough (again, cheaper suggestion), but I opted to still get enough to double, just to make sure. My total came in (with tax) at just over $75. Not too shabby.

Then came the task of building it. Currently the bed is looking like this


Magazine worthy, right?

I sat in bed to figure out a good height and asked Chris to do the same to make sure the measurements worked for both of us - although Chris is 9"taller than me I have an "abnormally long" (as Chris puts it), torso, so the two measurements weren't very far off. We settled on 42", which would include a small amount that wouldn't be visible behind the mattress. Then we took the piece of plywood and cut it down to size. We cut two little notches in the bottom because the headboard will slide down behind the mattress and rest on top of the plywood frame, and while it will be slightly wider than the bed frame we need to accommodate the face frames on either side


Once it was cut out, I brought out our adhesive spray and sprayed on 2 layers (in opposing directions) on the plywood...


...and also the foam to ensure a tighter bond


After I let it set for 5 minutes, I brought the foam over and started laying it out on top of the plywood and pressing firmly down to make sure there was a tight bond



When it was done there was overhang on 2 of the sides so I set about cutting it down. I used a utility knife at first, but that was extremely slow going because of the thickness of the foam, so I brought out a saw instead. It didn't result in the cleanest edge (but it's getting wrapped in batting anyway, so who cares), but it worked


Not the most beautiful cutting job...


While I waited for the adhesion to set, I went back inside to prep the fabric and batting by getting everything laid out


Zoe found the process very exciting



After the 30 minutes allotted for a solid adhesion, Chris and I brought the plywood in


The next day I made sure everything lined up properly and used our upholstery stapler (a tool we bought for a handyman project) and got to work stapling that thing within and inch of its life




Zoe was very interested in the whole process and sat herself up on the edge of the two steps that go down into the front room from the TV room and watched very intently (she's actually really good about scooting over to the edge and then stopping and not toppling down the stairs). Once I was done with all the stapling (their is no safety on the upholstery stapler so I didn't want her near it), I brought her down so she could investigate


She was very into climbing all over everything and making sure she approved of my work


I think it's looking pretty good so far!


We still need to attach and upholster the 2x4 "wings" and then attach the upholstery nails (which are two parts that I'm slightly nervous about), but a large portion is finished and I'm motivated to get the rest done because this is looking so snazzy. I really like the fabric we went with - it's solid, but because of the texture it really has a lot of great variation in it. Plus, it's really soft so it feels super yummy.

1.24.2014

Adopted Family Friday: Janice from Life Begins at 30, Right?

*The thing I've learned about parenting is that there is ALWAYS another opinion. Friends, family, doctors, nurses - everyone has an opinion about everything. And while sometimes this is frustrating, I also find it refreshing. Especially when talking to friends. Internet friends also :) So here we are for another edition of "Adopted Family Friday!"

Say hello to Janice from Life Begins at Thirty, Right? If you don't know, Janice has an awesome blog about renovating her Victorian home. What I love about her is that she's always honest - she talks about the good, the bad, and the ugly. She's not afraid to talk about when things go wrong, not according to plan, or (of course) when they eventually end up great. And now she and her husband are also raising their adorable son Luca and it's been a lot of fun watching him grow and see how they tackle renovating and little man adventures. So without further ado...


Hey Meryl!! Thanks for having me over to your little corner of blog-land! For your readers who don't know me, I'm Janice. I have an old Victorian rowhouse in Toronto, Ontario and I blog about it over here. I'm married and I have a 19 month old son, Luca.

When I was a kid, I  made a promise to my dad. A big one. I even put it in writing (and I think he kept it in his wallet).

I promised to never cut my hair.

It was funny - I had this long wavy/frizzy brown hair and it was like it had always been that way (which I now know, is impossible ;-). And so it made sense to me that I would make such a promise. Why would I get rid of anything that was...part of me?

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(I know - not the best pics of my hair but all I have on my computer)

Well...I cut it. Just the first of many disappointments, I'm sure. I'm not sure how it started. How I convinced my mom to take me to have it cut. Honestly, my memory is so shoddy that maybe I did it myself. Just the beginning of my DIY career. All I know is that it was cut. And my dad was sad. And I ended up looking something like this:

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Get your laughs out now. It's fine. Don't pretend you didn't go through a hella-awkward phase at some point. :-)

But ya...my dad was sad. I thought then that he was sad that I had broken my promise. And years later, I figured he was sad because he had a daughter that looked like the illegitimate child of Jim Carrey in "Dumb and Dumber".

Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber

But it was only after I found a box of keepsakes in my parents' basement that I really found out why my dad was sad. In the box was a bunch of stuff - report cards, photos, homemade books and letters written home from camp. But that wasn't all...deep in that box was an envelope. It was pretty beaten up and had some tape on it, but as a regular old snoop of a kid (I used to unwrap Christmas presents in advance of the big day), that tape didn't hold me back.

And what was in that envelope? My hair. A pretty large chunk of my frizzy, wavy kid hair.

And then I got it.

Try as you might, kids are going to grow up. Their little fingers and toes will get long. Their chubby cheeks will (probably) disappear. Their soft, downy hair will be replaced by frizzy, wavy or unruly hair. Their childhood promises will be broken as they grow and become independent.

"I'll never cut my hair"

"I'll never cross the street without holding your hand"

"I'll never leave you"

Now that I have a son, all of this is all too familiar. Too raw. He holds my hand today and I can already envision the day he pulls his away out of embarrassment.  Jokes about his wedding day make my stomach drop. I'm such a cliche.

But more than that, I'm a mom. I grew him. I birthed him. I nourished him. I care for him and put his needs ahead of everyone else. And you know what? I think that entitles me to be a cliche.

Oh...and I cried when we cut his hair. ;-)

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So go on...be a cliche :-) You are allowed!!

(PS - did you cry when you cut your child's hair for the first time? Did you keep it or do you think that is creepy?)


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*I love sharing other people's opinions, so if you're interested in guest posting on Adopted Family Friday, shoot me an email at meryl.phillips@mindspring.com!