Friday, December 17, 2010

Charlotte's Nursery

Now that we are almost through December, it seems like Charlotte's late January due date is sneaking up!  We've been slowly putting her nursery together for a while.  Although we still aren't finished, here's what we have so far:
Gingham and toile bedding

Crib and chair
Still trying to decide on a table lamp...

French doors and draperies

Small secretary dresser, closet, and name letters above closet
We're still putting on the finishing touches, like the changing table and wall hangings to go above it.  I had my heart set on some antique French Limoges dessert plates from the 1800s to hang on the wall above the changing table, but I lost to an aggressive bidder at the last second of the ebay auction.  The search will resume after Christmas~~

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tricks of the Trade

Now that it is freezing cold outside, we're stuck inside and unable to go on walks, play on the swings, or meet friends at the playground. 

Please, can we go outside???  Please?!
 All of this time indoors is making Barrett....restless.  He has also started a new thing with hating his changing table.  Screams, cries, kicks, the whole nine yards, and NOT like him at all.  Whew.  As you can imagine, a restless baby makes for a frustrated mama.  So, in the spirit of sharing, here's my few paltry tips on making life with baby easier.  I'm hoping that if I share some of mine, you'll share some of your suggestions??  Here goes.

::  I start meal time with the food I expect him to like the least, but that I want him to eat (meat, green veggies, etc).  That way, he gets it first, when he's the hungriest and most likely to eat it.  When he slows down, I'll add something I know he likes (corn, olives, beans, cheese cubes, any kind of fruit, etc) and then he'll eat the parts he likes plus accidentally eat a few more bites of the other foods too.  Maybe everyone was doing this already, but it just recently occurred to me and it works for us.

::  Travel tip: Leaving for a long car trip immediately after breakfast seems to work the best, by far.  If you leave right after a meal, it lessens the number of times you'll have to stop for meals on the road.  Plus, Barrett is also a much happier traveler in the morning.  Also, we only turn on his DVD player halfway through the trip, so he has "new" entertainment when he's bored.  He doesn't get to watch DVDs except on long trips for this same reason...trying to save it so it remains novel.

::  It probably goes without saying, but baby proofing is so much easier than following the baby around saying "don't touch" or guiding little hands away from your pretty decorative items.  Just take the plunge and install those cabinet locks and clear out breakable stuff.  You'll be glad.

:: Whenever I unload the dishwasher and have a set of clean sippy cups, I go ahead and fill them all with milk, so that when meal or snack time rolls around every few hours, I don't have to fix his cup.  It's already ready to go.  I also keep a cup of ice water (always in the blue cup) or juice (always in the purple cup) ready to grab before we leave to run errands, etc.  It's a time saver, but I guess it does take up fridge space.  I realized this for the first time when one of my non-mom friends came over to visit.  She opened the fridge looking for white wine and found six or seven sippy cups all lined up instead.  Imagine her surprise.  My, how the times have changed...

Okay, now please have mercy and share some of your tips and tricks to make life a little easier.

Reindeer Games

In desperate attempt to entertain my busy baby indoors, I decided it was time for another holiday craft. 
We started by tracing Barrett's hands on black construction paper.  If your baby is as wiggly as mine, you can cheat and trace one actual hand and just cut out the other hand to match.

Then, you trace baby's foot on brown construction paper...I recommend tracing the foot with a sock on.  That way, baby is less likely to scrunch up his toes and rip the paper.

And finally, you add eyes (blue, to match Barrett's eyes, in our case), a red nose, and a smile, and....ta-da!

Your very own reindeer ornament.  Don't forget to add your child's name and age on the back so you can always remember exactly how big baby's hands were this Christmas.

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

If you know me very well at all, you know that I am crazy about Christmas.  Cannot get enough.  Been known to suffer withdrawals when it is time to put away the decorations and the radio station mercilessly cuts off the carols cold-turkey on December 26th.  

This is really "the most wonderful time of the year," in my opinion, and we are in full swing.  The tree is up and decorated, in all of its glory.  I absolutely love it, though it was too fat to get into the house without scratching the door frames -- even through the french doors, eek -- and takes up too much room.  Can you spot Barrett and Sassy playing tug of war with Mr. Reindeer at the bottom of the picture??

We're trying to implement a "just one finger" rule with Barrett around the tree.  Theoretically, he can touch any ornament or present with just one finger, and therefore, can't hurt himself or inflict damage.  It's a great idea, but I think he lacks the self control to do that all the time.  It's just too tempting.  Maybe next year??
We went to the downtown festival of lights recently, and Barrett had fun taking it all in.  They lit the huge tree downtown and had caroling, ice scating, snowballs, and ornament painting.  Kristopher and I went to this every year pre-baby, but this was our first time to bring Barrett.

Next up, Christmas lights at the zoo!!  I'm hoping it warms up briefly so we can take him one evening soon~~  In the meantime, we're spending our free time in the evenings in front of the fire admiring the tree, while Kristopher enjoys some scotch and I sip my warm apple cider.  Contended sigh. 
I wish it would last forever~~~

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Other New Member of Our Family

In bittersweet news, the time has come for a new car.  This is bitter because I liked my old car and we have only had it for about a year and a half.  It just doesn't make economical sense to switch so soon.  However, my old car was very high maintenance, and apparently, there is only room for one high maintenance member in our family.

Why are you looking at me?!  I could have been referring to Kristopher...

Well, after my dad spent hours researching to find the best new tires (stupid car only takes special order tires, naturally) and alignment deals, and Kristopher's dad spent hours trying to find out what was wrong with the alternator/starter/other stuff I don't know much about, plus a visit to the dealer, and extended stay with a foreign car mechanic, we decided it was time for something else.  Turns out, the car wasn't a lemon or anything.  This maintenance is just normal for that kind of car.  Heavy sigh.

After more hours of research and test-driving -- we don't jump into rash decisions around here, the obsessive research gene runs in my family -- we have an American-made car with even more room than before.  My selfish side marvels at the swift transition from a 2 door car, to a sporty coupe, to a SUV, to an even bigger 3-row SUV, but my practical side understands that it "just makes more sense" for me to drive a big ginormous car.  The quotation is from Kristopher.  If I were to say that in person, I'd probably use air quotes and a mild eye roll.  Just kidding, babe.

It probably seems ridiculous for us to "need" such a big car when we only have two kids (I'm counting baby sister for car seat purposes).  But seriously, its all about the cargo space.  I don't know how we'd fit a double stroller, pack-and-play, bumbo, luggage, and innumerable other pieces of baby paraphernalia without that third row folded down.

So, I'm giving the new car a thumbs-up, although I'm still adjusting to the larger size and working on my terrible depth perception.
Meanwhile, Barrett had his happiest 6h car trip to my parents, ever, in the new car.  Maybe there's something to the whole thing about kids being more comfortable in a bigger car???

But if you see me out and about town, you might want to avoid me because I can't guarantee that I won't accidentally hit you, especially in a parking lot.  Hasn't happened yet...fingers crossed!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Our Little Turkey is a Ham

Barrett is not usually camera-shy.  Maybe he finally realized I was not going to stop taking pictures, so he might as well succumb and give me a smile to make it end sooner.  Except for that time I was trying to take his picture in the front yard, practically doing back flips to get a smile, and three of our new neighbors separately walked up behind me to say hi while I was in the middle of belting out Old MacDonald to induce a grin.  Three.  And always in the middle of the part about animal noises.  Way to make a first impression. 
Anyway, normally he's all smiles.

However, on actual Thanksgiving Day, I failed to get a smiling picture because he was sooo sleepy after gorging on turkey, cornbread dressing, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, butter beans, corn, pickled peaches, croissants, and his new favorite food -- black olives.  I think he would eat a whole can of them if I would let him.  It seems like an odd favorite food for a baby, but I just love black olives, so maybe tastes are hereditary?  Or maybe black olives really are that awesome and all the olive haters out there are missing out.  I'm looking at you, Jessica. 

So, no big smiling pictures on Thanksgiving.   
Cuddling with Grandmom

Sleepy baby, with Aunt Jessica

But he did eat until he was stuffed, get a little cranky around the family, become drowsy during the football game, and fall asleep after drooling on my sister.  And isn't that what the holidays are all about anyway?? 

One Small Baby Step = One Giant Leap for Barrett

Barrett took his first steps! 
Let me rephrase: Barrett took a whole bunch of steps behind a Lego wagon.  Although not completely unassisted, he was pushing the wagon on his own and was not holding anyone's hands. 
I'm so excited!  Although I haven't been in a huge rush for him to start walking, it would be convenient if he is walking on his own by the time Charlotte arrives, simply because carrying two babies at once, everywhere, might become problematic.  Fast.

Whoa!  I can push this whole wagon by myself!  And walk behind it!

Kristopher supervised as Barrett went up and down the hall with his wagon, over and over.

Barrett applauded along with everyone else when we were cheering his success