Friday, January 27, 2012

A weekend away

Will has a friend from Germany who is currently living in Breckenridge. We've been trying to come up and visit but it hadn't worked out. Well, it worked out great to come up for my birthday weekend.

Here's the view from the house. Gorgeous!

Oh and all the snow showed up just for us.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

baby crap – other things classified as “gear”

Ok, here’s another installment.  Things that are still considered “gear” but not as major as all that other stuff that I was talking about yesterday.

Baby Carriers

Our favorite is our Ergo and we use it all the time.  Specifically, we have an Ergo Performance Carrier in Grey with the original infant insert.

DSC_4614 DSC_4616
This is our first outing with her in the Ergo with the infant insert – she was about 4 weeks old.

We chose the Ergo over, say, a Baby Bjorn because of its design.  The way the straps are configured, the majority of the weight is carried on your hips as opposed to your back.  Personally, I am well aware of the fact that my hips and legs are considerably stronger than the rest of me so I’d rather have a baby’s weight carried there.  It also just seems to be more comfortable for baby since it’s a more natural hip/leg position over basically being suspended by the crotch like in a Baby Bjorn.  The only drawback is that she can’t face forward when worn on the front but she’s been in it often enough right from the start that she doesn’t know any better.

We went with the Performance version over the others because it’s supposed to be cooler than their standard models and well, Will is a furnace.  At the time they only had one version of the infant insert but now I see that they’ve come out with a performance version of the insert.  Since we’ve never tried out a standard version, we can’t really talk to the difference.  But we’re very pleased with it so far.  I actually reach for it when I want to go out for a walk rather than getting out the stroller.  It’s also been so great for traveling that we check our stroller right on through to our destination.

metro 2 - 9.2.2011 
Right before this trip I ordered the organic teething pads since she was making a mess out of the straps but they hadn’t arrived yet.  They’ve been super handy though I’ve since learned that you can get fancy ones on Etsy (Red Charlotte for example).  There is one thing that I wish I had – a stuff sack – because when not in use, the Ergo becomes an unruly octopus.

We also tried a Moby as a less cumbersome alternative to the Ergo but we never really got the hang of it.  We’re certainly going to keep it – maybe we’ll get it with the next one.


I’ve also got a pouch sling thing that I got on Zulily but I’ve never been comfortable with it.

Entertainment thingys

Since we were starting out somewhere so small, I didn’t want to get too much stuff like seats and swings and the like.  So to start with, we didn’t have any of it.  Then she got diagnosed with reflux and had to spend so much time upright and I needed something so that I could put her down.  I chose a basic bouncer seat – the Fisher Price How Now Brown Cow Bouncer Seat from Target.  All it has is toys to bat at and it vibrates.

Can we just say lifesaver? We made sure it went everywhere with us (as long as we were traveling by car) until she outgrew it.

This happened a lot:

We got a play gym early on but we didn’t set it up until after we moved so she was about 3 months old before we introduced it to her.  It was a hit.  Actually on occasion, 6 months later, it still is!

It’s the Fisher Price Deluxe Musical Mobile Gym.  It’s honestly not annoying because the music turns itself off.  But the flashing lights kind of freak her out.  I will admit that it took a friend (one without kids) to show me that you can just turn it on by hitting the big red button on the top of the motor.  Aaaaand we’d been using it for about 4 months at that point.

lazy afternoon

On the couch... A movie for Mama - Twilight, don't judge - and nap for the babe.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

baby crap – the big stuff

Ok, I don’t want to write one of those “This is what you need and everything else is crap” posts but I’ve had a friend ask me for some recommendations and my SIL has asked for recommendations for baby showers in the past so I figured that I would save myself some trouble of having to respond to these e-mails and just write a few posts about what we have and what we like or don’t like. 

First up the big guns –


We are exceedingly fortunate that over 25 years ago my dad decided to put his woodworking skills to work (like what I did there?) and custom built a cradle out of cherry for my niece.  Well, not just my niece (who will be turning 25 in just over a month) but all of the grandchildren.  Unfortunately for my brothers, it’s big, awkward and too heavy to ship so it got to NJ and never got back to Texas.  But as we only lived 3 hours down the road when she was born and then had a moving truck at our disposal, we are its current keepers.

This is actually the earliest picture I could find of it in use for our girl.

Ok, we had the unique situation wherein we didn’t have the option to put her in a crib while we lived in VA since we didn’t have the space but we still would have gone the cradle/bassinet route anyway for the first few months since I certainly wasn’t going to go traipsing into another room to get her every few hours throughout the night nor was I going to ask Will to.  Besides, I could just stick my foot out from under the covers and rock her – BONUS!

But then this happened:
And we knew we were going to have to transition to a proper crib soon.  It had to wait until after we moved but thankfully the picture above was taken not too long before we left VA.


Honestly, I picked almost solely based on appearance.

It’s a DaVinci Charleston 4-in-1 in Coffee.  My mom actually got it from Target but I can’t seem to find it on their site.  It’s one of these “converts to a toddler bed and then to a full size bed” jobs but we have no plans to do such things with it because (a) I think toddler beds are ridiculous and (b) I think it’s all just a racket to get you to buy more cribs. 

It was actually really easy to put together.  It took about an hour the first time but then I took it apart and put it back together (most of the way) by myself when it needed to get moved into her room (that’s our room above).

Now I can’t take all the credit for researching the crib mattress.  We have friends whose daughter is a mere 3 months older than Miss Pea and they’d seemingly done their research on all the best earth- and baby-friendly options so with minimal further research, we went with their choice – The Organic Grace Organic Cotton/Wool Interspring crib mattress.  We’ve been pleased with it.

Car Seat

Based on recommendations from friends and playing with the mechanism in the store, we went with the Chicco KeyFit 30

Her first experience with it didn’t go so well.

It’s rated to 30lbs and, unfortunately for us with our long baby, 30 inches.  We’re going to hit the 30 inches a long time before we hit 30lbs and they don’t exactly advertize that extra limitation on the seat.  But really I think that’s our only “problem” with it.  We’ve found it easy to install, use, clean, adjust the straps as she’s grown, and she seems pretty comfortable in it.  Oh – I guess the only other “problem” is that it doesn’t fit in the seat part of all shopping carts but I’ve been told that it’s because you really aren’t supposed to do that with the infant seats anyway since it makes the carts top heavy.


We went with the City Mini Single by Baby Jogger. 

DSC_4366 DSC_4370
In “newborn carry the car seat” mode.

We got green because it went with the car seat but I think I might have gone with the red (and the red version of the car seat) if I’d thought about it longer.  It is not a jogging stroller despite the name and its appearance.  Consumer Reports classifies it as a traditional stroller. 

Reasons we love it:
- it’s lightweight which ended up being key after I ended up with a c-section.
- It steers so well even with one hand
- The handle bar is on the tall side.  Will is comfortable walking but not running with it and he’s 6’1”.
- It does work as a jogger if you want.  I’ve tried it once.  Once only because I can’t run in CO yet as it turns out.
- It off-roads pretty well but is also nice and smooth in the mall.
- It has a one foot brake.
- It folds up SO quickly and easily.
- With the car seat adapter, it easily transitions through the ages.
- It’s actually a mid-range stroller pricewise though I think it looks much more expensive.

DSC_8178 DSC_8182
In “I can sit by myself like a big girl” mode.  I included both pictures because I want to point out that they were taken exactly 2 days apart in October.

A few drawbacks:
- The cargo basket is small and a touch awkward.
- All the extras are exactly that extras.  The tray for snacks and a drink for kids and the adults.  The car seat adapter.
- The car seat adapter (at least for the Chicco since we’re not familiar with anything else) is so confusing at first.  And everyone finds it to be so – we got asked about it twice in one day when we travelled back to DC.


Hmmm…. well, I found ours on craigslist in November after she’d been on solid foods for about a month.  We’d been using a Bumbo set on the table before then. 

Again, I went for style. I wanted something classy looking since I was going to have to look at it all the time and no one of those “fold it up and put it away” jobs wasn’t going to cut it because we don’t have any place to put something like that and I’m lazy.  Then I went for price since it was craigslist. 

The seat pad comes off and is washable – and gets washed about once a month or so.  There’s a 3 point harness.  The plastic tray cover comes off to wash easily.  It looks good and does what it should for $48.

Unfortunately, the plastic tray cover is a little damaged and Graco is all sold out of replacement parts.  And it’s discontinued.  It’s a little beat up so I may get ambitious and refinish it but eh, it works.

Pack and Play aka Play Pen

We didn’t finally get a pack and play until right before we left VA to head west.  We just got a very basic Graco model without the bassinet or changer or any of that extra stuff.  But Liz is responsible for alerting me that a green and brown with elephants model existed.  We still don’t use it all that often, pretty much only when we work outside in the yard or when we’re working on a project with lots of small parts.

DSC_7814 DSC_7813

She slept in a pack and play when we went East for Christmas but I don’t think she found it terribly comfortable.  She doesn’t mind it but I don’t think she really likes it.  It seems pretty easy to set up.  I have no actual experience doing it since Will usually does it.  I suspect that once she starts crawling, she might be spending some more time in it.

Convertible Car Seat

After polling friends, doing fair amount of internet searching and checking them out in the store; we’re about to pull the trigger and order a Britax Boulevard 70.

in carseat in babies r us  
Modeling the Marathon 70 in the store.

It’s more expensive than our other contender (the Evenflo Triumph 65) but in the end, the fact that it is more similar to our Chicco made the decision for us.  Amongst a bunch of other factors, of course.


Our other big upfront expensive has been cloth diapers.  I will eventually go into our decision to cloth diaper at length but for now… We’re using BumGenius Organic All-in-Ones.

p may 16 
Our first venture out with them.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

nursery – stage 1

Stage 1 = popcorn ceiling removal.  Or let’s make a blank slate even blanker.

Have I mentioned the vendetta I have going against the popcorn ceilings in this house?  I believe that I have.

We started prepping the room for popcorn destruction in late October.

Will got me started by taping my edges.
But I stepped in to hang the plastic sheeting.
The baby got to hang out with a bunch of pillows to flop back on – we were still working on sitting up at the time.

I’ve explained the whole popcorn removal process before so I won’t get into it.  Actually, I can’t because I have no pictures in progress.  I had 4 days in which to complete the project between when one friend left and the next showed up.

And finish I did.  Oh – I should note that this, my 3rd attempt at ceiling scraping, is currently my best result.  It looks almost completely smooth even painted with flat white ceiling paint.

Then we primed everything – walls, trim, ceiling.  Giving us an even blanker than blank blank slate.


Next up – Paint!

Monday, January 23, 2012

nursery – blank slate

I like to wait until I’m finished with projects to write about them but then that means that I don’t ever blog about them and that goes against my desires to blog more. 

I’m not finished with the nursery – notice I didn’t say Pea’s room since it will be for the baby whomever the baby is until we move or are done having babies – but I know that there are folks out there interested in its progress.


I’m just going to begin.

Here’s what it looked like the day we moved in:


A nice boring, beige blank slate.  Lots of possibilities.

We had the movers avoid putting anything in the room but after we started to unpack, it still ended up looking like so:


Plans for the room included removing the popcorn ceiling so the girl ended up in her crib in our room.


Ok, so what are the plans:
- Remove the popcorn ceiling
- Paint the walls/trim
- New blinds
- More furniture
- Hang stuff on walls
- Closet reimagined as a reading nook
- Crib skirt
- Cornice board for the window

birthday want #2

Ok, this one is a little more “normal.”

It’s a Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven in Fennel.

See, I got this pretty one for Christmas:

dutch oven

And I am in LOVE.  It’s so pretty and it’s so fun to cook in but sadly, there are some recipes that just don’t fit in it’s dainty 3.5 quart size.

Clearly, I need a big ‘un – the 7.25 quart should do it - and might as well wish for a round one for some variety.

birthday want…

Is it weird that THIS


is what I want for my birthday?

It’s a basic Kreg Jig set.

It could also just mean that I’ve been reading too much Young House Love.


Friday, January 6, 2012


We had a plan for the day.  Will didn’t move his regularly scheduled day off even though he already had Monday off for New Years. 

We were going to go to the shelter and add some furry friends to this crazy life we are building.

Will was going to get his birthday present – a cat – and I was going to get mine – a dog.

We were going to adopt them and save them from being put down.

We straightened up the house in case the dog liked to chew on things – there would be less lying around.

We put out the water bowls.  Oh yeah, we have water bowls, food dishes, a litter box… We’re as prepared as we can be for this.

And we came home with no one.  :(

Here’s what happened: First, the lady at the desk basically told us we were nuts for wanting to get both at once.  Maybe she’s right.

Then the woman who was helping us to meet cats – we started with the cats over the dogs at random really – initially tried to tell us that we should wait to get a dog until Pea was older.  Unfortunately, I got a little touchy about that and told her that if we did that, we’d never get a dog because she isn’t going to be our only kid.

Then it seemed like every cat that we’d seen through the window or online had a problem – a heart murmur, not good with kids, scared of people. 

And then the woman suggested that we meet Felix.  He was such a good kitty.  So friendly.  A little on the older side.  except that every time anyone picked him up, he peed on them.  Got me twice.  So clearly there is a little something wrong with him.  *sigh*

We were getting a pretty discouraged and Pea was starting to melt so we decided to call it a day.  The adoption woman had mentioned that they get a lot of kittens in the Spring.  And then she suggested what we’d been talking about while she was out of the room – get a dog now and a kitten later.  Validated!


New plan:  Go back in a few weeks and get our dog.  And in the Spring when they have kittens coming out their ears, go pick out our perfect little kitten.  Here’s hoping it works.

If you want to check out the dogs and cats up for adoption, we’re working with Dumb Friends League of Denver

Thursday, January 5, 2012

more or less for 2012

Yeah, I’m a little late if you will but here are my thoughts for 2012. 

More blogging

More pictures/videos posted in a timely fashion

Less clutter

More walks.  Well, more time outside in general regardless of weather.  The dog we’re in the market for should help with this one.

More time for myself and with Will – on our own!

Fewer poor eating choices

More time spent looking for a job that I like enough to not hate going back to work

Less snapping at others

Fewer bad moods in general – I control my mood!

More cross stitching which should hopefully result in fewer unfinished projects

More DIY house projects

Less time in front of the TV

More time reading

More friends