Tuesday, July 24, 2012

one year later: part 1 - downstairs

Ok, it's really hard to believe that we've been in the house for a year as of today.*  This also means that it's been approximately 15 months since I've held a paying job.  Both facts are odd in a way but good too.

I haven't been that great at posting our progress on the house.  So I'm going to try to just keep this quick and dirty.  When we moved in and what it looks like now.

Outside front THEN:

Ok... and actually the front of the house looks nearly identical except that my car goes in the garage and it's Will's that sits in the driveway.  And I redid the house numbers but actually, I'm not going to show you a close up of that.  I've been toying with 2 ideas though: 1. paint the garage door green to match the front door which you can't see and 2. spray paint the light fixtures black.

oh, here's a picture of the front door.

Backyard THEN:

I actually don't have any pictures of the deck pre-"awesome craigslist teak deck furniture" since we went out to Golden to get it the day after we moved in.  We haven't done much out here either though we need to repaint/stain/take your pick the deck badly.

Kitchen THEN: 

Ah, the kitchen... It needs so much work that it hasn't even gotten touched yet.

Kitchen NOW:

We've done basically nothing. And there's so much that I want to do.

Living room THEN:

Living room NOW:

Obviously better with furniture and sans gross country curtains and wood trim (not that you can see much in this picture.  Take a look at the window sills).  There are only a few things that we know we need here: mantle, a picture over the TV (it arrived yesterday!), a slipcover for the chair in the corner, and Roman shades and wood blinds for the windows (shades have been in the works since September but they're out of my hands so.... we'll see when we get them).

Guest Room THEN:

Guest Room NOW:

I have a few plans.  I'm going to paint the walls to match the bathroom below, maybe a headboard, maybe a window treatment, and a few accessories.  Well, and finish my gallery wall.

Downstairs Bathroom THEN:

Downstairs Bathroom NOW:

This is one of the more completed rooms in the house.  Mostly achieved through paint and accessories.  We finished laying the floor this weekend and then it's just touching up the baseboard paint (it's amazing how much baseboard that nasty carpet covered) and adding some quarter round.

Dining Room THEN:

Dining Room NOW: 

There's not too much more I want to do here.  Wood blinds.  Crown molding.  Maybe wood floors to match the kitchen and foyer and then area rugs as appropriate down the road.

Laundry Room THEN:

Laundry Room NOW:

All I've managed to do is get new machines since the ones they left us were literally shrinking our clothes even though they were on the lowest possible dryer setting.  I've got plans.  Most of them start with putting a slab of counter over the top of the machines.  But that's just the beginning ;-)

Foyer THEN:

Foyer NOW:

You might say it hasn't changed much and it's just the foyer but I painted all those dang spindles myself!  And the army of doors that you can just partially see some of in the second picture - if you include the front door, we have FIVE doors marching in a row.  I swear I'm going to get cutesy signs to put on all of them one day.

* I really did start this on the 12th, the anniversary of the day we moved in but then I realized I didn't have any pictures that were even vaguely current.  So now it's 2 weeks later.  oops.

Oh and I seriously HATE the online blogger interface - I have no idea where all that space came from or how to get rid of it!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

baby crap: health and grooming

Ok... I'll tell you what I bought (or registered for) and then what we actually use.

You feel like you need to get the grooming kit like so...

It includes tiny nail files, nail scissors, safety nail clippers, comb, and brush.

We never use it.  Ok, we used the brush and comb but then we lost the brush in the hotel in L.A. and had to buy another brush and comb set.

The nail clippers are too dull to comfortably use - we just got a brand new less than a dollar pair of Trim nail clippers which work perfectly when I can get her to sit still long enough to trim her nails.

The nail files are too small to be comfortable so I just use mine when I feel it's necessary.  I didn't try to use the nail scissors since I found the clippers to be easier.

And then there is the "essential" heathcare kit.

This kit includes:
  • Nasal aspirator - they give you better ones in the hospital.
  • medicine syringe - you get one every time you get a prescription and one comes with every package of the infant tylenol/ibuprofen
  • tooth brush - they are really cheap to buy and we got a crazy looking one from our dentist.
  • thermometer - you probably should have an oral/rectal thermometer but you don't really want to have to use it.
  • and a few other things that we've never used.
Ok... thermometer.  We have a Braun Ear Thermometer.  LOVE IT!  It's just so easy to use and quick.  I don't think I would get anything different unless they made this one better (which they might have since the description in the link is slightly different than what we have).  Namely, if they made the display light up - you can't read it in the dark.  My mom and I had to take Pea to the ER last weekend because she was running about 105.1 and the ER doctor told me to not bother with the temporal ones (the one you swipe across the forehead) because they give falsely high readings. 

Oh, and our girl is weird and likes to take her medicine.

baby crap: a word about blankets

I was a blanket kid so I'm a little biased when it comes to the topic of blankets.  And I'm even more so now.

Yes, I realize that I am posting pictorial evidence of the fact that I had a blanket and sucked my thumb at 6.

Ok, first point is a big sanity making one.

Swaddling blankets.

You want a life saver in those early days when the baby will NOT stop crying - learn to swaddle and learn to swaddle well.  Reading Dr. Karp's Happiest Baby on the Block is great but even better - watch the video!  Unfortunately, we didn't do this until after the baby was born which meant that we'd also already done all of our sorting, returning, and washing of baby stuff including all the blankets.  Watching the video made me realize that we'd kept all the wrong blankets!

See, in the hospital the nurses are experts at wrapping the newborns up in flannel blankets.

Let me tell you that this is nearly impossible a skill to perfect when you really need it.  And if you have a houdini like we did, the swaddle won't last.  Dr. Karp's suggestion in the video is to use a blanket with some stretch.  Holy cow!  Total lifesaver!  Just that one little suggestion made all the difference.

Gerber thermal blankets were really good but they tended to be on the small side so they only worked when she was tiny.  The Carters receiving blankets are really nice as well and a little bigger so they lasted longer.  As the weather got warmer and she got bigger, the Aden and Anais for Target muslin blankets became indispensable.  I even used them as a nursing cover when we were on planes.  I'd love to try these from Etsy for the next time.

Now don't get me wrong, flannel receiving blankets - whether it's the 4 pack from Carters, homemade (so much cuter if someone you know has the skills), or the Swaddle Designs blankets (super cute but really, save your money) - have a lot of uses.  Ground cover.  Sun Shade.  Light warmth.  They just don't really cut it as swaddling blankets.

We did also have a couple Summer Infant SwaddleMe swaddle blankets.  They were easier to deal with in the middle of the night but Sweet Pea is a houdini and they never held her for long.  So those were kind of hit or miss.

The other big consideration about blankets is the security blanket or lovey.  I will admit that I am weird and I hate, hate, hate those lovies that are little chunks of blanket with a stuffed animal head on it.

Like this little guy.  Cute, right?  I just find it weird and oddly disturbing.  We have two that were given to us as gifts.  One oddly enough has different washing instructions for the head and blanket parts.  You can machine wash/dry the blanket part but not the head part.  What?!

As for nice soft blankets, there are plenty of options.  Just a few words to the wise - decide which one you might want to encourage a few months down the line (people say you can't choose a child's lovey but you can certainly encourage or discourage whatever you want) and make sure sure you have or can get more than one.  As a woman who spent a good 2 hours today trying to track down potential replacements, trust me on this one.  Also consider that you will potentially have to take the lovey everywhere for several years to come.

Bottom line....
  • Flannel receiving blankets have their uses but not as swaddling blankets.
  • Swaddling blankets need, need, need some stretch.
  • Choose your lovey/security object wisely.  By "choose" of course, I mean only offer things that you can handle baby becoming attached to.