I’m going to steal some formatting from The Bloggess, because it’s just been one of those weeks where I’m just out of ways to describe things.
On Friday I went home sick from work and my stomach declared an emergency evacuation as soon as I made it home.
Matt handled daycare pick and baby-watching like a champ.
Then later that night HE got sick.
But we managed to survive the weekend.
I went back to work on Monday, feeling more or less human.
Then I get a call from Matt telling me he’s taking Wesley to the pediatrician. Turns out Wesley has croup (baby laryngitis) but thankfully doesn’t have any respiratory complications, and is just hilariously squeaky.
Tuesday I wake up feeling legitimately pretty good.
Then a few hours later I get hit with a wave of body aches and awful and have to go home early. Again
Matt comes home learns my temp is 102.1 and convinces me to go to urgent care. They test me for strep, influenza, and throw in a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia. Everything comes back negative so they decide to just treat me for the flu anyway.
12 hours after taking my first dose of Tamiflu, I no longer feel like I’m dying.
As of early this afternoon I’ve been fever-free for 24 hours! I can snuggle my baby again!
And then I noticed these rashy spots on my hands.
So I texted a friend and yup, it sounds suspiciously similar to when she caught Hand Foot and Mouth from her son.
So now I really just need to disinfect everything….possibly without touching it.
I’m REALLY hoping I’m just paranoid at this point. Wish me luck?
Update: Woke up with more rashy spots on my hands and made a doctor’s appointment. The nurse took one look at me and asked “Do you have kids?” We have confirmed Hand Foot and Mouth.
Around 3:30am on Saturday our smoke detector decided to lose its shit. It started beeping and loudly announcing “low battery!” Around 4am Matt decided to go an rip out the batteries. That was when he discovered that the smoke detector in the hallway is hardwired. Yup, our smoke alarm woke us up at 3:30am because the backup battery was bad.
Luckily we had extra batteries, so Matt grabbed a replacement…only to find that the previous battery was also rather corroded and the gunk left on the battery connectors was now impeding its ability to sense the new battery.
Now, I’m still in bed at this point so all I hear is Matt shuffling around the house like he’s playing some twisted game of Marco Polo with the smoke alarm. Then the alarm suddenly starts shrieking “Fire! Warning carbon monoxide! Fire! Warning carbon monoxide!” I start laughing like an idiot because now I’m convinced our smoke detector is just straight-up broken and of course that would happen at 4am.
Turns out Matt hit the test button to see if that would act like a reset and get the alarm to recognize the new battery. It didn’t work. Obviously. So now it’s 4:10am and I start googling how to remove a corroded battery because it’s either that or flee to a hotel.
In case you’re wondering, vinegar will clean off battery corrosion. You should really use gloves/eye protection, and of course be very careful around the electrical workings of anything–especially when it’s still connected to power.
After Matt and I properly woke up for the day, we went on a walk to get breakfast since we’re having a January heat-wave at the moment.* When we got back, I went to haul in the baby gear and the baby, and Matt stayed out to salt the walkways. I left Wesley snoozing in his stroller next to the door while I dropped the diaper bag and pastries inside, then turned to go back out and grab the baby.
Only the backdoor wouldn’t open.
I checked the locks. It was unlocked. I fiddled with the locks (both the deadbolt and the simple lock for the latch we never use). Nothing. Was it stuck on something? Nope.
I finally went out the front door, walked around the back and tried to shove it open vs pull it open. No dice. So I tried and force it open with my shoulder TV cop style. Ouch. Finally I gave it a good swift kick (just to show it who’s boss), collected Wesley and schlepped around to the front door.
When Matt was done salting, he repeated everything I had just tried and nothing worked for him either. It turns out that the bottom doorknob (which controls the latch) had inexplicably broken, so the knob could no longer retract the latch. This is a vital part of being able to open a door.
Step 1 was to run to the hardware store and buy a new latch set. I also picked up a matching deadbolt because I really didn’t like the existing brass one we had so hey, excuse to update! We thought Step 2 would be as simple as taking off the door knob and wiggling the inner workings around. Nope. The inner workings were well and truly busted.
Matt went through our tool stash to try and find something he could shove between the frame and the door to push the latch back in,** but it still wouldn’t budge. He asks me if I have any brilliant ideas, to which I reply “sure” and then immediately get to googling.***
It turns out this sort of thing is not unheard of and found a fairly lengthy thread in a DIY forum dedicated to it. Long story short, if your latch is properly busted (like in our case) there isn’t an easy fix. The general consensus is 1) don’t bother taking the door off the hinges because that often doesn’t help and 2) either bust out your hack saw or call a locksmith.
We chose the hacksaw option and it took Matt around an hour to cut through.
(We set the knob back in place to block some of the draft)
Thankfully installing our new latch and deadbolt was a piece of cake. Matt was very confused because I decided to try Kwikset Smartkey locks that let you re-key them yourself. They were more expensive that the standard locks, but cheaper than bringing in a locksmith (and we really didn’t want 3 different keys for our house). They are SUPER simple to use to, so we were able to get our 2 back locks on the same key as our front lock in about a minute.
Once the weather legitimately warms up we’ll also paint the the rest of the door frame and repaint the door, since it looks a little sad at the moment.
Matt looked up the security of these locks and it sounds like they’re no better or worse than a lock that would require a professional to re-key. Plus, as one person put it: your house is only as secure as its weakest point and we all have windows.
So that was our Saturday. We woke up to a demon smoke alarm and later I got locked inside the house. I have a feeling I’ve offended the DIY spirits in some way or else our house has spontaneously acquired a poltergeist. Maybe I should turn on our gas stove and shake some sage from our spice cabinet over it… If that doesn’t work, we are surrounded by churches so I could probably round up an old priest and a young priest.
*In Minnesota a winter heat-wave means anything over 30 degrees. Over the last 2 days I have seen 2 people outside in short sleeves, one guy in shorts, and several without jackets.
**During all of this we’re working from inside the house, so you have access to that tiny gap. The outside of the door frame has trim pieces covering up this space.
***This is how I solve problems at work too. People think I’m smart, but really I just figure out good search terms.
Sorry, couldn’t resist. Matt’s propensity for punning is apparently rubbing off on me.
One of the (many) random “features” of this house was the lack of a closet door in Wesley’s nursery. We originally put up a tension rod and curtain, but that just didn’t look terribly finished and we’ve been meaning to get a proper door up there for ages.
By some crazy stroke of luck, the door frame was actually a standard size.* By some other crazy stroke of luck, I was able to find a 5-panel door that was a reasonable match. Not perfect, but for $50 it was pretty damn good! I’m pretty sure the only way I could have found a better match would have been to order a custom door which would have been super pricey. I’ve already mentioned that our house work is much more renovation than restoration, so the investment in a custom door just wouldn’t have been worth it in this case.
So door. $50. Good deal. Part of the reason it was so cheap is because we ordered a door slab vs a pre-hung door. The difference is just what it sounds like. A door slab is just a slab of wood–no hinges, no pre-drilled anything. A pre-hung door is both the door and door frame already connected by hinges. One of these is a little easier to deal with, but we didn’t choose that one.
Because we had an existing frame, we first needed to check the fit. The frame may have been a standard size, but unfortunately it wasn’t square.** In order to get the door to fit properly, we had to plane off a good chunk from every side. This would have been super easy, except for the way hollow-core doors are constructed.
Planing is meant to happen with the with the grain, but at the top and bottom of the door you hit the vertical supports of the frame, and it’s REALLY hard to go against the grain. Matt ultimately took a hand saw to the edges–he figured out how much we needed to take off from the corner, sawed that off, and planed the rest down to that point.
After planing (lots and lots of planing), I took a palm sander to all the edges to smooth them out nicely. And yes, we were totally working on our upstairs landing since we had to keep checking the fit of the door and didn’t want to be constantly hauling it up and down the stairs.
To add the door knob, we bought a simple kit that came with a guide and hole saw bits for a drill. The guide clamps onto the door and then you just drill on through. We managed to position our door knob right over one of the cross supports on the door so it was a little more difficult to drill through, but not a huge problem.
Mort likes to supervise things.
The hinges were a bit more problematic. The frame already had places for the hinges, and we even had some extra hinges that were original to the house… we just had to mount said hinges to the door itself. You can get hinge kits like the door knob kit, but they usually require a router, which we don’t have, so we decided to half-ass it. Typically you would route out only the exact size of the hinge, so you’d leave a little strip of wood along the edge. Instead, Matt just planned out the entire depth of the frame to accommodate the depth of the hinge.*** It’s only noticeable from inside the closet though (and only if you know what to look for), so not a big deal.
Whoa! It’s a door! That opens and closes! Craziness!
Don’t mind the random futon. We did some furniture shifting and need to figure out a permanent home for it.
My only real disappointment with this door is the knob. I assumed I’d be able to switch out the actual knob on a new latch set. Wrong. Current latch sets are designed to interlock and screw together in a way that makes switching out any one part of them impossible. House of Antique Hardware has vintage-looking knobs/latches designed to fit modern construction, but I can’t quite justify spending $140 on a closet door knob… although I am scoring an extra bonus this year at work…
* “Standard,” “square,” and “level,” are terms that don’t tend to exist when dealing with 100+ year old houses.
** See what I mean?
*** And only planed off a small amount of his thumbnail in the process.
This not-so-little kiddo is now weighing in at 19lbs 3oz and measuring 26 inches long. His 12 month clothes are fitting him shockingly well… it’s madness! There are a few other babies I see monthly FB updates on… they’re all older than he is, but still smaller (I see your 17lb 7 month old, and raise you a 20lb 6 monther). It must be kind of nice to have a kid who doesn’t outgrow their clothes quite this fast…
Wesley is currently sitting up unsupported (and providing most of the muscle to pull himself into a sit if you offer him your hands). He’s also discovered his feet, which is actually stupidly cute. Still no teeth, but he’s chomping on everything like crazy so I’m sure it won’t be long. We now have to keep an eye out for what’s within arm’s reach of this kid because everything is going straight to his mouth.
Besides mouthing everything, this dude loves dancing (with help) and his current favorite song is Michael Jackson’s Rock with You. He may also have his first crush since Matt frequently catches him eyeing up one of the girls at daycare when he drops him off. In the stubborn department, Wesley also recently decided he hates breastfeeding. It’s weird because you hear about babies having a hard time adjusting to bottles. Not this guy, about a month ago he started screaming bloody murder anytime I tried to nurse him. He was fine with nursing first thing in the morning, but after that it was a no-go.*
We’re also in the process of transitioning Wesley from his bassinet to his crib at night. I didn’t think it would be difficult since he naps well in his crib, and sleeps through the night in his bassinet. Wrong. He apparently associates his crib with naps only. Awesome. I ended up rolling up a couple towels and putting them under the crib sheet to frame out a smaller, cozier sleeping space for him. That seems to have helped, but it’s only been a couple nights so far.
Cuteness overload: I was snuggling with Wesley and Schmutz wedged herself onto my lap as well. Wesley’s hand brushed her fur by accident, but his brain definitely registered “soft kitty!” so he started “petting” (read: grabbing and and bopping) her. I thought she’d be annoyed and get up and leave. Nope, crazy girl just sat there and took it. And started purring!
Right around Christmas we started introducing solid food to him. Our pediatrician recommended “Baby Led Weaning” so we’ve been giving that a shot and just moving slowly. He’s still getting all the real nutrition he needs from formula for a while yet, so we’re treating everything else as a low-stress flavor introduction. There’s a bunch of info on Baby Led Weaning out there (I’m definitely not an expert), but these have been our experiences so far:
The little mesh/silicone “baggies” with handles are awesome! (we have a bunch like these) They’re easy for the baby to grasp and you don’t have to worry about choking. We’ve been using them with strawberries and oranges.
Despite all the comments you read that choking isn’t a big issue with BLW, you WILL still be paranoid about it.
We’re offering Wesley a combination of “real” foods and purees. With the pureed food, I put a tiny bit on a baby spoon, but he’ll usually grab the spoon and put it in his mouth… occasionally being VERY disappointed with his life choices.
Mashed sweet potatoes may make your child projectile vomit on you with disturbing accuracy. But he’ll happily nom on sticks of baked sweet potato without incident.**
Larger raw carrots are big hit for him to just teeth on (but too big/hard for us to worry about him breaking a chunk off that he couldn’t mash down with his gums).
We use a combination of steaming and baking to cook food for him. “True” BLW is just giving him whatever you’re eating (although making sure it’s soft enough to mash), but I’m still picking fairly traditional foods to start him on*** so I’ll cook it separately but offer it to him while we’re eating. So far I’ve been steaming things I plan to puree and baking other things in sticks that are sized for him to grab, but leave some sticking out over his fist.
So far we’ve offered him:
Bananas (using the stem as a handle): win
Carrot: win (both raw for teething and cooked for actually eating)
Bell peppers: ok
Sweet potato: debatable (see projectile vomiting comment above)
*I’m sure other moms will relate to this–despite the fact that I have never judged another women for formula vs breastfeeding, I can’t help but feel like a bit of a failure for breastfeeding not working out. I know it’s stupid, but because I always just expected to breastfeed, having it not go well has always been particularly hard for me. Stressing out about it doesn’t do me any good either though.
**Please tell me this isn’t just my kid?
*** Sometimes I have to wonder what the cashier thinks when I show up with a one cucumber, one sweet potato, one pear, one apple, and one zucchini…
Did everyone have a good New Year’s Eve? I fell asleep on the couch. With guests hanging out in the same room.* I have no guilt though because Welsey went to sleep around9:30 so I expected him to wake up around 5:30/6, regardless of what time I ultimately went to bed.
I never bother making New Year’s Resolutions since it’s a rare person who can actually stay that focused. Now, I am a rare person, but focus is not my strong suit. That being said, I thought I’d try and outline our house goals for the year. These are all things we’re hoping to tackle in 2018, but if we don’t check them all off the list we won’t be beating ourselves up.
Get a back patio poured/back walkway evened out
Unfuck the upstairs electrical**
DIY & Design Work
Overhaul the butler pantry
Paint and decorate Master Bedroom
Re-organize the study to fit a guest bed
Make a dent on the landscaping
Childproof All The Things because this kid will be moving before we know it.
Paint and decorate the downstairs Micro Bath (if I’m feeling ambitious)
It sounds pretty doable to me, but we’ve never really worked with a kid underfoot before so we’ll see how it goes. We might not finish it all and we might switch gears somewhere along the way, but I really like starting out with some sense of a plan.
Anyone else making goals for the New Year?
*It’s some kind of miracle we had anyone show up. It was negative-my-car-won’t-start degrees, people were sick, and Matt may have accidentally told someone to not bother coming. We had a good time though.
**This is most concise way to put it. We need to get our upstairs hall light on a 3-way switch, get an open neutral outlet fixed, add an ceiling electrical box in the study, and get our upstairs wiring split up so it’s not all on 2 breakers.
***Yes, currently our house does not have gutters. It’s not hugely problematic, so we’re just adding partial gutters to the couple problem areas. We’ve currently already given our down payment to a gutter company but haven’t heard anything from them regarding a start date. We knew there was a decent chance it wasn’t going to get done this fall, but we’re a little pissed about the lack of communication.
We celebrated Christmas with our Wisconsin families last week. My day job doesn’t allow for a lot of overlap in time off so I had to take the week before Christmas off. This ended up working out reasonably well since my sister-in-law was in a play just outside Chicago that was closing on the 17th so we were able to leave Wesley with the grandparents and take a trip done with Matt’s family to see the show.
If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that on our way to Wisconsin we managed to take almost the most Wisconsin Christmas photo ever. We stopped a Culvers for a baby feeding break and they had Santa visiting too. I had been a little disappointed that we hadn’t gotten a picture of Wesley with Santa and suddenly I had my chance! And not only was Santa there, but also Scoopy (who I did not even realize was thing). I really should have grabbed Wesley’s Packer onsie out of the car, but I dropped the ball a little bit there.
After that we had Christmas with Matt’s immediate family. Christmas with his extended family. Christmas with my mom, step-dad, and sister + family. Finally Christmas with my dad, step-mom, and sister + family. We were also able to sneak in an evening with one of my aunts, uncle, and a cousin so they could hang out with Wesley for a little bit. We opted to drive back to MN on Christmas Eve so we could have our own mini family Christmas and some decompression time.
Because we had been gone for a week we weren’t really coming back to any food. No problem, there’s a Thai place down the street. Surely they’d be open and we could grab some take out. Nope. They were closed for the entire week. Luckily our favorite Himalayan restaurant was still open so we had a fabulous Christmas Eve dinner of tikka masala, matar paneer, and momos. I am all for making this an annual tradition. Thankfully Target was also still open so we were able to pick up a few things for Christmas Day too.*
Today we just had a couple presents from each other to open, and couple things that had been mailed to us, but it was pretty low-key. We slept in, made some tea and coffee, and chilled out with some Christmas cookies my nephew packaged up for us. Cookies for breakfast are totally acceptable on Christmas.
Now we just have unpack, do laundry, clean, and prep for our annual New Years Eve party. “Party” is probably too grandiose a term since most people leave by 10 or so. What can I say, we’re old and boring… but we have food, booze, and good company.
These photos of our Christmas decor are also carefully cropped to hide the door that’s currently being painted in our entryway. At -2 it’s far too cold to be working on the porch, so we moved it inside so we could finally get it finished.
And yes, despite the fact that Matt and I didn’t get Wesley anything for Christmas (besides a 529 Plan contribution) the kiddo was still quite spoiled. Thankfully a lot of what he got were books and clothes, which you can never have too many of! He also got some pretty awesome toys that he will soon be growing into (and mom and dad are very thankful we didn’t get inundated and that all the things with batteries also have off/mute switches).
This roly-poly boy turned 5 months on Sunday. Can you believe it? I feel like I’m running behind on everything right now. I blame Christmas since we’re celebrating with family a week early so I’ve been behind since day one.
At 5 months old Wesley is weighing at 18lbs but is a mere (ie perfectly average) 25.5 inches long. He still loves his food (obviously) but we haven’t started him on solids yet. Our pediatrician advised that starting too early will just end in tears all around and Wesley hasn’t shown a lot of interest in us eating yet so we’re just going to wait until closer to 6 months.*
Our big milestone this month was Wesley’s first unplanned doctor’s visit. It wasn’t anything terribly serious, but he had been screaming nearly non-stop since about 4am and we knew he had been dealing with daycare colds. As soon as we packed him up to go to the doctor’s office, he stopped crying. And once we were there he was all smiles. What. The. Hell. child? We seem to have avoided the 4 Month Sleep Regression I kept hearing about, but he did have an odd night or too when he just wasn’t feeling well and was extra fussy.
Wesley’s favorite things at the moment include anything with faces, his jumper at daycare, anything he can fit in his mouth, and falling over on our bed (seriously, you hold him up, let him plop onto the mattress and he giggles like it’s the best thing in the world). According to Matt his favorite song is Fat Bottomed Girls. This kid is nothing but classy.
I was planning on doing a new Baby Loves post, but his favorite toys are all still pretty much the same. Here are some (untested) items we’re eyeing for him though. Matt and I aren’t really planning on getting him anything for Christmas since he’s too young to have any idea what’s going on (and not coordinated enough for the joy of ripping off paper). Our Christmas present to him is a 529 Plan contribution. Adulting is just so exciting.
We did pass on some suggestions to our families though since many people (myself included) love shopping for kiddos. We definitely tried to lean a little more towards the practical side (see Adulting comment above).
I’m a firm believer that you can NEVER have too many books. Press Here may be a little old for Wesley at the moment, but it an awesome book! It’s interactive without being a pop-up or lift-the-flap style. Where’s My Cow was a must given my love of Terry Pratchett (and Welsey has liked when I’ve read to him from the adult books). Matt’s contribution was So Many Stars, because Andy Warhol.
We’re getting close to starting Wesley on solids, so some food-related ideas seemed practical. He’s been showing an interest in holding his own bottles and these handles are designed to fit our Como Tomo bottles. We have some rubber-tipped spoons, but chunkier utensils have been recommended if mixing baby-led-weaning with some purees.** These bamboo bowls were also super cute! And not garishly colored, which can be hard to find for baby gear.
We’re trying not to go crazy with toys (wishful thinking?) but since Wesley’s showing more interest in interacting with things, it seems like a good idea to add in a few. Franky the Hanky Whale seems like a brilliant idea since I’ve heard kids often enjoy ripping kleenex out of the box. I feel like the bead-maze style toys are pretty classic, and B. makes some really fabulous looking toys (although I haven’t had a chance to try them out yet). Welsey also enjoys splashing in his tub*** (and nomming on his soapy washcloth) so I think we’re getting close to giving him some bath toys.
We got gobs of hand-me-down clothes up to around 12month sizing. Baby clothes have the benefit of being (usually) practical as well as ridiculously fun to shop for.
*It doesn’t really matter exactly when you introduce solids since the first year babies still get pretty much all their nutrition from breast milk/formula.
**Our pediatrician recommended baby-led-weaning, but most articles I’ve read on it still mix in some purees.
***He actually scrunches up his face and wails for the first 10 seconds when you put him in the tub and then he’s fine–even giggles and splashes.
Does anyone else refuse to start Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving and then rapidly panic when they realize ohshit I only have 3 weeks to get this all done because I need to budget time for shipping and wrapping and WHY IN GODS NAME DID WE AGREE TO DO CHRISTMAS A WEEK EARLY THIS YEAR? Or is it just me?
So here we are, December 1st. You have 23 more days to shop, so here’s a little inspiration for you. Bonus: everything is under $100 and most things are under $50.
For the one who loves to entertain. Serving dishes and table accents are awesome options.
We’re off to our annual FriendsGiving with one of my BFFs. We’ve been crashing her family’s Thanksgiving for so long that it’s become a tradition.
And that little foot-turkey up there? That’s Wesley’s very first piece of (heavily-assisted) daycare art. I am so. damn. proud. I don’t know why I’m “proud” exactly since in all reality he probably didn’t contribute to much to this… but proud I am, so don’t burst my bubble. Am I going to turn into an artwork hoarding parent? Yeah probably.
This year my buddy M is taking the day off from cooking and ordered Thanksgiving-inna-box.* She’s pregnant and tired, but still wants to host so hey, compromise. I, on the other hand, had Wednesday off of work so I left Wesley in daycare and got my Thanksgiving bake on. I didn’t go crazy since we have to tote this + a baby + baby gear with us, but I did make pecan pie bars and a homemade orange-cranberry sauce.**
I caught Schmutz trying to help with the pecan pie bars. Then Mort lost his tiny-kitty-mind when I dropped a cranberry on the floor. It rolls! I CAN HAZ TOY! See why the boy stayed in daycare? I can only take so much help.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! May it not be filled with political arguments over turkey.
*Not to be confused with CMOTD’s sausages-inna-bun.
**I actually zested the orange, peeled off the remaining pith, then blended it all together. I also started off with 1/3 cup of sugar, then slowly added more to taste (maybe another tablespoon?). Some may like it sweeter or tarter, so just start small and build up.
The room we use as our TV room is slightly awkward for furniture placement since it would have originally been used as the dining room. We happen to like it as the TV room since the built-in buffet acts as a killer bar and we really like the openness between this room and living room for entertaining purposes.
The layout in the TV room has the couch in front of the radiator, which means…
…the couch has a tendency to angle back since there’s nothing to stop the other side from shifting.
Luckily, there was super easy fix. Full disclosure: As easy as it was, I totally half-assed this project. I had no plan and had to redo it once. But it the end it all worked out. I also failed at taking progress shots since I was just trying to get this done in the evenings while Matt was on baby duty.
First I picked up a couple 1×10 pine boards, along with a couple 1×2’s. I cut the 1×10’s into 1 board the length of my finished table, and 2 boards the height of my finished table (if your goal is a really exact finished size, technically it’s the height minus 3/4″).
You could move on to construction at this point, but I wanted a little extra detail, so I cut the 1×2’s down to 4 pieces the height of the table, then glued and clamped them down onto edges of the table legs. (You can also glue, then cut everything down to size at the same time)
Once the legs were dry, I glued the tops of them onto the bottom of the table top, making sure to line up the edges as smoothly as possible. After that dried, I reinforced the joint with a couple of small L brackets and assorted tiny screws we had left over from random projects.
The table was still a little wibbly-wobbly, so I cut down a scrap 2×2 with 45 degree angles at each end to use as a brace on each side. This also got simply wood-glued into place.
Once everything was nice and solid, the whole piece got a light sanding, a couple coats of stain (Minwax: dark walnut), and 2 coats of polyacrylic. I didn’t bother staining the inside faces of the table since it will be completely hidden behind the couch. #lazygirl
Et Voila! No more shifting couch + a great place to stash drinks and a basket of baby items since this couch is my go-to nursing spot (and a great spot to stash a cuppa).