Merry Christmas!

It’s been a whirlwind holiday season around here!

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).

Baby (hopefully) Loves: 5 months

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).

Books

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.

Feeding

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.

Toys

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.

Clothes

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.

Holiday Gift Guide 2017

Happy December!

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.

Tiered Dessert Trays // Metal Tea Tray // Appetizer Plates // Carafe // Apron // Napkin Rings

For the one who always keeps a well-stocked bar, think about about some fun items to add and extra bit of class.

Slate Coasters // Bar Tool Set // Footed Moscow Mule Mug // Wine Rack // Martini Picks //Pineapple Ice Bucket

We’re not all people-persons, so for the one who needs her me-time candles, throws, and comfy pj’s are great ways to cozy it up at home.

Wireless Speaker // Punjammies // Fancy Candle // Tea/Coffee Cup // Cozy Throw // Diffuser

For the one who loves to pamper herself, fancy bath items are a great way to make your home feel more like a spa.

Lush Gift Set // Clay Mask + Mixing bowl // RosemaryMint Oil // Olive Oil Body Scrub // Soap Roses // Eye Mask

For that friend who likes to work in a good dose of whimsy.

Llama Tea Towel // Fun Socks // Quirky T-Shirt // Solar System Necklace // Flamingo Mug // Pompom-Ear Hat // Dino Planter

Know a Yankee who feels more British than the Queen? Help them get set for a full English breakfast or high tea.  A bit of whimsy doesn’t hurt either.

British Invasion canvas print // Pimm’s liqueur // Tiered Dessert Tray // Toast Rack // Tea Cozy // Tea (some of my favs are the Mojitea, Dozy Girl, Enchanted Narnia, and the  Strawberry Lemonade is wonderful iced!)

PS The Tea Source is another amazing place to get tea.  Plus, if you’re in the Twin Cities they’re local!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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.

Sofa Table DIY

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).

Baby Loves: 4 Months

Daaaaamn has it been 4 months already? Welsey’s still packin’ on the pounds weighing in at 17lbs 3oz and measuring about 24.5″ long. My little chunky monkey is mostly fitting into 9 month clothing.  Seriously kid, stop growing–you’re heavy!

We started him in daycare this past week (my mom stayed with us in October to transition going back to work) and according to the teachers there he’s been a great little guy. He did pick up his first cold and, like a good little sharer, immediately passed it on to me. He’s overall in a good mood, but definitely a little extra clingy and sleepy… and he really hates our snot-sucker but it totally gets the job done!

Around 3 months Wesley actually started showing interest in things.  We’re getting tons of smiles now and he’s responding back when we make burbly noises at him. We are even getting baby giggles out of this guy. Seriously, this is just making my heart melt! He’s actively watching the goings-on in the house, purposefully kicking at his gym, and starting to grab and wave toys around.  It’s like he’s an actual tiny human instead of a little lump! He’s also started to be able to lift his shoulders off the ground in practice for sitting up.  This kid is so frickin’ strong it’s mind-blowing! He just needs to work on his coordination so he can put that strength to good use.

Wesley is still stupidly difficult to burp. I swear he’s actively working against us to try not to burp and then he’ll get fussy over an hour after eating and (eventually) let out a belch that would put a grown man to shame. Still, there are worse difficulties to have with a baby and for the most part Wesley is an awesomely easy and chill little dude. He seems to be in the beginning stages of teething right now and I’ve heard 4 Month Sleep Regression is a thing so we’ll see how this month goes….

Now that this guy has a little interest in the world around him, we definitely starting to see what bits of baby gear of proving to be a hit with him.

His paci-plushies are fantastic! He can grab them with his little pudgy hands and keep the pacifier in his mouth better.  He’ll also suck/chew on the plushy part too.  We’ve got both the fox and dragon shakies (they rattle a bit) and both are hit.

This Winkel ball is amazing! The loops are pretty small so tiny hands can fit around them easily, and the way it’s structured means it’s still grab-able without a lot of hand coordination (baby can worm his fingers between the loops even if his hand isn’t closing around it). It’s also brightly colored and rattles so it definitely grabs his interest.

The Skip Hop baby gym has been a huge hit with him as well.  He’s been actively kicking at the hanging toys for a while and has recently started reaching for them with his hands too.

This wood and silicone teether has just recently been worthy of interest.  Welsey seems like he’s just starting the beginning stages of teething (drooling and chewing, but thankfully no pain yet) so he enjoys having small things to chomp on and the 2 different textures seem to be interesting for him.

Sophie la Girafe may be the most pretentious baby toy out there, but I’ve never heard of kid not liking it and Wesley’s no exception. She has a face he can look at.  She squeaks.  She’s easily grab-able and delightfully chewable.

 

 

I bought some wool dryer balls shortly before Wesley was born.  I had been meaning to switch to them for awhile (dryer sheets are pretty chemical-y and tend to coat towels, making them less absorbent) and having a baby served as a good kick in the right direction.  They seem to work pretty well for most clothes and towels, but I have noticed that larger things, like fleece blankets, still stay pretty static-y when you first pull them out of the dryer.

 

 

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Go Watch This: Galavant

Image result for galavant

I think every one of us has at least one friend who can always recommend something awesome. I got a message from a friend of mine a while back telling me to watch Galavant because she thought I would get a kick out it. Lucky for me (?) the next day I was stuck with an especially clingy baby so I started binge-watching.

And she was right, it was awesome.

And weird.

But awesome.

But really weird.

I’ll be completely honest, this is probably not for everyone. If you enjoy musicals, particularly odd musicals (think Spamalot) then you may be one of the few, the proud, the nerdy that this appeals too. It’s very tongue-in-check and full of innuendo. If you’re a big fan of musicals you may catch some parody moments mixed in. One the main characters is Timothy Omundson (Carlton Lassiter from Psych) and there are appearances by Anthony Stewart Head, Ricky Gervais,  Jon Stamos, and Weird Al.

As my friend pointed out, it’s kind of miracle it made it through 2 seasons, but I’m still really bummed it was canceled. It does at least wrap-up reasonably well though.

Other things I binged-watched while I was out on maternity leave:

Would I Lie to You (You Tube)

Only Connect (You Tube)

Victoria* (Amazon Prime)

I tried watching Mindhunter (Netflix) and I got through the first season… but I dunno, it just didn’t suck me in like I thought it would. Everyone feels oddly flat and the main character’s kind of a prick.

I did plow through the second season of Stranger Things (Netflix) as soon as it came out.  It was good, but it’s just so hard to top the first season. It definitely sets things up for more seasons though so I may never be able to cancel my Netflix subscription and pare down to just one streaming service (I have to keep Prime because 2 day shipping + baby = winning at parenting).

 

*I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m far more interested in British royals after they’re dead. I really enjoy The Crown (Netflix) too, but with Queen Elizabeth II at over 90 I figure that’s close enough.

D-Day

That’s Dishwasher Day.

A few weeks ago we decided to bite the bullet and replace our fridge and water heater.  Both were quite elderly* and we figured it was a much better idea to proactively replace them rather than deal with the consequences of them dying spontaneously. We figured all the other appliances could wait to be replaced until they actually died.

Well, about 2 weeks after replacing the fridge, our dishwasher started leaking. Awesome. I swear they’re going to start greeting us by name at Warner Stellian soon…

While we were dishwasher shopping we also decided fuckit, let’s just replace the microwave too.  Maybe if we replace the microwave and dishwasher with new (ie more efficient) models we’ll stop tripping the breaker when we run them at the same time.**

After much pondering, we picked out our latest batch of appliances and got delivery/install scheduled for last Tuesday. My mom is currently staying with us and watching Wesley during the day, so she got to be the one to field the delivery.

Being a weirdo, I get super excited about getting new appliances.  I’ve also gotten spoiled over the past 5+ years of living with a dishwasher so the week without one has been a bit of a bummer.  I seriously could not wait to get home and check out our new, shiny dishwasher.

Well, if you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know that this is what I actually came home to:

Whomp whomp.

The delivery people came, hauled out the old dishwasher, but when they went to haul in the new dishwasher they discovered it has been significantly damaged.  “Smashed in” is what I believe they told my mom.

Sigh.

So now we have a gaping hole where our dishwasher once was, which led to the following exchange with a friend:

Me: Do you like our new dishwasher?!

J: … Does Matt actually fit in there?

It’s a pity Mort doesn’t have opposable thumbs, because he hung out in this new “cave” quit a bit.

On the bright side though, our new microwave arrived that day and was installed just fine.

This gives us a 50% chance success rate with kitchen appliance delivery.  Now, I’ve been out of school for a little while now, but I’m pretty sure 50% is a solidly failing grade.

A week after our dishwasher disappointment, we attempted delivery round two.  Luckily, unlike with our stove fiasco, this was the end of it and we now have a brand-spankin’-new dishwasher.

We debated back and forth about the color a bit.  All our other appliances are white, but I really wanted the dishwasher to blend into the cabinets.  I also plan on keeping dark base cabinets whenever we do our big kitchen makeover.  The color we ended up going with was “black stainless.” It’s not as industrial looking as true stainless and has more depth to it than plain black.  I’m totally diggin’ it.

 

 

*Our existing water heater was installed in 1982–our plumber was pretty impressed it was still running.

**We also can’t run our toaster and electric kettle at the same time.  Old houses are like a game of electrical Russian Roulette.

 

Happy Halloween!

Have I ever mentioned Halloween is possibly my favorite holiday? I’m not into horror movies or haunted houses, but costumes + candy? Count me in!

Now that we have Welsey in our lives, we decided to rock the full family theme costume. Matt is a huge Charles Schultz fan (and St Paul happens to be his home town) so we went with a Peanuts theme.

Oh my god, it is so hard to get a good picture of everyone when there’s a baby involved….

One of the best things about this group of costumes is that it is super simple (and cheap!) to throw together. Plus, you can easily mix-and-match characters depending on kids and genders. We chose to go with Charlie Brown, Linus, and Lucy.  Matt thought I should be Marcie (because glasses), but she’s less iconic* and would probably work much better if you had someone dressed as Peppermint Patty.

If I was a good blogger, I would have had our costumes done a month ago, and a DIY post up in early October, but I am nothing if not a procrastinator.  Seriously, I’m just impressed I wasn’t still finishing them up on Halloween. I did take some pictures will working on them though, so I’ll have a DIY post up next year…. and hopefully a whole new set of last minute costumes shared on Halloween (we’re tentatively planning Star Trek for next year–Wesley Crusher, Beverly Crusher, and Picard).

 

*Even as Lucy I think only one person at the office knew who I was supposed to be.  I even had a “Psychiatric Help 5[cents]” sign up at my cube. Keep in mind, St Paul has sculptures of the Peanuts characters EVERYWHERE. My boss thought I had just bought a new dress, because apparently wearing a bow on your ass is totally trending as everyday wear….

 

Lisa Meets Leesa

Hey hey, we’ve actually got some bedroom progress! At the time of writing this we don’t currently have a bedroom door,* and we have a house guest because that’s how we roll around here.

We’ve been meaning to replace our mattress for some time now.  Not just because our existing mattress is older, but also because we’d like to upgrade from a full to a queen size bed. Both Matt and I have always had traditional inner spring mattresses, but this time around we were a little intrigued by the mail order, vacuum-packed, foam mattress trend. We ultimately narrowed it down to Leesa and Tuft & Needle (Casper and Purple were the others we looked into).  Leesa had the benefit of also being in West Elm showrooms so we could actually test it out before it showed up on our door step.  Now, pretty much all these mail-order mattress companies have a risk-free trial period so you can return it after trying it out at home too.** I still wanted to do a pre-test since I really had no idea what to expect with a foam mattress. We were ultimately swayed toward Leesa because West Elm was having a 20% off bedroom furniture (and mattresses!) so we got a pretty good deal on it.

We ordered a bed frame the same day (saaaaale!) and chose to pick it up at the store rather than paying the $150 delivery fee. This also meant we had to assemble the frame ourselves***, but since we’re IKEA pros we didn’t think that would be a problem (spoiler alert: it was super easy).

There’s really nothing to unpacking the mattress. Open the box, pull off the plastic wrap, unroll an unfold, cut away the vacuum packing, and watch it inflate. It actually inflated faster than I expected and looked more or less full size in a couple minutes (although you are supposed to leave it alone for an hour).

I’ve been sleeping really well on it so far. I happen to like a soft mattress and you do feel like you’re just sinking into this. Matt thinks it’s ok, but not great, so it all depends on what you like in a mattress.  If you prefer a firmer mattress you could try Tuft & Needle since the reviews say they’re on the firmer side.  One thing that’s been especially nice is that the foam has been awesome at absorbing movement so if Matt moves around at all I don’t feel anything (and vice-versa). The only weird thing is that the side of the mattress don’t have the same structure as an inner-spring so if you sit on the edge you sink down more than you would expect

 

*I mean, we have the door but it’s sitting on the porch getting painted.

**If you order from a third-party seller, like Amazon, make sure the trial period still applies.  Apparently sometimes it does not.

***I’m supposed to give a shout-out here to our house guest who took over baby watching so Matt and I could deal with the bed frame and mattress (and obsessive photography). Thanks E!

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