Hutches, Styled

This one is for you, Barbara ;-)

The other day while Baby M was napping and S was off somewhere or other, I spent some time finally putting our new dining room hutches to use. And the funny thing is, as much as we're dying for storage space, we didn't actually fill them up completely. Well, that's half true, the glass-front top of one hutch is barely filled but both bottom, hidden storage areas are full.

I tried displaying my rainbow nesting bowls and our wooden salad bowls, but with those things behind the glass fronts, the hutches started to look a little cluttered. So I stuck with glass and white items only.
The glass doors are super heavy and they don't roll open very easily, so I stuck with displaying stuff that we don't use all that often, but often enough that we want it upstairs. On the right, I moved our F&S mugs from the kitchen over from the kitchen and the rest of the stuff on the right came from our pantry - popcorn bowls, a cake stand and several serving platters.
On the left I stole the ceramic birds from the living room and the little square plates that we actually do use every day.
Over in the hutch on the other side of the room I displayed our crystal.
And that's when I came up short. The right side is empty. We need more crystal.

Underneath this side I put our china in its red storage bags on one side - there are no plate grooves in the hutches and I didn't want to risk putting any plates behind the crystal only to have everything fall and break. And on the other side, placemats, napkins and my giant Le Creuset, which takes up an entire shelf.

Underneath the right hutch is the space I'm loving the most. We're storing Baby M's daycare bag, my diaper bag, purse, etc. on one side and S's gym bag and all of Feeney's stuff on the other.
It is so nice not to have those bags sitting out in the living room. Seriously, of all the new storage, this one area is my favorite. Love. That's not to say that I don't still long for a mud room; what you can't see here is the shoe rack sitting just across from the dining room table.

Hauling all this stuff up from the pantry made it possible for me to finally organize the pantry and put things where I can access them easily. Who knew I had three bundt pans!? And those mini muffins trays I bought? Turns out I already had some. Darn.

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9 Months Down

This is my last single digit month update. It’s kind of crazy how quickly that all happened, but I think I am starting to get to that point where I don’t really think of my life before Baby M much anymore; it feels like he’s always been here. I find myself missing my tiny baby more than missing life without a baby.

Month nine seemed like a long month to me, not the blink and it’s over kind of months we’ve been having up until now. When I think of his 8 month birthday, it seems so long ago. I think it’s because we spent time in so many places and were so out of routine for much of the month.

We started off August still in Maine, then packed up and drove home, stopping at Baby M’s Nola & Grandpa’s house for a long weekend visit with S’s family. The next week Baby M went to his Nola’s house during the day since his daycare momma was still away for the summer. After Labor Day weekend Baby M was back to daycare, with a whole new set of kids and a whole bunch of different toys. He’s not the only baby anymore and by 10 months he will be the oldest. It makes me sad, but he still gets oodles of attention.

Baby M tried several new foods this month including ribs and hamburgers. Blueberries still top the list of his favorites, followed closely by yogurt and hummus. He gets grilled salmon for breakfast once a week, which he absolutely inhales. The kid can eat. We’re still doing one meal a day in the morning and nursing for the rest of the day.

Baby M joined me for lunch with girlfriends a few times this month and did great in his highchair. Because of his gluten sensitivity I don’t share too much of my lunch with him, but I carry yogurt drops in my bag so he can eat too.


Baby M is really into his long morning nap. They last 1.5 hours +. He usually takes a second in the afternoon of about 45 minutes. If he skips his morning nap, which he sometimes does at daycare, then he’ll just take one long nap in the middle of the day.

Bath time usually starts around 5:30, maybe 5:45 if baby M isn’t super tired. When he’s out of the bath it’s straight to the milkies then bed, sometimes as early at 6pm, but usually closer to 6:30/7. We had a short period of time where he was super upset after I’d put him to bed. He cried uncontrollably and needed to be rocked to sleep then he’d wake up when I put him down. While he has suddenly developed a little case of separation anxiety, his crazy evenings also coincided with a Wonder Week. Since they only lasted about a week before things went back to normal, we’re chalking it up to a WW. We were quickly back to putting him down in his crib awake, where he plays with a few safe toys in his crib, then fall asleep on his own.

Towards the end of the month Baby M started to sleep until 8am consistently; it’s great on the weekends! Our record sleep was 14 hours this month.
We introduced bath toys to Baby M’s bucket. We give him his bath inside the bucket, inside the bathtub. I stick the toys on the wall in the tub and he gets on his knees and reaches for them. He’ll use one toy to knock down the other toys all while holding one toy in his mouth. He still really loves his bath and we do it every night. I sit on the side of the tub next to him with the towel in my lap, when he’s done with bath he pulls up on my knees and I take him out; it’s cute.

Baby M started off the month with a low crawl, which he perfected into a zippy, belly-off-the-floor-moving-at-top-speed crawl. One week into the month he pulled himself up to his knees and a few days later to standing. Since then he’s been pulling up on everything – furniture, toys, Feeney, mommy’s legs - you name it.
boy on a mission
Baby M took his last swim in the lake and the pool before we left Maine. He took a quick dip in the Bay just to say he did and played in the wading pool his Nola bought for him. I’ve signed us up for swim lessons that start soon so he’ll continue to be exposed to water and hopefully be as excited to swim in the pool next summer as he was this summer.

The weekend before we left Maine, we took a family trip to my parents’ mountain cabin. It was a little brisk there in the morning and we were able to have Baby M’s first cabin fire in the fireplace. In the evening after bath, Baby M even got to enjoy a fire in the outdoor fire pit. He was very interested in the rising smoke.
He's been doing this hilarious pirate raspberry blowing thing where he blows raspberries out of one side of his mouth, mimicking when we do it to him. You can kind of see it above. And here another attempt at capturing it:
While at the cabin, we went for Baby M’s first canoe ride. As always he wanted to nurse straight away, but then once he settled into the boat he was very interested in the lily pads and the splashing paddle.
Near the end of our summer he got very bored with all of his toys we’d taken to Maine with us. He wanted to play with anything except what was in his toy bag. When we got home, I ended up buying him a few things off my local moms’ list including a musical play table, which he loves.
We made him a sensory bin out of carpet, tile and wood samples and lined up his books on a low shelf in the living room for him to explore. He loves turning the pages of books! We also assembled his Radio Flyer walker and he’s able to walk across the room with it, albeit a little wobbly. He’s also a big fan of the dishwasher – his reflection on the side when it’s closed (he tries to lick his reflection) and climbing in when it’s open.

Once at home we were greeted with a big swingset in our yard from Baby M’s Nola and Grandpa. S replaced the rope on the swings, which were pre-loved, and Baby M has been swinging in the evening ever since. He loves to watch us throw the ball for Feeney while he swings. The doggie is so funny!
Toward the end of the month I had a couple of girlfriends and 15 month old, Jack visit for a few days. M thought Jack was awesome and loved having a friend to play with. We all went to the zoo together and while Jack was very into looking at all the animals, Baby M was more into napping in the Ergo. Jack was walking all over; it’s hard to believe Baby M will be doing the same soon.

We did the drive from Maine to S’s weekend house in Maryland in one day. Baby M was an amazing traveler, as always. I sat in the backseat with him with Feeney while S drove. We made four stops along the way for milk and to stretch our legs and Baby M took four naps. It’s not a drive I like to do often, but Baby M has proved to be a superstar when it comes to the long drives. When we got home again he was very interested in his nursery, I think he remember it!

As I mentioned above, Baby M developed a touch of separation anxiety this month. He cries if I pass him off to someone else too quickly, but once he warms up to a person I can pass him off with no problem. He cried one or twice at daycare drop off, but within a couple days was diving out of my arms to his daycare momma as soon as we’d walk through the door.

Baby M is babbling quite a bit. He says Mama, which is more like a distress call for me. Everything else is a "ba" right now, including “ball” which we delight in when he calls “ba” of course. He said “da” a few times. S was nowhere to be seen, but Feeney was, maybe he was trying to say doo. Or dog. But most of the time they’re all just “ba.” I’m trying to teach him signs for milk, more, all done and drink and am still waiting for the moment of recognition. He gave me the milk sign once, but I think it was a fluke.

We had his 9 month appointment just after his 9 month birthday. Baby M is 17lbs 4oz (~7th percentile) and 29” long (~75th percentile).

BumGenius diapers have one row of snaps open in the center or Velcro touching. He wears size 3 disposables at night. He’s wearing 6m and 9m clothes, but had a major growth spurt during the last week of the month when all of sudden his 6m clothes are almost too snug. He grew 1.5” in a month! He wore his very first 12m PJ's the day before he turned 9 months. They were big on him and just a tad out of season, but I couldn't resist.

We've got zero teeth, but his fingers are always in his mouth and the drool is at a record high lately. I'm sure those, walking and other things I can't bear to think of yet are just around the corner.
Happy 9 months, little buddy!

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BLW: Oatmeal, Flax & Pumpkin Pancakes

Baby M and I love to share pancakes for breakfast – his without syrup…‘cause mummy eats double syrup, drowning my pancakes in his serving.  This morning I decided to make up a new recipe from scratch rather than using the GF pancake mix I’ve been using. I wanted to make something super nutritious with oatmeal and flax and pumpkin. I came up with these autumnal pancakes, which were delicious on this blissfully cool morning!

I took photos, but I'm not going to share them. These pancakes may be tasty and nutritious, but they're nothing special to look at. Nor is my feeble attempt at photography while simultaneously attending to a baby with a vacuum cleaner for a belly. 

Oatmeal, Flax & Pumpkin Pancakes
serves 3

1 c. Oatmeal
½ c. Ground Flax (sometimes called flax flour)
1 Can Pumpkin Puree ~15oz
2 eggs
2 T. Canola Oil
2 T. Sugar
½ t. Baking Soda
½ t. Salt
½ t. Cinnamon
¼ t. Nutmeg
2-4 T Milk

1. In the bowl of a food processor, blend oatmeal to a powder

2. Add flax, sugar, soda, salt and spices, pulse to mix

3. Add pumpkin, eggs, and oil and pulse until ingredients are just combined

4. Mix in milk one tablespoon at a time until desired thickness

5. Heat a skillet over medium heat. When drops of water sizzle in the pan, spray with a nonstick spray and spoon batter into pan, spreading into circles. These are thicker pancakes so the traditional method of waiting to flip until bubbles appear doesn’t always work. I cooked for about 3 minutes on the first side and 90 seconds on the second, until golden and cooked through.

Makes about 12 small pancakes.

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Get Me a Smoking Jacket

After I finished painting the trim around the new floors in my office, S and I moved my furniture back into place. I thought about moving my desk to the "play" side of the room for a change, but it would mean blocking a window since my desk is higher than the windowsill. I'm really not a fan of blocking windows, so we just put everything back where it came from.

While we were at it, I mucked out a bunch of files that have built up over the past year and generally cleaned house in here. Who ignores their to-do pile for a full year? Might be time to request baby M's birth certificate now, no? Probably too late to submit an insurance claim for last fall's flu shot though.

And here it is, my relatively tidy work area with new hardwood floors. We had to move the orchid table to this side of the room so I can block baby M from pulling up and sharpening his nails on the terracotta pots.
I also put a baby gate under my desk to block his little fingers from the cords, outlets and powerstrips that live under there. That paper shredder kind of freaks me out a bit, but I tend to keep it unplugged most of the time. Plus, he'd need to scale mount mommy's legs and be quite unsupervised to get at it.
On the other side of the room we have the "play" area. Known right now as the side of the room where I place baby M on the floor and he sits for zero time as he beelines for mount mommy's legs over at the desk, the terracotta pots or the paper shredder. Or the door where he stands, licks the glass and whines to get out so he can put his little hands in the dog's water dish. Poor dog is thirsty with all his water bowls on top of tables and dressers these days. He makes up for it by drinking all the water in baby M's bath. Time to get out mommy, water's all gone!
The very first thing baby M did in his play area was smash that little orange, wooden bear toy on the floor. I don't think it made a mark, but S panicked, I shrugged (making it obvious who did more of the work on this project) and he hauled in one of his carpets from upstairs. I protested and asked whether he really wanted baby M spitting up on his carpets. Unfortunately baby M doesn't really spit up anymore and my really weak argument was overruled.
It's very regal in here. Get me a dark leather club chair and matching smoking jackets for baby M and me, stat. Tweed for fall, maybe a herringbone?
I quickly added an Angela Adams carpet to my Christmas wishlist. I'm pretty sure it's going to remain just that, a wish. S said they have carpets with "girly" colors in Bahrain that he could bring home. Girly colors like burgundy and dark green. Whatevs, S, burgundy is not girly. For once I wish he'd be all, "let's go carpet shopping in Portland, Maine!" Instead of, "I'm going carpet shopping in Bahrain" and I'm all "you'd better be shopping for yo' momma, buddy."

But all joking aside, I do like the way the carpet looks in here. Especially when I'm enjoying a fine scotch and smoking cigars on a Wednesday afternoon. While sitting on my giant purple ball.
I'm kind of in love with the way the floors turned out. I think that really does mean that we're done with this room. Oh no wait, no we're not. We've still got to do the HVAC duct from the main house. So we're not done with this room, but it looks really good, no?

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Our floor project was surprisingly easy - how often does that happen? It only took one day and since I had to work on Friday S tackled most of the project himself. He did one trip to the hardware store on Friday after dropping M at daycare and another Friday night after M went to bed. How often do you only make planned, scheduled trips to the hardware store - no mid-project trips? It never happens here. Never.

We kicked the project off by rolling up my two round, sisal carpets and putting them outside, then moving all of the lighter weight furniture out of the room - desk chair, plants, slipper chair, toys, etc. Then as I moved my laptop to the kitchen table, S moved all of my office furniture to the center of the room. I'd organized the cords at my desk a few months ago, so he was really careful to keep everything together so he wouldn't undo my hours of work.

With the furniture out of the way, S went around the room very carefully prying off all of the molding.

We've done this a few times before in this room when we replaced the windows and when we removed the fiber board ceiling. Neither S nor I can recall why we removed the floor molding before, but we did 'cause it was all labelled on the back in S's handwriting. We broke one piece the last time we pried off molding, but this time we managed to remove it all, pound the nails out and salvage every single piece.

When we first converted this room to an office we caulked around the entire room closing up any drafty gaps in the pine paneling. Of course this meant S had to scrape off all of the remaining caulk because the new floor would be on top of the old floor, which meant the molding would be raised 1/4"+ from where it used to sit and the old caulk wouldn't let the molding sit flush. Make sense?

I think it was at this point that S said the project wasn't fun anymore.

When the caulk was finally off, S called me into the office to discuss how he should lay the floor. The room is off-square by about an inch so we were trying to figure out whether we should start at the threshold of the door or the far wall; which way would require the fewest cuts and how we could make sure we weren't left having to piece together a sliver of flooring at the end. We dorked around a little bit:

 And did some math:

And then we did the only sure-thing to make sure our calculations were right: we lay flooring straight across from one side of the room to the other.

It turned out that the floor fit perfectly with just enough of a gap at the threshold of the door for a "T" threshold piece. So S took all the flooring apart again, lay down the underlay - we used the premium stuff just because it was sized perfectly for the room and we'd only need one roll v. two of the lower quality - and started for real at the wall farthest from the door. He had picked up a bunch of 1/4" Pergo floor samples at the hardware store to use a spacers along the walls and shimmed them all around the room. Ingenious.

The rest of the afternoon consisted of lots of measuring and cutting and S walking past me in the kitchen to the backyard where he had a table set up for cutting.

We don't have a tablesaw, nor space for it, and we don't have a jigsaw, so S just used his circular saw with the flooring clamped in place. The cuts were surprisingly smooth, which didn't matter in the end since all of the cuts are covered by molding anyway.

Baby M found the entire scene very interesting before he was whisked off to daycare.
In the end, S made a few long cuts to fit the final pieces around the brick edge of the room, left the threshold open and nailed the trim back into place.
Saturday morning he went around with the hammer and countersank all the nails in the molding as I followed behind him filling all the holes with wood putty, wet sanding and painting all the trim.
By the time Baby M woke up from his morning nap, we were hoisting furniture back into place and I was patting S on the back and commending him on an awesome job. We saved screwing the threshold piece into place for Sunday just because we needed a countersink drill bit, but I don't think that should count as a mid-project run to the hardware store, do you?

In only one work day (given the late start on Friday, S says we're doing a 24 hour day count) my office was totally transformed from odd looking porch floor to what looks like an continuation of the main living space. It left us wondering why we'd waited a year to finally use the boxes of flooring we bought. All these little projects going off without a hitch have us looking at the upstairs bathroom quite seriously now - it's had a facelift, but it could use a total overhaul. Maybe next week. Ha.

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I Feel Like a Project

This morning we woke up and S turned to me and said, "I feel like a project." And so the office flooring project begins.

We bought extra boxes of engineered hardwood flooring when we did the basement floors last spring/summer. We had chosen a discontinued color that best matches the floor in the main sections of our house, so buying extra boxes at the time made sense. It's been stored under the bed in the guest room downstairs, which means it's acclimated to the house (especially since we've had the a/c off all week, woohoo!) All we really need to do is clear out my office and get to work.

S took the day off today, but I'm working. He just dropped Baby M off at daycare and stopped to buy underlay stuff on his way home. We're going to put the underlay and flooring right on top of the peel and stick tiles, which are laid on plywood that was new three years ago. We tried prying one off tile without much success; I think we'll get a smoother surface if we just let them be.

Here's hoping this project doesn't present too many obstacles; there are only so many hours of naps on the weekends when daycare isn't an option!

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BLW: Baby Led Wednesday – Watermelon

Baby M looooves watermelon. His first taste was at a daycare buddy’s third birthday party and he’s been hooked ever since. But I just don’t think I’m going to be able to keep watermelon on the menu anymore, at least not for the rest of this season.

No matter how I cut it, slice it or wedge it, baby M gags on watermelon. I don’t know what it is about the fruit, it’s definitely soft enough and mashes up easily, but for whatever reason no matter how it’s served he manages to bite off a big piece and it gets gagged up again. 

Most recently I cut finger sized pieces – long rectangles that I thought were the perfect solution. And they were, til he gagged on them yesterday. I can sit back and let him gag his food up for a few unpanicked , but I obviously can’t give him foods I know he’ll gag on. So sorry, little buddy, watermelon is off the menu ‘til next summer.

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Goodbye to Summer & Win $1,000 Spa Gift Certificate

I cannot believe the summer is over. Baby M and I are back at home and getting settled back into our normal routine. He went back to daycare after being away for two months and the transition was way easier on him than I expected -- he developed a bit of separation anxiety over the past few weeks.

On drop-off day he clung to me and buried his head in my chest (not gonna lie, I loved it), but then his daycare momma started to talk to him and smile and that little boy started giving her the coyest little smile from the safety of momma's arms. Fast forward thirty minutes and guess who he's crawled over to, climbed on and is cooing, smiling and laughing at? Not momma. So here were are, summer is over and it took less than thirty minutes to get back into old habits; Baby M loooooves his daycare momma.

Summer may be over but one thing I definitely want to hang on to from the summer is our pool time. Baby M and I spent a ton of time in the pool this summer; he swam every single day. Even on days when I was too chilly he was all "mummy I want to swim!" so I'd toss him in to his PawPaw or Mamie and he'd do his kick-kick-kicks.

So I signed us up for mommy and baby swim lessons this fall. I cannot wait for them to start. Baby M is going to show all the babies how to swim like a froggy.

Unfortunately I've got some funky frizzy stuff going on with my hair as a result of all of that pool time. Does that happen to anyone else? Am I the only one who refuses to wear a swim cap like I'm some sixteen year old who can't be bothered? I left Maine with some hair issues.

When Dove offered to send out a bottle of one of their new conditioners, I volunteered to try it out. I wasn't expecting any miracles - I have some really weird stuff going on with my hair post-pregnancy (on top of all that time spent in the chlorine), please tell me I'm not the only one. Weird spikey new growth that looks like I cut my own hair...anyone?

So with my cynical pants on I tried out Dove's Daily Moisture conditioner and wouldn't you know, I love it! I have ultra fine, thin hair that gets weighed down easily by conditioners. I'm always trying new products to find the perfect combo that gives me curls, not frizz and doesn't leave me looking like a grease ball by 3pm, so this is big. I love it! Like seriously, I've used it every day for the past two weeks. Or at least those days I've managed to shower. I know, the baby is almost 9 months old, so I really should be able to manage a daily shower, but I'm telling you, sometimes really fun stuff like putting the dishes away gets in the way of shower time.

Dove is giving away a $1,000 Spafinder gift certificate and all you have to do to enter is follow this link, provider your email address and tell me what your biggest hair issue was this summer. And if you're like my friend Shawn and you have awesome hair, go ahead and tell me what you love most about your hair. And if you're like baby M and you have no hair, go ahead and tell me that.

Official Rules:
Enter to win a $1,000 Spafinder gift certificate!



You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

a) Follow this link, and provide your email address and your response to the Promotion prompt

b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: "#SweepstakesEntry"; and then visit this link to provide your email address and the URL to that Tweet.

c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and then visit this link to provide your email address and the URL to that post.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. Winners will have 72 hours to claim the prize, or an alternative winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 9/4/2012 - 9/30/2012

Be sure to visit Dove®Hair.com to get a coupon for $1.50 off Dove Hair Therapy products.

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Baby M explores his "sensory bin"

Thank you for the samples, Giant Home Improvement Store.

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