Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fake It 'Til You Make It: Yellow, Ivory and Tan Bedroom

I found this inspiration image, originally from Atlanta Homes Mag, and wondered, how could this look be achieved at home? Here is my answer, with affordable sources!

Yellow sheets

The tan color was a little hard to source because there are many words that all can mean tan - flax, beige, camel, and sand can be the same color, but internet listings may not list the word you choose to search for in lieu of another, similar word for the same thing! Also, I believe the curtains and the pillow on the bench may be custom (made specifically for this room using fabric and some seamstress skills), so I could not find a ready-made close match for the curtains.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Two Year Kiddo Update

His Schedule:  On the weekdays he gets up at 6:45 a.m.; on the weekends it’s 8:30 a.m. On the weekdays, he naps from 11:30 a.m. until about 1:00 p.m.; on the weekends it’s from about noon until 2:00 p.m., or longer if we let him. His bed time is currently 8:45 p.m.

His Size:  At his 2-year-old wellness visit, he was 2 ft. 10.5 inches tall (0.87 m), which is in the 54th percentile for height. He was 29 lbs. 11 oz. (about 13.5 kg), which is in the 70th percentile for weight.

His Personality:  He’s not quite the cheerful kiddo he used to be. Maybe it’s that he’s entering the terrible twos? He’s very insistent when it comes to getting his way – someday his persistence will be an asset to him, but right now it can be annoying to his caregivers. I think he’s a very independent kid – he’s willing to go off by himself if you’re not watching him, and he’s willing to entertain himself by reading a book or playing with blocks.

His Favorite Things:
  • Activity:  Spending time with his daddy, even if it’s just going to the grocery store together... He still loves coloring with his crayons (which he pronounces “cran”)... Yesterday, I noticed him shading with his crayons for the first time, not just drawing curvy lines
  • Animal: His favorite animal seems to be cats (because of our cat, "Cat-Cat," and/or Daniel Tiger)... He is fonder of our cat than our dog, though he loves them both (and hugs them frequently to prove it)
  • Book:  The Beginner’s Bible for Toddlers
  • Color: He still really likes the color orange... Because he’s now old enough to pick out his own clothes, we’ve noticed that he seems to like wearing the color green... Honestly, he seems to like most colors, but with a preference towards orange, green, red, and yellow
  • Security Item:  He went through a phase when he wanted "Cat-Cat" (a black-and-white leopard stuffed animal wearing a white t-shirt) to be with him everywhere... He is still quite attached to his fuzzy green lion blanket... When he’s sleepy or hurt, then he sucks his "binky" (pacifier) – if I had to do it over again, I probably wouldn’t have given the kiddo a pacifier quite as much when he was younger since it's become kind of a crutch
  • Toys:  He still likes Mega Bloks, but now he also likes Duplos... He can build a tall tower with Mega Bloks, or a short tower with Duplos
  • TV Show:  Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is his favorite right now, but he still sometimes watches FraggleRock

Words:  He can say a lot of words now – too many to count. Some of the more unusual words he knows (for a toddler) are owl, key, and belt.

Major Life Events, Age 18 Months to 2 Years:
  • The biggest thing to happen to the kiddo recently was the additionof his baby brother to our family this summer. He seems to be quite fond of his brother. He is particularly affectionate with baby Bear. He will do everything from pet Bear, to kiss him, to give him a bottle.
  • In August we transitioned the kiddo to his toddler bed!
  • Travel - we went on a few short vacations this summer that were a lot of fun, and we went to a wedding this fall.

Family and Friends:  I’m surprised at how well the kiddo plays with our friends’ children despite the age gap (the kiddo is a couple of years younger than some of our friends’ children). I had thought that because of the size and maturity gap, the kiddo wouldn’t be able to, but he really is able to hang out and play with the other kids.

Parenting:  I wish I could say that parenting the kiddo is just as easy now as it was when he was 6 to 18 months old. However, in the last month or so he has gotten quite defiant. It can be very annoying. And if he’s challenged (i.e. if I tell him “no” or “don’t”) and he’s prevented from doing what he wants, then he cries. Aside from the power struggle I just described, it’s also sometimes frustrating to interact with the kiddo because he’d rather watch TV than read a book with me, and he almost never wants to cuddle. Why does it hurt so much to be told “no” by a toddler when all you want to do is hug him? He can also say “go away,” complete with a shooing-off hand motion.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Best Baby Products

For Sleeping

For Feeding

For Everything Else

Sometimes, brand doesn't matter. However, sometimes it does, so I'm sharing some of my favorite products.

For Sleeping:

For Feeding:

For Everything Else:

Newborn "Bear": Kid Update

Newborn Update
This summer I had a baby. For my first son, I’ve been doing updates on this blog every six months, and I'm trying to start that for "The Bear." But since it’s really hard to set aside even 15 minutes to do a blog post when you have an infant, this post is a couple of months late.

His Birth Story
It could not have gone better. At 10 p.m. the night before he was born, out of nowhere, my water broke. I was surprised since I wasn’t having contractions yet. At 1:30 a.m., the contractions started. I tried to relax my body and focus on surrendering my body to the contractions. At around 2:30 a.m., I woke my husband and asked him to make me a smoothie since I was thirsty, I was craving one, and didn’t want to get to the hospital and be denied food and beverage. My mom arrived to watch our older son and started timing my contractions. At about 3 a.m., my mom informed me that my contractions were a minute and a half long and coming every three minutes, because she had been timing them on her wristwatch. This was a surprise to me since they didn’t seem that long or that close together to me. At about 3:15 a.m. my husband and I got into the car to go to the hospital; he drove quickly. At about 3:35 a.m. we arrived at the hospital and got into the elevator. I got on my hands and knees in the elevator during a powerful contraction. Once we got to the labor floor, I sent my husband to check us in at their front desk while I waited near the elevator, still on my hands and knees. A nurse found me and rounded up a wheelchair to push me to the front desk. Once she got me to the front desk, I felt a sensation that made me wonder if I should push. “I’m going to try to push,” I said. “Don’t push!” said a nurse, but it was too late – I had already started to push and I could not stop. “Doing it,” I said. I was wheeled into the room and in what I believe was a total of four pushes, this baby was here! He was born at 3:43 a.m. The nurses made some comment about me livening up their night. I couldn’t believe labor was over so fast for me this time. He looked so healthy when he was born (by contrast, our first son was purple when he was born and was what they called a “stunned baby”). His first day is kind of a blur to me now, but I remember holding him a lot – he loved to be held.

His Personality
He’s great – he’s an awesome baby, and we are very blessed to have him. He’s cuddly and smiley, and he's a happy baby. I could not ask for a sweeter baby. As annoying as breastfeeding has been (read below), spending time with this baby while he’s this age has been a tremendous gift that I am soaking in.

The single biggest hurdle I have faced for both him as well as our first son is breastfeeding. Despite seeing multiple lactation consultants (five to be exact) multiple times, neither of my sons was adept at latching on. Therefore, I have been using a breastpump to give him breastmilk. Luckily, this time I have been producing enough milk (unlike last time). It’s difficult to go pump every three hours, especially with another child to take care of besides my new little one. There is so much confusing, conflicting information out there for exclusive pumpers, but the biggest piece of erroneous information out there is that pumping for 10-15 minutes per session is enough. While it is enough for some moms, it is not enough for many moms, especially in the beginning. Our bodies are all made differently – some women have a faster letdown cycle than others. Basically, you should pump until empty each time, and hopefully get through two letdown cycles. For me, that’s been about 40 minutes per session using a double-pump thus far.

My Parents
Having my parents live near us and be willing to help us watch our kids has been really helpful, and I could not be more thankful that they are alive and, for the most part, healthy.

How I’m Feeling
I couldn’t be happier with my family. I haven’t decided if I’d like to stick with just two kids, or try to add a third child at some point in the future. Either way, time feels like it’s flying by. I know that even if I add one more kid, my years of being the parent of a child in diapers are numbered. Before I know it, my sons will be running around chasing soccer balls and will be too big for me to hold in my arms. They will look like “big kids” and their clothes will go from oh-so-cute to purely functional. Even if I drink in every precious moment of this wonderful time, it will end. But when it does, I hope I can just be thankful, instead of being baby-crazy forever (although, seriously, is there anything that feels as good as holding a warm, snuggly infant?). I am so very grateful for my family.

The Best Thing About Right Now
There are so many good parts! Seeing him smile is wonderful. There’s something about a happy toothless grinning baby that is heart-melting. Hearing him laugh feels so good. Feeling him grab my arm in order to stay close to me (which I think is part of the startle reflex) is so precious. Seeing him on my dad’s chest as they take an afternoon nap together is priceless.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

My Whole House Color Scheme

Some designers recommend a whole house color scheme; most do not. But if I were going to commit to one, this might be it. I love the color gray the most - I find it soothing. The gray-brown and the tiger orange are not used as much, mostly because they are not as favored by my husband as they are by me. Orange is my son's favorite color though.

And here are some examples of how this plays out in my own home right now. Orange rarely shows up in my decor, but I want it to show up in small doses sometimes.