{ Monday, November 21, 2011 }
A week or so ago, the bean was enjoying some halloween candy and lamented the fact that there was only one blue M&M in the package she was eating. Blue seems to be her favorite color now that she has learned to name colors (she was partial to green before then-I guess she liked the way the word sounded). Anyway, the boy explained to her that there's a store in the city where you can buy a bag of only blue M&Ms (or any other color, for that matter). She was interested, but didn't mention it again. We figured we'd take her after the sugar overload of the holidays was over.

The bean has been asking to go into the city to her Mommy's work, so the boy woke her up this morning and asked if she'd like to do that. Her response, of course, was to ask if she could also go to the M&M store. Because as much as we'd like to think otherwise, children just never forget a. single. thing.

So we went to the city and the bean got a bag of blue M&Ms. No pictures of that, unfortunately, but once we got home, to entertain her and also turn this into an educational lesson (since it certainly wasn't a nutritional one), I set her up sorting the colors from Mommy and Mama's bags.

A bag of multicolored M&Ms and a muffin tin was all it took to keep her entertained for an hour.

Sorting and mixing over and over again.

Why yes, I do let my 2 year old sit on the kitchen counter! Most days its the only way I can cook or do the dishes. Rest assured, I stay within arms reach and keep her away from the stove and knives. She's been sitting there long enough that she knows to stay away from the edge and to ask for help when she wants to get down.


{ Tuesday, November 01, 2011 }
Clearly, I'm finding it difficult to keep up with blogging lately. Life with a toddler moves at a much faster pace than I had anticipated and, on the rare occasion that I do find time to sit down with the computer, there are always fingers coming at the keyboard, wanting to "help." And so, even though I didn't manage to find time to post this yesterday, I'm very excited to share with you our halloween projects (a day late).

Bats! From Country Living, via made

I covered some of our picture frames with cheesecloth and stuck little plastic spiders in them to make it a bit more spooky.

The cute leaf garland is an idea I got from pinterest. I just cut the shapes out of some extra felt I had on hand and sewed some yarn through them. The little ghost is cut from window film (template via Martha).

Finally, our mice that took over the stairs. (Template via Martha).

I also tried to make the bean's school lunches festive the last couple days.

Pumpkin sandwich (not the best carving job, but the bean was pleased)

Spider crackers and ghost banana (this came back with only the chocolate chip eyes and the cheese slices eaten--fail)

Mummy pizza

And finally, the bean in her costume

I hope you had a nice holiday!

Two Years

{ Thursday, June 30, 2011 }

Our bean turned two today. We started off the day with pancakes fitting for a two year old.

We then headed to the beach, at the bean's request, to make sand castles, just like Olivia. Its been a little over a year since the bean's last trip to the beach, so it was like going for the first time. As we drove up, she asked over and over where the beach was and was thrilled to finally see it. She had a great time splashing in the waves and collecting shells.

We spent the afternoon at home playing with her present--a balance bike. The bean has been very interested in bikes lately (cutely calling them motorcycles and telling us she'd like to ride on a motorcycle), so we were excited to give her this present. She's just walked around with it so far and isn't comfortable sitting down just yet, but hopefully it won't take her long to get the hang of it.

Finally, the bean also received a mailbox built by her moms (well, mostly by the boy--I contributed the letter). As you can see, we ran out of time and didn't get it painted. We'll hopefully finish that up this weekend. The lack of paint did not get in the way of her enjoyment, though, she loved putting the letter in the slot and retrieving it over and over again.

Our big girl was able to blow out both candles on the first try! Since it was so much fun, she asked us to sing again and again so she could blow them out over and over.

Happy birthday, my little girl. I can't believe its been two years already!

First Egg Hunt

{ Sunday, April 10, 2011 }
A photo essay

Bathroom. Done.

{ Thursday, March 10, 2011 }
I've been wanting to post final bathroom pictures for a while now, but I wanted to wait until it was completely done and, well, we got it about 90% done and then stalled. We had a hard time finding a towel ring/TP holder set that we liked and since the bean only recently got over her obsession with habit of unrolling every roll of toilet paper she sees, we weren't in much of a hurry. So that explains why I'm finally wrapping up this project about 6 months after it was done.

The last update I posted, we had just finished installing the toilet and "just" had the vanity to do. We debated right up until the last minute on whether we should put a vanity or pedestal sink in, assuming it wouldn't matter much to the other parts of our remodel. In the end, we decided on the pedestal, since a cabinet for the same price would be lower quality composite wood. We also think the pedestal makes the tiny room feel less cramped. I had read online that installing a pedestal sink was "graduate level DIY" which I sort of took as a challenge. How hard could it be, right?

Well, first of all, we had to install bracing between our wall studs behind where the pedestal would sit. Now, when we removed the old vanity, the drywall was pretty damaged and required patches in a few places. We had already patched, mudded, sanded, primed and painted the wall to make it as pretty as it could be, but now we had to open 'er back up.

I wish we had taken pictures of this step, we were both just so anxious to finally have a sink in that room (and frustrated to have to repeat work) that we forged ahead. It only took a couple hours to cut a section of drywall out between the studs, screw in a piece of 2x6 lumber, and patch the drywall back in. Then more of the long process of mudding, sanding, mudding, sanding, and painting (again!)

If you haven't done this before, the base of the pedestal is screwed into the floor, while the sink is held up by long screws that go through the back of the sink and into those aforementioned 2x6's. I had read that getting everything to line up was difficult, but this process went fairly smoothly. (Of course, we were very careful to measure, mark, and measure again before we started.) The hard part was the plumbing. Oh, the plumbing!! It took weeks and weeks along with I don't remember how many trips to three different hardware stores to finally get the plumbing to line up. Thirty-five years ago, plumbing was made from a different material than it is today and the old sink drain was in a different position from the new one and, oh yeah, you can't really see behind that pedestal while you're installing all those tees and elbows. Ugh! What a headache! (Also? Plumbers putty? Totally a steep learning curve with that stuff. After getting all the plumbing to line up, we excitedly turned on the water and got a puddle on the floor.)

But we finally figured it out. I L.O.V.E. this faucet. So much so that we special ordered the pedestal (with just one cutout) to go with it. Love.

We still had one big hurdle to jump and that's this little guy.

Why is this pipe sticking through our wall? We can't even figure out where it leads to, but it was hidden behind our old cabinet and needed to be hidden again. I took a stab at building a box to encase it, but when I was driving the nails into it, the whole thing sort of fell apart. I put the hammer away and went on strike for a few weeks. Then, the boy stepped in and worked some magic.


Add the final touches we put on a couple weeks ago, and I'm calling it done.

What did that before look like again?

Oh right. And now:

When we started this project, I don't think either of us were convinced that we would actually be able to pull it off. We went into it with the idea that we could always hire a contractor if we got in over our heads but, thankfully, that didn't happen. We did the whole thing by ourselves and every time I walk in there I'm sort of surprised and definitely proud that we did.

Oh, and do you remember the buckled wood floor that originally tipped us off to the leak in the bathroom? After months of waiting it out, the floor has dried out and shrunk back down into place. That section will probably never be the same again and a couple boards sit a little funny, but at least there's no longer any danger of someone tripping over it! A happy ending all around.

Monkey Hat

{ Saturday, March 05, 2011 }
A quick crochet project to break up all the knitting I've been doing.

This is the monkey earflap hat crocheted with knitpicks swish worsted. I'm not much of a crocheter--I have to google every time to remember the difference between a single, double, half double crochet, I always forget--but this project came together quickly and was really fun to do.

I loved watching that pretty yellow flower form before my eyes. Isn't it funny how something you're not very good at can sort of seem like magic when it works?

I'm loving making things for the bean, the projects come together so quickly!

Best Gift Ever

{ Sunday, February 27, 2011 }

For those who don't speak toddler--she's singing "happy birthday to you, mama and mommy."

The return of sleep

{ Friday, January 21, 2011 }
My friends, night weaning is something that's been on my mind for a while. It all started when the bean was around 6 months old and I read that most 6 month olds slept through the night. I waited and waited for that to happen, but we were nowhere close. Since then, I've read several books and tried a slew of tricks to get the bean to sleep longer stretches at night, but we've only had minimal success.

I've known for a while that we would have to wean at night if I was going to start getting uninterrupted sleep and I was starting to feel like 18 months was a perfect age to be night weaned, but I wasn't sure how to go about doing it. To be honest, I didn't actually set out to night wean last month, but something strange happened to the bean's latch during the night that made nursing very painful. I guess it was the combination of all those teeth along with her being half asleep, but whatever the cause, it was enough for me to not want to nurse at all. I tried over the course of a couple nights allowing her to nurse for a few minutes at each wake up and then comforting her as best I could back to sleep, but it almost seemed to make matters worse. I finally decided we would nurse to sleep at bedtime and upon waking in the morning, but no more nursing during the night. The bean and I have had many conversations to this effect over the past few months, so it probably wasn't much of a shock to her.

It was definitely rough going there the first couple nights. The bean would wake up and ask to nurse, I would remind her that we don't nurse at night any more and she would completely lose it. The boy and I tried everything we could think of to comfort her and get her to fall back asleep, but there were definitely a lot of tears at first. We ended up losing even more sleep through this process, but the end was so worth it. The bean has slept through the night without waking exactly one time--she's usually still up once or twice during the night, but when she is asleep, she sleeps much more soundly than she did before and she falls back to sleep faster. The number of times she wakes is less and, the most amazing part is that she sleeps from the time we put her to bed (around 8pm) until around 2 or 3 am without waking once. This is incredible for her as before I would be running up to nurse her back to sleep once or twice between the time that she went to bed and when we did.

Our daytime nursing is still unrestricted and you can bet the bean is making up for those lost night sessions by nuring eleventy billion times during the day, but I'm so glad we were finally able to stop the night nursing. (And also a teeny tiny bit sad that our bean is getting to be such a big girl that she no longer needs it.)

A "room" of my own

{ Monday, January 17, 2011 }
We don't usually make resolutions around here, but this year we have a big one--organization. We had so much going on when we moved in two years ago that we didn't spend much time thinking about how to organize our stuff, we just shoved it wherever it would fit. In 2011, we plan to rectify the situation and we got a jump start on new year's eve. As we were cleaning out our coat closet for the third time in as many months, the boy had a brilliant idea. We rarely use our front door so we end up leaving coats, hats and gloves by the back door. The coat closet has become more of a dumping ground, so the boy suggested we convert it into a craft space for me. Yippee!!

I can't believe I'm sharing this with you, but this is our scary, embarrassing closet before we cleaned it out. You may notice my sewing machine and some half finished craft projects on the floor. It used to be a bit of an ordeal to pull the machine out each time I needed to use it (I would sew on the bean's little child sized table).

We removed the hanging rod and added some supports for a desktop.

It took a bit of work to get the angles on the desktop right. We hadn't figured into our measurements the fact that none of the walls are square.

We built a second shelf above the desktop and added some paint. After that, it just took a trip to ikea for storage solutions and I now have a craft "room!"

I have all my fabric stacked on the top shelf next to a box containing patterns and large tools. Pins, scissors and other small tools hang on the wall in front of me as I sit, my straight knitting needles are stored in a tall vase to the left along with a wall mounted spool rack that holds thread.

In my convenient new space, I whipped up some circular needle storage to hang on the wall to the right (love this).

I have a garbage can on the floor which, rather than being used for garbage, holds balls of yarn just waiting to be knit together (there's a larger bin in another closet--my, I have lots of yarn). The sewing machine still sits on the floor, but we drilled a little hole at the back of the desk that the cord fits through. I have an extension cord tucked in next to it so sewing is just a matter of plugging in to the nearby outlet and moving the machine to the desk.

Oh happy day! I love being able to see all my tools and fabric and knitting projects. I'm no longer starting things and forgetting about them because they've been tucked away here or there. The boy is so happy that there are no longer in-progress knitting projects on every available surface--now everything has a home! What a great start to 2011.

Snow Day

{ Wednesday, January 12, 2011 }
This was the view out our bedroom slider when we woke up this morning.

And the downstairs slider.

And our car.

What a lot of shoveling we have to do!