Raves & Faves: APRIL

I get it, April was so long ago. But old Raves and Faves soldiers on whether my readers care or not. It’s going to take me a long time to catch up seeing how June is close to over. Let’s get on with it!

Here is my list of April loves. In other words, another chance to List thing-ys. *slow claps*

1. These facial wipes.

I wish it weren’t so, but I’m lazy. Some days (ok, most days) I just use one of these to get my makeup and sunscreen off and call that my “bedtime routine”. They are handy.

2. Although a somewhat creepy video, this song:

3. Amelie and I had a birthday month! As you know, we celebrated with cake and pink everything decorations. When my birthday rolled around a few weeks later, Hubs had a little gift for me every 35 minutes past the hour (because I turned 35). It was so cute! My one request was to eat at Snarfs and even though Amelie was not in the mood to picnic, it was still delicious! What a fun day!

4. My husband’s omelets. My goodness does he make amazing omelets. I look forward to our weekend because he makes breakfast. They are different every time depending on what we have in the fridge, but one thing remains constant: their deliciousness!

5. Oh and this month I got pregnant – basically on Amelie’s first birthday. I can’t wait to tell you about it. We are all terrified excited.

April Raves and Faves of 2013, 2012, and 2011. I nodded off too!

Friday Tidbits

Like I mentioned yesterday, I have a knack for fleeting inspiration/non-existent motivation/lack of focus/innate laziness. Whatever you want to call it. Even though I have about a hundred little half-started projects that could use finishing, I decide to…

PAINT ONE CABINET IN THE KITCHEN.

I just pulled the trigger one night (and then stayed up too late getting worked up about painting everything white within reach as well as scraping the popcorn ceilings off and couldn’t fall sleep until midnight which cratered the rest of my week). Now, it’s only the first coat but hey, isn’t it just so pretty?

So, here’s the thing. I knew that painting these cabinets might make my eyes twitch. When they were painted previously (first blue, then “caramel”) they were done poorly. There are drips. Bumps. Chips. You probably already noticed that in this post. Even the shelves were painted IN so I can’t remove them! Trying to paint over a crappy paint job is hard on me. I’ve been agonizing over every last imperfection but our whole house is like this from the walls to the floors to the trim to the Everything. I’ve taken a step back to look at the bigger picture. Eventually, we’d like to replace all of these cabinets. Painting them white is a temporary solution. I pray they last a while until we save up the funds for a major kitchen update (although I’m terrified they’ll chip immediately like my beloved black railings).

But, I figure white drippy cabinets with a few chips is better than what we have going on right now. So, here we go!

A side note. When I was cleaning out the garage for our flop of a garage sale, I came across cans of ancient dried up paint. I’m a sucker for paint names so I brushed off the grime to see. Turns out, the kitchen cabinets were painted “Leather Satchel” by Valspar.

Yuck, huh?

 

Home Sweat Home: The little things

It probably comes as no surprise to you, but I have a handful of projects started. Half-completed, if you will. I can’t seem to bring myself to finish them before diving into something new and exciting. This is certainly true for the guest bathroom as well as many other projects I haven’t bothered to show you (until tomorrow!). I crave big room “reveals” but I’ve come to realize that everything takes so much time and so many little details that a big reveal is not in the cards (nor in my photography skills). Although I consider any progress as progress (no matter how erratic), I’m trying to buckle down and cross a few of these half done projects off of my To Dos. This post is going to put you to sleep if you read it after lunch.

One of “the little things” is a single door frame in the kitchen. We’ve lived with it partially painted for months. You remember the kitchen pantry (the door on the left):

I know, it *looks* complete but it wasn’t. Actually, neither is the garage door but that requires moving the fridge and uncovering what lurks behind it. I’m saving that for when I’m braver and when someone can help me move the dang thing.

So, I finally, finally finished painting the pantry door. The trim took two coats of primer, one round of caulking, three coats of paint and one round of touchups. The door took two coats of paint (Martha Stewart’s Zinc) and new hinges swapped in. Take a look see!

After this picture was taken, I even took 5 seconds to screw the light switch plate back in.

Hooray for the little things, right?

 

Friday Tidbits

It’s Friday already?

Doh.

I have a tidbit for you but it’s so minor that it will most likely offer little inspiration to start your weekend. Hubs and I deep cleaned the kitchen last weekend (which we’ve NEVER DONE SINCE MOVING INTO THIS HOUSE OVER A YEAR AND A HALF AGO) and I took the opportunity to make some changes to how we “organize” keys, pens, sunglasses, etc. You know, the stuff that floats around on the counter for forever and always? Drives me mad. Then, sometime in May, my mail key disappeared and that mishap cost me a couple trips to the post office and forty bucks for a new lock. I’m sure it got swallowed into the chaos with other items I’m missing and just don’t know it yet. So (drumroll) I cleaned out a cupboard to corral the crazy. Here is the “After”.

Those cabinets are especially gross on the inside, eh? I was waiting for a “prettier” solution but this kitchen is far away from pretty at the moment. We needed something that works instead! I was hoarding glass jars (for this project) which I pruned down so they could share the shelf with our salad spinner. The middle shelf has my breastfeeding and bottle supplies. I carved out a little corner on the bottom shelf for pens, keys, and sunglasses next to our family of vitamins. I had been saving those cute tea tins and figured we might as well use them to hold crap. So, there you have it. My big reveal.

You can slow clap if you want to.

Although far from blog worthy, our quality of life just increased substantially. Our counters are clear! I know where to find things. I’m seriously so much happier.

In other news, I’m hosting a garage sale today and tomorrow. I’m crossing my fingers that with the for-sale items out of here, we can start to make some sense of our garage. It’s nice and spacious but you wouldn’t know it with the way everything is crammed in there. Wish me luck!

 

My Amelie

AGE: 14 1/2 months

Right after I posted this update, Amelie’s sleep went to crap again. I really enjoyed that stretch of sleepy days but I knew it wasn’t going to last. Alas, it didn’t and her two naps per day were back to being unpredictable again. It’s *really* hard to plan my days when I have no idea what’s going to happen with The Naps. Last week after struggling with each and every nap time for a while, we officially moved her to one nap. What does this mean for us? Every morning, just like all of the other grown up Mommies out there, I have to plan something big for us to do. Like, 4 hours kind of big. I have to have a plan! With a toddler and their 2 minute attention span, that’s not the easiest task. Usually it involves an errand and an activity for her. We go to the bank then the park. We go to Home Depot, then story time at the library. We always end with lunch and she is usually exhausted. I did push her too far one morning and she fell asleep in the car. That cratered our entire day! Curse those mini car naps!

I thought I would dread losing one nap, but it’s actually so much nicer for a few reasons:

  • I have more energy/motivation in the mornings to go out and about.
  • It forces me to look half way presentable before noon.
  • Her afternoon nap is (finally!) predictable and sometimes longer than her previous two naps combined!
  • We have a bigger chunk of time to do something instead of fragmented chunks of time where we can’t do much of anything but we can’t stay home because Amelie is too bored and cranky. Those days were LONG.
  • Conversely during her afternoon nap, I have a substantial amount of time to myself. I usually sneak in a nap and still have time leftover to tackle a project. Before, I didn’t know if I had 40 minutes or 2 1/2 hours to fill. It made me panicky and a little lost with how to spend that very very precious time.

She still won’t sleep without the sleep sack, which is absurdly too small and too warm for summer but we are working on that…

We are noticing how much Amelie is learning and absorbing. As silly as it seems, it comes as a surprise because for so long she has been a baby, you know? Now she understands new words daily that she picks up conversation, not necessarily with her. One evening, Dad was going through the face with her: where is your nose? where is your head? where are your eyes? and so on. He asked her “Where are your cheeks?”. We’ve never taught her that but she grabbed her upper thighs. It cracked me up because I always say “Cheeks, please!” when I change her diaper. She was pointing to her “cheeks”!

She doesn’t say any words with consistency but her comprehension is very comforting. She is not a vocal baby. I think you are a smart little girl, Amelie! I’m a proud Mommy.

Other talents:  Oh, her wobbly walk is so cute! She even picks up speed when Dad is chasing her. It’s her “run”! She’s very proficient!

She can also do a headstand!

Amelie. You make me giggle!

She is very independent. She refuses to hold my hand when we walk, she wants to push the cart if we are out somewhere, she wants to push the wagon instead of ride in it, she wants to push the vacuum while we are cleaning. AND SHE DOES NOT WANT HELP. She gets frustrated by her limitations or if we intervene. Much to my dismay, she tantrums. Sigh.

Food: Ugh. Surprisingly, I really hate this part of parenting. Amelie has no restrictions when it comes to food. The doctor said “She can eat what you eat!”. Fun, right? Well, actually…I eat crap. I eat loads of preservatives. I eat high fructose corn syrup. I eat shredded cheese. Do you know what’s in shredded cheese? You should look it up! I eat too much fat and not enough veggies. I eat bread that has no nutrients. I eat McDonalds! I eat mayo, lots of mayo. I don’t want my little sweetie filled to the brim with this junky stuff. She doesn’t know any different so I want her body to have only healthy goods for her bones and her brain and her skin and her insides. Not pop! Not ice cream and chips and salt galore! Plus, Amelie has only two teeth (should I be concerned?) so she can’t really chow down on a carrot or a hunk of chicken very well. I find feeding her very stressful. It’s hard to think of a well balanced meal that she can eat. She’s already showing preference to sweets and turning down vegetables. She was such a good broccoli eater before! We have been making her spinach smoothies (which are actually delicious) so I feel a little comforted knowing she’s getting something green in her some days.

Lastly, Amelie is a Daddy’s girl. She LOVES him. She squeals when she sees him. She is not an overly smiley or laugh-y girl but he can bring that out in her. I couldn’t ask for a better Daddy for Amelie but in truth, it has made me feel very badly these last few weeks. It hurts my feelings. She wants to play and wrestle and be loud! I want to rest. I’m not really good at playing and wrestling and being loud. I’m a smoocher and stroker and a reader. She finds me ridiculously boring. At least she adores story time at the library. I do too, I wish it was more than two days per week! We sing songs and read books. She sits in my lap and takes it all in. She never does that at home. It’s so fun to be around other little kids and important for Amelie socially. They are all so excited to be there! I love it. It reminds me of my childhood; libraries were a magical place! They still are!

 

Home Sweat Home: The Outside

You’ve seen a lot of the inside of our home, but I haven’t given you a grand tour of the outside. It’s almost just as nutty. To keep from overwhelming you, let’s focus on the front for today. There is a lot going on, no? If you can spot our house through the foliage, it’s tan and cream. I want it gray, gray, gray. Someday.

We have seven trees in the front yard alone, not counting random other bushes. The “jungle”, as I like to call it, is quite pretty with lots of color and dimension but I don’t think the folks before us gave much thought to the fact that all of these trees will grow bigger (and deeper) and they would eventually overtake the house and possible the sewer, depending on the root situation. We have our work cut out for us.

Let’s start with the mammoth pine tree on the side of the house. Do you see how BIG? It’s heavy branches are literally resting on the roof. Roofs don’t like that, you see.

Even though it was the backdrop for my baby bump updates, this big guy has to go. I’m hoping to get that taken care of this summer. I want it ALL gone, stump included. I’ve peeked back behind and there is a small little side yard that I’d like to plant day lillys or something sweet. Right now, it boasts only shade (and a crumpled tarp?) but with the big guy gone I think could be a sunny place for perennials. I’d also like to figure out a prettier way to store our trash, recycle and compost bins. It’d be nice to hide them behind some *small* bushes instead of them hanging out in the driveway for all to see (and smell?). As for the driveway? I’d like it to be a gorgeous cobblestone instead of the two-toned uneven thing we’re working with right now.

If you walk up the drive way, you see this to your left:

It’s very “full”. I actually enjoy the path but it’s all a little mad. We’ve got a white sidewalk, tan scalloped edgers (not my favorite), red square pavers, big random rocks (me likey) and on the other side, a jumble of smaller red brick pavers leading out to the front yard. As for the living items, we’ve got plenty of those too. It may not look like it, but I’ve done a ton of weeding out here the last two summers.

My eventual if-I-had-a-million-dollars kind of plan is to build a side porch in front of the big window. I would like to overhaul the sidewalk, get rid of the different pavers (especially the scalloped ones) and have a more cohesive design. That’s obviously a long time (and a million dollars) from now.

And these pretties have overtaken everything. I love them, but one day I’ll have to tame them back. My MIL says these are creeping phlox – any pro plant people know?

On to our front door. The door itself needs replacing since it sticks and the weather stripping is falling out of the sides. In addition to that, there are other issues:

The bushes to the left are overgrown and scraping the heck out the screens on the windows. We have paint flaking off from Halloween, when I put a sign up encouraging kids to take our candy but please, please don’t ring the doorbell! Doorbells are NOT new-mommies-with-finicky-sleeping-babies’ friends. We’ve got ours taped over which is so classy. Our sprinkler hoses live in a scary spider inviting pile. It’s very messy. Let’s move on.

Here is the view from our front door:

See the small red pavers? Go ahead and try not to twist your ankle on them. You can’t tell very well but our yard is weirdly shaped with the scalloped edgers. There are strange strips of grass and a whole lot of mulch and trees. Although tiny, it’s quite difficult to get this mowed. Here is a better view:

I just want to clean things up around here.

I want to remove the massive pine tree, those crappy bushes by the fire hydrant and most of the mulch and edging. I want stick with cleaner lines and fill in the area under the hopefully-gone-pine tree with grass/perennials or something to pretty up the wasteland that is there right now.

I know, I know. It’s a of work. It’s a lot of time. It’s a LOT more money. I don’t have much of any of those at this moment. But, I figured I should show you The Beginning. I think our approach will be one or two big items per summer. Last summer, I didn’t even have one pot of flowers but Amelie and I are still alive. That was my big thing, survive the summer. This year, I’m hoping to remove some trees and fix up our deck in back. Speaking of which, want to see a post like this on the backyard?

Where did everybody go?