Spring!

Spring has got me all excited. I’m excited to garden! I’m excited to plant perennials and work in the dirt! I’m excited to tackle both the front and back yards! But I have one very big problem…

I have zero time. Literally, some days, I have not a single moment of free time. It’s kids all day, all evening and most of the night – then with what little sleep I’ve managed between feeds and Amelie’s coughing episodes, we have to get up and do it all over again the next day. I’m so very tired. It’s not like every day is that hectic but it’s a lot of days. My spare time is limited and extremely unpredictable.

I need to be realistic. A glorious garden is not in the cards for me at this stage in my life. Maybe next summer! I’m going to start small and today I’m talking about our front yard only. Let’s back up to see what we’re working with, ok?

Last summer, we removed a huge roof-hugging spruce tree on the right side of the house:

mammoth_treeAnd after:

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A close up of this space:

spruce_removed2And from this past weekend:

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I got to work. Luckily, I had an adorable helper:

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There was years worth of leaves and trash back there so I raked, trimmed back the bushes, as well as removed a few new trees that were sprouting up.

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I agree, it doesn’t look all that much better but the effort was there as noted by the two garbage bags of compost.  My plans for this space are to remove the rocks and old needles. Since this space gets a few hours of morning sun, I’m hoping to add new soil and some pretty perennials in the fall since the spring is getting away from me already. If you have any partial sun Colorado perennial recommendations, I’d love to hear them.

So, a little wee bit of progress. Amelie and I’ve planted a few annuals to add color to the rest of the front. Marigolds and pink geraniums:

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The creeping phlox is taking over and makes me so happy! I love that little pop of pink everywhere!

Plus, petunias and I-can’t-remember-what-these-blue-flowers-are-called for the front door (to detract from the messy hoses and peeling paint):

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I have very sad boxwoods that struggled with the random heat wave in February that was followed by loads of snow in April and May.

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I trimmed all of the dead off and I’m praying they survive, although they are looking mighty worrisome.

bushes_afterThat’s all for now. I have mowing, weeding and a few more dead bushes that I need to address (like this one by the front door):

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It’s slow going but I thought this post might be a fun way to look back on the evolution of our front yard.

Has spring gotten you all giddy about working on your own outside spaces? Tell me what you’re up to!

Home Sweat Home: The Office

Today is the office reveal! Can you hardly stand it? Me either.

Let’s back up and try to remember what we started with:

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Cabling. Blue carpet.

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Carpeted stairs in the closet and mirrored doors. Mismatched outlets. A room full of yuck. Are you ready to see the transformation?

Pay no mind to those ugly hinges and come on in. The door has been “freshly” painted  -as in ages ago – Zinc by Martha Stewart.

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I have yet to tire of this color. Of course, the blue carpet was removed and replaced with yummy walnut laminate floors. And then we added quarter round when my BIL came to visit a few summers ago. We’ve painted and caulked most of it. One day we hope to finish…

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You can see a sneak peek of the adorable/tacky dollhouse I scored for Amelie for Christmas for only $20! More on that later, maybe. Anyway, we went back and forth on what to paint this space. Hubs wanted something other than gray and I couldn’t think of any color I liked outside of gray. For a while, we toyed with painting it Wet Seal by Martha Stewart, which is a brownish black color that you might remember since I tried it out on the railings. We half-painted one wall and left it like that for months. I don’t know how Hubs got any work done with that smeared angrily beside him, it was so disturbing. We finally settled on painting it Winter’s Day by Martha Stewart (the same color as the guest room) and I got to work a few weeks before Cade was born.

To continue the tour, to the left there is this:

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Piles. It’s exhausting to look at, no? How about we don’t look at it anymore and turn our attention to the closet on the opposite wall?

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The carpeted stairs are now laminate and with great effort, we were able to rip off the mirrored doors (which are still stored in our garage unfortunately). We should have never removed those doors. They were ugly but at least they hid our crap for the time being. Sigh.

I moved the STUVAs from the playroom to use for Cade’s clothes until I can find a dresser for him.

Another angle? Ok.

office_closet1

I can sense you are feeling a tad uninspired? What if I show you the new desk?

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Look real hard because it’s there somewhere, along with an adorable new clearance lamp from Target. Quite a bit of work went into building this desk, actually. Hubs ordered and assembled the two filing cabinets. Then he bought a countertop from Ikea (that we got cut to size) that we placed on top of the file cabinets. It fits perfectly in this little nook!

desk1Finally, we had pretty drawers and file cabinets to store our office-y stuff! We took the opportunity to sort through and organize the mountains of paper work stored in our plastic file bins and transfer everything to the new desk. Sorting our paperwork was long over due since we hadn’t really addressed it since this post.

But then.

Then Hubs got an office outside of the home which gave me free reign to fill his beautiful new desk with more of my piles. I’m so ashamed.

And that’s it. The office reveal. I know, it’s bad. Even though the list of To Dos is long, I figured I might as well show you how far we’ve come. Don’t deny me a little progress, ok?

Here’s what needs to still happen:

  • remove piles. hey, there’s a novel idea!
  • new lighting
  • replace outlets
  • finish trim and quarter round (including the closet where it’s missing completely)
  • replace blinds since they are broken and dirty…and eventually replace window
  • address closet. I’m dreaming of not only a space to store clothes but also my crafts, wrapping paper, and office stuff. I’m thinking something beautiful and custom, with doors. I’m also thinking it will be very expensive and time consuming.
  • new paint because Winter’s Day feels so meh
  • art, accessories and maybe wallpaper in the “nook”
  • one day, scraped popcorn ceilings

With Cade and Amelie double teaming us each day and night, we barely have time to stay on top of our bills and email, much less work on the house. Although this space drives me mad, this effort will have to be put on hold for a while…

But wait a minute! One more small piece of progress – I transformed another dingy vent cover, like I did for Amelie’s nursery.

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I wanted to end on a positive note. Want to see more rooms? No? Aww, guys, that makes me feel bad.

What to pack for the hospital

I started this post in 2013. I started a lot of things in 2013 that I still haven’t finished – but as of today…apparently this post isn’t one of them! Giddy up.

As you hoped to never recall, my hospital stay with Amelie was less than glamorous. My stay with Cade was clunky too but I had learned a lot from my first time around. Looking back, here is what I did right and would have done differently.

It doesn’t hurt to start packing well over a month before your due date. You just never know when your “time” will be. I was one week early with Amelie and two weeks early with Cade. Most importantly, get that car seat in and approved by someone official NOW because it doesn’t matter what you bring TO the hospital, you will want to bring the baby home from it and you can’t do that without a car seat. If you pack anything, it must be the car seat!

For the Mommies:

I put all of my gear in a rolling suitcase. It looked excessive but it was easy for Hubs to cart around and I could keep everything all in one place.

Insurance card and ID. ‘Cuz the hospital needs these things and you don’t want to be digging through your purse full of Tums and Target receipts in between contractions.

Cellphone and charger. Smart phones are the best invention ever. You’ll want to call family, update Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Whatever, take pictures and videos and have something to do when you can’t fall asleep after those late night feedings.

Cardigan, pj pants, a nursing tank top and slippers. I’m apologizing in advance, I’ll be overly chatty in this section. Before I had Amelie, two different friends highly recommended not just comfy pants but LOOSE pants. I didn’t listen and packed my skinny yoga pants thinking to myself “you can’t get more comfy than yoga pants!”. Actually, you can. Loose fitting is key. You may have an owie c-section incision or at the very least, you’ll be super sore and tender down under. Soft, loose pants are the way to go. Tight fitting pants around a Mommy diaper is unfair for everyone involved.

In addition, I recommend bringing a nursing tank (or two) if you plan to breast feed. Throw in some nursing pads as well to protect your tank top from the mountains of nipple cream you’ll slather on between feeds. A cardigan is nice to throw on yet still allows easy access. I’m a slippers person so those went with as well. It doesn’t hurt to pack old underwear but most likely you’ll be chillin’ in the gauzy underwear-shorts-thingys from the hospital instead. You don’t need much but consider the different phases and what you might want for each: laboring, delivery, post delivery, going home – but also recognize you’ll probably be either in a hospital gown or in varying levels of undress for the majority of those. Also, you probably won’t be at the hospital for very long but you never know. For both births, I was at the hospital for 4-5 days – which is not typical but pack extra just in case!

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Water bottle and snacks. A water bottle is a must. Ice water never tasted so good until after I gave birth. Usually the hospital gives you one too. It’s nice to have both actually – especially if you find yourself alone like I was when I had Cade and can’t easily pop out to fill up when you run low. As for snacks, I wasn’t allowed to eat anything before each of the the births and was pretty satisfied with the hospital food after delivery. But it’s nice to have some snacks packed for the middle of the night when you are up feeding/Facebooking/worrying about your tiny new person.

Toiletries. This is all about personal preference. Bring what you feel comfortable with, knowing you’ll be very busy, very sore and very tired. I had packed a small amount of makeup (pared down essentials like I mentioned in this post) and even though I didn’t use it every day – I did feel better when I had a little on. Things I’d recommend: toothbrush (easy to forget as you rush to the hospital!), shower cap (if you don’t want to bother washing your hair), a really good lip balm, glasses (if you typically wear contacts like me), lotion, and flip flops for the shower.

Going home outfit for baby (including hat, mittens, and blanket). This is the fun part! I thought I’d be dressing the baby up from the very beginning but it’s easier to keep them in the hospital kimono shirt until it’s time to go home. Don’t go overboard and pack a bunch of outfits, swaddles and accessories. You’ll be promised plenty of outfit changes (and laundry) soon enough… Just make sure your sweetie is warm for the car ride home and that your outfit isn’t a replica of theirs in adult size:

stripes

Breast pump. We had forgotten to bring this when I had Amelie so Hubs had to buzz home to get it. A very helpful consultant showed us how to use it and since ours was used, she gave us new replacement tubing for it as well. I was intimated by pumping (and breast feeding in general the first time around) so this was really helpful for me.

Laptop and power cord. Is this necessary, especially since you probably have a smart phone? Nah. But I’m a geek and I like having my computer. It came in handy for the birth announcement, blogging, Facebook and email. You’ll be getting a lot of warm wishes and sometimes it’s nice to have a full sized keyboard to use for responding.

A list! While I was pregnant with Cade, I made a list of things to pack that I couldn’t do ahead of time like my toothbrush and phone. When I went into labor, I went right down the list and it made the last minute packing/prepping/panicking go much smoother. And if labor is really gnarly, your partner can pack these things for you!

For the Daddies/partners:

Unlike me, Hubs did not pack ahead of time. It doesn’t take him very long to do so but I still would recommend having a bag packed. There is a lot to get ready besides packing up the car, like taking out the trash and tidying up. Why not make this very exciting day a little easier on yourself by packing in advance?

Camera (charged and ready), USB cord, and extra battery. YOU WILL WANT TO TAKE A BILLION PICTURES so don’t be an idiot and bring a half-charged camera to the hospital. Pack it now!

Laptop and charger Again with the geekry. Hubs doesn’t leave home without it. When I was in labor with Cade, it took 7 hours after I received the epidural before I started pushing so Hubs actually worked from the hospital. Might as well! If you can’t work, it’d be nice to pop in a movie or something to pass the time.

Pillow/blanket. Hospital beds are not all that comfy but the little cot/couches that the partners sleep on are much worse! A pillow and a blanket will help you get better rest. Not good rest probably, but better. Good rest is a thing of the past once you have a baby.

Toiletries. A toothbrush is a good idea for Dads too! Who knew?

Snacks & water bottle. Your food may or may not be covered by insurance so I’d pack some goodies to help get you by. Be considerate of your partner and eat somewhere else if she’s not allowed anything while in labor.

Comfortable clothes. This is obvious but Hubs didn’t anticipate us staying as long as we did when I had Amelie and he ran out of underwear! Overpacking a little doesn’t hurt.

Anything I’ve forgotten or that you found helpful that I didn’t mention? I’m curious to see what others couldn’t have gone without.

And boom, just like that, this post is over.

 

My Amelie

It’s been a little while since the last My Amelie post, I figured I was due. I can barely remember week to week so I need to take the time to write things down.

AGE: 25 months. A two year old. With opinions.

We had family pictures taken recently. I spent my very valuable free time hunting for an outfit for Amelie. I scored one for 40% off but she flat out refused to wear any of it! Not a single thing: the dress, the jean vest or the shoes. It’s all being returned. Instead, I had to dig through Amelie’s old clothes and pull something together last minute. On the plus side, I saved myself over $50?

Although Amelie was mostly uncooperative during the session, our photographer managed to get a cute picture of us together:

mommy_amelie

Speaking of clothes, my MIL mentioned she used to take the tags off of any new items and sneak them into Hub’s drawers so he could get used to them being there first. I’ve been doing something similar. And if I make any remark while getting her dressed (which I try not to), I only comment on functionality, like “Brrrr, it’s chilly outside! Well, I guess we need a shirt today, huh? You don’t want to be cold, do you?” It’s been only recently that she has opinions about what she wears. I didn’t know it would start this young!

Play: Amelie is still quite the little Mommy. She doesn’t bother much with Cade besides bringing him his nuk. But, she spends a lot of time taking care of her babies and having Daddy take care of them too. Diaper changes, suctioning their nose, wiping their poopies, swaddling, feeding and rocking them.

Here she is, feeding “Ducky”.

She even cups the back of their head when she lays them down, just like I do with Cade. She’s watching me closer than I realize.

 Tantrums? I’m lucky, Amelie doesn’t tantrum. She does throw little fits, usually crying and asking for her sleepsack and nuk but no flailing on the floor and howling episodes…yet. She’s been seriously crabby though. Everything frustrates her. A crabby toddler makes for a crabby Mommy. :(

On a related note, she’s been more disagreeable lately. If I ask her a question, she used to respond with a considerate yes or no but recently she’s been flip flopping. I’ll ask her to get her shoes on and first she’ll want the gold shoes and then no, not the gold but her purple shoes instead and then she’ll insist – INSIST- gold again. It can be very tiring. She is fairly obedient for a toddler but this game drives me crazy.

Verbal: Each day, I’m amazed by the small sentences she’s stringing together. “Silly Mama!” “Night night, Natalie” (her baby doll) “I walk” (when she doesn’t want to be carried) “I watch TV” (I let her watch TV when I feed Cade or when she’s feeling under the weather…we’ve been doing a lot of TV watching lately) “Help Mama!” (if she needs assistance). She says something new hourly it seems and it’s so cute! I love talking with her. She can count to three and knows A-B-C (and which letters are which). She attempts the rest of the alphabet but it gets kinda messy before and after “LMNOP”.

Quote: “Amelie, are you sleepy?” “No, I happy!”  😀

Sleeping: Ugh. She has never been a great sleeper. February was a rough month with croup, the flu and hives. And since then, her cough has never gone away. She’s up most nights coughing, with new cold piled on top of the old cold. It’s been really hard on all of us. We’ll be up three times for Amelie and then Cade will wake at 5am-ish for his first feeding. It’s been a long two weeks. Actually, it’s been a long few months! Thank goodness for the Nose Frida thingy – best/grossest purchase ever…

Naps: She’s still napping late in the day. I’d like to move it up but for now it’s 2ish to 5ish. We wake her at 5.15pm if she’s not up yet. Her naps have been all over the place since she’s been sick.

Mommy stuff: She’s been showing preference to Daddy still. She’s fine when Daddy’s gone but the moment he’s home, she doesn’t want much to do with me. It can get me really down. I’m exhausted and therefore feeling especially vulnerable to moments like this.  I’m struggling to balance both Cade and her – making sure they get the attention they need. But I’m only one person and usually they need me simultaneously. It’s hard work!

Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas out there in the world!

I woke up to this pretty view…just like last year.

It’s my first Mother’s Day with this little guy…

I mean, come on! He is so cute!

We were supposed to have family pictures taken but the photo shoot got rained out – a total bummer considering how much effort it took to get everyone ready at the same time! It was probably best because homegirl was in a mood and was only willing to take a picture with Daddy (and SleepSack and Puppy)…

I’m planning to bribe her with marshmallows to get a picture with me…

Update. I was able to coerce Amelie into getting a picture with me using marshmallow bribery. This is what we ended up with.

Be sure to celebrate all of the Moms in your life today and everyday. <3

Mother’s Days of yore: 2013, 2014