Friday, September 26, 2014

Happy weekend:

Happy Friday, everyone! And happy first official weekend of Fall! What are you doing to celebrate the change of seasons? I'm going to be making a fall wreath for the front door this weekend. Or start it, at least. We're also going to be picking up the stuff to make the counter top for our office desk this weekend! And fingers crossed that I will actually get to finish the coat for M that I've been working on for what feels like forever.

This weekend we're making the transition to the crib in the nursery as well. We've been slowly easing into it and M has been napping in there for a while now so it's finally time to make it official. We are anticipating a few sleepless nights while he adjusts. Wish us luck!

Hope your weekend is just as productive. Get out there and enjoy the best season of the year!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How about you:

Today we're playing a little game I like to call "How About You?" I love these illustrations that Emily McDowell did for A Cup of Jo. She is fantastic (one of her drawings is in the nursery) and has one of those sense of humors that makes me think, "hey, we could totally be friends."

So, here we go. Up first, we have those little embarrassing things you do when you're home alone. It's about to get real personal because this is real life.

Here are the things I'm a little ashamed to admit I do when no one is around:

  1. Walk around with no pants on
  2. Sing show tunes at the top of my lungs (all while not wearing pants)
  3. Talk to the dog in a really silly but probably very annoying voice
  4. Sprawl out on the couch and watch movies from my childhood (again, no pants)
  5. Eat cereal for every meal 
  6. Walk from room to room and make mental notes of the cleaning that needs to be done but never actually do any of it
Coming soon: bizarre childhood obsessions, things from the back of the fridge, and what's really in your bag. Get excited.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Happy Fall!

It's officially fall! My favorite season of all time!

As always, I am looking forward to all things autumnal. This year will be extra special because I get to share my favorite (and A's favorite, too) season with a certain squishy little babe.His first fall is going to be wonderfully filled with leaf-crunching sessions, pumpkin carving, long chilly walks, the smells of delicious food baking, and so many other seasonal faves. Can't wait!

Here is my to-do list for this season:
  1. Make a wreath for the front door
  2. Make M's first Halloween costume
  3. Host Thanksgiving for my family in the new house
  4. Get our pathetic excuse for a yard into shape
  5. Take lots of family walks
It's going to be magical!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Happy weekend:

Happy Friday! I have been at a conference for the later part of this week and am ready to get home and relax. What do you have planned for the weekend? Anything fun? We are doing some major cleaning (there is a infestation of dust bunnies in our house). I also can't wait to work on some projects that I have going on. Weekend naps are pretty much the only time I have to get anything done anymore.

Here's a little of what's been going on around here lately:
  1. We had a local carpenter come measure our space for the built-in bookcases this week. So excited to finally get those started!
  2. We picked up the cabinets for our wall-to-wall desk project in the computer room. All we need now is the counter top and it's going to be amazing. Look for the reveal coming soon!
  3. I treated myself to the Cadillac of dressmaker shears this week. Can't wait to use them.
  4. M finally started sleeping in his swing without it moving! This is a huge deal! Transition to the crib is imminent.
  5. Bought a life insurance policy this week -- I'm such a grownup. 
Have a great one, friends! XOXO!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New faves:

one // two // three // four
Consider this my version of Oprah's favorite things. I am in love with so many things these days. These are just a few. But aren't they beautiful? That lamp! And I'm finally feeling brave enough to try boyfriend jeans (you wouldn't believe how long it took me to try on a pair of skinny jeans). This pair looks perfectly respectable, dontcha think?

Monday, September 15, 2014

We love:

We are redecorating the hall bath. Or I guess just decorating since it was never decorated to start with. I have been looking for the perfect art for the space for awhile now and wasn't happy with anything I saw. I had debated on painting something but I have very little free time these days and already have so many other projects in the works. So, there I was, looking everywhere and feeling generally disappointed with the results. And then I stumbled upon Emily Jeffords and the clouds broke and the heavens shone down.

I am kind of majorly in love with her pieces. They are so lovely and the colors are beautiful. I can't stop staring. I am definitely getting one for the bathroom. I'd like to think I could have an original but let's be honest, that just isn't in the budget. Plus, I mean, it's a bathroom. So a print will have to do. Now I'm just having a hard time choosing one.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Happy weekend:

Happy Friday, friends! What are you up to this weekend? Anything fun? Andrew and I are both getting hair cuts Saturday (we are desperately overdue) and some good friends are having a gender reveal party. We are so excited to celebrate with them. We are also finishing up last minute things in the nursery in preparation of M's transition to the crib. We've been getting ready for weeks. Hopefully, if we get it all done, it should be happening next weekend.

Have a great weekend, everyone! Enjoy the (slightly) cooler weather!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tote shopping:

I love my week day purse. It's beautiful, classic, and so very work appropriate. But now that I'm a working mom, I have so much baggage. Seriously, every time I leave the house in the morning, I feel like a pack mule. I've got M's bag, a wet bag of diapers, my pump, and my bag of stuff I need for the day. I used to add my purse to the mix but found it was just too much. So lately I've been using an old World Market tote to haul my stuff around in. It's been working okay but it is very large and I have found that I want something that is a little more structured. So, I'm in the market for a new tote.

The musts:

  • large but not too large
  • shoulder strap (bonus if it's adjustable and I can carry it cross-body style)
  • somewhat structured (I'd like it to not completely collapse in on itself)
  • lots of pockets
  • made of sturdy canvas (made to last and machine washable)
I've done a little internet shopping, as usual, and here are the top contenders:

one // two // three // four // five

I think number 5 is the front runner. It has everything I'm looking for and the price is right. I'm still on the hunt though. Decisions, decisions...

Monday, September 8, 2014

Cloth diapers: a love story:

Can we talk diapers for a second? Because since the birth of our little man, it has become a topic of great interest in our house. I love diapers (I'm probably alone in my obsession), specifically the cloth variety. I don't think this is a shock to anyone as this has been well documented (see here). And while I've mentioned my love on more than one occasion, I don't think I've ever gone into detail about how we landed here, what we like, and why. So, bear with me, I'm about to go all diaper nerd on you.

No one in my life used cloth diapers. I thought (like everyone else) that they were old fashioned. And then I did my research and learned that they have come so far since diaper pins and rubber pants. 

What started out as 6 white Bum Genius Elementals has turned into a colorful stash of super cute fluff. I have enjoyed this researching, discussing, and purchasing journey so much. Here is what I've learned:

We decided on 24 as a good number of diapers -- enough that we wouldn't have to do laundry every day but not so much that we wouldn't ever use all of them. We are almost to that number now and it has helped make me very conscious about what I buy and bring into our home. I don't get carried away and buy things because they are on sale or a cute color/print. I buy what works best for us so that our stash is the best it can be (it also happens to be very cute). One of the major reasons we started using cloth diapers was to save money and having a limit on how many diapers we purchase helps us stick to that goal. I've found it's very easy to get carried away otherwise. 

We decided to buy one of a few different brands and see what worked best for us. Almost all of them have been great. There are a few that I'm not crazy about. The great thing about cloth diapers is that they have great resale value so I can sell the ones I don't love to make room for more of the ones that I do. Cloth diaper swapping is a real thing. And it's awesome. I don't feel bad about taking chances on new brands any more because I know if I don't love it, someone else out there probably does and will gladly take it off my hands.

It took us a while to figure out our setup but now that we've been at it for awhile, I feel pretty confident that we've found the sweet spot. Granted it's different for everyone, but here is what works best for us:

We use one size all-in-ones for day time diapers because they are easiest to change, there's nothing extra to keep track of, and there's no folding or stuffing (I hate stuffing). Just take the old one off and put the new one on. Done and done. We like snaps on our diapers but my mom, who keeps M during the week, really likes the ones with velcro tabs. We have both and haven't had problems with either. For night time diapers, we use fitted and covers (both with snaps) because they are more absorbent.

We currently have 21 all-in-ones. Our favorites are Blueberry Simplex, Bum Genius Elementals, Tots Bots, and Smartbottoms. We also have 3 hemp Pooters fitteds that we use for night time, and 3 waterproof covers.

We keep all the clean diapers in a cart by the changing table (dresser with changing pad) and hang a wet bag on the other side for dirty diapers. We use cloth wipes (see here) and a bottle of water for cleaning. Those go in the wet bag with the dirty diapers and they all get laundered together. 

Speaking of laundry, we do a load of diapers every other day. I throw everything (including wet bag) into our front-loading HE washer and run a heavy-duty cycle: cold pre-rinse, hot wash, extra rinse. We really like Tide Free and Gentle powder detergent and have had no issues with stink or ammonia. We dry everything (except the covers which get air dried) on medium for one hour. Sometimes the fitted diapers need a little extra drying time after that initial hour but I usually take them out and let them air dry the rest of the way.

Our cloth diapering adventure has been a very enjoyable one for me. I would recommend it to anyone with diapering in their future. I've got a few tips to make it easier:
  1. Buy one of a couple different kinds of diapers to experiment and find what you like. Once you know what kind you like best, try different brands. Not all brands fit the same way or have the same absorbency. Once you find what works for you, buy more of those.
  2. Make sure you take the time to properly prep your diapers. Sometimes one wash/dry is enough but if your diapers are made of natural fibers, it may take longer. Some of ours took 5-7 washes before they were prepped. Don't skip this step unless you want leaks. The more you wash, the more absorbent your diapers will be.
  3. Decide what you want your diapers made out of. We like natural fibers (organic cotton, bamboo, hemp) but those diapers are a little more costly. Some people use microfiber and it works just fine for them. Some kids have sensitivities to man-made stuff. Some kids don't like the wet feeling that natural fibers give them. It's all trial and error.
  4. Find a good cloth diaper safe rash cream. I like California Baby, the green tube of Butt Paste, and the Grovia Magic Stick.
  5. Get a good diaper sprayer to install on your toilet. I believe this is a vital step to cloth diapering success, especially once solids are introduced. There are a lot of options on the market or you can DIY one yourself.
  6. Sometimes using disposables are necessary: traveling (we like Grovia covers and disposable/compostable liners for travel), rashes, illness, etc. That's okay. Do the best you can.
Sorry to get all weird on you. That tends to happen when I get started on the subject of diapers. Before M was born, I had no idea I'd be so into what goes on his bum. It's a strange thing to get excited about, I know. I guess I'm just an odd bird. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Happy weekend:

Happy Friday, friends! After a short week that actually felt a million miles long, I'm glad to be sitting here on a Friday with the entire weekend before me. We're going to be hanging out at home all weekend. There are some projects we're trying to tackle and we still have to get that ceiling fan installed in the nursery.

Here's a little of what we've been up to lately:
  1. I came across a lot of different baby patterns and now officially have about 35 sewing projects that I want to start. 
  2. I've been knitting a scarf for a friend's birthday and am having so much fun with it. I love knitting because it keeps my hands busy while I veg out in front of the television in the evenings.
  3. Nerd alert: the computer game I have been anxiously awaiting for years came out on Tuesday and I have been spending any and all free time (not that there's much of that these days) playing it. 
  4. Had an impromptu mid-week lunch date with the husband -- just what I needed
  5. M rolled over on Tuesday! Pretty sure it was an accident, though. Does that still count?
Enjoy your weekend! Hope it's full of equal parts adventure and leisure.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

We love:

Like any proper Nora Ephron fan (see here)  , I love When Harry Met Sally. I've pretty much been watching it all my life. It was my go-to Sunday afternoon nap movie in college. It's always been there for me, like an old friend. When I saw this "remix" of this classic, I was so happy. How fun. I mean, I would totally watch this movie. And it made me fall in love with Harry and Sally all over again. Suddenly, I feel the need to revisit my old friends. It's been far too long. So, watch and enjoy. And if you have never seen the original, what are you, crazy? Go watch it right now.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wipe out:

I've mentioned before that I have a love for cloth diapers (see here and here). Well, that love may or may not have developed into an obsession because now I've jumped on the cloth wipe train. Actually, we decided to go the cloth wipe route around the same time we decided to cloth diaper (sometime last year). Earlier this year, I bought a few yards of organic bamboo cotton and cut them up into squares to use as wipes.

Once done, I put them in a box of baby stuff and didn't get them out until we moved. We set everything up in the nursery but people so graciously gifted us disposable wipes that we didn't use them until well into M's diaper career (even after we made the transition into his cloth diapers -- that's how many wipes we had). We've been using them for a little over a month now and they went from looking nice and pretty to this: 

It looked pretty bad. Seriously, like a basket of fabric scrolls. And they were pretty much impossible to use which defeats the whole purpose. Complete fail. So I went back to the old drawing board and decided to make them double-sided. I took to the sewing machine, pinned two wipes together (fluffy side out) and went around the edges with a zig-zag stitch. The result:

A much nicer, thicker, and completely flat (!) wipe. I even ran them through the washer and dryer to make sure they wouldn't roll up. And they are deliciously soft. I'm sure little M appreciates that. And now his changing table looks so much more clean and organized. 

Overall, we're very happy with the results. I'm just glad I could come up with a quick fix to make them work and didn't have to toss them. And yes, I did just write an entire post about wipes.