Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

These were cast 6 months apart. The heels are lined up at the bottom.

We asked JJ to put on his pants while we decorated...

Friday, November 16, 2012

JJ Update

I haven't posted about my little man in a while, so I thought I would share some stories/stats, since one of the goals of my blog is a baby book of sorts.

JJ: 18 mos, 27 days
Weight: ~32 lbs.
Height: ~ 35 in.

Words JJ says:
boobies (that's right, boobies.)
Bobcat (he only said this one for a day, but he said it a bunch in context)
What's that?
What's this?
Oh wow!
Oh woah!

Animal Noises he can say:
fish lips
bow wow

Signs JJ knows:
tired (he made up his own sign for this.)

JJ understands so much of what we say, he constantly amazes me! I just know that one day the switch will flip, and he'll be spouting out all of the words he's been storing up. He doesn't have a very large spoken vocabulary yet, but that doesn't mean he isn't vocal. The little guy is constantly "talking".

He loves to read, and will bring you a book, climb into your lap (or up on the couch), and wait for the fun to begin. And will repeat this until you've read every book in the house! He imitates the hand gestures that I make for some of the books, which makes me feel awesome that he's been paying such close attention to story time!

Right now he is obsessed with the sky, and all things "up".  He can hear a plane or helicopter better than me! And he won't rest until he actually spots it--it's not enough to hear it. Thankfully the trees oblige by losing their leaves and revealing the magic of the sky. He also loves seeing trucks (big ones, especially!), cars, buses. "OH WOW!" "Whassat?"

JJ is a good eater. He has his favorite foods--beans, chicken, avocado, gummis, applesauce, yogurt, oatmeal, berries, cream of wheat, to name a few--but he'll at least try what's on his plate. The other day he ate a whole bowl of butternut squash curry soup that I made. His dexterity with a spoon is improving for sure, and he's starting using a fork too.

JJ is very independent in a lot of ways. He's good at playing by himself and pointing to pictures in his books. He flips through his alphabet cards all the time. It looks like he's studying for his chemistry final--so cute! He gets his own snacks, and is good about bringing me his bib when he's ready for breakfast, lunch or dinner. He is getting better at climbing the stairs "big boy style" (standing up, instead of crawling). He walks on his own pretty much everywhere we go, unless we're going for a really long walk. If that's the case, he starts out walking and, once he's tired, gets in the stroller to relax.

The thing I am most proud of about JJ is just how sweet he is. He can always learn more vocabulary or get potty trained later. But being good-natured is a life-long journey that starts at birth, and he is well on his way! He loves giving hugs! A few times he's been playing with friends, and you can see he gets overwhelmed with happiness and goes and hugs them like crazy! Sometimes it's well-received. Other times his enthusiasm is a bit startling. He shares his smile with everyone, and loves waving at passers-by. And he is so affectionate with his family--you rarely have to beg for some JJ lovin'.

That's all I'll share for now, since I can't think of much else. And now, for some pictures!


 "Going, going, gone. YUM!"

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pumpkin Patch

I was waiting to get some pictures from Jim's phone before I made this post, but that appears to be a near-impossible feat (since I keep forgetting to ask, mostly). So here are the ones I snapped.

I actually didn't even carve our pumpkins this year! Between planning our (now) annual party and trying to not get sick (I fear I have since succumbed to the funk), I just didn't find the time. I will probably still carve them, since pumpkin seeds are one of my favorite treats ever!

We went to Hodges' Farm right outside of town (it was literally like 5 turns from our house--awesome!!) 

Happy Halloween!

JJ went as Superman for his 1st Halloween out trick-or-treating! We had a great time with our friends Sarah, Morri, and Mimi. Jim pulled the kids in the wagon, and they hopped out once we got to a "good house" with lights on and pumpkins lit. JJ wasn't a huge fan until he realized that he got to climb up steps, get doted on by strangers, get candy, and then walk through their yards or on the sidewalk to repeat the process again and again. He was definitely on board by the end! I did let him have 2 pieces of candy that night, which you can see the remnants of in some of the pictures.

His outfit is actually a set of PJs from Momo that she gave us ages ago--I remember getting them and thinking, "Will our wee little baby ever be that big?" And the answer is YES, he's a biggie!!!  I made the cape from some felt I had around, some rick rack trim I had lying around, and a birthday card G.G. gave me to use as a decoration/whatever for JJ at some point. I love that JJ's 3 favorite ladies were all able to contribute to his costume! I would have used Jim's Superman cape that we have from when he was little, but it would have taken me longer to take it out of the frame in JJ's room than it took for me to make this one. 

And here are some pictures of JJ and Mimi out on the town, as well as the spooky awesome moon! What a great night 


Friday, October 12, 2012

Projects crossed off the list!

Too many pictures of the child recently, and not enough furniture and random house stuff! Malarkey!

Recently I had been thinking about getting JJ a kitchen set to play with, since he's starting to out-grow the bells and whistles  kind of toys and instead he's now gravitating toward simple toys that he controls and can pretend with. Of course, I am loving this, because nothing starts up a migraine for me like those beeping, bopping, booping toys. I didn't want one of those crappy plastic kitchens that makes noises and breaks and needs batteries and is awful. I wanted a nice solid piece of furniture that would last JJ and potential siblings through years of imaginative play. And I wanted to do it for a fairly cheap price and get it used, if possible (cheaper and greener).

So back in September Jim and I scored a kitchen set off Craigslist for $60 (originally about a $250 set). It had a fridge and a stove, and was solid wood (made by a company in Monroe, NC--just up the road from us). The only problem was the finish of the wood was tired and the paint details were wearing away. While I like the look of wood, we have a lot of wood furniture, and I didn't want it competing with that stylistically. I decided to paint it white, and fill in some of the details after. This is where the adventure started.

I decided that he needed to have a sink, since one of his favorite activities is turning the faucet on and off. So I was going to convert a printer cart to a 3rd piece as a sink. 3 big pieces of furniture for a play kitchen? That seems like too much. This is a lot of furniture for a kid's kitchen. (ignore the octagonal table in the front--no updates on that front yet)

So I decided to re-purpose the stove top and make it the sink/faucet/counter space, while still keeping the oven underneath. Awesome plan.

For the fridge, I decided to add some chalkboards on the front so JJ could make grocery lists, menus, etc. (or so I can write him sweet notes each morning--whichever, right?) But then the painter's tape didn't hold up so well while I was painting, and the paint bled through and created a weird border.

So then I was bothered by 2 things:

-The ugly paint job on the chalkboards (and also the fact that I mis-taped and made the right side an inch narrower than the left. So I decided to add a chalkboard ledge and hide the ugly paint job.

-The oven opening like a cabinet and not like an oven door. It just looked like a sink cabinet with a bunch of knobs on the front. That didn't make sense. So I decided to make a door that would open horizontally with a plexi-window and a handle.

Post-original makeover, pre-final makeover picture:

I also wanted to make him a little hot plate, so when it was time to cook mommy something delicious, he would have the right tools. I found a cute towel at Target, used paint and accessories that I already had, and tada! An awesome kitchen for my little man!

Notice that the oven is lit from within? A little tap light from my kitchen desk did the trick there!

JJ ready to cook up something yummy!

Budget breakdown:

Kitchen set: $60
White primer: $0 (already owned)
Glossy White Paint: $7
Spray paint for hinges, handles, trim: $0 (already owned)
Chalkboard paint: $0 (already owned)
Trim: $3
Wooden circle for hotplate: $4
Trivet for hotplate: $0 (paid with Amazon points. Otherwise, $10)
Bucket, utensils, plastic food, numbered bins: $0 (already owned)
Plexiglass: $3
Faucet: $14
Stainless bowl: $8
Black plastic buckets: $4
Wood for oven door: $3
Hand towel: $3

Total: $109

I only wanted to spend $100 total, but it turned out way better than I thought it would, and I bought more accessories than I had originally planned for, so an extra $9 is no sweat. Also, I learned how to use a jigsaw and a miter saw during this project, so I think that the experience alone is worth $9. I now feel like I can build anything that won't actually have to support human weight (once you get into that kind of stuff, I feel like I still need some supervision).

I think it's way better than anything I could buy out in the world today. The IKEA kitchen for $100 is nowhere close to as awesome as this. Can't wait for years of fun with this set!!!

Another project I'd been thinking about for a while is how to get JJ more jazzed about using his train set from IKEA. He has a lot of fun with it, but gets frustrated/annoyed by the track portion. He can't yet fit the pieces together, but easily takes them apart if we do it for him. I had thought about getting (or building) a train table, but that only elevates the problem, not eliminates it. So then I thought about just screwing the tracks to either a table or a board and having him play on that. After dealing with the kitchen for a solid month, I wasn't too inclined to make/buy another piece of furniture for JJ to play with, so I was leaning toward train board. Then I saw a similar project on Young House Love, and I was sold! I can totally do something close to that! So I bought a pre-cut board at Home Depot for $8, spray painted it (with spray paint that we already had in a bunch of different colors) to look like space--because Space Train is totally a thing.

Then Jim and I screwed the track to the board (from the bottom, so the screws wouldn't show), and I covered the bottom in felt, so it wouldn't scratch the coffee table or floor. And it's a total hit!

JJ's favorite part is rolling the trains down the hill, then making them go through the tunnel too. 

Board: $8
Felt: $0 (already owned)
Spray Paint: $0 (already owned)
Screws: $0 (already owned)

 Then finally I bought a nice Lane coffee table for our front living room, but it had an ugly laminate top (original) on nice legs. So I decided to paint the top and tighten and re-stain the legs. I think it turned out pretty great, even though the top paint job was a little sloppier than I would have liked.

legs pre-repair

 Legs with no top

Project finished! On the right side of the pic, you can see how well the table legs match our awesome chairs (which are still sporting Peanuts sheets until the end of the month).

So that's it for now. I've been busy! I've got a lot of plans for the house, but it's all a work in progress. No timeline!