House Tour – Will’s Room

I realized a few days ago that it has been almost 6 months since we moved to Oregon.   I still feel so new even though we now have our favourite restaurants and know where the grocery stores and parks are, all things that have taken time to discover.  I know, I know it can take a long time to feel settled.  Our house has really reflected that this time around.  Moving two thousand miles with a newborn and a toddler in tow is not for the faint of heart and slowly but surely we are getting there!  I have been wanting to do a house tour for a little while now so I’m going to post it room by room.

The kids rooms are my favourite.  I never really got to decorate a nursery for either of them before they were born so it was fun to get to put these two rooms together.  Will’s room is still a work in progress but we spend a lot of time in here.  The natural light is amazing on days like today when the sun is shining!

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The nautical flags are reused from Will’s first birthday party! These windows look out over our front porch.

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The airplane prints are a free download you can find here.  I had these printed and put them in these Ikea frames.  It was inexpensive and Will loves his “big airplanes.”

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IMG_4971 IMG_4976The bed in this room is technically Felicity’s… or at least it will be her’s in a few years.  We got it when we thought the kids were going to be sharing a teeny tiny bedroom and we were indecisive about getting him a twin bed or something larger.  We are betting that Will is going to be tall someday!  We are on the craigslist hunt for a new old dresser and I am working on making a quilt for his bed.  “Working on” makes it sound more active than what is actually happening.  I have a great idea and will eventually get to it.

Up next: Felicity’s room!

First Haircut

Will had his first haircut yesterday.  We were torn about getting it done, but his hair was getting long and unruly and on non-humid days he was beginning to look like one of the Beetles, not to mention more and more people were telling me how pretty my little girl is.

On the recommendation of a friend, I took him to Kid’s Hair.  He’s so squirmy these days, I didn’t trust myself getting that close to his head with a pair of scissors.  He did great!  He played with a train and then eventually swiped a few combs away from the hair stylist.  It was pretty painless (for both of us) and now we have a little card that says “my first haircut” and Will has a great new ‘do.

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Apparently he needed a little boost

Apparently he needed a little boost

Bugaboo Cupholder and Uppababy Vista

We have an Uppababy Vista stroller and we love it.  It’s a workhorse of a stroller and allows me to walk to the grocery store and come home with bags of groceries in the huge basket below.  I can hang my diaper bag from the handles and keep my phone in the pocket on the back of the seat.  It comes with a ton of accessories that have surprisingly come in handy over the last year.  The only thing missing was a cup holder!

I know, I know.  It’s not so difficult to bend down to pick up my water bottle out of the basket.  This was not a necessity, just something that would make our already fantastic stroller even better!  The only problem is the Uppababy cup holder that you can buy separately is terrible.  I had it and it got caught on everything, fell off and barely held a paper cup, let alone a water bottle.  Considering how easy it was to fall off, it was really hard to get off when you were trying to do it on purpose.  So we returned it and figured I’d just have to go without.  I heard that the Bugaboo cup holder worked on the Vista, but I had trouble finding finding out the information I wanted.  Would it work on my stroller?  How does it attach?

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So I went to the store and got the Bugaboo to try for myself and it is fantastic!  I was tempted for a few minutes to try the Uppababy one again but came to my senses.  So here it is, the Uppababy Vista 2013 with the Bugaboo cup holder for those of you who may be searching for it like I was.  (The rest of you, feel free to skip to the next post). There are several attachment pieces and I used the largest one and hooked it to the foam part of the handle.  It’s sturdy but super easy to take on and off and the stroller folds with it in place, you just have to twist the actual holder up and out of the way of the wheels.IMG_1298 IMG_1301 IMG_1321

Uppababy Vista (2013) in Jake Black
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Teepee!

I don’t know if I can blame pinterest or some of the blogs that I read, but for a while I have wanted to get Will a teepee.  There was one in particular I’ve seen on Etsy, but the $180 price tag was a little steep for something I wasn’t sure if he’d like or not.  So, I thought I’d put my novice sewing skills to the test and make him one.  (By the way, when I say “novice sewing skills” I am not being humble, rather I’m being optimistic.  I just found out a few days ago I’ve been threading my machine wrong since my mom gave it to me… 13 years ago.  But I digress).

I looked at a few tutorials I found online that had measurements that made for a good starting point, but I wanted the teepee to look more like this one.  I preferred the ones that had four sides and would be easy to collapse, since we don’t have a huge space to store it or to keep it up all the time.  I made many mistakes and my estimated two evening project took four or five evenings, but I LOVE the result.  Plus the mistakes kind of look intentional (specifically, the added 12 inches to the bottom of the teepee).

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I got the fabric at SR Harris, a discount fabric store in the Twin Cities.  It’s huge and overwhelming, but I find it fun to sift through their stuff, especially if you have a lot of time on your hands.  The fabric is 100% cotton and seems to be coated with something, although I don’t know what.  I got a TON of  fabric for $30.  I believe it was 3 1/2 yards and super wide (120″ maybe?).  This was helpful since I did make so many mistakes I was able to compensate with the large amount of fabric.
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Grant critiqued my teepee for not being accurate since I added a “cottage window” but I think it’s cute! IMG_1290

I used PVC pipe and have plans to spray paint it to cover up the writing, but I’m having trouble picking a colour. We drilled holes into the top of the poles about 14″ from the top to thread the yarn through.  Without the holes the tie had a tendency to slip down and cause the teepee to close.  This way, it has no problems staying open, even with an almost-walker pulling himself up on the poles.  The poles are 6′ long and were less than $2 each.  I wanted wood poles, but they were hard to find in the length I wanted and were much more expensive.IMG_1296

IMG_1127 IMG_1126Will isn’t quite sure what to do with the teepee yet.  He likes it if we sit in there with him.  The other day his friend Zoe (who is about 7 months older than Will) LOVED it.  She ran in and out of the teepee and squealed with delight each time she emerged.  When do kids start to enjoy hiding so much?  I’m looking forward to that phase with Will.

The total for the project was less than $40, and that includes all the extra fabric, an extra PVC pipe (which we used to make his birthday sailboat) and the little caps that go on the bottom of the poles.  If you know what you’re doing this project could be even cheaper!

12-months

As excited as I am that Will just turned one, I am sad that this is the last monthly onesie that I’ve made!  I could keep going, but how thrilled is a thirteen year old going to be when I hand him a shirt that says 156 months and ask him to lay down on a crib mattress with a polka dot sheet?!  I suppose I have to stop somewhere, but I have a feeling I’ll be taking these milestone photos a little longer, just without the onesies!

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Happy Birthday!

Yesterday was Will’s first birthday!  I can’t believe he is a year old already and what a year it has been!  It is exciting to see just how much Will has grown, learned and changed in a year.  A year ago I was so excited to meet what I was sure would be a sweet, dark haired, dark eyed little boy–and in turn we got a very sweet and VERY spunky red head with blue eyes!  He is the wonderful miracle I have ever witnessed and I am so proud to call him my son.  Happy birthday baby boy!!  We love you.

We are having a party for Will in a couple of weeks so we decided to save his birthday cake for then, so instead we made him a donut cake!
(Donuts are from A Baker’s Wife in Minneapolis)

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Will has had pieces of these donuts before, but never a whole one for himself!

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IMG_1008 IMG_1010He liked it so much he was licking the crumbs off the table.

11-months

It is hard to believe that in a few weeks we’ll be celebrating a birthday in our home.  Not only is it his birthday, it marks when this couple became a family, a move to a new state, new job and new roles for everyone.  Phew, I can’t believe it!

But that’s not what this post is about, it is about this kiddo who is SO MUCH FUN.  I had a hard time choosing photos from his 11-month photoshoot.  Not because they’re all perfect and in focus or because we caught him actually looking at the camera.  It is because they show so well the personality of this little boy.  He is so ridiculous and spunky and so full of energy and has one crazy thick head of hair.  He discovered that he likes when we laugh so he’s started to fake laugh that inevitably turns into real belly laughter (for all three of us).  The best part is when he starts the fake laugh, he always looks up to gauge our reaction.  How do they learn this stuff?

He also chatters all day long, but the only words we understand so far are “mama,” “dada” and “hi mama.”

Anyway… enjoy the photos!  We love you little man.

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Trying to grasp Sophie the Giraffe!  Our feeble attempts at getting him to stay on his back.IMG_0718

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(Click here for more on how to make these monthly onesies.)

Cloth Diaper Inserts – Tutorial

Before our baby was born, we decided that we wanted to use cloth diapers.  I knew that if it wasn’t easy and inexpensive, then I would probably end up giving up on them quickly.  I also knew I had to have a stash ready to go when the baby came so that I’d have no excuses.  The only problem with that is the one size pocket diapers we had chosen didn’t work as well for newborns because they’re a little big (I guess that’s what happens when one diaper is sized from 7-35+ pounds).  It seems as though most people choose to use disposables for the first month or two.  I decided to try the newborn gDiapers which are sized from about 6-10 lbs.  gDiapers tend to be a little on the pricey side so I found a set of 12 on ebay that were washed but never worn.  The thing I do like about gDiapers is the option to use cloth inserts or disposable/flushable inserts.  The versatility is great, but you’ll end up paying for it!  I decided to try making my own reusable cloth inserts since the ones you buy can be up to $5 each.

Materials:

1 yard of bamboo fleece
1 yard of hemp fleece
1/2 yard of cotton (remnants work great!)
Sewing machine
Serger (optional)
Rotary cutter and cutting board (highly recommended, although scissors work great too!)
(note: both the bamboo and hemp fleece are available from Diaper Sewing Supplies)

Instructions:

Cut out all of your fabric into 4″ x 9″ rectangles.  This is where a rotary cutter comes in very handy.  If you’re using scissors, making a paper template might be helpful.

Pin 5 layers of cut fabric together as follows: Cotton (right side down), hemp, bamboo, hemp, bamboo (soft side up).  Pin together.  It should look like this with soft bamboo fleece on one side and pretty cotton on the other.

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Sew around the edge of your fabric.  It is thick so you’ll need to go slowly.  I used a zig zag stitch so it would be extra secure.  Make sure the beginning and end of your stitches are secure by back stitching about 1/2″.  I also found that doing two rows of zig zag stitches next to each other worked really well, I just forgot to take a photo of that.

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If you have a serger, this is where you can make the edges neat and tidy by serging around the entire edge.  I don’t have one so I rounded the corners and hoped for the best.  This is the finished diaper liner.

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After many times through the washing machine, these have held up great!  I found that the cotton fabric frayed a little bit up to the stitches and the fleece curled slightly, but nothing came apart and all the stitches are very secure.  The fabric I purchased made 22 liners which was more than enough for our newborn and allowed us to wash diapers every other day.

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It also doesn’t hurt that these diapers are super cute!

Total Cost: $27
1 yard of hemp fleece: $12.95
1 yard of bamboo fleece $14.05
Cotton remnants: $0 (I already had these leftover from making burp cloths)
Makes 22 reusable inserts

I was curious how this compared with disposables.  If you use 12 diapers a day with a newborn, that’s about 360 diapers in one month.  It’s about $50 to buy a case of newborn diapers from diapers.com with 234 diapers.  I guess this was a pretty good deal after all, but you do need to factor in the effort it takes to make and wash cloth diapers and the water usage.  Disposable diapers are a great choice for many, but this was the best choice for us.

It doesn’t get better than this…

Lately I have had a lot of complaints.  The weather this winter was terrible, we live far from friends and family, we moved out of my dream house and into a college dorm, we are lonely, tired, overwhelmed, etc.  It is embarrassing to admit how long the list can be on a really hard day.

The other day Grant was playing with Will on the floor and I felt an unexpected swell of gratitude.  It just doesn’t get much better than this.  Sure, some of my complaints are legitimate and I need to be honest with myself about it if I’m ever going to deal with them, but I realized that all of the truly important things are so very, very good.

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We have friends and family that love us.  We feel welcomed and celebrated when we return home, whether that home is in Canada, California, Illinois and beyond.  We have parents that love us and have sacrificed so much for us and who love, love, love our son, even if their requests for photos and videos of him are a little excessive. (All four of you… you know who you are)  🙂  I have an incredible husband who loves me, makes me laugh harder than anyone, understands our inside jokes, and checks out bicycles as he goes by, not other girls.  He is the best dad to our son, even better than I could have imagined.  He is great at the fun things (taking the kiddo for bike rides, making him giggle) and great at the hard things (middle of the night feedings, poop, poop and more poop).

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And then there is our son.  He is just the silliest, most fun and happy kiddo.  He loves to yell, giggle, and squeal.  He’s figured out a way to run-crawl since regular crawling is simply not fast enough.  And he sleeps from 7 pm – 8:30 am most days…. yes, you read that right.  He is very kind to us.

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We are blessed and I am so thankful that even in the midst of my hard-heart, grumpy days I can still be overwhelmed by gratitude.  It doesn’t get much better than this!

Ps.  These were all photos from today.  Happy Father’s day!!