August 29, 2011

Montessori Baby Room - Take Two

We have been loving T's room.

We all got stuffy noses awhile back and realized that we needed to take his bed off the floor. We got warnings from the mattress store that mold could grow (especially in foggy places like San Francisco), plus, we wanted to vacuum and dust around it.

**edited to add: when we lifted it up there WAS mold under it. I'm not sure why we thought we were special and it wouldn't happen to us. My search terms were heavy with "floor bed" this week so I thought I'd make sure people understood this. We had to purchase a new mattress - stat. I did this for a mattress of mine at one point and it didn't happen - so who knows why and when - but seriously - give your bed some ventilation.

We had a quick platform built for the mattress which is essentially made from two 2x4's and slats.

Once we got it all together in the same place his floor mattress was - mama panicked.

His old set up


The bed was now three inches taller, and while T used to get up on his tippy toes to look out the window - he was now in prime position to climb out our third story flat. The windows are locked, but not totally babyproofed yet. Plus, I've always known his bed shouldn't be under a window anyway in case of an earthquake. 7:45 (15 minutes before lights out for T), I made us totally rearrange the room.


Behind his little chair are the ikea spice racks that used to hold his books - they are going to go back on the wall at some point (hopefully this evening). We got rid of T's dresser (once Mama's vanity and also once a desk), and put his clothes in the baskets of the expedit.

The white blanket is one of the softest in the world and its T's special at-home blanket (the smaller version I made him stays at daycare). The brown comforter is for Bubbs or myself since one of us (usually me) ends up sleeping on his bed with him almost every night.

You can't really see it here, but this set up give him SO MUCH MORE free space to play. The bed used to be half on the rug, but now the rug fits perfectly in that spot, plus you can close the bedroom door (which we used to not be able to do since the rug was so high piled).

This looks pretty sloppy, but we're okay with it for now :)

August 26, 2011

Painting Porcelin Lamps (and other ways to change the entire direction of your bedroom).

We found these for $20 each at an estate sale a few weeks ago. I loved the shape and we needed something bigger than what we had for our night stands.

The pearlescent and gold details were not my favorite.

So, I did a quick googleage figured out what I needed. I got to the hardware store and saw that they had nothing like what I went for. But being the impatient person I am (and squeezing projects in between baby naps), I bought the most poison spraypaint with primer for "all surfaces" and got to work.

(see my very professional paper towel and packing tape coverage of the metallic parts and cord?)

The Shades were still covered in plastic from 1962, so they are actually in fairly good shape (one is a bit more yellowed than the other.

After unwrapping and letting them dry, I brought them upstairs...

I love them. But they made me realize how much I don't like the rest of the room.

So...I went out and bought some paint.

In an hour, I had the whole wall done (I think accent walls are just excuses not to paint the whole room).

I love the paint color. I love the lamps, and I love my headboard. But I hate the turquoise and the rest of the room.

My Turquoise and yellow bedroom is going away.

Next nap - that headboard is getting painted white.

August 25, 2011

Unconditional Parenting and Why it Works for us

So T's only 1. We don't do a lot of discipline.

When he was very young we read the book Unconditional Parenting and were intrigued. My sister (with a 4 and 2 year old) read it as well. In his examples we both saw ourselves.

I remember being very confused and lacking trust in my parents as a small child. I used to get in trouble all the time for things I didn't think I could help and things I didn't know were wrong when I did them. They used to yell at us and ask questions that I truly didn't know the answers to.

My parents did the best they could and followed the examples they had, but I wanted to avoid this with my son.

I was a BAD kid. Or I thought I was. I realize now (through therapy and being an adult), I sometimes just didn't get what I needed so I acted out.

Unconditional Parenting talks about a lot, but there are a couple things that struck us and that seem to work.

1) If you don't want your kid to play, explore, touch and possibly break something. Get it out of his way.

We have to remind ourselves of this all the time, but it really makes our lives much easier, our home life really pleasant, and T feels free to explore his surroundings. We had to move our floor lamps so he wouldn't knock them over, sell our white furniture, and we spend a LOT of time putting books back on shelves. This way, when we say NO because something is dangerous - he actually listens.

2) Help your child come up with their own solution to problems by asking questions.

This has JUST started working with T. Last night, Bubbs was home alone with T and T started whining and fussing. Bubbs looked at him and said, "I can't understand your whining, show me what you want." This is instead of what our Pediatrician (ugh) says to do, which is ignore him and he'll stop. T grabbed his dad's finger, and dragged him to the door. T said "Kiki" - which clearly means he wants to go upstairs to see the cats.

One night we were babysitting my sister's oldest who was 3 1/2 at the time. Her mom forgot to pack her princess pajama pants and she was in meltdown mode. She refused to go to sleep without them and was screaming. We kept trying to offer her different things to wear and telling her there was nothing we could do...but then Bubbs remembered Unconditional Parenting and asked a question, "What would make it better for you?" She replied, "wear my clothes to bed."

Done - we didn't care if she wore her clothes to bed.

When I shared these ideas with my parents, they sort of brushed them off. They both are very respectful of my sister and I in parenting, but can get defensive or a little judgmental if they think we are being too weak. I admit I jumped when they said jump, but not because I respected them, but because I was afraid of them. Which DID NOT serve me well as a teenager b/c I realized they had no actual authority - so I rebelled without worry.

My mom recently read the book and admitted she was swayed by the research and stories as well. And my dad finally admitted on his last visit, that the parents he judged for being to "easy" on their kids, ended up with great respectful well behaved children.

The most important thing we took from that book was that short term results that make life easier as a parent now, do not always equal long term success. This is something Bubbs and I have to remind ourselves of regularly.

It is So hard not to judge other parents. I rarely speak out on things I disagree with when it comes to parenting - I know I've been judged for re-directing T in playgroups rather than shaming him for "misbehaving" but I realize that the embarrassment I feel when I'm getting stared down by other parents at the park and the lack of sleep and clean up we do, will hopefully help T become a well adjusted adult with critical thinking skills and a love for learning.

August 23, 2011

Crockpot Macaroni and Cheese with Hidden Spinach

Both Bubbs and I had night time meetings last week and my mom was going to pick up the babe from daycare and feed him dinner. To make things a bit easier on her, I decided to have dinner ready for her.

I never thought I would say this about my kid - but he's not really into vegis. At least not how I make them. So I've turned into a hidingvegisineverything mom.

On a search for slow cooker mac and cheese (because if there is anything my kid likes, its cheese), so many of them included American cheese or canned cheese soup. We try to eat the least amount of processed food in our house, so my hunt continued. Eventually I came across one that seemed simple and had been tested.

I added some extras to flavor it up: Parmesan cheese (a bunch of it), garlic powder, smoked paprika, and powdered mustard seed.

Then I added some greens to get some health in with all the cheese: I blended a whole bunch of organic spinach (stems and all) with our hand blender into the liquid ingredients, and then poured a ton of frozen organic peas in the crock pot when I added the whole wheat spiral pasta.

It did end up being green mac and cheese (which might be appealing to some kids?) - but it was delicious!

August 18, 2011

14 Months Old - T's Milestones

Dude used his first sentence this morning: "I eat"

Words he knows and uses independently:
Bottle (baht-ul)
Water (wawa)
Cheese (chhhhhese)
Meow (kitty sound)
Neigh (horse sound)

Dude climbs, runs, wants to be held (if mama's around), "reads" all the time, and is finally starting to DO what we say.

"Put this book over there" DONE
"Let's go see the kitties" he's by the door stat
"Let's go get some cheerios" he's sitting in front of the heater (what, isn't that where you eat breakfast? naked in front of the heater vent?)

He's out of his 18 month clothes and is popping out of the 2T stuff as well.
He switches arms when we're getting him dressed, has realized he can jump on the couch (not encouraging that one), and still steals toys from other kids.

The Bachelor Pad Design Team

My husband was joking the other night when he pointed to the white ceramic elephant on Bachelor Pad and said "they stole your elephant."

I brushed it off since EVERYONE has a white ceramic elephant these days.

Then we started paying closer attention.

Clip One:

My house:

Those curtains. When I first decided I wanted a large lattice white pattern on dark blue, I went to an amazing fabric store and asked for it. The saleswoman did a search and came up with EXACTLY the fabric they use on Bachelor Pad. It hadn't been distributed yet and I would have to wait four weeks and pay $52 a yard (and I needed 10 yards) I decided to try out spoonflower and make my own.

Clip Two:

My House:


Those curtains? They are the same pattern (different colors) as my bedroom curtains! The color in their curtains perfectly mirrors the turquoise and yellow color scheme in the bedroom!

Clip Three:

My House:

Now you can't really see it well in this clip, but the walls in Bachelor Pad? Painted blue. Just like my house. The decor/ knick knacks? White - against the deep blue. Just like my house.

Not that I watch Bachelor Pad or anything. Especially not with my hubbs.

August 17, 2011

A San Francisco Toddler Morning

On Saturday morning T was running around like crazy, the house was a mess, and I wanted some comfort. One of our favorite pre-baby restaurants had just re-opened (after an eco-friendly re-do) so we hopped in the car and drove to the ocean.

Just up the road, there's a park called Land's End, where I walked a lot when I was pregnant. The road is paved (which is easier for T to walk on) so we headed up the hill.

Our goal was to wear the boy out so he would crash when we got home.

Problem was, he only wanted to be carried and would grab onto my legs, looking up and whining as I tried to encourage him to walk.

So mama got her exercise for the day.

When we got up the path a little I sat down on the sidewalk and T finally agreed to explore a little.

We found some stairs to climb...

That ended up hurting his hands...

He climbed up his Daddy...but didn't want to be held, but didn't want to be down...

Seriously, kid! Make up your mind!

I ended up carrying him all the way back...we stopped at an estate sale, scored some lamps and do-dads, and he fell fast asleep the minute he hit his bed.

August 15, 2011

Organizing my knick knacks

I have a bud vase problem.

Part of the reason for the dark blue dining room in the first place was that I wanted to display my white bud vases, but as we got the house together, the display in the dining room got more and more full of junk and from my "office" with the view directly in there, I was getting annoyed.

Saturday morning I got up and started re-arranging. Its a transitional thing, so this isn't permanent, but it works for now and I'm so much happier.

The spikey flower vases and elephant vase are from yet another magical estate sale!

We went from this

To this

August 14, 2011

How does my kid's shirt get So dirty!?

How is this what comes OUT of the washing machine?

Green Chili Strata OR How to make a brunch item that is easy, full of fat, and delicious.

Last year on New Years Day we had a baby brunch. Since we (and most of our baby friends) couldn't go out on New Years Eve, we decided to have a little party.

I had read in the Times (I think) about Stratas, and having never heard of them, I found a couple on epicurious (my go to recipe stop).

The stratas were a huge hit.

This morning we're heading to a birthday brunch with some vegetarians, so I decided to recreate the Green Chili & Chorizo Strata.

The last one was was WAY too spicy. This time I subbed the pepper jack for regular jack cheese and used soyrizo again (instead of regular chorizo).

We'll see if it solves the problem...

I purposefully put off posting this until I could take a picture when it got out of the oven.

It's now totally gone. It was fantastic.

August 12, 2011

Our Gymboree Adventure

Since we live in a small flat and our closest playground is being torn down for the next year (to be built up again very soon), our insane-energy-filled-monster-boy needs an outlet on these foggy San Francisco nights.

I looked up baby gyms but the majority have classes only during the day. I get that the majority of parents need it during the day, but everything in this city for kids closes at 5...and we NEED some evening activities.

Gymboree had one class on Friday nights at 6:30. Your first class is free, so we signed up and went.

Crowds make me a little insane. My head starts buzzing and I just can't handle it. T's also such a little wildman he tends to knock over other kids his size, steal their toys, and pull their hair. So I end up stressed out.

Gymboree was amazing. There was enough for him to DO that he didn't really mess with the other kids. It got SUPER crowded. There may have been 15-20 kids there. But it was great. He was totally the craziest and most mobile kid there, but it didn't stress me out.

The price is STEEP. Way more than a yoga class ($75 a month for one class a week). But it might just save our sanity on Friday nights.

August 10, 2011

Craigslist Karma and the Estate Sale of Magicalness

On our way home from NOT picking up our sofa, we saw an estate sale sign. We furnished our last house almost completely from estate sales, so we try to stop in when we can. The house was AMAZING. It was a perfect time-warp from 1962.

After going through each room and asking if they were selling the fixtures (the entry light was FANTASTIC)...

This is what we got:

This pig ($2)

These mugs ($7) will be fantastic bud vases...and the tea set ($5) will either live in the dining room or with our other tea pots in the kitchen.

I had to have this lamp ($10). I am dying to paint the base white and do something with the shade. Not sure what yet because the textiles are a little intense in this room already.

...and this lamp ($5)

We did get a few more things - a teensy groovy rocking chair and a puppy light...but they are in the boy's room and he's sleeping :)

I think the score of the month was due to all of crappy experiences we've had with craigslist lately. We needed to rebuild faith in human kind - and we did.

Some old lady's junk is now our treasure.

August 9, 2011

Things I swore I would never do as a mother

1) Hide vegetables in food (I swore my kids would just eat them).

2) Stop breastfeeding before he was 2.

3) Go to the toy store to buy him anything he wanted.

4) Make spaghetti with pasta sauce for dinner.

5) Feel guilty because I went out on a date or took me time.

Another craigslist letdown.

Twice, I've gone to pick up sofas (one manstad and one kivik sofabed) and by the time I get there, they've sold it to someone else.

This is bad craigslist etiquette, people.

I am clear in my email that I am coming to buy it, sight unseen, and have gotten babysitters and trucks lined up. Driving across San Francisco can take 40 minutes and I was not a happy camper when I got there to find that my sofas were already sold.

When I found the Manstad mentioned below, I actually said in my email:

"Would you hold it for us until then (the next day)? I've scheduled pick ups for sofas twice in the last two weeks and they sell them before I arrive!"

She said sure.

So, I called a guy on craigslist with a truck, canceled plans for the next day, and we set off to go get it. When we arrived at her house, there was a truck in the driveway with our sofa in it. The delivery guy was really nice and refused our money we offered for his time. The woman was really apologetic. But I was done chasing cheap sofas.

We got home.

We got online.

We ordered a Kivik in the color we wanted to be delivered a week later.

And then...our craigslist Karma got back to us...and we stopped at an estate sale on the way home...

August 7, 2011

Manstad Sofa from Craigslist

We're buying a manstad sofa this morning from craigslist. $100 bucks.

I'm thrilled and just ordered my fabric samples from I love the Manstad look, but I can't STAND the color fabric our $100 sofa ends up being a $500 sofa - but it will look awesome.

Cousins came over for some wrestling yesterday - the rubber floor and home depot rugs worked for them...but mama doesn't like the color - so back they go!

August 3, 2011

Putting it all back together again

We had a whopper of a weekend.

Garage Sale
Water Heater Explosion
Cousin slumber party

7am: Park
8am: Spontaneous firetruck adventure
9:30: Streetcar ride to Golden Gate Park
10:30: Academy of Sciences member only hours for snakes, fish, and penguins
11:30: Burrito stop, streetcar ride, picnic in living room
12:30: Cousins departed

We have this problem where we find it very difficult to get anything done when Turner is home. The house can't get clean, the dishes can't get done, the laundry can't get folded.

The garage certainly can't get cleaned up.

After our garage sale, the plan was to restack all of our boxes and clean up the mess - instead, the water heater broke, so, now, on Wednesday, the garage is still full of boxes, the new room is full of random stuff, and the stairs leading to our flat are covered in cake plates, clothes, and lamps that need to come upstairs.

Today is the day - lunchtime today - Bubbs and I are packing it in and getting it all done.

Just wait.