An Apple a Day…

Every year Jason and I try a new orchard (because lets be honest here, Massachusetts is FILLED to the brim with orchards, so why stick with just one?!) and we ventured out to Harvard’s cute and haaa-uge Carlson Orchards for Quinns first apple picking adventure! We had a hard time deciding between a 1/2 peck and a 1/2 bushel bag of apples to pick so we took both bags with us just in case. Its a big decision folks…a 1/2 bushel is a wholllllle ‘lotta apples! Jason had his heart set on picking Golden Crisp apples while I the Gala, but we grabbed a few Macintosh because I feel like thats kind of a given when you live in New England. Jason eats more apples a week than anyone I know so Im sure they won’t go to waste.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

While playing among the Mac trees, we gave Q her own shot at picking some and she picked her very first apple on her own, on her first try! I can’t even explain in words how proud she was of herself, and even though it was the worlds tiniest ripe apple, we still kept it. She looked at that apple like it was gold.

12038160_10102176375019418_8080126592569103901_nDid I mention we had the entire orchard to ourselves?!

SONY DSC

Now that Quinn is fully mobile we thought the idea of taking her to an orchard would be perfect to run around a tucker her out. Isn’t that every parent’s goal anyways? To completely wear them out by running them hard so they sleep like champs at night?

YEP.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

We made it about 10 minutes in before I hear a “I gotta do it” come from Jason on the other side of the tree we were picking from in the Gala section. Of course I broke down laughing because what on earth would an adventure be with my husband without a little inappropriate humor?

Obviously my mind was in the gutter.

He meant to try an apple, as if it were completely against the rules. Who doesn’t eat an apple when they’re apple picking?! I think being hungry is a good enough excuse.

Oh. My. Sweet. Pete.

I hate to sound like Im oozing with exaggeration but their Galas were probably the juiciest, most delicious apples I think Ive ever sank my teeth into. You know they’re good apples when your daughter, who has never even held one in her hand before, spends the entire trip biting into them.

SONY DSC

Id simply omit the fact that she’d chuck them after taking a bite if it wasn’t so adorable, but I won’t blame that on the taste. She just likes to throw things…a lot. I think I spent half of our afternoon chasing after all of the perfect apples that her dad climbed up the trees to get, but thats part of what made our day so perfect.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

I have big plans for our big bundle of apples, and I should since we ended up taking home a 1/2 bushel, but I have to say this was a fun start to the fall season. Its hard to squeeze in quality time with just the three of us together because of his crazy work schedule, but we always remind ourselves of how important it is to do things like this with Q as much as we can. And Jason made it clear that I need to designate at least half the bag for him to eat, including all of his beloved Golden Crisps when I launch myself into a fall baking frenzy.

Funny guy he is.

SONY DSC
SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Advertisements

Lets Play Catch Up!

Ha! I think its pretty safe to assume that I am a terrible blogger. How long has it been since my last post? Five, maybe six months? Oops. Summer came and life just kind of happened. And boy did it happen.

Q turned one and shortly after started walking. I remember before I became a SAHM I always said the one major milestone I wanted to see was my child walk for the first time. And then when I actually started that life with my husband working to support our family, we both said that we were happy I was home because at least one of us would be able to witness it if not both of us.

Well, we fudged that one up real good.

The day before her big birthday bash, Jason, my parents and I ventured out to get last minute food and supplies for her party while my sister stayed home with Q and her two girls. We were on a time crunch because it was 4th of July and the stores were all closing within a few hours, so we hightailed it out. We didn’t make it more than 2 miles down the road before I get a text from my sister bursting at the seams with excitement that Quinn took her first ten steps. I should have prefaced this by saying that as a supported stander before this event, she had shuffled here and there but had not officially taken consecutive steps to actually qualify as walking. So that was the time she decided to take TEN steps?! Shortly after the text we received a video of my nieces very patiently coaxing Quinn to the other side of the room.

I sobbed. My parents laughed. And then I laughed, because it just figures that would happen and thats just how my life goes.

I always think back to those first few days when she was so unstable on her feet and marvel at how quickly things change. How did we get to this point already!? Here are pictures that I took on Fourth of July and she could barely sit on the front steps let alone walk. And then several hours later she’s walking. Madness, I tell ya.

11665559_10102048568584538_7022066224934809158_n 11659226_10102048568340028_2453877735158957833_n

She rules this house and [jokingly] controls us now that she’s 100% mobile; Jason and I are on alert 24-7 and any kind of shopping that requires her to be contained or strapped in to something just doesn’t fly with her. She’s head strong and so fiercely independent that it makes my big mama heart sing and cry at the same time. Just a few weeks ago we took a walk to the post office and she insisted on walking the whole 1/2 mile on her own with no help, sunglasses, tutu and all.

11052231_10102147636307028_1788601145610422586_n

Sometimes we get frustrated because she likes to pull a fast one on us during those times when we just.need.her.to.sit, but most of the time its so fun to watch. She’s not quite running yet, though she tries, and she knows she can’t so when she wants to make a quick and clean break for it, she crawls. Because you know, she’s like lightning on her hands and knees. Next week when the summer temps finally decide to take a hike (Im over the heat. So-o-o-o-o-o over it.) we’re taking her apple and pumpkin picking!

Sleeping has gotten better, too. She went through a brief stint when we had to co sleep with her because she would have a meltdown if we even brought her near anything that resembled a crib. We tried crying it out too but when she got so out-of-control upset that she’d throw up everywhere, we threw in the towel. Now that she’s cruising everywhere, her naps range from 2-4 hours and she’s back to sleeping a solid 12 hours, in her own bed!

The house has been making strides, though our lawn went from fifty shades of green to fifty-one shades of dead. I don’t even want to talk about it…I really should have just said its making strides inside. I told Jason the list of priorities for the spring include grass, a clothesline and a vegetable garden and I won’t take no for an answer.

Ive discovered a bunch of small antique shops in our area and yesterday a dear friend introduced me to the most amazing vintage-inspired shop tucked away in a neighboring town after we had the best lunch together catching up.

I scored these darling gold-dipped stone apples and they’re the perfect addition to my kitchen. Maybe I’ll go back for the pears since Im in full blown fall decorating mode.

IMG_0923Ive also added a few vignettes to my dining room with the help of a few sites that Ive discovered (Painted Fox, Decor Steals and Antique Farmhouse) and check for new things on the regular. Ive got a few ideas for refinishing that dresser since it makes me feel like the room just has one massive black blob in it, but I think for now I’ll just replace the drawer pulls with something a little more interesting. Those fabulous galvanized canisters are from Decor Steals and those black and white prints are actually of different Irish landscapes and castles from a very old book of Ireland that literally fell apart. I figured if the book was going to stay packed away, I may as well make use of the beautiful images.

IMG_0921

When my inlaws sold their beautiful barn-style lake house last year, they were selling it with the furniture too (a lot of the furniture came with the house when they purchased it, including this vintage turquoise dresser) with the exception of whatever Jason and I wanted for our home. This dresser was at the top of my list along with our dining table and I still love it as much now as I did the first time I saw it. We usually keep board games and craft supplies in here and the occasional junk, because I firmly believe that every room in your home needs a junk drawer.

IMG_0922

IMG_0920

I like to keep a neutral palette in my home with a few pops of color, and Ive been brainstorming ideas to bring in a little more color while brightening it up in my dining room without making it look totally obnoxious. I have big plans for giving our dining table a little facelift, but the other night I was perusing World Market and spotted these beeeee-utiful tufted chairs for the ends of the table and its literally all I can think about now.

chair

I just got an email alert today and they’re now marked down to less than $200 for the PAIR. Seriously? Drool.

I have a few other little projects going on here and there but not worthy enough to write home about since they’re not finished yet. Quinns playroom is happening real soon because the rate at which she acquires toys is out of control and one of these days Im going to break my face tripping on one before we get her playroom set up.

Sooo, thats a pretty solid update to make up for the last umpteen months of blog neglect. I’ll leave you with a large dose of cuteness overload to last (hopefully) until the next post.

11060035_10153668284922566_7296439734489628506_n 11831787_10102099541763878_4057193233030316721_n 12003260_10102160023787418_6938732864452423763_n

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Light and Bright!

For the past few months or so Ive been struggling with all of the super dark trim in my house and have been searching for ways to brighten up our living space without resorting to painting everything white. I think a lot of this stems from the fact that Im home all day staring at it, but I digress.

Ive made pretty significant progress since our impulse sofa purchase at Home Goods back in January; Ive removed all of the area rugs downstairs, added solid, classic white accessories in each room and simplified my storage. Im still itching for more white though. My reasoning behind switching is mostly due to the fact that the wood trim is pretty inconsistent–the mudroom, bedrooms and bathrooms all have white trim while the rest of the house has varying hues of dark, and my back hallway where my big and beautiful stairwell resides gets zero sunlight and feels like a dungeon. To be perfectly honest, the only thing really holding me back from going white is my wood built-ins that separate my dining and living room. They’re in such perfect condition and in such a beautiful shade of wood that I just can’t bring myself to cover it—I just wish the rest of the house matched it. Thankfully, my small changes here and there are letting me embrace it a little more.

With all of that said, it dawned on me one day last week that I should be trying to resolve this issue in the one room I spend most of my time in. The kitchen. So I searched for DIY’s on Pinterest for refinishing wood cabinets and then texted Jason at work to see what he thought of it. He joked to add it to my “laundry list” (har har) but then admitted he was totally on board with it. He agreed that if we were going to wait a couple of years before replacing our old blue countertops, then we might as well make the kitchen look better by working around it. YEAH!

See how dark everything is? The wood really is beautiful and Im sure my feelings would be different if the room was able to soak in more sunlight and if the counters were a lighter color, but the color scheme just doesn’t work for me. I know the shades are drawn in the lower photo, but honestly, even if they were up it wouldn’t really make much of a difference. Replacing the floors isn’t an option right now either, because our Master bedroom floors are on the top of that list.

IMG_6383 IMG_6384

So I mustered up a whole year’s worth of courage, saved that DIY Pin {here} (because lets be honest, Ive painted a ton of rooms but I don’t know the first thing about refinishing cabinets), took a ride to good ol’ Lowes and loaded up a cart with everything we needed to make this project happen. Jason kept telling me to make sure it was something I really wanted to do because once we dropped the $120 and had paint mixed there was no turning back.

I have to admit, I knew the task would be extremely daunting, but I completely underestimated the overall scale of the project. Leave it to me to overlook the custom carved detailing on every single cabinet and drawer opening until I bust out the primer and paint brush. Ha! Kitchen-1, Amy-Zip.

Day one consisted of cleaning my kitchen(because I mentally cannot start anything in a mess), removing 32 knobs and pulls, 50 hinges, approximately 480 screws, 28 doors and 8 drawers. Woof. Why does custom cabinetry have so much hardware?! I don’t think Ive ever been more thankful to own a power drill.

IMG_6446

Each bag is the temporary home to all of the hardware for each cabinet door. The bags are labeled to correspond with the labeled cabinets so that when it comes time to reinstall the doors, I don’t lose whats left of my sanity trying to match everything up. We also bought all new magnetic closures to replace the existing ones—finally!—because there isn’t anything much worse than cooking up a huge meal in a kitchen to turn your head and smack it into a door that just decides to open because the magnet is old and tired.

I then grabbed some rubber gloves and went to town deglossing all of the fronts. I was able to prime the first seven upper cabinets, which doesn’t seem like a lot for the start of a big project, but looking back, the prep actually took the longest. And honestly, babies only nap for so long. My inlaws were gracious enough to come the next couple of days to hang with Q so that I could get the bulk of the kitchen done, like priming and painting EVERYTHING. My father in law even deglossed all of my cabinet doors for me out in the garage while I was working inside. So thankful!

IMG_6396

IMG_6393

Its weird exposing the insides of your cabinets for the world to see…its like my kitchen is standing there in its undies! Ha! Pardon my messy baking cabinet there to the right of the microwave. You just can’t be organized in all aspects of life.

Fast forward a week later and Im almost done applying the final coat of paint to my cabinet doors. Ive been working on them in batches because 1) there.are.so.many and 2) my garage can only hold so many work spaces.

IMG_6448

Im sure I could have gotten this done in a few days if I wasn’t juggling a baby with a jetpack attached to her and millions of other things that require my daily attention, but thats life. I could also be painting at night when Q goes to bed but Im usually completely wiped out at the end of the day, mostly because painting for hours on end in 90 degree heat in a garage is just downright exhausting. Im convinced that the weight Im suddenly losing is attributed to the fact that Im sweating it all off. Well, that and Id rather not hang with the giant mosquitos. Its like they’re on steroids this year!

Im hoping that life cooperates with me enough to get this project done by the end of the week so that I can focus on Quinns birthday party prep all next week. Yep, I said it. BIRTHDAY party.

First birthday party. What. The. Eff.

For now, Im off to slave some more in my hot garage and batten down the hatches for the huge storm we’re getting later on today (possible tornado! Yikes!). My husband has a big project of his own at work this week which allows him to be home during the day with us and I couldn’t be thankful to have longer paint sessions so I can bust this out and get it done. But Im happy to say that 9 doors are completely finished and are ready to be hung! The light is finally shining through the end of the tunnel!

Q Update

A moment of confession: this blog is becoming increasingly harder to commit to on a regular basis as Q becomes more mobile so I have to apologize for the random, super long hiatuses. Speaking of which, she crawls like lightning these days! Im talking about the kind that has you crawling into bed at night with one eye open because you’re so exhausted from spending a whole day trying to keep up with her. All of you momma’s out there who have this down to a science and still make time for yourself at the end of the day without falling asleep…how on EARTH do you do it?! I suppose this is just another learning curve that comes with the joys of early parenthood.

Teething. Another joy.

I may have previously noted that she sprouted two teeth back in January, on the 30th to be exact, and I say may because its sadly been so long since I have last posted that I can’t remember if I actually did indeed note that important tidbit. At any rate, her third tooth happened to be a k-9 (is that what they’re even called?) instead of the middle two that I was expecting. I joke that she’s going to look like Sloth from The Goonies but in all seriousness, those pearly whites just accentuate her cuteness even more. With that said, my poor babe has three more following suit and all are up top. I remember when I was younger and had my braces tightened every month, I always dreaded it because the top would hurt like a mother trucker for DAYS after; this completely reminds me of what Q could possibly be going through in terms of pain.

I completely sympathize with her.

Alongside the teething we have been demoted to the long, sleepless nights category of parenting. Since Q was four weeks old she’s been sleeping a good, solid and completely uninterrupted 10 hours a night. It was perfect — I would always say that I was more tired in college than my early days of motherhood. Then I’d follow with cracking a joke about waiting for the other shoe to drop. Well it finally did about two weeks ago. We were down on the Cape for vacation when she started waking up in the middle of the night and refused to go back down unless we pulled her into bed with us. Fast forward to now and we’re still in the same boat. I know, I know. If we keep letting her crawl back into bed with us at night we’re creating a monster for down the road. Well guess what? You can sleep train, and you can let them cry it out but when she gets so worked up that she throws up then its time for a serious snuggle session with momma bear. In addition to the nighttime teething woes, naps have also been a struggle. Its amazing to see a tiny little human wake up at 6am on the dot and go go go all day with NO nap. She crawls at a speed that has you thinking something is chasing her, babbles non stop, and just when you think you’re going to get lucky with a few hours of quiet time, she fights it and keeps going. I need a nap just thinking about it! So you can imagine how much harder it is at night when the fight continues at bedtime. I laugh every time I read the label on her bubble bath–“Clinically proven to help baby sleep at night”.

Yeah, okay.  You haven’t met my kid, Johnson & Johnson.

Despite how exhausted and frustrated we are, Jason and I are taking the challenges of teething in strides because we know it’ll pass. Thankfully it doesn’t take away from the joys of witnessing everything else, like hitting major milestones. Q’s personality gets bigger everyday and she’s developing an imagination thats so much fun to watch. Crawling has turned into pulling herself up, which has turned into cruising around all kinds of fun surfaces and will eventually very soon turn into walking.

Over the weekend the hubs had to work so Q and I headed to his parents house to celebrate his dads birthday. At the end of the day when we were all chatting in the sunroom watching the babe squatting on the floor picking up every tiny little speck she could find, out of nowhere she just stood up on her own. Just like that. I think we were all in a moment of shock before we realized too late that one of us should have whipped out a phone and gotten that on camera. As much as I wanted something like that documented so I could send along to Jason to see, I was thankful to just have seen it. Its moments like that that make me so grateful for being able to stay home full time with her.  She does it more often now and its still cool to see, but I think it’ll be a little while before she’s full on walking. You can tell that she’s still uncomfortable standing on her own and she always slowly lowers herself back down. Im okay with that though. Crawling into bed at night completely exhausted from chasing a crawling baby around all day is a far cry from what it’ll be like when she’s actually full on running around the house. I hope Jetta has some good hiding spots scoped out.

All exciting and dramatic baby news aside, Ive been keeping myself busy with some big and some small diy projects around the house and Jason and I–well, lets be honest, its mostly me…ha!–have committed to taking on the daunting but exciting task of refinishing our kitchen cabinets. Woo! We have pretty much the original stain on all of the woodwork and trim in the house and its dark, so Im holding back on painting it white by finding other ways to brighten up the house. My cabinets are beautiful, but the two wood tones just don’t go very well together and I had a sudden realization the other day that the kitchen, a room that I spend a huge part of my day in, needs to be brighter.

With that, I promise to be more diligent in the blogging part of my life and leave you with the color we chose for the cabinets: Del Coronado Tequila.

How fitting. 🙂

Rub-a-dub…

I have a confession to make. When Q was itty-bitty and taking baths in her little infant tub, I straight up hated it. One would think that a new mom like me giving her precious, squishy little babe her first baths would be so joyous and fun. Well, joyous and fun they were not. I don’t know if it was because I let the nurses’ words of “advice” get a little too far in my head from my stay in the hospital—“keep her covered, make it quick, wash her head with this spongey-thingy and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT GET WATER IN HER EARS”—or because it was so much work, but to me it just felt more like a chore than a moment of bonding.

You’re probably right, it was the nurses.

Lets just say the tub didn’t last long and you may find my feelings a bit familiar from a  previous post. I had used it in my master bath, but the counter space was limited (and the only option since I was trying to recover with being cut from here to Timbuktu and being on my knees leaning forward was absolutely NOT happening). The up and downstairs guest bathrooms were out since there was zero counter space, and ironically the kitchen was one of the coldest rooms in the house for her to be chillin’ with her little lady bits literally chillin’. I’ll admit, most of my hate for that kind of tubby time stemmed from my paranoia that she’d freeze to death (this is coming from a gal who has to towel-dry before I even think about opening my shower door), but I’ll blame the nurses for that one too.

Turns out as babies grow, you grow out of certain feelings too. When we transitioned from that little tub to the kitchen sink with her Blooming Bath, it wasn’t so bad. Until she tried crawling out of the sink.

I feel like I have to share this kind of post today because I realized last night that not only has bath time become a favorite part of the day for both Q and myself, but that I also snap some of my best photos of her having fun in a sea of bubbles and toys. And its Monday, so I’ll go out on a limb and guess that someone other than myself needs a weekly dose of cuteness.

Im going to be selfish and say me especially, since she cried for seven hours straight today because she’s sprouting two top teeth straight from hell.

But you’d never guess it from these photos!

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Our bath time routine looks something like this:

While I get everything ready (towels, water, jam jams, etc), she hangs out in her room with Jetta. Okay, so Im omitting a little bit of info. The real story is she hangs out with Jetta and tortures the poor little guy, who by the way is SO good with her in case anyone is wondering why on earth I would leave an infant with a cat. For example, here is where I rank on his shit list compared to where she ranks.

She was a tiny terror one day and kept grabbing at him while he was trying to take a nap. If you wanna know where to really grind a cats’ gears, grab and twist where the hind leg meets the belly. Youch. But all it really took that day was one real good yank on his little furry tail for him to turn around, take one hard look at her, turn and bite me on the leg and bolt out of the room. She thought it was hilarious.

I think thats where they began their lifelong friendship. And yes, we’re continually working with her on how to treat the cat with more respect, you know, for those abuse-singing naysayers who might catch the wrong idea from this post.

For the record, Jetta is like one of my own children and my sister jokes that if I could push him around in his own stroller, I would. I totally would.

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 11.15.21 PM

Okay, back to the routine. On the nights that Jason is home, I get the bath ready while he gets her ready which usually consists of removing her clothes and bringing her to me to drop her diaper right before she hits the water. We’ve learned how quickly a baby can pee on you post-diaper removal and nipped that in the bud real fast. I spend a few minutes washing her up and down, she likes her hair washed the best, and then I let her play for 5 or 10 minutes. The only tears that usually happen are because of two things: she takes a handful of bubbles and rubs them into her eyes or she pitches a FIT when I pull her out.

I don’t think making her take swim lessons will ever be a problem.

SONY DSC

IMG_4964

IMG_4770

Alright mom, thats enough.

I swear she inherited that look straight from my mother.

SONY DSC

Whats your favorite part of the day? 🙂

Cast Iron Skillet Bread

Say what?!

When I was younger my mom used to make bread all the time. White. Wheat. Applesauce. Totally delicious. Come to think of it, Im pretty sure she still makes it but mostly for the holidays. I remember one Thanksgiving a few years back my siblings and I decided to take her fresh homemade bread and throw it in the deep fryer after the turkey was done. To say that she was less than pleased that her beloved bread was fried is a severe understatement.

Side note: If you’ve never had deep fried turkey then you are seriously missing out.

Anyway, for years now Ive wanted to make my own bread but didn’t want to deal with the hassle of another small appliance (i.e. bread maker) and all of the old-school recipes I had ever discovered required a lot of work for someone like me who was just in the experimenting phase. So while I was perusing Pinterest the other day I just happened to stumble upon the most brilliant idea Ive ever heard. Easy no-knead bread in a cast iron skillet seemed almost too good to be true. Easy? Easy?! I like easy. Im a new mom. I NEED easy. I also like Rosemary and olive oil so I was winning all across the board that day.

Here my friends, is the recipe I found. I had to give major props to the person who came up with this because it really was that easy. Mine didn’t come out as pretty; it didn’t brown as well and I didn’t have any fresh Rosemary on hand so the color as a whole was lacking a bit. I could have left it in the oven for longer to get that golden brown color but as a first time bread maker I didn’t want to take the chance  of drying it out so I left it in for another five minutes.

SONY DSC

I got a little nervous when I felt the outside after pulling it out of the oven. It was a little crustier than Im familiar with on bread but that worry subsided pretty quickly when I took a knife to that baby. The warmth and aroma that busted out of that bread made me want to stand with my face over it all day long. The inside reminded me of a Focaccia bread but less compact and it was DELICIOUS. I may or may have not eaten a pretty significant portion of that loaf with a massive bowl of dipping oil.

I guess you’ll never know. 😉