Jail Break

The past month or so Q has been hitting me with some major whammy’s in the “Baby’s First’s” department:

First crawl — backwards. But who cares, a crawl is a crawl!

First voluntary bite from a spoon — short lived, but this is monumental in our house. She’s got major beef with utensils for reasons I’ll never know.

First wave goodbye — its extra adorable because she’s actually waving at herself.

First teeth — yes, that is plural for holy shit. She sprouted two pearls of perfection after a solid five months of drool, teething rings and oil, tylenol (for those endless nights of screaming) and bib after bib after bib. And my goodness they’re tiny weapons of mass destruction. Im convinced she sharpens them at night while we’re sleeping.

All of these are the tiniest of things that reduce me to tears on more than one occasion; things of which my friends who haven’t been blessed with their own littles yet won’t completely understand until it happens to them. I know, because I was once one of them. Im pretty cool with her growing up as a fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants kind of gal; I think its a pretty great character trait in a world full of all too serious phonies. But Im not cool with the whole growing part.

Not yet.

And then a couple of nights ago when I was playing around with my in-laws DSLR camera (Sony a55) in the nursery, THIS happened.

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….what?

To be honest, I didn’t even know what to do or say, so I yelled (well, okay, I screamed) downstairs to Jason and kept snapping pictures while Q tried to escape her crib. He walked in and busted out laughing while I tried to hold back yet another set of dramatic mom tears. To all of you wonderful first time momma-to-be’s: if you think for a second that your emotional roller coaster comes to a halt once your baby is born, you are off your pretty little rockers. Newsflash, it gets worse so you might as well invest in a lifetime supply of waterproof mascara.

The determination this child had to stand up and support herself was unreal. You can literally see the strain in those darling little fingers!

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She managed to pull herself up again and last a couple of minutes chatting away at nothing special. And then she fell backward and thought everything in the world was so downright hysterical that she laughed about it for a solid five minutes. I hope that never changes because the world needs more laughter.

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Its become common for Jason and I to talk about how insane and terrifying it is that she is growing so quickly. Theres something new about her daily, and I sit more often than not staring at photos of her and her first days with us.

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Jason says I torture myself by doing it, mostly because I almost always end up shedding a tear (shocker). Its amazing how you can grow a tiny human (or alien invader, depending on your mood) inside you within a 10 month span and then in that same amount of time they morph at lightning speed into a babbling, mobile, full of personality and LIFE little being.

Ive been putting off going through her drawers and closet for a while now to organize and pull out clothes she’s grown out of, but thats only because Im avoiding a complete meltdown. Last time I thought it would be fun to compare her newborn sizes with her fresh new six month sizes. It was not fun. It was stupid. I ended up huddled on the floor in a ball a babbling mess. Now she’s rapidly growing into nine month sizes. What is this madness?!

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I won’t lie, these photos give me baby fever again. Like fresh, snuggly newborn (without the bleeding boobs part) kind of fever. But, one of the best pieces of advice we’ve been given by dear close friends is to wait until Q is potty trained before we think about another one. Thats such a brilliant point that I never thought of because diapers aren’t cheap, and when you sit there with your husband throwing Rock Paper Scissors to see who gets to clean up the next major up-to-the-chin blowout (yes, that happened and no I don’t wanna talk about it), the last thing you want is to be juggling TWO blowouts. So for now I’ll just torture myself some more with the photographic timeline of Quinn’s growth, deal with a couple more years of baby fever and go through the painful process of lowering her crib again.

Should be pretty easy, right?

Im going to start this post off by stating the obvious: Home Goods is a-mazing. I don’t think Ive ever walked out of that place without something and tonight, for the second time in a row proved that I cannot go in there and leave with just what I was looking for. A few weeks ago, we were out running errands and HG was on the list of stops because I needed a basket to keep Quinn’s toys in for the living room. We had officially gotten to that stage in parenthood where you step on a toy in the most random part of the house and yell out a slew of four letter expletives and cursing the asshole who ever invented something as stupid as wooden blocks.

Im only kidding, wooden blocks are pretty awesome.

So here’s what happened: I was in mission mode that day and was doing a pretty good job of getting what I needed and moving on to the next stop. If you know me, you know this is monumental. We walked into Home Goods and like the clever little merchandisers that they are, had a small collection of eye-catching, amazing pieces right at the front. I know how it works, I worked retail for a long, long time. That day there were a couple of console tables, a slipper chair in a pretty delicious, colorful fabric and a sofa. Jason knows the deal too as he works retail, so it usually takes something pretty good to catch his eye, and like me, the sofa sucked him right in. We both noted that it was a nice sofa and Jason being Jason goes, “Yeah, for a thousand bucks.”

So like the idiot sucker of a consumer that I am, I checked the price tag.

$499 it read.

It was a mistake. Surely it had to be a mistake. Some new kid two days into his new job had to have put the wrong price tag on it.

Nope.

You know you have to have something when you just.cant.get.it.out.of.your.head.

Long, hilarious story short: twenty minutes of browsing, lunch, and a haircut later we were back at Home Goods for a second time. I went in for a basket for Q’s toys, and indeed left with a basket…and the sofa.

Fast forward to today. We were out running errands again, and Jason had to stop at one of his fellow company stores to pick up something that he needed for his overnight resets, then we hopped over to Carters and dropped a load of moolah for Quinn’s spring wardrobe and ya di da. Usual errand stuff. I recently reupholstered our coffee table into an ottoman, because why the hell not, and noted that I wanted to run into Home Goods to see what they had for trays to put on top. We split up in the store like we always do (we cover more ground that way) and then met up in another 15 minutes or so. Jason found this gem and I couldn’t be more excited about it.

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I should send him out more often when I need decor. BAM, mission accomplished. Got what I needed so we left, right? Uh no.

Somehow we ended up in the kitchen section because that is another weakness of mine (I won’t even admit how many times I wander into the Home/Kitchen section at Anthropologie and walk out with stuff that I really don’t need). Jason (again) found these AWESOME drinking glasses for $7.99. What the WHAT?!

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We love finding cool things like this that tie so easily into the style of our home and get so excited when a company as huge and recognized as Home Goods carries unique items that you can’t find as easily in other major chains.

Another thing that I’ve been itching to get for a while now is a bigger jar to store Quinn’s hair bows in. As this blog progresses, those who don’t know me or my daughter will learn pretty quickly that 99% of the time that girl always has a hair bow, wrap or headband in her hair. I have always loved the idea of an apothecary jar to house fun things in and I found this super cute piece hiding in the back of a top shelf in the corner of the store. For $10 I obviously grabbed it.

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So at this point, Jason is juggling the drinking glasses and coffee table tray, while Im pushing the stroller, hugging onto the apothecary jar and swinging (which I forgot to mention) this adorable robe/slipper set for Quinn.

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Then Jason starts joking how our self control goes out the door once we cross the threshold to this store every. single. time and that we should leave as soon as possible before our wallets catch fire. The whole time, one of the store employees was cracking up while he was straightening up the shelves next to us. Glad we could make someones day a little better! 🙂

When we bought our house last spring, no exaggeration, we were at Lowes and Home Goods three times a week for a solid month and lets be honest here, it wasn’t exactly like I could disguise myself; I have flaming red hair and was ready to pop a baby out. It was pretty embarrassing!

I’m hoping to find a few things to spruce up my downstairs bathroom for my next mini project. Ive got bare, happy yellow walls (Sherwin Williams Jersey Cream) against bright white wainscoting that I’m itching to add a little more oomph to. Lets just see if I can leave HG this time with no more than I need.

Ha! Yeah, right.

Mom Friends

Today Q and I decided to tag along with Jason to his dentist appointment. He’s been working overnights lately and after he gets home around 8am and sleeps until 1 or so, it leaves little room for us to all spend time together before he has to head back in.

Damn you retail.

Not that us kickin it in the waiting room while he gets poked and prodded in another room is exactly spending quality time together but its the little things. Like the drive down and back. Or slowly circling the block like a couple of creepers looking for a parking spot because there is snow EVERYWHERE. Seriously, its #$%&@*! ridiculous how much there is.

(sidenote: Ive discovered today that the snow on my property is now officially up to my boobs. It was a total WTF moment.)

ANYWAY, back to the dentist, who is also Jason’s uncle, so a regular visit also doubles as a bi-annual fam reunion. At this point everyone in the office knows who we are and because Quinn is beyond cute she sort of steals the show. She knows it too and totally uses it to her advantage. I was feeding her on one of the comfy sofas in the waiting room and every time someone walked in or looked her way, she’d toss her bottle, perk up and start “chatting”. Haha I can’t even get mad at her either because its so CUTE!

About 40 minutes in, this really nice woman walked in and sat down next to me. She was so personable and fun to talk to and I was sad that we only chatted for a few minutes because Jason’s appointment was over. After stroking Q’s ego for a few minutes (ha!) we got to chatting about the challenges of being a stay at home mom. Don’t get me wrong, there are far more rewards than challenges and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But sometimes it feels so good to talk and vent to someone who isn’t judging or shaming (Mom Shaming is totally a real thing folks and its evil) every move or decision you make. Its really shitty when you think you’ve got a new mom friend and then BAM she slams you with a below the knee “Oh, you formula feed?”

“Why, yes I do because my boobs are assholes.”

Seriously?

I would totally note the woman’s name in the waiting room today if I didn’t absolutely suck at remembering simple stuff like that, but I knew I liked her when she said, “You know what? As beautiful and natural as it is most of the time, sometimes breastfeeding sucks and it completely changes you and THATS what they don’t tell you”

HALLELUJAH! Someone GETS IT!

And its true. Sometimes it fucking blows. On Q’s two day birthday she drew blood. I’ll never forget it. When she was finally done with her 40 MINUTE MEAL, I burped her and she spit up. I freaked when I saw blood so I called in the nurse and she took one look at it, then my boob, laughed and said, “Oh hunny, she split you real good!”

What the fuck. THAT CAN HAPPEN?!

The things you learn…

Then four months later, four long, excruciating, exhausting months later, she did it again. I felt like I was dipping my boobs into a tank of piranhas every time she latched on and each time I was on the verge of just saying fuck it, someone get me a god damn bottle before these things fall off. But I was also adamant about continuing because I wanted to. I lasted six months before I switched, and it took another month or two to get over the guilt of not being able to breastfeed. Someone once told me, “If you feed your baby with love, thats all that matters”. That person deserves a medal.

Waiting room woman and I also talked about things other than BF obviously, like how many times a day I just want to hide in my basement with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Or how many times Ive literally been reduced to tears by how quickly Quinn grows out of outfits that we just bought her a week or two prior. Pre-baby, I used to always wonder why women would get sooooo dramatic over little things like the first hair cut or first tooth, and then once I had her it all made sense. I almost lost my shit at CVS the other night when I saw Q laughing at the guy behind me in line and I realized she had finally cut her first two teeth.

As much as I appreciate getting out of the house and being able to talk to people my own size (I say that with as much humor as possible because lets me honest, Ive got talking to babies and cats down to a science), I’m even more thankful to be able to talk to women much like today and actually relate and not feel shamed in any way. Its so refreshing!

When we finally left, she told me to keep doing me because I rock at it and to claim a room in my house with the most sunlight and make it MY own space, because I deserve to escape every now and then dammit.

I’m thinking my sunroom will be my next project… 😉

Cupcakes, Sparkling Grape and a House.

So I figured my very first blog post EVER (hooray!) should be about the house, since well, you know.

We bought this beauty almost a year ago (YAY for first anniversaries!) after one hell of a search that I noted about in my About page. It was just after the New Year when we came to look at it, and in this area we already had a couple of pretty big snowstorms under our belts so it had transitioned from really fluffy, perfect snow (the kind that makes everything look so darn pretty) to the gross kind that no body likes after its been touched, and shoveled, and blown and played in. The kind of snow that covers imperfections that you don’t see until much much later…

Beforehand, we looked at a super adorable cape, but the floor plan was a little on the wonky side. It had an L-shaped kitchen which would have been comfortable to use if we were miniature. Full bathroom in the dining room, a huge wasted open space at the top of a super narrow stairway and probably the loudest furnace Ive ever heard in my life. We had a bunch of wiggle room in terms of leftover moolah to redo the bathrooms because the price was so low which was great, and it was charming, but the house just didn’t speak to us the way we wanted. No, not like the next house.

We then pulled up the drive to our now home and LOVED the bungalow style immediately. I grew up always wanting to live in this type of house so I was already on a high before I even got out of the car. We had already seen so many different styles of houses, most of which was on the newer side, something I tried to avoid as much as possible. I hate new construction. It might be cleaner in a sense but it lacks so much character that older homes have. And I don’t feel like they’re built as solid as old houses either. This house was old and solid and I loved it. I have to say, even though the owners’ decor wasn’t exactly my style, they staged the house exceptionally well. And it felt so cozy! As we toured the house, the list of things we loved about the place just kept growing and growing. Mudroom (bonus!), huge kitchen with custom everything, wood floors, sunroom (double bonus!), 5 bedrooms (WHAT?!), secret nooks and crannies. Ahh yes, the nooks and crannies! The whole time I could just picture Q discovering these little rooms and making them her own little secret hideaways. She’ll have the advantage for future hide and seek games for sure.

I remember saying to our realtor Pam that I don’t usually like wood trim but this trim was so original and detailed and DARK that it grew on me almost instantly. In some places the veneer was coming off which created a fantastic texture and it just added to the character. The warmth that this house has had us thinking about Q and how much we wanted something like this for her to grow up in. This was definitely the kind of house for that.

There were also other little things about the house that were so, so cool. Like this light switch on the top of the banister. I play with it all the time and totally wish it still worked.

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Or this exposed brick! Im still trying to find the perfect thing to put in this little nook. I thought about built-ins…

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Or this hardware on Quinn’s bedroom and closet doors.

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Every door in the house, with the exception of the back door has the original hardware on it and the skeleton keys (see below) fit and lock every door from both sides. That’ll come in handy whenever Jason is in the doghouse.

Just kidding.

Of course there were some opportunities that we had to think about. The house dates back to 1930 and with that came the original single-paned windows, some of which were broken and cracked and all of which were jam packed with lead. Oy. There was already a radon mitigation system set in place which was something we didn’t see in any of the houses before, but we still had to consider testing because of the huge open hole in the basement where there was an old pipe buried about 6 inches down that went to who knows what. Well, someone knows but I forget. Upon inspection, where we hired both a home and a lead inspector, we also found that the front porch was pretty much deemed unsafe. Carpenter ants had eaten away at an entire side and the wood was practically rotted down to nothing. How did we not see that?! Its amazing the important little (or major) things you don’t really notice when you first look at a home.

Fast forward to our closing date because Im going to spare all of the dramatic negotiations in between. It was a warm breezy day and Jason and I were going crazy because our time got pushed from 10am until 1pm because of something I can’t remember. And then it got pushed back another hour or so AGAIN because their systems were down and couldn’t get our paperwork together. Add Quinn kicking the crap out of me like the little ninja that she was and it was a recipe for a very long day. I literally felt like we were NEVER. GOING. TO. CLOSE. And then we did. 🙂

We got our keys, which by the way, how badass is it that this is what we got for our very first set?!

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And we stopped at the store on the way over to pick up some cupcakes. Our lawyer, Matt, gave us a bottle of Prosecco but because I was pregnant we opted to save it and drink sparkling grape instead. We still have the bottle completely untouched. I thought about bringing it to the hospital to celebrate after the arrival of our sweet little Q, but a long unexpected turn of events at the hospital left me feeling too miserable to care about anything other than her and the pain of recovery. So we’ll crack it open on our first anniversary 🙂

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That day was utterly perfect. We sat on OUR completely unsafe, rotting porch and chowed on an entire package of cupcakes and watched the sun set over the pond across the street. We couldn’t believe how far we had come and that our search was finally FINALLY over! I think we joked for a solid ten minutes that we’re never leaving this house.

And thats when we realized, because all the snow had melted and you could actually see the ground, that there was no driveway. Well, there was obviously a driveway, but it was a hot mess of half dirt that was flooded everywhere and half chipped away strips of concrete running up the middle. What the….

I bet you can guess how quickly that shot up to the top of our To Do NOW List! 😉


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Pam insisted on a photo op after our final walk-through on the house.              Check out that rotting on the right! Sexy!

My next post I’ll dive more into the major work we immediately did as well as my very first project (YAY for nurseries!).