Our Nursery is Done! And Nobody Sleeps there Any More!

Posted by on Feb 18, 2015

Last night we finished decorating the baby’s room. Yeah, yeah, I know he’ll be five months old on Saturday, but what can I say? He’s kept us busy.

When we first decided to give him a room of his own, we weren’t even planning to decorate it. I mean, sure, I figured eventually we’d paint over the pink walls, but I certainly wasn’t in any rush.

Then, a week before my due date, the nesting instinct kicked into overdrive and I went to the store to buy a gallon of paint, some curtains and a throw pillow.

I’m not sure my husband totally believed me when I told him we would be redoing the room that day, but when he saw me and my 39-week belly pulling furniture away from the wall, he knew he had no choice but to help out.

So that day he edged and I rollered and the Pixie tasted and we yelled because eating paint can NOT be good for you and then before we knew it, the room was a gorgeous shade of aqua. Perfect for a little bundle of boy.

Crib

Didn’t it turn out great? I love the colours. And half of the stuff we used to decorate with was already stashed in our basement so the makeover was pretty cheap.

Alphabet Cards from Etsy

Like these adorably retro alphabet cards – I bought them years ago when we first decided to try homeschooling The Princess. I’m 99% sure I bought the PDF files off of Etsy.com (affiliate link) and then had them printed on cardstock at Staples – the whole set cost me maybe $15 in total? They match the room so perfectly that you’d think that I based the whole colour scheme off of them.

Etsy Print

This print came from Etsy (affiliate link) too. I bought it on a whim because it’s fun and it matches the room perfectly and I like the idea of using a fair or carnival as a decorating theme someday.

Scrap Fabric Bunting

The fabric bunting cost me next to nothing. I raided the discount section of Fabricland for orange printed fabric, and then I cut it into strips and tied the pieces to some twine along with the alphabet cards. Quick and colourful and easy.

Paper Lanterns

These lanterns I found packed away in the basement. They’re a hit – the baby loves staring at them. Or maybe he’s afraid that they’re going to fall down on his head and crush him – it’s hard to say. I originally made little paper baskets to hang under them so they’d look like whimsical hot air balloons – that’s why there are little flags around the middle. But the baskets looked awful. A total Pinterest fail.

Oh well, you can’t win all the time.

Wrap Distraction

And, well… these are just some wraps. Sorry, I know they don’t have anything to do with the room decor, but what can I say? I’m easily distracted by pretty wraps.

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And by babies too.

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Munch, munch, munch.

Comfy Nursing Lounger

Back to the nursery. We just moved this chaise up from the basement last week. I’m far to lazy for rocking chairs – I like to put my feet up when I nurse. This is the Kivik chaise from Ikea and it’s ridiculously comfortable. I love having it in the nursery because it was going to waste in the basement. Now I can put up my feet, quietly watch Downton Abbey on the iPad and knit while the baby sleeps. That is, if the girls haven’t already grabbed a book and claimed it for themselves.

Before we moved the chaise up last week, I had a mattress on the nursery floor so that I could sleep in the same room as my baby. The Canadian Paediatric Society recommends that you sleep in the same room as your baby for the first six months and I thought a mattress in the nursery would be easier than cramming a crib in the master bedroom.

And, of course, a mattress on the floor is safer than a full-sized bed if you decide to bedshare with your baby. Which we ended up doing immediately, because really, is there anything better than waking up next to a beautiful newborn? Every morning my heart just melts.

I don’t know why I ever bother setting up a crib.

So then why did I haul the mattress out of the room and replace it with the chaise? Well, it happened because of the last post I wrote, called Simple Birthdays:

“The day didn’t feel intentionally simple – it just sort of turned out that way. I was too tired to do anything else. I’m too tired to plan. We were all sick this week, but beyond that, I’ve been exhausted for weeks. My thoughts are disjointed. My ambition comes and goes. I don’t feel rested when I wake up in the mornings.”

When I first wrote that post, I sounded really depressed. In fact, I rewrote it almost entirely before I published so that I didn’t come across as so miserable. But reading through the first draft really got me thinking – what was going on?

I thought about my mood a lot that day, and then that night, and then the next day – right until I had a random insight: the baby’s room where I’ve been sleeping doesn’t have a ceiling fan.

Suddenly I knew what was going on.

This is going to sound silly, but I can’t sleep in a room without air circulating in some way. If I can’t open the window, I have to make sure the ceiling fan is gently spinning so that air keeps moving. If the window is shut and the fan is off, I wake up with a killer headache.

Does that sound dumb? Probably, but that’s just the way it is.

Who knows? Maybe I have horrible night-time gas and a stream of fresh air is the only thing keeping me from asphyxiating on my own methane. Although that doesn’t explain why all of my children want to sleep as close to me as possible. It’s more likely that the constant air movement is the only thing that keeps my brain from overheating as I’m smothered by multiple children, plus a cat the size of a small bear. And now I’ve grown so used to fresh air that I can’t sleep well without it.

Now just think – I’ve been sleeping in a stuffy room for four months now with no fan. In fact, that room is the worst of all the bedrooms – it’s freezing cold in the winter and boiling hot in the summer. It’s its own microclimate of stale air.

Obviously I can’t crack a window when it’s 15 below zero, especially when I’m using a thin little blanket instead of a luxurious feather duvet because I’ve got a teeny little baby sharing the mattress with me. Thank goodness babies are little heat bundles or I’d never survive a cold winter’s night.

The next day, I kicked everyone out of the master bedroom, took the bed apart and put the mattress down on the ground. I don’t care where everyone else sleeps – my mattress and my ceiling fan have been reclaimed in the name of my sanity.

It just took one night to feel the difference. It’s been two weeks now and I feel like a different person. We’re talking a night and day difference from before.

I can focus again. Our homeschooling is going great. I’ve got four blog posts started and I have two more that I can’t wait to write. I’m starting to finish off the projects that have been half finished for months.

Projects like the nursery. It’s done and it’s my favourite room in the house.

I do hope someone ends up sleeping in there some day…

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Simple Birthdays

Posted by on Feb 3, 2015

It snowed on Sunday, just like it did four years ago when The Pixie was born.

I remember going to pick up the birthing tub at the midwives four years ago. It was the day before her birthday –  I was 40 weeks + 2 days. The midwives told me that a wicked winter storm was coming and that if I wanted a home birth, I’d have to deliver my baby before the snow arrived. The Pixie, ever so compliant, was born early the next afternoon, right before 25 cm of snow was dumped on Hamilton by the “2011 Groundhog Day Blizzard.”

Four years ago, it felt like her birth day would never come. I was tired of being pregnant. I was just tired of waiting. This year, however, her birthday came all too quickly and I felt completely unprepared.

We didn’t do anything fancy – at four years old, just having family over for supper is exciting enough. So we invited her oma, poppa, grandma and pops, plus my cousins and my aunt and uncle. There was pizza and cake and gifts and I’m pretty sure she thought it was all fantastic.

Even so, part of me feels bad that we didn’t do something more, though I’m not sure exactly what that would even be.

My mom was always so good at birthdays when I was growing up. I’d wake up to an apartment full of balloons and streamers strung from corner to corner to corner. My mom would even twist two colours together to make the streamers extra fancy. Try as I might, I can barely get a single colour streamer to stay up on the wall. We tried in November for The Princess’ birthday – I’m pretty sure my husband ended up using duct tape to keep them up. Clearly the skill of streamer manipulation was not passed down to my generation.

The Pixie didn’t seem to mind the lack of decorations. Having a clean house was probably special enough. And I use the term “house” loosely – a “half of the main floor” would be more accurate.

We didn’t go all out on gifts either. This year we each made her something. My husband made a cake – a beautiful double-layer chocolate cake with pink buttercream icing. It was, of course, amazing. You’d never know it was gluten-free.

The Princess made a book. She drew the pictures and then dictated the story to my mother, who typed out the text. Then I scanned the pictures and added the text and shipped the file off to Staples to be printed on glossy paper and spiral-bound.

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I knit a stuffed toy – it’s Totoro from the movie My Neighbour Totoro. I’m more or less satisfied with how it turned out. The pattern I chose ended up being very unclear – I wish I had picked a different one because I had to just wing it while knitting as fast as I could. In general, the crochet patterns I found were much nicer but I’m not as comfortable crocheting – trying to crochet an entire project in less than 48 hours seemed doomed to fail.

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Originally, I was going to make a felt birthday crown too, like the ones I’ve made for my older daughter’s last two birthdays. However, on Saturday I couldn’t find my felt and didn’t want to spend valuable knitting time driving to the store and back so I decided not to make one after all. I was already second-guessing the crown at that point – The Pixie doesn’t like things tight around her head. I could barely get her to try on another crown so that I could judge the sizing. I’ll start making her crowns next year instead.

So that was it from us. A cake, a book and a stuffed toy. Does that seem like too little? I’m not sure.

Part of me is thrilled that we had such a simple celebration. It’s the kind of birthday that I always wished that we could do. Simple. Small. So why do I feel like I let her down?

Maybe it’s because the day didn’t feel intentionally simple – it just sort of turned out that way. I was too tired to do anything else. I’m too tired to plan. We were all sick this week, but beyond that, I’ve been exhausted for weeks. My thoughts are disjointed. My ambition comes and goes. I don’t feel rested when I wake up in the mornings.

I don’t know. I wish I had made the day more special for her because she really is a special girl.

The funny thing is, I think she had a great time at her party. I’m the only one that I disappointed.

I know there’s a take away lesson here – simple celebrations are fine? Presents don’t make the party? I think the lesson might be that I should some pretty birthday bunting that doesn’t require scotch tape or twisting, but I’m not sure yet. Thankfully, our baby’s birthday is still 8 months away, so I’ve got time to figure it out.

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Hallway Hopscotch and How to Make a ‘How To’ Post

Posted by on Jan 22, 2015

I made a hopscotch outline out of painters tape on our hallway floor. It took me 30 seconds to do, plus another 5 minutes to make bean bags.

And really, that right there could be my entire blog post – it’s really more of a tweet or a Facebook status update, right?

Yeah, there’s not a lot I can write about making a hallway hopscotch. It literally takes no skill or time whatsoever. I mean, it’s strips of tape. In squares.

So, rather than creating a How To post for creating a hallway hopscotch, I’ve created a How To post on making How To posts using my hallway hopscotch as an example. Mostly so I can show off a couple pictures. And because it amuses me.

Let’s get started.

Begin with a subheading followed by a brief explanation and a photo. Add a humerous comment, if you’d like.

Making a Hallway Hopscotch

First, we laid down the tape. This took less than a minute. You don’t even need to sweep first, unless you plan to post pictures online.

I probably should have spent more time sweeping.

Hallway Hopscotch - an instant boredom buster.

Move on to your next step. Don’t forget the sub-heading for readability.

Making Bean Bags

Next, we needed something to throw. I don’t believe throwing rocks in the house is going to end well, despite what my children say. Instead, we decided to make simple bean bags by scooping dried beans into Ziploc bags and then stuffing the bags into socks that have lost their mates.

At this point, you should include a montage of closely cropped photos – this is a must for any good tutorial.

For example, my first photo demonstrates the concept of dried beans in a bag – just in case anyone isn’t clear on how that works.

Huh. I should have photoshopped that speck on the floor out. Blogger fail.

bagobeans

Next I’ve included a close up of my daughter’s hands holding the beans. This is why people blog, you know. There is literally nothing else we can do with these types of pictures.

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Moving on, I have a photo of a stuffed sock that’s been knotted at the top.

Yeah, there’s no real way to make an old sock look artsy. Kind of a let down after the last photo, I know. And what is going on with my floor? I washed it by hand just hours before taking this picture. Arg.

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Next, I have a photo of the finished bean bag socks arranged in a bucket against a nice hardwood background. An old plastic sand bucket was okay in a pinch, but a large mason jar would have been better. Because mason jars.

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Don’t forget to include the bloopers shot!

The Pixie was so proud of her first bag that she ran to the hallway and tossed it high in the air. Too bad she forgot about stuffing the bag in a sock. Or zipping up the top, for that matter.

Oops – guess we’ll be sweeping after all.

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Oh, the hilarity.

Finally, finish off with a bit of encouragement – and don’t forget the feature photo made especially for Pinterest.

Tape on the floor. Anyone can do it.

Hallway Hopscotch - an instant boredom buster.

Annnnnnnndddd…. done. Now to spam the post on all my social networks at once. I’m told my friends love that.

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