Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Ridiculous Polaroid: 3 Ridiculously Awesome Photos

It is the weekend! Yay for Sunday and all that it brings:
  • Scott home all day
  • A family trip to the park
  • Excited that I could get everything on my list done but not too upset when NOTHING gets done.
  • Long lines at the grocery store
  • A bunch of delicious Scott-made food

I will start this whole silly photos thing off with one of me. I am in the running for the title of most ridiculous photos of herself. It is a hard competition though. My sister had a number of bad haircuts and my best friend, Christina... well, you will see. She's got a few pretty amazing photos floating around.

I am only going to post 3 photos at a time every 2 or 3 weeks. Ohhhhh suspense!

1. The story of the ridiculous Polaroid. Location: My dentist's office about 10 years ago. My teeth had just been cleaned. The dental hygienist told me she needed to take a photo of me. So, I barred my teeth as best as I could to make sure she got a nice photo of my pearly whites. After she clicked the button she looked at me a bit strangely. We waited for the photo to expose itself in awkward silence. As soon as the picture started appearing I said, "hmm you can't see my teeth all that well." She said, "Welllll that's because this is for our file so we can recognize you. Annnnd I'm not sure anyone can recognize that." She let me keep the original Polaroid. Thank goodness... now I get to share it with the world!

Just for comparison sake here is what I looked like most of the time back then. 

2. Let's start out slow with Christina. It is hard to believe but her photos get more ridiculously awesome from here. 
There isn't much of a story to this photo. It was 1992ish. Christina has always had amazing bangs and amazing eyeglasses. If we could only see what kind of amazing outfit she's wearing my day would be complete. Christina (aka Stewey or Maz), are you sure your glasses weren't on upside-down?

Just for comparison's sake here is the lovely lady these days:

3. Helloooooo Kelly! As you may have gathered from this post, my sister can be a bit of a nerd. On this laser-backgrounded school day each student was allowed to bring one prop for their school picture. Most of us chose stuffed animals. Kelly chose a microscope. Obviously, that is awesome! What is not so awesome is her sweet, sweet dress with a doily for a collar and the beautiful goiter that is coming out the side of her hair. The lasers really just topped the whole thing off!

And a more recent photo of my beautiful sister (so you don't think she is still rocking doilies)

There you have it... The first edition to The Ridiculous Polaroid and other ridiculously awesome photos. I look forward to showing you more in the near future. 
Apologies to Kelly and Christina who will most definitely be featured again!

Tomorrow is October 1st! Crazy how time flies. We will start the month off right with some Halloween talk tomorrow!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Just To Whet Your Appetite- A Look At Consignment

Next week, I am going to write about how to save money on your baby. To get you ready for next week's post here is a peak at the deals to be had at consignment sales!

This morning Cora woke up just before 7. I was already showered and ready to go. As soon as I heard her stir, I was in her room giving her kisses. Soon, I was out the door. It was consignment sale time!

I could never be a Black Friday person. I get too competitive. I want to get the best deal and I want to get it fast. So, I was really taking my chances by setting foot in a huge kids consignment sale. 
Wooo Weee! As soon as I stepped in to Sardis Presbyterian Kids Consignment Sale I was overwhelmed with potential great deals and great things.

I wanted to go running through the store screaming Whooopeeee and throwing things in a cart (Supermarket Sweep Style).

Ohhh boy did I love that show! To this day, a lot of my sister's Would You Rather questions involve one choice being some sort of supermarket sweep. (image source)

I started in the clothes. I saw some cute things but I was mainly looking at prices. I didn't go for an item unless I was completely in love with it and it was a decent deal or it was a great deal on something Cora really needed. By the time I was done with clothes my arms were stuffed. One of the wonderful volunteers grabbed my haul and put it in a special pile marked with my name.

Next up was the toys. Cora has PLENTY of toys and I am somewhat of a minimalist. You certainly wouldn't have known it by the way I went tearing through the toy aisles. Everything I saw I thought about how much Cora would love it. I may have gone a little wild.

I was too busy looking for deals so I did not take photos. These photos are a pretty good representation of what it looked like.

 image from here

image from here

About an hour later and $116.58 broker I was home with my 33 item haul. 

Cora was eating breakfast when I got home. I brought everything in and displayed it for Cora and Scott to take a look. It took 3 or 4 trips to the car to bring it all in.

I rinsed some toys off and let her go to work. 

Scott liked the basketball hoop. He wanted to teach Cora how to dunk 

Cora found a toy that had a bunch of circus blocks. She came over and asked me to open it. It turns out she was mainly interested in the big zipper bag that it came in.

My favorite items include:
  • A Radio Flyer tricycle that Cora is not quite big enough for
  • The building blocks (I do wish they weren't so pink)
  • Lots of great clothes
  • 6 neat puzzles (she is LOADED UP on puzzles! Mama, come teach her how they work)

Looking around at the mess of new found goodies all over my floor I am starting to realize that I went a little buy-crazy. 

Lesson learned: Take your time. Buy only what you really need, not what you think your baby would like. Cora is entertained for hours by a ziplock bag. She would be happy without any of her new toys.

Here is a list of kids consignment sales by zipcode.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to one of my best friends! DEE-DEE, you are a rock-climbing machine!

I hope to see you back here tomorrow!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Entertaining The Baby... Activity Time For A 13 Month Old

Every other week or so I start worrying that I am not doing enough to challenge Cora or help her develop. So a-googlin' I go. I try to find activities that will keep her interested and involved. 

Cora is 13 months old now. What entertains her changes by the day. 

Here are some of the activities Cora and I have been doing lately:

  • Boxes! I have been trying desparately to make this box entertain her to no avail. Boxes used to be the best thing in the whole world when I was little. But it doesn't seem to bring the same excitement for Cora. I'm going to let this box decorate our house for another month or so in hopes that she will warm up to it.

  • Hide and seek. Cora is a hide and seek machine. She gets the hide part. She is always hiding and then laughing about the fact that I may not be able to see her. She kind of gets the seek part. Usually, she just runs after me as I hide and then thinks it is hilarious when I smoosh myself up against a door or under a chair.
  • Body part naming game. When Cora is in the right frame of mind she loves showing off her body part knowledge. For some reason she especially loves to show you her hair and head. Eyes are the hardest. Nose ALWAYS results in one finger up a nostril- sometimes the double nostril trick.
  • Reading books together. This is the most exciting thing for me! Cora has just started reading books and not eating them! She hardly ever holds still. But, these days if I get a big stack of books and put her in my lap to look through them SHE WILL STAY PUT! She loves pointing to things and trying to tell me what they are or the sound they make.
  • Photo albums. We look at photos all the time. I will name all the people in it and talk to her about each one. She loves to stop on photos of people she knows best. She points out "Dada" over and over and over!
Here she is looking at a photo album of my awesomely-mulleted school photos that my mom made me. Cora found this in a cabinet recently and carried it around with her for a while. I'm pretty sure she was confused and embarrassed that I ever had such ridiculous hair.
  • Helping with the laundry. AKA taking everything out of the dryer and throwing it onto the floor. She may not exactly help but she definitely enjoys it. When she hears me say the word, "laundry" or when she hears the dryer door open she comes a-runnin'.
  • The park. Outside. Walks. Cora just loves to get out of the house and see new stuff. The swings are an added bonus. Anytime I mention the words, "outside" or "walk" she is at the door wagging her tail and panting like a dog.

  • Playing with kitchen items. Cora LOVES spoons, bowls, tupperware, etc. Mainly, she likes to carry them around the house with her- trying them out in different spots. She likes to put things in containers and put lids on and off. She just became fascinated with zipper bags and is constantly trying to open them.
  • Watching everyday things. Post Officer deliver mail. Trash pick-up. People riding bikes and walking dogs. Whatever is going on she wants to see it.
  • Dancing. The girls has got moves. She has a fancy bounce move and a terrific arm flail.
  • Smell time. Last week, I busted out a big bowl and filled it with all sorts of different smells. Cora was pretty interested. She understands the idea of smell. If you even mention the word, "flower" her nose goes sniff-crazy. She has a couple home-made building blocks that have pictures of flowers. She is constantly smelling them and then holding them up to your nose to make sure you've had a chance to sniff them sufficiently. The hardest part of the smell-travaganza was making sure she didn't eat everything she smelled. Getting things back from her after she had had a good smell was not an easy task either.
Let's get this smell party started!
Checking out some lavender lotion. Scott kindly told me that it makes me smell like a grandma.
Smelling the azalea. I did not tell her to smell it. As I said earlier, she loves smelling flowers. She thinks that trees and plants deserve the sniffing attention too!
Minced garlic. Her sniffer better get used to this one because it is a common one here.
  • A few more... Bubbles, shape sorters, story time at the library, coloring

Well, there you have it- a sneak peak of what Cora and I do to have fun these days! 

Here are some that we will try soon:

  • Sidewalk chalk.
  • Pet store. We did this when Cora was really little but it didn't mean much to her. Now, when she sees an animal she goes running after it. A pet store is going to blow her mind!
  • Music freeze. I am ready to play anything that involves music. I am not sure that Cora has quite mastered the idea of holding still though.
  • Go on a picnic.
  • Painting. Take a cup of water and a paint brush outside and let your baby get to work.
  • Fun with flashlights. There are all sorts of flashlight games in the baby game books I have. Flashlight freeze, colorful scarves on flashlights, etc
  • Snuggle Time. This is always on my list. Unfortunately, I do not have a snuggler on my hands.

Here are a few great resources to help you find some more ways to entertain and challenge your baby:

Baby CenterBaby ZoneBaby Centre UKBubhub, The Bump

365 Games Smart Babies PlayBaby Play

Do you have some more suggestions for BabyToddlers? Mama, I know you were the queen of fun activities when we were little. What were you doing with us around this age? Dad, is this a good time to start playing "Troll under the bridge?"

REMEMBER... All babies/toddlers are different. Do not worry just because your baby may not have reached a milestone yet that another baby has. (Remind me of that when Cora  is still eating crayons at 3 years old).

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Nursery Chronicles: Step 2: Painting Spree

Welcome back to The Nursery Chronicles.

A couple of weeks ago we checked out Step 1Get rid of the old furniture and try out some more baby-centric duds for the room. Crib, bookshelf, and daybed.

Today, we enter into the exciting world of:
Step 2: Convince my husband to do more painting than anyone would ever want to do in their whole life. Start the painting spree by painting over the headboard on the wall. Get a dresser/changing table and refinish it.

As I mentioned in The Nursery Chronicles start-up post, the nursery used to be our guest bedroom. And for some reason I decided the guest bedroom needed a headboard painted on the wall. Luckily, we had some of the paint leftover.

So, it was easy to turn this:

Into this:

Next up, on the painting list was to transform the dresser we found on Craigslist.
Here is the photo from the CL ad:

I knew I wanted the dresser to be yellow and white but I wasn't sure which sections to paint what. That's when I said HELLO to the super basic program, Paint!

I took wayyyyy too much time trying out possible paint jobs and came up with these options.

Sorry to waste your time with all of the possible options too!
I narrowed it down to 2 and sent an email to some friends and family members (who are kind enough to spend their time looking at such silly things). The answer was overwhelmingly choice #1.

So, off to work my lovely husband went. The hardest part was taking all of the old paint off. The lady who we bought it from thought she was doing us a favor by adding another coat of polyurathane to it right before we picked it up. I can safely say... one of my least favorite favors ever. Not only did that mean Scott had to take even more paint off but it meant that this overcautious pregnant lady had to sit in a car filled with some serious paint fumes. I stuck my head out the window (Ace Venture style) and took in the lovely rigid February weather. Luckily, it was a short drive.

Scott put some paint thinner on, then sanded it down and started adding layers of paint.

Those sure are some freshly sanded drawers.

More paint!

Here is how the lovely dresser turned out after about 50 Scott hours! Thank you again, Scott. You are the best!!!!

That ends this edition of 
The Nursery Chronicles   Step 2: Convince my husband to do more painting than anyone would ever want to do in their whole life. Start the painting spree by painting over the headboard on the wall. Get a dresser/ changing table and refinish it.

Here is a complete list of the steps again in all of their steppin' glory:
The FINAL after photos are at the end of this post!

Step 1Get rid of the old furniture and try out some more baby-centric duds for the room. Crib, bookshelf, and daybed.

Step 2: Convince my husband to do more painting than anyone would ever want to do in their whole life. Start the painting spreeby painting over the headboard on the wall. Get a dresser/ changing table and refinish it.

Here is what you have to look forward to in the future:

Step 3: Get some more furniture. Start the decorating: Wire display for pictures.

Step 4: More decorating: Put up the book slings. Floating shelves.

Step 5: Decorations, Part 3: Hang art above the crib and all around the room

Step 6: Refinish side table and get a few more pieces of furniture

Step 7: Paint the chalkboard and mirror and hang them.

Step 8: Put up the curtains. Line the inside of the dresser with some of my extra fabric

Step 9: Paint the mailbox. Finishing touches.

Just a reminder... when we get through all of these steps we get to this:

Hope to see you tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Go Out. Be Great.

Recently, my childhood friend, Katie Fulmer Baker, tragically lost her five year old son, Nate. I had the pleasure of meeting Nate and he left quite an impression on me. He was sweet, friendly, and best of all, very silly!

Despite their unimaginable tragedy Katie and her amazing family were quick to make sure they could honor Nate's memory. I applaud them immeasurably for finding a way to make good out of terrible.

They set up a foundation for a new playground at Nate's school. They know Nate would have loved it. People are generous... in the first week they raised about $25,000! They now have more than $40,000 (including $7,800 that the PTA received in Nate's honor). They are closing in on the $50,000 mark, which is the amount needed to start construction on the playground. After they reach their initial goal they plan to continue with more projects as a non-profit organization. Katie, her family, and her friends are using the slogan, "Go out. Be great" to inspire the world to do just that.

They also have a website where people can share stories about Nate, donate, and stay updated on the progress of the playground.

I will try to honor Nate every day by being a bit more like him- sweet, friendly, and SILLY! 

I will try to Go Out. Be Great.

Go ahead and try it yourself... hold the door for someone when you're in a rush; send your dad a card; volunteer; dance around in a field; meet your neighbors; play on a playground; smile just to smile; if someone inspires you- tell them; if you love someone- tell them; really be there for someone who is hurting; teach your baby how to dance; let someone in front of you in the check-out line. Above all, be sweet, friendly, and very silly!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

More Art!

The theme this week seems to be MORE so I'm going with it...

A couple of weeks ago you got Art For Kelly and now you get more.

Does anyone want take a little gander at some art by a spazzy lady? To make it more interesting (READ: weird) I photographed some of it at the playground with Cora. Don't worry, I tried to wait until all the other playgrounders were gone before I ran to the car and busted out the art gallery.

But... I didn't try hard enough. I played the waiting game with a little girl and her babysitter. They won. They got to see me go from the normal mom saying "wheeeee" as she pushed her daughter on the swing to the crazy lady who puts paintings on the slide. They definitely seemed confused about the whole thing. Fair thing to be confused about, I think. Poor Cora- she has a wacky mama.

And so the weirdness begins

The playground always works well to de-crank Cora when she's acting sassy.

Gravel is fascinating!

Where's the baby?
This looks, to me, a little like a still-shot out of a suspense movie.

The art gallery comes home.

A little weirdness for the neighbors to see too.

So, there they are. A few paintings out on the town.

But wait, there's more randomness for you...
I save lots of picture of things that I think are beautiful. I have a ridiculous collection of scraps of paper around the house and jpegs on my computer. I'll look at these pictures for inspiration sometimes while I'm painting.

Somehow I came across a store called Casa Ideas. It has locations in a few South American countries. They have bucket-loads of awesome, art-inspiring merchandise.

Here are a few things that I will keep in mind the next time I paint:

If you want to see some more art-related posts I have got them for you!
Here is some art I painted for my sister. Here are some animals that inspire art. And a little circle art for you.

Annnnnnd the answers from Sunday's WYR questions:

  • Live in a world that has real unicorns rather than live in a world where there is a rainbow every other day
  • Even Split: Have to drink 3 cups of pickle juice every day or have to wear a huge pink tutu every day
  • Even Split: Never be allowed to sing again (even when you are alone) or the only thing you can watch on TV (or stream online) is sports
  • Always smell a good bit like cat pee rather than only leave the house when it is dark out