Saturday, June 29, 2013

Living room done

Here's some of what's happening:

  • This afternoon, my husband and I finished the living room (except for the boxes we are keeping for the moving company and a friend who lent us book boxes).  The following rooms are unpacked now:  playroom, living room, laundry room, D's bathroom, master bath and T's nursery.  That leaves the following areas to be worked on:  D's room, C's room, C's bathroom, the master bedroom, one messy countertop in the kitchen and the garage.  We're heading into a busy time, so I've booked my husband for 15 minutes at a time for several days this coming week.  Barring the unforeseen, we will finish this.
  • I went out to dinner at Panera's by myself with Baby T (I got their chicken avocado Cobb salad).  Baby T spent at least half an hour gnawing on my dinner roll.  Then we went and did some serious window shopping at the nice big strip mall that has four stores devoted entirely to children's clothing.  Now that we are unpacked to the point that I can bring stuff home and have a place for it, I allowed myself to hit the winter clearance racks.  I got Baby T a lovely pair of purple corduroy pants with purple corduroy heart appliques and a bright pink sweater dress for a grand total of $13.  So cute!   
  • At the strip mall, I also visited Pier 1 and I was considering something like this settee as extra seating for the play room.  It being Pier 1, they sell practically unlimited cushions to go with the settee.  An IKEA leather love seat is another option, but a wicker settee is more budget conscious.    
  • Baby T went to bed before 9 PM tonight.  Awwww...
  • Baby T enjoyed one of her daddy's homemade pumpkin muffins earlier today.
  • Here is the current list of solid foods that Baby T is cleared to eat:  rice cereal, apple, banana, Cheerios, peas, squash, bread, sweet potato and pears.  Baby T has also had egg and presumably cow's milk in French toast a number of times.  As usual, I have doomsday quantities of baby food in the cupboard.  It's such a slow process introducing new foods and doing a three-day trial for allergic reactions that I'm still working my way through the Gerber Stage 1s (the single ingredient fruit and veggie purees).  Oh yeah, and at least one baby book (What to Expect?) treats it as a given that the 8 month old will be well on their way to transitioning to table food.  Slow down, people!
  • We have next week mostly off, except for several swim classes for C.      

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Entry done

Here's some of what's happening:

  • Our entry is done.  We tidied up the bookshelf there and decided to discard a 17-year-old vacuum that was starting to smell funny.
  • I love our house SO MUCH.  Hope it doesn't have termites (I found a couple suspicious bugs in the bathroom that looked a lot like the termites on the internet).  
  • My husband says that the sad-looking tree leaning over our house is a larch, not a pine, it's way out of its climate comfort zone (it's an alpine tree), and that it's 39 feet tall.    
  • We've given Baby T some chances to sit on our lawn.  Much like C who first encountered grass as a toddler (!), Baby T was initially scared of the grass.  Baby T has a number of new fears, as the child development books say is typical for her age.  She is frightened by loud voices and by our toy accordion.  
  • Baby T loves playing with our hair.  She is no longer the infant who happily sat in her car seat for hours.  She wants to be on the floor, she wants to move, and she wants quality entertainment.
  • One of Baby T's peculiarities is that she has two totally symmetrical cowlicks at the back of her head. The cowlicks run into each other at the top of her head, forming a blonde rooster tail.  Her hair looks a lot like a Kewpie doll's.  
  • Of late, Baby T has been waking up between 7 and 8 (depending on diaper conditions).  I try to give her a real meal of solids once a day (cheerios, baby food and cup of water) and she often has a bagel or roll during our dinner.  Aside from that, she's on a liquid diet.  I'm supposed to work her toward three solid meals a day, although I have concerns about overdoing it.  She often snoozes briefly in the morning (for instance, during our morning walk) and then takes a big nap starting around 2 PM.  I may need to try to adjust her nap a little to cope with the big kids' school pick-up.  While teething often pushes her bedtime later than normal, she has been going to sleep around 8:30 PM the past two nights, which is very convenient.  I'd like that to continue--it was really hard to get much done in the evening or help with C and D's bedtime when Baby T was going to bed at 9:30 or 10 or 11 PM.   
  • C has had three days of swim lessons so far this week and tonight my husband took her to the college pool to work on her form.  C has been complaining about how hard they work in the swim class (lap after lap), but my husband says that she is much faster than before and her form is very good.  Yay!  If all goes well, C is supposed to take two two-week Red Cross courses by the end of the summer.    

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

More camp

Here's some of what's happening:

  • The following rooms are now completely unpacked (I think):  D's bathroom, the master bath, the laundry room, the playroom and Baby T's bedroom.  About half of the house is totally unpacked and several rooms are very close to done.  I did a big push on the kitchen yesterday, unpacking boxes and then cheating a little by moving boxes of non-kitchen stuff elsewhere.  The great virtue of this being such a large house is that our possessions (coming from smaller homes) disappear readily into its generous storage.    
  • I discussed with D which bath toys he wants to keep for his bathroom.  I collected his rejects for Baby T.  I decided that Baby T's toys would need a plastic container that would drain and I was very pleased to find a large plastic colander at the grocery store.  It's going to work very well, hopefully.  
  • Baby T is teething.  It makes her grumpier than usual and often makes her go to bed an hour or two later than I think she would if her teeth weren't bothering her.  She has has 7 teeth at last count, way more than she needs for her purees and gumming dinner rolls.
  • I see from reading What to Expect that they would like Baby T to already be moving away from purees toward table food.  The problem is that introducing new foods is such a slow process (a new one every three days) that I am taking a long time to work through the Stage 1 baby food in the cupboard.  Also, I feel like Baby T has just started to be able to eat purees well.  On a typical day lately, she'll have a bagel or tortilla while we eat dinner and then she'll have a few Cheerios and the new puree (more or less depending on how much she likes it).        
  • My husband got a tree pruner and has been sawing and lopping small branches that were touching the house.  For termite prevention, our house inspector wants vegetation kept well away from the house.     
  • This week, D is in full-day camp studying Texas plants while C is doing a two-week Red Cross swim course (not a camp).  

Sunday, June 23, 2013

One month after move

As of tomorrow, it will be one month after our move.  I think that one month is the crucial number for move-in.  I can only really sustain white hot intensity for that period, and then I have to get back to normal life.  And what with our West Coast trip and camps and baby, I can't really say it's been white hot.  Here's what we've been doing:
  • We celebrated my birthday on Thursday.  I got a new bread machine from my MIL.  Yay!  My husband has already made a whole wheat French bread in it. 
  • On Friday, we took C's good friend and her family to the new and improved water park and then lunch.  Baby T and I went, too.  We have managed to go to the water park three times already this summer.  One more visit and we will have broken even on the season passes.  
  • On Saturday, we put in one good hour on D's bedroom in the morning.  In the afternoon, the family friends we went to the water park with took C and D to the children's museum until closing.  My husband and I worked on a closet, puzzles and various odds and ends.  We are getting to the finicky, time-consuming part of the move-in effort.
  • D will be in full-day camp this coming week and C will have a swim lesson every day.  My plan at this point is to shelve major unpacking until next Saturday.  If we do major unpacking every Saturday until we're done (with some work during some of Baby T's naps) I think we will do very well.  We'll try to do more during weeks when the kids don't need to be driven for camps.      

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Laundry basket

We just introduced Baby T to her first laundry basket.  D also persuaded Baby T to crawl through the baby play tunnel.

Monday, June 17, 2013

T-ville and nursery

We spent far longer than I expected putting the finishing touches on T-ville and T's nursery today.  In the morning, we sorted toys in T-ville (that's the name of T's playroom/my parlor in the formal dining room).  We moved toys out of a cardboard box and into a plastic milkcrate (not a real milkcrate--the kind that they sell at college bookstores).  Then my husband gated T-ville with our old baby gates.  That turned out to be a huge project.

I tried to take a nap when it looked like Baby T was going to nap.  That didn't work out, so we wound up sorting and boxing baby, toddler and preschooler toys and baby equipment in the nursery in the later afternoon.  We were getting very close, so I proposed an outing for dinner, a visit to Walmart to get storage baskets, and a trip to Jamba Juice.  We went to Rosa's for fajitas and taco salad, got plastic baskets and outlet covers at Walmart, and then did smoothies at Jamba Juice.  Then I disinfected the baskets and put away various toys and baby clothes and linen in baskets on the built-in shelves.  

The nursery still needs babyproofing on the cabinets and I would like to improve the parent seating in T-ville (and invest in a Keurig coffee maker for the kitchen with my birthday money), but both rooms are essentially unpacked as of today.  The following rooms are officially unpacked:

  • master bath
  • laundry room
  • T-ville
  • nursery
That leaves:
  • master bedroom (nearly done)
  • D's bedroom 
  • D's bathroom
  • living room (nearly done)
  • kitchen (mostly done)
  • C's bedroom
  • C's bathroom
  • garage
C's bedroom and D's bedroom are currently the least unpacked, as well as being high-priority, but they are also going to be very lengthy, finicky projects.  I'm concerned that the unpacking may stall out once we start there.    

The big kids have been building structures for Babyzilla to destroy.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


I did my first serious work on Baby T's nursery this morning.  Baby T's nursery is an interesting room, a former home office with a dormer, two small triangular windows and lots of built in-cabinets and built-in shelves.  It's painted white (and/or a very light pink) so it's already baby suitable.  I stuffed the built-in cabinets with boxes of kid clothes and toddler equipment, put a few baby toys on the shelves, and then put boxes of baby equipment in one corner and boxes of mixed baby, toddler and preschooler toys in another corner.  That clears the main floor and the effect is generally pleasing, but I still need to get to the remaining boxes.  I suspect we're going to need to buy some toy storage for the nursery and T-ville (i.e. the former formal dining room turned playroom).  

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Laundry room

We just finished cleaning and lining shelves and unpacking the laundry room.  The master bath and the laundry room are the only two rooms that are totally unpacked (and I'm expecting some more stuff to migrate over to the laundry room).  The living room, T's playroom, the kitchen and the master bedroom are largely done, but still in progress.  The kids' rooms and baths are basically in boxes as yet.  This house has a lot of rooms.

New umbrella stroller?

Baby T's carseat/stroller frame combo is starting to squeak terribly, so it looks like it's time to buy her first umbrella stroller.  Which one, though, is a tricky question.  I could go the boring route and buy yet another Maclaren Volo, but there's a great big world full of strollers to look into.  I even plunged in and bought a consult from Stroller Queen (owner of 350 strollers and expert on import brands).  Other possibles are the Joovy Groove Ultralight and the Inglesina Swift.  I may yet just get another Volo.  There's also the option of just going with an inexpensive vanilla full-sized stroller with kid cupholder and snack tray and a big storage basket (like this one from Jeep).  I need to remind myself that what we are looking for is a replacement for the car seat/stroller frame combo, a good car stroller, something for opening up and folding up again 2-4 times a day and not taking up too much space in the trunk.  The siren song of the kid snack tray and the big basket is very seductive, though.  We probably need to make some store visits in order to check folds and comfort.  Ideally, we'd make it to Buy Buy Baby in Plano, but even just Babies R Us and Burlington Coat Factory would be a good start.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Summer for real

Here's some of what's been happening:

  • Baby T loves French toast.  That has at least three allergens in it.  The question of whether or not it's wise to introduce common allergens is currently very murky (see this article), so I have no idea what the "right" answer is these days.
  • We took a long vacation from solids before, during and after our move (except for bread products), but during our West Coast trip, Baby T had a tub of baby food just about every day.  She was suddenly capable of finishing off a 2.5 oz tub of pureed fruit at one sitting, rather than eating a small quantity and making a mess.  Her current regimen is one serving of some form of bread a day and one tub of fruit.  I've been able to start using a toddler spoon. 
  • According to the pediatrician, we should be aiming for three solid meals a day for Baby T.  That sounds like a lot.
  • Baby T went to bed tonight at around 8:45 PM.  It would be really nice if that turned into a pattern, as the bigger kids go to bed around 9 and 9:30.  She naps once or twice a day now.
  • We've started using the laundry chute.  
  • Airport security seems to have improved greatly since we were last flying with small children.  I had TSA help loading our stuff on the conveyor at two different airports and I was waved into the family line.  I have vivid memories of repeatedly snarling up security lines when the big kids were small, so this is fantastic.  I also noticed a special over-75 line at one of the airports, which is also a good idea.  Also, I saw a sign saying that kids under 12 don't need to take off shoes.  Also, you can take enough baby food for your flight, in addition to your one quart bag of liquids.  What an amazing outbreak of good sense!  
  • Based on the ominous creaking noises it's making, I think the car seat/stroller frame combo is coming to the end of its usefulness for Baby T.  I'll miss it, because I like having Baby T be able to face me and it's such a good air travel solution.  I'm eventually going to get a new umbrella stroller to put in the trunk (something like a Maclaren Volo) and then use our Bumbleride Indie jogging stroller for neighborhood use (I keep it parked in our entry).  
  • I was on a bit of an Amazon spree after our move and trip, once we were sure we weren't totally cleaned out by the house purchase.  I ordered and got a grocery cart seat cover for Baby T (which will be very useful once she sits up better).  Although, come to think of it, it may not work for us to take Baby T to the grocery store during the summer, as the car seat will heat up too much if we leave it in the grocery store parking lot.  Oops.  The grocery cart cover is really pretty, though, and we'll be able to use it in late September or so.  I also ordered an Exersaucer, because I need another baby-holding device for upstairs.  She's getting so mobile, though, that I may not be able to use it that long.  I  mostly just need to unpack, though.
  • The big kids (especially D) have been enjoying setting up buildings for Baby T to destroy.      
  • We don't have any camp responsibilities next week, so that should be the start of our big unpacking push.  

We're back!

We're back from 9 days visiting the West Coast.  My husband and two oldest went to Victoria and my husband did a conference there while C and D did Victoria stuff with their grandparents.  Meanwhile, Baby T and I flew by ourselves to Western Washington and visited with various relatives.  Baby T did OK, although there were a couple of late nights (especially in a new place) when it took a long time to get her down to sleep.  We did very well on the road with the carseat/universal carrier combo.  I am thinking I will try not to fly with Baby T when she is 1 or 2--as I recall, there's a bad patch between mobility and age 3 when small children 1) are hard to deal with on planes 2) don't sleep in strange beds.  I'm also not crazy about toddler car seats, especially not when having to install them myself.  Booster seats are much simpler to deal with.

Baby T had a lot of floor time on the road and she is now an expert creeper.  She is also able to raise her tummy off the ground.  Crawling is probably right around the corner.  Baby T now has four bottom teeth, one top tooth, and one top tooth that is coming in.  She is 8 months old.          

We got home Saturday, rested Sunday and then Monday the big kids were off to camp.  They have a very complicated schedule this week with a total of six drop-offs and pick-ups.  D is doing a space station simulation camp and C is doing a cooking class in the morning and a shadow puppet class in the afternoon.  It's been a very fun and productive week, although it's quite impossible to do anything beyond those drop-offs and pick-ups, some basic meal preparation and the family's enormous laundry.  I did somehow manage to unpack the master bath, which is the only room that is done.