moved in: the kitchen

kitchen moved in |

The move-in pace has definitely been slow for us, but something about this home already feels more long-term. With our last house, we thought “3-5 years”…I see us in this one for longer, so it seems fitting we take our time to settle in here for the long haul.

I think everyone has their “thing” that keeps them grounded and like they (somewhat) have it together. For me, it’s homemaking. Nesting. Whatever you want to call it. In the craziness of new home and new baby, home is sanctuary to me. I was lucky to soak up twelve weeks of leave with our little man the first three months of the year, but rather than nap, I found it more stabilizing to unpack boxes, arrange a bookshelf, or simply just know where the dinner plates were for the first time in weeks. It’s hard to relax on the couch with a new babe when everywhere you look it’s chaotic! After heading back to work, the changing seasons inspired me to dive into the decorating thing and finally make some decisions about color and how to use certain spaces.


Last I posted about the house it was the day before move-in, and a lot has happened! There’s more to do in our long-term plan, but if I wait until it’s “done” (which it never will be), these posts would never be written.


From hanging curtains and blinds, to adding art, purchasing furniture, framing photos, furnishing a patio space to grill and chill, and dancing to music from the speakers Page installed around the house (case in point, above!), we are slowly but definitely making this house a home. It’s now August (seriously?!), and with some progress under our belts, I’m drafting several posts to show progress in different areas of the home, starting with the kitchen!


Now that we’ve lived with it all for several months, I am happy to say we are still thrilled with the materials and appliances we selected during the build. We were initially drawn to this builder because of their calling card oversized island kitchen layouts — ours continues to be the hub of the house and I’m so glad we have it! We added some barstools so it can multifunction as a spot to sit and snack or drink — perfect for when one of us is prepping a meal.




Building is tricky in that you are constantly being swayed by this and that — and it’s all running an upgrade tab in the background. :) We were budgeted for a perfectly nice sink and faucet, but opted to step up to a stainless farmhouse sink and industrial kitchen-style faucet. Worth every penny, when I consider how many times every single day I’m in this very spot!


Panning down, I added a jade green runner between the kitchen wall and island. I still have a few yellow elements from our last kitchen, but they seem brand new when juxtaposed against a new and cooler hue.


(Um sidebar…can we talk about how much I love central vac? Ah. maz. ing. I have a feeling I haven’t even yet fully appreciated this little suction dustpan dandy until Crew is in full-on cheerios and puffs mode!)



Hardware was a place we went for the bargain — these are various lengths of the LANSA line from IKEA. The longest lengths were perfect for our 30″ drawer cabinets we opted for on the undercounter portion of the cabinetry. Another decision we’d pay for again and again — no more stooping and scooping through bottomless cabinet drawers – everything is visible and easy to access.


So there it is, the kitchen as it stands today. Hoping to be back soon with more updated pics from around the house!

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Crew: Seven Months!


If I could only pick one milestone or development to share this month…it’s that you are becoming quite the OPINIONATED little man! The fact you can give us cues as to what you like or don’t is really helpful – we feel like we actually have some communication going on! We know clearly when you want to eat or don’t (whimpering and pathetic sad eyes to eat, annoyed grunting when you’d rather not – ha!), when you are bored with something and ready to move on (sighs and more grunting), and when you can’t reach a toy you want (or more often than not, something that’s NOT a toy that you think you need to have…like the remote, the iPad, or Mom’s camera) — this noise I’d describe like a mad wet cat haha — you open and close your hands as you reach and make this sound until you get your desired object in your hands (and mouth).

IMG_9997   IMG_9800

You eat a couple of teaspoons of puree in any one sitting, and while you make a disgusted face at first with ANYthing other than milk, you seem to eventually get pretty excited about bananas and squash. You show some interest in what we are eating, but get especially excited when we drink something out of a clear glass – you swipe for it if it’s within your reach and I’ve learned to be on-guard when sipping! The few times we’ve given you sips out of the glass (water) you get ridiculously excited! You are starting to hold your own bottle – yay!


While you are able to tell us what you don’t like, there is NO mistaking when something makes you downright elated!


Pure joy expressions at funny noises, jumping in your Jolly Jumper, and you laugh ALL THE TIME – a lot of the time we’re not even sure what at! All we have to do is make a crazy face and you get a fit of giggles.


Other times, it’s viewing the world upside down as you arch back on your head while laying on a pillow. You are super silly, love to be tickled to death, grabbing faces, giving kisses, and having your toes munched on.


You are becoming much more inquisitive and watchful. You love to engage with other babies around your age, and watch in wonder when kids are a bit older than you.

You are getting the hang of a (loose) nap schedule, going down around 9am and again around 1pm, with a cat nap most evenings around 5 or 5:30, before heading to bed around 7. You are getting up once or twice a night, but I’ll take that over the 3+ routine you had going for a while! You are popping two lower bottom teeth — I can’t wait to see what your new grin looks like this time next month!

I sound like a broken record, but you are changing and growing every day – when Dad was gone for a long weekend he couldn’t believe the change in you when he got home! I’m excited for all you’re learning…but okay if time wants to slow down just a little.

(Unless you’d like to hurry up and learn to sleep through the night. Just sayin.)

Love, love, love,


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Crew: Six Months!

Crew 6 mos |

We blinked…and half a year went by.


You continue to be the happiest baby — constantly laughing and smiling and jabbering around the house, and even in new places with new faces, you flirt and smile. You’re starting to express your excitement more by flailing your arms around and you sit for longer periods of time unsupported and have figured out to put your arms out to catch yourself when you get off-balance.


Perhaps related to more sitting up, your spitting up has slowed down significantly — something we’re all thankful for! You study everything — and scowl as you take it in. Daytime nursing has become quite the exercise, since you need a break about every 30 seconds to look at something behind you, beside you, or just take a quick scan around the room to be sure you aren’t missing something exciting.


Speaking of nursing, we tried to start some weaning a couple weeks ago and it backfired. Big time.  It’s strange — my original “goal” was to nurse for six months and I was a bit nostalgic about being done with this phase of motherhood, but then once I decided I was ready, I am now VERY ready and of course you are not! :) You went on a bottle strike and as a result were so hungry and crabby that we went back to square one. After a couple of weeks of slowly doing a half-and-half bottle with formula each day, you’re back on track to where we were a month ago when we first introduced it, but no further progress. We’ll try again in another couple weeks or so, and I’ll go slower than I did the first time around. We may hit seven or eight months after all! Ultimately, it’s up to you…but I’ll encourage where I can. It will be interesting to see how introducing more solids this month (besides cereal, which you aren’t particularly crazy about) helps move this process along.


Sleep is slowly getting better. You’ve definitely been behind the curve for sleeping long stretches until just recently. In the last week or so, you go to bed at 7, wake anywhere between 1 and 2:30, then sleep again until anywhere from 5:30 to 7, if we’re lucky, and if it’s the earlier end of that spectrum, you go back down for another hour most mornings. You need the pacifier less and less to go down, and you are a total side sleeper. You LOVE to have the corner of a blanket pulled up against your face to fall asleep, so we just tuck the other end through the crib rail and under the mattress so you don’t tangle yourself…you do a LOT of rolling around in the course of a night!

You had a week or so where we kept the teething tablets and tylenol close at all times, but what we thought was teething-related crankiness seems to have subsided for now, but no pearly whites have popped through yet. You love to chomp on teething toys and have started manning a sippy cup of water all on your own.


You were baptized this month and it made for a very special weekend. We love the pastor who led a wonderful service, and it was the first occasion where all four grandparents got together since you’ve arrived. You are definitely the apple of everyone’s eye, being the first grandchild on BOTH sides!


You went on your first vacation! A direct flight from Des Moines to Punta Gorda (2.5 hours) and you did GREAT both ways! You were easy to entertain on the way down and slept most of the flight back. The long weekend included your first dip in the pool (you LOVED it, and went crazy splashing – not afraid of the water or having it in your face) and your toes took their first dip in the ocean.


In so many ways, six months seems to symbolize the transition to “older baby” — from first foods to the green light for wearing sunscreen, your world is expanding in so many directions. You are chunking up and this week at your six-month checkup, you clocked in at 16 pounds 3 ounces and 26.75 inches tall. Your hair is growing and while it’s so fair that it doesn’t show up in photos, up close, it’s getting thicker and appears to curl a good bit in the humidity.


You LOVE music and singing songs (If You’re Happy and You Know It elicits an instant grin!), you are starting to give “kisses” when we repeatedly smooch your cheeks, you love studying the kids at Book Babies time at the library, and most notably, you having started to say “da da da”, although we aren’t sure you know what it means yet. :)

Your dad and I are high-fiving each other on surviving the first six months of parenthood, but we are constantly aware of just how easy you truly are on us. You are such a happy, sweet, soul and we can’t wait to see what the second half of your first year has in store for all of us.

Cheek-smothering smooches, 

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house progress: the exterior


It’s been a while since our last house update around move-in time in early February. Since then, we’re (a bit) more rested, (a bit) more in a routine with our new little guy, and (a bit) more moved in!

outdoor updates |

A lot has happened in almost five months, and I’m working to photograph and blog it all. While the building is STILL being finished past the one-year mark (yes, really!), I’m choosing to focus on what IS done, starting with the exterior progress, which looked like this when I last posted pics…


Once the cold temps let up, they poured the rest of our front sidewalks.


Then they poured and stamped our back patio with a woodgrain stamp we found and requested, which turned out very cool. We wanted something different from all the decks we back up to in the neighborhood, and this delivers.


It feels like we’ve gained an extra outdoor “room” for the warmer months, and we’re having fun pulling this space together as they finish building the final elements of it.


I love the partially covered portion where we plan to frame in the space with some outdoor curtains, and Page is scheming a stone wall to help secure our grill – which has already blown down the hill once in a storm. The wall will be low enough to allow for some extra seating around the perimeter, and we’ll add a fire pit and some adirondaks on the uncovered portion (more on the patio progress and future plans in a separate post!).



A few weeks after our patio pour, our irrigation system went in.


Weeks of rain set us back, but the house got painted – a dramatic difference! – and we are loving the color, which reads slate grey in some lighting, and navy blue in others. Things like our copper accent roof and fixtures finally “popped” visibly against the cool dramatic color.

Unfortunately, due to miscommunication between the builder and contractors, the cedar posts on the front porch were painted with deck paint, instead of stained. Those are waiting to be taken out, rebuilt, and they — along with the post and stairs on the back patio, some corbels and truss pieces yet to be added — will all be stained a dark cedar color.


Once painted, we finally got our sod which made the house feel night-and-day different from the outside, and much more like a home. We’ve been grateful for the rain (for once!) to help us save a little on our water bill as it takes root!


Aside from the cedar pieces being completed, the last step is landscaping. Most of the trees on our lot when we purchased it, will be replaced, due to damage during construction. We are also planning an arrangement of perennials along the front walk, which will be rocked in, along with another rocked section along the back of the house. We have more landscaing we would like to do, but we will save our pennies for a bit until we’re ready for phase 2. :)

Hopefully we’ll be back soon with some patio and landscaping posts — and sooner than later, some updated INSIDE pics!

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My dad’s the best {by Crew}



Before I had even made my arrival, my dad read the books. He moved meetings to make the doctor’s appointments. He read the emails my mom forwarded him about what size fruit I was each week. He asked questions, he worried, he loved me right away. He cried with my mom when they learned I was their future son.


He put in long, late nights at our new house, getting it ready for me and my mom. He logged hours of sweat (and maybe blood and tears?!) trying to make everything perfect for us when we moved in shortly after I was born.


When I arrived, he caught all the right moments on camera. He gave me his finger to wrap mine around and we hung out on the hospital room couch, skin-to-skin, in the middle of the night as it poured snow outside the window. He kept it together for all of us and was the rock my overly-hormonal mom needed as they both adjusted to sleepless, so-in-love, life with me.


He ran point on the move to our new home when I was just a few weeks old. He directed movers while wearing me in a sling, and hung curtains, installed electronics, and did a million other to-dos every moment that I napped, as we settled into our new surroundings. He built my crib when he was so tired he could barely function…but when my mom offered to ask a friend to come help, he was adamant that my crib was one move-in task he would not miss out on.


He cheers me on as I learn to smile, roll over, and now sit up. He’s my biggest fan and the feeling is so mutual. He has the best beard for rubbing my feet in, and only he can get me to giggle for minutes on end with his silly antics. He does it all from rock to rough-house, and I know Mom has caught him more than once just staring at me in wonder.


I know all kids think their dads are the best, and I’ve only had five months to know mine…but I can say without a doubt, a baby doesn’t get dealt a better set of cards than I did.


Love you, Dad!


Your son,
Crew (5 mos)
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Crew: Five months!


5 months!


Month five was a big one for you — you change DAILY it seems, and I find myself constantly thinking, “when did you stop being my tiny, dependent, newborn?!”.


backseat snack break during errands

You easily grasp things you want and pull EVERYthing to your mouth for a taste. I’ve changed my jewelry style, cut my hair, and Dad and I both have to be extra careful when eating or drinking while holding you ha – you grab at anything within your reach!


not just dad’s wingman…but his clone! #minipersols

You continue to talk, grunt, laugh — and you do it all loudly. You made sure to sigh dramatically and jabber through the whole reading by the pastor at your baptism, (although that’s a story for your six-month post, next month!).


surveying the sod installation for Dad while he’s at the office.

You still do well with strangers for the most part. As long as Mom or Dad are within sight or even earshot, you easily go to others to be held and will crack smiles at just about everyone.


these baby jeans made you look like Jared the Subway guy LOL…not exactly a great fit!

You have finally kicked a – not kidding – MONTHlong cold. It was miserable for you and us — you’d cough yourself awake at night, gag and gasp to breathe, and you started to recognize the snot sucker and would flail every which way when I tried to use it on you. Other than that however, everyone remarks on how totally happy you are, despite being sick. When I finally took you to the pediatrician to rule out anything more than a cold, she laughed through the whole appointment at all your silly antics and chattering! Nothing seems to get you down.


who knew goat jammies would be SUCH a hit – you caused a little facebook storm haha!

I notice new little things about you daily as you learn about the world around you. Just in the past couple weeks, I notice if I’m holding you and you’re looking back over my shoulder, the minute I take a step or two forward, you turn around to see where we’re headed. You don’t simply glance in the direction of noises anymore – you crane your view around obstacles until you can find the source of the sound. You more than suck on toys now – you chomp on them. Teeth are coming soon, for sure, as evidenced by your drool-soaked clothes!

walk buddies!

walk buddies!

Speaking of teething, now that we’re through the cold, we thought your sleeping would improve. Not. so. much. I’m sure your teeth are the culprit, and while I don’t expect a nursing baby to go all night quite yet without waking, I also am ready to trade in the routine of bed at 7, up at 10, 12:30, 2:30, and up for the day at 5:30 or 6 (!!!). Dad can help more now that we’ve introduced a little formula here and there, but it still makes for one tired mama! I’m curious to see, as we transition to all-formula in the next month or so, if this improves at all!

our little sleep monster...

our little sleep monster…

Some of your firsts this past month included your first music class (you loved it, even if you were just a spectator!), your first days outside at home (we finally have a yard and there isn’t dust blowing around all the time), and your first trips to the downtown farmers market. Also, contrary to the above photo, you’ve mastered napping in your crib. You have been sleeping in it at night for a while now, but this daytime crib thing took you a bit longer to get the hang of!

Trying To Sit <– Click to watch

While I’m already nostalgic for some of the newborn moments, these latest weeks have been really, really fun as your personality continues to develop and we get to know you even better. Five months hugs and kisses to you, sweet boy!

Dad’s Whistling <– Click to watch

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