house progress: the exterior

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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 | lifeinyellow.com

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…

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

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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.

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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.

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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!).

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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}

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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!

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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?!”.

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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!

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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!).

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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.

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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.

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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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my new work week and our new normal.

“Working” versus “staying at home” is a hot topic in the world of motherhood, and no two situations are the same. I don’t believe either have it harder or easier – the working mother, or the stay-at-home mother. Either way, you’re a mom, and that right there says a mouthful about the volume of your workload. This link is a great read — letters from a working mom to a SAHM…and vice versa.

I’m fortunate to be in a position to choose, and for me, in my career and as a mother, and for us and our family, the decision for me to work versus stay home was pretty clear.

I wanted to do both.

Going part-time looks different for everyone. For me, I will alternate spending two and three days of the work week in the office for my day job, an arrangement I will be eternally grateful to my employer for allowing me. The other two and three days (depending on the week) I will be at home, setting aside one of those mornings for shooting sessions for ClickSmith, and editing/marketing/communicating with clients on a schedule built around nap times. Between the two jobs, it feels like I’m ultimately piecing together a nearly full-time workload, but doing so is all by choice, and wonderfully flexible, so that my newest job of mama can always come first.

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This also means that our little guy will get exposure to both worlds. I am thrilled for him to experience the socialization and structure of some regular days at day care, a world I knew nothing about before being pregnant, having been raised by a stay-at-home mom. I had less-than-stellar expectations, but was pleased again and again at what I saw as we visited options around our part of town. I get it now. Day care is a win for kids, not a consolation prize because, “Mom has to go to work”. It will make us better parents in so many ways. The break allows us to be refreshed for quality time when we are with him, and the guidance of his sitter/teachers will help us learn how to better parent.

I’m thankful my son will get to see his mother work, to think and solve problems, and go after her own goals. If he is married someday and tackling the same work versus stay home question with his own wife, I want him to have examples of how it can work both ways. I’m equally grateful that I can be home with him just as many days in the week, focusing on him and our family’s home life, creating some balance for us all. I’m grateful to be able to be hands-on in educating this little man, from reinforcing manners to going on adventures, all the while building our relationship and learning all I can from him.

There are adjustments for everyone — finances, schedules, and the switch on/off from work brain to mom brain are all things we are figuring out as we go. But I’m very grateful for the opportunity to give it all a go. To the next phase in life for our family!

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cooking for baby.

cooking for baby - resources and recipes | www.lifeinyellow.com

Since early in my pregnancy, I geeked out over the thought of making my own baby food. I’m not an amazing cook, but I love to dabble in the kitchen. I also love the idea of raising a veggie lover like his mama (hopefully!). And something about chopping up fresh produce, mashing it up, and organizing it in portions is just weirdly therapeutic for me. I do think you have to pick and choose priorities so you don’t lose your sanity — I’m not a cloth diaper or make-my-own-wipes mother, nor am I doing any of the other millions of less-than-convenient Pinterest trends out there, but this was one I was definitely on board with.

To begin, I wasn’t sure what I really needed and what I could do without, or where to start as far as what babies can eat when and which fruits and veggies were easiest to begin with. Following is my diving-in recap and some tips and links to things I found helpful!

cooking for baby - resources and recipes | www.lifeinyellow.com

After a friend and her baby introduced me to them, I registered for pieces of the Infantino ‘Fresh Squeezed’ line and have come to be a huge fan of this line. I don’t personally think you need ALL of it – but the press itself, the bags of course, and the attachable spoons all made their way to my house. Doesn’t Crew look super impressed with me??!

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The other half of my toolkit is from OXO. I was gifted a couple of the ice cube trays (to freeze 1 oz portions of whatever I make a batch of). The OXO steamer basket was another favorite purchase. I love that the trays have lids (easy to stack and save space), and that the steamer basket fits like a glove around various pot sizes.

cooking for baby - resources and recipes | www.lifeinyellow.com

As opposed to the pouches which are easy to send to daycare or just take on the go in general, the cubes will be what we likely use most at home.

Next it was finding the recipes. I had pinned a few online, but I really wanted to just understand a bit more about baby nutrition overall and how it corresponds with development. (Yes, geek alert.) I ordered a couple different baby cookbooks, but Cooking for Baby has become far and away, my favorite.

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I love the color illustrations, the simple beginner recipes, and the progression in each chapter explaining as baby grows, how their palette expands and what to introduce and when. I also like the footnotes around each recipe with extra bits of trivia and serving/preserving tips.

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I began with zucchini and pears. I bought both from the organic section, fresh, in my grocery store, but I have since learned to get the frozen version from Costco whenever possible – homemade baby food is already a huge savings, but to buy it frozen in bulk is an even bigger money-saver. So far, from the organic freezer section, I’ve done a batch of peas, and a blend of mangoes and blueberries.

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For now, I’m testing out recipes to see what’s easy to make, and to just learn a bit about how to best batch-cook and preserve everything. For now, Crew is only taking a little rice cereal here and there, and I’m stashing a few options in the freezer until he hits six months. Stay tuned for his hopefully rave reviews! ;)

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Crew: Four Months!

Baby man is four months!

Crew | 4 months

You get to be more and more fun with each passing day! You “play” more as well as interact, you hold your head up more, and watching you discover things is so much fun. You aren’t quite a “supported sitter” yet haha – you slowly slumped over into this position while I tried to get a shot of you sitting on the chair. This expression kills me. :)

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This past month began with you and I on our own a few days while Dad went to the practice round of the Masters in Georgia. Let’s just say I have a whole new level of respect for single parents! He came back (phew!) and the two of you – okay, just Dad – watched the actual tournament.

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You continue to ADORE the ceiling fans in the house…

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You love the Boppy lounger, which we borrowed from your buddy, Brooks…

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…and among other firsts this month, you had your first baby tub bath – hilarious and you LOVED it! We also spent a rainy afternoon at home watching you kick a balloon tied to your ankle. You are so crazy and active! You love to chew on things — mostly, your Sophie the giraffe!

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You still love being worn if you’re sleepy or fussy. Above, you played photography assistant while I did some session editing. :)   I have a feeling we’ll do more babywearing again when you can hold your own head up a bit more steadily — we still have to position you facing in until then, which makes you mad if you’re wide awake. You like to see what’s going on and be where the action is. You whimper if you can’t see or at least hear us when you’re playing and you constantly are craning your neck to take everything in. You are always certain you’re missing out on SOMEthing!

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You had your first cold, your first rollover, your first rice cereal, and your first nights in with your first “official” babysitter while Mom and Dad took a couple breaks. You jabber CONSTANTLY and continue to be a SUPER happy, laid-back baby…except at bedtime! Your dad and I did a little experiment one night as we handed you back and forth between us. Each time you came to me, you got perfectly calm and when you went to Dad, you screamed bloody murder. You crazy baby. You know your bedtime routine as it’s been thus far (you and I sit in the rocker to nurse, in the dark, and you go in the crib soon after), so anyone else stepping into this routine is not kosher with you!  We’re working on it and know it’s just a phase, and it DOES balance out…Dad is apparently WAY funnier than Mom — he’s the only one who can get the really big laughs out of you!

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You continue to steal our hearts every day! Happy four months to you!

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