organizing, baby!

organizing baby

The long and short of it is that a baby…equals way more stuff.


While in some areas I go crazy (as in…ALL the adorable baby boy clothes!), there are other areas I was super minimalist when it came to buying all the “stuff” (I finally caved and agreed we needed a jumper, but only now that the swing is gone – neither of which takes up a SMALL amount of space or looks very chic with the rest of the house ha – but this grin makes it worth it!).

In an attempt to keep from all the baby gear taking over the house, once Crew outgrows things, they are sorted into sell/donate, or keep, and promptly taken to the basement to be stored. There is so much stuff since his arrival and I’m constantly working to keep it under control. I love to see how others with littles are doing the same, so here’s my version of organizing/storing all things Crew-man.

crew's nautical nursery |

A while back I posted about Crew’s nursery. To take a little more in-depth look, here is how things are organized within its four walls.

crew's nautical nursery |

For the most part, the clothing he is currently wearing is divided among the dresser drawers by pajamas, tops, bottoms, and one-pieces. Socks/hats,/bow ties and other accessories have a drawer of their own, as do the muslin blankets he cuddles with at night. We designated a drawer just for burp cloths (hopefully we are nearing the end of needing those!) and another for sleep sacks/nighttime diapers.


Any clothing he hasn’t yet grown into (and anything “hang-worthy” he is currently wearing) is hung up and organized by size — super helpful when I’m shopping for upcoming seasons/ages to know what we already have in the stash. Toys for when he’s older and stuff for his someday “big kid room” are stashed on the shelf up high, spare crib sheets and changing pad covers are in the shelving on the right, and his collection of blankets made by family and friends are stacked along with his growing collection of stuffed animals! We are hoping to have his future play area in our basement completed by the time he’s old enough to really play with these, and many other toys, but for now is his small room, they set up camp here.

As he outgrows clothes (I seem to find something just about every time I put away a load of laundry), I either choose to pitch/donate, or it goes in a hidden storage bin under his crib. Once the bin is full it gets labeled with the size ranges it contains and stored in the basement. This is easier than trekking downstairs all the time, but also keeps too-small things from getting back into the drawers.


Just outside his door is the “kids bath” as we call it. The large section of this cabinet is perfect for stashing his towels, baby wash, meds, and the overflow of diapers, wipes, diaper pail refills, and more. (God bless Target subscription, yes??) Bath toys are stashed in a catch-all that suction cups inside the shower.


I try and work during Crew’s naps, but sometimes we find ourselves in our upstairs landing, where he can spread out for a little playtime while I try and answer a few quick emails. Eventually, I see this space becoming more of a hangout with some beanbags and a TV, but for now it has my desk and the Ikea shelf holds some bins of toys/books for the baby man.

Downstairs, I’ve designated a kitchen drawer to all things Crew-food-related. By now, all the pumping supplies have been moved out of here and replaced with spoons and sippy cups, and of course, the ongoing supply of bottles. A couple of dollar store baskets and a divider from IKEA help keep things in their place and easy to grab. Crew is entirely on formula now, which we buy in bulk and I store in this easier-to-open flip lid container.


I’ve been making my own baby food, and dedicated a shelf in our freezer to store it all. In general, when I make a batch of something, I divide it between some cube trays and pouches, eventually putting the frozen cubes into baggies and sorting both cubes and bags into separate bins for fruits and veggies. Super easy to grab a cube or two when we’re eating at home, or to send a pouch along to day care.


I’ve never wanted to carry a diaper bag — it’s not really my style, and my everyday bag is a pretty large tote that I do keep a spare diaper, slim pack of wipes, and changing pad in, along with a teether and a little cosmetic bag that holds some baby meds if needed. For the rest of the things I may need on extended trips out and about, I keep a fabric cube on the floor of the car near Crew’s carseat. In here, I stash a couple toys, books, blankets, burp cloths, more diapers and wipes, and a bag of various meds. For me, this works much more easily than carrying it all on my shoulder for as often as I really need it.


It’s still a lot of stuff – but I’m trying to keep it corralled! Anyone else have tips or tricks for keeping ALL. THAT. BABY. STUFF. under control??

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Crew: 8 months!


This month, by far, has been the most hit-me-in-the-face-you-are-no-longer-a-tiny-baby month, yet! You are such a little PERSON with opinions and preferences and the ability to really communicate now. You’ve emerged from a bundle of blanket to a “talking”, army-crawling, clapping, tongue-stick-outing, GRINNING little guy!


Everyone comments on how they’ve never ever seen you cry — even those who take care of you multiple days a week for hours on end! You are such a laid-back baby and only get grumpy when it’s time to eat or sleep, or in a recent development, if someone else at daycare is crying (empathy…I like it) 😉 . While we try to keep your schedule loose and your world wide so you can roll with things, I am continuously amazed at just how well you can adapt to new faces, places, and routines without much more than a hiccup. Our Labor Day trip to Charleston meant naptimes and bedtimes happened in bright airport terminals, you were left with a sitter you had never before met and in an unfamiliar hotel room, you were handed around to new people wanting to meet you, and spent more time in your car seat than you would have preferred, but I could not have been more proud of you (or grateful!) for how beautifully you adapted.  You. are. the. best.


Your babble is becoming more intentional. While you do just ramble to hear yourself, there are other times when I walk around a corner and you’ll peer in the direction I went, and give me an “eh!” until I peek back around to tell you I’m still there. It must be your version of “hey! where’d you go? are you doing something fun without me?” :) You only seem to use “mama” when you want to whine about a toy out of reach, or you’re ready to be picked up, and you say it while squinting your face pathetically until you get what you want. A recent favorite game is for us to hide around a corner until you army scoot around to find us. You get SO excited to see that you’ve found what you’re looking for ha! You’re enamored with all the floor vents and any and all cords (sigh…let the babyproofing begin).

I can’t believe I didn’t lead with this, but you are sleeping. through. the. night. After about a month of being on all formula, we slowly cut out the bottles we were giving you when you’d wake to get you back to sleep in favor of just the pacifier. I think this helped you to eat more during the day, so you were “stocked up” for a long night’s sleep. You go down at 7ish very easily, and with the exception of an occasional early-morning waking where you just need help rolling into a more comfortable position, or to find a pacifier you chucked out of the crib, you otherwise sleep right through until 6, sometimes later, in the morning. It’s incredible how this is changing our world and energy levels. I wouldn’t skip the newborn phase for anything, but man, this older baby period has some definite perks!


You want all screens, all the time. Iphones, iPads, laptops — sitting on the planes recently was particularly mind-blowing to you as you stared around at the sea of screens and couldn’t understand why everyone wasn’t sharing them with you. The first signs of frustration at not getting what you want have all been centered around this need for the screen. You’ve also put it together than the remote turns on the TV. Even turned away from the screen, if you see us lift the remote, you turn to face it to see what’s coming on. We’ve busted out a couple Baby Einstein DVDs for when we need 20 minutes to get some things done uninterrupted, and you are completely entranced. We call it Baby Crack! You have recently discovered a love of yogurt, and are all about your puffs. You can take or leave the fruit and veggie purees, but we keep sending them your way!


You started at a daycare center this past month and so far, we are very pleased with it. There are always pros and cons with any adjustment, but while we miss the daily text pics from our sitter, we like that you are getting exposure to other babies your age and a wide range of activities structured around your specific age and abilities. You haven’t learned to nap as well there yet (more noise and activity than your previous spot), but you appear to come home happy!

Just when I think you can’t get more fun or lovable…you do. Hopefully someday all this mushiness doesn’t embarass you — but if it does, oh well! 😉 Love you so, SO much, sweet little man.


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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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