Month : August 2016

moved in: the guest room


This room has been the afterthought room since we moved in — as long as it had a dressed bed and some curtains, and room to set up my computer and work, I was happy. Obviously, guests stay here now and then, and when one of us is sick or up with a baby, I may crash here for a night, but most days it’s my office space where I edit photos. With so many hours logged in here, I was ready for this room to feel more like a finished space and less like the dumping ground for all the stuff that couldn’t find a home elsewhere in our house.


I originally wanted to try the “all white with pops of color” look in here…but in a standard bedroom with little architectural interest and your basic carpet/four walls/one window layout, it was all falling flat for me.


So I decided to go the other direction from clean and white…to dramatic and bold. With three white doors, thick white trim, light carpet, white ceiling and a decent window that gets northern light all day long, I wasn’t concerned about going dark. I was stoked when I ran the idea by Page to do a nearly black room and he didn’t bat an eye. #wifetrust Game on.

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The color is SW Iron Ore (a “light black” as I’d call it) and while the paint was fabulous and would have covered in what felt like a single coat, the TEXTURE on these walls is deep and full of grooves — it was a beast to paint and I went through several tricks and tools before it got it finally covered.

But I LOVE it. The room has some drama now and personality. I love the contrast against all the white trim and should we move Crew in here as a “big boy room” at some point, I already have visions of making it a cool boy campout spot without needing to change the color!

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I had visions of spending some time actually staging this room a bit and taking my time to photograph it. I had to settle for two minutes of snapshotting while a curly haired toddler ran trucks over my feet. Good enough and for now, it’s checked off my list. 🙂

Crew: 19 months


Nineteen months. So much happens in thirty days and while you’re always the same crazy soul, you grow and change so much that in some ways you’re a totally different kid from one month to the next.

Suddenly it’s all about basketball (between a Sesame Street episode where Elmo plays it, and watching the neighbor kids play, you’re a bit obsessed, so much so that we bought you a hoop!).


You continue to LOVE. TO. READ. You’ll look at books on your own but much prefer to sit in our laps and be read to. You frequently get to the end and ask to read it “again” — often more than once.  IMG_3050


You want ALL. THE. PEANUT BUTTER. On crackers, on waffles, in granola bars. You’ll take it all — sometimes just straight up with a spoon. You’d eat hot dogs for every meal if we let you, and you continue to love the pouches of fruit/veggie blends. Still won’t touch noodles (except a couple magical times at school) but you will down quinoa.


You’ve developed a love for Elmo. You still tune into a couple of the more sophisticated Baby Einstein videos, but for the most part it’s all about Sesame Street now — but only the Elmo-heavy episodes. We keep the same faves on DVR on repeat. You love the music, the kids, the puppets, and when a funny antic happens, you laugh and point and look at us until we acknowledge with you just how that Sesame gang is.

You’re putting together lots of two-word phrases. “Oh man”, “big truck”, (big anything really), and “bye (whomever)” are the most frequently used.


I’ve noticed more frustration and less patience this month when it comes to toys and other objects — you want things to fit a certain way, bear more weight than they should, function more quickly, etc. You’re getting much better about saying “help” rather than getting so frustrated!


It’s scary how proficient you’re becoming on phones and the ipad (both of which you can ask for by name) — you know how to tap the app you want and navigate through it. You love to FaceTime and watch videos of yourself and your buddy, Tatum. In general, you’re becoming more interested in friends and playing somewhat together as opposed to side by side.



Hitting seems to have subsided as quickly as it started (thank goodness). You are a big hugger – sometimes more than your buddies would like to partake in ha!


We continue to be so happy with the switch to your new school and you clearly love your time there. It’s great to receive photos of what you’re up to all day! I notice little things at home that are definitely rooted in school routines — for one, you actively start cleaning up if you notice me picking up (without me even asking), and you are much more interested in all of us sitting down together to eat — so in recent weeks we’ve been giving a booster seat at the table a go (“big sit!” as you call it).


You are very good at playing on your own for several minutes at a time, although just in the past few days, you’ve started to hold out your hand, or to come grab ours, to pull us to where you want us to play with you. Similarly, you no longer want to go up or down stairs on all fours, you want to walk, which means if we’re nearby, you’ll reach up for our hand to hold. I have noticed if I’m NOT right there, you are getting pretty smooth at holding onto the rails and stepping down yourself!


You clocked in at 23 pounds exactly and just shy of 32″ tall at your 18-month checkup. You gained only a couple ounces in weight, but nearly two inches in height since your last visit three months ago! You’re wearing 18 mo/18-24 in most tops and 12-18/18 mo in most bottoms. You went from wearing size 4 shoes in May to a quick pair of 5s in June, and are now into 6s already. It’s the little things that make me realize you’re getting bigger, but after checkups only two and three months apart since birth, we now don’t go back until you turn TWO!

You’re really interested in babies. You want to hug them and point out where their eyes/mouth/nose are…none of which you do gently, so we have to run interference when we’re around any. It’s a different story when Mom gets to hold any of them…you quickly swoop in for a spot in my lap the second they’ve been handed back. You love to watch repeatedly an episode of Sesame Street that is all about babies and study how the older kids interact with them. If we ask you “how do you play with a baby, Crew?” you do the gestures and say “peek-a-boo!”. No, that’s not an allusion to a future sibling!


We surprised Dad with your newest trick — to “show us your muscles”. You do a half-“Grr” and hold up your little arms. I die. You’re starting to want to help in the kitchen more — sometimes I let you help stir something for real, or dump in an ingredient, but mostly for my own sanity, I just set you up with your own bowls and pans and utensils and let you pretend. You LOVE the toaster and mimicking the “pop” of whatever is inside. We got you a toy version that has been a big hit. You’re starting to get the idea of pretend — we play that we are eating pretend fruits and veggies, and you pretend to drive a car around the house.


Your dad went on a guys trip this month for several days and you missed him– you wouldn’t really mention him and you were in good spirits the nine days he was gone….but then it would come out of nowhere. Twice when you got upset about something unrelated, you started crying hard for him and again once after we hung up the phone talking to him asking for “more dada” 🙁 Break my heart! For a couple nights after he got back, you’d wake in the night and we could hear you asking on the monitor for him by name. We’re both glad he’s home!


You are suddenly super interested in the potty from a functional standpoint. Let’s just say I’ve had a very attentive audience when I need to use it, and you occasionally want to sit on it. Nothing happens and I’m certainly not pushing potty training yet, but I also want to encourage any interest, so we’ve added a seat in your bathroom to try here and there. It feels so big kid!

We love you so much — but you know that already 😉
Lots of fish-face smooches,

toddler bookworm: a 12-24 months reading list

Toddlers Reading List |

Crew is ALL about the books, and has been for some time. Fortunately for us, he’s moving from some of the touch and feel books with no words, to some with a BIT more plot. Of course we have the classics in rotation — Goodnight Moon, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, and others — but I’ve discovered so many new favorites in recent months and always love to share hit titles with other parents and caregivers. It’s fun to think ahead to reading some of the more elaborate, classic stories I remember reading as a child, but for now I’m enjoying a toddler in my lap, asking to read these simple but sweet titles over and over…(and over).

Toddlers Reading List |

Noisy Trucks A title we discovered at our library, I admittedly am a fan of this one because, while there is some verbiage to read on each page, it can also be self-guided. Crew seems to like real-life photos of things he recognizes, as opposed to illustrations, so this book delivers. Each page includes textures like the bumpy tire or the rough ridgy grill. And of course, there is a button on each page with realistic sound bytes of the various vehicles’ noises, along with a re-cap at the end.

Alphabet Crew received this for his first birthday and it takes interactive to a new level! There are things to scratch, sniff, push, pull, and all while learning the ABCs (and tons of animals that Page and I had never heard of — so I guess we’re learning, too?!)

Goodnight Gorilla I have fond memories of reading this to the kids I used to nanny, so it was an immediate add to our baby registry. This story combines simple text with illustration-only pages that allow you to ad-lib what is happening as the pages turn. We read this any time of day, but it’s a particular hit at bedtime.


Little Blue Truck We were gifted this book at a shower, and thank goodness! I’ve since learned this title is basically an institution with little boys (and girls!). I like the underlying message of helping out friends, and there is lots of repetition around animal noises. We have since accumulated Little Blue Truck Leads the Way and Little Blue Truck’s Christmas (the lights at the end are a big hit!), with plans to pick up the newest release, Little Blue Truck’s Halloween. (PS, if you have a die-hard Blue Truck fan on your hands, you have to check out these pajamas – they are on Crew’s Christmas list!)

All Aboard New York We’ve had a couple of these books, but the New York is both my favorite and Crew’s. The colorful, bright illustrations are delightful and even at only a few months old, Crew would study them in detail. As the adult it’s fun to see the whimsical portrayals of famous landmarks in a favorite city.

Dear Zoo This sweet lift-a-flap book is small and easy to travel with, and great for learning animal sounds.


Maggie’s Ball I had never heard of this book until the librarian read it at Book Babies one morning. Obsessed with both balls and dogs at the time, Crew was instantly entranced. I bought a copy for our house, and got out a sleeve of tennis balls to play with while reading (Maggie’s ball is a tennis ball). This book continues to be a favorite nearly a year later.

Red Truck A perfect length book for this age group’s attention span. Red Truck comes to the (very dramatic!) rescue of a stuck school bus. Loved this for learning the color red (and yellow for the bus!). We point out red trucks all around town as a result of this title.


Machines At Work This book was one of my brother’s favorites as a little boy, and my mom lent his copy to Crew. I love the simple three or four-word phrases on each spread, accompanied by colorful, bold illustrations. Great for learning action verbs like “dig”, “build”, and “knock down”!

Down By the Station We are on our second copy of this book, after the first one was gifted to us at a baby shower, and well-loved by a certain someone who’s still learning to not rip paper pages (I do wish this came in a board book!). Crew loves the different scenes (airport, train station, etc) and pointing out each page’s vehicles “all in a row”. (Bonus points if you SING the story!)


The Watermelon Seed At a time when it is ALL about the truck books (I think we have nearly a dozen in rotation!) I was anxious for a book about ANYTHING else. It seemed appropriate for summer to add this read to our collection and it has not disappointed. Super bright colors, a dramatic crocodile, and a good dose of burping make this a much-requested read in our house.

Hi! A great title for short attention spans, this book is a fast page-turner, with simple one-word, rhyming, animal sounds on each page. The animals all look to the little boy at the end to hear what HE says, and it was these final two pages I credit heavily with teaching Crew “hi” and “bye”. He enjoyed this book early on before he could repeat back animal sounds, but now that he can, he seems to love it all over again.

What’s on your little one’s reading list???

Toddlers Reading List |

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