Category / House + Home

Crew Age 3: Q1

And just like that, we’re a quarter of the way through three already.

So many sound effects, super powers, gruff lower-octave tough-guy talking. “I can do ANYTHING!” attitude and frequent mention of “protecting” people and “saving the day”. Lots of live action pretending to be the PJ Masks, the ghostbusters, and a T-Rex. You are ALL. IN. when it comes to the world of imagination. And you have BIG reactions to things right now, often with catch phrases you’ve memorized from characters you love.

All letters. All the time. You want to read so badly — you insist on “reading” (memorized) books and you stop at every sign, shirt, etc. to spell out the letters. You ask what signs say or make up what they say, speaking in a dialect that suggests you are sounding out whatever the (made up) text reads. You are starting to connect letters and the sounds they make, and words with the same sound. Several times when reading a book with you, you will go through a whole page of text and name each letter. You’re trying to tell time and you can correctly count up to thirty and are so much better at tracking items that you’re counting (you rarely skip or double-count something anymore).

Your eating habits are slowly loosening up. Several times you’ve tried a bite of something new without so much as a second ask by us (or something even a first!) and while I’d still absolutely categorize you as a picky eater, we can find something on just about any menu that you will happily eat now. Phew. (Although noodles of any kind are still a hard pass!) We continue to get the reports from school that you are a “really good eater” now (?!) and will try just about anything they put in front of you. I chalk it up to peer pressure from your friends!

You are mastering the scooter you got from the Easter Bunny. It wipes you out, but you can rotate swimming freestyling and rolling to your back for a break when needed, back and forth until you swim the width of the pool at swim lessons. You have just enough confidence that you can get around in water, that I’m a little nervous for pool season ha! You continue to play soccer through a school program and I was impressed how much better you were when we got the net out recently, after a few months of snow.

You’re up over 3 pounds from your well check in January, and at least another inch in height. Most of your pants are suddenly too short — yet another reason we need shorts season to just start already! You’re in 2T bottoms for the most part with a few 3s mixed in, and firmly size 3T in tops. We recently had to replace all shoes in the next size up as well. All that growing is helping you sleep better — the phase that lasted ALL of fall and through the holidays where you’d come into our bed most nights somewhere after midnight, has nearly vanished. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve woken you in our bed. You’re an easy one to bunk with, but I’m okay that we have our space again. 🙂 You’ve skipped a nap a few days here and there, in particular if it’s a day you slept in that morning, but other days you can easily snooze for a couple of hours. We play it by ear anymore and I’m just grateful we’re into age three without really ever “fighting” naps when they’re needed.

You continue to love to cook (in the kitchen for real and as the chef in a restaurant in your play kitchen). You’ve branched out significantly in the toys you want to play with, but garbage trucks still have your heart, and the local news station even recently stopped by to film a segment about the love affair. When we read, you gravitate heavily toward the alphabet-based books. You are turning into quite the entertainer and like to try and make us laugh. “Guys! Watch THIS!” is also a repeat phrase right now.

You show SO much of both your dad and me in that we want to be experts in something and correction is sometimes hard to take. 🙂 But when it comes to language and learning new words, we’ve both remarked how amazed we are with how you process. We see examples like the following nearly daily: you were making a comment about the grid design in our doors and said something like “look, there are five windows in this door” and your dad said “yeah, there are five panels”. “Panels? Did you say panels, dad?” “Yes buddy, panels.” “Panels. Yeah there are five PANELS.” You are just unbelievably thirsty to learn all the words, you’re determined to get them right, and it’s the one thing you will let us correct you on.

We love watching you learn and grown and figure the world out, one step at a time. I love seeing big boy traits like compassion and protection coming out more and more, and of course your unwavering enthusiasm and positive attitude about everything, just makes the day brighter. You can of course test us like any three year old can, but we’re grateful nothing seems to bum you out for very long, and you bounce back quickly. Looking forward to more of this fun year we call three.

5 Little Things I’m Doing to Improve My (and My Family’s) Health

Between the start of the year (resolution/goals mindset) and the coming of Spring (well, someday! we are due more SNOW this week!), I’ve been more health/goal minded and craving some changes and healthier habits in my (and my family’s) day-to-day routines. I’ve found I have more success implementing smaller changes, a couple at a time, than trying to overhaul, getting overwhelmed (or distracted) and undoing any good I’ve done, altogether.

I’m no expert, and I don’t sell or represent any brands mentioned, but I’m feeling really good about these five little things I’m making the rule instead of the exception in my everyday:

1. packing my lunches
I’ve been trying to be more intentional about including more fruits and veggies and proteins, and not buying my lunches out (which adds up quickly) on workdays. It truly is easier to dedicate a half hour or so on Sunday nights to portion out some lunches for the next three days. I find it easiest to just eat the same thing, times three, and change it up from week to week rather than daily. I quickly realized I was burning through ziploc bags, so I ordered myself one of the Lunchbots tins (mine is the “trio large”) and I LOVE how easy it is to pack, rinse, and re-use from one day to the next. (Also — if you follow the Lunchbots instagram account, it’s full of fresh snack/meal ideas for packing adult and kid lunches, alike!)

2. switching to natural deodorant
Over Christmas, a friend mentioned loving this brand of natural deodorant and I made a mental note. Then, after another friend’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, she mentioned making the switch to a natural deodorant, and I was inspired to do the same. Ursa Major happened to be the first brand I tried and I’ve been VERY pleased. I haven’t had much in the way of “detox symptoms” that some people talk about, but I think it’s also probably easier to make the switch now before the heat season comes. I also just think this particular brand is THAT good and worth the money. I’m kind of  obsessed with it and love the smell and tingly sensation. It feels so fresh and I love knowing everything in it is SAFE. (Also — if your skin is sensitive to baking soda — common in natural deodorants — they also make a “no B.S.” version here.)

3. throwing out our vegetable oil (and peanut oil and canola oil)
A friend of mine is a nutritionist and I’ve been stalking – er, following – all her delicious recipes and posts here. When she mentioned getting vegetable oils out of your life, I was intrigued and googled a bit further. This article is a great read on why to make the switch, if you need further convincing! And this change was SO easy to do. I simply tossed what we had, bought an olive oil spray in place of Pam for nonstick uses, and the mega jar of Coconut Oil home from Costco for anything else that would normally call for oil. I find myself checking labels a bit more for instances of these oils, but I’m not overly crazy about it. Again, it’s about small steps and implementing changes at reasonable rates.

4. experimenting with natural household products 
I’ve admittedly found it a bit “hippie” in the past, but after so many new options on the market and constant new research to support them, I’ve taken a new interest in the products I bring into my home. I recently played around on the Think Dirty app to score some items we’re already using. Some passed with flying colors…and others failed miserably. So I feel like I have a good list of places to start using up and replacing sooner than later. I’ve always been rather intentional about choosing natural products when it comes to Crew, but even in that arena, as we’ve moved away from the “baby phase” it gets easier to slip up. I’ve recently purchased this body wash for his bathtime and love it (we did the lavender scent, but they’re all delicious). We also switched to Trader Joes all natural laundry detergent (loooove the smell). Easy swaps, little changes.

I’ve also been playing more and more with essential oils (I’m not loyal to any one brand, but do your research to make sure you are buying 100% pure, therapeutic grade and no filler stuff). I ditched dryer sheets long ago and now add a few oil drops to my wool dryer balls and incorporating them into rollerballs (I’m using these) and a couple DIY cleaners, linen sprays, and more (in these bottles). I’m still learning and experimenting, but I’m particularly interested in using them for allergy relief as that season approaches.

5. drinking apple cider vinegar 
This is not a new one for me, but I fall out of the habit and am being intentional about reincorporating it. I’ve been trying to cut back on alcohol, so instead of taking a glass of wine to my nightly Netflix wind-down, I pour a big glass of ice water and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. A run-down of the many benefits of incorporating this (easy peasy) habit into water you are already drinking can be found here.

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The “Crew”Neck — Personalized Patch Kid Sweatshirt

You don’t have to look far to see the patch trend is everywhere — and particularly big in kid’s clothing. One piece of  this trend goes a long way for me, but I thought it would be such a fun way to capture everything that makes Crew, CREW right now, at age 3.

He LOVES to spot the letter C everywhere, and 3 is his current favorite number, so those were easy places to start. But it was when I was able to find a garbage truck patch on Etsy,  that I knew this project was a must-do.

 

 

I pinned a few example pieces to get a feel for arrangement and relative sizes of patches. I ended up ordering this  sweatshirt, as Crew isn’t super big on zip-ups right now (he thinks anything with a zipper is for going outside only, he has yet to understand the heavenly-ness of a hoodie!) and I didn’t want this piece to be limited to outerwear.

The C patch and the 3 patch came from Amazon, everything else was from a variety of sellers on Etsy, although Ebay is a great resource as well if you’re looking for something super-specific. For a 4T sweatshirt, I’d keep the patches smaller, around 1-1/2″ average size. I actually started with a much bigger slice of pizza (admittedly, I wasn’t paying close attention to  the size description) and ended up swapping for something smaller.

When you’re shopping for your patches, I’d recommend varying the sizes and colors and shapes of the patches — I opted to start with a focal point (I knew I wanted the letter jacket “C” to be prominent) — and then built everything else around that. It SEEMS random to throw them all on there, but it took me a few minutes of arranging to get everything to “work” on here and keep it balanced.

Yes, this was a project for my enjoyment, but I’m happy my model is thrilled with it, too.

The Latest in the Basement: The Living Room, Bar, and Golf Simulator

I’ll let the photos do most of the talking here, but as you can see, more progress has been made (and there is still a lot to do!). I’m LOVING the carpet in our living room area, and while I know it serves a technical purpose, I’m really feeling that black ceiling in the golf simulator area!

Picture turf flooring in that space, and behind it in the bar area, this plank vinyl flooring in “Weathered Wood”.

We are doing a few base cabinets (gray by default, but getting painted our exterior color, Cyberspace)…

(and yes…we will set the trash cabinet right side up) 😉 

…and we’ll be adding a couple appliances to the arrangement to include a dishwasher and fridge. I’m excited to do black stainless down here to further differentiate the look from our kitchen, upstairs. With the light flooring and walls, I like the deep colors that will fill up this space.

We’re still debating a couple options for the counters in here, one which will run on top of the cabinets, and the other, facing into the simulator, at bar height.

A couple more peeks into the finish living room area, that lacks furniture until the traffic of construction is done, (but Crew is loving the space to run, and it has me thinking twice about adding any!).

The final touches will be stone around the column you see framed at the bottom of the stairs, and wrapped around the back of the bar counter facing the simulator. Then, it’s time to decorate 😉

As for our overall timeline, I mentioned we hit a plumbing snag. We had to custom-order (read: cha-ching and also more waiting) a shower pan around which to tile, and I’m happy to report it was delivered today! I’ll be back with an update after bathroom tiling and bar flooring get checked off the list!

Basement Progress: The Gym

The fan is up, the lights are on, there are handles on the doors and the TV is hung! The gym has come a long way since I last shared about its progress.

We are only waiting on a series of wall mirrors and thanks to my birthday gift (thanks, Mom and Dad!) the ballet barre is ready and waiting to be installed in this far corner. Can you say, “no excuses”?!

More to come, soon!

Our Oversized Modern Floor Mirror

Excuse any gushing that follows (mirror or man related!) but I had no idea how handy the guy I married ten years ago would turn out to be — and more recently, he’s evolved from handy to downright artist.

I mentioned to Page before the holidays that while we were making a few little decor updates in our master, I would love to get rid of the awkward jewelry armoire that stood right inside our bedroom door, and swap it for something more low-profile in the floor space — specifically, a giant floor length mirror.

I had pinned a few inspiration mirrors (West Elm and others), but nothing was quite right. I knew I wanted the clean modern lines, but not too minimal — I still wanted some “chunkiness” and it needed to be large in scale with our high ceilings and not be totally dwarfed by the extra-tall wardrobes on the opposite wall.

This guy can read me like a book. He took my inspo pins, and concocted a design all his own. He even chose the wood — maple — to tie in some of the lighter tones I’ve been using in this room in the form of baskets and jute bins.

I didn’t know or see ANYTHING until it was 95% done!

I’m in love with the legs on this mirror and I would have never come up with these on my own. I wouldn’t have necessarily thought to add legs, period, and I certainly wouldn’t have thought outside the box to angle them the way he did. They remind me a bit of an art easel, and I love that they’re the only white element, tying it all back into our trim and doors and wardrobes.

(For the handy ones interested, they are 2.25” square legs made from three pieces of wood laminated together. He routed them with a roundover bit to then cut them at 15 degree angles at both ends.)

Because you truly do see the mirror from the side first walking into our room, I love the chunky profile he gave to it. The glass sits halfway back in the frame, so from the front it doesn’t feel as deep, making the side that much more “wow” factor.

Even with its simple lines, the details are still there. To fit the mirror inside, Page routed a groove inside each side, then added the little square filler notch in a contrasting piece of oak to plug the routed grooves so they wouldn’t show from the outside.

 

Love. Love. Love. Happy birthday to me! (And yes, the builder and his faithful project manager both “signed” it for me!)

Basement Progress: Guest Bedroom and Bath

Following up on last week’s post on our “kid corner” — the understairs play space and our toy closet — I’m sharing more progress today in our basement, as we make our way to the final stages of our basement finish. Today I’m sharing the guest room (well on its way to completed) and our bathroom (nowhere near…but happening very soon!).

Since I last shared any photos of this room, we’ve checked a few items off the list, both big and small — it’s validating sometimes to see just how much it takes to bring a space to fruition (and a good reminder to me to be patient with the progress). Walls have been painted, carpet installed, curtains and light fixtures installed, closet system installed, door handles on all the doors, vent covers reattached to the vents, and we moved in a bed and a couple little decor items. I still love this paint color (although damn if that blush color isn’t suddenly EVERYwhere!). I’m on the hunt for an upcycled mid-century dresser to put opposite the bed, both for storage and to hold a television. I feel like I need that in place first before deciding on whether or not to add a chair or bench in here, and the walls are mostly still bare, but this room is officially functional!

In sharp contrast, I give you the bathroom, right next door! We’ve hit a plumbing snag in here that may change the approach we take to this shower, but either way, the lighting is installed and the tile has been purchased and is stacked just outside the shot you see here, waiting for our contractor to work his magic, hopefully starting yet this week. If I had to narrow it to one guiding inspiration room, it’s this one:

source

You can see more of our inspiration for this bathroom in this post, and since then, we’ve more or less stuck to the plan. We went with a black slate floor tile, white subway tile in the shower, and contrasting grout for both. The light fixtures are in, and we’re in the process of picking out black plumbing hardware. Page plans to make our vanity similar to how we approached the bathroom in our last basement in our first home.

That’s where we are today in these two spaces, hoping to share more on them very soon. In the meantime, I’m working my way through the rest of the basement, with more basement updates to come. Happy Monday!

Crew’s Valentines: Heart Crayons and 3-D Suckers

I have to say, I’ve loved every stage, but three is proving to be particularly fun with all of its enthusiasm. When I started to explain Valentine’s Day to Crew, and that we were going to make valentines to give his friends, he was ON. BOARD. to say the least.

I started with something he could truly make — you’ve seen these all over Pinterest — heart-shaped crayons. I will say, grouping these into like colors is key…they look like a hot mess if you just mix random hues. Also — tip: Soak the crayons in warm water to make the paper wrappers easier to remove. Once bare, break them into pieces and bake for 15 minutes at 250, popping them out once they’ve cooled. We used this silicone mold and it was the perfect size and super easy to remove the hearts.

I thought about making the crayons part of his cards, but instead we focused on the holy grail — suckers. Another idea I can’t take credit for, as it already exists around cyberspace: 3D sucker cards. I put Crew in his VDay shirt and among MANY outtakes, (so much “cheeeeese” and eyes closed lately — coupled with holding his arm the right way!) we finally got a shot we could use.

If you attempt this, definitely ask your kiddo to hold his/her arm out in FRONT of them (so the hand is as large as possible to give you space to poke the sucker through) and also out to the SIDE (so the sucker doesn’t end up in front of their face). Don’t shoot too close, allowing plenty of room on the sides to hold both the weight of the sucker and any message you want to add. I laid my text out in photoshop, sampling the red font color from his shirt. I can’t say enough good things about printing with Mpix — I send all my photo clients there! — and when wallets didn’t seem quite big enough to support the suckers, but 4×6 seemed like overkill, I went with 3.5 x 5 prints.

You might say we’re suckers for a good holiday project. 😉