Friday, September 14, 2012

gettin' jazzy

 I have to start this post by mentioning how terrible the light is in our dark kitchen and apologize in advance for the kinda horrible pictures. Thank you for understanding, now on with the show.

I thought we were in need of a house project post, it's been a while. So, this is a picture of the dining area in our kitchen, pretty normal.

There has been some progress since we moved in to bring it to that normal, see below...yuck. 

And just for fun, here is what the cooking portion looked like. I took these pictures before we moved in when we were still cleaning and repairing plumbing. I was also working through my morning sickness...double yuck.

Back to our progress picture. Fresh paint makes a huge difference. Oh, and that's our "new" table that I mentioned in this post. It is actually my childhood family table and despite it's fantastic condition my folks were eager to get it out of their house and drove it down here for us. Complete with leaves, I will finally be able to host a proper Thanksgiving.

Please excuse the chair disarray, Desmond likes to push them all around the house.

Sorry to have gotten off track, this post is actually about KITCHEN ART.

I picked this print up at Handmade Arcade in Pittsburgh last spring for Dana since he cooks a delicious family breakfast every Sunday morning. If you can't make out the lettering, it reads:

The cast iron utensils were his grandparents'. They had been hiding in the attic at our old house and were rediscovered when we moved.

After an unsuccessful search for good thrift store art for the guestroom, more about that here, I pounced when I saw this jazzy little number at Goodwill.

When I saw it I immediately thought "Kitchen!" and quickly steered Desmond over to it. Probably not the first thing you were thinking but that orange stripe spoke to me. Also the text reads New Orleans Jazz, and we'll be heading back to New Orleans this fall on our way to Texas.

It seemed pretty perfect, but I knew from experience that this little ditty could cost more than I wanted to spend.    10 buckaroos was my limit.

Well, when I saw $3.25 on the little tag I tucked that picture under my arm and hauled it directly to the register. The joint was hoppin' and I wasn't letting anyone get in on my action.

I think Dana thought I was a little nutty when he first saw it, per usual. But he quickly came around to my thinking that it made a great little orange and black montage. After it was hung we realized had to do a little tweaking with our other kitchen poster art and move them closer together.

To save you from having to scroll all the way back to the top, here is the before again.

And the after.

Such a great three dollar find, I love looking at it! So worth getting the intro to Jazzy Vegetarian stuck in my head too. Oh, I know I'm not the only geek who has seen that show on PBS, yeah, it is weird.

Again, the pictures really don't do it justice, guess you'll have to plan a visit.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

lucky cabinet 13

The time had come. The time was now. I could not put off this little bit of baby-proofing any longer.

Not only was I tired of dodging pots and pans, Desmond is a thrower, but we had two cabinets that held electrical wires. Sure they were in a "safe" casing : a shiny metal, attractive-to-baby casing. Once Desmond figured out he could crawl into the cupboard to get closer to the shiny thing the need to baby-proof became urgent. 

Did I mention I was also sick of keeping track of which items were clean and what needed washing out of  everything that was pulled out, chewed on, and dragged across our floors.

So this past Saturday became the day. Dana offered to take Desmond while I baby-proofed. 
Note: He did not offer to baby-proof.

It looked so simple. People do this all the time. I wonder if any of them swore at their cabinets too.

Each latch system had a total of 4 screws that should drill right into a cabinet with ease. Apparently not if your cabinets are from the 80's and solid wood. I now feel confident that if our whole house crumbles to the ground these cabinets will still be standing.

The solid nature of the cabinets brought about some feelings of inadequacy along the way (I'm not strong enough to do this) followed by focused determination (you will not beat me, cabinets.) Then, four hours later, no joke, I was smugly looking at 12 latched cupboards.

Dana says my enthusiasm for the newly latched cabinets is a little twisted. I think he's just bitter because he keeps forgetting they are there and finds himself in the same boat as Desmond.

I am not, however, the Grinch that stole all of the cabinet fun. These latches came in a package of 12 and we had 13 cabinets that needed locking...for now. So lucky Cabinet 13 became Desmond's Cabinet.
It's also the only cabinet without wires and isn't located underneath a sink, stove top, or oven.

I stocked it will all sorts of kitcheny things I had in the house and a couple of toys. And we'll just rotate miscellaneous stuff in and out so Desmond doesn't get bored with it. Or he'll do it for us, I found his rake in there earlier today and his sorting school bus parked outside.

This is decidedly Desmond's new favorite hangout in the mornings. He plays in the cupboard, we listen to some Children's Indie on Pandora, and I get 2 minutes to make some tea and clean up after breakfast, ahhhhhhhh.

Who knows, once I get around to making his play kitchen this cabinet could morph into any number of play spaces, like a book nook. Books are a lot less nasty to step on when your cooking dinner.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

thrift score thursday

...ummmmm, and Friday.

Such fruitful days!
 But today our tale is about The Bookshelf for Boys & Girls.

When I enter a thrift store I always check out the kid's stuff first. The selection is hit or miss and it's usually a quick looky-loo and then we are on with the hunt. That is where this bright and cheery, incomplete, set of children's books caught my eye.

Heroes and Heroines

They were beautiful. Fabulous illustrations with both creative and historical content. I felt like I was a kid again discovering some ancient texts. Desmond is years away from enjoying these on his own so I will just have to read aloud to him for a while.

We have already read about the Vikings, Lafayette, and Daniel Boone.
Note: this serious is a little heavy on the Heroes side.

Nature and the Universe

The Story of Art and Music

Things to Make and Do

So I bought books 5-9. Did I mention it was an incomplete set?
Some quick interweb research let me know that book 10, Infant and Childcare, was intended for the parents. I'm not so worried about tracking that one down.

I also left book 4 an idiot. There was something about that odd number that was appealing and I wasn't getting the whole set anyway. Little did I know that book 4 would be nearly keeping me awake that night.

 So Friday, I did the unthinkable, and headed back to the thrift store in hopes of grabbing Book 4. Fortunately lonely Book 4 was waiting for us and I was able to reunite him with his friends.

I also checked ALL of the books for our missing 1-3 but, alas, no luck. They really could be anywhere. I'm not a purist about gifts from the thrift gods but I will probably keep an eye out for them in the future.

Heading back on Friday also produce more than Book 4. I scored an awesome dress for our upcoming family vacation!!!

 Hmmm, I may not report on it until I have pictures on location but it's a really good one. Hey, I don't lay out $6.99 on just any old dress.

Monday, September 3, 2012

labor day

Labor Day means something different to me. It's not about cookouts, although we did that too, or the end of summer, because man it is still hot here. It's about holding my little guy and remembering the day that I labored to bring him into this world without any medical interventions. I've never shared my birth story here so today I will, about a year after, and greatly condensed. 

Let's start when I am 28 weeks pregnant and I make one of the best decisions I've ever made, I switch from my OBGYN of 7 years to a Midwife practice at a hospital farther away. My OB had a less than positive outlook about natural childbirth and I didn't want that attitude in the room when I delivered. Now let's fast forward to 39 weeks pregnant, August 8th, 1am.

My contractions start, or I should say pick-up, I'd been having contractions for 2 weeks prior and so I wasn't sure this was going to be it. But I was having a little bit more trouble sleeping than usual. I didn't say anything to Dana when he left for work and I got up and headed to the studio like normal. After losing my mucus plug I felt the urgency to finish a card I had been making for my girlfriend whose birthday is the 10th. 

By 3:30 pm I was calling Dana to alert him that "this was it" and to wrap things up at work and head home. My contractions had increased to every half-hour or so, and honestly, I just wanted him to be home with me.

Over the next several hours I ate a goulash dinner, called our doula, Nadine, and tried to relax and sleep. Yeah right, the more I tried to relax the stronger my contractions got. Around 11pm we called the midwives, I say "we" because we had to pass the phone back and forth because I was having a hard time talking through contractions.  Although my water hadn't broke, the decision was made to start making the 45 minute drive. 

The ride was rough. Contractions in a car are horrible. I yelled at Dana to drive incredible slow when I was having a contractions and super fast when I wasn't. I don't know how much this actually helped but Dana was a fantastic husband and did as I asked. It was around midnight on a Monday and so traffic wasn't a problem.

We got checked into the hospital just after midnight, which took longer than I thought it would. Buy hey, if you are alright with me leaning on your desk through contractions then so am I. We must have looked like we were going camping with all of our gear; pillow, bags, birth ball, cooler, etc... The cooler had another function you can read about here.

One of the many great things about delivering with the midwifes was being allowed to bring in anything that made me comfortable and snacks. Not to mention not being strapped to a bed with a needle in my spine and a catheter, eeeeeek, it gives me the creeps just thinking about it.

So, after some swift baby monitoring I was free to labor as I pleased. And labor I did, for a long time. On the birth ball, in the bathroom, in the hallway, but mostly in the middle school dance position, leaning on Dana. The whole time Nadine was feeding me jello and popsicles and Dana was being a fantastically supportive husband coach.

Sometime Tuesday morning, August 9th, we headed into the tub and I went through my hardest labor there. This is also when I managed to lose my crocheted slippers, but that is another story. By early afternoon I was still in that tub and had been in transition for hours. This was the moment having a great natural birth team paid off. 

I was "checked" and it was discovered that I was at 9 cm but Desmond was coming down this his head to one side. I was told to lay on my right side through three contractions and he would move. This sounded like a crazy painful idea, and it did hurt, but it worked, without any medical interventions. I just laid on my side, Desmond rolled, I opened up and my water finally broke in a pipe bursting kind of gush. I was ready to push.

I pushed from a squatting position on the bed with Nadine and Midwife Leslie in front of me and Dana by my head filling me with encouragement. When I was told I could reach down and touch the head I said "No, I just want to hold my baby" and kept right on pushing.  I felt incredibly determined to meet my little guy.

At 1:13 pm on August 9th all that pushing produced a head and more pushing revealed the rest of him and when he was laid on my chest I said "oh, hello pumpkin." Within moments he was squirming his way to my nipple to nurse and I couldn't believe it. I knew I had made the best decision for my birth and for my baby. I will be amazed by him forever.

So, now that I am feeling gushy about my baby all over again, I hope everyone had a great long weekend and on Labor Day I encourage you to think of your mother.