Friday, March 20, 2015


. . . outside the fish market while Bubba naps in his car seat. It's been almost two hours (!) in the parking lot here. 

But he's been a good little shopping companion today, and he's earned it ; )

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Letting go

We had an unexpected treat this afternoon when four friends dropped by our home. I briefly had palpitations because the house was messy. Sooo messy. Not very gross, no mildew monsters crawling out of the bathrooms or anything. Just lots of stuff strewn everywhere.

Ryan and I both have some perfectionist streaks. For two minutes I was initially mad at myself for slacking on the pick up, for not keeping the house in a constant state of guest-readiness.

But fortunately, somewhere amongst the internets I had recently found this little gem (I think on the ModernMrsDarcy blog), and I remembered it:

Hospitality means people leave feeling 
better about themselves, not about you.


This was about connecting with friends I hadn't seen in way too long, not a show-and-tell for my interior decorating.

I just let it go.

Later this evening I started reading "Savor." I think this article on thenester blog and this quote from Shauna Niequist was meant for me today.

"Friendship is God's greatest evidence of Himself here on earth." 

'Feeling so grateful for the beautiful people in our life. I need to not let silly stuff get in the way of them.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Wild Kingdom

In the last 24 hours, we've spotted a possum, rabbit, and red tailed fox in our backyard.

The young homo sapien was also repeatedly seen throwing clothes into the laundry hamper and clapping for himself upon completion.

Friday, March 6, 2015

A for Effort

"Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you." -- Robert Fulghum

In a sentence: Bubba gets fun-er and more fun every week ; p

In a paragraph: Every so often I flip open (or tap, it's on my Kindle) the Wonder Weeks book to help me understand why my baby is being difficult. And I just said he was fun, didn't I? Both equally true. 

That book has been a great guide to the weekly & monthly developments that infants make -- mental growth spurts if you will. It reminds me of the understanding we adults take for granted: of spatial property, of distance, of sequences and processes, and all manner of things I had previously thought were innate from the get go. It reminds me that being an infant must be kind of like being a handicapped foreigner or recovering from an awful stroke. You have to learn how to make your own body parts work for you. You have to learn to translate thoughts in your head into sounds and words that have meaning for other people. It reminds me to have empathy because my son simply can't understand what I'm telling him or why things have to be mommy's way. As opposed to his way, which I imagine would be me, shirtless, holding him all day while he alternates between nursing and tugging on power cords, light switches, and vacuuming.

Yes, vacuuming. The belt wore out again on our vacuum cleaner this morning, much to our mutual dismay. I eventually shut it up in the closet. He kept gesturing to it and my repeated explanations why we couldn't vacuum the carpet were frustrating both of us. 

At least the broom still works, which takes a close second in the favorite things category this week.

There's no denying it. Monkey see = monkey do. I'm catching myself more (thanks to this book also) and trying to give him due credit for his trying . . . trying to figure things out despite being told "no" and restrained from all the things he wants to learn hands-on. What a hypocrite I must seem like, jerking his hand away from the pot, saying it's hot, but continuing to stir it myself. Same goes for the off-limits dirty dishes.

^ Taking clothes out and not putting them back. Just like mom ^
Pink Floyd tee-shirt. Just like dad's.

I swear babies must have the hearts of Olympians. Their persistence in the face of repeated denial is incredible. Sarah Ockwell-Smith rightly calls them "little scientists."

Though I really wish I could get through to him why taste testing the toilet bowl is just not a worthwhile experiment.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Happy Anniversary to my Mortgage!

I've been delaying this post for a while, waiting for two things.

1) The house to be "done"

2) The house to be cleaned up for its photo shoot

I realized I could be waiting a while. Truth be told, the house gets cleaned fairly regularly. (I did marry a Marine). But it could be ages before I get all the inner furnishings and my "old lady knick-knacks" (per Ryan) and doo-dads arranged how I like them. Plus, I have about zero dollars with which to decorate right now.

Nevertheless, we've come a long way. I can't sufficiently sum up how grateful I am to our family and friends for helping us make this house a home. I feel so at peace here; every day I'm happier we took the plunge on this place.

This is our living room one year ago (!!!) when we bought the property:

Check out that faux wood paneling. 

The back door was all glass panels -- not very secure.

The door way between the mud/wash room and living area was open

So, we said bye bye to the paneling . . .

And our family and friends (mostly my father-in-law) installed new sheetrock in its place.

New, white trim went up.
Ryan painted the built-in shelving to match.

House make-over television shows really irritate me now--and I wasn't even doing the work. They make it seem like throwing a new coat of paint over things is an easy fix. 

(When I just now corrected a typo, I realized "pain" is literally an essential part of "paint." 
Yes indeed. How appropriate)

In reality, those shelves had to been removed, taken into the garage, sanded down, painted and painted over again in multiple coats, & be re-fit into wall (the sheetrock altered the volumetrics slightly from the original paneling). 
All the cabinet doors had to be re-hung and the hardware needed replacement.

The cabinet/shelving job took weeks.

We replaced the ceiling fan with a larger one, 
but moved the old one to a smaller room since it was still functional.

I saw this blog post on Pinterest and it introduced us to heat-resistant Rustoleum.


And now, as it is this very second . . .

The old back door was painted and moved to keep Bubba out of the laundry room- aka post-work decontamination chamber. 

The Dining Room:

Mmm. That carpet  . . .

It was replaced with "Plum Orchard" laminate flooring. 

There was laminate available for about 70-80 cents per sq ft.
But I'm glad we paid a bit more for this pattern ($1.69/sq ft I think). All our furniture is mix-matched, and I thought the multi-toned streaks in Plum Orchard would complement 
both the light and dark pieces.

Really grateful for Anthony's time and help


Room, don't get comfortable 'cause I'm not done with you yet.

Same flooring for the formal living room, now Ryan's bar/library, 
on other side of the entryway:

Ain't it beautiful? I never thought laminate could look so good. 

The Kitchen:

Oh this room sold me.
So much hugeness. I still don't know what to do with all the countertop, especially coming from a rental where we had only about two feet of food prep space.

The kitchen came with appliances in every color: black, white, steel, and yellow.

Maybe one day we'll touch up the kitchen more.
For the meanwhile, it now has recessed lighting, a little ceiling fan, and a new-used dishwasher.

Levolor faux-wood blinds went up.

I really didn't know what to do with the ugly wall paper border, so we just painted it over.

The Nursery

Me, on my due date last year. 
I'm being really helpful, as you can see.

Oh, decisions decisions . . .

New paint. New carpet. New fan. Recessed ceiling lights
 (CFL's? LED's? buying the bulbs was such a big deal, I should remember what we actually got).

And 5 minutes ago. I didn't pick up yet today. Deal with it.

I'm skipping two rooms, but my internet time is up ; p

Friday, February 6, 2015

The times they are a changin'

I can't get over how funny the baby is being  -- and how different he is acting this week. It's been like a little glimpse or foreshadowing into toddlerhood.

Our family spent the first half of January sick with some feverish GI bug. We spent the second half teething and nursing non-stop. We are in a much happier place right now.

They say babies start to grasp the concept of object permanence around 5 months.* (Like, the understanding that things can exist in places even out of sight. What we take for granted!) It's just recently, though, that he's demonstrating it in any appreciable way.

Earlier he would laugh with a peek a boo game, but maybe it was just for the funny faces we make. He starts the game himself now. Last night he closed himself in his nursery closet, paused, and then pushed the doors out again with a shriek of joy. Over and over and over again. It was hilarious.

Since . . . I guess birth, this kid has never expressed any desire to be anywhere except on/with me, or whomever happens to be the closest mom-substitute in the room. This past week or so, he'll actually make motions to be set down to play with something, or he'll just crawl away to check something out in another room.

Don't get me wrong, he still wants to be held, but now it's like only 75% of the time instead of 95% of the time.

The other day I left him in the [mostly baby-proofed] living room for about two minutes while I put some laundry away in our bedroom. At some point I heard his happy playing-with-my-toys babble change into a whimper.

"Momma's in her room, Bubba, 'Coming right back." I shouted. Normally, this realization of separation would trigger a melt down. Instead, I heard just another little whimper and the soft pitter patter of his hands and feet on the tile floor. A moment later his smile peered at me from around the corner of the hallway and he headed into my room.

Instead of freaking out, he realized he could close the distance himself.

Trust me, it's a big deal for us ; )

And so, so, so curious. He used to be terrified of the vacuum cleaner -- it's big and loud and noisy. But when's it's off and unplugged, he can't help but inspect it. For a time, he wouldn't go near the thing. I swear he got upset once cause I left it (off) in the same room as him. Another time, in lieu of a baby-gate, I simply parked it in front of an area I wanted him to stay away from. But on his own initiative he's come closer and closer everyday, tapping it, rubbing it, tugging its cord. Usually I strap him onto me with the Ergo while I vacuum. This morning I ran it in the living room and, even sitting on the same rug with it powered on, he didn't act scared.

 . . . And he's telling me my internet time is up. See ya.

*The object permanence thing. Some theorize that children don't fully understand this concept until 18-24 months. That's debatable for sure. Nonetheless, this is one of my big problems with cry-it-out sleep training, for infants at least.  Without understanding where mom or dad is, that kind of isolation is just cruel.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Going all in

Have you read the Holy Father's message to the Filipinos?

I loved it because I love Saint Joseph. It reminded me of the homily I heard just before Christmastime. The priest was reflecting on the need for trust, and how trust is just another word for faith, and how important it is to have trust in relationships, particularly with your spouse and with your God. 

I think the reading was the story of the Holy Family's flight into Egypt, when Herod threatened the baby Jesus. 

It was the first time I began to appreciate how courageous Mary and Joseph were, and how radical their trust was in each other. 

For yourself, imagine last night in all its normalcy. Now pretend your husband woke you up at 2:30am and said "Grab your things; we're leaving. It's not safe here."

Do you say "you're crazy and/or drunk," and roll over to fall back asleep?

Or, what the hell? Why?

Because of A DREAM? You want us to do what because of a shitty dream?

Maybe you think your spouse IS just a little crazy but you go out on a limb and  put your faith in his gut intuition. 

Imagine packing just what you could fit in the back of the car, hitting the interstate before sunrise, and driving across the border into Mexico's desert. Imagine taking refuge in that foreign country for an unspecified number of years. 

Wait, wait wait. But Mary wasn't married to your Average Joe. She married Saint Joseph, for Pete's sake. Of course if St. Joseph told you to do something, you'd trust him. He's not exactly your typical husband. 

True. But . . . 

Remember, between Mary and Joseph, Mary was the perfect one. Mary never made a moral error in her entire life. She, in a certain sense, was always right. 

Joseph was a really great guy, but he was still a sinner. He screwed up sometimes. 

Mary trusted him anyway. She was way outta his league, but she gave him her heart to lead their family. 

I'm still trying to process that. 
And I'm going to bed. Goodnight. 

PS. Read what Francis said about having a dream for your family. Maybe tomorrow I'll find the link to post. 

PS II. It's worth noting that Joseph also had to give some radical trust to Mary in a highly dubious predicament. They were engaged to be married, and she suddenly appears knocked up. Peer pressure and the norms of their culture would have had him react one way to a cheating fiancĂ©, but we know the rest of that story.