Category Archives: home

First bite of cake… ever!

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Here’s the homemade cake. Daddy did most of the hard work, baking until 2am the night before. Mommy did the fun part: decorating the top.

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What is this? Can I eat it? Can I put it in my mouth? A little guidance here, please.

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Oh, cool. That actually tastes really interesting. Why is that?

Anyway, I don't know if I'm supposed to be eating this, but I'm certainly not going to stop unless someone tells me to.

Anyway, I don’t know if I’m supposed to be eating this, but I’m certainly not going to stop unless someone tells me to.

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I totally just ate that whole thing. And I’m feelin’ it.

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Our house is Nora’s playroom

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Nora’s first Thanksgiving

She was pretty thankful for it.

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Painting the piano

We’ve been in home improvement mode — mainly removing wallpaper and painting. I’m a little bit paint-happy right now. My mom and I were joking — she was a little worried that if she were standing in the room, I might paint her. This weekend, we hunkered down and got to work on several projects including, painting the downstairs hallway, sanding down the closet door in the bathroom so that it opens over the rug, painting two side tables and… painting the PIANO.

We feel pretty lucky to have a piano in the first place. The former owners left it for us, which was really kind. I always wanted to give Nora piano lessons. She’s already pretty great at improvising. She bangs on the keys and sometimes gets so into it, she gnaws on them, feeling the music, being one with the music, ingesting the music.

But we needed to figure out how to work it into our space. The dark color didn’t quite go with our decor.

BEFORE

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I don’t know what’s on TV there — is that Chopped?

The color we used is Benjamin Moore’s Filtered Sunlight: 2154-60. It’s a light yellow, creamy color. I applied one coat and then realized I liked how it looked to see a little bit of the dark poking through. It gave the piano an antique look. Here’s what we have so far:

AFTER

I’m still working on decorative pieces to place on top of the piano, maybe a photo display or a vase with a bunch of sticks. I didn’t make that sound very appealing, but I’ll show you what I mean when I put it together. I might also do another coat on this using semi-gloss.

What do you think?

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New house and slideshow

We moved to a new house! I haven’t posted for awhile because I’ve been a little preoccupied, over the last few weeks, with home improvement projects (packing, painting, unpacking, painting) while Kevin undertook a gargantuan wallpaper-removal project. We moved on Friday, getting the last box into the house about an hour before the torrential downpour. Kevin spent the weekend setting up the kitchen while I reacquainted myself with all of my old clothes and judged whether or not they should make the cut. High heeled boots — I’m sorry but you’re a goner. I have a baby now and I need my feet to be comfortable. Do you understand? Tie-dyed t-shirt that I made in seventh grade at camp and that I have not worn since high school — I should get rid of you, right? Nah. Welcome to my closet.

Nora seems to like her new abode so far. She’s felt comfortable expressing herself here. Her new thing is to move her mouth and her tongue and make these sorts of noises: Ah, blah, blah, bah, da, blah, gah, BLAH! She has also learned to grab her foot and stick her toes in her mouth. Oh, and we bought her this new Jumparoo, (thanks Ainsley for letting Nora borrow yours), and it is an endless party. Nora does this awesome sidestep jig sort-of move and there are monkey and elephant noises and music.

Well, I am way behind on my posts, so I thought I’d include a photo slideshow to highlight some of the events of the last month. Nora got to see lots of friends and family.

Here we go:

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DIY butterfly mobile and a hurricane story

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It’s the morning of Saturday, August 27, 2011. I’m four months pregnant and starting to feel the impulse to nest.

Hurricane Irene will approach New York in a few hours. We and all of our neighbors have stored all porch furniture, brought our outdoor plants inside, removed chimes and locked windows. We’ve filled the bathtub and stocked the cabinets with cereal, cans of tuna fish and trail mix. We’ve placed flashlights and battery operated candles in various places around the house.  The news is recycling the same clips over and over again, including yesterday’s sunbathers soaking up rays in Asbury Park and Governor Christie scolding them, “Get the hell off the beach.”

Our neighbors wave and smile at us as we hop in the car and head off to AC Moore to buy supplies for our craft project: a butterfly mobile for the nursery, and to pick up the one preparatory item we forgot: D batteries. It’s raining sideways now, the sky looks sort of orange, and there’s a buzz and excitement in the air as we all wait for what’s to come.

The parking lot at AC Moore is already a small lake. Kevin and I don’t find any D batteries, of course. It seems everyone else in Rockland County has had the same idea. The checkout lines are long, families with carts full of crayons, scrapbook materials and jewelry supplies. The power keeps going out in the store and the credit card machines aren’t working so we pay in cash for our supplies.

Our hands hurt from cutting out butterflies from morning until night while the rain gushes and trees sway against the side of the house.

It’s nighttime and so far, we’re in the clear in terms of hurricane damage – we haven’t lost power yet. Exhausted, we leave our strands of butterflies on the table and go to bed. I can’t sleep. Before pregnancy, I used to sleep flat on my stomach with arms and legs splayed out and I can’t quite seem to get used to my side. The wind has picked up outside and we can hear tree branches cracking. I look up at the skylight, at the tree that hovers above the house, taunting us, scratching at the window. I’m afraid the tree is going to fall on us and crush us. When I do finally fall asleep, I dream that I’m in high school at a party at a friend’s parents’ house. Water is climbing up the back porch and we’re stranded inside, but everyone there is drunk, having a good time and asking me why I’m overreacting. I remember then, in the dream , that I have a baby at home that I need to get to.

I turn over at 5am and see Kevin’s eyes are open too. “Maybe we should check on the house,” I say.

Kevin puts on his shoes and treks down to the basement to find this:

Oh no! Two feet of water!

While Kevin bales water into the washing machine, I work on the butterfly project. I’d help Kevin but it’s probably not a good idea for me to be pregnant, bending and lifting heavy water and I’m worried about mold in the basement.

We don’t have a head flashlight, but Kevin crafts one with duct tape and a hat:

It becomes clear that Kevin can’t keep up with the rising water so we call the fire company. A fireman come over to assess our basement and walk through our family room where he finds scraps of paper, strands of butterflies and some of the other crafts we’d been working on for the nursery (see my last post on DIY cartoon drawings).

“Looks like you kept yourself busy,” he says.

He says he will come back in a few hours to drain out the basement. He wants to wait for it to stop raining and we’re only one in a long list of people who need assistance. We work on our project while we wait for them to return. It’s a nice way to pass the time.

Finally, we finish! Here’s a picture of the final product:

Eventually the rain dies down. Kevin discovers a few hours later that the basement has drained on its own. Whew! We open the door and step out onto the porch to find a dark sky and branches down all over the neighborhood. We lose power for two days after that, but we’re lucky. The damage is nothing compared to what some friends have gone through in Vermont and parts of New Jersey.

In the end, we have something to show for our cabin fever. Here’s a picture of the butterfly mobile in Nora’s nursery.

(Here’s the crafty footnote of the story. This DIY project was modeled after the Pottery Barn Kids mobile which has been discontinued. Props to Project Nursery for their butterfly mobile design: http://projectnursery.com/2010/01/butterfly-mobile/. Visit their site to find all of the instructions and supplies you will need to do this project on your own. You’re hands will be sore, but in the end, it’ll be worth it!)

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DIY cartoon drawings for the nursery

If you’re new to our blog, welcome. If you’ve been here before, you may have noticed our new header and perhaps you are wondering, who are these fine cartoon fellows? They are Nora’s good friends, (especially Mr. Owl. She reserves a special smile for him.)

This was a little project Kevin and I took on ourselves, and I think they add a personal touch to her nursery.

Here’s how we did it:

We drew the animals in pencil first, finding some inspiration online by googling “cartoon elephant,” “cartoon monkey,” etc.

We went over each outline with a black Micron pen and then colored it in with Prismacolor markers.

We had each drawing laminated at Kinko’s and then taped it to neutral colored matte from Michael’s.

Then, we punched two holes in either side of the matte, threaded ribbon through the holes and tied it in a bow.

We staggered the pictures and hung them on the wall right over her changing table like so:

I feel a little bad that Mr. Lamb didn’t make it onto the header.

It was only because we ran out of room but we love him!

Here are the other guys:

And here’s another look at the header we photoshopped:

It is pretty cool to see Nora start to notice them and smile at them.

Can you guess which ones are mine and which ones are Kevin’s?

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