Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Baby Food Part 2: What I'm feeding him

I wrote a panicky blog post a couple of weeks ago about feeding a baby. You can read it here.

That crisis may have been the first time I cried about the stress of being a mom in a long time. Kennedy and I had a conversation a few days after things had settled down in which he reminded me that I tend to freak out a little at every new stage, and it always ends up working out.

I agreed, and decided I'm a little bit like Chicken Little. But it is my right as a mother.

ANYWAY, I decided that one day, when there's another little Dean baby (No, I'm not pregnant), I might want to freak out again about this feeding thing. So I'm going to make a list of things I'm feeding Campbell now for reference later. Hopefully this list will help some other people as well! And if you have other food ideas, feel free to share them in the comments below, because Lord knows I'm making this up as I go along.

First of all, Campbell is a vegetarian. It's not that I haven't tried to give him meat, but he's not all that  interested. So I'm not going to force the issue because he is getting lots of protein elsewhere right now.

Secondly, now that Campbell is comfortable with feeding himself, he prefers it. It's getting harder and harder to spoon feed him, but I do it because he is a slow eater. I can shovel a lot more in and make sure he's getting enough if I spoon feed him some foods. (Otherwise, we'd spend his entire awake time watching him eat.)

-1-2 slices of canteloupe
- Handful of cheerios
- Fruit-ish/yogurt/oatmeal mixture ("Fruit" includes pureed pumpkin, pureed pears, or a smoothie mixture*)

- 1/2 piece of string cheese
- Handful of cheerios (he LOVES feeding himself and if he doesn't have something in his hands, he won't let me give him anything on a spoon)
- Veggie/yogurt mixture (Veggies include some combination of mashed sweet potatoes, cut up carrots, cut up green beans, white potatoes)
- Beans (I usually mash them up a little and mix it in with the veggies)
- Some kind of fruit chunks (canteloupe, strawberries, pears, steamed apples, bananas, etc. Not ALL of those at once, but one or two types of those fruits.)
- Pureed prunes (for regularity)

- Whatever he doesn't get at Lunch, he gets at dinner
- Plus some kind of fruit/milk/oatmeal mixture

*Smoothies for Campbell are my way of sneaking things into his diet. He LOVES fruit, but not many veggies. So I will put 3-4 different fruits in, plus a big handful of spinach and some whole milk. (Also a great way for me to sneak whole milk into his diet!)

Snacks: (Campbell doesn't snack much, but I take these things with me when we're out because they're portable and don't make too much of a mess/ they keep him busy if he gets antsy. Is it terrible that I give him food when he's bored? Oh well, whatever works!)
- Yogurt melts
- Cheerios

I got this smoothie idea from my friend Laura at Our babies are only a couple of days apart, so I have been reading her blog/sending her facebook messages asking for advice! She also has great adult recipes, so definitely go check out her blog!

Campbell is old enough to eat pretty much anything (except for nuts and honey, obviously) so we are starting to let him try things off our plates as well. I know I am wayyyy behind many parents on this. A lot of people start their kids on table foods much earlier and are very successful.

But if you remember, I freak out easily when it comes to feeding this child, so I have been paranoid for the past year that he would eat something and have a terrible allergic reaction. (That's because Kennedy has several allergies, so it could be possible!) Better safe than sorry in my opinion.

Anyway, what a fun, exciting post! (Not.) But hopefully it'll be helpful to you, and to my future self! My goal now that I have this written out is to keep adding more and more foods to his diet. Mangos! Tomatoes! Asparagus! MEAT! The possibilities are endless.

Monday, January 28, 2013

How to Paint Your Cabinets & A Kitchen Source List

If you haven't already seen the big kitchen reveal, you can read that post here.

A few people have asked how we painted our cabinets, so I thought I'd just do a blog post about it. This literally could not have gone any better for us. I was fully expecting to have drips and clumps to deal with, and there was none of that. I don't know if it's because we went into it with no expectations? Whatever it was, they turned out great and it was 200% worth it to do it (and to not pay someone!)

Step 1: Remove all cabinet doors and pulls.

We took all the doors off the cabinets, and then removed the hinges from the doors as well. We made sure to have a container for all the hinges, a container for all the screws that held the hinges on the doors, and then left the screws that attached the hinges to the cabinets INSIDE the cabinets. That way we didn't lose any important parts!

This is also the part where you should remove all the hardware (pulls and knobs) from the cabinet doors and drawers. We didn't have any to begin with, so we didn't have to bother with that step.

Step 2: Tape tape tape!

Tape all your edges including where the cabinets meet the floors, walls and any appliances that aren't easily moved. Our dishwasher is stuck in there pretty tight, so we didn't bother trying to move it to paint. Instead, I taped it up.

Also, you might want to tape off the inside of the drawers (since it might not be worth it to take off the drawer fronts to you. It wasn't to us.)

Step 3: Don't bother sanding, just use Bonding Primer.

We were going to sand all the cabinets and doors and drawers, but then found this little gem. After reading the directions (which specifically said to not sand, but just make sure all surfaces were cleaned before use), I was sold! Once this went on, the cabinets actually felt like they had been sanded. I guess that's what it does? Also, part of our cabinets were made from laminate, so this was absolutely necessary in order to get the paint to stick to it! Worked like a charm.

We didn't even use half the can - this stuff is THICK, so if you buy it, you could easily get several projects out of it.

(After the bonding primer step. We didn't paint the island because we covered it in bead board first.)

Step 4: Paint all the doors and drawer fronts and cabinets (2-3 coats)

Here's my magic tip for all you cabinet painters out there: Don't glob on the paint. Avoid drips and clumps by doing 2-3 thin, even coats. You might need more depending on your cabinets and lighting, but LAY IT ON THIN. If you do happen to notice a drip or glob that has dried before you could catch it, just go over that spot with a high grit sandpaper and keep on painting. 

You really can't mess this up!

The other tip is to use a good brush (don't buy the cheap ones for this project!) for the detail parts, and a small foam roller for the larger surface areas. The roller makes it go wayyyyy faster and leaves it smoother. They make specific rollers for cabinetry, so just check the paintbrush aisle. We used a 4" roller and an angled brush.

Step 5: Reattach all hinges and doors and hardware and enjoy!

The end.

Kitchen Renovation Source List:
I think that about covers our list...Any questions? Just ask, I can't very well read your minds.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Big Kitchen Reveal! aka "Lipstick on a Pig"

When we started, I had very low expectations. That's because we didn't want to spend a lot of money and the cabinets were super cheap. So I kept telling Kennedy not to worry if things weren't perfect because it was like putting lipstick on a pig. Much to my surprise, it turned out MUCH better than I could've expected!

I suppose I would blog more if I shared our projects at each stage. But I kind of enjoy the big dramatic reveal that comes from showing a before and after side-by-side. Maybe it's something I need to get better at (blogging during the project, that is.)

At any rate, our kitchen is 98% done! And now it's time to share befores and afters.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Kennedy is the brawn and 1/2 of the brains behind this project. I tricked him into starting it a few weekends ago, and he ran with it. I continue to be amazed and impressed by him every day, but especially in the midst of a project.

Just to refresh your memory, you can read what we had originally planned to do with the kitchen here.
We stayed pretty close to it, and I'm surprised! The only thing we haven't done is paint the interior doors black, and I'm a bit over that project. Seems like a lot of work and it might not be the look I'm going for anymore.

OK, let's get to it! BEFORE, the kitchen was orange Orange ORANGE. The cabinets were an orange-y wood tone, the walls were a rusty orange-y red. It was...earthy.

One of the first things we did when we moved in was paint the kitchen/living area grey. Loved it in the living room, but it really made me hate the kitchen even more.

Note: The birdcage is gone and replaced with a chalkboard and high chair.

Next up, painting the cabinets. This was the main reason we put the kitchen off for so long. We dreaded doing the cabinets. But here's the great news! It only took us about 2 days (and that's not really 2 full days, but there was drying time in between coats) to paint them. Granted, we don't have that many cabinets, but it went much faster than we thought.

To anyone out there wanting to paint your kitchen cabinets, DO IT! You will be so much happier.

After the priming step. And me in my pajamas. At like 4 pm. So, I'm a slob. The secret's out.

And ahhhhhhh (that's the sound of angels singing). The painted cabinets. Notice the tops of the cabinets. Later on you will see that Kennedy added crown moulding along the tops in like, an hour and a half. Meanwhile, I sat in the kitchen and read blogs on the laptop.

Next: rip out the backsplash, along with some of the drywall. 

This is our giant window above the sink. Kennedy framed it out with trim because, well, it just looks better. But this is what it looked like before the trim.

And now.

The big.


Ahhhhhhh (there's those angels again.) I'll give you a moment to just sit and enjoy the view.

Side-note: Earlier I said Kennedy was 1/2 the brains behind the kitchen. What I meant by that was he had some really good design input into the kitchen, and this is the part where I will give him credit. 

The following is a list of everything that was Kennedy's idea: Island color, cabinet pulls, size of subway tile (but not the subway tile itself), the crown moulding, and the pendants (which were kind of a joint decision, but I'm giving it to him.)

The rest was kind of my idea.

Here are some more pictures now.

You can now find me sitting at the island like 21/7. What? I have other things I have to take care of around here. But mostly I just need to sit in one of those stools and stare at the microwave/backsplash. IT'S IMPORTANT THAT I DO SO.

Here's a beautiful shot of many things: 1) LOOK at that backsplash that my man carefully laid. But look at the new hardware! Can you believe we used to have no hardware in our kitchen at all? It was weird. Admittedly, it made it a lot harder for C-Baby to open the cabinets. But now I can get some of those ugly cabinet zip-ties to protect him from consuming harmful chemicals under the sink.

(Why does everyone insist on keeping their poisons under the kitchen sink?)

Yum yum yum! I love this kitchen. (Look at the crown moulding!)

One last view from the side, so you can see some important details.

Notice the following things from the picture above:
  • The newly framed out window
  • The gorgy (this is a derivative of gorgeous that I'm trying to get to catch on) turned legs that we added to the previously lopsided island.
  • The beadboard we (Kennedy) added to 3 sides of the island.
  • The pendant lights we (Kennedy) installed above the island. Go back to the first picture. THEY WERE NOT THERE BEFORE. Plus, he wired a separate switch to them. Amazed.

Built-in desk.

Finally, here's the built-in desk with a load of clutter underneath it. This part of the kitchen is not done because I'm going to beg Kennedy to remove that phone jack that is so randomly placed on the wall, and then add the subway tile here as well.

I'm SO glad it's done-ish and we can just sit back and enjoy it while we're still in Indy. The only other thing we need to tackle is hanging a pendant over the sink in place of a can light that's there now. But we have yet to find one we want, and I don't want it to match the lights over the island. Coordinate, yes. But not match.

***UPDATE: Here is a link to a cabinet painting tutorial plus a kitchen source list ***

Now I must go and sit at my island and just drool out of the side of my mouth while I look at the kitchen.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Bachelor update and kitchen 'thangs'

I'm going to be honest. I hyped up this season's Bachelor to myself wayyyyy too much. So far, it's been kind of a snooze-fest. But alas, I have made a commitment to myself to blog through the season. And I guess there are some things to talk about.

Like how I decided that I don't care for Sean. He was a clear choice last season on the Bachelorette, but I realized that I thought this for 2 reasons: 1) He is from Dallas and 2) All the other guys were worse choices. Now that the rose-colored glasses have been ripped from my face and stomped into tiny pieces, I can see clearly.

Sean is the type of guy that I would have hated in high school. And college. I assume he's the type of guy who says everything "right" (meaning he thinks he's in a movie) all the time but still ends up being awkward about it. BUT he doesn't know he's awkward which just makes everyone else feel like they're the awkward ones until later when they really dissect the situation. Wow, that just got really specific. Plus it made me sound like a jerk. Oh well, I'm leaving it in here.

Let's talk about that KISS, HUH!?! Sean took Lesley M. on a one-on-one date with a surprise! He arranged for them to break the Guinness Book of World Records for longest on-screen kiss.

1. I'm pretty sure it was as awkward as it looked.
2. Who still cares about the Guinness Book of World Records?
3. They kissed for real later, and it was even more unnatural than the staged one.
4. She got a rose.

Other highlights from tonight's episode:
- Group date including a volleyball game TO THE DEATH
- Tierra falls down the stairs and we're left to wonder if she was pushed?!?!

I also decided that Dez needs to get a clue and move on. She is way too witty and smart for Sean. LISTEN GIRL, HE WILL NEVER GET YOUR JOKES! (Am I yelling too much in this post? My bad...)

Dear Bachelor,
It's time to amp up the drama a bit.

In other news, Kennedy and I have spent the last couple of weekends doing a mini kitchen reno. And it's alllllmost done!

Here's a sneak peek of the construction process, that you might have seen if you follow Kennedy on Instagram. If you don't, here it is!

We are actually way further along than these pictures show, but that's no fun to show! Can't wait to share some photos when we're finally all the way done!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Global Warming

It's real, and I created it. Mua hahahaha!

I don't know why I'm putting off writing about Campbell's 1st birthday, but I am. And also, I left my camera cord in Tejas over Christmas, and it makes it a little difficult to upload pictures from his birthday party. So I will wait on that.

Instead, I made a blanket! I have a problem in which I make/own too many blankets. But this is the story:

I went to JoAnn Fabric looking for some kind of decoration for C's birthday party. It was themed loosely on trees. Basically, I just used a bunch of stuff from his nursery, because I like his nursery and wouldn't mind having that stuff all over my house (except that it's a bit juvenile.)

ANYWAY, I got sidetracked at JoAnn, as it usually goes, and wandered through the miles of fabrics. I found an adorable world map printed fabric and it immediately screamed "BUY ME! BUY ME!" So I did.

Then I decided Campbell could use a new blanket in his life. (Or, I could use a new blanket in my life that I would share with him.)

I bought some super soft "Snuggle fabric" as it's called at JoAnn. It's red, his favorite color. I sewed them together like a pillowcase, turned it right side out and top stitched all the way around! Super easy. Super warm.

Here's Elvis, enjoying both North and South America at the same time.

And here's a peek at the backside, which matches Mother Russia quite nicely.

I told Kennedy that I imagined Campbell laying on the floor with the blanket spread out, pointing at each country and reading its name to me. How adorable would it be to hear a little toddler say "Saudi Arabia"? I CAN'T WAIT FOR HIM TO TALK!

In closing, my apologies to the Polar Bears.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Baby Food

*Disclaimer: This blog post has the potential to be weird and all over the place. *

Feeding a baby is one of the most confusing and stressful things of my entire life. How much? And of what? When do they start this food or what should they avoid? How do I get him to CHEW SOMETHING?!

Confession: People have mixed reactions when they find out I've been exclusively breastfeeding C this whole time (not counting the solid foods that we started him on at 6 months.) But overall, most people are somewhat impressed. And I admit, it did take a lot of work on my part to keep it up that long. But the real truth is that it was mentally easier for me to keep nursing than to switch to formula. That's because I have no clue how much milk a baby needs in volume. Of course there are many benefits to breastfeeding for the entire first year, and that is one of the main reasons that I kept it up.

The other reasons are: It's easier. It's more portable. It burns calories.

SO NOW, Campbell is 1 year old (which is going to have to be a post in and of itself), and it's almost like I'm starting out with a newborn again.

I took him to the Dr. for his 1-yr appointment, and he actually has lost weight since his last appointment 3 months ago. This freaked me out big time, even though it was only like 3 oz. The doctor wasn't concerned at all but said he should be on cow's milk now, for the added protein and fat. So I go out and get the cow's milk (organic whole milk), and guess who refused to take it? I know it was only the first time, and I know I need to keep trying, but remember how I said I was confused and stressed earlier? This did not help.

When we first started regularly giving C solid foods, it was at 6 months. That's because I put it off as long as possible (see: stressed and confused.) It happened to align with a time that Kennedy was out of town for 3 straight weeks, so I was having to go it alone. I may have cried several nights in a row when I tried to get him to eat that rice cereal and he wouldn't take it.

Good news is that he will eat it now! But I think of all things about caring for a baby, this has got to be the toughest part for me.

Fast forward to the past month, when I have been trying to get that boy (with his 8 teeth!) to eat table foods. For about a week, he gagged and threw up every time. Now he only gags and throws up about once every couple of days. Progress for sure, but come on Campbell. Is it really necessary to throw up that much?

Good news is that I have gotten good at catching it in my hands! Much easier clean-up.

We are in an awkward eating stage where he likes to take table food now over purees, but he eats sooooooo slowly. So I am barely getting anything down that gullet (Hence: the insignificant weight loss.) Also, there are currently 3 table foods he will go for, and the rest end up on the floor for the dogs. Canteloupe, strawberries and soda crackers.

This is not exactly a balanced diet. (See: Stressed.)

Why am I writing this? I really don't know. I feel like I can't be the only one who is confused on this subject. And if I am alone, well then I'm writing it as a plea for an owner's manual. SOMEONE PLEASE WRITE ME A BABY FOOD MANUAL! And I don't mean send me to websites with baby food recipes. I mean literally write me a step-by-step guide with figure drawings and charts and data. Write it as if you're speaking to a 3rd grader. It will just be easier for me, I think.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Bachelor 17 - It's baaaaaaack!

- Have a backyard bbq with your family to show how you're a family man. Check!
- Toss some pebbles into the ocean waves and look like you're imagining your future wife. Check!
- Climb this mountain shirtless. Check!
- Stare into the mirror while we slow zoom in on your eyes. (Not check, but I know it's coming!)

It's that time again! The Bachelor is BACK! And if you can remember, Kennedy and I got hooked on last season's Bachelorette with Emily Maynard. BTW - I am now friends with her on Instagram, not to brag. I mean, I follow her but she isn't following me back, but I know she's really busy with Ricky and the break-up with Jef. So I'm not too worried about it.

How sweet was it that Arie stopped by to shoot the breeze with Sean before he meets the girls? They're practicing how to say "Will you accept this rose?" and I dunno....I think he needs a little more practice...he just doesn't quite have it yet. So good thing they moved on to giving each other kissing tips. This is not starting out well.

I wonder what Emily was thinking when she saw this scene? (GASP! Do you think Emily watched?!?!?)

Cue staring at the sunset off the edge of a cliff.

Here's my first impressions of the "stand-out stars" of the show, in chronological order! (Note: Not all girls are accounted for here.)

-Tierra - One word: CRAZY. Wait, one more: CRAZY. Waaaatch out, Sean!
- Sarah - One arm. This really threw me for a curve because they didn't introduce it outright. Good job Bachelor, letting me harshly judge her personality beforehand. Now I feel like a jerk.
- Ashley P. - "It's just me and my cat now." Loves 50 Shades of Grey enough that it made it into her bio.

(It should be noted that every single intro video so far has included the girl at work pretending to answer the phone with important business.)

- Jackie - can put red lipstick on without a mirror - impressive and a little scary.
- Taryn - LOVE HER. PICK HER NOW! I hope she's not hiding her crazy for later.
- Robyn - Did backflips on her way to meet Sean and FELL. Thank you, Bachelor gods.

(The meetings get more and more awkward as the show goes on...)

- Kristy - "I'm gonna pee my pants right now."
- Last but not least... Lindsay - OMG. OMG. OMG. I can't wait for this season now. Instantly reminded me of "The Simple Life" starring Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie for some reason.

Oh wait, then there's Kacie B., but I don't know enough about past seasons to know or care who that is.

Yay! This is gonna be a fun season, what with all the crazies. Can't wait to blog my way through season 17 of the Bachelor!

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