Archive | March, 2011

30 days, 30 posts

31 Mar

So, things have been a little crazy here. Joel is finishing up his second semester of law school, interviewing for jobs, and trying to decide about working for the summer or taking summer school. Clara has been busy learning new things. And I’ve been in a bit of a funk.

I don’t really know why that is, but it’s just been a struggle lately to keep up with the everyday things around the house – cleaning, dishes, laundry – and a dirty house makes me funky. I think part of it is that outside of the gym, I don’t have a whole lot of adult interaction these days. Most of my waking hours are spent with a 6 month old. A really cute 6 month old, but she’s not really much for conversation. There are a ton of projects I want to work on, but Clara doesn’t really nap regularly, so that makes it difficult. And then there’s the never ending mountain of laundry, counter full of dishes, and perpetually crumb-covered floor to deal with.

So, as a result, I’ve neglected a lot of things. Posting here is one of them. So for the next 30 days, starting tomorrow, I will post something every day. Well, I will at least try. Might be something short, might be a full-blown post, you’ll just have to wait and see. I just want to get back in the habit of posting more often.

Today, I did actually start one of those projects I want to finish. After going cleaning poop out of clara’s bathtub and putting her down for a nap for her protection and my sanity, I started this:


It’s a height chart for her room. I painted the numbers and vertical line orange, but after looking back at the picture, I might go back to white. We shall see.

Anyway, stay tuned… 30 days, 30 posts… Here we go!

Dear Clara – 6 months

28 Mar

Dear Clara,

Today you are 6 months old. (Well, really it was yesterday, but who’s keeping track?)

I am kind of in shock.

Everyone told me that it would go by so fast, but I guess I just didn’t actually believe them.  Some days it seems like the time drags by, but other days I think back, and I can’t even remember when you were so tiny you fit on my chest, or looked like a tiny little baby doll in your car seat.

These days you are getting so big!  You are so tall, and your feet stick out of the end of your little car seat now.  You’re still really skinny, but boy are you strong!  Your little shoulder muscles are defined, and you still have that baby six pack.  (And I’m still jealous of it!)

You got your second tooth on Friday (3.25.11).  It bothered you a lot more than the first one, and we had a couple days of you being kinda miserable.  Those little frozen teethers seemed to help, and you had a great time dropping them all over the floor for me to pick up.

You’ve been eating solid foods for a couple months now, and you love it!  When I feed you something you really like, you definitely let me know!  You say “mmmmm” and “nom nom nom” and open your mouth for another bite before I can even get it back to the bowl.  Your favorites are carrots, pears, acorn squash, and apples.  You also really like smashed bananas and avocados.  You tolerated peas for a while, but now when I try to feed them to you, you will take one bite, make a yucky face, shiver, and refuse to eat any more.  Green beans aren’t much better.  You are definitely developing opinions about these things.

You have started sitting up on your own, too.  That really started last Monday (3.14.11).  It’s amazing how much better you get at it every single day.  The first day you could sit up for about a minute at a time, and then the next day it was about 5 minutes, and now you can sit up for 20-30 minutes before your gigantic head makes you topple over.  You still don’t really roll over – you’re just content to be where you are.  You love to play in your exersaucer, and that can keep you occupied for a while these days.

I think you might be a singer someday.  You love to make all kinds of noises, but your favorite is the “brrrrr” noise you make by making your lips buzz.  You vary your tone up and down just like a singer.  Once you learned to do that, you started making all kinds of other noises, too.  It’s so fun to hear you babble and talk to yourself.  I love to talk back to you, and we still have those long conversations every day.

Everyone always talks about how good you are, how happy you are, and how cute you are.  I tell them that you like to show off for strangers.  But you really are good, happy, and definitely cute!

You had your first taste of lemon last Friday, and let me tell you, your reaction was hilarious!  I wish we had started taping at the very beginning, because that reaction was best, but here is what we got: (I can’t get this to embed for some reason 😦  click the link below to see both videos…)

You smile a lot, it’s how you tell people hello, but you’re pretty discerning with your laughter.  Every now and then we get a good giggle out of you, and we can’t help but record that, too.

(Clara videos)

As you can see, I would do just about anything to hear that laugh.  Even make a fool of myself.  But you know, somehow it doesn’t seem as silly when you’re with me.  I get a free pass to be ridiculous by having a kid, and that’s pretty cool.

You do some funny things when you sleep.  You always put your hands on your head and rub your hair.  And you will do this thing where you pick both your feet up and SLAM them into the mattress.  I think this is how you have kept your baby six pack.  Can you teach me how to do this in my sleep, too?  When you wake up you play in your crib for a while, making noises and practicing your singing, and sometimes sucking on your toes, even when you’re wearing footie pajamas.  Silly.  It’s one of my favorite things to do in the morning – listen to you talk to yourself as you wake up.  And then the best part is when I go in to get you out of bed, when you see me you freeze for a second and then give me the biggest grin.  It’s awesome.

You know your daddy, and you get really excited when you hear his voice.  Your eyes get all big and your arms and legs go straight and you shake them because you’re so excited.

Your favorite toys right now are your stuffed owl, the stuffed cardinal we got you in Florida, your indestructible books, my necklaces, and pretty much anything you can put in your mouth.  You also really love to pull my hair.  You pull my hair really hard.  That hurts, and I’d really appreciate it if you’d stop that, ok?  Ok.

When I have to work, you and your daddy usually watch sports.  You loved football season.  You were a little less interested in basketball.  Now it’s baseball season.  I hope you love it, because mommy has lots of weddings this summer, and you and daddy will be hanging out on Saturdays a lot.  You will need to like baseball.  At least for a little while. (Or you could just take a nap during the games, and that would probably be ok, too.  Shhhh, don’t tell daddy I told you, but you probably won’t miss much. Plus, he’ll wake you up with his yelling and cheering if anything exciting happens.)

You crack me up when I take a big breath to blow raspberries on your belly.  You anticipate and start laughing your little silent laugh as your eyes get all big.  You also smile really big when I blow air in your face.  This fun game keeps you occupied when we’re out shopping.

Tonight you decided that you wanted to add to this blog post.  This is what you had to say:  ybygu hhejtug j.iu6tbe x
Nice.  Well said.

Clara, you’re an awesome little girl.  Daddy and I love you very much.  I hope you know that.  Keep growing up big and strong.

Happy half-birthday, lovie!

Mommy and Daddy

The Rug: Found!

24 Mar

Hello friends.

Today, Clara has decided that she doesn’t want to sleep.  I suspect that there’s another tooth on the way.  Makes for a fun afternoon.

I have been on a search.  The search for the perfect rug for my living room.  You might remember the color we chose for our wall – Determined Orange:

Well, I love the color.  It’s fun, bright, and not too much to overpower the room.  I also love the hardwood floors in here, but with a 6 month old who will be crawling and walking before I know it, it’s going to be necessary to have a rug.

I’ve looked and looked and looked.  There are some great rugs out there.  My problem is that the ones I love are too small for the room.  I need a rug that’s at least 8×10.  I actually thought I would need one bigger than that, but after doing some measuring, I think that will be good enough.

The other problem is that any rug that has orange in it seems to be mostly brown – which, paired with our brown sectional, sucks all the light out of my bright living room.  So, back to the drawing board.

Enter, Ballard Designs.  I don’t know why, but one day I randomly got their catalog in the mail.  Maybe because we moved and then our address was sold to the entire universe of companies that want to sell us something.  I don’t even know why I looked at it – I typically just throw those things out.  But, I flipped through it.  They actually have some really cool stuff, and I’d consider buying more stuff from them eventually.

But this is what really caught my attention:

I like the paisley design, the navy pulls in the color from the dining room walls, and there’s just a hint of orangey-red in there to tie in to the wall.

But since I’m not one to gamble on expensive things like rugs, so I checked out their website to find that they offer swatches of their rugs for you to check out.  Awesome.  And they’re free.  You just pay for the shipping, which wasn’t really that bad.  So I ordered the swatch, and it came today!  And… I love it!


And, so it is that the decision has finally been made!  Woohoo!

Downstairs Bathroom Plans

21 Mar

So, now that I’ve gotten the downstairs living areas mostly complete, it’s time to start working on a few of the other areas.

Next up: the downstairs half-bath.  Here’s what it looks like right now:

I found the towel, a rug in a similar color green, and this soap dispenser at (where else?) Tar-jay.  It seems to be coming together, so I think I’ll go with that color scheme.

All that remains is to pick a paint color and get a canvas printed and hung on the wall.  There’s already a lot of color downstairs, and I like soft colors in bathrooms, so here are my choices:

The light is really yellow in the room, so it’s hard to get the colors exactly true on camera, but these are pretty close.

Over New Years, when we were at the beach, there was one particularly foggy morning, so I went out with my camera.  It was just the sort of scene I had envisioned for a print in this room – soft, grey, and foggy.

Next up, the bedroom!

Thursday (or The Plight of the Plastic Mailbox)

19 Mar

Thursday was that day.

Yep.  Not my most stellar day.  It started out innocently enough.  It was actually the first day I was not going to make a trek up to Raleigh to go to the gym or meet a friend to run walk around Shelly Lake.  And since it was St. Patrick’s Day and I clearly did not plan for that in my meal planning for the week, I thought I’d go to the store to get some corned beef and cabbage for dinner.  Oh, and dental floss.  Don’t ask me why those were the three things on my list.

Just before I left the house, Clara was starting to look sleepy.  Against my better judgement, I decided to pack up and go to the store anyway instead of putting her down for a nap and going when she woke up.  I don’t know why I decided that.  Couldn’t tell ya.  If I’d just put her down, I would have probably avoided this entire situation… but alas, I did not.

After some searching at the store, I finally found the corned beef brisket, the dental floss, and picked up the other few items on my list, and headed home.  In the meantime, Clara had fallen asleep.  I tried to keep her awake, but to no avail.

As I was pulling up to the house, my neighbor, Jodi was outside.  Being the friendly, neighborly person that I am, I turned my head for a split second and waved.

And then it happened.

As I turned my head back to finish turning into the driveway, I saw it.

The mailbox in the process of falling over.  The sickening feeling of the post scraping against my front bumper.

I just froze.  My heart sank as I looked in the rearview mirror to see my mailbox laying on the ground, pieces of the plastic mailbox post laying in the yard, and a jagged remainder of the post still in the ground.

I suppose I should be glad that it was a plastic post.  Wood probably would have done much more damage.  Eh…

The best part was that not only was Jodi there to witness my humiliation, but there was also a couple taking a walk down the street.  The three witnesses are probably the only reason I didn’t burst out into tears immediately, because as soon as I got inside and put Clara down for a nap, I completely broke down.

I went back out, still bawling, to try and get the white plastic marks off the front bumper of my car.  Once again, I should be glad that it was a plastic post, because it did no damage to the bumper, and most of the marks came off pretty easily.  The remaining ones will take a little elbow grease, but I’m pretty confident that they’ll come off too.

So now, I am on the hunt for a new mailbox post.  It would be nice to just get a 4×4 wooden post and stick the mailbox on it, but our HOA requires that they all be uniform throughout the neighborhood, so I’ve been chasing down whoever might know about where I can get one.  I called our HOA, and left a message, but apparently they leave early on Fridays.  That must mean they leave at 10am, because that’s when I called.  Why even bother working on Fridays?  So then I called our builder, and they actually do work on Fridays and were able to give me the number of the company where they buy the posts.  That company’s number connected me to a cell phone for the woman who runs it who wasn’t in the office, but has promised to get back to me tomorrow with the info.  Who knew, right?

In the end, it’s my pride more than anything that’s hurt.  Clara and I are fine.  The car’s fine.  Even the mailbox itself is fine.

There is just one pitiful plastic post that is currently being held up by a softball bat and painter’s tape.

All for some corned beef and dental floss.

If You Give a Baby a Blueberry….

4 Mar

…You will get a very purple baby!

Clara and I were just hanging out the other day and she said, “Hey, Mom!  I want to try blueberries!”

I mean I thought, “Hmm, she’s teething… I wonder if Clara would like frozen blueberries?”

So, I pulled out the mesh teether and threw in a few frozen blueberries, stripped Clara down to her diaper, stuck her in the high chair, and started my experiment.

You would have thought there was crack in those blueberries.  She LOVED them and cried whenever she lost her grip on the teether.  It was hilarious.

And, being the genius crazy mom that I am, I had my camera at the ready.  These just make me smile.  I hope they bring you a little joy on this Friday.

Blueberry dance party!



Now that’s a happy baby!


We have a big weekend coming up!  My friend, Emily is getting married!  So excited for her and her husband to be, Josh!  Surely photos will follow.  And then it’s a week of spring break!  Woohooo!

Chair – the wrap up

2 Mar

You may remember a few weeks ago, when I was contemplating getting started on reupholstering this beast:  

Well, you may  have caught a glimpse of the finished product a week or so ago, but I thought I’d give you a bit better idea of the before and after.


I knew the headrest would be the easiest part, so of course, I started there.

I started by removing my previous upholstry fabric and got back to the original leather, which was in pretty rough shape, which isn’t helped by this terrible iphone picture:


This is about halfway through the process.  I say halfway, because although everything is re-covered, there were still hours to go to figure out how to put it back together.  Ahahaha.

But, I did figure it out (again) and here’s the final product!

I think Clara likes it…

I love how it brightens up the room and adds in a little bit of blue to the color palette.  Yay!  One project done!

Favorite Recipes: Seared Tuna Steak

1 Mar
I posted on my twitter yesterday that we were having this for dinner, and got such a crazy response that I thought I’d post the recipe here for you to enjoy.
Tuna steak was an intimidating ingredient to me when I first tried this recipe, but let me assure you, it is SUPER easy to cook.  This recipe could not be more simple, and it is seriously tasty!  This is how I got Joel eating fish – which he never really ate before (granted, we haven’t gotten much beyond tuna, but you gotta start somewhere, right?).
You can get good tuna steaks at Harris Teeter’s fish counter.  I don’t really know a fishmonger here, but if you have one, I’d go there.  Just make sure your tuna is fresh – it should have good color, be pretty much odorless, and bounce back when you press lightly with your finger.
So, without further ado…
  • 2 big handfuls fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped (I just use the whole bunch, but as we’ve established, I love cilantro)
  • 2 jalepenos, chopped (you can use less if you  like less spice)
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Pinch sugar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (6-ounce) block sushi-quality tuna
  • 1 ripe avocado, halved, peeled, pitted, and sliced


In a mixing bowl, combine the cilantro, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, sugar, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir the ingredients together until well incorporated.

Place a skillet over medium-high heat and coat with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the tuna generously with salt and pepper. Lay the tuna in the hot oil and sear for 1 minute on each side to form a slight crust. Pour 1/2 of the cilantro mixture into the pan to coat the fish. Serve the seared tuna with the sliced avocado and the remaining cilantro sauce drizzled over the whole plate.

I served this with a salad and some rice.  You could make an asian inspired salad, but I was using what I had on hand.


Enjoy!  This is really one of my favorites!