On having number two...

People keep asking how I am. How we are. And mostly I say "Wonderful and great and really good." And mostly that is true. But it's not the whole picture.

It looks a little more like this...

"Holding your second, you become human again. You are elated and concerned. Your firstborn is replaced. You can’t look at or listen to both of your babies at the same time. So you look at your baby while talking about your firstborn. You say, hold on honey far too many times. Your guilt is relentless. How will you convince them both that they are the center of your universe? This new angel seems like a stranger at first, and then your firstborn does. Suddenly he appears to be a giant. You wonder when he’ll start pulling his weight already. You are worried you’ll never find your balance. What is the right division of time, love, attention, fear, worry?"

- perfectly written, at exactly the right moment by Glennon of Momastery

I could not have portrayed this better.


Changing table for two

I am thinking I need a new camera. And a photography lesson. Photos with the iphone are just so convenient and uploading to a blog post is even easier but with poor lighting, you get pictures like this one. So for now I am choosing convenience - but please forgive the quality of the photos!

Everyone said - make sure you potty train your toddler before the baby arrives. 2 in diapers is a pain! Well, being pregnant was exhausting and we bought a house and we moved and he started preschool so I figured that was enough change for all of us. And now, there is NO way I am going to potty train with a newborn. So, we needed a changing table for two.

Do you remember the tall dresser? That has been around since before the nugget. You can see the craigslist transformation here. We just added a second IKEA Malm dresser, this time purchased new because I so did not need to be painting or doing DIY anything. Toddler things were moved into the smaller one and baby things went back into the tall one. And really, I think it works.

As for the collage, that was pre-nugget too. First at our condo in the city and then here at our rental house. I really loved it at our rental house but it works here too. And, it always gives us something to talk about...


Pippi, restored

My brother gave me this Pippi Longstockings frame almost 7 years ago. It used to have a mirror in it, but that broke during one of the moves. I have been packing and repacking it, not wanting to part with it but not totally sure what to do with it. Too small for a mirror and too odd shaped for a picture frame, I trusted that I would someday figure it out.

And now with 2 boys - though Pippi is a favorite on our DVD player -  I wondered if I needed to find a little girl to pass this off too. And you know what, I did.

There is a little girl who lives in Kentucky who will soon get to call my little brother uncle, so I figured it made sense to gift it to her.

Some hooks, paper and fabric later...

...and we have a little something for Johanna!


ABC's by Emily

I promised another Emily craft project, right? To be fair I have to mention that my brother traced and cut out the letters. Yes, the creative duo strikes again.

These arrived as a Christmas present in a darling little denim sack and I knew immediately that we needed some felt and some velcro to finish things up.

The chalkboard side of the easel provided the perfect resting place!

Mostly, I love that it makes the nugget break into song and that when I walk into our shared office/creative space, I see these looking back at me.


Big boy bed

The big boy bed has been standing ready since we moved into the house. We read books there, sometimes take naps and it I will admit that mama and papa have slept a night or two on it as well. But the nugget has been happy in his bed and I have been happy to keep him there. I mean he sleeps usually from 7-7, so I say - if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

And then, last week, came - "Mama, I schlafen hier?" (I sleep here?) and I couldn't say no. So even with a brand new baby and lots of uncertainty about how this would go, I moved his bedding, moved the duck, tucked him in and closed the door.

And, it worked for one night. Since then, he is back in his "baby bed" at his own wish. And that is okay by me too.

As for another Emily creation - here you go. This pillow is made out of an old t-shirt of my brothers. I think he actually may have worn in it in college, so I can't imagine the state it was in before this transformation. Anyway, it arrived as one of the Christmas presents from this creative duo, and has been attached to the nugget ever since. For a week, it traveled with him.


Rainy day art space

We had our first major rainy day yesterday. So what better to do with a toddler and an almost three week old baby? Sit inside and paint.

Everything was already in place, minus the new fabric caddy that came as a gift last week for our most favorite Auntie-to-be, Emily and the easel that was hidden in the garage - a craigslist purchase that was waiting for a rainy day just like yesterday.

I don't know how that Emily does it - her creations just keep taking my breath away. Stay tuned for a few more of her special treats in the next few days.

The reason this nook is perfect for an art space is that it will be part of one of our first remodeling projects, so if paint or water or glue or ink or anything for that matter gets on the walls or carpet, it just doesn't matter. And that means creativity can just flow and messes can be made and I don't have to worry. The other great thing about this space is that in the other corner (which is not shown) is my desk, so the nugget can create and I can get some work done or a creative project of my own.

But the best part about this rainy day adventure and this creative learning nook, is that it was actually used yesterday. A lot...

...even if the activity turned to sorting mini M&M's.


Our something new...

It took a little while, but oh man, was the wait worth it.

You see, with baby number two, everything is used. I saved everything and as luck would have it, we had another boy. I bought new Carter's Onesies (the best in my opinion) and then I let myself splurge on this beautiful Moses Basket.

It is handmade by Ines Nogueira in Portugal. You can see her other creations on her website. I  contacted her when I found out that I was pregnant, gave her a few color choices and she came up with this...

The details are what make this basket so extremely special.

But there is more to the story. You see, my mom had a Moses Basket in the 70's - with red leather handles and red and white checkered sheets. It was brilliant. And of all the things my mom saved (which was everything) it somehow didn't make it but it's the only thing I wish had. It was probably lent to someone and over the years, that someone probably lent it to someone else who finally sold it in a yard sale at some point, not knowing who to return it to.

So in an effort to resurrect the forgotten and lost Moses Basket of my childhood, I figured this could be the next generation, starting with our very own peanut.

We'll just have to see who this gets passed onto next...


21 things you should never buy new

I read something the other day that I can't get out of my head:

"Spend less time organizing your stuff. Just have less stuff."

We're on a spending moratorium around here after realizing how much stuff we have bought since buying this house and though most of it has felt like a necessity, most probably isn't. It is true - you expand into the space you are in.

Regardless, there are times when retail therapy is in order so I thought this list was a good one, to at least keep in mind. So in case you need anything, try buying used first.

According to Yahoo Finance,

1. DVDs and CDs

2. Books

3. Video games

4. Special occasion and holiday clothing

5. Jewelry

6. Ikea furniture

7. Games and toys

8. Maternity and baby clothes

9. Musical instruments

10. Pets

11. Home accent

12. Craft supplies

13. Houses

14. Office furniture

15. Cars

16. Hand tools

17. Sports equipment

18. Consumer electronics

19. Gardening supplies

20. Timeshares

21. Recreational Items

Image from here



A DIY family tree

I can finally show you the Christmas present we made for Oma and Opa. It was inspired by this template that I found via my friend Julie's Pinterest pages.

I traced the template onto a blank canvas with pencil and then filled it in with a black Sharpie.

I pulled out the ink pads, made the nugget and his papa dirty their right thumb and viola...

A family tree.

Next year, we'll need to do it for four.


Cleaning up Christmas chaos...

I had our tree and the decorations down before New Year's. I have never done that - and really it felt way too fast and way too soon but I had a feeling that peanut would arrive early and that if I didn't get it done while I had help that our tree would still be standing around at Easter time. So, I boxed it all up and promised the nugs that the tree would be back next year.

What I didn't clean up until yesterday was the rest of the Christmas chaos - the expanding plethora of toys that somehow creeped into our house. Presents, Advent calendar gifts and all the stuff that shows up. I gave up months ago on needing cars to go with cars and tracks to go with tracks on a daily basis, but I still tried to do a sorting once a week or every two weeks, just to keep some sort of order. But that hadn't happened in months and I began to notice how the nugget was playing with less things and with less concentration.

So, instead of taking a nap when the house was all quiet, I spent 20 minutes cleaning up the chaos. The play table looked like this...

With a bit of time and effort, the cars ended up with the cars...

...the fireman with the firetruck...

...the construction vehicles in the toolbox...

...and then several things were bagged up and stored in this plastic bin, to be pulled out on a rainy day.

What I ended up with was a blank slate. Wonder what it will get used for next...

For more information on simplifying toys, clutter and the benefits of reducing the amount of stuff in child'e environment, I recommend the work of Kim John Payne and his Simplicity Parenting.


For the boys...

Do you know Nova Toys?

If you don't, you should. They are sturdy and imaginative and full of inspired creativity. I did a bit of catalog browsing from their 2011 calendar last night. You can see my favorite things for the boys on my Pinterest "Kiddo Play" board.

Here's to knights and blocks and boats and a baby doll too.


Coming out of hibernation...

Meet Henrik
Born Monday, January 2, 2012

It's not quite Spring but right now living in Northern California means semi warm days, bright blue skies and majestic sunrises and sunsets. It is definitely still Winter as the trees are bare and the nights sharp with cold, but we have a reason to come out of hibernation a bit early.

He is all smiles and calmness and wide eyed amazement.


Nook under the stairs...

Not a great picture, but the nook under the stairs is finished!

Props to papa on the impromptu swing - he and the nugget built it together a few days after Christmas!

For the before and after, click here.