Thursday, January 31, 2013

Abe: Two Weeks Old

I can't really remember managing to accomplish anything else today, but I did get Abe's two week photo shoot in.

I fear things are going to get a little repetitive with the giant seal until Abe's old enough to do stuff like sit on him and hold him and fling him around gleefully. But, look, this week I put WORDS on it!

I gathered that he doesn't like photo sessions or reclining on the seal from how much of the time he spent looking like this:

But, as you can see, we did get a little bit of happy baby time. I think this is my favorite from the two week session, but it lacks a giant seal:

I tried to get that flaky skin off of the space between his eyes, but every time I rubbed some off, more mysteriously appeared. Oh well. We're into realism around here. A few more:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Milo and August's Room: Updated

Another room for the house tour! I'm not really meaning to not post them (up on the little house tour tab that is)  until I have them looking somewhat finished, but it's hard to work up the motivation to get it done otherwise.

Anyway, when we last left Milo and Gus' room, it was stuffed full of loft beds and I had big plans to swap them out for bunk beds, leaving more room for playing and the desk they both were begging for. Then I reported on my big plans to buy said bunk bed from Target. Then I DID buy that bunk bed. Then some months passed. And now I'm finally posting about how the room looks now.

Here's a view of the room looking in from the door. We decided on a forest room before we moved in, and I let them pick out the wall mural from Amazon. It took them a very long time to agree on one. The kids rooms were the first to get painted. Before we moved in, this room looked like this:

Stripey! So we put up the wall mural and painted the rest of it Martha Stewart's Saguaro Green. Gus has allergies, so he's not supposed to have a ceiling fan in his room (plus that one was ugly), so we took it down and put up the bamboo striped light fixture (from Lowe's, I think....last time I looked I couldn't find it on the website, though).

The curtains are from Target. We needed something right away over the windows when we moved in, because they face east in that room, so the sun comes right through them every morning. And we went the cheap route and just bought 2 panels (back when we moved in in May we were still trying to sell the old house, so money for house stuff was very tight until it finally sold at the beginning of August). Then when I regretted the decision and tried to buy 2 more, they didn't have them anymore. But I'm still too cheap to buy FOUR new curtain panels, so there they stay for now.

I mentioned the desk in my post about the shelves over's a thrift store find, and I paid $50 for it. It's not terribly wide, but it's very deep; we had to take the top off to fit it through their door. I toy with the idea of painting it and/or replacing the hardware, but I think I like it as is in the room, at least for the time being. The chair is just an extra dining room chair--until I find a dedicated desk chair I like.  I think you can play "Spot the Orange Kitty" with most of these pictures. He's not really supposed to be in there, so he darts in anytime the door opens.

We made the shelves, based on some reclaimed wood shelves I saw on West Elm's site. More about that here.

Those owl containers are from Ikea. On the bottom shelf there's a giant pinecone Gus found in California and assorted animal bones that they traded for at the nature exchange at our local nature center. Also some rocks.

Toys! I'd like to build them a lego table with storage for all those legos and a top made of base plates. And maybe I will. Soon. I'd also like some comfy chairs (beanbag?) for reading somewhere in this area.

Closets. Exciting stuff, I know. This is why this room is for the boys who share....two closets. No dressers in the room, you might have noticed....all the clothes are in the closets. I'd take a picture, but it's always kind of messy because they put their own clothes away. Also because there are usually more legos in there. Legos are everywhere. Each closet has a shelf with 8 cubby holes in it, and each cubby has a designated type of clothing. Long sleeve shirts, short sleeve shirts, pants, pajamas, underwear and socks, etc. (Underwear and socks and pajamas have pull out cloth drawers to keep everything contained). So they can put everything away themselves easier than in a dresser, I think, and, again, it opens up more space in the room for playing.

Better view of the whole glorious wall mural.

(spot the orange kitty!) The cheap Target bunk beds. Comforters are also from Target. As are those lights, which were the last thing we needed to get around to finally hanging up (last night; we've had them since May, I believe) before I took pictures. I'm happy with how the bunk beds look and how compact they are, but they are more wobbly than I would like. They mostly just wobble when adults try to climb on them to make the bed or hang lights up over them or something. So it's not a huge deal. But I am not thrilled with it.

The lights make cool patterns on the walls. We should have hung them up months ago!

And the doorway, with its weird little nook area. They wanted a bulletin board, so there it is. And the owl hooks are also from Ikea.

There's not a lot of room for hanging stuff on the walls....those two walls are taken up by windows and closets, and the other two by bunk bed and wall mural. But I guess once you have a giant retro wall mural on one wall, much else would be overkill.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Hmm....Schoolhouse Light Fixture

As promised, a post not about the baby!

A couple of weeks ago, I came across At Home on the Bay's DIY schoolhouse light fixture, and I fell in love with it. (And, in fact, with her whole house/blog). She was, in turn, inspired by the lovely but expensive fixtures at Schoolhouse Electric.

I commented that I knew I needed one in my house SOMEWHERE, and I wasn't kidding. After thinking about it, I remembered that, in fact, my house is filled with ugly boob lights, and all of them need to be replaced! I keep meaning to do a whole blog entry giving a tour of the strange and discordant collection of light fixtures that came with this house. Some of them are great and appear to be pretty high end. Some of them have not been touched since the house was built in the mid-80's. Anyway, I decided on the fixture in the center hallway downstairs at the first candidate for replacement.

And, then, on that same trip to Home Depot, the night before Abe was born, when we bought shelf brackets, we picked up the same light fixture as in the picture above, for $29.97:

....along with a can of purple spray paint. Nothing else has been done in that hallway. It needs painting, and it needs some art on the walls, and it might just need a custom built shelf for baby toys and books in an unused corner if I can get my husband to build me one. But you have to start somewhere, right?

I opted to leave the oil rubbed bronze finish on the metal part of the light. I taped up the glass with Frog Tape, leaving a 1 1/4 inch stripe all the way around.

Then I took it outside and painted it, doing several light coats. When I took the tape off, it was....less than perfect in a few places, but I decided to pretend that wasn't happening.

Then Dave hung it up.

....which is when I noticed that my line is slanted. Hmm. Also, I had decided not to do the pretty little silver stripe along either side of the big striped like in At Home on the Bay's version, but now I'm thinking that might have been a mistake, and I might take it down and do it after all. But I'm afraid it would just accentuate the crookedness of the purple stripe. Also, look--now we need to paint the ceiling where the old fixture was! And that old yellow REALLY doesn't go with purple (I picked the purple because I like purple with my Nantucket Fog; I haven't decided yet what color that hallway is going to be. Umm, something else that goes with purple?)

So, anyway. My finished project does not quite live up to my vision. But let's just compare it to what was there before to make me feel better:

Crookeder, but still better.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Abe at One Week and Photo Project Thoughts

Abe is one week old today! And, in another milestone, we all survived Dave's first day back at work. At work, Dave received cake and gifts. At home, there was fussing and lots of milk. Really, it was all fine. Mostly it just seemed to go very fast and I couldn't get anything done. Which is pretty much how I remember life with infants. Good to know things haven't changed much in the seven years I've been out of the game.

Fun facts about Abe and his first week on the outside:

1. My tiny baby has a huge name. I don't think there are many names we did not consider at one point or another in our FOUR forays into naming boys. So I really can't remember anymore when we first considered Abraham. At first I was thinking of Bram as a nickname instead of Abe, but the more I sat with it, the more I preferred Abe. Also, the Abe Lincoln thing was a big plus in my book with Abraham, so I didn't want to get too far away from that. I was sort of in a state of despair toward the end of my pregnancy, convinced that all baby names were pretty much awful. When I heard what other people had named their babies, I would shake my head and think, "they tried, poor things, but there just aren't any good baby names" Which is sort of odd, because usually I LOVE naming babies. It's one of my favorite parts. But, anyway, now that it's done, I think it's awesome and that we could not possibly have picked a better name. So that's a good thing.

Barry was my grandmother's maiden name. Also, the middle name had to have five letters. Maybe I should explain. We realized at some point that the first three kids' names, through no planning on our parts, fall into a neat pattern. Ari Daniel has 9 letters, Milo Joseph has 10, and August David has 11 (yes, we use the normal names as middle names and stick the wacky ones right out in front). So, since I am married to a mathlete, we had to keep this going and have 12 letters for this baby. So there you go. Story of a baby name.

2. Things Abe likes: snuggling, being warm, being sung to, his swing, brothers, nursing for hours at a time, sleeping

3. Things Abe doesn't like: being cold (especially his feet), diaper changes...hmm, that's about all I can think of. He's mostly pretty easy to please so far.

Okay, so you have to do a big "photo project" for your baby these days, right? It is the thing to do? Really, it seems like a pretty good idea, too, particularly for people like me who are already feeling weepy that their last baby is a whole WEEK OLD already. Well. The kids and I excitedly set up a big one week photo shoot for Abe today. And the results are...umm, a little goofy. I took pictures with our big stuffed seal from Ikea, you you can see how much bigger he's getting in relation to the seal every week (well, I'm not going to do every week for long; I'm thinking for the first month or two and then I'll switch to monthly). I was afraid this might look silly, so I also took some pictures of just him hanging out and some of him in front of the big antique trunk I have in my room, thinking it would make a nice backdrop. Only none of those turned out very well, so I guess we're going with the seal. (Incidentally, it did not escape my notice even back when we were hanging up the room divider what a nice photo backdrop it would make). Anyway, here are the best ones I could come up with:

I think this one is my favorite. You can't really tell it's a seal from this angle. But maybe that's just as well, since Abe is really supposed to be more the main attraction. Really shows off his scrawny legs.

This one is either really silly or a little bit terrifying; I can't decide which.

I took this one last night, so it doesn't qualify. I just like to sneak in extra pictures:

Back tomorrow with a post about a HOUSE thing! (a small house thing)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

This and That

Last day before Dave goes back to work! Feeling sense of urgency to complete all things that require two hands TODAY! Not really. I should be feeling said sense of urgency, but instead I'm hanging out at my computer while Dave has all four boys (!! FOUR boys. What have I done?!) in the other room playing video games, something Ari, Milo, and Gus refer to as "bonding." Abe is bonding, too, but he doesn't realize it yet.

Exciting blog thing for the day: my reclaimed wood shelves are featured over on Knock Off Decor. If you've never been there, you should go now, because it's a great site. They feature all kinds of blogger projects, inspired by places like Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware, only DIY and cheap. And DIY and cheap are two of my favorite things!

Last thing: after yesterday's explosion of baby photos, I got to thinking....where do you guys like to order prints from? I was a Kodak Gallery girl all the way until they shut down last summer, and I've been kind of wandering in the wilderness, as far as online photo sources go, ever since. Historically, I'm not a big fan of Shutterfly (which is where Kodak Gallery sent all my photos), but I was pleased with the Christmas cards we got from them, and it's been years since I've ordered any other prints from them, so maybe they've improved? I've ordered from MPix a couple of time (that's where I got the nursery prints from), and they've been fine. But anyone have another favorite? I don't order a whole lot of prints, so I'm willing to pay more for higher quality.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


This baby is incredibly tiny. He's not really, since he is pretty much exactly average for babies (he was 7 pounds, 7 ounces), but to me he is TINY. My last two babies were over nine pounds, and Ari, my next smallest, was a full pound bigger than Abe. I kept expecting the nurses at the hospital to comment about how little he is, which, of course, they didn't, because they see babies that size (and smaller!) all the time. But I cannot get over his scrawny little legs. I love them.

Things are going swimmingly thus far. We came home on Friday afternoon, and we've mostly been hanging out here, doing not a whole lot except staring at the baby since then. We'll see how things go when Dave goes back to work (Thursday. eek!)

Thanks to everyone here for the nice welcome for him and to everyone in real life for all the food, gifts, and help with the older kids. We and Abe are lucky to have you all!

I'm feeling a little panicky about taking pictures of him because he's going to get big SO FAST. I should have been borrowing newborns to practice on for the past few months. But I'm doing my best. Here are a few of my favorites so far:

Monday, January 21, 2013

DIYAS 15/15 Project: Reclaimed Wood Shelves

Thursday morning I had a baby, but Wednesday night I was at Home Depot, buying shelf brackets for this project.

When I saw the announcement for the 15 minute/$15 project link party from the Do It Yourself Action Squad (Broke Ass HomeMiddle Class ModernSandpaper and Glue, and Interiors by Kenz), I immediately thought of doing this project for it, because I was pretty sure it would fit the criteria, and it was already my next planned project. But then I was worried I'd have a baby and not have time to get it finished. But THEN because I am so awesome Dave was home to do pretty much everything while I held the baby, I did BOTH!

Disclaimer: I have no idea how long we actually spent making these shelves, because when you have a brand new baby you get interrupted every three minutes. But I think, in theory, with no baby, one could conceivably finish at least one of these shelves with something like 15-20 minutes of hands on time. Let's pretend. I just had a BABY, so I deserve a little leeway, right?

It is right on with price, though, per shelf: we already had the wood and stain, and the brackets were $6 each, so $12 a shelf! Yay!

I should have taken a before picture of the kids' desk (this in Milo and August's room) to show you why we needed these shelves. But, really, I'm pretty sure if I wait a week it will look just the same, and I can take a "before" picture then. Picture a sea of legos, paper, a wallet that Milo claimed was irretrievably lost just last night, raccoon skulls, etc. all over the desk surface. I thought it would be a good idea to have a designated display space for some of that crap, and Milo and Gus were very pleased about that idea.

Looking around online, I found these reclaimed wood shelves from West Elm that were pretty much what I had in mind and would fit in nicely with the forest room thing we have going on in there:

Only they're $58 each for the smallest (2 foot long) shelf. Mmm hmm.

Here's what we did instead.

We "reclaimed" some wood from under our deck. I had wanted to use the wood from the old stairs we tore down, but that wood had been out in the weather and was soaking wet, so what we wound up using is actually brand new wood, leftover from the new stairs. We used a 2 by 6 board.

Next we measured the space where we wanted the shelves and decided on 28" for the length.

I had to take a picture of Dave cutting the wood because, he told me, "I like for there to be pictures of me using power tools on the internet."

Next up, we let the kids "distress" the wood to make it look more genuinely reclaimed. And also because kids like hitting things with hammers. Warning: if you let your three boys distress your wood for you, it might wind up REALLY distressed. I was kind of worried when I saw just how distressed our poor boards looked when they were finished, but once the stain was on it looked okay again. Dave got so carried away with the distressing that he forgot to take pictures of the kids doing it (I was upstairs, shielding the baby from all the chaos). So we had to recreate the scene:

After the enthusiastic distressing (which consisted of just banging assorted hammers, screwdrivers, etc into the wood), Dave gave everything a quick sanding with the power sander.

Then we brushed on the stain (Minwax's dark walnut, leftover from the whale) and let it dry overnight.

We bought two different sets of brackets, because we weren't sure which ones would fit. The ones I liked better turned out to be too big:

But they also would have put us $2 over budget, so perhaps it's just as well.

The ones we used are really not dramatically different; I just thought the too big ones looked a little more rustic. Incidentally, you could also buy the super cheap (under $2 each) brackets to make this a really low cost project.

We hung up the shelves over the kids' desk:

And then I put some of the stuff that had been hanging out on the desk on the shelves, to make them look pretty....for now, until I let the kids take them over and they are filled with lego airplanes instead.

This is the desk, by the way (I have a few more little things to do in their room, and then I need to take updated pictures of it). I found it at the thrift store for $50. The thrift store had it labeled an "Abe Lincoln desk" for reasons I cannot guess. Anyway, it's a cool old desk. And HUGE. We had to take the top off to get it through their door.

Look how clean it is now! (well, was. It's been a good half an hour since I've been upstairs to check on it).

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Look What I Did Today!

I had a baby! Abraham Barry (Abe), born at 7:24 this morning (1-17), weighing 7 pounds, 7 ounces. Many sevens! He shares a birthday with Betty White and Benjamin Franklin. And he weighed 2 full pounds less than his last two brothers and showed up after just 3 1/2 hours of labor, so we're pretty happy with him so far. Also, he's really cute.

His brothers like him a lot, too.

Shortly after this last picture was taken, I commented that Milo is looking a lot like 1965 Bob Dylan with his haircut these days. He seemed pleased. And why shouldn't he? He looks like Bob Dylan AND he has a brand new baby brother.