Play Dates

Recently, Papillon and I have gotten better connected with some local moms, resulting in some very fun play dates.

One morning we went to a nearby coffee shop for song time. It was a really cute coffee shop, and it was a good thing that we got there early, because by the time it started there were probably 20 kids + accompanying adults there, and it wasn't a very big space.

Who knew that a lady with a guitar could be so much fun.

Papillon wasn't sure what to think at first and I was worried she would melt down. She doesn't like loud noises, and didn't have a morning nap, but despite the trepidation on her face above, she warmed up to the whole thing and ended up loving it.

Our friends little girl, who is just about 1 year older than Papillon also enjoyed herself very much.

Papillon is also quickly becoming good friends with this little girl:

She is almost 3 months younger than Papillon, which is sort of a big difference at this age; but they will soon outgrow that difference. For now they don't really interact with one another (though Papillon did seem intrigued by her friend's excited sounds), but I enjoy spending time with her mother and at this age, Play Dates are really more about mom time than anything else!

Wall Art

You may recall me mentioning that I had a somewhat larger home-decorating-project in the works.
Well, good news! It didn't take me as long as I thought to find time to finish the project. What was the project, you ask? Well, you see, we have this very large wall:

It needed something.
It needed to be cheap.
And it needed to be simple.


Sweet wall art.

Our home's previous owners left us a lot of random stuff, including 3 and a half window cornice kits. We had kept them thinking maybe we could find a use for them (I wasn't super inspired to use them on our windows, but we hadn't ruled out the possibility). As we were assessing options for our vast empty wall, we remembered these glorious cornice things and quickly agreed that it was time to try our hand at some abstract art.

One trip to Joann Fabrics later (note: don't go to Joanns on a Saturday evening, the place can be packed. Yikes!) we had our fabric (a glorious 50% off). And the next weekend I tackled the actual fastening of the fabric to the cornices. (another note: its not as easy as the kit makes it sound)

We then tried our hand at screwing them into the wall and despite our infuriatingly hard plaster walls and the fact that neither Mon Amour nor myself are remotely handy, we managed to hang them equidistant apart and relatively level.

The white ribbon was the final touch, used to cover the clear plastic strip that snaps the fabric into place. We had exactly the right amount of ribbon (left over from our wedding...3.5 years ago...) to cover everything. How providential!

We were quite pleased with the end result.
What do you think? Do you like it?

(A Final Note: Don't be too honest. Plaster walls are aggravating and I am not sure we could get the screws out without massive wall damage. Therefore these are not going anywhere anytime soon so, saying you don't like them will only make me sad. Just kidding; go ahead and tell me you hate them. I can take it. And they still aren't coming down)

Great Nannie's Bday

About a week ago, we gathered at Great Nannie's house to celebrate her birthday.

Papillon got all dressed up for the occasion.

There was an awesome cake, with the whole family on it. Even Marge was on the cake.

This is how we cut cake in my family. My dad's family cuts in even, measured pieces and you are not allowed to pick an edge verses a middle piece, you just get the next piece. We are not like that. We are rebels.

Another 4-generation shot. Don't we all look lovely?

My cousin related a tale of how his glasses became a monocle. It was hilarious. He is a fantastic story teller.

My uncle is not really a baby person, I think he had held Papillon for a total of 30 seconds up until this point. On this occasion they bonded for a good 15 minutes.

Nannie helped with lunch. Clearly Papillon loves lunch.

Snuggles with the birthday girl.

Happy Birthday, Great-Nannie! (a little late)

Thoughts on my Stay at Home Job

All my life I have wanted one career, I have wanted to be a Stay at Home Mom.
Before Papillon was born I totally believed being a SAHM was a 100% legitimate full time job. Just as full time and just as much of a career as any job out there.

So it was with great gusto that I began dream career last July.

I think it took a week, maybe two, before I began to give into our society's philosophy that mothering is for nights and weekends and those who stay home with children don't have a "real job". Much to my surprise, I felt lazy, worthless, and like I wasn't doing my fair share in terms of supporting our family.

Sure, Papillon kept me busy all day long, and I don't know how I thought I could do more. But I wasn't commuting, I wasn't clocking in, and I wasn't bringing home a paycheck. In fact, I was doing things I used to do (back when I had a "real job") in my leisure time. I was cooking, cleaning, meeting up with friends, etc. And I thought to myself, I used to do all these things AND work a full-time job; I must seriously be slacking.

I still knew that I wanted to do this SAHM thing. I knew in my head that it is a legitimate occupation. But I found myself feeling guilty, when Mon Amour was recapping his business-meeting-filled day, and I was sharing about how we had a great time at lunch with a friend, or how we made brownies just for fun.

When the guilt became oppressive, I realized I needed to change my thinking. Yes, mothering is a full time job; it looks very different than any other job, but it has many similarities if you look a little deeper. And that's what I have been doing lately, looking deeper; so far, this is what I have seen.

Taking care of Papillon is a full time job. If I weren't doing it, someone else would be (think day care, Nanny's, etc). If working at a daycare taking care of other people's kids is a legitimate occupation, then so is staying home and taking care of my own.

Just because I am enjoying my job more than I ever have before doesn't mean that it is not legitimate work. Some people find their "real jobs" very delightful and they don't feel guilty about it; similarly, I simply really enjoy what I do, and I shouldn't feel bad about that (but I should be very very very grateful because lots of people don't ever find a job they really love).

My Stay at Home job has many parallels to "real jobs" that are just a little harder to see. For example, I tend to feel guilty about the level of priority that I put on "play dates" (aka, hanging out with other moms and babies). To me it seemed like straight up fun, and clearly fun means its not a job, meaning I am not working, meaning I feel guilty that my husband has to have a "real job" while I hang out with friends all the time. But then I realized that in my previous "real job" I also spent time throughout the week hanging out with people - we called such times "business meetings". Granted, depending on the job, "real" business meetings may be less fun; but ultimately, me spending time with other moms and babies is quite similar to a business person meeting with other people in their office or industry. No job (or at least very few) requires someone to work completely alone; you work in conjunction with other folks in the same industry. My industry is child-rearing, so I meet with other child-rearers; its a business meeting and legitimate (and super fun!) work.

So that is what I have learned lately. Being a SAHM is my main job. A real job. A valuable job. It just doesn't pay well.

I still do feel a little funny when people ask me when (not "if") I am going back to work, and I do often pull out the "I do work part time from home" card as a means of defending myself. I wish I didn't feel like I needed to have a "real job" in order to validate myself; but that said, I am super grateful for my "real jobs", they are a huge blessing. And lest anyone get the wrong impression I am trying to say staying home with kids is a great profession for a mom; I am not saying it is the only legitimate profession. To those of you who balance loving-on-your-kids and working-out-of-the-home-jobs, I say Keep up the good work. My intent with this post is more for those of you who are or want to be full time SAHMs, but feel like its not a valid career choice; it really truly is a legitimate God-given profession.

And then sometimes, two of my jobs overlap (in the case above, my being-a-mom-job and my bread-selling job), which is twice the fun. Papillon loves helping Grandpa sell bread.

Asian Style Baby Carrier

I have mentioned before how much I love baby wearing. My ring sling is still hands down my favorite baby accessory. And of course the moby wrap is a wonderful alternative, better for forward facing carries and that kind of thing.

Just for fun recently, we decided it was time to add to our baby wearing repertoire. Papillon had gotten some Christmas money from Great-Nannie, and she (or rather, Mon Amour and I) decided to spend it on a bit of fabric to make ourselves an Asian Style Baby Carrier (also known by its name brand "Mei Tai").

We followed this pattern. They would be super easy for those of you who are sewing-machine savvy. I own a sewing machine and I know the basics, but I haven't actually followed a pattern in a loooong time. (last time I sewed something it involved a bunch of straight seems and some guesstimating, resulting in slightly crooked, but functioning curtains).

So, needless to say, it was an adventure...which I didn't photograph, so I won't get in to details. In the end I was excited when the only thing I did wrong was to accidentally put the pocket on inside out, a little seem ripping and re-stitching and we were good to go.

The results:

An awesome Asian Style Baby Carrier that is a little easier to use than the Moby Wrap and a little more versatile than the Ring Sling.

Papillon seems to like it.

And I love it!

Mission accomplished.

Movie Monday - Eating and Saying "Dada"

Welcome to Movie Monday.
Without further ado, let's get to the triple feature

Papillon eating like a ravenous beast. Seriously, this kid loves to eat.

Again, ravenous. She will sit there with her mouth open and get impatient if you don't put food in right away.

And for a little something different, her latest babble has taken the form of "dadadada". Clearly this is not actually her first "word"; she is just practicing consonant sounds.

7 Months

And just like that, Papillon turns 7 months!
Is it just me or does 7 months sound much older than 6 months?

Anyway, here she is with Snoopy, and wearing her "I heart my Auntie" shirt specially for her Auntie who just went across the ocean again to finish school.

I think she looks bigger than last month; but who knows.
I don't have any official weight update, so for now we will just pretend that maybe she has hit 15 lbs. A mother can hope. Haha.

At 7 months Papillon...

...sleeps from 7:30 or 8pm until 7:00 or 8:00am. Its glorious.

...generally takes 3, 1-hour naps a day. Generally in her crib, but she will also nap in the (new!) Mei Tai (which she loves) and in the car. a "solid" food eating champion. It took her a while to figure it out, but in the less than 3 weeks that she has been really eating, her appetite has taken off. 3 weeks ago I was happy that she downed 1T of rice cereal. She now eats 3-4T rice cereal, 2-3 T veggies and 2-3T fruit in one sitting. And she does that twice a day - lunch and dinner.

....drinks out of a regular cup (that I hold, and yes, she still spills some).

...eats rice cereal, avacados, bananas, sweet potatoes, peas, and we are working on yogurt. And still nurses give or take 5 times a day.

...thus far has succeeded in not being constipated despite the fact that she eats mostly rice cereal and bananas. Yay for champion pooping! mostly in 6-9 month clothes.

...loves to say "dadadadada". All. day. long. Its the cutest thing. a serious, serious baby. She smiles a lot for me at home, but when we are out and about, she likes to give people a blank stare. At the grocery store, people will ooh and aaah over her as she rides in the sling, and in return, Papillon will stare blankly, or, if they are lucky, give them a quizzical eyebrow raise. Side note: Baby-talking to a baby who doesn't smile in return tends to make people feel really awkward. Haha. becoming mildly mommy attached. Not terribly, but she has her moments.

...officially goes to the nursery at church. And other than the fact that she wants to be held the whole time, she loves it. No crying or anything. At least not for now. :-)

...doesn't roll over. Nope. Pretty much never. She also does not get up on her knees to crawl. She loves to sit. And sit and sit and sit. She has managed to push her self backwards around the room, but that is a rare-ish occasion. While I feel like she should be rolling over and possibly even getting up on her knees, I am not complaining. A stationary baby is an easy baby, and I will enjoy every minute of it. Especially since many people have told me its the ones who don't roll over or crawl that will just stand up run one day. That will be an exciting adventure; for now we will just hope that she figures some movement out before April cause I am not sure our the pediatrician will react to a completely stationary 9 month old....

....gnaws on everything! Maybe, maybe, maybe there are teeth on the way...

She also loves reading books with her Nannie. (and who wouldn't love Click Clack Moo, Cows that Type. It's a must read. For sure)

I love you, Papillon!

UPDATE: I almost forgot something that is definitely not to be forgotten. It has been 1 full month since Papillon has had any tear duct issues. The couple days before her 6 month appointment her eye was terribly goopy. But it was literally the day after her 6 month check up that was the first clear-eye day. Its been completely clear since then. Yay for not having to have that surgically fixed!!!

Little Touches

So, confession.
I fail at home decorating.

When it comes to my home, I tend to be overly utilitarian. Combine that with a strong desire to be frugal (bordering on cheap), and my beautiful Cape Cod is pretty much doomed to plainness for eternity.

We are getting close to 1 full year of living in our house, and I am daily grateful that we bought it fully painted. If the walls had been white when we bought it, they would probably still be white today. Sure, we've hung a few pictures, gotten a few new pieces of furniture (from yard sales, of course!), but really, I felt like after living hear for this long, our house still lacked those little touches that make a house yours.

With that in mind, I decided to do my best to add some little touches here and there to stake my domestic claim in this house. As we currently don't have a dedicated home-improvement budget, it was time to get creative and use what we had on hand. Turns out, we had quite a few fun things just lying around, and over the past few weeks I have put them to good use!

Let's take a look:

A photo clock.
We got this as a wedding gift 3.5 years ago, and this is the first time we have put pictures in it. Better late than never. Which, coincidentally would have to be our motto for all of life if this were the only clock we is not the easiest clock to tell time on. Largely because there are 8 pictures...and obviously 12 hours. So trying to compute where the hands are pointing is a mind bending exercise.

But, hanging on the wall by the front door, it does a great job filling in a previously blank spot.

This one I can't take full credit for. Mon Amour came across this little shelf (which used to hang in the tiny bathroom in the farmhouse) recently and we decided that it was doing no one any good just sitting on the floor. So up on the wall it went:

The little goblets we got as a gift a while back. There used to be 4. One broke. 3 is an inconvenient number if you want to use these as decorative dessert dishes for when you have company over (we don't often have just 1 person over), but my minimal knowledge of home decorating tells me I should decorate with odd numbers. 3 = the perfect number to decorate with.

So now this little shelf graces our kitchen wall.

For our next exhibition, do you remember these? The lovely curtains I made for the farm house.
Well, we had no use for the green ones in this house, but I was feeling like we needed a table cloth to dress up our all too ugly dining room table.
So, I cut one curtain in half and sewed it to either side of the second curtain (so there wouldn't be a seem straight down the middle), and voila! A shiny green table cloth. It does nothing to help with the ugly chairs, but I will take what I can get for now.

While we are in the dining room, take a look at the wall:
We got some black trivets as wedding gifts, and I rarely use them, opting instead for the easier to reach (though, admittedly not as fancy) potholder-trivet solution. So in a not-original-at-all move, I hung them all the wall. Enhancing them with some similarly styled picture frames which we had gotten on super-clearance some time ago.

There have been some other little touches around the house, and there are a few more in the works (one which I am SUPER excited about and will definitely blog about eventually! Its really bold). But so far, I am quite pleased with what we have been able to do with just the things we have had around the house.
Anyone have any other suggestions for little home decor touches that don't cost a lot of money?

Gingerbread Cookies

The other weekend, Papillon and I invited a good friend over to make some gingerbread cookies with us.

There were lots of cookie cutters to chose from. Papillon did a good job picking out (i.e. grabbing randomly at) the ones that she wanted to make.

She even helped to cut some of them out (being careful to keep the drool off of the dough)

Later it was time to frost them. Here is Papillon and our friend coming up with a frosting strategy.

Papillon liked the plan.

But when it came down to the actual frosting, Papillon was waaay too distracted by her paparazzi to be any help.

Somehow we muddled through and got everything decorated without her help.

Overall, it was a fabulous way to spend a Saturday!

Nearly free diapers

Cloth diapering is still going very well. I did waiver in my love for cloth diapers the first time Papillon had a real solid-food-eating-poop. Yikes! But, I got over it, and am back to loving my cloth diapers!

From time to time though, it is convenient to use disposables. When Papillon and I flew out west, for example, it was disposables all the way. So, in efforts to anticipate the occasional need for disposables, I have been on the look out for a good diaper deal.

The other day, we hit the jack pot.

$5.44 for 204 Size 3 diapers shipped to our house.
(Size 3 is currently a bit too big for Papillon but since we don't use these often, we decided to plan ahead).

That's 2.7 cents per diaper.

I was super excited about this deal.
We got them from Amazon
Their Amazon Mom deal gave us free 2 day shipping plus a certain % off.
"subscribing" for my purchase gave us another % off. (I subscribed for them to be delivered once ever 6 months...then I cancel my subscription after the 1st ones arrive since I don't need any more)
A coupon I had gotten in the mail gave me $10 off
A gift card I got via Swagbucks gave me $5 off
And another coupon from a parenting magazine gave me another 20% off.

Never have I been able to stack so many discounts into one deal. It was fabulous.
And with 204 diapers, I think we will be set for disposables until Papillon outgrows size 3s (which won't be for a long time at the rate she prefers to grow).

Poker Face and other cuteness.

At a recent game night, Papillon decided there was too much fun happening to go to bed. So she stayed up and help Mon Amour with is card playing strategy. She was very intense about it, as evidenced by this photo:
Mon Amour allowed himself to be distracted by the pleasant conversation happening, but Papillon was 100% focused.

And, just for fun, here are some other adorable photos of Papillon:

One full faced smile:

Strange face while studying a straw wrapper. (Note the fluffy hair)

Have a great weekend everyone!

More Marge Love

The other day Papillon and I were having a little photo shoot, and Marge decided to join in.

I particularly like the part in the middle of this video where Papillon seems to be trying to engage Marge in a staring contest, but Marge won't look at her.

Marge and Papillon really are hilarious together.