Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Multi-Colored Rainbow Room

Image 1: Moodboard
Image 2: Inspiration Room

One of my favorite things to do with my three-year-old is to look through design magazines and pick the rooms we'd like to live in. My son picked out a room he particularly liked (Image 2), and I created a moodboard for it (Image 1).

Image 1 (Moodboard): Pink bed, navy and white duvet, green rug, nightstand, abstract art, panel curtains, cute planter, white table lamp, multi-colored fleece throw blanket, lumbar pillow, blue square pillows, yellow square pillow, multi-colored chair, euro shams, typography "wonderful" print, typography "stay wild" print
Image 2 (Inspiration Room): Anne Seike for Pinecone Hill Palm Springs Look

The trick with a "rainbow" room is to have areas where the eye can rest, like the white duvet. In the inspiration image, the white rug also does this, but white rugs are impractical, so I replicated the greenery outside the inspiration room's window with a rug solid rug in the moodboard. The white prints in the moodboard also serve to create some visually quiet spaces.

I will say that the moodboard was not meant to replicate the inspiration room precisely because I wanted to stay true to my own personal style. For example, I don't really like the chair in the inspiration room. And I inserted my own bedside table in my moodboard (if you were doing this for your room, you'd probably want to choose a white bedside table).

Thursday, September 1, 2016

My Lil' Pony Rainbow Dash Cross Stitch

One of my friends' daughters is having a My Little Pony themed birthday party, so I thought this would make a fun gift for her!

Colors used:

  • Extra-Light Blue
  • Medium-Light Blue
  • Bold dark blue
  • Bright Red
  • Bright Orange
  • Yellow
  • Lime Green
  • White
  • Black
  • Fuschia

Fabric used:

  • 14-count Almond-colored Aida

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Advice for Guest Bedrooms and Hosting Guests

After commenting myself on this WaPo Live Chat, I decided to better organize my thoughts and write this post based on my recent experience staying with family out-of-state. This advice is particularly applicable if some of your houseguests will be children.
  1. Air Mattresses - If you have one, make sure they it does not have a slow leak by testing it over the course of 3+ days before your guests arrive. No one wants to wake up on top of a deflated air mattress.
  2. Wardrobes and Dressers - If you have one in your guests' quarters, make sure it is completely empty. If it's full, it just takes up space where your guests are going to want to put their luggage.
  3. Infants and Sleep - Have your guests bring their pack-and-play from home, or have one on hand yourself. They are relatively inexpensive and easily fold up for travel or when not in use.
  4. Kids and Sleep - Consider investing in a cot that can be folded up when not in use. Alternatively, if the child is age five or under, you could use an inexpensive crib mattress that can be placed on the floor, and stowed under a bed when not in use. As a third option, consider a twin bed or a twin air mattress. A fourth option would be pull-out chair or sofa, though that would be the most expensive of these options.
  5. Fans - Especially if you do not have a ceiling fan, consider placing a fan in the room. Guests like being able to control the temperature of their room, and some also enjoy the white noise and / or air flow that a fan can provide.
  6. Hooks - Consider installing hooks that your guests can hang their bath towels (or wet swimsuits) on. Install the hooks in either in the bedroom or in the guests' bedroom, depending on where you have space. These hooks could also be useful for winter coats and sweaters when the weather changes.
  7. Simple, Layered Bedding - Opinions will vary widely on this, but personally I prefer doing only a fitted sheet (no top sheet), one to two bed pillows per guest (no throw pillows and no bed skirt), a freshly laundered duvet (as opposed to a comforter or quilt), and a folded blanket at the foot of the bed (or stowed nearby). The absence of a top sheet and throw pillows will make it easier for your guests to easily make their bed in the morning (cramped spaces always look better with a freshly made bed). The absence of a bed skirt will make it easier to spot guests’ items that have inadvertently rolled under the bed. Further, both throw pillows and a bed skirt can collect dust which may irritate some guests' allergies. A duvet is easily machine-washable (unlike a comforter or quilt which may be too large or heavy to launder at home, and bulky to store when not in use). The addition of a blanket will help guests if using a duvet is too warm or not warm enough (depending on if the blanket is used instead of, or in addition to, the duvet).
  8. Room-Darkening Curtains - Consider installing light-blocking curtains or blinds - some guests may not care, but others cannot sleep with mere sheers on the windows.
  9. Waste Basket - Provide a small, freshly-emptied waste basket.
  10. Limit Occasional-Use Furniture - Unless you have a lot of space in your guest bedroom, do not provide a large-scale reading chair because guests can always read elsewhere (e.g.: in bed, in your living room, or in a smaller chair). Also, try to choose smaller-scale furniture for your guest bedroom which will allow for maximum flexibility in terms of how guests use your space. For example, if you are going to include a reading chair, consider choosing one without arms. Note that all too often, a guest bedroom can become a dumping ground for furniture that should be discarded (or placed in storage), rather than merely relocated / relegated to the guest bedroom. Personally, I’d prefer a small bench (to sit on when putting on my shoes) or a folding luggage stand (to place my suitcase upon) over having a chair in a guest bedroom.
  11. Toiletries - Consider providing travel-sized toiletries for your guests. Just the basics will do, and just one of each product is sufficient (shampoo, conditioner, bar soap, and a sealed travel-sized pack of Kleenex). Also, you may want to provide a couple of other new items too in case your guests forget to pack theirs (a fresh toothbrush and razor are sufficient).
  12. Electronics - Consider providing a power strip (and / or a USB outlet) near the bed, and a sign with the Wi-Fi network name and password information (blank templates are available online for free, or you could make your own).
  13. Water - Leave some bottled water (two bottles is sufficient) on the nightstand - it’s much hard to inadvertently knock over than a carafe.
  14. A Small Refrigerator - If an only if you have sufficient money and space to purchase and keep one, consider having a small fridge in the room that can be plugged in whenever you plan to have guests. It’s great to have for storing anything your guests need to keep cold: milk (for kids or babies), orange juice for the morning, or leftovers.
In addition to the items above, I wanted to add a note regarding communicating your feelings to your guests. If you have a problem with something your guests are doing (lifestyle, etiquette, habits, or anything else), consider bringing it up as soon as possible - waiting until the end of the trip gives your guests no time to adjust their behavior, nor does it provide them any time to make alternative lodging arrangements for the duration of their trip if the behavior cannot be helped. Any group of people living together is going to eventually hit bumps in the road, and stewing about it helps no one. Keep your tone constructive rather than adversarial, and keep your comments as focused to the specific issue(s) at hand.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Two-and-Half Years Old Kiddo Update

Eating a chocolate-chip cookie

A. His Schedule – He is not a morning person, and is frequently very drowsy and cranky when we wake him. If he’s good about getting ready in the morning, then he gets to watch one TV show on Amazon Prime before “school” (daycare). He only takes one nap per day. His bedtime is around 8:30 p.m.

B. His Size – Although he used to be a larger kid for his age, currently he’s smaller than average. His height is 35.25” (37th percentile) and his weight is 29 lbs. 1 oz. (42nd percentile). He’s currently wearing size “3T” – shirts in that size fit him but pants in that same size are a little bit long.

C. His Personality – He’s bossy, stubborn, opinionated, and he thinks he’s funny. Sometimes he’s quite the tiny tyrant. However, he also has a sweet side. I can’t tell you how thoughtfully he asked me the other day “Mom, [are] you happy?”

D. His Favorite Things
Activities – He likes coloring, playing with Play-Doh, reading (either being read to, or pretending to read himself), and running. He also loves sticks and trying to use them like swords.
Animal – He still loves cats (domestic, cheetahs, tigers, etc.).
Book – I don't think he has a favorite book right now. He was very into “Green Eggs and Ham” for a while.
Food – He likes chocolate milk and cookies best (when we let him have those things). Other things he likes (which unfortunately are also sweet) are Pop Tarts, muffins, and candy.
Security Item – He still loves his green, fuzzy blanket.
Toy – He loves a set of gel pens that we got him, although I know that is not a toy per se. He also likes building with blocks (wood ones or MegaBloks) and coloring on his Doodle Pad (magnetic drawing board, similar).
TV Show – Thundercats is his current favorite, but he still likes Daniel Tiger’sNeighborhood.

E. His Development
Speaking – He can speak quite a lot now. His teachers are concerned that sometimes the words he says are hard to hear, but so far I haven’t been concerned myself. He’s using four- and five-word sentences, so I think he’s doing just fine.
Drawing – He recently learned how to draw a circle – his circles look more like ovals, but it’s a big step forward from just drawing lines.
Music – He’s starting to be able to sing the ABCs song – he makes a lot of mistakes of course.
Potty Training – Although we’ve been trying to train him for about a year, he is finally starting to really get it, and to choose wearing underwear and using the toilet regularly over wearing Pull-Ups or diapers.


F. Surprises – It’s still amazing to me how fond he is of his younger brother. You’d think he’d be jealous of the attention that Ted gets, but he’s not.

G. The Best Things – Sometimes the best thing is just the way he smiles. Other times, it’s seeing him get interested in something that I’m interested in (like drawing).

Nine-Month Ted Update

Excited about food

I know I usually do these posts every six months, but baby Ted is just changing so fast that I thought I’d do a nine-month post.

A. His Schedule – He gets up at about 6:30 a.m. every day, takes two naps on average (one in the morning and one in the early afternoon), and then goes to sleep at about 8 p.m.

B. His Size – Ted is smaller than average boys his age. He is 27.25 inches tall (17th percentile) and 19 lb. 9 oz. (55th percentile). I think that he is smaller now than our older son was at this age because baby Ted is being fed breastmilk (as well as solids) whereas our older son was being fed formula (as well as solids) at this age. In any case, baby Ted looks adorable in his size "9 Month" clothes (at this age, his older brother was wearing size "18 Month" clothes).

C. His Personality – Ted is a very happy baby, and a pleasure to be around. He’s very cuddly and has a warm, affectionate personality.

D. His Favorite Things – Right now he is obsessed with our cat. He loves to try to follow the cat around, even though the cat will usually just hop over the baby gate and leave Ted behind.

He loves milk

E. His Development – He can say “Mama” and “Dada” right now, but I don’t think he knows what those words mean. He also likes to communicate via grunting (usually if he needs something) and/or high-pitched squeals of joy. He can laugh, and loves laughing when his older brother plays with him. He can crawl very swiftly. He can stand by pulling up on things (furniture, for example), and he can let go of the support item with one of his hands. Up until very recently, he had no teeth. He sprouted his first tooth just after turning nine months old.

F. Surprises – One of the biggest surprises for me is how much of an “easy baby” Ted is. He’s really a blessing.

G. The Best Things – My favorite thing to do is to hold Ted right before he falls asleep. He looks so peaceful and content.

Ted right before he falls asleep

H. Things I’m Doing Differently This Time Around – I’ve said it once but I’ll say it again – baby Ted doesn’t use a pacifier. If he’s feeling sad, I’ll pick him up and talk to him, but I won’t offer him a pacifier. I’m hoping his future dentist will thank me for this. Also, we’re reading to Ted less frequently than we read to our older son when he was at this age. I'd like to read to Ted more – it’s just that there’s usually a lot going on (e.g. potty-training our older son), and for his part Ted doesn’t seem too interested when we do read to him.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Six-Month Ted Update

Why I’m Writing This Update
Since I did a six-month update for my first child, and then did one about every six months after that, I would like to continue this habit for my second son, Ted. Plus, according to this website's stats, people tend to like these types of posts!  I'm going to try to present this information in a similar order to how I presented it in Ted's four-month update.

The biggest surprise right now is how relatively easy it seems (to me) for us to take care of Ted. I don't know if it's actually easier, or if it just seems easier because it's our second time around. Another surprise for me is that I'm still waking up in the Middle of the Night (MOTN) to pump - if I don't do a MOTN pump, then my breastmilk supply goes down (even though the baby is sound asleep during the MOTN). I'm also surprised and really thankful that I'm still producing milk and making enough to exclusively breastfeed!

The Best Things
Baby Ted sleeps well at night, but then again his big brother has always been a pretty good sleeper too. Also, baby Ted is usually happy! He's always been a relatively happy baby (scroll down to "personality" in this newborn Ted post). Ted makes me wonder if some people are born naturally hardwired to be generally happier. One more of the Best Things about right now is that Ted seems to genuinely like me - with our first son it is harder to tell.

The Worst Thing
Breastfeeding is still a challenge (read more above under Surprises), but I am very proud that I have earned my "Silver Boobies Award" (it's what you say when you've been able to breastfeed for six months)! So I guess what I'm saying is that my Worst Thing isn't actually that bad.

What’s Different This Time Around
Baby Ted is a lot lighter and smaller at this age than his older brother was at this age - Ted is in the 51st percentile for height but only the 26th percentile for weight. I can't believe that baby Ted is wearing size six month clothes right now (his brother was wearing size 12 month at this age if I remember correctly). Ted's smaller size makes it a lot easier for us to tote him around in his carseat carrier. And Ted still has no teeth (I think his brother had at least four teeth at this age)! I think having a big toothless grin makes babies look super cute / cuddly.  What else is different? Well, I've been taking less photos of both children than I used to when there was just one of them (and printing / displaying less); I'm not sure why. Also, we haven't started Ted on baby food yet (we started our first son on baby food at about five and half months old)*. Also, we have more stuff (toys and laundry) than before - toddler toys are enormous, plus we now have toys and clothes for two kids instead of just one. Also, my body hasn't gotten back to its pre-Ted shape yet, but I think it's because of breastfeeding, because I have less time and energy, and need to eat more calories and drink more fluids, due to pumping / breastfeeding.

*Update: My husband just started baby Ted on quinoa cereal (Ted hates it).

What’s the Same
I'm still doing a lot of cross stitch as my creative outlet. It's easy to do on the couch after the kiddos are asleep.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Toddler Bedroom Update

You may remember that I redid my son's bedroom in November. I have since added a new toddler sheet set from Land of Nod that my son got as a Christmas gift.