Tuesday, March 27, 2012


 Sometimes I like to count down the days to a vacation.  Other times I like to just let it sneak up and surprise me.  But, with an airplane ride with an almost 1 year old looming, this vacation was a mix of both.  Part of me just wanted the plane ride to be over, and the anxiety was building.  Another part of me knew that once we're airborne, there's not much we can do about it and we would just have to live with whatever Griff threw at us.

We left early Sunday morning, my mom, Griffin and I.  I knew going into the trip that despite my best efforts to be efficiently packed, I would be over packed.  And I was.  But traveling with my mom brings a whole new meaning to the term packing.  I packed one big suitcase with Griffin and my clothes, a large boat bag full of toys, snacks, nuks, and other distractions, and my purse.  I also checked the car seat, and used the stroller to navigate through the airport and then checked it on the Jetway.  I had a lot of stuff, but once I got the car seat and big bag checked, it was manageable.  The Minneapolis Airport even has a convenient line through security just for people traveling with small children (and/or mothers who have packed thought of everything).  Brilliant.

You should have seen us.  I wish I wasn't so frazzled that I had actually gotten a picture of us.  Especially going through security when we had to strip down, have my milk tested, try to disassemble the stroller, and somehow get everything else through the x-ray belt.  In addition to the "regular" amount of allowable bags, my mom also carried on her back a baby carrier (no baby in tow) and two crib rail protectors for the crib down in Georgia.  Which, by the way, neither plane ride made a big deal about her carrying on.  One flight attendant did comment that he thought "that lady that brought these curtain rods left them here!" when almost everyone (except us) had deplaned.

But, with all that stuff, we were determined to keep Griffin occupied.  The hottest items (despite bags of toys) were books, the ipad, and food.  Those squeezable baby foods were awesome for takeoff and landing.  He didn't seem to have any problem with his ears popping.  On the way down he did sleep a little, but I think mostly because he had come down with a bit of a cold and was just tuckered from it.

The Atlanta Airport and switching planes was the most eventful part of the trip.  Griffin, who usually wears cloth diapers, was in disposables for convenience of traveling.  I don't know who designed disposable diapers, but the back of the diaper seems to be a launching pad to send poop right up the back.  And it did.  In the airport.  Thankfully an airport changing table and an extra set of clothes later, we were back in business.

Getting to Savannah was a relief.  We got our rental car, Melvin the nice Savannah airport worker kept Griffin rolling with laughter while we loaded the rental car and installed the car seat.  And in about 30 minutes we were finally there.  Griffin was such a trooper and there is no way I could have done it without my mom.  If you want to hear about the plane ride home, just re-read the above, insert Nate's name where you see my mom and take out the extra baggage and sleeping done by Griffin.  We did it.  First plane ride.  Can't wait for the next one.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Blackout Napout

On our recent trip to Georgia, which was awesome by the way (more to come on that), Griffin had his best week of naps ever.  Griffin has never been a terribly consistent napper.  He always takes them, goes down happy, they just don't last very long.  And with 12-13 hours straight at night, we are certainly not complaining about his brief naps.  But, in Georgia, he continued his nighttime routine and took two 2-hour naps each day, which allowed us to play lots of golf! 

We had him sleeping in the master bedroom walk-in closet.  A crib set up, fan and pitch darkness seemed to be the key.  As soon as we got home, his cat naps resumed and the only thing I could think that was any different was that he wasn't sleeping in darkness.  

This is how light his room is with the curtains open.  There are still shades on the windows for privacy, but it's pretty light. 

When the curtains are closed, it is darker, but still has a glow of light, especially on sunny days (which we have had a lot of! PTL!)

So I had heard of blackout curtain liners and decided to give them a try.  They come 2 liners per pack at target and I was hoping to get by with one liner for each window, even though each window has two curtain panels.
 They said they were easy to install with any type of curtain, but not the case with mine, so I got out my handy dandy "Heat n Bond" hem tape and just ironed the blackout liners to the backs of the curtain panels.
 The blackout liners were definitely not as wide as the curtains but I still was going to try to get by with one package since they are $29.99 each. 
 First I tried both panels on the one window (where the sun comes in the brightest)....
 Then I tried one panel on each window....
Then Griff had to go down for a nap, so my project was interrupted.  And as for his nap, well, about average at one hour and 15 minutes.

When he woke up I decided I had to splurge and do the other two panels.  It was pretty quick and easy, and we did it out in the porch so Griffin was happily entertained watching the birds and squirrels, and pointing at trees ("chree" is one of his new vocab words).

I finally got them both back up, though since it was so blacked out....it was hard to capture the end result.  Here is one with no flash and my shutter open a looooong time.  As you can see there is just a teeny bit of light peeking in over the top of the curtain on the left, and a little where the curtain meets the wall.

 Here it is again with no flash, no nothing.  If you look very closely, you can see just that teeny ray of light over the top of the curtain on the left, but it is pretty much a blackout! 
 It has been very handy when putting Griff to bed post-daylight savings, as I was able to make the room dark, and he slept a little over 13 hours-so I think it helped in the morning too.  We'll see how subsequent naps go, but I'm thinking the darkness is going to help a lot.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Birthday Dinner at Arezzo

My brother Charlie and I have birthdays a week apart.  His is March 5th and mine is the 12th.  So before we left for Savannah, we celebrated his at one of Nate and my favorite restaurants, Arezzo Ristorante in Edina.  The pizza is sooo good, they have so many pasta options both fresh and dried, and they always have interesting and delicious specials.

This is a little late, but Happy Birthday Charlie!

PS-This was our last official dinner with Griff going to bed in the infant car seat.  He has completely outgrown it, and therefore we need numbers of babysitters. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

A time of sacrifice

I didn't grow up Catholic so we didn't really participate in the Lent season leading up to Easter.  A number of my friends were Catholic and part of me was a little jealous that our church didn't officially participate and when the Lenten season returned and those friends chose not to eat meat on Fridays or couldn't do this or that because they had given it up for Lent.

A few times I gave something up, but not for the right reasons.  This year I wanted to make a sacrifice, one that would challenge me and cause me to lean in to God.  Our small group, through our church, decided we would all give up something in an effort to hold ourselves more accountable.  On the Sunday before Ash Wednesday, there was mention of the original intentions of Lent in the sermon.  Traditionally people "give up," something for Lent.  The reason for this was that in giving up breads or other food item, people gained more time (not spent cooking) to devote to God.  So my plan to give up sweets (which would indeed be a giant sacrifice), I decided, was not enough.

In addition to giving up sweets, Nate and I decided that for an hour (minimum) each day, we would give up all electronics (distractions).  The purpose of it was not meant to set a timer and turn off cell phones, TV, computers etc., but to have at least an hour a day, together without worldly distractions.  In just a few weeks of our Lenten season, we have spent so much more quality time together, focused on each other.  We have played cards, talked, done things around the house and on one occasion we got into a heated game of Trivial Pursuit that lasted until after midnight and the winner is yet to be decided.

I imagine this will be a tradition that sticks around long after we celebrate Easter, though I can't say I will permanently give up sweets.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pinterest Challenge-Fabric Art

Don't be fooled by the "winter edition" title to this installment of the Pinterest Challenge.  I think it is 70+ degrees in Minnesota right now and it feels like full blown summer.  I feel like I've been on a DIY hiatus following Christmas and now it's mid-March and it's time to get back into gear. 

The Pinterest Challenge was started by Katie at Bower Power and Sherry at Young House Love, and was designed to motivate something to be accomplished out of all the hours spent pinning on Pinterest.  I did participate in the Fall Edition with these personalized onesies, and I've been known to use Pinterest as inspiration for other projects like these yarn vases and some holiday decor.

But on to the Winter Edition.  We just got back from Savannah, Georgia for a family vacation.  So my house is a mess from all of the unpacking, laundry and everything else that comes from traveling across the country with an almost 1 year old (eek!).  The plane rides were awesome, Griff did great, but more on that later.  While our trip to Georgia was mostly about a family vacation, the house that was passed down from my Grandma to my mom needed a little TLC before the entire family arrived.  So, my mom and I headed down a few days early to spruce it up a bit. 

The place needs more TLC than we could afford to give in just a few days (the walls have been half-un-wallpapered, and desperately need to be finished with fresh coats of paint once all the wall paper is gone).   But, we did have a few days and a lot of existing decor to work with to start sprucing.
After spending time going through some of my grandmother's things, I did realize that she and I are a lot more alike than I ever realized when she was alive.  She was an original DIY-er, made her own prints out of dried flowers, covered and re-covered chairs, and added her own personal touch to just about everything.  So, she did have a few frames that I thought I could easily update with some fabric, a project I've been wanting to try in my own home. 

I had recently pinned some fabric that was used as art here, here, and here.

So, I got out my grandmother's frames and headed to the fabric store to look for some prints.  And here's what I found:

 Her entire place has a pretty strong color theme going....blue, orange and white.  The short term (and probably long term) plan is to stick with the color scheme she had, just update it a bit.  I have to admit, those probably wouldn't be my colors of choice if I were starting over on a room, but throughout the week, they definitely grew on me. 

Now for the projects.  I just took out her old flower paintings, taped the fabric to the back side of the matting and there you have it, fabric art!

 Ugly flying bird became......

Old wicker mirror......to fun flowery pattern by the drink cart (ps-check out the adorable owl cookie jar! Wish I could say that was vintage, (Anthropologie) but my mom was inspired by her grandmother's cookie jar that was a winking owl as well.)

 Old washed out seashell....to fun floral.

 And my favorites that ended up in the kitchen!

 (See what I mean about the walls....)

Finally with my leftover scrap fabric, I made a quick bulletin board for our schedule for the week, things to know about Griffin (he had many different family members watching him while Nate and I were spoiled rotten golfing everyday), and phone numbers.

I just used some cork squares.....

Covered two out of four of them in fabric...
 And put them in a shadow box!
Functional and tied in the orange and blue!
I of course got all of my fabrics on sale, I think I spent maybe $15 on all the fabric, and with 8 art projects I definitely got my money's worth.

I will leave with with one final item of my grandmother's.  A vintage Vera Wang serving tray....how awesome is that!


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Hunger Initiative

Serving the community is important to me.  It is also something I feel is very important for me to teach my children.  I am a very experiential learner so I think serving the community and volunteering are best taught through doing.

Griffin is a little young to start logging volunteer hours, so Nate and I lined up his parents to watch Griffin while we went and packed meals to send to Africa last Saturday morning.   Our church, partnered with Hope Academy and the The Hunger Initiative to pack pre-made meals and send to people who are severely malnourished and starving in the Horn of Africa.

There were 7 locations and 11 churches that packed meals on Saturday and all together almost 1,150,000 meals were made that will be shipped to Africa, where 12 million people are starving.  The Hunger Initiative worked with food packing organizations like, Feed My Starving Children, Impact Lives, and Kids Against Hunger. Although the big day for the Hunger Initiative has passed, it is always possible to volunteer with the packing organizations listed above.

I can't wait for Griffin to get his hands dirty on a project like this, but until then, I do think it is important for us to continue to serve without Griffin's presence and talk about it with him.  When that day comes, I know he will love having the opportunity to serve, he sure does love to make others smile.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Sharing Toys

I like to think that Griffin is socially advanced.  Only 10 1/2 months old and already knows how to share. :)

Griffin and Cooper share toys.  We tried to fight it.  "Cooper, drop that teddy bear, that's Griffin's..." "Griffin get that kong out of our mouth, that's Cooper's...." but they both know where the other's toys are and maybe it's the thrill of the forbidden, but they just seem to want what they can't have.

Cooper figured out how to take the lid off his toy box, so here are a few short clips of the two of them digging through Cooper's toys.
I have to admit what prompted me to record this was that Griffin actually fell in head first and all I could see were his legs flailing about....unfortunately it didn't happen again while I was was taping.

I hope sharing continues to come this easily for Griffin.....and he continues to show off innovation like the way he uses the lid of the box to get better leverage into the box.