Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Play kitchen

This thing is so awesome it deserves its own post.

Some of you know that we had been planning since the spring to make Ella a play kitchen for her birthday. I had found this neat idea where you repurpose old cabinets or media centers into a pint-sized kitchen. We scoured garage sales over the summer and fall, but still couldn't find exactly what I had in mind. I was about to give up and find plans to make one from scratch when Jim had the idea to use some old Ikea cabinets we had hanging around in his Man Cave.

I realize now I forgot to take a picture of what they looked like before they became a play kitchen. I'm sure if I look through my photos I can find one where they are hanging around in the background.

Anyway, this is what they look like now:

Front view

Top view

Here's what we did (I say "we" because I served as artistic director): 

-Sawed the cabinets in half (the part that is the fridge was the upper portion)
-Flipped one of the bottom cabinets around to become the oven
-Cut a piece of plywood to connect the two bottom pieces
-Cut a hole in the plywood for the sink portion (the sink is just a cheap brownie pan)
-Cut a hole in the oven door and installed a piece of plexiglass 
-Added in a cheap oven rack
-Installed the sink hardware (this was the most expensive portion- I think Jim found it for around $15 at K-Mart)
-Painted the whole thing to match the table and chairs Jim made for the playroom
-Painted and installed the burners, which are cheap wood circles from Hobby Lobby
-Made and painted oven knobs. The circular portions are again cheap wood circles from Hobby Lobby; the raised portion Jim made with a jigsaw. 

There you have it. Ten steps to transform an Ikea cabinet to a play kitchen. I'm sure if Jim were writing this post he'd give you a lot more detail. 

I think it came out awesome. And I certainly like the cabinets better like this. 

Here's a little video of Ella on her birthday seeing it for the first time. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I'm pretty zonked out still from the combination of Ella's birthday and Christmas, so here's a quick post with a picture* of us looking festive. 

Hope everyone had a fun holiday, and if you didn't, well, that's what eggnog is for. 

*The picture that was taken for the Christmas cards I never got around to sending out because I'm lazy it's more eco-friendly to simply post a picture here. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Today you are two

My darling, wild girl,

Today you are two. I stop and think about this, and all that comes to mind is, "Where have the past two years gone?" I swear the last time I looked at you, you looked something like this:

Then I blinked, and you looked something like this: 

And then I blinked again, and realized you have entirely left babyhood behind. 

There is so much I want to say to you about this past year. I know you won't understand it all and if I tried to tell you, you would interrupt me after a minute or two with a request to instead sing a song or read or drink an imaginary cup of coffee or play doctor or some sage observation like that sometimes pants don't have pockets. 

More than anything, I am proud of how loving and nurturing you are. I watch you take care of your sister, your baby dolls, the younger kids in play groups, and sometimes even your mama. As you grow older, I hope you will continue to be kind. You have taught me the importance of random hugs, because everyone needs to be reminded that they are loved. 

Your dad and I are constantly in awe of your inventiveness and problem-solving. Can't reach the ornaments on the Christmas tree? Well, get a hair brush to extend your reach and bat them down. Not enough toys at your grandparents' house? Nothing quite like taking the hinge off the door. Right now you are very into playing doctor. You don't have a doctor kit, so you decided to make yourself a stethoscope out of a necklace, use my makeup brush holder for your blood pressure cuff, a makeup brush as a tongue depressor, and a bubble wand as an eye-examiner thingy (yes, the very technical term). I know as frustrating as it is for me to have to search the house for my brushes, this aspect of your personality is going to serve you well for the rest of your life. In the rare moments when you are sitting still, I know the wheels in your head are turning and you are busy trying to figure things out.  

I love watching you be silly. Throughout the day you will decide to spin in circles, or make funny faces, or do stuff that I have no clue what it's all about but the giggles tell me you clearly are having a blast. Your infectious laugh reminds me not to always take things so seriously. 

I am so excited to see what you will be up to in this next year- knowing you, some of it will be mischief. I am sure this next year is going to fly by as quickly as the first two. In the midst of our hectic, crazy, chaotic life, I hope you always know how much I love you and how even when I am ready to pull my hair out over hearing the words, "Uh oh Mama!" I am savoring these days with you. 

Happy 2nd Birthday, my sweet big girl! 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

(Really late) 2 month update

I clearly suck at doing things in a timely manner. Here is the super late update on Marian.

Weight: A whopping 11lb 7oz, putting her in the 70th percentile. She weighs literally half as much as her big sister.

Height: 22 1/2 inches, which is the 75th percentile.

Diapers: She's outgrown most of the newborn cloth diapers, although the prefolds/covers still fit. We're still doing disposables at night.

Clothes: She's in a mix of 0-3 and 3-6 month clothes, which seems crazy to me because Ella is such a peanut. I finally gave in and packed away the newborn clothes, which makes me weepy. But I needed space in the closet (my girls seriously have too many clothes).

Sleep: Marian is starting to get into more of a schedule with her sleep. She takes two pretty decent naps during the day and then a whole lot of catnaps in the evening. Most of the time she doesn't settle down until 9pm or so, then wakes up for one more feeding around 10. Then we have one wake up in the night, normally around 4am, then she will sleep until 6:30am or so.

Feedings: Still nursing around every 2 hours during the day. Thankfully she seems to have outgrown whatever food sensitivity she had.

Milestones: Marian showed her disdain of tummy time by rolling over a few days shy of turning two months old. Jim still claims the time she rolled on the bed counts as her first time. Either way, she is now rolling.

Other fun stuff: It's been a lot of fun seeing her start to be aware of the world. She loves watching her big sister play and be crazy. She's started giving us a lot of huge gummy smiles and giggling at things. She is a big snuggle bug and likes nothing better than cuddling up on us. 

Morning story time

Reading together. 

Tummy time aka the worst. thing. ever

Hanging out on the boppy

Big gummy smile

Oh hi. Am I cute? I didn't realize. 

They love each other so much. And yes, Ella is in a Halloween costume.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Shaving cream fun

The past few days have been snowy and cold here. Well, snowy for Oklahoma. I'm not opposed to going out. Except that apparently our town has not heard of this magical thing called putting salt or sand down on icy roads, and most people here either drive ridiculously fast for the conditions or drive absurdly slow while taking up two lanes.

Okay, end rant.

Anyway, we are all getting a serious case of cabin fever. I had exhausted all my usual activities when I happened across an idea for shaving cream fun in Parents magazine.

Here's what you need:
-Shaving cream
-Food coloring
-A baking sheet
-Crazy toddler

Yep, that's seriously all you need

I plopped bits of shaving cream onto the baking sheet and added a few drops of food coloring to each. Ella then stirred them in.

It's very serious business

Then I let her go to town. She played with it for at least an hour.

The bigger the mess, the bigger the smiles

If you are really ambitious you can talk about what happens when you mix different colors together. 

If you are like me, you will take advantage of the time to have a few moments of peace and consider it learning by osmosis. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Snow day photo dump

First snow day of the winter. Ella had a blast.

That face. You can tell she is up to no good. 

Parenting fail: when you try to get your toddler to catch a snowball and instead nail her in the face.

Jim put her to work already

Shoveling with Daddy

Warming up with some hot cocoa