Monday, June 24, 2013

Russell is 18 months!

My little Russ is already a year and a half!  That's halfway to being 3!  He's now closer to his second birthday than he is to his first!  It just doesn't seem like he can be that old to me.  Maybe it's because he's my baby.  Maybe it's because he's so bald, or so small.  Who knows.
At 18 months, Russell:
  • Weighs 19lbs 9oz on our infant scale at home and 19lbs 15oz with a full belly at the pediatrician's office.  That's just below the charts
  • Measures 31 inches, which is in the 14th percentile!  He's been making up for lost time with his height, which is great news.  Only one inch to go and he'll be too tall for his infant car seat!  Caleb outgrew his infant car seat at 24 months
  • Has a head circumference in the 41st percentile.  He's only a little bit disproportionate ;)

  • Fits size 12 month clothes perfectly
  • Walks like a pro, but absolutely does not run yet
  • Crawls up stairs, slides down them on his belly, and will attempt to walk up and down them when holding onto my hand
  • Uses a spoon and fork to eat his meals!  We don't give him a fork very often, but when we have he proves that he knows just what to use it for.  And he loves to eat his pureed bananas and applesauce with his spoon.  It's pretty nice.  I'd say that his utensil skills are at about the same level as Caleb's at this point.  Caleb just doesn't have the motivation to practice.  Russell is motivated by hunger, which is pretty awesome
  • Loves fruit leather more than any other food.  He also enjoys freeze dried yogurt bites and olives and raspberries, which I'm pretty sure he only eats so much of because he loves putting them on his fingers.  He absolutely will not eat more than a bite or two of a fresh banana unless it's pureed
  • Will often refuse to eat anything until I put ketchup on it.  Yes, he is a huge fan of ketchup
  • Drinks 6-10oz a day of toddler formula and up to 8oz a day of Caleb's hypoallergenic formula that comes in juice boxes.  He often wakes up requesting a "box."  Most kids won't drink that stuff 'cause it really tastes nasty, but Russ likes it!  It's very comforting to me that he loves it so much.  It's good for him, and if he is ever diagnosed with an EGID like Caleb and has to go on diet restrictions, it will be an important part of his nutrition
  • Loves "preschool time," where he and Caleb sit at a little table together and Russ colors with crayons while Caleb learns about the letter-of-the-day
  • Can follow many simple directions, such as go throw this in the garbage, go give that to the dog, lay down so I can change your diaper (in fact, if I say anything about how he needs a new diaper, he'll lay down on the floor wherever he is so I can change him.  It's pretty nice), go get your shoes, go get in your high chair (of course, he can't get in it himself...but he waits by it for someone to put him in it), etc
  • Is obsessed with shoes and socks (his own, not others'...although he has tried putting on other peoples' shoes and walking around)
  • Has a favorite game--peek-a-boo!  He absolutely loves it when I hide around the corner and jump out at him and say "boo!"  He also loves it when I say "boo" as I pull his shirt down over his head.  He loves peek-a-boo in any form
  • Could plant himself in my lap and read book after book.  He doesn't always have the patience for long books, but he has the patience for many, many books in a row!  He especially loves the touchy-feely books.  And he especially loves saying "NOSE!" and touching his nose to the touchy-feely parts of a book.  He can also identify animals and their sounds in books
  • Loves babies.  He really does.  He pats them gently on the head and bends his head down on the floor to look at them and smile.  It's adorable
  • Looooves helping us feed the horses.  If we just mention feeding them, he excitedly goes to the door and says, "Neigh!  Neigh!  Neigh!"

  • Is super gentle and sweet with the dogs and cat

  • Seems like a pretty healthy, typical, yet extremely fun and charming and irresistibly adorable toddler this week.  Not a care in the world (unless he doesn't get his way...he's prone to throwing himself on the ground and screaming dramatically if he doesn't get something that he wants).  But last week I was convinced that something was wrong, that he was in pain and it just wasn't ok.  He goes back and forth like that every few weeks.  He often cries in his sleep at night for about 10 seconds, without even fully waking up, and he's almost always so extremely clingy.  I see other moms set their kids down and walk away from them and my jaw drops. Seriously?  People do that?  I can't do that with Russell.  I can't even walk towards another room without Russ breaking down.  I finally decided that if there's a chance that Russ is in pain, it's my responsibility to make sure that we take care of it.  As his mom, I need to make sure he feels good.  So I made an appointment with another GI doc in the area who seems to be up to date with EGIDs (more so than Caleb's GI) and I intend to request an upper endoscopy and a colonoscopy right away.  I hate to put him through that, but more than that I'd hate to leave him hurting every day.  And if he does end up with an eosinophilic colitis diagnosis, doing tons of colonoscopies to followup with treatment will become his new normal and we'd look back on his first 18 months wondering why we ever hesitated in the first place.  His appointment is the end of July, and then we'll schedule his scope hopefully some time in August

  • Knows over 50 words.  I counted.  ;)  The pediatrician said that kids this age should know about 20, so he not only caught up really quick (he didn't know a single word 6 months ago!), but he passed up our expectations and is doing awesome!
  • Has quite a sweet tooth.  You can't eat a cookie in front of him without him insisting on eating one, too.  He's just like his mommy (or Money, as he calls me)
  • Is a dancing fiend.  Some day I'll get a video for you.  For now, this will have to do:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Home Improvements: Father's Day Desk!

Ever since my first two projects (here and here), I've been keeping an eye out for good deals on ugly furniture that's just begging to be made beautiful.  Last week I came across this incredible desk listed for $40.  I practiced my deal-making skills and got it for $30.  ;)

It is definitely one-of-a-kind with those details!  That's what drew me to it.  It's pretty light, which is fine for what I plan on using it for, but if I were to use it for everyday, heavy duty use then it probably wouldn't hold up.  But I'm ok with that.  Of course, when I got it home I was so excited to start working on it that I forgot to take "before" pictures until after I started sanding the top!

I decided to do something different with this one.  It will live in our "front room," which has sort of a formal feel to it with a vaulted ceiling and wing back chairs.  All of the furniture in that room has cherry wood somewhere.  I wanted the desk to feel like it belonged there, but I also wanted it to help make the transition from that room into the rest of the house a little smoother.  See, I fell in love with the couch in the front room when we first bought our house, long before I really decided on my personal decorating style, and the rest of the room was decorated around the couch.  But the couch isn't farmhouse-ish at all, and the rest of the house is leaning towards a farmhouse feel.  So I wanted to make the desk sort of blend those two styles.  And I must say, I'm really pleased with the result!

I had everything that I needed on hand except for the paint, so this was a pretty inexpensive project!

All I did was sand down the top really, really well...until it was down to the bare wood.  I lightly sanded the rest.  Then I taped off the bottom part of the desk and stained the top with two coats of some wood stain that I had on hand.  Then I taped off the top and painted the bottom with a $3 sample can of Behr Polished Pearl (I picked this color because I love the look of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White, but I'm not willing to pay the price for it.  You can find the chart matching ASCP colors to Behr latex paint colors here).

The body was a royal pain to paint, with all of those corners and curves.  But all in all, factoring in the time it took to let paint dry, it only took three days to complete!  And that's with a clingy toddler trying to sit in my lap while I work.  Not bad!  That also includes two coats of wipe-on poly to give it a little more durability and cleanability.

This lovely little desk is now my handsome husband's workstation for when he works at home!  It perfectly holds his laptop along with an extra screen, an extra keyboard, and a mouse.  And it's on the opposite side of the house as the playroom, so he can have a little peace and quite while he works.  He used it for the first time just this morning, and it's perfect!

I used the original hardware, and just love the way it looks!

 After putting on two coats of wipe-on poly, I brushed on a coat of high gloss polyurethane on the stained part, just to give it a little more shine and make it easier to wipe down if/when it gets dirty.

How do you like it?  Not bad for $33!

TDC Before and After

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Home Improvements: Bar Stools

After completing my last project, I kinda got the itch to paint every piece of wood in sight.  Ok, not really...but almost.  ;)

I've got some free pallets out back begging for me to turn them into cute things for my home, but I decided to start with the kitchen bar stools.

They started out completely devoid of personality.  Just kinda there to do their job and nothing more.  Same color as the cupboards...and the floors...content to blend in.  We bought them for something like $5 each from the previous home owners.

There is a lot of white in my kitchen these days, which I loooove.  You'll see pictures some day.  :)  But the walls are green, which I also love.  So I thought it best to turn these plain ol' stools white on the bottom and green on the top.

I had everything for this project on hand already, so it was free!  That's the best kind of project.

I started with sanding them, then took a break for lunch, then sprayed on some primer.  After the boys were down for their naps, I painted the tops a mixture of green and white.  The green I had was leftover from painting the walls, and while I wanted the stools to go well with the walls, I didn't want it to be the exact same color.  So I used one part white and six parts green and mixed them together.  How do I know the exact proportion?  I used a 60ml syringe to suck it out of the paint can.  The benefits of having a tube-fed child.  ;)

After painting the top part green, I went to dinner.  Then I came home to some beautiful weather and painted the legs white.  It was a bit of a pain, but took less than two hours.  I painted them upside down on top of another stool, so I didn't have to bend down or sit on the ground to get in all of the cracks.  At the same time, I painted the under side of the seats green.  After putting the boys to bed, I used some sandpaper to rub off some paint to make them look worn.  Then I brushed on and then wiped off my magical Rustoleum decorative glaze in Java Brown.  Here is how they looked at that point:
I was pretty excited to see just how much I could do in one day!  But I went to bed with visions of numbers dancing in my head....

So during nap time today, I put on the finishing touches:
 I used Microsoft Word to print off the numbers.  The font was "Engravers" and the size was 450.  I placed the piece of paper with the number where I wanted it on the stool and then traced around the number with a pen, pressing pretty hard.  When I took the paper off, I could see the indentation from the pen when looking at it from the right angle with the right light.  I used a small paintbrush to fill it in with black acrylic paint.  I have yet to put on a coat or two of wipe-on poly to protect it
I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out.  Not bad for a free project!  My house is slowly getting more and more character as I get more and more confidence!

What do you think?  Are you a fan of the new "number" trend?  I'm not totally on board, but I think it's just right for this kind of thing and if I ever get tired of it it'll be super easy to paint over.  But for now, I'm loving my new stools.  :D

TDC Before and After