Nursery Tour!

For day 25, Sunday July 27, I didn't take any pictures, instead I was thinking about how happy the nursery makes me. We built the nursery ourselves, framing in a door, tearing out a desk, moving around electrical, re-drywalling and painting, and a bunch of stuff. It's a small little room joined to our bedroom and bathroom. Hopefully when we go to sell, it will read like an extended master suite. Later on I have an entire blog entry about the renovation project, but for now I want to show off the finished product. I was really worried it wouldn't get done before Annabelle got here, but it did. It got done and decorated even. These photos were taken before her birth, it isn't so neat and tidy now. Initially I wanted an outer space themed nursery but that was changed for a woodland themed nursery. Actually the nursery theme is "animals hunted by your forebearers" but not everyone shares my sense of humor so woodland theme it is. I will add links to various elements as I can. The area is small, too small for a twin bed or a proper bedroom, but perfect for a nursery!
Baby room, the main wall. It's small, but so is she.

Baby room, the main wall. It's small, but so is she.

Crib (from David's parents) and changing table are from Costco. The cubes are some old ones we had laying around. The baskets in the cubes say BABY and I got them on clearance at Michaels. The Moose is from IKEA (courtesy of my sister). The wall decal is from an Etsy shop InAnInstantArt. I love these vinyl wall decals. They look great and they're a great way to customize a space fairly cheaply and easy to remove as well. The shop I used allowed me to choose the colors of the owls and birds. The quilt over the crib was made by my mom and the afghan by David's grandmother. And yes I know not to leave them like that once we put baby in the crib.
Let the sun shine in!

Let the sun shine in!

Our nursery is entirely an interior room with no windows. I like to think this sun light fixture (again IKEA) helps. David hated installing it and made me swear to never buy anything again at IKEA. I don't think he'll hold me to it though.
Changing table space.

Changing table space.

We took the doors off the closet and put the changing table in there. It's such a small space, we really had no other choice. But it works out very well. We have just a few clothes hanging up. (Those are disposable diapers we used for the newborn stage.) And again the BABY baskets are from Michaels (sales + coupons). Just barely out of the picture is a diaper pail that we also got a cloth diaper liner for.The set up with all of our stuff seems to work very well.
Just in case we got confused about whose room it was...

Just in case we got confused about whose room it was...

Letters acquired from Michaels (Where else?) The letters were painted by Eliana (David's sister) and did double duty as shower decor and then nursery decor. Owl hooks from IKEA. The door still needs trim around it. For that matter, so does the floor.
A little bit of geekery slipped into the woodland nursery

A little bit of geekery slipped into the woodland nursery

The Star Wars decal was a gift from David's friend Dave. The painting was done by Eliana's boyfriend Tom. And the fox toy tote is from Amazon. Please note David also installed dimmer switches which are a life saver.
This is the rug that started it all.

This is the rug that started it all.

Finding this rug on the IKEA website is what changed my mind from Outer Space to woodland nursery. I love having the forest floor rug, tree wall decal, and sun light. It's a very into-the-woods gentle and sweet feel. IKEA only ships to communities where it has a store (such a stupid policy) and thus not to Alaska. So I went to Seattle to visit my sister when I was pregnant and we went to IKEA to pick up baby decor item. We got the rug which was the point, but also fell in love with several other items (the sun light the various stuffed animals including the fox peaking out of the fox bin). She generously gave them as her baby gift to us! And yes I do have a HUGE suitcase but even I was surprised I managed to get the light fixture and the rug back home. It only barely fit. And that is our baby nursery. So far Annabelle seems completely immune to its charms. She's taken a few naps in there but mostly she sleeps in the bassinet beside our bed, or in someone's arms, or occasionally in her swing or vibrating chair in the living room. Oh and did you see those nice floors under the rug in our nursery? As part of the nursery remodel, I convinced David to install those on the entire top floor. They're amazing and I love them. That's another blog post though. But I will say that all the work for the nursery (moving electrical, floors, drywalling, painting) was done by family and friends. Most of the decor, even if purchased like the decals, were placed leaf by leaf by family and friends. This is a room built out of love!

Days 21 to 24, democracy, friends, and family

Playing some more catch up on happy day things. I like taking the photos, but updating with a newborn is more of a challenge. Day 21, Wednesday July 23 I'm a board member of Alaska Common Ground. It is an organization that encourages civil discussion on political and policy issues. This fall there are four ballot initiatives going before the Alaskan electorate (one in August and three in November). We are hosting a series of forums/debates on each of them. The first one was on Wednesday July 23rd and was about the oil tax restructure. We weren't sure how they would go. However we had a completely full house, standing room only, and turned away a lot more people. Hundreds of Alaskans showing up to become better informed. Few things make me happier.
A very well informed group of experts on both sides.

A very well informed group of experts on both sides.

Day 22, Thursday, July 24 On Thursday, we (Annabelle and I) joined Hilary and her mom's group at the Loussac Library's summer concert series. It was a beautiful day to sit on the lawn, chat with other moms, watch kids play, and just relax. Lovely time.
Kids dancing, sunny skies, picnic lunches, live music. perfect day.

Kids dancing, sunny skies, picnic lunches, live music. perfect day.

Hilary and Annabelle hanging out in the sunshine.

Hilary and Annabelle hanging out in the sunshine.

There was a skywriter who was advertising the airshow. He tried three times to write AIRSHOW but it was too windy and the words kept blowing away, he never even tried to make the W. It was possible we decided he didn't know how to spell Airshow or how to make a W.
The skywriter finally gave up on spelling out words and drew a happy face.

The skywriter finally gave up on spelling out words and drew a happy face.

Day 23, Friday July 25 It rained on Friday and Annabelle and I snuggled. I love wearing her in the sling.
Rainy day snuggles in the sling.

Rainy day snuggles in the sling.

And we also did some tummy time. Mostly a low key mommy and baby day. Day 24, Saturday July 26 Dave, Annabelle and I went to the Saturday Farmer's Market for some fresh veggies. I love that place, I love those veggies. I bought a bunch of amazing spinach and various other veggies and treats. And we ran into a ton of people we knew because of course we did, that's how Anchorage works.
This bunch of spinach is bigger than Annabelle, locally grown, super fresh and yummy, and only cost $5!

This bunch of spinach is bigger than Annabelle, locally grown, super fresh and yummy, and only cost $5!

That evening we went to Mary and Tom's house for Tom's birthday. This tends to happen when Annabelle is around her family.
No shortage of admirers for little Miss Annabelle.

No shortage of admirers for little Miss Annabelle.

 

Days 17 to 20

Let's go through some more 100 Days of Happy. Some are duplicate photos that Dave already posted. Day 17, Saturday July 19th She's a cloth diaper baby! I knew we wanted to cloth diaper before we were even
Lifting up Annabelle's onesie to show off her cloth diaper.

Lifting up Annabelle's onesie to show off her cloth diaper.

pregnant. It makes more sense environmentally. I don't like the idea of our daughter's poop being wrapped in plastic and preserved in a landfill for a thousand years. And I was extremely blessed that my mom learned that you can sew your own cloth diapers and took it as a personal challenge. She has sewn us so many diapers (I actually got a box with some more today). Annabelle was too small for the diapers at first so we started out with using disposable ones. Her little legs are still a bit too skinny for them so we use disposables at night, but for the last week, starting on Saturday the 19th, we have been a cloth diaper family. Loving it.
She's got so many different diapers in different stylish fabrics. I normally don't like naked baby photos (with only a diaper) but I can't resist a few.

She's got so many different diapers in different stylish fabrics. I normally don't like naked baby photos (with only a diaper) but I can't resist a few.

Day 18, Sunday July 20th David already posted both of these, but on Sunday we finally got photos of our daughter's beautiful smile. 20140720-213705-77825838.jpg We also got to spend some time with our twitter friends. Dave and I met at a twitter party organized by Valette and Marian Call. This rather makes them her twitter godmothers. Marian was in town so we had fun at a happy hour and got to show off Annabelle. 20140720-214349-78229628.jpg Day 19, Monday July 21 Days as a (temporary) stay at home mom aren't exactly what I thought they would be like. I'm much less productive than I thought I would be, but cuddles with this snuggly little bug make it all worth while.
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This picture is right side up if you consider I was also laying down when I took it.

Day 20, Tuesday July 22
Yes I'm aware it is probably not a good idea to immediately coat clean teeth in sugar but I don't care.

Yes I'm aware it is probably not a good idea to immediately coat clean teeth in sugar but I don't care.

I had to go to the dentist on Tuesday. I'm a really REALLY bad dental patient. For my pregnancy, I had skipped the dentist entirely. There were a variety of reasons with differing degrees of validity, but mostly it boiled down to: pregnancy was hard enough that I didn't have enough will power left to do the dentist as well. As a child, after dental appointments, my father would take us to get a doughnut; there was a good local doughnut shop near the dentist. (Mom didn't do this.) So sweet treat after dentist became a tradition for my sister and me. To reward myself for surviving the dentist, I stopped at Carl Jrs to get a milkshake. I'm obsessed with their milkshakes, they are made with real ice cream and are delicious. I earned that milkshake. After my dentist appointment, I went back to Margaret and Matthew's house where they had been watching Annabelle and we were having a dinner for some people who were in town.
Annabelle sleeping with her Uppa.  Babysitting for us is hard work, clearly.

Annabelle sleeping with her Uppa. Babysitting for us is hard work, clearly.

Midsummer Garden (Day 16)

It's been crazy busy around here and so I'm behind on my 100 happy days. I've been taking pictures, just not posting. I'd love to tell you about my garden because it makes me so happy. Day 16, Friday July 18th I love gardening, I'm not particularly talented at it, but I love it. At the end of last summer, David built me raised bedded gardens. This year he added in moose protection, rather a cage of chicken wire. Each side comes off easily for garden access.
My gardens now with moose protection.

My gardens now with moose protection.

I got plants into the ground before baby came, before memorial day actually. A few were starts I grew from seeds, others from purchased starts from local nurseries.
Turning this piece of wood at the top of each framed in chicken wire side releases it so I can get to the plants. Very clever of my husband!

Turning this piece of wood at the top of each framed in chicken wire side releases it so I can get to the plants. Very clever of my husband!

Not all my starts worked out which is why I had to buy some. We transplanted raspberry bushes from David's aunt's house as well as some rhubarb plants. My strawberry bush survived the winter as did my chives. The rest are new plants. Mostly I'm a food gardener, if I'm going to do this much work, I want to eat my reward. However I planted some flowers this year because they were given to me. I do like their color.
Rhubarb (transplanted) and mint (purchased starter) plants growing at the side of the back porch.

Rhubarb (transplanted) and mint (purchased starter) plants growing at the side of the back porch.

I will spare you too many of the many photos I have. Here's my plant list and status instead: Mint (from a purchased start): growing like the weed it is Rhubarb (transferred from Dave's aunt): two are doing really great, one got attacked by an overzealous landscaper and is slowly recovering Various flowers (from plants given as gifts): blooming and lovely Basil (from seeds, started indoors): Not doing so well. I don't see much pesto for us this summer. Cilantro/coriander and Parsley (purchased starts): going gang busters, I've had to trim them a bunch
My basil plants (from seeds I started) aren't doing so well. Next year I'll probably go back to buying starts for basil.

My basil plants (from seeds I started) aren't doing so well. Next year I'll probably go back to buying starts for basil.

Kale: (purchased starts) I have Dino Kale and Cosmic Kale and all are great Beets: (purchased starts) looking good, though I can't see below ground Carrots (grown from seeds in the ground) I should probably thin them again, lots more coming up than I thought would. Root veggies are a mystery to me because you can't see below Broccoli: The purchased starts are doing great. The ones I tried to start didn't go at all Snap peas: (started indoors, transferred outdoors) These are my best successes for the growing from seeds. They're climbing the trellis, there are blooms and snap peas. I'm ready to start harvesting them. Brussel sprouts (purchased starts) growing well though I don't see any of the little heads forming yet Raspberries (transfers): I've got blooms and berries, waiting for them to turn red to eat, should be very soon Strawberries (one plant returned from last year, two new plants added to my patch) I've got blooms and berries, should be ready to harvest the first batch in the next week or so. I'm letting all the runners go out since this year I want the patch to grow as much as possible and fill the box
Snap pea blooms and blossoms! I'm going to have snap peas grown from seeds, the start that worked out best for me.

Snap pea blooms and blossoms! I'm going to have snap peas grown from seeds, the start that worked out best for me.

Annabelle’s 1 month picture

Annabelle is one month old. Or she was on Thursday, July 17th, which is day 15 of 100 happy days. I'm just behind in posting. One of these photos went up on facebook, but enjoy a bunch of photos of me trying to get a cute monthly photo. (Our monthly photo set up is whiteboard with letter magnets and stuffed moose in the glider.)
We went with this as her official one month photo. I love her worried, basically done with the photo shoot expression.

We went with this as her official one month photo. I love her worried, basically done with the photo shoot expression.

 
We tried a bunch of photos. I'm a bit ridiculous with the new camera.

We tried a bunch of photos. I'm a bit ridiculous with the new camera.

The baby is wondering why none of the adults are concerned that the moose is overtaking her.

The baby is wondering why none of the adults are concerned that the moose is overtaking her.

     

Days 12, 13, and 14

I feel like it is so easy to find joy in our new daughter that I'm almost cheating at this 100 Happy Days challenge. Day 12 (Monday, July 14) I didn't get a photo of this, but we have a milestone! On Monday morning as we were playing with her before David went to work, we saw Annabelle's first social smiles. Not gas, but actual emotion! Now if only I could get her to do that on camera... We've been blessed to receive so many wonderful baby gifts. And some of our favorites are the handmade gifts. On Monday I received a box from my longtime friend Beth with an adorable baby outfit and a fantastic owl she had crocheted. Annabelle seems to really like it. It's pictured with baby A on a lovely quilt made by one of David's longtime friends Becky. Becky also made a beautiful quilt for our wedding. We are so blessed to have such talented friends who share their talents with us!
Annabelle likes her new owl friend made by Beth L!

Annabelle likes her new owl friend made by Beth L!

The quilt Becky made may look too big now, but she'll grow into it.

The quilt Becky made may look too big now, but she'll grow into it.

Day 13 (Tuesday July 15) Annabelle is not overly fond of tummy time. I know it is important for her development so we do small stretches of it. On Tuesday, I assembled her baby activity gym. The cats liked it, she was less impressed. I tweeted some photos with the phrase, "So far the cats like the baby activity gym more than the baby." I realized that thanks to the vagaries of English that could have two meanings. One: the cats like the baby activity gym more than they like the baby. Two: the cats like the baby activity gym more than the baby likes the activity gym. I meant the second, but both are actually true. 20140717-163500-59700122.jpg 20140717-163500-59700489.jpg That evening Annabelle got all dressed up in a fancy outfit for a party to celebrate her Aunt Ellie graduating from art school.
All dressed up and ready to party!

All dressed up and ready to party!

Day 14 (Wednesday, July 16) Wednesday was Annabelle's first trip to the library. She got to meet all my coworkers. I was meeting a new librarian whom I hired before going on maternity leave. We've read almost all of Annabelle's books to her multiple times so I picked up a read with me bag. The read with me bags contain 10 board books on a theme, a toy, and some rhyme sheets and reading tips. It's a great grant funded program and collection and I'm glad to be a part of it. I chose the baby faces bag because Annabelle loves staring at people's faces. From other early literacy training, I knew that developmentally faces are of the most interest to her right now. And sure enough she tracked on the photos of the baby faces far more than she has any other book illustration. She even smiled back at one of the books!
Lots of new books to read! (Posed on a quilt made by her Grandma Cleta who took her kids to the library every week.)

Lots of new books to read! (Posed on a quilt made by her Grandma Cleta who took her kids to the library every week.)

Days 10 and 11 – bottles and balls

Even though I'm not working during maternity leave, weekends are extra special because David is home with us. He i so good with her, such an amazing father, I love watching them together.

Day 10, Saturday July 12
We've been exclusively breast feeding and plan on continuing to do so for quite a while. However we will have to introduce pumped milk in a bottle when I go to work or if we ever want a date night again. On Saturday, I pumped a little to try out the bottle and to mix with her vitamin drops. She doesn't like the drops straight from the syringe. David gave her the bottle. It was magical to watch him have that experience and bond with her in a new way. As for Annabelle, she was trying to take it all in. It seemed to confuse her that she was getting her familiar food from a different person and in a different method. I love breast feeding so much, it's an incredible experience, but I'm glad someone else gets to have the joy of feeding her too.

David gives Annabelle her first bottle. The cats observe.

David gives Annabelle her first bottle. The cats observe.

Day 11, Sunday July 13
During the first two weeks at home we got to watch lots of World Cup. I've never paid much attention to soccer (excuse me Futbol) but David loves it. And it was a lot of fun to watch with him. We watched the first US game during my labor and most of the games that were on when he was home. Only during US games did we determine it was best if he didn't hold the baby. I even watched the last US game when he was at work because I'd gotten into the entire thing. Sunday was the finale and we watched Argentina and Germany play. For David it was a perfect day, he got to hold his baby, have a beer, watch soccer.

Beer, baby, soccer. Perfect Sunday for David.

Beer, baby, soccer. Perfect Sunday for David.

I also made us some soft pretzels (one of my favorite things to bake) in support of Germany. Someday soon, I'll post my recipe. I love to bake, especially breads, and I hadn't done any baking since Annabelle was born. It felt good to be baking again even if it did take a lot of energy and planning around a newborn feeding schedule!

Yummy pretzels. I made these with whole wheat flour.

Yummy pretzels. I made these with whole wheat flour.

Four more years until the next World Cup. But there's women's World Cup next year in Canada!

Days 7, 8, and 9

I was just posting my 100 happy days one day behind, and then more behind. But I don't feel guilty or obligated because I have a newborn. It's helping me focus on my many blessings and that is the point. Day 7 (Wednesday July 9th) We got our beautiful prints, birth announcements, and digital images from our newborn session. One is here, the rest you can see on our photo page. SV Annabelle newborn-28 Day 8 (Thursday July 10th) We went to Annabelle's three week appointment. After the difficulty she had gaining weight the first week, we were so relieved that she had grown one inch from birth (up to 22 inches) and now weighs 9 lbs 1 oz! She's too long for all her newborn outfits and most of her 0 to 3 month outfits even though she isn't too wide for them. Apparently our little girl is going to be tall. Here's a photo of her in a 3 month outfit. It's a little too wide but none too long. 20140711-171337-62017365.jpg Day 9 (Friday July 11th, today) It's been a calmer, quieter day today. Just the two of us hanging out at home which I needed. It's been a busy busy week. This parenting thing for a new baby is no joke. I'm exhausted and can only really accomplish one thing a day. So today what is making me happy is a freezer full of food. I prepared some meals before Annabelle was born and our friends also brought us food. It's saving our bacon because the most complicated thing I've cooked since she was born is one batch of banana bread and boiling pasta and adding already prepared sauce. Pictured is some salmon pot pies. Chicken pot pies have been my specialty and go to food for when I took freezer meals to friends who had babies. For this batch of salmon pot pies, I took David's favorite salmon chowder recipe, did a bunch of modifications, and voila these.  Super yummy. At one point we had about 10 in the freezer, but we have been eating them since then. Ignore the crust, I was having a bad crust day. 20140711-171426-62066512.jpg

Day 6: Aunt Ellie and a Picnic

On day six of my 100 happy days, Eliana, David's youngest sister, came into town and got to meet Annabelle for the first time.
Aunt Ellie meets her niece Annabelle for the first time.

Aunt Ellie meets her niece Annabelle for the first time.

Then Ellie, Annabelle, and I met David's parents and David downtown on the park strip for a lunch time picnic during Dave's lunch break.
First lunchtime picnic as a family!

First lunchtime picnic as a family!

After lunch was some less than happy times as my car would not start. However instead of being a very expensive repair as we thought (an alternator for example), it was fixed with just a new battery after being towed to an auto repair shop. Still, breastfeeding my crying daughter in the back of a broken car in the middle of downtown as all of my husband's coworkers walked by on their lunch breaks was not my finest hour. The car is slated/budgeted to be replaced in the next year or so, but I am really glad not to have our hand forced by deciding between an expensive repair and an immediate replacement. Not fun, but ultimately a good outcome and therefore a happy.

Day 5: Pimento Cheese

To me pimento cheese is one of the perfect summer foods. I loved a big huge thick schmear of it between slices of bread as a sandwich, on crackers, spread in celery, or eaten straight. It's the southern in me, but it's nearly a perfect food. However it isn't that good for you so I don't make it all that often. Yesterday I made a batch to take to a play date/BBQ with Dave's high school friends. (Parties have changed a lot in the three years I've known this group because nearly all the couples have had kids. It's a fun change.) everyone seemed to enjoy it even if as Alaskans they didn't gave the immediate recognition of what it was that occurs south of the Mason-Dixon Line. It's so ubiquitous therei once ate dome from a gas station on a road trip and miraculously didn't get sick. I make my pimento cheese a bit different than my parents did growing up because I don't accept velveeta as a food and chose a real cheese. I also don't really measure so it's hard to give a recipe on a gut thing, but here you go.

20140708-105546-39346978.jpg Pimento Cheese Spread Extra-sharp cheddar cheese (60% of your total cheese) shredded, approximately 12 oz Cheddar cheese (40% of your cheese) shredded, approx 8-10 oz Pimentos, 8 oz jar, drained 8 oz cream cheese softened Mayo (or miracle whip) as needed, approx 2/3rds cup, I never measure this, just keep adding spoonfuls until it's the right consistency Salt and pepper to taste Other seasonings (I used Nature's Seasonings instead of salt and pepper which has some onion and garlic powder in it I added a smidge of cayenne pepper this time, quite yummy Mix it up. Chill and eat. Even better the second day after sitting in the fridge.