Monday, August 17, 2015

Connor at Eight Months

Connor is eight months old today, which officially means he's been outside of my belly for longer than he was in it! He's very busy these days with all sorts of learning and discovering, and it's just amazing to watch him figure out the world. He's a little miracle for sure. :)

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Connor's Stats:
Birth Weight: 6 pounds, 6.5 ounces. Current Weight: 20 pounds, 3 ounces.
Birth Length: 19.5 inches. Current Length: Forgot to measure... will update later!
Clothing: Wearing 12 month clothes and squeezing into the last few size 3 diapers! 

Likes:
Food. All kinds of food.
Baby Time at the library.
Standing and walking while holding our fingers or furniture.
Screeching and talking.
Smiling at strangers in stores or at church.

Dislikes:
Toys that are out of his reach.
When Mommy and Daddy are too slow to get him the next spoonful of food.
Loud noises.

New Tricks:
Clapping.
Feeding himself food off his tray.
Going from a crawling position to a sitting position and vice-versa.
Scooting across the floor on his tummy.

Happy eight months, little one! We love you so, so much!

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Connor's Nursery

So. Connor's seven months old now, and I'm finally getting around to posting photos of his nursery. I have a really good excuse for my tardiness. Connor was born three weeks early, so I didn't have time to finish it before he was born! 

Just kidding. I was sort of expecting him to come early, but I still didn't finish it on time. The real reason is that I committed to doing too many sewing projects for his room and I'm not actually a very good sewer.

Actually, that's not quite true either. I had all but one of the projects finished before he was born.

The real reason is this cloud and star mobile.

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I saw one I wanted on Etsy and thought to myself, "This is $68... but I want three of them and I really wish the stars were a little puffy and came in coordinating colors. Paying over $200 is insane when I could just make it myself!"But then I spent nine months of my life making them (which I just realized means I was making the mobile for longer than I was "making" Connor), and in hindsight, I probably should've just (a) paid the $200, because it's probably worth way more than that, or (b, the more likely option) accepted the fact that I shouldn't embark on a sewing journey toward something that someone else is selling for $200.

Anyway, mobile done and $200 saved (except not, because I never would've spent that in the first place) and many minutes lost to sewing little stars, and now I can finally call the nursery "finished" (although no room is ever really finished in our house) and show off some photos!

Welcome to Connor's nursery!

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The paint color is Valspar's "Distant Valley." I had it picked out before we knew that Connor was a boy. If he'd been a girl, I would've added purple and white accents, but since he's a little boy I went with navy, yellow, and white. I love how calming and cheerful it feels!

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This dresser used to be in our guest room. Jeff painted it white, and I put new knobs on it. I bought this changing pad and sewed a yellow cover. The drawers hold blankets, burp cloths, all the clothes that currently fit Connor, and extra wipes/diapers.

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The navy basket holds diapers, diaper rash cream, and hand sanitizer, and the little white box is a wipes dispenser that we LOVE. The prints are from Katie Daisy (navy mats from Hobby Lobby), and the growth chart is also from Hobby Lobby (a gift from my brother-in-law and sister-in-law).

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I sewed the curtains with pom pom trim from Etsy seller ichimylove. They're pretty much purely decorative and don't actually block much light, and I thought we might have to add blackout shades at some point, but so far Connor has been sleeping just fine even when it's not perfectly dark in his room. 

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Jeff installed crown molding in the room, and I think it makes such a huge difference! We had already installed some in our master bedroom, so doing this smaller room with lower ceilings seemed pretty simple, comparatively. We kind of want to go crazy putting crown molding in the rest of the house now!

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I saw this crib on a blog years ago, and I've loved it ever since. I wasn't one of those people who had a whole nursery planned out before ever becoming pregnant, but I did definitely have that crib picked out! I love it. Sometimes I notice that other people we know have the same crib, and I always feel like we're kindred spirits or something. Crib twins! Haha.

I made the crib skirt with fabric from Hobby Lobby (it's pleated, which makes it the most complicated thing I've ever sewed... my sewing skills are very limited), and simple yellow sheets finished it off!

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We don't actually use the Sleep Sheep for white noise anymore (its battery ran out and Connor did just fine without it, so we just stopped using it), but it looks cute so I'm leaving it there. I swapped its ribbon out with some navy ribbon.

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The elephant hamper was a gift from my sisters. It's the perfect size and I just think that little elephant looks so cute!

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Here's the mobile again. Despite my frustrations with it, it ended up being just what I pictured in my head. We screwed it into a stud in the ceiling behind the crib (we don't want any falling stars hitting Connor in the middle of the night), and this is how it looks from Connor's viewpoint:

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This is the nursing/reading corner. The side table was also from our guest room and re-painted by Jeff. The rocking chair was the only piece of furniture we actually purchased for the room (from Hayneedle). Jeff was on a business trip when it arrived, so I assembled it by myself while hugely pregnant and got all weepy because I was putting together The Chair in Which I'd Rock My Baby. Hormones are crazy things, y'all.

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The elephant bank was a sweet gift from my grandparents, and the perfect little lamp came from HomeGoods (I added the pom pom trim).

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Shelves! They're from Hobby Lobby (and they taught us that our wall is definitely not flat in that spot... it was a fun time hanging those shelves). The bottom shelf holds photos and gifts from Connor's baptism (and an aqua hourglass that used to be in our guest room).

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The top shelf holds some wooden animals that Jeff bought on a business trip to Africa while I was pregnant and the signature canvas from Connor's baby shower. The "You are Loved" cross and the "Be Brave, Strong and Courageous" canvas are from Hobby Lobby.

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That trio of storage boxes was in my bedroom in middle school/high school, and then they lived in my craft room closet for a long time before I pulled them out to use in Connor's nursery. I bought them with my own money from TJ Maxx in sixth grade. Who knew I'd one day be using them for my son! The "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" print is a freebie from here.

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I love this wall. On the left is a "C is for Connor" print (a freebie from here that's customizable for any name and colors!). The middle one is a Lindsay Letters print from Hobby Lobby, and on the right is a ceramic cross with his name on it from one of my favorite ever Etsy sellers, SashleeCeramics.

Let's see... because this post isn't long enough already, let's talk about the closet too. My initial plan was to buy a bunch of baby hangers (because CUTE) and some of those little dividers labelled with baby sizes (because PINTEREST). But Connor has a nice, big dresser with lots of drawers to hold clothes, so I really just needed a place to store the things that don't fit yet. The solution: a couple of sweater organizers from the clearance shelf at Bed Bath & Beyond + chalkboard tags. I can re-label the tags when I reorganize his clothes as he grows, and I can cram way more into these things than I could fit on a bunch of hangers.

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How about some before-and-afters? It's hard for me to believe this is the same room!

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So that's the nursery! I think it's the happiest place in our house, and I had a lot of fun putting it together! Oh, and Connor seems to like it too. :)

Connor at Seven Months

I seriously love the age that Connor is right now. He's still not quite mobile enough to be cruising around the house (which means he's not capable of very much mischief!), but he's learning so many things and developing the sweetest little personality! Also he giggles a lot, which I LOVE. Being his mommy is such fun!

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Connor's Stats:
Birth Weight: 6 pounds, 6.5 ounces. Current Weight: 19 pounds, 6 ounces.
Birth Length: 19.5 inches. Current Length: 27 inches.
Clothing: Wearing 9 and 12 month clothes and size 3 diapers! 

Likes:
Eating anything and everything.
Music and singing songs.
Sneezes (his or ours, real or fake).
His aunts and uncles and grandparents.
Bouncing.
Drinking out of our cups.
When Daddy gets home from work.
Reading books.

Dislikes:
Going swimming.
Bright sun.
Sitting alone in the back seat of the car.
When he tries to crawl and can't.

New Tricks:
Giving kisses.
Waving "hi."
Showing off his two front teeth.
Drinking from a straw cup.
Feeding himself with a spoon.
Reaching his arms up when he wants to be held.
Fake coughing.

Have seven months, sweet Connor. We love you so, so much, little boy!

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Chocolate Blueberry Cake with Blueberry Sauce

Jeff loves blueberries. They're not my favorite fruit, but I try to make a blueberry something for him every once in a while. I do, however, really like chocolate, so we both really enjoyed this one!

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Recipe adapted from here.

Ingredients:
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
6 tbsp cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup water
1 cup fresh blueberries, divided, plus extra blueberries to use as a garnish
1 egg
1 1/2 cups frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed and divided
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking, soda, and salt in a bowl.
2. In a blender, combine water, 1/2 cup blueberries, and egg. Blend until smooth. Add gradually to flour mixture and mix until combined. Pour into a greased 8x8 baking pan.
3. Bake 30 minutes, or until a toothpick put in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
4. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine 1/2 cup thawed dessert topping and chocolate chips. Cook in the microwave on 50% power for 1 minut. Stir until smooth. Let stand for 5 minutes, then pour over the cooled cake.
5. To make the blueberry sauce, put 1/2 cup blueberries and 1/2 cup thawed dessert topping in a blender and blend until smooth.
6. Serve cake topped with extra blueberries and blueberry sauce.

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(dry ingredients)

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(wet ingredients)

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(ready for the oven!)

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(blueberry sauce)

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(mmm, chocolate ganache!)

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Ta-da!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies (Husband-Friendly!)

When you're breastfeeding or pumping milk for a baby, at some point you're probably going to have some worries about your milk production and whether your body is making enough. There are lots of solutions... fenugreek supplements, drinking extra water, etc... but my favorite by far is making these cookies! The oats, flax seed, and brewer's yeast are the perfect concoction for milk production support, and they taste delicious! And don't worry... it's perfectly okay for husbands and friends and family to eat them too.

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These are perfect for taking to a mom who has just had a new baby (or a mom who had a baby a few months ago and could use a little surprise from a friend!), or if you're pregnant you could make a bunch to put in the freezer for after the baby arrives (I definitely plan on doing that next time around!).

Recipe adapted from here.

Makes a LOT of cookies, like 4-6 dozen depending on how small you make 'em (but you can freeze some and they freeze/thaw really well!).

Ingredients:
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
3 tbsp water
2 tbsp ground flax seed
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 tbsp brewer's yeast powder

Directions:
1. Mix flaxseed meal and water and let sit for 3-5 minutes.
2. Beat butter and sugars until smooth. Add eggs and mix well.
3. Add flaxseed/water mixture and vanilla. Beat well.
4. Whisk together flour, brewer's yeast, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to butter/sugar mixture gradually and mix until combined.
5. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.
6. Scoop tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto baking sheet (lightly greased, or use parchment paper or a Silpat).
7. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Variations:
This recipe is super adaptable... I've tried all of the following with excellent results:
(1) Substitute white whole wheat flour for 1 cup of the flour.
(2) Substitute 1 cup of apple cinnamon instant oatmeal for 1 cup of the oats, skip the chocolate, and add a little extra cinnamon.
(3) Add in a cup of coconut flakes.

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Ta-da!

Enjoy!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Elderflower Sangria

I thought I'd share my new favorite summertime adult beverage recipe today! It's the perfect make-it-by-the-pitcher drink for hot weather and daytime parties, and it even sounds fun because you get to say "elderflower" when you serve it.

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Recipe adapted from here.

Ingredients:
1 bottle dry rosé wine, chilled
1 cup St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 lemons, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, thinly sliced

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a pitcher, stir, and serve!

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Ta-da!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Connor at Six Months

Time flies when you're having fun! We're having such a blast watching Connor grow up and develop his own personality and independence. Even though six months is half a year (!!!), I'm feeling okay with the passage of time this month because I can see all the progress he's making toward becoming his own little person, and isn't that the goal of parenting anyway?

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Connor's Stats:
Birth Weight: 6 pounds, 6.5 ounces. Current Weight: 18 pounds, 2 ounces.
Birth Length: 19.5 inches. Current Length: 26 3/4 inches.
Clothing: Wearing 9 month clothes and size 3 diapers! 

Likes:
Sweet potatoes, zucchini, squash, apples, pears, bananas, and rice cereal.
His feet.
Sneezes.
Mommy and Daddy talking in Spanish.
Peekaboo.
The "A, You're Adorable" song.

Dislikes:
Avocado.
Nursing under the nursing cover.
When we won't let him drink out of our cups.

New Tricks:
Sitting unassisted.
Making G and M sounds (ga, go, ma, etc.).
Standing on his own with an ottoman or something to hold on to.
Sitting up in shopping carts and restaurant high chairs.
Sleeping through the night (usually from around 8:00pm to 7:00am, with a quick feeding around 4:00am).

Happy six months, Connor Beckett! We are so blessed that you're our little boy!

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