Archives For On a Personal Note…

It’s so cliche and I know I probably say it every month, but geez louise how is my baby almost a year old already?

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Jack has never been the most ambitious of babies. He took his time learning to roll over, sit unassisted, and he doesn’t seem to be in much of a hurry to crawl (which is a-okay with me), but lately he’s pretty insistent on being on his belly whenever possible. I lay him on his back and he flips right over. He can pivot all around in circles and even scootch backwards a little, though I think the latter is more a side effect of pushing up on his arms and sliding rather than an intentional mode of transportation. This morning Nick sat him in the crib for a moment and when he came back Jack was standing! Time to lower the mattress, I suppose, though I’m not too alarmed because he has yet to pull himself into a sitting position on his own. It’s so fun to watch all these big motor skills unfold, and I’m a big believer that they should be allowed to develop naturally instead of taught or encouraged by parents. He has two teeth on the bottom and two coming in up top, has been sleeping through the night for a month or two, and eats a LOT. Last week we went to lunch with several other moms and babies and he ate another baby’s cheerios, the sliced avocado I ordered for him, a couple of my sweet potato fries, the last little bit of my hamburger, and two of the other babies’ leftover avocado! I don’t know where he puts all that food because there’s not a fat roll to be found on him. Maybe he’s got a tapeworm, haha. Just kidding. I know where it all goes because I change his diapers and they are disgusting. Yay cloth diapers!

This is a really sweet age in that he’s old enough to sit up, play, eat, etc., but he’s not yet mobile enough to be into everything. I’m definitely savoring every moment. The days are long but the years are short.

I’ve been searching for the perfect blanket to fold over the back of my office/playroom sofa for months. The top cushions are a favorite spot for all three of our pets because, hello, it’s a cushy spot right in front of the window (it’s also the ideal vantage point from which to await our arrival home). I finally found a solution I’m really happy with, and I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner!

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My friend and blog sponsor Brandi asked if I wanted an old dropcloth she had no use for and I gladly accepted it, thinking I was sure to find something to do with it (I’ve used dropcloths for all sorts of projects, like a floorcloth, a slipcover, a pouf, upholstery fabric, window shades, and Christmas stockings). When I got it from her I realized that it was huge! I started to fold it up on the office rug so I could store it neatly when I realized it could be folded to pretty much the exact dimensions I needed for a blanket. I laid it over the sofa and WOOPWOOP it looked great! I really like the more subtle tone-on-tone look. It’s like a little visual vacation as your eye travels up from the high-contrast rug.

The couch is covered in a washable slipcover, but the cushions are such a pain to wrestle in and out of their covers that I really only wash it every few months. The dropcloth can easily be pulled off every few weeks for a quick wash to keep things looking nice. Plus when I have something special coming up (like the baby shower that I’m hosting in two weeks) I can wash the slipcover ahead of time and then spread the dropcloth across the whole sofa to keep pet hair from accumulating before the big day. Dropcloths are really soft once they’ve been washed a few times and you can pick them up for cheap cheap cheap at hardware stores or online. The fabric actually looks and feels a lot like linen! And someday if I get tired of this arrangement the dropcloth will be free fabric for me to use in other projects. Winning!

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend! We were busy busy busy–between a crawfish boil with friends and a day trip to visit family I really didn’t get much done at all around the house! I may or may not have absolutely nothing to blog about this week. We’ll see how productive I am today!

Let’s be honest. First birthday parties are not about the babies. They’re about the parents. It’s a chance for the parents to say, “We’ve successfully cared for this tiny tyrant for an entire year, cheers to seventeen more!” I told myself that I couldn’t start planning Jack’s first birthday party until I submitted my LCSW application–I completed my practice hours over a year ago but had never gotten around to applying for the exam! Well a few weeks ago I finally got the last of my paperwork together and Jack and I drove across town to deliver it by hand to the state social work board. Then I went home and promptly began pinteresting party ideas! Here’s what I’m envisioning:

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Sources from top to bottom: swoon events, dreamlite photography, go graham go, moulage collection, sweet treats boutique

I love the idea of cupcakes. It’s good portion control for tummies big and small and Jack can have one of his very own without requiring a dedicated “smash cake.” My sister is an excellent baker and agreed to try her hand at this healthier recipe (bonus: it looks delicious!). I’m really not into anything “themed,” so I think I’ll stick to simple decor. If I can get myself organized enough to order prints I’d love to have a bunch of photos clipped to a clothesline showing Jack from in utero to today. I will definitely take advantage of this free printable to add a little flair to the cupcake of honor, especially since it ties into the colors I’m liking (blue, yellow, and green, the same colors I used in Jack’s nursery and in more muted shades throughout the rest of the house). And I could totally try my hand at some pretty lettering on a chalkboard to memorialize some of Jack’s stats (or outsource it to my friend Cassie, who is really good at that sort of thing). As for food, I’m thinking simple summer fare like sandwiches, potato salad, hummus, guacamole, fruit kabobs, and a cheese tray. We’ll probably just invite immediate family and close friends, and celebrate with extended family a week later when we see them for the Fourth of July.

Happy Friday, y’all! It’s a beautiful day in Baton Rouge and Jack and I are planning on making the most of it! I hope you do too!

As soon as the weather started getting nice enough for us to spend time outside I began my campaign for putting up a wooden baby swing. Nick was oddly resistant to the idea. I guess he thought it would be really expensive? But I knew that it would pay for itself in endless hours of enjoying the great outdoors. I looked on etsy and other online sources, but I actually found the perfect swing at my neighborhood hardware store. I paid $35 and a few weeks later I had my swing, handcrafted from cypress by a man who lives just outside of town.

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Of course, buying it was the easy part. It was up to Nick and I to figure out how to hang it. We took some nylon rope we already had on hand and created a loop with my keys strung on to give it some weight, then Nick threw it as hard as he could towards the branch that I wanted it to hang from.

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We’ve used the keys-on-a-string approach to hang things before, but I guess they weren’t heavy enough for this job. So we strung a couple of wrenches on there instead. Success!

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The only problem with this strategy was getting the wrenches back off of the rope without ruining our loop. So we tied another wrench to another string and tossed it over the branch as well, then tied that string to the original wrenches and pulled them back up and down the other side of the rope. I’m sure there’s an easier way to get a rope over a branch but we’re not really that good at this sort of thing. Nick got a good laugh at me shimmying the rope to get those wrenches back over the branch. Once we’d solved that problem we pulled the two free ends of the rope through the loop and pulled, making a knot over the branch.

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Then we just strung the swing onto the rope and tied it up!

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After googling to see what would work best, we secured the ends of the rope with three simple knots, then cut the excess rope and melted the ends with a candle to keep them from coming unraveled and compromising our knots. It feels pretty solid!

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The swing didn’t come with a harness, so we poached one from a restaurant-style highchair we aren’t using. Jack would probably be okay without the harness but I didn’t want to chance it. If you wanted to try this at home and don’t have any unused baby gear to borrow a harness from you could probably track one down online (perhaps here or here).

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Jack LOVES it. He could sit and swing for hours. And it’s kind of fun that the way it’s hung it can swing around in all directions, sort of like a tire swing.

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I thought about painting or staining it, but in the end I decided to let it weather naturally so that it will hopefully look similar to the wood picket fence. I’m absolutely in love with the charming look and fun outside play it provides. Louisiana is absolutely beautiful this time of year and our shaded front yard is the perfect place to enjoy it. Have I mentioned that it’s also crawfish season? It’s okay to be jealous.