dancerjodi: (Geek)
I went to the Boston Flower Show today with Tember. Getting there at 10 when they opened was a very smart idea. Crowds! Did some Mother's Day shopping and got some inspiration for my own yard.

Things I'd like to remember:

As a member of I got a free pass. And a sticker to wear around. And a pin. And a free, very pretty floral calendar. Join them!

Gorgeous seed packets with artistic packaging

Amazing olives, olive oil

Places I want to go/join:
Lots of fun stuff in this map

Plant something in MA on 5/15 was giving away little cups with soil and a seed. We'll see if we can grow in the kitchen window without the cats eating it. Sugar Snap Pea!

Potential cool stuff for our home:
Need to do more research on and it's environmental impact/durability, but it may be a lower/cost and faster way to fix up our front stairs (assuming we wouldn't get ice damage down the line) and our back patio area.

Tazo tea was giving out samples and $1 off a box of tea coupons.

I'm not in the market for any different beauty products, but this was a nice sounding company/line. It is a UK company, but sold by consultants ala Avon. The woman at the table was very nice and not sleazy slimy sales at all. If I passed a store while in the UK I would probably go in and possibly buy something there.
dancerjodi: (Geek)
I hate the new (well, not so new) FLICKR setup, but it is what it is.

We had a runner installed on our stairs/landing. We bought a nice thick 100% wool remnant and had enough left over to do an 'installed runner' of sorts in our hallway too. We went with Mal Elfman's on Moody Street, Waltham. Very happy with them!

Nephew Colin celebrates his birthday today (my sister's middle kid) - he's 5 now. Space is at a premium in her apartment but they always love playing with Mina's toy kitchen at our house, so I made them a toy kitchen in a box. I purchased the kitchen stickers from a very neat place The box was from our attic, it was filled with some new and some thrifted kid kitchen stuff.

We've been busy prepping for Mina's bday party. It is small (close family and family-like friends). I've had fun putting together favors for the kids: bags with art supplies (Mina is a budding artist), most of which I bought for super cheap with the post-back to school sale at Target. Brian found a Batman ice-cube tray, and decided he wanted to make chocolates. I made some very simple capes for the kids out of felt and stick-on velcro. No sewing required.
Cape bag:
Favor box:
Cape pattern:

I miss sewing/knitting and that general kind of creative thing, but have no energy for that at the end of the day. My 'free time' is often dance classes twice a week. I'm missing doing creative stuff. Also missing more regular exercise. I need to get this back into my life again! It is silly how much fun I've had with just simple party prep stuff.


Sep. 10th, 2013 09:12 am
dancerjodi: (Geek)
Toddlerhood is both fun and trying. On Friday night I felt like Mina was pushing and Brian kept trying to undermine my attempts at parenting, not giving me a chance to intervene and/or trying to tell me what to do or cut me off when trying to interact with Mina at dinner. That night putting her to bed was just terrible and took forever. It was really just miscommunication and me being tired/frazzled with things going on. Brian just was trying to help, while I was taking it as him trying to step in because he thought I was incompetant. You have good days and bad days.

On Saturday I spent the morning weeding/planting/mulching our front yard for fall while Brian hung with Mina on the front porch and back yard. I took out the dead/fried pine bush and put in an azalea - we'll see how that goes. I added some mums to fill space and get into the fall spirit, and it is all mulched. Sprinklers on a timer are out there now, and hopefully the worst of summer sun is past and we can keep that azalea going. My grandmother always had azaleas in her front yard, and I've wanted to do it too. We have some plans for the yard for next year. We got the landscaper bill and that check was written. Lots of ideas, and lots of decisions about timing and payment.

She has discovered sidewalk chalk and picking and eating our tomatoes (mostly green ones - heh).

We had Harvard Square haircuts and had fun with Mina at Curious George, the Urban Outfitters Photo Booth.

Sunday was Brian's day - he did more work on the closet projects and I took Mina out to try and find her slippers (got em), a closet rug (got it), rain boots (nothing) and dance shoes (nothing). Her first class is 9/21. She has some shoes that are just too big, so it looks like I'll have to buy the first pair. We went to a birthday party for a friend of Mina's from school that afternoon. the kid's Dad and I were friends in High School, so it was a funny reunion. They have a cute place nearby so we walked. Brian and I are learning about the challenges of having a kid that is bigger and older in many ways than her peers, and what is average for her age. There are challenges in this. She wants to play with the big kids, but has some limitations in being fully able to do this. But she is bored with the babies. And the big kids (at least some of them) don't want this "baby" playing with them. She is just so outgoing, she seems almost confused about why the bigger kids don't want her playing their games. I feel so sad for her. Then there is the issue of her never moving and constantly getting into everything. Our home is set up to be safe for her to explore around and to do that, but other places are not. More and More Brian and I have been talking about how things will be a few years from now when she enters school. He had the experience of being extremely bored through his entire school career. I don't want her to be in that position, but I've always been a firm supporter of public schools. I think Waltham has a lot of things going for it, even our local school that has had some issues. We'll see what life brings!

Yesterday was her first swim class with G and I. She did great it seemed and she had a lot of fun. She's old enough that I think if we continue with the next session, we'd be moving up to the next age group. She was comfortable with the water and blew bubbles in there with her mouth. She was EXHAUSTED after, and took a good afternoon nap. She was beat in the afternoon; we took a walk with C and stopped at a local park where she had a bout of crazy toddler: wanting to take all the other kids' toys/cars/apples and wanting to climb all of the big things all by herself (she's not coordinated enough to do this safely, entirely). Oh boy. She did well at dinner though (NOODLES) and though she was up a bit late for her, we had a nice bedtime. I settled her down since Brian had to work on a build, longer than was anticipated.

Tonight is dinner with my boss - his direct reports are taking him out as his last day is tomorrow. Just so odd. We have no idea what our transition plan is or what kind of recruitment is happening or has happened. He is an Executive VP that reports to the Chief Medical Officer, so this is going to take some time. I realized that my review is due in November. So I'm assuming I won't get one this year, since there won't be anyone to do it? Suck. We shall see where things go here.


Sep. 3rd, 2013 11:25 am
dancerjodi: (Geek)
Now that the cooler weather is here we are going to be focusing on some more indoor home projects. Brian has wanted to rip out a built-in bureau in his collectible's room closet for a while, and I have wanted to patch/repair/build out Mina's large closet.

Over last week Brian and I were kind of brainstorming these projects. Before I was even pregnant I told Brian that I wanted to build a nice little play/reading nook in Mina's closet given how deep it was. We have been storing a lot of things in there since she is so young and not really using it, but someday she will be able to open that door herself. And it will be hers, and not our spot for storing crap that has no other good home.

We were talking about how specifically to create this nook for her. I thought maybe putting up a small wall in the back would give her a little cave-like spot to pile pillows, blankets and such and to 'hide' from us, with storage in front and a pole to hang above. I'm not sure how it came about, but it clicked that the two closets were back to back. Brian hasn't used his closet much at all, and wanted to rip out/reconfigure it to make better use out of it. We would break through the wall to make Mina a secret room! On Brians side you would open the door to see a box on the lower part, and a closet pole/shelves on the upper part. On Mina's side you would see a closet with a big open doorway/babycave, which would be the inside of that box in Brian's closet.

Now that we've conceived of this plan, we are so excited about it! On Sunday Brian ripped out the built in bureau. We will repurpose the (apparently copper) drawer pulls elsewhere in our house. Yesterday he cut the hole between the two closets and put the interior frame in. For ease, it will have paneling for walls, but clever Brian bought white-board paneling, so Mina's whole baby-cave walls will be whiteboard material. We'll put some kind of cushy padding/carpet on the floors.

Working in here while it is in her bedroom should be interesting. We need to take things out and try and keep her room clean, and keep the work to small chunks that don't interfere with her napping or sleeping at night. It may take a while to get it done because of this, unless we take some more time off of work while she's at daycare.

Once the frame/trim is all up, there will be plastering and painting to take place. Then putting in a closet pole/shelving above. Then figuring out what kind of storage/organization will go in front on the side wall.

Pictures are in this set which shows the progression of her room in general:

I love creating little spaces in our home that are all hers. The last of this type was her mini-kitchen inside of our kitchen:

Given that we were cleaning/organizing/planning, we finally hung up some more prints that she's acquired over time on an apparently growing wall of art, too:

Our Yard

Aug. 21st, 2013 09:03 am
dancerjodi: (Geek)
The landscaper came out yesterday and removed all of the crap from our yard, dumped some dirt and leveled it out. Our lilac remained, a small blueberry bush that will need a better home, and some hosta and such. They left the lilac, the hosta was relocated near our old tree stump to build a small flower bed in the back corner. Lots of grass seed was put down. We had the (mostly dead) tree cut down earlier this year, but our huge tree that we hang the skychair on remains, still giving us a lot of shade. We need to get the tree guy out to grind out the stump if we want that done later, but we need to decide on that. It would cost the same amount as we paid for the trees to be cut down and for the other tree to be pruned. A lot of money, but if we leave that huge trunk we are going to have to keep cutting the babies/suckers that grew like nutso.

They left space for beds/planting around the perimeters and there is grass seed everywhere else. We have to water for 20 minutes 2x a day to get it to survive. They even ripped out the little messy patch of weeds in our driveway between our property and the neighbor and put grass seed there. We had to run to Home Depot last night to buy a selection of splitters/hoses/sprinklers and timers to reliably wet everything.

The landscaper suggested some kind of smallish tree for near the front of the yard to provide shade/privacy for us when we are sitting on our front porch. He suggested a dogwood or magnolia, but we had asked about a fruit tree. He said that pear trees do well in our region and should be fairly easy for us to care for. Pears! In our yard! Brian is going to talk to him about planting. He said he will plant whatever we want him to, but most of this could be done on our own.

We are thinking of taking the fall/winter to brainstorm about what we want to plant next year. I do want a good deal of flat/grass area for Mina to run around on, but I would also like to make use of the space for growing food/herbs. This is all fairly new to us.

I'm still not happy with our front yard. I was, but then I have had a hard time keeping up on weeding it and we never got good mulch down. Our poor small/low pine bush got fried in the hot heatwave days, despite watering a couple of times a day. I'm hoping the small low lilac comes back next year. There is a chance. We spent some time at Mahoney's selecting plants with a gardener there, picking things that wouldn't get too big, but would hopefully withstand the high heat there. I would have loved azaleas, but they just cooked, just like the pine. Maybe we just need a sprinkler/timer in the worst of the summer heat to keep it from doing this? For the most part we were able to utilize our rain barrel to water our herb bed/plants. If we are going to do more of this, we may want another rain barrel (maybe under a gutter on the driveway side).

We got out of the habit of using the compost bin. I want to get back into that habit!

I'm excited to have a clean slate to work with, and a flat level area that (next year) Mina can run all over. Right now, it is off limits to let the grass grow.

Our yard looks HUGE now. It is really one of the bigger ones in our neighborhood given how it is on the side of our house and not in the back.

Some photos:

Our blank slate yard:

Driveway strip:

Front yard a couple of months ago:

Front yard filler plants (the low pine bush in the left corner is now fried/dead unfortunately) - we get full sun here all day:

Other projects that will come at some point: ripping up our driveway and replacing. Ripping up our back patio area and replacing. Replacing our rotting bulched doors (awkward, because they were built in a stupid way in the first place . . . we may need to just re-build in the same stupid way, just with new wood). New fencing around the yard. We need new gutters and new siding. It is nice to have outdoor stuff that other folks would do, and still remains strange to be paying other people to do work on our house given that we have done so much extensive stuff on our own. It is just the matter of money now (and the time to save it).

Indoors we have lots of things that we can pick on, but they are relatively short/indoor jobs. For instance, we still never painted the wood after things were stripped/replaced for our house to get deleaded. We have to scrape out and recaulk our bath tub. We need to paint and build out Mina's closet. We need to rip out, repair and build out Brian's closet. There are no lack of nice indoor fall/winter projects, for whenever we feel like tackling them.


May. 23rd, 2013 09:16 am
dancerjodi: (Geek)
Work: been very busy but fun. Time flies and all of that. Lots of things I'm kind of in limbo, waiting for direction or data. It is good to feel needed, or something.

Dance: I've acquired what I need for costumes, though I could probably stand to pick up another pair of tights. I need some free time to try on all of the things with the foundation pieces I have to make sure that straps aren't showing and all of that. I've been super sappy lately, thinking that in September Mina will start lessons and this time next year she will dance in her own first recital. Like I did when I was only a bit older than her. Just nuts!

Friends: I am missing you! We don't have a lot of free time and it is taken up mostly with house and Mina stuff. Finding kid-friendly social activities is doable, but more work. I'm looking forward to warmer weather and attending or hosting cookouts.

House: we are going to have the tree guys do the work that needs doing, and have the landscaper rip out all of the things and give us a big, level dirt yard. That will allow us to plant things on our own in the perimeters. And grass seed will go in the ground in the fall. I can't wait to have a flat surface that Mina can actually walk on! I have been thinking of mulching the back corner near the Vader tree and maybe getting one of those square wrought iron gazebos that will double as a playhouse when Mina is older?

Schmoop: Brian and I continue to have challenges having 'us' time. By the time Mina is in bed we are just pooped. We get the cleanup done that needs to get done and have about an hour to spend together before we climb into bed. I know it won't always be like this, but it is hard. Thankfully our friend Eryn is proving to be an awesome local babysitter friend to Mina. We need to set something sort of regular up with her. We did manage to get out to see the new Trek movie in our hood last Sunday afternoon, for free also thanks to a gift card that Brian's coworker gave him as a thanks for working on some kind of project.

Mina: she talks more and more. She said "R2" the other day, repeating after R2-D2 in the Star Wars ABC book. She moves more and more. She is independent and outgoing and social but still wants to snuggle with us. She is about ready to launch herself out of her crib any day now, so we are prepping to just take the side down and convert it to a toddler bed. It is a scary prospect, but I'd rather figure this out now than have her fall from that height to the floor. She can get her heel up and over the front wall of the crib, and grabs onto the corner/side and tries to pull herself up. It is really only a matter of time. Our furniture is strapped to the wall and the dangerous stuff is up high. Brian has been installing these magnetic locks inside of her dresser drawers so that she can't open them up and then slam her fingers in. At some point I'm sure she'll figure out how to open doors, so we need to get in the habit of closing our gates at night and need to put a lock on her closet door. I can't believe time goes so fast. Just yesterday I was birthing her! I swear!


May. 16th, 2013 11:25 am
dancerjodi: (Geek)
Such a gorgeous day! I am enjoying spring and loving wearing dresses to work again.

It has been a tough couple of weeks. Mina is teething and fighting a cold (they seem to go hand in hand) and her sleeping has been bad. So ours has too. Not a lot of fun. Still, she is fun and sweet and it is fascinating to watch her grow. Each day she has more new words coming out of her mouth. I've lost count!

Waltham's Steampunk city was this past weekend and we bought weekend buttons, going down Saturday and Sunday for a bit. I love that the and the city is getting a boost from the steampunk thing. It is not my thing, but I love it as I tend to love or be fascinated with any kind of subculture. Seeing folks waking around in great clothes, corsets and some silly props all weekend is like going to a sci-fi convention, only it is in my hood. I love also watching the locals and their reactions to it. Mina loved the music and bellydance and crowds. I hope it can continue to expand. It would be nice to see it back in the Watch Factory, and closing part of Moody for it though disruptive may be a neat thing to try also.

Things are ramping up at the studio for our recital (Saturday of Father's Day weekend). This year it is at yet another new venue, the Emerson Umbrella theater in Concord. I've been in the building before (my first bellydance class was there years ago) but never seen the theater. They are a green venue, and we will get fined if we bring any non-reuseable bottles in there. A neat concept. Going to San Francisco and seeing folks with no plastic bags, lots of compost/recycle bins everywhere, no styrofoam. Boston has a long way to go! It was inspirational at least for us to try and make changes in our personal lives.

The landscaper we found from S&A came out last night to look at our yard and price out the work. We have an odd lot, in that we are downtown, on top of our neighbors but still have a yard! We have a small, paved patio area behind our house, and a decent sized yard on the side of it (all fenced in). It is a total mess. 2 huge tress, lots of weeds (vinca), random plantings. Super bumpy - rot or old tree roots or animal holes or who knows what under the grass. We are starting from scratch: ripping it all out, leveling it off and planting new. Our front "yard" is small - awkward to mow since it is inside of a stone border (right now there are plants and mulch). When we bought the house it was COVERED with random bushes and flowers. I joke that they closed their eyes, threw the plants and they landed where they did. We have been in this house since 2004 and each year pulled a bit out. I want us to finally, once and for all get some purposeful planting in there. It is full sun, most of the day, so things that will get fried aren't great there. We have some thinking to do. Given shade, we can't use sod. Grass isn't good to plant until August when the weeds won't be doing much else. They could dig/level now and we'd be left with flat dirt until August, but it would allow us to plant ourselves on the border beds and Mina would actually be able to walk around without falling. Or we wait for it all to be done in August, and we don't plant anything this year, and can't let Mina run around. We are going to go with the rip it out/dirt plan. We need some tree work too: the dead dagoba tree in the back has to go. The huge maple with the swing needs to be cut down so we get some more sun in the yard. And we need to figure out what/where/how to plant in the front, and around the new, cleared perimeters. Seed would go down on the side yard for grass in August, and it would get a crab grass treatment. Next spring we would do a big lawn service to get it all going well. Lots of boring stuff I'm not excited about, but should finally get done so that we can actually have fun with our yard.

Pics from our property:
Front yard:
Dagoba tree:
Back patio:
Part of our side yard with the swing tree (and Terry):

At some point we will re-side the house and need a lot of paving/stone work done (driveway, patio). One thing at a time. It is nice that our projects now tend to be the picky/small things OR the really big save for a long time but not an emergency to fix now things. We will also be working on getting our front porch more Mina-safe now that she's mobile. I miss spending time out there, but right now there is unattached screen (we don't want to lose our cats), exposed pointy bits and exterior (lead) paint exposed due to some broken siding. Soon, soon!
dancerjodi: (Geek)
As of 12:24 PM this afternoon, our daughter will be a year old. Just crazy!

I made her a Waldorf Birthday Crown, using a pattern from . It has an elastic in the back so it will grow with her. She seemed skeptical about it today, preferring to play and eat it rather than leave it on her head.

Brian picked up some mini muffins at BJs last night to bring to school with her to share with everyone. We've been gradually doing party prep (we are having a small family party for her on Sunday). I have had way too much fun with this! I've enjoyed taking my time, searching for things that were low cost, more sustainable and more meaningful for us all compared to your regular party supply stuff.

Unrelated, I've had fun finally building a photo gallery in our hallway . I've wanted to do this for a long time and had a stack of old frames in the attic for this purpose. To get me started, Brian bought me a frame set for Xmas. Then I found some at the local thrift store on Moody Street for $2 per frame. And we picked some more up at Ikea. I think now I'm just going to keep my eyes open when we are at thrift stores for good wall-hanging frames to add to the collection.

I have dance class tonight, and Mina being a year old won't really know that today is any different from tomorrow, so we're going to go out for dinner with her to celebrate just the three of us then. Where is a good place to go where we can have the wait staff sing to her? :) Brian would like our choice to fulfil that requirement.

One of these days we want to get her to Rainforest Cafe, but by the time we got there tomorrow after work it would be CRAZY. We are going to save that for another day, maybe early on a Saturday afternoon or something.


Nov. 6th, 2012 12:10 pm
dancerjodi: (Default)
We had a nice mix of busy and chill and productive this weekend. I'm enjoying the cool New England fall weather.

Saturday was nutso: picked up our CSA share, got haircuts and lunch in Harvard Square, went out to Dedham to see the bunnies and and headed home so that I could get ready for a bachelorette party - gotta love Jacques. I got home at 1:00 and Mina was up at 2:30. Brian took her down in the morning and let me sleep "late" until 8:40 (which considering daylight savings was actually 7:40), first time since Mina has been born.

On Sunday we stuck around the house to get some things done. We did some more tinkering in the kitchen, putting up some shelves, patching holes, painted it last night . We spent a few hours ripping out most of the plants in our small front yard while Mina hung out in the driveway in the Pack N Play and had a blast. We are leaving behind a holly bush, azalea and another flowering bush that I always forget the name of. We broke for lunch at Sharma's with Tia and Stephen who had walked over, and then Mugzi arrived soon after to help us spread the mulch. It was great to see people and get things done ! We'll plant taller things near the house next spring and have the full sun to do some veggies closer to the front. We'll have the nice landscaper guy come rip out, level and replant our side yard so that we can start from scratch over there (he said to give them a call around Mother's Day next year).

I brought Mina to her play group at yesterday. She's standing unsupported pretty often and taking steps un-aided more and more. The OT that runs the group mentioned they may want to move her up to the next group (for 12-18 month kids) given how she is moving. It is exhausting because she moves all over the place in there, but she and I have a great time. After I gave her some lunch we headed out to visit Rebecca and baby Mal and run some errands nearby. After dinner (had some lamb sausage from our CSA and Mina LOVED it) we played a bit before she fell into bed.

Some days are just trying and others just amazing. This parenting thing is pretty amazing.


Nov. 2nd, 2012 10:51 am
dancerjodi: (Default)
From our CSA Farmer:

"Raking Leaves or HAPPY TIP FOR THE DAY!! : We get several farming publication including Acres Magazine, Lancaster Farmer, Country Farming and the Weekly Market Bulletin which is published by the NH Department of Agriculture. This tip comes from the NH Market Bulletin’s Oct 24th edition and I thought is worth passing on.

Raking and collecting leaves each fall is a tradition without scientific basis. Research has proven that mowing leaves into your lawn can improve its vigor and observation shows that un-raked leaves in planting beds don’t smother shade-tolerant perennials.

At Michigan State, researchers set a rotary mower to cut at a height of 3 inches and then mowed and 18 inch deep layer of leaves into test plots. That’s the equivalent of 450 lbs of leaves per 1000 square feet – or a LOT of leaves! The tests resulted in improved soils and healthy lawns with few remnant leaves visible the following spring. You can achieve similar results if you set your mower to the 3” height and mow at least once a week during peak leaf fall or when your lawn reaches 4”. Leaves shred most efficiently when they are slightly damp so mow after a light dew. According to researchers, if you follow these simple guidelines, you may never rake another leaf again!"

We have a ginormous tree that sheds a lot on our front walkway/sidewalk, so those need to be cleaned, but I'm less concerned about what is in our yard (particularly, if we are going to be ripping it all up next spring). Most of our work this weekend will be plant pulling and mulching in the front.


Oct. 26th, 2012 02:10 pm
dancerjodi: (Default)
It has just been a crazy week. Our weekend is busy too, but I'm looking forward to getting a break from the office. My commute last night was just hellish.

Our kitchen/back door area is now done, save for some shelves on the wall. I wanted to get rid of this shelf, figure out a good baby-proofing method to keep the litterbox away from Mina, cover our radiator to make it safe for her AND find a spot for a toy kitchen. Last weekend Brian made a radiator cover with an extended bar top for us to use as a work surface. We moved over the stand-alone cabinet that we had purchased a while ago at the natural wood store on Moody Street. There is gate we can extend to keep the litter box from her. There are just some shelves to put up on the wall between the two windows. Here are the results . I am so happy with this! I can't wait until we can get her toy kitchen (which will live under the counter and in front of the radiator). For size purposes we decided to get her the Ikea one. I guess it will be an early Xmas or birthday gift of sorts? We'll go out and get it when we have the time to make the trek.

I have been talking about a toy kitchen and our kid from before we were even trying to conceive, so it is so weird to actually be planning this now. We spend so much time with our toy kitchen as kids. Another down the line project, will be building out her closet to be more efficient and also have a cozy reading nook. For now though, I am enjoying having it for behind-a-door storage. I always wanted a window seat to sit and read in as a kid, but I also loved little cozy hiding spaces. I figure her huge closet would provide both of these sorts of areas. As she ages I think more of the kid she will become, the kinds of things she may be interested in and all of that. I know it isn't good to say yes all the time or 100% cater to your kid, but on the other hand, I want to be able to give her good outlets for creativity and learning while working with our own personal and space needs.

We have a few costumes for Mina already, but since our huge Jabba will be making the convention rounds this fall, Brian wanted to make a Salacious Crumb costume for her. It has begun - some reference photos and her headpiece can be seen in here . So much fun dressing up your kid in nerdy costumes!

Along those lines, I set up a Flickr set to keep track of nerdy and costume photos over her life . Similarly, I set up another to keep track of photos of art projects she brings home, because I know that we can't keep all of them (there are more to add here but these are a start) .

I cannot believe I am already the parent of a 9 month old kid!


Oct. 3rd, 2012 09:11 am
dancerjodi: (Default)
I am having so much fun at Zumba class! It is such a sweat drenching, groove inducing workout with friends.

Fall is here. I can't believe it is October! I want to dig out some Halloween decorations from our attic. They will be limited this year as Miss M is mobile.

I bought her a last week since Isis was having a sale, and I wanted one of these anyway. It is blue, since she seems fascinated by this bright, royal blue color all of the time. It is Italian. I told Brian it was a horse but he seems to disagree. It is a donkey! The Italian Christmas donkey! Brian blew it up for her this morning and with support, she happily bounced on him for a while. It is another small but fun toy that fits well in our space and she'll have for a while. We are having fun filling in the holes in her toy arsenal with some (mostly) classics. The other day I bought her a puppet, since Brian mentioned that he thought we would all have fun playing with it (a Winnie the Pooh from the Concord Toy Shop on Monday). We are trying to strike that balance of not loading up our house, having quality/timeless things that encourage imagination and development, and not spending a ton of money. Rody wasn't cheap, but she'll use him for years and we can pass him on or re-sell him.

It has been cold lately! Our heat has kicked on a few times at night. We need to get her some warmer sleepers, so off to Carters I go today during lunch. Brian has been making radiator covers in earnest, and last weekend he build a box around the heat pipe in our dining room that runs up to power the radiators in the second floor (steam heat). We are prioritizing the work based on where she is getting herself. We have some gates, but need to install one at the base of the stairs. I still want to mess around with child-proofing and organizing the back hall in our kitchen. I can visualize the space being perfect for her having a play kitchen! She can 'cook' while we are, and it would be a good use of sort of dead space and wouldn't take up room in her bedroom. There are a lot of fun DIY ideas for making one out of an abandoned old entertainment center or end table or kitchen cabinet. I want to keep my eyes open for something like that. In the meantime I've been trying to figure out where to move things to so that we could free up some space and lose this black shelf to the right of the microwave . I'd like to have some kind of bar/counter on the wall that gives us a workspace and a home for our Kitchenaid and blender that is high enough that we could put the play kitchen under it. I'd find another home elsewhere for the bread machine. The other smallish things (or maybe my vintage pyrex bowls) would be displayed on small shelves in the space between the two windows. Lots of options. I love puttering with things in our house like this.

We picked up a couple of gates at Walmart that extend to be wide and are easily moved around that we'll be using in the kitchen . They were half this price I think! Anyway, one is used to block off our fridge 'nook' (lots of stuff in there that she should not get to, including the cat's food and water, our spice rack and our pantry elfa unit ). The other one will be hooked up when needed in this back hall area to keep her from the cat's litter box. We can push the box near the back door, put the gate in front of it and give her that area to move in. Right now her exercauser functions as a gate of sorts . . . I push it over in that area and block the way to the things there. Of course, once she figures out she can crawl *under* it, that method won't work anymore. I think that is coming soon, since she just started looking underneath it as she crawls around on the floor. I have a blast playing with her in the kitchen while I prepare dinner and she crawls around, banging measuring cups on the floor and chewing on small rubber spatulas. Weird thing: we figured out how to lock our oven door while not in use but when it is in use, the door won't lock. I need to dig out the manual because I must be missing something. Similarly, our dishwasher has a lock to keep the controls from being used, but the door doesn't seem to easily lock (beyond its regular latch). Got to figure something creative out.

I apologize that most of these posts are baby baby baby! It is kind of the biggest thing in our life now, as every day is a new adventure. We are having a lot of fun though. We need to figure out a good (local) babysitting solution so that we can get better about having couple's time without having to drive to NH or scheduling an overnight. Or next 'date night' is a friend's wedding in November, where she'll be sleeping over her Auntie's house. We need to find some time before then to catch a movie or hit a live show or something.
dancerjodi: (Default)
I don't think I ever posted these. Mina's room has morphed while we've been building it. You can see the progression here

I'm happy with it now, so beyond childproofing (radiator cover, securing things, making sure everything is safe) we won't be doing much else in there for a while. At some point we'll make better use of her closet, but for now it is good as is.

I miss my monkey. She is at my sister's tonight, and we leave for Star Wars Celebration tomorrow. 4 days without her!


Jul. 27th, 2012 08:23 am
dancerjodi: (Default)
When Brian and I started dating I was living with my parents, sleeping on their old Queen-sized mattress and box spring (1995). The thing was probably 20 years old and was a huge, uncomfortable marshmellow. After college graduation after I got my feet on the ground, we bought our first mattress and boxspring set at Mattress Discounters (1997). A basic functional metal frame was free since we picked it up on our own with Dad's van.

After we got married (we were still living in our Shaghaus apartment) we took some wedding money and for what was a big sum at the time ($150 or so) purchased a cheapish wrought iron frame for our bed, also from Mattress Discounters (1999). It was our first "grownup" furniture purchase. Being gawth as fsck at the time, we picked out some purple sheer curtains for the four sides of the bed. Over time we tired of the curtains, but have had the bed since then. It went with us from our apartment to our first home in Framingham, and to our home in Waltham.

A year or so ago we upgraded to a new mattress, this time a schmancy natural latex one from Jordan's Furniture that cost more than some cars I have purchased. Oh my god bed, so comfortable. It was delivered and set up for us, and the old set that we bought years ago while living in my parents basement (Carlos' Nerdcave now) went in the trash). We had really arrived!

Overtime we have grown out of this bed frame. It is positioned somewhat awkwardly in our not-huge room and sometimes shifts and hits our ceiling fan (we could move about 6" closer to the wall near the headboard if not for that ceiling fan). It is decidedly not friendly for co-sleeping, which we do from time to time. As we acquire more things to care for a baby, my desire to streamline and get rid of things increases. It just feels cluttered in our bedroom despite our best efforts, because of this bed smack in the middle of the room.

So we are buying a new bed frame! A wood one! At some point I bought myself a lingerie cabinet from Jordan's Furniture that somewhat matched the antique mahogany vanity, end table and bureau I had inherited from Gram. Jordan's still sells this set, and so our bed will come from there to somewhat again, tie things together. Since it is laminate coated with cherry (versus entirely constructed of cherry) the price is quite reasonable. A sleigh bed! How decadant!

Oh the wonders of technology! I ordered online and they will call to arrange final payment, delivery and that stuff. Being Jordans and paying for delivery, they will take our old bed down and set this one up for us. Moving our latex mattress would not be so fun.

I think this calls for a new bedspread too. I've wanted one for quite a while but haven't found one that I liked, but I think it is time for a more concerted search.

I'm also hoping to streamline the "stuff" in the bedroom a bit and perhaps clear out a small bureau we have crammed in a corner that holds miscellaneous baby stuff that we don't use often. We shall see!

I thought that moving from a huge house to a smaller one with little closet space was a challenge to my organizational-fu. I've had fun trying to make the most of our space: storing things and making it easy to live in. Having a baby with all of the things that comes with that (despite us being imo, fairly simplistic with our "stuff" accumulation for Miss Mina) has been an even bigger challenge).

Next up, we'll purchase something more safe and attractive in a bookshelf for Mina's room. The one in there is an old Target particle board one, with shelves that aren't fixed but sit on little pegs. So not kid friendly! I think we may hit up Ikea for something . . . they should have more secure options than what we have. It does not need to be a long-term heirloom piece.

I *heart* decorating and organizing our spaces. At some point we have to do some more messy work, like actually painting the stripped and replaced woodwork from when our house was deleaded. And painting our hallway. And actually creating our 'picture gallery' along the stairway to the second floor. And putting some bookshelves up over the doorways in our first floor hallway to free up bookshelf space in the den. And better organizing our kitchen to be more baby friendly (how the hell to baby proof a cat's litter box?). All in good time. :)
dancerjodi: (Default)
We're almost done! I have to buy a pillow set for our rocking chair, print some 4x6 photos for a frame hanging on the wall and decide if we want to paint a small bureau or not. Here's some pics (descriptions of things are in each pick):


Oct. 29th, 2011 02:45 pm
dancerjodi: (Default)
The Haunted Ship (USS Salem in Quincy) was pretty neat! I'm not sure if anything will top the Haunted Hammond Castle that we went to years ago, but it was fun to do something cheezy and spooky. We try and check out a new one each year. We were home early enough to watch Clone Wars (yay for the 501st clones!) before I was ready for bed. It was fun to catch up with Sean and Krista too, it's been a while since the four of us have been able to hang out.

We got up early today courtesy of our cats not leaving us alone, and got ourselves together for breakfast at . We had planned on going to a party this afternoon but wanted to get some things done around the house beforehand. The impending weather, the things we need to get done and the fact that we were out of our house for the deleading and oh so happy to be home (and, had seen these friends somewhat recently) made us decide to change our plans and stick around today instead. After breakfast we got supplies at Home Depot and returned home for our various projects.

1. The deleading process left lots of unfinished wood trim in the house. We're being lazy at the moment and leaving that alone, but the unfinished wood trim around the outside of our front door would suffer the elements, so I primed that this morning. It is so cold that I'm leaving it to dry for a few days before attempting to paint it (it will probably get paint next Sunday, schedule and enthusiasm willing).

2. Now that the deleading is done we needed to fix our ceiling in the baby's room. The roof leaked before we bought the house and there was a combination of peeling ceiling paint, brown stains and the remains of bad plaster patch jobs from the former homeowners to fix up, coincidentally only in this room (near our chimney where the worst of the leaking was). Originally we were going to scrape the lose paint and just paint the whole thing, but Brian decided he wanted to texture the ceiling to finish it up right and hide the bad plaster work from the former owner. Given the cold in our basement and garage, he's working on a helmet up in his geek room, and while it dries each hour between each coat, has been chipping away at the baby's room ceiling. It looks great! It will need to dry during the week and then will need primer and paint. There was also an old dead landline wire and jack sticking out of the wall, just kind of floating that he's cut, and he smushed some plaster in the hole there for good measure (we'll need to touch up the wall paint in that spot). When the painting is done we can put our rug down, put the curtains up (I got some purple or "wine" ones from Target) and then we can go get our crib at Ikea.

3. Years ago we took out the normal door in our bedroom in exchange for a bifold door that opened into the hallway. Our old door opened into the room, leaving one wall that we could fit a bureau on useless, but the new door gave us the use of that wall. To fit into the opening of the doorway, Brian had to trim it vertically (in addition to trimming width-wise for height) which was a bit of a hit to its structural integrity. Add to that two cats that run around the house like maniacs wrestling and banging into things. They have knocked that door out so many times, and Brian kept patching and fixing and securing the door, eventually adding metal plates to where the damaged/splintered wood was near the top where it set into the track. The deleaders took down the door to do the work, since they had to scrape in that doorway, and it is now just past its time. Brian tried to rehang it but the thing just won't go back up. We bought a new door which I've wanted to do for a while anyway, and that's on the list of things to do in the short term.

Kudos for having a $50 Home Depot gift card left over from Christmas - I had forgotten about this thing in my purse. :)

4. I cleaned up and put away the things in the yard and winterized stuff, digging out the shovels (Brian took out our big bucket of ice melt earlier today). I had to drag out the lawn mower, the wheel barrel full o' dirt and the snow blower only to put them back in the garage in the opposite order. I moved the overflow hose from the top of our rain barrel to the bottom so that the thing won't freeze over the winter (water will collect to only about 6" high until it reaches that lower spout and is released through the house out into the street). All that's left to do is take apart our hammock frame and put that into the garage, but I didn't have the finger strength to do that. Then I dragged the almost full yard-waste barrels out to the side of our driveway so we remember to get rid of them tomorrow with our trash. There was some room in the top and a bunch of leaves on our front walkway, so they went into the barrels (if there is shoveling to do it will be easier without a mess of leaves there).

We stopped for lunch and made a quick stop at Sister Thrift to drop off yet more donations. We are always making a pile of things to get rid of. As usual (Jen, you aren't the only one) I left with a couple of things - a cute 0-3 months Halloween baby sleeper and a 12m pair of orange and candy corn print baby pants (never worn and the tags still on). So what that she's being born in January? We love Halloween! It has been fun to pick up things this year and put them away for her, but I digress.

The precipitation is here now, just rain at this point. I'm exhausted from our day and glad we decided to stay in - we would have been on the road by now. I have a pumpkin pie in the oven and will make a meatloaf later for dinner. Being horizontal for a while with a book is the best thing I could do right now.


Oct. 21st, 2011 10:06 am
dancerjodi: (Default)
The deleading at our house is done* and we are all getting settled back in. It was a good experience to remind us of the wonderful and simple things in our lives that we tend to take for granted, like a comfortable bed, working shower, a kitchen to cook in and relaxed pets.

I am so glad that I planned to take Thursday and Friday off of work. Similar to when we first moved into this house, I've been bustling around trying to do all that I can so that Brian is just left with the heavy or precision installation stuff.

My body is so sore and tired. Almost two months ago "the girls" (my group of close high school friends" made plans to go for a spa day on this Saturday. Never has a prenatal massage, mani and pedi been better timed! :)


Oct. 17th, 2011 10:26 am
dancerjodi: (Default)
On Friday Brian and I went with a dance studio friend to see The Rocky Horror Show at the I've seen the movie with a shadow cast a billion times (Brian and I met there) but had never seen the musical. They did a great job! I liked hearing the music I had heard years ago in the Roxy Cast Cassette (from the 15th Anniversary boxed set) and their direction though different than the movie (and apparently other live musical shows) was great. Their use of "phantoms" rather than simply Transylvanians was very neat. The craziness and humor of the Criminologist was wonderful (who knew he could be such a memorable character). Their Columbia didn't tap dance which was a bit of a let down, but all in all we had a great time.

We had a troop on Saturday out in RI to support a blood drive that Ryder Wyndham had organized at the Rochambeau branch library. The goal for the day was 15 pints but they collected 30! Ryder invited us to his home for a cookout after the event, what a great guy. It is wonderful being part of such a great Star Wars family that we can do things like this. We were enjoying hanging around in the back yard after most of the guests had left, but we had to pack up the remainder of our home for our deleading work, so we headed out and were back by around 7:30-8. We were both exhausted from being out all day but got what we needed to do done. We spent the last couple of hours of the night lounging in bed since all of our furniture was covered/moved and it was the only clear space.

We got up on Sunday and got ourselves together for breakfast at In a Pickle before heading Worcester-ways for In all of the years that this convention/concert has been happening Brian and I have never made it, despite being big horror and metal fans. October is busy and it always creeps up on us, and there are other things to do, but somehow this year we managed to get it into our calendar and get there. We met Mer and Mike and wandered a bit with and without them - it was great to catch up. The vibe was wonderful - so much more relaxed and fun than Supermegafest. The room had a similar number of guests and vendors as that convention, but it was more spread out and had more of a 'chill' vibe. It was also more family friendly (which is funny, considering it is a horror convention) - there were lots of families out there together, many in costume. While Mer and Mike were waiting in Ace Frehley's line we pondered trying to meet Robert Englund, but decided against it when we saw the huge crowd. We did get to see Kane Hodder and get a couple of things signed (Tember, we have a surprise for you). Brian's Death Trooper was very popular, and he got lots of photos with people . His biggest fan was a six year old girl who waved to him, slapped him five or asked for a picture every time we passed her (about 20 times through the day). Check out her little leg flip in this picture she took with Brian and her Dad We chatted with her Mom later at the convention about how she has grown up going to this each year - she was a month old for her first Rock N Shock! Her parents were vendors and their booth was named after her. They also had a 1 year old son who was so taken with Brian, that when we tried to walk away he started crying - he didn't want the zombie trooper to leave! Who knew that the horror/metal convention was so family-friendly? The woman told us that we should come back next year with our babe in costume. I think it really is just a matter of kids being exposed to things and what is normal/scary and what is exotic. We have friends with children who think nothing of being surrounded by Star Wars costume characters (they know who we are out of costume and in), so I'm sure this is very much the case. I can't believe it took us so long to come out to this thing!

After the con we went back to the car so that Brian could change and grabbed a quick late lunch before heading home. We packed up our animals, animal supplies and things we would need for the week in NH and drove out to my parent's house. They helped us lug everything up to their empty 2nd floor apartment and we got things set up, and then had dinner with them downstairs in their home. Brian took off to head back to Waltham since he was meeting the contractors there this morning. Our poor cats were so freaked out. Jayne was super affectionate and kept coming up to me, laying on the bed, etc which is so unlike him. He has a bit of an abandoment fear given his life before us, so I think he was just happy that after the hour-long ride, I was still there. Mal hid in cabinets and closets and behind doors and I could only get him up on the bed with me once. I feel so bad for disrupting them so, but an empty apartment will be safer than my sister's where we needed to keep them from her cats and very jumpy and loud Boxer. It has been weird being mothered again in the first time in a long time: showing up for dinner cooked for us, Mom packed me a lunch for today, having breakfast with them this morning.

Getting up and showered and the animals fed this morning was easy and I had breakfast with my parents downstairs - we are leaving for work in MA at the same time. I hope the cats are able to relax a bit while I'm gone today. I have a pre-natal appointment at 4:00 (including my glucose tolerance test) and will stop by the house after to get mail, run some errands, and am meeting Brian after work for dinner to avoid traffic before we drive back up to NH, each in our own cars. Poor Brian spent the night in the house and woke up to finish the prep in our bedroom - pushing furniture to the middle of the room around the bed. When he got out of the shower he ended up stubbing his baby toe on a doorstop that's usually between a door and a bureau, and broke it (on his right foot). You know, the driving foot. After some drugs and ice it's feeling better, so he's at work with it all taped up and in flip flops. When it rains it pours. :/

All in all this process has gone more smoothly than I could have hoped for, so despite being displaced a bit we are doing well. We are extremely lucky for the support we have been offered and have received. I can't wait, can't wait to get back home and settled in. We had no plans for next Sunday, so last night I put a calendar entry into google: "DO NOT MAKE PLANS". I am looking forward to getting things back to normal by this time next week. :)


Oct. 13th, 2011 08:59 am
dancerjodi: (Default)
I had dinner with an old THP friend last night - we met at Grassfields. It's definitely an 'old lady restaurant', but they have a great honey-salmon dish and I love, love, love their spinach rice (the same company as Jimmy's). It was great to catch up - I haven't seen her in 6 months or so. I also had some time to do some errand running and early holiday shopping in the same plaza, since I got there a bit early. And time to hang out with Brian for a couple of hours before I went to bed (early). Go me!

My sinus' have been crazy - rhinitis of pregnancy indeed! I'm trying to get better about using my neti pot. I took an allergy pill this morning (OK per my MD) and it seems to also be helping. I still sound like one of Marge Simpson's sisters, though my cold started 5-6 weeks ago (I've lost count). It isn't a cold now as much as the sinus thing and a postnasal issue. Lovely. I feel just fine, I just sound like there is something wrong with me, and I'm sort of sick of telling people "no, I'm not sick".

I'm sort of getting to this point where I have to say no a lot more lately. Some plans I've made are my own doing (like meeting this old friend for dinner last night) while others are non-negotiable (like doctor's visits and moving to my parents to get our home deleaded). I think I'm doing a good job taking care of Me. I'm busy but not crazy. Still, I feel bad when I have to say thank you, but no thank you to friends that really are just trying to help. I think it is a useful skill for me to develop however, as I approach becoming a parent and having even less free time. Since I have dance class on Tuesday and Thursday nights, meeting a friend on another weeknight for dinner is something I may rarely do once babe is here. It's just not fair to Brian to have to be home every night. I also imagine I will want (and need) to be around my house more to spend time with the babe or just do boring home things that need to get done. Save the weekends for the socializing and such, also lots more socializing with the babe under appropriate circumstances.

By this time next week, hopefully we'll be preparing to move back into our house. I hope that the inspector can come early in the morning so we can get in there sooner than later. With all of the things we need to bring with us, I am thinking of going completely lazy and eating all meals out of the house next week. We have to bring our clothing and toiletry items and our animals, their foods and their litter boxes (along with some things I'm giving to my sister and getting out of my house). We need to bring toilet paper and a shower curtain and bed linens and pillows. Bringing a stash of food that we can easily cook and clean up in an empty kitchen - just not going to happen. It will be like living in a hotel, albeit one with little to no furniture.

Until then, I'm taking one thing at a time, trying to go with the flow and be flexible, and have a sense of humor about these things.

Rainy, rainy day! I have to go out during lunch to get a pet carrier to put either both our bunnies in or one of our cats in (so that we can put both of our bunnies in the larger pet carrier we have, bought thrifted). The drive up to NH on Sunday night will be fun! All of our animals hate the car. At least it is only about an hour's ride. My lack of planning and time has made this shopping trip necessary - I meant to borrow a carrier from someone but didn't plan enough in advance, and don't have the time or mental energy to try and coordinate getting one from someone before Sunday. We should own another anyway. Such are the mundane quandaries of my life nowadays. :)

I'm happy I work near a bunch of 'stuff' that make these lunchtime errands do-able.
dancerjodi: (Default)
I forgot! The rug we bought at Ikea (we have a hardwood floor in there):


dancerjodi: (Default)

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