Friday, August 29, 2014

Oh Hey Friday: DIY Projects

TGIF and yay for 3-day weekends! I hear some people are getting 4-day weekends...lucky you if you fall into that category! 

We don't really have any grand plans. We do have a lot of home and garden projects to cross off our list though.

1. Garden Inspiration: One of our main to-dos this weekend is to rent a rototiller from Home Depot and get our garden ready for planting. I'm envisioning lots of walkways, a little patch of grass for Ezzy to play on, lots of hearty, easy-to-grow plants, and a few raised beds for veggies. That sounds like a lot for someone who has never gardened before! Here are a few of my inspiration pics for our garden:

2. Storytime: Remember how earlier this week, I mentioned we were going to the library to stock up on new books because I was sick of Peter Rabbit on repeat? We pick out half a dozen new books, come home, and what does Ezzy choose to read? That's right. Peter Rabbit. I will admit the last page is pretty sweet (see below), especially because every time I read "Peter's mother wants to hug, safe at home, warm and snug," Ezzy lays his head on my lap and hugs my leg. I'm all for anything that gets me extra cuddles. I tried to call Joe in to witness it, but of course once Joe was there, Ezzy just stared at me like I was crazy when I read that line. So then I thought, maybe I needed to start from the beginning. I read the whole book start to finish, get to the last line, and Ezzy gives Joe a look like "she's crazy" then runs out of the room. So yeah, you'll just have to take my word for it!

3. Painting. Currently one of the walls in our hallway is just drywall, so we picked up some paint and are planning to spruce it up this weekend. I've never painted anything before (well, besides paper or canvas for art projects), so this is pretty exciting to me. I have a feeling I will want to paint everything once I get started. Here's some of my inspiration for the hallway (I like the color of the first picture, but the functionality and simplicity of the hooks in the second pic):

4. Hats. I've developed a bit of an obsession with hats lately. Specifically men's caps. Perfect for sun protection & hiding unwashed hair. Here are ones I've scooped up this summer:
1. Floral 2. Faux Leather 3. Gray & Black Woolblend 
5. More DIY: If the wall paint job goes well, I'd like to revamp a thrift store bookshelf we bought awhile back. Something along these lines:

I'm loving this Oh Hey Friday linkup. My mind is pretty random and unfocused by Friday (especially after a sleepless week like the one we just had), so this is perfect! Head over to The Farmer's Wife to check out Amy's post, and all the other links.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Sweetest Sound

I think every parent would agree that the sound of their child laughing and giggling is the best sound in the world. But when you hear that sound between the hours of 1 am and 4 am, it detracts from the magicalness just a little teensy tiny bit. At least, that was my opinion between the hours of 1 - 2 am last night.

Ez woke up (for the third time) and he was trying hard to fall asleep, he really was. He'd close his eyes and lay there quietly, and I'd breathe a sigh of relief, thinking we were finally gonna get some sleep round here. All of a sudden his eyelids would fly open and he'd start chattering to himself, gesturing with his hands, and then laugh hysterically. Joke's on me.

Honestly it was really hard to keep from cracking up myself. He's such a character. What I wouldn't give to know what is going through his head.

On a side note: when your breakfast begins with a packet of jam being thrown smack dab in the middle of your coffee, you should probably just pack it up and call it a day right then and there. Take it from me, it's not gonna get any better from that point.

And here are a few random pics from yesterday:

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

It's the Little Things: Cousin Time

Ezzy's cousin (second cousin, if you wanna get technical) moved nearby, and we finally got a chance to meet up for a play date this afternoon. Sophia is 11 months older than Ezzy, and I think they got along pretty well, even if Ezzy does prefer throwing blocks to stacking them, and Sophia is in the "mine" stage. By the end of the afternoon Ezzy was actually stacking some blocks before he'd knock them over, and he learned how to oink like a pig from Sophia, who is quite talented when it comes to animal sounds. And Sophia decided she would share her diaper wipes with Ezzy, which was a pretty big deal. (Not sure why the wipes were the hot commodity of the afternoon, but so goes it with toddlers...) We're already looking forward to our next play date!

PS - notice how the cat got in on the block-building action. She was obsessed with attacking the blocks.

Linking up with Ashley and Jess's Little Things linkup:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Life Lately

It's been awhile since I've done a Life Lately post, full of randomness. 

1. Splash Parks: In mid-August, the only way you're getting me outdoors during the afternoon is if there's water involved. Ezzy approves. We went to two different splash parks last week, and he wasted no time running through the water and making new friends. The first video cracks me up, because Ezzy was completely absorbed in the water until the little lady walks by, and then he starts chasing after her. His giggle at the end gets me everytime. I've literally watched that video a dozen times for that giggle. The second video cracks me up because, 1 - Ezzy's run & 2 - suddenly he's so independent, not needing to hold our hands, or even looking back to see how close we are. What a big boy.

2. Our Garden: We went to a nursery over the weekend and bought our first plants! Unfortunately, the red one is already not doing so well. I have the opposite of a green thumb, so I'm looking for very low-maintenance/low-water plants for our garden. 

3. Sidewalk Chalk: I bought Ezzy some sidewalk chalk, not sure if he'd eat or show any interest whatsoever in it. Turns out he actually draws with it. He also loves to scatter it all over the yard, and then collect it and put it in his toy lawn mower. He came up with that game all on his own. Here he is playing chalk with the grandparents:

4. And here's Ez showing Grandma his favorite stream:

5. Books: Ezzy has been loving his books lately. He brings them to us, lets us read three pages, then promptly hands us a new one to read. And I just finished one of the best books I've read in awhile: People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. It's been a long time since I've wanted to miss out on sleep so I could read "just one more chapter" (and then one more). I highly recommend it. Ez and I are on our way to the library this morning to stock up on new reading materials. I am very much over "Hello, Peter Rabbit" and "Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See." What are some of your favorite kids' books?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Favorite 15 Month Toddler Activities

Ezzy's idea of fun is constantly changing (just like everything else about a toddler!). I remember at the beginning of summer we went to a splash park, and he was so tentative, holding my hand the entire time and not wanting to get soaked. When we went today, he was running through the water, shrieking like a little madman, falling on his face, getting right back up, giggling hysterically, and chasing after the other kids.

Now that he's a little lightening bolt of energy, and getting into everything is pretty much his favorite pastime, we've had to put more effort into channeling his energy into less destructive activities. Here are five of Ez's faves:

1. Cars. I keep all his toy cars in a separate basket that I put away and bring down when I need a few moments without a child under my feet. Works like a charm every time. Well, until he decides that we need to race or crash cars together. Since we've recently moved, I saved one of the boxes, (because everyone knows kids love boxes more than toys), and every now and then we like to set it up as a car/Ezzy tunnel. He loves chasing the cars through the box, or he'll sit inside the box and I'll roll the cars across the top and they'll come crashing down next to him. For some reason that really cracks him up.  (Sorry for the blurry picture - there's a lot of movement involved in chasing cars, so this is the least blurry of the bunch.)

2. Collecting leaves. Or really any little bits of nature he can find. The picture below was taken at a park, but was he playing on the playground? Nope. He was nature exploring. That's my boy! I still marvel at how few toys Ezzy needs to be entertained. (Of course that doesn't stop anyone from buying him tons of fun toys.)

3. Yardwork. I'm sure this will only last until we actually want him to pull weeds or mow the lawn. Ezzy's name means "helper" and so far it really suits him. He always wants to join in and help Joe and I with whatever we're doing. I'm actually a little teeny tiny bit worried that once we plant stuff we actually want to grow he's gonna "weed" it all out. He's very thorough with his work.

4. Dance parties. Lately the music channel has taken priority over cartoons. Ezzy loves Taylor Swift. And apparently Lil John too. And he's added a few new moves to his repertoire, like twirling:

5. Basketball. I went to Toys R Us for some sidewalk chalk, and came out with this Little Tykes basketball hoop. I know I said the boy's happy with non-toys, but it was on sale for $30! We'd been scoping them out for awhile, and so far the cheapest we'd seen was $45. And Ezzy loves to throw his ball into anything that resembles a basket. Toy box? Of course! Grocery bag? (with eggs in it!) Sure, why not? Toilet? Yeah, I had to block that one. Sorry, Ez. And, as you can see below, he's clearly a natural:

So that's pretty much what our days are looking like round here. Any favorite toddler activity recommendations we should try out?

Linking up with Amy for Oh Hey, Friday!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Analog Weekend Update

I mentioned on Friday that I was contemplating giving up my smart phone, and only using it as a phone for the weekend. (Inspiration here and here.) I sprung the news on Joe Friday evening, and he wasn't really that into the idea. He half-heartedly agreed for like an hour, and that was that. I lasted about one full day, from Friday night till Saturday night, without checking social media at all. I did pick up my phone and almost check them, then remembered they were off limits. On Saturday night while I was rocking Ezzy to sleep I gave in and checked all the usuals (facebook, instagram, pinterest), then put the phone away until the next day.

Even though I wasn't reading social media/news sites, I did use my phone a lot more for actual phone stuff, like texting specific people, making actual plans to meet face to face - you know, the stuff phones are intended for.

Another side effect of giving up all those random minutes throughout the day scrolling mindlessly through my phone are that I finished a book that had taken me about a month to get 1/3rd of the way through. That's right, I read the last 2/3rds in two days, compared with 30 days for the first 1/3rd. Wow. I'd been telling myself I just didn't have time to read, with moving/unpacking/etc. Turns out I do have time to read, but I was just wasting it.

So even though I didn't follow through with giving up social media completely, I do think this weekend was a good reset button for me to practice being mindfully moderate with my smart phone use, instead of mindless and compulsive. Definitely something I want to put in practice all the time, and not just on weekends.

Anyone else have cell phone guidelines for yourself and/or your family?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Our Weekend: Pony Rides, Dance Parties, & Bounce House Love

Saturday - Birthday Party Carnival:
Our neighbors invited us to their daughter's 3rd birthday party on Saturday evening, but this was no normal party. They went all out. It was more like a carnival, with ponies, a petting zoo, a bounce house, a buffet with all kinds of homemade deliciousness, and live music. Ezzy loved it all. 

We started with the pony rides. I thought Ezzy was too small and we would just get a picture of him on the pony and move on, but he fit right in the saddle seat belt, so off he went on his first pony ride. Joe walked alongside him at first, holding his hand, but Ez is a big boy and didn't need any hand-holding, so we just stood back and watched. Ezzy looks completely unimpressed, but we did get a little half smile out of him at one point. 

He was also pretty obsessed with the goats in the petting zoo. He kept pointing them out to us, and waving to them. They came right up to him, sniffing his hand, probably looking for food. 

Later we checked out the bounce house, which was filled to the max with boys 2 - 3 times bigger than Ezzy wrestling and bouncing off the walls. So Ezzy didn't get to go inside, but he did manage to flirt with a girl that I'm guessing was about 2. She kept coming over to Ezzy and reaching her hands through the side trying to grab him, or give him high fives, or wave. He was in love. 

That pose though...
Where does he come up with this stuff??

Saturday Night - Dance Party:
This is what a party looks like in your 30s:

Sunday - Brunch, Exploring, and Lion King:
Joe had plans to go to Summer Slam in the evening, so we fit in some family time early, starting with brunch at one of our favorite places. I tried to be healthy with my watermelon salad, which was delicious. (I also snuck some bites of Ez's french toast - also delicious.) Afterward we visited Ezzy's favorite stream on the Pasadena City College campus. He is completely mesmerized by that thing.

While Joe was out having fun, Ez and I watched Lion King while eating dinner. It's probably been about 15 years since I've seen that movie. My brother used to watch it all.the.time. On repeat. So eventually it's sadness wore off and I became immune to it. But after a 15 year hiatus, the sadness hit me full force. And they don't waste any time in that movie getting to the sad parts, so I was crying from the beginning. Such a good movie though, and lots of good music which keeps Ezzy entertained.

So that was our weekend - hope you had a great one too!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Oh Hey, Friday

Linking up with Amy!
I don't know about you, but this week has felt long. Since I stay at home, my comprehension of what day of the week it is is pretty low on a normal week, but this week it's felt like it should have been Friday for the past three days. I have just enough brain power left for a completely random blog post.

1. Sleep.
I've written a few posts about our sleep struggles, and let's just say that between vacation and moving, our bedtime/naptime routine has been non-existent around here. We're really working hard on establishing a routine, and if all goes well I'll share that later (we've been referring to this article a lot: Helping Your Toddler Learn to Put Himself to Sleep). For now I'll just say that we skipped one nap earlier this week, and when it looked like we were going to skip another one on Wednesday I got a little desperate and decided to pack us up in the car and drive Ezzy around till he fell asleep. My sanity was kinda hanging on by a thread, so I decided to make the best of the situation and get me a little Starbuck's energy/mood pick-me-up from the drive-thru, conveniently located right around the corner from our house. I ordered my venti iced green tea (extra ice please), get to the window, and realize I didn't even bring my purse with me in my haste to get Ez in the car and napping. Whoops. Pretty sure I looked every bit the disheveled, frazzled mom that I was to the young guy at the drive-thru window.

2. Closets.
My Pinterest boards have been filling up with home-related stuff lately. My current obsession though? Closets! This is the first time in my life I've had more than enough room for all my stuff in my closet. I've even got my dresser in there. Planning on hanging a full-length mirror and my Johnny Depp poster in there too. Home tour pictures will come later, in the meantime, here are a few of my inspiration pics:

Clearly I'm a sucker for color coordination and shelving!

3. Backyard.
Who needs a park when you've got a backyard?? Of course we'll still be making park trips for variety and interaction, but for the past two weeks Ez and I have been house-bound for various reasons. Either because we had to be home to let the a/c guys, or the gate guys in to work on the house, or because we keep forgetting Ez's carseat in Joe's truck. Thankfully we actually have a yard now, so Ezzy can still run off some of his energy. His favorite outdoor activities: chasing his giant yellow ball around, and splashing in his little wading pool:
Unfortunately, all this backyard exploring brings me to #4:

4. Scars.
Yesterday afternoon was brutally hot. In other words, it was the perfect day for some wading pool splashing. Everything was going great. Ezzy was splashing like a champ, surrounded by his toys, and giggling up a storm. Then he spots his ball on the other side of the yard. He climbs out of his pool, takes exactly two steps onto the sun-baked cement, and then turns around screaming. I cooled his poor little feet off in the pool, retrieved his ball, and all was well in his world again until he threw the ball across the patio, started to chase after it, and almost immediately face-planted on the cement. Hard. I picked him up to cuddle him, and realized there was also a poo explosion creeping up his back. Times...

5. Smart phones.
My Samsung went on the fritz this week, which was frustrating for a day, and then exciting, because truthfully I hated that phone, and I hated Sprint and this was my chance for a clean break. Now I have an iphone 5s through AT&T with no contract, and so far I'm very happy. That being said, I'm contemplating a break from smart phones this weekend, and hoping Joe will join me. Anyone else feeling a little too dependent on their phones? I'm not talking about cutting off communication altogether, but just using the phone as a phone (for calls & texts) - and maybe a camera too, but no social media, no mindlessly scrolling through news sites, etc, etc. Check out this blog post, and this one, for more inspiration if you're feeling the same burnt out smart phone dependence that I am.

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

15 Month Ezzyisms

Ezzy - just 15 months ago you were a sleepy little newborn with a grumpy old-man face who seemed slightly suspicious and unimpressed with your new surroundings. Now you're an inquisitive, playful, destructive little tornado of energy. You can run. You can climb over stuff. You get through any barriers we try to put up to keep you out. I'm pretty sure barriers are just a welcome game and you love the challenge. You are a determined boy and you don't like being told "no." You love to laugh and be silly and get others laughing too. Each week that goes by you are more independent, bigger, stronger, and have more personality than the week before. You are such a big force for such a tiny little person, and your dad and I can't imagine what we did before our lives were filled with games of tag, and story time, and that sweet giggle of yours, or that sly little smile. We love you more than you'll ever know, and we're so blessed to be on this journey with you.

I haven't weighed or measured Ez since his last check up, so we'll skip those this month. I do know he's wearing size 9-12 month See Kai Run sandals. He's got 4 teeth (2 top, 2 bottom). He wears 2T tops, and 18 month bottoms, and size 4 diapers.

Here are the things I want to bottle up and remember about your 15 month old self, Ez. The crazy, silly little habits that you've come up with all on your own:

  • Like waving to the moon and star nightlights above your crib while saying "boo?" (moon?)
  • Bouncing up and down to dance whenever the mood strikes.
  • Holding empty cups or bowls up to your mouth and making muffled noises, then getting a really proud smile on your face as you pass the bowl/cup to us to do the same.
  • Blowing us kisses.
  • Pulling every single magnet off the fridge and every single cup or bowl out of the cupboards that you can get your hand on and scattering them all over the kitchen floor.
  • Pointing to your feet when I ask where your shoes go. 
  • Screaming in fits of laughter whenever Daddy tickles you (he's the best tickler - no one else can get that kind of reaction).
  • Crawling into your pink pool whenever you see it - clothed or not, and water or not, it doesn't matter, you love it in there. Possibly the best $8 we've spent this summer.
  • Finding the remote no matter where we hide it. You are magnetically drawn to that thing!
  • Kissing all your stuffed animals if we hold them up to you, but refusing kisses from us. When did you decide you're too cool to kiss your parents??
  • Rubbing your face when you're done eating. You've been doing that for awhile, and for whatever reason the habit stuck.
  • Pointing at whatever we're eating or drinking to let us know you want some too. What's ours is officially yours now, right?
  • Playing with your shoes like they're toys - not sure why you love those things so much...
You're learning new skills so fast now. You just watch everything with big eyes and then try to copy and mimic and put it all together. Like the other day we were having a new water heater installed. The old water heater was laying on it's side, draining, and some of the attachments were hanging off of it. You went up and touched one of the attachments and it fell off. You picked it up, examined it, examined the water heater, and then kept trying to reattach the attachment to the water heater where it was supposed to go. What a sweet little handy man you are! On the same night you followed Daddy around the yard watching him as he was weeding. You looked around, grabbed a weed, and tried to pull it out. When that didn't work, you started ordering Daddy around, pointing at each and every weed and then jabbering loudly. I'm pretty sure you were commanding him to work faster and harder. You weren't going to be satisfied till every last weed was pulled out of the ground. You're one tough supervisor!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams

I don't typically mourn celebrity deaths on a personal level. Usually I find it sad in a general way, and feel bad for the family, but I never feel like I lost someone I know, and I definitely don't post about it. Robin Williams's death has hit me hard though. My mom sent me a text right before dinner asking if I had heard what happened to Robin Williams. I didn't respond till after dinner because I knew it would be bad news, and I wanted to put off hearing it. After dinner I read her text telling me he'd committed suicide, and then I Googled it to confirm. The fact that he's gone is sad, but now knowing he had so much sadness and pain is really heartbreaking. I, along with many, many people grew up with his movies. He brought so much laughter  and happiness into the world, and I pray that he has peace now in death that he didn't have in life.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Weekend Recap: Assembly Required

You know how you walk through Ikea and everything is so well-priced and exactly what your home needs, so you want one of everything? And then you get home, open the boxes, see the instructions, and realize why you hate Ikea. Or, in our case, you get home, open the box, and find 0 instructions, and a couple of screws + 1.5 hinges that aren't even in a bag - they're just floating around the box. Yeah. My patience was absolutely zapped by the time we made a return trip to Ikea to exchange our cabinet doors for ones with all the hardware (and instructions). And while we were there we went and looked at the floor version to get a better idea of how to put it all together, cause, those Ikea know.

Basically the cabinet took about 5 hours to put together, including the return trip to Ikea. And technically I still need to put the shelves in. Those should be easy though. I hope.

After the cabinets I made dinner and Joe got to work on assembling an elliptical trainer. I came to help about an hour or so later, and let's just say that was another extremely annoying assembly process. 

Also, check out those "hanging instructions" below. Those were instructions to hang a mirror. Does that image look like a mirror, or a dead rodent to you? I'm leaning toward dead gopher. I just wound up using those no-damage velcro hanging strips to hang the mirror and tossed those instructions. 

On the bright side, we are done with all that assembly-required madness. We have one box of linens to unpack (which is supposed to go in the cabinet that's finally assembled), and Joe has a few bags of clothes to unpack, and we're done! We've also got a few boxes of stuff to drop off at Goodwill. I don't know about you, but I kinda love getting rid of old stuff. I love when everything has it's own place, and stuff isn't busting out of drawers or cabinets - which is not to say that everything is ever all put away at the same time, but it still makes me happy to know that it could be, if we really wanted.

Saturday I took a little mommy break and hung out with some girlfriends for lunch and much-needed catch-up time. Once again I did really bad (or good - depending on how you look at it) at capturing any pictures. While I was gone Ez and Joe had some boy time at the park. When I got home one of the guys who worked on our A/C came over to install our new water heater for free. We haven't had hot water since we moved in. But it's been so hot that the water was lukewarm and not really an issue. Still, it's good to get that taken care of, and now we are officially living in the 21st century. 
About ready to start throwing tools across the room.
My little helper. He's got to be right in the center of what's going on.
Joe has made great strides at clearing all the unwanted weeds/vegetation out of our yard. Ez loves to walk around with Joe pointing out which weeds to pull. (All of them.) Now he can actually walk around and explore more out there. Here's a little clip of him on his tricycle: