Monday, October 13, 2014

That time I reupholstered a chair.

So, do you ever have those moments when you think of a project and you're all like, "Pssshhhh. Oh yeah...I could totally do that myself. No prob." And then you go and get everything to do said project and then you step back and think again and you're like, "Oh s$*t. I don't know what I'm doing." But then you're too stubborn to admit you're a dumbass for thinking you could ever do a project that big and so you keep moving forward anyways?

I sure hope I'm not the only one out there. 

Anyways, that was how I found myself four months ago, sitting in front of a chair my husband has had for years and always wanted to recover. It was a week before Father's Day and I had the best surprise ever! I was going to reupholster his chair. A gift! Such a thoughtful gift at that. He'd never guess it, and would be over the moon when he saw his fancy new chair.

Two days later, as I found myself starting to dig my way through the project and in the middle of re-upholstering hell, I had to tell him about my project, because, well, who seriously thinks they can recover a chair in a few days?!?!

I did.

So when I told him he was all super excited and thought it would be awesome and I was sitting there kicking myself in the face for stupidly thinking I could actually do something like this when I had never done anything remotely close to dealing with fabric.

Then Father's Day came and went. Then summer came and went. Then I went back to work. The fall came. Then came Adam's birthday. Finally, our two year anniversary was approaching and I just knew I had to finally complete this project. So I set to it.

And would you believe...I actually finished it! Well, almost. I still have to sew the cushion cover and I'm waiting on a sewing machine to do that. But I have a feeling that will be peanuts compared to the staple-gunning, hand sewing, staple pulling, plier pulling hell I've subjected myself to over the last four months.

So after all that, if you think this is something you want to try your hand at, don't say I didn't warn you. It takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of trying, redoing, trying, sometimes redoing again and again. And the staples....the staples never end! But when all is said and done, I'd say it was worth it. Here's how I did it, in all the pics I could manage to take in between swear words and pained fingertips.

And I have to say, it turned out pretty awesome! So, hey. Yeah, now I'm totally a chair reupholsterer.
The chair. Before.
 Just the beginning. When I was young and naive. 
You need pliers, a flathead screwdriver, a bucket for the discarded staples and whole lot of patience. 
Starting at the bottom of the chair, peel away, layer by layer. Like an onion. 
This is back when I thought there were SO many staples. There were thousands more to go. 
Peeling away the back. 
These metal teeth were frightening to put back on. But they work so well, after they tore up my fingers. 

Once all of the fabric is off, lay the pieces out over the new fabric to cut. 

Use only fabric scissors! Adam's aunt KK got me these to help me out. For a wingback chair, I used 5 yards of fabric. If I had to do it again, I'd cut with a little extra room on the new fabric. Some pieces were pretty tight putting back on. 

Once all of the fabric is off, have a drink (or ten) and begin stapling on the new fabric piece by piece.
You will also need some random fabric to put underneath the cushion area. I didn't forsee this, so I used a piece of fabric I had laying around, hence the clashing green fabric. 

Admiring the piping. 

Ahh, the wingbacks. These were the biggest bitches of all, if you ask me. I swear I stapled, pulled, swore, stapled and hammered the damn things together at minimum eight times. Now, this might be my own fault from not following directions and/or waiting three months before putting them back together, but thats besides the point. By the final time I did it, I had them down and thankfully, I'm quite happy with them.

Before I did the backside, I learned from the wingback debacle and only had to redo it three times.

The (almost) finished project. 

While there are certainly little things I can see that still need fixing, I don't think a blind eye would notice most of them. In the end, I'm quite proud of the project and am happy I stuck with it. Who knew? I know how to work a chair. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

15 months

Holy moly we've made it to 15 months already. I know I always say this, but seriously, where does the time go?!

Adly is growing and changing every day. I had considered stopping the monthly updates now that she's a BIG GIRL and a toddler and all, but I just don't want to forget what happens in each crazy month, because it is so much

-Adly's vocabulary continues to astound me. I don't know how or why, but she is such a verbal child. These days she can use words to describe pretty much anything she sees, wants, or needs. It's incredible to me to realize we are having real conversations and she understands exactly what I'm saying to her. I see light bulbs go off in my students every day as they learn the power of reading or something new. It's my absolute favorite part of my job. To see it happening in my daughter is beyond amazing. She seems to soak in everything we say or teach her and hangs on to it. Currently, she's obsessed with touching and saying facial body parts (eyes, nose, chin, cheeks, ears, hair) and saying animal names (piggy, horsey, cow, kitty, chicken--kickin). 

-She's a total mama's mini-me and copies pretty much anything I do. This is not always awesome. I am so not ready to have to censor myself at home too! She looooves cooking with mama and wants to be held the whole time to help stir and mix. I'm happy she loves this, but she's so heavy now! We're currently shopping around for a toddle baby carrier to help hold her while I cook.  

-The tantrums have begun and I'm sure it's just the beginning. I'm not going to lie, I had hoped Adly being so verbal would help us avoid the whole tantrum-y phase for the next 3 years. (And then every veteran parent laughed hysterically at my naivety). However that's clearly not going to be the case. Excuse me while I buckle up for this next parenting rollercoaster ride. 

-Our once stumble-y walker/crawler is now a full-blown walker who rarely crawls anymore. Her two little legs are getting stronger and more confident by the day, and are her first choice when it comes to getting around. She also loves crawling all the way up the stairs by herself in our apartment building. 

-At 15 months, Adly also loves to sing and dance. These days, she helps mama sing "happy" in You Are My Sunshine and "up above" in Twinkle, Twinkle. One time I got her to "sing" all of You Are My Sunshine (in her adorable mumbly jumbly words of course) and it was the cutest freaking thing I've ever heard from her. Of course she's never done it since so I haven't recorded it, but it brought tears to my eyes. Thankfully, I was able to capture this beauty. She's got moves like mama, that's for sure! 

-This has also been a rough month emotionally. Adly has definitely had a lot more tears, frustrations, and just overall fussiness. I have to think a lot of it is from the teething, as teeth are plowing through on a consistent basis now. There have definitely been a whole lot more mama and dada snuggles to help with the emotionally charged moments from our little sweet pea. 

-Finally, the hair. It's growing so fast and right now there's a whole lot of party going on in the back. I've even taught her to say "mullet" because, my god, that is one amazing mullet. Of course, we are not even close to the first haircut, however I am excited for the business in the front to start catching up, growth-wise. 

This month, I got my first "baby"!
Goofing around with CoCo. 
Snuggle time. 
Nap time with dada after a rough morning. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Cow Girl

A few weekends ago, my dad (PaPa) and Anita (TaTa) came in for a visit to see Adly. (We don't bother pretending that people come to actually visit Adam or I these days). 

In the last few months, my child has become cow obsessed. The girl just loves cows. What is it about them? It started with a visit to my aunts family farm, where she got up close and personal with cows. One even licked her. The girl asks to watch that video any time she sees my phone. It used to be by request of "moo, moo, moo!" Now it's "cooo-w, cooo-w, cooo-w!"

When papa came down this weekend, of course he came fully stocked with cow toys. One being a small figurine of a cow. Guess who hasn't put the cow down since? 

On Saturday, we decided to go visit Adly's favorite suburban getaway, a family farm. Shocking, I know. My intended city girl is definitely a country girl at heart. There we could look at the cows, see horsies, piggies, and roosters (which, oddly enough, Adly is terrified of). They also had ginormous pumpkins and a farmers market. It was beautiful weather, making for the perfect fall Saturday.

Here is my little pumpkin, standing on her own, talking to the horsies and hanging with Papa and Tata. Fall is officially here!

Wait...didn't I get put in one of these things last year?!

Just a girl, checking out some horsies.
Papa had to stop in the gift shop.
Rehydrating after a day at the farm.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Up Nort

A few weekends ago we got a chance to head up to Adam's family cabin in Door County, WI. All of the siblings went, as well as my mother-in-law (ga ga), and Adams aunt KK and uncle Bruce. We had planned it months in advance and were excited to all get away together.

Since Adam couldn't come up until Saturday, Adly and I hitched a ride with my sister-in-law Nora (aunt Ra Ra) and her husband Steve (uncle Seve). We headed up right after school on Friday. On the way up, we had a hankering for dinner, so we stopped in at a random Culvers to grab a quick bite and get back on the road. Thankfully, Steve was fine with driving and got us there safely despite the downpour of rain we faced the entire drive. 

Adly was so excited to have a crowd of onlookers around her, which she loves more than anything. She had a blast being the center of adoring attention from her family. I was excited to get away with the family and just relax. We all spent the first half of the weekend lounging around eating, and reading books, shopping, and relaxing. Unfortunately, the trip rounded out with a nasty, nasty case of food poisoning for Nora, Steve and I. Each of us spent a good share of 12-hour periods with marathon puking sessions. We now think it was from Culvers since we were the only three who got sick and we all had mayo in our food. Yuck. I hope I never have to experience that hell again. 

Despite that downside, we were all able to celebrate the engagement of my brother-in-law Mike and (soon to be) sister-in-law Jess! While we knew he was planning to propose (after 8 years!), we didn't know it was going to happen while we were up north until the last minute. Mike quietly told Nora and Steve (who were still working their way through the food poisoning) to come downstairs to the windows. He then quietly told the rest of us to make our way to the wall of windows facing the lake. 

Right after, Mike led Jess outside to check out the beach. This was her first time in all those years visiting the family cabin, which is an incredibly special place to Adams family. Soon after heading outside, Mike got down on one knee and said those special words. It was unbelievably special to be a part of their big day and we are SO happy for them!!!

We had a wonderful weekend with family, celebrations and just plain love. I sure did marry into one fantastic family! 

Adly and her adoring onlookers. 
Piggy tails!
Looking at pictures with uncle Seve. 
Snuggles with mama who was on her deathbed. 
Before she saw him on bended knee....
Engagement Paparazzi. 
YAY!!! The Future Mr. & Mrs. Michael Brockway!
Right after they got engaged. The sun was shining down on just the two of them. Beautiful. 
Checking out the waves. 
Playing with Aunt Jesse...with that new bling bling on her hand. 
Yep. That's my dear MIL. Chasing us down the street. 
The pickle queen herself. 
Tasty treats at the Yum Yum Tree. 
She is such a ham. 

Until next time, Door County!!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Car Seats: Baby Gear Blunders

When I registered for car seats, I had no idea what I was doing. Sure, I had my trusty Baby Bargains book that helped guide me with so many decisions. Btw, every new mom needs that book! But I don't know, blame it on the pregnancy brain, I did not register or buy correctly when it came to car seats. So let me try to help others from making my mistakes.

We found our infant car seat and stroller when Adam was shopping around for bargains. It was a steal and we couldn't pass it up. Was it the best or the coolest? No. But baby stuff is so expensive! It's made by Graco, was safe and I thought that was fine enough. 

An infant car seat is one that can be removed from a base and carried around. I still think it's a must-have when you have an infant because they sleep so often. Then you're not carrying them in and out of the seat. Infant car seats can also be sold as a set with a stroller they can snap into. This is handy to get your newbie to and fro without much movement, although the strollers tend to be more bulky.  

We also registered for a bigger Graco car seat because I did know that eventually she'd grow out of the infant seat and need a bigger one to move into. I don't know how I managed to do it, but I registered for a seat that is only forward facing. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends rear-facing until 2, however, many people turn their child forward around one. To each's own.) I didn't realize the next seat we received was only forward-facing until Adly was 8 months, I had thrown out the box, dragged it into the car and spent 20 minutes trying to figure out how to secure the seat in a rear-facing position. Apparently, despite recommendations by the AAP, manufacturers still sell front-facing only seats for baby 20 pounds and up (which happens between 8-12 months). At that point, I knew I couldn't return it, so we kept up with the infant seat and I figured I'd just switch to the other seat when Adly was older than one.

Since then, here I've been, tra-la-la-ing all around here and there with Adly in her infant carseat. I knew that the weight limit was 30 pounds, which she is no where near. But the height limit was 30 inches, which she has surpassed.

It wasn't until I actually thought about the fact that Adly was still in an "infant" seat and she is now a toddler that I started to do research about when to change seats and what kind to change to. This was all a lot of overwhelming and conflicting information. I spent weeks reading reviews and manufacturers recommendations and stressing over whether we just front-face her now. The reason for this was because I found myself at the crossroads of needing to buy yet another car seat to essentially last us for 10 more months until we can use the next one, or just flipping Adly front-facing and using the seat we already had.

In all of my research, the one piece of information that made me decide she needed to be out of the infant seat was this: when a child's head is less than an inch below the top of the car seat, they are too big to be held in properly in the event of a crash. I had no idea about any of this before I started reading.

Now, I have to start by saying that I think when to turn your child front-facing is a personal and individual decision. I based my decision on the fact that Adly is comfortable sitting rear-facing. There are numerous studies that wee ones are safer riding rear-facing until 2. That said, riding in a car has never been an issue for her. However, for many babies it is. I can say for a fact that if Adly was screaming every time we got in the car, I wouldn't have blinked an eye at flipping her as soon as she turned one. You cannot judge the safety of that until you've tried driving a car with a screaming child in the backseat. That alone will cause an accident faster than anything else.

Because she's fine riding rear-facing, Adam and I ultimately decided to purchase a convertible car seat that can hold from 5-65 pounds and can rear-face until 40 pounds. This car seat could easily last Adly until she was ready to be out of a booster seat, however we still have our other car seat that she will be able to use when she's ready to front-face. Our reason for purchasing was also based on the fact we think we may have another child and in that event, we'll need another car seat anyways.

So, for a rundown, I recommend purchasing the following types of seats when you find yourself with child:

-Infant car seat/stroller set OR infant car seat (ensure it can click into strollers)
-Convertible car seat (which changes to front-facing, then booster seat)

While it was a very drawn out decision that took a lot of time and energy, I'm glad I spent so much time on it. It was ultimately the right decision for us and our family as of now. And the best part is, someone else seems to enjoy the new seat as well....

15 minutes into first car ride with the new seat:

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Gimme some mo'!

As Adly's language continues to develop, we hear some pretty funny interpretations of words that process through a one year old's mind. But there is one word that stands out as my absolute favorite.

It is: more. 

In Adlys world, it is: "mo!"

No matter how many times she says it, it never gets old to me and I can't let it go by without giggling, despite her ever so serious attempts to get "more" of something. The worst part is it almost always revolves around food and she's usually frustrated when asking for more so she says it aggressively and it comes off pretty rude. Adam has tried to get her to say "mo please" to take the edge off her demands, but alas, saying please isn't where her mindset is just yet. Even our babysitter that just started laughed at the end of her first day, commenting how she thought it was so funny how she yells "mo!" 

Today I caught it on video as I was trying to show my dad just how much she loves hummus. In the process she yelled out an emphatic "mo!" Because well, she wanted more! (After she licked the container and discovered it was "all goooome")

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Walker

Last Thursday, out of nowhere, Adly took her first steps! It happened as my friend Nicole (Co-Co) was over. As usual, Adly teased us with her ability to stand up and then sat back down. I was in the kitchen cooking and after a few attempts of this, Nicole excitedly yelled for me to look and sure enough, Adly was inching her way over to Nicole, step by little bitty step.

Watching a baby learning to take their first steps is one of the most precious events I think you can ever witness. It is so slow and calculated, as well as unsteady, but yet so exciting! Thankfully, after I clumsily fumbled around to get my camera out and recording, Adly decided to try again and take a few more steps so I could get a video to Adam (who was working) and all of our family. I am so incredibly grateful that I was able to see her big first steps before I head back to work. Now comes the hard work of learning how to make those little feet move whenever she wants them to! She definitely has a way to go before she learns that walking is much faster and easier than crawling. For now, she still prefers cruising around on all fours.

I will say, for those that aren't there for the exact "first steps", you really aren't missing that much. Of course, I realize I'm stating this after I was able to be there, so it might be a little easier to say. However I can say in the week since it first happened, her steps have all looked exactly the same. She takes a few itty bitty cautious steps then tumbles to the ground. So if you aren't sure you were there for the first, or you're a working mom and have the same worries I had, take solace in that fact. Your first really will be their "first" and that's what really matters.

Here now, is little Adly's first steps into big girl-hood. To see the concentration and the wonder in her face as she realizes her legs and feet are making their way from under her to step is so unbelievably cute!

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