Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mysteries Revealed

Checking in from Babyville, where the laundry is suddenly never-ending (and cuter than ever). 

Lizzy is long like me, and extremely hungry like Peter, so the darling pudge is starting to fill in. We can both say, "Yes, we were just like that."

Like all sane people, she's extremely annoyed by the hiccups. And unfortunately, she gets them all the time. I sometimes take her into our downstairs bathroom where there's an unreasonably loud fan that helps to distract her a bit from the injustice of another case of hiccups.

And of course there are all kinds of things we never could have predicted, but now happily know. She loves to tightly hold our hands, tightly grips the curtains in her nursery that hang over her changing table, and sometimes accidentally hit her own face.

We call her Lizzy, but I am such a nicknaming expert that she also gets called a lot of other things, including: Lizbert, Lizzy Bean, Gremlin, Piggy, Sweet Pea, Girly Girl, Diva, Demon Eyes, Milk Face, Lippy Lou, Missy Mae, and Lizzy Bizzy (by my Mom). The use of each one obviously depends on her mood and behavior :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

11 Questions Answered

A few pictures of life lately! The most delicious lamb ragu with feta and peas; Lizzy suffering through tummy time; a walk in the wood; and a photo my sister took of Lizzy and me on Mother's Day.

Melissa invited me to answer a few questions she posted to her blog, and while my answers are far from riveting, it was fun to put together. You should totally play along!

1. What has been your most favorite vacation to date? 
Paris! It's hard to beat Paris. 

2. Do you prefer big city life, suburban life, or a life in the country? 
I love that I have a quasi-suburban life right now. We are still super close to the city (10 minutes to Cambridge, and just a bit further from Boston), but I love our little house and neighborhood and yard. 

3. What is your favorite type of food?
This sounds boring because I like to think of myself to be kind of an adventurous eater, but I think my favorite would be classified as American! But maybe fancy-ish American?! Ha. My favorite type of recipe is basically everything on Food 52

4. How would you typically dress for a night out? 
Fun patterned shirt (like so) and hot pink flats (like so). Though it's been far too long since these items have left my closet!

5. What are you go-to accessories?
Scarves, earrings, necklaces, sunglasses.

6. How do you fix your hair?
Lately it's been air dried, but typically I give it a quick blow dry and smooth it out with a big round brush. I'm useless with hair products, so I tend to skip them all together. 

7. What make-up do you wear on a daily basis? Do you have preferred brands?
I wear tinted moisturizer, mascara, and blush every day, and sometimes add eye shadow and eye liner to the mix, as well. And always (always!) Vaseline on my lips!

8. What is your preferred workout?
I'm terrible about working out in the formal sense, but I like walking a lot, and will occasionally do some yoga at home.

9. Where is your favorite place to shop online?
Oh gosh. Predictable, but probably Amazon. I also buy things from Lilly Pulitzer online when they have big sales, and like Terrain a lot for gifts. 

10. Do you enjoy entertaining guests in your home or would you prefer to be a guest? 
I LOVE hosting people here - it's one of my favorite things. But because I know how much goes into it, I also really appreciate how wonderful it is to be a guest in someone else's home. I always pick up tricks that I want to steal from our friends who are also fantastic hosts! (The trick I'm always trying to relearn is "just relax and everyone will have fun," ha.)

11. What quality do you really value in your significant other?
Goodness, this is tricky, because is truly a very long list. Peter and I have opposite personalities in many ways (similar values, though, which I think is the key). He is patient, even-keeled, focused, and is an exceptional listener - all qualities I lack, and value very much!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Loving Lately

I got this book a few weeks ago, and have been slowly reading a few of these quirky, funny stories each day. It's perfect for these fuzzy, jumbled newborn days because each one is short, compact, and satisfying. 

I am usually very brand loyal, but after years of using Laura Mercier's tinted moisturizer, I decided to give this one a go after seeing it mentioned on Whoorl (she is so lovely, and I tend to trust her beauty product recommendations). I was a little nervous about the fruit extracts being too scented for my sensitive skin, but so far, no issues at all, and it smells heavenly. And there's something very satisfying about being able to say your make-up comes from France, right? 

Oooh goodness, we are deeply entrenched in True Detective. The chemistry between Matthew McConaughhey and Woody Harrelson is fantastic, and the whole thing is just so suspenseful and well-done. Highly recommended if you're looking for a new show to become obsessed with :)

And finally, a few good things I've read lately:

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Dining Room Re-Do

Oh, the dining room! We naively thought that the dining room would be one of our easiest spaces to give a little make-over to. Strip the wallpaper, pull up the carpet, add some paint...not too bad! But as I mentioned before, the wallpaper was actually covering paneling, which was covering up crumbling plaster walls. The built-in hutch was nearly impossible to strip, and the floors were in very rough shape underneath the carpet. 

When we decided to re-do our kitchen, we also opened up the wall between the two rooms, re-did the plaster on the walls and ceiling, and Peter installed the new hardwood floors, which are the same in the whole first floor now.

The walls are painted Silver Mist by Benjamin Moore, which is the same color as the kitchen for continuity. That rug is Dash and Albert from the clearance sale they have each summer in Pittsfield. It might end up in the nursery eventually, if I find something more substantial at the sale this year to put in the dining room instead. 

The hutch got painted in Simply White by Benjamin Moore, which is the same color I've been using on all the trim and doors throughout the house. And the chandelier was replaced with one my Mom had been using for a while, but was sitting in her basement. I gave it a coat of white spray paint to spruce it up. (But I failed to cover up the sockets before doing it - don't make that same mistake! Peter had to clean them out to make all the lights work again...). The art work over the side board is a painting was picked up in Brazil years ago, and the one above the chair was purchased to celebrate our first anniversary.

We are gearing up to host some dinner parties (of the come-over-for-take-out variety, let's not get too ahead of ourselves!).

Monday, May 12, 2014

Lilac Sunday

I heard about Lilac Sunday at the Arnold Arboretum last spring (after the fact, of course!), and thought it would be a pretty lovely way to spend my first mother's day.

We were driving back from Connecticut on Sunday after visiting family for the weekend. It was very warm in the car, traffic was crazy near the Arboretum, and Lizzy was hungry and had a dirty diaper. We really thought about turning around since it was starting to feel a bit more stressful than fun, but I'm so glad we stuck it out and were able to take a walk among the flowers.

It will take us a little while to figure out how to handle these little outings with grace and ease, but the only way to do that is to keep trying it out, right?

When I was saying good-bye to my Mom yesterday she said, "Mother's Day is a funny little holiday, isn't it? But it's an important one, too."

I hope everyone had a lovely day, whether you were celebrating your own mother or grandmothers, or were happily being celebrated. So many of my girlfriends have become mothers in the last year, and it was so fun to text each other throughout the day to check in with well wishes. I'm sending lots of love to each and every one of you!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What's Cooking

I currently have a lightly snoring newborn on my lap, so it seems as good a time as any to check in with an update on our kitchen renovation. I hesitate to call this a final reveal since there are still a few things we'd like to do (like add an island, hang window treatments, put shelves in the pantry, and eventually install a tile back splash), but it's pretty darn close! 

We were able to set it up just three days before I went into labor, so it hasn't been cooked in very much (by me, at least - my mom and mother-in-law have both put it to good use!), but I still marvel at how bright and functional and pretty it is now. 

The issues with the original kitchen are almost too long to name. The lay-out was horrible - only one wall of cabinets, and the counters were the same depth as the upper cabinets, making it nearly impossible to use them as a work surface. The stack pipe for the house went through the middle of the one wall of cabinets and counter space, which was ugly and obviously impractical. And the cabinets themselves were a disgusting brown, peeling linoleum. They were always kind of greasy, no matter how much I wiped them down. 

To plan the kitchen, we played around with the Ikea kitchen design software quite a bit to get a sense of different lay-outs. We tried all kinds of different placements for the appliances and cabinets over a few months time period. It's not the most user-friendly program, but it's so nice to have a visual of the space to review.

Once we settled on the basic lay-out we liked, we set up an appointment with a Home Depot kitchen designer, who helped us create a mock-up with Martha Stewart Wainscott cabinets in picket fence. We looked into laminate counter tops (they've come a long way!), but for a kitchen our size, the price difference between that and granite was only a few hundred dollars, so we ordered granite from Home Depot as well in azul platino. It took a little over a month for the cabinets to arrive after we ordered them, and during that time, our contractor demoed the kitchen and floor, replaced the old window, opened up the wall between the dining room and kitchen, and added new plaster to the walls and ceilings. 

For the appliances, I found our fridge and microwave on Craigslist, and we ordered the stove and dishwasher from Best Buy when a good sale was going on. I painted it Silver Mist by Benjamin Moore, which I wasn't sure about at first, but now absolutely adore. We picked up the Liberty knobs and pulls at Home Depot.

We had originally ordered custom trim to go over the cabinets, but in our funky old house, the ceiling is far from level, and our contractor thought that the chunky trim would only draw attention to that fact. We returned it, and he added plain wood trim that goes to the ceiling, which I painted in Martha Stewart picket fence (the color match for the cabinets). It's not 100 percent perfect, but I like the look of it much better than if it were to stop before reaching the ceiling.

Just for fun, here's a shot of the first dinner Peter made the night our appliances got installed - linguine with clam sauce! (I had already started eating clams when I thought to snap a picture, ha!). My only request was that it be something we couldn't possibly have made in a crock pot or microwave :)

Monday, May 5, 2014

The View from Here

Elisabeth Mae was born on Monday, April 28 at 11:14 a.m. weighing in at 7 lbs 15 ounces, and measuring 21 1/2 inches long (just like her Momma!). 

When I was pregnant, people frequently shared their absolute disbelief that they were allowed to leave the hospital with a tender, tiny baby to care for. Why were they trusted; where were their credentials?

Throughout our hospital stay, various staff members would come by with official looking folders and packets of information with charts and lists, I think partially to give parents the illusion that there is in fact an instruction manual of sorts that they can take home with them.

As Peter and I were driving to our house last Wednesday - the house we've been furiously preparing in anticipation of our baby's arrival, that we finished right in the nick of time - I certainly wasn't without fears and doubts. But these feelings were far outweighed by a sense of rightness, of fitting, of belonging. Now we are bringing our daughter home. Yes, this is exactly right. 

She' s been snuggled in our arms and we've been happily staring at her ever since.

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