Nursery fun

It’s been so much fun working on Benjamin’s nursery during August and September. I have lots of projects to show off! I’ll start with a few today and then continue in a future post. ūüôā


This is John’s grandmother’s baby bonnet that my mother-in-law passed down to Benjamin. I framed it with some scrapbook paper. It might be my favorite thing!


This is his birth announcement! We made them almost two months after he was born, but better late than never. Those first few months were just way to crazy!


Hospital bracelets, footprints, and ultrasound. More of my favorite things!


These two crayon-melt art pictures were inspired by Pinterest (of course!). It’s pretty simple in theory, but way harder to pull off than you’d think. The hot gluing of crayons is the easy part, but the heating and melting with a blow dryer gets pretty out of control. It’s hard to get it to melt and drip without becoming a huge mess of crayon splatter. Patience and a steady hand are a must!


The whole nursery is done now, except for 3 things: (1) Covering the bulletin board with fabric; (2) Sewing a crib skirt; (3) Making a cushion cover for the ugly sea-green rocking chair. These things require opening up the sewing machine that I ordered a month ago and figuring out what to do with it. ¬†Time to channel my inner-Martha Stewart…yikes! ¬†Anyway, here are some pics of the nursery in it’s almost-done state. The lighting was awful when I took these, so I’ll get some better ones in the future.


The cute painted aqua dresser was from Ikea (the unfinished Tarva chest of drawers). When my family visited in August, I outsourced some work to them. Uncle Patrick was the handyman and saved me a lot of hair-pulling frustration. You know what I mean if you’ve ever put together Ikea furniture. Then Nana and I (okay, mostly Nana) painted it up. It totally makes the red/aqua color scheme come together.

Nursery 5

I found an old frame and cut out Benjamin in letters from scrapbook paper. And the red tray for all his diaper changing booty was actually a gift for our wedding from like 5 years ago! It was supposed to be a wine cork trivet that you glue together. I think I tried like six times over the years to put it together, but always gave up trying to get the jigsaw of corks to fit together. I was ready to throw it out, but figured a piece of scrapbook paper at the bottom would make it a perfect little tray!
Nursery 7

My favorite thing in his whole nursery might be the little baby sneaker display on the wall in these pics. It used to be a candle holder that we never liked that much and we almost threw it out, until I re-imagined another purpose for it. I can’t tell you how many times a day I look at these sneakers and fall in love with Ben’s little boy-ness all over again. Most of these lil’ sneaks were gifts from Nana. I don’t think she realized that she was going to start a whole new genre of shoe-fetish for me.

Nursery 4

The ugly wire organizer was an old craigslist cheapo that used to be in our closets. But¬†some aqua/turquoise storage baskets from Target really spruced it up and made it way more manageable and cuter! Before I bought them, the massive amount of toys (almost all garage-sale treasures from Ben’s Grammy!) were just scattered in there haphazardly. But then Target bestowed it’s gift of greatness upon Ben’s room. Target is a land of many, many miracles.

Nursery 3

The bunting is just scrapbook paper hot-glued to ribbon. Super easy!

Finally, here’s the little Emperor of this Kingdom, chilling with Daddy & Toby on a football Saturday:







I’ve been posting a lot of videos lately, but here are a few more! ¬†Benjamin is not doing anything remarkable in them, just being his cute talkative little self.¬†Unfortunately I usually pull out my phone after he really gets going and then he gets distracted, but these videos show the tail end of some much longer conversations.

Ben is pretty expressive vocally, especially when he is on the verge of being tired (when he does the grump, cry-talking) or just after waking up when he’s super alert (when he does very well at back-and-forth conversation). He’s also a big fan of sticking his tongue out to see if we will do it back at him. Goofy little guy!

We’re going to have a busy weekend. No Michigan game, but our friends Vani and Matt are coming over for some pizza-making fun tonight. John’s knows Vani from back at Northwestern and she’s in love with Benjamin. We hope she becomes our go-to babysitter for a few dates this year. We’ve still NEVER had a babysitter for him for us to go out on a date. Isn’t that CRAZY!? ¬†Tomorrow we’ll check out the Baltimore Book Festival (right in Mt. Vernon, just a few blocks away) and the Museum of Industry (which is free tomorrow!) and maybe if the good-infant-behavior fairies are with us, we might even catch dinner at Marie Louise Bistro, a place we’ve been eyeing on Charles Street. ¬†Cheers to a fun weekend!

rise and shine!

Benjamin is still quite a cat-napper, but we’re hard at work getting a nap schedule down this week. ¬†We’ve banned naps in the bouncer, swing, and stroller until he starts taking naps longer than 20 minutes. After Day 3 of the Nap Initiative, I can’t believe how quickly he is improving. When he wakes up, I often don’t even know because I find him just playing quietly in his crib.

Overall, we’ve been sleeping a lot around here lately, catching up from those 3 months of sleep deprivation. Ben is still sleeping an incredible 11-12 hours straight most nights. We upped the ante on the bed time bottle to 7 ounces, which works like a charm. Sometimes he’ll wake up for a 5:30 or 6am feeding and go back to sleep for a few more hours. Other times he will sleep in until 7am.

In an ode to nap week, here are some morning wake-ups I’ve captured in the last few weeks.

It is such a treat to have such a cheerful and happy little one to see first thing in the morning. Absolutely makes my day, everyday. ¬†The icing on the cake this morning was enjoying this breathtaking sunrise together. Being on the 21st floor with a handsome little man every morning couldn’t get much better.



The Throne.

Lord Benjamin (LB) has successfully captured yet another corner of our apartment for his Babyland empire with the construction of his new throne. He is feeling only lukewarm about it so far though, as he would have much preferred the diamond and ruby-studded model. In the video LB also clearly expresses his distaste for toys that are NOT presented to him on a silver platter. But for now he is lording his new elevated status over Toby, who is now relegated to lowly minion and is not happy about it. If only Toby knew that the days of the perpetual “Oops, I dropped it” game are soon to come. Then Toby will happily fill the role of Royal Retreiver.

John’s big THREE-ZERO.

John turned 30 today! We celebrated this weekend. I must have been hungry when I planned the menu because I decided to cook/bake no less than TEN new dishes. I spent two days in an endless cycle of making the kitchen a mess and cleaning up again, but it was all worth it. Here are the recipes I used & the glorious pictures we took. We’re still thinking about starting a food blog, so this was so much fun!

“Three Decades” Dinner:¬†Homemade Italian bread…¬†Lemon-garlic saut√©ed green beansPistachio Orecchiette (homemade pasta!)… Pesto-mozzarella stuffed chicken (homemade pesto!)… & Creme br√Ľl√©e

Michigan Game Tailgate Snacks: Brown-butter baked donuts, Baked kale chips, Zucchini-parmesan crisps, Homemade salsa (Recipe stolen from our friend Theresa–just just blend stewed tomatoes, fresh cilantro, & onion!), & Chicken/Spinach/Mushroom Calzones




ABC’s & Zzzz’s

Two fun things today: ¬†1) Ben is getting more vocal. He even likes to sing along during the alphabet song! ¬†2) Ben slept 11.5 consecutive hours last night…INCREDIBLE! ¬†He really has had a breakthrough few weeks in the sleep department.

one determined little guy. (rolling over outtakes)

On Thursday I posted a video of Benjamin grasping a toy. Little did I know, that “exciting milestone” would seem so trifling only a few hours later. The very same day he would blow me away with something way cooler…. rolling over!!! ¬†He was laying on a blanket on the floor on his side (a position he has favored with his thumb in his mouth for about a week). He seemed to be antsy and grunting a lot so I went over to see what was bugging him. But instead of an upset face, he had a look of sheer determination. For over an hour, he lay there trying so, so hard to roll over. I realized that this kid has a lot of gumption!

I intervened a few times and helped him get all the way over, and the satisfaction and joy he seemed to have when he got over to his stomach was awesome! Up until today, he always seemed uninterested in “tummy time” but once it became something he could do himself, it was a whole new world of fun, apparently…

Here are three of his “almost” attempts:

After awhile, I picked him up because he seemed exhausted. I fed him and decided that he needed an early evening nap since he had not slept much all day. But when I put him in his crib, he didn’t seem sleepy, just perfectly happy to have a chance to continue his rolling practice. It was quiet for a long time. Figuring maybe he had fallen asleep finally, I snuck back in to check on him. And there he was, still trying to roll over. It seemed like he was ridiculously close to achieving it, so I grabbed the nicer camera to film. I crept up on him in the semi-dark, recording the whole thing. And about four minutes later HE DID IT!!! All by himself! And I got the whole thing on film….. I was so excited to show John that I immediately went to upload it on the computer. ¬†BIG MISTAKE.

the stupid, useless, good-for-nothing, pathetic, goshdarn (trying to keep this PG) memory card became corrupted when I slid it into my computer. So the evidence is DESTROYED!


I’ve been googling “how to recover a corrupted SD card” and might try some things this weekend.

Until then, you’ll just have to believe me. ūüėČ