The New House (Selective) Tour!

We’re mostly unpacked in our new house, which mostly means that we have to look through every drawer and closet to find anything.  We’ve got a lot more space here than in our last place, which is great for Explorer Baby.  The first thing we did was set up her room, and thanks to the marvels of a well-fitted baby gate, she can play in there relatively unsupervised (at least until her attention span runs out).

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Outside our front door are several rose bushes that we’re not responsible for maintaining, which is an ideal situation for me.  I’m looking forward to getting some plants and exploring the potential of this much warmer growing zone, but I don’t think I’d ever achieve the level of success that these have reached.

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There are some quirky elements that we’re still getting used to in this house.  At this point, I’m just curious to see how long we can last without a microwave (the answer is probably closely related to how many times I forget to take meat out of the freezer early enough).  We’ve got an abundance of cabinets, though: so many places for Maddy to hide our stuff!

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The kitchen was clearly built in an era before tall appliances – our coffee maker doesn’t fit under the cabinets, and the idea of fitting the Kitchenaid mixer is laughable.

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The utility sink is, for me, a hallmark an “adult house,” and it might be sad how much I’m looking forward to hand-washing delicates in it.  The little space underneath is – you guessed it – another place for Maddy to hide stuff (picking up on the theme yet?).

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Our bed wasn’t worth moving across the country, but the result is that we’re temporarily camping out on our mattress on the floor.  On the bright side, though, it doesn’t creak, and I’m never worried about Maddy rolling off.

We have two spacious bathrooms…

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…with a large window right outside the shower.

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Nice lighting, poor privacy.  The view from the shower:

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Next up on the shopping list will be better curtains.

There are fans in every room, which is delightful for the babe of the house.  She’s started checking every time we go into a room; I’m pretty sure the word “fan” will be in her vocabulary any day.

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Speaking of Maddy, here she is in her favorite habitat: leaning on the coffee table.  Sitting is passe these days, and the coffee table is currently the last place anyone should set their coffee cup.

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Maddy at Eight Months

 

 

Two-thirds of a year! Time is flying! This month's quick update brought to you by photos from my phone, and mobile blogging from the midst of our moving-box maze.

Maddy had a big month of mobility, perfecting her crawling and learning how to pull up to standing on everything. She's going to be standing independently in no time, I'm afraid, and walking won't be far behind.

 
Besides calling me “mama,” it seems that “dada” is beyond her grasp. It sounds more and more like she's calling Johnny “Bubba,” which I find pretty hilarious. At our prompting, she said, “bye bye” – clear as day- to a cat; neither of us would've believed it if the other hadn't been there.
 

The day we left California, it was 94 degrees. Last Sunday in Massachusetts, it snowed. True to her Minnesota ancestry, Maddy enjoyed it (though she's still confused by precipitation in general).
She's been spending a lot of time exploring the very small territory of our non-childproofed apartment, reading books to herself, and conducting in-depth studies of her own toes. Real troublemaking is just around the corner!

 



 

Easy Listening

I’m in the midst of packing for tomorrow’s redeye back to Massachusetts, but I just had to write a quick post to share a couple links.  I’ve been trying to spend more time outside lately, which mostly consists of late-afternoon walks (occasionally runs) with Maddy in the stroller.  Having caught up on all my favorite podcasts, I’ve been delving into past episodes of This American Life, and a couple stories in particular have stood out.  They were both just innocently delightful, which is a nice change of pace.  I found myself retelling them to Johnny, but inadequately, because a hallmark of this show is that it’s usually unbelievable until you hear it for yourself.  Eventually I just made him listen for himself, and he liked them as much as I had.

I’m linking directly to the segments I loved, but in each case, the entire episode was worth listening to (though I think there’s a language warning on one segment, so don’t let the kids listen unsupervised).  Each segment is about 19 minutes long.

First, the tale of a young married couple of comedians who get the chance for their big break on the Ed Sullivan Show.  Listening to the two of them retell the story may be better than the story itself.

Next, a story about twelve kids and their father who went to great lengths to entertain them (and teach them life skills in the process!).

Enjoy – I guarantee you’ll be smiling at the end!

{p,h,f,r} County Fair Edition

Yesterday was the opening day of the local fair, and since we can't pass up a good time, we headed over as a family after Johnny got home from work. Admission was $1, which meant that even if we had a baby meltdown in short order, we weren't losing much.

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I'm still not really used to the variety of produce that grows around here. The garden variety produce (literally) I can understand, but it's weird to go to the farmers' market and see homegrown grapes and avocados. So it follows that the produce competition at the fair was a little different from usual, including this beautiful variety of grape colors.

 
Bonus pretty: The best of the quilt competition. It was a pretty great selection!

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Maddy enjoyed the fair a lot more than we expected, especially since we were there close to (and then past) her bedtime. She's turning out to be a real extrovert, so anytime she gets to be around a lot of people (kids, in particular), she's very excited. She babbled at no one in particular, and then loved the parakeets in the Floriculture building.

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We didn't go too crazy with the fair food (mostly because it was a last-minute trip and we didn't have a chance to get more cash), but the splurge of the night was a cinnamon roll with cream cheese frosting and bacon. Yes, it totally looked like a baked potato. And yes, it was awesome. The stand was selling one for $6, or a value pack of 5 for $30. Super value.
 

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Just to keep us from having too much fun, we ended up with three very flat stroller tires. We discovered on our way back to the car that we had parked in a field full of sand burrs, and Johnny has his suspicions that they were to blame. I'm holding out hope that they're just mysteriously flat but not injured; wish me luck.

 

Linking up with Like Mother, Like Daughter for {Pretty, happy, funny, real}!

 

Friday Night in the Garden

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Last night, we met some friends at a local business with a genius idea: every Thursday and Friday, this garden center hosts food trucks and local music for a great night out among their plants.

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Statues of St. Francis and the Blessed Virgin chaperoned.

The music was great, the weather was perfect, and they even have a liquor license, so it was the complete package!

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Putting the “garden” in “beer garden”

There were tons of families and kids running around, and no one seemed overprotective of the potted plants and merchandise, which was refreshing (for the record, I didn’t see anyone abusing the privilege).

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There were at least ten food trucks parked around the perimeter, offering everything from bourbon pecan pie to wood-fired pizza.  I have a real weakness for both of those, but I stuck with the pizza, which was great.  Johnny’s mom is planning an event and needed a food truck recommendation, so Johnny sampled no fewer than nine tacos, for the sake of being thorough.

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They have events scheduled through the end of the year, so we’ll definitely be back!

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Maddy and Daddy, getting carded.

7 Quick Takes: California, you are crazy

Now that we’ve been in the Golden State for almost a month, I feel qualified to offer some observations. California, please take these in the spirit in which they are intended; namely, that of bewilderment and judgement.

{1}

I feel that I was led here under false pretenses. No one ever told me about that the human population was so greatly outnumbered by the spiders (black widows, to be precise). The first time I saw one, on the screen of our bedroom window, I was the only one even remotely surprised or concerned. Suffice it to say, I wasn’t comforted to hear, “Oh, it’s just a little one.”

Luckily, my Minnesota-born family was more understanding via group text:

The second one was on the INSIDE of the screen door, and again, I was the only one who cared. By the time the third one showed up, a few days ago, I dared to get close enough to spray it with a bottle of Raid. Turns out, it was dead long before I got to it.


{2}

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The other day, I took Maddy outside to take her seven month photos. Within 20 seconds (no kidding), I saw 5 lizards (again, no kidding). I’m sure they were entirely harmless, but it didn’t seem like the best time or place to set my baby on the ground, so we scratched that plan. At this rate, I’m pretty much expecting that I’ve been lied to about the scarcity of snakes and earthquakes, too.



{3}

It is, unsurprisingly, hot. I realized within a few days of getting here that my single pair of shorts was not going to carry me through till whenever the temperature drops. I went to the mall thinking that surely, shorts would still be a hot commodity (or at least available). As it turns out, no. It took me four trips to find a pair (on steep clearance, at the bottom of the rack). Meanwhile, there were crowds of people flocking to the puffer vests and leggings.

PEOPLE! Fall is not going to be a thing here until at least February!


{4}

It rained earlier this week, and like a total dork, I stood outside in the rain (and brought my baby with me for good measure, so she doesn’t forget what water is).

 

{5}

To be a good sport, I should also mention some good points about this strange state. First: the Mexican food is fantastic. Even the cheapest (okay, second cheapest) grocery store taco counter is better than any Mexican restaurant anywhere else I’ve lived.

Watch it, kid. We'll learn about sharing *tomorrow*.

 

 

{6}

The scenery certainly hasn’t gotten old yet. This place was made for Instagram filters.

 

{7}

One more…one more… Oh! Midnight EST, when blog linkups go live, is only 9:00 here, meaning I stand a chance of making it on the list above #100! With that said…

I’m linking up with Kelly and everyone who’s anyone!

 

 

Maddy at (Six and) Seven Months

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Happy seven months to Madeleine! Her six month birthday fell on the day we left for our road trip, so I never blogged it. Sorry to the 2 people who missed it; the 49 pictures that follow should make up for it.

Since month five, lots has changed! Maddy went from a proficient sitter to a totally capable, if ungainly, crawler who would rather stand up and walk.

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She recently mastered the art of pulling everything out of her toy box; putting stuff away is close behind, right? Bueller?

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She socialized her way across the country, charming cashiers and waitresses from MA to CA. She always has a beaming smile for anyone who gives her attention (especially women), and she’s generally extremely good-natured.

Trying on a fur cape from the Kim Kardashian line at Babies R Us

She’s extremely curious about what everyone is doing, especially in the kitchen (“stirring” and “chopping” will be early vocabulary words, I think). Every day brings a new discovery: today, she set off the carbon monoxide detector (terrifying) and initiated a game of peekaboo (hilarious).  She continues to be a fierce presence in her walker; I’m pretty sure this will be the last thing I see before she breaks all my toes someday:

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Investigating everything.

Speaking of food: we’re starting to introduce real food, with pretty good results. Favorites so far are plain greek yogurt, avocados, rice, and garlic bread. Baby food was kind of meh, and rice cereal was a big miss.  It’s *possible* that she has started to associate the word “mamamamamama” with me (well, with food, but me and food are tight).

This month brought her first ex utero Notre Dame game, and she had a great time doing pushups and getting excited for a couple victories.  Sorry baby, the heartbreak is bound to come.
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She’s discovering lots of new activities: swimming, swinging, and riding in carts are new favorites (especially the “zoom” option on all of those).

She weighed in at 20.5 pounds at her six month check, and 21.8 on the home scale last week (keeping her soundly in the 95th percentile), but she’s still just our little Maddy.