This week has been a paint-smeared, box-cluttered blur as we finish preparing the new house for our move this weekend. We need a few days to get settled, but then I will have LOTS of photos of the progress we’ve made. It’s looking great, and I can’t believe it’s ours.
Nursing Harper on Angel Island when she was about 7 months old.
I think it was last Thursday that Harper went all day without nursing. And so, with basically no fanfare, we were done with breastfeeding. It was such a tumultuous journey with such drama at the beginning that it seems wrong for it to end so quietly. But I’ll take it.
My views on breastfeeding have really solidified since becoming a mom. I think all mothers have to make that choice for themselves whether to do it or not and for how long. But now that I know how truly unbelievably tough it can be, I am passionate about moms getting more support for their efforts. And it certainly makes me angry when they get flak for it.
I think if I had been working full time it would have been much harder for me to continue nursing Harper for as long as I did. After those early weeks of round-the-clock pumpings (10-1-4-7, 10-1-4-7, over and over), I grew to hate pumping. So I really felt for the moms who didn’t have a lot of support at work for it. I was so fortunate to be able to stay home with Harper and nurse her on demand for over a year. It’s one of the accomplishments in my life that I am most proud of. You never can tell, but I think the fact that she stayed so healthy for the first 6 months of her life was in large part because of my milk.
I have memories of nursing her in all kinds of places — on a very windy Golden Gate overlook, in Delores Park with pot smoke wafting by, squished in the backseat of our car, and especially in all kinds of woodsy locales when we got a chance to get out of town. It’s been a wild ride, and I’m so glad I stuck it out. But it’s also great to have a little freedom — and my old clothes back!
It sounds weird, but one of my favorite parts about the new house is that it needs work. We’ve already started tackling some projects and it is awesome to watch the place transform.
First up, we had to address the electrical issues. Most of the outlets were for old 2-prong plugs, plus the fuse system was out of date and frankly dangerous given how many computer and appliances we’ll be plugging in.
So we got a credit to fix the big issues. Then we paid extra to have the workshop wired and lights installed.
The old lighting came from an extension cord run through this door. Super safe!
I’ll have more photos of the inside later. We plan to install drywall later this summer, and that will really transform the space.
The second thing we had to do was get a new door for the workshop. The old one was so rotted that the bottom literally fell off.
We wanted to change most of the locks in the house, so we got a locksmith to help us with that. The front door lock/plate was that ugly brassy color, so we were not too sad to get rid of it.
The front door is actually pretty nice, but I have this idea that it would be cool to paint it orange. The only problem is that we really like having a screen door for air circulation. So I’m torn on whether or not to replace or remove the screen door. Or maybe just paint the screen door instead.
The next big project was the flooring. We knew it would be best to address the ugly carpet before we moved in, so we started right away. Friends helped us rip out the old carpet and remove all the staples and tack strips. Then we hired a flooring company to sand and refinish the oak floors underneath.
This is what it looked like underneath the carpet. I can’t imagine covering up that beautiful floor!
One issue that we will have to address later is the floor heater.
It’s big and not great for a toddler, but we don’t have the budget for a central heating system right now. Thankfully it never gets very cold!
The living room and dining room don’t need much else, other than new window treatments and a new light fixture above the dining room table. This one is new, but not our taste.
Between the awnings and the huge grandma curtains, these two rooms are really dark. Hopefully the changes we make will bring in lots more light.
Both the hall linen closet and the kitchen pantry need shelves repositioned and painted.
Mike is great at building little shelves, so that should be no problem. What worries me is that we are used to having a second big hall closet that we won’t have anymore.
The main bathroom is functional, but pretty darn ugly. Shower doors make me crazy, so those have to go. I hate, hate, hate mini blinds, so those have to go too.
The shower head and faucet can be easily replaced with something more modern.
Same with the sink cabinet and faucet (I’m thinking IKEA). We will probably pull up the vinyl flooring and replace it with hex tiles.
The kitchen is really not so bad. Believe me, I saw much worse when we were house-hunting. I’d like to paint the cabinets white to make it lighter and more spacious looking. The drawers are lined with cute paper, but I’m thinking this chevron lining will look great.
It has to be better than the pieces of stained linoleum I found nailed to the bottom of some cabinets!
We already got a new microwave to replace the ancient one. We’re also thinking of adding some shelving underneath the bar area. We need it for storage much more than we need it for seating.
Harper’s room doesn’t need a thing other than curtains and possibly a paint color. I’m thinking about light green. We could paint our room or leave it as-is.
Mom’s room has these ugly vertical blinds. We all agree that we hate them, too.
Her room wins for the wackiest item, though. What do you think might be underneath this crazy carpeted bench?
It’s a safe!
We found out that the previous owners had a gas station, so they would put the money here at night. Fortunately it turned out to be moveable.
Mom’s half bath needs some work. The sub floor needs to be replaced, so we’d like to tile the floor while we address that.
I hate the wallpaper, and the sink cabinet will probably go too.
The garage has some pretty nice built-in shelving, but everything could use a coat of paint. Strangely, it looks like there are floor tiles on the walls, but I think they are actually kind of cool.
So is this mirror. I think I might spray paint it and use it in my booth at craft fairs.
How about these relics?
Also strange, the door to the house looks like stainless steel.
Outside: One of my favorite parts about the house is the deck.
I can imagine us having morning coffee out there or playing with Harper. We really haven’t been able to use our current back yard much, but this one should be a lot better. Plus, the deck is nice and low so Harper can’t go tumbling down a bunch of steps. We’ll probably toss the old chairs and get some new patio furniture and a grill.
The little side yard needs some adjustments to the gutters and some new grass.
Out front we have new house numbers and a new doorbell, which I will show you later. Of course there are lots of other little things like drawer pulls and light switches. A million things to toss in the cart at Home Depot.
It feels so good to be making progress everyday. I just wish the moving part would happen magically!
Harper turned 15 months today. We went to the park with our neighbor and her twins, born on the same day as Harper. Us moms were marveling at how much they’d changed and how quickly. We’re so cliche.
This age is a lot of fun. Every day I see Harper making connections that have taken months to achieve. Puzzle pieces fitting into their slots, rings stacked in perfect order. One day she just held up her little lovey that we call Baby and said “Bay-bee.” We kind of flipped out.
Other words: hi, bye-bye, dog, deedle-dee (we call it baby yodeling)
I can’t let her out of my sight for a second. She will be running down the street (always to the park), tumbling down a step or putting a dirt clod in her mouth.
Her baby-sized pool is full of floating wood chips. Maybe we should switch to a water table?
Her latest obsession is sorting through piles of clothes. Actually, I have no idea what she does with them, but it keeps her occupied.
She likes wearing my skirts as shawls. It’s hilarious.
Our house is a tornado of toys every day, but I don’t mind. We just pick up at the end of the day. She loves dragging her wooden snail around the house. Thank goodness we don’t have to do all the pulling anymore!
After about a month or so of not eating much, she is back to a full appetite. And I mean full. She eats and drinks all day long, it seems. But then she’s burning off every calorie toddling around.
The nanny sends me pictures of her with the other little boy in the share. Those two are pretty precious. They look like they could be related.
I feel like the universe heard my plea about naps. It seems the long naps with the nanny have translated to longer ones at home. Of course there’s a tradeoff. She’s been waking up at 6 or 6:30 instead of 7:30 and staying up past 9 instead of going to bed at 8:30. You just can’t win with baby sleep. I think I’ll take the longer naps, though.
I’m sure we’ll have lots of adventures in the new house. Now she’s really got room to run!
My favorite part of this month, though, (aside from her discovering her popped-out belly button) has been the kisses. One day I found her leaning over and smooching a toy. Now she plants delicate kisses on your cheek and it’s just about the sweetest thing ever.
We’ll have a few landscaping projects at the new house, but I was happy to discover that the previous owner had planted a number of beautiful flowers in the yard. This bright red fuchsia plant is my favorite.
Bonus: There’s another pink fuchsia plant too.
Not sure what these are, but they’re pretty.
Our real estate agent was telling me about this plant, which smells like lemon when you rub it.
Randomly, in the front of the house there is a poinsettia.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that wasn’t in a pot around Christmastime.
There are two plants that have got to go, though. These hedges are awful!
I think our main landscaping goals are:
• clear out the side yard and plant grass so the dogs can use it
• clear out some other overgrown plants and replace them with berry bushes and a strawberry patch
• add more plants to the front garden so that the ugly pipes are covered up
• replace the sod out front with a fruit tree and drought-resistant ground cover
• steal oranges from the neighbors — just kidding!
So on Easter we decided to go for a family hike on the trail that’s just a few blocks from our house. The trail is steep, but short, so it’s kind of instant gratification.
We were lucky enough to find a hiking backpack for Harper at a kids consignment store.
We were looking at having to spend $250 or so at REI for a good one, so getting this Deuter Kanga Kid for only $50 was nice. It is a less expensive model, but we liked how all the components fold into the backpack. Harper liked it too. So much that she completely conked out for most of the hike.
Sort of like her first hiking experience, at 2 months old.
What can I say? This girl is never more relaxed than when she’s outside.
I love all the eucalyptus trees along this trail. They make it smell so good, and the giant sheets of bark hanging down make for a cool atmosphere.
One problem, though. There were slippery acorn things everywhere!
Here are some more photos from the trail.
There’s quite a payoff in views at the top.
We had a great time, so I think we’ll do more family hikes when we can.
On the way home I was practicing some close-ups with the camera. I think I’m starting to figure it out!
This was a favorite side dish growing up. I hadn’t made it for ages and when I finally dug out the recipe I couldn’t believe it didn’t include dill. So I added some. 😉
My mom always boiled the potatoes and then added the other ingredients (which you can certainly do), but this time I sauteed it all in a pan together. I’m all about one-pan dishes these days.
It was just as good as I remembered. Whatever you do, don’t skimp on the butter. It’s key!
- 1 pound new potatoes, any variety
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
- 10 ounces frozen peas
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Rinse potatoes and remove any bad spots. Cut them into 1-inch pieces, unless they are smaller than that already.
- Heat butter in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Add the potatoes, bay leaf and herbs and stir to combine. Put a lid over your pan and steam the potatoes, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes.
- Add in the peas and let them steam until they're warm. If your pan gets too dry, you can always add a little more butter.
- Remove the bay leaf and serve.