Wednesday, June 30

BEFORE: The Toddler to Tween Room

I can't promise that this room project will be as dramatic as the nursery. The nursery was easier mostly because I had a single inspiration room that I loved to draw from and it was also a small space.This next room for Olivia is bigger (almost twice the size of the nursery) and I'll be drawing from many different places of inspiration.

To keep things honest (and to make my after pics look even better--hehe), we really need to start with before pictures of the way the room looked when we bought the house. A bit creepy and stuck in the era of when the previous owner was 16. You see this was the previous owner's bedroom set when she was 16--IN THE 1960's!!

 horror film scary- before

I actually don't mind the furniture too much. She left it behind, so I moved it to one of our third floor bedrooms with a happier pink, yellow, orange theme.

After my  mom and I put in a week-long effort, we called a professional to remove the 20-plus year-old navy wallpaper, the wallpaper beneath it, and when we got to the third layer of wallpaper, I told the wallpaper pro to JUST STOP. Then my mom and I starched navy/white toile fabric onto one wall and we slapped white primer on top of everything else in the room. So here's a pic of the room as soon as we finished--wrinkled duvet and all...

It was a temporary fix in Summer 2007 so I could focus on getting married and getting the house ready for visiting guests. It worked and is basically a fresher interpretation of the same room. We also experimented with curtains--which is why  ribbon from Crate and Barrel wedding presents are holding them up. The grosgrain gifts that kept on giving. How yah like them apples?

So as you can see, we have nowhere to go but up. Ha! Primer, Crate and Barrel ribbons, wrinkled duvets, king-sized bedskirts finessed to fit queen sized beds, the end table from my old bachelorette pad used as a night stand--this is obviously high-end decorating folks. Go ahead and envy me.

Stay's gotta get better...eventually.

Sunday, June 27

Stair Climbin'

One of the great things about Olivia spending so much time with her older cousins last week was how quickly she picked up new skills--and new words like God! God! God! (with the exclamation point).

On Saturday, out of the blue at my parents' house Olivia just started climbing the stairs with little effort or thought.  I was amazed and grabbed my iPhone! She hasn't attempted this at our home yet because we don't have carpeted stairs, but I'm sure she'll figure out how to adapt like she has with crawling on hardwoods versus carpet.

Walking is next!

Back from the Beach

We're back from one of our longest most relaxing vacations since our honeymoon. Before this we always did long weekends here and there--but this time we did a whole 10 days! Best of all---our family (my parents and siblings) shared in the fun!

Bro-in-Law, My preggo Sis, Niece, Moi, Mom, Olivia, Husband, Big Bro, Niece, Lil Bro. Dad? watching TV!

We stayed at a friend's fantastic Delaware beach house in a private community with a private beach. There was plenty of room. It was comfortable and family-friendly (complete with a kids room, beach toys, outdoor shower, etc) and I hope we get invited BACK! After hearing the rave reviews about how clean we left it--I'm thinking we have a good chance.

Anyway, our whole time there my mom and I were whining dreaming about how much we needed wanted our own beach house--basically because we want a place to decorate relax. Hehe. NOT joking. My mom and I went to HomeGoods today and literally picked out things for our imaginary beach home. It hurt so badly to leave them behind. 

I could go on and on about the funny family stories at the beach, but I'm afraid you wouldn't find them funny at all. SO here is Miss Olivia--aka the sand eater! She must have consumed at least a half gallon of salt water and sand! She was terrified of the waves but loved digging with her shovel and bucket of water (which she kept trying to dunk her own head in).

Just when my OCD couldn't take any more sand, we returned home and resumed the fun at Grandma's house in the good, clean, tap water-filled kiddie pool.
Notice my niece propping up Olivia's face to keep her from planting her face in the water.

Remember my Windy City niece in the pic above from my visit to Chicago last spring? I am always amazed at how big she gets every time I see her. Also notice Olivia's bikini!? Daddy is anti-bikini (as he should be) but I assured him it's now and never again until she's 18.

Stay tuned...more posts coming on the toddler/tween room AND baby development!

Thursday, June 17

A "Perfect Ten" Months

...except for those damn teeth coming in making bedtime...(sigh)...interesting. Other than that, it's been a PERFECT ten months my sweet little baby Olivia!
 When she's on a kissing rampage no one is safe.

 Olivia attacking kissing her cousin.

Dear Charm City Baby:

Despite the teething clingy behavior, you remain a stellar napper and sleeper and because of it you are growing out of control. You are TALL and strong and love food--table food, and are showing little interest in your homemade baby food which we have to get creative with and add texture in order for you to even eat it. Your dancing often comes with singing--which we love. You have favorite songs, books (the ones where we act out sounds that you try to repeat), and know your bedtime routine to a tea. In fact, when your Grandma Helen (daddy's mama) came, you pretty much showed her what to do, and which books to read! You are walking  running with just a little balance-check help. You LOVE Buckley, our dog. You two have a great relationship. You crawl to him get hand and face kisses and even give his snout a few squeezes, tugs, and punches and he just accepts it. You are so lucky you have such a sweet black lab for a pet. One of our favorite past times is watching you attack and rumble tumble wrestle your giant pink teddy bear. You are a tough little girl--a real bruiser! Your daddy and I joke that if you have a little brother someday, you will probably be the tough one fighting his schoolyard fights for him. Your mother is actually afraid to handle you all by herself in church. You are mastering more milestones that I can list here. You throw tantrums because you understand what is going on and the word "no." Despite our differences over the changing table and sometimes getting your hair braided, our bond (mommy and baby) is stronger than ever. Love you girl! 

O's first swing with her now "signature" scrunchie nose.

Splish, Splash, Spoiled!

Perspective is such a funny thing.

JUST yesterday I was so pleased with myself after purchasing Olivia this cute little kiddie pool.

Then today, I find out that Celine Dion purchased her little boy and baby-to-be this little kiddie pool.

A bit much for my budget (and taste) but hey--Celine I'll take an invitation anyday. Btw, NO ONE is to tell my child of this!

Tuesday, June 15

Recommended Reading: Prudent Baby

Two weeks ago I discovered a blog that I am convinced is written just for me as I reenter my design phase (it comes and goes). Mommies of the world, Prudent Baby is the shizz-nit.  It contains all kinds of DIY craftiness--and not junk and crap you'll hate in 2 months--stuff you can actually use/gift.

For example: one of the categories across the top menu bar is "Hot Mess Mommy" which includes a list of tips to spruce yourself up as well as DIY accessories you can craft yourself.

Last year, when I spent nearly $40 on a nursing cover from Nordstrom and my mom saw it she nearly had a fit. She said "That is so EASY! Why didnt I think of that?! I could be a millionaire!" And she is right. Prudent Baby teaches you how to make same nursing cover in a designer fabric of your choice (always my problem--hated the fabrics selections) AND for a fraction of the price. BAM! There it is...

Reading Prudent Baby is kind of like watching the Food Network for me. I know I'll never make it, but I really appreciate seeing how it is done and maybe....just distant day I will muster up the ambition (and time) to do it. It also takes me back to my childhood summer breaks--when I first realized I loved The Home Show and all it represented. Remember that show? It came on before the soaps. At the ripe old age of 8, I never missed it--until it was canceled.

Crafts are always more fun in groups. I keep dreaming of the idea of teaching a baby/mommy-related craft to the mommies at Olivia's 1st year birthday party---which I have been slacking on planning (yep). 

Anyway---check out Prudent Baby for yourself and get inspired to do something---eventually.

*Also, I must say this is totally unsolicited--the folks over at PB (Jacinda and Jaime?) don't know me from Adam---or Eve. This post could please them--or totally freak them out...I'm okay with either occurrence.

Monday, June 14

Design Ideas

This is my best attempt at a design board...

Very amateur but you get the idea. Pink polka dots and seersucker! Navy and Carolina blue! Ah! It's mostly IKEA stuff with a mini-sized ghost chair thrown in. LOVE it--maybe I'll make it a set of 4 chairs and add a craft table! I already own the lamp and LOTS of toile---oh you just wait until you see the before pictures of this room! There's more that I have in mind but I think this is a good start.

Thursday, June 3

More Design Inspiration

Every morning before I head to the office, for a few seconds I stop in the doorway of what will be Olivia's new 'toddler to tween' room and stare into it thinking about what I will do and how I'll arrange the furniture.

One thing is for sure, I don't like to go overboard matching colors and repeating them a gazillion times in the room. I think it starts looking too "bed-in-a-bag" like I whipped out the matching curtains, throw pillows and bedskirt and shazam! Don't get me wrong, in a time/budget crunch, I love me some bed-in-a-bag, and I've found some great ones at Home Goods! But anyhoo, I want to take some time and try to mix things up in O's new room--although it will be hard as I have yards and yards of a particular fabric I will tell you about later.

Here is some inspiration I dig. And, I forget where I got them from...I think they are HB 2008. 

These rooms are more on the tween rather than toddler side, but  I'm liking the bold contrasts with the use of pinks--although I'd like to go a tad softer.

Stay tuned..more to come.

Tuesday, June 1

Birthdays and Bedrooms on the Brain

image care of TomKat Studio

With less than 80 days until Olivia's first birthday, I can't stop thinking about how we will celebrate this first year of her life.  Although she slept through most of it, we had a great time hosting her baby clambake--except for the wet weather.

Nonetheless I have visions of a smaller, intimate, detailed event for our closest friends and family (like less than 15 people, hopefully). I've been enjoying party inspiration and ideas from Kim at  TomKat Studio blog as well as Martha Stewart.

TANGENT: Speaking of Martha--I can't be the only working mama (or SAHM for that matter) with a love-hate relationship with Martha Stewart. Sometimes I feel like Martha's pure GENIUS---even when I know she has had masterminds like Eddie Ross  (and I love me some Eddie!!) working his creative magic behind the scenes.At other times, I can't believe that woman has built an empire teaching us things as simple as how to load a dishwasher!  Okay, I'm hatin'. Hateration over. Love those tissue paper poms, girrrrrl!

 another Tom Kat Studio image. Do you also wish you could hire her?

Also on my mind is Olivia's next bedroom. When we decided to start our family, the plan was to always keep the small bedroom by our master bedroom as the nursery. That's why I decorated it mostly gender neutral--so we could just rotate the babies through in keeping with Charm City Daddy's Grand Master Baby Manufacturing Plan to get me to birth FOUR babies. (sigh) Hey, one down...
Anyway, Olivia's 'toddler to tween' room is next on my plate and since her nursery was a bit bold and gender neutral I want to give the new room some softer, girly touches. And yes...more inspiration from Martha Stewart--DAMN her! 

both images care of Martha Stewart Living

 Stay tuned for another roller coaster ride of low-budget, piecemeal interior design a la Charm City Mama. I will post  the 'before' pictures soon of the room under attack for this project. This one should be interesting.