Thursday, January 28, 2016

Vintage camera collection back on display

Despite having lived in this house for more than two years, I had yet to put anything besides two mirrors up on the wall. The main reason for this was because I didn't want to deal with having to drill holes first and figuring out what wall anchor to use as the walls are lathe and plaster. I'm used to dealing with drywall. Part of the lack of motivation has also been the depression that I've been dealing with as well. It's evident when you look around my home that I haven't put much effort of myself into it.

Well, a couple weeks ago that changed. I got the drill out and started hanging up some pictures. I hung up the canvas Hannah made me for Mother's Day and the picture she made her dad for Father's Day. I hung up a painting my sister had made and another small picture by an artist I love. I hung my favorite Yellena print above the crib. I drove out to the storage locker and got the white shelves that used to hold our camera collection.

I decided they were a little beat up looking, so I went to Home Depot and picked a color I liked and came home and painted the shelves. I hung them up using anchors, but they just didn't seem sturdy enough for all the weight I was piling on them. A quick trip to the hardware store fixed that with some brackets which I spray painted black.

This morning, Ella slept long enough that I could screw the brackets into the shelves and get the whole collection up on the wall. I'm so pleased with how it turned out, even though we have more cameras than space (I need to do a little cleaning and come up with a way to display the few that didn't fit). 

I realize that for my own mental health, this was a good project. I feel good looking at something I love and am passionate about on a daily basis. It makes our home feel lived in, like we've put our own stamp on it. I have plans for a gallery wall on the landing upstairs but need to find some time and the vehicle to haul some 8-foot long boards. It'll be my next project.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ella - nine months old

Ella had her 9 month check up today and she's growing great. She weighed in at 18 lbs 6.5 oz. (55th percentile), 27 inches tall (25th percentile) and had a head circumference of 44 cm (55th percentile).

Physically, Ella is a little beyond where your typical baby would be for her age. She is pulling up and standing quite well. She cruises along the couch, holding on with one hand. She can get herself back into a sitting position after she stands up. Every morning we wake to her standing in her crib. She loves to jump and bounce, especially on the couch or in her bouncer. She is a speedy crawler and moves so fast. The baby gates went up this month! She tries to climb up the stairs and has made it up a couple of steps before we caught her. She will take some tentative steps if you hold her hands while she's standing and try to help her walk. I'm guessing she'll be walking before a year. She's very motivated to keep up with her sister. Fine motor skills wise, she's able to pick up tiny little things with her thumb and forefinger (and it goes straight in her mouth, of course).

Verbally, Ella is a little behind where you'd expect her to be. Just last week she started stringing constants together and saying "ba-ba" and "da-da" though it's not clear if she associates anything with those sounds, like her bottle and her dad. She seems confused when you tell her "no" after she does something like bite you or tries to play with something she shouldn't have.

Sleep has been a challenge this last month for Ella. She's been waking multiple times a night and wanting to eat, so I've been getting up and nursing her or Mike has been giving her bottle if I'm already at work. According to the doctor, she has no need for this and we should be letting her get herself back to sleep ... essentially she's trained us to respond to her, which while sweet, is not letting any of us get quality sleep. She is also not napping during the day - at all - which our doctor thinks might change if she gets some solid sleep at night instead of waking every couple hours. I'm sure it will be hard, but I think we'll have to give her advice a good try. We're lucky that Ella is pretty good about going to bed. I put her down awake at 8 p.m. and she goes to sleep fairly quickly without crying.

Nursing is still going good. Pumping at work is a pain and I'll be so glad when I can be done with that. I continue to not make enough pumping to make up for what she's eating while I'm gone so every week we're dipping into my freezer stash, which only has about 150 oz. left. The doctor suggested introducing one bottle of formula a day so that when I have to supplement, she's used to it. I gave her a bottle of formula last night and she drank an ounce, pushed it away and looked at me like "what is that?". I tried again this morning and got the same response, so this might take a while for her to get used to it. I'm still planning on nursing until she's 1 and then letting her wean when she is ready. I have no desire to stop nursing as I really enjoy the bond we have and with Ella being my last child, I know I'll never get to experience this again. I'm hoping that my milk supply remains when I stop pumping at a year at work ... that nursing exclusively when we're together is enough. I'm still taking the domperidone to increase my supply, which I'll keep doing until she's one.

I cannot believe that we have a 9-month-old already. The time has gone so fast. I try every day to just be present, enjoy the moment and remember that she is only ever going to be this little once. I try to drink it all in. I don't remember this feeling with the other two, but knowing Ella is my last makes this a little bit more special to me.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Painting again

Hannah requested a mommy and me day where we could paint together and since she had a day off school today, I thought I would make that happen. I've had this large canvas in the basement for years, planned for a picture above our bed in the master bedroom but I never got around to doing anything with it. So, I unwrapped it and got to work.

I started with a base coat of dark charcoal paint and then scraped some titanium white over the top of it. Then I started adding colors - different shades of blue and lime green. The photo below is what it looked like after the first pass. Now that I've got the basics down, it's time to figure out just what to turn this into. I have some ideas of what I'd like the finished product to look like but it's a matter of getting it out of my head and onto the brush! 

I had to put Ella in daycare in order to paint because crawling babies and wet canvases on the floor just don't mix so well, so there's no telling when I'll get to work on this again. I know though that it felt really good to get out the paints and play ... there's something very therapeutic about it.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Ella's corner

I finally finished up the Ella letters for above her crib and thought I'd post a picture of the finished product. They were super easy to make - I just painted the sides a light pink and once that dried, traced the letters onto scrapbook paper that I loved. I cut them out and Modge Podge'd them onto the cardstock letters. I mounted them to the wall with 3M adhesive and they're attached pretty good. I was worried that Ella might be able to pull them off, but I kind of doubt it. I also finally got around to hanging up on of my favorite art prints above her crib. I'm liking the way her little area looks.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Ella - 8 months old

We officially have a mover on our hands - just shy of her 8 month birthday, Ella figured out how to crawl! She's also just started pulling herself up on things a couple of days ago. She's getting so big so fast. It's been a challenge baby-proofing the house ... there is just so much stuff for her to get into and she's everywhere!

Ella has the best little smile, complete with two tiny bottom front teeth that have spent the last month slowly coming in. She's been handling teething pretty well, though some days are better than others. We are still working on solids. She loves bananas. And has figured out how to eat puffs without choking. I've been trying to feed her two solid meals a day.

We're still nursing and I'm trying to soak up every minute of it, knowing it could end at any time. I'm not able to pump enough to keep up with what she's eating, so we're slowly going through my freezer stash. I'm so torn. I really wanted to make it to a year, but I'm exhausted. It's so hard pumping and she's still nursing every two hours so I'm pretty tied down during the day. Every time I think about stopping and transitioning to formula, she ends up getting a little cold and I'm just that much more certain I want to keep giving her all the antibodies I can. Right now I'm just taking it a week at a time.

Ella has stopped sleeping through the night. This happened about a month ago and she's been consistently getting up at least once or twice to eat throughout the night. I can't figure out how much of that is comfort nursing or how much is her teeth bothering her. Either way, we're not getting much sleep around here.

Edited to add - At 8 months, 1 week Ella is now cruising around the sofa standing up and only wants to be in the standing position. I think she'd totally walk if she was able!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Small project for above the crib

I was at Hobby Lobby last night for a last minute Christmas gift and remembered that I've been wanting to do this for above Ella's crib for some time now. I picked up four press board letter and paired it with some of my favorite scrapbook paper. I need to paint the edges of the letters but found that my acrylic paint seems to have separated in the cold basement. So, it's off to Target I go a quick stop in their craft isle (I need some other things there as well). After that, all that's left is to trace the letters and Mod Podge them onto the letters. Now if I could just figure out how to hang it up ...

Friday, December 4, 2015

Baby Christmas mini shoot

Just had some fun playing with some Christmas decorations and Ella the other day. I'd seen a couple of light photos on Pinterest that I wanted to try and copy and I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. Nothing better than a chunky naked baby!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Ella - 7 month old

Taking photos of Ella this month was super challenging ... she sat still for about five minutes and immediately chewed up her sticker! This little girl is getting super mobile.

I weighed her and she's 17.5 lbs. now - no wonder the carseat is getting heavy to carry. Despite her delicious little rolls, she's starting to figure out how to move. She's able to pull herself forward with her arms in a mini army crawl and is sometimes up on all fours just rocking in place. I'm sure crawling is just around the corner. When she's lying on the floor on her belly she kicks the floor repeatedly with her right foot ... just a little Ella-ism. She can sit up unassisted and prefers that over lying on the floor. She's content sitting on a blanket with a variety of toys. She's starting to reach up when she wants to be picked up.

Nursing is still going good. I've been having to take a prescription medication in order to make enough breast milk and even then I'm dipping into my freezer stash quite a bit, but I'm determined to nurse her as long as possible. Especially through the winter months when everyone around us is sick. Since she's figured out she can sit up, she'll only nurse for the shortest amount of time possible before sitting up and making it clear she's done. Gone are the days of comfort nursing.

We introduced some solids at the six month mark and she is pretty particular. Once I introduced pureed banana she decided she didn't like the rice cereal, so we've been sticking with bananas for now. I tried sweet potatoes and she made a horrible face and I gave her carrots but she threw them up ... so we're sticking to what we know for now. I've tried giving her puffs, but she's choked each time I've tried. I just don't think she's ready for much solid food. So breast feeding it is. She still doesn't have any teeth.

Ella still has the best personality. Happy most all of the time, rarely cries unless you leave her sight. She is happy being held by just about anybody and loves reaching out and touching your face. She also seems to enjoy grabbing handfuls of Hannah's hair when she gets close enough! Fortunately my hair is short enough it doesn't happen very often.

We are so looking forward to what the next month brings! I have the kids scheduled for some professional photos the beginning of December and I'm looking forward to seeing how those turn out!

ETA: At 7 months and 1 week, the start of her first tooth appeared.