Monday, April 7, 2014

House for Sale

Whelp, this is really happening.  Our house is being listed on the MLS tomorrow and will be shown all this week with open houses scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday this next weekend. We  have worked our tails off getting the house ready to sell and are pretty pleased with how it looks.  Paul did so much work these past couple of weeks finishing the bathroom remodels, painting and installing doors and crown molding, etc. and I have been spending all my spare time (and non-spare time when both girls were awake) cleaning, weeding and planting.  Thank goodness both girls are so good and I could set them up outside and they would play (or in Clara's case help me with planting/digging) while I worked and that Rose is going through a growth spurt and has been sleeping extra hours each day and chugging her formula during any awake time so I could get things done. 
 
Our house has now been COMPLETELY overhauled from when we bought it.  The ceilings, floors, walls, and basically everything in between (insulation, furnace, windows, appliances, electrical, lighting, etc.) has all been redone over the almost 4 years that we have been in here, largely by us, and we are pretty proud of our first home.  It will be hard to leave behind the place where we brought home both our baby girls.  I have posted about past remodels before (the yard in 2013, the kitchen in 2012, and the bedrooms in 2011) so I am only posting photos of Phase 4 of the house remodel which involved the exterior, which was just painted (we hired out) and the bathrooms (everything except the laminate floor was done by Paul).
 
Here are two before and after shots of the exterior of our home.
 


And here are before and after shots of the two bathrooms.  For selling purposes, we didn't remodel exactly the way we would have done if we were planning to stay here (we went with laminate instead of tile on the floor, we wanted to retile the tub/shower areas, etc.) but we think they turned out nice.  We went with much larger vanities than what was previously installed and it makes a huge difference in function.


 
And because I haven't posted a photo of it, here is a picture of Rose's nursery with the three watercolors I made for her of a mermaid, starfish and seahorse.  I am pretty  happy with how they turned out and have a few more ideas for her room but they probably won't happen until we are in our new place (not sure when that will be - the hunt really begins after we get this house under contract). 
 

Oh, and we FINALLY installed backsplash in the kitchen which we remodeled 2 years ago.  So lame that we waited to fully complete this project until just before moving, but oh well.  It is kind of a glass 2x6 tile with a shimmery silver/white painted back so it has a subtle sort of sheen to it.  We think it turned out pretty nice (but seriously, these kind of decisions are SO HARD).

 
So that's it!  The real estate agent was here this morning taking pictures for the listing and flyer and we have the for sale sign up out front.  Here's hoping we get lots of interest and it sells fast!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Life lately, according to my iPhone...

First things first:  I made this Nothing Bundt Cakes Chocolate Chocolate Chip copycat recipe and it turned out AMAZING.  Like, SOOOO delicious and really close to the original, although I think that the frosting is a little more intense in the copycat recipe than in the original (not that I am complaining - it was fantastic frosting).  But if you make it you MUST let it cool COMPLETELY in the refrigerator.  Like, overnight.  Which seems impossible when it is baking and your house smells heavenly, but trust me (because we caved and each tried a slice when it was still slightly warm) that it is so much better served chilled.  This is definitely going in volume II of our House of Nash cookbook.
 

This is my new favorite dress and necklace combo.  I like the big bottles because I can tuck them under my chin and keep feeding Rose while freeing up a hand to do something else, like take a selfie in my favorite dress and necklace combo.


There was an article a few weeks ago about a mom and her 4 year old daughter who have been making dresses out of construction paper (and other materials) and posting them on Instagram (checkout their blog, Fashion By Mayhem - the dresses they make are amazing).  They are so creative and it sounded like the kind of thing that Clara would be into so we have made three attempts.  Clara has helped with cutting and taping and folding and we have talked about patterns, etc. so I feel like it is a pretty great idea because it is educational, creative, and fun.  And really it is about the process of making the dresses because she only wears them long enough for a photo usually and then she is done and we take them apart.  So far we have used construction paper, leftover tissue paper, and napkins leftover from Clara's birthday party last year that have just been sitting in the garage.




Clara and I both got haircuts in the past couple of weeks.  I was really in need of a change and a pick-me-up but I didn't want to go short and I didn't want to dye my hair, so that meant bangs.  I sort of have a love-hate relationship with them right now but just had them trimmed yesterday (after two weeks) and went a tad bit shorter than the original ones and am hopeful that the additional growing time might make them more comfortable a little bit longer and help me like them enough to stick with them because I do think that they are flattering.  I did a side-by-side comparison on the day I had them cut.  I sort of despise both pics (I never like how hairstylists style my hair after a cut - I always have to wash it and style it myself before truly making up my mind about the cut) but I do like to see the change.


Here are a couple more photos where I have been trying to figure out how to style and wear the bangs:




I have taken Clara to get her hair cut at the kiddie salon twice in the past but I felt like they don't do the best job so when I got my hair done I asked my stylist how much she would charge for a kids cut and it was only a few dollars more than the kiddie cuts place so I figured why not?  Basically she just cleaned up the back which was really straggly by taking off about an inch-and-a-half and then she did just a little bit of framing around the face so that when Clara's hair is down she doesn't look like such a little ragamuffin.  Everybody at the salon was going bonkers over how cute Clara was sitting in the chair getting her hair done.  Clara was pensive about the whole experience (and slightly annoyed that I would not let her get bangs like me and tired to start out with since I had to wake her up from her nap for the appointment) but was pretty proud of her new do afterwards.



Here is an okay shot of her haircut right when she was done.  So much better and now we hopefully won't have as many tangles to deal with. 


We went to Yogurtland afterwards for a treat since Rose was home with Paul and Clara and I could have a little mother-daughter one-on-one time. 


Speaking of hair, this jumbo legal paperclip was Paul's solution when Clara's hair was getting in her face while trying to eat. 


We saw the Weinermobile at a newly remodeled Lunardi's grocery store in San Jose.  I was more excited about it than Clara was.  Seriously, I would love to drive this thing on a roadtrip. 


Tulips from our yard.  I planted the bulbs last fall not thinking that we would be moving this spring.  At least I got to enjoy them for one season.  I need to remember to replant in the fall wherever we move to because seeing the tulips come up makes me so happy.


I weighed Clara on the scale at the gym.  She is almost at 30 pounds!


Rose is getting stronger every day but doesn't last very long with tummy time. 


I was cleaning the kitchen while Clara sat at the table coloring (one of the rare times that she has done it for more than a few seconds) when she announced, "look mommy! I made an "A"!"  It kind of looks more like an "H" with a line across the top but she has recreated this at least three times (with crayon, pen, and paintbrush actually) and tells me it is an A each time so I think she actually has some idea of what she is doing. 


Just some other preschool type activities that we have been doing.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Minivan pics and a little about preschool

I mentioned we bought a new (to us) minivan a month back but haven't posted pictures yet.  Not gonna lie - it's a pretty sweet ride.  Clara is very protective of it and likes to shout at others cars to "drive slow, cars! don't wreck my minivan!".  I love how easy it is to get the girls in and out of it, I love the power tailgate and sliding doors that open with the press of a button, and I love the amount of cargo space in the back, especially when the back row of benches is down (it always is for us unless we have company riding with us) because it will make trips so much more comfortable. 
 


You have no idea how much Paul loves this vehicle and how long he has wanted a minivan.  Its both adorable and weird.


In other totally random goings-on, I have been prepping materials for preschool for Clara.  We won't start until fall, at least not officially, but since I am going to homeschool her (at least for this year - not decided about what to do for the future) I feel like the more prepared I am the better it will go.  There are SO many resources available to help moms who want to do a homeschool preschool that really it has been a matter of gathering and organizing and figuring out how I want to approach things.  I have a pinterest board that I am constantly adding new things to when I find them.  My favorite resources so far have been the site "Confessions of a Homeschooler" and "1+1+1=1".  They have everything from free printables to lesson plans to pictures of their home classrooms/study areas, etc.  I also made a trip to Lakeshore Learning to pick up some helpful supplies. 

Doing all this prep work has even sparked my own imagination and I created a sorting game using my Silhouette Cameo for the letter "a" where I put upper case "A"s and lower case "a"s on ants that Clara will sort to the correct side of a picnic basket.  I already had stuff for the letter "a" with an apple theme, but I just thought that the ant idea was cute and it gave me a chance to learn a lot more about using my Silhouette machine. 


In the meantime, we've started doing some color matching activities and Clara has developed an obsession with the Leap Frog Letter Factory and Talking Word Factory videos.  Because of those two little movies she is constantly (and I mean CONSTANTLY) sounding out the first sounds in words she thinks of and identifying the first letter.  (This is especially funny when her pronunciation is off.  She is convinced that "yellow" starts with the letter "l" because she pronounces it "lello".)  She even pulled out a workbook with cutting projects in it and identified the letters and sounds in "cut" and sounded it out while I pointed to each letter.  She didn't really read it - I'm pretty sure she knew the word from the context of knowing what the book was and given its similarity to the word "cat" which is the first word that the Talking Word Factory video explains, but still, it was exciting to hear her make each sound "c-u-t", then say them faster together, and then actually exclaim "cut!" like she had realized its meaning. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Julia Rose at 2 Months Old

 

I was skyping with Tabby on Sunday and we can't believe that Rose is only 2 months old.  It seems like it was so long ago that we were all at the hospital together for her birth.  We sure love this little girl and feel so grateful that she is a part of our family.  I took these photos in front of our big sliding glass door which has the best photography lighting in our house and I was so caught up in catching all her little expressions and baby-talking to her that I didn't even notice that the painters who were painting the exterior of our house had become our audience on the other side of the glass and were all grinning down at Rose as she gazed up at me while I clicked away over her (part of the time I was standing over her on a chair to get the angle I wanted).  What you also don't see in these photos is Clara and her stuffed zebra who were sitting ready at the side of the quilt to "make Rose smile" if she got fussy.  I kept having to remind Clara to scoot back and give Rose some space so I could take her picture because whenever Rose is just laying on the floor like this Clara likes to get right up in her face and entertain her.   


At 2 months old Rose is really starting to exhibit a personality.  She has found her little voice and her gurgles and baby talk is so, so darling.  She does it most in the morning when she first wakes up and in the late afternoon around 5 or so.  Mostly it is the "goo" or "gah" sound.  We are loving her increased alertness and longer stretches of wakefulness because it means more time to interact with her and also it seems to help her be a happier baby (probably because it is easier for mom to understand her schedule and start putting her on a routine, something that has been sorely lacking around here). 

Rose sleeps really pretty well at night, going down around 6:30 or 7:00 and waking up twice - first around 12:00 or 1:00 and then again around 4:00.  Her daytime sleeping habits are not as easy, most likely because of the levels of noise that big sister makes which we think are interrupting Rose's snoozing.  We have yet to figure out how to convince Clara that there is a volume level between whisper and shout.  But basically Rose takes 2 morning naps, each roughly an hour long (on good days) or 15-20 minutes long (on the bad days) and 2 afternoon naps (the first one is almost always her best daytime nap and on really good days lasts 3-4 hours, while the second nap is more of a chaser nap that is anywhere from 20 minutes up to about 45 minutes). 

 
After church this past Sunday I was playing with the girls in Clara's bedroom and set Rose down on the bed for a second while I ran to grab something in the other room.  When I came back I saw Clara on the bed with her pink blanket pinned around her waist to be her "Elsa skirt" (from "Frozen") talking to Rose and it was such a cute picture that I grabbed the camera and captured it from the doorway before Clara realized what I was doing and got silly about posing (or not posing and just running away so I couldn't take her picture). 
 



This picture of Rose sleeping so peacefully is sort of deceptive because (1) she doesn't actually love the pacifier and the times when she falls asleep with it in her mouth and keeps it in there are rare, and (2) she almost never falls asleep unswaddled, flat on her back in her crib.  Rose seems to be a bit of a picky sleeper and doesn't seem to like to sleep the same way very many times in a row and will fuss and fuss while I shift her position until I hit on just the one that works for her that day.  Sometimes she wants to be tightly swaddled and rocked to sleep (and other times she fights and fights and acts like it is the worst thing in the world), other times she wants to be unswaddled and laying on her stomach (I don't blame her - I sleep this way too but I only let her do this for naps when I can check on her constantly because I worry to much about her breathing to let her sleep this way at night while I am also asleep).  Sometimes she likes to fall asleep in the baby swing, swaddled tightly, and other times she wants to swing with her arms loose.  Sleeping in the car isn't really her thing (in fact, she kind of still hates her carseat although it is getting a little bit better as long as she has just been fed, changed, and woken up from a nap.  If she is already tired, you would think that she would just nod off with the car's vibrations but this almost never happens with Rose.  Maybe because Clara constantly narrates in her loudest voice what is going on with Rose (e.g. "She's awake!  Her eyes are open!" or "She's crying!  It's okay Rose!  Calm down Rose!  We're almost there Rose!"). 

 
I fully plan to weigh Rose at the gym today and measure her but I figure I will have to update this post later with those stats because if I don't post it before the girls wake up I won't get the chance until much later.  But she is definitely getting bigger.  I pulled out all the 0-3 month jammies because she just doesn't fit in them anymore and she looks so much more comfy in the 3-6 month sizes.  A few of the 0-3 month outfits still fit but most of them are too small and even some of the 3-6 month stuff is looking tight on her.  Baby Gap and Naartje sizes seem to be smaller than Gymboree and Carter's sizes (which seem fairly standard), which seem to be smaller than Janie & Jack sizes.  Has anyone else seen this?  Anyway, she is mostly in 3-6 months sizes now and I would guess that she is about 12 1/2 pounds.  
 

Rose LOVES being held against the chest with her head snuggled right up under my chin or against my cheek.  It is her very favorite spot and I love what a cuddlebug she is.  Some other loves include having her hair stroked or her face caressed (which is what usually elicits her biggest smiles) and being talked to.  She really seems to enjoy our walks outside, especially since this past week I have been turning her around in the Baby Bjorn to face forward now that she has got such good control over her little noggin so it isn't flopping around.  A friend mentioned on an instagram post that it looked like I had multiple baby carriers, which is true, and I have found that I like having them for different stages.  A friend lent me her Moby wrap, which I LOVED that first month and a half with Rose because it snugged her up so tight against me and she immediately zonked out.  It also gives the most freedom of movement for me that I have felt with any of the carriers as far as being able to do chores around the house, play with Clara while wearing Rose, etc.  But once the girls got big enough to hold up their heads and pay attention to the world around them, I like the Baby Bjorn for ease of getting in and out of and for giving them a view, etc.  Then I also have the Ergo Baby carrier that is better once they get a little bigger and the Bjorn isn't cutting it. 

And incidentally, while I'm talking product placement, I saw these newborn stickers that identify Rose's age by month on Etsy at a shop called Lucy Darling (she has loads of other designs that are so cute - it was hard to decide which ones I liked best).  I wish I had thought about something like this for Clara because they are just the right size and have such cute designs and I just stick them on whatever outfit I want to dress Rose in and voila, I have a customized look for that month's portrait.


Rose does really well with tummy time still, which is probably why she seems to be getting so strong so fast.  She doesn't last longer than 10 minutes at a time or so but for those ten minutes she babbles and plays and we do it multiple times a day.  Clara is dying for Rose to be able to roll over and is constantly asking me whether she can help her with that. 


Rose also really likes the baby play mat, which was also a hit for Clara at this stage.  This past month she has started really swatting at the objects that dangle down for her.  I'm still not sure that any of that is intentional or that she is just excited, but it delights her when she makes contact.  The music on this toy goes off after about 15 minutes and Rose starts squawking if I don't realize it quickly enough and turn it back on for her.  This toy is a lifesaver when it comes to keeping Rose entertained on her own long enough for me to throw dinner together or give Clara some one-on-one time to prevent a meltdown on big sister's part. 






Rose likes to have me hold her hands and pull her up into a sitting position, and then up into a standing position.  I can't believe how strong her little legs are that she can totally stand for 5-10 seconds while I provide the balance and stability for her and she seems to love the exercise.  The other night just after her bath she was in such a good mood and Paul took these photos while I was playing with her on our bed.



Isn't she just the most beautiful little thing?  Her face was so scrunchy at birth but all of her features have really filled out (she is such a cute little chub-a-lub and has these great rolls on her thighs that I just adore) and smoothed.  Her hair is growing in little by little too and she hasn't lost any of it from when she was born. 




 

And that's the update on Rose at 2 months old!  We are excited to see what new things she learns and experiences over the next month, which will include her first time flying on an airplane and meeting more relatives as I am going to take the girls to Utah during the week when our house is being shown (we are really hoping it sells in less than a week - our agent has recently had houses sell in as little as 4 hours from the time they were listed because the market here has been so nuts).