Friday, September 28, 2012

Isaac's Dresser!

Another one of our Wichita purchases was a new dresser for Isaac.  While we were living in Utah we were borrowing a dresser from Andy's grandma, but when we moved we needed a new one.

We found this little gem on Craigslist:

It wasn't the most beautiful thing, but it had the one thing I was looking for... drawers on sliders!  I want this dresser to grow with Isaac, so I wanted a dresser with drawers he could easily pull out.  I'm somewhat regretting that because now one of his favorite activities is to open his drawers and pull EVERYTHING out!

When we bought it I knew all it needed was a coat of paint and we'd have a great dresser on our hands that could last us through at least Isaac.

Over Labor Day weekend, we went over to Home Depot and spent some time with the nice paint people over there!  One of the men was VERY helpful and got us just what we needed.  One nice thing about Home Depot is that all their interior paints now are Low-Odor/ No VOC.  It was nice to know we wouldn't have to leave the dresser outside for a few weeks while the fumes died off.

Andy spent the next few evenings doing this out on our balcony:

Our balcony is so small he had to do the drawers first and then he could do the body of the dresser.  If we had been able to fit everything out at once, this would've been a super quick project!  As it was, Isaac was without a dresser for a full week.

The finished dresser:

I'm still contemplating changing out the knobs. I'd rather have handles on the four bottom drawers and possibly some white ceramic knobs for the top drawers. For right now though, we're just glad to not have flower bouquets on his dresser anymore!

We've decided that painting furniture is a much more manageable DIY project than re-upholstering a chair!  The up-front investment isn't too bad.  We spent about $60 in supplies (brushes, paint, primer, etc) and we'll be able to use all of that for other projects down the line.  The actual painting part took maybe 4-5 hours done in 30 minute chunks.

One thing we learned is that there's actually a reason why they tell you not to paint when it's more than 90 degrees outside!  The paint dried really quickly because it was so hot outside.  As a result there are brushstrokes all over, but oh well... live and learn.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mama's Little Helper!

Lately Isaac's been my little helper!  Lately he's become really interested in whatever I do and has wanted to do the same thing.  It's been so cute watching him help me with the things we do every day.

Helping me sweep.
 Isaac LOVES the broom!  If I want to actually get any sweeping done I have to do it when he's asleep.  Otherwise we spend 30 minutes walking in circles.
The other day while I was folding laundry Isaac started putting Andy's socks in the basket and wiping the  sticker at the bottom of the hamper with one.

Cleaning the windows.

Helping me dust the TV stand.  Isaac really likes these bright microfiber cloths I got to clean with.  If there's one on the floor he'll grab it and start wiping the walls, the door, or whatever's close by.  It's so cute!

Isaac checking things off the to-do list.
This may have been my proudest moment.  Every morning after breakfast  while Isaac's still in his high chair I write out my to-do list for the day on our white board.  The other day Isaac reached out for the marker and board and when I handed it to him, he started drawing all over. With that concentrated look on his face I like to think he's making his first to-do list.

Needless to say I didn't make my own list that day because I couldn't erase it until Andy had seen it.
I love watching this little guy figure out the world around him and I LOVE that he wants to be my little helper!  I just hope I can remember to encourage him to keep wanting to help as he grows up and not make him feel like he's in the way!

10 Months

Okay, so I seriously cannot believe it's already September!  It's still nice and warm here in Texas and since neither of us are in school anymore, we don't have that to remind us that it's practically fall.  Instead I just blissfully pretend that it's still the middle of summer and winter isn't ever going to happen!

Part of the reason I can't believe it's September is that I can't believe that my baby is 10 months old!  I mean seriously... who gave him permission to grow up?!  Luckily, Isaac is okay with being my little pal (and snuggling).  And he's hilarious!

At 10 months Isaac:
  • Has 2 bottom teeth that are all the way through and 2 top teeth that are pushing through.  The bottom teeth were awful when they were coming in, but the top ones sneaked up on us.  As in, he was sleeping on my lap at church and I got a rare peek at his top gum and noticed a tooth starting to poke out!  That was the first I knew of any teething going on in our family!
  • Is HILARIOUS!  Just about anything can make him giggle.  When he's tired he'll get this look in his eye and then come up and start blowing raspberries on me.  Andy and I laugh so much at/with this little guy.
  • Still is obsessed with my hair.  I need to get a picture of this one, because it is a defining thing about him.  When he's starting to get tired or if something's just not right in his world, all he wants is to cuddle with mommy and play with her hair.  I can't even keep it up in buns because if he'll pull them out so he can play with it.  I'm hoping he doesn't grow out of this phase. I just have this vision of him coming home from school as a teenager and stroking my hair while he tells me about his day.
  • Still gets hiccups when he laughs too hard.  It's hilarious... and we may or may not do it to him intentionally sometimes.  Oh how I hope this sticks around for awhile.  I think it would be hilarious if he was 5 or 6 and still got hiccups when he laughed too much!  At least the hiccups don't make him cry anymore like they did when he was a newborn.
  • Enjoys eating just about anything.  He loves grapes, applesauce, and pickles though!  Actually I think the pickles are a mixed thing... he's not so sure about them, but they're just so INTERESTING!  I still can't eat apples when he's awake unless I want to share.  He also really likes homemade yogurt.
  • Can stand on his own... and is so close to walking!
  • Loves to be outside... especially if we're at the pool!  He can swim FOREVER!  Especially if I take him over to the little waterfall in our pool.  He loves to put his hands in the water.
  • Lunges headfirst to get down from our arms (or the couch).  This requires Superman-esque reflexes on our part to keep him from dying on a daily basis.
Isaac LOVES playing in the cabinets!  It's led to a few bumps on the head, but he still loves getting into them. I've tried to move most of the breakables.

Isaac's two bottom teeth!

Isaac likes "forts"... aka, when I drape a blanket over both of us.  He thinks it's hilarious!

Isaac's curls!

We got Isaac this little walker and it's his favorite thing!  He loves zooming around the apartment with it!  His favorite thing though is the little piano on the front.

Getting into dad's backpack.  Isaac's figured out  how to open the zippered compartments.

Despite having plenty of toys, Isaac's favorite toys are random objects... like this bowl and spoon that kept him busy FOREVER! 

On a walk to Central Market

We gave him a fig bar and he got it all over himself!

We got Isaac some new church clothes and I just about died with how cute he was!

Isaac's favorite way to fall asleep right now.  He'll lay down and play with my hair in the living room and once he's drowsy I'll take him into his crib.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Back to Kansas

Yep... we've already been back up to Kansas to visit.  Andy had training in Chicago for a week and I decided there was no way I was going to stay in Dallas by myself (I don't know how you awesome military wives do it!) and be in charge of Isaac 24/7.  Granted, when we made this decision Isaac was cutting his second tooth and adjusting to this new apartment/schedule, so he wasn't sleeping well and I wasn't sleeping well.  The thought of being alone for a week was overwhelming to say the least!

If we had lived farther away from family I would've made it work.  Since my parents are only 5 1/2 hours away now, I decided to go spend the week with them.  It was my sister Allie's last week at home before heading off to BYU (which I am suddenly missing so much it's not even funny), so I was extra glad to see her one last time before she headed off to enormous amounts of fun... I mean college.

I'm so glad we went because we had so much fun!  

One of the highlights was introducing Isaac to my parents new puppy Ginny (yes... as in Ginny from Harry Potter)

At first Isaac wasn't so sure about the furry beast...

But by the end of the week he was lunging for her!

Isaac had to learn what "soft" means.
Isaac also had fun exploring my parents house and neighborhood!

Isaac loved sitting in a swing by himself!  We wrapped my mom's jacket around him because it was a little chilly.

First trip down the slide!

Isaac LOVED getting into my mom's pantry and taking everything out!  He is one strong little dude too because some of those things are heavy!

Practicing his pedal work.

Isaac loved this little cart of my moms!  He could walk all over with it.

More than anything though, he LOVED spending time with his aunts and grandparents!

Isaac really enjoys being upside down!

Frozen yogurt popsicle with grandma

A careful inspection of the phone

Isaac LOVES Grandpa!  He was so excited every night when Grandpa got home from work! He would put one fist in the air so they could do a fist bump (we later realized that's how he points since he hasn't figure out the whole pointer finger thing).  He also loves helping Grandpa take a drink!

All in all, this was a great trip to Kansas!  I'm so excited to live closer to my family so we can see them more often!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Chair

While living with my parents in Kansas, Andy and I wanted to try to find some furniture for our new apartment in Dallas.  Since they had a van (and were willing to watch Isaac) we figured it would be much easier to go get furniture then, rather than taking Isaac with us in our little sedan.

Long story short, one of the things I really wanted was a cute little chair to go in the corner of our living room.  I kind of have a thing for clean, classic lines and grey fabric, but I knew that finding those two things together wouldn't be cheap (or easy).  When I found a chair on Craigslist that was EXACTLY what I was looking for (minus the 1960s gold brocade fabric), I knew we could turn it into something beautiful with the right fabric.

Fast forward a week or two and it's suddenly the Friday before we leave for Utah.  Andy finally got sick of waiting for my mom and I to get started on re-upholstering the chair, so he took matters into his own hands.

This is the best before picture we have.  We forgot to get a good one before we started taking things apart.

First, Andy painstakingly removed every staple and nail to preserve the original fabric to use as a pattern for our pieces.  He also took over 100 pictures of every detail about how each piece fit together.  That way we could re-upholster the chair exactly the way it was done originally.

I don't have any pictures of the rest of the process, but it went something like this:

Once Andy was done taking the chair apart, we laid each piece out on the new fabric to make sure we had enough (we didn't).  We also realized that we were going to need upholstery batting to replace the 50+ year old batting that was firmly stuck on the fabric.  After a trip to the Jo-Ann's on in East Wichita, we had everything we needed to finish the project: more fabric, new batting, tacks, cord, etc.

After getting more fabric, we cut the new pieces using the old ones as our patterns.

I then sewed a BUNCH of piping! Since we didn't have enough fabric to cut it on the bias, we had to cut the strips of fabric surrounding the cording on the grain, but I would definitely recommend doing it on the bias if at all possible!

Andy then went to town with my parents' air compressed staple gun while I kept Isaac out of earshot and trouble.  When we left for Utah it was 90% done and the day we got back Andy finished it up.  It looks pretty awesome if you ask me!

I love this chair so much it's not even funny!  Every time I look at it I smile.  Isaac loves this chair too.  And by loves this chair, I mean he loves that the springs inside the chair make his hand bounce (and make a funny noise) when he stands next to the chair and hits down on it.  And he loves that if he can climb on it before Andy or I notice he can reach thinks on the bookshelf next to the chair by standing on the arm... or the guitar hero guitars behind the chair.  All around, this chair is loved.

We did learn a few lessons though about re-upholstering furniture (and any DIY projects really).

1. Re-upholstering isn't the cheapest way to get furniture.  We were wanting to spend about $80 on the chair, but after spending $60 to buy the chair, $60 on fabric (and that's after getting it 50% off!), $30 on batting, and another $15 on miscellaneous supplies, it cost us double what we had anticipated.  If you have a specific idea in your head though and you can't find it anywhere (within a reasonable price range), it's a good option.  Just be sure to price out the project before you start so you aren't surprised by how much it costs!

2. Take way more pictures than you think you'll need.  Even though Andy took a ton of pictures, we still had some parts where we weren't sure how exactly it should go back together.

3. It's worth it to take the time to make everything look perfect.  Even if it takes a few extra hours.  Make sure the pattern matches (as much as possible).  Make sure to pull the fabric as tight as possible while stapling.  If you're going to spend that much time and money on a project, it should end up as something you LOVE.

4. Curves and seams are hard to get right. Look for a piece with as many straight lines as possible.

5. Make sure the piece has good bones.  If it's a chair/couch, you want it to have good firm cushions and a good solid frame.  Re-upholstery isn't a cure-all for sad looking couch, but it is a good way to update an outdated piece that's otherwise in good shape!

In the end, we'll probably skip the DIY re-upholstery for awhile and stick to slightly simpler projects for the time being.  Andy swears he's never going to do it again... and I've promised myself I'll start off with something easier.