Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Home is where the HEART is

With all this cold weather and a new baby, we’ve been spending a lot of time at home. All this houseboundness inspired me to liven up our abode with a little red and pink decorating. Of course Erik, Luke and Eleanor aren’t the most appreciative audience for my efforts, so I capitalized on my decorating impulse by hosting a little Valentine’s brunch for some friends.

I brought out the felt heart garland I made last year and sewed two more to match. I adored hearts as a little girl and haven’t outgrown my partiality to them yet!

Beautiful Valentine’s Day flowers from Erik were the perfect centerpiece. He really spoiled me with blooms this year!

Of course I love an excuse to use pretty glasses and linens too.

I didn’t want the living room to feel left out, so I printed a V-Day poster, popped it in a frame, and hung it over the mantle.

Up next is Luke’s second birthday this Saturday. I still haven’t decided whether I should take the hearts down for his celebration or leave some of them up. Auntie C is coming to visit and we can’t wait to have a little family party with her!

Even cuter in pink!

We couldn’t let Eleanor’s first V-Day pass without a little photo shoot. In candy hearts speak – U R 2 CUTE!

Your smiles steal our hearts and we’re captivated by all your thoughtful expressions too.

We could eat you with a spoon, little girl!

Her big bro is pretty enamored too.

Don’t they make the cutest little pair?

We had a super-sweet Valentine’s Day with our precious heart-melters and hope you had a special day too!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Neighborhood ‘triathlon’ with Luke

Come along with us for Luke’s typical three-event adventures in our neighborhood! First up is a walk across the arroyo, enjoying the expansive views of the protected open space south of the city. We keep our eyes peeled for wildlife and once we spotted a tarantula on the sidewalk! Our neighbor tops that tale though. On an evening walk on this stretch, he heard what sounded like a sprinkler starting up. So he leaned down to inspect it and found himself face-to-face with the real source of the sound, a rattlesnake! But much more typical is a tumbleweed sighting, like this pair from our walk last weekend: 

Next comes a triathlon mainstay, bike riding. Luke always asks for his dad to ride with him, and I love to watch my two Lances outside together!

Truck-chasing, Luke’s third event, is much less standard for triathlons. But when you’re jogging after the garbage truck as it makes the neighborhood rounds, it almost counts! This week we’ve had easy pickings with front row seats for all sorts of fantastic trucks at a road repair site around the corner.

We’ll be sad to see that job completed, but other friendly trucks come through often so our triathlon training will continue unhindered. And come summer, there’s always the kiddie pool for cross-training!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Playroom reveal!

When we’re ready to move Eleanor’s bassinet out of our room, we hope that she and Luke will share his room and quiet each other when they wake up in the night. But we’ll be happy as long as they don’t keep each other up! A shared kids’ room leaves our third bedroom free for use as a playroom, with a guest room alter ego. I’ll save the guest room setup of this room for another post, but today I thought I’d share our playroom with you. Here’s a first peek with the playroom princess.

We tried to keep the room gender-neutral and not too juvenile since it hosts adults from time to time. We accented the sunny space with an outdoorsy theme… butterflies! Eleanor loves to watch them flutter from the ceiling:

And I like the modern look of the grid of oversized ones above the bed:

The room’s other art extends the nature theme. Of course we had to feature our little naturalist (plus a few of his friends from our Grand Lake trip) in the frame next to the closet.

And we have a special find from the Grand Lake Art Gallery. It’s too bad for my sailor husband that the boat is motor instead of sail powered, but I just love the joyful, relaxed spirit that this painting exudes!

The window was a challenge. Securing the curtain rod over such a wide window was tough, and sewing the white panel for the top half-circle was a stretch for my novice sewing skills. I still need to try to lengthen the gingham curtains and find better tie-backs. But imperfections and all, here are the window treatments for our home’s one wonderfully sunny window. 

My favorite room element is the bedding. It helps that it adorns the trundle bed that my sister and I slept on as kids. Now we turn the tables and make my parents sleep on it when they come to visit! But I hope they’re comfortable and I do love the girly, brass bed and look forward to seeing Eleanor use it one day. I think the white floral matelass√© mattress cover and bed skirt accent it perfectly. Both were lucky ebay finds: I love it when a poorly photographed, gently used item auctions off for cheap! The white cover isn’t particularly kid-friendly, but I tell Luke that sitting here is for adults only. Is that unfair?

With all these bright colors plus a frequent rainbow of toys on the floor, we painted the walls a neutral khaki-grey (Behr Baked Biscotti). We had already painted every other room in our home, so this job completed our whole-house repaint. Erik was delighted to reach that point, so I think we might have to move before I get to pick any new paint colors…

I love how this small room accomplishes so many functions without looking too dominated by any of them. Erik’s old clunky TV tucks under the table, creating a kid-level viewing area. Our documents are stored in the brown filing cabinet that functions as an end table. The guest bed doubles as a couch and a safer spot for Eleanor when Luke is playing on the floor. And there’s even a workspace for my sewing machine and storage for Luke’s toys!

But the best multi-tasker is the big sunny window. It injects some much-needed warmth and brightness into our home since we don’t get much direct sun from our other windows. Plus it’s perfect for watching Erik arrive home on his bike, the garbage truck pass by, our neighbor zoom up on his motorcycle, Christmas lights twinkling, or dogs being walked in our cul-de-sac. So that wraps up our playroom tour! You can find me and my two munchkins hanging out there most days of the week!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Swinging temps & toddlers

What a crazy couple days it’s been here! Yesterday the recorded low in ABQ was –7 and with windchill it was around –30. On the weather they said that NM’s lows for the morning were colder than any other state in the continental US! And that wasn’t the only seemingly impossible news of the morning. Natural gas heat had been shut off for a number of homes and many business in Albuquerque, with the threat of much wider heat losses, due to high demand and rolling blackouts across the Southwest. Erik was sent home early because the gas was unexpectedly cut to the entire Air Force base (where he works) just before 9 am yesterday. Meanwhile we were conserving energy at home hoping to avoid a loss of heat ourselves. Since we don’t have a wood-burning fireplace or space heaters our heat loss plan was to pile into our bed with its electric heating pad on high and lots of covers! Thankfully it never came to that and the outages are lifting now. But who knew that such a thing was even possible after such a brief cold snap?

But now for some heartwarming kiddos and the real stars of this blog. Our housebound status prompted us to finally set up Luke’s baby swing and try it out with Eleanor. Luke practiced pushing it without her inside first, and then he did a pretty good job once she was strapped in. But he found spinning the mobile for her even more intriguing, and she might have liked that better too.

Luke helpfully tried to press the swing’s buttons, but they didn’t work since we’ve decided that it’s most entertaining for everyone if it’s fueled by Luke-power alone.

It was so sweet to see the swing give Luke and Eleanor their first taste of playing together. They were both enjoying and interacting with the same toy, and it was even pretty safe for a little babe!

Plus it was way cozier than riding this around outside, which is what Luke had done with me as his playmate earlier that day. Spring isn’t in next week’s forecast but hopefully it isn’t too far away!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snow day

Before I moved to Albuquerque my standards for ‘windy’ were much milder. But even based on my new metric, the wind outside is fierce tonight. We got our share of today’s mega-snowstorm, as my kitchen window verifies:

If you look closely, you can see that even at 1 pm the outdoor temp is reading 14 degrees, and there is a fine layer of SNOW that has blown inside! BRRR, as Luke likes to say these days! You’ll also notice that the indoor temp is 52 degrees. That’s why everyone brings extra layers when they come to visit us! But don’t worry, we turn up the heat for guests (:

The biggest up-side to the snow was that Erik only had to work a partial day. It was wonderful to have him home with us mid-week and perhaps even more wonderful to watch him play with Luke in the snow through the window instead of needing to be out there with the snow-bear myself!

Tomorrow, the high is 14 but Erik has an important meeting at work so no more hooky for him. If only Luke were as deterred by the frigid temps as I am! I’m sure that when he wakes up he’ll immediately find his boots and bring them to me saying ‘outside’ just like he did today. What a crazy guy, he even eats the snow!