Monday, September 30, 2013

I Don't Even Know Who I Am Anymore

I don't know what's happening to me lately, but this is the second craft I've made in like 3 months! I know it's shocking. Even more so that they actually turn out! HA! I blame Pinterest for all this stuff. It's like going window shopping. You always buy something when you just go out to "look." You can't help but craft something when you're constantly browsing the Pinterest.

So I've been seeing all these cute pictures of fall-themed porches and lamenting the fact that we have the world's tiniest porch. I can't put anything on it because the storm door will just push it off when it's opened. So basically I can decorate my door, around the door, and a very teensy amount on the stairs. But, this is a blessing in disguise because then it means I don't have to make/buy as much crap to decorate with!

The main project I wanted to tackle was some sort of wreath or door hanging. I liked the idea of having an "H" on it, but most of the ideas I saw looked too much like somebody tacked a letter on a wreath and called it good. I wanted something more homogenous. So, Sylvie and I went to the craft store and gathered supplies.

It turned out the cheapest, fastest option for the "wreath" part was a little arch shaped arrangement of leaves and such. I'm sure I could have made my own, but toddlers generally don't enjoy spending hours in a store waiting for you to hem and haw over which sprig of leaves and pumpkins would be cute together. For the "H" I found a large precut wood letter in a style I liked and then bought some burlap ribbon to cover it with. I finished it all off with an orange raffia bow. The hardest part of the assembly was not burning my hands on the hot glue. Best part of shopping for supplies? They were all at least 40% off! I think I spent about $45 on everything, including the 2 strands of leaves for the sides of the door. Compare that to the already-made (unpersonalized) wreaths that were over $100.

My other mini project was a pumpkin planter. I just hollowed out the pumpkin and dropped in a cheap potted mum plant. I didn't even actually plant the mum because what's the point if you can't see the pot anyway? Amirite? Maybe I'll get crazy and do a couple other sizes/colors of flowers later on. Ok I probably won't but it's a good idea.

So there you go. Fall decorating on the cheap for a small porch. Just don't expect me to change it when Christmas rolls around...

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Handyman

It's amazing all the things you'll learn to do when motivated by money. Being a homeowner gives you lots and lots of opportunity to advance your handyman skills. I've installed everything from faucets to chandeliers, repaired all from toilets to pianos, and improved my decorating and organizational skills.

Last week I put a load of clothes in the dryer before going to bed. Sylvie woke me up around 2am and after I got back in bed I suddenly realized I could still hear the dryer running. Visions of charred clothing danced through my head as I sprinted downstairs to see what sorts of evil spirits had invaded my dryer.

When I opened the door I was shocked to find clothes that were completely dry, but cool... just tumbling away with no heat. I looked at the timer to see it had only advanced a sliver from where I had set it originally. Huh. That's odd.

The next day I did what anyone would have done in my situation: Googled the hell out of my problem. From what I could tell a cycling switch and possibly a heat fuse had broken. I then watched a video on how to fix the problem which looked incredibly easy, so I ordered up the parts.

A couple days later when they arrived, I got myself setup to make the repair. When I unplugged the dryer I was surprised to find one of the prongs looked burnt/melted, but, I figured since the dryer was still running, it must be OK. So, I installed the new switch and fuse and fired her up. No dice. There was still no heat. Hmm..

I did some more Googling and wasn't 100% satisfied that ordering other parts would fix the issue. I finally decided I needed to stop guessing and actually test all the components in the dryer to see which one was broken. So, I broke out Seth's trusty multimeter and proceeded to test all the dryer parts. Imagine my shock when they all tested good. What the heck was going on?

I think I finally must have decided to check on the burnt power cord and I'm glad I did. Apparently those crazy power cords will keep running the dryer, but the prong that goes to the heat just won't work. Most likely the connection in the outlet was bad or loose and it arced and damaged the plug.

Well, at this point I decided this was a job for the professionals. We called in a real electrician to replace the outlet and check the wiring to make sure it was OK. I replaced the fried power cord on the dryer and that was that. It scares me to think what could have happened. The laundry room is right beneath Sylvie's room and something like that could have easily started a fire. Needless to say I'm never going to run the dryer at night again.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Letters to Sylvie: 14 Months

Dear Sylvie,

All of a sudden you seem so much older. I look at you sitting in your high chair and I see a little toddler, not my tiny baby. Everyday you seem to learn something new and it's so fun to see you progress.

You are all about pointing. From the moment you wake up before you are even fully conscious, you will start pointing at everything and jabbering away "Aya! aya! aya!" We frequently walk around the house and I'll name stuff as you point at it. You like to point to Daddy in the family pictures and have me name all the spices up on the wall in the kitchen. You've also begun to point out objects when I name them. I'll say, "Where's a spoon?" and you'll point to the spoon I'm holding as I feed you. You also frequently get light, puppy, kitty, Daddy, toes, and tree. You're still working on Mommy and nose. You haven't really said anything other than Daddy, but you're convinced you're talking when you say "da" and "aya" and any other random babbling.

I finally gave in and put away your Jumperoo. You've decided you're a big girl and don't like to play with the baby toy. You have to be moving around! Luckily you've found a few new toys that are more suitable. You love to go into a room and close the door so Mommy or Daddy can't get you. As soon as we open the door you're off and crawling away laughing. You are also obsessed with playing in the kitchen drawers. There is a perpetual layer of spatulas, measuring cups, and other utensils strewn about the floor. You open and close the drawers, take things out, put them in, chew on things, etc.

You've been pulling yourself up to stand for a while now but didn't seem too interested in walking. You wouldn't stand up when I held your hands or walk with your puppy walker that Grandma Denise gave you for your birthday. A couple weeks ago your Aunt Corinne sent you another walker toy which we opened at Grandma & Grandpa's house. Within 2 minutes you were walking all around the house like a pro. Since then you're all about walking. You walk with Mommy, you walk with your puppy, and cruise around all the furniture. I think you just don't like to tackle new physical feats until you're sure you can do it. This morning I let go of you momentarily while you were standing and for a couple seconds you stood there by yourself. Pretty soon you'll be walking on your own!

You have taken much more interest in eating recently which makes me really happy. Your little chunka cheeks are getting bigger by the day and it makes me so proud to see my baby so healthy and chubby. Your daddy makes you pancakes or waffles every morning when you wake up and you readily scarf them down. You love anything in the bread family. We keep a stash of Ritz crackers in the car and I'll hand you one periodically when you're getting fussy. I love to feel your little hand take the cracker and hear the tiny crunch noise when you take a bite. I don't think there's anything cuter than you eating a cracker. Other foods you currently like include tuna casserole, penne pasta with tomato sauce, macaroni and cheese, peas, fries, Cheerios, and raspberries. Yogurt seems to be on its way out and you're not a big fan of meat yet.

You are growing into quite the affectionate girl. You'll boop my nose with your nose or give me a kiss when I ask you too. You are also usually quite gentle to Gracie and pat her or boop her nose. You've also taken to grabbing books and coming over to the rocking chair and wanting to be put in mommy or daddy's lap to read. Your favorite books at the moment are "Blue Hat, Green Hat" or "Oops" as I call it, and "Goodnight Moon."

I recently caved and gave you your first haircut. Granted I only got to snip at your hair a couple times before you were through, but I think I toned down the schmullet look a little.

I know I say this a lot, but I sure do love you Sylvie. Being a mom is so much more amazing than I ever dreamed. You mean the world to me and I'm so lucky to have you.

I love you Buggaboogie.

Love, Mama