Monday, December 31, 2012

Passport Artwork

I've been wanting to make a piece of artwork from old passport stamps ever since I saw Brooklyn Limestone do it here. It's actually been on my 36 in 365 list for the last two years. And I'm happy to report, I have finally gotten around to doing it! 

(click to enlarge)
The first piece on the left has stamps from Ireland, France, and USA. The middle has France, the chunnel in England, and Colombia. The piece on the right includes Japan, Portugal, and Thailand.

It was really quite simple so I shouldn't have waited so long to do it. I basically followed the instructions in the blog post that I linked to above. I bought three wooden rectangles and sawtooth picture hangers from Joann Fabrics and spray adhesive from Target. This cost me around $10 if I remember correctly, and the spray adhesive was much more expensive than anything else. M scanned our passports for me and I fiddled around with them on iPhoto to make them a proper size. I printed the pictures out on our home computer and then after realizing I didn't have a sharp enough exacto knife, just cut the proper size paper with scissors. I sprayed the adhesive onto the paper then plopped it onto the wood and voila, there you have it. The hardest part was finding a good place to hang them. I finally decided on a spot in our staircase.
I love walking down the stairs and being reminded of some of the cool places we've traveled to and the fun times we've had. For someone who is rarely crafty, I am so proud of myself, and happy to cross this off the list! 

Friday, December 28, 2012

WEverb Days 11 - 14

WEverb Day 11: spend/save [LIVE]
Are you richer or poorer this year compared to last?

Technically we are poorer this year than last year, mostly because we bought a house plus I'm a stay at home mom and haven't worked a "real" job in two and a half years. Everyone asks if I miss teaching and the answer is simple - no! I feel so fortunate to be able to stay at home with Little m, I wouldn't trade it for the world, even if this means watching our money a little closer. So while technically we are poorer, I feel 100 times richer because I get to spend my days with the world's best baby.

WEverb Day 12: toss [GROW]
2012 was the last time for ___________.

Living in Lincoln Park. Sharing laundry facilities with crazy people. Being woken in the middle of the night by wind chimes. Dealing with street parking (hallelujah). Waking up for midnight feedings -not me, baby. iPhone 3GS. One Tree Hill.

WEverb Day 13: associate [LISTEN]
What blog/book/article spoke to you the most in 2012?

Emily at Oh! Apostrophe wrote a blog post about breastfeeding a toddler and oh my, she could have taken the words right out of my mouth. When Little m turned one year old, I felt almost embarrassed saying yes when people asked me if I was still nursing. I don't know why but I got the vibe from a number of people that as soon as a child turns one, it's weird to continue breastfeeding. Well I got over that quickly, especially after reading Emily's post on this very matter. She has a child a few months older than Little m and every blog post I read of hers I want to bookmark. She also has great info about cloth diapering and toy recommendations.

WEverb Day 14: walk [LIVE]
Describe the path to a favourite place of yours to walk in 2012. What's meaningful about the place or the journey?

Little m started walking right around her first birthday in August. Once she got steady enough, I started letting her walk on her own, instead of sitting in her stroller, when we take our dog out. Even if we just go up and down our block, I get so much joy out of watching her walk around because it makes her so happy. It's like she just wants to yell "FREEDOM" with every step she takes. Once the Halloween decorations came out, it was even more fun and now that the Christmas lights are out, she's loving every moment of walking around our hood. She also likes to make pit stops to sit on everyone's front steps, which is ultra cute.

A Day in the Life of Little Miss M (at 15 months)

I really enjoyed documenting a day with Little m last month so I decided to do it again! Here's what a typical day looks like with the little munchkin at 15 months of age.

6:45am Little m is up, and ready and raring to go. I go into her bedroom and nurse her so that M can continue sleeping in our room. Usually I pull her into our room so that I can stay cozy in bed for a few more minutes, but I know M's been working a lot lately and needs the extra sleep.

7:00am Diaper change number one. I decide to change the babe into her clothes. Usually I wait until after breakfast because she often makes a mess and ends up staining her clothes, even while wearing a bib. We are both feeling under the weather today and I know we won't be going anywhere fancy.

7:15am We head downstairs and sit in the window and play one of Little m's favourite games - dress up Pooh Bear with hair clips and elastics. This can be a very time consuming game and Little m will pass me each individual clip or elastic, which I put on Pooh's ears, nose, and paws. Afterwards, Little m takes them all off, then we repeat the game. Over and over again. It's cute.

8:00am Time for breakfast. Little m runs over to her drawer and pulls out a bib. Smart cookie. We're heading out of town so the cupboards are looking bare, but I round up some homemade banana coconut bread and some dehydrated strawberries. She loves the bread - I'll have to remember to make it again soon. The husband is working from home today so he visits for a bit and then heads downstairs to  take a call.

8:30am Bamalamadingdong is waiting patiently to go for a walk. M takes the dog for his morning walk, but is busy all morning with calls, so we bundle up and take him ourselves. Here's what Little m thinks about that idea:
Apparently I take too long getting ready. Little m is working on developing some patience but once we get outside she's happy to look around and point at the birds and Christmas decorations.

9:00am Back inside and it's time to read books. I sit on our bench and Little m runs back and forth to the bookshelf, bringing me books, one by one. She will sometimes sit through an entire book, but for the most part she looks at one or two pages and is ready for a new one.

9:30am We head upstairs so that I can get showered and dressed for the day. Little m is finally okay with letting me shower while she's awake. She used to freak out and pound on the glass door the entire time, but now she's happy to play and empty out the bathroom cupboards while I get ready.

10:30am It's time to head out and pick up the little boy that I babysit. Before that though, we make a super quick stop at the grocery store to pick up some necessities: chicken soup, cough drops, and orange juice. Blah.

11:15am Back at home and it's time for lunch. Little m has a peanut butter sandwich and some pieces of apple. I try to give her some chicken noodle soup but she wants nothing to do with it. So picky some days! She plays for a bit with the little guy and then it's mama's favourite time of the day - nap time. She'll sleep anywhere from 1.5 - 2.5 hours and today she's out cold from 12:30pm - 2:30pm.

2:30pm Little m is coming to the point where she can interact with other kids. She is in love with the little guy I watch and for the next hour they have fun with the toys and play kitchen. Little m pretends to make soup and we stir it and take turns having pretend bites. She thinks this is hilarious.

3:30pm The little guy gets picked up and we get ready to head outside to take the dog for another walk. Little m is happier this time because I mention Christmas lights. She is very helpful these days and I ask her to get her coat and hat out of our storage bench and she does. I tell her to get her shoes and she takes them and sits on our stairs and starts trying to put them on her feet. She's not quite there yet but that doesn't stop her from trying!

4:00pm We head inside and Little m proceeds to live up to her nickname, "The Destroyer".
She makes messes like this all day long but now I've become a bit wiser. If she makes a mess, she cleans it up, or at least helps me.

4:30pm I need to start thinking about making dinner so I plop Little m on the couch and turn to my best friend, Barney to keep her entertained for the next ten minutes. Yes, just ten. I wish it was thirty. Kidding, kidding. But jeez, why is tv so magical? Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
Here she is, her brain slowly turning to mush. She's so in love with Barney that she won't even look at me, trying to get her attention to take the picture.

5:00pm It's dinnertime and I've made us breakfast because that's all that's left in the fridge. Little m is overjoyed with her dinner, as you can see below. Sometimes this child drives me crazy and pushes her tray away before she's even tasted anything. She ends up eating a little and then I give up and let her down. The fight's not in me today.

5:30pm Little m's daddy is done work for the moment and comes upstairs to have dinner and give me some relief. Here's a video of Little m showing off her new word:
Oy, how is she growing up so quickly? Already telling her mom and dad nooooooooooooo. We do more hair styling and I can just eat her up, she's so super cute in the evenings. When I ask her for a kiss and she actually gives me one - ugh, my heart melts.

6:00pm Bath time! Daddy joins us for family bath time and I guess I didn't give Little m enough liquids today because she drinks the bath water nonstop! We read a couple of books and get ready for sleeping. I nurse her for ten minutes or so before bed and she is out like a light.

6:45pm The babe is sleeping peacefully and I'm feeling like death so I bring a pillow to the couch and remain there in the horizontal position for the rest of the night.

10:00pm Goodnight!

See you next month for another day in the life of Little Miss M!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

WEverb Days 7 - 9

Slowly, very slowly, catching up on WEverb12

WEverb Day 7: enliven [GROW]
Was there a book or article that inspired you to make a change in your life this year? 

Surprise, surprise, all of the articles that "spoke" to me are mom related. I loved the recent "Why You're Never Failing as a Mother" article because it reminded me that I don't have to do it all. The video in "Move Over Barbie - You're Obsolete" made me cry and think about how I can raise my babe to be a super smart cookie who can play with barbies if she wants to, but also play with toys that require more brain power. "The Mom Stays in the Picture" encouraged me to take more pictures with Little m, no matter how I'm looking that day or how red my forehead zit is.
Kisses from my favourite munchkin.

WEverb Day 8: respond [LISTEN]
Do you actively listen to your inner voice/conscience? Describe a time this year you heard and responded to it.

I'm a big fan of going with your gut. I try to listen to my inner voice because when she speaks, she's usually right. Sometimes it's silly little things. Just this morning I was taking some clothes out of the dryer. I saw the husband's stinky hockey laundry sitting in the sink because when he got home last night my laundry was still in the wash. I walked right past it, thinking, oh he can take care of that later. I started up the stairs, trying to ignore my inner voice, who was telling me to go back and do something nice for my husband. I finally decided to listen and went back and started his laundry. Other times, the inner voice talks about more important things and encourages me to lock the doors and get the hell outta dodge. So yeah, I'm an active listener.

WEverb Day 9: triumph [CREATE]
How were you challenged by a project or goal this year? What did you learn from it?  

One of my goals this year was to take monthly pictures of Little m and blog about her developments. Well, I'm really pissed off at myself because I made it to the eighth month and then just stopped. I used to write down one thing on a calendar that happened each day and this would help me summarize the month. I also stopped doing that, so now I have no record of when she started crawling, walking, talking, etc. Is this really important? I don't know. It would be nice and in reality, would only take an extra minute or two at the end of each day. So anyway, now I've made a lot of extra work for myself because I'm determined to go through all of the pictures I took to fill in the blanks. What have I learned from all of this? Stop being a slacker!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

WEverb Days 2 - 6

Although very behind schedule, I'm still participating in WEverb12, which means that this blog post is made up of my responses to a series of prompts. Let's do this.

WEverb Day 2: watch [LIVE]
What movie did you see this year that you would recommend to a friend?

I'm having a really hard time remembering any great movies I've seen this year. I guess I would have to go with Ms. Katniss Everdeen and The Hunger Games. The books were awesome and I thought the movie was pretty great too. I was excited to finally see it a few months ago and I hope the next movies don't disappoint. 

WEverb Day 3: stay [LISTEN]
How did you stay in the moment this year?

Honestly, I struggled with this this year. Thanks a lot iPhone, you are such an addicting, pretty little thing. Staying in the moment is going to be a huge goal of mine in the future and while we're on an upcoming family vacation I'm going to challenge myself to go offline for an entire week. This actually makes me feel a little ill, which is disturbing and shows me just how far gone I am. It will definitely be a challenge, but I'm up for it! Also, in the new year I'm coming up with a few plans to help me stay more in the moment on a daily basis. This will include using my phone only when the bebe is asleep. 

WEverb Day 4: experiment [GROW]
What did you do in 2012 that you had never done before? Will you do it again?

This year I am pretty proud that I've put myself out there and made a good effort to meet new people. I am a naturally shy person, hate small talk, and feel so much more comfortable in a small group setting with people I've known forever. This year I've really forced myself to meet other moms and talk to my new neighbours. Of course I will do it again because sitting alone at home is not that fun. 

WEverb Day 5: fellowship [HOPE]
What community has engaged you most this year and what did you get out of your participation?

So, Chicago is a big city and bad things happen here. While we were house hunting we became interested in a home in a neighbourhood I knew nothing about. To learn more, I found a neighbourhood association group on facebook and joined it. Scarily, now I know every small and big crime that happens in my area, but the sense of community gained from this group is wonderful. Knowing that there are people who care about the community and are looking out for you is quite a nice feeling. I never felt any sense of community like this in the (much wealthier) neighbourhood I used to live in. It's great. 

WEverb Day 6: cook [LIVE]
What was your best recipe/dish of the year? Share it!

It's nothing fancy at all, but it's an incredibly tasty, quick, and delicious dinner option - found on Pinterest, of course. Here's the recipe for oven roasted peppers, onion, potatoes, and sausage. Sometimes I leave out the potatoes and I cut extra onions because Little m loves them. I don't use as much oil as the recipe calls for. Whatever you do, don't leave out the banana peppers. This recipe reminds me of something my mom used to make. Delicioso.
Okay, that's enough for tonight! Now I'm only ten days behind schedule :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

WEverb Day One: compose [CREATE]

In the month of December I'll be participating in WEverb12, which means that my blog posts will be made up of my responses to a series of prompts. The first prompt is to create a Haiku for 2012 plus bonus points for creating one for 2013. The first thing I had to do was google how to write a haiku. It's been a while!

Here's what I came up with for 2012:

Eyes sparkle as she
explores the world around her.
The light of my life. 

This past year was all about watching Little m grow and learn and my oh my, it's been a wonderful experience being a stay at home mom. I am so thankful that I get to spend my days with her.

And here's what I came up with for 2013:

Regaining the me
who I once used to be - but  
only much better.

I finally feel as though I have a grasp on motherhood and next year I'm very excited to get a bit of the old me back. This means doing a bit of traveling, getting into better shape, and taking time to look after myself. Only, I can never return to the old person I used to be. Now that Little m is here, I find that I'm more patient, more loving, and I take time to enjoy the little things in life. It can only get better from here.

For me, the point of participating in REverb12 is to take the time to reflect on the year 2012. It was a great one and I'm excited to get some of my thoughts about it down on "paper".