Monday, February 15, 2016

Baby's Room.

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Baby's room is pretty much ready for her to arrive, and I think she's getting close to prepared too at 40 weeks. I can take almost no credit for her room, it's a labor of love mostly from my mom and Kip with sweet gifts from friends and family.

Kip worked so hard on this little space, and I really wanted to document the extensive list of DIY projects he completed over the past couple months preparing the nursery. This was an unused room of junk until we found out we were pregnant, and we donated an old bed to Sleepyhead Beds, took advantage of big trash pick-up in Overland Park, and reassigned a couple of turkey fans to other corners of the house (basement). Once the room was empty, Kip started on a long list of handyman projects including:
  • Priming and painting the room a very neutral gray. It took many trips to many paint stores and five samples to get the right one, but finally, we picked one that I love. It had to not be too dark for a nursery room!
  • New baseboards 
  • Patched a lot of spots in the walls
  • Painting the ceiling
  • Painting the trim
  • Installing a ceiling fan
  • Adding insulation to the attic with his dad on a cold day in December
  • Building a new attic access door to help seal off the closet and help regulate the temperature
  • Assembling the crib that Dad and Tracy bought us
  • Installing new blinds and curtains 
  • New light switch, registers and outlets (significant because it requires turning off the power)
  • Priming and painting the closet and adding new baseboards in there as well
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There is nothing on the walls yet, though we have a few ideas. I think I was waiting for her to get here, and maybe we will personalize it a bit with her name. There is a rocking chair and a cradle (in our room) that came from my mom and dad when Lu and I were little babies, and Mom sewed a new cushion for the rocking chair. We're getting by with a small nightstand borrowed from Mom's house while we debate what kind of book/toy storage would work best in the room.
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Since the beginning of this re-do, Mom and I have discussed what was worth sewing and what we could buy just as easily or sometimes even for cheaper than the homemade version. She made the quilt hanging on the crib, as well as a baby blanket version of one with cuddle fabric on the back. She also made a couple ditty bags to use in diaper bags and new sheets for the cradle, plus pillowcases for pillows that will go with us to the hospital.

We purchased the curtains on sale at PB Kids, and they are lined with lovely blackout fabric and were a great price. The sheets and crib skirt come from PB Kids, though we have a couple from Buy Buy Baby that also match the gray and lavender. Mom ironed the curtains and crib skirt, a gift of patience for sure. And the changing pad covers came from Land of Nod. There's a storage box near the window and the rocking chair with swaddles, soft cotton blankets and a beautiful quilt in pinks, grays and purples made by our friend Vicki Graham. She even found pink pick-up truck fabric to use for baby!
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Her closet has a couple dozen hangers in it with sweet cuddly onesies I want to make sure she wears before she outgrows them, and Kip folded many loads of clean baby clothes that fill the drawers of her dresser. Baby's books are all over the house with a crate in my office, a basket in the living room and a few more on the small nightstand. Kip jokes that he has read more books lately than in his whole life, previewing them before she gets here, and I can't wait to see which ones are her favorites too.

Besides wall art and the bookshelf, we're discussing rugs and how seriously we should keep Belle out of the room (her dog fur is a problem). I really did very little for this room other than offer opinions and feed my cute husband. Kip and my mom did so much of the work to make it perfect for the little lady arriving soon. I know better than to attempt handy and sewing tasks, much smarter to leave those tasks to the pros. Now we just are waiting for her debut!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Four Books of January.

 photo Blog_1200.jpgLet's start 2016 off with some fine reading, shall we?

The Absolute Value of Mike is a darling story from the author of Mockingbird, a book I liked several years ago. It is not nearly as sad/challenging as Mockingbird, but Kathryn Erskine still tells a story that makes you think twice about grief. Mike stinks at math - which is unfortunate for him because his dad is an engineering professor and thinks Mike should be an engineer as well. But Mike is awesome at connecting with folks, so when he is sent to spend the summer with eclectic relatives, Mike finds himself in the middle of small town adventure with lots of characters. Each chapter has a math term as the title, and I would have to reread it more carefully to notice the ways the titles connect to the events of the chapter.

Fig was the January book club selection and is borderline YA/adult literature, found here on the lovely NPR Book Concierge. We had great discussion about this one, and the topics are certainly heavy with the main story line directly related to mental health. Fig (nickname for Fiona) grows up throughout the story, and as a special bonus surprise, it takes place outside Eudora, Kansas. We didn't pick it because the setting is Kansas, it just happened to work out that way!

The Opposite of Spoiled remains the only parenting book Kip and I have read cover to cover (so far!). I actually read the entire book aloud to Kip over the course of many months - I think it is the first book I've ever read aloud! I would read parts of it in the car going to Manhattan and a few pages at night before bed. There was plenty of food for thought in the book, and it inspired some great conversations about what we might like to do with our own kids. Statistically money is a major source of stress for couples when they get married, but we've been really lucky to find common ground and make money work for us together. We'll probably have to flip through this book again in a few years, but we really enjoyed the way Ron Lieber (personal finance columnist for The NY Times) tells stories and many of the philosophies in the book. You could read just parts of it and get the idea too.

Circus Mirandus was a book I thought about saving for maternity leave reading because I was SO looking forward to it. But then a brand new sparkly copy came into the school library and I had to borrow it! I loved the magic of the Circus Mirandus - you have to believe in the circus to see it - and it took many of the fantastic elements of The Night Circus and sold them in a kid friendly way. The biggest disappointment? The main character is TEN. This would have been a great book for middle school kids, but many of them will reject it because the protagonist is much younger. It's a terrific chapter book for elementary school students, and I think would be fun to read aloud together with a kiddo - the characters are fantastic.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Happy Gillis.

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My sister left today for two weeks in Arizona for work, though I think she will still get to have lots of fun while she is there too! There can't be too much to complain about Arizona in February, though we're still having the bland winter in KC that I've previously lamented. We wanted to get together as the original three KC Luhrs Ladies + Kip one more time before her trip, and we chose last Sunday to make it happen!
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Going to church downtown, you would think we have a better idea of where the best brunches in Kansas City are on Sunday morning. The reality is that Kip loves a big breakfast so much that we have often eaten a full meal before we walk out the door at 8:30. I married a man who grew up eating biscuits, eggs, and sausage or bacon on the reg before school.

Here's the best part about this habit he acquired - he entered our marriage as the most proficient breakfast maker I know and zero expectations that I would pull off these big breakfasts for him. It's no big deal for him to throw homemade biscuits in the oven, cook some bacon and then fry the eggs in the bacon grease. I love this about him. It means I have stopped googling perfect biscuit recipes because why mess with the Oklahoma classic made with self-rising flour that he effortlessly pulls off, and it means that I go to church full and happy. Sometimes I make something on Saturday night (this french toast is a favorite) that we can throw in the oven or a quick batch of muffins. And sometimes we just eat cereal. We like Sunday mornings - leaving for church at 8:30 is a full two more hours of sleep and time at home than we normally have during the week.
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So on Sunday after church, we found ourselves at a new-to-us restaurant with Mom and Lauren. It was the first time any of us had eaten there, and Happy Gillis had so many of the characteristics I love about brunch restaurants. First, we had to wait in line to order and then wait for our table. I love that it always works out that you have a table before your food is ready, and I actually prefer this format for small, charming brunch establishments.
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And while there was a limited menu, there was a breakfast sandwich. Regrettably, I ordered the french toast instead of the sandwich. I thought we should try a couple of things and diversify the plates on the table, but mostly I was left wanting more of Kip's perfect sandwich. (This ALWAYS happens to me.) The biscuit french toast was good too, but the marmalade was too much citrus for my taste. Finally, Happy Gillis had good coffee and great cinnamon rolls. I've recently been on a quest to find the best cinnamon roll in town, and I was happy to eat one at Happy Gillis for "research purposes." Still no verdict on the best roll in town on my end, so I suppose I will keep ordering cinnamon rolls everywhere we go.

We have literally no idea when baby girl Lynch will arrive - I think that the surprise is supposed to be part of the fun - so we continue on. I have a haircut scheduled for her due date and Valentine's Day dinner reservations, so I will keep plugging through school days and eating really well until she arrives. I bought a "My First Valentine's Day" onesie, just in case, but kept the tags on it if she wants to time her arrival differently. I feel pretty okay and am even sleeping marginally better this week compared to last week. Thankfully, even if she is (please, no) 16 days late, she can still slide in with a February birthday, and so this officially means we are in "baby's birthday month." All the heart emojis.