September 30, 2015

9 Months

Sweetest baby girl,
You have learned so much in the last month. You have started to clap your hands and it is absolutely adorable! We have also started to teach you some baby sign language like "more" and "all done". We are hoping this will help you to communicate with us while you're eating. Right now your "more" is basically you clapping your hands. And when you want more food, you screech and bang your hands on the table, it is quite a noisy experience. You're figuring out your own way of communication and it is really fun for us to watch you learn and figure things out.

When you are standing and holding on to something, you've started letting go and are slowly figuring out your balance. You are crawling everywhere and once you get to a piece of furniture or a wall to hold on to, you stand up and cruise right along them. We picked up a little shopping cart toy for you a couple weeks ago and you love pushing it around the house. It took you a bit to figure your balance with it, but you love it now. Everyone has started to guess when you'll take your first steps, I'm sure it will be soon. If you see something you want, you crawl over there just as fast as can be. At bedtime when you are getting sleepy and just want to be held, if I walk to a different room, you will chase after me and climb up holding my legs. You certainly love to snuggle up with us at bedtime to read a book, have some milk and drift off to sleep.

You are starting to get more hair and after your bath, the hair on the back of your head gets the cutest slight curl. Right now it is a light brown, but in certain light it has a reddish tint. Your eyes have been changing color too. They are the most beautiful hazel. In some light they look brown and other times they have a green/gold color. People often comment how beautiful you are, especially your eyes. I wonder if you'll end up with dark brown eyes like your dad or if they'll stay a hazel-green like mine.

Your top two front teeth came through this week. So now you have two on top and two on the bottom. Apples, celery and carrots are your favorite foods while you're teeth are working on coming through. For the most part you really don't seem bothered by teething discomforts and you go about your day, just as happy as always. You have been waking more at night and you like to be held more during the day to help comfort you, but you also still love to play a lot.
Speaking of playing, you absolutely love playing with your dogs and us. You could also occupy yourself for hours if you had the right toys. You love to entertain yourself. You also love to work a crowd. If you know someone is watching you, you can be quite the entertainer. You laugh and laugh and if someone has a reaction and starts laughing with you, you just laugh harder. You are such a happy little girl, full of so much personality and joy.

You are still nursing multiple times a day and have bottles of pumped milk while I'm at work. You love trying new foods. Some of your favorites are: Greek yogurt, avocado, apples, carrots, green beans, chicken, hamburger meat, cheerios and applesauce. We give you finger foods and you love feeding yourself. You also love sharing with the dogs and passing out food when you're done with it.

At your check up today, the doctor said you look very healthy. You made your presence known and were squealing and jabbering and babbling on and on the whole time. We were cracking up at how much you had to say. The doctor said most babies will say their first word between now and 12 months old. We are all guessing what your first word will be. You babble on and on with different syllables like: da, mmum, baa. The doctor said you are quite the active little girl and are healthy as can be.

Love you,

Weight: 16 lbs 11 oz.
Height: 28"
Head Circumference: 17.5"
Wearing: 6 month clothing, 9 month pajamas
Size 3 diapers

waving to us, to the dogs, to anything really
climbing the stairs
bath time
feeding the dogs from your high chair and getting into their dog bowls at their mealtime
"helping" do the dishes - mostly climbing onto the dishwasher or holding the rack
being mobile and crawling everywhere - learning to balance and stand on your own now
pushing your toy shopping cart around the house
playing peek a boo
clapping your hands
pointing at things and laughing

During this month's photos, you were cracking up laughing at your daddy. I just love your expressions and baby belly laughs. Your laughter is contagious and these photos bring me right back to that moment, hearing your giggles.

September 22, 2015

New Traditions - Apple Picking

I have always wanted to go apple picking and a few weeks ago we decided this would be the year to try it out. We were planning to go in a couple weeks, but some plans fell through this weekend and we ended up with a free morning. The weather was cool enough to feel like fall, but still warm enough that we didn't need coats. After a quick search online for pick your own apple orchards we had it narrowed down to 3 farms that all had great reviews. We opted for the one closest to home as this would be our first apple picking experience and we really didn't want to spend over an hour driving somewhere, especially when we had limited time before little one's naptime. We went to Iron's Fruit Farm which is just about 40 minutes away from home.
Little La was snoozing away when we pulled into the parking lot. Todd loaded her up into the baby carrier in hopes that she would stay asleep just a little longer. As soon as we approached their little shop, she heard the kids running around and was wide awake and checking out the scenery. Once we figured out where to go to pick the apples, we hopped on the hayride out to the orchard. The weather was just perfect, I would have liked a little more sunshine, but Todd said he wouldn't have changed a thing.
After seeing so many cute photos on Pinterest of families apple picking and babies in the orchard, I had it set in my mind that I wanted some cute photos of our little girl apple picking. Of course, she is working on her 3rd tooth right now, her first one on the top, so all she wanted to do was chew on an apple to ease some of her discomfort. Despite her teething, she had a great time. She loved picking up the apples and chewing on them. She was not a fan of trying to pick one off the tree. We held her up several times thinking she'd reach out to grab one, but she didn't love touching the branches and leaves.
She LOVED the hay ride back. She stood there the whole time just giggling away and waving her arms and bouncing up and down. She would wave at everyone in the trailer, then wave at all the trees we were passing and start cracking up watching the wheels on the tractor. When we arrived back by the shop we passed by some of their animals. La thought the emu and pony were so funny. We paid for our apples and picked up some fresh apple cider, apple butter and a pastry to snack on. We sat out at a picnic table and enjoyed our little treat. They had an old tractor out that you could climb up and sit on. I climbed up and Todd passed La up to me. She loved standing up there, waving to everything and holding the big steering wheel.
All in all, we had a great day. As we were leaving the farm we decided this is something we should do every year. I love making homemade applesauce so I'll be pretty busy this week peeling, cutting, cooking and mashing apples. I think this could be a fun tradition every year. Now that we have all these apples, I think I'll try baking my first ever pie this fall.

On Sunday, we went to a birthday party for the neighbor's little boy. They had the party at the park just up the street. The weather was just beautiful. While we were there we went over to the playground hoping to find some swings, but they didn't have any. Instead we opted to try out the slides. La had so much fun sliding with us.

Such a fun weekend of firsts for our little girl. We're looking forward to many more fun firsts with her. It is so fun starting new family traditions. I'm hoping to go apple picking every year, it will be so fun to watch her grow and change from year to year as she becomes more interested in picking the apples. 

September 8, 2015

DIY Farmhouse Patio Bench

Last weekend we made our patio table and this weekend we decided to take on the bench. It was too hot this weekend for our little lady to be outside very long, so Todd built this bench on his own while I was inside keeping little one occupied.

We found the matching bench plans on Ana White's website and followed those instructions. I won't give the play by play because the plans do a great job of telling you how to build this bench. Plus, I was only outside intermittently to lend a hand as needed. It took Todd most of an afternoon to build this bench. Again, he was working on his own, so I'm sure it would go together faster with two people working on it. We did have to make a few adjustments to the size. If you remember, we made our table 9' long, rather than 8' like the plans suggested. So we had to adjust and make our bench longer as well. Since this is used for seating, we wanted it to be extra secure, so instead of using 3 pedestals, we opted for 4 to better disperse the weight.
Just like the table, we used treated wood, so we won't be staining or painting right away. We'll likely stain it a dark brown color to match the table.
We are thrilled with the results and the look of this bench with our table. Now we just need to find some chairs for the other side of the table. As you can tell, we still have a lot to do in order for our patio, garage and yard to be the way we want it, but we'll get there eventually. It is a big mess right now, but isn't that always the case with DIY projects? Things get crazy and look like a total mess before everything comes together and looks beautiful in the end.

September 1, 2015

DIY Farmhouse Patio Table

We have been wanting patio furniture for several years now. Every Summer we say "oh, at the end of the season, let's pick up a patio set on clearance." And every Summer comes and goes and we still don't have patio furniture.
This Summer we started shopping around and were having trouble finding anything we loved, in the size we wanted that was within our budget. We knew we wanted a table that could seat at least 6 people, preferably 8 or more. We found one set we really liked, but for the table and 8 chairs it was going to be over $2,300!! Not exactly in our price range. We were routinely checking Craigslist and online yard sale pages and still weren't finding anything we liked that fit our wish list.

Patio Table Wishes
- seat at least 8 people
- rectangular shape
- no glass
- low maintenance and able to stay out in the weather all year. We are okay to move a couple cushions in for the Winter, but would love something that can stay out all Summer.
- swivel chairs would be great, but not a necessity
- needs to fit well on the back half of our driveway without taking up the entire thing. Our driveway extends all the way to our garage, but there is a fence across it so we cannot pull a car back to the garage. Todd will still need a clear access path to the garage and gate when maneuvering his tools for work.

We started tossing around the idea of building a table to try and save some money, plus we could make it any size we wanted. We found this tutorial on Pinterest with Ana White's plans for a farmhouse table. Todd and I fell in love with this design. We checked out the plans and they looked simple enough. We had all of the tools needed and just needed to pick up some wood and find a free weekend. This past weekend we were out of town Friday and Saturday, so our Sunday plans were to just hang out at home, catch up on laundry, go to the grocery. You know, normal, boring weekend things. Well, we ended up with a free afternoon so we decided to go ahead and take advantage of it and start on the table. We went to the hardware store first thing in the morning to get the materials. We made it home in time to put the baby down for her morning nap and we got started on the table.

They advertise this as a $65 table. I'm not sure what type of wood they were using or where they are located to get everything for $65, but we spent between $180 and $250 for our materials at our local hardware store in Ohio. We purchased treated lumber. We made sure to get enough to build the table and a matching bench. We did purchase extra wood so that if we ran out or made a mistake on the measures or cuts we wouldn't have to make an extra trip to the store. We had plenty leftover after the table was completed so I'm sure we'll have extras to return after we complete the bench.
We set the boards for the table top on sawhorses to get a feel for the size and to make sure we made the finished table wide and long enough.
Assembling the table legs. 
I won't go into great detail as to how we made the table since Ana's plans cover all construction details. We did make a couple changes though. We wanted a larger table so we made ours 9 feet long (her plans are for an 8' table). This could also affect the price difference as we had to purchase 10' boards rather than 8' for the top. We also wanted a slightly larger overhang at the end of the table so that we could add chairs to the end if needed. I believe her plans have a 12" overhang at the ends. Since our table is longer, we followed the same steps and specs for the base and just used longer boards for the top. So ours has an 18" overhang at each end.
We were able to build the entire table in one afternoon. It took us a good part of the day, probably 6 hours or so. A lot of that time Todd was working on the table alone as I was having to take care of the baby. When we were both available to work, it went together much faster.

We are planning to build the matching bench this week. Since we used treated wood, we don't have to stain or paint it right away. We are planning to stain it a dark brown color. We are both hoping to have it stained before Winter. I think we'll wait a few weeks to allow the weather to cool down a bit, neither of us wants to be staining in 90 degree weather. Also, please excuse our messy yard & garage. Our patio, backyard and garage are a work in progress. We are hoping to wrap up some big projects out there this fall.
If you are looking to build your own table, we definitely recommend looking into Ana's plans. They were very easy to follow and made building this table a breeze. It also helped that Todd builds things and does construction work on a daily basis. He was able to teach me how to use the saw and I would drill the pilot holes and he would follow behind with the screws. We love doing DIY projects together and are so excited to have a table to gather around with our loved ones.

We both LOVE the table and are so pleased with the results. We can't wait to find some chairs, finish the bench, stain the table and bench and have our first grill out. I see many dinner parties with friends and family gathered around this table in our future.