Friday, February 14, 2014

St. Augustine House Tour: Part 1

Anyone with a toddler will understand the dilemma of the perpetually untidy home. Since my house usually looks like a tornado went straight through it, I haven't taken the time to photograph.

Luckily, I remembered to take a few photos after cleaning, and so I thought I might share! Mind you, the upstairs is still messy, so this is only the downstairs. For those of you who would like to visit, I hope this gives you a little motivation to come stay :-)
Our home
Background on our home: It is a turn of the century home, with quite a bit of detail. Hanging lamps are adorned with ceiling medallions, there is crown moulding, rail moulding, wainscoting, dentil moulding, gallery moulding, contrasting paint, and transoms. This house is really a beauty, and probably the best we have lived in yet. It's a small home at around 1400 s.f., but it fits our little family just fine. This home as gone through many renovations, and has a small apartment out behind it (where the landlords live). The recent renovations have added all the fine details you see throughout the house.
Entrance Hallway
Entrance:  The front door is a typical door you'll see around the neighborhood, except for the beautiful stained glass panel. The door itself is old and is tricky. During cold days, the door shrinks and won't shut unless you lock it. During hot days, the door swells, which makes it difficult to open or close.

If you look by the stairs, we've installed a pressure-fit stair gate for Mr. P. The floral prints are the same as the ones I had up in our dining room in Little Rock. They work perfectly here trailing up the stairs, and with the lavender and white color scheme. The hallway is very small, and just fits our Korean cabinet, as well as our wooden shelf with hooks.

The very far right is the kitchen, and if you look closely you can see the cluttered dining room table :)

Living Room
 Living Room: To the right you'll see one of our favorite pieces, our barrister bookcase. It houses many of our favorite books (including many of Mr. P's favorites.) This room is our general hang out room. You can see all the lovely details of the home, including the many types of moulding. In this room, we hang all our frames on the gallery moulding.

Art deco fan with ceiling medallon
Our home is an eclectic mix of new and old. The small table sitting just in front of the tv stand is Mr. P's antique table (which has matching chairs upstairs). And most of the furniture (aside from the upholstered chair and sofa) are at least 100 years old. The TV "stand" is an old shelf that used to be located in my MIL and FIL old billiards room. It craftily sits in front of a decommissioned fireplace. Also, notice the old lazy dogs, that totally ruin our couch cushions :) .

If you look in the corners of the room, you can see old typewriter stands holding up our lamps. Those we found perusing many antique stores. The one on the right we found in Newton, Georgia, and the one on the left we found in Tallahassee, Fl.
Kitchen/Dining Room
Kitchen/Dining Room: If you noticed, the picture of the living room, the kitchen is rearranged differently. It took us a very long time to get this room "just right". As a kitchen, it's very large. As a kitchen and dining room, it's very small. When the house was first built this was a dining room. The original kitchen was located in a room on the back of the house, which is now a bedroom for an apartment.

The farm style table was made by my late father-in-law, Patrick. On the table's perimeter are 100-year-old captain chairs which were purchased by my father-in-law as well (there's one in the living room). The least favorite part of this room would have to be the tile counter, which is so difficult to clean... blerg! My favorite part of the room would have to be the dishwasher. You don't realize the value of a dishwasher (or garbage disposal) until you don't have one!

Well that's all for now. I hope to have the upstairs spruced up soon so I can get some photos!

Have a Happy Valentines!
xo,
Alexandra









Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Great Toys and Gear for 12 months +

I decided to curate a few baby items that are wonderfully inventive, and that work to make our lives as parents easier. I've made sure to provide cheaper alternatives to some of these items... because we aren't all rich as Beyonce!

Smock Bib

Just so simple, but this is just one of those items that just changes the bib game. Why just get a normal bib, when you can have a smock bib? From personal experience, a normal bib is not enough for many babies. They're naturally destructive creatures, and always manage to cover themselves in whatever foods they're eating. Plus, they're experts at ripping off their bibs.

A couple things to consider when buying a smock bib: button or velcro backs. Tie-offs can be a little more difficult to put on with a wiggling baby. Also, some brands provide elastic at the wrists, which can keep food from falling back into the sleeve.
Leveret Smock Bib - Amazon (9.99)
Other fantastic options for smock bibs include: BabyBjorn Eat and Play Smock which has elastic wrists and button back ($29.95). A cheaper option is the Ikea Kladd Prickar ($4.99/2 pack at Ikea) which is also available on Amazon ($12.95). Amazon also has lots of options, and on occasion Zulily sells smock bibs (make sure to price check before buying with them though). I purchased the Leveret above from Zulily, but (darn) it seems Amazon had a better deal.
BabyBjorn Eat and Play Smock

Ride ons

Once kids start walking ride ons are perfect for helping develop gross motor skills and providing a great distraction (for when parent wants to get things done). Plus, they're just plain fun. Initially, I wanted to get Mr. P the Prince Lionheart Wheely Bug. They make a small ride on toy that is perfect for his small stature. I just wasn't impressed with the price, so I decided to purchase the Little Tikes Pillow Racer, which at the time was $20 (now $28.97).
Every picture of him on this is blurry.
Prince Lionheart Wheely Bug
The only problem is that his feet don't touch the ground! So for now, we do all the pushing. It may have been a better purchase to get the Prince Lionheart Wheely Bug since it's a smaller toy. We'll make due. At least for now Mr. P loves pushing it around!

As for other options. There are so many brands out there that make these fun toys. For a more expensive but versatile option, there is the Wishbone Flip ($149) which you can sometimes catch on MyHabit for cheaper. It's a ride on and can be readjusted to become a rocker.
Wishbone Flip
Then there's the Weerol, which is what I really would love to get Mr. P. Weerol is a toy that can be transformed into a variety of other toys. The price ranges from $88.99 to $196.97, depending on the amount of kits and variety you want. This toy grows with your child, and when they get bored it, you can transform it into a new toy! 

A Wiggle-Free Diaper Change

This invention is in a class of it's own. The Hulabye makes sure your baby stays wiggle-free during his diaper change. This is definitely on my wish list. The little strap on my summer infant changing pad is no match for Mr. P. If he wants to get out, he's going to get out. He'd have to be a magician to get out of a Hulabye. Price ranges from $36 to $42. Sometimes you can find a good deal for these on Zulily.
Hulabye
Other alternatives: Halo SwaddleChange Changing Pad Cover ($14.99 on Amazon), which is a cheap alternative, but I can't see a toddler being too happy with it. Poopoose ($49.99 on Amazon).

Baby Chair

Babies seemingly adapt to our adult world with ease, but it's nice to offer them a bit of comfort. Recently, my MIL bought Mr. P an Anywhere Chair from Pottery Barn. He absolutely loves it. This is one purchase that really has made our lives a little happier. Mr. P loves to sit down and read his little board books. It's fun watching him relax on his chair and roll around on it. 
Chair potato
Cheaper options are this Cotton Tail Baby's First Chair which retails on Amazon for $61.77.

Food Container

These Munchkin Snack Catchers have become essential in our home. Fill them up with your toddler's favorite snack and they make a great distraction for a fussy car rider. It has a catcher, so it makes it difficult for your baby to dump the snacks out. But beware, they can shake out the crumbs! You can get them on Amazon and many grocery stores hold them. You can usually find a 2 pack for around $4.00. 
Munchkin Snack Catcher
That's my little list for now! I'll share any new finds in the future. Is there any baby toy or gear that you'd love to share?

xo,
Alexandra





Thursday, January 23, 2014

Where oh where have I been?

I would like to say my hiatus from the internet was due to me being busy, but that would be a lie! Despite moving, traveling, and having a crazy baby, I could have made the time. The truth is I wane and wax when it comes to being "connected". I become emphatically crazed for a few months, then I float away to new endeavors. Even though I seem like I disappear, I do come back! I feel like I've connected with some wonderful people through blogging I would have otherwise never connected with. Keeping up with them is huge motivation to continue, which is why I will always blog, even if it is at a snail's pace!

I'm not completely unconnected though!

One thing I do keep up is my Instagram. There you can get an idea of what I get to on a pretty nearly daily basis. I'm pretty awful at selfies, so it's mostly photos of everyone in my life, my little daytime trips around Florida, and longer trips out into the void (a.k.a the continental United States).

So what have we been up to in the mean time? Well, we've traveled a bit more. This time we went up to New York for Christmas with the family, and made a quick pit stop in D.C. to be with some amazing friends. We've also wandered our new local habitat, which is absolutely beautiful. I've never been much of a beach person, but I've seem to have fallen in love with the peacefulness of the ocean! I'm so glad we live only minutes away from the Atlantic now.
At the Capital in D.C.
Patty, Patrick, and Ryan in Arlington National Cemetery
Moving can be pretty strenuous on the entire family, even baby! Routines are upended, and new homes seem to spawn new routines. Not only that, but Mr. P (little Patrick) is getting into a more difficult phase of childhood, his pre-pre-pre-preteen years. He's learning that he has the ability to effect things and he's starting to form more complex thoughts. This formation of reasoning skills can gives rise to a tantrum because I fed him with the wrong fork, or because I put him on the ground when he clearly wants to be held. It's madness, hah!

Unfortunately we hadn't restructured our bedtime routine. The current one was horrendous and consisted of Mr. P crying for at 30 minutes sometimes even an hour before finally falling asleep. We remedied this by spending more time with him before bed. About 30-45 minutes beforehand we'd begin the routine by brushing his teeth, reading lots and lots of books, and snuggling before setting him down. His crying has stopped except for a whimper let out right as we put him into his crib. It's heaven! To not hear him cry to sleep is such a relief, it actually helps me sleep more peacefully. It seems small, but it feels like a huge win.

Dealing with tantrums and crying before bed have been our biggest challenges with Mr. P since we've gotten here. Thankfully, we've seemed to resolve most of it... for now!
Patrick loves being read to
Baby bookworm
So how do we feel about our new home in Saint Augustine? Well, of course, moving is hard. Creating a new network of friends isn't easy to do. We've been slowly establishing ourselves, not really knowing if we'll be here within the year or moving again. One thing though, it is so so lovely here. The town is amazing, the parks are beautiful, and the beaches are perfection! We've had a slew of visitors since we've moved in, so we haven't felt all that lonely. But with a town like this, there's always something to keep you busy!
Washington Oaks Park in St. Augustine
Washington Oaks Park Beach
Sitting out around Flagler College
I've also begun working out and preparing for the zombie apocalypse to conceive another baby. Hubby and I plan on trying again this Spring, and I want to make sure that I'm as healthy as can be. I wasn't as fit as I wanted to be when I was pregnant with Mr. P, so I'm very motivated to be so much stronger for the second time around.

That's all for now! I apologize for disappearing, I promise I will make more of an effort to stay on the internets. Please accept this photograph of my sad shaved dog as a token of appreciation for reading my blog today! It really makes me so happy to connect to others via blog!


XO,
Alexandra
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