Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Frankie in his happy place

I've been making weekly videos of Frankie to share with family that lives out-of-state so they can feel connected to his life and watch him grow. I use goofy voices and silly narration to make them laugh ... just to warn you in case I sound a little crazy in this video. ;)

Frankie's favorite place in the world is Mama and Daddy's bed. We put him down on it and he giggles his head off. Last week I had a mission: to capture his happiness when he gets to hang in the big kids' bed. I'd say the mission was a success!

When Frank's dad saw this video, he said, "I think Frankie is talking to angels." I thought that was so sweet. All the family said this was their favorite of the videos I've made, so I figured I'd share it with you to brighten up a Tuesday ... just don't judge us for the mess!


Frankie in his happy place from Theresa Barber on Vimeo.

Friday, July 18, 2014

A minimalist nursery in our 1BR apartment (with photos!)

After all the talk about keeping our baby stuff to the bare minimum, and the list of baby stuff we amassed before the birth, I thought you might like an update on what that looks like in practice. Our goal was to spend as little as possible and keep the baby stuff from taking over our apartment, and I think we've done a pretty good job.

We converted my dresser into a changing table by stacking cheap blankets on top of it, rotating through them whenever one gets dirty. You can see the wet bag for cloth diapers on the right (we use a combination of cloth and disposable):

The nice thing about this set-up is that we can expand the size of the "changing pad" as Frankie grows, plus we didn't need to buy anything new. 

The top two drawers of the dresser hold my stuff, and the bottom drawer is for Frankie's clothing and cloth diapers. It turns out that baby clothing is TINY so all his outfits (and he has at least 30!) easily fit in one drawer. If we had a whole dresser for him, I honestly don't know what we would do with all the other drawers!

As for bedtime, Frankie sleeps in a little travel crib next to our bed. It's just the right size!

I set up this "nursing station" in the living room, with a stack of books to read while nursing, a charging station for my phone, water, snacks, etc. Several moms suggested doing that and I'm so glad I took their advice! The quilt was mine when I was a baby. We can easily move the quilt and nursing pillow to the bedroom when we have company coming over and want the room to look a little more grown-up.

We also have a container in the bathroom for Frankie's bath supplies and two cubbies in the closet for all his blankets, swaddle cloths, sleep sacks, etc. (I have one of these which I share with the little guy). We keep his stroller in the trunk of the car and just pull it out whenever we need it.

The one thing I would like to have if we had more space is a swing. I've heard they are lifesavers. But I substitute my own low-tech "swing" by putting Frankie in his car seat carrier and rocking it back and forth with one hand while reading a book or checking my phone with the other. That works for now, and maybe we'll get a swing for the next baby. :)

Finally, we have this little bouncer seat where I set Frankie when I'm cooking/showering/doing anything where I can't wear him. He loves it, especially with his musical beehive toy that we tied to the top. Here's the little man modeling it himself:

Andddddd that's it! That's all the baby stuff in our apartment. It's working out really well so far. We don't feel like anything is missing. It is so true that you don't need a lot of stuff for baby. We are loving the minimalist approach!

p.s. I stumbled across this article called "Getting ready for Baby: what do I really need?" and thought you might enjoy it! It definitely describes our approach!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

New job, wild life

What a whirlwind week. I resigned from my old job at the university because they wanted me to continue working in the office full-time, and I just couldn't do that. I was incredibly anxious about how we would make ends meet without my income, but in perfect timing, I was offered a part-time editing job working from home for MTF. God is good. I joyfully accepted, of course, and went in for job training this morning while my mom watched Frankie.

I posted this on Facebook yesterday: "The new job will allow me to work from home so I can be a full-time mama as well as a part-time editor. I'm grateful for this chance to grow my career while caring for my family, and looking forward to learning the balancing act of the working mom!" Little did I imagine how quickly that "balancing act" comment would become reality. This morning was a comedy of errors. Frankie decided to join the anti-sleep brigade and allowed me to get a total of 4 hours of (very interrupted) sleep last night. My pump stopped working so I was frantic trying to find a way to get milk for Frankie for the time my mom would be watching him (luckily it started working again after much fiddling). And right before I left the house this morning, the little one decided it was the perfect time to blow out his diaper ... all over my nice work blazer. GREAT. Somehow I still managed to make it to my training on time, and I won't have to go into the office again for a while so this won't be a regular occurrence. Bright sides abounding.

This is going to mean even more sporadic blogging, since working 20 hours a week plus 24/7 baby watching plus the whole cooking/cleaning/housekeeping routine does not a lot of free time make. I actually considered taking a break from blogging for a while, but then I realized I couldn't do that, because blogging is my release and I would be even more stressed without it. Thanks for your patience, guys. I'm going to try to make up in quality what my posts will lack in quantity.

Aaaaand here's a random pic of us at a wedding over the weekend, because it's just not a post without a visual, right?

By the way, Land's End wins my heart forever and ever. Their dresses are cute, affordable, modest, AND nursing-friendly. Best of all worlds.

p.s. My mom snapped this photo of Frankie and me to celebrate my first day as a working mom:

It's going great so far!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Best and easiest pie crust recipe ever

I used to think that the most intimidating part of making pie from scratch is the crust. The filling is easy, but for some reason, pie crust recipes always seem so complicated and easy to mess up. That's how I felt until my sister sent me this recipe, which is unbelievably easy and turns out delicious every time. The best part? You don't need to buy anything for it, because I bet all the ingredients are already in your pantry.


2 cups flour
Pinch of Salt
Canola or vegetable oil

1. Combine pinch of salt in bowl with flour.
2. Fill measuring cup with 2/3 cup of oil.
3. Add 1/3 cup of VERY COLD water to measuring cup, and rapidly mix oil and water with fork for about 1 minute (until creamy).
4. Pour into the flour and combine immediately.  Do not over-mix or dough will be tough.
5. Roll out.

Makes enough for a 2 crust pie.


Friday, July 4, 2014

A few little things

1. // Is anyone going to The Hundred? I signed up as fast as I could after I saw Grace's post about it. It sounds like so much fun! And it'll be my first time visiting Texas—any tips for Dallas in August?

2. // After wanting to do this for months, I finally got around to making a Facebook page for Little House in Chicago! If you'd like to get updates about new posts in your newsfeed, join the party right here.

3. // Blogging. How do you women with kids do it? I mean. Finding the time to pump out a post every few days was a breeze when I had structured workdays and leisurely evenings. But now? I have to carve out time wherever I can find it, which mostly means forgoing sleep these days   .

I'm actually wondering if it might be smarter to come up with a regular schedule of one or two posts a week rather than trying and failing to keep up the daily posting I was doing before the baby came. Do you guys have a preference or any suggestions?

4. // Speaking of finding time for things these days... I've been trying to work on my cleaning/cooking/organizational skills now that Frankie is getting a little older, but I get easily overwhelmed. I recently found out about this app called Motivated Moms that breaks down daily chores, and I'm a tad obsessed. Here's what it looks like on my phone:

Check it out if you're needing a bit more order in your life (especially if you're the kind who likes checking off a to-do list)!

5. // I signed up for a sewing class with one of my friends! I've wanted to learn how to use a sewing machine for years, and this class came along at the perfect time. I'll be honest with you, though, I'm kind of awful at it so far. Here's hoping I get the hang of it soon!

6. // Happy 4th from Frankie and his twin cousin!! Hope you have the best weekend. :)