Archive for May, 2014

Meet our reimagined Ikea Tarva

In our blitzkrieg of a trip to Ikea, we ended up with a lot of furniture. But not enough furniture. Since that trip, we have had two more deliveries from Ikea (dressers and wall shelf), one from Overstock (rug), and one from Joss & Main (rug). We are expecting deliveries from Home Depot (outdoor furniture), Crate & Barrel (storage shelf) and Home Decorators (cart). We also bought four pieces of furniture at the antique mall and have taken numerous trips to Target. And we still *need* storage in the dining room and a rug in the family room and something to fill the dance floor in the living room.

Sigh. This is a big house without the built-in storage solutions of the condo. I miss you, condo! But I love you, house!

Ok, as you may know, our new bedroom is ginormous. I mean, big. Really big. Currrently, we have a king size bed, two small bedside tables, two dressers and a big antique shelving thing. And we could still fit a lot more. What do I mean by more? Like, maybe a bench for the foot of the bed, a fainting couch and a table. There’s a lot of room.

Kate, get to the point. Ok, so one of the two dressers in the space came from Ikea. And it came looking like this (after it was painstakingly assembled by AO):

Unfinished wood

Tarva: unfinished wood

Clearly, it could not stay looking like this. While some may say I should have spent Sunday doing a million of the other projects that need to be done, I couldn’t look at this unfinished dresser for one more second. So, with this and this as my inspiration, I headed across the street to Sherwin Williams and returned with four quarts of high gloss paint in four different colors. A few hours later, we had this:



That bottom drawer is way more yellow than orange, but you get the idea. I’ve been really obsessed with yellow lately, but I’m trying to be careful not to overdo it so that it still pops. What do you think? Yes, I realize I still need pulls. Cut me some slack, would you?


The way of the cloth diaper

Warning: super boring post alert. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Like some, I wasn’t sure I wanted to become a mom. I envied people, especially women, who knew with certainty that they wanted a kid. And those who knew they didn’t. I was so unsure. I could think of a million and one reasons not to: I would probably be a crappy mom, the kid could have health problems, Earth didn’t really need another human, it’s so expensive, I like to sleep. And I couldn’t really articulate a reason to have a kid. Other than that I thought I wanted one. In the end, of course, that one reason swallowed up all the countervailing reasons and we were beyond blessed with the monster we call Molly.

When I was pregnant, we took a free cloth diaper class recommended to us by AO’s friends. I’m sure it seems silly to old-timey folks to have to take a class on the art of putting cotton on a baby, but it was a new world to us and there are a billion choices out there. Plus, the class gives you pro tips like energy-efficient washers are not your friend in the cloth world where water is king. Anyway, the idea of wrapping Molly in cloth made me feel slightly better about the impact of adding a new human to the universe (yes, I know that sounds inconsistent with what I just said about water). Sure, it wouldn’t offset a lot, but it would be something. After the class, we told ourselves we thought we could do it, but if it proved to be too much of  a challenge, we’d bail. We also told ourselves we’d buy disposables for family members who didn’t think they could handle the cloth if and when we had people look after Bear. Anyway, we plunged ahead with the most basic of the modern cloth diapers: the prefolds.* After Molly was born, we used disposables for about two weeks. We’d been given them as gifts, so we thought we’d use them. After two weeks, we were out and the cloth diapers sat perfectly folded staring at me menacingly. This coincided with the time that AO was going back to work. The world seemed cruel. Anyway, I plowed ahead and – to my surprise – I found that I loved the cloth diapers. They were super easy to use and easy to clean. I felt accomplished when I washed a load every three days or so. The world was great. At least when it came to diapering.

But then Molly got bigger and started sleeping for longer periods of time (thank goodness). This led to the problem of leaking. At night, she was soaking through her diaper into her pajamas and sheet. She didn’t seem to mind too much, but we did. And then she started getting a pretty nasty diaper rash that was really more blistery than rashy. After some research, I realized that what was probably happening was that she was not getting enough air flow at night and with all of the urine that was in contact with her (not a ton of wicking in the CD world), it was causing blistering. Poor thing. So, we swapped out our covers at night for more breathable bamboo and ultimately super awesome wool covers made from an Etsy shop. Problem = solved. Except that Molly kept getting bigger and was requiring more and more material to absorb all of her pee. Yikes.

Eventually, we upgraded to bigger and consequently more absorbent prefolds. But even these were no match for Molly’s bladder. Ultimately, we switched to super absorbent disposables at night and kept up with the cloth diapers during the day. This seemed like a good, if not ideal, solution.

Plod, plod, plod. Life. Went. On.

But then. Can you guess what happened? She started using the potty. More. And. More. We kinda just went with it. And by that I mean, we let her be potty trained at school, but we slacked in keeping up with it on the weekends. Then we had our May 2 parent-teacher conference at which we were told (a) Molly is pretty much considered a staff member (I think that might mean bossy) and (b) she’s ready for total potty training and we need to stop slacking (they did not use those words). So, because Molly was out at AO’s mom until early afternoon Saturday May 3, we decided to become serious about the whole thing May 4. We are nothing if not excellent procrastinators. Anyway, it’s been going pretty great since then and I’m kinda shocked. Yes, she has an accident now and then, but she’s definitely got a handle on it and I feel guilty for not listening to what we were being told earlier. Sigh.

What does this have to do with cloth diapers other than that of course potty training has everything to do with diapers? Well, now that we have her in a diaper for only her nap and bedtime, we don’t really think it makes sense to continue with cloth. It would be just one diaper a day. And because you don’t want to have dirty cloth diapers sitting around for more than a couple of days, and because ideally you don’t want to wash them with other soiled clothes, to continue with cloth would be doing a load of about three diapers every three days. That doesn’t seem very efficient. So, I think we’ve closed the chapter on our life with cloth diapers. It feels weird. They are still sitting in their bin in her room. They don’t stare at me menacingly anymore. Instead, they seem to stare at me pleadingly. “May I please become a dust rag?” “Will you send me to another family?” “Am I destined for something else entirely?” What do I tell them? I’m just not sure. Like I said, it feels weird. But that, it seems for us, is the way of the cloth diaper.

*Quick primer for those not in-the-know: prefolds are just a bunch of cotton cloths sewn together to make a thicker, more absorbent diaper. These days, you stick a prefold into a cover made of either PUL, wool, bamboo or fleece.

So, we went to see about a dog…

And I was sure the three of us were going to come home from Waukesha as just the three of us. But, I was wrong.

This scruffster came with us

This scruffster came with us

Making herself comfortable

Making herself comfortable

And making herself right at home

And making herself right at home

We are in this 5-day foster period where we see if she’s the dog for us and we’re the family for her. She’s a lot – she’s skittish and a barker – but she’s also got serious undertones of super sweetness and she seems to love Bear. She’s no Gracie, but maybe she’ll be Molly’s Gracie. That’d be nice.

What goes best with Ikea decor?

Antiques, of course! We decided to hit up the antique mall to continue our seemingly never-ending quest to furnish are new, much larger home that has come with much less built-in storage than our previous abode. I’m sure you know this, but a 1929 house does not have nearly the number or size of closets found in a 1985 condo. It’s just a fact of life. And we are meeting it head on by buying all sorts of wooden products to house all of the things we apparently deemed move-worthy. This includes books, of course, but also mason jars filled with lentils, Costco-sized paper towel bundles, Molly’s ever-expanding toy collection and a billion other things. Anyway, on Saturday we bought four things. The first of which I’ll feature here.

Do you know what this?

Do you know what this is?

According to the antique experts, this is a firewood box. We could use it as that, I suppose, because we do have a wood-burning fireplace, but we thought it would serve us better as a toy chest. We don’t have one and I’ve been really sick of looking at the laundry basket that has served as a de facto one. So, instead of dropping $250 for this one that I love, we bought the firewood box for $75. I didn’t really think the color said “fun and kid-like,” so I walked across the street to Sherwin Williams and bought some paint.

First, I lightly sanded the box and then primed it (AO reminded me to go over it with a wet rag in between these two steps. Oops).

I think white would have been a good choice

I think white would have looked nice.

Because I’m impatient, I did not wait anything close to the four hours the primer label told me to wait before painting. Instead, I waited maybe 45 minutes and then dove in. Ultimately, it took between two and three coats. I didn’t worry about it being smooth or too much about drips because the undercoat wasn’t smooth and, frankly, the box wasn’t exactly flawless in the first place. I’m really happy with the result.

Ta da!

Ta da!

We have three more pieces to pick up and at least one of them is calling out for my paint brush.

Ikea has hit our home

This blog has not been generating a lot of comments lately and I’m certain this new post will do nothing to change that. That’s ok because I have my hands full trying to put together all of the Ikea madness that hit our home recently. I can barely feel my fingertips due to all of the twisting of the little screws and the particular pain that Ikea exacts. Here’s what I started to tackle last night.

Bear's new dresser (I hope)

Bear’s new dresser (I hope)

This lovely thing comes with a million and one boards, even more connecting parts and 56 steps.



I decided these needed to be organized a bit.

Ta da!

Ta da!

At 9:15, I threw in the towel and acknowledged I had lost the round. I’ll be back again tonight and am determined that the dresser will look as the god of Ikea intended.

May 2014

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