All Decked Out.

Yowsas – Wednesday already?  My lack of posting is making me sad.  I think that sometimes I think I need to come here with a long, planned out post, when really – sometimes on busy days I just want to stop by and say hi.  Maybe I’ll start doing that more. 

Casey is traveling this week.  So it’s just me and the boys here at the ranch.  There’s been a lot of this going on…

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Rain, rain, and more rain.  Typical for this time of year, but I forgot how much it sucks.  The weeks feel long when I’m on my own and we are trapped  inside.  We do a lot of eating.

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And I’ve done quite a bit of baking.  Which is always a bad idea when it’s just me, because then there is NO question as to who at the whole loaf of banana bread.

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Although I actually had help with this one – we had friends over for a few hours on Monday afternoon, and I made bread for all the hungry mamas.  It was loosely based on this recipe, and turned out really well.  Crispy on the outside, soft inside – just right. 

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I also baked up a big batch of baby muffins for Cullen.  Yes, they are quite possibly the worst looking baked good ever photographed – blame the blueberries.  These were a combo of banana, blueberries, oat flour, and almond flour.  He is OBSESSED – can’t eat them fast enough.

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I’ve also been baking up some new recipes!  Now that Cullen is on a one-nap-a-day schedule, it’s getting harder and harder for me to find time to work.  I usually end up writing and working during that afternoon nap window, but that means there is no leftover time for cooking.  My recent lack of recipes was making me sad, so this week I spent nap times cooking, and my laptop sat closed.

So the bad news is that some of you thought I’d either died or dropped off the face of the earth (and I love you and so appreciate your concern!).  But the good news is that most of you probably didn’t even notice and are like what is this chick talking about, AND I have a few new recipes headed your way.  Hope to type one up during today’s LONG nap – fingers crossed for more than an hour…unlike yesterday.  Did you hear that, Cullen?

Can I show you my holiday decorations?  And in showing you those, I also have to show you that we rearranged our furniture!  I know everyone is obsessed with “open floor plans.”  I watch House Hunters.  At this point saying you want an open floor plan is like saying you want the house to have a bathroom. 

Anyway.  Our house is really open.  Like, almost too open.  I didn’t know that was possible, but it is.  The way our furniture was set up before, it was really – well, open – but no matter where I looked I could always see eveeeerything.  And so I’d try to relax at night and be lazy on the couch watching Survivor, but I could see all the dirty dishes and sink full of sippy cups beckoning me from the kitchen.  The kitchen is the focal point of our floor plan, and while it’s beautiful, I don’t want to feel like I’m in it all the time

Here’s the set up from before (it was Cullen’s birthday party so ignore the balloons and streamers. And a few more before pictures here.). 

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So we moved things around!  It took a few days for me to get used to it, but now I really like it.  It’s more crowded, but much cozier, and feels like a better use of the space.  I’m not a huge TV over the mantle girl, but that has grown on me too.  The couch faces the fireplace and TV now, and makes it feel much more like a living room!  Adorable stockings and twinkling lights have helped ease into the adjustment.

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This year’s tree, which is sadly still not decorated.  What use to be one afternoon or evening of tree decorating is somehow turning into a week-long project.  I got the lights and garland up while Cullen was distracted on Sunday.  He has shown zero interest in the tree itself, which is awesome.  Except any time I try to decorate, he gets really into the box of (sharp, glass) ornaments, so I’m seriously putting on like one red ball at a time.  It’s ridiculous.

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I have a feeling that at this rate, our tree will be decorated by mid-December, and ornaments will only be on the top half. 

Here’s a shot from the same angle as the “before” up above.  The new arrangement chops up that open space, which as it turns out is much better.  My close up camera lens probably isn’t doing it justice.

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Another angle of the “living room” – and from this one you can see the other reason I wanted to mix things up.  Cullen has a play corner!

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We have these great built-ins, and the way it was set up before, they were mostly blocked by furniture.  We have some great play areas in our house, but none on the first floor.  I have been having a really hard time doing anything in the kitchen without Cullen at my heels.  Now that he has his own play space down here, he’s much more occupied.

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And many of you have asked about his chair – it’s the Land of Nod “Nod Chair.”  I scored it on major sale ($35!) a few weeks before his birthday – it was his first birthday gift.  He is (finally!) reaaaaaaally into books right now.  His main source of entertainment is sitting and paging through book after book after book.  It’s the cutest thing you have ever seen.  Casey caught him reading in the chair on Sunday…

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But his favorite thing to do – of course – is to stand on the chair and read books on the windowsill.  This gives me a small heart attack, but thankfully he’s really good at climbing down backwards.  I’m so glad he’s using it, even if it’s mostly as a climbing gym.

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Last shot of the living room.  I love that it feels so festive and bright.  We are hosting Christmas in Seattle this year, so I want it to feel extra festive for all our traveling guests!

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More decorations in the dining room.  I’ve been putting up the same decorations for many years – the couple of things I bought after Casey and I moved in together forever ago.  I’m telling myself that this year I’m going to take advantage of the post-holiday sales and buy super discounted Christmas stuff in January.  It will be such a fun treat to have waiting for next year!  But I know by January I’ll be over it and won’t do it.  The cycle goes on.

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Since it’s just been me this week, I’ve been trying to fill up our schedule with fun things going on – play date, a friend over for dinner, mom’s group, and more.  And when the going gets tough, there’s always the fun game of spinning in circles with the nail clippers in your mouth.

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Or playing with two favorite toys – a bottle of Advil and a thermometer. 

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At least when I’m on my own I have two eager watch dogs, protecting our house and keeping us safe.  Oh wait…

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I’ll be back soon (no really, this time) with a few yummy new recipes!  Thanks for your patience during the downtime.  I have missed you guys!