7QT: Home Improvement Dreams & Big Bébés

Linking up today with Jen at Conversion Diary to share my (never) Quick Takes about our week.

1. This past week has been pretty exciting for us because our new tenants moved in!  It’s been weird hearing people next door because it’s been over a year since anyone has lived there.  The most alarming thing about it for me has been smelling their food! I would occasionally get a whiff of what was cooking next door when Mr. and Mrs. A lived there, but only when I was in the basement doing laundry.  This week, I could smell their dinner one night it in our house.  Dave said it was my crazy pregnancy smelling powers and he couldn’t smell anything. It didn’t smell bad, just a little onion heavy.  Ah well, I don’t care, they pay to live here and they could do more annoying things, right?

2. Now that we have tenants, we can finally tackle things on our side of the house.  We have daydreamed about home improvement projects forever and it’s so exciting that we can finally undertake some of them!  The first thing we have to do is get a new boiler for our side; necessary, expensive, and not very exciting.  But after that we are going to do little upgrades in the kitchen.  Nothing super dramatic or high end, just little improvements that will make a big difference in the quality of our  my life.  We’re going to put down new linoleum in the kitchen because the current linoleum has got to be at least 20 years old.  It’s nasty and it never looks clean and it’s basically the bane of my homemaking existence.  I can’t wait to have a floor that doesn’t look dingy and gross all the time!  We’re also going to paint all the dark paneling and molding in the kitchen and install wainscoting on the bottom half below the existing chair rail (using this method).  Our cabinets are outdated shiny oak, but we’re going to keep them wood and just change the hardware.  I think painted cabinets look nice but I’ve heard that long term they don’t really hold up that well, so we’ll keep them wood for the time being.  Finally, what I’m really looking forward to is installing a dish washer!  It’ll take up a good amount of our limited cabinet space, but I’m determined to figure out different ways to organize everything to make this happen. Wow, I don’t think I’ve adequately conveyed my excitement about these potential improvements so I’ll let Lucille Bluth help me out.

3. Oh, and one more little thing.  Young House Love inspired me this week when they put their microwave in the pantry.

We’re totally doing that too.  I’ve been following that blog ever since we got married and while I find most of  their posts to be helpful and inspiring, I’m not always on board with their design choices.  But lately I’ve been loving a lot of their improvements.  The nursery they’re setting up for their little boy who’s due this spring is really cute!

 4. Speaking of baby boys, I got to see mine again this week and I got a picture of his sweet face this time!  IMG_2220It’s a long story about why I had another ultrasound so soon after the last one but blessedly everything is fine and dandy.  He’s measuring right on time except he has a big barrel chest, just like SK did.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a big baby just like his sister was (she was 9 pounds 8 ounces), and really, it’s freeing to just acknowledge this fact and not stress over it.  I think I just make big babies!

5. After the ultrasound, SK and I popped into a nearby mall and had some fun.  IMG_2211You can see in this picture how big Sara is!  That outfit is 2T and her arms and legs are way too long for it.  I’ve had to start transitioning her to 3T clothing and she’s not even two yet!

6. I’m almost done with that infamous book Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman and I have to say I really liked it.  Sure, there’s the obligatory eye roll over the idea of French women doing everything better than us AND remaining skinny.  But, on a practical level, I thought there was a lot of good in the book.  Whether the author writes about French women being unapologetic about their epidurals or unflinchingly firm with their nons (saying no), I got the impression that French women are just a little bit more grown up in general than American women.  It made me think of that old post from Like Mother Like Daughter called Having a Baby and the Culture of Freaking Out.  Ironically, the LMLD post focuses a lot on not worrying about your weight after giving birth as well as the dangers of overmedicalized birth, while Bringing Up Bébé describes French women as being on the opposite side of that ideological fence.  But where they intersect is on the idea that mothers ought to be adults.  We American women have grown up in a culture where we easily “freak out” over everything and use shopping or binging on Oreos as self-medication for life’s ups and downs.  Movies, especially romantic comedies, capitalize on the charm of the frazzled neurotic female. Think Meg Ryan in, well, anything! But French women, according to this book, seem to have an innate sense of self-control and confidence that translates in motherhood to a natural authority and firm boundaries with their children. Again, it brings to mind the last line in that LMLD post: “Be the person with common sense. Become a mother.”

Anyway, it’s an interesting read, I definitely recommend it along with that post (or any post) at Like Mother Like Daughter!

7. Spring is coming!

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That is all!

10 thoughts on “7QT: Home Improvement Dreams & Big Bébés

  1. #6. Interesting. I'm not a huge fan of the "French women are so much better" bandwagon, but I can definitely appreciate a lot of your points you made and certainly the point about growing up, having common sense and being the mother. So very, very true.

    • That's just my take-away at least. 🙂 There are some aspects of French motherhood that I'd pass on (like giving up on breastfeeding very early and putting my kid in daycare just because that's what you do and it's free) but I think, reading between the lines and examining my own weaknesses and struggles, I can definitely learn something from their example. If you do end up reading the book, Amelia, I'd just warn you since I know you've had such success with attachment parenting, that the French way of doing things (at least according to this book) does not have a lot in common with AP!

  2. Yay for home projects! So exciting! I seem to make big babies, too, so I hear ya. (9 lbs, 3 oz, and 9 lbs) I've been interested in French eating/parenting styles lately…. not that they're better at everything, but I'm tired of society telling me that my kids need to eat junk food (I'm sorry, snacks) 5 times a day, in addition to meals… and Americans wonder why we're overweight. Plus, kids need boundaries and to be told 'no' even if they don't like it.

    • Francine, I can't believe you had such big babies! You're so tiny! You should definitely read this book because there's a lot about getting kids to eat sensibly and not snack.

  3. I was reading along and saying "YES!/me too" to pretty much every take. So, shout-out from a fellow new-linoleum & YHL loving, French parenting-reading, big baby making reader! Anna was 9 lbs 13 oz!

    • Wow! We need to get coffee or something some time 😉 I'm glad I'm not the only one to be excited about new linoleum. It seems like it would be a shameful thing to be excited about, like getting a new white (gasp! not stainless steel?) appliance. Shoot, I'm just so excited to have a clean floor and not break the budget!

      • Haha, I'm not ashamed to admit that I love our vinyl sticky-tile so much that I'd seriously consider putting it in our future "forever" home, too (and white appliances).

    • I almost cried reading the chapter about French women losing the baby weight right away, it was so discouraging. But that's the big difference between the secular idea of motherhood and Christian idea of motherhood; it's all about the sacrifice. And shoot, I might have trouble losing the baby weight but I'm more frustrated by my varicose veins! Don't french women get those too??

  4. I know getting a new boiler is necessary, expensive, and not very exciting – but it doesn't have to be that way. Sure for me I thought getting a new boiler was going to be very expensive and a lot of hassle, but that's why I got some quotes in first (I was shocked at how much British Gas wanted for a new boiler!) – after going through the quotes, I choose STL Heating as they came out best!

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