Tag Archives: home

boon, swoon

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What did The Hubs and I know about baby products before I got pregnant? Of course, absolutely nothing. Zip. Maybe even a little less than zilch. Like most new parents, we’re figuring all of this out on the fly. Gradually, we have amassed a collection of goods for our little guy, both necessary and not-so-necessary, and we’ve started to figure out what we prefer as far as function and style. One brand that has checked off many boxes for us is boon. Their products are modern, simple and functional.

For example, we are loving the Flair Pedestal High Chair with Pneumatic Lift, pictured above. Not only does it roll smoothly from place to place in our house, it cleans up well.

Ian in boon Flair

It’s easy to get Ian (now 8 months) in and out of this commander chair and he must be comfortable in it because he’ll sit in it long after he’s finished eating his banana, avocado, or squash: he’ll sit there gnawing on a cracker or pouring water from the sippy cup all over himself for a good 15 minutes. From this seat he’ll also watch me perform the ever-captivating Unload the Dishwasher show. Now I’m putting this blue dish in the cupboard…

When I put the boon Grass Countertop Drying Rack on our baby registry I assumed I was being silly. When bought the Twig Accessory I figured I was being waaay too whimsical. Note curious pig in photo below:

boon grass countertop drying rack

But these have turned out to be some of the most useful products in our cache. This little lawn keeps Ian’s bottles, pacifiers and now sippy cups organized and away from our other dishes. The twig holds all kinds of bottle and pump paraphernalia.

Finally, this boon GLO night light has been shedding the perfect amount of light on Ian’s nursery for the last few months:

boon GLO night light

I first saw this on Pinterest and became enchanted – it definitely seems like something the Jetson’s would have had. Though this can “glo” through the whole rainbow on repeat, we keep it orange-ish red. This creates the perfect amount of light for so-called “dream feeds”: enough light for mommy to see what’s going on but it’s not so bright that baby fully wakes up. Get this: the illuminated balls are removable, and stay lit for 30 minutes, a feature we haven’t used yet, but if all goes as planned, we will enjoy this quite a bit in the future.

***

Have you swooned over any of the boon products?

For another modern baby brand we have enjoyed, you can see my post about babyletto furniture here.

(BTW, boon did not compensate me in any way for writing this post – I just like the goods.)

a thank you note to our lawn

sewer work

Hey there!

Just wanted to thank you for being so understanding when all those trucks, several workmen, and a back hoe recently tore you to shreds.

It must have been a shock to experience such a violent upheaval – if you were confused, just know that we were too. We didn’t want this to happen to you: after all, Rob has spent countless hours tending to your every need, grooming you, and generally helping you to become the best you can be. And I? Well, I hope you have appreciated my words of encouragement and my heartfelt compliments over the years. Have I ever told you that when we first moved here from the South Bronx (three years ago this week) I gazed out the windows lovingly and with disbelief for hours? “So green,” I repeated dreamily. It was amazing to me that I owned a house with a yard boasting a handsome layer of healthy grass. Crazy!

What happened this past month is still a bit hazy, and more than a little upsetting, but you deserve at least a few details. It started with a wet stain on the cement wall of our unfinished basement. Our plumber had a few theories, but he first outlined the stain with chalk as if it were a crime scene. This was to see if the wet spot would grow. It did.

wet stain basement wall

Next, a sewer expert with a special camera came to perform what was essentially a colonoscopy on our house. (Shout out to friends Ira and Tempeh for this perfect analogy/imagery.) Entering through our guest bathroom toilet, he could see all the plumbing in the house leading to the city sewer lines, EXCEPT those from the kitchen sink and dishwasher. Sure enough, when we ran the sink for a full (and, yup, very wasteful) 20 minutes, the spot actually began to drip. The diagnosis was not definitive, but something was definitely amiss – a pipe leading from the kitchen was broken, or clogged, or was never installed correctly. The upshot was that waste water was pooling under our slab and collecting behind that wall. Those pipes would have to be re-routed out to the street. The good news is that this waste was not coming from a toilet (the thought of this made us throw up in our mouths a few times.) The other good news is that they weren’t going to have to tear up our house. The bad news? They were going to have to dig a long trench about four feet deep and take an XL bite out of our bank account.

We aren’t strangers to plumbing issues – in fact I tried to address one in a former post. As always, we knew to call in second opinions, we researched the issue as much as we could.  We asked around for info and recommendations. We hemmed. We hawed. The spot got bigger. I always thought it would be fun to have a pool – but not under our house.

We finally gave the plumber the green light. We extracted funds from a few select accounts in the Cayman Islands. Then we braced ourselves.

Rob was at work the day of the big dig. He requested photo documentation throughout the day which I provided, until I decided it was best not to.

sewer dig

“It’s just better that you don’t see this,” I said to him over the phone. I knew it would break his heart to see you in this state.

new plumbing

To comfort and entertain myself, I began calling out the phrase, “Torn Asunder!” in biblical tones, referring to both you, and to several thousand dollars of our hard earned cash. TORN ASUNDER! This didn’t exactly make sense but it did make me feel better.

plumbing lawn

Anyway, we are impressed with the quiet dignity you displayed throughout this traumatic event. And even more so, we are impressed with how quickly you bounced back with the help of just a mere sprinkling grass seed. This is only a week later, wow:

grass seed

This little guy asked if I would relay his approval and gratitude as well:

baby bunny

I’d like to say that we’ll never let anything like this happen to you again…but life and homeownership are uncertain and we’d hate to make a promise we can’t keep. Just know that we appreciate all you do – keep up the great work.

Sincerely,

Jocelyn, Rob, and Ian

***

Have you thanked your lawn (or cursed your plumbing) lately?

gnome news: an interview

baby gap gnome onesie

It has recently come to our attention that a “local parent” has been foisting her inexplicable fascination with garden gnomes onto her young son. Because we are hard-hitting journalists specializing in breaking news of a…gnomey nature, we decided to go straight to the source — we are proud to announce that we scored an exclusive interview. Our subject is Ian, pictured above, who is now almost six months old, and obviously wise beyond his years.

The Home Tome: Is it true that your mother has been gradually and not so quietly amassing a collection of garden gnomes both inside and outside of her home for a few years now, thereby confusing her friends, family and most of all her devoted husband?

Ian: As per our agreement, I am not going to comment on things that happened before I met her. (*Note: some translating was required.)

THT: Fair enough. We understand that a large national retailer is currently selling onesies featuring the outline of a small yet congenial gnome with the word “hello there” printed beneath. We further understand that as soon as your mother’s friend Fiona tipped off your mother to this fact, your mother dropped everything, and rushed immediately to the mall. We heard that she was frantic and foaming at the mouth.

Ian: I am glad you asked this because I’d like to take this opportunity to clear up some misconceptions. She, in fact, did not “drop everything,” nor did she drop me as some news sources have alleged, but she did arrive at the mall early the next day and was the first customer to enter the store after the door was unlocked. That “foam” on her mouth was just a little mis-directed frappaccino.

THT: Did she proceed to purchase this onesie even though you already own a piece of similar clothing featuring a similar character?

gnome onesie uncommon goods

Ian: That is the case. But she procured this second one with the help of a gift card and she led me to believe that this was basically the same as getting it for free.

THT: We have it on good authority that she has even instructed one of her  gnomes to mentor you in gnomey ways. Is this the case?

Ian: I cannot deny this.

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But it sure beats algebra lessons.

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And I schooled him a little bit too.

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What do you think? Am I wrong to inflict this obsession hobby on my son? Okay, maybe don’t answer that…

Hope your own gnomes (garden gnomes, crib gnomes, all kinds of gnomes) are getting a great start to the summer!

diy baby clothesline: the hoarding starts now

pile of baby clothes

There are many things I am uncertain about in this parenting venture but there is one thing I know for sure: I will never ever be able to get rid of these tiny newborn suits! In fact, though it is logical, normal and the correct course of events, I am nothing short of stunned that Ian (now 5 months) has already outgrown them.

A local friend sent me a link to her soon-to-be sister-in-law’s sewing website, Cabin Creek Stitchery, wherein she provides a step-by-step process for making T-shirt quilts – I love this idea – surely a pint-sized quilt could be made from these extra small duds?

In the meantime, I decided to rig up a quick way to display them in his nursery on a clothesline so that I can enjoy them just a bit longer. This project didn’t take long. It was storming outside, so it was a perfect day to attempt it during naptime…

stormy outside

I gathered some clothespins, clothesline, and some adhesive hooks:

clothespins clothesline

Then I simply strung them on the line and hung them up on the wall. (FYI, the adhesive hooks worked a lot better in theory than in practice – once the clothesline had the suits on it, it was too heavy, so I had to use screws -  sorry, once again, Wall!)

Here’s how it turned out:

baby clothesline

Once he got up from his nap, the project manager seem to approve:

Ian 5 monthsHey, I recognize those from somewhere…

I am frankly undecided on the final result – it darkens his room a bit – and I’m not sure if it looks cute or ragtag. I’ll keep it up for a while longer and then we’ll see. If I decide to scrap this, and I don’t ever get the wherewithall to make a quilt, I have a few other ideas… I figure the only way to satisfy my sentimental side without becoming a full-out hoarder is to somehow re-purpose these clothes. So maybe I could make:

  • a poncho?
  • a parachute?
  • a tent?
  • a table cloth?
  • how about an nice colorful awning?

Point being, I am trying to soak in every bit of this experience. Literally everyone in my life and everyone I meet randomly on the street tells me that this phase “goes so fast!” and I already see what they’re saying. I suppose, instead of hoarding or even going to great lengths to re-purpose these items, I could simply look back at the several THOUSAND photos we have taken…

How about you? Has sentimentality got you doing crazy things?

the problem with our Babyletto crib, changer and chair

Babyletto Hudson Crib and Changer

For the most part, we love the crib, changer and swivel chair we got for Ian’s nursery. They’re all made by Babyletto, which offers children’s furniture with just the kind of contemporary, sleek designs we dig. And yet: now that we are more than four months into using them, we have found each one of them to fall just a little bit short.

First, the Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib:

Babyletto Hudson Crib

We appreciate the fact that the mattress can be placed inside it at four different heights, and that it can transition from a crib to a toddler bed and then to a day bed. The cool grey color matches our grey floor perfectly. BUT. It does not rock gently back and forth like a hammock in a summer breeze, it does not come with human-like arms that wrap around the child, nor does it have a beating heart. Unfortunately, it does not emit a mist replicating the mother’s scent. And it has absolutely no idea how to shoosh. If you want your child to actually sleep in this crib, you will have to engage in some manual labor first in the form of vigorous cuddling.

Here’s the matching Hudson Changing table:

Babyletto Hudson Changer

The storage space in the drawers and in the adjacent cabinet space is perfect for our little one’s onesies, his tiny toiletries, and his diapering paraphernalia. Everything is easy to open and everything’s at the right height. BUT. I must offer this important warning: this product DOES NOT change your baby’s diaper for you NOR does it it in anyway protect you from the emission of bodily fluids. We were surprised that there was no HAZMAT suit included and no hose for the purposes of power washing. The result of this manufacturing oversight has been harrowing, indeed.

Finally, let’s address the Madison Swivel Glider:

Babyletto Madison Swivel Glider

This chair is extremely comfortable, the fabric is soft (and is proving to be surprisingly durable), and the way it swivels is delightful. We think it will transition well into another room of our house once we are finished with it in the nursery. BUT. It does not automatically feed your child from a breast, from a bottle or even from a straw. It doesn’t read bedtime stories and it does not have a Skype or Facetime function built into the armrests for the purpose of entertaining the grandparents!

As you can see, it’s a real mixed bag. As you can also hopefully see, I am kidding – we have been quite pleased with this furniture thus far and so has our little dude.

Any thoughts on nursery furniture that you’d like to add?

how to reason with a stink bug

stinkbug

In case you ever have an infestation* of stink bugs,** allow me to share some hard-earned wisdom with you.

* Infestation consists of at least one sighting.

** Stink bugs, a.k.a Pentatomidae, are shaped like a shield and apparently emit a smell of rancid almonds if disturbed/squashed/or in any way hindered in their slow crawl across your couch.

1. First and foremost, proceed with caution. These are essentially the skunks of the insect world. In other words, upon seeing one, do not screech or flail your arms spasmodically. This could result in agitation and therefore stench.

2. Be complimentary. As in: “My, what a gallant and dignified creature you are – to which Order of Knights do you belong?”

3. Act interested. “So, I presume you’re residing in the attic. What, pray tell, brings you down to the living room?”

4. A little bit of graciousness and hospitality go a long way: “Thank you so much for stopping by. May I invite you to take a look at our lovely front door? From the outside?”

5. Distract with flattery: “That is my infant son you are walking toward. He is a young human, unable to greet you with the respect you deserve. He does not yet know how to shake hands, bow, or salute. Might I therefore suggest that you take your explorations in the opposite direction?”

6. Finally, if all else fails, resort to the kindly escort. “Can I, by any chance, interest you in a ride on this nice envelope containing a Citibank bill while encased in this clean glass, through which you can see many wonderful sights, including our entrance hall and our front porch?”

If he refuses this offer, then pick up your helpless child without visibly panicking, or, eh hem…”making a stink,” and flee to another room, or another house, or another country, whichever makes most sense at the time.

***

Are stinkbugs taking over your house and your life? Have you ever squashed one? Do they really smell that bad? Have any other insects or spiders had the nerve to come near your baby?

why you should never make deviled eggs while tending to a very-awake infant

egg half

1. Boiling water: it is imperative that boiling water does not get on, in, or anywhere near your Very Awake Infant (V.A.I.).

2. It goes without saying that you are attempting to make these tasty, bite-sized hors d’oeuvres to take to a party (surely nobody makes deviled eggs to eat whilst lounging on the couch?): It therefore also goes without saying that you are running late, in a rush, and fending off a fair amount of anxiety. After all, you haven’t exactly been a regular on the party circuit since V.A.I. hit town and you haven’t even begun to think about what you might fit into wear.

3. The result of #2 is shaky hands and an overwhelming desire to cut corners.

4. The consequence of #3 is a woefully clumsy session of peeling eggs that are still too hot, a situation that will in turn lead to:

a) Burned fingers.

peeling an egg

b) Bloody hands (as egg shell shards very quickly begin to resemble broken glass.)

c) Eggs as pocked and pitted as golf balls. (A far cry from the desired effect.)

messed up egg

5. While you are fighting the long yet frantic Battle of the Egg Shells, V.I.A. will be making a persistent and escalating eh-eh-eh sound nearby, which translates loosely to, “Please entertain me with a tap dance including complicated choreography and also perhaps a bit of melodic verse.” Since you obviously don’t have time to track down your old tap shoes, you hope that all the toys you have balanced precariously above his head will prove to be sufficiently amusing. They will not.

Ian in activity gym

6. If you use a food processor to combine ingredients instead of mashing them together with a fork and a little elbow grease (see “cutting corners,” above), you will save time on the front end but lose it again later that night when the apparatus needs to be cleaned. (Note that V.A.I. will still be eh-eh-eh-ing at that time.) (Note also that a food processor does make the eggy filling pleasingly smooth…)

deviled eggs food processor

7. And finally, the main reason you should never attempt to make deviled eggs while tending to a very awake infant, is that you probably haven’t had time to eat a proper meal today (okay, maybe for a few days) and you will therefore desperately want to treat yourself to a sample. This is impossible if you want to arrive at the party with a full dozen, or 24 halves, the pre-prescribed number of egg divots in the niche platter you got for a song at a Crate and Barrel outlet a while back.

deviled eggs

Take heart: while you may be a little worse for the wear, your eggs can still turn out delicious. As a matter of fact, isn’t that one of the earliest new parent-lessons? Difficult but good. Very good.

FYI – I used this very standard recipe; the one that came up first when I searched the internets. My only addition was dill, both in the mix and as a garnish. Have you ever made deviled eggs? Anyone else find it difficult to cook with a kid? (I know, rumor has it that it’s only going to get more challenging once he is actually mobile!)