Monthly Archives

October 2012

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Photoshoot: 21 Months Old

twenty-one months old

Baby girl turned 21 months old on Oct. 28. Each month on the 28th I take a photo of Miss Alexa and her owl to mark her growth because, as everyone likes to remind me, “they’re only little for a short while.”

Little Miss Independent is taking over and if you tell her to do something she does not want to do (take these photos, perhaps?) there will be tears and wailing and contortions so help her god.

A short list of things Alexa routinely objects to: getting dressed, getting out of the tub, having her diaper changed, waiting for anything, holding still, being told “no,” having her binkie or blankie confiscated, the end of washing-hands time or brushing-teeth time, spending any length of time in a shopping cart

That’s the short list.

Her clothing situation is the same as last month. She wears 18-24 month clothing. Some 2T stuff (T-shirts mostly). She wears size 6 shoes. She will readily help me put her socks and shoes on. She is starting to enjoy “helping” with her other clothes, too. For instance, she will stand up to help pull up pants, and she will put her arms over her head so I can take off shirts.

We are getting a solid two-to-three-hour nap each day. She doesn’t fuss much when it comes to naptime, but she will jump up and down in her crib if she’s not ready to sleep. She has been sleeping with a pillow, and she refuses to sleep unless she has her blankie and binkie. I’m not looking forward to the day when we wean her of this.

Little Miss Independent is apparently boycotting any and all vegetables. All of a sudden, food she has been eating for a year (eggs, peas, spinach, carrots) get the cold shoulder from her. I’m resorting to hiding veggies inside other foods and giving her Happy Tot pouches, but I’m also making a show of putting carrots and green beans and broccoli on her plate. We shall see who is the most stubborn out of the two of us! Along with being picky, she is also eating less and drinking less (unless we’re talking about grapes; the girl loves grapes).

Favorite things: Throwing and catching the bouncy ball, playing Legos, reading “Mister Seahorse” in the morning and “Goodnight Moon” before bedtime, drawing in the bathtub, pumpkins and other Halloween decoration, dancing along with and mimicking her “show” (aka Yo Gabba Gabba), playing with the xylophone, climbing into her little shopping cart, helping to sweep and/or put away dishes and laundry

New words: Rock, Foofa, Muno, Brobee, Toodee, Plex (she knows the whole gang); fish, socks, it’s hot, Halloween (how-ween!), open, more, milk, show, thank you, monkey, duck, slide, swing, sleep, grapes (gwapes)

We used to have a battle royale every night to get her into the bath. Then this week, like magic, she started to enjoy her bath time. She uses her bath crayons to draw, plays with her bath toys and now she doesn’t want to LEAVE the tub. Haha.

One thing we can count on: tantrums lurk around every corner. This photoshoot lasted about two minutes, tops. I got one decent image (above) and the rest of the 30 pics I took looked something like this:

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Previous months:
one  •  two  •  three  •  four
  •  five  •  six  •  seven  •  eight
nine •  ten •  eleven •  twelve
•  thirteen •  fourteen •  fifteen •  sixteen
seventeeneighteennineteentwenty

33 Projects: Glitter Pumpkins (Three Ways)

Halloween Glitter Pumpkins 3 Ways • Little Gold Pixel

Guess what! I have a super original project to share with you today. In my defense, these have been on my 33 Before 34 list since January.

Here’s what you might need, should you choose to follow my advice over other, more competent crafters on the Internet.

  • Fake pumpkins
  • Glitter
  • Mod Podge (I used the glittery kind for extra oomph)
  • Sponge brush

Halloween Glitter Pumpkins 3 Ways • Little Gold Pixel

True story: I rounded up these pumpkins at Target back in September, when fake pumpkins were plentiful and available at various price points around the store. I think the black one was $3, the white one $2 and the orange one hanging out in the Dollar Spot. I would say you could run to Target today for a last-minute holiday project, but considering it looked like the Halloween section was ransacked by wild wolves on Saturday, you might run into supply issues.

Why fake pumpkins? I am currently trying to amass a decoration box that consists of more than a hollow pumpkin and two glow-in-the-dark spiders. But by all means, decorate your real pumpkins with gusto!

Halloween Glitter Pumpkins 3 Ways • Little Gold Pixel

I applied a different technique to each pumpkin. The white pumpkin got a thorough coat all the way around of glitter+Mod Podge. Then I dumped a good bit of glitter directly on top, shook off the excess and let it sit for awhile before applying a top coat of Mod Podge to seal.

Halloween Glitter Pumpkins 3 Ways • Little Gold Pixel

The black pumpkin is half-glittered, thickly. Three coats of glitter+Mod Podge.

Halloween Glitter Pumpkins 3 Ways • Little Gold Pixel

The orange pumpkin is lightly coated all around for a more shimmery, less glittery effect.

I tend to like the lighter glitter effect than a hugely glittered pumpkin. By the way, I bought one of those hugely glittered pumpkins at Target, and good grief does it shed. In contrast, my pumpkins do not shed at all!

Halloween Glitter Pumpkins 3 Ways • Little Gold Pixel

Halloween Glitter Pumpkins 3 Ways • Little Gold Pixel

May they last several more spook-tacular years.

Nine projects down, 24 to go.

I Need a Halloween

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*These photos have nothing to do with this post.

I should be making our Halloween costumes right now.

It’s been a weird week. We’ve been sick for what feels like a billion years, so long that Alexa’s cold turned into a sinus infection. I’m losing access to my favorite doctor because my new employer’s health plans are different. Things just feel OFF.

So help me I’m going to enjoy Halloween. A holiday of complete indulgence, in which there’s full license to eat too much candy, dress like a fool and watch scary movies. Sign me up.

This afternoon I knocked over a few boxes in our hall closet, looking for the one we packed when we moved. Ah, yes, “Halloween and Barbecue Supplies.” I’d like a bloody stump slathered in mesquite sauce, thanks. Suh-weet!

Only … there was nothing in the box, save a hollow pumpkin and two glow-in-the-dark spiders. Womp-womp.

I told Alexa to get her shoes because Mommy needed some Halloween STAT. “How-ween!” she exclaimed.

A few hours later, and I am happy to report that there is now signage at our door that proclaims, “Find treats here!” and candy corn sits like a beacon in glass jars on our countertops. I’ve already made the glitter pumpkins (more on that later). The enormous bag of candy has been procured and is safely nestled in a festive bowl atop the fridge. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

T-minus five days.

*These photos, which I have been editing instead of making Halloween costumes, are from a few weeks ago, after we went to the pumpkin patch. Just a little side jaunt because it was a beautiful afternoon in Long Beach.

33 Projects: Colorblock Magnets (Safe for Kids)

DIY Color Block Magnets // littlegraypixel

About a million years ago (or one year ago), I came across this simple idea. I loved the idea of using paint, but let’s be honest. My craft stick magnets were going to end up being touched by a small child who might just put them in her mouth. So far she has resisted the urge, thank god, but there are no guarantees in life. Enter nontoxic washable markers.

Then I turned on an episode of “The Walking Dead” and colored mindlessly whilst zombies attacked. Did I mention I turned off the lights? So, I colored these in the dark. They turned out pretty good for the amount of effort I put forth. Markers tend to bring out the grooves in the wood, and there are a few places I could’ve filled in better.

I might make some more, but actually, you know, try next time.

Alexa was none the wiser about the effort, though. She has been playing with them and carting them around the house in her shopping cart, so … success?

Materials needed:

  • Craft sticks
  • Nontoxic washable markers
  • Self-adhering magnets (I used two per stick)

DIY Color Block Magnets // littlegraypixel

Eight projects down, 25 to go.

The Heart and the Pearls

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Mom would’ve been 55 on Monday.

On her final birthday, in 2007, we took her out for coffee. It was the morning after my brother’s wedding. We were all together, we were all happy, we were all coming down off the high of the previous day.

We gave her a necklace. A heart with four pearls inside, the pearls representing her two children, her son-in-law and her new daughter-in-law. The heart representing her.

It was a simple birthday. The real gift was spending time together because we didn’t live nearby. When someone you love is fighting for their life on a daily basis, you realize how pointless grand gestures and materialistic gifts are. How insignificant baubles are compared with time.

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The ocean was to Mom what that heart necklace symbolized to us: comfort, protection, love, solace. Her ashes reside there, as well as a bit of her presence.

Our family of three heeded the call this weekend to celebrate Mom’s birthday. We drove our stuffy noses and sore throats to Malibu, to the rocky shore where the high-tide waves were crashing in tall and powerful. We climbed down the cliff, passing Alexa between us when it got too steep.

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And we sat down to watch the waves. To hear the waves babble between the rocks as the tide ebbed and flowed. To think about what has happened in the past five years.

Mom, you have two granddaughters now. Both of your children are happily married. Your husband is doing well, always up for a new adventure!

And …

And …

You are missed, more than it’s possible to put into words.

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I feel your presence every day. When something great happens to us, I want to call you. When Alexa bumps her head, I want to seek your medical advice. When Alexa hits a milestone, I want to brag to you. When I have a bad day, I want to confide in you.

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So I do. Maybe that’s a bit crazy, but I tell you these things in my head. I write about you on this blog. I keep tabs on our family for posterity’s sake, yes, but also for you. This is the family blog you always wanted us to keep but we could never manage to get right while you were here.

Happy birthday, Mom. We love you.

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33 Projects: Gallery Wall

Remember this?

33 Projects: Gallery Wall • Little Gold Pixel

Well, I forgot to mention that I finally finished my wall of family photos, just in time for me to think about ordering more recent pics of Alexa, who by the way couldn’t be bothered to stop jumping up and down long enough for me to take a clear shot.

33 Projects: Gallery Wall • Little Gold Pixel

33 Projects: Gallery Wall • Little Gold Pixel

Now I know what it must be like to photograph Bigfoot.

Seven projects down, 26 to go.

P.S. More gallery wall ideas. Plus, some free printables to hang on your gallery walls.

Obligatory Pumpkin Patch Post

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It feels inappropriate that I am writing this on what was a 100-degree day in Los Angeles, but let’s look at these photos and remember that last weekend was mild, even moderately cool (ahaha, I’m calling the mid-80s cool).

Last year we found a fairly out-of-the-way patch that was blissfully quiet in this crowded metropolis. This year we went to the bustling kid magnet that is Pa’s in Long Beach.

Exhibit A: The children in the background are not mine.

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Pa’s is like the rickety old carnival that rolls into town, pops up some past-their-prime rides and lets ’em rip. Like the pink elephant ride I swear was squeaking and the carousel that physically moved up and down when someone stepped on it. Good times!

There are a bunch of inept workers manning the “ticket booth,” and the wagons are purely for dragging around the spectacle. If you want to buy a pumpkin, you have to carry it in your arms to the parking lot. I’m not sure whether Pa intends to sell any of those giant pumpkins at all, otherwise what will the tots climb on while parents like me click away?

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Alexa is still just as intrigued as ever with straw. She kept scooping it up and tossing it in the air.

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We left the pumpkin patch with a few mini pumpkins and a bumpy gourd. Bumpy gourds are my new obsession, second to fairytale pumpkins. Our big pumpkin purchase will have to wait for a day when our hands aren’t full with a cranky toddler, whose good nature wore out after the petting zoo.

She did grant me this photo opportunity, though, by walking over to these pumpkins and posing.

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Looks like my baby is growing up. Click here to see how much.

The It List

Five things I’m lovin’ right now (it’s been awhile) …

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  1. Broccoli and Potato Nuggets by Joy the Baker. Another reminder that I need a food processor.
  2. Every print in this Etsy clothing shop. I meant, just look at the colors!
  3. Jack White’s face-off video for “I’m Shakin’.”
  4. Constellation necklace by One Eyed Dog.
  5. Drea’s cute mobiles. She’s taking custom orders; I just might take her up on that!

As always, you can see more things I’m lovin’ on Pinterest.

Would you ever live off the grid?

Sometimes I wonder whether we over-complicate our lives with so much. So much of everything. So much work. So much reliance on money. So much reliance on electricity.

Wouldn’t it just be easier to buy some land somewhere remote, grow a garden and do occasional odd jobs for some cash? Throw away all your credit cards and bathe in creek water. Make s’mores by the nightly campfire and wake up with the birds. Sleep in a log cabin and whittle wooden animals when it rains.

And no bills to pay! (I think I just heard angels singing.)

I imagine it would be a lot like camping, only infinitely more filthy and, you know, never ending bug bites. You might run the risk of becoming that “creepy lady who lives in the log cabin by the creek,” fodder for local children’s ghost stories and therefore your cabin might be infiltrated every Halloween by those who chose the “dare.”

But then again, there would be time to be alone with your thoughts. Time to write. Time to think and read and create. Time to get your hands dirty and live off the literal fruits of your labor.

Time to lose your mind via boredom.

It might be too quiet, even assuming you brought your immediate family with you. There might be times when you yearn for noise, for a car alarm or music that doesn’t come in tinny from your battery-run radio. You might also long to update your status on Facebook to “Just caught a fish with my bare hands in the creek!” You might get tired of your clothes smelling like said fish.

And then there’s the possibility you could be attacked by zombies when you are just looking for some toilet paper.

It’s a long shot, but it could happen.

What about you? Would you ever live off the grid?

33 Projects: Animals in a Jar

DIY: Golden Animal Menagerie

Today’s project is brought to you by a moment of genius I had when I decided to mix this dinosaur terranium with this mounted menagerie with these glittered animal canvases. Following me so far?

Basically, I wanted to trap some golden animals inside some jars of some kind.

Cue the supplies:

DIY: Golden Animal Menagerie

Found exactly two aisles apart from each other at Target in the same time frame it took for shopping-cart-ridden Alexa to ask “Get down?” about 1.55 million times.

The first step is to free all the animals and look at them.

DIY: Golden Animal Menagerie
DIY: Golden Animal Menagerie

Next, line them up in a row. Let the toddler play with them. She likes the big cats. “Rawr,” she growls in her cute little growl voice. Set those aside for her amusement and turn to Instagram to choose four lucky animals that will become … GOLDEN.

And the consensus is:

DIY: Golden Animal Menagerie

Here’s where you can go one of two ways: the easy way (bust out some paint if you have an actual craft supply) or the hard way (the $3.99 nail polish). I chose the hard way.

But I also have cute golden toenails now, so there’s a plus side to everything.

Just be aware that painting these creatures with a tiny brush could take close to forever (or an hour). Also, you should crack your windows unless you want to get high from the fumes.

DIY: Golden Animal Menagerie
DIY: Golden Animal Menagerie

*Nail polish high is not so pleasant. There is no laughter, just confusion and lightheadedness. Not unlike regular life, only with a distinctly chemical odor.

At some point you should procure the rest of the supplies. Maybe go to Ikea this time.

DIY: Golden Animal Menagerie

The spice jars are in the kitchen section and the rocks are close to the cacti. Not sure where these sections are located in your Ikea? It’s OK, just wander aimlessly like you always do, anyway. You’ll find them eventually (just like the exit).

Why teal rocks instead of moss and twigs and other terrarium paraphernalia? Because I thought this would look cool, and it totally matches my decor. Oh, and it’s easier than dealing with alive/rotting outdoorsy things.

Plus I like how it looks like the animals are trapped in an alien landscape, which is perfect because they ended up guarding a shelf in my bathroom. They will bear witness to anyone who refuses to change the empty toilet paper roll. So BEWARE, guests (and H).

One last thing: Refrain from using the giraffe if at all possible unless you want it to suffer a few amputations to fit inside the jar.

DIY: Golden Animal Menagerie
DIY: Golden Animal Menagerie
DIY: Golden Animal Menagerie

Six projects down, 27 to go.