Thursday, August 29, 2013

{DIY} Pallet Baby Gate

I have a baby who's nine months old now.
That means I have a baby who is into EVERYTHING.  
Thus, my latest pallet project was born . . . 

But back to Max for a few seconds.
He started crawling a few weeks ago, and within a day or two . . . 
there he was!

Again and again and again! 

Why is it that babies are SO INFATUATED with STAIRS!??
Yep.  That pretty much sums it up.  

I knew I wanted to do something "different" for my baby gate this time around.  
I had one of the typical baby gates when Lucy was a baby . . . but it was a pain in the you-know-what. The baby couldn't open it . . . but neither could we! HA!  
Maybe we're just special, but it was HARD to open, I'm telling you . . . squeeze and slide and lift all at the same time?  
I'm not that talented.  
Not to mention, baby gates aren't exactly the most chic of decor accessories.  

I knew I could do better.  

I had several ideas.  
But then this caught my eye, sitting out in my paint shack.  

I had sawed an old pallet in half to make this rope sign for Lucy's last (cowgirl) birthday party.  
And it was doing absolutely nothing but collecting dust, so . . . 
I removed the rope "Lucy", measured the opening at the bottom of the stairs, and cut the pallet down so that there was just about 1/8" gap between the pallet and the posts.
This is what it looked like at that point:

I went online to check the railing safety codes and requirements for children.  
There must be no more than a 4 inch opening to ensure babies and young children cannot get their heads through and get stuck!
Thankfully, the spaces between the boards on the pallet were already smaller than 4 inches, but I did have one board (on the right) with a chunk missing, so to make sure it was as safe as possible (SAFETY FIRST!: )~, I replaced that damaged board with a nicer piece from the other half of the pallet!

Then, I busted out the sawhorses and my trusty sander, and I sanded . . . 

and sanded . . . and sanded . . . . and SANDED SOME MORE!!!!

I had NO IDEA a pallet could be SO SMOOTH and PRETTY!  
Every edge and corner is now as smooth as butter, believe it or not!

The next step was adding hardware.  
Two hinges and some kind of latch.  

Because I was a little LOT scared of drilling holes into the posts on our stairway, I waited until a day that Scott was actually home to help me with that part.  
(I did NOT want to be blamed for gaping holes in the wall! : )~

Here he is drilling holes from the hinge and latch screws . . . 

Getting up close and personal with the hinges and latch I chose:

These were the ONLY cost for the entire baby gate project, and I got them at Home Depot for $5 or $6 each.  
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this latch.  
Simply lift the top, swinging mechanism to open, and then you can just swing the gate shut and it latches automatically.  
Easy enough for Lucy (4 years old) to open it (I did NOT want to have to come running to open the gate every time she needed to go up or down the stairs - no way!), but definitely too tricky for baby brother to figure out.  
And if he does happen to figure it out before I'm ready for him to be climbing the steps, I could easily get a spring loaded clip of some kind to slip through that hole on the latch!

Finished product . . . 

I cannot tell you how happy I am with this project.
We LOVE it.  

Totally cute . . . and matches the general decor of our home.
Totally functional . . . keeps Max off the steps and allows everyone else in the house to easily open/close the gate. (And the pallet is SUPER light-weight, so there's no problem with it dragging on the hinges!)
Totally cheap . . . approximately $10.  (And it could have been cheaper if I chose to just use a simple hook/loop closure.)
Totally WORTH IT!

Pallet + Baby Gate = LOVE!

We've only had the gate up for about a week, but every person who has come to our home this past week has complimented and loved it, as well! ;-)

P.S.  If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen several sneak peeks of the gate!  
If you don't follow my Instagram, it's the place I hang out the most . . . my user name is: bec_littlelucylu.  
Hope to see you there! ;-)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Max = 9 Months!

I can't believe I've been writing these Max updates for nine months already.

I can't believe this wonderful little guy has been HERE for nine months already.

This has been a BIG month for Mr. Max!!!
Crawling . . . standing . . . eating "real" food . . . a tooth!

But one thing hasn't changed . . . he's still as smiley and happy as ever. :-)

Have I told you lately how much I LOVE this little man???
(And yes, apparently he IS still little . . . so much for my estimating the last few months.  I was about a month ahead, apparently!  Still only a smidge over 18 lbs. -- 25th percentile.  Only ONE pound ahead of where Lucy was at nine months, which shocked me!)
But little or not, he is the sweetest, happiest baby boy!
I am constantly amazed by how well he "goes with the flow" in pretty much every situation you can think of.
Church, restaurants, dance class, shopping mall . . . nap, no nap, on schedule, off schedule, teething . . . it really doesn't phase him!
I am one lucky mama, let me tell you!

It's been amazing to watch how quickly he's gone from a scooter/roller to a crawler . . . to a SPEED CRAWLER!!!  He is so funny to watch!  It's like a baby deer on ice -- all fours just scrambling a million miles an hour, but not necessarily at the same rate -- and as a result, he ends up in a face plant often! (which doesn't seem to bother him one bit, by the way!)

He's also just started pulling himself up to standing -- though he doesn't stay up for long yet!  He seems pretty content just motoring around on his knees for now, so I don't anticipate that he'll be walking anytime soon (which is perfectly fine with me), but then again -- I guess you never know! : )~

I will say, it was a little more tricky getting these photos taken this month . . . my subject kept crawling away!!!

Ah, the dear ol' laundry basket . . .

Even though I don't think he's grown a whole lot in the past month, that laundry basket does seem to keep getting smaller, doesn't it . . . ? : )~

That first one still kills me . . . I can hardly stand to look at it.
Maybe a little more so this month than most . . . it's gonna be a rough month, y'all.
I'm headed back to work in exactly two days.

While part of me really is looking forward to teaching my sweet kindergartners again -- I can't help that my guts are in a knot and my heart is crying.  Leaving my kiddos so that I can go spend time with OTHER kiddos feels so wrong to me in so many ways, but after spending so much time considering all things . . . I just feel that in the long run, it is better for me to keep working.

Praise the Lord that I can work half-days only . . . that I work two-and-a-half minutes from my home . . . that my children are able to stay in their home with family who loves them while I am away every afternoon.
And just think . . . how fun will it be next year at this time when Lucy is preparing to go to her first day of kindergarten WITH me!??  Not many moms get to do THAT.  (Though I'm sure that it will have it's own set of challenges, as well - haha! : )~

I'd appreciate your prayers this next week, friends!
I'm sure things will go smoothly with the transition, but extra prayers can't hurt! ;-)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Lucy Loses A Tooth (x2!)

Yes, she's ONLY four-years-old.

We were at the dentist for her regular cleaning/check-up a couple of months ago and the doctor says, "Oh!  She has a couple of loose teeth!"
I just about fell over.

My first thought was . . . oh geez, I am the worst mother on the planet.  I don't brush her teeth enough, and now they're rotting out of her head.
My second thought was . . . no, my baby canNOT be losing teeth already.  I'm not ready for this.  AT ALL.  Somebody hug me. 

But apparently, it's not all that abnormal to lose a first tooth at four years of age.
And when her big (adult) tooth appeared in the gums behind her baby teeth last month (I just about fell over again), but I realized why her teeth were loose!

And no, she didn't get her teeth super early as a baby, either.  Her first tooth popped up at 7 1/2 months.  Pretty average, from what I understand.

So . . . who knows why her new teeth are growing in already, but . . . they are, so we're going with it!

And here's the story of how she lost two teeth in one night:

Tuesday night, while brushing her teeth, I spent some time wiggling her tooth (there was one that was much looser than the other), and I was kind of getting tired of it hanging out in there all cockeyed and whatnot.  I twisted a little extra hard, and it started bleeding, so I told her that was a sign it was ready to come out. ;-) (she believed me)

I grabbed a tissue and pulled it out . . . and watched as Lucy giggled, shrieked, ran in circles, jumped up and down, and grinned from ear-to-ear.  She was SO excited!

Then I gave her the tooth fairy pillow I had been hiding until this moment . . . and then she was even MORE excited!

She wanted to call her daddy right away.  (He is working out of town . . . has to miss all the good stuff . . . and the bad stuff.  Boo. : (

And then . . . she tells me the other tooth is really loose now.
Sure enough, it was.
I don't know if I tweaked that one a little bit when pulling the other one out or what, but it was really wiggly, and she was begging me to pull it out.
So I did.
(I'm a kindergarten teacher, remember?  I'm kind of a pro at pulling teeth by this point!;-)

And there you have it.
The story of how my four-year-old lost her first tooth AND her second tooth in the same day.

Our poor tooth fairy.
She might be broke before the year is up.
Lucy has TWO MORE loose teeth already!

(*Side note: Tooth Fairy?  Hard job.  Like, seriously stressful.  What if they wake up???)

I'll see you back here again in a few days for Max's 9 MONTH update!!!