Rock-a-bye baby…

Our baby girl is due in 9 days which seems forever away right now as we go through a horrible heat wave and I feel about 1,000 months pregnant. Today begins the first day of vacation for me, though. I knew I didn’t want to work up until the last day because I’d be uncomfortable, and thankfully I had plenty of days saved up. Now begins the scramble for the finishing touches on the house but, on a positive note, my bags are packed and the nursery is done!


Literally. Our bags are packed! Mine is on the left, complete with a bag of snacks. On the radiator are the items that are “last minute, throw them in” like the coming home outfit, The Man’s pjs and socks, a stroller blanket from Pottery Barn that my BF from high school gave us, the quintessential nursing boppy, and a list of “grab this” items like chargers and my iPad.

The nursery was just a general use room before with a futon, all my yarn and crochet accessories, and my Oma’s steamer trunk. Well, the futon was sold and the steamer trunk and crochet paraphenalia found a new home in my office (which I’ll share another time).


the room before

From day one, I knew that I loved the color of the room and wasn’t going to change it – it’s Valspar’s Wool Coat. It’s a beautiful, rich neutral color that lends itself to a host of complementing colors. Once we found out it was a girl, we also decided to leave the carpet which was a $25 score at an estate sale a few years ago. As I started decorating the room, I realized the carpet was limiting me more than the paint color was, but the room turned out amazing anyway. The valances were one of the first things I purchased at Lowe’s (a glimpse is in the very first pic in the post), inspired by both the carpet and the witches ball which was a gift from my sister-in-law when we first moved in our house. I’ve always loved the way the light hits the brilliant red, and figured it was a good idea to have something hanging to ward off evil.

I love all the stencils and wall decals I see on Pinterest for baby rooms, but didn’t want to repaint the room as she gets older so instead I decided wall art would be the decoration/theme, which ended up being Storybooks.

We were lucky in that we were given a crib by a friend whose daughter had just transitioned to her BGB (big girl bed) and the dresser the previous owners had left in the room had been sitting in our garage for literally 5 years, just waiting to be rehabbed. It had obviously been painted in a hurry with a brush, and the scroll details were aqua and purple – not my taste.


dresser hell before (I had used the drawers as stands when I was painting something black…)

After a lot of sanding and many cans of spray paint for a glossy finish to match the crib (yes I used a Darth Vader-esque ventilator), the end result was nothing short of fabulous!


The inside of the drawers even got their own special treatment – they were painted pink and lined. My mother-in-law bought us the most comfortable chair in the world (rocks AND swivels) and the matching ottoman (which is covered in a blanket The Man’s coworker made for us) from Babies R Us. The print above the chair is another nod to Storybooks – Rapunzel! I’ve had the print since I was a teenager and figured it was the perfect home for it. We also purchased the bookcase from Babies R Us. The Man put it together in less than an hour and it’s super sturdy so we’re hoping it lasts for the long haul.


The shelves are adjustable so as she grows we can use the bookcase for storage AND books. The bins on the bottom hold toys, stuffed animals, and baby medicine essen


sorry for the cruddy picture – stupid glare from windows

tials. The large white bin which is within arms reach when I sit down holds all the nursing essentials. And of course, she already has a book collection!

Then of course she needs somewhere to sleep. Over her crib we put three prints that her cousins got her off our registry. I found them on Etsy and used simple frames and mats from Michael’s so we can change them out over time.

It took a long time to find the perfect ones but I finally settled on a quote from Little Women, one from Anne of Green Gables, and one from Alice in Wonderland.  And because of the colors and pattern in the carpet, I also agonized over her bedding. I know, I know. The bedding doesn’t matter and they barely ever will get use out of the comforter so who cares? Well, this dork cares. I finally found  an amazing comforter from Land of Nod that is reversable and had a matching dust ruffle that I love. Add in some super soft stuffed animal friends and the sleeping area is baby ready!

We also have one more nod to Storybooks over her dresser and on it in the form of a mirror and another print from Etsy which I loved, with different Alice in Wonderland quote.


And that’s it! All in all, we were blessed to have furniture and be gifted furniture. It made the whole process of getting the nursery ready so much easier. The room isn’t huge so I knew we had to be practical, and I definitely wanted a room that could grow with her.

We are so very ready for this little girl to arrive happy and healthy and safely.


Showers of Love

I am very lucky to have some amazing friends in my life who are just as excited about welcoming our baby in to the world as we are! The Man and I were given two amazing showers – one by my amazing friend Michele …


Me & Michele, June 25

who invited my friends and family to her house and put out an amazing display of food


and punch (alcoholic and non!)


and then a surprise shower by my co-workers!


And by surprise I mean I truly was clueless…


I thought The Man and I were going for a walk, but lo and behold in our lab, my co-workers had set up a plethora of sugary delights and gifts. I’m also very lucky to have a friend that took pictures at both showers (and who my mom officially wants to hire as our family photographer!) so that I have some amazing memories!

It’s hard to believe such a little person coming into the world needs so much stuff and I’m grateful that so many people have helped us prepare for Alexandra’s arrival. The Man’s aunts have been showering us with gifts practically since we told them we were pregnant, our parents have gotten all the big things we needed, and our friends and co-workers were generous beyond belief.

So now we have the clothes, the gear, the diapers (although you can never have enough diapers!) and the nursery which is almost complete. Now… just waiting on baby. 33 days and counting…


nesting, nesting, and more nesting…

With seven weeks to go I have the overwhelming urge to clean every surface of my house and make sure everything we own has a place to go away. Last Monday, I realized our small(ish) kitchen was woefully ill equipped to house any of the impending baby gear like bottles and the eventual sippy cups and plastic dinnerware that is oh so fancy.

We did have room in our dining room, however, to add a small buffet on an otherwise empty wall. I perused Wayfair and Overstock but most of the buffets or sideboards had open storage, glass fronts, or built in wine bottle racks that we didn’t need. On a whim, I decided to check Craigslist quickly and on the second page of the search voila! The perfect sideboard! It was the right color, the right size, and almost the right price.

I sent an email and asked if it was still available and whether the price was negotiable. Amazingly, within 20 minutes I had an email back saying yes to both accounts! We ended up striking a deal in between what I wanted to pay and the owner wanted to make, and she even agreed to DELIVER! So as of yesterday morning we are the proud new owners of a fabulous new piece in our dining room.

Today I tackled the task of reorganizing half of the kitchen cabinets. I had one in particular that I thought could be better utilized.


I can’t remember the last time I used martini glasses, and our good china definitely didn’t have to be in the kitchen because I always set the table with it rather than serving from the kitchen on it, so it was easy to figure out what needed to get re-homed. Oh, and I don’t think my Turkey wine glass is going to get used for a few months! The Man helped move everything into the dining room so I wasn’t walking back and forth and tada!


Everything fit with a LOT of room to spare. I’ll probably get different racks at some point to utilize the space more efficiently, but for now the two shelves got emptied and even found room for plates from another closet. The cool thing is that what looks like drawers is actually a drop down face, so I can put some of our nice platters in there.


And the major bonus, the wall finally looks complete. We used to just have one of our dining room chairs in that corner but now the corner finally looks finished. To reward all my reorganization efforts, The Man even bought me flowers when he did the grocery shopping tonight. All in all, I’m one happy mom to be! Now to just clean up the nursery…


Totally preggers

We were out with my in-laws a few weeks ago looking at houses when suddenly I turned and caught my side profile in the mirror and gasped. I was pregnant.  They asked me what was wrong and I told them. I’m pregnant. No… really?!

Obviously I’m pregnant. I’m 26 weeks and 2 days pregnant. I’m due in three months. 92 days to go according to my Glow Nurture app. But I finally realized how I look to other people. Up until about two weeks ago I felt pregnant, I felt Alexandra moving and kicking and even seeing my belly move when she gave a particularly energetic jab. I saw the numbers on the scale going up (slowly thankfully). But I didn’t realize just how pregnant I looked.

From the front, if I’m wearing a cardigan that falls just right, there’s still the initial thought of, “She had too many cheeseburgers,” which has been my joke all along. Especially around month 4, there was the look you would get from students and others on campus we hadn’t told yet where they were trying to figure out of if you were gluttonous or knocked up. Now it’s real.

Things in Alexandra’s room are pretty well set. The crib has been together for a while now, the room painted, the closet cleaned out and prepared, and the dresser refinished. I can tell you I hate spray painting pregnant. YES, I wore a heavy duty respirator mask – don’t yell at me. Now we’re just trying to settle the rest of the house. The bathroom is done. The center hall ceiling and mold taken down, new ceilings and moldings put up, and now we have to peel the wall paper.

But now, I actually feel pregnant too. I can’t work on the wall paper removal for more than an hour without feeling discomfort. The bajillion trips up and down the stairs while trying to clean are unmanageable now. I can do it, but if I don’t take breaks, I end up in a lot of pain by the end of the day. Maybe it’s because I’m carrying all out front. Maybe it’s because I’m too stupid to know I should slow down.

But you know what? I’m not angry or sad about any of the limitations. I’m happy. I have been lucky. I feel good. I dare say I look good. And I can’t wait to have this little girl here.


Five Years

Closing Day, May 2011

It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since this photo was taken. I don’t know how you begin to summarize what it’s like to realize that in five short years we’ve been through so much.

Five years ago we were essentially newly weds, daring to take on this huge project of restoring a house, creating a life together, making a  home. We are far from done in this house. We’ve ripped out knob and tube wiring. We’ve removed countless feet of tired, dirty carpeting. We’ve scrubbed and sanded. We’ve towed out bushes with the truck. We’ve spackled. We’ve spray painted. Oh, the spray paint! We’ve gutted a bathroom. And we’ve begun to put everything back together again.

And now, in our biggest adventure, we’re bringing new life into the house. In three short months there will be a new little person living in that room that you can see in the top right corner of the photo. Her crib and dresser are in place. She has oodles of clothing already from loved ones that are going to spoil her rotten. We’re already stockpiling diapers and wipes. And I’m already anticipating all the sleepless nights to come, pacing the creaky floors we haven’t refinished yet.

Happy Anniversary, house. Your biggest adventure is yet to come.

Tomb-Sweeping Day

I saw an article on BuzzFeed today about Tomb-Sweeping Day, an ancient holiday the Chinese observe where they visit the graves of family members and loved ones that have past. Apparently, in recent years the holiday has extended to pet cemeteries as well.

It’s hard to believe, but Loki, who would have been six this April, has been gone for almost two years. We have his ashes in a beautiful wooden box, and his collar still sits on a bookshelf in The Man’s office. I still remember how beautiful Loki was, especially his eyes. This was his favorite time of year, because we would open the window in our bedroom for him and Luna to chatter at the birds that would begin flocking to the magnolia tree just outside.

One of the tombs in the BuzzFeed article reads, “Gently you left, but will be in my heart forever.” That’s how I like to remember Loki. I hope you’re over the rainbow bridge, laying in the sun and chirping at birds, beautiful boy.