Basement Renovation: Phase 2

I thought renovation was slow when we were the ones doing the work (especially since it took about 8 months to complete our kitchen), but I've come to the realization that it is slow no matter who is doing the heavy lifting.  In fact, it's taking about twice as long as our contractor initially estimated.  Between inspections and ordering materials, there is a new set-back every day.  So....needless to say....we are not as far along as we would have hoped at the end of December. 

Here is where we are at today:

The framing and insulation is all up (that purple stuff is actually 1.5 inch thick foam that is supposed to be just as/if not more effective than regular insulation).  I wish I knew the name of it, but I only saw one of the packages a few weeks back and at this point in my life, my memory is pretty much non-existent!  But I do remember that the r-value (which is the energy efficiency of the insulation) is about 13-14, which is what is required by code.  The inspector didn't love the idea of it when he first came to check out the progress, but our contractor convinced him that it was the best thing since sliced bread, so he gave him the thumbs up to keep going.  I guess the reason we went with this material was to maintain as much living space in the basement as possible.  If we went with standard depth insulation, it would have taken away another few inches from each wall.  I suppose it's not a lot of space when you are looking at numbers, but the contractor insisted that it would make a difference in the finished space.  So we will just have to see how it all turns out......

We have also made a lot of progress on electrical and plumbing in the basement.  The two photos above are just close-up shots of the pump that we needed to install for the bathroom.  On the left, you can see the drainage ditch they had to carve out first.  The bottom right leg will be where the sink goes, the bottom left leg is where the toilet will be and the top left is where the shower will drain to.  The pump was then installed in the upper right corner of that first photo with the pipes connected to it.  Once that was complete, they filled the ditch with some rocks and cement to make it all level again.  You can sort of see the floor of the bathroom after the ditch was filled in the right-hand photo.  And then the pump is that lovely round black thing with the white pipes coming from it.  This type of waste system is supposed to drain all of the water from the sink, toilet and shower and then pump it up into the existing sewage waste pipe that we have running along the wall in the basement.  You can see it snaking around the center of the wall in the picture to the left.  We had to build a shelf-like wall in the back office to accommodate the pipe (which you can sort of see in the right photo).  It's a little inconvenient, but definitely not the end of the world.  We will find a way to incorporate it into our design scheme once the walls have all been put up. 

And speaking of the walls, that is our next phase.  Brian will be working on a few little projects here and there this weekend (building out a shelf in the bathroom to hide the waste pipe and venting the dryer), but the sheetrock guy is coming on Tuesday to get started.  I can't wait to see how it shapes up.  It's hard to visualize everything with just the framing, so hopefully we will get a good sense of the space once he is done with the sheetrock! 

YAY!!  Until our next update, hope you are all surviving the last few days of holiday chaos!!  I am going to attempt to run out tomorrow for some last minute things......eeek!!  Wish me luck! 


Thank You

Although Thanksgiving has come and gone (in the blink of an eye it seems), I still want to take some time to reflect on the things that I am thankful for this year:

(1) My little peanut.....of course:

Over the years I have heard the phrase, "I could just eat you up" countless times.  Normally its coming from someone of an older generation, so I assumed it was an old school thing.  But now, I can honestly say that I understand exactly what they meant.  No wonder some animals eat their children......they are just TOO damn cute!!  :) 

(2) My amazing husband.  He hasn't taken 1 day off since Pace arrived......just totally swamped.....but you would never know it.  He is so helpful and thoughtful and supportive.  Despite his long hours, he still manages to be around and available whenever we need him.  He must feel like he is being pulled in a million different directions (picture stretch armstrong....or inspector gadget, if you will), but he does it with such a calm, cool demeanor that it looks almost easy.  I'm not saying that motherhood isn't daunting, but I guess I just appreciate that he is trying his best to be everything for us.  He never ceases to amaze me.  Never.

(3) My wonderful family:  Without them, I really don't think I would have made it through the last three months.  Pace is an amazing child (like sleeping through the night at 2 months, amazing), but it's still a tough job and everyone has been unbelievably supportive.  It is wonderful to have them around for my own sanity, but I also love that Pace is becoming so close to his grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins at such an early age.  I am truly blessed.

My family

My In-Laws
My Mom

My mom, especially, has been my rock.  Any time I needed anything, she was there by my side....whether it was a last minute drive to be with me while Brian traveled or a phone call in the middle of the night to ask advice or just vent.  Pace looks unhappy in this photo, but I assure you that you can't wipe the smile off his face when grandma is around.  Just pure joy.  He almost always gets the hiccups when he is with her because he giggles so much.  It is adorable.  I just love watching them bond. 

(4) Friends: It amazes me every day how lucky we are to have so many wonderful friends in our lives.  They have all been so thoughtful and generous and supportive since Pace arrived.  He came into a world with so much love and affection around him.  I could not be more grateful for all of the well wishes and visits and phone calls from everyone since he has arrived.  On the days when I felt like I was the worst parent in the world (for no particular reason, usually), I could turn to my friends and they would tell me how they did the same thing or they felt the same way at some point too.  I knew that I was never the only one in the world that was feeling that way or dealing with that emotion, but sometimes it felt like that and I didn't know what to do.  But just 2 minutes into a conversation with one of my friends and I would be laughing and smiling about it.  What would I have done and what will I do without you all.  Not only am I thankful for the wonderful people that have been in our lives (both individually and as a couple) for years and years, but I am also so grateful to God or the real-estate fairy or WHOEVER it was that brought us to this town and this street.  There are 4 other babies under the age of 1 on my street (who will all go to school with Pace) and even more babies his age right around the corner.  We are truly blessed to be in this neighborhood and in this house (which I am also thankful for). 

(5) The ability to stay home:  I don't think I've updated you all on my situation, but B and I decided that it would be alright financially if I stayed home a little longer with Pace before returning to work/school (whatever I decide to do).  I did ask my company for a part-time schedule, but they really needed someone full-time for my position.  I was a little disappointed at first, but now that I have officially been a stay-at-home-mom for a few weeks, I feel so much better about the decision.  I couldn't imagine missing all of his smiles and laughs and cries.....any of it.  It is all so precious.  I was never really in love with my job, anyway, so this is the perfect chance for me to start over.  Maybe go back to school or take some classes.  I will decide on that in the next few months, but for now I am enjoying my one-on-one time with Pace.  He has changed my world and I am so excited to see what the future brings for the both of us.....

And of course, (6) I am thankful for all of you that have continued to read despite my long hiatus.  I apologize for dropping off the map for a while, but I really appreciate that you stuck by my side and continue to read.  It means the world to me.  And I really do have a lot of fun stuff happening in our casa that I can't wait to share with you.  From the slow-moving basement renovation to the little art/photo projects I've been working on.....I have a lot to fill you in on!!  And now that Pace is starting to get into a nap schedule during the day, I can allot some time each day to sit down and write.  I'm sure you haven't been waiting with bated breath for my next post (haha), but I hope that you will tune in over the next few months for some exciting changes!!  I have also been bad about visiting all of your sites lately, so I promise to get back into that as well.  I am truly lacking in the inspiration department these days, so I'm eager to see what you have all been up to!!!  

So thanks again for reading and following along with my crazy life.  And even if no one is reading this anymore, it feels so so so good to be writing and thinking again....haha!!  And not the kind of thinking that is required to fill a 6 oz. bottle or do the laundry.  I almost feel a sigh of relief now that I've written....like a weight is lifted off my shoulders and I can relax now that some of those thoughts have been released from my mind.  Does anyone else feel like that when they write?

And I'm sure there are a million and one things that I am forgetting on my thank you list, but those are the real important ones.  Other than that, there are just some other general ones, like financial stability, health, etc.  But those aren't as fun to talk about......

What are you thankful for this year??


Basement Renovation: Phase 1

We officially broke ground on the basement project.  Let the madness begin...

To save some money, we have decided to do as much demo and framing as we can before calling in reinforcements.  And since we aren't going to be able to help with the electrical, plumbing and heating portions of the renovation, the demo and framing are the only parts that we can really contribute to at this point.  

Here is what it looked like after a full day of framing last weekend:

Part of the basement (near the boiler) is being left unfinished for storage space, so the wall being built in this photo has a door frame cut out (on the far left) so that we can have access to everything when the rest of the space is built out.  We are planning to use two bifold doors to give us the most amount of room to move large items in and out of the space (including the boiler, if necessary).  If we used french doors we would have to make the adjacent hallway that much wider, which wasn't ideal considering the small space we have to begin with.

In the photo above, you will see a space built out for a future wine/beverage center.  There was a great deal of real estate beneath the stairs, so we thought it would make the most sense to be able to tuck a little entertaining area in there there, along with some shelves for storage.  Instead of just boxing the space out, why not make use of it? 

We added this extra lolli (lalli???) column (the dark grey metal post in the center of the photo..haha) for added support to the beam above that is carrying additional weight from the wall opening in our kitchen/dining room area.  It was not required during the kitchen renovation (read more about that here), but it couldn't hurt while the area is all opened up.  A little extra support is always better than none, right? 

And here is that storage room doorway I was speaking of earlier.  It will help us to get some larger items in and out.  On a totally unrelated note, I can't believe how much STUFF we have in there.  Ugh!!  I'm pretty sure those 4 tote bins on the left are ALL filled with christmas things.  I used to have everything organized and labeled, but I think I rearranged some things when we moved in and nothing seems to correspond with its label anymore.  Whoops!!  I guess its a rainy/snowy day project for this winter!

Above you can see the side view of the under-stair storage space when we first started framing. 
And here it is after a few hours of working..... 

We are planning on adding a wine/beverage fridge on the bottom half flanked by wine storage cubbies on either side.  There will also be a stone countertop (hopefully we will find a cheap remnant piece at a local stone yard) and a shelf for some liquor or food.  We have high hopes of entertaining down here, but honestly I see this space as a playroom in the future.....so, more than likely, our lovely little wine fridge will end up being a juice box and milk fridge with space for goldfish and sippy cups on the nice marble countertop.  Haha!  I'm totally ok with that though....

These last two pictures show the long view of the basement (underneath the half bath and kitchen...to give you perspective).  It it wide open now, but it will eventually be an office/guest bedroom, full bathroom with stand-up shower, and a closet for the laundry.  Can't wait!!!!

The contractors have been in and out since we did our part, so I will have an update with their progress shortly!  Our target date to finish was Christmas, but I'm not sure that is still realistic.  We will have a better idea of the timeline once we have all the plumbing and electrical completed (today, hopefully)!!  It's hard having other people doing the work.  I feel like I'm not in control of the project and it drives me crazy.  I sound like a total control freak, huh?  I guess its just hard to let other people do all the work when we are used to handling it all ourselves.....especially since I'm home listening/watching it all.  The thing I have to keep telling myself is that we aren't qualified to take on these parts of the project, so even if we wanted to and learned how to, it would take us FOREVER to get it all done.  #1, B has been working like crazy lately, and #2 we can't ever work together since one person is always watching the peanut upstairs.  My my how things have changed. 

Hopefully I will go downstairs this afternoon and be totally wowed by the progress.  Updates to follow.....


Basement Renovation: Planning

I know what you're thinking....you have an infant and you are trying to start another renovation NOW????  Yea, I'm thinking the same thing.......but there really isn't a perfect time to start this type of project (well maybe before Pace was born, but its clearly too late for that), so we figure we might as well get it done before the winter.  After the snow starts, we would have to shuttle all of the supplies through the kitchen.  Yikes!!  NOT ideal to say the least....and probably not even possible for some of the material.

So here is what it looked like when we moved in......lots of clutter (from the previous owners), but pretty much a blank slate:

It is basically the full footprint of the house, we are just keeping a small portion of it (about the size of the dining room) unfinished and will use that space for storage.  The main goal of this renovation is to add some play and work space to our home.  Currently our guest bedroom upstairs is doubling as an office, so it will be nice to have a separate space for both.  We are planning to have a separate office space (below the mudroom/kitchen area), a full bath (below the kitchen and half bath) and a play/entertainment area (below the living room).  As I write this out I realize that it would be SO much easier to just show you the floor plan rather than try to explain it all, but I haven't taken the time to create one just yet.  Once we get a few more details finalized, I will make sure to show you the plan a little more clearly!! 

Normally we like to do the work ourselves, but with our little bundle of joy, it's a little harder to be a complete renovating partnership like we used to be.  We are still planning on doing some things here and there, but the big stuff is being left up to the professionals, like the plumbing, heating and electrical.  We are going to do most of the framing, drywalling, tiling, painting, flooring and installation of fixtures.  It will help us save a little money on the total project and it will keep our DIY skills nice and sharp!!  Hehe.  Believe it or not, I am actually excited to do some tiling again.  I know that I was a little overwhelmed with the kitchen backsplash last fall, but I think that it will be much easier the second time around.  None of those first-time jitters....hopefully!  Still unsure of what we are using for all of the materials and finishes, but once I get it all planned out, you will be the first to know.  We are shooting for a one-month project plan, but as with most things, there will probably be delays. 

Here's hoping everything goes smoothly!!

Next up, I will try to put together a floor plan to show where everything is going to be.  The contractor is coming by tomorrow to discuss a few things, so hopefully he will help me make some decisions.

As always, I'll keep you posted on all the developments....and definitely on a more regular basis than I have been.  Sorry again about that!  This whole mom thing is AMAZING, but it sure does take up a lot of time.  Haha.  Every time I think I can sit down and write, I think of 7 other things that need to get done before he wakes up.  Yikes!


2 Months Down...

Clearly my plans for keeping up with the blog fell through.  Every time I would sit down to write something, Pace would need me or the phone would ring or the laundry buzzer would go off.  For some reason I thought I would have all this free time to do projects and write while Pace napped....but I forgot about all the other life things that need to happen when I have a few minutes.....like showering and brushing my teeth or paying bills.  Ha.  Boy was I naive.

But just because I haven't been writing doesn't mean that I don't have a lot to tell you.  Despite my limited free time, I have been able to get a few projects done here and there.   Like finishing the nursery, updating the guest bedroom/office, creating a hallway frame gallery, finding an umbrella for the deck and completing the walkway project (installing new steps....although we hired someone to do that part).  We are also in the beginning phases of finishing our basement.  I can't wait to share these updates with you!

For now though, I will leave you with some recent pics of the little guy.  He is changing so much every day.  I can't even stand it!

He loves our little photoshoots.....for now at least.  I'm sure that he will be pushing the camera out of his face once he learns that he can.  Haha.  I will enjoy it as long as I can though.

I'm also just 1.5 weeks away from returning to work and I can't tell you how much anxiety I have over it.  1/2 of me misses the office environment (weird, I know) and the social interaction and the other 1/2 can't imagine being away from my peanut for that long each day.  For some reason I thought that it would be a breeze to return to work, but the closer I get, the harder it is to swallow.  I have also been thinking about my career and I really want a change.  This would be the perfect time to do it, but I just don't know if I have the guts to take such a big leap of faith.  B is wonderful and supports me regardless of what I decide.....but that is almost harder than if he had an opinion.  I have to make this decision all on my own and it is nerve-racking!  Have any of you guys been through this before?  Did you think you would return to work and then decide not to?  Did you go back and regret it?  Any thoughts or insights on this would be amazing.  

Ugh, and I thought labor was hard......


Labor Day

So I lied a little bit about being "back in action" in my last post.  Just when I thought I had this mommy-hood thing down pat, everything changed.  Not necessarily for the bad, but I haven't had as much time to sit and write as I thought I would.  I have just been trying to nap whenever he is napping or get some laundry/dishes/housework done whenever I have a minute.  And on top of it all, B has been travelling for work on and off for the last two weeks, so I have been manning all of the feeding shifts both day and night.  It's been hectic, but so wonderful at the same time.  It is nice to have him all to myself for days at a time...tiring, but so so nice.  I find myself staring at him for hours at a time.  I am probably enabling bad habits by letting him sleep in my arms, but sometimes I just can't fathom putting him down and being away from him (although I do have to say that B and I have been able to go out to dinner twice in the last month thanks to our awesome parents).   We told ourselves that we would not lose "us" when Pace arrived, and we are trying really hard to keep that promise.  I'll keep you posted on how well we keep it up over the next few months though.....)

I'm not going to lie and say that it has been all sunshine and bunnies around here, but I honestly can't complain too much.  He is a wonderful baby.  He doesn't cry unless he's hungry or needs a diaper change and he has been sleeping between 3-6 hours every time we put him down.  His schedule changes every day (which really means that he has no schedule at all), but I find that he is becoming rather predictable nonetheless.  I can read all of his cues by now and am able to soothe him or find ways to help him soothe himself 90% of the time.  The more comfortable I feel in motherhood, the easier it has gotten.  In the first few weeks, it was nerve-racking when he would cry and I didn't know what he wanted, but now that we've gotten to know each other a little better, I feel like I can handle just about anything.

I struggled a bit the first few weeks with the "baby blues" though.  I was crying every time he cried and feeling sorry for myself because breastfeeding wasn't going as planned (which is another whole post in itself).  After a rocky start, I finally feel like myself again (and more importantly, like a mom) and I'm loving it.  I have heard other women say this before and I didn't believe it, but I honestly don't think I could love anything in the world more than him (well....besides my husband, of course).  I am amazed and mesmerized by everything he does and I honestly wasn't sure I would feel that way.  I wasn't one of those women that always wanted to be a mother.  I knew that I wanted it someday, but I certainly didn't dream about it like some of my childhood friends.  I suppose I just thought it was part of life and I would just experience it someday.  Boy, was I wrong.  I underestimated how rewarding it feels to watch him grow and know that I am responsible for him and his well-being.  It is more responsibility than I have ever had, and I am loving every minute of it.  Who knew?  He had me at hello.....

So now for the story of his birth.  I will spare you the ugly details, but here is the basic timeline.....

Monday, August 8th
8:00 AM - Dr. Appt.....3 cm, 90% effaced, 0 station...still a long way to go.  I was having irregular contractions the whole weekend, but nothing worth talking about.  The Dr. "stirred the pot" to get contractions going and we left the office to head to work.
8:30 AM - Walking out to the parking lot and my water breaks (although I have to admit I wasn't sure if I was just peeing my pants or not).  We walked/waddled back into the office and the doc took us right back in.  She confirmed that my water had broken and that we needed to head to the hospital in the next few hours to avoid infection.  We headed home...
1:00 PM - After hanging out at home and gathering our things, we jumped in the car and drove to the hospital (not without picking up some italian subs at our favorite deli)!!
2:00 PM - Check into the hospital and get settled in our room
3:00 PM - IV goes in and they start me on fluids and a small dose of pitocin (2 ml I believe)......we hang out, walk around, sit on the ball and slowly deal with the contractions (about 5 min apart at this point).
7:00 PM - Doc comes in to check on me (finally) and suggests that I stay on the same drip of pitocin through the night and "see what happens".  He was a very laid back doc and wanted to go the natural way.  I was fine with that....but only because I thought that I would "naturally" progress through the night.......no such luck.  Oh, and I was given permission to eat something light, so I had a greek salad with chicken.....little did I know it would be my last meal for a while.....
10:00 PM - We decide to get some sleep while we still could (although I was having regular contractions through the night)

Tuesday, August 9th
8:00 AM - New doc came in to check on my progress.  No change since yesterday morning (he said I might be 4 cm rather than 3, but I think that is subjective anyway).  He was a little more bold than the previous doc, so he thought that we should ramp things up.  He suggested that we go from 2 ml - 24 ml of pitocin.  The nurse gradually upped the dosage each half hour until he came back to check on me again.  Oh, and they started me on some antibiotics since it had been 24 hours since my water broke....
12:00 PM - No progress, but still upping the dosage on the pitocin, so the doc agreed to give me a little more time.  If things didn't progress by the next check up, then he would move for a c-section (which I was hoping to avoid).  We decided to help the process along and used this bone-like ball to rock me from side to side and help me dilate.   I was feeling a little discouraged at this point (since I really hadn't made any progress at all) but I tried to stay positive and work through it until the next check up
2:30 PM - Since I hadn't really progressed much, and the pitocin was making the contractions come extremely strong and fast, my body wasn't able to produce the hormones that it normally would to tolerate the pain of each contraction.  Long story short, I asked for the epidural.  I went into this whole process hoping to avoid it, but at this point I knew that I would have at least another 12 hours or labor left, so I should get comfortable.  Best decision EVER!!!!
4:00 PM - I had progressed to 6 cm by this time, but still not where the doc wanted me to be.  I begged him to give me more time, so he agreed to give me another few hours.  I continue with the "rocking" thing in hopes of dilating more by the next check up.  (Keep in mind that our parents have been in the waiting room since 7 AM (even though we suggested they wait at our house until things started to REALLY happen))
8:00 PM - I was 7-8 cm at this check up, so the doc agreed to let me labor a little more instead of taking me in for the c-section.  I was happy to oblige (especially since I could barely feel the contractions now that I had the epidural).

Wednesday, August 10th
12:00 AM - I am 10 cm FINALLY and the doc tells me it's time to push.  I start off really strong.  The nurse keeps telling me that she can see the head (sorry for the graphic detail) and that I was so close (which was obviously a lie).  B even looked and said that I just needed to push a little more......so I kept pushing as hard as I could.
2:00 AM - Still pushing, but starting to fade a little (especially since they turned off the epidural so that I could feel the contractions and push through them).  My energy was really low since I hadn't eaten since Monday evening (and at this point, I was totally regretting the healthy choice for dinner....I should have gone with a cheeseburger if I knew it would be that long without food).  I decided to give it another half hour and see if I could make any progress.
2:30 AM - The doc finally came in to check on me and assess the situation.  He thought that I was doing everything I could to push, but that the babies' head just wasn't going to get past my pubic bone.  He gave me the option to keep trying (with the chance that it would not progress at all), have a c-section, or use forceps.  I thought about continuing pushing, but with the chance that it would not do any good, I decided to forego that.  And when given the option of c-section and forceps I was just devastated.  I hadn't heard of anyone using forceps in YEARS (apparently the vacuum wouldn't have been as successful because of the way he was positioned....or something like that), and I wasn't really sure how it would affect the baby (scars or bruises).  A c-section was definitely not off my list of considerations, but it was pretty far down.  After laboring for almost 40 hours, I just felt like it was depressing to have them just cut me open.  I could have done that in the first place and saved us all a whole lot of time (and pain)!
So, ultimately, I decided on the forceps.  I talked to the doc about the risks and he seemed confident that it would be just fine.  As soon as I made the decision, B was in scrubs and we were headed to the OR.  Less than 5 minutes later Pace was out and crying and it was over (except for some last minute care for me...which I couldn't feel anyway).  It was so surreal.  He was here and he was beautiful.  I just looked up at B and cried.  He was amazing through this all and I was just so happy that we finally had our baby.  He took a long time to come out, but he was so worth it!!!  Am I going to get pregnant again tomorrow....probably not, but I wouldn't change my experience for the world.  He was worth every minute of it!


And then there were three...

I'm so sorry for the lack of posts this month.  I promise I have a good excuse though.  Things have been a little crazy around this casa ever since this little guy arrived.....

Pace William
Born 08.10.11
2:54 AM
6 lbs 15 oz
20 3/4 in. long

I promise to fill you in on the labor and delivery details (well, to a certain extent) in a later post, but for now I am going to keep enjoying every sleepless moment with him.  I promise to be back in action in another week or so (with updates on some house projects too.....yes, we have still been doing projects with the little guy around....CRAZY).  I also have to show you more nursery photos!!  It is about 90% done at this point, but since he's still sleeping in his room (and doesn't even have full use of his eyes just yet), I don't feel too much pressure to finish the room for another month or so.  Hopefully we will get into a routine soon and I can start to work on the last few projects in his room (mostly touch up painting and a DIY art project).

So that's what we have been up to lately.  More updates, photos and posts to come!!  Hope you haven't given up on me yet!!


Pregnancy: 38 Weeks

B caught me hanging out in the nursery last night.  It's really no surprise though.  I tend to do that a lot lately (sorry about the short shorts....it is just so hot out that I tend to wear the least amount possible while still trying to cover my growing self.....not easy, folks!!).  We could literally go any day now (god-willing), so I have been scrambling to get things done before he arrives.  Most recently I washed all of his newborn and 0-3 clothes and put them away (p.s. maybe it's a crazy hormonal thing, but I think that Dreft is the best smelling stuff EVER....I have actually considered washing ALL of our things in it, but then I realized that it might not be something that B aspires to smell like....at work or otherwise.  Eh, can't win them all).  We also bit the bullet and finally packed our "go bags" last night.  I'm not sure why I was putting it off, or what really scared me into doing it last night, but we just finally came to the realization that we don't want to be hanging out in the hospital wearing hospital gowns (and I use that in the plural sense, since B hates to wear his work clothes when he's not working, so I imagine that he would opt for the backless gown in lieu of a button-down shirt and dress pants...haha), staring at each other and waiting for things to happen.  Now, I do realize that I'm probably not going to want to play hop skotch in the hallway, but I also don't want to be waiting to dilate a few centimeters in the early stages when the contractions are RELATIVELY bearable and not have anything to do.  So we decided to pack Travel Scrabble, a deck of cards, an iPod dock station (since we have our own room), snacks and a camera (with the charger too).  We threw some clothes and toiletries in there too, but the important stuff was really the entertainment-related things.  If nothing else, it will keep B occupied in case I decide that I can't stand the look of him for putting me through this and kick him out of the room during a bad contraction.  You never know?  I used to be a girl scout....so we always try to be prepared.  Hehe.

Other than that though, we are just waiting for him to make his debut.  I wouldn't say we are waiting patiently, but we are hanging in there.  I'm sure that the longer he stays in there, the better for him, so by all means little one, keep on cookin'!!!  I won't lie and tell you that I'm still feeling wonderful, but I am really not feeling that bad.  I can still get around pretty well (walking back and forth to work - 1.5 miles each way, and doing the elliptical or bike at lunch).  Some people probably think I'm crazy, but I feel SOOOO much better when I'm moving.  He dropped pretty low in the last few weeks, so if I sit down too long, he manages to nestle right in my hip joint and take a little snooze.....NOT my favorite position.  I have found if I move around though, he will tend to shift over a few centimeters to give me some temporary relief.  I am definitely not moving fast by any means during these "sessions" but the act of moving at all seems to put me back in touch with my old self and provides a little bit of normalcy to this whole process.  But again, I can't complain at all.  This has been a great pregnancy and I'm still feeling pretty good.  A little more hot, a little more uncomfortable and a little more tired than I have been in the past few weeks, but I must say that it is all very tolerable.  Maybe I won't be so lucky with my next, but I'm trying to relish it for now!!

In addition to packing our own "go bags" last night, we also packed one for the baby.  He needs to be comfy on his first ride home too, right??  Even though its summer and has been quite warm in New England the last few weeks, we decided on a long sleeve kimono-style outfit from Gap to take him home in.  It probably seems like it will be too much for him, but we will be going from one air-conditioned place to another, so I'd rather have him be nice and cozy than too cold. 

We also packed him a sleeveless onesie just in case we change our minds though!!  Honestly, I might have packed him more outfits than I did for myself!!  You can never be too prepared. 

If you look closely in the picture above, you can sort of see the crib skirt fabric peeking out from under the mattress.  It's the Serena and Lily Slate Goldenrod Mosaic print that I ordered last week. 

The first swatch in the photo above.....

It finally came in and I can't tell you how much I love it in the room.  It is very subtle, but it really ties all of the colors in the room together.  Like I said in an earlier post, it was a little more expensive than I normally like to pay for fabric ($40/yd) but I really loved it and couldn't seem to find anything comparable for a cheaper price.  We saved quite a bit on other things for the nursery, so I decided that one splurge in the room was acceptable.  Ahhh....the things we do to justify our purchases!! 

I still haven't hemmed and sewn the crib skirt though, all I did was place it under the mattress to see how they matched.  The fact that you can't really tell that I didn't sew it yet is going to make it very hard to get motivated to do the project though.  I know it won't take me long, but when something looks nice already, why change it??? 

And finally, we managed to hang up something on the wall last night as well.  The mirror above the crib (which I found at Home Goods a few months back for $19.99) was a super simple and super affordable way to break up the wall space a little.  We have a few more things to hang in the room as well, but we need to buy some more picture-hanging hooks before we can do that.  Everything is ready to go though, so I will be back soon with updates on some more artwork that we did for the room. 

Only two weeks to go, so I better get my act together.....


Nursery Update: Curtains

The nursery is really starting to come together now.....and it's about time!!  My due date is fast approaching (2.5 weeks left), so the urgency is really starting to kick in!  The most current change to the room is the addition of some curtains.  I am a creature of habit, so I went with the same IKEA Ritva curtains that I've used in all my other rooms.  1) They are SOOOO affordable (at $19.99 per window, although I've seen them advertised anywhere from $14.99 to $24.99, so check online before heading to the store to see if they are running a sale); 2) Being a not-so-savvy sewer, they are SUPER-EASY to hem with included hem tape, and 3) They have a linen-like feel and touch, but are oddly sheer enough to still let some light into the room (although I'm planning to put some blackout shades on the windows as well, since light + sleeping infants = BAD NEWS.....or so I'm told).  I would highly recommend these curtains to ANYONE that is in the market for something simple and affordable.  And since I may not keep the curtains in his room forever (since I can just envision our little one tugging on them as soon as he is able), it is a totally affordable short-term solution.  And who knows, maybe he will steer clear of them and they will last up through his toddler years.....here's hoping!

So here is what they look like at the moment: 

This room gets a lot of light in the morning (when I'm always trying to take pictures for the blog, coincidentally), so I apologize for the washed out photos.  Despite the grainy-ness, you can still totally see what I mean about the light seeping through the curtains. This is lovely in all my other rooms, where I wanted a light and bright feel, but I think it will be troubling when I am trying to bribe convince my little bean that he should be napping.

So all in all, it was a super easy project for the nursery....which is probably why I kept putting it off.  I'm really glad they are done though, so that I can move on to some more DIY artwork projects.  Next on my agenda is to create two frames with the lyrics to "You are my sunshine."  I saw this idea on etsy the other day (check it out here) and was totally inspired.  I already have two frames from IKEA, that I talked about here, so I think I'm going to cut out white letters with an exacto knife and paste them onto yellow paper.  I tried designing and printing them on my computer, but I couldn't seem to get the right yellow to print out with my printer.  So, I picked up a piece of yellow and white cardstock from Michaels and will hopefully be making progress tonight after work (although, I have to admit that it has become harder and harder in the last few weeks to be productive after working and then commuting back home....all I want to do is lay on the couch and pass out).  But since baby could arrive any day now, I suppose I need to get my act together!   I'll keep you updated on my progress....

Oh, and before I forget, I received a comment the other day asking about the crib bedding.  I ended up just using yellow crib sheets (Koala brand from Babies R' Us) and will be making a crib skirt out of Serena and Lily's Slate Goldenrod Mosaic fabric.  It was a little price-y at $40/yd, but I loved it so much that I thought it would be worth it in the long run.  I will probably only need 1 yd when all is said and done, but you can only buy it in 2 yd increments, so I plan to make a cute pillow or something else for the room with it.  I'm also planning on doing some bunting above the crib (instead of a mobile) so I will be able to use some of the leftover fabric for that as well.  And I also purchased a striped blue crib bumper a few months back (before I even had the crib in my possession) and later learned that it doesn't fit properly in there.  My one requirement for using a crib bumper at all was that it would be perfectly snug all around to avoid potential suffocation.  So, in the end, I'm not going to use it (and since the crib is so chunky, I really don't need to either).  I have posted it up on craigslist and am crossing my fingers that it will work for someone else's crib!!  Wish  me luck!

And again, I'll definitely keep you guys posted on those projects as well. 

Have any of you done DIY-artwork projects lately???  Any nursery ones?  I would love

to see and hear all about them!!  Any extra ideas or inspiration would be great!! 


Nursery Update: Rug

Here's a quick sneak peek at the nursery progress:

Sorry for the grainy photo.  My old iphone takes terrible photos and I was too lazy to look for the camera this morning to capture the room at this stage.  I promise that when I do the final reveal, I will have some good pictures to show you though!!

So we are still a long way from being "done" with the room, but it is definitely coming along.  We finally found a rug for the room last week (YAY)!!  I can't tell you how many hours I spent agonizing over colors and patterns and reviews for different styles of rugs.  I even bought one from the Home Decorators Collection (through Home Depot) and returned it to the store (they have a really great return policy) because it was both WAAAAY too rough and scratchy for my liking, and it wasn't the right color yellow for the room.  Here she is in my car on the way back to HD....

I liked the rug generally, but it just didn't feel right in the room (LITERALLY)!!  It is more of an indoor/outdoor rug, so its not very soft and cushy underfoot.  I should have known that based on the description (key words: wool, flatweave, durable construction) and the reviews, but I loved the pattern, so I blindly purchased it.  I always get so anxious about online purchases, but I knew that I could return it if I needed to, so that helped me push the button.  The price was also right at $200 for a 5x8, but at the end of the day, savings and style just didn't outweigh comfort.  Especially for my little boys' knees once he starts crawling around.  And until that time, I still have to walk back and forth across it 5 million times a day, so it best be comfortable for my tired, aching feet!!! 

So....long story short, it didn't work out and I went back to obsessively online shopping for another few weeks.  By the beginning of July, I was absolutely spent with this whole project, so I decided that I would put it off for a while, and we would just find a rug down the road when we really needed it.............. 

Until one day last week, I was browsing around Target and...ALAS...I found the perfect rug!!  I wasn't even shopping for a nursery rug, I was just browsing around for a bigger entryway mat to put our shoes on when we come in the door.  Don't you always find what you are looking for once you stop looking for it???  It's some cruel universe trick.  But back to the story.  I had been searching and searching for the perfect yellow rug (and even a white one for a fleeting moment....then I thought about poop and the moment slipped away), when all along I should have been looking for navy blue.  I passed by this beauty in the rug aisle and fell in love.....

Kind of anti-climactic huh?  It is definitely not show-stopping, but it turned out to be the "one".  It was exactly what I was looking for to tie the room together.....I just didn't know it.  I thought that the only way to ground the space was to highlight the accent color in the room and draw your attention down, but in reality, the rest of the colors in the room stand out MORE because of the grounded color on the floor.  It definitely doesn't match the walls perfectly, but it provides a really nice accent to it.  I am not big on everything matching perfect anyway, so it is nice to have different shades of blue and yellow in the room.  And at $69.99 for a 5x7, I couldn't resist.  I thought the HD rug was a steal, but this was 10 times better.  Plus, it is super soft to stand on.  I won't go as far as to say that it is going to last forever, but it will do its job for a while and we can just replace it in a few years when we switch the room from a nursery to a toddler room.  And who knows, we could be totally surprised by it and it will stand the test of time.  I will definitely keep you updated on that as we spend more and more time in the room. 

Here's some shots of the rug with everything else in the room.  What do you think??

It looks a little bit darker in these pictures than it is in person, but I still like the contrast.  It actually matches the quilt on the edge of the crib (which we will move once the baby comes, so don't worry) and the lamp shade perfectly!! I love the subtle stripes in the rug as well.  It gives it a little depth and makes it feel more masculine.  Maybe that's not always a good thing when you are looking for a nursery rug, but I think that the bright colors elsewhere in the room help to balance it all out.

And I'm not sure if you noticed in the picture above, but I started to do the curtains in the room.  They are the same white RITVA ones that I've used in the rest of the house.  I only had the time/energy to hem one window of curtains yesterday, but I will hopefully tackle the other one tonight.  But instead of finishing the curtains, I managed to put some contact paper down inside his dresser drawers (since the bottom of the drawers is wood and a little scratchy in places) and then wash all of his clothes and blankets and fold them away in their respective drawers (at least the drawers that I think make sense at the moment....I'm sure I will rearrrange it 300 times).

Finally, B and I worked on a little artwork project for our little man last night.  B actually did most of the work, so I can only take credit for the idea and the design.  We bought a frame from IKEA a few months  back:

It is the VIRSERUM Frame for $16.99.  We actually bought it for the nursery before we knew what we would do with it.  Then, I scrounged up some yellow and white polka-dotted wrapping paper left over from a shower gift and a piece of navy blue cardstock.   So, with all those items, and a little imagination, we created this:

It is totally simple, but I really love it.  B did such a great job with the sailboat.  He has always been really good at sketching and was super excited to be a part of this project (but don't tell him I told you that!!).   And the best part is, we can change it out whenever we feel like it and not feel guilty about it....since it was FREE artwork!!!  My favorite kind.  So the total for this project was $16.99.  Not too bad, right? 

I have a few other DIY artwork projects in the works that I can't wait to show you and I plan to get moving on the DIY crib skirt in the next week as well.  So there is certainly lots to share with you on the nursery front in the coming weeks!! Hopefully he holds out in there so that I can finish everything though.  I have had some braxton hicks contractions here and there for the last week or so and his head is very, very low, but I am still crossing my fingers that he waits a little longer before his big debut!!