Special Delivery

During my pregnancy, I really appreciated hearing others’ birth stories. There are so many ways to bring a baby into the world and I wanted to document Oliver’s birth story for sharing and safe keeping as well. So here it goes, a very long and wordy post. First, a quick recap of the last trimester…

32 weeks: body stretching apart slowly, able to pull a groin muscle just by doing too many stairs

36 weeks: got stretchy body under control by watching my activity level, exhausted easily- sewing projects nearly killed me

38 weeks: very much hating waistbands, getting really ready… pretty much wearing the same outfits over and over to work. Very little is still comfortable. No one told me maternity clothes didn’t fit anymore during the last month!

39 weeks: ready for every trick in the book! special tea? stairs? bouncing on an exercise ball? lots of squatting? yes, all of the above!

40 weeks: trip to the mall to walk… and walk and walk the baby out

40 weeks and 1 day (March 3): It’s snowing buckets AND I’m still pregnant?! {insert utter despair} Went to my scheduled visit for a ‘post-date’ ultrasound check up. Sent immediately to the hospital. Wait, what?

So, on that first day of being past 40 weeks, another big gross snow storm was hitting the D.C. area. Chad had to come pick me up in a friend’s 4-wheel drive SUV just to safely get me to my dr appointment. Having had a pretty textbook pregnancy up to this point, I fully expected another clean bill of health and to be sent back home to my computer to finish my day at work (from home, due to the snow). But to our surprise, the doc I saw that day for my ultrasound (different than my OB that would deliver me— and my least favorite doc in that practice!) said something like ‘hmm, amniotic fluid is too low, can’t even score it, you need to go across the street to the hospital right now to be induced, I’ll call your doctor.’ Me: ‘can I go home and get my stuff first?’ Him: ‘No, you need to be on monitor right now. He (referring to Chad) can get your stuff after… off you go!’

Needless to say, this was not the start I was planning on or had prepared for. Chad and I had worked together to prepare for a natural childbirth using primary Bradley method techniques and what I had learned in prenatal yoga. Not that I was against having pain relief if I decided on it, but we made a specific birth plan that avoided any unnecessary interventions including i.v. fluids, continuous monitoring, or pain medication unless I specifically requested it. I practiced my prenatal yoga and various pushing positions (mainly squatting) to help ensure I could achieve a vaginal delivery and minimize risk of a c-section. We had the breathing techniques for complete relaxation well practiced, the counterpressure back rub to get through contractions, as well as the intention to labor at home as long as possible, before grabbing our packed bag and heading to the hospital for the final phases of delivery.

So, new plan. I walked into the hospital, not in labor, but fully dressed for work and without any of my ‘labor bag’ stuff. I didn’t even have my cute delivery gown! I signed papers completely without labor pain and walked into my delivery room feeling about the same as when we visited for a tour. I imagined this would all happen during hard labor, but ended up quite different. The first nurse (the only one I really remember to be honest) and my OB were great to help mediate any parts of our birth plan that were still feasible. So, they brought in the birth ball and squatting bar, even waited for Chad to get back (after returning our friend’s car and going home to collect our things and take care of Ollie) with my green gown before making me change clothes completely. So at this point, I was on a continuous fetal monitor, but could unplug it to get up to the bathroom and such. I had an i.v. in, but they disconnected it once my first round of penicillin (for GBS preventive treatment) was in. They broke my water first to see if my Braxton Hicks might amp up into real labor in an effort to avoid Pitocin and keep things more natural. After a couple hours, it wasn’t enough though, so as we expected the Pitocin was started, though thankfully on a relatively low level. With Chad’s dedicated coaching, backrubs, ice chips, and our labor play list all employed, I labored about 6-8 hours before I was trembling uncontrollably and unable to relax my body in between, let alone during, the contractions. This really took off right after my OB did a cervical exam to check our progress. This was my turning point, as I felt like I ought to be in transition already the way my body was reacting, but was only at 3 cm. Chad and I talked together about epidural. It was late at night by this point, my parents had just arrived, I was uncomfortably stuck in bed and was finished with natural labor- I called for the epidural. The angel anesthesiologist was in my room within 15 minutes and placed the epidural with minimal issues, during which I clutched the nurse holding me up on the side of the bed through two more contractions. God Bless the labor and delivery nurses (and postpartum care nurses, while we’re at it- wow, they’re job is something else!). I wish I could remember them now, but labor is kind of a consuming job and their changes over the shifts are a blur to me now.

With this decision to have an epidural, I was risking my ability to be mobile into different positions for pushing at the end, and had now signed myself up for yet another line attached to me, along with a urinary cath and continuous blood pressure monitoring. So, that’s 5 lines now– i.v. penicillin with fluids, epidural, blood pressure cuff, urinary cath and fetal monitor belt. Everything I hadn’t wanted! BUT the anesthesiologist agreed to set the epidural pump at a lower than usual basal rate which left me with a little more control over how much I felt my using the button to dose myself as needed on top of the basal rate. This was a great decision. I definitely used the button throughout the remaining 12-14 hours of labor to remain comfortable and under control, but was able to let it lighten up enough to pull myself up into a squat on the squat bar attached to my bed at the end to help Oliver descend. I was also able (to the surprise/dismay of my nurse) move around to all fours to get off my back in bed. I had been switching back and forth between sides all night long, but finally hit a wall in the wee hours of the morning where my back hurt so badly I just had to move. I couldn’t lay on my back/side another minute. It wasn’t back labor– it was bed fatigue. And it felt soooo good to turn over and just hold myself up on my hands and knees for a little while. This apparently acrobatic move (for someone with an epidural) was what convinced the nurse that there was some hope of my squatting with the support of the bar without falling off the bed and I’m so glad I was able to still do that- as it was one of my main goals for not wanting the epidural to begin with. I wouldn’t say it didn’t meet resistance though- no one seemed interested in my moving around much having had an epidural. But I was stubborn!!

Around 7am, my OB arrived and gave the green light to start pushing. I had been fully dilated and effaced a couple hours maybe at that point, but Oliver had a ways to come down still during that time and she wanted my pushing to be minimal to reduce swelling/trauma, etc. (isn’t childbirth lovely?) So, once we started pushing, he arrive in about an hour and fifteen minutes! Not bad for an 8 lb 3 oz baby, and my first time I think! I seriously couldn’t believe how big he looked when they placed him up on my chest. Did I really just produce this huge infant?? Really he wasn’t giant or anything, it’s just very crazy to realize the process your body has just undertaken over the past 9 months. Bam, there he is! A whole baby, over 8 lbs worth. I’m told that it’s also kind of amazing when they have their 6 month pediatrician appointment, just before you start solid foods, and you realize that all those pounds they’ve gained over those months (if you’re exclusively breastfeeding) have come 100% from you. Wow. All in all, Oliver’s birth was not how we expected or planned, BUT the number one thing you have to know when you make a ‘birth plan’ is you must be flexible and you must acknowledge that those plans are in the ideal circumstances. Our circumstances changed a bit with that last ultrasound visit, but with a great husband, great doctor and supportive family and nursing staff, we got it done in the best possible way and went home a healthy mom and baby. Mission accomplished. Welcome, Oliver!!

First fam pic

Final Nursery Touches

We have reached the end of February and I’m glad to say have reached the end of our nursery to-do list, nearly at least. Thanks to all our generous friends and family (especially Mom!) we have a nursery filled up with beautiful and helpful decorations, clothes, pastes, creams, diapers, the works. We even have a slick noise machine that arrived from Amazon, but if you gave us this, please let us know because it didn’t come with any slip telling us who it was from! :-)

nursery right

One of the last craft projects was putting up the chalkboard decals and having Mom work her nursery chalk-art magic. We sliced the decals into rectangles and she worked on colorful farm animal drawings to coordinate with our colorful, modern farm animal ‘theme.’

mom drawing chalkboards

This picture has some weird sun glare on it, but you can see they turned out so cute. I love this idea for above a crib because there’s nothing that can fall or be pulled down off the wall, just chalk on wall decals! You can also see here we finally got our sheep and Border Collie mobile hung.

nursery crib area

We hung it from a secure hook from the ceiling with fishing line (and super fishing knots!) with a swivel device in the middle so when the fan is on low, they twirl around above the crib. So cute! Thanks, Mom for all your hard work on felting each of these little critters; we love them and I know Baby will too.

mobile

So here is our completed room, with some farm animal chalk drawings, our sheep mobile, the running horse prints above the changing station all complemented by bright cheery colors and patterns. Hooray! It will be fun to take this a little further in a larger room and some paint in the future when we buy a house again. But for now, this is my favorite room in the house. I look forward to many hours in the cozy glider :-)

nursery straight

So with all those little additions, that brings us to the near-end of the Jan/Feb to-do list. The one thing you can’t really see is the installation of the movement sensor baby monitor. You can see the unit sitting on the table next to the glider, but the rest of the magic happens under the mattress. We tested it out and it is pretty cool how sensitive it is at detecting the slightest movement and then alarming if the movement stops. Not a sure fire way to alleviate SIDS risk, but a little extra back up to rest easy at night. So, with that all we have left is a little more work to do in the closet, but that’s something I can work on over time since we don’t require a ton of room in there quite yet. At this point, we are at 39 week and a few days, so any time now! We (and my body) are sooo ready!

List update:

  • order fabric for curtain and pendant light projects
  • sew and hang curtains
  • clean cradle, restore-a-finish it up, fit foam for mattress, make mattress covers
  • complete fabric craft on IKEA pendant light, install dimmer switch in bedroom, hang up the light
  • hang mobile above crib from wall or ceiling
  • hang running horse prints & chalkboard decals
  • get small table for next to glider
  • add roller shade to window
  • get mdf board for mattress and install baby movement monitor
  • finish emptying closet & fill up with baby stuff
  • add accessories… and a baby!

Light & List

The countdown continues, and so do the updates on nursery projects. Back in November we did a big IKEA run for our nursery furniture (crib, dresser) and we also picked up a KNAPPA pendant light. I wanted to do an IKEA hack to this fixture to hang in the corner since we don’t have an overhead light in that room. It came completely unassembled, but was actually super easy to snap together.

light assembly

The bulk of this light is about 40 thin white ‘fins’ that snap around the frame. In plain white, we thought it looked a little too soft and girly when we bought it, so the plan was to use fabric to create something that coordinated more with our gender neutral nursery prints. So, I used the dotted grey fabric from the curtains I made and a coordinating fabric in black to cover about half the total fins on the fixture. This involved a lot of tracing and snipping holes through the little holes in each fin that are used to snap to the fixture frame.

tracing fins

I thought I would need to glue the fabric to each fin, but then discovered that just snapping them in place held the fabric securely enough and it was really easy to put together. Took a few hours of tracing, snipping and snapping, but turned out to be a really simple project.

fin assembly

In the not-simple department, Chad was off at Home Depot while I was doing this creating a master plan for installing this light. If we owned our place, we would do a proper hard installation. But instead, we wanted to use the outlet in the room that was connected to the wall switch and change out the switch itself for a dimmer. The challenge was that the outlet we needed was, one, right next to the crib and, two, in the opposite corner of the room from where we aimed to hang the light. Chad found this outlet cover that installs over the entire outlet and expands outward with a rubber gasket to keep plugged in cords completely out of reach. The only way to open it is to use two hands to pull up the tabs on the bottom and side of the device. Very childproof! So this made us feel safe, even with it being inches from the crib.

outlet box

He also picked up several lengths of white wire covering, that looks like quarter-round at the bottom of the baseboard in this picture. We added some cable clips at the various joints and ran our wire up along the window to the ceiling to hang our new light. So now we feel like it’s super cute and super safe at the same time. You’ll notice here I also added a little table from Target (30% off for scratches that we can repair!) next to the glider… and, it’s harder to tell, but the icky old blinds are gone and we have a nice, cordless (safe!), double cellular gray shade up behind the curtains. The shade would have been $100, but was 50% from JCPenney. For this quality of shade, I thought that was a pretty good deal.
final chair nook

I was so pleased with how all these additions tied this corner together! I already sit here almost every night and can fall asleep easily in this chair. So, good to go for baby, right? Well, this does check several more things off the list. 39 weeks along now… so will try to get some final updates out soon before this bambino arrives!

List update:

  • order fabric for curtain and pendant light projects
  • sew and hang curtains
  • clean cradle, restore-a-finish it up, fit foam for mattress, make mattress covers
  • complete fabric craft on IKEA pendant light, install dimmer switch in bedroom, hang up the light
  • hang mobile above crib from wall or ceiling
  • hang running horse prints & chalkboard decals
  • get small table for next to glider
  • add roller shade to window
  • get mdf board for mattress and install baby movement monitor
  • finish emptying closet & fill up with baby stuff
  • add accessories… and a baby!

Rockabye Baby

Check! The sound of another completed baby prep project. This time we got our old family cradle ready for another generation.

finished with quilt

This baby had been in storage for awhile so was a bit grimey and had white paint rubbed on top of its edges from another piece that was sitting on top of it. So the plan was to freshen it up a bit and to make a foam mattress to fit into the bottom for safe baby naps.

cradle before

I worked the magic eraser to remove all the white paint that was rubbed along many of the edges and Chad did the Restore-A-Finish (leftover from the buffet project) wipe down and rub outside since that’s a little too fumey for pregnant moms. After a good buff down, it was looking a lot glowier :-)

wipe down

We carefully measured the bottom of the cradle and cut some 2-inch foam from Joann’s to fit nice and snug in the bottom.

cutting foam

My goal was to create a slipcover for the foam itself and then a couple cozy covers that would serve as fitted ‘sheets’ for baby to sleep on. I did each following the same type of design that was basically like a pillow sham with the split in the back.

foam cover

To fit the mattress, I boxed the corners with a quick stitch the same length as the foam was thick…

boxed corner

… snipped those all off…

snipped corner

… which gave me a nice fitted cover over the foam mattress.

finished foam cover

I also used some 100% cotton quilt batting between some cheap blue fabric I had on hand to create kind of an absorbent diaper pad that I would layer over top of the encased foam before putting the cozy covers on so that hopefully any accidents didn’t get to the foam mattress itself.

diaper pad

The fabrics for the two outer sheets were baby flannels, one in a green dot and the other in a textured grey fabric. They are so soft!

outside cover fabrics

So you can see how the quilted layer just sits on top of the encased foam and the outer cover can fit right over all of that for a nice snug, but soft fit.

layered mattress finished

The cradle is still staying in the basement until we’re read for it in the bedroom and/or living room, but here it is all polished up and with a cozy new mattress and ready for baby.

finished no quilt

I’m excited we get to use the same cradle my brother and I slept in as babies. My grandpa made it for us at that time, hence the “G” for my maiden name. If we have a boy, though, he will have the same name as his middle name so that will be perfect! Now, to really satisfy me in my list checking, here’s the update. I definitely feel like we’ve got the more intensive projects under our belts now. The remaining things are getting simpler and simpler… which is good since we’re now less than 3 weeks from our due date!

List update:

  • order fabric for curtain and pendant light projects
  • sew and hang curtains
  • clean cradle, restore-a-finish it up, fit foam for mattress, make mattress covers
  • complete fabric craft on IKEA pendant light, install dimmer switch in bedroom, hang up the light- COMING SOON!
  • hang mobile above crib from wall or ceiling
  • hang running horse prints & chalkboard decals
  • get small table for next to glider
  • add roller shade to window
  • get mdf board for mattress and install baby movement monitor
  • finish emptying closet & fill up with baby stuff
  • add accessories… and a baby!

Keep on Sewin’

The theme of this past month is sewing projects! Once I had the machine out and all my implements set up, I wanted to tackle multiple projects. So when I ordered fabric for nursery curtains, I also ordered a large piece of quilt backing fabric (thanks for the tip, Cheryl!) for a project I’ve been mulling over for awhile for our bed. Last year we bought this lightweight faux down blanket at Costco and have absolutely loved it. It’s big, lofty, cool enough, but cozy enough. Seems to be the perfect combination of things for our room here, which is much warmer (third floor) than our bedroom (above the garage) in Pittsburgh. Problem was it wasn’t the prettiest thing and certainly not at all colorful. While I planning on doing a soft neutral bedroom for us, my inspiration just couldn’t fire up on that. So, when I decided to reback our new favorite bed blanket to make it more ‘duvet looking’ I went with a bright firey red-orange color. New plan for bedroom. :-) So, step one, I laid out both pieces right sides together (aiming to cover the beige side and keep the white side)… using the living room floor to stretch everything out.

layout blanket

After making things as smooth as possible, I opted to sew one side at a time since it was difficult to keep things from rumpling and shifting. So I pinned the edge smoothly across one side at a time and stitched down the outer seam using the walking foot for my grandma’s sewing machine she gave me years ago. It was awesome to use that foot! This would not have worked without that- bunched up mess it woulda been.

first stich edge

After carefully stitching a length, re-laying out, stretching, pinning and stitching another length until all four were done (except for leaving a foot gap for the turn out!), I trimmed the excess fabric away…

trim away raw edge

… and turned the whole thing right sides out. I hand whip-stitched the hole closed tightly which turned out nicely enough that you can’t even tell without searching for it. And I laid everything out again to tack through with a little white stitching in five separate places evenly spaced from the center to hold things together smoothly and keep it from shifting. I debated actually ‘quilting’ it using the pattern already on the blanket but opted for a few tack down spots instead for now. Could always change my mind later.

turn right side out

So now we have a totally reversible bed blanket that has retained all the features we’ve loved, but looks a heck of a lot more finished and worthy of being the top blanket on the bed.

blanket done with tacks

There’s so much we need to do in this room that has been mostly ignored the past year, but here is a start. Colored side up, nice and bright.

full bed colored up

White side up, nice contrast with the color peeking out.

new duvet contrast

So, there’s my surprise extra project to sneak in among the baby projects that are finally getting priority now that we’re only a month away! And it’s been a few weeks since a bump update- this bump is now no joke. Isn’t it amazing what the human body can do across 20 weeks’ time? It is getting large- I feel walrus like when I try to flip over in bed (which I do a lot). I feel pretty good overall, but it’s kind of getting like I have a medicine ball just strapped to the front of my body. Will enjoy seeing my toes again next month and sleeping on my tummy again!

12 25 35 bump

Nursery Curtains… Done-zo

Probably the biggest item on my baby nesting list was making window treatments. I hemmed and hawed over fabrics and design on this one for awhile. Plus I haven’t really sewn much in awhile. I came to a final decision on color choices and such while trying to fall asleep in the nursery glider in the middle of one sleepless night several weeks ago. Atleast that night of pregnancy insomnia was useful! By the way, the pregnancy sleeplessness has been rare. I toss and turn a lot to get comfortable, but there was only one night so far when I actually got up and cleaned the kitchen and cozied up in the glider to debate curtain plans. Anyway, I made good use of this past holiday weekend— I had already ordered the fabrics I showed on the previous planning post from fabric.com and got started on this project Sunday. It took a lot of crawling around on my knees to get this giant length of fabric squared up, and cut into two equal length panels. I started with 5.5 yards that got basically got divided in half to give me two side-by-side pieces.

measuring

However, the plan was not to have two traditional straight hanging curtains panels. Instead I wanted to combine them into one wide, solid panel that would be pulled over to one side of the window when ‘open.’ This would provide a little more coverage in a room that gets a lot of sun, but more importantly that option felt like the better choice after some others’ (including you Mom) advice to not have curtains hanging next to the crib. So to make sure things looked polished when I was done, I used a french seam to combine the two panels. Basically, I first sewed it together the ‘wrong’ way- with the wrong sides facing each other instead of the other way around. Then I trimmed it close to the stitching…

princess seam wrong sides

pressed open the seam, repressed it closed in the opposite direction with right sides facing each other, and stitched all the way down, enclosing my first seam.

stitch over princess

I thought it turned out pretty nice! So, now even though I have unlined curtains, they don’t look unpolished from the back side.

princ seam up back

I did the same procedure- splitting into two panels off of one length of fabric and combining with a french seam- to the polka dotted fabric. Then I matched the pieces at the center seams and attached them together. The plan was for this top part to be the rod pocket and little ruffly bit above the rod since I wanted it to look atleast a little bit cutesy for a nursery.

add polka dots

I steam pressed the long edges on either side all the way from top (including the newly added polka dot panels) to bottom to create clean edges.

press outer edges

Then folded over the top polka dot panels to create a rod pocket and ruffle. I just googled how wide to leave the rod pocket and found that for a 3/4″ rod, the pocket width should be sewn to 1.5″. So, one line of stitching went down the ditch of the seam between the yellow and gray fabric to create the fold-over, and the second went down 1.5″ above that to create the pocket. The remaining fabric would be the header or ruffley bit above the rod.

fold over dots

Ta da! Tired, sore pregnant lady at the end of Sunday night with a completed curtain panel— next day I ran out for the rod from Bed Bath and Beyond (with coupon!) and Chad helped hang them so I could check the length and do the final hem. I decided to use a simple rod I’ve used several times before because it brings the curtain all the way around to the wall (so it’s meant to be mostly hidden) and is quite inexpensive at $30 (plus 20% off). It’s also very easy to install and take back down.

panel done

So, on Monday we got them all up and ready for baby. You can see the polka dot tie back I made too– I used a little bit of white ribbon sewn into the ends to create loops that hook over a little cup hook we screwed into the wide of the window frame. I’m so thrilled with how cheerful and cozy these curtains help the room feel. Makes me excited to get more decorating done! I do still plan to replace the old mini blinds with a roller shade or something else without a string too.

finished curtain

Speaking of which… here’s the list I shared in the last post, but with a few things crossed off! While I was sewing up a storm Sunday and Monday, I also did some work for the cradle, so that will be coming soon! Just over five weeks until due date!!!

List update:

  • order fabric for curtain and pendant light projects
  • sew and hang curtains
  • clean cradle, restore-a-finish it up, fit foam for mattress, make mattress covers –> COMING SOON!
  • complete fabric craft on IKEA pendant light, install dimmer switch in bedroom, hang up the light
  • hang mobile above crib from wall or ceiling
  • hang running horse prints & chalkboard decals
  • get small table for next to glider
  • finish emptying closet & fill up with baby stuff
  • add nightlight, clock radio (for white noise & timing night feedings in the beginning), accessories… and a baby!

New Year, New Countdown

Happy New Year, everyone! As anticipated the past two months flew by with visitors and the holidays and I now find myself skidding into January with a mere 8 weeks to go until our approximate baby delivery day. In reality, I’m anticipating 7-9 weeks until D-day, with a limit from the OB that this bambino will be out in the real world by March 10 at the very latest. Those are single digit numbers of expected weeks and I know with work and baby preparations, those remaining weeks will also fly by! So, finally a post on our nursery prep, primarily as a checklist for what’s yet to be accomplished in the coming two months. Back in November, the nursery-to-be served as an office/extra guest bed room, containing my tiny college desk with our computer and a twin bed that comes in handy for company now and then. It is not a terribly large room, but should work nicely for a new baby.

nursery before

Today, the room is looking like this. So, to date we have accomplished:

  • moving out furniture (bed to basement and office to new secretary desk in living room, etc)
  • purchasing crib and dresser from IKEA, happily accepting Dad’s help to assemble during their Thanksgiving visit
  • moving in a cozy glider given to us so graciously by Chad’s boss
  • collecting some early gifts (wall art, mobile, quilts, books, clothes, etc) and online deals (chalkboard decal) to prep for decorating

The overall ‘theme’ is a mix of gender-neutral grey, black and white graphic prints mixed with fun colors and farm animals. You get a sneak peak of our sheep and border collie hand felted (by Mom) baby mobile here.

whole room furnished before

The first space to the right includes a dresser that will ultimately double as a changing table. For the wall here, we have a series of panels in grey, white and yellow of a running horse silhouette that will hang above this area. Mom got the prints from Etsy- so cute and perfect for the style we’re aiming for.

dresser wall before

The corner with the glider will have a cute pendant light hung from the ceiling because the current ceiling fixture is only a fan and we would rather hang a cute light in the corner on a dimmer than mess with altering/replacing the current ceiling fan fixture since we’re renting. The light we picked at IKEA will involve a little crafting so more to come on that project as well.

window wall and chair before

We will also replace the old blind with a roller shade or other updated blind and will hang curtains pulled to one side to cozy things up. Forgive the bad computer rendering :-)

window wall and chair before curtain drawing

This is the planned fabric for the main length of the curtain- a cheery yellow woodgrain print.

And the top header and tie-back will be made with a grey and white polka dot fabric that coordinates with some of the crib sheets we picked out- and the pendant light craft.

The left corner is home to the crib and we plan to place a variety of shapes/sizes of chalkboard decals that we got several months ago on Living Social. We thought this would be a fun solution for a rental since we won’t be painting, but will allow some spaces for a little artistic work. We’re thinking chalk drawings of a lamb, piglet, foal, etc- which will also probably be mostly done by Mom who has a much better hand at drawing than I have! (thanks, Mom) My grandma gave us, well the baby I suppose, a little stuffed lamb for Christmas too so he’s holding down the farm animal theme in the crib corner for now.

crib corner before with text
The last project that needs to be accomplished prior to baby’s arrival is a fix up on our old family cradle. We want to use this in our room at night as a bassinet in the early days and then mostly use it in the living room as a nap spot. This cradle was made by my grandpa, complete with our family’s ‘G’ carved onto the end, and both my brother and I used it when we were babies. So I’m really excited to get it cleaned up and a new foam cradle mattress and covers made to use for our new addition.

cradle before

So that’s where we are now entering the new year and the new baby countdown. I’m not crazy stressed about what we have to do, I just want to enjoy pulling things together. I figure even if baby comes early, and God-forbid-the-decals-above-the-crib-aren’t-finished or something disastrous like that, our little newborn bundle will probably not notice :-) But, just to be organized and start moving towards the finish line, here is our pre-baby to-do list for Jan and Feb:

  • order fabric for curtain and pendant light projects
  • sew and hang curtains
  • clean cradle, restore-a-finish it up, fit foam for mattress, make mattress covers
  • complete fabric craft on IKEA pendant light, install dimmer switch in bedroom, hang up the light
  • hang mobile above crib from wall or ceiling
  • hang running horse prints
  • get small table for next to glider
  • finish emptying closet & fill up with baby stuff
  • add nightlight, clock radio (for white noise & timing night feedings in the beginning), possibly a rug?, accessories… and a baby!

As for baby ‘stuff’ we have one cloth diaper (bought one to check out before committing to a major diapering investment), 4 outfits, some burp cloths and bibs, a jogging stroller, high chair (was on sale at IKEA so got it early), 2 crib sheets, and a stack of baby quilts and blankets (several dug out from my baby days while home at Christmas). So we have a ways to go, but we are definitely getting somewhere :-) Happy to hear any advice you all have on what essential items to make sure we have in the nursery, extra things to keep in mind, must-have gadgets and the like. As I mentioned we’re planning on cloth diapers once we get past the initial newborn weeks, looking to use the BumGenius all-in-one Freetimes which are pretty slick in the cloth diapering world it seems. So any tips there are great too. Getting excited!

O (new) Christmas Tree and Furniture

Merry Christmas, friends! Before the season passes us by, wanted to share some pics of new things going on in the living room. First, we got a new Christmas tree this year- woo hoo! Second, we have a new fancy home office hidden away in our living room…

tree corner w deskAs for the tree, I’ve been shamefully hating on the Christmas tree I’ve owned since college and the feeling intensifies each year. I was threatening quite hard to not even put one up this year because the thought of the teeny, chincy (sp?) one we had in the basement did not make me feel Christmas-y. But trees are expensive! I was not prepared to shell out 200-300 bucks on one… but then Mom and I happened across a Black Friday, well actually it was Saturday, sale at Target this year while the parents were in town for T-day. I found a great tree for $93.50- that’s 50% off!

So here was our tree from last year… sigh, it was cute, fine, but look how big just the tree skirt looks under that tiny thing! It just wouldn’t do anymore. And here’s a reminder of how the living room in general looked in this corner before the new secret desk moved in.

living rm2But check out this festive new tree! It’s bigger, fuller, has a variety of more ‘real’ looking types of branches. Oh, and I just love that is was less than a hundred bucks. Now I need to hit up the post-Christmas sales for new garland, ribbon, etc as some of what I had before just isn’t long enough for this grown up tree. To the right there is our beeeautiful new secretary desk from West Elm. I loooove the multi-toned woods on the front and the white cabinet ties in nicely to the new white cabinets under the TV. So, for now we have a little chair off to the side and just open things up when we need to use the computer. Functionally, it’s great because I envision this corner with the fuzzy shag rug being a nice baby floor play spot, and this cabinet keeps all the numerous printer, computer, monitor, etc cords safely contained inside the unit.

treeThe left cabinet has pull out shelves that house the computer tower, printer and stores other electronics and such. The right main cabinet folds down and we just slide out the wireless keyboard and mouse to get computing. Then close it up and all our desk mess is easily hidden away. Below are also some drawers, including a large file drawer. Genius.

computer open
We were also able to get our old family nativity out for the season, having a nice place to display it now. So after Christmas I’ll have to work out some new decor to adorn the new secretary. This was a relatively major furniture purchase for us- mostly meaning it wasn’t off Craigslist or from IKEA- but we’re very happy with the investment and it’s a great solution for emptying out the soon-to-be nursery but maintaining some attractive function in other parts of the house. And of course I didn’t pay full price! Got it at 15% off, not too bad.

And last, but not least, an up-to-date belly shot. I’ve made it into the 30s! I swear it isn’t just Christmas cookies in there— all baby— well, maybe part Christmas cookies. :-/ Yikes!

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We hope you all have a very merry, safe and family-filled Christmas! Enjoy your Christmas trees!