Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hello, Harper Kate!

Our baby was born Wednesday, July 25th at 5:50 am, two days early.  She is a chunky little girl, weighing in at 9 lbs 3 oz.  Her birth was relatively calm, just took her a while to get out since she was so big!  I will definitely write up that story soon (when I can think straight again!).

We are in love and figuring out how to do this whole parenting thing.  One day at a time.  :)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Updates

Thanks everyone for the words of encouragement after my last pregnancy post, as well as your kind words about our nursery!  I'm definitely feeling the love!

  • After two successful doctor visits, they have cleared me of any pre-eclampsia worries and say I'm free to act normal again.  Kinda weird to interpret the mixed signals from two different doctors, but either way, I'm glad to not be glued to the couch any more!
  • School is OVER!  I'm sure I've made that pretty clear by now! :)  It's actually weird to not always have something looming over my head, like reading I should be doing or a paper I should be writing.  I can lay on the couch and watch 10 episodes of 30 Rock in a row without feeling guilty (although, I still do!)
  • I never imagined possibly going over my due date.  I was so concerned she would come early and I would have to juggle newborn/school, so now that there's only a week left and labor does not seem imminent, I don't know what to think!  Believe me, we are going to be doing a lot of walking, trying to get this baby out!
  • The dreams I'm having these days are straight-up crazy.
  • I made a giant batch of frosting for a cake, not realizing how much would be leftover.  I've resorted to eating it with a spoon.  Bad news. ;)
  • So far, the "light" reading I have done has been 1. about the Holocaust 2. about the Great Depression.  What's wrong with me?
Enjoy your weekend everyone!  Send baby-eviction vibes my way!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Harper's Colorful Nursery

Hi Friends!  I finally got my act together and took some pictures of the (more or less) finished nursery!

I love it so much and am very happy with how it turned out!  I hope you'll like it too.

I knew I wanted gray walls, teal, and yellow.  In the end, a lot of pink snuck in there too.  But really I just wanted it to be colorful and happy, and I think I succeeded.  Let's take a tour, shall we?

The view as you walk in the door:

Here's her little rocking chair I posted about earlier.  We also took down the closet door (since it stuck out really badly into the room) and replaced it with a curtain.  We used a cheap tension rod that screws down on the inside to hold it - it's pretty sturdy.

This is the reverse view, leading out of the room (and our room in the background).

I like how the mobile turned out.  The lanterns are actually from our wedding:

My mom had saved all of them, so I got the pink ones out and just tied them all together with fishing line.  We anchored a hook into the ceiling, and voila.  It's very sturdy, but if it were to fall someday, it's not heavy at all.  It sways a bit when the fan's on, so maybe she will enjoy it.  At the least, it adds some nice color!

We've got the cube thing happening over here.  I like straight lines, so I guess that's why everything ended up being square (with the only exception of the lanterns!)  More on the hanging cube here.

The floor cube holds lots of books (yay books!).  The bins are also wrangling smaller toys like rattles and chew toy thingys.  Really the top of this shelf is the only source of permanent table space in the room, so it's holding a lamp and the sound machine.

Decor to be adjusted as we go... everything on here was a gift.

This space looks a little naked at the moment, but that's because Tony's mom is painting us something to go above the changing pad (hooray!).  I can't wait to add it!

This chair is so comfy.  There's my little table I posted about here and the ottoman I posted about here.

These Ikea frames are just holding paper right now, but I plan on putting pictures of the baby in there once she's born.  I'm thinking closeups of little fingers, eyes, toes, etc in black and white.  I might still keep the teal in there as a background, but I want the photos to be large.

I posted about the crib and the skirt I made for it here.

We replaced the shelving in the closet (I won't bore you with details).  We used wood we had and only had to buy brackets and the rods.  We hung everything high enough so as to be able to use it for little girl clothes too, not just tiny dresses.  Oh, tiny dresses, I love you.

The dresser is super-spacious.  It's holding perfectly-arranged onesies and the like - soon it will be a jumbled mess, I'm sure!

So that's our colorful little nursery!  I can't wait to have a baby to put in it!

Here's my best attempt at a source list for everything:

  • Paint:  Glidden's Misty Moonstone color in Behr Paint/Primer in one Zero VOC Low odor - $24/gallon (x2)
  • Crib: Babyletto Mercer in white - a generous gift from my parents - on sale for $350
  • Glider:  Newco Taylor swivel glider - a generous gift from Tony's parents - originally $429 but we used a 20% off coupon
  • Dresser:  Ikea Hemnes 3 Drawer - on sale for $179
  • Curtains: Eclipse Bailey Thermaback - $15.99 (x3)
  • Cube shelf:  Target Closetmaid Cube - $35 on sale, $6 for fabric bins (x3)
  • Tiny rocking chair:  Consignment sale - $12, $8 or so in paint
  • Book tub:  Target beverage tub - $12
  • Changing pad, crib mattress: donated by my mom (barely used when she babysat my niece when she was a baby)
  • Tiny table: donated by Tony's parents - a garage sale find for $5!, $3 for paint
  • Crib sheets: Argington Gingko organic - $25
  • Changing pad cover: Target Zutano - $12
  • Ottoman: Target - $17
  • Lanterns: free from wedding 
  • Large frames:  Ikea Ribba - $12 (x3)
  • Crib skirt:  Material from Hobby Lobby - $17
  • Toy storage bin:  Ikea banana fiber basket - $15.99
  • Lamp:  Target cutout lamp - $15.00 on sale

We also recently steam cleaned the carpet (rented a RugDoctor for about $40 total), so I don't feel like it's totally dogified anymore in there.  We also added a ceiling fan for a little air flow.  We have an air filter hidden behind the chair because I'm paranoid like that.  Also, just so you all know, everything was hung with extreme care - either in studs or with heavy-duty anchors.  The floor cube shelf is attached to the wall and the curtains are hung with ring clips so they can pull down if needed. We will probably anchor the dresser to the wall soon too, even though it's a beast and would take some extreme pulling to get it over.  So not only is it cute, I hope it's safe too!  

I hope you like the nursery!  It was a labor of love, for sure!  

Monday, July 16, 2012

My Pregnancy Faves

So I've been pregnant for 38+ weeks now, so that pretty much makes me an expert on being knocked up ;)

Certainly not true, but I wanted to share a few things that have helped get me through this pregnancy, in case others might be interested.  This isn't an exhaustive list, just some things I've found helpful.

In no particular order:

Leachco Snoogle Total Body Pillow

This thing is a beast, taking up a good portion of our bed.  Luckily I was able to borrow one from my good friend Kacy, as they are not cheap.  See, I was an exclusive back/stomach sleeper before getting pregnant, neither of which are feasible after a certain point (or weren't for me, at least).  So, enter gigantic pillow.  I have carted this everywhere we went overnight while pregnant, because the one time I didn't, I slept horribly.  It's cumbersome but I've found it to be much easier to finagle than pillows.  Truth be told - I can't wait to get rid of this thing and go back to sleeping on my stomach! (ya know, in a few months when I actually sleep again....)

Be Maternity Seamless Ruched Tank - Assorted Colors

I have always worn a tank under everything for years and years now - I feel naked without one.  They always served to keep everything wrangled in and smoothed out.  I bought one of these in both black and white early in pregnancy and never went a day without wearing one.  I probably should have bought more, seeing as how mine are practically threadbare...  I liked this style because the straps are a little thicker (to cover granny bra straps) and it's nice and long.  It worked well from tiny belly to the huge belly I'm rocking now.  I also like to pretend the white one isn't more so grayish by this point....



This was really helpful during those early months when I pretty much felt like barfing 24/7 and my diet took a nosedive.  Meat was especially unappealing, and I quickly realized that all I was eating were carbs.  I couldn't find a decent source of protein to keep down, until I found these.  Sure, each of these has a lot of calories and sugars, but at the time, I was barely eating so that was ok.  These taste good and have a ton of protein and other good stuff in them, so I didn't feel too bad drinking them.  The Bolthouse one is actually really good, almost (almost) like a chocolate milkshake.

Be Maternity BeBand - Assorted Colors.Opens in a new window

I got this at the beginning of pregnancy with the intention to stretch the life of my regular jeans, but turns out I was ready to embrace the comfy stretchiness of maternity jeans pretty early on, so it got little wear.  However, now that I'm huge, I'm wearing it again, particularly under skirts and dresses.  It's nice to have a little support when wearing something without a built-in panel, so this has helped a lot during these hot summer months.


I got one in black and one in brown, and I have lived in them this hot hot summer.  I got my original size and am happy with how they fit.  They are simple and comfy, and I'm pretty sure I can keep wearing them indefinitely even while not pregnant. 

Ok, most of the people on here are straight-up crazy, but I have enjoyed reading some of the saner posts.  It's always good to connect with others who are in the same stage as you, particularly so you can know when to roughly expect certain pregnancy milestones.  Not that I ever post - I just stalk.  Granted, I take it all with a grain of salt, but it's given me something else to compulsively check on my phone every five seconds.

So, that's all I can think of... just a few things that have made this process a little easier.  Come on baby!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

So I Thought I Was Ready....

[Before you read this long drawn out story and get your hopes up, don't worry - baby's not here yet!]

On Thursday, I had my routine weekly doctor's appointment to check on the baby.  These have always gone well - very uneventful.  Well, this time, my blood pressure was super high.  It was morning and I hadn't done anything, and it had never been elevated before, so this was not good news.  The nurse said to sit and relax for a few minutes before she came back to check it again - but we were probably going to be sent over to labor and delivery.  Our doctor's office is in the hospital, so it would literally mean a trip down the hall - but how in the world was I supposed to relax with the possibility we might be having our baby that day???  Luckily Tony was there (he's been to all of the appointments - he's a saint).  I immediately thought of worst case scenarios - if my blood pressure remained high they would probably induce me.  

Just the day before, I was confidently telling people that we were as ready as we ever would be, and if she were to come that day, I would be fine with it.

Ha!  The minute there was any possibility she could be on her way soon - I was totally NOT ready!  I just couldn't imagine that I could be holding our daughter in less than 24 hours - it just didn't seem possible!  So surreal.  

Well, lo and behold, my pressure remained high, so we were sent over to be monitored.  I got all hooked up, got blood drawn, and an ultrasound to check on baby.  She looked great and was moving around like crazy, and it was pretty fun to hear her heartbeat on the monitor constantly.  They took my blood pressure every fifteen minutes (we were there for 4 hours - so they took it a bunch), and each time from there on out it was within the normal range.  

Nonetheless, due to some of the results of my blood work, swollen feet and face, and my doc's opinion, they think I do have pre-eclampsia.  Blagh.  My doctor described it as "low-lying," meaning it's just kind of lurking beneath the surface right now, but still manageable.  He said that if we can manage to keep it at bay until my body is ready to go into labor and keep a close eye on my blood pressure, then I should be ok to wait it out.  

This was good news, as it meant we weren't having a baby that day and that I can still try to wait to go into labor on my own (I don't really want to be induced if I don't have to!).  However, it also means that I'm on a modified version of bedrest.  Blagh.  Although I don't have to lie down constantly or anything like that (thank goodness!), I'm pretty much tied to the couch and taking it easy.  It's no sure bet, but he said it should help keep the pressure down.  Kind of annoying, considering it's going to be pretty boring and I would rather be doing productive things like cleaning and running errands (or even walking!), but if it keeps her in there baking, then that's all that matters.  At the worst, it will just be for 2 more weeks.  I have homework to keep my busy for a few more days, but after that, I might go crazy with cabin fever.  Maybe this baby will decide she's ready to come sometime sooner than July 27th?

Ha - and perhaps by then - I will actually be ready.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Email Nonsense & Happy Houseiversary!

So I have an email address for my blog - as seen on my "Say Hi" page.  My real email is my full name, and although I love you all, I have to at least attempt to keep the weirdos at bay, so I don't use my real one here.  

My blog one is supposed to forward to my real one - but thanks to someone's comment, I realized it wasn't!  I just assumed no one was emailing me because I ramble about nonsense most of the time.  I logged in to the blog email address today and there are emails from December forward that I've been effectively ignoring!  I feel so bad!  I tried to respond to each one -but if you hate me because you think I ignored you - I'm sorry!!  Forwarding is fixed now, but I do feel bad.  Especially since all of the emails were kind words and encouragement.  I'm such a bad blogger!

Otherwise - Happy Friday!

Ok, this is from last fall - I really need an updated pic!

We closed on our house 5 years ago today (another Friday the 13th!) and I can't believe how much has changed.  We moved here as wide-eyed college graduates ready to start our lives as  adults, and now here we are, getting ready to bring our first daughter home to this house.  Crazy how time flies.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mini Furniture Redos

Three little pieces of furniture got makeovers for use in the nursery.  I'm very happy with how all of them turned out and the DIYness makes me feel good too, considering my creative skills have been zilch these past nine months.

First, tiny table.  Tony's parents gave us this - they had gotten it from a garage sale for $5 and were happy to hand it over.  I needed a tiny table to go next to the glider for stuff like a water bottle, my phone, etc when using the chair for nursing.  This table was just the right size and had similar bones to one I saw at Target for $60 (yes, $60, I was baffled).

I took my teal curtains with me to Home Depot and found a color close to them - Behr's Mermaid Treasure (love that name!).  I got just a sample pot for less than $3 and it was plenty to cover the table.  I did sand the table minimally (dust mask on, of course) and a few coats of paint were plenty to cover it.  Since this was wall paint, I knew I would need a top coat, so I slapped on a few coats of polyurethane I had on hand already to give it a nice protective gloss.  I love it - especially because the total cost for it was $3!

Next up, the tiny rocking chair.  Tony got this chair at the consignment sale he braved by himself - I think it was $12.  It's sturdy wood and I think it will make for a cute photo op location once she can sit up (and you know, it's all about the photos).  It was nice in white, but a little too boring.

Since my original idea was for the nursery to be teal and yellow, I decided to give it a nice coat of yellow - Behr's Sunny Summer.  I again went the paint tester pot route ($3!).  It looked like a nice rich yellow.  I sanded the chair - thank GOODNESS for my Dremel - it would have taken forever without it.  A few coats of the yellow and I was a little disturbed...  Maybe blinded is a better word.

It was quite yellow.  Like, burn your retinas yellow.  Plus it was somehow very thin compared to the turquoise, and my less than perfect sanding job was just not being covered well.  Awww man. 

Back to the drawing board, I went to the store to find a yellow spray paint that was less garish.  They didn't have any yellows I liked, but I did find a pink I liked - Rustoleum's Berry Pink.  Ok, I thought, I could live with pink. 

I love how the pink turned out!  And this actually got me started on adding even more pink to the nursery, so now the room is pretty much teal and pink, with hints of yellow - girly, but not too much so :)  Even though the spray paint was a gloss, I poly'd this too just for extra protection.  It took a good 2 cans of spray paint, but it was still not too expensive - about $20 total for the chair and paint.

Last, but not least, this cube shelf got a transformation for use in the nursery.

This cube actually has a history.  My dad built this shelf for me when I was maybe in early high school - so 12 or more years ago?  I can't remember when exactly, but I remember sitting outside in the garage with him while he built it.  I'm sure he was teaching me woodworking skills, but I have, of course, forgotten all of those.  My dad is so handy and can build/fix anything, and his quality workmanship shows in this shelf that has lasted for so long. I'm not sure how he did it, but there are no nail holes - they are all hidden.

I carted it to college, where I'm pretty sure it fell off the wall and onto me one time since I didn't secure it to the wall well enough (I have a bad history with using wall anchors correctly).  It came with us to our new house and has been abandoned in the attic ever since.

As we were putting stuff up there recently, Tony found it and suggested we try it out for the nursery.  I had a blank wall begging for something big, so this fit the bill perfectly.  It's transformation isn't too dramatic - I just used white gloss trim paint to cover the green.  It took a few coats, but now it's nice and white and shiny.

I love that it has sentimental meaning, even if it is just a few boards nailed together.  The accessories aren't perfect - just stuff I have on hand.  I'm sure things will get added/taken away as we acquire them or as I find things.  The frames will be filled shortly (as in - she's due in 2 weeks! ahh!)

So there you go - 3 mini makeovers to add to the nursery for cheap. 

The full nursery reveal coming soon - as soon as I get my act together and take pictures! 

[Also - Happy Birthday today to my little sis Court!!!]

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

So, Just to Clarify...

When the baby comes, I won't be able to keep up my routine of going to bed at 10 and getting up at 9, with naps interspersed throughout the day?

No?  Hm....

Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th Fun

I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday yesterday! We took it easy and relaxed and ate some good food.  The only thing we missed were fireworks - it was just too hot and late for this giant belly.

We celebrated by going to the Peachtree City parade, a major tradition.  Like, people take it very seriously.  (I wrote more on this last year)

The parade goes down one of the main roads in town - and people were putting up their tarps (to claim their spot) on Saturday.  It cracks me up each year to see the roadside turned into a tarp field.

Follow me on instagram - claireity66!

The parade is always fun - most floats throw out candy and you get to feel like a kid again.  This year I let Tony and my mother in law grab the candy while I sat firmly planted in a lawn chair. :)

Oh, golfcarts.

I always think it's so amusing too to see the road turned into a golfcart road on the 4th - it's happy chaos.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Not a Moment of Regret

It's so surreal.  In fifteen days, I will be done with my two summer classes and will be officially done with graduate school.  I will have successfully earned my master's degree in teaching and will be certified to teach 4th - 8th grade.  

I'm afraid the significance of this event is going to get lost in the baby shuffle, especially since I won't attend a ceremony or wear a cap and gown.  Of course, the baby is so much on our minds now and I don't regret that for an instant.  And it's not that I want some cheering section to sing my praises.  I just don't want to forget to appreciate it myself, that's all.  Our lives have changed so drastically in the four semesters it has taken me to earn this degree.  

I have changed, too.

Over two years ago, I made the decision, along with endless advice and support from Tony, to quit my job and do a radical (or so it seemed to me!) career change.  It would require some major sacrifices, like significantly reducing our spending and forgoing saving for the future for a while so we could live on one income.  It was scary.  It also meant a whole new direction in terms of energy and time commitments.  It pretty much meant rethinking our outlooks on life and turning in an entirely new direction.

I have absolutely not regretted the decision for one moment.  I didn't regret it when we started living more frugally and found out the beauty of living more simply.

I didn't regret it when we had to skip splurge purchases or pass on vacations.

I didn't regret it when I drove my last hour and a half commute home on the maddeningly congested freeways of Atlanta.

I didn't regret it when I donned my backpack once again, heart aflutter with back-to-school jitters.

I didn't regret it during the hours and hours and hours spent doing homework, often at night or on weekends, despite the fact that it cut into "play" time that I had usually taken for granted.

I didn't regret it when Tony and I took a long walk together every evening last summer with the dogs, something that would have been impossible when I was working late nights routinely.

I didn't regret it when I felt like I couldn't read another stinking textbook - or buy another, for that matter.

I didn't regret it when I was placed in some pretty challenging schools for my student teaching, forcing me to be strong and confident and all too aware of some of the biggest challenges in education.

I really didn't regret it when we took that pregnancy test last November and I knew this new life would allow me to spend more time with our baby than I ever would have been able to before.

And most significantly, I absolutely did not regret it when I knew, really knew, from the bottom of my heart, that teaching is what I am meant to do.  When I saw the light bulb go off, or saw a smile creep in to a middle schooler's tough exterior, or when I made connections to learning while standing in front of thirty kids that I didn't even know I was capable of making.  When I felt how fulfilling a job can be.  How tough, but how rewarding.  When I see my students around town and they give me a big hug.  When I anticipate, both with fear and anxiety, but also with uncontrollable excitement, the time when I will have my own classroom and students.  

When I realize it's all been worth it.
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