Thursday, June 29, 2017

FFR (Fully Finished Room) seeks TLBG (Tiny Little Baby Girl)

I've been procrastinating writing this post, even though the baby's room has essentially been completed and ready to go for quite a while. Mostly just because there are two small projects that I just can't seem to get my butt in gear to finish and I feel like the room isn't really DONE until *I'm* done, you know? But, the projects are nothing that can't wait until after she's born and heck, maybe they'll give me something to do while she's napping.

Our original idea was to create a very outdoorsy-forest animal-mountain themed nursery, one that was somewhat gender neutral but had a few girly touches thrown in should we find out the baby was a girl - which she is. We mostly stuck to the plan, and there are a few things I would have liked to do a little bit differently but when space and lighting are a major issue, some adjustments have to be made. Overall, though, I really love how the room turned out!

I'll leave some links at the bottom of the post (none affiliated, of course) in case you want to snag something you see in these photos. There is one other DIY element to the room that is not pictured, but I'll definitely show it off after she makes her arrival - it displays her name so it'll have to remain a secret for a little bit longer!

Also, I took these photos with my iPhone and the lighting isn't great (as mentioned already) because the room is on the back of our house, up against a cliffside, with zero sunlight during the day...and I did try and edit them a little bit...and I'm a terrible indoor photographer regardless...but you'll get the idea. It's a little bit cave-like (when the brightness isn't bumped up via the magic of Photoshop) but I'm choosing to call it "cozy" instead.

Welcome! Here we have the view if you are standing in the doorway of the nursery. Huge, right? Good thing babies are tiny. But seriously, it's small and cozy and perfect for a tiny person. A hobbit hole, if you will.

To the left of the room we have one bookshelf (from Target, years ago), that used to hold the majority of my yarn and craft items. I decided to sacrifice it to a greater cause. It didn't originally have that lift-open cabinet door on the top of it - that was a contribution from my extremely handy husband. We don't have a ton of room in the rest of the house, so we added a cover to the top two cubes of both bookshelves so we could still store a few items that aren't baby-related, but not have to actually look at them all the time. One contains some adult books (not adult themed books, ya perv) and one contains some office-type supplies. 

Same basic bookshelf story, but on the right side of the room. This one holds all her currently-owned books, a few decorative items, and a few more of our things hidden underneath the cabinet door up top. We went back and forth and back and forth between either a crocheted floor pouf (like this one) or a furry cube-shaped ottoman/pouf, and finally decided on the fur when it went on a sale too good to pass up. 

Standing in front of the crib and turning around, we have the other side of the room. This is what I like to call the feeding nook. I wasn't originally a huge fan of this style of nursery glider and I really wanted something a little bit more retro looking (a.k.a. not obviously a baby chair) but 1) none of the ones I liked would actually ship to Alaska and 2) most of them were big bucks even if they would ship. So, we settled on this one, but I ended up not hating it. Plus, it's pretty comfortable, and in a color I like. We didn't buy the matching ottoman, because I'm not a matchy-matchy person, hence the fur ottoman. 

Swinging to the right a bit more (any further right and you'd be looking back out the door to the room) and we have the changing station/dresser/closet area. We took off the closet doors and toyed with the idea of hanging curtains to hide the closet, but eventually decided that they'd just get in the way and probably end up making the room look even smaller. The dresser holds a lot of her clothes and all her cloth diapers, and the bins up top are all stuffed with clothing sizes bigger than 6 months. You can also see a basket or two of my yarn up in the top left, because I literally (and I use that word literally) have nowhere else to put them right now. The wet bag hanging on the back wall is one I ordered from an extremely nice Etsy seller based in Anchorage, and once she fits into them, it'll be used for dirty cloth diapers in between laundry days.

From the beginning I really wanted one of those metal IKEA carts, but they don't ship to Alaska. I was pretty thrilled when I randomly stumbled across essentially the exact same thing on the Target website, and almost immediately ordered one. It's currently being used to hold her swaddle blankets and zip-up swaddles, changing pad covers and crib sheets, and a few pacifiers/teething toys up top. I'm not quite sure she has enough swaddles and blankets so I might need to order a few dozen more of each.

Everyone needs a place to hang their hat coat and diaper bag, right? I painted that little "Take a Hike" piece up above, and the two vintage floral postcards were randomly sent to me by a client at my former job, along with their monthly payment. I need to stand on a chair and hang them properly - they're currently just stuck up there with tape and aren't very even. 

This art print is, I'm pretty sure, the very first thing we picked out to put in her nursery. I found it looooong before I was pregnant, showed it to Isaiah and he loved it too, so it's been bookmarked on Etsy for probably at least the last year and a half. I'm so happy we finally were able to order and hang it!

Obviously none of these items will actually be staying in the crib while she's sleeping in it, but we couldn't help sticking some of our favorite stuffed animals in there. The bunny is from Isaiah's parents, picked out by his stepdad. The watercolor/floral crib sheet is one of the things we picked to make the room look like a girl lives there.

Every forest has gnomes, right? I made this mobile and while I'd definitely do a few things differently next time, I still mostly like how it turned out. I think one of the main things I'd change is not using black and white twine to hang the gnomes and mushrooms. I think it's distracting and I still might change it out for fishing line or something, like I need another project to work on.

Speaking of gnomes and little forest animals, you can't have too many, right? The little gnome figurines were picked up on a whim at a local shop, we've had the little fox lamp for several years (but we did replace the black lampshade with that gray one), the feather trees were purchased on an after-Christmas clearance sale at a store in town, and I painted those mountains using cardboard cones I found at the craft store.

Books! And a baby book! For some reason we've gravitated toward things with bunnies for this baby, hence the Peter Rabbit baby book and the multiple books about rabbits...Peter Rabbit boxed sets, Pat the Bunny boxed set, the Runaway Bunny, an original publication of Leo the Lop that my sister found on eBay and ordered for us...the list goes on.

She has to learn her alphabet somehow...and fun fact, it took quite a bit of research on my part to figure out what the "I" stood for. Because that's a lemur, right?? Nay, not just a lemur, it is an INDRI - a large species of lemur found only in Madagascar, apparently. Let's just say I ordered this print from an Etsy seller based in iguanas in this alphabet!

Finally, some of my favorite items from the room: The wooden nightstand we found, and a Peter Rabbit toy from one of my old coworkers, and one of the cutest board books ever. That tall white thing is a nightlight/sound machine, and the more I play with it, the more I love it. The sounds on it are great, you can customize the nightlight color or program different colors to go with different sounds, and you can control it all either on the unit itself or from your phone. It's pretty spiffy.

So there you have it - now all we need is the baby!! The baby that is currently five days overdue and seriously welcome to come any time she wants...

And here's a list of items from the room (again, no affiliate links!), if they're still available. If I didn't list something and you want to know more about it, let me know. Thanks for visiting!

crib + dresser (Target)
glider chair (Babies R Us)
metal cart (Target)
cream shag rug (Amazon)
fox lamp (Target)
gray lampshade (Target)
metal coat hook (Anthropologie)
shaggy stuffed animals (Restoration Hardware)
The Quiet Book (Amazon)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

I wish due dates were concrete just like our new countertops.

Happy due date to me! Well, I guess happy due date to this baby girl is more accurate, and if she wants to make it her birthday too, that would be fine.

No impending labor signs yet that I'm aware of, other than occasional Braxton Hicks which are nothing new - I've been feeling those off and on for like two months now. I haven't been checked by the doctor yet, so I don't know if/how much I've dilated. So far it hasn't mattered - babies come when they come and I trust my body will know when it's time - but if I make it to my appointment next week we'll definitely need to make sure things are moving along. I was informed last week that they "don't like" to let moms go past 41 weeks, which I think is a little silly if everyone's healthy (and wealthy and wise, as my mother would say), so I'll be asking for 42 weeks at least. I really don't think I'll still be pregnant then, so I feel like it's a bit of a moot point.

We did decide that last weekend was the perfect time to rip apart our kitchen in order to redo our countertops and backsplash and I was semi-hoping that would jump start labor, being on my feet all day every day but no dice. I've been wanting concrete countertops for ages, so for my birthday, Isaiah surprised me with all the supplies to cover up our ugly, pale yellow laminate counters with a concrete overlay.

It actually worked really well, and they're 95% finished and will be 100% finished this weekend (assuming this baby doesn't interrupt the plan). They're technically done, but we wanted to go the extra step of adding a wax layer on top of the sealant to make them extra stain and scratch-proof. I've been using them the last few days without the wax layer, though, and they've been great!

You probably saw these pictures already if you follow me on Instagram, but here's the before (ew), during, and a couple of after photos - one with the counters still empty and one with everything put back. Not bad for only a 4-day project, if I do say so myself!

Ew. Just ew.

Mid-concrete application. We used 3 thin layers of Ardex Feather Finish. Messy, yes, but fairly easy.

New wooden backsplash and finished countertops! We sealed them with Cheng's Concrete Sealer and followed a YouTube tutorial we found online (since the reviews mostly said the instructions on the bottle were outdated and didn't work properly).

So fresh, so clean clean. And a furry photobomber. And a big plastic tote I forgot to take out of the sink post-wash and pre-photo. Can't win 'em all.

Remember when I said I was hoping to make a bunch of freezer meals for under $150 for after the baby's born and neither of us want to cook? The grand total of my shopping trip, not including the cost of the ingredients I had on hand at home already or the things I'll need to go with the meals, came to $160. I was pretty proud of myself. I bought enough to make five freezer meals and a bunch of pre-portioned smoothie packs, and I figure each meal will feed us at least twice, with possibly a bit left over. Add to the cost the extra side dishes (rice, quinoa) and necessary serving vessels (tortillas, for chicken tacos) and I bet it'll all come in at right around $200 total. I still think that's pretty outrageous and anywhere but Sitka I could do all that for a lot less, but $200 for 10-15 meals around here is about as good as it gets, especially when there's any kind of meat involved. So I'm satisfied.

I do have to say, one thing I am getting tired of being asked is what we're naming the baby. For some reason, even though we have had months to get used to the question, I cannot for the life of me figure out a way to answer that doesn't come across as super awkward.  I guess part of me finds it odd that strangers legitimately expect us to tell them the name we've chosen, and part of me feels awkward telling them we're not telling them. "Uh...well...we do have one but aren't really telling anyone until she's born..." Unfortunately my bumbling response isn't usually met with a happy, understanding face. It's usually met with a blank stare and an "Oh, okay..." And then I feel like I have to have a darn good reason, like we still can't decide between a few names (not true) or we want to make sure the name fits her looks before we finalize it (also not true).

At least we're running extremely short on the amount of time we still have to feel awkward about this situation. I hope.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Still cooking, both figuratively and literally.

38 1/2 weeks.
Also, I legitimately thought this mirror was clean until I looked at the photo. Whoops.

Well. I just realized it's been a minute since I last blogged. I feel like a lot has actually happened in the last couple of weeks - is this what it feels like to actually have "blogging material" for a change!?

The most notable occurrence is that I quit my job! Technically I turned in my 6+ week notice way back in April, but last Friday was officially my last day. It was a really, really crappy final week, if I'm being honest. I wish I could say I was able to float through with lots of goodbyes and I'll miss yous on my way out the door (skipping, of course), but it just didn't really go down that way. It's funny how people suddenly realize you're actually leaving and suddenly come up with a million and one emergencies they need you to handle. And, I know - lack of planning on their part doesn't constitute an emergency on mine; I'm well acquainted with that phrase. But it's hard to actually put that into practice when you're the kind of person that, no matter how much you wish you could mentally check out early, you can't help but feel an overwhelming need to make sure everyone is set up for success before you leave.

That said, I was reminded exactly why I was leaving (other than the having-a-baby part, of course) when, an hour before I left, the CFO actually asked me if I would be willing to work "just one more day." I resisted the urge to start maniacally laughing and crying at the same time and managed to politely say sorry, but no.

After I finally left (!) I made my way over to my 38 week doctor's appointment, where I expected to be told the exact same thing I've been told at every appointment thus far: Baby's heartbeat is perfect, your measurements are perfect, your blood pressure is perfect, see you in a week. Whomp, whomp, nope. I was informed that my fundal height, which is supposed to be approximately the same number of centimeters high as you are weeks along in your pregnancy, was only 34 centimeters. He said that low amniotic fluid was a concern or, worse, restricted fetal growth (which can also be caused by low fluid). He immediately sent me for an ultrasound, just to see what might be going on, so I headed over to the hospital.

On the bright side, we got an unexpected ultrasound and we were able to see our adorable little girl's face for the first time. It wasn't 3D or anything, but it was good enough to get a photo and give me a little boost of motivation to power through these last couple weeks of pregnancy. The ultrasound tech also confirmed that she is absolutely, without a doubt, truly a she - which is nice, because now Isaiah and I can stop agonizing over a middle name to go with our backup boy's name.

Unfortunately, the ultrasound tech was not very encouraging and informed us that indeed, my amniotic fluid was lower than doctors like to see, which sparked a weekend full of furious Googling, a lot of praying, and the chugging of multiple gallons of water just so we could rule out dehydration should I need a follow up ultrasound the next week.

Thankfully, praise the Lord, when I went back to talk to the doctor on Tuesday, he told me that no, the tech was actually wrong, my fluid levels look perfectly fine and although the baby is measuring about a week on the small side, she's still within perfectly normal range and I'm still on track for a June 24th due date with not a thing to worry about. I asked why he thought I was measuring so small and he said that it was likely just a combination of her having dropped down into my pelvis (and boy do I feel that!), the way she was turned, and the fact that she's just a hair on the petite side. He said he's more of a safe than sorry person, hence the rushed ultrasound, which I actually appreciate even if it did cause some undue worry in the meantime.

He also told me that based on the ultrasound's cervical measurements, not a lot is happening down there yet. Which is fine - I'm still a week and a half away from my due date and it sounds like she needs a little more time to plump up anyway!

Having some time off before the baby does come has been really nice. My hips have been progressively hurting more and more, but there is still a lot I want to get done around the house so it's been really convenient to be able to be up and around being productive but also be able to sit down whenever I need to. I'm still exhausted by the evening one way or the other, but at least I have the majority of the morning and afternoon to do what I need to do so I can relax in the evenings without feeling guilty (whereas before I was getting home from work and basically dragging myself straight to the couch, lucky if I even managed to unload the dishwasher first). On tomorrow's to do list: Grocery shopping and prepping five or six freezer meals. I'm hopeful each meal will feed us at least twice, and I'm hoping to do it all for less than $150, which sounds outrageous to most of you I'm sure, but remember where I live - a block of Tillamook cheddar is almost $20. Alaska may be a dream destination for a lot of people but you definitely pay the price, and the Last Frontier is effing expensive.

One last thing - I made this sweet potato bread today, and it's freaking delicious. It's probably something that would taste even better in the fall/winter, but I had a potato I needed to use, and it's been rainy and in the low 50s here so it might as well be October. Add a cup or so of chopped walnuts or pecans to the batter - you won't regret it.

I guess that's the downside to being at home all the time now...I have to stare at things like sweet potato bread and use all my willpower not to just devour the whole thing in one sitting. Time to go distract myself with a deep cleaning of the bathroom...