Monday, February 27, 2012

Sam's Nursery Pictures

Finally, the finished product!  To really appreciate the transformation, be sure to peek back at the before pics.  I love how the room turned out and I love spending time in here.  Truly, a dream come true.  It's so sweet and perfect for our little boy.  I couldn't be happier!  Enjoy...

The gorgeous built-in shelves that have been in my head for years turned out great!  One of the hub's best friends built these.  We were blessed to have so many talented friends and family help us out with this beautiful room.
Definitely one of my favorite parts of the room is the wall and ceiling paint.  We went very neutral, but bold at the same time.  The crib wall is striped with two shades of taupe.  But the real kicker is the ceiling - it's a very striking metallic bronze.  My absolute favorite part!  We did the paint ourselves.  The stripes were the most challenging - the hub handled those!
The rocker was a gift from Sam's Mimi! And the fabric closet "door" was sewn by my sweet bestest!  And I'm not sure if she remembers this, but KK also gave us that oval mirror that hangs above the crib as a wedding gift (ahem, nearly ten years ago).  Yeah, we hadn't used it till now!  We added the wooden "S" and voila... insta-nursery decor.

She also made the lovely basket liners for me!  See her tutorial on these here.  The hamper (which you can kinda see there by the crib) was a bit of a challenge.  I didn't like any of the ones I saw at BRU and the like.  This was actually my grandfather's hamper.  Yeah, kind of a weird tribute, but it's cool to have a piece of him in the room (even if it used to hold his dirty underwear).

Had a ball filling these shelves.  And it's a work in progress!  Lots of sweet gifts from friends, but also a few things from my childhood make an appearance too.

Filling the drawers was also fun... they're our main source of storage in the room, besides the closet.
This little caddy was used to hold cake pops at one of my showers... now it holds diapers!  The little night light back there is one of my favorite baby items.  It'll be included on my list of must-have's that I'll post soon!  That bird house is just a random item I found at Hobby Lobby for filler.
Our beautiful DIY cornice board!!!  One of my very favorite pieces in the room.  Dad and the hub built this together.  And my sweet friend, Melissa, monogrammed the fabric before it was assembled.  A very easy project.  And simple to change the fabric... like if it needs to be pink at some point! ;-)
Our gorgeous bench seat cushion... I did have a designer friend make this for me.  Definitely one of the few "splurges" in the room, but it totally makes the bench - which really is the focal point. LOVE it!  That seat also lifts to reveal a big storage area underneath.  Currently it is housing our diaper supply!

Some sweet details...  the pillow (and all crib bedding and extra fabric) was ordered from a GREAT local company called Carousel Designs that does affordable custom crib bedding.   I will use them again and again! My friend Melissa also monogrammed this pillow for me (and did the applique "S" on the one above). 

Another must-have - the Sleep Sheep!  Yeah we have this full size one and the travel one (attached to Sam's car seat).  Love!  This little toy bag was something I already had from my samples kit when I was selling Javis Davis bedding.  It just happened to match almost perfectly!
The main print used in the room - this gorgeous paisley.  It was definitely love at first sight when I found this.  Which is not what I originally imagined for a boy... I always thought I'd do something bright and funky!
Wall decor above the changing table.  Found these fabulous safety pins at Ballard Designs.  They were featured as a cute addition for a laundry room, but I thought they'd be perfect in a nursery!  The lovely name plaque was given by another sweet friend.  Also one of my very favorite details in the room.  Sam's name has such special meaning for us, so this was a perfect gift.
Oh and how I adore the finished bathroom... I told you how much I love baby and kids' bathrooms, so we put a lot of work into it.  My dad and the hub did the beadboard themselves.  That medicine cabinet was a random find at Home Depot!  I had one picked out at Pottery Barn for twice as much.  Monogrammed towels from Horchow, duh.  Don't make me tell you again that there is no better place to order mongrammed towels.
Cheap clearance shower curtain from Kohl's!  Mongrammed by Melissa.  :-)  Oh and all these bathroom fixtures were purchased YEARS ago at the Pottery Barn outlet.  We had never installed them till now, but we've seriously had them for like five or six years.  Glad my taste didn't change too much!
Sam's Nana got him this sweet little robe.  A baby robe, seriously... so cute!
And surely you remember the crazy orange closet!  Here it is fully loaded.  Hard to tell in this pic, but the wall color is a bright sherbet orange.  Just fun.  Not meant to match any decor in the room, obviously.  Just a happy and bright color that works well with blue OR pink.  :-)  This was our very first project in the room.  I decided on this color before we knew boy or girl or what we'd be doing in the nursery itself.  Closets are fun.  (Mine is partially painted too - metallic pink.  I mean, why not?)
Yep, all that work for a teeny little person... blood, sweat, and tears from us and so many others who love this little guy.  Definitely more time, thought, effort, and money has gone in to that one space than any other in our house!  Haha... gotta love it!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

It's Birthday Season!

Yeah, this time of year is like one birthday after the next.  February especially, but also March and now January with sweet Sam!  And TODAY is my dear hub's 38th birthday!  Woo hoo!  Yikes, only two more years to plan that 40th shindig for him...

Sam and Daddy

We keep birthday and holiday gifts pretty low key around here.  Still in tight budget mode, but we always manage to celebrate big!  Tonight we are going over to my parents' house to cook out.  They're handling dinner, but I put together an easy dessert.  I am not much of a baker, as I've said many times... I really don't have much of a sweet tooth, though pregnancy left me with more of one than I had before!  After having Sam, I have craved bread and sweets like no tomorrow.  Really weird for me.  But this dessert is stupid easy and requires no baking.  It's not even really a recipe... I've been making versions of this forever.  I think I even did these in high school.  So it's nothing new, but it's sinful and delicious!

Ice Cream Pie

You'll need:
- Half gallon of your favorite ice cream
- Ready-made pie crust (oreo or graham cracker)
- Cool whip topping
- Chocolate chips for drizzle topping or other topping of choice (caramel, fudge, etc)

Seriously, I feel dumb explaining this because it's so easy and like I said - nothing new.  BUT, first you'll want to sit your ice cream out for a bit (or nuke it a few seconds) to allow it to soften some.  Also go ahead and set out your cool whip so it can thaw a bit.  Once your ice cream is somewhat soft, spoon it into your pie crust.  I love the ready-made oreo ones but those are harder to find.  Graham cracker crust is great too though, and I especially love this particular one that is a little larger in size because a half-gallon of ice cream fills it perfectly...

After spreading the ice cream filling, top it off with cool whip.  I use most of the regular size tub - you can do as much or as little as you want (or none at all - there are no rules here!).

Lastly, just to finish it off, top it with drizzled chocolate or caramel...whatever suits you and meshes well with your ice cream flavor.  For this pie, I just melted some Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips and drizzled them over the top...

I've also added Thin Mints as a topper before when I was doing a chocolate or mint chocolate pie.  That's a good one if you have those on hand!  Like I said, no rules here.  Add whatever floats your boat.  Then toss it in the freezer till you're ready to enjoy!  It's nothing fancy, but it's good.  And it's one you can make days before you need it.

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend.  And hubby, I'm excited to celebrate your special day with you!!!  Happy, Happy Birthday, love!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Color Changes Everything

Today is my best friend's birthday!  Sure, she won't tell ya... but it's true!  Please go over and pay her a visit today and wish her a happy one!

And just for her, I'm posting one of my favorite commercials.  What, an ad?  Yeah.  The first time I saw this one, I knew 5 seconds in that it just had to be a Target commercial.  All of their ads have this certain whimsy to them that I can't put my finger on.  Which is much like my sweet friend, KK.  And this particular commercial is exactly how I would advertise HER if I could.  She adds color and spark to everything she touches.  I love you, girl, and hope you have an excellent day!!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Easter Musings

One of the most exciting things to me about becoming a mom is introducing Sam to all the fun holidays and celebrations throughout the year and years to come.  Though I've yet to purchase any scrapbooks or memory albums, I've got a big collection of things to put in books and one specific scrapbook I want to put together is a "Book of Firsts."  We'll have a lot of those this year!  And next up is Easter...

Perhaps it's silly to go nuts over an Easter basket for a little munchkin that spends the bulk of his day doing nothing but sleeping and pooping... but hey, I can't help myself!  But what do you put in an infant's Easter basket?  I mean, it's not like he can eat a chocolate bunny (though Momma can totally help him with that).  I was thinking books and maybe a couple of toys. But then earlier this week, Sam and I were on a date with my friend Pam and her newborn and we walked into Pottery Barn Kids at Lenox and it was like a beautiful Easter explosion!  Sure, I'd seen all this stuff in the catalog, but it didn't really do much for me till I saw it in person.  (This is why I try not to shop.)

They had lots of cute basket options and all kinds of goodies for filler, but I especially fell in love with the whole Peter Rabbit collection.  And though it's a lot more than I'd pay for a comparable basket at Hobby Lobby or wherever else, I'm totally smitten over this bucket...

I can't find it on their site, but in store they had a mini bucket and a large one.  I could be sensible and get the mini one for my little mini man. But sometimes sensibility goes out the door when I look at those sweet cheeks! I mean, seriously, just look...

Exactly.  So now I'm all inspired by the Peter Rabbit theme.  It's just so sweet and timeless.  Plus, I can only justify buying this bucket if I can get another use out of it.  It will look so great on Sam's bookshelves in his nursery (yes, getting those pics up soon - promise!).  Makes for a great looking toy bucket and I'm always keeping an eye out for fun things to go on his shelves. 

So then to fill it... definitely some Peter Rabbit themed goodies.  Which PBK has a ton of, but I will *probably* refrain from getting any of it there.  Sure, a lot of it is their exclusive collection, but not the books.  Um, unless you happen upon a clearance deal or great coupon, don't ever buy kids' books at these stores!  Make a mental note and then run to Amazon or another bargain book dealer.  Kids' books are seriously so stinking expensive.  So yeah, I've already been adding some stuff to my Amazon wish list while I'm pulling ideas together, including this...

Yeah, that won't exactly fit in the bucket, but I love it.  So it may have to just sit beside the bucket.  The Easter Bunny often had "extras" outside my basket, so I'm confident he still does this.  And there are like a million little Peter Rabbit stuffed animals out there, including this sweet one that plays a nursery rhyme...

Pam and I also strolled around in Anthropologie while at the mall and I found these GREAT flash card sets for kids.  It'll be a while before Sam is ready to actually learn this stuff, but the colors and pictures are so darn fun.  Eric Carle, of The Very Hungry Caterpillar fame, has several box sets of gorgeously illustrated cards for kids.  And they're really good quality - like similar to board books as far as thickness and glossy appearance.  Anthropologie had a few of the sets selling for full retail at $14.95, but I found the same thing on Amazon for about $10 (and hello, free shipping and no sales tax).  Yeah, so I'm pretty sure he's getting a set of these...

Lastly, I think I will find a little Bible to include in the bucket.  You can never have too many life manuals, and Easter is about Jesus after all, right?!  Can't wait to start putting it together!  Oh and then wrapping it all up in cellophane with fabulous ribbons... OMG too fun.  We'll be lucky if we get an unintentional smile followed by a fart from Sam after seeing his first Easter basket, but it'll certainly make my heart swell!

And speaking of my dapper little dude, I've been on the hunt for the perfect Easter duds for him.  I know it's still a couple of months out, but so far I'm pretty unimpressed with the selection for boys out there.  Easter to me means PREPPY and COLORFUL.  Sans dinosaur and truck images.  Love those, but not on Easter.  So, I think I finally found "the one" at Baby Gap...

Also saw these sandals at Old Navy a while back - how stinkin' cute?!  Hopefully it will be warm enough for this ensemble.  You just never know.  But that little Gap romper is on sale this weekend, so I may have to go and snag it.  If you're looking for cute Easter looks for your little one, Baby Gap by far has the best selection I've seen yet (especially for little girls - swoon!).  I've looked at Carter's, Osh Kosh, Gymboree, Target, BRU, Buy Buy Baby, and Old Navy... and none of them had anything that got much more than a "meh" from me. Gymboree had a few cute things, but ugh - too $$$ for me.  I'm cheap.

So yeah... getting awfully excited about Easter Sunday!  We haven't made it back to church since Sam arrived, but I think we will give it a go Sunday week.  Not ready to put him in the nursery (he'd be old enough but Momma's not ready!), but he should do just fine in his Baby Bjorn or Moby Wrap.  He LOVES being held or carried.  Such a sweet boy. :-)

Back soon with nursery photos and my maternity favorites...  Until then, TGIF and have a fabu weekend!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

One month, already?!

It's true... today Sam is ONE whole month old!

We of course had to come up with some creative ways to document his monthly growth.  My SIL sent us a fun idea she found on Pinterest where you put baby in an outfit that's entirely too big for him at first, and photograph him in the same one every month to see how he grows into it.  So we did that with a size 12mo sleeper - which totally swallows him right now!

Then we put him in one of the PB Kids baskets from his changing table... (OK that reminds me that I totally need to get nursery pics on here!)

And the "main" pic is this one - just a simple overhead view of him on a blanket with one of MY old toys - a crocheted Cookie Monster doll.  Love it!

I always love seeing how people document the actual month.  I've seen onesies and tees and stickers/patches you can use to put on the kid.  I liked that idea, but of course decided to do a budget-friendly version with stuff I already had.  So the solution?  Iron-on printer paper.  It's so darn easy...

Here's a very quick how-to if you're interested in doing something similar...

Easy Month-by-Month Iron-on Decals

1. You will need a plain onesie or tee for each month.  I just went with plain white onesies by Carters.  (Or sorry, "bodysuits" since Gerber officially coined the term "onesie" - whatev.)  And I'm doing these month-by-month because who knows what size Sam will need as he grows!

2. Assuming you've got an iron and a printer at home, the only other thing you need is iron-on printer paper.  I have found this at the grocery store, but Walmart usually has it and certainly any office supply store would.  It comes in the same packaging as labels - so look for those.  I used Avery brand and it comes in two varieties - one for light fabrics and one for darker fabrics. 

3.  I designed my own image just using Microsoft Word - I went really simple.  But you can get as fancy pants as you want.  Design your own decal, or find some clip art or other pictures to use.  The big thing to remember here, once you're ready to print, is you'll need to print a mirror image of the decal.  Some programs have you do this through the print menu, or you may be able to flip the image itself before printing.  I created my image in Word and then copied it into Paint (yeah, that free program under your Accessories - love it) and printed from there.  So I just flipped the image itself before printing.

One other thing to note - this iron-on paper is designed for inkjet printers.  I broke the rules and used a laser printer though.  It worked fine for these small and simple images, but really an inkjet printer will do best.  The heat from a laser printer screws up the iron-on material some and may affect your decal.  But the image itself transfers fine if the paper around your decal survives the printing (which mine did).

4. Transfer the image!  Follow the instructions on the iron-on paper package - they are plenty detailed and easy to follow.  It takes a matter of seconds to transfer the image - especially a small one like this.  And then you're done!  Come month #2, start back at step 1.  :-) 

So there you go.  We are obviously having a complete BALL with Sam.  Love him to pieces.  He is ridiculously cute.  He's a good sleeper too.  The nights are hard... we've had to grow accustom to "naps" rather than getting a full night's sleep, but we're coping well.  He's a fabulous eater and pooper too.  The plumbing is definitely working.  His projectile pee and poo range is quite impressive.  I just recently had to start a clothes bin for items he's already outgrown!  I mean, really!  He's out of most of his NB items and is in 0-3mo or 3mo sizes now. He's growing like a weed, that's for sure. 

I've got lots of great post ideas swimming in my foggy head right now... it's just a matter of finding the time and opportunity to sit down at the 'puter and get them posted.  I definitely want to share my favorite maternity items and baby items so far, among other things.  You know I love dishing on fun clothes and products!  And as I mentioned, I need to get our nursery pics up!  My Dad took a bunch of great ones after we got everything finished, so I'll have to get those on here shortly. 

Also... any fun Valentine's Day plans, y'all?  We typically stay in and do fondue for V-Day, but seeing as we stay in like ALL the time lately, that's not quite as appealing this year!  So we are having our first official date night on Tuesday!  Well, date afternoon really.  My parents are going to watch the little man at our house while the hub and I go to see "The Vow" and then have an early dinner at a local Italian restaurant.  We have 5pm reservations - which officially makes us old farts.  Seriously, who eats at 5pm?  People with one-month-old's at home with grandparents waiting to have their own Valentine's dinner out.  Yep, Nana and Grandpa have 7:30pm reservations, so we'll be home in time to relieve them.  And we thought caring for the dogs was hard enough to coordinate!  Ha!  Looking forward to it...  you know I love Valentine's!  Any reason to celebrate is... well... a reason to celebrate!  Hope you all have a great one filled with lots of love!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sam's Birth Story

Please excuse my little "maternity leave" from bloggy world... like I said, time just escapes me these days.  Before I turn around, I'll be back at work.  Newborns have like a fast-forward button or something.  The hours in the day seriously just slip away and I'm like, wow... look at all the things I have NOT done today! But that's OK... my #1 to-do right now is loving on sweet Sam.  And I'm definitely getting plenty of that in!

So if you remember, we were scheduled to have a c-section on January 19th, when he was 39 weeks.  On the 11th, we had what we thought would be my last OB appointment before delivery.  Before the doctor came in, the nurse asked if I wanted him to check me for dilation, etc.  Well sure, what the heck?  They don't regularly check your cervix as a planned c-section patient, but I figured it couldn't hurt.  Well, turns out I was already dilated some to 1-2 inches and 75% effaced.  At that point, I was a day shy of 38 weeks.  My OB was like, "Well if you were delivering vaginally, this would be great news."  But seeing as my team of doctors didn't want me going into labor at all, this freaked me out a little bit!  With how things looked that day, the OB didn't think I'd make it to the 19th.  In fact, he said he'd go ahead and take Sam that day if there wasn't the big hooplah over waiting till the 39-week mark.  (Not that it's all hooplah - but a lot of it is about hospitals and money and politics.)  So my instructions were to call in if my water broke or I had continuous contractions over a 4-hour period. 

Well this all kind of threw me for a loop...  we had a plan.  January 19th at 5:30am.  We had a nice to-do list to get done in that last week before heading for the hospital.  But God had other plans!  That same day, after going back to work after my OB appointment, I managed to have a ridiculous amount of contractions all afternoon.  They were just Braxton Hicks, as far as I knew... but contractions nonetheless.  And after we hit that 4-hour mark, we called.  The nurse put me on hold after I told her what was going on.  She came back after a couple of minutes, having talked to my doctor.  "It's time, honey.  Head to Labor & Delivery!"  Holy shit.

That call happened about 3pm... I was still at the office and LUCKILY I had really focused on crossing all my T's and dotting all my I's earlier that week so that I could vacate early if need be.  Good thing I did!  I just spent maybe a half hour tying up some little loose ends before the hub picked me up.  And so that was my official last day of work before Sam!  We did have our hospital bags mostly packed, thank goodness.  So once I got picked up, we ran home to grab our stuff, change clothes, get the dogs situated, and head to the hospital. 

Once we got to the hospital, it all went so fast.  We checked in just before 6pm.  The nurses immediately got us into an L&D room and hooked me up to the monitors...

Let's do this!

Sure enough, after seeing my activity (i.e contractions like every few minutes!), the doctor on call decided we needed to do this thing.  Even though my contractions weren't too severe, they still put stress on my wonky uterus.  And we don't need to stress my poor uterus.  My L&D nurses were great.  Our short time there was right smack in the middle of a shift change, so we had two nurses, only for about an hour each before moving into surgery.  Besides their bedside manner, I gotta say I judge a nurse by how well they put an IV in.  This girl kicked ass.  Quick and easy!  The only other thing I had some apprehension about was the epidural.  The surgery itself really didn't scare me.  It's always the pre-op stuff that I hate. 

Because I hadn't eaten anything since my lunch at about noon, we didn't have to wait too long to go into surgery.  They typically make you wait 8 hours after eating, so luckily we didn't have to!  By 8pm, they were walking me back to the OR.  The hub had to stay back to put on his scrubs while they prepped me for surgery.  I had to sit up on the edge of the operating table to have the epidural put in. I was nervous, so I was a little shaky - but it was also wicked cold in that room!  The anesthesiologist was awesome and I'm not kidding when I tell you I barely felt it.  I think I was more nervous about jerking out of position while he was inserting it rather than the needle itself.  I mean, through this whole process, I've had my fair share of needles.  I can handle needles for the most part.  I've been stuck in every place imaginable.  Yes.  Every. Place. Imaginable.  But despite my shaking, I managed to stay totally still and before I knew it, my legs were feeling funny and heavy and then... holy cow, where did my legs go?  I see you moving them but seriously... whose legs are those?!  Totally weird...

Honestly the worst part of the whole epidural was the fact that my blood pressure slowed so much that I got nauseous almost immediately.  But of course they had some good drugs at the ready for that very reason and before long I was feeling fine again.  It was weird though because I could hear my pulse on the monitor the whole time and you could literally hear it slow way down once the epidural hit.  By the time I was feeling good again, the hub was by my side.  The curtain was being pinned up at my chest.  And here we go!

It was all so fast.  I could feel some pressure, but I was totally relaxed.  Well, as relaxed as you can be when your long-awaited son is about to enter the world!  I just stared at the hub the whole time.. listening, listening, listening for that cry.  And OH did he cry!  Boy was NOT too pleased to be yanked out so abruptly!  But it was a beautiful sound.  Holy crap - that's our baby!!!  Sam was born at 8:29pm.  So walking back to the OR to the time I was horizontal with a baby flying out... less than 30 minutes.  Wow.

The hub watched the whole thing (from behind the curtain).  He described the scene - said it was seriously like a NASCAR pit crew.  Nothing gentle about it, that's for sure.  And I sure don't want to ever SEE what happened on that table to my body!  But wow, it sure is amazing. 

After Sam was out, they eventually took him away to get cleaned up.  The hub stayed with me though as the doctors got me cleaned up and sewn up and ready to go.  I have no idea how long that took.  I was totally conscious and "with it" the whole time... but after that epidural, time just seemed to disappear.  And I haven't been able to find it since! 

Our families were in the waiting room - anxious to get word on Baby Sam's arrival.  So while I was back in recovery, the hub spread the good word and shared some pics on his camera.  Here I am holding sweet Sam for the first time...

I was in recovery for an hour or so.  I was able to start breastfeeding Sam there.  They had a lactation consultant there at the ready.  Everyone was super supportive and helpful.  Then we were ultimately moved to our postpartum room and our family was able to come back and meet our little man...

Grandpa with Sam

Nana with Sam

It was all a whirlwind!  We stayed in the hospital for three nights and went home that following Saturday.  We were at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta and I had a fabulous experience there.  ALL of the nurses we had while in postpartum were fantastic.  Of course we had our favorites... Nurse Amy was our day nurse on the second day.  I had a total breakdown when I couldn't pee.  It was a total repeat of the nightmare recovery after my first surgery years ago.  Sometimes when you get catheterized for surgery, you forget how to pee once they remove the catheter.  Imagine needing to pee like a race horse, but not being able to get your muscles to function properly and relieve yourself.  Um, friggin nightmare!  And just super frustrating.  I had a feeling this was going to happen when I couldn't pee the first time I tried.  So basically what happens is, they have to insert a straight catheter in if you can't get the job done yourself.  And if you don't know... that hurts like hell.  At least that's how I remembered it.  So knowing this was coming just made me lose it.  But y'all, Nurse Amy could NOT have been sweeter about it.  You know I hate crying in front of people.  So breaking down in front of the nurse was not in the plans.  But there was no stopping it.  And she was just super about it.  She was totally comforting and to top it off, she kicked ass doing the catheter.  Yeah, it was not fun - but it was not NEARLY the painful experience I had at Northside years ago after my first surgery.  So now, along with IV's, I can judge nurses on their ability to insert a catheter.  ;-)

The last nurse we had, Nurse Marsha, was also amazing.  I tried my best to hold it back, but I totally cried when she was loving on Sam as we were packing up to go home.  Heading home... into the real world... was emotional enough as it was, but seeing her say goodbye to our boy... ugh, wow.  I'm telling you - our nurses were the best!  And I certainly have a whole new respect for L&D and postpartum nurses.  They see stuff and do stuff no person should have to.  Goodness.  Modesty just goes out the window while you're there. 

The drive home was surreal.  We kept saying, "There's a baby in the back of our car."  And we both cried... driving up 85.  It's been 3 weeks and it's still so unbelievable sometimes.  Not sure I'll ever stop pinching myself!  We had a photographer come out on Sam's one week birthday.  Here's one of my favorites...

Samuel Nolen
This little guy melts my heart!  So in love. God is good.