House Update: Master Bedroom/Bathroom

Feb 15, 2013

Like I've said before, this house of ours is constantly evolving into a "home" and where we feel comfortable. I've enjoyed adding and changing and adding some more. It's interesting how I can think an item will fit perfectly in the room, only to have a "What was I thinking?" moment and return it. That has happened several times and I'm okay with it. You never know what will work until you try it out, and thankfully I leave tags on and keep receipts just in case!

With our bedroom, I knew exactly what I wanted. Back in July during our trip to Atlanta for our anniversary (who am I kidding, we really went specifically for IKEA), I picked up our bedroom dresser. I got the black-brown color and wanted every piece of furniture to be black and match. Once we got it in the room, and after seeing on several home design blogs where different types of furniture were coordinated in the same room, I quickly decided against anymore black! 

Originally we had a four-poster bed that we painted black, a boat of a t.v., and a boring blank wall. Back at our rental, we had made an upholstered headboard and attached it to a bed frame that Michael made himself. We liked the look of the four-poster, but holy cow was that thing squeaky. Forget about getting frisky when we had guests down the hall. Oh no, that bad boy made noise with the movement of our breathing! Now this part I am ashamed over a tad bit, but I sold it online for $50 and someone actually came and picked it up. Afterwards I didn't know if I should jump up and down because we had sold it and were now $50 richer, or if I should give them a call and blame it on Michael. I decided on the first one and never looked back. Except right now. I digress...
 We painted our homemade bed frame black (when I was still wanting everything to match) and moved it and the headboard inside. After reupholstering the headboard from solid grey to Braemore Gazebo Cloud (after seeing the fabric here and falling in love), we did some rearranging to accommodate Noah and finally settled on how it is now. 
 It is still a work-in-progress, but I like the direction it is taking. Looking back, I wish I would have gone thrifting and found a great, unique dresser instead of the black. It's a nice dresser, but it doesn't really go with our room that well. The radio has been in my mom's family for awhile so I knew I didn't want to just stick it out in the garage. I'm really drawn to it so I found a place for it under our wedding pictures. It currently displays Michael's humidor and my jewelry. A nice symbol of his and hers, if you ask me. 

The rug is from Ikea and although it isn't quite the right size, it pulls out the grey in the headboard for now and softens the room up just a bit. The walls look different in the "before" and "after" pictures, but it is just the lighting. The color is Silvermist from Sherwin Williams and it is crazy how different it looks sometimes.

What's left to do?
*Something above the bed (sunburst mirror? Frames in a 2X2 or 4X4 row?)
*A bigger rug that adds more color
*a King size bed for this taller-than-average couple with a new frame
*iron the bedskirt (oops!)
*A new white duvet cover that is actually WHITE
*Decorative pillows (Michael's so excited)
*Possibly different dresser?
*Small his and hers side tables (something at least for our phones/a book/ipad, etc)

The bathroom has come a long way, too. It was green when we first moved in and I knew that had to be changed. It just wasn't me. I chose Sea Salt from Sherwin Williams and although I thought it would be more grey, I really like how it turned out. I wasn't sure what to do with the large, blank wall over the tub, but my MIL had given me a pretty canvas from Ikea and it fit perfectly in the space, tying in the dark sink cabinet and adding a nice feel to the bathroom. 
 I really enjoy being in our room. It feels relaxing and just the right balance- not overly girly, but not too masculine either. Because we don't put things on credit and pay cash for everything, and because I didn't follow my original plan of marrying a 90-year-old millionaire (yep, it was discussed with friends in 10th grade), our house truly is a work-in-progress. I save up, hunt for a good deal and take time to find things I really like, and then slowly add them to the room. As impatient a person I am, I actually enjoy slowly creating a room. And the thrill of a deal (thanks, Mamaw!) just makes the hunt even more fun! Michael jokes with me and tells everyone that I don't buy anything that is over $19.99. While it's not true all the time, I do have to feel really good about something before I buy it. I think he should be thankful for that! 

Some other recent house updates include finally painting the hallway bathroom and a growth chart for Noah as seen on Cape27 blog. The rest of the house feels like it is finally nearing completion, but I'm just still stuck on the living room/dining room combo. I went with really neutral colors and I just can't seem to find the direction I want to go with. One minute it's modern and bright, and the next it's more rustic and mature. And then the next minute I want to buy everything in Anthropologie's house & home collection. Pinterest doesn't help either, because I see so many different ideas and I just don't have a big enough "house canvas" for all of it - a very good thing! 

Hope you enjoyed this "before & after". I've got more to come, but if you're curious about any of the rest of our house check out these posts:

Living Room/Dining Room
Noah's Nursery

Top 10 Baby Must-Haves

Feb 14, 2013

1. Aden & Anais Swaddling Cloths: These are A-MAZING! I use them not only to swaddle him sometimes, but I've also used them as nursing covers, blankets, and burp cloths. The muslin material is so soft and gets softer with use. These were suggested and gifted by a family member and I LOVE them! 

2. Boppy Pillow: This has come in handy in so many ways. I not only use it to nurse Noah at home, but he also reclines in it during the day some so he isn't flat on his back. I was given one and my mom sewed a cover for it. I highly recommend it!

3. Vulli Sophie the Giraffe: At first, Noah wasn't really able to have anything to do with her. Now that he's developing and growing more, he's able to grab onto her legs and loves chewing on her. Because she's so light he's able to use his arms to figure out how to push her towards his mouth. She also squeaks which he smiles at every time! She comes with us everywhere now and is a great alternative to his pacifier.

4. Munchkin Wipe Warmer: I originally didn't register for this and thought it wouldn't be necessary. How I quickly changed my mind! Especially as a newborn, Noah would cry every time I got a cold wipe out and used it on him. I didn't blame him, I wouldn't want something cold on my nether-regions either! First world problems, huh?

5. Britax B-Agile Travel System with B-Safe Infant Carrier: Okay, can I just say I am in love with this system? It took me forever to pick out the right stroller and car seat for us, but I am SO pleased with this. I really like the neutral Sandstone color, the infant carrier and base are a BREEZE to deal with, the infant carseat has very high safety rating (5-point harness and great durability), and the stroller is lightweight and so easy to open and close. I can't say enough good things about this. The carseat goes from base to stroller with one easy click and the stroller is awesome when Noah eventually transitions out of the infant carseat. I could not be happier with it!

6. Cozy Cover: I got mine at a kids consignment sale and it was SO worth it! Especially since Noah was born in the middle of winter, it has come in handy on those cold, windy days and kept him warm from the house to the car to the store and back. Another added bonus during the "sick season" is that it prevents Noah from being so "open" to others touching his cute little face body. 

7. Nuk Advanced Orthodontics Pacifier: I didn't give Noah a pacifier until he was 3.5 weeks old. I really wanted to make sure we had breastfeeding down pat and didn't want to mess with his latch. He was a great nurser from the get-go though but very picky about his pacifiers. We tried several and these were the only ones that he really would take.

8. Kiddopotamus & Co. Infant Swaddler: We swaddled Noah from day one and even with lots of practice, I'm not that great with a regular blanket. He always seemed to "break free" during the night and wake himself up. After I found this in the box of items from the baby shower and began using it, I loved it. It is so easy to use, there are slits in the back for air flow, and it keeps him really warm at night. The few nights we've gone without recently are the ones where he's been up multiple times. Swaddling is the way to go for us! 

9. Unrefined Organic Virgin Coconut Oil: We use mostly natural and organic products in our home so I was really excited when I found all the uses for coconut oil! We use this for almost everything skin-related with Noah. It has natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and works wonders! We use it as a moisturizer when he gets out of the bath and it leaves his skin so soft and smelling wonderful. We use it on what tiny little diaper rash he has had and it has disappeared within a diaper change or two. We also used it on his skin when he was going through newborn rash and it helped tremendously. 
 Dr. Bronner's Lavender Castille Soap: Originally we started out using Burt's Bees Baby Wash, but when Noah got the newborn rash on his face and chest I decided to try this Castille Soap. In my opinion it is a lot purer and chemical-free than any other soap we've tried and is gentle enough for even baby's skin and hair. It doesn't leave his skin dry and the lavender scent is great for before bedtime. Michael and I both use this as well as their Peppermint scent (I wouldn't recommend the Peppermint for baby because it is a lot stronger than the lavender or unscented kind and might dry out their skin).

10. Baby K'Tan Carrier: I absolutely love my K'Tan. This was also suggested by the same family member who loves hers and used it a ton. I originally got the wrong size and thankfully was able to exchange it for the right one. As a big believer in many aspects of attachment parenting, babywearing is really important to me. It allows me to have bonding time with Noah and provide him a safe place whether I'm home and hands-free, or out in town. I do use the stroller for occasions when I'm going to be a bit longer, but wearing Noah gives him needed closeness and security. The only thing I haven't been able to do that some other moms seem to be able to is nursing. Noah is 2.5 months now and he's definitely not tiny anymore. That combined with the fact that my boobs are in no way small doesn't leave us much room. But it is so easy to take him in and out, or lower one shoulder for easy nursing access. HERE is a video with more information- this is the position I carry Noah in the most for his age.

Well, there you have it. Our TOP 10 most-used baby items for Noah. Michael and I both love all of these and highly recommend them! What are some of your favorite baby must-haves?

Noah's Birth Story: Part One

Feb 13, 2013

This story has been a work in progress, unlike my other posts which are usually produced in one sitting between sips of lemonade and silly Facebook checks. And now, instead of writing between sips, I get to write between nursing sessions, diaper changes, and most importantly warm cuddles with our sweet baby. 

I will warn you that I'm not holding back on too many details, so consider yourself warned of all things related to labor and pushing a child out of the netherregions. 

My pregnancy with Noah was, for the most part, wonderful. I had my share of nausea the first trimester and some back pain and about a hundred nightly trips to the bathroom during the third trimester. Overall, though, my pregnancy was uncomplicated and I look back and am thankful everyday for a truly enjoyable nine months. No group B, no gestational diabetes, and I gained a normal amount of weight for my height, only about 27 pounds. 

We chose to receive care with the Vanderbilt Midwives, as explained here. I wrote out a very detailed birth plan, describing the type of labor and birth experience I wanted and was very specific with the type of care that I wanted for Noah and myself, all very in line with the midwives' standard care. 

My main goal was a healthy baby and mama, but above that I wanted a drug and intervention-free labor for many reasons. Part of intervention-free meant that I would not be induced and that my body would have the chance to go into labor on its own. I wouldn't be induced until 42 weeks, Noah's last chance to make his appearance. 

November 17th was his due date, and it came and went without any signs of labor. By that point I was still feeling very good, but our excitement and anticipation to meet our baby meant that I was uber-aware of every single cramp, pain, twinge- you name it, I noticed. At my appointment that week my midwife checked me and I was 60% effaced, but only 1cm dilated. I had been having Braxton-Hicks for about two months, but had no clue if that was what an actual contraction felt like. A lot of family and friends had guessed a date for his arrival and I was getting discouraged as each passing day proved someone else wrong. Both of our moms were waiting for THE phone call that would start their 8 hour trip to Nashville. Thanksgiving was spent with my uncle and his family and we came home and decorated the tree..and we waited. 

The Saturday before Noah's birth I was having more frequent practice contractions but they were nothing that signaled "this is it" in my mind. I was so annoyed and told Michael I couldn't stand to sit at home another second. He agreed to take me to the mall and walk around with me in hopes of starting something...anything. We did a lap and then decided to see Skyfall at the theater. I had some pretty intense tightness in my belly when we were ordering popcorn, but sitting down during the movie made them go away. Funny, what stands out in my mind about the movie was that the older man in front of me looked like Santa and it smelled like he took a bath in his cologne. It made me so nauseous. After another half-lap after the movie I was done and we called it quits and went home. I had an "I give up" attitude on Sunday and tried to relax.

My next appointment was on Monday, the 26th, at 9:30am and I was 41 weeks and two days. My midwife and I agreed that if labor hadn't started by then that she would do a membrane sweep and see if it could get things going. I also had a Non-stress test done to check on Noah. After being hooked up to the machine, we noticed I was having contractions every ten minutes or so, but I wasn't really feeling them. Noah's heart rate was responding slightly below what she wanted to see so after the appointment we were sent over for an ultrasound to check fluid levels. Before I left, she checked me and I was almost all the way effaced and 3cm. I'll admit I was so discouraged...only three?? She swept my membranes after the cervical check and wow- it was SO painful. I began some bleeding right away and was very uncomfortable just minutes after she was done. I began experiencing intense menstrual-like cramps. Because I was nearing 42 weeks, we went ahead and set an induction date for the morning of Saturday, December 1st, just in case.

The ultrasound went well and gave them no reason for concern. During the appointment with the midwife, she gave us the recipe for their castor oil concoction and suggested that if I wanted to try it, to try it either later that day or the night before induction as a last resort to get labor started on its own. Well, if you know me, I chose THAT DAY. We had planned to finish up some shopping after the appointment and walk some more, but the uncomfortableness from the sweep turned into contractions - the type that left me thinking, "So THIS is what they feel like!" and I told Michael we needed to head home (an hour drive).

From then on, I began timing the contractions and they were about 7 or 8 minutes apart, uncomfortable, and lasting about 30 seconds. We got home around 1pm and all I wanted to do was get in the bathtub. At this point, I remember wondering if this was really it because they weren't consistently 5 or 6 minutes apart. They'd go from 6 apart to 10 apart and then to 5. I was so confused that I just stopped counting. Michael had gone into town and bought the castor oil concoction ingredients and I tried my best to gulp it down. Turns out, he put a full serving of the champagne, but didn't read the rest of the directions and only put in 1/4 of everything else, including the castor oil. By the time we figured this out, I could not imagine drinking anymore. It tasted like I had literally melted lipstick and was trying to drink it. I told Michael he should probably take a nap just in case this turns into something and we have to head to the hospital. 

Over the next few hours I was in and out of a warm bath and used the exercise ball to move my hips around. The contractions were still coming, now at about 5 to 6 minutes apart. I'm not sure what I was thinking at this point. I called the midwives to let them know and the midwife I talked to said, "When you feel ready to come, come. And you'll know when it's time...we'll see you soon". This is when it finally hit me- I was in labor! Michael was sleeping so I decided to try to lay down. I had a timer app on my iPad and would hit "start" and "stop" as each contraction woke me up again. They were lasting longer, about a minute, and about 4.5 to 5 minutes apart. After an hour of this, around 6:30pm, I was unable to fall back asleep during contractions. In fact, they became so painful SO fast that I remember thinking, "THIS is what she meant by knowing!".

 As I stood up my legs felt weak and each contractions sent me bending forward and needing to lean against something. It had escalated very quickly! I also felt a lot of pressure, but my water had yet to break. I made my way to our bedroom and woke Michael up. "Babe, I think we need to go to the hospital. It really hurts.." I told him in tears what I was feeling and he looked at the timer and saw how close together they were and how long they were lasting. He was pretty adamant that we leave. I wanted to give it about twenty more minutes just to make sure. "Make sure of what?" he asked. "We need to leave.". I called my mom to let her know that this was IT, and I guess I sounded calm enough that she wasn't sure it was the real deal. She told me to call her if I got to the hospital and they told me it was labor. I agreed, hung up, and told Michael her response.  At this point I was doubling over with each contraction and could not even talk. I guess I needed someone to look me in the eye and just tell me how it was. And that's what Michael did. He insisted that we leave and I was in so much pain at that point that I agreed. I think I was in shock that the pain was SO bad SO fast. Just 30 minutes ago I was on the couch sleeping!

Just getting into the car was painful. I remember it was dark out and raining. I was freezing. I kept thinking "just breathe" as the pain came. I attempted to call the hospital's emergency line and let them know we were on our way, but for some reason could not get through. I remember being so irritated at this and told Michael, "How do they expect you to call with an emergency if you can't get through their emergency line!". We had a 45 minute drive to the hospital and the contractions were coming so fast that I honestly wondered if I would make to the hospital.  The pressure got worse and the contractions were about three minutes apart and lasting a minute or longer. There was so much pressure and it felt like his head was coming out with each wave. It's funny, I remember thinking, "Please don't let my water break on these seats!"

 I called my mom on the way and asked her to please leave because I knew this was it and asked her to call Michael's mom because they were riding down together and needed to leave NOW. I had to hang up because the pain was so bad and could barely talk to my sister when she called to tell me, "You can do this!". I began to breathe so hard that my arms felt numb and my fingers stiff.

After what seemed like forever, we finally made it to the hospital at 7:45pm. The entire car ride felt like one big contraction. I honestly was not feeling the "breaks" between them, just a constant pain and pressure. In my grand scheme, I had planned to walk up to the 4th floor of L&D after we parked. At this point, I KNEW I could not walk. Michael parked in front of the ER and as soon as I got out of the car another wave hit me and my knees went weak. They got a wheelchair for me and all the while I'm moaning in pain. I told the nurse who took my information about my arms and she said I had probably hyperventilated from breathing so hard. She called the midwives and I ended up having to wait in a wheelchair for about fifteen minutes in a room FULL of ER patients, moaning and grunting through the pain. Michael was so supportive and answered all the questions he could for me. 

During our birth class while we were focusing on light touch and massage, I knew that's what I would want. However, Michael tried to work on my neck and head while waiting to go up and it was SO uncomfortable to be touched. I was surprised that what I thought would calm me was actually agitating. Finally, someone came and took us up to L&D. I was literally leaning to one side because of the pain and pressure. Every bump made things more uncomfortable. Another man in the elevator reeked of cigarette smoke and it made me so sick. I remember wanting to yell at him and ask him if he realized how bad he smelled, but I refrained. I was sure that once I arrived and was checked, Noah would be on his way out!

Once on L&D I was taken to a triage room to be assessed. It was hard to get out of the wheelchair and onto the bed. It hurt to move my hips to turn on my side and it hurt to get up and use the bathroom. I was crying off and on and moaning and breathing through each contraction. I took my clothes off, put a hospital gown on, and they hooked me up to the monitor temporarily to get the information they needed.

Even though the pain was the most intense I had ever felt, I wasn't too scared. I actually had amazing clarity and focus, knowing that I could do this and praying for peace. For awhile I wondered if I could really do this without pain medication, but even though the pain was getting worse, I knew deep down that I could do it.  Michael was amazing. He was so attentive, reminding me to breathe and telling me, "You can do this, got this, babe".

 I wasn't sure which midwife I would get because it all depended on who was on call. It turns out that my primary midwife, Lori, just happened to be on call and walked in the door a few minutes after I got on the bed. Noah's heartrate was still good, but I was only 4cm. I immediately started asking questions. "Are you serious? How could I only be 4cm after all of this pain? How in the world am I going to get to 10 if my contractions are already only 2 minutes apart?" 


Feb 12, 2013

I haven't blogged in awhile, but this time it wasn't because of putting it off!  My computer charger broke so I had to deal with a dead laptop until this past weekend. I'm back and raring to write! 

Also, for those of you who read regularly, I'm sure you've noticed the recent changes to my blog design. I can't seem to stay satisfied with a particular look. First I want bright, bold colors then I'm drawn to simple and light. Don't get too attached to this current one! The more I learn about html and blogger, the more it will evolve into something that may eventually be "me". 

Pertaining to content, I'd really like to be more specific in my posts. I have a wide variety of things I'd love to write about-  thoughts from a new mommy, spirituality, natural living. Sometimes I feel like some of my posts are pointless, some are fun and serve as little updates on our life, while others really convey what's weighing on my heart. And I'm okay having a balance of what's on the surface and what's down deeper. I'll get there, eventually.

This past weekend M's parents came for a visit and we really enjoyed having them. Usually we head to Nashville, but this weekend we spent around the house working outside, loving on Noah, and just hanging out. Like always, we headed to Ace Diner for our traditional breakfast before they left to go home.
We spent the rest of our Sunday in Nashville and Franklin with a stop at REI and finishing up with dinner at Carrabbas. I'm a sucker for Italian!


The rest of this month is going to be crazy and I'm REALLY looking forward to it! This week Michael has some travel overnight for work in Alabama and Noah and I are going to join him! Then next weekend we will be meeting my parents, sister, and some aunts and uncles for a few days in Pigeon Forge. We rent a cabin almost every year and relax in the beautiful mountains. My friend Grace will be coming back home with us to spend the week and I'm really looking forward to spending time with her. The following weekend we will be going back to Virginia and I will stay with my parents while Michael has training in Knoxville. He'll be back the following Wednesday and we'll spend the rest of the weekend together in Virginia with our family. It will be a nice break from some monotonous days at home! 

As I mentioned above, I have officially reopened and revamped my Etsy Shop! Introducing....
Head on over and check it out! I'm hoping to visit some bead shops soon and get some new supplies to make some beautiful pieces. Keep checking back for new pieces!

My goodness, how my heart melts when I see Michael and Noah together. Especially when Michael gets home from work. We greet him at the door and Noah gives him the biggest grin. He knows his daddy and loves him!
That's it for today! Have a great Tuesday!