Look who’s 2 months! He actually turned 2 months a week ago, but I wanted to get the stats from his doctor visit.
This little chunker is now 13lbs 2oz and 23″ tall. He jumped up from the 40% to the 70% for weight in the last month so he may not be a monster baby yet, but he’s working on it!
We’re just starting to get “real” smiles out of Wesley which I gotta admit is pretty damn cool. He’s more and more alert, making eye contact, and usually sleeping about 5 hours at night. Basically he’s a pretty darn good baby–he even survived his 2 month vaccinations like a champ!
And now for your monthly rant:
I’m not a crazed feminist by any means. Quite frankly I believe there are differences between the sexes, but “different” doesn’t mean “superior.” For either gender. I recognize there are common preferences that may be used for targeted marketing (ex. a lot of little girls do like pink), but I am sick to death of overly stereotypical advertising. This means that nothing brings out my feminist side quite like looking at baby gear.
Men Are Not Idiots
At least, they’re no more likely to be idiots than women. A lot of baby commercials portray men as completely incompetent. I even have seen onsies with the head/arm/leg holes labeled and “Dad, you’ve got this” printed in the center. This sort of thing makes me feel downright twitchy. It’s not cool to assume women can’t use power tools, or code, or be athletic, and it just as not cool to assume that men handle babies (or cook, or sew, etc). In fact, dads can be pretty badass.
There’s More to Life Than Gray
Whenever I would look at baby clothes and sort them by “gender neutral” everything would be gray. Gray with sheep. Seriously? There are lots of gender neutral color and pattern options, how did it get limited to gray? And apparently sheep are the only “neutral” animal? If you’re trying to find gender neutral options, your best bet it to search under “boy” because that usually seems to mean “not pink or floral”
Which brings me to….
Gender is Not a Color
I was searching Amazon for pacifiers the other day and rather than list the colors as “blue/green” and “pink/purple” they would be listed as “boy colors” and “girl colors.” There was even a set that had a fox on a blue background and a raccoon on a tan background that was labeled as “boy colors.” Is it that hard to label things by color or pattern and leave gender out of it? Maybe your little girl likes cars. Maybe your little boy likes pink. These things don’t have to be gender specific. I have to give a shoutout to Primary because a while back I saw an advertisement of theirs that said pink wasn’t just for girls and showed a bunch of adorable little boys rockin’ some pink.
That all being said, I don’t think children need all gender neutral clothes and gear. We definitely dress Wesley in a slightly more “boyish” style and if we had had a girl I would have fully embraced pink and ruffles. I still wanted a gender neutral base wardrobe and accessories/gear though so if we have a second kid we’ll have plenty of things to reuse.
We’ve slowly been attempting to make our backyard look less like a junk heap. We’ve already demo-ed the weird lean-to/shed thing, destroyed a decaying garden bed, and seeded new grass. After a fairly windy storm we had to stabilize our elderly fence before it collapsed and took out a pedestrian. Even with the extra support in place we still planned on completely replacing it ASAP.
We figured the perfect time to get it done was while we were out on leave. We had no intention of DIYing this one*, so it wouldn’t be added work on our end but we could still be on hand for the contractors if anything came up. Last Thursday a team of two guys showed up, knocked the old fence down, and hauled the poor decrepit bits off to rot in piece. They also set the new posts then left for the day so the cement could set.
We sort of assumed they’d be back the next day since they didn’t actually tell us when they left and when they’d be back. By mid-day on Friday they hadn’t shown up so Matt called the company to see what the actual plan was.
Monday. They would come back Monday. This was perfectly fine, I just wish we were kept in the loop. We’ve had this same issue with other contractors too. I realize some of the work we’ve had done is weather-dependent, but I’d still appreciate a ballpark estimate. We actually gave up on a mason because we had gone back and forth for a couple months and he refused to give us any idea of when he would actually be free to do the work. For the fence it would have been really nice to know X was expected to be completed on day 1, but then the cement needed time to set so they’d be back 2-3 days later to do Y. I feel a little bad when we have to call to ask about a time frame because we aren’t actually trying to rush them, we just want to know what the plan is.
On Monday the men were back to install the the privacy part of the fence. The battens went up, the support posts were cut to height, and the gate at side of the fence was installed.
YAY! We have a fence that actually looks nice! If we didn’t live on a busy-ish street we probably would have demoed the old one ages ago. The privacy (and mild sound-blocking) the fence provided against the traffic was really nice though. Having a kid put us on a timeline for a full replacement since having a sturdily-fenced backyard by the time Wesley was mobile was non-negotiable.
We also decided to keep the chunk of chain link fence that runs right through our giant lilacs (at the back of the yard). The lilacs probably would have gotten damaged (at the very least, severely pruned) if we removed it and a new fence would have either smashed up against them on on side or hidden them from our view. The chain link is pretty well camouflaged by the bush though so it’s not a big deal.
A cedar privacy fence was considerably more than we expected, but we suspect that due to the amount of lumber involved. Our fence was 60′ long and 7′ high and cost just under $4k. Ouch, but like I said, necessary. If you’re feeling ambitious, Vintage Revivals just DIY’ed a similar sized fence for around $800!
*Given the whole pregnancy/birth-recovery/adjusting-to-an-infant thing which was pretty much our entire summer plan.
Ok, not all that laborious, but Matt did go on a small project rampage on Monday. I think he was trying to get some stuff out of the way because he was going to be stuck on double babysitting duty on Tuesday. I has a sedation dentist appointment and basically wasn’t allowed to function* for the entire day so not only did he need to solo-parent Wesley, he also needed to babysit me. Luckily I survived** despite a nasty fear of the dentist*** and we’re back to tag-teaming projects.
Now that I’m no longer pregnant (wheeee!) I’ve been able to get back to work refinishing the upstairs doors. We tackled the nursery door first since it needed a little extra repair work. Matt stripped off the golden-oak stain and I re-stained and painted it.**** By Monday we were able to put it back up. Matt also replaced the mortise lock and switched out the black porcelain knobs with the glass knobs I ordered like, a year ago.
It’s also worth mentioning that the light switch cover in the hallway has seriously been off for at least a year. #safetyFirst
Our Winchester Door has also been sitting around with a gaping hole where the door knob should be. Sure, the door can’t actually open, but I can’t remove it and drywall because I don’t have a good way to replace the baseboard. Solution: embrace it’s complete and utter doorness. I wasn’t thinking about this door when ordered the knobs, so I didn’t have another glass one to use here. We did, however, have this gorgeous embossed metal knob from the decaying cellar door in the basement. Honestly, the embossed knobs are my favorite, but I thought the glass knobs would look better against the dark wood of the upstairs doors.
The final update seems really minor, but I smile every time I see it. The toilet handle in our downstairs bathroom has been acting wonky, so Matt decided to replace it. Knowing me as well as he does, he chose the fancy porcelain handle option. It matches the faucet handles and as I said, it makes me kind of stupidly happy,
Even though I posted the Master Bedroom Plan, part of me wants to tackle our downstairs Micro-Bath before I head back to work. It’s such a tiny room that it would actually be doable, but I know Matt wants to finish up the doors first. I may be a little ADD when it comes to projects so it’s probably a good thing he’s here to keep me in line.
*No driving, no attempting stairs, no being left unsupervised with small children, etc
**It actually went pretty well… although I remembered more than I expected too. I also still panicked when confronted with needles which the dentist was apparently a little surprised by (although I did warn him that I can panic my way through nearly anything). Luckily I did not get belligerent with Matt, which is what I tend to do if someone is trying to coddle me.
***Step 1 in dealing with a dental phobia: find a dentist who’s not a condescending asshole. This is surprisingly difficult.
****My original plan was to stain both sides, but Matt liked the doors better white on the inside and marriage is about compromise.
This is probably super optimistic since we now have a demanding baby in our household, but our next project room is going to be the master bedroom. This room is way overdue for some TLC since we’ve done nothing to it since we moved it. Heck, Matt just fixed the closet door so it actually stays closed!
There are a couple reasons I chose to tackle the bedroom next. Part if it is because we now have a kiddo (whose toys will gradually start taking over the house) it will be nice to have an adult retreat space. I’ve also been spending more time in this room lately and it’s really hit me just how blah the space is.
Yaaaaawn. Also, please pardon the mess. I didn’t even get a nap in today and had no motivation to style a Before shot.
So what’s the plan?
Thankfully this room only needs cosmetic work so the bulk of the work will be painting. We also need to replace our mattress so we’ll be upgrading to a queen sized bed (and actual bed frame). I also want the headboard to really be a focal point of the room and the entire wall behind it will be painted a bold accent color. After that it’s a matter of replacing pretty much all our existing furniture and getting a rug that’s the proper size for the space.
Not gonna lie, but this makeover will probably take a while. I’ll hoping we can at least make a start on the painting while Matt and I are still out on leave. We’ll see since we’ve got a couple other (smaller) projects we’re trying to finish up too.
Our little peanut is 1 month old! Wesley is now 9lbs 12oz and 21″ long. He’s keeping his eyes open longer and starting to focus on faces. He’s discovered his fingers and I’ve already caught him sucking his thumb. Unfortunately, he’s also learned how to wail, but luckily he tends to calm down as soon as he’s cuddled.
Most people include likes and dislikes with monthly updates, but at this point he likes food, napping on mommy or daddy, and farting. He dislikes having to wait for food and being poopy. There’s not much excitement in being 1 month old…
If you’ve been reading at all about having a baby, you’ve probably also read that breastfeeding is Hard. I’m here to tell you it’s not hard, it’s stupidly frustrating and seemingly impossible at times! If anyone tells you that their baby had a perfect latch from day one and was always full and happy, you have my permission to punch her in the boob.*
Breastfeeding has been hands-down the hardest and most stressful part of having an infant around. It didn’t help matters that Wesley was an early baby either. Even though he was technically fully developed, it’s apparently pretty common for early babies to respond more like premies when it comes to feeding. Pretty much he would go to latch and immediately fall asleep without actually eating anything. It’s even more frustrating in the first few days before your milk comes in and we ended up having to supplement with donor breast milk while we were in the hospital.
Even once we got back home and my milk came in, it never seemed like there was enough to keep Wesley satisfied. It’s been a rough journey, but if you’re struggling too know that you are not alone! Talk to your mom friends, find a lactation consultant, and/or find a breastfeeding support group. Here are some things that helped me, but be sure to check with your pediatrician or lactation consultant since I am obviously not a doctor.**
Drink Drink Drink
Water that is. Hydrating the heck out of yourself is one of the best ways to ramp up milk production. Having a partner who will constantly refill your water cup throughout the day is incredibly helpful since it’s easy to get distracted and forget on your own (guilty).
Pump Pump Pump!
Breast milk production is a supply and demand situation so you can try and trick your body into making more. I tend to pump after Wesley nurses because he can’t seem to get everything on his own. Matt and I also split the night shift so I make sure to pump right before I go to bed so Matt has a bottle ready for the next feeding (letting me sleep through one!). You may also have a little one that just cannot seem to latch and it may be easier to pump and bottle feed. You do you mama!
The lactation consultant in the hospital recommended Go-Lacta (Malungay). My endless internet quest for boosting milk supply mostly turned up recommendations for Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle. Our pediatrician recommended all of the above. Lots of people also recommended Mother’s Milk tea, but the flavors (anise) aren’t my thing so I prefer taking capsule supplements.
Yes, cookies! Or whatever baked goods you desire. There are tons of recipes out there for lactation cookies/breads/smoothies. What they all have in common in Brewers Yeast and Flax Meal so if you’re baking savvy you can probably modify an existing favorite recipe. Other food recommendations for boosting milk production include oatmeal, red Gatorade (?), and Starbucks “Pink Drink” (???).
This is the recipe I used for oatmeal cookies. You can totally switch around the “mix ins” for your own personal taste too. Not a fan of coconut? Skip it. Feel like nuts? Add ’em! You could also swap out the chocolate chips for a dried fruit (raisins/craisins/blue berries).
Don’t be afraid to supplement
Even doing all of the above we still have to supplement with formula. We decided the most important thing was to make sure our little guy was getting enough food. Anytime we supplement with formula I also make sure to pump and we give him any pumped milk the same day since there is a risk with supplementing that your milk supply will go down.
Our pediatrician (who is also a lactation consultant) is 100% on board with what we’re doing. Every bit of breast milk your baby gets is great and moms need to take care of themselves too (rather than wear themselves down stressing about about milk production). If you see magic promises of freezers full of breast milk on Pinterest, take them with a grain of salt. These things can help, but they may not be a magic instant fix.
Just remember, the most important thing is feeding your baby, so even if breastfeeding doesn’t work out for you at all, it’s ok, you are not a failure! As long as your baby is getting the necessary calories and checking out fine with the pediatrician, you’re doing great!
*Ok, not really, moms need to support other moms. If you’re one of the stupidly luckily mamas who had zero issues with breastfeeding, yay for you! Just be aware that your fellow mamas may be struggling and may also be close to (or well past) tears.
**Matt really likes to tell people “Trust me, I’m a doctor.” And while he does indeed have a doctorate, no one in their right mind trusts lawyers 🙂
I opted for a colorful ceiling and muted walls partly because of the ceiling fan, and partly because I figured there would be more busy-ness happening on the walls and floor and didn’t want too much color competition.
Oh, and if you’re wondering if that is a TARDIS blanket on the chair, yes, yes it is!
I also wanted something fun and whimsical, without being overly baby-ish. The animal portraits are by Yago Partel and actually from a calendar I picked up a few years ago. I fell in love with the mobile from Haba because it was bright and stimulating for baby, but still pretty artsy.
The chifferobe was apparently built by my great-grandfather and has actually managed to stay in use over the years. I re-painted it, but still feel like it’s missing a little something.
I didn’t want a specific changing table in the room, but I did want a changing station. We picked up the cubby organizer from Target and added a bit more structure by screwing on an MDF backing. I absolutely love the animal bins and they’re great for stashing towels, blankets, and small loose toys. All the diapering supplies are on a rolling cart, perfect when mom’s a righty and dad’s a lefty.
Things that still need doing:
Install a real closet door
Refinish the main bedroom door
Hem the curtains
I’d really like to move the alphabet wall down a smidge (it’s a little too high and driving me bonkers) but that would be a significant undertaking (and Matt will probably kill me for even thinking about it)
There’s actually not too much left given that we unexpectedly lost about 3 weeks of work time thanks to this kiddo arriving early. Now that we have a newborn around, it may be some time before the room is 100% done, but it’s mostly there and fully functional so it seemed like a good time to show it off!
Hey look, it’s Wesley’s due date today! Little dude is about 2 1/2 weeks old! He was back to his birth weight within a week and was over 8lbs as of Tuesday. His newborn clothes are already getting snug! Kiddo also survived his first bath… actually he fell asleep in the bath so my mom is convinced he didn’t actually pick up any genes from our side of the family.
I’ve been busy recovering so not much has been happening on the home improvement front (although I just starting working on the final nursery project!). Plenty has been happening on the postpartum and baby front though, so if that’s not your jam go ahead an skip the rest of the post.
The following aren’t all exactly “hacks,” but just some suggestions for new moms that I think would be helpful.
We didn’t get a chance to do this since the kiddo surprised us early. I ended up sending Matt out on a Target run the day we got back from the hospital. If you can I would make sure you have plenty of the following items:
Easy meals/freezer meals
Dish soap/dishwasher detergent/hand soap/laundry detergent (free and clear or baby specific)
Batteries, if you have any baby gear that uses them
Also make sure you have:
Hands-free pumping bra
Full coverage undies (fear no granny panty! especially if there’s a chance you may have a c-section because lower-cut waistbands may hit your stitches)
Nipple pads (personally I prefer the reusable bamboo ones)
Maxi pads (if you don’t buy these ahead of time suddenly you’re sending your husband off on his own to the feminine hygiene aisle and that’s just kind of cruel)
Stool softener (check with your health care provider about what is safe to take postpartum, especially if you’re breastfeeding. They’ll probably automatically give you something in the hospital, but you’ll want more once you get home… it’s one of those awesome post-delivery occurrences that people don’t tend to warn you about)
Baskets for All the Things
1. Bathroom baskets
Life after giving birth is…. messy to say the least and pretty uncomfortable for a while. Bathroom trips especially become An Event. Make it easier on yourself and stock a postpartum basket in any bathroom you use frequently. These are what I’ve found useful:
Super overnight maxi pads/regular maxi pads/panty liners depending on how far recovered you are. Some women really like adult diapers for the worst of it too.
I got a bottle of Dermoplast, a container of witch hazel pads, and a peri bottle from the hospital so if you’re a 1 bathroom house you probably won’t need to go out an get them. I did end up buying duplicates so I could have everything I needed in our second bathroom too.
I meant to pick up an inexpensive sitz bath but you can also just fill the tub with a few inches of water for the same results. My midwife recommended soaking both for pain relief and for helping the stitches dissolve. Personally I think it would be easier to be at chair height rather than haul myself in and out of the tub… but I also have a big deep claw foot so that’s a lot of hauling.*
2. Breastfeeding/Pumping baskets
If you’re breastfeeding you may also want a strategically placed feeding basket stashed on each level. If you’re pumping you may just want a way to corral all the parts.
Nipple** shield (if using)
First aid tape (if you’re using a nipple shield and have a flail-y baby, tape is a game changer)
3. Changing baskets
This is another one that probably only matters if you have a large or multi-floor house. We have a changing station setup on each floor–a permanent one in the nursery and a small basket downstairs with a changing pad, diapers, wipes, and diaper cream.
I saw these all over Pinterest and have long since decided that I have no pride, so why the hell not? Basically you just saturate a pad with aloe and witch hazel and pop it in the freezer. Bam! Soothing ice pack for your lady bits (because this is NOT a time when you want to be relying on the frozen peas… unless you really hate peas).
If you’re breastfeeding you’re going to want some nice, accessible shirts, and if you at all self-conscious or shy you’re going to want to stay as covered as possible. I saw this hack on the Pinterest and think it’s brilliant! If you don’t want to buy a ton of nursing specific tops you can pair these with some looser fitting shirts and just pull them up without baring your postpartum belly. I also LOVE this drapey shirt from amazon. It covers the bra straps and provides similar coverage to a nursing scarf.
Breast Pump Bag
I my breast pump was fully covered by insurance, but it didn’t come with a bag. No biggie, I can find a bag designed to fit it, right? Well, sure if I want to shell out $100 for one. Um, no. After some browsing I started looking at large lunch bags. I found one with dimensions to fit my pump + some extra space and picked up a mini cooler pouch too. This way I can stash my milk in the fridge at work but keep everything together as I tote it back and forth. An extra pocket on the lunch bag also works great for storing the small stuff. If you use a separate cooler pouch you don’t really need an insulated lunch bag, they just happen to be a good size, nicely structured, and cheap.
Some women seem to stock their pumping bags with everything under the sun. I have my pump, nipple pads, milk storage bags, and a hands free pumping bra. I figure I can stash other useful items, like a cardigan and snacks, in my desk rather than needing a huge bag to haul everything in. Heck, my purse is already big enough so I can (and have!) fit Harry Potter book 7 in it with all my other crap.
FYI: I have the Spectra S2 pump and after much searching I found this cooler (XL) and this mini pouch (XS) are just about perfect for it (although I do use storage bags instead of the bottles that came with the pump).
Layered Crib Sheets
Wesley is still sharing our room so we haven’t seen this in action yet, but it seems like a really good idea. When you make up the crib, put on a sheet, then a mattress protector, then another sheet, another mattress protector, and finally another sheet. If something unfortunate seeps out of your baby (especially in the middle of the night!) you just have to strip off the top 2 layers and you’re good to go! (our crib mattress already had a water proof layer which is why we started with a sheet instead of a mattress protector).
Related: make sure you have multiple covers for your changing pad. It’s probably not worth layering them, it’s just a good idea to have backups as babies tend to explode from both ends.
*True story: damn near got stuck in the bathtub while I was pregnant.
**I think I just set some sort of record for how many times I’ve used the word “nipple” in a post
Oh sorry, not OF the nursery, but FOR the Nursery (but I’m going to give you a sneak peak anyway).
Yup, our little dude decided to make an entrance a good 2 1/2 weeks ahead of schedule. It was incredibly unexpected to say the least, especially since my family does not do early babies. I was born 19 days late, in July, and my parents did not have central air so I was expecting some major karma coming back at me. Last Thursday on my personal Facebook page I even jokingly posted that I was 37 weeks so was ready for baby to make his appearance any day now so I could start deflating.
Well, he actually listened.
Meet Wesley, born July 10th, 2017 at 6:39am, 7lbs 12oz,* 20 inches.
Now, when I said I was ready for him, I lied. All day Sunday I was feeling a little run down and experiencing periodic contractions, which I just assumed were Braxton Hicks. Later in the afternoon they started to get a little more frequent so at 3:30 I started timing them assuming I’d end up just ruling them out as a false alarm. I also asked Matt to make some muffins so I’d have some breakfast before work on Monday. This was phase 1 of Denial.
So Matt’s busy baking and I’m busy assuming I’m just normal pregnancy tired and whoever Braxton Hicks contractions were named after was possibly the world’s biggest douche. I’m also messaging a friend of mine complaining about contractions and telling her not to get her hopes up because there was no way this kid was going to get here before August. Phase 2 of denial.
By around 5:30pm things are more painful, and Matt has started the timing app on his phone. They were still lasting a little longer and getting a bit more frequent. but still a bit irregular. I decided to hop in the tub and soak because that will relax me and make it all stop, right? Phase 3 of denial. While I’m in the tub Matt decides to run to the store quick and get snacks just in case we end up having to head to the hospital. When he gets back he starts packing hospital bags while I direct things from the bed because I am officially In Pain. Luckily he had installed the car seat on Saturday, mostly because he was looking for things to do.
Around 7pm my contractions were pretty much in the 4-1-1 territory (coming every 4 minutes, last about 1 minute, for an hour). I called the 24 hour midwife line for my clinic, fully expecting to be told that because my contractions weren’t exactly 4-1-1, I should just keep waiting. See that? Phase 4. The midwife on call, however, says to get thee the hospital and she’ll meet us there.
By 8pm I’m being checked out in triage. I’m totally having contractions and they’re steadily ramping up, but I’m fairly convinced I’m being a pansy and will be getting sent home. (Yup, we just hit phase 5 denial). Turns out I’m only 1cm dilated so I’m clearly going home, right? Wrong. They tell me to start walking and they’ll recheck me at 10.
Matt and I start doing laps around the maternity ward. Things hurt so we’re going slow. I’m still mostly Ok so I have my phone out and figure I’ll use this as an opportunity to walk my Magicarp in Pokemon Go. That last about 2 laps and then I’m really feeling some pain. Now we’re going a couple yards and I’m having to stop and lean against the wall as another contraction hits. By 9pm I can’t keep walking anymore and insist on going back to the triage room so I can lay down again. Denial is steadily fading.
At 10pm the midwife checks me again–4cm. She’s actually pretty impressed and announces that she’s admitting me. Bye-bye denial.
At this point things start getting fuzzy. My birth plan (plan A) was to avoid needles at all costs. I didn’t want an IV unless the doctors thought I was dying, and I didn’t want an epidural. I was going to see how things went and try a water birth + nitrous oxide. This wasn’t out of any specific desire to have a natural birth, I just have a hard core needle phobia. However, contractions have REALLY ramped up at this point and I’d been howling in pain for a while, so we busted out the nitrous oxide as soon as I’m settled in my room.
Guys, nitrous oxide as a pain reliever is a joke. It may have taken the edge off, but it was a razor edge and nothing more. I’m pretty rapidly realizing that I am a pansy and I want All The Drugs because I literally cannot cope. I figure the few minutes of stress I’ll feel from the needles will still be way better than feeling contractions like these for hours.
Sometime around midnight they call the anesthesiologist in. They were super accommodating with my request to lidocaine the hell out of my hand before sticking the IV in, and I survived. The nurse even completely covered my hand in bandages so I wouldn’t be able to see anything sticking out. After they’re satisfied with the amount of fluids I’ve gotten, the anesthesiologist comes back to stick a frickin needle in my spine. Not gonna lie, I was completely terrified at this point. Matt’s holding on to me while I’m curled up and I’m paranoid about moving and screwing something up…I’m also still feeling huge amounts of pain and keep screaming periodically. Matt’s thinking I’m only freaking out about the epidural at this point and keeps telling me there’s not even a needle near me yet. Yeah, but there are plenty of other reasons for me to be in pain.
Somewhere around 1:30-2 the epidural took effect and it was magical.
Finally I’m relaxed and the nurses just let me sleep while things progress. I’m periodically woken up to get moved around a little bit, but mostly I just got to relax. Around 4 they decided the epidural had slowed down my contractions a bit too much so they added pitocin to my IV. I’ve heard some baaaad stuff about pitocin, but my epidural was still going strong so there wasn’t a noticeable difference for me.
The pitocin did it’s job and a little after 5 it’s go time. The midwife and a couple nurses come in and essentially ask me if I know what I’m doing….um, no. Luckily it’s not that complicated at this point and I can feel my contractions just enough to know when they’re happening (but just some pressure and no actual pain), so I can tell when I’m supposed to push without the nurses having to tell me.
At 6:39am on Monday, July 10th, Wesley officially entered our lives. The nurses handed him to me right away and I called him “my little cone-head” because he was pretty pointy. He was also super quiet so the nurses immediately took him back to check him out more thoroughly. Thankfully everything was fine and he was apparently just a quiet baby. Let’s hope it lasts….
He’s been an absolute doll so far and things are going better than I expected. I’m feeling shockingly good and Wesley has passed every test they’ve thrown at him. Matt has also been an absolute rock star of a dad. Breast feeding is a struggle, but that’s apparently pretty standard, especially with early babies. We’re pushing on through and slowly making progress though.
The nursery isn’t quite done, but some projects are going to be on hold for a little bit. I figure I’ll do a “close enough” reveal soon though.
*Yup, 7lbs 12oz at 2 1/2 weeks early. If he had lasted until the 27th (or later!) he would have been a monster baby. I don’t think pushing him out would have been as easy, but he could have totally earned the nickname Wesley “The Crusher**”… now I’ll have wait and see if grows into it.
**You either get it or you don’t, and if you don’t I can’t help you and neither can Patrick Stewart.
A while back my sister if I asked me I wanted some furniture for the nursery. She had a changing table and chifferobe, both of which were ours when we were babies. The changing table was a little big for the room (and not really my style) but the chifferobe was really cute and I remembered growing up with it. I thought that was kind of cool too, to work in a piece of furniture that I had used as a baby/kid.
Later I was talking to my dad and he was mentioning how happy he was I was taking the chifferobe because his grandfather had made it for him. Whoa. I seriously never knew that and always just assumed it was something my parents picked up when they started having kids. I don’t know exactly why, but there is something kind of cool about being able to tell our son that he has furniture made by his great-great-grandfather.
The piece has obviously gone through several makeovers in its 60+ years. When I had it the frame was white with yellow drawers/door and white numbers painted on the drawers (maybe letters on the door? I don’t remember…). My sister re-painted when she took it for her kids’ nurseries and added vinyl numbers and letters.
Super cute, but the wrong colors for our space. And the A was totally there when I got it, I was just curious to see how easily the vinyl peeled off.
I decided to keep the frame white and did a quick touch up coat with (of course!) Benjamin Moore Advance (satin) in Simply White. Kids are tough on things and it just needed a little pick-me-up. I was really torn on what to do about the drawers and door, but eventually decided on green. I thought I had a good grasp on what shade I wanted, but, alas, it turned out a little too pastel-y
Guys, don’t do what I did. At $30 a quart, Advance is pretty pricey and I didn’t want to buy a new quart when I’m literally using about an 1/8th of it. I should have bought some cheap sample pots but was over-confident. I ended up going back to the store and asking them if they were able to re-tint it at all. If you ever need to do this, just be aware that there are limitations to how much they can do based on the pigments and the original base. I already knew that and just asked them to do what they could.
This was essentially the color progression as they experimented.
It’s better, but I have a feeling I may have some sort of color breakdown once the room is more put together and try yet another shade of green. I’m also debating if I want to add anything to the drawers or door.
We started with the baseboards. Once again I spent a while agonizing over trim pieces (since trying to duplicate 100 year old moulding with contemporary, mass-produced pieces is a bit of a pain). We had a little more leeway in this room since the upstairs was already a bit mis-matched so I decided to simplify things from when I did the dining room baseboards.
We really should have started with the plinths, but I was still painting them. You can buy fancier plinths at the hardware store, but the ones in the rest of our house are super-simple so I made them myself. I measured the width of the door casings, added about a 1/4″ (seriously, I just eyeballed it) and ripped some down. We had a scrap board of 10″ select pine so I used that since it would be plenty tall. Then I took my palm sander and rounded down all the edges and corners, primed and painted… and waited for them to dry.
While the plinths were being finished, we put up the 2 main parts of the base. We started with the bottom layer, went around the entire room, then added the top layer rather than fully finishing a wall at a time. My best advice for installing baseboards (or pretty much any trim) is to just tack it in place until you’re sure all the edges/corners line up well. If there’s an oopsie down the road it’s way easier to pull off and fix. Oh, and also start with your longest pieces first so if you cut them too short you can still re-use them elsewhere. We were able to leave the right amount of space for the plinths because I had extra one that was originally intended for backup but had a pretty nasty split in the wood.
Once the baseboards were up we were able to add in the plinths, followed by the vertical door casings. I was a little paranoid about installing them because my dad and I custom routed them and didn’t have any extra. Matt totally rocked it though! We went with a simple header cut from a 1×6 since that’s what’s in the 3rd bedroom.
SHAZAAM! We have door mouldings! (and a door that needs to be refinished, but that’s a project for another day)
After the doors, we moved onto the poor, naked windows.
Here we started with the sills, which sound intimidating, but they were really easy. First we figured out the depth of the other sills in our house and ripped a couple boards down to that measurement. Then we measured the depth of the window opening + the depth of the casing (A) and the width of the casing + 1/2″ (B). This gave up the dimensions of the cutouts we needed to make. The length of your board will be the window width + (B x 2).
I actually added a little more than a 1/2″ to the ends and cut it down after we dry-fit the sill. We used a jig saw to cut out the corners. It’s a pretty crappy jigsaw and we probably didn’t have the right blade for this this so my cuts were a little wonky. I also used my palm sander to slightly round off all the edges and corners.
All of this will get covered by the window trim pieces though so we’re ok!
After the sills were nailed down, we added the inside trim. We found a 3 1/4″ baseboard which was shockingly perfect. Yes, ok, there’s a bit of a gap in the middle, but our house isn’t square/level/standard in anyway so we’re used to these things.
I think it’s easiest to start from the top when you’re dealing with mitered cuts like these. You’ll know the top piece fits snugly and then you only have 1 mitered edge on the side pieces and shave off extra length with just a straight cut until those fit snugly too.
Next we added the vertical casings and the header. Thanks to our old house and wonky walls, there’s quite a bit of gap between the header. We’re going to add some wood filler and no one will ever be the wiser.
Finally we added sill base (there may be a technical term here, but I don’t know it….). Again, we just copied what was happening in the 3rd bedroom which was simpler than the trim in the rest of the house. Here we used a 1×4 cut to an 18 degree angle on the ends… I don’t know how they came up with 18 degrees, but it’s consistent with the other small bedroom.
And that’s the window! Lots of parts, but mostly easy cuts.
After all the trim was nailed up Matt went around and caulked everything.
I have to give a HUGE shout out to Matt for pretty much everything in this room. I may write the blog, but he’s been working so hard on and picking up my slack when I need a nap break. He’s really been the moulding (and painting, and ceiling fan) champ here and installed everything with pretty minimal help from me.