Nursery Reveal

nurseryReveal1

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.

MeetWesley

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.

Image result for captain picard facepalm

Save

Save

Nostalgia

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.

chifferobe1

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

chifferobe2

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.

chifferobe5

This was essentially the color progression as they experimented.

chifferobe3

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.

Save

Save

Save

All the Trimmings

We have walls, we have a light fixture, and we now have mouldings!

NurseryTrim11

Oh my god it’s finally like a real room.

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.

This time I settled on a 3 part baseboard instead of the 4 part plan I used before.  We picked up a 4″ baseboard, chair rail, and shoe molding.

NurseryMouldingDiagram

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.

NurseryTrim5

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.

NurseryTrim13

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.

NurseryTrim4

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).

SillTemplateI 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.

NurseryTrim3

NurseryTrim6

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.

NurseryTrim7

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.

NurseryTrim8

NurseryTrim9

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.

NurseryTrim15

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.

NurseryTrim12

And that’s the window!  Lots of parts, but mostly easy cuts.

nurseryTrim14

After all the trim was nailed up Matt went around and caulked everything.

CaulkAllTheThings
Original image via Hyperbole and a Half

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.

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Slice of Life: Memorial Day Division

We had a bunch of family in town for my baby shower on Saturday and Matt’s mom was staying with us.  Sunday morning they decided to head to church together before the rest of the family came over for brunch.

Matt: You’re a veteran, maybe they’ll do something special for you for Memorial Day.

MIL: Matt, I’m not dead yet.

Matt: Oh….

I may not agree with our government’s choices, but anyone who signs up to fight for their country and anyone who has lost their life in the process, they are truly strong and courageous, and worthy of our respect and admiration.

We didn’t do anything for Memorial Day, but did have a fabulous weekend and got to see a bunch of family we don’t get to see much of.  All the parents trekked over from WI and both my sisters were able to make it (from KS and CA) which was absolutely amazing.  I had a fabulous shower hosted by (one of) my BFFs and I’m just feeling so special and loved and thrilled that this baby is going to have a truly awesome community of family and friends around him.  #PregnancySappiness

I’ve also hit Pregnancy Level: Hobbit Feet and had some seriously impressive swelling over the weekend.  My mom freaked out a bit and demanded my sister give her professional opinion.  Sister asked me if I was up to date on my rabies vaccine because she’s a veterinarian and not an MD. I picked up some sexy compression socks took it easy for the weekend and now my feet have shrunk to slightly puffy.

I still have this weird feeling of guilt when I take up the comfiest spot, don’t get up much when guests are over, and ask Matt to do simple things like get me some water because I just don’t feel like being on my feet anymore.  Matt, on the other hand, has been scolding me to take it easy since forever.  I’ve just been stubbornly resisting because I am not a fragile little flower… only now it kind of hurts to move and I’m tired so I’m giving in.  Stubbornness and pregnancy do not mix terrible well.

I’ve got a prenatal appointment on Friday and an onsite Nurse at work if anything seems concerning before that, but I was under the impression that crazy feet swelling was a fairly typical pregnancy symptom. Plus I’m still a bit scarred from the Doctor who insisted my Asthma flair up might be a pulmonary embolism and told me to get to an ER like, NOW.  Spoiler Alert: It wasn’t and the ER docs thought I was a little crazy.

It’s HERE…. Again

You know how we finally got the back-ordered ceiling fan a couple weeks ago?  We went to put it up the other weekend aaaaand it was missing a part.  Awesome.

Not gonna lie, my first thought was holy shit Matt just threw away part of my fan.  He had been cleaning up all the excess packaging that’s been taking over our living room between baby-related deliveries and home improvement crap and he already threw out the styrofoam packaging from the ceiling fan box.  He insisted he checked everything he threw out for stray parts beforehand and I have no reason not to believe him.  Buuuut I still may have went slightly catatonic and then decided I wanted ice cream (Izzy’s!) for dinner.

First I called Lowes, because that’s who we ordered it from.  They then contacted Hunter (the company who made the fan) who gave them a reference number which they passed on to me so I could call Hunter back.

The first person I talked to didn’t care about my reference number and seemed very confused as to why I was even calling in the first place.  She eventually said she was going to transfer me over to parts but instead I got trapped in the Automated Phone System From Hell.  If you keep pressing zero enough times you can usually get to a real person and thankfully that worked this time. I may handle automated phone systems rather badly. The second live person I talked to was actually helpful but apparently shipping just the missing part was impossible and then had to send a whole new fan.  Over-night shipping was also apparently impossible but she eventually caved and requested it be sent out as 2 day shipping (which translates to 2-5 days).  We did end up getting the new fan on Saturday though–score!

Matt handled the installation by himself (I may have possibly been napping….).  I went up to check on things as he was nearing the end and he had a laundry list of complaints.

Some of the screws provided did not actually fit, but he was able to scrounge spare screws from fan #1.

One of the screw holes for attaching the fan blades was miss-threaded making it damn near impossible to get the screw through.

The biggest issue though was installing the plate with the socket.  It attached with 3 small screws that were practically impossible to line up correctly.  It seriously took him a solid 1/2 hour to get that one piece in, it was also accompanied by a level of swearing straight out of the beginning of Four Weddings and a Funeral.

The lesson learned from this is pretty much whoever designed this fan only designed it to be pretty.  They also possibly designed it to give electricians more business because it is a giant PITA to install on your own.

But daaamn is it gorgeous!

ceilingFan

It came with an LED Edison bulb that’s pretty wussy so I’m going to try and swap it out for one of these pretty LED globe bulbs from IKEA.

Save

Happy Mother’s Day

First off, I want to wish a very happy Mother’s Day to all the moms, moms-to-be, step-moms, and foster moms out there.  You’re all amazing!

It may be my first first sort-of Mother’s Day, but we didn’t do anything special–more work on the nursery and lots of naps for me. Matt did surprise me with the Eames elephant I’ve been lusting after though!  He had planned to surprise me with it for the baby shower, but the color he knew I wanted was no longer available.  He broke down on our anniversary and asked me if another color would be ok and it just arrived a couple days ago… so it’s sort a combo anniversary/mother’s day/baby shower gift.

mothersDay2017

I think I will name him Alonso. (Allons-y!)

As for, I’m officially in my Third Trimester now–home stretch baby! I’ve been steadily hitting the pregnancy milestones too.  Yay?

Having Issues Getting out of Bed

Not because I’m huge (I definitely look pregnant–although not in the above photo oddly enough–and am seeing numbers on the scale that are distressing-yet-normal, but I’m not hugely pregnant), everything just hurts.  My pelvis especially hurts when I’ve been laying down for a while and try and get upright again.  It’s similar in feeling to having done waaay too many crunches so your abs start to burn and rebel, only lower down.  The last midwife I saw sent me a video of some stretches to do, so hopefully they help.

Stairs are Hard

I finally had to give up and recruit Matt to carry my laundry down to the basement.  I can handle our main stairs fine, but our basement stairs are narrow and I’m a little unbalanced at the moment so I need to hang on to the hand rail.  Suddenly there’s not a whole lot of space for the basket unless I balance it against my belly which is its own level of awkward.

I also feeling mildly bad for the slow, plodding way I ascend stairs when I’m out in public.  Then I figure, the stairs are wide enough, if you have a problem with my speed just go around.  I did have to come to a full stop on a landing at work because two ladies were walking up side-by-side and chatting.  That’s fine and all, but if you’re taking up the full width of the stairs and someone’s trying to head the opposite way switch to single file for like 2 steps. This is even just general politeness and not purely because I’m a cranky pregnant lady.

The Cat is Pissed

Schmutz was napping on my belly the other day when the little dude starting kicking.  He’s now big enough that you can feel (and often see) the kicks on the outside.  Schmutz turned and glared at me since she’s not used to be kicked by her current bed (and it was clearly my fault).  Mort’s started obsessively kneading my belly and then deciding to sleep next to me instead.  I don’t know if he thinks I’m too lumpy or what.

So Many Kicks!

The first movements I really felt were just from the kiddo shifting around (I think).  I would just get pressure changes in a specific area as he wedged himself into a new position.  The last few weeks I’ve been getting more and more definite kicks and they’re getting increasingly more visible on the outside of my belly.  They started off feeling like weird little muscle spasm-y things, but he’s gotten some good shots to my ribs lately and thrown a couple punches that have made me wince a little bit.  I am really not looking forward to the day he discovers my bladder…

OMG Heartburn!

One of my very first pregnancy symptoms was some mild heartburn (but we were also eating our way through a large batch of chili so I thought I was just getting old and decrepit at the time).  Now I’m getting legit heartburn and popping Tums like candy.  I get heartburn by so much as thinking about food.

Unsolicited Advice

This actually hasn’t been bad at all!  Most people keep pretty quiet or share the “this worked well for me, but it’s honestly a crapshoot” kind of stories (which are actually useful).  The only person who rubbed my the wrong way was, oddly enough, the midwife at one of my prenatal appointments.  I was talking about how I was considering a water birth because I am deathly afraid of needles* and don’t handle pain well.**  Her response was that I clearly just needed to educate myself further because it didn’t seem to her like a good reason to try a water birth.  I sort of wanted to shoot back “look lady, the reason I’m already freaking out about this is BECAUSE I was reading about it and looking at my options.”  Then she seemed a little miffed that I didn’t have any questions.  Maybe it’s because I’m actually reading about what to expect and I hadn’t encountered anything out of the ordinary at the moment?  Most of the midwives I’ve seen at my appointments have been awesome, but this one was just not a good match for me.

My mom (of course!) also hopped on the unsolicited advice train after looking at our baby registry.  She means well, but she started questioning some of the bigger items (Were we sure we wanted this car seat instead of that car seat because so-and-so really liked that one).  While she definitely brought up some good points, it just stressed me out that all the previous research I did was wrong so I re-researched everything…aaaand ended up with the exact same products I picked out the first time.  Moral of the story: everyone is going find different products that fit their individual needs.

Trippy Dreams

These have been happening for a while. I don’t tend to remember my dreams but I definitely have while pregnant!  The last notable one was a nightmare about how I was never ever going to get the ceiling fan I wanted for the nursery.  I was shipped a broken one, then someone tried to convince me it was perfectly fine and I couldn’t exchange it anyway because it was the very last one ever.  The next day I called Lowes to check on the status of my order because the dream may have freaked me out a bit….

Bye Bye Wedding Ring

My fingers have started to swell enough that it’s getting really hard to get my rings off.  I had to resort to some windex the other day, so going forward I’m probably safer just leaving them off before they get solidly stuck. My ankles are starting to swell a bit too, but thankfully they haven’t morphed into full-on cankles yet.

Pregnancy Brain

More notable moments have been going to work with my skirt inside-out (thankfully it was stripey pattern and really not noticeable!) and getting halfway to my car before realizing I was still in my slippers. I also nearly forgot Matt’s birthday.  Ooops.  In general I’m just spacey as heck and very easily losing my train of thought.

Glucose Challenge Test–PASSED!

The internet really builds this up as being awful, but it wasn’t that bad.  The drink they give you is sort of a like a half-flat soda, so not exactly tasty, but not completely vile either (I went with the orange, but everyone I know recommended a different flavor).  I chose to have mine done first thing in the morning and grab breakfast after since I’ve heard any sugar consumption (not just sweets, but things like fruit too) beforehand can mess up your results.  How true this is, I don’t really know, but I really didn’t want to get stuck doing the 3 hour test so I figured it couldn’t hurt.

 

*  Really, it’s bad.  My regular doctor tried giving me valium before a shot once and it didn’t do a thing.  Nitrous Oxide at the dentist doesn’t have any effect until after the shots are done (ie I calm down again).  I currently have my own stash of prescription lidocaine to use before blood work, but I still get super anxious until it’s over  Yeah, I’m kind of mess.

** I am so screwed.

It’s HERE!

No, not the baby, that would be waaaay too early, but my ceiling fan for the nursery is finally here!

HunterCranbrook

I ordered it back in February, knowing it was back-ordered until the end of March.  Ok, I can wait.  At the end of March I get a call saying it won’t be available until the end of April.  Arghhhh.  We were ready to paint at this point, but I couldn’t pick out the paint until I had the fan.  At the end of April my already vivid pregnancy dreams started feeding off of my design neurosis and I had a nightmare in which I got shipped a broken and decrepit version of my fan and was told I couldn’t exchange it because it was the last one on the planet ever.  The next day I called up Lowes asking them to check on the status and they assured me it would be ready for pickup the next week.

Sure enough, I got a call last Thursday (also Star Wars Day, our 3rd Wedding Anniversary, and the official start of my third trimester) saying it was FINALLY ready for pickup.  The employee who called me was officially my BFF of the day.

Matt was hoping we could just pick up paint while we were already out.  Nope, sorry, hardware stores are possibly the worst place to choose a paint color.  That’s why they have all the swatches, so you can take them home and look at them in the same light you’ll be using the paint in.  Luckily for Matt, I already knew roughly what colors I wanted, I just needed to narrow down the exact shade so we were able to pick up paint first thing on Saturday and get to work.

Matt started on the ceiling while I started prepping the radiator.  My spray booth game is really improving.

nurseryPaint1

How awesome is that ceiling???? The color is Breaktime by Sherwin Williams (flat finish). I think it’s bright and fun without being too candy-colored like sooo much kid stuff.

The radiator was currently a flat beige-y color.  Once we get everything painted and the bright white trim installed it was going to look really dirty.  I went over it with 3 coats of white spray paint* (satin finish). Soooooo much better!

The ceiling and radiator took up all of Saturday, then Sunday we were able to start the walls! Painting goes MUCH faster when you don’t have trim to cut in around so we were able to finish the walls in one day.

nurseryPaint2

We have paint!  It looks pretty white, but it’s Palest Pistachio by Benjamin Moore (eggshell finish) and has a very faint gray/green tinge to it.  The next step is getting all the baseboards and casings primed, painted, cut, and installed.  Ooof! Our goal is to have the baby room looking like an actual room (instead of a construction zone) by my baby shower at the end of the month.  I think we can do it!

 

*Don’t worry, I had open windows and a full respirator.  I would have pawned it off on someone else, but spray paint is a technique and I have trust issues.

Save

Save

Save

We have WALLS!

And a CEILING!

It’s kind of amazing actually.

A few weeks back my dad and brother-in-law joined up for an Epic DIY weekend.  My dad and I kicked it off with some custom door and window casings.  Matt’s brother, Isaac, got in later, so he and Matt were going to tackle the ceiling on Saturday.

Matt and I had already gotten drywall up on the walls, and all the seams taped and mudded.  The ceiling was going to be a far more intensive job though and a little college boy labor goes a long way. The first step was to rent a drywall lift.  My dad was telling me that he and my mom drywalled a ceiling without a lift back in the 70’s…oof!  It cost us $15 to rent a lift for the most of the day (from Menards).  Totally worth it.

I may have mentioned before that my dad and I make up team Crazed Perfectionist.  We watched Matt and Isaac for a little bit to see if they would need extra hands.  They didn’t really, but we started getting a little twitchy about the lack of crazed perfectionism, so I suggested (firmly) for a division of labor.  Team Crazed Perfectionist would handle the measuring and cutting, and team Grunt Labor would handle the lifting and installing.  This actually worked out pretty well, especially since doing anything on the ceiling gets tiring pretty quickly so this gave team Grunt Labor a bunch of mini rest breaks.

We’re still pretty new to drywall so I’m not going to do a tutorial (I’m sure they are far more knowledgeable people out there who have already written them).  I do have a few useful takeaways we learned though.

  • Suck it up and rent a drywall lift!  We didn’t bother with it for the walls because we installed the sheets vertically, but it was MUST for the ceiling.  If you’re installing sheets on the wall horizontally, you’ll probably want it too.ceilingDrywall1
  • Align the factory edges of your drywall as much as possible.  The edges of a sheet of drywall have a very slight indent in them to help compensate for the thickness of the tape and mud.
  • Mark the ends of your joists on the walls, then use a chalk line to connect the marks to show you where to put your screws.  It’s MUCH harder to eyeball a straight line when you’re balanced and bent on top of a ladder.

ceilingDrywall2

  • THIN coats when mudding.  Seriously. Yes, if it goes on too thick you can sand it down, but drywall dust is horrendous. Thin coats should mean less sanding AND less dry time between layers so you can get more done in a day.
  • Once you’re at the sanding stage, try and tarp off the room as best as you can.  We hung plastic sheeting over the door and kept the door closed at all times.

ceilingDrywall3

  • We didn’t try this, but had multiple people suggest a drywall sanding sponge.  Wet sanding should help control the dust and joint compound is water soluble so it’s supposed to be faster.
  • We tried a sanding attachment for our shop-vac.  Awesome in concept, but according to Matt it was a little unwieldy.  The head would spin unpredictably making things a little difficult.  He did notice an improvement in the dust control though, so it probably depends on the person if they like it or not.
  • Get a bag filter for your shop-vac!  You for sure want one rated for drywall dust because you will be vacuuming up a LOT.
  • Wear a mask and full goggles when sanding.  I really can’t over-state how awful drywall dust is.
  • Make sure you keep a good moisturizer handy.  Drywall is incredibly drying on the skin.

ceilingDrywall4

You can see we ended up with a tiny little strip of drywall, which is usually frowned upon.  Based on where our joists were positioned, this made the most sense for us.  We were able to screw the edges of the second-to-last board directly into the joists and the last little strip was light enough adhere with construction adhesive (because we were drywalling over existing plaster instead of bare studs).  We screwed it in too, but there wasn’t a joist there which we would have needed to secure a larger piece.

ceilingDrywall5

After making it though the weekend without killing anyone, Matt kept working away on the mudding/sanding the seams.  It’s a process and, quite frankly, it sucks.  Actually, the mudding’s not so bad, but the sanding is possibly the worst home improvement task ever.  I was really happy to have solid excuse not to help.  Once Matt got things sanded, he would call me in to give the Crazed Perfectionist opinion and then I’d go around with a pencil and circle all the areas that needed more work.

Two weeks later we were ready to prime!  I’m specifically holding off on installing trim until the room is fully painted.  Painting goes SO much faster when you don’t have to worry about cutting in!  We knocked out all the walls in about an hour one evening after work. Unfortunately, it was starting to get a little dark at that point and the “fancy” bare drywall primer is nearly impossible to see until it dries so our first coat turned out super crappy.  Oops.  It also highlighted some spots that still needed a little extra smoothing (though not as many as I expected!).

The next evening we tackled the touch-up spots and the ceiling.  We’ll take another look at everything in full daylight, but it seems to be going well.  I’m planning another coat of regular primer just so we don’t get any surprises when we paint.  And when will we get to the actual paint?  Well, my ceiling fan is now back-ordered until the end of April and I need the fan to decide on the ceiling color and I need the ceiling color to decide on the wall color.  Matt just sort of shakes his head and asks why we can’t just get a white fan.  I tell him he because he married a crazy person which he really should have been aware years ago.

Until my beloved fan comes in I’ll be sanding (with a mask!), priming, and painting all the trim pieces.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Gettin’ Our Groove On

I know I’ve been light on the house updates lately, but this past week should make up for it! Last Wednesday night * Two Wednesdays ago my dad came into town and then my brother-in-law joined us on Friday night.  Matt and I had taken off work for an Epic DIY Weekend and had a big ‘ol list of projects to try and tackle.

On Thursday we started looking for wood for our door and window casings.  We already knew we had to custom route the vertical casings so we just need to get wood in the correct dimensions.  Well, since the original casings in the rest of the house were 4.5″ inches wide, which meant dimensional lumber wouldn’t cut it.

We poked around through the trim section to see if there were any flat trim pieces that were 4.5″ wide.  Nope.  A bunch of 3.5, some 5.5, but no 4.5.  Figures.  At the end of the trim aisle though, were some door jamb pieces and kits.  Do you know how wide a door jamb is?  4.5 inches!  BOO-YA!  Plus, the outside edges are slightly rounded like our moldings.  Can I get another boo-ya?  The only minor problem is that they’re 81″ tall, which is a bit short but we have plinths in every other room so that’s an easy fix.

Sounds perfect right?  Only all the jambs at Home Depot were pretty warped.  Arrrgh!  Plan C now was to get 1×6’s and rip them down to size on a table saw.  A table we don’t have….  My dad offered to buy us a table saw though!  Some people give cribs as new baby gifts, my dad gives table saws.  I pointed this out at the store and a nearby customer laughed and pointed out that table saws were way more useful.

Ok, so we have a plan!  We have lumber!  We have a saw! We’re good to go, right?  Ehhhh.  Because the door jambs were so incredibly perfect and my dad and I make up Team Insane Perfectionist we decided to swing by Menards to see if they sold the same thing and if they were any straighter.  Success!  Let’s roll!

My dad had brought along his router and router table so we figured we’d get that all set up and then zip the boards through like you would with a table saw.  Easy-peasy right?

Um, nope.

There’s more resistence with a router blade than a table saw blade so it takes a LOT more effort to feed the wood though.  Pair that with a longer board and it’s really hard to get a nice, consistent groove.  The amount of effort it took to get one edge done (that didn’t even end up being a good edge), was clearly not going to work.

Ok, time for Plan B.

Back we go to the hardware store to pick up some inexpensive pine to make a jig. The jig consists of a 1×8 for the base and a 1×4 for the back guide that are screwed together in an L shape.

casings1

We knew we needed the raised edges on the casings to be 3/4″ wide so we did some quick math to determine where we would need to position the board, then screwed in some thin scrap wood as spacers.  It needed to be tall enough to butt the board up against, but short enough that it wouldn’t interfere with the router.

casings2

You don’t need to run your spacer pieces along the full length of the jig.  The board won’t be moving, just the router, so you really just need to make sure you have nice, even spacers on each end so you can position the board well.  It’s also worth mentioning that if you’re going to build a jig you want all the lumber you’ll be using to be as straight as possible.  We may have spent a good 10 minutes pulling out board after board and checking it for straightness.  Knots and splits don’t really matter, it just needs to be as straight as possible.

casings3

Once we had our jig set up, we clamped the wood into place and got to routing.  We did have to stop at each clamp to re-position it, but that’s not a big issue.

casings4

casings5

See my lack of a mask?  Don’t do that.**  Routing kicks up shit-tons of sawdust.  I didn’t realize that right away (yes, I’m an idiot) so I didn’t put on a mask until I was about 1/2 way done… and then 2 days later I was in the ER with an asthma flair-up.

We did one pass, then flipped the board around to do the other edge.

casings6

casings7

Bee-yoo-teee-ful.  But now there’s still a chunk left in the center.  We re-measured to see how far out the next pass would have to be, but this time just marked lines on our jig.  The outermost passes were the ones that really had to be precise, so for these we just lined the board up with the marks and had the second person simply hold it in place.

casings8

casings9

Aaand then you flip it around and do the same thing to the other side.

casings10

Now we’re left with one tiny strip in the middle.  Now, you guessed it, we measured, marked, and re-positioned the board.  The narrow strips we used as spacers for the edges were the perfect width to position the board to get the center strip.  We flipped them vertical to line up the board and pulled them out once someone was holding the board in place.

casings11

SHAZAAM!

Some of you may be wondering why we bothered painted the boards if we were just going to strip a bunch of it off.  Well, we didn’t; the boards came pre-primed.  We didn’t need them too, but they were the only real wood (not particle board or MDF option).  The bonus is there’s a much better contrast in my pictures.

Just take a look at these beauties compared the original casings!

casings12

I’m giving them a rating of PDG: Pretty Darn Good.

 

*I may have been a little slow in publishing this….

**See my awesomely coordinated gloves and Batman shirt?  Not planned at all, but you can totally copy that.  Also, I hate pregnant-me in pictures.  In real life I feel totally fine but I see a picture and can only quote Spaceballs–“Why didn’t anyone ever tell me my ass was so big?!”  My amazing and supportive husband responded to this with “Well, you’re supposed to be getting bigger.”  This is the same amazing guy who once told me “I like how fat you are” and said I looked like “a yellow whale” after trying on a very unflattering maxi dress.  He may suffer from foot-in-mouth disease.  I’m hoping for the “pregnant glow” before we get a professional pregnancy shoot done, but so far I’ve just been breaking out like a teenager.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Sunday Fun-Day: Music Edition

Busy editing a backlog of photos… I’ve got actual projects coming soon (custom door/window casings! drywall!).  In the meantime I hope these make you smile.

The first time I saw James Corden was on Doctor Who and I sort of adored him.  This goes to show he is even more awesome than I originally thought!

 

Cookie Monster can step it a notch too.

 

Not gonna lie, Katie Perry grates on my nerves something awful (she was waaay over-played on the radio station they played at my job years ago).  This is one of my favorite song parodies though!

 

Don’t know if as many people will find this one amusing–it’s definitely for the typography nerds!  If you’ve never seen the music video for Lady Gaga’s Poker Face it’s definitely worth watching because they did a great job parodying the video AND the music.

 

I don’t actually love this song (it’s ok, just not in my personal music collection), but I think the video is pretty powerful.  Related: a list of celebrities who aren’t a fan of crazed Photoshopping.