Now that baby Elsie has finally joined us, we’re back to picking up steam on the kitchen remodel. We’ve finalized the sink and light fixture so now we’re moving on to counters and tile!
For counters, I knew I wanted something that resembled marble, but wasn’t marble. Some people are cool with the maintenance and inevitable staining that comes with a true marble countertop, but I am not one of those people. This meant my options were a quartz composite or solid surface (ok, there are lots of marble-patterned laminates too, but we didn’t really want to do with a laminate).
Silestone’s Et Satuario is pretty close to the look I’m going for as is MSI’s Calacatta Bontanica. We wanted to make sure we considered Cambria as well since they’re a Minnesota company, but unfortunately I wasn’t really feeling any of their options.
The way our remodeling company works if that they estimated a certain amount for the countertops in our initial quote. Countertop prices depend on the fabricators so these were the options I sent to them for quotes and hopefully at least one of them falls within our budget!
Today we also got ourselves out of the house to make a final decision on tile. The mudroom tile was an easy choice–I knew I wanted a white, penny hex tile because it’s pretty traditional for houses of this era. Added bonus: it’s also really cheap!
Backsplash was a bit of a dilemma. I had originally found an amazing starburst pattern at Lowes. Buuuut when we actually got to a point where I would consider ordering it it was listed as “no longer available.” I even chatted with a sales associate to see if there was any chance of it coming back in stock before January, but they didn’t have any information on it. Googling the brand and pattern didn’t get me anywhere either. SO BUMMED! It was such a nice combination of visually interesting without being over-powering.
Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find anything with a similar feel so I had to re-think my plan. I knew I wanted a ceramic or porcelain for the same reason I don’t want a natural marble counter. Glass tiles are cool too, but just not the look I’m going for. I also wanted a solid white so it won’t compete with the counter pattern. After thinking about it for a while, I decided that an arabesque or subway tile would probably be the best fit for the house and we ended up going with a handmade-looking subway tile. It’s a classic shape with a little bit of texture and organic-ness so I think it will work out very nicely.
We had a little bit of excitement here the other week! I was scheduled for a C-Section on Thursday January 9th (baby was still breech) so my mom and step-dad came into town Tuesday evening. The plan was for them to use Wednesday to walk through Wesley’s normal routine and possibly help us finish up a couple things around the house.
Well, it turns out it was a REALLY good thing they came Tuesday night because I woke up around 2am to go to the bathroom then realized I was also having contractions. Better yet, they were coming every 5 minutes and lasting at least a minute.* As soon as I noticed a pattern, I woke up Matt, called my clinic’s 24hr line, and woke up my parents to let them know we were leaving for the hospital goodluckwithWesleybye.
We got to the hospital a little after 3 and were immediately admitted (no triage room for me this time). Because they knew I would be having a c-section I was given a drug to slow down my contractions (which were starting to get pretty intense). The on-call OB came in and starting going over the plan for surgery and introducing the other people who were going to be involved. Basically they were still trying to keep things fairly calm and more like how my scheduled c-section would have gone…just a day early.
Meanwhile my body was powering through magic drug they gave me to slow my contractions so I was really starting to feel things again. They didn’t want to give me another dose because the OB said it would actually be a little better for the surgery if my uterus was trying to contract, so they started wrapping things up and getting me ready to be moved to the OR. Then my water broke… which really does feel like you’ve just wet yourself. In fact, I actually said “I think I just peed…” then thought about for another second and followed up with “Or my water just broke which might make more sense…”
At this point it was Go Time so my bed and IV stand are getting maneuvered out the door and down the hall. I’m freaking out because 1) my contractions kept ramping up and hurt like hell, and 2) my IV line kept pulling on my arm as people worked to coordinate movements and I do not handle anything under my skin well and the tugging sensation was Not Helping. We were right outside the door to the OR** which was literally around the corner from my room and I started feeling like I needed to push. I distinctly remember thinking that people would probably want to know this, but they also seemed really busy at the moment so in proper Minnesotan fashion I said something along the lines of “Um… it sort of feels like I need to push?”
Everything after that is a little fuzzy. I remember getting transferred to the operating table and heard someone saying that there wasn’t time to do a spinal block. I may or may not have started to get a little hysterical at this point.
“What do you mean you don’t have time to do a spinal?!”
Around the same time I also announced that I could feel something coming out. Yes, my daughter had literally kicked her foot out first (which can actually cut off circulation if not dealt with quickly). I remember the drape going up and things getting prepped around my abdomen, and someone calling for backup…but I was still getting contractions and really just wanted whatever anesthesia they were going to give me. I believe I said something very eloquent along the lines of “If you’re going to gas me please hurry up and do it!”
Aaand then I was knocked out by general anesthesia. Next thing I knew I was in a recovery room and a bunch of people were talking and I was having a really hard time focusing and responding to their questions. Eventually someone came in with my glasses and said Matt had mentioned that I might like to have them (I’m totally blind without them). I also started to get a little more aware of things, but talking was still really hard.***
Now, as I was getting wheeled off to the OR, Matt had been given a gown or whatever to put on and was told someone would be back to get him in a just a minute. Typically they do the spinal block and then bring in your partner, so it’s literally just a couple minutes. Well, Matt waited…and waited then 15 minutes or so later a nurse came in and let him know there had been a change of plans and that I was unconscious and that our daughter had just been born… any questions?
They brought in our daughter shortly after so Matt got a couple hours of daddy-daughter bonding while I got stitched back together and hung out in recovery for a little while. I finally got to meet her around 7:30.
Here she is, our little drama queen: Elsie Harper. Note that a mere 3 1/2 hours elapsed from when I first noticed contractions and when she was born (and she was determined to come out on her own!). The funny thing is that for a while I’d been commenting that that whenever she kicked it felt like she was trying to kick her way out…guess she had been practicing.
The good news is that despite all the drama, everyone is doing well! I have a post-op follow-up next week, but I feel like I keep improving each day. Rotating or bending at the waist is still rough, but I’ve been off narcotics for a few days and am keeping my pain in check with Tylenol and ibuprofen. Given the amount of pain I was in for the last chunk of my pregnancy this may actually be an improvement. The hardest thing is stopping the cats and Wesley from dive-bombing my abdomen, so I basically keep my Boppy pillow around me any time I’m sitting/laying down.
Elsie is doing great and was already close to back to birth weight a few days after leaving the hospital. She’s pretty chill so far, she just vastly prefers snuggling on top of a person to sleeping in her bassinet. Because she was breech we need to schedule an ultrasound for her since breech girls have a higher risk of hip displasia,**** but if caught early it’s easily corrected.
Wesley seems to be adjusting well–when he gets home from daycare he yells “Mommy! Elsie!” while running to see us, and is very good at touching Elsie gently (petting her hair and giving her hugs). He’s definitely a little bit out of sorts since it’s a big change, but we’re doing our best to keep his routine as consistent as possible and give him plenty of mommy and daddy time.
*If you’ve never had a baby, this is the rough guideline for getting off your butt and to the hospital…and this is what I woke up to.
**Which had a sign saying “Quiet Please” …I ignored it, but I feel like I was justified.
***I mentioned a having a sore throat to the nurses the next day and they said it wasn’t surprising since I had been intubated because of the general anesthesia.
****The doctors asked if we knew what hip displasia was and I responded with “Like in golden retrievers?” I may have watched way too much Animal Planet growing up since I’ve only ever heard of hip displasia in regards to larger breed, pure-bred dogs. But, yeah, same thing apparently.
I mentioned previously that baby girl is currently breech and so we’re working on trying to get her turned around. I had an External Cephalic Version* done last Friday with zero luck. Baby didn’t budge one bit and seems to be stuck around my rib cage. I had another regular prenatal visit today and she still hasn’t moved at all. Thanks stubborn kiddo.
There’s still a chance she may turn on her own or that some yoga or Spinning Babies positions may help her along, but the OB still had me schedule a C-section at 39 weeks to be safe. IF she turns before then I can still have a vaginal delivery but if I go into labor before then and she hasn’t turned I’ll need a last minute C-section.** Good times.
The good news is that baby still seems to be doing just fine. And me, well, I’m massively uncomfortable, completely exhausted (the fact that she’s sitting so high up is compressing my lungs which isn’t helping matters), and still having a lot of pelvic pain, but nothing the doctors are all that concerned about. Once baby is out and the pregnancy hormones (and physical stress on my body) go down then my pelvis should start to function normally again.***
It’s weird, but I’m remaining shockingly calm about this whole thing. It is what it is and I trust the doctors to make the call about the safest course of action. It’s also nice in a way because we’re able to schedule with out-of-state grandparents about coming into town to watch Wesley while Matt and I are at the hospital. I also have a definite end date in sight, which given how incredibly miserable I’ve been during this pregnancy is actually kind of reassuring.
That all being said, a C-section is still major surgery, even if it is a pretty routine one. I definitely wouldn’t choose this route if it wasn’t considered medically necessary. I’ve been doing some research and it sounds like recovery is no joke. It will probably be even harder with a toddler at home who won’t understand why mommy can’t pick him up or why he can’t climb on top of her for snuggles. Luckily my mom will be coming into town to watch him while I’m in the hospital and my mother-in-law had already planned a visit that happens to fall right after my now-scheduled surgery. While it was really nice having the house to ourselves after Wesley was born, I think it will be really good for Wesley to have some extra people around to give him attention this time.
* An OB tries to manually turn the baby by shoving on your belly. I’d say it was incredibly uncomfortable but not exactly painful. You also get a shot of something to relax your uterine muscles…which also makes you super jittery. It was like the jitters you can get after a nebulizer treatment.
** I don’t know if it quite counts as an “emergency” C-section since they should be preparing for it as soon as I call the hospital, but they will definitely have less time to prep than they would for a scheduled procedure.
***Grandparents were in town last weekend so we brought Wesley to their hotel to play in the pool. He seemed to have fun, but it was positively glorious for me! Most of my pain melted away and I was even fairly comfortable for a couple hours after getting out of the water. Now if I could only find a pool to live in for the next week….
37 weeks baby! I’d say this kiddo could come at any time now, but as of my appointment a few days ago she’s currently breech so hopefully we get her facing the right way first. I have a referral for an External Cephalic Version (where a doctor tries to externally turn the baby) and I’m starting to use some of the positions from Spinning Babies to help the process along.
Wesley caught us by surprise by being a little over 2 weeks early (when I fully expected him to be at least a week late) so I had to direct Matt on what to what to pack while in the middle of contractions. This time though, WE ARE PREPARED.* As soon as December hit we were pulling all the old baby gear out of storage, washing ALL THE THINGS, and generally nesting up a storm.
Even then I had an oh-so-fun round of false labor last Monday and still didn’t actually feel prepared. I went home from work early because I couldn’t function anymore and called Matt home from his work Christmas party so he could watch Wesley (and, ya’know, be ready to go if this ended up being the real thing). I checked in with my midwife a couple times, but since it was early enough to be unlikely and my contractions were holding at sporadically-steady (sometimes they’d last a few seconds, other time a minute but they kept happening fairly regularly without ramping up in intensity) she never had me head to the hospital.
What I’m Packing for Baby #2
It was a little easier to pack for a second delivery since I learned what was actually useful to me from the first time around…and some things I wish I had. For the record, I’m fairly minimalist compared to a lot of the lists out there there but if you’re not, that’s totally cool. Bring whatever you think will make YOU feel comfortable.
Some people like the idea of their own clothes/gown to wear during labor, but I honestly didn’t care. If you do go this route,I would suggest something dark (delivery is messy) and something designed for labor (they have a lot of extra snaps and openings for monitoring equipment and epidural access).
Keep in mind that your belly doesn’t instantly shrink after giving birth, so you’ll probably want some maternity-friendly clothes. There’s also always a chance of a c-section (even if it’s not planned) so be conscious of where your waistband hits. Also, you probably don’t have to worry about underwear since the hospital will give you some positively stylin’ mesh knickers.
Thermal joggers (not maternity, just sized up one)
Nursing friendly tanks/tees
Slipper socks with bottom grips
Honestly, I’m pretty basic in this category, I packed a little makeup the first time around but didn’t use it (but then, I often go without makeup).
Facial cleansing wipes
Headband (if your hair longer I’d recommend a hair elastic to keep it out of your face)
If you don’t plan on breastfeeding, no worries–you’ve got less to pack! If you do plan on breastfeeding, I still suggest packing a few things besides your mammary glands.
Combination nursing/pumping bra (I REALLY wish I had this in the hospital with Wesley)
Haaka manual breast pump (bring your electric one if you’d like help getting started with it)
Nursing pillow (I liked mine, but a normal pillow works in a pinch too and neither is completely necessary)
Nipple cream (I didn’t actually need this with baby #1, but better safe than sorry)
Nipple pads (it’s unlikely you’ll start leaking those first couple days in the hospital, but again, better safe than sorry)
Some people want to make their hospital room as homey as possible. Blankets, pillows, towels, and eye masks are frequently recommended Personally I didn’t want to worry about more stuff to potentially forget…but I AM attached to having a good pillow.
My own pillow (with a pillowcase that won’t get mistaken for hospital bedding)
My own water bottle (the one the hospital provided the first time tasted like plastic)–something large, fairly leak-proof, and with a straw is a good option since you’ll want to be able to sip water easily from different angles.3 3q
Like it or not, you’ll be in the hospital for a while. If you opt for an epidural you’ll probably even have good chunk of down-time (although if it’s the middle of the night you can just enjoy glorious, glorious sleep).
Chargers + small extension cord (PSA: they also make extra long charging cords, I just used what I already had)
Snacks (for both you and your partner)
Camera (I have a nicer one in addition to my phone)
“Baby’s” gift for big brother (this has been recommended by a few sources for helping introduce a sibling…unfortunately we’re behind on this one so we don’t know what it’s going to be yet)
For us, all the basic needs were supplied by the hospital while we were there–diapers, onsies, swaddles, etc. All we really need are some things to get our baby girl home. For Wesley, I packed his diaper bag but this time I’m just going to throw stuff in my bag.
2-3 “coming home” outfits in multiple sizes (since there’s no telling how big the baby will be)
Photo props (I have a letter board to fill in with her birth info, a cute swaddle blanket, and girly headband)
Car seat + car seat cover (we didn’t bother with a car seat cover for Wesley since he was a summer baby, but winter in MN in now joke!)
*Which probably means baby girl will take her sweet time, but what can you do?
Last week we had our pre-construction meeting with our contractor. It was actually a little more chaotic than I had imagined. The meeting was at our house and involved the sales manager and designer we had already been working with, plus our project manager, plumber, and electrician. I went over material selection planning with the designer while everyone else poked around the house trying to figure out exactly what would be involved for the minor plumbing and electrical work being done.
Shockingly the electrician thought everything looked straightforward on his end. He was even pretty un-phased by this hot mess concealed behind an innocuous wood panel in our kitchen wall.
Because this is an old house, of course something had to be jacked up…in our case it was the venting for the kitchen sink (which no one had actually expected to be an issue). Turns out that our sink is not properly vented, BUT if you take a quick look at the plumbing in the basement it looks like it should be vented…the second pipe just doesn’t actually vent.
Now, to fix the venting issue, they’re going to need to rip out a chunk of the wall and section of the ceiling. Yay…. It’s going to add to our cost, but because it’s a code issue it can’t be skipped. The upside (?) to this is that we know the toilet in our upstairs bathroom has some plumbing issues that can only be fixed by ripping a hole in our kitchen ceiling…the same part of our ceiling that will already be getting a hole ripped in it. So we’re going to see if it’s possible for the plumber to fix that issue while the area is accessible. This will of course add even more $$$, but it would be less than if we had to rip a second hole into our ceiling later on.
The other fun thing we learned is that based on their current timeline, demo is estimated to start in mid January. For those of you not following along, baby #2 is due in mid January. My sister just also started her own kitchen renovation less than a month before Christmas so clearly this kind of planning is a family trait.
Thankfully nothing else is standing out as a glaring problem. In the next week or so I need to meet with the designer to sign off on the final cabinet plan, door styles, and cabinet colors. I’ve already got our sink ordered so next up is deciding on a countertop since that will require time to be fabricated.
Whelp, we did it! Last week we signed the contract for our kitchen remodel! It’s a little scary since it’s quite a big investment, but I think it’s going to be awesome and MUCH more functional once everything is done. Right now we’re waiting on the contractors to get the necessary permits from the city before anything else goes forward, so in the meantime I’ll be sharing more of the planning process.
Phase 1: Pre-Planning
Before we even started getting quotes from contractors we had figure out a general idea of what we were planning. Even if you plan on DIYing, this is still a good starting point. I started out by putting together a mood board of my general design plan.
Then, based on the design ideas, we put together lists of Need to Have and Nice to Have and established our ideal budget and max budget. You can also start with your lists and come up with a design second, I just happen to be more visual (and we also had a general idea of our goals).
Need To Have:
Replace all existing cabinets
Add base cabinets along window wall
Add cabinets to the left of the sink
Update ceiling light
Some solution to the too-low window
Move/cleanup existing outlets
Nice to Have
Extend existing wall of cabinets to the ceiling
Glass doors on upper cabinets
Replace window with shorter window to clear countertops
Replace mudroom tile and add insulation under the floor
Add a proper (exterior venting) range hood
Add exterior light above the back door
I had a fairly detailed design plan from the get go, but even if you don’t, it’s good to have a general idea of what you’re looking for before you start getting quotes. Are there any appliances you want moved? Anything you want to add or remove (versus just replace)? Any existing fixtures you plan on keeping? Do you have any material preferences?
Happy Halloween everyone! Costumes? Candy? This is seriously one of my favorite holidays! Being 6 months pregnant, sore, and exhausted has made me tone things down quite a bit this year so we skipped hosting our usual Halloween party and didn’t do a family theme costume.*
I did put together a costume for Wesley though! He’s still a little young to fully understand Halloween so I wasn’t really able to get an answer to a general “what do you want to dress up as” question. He has been more interested in dinosaurs and dragons lately so I asked him if he wanted to be a dinosaur or dragon and he happily replied “Dinosaur dragon!” Yeah, ok kid we’re just gonna pick one since a dragon is more or less a dinosaur with wings. Later he changed it to dragonfly (which I still came up with a plan for) then changed back to dragon before I got started on anything.
Yup, kiddo has a hoodie on under a hoodie. That’s a Minnesota Halloween for you…actually given that he didn’t need a snow suit it was pretty warm Halloween. I put on a jacket as soon as we had snapped this picture.
They did some Trick-or-Treating at daycare and then we took him down the block later in the evening. I wasn’t sure what he would think of it, but he LOVED it! He even got pretty good at saying “Trick or Treat!” and “Thank you!”… with a bit of prompting.
His costume was pretty simple to put together since it was just a hoodie with a bunch of stuff sewn onto it.
Step 1: Plan your design
For a dragon costume, I wanted spikes running down the back, a tail with spikes, wings, and a contrasting belly patch. I figured I could easily put it together with a few sheets of felt and some jersey that matched the hoodie.
Step 2: Get Distracted by all the awesome costume fabrics
I went to Joann’s to pick up some jersey and felt…. but then I saw all the amazing, shiny, costume fabrics they had out for Halloween. I found a scaley pattern that didn’t seem to fray and a coordinating iridescent fabric that I figured I could just glue onto felt for the spikes. I wasn’t deviating that much from the plan, just a little extra gluing. Easy-peasy, right?
Step 3: Immediately regret your life choices
Wrong. The damn iridescent fabric proved impossible to glue. It was also an acetate sort of fabric, so iron-on adhesive or stabilizer was out because there was a good chance of melting. I briefly considering sewing triangles for the spikes out of a few layers of the shiny fabric, but that would have been a PITA as well.
Step 4: Cut your losses, return to your original Plan
Back to Joann’s I went… for the felt I originally planned on. I got 2 sheets of a stiffer green felt for the spikes and wings, 2 sheets of a contrasting standard felt for the belly and underside of the tail, and 1 sheet of black adhesive felt for some contrasting details (wing bones and belly scales). I lucked out and found a pack of super-awesome stick-on dragon eyes, but you could use large googly eyes, or even some black and white felt.
From there I cut out some pretty basic shapes and hand sewed everything to the hoodie. If you want to make it even easier you could glue everything (although I’m not sure how well that would work for the spikes) or use an iron-on adhesive (ditto). The tail consists of 3 triangles (2 gray, 1 green to match the belly color). Spikes got sandwiched between the gray pieces and all 3 triangles were sewn together to make a cone shape.
My “costume” was even easier. My original plan was bust out my brand spankin new Cricut and cut the dragon embryo design out of glow in the dark vinyl (nothing iron-on since I wanted to be able to peel it off the shirt later). Well, time got away from me so I ended up printing the pattern on full-sheet label paper I already had on hand and sticking it to my shirt. It’s not super solid, but it got me around the block.
(Also, the start of my third trimester–home stretch baby!)
I realize I haven’t actually shared the gender of our soon-to-be addition here on the blog. We’ve actually known for a while… whoops! Anyway, yes, we’re expecting a little girl in January! Probably anyway… the ultrasound tech wasn’t 100% confident, but she was at least confident enough to give a “most likely.” If she was actually unsure I doubt she would have given us anything.
We’re also planning on the kiddos sharing a room (once the baby moves out of our room). But just for kicks, I’ve put together a mood board of my would-be baby girl nursery.
This isn’t the most practical second baby nursery since I’m not bothering to re-use anything we already have (because the room isn’t actually going to be created by us). If we had an extra room* I’d be making this, or very similar, happen.
My ideal baby girl room is something feminine, but not overly preshush if you get my drift. Here I tried to balance the blush and florals, with navy and leather.
I also finally had an excuse to use some pieces I’ve been seriously in love with, but haven’t had a place for. See the ceiling light and bird foot side table. And yes, I highly reccomend having an end table by your nursery chair! If you’re breastfeeding it’s a great place water/snacks or your pump. As the baby gets older you can stash some books there so you can have reading/snuggle time without having to constantly get up and down.
Other items I think are important in a nursery: Two light sources, one with a very low-watt bulb so you can see enough for nighttime feedings/changes without blinding everyone. High-contrast mobile. Besides the fact the the fluffy, pastel-y mobiles that perfectly match a bedding set are just much too cutesy for me, an infant can focus on something bold and high-contrast much better. If you can’t stomach primary colors in your pastel haven, black and white is always classic.
I have been shockingly productive this weekend. I have no clue where it came from, but I’ve done dishes, I’ve made pancakes, I’ve done laundry, I’ve spot-cleaned the couch, I’ve listed and sold almost all our random furniture on FB, and today I haven’t even taken a nap.* We also have our third kitchen estimate happening tomorrow and after that we should we able to pick one to go with and get started on that whole fiasco, because who doesn’t want to rip out their entire kitchen while pregnant, amiright?
Well, now I’m giving up and binge-watching Forensic Files while finding random shit online. ‘Cuz that’s how I role.
A friend of mine posted a compilation from this lady and I am dying. I don’t do much in the way of makeup, but if I did, and if I made videos of it then I’d probably sound a lot like her…only Midwestern dontcha know.
My sister shared this video and I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. I can’t find a link to the specific clip from Facebook, but it starts at 25:00.
Also thanks to my sister, but unfortunately shared just a bit too late to be useful to me:
*Wesley nearly didn’t either. I think he finally passed out around 3:30…compared to his average 12:30 nap time.