Ready for Baby

 
 Baby bump at 35 weeks. Fortunately, we're holding steady at this size because I don't think I could handle growing any more.

Baby bump at 35 weeks. Fortunately, we're holding steady at this size because I don't think I could handle growing any more.

 

As soon as my baby bump emerged and people found out I was pregnant, I've continued to field the same question multiple times a day. "Are you ready?" The response varies depending on my mood and who is asking. The honest answer is I'm ready to not be pregnant and enjoy a glass of wine and more than one cup of coffee and wear normal clothes again, but I'm not ready to be an actual parent. This is what I share with my friends. To the random person I encounter at the park when I'm walking my dog or my office's janitor who has told me I look like I'm about to pop every.single.day of my third trimester, I usually give a curt, "Getting there."

In case you're wondering, Annabelle is not ready for a baby brother or sharing the backseat.

Now that I'm officially 39 weeks pregnant and the little guy could come any day, I'm feeling as prepared as I can be. The nursery is set up, and the car seat is installed. I've stocked up on diapers and wipes, attended all of the birth, baby, and breastfeeding classes, drafted the out of office email message, and tied as many loose ends as possible. What has helped the most is reading as much as I can about the first few weeks and months after birth and talking with my girlfriends who've recently had kids about their experiences. As much as I've read, nothing beats hearing about real experiences from friends. 

However, here are the books that I've found to be the most helpful - 

  1. Babywise
  2. Happiest Baby on the Block
  3. What to Expect the First Year
  4. Baby 411
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I've also been reading through Anna and Layla's site - My Baby Care. Anna and Layla are two moms who share their experiences with motherhood and keep their readers informed of the most up to date and best baby gear. As a first time mom, it is hard to know what gear to select when there are SO MANY CHOICES! They've taken care of the overwhelming task of compiling different options and sharing unbiased pros and cons. I recommend their site to any new or expecting mom.

If you're a new or expecting mom, what resources have been most helpful to you?

 
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Update - 30 Before 30

 
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Today is my 30th birthday. I'm not normally a huge birthday celebrator, but I feel like changing decades is a big deal. Last summer, I was thinking about taking a trip to Spain or somewhere equally exciting to celebrate turning 30, but at 38 weeks pregnant, I'll be happy with a piece of chocolate cake from Le Matin and a prenatal massage. I semi-joke that I'm going to celebrate turning 30 on my next birthday because I really want a trip to Spain (and a big glass of Spanish red).

Our #1 blog reader, aka Mom, requested that I do an update on the 30 before 30 list that I made on my 28th birthday. I didn't tackle everything on the list, but I did reach about 2/3 of my goals. I'll optimistically call it win because it forced me to try some new things, rekindle some favorite habits, and get out of my comfort zone. The goals I completed are highlighted below.

  1. Take a cooking class
  2. Start playing tennis regularly again
  3. Reconnect with 5 old friends
  4. Become more knowledgeable about wine
  5. Spend a weekend completely unplugged
  6. Grow strawberries in my garden - Solid attempt with little success
  7. Become a mom - Fingers crossed I'm less than 2 weeks away
  8. Travel to New England
  9. Travel to the West Coast
  10. Read 40 new books
  11. Make an original pieces of artwork to hang in my home
  12. Start a gratitude journal - I technically started one, but I didn't keep it up... whoops!
  13. Make 50 new recipes
  14. Start a book club
  15. Try the Whole 30 - I'm blaming pregnancy for this one. Maybe I'll try this for losing baby weight.
  16. Run a destination half marathon - Another one I'm blaming pregnancy for not completing. I've got my eye on a couple!
  17. Send a handwritten note a friend once a month
  18. Organize my wedding photos
  19. Become proficient at Photoshop
  20. Do paddle board yoga - Did not attempt, but I did start paddle boarding more at the lake.
  21. Take professional family photos
  22. Volunteer on a regular basis
  23. Do a full month of barre classes - I have no excuse other than laziness for this one. 
  24. Host a slumber party style girls’ night-in
  25. Establish a designated date night every week - Again, no valiant effort here, but will try to do this once we survive the newborn haze, even if it is an at-home date night after the baby goes to bed.
  26. Attend a blog conference - Nope, but hope to in the future.
  27. Learn to do my makeup well - Tried some new products and techniques, but this may be something I give up on. I'm just not a hair and makeup person. 
  28. Start a monthly supper club - No, but we invited more friends over for casual, low-stress weeknight meals on a whim.
  29. Learn to use a sewing machine
  30. Attend the Kentucky Oaks

I'm planning to make a 40 before 40 list soon, and I may carry over some of the goals that I didn't complete. I have a feeling I'm going to need all 10 years this decade to accomplish my next bucket list.

Do you have any fun and creative goals on your list?

 
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Baby Boy's Nursery

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When we originally started planning the nursery, I was adamantly against a themed nursery. Of course I should never make strong declarations like that because a nautical theme organically emerged. When picking out bedding for the crib, we selected both anchor sheets (sold out online) and dog sheets because they were both slightly whimsical and coordinated well with this crib skirt. Then when searching for art to hang above the crib, I was drawn to these classic watercolor prints. When I spotted this sailboat throw pillow, I just gave in to the theme. Jay is an avid boater and loves the water, and I tend to gravitate towards preppier styles, so the theme isn't entirely shocking.

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I know our entire house is about to be overrun with baby gear, but we tried to keep the nursery  uncluttered and classic.

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The nursery isn't 100% complete, but I feel good bringing the little guy home to it in its current state. I'm still considering some different options for book storage and deciding between an ottoman or poof for the glider. I've also found some blackout curtains that I really like, but I'm waiting for them to go on sale. I added the curtains to my cart but didn't purchase them the ONE day they were marked down to $25, and then the next day they were back up to $90/panel. No thanks!

Most of the items came from Pottery Barn Kids or Target, but if you'd like to know a specific source for something, I'm happy to share.

 
 

Dining Table Centerpiece

Help! What are your thoughts on an everyday centerpiece for a dining table?

 
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Unlike a lot of homes, we do not have an eat-in kitchen, so when it is too cold or rainy to eat on our covered porch, we eat most of our meals at our table in the dining room. Because of this and the fact that we are not fancy people, our dining room isn't very formal. Depending on the season or when the mood strikes, I change out our placements every few months. Right now, we're using these round water hyacinth placemats, which I love because they are so classic, versatile, and easy to dress up or down.

Especially during this time of year, I struggle with whether to have a centerpiece and if so, what I should use. I think the table looks bare without a little something in the middle. Starting in September, I normally have pretty bowl of fresh apples from the farmers' market, which is simple and practical, and through the holidays, I tend to rotate through several festive centerpieces. Otherwise, I normally use a vase of fresh flowers. However, because of the scale of the table and room, I tend to gravitate towards more substantial arrangements, which can get a little expensive. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject - Do dining room tables need a centerpiece for everyday meals? Are fake floral arrangements tacky? Do you have any suggestions for centerpieces that are not flowers?

 
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Kitchen Renovation

In January and February, we tackled our kitchen makeover. While the kitchen was in decent shape and functional, we knew that we wanted to make some changes to it when we moved in. Doing a complete gut job was out of the budget, so here's what we decided to do:

  1. Paint cabinets (professional spray paint)
  2. Replace tile backsplash
  3. Replace countertops
  4. Replace sink
  5. Replace hardware
  6. Replace lighting over the island and add undermount kitchen lights
  7. Paint kitchen walls

I wrote more about the process of the renovation while we were in the thick of it here, so I'll just share the before and after photos today. From start to finish, the renovation took about 7-8 weeks, but the space was unusable for only about two weeks. While we didn't do a full renovation, I think the kitchen and first floor living spaces were completely transformed. Our downstairs has great natural light, and the renovated kitchen makes it even brighter. 

Before

 
 

After

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The biggest design decision was whether to go with granite or marble counters, and we love the Carrara marble in our master bath. However, it can be difficult to maintain and keep clean, and since I tend to make a mess when I cook and kids will be in the picture soon, we ultimately decided on granite. We selected a granite called White Ice, and we found it locally at Stone Gallery. If you're in Central Kentucky, I highly recommend Stone Gallery. We looked several places and have worked with others in the past, and they were easy to work with and had competitive pricing.

My goal for the tile was to not clash with the off-white cabinets, pick up a color in the granite, and still keep the kitchen light and airy. We settled on this tile. I went to several tile shops in the area, and barring super expensive tile that was handmade in Spain, it was surprisingly difficult to find a tile this color. It only came in the 8 x 4 inch size, and I was a little worried it would be too big for a subway tile. However, now that it is in the space, I don't think the size is too overpowering.

We added under cabinet lights, and some cheap ones from the hardware store did the trick. To replace the modern pendant light fixtures over the island, we went with these lantern style fixtures in the antique silver leaf. I found them at Joss & Main, Birch Lane, and Wayfair, and they changed prices at each site frequently. If you are interested in ordering a light fixture from any of these sites, be sure to check them all for the lowest price before placing your order. 

We kept our Dash and Ablert runner between the sink and island. We've had this rug for several years. If it gets dirty, I just throw it in the washing machine, and it looks as good as new. While that may not be the manufacturer's official care instructions, I've never had any issues with it tearing up in the washing machine or dryer.

Our breakfast bar is about standard table height, and because of a window, we can't make it higher. When we moved in, we just used a couple of extra chairs from our dining room table since we knew we'd eventually want something to match the space after we finished the renovations. We went with the Cadence Chair in rustic grey. I like that the style of these chairs doesn't look out of place at a breakfast bar, and they were available in standard chair height.

If you are local and interested in who we used for painting, tiling, etc., I'm happy to share our sources. We had a good experience with everyone we used for the project.

 
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