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Nesting Like It’s My Job

Sammy's NurseryOn top of my duties as a writer I’ve taken on another job: nesting. I started way back in March when my baby was just the size of a plum and now on the eve of his arrival I can say that I think my to-do list is down to just a few items. (The main one being pack my bag for the hospital.) I hear that not everyone gets the urge to nest, but I definitely did. Back in the spring I started cleaning out closets, one-by-one, sorting, purging, organizing, scrubbing. And perhaps my favorite part, labeling.

Once the closets were done I hit every other space in my house. We even removed everything from our kitchen cabinets, scrubbed them, put down shelf paper and carefully put everything back. To which my sister says, “who does that?”

Then I started working on the nursery, researching, planning, assembling, styling, rearranging. I put my coupon skills to work to become an expert on diapers and wipes. (My threshold for diapers is 10-15 cents and for wipes it’s a penny.) I now have 791 diapers in various sizes and 1,336 wipes ready to go.

My nesting didn’t stop there. Starting in late July I began a freezer meal plan. Once or twice a week I doubled a recipe and put the extra in the freezer– labeled of course– with specific instructions on defrosting and heating. We installed our car seat bases and had them inspected by EMS workers. We interviewed pediatricians. I even have about 50 jars of baby food in my pantry, which were about a nickel each thanks to coupons. I’ve put anything that isn’t nailed down through the washing machine and even cleaned the inside of my dishwasher. Even that one has me wondering, “who does that?”

Sam's LettersIn terms of work, I’ve been adding extra to my plate for three months so that I could actually take a maternity leave. Since I’m self-employed my boss (yes, that’s me) isn’t required to give me one. But, thanks to my kind editors, perhaps the biggest weight off my shoulders is knowing that I can take time off and I will still get paid because the work has already been completed.

I partly blame Pinterest for my onset of pregnancy OCD and partly my excitement. I just want to be able to give little Sammy my complete devotion. I want to soak up every moment without worrying about running to CVS for toothpaste (I’ve got ten tubes in my stockpile) or to the grocery store for paper towels (there are 22 rolls in the basement.) I would never be so bold as to say I’ve got it all together. I know enough to know that there’s plenty I don’t know. And that’s OK too.

I’ve heard a million times that once my baby arrives I won’t even have time to shower. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be an exception. Because of my enthusiastic prep work, perhaps I’ll be able to enjoy my new baby and an occasional shower. But I guess if I have to give up the shower I will survive.

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Pinterest Strikes Again! Foggy Headlights Disappear

Don’t you just love Pinterest? Last year we paid someone $40 to try to clean up our 1998 Audi’s headlights. Anyone that drives an older car knows this can happen. It’s not a huge deal, just makes the car look dingy. So when I saw on Pinterest that you can clean them with toothpaste and a rag I was skeptical. But then I tried it. Here are the headlights before:

Audi headlight before

I put toothpaste on a rag and polished them in a circular motion for a few minutes,  then wiped it off. I did this about 3 times on each headlight. Here’s the after shot:

Audi headlight after

My husband was so impressed with the change. But then again, he’s a car guy and he gets impressed by these sorts of things. I will probably have to do it once a month or so, but it’s way better than paying someone $40 for a similar result! What awesome tips have you learned from Pinterest lately?

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Handmade Travel Art for the Nursery

In just over nine weeks our little bundle of joy should be arriving! I think we have the important stuff ready to go. In fact, all you really need to bring your baby home from the hospital is a car seat. Beyond that, it’s all just icing on the cake, but I love frosting so I’ve been pulling together lots of little details in the nursery. The “theme” for Sam’s nursery is travel, a passion of my husband’s and mine. A while ago I came across this adorable embroidery art by Etsy artist Jennifer Allevato.

embroidery art

She also does these lovely state art pieces that I fell in love with!

state art

Using this as my inspiration I decided to try making a few of my own. I made one of Iowa (where I’m from), one of Ireland (where Tim is from) and one of South Carolina (where Sammy will be from!). I used fabric scraps from my collection. Vintage buttons from a huge stash that my mom gave me last summer mark the exact location of home (Sioux City, Belfast and Greenville).

nursery embroidery art

They’re definitely not as good as Jennifer’s but I think they turned out pretty cute. I think I paid less than a dollar for each embroidery hoop and everything else was free which makes my total investment in this art project about $3 and a couple of hours. Plus they are handmade by me which makes them even more special, right?

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The $50 Chevron Nursery Rug

I’ve been on the lookout for a rug for the nursery. The room isn’t very big so I just wanted a 5×7 or 5×8 in some sort of bold pattern. I thought about getting this one from Dwell Studio. It sells for $275 but over Memorial Day weekend they were having a 20% off sale so I could have purchased it for about $225.

nursery rug idea

I also thought about this cheaper one from Urban Outfitters. The Zig Zag rug is only $79 for a 5×7.

nursery rugBut then I came across another option while shopping at Home Goods. It’s a golden yellow and off-white chevron rug. I thought the color may have been a little off, but I knew I could have returned it if necessary and the price couldn’t be beat: $50! When I got it home I was pleasantly surprised. It’s perfect!

Nursery Rug

I think the color looks great with the crib sheet and the wood floors. It would also work in other rooms of our home which is always a selling point for me since I seem to constantly be shaking things up and moving stuff around.

Nursery Rug 2

And you just can’t beat the price– $50! I did spend $16 on a rug pad to add some extra cushion and help the rug stay in place. I’m so glad I didn’t spend $225 on the Dwell Studio rug a few weeks ago. I have plenty of other ways I can use the $175 I saved.

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Found: Modern White Crib at Walmart

If you’re a fan of modern design you know that for some reason when you tack the word “modern” onto a product you end up adding about 50% to the price. So when I was searching for a modern white crib I started to get a little concerned that I was going to have to fork over way more than I wanted to. But then through a miraculous Google search I stumbled across a place I never shop: Walmart. And I found this little lovely:

Baby Mod - Olivia 3-in-1 Baby Crib

Baby Mod – Olivia 3-in-1 Baby Crib

Although design is usually the most important thing to me when shopping (besides price) I knew I also had to consider whether or not the thing was doused in chemicals or covered in lead-based paint. Thankfully it’s not! I was happy to see that it almost has a perfect five-star rating from people who have purchased the crib. And I also thought it was interesting to see that the Walmart version, which is $269, is the exact same as the babyletto Modo 3-in-1 Convertible Crib found at other retailers. The biggest difference was about $110 in price. They’re even made by the same manufacturer. Can you tell the difference?

babyletto-modo-3-in-1-convertible-crib--espresso--best-price-8

babyletto modo 3-in-1-convertible-crib

I am not a Walmart shopper for many reasons. Probably at the top of the list is that I just don’t like being there. It feels cluttered and chaotic to me, but since I ordered the crib online I only had to spend a few minutes in the store picking it up from customer service. It was easy to put together and currently waiting patiently for the baby it will soon hold!

Sam's New Crib

Sam’s New Crib

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From Office to Nursery

I have begun the exciting task of turning my home office into Sam’s nursery. Here’s how the office looks now:

My Home Office

My Home Office

I still LOVE that Graham and Brown wallpaper– I even spotted it in Jeff Lewis’ house on an episode of Flipping Out. The white shelves will also stay, but everything else is pretty much on its way out. Here’s a visual plan I created:

Sam's Nursery Inspiration Board

Sam’s Nursery Inspiration Board

I basically built it all around the Skyline Nursery Collection from Dwell Studio. Since my husband and I love travel and NYC we thought it would make for a fun nursery theme. Here are a few of the tasks we have planned:

  1. Swap out light fixture with painted chandelier
  2. Move out most of the furniture
  3. Add a second dark gray Ikea curtain to each window
  4. Paint the inside of the closet a fun color to match the room
  5. Have our talented friend Barb at Knack Studios refinish a vintage dresser we own that will serve as storage and a changing table
  6. Create some handmade art
  7. Buy custom blackout shades— we have these in our bedroom and love them!
  8. Add a dimmer switch
  9. Refinish rocker/glider we found on Craigslist for $40
  10. Buy a rug and a few other accessories

That doesn’t seem so bad, does it? I hope to keep you updated on the progress as it happens so stay tuned as my office transforms into Sam’s  sanctuary.

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I’m Coming Out of Retirement

I’ve decided to pull a Michael Jordan and come out of retirement. After nearly a year and a half of silence, I’m going to start posting on The Honeymoon Phase once again. There are many reasons for this move, but the main one is that I need a place to express some of my recent and impending creative projects that just don’t have a home anywhere else. Plus a lot is going on right now and I want to make sure I catalog it all as best as possible.

Although so much has happened in the last 17 months (I started an online business, I was on the Today Show, my nephew was born, I traveled to Africa and a whole bunch more stuff) the biggest news is that I am expecting my first baby. Sam is due September 7, 2012 and I couldn’t be more excited.

Baby Sam, April 25, 2012

Baby Sam, April 25, 2012

So far I have had the best pregnancy. No sickness, no pains, no weird skin rashes. The toughest thing has been trying to find a pair of cute, affordable white maternity skinny pants. We did have some scary moments when our 20-week ultrasound revealed that Sam had some cysts on his brain and a calcium spot on his heart. We went to another doctor for a closer look and learned that these are two markers for a genetic disorder like Downs Syndrome. But Sam is developing normally in every other way so we are confident that he will be just fine. Many normal babies have these markers too and can grow out of them before they are born. They don’t impact function or development at all. No matter what we know that God made Sam in His perfect image and there’s nothing more we can ask for then that!

Sam's First Shoes

Sam’s First Shoes

I bought him his first pair of shoes this week. I found them on clearance at Michael’s for $2 and at first I thought they were just decorative little props for a scrapbook or shadow box, but they’re not! They’re real! Baby feet are shockingly tiny and I can’t wait to see Sam’s little toes in these! And that’s definitely worth coming out of retirement to talk about.

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