Sunday, April 28, 2013

ghosts and gas and gray, oh my...

Back with another round-up of memories that I hope I never forget. Except the first one.

Tuesday, April 23 (17 weeks, 1 day): Everything WAS going great with prepping the nursery - 
got the room cleared out, made some moolah selling random stuff that was stored there, purged books and binders and notes like mad, started deconstructing the closet...good times. On Tuesday night, though, mid-wicked-rainstorm, I woke up to a weirdly consistent tapping noise. Every ten seconds, a single tap, coming from a wall in the yellow room. Possible sources of the noise circulated in my sleep-dazed head - raindrops? Heating ducts? A small animal? But it didn't sound like any of those things, and it was happening at regular intervals. I listened for about a minute before deciding to turn on the light. I flipped the switch, and the noise abruptly stopped. Sooooo, obviously we have a ghost. I laid awake in bed for almost an hour trying to figure out if we could use the purple room as a nursery instead.

Ghosts in the nursery. Specifically, the wall on the left. Dammit.

Wednesday, April 24 (17w2d): A milestone - a parent from work became the first brave soul who dared to ask me, without knowing the answer, if I'm expecting. I grinned and said yes, then immediately wished I had responded with a bewildered, hurt look, and a small, "No...I just had McDonald's, though." Heh. Next time, Gadget.

Thursday, April 25 (17w3d): Lifted my shirt (in the privacy of my own home) and discovered the bottom of my bellybutton. I've never seen THAT before. Instead of a wrinkly inward cone, my bellybutton is now a smooth, shallow little bowl. So. Weird. Love it.

Friday, April 26 (17w4d): Got the all-clear from my OB to paint! Woo! I really thought painting was a 100% no-no, but if I use a no-VOC version (which was the plan anyway) and make sure to have plenty of ventilation, breaks, etc., it's a go. Plus, there's nothing like admitting to your OB that you're so anal retentive that no one else is allowed to paint a room in your house. Except maybe a pro (too much money) or my brother (who's a resident and also the parent of a toddler, and perhaps does not have much time to spare).

The room & I are primed for painting action.

Saturday, April 27 (17w5d): Every night when I'm reading in bed, I keep a hand on my belly, waiting for baby movement. So far, all I've felt is my own pulse in my hand because I'm pressing too hard. BUT. I am 99% sure what I felt on Saturday night was a baby kick. In fact, I think I've been feeling it for a while and mistaking it for gas bubbles. It's hard to describe - like little thuds scooting around, and I felt them more internally than with my hand. Unbelievable. Miraculous. Better be a baby and not a brewing fart.

A sneak peek of the paint color we chose, and a fun way to mark the first time I
felt the baby move. No, not sure why I painted the "April" in horror-movie font.

Sunday, April 28 (17w6d): Got the first coat of gray up on the nursery walls! Good-bye, McDonald's yellow. I'll be back with the full run-down of the painting venture soon (I know, HOW CAN YOU POSSIBLY WAIT?), but in the meantime:

Circa early April...
...and circa today. Progress!

Plus, some bonus items I'm looking forward to this week: 

  • A regular OB check-up tomorrow (i.e., get to hear the baby's heartbeat!)
  • Supposed to be in the 70s all week (FINALLY)
  • It's May on Wednesday (my favorite month)
  • Chipping away at the nursery to-do list (list includes making a list)
  • Aaaand the "big" ultrasound on Friday (also important for decor decisions)

Crossing my fingers everything goes well at both of my doctor appointments this week...and that any resident ghostly beings are more Casper than not.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

when I was seventeen (weeks)...

I know, without a doubt, that I'll want to remember all the details of my first pregnancy. Everyone keeps reminding me to remember. Remember all of this. And since apparently pregnancy brain isn't just a blown-out-of-proportion myth, I figured I'd better record "all of this" in a place slightly more permanent than Post-It notes shoved in my bag.

Unfortunately, I only remembered to remember starting last Friday. Sorry, self.

Friday, April 19 (16 weeks, 4 days pregnant): Went shopping with my sister. Realized I'm at a weird in-between stage where my regular clothes are...unflattering, but maternity clothes are either (a) too big, (b) too low-cut for those of us with less-than-ample bosoms who also bend over constantly at work, (c) out of season, or (d) probably just fine, but I'm still in denial that I have a belly at all, sooo...yeah. I did find a couple of things that fit, though. Like a necklace. And some tortilla chips.

Saturday, April 20 (16w5d): All of your Pinterest food boards can go to hell. My energy may be high again, my penny breath may have disappeared, and my nausea may have quieted down, but your caprese eggs Benedict and cheddar jalapeno chicken burgers brought back the mouth sweats. Shudder.

I'm sure this is delicious. Also pretty sure it's what
my barf will look like in three...two...one...

Sunday, April 21 (16w6d): Watched as J.J. and his dad hauled fence pieces and furniture around and felt like I wasn't doing my share. So I continued my game of organizational dominoes and tackled the basement - start to finish.

I actually sorted through all of our power tools, manual tools, painting/
plumbing/electrical equipment, and ALL THE SCREWS AND NAILS.

Even a basement can be stupid clean. And check out the
world premiere of my scary-ass crawl space on the right.

J.J.'s workout gear...and the bureau from the
yellow room, which now houses all of our tools.

Monday, April 22 (17 weeks): Spent my lunch break tearing stuff up in the yellow room closet (a.k.a. nursery). Removed the bad hanger bar, the bifold door, crust from the floor, and two random flower stickers from the wall. Wanted to be caulking and painting instead. Smelled something musty and wondered if it's mold in the floorboards under the window where there are old water stains (they were there when we moved in). Also convinced myself that the baby's lungs will turn to mush if we put its crib in the same room as the Obviously Out of Control Black Mold Problem. Fired off a frantic email to our house inspector. Still not quite sure what to do.

Tuesday, April 23 (17w1d): 

    Things I have eaten while crying in the last few days:

  • Strawberry-lemonade slushie (while watching news coverage of the Boston Marathon bomber being caught)
  • Half a jar of pickle spears (while watching "Full House")
  • Hippie Fruit Roll-Ups, a.k.a. Fruit-A-Bu rolls (4 of them) (while watching "Splash." Yep, the reality show about celebrities learning to dive)

Also at 17 weeks, 2 days, the major theme of the last week or so seems to be: sharply vacillating body dysmorphic thoughts as my belly really starts to pop. And then disappears. And then hits the door frame on my way into the bathroom. And then is invisible from the front. But then not in THAT shirt.

Don't get me wrong - I love that the belly is finally here. But it'll be great to have another ultrasound next week and confirm that the belly is a result of a growing fetus, not just pickles and fruit strips. Although, hell, if that belly is all from pickles and fruit strips? I'd be pretty proud of myself. Just saying.

17 weeks, 1 day

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

...but we know this much is true.

Despite yesterday's post, the reality is that hope is more prevalent lately for me than anxiety. My friend Kristen reminded me early on in the pregnancy that I have a choice: I can either let joy or fear reign during this surreal, incredible time in my life. On her advice, whenever possible, I'm going with joy. And joy comes in the little things, the everyday contentment and satisfaction, in plans and dreams, details and schemes.

So here's a better list - Near-Daily Reasons Why I'm Mostly Just Happy Lately:

  1. Evening walks in temperate weather. And spring thunderstorms.

  2. My favorite lunch, which is delicious, healthy, and made up entirely of foodstuffs that I couldn't even think about a month ago: whole-wheat rotini with greens, chickpeas, hard-boiled eggs, red and green peppers, and shredded cheddar, tossed with Annie's Goddess dressing & a big splash of red wine vinegar.

  3. Big plans for the back yard, starting with picking up fence pieces this upcoming weekend to border our property along the park (since that sweet neighborhood group chopped down our natural border last fall...invasive species, schminvasive schpecies).

  4. Downsizing clutter - and making bank from it ($240 and counting in the last week from Craigslist!).

  5. Random "thinking about you & Baby" texts from my dad.

  6. My (practically edible) favorite candle.

 7. The secret cubby in our garage (also known as a milk door, but not used as such for probably fifty years or so...and "secret cubby" is a way more awesome term).

  8. Reading in bed before I go to sleep.

  9. Finding out about friends who are pregnant and due right around the same time as me.

10. Time alone with my guitar.

11. Nursery plans.

12. My daily Note from the Universe.

13. My favorite blogs.

14. Plink Garbage Disposal Cleaner & Deodorizers - I snag these from Bed Bath & Beyond every now and again; just drop one in your running disposal, and it's instantly clean and fresh-smelling. Love them.

15. Our office, which continues to evolve (finally unearthed our diplomas to hang, along with some corkboard to cover with fabric and mount on the wall)...

16. Friends who randomly reach out - even from far away - with words of comfort, support, and kinship.

17. J.J. He's my favorite.

18. Finally ordering this print I've been coveting from Mae Chevrette's Etsy shop for the front room (which is also evolving...).

19. When my mom posts pics on Facebook of my sisters and me from thirty years ago (need to find one with my baby brother!).

20. ...And then wondering if this little one will be a boy or a girl...

16 weeks, 2 days!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

if we only knew.

Near-Daily Reasons I Scare Myself that I'm Pretty Sure I Potentially Might Possibly Maybe Miscarry:

  1. Because I didn't eat a proper breakfast.

  2. Because I swung a preschooler up over my shoulder and felt a tug in my abdomen. 

  3. Because I keep moving furniture around and carrying heavy boxes up and down two flights of stairs.

Boxes of books. Many, many books.

  4. Because I'm not as hungry/sleepy/nauseated/crampy today as I was yesterday.

  5. Because I ate those eggs from the salad bar.

  6. Because I've smothered my chin in perioral dermatitis cream (prescribed by my dermatologist, who was aware of my pregnancy, and okayed by my OB) twice a day since Week 8, and surely it's teratogenic.

  7. Because I inhaled fiberglass insulation dust when I moved that old light fixture. 

Sketchy yellow insulation, stage right. Or left. I always forget.

  8. Because I ate a casserole with a cream of chicken base, and I haven't had chicken in at least ten years.

  9. Because bad things happen to good people.

10. Because a range of food beyond fruit and fountain Coke tastes good again.

11. Because I received a baby gift.

12. Because the yellow room is almost cleared out.

13. Because I told everyone about the pregnancy.

14. Because I keep waking up on my back in bed. ALL THE TIME. And I can't remember at what point in pregnancy you're not supposed to do that anymore.

15. Because I looked at baby furniture at Target.

16. Because the Internet.

17. Because Beyonce had a miscarriage awhile back. And Gwyneth.

18. Because I pinned a bunch of nursery inspiration pictures (like below, from here and here).

19. Because my stomach is smaller today than it was yesterday.

20. Because those apples weren't organic.

(Note: Yep, this is just how my mind works. I don't take the threat of miscarriage lightly, and I don't think miscarriages are funny. At all. I do, however, think my magical anxiety thought patterns are pretty funny. These are actual occurrences that led me to think, "Welp, that's it. It's probably over now.")

(Note Part Deux: It's hard not knowing for sure what's going on inside. Here's hoping my growing midsection is because of the baby and isn't just late-winter muffin top.)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

light is right.

Out-of-control with the house purging and organizing this week. More on that soon, but let's step back in the kitchen for a moment...which is looking a lot lighter these days:

Right. Remember the kitchen? When I last left off (of my ridiculously-late kitchen updates), I'd revealed the cabinetry, flooring, appliances, extra storage, countertops, and backsplash. Lighting was next on my list, with my hopes being that I could make the room brighter in general.

As you can tell from this picture - taken on moving day, I believe, and excuse J.J.'s tush on the couch - the kitchen doesn't always get a lot of light. True, the adjacent family room gets a decent amount from the sliding doorwall and two large windows, but that light doesn't always translate to the kitchen itself, with its one measly north-facing window.

Being prepped for paint in December 2009

We'd already taken a couple measures to brighten up the room, such as painting the walls a cheery blue and deciding to paint the cabinets white. Still, the room's light sources - i.e., two boob lights on the ceiling and dingy fluorescent under-cabinet lights - left a lot to be desired.

For the two ceiling lights, I wanted something (a) more modern, and (b) brighter. I tossed around the idea of having can lights installed, but that was definitely out of the budget, since it wasn't something we could really do on our own (no access to the other side of the ceiling). Then I thought maybe track lighting of some sort would have a similar effect - especially after I ran across this at Home Depot:

Image: homedepot.com

I hesitated on pulling the trigger, though (shocking, I know), because it didn't seem quite right. And on an April trip to Ikea, I figured out why: because THESE were infinitely better.
Image: ikea.com
Hellooo, Ikea Alang Ceiling Lamp! Don't let the picture fool you; in real life, it's bright white. I grabbed two of the larger (18") size for $40 each and brought them home, where they promptly sat on my hearth until OCTOBER. So, like, six months. Whatever.

J.J. did the un-installation (unstallation?) of the boob lights...

...while I prepped the Alang lights to be installed. Unfortunately, we had to add a couple hours and a few surprise trips to the hardware store (&*S*#^!!%), because the ceiling cans weren't the right size for the new lights. J.J. took on the challenge of fixing the issue, which was good, since I'm more likely to hook the originals back up, return the Ikea lights, and cry in my car. But yes, it's a good thing he persevered, because:

AWHHHH! (Obviously, that's the sound of angels singing as they stand in awe of the new lights.) What can I say, I freaking love them. They are decidedly more modern, they offer some spice without being too in-your-face, and they're way brighter. Honestly, after they were installed, the kitchen had a totally different look to it. Even the paint seemed brighter.

But we weren't done yet. The new range hood offered another great source of light that we didn't previously have...

...but I wanted some more under-cabinet lighting - other than the sorry excuses that were there:

(I'd already removed the plug-in strip light from that left-side cabinet in this shot.)

Those. Fluorescent. Lights. Sucked. A LOT. They poked out from under the cabinets, one had to be plugged in to work, and their light was harsh and...dumb. They were just dumb. I researched lots of different choices, but it was hard to find an option that didn't require hard-wiring (which was super intimidating, not to mention way more work than I thought necessary - plus it was going to be tricky to hide the wires). Then, Lowe's and behold, I practically tripped over the solution: Utilitech's Battery Operated LED puck light kits. At $25 for two puck lights, these adhesive-attachment, battery-operated, touch-button lights were EXACTLY what I was looking for. Bonus? It took about ten minutes to stick the five lights (I have one left over) to their new homes.

Again with the loooooove. They're bright, they're easy to turn on and off, and they turn off automatically after thirty minutes to save the batteries. (We've had them for about six months now and haven't had to replace any batteries.)

But...again with the BUT...there was still more lighting to tackle. When the kitchen was painted blue in December 2009, the fluorescent light over the sink was removed - and never re-installed.

Green indecision = blue end result.
See it there, peeking out from under the sexy wave moulding? Yep. In any case, we'd had no light over the sink for about three years...just a hole with capped-off wires dangling out. (Don't try this at home, kids.) It was high time to replace the fixture - but with what? I didn't want to significantly block the window, and, as with everything else, I wanted something more modern. I thought about a chandelier of sorts, but everything I looked at seemed like it would block the window too much. Plus, they were usually pretty expensive. Again, Lowe's held the answer, this time in the form of allen + roth's 3-Head Decorative Track Light for $53 with my Lowe's card:
Image: lowes.com
I believe I also snagged this back in the spring, only for it to languish in the basement for about six months before we installed it. The major hang-up was the ceiling over the sink, which was in dire need of some repairs and repainting.

Removing the wavy moulding had left an uneven line in the drywall, and try as I might to fix it, I could NOT get it looking good. I spackled and sanded, spackled and sanded, spackled and freakin' sanded until my hands nearly fell off - but it was still uneven and funky-looking. I fixed the wall next to the new corner cabinet, and I painted everything blue with the leftover paint from December '09, but it was still a bad situation.

Good news/bad news was that I eventually realized we were going to have to call in a handyman for a couple of odd kitchen jobs - fixing a bunk outlet, for one - and I figured I could have him help out. Until then, though, I decided just to install the fixture...maybe just so I could have one more thing crossed off the never-ending kitchen to-do list.

Success. And a surprise bonus is that the shape of the light heads is hexagonal, which unintentionally echoes the backsplash! I seriously hadn't even looked at the light fixture since early summer, and I chose the backsplash in the fall, so when I unpacked the fixture and started assembling it, I realized the happy accident. Awesome.

The end result is a much brighter, lighter, happier kitchen, for about $200.

And you get a little sneak peek of the new console table by the fridge in that last picture! Next time, Gadget...


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