Tag Archives: nursery

New Toy-box and a Final Nursery Tour

Homemade toybox

Toy-box

I have been crafting again – I should do more of this as I really enjoy it. I tend to shy away from craft projects due to lack of inspiration, and a general lack of talent (my Mum used to be an artist – how these genes bypassed me, I’ll never know), but my husband and I agreed that I enjoy it so much, it is worth it anyway. I am going to read some craft / home decor magazines, and I also have found a friend here who is going to teach me to crochet something other than long ‘worms’ which will expand my current ‘painting boxes’ and ‘cake pop’ craft repertoire 😉

Crochet stitch

After many failed internet tutorials, this is the most I can do with crochet. A worm. A pink / brown / blue / yellow worm, if you like. But still, a worm.

So… poor Firework will either be a craft-lover, or a child terribly embarrassed at his mother’s homemade, hokey decorations. Quite frankly, I am OK with either 😉

I wanted a toy-box for FW, but ones I liked were all pretty expensive. I had the idea of using an old apple crate to go well with the tree mural in the nursery… but actually finding apple crates, without paying hundreds of $$s for postage was not easy either. Then a quick trip to Hobby Lobby, and 10 princely dollars later, I emerged with a fake, plywood apple crate. Sweet. Some $5 plywood decorations later (including the name letters – hence the blank square) and I am pretty pleased with how it turned out. At least, pleased for $15. He can totally change it up when he is old enough to care.

I also made another ‘letter box’ – just for funsies.

So, unless the hospital puts us back due to being excessively busy, just 4 days to go. Final bits done to the nursery… all the light switches which were really old and discolored have been replaced with shiny new ones, covers have been put on the sockets (not that we need that yet, but hubby was being proactive) and the last things are in place. We have a changing table:

Changing table in nursery

A bed (it is still the spare room for when guests come, and then FW will stay in the pack ‘n’ play in our room – where he might start anyway) / nursing / play / crib area:

Gender neutral grey Nursery

Creepy uber-cam the husband wanted, which scans the entire room (you have been warned, future guests 😉 ):

Web cam for baby

And a closet full of baby clothes for 3 – 24 months – a sight that makes me smile every time I see it:

Baby clothes in wardrobe

See our bumbo? It’s a must have!

If you have sent us something lovely and cannot see it hanging up, this is because it is for 3 months or under, and is in the changing table ready to be worn! It all seems quite real, and very exciting now.

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Making a Mural for Firework

I am nothing, if not stubborn. I got a bee in my bonnet about having a tree on Firework’s wall. Which was going to be simple, as I could just order a nice wall decal (i.e. sticker). After much searching and deciding and comparing and pintresting and getting over the $100+ price, hubby and I decided to go for it. Alas, the new home has textured walls and decals won’t stay up. So I decided to stencil one on. Hubby was skeptical and very unenthusiastic, until he saw my canvases. So, we decided to go for it… except we could not find the tree I wanted. So, I decided I would just draw a tree o the wall! Yeah! How hard could it be? I mean, we’ve all been drawing trees since we were – like – 2, right? Green lollipop with a brown stick.

Little bit of my, ahem, artistic ‘talent’. I went to a super competitive school where we were drummed to be successes and basically forced to be so: the school would do whatever it took to get you to pass their end of year exams. Except, it would seem, actually pass me in Art. Seriously, I tried, but I remain the only girl to fail an internal LEH art exam. Sigh. And, really, quite fairly so. Years later, as a special ed teacher, my ‘art’ was the mirth of my friends, and the despair of my assistants. Lucy politely and in a roundabout way, basically asked if she could redo all my displays, as they were so dire. I said yes *hangs head*

But. Hormones. Age. Memory loss. Stubbornness. Whatever. I decided to make one for FW. Here is how it went:

1. Draw pic on giant paper:

2. Spend three days redrawing and refining pic:


3. Paint in proposed colours:

4. Cut out pic:

5: Tape on wall:

6: Draw around outline in chalk

7: Paint around outline

8: Fill in (painstakingly and boringly. Twice):

9: Paint accents:

10: Outline in black, adding detail:

11: Finally: add name in wooden letters ($1.99 each from Hobby Lobby), you have painted white.

Obviously this is edited on the computer not to show his real name 🙂

Voila! I am actually pretty pleased. No Picasso, or Monet, but I like it. It’ll probably be the bane of the kid’s life.Now we have to decide on cot (US: crib) colour. I say: white, he says: black. We’ll see.

If *I* can do it, trust me, anyone can. Here’s hoping some of you are inspired to give it a go…

Goodbye second trimester….

Or, as this post could be called “In which Lekki gets on her soap box again”.

According to this handy little calculator (which is also very helpful at helping me pretend not to be a completely useless-mother-to be and thus be able to actually answer the question “how far along are you?”) my third trimester begins anywhere from August 4th – August 9th. I.e. soon. It has been a while since I last blogged about my pregnancy – but you can take this as a good thing: basically I have been having too much of a rip roaringly good time traveling to NYC, entertaining the bestie on her sojourn to Houston, and working hard. OK, maybe the last one is not so good… I have also not had too much to blog about: straight forward as this pregnancy has gone. I did have lots of growing bump pics, but then some evil-knevil stole my phone and took them away from me. I hope s/he gets some serious guilt when he sees a bunch of bump and ultrasound pics, now lost forever. But… that’s by the by… let’s see how we are doing:

So, I am *checks calculator* 26 weeks and 4 days… 3 months to go! The baby is viable (woo-hoo), so come on out FW (but not like, just yet, or anything). The bump is pretty good, I have gone from this:

End of the first trimester

to this:

20 weeks

To this:

End of second trimester – 27 weeks

with weight gain at a healthy 13 lbs (and rising!).

My comfort level is pretty good. Have had one or two issues: while walking in New York I got this ‘orrible shooting pain down my back through my butt to my knee that made it impossible to walk – in fact made it only possible to literally collapse, thank goodness for NYC cabs everywhere. Mmmmmm…. sciatica. An exercise-based management technique has helped no end. Oh, and I had a night of false labour last week, which is waaaaaaay earlier than expected. Which was terrifying as I DID NOT HAVE MEDICAL INSURANCE TO CHECK EVERYTHING WAS OK, which Republicans think is just fine, as insurance companies should be allowed to exclude ‘pre-existing conditions’. Cough. Basically I woke up in the middle of the night with lower back cramps that radiated to my lower belly. The pain was impressive, and no amount of rocking / ball sitting / walking / curling up and sobbing relieved it. A quick internet search (because, yes, when you have no medical care Google is your only friend) revealed that it was likely heightened by dehydration so I drank 60 oz of water, lay on my left side, and eventually it eased allowing me to sleep for brief 10 minute snatches in between loo trips, marred only by my reassessment of the decision to attempt a natural birth. As you can imagine, I was a rockstar at work the next day.

I have, however, found an OB / GYN. Which was not as easy as it sounds. You think it would be, as you are basically saying “hey, in the US, people massively overpay per person for worse health outcomes, because they are afraid of government interference… so I would like to have you paid vast amounts to not give me the most effective care. Please”. Piece of cake, right?  Nope, because I have had a ‘gap in care’ and so am ‘high risk’ and no one wants to take me. After yelling ‘so you are going to deal with my LACK of care, by denying me more care?’ and  ‘Just to get this straight: you think that I may have some uncontrolled health conditions that could make the birth complex, difficult and expensive. So instead of treating them early and turning a complex, difficult and expensive birth (which the state has to pay for legally, as it is ’emergency care’) into a simpler, easier, less expensive birth… you are going to let them run amok and so become a more complex, more difficult and more expensive birth?’. After receiving several affirmatives, the Women’s Healthcare Specialists of Houston took me on. Hoorah. But in the process of which, I had to do all sorts of promising and faxing of records and proving that I and little Firework, are, to the best of my knowledge, exceptionally healthy. Because you know, we eat right, sleep well, do regular exercise yada yada yada. The ob / gyns all opined that the only reason I had had such an easy pregnancy so far was because I was in, and had maintained, excellent athletic shape. Yeah… that exercise and athletic shape thing. So, in other news, I have got my ever expanding butt off the sofa for the first time in 9 weeks (where has the time gone??) and completed 2 yoga classes, one strength class and 2 ‘runs’.

When I say run, I mean going from 8.5 min miles to 10 min miles. And from 15K to 2.5K.

Post run sweatiness

Included for Walter’s confused expression; he is thinking “I didn’t know whales ran?!?”. Also ignore my terrible hair – there was pre-dye gook in it, and so it looks straw like and straw coloured.

And by ‘strength’ I mean lifting 10lb dumbells and then collapsing on the floor to oogle at John Stewart on my iPad.

John Stewart, lookin’ smokin’ and saying smart things… as he does.

But, it is a start. And Wes is working on the diet, sneaking vegetables into my meals and snacks without me protesting:

“Would you like a chip, Lekki?”

“Mmmm… yes please…. wait, this chip is surprisingly green and ungreasy and kale like”.

He made kale chips.

Wes’ kale chips – actually really delicious

Apart from the potential health hazard of the inherent shock at ‘the-McDonald’s-employees-miss-me-when-I-don’t-go-daily-Wesley’ making kale chips I am sure it is overall a good thing.

So… we have also been receiving awesome, awesome baby clothes and gifts. I absolutely LOVE everything everyone has bought for us.

Oh, and we have been doing the nursery (I was reminded of this as Holly managed to send babygros that matched the nursery perfectly. Cool.). Too early ye say? Well, probs not, as FW is due early Nov, I have a grant due mid-Oct, and am traveling for the last 3 weeks of Sept (work)… and possibly have another grant due mid Sept. So, working backwards, this means the nursery needs to be done by late August: 3 weeks’ time.  Thus we have a lovely grey nursery courtesy of my excellent paint-choosing skills, and Wesley’s excellent paint-applying skills

Dark, but soft, grey walls and our awesome changing table which was given to us!

and a sketch of a mural which I am going to attempt to paint. Yup, the girl who failed basic art at school is going to freestyle it on a wall.Results to come… (good or bad).

The nursery theme is clearly grey & white, with yellow and blue accents (to come) so we have these pics I made too:

Not sure if I want to redo these to make them tidier or not

Can’t wait to meet the little ‘un!

Anything Etsy can do…

My blog writing partner tonight.

Saturday

What a weekend. I got up Saturday, excited about the start of our Bradley classes. Bradley is a 12-week birthing course, designed to prepare the couple as a whole for a natural childbirth. 12 weeks seems a long time (one 2 hour class per week), but Bradley’s rationale is that the woman is preparing for a intense endurance exercise which you should try to enter at peak performance, which takes time – a lot of 5K programs are designed to be conducted over 12 weeks; and heck, running 5K (which I first did with no prep) is quicker and easier than giving birth. So, Bradley is designed to teach you optimal nutrition, exercises for fitness, and also proper relaxation. It is also partner / couple-  centric. The idea being that the ‘other half’ supports the labouring woman with full understanding through helping with positions, breathing and massage. When she transitions and wants to give up, it is him that stops her giving in too early. Maybe it is too much… all this ‘preparation’ – after all, didn’t women just give birth without preparation since forever, and don’t women still do it all the time now? Sure, but Wes and figured a few things:

(1) Babies are bigger, our fitness is not as optimal, and our endurance is probably lower than ‘since forever’

(2) Sure, women do it all the time without preparation; but intervention rates are soaring, and many people do not report a happy experience (many do). Why not prepare to make it as good / positive of an experience as possible?

(3) This is a good way for Wes to be involved: reading blogs and talking to girlfriends about birth over coffee is not exactly his style… coming along and learning how to be useful is

(4) The social / emotional aspects are appealing. We are both looking forward to learning massage and relaxation together, and to meeting some people here in Houston (more on that later).

Plus, it is only $250 for 12 weeks… pretty impressive. The only annoying thing, was that I was preparing for a 2.30 class… kind of annoying time. It basically makes it hard to do anything in the morning or afternoon: midday would have suited me better. But, hey ho, I decided to do a manicure in preparation:

RCM Envelope Please

For my birthday, my Mum got me a whole gel polish kit. Gel nail polish is awesome: you apply a basecoat, 2 coats of polish and a top coat, allowing each one to ‘cure’ (read: dry completely) for 45 secs under an LED light. The polish is extremely chip resistant, and your nails tend to be fairly protected against flaking and breaking.

After the final coat was on, I looked up the address for the Bradley class, and found that it was at 12.30 after all. Score one for having a better time, lose one for having missed the class. I was mortified. I texted our class leader to apologise and she was ever so sweet, saying we could come on Monday evening to learn the exercises for the week. Phew.

Not sure what I did after that: tidy up, unpack from NYC, sort and clean out the bathroom. Then I felt at a loose end… which is odd as I have plenty of hobbies I can do at any time: reading, working, gardening, exploring Houston, piano playing, movie watching… but none appealed. Going and getting some craft stuff to start to make things for Firework’s nursery appealed, but didn’t ‘click’ I just felt lonely. I realised: I miss female company. Mostly, I miss hiking with Stella or David, going and playing with Sasha, Liam and Rachel (who will do anything with me), cinema trips and chats with Kat and my bookgroup 😦 It’s fine; we have only been in Houston 6 weeks, and building up those sorts of friendships takes time. But… I do miss it. So, Wes came with me to Hobby Lobby and patiently waited an hour (OK, patiently waited 40 mins, then was a pest for 20 😉 ) while I got some craft stuff. Dinner out, and then home to organize all my craft stuff. Everything put in neat draws and filed away before bed.

For the crafting

Meanwhile… Wes was back in the attic trying to locate the source of water dripping through our ceiling. Joy.

Sunday

Sunday was… dramatic. We left for church in separate cars so that I could go to IKEA after and Wes could go to Home Depot so he could solve the dripping water, which by now was staining our ceiling, causing little holes in it, and threatening to ruin our new laminate floor. More joy.

Wes left 5 mins before me, and then I got stuck at a train crossing for ages. So. I was surprised when Wes was not at church. Very surprised. I called him – no answer. I couldn’t fathom why he had not called if there was a problem… or why he was not answering now. Unless she had been in a horrible accident. So bad, he could not even call to tell me. Cue slow tears descending into complete hysterics as a further 4 minutes passed. Then Wes turned up… no explanation. He forgot to charge his phone and had made his way there. Must have gone a different route. It took me a full 15 minutes to calm down… I do blame hormones.

So, off I went to IKEA. I hate IKEA. The whole thing is stressful. I hate most things in there. I 1/2 believe that Satan sends his minions for training there on a Sunday. BUT, my beloved Clio is coming out, and staying in Firework’s currently empty, save a beautiful changing table, room (also currently called ‘Clio’s room’). She must at least have bed linen and blinds. Blinds are hella expensive (if you want them to look decent), except at IKEA. So, in the interests of Clio sleeping, in something other than bright morning light, I braved IKEA.

It all went quite swimmingly, with me hankering after this for FW’s room:

For the nursing

until I got to the actual blinds. The walls are going to be a fairly dark grey. I could not picture wooden blinds against that. I just couldn’t. I had been all set on them, now I couldn’t see it. I called Wes. 45 minutes I spent discussing / researching blinds and alternately thinking I might like white drapes against the grey. Wes said everything right; from offering opinion, to saying ‘if you like something, get it and I will love it – really, this is your room’. But, I was overwhelmed. Possibly precipitated by the fact I had just fallen down the stairs (shoe broke as I was descending) and in an attempt to protect the bump had bruised my ass (isn’t there enough cushioning there now??) and smashed my teeth into the railing, I just dissolved into more tears draped over a stack of blinds. Not a few – but streaming, snot inducing, dress staining tears. The sight was quite pathetic: pregnant woman in floaty floral peasant-style dress, with broken flip flops weeping into the textiles at IKEA. I grabbed dark grey roller blinds, white drapes, fixing and high tailed it out of there.

To decide on the way home that maybe white blinds would be best.

Which made me cry.

I made it home. Just. My broken and emotional state was faced with the news that the plumbing is up the spout, can’t be fixed until we can get someone in, we can’t get someone in until we speak to the people who deal with our home warranty and so no air conditioning for us. Let me repeat: no air conditioning. It is some 90-100 degrees during the day and 80-100% humidity. NO. AIR. CONDITIONING.

Yes, this is a story of first world problems… but… still.

Wes took me out to buy me a craft table from Walmart ($35 steal) and insisted I bough a ‘chocolate turtle cake’ and bottle of wine. He is a wise man. I went up and crafted myself into calmness (see? I need Bradley. I need to learn how to relax). I am quite pleased with what I made for FW’s room (not Clio’s room, she shall be spared the infantile decor):

To be bookends?

I will make several of these into a tableau

and came down somewhat better. If not. Hear my no air con plea? Yeah. Hot. Comfort food of pizza, and turtle cake and wine later, and I was ready to tackle my plants, which had survived my NYC trip with varying success. They had dried out somewhat, and needed restaking – sadly, some of the stems had snapped under the weight of the leaves 😦 Hoping that they can regrow?

Quite a forest here – hoping they will be ready to acclimatise soon, and be put outside for increasing periods of the day.

So, as above, my seeds grown in a mixture of potting soil and perlite were doing very well. My seeds grown in peat pots, not so much:

Ugh.

But, whatever the outcome, gardening further calmed me. I am now sitting downstairs (it is slightly cooler) on a made up bed, with the dregs of my wine, preparing to read this:

Walter is sitting with me. He got into my chocolate Philadelphia and ate a pot of it, and would have been told off, had he not been looking so ridiculous:

My pot

So proud was he of his steal, that he carried the empty pot EVERYWHERE with him, even into bed with me.

Oh, some good news though. 2 crafting episodes, 1 IKEA trip, 1 gardening trip and 2 sorting binges and check out my manicure:

LOVE gel nail polish 🙂