Are We There Yet? The Last Weeks of Pregnancy

The end is in sight!

Until approximately three weeks ago, I couldn’t even remember how far along I was with MJ. Now I’m probably scaring people away with the accuracy of my countdown. Like, whoa, what’s this chick’s deal? She really wants that baby out. Actually, it’s been a pretty easy road this time around [knocks on wood] so I’m thankful for that. And I really only have the typical complaints at this point. I can’t get my shoes on and I need at least two naps a day.
My motivation to get to the end is different this time. Last night I had to rock C to sleep. She’s five days into Binky withdrawal and it’s been a rough go for all of us. Each night is a little less crying, but we’re not all the way there yet. I was sitting in the dark, holding this 35 lb three-year-old and singing to her like I did when she was a colicky three-month-old. As tired as I was, I realized I missed that. Soon she’ll be over the pacifier and put herself to sleep again and she won’t need her mom to rock her.
Kids grow up. That’s inevitable. But I’m ready for MJ to make me that kind of mom again for a little while. The only time I want to go fast is the 5 weeks and 2 days until she (hopefully) gets here. Then I’ll keep those nighttime snuggles for as long as I can.

Ready for MJ: Our Nursery Project From Start to Finish

We are no longer living in a construction zone! Remodeling our office to become MJ’s nursery took about a month, but based on how dirty it made my house, you’d have guessed it had been going on much longer. Luckily, I have a husband in the trades. It’s easier to keep the project on track when the labor lives with you (sometimes).

Since we’re trying to save for the unpaid portion of my maternity leave, we outlined a budget before we started. Without decor/furniture we estimated the project would cost us $850. The room we were tackling was a walk-through off the kitchen that we had never touched, not even painted. Our house is a 1970s ranch and this room was keeping The Brady Bunch relevant with its paneling.

Andy started the demo while I hunted for a small dresser to fix up. It’s a small, 126-square-foot room, so space is precious. I found one for $40 at the Habitat for Humanity Restore. Some sanding, a few coats of paint/primer and some cute new pulls and it was just what we needed for baby girl.

Andy ripped down all the paneling to reveal some extra space behind the stairs, which he decided would make the perfect place for a built-in. He framed it up, Sheetrocked new walls/ceiling, textured and painted. Here are photos taken while I observed the work (without actually doing any).

Caroline has a coral/grey themed room, which is pretty fitting for our spunky little girl. I wanted MJ to have something just as cool and similarly non-traditional. Andy calls the local Sherwin-Williams more than he calls me, so he gave his two cents and we decided (after returning one gallon) on the colors Naval, Lotus Flower and Marshmallow.

We were generously gifted new trim from Andy’s employer, the leftovers of a different job. We picked up the remaining we needed and added some chair rail. At this point Andy decided to hire out the labor. He knows his limits (I’m glad one of us does), and finish work isn’t his strength. It cost a little more, but we’re not remodeling this room ever again so we wanted to do it right.

We rounded out the project with new carpet from The Home Depot and a new cordless window shade for the paranoid mom. This is how the expenses broke down:

$168 paint/primer – Sherwin-Williams (Andy always recommends the Cashmere line, which we used. It looks great and cleans well.)
$40 dresser – Habitat for Humanity Restore
$455 carpet – The Home Depot (plus we received a $150 gift card for our late install, score!)
$90 window shade – The Home Depot
$100 trim/chair rail/shelving – Menards
$250 trim labor – local carpenter
$120 drywall – Bond Drywall
$40 vents/switch covers – Menards
$74 decor – Hobby Lobby, Target

$1,337.00 Total

We obviously missed the mark on the $850 budget, but we’re happy with the outcome. Here are some shots of the finished product:

That’s Good! That’s Bad! 2016 Edition

A recap of the year, for better or for worse.

In true Step Brothers fashion, 2016 made me want to stand up in a crowd and yell, “This year is horse shit!” I do exercise some restraint though, believe it or not, and I’ve basically saved the drama for my mama (and my husband and my co-workers and my closest friends, sorry guys).

There was a lot of heartache and hardship, but looking back, a few really great things happened, too. Here is a recap of my year, as inspired by the Margery Cuyler book I loved as a kid, That’s Good! That’s Bad! It’s the story of a little boy’s adventures—some good, some bad—at the zoo. If you’ve never shared this with your kids, you should put it on your 2017 reading list. It’s a little bit scary, but in a “let’s talk about why we don’t crawl into a gorilla exhibit” way. Lord knows we don’t need another Harambe.

That’s Bad! 2016 was the year of the dead appliances. Our washing machine, water heater and microwave all crapped out.
That’s Good! We’re enjoying the benefits of cleaner clothes, warmer baths and a brand new surface on which to splatter uncovered leftovers.

That’s Bad! Andy and I sadly lost a baby in May due to a partial mole. It was the most heartbreaking thing that’s ever happened to our little family and it was a tough go for a few months as I endured weekly blood work and follow-up appointments.
That’s Good! Ultimately, I became much more in tune with what my friends are experiencing because, let’s face it, more people than not are struggling with infertility. I’ve grown more sensitive and realistic and hopefully a little more helpful to the people who need it.

That’s Bad! Donald Trump.
That’s Good! Maybe he’ll get a new hair stylist now.

That’s Good! Our miscarriage broke our hearts, but our faith was restored when we received news of a healthy pregnancy only a short time after our ordeal. Since then we’ve had several wonderful ultrasounds where we’ve been able to check on our baby girl, whom I’ll refer to by her initials, MJ. In an awesome turn of events, MJ is due on Mother’s Day, only two short days after the one year anniversary of my D&C. Everything happens for a reason, right?
That’s Bad! Nothing to report! We’re so excited!

That’s Good! We upgraded to a king-sized bed to accommodate the extra bodies (both human and animal) that share the space with Andy and I.
That’s Bad! Somehow, my square footage did not increase. Everyone else seems to be getting a little more leg room except for the mom with the growing belly.

That’s Bad! What I thought was going to be an amazing career opportunity fizzled out after significant time and effort spent.
That’s Good! I learned an important lesson about getting everything in writing. I also learned that my brain is still capable of learning new things, which is reassuring as I assess what my next career move will be.