The Worst Advice For Moms (or anyone for that matter)

I only have 3 months of motherhood experience. But with the additional 9 months of being pregnant, I have a full year’s worth of experience of being a punching bag for advice-givers. I can take it! In fact, I welcome a lot of advice. One of the benefits of being a ClubMom member is unlimited access to parenting tips.

But there is one piece of advice that should never be offered, even if you’ve “been there”. It’s just two words.

Don’t worry.

Telling someone not to worry is not helpful and is kinda offensive because it implies that their feelings aren’t valid. And for moms, all we do is worry. So not worrying is not an option.

There were many things that have happened to me in the past year that have prompted me to write this post.

“I don’t have morning sickness. I hope the baby’s ok.” 
“I’m zero centimeters dilated. I hope I don’t go too late.” 
“My baby is breech. I hope she turns so I don’t have to have a c-section.”

Now I know that after all of those things, my baby and I are fine. Nothing was really that big of a deal. At the time, those worries were all-consuming, especially the worry about the c-section. I had spent 8.5 months preparing and planning for an unmedicated vaginal birth.

It is so easy to say “don’t worry” in response to someone else’s problem. It’s almost like a reflex. And I think we say it genuinely because we hate to see a loved one fret. We’re totally all guilty of saying it and will continue to be, simply because we are human.

Next time a friend comes to you with an issue or is stressing out about something, I urge you to pause before you say “don’t worry” and to instead think about it for a minute. Maybe you know that the baby’s erratic sleep schedule is just a phase or that having a c-section really isn’t that bad. But remember the brief period of time before you had that knowledge? Think about what you would tell your past self.

Animal Alphabet Band Inspired Nursery

Nursery

Rabbit Rabbit 🙂 Happy June! It’s baby girl Pritchett’s birth month! We are so excited as we prepare for her arrival. I thought I’d go ahead and give you a tour of the nursery and how it came to be before she comes home.

When we moved in, this room was designated as “my” room where I could keep all of my treasures, out-of-season clothes, and craft supplies (basically, the things all girls “need” but don’t want to give up after moving in with a boy). We also put a sleeper sofa in here so it could be used as a guest room. Because of this purpose, we did not paint or put much effort into it (even kept the drab curtains that came with the house).

Guest Room Guest Room Guest Room Guest RoomAfter finding out that our family was going to be expanding, I knew that meant it was time to purge! Luckily, one of my most prominent pregnancy symptoms has been nesting, which makes it less of a chore to pack up and organize (especially while listening to the Serial!).

All of the things

After the purge was done, we had a blank slate! Choosing a theme for a room is hard! Especially when doing it for someone you have not even met! And executing a theme is even harder. We Googled, Houzzed, Pinterested, Apartment Therapied, and Project Nurseried. Finally we asked ourselves “what do we both like? what is our common bond?” and landed on an idea of an animals-playing-music themed nursery. So back to Google, Houzz, Pinterest, Apartment Therapy, and Project Nursery. Still nothing really spoke to me. My mom suggested finding a textile or print that could get our wheels turning. Then l remembered Spoonflower –  a Durham-based ecommerce site that prints fabrics designed by individual artists. That is where I found our inspiration for baby girl’s nursery: Musical Animal Alphabet featuring a cheetah playing a cello, a sloth playing a sax, a fox playing a flute – you get the picture.

Animal Alphabet Band

Now, what to make with this fabric? Sure, I’m a College of Textiles grad, but I did not want to spend a lot of money or time on a DIY project. I decided to make box window valances as an accent and go from there in terms of decorating. My parents came over to help me make them. We used leftover wood remnants from our mudroom renovation, some corner brackets, batting, and a staple gun to assemble the valances.

Window Valance DIY Window Valance

We installed the tie-backs with coordinating double curtain rods to allow for both sheers and black-out curtains. The trickiest part of the DIY window cornice was figuring out how to attach it to the wall. We ended up using L-brackets and setting the 4-sided cornice on top, securing it with a couple of screws. The curtains came from Kohl’s.

Nursery

I felt more confident about moving forward with choosing a paint color after nailing down the theme. Several paint samples later, we selected Sweet Leaf by Valspar. My dad used his power painter to get it done in no time!

Transition Transition TransitionAll of this painting and crafting in the nursery was happening simultaneously with our office renovation!

Once the paint was dry, the furniture could finally be put into place! Below is the obligatory photo of dad-to-be assembling the crib.

CribAnd voila! Baby girl’s room is ready for her!

Nursery

3 Sprouts Laundry Hamper, Swan
Ubbi Diaper Pail, Gray
Keekaroo Peanut Changer, Sable
Maternity Photos by Azul PhotographyNursery

Rocker – No link available! Ben’s parents reupholstered his 25 year old La-Z-Boy recliner as a gift to us and baby girl. The fabric is Richloom Studio Home Decor Fabric in Haskett Charcoal from Jo-Ann Fabric. A La-Z-Boy’s comfort is truly everlasting, and this one rocks and reclines. Priceless! The chair is draped with a blanket made by my mother-in-law featuring a beautiful cross-stitched design.
Sundvik Crib from Ikea
Deer Silhouette and Wolf Howling with Music Sheets – Instant Etsy Download
Office Window Covering in Bass Clef Fabric from Spoonflower

NurseryLamp – hand-me-down from my aunt
Knit blanket handmade by a sweet friend for a shower gift
Manhattan Toy Crib Mobile (recommended by Lucie’s List)
Posey Canvas Crib Skirt from DwellStudio
(My Boppy and hospital bag are ready to go!)

NurseryShelf handpainted by my grandmother – I have to have a place to put trinkets and knickknacks.
NurseryCabinet from Shelton’s Furniture
Bicycle from Ross
Baskets from Marshalls
NurseryKeno Guitar Rug from RugsUSA

NurseryNow, if she could just here soon so that she could start enjoying it! I hope she likes it as much as I do 🙂

 

Sunny Office Space

home office

Within the past couple of months, we’ve done some rearranging of rooms in the house. Mainly due to our impending family expansion (baby on the way!), but also because, like with any project, one thing leads to another. Our home office is now in our sun room, which was previously underutilized. The guest room was moved into the old office and the nursery is now in the old guest room! The home office transformation was the most significant (and challenging) renovation.

The project started because the sun room did not even have electricity hooked up to it, so in hopes of actually using the space, Ben and his dad installed properly functioning outlets. Unfortunately, the previous electrical work had been done so haphazardly, our walls were left beyond repair.

Sun room before

Sun roomThat’s when we decided it was time for a whole new sun room, from top to bottom! We thought that the 8′ x 12′ room would be the perfect amount of space for our office. (Plus, it is not a very effective sun room – it faces west.) At 6 months pregnant, most doctors recommend against amateur construction work which left Ben doing most of the work on his own on nights and weekends, starting with installing the beadboard. Bless!

Beadboard installationWe did call in support and my dad came over to help a few of the nights.

Dad and Ben installing beadboard

After the beadboard was installed, Ben started on the floor. Since the room does not have heat or air conditioning, he laid down a heated floor system before tiling. Hopefully this will keep the space comfortable during the winter months.

Heated Floor

When putting floor on top of a heating element, it is important to be careful not to nick any of the wiring, or the whole heated floor idea will be a loss.

Tiling

Next, it was time to paint! There is no one I know who feigns enjoyment by painting more than my dad. Or maybe he actually likes painting.

Dad Painting

The last step before moving the furniture in was to grout the tile. There comes a point in every project when you have to ask yourself “how much is my time worth?”. As we were nearing the very end of this renovation and approaching our deadline (my friends were going to be hosting my baby shower at the house), the answer was “a lot”, so we hired grouters to come in one random weekday and they finished the job in less than 2 hours!

GroutWe had extra material in the basement to use for our chair rail and other finishing touches. Finally, move-in day!

Home Office

Below are before and after shots. The before shot (sorry it is blurry!) was taken when we first bought our house.

Before After

I’ve been working remotely full time for over a year now and Ben works from home occasionally, so having a home office that is separate from my regular living space is important. Like many of us, my job requires me to be at a computer the majority of the day (which probably explains my lack of personal blogging after hours!). As much as I love my job on its own, the space in which I spend 40+ hours a week needs to be inspiring and motivating as well.

Tour the Garden this Spring!

What are the major indicators that spring has arrived in Raleigh? Dogwoods in bloom, downtown festivals, and of course yellow-covered cars! But the true kick-off of Oak City spring is Service Raleigh, which happened in late March.  Our neighborhood’s Wedge Community Garden has been a major part of Service Raleigh annually.

The Wedge Community Garden

This year, Service Raleigh was on an unseasonably cold yet delightfully sunny Saturday morning! Members from all over the Hillsborough Street area came to the garden to help gear it up for spring. Ace Hardware worked to install a new bulletin board as NC State students spruced up beds.

Bob King, Ace Hardware
Five Ace Hardware employees spent over 20 hours building the bulletin board! Pictured: Bob King, owner of Seaboard Ace Hardware.

 

 

Service Raleigh

And of course you never leave the garden hungry! Mellow Mushroom, Irregardless, Moonlight Pizza, and The Cupcake Shoppe provided sustenance for all of the volunteers!

Service Raleigh Food

Even though I don’t necessarily have a green thumb, the Wedge Community Garden is always welcoming. That’s what is so great about the garden – it is so much more than dirt and plants! One of the most unique features of the garden is the WedgeConnect program, which helps college students build skills and experience for the real world, while doing good for the community. Students design and lead a project for the garden with the help of professional mentors and businesses. Projects have included photojournalism, blogging, reporting, poetry, educational workshops, and so much more. The Wedge Community Garden’s goal is not only to grow beautiful fruits and veggies, but also to grow young community leaders. It’s no wonder it is a finalist for Neighborhoods USA Neighborhood of the Year!

The garden is open to the public, but your chance for a special tour is coming up on May 2nd at 11am during Raleigh’s 2nd annual Jane’s Walk. Learn all about the garden’s mission to grow a healthy community! Don’t forget there is still time for anyone to sign up to lead a walk, so if you are passionate about Raleigh fashion, art, food, architecture, technology, business, conservation, dogs, anything at all, this is your opportunity to share your passion with your neighbors!

Wedge Garden Gardening Days

Outdoor Space Renovation

You may recall that one of my core values is outdoor seating. This definitely came into play when we were house hunting back in 2012 and also when it came time to prioritize house projects.  Since closing on our dream home-to-be two years ago, we’ve dedicated a lot of time, elbow grease, sweat, and dirt (lots of dirt) to making over the backyard.  And now it’s finally at a point where we can just live and enjoy our outdoor space! No more rotting  wood, “Descend at Your Own Risk” signs, temporary fences, leaky ceilings, plywood safety barriers, or dimly lit pathways.

For the final part of our outdoor space renovation, we forwent the DIY route and hired a construction company to demolish and rebuild our mudroom. The company also put up safety rails for the back steps and around the basement stairwell.

The photo on the left was taken in January or February of 2013 around the time that we were moving in. On the right is our finished product!
The photo on the left was taken in January or February of 2013 around the time that we were moving in. On the right is our finished product!
In the spring of 2013, we got around to installing new locks. The photo on the left is the only proof I have of the interior of our former mudroom. On the right is our sparkling new mudroom! (I don't even want to get mud in it!)
The photo on the left, taken in the spring of 2013, is the only proof I have of the interior of our former mudroom. On the right is our sparkling new mudroom! (I don’t even want to get mud in it!)
The left photo is present day. The top right photo was taken on a Saturday morning in February 2014. The bottom right photo was taken the next day.
The left photo is from February 2015. The top right photo was taken on a Saturday morning in February 2014. The bottom right photo was taken the next day.
After we finished the patio in June 2014, I took the photo on the left. The one on the right is the finished product...missing some green, but that will come soon enough!
After we finished the patio in June 2014, I took the photo on the left. The one on the right is the finished product…missing some green, but that will come soon enough!
Another before and after between spring 2014 and winter 2015!
Another before and after between spring 2014 and winter 2015!
No more rigging up safety barriers for the entrance to the basement. Now toddlers, drunk people, the elderly, and perfectly healthy adults won't risk their lives while on our premises.
No more rigging up safety barriers for the entrance to the basement. Now toddlers, drunk people, the elderly, and perfectly healthy adults won’t risk their lives while on our premises.

The only thing we need now is consistent springlike weather!