Going on Vacation:)



We're heading out tomorrow for our annual trip to Prince Edward Island, Canada! Probably not the smartest thing to be doing when you're 34 weeks pregnant and its an 11 - 12 hour drive to get there, but everyone I've talked to (my doctor and midwife included) say we should go for it as long as I'm feeling up to it. It'll sort of be like our baby moon, one last time away together while its still just the 2 of us (even though BG is always "with us" now).

I'm figuring the 12 hour drive will turn into a like 16 hour drive with all the bathroom stops I'm going to have to make!!! I've told Paul he'll have to be patient with me, its not my fault my bladder has been smooshed to a pancake. We're actually only going to drive about 4 hours Saturday night and then stop at a hotel in Bangor, Maine..finishing up the rest on Sunday. Anyone have any tips for long car rides while extremely pregnant?!

It'll be worth the trip though...PEI is beautiful and so much fun!! This is our third year in a row going up and staying with our friends. To see pics from last year's trip and read more about the house we'll be staying in again this year, click here. To check out our photos from our first trip in 2008, click here. To read about and see pics from our visit to Green Gables (the 19th century farm that is the setting for the much loved Anne of Green Gables book series), click here.

We'll be back in a week, so I'll see you guys then!!! Enjoy the last days of July and the first week of August!!!! And maybe wish me luck;)

The Nursery: Ikea Hemnes



Hi! This is what we are currently working on in the nursery...assembling the 8 drawer Ikea Hemnes dresser in white that will also serve as our changing table. This thing has a ton of parts and the directions are hilarious, but so far so good. I actually only needed Paul's help for the bits where you have to lift the dresser on to its legs or rotate sides, etc. Right now I'm on step 24 of the assembly and I have to get to step 42 to have this puppy done. Can't wait to see how it looks in the room when its all completed!

As you can hopefully tell, we have made slight progress in this room...the walls are now Benjamin Moore Heaven on Earth instead of dirty cream. And we have our crib set up, though I haven't taken a picture of that for you yet.

Anybody else have anything from the Hemnes line?! Do you think the no words, just pictures Ikea directions are easy or hard? Hope you are all having a great day!

The Nursery: Alphabet Cards



Back in May, I went on an overnight girls trip into the city (Boston - I'm there all the time but this was different cause it was purely for fun and we stayed in a fancy hotel right on the Common) with a few of my friends. Of course this had to involve shopping on Newbury Street (I can only handle this for a few hours, but the other ladies I was with are die-hards...an ice cream break kept me going!) and entering every baby boutique we saw (one of the other girls is also pregnant with a girl due a week after me and the other 2 have young kids). While the other expectant mom bought all kinds of cute clothes for her little one, I bought BG some more room decor...a pack of Alphabet Cards by Cavallini from the shop Lester Harry's. Figures:)

So now I have to figure out how to hang all 26 of these suckers up! Here's some inspiration pics I found of some different ways to use alphabet cards in a nursery:

{leaning on a shelf of hooks...from Land of Nod via Row House}

{mounted on artist canvas and secured with silver brads...check out the tutorial on the blog tiny Decor here}

{high around the room like a border...these are DIY cards by mom and dad Natalie and Keith for baby Roman...via oh dee doh}

{on vintage wallpaper and framed...from PaperNest's photostream}

{hung on some kind of line - these cards are a horizontal format just like mine...via Canadian House and Home}

Now, although I love the whimsy hanging these would add to the room, I still keep going back to a basic symmetrical grid right on the wall. Sort of like this:

{from Children Inspire Design}

I've always loved the idea of many small similar things being grouped together to create one large scale dramatic moment. I definitely want to use all the letters, but 26? That's not divisible by anything...except 2 and 13. Urggghhh. I guess we'll solve that problem when we get to it!

I could mount them all on something larger, like canvas with fabric, but this seems like more work and I'm already wondering how much of this room I'm going to get done before she gets here (the countdown is on - only 49 days until our due date!). So I think I'm looking for the easiest way possible to get all these things directly on the wall. Can you guys think of any adhesive or anything that I could use to stick these right to the wall that will hold them securely? Any and all suggestions for mounting are welcome:) Do any of you have alphabet cards somewhere in your home? Or just a collection of small art grouped together? Thanks!

A Few Baby Shower Details



Hi! I had my baby shower this weekend!!! (I'm 32 weeks and 4 days today, no idea how that happened! And lots still left to do.) I had a wonderful day, it was so nice to see everyone and we got so much great stuff:) Huge thanks to my mom and sister, as well as Paul's mom and sister, for all their hard work, generosity and thoughtfulness.

I asked one of my friends to take pics during the shower, but haven't had a chance to check them out yet. I meant to get some detail shots before everyone arrived of the centerpieces, food, set up, etc. but of course that didn't happen (we actually had it at my house and I was still trying to fix my hair like 5 minutes before everyone started showing up!). But I did try and take a few photos for you after wards (these first few are recreated outside, not the original set ups) so you could at least get an overall sense of the day.

{they focused on fresh flowers for the decor (how can you go wrong?)...mom had her favorite local nursery/florist make a ton of arrangements of all different wildflowers in mason jars (that she supplied them with)...they were everywhere, on all the dining/coffee tables, in the bathroom, out on the deck...they were gorgeous, these pics don't do them justice!}

{the rest of the color palette was pink and aqua/teal after BG's nursery...my sister even took a cue from our holiday party this year and bought pink gingham fabric and cut it in half to use as table runners...good girl!!}

{the party started at 12:30pm and we did a "luncheon"...the theme was very light, healthy, summer fare...lots of salads and good bread...followed by some yummy dessert and a cake}

{we didn't play many games - not my style - but had a few "activities"...my sister-in-law provided these cute blank note cards and we had guests fill them out with mom advice, well wishes, or a message to the baby...i'm going to keep them with some other things in a cute memory box and they'll be sort of like a guest book}

{these 3 pieces of poster board with markers were hung on one of my blank walls...at first they were blank, except for the titles, and guests filled in their thoughts throughout the shower...we are still entertaining names for BG although we're about 90% sure we have the right one...I had hoped for more participation - we had about 40 women/girls there - but it is fun to read what everyone wrote!}

{the aftermath...not pictured - the boxes with the stroller, car seat, and high chair...everyone was so generous and I think we have everything we need now except for a few key things (crib mattress, changing pad, gotta go through our registry and see what else...huge thanks to my amazing family and friends}

The Great Floor Debate: Solved!



Hi! Wow, sorry for the long and unexpected hiatus. How is everyone doing?

Finally, our new floors are done!!! And they look awesome, we love them! This whole project was a bit of a pain in the butt, but in the end it was worth it. (Read about our debate and see the before pics here, here, here and here.) Here's some pics from right after everything was finished...but before we had moved back in any of the furniture, put back on the baseboard heater covers, etc. (Most of that is done now, these photos are from last week, but I haven't had time yet to take real afters with the house put back together yet. PS. It is really annoying to move all the furniture and accessories out of your entire downstairs and then put them back again!!!)

{from the foyer looking into the living room...before the foyer floors were cherry and the living room was nasty off-white carpet}

These photos are terrible, they don't do the floors justice at all. You really have to see them in person.

{living room with family room in the background...excuse the random french door...both of these rooms had carpet before}

They did not actually come out exactly how we had envisioned (but not in a bad way, in a completely different, beautiful way). The floors we had in the kitchen and foyer were pre-finished maple in a cherry color. They were very even (in terms of color) and sleek/modern. Maple is not really supposed to have any grain which is one of the reasons why we (mostly Paul) chose it. However, we did not realize that staining maple is a completely different story. It does not stay consistent and even in color...instead the stain brings out a lot of contrast in the wood, not necessarily tight patterns of darker grain like you would see in oak but large shapes of different colors, some light, some dark. I'm sure if we had started with a knowledgeable finisher instead of our original "floor" guy, he might have explained this to us right from the beginning when we told him the look we were after. But in the end, we are really happy with the way they turned out! This completely worked in my favor because I was after a more rustic, uneven look than Paul was (but he's not disappointed, he loves them too). The different tones are beautiful, they remind me of tortoise shell glasses - there's some golden spots, some really dark chocolate spots, some medium very unsaturated spots.

{the family room}

So, just to review - these are 3 1/4" x 3/4" solid maple boards with one coat of Minwax's Dark Walnut stain and 3 coats of semi-gloss sealer.

{looking from the living room into the kitchen...before the living room was carpet and the kitchen was maple wood in a cherry finish}

When we realized halfway through the new floor guy that things were going to turn out more than alright (and we stopped panicking and were really getting excited again), we decided to change part of our original plan. We were going to leave the oak in the dining room and just have that sanded and stained to "match" the maple. However, the color between the oak and the maple was not quite as close as we hoped for and we realized that we just really liked the way the maple was looking. So we had the new guy rip up the oak in the dining room (I know, I felt really bad when he was doing it - so much for my attempt to be environmentally friendly!!) and install and stain the new unfinished maple exactly like he did in the living and family rooms.

{dining room...used to be skinny natural oak}

So we went from having 4 different types of flooring in our downstairs to all the rooms (except for the bathroom, which still has tile) having the same floors. What a huge difference it has made in terms of flow and scale and making the whole house seem more unified!!! Yay!!! And we learned a lot along the way;)

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