Friday, April 18, 2014

Lots to celebrate


There's been LOTS to celebrate in the Turner house this week. On Tuesday, I presented my final project for my class this semester which was super fun. It was about Amelia Bedelia (if you're wondering how to have the most fun in graduate school, it is in a children's literature program). Tuesday was also Peter's birthday! Since I was in class until later and we are still kitchen-less, we got fancy pizza from Max and Leo's and a frozen yogurt cake from Cabots - both dangerously delicious. 

Yesterday morning, I furiously painted the kitchen out of irrational fear that the next time I came home it would be with a baby after my external version appointment. I know that sounds like a weird priority, given the fact that the nursery room floor is still covered with newspapers and extra trim from painting stuff, but I can't make sense of the inner-workers of my brain, either. Anyways, that's done, and it looks good. 

Thennnnn the appointment. I had been so nervous for it, wondering back and forth what the right decision was. Where was my mother's intuition? But I did it, and I'm so happy I did. The baby flipped right around on the first try, and Peter and I are beaming with pride at his or her excellent ability to follow directions (when given a hearty nudge). 

I feel like we've been given this wonderful gift of waiting. The baby can take it's time, finish up cooking, and come to meet us when it's ready, and I'm so thankful. When I was awake at 4:30 this morning, though, I kept wondering how I would have felt if it hadn't worked. Would I believe I'd made the wrong decision? Hurt the baby and myself unnecessarily? I hope not, but it's hard to say.  

I had to sign a medical release form on behalf of the baby, and there was a slot for relationship to patient where I had to write "mother." My own mother asked me the other day if I could believe I would a be mom so soon, and I said, "No!" This seems to seriously call into question my intellect, since all physical signs point very strongly to yes, and yet still I can't entirely shake the feeling of disbelief. But making this one decision about trying to flip the baby around - the first of millions of decisions large and small that I won't be able to predict the outcome of - felt like a tiny step toward the reality of motherhood.

So, when Peter and I went to the fantastic new Alden & Harlow last night for a slightly belated birthday celebration, we were also able to toast to successfully navigating this first minor hurdle of parenthood together in tact. Here's to many, many more. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hooray for the end


Hope everyone had a lovely spring weekend! It was beautiful here, but Peter and I were trapped (kind of by choice...) inside, finishing up the floor and trim downstairs. I'll share some pictures soon! Our contractor very, very nicely had been letting us borrow his power tools for this project, but he is coming by today to pick them up. Hooray for the end of dust!!!

Our counter is taking longer than we hoped to come - we're currently scheduled for next Tuesday, and then appliances go in after that. Last week, I called and tried to give them a bit of a sob story about how I'm having my first baby any day now (kind of), and if there was any way they could move us up, we could be available at a moment's notice. The woman was unmoved. "Umm, I'll make a note..."

In between all that sawing and gluing, we went on a super fun date to State Park on Friday night, and then met friends for dinner at Russell House on Saturday. At Russell House, we were able to sit upstairs where the windows were wide open and it was breezy and still light out when we sat down at 7:30. Glorious. We'd already paid for parking (something we're usually allergic to, but it was a lovely concession to celebrate working all weekend/being 37 weeks pregnant) so we extended the evening a bit to sit outside in Harvard Square and share a concrete from Shake Shack. All in all, an excellent eating weekend.

I had my ultrasound on Friday, which sadly confirmed that the baby is still breech. It also looks like a frog in a jar at this point, it's face all mushed up against the top of my stomach. Poor baby. I'm doing all kinds of weirdo things from Spinning Babies, but we also have an external version scheduled for Thursday. I honestly had no idea how involved that procedure was, so I'm having some second thoughts. (If you had it, or have any stories about someone who did, I'd love to hear! The only things I've come across are tales of woe about it not working and inducing labor early, so...not really what I'm hoping to hear).

My mind has been spinning out of control, imagining an emergency c-section on Thursday while my house is in ruins and all my baby stuff is still at my parent's house in Connecticut. But the end is here (ish), whether I'm ready or not. And it truly doesn't matter if that second coat of paint makes it onto the dining room trim or not. My parents are coming up this weekend to drop off all the baby stuff regardless, so it will be in my cozy nesting fingers soon enough.

And, of course, I could still be pregnant a month of now! I have a feeling this stubborn child will be born a Taurus, so I think I've got until at least next week until we say "hi ;)"

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Pinnacle




This week, I think the house reached the pinnacle of chaos that it can contain. Almost nothing is where it belongs. Our temporary quarters have been worked and re-worked to accommodate ever changing areas that need to be accessed, and my brain is turning to mush. 



And yet. I really think this is one of those "it's always darkest right before sunrise" kind of moments, because even though it looks totally insane, the end is very, very close. Our kitchen cabinets are all installed, but the appliances are hanging out in the dining room. Our furniture is all over the place because Peter's laying down our floors, which are about three-quarters done as I type. And we made tons of progress on the upstairs this weekend, thanks entirely to my parents. I get overcome when I think about how much they've done and helped these last few weeks.


On Friday morning, Peter and I left for work while my mom stayed at our house (with our worker bees!) to paint the walls and trim in the baby's room. That afternoon, my dad came and he painted all the trim in our hallway upstairs. Then Saturday, we all painted the trim and walls in the dining room, hung curtains, and moved around tons of furniture. Gah! Do you see what I mean?! They come and do these terrible jobs, and they are cheerful and happy and bring us donuts. It's beyond amazing, and both Peter and I feel so incredibly lucky.

This week, the appliances will go in, the template for our counter top is being made, we'll finish up the floors, and continue to set up the baby's room. Because goodness! We've only got about a month until this baby is expected to make it's debut :)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Building the Baby's Library


1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

In the last few days, the baby and I have quite literally been showered with love and attention. My shower with family and friends over the weekend was an absolutely joy - I had the best time, and we received so many wonderful things. Even though almost all of it is still at my parent's house while we finish out our renovations (next week, hopefully!!!), I feel much more prepared. 

Then yesterday my office very, very sweetly hosted a shower, too. I work in higher ed, and I'm also part of the School's children's literature graduate program, so it fittingly had a book theme. All of my co-workers brought a favorite from their childhood, or one that their own children adore. The baby's library is now overflowing with all the classics, and also so many fantastic, slightly off-beat titles that were new to me. The ones above are just a few of the books that I probably wouldn't have picked up on my own, but I love them already. 

Of course, since the shower, I've been trying to think about what book I would bring as a gift. Such a hard choice! For babies, I'd probably do White on Black and Black on White, but when we get into picturebook territory, there are just too many great ones to pick! What would you chose?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Bits and pieces


Happy Friday, my friends! I hope you've all had a nice week. Our renovations have been chugging right along, though I've been fairly terrible about documenting any of it (hence this random, totally unrelated, but much more visually appealing pic of flowers!). Yesterday we had all of our new cabinets delivered, along with our dishwasher and stove. They were all piled into the kitchen when we left this morning, but I'm hoping that the base cabinets will be installed when I get home.

Since we opened up the wall between the kitchen and dining room, I knew that those rooms would be painted the same color. They're off of our living room, which is revere pewter, and I brought home silver mist (both Benjamin Moore). After painting the ceilings, I started cutting in with it last weekend, but immediately got nervous that it was too dark and similar in saturation to the revere pewter. This was, embarrassingly, keeping me up at night. Now that the cabinets are in, though, and I know how much white the rooms will have, I'm feeling better about it. AND, it's just paint, so I should really chill out. I definitely had less hemming and hawing about the floors/cabinets/counter tops, ha ha. (But if you'd like to weigh in, please feel free...)


Tomorrow is my baby shower, which I am so very excited for. Peter's staying home to work on laying down our new floors, which is a significantly worse way to spend a Saturday. Bits and pieces of incredibly sweet gifts for the baby from family and friends have trickled in this week, which is almost as fun as coming home to wedding gifts. We received one of those playmat thingies that are all crazy colors and flashy toys dangling from above. It's so easy for me to imagine a baby lying there, looking up at it, but it's still mind blowing to me that my baby will be using it shortly.

In other baby related news, I had a doctor's appointment yesterday and they think the baby might be breech. Of course, I've been furiously googling "how to tell breech baby" and "make breech baby flip." I have an ultrasound in two weeks to check, but that feels so very far away. I feel like I can't do much of anything, just in case the baby's in the right place now? (And of course, I know that breech isn't the end of the world by any means, and that the baby still has time to flip on its own, etc., etc.). I should probably go back to worrying about paint.

I thought this post would be a quick bullet list when I started off, but I guess I had a lot of sharing to do! The only other thing I wanted to tell you was that I finally started The Goldfinch, and gosh it's good so far (though I still believe it's fairly audacious to make any book this long).

Hope you all have wonderful springy weekends ahead!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Just beyond



A chilly weekend away in southern Maine at the end of March doesn't exactly scream "baby moon," but that's what we called it.

Over the last eight years, Peter and I have taken many, many trips - both big and small - together. Our first was to Williamsburg, Virginia about six months after we met. The town was all decked out for Christmas, and we bopped around eating and drinking and generally feeling extremely adult about the whole thing. That Sunday afternoon was drizzly and cold, but there was a promise of fireworks once it got dark enough, so Peter got a taste of how serious I am about pyrotechnics because we stayed on that town green until the bitter, celebratory end.


Then there were the weekends in New York, before we lived there. Weekends in D.C., after we lived there. Weekends in Boston, before we moved here for good. There were wedding celebrations in Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York, North Carolina. Winter weekends skiing in the Berkshires, driving into the wilds of Canada, bopping down to Newport.


And big trips. Taking off for nearly a month to roam around Brazil, and then Hawaii. Week-long stays in Paris, and Charleston.

In the middle of our Brazil trip, which we took off on just days after getting engaged, we went to different beaches all the time, ate so much grilled meat, brought cards everywhere we went to play gin rummy because everyone around us seemed to be doing the same, and I remember one night, probably about halfway into the trip when Peter and I were out at bar where the floor was covered with a thick spread of sand underneath our feet, he said very casually, "It's so lucky that I get to spend all my days with you."


In celebration of these days together, when it is just an us, we ate fried sea food, and took a long walk by the steely grey water, perched as gracefully as possible atop bar stools, and toasted to this lovely, lucky life we have together, and to all the lovely, lucky things that await us, just beyond our line of sight.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Upstairs Bathroom Re-do


Last fall, I hatched a brilliant plan - we could give our upstairs bathroom a quick make-over during Christmas vacation!

(Ha. Ha, ha, ha.)

Initially, this space wasn't anywhere near the top of our priority list because, unlike almost every other room in the house, it functioned. Hideous, yes, but functional. But because we convinced ourselves that making this room a whole lot better would just involve a series of small upgrades that we could do ourselves, it moved rapidly up the list. Plus, it made me kind of depressed to imagine giving the baby baths in that putrid yellow tub. The pictures above are from when we first moved in (that's not my curtain - they kindly included it in the sale...).

The first order of business was the tile. Now, if we were planning to stay in this house for many years to come, or if our tile was in great shape (but was just an unfortunate color), we would have either saved up to totally re-do the tile, or had it professional re-glazed. But we decided a quick and easy fix was more than fine for our purposes, especially since the tile has some cracks - I think it was a somewhat poorly done DIY when it was initially put in.

I heard about tile paint in This Old House, and thought it might be worth a shot, even though it seemed almost too good to be true. Painting over ugly tiles for a bright white finish?! But as you can see below, it's pretty darn good! I buffed and cleaned the tiles one night and filled in all the cracks with caulk, and then Peter painted the finish on the tub tiles and around the floorboard tiles (I actually left the house in honor of our unborn baby's brain cells - this stuff was incredibly toxic smelling). Then - and this is the tricky part about using this product - we left the house for a week (it was Christmas to New Years) because the tile can't get wet for a few days.


After this, the series of updates runs together in my mind, but we painted the walls a really pretty pale blue, replaced the horrible track doors on the linen closet that were never on their tracks (this task nearly broke Peter because the frame was so far from being square it was crazy!), replaced the light over the vanity, took down the huge, glued on mirrors and replaced the one over the sink with a Home Goods find, and installed a new towel bar and toilet paper holder.

We lived with it with these updates for quite some time while we shopped for, ordered, and waited on a new granite vanity top and sink to come in. Earlier this month, we finally picked it up! Right before that, I painted the awful faux marble laminate vanity base with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. I was very skeptical about this product, but it was amazing. It's strange stuff - very thick and matte - but the coverage was incredible. I did have to give it four very thin coats to effectively wipe out the marbling, but it was worth it.

The small narrow shelves to the left of the vanity had shudders that were falling off (this house is FULL of shuddered doors!). I took the measurements to Home Depot and they cut me new pieces of wood, and I bought some basic trim pieces to finish them off. I added the same new hinges and knobs to these that I used on the vanity.

The final-ish task was taking off the old vanity top and sink and replacing it. My parents were in town last weekend, so Peter took off the top and disconnected the water in the hopes of finishing the job when they were around so they could help lift it onto the vanity. The pipes were so old that they weren't standard sizes, and our new sink didn't line up exactly with these old pipes. Nightmare! After hours, Peter basically gave up called our plumber on Monday morning. The plumber assured him he was super close to finishing and gave excellent instructions, and he was able to finish the job.




I can't believe how much I've written about this bathroom update, and I know most of it wasn't exactly riveting. But I am incredibly proud of this project. My mom calls it the "painted everything" bathroom, which is fairly accurate, but it's also a place where we - and particularly Peter - did some things that we both would have happily left to professionals just a few months ago. With the electrical work, carpentry, and plumbing tasks, I feel like we made huge strides in our confidence to dive in and figure things out in this crazy old house.

And now, of course, I'm not at all depressed about giving the baby a bath in this pretty little room :)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Loving Lately


I recently devoured this sweet little book in one day (it's a middle grade reader, so don't be too alarmed by my speed reading!). I now want to not only rescue a stray a dog, but also acquire a spunky old librarian friend, and host a candy and pickles party (let's not blame pregnancy for that one - those two foods sound good to me always).


I've never been a one-piece bath suit person (I have a long torso, and I always feel like they look a bit strange?) but this summer will fall just after I have the baby, so it might be time to take the plunge! This one from Garnet Hill is pretty and seems flattering. But how do you guys buy bathing suits online?! You have to reject so many before finding one that fits right - it's seems really hard! Related, I also need a cute cover up :)

When we were in California, we played Cards Against Humanity one night. We were all laughing so, so hard and kept putting off making dinner until later and later into the night (even though Sarah, Joel, and Peter had to explain the meaning of some of the cards to me and my parents - ha!). Super fun, but not for the easily offended.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Tomorrow we are taking a day long child birth class at the hospital (eeks!) and on Sunday I'm so thrilled that my mom is coming over to help with big some house projects. Cheers to a false sense of preparedness and projects!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Surviving a Kitchen Re-model without Living on Take-Out


We are two and a half weeks into our renovations, which means we've also survived for two and half weeks without a real kitchen! This was one of the most nerve-wracking aspects of the remodel for me, so I thought I'd share a few tips.

The first is that if you can do your remodel during the warmer months of the year, it will make your life a bit easier so that you can grill or throw together quick no-cook meals. I'm hoping that over the next few weeks, we'll be able to grill a bit, too (the giant snow flakes currently swirling around outside might suggest otherwise, but I'm going to maintain my delusions).

Our cooking set-up relies heavily on our slow cooker and microwave - two gadgets I didn't use at all before this. I know many people use their slow cookers all the time, but I have trouble working out the timing of it. Why are so many recipes 4-6 hours long? If I had a fancy slower cooker with a timer, this wouldn't be an issue, but alas, I stole this one from my mom and I think it's probably 20 years old. To work around this, I've been focusing on recipes that require 8-10 hours, or just 2 hours, so that I can either start in the morning before I leave for work or throw it together immediately when I get home around 5:00 p.m.

These are a few of my favorites so far:

I've had a few failures, too, including this slow cooker mac and cheese (totally gluey). To round out these meals, I bought frozen pre-cooked rice, brown rice, and quinoa at Trader Joes, as well as some of their frozen risotto, gnocchi, and Indian meals for nights when a 2 hour slow cooked dinner isn't going to cut it. These actually remind me of the early days dating Peter, when we made these kinds of things all the time (and thought they were delicious! ha). 

The worst thing about the remodel is the lack of a sink. Our accessible bathroom is upstairs, so we do all our dishes there (and obviously have to go there to wash hands, fill up a water glass, etc.). Every night, we fill a giant water pitcher and bring that downstairs, which helps with a bit with the back and forth, and I've started using some disposable plates and bowls, though I feel kind of guilty about it. To minimize dishes, I've stopped making salads and simply through extra vegetables (fresh or frozen) into the grain when it's microwaving or near the end of a slow-cooked dish, like peas, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, kale, or arugula (which I treat like spinach). 

I think that's everything I've learned so far, which looks long, but is admittedly not that revolutionary! If I'm missing something genius that made your kitchen renovation more bearable, please let me know! I've still got at least 3-4 more weeks of this...



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Which Way to the Bulb Show


Last weekend we went to the annual Smith College Spring Bulb Show. We used to go most years when I was growing up, but I don't think I've been for at least 10 years! It was such a great way to spend a warm, late winter afternoon. 



The first room is stuffed to the brim with flowering trees, tulips, and daffodils, and the smell is intoxicating. 





Doesn't this all feel so happy and bright?



This is the last weekend of the show, if you're in the area and are looking for a cold weather antidote!

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