Monday, March 31, 2008

The Great Crib Search




We have nursery furniture! After a weekend trip to the Twin Cities, we returned home with a car-full of baby furniture. Literally.

Ray and I went to the Cities this past weekend to meet up with some friends of ours that we haven't seen in a very long time. But the main goal for Saturday morning was to find a crib and accompanying nursery furniture. I have been wanting to buy nursery furniture since we found out about Baby in October, but something has always prevented us from actually buying something.

The Great Crib Search began in December, probably, as Ray and I began browsing through the stores looking at baby furniture. We realized something rather quickly: Cribs are expensive. Seriously, very expensive. You could easily spend $600 to $1,000 on a crib. So, we went back home and developed a budget for Baby's room. As the process moved forward, I only really had two requirements: I did not want a drop-side crib (I prefer the static sides), and I wanted a non-white, preferably dark-colored, finish.

I was primarily responsible for finding pieces that I liked and showing them, usually online, to Ray who would either give his OK or disapproval. In late January or February, I finally found the pieces that I wanted from J.C. Penney's. We were planning to order it all online since they don't actually carry the stuff in the store. Shipping was somewhat steep, but it wasn't as much if you ship it to the store. Plus, Penney's offered a discount for the mattress if you ordered it at the same time as the crib. OK, so in early March, we sat down all set to order our furniture. Well, longer story shorter, the crib and the changing table could be ordered to the store for something around $100 shipping, but the mattress for whatever reason had to be shipped to your address, for an additional shipping charge. OK.... Further complicating matters was that because the three pieces had different shipping destinations, thus they needed to be handled in two separate transactions. Which meant we weren't getting the mattress discount. About an hour into this ordeal, we quit and decided to look for another nursery set. It was getting rather expensive and, more importantly, too frustrating.

So, we cruised the Internet some more and finally settled on a really cute set by Simplicity, a less expensive brand. It was really cute -- and Ray liked it more than he did the first set.

About that same time, a very kind aunt gifted me a book on how to find quality baby items without spending a small fortune. In this book (Baby Bargains, if you are interested), it rates potential brands for items such as cribs, swings, strollers, etc., from A to F based on cost and reliability. While perusing the book, I found that Simplicity received an F due to massive recalls in the past. (In the interest of full disclosure and fairness, Simplicity's recalls were limited to drop-side cribs and ours would be static.) So that brand was out.

I was now beginning to panic a bit. I joked to Ray months earlier that our baby was going to end up sleeping in a cardboard box in the living room (this was during a period of time in which we were dragging our feet on cleaning out the spare bedroom to make room for Baby). But, this was beginning to look much more likely as time progressed.

So, I began doing research and reading this Baby Bargains book from cover to cover. Seriously, I think I have it memorized now! There are just a handful of companies that got As in the book -- most were the higher-end companies. But Ikea was the only "cheap" brand that got an A. So, what the heck, Ray and I checked out their stuff online and there was one crib that looked pretty nice. We didn't want anything fancy in the nursery taking away from his painting and the decorations.

OK, so this past weekend, we went to Ikea and we just fell in love with our nursery set. We bought the crib and matching changing table (pictured above). We also plan to buy the matching toy box and mattress when we return in mid-April, but we just didn't think we could fit it all into the car. We also found a few other decorative items that we just love for our Northwoods theme, so we're going to pick them up next time as well, once we have a bit more room.

So that was our weekend. We just absolutely love how everything is coming together.

Thanks for checking on us -- sorry this got so long!
- Bethany :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A sneak peek





Well, here you go! As you can see, there was quite a bit of detail involved with everything -- but we're SO happy with how it turned out thus far! (Yes, there still needs to be some touch-ups in certain areas, not shown, and there are some rumors flying around our house about possibly having an eagle above Lola's crib ... but we'll see.) Ray is now officially out of green paint -- he just barely had enough to finish the tree. He will now mix colors for the remaining flowers that need to be done. (As an added bonus, if you count the "pairs" of branches on each side of the pine tree, you also come with 23, which I didn't know until Ray pointed that out to me.) The butterfly, which turned out to be a very beautiful addition, was a surprise to me. Ray stayed up really late one night after I went to bed early and showed it to me the next morning. It's so cool. I just love it.

So, as you see, the nursery is getting closer to completion -- now we just need to do something about the furniture...

- Bethany :)

Monday, March 24, 2008

The third trimester

Just three more months!!! It's amazing how fast time has gone, and yet how slowly it creeps by.

Things continue to move forward with the nursery, but it still is not quite yet done. We plan to have the entire painting phase done by this weekend. Once you see it, maybe you all will understand a bit better why it has taken so long -- Ray is working as hard as he can as often as he can stand it. But, it was just a huge undertaking for us (and by us, I mean Ray, since I don't really do anything other than peer over his shoulder and breathe down his neck). He did have a productive weekend -- Ray finished the painting the pine tree (although he does just have a few touch-ups to complete). So now he is back to the flowers for the remainder of this week.

It is just so pretty! I just love walking in and feeling like you're in the middle of the forest on a nice, summer day. (Of course, it is also a nice distraction from our snow-covered landscape and ice-covered lakes.)

Myself, I still feel good. I get tired occasionally when I'm on my feet too long or working too hard around the house. My worst problem seems to be back pain -- my lower back gets awful sore by the end of the day, but I'm still not nauseas or anything so I'll take it. I have another doctor's appointment this Wednesday, but it should be fairly routine.

Lola continues to get stronger. In fact, I was taking a bath this weekend when she began making waves, if you can believe that. It was pretty funny -- I had my own (very) mini whirlpool! My only complaint is that she seems to think my bladder is a trampoline, but I guess she has to find some amusement in there anywhere she can find it.

This blog must get be pretty boring for you regulars! I mean, I can already predict my next entry: Nursery work continues, but it's still not done, I feel fine, Lola is kicking a lot. Oh well. Maybe something interesting will happen this week -- or maybe the painting will finally wrap up and I can post some pictures and brighten this page up a bit.

More to come,
- Bethany :)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Wow!

OK, so I realized today that I am no longer in the triple digits. There are now just 99 days left until my due date!

Wow!

- Bethany :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Hiccups

Well, Lola had the hiccups for the first time Sunday night -- at least it was the the first time I could tell. I always wondered how one could tell the difference from kicking or other movements, but I guess since I get the hiccups at least twice a day, if not more, I have the feeling down pretty well. Anyhow, she had them for about four minutes. It was really cute.

And, much to Ray's delight, once Lola finished up I got my own dose, but mine lasted much longer -- and were much less cute.

Just thought I'd share.
- Bethany :)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Deforestation

Ha! This so goes what Ray believes in, but today we cut down a tree. Figuratively, of course.

After spending two days painting the trunk of one of the two planned pine trees in thr nursery and finding that it was taking two-plus hours to paint one branch (out of 15 or so), he decided that our mini forrest would have one tree. Lots of flowers, but one tree.

We'll see how he feels by week's end.

Well, I am still a week or two away from the official beginning of the third trimester, but I did get a preview maybe of what is to come. For no reason whatsoever yesterday I got nauseos. Nothing really set me off, but I felt really queasy for about 5-10 minutes.

Personally, I'm hoping it was just a fluke.

Oh, this was kind of unsettling: I get daily updates from an online website that tells me about the baby, how big she is, what she is doing today, etc., and it announced that as of last Sunday she is now "viable" if, for whatever reason, she was born prematurely. Aside from the obvious problems that she would be three-plus months early, that makes me think I should have a LOT more done at home than I do.

So I'm choosing to just ignore that and assume that she isn't coming until June.

Last night for the first time in probably six-plus months, Ray and I stayed up until midnight. Well, when my alarm clock went off at 8 a.m. for work I half laughed to myself, turned it off and slept in until 9:30 a.m. instead. I realized, though, as I fell back to sleep that my nights of 9- and 10-hour periods of sleep are probably dwindling.

Oh well.

Happy Palm Sunday everyone,
Bethany :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Nursery is progressing...slowly

Ray and I have always had our own special number, 23. We met on Sept. 23, and we always celebrated the 23rd of each month during that first year. When he proposed, there were 23 lit candles around the room. I still get cute little notes and such on the 23rd of each month.

So, I came home from work on Monday in a bad mood (this is pretty typical until I can either take a warm bath or put on comfy clothes like sweats). So, I go into the nursery to change and I see that he has started painting little pink flowers on the walls. (No, no trees yet -- that will come this weekend, I think). The flowers are SO cute!

So I return to the living room and tell him it looks very nice and asked him if we was doing the trees next. "No, not 'til the flowers are all done," he says. Then he looks at me, kind of shyly, and he's like, "There are going to be 23 of them."

He's such a cutie.

So in short, the painting is ongoing. As is the dresser situation. Ray had tried to finish staining the dresser and everything this past weekend, but that just didn't happen as planned and now I guess he has to start all over. Long story short, the dresser wasn't dry and the tarp that was on top of it for the ride back to Bemidji kind of melted into the dresser, so now we have a dresser with little green flecks all over it. Personally, I think it now matches the green grass and just looks like it laid face-down on the ground, but Ray didn't go for that.

Oh well. But, I'm still optimistic for a finished nursery by the end of March. We'll see.

Besides that, not many changes in Baby Land. Lola continues to get stronger and my stomach continues to get larger. I guess that's to be expected, but I am still having problems adjusting to the fact that it's getting harder and harder to see my feet. Not impossible yet, but my neck is getting quite the workout in the mornings! I also keep checking my belly button, but that has fortunately stayed inside thus far (I have a weird thing about outeys -- they kind of freak me out).

So, yeah, I guess all my concerns to date are appearance-related. So I guess that means everything is going well so far!

Thanks for checking on us!
- Bethany :)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

You know you're pregnant when...

...you have an emotional breakdown in the middle of Wal-Mart.

Ray and I went to Wal-Mart last night to buy milk and lemonade. Our fridge, I guess, was too cold and our milk turned to ice milk this week and I won't drink it since it got all chunky. Ick. And last time we went to Wal-Mart I wanted some juice but nothing sounded good at all but then I saw this new thing from Topicana about Pomegranate Lemonade and thought I would give it a try -- and surprise, I really liked it. A lot.

So, we went to Wal-Mart last night to get milk and pomegranate lemonade.

Except, "Super" Wal-Mart was out of the lemonade. Completely. I made this poor guy check in the back to make sure, but nope, they were all sold out. So I had a breakdown and started to get all misty-eyed and Ray dragged me out the store before I started crying in the middle of the dairy section.

Oh, and on another food-related note, I learned recently that Minnesota doesn't carry Aunt Jemima's coffee cake mix anymore.

What gives?

Everyone keeps asking me if I'm craving anything. Yeah, white cheddar cheese popcorn from Karmelkorn and Aunt Jemima's coffee cake mix. We don't have a Karmelkorn in town, so we got some in the Twin Cities last time.

Seriously, it would be more helpful to crave something we have locally. Like fresh snow. Or ice. We have lots of that.

I guess I could make snowcones.

- Bethany :)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Ray's colorful weekend

Well, Ray had a productive weekend! We decided last week that he would begin painting the nursery this weekend, seeing as though we plan to order the crib and furniture by March 18 or so. Well, Ray's good friend Layne drove up to visit this weekend and the two guys worked pretty much all day Saturday and Sunday.

So, in case I haven't described our nursery yet, here goes. We're doing a northwoods Minnesota theme, which means it will be decorated with Minnesota woodsy animals (moose, deer, fox, owls, wolves, etc. -- hopefully all friendly-looking as to not send our daughter into nightmares immediately after birth). So, we have lots of stuffed animals. But, because we always take the complicated route, Ray is painting a mural on the bedroom walls with red and white pine trees.

This past weekend, then, he and Layne got the walls painted. The top two-thirds or so was the blue "sky" and the bottom one-third was the "grass" -- he will finish up in the next week or so with the pine trees and little pinkish flowers that match the bedding.

It's quite the project. But, it already looks so nice! Seriously, the blue and green are bright and vibrant and so pretty. The guys did a real nice job this weekend. I do have some pictures, but I'm not going to share them. (I'm nice like that.) I'd rather post a picture of the nursery once it's all complete. So, maybe in April sometimes y'all can see what it looks like! I'm excited, it will be very nice when it's all done. My goal is to have the entire nursery set up and complete by the end of the month.

So, that was our big news.

Not much else has changed. I'm still feeling good, although I had a sudden bout of nausea this morning for no real reason, which kind of freaked me out. I'm just kind of assuming that was a fluke and won't repeat itself. I think I just wore myself out. I was trying to get the entire house cleaned before I left for work, so I think I just rushed through it and got worn out. Or so I hope. I'll let you know.

I officially entered the sixth month yesterday. I think the third trimester doesn't start until Easter Sunday for us (kind of a cool coincidence), but I'm not sure about that either. I have a hard time keeping track of weeks, months and trimesters. I never was good at math (just ask my brothers). So we have about 16 weeks left, assuming everything goes as planned and on schedule.

I had an odd dream last night, which isn't too unusual, but it gave me a bit of a start. I dreamt that I had an 11-pound baby (I'm afraid of big babies, especially since my doctor more or less told me to plan on one for the time being), but she was also a month early. Let's hope that's not the case...

Anyhow, it's sunny and fairly warm up here, but that's not supposed to last. Seriously, I think once spring does arrive (I know the calendar date is March 20, but I'm sure weather-wise it will take a bit longer to hit Bemidji), the rest of this pregnancy is going to fly by. I'll probably start panicking about that time, too.

But, for now, we're content and proud of the progress we have made in moving forward.

Happy March!
- Bethany :)