Oct 25, 2017

One Room Challenge: Study to Nursery (Week Four)

Well, I skipped last week's One Room Challenge post - because Jon and I were in England for eight days seeing family and friends! (Sorry for the overgramming during our trip, dear readers.) The biggest update I have for you since Week Two is that the contractors closed off the nursery by installing a temporary wall and door while we were out of town. They did an incredible job! They hung the door off-center, as I requested, to accommodate our sideboard and the whole thing looks so seamless that it took my mom, who's been to our apartment a million times, a little while to understand what I was showing her when we FaceTimed the other day.

We also came home to our mini crib, which was a gift from a generous family friend, and jet lag is to thank for the gold frames being hung the morning after we returned from vacation. I do need to re-hang them using better hooks, but at least now I've done the measuring and everything! However, my pregnancy insomnia gets the blame for the two hours early yesterday morning that I spent putting up all those gold vinyl stars on the dark accent wall. (It's Behr's Dark Ash, by the way, and I love that the color changes depending on the light.)

I'm really happy with how all the art in the room looks together. The most special piece, hung on a hook that I must have hammered in years ago but never used, is a mixed-media collage that my great-aunt Louise made for us back in the spring after we announced the pregnancy; we have a similar work that she made as a wedding gift for us in our bedroom. The celestial prints are from this Etsy store and I got the decals, which were really easy to adhere to the wall, from Etsy too.

Here's what we have left to do over the next few weeks to complete the room's transition from study to nursery:

- sell desk on Craigslist; move work materials elsewhere
- buy dresser
- buy diaper pail and hamper
- buy and install ledges for books
- hang curtains (being made by Mom)
- re-hang gold frames with stronger hooks and replace the glass with plexiglass
- craft mobile
- make a decision about whether or not to cover the glass in the bookcase doors
- figure out if there's space in the room for the toy chest (and if we even need it, given all the storage we'll have in the dresser)

I think that's it! Unless there's anything I'm forgetting? I'm so happy with how the nursery is turning out - I know it won't get much use for the baby's first few months, but it still makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to imagine us in there.

Make sure to check out the other guest entries for this week's One Room Challenge! I've put our budget below the photos, if you want to see how much this is all costing.

Direct costs:
- crib: gift
- rocking chair: hand-me-down
- bookcases: already owned; doors and extensions $320
- gold star decals: $16
- celestial prints: $16
- plexiglass for frames: $16
- wall/door installation: $700

Other budgetary items:
- sold the 5x5 Expedit that had been in the study for $80
- bought two Ikea Besta storage units for about $300 to serve as a sideboard to house most of the kitchen/dining items from the Expedit
- sold the console table that had lived in the hallway outside the kitchen on Craigslist for $40
- bought a wine rack from Target for $70 to hold the wine that had lived in the Expedit but doesn't fit in the sideboard

Total net cost so far: $1,318

Oct 16, 2017

How We Decided On A Social Media Policy Regarding Our Baby

image via Death to Stock

Years ago, my mom told me that she returned to work after my sister and I were born even though 100% of her salary went to childcare because she knew she'd be a bad mom if she stayed at home with us full-time. I was too young to appreciate the complexities of her decision at the time and it really hurt my feelings.

That memory is part of what informs the conversations that Jon and I have about how we want to share - or not - our baby on social media. I wouldn't want our child to one day read and be wounded or embarrassed by something I'd shared that he couldn't understand.

The other major part is very simple: Jon is very private and posts little online that's personal. (He has Facebook but no accounts on other platforms.) Because of that, we've agreed that Jon will be the arbiter of what gets posted regarding our baby - photos, videos, captions, everything.

We've been practicing this ever since I started blogging, well before I joined Twitter and Instagram; he approves all posts that quote him or discuss our relationship before they go up, and if he's not okay with a photo of him being shared then it doesn't get published. It sounds kind of controlling when I write it out like that, but actually, for us, it comes down to respect.

In the end, we've decided that we want to show our child the same kind of respect. We'll share very little that's truly intimate until he's of an age and capacity to consent to stories and photos being posted by us, and it will be his decision as to what kind of identity he eventually wants to reveal online.

That doesn't mean he won't appear on my social media accounts, but it means that we've agreed to not post pictures of him in the bath or throwing a tantrum and we won't write captions that expose his struggles - or ours as parents.

I've learned a lot from the women of my generation who had children before us and navigated the then-unchartered waters of parenting on social media over the last half-decade or so, and I deeply appreciate having been given glimpses of their lives. The stories they have shared will prepare me as much as possible for challenging situations in which we might find ourselves down the road, be they related to breastfeeding, sleep training, post-partum depression, or anything else. So I'm aware that I'm maybe being a bit hypocritical in not sharing our own stories and I'm also aware that this might open me up to criticism (unspoken, as I don't have enough of a following to be gossiped about) that I'm being inauthentic. But... so be it. This is the decision that's right for our family.

If you're comfortable commenting, I'd love to hear how you decided what your social media policy would be regarding your kid(s). I know it's different for every family!

Oct 13, 2017

Transatlantic Goes West: Napa and Sonoma Vineyards

I'm skipping ahead a bit on my #transatlanticgoewest recaps as there's still a post to publish about our incredible 33-hour train journey from Denver to San Francisco plus two on our three lovely days in the Bay Area, but reading the terrible news about the fires in Northern California's wine country compelled me to revisit the wonderful memories of our weekend vineyard hopping at the end of our vacation.

We rented a car when we left San Francisco so we'd be masters of our own destiny in Napa and Sonoma - Jon highly recommends visiting wineries with a pregnant wife who can serve as a designated driver - and found an affordable private room in a nice couple's house on Airbnb serve as our base for our stay. (Check out the view from their deck!) This was the part of our vacation that we'd researched the least, but luckily we had an expert guide join us for our first day in the area!

Our friend Alex, a classmate of mine from kindergarten all the way through twelfth grade, works in the wine business and has lived on four different continents in pursuit of her craft. She met us after breakfast and shepherded us through three glorious winery visits. My requests, since I wouldn't be doing much drinking, were that I wanted to go to places that had incredible views of the countryside and didn't skimp on the snacks, and Jon wanted true California experiences. Each of our stops surpassed our expectations!

We started the day at Robert Sinskey, which had actually been recommended to us as well by my mother's cousin and her husband who live in Marin County and know wine. Next up was ZD Wines, and we finished up in grand style with a tasting and full tour at Chandon, where Alex works. We rounded out our trip the following afternoon on Nicole's suggestion with a leisurely exploration of Gundlach Bundschu, the oldest family-owned vineyard in Sonoma, which was gorgeous and relaxing despite the super hot weather.

I was so sad to read that GunBun has suffered some damage in the fires; though the Silverado Trail, which is the road we took to the first three Napa wineries, was threatened, the other places we visited are safe for the moment. As Alex pointed out on Instagram, the best way we can support the vineyards that are losing business to this disaster is to buy their wine - you bet we will, and we can't wait to visit again as soon as possible!

Transatlantic Goes West Day One: The Heights of Rocky Mountain National Park
Transatlantic Goes West Day Two: Boulder
Transatlantic Goes West Day Three: A Hike Through Rocky Mountain National Park

Oct 12, 2017

One Room Challenge: Study to Nursery (Week Two)

Well, I said in last week's entry for the One Room Challenge that I hoped to have some of the decor up for our nursery in time for this post, but that didn't happen! The gold star decals for the dark gray accent wall have arrived and we've ordered some art from Etsy to go in the four 8x10 gold frames we already own, but none of that is on the walls yet - I realized I was jumping the gun by trying to decorate around furniture that isn't yet in place.

I'd wanted to buy as much second-hand as possible, but I finally reconciled myself to the fact that time's getting short and my Craigslist luck might have run out. So, instead, I spent the last week figuring out exactly what furniture we should purchase new and scheduling the contractors to come this weekend to install the temporary wall/door to close off the room so it's a bit more contained.

We're super lucky, especially somewhere like DC, to have a separate room to use as a nursery - I know so many people in this and other cities who share their bedrooms with their babies out of necessity or who move out to the 'burbs for more space when they want to start a family. That being said, the room we're converting from the study into the nursery is only 82ft sq and quite narrow, so we need to choose items that either have a small footprint or are multi-purpose!

We're off on Friday evening to spend eight days in England for a wedding and to see Jon's mum, which means October will almost be over by the time we get back and are able to actually buy and assemble the furniture. Hopefully all the research I've done will help the next phase of this project go more quickly!

Delta Children Mini Crib Classic
Because the nursery isn't very wide, measuring only 82" from the door (which will swing open inwards) to the far wall, we can't really put two pieces of furniture opposite each other. There just wouldn't be room to walk between them! This mini crib saves us just a few inches of depth - 26" as opposed to an Ikea crib's 30" or a Pottery Barn crib's 32" - but its length of 41.25" compared to the 54"-58" of a full-sized crib will be super helpful as we navigate the space. We don't have to buy a separate mattress, which will help us stick to our budget, and it should last until the baby is 18-24 months old, at which point we hope to be out of this apartment into a house of our own with more space anyway.

Hemnes 8-drawer chest from Ikea
I've come to understand that so many parents have this in their nurseries for a very good reason: it's unbelievably hard to find a dresser that's at a good height to also be used as a changing table! We do have a 3-drawer Hemnes in the (now-discontinued) gray/brown stain, which is being used as Jon's dresser; my original brilliant idea was to try to find the taller 6-drawer Hemnes dresser for sale secondhand in either the same gray/brown or the (also now-discontinued) pine, which is the color of my 8-drawer Hemnes dresser, and Jon would upgrade to the 6-drawer while we moved the 3-drawer into the nursery. Unfortunately, though, I've been looking for the 6-drawer dresser in those two stains online for five months, and... nothing. If we had been able to put the 3-drawer dresser in the nursery, we would have had to buy some sort of additional storage unit for the room, too, but it's more cost-effective to just buy the 8-drawer dresser and use it for both clothes and diaper/bedding/etc storage than to buy two new pieces.

We've moved my late grandmother's antique rocking chair (similar here and here on Chairish) into the nursery and it looks great! The seat is a little lower than my 5'11" frame would like, but it's surprisingly comfortable. (We have an upholstered armchair in the living room that I imagine will see a lot of sleeping, cuddling, and nursing action, too.)

I'm not sure this will fit, but I'm hoping to move the toy chest (similar here from Land of Nod) that was in my childhood bedroom into the nursery if there's room. I'd also like to get a few picture ledges, like these from Ikea, up on the wall to hold the baby's books.

This doesn't count as furniture but I'm including it here anyway: I did a lot of research on diaper pails... because of our dog. I know some recommend just using your normal trash can for diapers and emptying it daily, but we have to keep our trash can behind a closed door in the pantry so Charlie can't get into it and I'm not crazy about the idea of dirty diapers sitting near food even just for a few hours. I'm not really worried that he's going to try to get into a diaper pail - for a dog, he's surprisingly uninterested in poop and never investigates our toilet - but I still wanted one that closes securely and controls odor as much as possible. As a bonus, the Ubbi has a pretty small footprint and doesn't require special bags.

With the long dark accent wall and gold accents - star decals, picture frames, and patterned curtains - all over the room, I think keeping most of the furniture white and simple is the way to go. I'm excited to see it all come together!

And if you want to see what the other ORC participants are up go, check out this week's link-up here.

Oct 4, 2017

One Room Challenge: Study to Nursery (Week One)

After years of following the One Room Challenge, a six-week design/decor transformation project biannually undertaken by hundreds of bloggers, I'm excited to have a good excuse to participate myself! Progress on the nursery has been more abstract than actual for the first six months of my pregnancy, but with a ten-day trip to England coming up later in October and then family arriving for a nearly a week of Thanksgiving festivities in November, I think we need to get moving. I keep reminding myself that the baby could arrive any time starting in mid-December, so I've set that as our deadline for nursery completion.

The room that's becoming the nursery is currently - or was, anyway, before we started dismantling it - the study. When we moved into this apartment three years ago, it was Jon's man cave; it became my office when I started working from home in June due to renovations at my real office. Since we got back from #transatlanticgoeswest, we've been diligently sorting through all the shelves and cubbies and drawers in the room to figure out what can be trashed, what needs to be kept, and what should be reorganized where. At the moment, the study only holds my desk, which will be the last piece taken out, and the pair of Ikea Billy bookcases, which are staying put. Here's what we've done so far:

- bought and installed extension units and doors for the Billy bookcases for $320
- cleaned out and found new homes for (almost) everything in our Ikea 5x5 Expedit
- sold the Expedit on Craigslist for $80
- bought two Ikea Besta storage units for about $300 to serve as a sideboard to house most of the kitchen/dining items from the Expedit; this now lives in the hallway outside the kitchen
- sold the console table that had lived in the hallway outside the kitchen on Craigslist for $40
- ordered a wine rack from Target for $70 to hold the wine that had lived in the Expedit but doesn't fit in the sideboard
- cleaned out and threw out the decades-old Ikea drawer unit that we inherited from my parents
- touched up the paint on the dark accent wall in the nursery

The biggest project in turning the study into a nursery will be having a temporary wall/door installed to close the room off from the rest of the apartment. (We're in a rental, but management gave us permission to have this work done and recommended a contractor that they use, so we know it'll be kosher.) We got a quote from the guys over the summer, have been saving up since then, and are hoping to schedule it to be done in early November.

We're trying to buy as much as possible for the nursery off Craigslist which means the timeline for furnishing it isn't entirely in our control, though it would be nice for the bigger pieces to be in before the entrance to the room is narrowed! Here's what's on our to-do list:

- crib (to buy second-hand)
- dresser (to buy second-hand)
- rocking chair (belonged to my late grandmother; currently at my parents' house)
- chest, if there's space (lived in my childhood bedroom; currently at my parents' house)
- some sort of taller storage tower, if there's space (to buy second-hand)

- Keekaroo peanut changer (purchased off Craigslist for $40)
- 4moms bounceRoo (found at a yard sale for $15)
- diaper pail
- clothes hamper
Graco Travel Lite® Crib With Stages* (bought from the Graco website for $83 with a coupon)

- curtains (being made by my mother as I type!)
- mobile (to be made by me)
- gold star decals for the dark accent wall (ordered from Etsy for $16)
- Death Star rug (bought by Jon a few years ago from ThinkGeek)
- space-themed art in gold frames (we have the frames and are picking out the art!)
- fabric or removable wallpaper or similar to cover the glass in the bookcase doors (being researched)

*This will live in our bedroom as it's where the baby will sleep until he's six months old as per AAP recommendations, but I'm including it in this round-up anyway.

Fingers crossed that when you check back next week for my second ORC update, we'll have the curtains hung, the star decals up on the wall, and a better idea of how we want to cover the glass in the bookcases to make them more baby-friendly. I'd love for a piece or two of furniture to be in as well, though that might be too much to hope for!

Is there anything else we need - yes, I know "need" is subjective - for the nursery, dear readers? Please tell us if you have any recommendations! We don't have tons of space or extra cash, but I'd love to hear your suggestions.

Total net cost so far: $725