I'm currently 38 weeks pregnant, 4 cm dilated per my OB (6 centimeters away without even knowing it! So labor will be a total breeze right?? Isn't that how that works? I am now fully expecting to deliver a baby every time I sneeze forcefully), and trying not to go insane guessing when baby girl will arrive. I have cleaned my house every day this week (philosophical question, how do you determine if you are "nesting" if you are naturally obsessive compulsive about cleaning/vacuuming/organizing even when not pregnant? It must be so much easier for slobs to know when their nesting instinct kicks in). I have ran errands, gotten a mani/pedi, gotten my hair cut and highlighted, replaced my cutting boards that were growing mold, cleaned the guest room, done laundry, etc. I am out of tasks and trying not to over think every twinge or pain (also I think I have exceeded the max amount of times you can google signs labor is near). So instead of focusing on what's ahead, I thought I'd spend a little time talking about what is making me really happy right at this very moment. Some are probably because I'm a full term pregnant woman (cough ice cream cough). Some are just my natural instincts (bad reality tv perhaps?). So in no particular order:
1. Really, really cold pineapple (and assorted other fruit). I think this can be filed under pregnancy cravings. I really haven't had "cravings" up until the last couple of weeks in terms of having to have a certain food immediately. But the last month or so I have started to become obsessed with cold fruit (and the cold part is non-negotiable). As in I will elbow a friendly grandma out of the way at Fresh Market if she is going for the last container of cut up pineapple. There is literally nothing more satisfying to me than icy pineapple cubes (especially with a little kosher salt sprinkled on top, mmmmm). I am lazy and do not buy whole pineapples, but luckily pre-cut pineapple is readily available most places. In a similar vein I have been all about refrigerated strawberries and grapes. Oh and don't even get me started on smoothies. I tried to run down to Au Bon Pain at work on a super busy day and got to their little kiosk that serves smoothies until 5pm at 4:51. I started to order a strawberry banana smoothie, mouth watering, when the lady who worked there informed me they were no longer serving smoothies. In a split second I debated between openly weeping or going full on preggo rage mode and single handedly dismantling the kiosk while onlookers started on in horror. Instead I sulked and walked away with deep sadness in my heart that remained until the next day when I got a spinach, banana, and coconut smoothie from Ginger Juice at the Village (which was freaking incredible, even if the store itself was a little intimidating with its unpasteurized juices and acai bowls).
2. Ice cream every single night. So yeah, this is another incredibly stereotypical preggo craving, but I just cannot go a night without ice cream these days. And it is oddly liberating for someone who dieted her entire 20s to just embrace eating ice cream on a daily basis. The husband and I are mutually enamored with Gelati Celesti. There's one about 3 miles away (our last house had one that was a 15 min walk away, I try not to remember how good we had it to live without WALKING distance from that manna from heaven). But instead of driving to get ice cream every night we cleverly buy the pints (or quarts when I buy) for our home consumption. The Just Ask flavor is currently sitting in our freezer and I am already looking forward to our appointment tonight after dinner.
3.Real Housewives on Hulu. Somehow I did not realize until very recently that most Bravo shows are available to stream on Hulu. As in full series. As in every. single. episode. of every single Housewives. EVER. I am currently in a serious binge of NYC (previously I finished up the entire series of Vanderpump Rules). Now before the more sophisticated readers out there judge the crap out of me, let me just say this little disclaimer. I work really hard doing a job that is about as "real" as you can get, frequently seeing things that are hard and awful and brutal. And because of that fact I feel fully entitled to spend some of my free time watching silly, frivolous rich women argue and go on silly trips and shop and be just gloriously shallow and vain. I love my Housewives, and the first few seasons of NYC are about as good as Housewives get (right now Jill and Betheny are going through their epic friend breakup, single tear for the loss).
4. The People vs. OJ Simpson. From lowbrow to highbrow, this is actually a legitimately great show. I was 8 when the OJ trial was on and remember it but didn't actively watch it (the main thing that I remember is that the pool we belonged to kept a tally on a big white board of how many days the trial had lasted). So even though obviously I know the iconic moments like the gloves, so much of the story is new to me. It's fascinating from so many perspectives what happened and how it happened. But even if it was all fiction, it would be compelling because the cast is so freaking good across the board. David Schwimmer of all people has broken my heart almost every episode. And I'm also especially impressed with Sterling K. Brown as prosecutor Christopher Darden. I'm not sure why this actor isn't more famous, but I hope this leads to lots of roles for him, because he's really, really good.
5. Royal Nails (in the Ridge Shopping Center). I don't get frequent manicures or pedicures but when I do I've gone to the same place for the last 5 years. They always do a good job, but it's a little rough around the edges (typically I get loudly yelled at by Asian women when I walk in the door to pick out a color and then get offered eyebrow waxes multiple times before I leave). So to my delight my best friend suggested Royal Nails for a mani/pedi date. It was nice while pregnant but when I am no longer pregnant it may become my favorite place one earth. Because there is a WINE BAR. At a nail salon. That serves WINE. To DRINK. Maybe it's because I am pregnant right now and on what feels like month 38 instead of week 38 and just want to drink an entire barrel of wine, but the idea of a wine bar at a nail salon to me is brilliant. The whole experience is supposed to be frivolous and pampering and I cannot wait to get a pedicure in a massage chair while drinking a glass of wine. In the immortal words of Tom from Parks and Rec, talk about treating yo self.
6. This weather. Don't you love how the first few days of every spring feel like the first time it's even been warm and sunny? It doesn't matter how many springs you live through, it never stops feeling like a wonderful surprise that the cold finally ended. The last couple of weeks have been gorgeous and I have loved seeing our new house in a different light in warm weather. There are so many windows in our first floor and I love how airy it feels when we can open them up. I am so ready for the warm months ahead, especially knowing that a newborn will be arriving any minute. I am so glad we won't be cooped up in the house for months and that I'll be able to take her out on walks and out to public places without fear of it being too cold or everyone around us having a respiratory virus.
7.Gap Maternity lounge clothes. The Pure Body shirts and lounge pants in particular are just so my jam right now. Comfy and stretchy but not so terribly kaftan-esque where I feel like I'm wearing a duvet cover. I never knew before pregnancy just how much of a God send the invention of "ruching" is. If I'm not at work I am basically going to be wearing an outfit that I could also sleep in. Which is convenient for unexpected mid-day naps :)
8. This "going home" outfit I got for baby girl. I know the whole special "going home" outfit is a little silly, because who am I, Kate Middleton? There will be no paparazzi outside MCV waiting to take our photos. More than likely this will get pooped, peed and/or vomited upon. I could put her in a white onesie and call it a day. But I saw it at Old Navy and just could not resist. I have already sensed my shopping energies channeled away from myself (aside from the latest in maternity loungewear, there's not a lot of clothes shopping when your width is threatening to overtake your height) and toward my daughter to be. And the nice thing is that I get the fun of shopping without any guilt because it's not for me! It's for a baby who will not know the difference between a romper and her head for a few months, but still!
9. The Affordable Care Act. Because it let me order a $300 breast pump for $75 with a prescription from my OB (I could have gotten a basic one for free, but figured I'd upgrade a little with the discount). As an RN at a "baby friendly" hospital I fully support a program that makes it easier for women to get breast pumps.
10. The knowledge that within 3 weeks I will no longer be pregnant and will be meeting my daughter (!!!).
So I am something of a planner. I am not what one would call a fly by the seat of your pants kind of gal. In that spirit I knew that I would not feel relaxed until the nursery was 100% finished (minus the baby). I also know that realistically the baby will not really use this room for the first month or two (or more) of life, but the anal, OCD, type A parts of my personality needed it FINISHED with a big fat punctuation mark before baby enters the world. And so it is done. It was a project but one I absolutely loved working on.
I knew I wanted the space to be relatively neutral 1) in case we use it for future non-girl babies and 2) because I have realized with this pregnancy that I am not super into girly girl things for my baby. I am not super into girly girl things for myself either, but wasn't sure if I would get pregnant and suddenly turn into a pile of mush at the site of bows and ruffles and lace and anything pink. And while I do think pink absolutely has a place for a little girl (there are several pink items in the nursery!), I've been much more drawn to grays and blues (and grays that end up being blues) and whites. So I started with some neutral walls (Benjamin Moore) that I thought would be gray gray (the name has gray in it, it looked gray in the sample we put up) but ended up being blue gray or gray blue really. It's a little closer to baby boy blue than intended but after adding in the rest of the furniture and decor I think it works great for a little girl :)
From there I picked out curtain fabric. This was the hardest part because there were so many gorgeous, vibrant prints that I kept being drawn to, but which upon consideration I realized weren't really what I wanted for a calm, soothing nursery. So I went with a neutral, quilted white with blackout lining and my awesome mom sewed them for me. And then came the really, really fun part, the decorating.
The first of many elephants in this room. What can I say? I love a good elephant. I think they represent gentle strength (and are just really darn cute). I didn't really set out to have an elephant/animal theme but it kind of happened organically. I love animals and loved stuffed and toy animals growing up, and in a lot of ways I realized designing a nursery is a chance to relive all the things you loved in your own childhood. This print is from a local Richmond artist, ZouZou's Basement, and I actually bought it a couple of years ago for our old house (I realize now it does sort of scream nursery, maybe that's why I never hung it). It was the first thing I knew would go on the walls in the nursery.
More local prints (from James River Studios) that I found on Etsy.
A baby shower gift from one of my sweetest, best friends, Laura. Charleston is my adopted spiritual home and I can't wait to show my daughter the city I love so dearly. I hope it is as important a place to her one day as it is to me and I love that she will have a Charleston print hanging in her room from her earliest memories.
The print above the crib is another Etsy find. I don't do a lot of text elements in the rest of my house (you know, the "love" or "family" sign kind of deal, but for the nursery I thought it felt right. And I do think all girls have the power to move mountains and should be reminded of that from day 1 :)
Another shower gift, this one from another other sweetest, bestest friend, Chrissy. My daughter is lucky to have so many aunties who have already showered her with such love.
Elephant #47! But seriously how could I not? This is from the website, Home Decorators. A little bit of a splurge for a laundry hamper, but so sweet and well made.
On the table next to the rocker. Giraffe bookends from PB Kids, elephant lamp from West End Antiques (it came with a super ugly black shade that I spray painted pink). Again, while I may not have gone full on girly with this nursery, pink definitely has its place.
Okay, I may have a slight problem. But I saw this bench at Home Goods and could not resist. Nightlife from PB kids.
Bookcase is PB kids but found at a local consignment store, Impulse (I will not buy big items new from PB kids, because there is no way I am spending that kind of money on furniture that will likely be colored on/pooped on/destroyed). The Shakespeare print is Etsy and little ceramic bear is actually a nightlight from Target's new Pillow Fort line.
Rug from Home Goods that we had in our old master bedroom, ottoman is an old leather one that my mom recovered for me a couple of years ago for an apartment, and chair is from Babies R Us. Little table is consignment from Impulse. If you couldn't tell I am a fan of consignment. 1. It's cheaper in price 2. It's almost always nicer in quality than anything you buy new and have to assemble from a million little pieces and 3. particularly in a brand new house I just crave older pieces of furniture. I am grounded by things that are old and worn and have had their own long lives before me. I just cannot be around only new stuff without feeling like I'm in a hotel. And I hope I can pass that obsessive, stubborn, oh so Southern need for age on to my daughter.
Wire hanging fruit baskets from World Market. Beanie Babies from my childhood saved miraculously all these years by my mother. No, they did not increase in value and make me rich as well all told ourselves they would. But man did seeing these little guys again at my shower bring back so many memories of childhood. I was OBSESSED for some strange reason with tiny stuffed animals stuffed with beans. I am very happy they didn't end up in a trash can somewhere. Thanks for that mom!
Dresser/changing table consignment from the Laisy Daisy. Knobs from Anthropologie. They are so stinking cute I have to give you a close up.
And so there it is my friends, the nursery. We keep the door closed because of our destructive demon dogs, but every so often I like to open the door and walk in. I immediately feel a little calmer. The world is a little softer in this room (and more heavily populated by elephants) and that's all I really wanted to accomplish with its design, a soft, safe place for a baby to grow and play and (hopefully) sleep incredibly soundly for 14 hours at a time. They do that from hour zero right?
I'm a thirty-something mom of two, wife, pediatric RN, and writer with a passion for all the big and little things in life.