September 5, 2013

hello (and our newborn essentials)

I’ve written this post many times in my head, but a little 10-week-old has kept me pretty busy lately. I believe the past two months may have been my longest absence since I started this blog. Although he takes up most of my time and energy, I’m happy to report that Walker is doing very well. We’ve all learned a lot over the past month and a half… more than any amount of classes, reading or advice could prepare us for (and you better believe I did my fair share).

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One of the things I researched most during my pregnancy was our registry items. My greatest resource turned out to be Lucie’s List, where you can download a comprehensive list of all the stuff you “need.” Every baby/family is different, so there is definitely no one-size-fits-all for baby items. However, there are a few things that I would recommend to any new parent (or anyone who knows a new parent) based on our newborn experience:

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Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper

We have this one (thanks so some sweet friends) and have used it from our first night at home. My mom put him in it after we couldn’t get him to sleep in his bassinet… it turns out he just didn’t want to be flat on his back! We love it so much that we have two (upstairs and downstairs) and he still sleeps in it every night. The “little lamb” version is so soft, I’d actually like to curl up in it sometimes.

aden + anais Swaddle Wraps

I had heard great things about these muslin blankets before, but they are perfect for a summer baby. We have this adorable zoo animal set from Target and another set from Babies R Us (the Target version is the exact same quality, FYI). They are on constant rotation at our house and have been washed a lot already. Great quality and really cute patterns. We also love their burpy bibs.

Ergobaby Carrier

My brother gave us this carrier and it has been a life (and back) saver on my walks with Rigby. Carrying Walker in this is easier than pulling out the stroller and leaves me hands-free for the dog leash. I don’t have experience with any other carrier, but this one is very padded and ergonomic (hence the name). There is a zipper pocket for my phone and keys, and it even has a little hood to shield him from the sun! We did have to buy the newborn insert to use until Walker is 15 pounds.

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Avent Soothie Pacifier

This one isn’t really a major item for the registry, but I am glad we already had some extras on hand from baby shower gifts. They gave us one of these pacifiers at the hospital and it has been the only type that Walker will take. We keep them in every room of the house, so that we’re never caught without one.

Babies R Us Changing Pad Liners

These genius little liners are terry cloth on top and waterproof underneath. When the baby inevitably gets the liner dirty, you don’t have to change the entire pad cover! We also use one in our playard, which leads me to my next must-have…

Graco Pack ‘n Play

I’m sure that most basic playards are created equal, but the “Newborn Napper and Changer” feature is what makes this one so great. Our pattern is no longer available (I got the most neutral one I could find so that it blends into our living room), but otherwise looks just like this one. The napper/changer is sized to cradle an infant and is the perfect spot for them to hang out. We don’t even switch ours between the napping and changing sides, thanks to the aforementioned pad liner. I like that the other half of the bassinet part is empty to store diapers, wipes, toys, etc. It’s our own little “Walker station” for the downstairs.

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Tiny Love Take Along Mobile

We haven’t really gotten into toys yet, but Walker loves to stare at this mobile. My mom bought it for him after noticing that he was really focusing on things. The great part is that it’s travel size and will attach to the carseat, playard, crib or stroller. You can also choose not to listen to the music… should you reach your kiddie music limit.

Itzbeen Pocket Nanny Timer

At first I was skeptical that I needed this little device. I had heard about phone apps that serve the same purpose, which is keeping track of feedings, naps, etc. So far, I have used it solely for the feeding timer and I LOVE it. I only have to push one button when I start the feeding and I can glance at it quickly (as opposed to using my phone). The “one button and forget it” aspect saves my mommy brain space for other things without worrying how long Walker is going between meals. It even has a light to check it in the middle of the night… very smart.

Medela Calma Bottle

I bought this because I read that it was good for bottle-feeding a nursing baby. We tried it within the first week home and Walker took to it like a champ. He has since graduated to using other types of bottles in addition, but I credit this one with making the transition so easy. These Medela Quick Clean Bags are also great for quickly sanitizing pump/bottle parts without running them through the dishwasher.

Some other items worth mentioning that I love or use on a daily basis:

Britax B-Safe and B-Agile – We decided on this carseat/stroller primarily based on size and weight. We’ve been very happy with both so far… easy to use, folds up well, definitely “agile.”

Cloth Diapers - Gerber’s pre-fold diapers with the center pads litter our entire house. They’re great for all kinds of clean-up and are better than most any burp pad.

Tervis Tumbler - I’ve professed my love for the Tervis before, but it’s even stronger now. I carried one with water at all times during my pregnancy and have continued to do so while nursing. It keeps my water cold longer, and with the lid I have a harder time spilling it all over the place.

Caddy – I couldn’t find it online, but I bought a waterproof fabric shower caddy with pockets on the outside and shoulder straps at Target. I realized pretty early on that I had a lot to carry up and down the stairs, along with a little baby. To keep my hands free for Walker, I use the caddy for my Tervis, cell phone, Itzbeen timer, snacks and anything else that needs to go up or down the stairs with me. I like that it’s waterproof in case somethings spills in it.

Baby Book – I looked everywhere for a nice-looking, gender-neutral baby book. This one is spiral bound, so it holds more without breaking the spine. It has pockets and places for all the things I’d want to document.

Rockabye CDs – We were gifted the Beatles and Dave Matthews Band versions of these albums, but they have tons of other artists. They just came out with a Michael Jackson version, so that’s next on my list. Something both Walker and I can enjoy listening to, because I assure you these will never enter our house.

So that’s what we’ve loved over the past couple of months. Hopefully someone will find it helpful! I’ll probably do a little update every few months as Walker grows, but this will not be turning into a baby blog! I actually have a wedding client’s work to show off next, so stay tuned…

 

July 8, 2013

it’s a boy!

We welcomed Walker James Martin into the world on June 22nd. The past two weeks have flown by as we adjust to life with our new little family member. He has turned our world upside down and stolen our hearts…

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June 18, 2013

our house’s progression, part 1

We’re still a couple of weeks away from our 1 year anniversary in this house, but by then the baby will be here and I may not think to chronicle our progress. I’ve shared a little along the way, so this will be more of a “before and after.” We aren’t done (and probably never will be), but we’ve made some impactful changes since last June 29th. I split it into two parts, so today I’ll focus on the downstairs.

**By the way, these photos aren’t styled or staged… I merely cleaned our junk out of the way so you could focus on the rooms themselves!

Dining Room

When we first looked at the house, the dining room was sort of a sage green with a semi-flush mount light. As you’ll see, every single room had natural medium wood trim.

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After moving in, but before painting…

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… and the current state. The white trim makes a huge difference! We also painted below the chair rail white, which has textured wallpaper. One day it would be nice to remove the wallpaper and add some box molding. The huge pendant (which gives off much better light than the semi-flush mount) keeps the room from feeling too formal. We really want to use this room, so I tried to strike a traditional-casual balance.

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Living Room

This is where you could see the most wood trim… it easily covers more than 1/3 of the room and made it feel dark before.

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These were taken in August when we were still using this room as a dumping ground for art and accessories. I threw some things up on the mantle and shelves temporarily to make it livable. There were matching burgundy floral drapery panels on the front windows that I removed once we put up blinds. At this point, we were definitely just doing the bare minimum until we got around to painting.

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After gallons of primer and white paint, it’s so much brighter! We debated painting the brick and we still might one day. I used fabric paint on the roman shades, because I knew I wanted navy (which is dark enough to cover the floral) and they’re well-made/functional. Otherwise, I’ve kept the room neutral with pops of color in the art, pillows and accessories.

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Kitchen

From the first time we saw the house, we really liked the green cabinets. They’re unique and we knew painting the walls and trim would make them look even better.

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Adding in our furniture only emphasized how badly this room needed white trim… way too much wood.

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This is how it currently looks after painting. We still haven’t really done much, other than updating the faucet. The light fixtures aren’t bad, but the one over the table is a little small and the track lighting gives off terrible light. One day we’d like to replace the countertops and cabinetry (or at least the doors).

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Powder Room

Remember the celestial wallpaper before I removed it? I have no problem with wallpaper as a rule, but this wallpaper had faces.

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The dark blue walls and white trim make it look completely different, even though we didn’t change anything about the vanity or sconces. Unfortunately the dark walls do make it hard to photograph!

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So that’s the downstairs as it currently stands. Part 2 coming soon…

Baby Martin update:  He or she has decided that they are perfectly comfortable for now. We’re hoping for an arrival this week!

June 13, 2013

4 years, 40 weeks, 95 degrees

Four years ago was the happiest, hottest, most amazing blur of a day.  It has flown by so fast and every day I’m grateful that God gave me this guy.

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I was shocked when the ultrasound technician told me that my due date was our anniversary. All along I secretly hoped that the baby would come on another date and give us “our day.” Now that I’ve reached 40 weeks, I have to say it would be pretty special. Plus it’s 95 degrees today (much like our wedding day) and I’m starting to think I may melt into a big puddle. Baby Martin, you would be the BEST anniversary gift ever! Your mom and dad are ready when you are…

photos by Kellie Kano Photography

June 7, 2013

friday links

I don’t normally do an entire post with just links, but I’ve seen some interesting things online the past few days. That, and the house post is taking way longer than expected due to this nasty tropical storm weather. Rainy days are not good for photography. So have a happy weekend, stay safe if you’re in the flood zone and I hope to be back Monday with a “real” post!

This cuteness is almost too much for me to handle. Already looking for a tiny guitar for Baby Martin to play with Chad.

I had seen reference to this article a few times and finally read it last night. Very controversial, but makes you think.

My mom sent me this video last night and we watched in amazement. How long did it take to train him???

Some good advice on dressing little girls (scroll to the bottom).

If we were going to have a photographer do a maternity shoot, this is what it would look like. So sweet and natural… just regular life!

Finland is smart. I wouldn’t mind if they did this here!

Last two links via Cup of Jo.

I’ll leave you with this…

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39 weeks yesterday… we’re just waiting for you, Baby!

 

May 29, 2013

snippets of the week

I hope everyone had a nice long weekend! Ours was the perfect combination of productive, social and relaxing. We’ve been squeezing a lot into our free days lately and trying to make the most of the pre-baby time.

I’m working on a post about our progress on the house over the past year… and it’s taking a little longer than planned. Until then, here’s what we’ve been up to lately:

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Yes, that is a granola bar balanced on my stomach. What??

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This weekend we ventured 25 minutes away to Wendell so Chad could relive a favorite meal from his youth. If anyone who grew up in Raleigh has a hankering for Scotty’s hamburgers, the same owners are at Aubrey’s & Peedie’s Grill.

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I’m at a point in my pregnancy where I eat ice cream every night (as opposed to my usual maybe once a month). Here is my current selection of flavors… I like variety!

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I’m finally trying out a favorite of Jenny‘s on a project. Don’t worry, I’ve enlisted the help of others for the actual painting.

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Rigs got a much-needed summer haircut yesterday, thanks to his Gigi. He looks about 5 pounds lighter now.

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I got a much-needed pedicure today, thanks to my mother-in-law. It was incredibly nice… especially since I can’t reach my feet very well these days.

Be back soon!

May 16, 2013

ashley + scott

I alluded to these clients here and here, but never actually gave them a proper post! Ashley + Scott were married last July on a gorgeous day in the North Carolina mountains. We were privileged to help with them with their wedding, in addition to being their friends. Ashley and I worked together in interior design for four years, and she couldn’t be much sweeter, prettier or have better taste! Her style is evident in the way she curates her furniture and accessories booth – Haven Shop. Of course, Ashley planned a very classic and elegant day, which came to life beautifully.

We started with the Save-the-Dates, featuring one of their engagement photos. Chad created a little logo with their initials and a Greek key border. The wedding venue, Westglow Resort & Spa, incorporates the Greek key motif repeatedly… from their crystal to the stair runner.

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We also created the cupcake toppers for their engagement party.

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For the big day, Ashley asked us to design several elements. We coordinated the table numbers, place cards, menus + the seating chart to match each other with the Greek key border.

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Unfortunately, we only had our iphones and point & shoot camera for the wedding itself. When will we learn to bring the good camera? The seating chart matched the other printed reception pieces.

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We also created Mr. + Mrs. signs for the newlyweds’ chairs.

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Some other shots from the day… I wasn’t kidding about the Greek key:

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This was the ceremony view…

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Cocktail hour on the front porch of the resort…

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We were honored to be part of the day! It was such a fun weekend with some of my favorite girls.

To see more beautiful, professional images of the day, here is the photographer’s blog post. Smitten & Hooked captured all the sweet little details! Thank you Ashley + Scott!!

May 10, 2013

recent faves

Some things I’ve discovered or have just been loving lately…

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Our family gallery wall was hung the week before the baby shower. I mixed different styles of black frames with photos of our parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles. There’s still room to add on, but I LOVE looking at it every day.

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This blog (appropriately named) is so cute and I’ve enjoyed the short daily posts. Melanie writes about gift + party ideas, “putting things in boxes” and her adorable little boy, Beck.

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I love these boys! Finley is more grown up every time we see him… so is my little brother.

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The look that Rigby is giving Cousin Finley is pretty priceless.

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If you or someone close to you is pregnant, Chad and I crack up at The Pregnant Husband tumblr page. Some is a bit inappropriate, but it’s so true!

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This table that I saw at Target last week. I was thinking of the nursery, but it would work in so many places!

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Lastly, these rhododendrons that have just bloomed. For some reason it’s so much more exciting when things happen in your own yard.

Happy weekend!

May 2, 2013

showered

We have now had two Sundays in a row of showers for Baby Martin. Unfortunately, my photographer (Chad) was only there to capture one of them… but they were both very special! The first was hosted by my college roommates in our home and was themed around my favorite book: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. It was such a sweet day with high school/college friends and my dad’s side of the family.

The adorable invitation set the tone:

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They transformed our dining room chandelier with dozens of paper flowers and all the food was mini-themed. Lots of my favorites!

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Biscuitville’s mini ham biscuits… all the way from Asheboro!

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The little twig signage was one of my favorite elements. Of course they had a signature drink for me.

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The activity for the day was painting onesies. Now we have about 20 custom outfits for baby’s first year.

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This banner is still up on the mantle… I can’t bear to take it down!

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We were blessed with so many gifts, but the attendees were the best part of the day. Both grandmothers came… I’m not sure which of the three of us is most excited for baby’s arrival.

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My own amazing Grandma Jones was there. I can’t wait for her to be a great-grandma!

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The lovely hostesses who put everything together: Kendall, Allison + Kathryn.

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And of course, the baby’s daddy.

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This past Sunday was also a wonderful day with my Asheboro church family and my mom’s side of the family. Baby Martin is already so loved and we are extremely grateful!

April 24, 2013

nursery semi-reveal

Our first baby shower was hosted in our home by my college roommates on Sunday, so we had some extra motivation to get it ready. Of course it won’t be totally complete until our little one is here, at which point it will be personalized just for him or her. Chad took these shots on Saturday and Sunday:

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The view from the doorway. That bassinet (on loan from a sweet friend) will go in our bedroom.

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I’m so happy with our crib… the ONLY new piece of furniture in the room. I hope Baby loves “Leo” the lion as much as we do. The Pine Cone Hill sham is just hanging out in the crib until it finds another home. Elephant crib sheet is from Target.

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The dresser is officially a changing table now (see below), but as of Sunday I was using it to display our little childhood mementos.

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The lamb, baby silverware and monogrammed brush are mine. All the teeny little shoes are Chad’s.

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Every time he walks in, Chad says, “We should have painted this chiffarobe a long time ago!” It’s the perfect size for the room. We’re still in need of a little table and footstool for the rocker. The polka dot pillow cover came from Lands End last summer.

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The shell mirror and cross-stitched piece were my grandmother’s. I believe you’ve met “Brownie,” who belonged to Chad’s dad.

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We are lucky to have some very well-preserved clothes from our own childhoods. The little Feltman Brothers outfits were ours (30-ish years ago) and happen to match each other perfectly! The christening gown was made for my mom and I also wore it.

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Isn’t she sweet??

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Changes since Sunday include the addition of the changing pad…

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…and quite an impressive little library, thanks to the book-themed shower. Speaking of which, it was so adorable that it will need its own post when I can go through all the photos. The hostesses really outdid themselves!

Thanks for following along with me on this journey! If you’re new around here, previous nursery posts here, here, here and here.

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