Calm, Cheerful & Creative | Nursery Inspiration

Nursery-Inspiration-Board

Once I decided on the three words that would describe Denning Beta’s nursery, I set to work finding the items that would fill the space and help create a calm, cheerful and creative space. Of course, this room has got to work for us as well, meaning it needs storage for all of the baby things we have already started accumulating, a place for the baby to sleep and be changed, a place for us to sit and yes, a place to throw those dirty diapers.

I think we are off to a good start and I am increasingly confident that designing a room from scratch won’t break the bank. For all of the big furniture pieces (dresser, crib and rocking chair), we are using items that have been in the family. Thanks to some paint and handyman skills, they will be updated to suit our style and will be perfect for the nursery. For most of the decorations in the room, those will be hand-made to go along with the “creative” feeling of the room. My mom (Denning Beta’s Oma) is sewing a beautiful quilt for the crib that I cannot wait to share with you and I am hoping to knit the stuffed animals for the shelves, create the mobile and DIY some of the artwork. And for everything else there is Ikea, Target and the Land of Nod!

My goal is to have the room mostly put together in the next few weeks so that I can enjoy (or at least relax) those last few weeks of pregnancy before our life is turned upside down. And if that doesn’t happen, well, I doubt Denning Beta will hold it against me!

Product Sources: Cart // Baskets // Honeycomb Shelves // Caterpillar Art // Zebra Art // Pouf // Sheepskin

Baby Blanket | My Very Own

Pinwheel-Blanket-1I have knit quite a few baby blankets over the years. They make such sweet, yet useful gifts for expecting moms that I don’t ever mind the extra time that they take as compared to something smaller like a baby hat or booties. But this time, this time I am knitting for me! I will finally get to experience one of my own baby creations.

Pinwheel-Blanket-2I chose the pinwheel pattern because I just loved how it turned out the one other time I made it. And as I did before, I chose bright and cheery colors instead of your typical baby pastels. It took me much longer than I planned (started this in Costa Rica in February), but that’s to be expected with everything we have going on. I think it will be perfect as a floor play blanket and can’t wait to test it out on my very own bebe.

Pinwheel-Blanket-3

 

Read Watch Listen | No. 4

Read-Watch-Listen-JuneI wish this installment of “Read Watch Listen” had a theme, but like my brain these days it’s a little scattered and that’s ok. Hopefully it means that there’s something here for everyone, whether you enjoy witty parenting stories, beautiful cinematography with crazy characters or the beautiful sound of the mandolin. And if not, well it’s just a glimpse into what’s been catching my attention lately.

READ // Bringing Up Bebe – I bought this book months ago when I saw that Kathleen had read it in preparation for her little man to arrive. There are, of course, a lot of stereotypes and overstatements in this account of an American raising her children in France all the while trying to learn the art of french parenting, but I think there are some really great take-aways too. I don’t have enough space here to share all my thoughts on this book, but if you are starting a family or think you might one day start a family, it’s a great and insightful read. I think it will definitely have an effect on our parenting style (Phil is reading it now).

WATCH // The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson does not disappoint. The story is hilarious, the cast of characters perfect and I loved seeing Ralph Fiennes play a role like M. Gustave. If you can still see this where you are, see it!

LISTEN // Sarah Jarosz - I stumbled across this artist on a mix playlist and immediately began searching for more of her music. She is one talented lady with a beautifully perfect, yet relaxing voice and intricate but calming instrumentation. Music like this inspires me to slow down and really enjoy the small moments in life.

A Nursery in 3 Words

We are now less than 9 weeks away from bringing a baby into our home and I’m feeling the time crunch. I’ve been focusing a lot of time and energy on our house lately. It could be the “nesting” part of pregnancy or it could just be that I want our house to feel inviting so that we can welcome friends and family after the birth to visit with us. Regardless, looking at every room and thinking through all of the options and lists of projects is overwhelming. It is time to focus. So I hope you don’t mind that over the next few weeks I’m going to be using the blog as an outlet for all of my ideas and I welcome your thoughts, feedback or just plain old encouragement! First up, the nursery.

This is really the first room, maybe ever, where I will be starting from scratch in terms of furniture, decor, the whole lot. On one hand it seems lot a lot to tackle, but on the other it’s kind of nice to be starting fresh rather than always trying to fit what you already have into a space regardless of whether or not it actually works. I could spend months looking for inspiration and browsing nursery pinterest boards, but see above… I have 9 weeks or less so it is decision time.

I found this great article a couple of months ago that I saved to come back to when I was ready to do some serious decorating in the house. I love the idea that a room should ultimately be about you and how you want to feel when in that room. It makes perfect sense! (Also, Emily Henderson follows the same rules with clients and herself. What more do you need?) So I’m going to give it a try with the nursery and if the formula works here, I’ll apply it to every room that I want to re-decorate.

The three things I would like to feel when I walk into Denning Beta’s nursery are:

Calm, Cheerful, Creative

Now that I have my 3 words to guide me, I next moved to gathering images of nurseries that embody one or more of my words in hopes that I could identify some themes to use in my own mood board (coming soon).

I definitely want the room to be a place where we can relax with the baby and not feel anxious or stressed about everything else. I want to enjoy the time I get to spend with him or her and I want time to pass without me being aware of it.

Calm-Nursery-MontageOn the flip-side, I want it to bring out the kid in me. I want to be able to laugh and smile and play with our kid and I want the room to be a cheerful place in which we can do that.

Cheerful-Nursery-MontageAnd lastly, I hope that the room will inspire creativity. I want to DIY and craft a lot of the decor to encourage an environment where my son or daughter can create, be imaginative and appreciate ideas.

Creative-Nursery-MontageNow I just need to find the actual pieces that will help me create a calm, cheerful and creative nursery. Wish me luck!

Top Picks: Young-Adult Fiction

Young-Adult-SeriesI read my fair share of classic novels and non-fiction books, but recently I have really been enjoying the imaginative and thrilling worlds, not to mention easy-reading, found in a lot of  young adult books. It’s been a welcome escape during busy times or on vacations when I’ve just wanted to get lost in an all-consuming story and because the writing is typically not as complex, I turn the pages so quickly that I get that satisfaction of having completed another book.

I say that I recently got into reading young-adult literature, but really it all started back in high school when I was transported to Hogwarts to follow along the journey of a certain wizard named Harry Potter. I can still remember the day when the final book was released. I was working in DC at the time and had reserved a copy at the book store down the street. I spent my lunch hour on a bench devouring as much as I could before I had to go back to work.

Since then I’ve read many different YA series, most of them recommended to me by friends, family or Phil (his favorite is the Garth Nix trilogy). For me, venturing into the young-adult or teen section of the library or book store makes me feel a bit out of place…and old, and because the book covers tend to look pretty cheesy, I never know what to pick up if I’m just browsing. So I like to request my books online from the privacy of my home, based on recommendations from those I trust. In case that’s also how you roll too, here is my list of “Top Picks” for young-adult fiction (in no particular order):

  1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
  2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  3. His Dark Materials (most recognizable by the 1st book “The Golden Compass”) by Philip Pullman
  4. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
  5. Abhorsen by Garth Nix
  6. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  7. The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer

Happy Reading!

5 Fantastic Things | May

5-Fantastic-Things-May

Every month that passes means we are one month closer to meeting Denning Beta and in the words of my midwife, “it’s starting to get real”. I didn’t post very much this last month, but that was because we were so busy living life and getting our ducks in row before everything changes. We’ve been working hard, spending time with friends, tackling projects around the house and enjoying the start to a long, hot summer. May was a pretty great month.

5 FANTASTIC THINGS I want to remember:

  1. The perfect weather we had for the entire Memorial Day weekend. We took full advantage of it by walking through the neighborhood, catching a Reds game, attending a baby-wearing class, and strolling through Washington Park and we wrapped it up with a neighborhood cook-out under the stars. Perfection.
  2. Splurging on a delicious meal to mark the occasion of our friend’s visit home.
  3. Enjoying the view in Great American Ballpark for not one, but two impromptu Reds games this month to kick off the season.
  4. Sitting on the porch with my sister, drinking Izze and catching up like old times.
  5. Experiencing a sense of accomplishment when we figured out a not-so-basic DIY project for our office shelving. Even though it was hard work, it was worth it.

5 FANTASTIC THINGS I’m looking forward to:

  1. Seeing friends and family and celebrating Denning Beta at a our baby shower.
  2. Making good use of our first grill (just purchased this weekend)!
  3. Learning together about childbirth as we attend a series of classes to prepare (as much as one can for something like this).
  4. Visiting with my dad and step-mom who will be here for the first time since Christmas!
  5. Spending lots of time at the pool cooling off.

Past “5 Fantastic Things” posts:
April // March // February // January // 
December // November // October //
September // August // July // June // May

Learning to Walk

walkingOver the past 5 years, I have slowly become what I would call a recreational runner. That is, I enjoy the occasional after-work run through the neighborhood, participating in 5K or 10K fundraising races and have joined several training groups one of which led me to my first-ever half-marathon last fall. While I have no ambitions of running the Boston Marathon, I can certainly appreciate the passion people have for running and have experienced that well known runner’s high that keeps you lacing up the shoes time and time again.

Well, the last race I participated in was the Turkey Trot 10K on Thanksgiving morning. I was actually pregnant at the time, but didn’t yet know it. Then with the holidays, the discovery of our news and the roller coaster of emotions and tiredness that set in, I did next to nothing those months following the race. By the time my energy came back, I was too far out of running shape to jump right back in so I joined a gym to help get me through the long winter. I’ve enjoyed doing some light weight training, swimming and group exercise classes, but I haven’t gotten back into running and at this point, it will probably be post-baby before I’ll train for another run. My care provider has encouraged me from the beginning to take up walking and as strenuous exercise gets to be more challenging, I can definitely see the benefits. Plus some studies have shown that regular walking can lead to shorter and/or easier labors. Who wouldn’t want that?

At first I’ll admit that the pace of walking seemed so slow compared to the running I was used to, but setting weekly goals for myself has helped and over the last couple of months I have come to appreciate the exercise and mental clarity that walking provides. I alternate my walks between the gym and the neighborhood, both have their perks, but especially love getting out and meeting neighbors, seeing different blocks and enjoying the community that we live in. I’ll probably go back to my running after the baby is here (mostly as an opportunity to fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans), but I wouldn’t mind continuing my neighborhood walks as well as a way to introduce the neighborhood to Denning Beta.