{baby Gillis no. 2} preterm labor scare.

let me preface this story with the following: Baby Boy and i are doing very well – he’s still inside my belly, kicking and walloping up a storm, and we are so, so thankful for that.

when i titled my last post “crunch time’s a-coming,” i had no idea how right i was, or could be.


on saturday night, October 25, i started experiencing contractions around 7:15PM. i was nearly 34 weeks pregnant. Jord and i were watching The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on Netflix when i began to feel regular bouts of tightness in my belly. thinking it was just heartburn, as i had just inhaled about five pieces of Jord’s famous homemade pizza, i decided to take a bath in order to ease my upset stomach.

however, the contractions in my belly didn’t stop or slow as the water washed over my swollen belly – instead, they persisted, and they slowly grew more intense.

{side note: while i was soaking in the bath tub, breathing deeply through each contraction, little Lionel was right by my side, rubbing my arm and talking to me. “Mama in the bath!” he exclaimed. “i wash Mama,” he said. he demanded soap – not Mama’s soap, but Lionel’s bath soap, of course – and proceeded to rub his hands together – just like Mama and Daddy do – to build up a lather of soap bubbles. “Mama’s belly hurts, buddy,” i said to him. at that moment, he leaned over, his little hands drip-dropping water, and kissed my bare belly, which was taut with uncomfortable tightness. “all better, Mommy,” he said. oh, how i wished his kisses were the magic potion that i needed to stop the discomfort in my belly. in other words, our little L couldn’t have been more tender and sweet while i was battling contractions.}

i soon decided that the bath water wasn’t helping to calm my contractions, so i got out of the tub and called my Mom. she recommended calling my doctor’s office and speaking to the nurse on call – again, it was Saturday night, and by this time, i had been feeling contractions for approximately 40 minutes. the RN that i spoke with recommended lying down on my left side and drinking a few glasses of water in order to try to stop the contractions; however, she cautioned that if the contractions persisted for another 30-45 minutes or longer, i should be seen by Labor & Delivery.

sure enough, more time passed, and my contractions were still coming, and regularly, too – my attempts to time them showed that they were two minutes apart. Jord and i decided to head to the hospital.

my Mom came to stay with Lionel, who at this time was pajama-clad and ready for bed. once she arrived at our home, we gave L kisses, raced to the hospital and checked into Labor & Delivery. they took us to a triage room, where i changed into a gown and they hooked me up to various monitors to check on the baby’s heart rate and my contractions. after a short time of monitoring me, the RN and the Nurse Midwife determined that my contractions were coming fast and furious with little to no time in between them, and that i was 2 centimeters dilated.

it was in this moment that Jord and i looked at each other and realized that we might be meeting our baby much, much sooner than expected, and we were scared. we updated our families and close friends as to what had transpired over the past 90 minutes, and we were flooded with responses that promised prayers and help.

delivering at 34 weeks is certainly not the most dangerous time to have a child, especially given the fact that our hospital has a very capable NICU, but, as our Nurse Midwife said to us that night, “we want this baby to stay in the hotel a bit longer.” at our hospital, a baby delivered at 34 weeks automatically is sent to the NICU for an undisclosed amount of time in order for baby’s breathing and feeding capabilities, as well as body temperature regulation, to develop further. the nurse on staff prepared us for at least a two-week NICU stay for our baby under normal or ideal conditions. needless to say, if we could help baby to stay in my belly until 36 weeks at least {which is considered full term}, we were ready and willing to do whatever was possible in order to make that happen.

in order to stop my contractions, the medical staff gave me two injections of terbutaline, which were given approximately one hour apart. the first dose stopped my contractions for about an hour exactly, which is the typical time frame in which the medicine is effective. around that one-hour mark, the contractions returned; this time, however, they were located lower in my abdomen and were stronger and more intense. i received another injection of terbutaline, which, thankfully, then stopped my contractions entirely. since i hadn’t dilated any further in the time that i was experiencing contractions, and since my contractions had stopped, we were sent home around 11:30PM and were told to return to Labor & Delivery if the contractions returned or i experienced any leakage of fluid {i.e. my water broke} or bleeding.

thankfully, since that night, i haven’t experienced another contraction or any symptoms of labor. while my body can’t or won’t necessarily “un-dilate” itself {meaning that i’m still 2 centimeters dilated as i sit here telling this story}, the medical staff did not see a reason for us to worry about another bout of preterm labor, or delivering sooner than our scheduled c-section date of December 1. in short, the RN explained that baby could have just been readying himself to join our world in a few more weeks, and that these things happen from time to time. the Nurse Midwife also reinforced the importance of staying hydrated in order to help baby to stay put.

we returned home that night to a sound-asleep Lionel. in the morning, we told L all about how the doctors made Mama’s belly feel better, which soon became his favorite phrase to repeat over and over again for the rest of the weekend.

so, as i sit here today, at 34 weeks and 2 days, i’m feeling extremely grateful for the love, help and support of family and friends, and for the dedicated medical staff at our local hospital that helped to stop my contractions. while we would have been overjoyed to meet our baby boy this past weekend, we are quite content to wait a few more weeks.

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crunch time’s a-coming! {boys’ shared bedroom + baby haven}

i’m back again with yet another update on the boys’ shared bedroom – the room is {almost} ready!

as a reminder, here’s the overall look that we’re going for in the boys’ shared bedroom:


and now, here’s our updated to-do list:

1. take down the ceiling fan.

2. paint the ceiling {in Benjamin Moore’s Lacey Pearl} and touch up paint on the walls.

3. hang the warehouse light fixture.

4. install DIY custom shelving flanking the window in the room {two wooden shelves – stained grey – on each side of the window, hung with hefty, exposed black brackets}.

5. order two monogram pillows and a metal photo print, courtesy of Tiny Prints.

6. order the rug {pictured above on the left side of the inspiration board, from Urban Outfitters}, as well as a few knick-knacks for the boys’ shelves that i’ve been coveting on Etsy :)

7. print and frame some custom artwork that i made for the boys’ room, as well as a piece of printable artwork that i purchased from Etsy {we’re about halfway through this process, hence the half-checked-off text}.

8. pick up the repainted bed frame, the repainted Moses basket stand, the DIY Moses basket bedding, the DIY changing pad cover, and the repainted rocking chairs from my parents’ house.

9. hang the curtain rod + curtains, hang the artwork and vinyl decals, and dress L’s bed and baby’s crib – really, this is the time to decorate our hearts out!

the triangle vinyl decals {from this Etsy seller} look outstanding in the room, but my favorite moment happened when L walked into his room after i hung the decals. as soon as he saw them on the wall, he said, “Look at all the triangles!” and instantly wanted to touch them :) he loves them!

the biggest room-maker, though, has been the custom shelving. my engineer brother worked VERY hard late into the night to hang these shelves for us – we’re so grateful! we hung two shelves on each side flanking the window. plus, i’ve officially put away my drill and hammer as well – all of the wall decor in the boys’ shared bedroom is in place!

we also were able to dress L’s bed and officially start the move to the big boy bed this past week. {the bed transition has been a journey in itself, and i promise you a post on that process soon!} his bedding looks adorable; he especially loves picking out the trucks and the cars on his bed sheets and naming the colors of each one that he sees! baby boy no. 2’s crib bedding should be shipping soon from this Etsy seller – i can’t WAIT to see how it looks in the room!

my Mom also spent some quality time with her sewing machine over the past week or so, and the Moses basket bedding and changing pad covers are nearly done and looking OUTSTANDING! all that’s left is to pick up a few last-minute items from the fabric store to finish out the bedding, and then we’ll officially be ready to embark on decorating the baby’s “haven” in our master bedroom, which is what we’re calling the {one!} wall of space that baby no. 2 will have in our bedroom for the majority of his first year.

also happening in the “haven” – on another visit to our home, my brother built our Raskog cart from IKEA, our non-permanent storage solution for diapers and other baby necessities while Baby Boy lives in our bedroom – the fun turquoise color looks great with our indigo walls in the master bedroom, and the cart is fully stocked with cloth diapers in anticipation of baby’s arrival! i’m still collecting artwork and other items to hang on the wall above baby’s “haven,” but i hope to get started on the hanging process very soon – i can’t believe that in five-and-a-half short weeks, we’ll have another boy in our home!

in other news, we’ve decided to ditch the fun geometric rug from Urban Outfitters – the original plan was to put it in the boys’ room, but after arranging the furniture in the room, there wasn’t enough open floor space for the rug to make an impact. so, we thought about moving the rug into our bedroom, but the scale is just too small for the open floor space that we have in there, so back to the store it goes!

what projects are you working on around your home?

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autumn ritual {apple orchard 2014}

every fall, our little family makes the one-mile drive {yes, only one mile!} to our local apple orchard. last year’s photos of our time at the apple orchard were some of my favorites all year; in fact, a few shots from the day are still hanging up in my cubicle at work!

this past weekend, the weather was unseasonably nice {especially for South Dakota!}, so when the temperatures topped out at 70 degrees, Jord, L and I made our way to check out the apples. my parents tagged along this year, just like they did last year, which is becoming a tradition of its own – it’s so much fun to take them with us!

here’s a few of my favorite photos from this year’s apple orchard outing:






L even took a ride on the train this year…and he hated it.

photo evidence {i couldn’t help myself}:


the highlight of this year’s outing, though, was what happened seconds after this moment:


L officially fed his first goat, and he was EXCITED. happy claps all around.

what fall traditions do you do with your family?


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Conversation Breakdown {The Two-Year-Old Version}.

The first time I wrote this post, Sara rejected it like any good English teacher would. The post lacked focus and a thesis. I’d argue that my blogging style {which is whimsical, out of focus, and thought-jumpy} is as much my signature as is her choice to forget how to press the shift key. However, she’s the boss and she wins, so three…two…one…focus!


Lionel talks. A LOT. I have no idea what’s normal conversation or word knowledge for a two-year-old, but I have this feeling that Lionel’s vocabulary is relatively impressive. My feelings are backed up by the comments and compliments that are often received from friends, family and complete strangers. Lionel knows a lot of words. What’s even better is that Lionel, in my opinion, knows the context of how most of these words are supposed to be used; however, I don’t believe he understands all the words that’s he’s using.

I have taken child development and child psychology courses throughout my many years of study, and there’s sufficient proof that talking and reading to your child is a great way to develop their language and communication skills. However, I don’t remember reading about what parents could/should/shouldn’t do when communication breaks down between an adult and a two-year-old. Conversation breakdowns with a child are confusing for me to navigate, and I think it’s equally confusing and frustrating for Lionel as well.

Last week {when I was originally writing this post}, I told the story of having breakfast with Lionel. One day last week, I was standing in the kitchen, trying to encourage Lionel to tell me what he wanted to eat for breakfast. To set the stage: each morning, I pick Lionel out of bed because he’s about as good as his parents at jumping out of bed (we like to hit the snooze). I then place him in his seat at the table and promptly say “Good morning!” I then ask about his dreams (the kid dreams like his mama – vivid and random), and then I ask him about breakfast. It’s part of our routine.

However, the question about breakfast turned into a battle that morning. On this day, I offered Lionel the typical choices – Frosted Flakes, jelly toast, or peanut butter toast. He responds “no” to all of them. I asked him again to tell me what he wants. He then picks one of the choices that I presented, and I’m pretty sure he chose the last option that I offered: toast.

But, when I start to grab for the bread to make toast, he shrieks, “NO toast!”

I then calmly rolled through the choices again. As I did, I noticed that as I continued to offer food options, my voice was getting tense, despite my best efforts. The clock stared at me:  I was running late, Lionel still needed to eat, and Sara was still sleeping.

Then, he said, “Watch Elmo.”

Our communication had broken down, so he returned to his favorite, frequent comfort statement. He knows he likes Elmo, and he’ll be satisfied if he gets the iPad to watch Elmo. This told me that breakfast had become stressful for Lionel.

I quit asking him questions for a moment as I tried to process the interaction. Our breakfast conversation wasn’t a negative exchange of words by any means, but it wasn’t a positive experience. I had a conversation with a two-year-old child who knows how to hold a conversation, but it became clear in that moment that he didn’t understand every word or phrase that he was using. That was frustrating, both to him and to me.

I denied Lionel’s request for Elmo and disengaged for another second while I set us both up with some cereal.

I then watched as he happily ate his entire bowl of cereal, not a complaint in sight.

Parenting a two-year-old is ever-changing and really interesting. I love talking with Lionel, and talking through conversations with him. But, I think there’s times when what originates as a positive interaction can turn into a negative one. For instance, when I get home from work at night and I ask him about his day, I have all night for him to process the words that he needs to communicate to me. In the morning, I have about 90 seconds. Despite his wealth of understanding, I can’t have the same conversation at the crack of dawn with Lionel that I could have Sara or with friends. It just doesn’t work – yet.

So, with one additional week’s perspective on the interactions that I’ve been having with Lionel, I’m realizing this: if I have time for Lionel to make decisions, I let him make the decisions. But, if we’re pressed for time, I make the decisions for him, like many parents do. And since following this general idea, our interactions have gone more smoothly.

With his expansive vocabulary and voice inflection, it is really easy to forget that Lionel is just two years old. He says some of the funniest and goofiest things, and he is consistently surprising me with what he knows and understands. But, he’s still just two, and he’s still learning.

Or maybe he just stinks at waking up like his parents do.

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baby gear, round II {what’s the same + what will be different}

as we continue to prepare to welcome Baby Boy no. 2 into our lives in just six and a half weeks (!!), i thought i’d share with you what we will continue to do/use with Baby Boy that we did with L, and what’s new this go-around. so, here goes!


what we’ll still do:

swaddle. as i mentioned here when L was still a squishly little baby, we LOVED the velcro swaddle blankets by SwaddleMe, and sure enough, i’ve already ordered four sets of swaddles for Baby Boy. what’s new this time, however, is that we’re also trying out a new swaddle {still by SwaddleMe} that is made just for newborns – it is quite small in profile and has a zipper closure instead of velcro. i only purchased one pack of these newborn swaddles, but i can’t wait to see what all the fuss is about! as a reminder, the book that taught us all about the value of the swaddle {as well as the other four S’s – side/stomach hold, shushing, swinging and sucking} was The Happiest Baby on the Block by Dr. Harvey Karp.

breastfeed. as long as Baby Boy {and, ahem, my body} both cooperate, nursing is something that i am so looking forward to with Baby Boy. breastfeeding L helped me so much to bond and to feel close to him, and i am anxious to experience that closeness again with Baby Boy. one thing about breastfeeding is changing, however…see below!

bouncy seat and swing. we’ve brought out our trusty Fisher Price swing and our vibrating bouncy seat for Baby Boy, and L has had a blast placing his baby doll {which is a boy, of course} in the seats and practicing his “sssh, sssh, sssh.” of course, he then grabs the baby doll by the head and flings him across the living room, but what’s important to note is that he’s practicing, ladies and gentlemen. he’s PRACTICING. {hopefully he figures it out by the time that Baby Boy arrives…}

cloth diaper. that’s right – this past weekend, i resized all of L’s Fuzzibunz One-Size Elite cloth diapers down to itty-bitty for Baby Boy, and i can’t wait to diaper his cute little bum in all the colors of the rainbow. of course, until Baby Boy is big enough to fit in to the one-size diapers {L was around X months old}, we’ll use disposable diapers. as i mentioned here, we’d still like to add 12-18 BumGenius cloth diapers to our stash, to try out that brand, but that’s a to-be-determined cost that our budget isn’t ready to tackle yet. so, stay tuned!

and now, for what we’re doing differently this time.

what’s new:

Moses basket. as i’ve shared multiple times, my Mom gifted us a gently used Moses basket and rocking stand for Baby Boy no. 2. while we coslept with L when he was a baby, we wanted to try out a different sleeping plan this time around for a variety of reasons, the biggest of which is selfish, admittedly – we want our bed to ourselves, thank-you-very-much! plus, with L transitioning into his own big-boy bed {which is happening this upcoming weekend!!}, we wanted to keep his sleep schedule as uninterrupted as possible while still allowing ourselves to be in close proximity with both the baby {who will live in our bedroom for a time} and L {whose bedroom – which he will eventually share with Baby Boy – is located across the hall from our bedroom}.

infant car seat. while we sang the praises of a convertible car seat when L was a youngster {and we still very much love it!}, i wanted to have a little bit more mobility this time around, now that we’ll have two little ones. i also was {am} nervous about having a winter baby {L was born in June} and keeping his little body cozy and warm, so we’re on Camp Infant Car Seat for Baby Boy no. 2. after a bunch of research {including lifting many a car seat in the store!} and asking many trusted mamas what they used for their kiddos, we went with the Chicco Keyfit 30 {we chose the Snapdragon colors so that it matches with L’s convertible car seat; yes, i am that anal}. i’m psyched to see what i think of it, especially for the daily drop-off and pick-up routine at daycare!

double-electric breast pump. when we had L, i was just finishing up my master’s studies in English literature, so i was able to stay home with L for 15 wonderful {albeit stressful at times} months. because i didn’t pump very often, i didn’t understand the need to spend a large sum of money on an electric breast pump, so i purchased an inexpensive Avent manual pump that got the job done when it needed to. however, with this pregnancy, i will be returning to my full-time teaching position at a local technical college when Baby Boy is two{ish} weeks shy of four months old. therefore, i see the need this time to invest in a double-electric breast pump. what’s great is that in the time between when L was born and when Baby Boy will join our family, we’ve switched insurance plans because of my job, and my insurance now covers a Medela double-electric breast pump! i’m a bit anxious about how the pumping experience will go once i return to work, but i feel relieved that i have almost four months to figure it out!

what did you do differently between kiddos? i’d love to hear your perspective!

{picture of L’s adorable baby toes by Creative Kindling, who will also be taking Baby Boy no. 2’s newborn photos!}

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{mood board} a haven for baby in our bedroom.

as i mentioned here, Baby Boy will be spending the first part of his life in our master bedroom, for a variety of reasons, the main one being that we don’t want to disturb L’s sleeping patterns {we’ll try as hard as possible to avoid doing so, anyway}. i also will be breastfeeding {click here and here to read more about my experience nursing L}, so having Baby Boy close by during the night will certainly ease that process. while we bed-shared with L, we wanted to try to avoid doing that this time, since our bed is SO much more comfortable with just two of us in it {a well-rested parent = nirvana}.

so, with all of that in mind, i started planning a little “haven” in our master bedroom for Baby Boy. after my mom gifted us a Moses basket and stand, the design process became much more clear. here’s a taste of the little space that we’re hoping to create for Baby Boy in the next seven-and-a-half {!!} weeks:


Sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

1. This adorable snail pillow is already in my possession, and I chose a kelly green color with a natural background – it’s so adorable! i’ve ordered twice from this shop, and all of my goodies have been delightful!

2. This photo, as well as item no. 6 at the bottom of the inspiration board, are the first images that i came across when looking for a “haven” in Mama and Daddy’s room. i love how different they are, and i love how each of the spaces are full of personality, which, to me, is what a baby/kiddo space should be!

3. i mentioned here that i had finally decided on a piece of movable, non-permanent storage for baby items in our room. without further ado, i’d like to introduce…the IKEA Raskog! many a blogger are professed fans of this utility cart {just one Pinterest search will reveal this}, and i can’t wait to put this puppy to use in our bedroom. picture it full of adorable cloth diapers {more on that in a little bit} and other baby necessities!

4. i originally purchased this rug for the boys’ shared bedroom, but after arranging the furniture in their room, i didn’t feel as though it would pack as much punch in their small space. so, to our bedroom it goes! i can’t wait to see it paired up with our bedding and the moody indigo color of our walls!

5. this fabric is not pink. I REPEAT: THIS FABRIC IS NOT PINK. it’s actually a white fabric base with ivory arrow head pattern on top, and this is what Baby Boy’s bedding for the Moses basket will be made of. my Mom is sewing a liner and a few sheets for the basket, and she’s also sewing a changing pad cover out of this fabric. i chose this because it’s neutral {meaning that it fits with our decor in our master bedroom – i didn’t want anything that would compete with the patterns that we already have going on in the room} and because it’s geometric, but subtle, which is a look that i’m really, really digging lately.

6. as i said above when discussing photo no. 2, i love, love, LOVE the personal touches of this little baby nook! i hope to echo some of that in our baby’s haven as well.

7. i couldn’t resist showcasing a picture of a Fuzzibunz cloth diaper, of which we have many in our stash. we hope to add some BumGenius cloth diapers to our collection as well in the near future, but aren’t these so adorable?! we loved them with L until he was about 18 months old {then he became a heavy wetter}, so we’re hoping that they work for Baby Boy for quite some time, too.

8. like the photo above, the Moses basket that my Mom gave to us is natural in color, and she is repainting the stand white {specifically in Benjamin Moore’s White Dove, my favorite white/cream}. the baby’s bedding will not be elephant-themed, as shown in the photo, but will feature the fabric pictured above {see no. 5}. again, i promise: the fabric is NOT pink – the picture is misleading!

*one feature of the nook that isn’t pictured is an adorable canvas sign {which hails from Hobby Lobby} that says “i love you to the moon and back,” which you’ve seen before in this photo of yore from our master bedroom {and uffda, we owe you an updated tour of our bedroom – i’ll get on that!}:


we plan to bring that canvas back in and hang it above where the Moses basket will sit {most of the time, at least}.

apart from the items pictured above, i can’t wait to add some personal touches {such as some Lionel art and possibly a few framed baby photos of Jord and i, of L, and of Baby Boy himself, after he’s born} that will remain a surprise until we do the big reveal. once we finish up the last remaining to-do’s on the boys’ shared bedroom, we’ll get started on the baby’s haven – i can’t wait! you know i’ll keep you posted :)

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{boys’ shared bedroom} nearing the finish line.

i’m back again with yet another update on the boys’ shared bedroom, and this one is exciting, since we’re nearing the end of the ol’ to-do list!

take a look:

1. take down the ceiling fan.

2. paint the ceiling {in Benjamin Moore’s Lacey Pearl} and touch up paint on the walls.

3. hang the warehouse light fixture.

4. install DIY custom shelving flanking the window in the room {two wooden shelves – stained grey – on each side of the window, hung with hefty, exposed black brackets}.

5. order two monogram pillows and a metal photo print, courtesy of Tiny Prints.

6. order the rug {pictured above on the left side of the inspiration board, from Urban Outfitters}, as well as a few knick-knacks for the boys’ shelves that i’ve been coveting on Etsy :)

7. print and frame some custom artwork that i made for the boys’ room, as well as a piece of printable artwork that i purchased from Etsy {we’re about halfway through this process, hence the half-checked-off text}.

8. pick up the repainted bed frame, the repainted Moses basket stand, the DIY Moses basket bedding, the DIY changing pad cover, and the repainted rocking chairs from my parents’ house.

9. hang the curtain rod + curtains, hang the artwork and vinyl decals, and dress the beds – really, this is the time to decorate our hearts out!

so, in case you can’t tell above, the room now is full of art! i hung up all of the artwork in the room this past Friday evening {and i’m SO pleased with how it turned out!}. i plan to install the triangle vinyl decals {from this Etsy seller} this upcoming weekend; they recommend waiting 30 days after touching up the paint in some areas of the room, so i’ve been anxiously counting down the days until i can install them – i can’t wait to see what they look like! along with the custom shelving {see no. 4 above}, which i’ve recruited my engineer brother to do for us, i still have a few more odds and ends to install {little animal hooks to hold coats/sweatshirts and adorable little felt bunting} before i can put away my drill and hammer, but the room is coming along so, so well!

we also officially have L’s big boy bed {and mattresses!} – the bed has been painted {thanks Mom!}, poly’d {thanks Jord!} and installed in the room. i picked up this comforter a few months ago, and just this past week, L and i took another trip to Target to get a big boy bed pillow for him. we also ordered a waterproof mattress pad for his bed from Amazon {it’s this one, if you’re curious}. up next: we have a little sanding to do {after the poly on the bed sets for a few days}. we’re also waiting on L’s sheets {this cute set from Target} to arrive via mail this week. then we’ll finally be able to dress L’s bed and officially start the move to the big boy bed! and, baby boy no. 2’s crib bedding should be shipping soon from this Etsy seller – i can’t WAIT to see how it looks in the room!

we also have to hang some items and add some charm to the baby’s “haven” in our master bedroom, which is what we’re calling the {one!} wall of space that baby no. 2 will have in our bedroom for the majority of his first year. as a reminder, we plan to have Baby Boy sleep in our bedroom in the Moses basket until he outgrows it or until he is ready to be moved to the crib in the boys’ shared bedroom; we don’t want to disrupt L’s sleep patterns too much, if we can avoid it.

in terms of actual to-do’s for the baby’s “haven,” i have one large piece of artwork to hang over the space where the Moses basket will sit, and i’m still in collection mode for a few other items to add personality to the wall space above his little “haven.” i also finally decided on a movable/non-permanent mode of storage for baby items that we’ll want to keep in our room, particularly the many diaper change-related goodies like disposable and cloth diapers, wipes and lotions/creams. what’s great about this storage piece is that it A) will be easy to keep clean, and B) will also be able to contain a bit of closed storage as well via storage boxes; i think that these will come in handy for other necessities that baby and i may need {for breastfeeding in particular}. i can’t wait to reveal this item once my messenger gets it home – hint: it’s not sold around here! :)

what projects are you working on around your home?

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baby no. 2 bump update {30 weeks}

here’s what’s going on with baby no. 2 this week {from Babycenter}:

Your baby’s about 15.7 inches long now and weighs almost 3 pounds (about the size of a large cabbage). A pint and a half of amniotic fluid surrounds him, but that volume will shrink as he gets bigger and takes up more room in your uterus. His eyesight continues to develop, though it’s not very keen; even after he’s born, he’ll keep her eyes closed for a good part of the day. When he does open them, he’ll respond to changes in light but will have 20/400 vision — which means he can only make out objects a few inches from his face. (Normal adult vision is 20/20.)

how far along: 30 weeks + 4 days.

total weight gain: 14 pounds, as of my last appointment, which is so surprising – with baby L, i had already gained almost 30 pounds at this point in the pregnancy!

report – recent ultrasound + prenatal appointment: everything is going well with Baby; his limbs are measuring short, just like his big brother and his Daddy, which isn’t surprising to us or to our doctors. he’s proportionally looking perfect, but is just a little shorter than your average baby, which is nothing to be concerned about, according to our doctors – we feel so thankful that all of baby’s organs and development looks wonderful!

i also took {and passed!} the glucose test at my recent prenatal appointment – yay for taking down that icky drink like a champ!

{update} bump photo: me at 31 weeks!


what’s coming up: on October 10, i have my next prenatal appointment. after that, i start to see my doctor every two weeks, as we get closer to the due date!

food cravings: cupcakes are still topping the list, but i’m loving the homemade pumpkin bread that my Mom baked for me, too!

what i’m looking forward to: meeting this baby on December 1! i can’t stop thinking about finally figuring out who this little person is – i’m ready to stop imagining and see his eyes! soon enough… :)

what i miss: red, red, red, red wiiiiiiiiiine.

next appointment: October 10!

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Trial + Error = A Brand New Bed.

There was a time when Sara and I decided to invest in a new set of mattresses. We also got a new bedframe from IKEA – the Hemnes style in black/brown. It was nice, and for our first “grown-up” bed, it worked quite well. But we moved on. After graduating college, Sara’s brother Brian needed a bed frame, and Sara wanted something new, so he purchased our Hemnes queen-sized frame (as well as our black/brown Hemnes dresser and nightstand). It was a good switcheroo.

But, that meant that I got tabbed with the task of building us a new bed.

The build was set to be a fairly easy one, based on this platform bed design from Ana White. We chose to build our bed sans headboard, as Sara plans to DIY an upholstered headboard at some point post-baby no. 2’s arrival.


After much success with building our kitchen table, I again enlisted the help of my father for general guidance. We went and bought the wood and the hardware, and we got to building.

{Bad blogger announcement – there are no progress pictures. I have determined that I have no idea on how to take proper progression photos. When I’m building something, I’m zoned in, making cuts, staining wood, or drilling holes, and boom – it’s all ready for installation. Photos, what the heck?!}

So I’ll just talk about the project with words, because a thousand words is worth around one picture, right?

The First Weekend

First off, I’ve always heard the caution to “measure twice and cut once.” Typically, this plan works really well. However, if you’re using the wrong guide, you’re likely to also get the wrong cut. Whoops. We started the cuts using the directions we wrote out, but we later discovered that we were basing our cuts on a full-size bed, not a queen-size bed (the plans from Ana White provide both measurements, as well as measurements for a twin-size frame). It was early on a Saturday, and our brains weren’t thinking yet. So, we made a return trip to the lumber store and bought some more wood.

After returning home with the new boards in tow, we cut them to the right size, drilled pocket holes into them {again using our Kreg Jig, which we originally purchased for the kitchen table process}, and sanded them down as nicely as we could for being relatively cheap, soft lumber.

Staining the wood was a newer process for me. Sara choose a gray stain {specifically Classic Gray by Minwax} for the bed, which ended up looking very nice, but since I’ve never stained before, and since Sara {being pregnant} was not able to step in for me, I did what I could do.

So I stained. And stained. And stained…stainnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.

I did…okay. The finish wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad. All the boards got stained, including the boards that we cut wrong, which Sara decided to repurpose for shelves for the boys’ shared bedroom = score! One mistake turned into a positive.

The Second Weekend

After the stain dried and another weekend arrived, I set out to assemble the bed. Piece by piece, I laid out the wood and started screwing the bed pieces together.

But then, I noticed a problem. A major problem. The boards had warped. These boards that fit in the garage were no longer aligned, most likely due to the fact that A) the wood was relatively inexpensive and not the best quality, and B) the difference in humidity between our garage and the lumberyard.

I fretted for a while, but then decided that with some extra sanding, we could save this wood. It was worth a shot, since otherwise, we’d be back to square one {and we already had to buy more wood than we originally planned on, with our goof-up during the cutting phase}.

I assembled the bed inside our bedroom in the house – a necessity, since a bed frame, when assembled, is a monstrosity that can’t fit through a standard doorway. With some glue and some luck, the plan to salvage the boards worked well {apart from the fact that the sanding process had to happen inside the house – MESSY. I don’t recommend it.}

I put on the finishing “caps” around the top edges of the bed, and man, it looked good; Sara and I were both quite excited. Then, it was time to screw on the legs.

The legs went on just fine, but immediately after attaching them, it became clear that stability was quickly an issue. The bed was rather wobbly and squeaky, so back to the the drawing board we went!

My dad’s solution to the wobbly bed legs involved getting a new 4×4 board and cutting the legs so that part of the frame of the bed can rest on the legs, instead of being screwed into the side. The cutting and tapering of these legs was a two- to three-week process, but we got it done.

The Third Weekend

Once the legs were cut and tapered, I stained them. And stained. And stained…

The Fourth Weekend

The legs were finally dry and finished to my {well, really to Sara’s} standards, so I brought to the bedroom the glue, my screws, and my new drill that I had gotten for my birthday, and I went to work putting together the bed.

I let the glue and the screws set for a day; meanwhile, we moved our mattresses to the living room, where we camped out for the week.

During the Fifth Week

Throughout this past week, I added additional screws to the legs to stabilize the bed. I then had to do more sanding and wood-filling, since the boards had warped. Of course, with sanding comes more staining.

Oh, the staining. Rinse, repeat, agony. {Yes, I get my sense of dramatics from my wife, thank you.}

The Fifth Weekend

After working on the sanding and staining process all week long, the finish was finally up to par with what we were hoping for {with the exception of one spot on the frame – darn knots in the wood!}. The plan for the new legs worked famously – our bed now features not a wobble, squeak or shake.

Either way, we FINALLY slept on our platform bed this past weekend, and it was a rousing SUCCESS to A) finally be sleeping in an actual bed again, and to B) be sleeping in a bed that I built with my own two hands.

Take a look:




Project Takeaways

This project offered a few lessons:

1. Buy better-quality wood. Our options for high-quality wood are quite limited here in South Dakota; even though the Black Hills of SD are full of pine wood, the quality can be hit or miss at times, as we discovered with this project.

2. Buy the wood earlier in the building/planning process, so that you have time to let it set in your home/garage to accustom to your environment. If it warps horribly, replace it.

3. Staining should be left to my wife. While spray painting is apparently a skill I have {more info on this to come!}, that’s where it ends. {Sara’s Edit: I’ve never stained, either…}

Anyway, we’re very happy with the fact that the bed is finally DONE, and we’re so pleased with the look and the quality of the platform-style frame. Sure, we’d do a few things differently next time around, but it, like building the kitchen table, was a learning process from start to finish.

Master Bedroom To-Do List:

Here’s what’s left on the good ol’ Listy McListerson for our Master Bedroom:

- paint (indigo)

- accent/repaint tray ceiling

- add end table

- hang curtain rod and curtains

- add seating area

- purchase new duvet cover, shams, accent pillows

- sell IKEA Hemnes bed, dresser and nightstand {to my brother!}

- DIY a bed

– make a haven for baby no. 2 in master bedroom {mood board to come!}

– DIY a sunburst mirror using wood shims

– add art

– remove and sell the ceiling fan {to Sara’s parents!}; add a chandelier

– add sconces flanking the bed

– DIY a tufted, upholstered headboard

– paint interior of closet a fun color {wine? emerald?} or add wallpaper/DIY a stenciled paint treatment

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getting back to me.

this summer and fall has been a whirlwind. just to give you a taste, here’s a look at my July calendar {taken from my Simplified Planner by Emily Ley, which i loooooooooove}:


crazy, right? in between teaching a summer class, celebrating my best friend’s wedding, family birthdays and get-togethers {most notably L’s second birthday in June and Jord’s birthday in August}, and baking this baby, summer flew by. and now, it’s nearly October.

yet, i still feel like i’m slowly adjusting back to full-time teaching, even after a summer of a light teaching workload {despite a plethora of other commitments that demanded my time this summer}.

so, this past weekend, i took a little inventory of why i’m feeling so sluggish to adjust to life as i know it from august – may, and after doing some digging, it hit me: i haven’t been using my Simplified Planner or my Powersheets. at all.

i’ve spoken about my intentions for the year of 2014 and my love for the Simplified Planner and Lara Casey’s Powersheets before, but it can’t be overstated: making room {and thus, making time} for these two innovative products in my life helped me to live more intentionally and to focus on what matters most in the first part of this year, and after doing some serious soul-searching, i realized just how much i was missing out on my “me” time with these products.

that’s not to say that i didn’t use my planner at all for months and months – i mean sure, every so often, i would scribble a note down in my planner – someone’s birthday, probably – but overall, the daily pages of my planner are remarkably blank from early May on, until i started teaching in the summer. plus, after finally locating my Powersheets – yes, it was that bad! – i found that the last time that i intentionally took time to plan out the month ahead with the Powersheets was in March!

for a girl who’s motto this year has been to #lovehard2014 by simplifying my life and focusing on what matters, i’m giving myself a grade of a D. while i started the year off strong – i was a devoted Simplified Planner user, and my Powersheets came with me everywhere i went – my dedication to simplifying in order to love hard waned as the year went on, until my efforts simply stopped come summertime.

when i thought back to why my commitment to simplifying and loving hard this year changed, i came up with a few culprits:

  1. after returning home from Write: Doe Bay in April, i felt overwhelmed by all of the things that i wanted to accomplish, so instead of pursuing any small-scale or short-term goal, i stopped setting goals or thinking about my goals altogether. my time at Write: Doe Bay was so revolutionary for me in many ways, most of which i haven’t yet shared in this space, or have barely even processed {and i know, i should post about that – consider me charged with the task!}. because it was such a challenging time, both physically {hello, five weeks pregnant = morning/motion sickness in the worst way} and mentally/emotionally {wait, i thought that blogging was the ideal career path – you mean it’s actually hard?}, i let myself get busy, and get lost in my calendar, in order to decompress or escape the hard thinking that i needed to do {and that i still need to keep doing}.
  2. i was focused on growing our family, and growing this little baby in my belly, and i stopped making time for me. as you may remember, wishing for baby no. 2 did not make our little guy appear any faster, and i grew impatient at times with the waiting process. of course, our journey to baby no. 2 was nowhere near as complicated as that of many other couples, and i continue to feel grateful for that, but it’s always difficult to want something so much with no promise or guarantee that it will happen for you. for instance, as a voracious blog reader, i have read all too many stories of mothers who were overjoyed to welcome one or two {healthy} children and were then devastated to suffer a subsequent loss or miscarriage, or had difficulty conceiving a second child. after four or five months of trying, i feared that we were falling into that camp, too, and i let that fear take hold, which is what prompted Jordan to write this post.of course, we were overjoyed to learn that we had another healthy child on the way, but after that time of worrying and waiting, i didn’t return to myself – i let my focus slip from what i need {which is to be intentional about the way that i live my life} in favor of what my family needs {which, while not an unworthy mindset, can leave a person feeling like the leftovers that are shoved in the back of the fridge: once enjoyed, but since forgotten}. of course, i don’t say this in any way to blame Jordan or Lionel or this sweet baby boy in my belly – instead, the blame solely lies on me for not commanding my in-between time, my time in between laundry loads full of little Lionel clothes and cherished solo time with my husband.
  3. this loss of “me” time made me feel that i was too busy living life to plan for it. take one look at my July calendar above, and you can tell that my schedule was running me – i was no longer in control of what my days were made of. instead of taking my busy life as a sign to refocus on myself and on my goal of living intentionally and simply this year and always, i focused on checking off the many to-do items that creeped up on the pages of my planner. while it typically feels good to drop-kick completed items off of my to-do list, i stopped feeling satisfaction when i finished a task. instead of attempting to fill my calendar with what matters to me, i simply became obsessed with looking ahead and checking off the next little to-do item.

so, what can i take from this time of reflection, this mid-year failure of mine? well, this past weekend, i completed my first batch of Powersheets since March. and this week at work, i’ve dusted off and cracked open my Simplified Planner, and i’ve written to-do items and checklists inside its pages. and – this is the big part – i’m committed to doing it again and again, daily, weekly and monthly, because i know now, after abandoning these practices for what feels like so long, that i need it.


after some time away from this part of my life, i’ve realized that i need the time-out for myself to take stock, to do the hard thinking, and to put in the work to plan my time in order to live with intention and purpose. so, here’s to starting again, because as i wrote to myself on my Powersheets for this month, it’s worth it to begin again; i am worth it.

more to come from the trenches of prioritizing me…

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