Wednesday, May 29, 2013

ANSWER - Tuesday Trivia: Geography

How many seas around the world are named for colors?

Four: the Black Sea, the Red Sea, the White Sea, and the Yellow Sea.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tuesday Trivia: Geography

Tuesday Trivia is a weekly post of interesting trivia questions. Leave a comment with your answer - or best guess - and come back tomorrow to see if you were right. Happy guessing!


How many seas around the world are named for colors?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Nugget (Month 2)

Dear Willa,

This month started out rough and got way better. The first couple weeks your crying because you were overstimulated was very frustrating, and there seemed to be little that would calm you down. Finally, you seemed to be getting past that particular stage, and we moved you into your room.

That first night when you slept in your room instead of in the Pack 'n Play in our room, I gotta be honest... we slept so great. And it wasn't but two nights later that you started sleeping through the night. I think moving you into your own room was the best move for all three of us so we could all get the best sleep possible. We weren't waking up at every little sound you made, and you were able to sleep without one of us picking you up every time you started to cry just a little.

And since that first night, there have only been a few exceptions when you don't sleep through the night. One such exception, you woke up in a panic because your leg got caught in the crib. 

This month you went on your first road trip as we drove down to the San Antonio area for your Grandpa Speer's funeral. You did great in the car sleeping most of the drive as well as sleeping in the hotel and during the funeral service. Your extended family loved meeting you, and you soaked up all the attention like a champ.

You started smiling at us several weeks ago. Getting you to smile has become my favorite morning activity. I like to tell you everyday that in exchange for feeding you and changing your diapers, you have to pay Momma and the acceptable forms of payment are smiles, hugs, and I love yous, and since you can only manage one of the three right now, you have to smile at me as much as you can. 


Thursday, May 23, 2013

How To: Scrabble Wall Art

Last week I finally revealed Willa's nursery. One of my favorite parts of her room is the Scrabble wall art I created. 

While I'm sure I saw it first on Pinterest, I can't find my original inspiration for the Scrabble wall art in Willa's room otherwise I would link to it. When I was preparing to make the Scrabble wall, I did come across a website where you could buy a non-personalized version; however it is not cheap. I spent about $45 to make Willa's.

Here's how I did it.

The hardest part was figuring out what words would work in the space I had. I used paper squares to create various mockups on the wall until I figured out exactly what words I wanted to use.

I purchased a couple 1x6 planks of wood at Lowe's. I chose pine because it closely resembled how the real Scrabble tiles look without additional work and didn't need much sanding. I asked a Lowe's employee to cut the planks for me into six inch pieces so I had 6x6 squares. I did end up sanding the cut edges down.

I used a stencil to draw on the letters and numbers.

 And painted in the stenciled letters and numbers using black acrylic craft paint.

 Once they had been painted, I used Mod Podge to sort of seal it in so the paint will hopefully not run or smear over time.

I thought of several different ways to hang them (3M hanging strips and French cleats to name two) but ended up using sawtooth picture hangers to hang each square individually. When hanging I didn't get too particular about the spacing between each square as I just wanted it done. So it's not spaced perfectly but surprisingly it doesn't bother me at all.

That's it. It really wasn't a complicated process. And a great deal at $45 for a perfect piece of wall art for Willa's room.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

ANSWER - Tuesday Trivia: Definitions

What are you suffering from if you have amusia?

Tone deafness, or the inability to recognize or reproduce musical sounds.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tuesday Trivia: Definitions

Tuesday Trivia is a weekly post of interesting trivia questions. Leave a comment with your answer - or best guess - and come back tomorrow to see if you were right. Happy guessing!


What are you suffering from if you have amusia?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Nugget's Nursery

Several months ago I showed you how we painted Willa's room, with three cream walls and one navy blue wall that also had a checkerboard pattern.

Last week we finally added the final touch to her room, which means I can finally reveal the nursery to you!

As you can see I didn't have a theme. Instead I focused on the colors... navy blue, yellow, coral and white. It started when I chose navy blue for the yarn I used to make Willa's baby blanket. Then I pulled in the other colors when choosing the fabric for the crib bedding. As soon as I saw the chevron pattern, I had to have it. Which is why I used throughout the room.

(Funny story... when I bought the extra chevron fabric to make the curtains, I had thought the chevrons would be going horizontal. It wasn't until after I washed the fabric and laid it out to cut and iron that I realized the chevrons were going to be vertical. Not what I had originally pictured in my mind, but it's grown on me.)

This is my favorite part of Willa's room. I wish I could say it was completely my idea. But I saw it on Pinterest and knew I had to make one for Willa. There will be a how-to post at some point.

The gallery wall:

At the center of the wall is a print of two lines from the e.e. cummings poem that my friend Laurel read at our wedding. A friend of mine sells it in her Etsy shop along with a couple other prints I included in Willa's wall. You can see to the left of this print is a picture of Cooper and a print of a mom elephant with her baby that I also found from another awesome Etsy shop.

I used several of my favorite pictures from our pregnancy announcement shoot in the wall as well as some of the extra fabric leftover from the crib bedding. Also seen in the image below, an apostrophe print from my friend's shop and the "All because two people fell in love" elephant print also from Etsy.

The "Made in Texas" canvas was a gift from a good friend, and I love love love it. She knows me well. The elephant and rabbit reading print is from the same Etsy shop as the mom and baby elephant print from the other side.

And in the last close up of the gallery wall, more pictures from our pregnancy announcement, another piece of leftover fabric, a third print from my friend's Etsy shop and the yellow W on a navy chevron pattern from (you guessed it) Etsy. Can you tell I love Etsy?

The white shelf I got from IKEA along with the yellow and coral lanterns.The silver heart bank and stuffed puppy were gifts. The blue elephant and "I love you more than bacon" sign I got from Paper Source.

The dresser and lamp came from IKEA. The diaper caddy I found in a shop on Etsy. The final touch was a few of my favorite pictures from Willa's newborn shoot.

Okay, so I know I said the Scrabble wall art was my favorite in the room. Truth is, I love it all. Each print and picture in the gallery wall. Willa's newborn pictures, the ones of just her and the ones with us. I think it all came together quite nicely.

There are several elephants incorporated throughout the room. Looking back that's about as close as I got to a theme. Really, I just gravitated towards any elephants I saw because I like elephants, and it's an indirect reference to A&M (seniors at A&M are called elephants).

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday Trivia: Animals

Tuesday Trivia is a weekly post of interesting trivia questions. Leave a comment with your answer - or best guess - and come back tomorrow to see if you were right. Happy guessing!


What do the prairie dog, guinea pig, and ground hog have in common?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Nugget: A Birth Story

Six weeks later and I'm still amazed that this beautiful little girl is ours.

Six weeks old

It feels like she just got here and yet has been in our lives for much, much longer than six weeks.

You all have been so patient for Willa's birth story, and I am so grateful. I needed time to process what happened and mourn my lost, for lack of a better term, "birth plan" as Willa taught us our first parenthood lesson that just because we want things to go one way doesn't mean it will happen that way.

(I really didn't want to use the term birth plan because I didn't really have one. Knowing myself like I do - and I should hope that I know myself pretty well by now - I knew that if I actually had a written plan and things didn't work out according to said plan, I would be incredibly upset. Instead, I had many conversations with my doctor over those months of pregnancy about what I wanted: vaginal birth, no episiotomy, an epidural at some point. I wanted to avoid a cesarean section unless medically necessary.)

The story begins on Tuesday, March 26. I was 39 weeks pregnant. When I left work that afternoon for my prenatal appointment, a coworker asked if it was time. I replied that it wasn't and that I was just headed to my doctor's office for the weekly checkup on baby. Oh how little did I know.

At the doctor's office, the nurses and I joked about the misery of the last weeks of pregnancy when you're just so damn uncomfortable as we went through the routine: weigh in (and pretend to not care about the number on the scale while telling yourself it's okay and you'll lose the baby weight), pee in a cup, chat about how I've been feeling over the past week (any contractions, bleeding, etc.), and take my blood pressure. The nurse mentioned that my blood pressure was high and took it again. It was still high.

I didn't think much of it as a couple weeks before my blood pressure was borderline high. So I waited patiently for my doctor. She had another patient who was in labor and pushing. Luckily, I didn't have many questions left so we moved straight to the checking of my cervix (1.5 cm dilated and very soft) and listening of Nugget's heartbeat (it was good). After chatting for a couple minutes, she checked the nurse's notes and noticed the high blood pressure, which did not please her. So she checked it again. Still high.

The doctor gave me a look that clearly said it was time. I had a hard time believing that this was it. While she checked reflexes and other potential signs of pre-eclampsia, she explained to me that if this had happened a few weeks ago, she would have ordered bed rest, but because I was 39 weeks, and Nugget was well developed, the risks of waiting a week outweighed the risks of inducing now. Even as she gave me directions to go directly to the labor and delivery floor next door and check in, I kept thinking this couldn't be it.

The plan was to use a cervical ripening agent overnight and induce in the morning. I walked out to my car in a daze to grab my hospital bag that I had packed and kept in my car over the last few weeks just in case and immediately made three phone calls. First to John to tell him to leave work and take Cooper to the boarding place before coming to the hospital. Next my mom, who I had to get out of a client meeting to tell her Nugget would be here within a day, and finally my sister.

Out of all the scenarios I imagined how I would arrive at the hospital to deliver Nugget, walking in by myself was not one of them. I was incredibly nervous, and it was obvious as I chattered with the nurse who was checking me in while changing into the hospital gown and climbing into bed. The nurse did a great job keeping my mind occupied as we talked about what would happen and other unrelated topics.

After the check in process was complete and the cervical ripening agent inserted, I settled in for the evening. John showed up shortly thereafter, followed by my family who brought us dinner as I was too distracted to order anything from the hospital's cafeteria before they closed for the night. Having a few hours to accept the news that I was going to be induced and having my family around me, I was feeling less nervous and more ready for what was to come.

Around 10 p.m. I got a sleeping pill from the nurse to help me sleep. Only I was so wired as I could not stop thinking about what was happening and was starting to feel small contractions thanks to the cervical ripening agent that I had to take another sleeping pill an hour or so later. Finally, I was able to get to sleep.

Since the plan was to start pitocin at 6 a.m., I took a shower at 5:30 so I could start the long day fresh. Afterwards, the nurse inserted the IV, and the pitocin fun began. Every half hour the dosage of pitocin was increased. At 9 a.m., my doctor came in to check on me before starting her appointments for the day. While there she checked my cervix (2 cm dilated) and broke my water.

After 45 minutes, the contractions were coming faster and stronger so that I was having to stop talking with my family who were in the room and breathe through each one. The next time I saw the nurse I requested the epidural. When it had been administered and sufficiently numbed the lower half of my body, the nurse checked my cervix again. The good news was that I was 4 cm dilated so labor was progressing. The bad news... Willa was butt down.

The nurse was fairly certain that what she felt was the baby's rear end and not her head. The doctor was called so she could check, and she too felt the soft tushy. The doctor did a sonogram just to be extra sure. When it was confirmed that Willa had flipped to breech position after spending several weeks head down, the doctor gave me that look again. The one that said you know what we have to do. And then she booked the operating room for 11:15 to perform the cesarean section that would bring Willa into this world.

I can't remember exactly what I said, but I know I was in disbelief again. When my mom and sister came back into the room, they already knew and that's when I started to cry. It was the delivery I didn't want, but it was the one I was going to have.

The next half hour passed in a blur as they prepped me. John put on the scrubs they gave him so he could be in the operating room with me. And then it was time.

I started to tremble uncontrollably. Luckily there was a fan in the operating room that blew warm air on me and after a few minutes while the prep was being finished, I stopped trembling. Once the doctor got started, it didn't take long before I felt the pushing on my stomach that meant Willa was about to be born. With the sheet draped in front of my face, I couldn't see her when it was announced she was here. She was brought to a table just over my left shoulder. John stood up to watch as she was checked by the nurses and cleaned up. All I could see of her while this was going on was the top of her head and the bottom of one of her feet (her legs were flipped up so that her feet were by her head as if she were doing the world's most flexible toe touch). I remember being frustrated that after all this time all I got to see of her was her head and foot. 

After what seemed like days, the nurse brought her over and laid her on my chest so I could look at her while the doctor finished. I drank her in and could not stop myself from crying. After all that we had been through trying to get pregnant, she was finally here. It felt surreal. I could not stop staring at her even though I was exhausted, and it was taking tremendous effort just to keep my eyes open.

So when a nurse said John and Willa could go back to my labor and delivery room while the doctor closed me up, I didn't want them to go. At the same time, I was glad they went because it meant I could shut my eyes and rest for a bit.

It was not the delivery I wanted and hoped for. But the result is. And she's beautiful.

Not even an hour old

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Book Review: Mrs. Kennedy and Me

Mrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint Hill

There are no lack of books about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and her life. Some of these biographies dip into speculation about her life and the various scandals, this one does not. Written by the man who was assigned to protect her during the JFK presidency, this biography offers a unique perspective on Mrs. Kennedy.

Hill writes his story of the years he spent by Mrs. Kennedy's side with obvious respect and devotion to the woman he was once sworn to protect at all costs. For example, he never calls her anything but Mrs. Kennedy and always describes her as beautiful and breathtaking. The positive depiction of the First Lady and refusal to dip into rumor and scandal was a refreshing change from other biographies.

I usually am not a fan of biographies, but this one I enjoyed.

Next month - The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis

Disclosure: No one paid me in any way, form or fashion for this review.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hump Day Humor: Pool Water

Having smelled constantly of chlorine in my high school years, I find this especially hilarious.

ANSWER - Tuesday Trivia: Cars

What automobile was voted "the worst car of the millennium" by listeners of National Public Radio's popular Car Talk show?

The Yugo. The mechanically challenged 1980s Yugoslavian subcompact, jokingly referred to as the No-go, sold for $3,990 in the U.S.