Friday, December 20

pregnancy cravings

lots of people ask me about my cravings -- do i have any weird ones? any aversions? and i usually disappoint them with my answer. my major craving has been for salty food, & my major aversion has been to sweets. that's pretty much it.

thankfully, third trimester brought the return of my sweet tooth in time for the holidays, but i still don't overindulge like i used to. i have a limit on how many sweets i can eat now, & i still crave salty as much or more.

for the first half of pregnancy, i didn't eat much meat. it didn't make me sick or nauseous, but i just didn't want it usually. not very notable or story-worthy.

i did have two "weird cravings" in my first trimester or so -- kraft singles on nilla wafers & ramen noodles. to me, these things aren't weird, but others cringe when i share it. the kraft singles on nilla wafers dates back to my high school days at science & math [where i went my junior & senior year]. my mom never let us have fake cheese at home, so i was determined that my first fridge would always be filled with kraft singles. somehow i discovered the perfection of adding them to nilla wafers, & it became a regular pre-curfew snack in the common room watching jerry springer with the other girls on my hall. [don't judge, we only had 2 or 3 channels.]

ramen noodles are something i never bought until recently, but whenever anyone was sick on our hall back at science & math, someone was ready with ramen noodles to help them feel better. it was the closest thing we had to chicken soup on hall, i guess. i was the blessed recipient of this warm brothy meal when i was sick a couple of times, & it now represents a strange sort of comfort food to me. plus, it's super salty!

so no majorly weird cravings or combinations for me. that is, until yesterday. i went to the grocery store on my weekly errand run, & i was hungry. usually, i'm a stickler about my grocery list -- if it's not on the list, we don't get it. i rarely indulge in cravings-of-the-moment, even when i go to the store hungry. but yesterday was a different story.

fortunately, i did buy all the items on the list, because shaun's first reaction when he saw all the weird stuff i bought was asking whether i remembered milk! there were also lots of things i didn't buy that i wanted to eat right then. so at least i exerted some self-restraint...

i've been craving spaghetti-o's lately. i've been smart enough not to buy them so far, but i faltered yesterday. and that's lunch for today.

a couple days ago, i saw a recipe for homemade pimiento cheese that sounded really good, & i wanted to make it, but i didn't have pimientos [unless you count the ones in my huge jar of green olives in the fridge]. walking down the condiment aisle yesterday, i happened to see them. i walked past them. then, i went back for them. enough for two batches. [i wanted to be able to share with dad when they come for new year's!]

jell-o was on sale. i don't have a clue why that sounded good, but it did. i bought two packs. the black cherry jell-o cup i had last night was delish!

i love Xmas tree cakes. my sister & i can go through multiple boxes of them together. i've already gone through two boxes this month. i saw them on the shelf upon entering the store yesterday & couldn't resist. the box was open & minus a cake by the time i got home.

i have been craving cocktail weenies all week. you know, the ones made with grape jelly & chili sauce? yum. i bought four packs of weenies, jelly, & chili sauce to make two batches.

also, cheeseballs sounded really good to me. i have two favorite recipes. one is made with super sharp white cabot cheddar [i'm salivating now], & the other is the one with buddig's beef mixed in it. i bought enough ingredients to make two of each.

i also bought four boxes of crackers for the cheeseballs.

shaun just laughed as i unloaded the bags last night. he said what he found most humorous is not just that i bought all this stuff, but that i bought enough for two of everything!

and now that i'm sufficiently hungry & drooling, i'm headed to the kitchen to make cheeseballs, cocktail weenies, & Xmas cookies & candies. and i'll need a snack of jell-o & Xmas tree cakes while i work.


Monday, December 9

casa project list -- december update

we busted our tails this past week & weekend to get the casa ready for shaun's annual department chili cook-off. we have hosted it every year since we moved to lafayette, making this one our 5th. we love when the casa is packed with people enjoying good food & good conversation! one major point to note: it's the first time in the history of us living in this casa that BOTH the living room & office have been clean, presentable, & useful at the same time!!! *high fives* all around!

looking back at the project list that i shared last month, i realized we've accomplished alot in that time! [and by we, as always, i mostly mean shaun.] so here's an updated list for you:

1. finish replacing the main bathroom sink  [see the big reveal]
2. finish demolition on the master bathroom
3. figure out plumbing needs to replace toilets -- he's been working on this today!
4. replace kitchen sink & fixtures [see it in all it's glory]
5. paint dresser for nursery -- he's moved it upstairs onto a piece of cardboard
6. paint nursery walls [see how it looks so far]
7. install diaper sprayer in bathroom
8. clear a place for my car in the garage
9. assemble any baby stuff [ex: crib]
10. anything else i can come up with between now & february!

currently, his priorities are the toilets & figuring out what options we have for replacing them, especially the one in the main bathroom, & then painting the nursery dresser. the diaper sprayer is contingent on replacing the toilet. the demolition to the master bath is not as highly prioritized now that he's done enough to figure out the toilet situation. we don't have anything needing assembly yet, & while i want the garage cleared yesterday, as long as it's done before baby roo arrives, no big deal.

as for me, i'm still taking "baby steps" & trying to do a little bit every day. 

this past weekend wiped me out as we sprinted to get the living room cleared for the chili cook-off but without just throwing everything back into the office willy-nilly. a month ago or so, shaun cleared the office [which was an epic disaster, catastrophic even], & he sorted everything on tables & chairs in the living room for me to go through, organize, & return to the office. we completed about 75-80% of this last week & on saturday. the rest was moved to the basement in boxes to be gone through later. at least a basement is meant for storage like that! i have a few more things i'd like to finish in the office, then i'll post pics for you.

as for now, my "little by little" list looks like this [bold items are today, the others are "next steps":

- clear the top of the dog crate [currently has Xmas decor boxes on top]
- hang 4th curtain over sliding glass doors
- add hooks to "hall tree"
- hang up coats, etc. on hall tree
- organize cubbies in behind-the-couch console table
- repot all cacti

- put away random items left out from chili cook-off
- organize food cabinet
- organize freezer
- straighten pantry
- organize medicine/health cabinet
- declutter cookbooks & organize recipes
- organize bottom cabinet in baking hutch
- organize paper products cabinet

- sort/organize my bible class materials [currently in 4 boxes under the office work table]
- go through my box of papers
- file old bills
- frame & hang photos
- go through remaining boxes in the basement [3 of them, one at a time]
- hang hooks for our work totes

- straighten one cabinet
- straighten a second cabinet
- buy more china storage & straighten the third cabinet
- reorganize & restyle bookshelves

- seal floor grout
- add laminate tile to bottom of vanity cabinet
- organize first aid kit drawer
- wash tile walls
- paint window trim & mullions [white]

- paint dowel rod brackets to match the walls [we hang a dowel rod in the office entry, which is connected to the foyer, for when we have lots of guests with coats b/c our coat closet is tiny.]
- straighten coat closet

- fold a load of clothes [i am determined to catch up on ALL our laundry this week!]
- fold another load of clothes
- fold yet another load of clothes!
- clear coffeehouse table
- organize coffeehouse shelf
- organize game closet

- clear the top of the dryer
- decant all laundry cleaners into clear, labeled containers
- clear laundry sorting shelf
- label hampers
- clear sink counter
- clean sink & counter
- clear out drawers & cabinets in sink counter
- clear out corner [stuff leftover from previous owners mostly]

- declutter
- go through boxes on the floor [lots of them, one at a time]
- organize shelves [5 of them, one at a time]
- clear floor of all items
- label all boxes

- clear the top of the trunk [still the same as my last list...]
- clear the top of my dresser
- organize my dresser
- organize my vanity
- organize my accessories closet
- hang pictures


- clear out all nursery items!
- hang mantle with hooks
- hang art
- make beds
- organize guest items in cubbies
- organize closet with suitcases & travel items
- clean out second closet for guest use

- paint red accent on one wall
- deep clean & polish wood floors
- organize dresser [after it's painted]
- add shelf to closet
- hang window shades
- hang curtains
- organize cubbies
- organize closet
- hang art

- clear counter
- organize cabinets [2 of them, 1 at a time]
- clean bathtub
- wash tile walls
- organize medicine cabinets [2 of them, 1 at a time]
- organize linen closet shelves [3 of them, 1 at a time]

- hang hooks for our outdoor gear [hats, coats, etc.]
- take decluttered items to goodwill

the main floor of the casa is much cleaner in general now, so fewer of my tasks are "clearing" stuff & moving more towards organization. i'm still not nesting per se, but i am more motivated than i have been so far. shaun says he'll take whatever he can get! [he is TOTALLY nesting!]

be looking forward to posts on the finished nursery dresser, more nursery progress, & the newly organized office!


Monday, December 2

maternity photo shoot

we have 200 pictures total, but here's just a sample, a few of our favorites. all photos taken by rachel ravellette.


Saturday, November 30

baby's 1st gifts

we've already received a few gifts for baby roo & got one ourselves.

the very first gift for roo [or actually sorta for us but related to roo] was this cute picture frame from one of our teens, madi. we put one of roo's ultrasound pics in it, & it lives in our bedroom now.

another dear friend from church, beth, made this precious & suuuuuuuper soft baby blanket for baby roo.

 and i couldn't resist this adorable stuffed animal in honor of roo's nickname!

while at home in wilmington for thanksgiving, we received this awesome t-shirt that mom, dad, ness, & jeremy picked out this summer at the north carolina aquarium. i'm an otter [personality test thing], & they are my absolute favorite animal!

when we put up our registry for target & amazon, one item was purchased the next day. we knew it had to be a grandparent! mom was already wanting to get this zany zoo for us, & when she saw it on our registry, she made dad take her to target that same night! roo will love playing with it someday, but we love playing with it in the meantime.

roo is highly anticipated & deeply loved already by so many people. this child will be oh-so-blessed by the people in our lives.


Friday, November 29

nursery progress, finally!

we have finally started working on the nursery!!! which is good because we're approximately 10 weeks away from baby roo's appearance...

we cleared the room & blessedly covered up that awful grayish lavender paint on the walls! [if you want to see how it looked before as a guest room with purple walls, you can view our post on the nursery design.]

[view from the hallway]

[view of the west wall & some of the north wall]

[view of the north wall]

[view of the east wall & some of the south wall]

[view of the south wall & some of the west wall]

the above picture is probably the most accurate representation of the paint color. the wall texture really does make it look like leather in person!

[inside the closet]

 we ended up choosing behr's "peanut butter" for the walls. the closet is painted with leftover behr's "thermal spring" from the living room.

next step is painting the accent on the wall between the 2 windows where the crib will go. the below picture is the inspiration.

i'm thinking of only doing 3-5 rows of triangles centered between the two windows, & we already have behr's "farmhouse red" paint for it. shaun's next project is painting the craigslist dresser we bought in the same red. we'll keep you updated as we make progress!


feature friday: THE MAIN BATHROOM

you could also call this post "if you give a man a project..." which is our version of "if you give a mouse a cookie..." -- you'll see why in a bit.

i mentioned to shaun this summer that i decided what to do with my servingware collection -- store it in the main floor bathroom closet. we've had a plethora of dishes scattered throughout the living room, mostly stacked randomly & weirdly on our bookshelves. i thought i was pretty clever coming up with this solution. after all, we don't really need a linen closet on the main floor, & since we've moved in, it's mostly just stored random junk that really belongs elsewhere. shaun was kind enough to remind me that he made this suggestion a couple years ago, & i vetoed it...

so in september, shaun decided to use our labor day weekend to get some projects done around the casa. he cleaned out the random stuff from the bathroom closet & told me it was ready for me to organize with dishes! to which i replied that the closet was gross & needed to be painted. shaun was less than thrilled at this news. however, he sweetly indulged me & asked what color. i already knew i wanted it to be gray, & we happen to have a 5-gallon bucket of gray paint leftover from previous owners.

[the beginning of the painting project]

[see all the gross stains?]

well, after he painted the closet walls & shelves, he realized the warm wood trim & doors didn't match well... so he asked me what i wanted those painted. i knew i wanted the closet door to be gray, & shaun chose the same creamy white from the living room buffet for the trim. 

[bathroom closet door: BEFORE]

[bathroom closet door: AFTER]

the gray & white complement the sea foam green tile so much better! since a full renovation of this bathroom is years, if not decades, down the road, we decided it was time to embrace the sea foam green & figure out a pleasing design plan that incorporated it.

well, once shaun painted the closet door, he couldn't leave the outer bathroom door in the same warm wood tone... so he asked me what i wanted it painted. we painted the inside [facing the bathroom when closed] the same gray as the bathroom closet door, but from the outside, you see it up against the warm wood paneling, so gray wouldn't go well. shaun found some old sage green paint from our kitchen back in raleigh that matches the sea foam green tile almost perfectly. it looks a little grayer next to the wood paneling, but it's not bad.

well, once shaun painted the doors, he didn't want to reinstall the brassy door knobs & hinges... so he spray painted them all oil-rubbed bronze. 

[sage green on the outer side of the bathroom door]

[view from the hallway]

[view from inside the bathroom]

as you can see in the above picture, once shaun painted the doors, he decided he couldn't leave the vanity as is...

[vanity: BEFORE]

i knew i wanted the vanity painted gray, too, so he went to town on it. thankfully, all the painting in the bathroom cost us $0 because we used all paint colors we already had for other projects. however, i wanted to replace all the hardware, so i made up for free paint in buying really nice oil-rubbed bronze handles & knobs!

[the sink & counter: BEFORE]

the original owners believed in taking a color palette ALL. THE. WAY. sea foam green tile practically floor to ceiling, sea foam sink, & sea foam toilet [pictured later]. well, once shaun replaced all the hardware & knobs with oil-rubbed bronze, the only thing left that wasn't o.r.b. was the sink faucet... so, he decided to switch it out. we actually bought a o.r.b. replacement a couple years ago on clearance, & it's been living in the cabinet beneath the sink! 

well, if he was going to replace the faucet, he figured he might as well replace the sink, too...

[vanity: PROGRESS]

since our house is 50 years old, nothing in it is compatible with standard sizes today. the old sink is an 18" round. standard nowadays is 19"... so, shaun bought a diamond-encrusted jigsaw blade & made the hole in the marble countertop bigger.

[countertop: PROGRESS]

we debated about whether to buy a white sink or a creamy white one... so, shaun finally just bought both & we tried them out.

[almond sink]

[white sink]

it didn't take much time to decide that the white sink looked best overall. however, it made the marble countertop look really yellow & dingy. it's obviously not been resealed in years & has telltale stains as a result. 

[white sink & dingy countertop]

[with the o.r.b. faucet]

well, once we saw the awful state of the countertop enhanced by the white sink... shaun researched how to restore marble. we spent a week "bleaching" it with a hydrogen peroxide / ammonia mix with a paper towel / saran wrap method to give it time to sink in. we weren't sure if it would make any difference, but the change was dramatic!

[the bathroom vanity: AFTER]

[sink & counter: AFTER]

we are beyond thrilled with how it turned out! it may have taken 2.5 months to complete, but it was so worth it.

there's still work to be done on this more immediate phase of bathroom renovation. the toilet still needs to be replaced. you can hear about the saga that will be here & why it's on our before-baby to do list.

[the sea foam green toilet]

and the shower need to be fixed. the door fell off a couple years ago, & it leaks into the basement. we don't think the leak will be too bad to fix, but we just haven't had any reason to prioritize it. we plan to hang a bar & curtain in lieu of replacing the door. and i'm not sure how to bleach the terrazine shower floor...

[shower with bella laying it it. why? no clue.]

and here's the project that started it all! the organized closet with all my serving dishes! 

[bathroom closet: AFTER]

if you give a mouse a cookie...