Wednesday, October 30

countdown: 100 days to go!

just wanted to have a moment on here to panic because baby roo is due in 100 days. ONE. HUNDRED. DAYS. yikes!

i don't even want to look in the nursery with that knowledge. it still has not changed one bit since we found out we were expecting... although, shaun did buy the paint last week. that's something.

another something is that we finally registered. for those interested, you can look us up at target & can shaun & i just say that we had noooo idea how much went into preparing for a baby! and we're not even registering for alot of the "must-haves" that people suggest! we are really committed to keeping things as simple as possible & not having alot of just stuff cluttering up the casa. so, if you look on our registry & see something superfluous that we don't need, please pass that along! and i will even solicit advice on what your "must-haves" for your kids were/are. because even if we don't register for it, buy it, or want it, it's nice to hear about others' experiences. who knows, after roo is born, we may decide a baby swing is imperative to our sanity! but for now, we're gonna nix it.

also, we have not registered for a few things that we will need. it's just that several things we want are not available through amazon or target, so we'll purchase them on our own or with any monetary gifts / Xmas money! examples of this are the crib we want & cloth diapers.

last rant: why is it that everything for babies has to be blue or pink? yuck. or in other bright crazy colors. like baby spoons. whatever happened to white? i just happen to prefer things that don't clash so much with my house. i know, i'm a control freak, & yes, i know baby roo will break me of soooo many of my issues! also, why is it that everything that is simpler looking & more classic in design is more expensive?! just examples of my frustrations, living in an unfair world, & oh, yeah, first world problems. rant over.

one hundred days. i need to go paint something.

Tuesday, October 29

convos at the casa

for those not on facebook, i'm reposting this conversation between shaun & me here on the blog. it's classic.

shaun: can i get you anything?
me: ooo, do we have ice cream?
shaun: do we have ice cream? duh. which ice cream?
me: do we have cherry ice cream?
shaun: which cherry ice cream?
me: the cherry cordial ice cream.
shaun [in kitchen]: nope.
me: are you sure?
shaun: nope, i'm not sure. it was hiding behind all the other ice cream.


Monday, October 28

watching roo move

roo decided to have a dance party today. i put my hand on my belly to feel the kicks & they were so strong i wondered if i'd be able to see them. up goes the shirt & sure enough, there is an alien inside me trying to punch through my skin. so weird. shaun got home just in time to see some smaller movements on my skin, but roo's decided it's time to chill out a little now. 

Wednesday, October 23

6 months & all's well

6 months has seemed like this magical milestone that was always beyond reach, & now we've passed it! we had a prenatal appointment today. roo is healthy & has a strong heartbeat. roo is also going through a growth spurt. i can seriously feel my uterus stretching! each woman carries each pregnancy differently. we're now to the point that i can tell this kid is stretching long [as opposed to wide or sticking out really far]. roo hasn't reached my ribs yet, for which i'm thankful every day! but roo is kicking & moving like crazy, & i think we'll soon be able to see strong kicks from the outside.

side-by-side for comparison:


[zorra wanted in on the action]

other than that, all is well in the casteel casa. shaun's been working hard on the downstairs bathroom, & it's allllmost ready for a blog post! he also bought the paint for the nursery, so we'll be tackling that soon hopefully. and since we always have multiple projects going on at the same time, shaun also spent a few days cleaning out the office. everything is now in semi-categorized piles in the living room waiting for me to declutter, organize, & return it to its place in the office. we'll be sure to post updates.

Friday, October 11

nursery plans

i mentioned in the previous post that i have designated four colors for our hypothetical four kids -- red, yellow, blue, & green. and with those four colors, i've associated four different geographical nursery themes -- north american forest/desert [native american], african plains, antarctica's oceans, & south american rain forest. [yes, i'm a design nerd. or maybe just a nerd.] 

when we found out we were expecting baby roo, i couldn't resist immediately creating a pinterest board for nursery ideas. but in my world, to do that, i needed to choose a theme. i've always associated each nursery design with a specific gender [2 boys & 2 girls], but i decided that the 2 most gender-neutral themes were native america & african plains [red & yellow, respectively]. so, i finally just picked one.

baby roo is our "red" baby so we're going with native american forest/desert for the nursery theme. think earthy colors, leather, semi-precious stones, desert & woodland creatures, horses, teepees, arrows, dreamcatchers, etc. i think it works well for a boy or a girl & can be tweaked based on gender.

here's the setting:

[our former guest room]

this is the smallest of three bedrooms upstairs in the casa. it was a nursery for the previous owners, which explains the lavender walls. [no offense to those who love purple, but yuck.] it has been our guest room most of the time we've lived here, but we cleared it in may in anticipation of starting a family. the guest room is now relocated next-door in the long bedroom.

there are two windows on either side of the bed & a small closet [pictured above].

here are the colors:

my mom can't get over that we're going to paint the walls beige! the nursery is the last room in our house that hasn't been painted since we moved in back in 2009 [correction: we haven't painted the master room yet either], & i tend to choose colors like turquoise [in the living room], bright asparagus green [in the office], pale yellow [in the entry, halls, & basement], goldenrod [eventually in the master bedroom], & deep blue [in the guest room, pictures to come later]. i like bright & rich colors. i love the beautiful wood paneling in the casa, but sometimes i get sick of all the brown. and i generally hate beige. but in this case, with all the colors i want to use to accessorize the nursery, a rich cappuccino is the perfect backdrop.

for the walls, we're going with behr's sunset beige with farmhouse red accents:

[paint chip choices]

i want to paint the walls with the sunset beige & add an accent like the one above with the farmhouse red. instead of doing a whole wall stamped with the alternating vertical rows of arrows, i want to do three vertical rows in the middle of each wall. i might change my mind & stick to three rows on just one wall [between the two windows, behind the crib], but we'll see. 

if it's a boy, we'll accent the room more with yellow [& orange]. if it's a girl, we'll accent the room more with turquoise [& coral]. i unabashedly dislike pink, but i think coral is a nice earthy way to make the room more feminine. either way, all these colors & more will be present throughout the room. 

which brings us to accent pieces:

i already bought this great wool pillow. i love the simple pattern, the tan background, & all the bright colors. i love that it will work for a boy or girl. i've used this to help me pick out some of the other colors & items i want for the nursery. i'm not worried about exact matches, but i want everything to mesh together well. 

i'd love a rug to warm up & jazz up our wood floors [especially since the ones upstairs aren't in the best of shape]. this one is my inspiration -- something with a nice tribal pattern, although possibly more neutral or monotone. 

i have perhaps an unnatural obsession with cow skin. i have a genuine cow skin purse that i plan to repurpose into baby roo's diaper bag [!!!]. i'd love to have something cow skin in the nursery -- ottoman, rug, chair, etc. it just seems appropriate somehow, even though not super woodsy or native american.

for fabrics, i like the simplicity of the one used in the above picture for the changing pad. also, chevron & ikat patterns are fun, simple, & usually gender-neutral. 

and last but not least, all the little details:

[source unknown]

i am going to make a mobile for above the crib, & my inspiration comes from the triangle rows pictured above [reminiscent of the wall accent] & the more eclectic one pictured below. i have arrow heads, pottery pieces, feathers, & beads already from our travels & collections over the years.

i feel like the doily dreamcatcher is a little on the girly side, so i'm not sure if this will make an appearance if baby roo is a boy. but if we do include it, i hope to draft my mom to crochet the doily. 

as for art work, i have a whole bunch of pinned ideas on pinterest, but here are a few examples for you:


 i like these navajo-inspired watercolors, especially the colors.

 i love the little woodland animals like foxes & owls, plus the feathers. lots of texture & layers in this vignette. 

i like the way this nursery has an eclectic gallery of art on the walls. i'd like to have the same basic thing with art that reflects our tastes & may vary based on gender. we also have already purchased a used dresser to use as a changing table that we're going to paint farmhouse red. i'll post about it when shaun finishes it!

i have already bought one small item for roo's room:

[otter family]

how cute is this?! otters are my favorite animal, & they make an appearance in "pocahontas" so that's good enough for me! i found them at a local thrift store for $7, which i felt was a little pricey, but i knew i couldn't leave without them!

so, there ya go -- roo's room. assuming we ever get around to it!

gender-neutral baby clothes

since we're not yet revealing baby roo's gender, some people [& by some people, i mostly mean grandma connie & granny elaine] are wondering how they're going to buy clothes for it. so for fun i've compiled a few gender-neutral onesies that shaun & i both love. because onesies are awesome -- easy to change diapers, easy to change when they're soiled, go great under pants [or skirts, if that be the case] & jackets or are fine on their own.

our teenagers [some of whom are in college now] are coming over to the casa sometime in december for a tie dye party to make special & one-of-a-kind onesies [& burp cloths] for baby roo. super gender-neutral & super sentimental to this already-pseudo-mama.

so, i'm sure roo will not go unclothed, but in case you're looking for gift ideas or just want to ooo & aww over adorable baby clothes, here goes for your viewing pleasure:

this arrow print onesie is reminiscent of the native american nursery theme we're doing for baby roo. [i'll post a design board on our nursery plans & inspiration soon.]

this onesie & the next one are for the harry potter fans, which we are. "accio" is a summoning spell for those who aren't. love it!

i am a little o.c.d. if you didn't know, & i have planned since before shaun & i got married that we would have 4 children & they would be color-coded. [i'll pause while you have a hearty laugh at my expense.] anyways, since you can always find kid stuff in red, yellow, blue, & green, those are our 4 colors for future kiddos [should we have that many]. i dubbed baby roo our "red" baby from the time we knew we were pregnant. which is the reason for the native american nursery theme [more about that in a later post]. shaun & i are pretty big harry potter fans, & since there are 4 "houses" in the stories, each one with its own colors that happen to be basically red, yellow, blue, & green [gryffindor, hufflepuff, ravenclaw, & slytherin, respectively], baby roo is our gyffindor kid [red]. hopefully that explains why the above onesie is a must-have!

this one just makes us laugh!

since baby roo has several aunts, any of whom this could apply to, i love it! at camp this summer, bonnie, vanessa, & i tie dyed onesies together for baby roo, so i might add this to one or all of them with transfer paper.

i have no doubt we may receive john deere clothing for this kid. [i preemptively apologize, roo.] however, i'm not huge on brand clothing or character clothing [i.e. disney, elmo, etc.]. but this is a great nod to baby roo's farming family heritage, which i hope it learns to love alongside it's daddy & grandpa rick.

this one also just made us laugh. since we've so far brought home pretty darn cute babies [2 kittens & a puppy], we are confident that our streak will continue & we'll want to brag about our good work!

and just for kicks [pun intended], here are the cutest baby shoes on the face of the planet, which also happen to go with the nursery theme & are gender-neutral. i am obsessed with them. 


Wednesday, October 9

the living room just got swankier

we have been working on casa projects around the clock lately it seems. [and by "we" i mean shaun.] of course, the nursery is still completely untouched, but we do have a newly refinished buffet for the living room!

i apologize ahead of time for the grainy quality of all these pictures. shaun just snapped them with his iphone.

[buffet: BEFORE]

we found this beauty on craigslist & snagged it for $40. it's solid wood & has great lines, even if the surface is in terrible shape.

[closer angle]

of course, we knew before buying it that whatever we got for this spot would be painted. many people regard painting wood furniture as a cardinal sin. i'm not one of those. shaun is with really nice wood pieces that are still in good shape. but we usually buy items that aren't as nice as they seem & the paint classes them up or wood pieces that are in bad shape. paint doesn't harm the piece at all. for any future owners, the piece can always be stripped & refinished with stain. plus, we have so much wood in the casa with the floors & walls that i am adamant about having no wood tone furniture!

in the case of this buffet, it had already been painted an awful muddy brown anyways.

[silverware drawer]

[better view of the brown paint]

we already have a creamy white painted dining table, & i love the way it pops in the living room against the wood paneling & turquoise walls. i wanted the buffet to be neutral, so we decided to paint it the same color as the dining table [which we plan to repaint]. we picked a color as close as possible to the original dining table color. shaun sanded down the surfaces & coated the buffet with kilz primer first. then he transformed it into this:

[buffet: AFTER]

it doesn't even look like the same piece of furniture, does it?! i love how the creamy white highlights all the curves & lines of the piece.

[closer view]

the round knobs are from an old junky dresser set that shaun & i had in our bedroom back in raleigh. when we moved, we sold the dressers for $5 at a garage sale, but i loved the knobs so much that i removed them first. they're a brassy floral design that have been whitewashed. i've been waiting to find the perfect piece to add them to, & we finally found it!

[silverware drawer]

the handles for the 2 small drawers, i found at home depot. they were originally a brassy color, but i loved the soft organic design, so i whitewashed them myself at home to match the knobs.

[interior cabinet shot]

we love how it turned out! shaun said it classes up the living room so much that we have a whole new set of projects that need to get done in there! super swanky -- just the feel i'm going for in this room!

and because i can't resist, how about another before & after comparison?


[AFTER, all decorated for autumn]

well, the nursery may still be empty, but we can always use the buffet as a changing table if need be! just kidding...


Tuesday, October 8

i ran a "race"

my sister rachel talked me & another friend, katy, into registering for a race that was a fundraiser for the ywca & cancer research. she was actually willing to run it herself since it was only a 1k. i figured i could run that even at 5 months pregnant with no difficulty. especially since katy was planning to do it too & is 7-8 weeks more pregnant than i am. it wasn't until i signed up that i realized it was actually a 0.1k. that's right -- a POINT ONE KILOMETER "race"!

but it's for a good cause, & i was doing it with friends, so i decided to sign up & show up after all. shaun & i had been in illinois visiting family a couple days before the race, & we drove back into town the morning of the "race." i showed up in what i wore that morning -- jeans, t-shirt, & toms. i didn't even bother to change into my running shoes!

[katy, me, & rachel pre-race]

the ywca put on a great event & made good sport of the miniscule distance. they had "heats" group together at the starting line with signs that said "run," "walk," & "crawl"! we decided we could join the "run" group for such a short distance. we jogged more than half of it, rachel & i even sprinted the last little bit. katy timed us, & the "race" took us a total of 45 seconds. that's a new race pr [personal record] for me!

[look at us go!]

[we did it!]