Tuesday, March 29, 2011

DIY: Ethan Style!

Since we are getting so close to Ethan's BIG nursery reveal, I thought I would give you some DIY projects that we (ok, my husband) did just for our sweet little boy! My sister was sweet enough to allow us to borrow a LOT of Riley's baby items (swing, bouncy seat, crib...the list goes ON and ON).  Riley's crib is beautiful, but matching the wood has been quite difficult on a budget.  

I really wanted to use a dresser/media chest for Ethan's changing table because of the extra storage it has compared to a regular changing table.  I also wanted to purchase something for him that he could continue to use as a dresser as he turns into a little boy (sniff) and even a teenager (bigger sniff).  So Jason and I started on the hunt for the perfect thing early on in my pregnancy.

The day after Thanksgiving, Jason and I went to a local furniture store having a MAJOR sale with an additional 20% off.  We walked out with this baby for $130:
Great height for changing, HUGE drawers for storage, and totally the wrong color.  Since my husband is such a fantastic artist, I put him to work.  Rather than attempt to stain the wood the appropriate color and spend hours working on matching it to Riley's crib, we opted to paint ALL off the furniture a different color than the crib.  This will allow the crib to become a bit like the Captain's Wheel on a fishing boat: the focal point of the room, the essential piece, and to completely stand out.

So Jason got started by moving this piece into the garage and work in the FREEZING cold to avoid a huge mess in the house and not expose his pregnant wife to excessive dust and paint fumes.  He's the greatest thing since sliced bread...at least I think so.  But that is for another day.

He took off all the knobs and sanded the entire dresser down:
He put two coats of an off white onto the dresser and began to "distress it" with a paler blue.  To do this, he used a ripped up sponge and barely grazed the surface of the piece with the blue, just enough to leave the cream to reveal itself as well:
Another picture of one of the sides during the "distressing" phase.
He then added a clear coat to the entire piece to give it extra shine and to avoid wiping the paint off during our many cleaning sessions of this piece.  Then he moved it right back into the nursery where it belongs!

I admit, I have had MINIMAL contributions to Ethan's room.  My mom and I spent time on the curtains, the bedding, hanging things on the walls (ok, she did that), and the smaller things, but Jason has done every bit of it.  However, the one contribution Mom and I had to this dresser were the knobs.  Since we have chosen a nautical theme, I decided I did not want the original knobs back on the dresser, and the hunt began.  It took about 10 minutes to realize how EXPENSIVE hardware is for furniture.  We went to plan B, and purchased several feet of rope.  After researching many nautical knots, we chose the monkey's fist:

Rather than explain this to you myself (let's face it, this was a major pain in the rear to do) I'll share the YouTube video we found to guide us through make 6 monkey's fist knots for Ethan's dresser.

Once we finally finished tying and tightening these freaking knots, we spread a thin layer of clear coat on them to keep them from loosening up over time.  We burned the edges of the rope to keep from fraying, and attached them to the dresser.  We attached them by tying a simple knot on the inside of the dresser with each end.
And HERE is our finished product!

We haven't purchased the changing pad just yet, and this is a picture of it with random things sitting on it while waiting for the other furniture.  You will see its use in all its glory when we finally reveal the entire nursery to you!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Easy Cheesy Manicotti!

I don't have any pictures to go with this recipe, but this is SUPER easy and freezable! I couldn't resist sharing with you all!

I got this recipe offline, but altered it quite a bit to make it my own. The best part is that most of the ingredients are things we keep in our house most of the time anyway (with the exception of the ricotta and manicotti shells). Hope you love it!

1 oz box of manicotti shells 

At least 4 cups of mozzarella cheese (if you are like us and like lots of cheese you may want more)
15oz ricotta cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese (half for inside the manicotti, the rest for the top of the dish)
1 tablespoon minced garlic (Or 2 garlic gloves that have been pressed, whichever!)
1 egg
2 tablespoons dried basil
Spaghetti Sauce (your choice on brand and type, we just use Jason's family recipe)
1 cup of water
You can also add 1 pound of hamburger, drained if you prefer to have meat in your meals.

Preheat to 350.

Line bottom of your dish with a thin layer of spaghetti sauce.

Combine 3 cups of mozzarella, the ricotta, half cup of Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, egg, and basil.  If you are using the hamburger, throw it in this mixture as well.

Stuff mixture into UNCOOKED manicotti shells. Place on top of thin layer of spaghetti sauce.

Combine the rest of your spaghetti sauce with 1 cup of water and pour over top of the noodles.  Make sure they are covered completely.

Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.  Remove foil, top with the rest of the mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese and bake for additional 10 minutes.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

27 Weeks

27 Weeks
Total weight gain/loss: 147.  A grand total of 23 pounds by my records, but my doctor records only read 16 pounds total.

Maternity clothes? Still a mixture of everything in the shirt department, but ALL maternity pants.  I don't even attempt non maternity pants now.

Stretch marks? I keep thinking I've found one, but it turns out to be just an imprint from my jeans.  So we are still at a NO, and hoping it stays that way! 

Sleep: Better this week.  I'm not getting out of bed to pee as much

Best moment this week: Watching Jason work on Ethan's mural.  Ethan and I are so blessed to have Jason as his father.

Movement: My squirmy little man.

Food cravings: Not much of an appetite this week.

Gender: Our sweet baby Ethan Bryant Orlando.

Labor Signs: Still none! Let's keep it that way!

Belly Button in or out? Still an innie, but it is really flat.  The "bellybutton watch" has fascinated me.

Wedding rings on or off? On usually. I only take them off to sleep, but I haven't been struggling to get the wedding band on at all lately!

What I miss: Walking without hip pain!  My chiropractor is working on fixing this.

What I am looking forward to: Hitting the 30 week mark!

Weekly Wisdom: Don't hesitate to call a doctor about pain!  I've been putting off a visit for my hip pain for fear that I was just being a whiny pregnant lady.  It turns out that my muscles on one side have shifted to make one leg an entire inch longer than the other! OUCH!

Milestones: Reaching the 3rd trimester!!! YAY!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


“No one will question your integrity if your integrity is not questionable.”

I've been questioning integrity a lot lately.  With recent situations in my daily life, integrity has seemed to be at the top of the list.  I struggle with my relationships with others when they don't act with integrity.  I struggle even more when people do not accept ownership for their lack of integrity.  As my Dad posted on Facebook the other night "Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future."  

Why do we choose to act without integrity sometimes?  Why don't we remember that our actions always impact someone else, and think about that impact that it may hurt someone?  Why can't we accept the accountability that we have hurt someone by our actions, intentional or unintentional?  Why do we always have an excuse?

The lack of integrity from others has impacted my family and myself in multiple ways over the past six months, and I am beginning to feel anger about it rather than hurt.  I don't understand manipulation, I don't understand sneakiness, and I don't understand dishonesty.  I've learned that these actions should not fly under the radar, and I've also learned that bringing them to the surface creates a "deer in headlights" reaction.  

Why in the heck am I talking about all this? And why in the heck am I being so vague about it? Unfortunately, there are times that things I want to share are simply unable to be shared in this manner, but weigh so heavily on my heart that I can't ignore that they exist.  My struggle with two specific individuals with two different circumstances have resulted in multiple conversations of morals, integrity and accountability lately.  People who specifically harassed and discriminated against me during my horrible health struggle.  People who intentionally walked over my family to manipulate an outcome that was not their outcome to manipulate.

I find it extremely difficult to process individuals that are capable of lying straight to your face and acting in a completely different way.  I find it hard to understand the motive of these individuals to be so filled with greed and self-gratification.  I find it even more difficult to understand that people act this way, and appear so surprised when they are questioned by their actions.  

Integrity and accountability.  We all falter sometimes, and we all make wrong choices.  It's accepting accountability when we fail with integrity that divides the line from a mistake to a true lack of integrity.  Those of us who choose to learn from our mistakes and missteps make it difficult for others to question your integrity.  Is your integrity questionable?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Nursery Sneak Peak

We are still in the progress of getting Ethan's nursery 100% ready for his arrival.  I have several DIY projects to share with you all leading up to the "big reveal" but for tonight, I just want to share a small sneak peak with you:


Monday, March 21, 2011

Baby Product Cravings

Lately I have been looking for lots of baby products that I want to add to my registry for my baby shower in the next couple of months!  I've picked a few to share with you all just because (no, I'm not getting paid to mention these items, I just really like them) and I want to share them with you all!  I've also provided the links to the product websites below the images if you want more information or purchase one!

The Miracle Blanket!

So many of you recommended The Miracle Blanket to me that this is definitely a must have for sweet Ethan!  I love that this swaddle blanket doesn't have snaps, velcro or zippers on it to make it much safer and easier to use.

The ITZBEEN Baby Care Timer. 
 I'm horrible with charts and remembering specific, and I think this little timer will definitely help me keep a great record of Ethan's diaper changes, sleep schedule, medicines (if he has to have any) and feedings.   I think this will be especially useful in the first few weeks of bringing Ethan home while he and I are adjusting to a new routine and running on little sleep, leaving little brain power to memory!

The Moby Wrap
The Moby Wrap has been WAY at the top of my list since before Jason and I ever discovered we were going to have a baby.  I love this baby-wearing wrap because of its multiple ways to use for comfort for both Ethan and myself.  It comes in so many cute colors I am having a hard time deciding which color to put on my registry!  I won't be able to carry an infant carrier very long (I admit it, I have no upper body strength) and a Moby Wrap is just the ticket to solving this issue.

Baby Monitors:

I'm actually torn between two baby monitors right now. The first one I've been looking at is:

The Angelcare Baby Monitor:
This monitor was actually recommended to me by an old co-worker of mine who gave birth to her son at 32 weeks.  After his release from the hospital, she was under strict instruction to closely monitor his breathing as a lot of preemies (and newborns) experience brady spells and apnea spells.  This Angelcare Baby Monitor has a pad placed under the mattress pad to monitor the movement and breathing of your little one.  If there is no movement for 15 seconds, an alarm sounds to alert the parent that an intervention is needed.  I love the thought of having the peace of mind of one more thing to help Jason and I protect our little one.

The Snuza Halo
This little monitor was on a television show I was watching while in the hospital with my last surgery.  Dr. Sears was a guest and doing a small piece on preventing SIDS.  He recommended the Snuza Halo.  It clips to the front of the diaper to monitor movement and will alert you if the baby's breathing falls to less than 8 per minute.  It also has a vibrating feature that will attempt to rouse the baby if he stops sleeping all together while alerting you to also intervene.

So now I need your help! Have any of you used either of these monitors?  What did you think? I keep reading reviews after reviews, and working on my pro and con list.

What other must-have baby products are a must add to my list?!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

26 Weeks

26 Weeks
Total weight gain/loss: Still 146

Maternity clothes? Still a mixture of everything in the shirt department, but mostly ALL maternity pants.

Stretch marks? Nope, not yet.

Sleep: It has been a little better this week. I only had one sciatic nerve muscle spasm that caused interrupted sleep.

Best moment this week: We heard on Wednesday that my high-risk doctors and regular OB agree that I am no longer considered a high-risk!!! I also passed my gestational diabetes test! We also got great news from the cardiologist.

Movement: My squirmy little man.

Food cravings: Still fresh fruit.

Gender: Our sweet baby Ethan Bryant Orlando.

Labor Signs: Still none! Let's keep it that way!

Belly Button in or out? Still an innie, but it is really flat and weird.

Wedding rings on or off? On usually. The wedding band is still the only one that may or may not fit on certain days.

What I miss: Not having hip pain!

What I am looking forward to: Reaching the 3rd trimester!

Weekly Wisdom: A silver lining will always find its 

Milestones: Lots! No gestational diabetes! No more high-risk! My broken heart is officially on its way to being on the mend.