Coming up from Behind - only a Few Votes Away!

Well color us shocked. Baby bee's nursery is now in second place over at Project Nursery's December nursery of the month contest. If you're the voting kind, please consider casting a vote for baby bee's elephant nursery before 11:55 PST on 12/31.
The other nurseries are so beautiful, they're all worthy of a first place win. We're so honored that all our hard work in our DIY nursery is featured among these beauties!

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Si-i-lent {fan}, ho-o-ly {fan}, all is calm...

This year's Christmas was one for the record books, and not for obvious reasons. I ended up in the hospital on Xmas eve and didn't come home until Christmas afternoon. While I didn't have a silent night with the nurses coming and going and the janitors outside my room waxing the floors all night, S and baby bee slept like absolute champs. S got this for Christmas eve:
And I got this for Christmas:
Clearly my boy can't read.

Despite minor set-backs with that hospital stay and all, with my dad's help we forged ahead with our holiday weekend plans to install a bathroom fan in our upstairs bath, identical to the silent fan in our new garden level bathroom. The house went 80 years with no fan, but suddenly we need one now. (All joking aside, we're hoping it cuts down on mildew and maybe now we'll shower with the door closed.) Because we lost a day, S decided to set our goal to get the fan in place and the electrical done before he returned to work Tuesday.

I was off feeding a baby all.day.long. and generally recovering from my traumatic weekend, but I did manage to take a few photos of the project, at least of the big stuff. Like this disaster:
In order to get the fan in the bathroom, S drilled a hole through the ceiling and into the attic centered in the shower/bathtub area. He then went up into the attic where we have a gazillion inches of blown insulation and tried to find the hole...then my dad tapped on the ceiling 'til the hole was located. They moved away some insulation upstairs and cut a hole for the fan using the template that came on the box. It made a mess. I took a picture and ran.
Unfortunately we couldn't center the fan hole exactly where we wanted because of the floor joists, but we did manage to get it completely concealed behind the shower curtain.
Here it is in relation to the shower curtain rod, pretty good location, no?
As you can see above, S used spray foam insulation around the fan to give it a draft-free fit and to keep the blown insulation from falling through the ceiling from above.

With the messy part done, the guys moved on to what they thought would be relatively straight forward electrical. We have one light in the bathroom that had a single outlet and switch just next to the door. We intended to tie into the existing electrical, add a box and end up with a double outlet and a double switch stacked on top of each other. Adding the second box wasn't too rough, but discovering the electric came from below (the kitchen) and not through the attic was a wee bit of a setback.
In order to get the wires for the fan down to the new box and the existing power, S had to drill through the header of the wall and into the cavity next to the door. As with everything in our 1940's house we discovered that the old adage "they don't build 'em like they used to" rang true; S had to drill through an 8" header. That's huge. And required a trip to the hardware store for a longer drill bit.

Thankfully once he broke through into the cavity, he was indeed in the wall cavity and not in the hallway, closet or bathroom. Whew. From there, the second box went in and my dad worked his magic with the wiring.
And by magic I mean I stayed the heck away from him while he attacked the frustratingly short and old existing wires with pliers, electrical nuts and strippers. I know not to ask how it's going and only to wait for a report.

Status report from my dad: electrical done, fan installed.
Remaining: patch and repair small areas of ceiling around fan, drill through exterior brick wall, install vent and vent hose, flip switch and listen to silent fan.

We hope to ring in the new year to the sound of masonry bits on brick and a silent baby. At least we can control one. Update to come - hopefully sooner than later since it took me a record four days to write this post!

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Cast a Vote for Baby Bee's Nursery!

Apparently baby bee's nursery is a finalist for nursery of the month at Project Nursery. I was notified last week, maybe the week before, but I've been a little, well, busy, so I'm just now getting around to telling friends and family, which means we're seriously lagging behind in the vote department. I hope M doesn't hold it against me some day!

If you're so inclined, head on over to Project Nursery and vote for baby bee's elephant nursery :)

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2 Weeks

Maddox is exactly two weeks and a few minutes old.
Oh My!

And lest you think it's all baby all the time around here, we took on quite the house project yesterday. Post to come very soon!

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Where'd You Get That? Nursery Edition

Our nursery post was way too long to list all the sources for the great stuff we have ready for baby bee. So we present you with "where'd you get that?" nursery edition.
Cradle: F's childhood cradle - (make sure to check the safety of an older crib or cradle)
Glider: A hand-me-down that was originally from Pottery Barn
Dresser: Ikea Hemnes
Hutch: Bought in 2008 from the Christmas Tree Shops
Rug: "Droplets" from Capel Rugs in Matthews, NC (ordered via phone and using a 20% off coupon I found online)
Fan: Target
Lamp: HomeGoods
Ceiling Light: Ikea, adapted for hard-wiring

Bedding & Fabric Goods
Cradle Mattress: Naturepedic from Buy Buy Baby
Elephant Sheet: Made by F, elephant fabric from fabric worm
Breathable Cradle-Sized Bumper: Buy Buy Baby, custom edged by F
Glider & Ottoman Cushions: Custom made with 9oz cotton canvas from fabric.com by CJ's Cozy Cushions (HIGHLY recommended)
Elephant Pillow Cover: Souvenir from the Suk in Bahrain
Boppy Cover:  Made by F, elephant fabric from fabric worm
Bumbo Cover: Made by F, elephant fabric from fabric worm
Changing Pad: Naturepedic from Buy Buy Baby
Changing Pad Cover: Made by F, elephant fabric from fabric worm
Curtains: Made by F, navy & white circle fabric from fabric.com
Basket Liners: Made by F, navy & white circle fabric from fabric.com

Decorations & Accessories
Wall of frames, white frames: Ikea
Maine print: Crafts fair in Portland, Maine - I'll try to find the seller
Cards: Target, Papyrus
Paper Lanterns: Asian Imports 
Navy & Pink Elephants in Cradle: from a boutique in Portland, Maine
Gray Elephant in Bumbo: West Elm
Gray Mom & Baby Elephants on Hutch: Ikea
Elephant on Changing Pad: Gap
Elephant Rocker: Zulily, but also available at Buy Buy Baby
Elephant Toy Bin: by Green Sprouts from Diapers.com
Large Stuffed Elephant: Ikea
Elephant Mobile: Sugar & Spice Studios on Etsy
Baskets: Target
Elephant Basket Tags: Luggage tags by Dwell Studios
Blue Elephant Bank: Pottery Barn Kids
Silver Elephant Bank: Reed & Barton from Babies R Us
Elephants on Parade Artwork: Made by F
Mom & Baby Ceramic Elephants: Souvenir from Italy
Knit Elephant with Scarf: Knit by F using pattern from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts
Knit Elephant with Long Arms & Legs: Knit by F using "Safari Friends" pattern from Knitting at Knoon
Elephant Sweater: Designed and knit by F
Elephant Hook on Door: Anthropologie
Alphabet Tapestry: From the Suk in Bahrain

Walls: Glidden Shaded Ice, color matched to a Behr paint
Trim: Benjamin Moore Advanced  

Please feel free to email us if you have any questions about anything in our nursery!

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Well, Here We Are

One week ago today I was technically into day two of labor and thinking we'd be meeting a December 13th baby shortly. Little did we know how long of a day we had ahead of us . . . but Maddox is our lucky baby and a lucky baby just can't arrive on an unlucky day.

Our baby is six days old today and is already a total heartthrob. Maddox came home to our little beehive on Friday, wearing his personalized baby hat, the blue one, and wrapped in his special blanket.
Feeney and Maddox had their incredibly uneventful introductions, which included one lick and one "shake" as Feens put his paw on the car seat.
The only change Feeney cares about is that my mom is here and there's one more person to love on him. He's totally loving this new baby thing.
As you can see we're using the blankets I made, especially the hand-cut chenille blanket, which is super warm. It turns out I didn't go overboard on the blanket making; we're using them all a lot! S, our swaddling master is also loving A+A swaddling blankets since baby bee finds it slightly more difficult to punch his way out of a tight swaddle with them.
Maddox is still pretty snoozy, so he spends a lot of his time asleep in the bassinet that came with our Bumbleride Flite stroller. It's his bed for now and fits perfectly on the coffee table we had in our old den tucked into a corner in our tiny bedroom.

Things around the house are slowing getting back to normal. On day one it was hard to find the baby among the clutter on the dining room table, but now we just have one baby nestled among the holiday trees.
And on day two at home life got back to normal in the project department, albeit a bit slower than normal. S managed to winterize our mower, weed whacker and to drain the garden hoses, all while throwing the ball for Feeney.
And while I'm not doing any cooking right now, we're eating like royalty with my mom preparing hot meals like nobody's business. Let me tell you, it's heavenly to finally eat something other than a bowl of cereal and I think S may be able to put back on a few of those 10 pounds he lost during my pregnancy. You know it's bad when while wearing a shapeless flight suit your Skipper, another dude, remarks that you look like you've lost weight. Trust me, you're not the only ones missing Tuesday Treats and Saturday Suppers. 

We're also devouring treats dropped off by our neighbors; six-year-old Annabelle made these cookies herself so she could drop them off and meet the baby. She says she can't wait to be 12 so she can babysit Maddox. Neither can we.

that's a red heart with "new baby" in yellow writing
Overall, we're doing really well and are eating up every second with this little dreamboat!
We're off to sew a few last minute custom etsy shop Christmas orders . . . baby in ergo and momma at sewing machine.


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Announcing . . .

Maddox Christopher!

He realized around 11pm on his due date, December 12, that he was about to be late, but didn't make his grand appearance until 8:48 am December 14. He's 7lbs, 5oz, 20" long and quite perfect in our eyes :)

He'll continue to be our baby bee around here, or at least our little "m." We just can't wait to teach him how to bake cupcakes, build stuff and generally be handy!

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13 Minutes 'til Lunch

Last weekend we were out doing errands all morning, including a quick stop at the grocery store. As I was hopping out of the car to run inside, S proclaimed he was starving and was going to die if he didn't eat soon. In other words he wanted chicken fingers from the prepared foods display that's placed directly in front of the store entrance. Point taken.

However, even closer to the door than the packages of hot fried chicken parts was an icebox filled with frozen-ish pizzas, on special 'cause of the afternoon's football game. I don't think I've ever bought a frozen pizza before, but S had also just mentioned he could "eat that entire pizza" as we drove past some guy walking to his car with a pizza in his hand, so I bought the pizza. Should I write that down in my diary? December something-or-other 2011 I was tired enough and so uninspired to cook that I bought a frozen pizza?

This post really isn't about a frozen pizza though. It's about the 13 minutes it took to cook that frozen pizza. Despite being so near-death at the grocery store, when told he had 13 minutes 'til lunch, S pulled out a bucket, shovel and level and went to work re-setting the front steps to the shed.
He moved the three large pieces of blue stone we put there during our patio project this fall, dug a little brick-width trench around the perimeter of  the steps, lay a row of bricks in the little trench and then leveled the bricks and all the dirt in between them.
He plopped the three big pieces of blue stone back in place and adjusted a little bit of dirt.
Then came inside to eat his pizza...cooked for 13 minutes and cooled for five. Per the instructions on the cardboard box.
And that's what you can do when you have 13 minutes 'til lunch.

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Custom Christmas Stockings made from Recycled Sails!

Last night I realized that Feeney has no stocking to stuff with all the stocking stuffers I bought him. The baby, who isn't even here yet, has its own hand knit stocking! Not to be one to fall victim to the nagging of people who could just never get that for some of us, pets are our babies (seriously, have you seen me with my dogs?) I decided that the Feens NEEDS a stocking. Then, this morning in a moment of pure genius I came up with the idea to make him a custom stocking from recycled sails.
I even traced the pads of his big paws and then made a template way bigger, just to make sure Feeney knows the stocking with the...wait, I'll keep the stuffers a surprise...is for him. You never know, by Christmas we had better have a baby and S just might be delirious enough from no sleep that without that big paw print he'd think the stocking smelling of mystery meat is for him.

I've made a few custom stockings available in our etsy shop. The listing includes customization with a paw print like Feeney's, a single letter or single-digit number of your choice in blue or black. However, the catch is that you must order by this Wednesday, December 14 at 5pm eastern for delivery by Christmas. Quick, quick, the sooner the better 'cause this baby is trying to kick its way out! (Deadline does not apply to custom bags, please see the shop announcement if you would like a custom sail bag.)

In full disclosure the hand knit stocking is one that I made for S last year that he "gave" to the baby in favor of keeping his tiny-in-comparison childhood stocking. So Feeney really is the only one who got his own custom stocking. And to that Feeney says, "take that, baby!"

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On Cloth Diapering B.B.B. (Before Baby Bee)

We decided very early on to go cloth with our baby bee. Between the two of us S and I have changed maybe a dozen diapers in our lives, so we're starting from scratch here. Why not go for the more cost conscious option? And I work from an office in our home, so taking five minutes to put on a load of laundry every few days is really not a hardship. Plus, I love laundry. Love it.

I spent much of the summer researching cloth diapers, how to wash them, their pros and cons and preferred brands for different stages in a  baby's pre-potty trained life. I chose a half dozen or so brands and sought out sales on deal-a-day sites and found excellent deals on "used" diapers returned perfectly clean and barely used from sites that offer 21-day trials. A washing and a few hours on the line in the sun removed any sign that the diapers were ever used, even on the ones sold in "fair" condition. We intend on re-selling any of the diapers that don't quite work with our baby's physique since some brands are apparently better for chunkier v. slimmer babies.

We weighed the pros and cons of using disposables until baby fits into one-sized diapers, but because of the 21-day "used" diapers, it was more cost effective to go for cloth right from the start (minus the first week or two of tough-to-clean diapers). So we bought diapers for both the newborn and one-sized-fits-most stages. We should have enough of the latter to do laundry every three days and every other day during the newborn months.

Our diapers are all prepped, organized in the dresser and ready for baby bee's arrival. Newborn suitable on top and 12+ pounds on bottom:
Because we'll have three adults in the house when baby arrives and only one of those adults did all the research on cloth, and because that adult will be responsible for all the feedings and will not be responsible for the changings too, I used the label maker to avoid mistakes like "no I didn't use a cover with that diaper" when asked why the cradle is soaked, for example. In addition to "needs cover" and "doesn't need cover" there are also little hints like "always use liners with rash cream" - even though we bought a cloth safe diaper rash cream.

We've had several lessons with Mr. Bear using a few of the newborn suitable brands like the Thirsties duo wraps, Kissaluvs, prefolds and Fuzzibunz and I have to say, as with everything else around here, S is ready for the challenge; how hard can it be?
My mom, on the other hand, is going to learn on the fly...but this whole baby thing is like riding a bike, right? It comes right back after 30-some-odd-years, right?

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Attic Stairs. Check.

We've had some abnormally warm temperatures lately, but a couple days of cool weather made us realize that we needed to finish up the attic stairs project, stat. See, when S lay the floor upstairs, he built up the floor joists so that we wouldn't compress the gazillion inches of insulation our home's previous owners added just before we bought our little beehive. But, the trap door stair unit itself only came with a piece of half-in rigid foam nothingness on it to make you think it's insulated. The cold wall of air meeting us at the top of the stairs recently told a different story.

So on to finishing the project.

S and I waddled off to the big orange store for two of thickest pieces of rigid foam insulation we could find, which was about R13. While I was inside filling the gaps around the trim of the new trap door with wood filler in preparation for paint, S was outside cutting the foam into two solid pieces and piecing together the scraps to create a third layer. He used a can of liquid nails to adhere all the layers together, the two solid together and the pieced together layer on top.
S glued two lengths of string between two layers of the insulation so we can hook the insulation trap door on a couple of nails hammered into the ceiling rafters to keep the whole thing out of the way whenever we need to take several trips up and down the attic stairs.

Once the liquid nails was dry, S carefully popped the insulation trap door up the stairs and its freshly painted trim. Yes, I painted trim on the ceiling at nine months pregnant (with no-voc paint, of course). My big a*s belly hasn't changed the fact that I have the steadier hand around here ;o)

Once the trap door was in place, S marked where we needed to cut out a square of the bottom layer of foam to fit around the bottom section of stairs, which stick up a bit and don't sit flush with the door opening. Kind of a pain in the neck, but it was easier to mark with the insulation in place.
After we made the final adjustments to the insulation, we made marks on the inside of the door opening and the insulation to make it easier to properly line up the insulation trap door to sit flush with the attic floor each time we move it. We'll eventually add a little strapping so the whole thing just falls into place. Maybe this weekend.

Now everything is nice and toasty, the hall light is in its new home, the door is primed and painted and our new attic stairs look like they've always been there.
And we're absolutely in love with the extra storage our new stair have opened up...especially since we have soooo many empty boxes of baby goods up there right now!

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Baby Bee's Navy & White Elephant Nursery Reveal!

I'm 39 weeks today, which means we only have one week left 'til we're officially allowed to start tapping our feet and wondering when baby bee will make its appearance. I'm just fine having baby on the inside for now, I know it's much easier that way. But when baby does decide to make its appearance, we're ready to welcome it to the world and its new home in this navy blue and white elephant themed nursery. The nursery is full of special things we made, S brought home from his travels overseas and little tokens of love from friends. Come on in and see our labor of love:
Baby's cradle was mine when I was a baby, was used for my brother and was home to lots of bears and dolls in my room when I was kid (I rearranged my furniture often and would occasionally request the cradle be brought in from the attic for my dolls). We bought a new eco-friendly mattress and I sewed sheets from navy blue and white elephant fabric. I sewed the drapes from cute navy fabric with white circles and lined the panels with black-out fabric to make afternoon naps in the south facing room a little more nap-like.
Above the cradle we have navy and white paper lanterns (not actually lighted) with navy ribbons hanging from a few, reminiscent of the 400+ white paper lanterns with hot pink ribbons that we had at in the tent and throughout my parents' apple orchard at our wedding. 
We have a bumper for the cradle for when baby is a little bigger, but before we transition to a crib. I made elephant fabric quilt binding and covered the satin trim on a plain white breathable bumper to make it a little more personalized to our nursery. And because baby bee's gender is a surprise we have a blue and a pink elephant waiting in its cradle, two of the 51 elephants in the nursery we counted this morning.
We created a small gallery wall above our glider to display a few special cards and artwork, like the congratulations card, below. Once baby arrives we'll order a custom name print from Made by Girl for the largest frame.
Our white glider is a hand-me-down from S's aunt and uncle who rocked three babies in it before passing it on to at least two more families. We revived it a bit and had new custom cushions made, one of the only sewing projects I didn't do myself.
On the chair we have my boppy pillow with the elephant slipcover I sewed and a hand embroidered elephant pillow cover that S brought back from Bahrain this summer. Hanging on the arm of the chair is a little blue bag with a black sequin elephant, a gift from my brother and sister-in-law, where I keep the feeding cover I made to match the boppy. More importantly, I think I'll be keeping my phone, a water bottle and maybe a few snacks in there once baby arrives.
In our small nursery the ottoman takes up a bit too much space to leave in front of the chair, so right now it's our stand-in side table (I have a small white plant stand/side table from L.L.Bean on my Christmas wish list) and home to our bumbo with its elephant slipcover I sewed.
Over on the other side of the room we have our changing station, complete with a dresser full of cloth diapers.
We bought an eco-friendly changing pad and I sewed the elephant cover. It's secured to the back of the dresser with snaps, so the cover has large button holes to let the snaps through. Next to the changing pad we have all our changing lotions, oils and other goodies in a CD basket lined with the same fabric as the drapes.
Above the changing table hangs a custom navy and white elephant mobile just in case the toys stashed in the goodies basket don't keep baby's interest during diaper changes.
Next to the dresser we have a diaper pail lined with a navy wet bag, of course, and a hutch where we've stashed all our cloth wipes supplies and my feeding accessories in fabric covered bins. The retro fan that used to live in our bedroom before we succumbed to ceiling fans this summer, sits on top of the hutch, which is also where we'll keep our video monitor pointed at baby's cradle.
On the bottom shelf of the hutch we have a larger basket matching the changing goodies basket, also lined with drape fabric. It's full of the special baby blankets I've made over the past few months and a couple much recommended swaddle blankets.
Next to the changing dresser are the built-in shelves that I painted navy blue this fall.
In front of the shelves we have a blue elephant canvas tote (and a hot pink one too, if baby is a girl) for baby's toys and a plush elephant rocking horse - one of the first baby purchases we made.
Storage is tight in our little nursery, so we have several shelves dedicated to storage baskets, each labeled with elephant luggage tags.
On the higher shelves we displayed several special things, like this elephant artwork that I made for baby and the momma and baby elephant S brought back from a trip to Italy last year.
We have baby bee's budding book collection:
Baby's special stainless elephant bank, a gift from S's best man - an elephant never forgets...to save for college - and a pair of my first baby shoes:
We also have several hand knit elephants that I've made over the years. I have one more to add, but "finish elephant" is still on the to-do list.
Hanging from an elephant hook on the back of the tiny closet door is a baby sweater I knit from scrap yarn years ago and a pair of hand knit baby booties that were my mom's as a baby.
Behind the nursery door hangs a hand-embroidered alphabet tapestry that S brought home from the suk in Bahrain. Some of our favorite letters are E for elephant, of course, I for ice cream, M for monkey and Y for yacht. We're expecting baby to bypass "boat" all together and go straight to "yacht" when it learns to talk.
We're so excited to rock our baby on the glider, lay our baby in the cradle and welcome home our nursery's new resident!
UPDATE: Here's a list of our sources for everything nursery!

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