Friday, April 24, 2015

Dear Sprout,

Dear Sprout,

The other morning we went to the beach before anyone was awake. Out in the water I could smell burning toast. 

You were moving around as we rode waves and I cheered for you and the wave that was carrying us. When we were sitting waiting for other ones, I pictured you learning to swim someday and I imagined me looking at your face and telling you that you already knew how to swim once because you swam around my tummy, you'd just have to remember how.

We also spent some time looking at the sky thinking about Maureen and asking her questions like "Was it always going to be this way?". 

We changed up the whole backyard. Some friends are coming over this weekend to help me celebrate you and my birthday, although I'm aiming for the focus to be on you. We have a new fence that's so white you have to wear sun glasses just to look at it. We planted some new trees in front of it to cut down on the glare and placed the stumps from the pine tree that had to be cut down in a little seating arrangement. I picture you climbing them someday. Your Poppy says the yard is yours because we wouldn't have been as motivated to do the work if it wasn't for you. 

Everyone tells me "good luck with your new baby" and sometimes think, I guess that's all they can say, but I think we will be just fine.

When we get out of the ocean, I tell you it's ok to leave even when you still want more. I think Maureen feels that now too. And when we get home we burn some toast too. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Sprout's Bookshelf Re-Do {Making a Gender Neutral Nursery}

In December I had my eyes on a dresser for Sprout from the same store where we got this bookshelf thats original color made me think of cavities. 

When I would close my eyes during the first trimester of this pregnancy and ignore my crazy-side that flashed on our first experience with the mean midwife and miscarriage percentages, I knew that Sprout was fine. It was just scary to love something so much. To help myself focus on the fact that a tiny, kidney bean sized baby would grow and thrive, I would sometimes wander through warm home decor stores in the evenings around Christmas time when I was supposed to be finishing gifts and packing for trips to see family. That's when I found the perfect dresser for Sprout. I just didn't have a place to put it yet. 

When the dresser was still there last week I knew I had to finally give it a home. I'll share some pictures of it later once we finish the room, but here are some photos of a bonus item Scott found at the same place: a funky little shelf filled with spiders that needed a home. 

I don't know if I'm proud of the fact that retail therapy kinda works on me, but it's at least the truth. Having a creative outlet like renovating and decorating our garage turned nursery has helped with lingering anxiety during my first pregnancy too. 

We took the shelf home for $10, sanded the cracks and repainted it with Debi's non-toxic DIY Paint. I used Mermaid's Tail (appropriate) and Mint Chip to refinish it and also added a little green acrylic paint I mixed at home to accent the framing. 

I started by adding a coat of the darker Mermaid's Tail paint to a few places on top of the already existing colors first. After I allowed it to dry, I painted over that coat with the lighter Mint Chip paint. Because this DIY paint is highly pigmented, you can paint pastel colors over darker colors. Then I used a damp rag to rub off the top layer of paint in certain places so the previous layers would be revealed and the shelf would look distressed. The whole project cost about $25. 

Sproutie, I hope you like it. I still have some more items to add to the shelves for you! 

p.s. thank you all for your kind words about Maureen.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Dear Maureen,

a wildER Irish Rose--you were the wildest
catholic school days. both our families messy and loud and happy.

Our family friend Maureen died this past weekend after battling cancer. These are my letters to her before and after her death. She was like no one I ever met in anyway. 

April 19th, 2015

Dear Maureen,

I was thinking about you today in the shower....I knew you'd think that line was funny. I knew you could see me then and it made me self-conscious of my body for a second. Then it made me think about how tall you were and how comfortable you were with yourself. How you said you had giraffe legs, but I could tell you still liked them. How you said you were clumsy, but that you didn't mean that as a shortcoming, but more as something you'd come to embrace about yourself in this life. A hundred memories of you washed over me just like the water and I thought of how full of life you were while you were here. Not everyone is, you know. I wanted Sprout to know you and Scott says they still will. You were always so near to me wherever I went. You drove me to school until I was nearly 17. You moved Megan into college four doors down from me. I think you will always be near to me. 


March 25th, 2015

Dear Maureen,

I can't think about anything else but you. I want to ask you a hundred things... How did you raise your family so well? How do you have so much fun in life? How did you learn not to take yourself so seriously? How do you make everyone feel comfortable in your home?

I want to always have ice cream in my freezer like you did when I was over. I want to use my finger to get it out of the scooper like you did too. I want to have antiques around my house like you because they have more meaning and history and character. I want to laugh and snort. I want to drink beer with my friends. I want to let kids be kids. I want everyone to look forward to the day I drive carpool. I want to help my passengers study for the spelling test. I want to make them still feel good about themselves even when they spell a word wrong. I want to love dogs and put my family first. I want to wear crazy costumes and embarrass my kids. I want to have sleepovers at my house and let the kids stay up late and play video games and sleep on the floor and shoot headbands at dolls and maybe even say a few bad words. I want to be forgiving like you. I want to be loyal like you. I want to be silly like you. I want to be curious and sensitive like you. I want to love completely like you do.

I want to tell you the shower you threw me for my wedding was perfect. I've been looking through all the pictures today. I really should have kept my legs closed during the present opening part! But anyways.... Remember how you made sure everyone used something re-usable and creative to wrap their gifts because you knew it went with my eco-friendly theme and tendencies? Remember how you wrapped the cutting board you gave me in our catholic school's P.E. clothes? You get me.

I have loved you since I met you and I will love you forever. I only think of happy things when you are in my mind.

Love always,

this is when you gave me a random sock monkey wine koozie. I love it.
wedding shower at your house 2011

Monday, April 13, 2015

DIY Wood Paneling Dos and Don'ts (by Scott)

Hi Everyone! 

Devon asked me to share a little tutorial about how to make this wainscot paneling that I was able to put together for Sprout's room. Although I would not consider myself a carpenter, I really love trying to be one. I read a lot in woodworking magazines and online articles, and am fortunate to work around extremely talented artisans who gave me tips and tricks along the way, and I am happy with the way it turned out. Although is is not necessarily the most professional, clean, perfect paneling, I think it looks cool enough and I am happy to show it to Sprout someday. 

I will say that there was a lot of staring at a wall during the build, so don't get discouraged if you don't figure something out right away. It takes a lot of planning and a little patience, but I think this is a simple way to get a unique, classic, clean, fresh look to any space. 

Thanks for checking it out. 


Carpenters Square
Measuring Tape
Nail Gun + Compressor

Miter Saw
Wood Filler

Sand Paper
Stud Finder
Paint (we used Behr Ultra Pure White Plus no VOC in semigloss on wood and flat on walls)

Top rails: 1” X 6”
Bottom rails: 1” X 8”
Battens: 1” X 4” 
Base Molding
*You will need varying amounts of each size of board based on room size.

First, measure the walls, decide how many panels you want, decide on the height of the panels and pick out the wood.
*Make sure you get straight boards (not bendy or curvy).
Install the top rail and bottom rails horizontally around the room. Make sure they are level. Attach the boards to the wall using the nail gun and try to hit a stud for support.
 *We had to install nailer boards to the bottom rail because we were dealing with concrete (see above picture).
Install the vertical battens: this part is tricky to get the spacing correct. Divide the wall into however many sections you want. Feel free to draw all over the wall because you are going to paint over it anyway. You will need to measure the height of each batten individually as there can be variations in the spacing even if the top and bottom rails are level. This will ensure a tight fit.
Fill all the nail holes and gaps on the paneling with wood filler and patch any previous nail holes and imperfections on the wall with dry wall patch. 
Using wood filler will eliminate variations in the surface when you are ready to paint. Make sure to sand all the boards for a nice, smooth finish. I started with 150 grit sandpaper and moved to 220 and then finished with 320. I also hooked up a vacuum to the sander to eliminate dust.
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