Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Checking Things Off "The List"

Preparing for a baby is often called "nesting," and I've been nesting in such an unusual way that more than once James has referred to me as a "Crazy Hen." Nice. He really only tops himself when he comes in the door and says, "Good gosh, you're HUGE!" He's such a tender man. Ahem.

I'm the first to admit that the things I've felt compelled to do while preparing are a bit unconventional, but they were (are) projects that needed (or still need) to be done. When the baby comes, I don't want to have undone things lingering, taunting me. I want to be focused on our little family and not frustrated by the paint color in the bathroom. Fortunately, I believe I've completed the harder big things and am left with just the little ones. I'm hoping to have a super-productive week this week and to be completely finished come Monday morning -- yeah right!

To clue you into the insanity, some things now checked off "The List:"

We bought a new-to-us minivan. For two years, I've been driving a Honda CR-V while James has been commuting in a Ford Focus. Throughout the pregnancy, we've discussed the coming changes in our transportation needs. We considered adding a third row to the CR-V, but when we couldn't agree on the direction the third row should face, we knew we'd have to start shopping for a roomier vehicle. We planned on having time to look for a van in a leisurely fashion, but we ended up in a rush. Six weeks ago, I was rear-ended in the rain. The day we committed to put my car in the body shop and had a replacement bumper ordered, James' Ford Focus began having problems. Turns out his car repair would exceed its value, so we sold it to our mechanic for a really good deal. We spent the week searching Craig's List and Auto Trader and ended up with a really great deal on a Kia Sedona. Ultimately, I'd love a tricked out Honda Odyssey, but this cash van will serve us well until we're ready to make that sort of commitment.

I redesigned the front planter beds. When we considered purchasing this house two years ago, this particular redesign was one of the first things I planned to do. I didn't do it sooner because I thought the big bushes would be difficult to remove, but once I became pregnant, the difficulty level of the project somehow no longer mattered. (Crazy, I know.) The whole space had to change or I might have actually lost my mind. I began by trimming and changing the shape of the bushes, then removed two giant holly trees and four bushes like the remaining tall ones (I don't know what they're called). Bub and I pulled up some non-functional weed cloth, killed the wayward grass in the bed, and dug out all the old mulch. Then the kids and I gathered stones for the edging from a pile of debris left over from the installation of some utility pipe at the entrance of our neighborhood. We tossed the red brick edging and just love all the new stone! I filled in the space left by the missing bushes with stone pavers, patches of sod, and hardy plants and bushes purchased on clearance at The Home Depot.

I repainted the downstairs powder room in a shade called "Late Tomato." It was painted in the same brown shade as the accent walls in our family room, and while I like the brown in our bright and open family room, I did not like it in the small enclosed powder room. I can't say why -- I just didn't like it. I read on the Thrifty Decor Chick blog about $13 gallons of custom color paint at Wal-Mart, so other than the 6,427 coats of paint it took to get the rusty red color just so, it was an easy and inexpensive change. (I've since learned that time can be saved by putting red paint over gray or red primer, not white primer as I used.) I also purchased inexpensive brushed nickel fixtures to replace the boring builder stuff that was in place. I installed a $29 light fixture, a $10 toilet roll holder, and a $4 robe hook to replace the full length towel bar. To freshen things up (and because I'm nuts), I replaced the toilet seat with a bright new one for $5.

The white vintage changing table has been sanded and primed and I've begun painting it (though swollen hands slow the process considerably). It's going in our room instead of in the little girl room, and since all of our furniture has a dark finish, it had to be repainted. I also removed the white shelf paper that was inside the drawers and will reline it with a cuter coordinating paper. I'm actually excited it's going to be downstairs -- the drawers in the changer will store our stash of cloth diapers perfectly!

(You know, for someone who hates painting, I've been doing a lot of it!)

My sweet friend Amy has been asking to come help me prepare for the baby. Thank goodness Amy loves me just as I am, because when I asked her to redo my mantle and cabinet tops instead of organizing diapers, she didn't bat an eye and she didn't call me crazy -- at least not to my face! We met at Hobby Lobby just in time for an 80% off sale and picked up a few black and red accents to enhance the things I already owned, then she spent an evening here working her magic. I just love all the little things she's done!

The kids began working on their "Hello Baby" activity books. These sweet little books for big brothers and sisters-to-be are appropriate for children as young as age two, and quite honestly, they're probably more appropriate for that younger set than for kids as old as ours. Gracie was two and Bub was four when we began this TTC journey -- we bought the books way back then not imagining it would take all these years. I think finally being allowed to fill them in makes their impending sibling seem that much more real.

Back to the laborious part of the nesting process, we also rearranged our master bedroom and family room, ordered a new recliner for the family room, and replaced the sectional slip cover in the game room. I've decluttered closets, bookshelves, kitchen cabinets, and the pantry.

Still to do: make big brother/big sister shirts for delivery day, sew and install the little girl curtains, purchase and install cabinet hardware in the kitchen, repaint Bub's room and change out the bedding, repaint the furniture in the guest/scrapbooking room, and put together some freezer meals so the family doesn't starve while I'm hospitalized.


  • Randi

    You've finished some huge projects ... everything looks great! I'm laughing at the list you still have left though - are you really hoping to complete it by the time the baby arrives? I love watching you "nest" because it makes my nesting seem so normal ... I can relate to the need to get all the weird things done.

  • Stacy

    Wow, I could use some nesting at my house. It is amazing what you pregnant people accomplish! I'm so happy to hear everything is going so well. I can't believe the end is near, and you'll soon have your baby girl in your arms! Can't wait to hear how things go - prayers for all of you!

  • Sandi

    I think I need a nap now after reading that! haha

  • Hannah

    amanda - i just read some of your older blog posts, i knew you had pregnancy complications and had suffered loss but i didn't know the details. i have cried my eyes out reading this. and i smile thinking of seeing you pregnant last week at 36 weeks pregnant and realize what a miracle your little one is. thank you for writing all this and i am amazed at your strength. can't wait to meet her!! what a testimony you have, it makes me realized how much more grateful i need to be because what we are given as mothers comes with such a cost to some. blessings as you prepare for your sweet one to arrive!!

  • Amy

    You are a super woman!!! Can't wait til the baby gets here and you can get some rest. ;)

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