Emerson’s Birth Story

Y’all – we now have TWO children, which, it turns out, is much different than one relatively self sufficient almost 3-year old πŸ˜‰ We had a routine down with Henry, easy peasy, plus the entire universe pretty much revolved around his cute little self so again – easy. My kid is a laid back dude – but the first night with his sister home involved popsicles at midnight and watching Elmo’s World in the wee hours of the morning after he was in hysterics saying his ear hurt – but he was playing us so hard guys – woke up just fine. My laugh / cry moment was when I heard the 3-year trying to do his best impression of the newborn cry from his bed to get Mom and Dad to spring into action (worked for sister, right).

So rewind a few days before that and we’re at c-day, otherwise known as the day they slice me. In many ways I’m actually thankful that I had a c-section because it helped me to transfer some of my angst and anxiety about the state of Emerson’s health onto frankly worrying about the state of MY health and the fact that a razor was about to meet my gut. πŸ˜‰ The night before I actually called my Mom to see if she could come over close to midnight because I started having consistent contractions, and given the fact that this girl was breech, I didn’t want to risk going into labor at home. I was able to fall back asleep that night before her delivery though, and we landed up heading to the hospital at 6am the morning of her delivery, just like we had scheduled.

C-sections are a weird, out of body experience and a much different birth than what I had with H. First, it’s rather peculiar to have a birth, scheduled. Like on the calendar, staring at it, knowing (more or less) that this will be your kid’s birthday. Going into the OR basically felt like a movie scene when you’re dying and there are bright lights and you’re at heavens gate accounting for your sins. Can you tell I was stressed about the whole thing? πŸ˜‰ Once we were in the OR everything went pretty quickly. Jay wasn’t there with me for the beginning part where they administer the spinal, so it was a bit lonesome and scary waiting in there for him. These were also the moments when I kinda cursed his existence vs. mine that day – when you like hear the nurses say – can you go get Dad, and his role in the whole shabang is to just stand there and smile and your role is to carry a child for 9-months and then get split open – God is a man. Child birth is evidence.

Within 15 minutes or so they had Emerson out of me, and I was kind of immersed in my surgery state and telling the anesthesiologist if I felt off that I didn’t even really know that they had begun operating until one of the nurses said I would feel some tugging and that was the Dr. pushing on the top of my stomach to help push my breech baby out of my uterus. I personally thought I’d feel them cut (a pressure etc) but didn’t feel anything until the very end. And laying there just waiting was sorta the moment that it all culminated for me. With so much of this pregnancy I was humbled by my inability to impact the outcome that I wanted for my child – which was health and happiness and for something – anything to just feel “normal”. I had to temper so much of my happiness about having a child because I was drowning through much of my pregnancy in anxiety about the final outcome for my sweet girl. I struggled so much to accept that I could not choose the outcomes I wanted for her – from the CMV diagnosis, to the fact that she was breech to abnormal ultrasounds. The only way to describe me is a do-er and when I couldn’t fix these things through trouble shooting and finding an acceptable outcome, it was an exercise in patience and just acceptance that I have never had before.

So that moment of laying there right before she came out was magical and heart lurching and scary as shit all rolled into one. Waiting of course for her cry and then hoping with every ounce of you that luck was on your kid’s side and she had dodged the CMV question mark we had plastered all over her existence since 8-weeks in to my pregnancy. I sorta looked at Jay with a this is it game face and just felt a wash of emotions and started to cry wondering about my girl’s fate and waiting to hear her since I was masked from actually seeing her – it just felt symbolic of my entire birth process with her – waiting, on baited breath, and not being able to control any of the outcomes in front of you.

And then we heard her cry and being the pragmatic, box checker that I am, I think – this is good – this is the first test of life and she has passed. Dad went to cut the umbilical cord and I laid there waiting for my family to come back – still uncertain of what that would look like.

During my pregnancy one of the final stresses for us (me mostly because Jay was much more zen about it) was that Emerson’s head was measuring in the 2% range, which is small. Microcephaly is one of the issues associated with children with congenital CMV, and that is classified as any head measuring 1% and under – so she was right on that borderline. Because we opted to not get an amnio we had no idea if she was CMV positive or not, so the small head measurement just gave me additional fodder to stress about and worry that she had CMV and had an abnormally small head. When they handed her to me all I could see was a small head and I kept saying to Jay her head, it looks small, doesn’t it look small, is her head too small? Jay kept saying, it’s fine, she looks fine, but all I could see was the culmination of my anxiety. Since we wouldn’t know the CMV prognosis until a few days after birth, all I could do was speculate and continue my worry without knowing a definitive answer.

Laying in the recovery room, after the surgery, as I’m slowing coming back to this world and the drugs from my c-section are wearing off one of the nurses comes in to check on us and starts going through Emerson’s stats and says that her head measures in the EIGHTY SECOND PERCENTILE – and I’m like – wait – what did you say???? I asked her to pull up Emerson’s stats again and tell me one more time and she confirmed that her head was just fine – actually rather on the large side.

Looking back, laying in that recovery room was one of the more beautiful moments of my birth with Em. She is quietly nursing and I’m quietly reconfiguring my assumptions about her fate and we are just there as mother and child melded together in a shared, unknown, but now slightly more clear trajectory. We were in that room for around 2-hours and it went blissfully slow and all together incredibly too fast all at the same time. I remember my Mom called Jay, or Jay called my Mom and I told her right away that Emerson’s head measured so large and I know for us both that was a shared moment of just pure happiness and relief and just such a burden taken off.

I have had many expectant mothers reach out to me over the past 9-months after I shared our story about my primary CMV diagnosis. For much of my pregnancy I didn’t know what to say to them, other than chin up, yes do the trial if it’s available to you, and to tell them that statistically, everything would probably be just fine. But when you staring at statistics of 30/70 for neurological impact (IF CMV is positive), etc, it doesn’t matter that the odds are still technically in your child’s favor, you’re always going to worry that they will be on the raw side of the equation and have different hurtles in life than most children.

And if anything, what I’ve struggled with most throughout my pregnancy was this concept of what is the ideal child / pregnancy / outcome / situation. I struggled greatly with the question – do we value a life differently if it’s somehow not up to our standards of health or perfection or convention. And y’all – the answer is yes. Our society, our medical system, does much more highly value a life that is unscathed and meets our ideal of what a child should look like coming into the world. When I looked for answers during my pregnancy, the only one that was given to me beyond the trial was an abortion. I’ll never forget my final ultrasound appointment with the high risk team where the Dr sorta nonchalantly started to discuss with me how I would want to try to schedule a version to flip the baby for a conventional birth because I’d probably want another child if she was born CMV positive, and it would be more difficult to have a vaginal birth after a c-section. He said – it can take up to 2-years to know the impact – you say you’ll only want 2-children now, but if she is born with health impacts – that might change for you. I just sorta looked at him and said – I get what you’re saying, but I want 2 children. If she was “flawed”, he was saying, I’d certainly want another healthy child to make our life feel more complete, more whole.

I’m so happy to say that Emerson’s tests came back and she is CMV negative – it’s literally the best news I could have hoped for and we’re so thankful and relieved. But as a parent that faced ambiguity I have to tell you I still feel unsettled thinking about how many parents will face alternate realities and a world that will accept their child differently and judge their child differently than they do mine. Many of us even have a well intentioned but unknowing stance where due to our inexperience with this adversity, we’re just not able to understand what a family is experiencing or going through and that without doubt, just makes the burden heavier for that family as they navigate uncertainty and hardship. In all honesty I’m still navigating my own understanding of it all, but I know that if Emerson would have been CMV positive that there would have been different realities for us as parents and for her as a human navigating a sometimes harsh and judgmental world. And y’all – I don’t know what the answer is yet – I’m still marinating on it – but I think it has something to do with us changing our own assumptions long enough to see life through another’s lens. We’re all perfectly imperfect – the sooner we can accept that and embrace that our differences are what make this world so vibrant and beautiful, the closer we will get to accepting all children, no matter their mental or physical capabilities.

 

New Day New Door

We all have irrational things that we shouldn’t want, but we just do, you know what I mean? I blame the internet for giving me ideas, but I’ve made an executive decision that I want to redo all of the hardware in our house on the doors – oh and redo the doors, too πŸ˜€ Silly … most likely, but ya know what – judge me all you want. πŸ˜‰

See it all started with this door, which leads to our back garage area. I wanted a solid door here and we had a 15-panel glass door, like so:

You can see another angle/version of this door in our desk post from a few months back, too.

Especially after my work space was added to this nook of the house, I found myself giving that door the icy glare more and more. First I tried to be like Joanna Gains and get a door that was vintage but that back fired. Public service announcement, antique doors are not standard heights πŸ˜‰

Would have been cute but no dice.

After some husband begging – I convinced him to replace this door with a new shaker style one with a streamlined black door knob.

We also added in a new rug to the space and it’s just the ticket to make the space feel more cozy. There is also a heater vent right under that chair locale, which has helped to keep me motivated and working comfortably through these colder winter days (can’t complain too much in NC, but we did have a few colder days this year!)

Not a huge update, but I love the improvement for this side of our casa. Now that we’ve done one door, I just have to convince Jay to help me with the rest! πŸ˜‰

In other news – baby girl gets evicted from my womb next Tuesday so things may be a bit quieter around here for a few weeks! I’ll try to post some updates after life settles down and bit and we adjust to life with two kiddos. Send us good vibes – and bourbon and/or sleeping pills.

Retirement Tracker

Best_Budgeting_Advice_Millennials

Yes, I’m 30. Yes, I’m talking about retirement. Call me crazy, but this girl just can’t help that I like to plan! πŸ˜‰ I went into our frugal philosophies and goals before, but since it’s officially been 1-year since we became retirement saving ninjas – I wanted to give everyone an update on our progress. Our goal has always been to live a simple, meaningful life. Especially now that we have this kiddo (soon kiddos) romping around, I’ve found a stronger and stronger desire to work toward a goal of financial independence. I know for us that will never mean not working cause this girl has got to keep busy (and frankly I LOVE my job!), it will just mean the flexibility to choose the life paths that present themselves to us, vs. feeling locked chain and anchor to the 9-5. Because let’s face it, feeling forced into anything is just not a recipe for a happy life, and yolo y’all!

I’ve referenced Mr. Money Mustache before, who’s principles have always been a guiding beacon for us. One of his big tenants is the 4% rule – essentially, in order to retire off your nest egg, you need a sum that allows you to meet your living expenses by drawing down 4% at a time. He actually breaks it down here into the multiplier you need for that which is Monthly Living Expenses x 12 x 25. So the multiplier here is 25 times your annual living expenses (for others that may be interested in following a similar formula). We will personally aim for a number slightly higher than this, but it’s a good baseline to reference for starting.

Our general game plan for retirement savings and income stability has been two fold. Although we’re trying our best to invest heavily in conventional retirement accounts in this season of life, we’re also super focused on paying off our home and our condo. I personally feel tied to both of us working full-time until our mortgage is paid off in full. Many frugal living advocates advise holding on to your mortgage (you keep tax deductions, many loans these days are low interest) but again, I guess it’s the risk adversity in me that really doesn’t like the idea of having TWO mortgages hanging over our head – it’s just a lot of capital that is no longer needed – not to mention, once paid off, the condo we own becomes part of our income generation as well (since our monthly living costs are so low, this income stream (albeit nominal) will help get us much of the way toward monthly expenditures.

To date, we’re 37% paid off on our mortgages (so 63% more to go until we hit financial independence here). If we continue to have similar income streams over the next few years we’re between 6-7 years from having these paid off. So still a while, but certainly shorter than a conventional 30 year loan. To pay these off as quickly as possible, we’ve increased the principle dollar amount by supplementing it with any rental income we have coming in. When H starts K in 2-years, we will also funnel his monthly daycare payment into this pot, and we will do the same with our daughter when she starts up at elementary.

For our retirement assets, we’re about 14% of the way toward this goal. I stated initially that we’d like to be financially independent within 10 years (so 9 years, now).Β The market is also bound to fluctuate – a lot – which is not something I stress too much about y’all. We don’t change our investment strategy during ups and downs in the market, we just keep plugging at the max contribution rate we can afford. Much of our retirement income will not be available to us without a penalty before we’re old geezers so if we get to our goal retirement amount by 40, for instance, and then let it sit for 25 more years, even assuming 5% growth (which is my conservative figure year over year), that’s actually much more than we’ll ever need. Because we’re limited in what assets we can pull down from when we’re younger (40-60ish) we’re focused on paying off our house, etc, so that we can have very minimal monthly expenditures sans mortgage and can use our rental income for our monthly needs like groceries, etc.

Y’all – my one word of encouragement on this would be to just *start* saving. Like $5 a week start saving. If you have an employer contribution, max it out guys! That’s wasted $ on the table! And if you think that there is no money to save, I’d *really* encourage you to look at your spending and see where you can eliminate something that you’ve come to take for granted. For me – y’all – it was Target runs. Cliche, I know. But cutting this down and just asking myself – do I need this (?) has been a critical (small) way I can move toward better spending habits. And don’t get be wrong, I still lurve me some target, but I’ve found it’s much more fulfilling to buy our clothing, etc second hand much cheaper, and I don’t have the guilt or the burden of the excess spending.

One more life hack – I swear y’all – one of the biggest drains I think on families nationally is our expectation of owning new (and excessive amounts of) cars. When Jay and I got married we sold both our crappola cars and bought a 2007 Toyota Prius, which we drive sparingly. Not having a monthly car payment, or an expectation of a fancy/new car, has been critical for us. Cars are the biggest depreciating asset around, they’re nice to have from a utility standpoint but unless I’m feeling like Tevye after he hit it big and became a rich man, don’t expect me to be driving around in no Lexus πŸ˜‰ (BTW – all time fav dance move is the rich man shoulder shake – go watch Fiddler on the Roof if you don’t know what I’m talking about – it’s a hit at parties)

Ultimately – $$$ is all about finding what works for you and your family. If you like eating out every week – go for it! If you prefer a new dolce purse, that’s awesome. But if you find that you regret some of those expenditures at the end of the month, I’d encourage you to take a hard look at your monthly bills and see if there are ways you can funnel funds toward more productive long term goals. For us, we’ve found the equation to happiness is simplicity – and ultimately – what makes both Jay and I happiest these days is spending time with our little humans, so the sooner we can optimize that, the better!

Psst – I also loved this very simple, straight forward analysis by MMM shows how (2) teachers can reach financial independence in 10 years or less. πŸ™‚ Hint, I make about as much as a High School teacher (aka NOT a lot) – so early retirement is definitely something that’s attainable for many!

ThredUP(grade)

Ok, you guys, I’m getting down right squirrely over here. So ya know how second kids are supposed to come earlier than the first one – is that I thing – I convinced myself that was a thing. And I started buying myself a whole new post pregnancy wardrobe *in December* because I was convinced that after the man with the bag came by that my kid would be out of my uterus. But she’s not y’all – she. is. not. I’m not a patient person, and my patience wans even quicker when I’m 8+ months preg. Funny how that works. Also my child is breech, so my feelings about this pregnancy to date are sorta – can we get this over with already. I swear.

I did though, want to share my shopping induced distraction from my current state of doom with you guys. Y’all know I’m always looking for a thrifty deal, and I think I’ve permanently found my new fix for clothes shopping – ThredUP. Have y’all heard of this site? If not, it’s going to knock y’all over because they have the best deals on really nice clothing – that’s second hand. To me, that makes it even more of a win because for this price point I’d basically be buying stuff made straight from a sweat shop and that’s just not good for anyone.

My first favorite thing about ThredUP is that they package everything to make you feel like you went out shopping at the boutique. They even put gift tags on stuff so you could purchase thrifted items to gift. I feel like we have a stigma in this country that everything gifted should be new, and really that’s so silly.Β For clothing something that’s thrifted might be tricky (unless you know someones size) but they also have a ton of really gorgeous jewelry that I was able to get for under $10 per piece (closer to $5 for necklaces/earrings I got!)

I’ve actually been crushing on this jcrew t-shirt for a while with the stripes for a while, and was able to get it for $6. Super cute layering top for spring.

Isn’t this necklace / sweater combo beautiful? I can’t wait to not be pregnant so I can wear it!! πŸ˜‰

The quality on this stuff is incredibly high, and I did a quick search on this sweater – which retails for nearly $80 and is American Made, I got it for $8 and I’m totally smitten with it.

I also picked up this Ann Taylor cardigan for $8 (and another necklace) and I love how they pair together. Plus cardigans are extra nice since I can wear them now and don’t have to wait til I’m sans baby to look stylish (I never ultra committed to high fashion maternity wear since it’s so fleeting you wear it and didn’t want to spend the dough to look super cute but if you’re more fashion forward than me, ThredUP does maternity duds too). Plus there are frigid temperatures in NC this past week (like 30 – which for us might as well be the arctic tundra) so I’ve been getting lots of use out of extra layers.

And to appease my pregnancy induced self, I also picked up a few earrings to wear and enjoy right now.

One of my favorite things about living in NC is that it’s tank top and jeans weather by March on a good day and I’m super pumped about wearing some of these once I can fit into my pre-pregnancy pants again πŸ˜€ For reference, the forever 21 lace tank was just over $3 and the blouse was $6!

The detail on this j crew blouse, y’all. Come. On! $5 – I paid FIVE DOLLARS FOR IT.

So the sweetest part of this whole shabang is that ThredUP is hooking all of y’all up with 50% off your first order by using the code LEMONGROVE.Β Use this link to get shopping you guys! A new wardrobe awaits.

 

 

Bath Business

So I’m not sure what it *is* about me, but whenever the time for baby is nigh, I’m all – let’s gut a room, Jay! πŸ˜€ Scrubbing floors for nesting, not around here! πŸ˜‰

We wanted to update a bathroom that we use for guests in our casa and renovate it a bit so that it’s more comfortable for them up there in our bonus room. I’ve started an inspiration board, below, to give you an idea of how I’m hoping to configure the space.

While we’re at it (and the room is gutted) I also wanted to update our kitchenette in this room to give it a similar farmhouse / industrial style to what we’ll be doing in the bathroom. Here are some of the initial ideas I had for the space, for reference. To save a ton of dough in the short run, I think we will re-use some damaged cabinets (they had a paint defect) by repainting them, and DIY a counter top. It’s just a guest space, so as long as the install options are durable (and cute!) I’ll be happy with them until we feel like spending more dolla billz down the road. πŸ™‚

Here are some of my favorites – we’ll be doing a shiplap backsplash because I’m all about inexpensive, chic finishes! πŸ™‚

Shiplap-backsplash-kitchen

{Source}

{Source}

I’ll keep you updated – we start gutting the room this Thursday and I’m hoping to have a good head start on it before the babe gets here. She’s currently breech at 35 + weeks so I might have a bit more time to bake her w/ a c-section getting scheduled for week 39. In the mean time, if you need me, I’ll be walking my tail off and laying on ironing boards trying to get this kid to turn πŸ˜‰

 

Nursery Artwork

You guys – it’s the final countdown now until we’re a family of 4. I’m right at 35 weeks now and I had H at 37 weeks, so I’m hoping this little lady follows suit and we get to meet her in the next few weeks. But alas, these matters are not up to me and so we wait. πŸ™‚

This pregnancy is really a bit hard to capture for me, but undoubtedly, it’s been atypical and full of more uncertainty than this type-a, planner personality is really all that comfortable with. I know no matter what that everything will always be fine because above all else our family has each other, so even if this sweet girl is born with health impacts, we will deal with it with open hearts and open minds and do our best, and really as parents, that’s all we ever can do. If you all don’t mind taking one second to send good vibes out into the universe though, we always appreciate another soul out there rooting for our girl to have a CMV free diagnosis at birth.

Our daughter’s name is Emerson Jeanne, Emerson because we just liked it and Jeanne, because my Aunt Jeanne is arguably one of the most righteous babes to walk this earth. She is smart and witty and kind and giving and just symbolizes the best of humanity to me and I hope more than anything that my Emerson grows up in her image. I’ve found as I’ve been designing Emerson’s room that I actually dig Ralph Waldo Emerson a bit more than I knew, so the first thing you see when you walk into her space is a quote by the wise sage. It reads: “Be Silly, Be Honest, Be Kind”.

I love how the trim Jay added to the space frames out this art perfectly in the room!

Working off the understated floral / botanical theme in her nursery, I also purchased this cute crib sheet. At $26 it was one of the “splurges” for our space, as everything else was reused from Henry’s room or bought off craigslist for the most part.

Here is another vantage of it – I really love this crib sheet and I’m glad I gave myself permission to get this extravagant purchase πŸ˜€ I was going to go for another floral one I found that was $12, which seemed more palatable, but y’all yolo.

In this photo you can also see the artwork we purchase for the room off etsy, and then printed for ONE DOLLAR at staples. A dollar, you guys.

I love how it looks in the natural wood frame and have the other matching art from the set flanking the left side of our windows, up above the glider.

We also added in some linen window shades that are room darkening from JCP (where I tend to get all my window treatments because they’re reasonably chic and super cheap).

These ones are not cordless which is a bit of a pain, but they were the linen fabric I wanted so I decided to just suck it up. Once she’s born and sleeping in this room on the daily, they’ll most likely remain shut to create as dark and womb-like a space possible any way πŸ˜‰

Here is another shot with my all time favorite light hack sneaking in for another feature. πŸ˜€

So that’s a wrap guys! Now just waiting on our little girl to fill the space. I hope to have a closet update for you all down the road because I *really* want to put wallpaper in that joint to pretty it up. The perfect backdrop for all her cute dresses! πŸ˜€

Little Big Boy

There really is nothing more life altering than popping out a child you guys. Just how much they completely redefine the things you care about (and worry about) and take up 110% of your heart. I’m in awe of our little man and I’m so excited to see how he’s going to navigate being a big brother – my theory is he will view the baby as an enhanced version of his kitty – who he loves to snuggle with, and play with and take care of, and yell at. It will be so fun to see him interact with her – I’m sure they’ll be plenty of inner struggle with the kid getting de-throned and all, but hey, life goes on πŸ˜‰

So as we’ve been gearing up to provide a new space for our new baby, I got to thinking more and more about how I wanted to make an equally nice space for H. Notably, we had to transition him from his crib to a big boy bed, since his sister would get that resting locale once she’s out of the uterus.

Dark Blue Baby Room

Here is a photo above of how Henry’s nursery looked, with the crib and glider tucked into each corner.

And here is a similar angle with his new twin bed, along with his tepee (which he refers to as his “house”)

So one thing I LOVE about his new room is this super cute and super functional sideboard I got on craigslist. It provides ample storage in the room and gives us plenty of locations to store his toys while leaving them easily accessible for Henry to grab himself.

I’m trying to decide what to do with those little cubbys, up above the baskets, for now they’ll just stay empty.


I also got this bed on craigslist and it’s perfectly worn in and really just gorgeous.

One thing I *don’t* love about toddler rooms is that the bed is like nearly impossible to make nicely w/ no wrinkles and that drives me a bit bonkers lol. Between the guard rail for sleeping and the fact that the bed is tight up against the wall to prevent him from slipping into the crack on the side of the bed, the comforter never is smooth and always has so inconsistency to it. Which frankly is a pretty good analogy for life with a toddler πŸ˜‰

On the other side of his room is his closet and another bookcase, where we store all the night time reading selections πŸ™‚

I’d love this room to be wood (keep telling the hubby I want to replace the carpet w/ wood and he sorta laughs at me each time – which I’m interpreting as him being so full of joy about this prospect that it just make him laugh but this may be misguided) πŸ˜‰


Babies on the Brain

Sometimes I think I forget how impactful actually creating a mood board for a space (and executing on it) can really be. I haven’t done that in any of our spaces in this house, in earnest, and it was incredibly fun to do this in our new nursery design and actually see the entire room come into shape.

Charcoal Nursery

Here is the mood board we started with:

Botanical Nursery Design

I’m actually kinda holding myself back from doing this in every. other. room in the house right now (hehe) but over time, I think this will be the approach I more or less take as we tackle the spaces in our casa.

It was super fun to take the same approach with a recent client, who also didn’t want an overly themed space, and wanted to put together a nursery that would grow with her little one over time.


Rustic but chic, right? πŸ™‚ One of my favorite finds lately has been digital artwork on etsy that actually makes it super affordable to do large scale artwork in a space. Adding frames can make it a bit more costly, but when I’m doing huge prints like that on a wall, I usually want a minimalist frame that’s less chunky/expensive anyway. Another really easy option is to print it off as a canvas – which allows you to get a very big piece of art for around $50 – not bad!

Some of my favorite picks are below! (I’m crushing hard on that big cow print as a canvas in our dining room – might have to get it)

Blue Abstract Prints $20 | Constellation Poster $5 |Β Tree Rings $7.65 | Giraffe Print $6.98 | Green Fern Prints $17.98 | Bicycle Wall Art $10.93


DIY Planter Box

If you didn’t catch my plans for farm living in the city, I’m trying our hand at gardening y’all. And I’m also in a crazy lady state of purging out stuff that is laying around (why – WHY do we accumulate so much stuff in life?). The combination of these two things led to an impromptu planter for our backyard which we’re currently using for the start of our winter garden.

Remember the project I mentioned that fizzled out that had already been started a few months back that left us with some scrap wood that had just been siting in our garage for a long time and was driving me batty – the one we used for our DIY desk top?

Well after we cut the custom dimensions for that top, we still had a small piece left over. I didn’t want to throw it away, but was leaning toward that since it was just sitting in our garage collecting dust (and driving me crazy).

Pine Wood planter, DIY planter, how to build a planter, urban gardening, square foot gardening, compact gardening #UrbanGarden


The more I looked at it though, to more I thought to myself, by george, that might actually work as the base of a planter for our square foot garden experiment.

So I asked Jay what he thought and bless that man’s big old heart, he whipped something together for me in an evening!

Building a planter box, DIY planter, Pine planter, DIY pine planter, cheap planter box. DIY cheap planter box

You can see here that the wood was a bit warped, and gappy before we screwed everything in together.

#UrbanGarden

So Jay just clamped up the sides while he worked and added in a few screws to each board (and glued it too, for extra holding power)

how to build a planter, DIY planter, Planter box, urban garden, square foot garden

Notice it’s getting darker in these shots? πŸ˜‰

square foot gardening #SquareFootGarden

The next day we added some more vinegar and steel wool stain to darken it up a bit. Nice, right??

DIY planter, Planter Ideas, urban garden, square foot garden, DIY planter box, planter box, easy planter, pine planter

We planted the seeds and they’re already coming up – I think they love this cooler weather!

Square foot garden, urban garden, winter garden, NC gardening, gardening in the city, gardening on small lot


Remember – this is pine wood from Home Depot that was c-h-e-a-p so the entire top before was around $20-$30 – so getting TWO projects out of it is pretty rockin.

Baby Girl Nursery Reveal

I got lots of questions from y’all on the specifics of the wainscoting treatment in our little one’s room, so I wanted to follow up today with some “after” shots of the space, along with a cost breakdown of everything to date. Note, I still need to buy bedding for the crib (we will reuse Henry’s crib in her room), and a touch of artwork, but other than that, y’all we are d-o-n-e (with 9-ish weeks to go!)

So I eluded to it last week, but we decided to go dark in the nursery! We actually painted it the same color as the base on our desk (Ashwood Moss), so that saved us some $$ since we were able to use the same $30 gallon of color matched paint.

Once painted, the wainscoting went from this:

#InteriorDesign #DIY

To this! So classy and I seriously feel like this room is a library y’all.


The trim we purchased was outdoor, plastic stuff (we couldn’t find anything in wood with the dimensions/look we wanted) so it took a few coats of paint lightly applied to the trim to get everything the way it needed to look. It was tedious, but all in all, in a weekend between husband and myself, we had the room done.

The trim we got was closest to this one that I found online, although this is wood grain. Your total cost will depend on how much square footage you need to cover, and how many boxes you want to make, but our total out of pocket cost was just under $200 for this space, and we used about 200 linear feet for ours (which is a 10×11 room).

I decided to go with light wood accents in this space, to go with the botanical theme I have for the room and it looks finnnee next to those dark walls y’all. Here is a shot of the dresser I got on craigslist and a mirror we re-purposed from inside the house. We’ve had it forever, but I think I got it at Homegoods originally.

Here is another angle, of the corner with our glider. Also repurposed from Henry’s room, and the frames have been up since we moved in. They were $12.99 each at Homegoods though! (I have one flanking either side of the window)

And another image of the glider nook, with different lighting. It really does read differently depending on the angle, but I’d say that it’s a charcoal with some greenish tints to it. That lamp base was a $4.99 thrift store find, and it has a target lampshade on it. Craigslist side table. πŸ™‚

Charcoal Nursery

If I have my way and see some beauties pop up on craigslist, etc, I’d also *love* to add pinch pleat drapes to this room down the line, but absolutely refuse to spend hundreds of dollars on it, ya know? If I get ambitious before baby girl comes (or maybe after?) I also plan on wallpapering the closet! I mean, who doesn’t want a sweet looking wallpapered closet? I think it would be the perfect backdrop for a little lady and all their pretty clothes!

That light though y’all – it’s my fav πŸ˜€

DIY Light Fixture

So price breakdown so far:

  • $30 in paint (shared w/ desk project)
  • $197 in trim (splurge!)
  • $92 on light fixture (for the jute ball and the DIY light kit – hoping to sell extra spheres to bring this down)
  • $4.99 lamp base
  • $10 lamp shade
  • $125 antique dresser
  • Glider reused from Henry’s room
  • Crib reused from Henry’s room