You know how sometimes you just stop believing that something is ever going to happen for you?

Case in point: the last two winters. I don’t know about y’all, but I had quite literally given up hope it was ever going to get hot again. When I woke up to 40-degree weather this morning, that disbelief was reinforced.

That’s how I’ve been feeling about our bedroom. I was just plain ol’ convinced that it was just never going to come together.

Oh, what’s that? You want to hear the saga of our bed? Oh, I just couldn’t possibly regale you with this tale of tragedy and woe…but, sure, let’s do it.

It started on the first day of our move when the movers discovered it was actually impossible to navigate our headboard down our twisty little hallway to the bedroom. This wasn’t a huge shock — the headboard was of the storage variety, so it was pretty bulky. I had secretly been hoping to sell it for a few months because I wanted something more streamlined that would allow us more space to move around the room.

Careful what you wish for, chickadees.

Once we had confirmed that the bed wouldn’t fit, I started a more aggressive campaign to try to sell it.

You guys, if there is one thing I could teach you about Craigslist, it’s this: It is dang-near impossible to sell a bed on that sucker.

I say this as a self-professed Craigslist ninja. I have sold entire dining sets on Craigslist. I have sold massive, 400-pound china cabinets on Craigslist. I once sold a used rug on Craigslist.

I could not sell this bed.

You know what I could do? Almost sell it.

You just have to trust me that I am not exaggerating when I tell you I almost sold the bed four separate times. One potential buyer even came to the apartment, saw the bed, said he want it, left us a $100 deposit, and then went home and changed his mind and asked for 50 percent of the deposit BACK over Paypal. That was a dark day.

When a girl from Craigslist called and offered me peanuts to buy the bed (IF we would deliver it), I readily accepted if only because I NEEDED THIS TO BE OVER.

And I still didn’t really believe it had sold until Joey returned sans bed with cash in hand.

So after all that, the bed was sold. But I still had to wait a couple of weeks to order the new bed. In the meantime, Joey and I have been sleeping on the mattress. On the floor. Like heroin addicts. It’s super glamorous.

About three weeks ago, I finally ordered the new bed. About a week later, it arrived. The clouds parted. Angels sang. Bogey shed a tear or two. We finally had a bed?

Or did we???

I unpacked the side pieces and the platform slats first. No problems. Then I went to unpack the headboard, sliding it out of a long, thin box. As the last corner slipped free from the cardboard…it became instantly apparent that the entire corner was crushed beyond repair.

NO BED FOR YOU!

In the moment of black-out rage that followed my seeing that crushed corner, I can’t even tell you what was said. I’m guessing not anything pleasant.

The only bright side is that Overstock.com actually has a pretty competent customer service department. They quickly forwarded my complaint to the parts department, and two days later I had an email that a new headboard was on its merry way to me. And we just had to toss the old one — they didn’t need it back.

The new headboard arrived on Thursday. That pretty much ends the story (except a little anecdote about the UPS guy dropping it over our fence to crash-land on our patio table…because CLEARLY these things are so durable…the headboard was fine, fortunately)(for the UPS man)(and his life), and this weekend I was finally able to set up the bed and our bedroom at large.

So now, to reward you for sticking with our bed odyssey all this while, I present you with photos of the finished product:

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And for a little pizzazz, I added these beauties:

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Obviously the bedspread is still a bit wrinkled from being packed (and a couple of our pillows warped when we tried to wash them), but it’s still lightyears ahead of where we were last week. (AKA, on the floor.)

So it just goes to show, you should never give up the dream.

What did y’all accomplish this weekend?

18 weeks

18 weeks

I felt my baby kick for the first time last night.

That’s a pretty quick sentence, so imma give you a minute to let it soak in. I know I needed a minute even after it happened.

We were at our weekly meeting, and it was the last talk. I had been feeling especially pregnant because my belly had officially started popping out pretty much that day. (Having a uterus the size of a cantaloupe will do that to a girl.)

In fact, just that morning I had been thinking about how stereotypical my other symptoms had been (mild nausea until exactly 12 weeks, exhaustion until 14 weeks, etc.) and wondering if the kicking would be the same. (I’m supposed to start feeling it anytime during or after the 18th week.

So there I am, sitting quietly with my hands on my belly as they often are these days, when suddenly it dawns on me that I feel a little poke — and it’s different from digestion or indigestion or anything I’ve ever felt before. I knew immediately this was something that was not, well, me. I may have stopped breathing for a second. I pressed down with my hands a bit more…and was rewarded with a second little poke.

Here are eight things that go through your brain the first time you feel your baby kick:

1. Hmmm what should I have for dinner? I’m so hungry and — wait a second, what was that?!
2. Relax a second, are we sure that wasn’t just gas?
3. It didn’t feel like gas.
4. Oh my goodness, do that again!
5. …please? Please, one more time?
6. Maybe it was just gas.
7. OH MY GOODNESS IT HAPPENED AGAIN!
8. *tears*

I managed to not actually cry (dang hormones), but I could barely contain my excitement. Later, after eating dinner, I could feel a few more tiny movements, but unfortunately nothing strong enough for Joey to feel yet.

But…you guys. Just when I think I’m done being amazed at this whole pregnancy thing, the little bean has a new bag of tricks to throw at me.

I can’t wait to see what he/she thinks up next.

I’ve never described myself as particularly “crunchy” of a gal. I appreciate modern medicine, I don’t always buy organic, and I’ve made peace with the fact that I live in a big city and probably consume a million pollutants a day. That being said, I do appreciate when I can cut out any harmful chemicals from my life, and that goes double while I’m growing another human.

Recently, a friend and her mother started a company that produces more natural pharmaceutical and skincare products called Branch to Nature. I had never had the opportunity to try their goods before, but they recently launched a Mommy Collection, and my friend asked if I would be interested in trying their natural deodorant in exchange for a review.

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Total confession: I have always been skeptical of natural deodorants. One time, in the seventh grade, our science teacher told us that regular deodorant would give us alzheimer’s because of the aluminum, so I scoured the drugstore shelves for one that didn’t have the metal ingredient. Two days later, I was running back to my chemical-laden version because, folks, I was a sweaty beast. I have never strayed since then.

But I have always felt a twinge of guilt using the regular brands. And, as I said, guilt is twofold when you are eating (and, I guess, deodorizing?) for two. So I readily accepted her offer.

My first impression of the deodorant was that the smell is very strongly herbal. I actually came to like the smell in the next couple of days (the lavender and chamomile smell much fresher than what I was using before), but initially I was a little concerned about smelling like potpourri. Fear not, though, the smell doesn’t linger.

The Branch to Nature Mommy Collection Deodorant is not only aluminum-free, it’s also without parabens, sulfates, and triclosan — in fact, it’s made virtually exclusively with natural oils, herbs, and butters.

Of course, it’s not as strong as that prescription-strength bottle you picked up at CVS. But it does work pretty well. You just might have to apply once in the morning and once in the evening. I did this on days I worked out and had no issues. And it is nice knowing that you’re not putting anything harmful in your (or your baby’s) system.

To my readers with kids: Did you switch a lot of skincare products when you got pregnant? I also switched out my facial regimen for products made for pregnant women (AKA, no more anti-aging products…sigh.)

To my readers in general: Do you use (or have you tried) natural deodorant? What did you think?

It has been a while since we’ve had a good, ol’ fashioned how-to on the blog. Lucky for you guys, a fresh move is rife with possibilities for DIY. (I know, don’t you feel lucky?)

Anyway.

Before I begin the how-to, I have a confession: Joey and I are one of those horrible American couples who eat most of our meals in front of the TV. I know. We’re single-handedly breaking down humanity. I’m sorry.

We started our marriage with good intentions. The first couple of weeks, we ate dinner at the dinner table. Like grown-ups.

Then…we got cable.

And then we became your worst sitcom nightmare, slowly drifting closer and closer to the tube, plates in hand, promises that “it’s only this one time” drifting from our lips. By six months of wedded bliss, the “dining” table was used mostly for holding paper work or as a surface for whatever craft I was working on at the time.

RIP, dining table.

By our second apartment, we downsized to a small white kitchen table mostly for the sake of appearances. After a year of little to no use, I sold it and used the space for kitchen storage. I had no regrets.

So when we started looking for our next place, I made an agreement (with myself)(in my head): I would only buy a dining table if our apartment had a designated dining space. Otherwise, why bother with the pretense. And then…we succeeded in getting pregnant.

And when we found our sweet little 2-bedroom, definitely lacking in specific dining space, we were faced with a choice: pass on our bad habits to our offspring, or get creative with our furniture arrangement. Because, really, what kind of grown-ups are we if we can’t manage a family dinner at a table like the surgeon general has begged us to do?

But no amount of good intentions was going to expand our apartment, so we needed to think small. I started looking for tables on Craigslist that either came petite or had the ability to be folded down in some way. After a couple of weeks of scouring, I came upon a sweet little round number with fold-down sides — perfect. The only problem? While the legs were white, the top was that pale tan wood that I associate with farm tables from the early ’90’s. Definitely not going to work in our strictly white-and-dark-wood household. (Furniture colors is a household divide worthy of fair Verona, in my humble opinion.)

And so, after roughly one calendar year of preface, begins our how-to.

I started by lightly sanding (seriously, you’re mostly just wiping it down with a very fine-grit sandpaper) the table’s surface.

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From there, I used a small mohair roller and Glidden Duo Paint + Primer in a semi-gloss. When it comes to picking paint, I always refer to the expertise of whoever is working in Home Depot’s paint department. But in general, you want something with a semi-shiny finish for easy wiping, and a roller is better than a brush for the smoothest finish.

Two coats in...

Two coats in…

Also, don’t go crazy with your coats. It’s so much better to do 3-4 thin coats of paint than to glob on one or two thick coats that will never fully cure. Be patient. (I’m saying this mostly to myself, but it’s probably good advice for you guys too.)

I ended up doing three full coats and one touch-up coat. Don’t freak out if you feel like your roller is leaving a spongy texture in the paint — give it a few minutes to settle and then decide if your equipment is faulty.

You also want to not do what I did and make sure to bend down the sides before the paint finishes drying. This will enable you to paint those surfaces (which will be visible any time the table isn’t fully extended) without have the surface paint dry together over the cracks.

Mind the crack.

Mind the crack.

I had to sand my edges down a bit and then repaint them. Learn from my mistakes.

Anyway, once you’re done painting, it’s a good idea to let the table sit for at least 24-48 hours before putting anything on top. Mine dried fast enough that I could at least attach the legs and move it inside (since the weather forecast originally predicted rain), but I had to touch up the top when I got overambitious and added a vase of flowers so I could take the below photo. Darn me and my incessant staging! But the point is, now it really looks like this:

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Pretty, right? And it takes up very little space, especially with the sides folded all the way down.

I hope this baby appreciates all the work we’re already putting in to being good parents, ya know?

Was anyone else particularly industrious this weekend? Tell me what you’re working on!

I have a feeling I’m going to jinx myself by even saying this out loud, but I feel like maybe, just maybe, I’m getting pretty good at this whole moving-and-starting-over thing.

In the past when Joey and I have moved, it has taken me months to years to get our apartment sorted out. This time around, I feel like I’m making much swifter progress. It helps that I spent an inordinate amount of time planning each room before we moved, but the fact is, things are gettin’ done.

I start the process by making a very in-depth to-do list every Friday. And when I say “in-depth,” I’m not messing around.

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List in hand, I can dive into the weekend with a very specific plan. Fortunately, enough, the last couple of weekends have been pretty open, so I’ve gotten most of each list done each time.

Now, enough talk! Show, don’t tell, as they say. Keep in mind, it’s not done-done, but it definitely feels a lot more like a living room than it did a few weeks back. You know, when it looked like this:

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Or even when it looked like this:

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And now, for those of you who keep asking me for pictures, here is what I’m coming home to this week:

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As I said, not totally done. Joey and I also set up the desk this weekend, but all the cords and wires are still a little too unruly to be photo-ready — stay tuned.

All in all, I’m pretty pleased with how it’s coming along. We officially have no more boxes in the living room, so that alone is reason for celebration.

Coming up next, the how-to for our pretty new dining table. See ya tomorrow!

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I’m quickly learning that with motherhood comes a hefty dose of not really being in control of much.

Today I had my ultrasound that was supposed to tell me our little bub’s gender. We wanted to have a little party to celebrate the big reveal (y’all know I’ll take any excuse to party), so we had planned to hold it this Sunday.

Of course, even as I planned I was nervous about setting the date. I have heard enough stories of shy babies concealing the goods on an ultrasound or two, but nearly everyone I asked seemed confident that it wouldn’t be an issue.

Apparently they had forgotten what contrary genes I’ve passed on to this child.

Despite being his or her usual wiggleworm self on the monitor, my baby kept his or her legs resolutely shut for the whole scan. On one hand, I’m happy my baby isn’t flashing its goodies for just anyone. On the other, come on, baby! Your type A mother needs to plan a nursery over here!

But, as I said, I’m pretty sure this is the least of my worries in the list of “things I can’t control about my child”. So maybe I should just get used to it.

And while I was super bummed when the nurse first gave me the non-news, I’ve made peace with waiting another month. It gives me more time to get the apartment ready for company, and at the end of the day, the only thing I really care about is that the little bean is healthy and happy in there. Besides, my mother tells me that I did the exact same thing when she was pregnant with me, so I can’t really blame the kid for taking after its mother.