Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ready For Baby ?!

With it really feeling like crunch time around here, we've been super productive getting ready for baby.  This past weekend, we finished the nursery, babified the car, packed the hospital bag, and even decided on a name (but you still have to wait for the name until she's born)!  All that's pretty much left now is finishing up a few crafts I have planned, cleaning the house, and waiting for her to make an appearance!

I feel like we've been working on her nursery for forever.  I looked back and did the math, and it's taken a total of 9 months to go from a "catch all" room, to a beautiful nursery! It took a lot of hard work to strip the wallpaper (for an awesome bonus on this post, read the comments section and see who contacted me - awesome!), prep the walls, paint, remodel furniturefigure out the furniture, and finally decorate!  I just love walking by the room and can't imagine what it'll be like when a little baby is sleeping in that crib.

The Nursery Before:

(When we moved in, we referred to this room as "the office".  But it actually became more of a catch all room.  For the longest time, it held all the boxes that needed unpacked, and then slowly transformed into this chaos.)

(I had visions of this room being a little crafting area that I could utilize and even watch tv in it.  However, I could only watch VHS movies in here (we own like 5), and then everything got thrown in this room.  So it sat like this for way too long, until I finally decided it was time to prep for a baby.  I started cleaning out the room and then stripping the wallpaper in late fall/winter of 2012 and found out I was pregnant with Bean in January 2013!)

The Nursery Complete:

(I can't believe the before and after pictures.  All the hard work was totally worth this beautiful space!)

(I am not one to do hodge podge decoration.  I wanted to pick out a complete nursery decor & bedding set and just use that to fill the nursery.  However, Steve wanted it to be more unique and use items from all sorts of different things.  He pretty much found the stuff, and I executed the vision.  This picture came from Ikea and the bedding is from Potter Barn - thanks to our Steve's amazing Craigslist find!)

(I take sole ownership of this beauty - okay, inspiration came form Pinterest.  How did people accomplish things without Pinterest?!  I first used chalk to draw the tree up on the wall.  It took me a few different tries, but finally got the tree I wanted.  Then I painted it - which was pretty scary because it would take a lot of work to try to fix a mistake or even scrap the whole project with the brown being so dark.  Last, I painted little bird house and Steve attached them to the wall.  Check out the owl on the left!  That is the actual owl that lives in our backyard.  A bird nursery for our little girl wouldn't be complete without our favorite bird to watch and listen to!)

(This is where she and I will be spending lots of snuggle time while reading & rocking.  It's hard to see, but check out that sweet little mobile up in the corner.  This hand cut bird mobile came form the shower that my sweet Lima friends threw for me.  All that cutting was not for vain!)

(Notice there's no dresser in Bean's nursery.  All the storage is in this little cabinet, with a few drawers underneath; the closet; and the baby changing table.  When I organized all her clothes, all the piles and everything made sense.  Now I don't really remember why I put stuff where I did, but as with any new organization, I'll just have to work out the kinks once this is all in use!)

So we're all ready, and now we wait!  We thought maybe she was going to make an early appearance but now it's looking like it's going to take awhile longer.  After my last doctor's appointment (I go weekly), we learned that there is definite progression being made -- Ahhhhhh!!  It's crazy that any day now, we could be holding our daughter!  Emotions (especially terror, haha) are running high around here.  I'm a definite planner and it kills me to not be able to know when it's going to be the real deal and time to head to the hospital.  I'm trying to enjoy these last few weeks (or days?!) of baby poking around inside me and life as I know it, but I'm going crazy with anticipation.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sew Crazy

I had a list of sewing projects I've wanted to get done for some time now.  I waited until I was further along in the pregnancy to accomplish that list (so that I could get more physically demanding things done sooner).  I spent a whole week with my sewing machines camped out in the living room (thanks Steve for your patience!).

This sewing go around, I was able to complete a curtain for Bean's room, a couple of changing pad covers, a boppy cover, and put binding on a couple of baby blankets.  I had dreams of making leg warmers for baby as well, and I attempted a couple.  I'm not sure how they're going to turn out so I decided to put the rest of that project on hold until I know more of her size!

(This by far is my favorite accomplishment!  My sister gave me her old Boppy and it had a simple green removable cover with colored circles on it.  I was able to girl it up by making a removable cover that matches fabric used in her nursery!  I didn't follow a pattern, just outlined the original cover - giving seam allowance as well - and it came out perfect!)

(This fabric is also used on Bean's curtain that hangs in the nursery.  I came across this fabric at Joann's and was blown away at how it closely matched the birds on her mobile and it is in the same color scheme as her Pottery Barn bedding!)

(I came up with the pattern for this valence all by myself!  Steve wasn't sold on using the pink bird fabric in her nursery and just wanted a simple green curtain.  He trusted my sewing skills and vision and I had free range.  I absolutely love how it turned out (and Steve says it looks nice)!)

(Bean's quilt!  I have been making baby blankets in this style for the past year of so and have given several away.  I was excited to finally be able to make one for my own little girl!  Her name will be put on the backside, but you'll have to wait to see it until after she's born - and after I put it on of course!)

(Close up of the little birdie squares.  I hope all of this forcing of birds on this poor child doesn't make her scared of birds - haha!)

(Another one of my proud accomplishments.  I made 2 covers for the contoured changing pad.  Again without using a pattern.  I just sort of traced the ends and made 2 pieces from that template, then cut a big rectangle for the center & long sides.  Sewed up the edges, put a hem on the bottom, and threaded elastic through it.  Ta da - a fitted cover!)

Not counting the baby blanket (which probably is about $15 in material), I got the 2 changing pad covers, Boppy cover, and the curtain accomplished for under $15!  Considering 1 changing pad cover (for the contoured pad) is around $15 and is a plush material (cotton cleans better!), I'm pretty proud of my savings.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Our friend reunion brought us to Indiana for labor day weekend.  Steve had to be back at work for Monday and I had a doctor's appointment I had to get back for on Tuesday.  So we left Sunday night to make it back to Ohio.  I had to turn around the next weekend to travel back to Indiana for my last visit before baby is born for a close friend's baby shower!

I was unsure about driving by myself and my amazing family pulled through to come pick me up and bring me back (on the way back, we were able to meet Steve a little over half way which helped out!).  Thanks family for watching over this pregnant lady!  Traveling any distance at 36 weeks preggo isn't fun, but you guys made it manageable (also note: this trip was ok'd by my doctor).

I got into IN by Friday afternoon.  After surprising nieces by picking them up at school, we loaded up and headed to the shower site to get it all set up (did I mention I was helping with hosting the shower?!  That's why it was so important to be there; and especially to support my dear friend and her sweet babe Savannah).  After a long evening spent setting up and decorating for the shower, I headed home with my mom and crashed for the night.

The next day was spent with food prep, gift wrapping, finishing touches decorating, and finally, the baby shower!  She had a great turn out and got lots of great things to prepare for Savannah.  We had help with the tear down from the shower and made it home earlier than planned.

(Lori unwrapping gifts!  Nieces stayed close by to take inventory of all the cute baby items!)

(Sister Sara and I tag-teamed recording Lori's gifts & displaying all the baby items.)

(All the preggos in the family in order of due dates!  Me in early October, Lori in early December, and Liz in early January!)

Sister and nieces came over to mom's for dinner and to hang out for a little bit.  Nieces decided to go swimming while the adults stayed out of the pool and talked.  We didn't see it happen, but heard a commotion and screaming and crying.  We ran to find that Gabbie had fallen off the pool deck.  Fearing broken bones and possible concussion, she only came away with a busted nose.  Praise God for His amazing protection on this little girl (and that life jackets protect both in the pool and out).  If she were a cat, she'd be down 5 lives by now.

Gabbie's commotion pretty much put an end to a long day and a busy weekend.  We gave our hugs and goodbyes (this will be the last time girls see me with Babycakes on the inside).  The next morning marked my return home.  I did pretty well holding my emotions in (after all, this was my last trip home without a baby) until I got in the car with Steve.  He, too, shared he realized this was the last time we'd make the drive with just the two of us.  For the rest of the pregnancy, I'll be staying close to home!  Things are getting pretty serious in the Ackerman household!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Friend Weekend 2013

For the past 3 years, we have been able to spend a weekend together with our good friends form college.  It takes lots of coordination to work it all out, but it always is so worth it!  This year was no different.  We didn't settle on a location until just a couple weeks before the chosen weekend - labor day!

Each time the discussion has started to plan the get-togethers, we always start with the idea of camping, but it's worked out to just find a home and take over for the whole weekend.  The first time we got together, we were able to meet up at one of the couple's house in Indy. Last year, it worked to meet up at my parents' house while they were gone on vacation.  This year, in a last minute decision, we invaded my parents' house yet again, only this time, they were there, too!  Mom was recovering from her foot surgery and it just made it easier to share the house with my parents and sister.

Us, along with 3 other couples and their kids enjoyed all the amenities of my parents' house: swimming pool, hot tub, school playground, tons of toys for the kids, and even Segways!  Another couple and their sweet baby girl were able to join us for the day on Saturday.  We even squeezed in a maternity photo shoot with them (thanks David & Brianna!!).  Even though it had been a year since we'd all gotten together, the minute everyone showed up, it was just like we were back in Lafayette and nothing had changed (although the multiplication of an added 6 kids with 2 more on the way does make the experience different!).

We had a blast and look forward to Reunion 2014!!

(This picture brings great smiles to my face to see all the expanding families!  5 kids ranging from ages 5 - 8 weeks old, along with 2 pregnant ladies made for a busy weekend! Next year's prediction is growth in the Cardinal family - haha!)

(Being crazy!)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Cell Phone Sadness

I LOVE my Droid 4 cell phone.  I never realized how much I relied on it and loved it, until it crapped out :-(.  I can't blame one specific event as to why it no longer works.  Although, I do remember having a thought of "I'm really lucky the screen didn't just shatter."

It was working fine, until one evening I noticed that when I tried to touch "send" on the screen, it wouldn't recognize my touch.  I didn't think much about it, since I could just hit enter on the keyboard (that's right, I am one of those people who uses a slide out keyboard - and good thing I did!).  The next day, I noticed that the screen wouldn't swipe properly and I couldn't get into some aps, but then it would randomly work.  I was able to take off some of the features (like swiping to unlock the screen) just in time, because by noon, I had lost complete touchability on the screen!  I could text and make phone calls by navigating the screen via the keyboard.  However, once I was in the text or dialer aps, I had to turn the phone off and back on to switch back to the other ap.  It got really annoying really quickly (especially since I was expecting a pretty important phone call).  I could dial out, but I couldn't answer calls because that required a screen swipe.  Luckily, when I got the call I was waiting for, my screen randomly worked - crazy!

I had hope that maybe it would just all come back and fix itself, but by evening it was very obvious I was losing my best friend - ha!  With the warranty out of date, we were on our own to figure out what to do.  My immediate solution to the phone issue was to reactivate my old LG Ally.  I now remember why I got the new Droid 4, because the Ally was out of date, couldn't really handle many aps.  But, I need a phone and am able to text/call on it.  I just had to accept that I would no longer be able to have access to facebook 24/7 (since the facebook ap was too big and constantly crashed the phone - 1st world problems. . . ).

Steve did some research for the Droid4 and thought he knew the problem.  He ordered the part that he thought was the issue.  In a few days, the part showed up and Steve went to work on repairing the phone.

(Along with ordering the new part, he had to order some very specific cell phone tools.  All together it ended up being a $50 gamble.  He had a video tutorial that he had to watch in order to take the phone apart piece by piece.)

(A sight no one should ever see -- the inner workings of a cell phone!  Scary!)

(A pretty scary sight - my phone in pieces laying all over the dinner table.  The old part that was being replaced is the screen seen in the middle of the orange mat on the top right.  The new piece is wrapped in plastic in the upper left corner of the picture.  I do have to brag on Steve not only for his skills in researching what to do and being able to do it, but I was amazed to see the use of the sticky notes.  He would label each piece as it came off the phone and would put it in a certain order so he'd know how to put it back -- a process he came up with on his own.  Not many people think about that!)

He spent an entire 4 hours taking the phone completely apart to replace the 1 piece (which was of course the last piece you get to) that appeared to be the cause.  He put the phone all back together, powered it up, and. . . the touchability of the screen still didn't work :-/.  In a last ditch effort, I did a hard reset, but that just made the phone no longer able to be used since it's stuck on a screen that requires touching options (keyboard can't navigate it).  

So for now, I'm still using the Ally and don't use my amazing data plan that I have.  When I'm out of the house, I'll turn the data on just in case Steve needs to get with me (he can't use his cell phone at work - no service - so we communicate via emails and chat).  When I'm in the house, I just rely on our tablet for constant internet communication.  My current plan isn't up until April.  I really really really really want a new phone with a slide-out keyboard, but husband is trying to convince me that I need to invest in a really good phone since I rely so heavily on it (I like to remind him that having a keyboard on the Droid 4 allowed me to use it a little longer when the screen lost touchability).  I'm debating on investing in a used phone to get me to April (so I can take better advantage of my data plan) or just to hold out with my access to limited data until April and invest in a really good phone at that time.  I will most likely give in and invest in a lesser phone for now.  We'll see.  Anyone have a 4g capable Android phone they aren't using or want to sell for cheap??  It's worth a shot, right?

**So I wrote this post a few days ago and was still in a debate on what to do.  Yesterday, the camera feature quit working on the Ally.  In order to be able to bombard friends and family with constant/instant pictures of Bean when she's born, I have decided a new phone is a must.  Hopefully, I'll get a good deal and have a new phone in the next week or so.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Garage Makeover

Almost a year ago, we started our garage makeover project.  Steve has worked on and off over the spring and summer in the garage, but it mostly sat unfinished.  After researching more about the makeover, Steve decided to ax the insulation and just use drywall to finish the garage.  Before the drywall could go up, there was some electrical work he wanted to get done, like installing/moving a couple outlets and fixing other areas that needed addressed.  He knew what needed done and how to do it, but needed some help and advice before pulling the trigger.  So that's why the garage stayed unfinished until about a month ago!

My parents came up for the weekend so that my mom could go to my baby shower and my dad could help Steve.  He even got some bonus help from my brother-in-law as well!  The three of them were able to get the electrical issues fixed and drywall up on 2/3rds of the garage.  Everyone had to leave Saturday night, leaving just a little more work to be done.

On Sunday, Steve was able to take measurements and cut the rest of the drywall pieces, but he needed help with the actual installing of the drywall (someone to hold it up and someone to screw it in).  I offered my help for the lower pieces, but knew I couldn't help with anything above my head.  Steve ended up not taking me up on my offer but instead called his friend Jonathan to come help.  Jonathan quickly became a dry wall expert and the two of them knocked out the rest of the install.

In one weekend our garage went from brick and wood frame to drywall!  Steve still needs to putty up the seams and paint, but we're just thrilled with all the help we got and how much better the garage looks!  Once it's painted, Steve will install a hanging tool storage system and we'll call the project done!  For now, he's focus has changed to some of the exterior of the garage and house.  He has been caulking up areas around doors and the garage as well as painting trim to match the paint job on the peaks of the house.

(Working on some of the last electrical work before the drywall could go up on this wall.)

(One wall of the garage was completed by mid afternoon thanks to Dad & Chris's help!)

(Action shot of the work area.  Thanks Dad for bringing your drywalling tools and work table! By the time all the family left, the wall on the left was done, that piece on the back wall was on, and there was a couple more pieces on the wall on the right.  Leaving the rest of the back and right wall for Jonathan and Steve to finish up)

(All done!  Well, all the dry wall is up.  Now to patch up the seams, paint, and hang the new storage rack.  For now, we're leaving the ceiling as it is.  Maybe next year that'll be tackled, but for now we're enjoying watching the items being checked off the "to-do" list!)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Lima Baby Shower

My friends from Lima threw my last baby shower in the middle of August.  I know it's now well into September and I'm just now getting to blogging about it, a lot has happened in the end of August so the next several posts will be catch up of what's been going on!

My family came up for the baby shower which made me feel special!  My parents came up on Friday night while my sister and her whole crew showed up on Saturday.  While the women went to the shower, Steve, dad, and my brother-in-law put up dry wall in our garage - finally! More on that in the next post, back to the baby shower:

(My best piece of advice for making friends is to make friends with an expert baker!  I just have to brag about the delicious treats for the shower made especially for me by Sara's Sweets! She made delicious chocolate raspberry cupcakes, cookie dough truffles, amazing caramel brownies, and super cute iced cookies with birds on them.  I can't brag on this girl's talents enough! The others who helped out with the shower supplied deviled eggs, veggies, fruit skewers, and cheese ball w/crackers -  everything was yum! )

(My neighbor whom I go to lunch with often was able to make it to the shower!  She just loves my nieces and they always enjoy listening to her stories.)

(A great friend who helped with all the decorations, invitations, and food for the shower.  Thanks Candace for your help with the lovely shower!  I'm blown away at all that was done! Behind her was a station set up for people to make Bean hair clips and head bands.  I came away from the shower with several new fashion accessories.  Can't wait to dress Bean up with them! )

(Action shot with the baker and hostess - Sara! I am still blown away at all who showed up -- friends, ladies from our class at church, and from choir.  There were just a few things left that we needed for baby and these women provided amazingly for those needs!  I can't thank them all enough for their blessings on Baby Girl!)

(Cousin love!  These little girls love feeling BabyCakes move around!  Pretty soon they'll be able to hold & play with her, and they can't wait!)