Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lists, Lists, Lists

I know, I know, I'm keeping you all in great suspense waiting for the big reveal of our brand new guest bathroom.  I made the shower curtain last night and we are putting on some finishing touches during the next week.  Oh yeah, and I'm defending my thesis on Friday, so bear with me, ok?

Have I also mentioned that I'm nearly 35 weeks pregnant!!??!!??  It's really starting to take a toll on me.

(Haha!  If you know my research, you'll get that last pun.  Hah!  I really do make myself laugh.  Toll.)

Anyhoo (wipes tears from my eyes), I'm starting to feel the itch to get ready for labor and delivery, oh and to bring that new little bundle of joy home.  Have I mentioned that we still don't have a crib for her yet, the bassinett is in RI, and nothing is assembled or ready?  Nothing like waiting for the last possible second, right?

Anyways, my life is dominated by lists right now; lists of things to study, lists of papers to read, lists of changes to make to my thesis/presentation, shopping lists for Baby Girl #2, etc.  The one I thought I could handle yesterday was the list of things to pack for the hospital.  I only got as far as the list itself.  I can barely remember what I packed  last time and whether or not I needed any of it!  I consulted a few online lists and here is what I came up with.  What do you think?  Am I missing something huge?  Am I packing WAY too much?  Help a girl out and let me know, ok? (they are in no particular order, kind of like my days lately!)

Grannie underwear (oh, the joy)
glasses, Contacts, solution, case
hairbrush, elastics, hairspray
nursing tanks, yoga pants
Big Sister gift
going home clothes (Me and Baby)
receiving blanket
flip flops
Nook (with a new book on it for me)
nursing pads
lip balm

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Guest Bath Reno - Day One

Day Two:

This day was spent mostly taking things down and tearing them apart!  Woohoo!  The vanity, tub, medicine cabinet and most of the yellow linoleum is gone! 

Come in, take a look:

Like I said yesterday, there was a small amount of damaged wood.  Not too bad for being over 30!

Looking studly! (Ha! Haha!  I crack myself up!) Ahem, here is where the tub/shower will be replaced.

On the opposite wall, the vanity, cabinet, and toilet are gone!

The goal for tomorrow is to finish removing the yellow flooring from the hall/laundry, get the tub installed, repair walls, etc.  Its nice to see so much accomplished already!  Oh yeah, and in order to get out the rest of the yellow, the washer and dryer will take up a temporary residence in our bedroom for a few days.  Nothing says romance like laundry, right?!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bathroom renovation - before pics

Our bathroom renovations have begun.  The first of two bathrooms has been demo'd, old fixtures and flooring removed, and upgrades are already taking place.

However, as promised, here are some lovely before pictures so we are all aware of what we are dealing with! And, I didn't even clean up or oganize first, so you are seeing it in all its day-to-day loveliness.

First, our lovely, guest "Bathroom Under the Sea".  Why do I call it that?  Because of this chic wall paper border:

I know, I know, you are are wondering how you can get your hands on that timeless, classic, border.  My only regret is that we couldn't replace the entire wall with repeating patterns of sea horses and underwater foliage.  But don't worry, it only gets better.

Yep, that is pure, 100%, 80's style, yellow linoleum flooring, from the hallway/laundry all the way into the bathroom. Gorgeous!  Unfortunately, it is showing signs of wear and tear and must be replaced.  Sniff.  I will miss you mustard yellow floor!  You might also like the two-tone vanity.  You can't tell from this pic, but the side is painted white to "match" the linoleum top.  And, to top off all the use of linoleum in this space, the 3 inch linoleum "molding". 

Well, it's gone.  It's all gone!  Everything in here has been ripped out, including the overlapping shower doors.  Those doors overlap because the space for the tub isn't a standard length.  This bathroom is being redone first, with tile floors, new tub, vanity, light fixture and toilet, tile walls in the shower, etc.  Can't wait to experience it!

But, the excitement isn't over!  Here is our "Four Seasons" bathroom, to be renovated two weeks after the first.

I know, again, I'm sad we can't have this lovely trim as a repeating pattern over the entire wall.  Moving on...

You're loving the brass fixtures, aren't you?  And, yessir, that yellow linoleum found its way in here too!  Yay.  Now, you can definitely see the two-tone vanity.  Nice, right?  What you can't see is the rotting "wood" and the peeling paint.  For now, this bathroom is meeting the needs of our entire family.  Can't wait until next week when we can try out the new bathroom and get ready to gut this one!

Coming up, day by day progress of our bathroom renovations, including reviews of our contractor.  So far, he's been an amazing one-man show!  One I get his OK, I'll post his information for any other local homeowners looking to update their kitchens or bathrooms.  If his work continues in the same manner, we'll likely be hiring him to redo the kitchen in our rental space.  How's that for an endorsement?!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Nursery Letters DIY

Two years ago, I purchased letters to spell out Miss T's name for her bedroom wall.  I painted them brown and then decorated them with pink, green, and white acrylic paint.  The thing I liked best about this type of project is that its easy to change up the look of the letters.  Since I purchased them from a craft store unfinished, I knew that when the time came to change the look, I wouldn't feel bad since I didn't spend a lot of money on them.

Well, I got the itch to change things up.  And, being as neurotic as I am, since the girls will be sharing a room, I wanted their letters to match.  So, I picked up a bunch of coordinating scrapbook papers and dove right into my first ever project with Mod-Podge.

Miss T's old letters.

I played with the order of the papers for a while until I found an arrangement that I liked. 

Having assigned a pattern to each letter, I traced the letter face down on the back of each page.  That way, when cut out, the front of the page would match perfectly with the front of the letter.  After tracing, I carefully cut out each letter, some being easier than others!

Apply a thin coat of Mod-Podge to the letter...

And then layer the cut out paper over, taking care to smooth out any bubbles as you go.

For each letter, apply a coat of Mod-Podge over the paper and let dry for 15-20 minutes.  I did 3 coats per letter.  In between, to make the time go faster and feel more accomplished, I did a small chore around the house, laundry, took Dru outside, etc.

And voila!  The Mod-Podge dries clear and seals the paper to the letter.  I let them dry for about an hour after the final application and then rehung them on T's wall.  I hope she likes them!  Now, onto BabyGirl#2's name!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Salt Dough

We were having B's cousin and his family over one afternoon for a playdate/dinner.  I figured, with two toddlers, I better have some activity planned!  Home made salt dough!

warm water
food coloring

Use a 2:1:1 ratio for the ingredients (flour:salt:warm water).  So for each cup of flour, use 1/2 cup of salt and a 1/2 cup of water. I wanted to make a few colors, so I did smaller portions.  Mix up the flour and the salt.

Add food coloring to warm water, about 6-10 drops depending on how bright you want it to be.

Mix it up, and knead by hand.  After doing yellow, blue and green, I had no food dyes on my hands.  Sweet!

I portioned it out for T and JT so that each had a sample of each color and then I rolled it flat onto parchment paper and sealed it with plastic wrap until we were ready.

Gather up some cookie cutters and have fun!

They had a blast!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Lunch Date

This weekend, B and I will participate in a marriage seminar: effective communication and keeping the spark alive. We're really looking forward to this seminar and know how important it is to continually work on your marriage and make it a priority, especially once you have kids. We try to do this with lunch dates and real dates once in a while.
Today, I got to go on a different kind of date that I think is equally important. I got to go on a date with myself. I know that sounds weird but it is so worth it if you get a chance. Nothing fancy. Lunch at a coffee shop and then grocery shopping by myself. I feel so recharged! I got to do a crossword puzzle and read an actual book!
Don't get me wrong, I crave alone time with B and I still cry when we go out without Miss T for a night. But, time alone is awesome!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bathrooms Renovation

Yep, you read that right.  We are undertaking the renovation of both of our full bathrooms.  We've hired a contractor who is a friend-of-a-friend and he does amazing work.  He even took the time to go shopping with us last weekend to start picking up our supplies!

Our renovation will be floor-to-ceiling!  New tile floors, new fixtures, new paint, EVERYTHING MUST GO!

If you follow me on Pinterest, you've probably noticed me pinning a lot of grey bathroom items.  We're trying to stay neutral and not specific, keeping in mind that we will be selling this house in a few years. I do plan to add personality in our accents.  If you ask anyone, my favorite color is green.  B's favorite color is orange.  Thus, we will have one grey-green bathroom and one grey-orange bathroom.  I'm not sure which palette I like more!

Picking out paint color might be one of the most painful tasks in the history of ever.  I was browsing Pinterest and Google images and just not finding anything I liked.  Then I stumbled onto the Sherman-Williams website.  They have this awesome Color Visualizer tool! You can upload an image of your room, or just use a standard one they have available on their website and start playing with paint!  It's so easy!  Here are a couple I put together:

I can't wait to get home and take a pic of our hideous bathrooms to really get an idea of how incredible this transformation will be.  Besides, I can't blog about bathroom renos without a few really ugly before pics, right?  I promise not even to clean them up at all!

Anyways, if you are planning a room renovation and are struggling with paint colors, check out this tool!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mail Surprise!

Working hard on my thesis and defense presentation.  All that writing has me a little burned out.  Want an excerpt?

"TLR2 has been linked with detection of LCMV.  In vitro and in vivo cytokine responses to LCMV infection were found to be TLR2-dependent.  IL-8, in vitro, and IL-6 and MCP-1 in vivo, were all found to be TLR2- and MyD88-dependent (357).  Unexpectedly, IFN-I production in mice was also found to require TLR2, but not MyD88.  However, recent studies have shown that some viral ligands are able to induce IFN-I production through TLR2 on the endosome, while bacterial ligands could not, demonstrating the plasticity of TLR2 functions (19).  Further, the proinflammatory responses observed during LCMV infection of CNS glial cells was determined to be TLR2, MyD88, and Mal dependent (355).  Beyond innate immune responses, MyD88 has been identified as a critical component of the adaptive T cell response to LCMV infection.  MyD88 deficient mice are unable to control viral replication or spread in a manner that doesn’t involve IL-1R1, IL-18R, or IPS-1 (23, 149, 356, 357).  LCMV-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cells have impaired functionality in the absence of MyD88 leading to a reduced cytotoxic T cell response (149, 268, 356)."

Asleep yet?  You're welcome to any insomniacs out there!

Anyways, with February 24th looming on the not-so-distant horizon, I do have a fun story to share!

Remember when you used to get actual mail?  Cards, packages, even bills?  Remember when every now and then, you would get a complete surprise?  Sure, now I'm surprised when I'm actually home to receive my recent online purchase, but when was the last time you were really surprised (in a good way) by something that arrived in the mail?!

Well, last week, I came home to find not one, but two slips indicating that I had missed package deliveries.  One I was expecting (online maternity purchase).  The other - I had no idea.  I pestered B about.  Surely it was for him or he knew what it was.  Nope.  It was a couple of days before I was able to get to the post office.  My mind was racing.  Who was it for?  What could it be?  To my surprise, it was for me, marked "FRAGILE" and from B's cousin Kristyn.  WHAT??!!

When I got home, I hesitated opening it.  OK, I tore into the outer paper wrapping and found a bubble wrapped box, congratulating one "Dr. Hayes" with a card.  Being a little superstitious (I'm not quite there yet), I almost waited to open it.  OK, so I opened it so carefully that I could tape it back together perfectly in case I was supposed to wait until I was done.  Not really sure why I did that...  Anyhoo, here is what I was greeted by...

A whole box of these adorable Hazmat gingerbread guys!  Aren't they cute?

Each one was individually placed in a zipper bag and layered with bubble wrap.

I love this guy!  He reminds me of, well, me, looking out from the BSL-3 lab.  "Let me out! Let me out!"

After a couple of quality control tastings, the rest were placed in the freezer to preserve them for my committee members after my defense.  If these guys don't sweeten them up to pass me, I don't know what will!

I have to send a HUGE thank you to Kristyn, her mom Anne, and Grandma for the card and for making these for me!  I love them so much!  I might have squealed with delight when I saw them.  Maybe. :)  Love you guys!