Tuesday, August 30, 2011

the nursery, part 2 (all the deets!)

Welcome back, friends. Remember this cuteness?


Of course you do! How could you forget?! ;)

I thought I'd come back with a (long) rundown of everything in the room. When I first started thinking about the nursery, I knew that I didn't want to do something super "themey" unless it was with colors and patterns. Also, I wasn't really feeling all the pastel colors out there - which makes for a challenge when in the nursery-decorating department.

I started by looking at fabric, trying to find something that I could build the room around. I didn't find anything, but I found myself drawn to mustard yellow and gray. Sounds like a good place to start, right? The rest just kind of fell together.

Ready for the details? Warning: it's like an IKEA catalogue up in here, just so you know.

  1. Zebra print from IKEA. I've loved it since the first time I set foot in that store, but never had a reason to get it. It was one of the last things we picked up for the room, but I think it's perfect. And my artist uncle says that the "high contrast black and white" is "perfect art" for a baby. Score!
  2. Crib from IKEA. I never, ever thought I'd get a crib from there, but it was rated one of the safest (and most affordable!) by the Baby Bargains book that I've come to know and love. It was natural when we bought it and we painted it gray (Porcelain Shale by Olympic). Also, the crib was too low for us tall people, so Andrew made some adorable crib risers out of a tree stump. I love them, I love them, I love them.
  3. Yellow chevron crib skirt. I made this myself. Andrew actually found the fabric when I brought him with me to Joann Fabric. He wins!
  4. Dark Gray lamp from IKEA. It's super easy to turn on, dim and turn off, which was something I was looking for. I'm not trying to fumble over a difficult switch with a sleeping baby in my arms, amen?
  5. Little Castle glider from Bellini in Charlotte. Also recommended by Baby Bargains, I found this chair at a boutique that carries the Little Castle brand in Charlotte. I really wanted a nice, fully-upholstered glider and ottoman for the nursery and I was SO glad to find this chair in our price range! And Andrew's sweet parents gave us the ottoman. I'll think of them every time I'm in that chair in the middle of the night...
  6. Green shag rug from Pier 1. You can't see it very well in this picture, but the rug is really fun. I actually got it when we moved into this house last year, but it was too small for the living room and I loved it too much to return it. I'm so glad I held on to it!
  7. Blue and white curtains from IKEA. I think they might be discontinued and when the Charlotte store didn't have any in stock, I sweet-talked them into giving me the display curtains.

  1. Yellow and white floral curtain ties. I made these out of coordinating fabric that we found when we got the yellow chevron.
  2. IKEA spice racks turned bookshelves. I don't even know where I first saw this, but I've had the idea stored away for a long time. I got a sample of paint (Valspar Putting Green) and painted them myself.
  3. Cardboard letters from Hobby Lobby. Also painted with a paint sample, but I can't remember the name of the yellow that I picked out.
  4. Grass thingies. That's the official name. From World Market.

  1. Gallery wall. The frames are from IKEA and the prints are a combo of things I found on Etsy and some that I designed myself. More on that in a different post, because this one is already mega-long.
  2. Changing pad. I wasn't feeling the cover that was on it, so I made this one out of a super soft gray towel. Absorbent AND easy to remove for washing. Good and good.
  3. Hemnes dresser from IKEA. It's amazing, right? I love it. The storage, the color, the lines. Love, love, love.
  4. Blue and white lamp. It's from Target and was originally in my office. But it looks way cuter in here.


The bookshelf is one of a pair that we already had in the office. I just glued some gray tweed-ish fabric to the back for a little contrast.
  1. Wooden giraffe. Made in Kenya. Found a thrift store by Andrew's cousin and gifted to him a LONG time ago. Stolen by me when I spotted it on a shelf the last time we were in Concord.
  2. Boy art. My mom made this out of wrapping paper that she saved from her shower when she was pregnant with me. So sweet.
  3. Stuffed animals. Cute and cute. The giraffe is from my aunt and the lamb is from a close friend of hers (who means a lot to our family because she introduced Aunt Rita and her husband a few years ago!)
  4. Books, books, books. At the shower in Concord, guests were asked to bring a book instead of a greeting card. These books and the sweet notes written inside are so precious to us. Can't wait to read through them with my boy.
  5. Chalkboard sign. I made this by spray-painting chalkboard paint on the glass of an old picture frame. The verse is Ezra 7:9, part of which says "for the gracious hand of God was on him." A little nod to our son's name ;)
  6. Misc stuff hider. I made this curtain out of leftover fabric from the crib skirt. And it's hiding the random things that I couldn't find a place for. Like the basket full of pacifiers that we've accumulated.
Last thing! Here are two close-ups of things you maybe couldn't see very well in any of the other pics: the crib risers and the curtain ties...

Picnik collage

Phew! Did I cover it all? I've gotten a few emails about some of the furniture, but if I missed anything that you're wondering about, let me know.

I hope you love it as much as I do :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

the nursery! it's finished!

Please, do come in...








I'll be back soon with all the details :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

impromptu downtown date

Picnik collage

Since Andrew's been working wonky hours and I'm going to be gone for work for most of next week, I decided to take today off to coincide with his weekend. I didn't have a ton of expectations for the day - I just figured we'd take it easy and maybe grab some dinner later tonight.

When Andrew finally woke up - he was up for almost 36 hours straight, so he slept until 11am - I was really expecting a leisurely day at home. But when he got out of the shower, he proposed heading downtown for lunch and a bit of wandering around.

Deal :)

We started with lunch at Virginia's on King, a new favorite that we just discovered this summer. Fried pickles for an app, fried chicken with mac and cheese and lima beans for me, and a flounder po'boy with sweet potato fries and slaw for him. Good, good and good.

Picnik collage

Then we spent the rest of the day meandering around, the best thing to do in this sweet southern town. We popped into a few shops and boutiques along King and East Bay streets, then headed to the Waterfront Park where we scored a seat on a swing (that never happens!) overlooking the water. Perfect. The breeze, the view, the company - all perfect.


After a while, we decided to head back home (hoping to miss rush hour traffic) but not before stopping at 32 degrees, a frozen yogurt bar on King Street. We'd never been before, but I think we'll definitely be back. Who doesn't love a little froyo?


We shared a vanilla-blueberry swirl with dark chocolate chips and chopped pecans. Heavenly.

I'm so thankful for days like this - if it's not the baby, it'll be Andrew's job that makes it harder to do stuff like this in the future. So for now, I'll soak up every minute.

Every. Single. Minute.

Monday, August 22, 2011

painted onesies

I got a little carried away with some freezer paper stencils and fabric paint, but I don't regret it. This kid is going to be stylish.



For game day, of course.

I just made a stencil with freezer paper on my Silhouette machine, got some fabric paint and went to town. It's super easy, even if you don't have a machine to cut it for you. I promise. Google it.

Next up, appliqued onesies. Who says they have to be white and boring? ;)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

32 weeks

32 weeks

Eight weeks, people. Give or take. I keep thinking of it as "at least eight weeks" but then it could really be six or seven.


This week, there's not much to report except he's growing, growing, growing. He weighs a little under four pounds and is about 16 and a half inches long. And apparently, he'll gain a third to half of his birth weight just in the next few weeks. Go, baby, go!

Andrew and I had an awesome weekend. He started "on crew" tonight which means he's working this schedule for the next four months:

7 mids (12-hour overnight shifts)
2 days off
7 days (12-hour daytime shifts)
2 days off
7 swings (11a-11p)
2 days off
4 days of wonky hours that we aren't sure about yet
4 days off

And repeat. Fun, right? Anyway, we soaked up what's left of normalcy this weekend by staying up late, sleeping in, eating cake, watching Netflix and snuggling. All of that really happened. It was wonderful, but it also made it reeeaally hard to kiss him goodnight at the front door when he left for work an hour ago.

But so it goes. Only a few more months and then we're on to the next thing, whatever that thing is. The Navy is good at keeping us on our toes like that.

Hooyah, shipmate :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

my pregnancy survival kit


Also known as, Things I Love The Most While Pregnant.
  1. Target's Long and Lean tank tops. Definitely the best part of my maternity wardrobe. Way better than anything ever made specifically for a pregnant lady. They're soft, cool, good for layering and I have about ten. No, really.
  2. Baby Bargains. Losing sleep over what kind of stroller to buy? Look it up. Need to pick a crib? Look it up. Have no idea what kind of "nursing" clothes to buy? Look it up.
  3. Palmer's Lotion for Stretch Marks. Who knows if this is what's kept me from getting stretch marks, but it sure does make my tummy less itchy.
  4. Breyer's Coffee Ice Cream. When I was in my first trimester and scared of caffeine, I would make a milkshake out of this stuff and it was euphoric. Still is.
  5. Men's vintage tees from Target. Not the studly man model, just his shirt. The men's small is big enough to fit over the belly, without swallowing me whole. And you can't even imagine how soft they are. It's amazing. And I have five.
  6. Stretchy pants! These have been with me since the beginning. I wear them A LOT. Pair it with one of those vintage tees and ohhhh man, I'm comfortable.
  7. Body pillow. Affectionately called Fernando. Andrew's not a fan because he thinks that "Fernando is coming between us." And he is. But at least I'm comfortable, right? Also, it's temporary. Probably.
  8. Milk. Y'all. I've never been a big milk drinker, unless it was with cereal or cookies. But this has probably been my one consistent craving and we go through at least two gallons a week. Just the two of us. AND we buy organic milk, so our milk budget is a little busted right now. Oh well, baby needs calcium. And you only have until you're 30 to build strong bones!
  9. Mini cradle. Last, but absolutely not least. The back pain has been my biggest complaint. Sometimes I just lie on my back across the bed because it's the only time I'm completely comfortable and I tearfully ask God to please, please, please make it stop. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. Wah. But this thing definitely helps when I wear it consistently and we're besties, even if I feel like I'm wearing a girdle. Which is never a good feeling when you're pregnant, by the way.
So there it is. What's your pregnancy must-have?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

a bit about our besties and shower #3

There are these friends that we have from college. We came to know them separately and then together, once I caught Andrew's eye and he decided that he couldn't live without me.


These are our best friends. For me, they taught me what Christian fellowship looks like. They taught me about real friendship and accountability and support. About laughing really hard in a cramped dorm room in the middle of the night. And about pokey stix.


So you can imagine that when I was secretly pregnant at 8 weeks and Meredith emailed us all a surprise picture of her ultrasound, there was some squealing. I called her and asked when she was due, and then responded with "Well, I'm due in October." Again - squealing.

Picnik collage

These friends of ours, they're precious. And when they offered to throw us a shower, I looked forward to it for weeks because I knew it meant an afternoon with them. And I love them.

And it was perfect.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

31 weeks

31 weeks

You know what's great? When you're standing in the grocery store with your husband, comparing canola oil brands, and he says "You're big." Romantic, that one ;) It's okay, though. I honestly take no offense. I catch a profile view of myself sometimes and think the same thing. Big.

At 31 weeks, here's what we've got:
  • He measures around 16 inches long and weighs a little over three pounds (or as much as four navel oranges, if you're looking for the produce comparison)
  • A growth spurt is on the way, which makes sense considering he has 4+ pounds to put on in the next few weeks.
  • He can turn his head from side to side, and his arms, legs, and body are beginning to plump up as he accumulates fat underneath his skin
  • And his movement is increasing. Indeed it is. I think the whole "bowl full of jelly" thing started with a pregnant lady, not Santa.
I'm in full-on nesting mode, with lists all over the place and to-dos running through my head when I should be sleeping. But I know that it will all get done and if it doesn't, he'll be here anyway.

And that makes me all fluttery and smiley inside.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

a peek at the nursery...


First of all, who here is proud of me for posting every day this week?? Someone get me a cookie.

We've made so much progress on the nursery, y'all. I love love LOVE it and have been spending a lot of time in here now that the comfy chair has arrived. I don't want to show too much until it's finished, lest I ruin the big reveal, but I thought I'd share a few little snapshots of some of the details. I'm hoping to get more of the big things crossed off this weekend (i.e. hang pictures) and then put the finishing touches on it when my mom comes to visit - which is hopefully very soon!

Until then, here are some teasers...


Picnik collage

Picnik collage

Ahh! It's just so precious...you can't even imagine :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

how i became a mrs. (part 10, the finale)

In the spirit of not talking about the baby and because it's been, ohhhh, three months since I shared any more of our looove story, I decided to wrap it up.

I present to you, Part 10 of How I Became a Mrs. If you're new, you can start here.

The day I married that boy was such a sweet, sweet day. I was so excited about our marriage and I couldn't wait to share it with the people we loved most. We were hopelessly giddy about the whole thing.

It was cold and rainy and windy, because the weather in NC is unpredictable in March, but the only time I remember being bothered by it was when I was getting out of my mom's car to head into the church. I had just gotten my hair done and I didn't want it to get messed up. Obviously.


Everyone bustled about and I remember feeling very calm and detached. Not in a bad way - in the kind of way that allows you to sit back and take it all in and feel very happy about the moment. It was a very, very good kind of detached.


My grandmothers were the first of family (besides my mom and Aunt Rita) to see me, followed by Mir and my dad. I grew more and more emotional with each visit. I was so thankful to share the day with these people and I was very aware of how they each helped get me to that place.


Kristi Lee prayed over me and the day and our marriage and then it was show time. When my dad went to walk my mom down to her seat, I was left alone for the first time all day. I finally let the big cry have its way with me and I sobbed in the hallway of the church basement. And by the time my dad came back, I was done. He helped me up the stairs in my big dress and in the sweetest and most gentle way I'd ever heard him speak, he asked me if I was okay and if I was ready.

I was so, so ready.

The music played outside the closed doors and then stopped. Andrew was being addressed by Miles, a dear discipler of his in college. He was asking him if he was prepared to take the responsibility as my husband and if he knew what that meant as a follower of Christ. Andrew said yes and I smiled on the other side of the door because that was exactly why I was marrying him.


Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring started to play, the doors opened and we started the walk. Andrew was beaming. I was beaming. My dad was trying not to cry. I wanted to take it all in - the smiling friends and family that we passed on each row, the way my dad held me steady, the way so many of the bridesmaids and groomsmen were looking at Andrew to see his reaction. In a blink, I was at the end of the aisle.


The ceremony was full of precious words and scripture and songs, shared by some of the best people we know. When I was planning the wedding, I spent the most time on the ceremony because I wanted it to be personal and full of sentiment. I've never regretted that.


We said our I wills and our I dos and headed back down the aisle to picture-taking and the reception and a life that has been so full. It's only been three and a half years and sometimes my breath catches at how full it has truly been.


Y'all? I can't believe that God allowed Andrew to find me. I can't believe that he's the one I get to navigate this life with, have a child with, build a home with. I just can't believe it.

But I've never, ever stopped being thankful for it.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

the one where i don't talk about the baby

Tell the truth, the last few months have been full of a lot of baby jabber.

To be honest, I feel like so much of our life right now is consumed by preparation for this huge change. So many of my thoughts go toward planning for that, so it's only natural that the blog would reflect it as well. But we are still chugging right along with the every day, despite the fact that October 14 is just two months away.

So what's going on in the Castrodale home? I'll tell you.


A lot of working. I'm working, of course, but there's nothing new to report there. Andrew is currently working a pretty manageable Mon-Fri schedule, but that will all change next weekend when he starts working 7-days a week/12-hours a day - with hours that will change every week (7a-7p, 7p-7a or 11a-11p). Oh goodie. But we get weekends together for now, which we're very thankful for.


A lot of traveling. We've driven to NC for 7 of the last 12 weekends. Weddings, showers, family stuff, etc. That is a lot of driving and a lot of not sleeping in my own bed, but it's also a lot of awesome family and friend time. We're thankful that we have the opportunity to see them all so easily right now because that definitely won't be the case once we move in December.

take me to the sea

A lot of thinking about four months from now. Because we're moving. We keep talking about the "dream sheet" we have to fill out this week and how we're going to rank the options. Right now, we're thinking San Diego, Hawaii and Groton, CT will be the top three. But we go back and forth between whether or not Hawaii will be #2 or #3. It's SO exciting to think about, but part of me wants to fast-forward to November when we'll actually have orders. Until then, it's just a good bit of praying and daydreaming.


A lot of looking at our cute dog. What? It's the truth.

increase decrease

A lot of talking and praying and planning. For various reasons, we've both been thinking about healthy ambition, the kind that is God-given and the kind that makes the most of the talents He's given us. We so badly want to find the balance between pursuing some long-term career goals of Andrew's and not falling prey to the American Dream, as much as I hate that term. I know God can and will use us in big ways, but it's important that we're grounded through the whole process.

wherever we are together

A lot of quality time. Couch cuddles. Saturday morning coffee. Drives into the country. Sappy, I know, but this time feels so precious right now. I don't know if it's the thought of welcoming another human into our life in a few months or the fact that Andrew's time is so limited due to work, but I just want to soak up every minute of my time with him. What can I say, quality time is my love language.

I could go on and on and bore you with more mundane details, but I'll stop there. Just know that in the midst of the busy and the crazy, we're doing really well.

God is good like that.

30 weeks

30 weeks

I started to type out the title for this post and I had to look at the calendar twice before I was convinced that yes, I am in fact 30 weeks pregnant. That is a lot of weeks.

And a lot of belly.

This week has brought a few things to complain about, but I still feel so thankful to be growing this baby. As far as we know, he's healthy and happy and I can't believe my body is doing all of that for him. The Creator is quite impressive, amen?

As for the baby stats, he's a little over 15.5 inches long and weighs about 3 pounds. His eyesight is also continuing to develop. Apparently, he'll only have about 20/400 vision when he's born, which means he can only make out objects a few inches from his face. Bless him.

Andrew and I are making progress on the baby to-do list, but I feel like there's still a lot left to cross off. I think that maybe we've done enough so that I can start working on the rest without Andrew's help. Maybe.

Hope your week starts off fabulously...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

baby shower, round two

Alternatively titled: The one with a whole lot of ridiculously cute baby clothes.
Or: The one with a lot of pictures because I just got a new camera lens and then put my sister-in-law in charge of taking pics.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

This past weekend, Andrew and I headed back to NC for another baby shower in Charlotte - this time with close friends and family. My Aunt Rita, who is also our boy's godmother, hosted the shower at her house.

And y'all? It was perfect.

Not surprisingly, the food was delicious and the decorations were beautiful.


My favorite? The pictures of my mom and grandmother from their baby showers. The cupcakes were also amazing. And the cake bites. And the broccoli salad.

It was all very, very good.

The boys got food, too. Aunt Rita does not disappoint. She had a spread set up for them in the game room.

boys food
See how happy that made them?

But it wasn't just about the food! Of course there were games...

By the way, Laura loses for thinking I'm twice as big as I actually am.

And there was a good amount of silliness...


And then there were lots and lots of presents. Cute, adorable, precious presents.


The gifts weren't just for me either. My mom inherited a blanket that my grandmother's Sunday school class made when her first grandchild was coming along (that would be me!).

mom's blanket

Andrew got a little something, too...


I can't tell you how much I love these ladies - the sweet women in my family, in Andrew's family, some of my best friends - all of them make my heart so happy.




LOVE this pic, by the way.

It was a good day. It was a very, very good day that left us feeling so blessed.

And now I leave you with this...

Why, who is that woman behind the camera? That would be Aunt Laura, of course! Thanks for being my personal photog for the day!

Happy times, folks. Happy times.
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