welcome, olivia marian

Today seemed like a good day to reintroduce myself to the blog since Olivia's arrival. I had two uninterrupted hours to browse the internet (how to spend my coveted Anthro gift card?), work on some freelance, and quietly jam out to U2 after finding out they are going on tour AND will be stopping in Cleveland. !!! A bucket list item is coming to fruition. YES.

Today started off a bit rocky and ended on such a good note. That's the thing with this whole parenting deal... minute by minute, it is a complete roller coaster of emotions and unpredictability. Coming from a Type A with control issues, it can be hard. I'm stubborn and hate giving in to my often-times hormonal-driven emotions, but one of my resolutions this year is to just let it be... in this case, cry for a second if I have to, then move on to the next high (Olivia's smile, a coo, spit bubbles, kicking her legs like a maniac... the list goes on)!

January 6th marked two months since we welcomed Olivia Marian into our family. It has been the sleepiest, blurriest, most heart-bursting two months of my life and I want to relive every day over and over again. I can't believe I'm a mom, I can't believe Tim is a dad, and even more, I can't believe we have a DAUGHTER. Sure, yes, I knew I was pregnant and knew this would happen eventually, but saying "my daughter Olivia" out loud is utterly insane. I still catch myself and almost laugh on the phone when making her doctor's appointments, picking up prescriptions, etc. I just can't get over it!

Olivia is strong and curious and absolutely gorgeous. Her full head of hair and steely blue eyes were a surprise to us but her feisty personality was something we knew we had coming. The inevitable sass and strength I was sure she'd have are what inspired her middle name; Marian, in honor of my late grandma (Sweetie). Sass runs in the family and I, for one, love that trait. ;)

My pregnancy went by in the blink of an eye, the first month lasted a wonderfully long time (thank you, holidays!), and the second month FLEW. I'm scared that this is the beginning of the "time flies" adage and that it's going to go by even faster once I return to work. She'll basically be 16 in 5 minutes. Until then, I'll cherish every milestone, big or small!


ONE MONTH | 12.06.16

Olivia likes... songs made up by mama and daddy, bright lights, her hands
Olivia dislikes... prolonged tummy time (basically anything longer than a minute ;)
Milestone... eye contact and tracking movement

two MONTHs | 01.06.17

Olivia likes... smiling, finding her voice, holding her neck up, kicking
Olivia dislikes... missing out on anything while sleeping
Milestone... smiles (and not just the "milk drunk" ones!)

A few of my favorites from Olivia's newborn session, taken by a fellow Olivia (Lobas)...

And some that I took a few days ago...

She is the best thing and I want time to slow down and speed up simultaneously. I want to be able to savor every second, yet Tim and I are so excited for her to grow and learn and become her own little person. Until then, I will try to appreciate each and every moment... even the cluster feeds in the middle of the night and the inconsolable cries when she refuses to be put down, and I feel inconsolable, too. It's all a phase and the newborn phase seems far, far too short already. <3

PS... Anyone have suggestions / favorite apps to store photos to free up space on your iPhone? I've tried deleting photos / videos / apps to free up space to no avail, and there is NOTHING worse than trying to capture a teeny tiny smile, only to get the horrible notification that the phone cannot take the photo. Help!

celebrating three years

Six years of dating, three years of marriage and thirty-one weeks pregnant. That's a quick by-the-numbers of mine and Tim's relationship. We've spent almost a decade together (!) and we are less than two months shy of going from a loving couple to a loving family of three.

It's hard to imagine being 20 years old again, but thinking of those memories takes me right back. I was head over heels OBSESSED with Tim and was determined to make him fall for me. Little did I know he shared those same feelings which made it pretty easy to start a relationship (thank goodness). A lot has changed in the past nine years and a whole lot is about to change in the next nine weeks. No matter what, relationships are hard work. In the midst of it all, you hope you've chosen a partner that will ride out the good and the bad with you - it is "for better or for worse", after all.

Tim is the dreamer while I am the realist. He is the doer while I am the planner. He is spontaneous and sees the possibility in everything, while I tend to stay a bit more grounded (whether I like it or not). We strike a balance with one another in our similarities and our differences, and while we certainly have our ups and downs, our day-to-day is collaborative, respectful, loving and fun. Life can be challenging and it's a lot easier having someone by your side that is an eternal optimist. For that, I'm forever grateful.

Our celebrations usually take us out of town but we are in full-on nesting mode at home. We are in the midst of several projects that we'd rather power through right now so we can enjoy a bit of downtime before our little peanut comes in November. This year, our three year anniversary will be spent at my monthly obstetrician appointment, followed by dinner at Mabel's BBQ. Just your average romantic, well-rounded date night ;)

To continue the celebration, here are a few favorite photos from our wedding day...

Cheers to nine years dating, three years married and a baby on the way. I love you so much!

baby hayes / the nursery design options

Even before we knew whether we were having a boy or a girl, I had already come up with a nursery design I loved (below). The throw pillow is actually what inspired the whole look, and was the first purchase I made for the nursery (I know - NOT clothes! Who am I?!). Without intending to, the look I gravitated toward most was gender neutral and full of happy, bright pops of color. 

colorwhirl nursery design

Going into the nursery design process, I knew I didn't want a traditional "theme" or for it to be traditionally "boy" or "girl". We are planning on having more than just one baby, so I want the big pieces function for both genders and most importantly, fit the aesthetic of the rest of our house - white, wood, calm blue tones, and texture. While I love nurseries that go all out with a theme, it just isn't us and I didn't want to open the nursery door every morning and be assaulted with colors that don't exist anywhere else in our home. 

Because I'm impatient and jump into passion projects headfirst, I was working on the nursery design at 15-18 weeks - prior to knowing what we were having. As soon as we found we were having a baby girl, I reassessed the original design (above) and pushed it a little further.

I loved the overall look of the original design, but wondered if a blue rug was too much color. I didn't want to overwhelm the room with pink but wanted to bring in a few pops of pink to match the pillow, the mobile, and her ever-growing wardrobe ;) (all thanks to generous gifts from friends and hand-me-downs from family! I have only purchased one pair if itty bitty jeans so far, and I'm pretty proud of it). I scoured the internet for baby blankets and quilts that fit our playful vibe, and for rugs that were neutral but cozy that would pair with the quilt or blanket / mobile / pillow.  

After feeling stumped for a week or two I finally found things I love, but now I can't decide and I need your help! While I'm leaning toward one look, I love them all for various reasons...

colorwhirl nursery designs

Each design incorporates all of the same pieces of furniture, swapping out the rug and the blanket / quilt. Here is a breakdown of each...

colorwhirl nursery design

Option A: This Serena & Lily blanket is sweet, and I love the color palette. This rug looks so cozy, and I love the oversized tassels at each end. It's neutral and will not only work in a boy or girl's room, but can grow with either - or move to the guest bedroom and still work with existing decor. It seems like the idea of having a shag rug in a baby's room is somewhat polarizing, as they can shed like crazy, toys can hide or get stuck (who has stepped on a LEGO before? The WORST), they're hard to clean, etc. Can anyone chime in and agree / disagree? I love the idea of a cozy shag rug for our little peanut to lay on and learn to crawl on, but I also don't want to be kicking myself as I vacuum the rug 10x a day in order to avoid shag hairballs everywhere.

colorwhirl nursery design

Option B: I adore this sweet little blanket from Spearmint Love, but it is a little pricy for a simple knit blanket. This rug was my favorite and was in the original design, but I'm hesitant for two reasons: the blue might bring in TOO much color, and the shag issues I mentioned above do worry me. 

colorwhirl nursery design

Option C: This quilt is from the same store as the pillow I am obsessed with; Petit Pehr. They work nicely together for obvious reasons and I love the playfulness of the patterns. The jute rug also features tassels / fringe (I guess it's an ongoing theme?) but is woven and MUCH easier to clean, avoiding all of the shag rug issues mentioned above. Although the texture is soft, I worry that the jute might not be very forgiving on little baby knees and elbows. 

colorwhirl nursery design

Option D: This Land of Nod quilt is ridiculously sweet and I love the playful floral illustrations, although I'm not sure how well the quilt pairs with the mobile. I love this flat weave wool rug because it brings a sense of maturity to the room, making it feel more seamless with the rest of the house. However, like option C, I worry that the wool texture won't be super cozy on baby knees and elbows, and the flat weave is really thin. 

Since I posted the nursery update, we've made some progress. The stain and (water-based) polyurethane are down and the trim and doors are painted. One step closer to a furnished room...!

Now that my hunt for nursery decor basics is over (for now), I'm pretty excited about the options above. Which one is your favorite, and why? Help us choose!

baby hayes / nursery update

As of this past Sunday, I am officially in my third trimester! One minute I'm ready, the next I'm not AT ALL. Thank goodness I still have three months to go - there's a LOT of preparation that needs to happen before November 6th. 

I mentioned in the last baby bumpdate post that the nursery plans are coming along, and I wanted to share our progress. Since we bought our house in 2012, the 3rd bedroom has never been used for anything purposeful. It was an office for a short period of time until it became the dumping ground for all things wedding... and never really recovered (even though we're nearing our 3rd wedding anniversary). Clearing the room out was daunting but it feels amazing to be able to leave the door open for once, and not have to shut the door out of embarrassment when guests come over. Finally, all of the bedrooms in our house have a purpose and I'm so excited to transform this underutilized space into a sweet, cozy nursery. 

This is what the room looked like when we bought the house (apologies for the low-res screen shot, it's from the house listing):

I painted the walls bright white (Benjamin Moore White Dove) and as I was painting it, I envisioned the room as the nursery. I was nowhere near pregnant but we always knew this room would be the nursery, so I painted extra meticulously for our future baby girl / boy. Here is what we are working with now:

You'll notice that the carpeting is terribly low-grade office carpeting, aka the kind that will give you an immediate rug burn. We hated it. Each bedroom on the 2nd floor has totally different (read: BAD) carpeting, and we were so desperate to update it all with new carpeting. Since we're pinching pennies it wasn't realistic to redo the whole 2nd floor, so we decided to rip up the nursery carpeting on a whim (sound familiar?) knowing that we could afford to re-carpet the small room. 

To our surprise, we discovered hardwood floors in near-perfect condition. They were covered in a tacky residue but it was nothing some elbow grease and a good sanding (hours upon hours of sanding - Tim is earning his Great Dad badge!) couldn't fix. In fact, a friend of Tim's from CIA volunteered many of his weekend hours to help us sand the room and teach Tim how to refinish wood floors. I cannot say enough about the generosity and selflessness of good friends - Tim and I are pretty lucky. The floors are almost fully sanded, and here is what they look like today:

Even through the dust, the floors look beautiful. Once the floor is stained and sealed, the trim will be painted white. (Yep, we're doing it! Sorry, natural trim diehards. The stain is orange in person and it's the only room on the 2nd floor that hasn't been painted.) Then, once the trim is painted we can start decorating! It's been really humbling (aka frustrating) to sit back and watch while all of the hard work happens. I'm used to getting my hands dirty and doing my fair share of work, but this little lady is keeping me from exposing myself to dust and other harmful toxins. Instead, I hang out downstairs and twiddle my thumbs while Tim gets to work ;)

The room is small (9' x 10') so we are limited to a few key pieces of furniture, some of which need a dual purpose. We don't have space for a changing table and dresser, so we found a vintage dresser that is the height of a changing table and we will use it for both. To stay on track while planning the nursery, I created a floorplan to scale so that we could nix pieces of furniture that wouldn't fit within their designated space. I highly recommend it, especially if you are thrifting vintage pieces. Having measurements with you (I kept mine in my purse) helps you narrow down what will and will not work. The decor is a work in progress, much like the floorplan. Here are three options:

The doorway is in the top left corner with the closet on the lefthand side. One window on the bottom wall and one on the right make for tricky furniture positioning, especially given the small room. The recliner, crib, dresser and some sort of storage (whether it's a bookshelf or a cube storage system) will be the main furniture pieces, and a large rug will cozy up the newly finished floors. 

That's it for the nursery update, at least for now. We have less than three months to go and a lot left to do, but we're making steady progress. We'll have a decor-ready room in no time! Do you have any small-space living tips or ideas on how to maximize a teeny tiny nursery? I'd love to hear. 

Stay dry and have a wonderful weekend!