Monday, April 29, 2013

29 weeks

I learned a few new things at today's doctor appointment. The good news is I passed the 1 hr glucose test so I don't have gestational diabetes. I was feeling pretty confident that I had passed since usually no news is good news with my dr, nor did I have it with either of my prior pregnancies.  The bad news is that I do have anemia, apparently they check for that at the same time. I actually wasn't too surprised to hear that since people have always suspected that I have anemia, but my test results always come back with in normal ranges. It is nice to know that the exhaustion I have been experiencing can be attributed to anemia and not just my Advanced Maternal Age.

A few stats:
  • I've gained 13-14 lbs. (I can never remember what my starting weight was. I always think I'll remember and I always forget. I was 146 lbs and at today's apt I was 159.something.) My dr is happy with that amount and thinks I am right on track.
  • My blood pressure was 90 over 40 something. I'm not great with numbers so I have no idea what normal range is, I just assume they will tell me if there is a problem. But the nurse today said the numbers in a shocked tone. I asked if it was okay and she said yes, that it was very good, it is low. She has just never had anyone who was in the 40s before. Maybe it was lower today since I only had Baby Boy with me rather than both boys together like my last two appointments. :)
I've been receiving a lot of very emphatic advice on the internet that I should get the DTaP vaccine during the 3rd trimester. Apparently the CDC recommendations have changed since I had Baby Boy in December of 2010.  At that time my dr told me I needed to get it in the hospital after I gave birth, and Mr. W should get it in advance, since there was a pertussis outbreak in the city.  So technically I am still current with my vaccination. However, now it is being recommended during pregnancy so that the antibodies can build up in the mother and it can be passed to the baby in utero, protecting them before they can receive their own vaccination at 2 months. When I asked my dr about it today he told me it wasn't the standard of care yet, and that he didn't have the vaccine to give me anyway. He told me it was totally up to me, that if I wanted it I could go to Walgreens.  I think I will follow up with the children's pediatrician and get her opinion on the new recommendation as well.

Since only one boy was tagging along today I was also able to clarify something he had mentioned about my anatomy scan. I had heard him mention previously that they couldn't see everything they wanted to very well and were recommending another ultrasound. He reviewed his notes and read that the they were able to see all the chambers of the baby's heart, but there were some other details they couldn't see well enough. My dr has decided that he'd like me to wait til 32-34 weeks so that it can double as a growth ultrasound.  I'm determined to not get freaked out about this ambiguity about the baby's heart.

Vintage Lamp Makeover

My mom's best friend gave me this ivy covered lamp years ago. It belonged to her mother and she thought I would like it since I was in a big ivy kick in grade school and high school. I am assuming that this lamp is from the 60s or something. It originally had a large cylinder shaped shade, but the fabric was torn and a bit stained. After I graduated college and sharing a bungalow with roommates I decided to replace the lampshade. I was inspired by a how-to article in a BH&G magazine for a frilly shade. I was also working at RH at the time and used a damaged shade that had been marked out of stock for the framework. It's been about 15 yrs and the shade has definitely seen better days, as well as never being the exact right scale for the base anyway.

I had been using this in our guest room, but since that has morphed into the boys room, I figured it could work in the new nursery on the side table (yet to be refinished) in my nursing station. Baby Boy and I ventured out to NoPo to the Rainbow Lampshade Shop. If you bring in your lamp base you can have a fashion show with all the ready made shades they have so you can find the best pairing. I knew I wanted something with more feminine lines than a cylinder shade, maybe a pagoda style shade. The pagoda was too small diameter wise, they are really better paired with short, squat bases, like a ginger jar. There was a nice bell shaped shade, but I finally settled on this square shade with cut corners. I had her add a riser to the top of the harp to give it a little more height off the base.Maybe it needs a little more height?

I was considering getting a colored shade, but she also had some green gimps and I liked that idea best. I selected an olive and straw colored gimp which she applied to the top and bottom self edges. I'm happy with the way it turned out. Now I need to sand down that side table, it was very hard for me to get a good angle for the photos while sitting on the floor 6 months pregnant!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Progress on the Boys' New Room & Nursery

Over the weekend we moved all the furniture into the new Big Boy Room. I have been trolling CL for used furniture since I need two new dressers and have been flirting with the idea of a new chair for the nursery.  We set up both the beds on Friday for the boys. I just love the look of  a pair of matching twin beds! I always hoped I could have them set up like this which is why I ordered a second set of matching bedding from LoN a couple years ago and why we bought two bed frames last summer.  The waterfall top, bird's eye maple night stand I found at Stars over the winter. I had set up a clock on it so Our Little Helper could begin to learn to tell time. (That darn clock has gone missing, thanks, I'm sure, to a toddler.) I just love bird's eye maple and think it works well for both sexes. I spent $65 on it and wished that there were a pair of them.

I have been searching for a second dresser for the boys' room for a year now. Somehow no matter what I find, Mr. W doesn't seem to be interested in it. To be fair I did have my heart set on Eastlake marble top gentleman's dressers for a long. long time. I recently found this bird's eye maple serpentine front dresser on CL. It does have a gouge out of the maple veneer on top, but the lister was kind enough to mention that it could be covered up with a doily.  I knew I had this PB baseball runner which I bought for the last nursery and hoped that would work. I love the little claw feet on the cabriole legs too. I got it for $120, it was worth the drive to Hillsboro!

With a pair of beds in this room, and the placement of heating vents and the closet, the only place for my uncle's childhood desk was in the bay window. I bought the red lamp at Ikea over the winter too.

I have red ticking fabric bed skirts on order and over the weekend I bought some red ticking stripe fabric to sew curtains for the bay windows. I ordered curtain hardware from RH similar to what we had in the Laburnum Bungalow. It was on sale, what a lucky surprise! I have a lot of wall decor from the old nursery as well as baseball collectibles I inherited from my dad. I'll be adding those as I can over the next few weeks. I also have my eye on a little baseball themed bedside lamp at PBK.

I really wasn't sure which direction I wanted to go in for the nursery, other than wanting sage green walls. For years before I met my husband I had been planning out my ideal unisex red, white, and blue nursery. With all of that moving on to the Big Boy Room I didn't really have another unisex plan in mind. I do have plenty of green and purple little girl room ideas in mind, which is a problem considering we are Team Green and I don't know who is growing inside me. Someone on TB inspired me with the idea of a woodland theme, I even found online a darling woodland fabric that I could use to make curtains for the windows. Sadly it was discontinued and nothing else I found online or in fabric stores thrilled me in the woodland direction. Too bad because I could play up the red & white mushrooms and reuse some of my nursery bedding.

I already purchased two super marked down purple toile curtain panels at PB years ago in the hopes that I could use them in the middle bedroom of our old house. There are two windows in the new nursery, so really this is the only room in this house where I could use them. Since the ceilings are 2' taller in this house I'd have to add a coordinating fabric as a think hem at the bottom of the panels. Maybe that coordinating fabric could be used to make a bed skirt for the crib? All of this was kinda wishful thinking on my part since I needed the room to be unisex. But Mr. W didn't understand why a baby boy couldn't have purple toile curtains in his room.

With that open-mindedness to back me up I decided to go forward with green and purple.
Here is the room with all th ebig boy furniture moved out. The ivory crib and changing table really pop on these green walls (Benj. Moore #2034-50 Acadia green.) This room looks so much bigger without the striped walls and furniture!
For now I think I will re-use this old rocker that my parents used when I was a baby, and that I used when nursing OLH.) Mr. W needs to fix the top though which is busted. I bought a second hand octagonal top gate leg table last summer  that I intended to fix up as a night stand in the guest room. I was planning on painting it ivory; I think it will work perfectly here in the nursery for now. I will reuse the ivy lamp that was in the guestroom, but will probably buy a new shade for it.
I took my mom to the Portland Orchid Society's orchid show this weekend and then we went shopping for fabric.  I bought this purple zydo orchid for the nursery and put it in an old McCoy pot I used in our old kitchen. We also found a plum colored sateen I can use for the bottom of the curtains and since it was marked down 60% we bought enough so my mom can sew a bed skirt for the crib. (We are both wishfully thinking this baby is a girl.)

I'm still trolling CL for one more dresser, something I would probably paint off white. Part of my delay is that I feel guilty painting a perfectly good piece of furniture if it doesn't have damage to the original finish. Depending  upon what I can find, the dresser will likely go here next to the crib so we can keep the changing table of the far south wall. (You can also see I have a bunch of green and purple blankets that we received from all the showers we had for our first baby. We received so many hand made baby blankets that we never got through them all, now they'll be fresh for this third baby.)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Big Changes For The Boys' Room

Nesting seems to have kicked in in full effect. Our original plan was to continue to have the boys share the smaller bedroom with blue and white striped walls and put the baby in the guest room which has black floral wallpaper. We couldn't afford to have the wallpaper striped, and we don't want to go through that process again ourselves, and the condition of the walls beneath is an unknown that has the potential to increase the project costs dramatically. Plus, a baby doesn't care what his or her walls look like, certainly we could get by with what we currently have.

But we have transitioned Baby Boy to the toddler bed, and while that kinda works, it is still pandemonium every night in their room. During nap time, when he is home alone he prefers to sleep in his big brother's big twin bed. Mr. W and I debated whether we should just go all the way and set up the matching twin bed we purchased him. And when Mr. W suggested out of the blue that we go buy a new refrigerator last weekend, we also bought a twin size mattress. It turns out that we ended up getting back more money from our tax returns. Nice!

The more I thought about it though, it seems so silly to have to two boys sharing the smaller room and putting the baby in the much larger middle bedroom. With the knowledge that we had a bit of money to work with I had the paperhanger who did most of the work for us at the Laburnum Bungalow provide an estimate for stripping and painting. He didn't anticipate too much work to the plaster beneath the wall paper. Mr. W found the estimate reasonable, and they had an opening right away. Very exciting, but like the fireplace project, it was happening sooner than I had had time to have a proper design in place.

Just for frame of reference, here is the guest room before.
 A close up of the lovely irises on black background wallpaper.

And here the room is liberated from the wallpaper. I actually really liked the wallpaper beneath the black, but I didn't get in in time to take a photo of it for posterity.

You can see there were significant cracks on the outside corners of the bay and a couple of plaster blow outs from nails being driven into the plaster. (Not sure why nails would have been used in the walls when there is a perfectly good picture rail in every room. The mysteries of previous owners...)

After the plaster repair work was done and the walls were primed and painted. The ceiling is Benj. Moore Cameo White and the walls are #HC-149 Buxton Blue. Both in a Regal Matte finish which is a washable flat. A flat finish is best in an old house to help conceal any imperfections in the walls, of which these have many, as well as being more historically appropriate. I specified that he wall paint be applied above and below the picture rail. Bringing the ceiling color down to the picture rail is more of a Colonial Revival treatment.
The boys' old room will become the new nursery. The blue stripes were primed and painted over. The ceiling is also Cameo White and the walls are #2034-50 Acadia green. I haven't quite decided which direction I am going to go for this room's theme. I I initially wanted to do a sage green, but flirted a bit with jadite green and turquoise for the walls. Of the 6 options I gave Mr. W, this was the one he liked the most. It is a little cheerier than the HC-119 Kittery Point green which was the other sage green option.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Invasion of the Flickers

After we bought this house we realized we had a bird problem. There were two holes in the front of the tower, which while nearly symmetrically placed were for neither drainage nor ventilation. They were bird holes. Passers by would eagerly alert us to the blah blah blah birds that they saw nesting in our house. It frankly went over my head, all I heard was the voice of the teacher from Peanuts. WE could see the birds flying in and out of the holes. And near the end of the summer I would find birds flying around inside the attic, even though all the windows have screens.  SO they were managing to nest in our wall cavities and then make their way up to the attic since the house is balloon framed.

I ended up hiring one of the carpenters from the company where I used to work to come patch and fill the holes to keep the birds out. They stuffed them with steel wool and covered it with spray foam. I hoped our problem was over. There were a total of 4 holes filled.
Nope. This spring nesting season we were plagued with these long beaked birds pecking into the siding of the tower as well as in the dentil mould above the west facing balcony. I was constantly throwing up the window sash shouting at the birds like some crabby old man. Which wasn't an easy task considering I am pregnant and the access to the balcony is through a window. Unfortunately Mr. W has been excpetionally busy atr work so I had to fight this battle more or less on my own.

I referenced a bird watchers identification book which I had purchased last spring when Our Little Helper and I became interested in watching birds. I determined that our long beaker nuisance was the Northern Flicker, which likes to make its nest in dead wood. Well, apparently southwest facing, 120 year old siding is the perfect amount of dead for them. Since we have 6 mature birch trees in the parking strip one each sides of the house I was hoping that by providing alternate nesting in the form of bird houses would encourage them to nest elsewhere. Mr. W also began to research the possibility of adding a fake owl on the roof to distract them.

At the local backyard bird shop I purchased 2 large flicker houses. They come with a bag of saw dust which they apparently like to toss around when nesting. We should clean out the boxes at the end of the nesting season and either leave them mounted or remove them until the following nesting season. She said it is possible that other creatures might use the boxes as a home in the interim. The salesperson recommend that we also finish it with  linseed oil to make the last longer.  Since fake owls don't tend to be very effective for deterring flickers, they instead recommended metallic scare tape. I'm supposed to suspend this out the windows so that it blows in the wind it will startle birds away. I don't love this idea, but I am growing weary of shouting at flickers all day so I'm willing to give it a try.

Here are the large flicker bird houses, made locally of milled cedar.

And since they weren't cheap I applied one coat of linseed oil.

Now I need Mr. W to mount them 10-20 feet above ground in the trees.  I suspended the scare tape from the attic windows so that the tape covers the area where the flickers were pecking holes. Not my idea look for a Queen Anne, it would be very appropriate if were were along the gay pride parade route. Fingers crossed this works!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Easter Dinner

We usually spend Easter with my uncle's family since his 3 daughters all have birthdays in the spring. But this year since our friends Mr. & Mrs. K are in the PNdub while she's in rotation, we invited them down to have Easter with us. Mr. K is Serbian Orthodox so he joked we were celebrating on the wrong day. Mr. W and Mr. K like to out food each other so this was sure to be a good meal. Preliminary email exchanges included stuffing multiple animals inside each other a'la a turducken, which Mr. W has prepared in the past. But they were starting with gerbils and working their way up to camels. At that point I decided to butt out and just set the table and make a lamb cake for desert.

This the menu they finally settled upon
  • Rabbit confit with artisan pickled shallot wonton appetizer
  • Cheesy wonton appetizer for the children
  • Deviled eggs shaped like chicks hatching
  • Dueling legs of lamb. One with a Herbs de Provence rub, one stuffed with feta, pistachios, Both served with a Bordelaise sauce
  • Hasselback potatoes roasted in butter
  • Steamed asparagus with Hollandaise sauce
  • Fruit salad
  • Dinner rolls with butter lambs
They also served a whiskey cocktail and made their own lavender simple syrup for it.

I made the lamb cake for dessert. I use a pound cake recipe because I have found that while a lighter cake will fill out the mould better, it can't hold up through to being served. The denser pound cake ends up being a bit flatter in the back, but can stand upright on its own. I frosted it with butter cream this year, the recipe in the BH&G cookbook. Mrs. K added a few drops of green food coloring to some shredded cocoanut for the grass and Our Little Helper spread it around to make a nice bed of grass for our lamb cake.

A couple years ago I saw butter lambs on Catholic Cuisine. I found them to be simply adorable, but hadn't gotten around to ordering a mould. With all the talk of cooking baby animals that the menfolk were doing I decided this was definitely the year to add the butter lamb. I ordered the mould and followed the directions from here. They were pretty simple to make and I'm so happy with how they turned out. Mr. W was especially pleased with the butter lambs. We ended up inviting a few of our Jewish and Agnostic friends over in addition to my mother and sister so we had 10 adults and 7 boys. I planned to make a butter lamb for each table. Mr. K felt I really ought to be making individual butter lambs for everyone!

The Ks came down to Portland the weekend before Easter to visit also. The boys spent a lot of time at the markets, meeting the ranchers who raise the lambs and getting a taste test. Also before they returned to Seattle Mr. K left us with a menagerie of eggs. I think it came down to 1 goose, 6 duck, a dozen chicken, and a dozen quail eggs. The night before Easter Mr. K pickled the quail eggs, to be used as garnish for the cocktail, and shallots to be used in the appetizers.
It was like our very own episode of Portlandia!  They also made the rabbit confit on Saturday and I baked the lamb cake.  The next morning the pickled shallots looked so colorful in the wontons.
OLH helped Mrs. K assemble the cheesy poofs. He did a great job of sealing the wonton wrappers.

The boys rubbing their lambs before roasting.

The K's had found a cute photo online for deviled eggs assembled to look like chicks hatching out of the shell. And who doesn't like devilled eggs for Easter.  Mr. K used my recipe for mixing the yolks and they went to town decorating using carrots and olives to create the eyes on beaks.

How adorable is that? The big goose egg in the center is supposed to be a bunny.

Meanwhile I was setting tables. With 17 people total I decided to make a little boy in the Parlor. I set it with a simple white cotton table cloth and a pale blue linen runner and napkins. I was going to use paper plates, but I fell in love with a set of Peter Rabbit ceramic plates at PB. I wasn't going to get them, but a couple weeks later I got an email notification they were on sale so I bought them. I mixed in some of our everyday ivy plates.

I also used some amethyst glass pieces out here for a pop of color.  The vase came with a bouquet sent for my father's funeral; it is filled with pussy willow branches.

The grown ups' table is set with a linen tablecloth and my great aunts Lu Ray dishes. I have filled in with a few serving pieces found on ebay.  She had service for * so I filled in with our everyday ivy plates for Mr. W and me.

I have also added a few Lu Ray egg cups to the collection, which I was going to fill with tiny daffodils, grape hyacinth, and other tiny flowers from the yard, but I have been unable to locate the box with the egg cups and the tea cups since the move. I thought smaller, lower arrangements would be better for conversation, but we went with a large arrangement of tulips for a centerpiece instead.

The boys put together such a wonderful meal.