Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Birth Announcements on the Cheap

Baby stuff for some reason is ridiculously expensive. With all the extra expenses a baby brings into a household it had me looking for deals and how we can save money. Despite being on a budget I didn’t want to sacrifice having fun with my new baby, like spreading the news of my little girl with birth announcements. 

After coming home from the hospital (and when I had a spare minute) I did some shopping and found that birth announcements through photo services were one dollar each. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but I figured I needed to order about 75 and when you have to order in bulk, that is money that could be used on diapers or other essentials! So I got a little more creative and came up with another option which was dramatically cheaper and I ended up paying about $13 instead of $75.

So are you wondering how I saved so much ? It involved a little bit of work but was well worth it. Here is how I did it. 

I looked at some other birth announcements for some inspiration. Once I figured out a design idea I picked out the photos that I wanted to use. We were lucky enough to have some great shots of our daughters early days. I also have sister-in-law who is very talented when it comes to photography. So we decided to go with those pictures. 

Next I went to my favorite photo editing tool, Picmonkey.comI used Picmonkey’s collage tool. I reformatted the pixel size to match up the photo size that I wanted. I went with 1200 x 1800 pixels for a 4 x 6 size photo. Here is a list of photo sizes and their pixel dimensions that is very helpful. 

After my page size was formatted, I picked out a collage style I wanted to use. I wanted to keep it simple so went with a square deal variation. Then I added my pictures and readjusting them to my liking. I kept one section blank because that is where my text will go. I selected the swatches tool and added a decorative swatch to the text box. Lastly I added a background color. After doing a bit of tweaking and I liked how the pictures looked, I saved the picture. I saved mine as a png. This file size gives you a good quality image.

After saving the image I went back to Picmonkeys main page and selected, edit photo. I then uploaded the collage I just made. I used picmonkey's text and shape tools to created all of the birth info. I even added a cute little owl. After I liked how it looked, I saved it. 

So I had my digital file complete! I then went to Target's photo service and ordered my prints. I've used plenty of other photo sites before but I prefer Target because the prints are a great quality and they are the least expensive. If you give it a try let me know how it turns out! 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Nerd Craft Librarian.... and Mom

My little girl is finally here! She made her grand entrance into this world about two weeks ago and she is a perfect little lady. Here is her birth story....

I starting having some sharp pains one evening. The pain would come and go periodically and pretty soon I realized there was pattern to the pain and that they were contractions! I started to keep track of them while also trying to sleep through the night. Later the next morning the contractions were closer together. After calling the Doctor they told me to come on in to the hospital. As we started to gather our things for the hospital, Tim and I took a minute to realize we would be coming back to our house with an extra person.

As we got the hospital, the pain got worse. The nurses and doctors examined me and told me that although I was having contractions, my water did not break. I was to be induced. This began the most painful 12 hours of my life. The contractions became so severe and every time I felt one I took hold of Tim's hand and gave it a good squeeze. I also tried all of the breathing techniques, all of which did not help with the pain. Despite being so tired, I tried to get some sleep but it was interrupted. I was also hooked up to an IV which I had to take with me anytime I had to go to the bathroom and Tim had to help me. It was all so romantic. Eventually my water broke!

I was moved to the labor and delivery wing of the hospital, this was the room I was going to have the baby in! This is when they offered me an epidural which I give a big YES to! The pain went away and I felt incredibly relaxed.  Now we just had to wait to push. Tim and I took the time to enjoy our last hours together as just a couple, before we became a family. We made each other laugh and Tim served me some jello.

We were watching Blazing Saddles on the hospital TV when the doctor told me that it was time to push! I ended up pushing for about an hour and a half. This was the thing that always scared me when it came to child bearing, getting the baby out of me! However, compared to the previous evening of hell, pushing was a lot less painful. Tim was there holding my leg cheering me on the entire time. I kept pushing and then before I knew it, they place a baby on top of me. Her eyes were wide open and she was so alert and I said "Well hello there." It was truly amazing to finally meet the little person that was growing inside of you for nine months, to see the hands and feet that were kicking me from the inside and to actually see her face instead of the spectral image of a sonogram.

She is just about two weeks old and I think I'm getting the hang of this motherhood thing. She is a perfect little baby!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Woodland Nursery Reveal

Its countdown to baby time, this kid could arrive any day now!

I've been planning this kids nursery since I found out I was pregnant. I've had a lot more fun planning this room than doing any other room in the house. That probably explains why she has the most complete, put together room in the entire house. I think it came beautifully and I hope she loves it as much as I do.

Here is how I set out to create an adorable little space for my little lady. 

I like to plan early (because I'm a bit of a crazy person). Since we had yet to find out the sex of the baby I decided to go with a gender neutral theme. I should also mention that I'm not too thrilled with gender heavy themes, no ridiculous pinky princesses for girls or heavy duty sports things for boys. 
With that in mind I set out to find a theme! I took some inspiration from work, some of my favorite stories to read feature woodland creatures.

With a theme picked out I took a look around the inter-webs to see how other woodland creature themed nursery's have turned out. This one featured on the Little Umbrella was pretty adorable. I looked at a few others and took what I liked. I also found this post full of free printables!

Next it was time to take all of my ideas and inspirations and focus them into a plan! I found a color scheme that was kid friendly, but not ridiculously loud. Despite being anti-pink, I thought it couldn't hurt to have some pink accents, but for the wall color I went with the teal blue. 

For furniture, I went with white and mostly stuff from Ikea. I woke up one morning in December crying and freaking out that nothing was getting done and that we wouldn't be ready for our little lady! Tim told me I was acting cray-cray and my friend Caitie came to my rescue. After an entire fun friend afternoon, I left with some essential items! 

The dresser was probably one of the most important elements of the room. We do have a closet in the room, but little people go through clothes so fast! Also the dresser doubles as changing table. I originally had a larger Hemnes style dresser picked out, however afters seeing it in person I realized it was too big for the space! So pro-tip, pick out the furniture in person before purchasing it! So I went with the smaller dresser. The dresser also doubles as a changing table and it fits the changing pad perfectly! If you are concerned about safety (because its not secured to anything) I used some velcro to affix it to the dresser and I also picked up some no-slip material from the dollar store to make it more secure.  

Since I went with the smaller dresser I had to think about all of the diaper changing accessories I'll need at my finger tips. This gave me a legitimate reason to purchase the raskog cart. Ever since seeing the cart in the Ikea catalog I wanted it, but never really had a reason, till now! The cart is also going to come in handy because its mobile, so I can wheel it on over to help me with late night feedings, into the bathroom during bath time and of course wheel it over for diaper changes.

The room didn't have any lighting! So I wanted to get a floor lamp that would brighten up the space. After seeing this lamp at my friends house, I thought it would work well in the baby's room. After doing some more research I discovered that I could get special e12 lightbulbs and a dimmer. Thats something I might look into later when I have to check on her late at night.

My mom and future step-sister, Trish came to my rescue this time around. I went with the sundvik crib because of size, price and function. Some other cribs are like cadillacs! I didn't need this huge epic crib, so I went with simple with the   crib. What is nice about cribs is that they have a standardized size to match up with the mattress. I was concerned about safety because of some recall issues. So even though I went with an Ikea crib, I went with a different mattress. 

I went with the glider from Babies R us. The colors matched and its one of the smallest for this tiny room.

With all of the main pieces in place I felt like there was something missing. I thought how could that be, I had thought of everything! Apparently my co-workers knew exactly what I needed. They through me a wonderful shower. Of course it involved getting lots of books and a bookcase to house all of them in! It wasn't just any old bookcase. My very talented department manager, Kim, custom painted it to match the baby's sheet set! I love how it turned out and it fits in the room perfectly! 

Today is my due date! I have everything ready for her and she has to do is get here. The room is all set, her clothes are all washed and the hospital bag is all packed. Now we just need a baby.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The waiting game....

Its countdown to Motherhood....

Throughout my pregnancy I've been told that the last month is the hardest. I now understand what they mean! I've gotten so uncomfortable all of the time and I'm making frequent bathroom trips throughout the night. Considering the rest of pregnancy has been smooth sailing so I can deal with this last month of torture. 

Throughout my pregnancy I have been touched by everyone's kindness and generosity. I had a wonderful shower at the end of January. The lovely ladies of the library also through me a little shindig and there was even a shower for Tim at his job! I have even received gifts from library patrons! I can't tell you how incredible it is to receive all this well wishes and love from so many people. As seen above, Gypsy is also very touched. 

This past week I received a pleasant surprise in the mail, Geeky Sprinkles! A while back Tara from the Geek Hostess started a kick starter project to create nerd themed sprinkles. I donated and was lucky enough to get some police box sprinkles in a backer package. I look forward to making delicious nerdy treats with these delicious morsels. She was successfully funded and you can head on over to her blog and purchase some of your own! 

This countdown to baby has been all about getting everything ready. The room is all ready, clothes are all washed and my hospital bag is packed. I even have my kindle loaded with some fairy tale stories I plan on reading to her right away. 

Unfortunately not everything has been super happy. My cat friend, Bmo took a terrible turn and deteriorated fast. He hung on for a bit, but he let us know that he was ready to go. It was one of the hardest things I've had to do because this is the first pet I've had to put down myself. He was extra cuddly with me during my pregnancy and he would knead my bump and she would kick back. I'm sad that they never got to meet in person. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Super Baby Shower!

I'm at the home stretch, only a few weeks left until my little lady is here. I was starting to have a breakdown, because I felt like there was soooo much to get done in such a shot amount of time. I had this recurring nightmare that she came super early and we had nothing set up for her, so room, crib etc! Then everything came together seemingly all at once! 

Last week Tim told me we were "going to the movies" but I had a hunch I knew what was up.... it was Baby Shower time! I had known that my Mom and friends, Caitie and Laura were working on because I requested a Superhero theme. They took my idea (demand) and ran with it. They had some help from my Mom's friend Rihanna, who is starting up a party planning business. 

So we walked into the "movies" and it looked like an adorable super hero wonderland. The decorations were adorable and I loved all the fine details. From the "Pow" and "smash" call outs, super hero water bottles and the super girl silhouette that was throughout the party. I loved it because it means this girl is going to be a little butt kicker and not a prissy princess. The silhouette shape was even on the cake! Caitie's sister Kim (baker extraordinaire) made an amazing three layer cake that tasted just as impressive as it looked!

 I wasn't the only one impressed with the decorations. All of my library peeps commandeered most of the decorations after the party because it goes with our Summer Reading Program theme this year, Every Hero Has a Story. I think while working on stuff for that, all of superhero theme stuff subconsciously influenced my desire for this as a shower theme. My Mom and friends were glad to hand over the decorations to them. Laura even asked if it counts as a tax write off.  

Its so overwhelming and emotional to see the effort people went through to put this together just because they love you. What is even more touching is that these same people are going to be apart of my baby's life and love her just as much. 

The shower also came at the right time, right before a blizzard! So with the snow day I ended up sorting through all of the gifts and putting together the little lady's room. Here is a little preview. 

The little lady will be here in a few weeks and I'm ready to meet her. I've had a great pregnancy so far and have felt fantastic, up until this past week. She is pretty active in the womb and is keeping my up at night. The belly has also caused an extreme amount of back pain! It hasn't been all bad though, I've got a nice little table that comes in handy at meal time. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Animal Portraits

My friend Michelle is quite the accomplished photographer and one of her favorite subjects are pets! Ever since she met my little Bmo she has wanted to come over and take some snap shots of both of my furry children. With the recent Bmo health scare, it was time to make that happen. The results were beautiful and I thought I would share them with you.

To see more of Michelle's work check out her blog, 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Hello 2015.

Finally an end to a stressful year. The last month certainly was a crazy one for me.

Right now my life is all about the baby. In December, I hit the nesting phase. I woke up one morning in a panic, " We need to paint the room!" "We need the furniture" "Where's the crib?!" and "How are we going to afford all of this?!" After a quick trip to Ikea and the Holiday season to distract me, I calmed down a bit. I even got a special surprise in the mail, when my friend Amanda sent me the baby's mobile for Christmas! Now I'm more excited than stressed, which is good because stress is not good for my little lady. The nursery is coming together and I have a theme picked out, Woodland creatures. I found some cute inspiration and am putting all of the pieces together. 

With that stuff getting together, I've just been dealing with the physical burden's of pregnancy. I've given up trying to wear my regular pants with the help of the trusty belly band. It did help me post pone maternity clothes purchase until now. The belly has gotten pretty huge, Tim is still shocked whenever he sees it.. and he sees it every single day. I particularly enjoy feeling her move around. I first felt it on my birthday back in October. Tim joked that it was birthday punches. Now its so frequent and visible! When she is stretching her legs I drop everything and stare at the waves she's making on my belly. I will admit its not always the best feeling because I've defiantly gotten kicked in the ovaries a few times. I think this kid is destined for karate. 

I've also had to focus on my original babies, the animals. Bmo was acting a little funny so I took him to the vet and didn't get the best news in the world. He has some kidney issues and now has to undergo some serious treatment. We are staying positive though and so far he has been responding pretty well.

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