Saturday, September 29, 2012

FINALLY--Nursery Pics!

Maxwell Michael Dustin is here!  

He made an early appearance (7 days early) on Wednesday September 19th at 7:14 pm.  We are completely head-over-heels in love with him, and can't imagine life without him.  I promised you pictures of the nursery for weeks during my pregnancy update posts, and the day I finally took pictures of it, I went into labor!  So, needless to say, there were some more important things to do than blog about it! 

Before starting on the nursery, I must have looked at and pinned hundreds of baby nursery pictures on Pinterest for inspiration. In the end, Max's room turned out to be an eclectic mix of things from many different stores, Etsy, and some handmade projects.  I tried to provide links for the bigger pieces in the nursery.  We spend LOTS of time snoozing in our glider together, and Max loves to look around at the blue walls in his room.  Enjoy the pictures!

Glider and Ottoman        Carpet         Crib


The lamp is from Marshall's and the painting above the dresser was painted by Joe's good friend, Paul.  It fits perfectly in the room!

I LOVE how the color combination of light blue, lime green, navy, and white turned out! 

Everyone at our Boston baby shower signed this copy of the shower invitation.  I framed it in a shadow box, and now Max can see all of the family and friends who love him from Boston!

I love this giraffe print above the changing table.  It's from ZeppiPrints on Etsy.  I bought inexpensive frames from Target and spray painted them white.  White frames were impossible to find, so I refinished black frames.

I found this bedding on Carousel Designs and fell in love with the fabric.  I didn't want a "theme", but liked how modern and fun the dots were on the fabric.  However, I couldn't bring myself to pay the ridiculous amount of money they were charging.  So, I went to my favorite website, Etsy, for some help.  I ended up finding Isla Corrine who custom designs crib bedding for a fraction of the cost, and she was able to order the fabric directly from Carousel.  It did take her a LONG time to make and ship the bedding (almost 14 weeks), but I'm so happy with how it turned out.  I also ordered extra fabric from Carousel, and my mom made the curtain and a pillow out of the material.  It looks great!

Cute diaper motorcycle my mom made for my shower

What a library--Max is going to love to read, just like Mommy!

We ended up taking the doors off of the closet to make more room and to make it more easily accessible.  Then, the hubs redesigned the closet to give me drawer space, shelves, and an extra rack for clothes.  

Daddy hanging out in the glider

Closet dividers from HisGlory on Etsy again...of course!  This made it so easy to organize ALL of those baby clothes.

I just started writing about Max's birth story, so that will be my next post (with TONS) of cute pictures of this handsome little guy! 

Bear with me as we get used to life here at home as our little family of 3.  It may take a couple of days to get that post finished! 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Week 38

Week 38
September 12th-18th
Pregnancy Survey

How far along? 38 weeks
Total weight gain: 28 pounds--Baby is the size of a pumpkin (my favorite)!
Maternity clothes? I'm wearing a maternity tank and regular foldover yoga pants in this picture--I'm going for comfort these days.  I had to yank the shirt down to cover my belly for this picture.  At home, it usually just hangs out.  :-)
Stretch marks? nope--they're not happening!
Sleep: Eh...more napping than sleeping going on here. I might just start sleeping downstairs--the sleep seems to happen easier on the couch.  
Best moment this week: Celebrating our 3-year anniversary at home!  Hard to believe three years of wedded bliss have gone by already. Lots of exciting things have happened in those three years, and I can't wait for more.  XOXO
Miss Anything?  Energy--feeling kind of bla and low on energy these days.  I'm waiting for the final burst of energy. 
Movement:  Plenty of movement going on here.  I went to the doctor this morning, and the nurse was loving watching Baby's big lumpy moves. 
Food cravings:  We picked up some pumpkin ice cream from the local place down the street this week--yum.  I'm looking forward to a big bowl of it with some sprinkles tonight.  Still loving fresh fruit and ice water too!
Anything making you queasy or sick: I'm getting some nausea like I was in the beginning.  It comes and goes at weird times.  
Gender:  It's a BOY!
Labor Signs: Yes--we have a feeling we might meet Baby very soon!  Contractions are happening every day and night, and we're just waiting for them to get stronger and more regular.  
Symptoms:  Like I said, I'm pretty tired and feeling kind of sluggish.  Other than that, just enjoying the last few days of kicks and moving from the inside!

Belly Button in or out? Outie!
Wedding rings on or off? Twice this week I had a hard time taking off my rings, so I've been chugging my water to ward of the swelling.  To be fair, on both of those days, I ate an everything bagel and pretzels (so the salt probably did it).  Eating extra salt is helping with the dizziness I was experiencing from low blood pressure though.

Happy or Moody most of the time:  Happy :-) 
Looking forward to:  Meeting baby boy Dustin!  (And hoping we know his name when we finally see him!)  We're still taking last minute suggestions.  

Have a super week!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Shabby Chic

I've said it before.  I have a Pinterest problem...Everything I see, I want to make or have.  (Kammie...I know you've been waiting for my next Pinterest project post!)  Some of the time this can be dangerous--and can often make a big dent in my wallet.  This project was not the case.  The entire project cost me $2.94.  That's right, TWO dollars and NINETY-FOUR cents!  The vision was mine, but I have to give credit to the hubs for helping me with the cropping of the photo and construction of the finished piece.  It was a true team effort, and a great little 3rd anniversary project to do together.  And I love how it turned out!

When we recently had maternity pictures taken by the fabulous Heather Goldan of Sleepy Owl Studios, I knew I had to create something to capture her amazing work. I love the combination of the rustic old windowpane, the timeless black and white photo, and the contrast of the slate gray paint color with bright white chair rail in the dining room.  So, here's how we did it!

I knew that my mom had this old window pane sitting in her basement for a while, and figured she probably wasn't using it anytime soon.  Luckily she had no plans for it, so it was=FREE.  It had two finished sides, one of which was stained light brown and the other that was an off-white color (but was slightly distressed looking).  We decided in the end that we liked the white side better, even with its imperfections.  It adds character.  After cleaning off ten years worth of dust bunnies, it was ready to go.

Once we had the window pane, we measured the inside of the pane to know how large the print would need to be.  It ended up being an exact square of 27.5 inches by 27.5 inches.  Then, JB got to work using Photoshop to figure out where the wooden pieces would land on the picture correctly.  He cropped it purposefully so that it was slightly off-center and the wooden pieces wouldn't cover our faces.  Then, he saved the cropped picture on a USB stick, and I brought it to Staples.  At Staples, they have a special "Engineering Printer" which prints enlarged images only in black and white on a thinner blueprint-like paper.  (It actually was much heavier paper than I expected it to be.)  The best part---it is SUPER inexpensive.  If you were to enlarge a picture to this size on their regular paper, it costs $10.99/square foot! Getting it printed on photo paper would be outrageous.  Plus, the nice man at Staples only charged me for the actual size of the image (not the extra white paper border around the outside).  Once home, we laid out the picture and placed the frame on top to determine the border.  It was kind of difficult to see, because the sky in the picture shows up very lightly in black and white.  After tracing the picture to the exact size of the frame, I cut the picture to size.

My trusty helper with his T-Square.  :-)

To give the picture some sturdier backing, I applied double-sided tape to regular white poster board that covered the entire image.  This way, you cannot see through the paper and it gave the picture some more support.  Then, we used thicker double-sided scrapbooking tape to adhere the image to the perimeter of the actual frame. 

The project was finished by adding some heavy duty picture hooks to the back of the window pane. And the best part??  We got it right on the first try!  There are only two holes in the wall, and the project is level on the wall.  What do you think??

  P.S.---No Baby Dustin yet....Heading to the doctor this afternoon.  Stay tuned! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Week 37

Week 37
September 5th-11th
Pregnancy Survey

How far along? 37 weeks
Total weight gain: 26 pounds--Minus 2 pounds at my Dr.'s appointment this week.  I must have been a little swollen last week.  
Maternity clothes?  Yup--that's it.  In this picture I'm wearing a Gap Maternity t-shirt I got on sale for $5.99, and the Gap Maternity Straight leg jeans.  Gap was one of my favorite places to get maternity clothes.  
Stretch marks? nope--they're not happening!
Sleep: I've been coming down to lay on the couch in the middle of the night a few times.  There's only so much tossing and turning you can do before heading for the couch to watch the QVC Christmas specials.  In my sleep-deprived discomfort one night I actually considered ordering fresh fragrant balsam wreaths for all of my family members.  Luckily I fell asleep first.  
Best moment this week:  On Saturday, my sister and her long-time manfriend, Mango Matt got engaged.  We've all been waiting a long time for this, and I'm so excited for them.  They are perfect together, and I love how happy Matt makes my little sister.  See...look!

Miss Anything?  I'm not loving the lines all of my pants are leaving on my belly--even the maternity pants.  Uncomfortable.  I know I haven't gained a whole lot of weight during my pregnancy, but I definitely feel like my body may never stretch back to how it once looked.  Will my old clothes ever fit me again?
Movement:  He's continuing to be all over the place, although I think I can feel that he has dropped lower.  The Dr. said that he was pretty low last week at my appointment too.  So, many of his movements are direct hits to my bladder. That can be embarrassing.  
Food cravings:  I've heard the rumor that the pumpkin ice cream from Polar Cub is out....I haven't had it yet, and I'm dying to get there this week!
Anything making you queasy or sick: I'm getting some nausea like I was in the beginning.  I didn't miss this at all. 
Gender:  It's a BOY!
Labor Signs: Oh yea!  When I was at the Dr. on Thursday, they hooked me up to the non-stress test monitor again, because I've been having really low blood pressure and some dizziness as a result of that.  While on the monitor for 20 minutes, I had one really big contraction and three little ones.  The nurse came into the room during the big one and said, " feel that right??"  Now that I'm sure I know what they are, I've had pretty strong contractions all weekend.  There was a point in time on Saturday when I thought it might be time, but the contractions never evened out in a regular pattern and eventually went away when I finally fell asleep.  That's when I started to panic and frantically threw together the other pack & play and insisted that the car seat bases be installed NOW.  We'll see what they say when I go back in on Thursday for another check.  I still want baby to stay in there until he is strong enough and healthy to be out here on his own time---even if I am super excited to meet him!  
Symptoms:  Feeling pretty tired--I've been laying on the couch and watching ridiculous amounts of reality TV.  By the way--Has anyone seen the show, Breaking Amish?? Who knew that the Amish could get so crazy?!  I did get out to take a walk today though, and the early fall weather (sunny, 73 degrees, fresh breeze) felt so good.  Here's a picture I took during my stroll/waddle through the neighborhood.  

Belly Button in or out? Outie!
Wedding rings on or off? They're still swelling problems here.

Happy or Moody most of the time:  Happy :-)  Although I did have several moody moments during those contractions this weekend--only a sign of things to come I think!
Looking forward to:  Still waiting on my crib bedding to arrive so I can take pictures of the nursery....I think it looks pretty cute so far though!  Looking forward to my Dr.'s visit on Thursday for an update too.  

Have a great week!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Social

Sunday Social

I'm doing a link-up to Neely over at A Complete Waste of Makeup today. She's a quirky 20-something blogger who makes me laugh out loud several times a week.  I also totally get the name of her blog---there are plenty times when I feel like makeup, a good outfit, or even a shower are not worth it.  This week's Sunday Social is all about learning about new blogs.  Enjoy!

1. What is the name of your blog and how did you come up with it?? 
The name of my blog is "A Southern Belle from New Jersey".  It was a nickname given to me by my hubby when we first met.  We were both living in North Carolina at the time (hence the 'southern belle' part), but neither of us were from there originally.  I'm from New Jersey, and now we happily live back here.  But I'd like to think that I'll always have a little bit of that sweet southern style left in me. 

2. What do you love the most about blogging?? 
I started blogging originally to stay in touch with friends and family who don't live nearby.  We had just moved back from Raleigh, and I was missing my southern peeps.  Since then, it's given me a great chance to reconnect and stay in touch with those people.  It has also helped me to reach lots of "bloggy" friends out there.  Even though  I've never actually them met in person, I feel like I know some of them--their families, their stories, and their personalities  It's so fun to be a small part of such a bigger world out there.  

3. What are your 2 favorite posts you've written?

My Birthday Gift to Myself
This was a really fun thing I did for my birthday this year, and I was touched by the responses I got from everyone afterwards.  

Show and Tell Monday--Wedding Bliss
I just wrote this post recently, and it was so fun to think back to our special day.  

4. What is something you'd want to tell someone just starting out in blog world? 
Just write what's on your mind.  I'm not an expert, and I'm still trying to find my place in the blogging world.   My favorite blogs that I follow are the women who just write from the heart. 

5. Biggest blogging learning experience you've had? 
I have a LOT to learn.  I knew nothing about blogging when I first started, and I started out using Blogger in its most basic form.  Just now, I'm trying to figure out how to personalize my blog and make it fit my needs better.  I am not techy at all, so this has been a little frustrating at times.  What I'd really like is for someone to come along and redesign it for me....anyone want to volunteer?

6. Give us 3 blogs we NEED to be following that you love. 

Enjoying the Small Things
LOVE, love, love Kelle Hampton.  She is a beautiful writer who tells her most inspiring stories about being a mama to two special little girls.  I never walk away from reading her blog without having lots to think about afterwards.

The Life We Love 
I started reading Chelsea's blog when she was first pregnant with her little boy, Logan.  Now he's eight months old and such a cutie.  I like reading her blog, because she's so down to earth and we have a lot in common (former elementary teachers, new mama/mama to be, love shopping/monogrammed things, spending time with family, etc....).

From Mrs. to Mama
I just found Becky's blog about a month ago, but I really like her!  I've done a couple of link-ups to her blog already.  She has introduced me to a lot of other great blogs through her sponsors, and she has great giveaways (although I haven't won anything yet!).  I'd love to have her do my blog redesign someday too.  

Have a great week friends!  

**By the way---I've had lots of contractions over the past few days, so I'm laying low at home.  Maybe we'll have some baby news soon--stay tuned!

Friday, September 7, 2012

"Fun Feminine Friday"

For the people who have seen me most often lately (mostly my family, husband, and neighbors when I dash out to get the mail each day), it may not seem like I have any sort of beauty routine going on.  That is pretty much true.  It takes a lot of energy to take a shower, let alone the blowdrying/straightening/gussying up that should follow.  My look lately has been pretty au natural, but I do still have some recent favorites that I've been turning to when it's time to get all dolled up. I thought I'd share them with you, bloggy friends.  What are your favorite new beauty finds??

Here are my 5 top favorite beauty products right now!

Revlon Color Burst Lip Gloss
I admit that the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, gave up the secret about this little gem.  It's only $6.49 at Target (my favorite place to waste time and look for inexpensive new beauty finds).  I love this lipgloss, because it is shiny (but not overly obnoxious), not sticky AT ALL, and it doesn't have any kind of gross flavor.  I have it in the RoseGold color and can't wait to try some other fun colors for fall. 
Moroccan Hair Oil
I don't know about any of you other preggos, but my hair has become SUPER dry and brittle since becoming pregnant.  I thought that pregnant women were supposed to have long, thick, luxurious locks of hair.  I got the raw end of the deal.  I have HUNDREDS of small new hairs growing in, but they're only about an inch and a half long.  So, they stick straight up from the top of my head.  It looks ridiculous, which is why my hair is in a ponytail most days.  I've tried lots of smoothing creams at the recommendations of hair stylists, but this product is the one thing that feels like it actually moisturizes my straw-like hair and tames those little hairs a little bit.  And it smells yummy too. 

Arbonne Nurturing Day Lotion with SPF 20
I stumbled upon this one by accident.  We subscribe to an organic food delivery company called Greater Living Foods.  We're not super "green" "crunchy" people, but we learned about this company through advertising and decided to try them out about a year ago.  We've really enjoyed the benefits of eating mostly organic foods at home, and surprisingly we spend a lot less on grocery bills each month.  Anywho....enough about the food--I got sidetracked.  We had a food delivery this week, and they provided us with some free samples from Arbonne.  I don't know too much about the company (just that they offer skincare and cosmetic products based on botanical principles...and I also know someone who loves to work for them).   Just like my hair, my skin has taken a turn for the dry-as-a-desert side with pregnancy, and no amount of normal facial moisturizer has been able to compete with this one.  I love the fact that it has a built in SPF 20 too.  BONUS!

The Clinique Chubby Stick

LOVE this moisturizing lipstick from Clinique.  It was first given to me a couple of years ago by my mother-in-law (who also loves Clinique), and I am down to the very end of it.  Sometimes you don't want to use a lipgloss, but instead just want a simple lipstick that feels like chapstick but offers a pretty color.  This is probably one of my favorites of all time.  I have it in the Mega Melon color, but I see that they have a whole bunch of new colors so I might have to try something new when this one runs out!

Burberry Summer

One night (after a sleepover at my parents' house), I found this yummy scent in my mom's bathroom.  She has quite a collection of perfumes!  Light and perfect for summer, I tried to find it in Macy's but they discontinued it for the season.  I've found it online, but feel like fall is right around the corner and I should be looking for something more substantial for the chillier months.  So, for now, I'll just spritz myself when I head over to mom and dad's. it's time for you to share your secrets.  What are your favorite new beauty products??

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Week 36

Week 36:  
August 30th-September 4th
Pregnancy Survey

How far along? 36 weeks
Total weight gain: 28 pounds--That's right...I put on 6 pounds in one week.  People keep saying, "It's all baby".  I sincerely hope that this baby hasn't grown 6 pounds in a week.  In that case, he'd be over 12 pounds already. Please--no!  
Maternity clothes?  I'm wearing all maternity and lots of stretchy non-maternity clothes.  I put this non-maternity dress on just to take this picture.  It doesn't fit...not even close.  I couldn't wait to get it off.
Stretch marks? nope--they're not happening!
Sleep:  What is that??  I want to sleep more during the day, because nighttime sleep is more of a cycle of bathroom breaks than anything else.  
Best moment this week:  It is already the month of September, and you know what that means.  We're going to have a baby this month!  Hopefully--unless he decides he wants to be an October baby!  Everywhere I go, someone asks me when I am due.  When I tell them September 26th, they comment---oh that's only 3 more weeks.  Crazy that he will be here so soon!  The past 9 months have flown by so quickly. 
Miss Anything? Not too much---maybe getting out of bed normally.  It's quite a workout.
Movement: Lots of strong punches, jumps, and kicks these days.  People are noticing the "waves" from the outside too. 
Food cravings: peaches, pears, and apples with peanut butter--I can't keep the fridge stocked with fruit.  I definitely have to make a "fruit run" to the grocery store a few times each week. 
Anything making you queasy or sick: I'm getting queasy after eating too much.  I feel starving, and I stuff myself.  But then I realize that there is nowhere for the food to go=upset tummy.  Better to slow down and eat smaller portions more frequently. 
Gender:  It's a BOY!
Labor Signs: A few contractions this week, but nothing that has amounted to anything.  They seem to go away with rest and water. 
Symptoms:  Feeling big and tired, but nothing too bad.  I can handle it. 

Belly Button in or out? Outie!
Wedding rings on or off? They are still on, but I've had indentations from them over the past few days.  Time for me to start drinking some more water or else I'll have to take them off.  

Happy or Moody most of the time:  Happy :-)  Tomorrow marks 37 weeks--which means that Baby D. could be here at any time.  We hope he stays inside to cook for a few more weeks though.  We want him nice and strong when he's ready to meet us. 
Looking forward to: 
I know, I know...I haven't posted nursery pictures yet.  The crib bedding was finally shipped today, and I want it all finished before I take pictures.  We did hang up some artwork and pictures in the room this weekend.  Today I'm heading to BuyBuyBaby and BabiesRUs to use our reigstry completion coupons to pick up a few last minute things we still need.  There isn't much to get, just some basic little stuff.  JB is in charge of installing the carseat bases this week too so that I can get them inspected at the hospital.  How weird that we're going to be driving around with carseats in our cars?!  Fun stuff!

Have a fantastic week, and stay dry out there today--it is a monsoon! 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Show and Tell Monday...All About Fall!


I'm back with another "Show & Tell" link-up from Becky!
This week's topic is all about my favorite season:  FALL!   
As much as I love summer (lounging by the pool, hot days and warm nights, cooking easy summer foods on the grill, and on and on), I look forward to the changes that fall brings after Labor Day each year. 

1. Tell us what you are looking forward to this fall?  
I love everything about fall.  A few of those things?

The Colors:  Oranges, Cranberries, Deep Plums, Burgundies, Golds...One of the reasons I chose to get married in the fall was so that I could incorporate all of these pretty colors into our wedding.  Seeing the leaves change colors in New Jersey was something I really missed when we lived in North Carolina.  Here in New Jersey, it happens gradually over the course of a month or two.  It's so pretty to see the changes each day.  In North Carolina, it happened overnight, and you couldn't really enjoy the experience.  It went from HOT, HOT, HOT summer weather to winter.  

The Food:  I'm not a huge football fan, but I do love the food that goes along with football season.  That's enough to get me interested.  I started a board on Pinterest just for fall foods--all kinds of party dips, homemade mac & cheese, soups---all comfort foods! 

The Decorations:  This goes hand-in-hand with my love of fall colors.  I love decorating the house with pumpkins, gourds, and warm-homey smelling candles like warm apple crisp and pumpkin spice during the fall.  It always smells like a pie is baking.  I made these decorative bottles last fall and loved how it turned out.  I don't think I ever took a picture of how it turned out, so here was the inspiration photo.  Mine was pretty much exactly like it---can't wait to put it up again this year!

The Clothes:  Who doesn't love fall clothes?  Skinny jeans, lightweight cardigans, layers, scarves, and boots are all pieces of some of my favorite comfy fall outfits.  Let's just hope I can fit back into some of those skinny jeans this year!

2. Show us your fall style.
This is a great way to stretch summer into fall clothes...add some leggings or tights!
Love the combination of black and brown....and this bag is fun too!
I pinned these last fall, and I REALLY want some this year.  The boot socks are so cute sticking out of boots!
Nothing more comfy than leggings!
3. Tell us your favorite things to do in the fall. If you have children, activities to do with the kids?
Fall activities are just so fun!  I love apple picking, pumpkin picking, going for long walks looking at the fall leaves, the smell of hayrides...We'll probably do all of these things with our little guy this fall.  I bought this hat from Etsy and a bushel basket and CANNOT wait to take a picture like this in the apple orchard!

4. Show us your favorite fall beverage.
Is it even a question?!  I cannot wait until I'm wanting to drink coffee again (once I'm not pregnant), and this will be my first fall beverage!
5. Tell us, how you will be participating in Halloween this year. Plans? Costume ideas? 

For as much I love fall, I'm not a huge fan of Halloween.  Not sure why---just have never really liked it.  However, I am looking forward to dressing up a tiny little boy this year in a costume.   He'll only be about a month old, so we won't be doing any trick-or-treating.  But, he can still look cute all dressed up, right?  Here are a few of the costumes I've been looking at online.  What do you think?? 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Lil' Punkin
Sweet little owl
Tiny Turtle

Happy Fall Y'all!