February 20, 2012

Without Further Ado

Meet Cole Annabelle Slaton!
Born 12:42am, February 18, 2012
8 pounds, 1 ounce
21 inches 

Cole's arrival was swift and uncomplicated. As you may expect, things around here may be a bit slow as we get to know our daughter and develop a new groove. Thanks for understanding! 

We opted to have Cole's birth captured by the very talented Kathy Cox of Kathy Cox Photography. Events that transform your life are rare and we wanted to be sure to have the beginning of our next adventure documented. A slideshow of the pictures is currently available here. Peter and I were blown away by the honesty of the pictures as well as the respectfulness of the photographer.

February 16, 2012

Home Organization: House Binder

I believe it's very common when you buy a house for the previous owners to leave behind a folder, notebook, or binder with paperwork relevant to the property. In our case, we received a binder with loads of installation guides as well as a notebook with proposed plans from a landscape architect. A few years ago, we removed nearly all of the plants in our backyard so we tossed the notebook. The binder, on the other hand, we kept.
 
Motivated by a friend who recently moved and created the best home binder I've ever seen, I decided to sort through the contents of the binder and figure out what to do with them. It became clear rather quickly that the majority of the paperwork was junk. It also became clear that I needed to get a new binder. With the current binder, there were over-sized baggies and paperwork sticking out.
 Thankfully, having just been a full-time student, I had a number of school supplies on hand that proved useful for this project. I opted to give each room and outdoor area a section in the binder.
I put paint cards and fabric samples for each room into page protectors.
If relevant, I included a folder for installation and hardware manuals. 
Now the new house binder is sleek, useful, and organized quite a change from where I started and well worth the time it took to complete. 

February 14, 2012

For a Lovey Dovey Kind of Day

On January 20th, Tiny Prints posted a code for free Valentine's Day cards on their Facebook page.  The shipping, personalization, and card were all free so it just took a bit of time. I decided I would do something since traditionally I do nothing to celebrate the holiday. Frankly, if it weren't for Tiny Prints and their free card, I may have just said, "Happy Valentine's Day!" and continued on.

But, alas, I made a card. And it is cute. And sappy. And perhaps a bit nauseating. But very, very appropriate:

February 10, 2012

Date Night!

A few months ago, I decided  that once the baby arrives we will hang his/her initials on the wall above the crib. I went to Hobby Lobby while they were running a sale and picked up the letters for our boy-name initials and girl-name initials. From that idea, sparked a desire to create a gallery wall around the initials. We already had picture frames and plates to include. As I was coming up with potential layouts for the wall, I noticed a small gap that needed to be filled. I figured a ceramic cross would go well in the space so I started looking online. I quickly realized it would cost just as much for us to paint our own cross as it would to buy one. So, to Seize the Clay we went!

Seize the Clay is a paint your own pottery shop. After a bit a research, I learned they offer half price studio fees during a Wine & Cheese event every Friday night. I invited our friends M and E to join us for the crafty date night. I called ahead to make a reservation for the four of us thinking that it was entirely unnecessary. Well, was I ever wrong! When we walked in we were shocked to see the place was packed! There were groups of women, birthday parties, and other couples on dates. Who knew so many people enjoy painting pottery? 
I decided to paint a vase while Peter painted the cross for the baby's room. While I may be creative in other areas, when it comes to painting pottery I have one strategy: Use only one paint color. With my strategy in mind, I selected a
Peter was tasked to paint the ceramic cross for the nursery. As a paint your own pottery rookie, he followed my strategy and used just one paint color for the cross. He used a
Once the baby is here we'll get the gallery wall up with the appropriate initials and the finished cross!

February 8, 2012

February 6, 2012

Home Organization: Files

Peter and I have been talking about sorting our files for a number of years now. Seriously, years. We'd say things like:
           We really need to do something about those files
           Let's sort the file on the next rainy weekend
           The files are getting out of control
           Well, maybe it's not so bad

It is such an easy task to put off! We'd add to the files often or at least stack the papers that we needed to file on top of of the cabinet- which is nearly the same as filing, right? Unfortunately, we failed to ever actually assess the contents of our file cabinet.

I decided I would start working on our file cabinet earlier last week. Peter will openly tell you his strategy for the files has been to keep everything so I figured it would be a drawn out project that I could tackle over a few days. It wasn't. After I developed some rules as to what to keep and for how long, the project turned into a major purge followed by some label making, sorting, and shredding. While sorting, I found a receipt from 2003 citing Peter's application for a new social security card. It has since been shredded.

                           Before :: His Style                                                    After :: Her Style      
           

I loaded up an entire box of papers which didn't need to be shredded for the recycling center. Once I started shredding outdated files, the sheer quantity was staggering.

 
I labeled the newly sorted files by category and individually. (Please don't be deceived into thinking the files are also color coded, I just used the folders we already had which happen to be yellow, red, and green).
We will be taking great efforts to maintain the organization of files. For one, I disposed of the "catch all" box that used to hold papers that needed filing. Additionally with our newly established rules for what to keep and what to toss, we will not be keeping every paper that comes in the house.

February 2, 2012

Etiquette

When speaking to an obviously pregnant stranger:  

Appropriate 
"When are you due?"
"At the end of the month."
"Really? You look great."
"Thank you so much. That's very sweet."
Office Max, February 2 

Inappropriate 
After starring at pregnant belly without comment
"How many babies do you have in there?"
"Just one."
"Really?! It looks like more than that! Like two or three."
"Well, I'm due in a few weeks."
"Huh. That baby must really like donuts."
Dunkin' Donuts, January 31

February 1, 2012

February First

The day is here, people: February 1.

It is a day I marked off months ago as a milestone. I said on February 1 we'd install the car seat bases*, I'd create a hospital bag list, and try to prepare myself for the fact that the baby could arrive at any time. I went to the doctor this morning and all is well. There are healthy indications of forward progress so it is fine time to make final preparations.

The start of February marks a shift in the types of projects I will be undertaking. Up until this point, most of my projects have had a clear beginning, middle, and end. This month the projects I have planned are far more fluid. I'm going to work on stocking our freezer with meals to share or enjoy once the baby arrives. I'd like to sort through and organize our files, a seemingly endless task. And I suppose I'll collect items and jot notes for the baby book. All projects which can easily be started, stopped, and resumed at any time.

Bring it on, February!
Calendar from Red Stamp
*One of the car seat bases has actually been in the car since January 18. I called to schedule a car seat check with our hospital and absentmindedly agreed to a check on February 27. Once I realized my error, I called back to reschedule and the only open date they had was January 18.  So the car seat base has been properly installed in the Fit since mid-January. Being February 1, we'll put the second base in the Mazda today.