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The 411 On Baby #2

Holy cow, I think you guys had even more questions than the last time we did this after announcing that Clara was on the way! But it was fun to dive in and answer as many things as we could before hitting 4,500 words (because honestly that’s pushing it, even for us). So here are a whole lot of answers for you sweet folks who had us beaming all day on Wednesday after our little bun announcement. We have so much to be thankful for, and you guys are definitely on the list.

Will you find out the sex of the baby? Are you taking a blood test to find out early, like Maternity21? Do you or John have a preference? Sherry, any “maternal instinct” feelings on whether this bean is a lady bean or a lad? After Clara’s scary birth, all we really hope for is a healthy baby. Sounds cliche, but it’s true. A little sister for Clara would be adorable, and it’s also fun to think about having a boy since that’s something we’ve never experienced. I have a feeling it’s a girl, but I definitely could be wrong. My doctor relies on 20 week ultrasounds for the big reveal, so we won’t know what’s cooking until November. But we’re looking forward to “the half-time show.” With Clara it was such a nice exciting moment in the middle of everything to learn who was joining our family – and of course we’ll tell you guys when we know. In the meantime it’s fun to have a little while to guess and wonder and lie in bed and talk about ten million possible scenarios and names and nursery ideas.

Is this the secret side project that you guys have been working on? Nope! While technically the baby was a secret project, it’s not the secret project that we mentioned in our blogiversary pie chart. That’s a side gig that we’ve been doing for over a year (we didn’t put kid-time on those graphs, so Clara care isn’t on there either). Hilariously enough, our secret project is also due to come out this spring! Ahh! Can’t wait to get the ok to spill those beans. Maybe in a few months…

How different has this pregnancy been in comparison to the first? Has your morning sickness subsided? Have you found anything that worked? I was never really that tired while pregnant with Clara but I’m feeling a lot more fatigued with this one, although I hear that’s pretty common since I have a kiddo to run after this time. With Clara I was sick in the morning (around 8-10am) which lasted until 16 or 17 weeks – so usually after I woke up and got sick a few times I could eat something heavy for breakfast (I loved a baked potato or a bagel with cream cheese) and then be good for the rest of the day. With this pregnancy I’m having all day sickness, which threw me for a loop for the first couple of months but now I feel like I’m sort of a pro at navigating the nauseous 24/7 waters. It’s all for a good cause! I’ve tried everything from ginger candies and ginger gum to acupressure bands and B6/B12/magnesium. Seems like “bowing to the bowl” as I affectionately call it, is just part of growing this amazing little bun, so it’s all worth it… although I wouldn’t be mad if it ended before 17 weeks this time. Here’s hoping!

Do you think that this will be your last baby or do you think that you’ll go back for more? John and I agreed we’d take family planning one kid at a time, so we won’t say a firm yes or no to three before we’ve adjusted to two, but at this point we’re both excited and satisfied by the idea of being a family of four (well, five with the Burgs).

Sherry, what prompted you to take a test? Morning sickness, food aversions, exhaustion? My earliest symptom with Clara was feeling dizzy (even just sitting on the sofa) so when I had that again I thought… could it be?! It was so exciting to confirm it. I stared at the test for five minutes before it sunk in.

How did you tell John? We had been trying for a while but I tried not to say anything to lead him to believe that I was pregnant just because I didn’t want to get his hopes up if I wasn’t. So even when I was feeling dizzy, I didn’t want to jinx myself and say “dude, I’m totally preggy” only to find out I wasn’t. So I waited to take a test in the morning, could hardly contain myself when it came up positive, and then hid it for a little John-surprise later. Around 9:00 that morning I was working on a post and I said “hey John can you come look at this with me?” and pointed to my screen, but I had put the positive pregnancy test on the keyboard. John came over and looked at the screen for what seemed like forever and then said “it looks good – waiiit a minute!” and saw the test sitting there on the keyboard. He laughed and I laughed and we smooched. It was sweet.

How did you tell your parents/family? Did you really wait until the end of your first trimester?! Yup, just like we did with Clara! We just prefer to get that “safe to share” salute from the doc – plus we love to deliver that news in person if we can. That opportunity presented itself this weekend when everyone was gathering at our house to celebrate John’s dad’s birthday. We had convinced my mom (Nonna) to schedule her fall visit to coincide with it, so we could tell almost all of our parents at once. For the actual reveal, we played off of John’s family’s “birthday crown” tradition. His mom always made paper crowns for them growing up and the tradition has continued even now that everyone’s an adult. So in addition to making a crown for his dad, John thought it would be funny to make one for me, with “Birthday Boy” on his dad’s and “Pregnant Lady” on mine. I wondered if it was weirdly thunder-stealing of us (hijacking his birthday to announce our baby) but we realized that there’s probably nothing more exciting for our parents than hearing that they’re going to be grandparents again, so we went for it. And it was awesome. John popped the crown on his dad’s head and as we all clapped and cheered John walked over to me and put mine on my head too. Everyone went crazy. It was awesome. Nothing beats being surrounded by the family and wearing a wicked awesome homemade paper crown.

How did you tell Clara? Does she get it? We decided to tell Clara the same day we announced to our whole family. She’s so chatty that we worried she’d spill the beans prematurely and it felt unfair to get her all excited about it but then ask her not to talk about it with anyone else. She was playing with her cousins during the whole crown reveal, so moments after that celebration John and I took her aside and told her there was a baby swimming around in my belly. I wasn’t sure how into it she’d be, but she was IN LOVE with the news. It was adorable and I cried like a baby. She rubbed my belly, and put her ear up to it, and kissed it and asked the sweetest questions (Is the baby getting her face wet? She might not like that! Is she being a good listener in there?). I was amazed by how much she “got it” and how interested she was. And every day since she has talked about the baby and how she’s going to share her toys and be gentle and hold the baby like this (*mimes holding a doll and rocking it gently*). She’s going to be the best big sister ever. Excuse me while I sob for an hour or two.

Does Clara have a guess on the sex of the baby? Or any name suggestions? She says it’s going to be a girl, and she wants to name her Pom-pom Petersik. So far we are highly amused, but not convinced.

What are you doing to prepare Clara for a sibling? We’re just talking about things like “this empty room will be the baby’s room” and “when a baby is really tiny it sleeps a lot.” Just mentioning little things whenever she asks or seems interested. Mostly I’ve been telling her that she’ll always be my first baby and I love her so much and even if I have to feed the baby or hold the baby when it cries, I will always be loving her at the same time, and that my heart is so big and full of love for both of them. I never want her to feel displaced or second-fiddle – and I hear from a lot of my friends that they feel the same way then they’re pregnant (so it’s nice to know I’m not the only sniffly hormonal one).

Is the new baby also going to be called the bean, or does this one have a different nickname? This one seems to have affectionately become known as the bun. It seems fitting since Clara still holds the title of The Bean, and of course we have The Burgs… so The Bun rounds out our little trio.

How far along are you? When are you due? With every checkup, the measurements they take seem to shift the date a bit one way or another (and due to complications with Clara’s birth I won’t be able to go full term, so I’ll probably be delivered about a week early – but that’s something they’ll decide at the very end). The best guess is that I’m in my 13th week and we’ll have the baby sometime around the middle of April, although that might continue to change as the baby grows and they monitor me.

Do you have any names rolling around in your head yet? We tend to like names with personal or family meaning (Clara was named after John’s grandma while her middle name honors my dad and my Great Aunt) so the name of a family member or one that references something special to us seems to be what we’re usually drawn to. We generally like to toss out ideas just for fun in the beginning, but we don’t pin anything down until we find out the sex of the baby. Even then, we plan not to lock anything in (or share our finalists) until we meet the baby. So we’ll probably go into delivery day with two name contenders, and then say “yup, totally a ___.”

Will you be doing a weekly photo project with this baby like the one you did with Clara? Yes, we’d love to! We’re not sure if we’ll do the same thing (bright fabric + white onesie + photoshopped week number + cute baby) or if we’ll come up with something else. We’ve toyed with something like putting the baby in/on/around different things each week to show scale/growth and vary the background (like in a basket, on a wagon, on a pillow) but we’re not sure if we’ll run out of things or it’ll get too complicated. We’ll definitely do something, we just don’t have a clue what yet.

Are you due on the same date as Katie Bower? Did you try to time it with Katie’s pregnancy or was that a happy coincidence? She’s due sometime in March, and I’m due around mid-April, so we’re actually about the same distance apart as last time (Will was April, Clara was May). It’s always nice to have someone to talk pregnancy symptoms with (we sound like a fun bunch, eh?) and I like that she’s paving the way, especially because she’s on number three. I keep telling her she has to warn me about all the things that I forget are coming – it’s been a whole lot longer since I did this! As for if we planned it, I don’t think we could have planned it if we tried! We both wanted to expand our families and had been trying, but ending up in such a close range for our due dates again was a complete coincidence. We each have other friends who are expecting around that time too, so it feels like there’s a little spring baby boom.

After such a traumatic birth with Clara, how did you know it was the right time to try again? How do you manage the anxiety? Second time around you’ll have a scheduled c-section right? Does that make it less of a risk for you? Yes, my placental abruption was triggered by labor, so it’s safest for me (and this baby) not to go into labor again. So I’ll be closely monitored and will have a planned c-section whenever we think labor is impending (I’d never want to give birth too early, so there will be a lot of monitoring, but waiting too long and abrupting before having the baby could be very dangerous for both of us). So yeah, it’s sort of complicated but I’m trying to just have faith and appreciate this blessing and remember how amazing the medical team was that saved Clara. I think recognizing that I can’t control everything (stressing and worrying won’t solve anything) helps too. As for how I knew it was the right time to try again, I think we just needed some time. This baby will be four years younger than Clara, and putting that much time between her birth and getting pregnant again just felt right for us. I was able to heal (physically and mentally) and somehow the excitement now outweighs the fear, which it definitely didn’t even a year ago. I’m still a bundle of nerves, but I also feel so thrilled and humbled to be pregnant – and so thankful for everything that’s going well so far. It’s all we can ask for.

How did the timing of this relate to some of your other big events – book tour, moving, the showhouse, etc? Did you intentionally plan around those? The book tour and the move were both completed before I became pregnant (it was nice timing to have already started settling in at this new house when we learned the good news). And while we certainly didn’t want to throw pregnancy into the mix during the craziness that was our book tour, we still have busy months ahead of us with writing our second book, the showhouse, and the “secret project” (the last two of those have deadlines within weeks of my due date). So we’re doing our best to plan, get ahead wherever we can, and remember some advice that we got before having Clara: if everyone waited until they had lots of spare time on their hands to have children, it might get put off forever. Sometimes you just have to dive in and make time for something that’s as important to you as family.

Is 2014 going to be the year of baby #2 and book baby #2?! If so, does that mean you’ll be on tour with a newborn and we’ll all get to oogle him/her? As sweet as that sounds, our second book probably won’t be out until 2015 or 2016 (they take so long!) so this baby will lap the book by a mile. We’re grateful for that though, since touring with a baby would most likely be miserable for all parties involved (a little baby-travel is fun, but 30 flights over a few weeks might be a bit much).

I know that’s kind of personal, I’m just curious if it took you longer to conceive #2 than Clara, because it seems like everyone I know, myself included, did. Yup, it took us longer for #2 as well!

When you threw your back out during the Oprah shoot…was that a euphemism for “morning sickness”? Nope, I actually wasn’t pregnant then (it was back in May when they filmed that) but I sure am thankful that I’ve made it through moving and early pregnancy without doing that again!

What tips you have for a fellow pregnant DIY lover. What types of projects do you continue doing while pregnant and what do you stay away from? I know you all usually use no-VOC paint but I wasn’t sure if you took any other precautions. I was really careful when I was pregnant with Clara, and I’m following the same guidelines with this pregnancy – always using no-VOC paint with no-VOC colorants (Olympic’s Premium line, Mythic, or Benjamin Moore’s Natura line all are wonderful for that) in a well ventilated area. I also use sealers that are safer (Safecoat Acrylacq can be ordered online and is a great baby-safe non-toxic alternative to the fumier stuff).

If something’s oil-based (like spray paint) I either wear a high quality respirator (not one of those paper ones, a real VOC-blocking one) or I ask John to take over if it’s a more involved project (wearing the mask for too long makes breathing difficult when I’m pregnant for some reason). I also check product labels or Google around to see if something I’m planning to do or use (like Crazy Glue) is bad while pregnant (hint, it is!). I also skip any heavy lifting or super vigorous work. I’m all about climbing a ladder to limb up a tree or painting ceiling beams while arching my back for five hours when I’m not pregnant, but when I am, those jobs get wait-listed. Update: being exposed to lead paint is also especially dangerous if you’re pregnant. More on that here.

Do you plan to make any changes with blogging? What are your plans for maternity leave? Are you considering daycare/full-time preschool or hiring someone to help with the blog? We don’t know exactly what will happen, just because this job has always surprised us (who knew we’d be here 6 years ago?), but we don’t have plans for childcare or blog employees at this point. We’d be fooling ourselves if we didn’t acknowledge that having another child to raise will require some major re-balancing of things, but we hope to continue to switch off with kids, projects, post-writing, and the rest of our work-at-home-parent jobs to the best of our ability.

I didn’t take any maternity leave when Clara arrived (even with an emergency C-section we didn’t miss a post) but we did write a lot of posts in advance and “stockpiled” some stuff in anticipation of having a newborn, so we hope to do that again this time around. The truth is that two kids could be a total game changer and we might need to make more drastic changes, but we’ll cross those bridges when we get there. For now we’re just readying ourselves for the adventure and leaving ourselves open to the possibilities, which seemed to work when Clara came home (it’s comforting to remember that we’ve juggled a newborn before while both being full time bloggers).

Do you see the blog going more towards lifestyle/mommy type of stuff? Our site has always had family stuff mixed in among the home chatter (we’ve posted about birthday celebrations, road trips, anniversary traditions, trips to the fair, and other random thoughts from the very beginning) but DIY has always been our first love, so we have no plans for this to become a mommy/daddy blog, especially since it didn’t take that turn when we had Clara. The balance seems to be a big slice of home related stuff and a smaller slice of personal/family/random – so I think after six years of that general ratio, it’s just how we like to blog. Having another child is definitely a big deal in our little world, and since this blog is essentially about our home life we’re sure it’ll get worked in regularly, but we don’t ever foresee it overshadowing our core DIY focus.

Will you keep pregnancy posts to Young House Life? We’re planning to stick to the same formula that we used for our pregnancy/birth with Clara, meaning that DIY-related updates (like putting the nursery together) or home-related kid stuff (like this post about what we bought to prepare for Clara’s arrival or this one about living with kid stuff everywhere) will be shared over here along with other “meaty” life and family posts (like Clara’s birth story, our cloth diapering adventures, my experience with 14 months of breastfeeding, etc). Meanwhile quick little updates/videos/photos about pregnancy and having a newborn will most likely live over on Young House Life. We think of that site as sort of a family photo/video album, so short clips and quick stories usually end up over there.

I can’t wait for you guys to plan another nursery. Can you share a mood board? Or just give us any small hints on plans for that room? We’re so excited about the nursery, but I think we’ll do what we did when we were pregnant with Clara: wait until we know the sex before starting on the room. It also helps ease my mind because I don’t want to feel like I’m jumping the gun on anything since this pregnancy isn’t guaranteed to be a smooth one. So by waiting a little while we can just kick around ideas and give ourselves time to gear up and dive in when we’re closer to my due date.

Any weird cravings this time? Baked potatoes. Just like last time. And salt and vinegar chips. And pickles. I’m a stereotype with the pickles. I can’t help it.

Where did you get that fabric in the background of your photos on Wednesday?! We got that at a local fabric outlet called U-Fab, and it was marked from $27 a yard down to $7.99 a yard (we shared it on Instagram here). It’s by Braemore and it’s called Pomegranite. He’s the listing on U-Fab’s site. We’re thinking of either using it here in our house somewhere or in the showhouse. It was too good of a deal to pass up.

Will you, Sherry, maybe learn to drive again/take lessons or anything since you said you do not drive anymore? Oh yeah, I owe you guys an update on that! I’ve been driving! John’s still the primary driver just because he likes it and knows all the shortcuts, but I occasionally run errands or will switch off with John on long road trips to give him a break if he’s tired. I’ve always had my license (kept renewing it even when I was in NYC for 6 years taking the subway) so it just took a little practice to get back in the saddle, so to speak.

Since Burger is a “barky dog” do you have any tips for keeping the house quiet during baby nap times? Right before Clara was born my sister-in-law told me never to tiptoe around a sleeping baby (she said she vacuumed under all three of her kids’ cribs while they slept blissfully) and there really does seem to be something to it. We’ve DIYed while Clara sleeps (and Burger has had random barking fits) pretty much since we brought Clara home – and while I’m sure some of it’s nature and some of it’s nurture (in other words, it probably won’t work with every kiddo), Clara has grown up to be a nice solid sleeper through all the chaos. We do use a sound machine in her room (to block the hammering or the barking somewhat) and also have light blocking curtains in there (she does seem to prefer total darkness even if there’s banging in the background).

Will you cloth diaper again? Will you use the same ones you used on Clara? Did you take your diaper sprayer with you from the old house? We have all of our supplies (our Bum Genius diapers and our sprayers) and we plan to reuse them after the baby gets big enough, like we did with Clara (I think it took her 2-3 months to grow into the one-size-fits-alls but they lasted her for years until she potty trained). We think all of them are in good enough condition to be reused, although we need to double-check them (since they’ve been packed up for several months now) and don’t mind picking up a few more if we need to. They definitely pay for themselves a hundred times over.

Are you nesting? I don’t think I am just yet. I’m making lots of lists and definitely have a million things I’d love to do before the baby’s here, but I’m not in that emptying-every-cabinet-and-scrubbing-it-like-a-maniac stage yet (that happened around 35 weeks with Clara).

Does the pregnancy change what’s next on your to-do list? Well it definitely bumped the nursery onto the list! I think generally we’re still interested in living here and seeing how this house works for our now-growing family, so we’re not planning to gut any kitchens or bathrooms before the baby comes since we’ll only have been in this house a few months (we generally like to wait over a year for those things). But I think we’ll keep nice and busy on non-gut jobs like setting up the nursery, adding built-ins to the bedroom and the office, working more on the living room and the guest room and the dining room, along with doing some in-the-meantime updates in the kitchen and bathrooms before those bigger down-the-road renovations.

I feel like a member of my own family is having a baby, can we all be honorary aunts and uncles please??? Yes. We are so grateful for all of the healthy baby prayers/vibes/dances that you guys have sent our way. Honestly, we’ll take every last one of them and we love you guys. Don’t make me get all hormonal and goobery. *sob* Too late.


As a little Friday bonus, here are four fun projects, chats, or questions going on over on the Forums. We also announced this week’s giveaway winner, so you can click here (and scroll down to the Rafflecopter box) to see if it’s you.

by DesertDomicile by Elliemae by sbanks02 by Vegas



It’s Wreath Time, Baby

I don’t know if it’s the crisp autumn breeze or the explosion of all things pumpkin on Pinterest, but a few days ago I woke up jonesing to make a fall wreath. Yes, some people have chocolate cravings, but I have craft cravings. Come to think about it, I also have chocolate cravings. Is there a correlation? Someone needs to study this.

Some of you have even been requesting more small crafty projects (like these) which have always been in the mix, but lately we’ve been so busy painting, stripping wallpaper, & renovating the sunroom that little homemade updates seem to have fallen by the wayside. But not anymore. The truth is we’ve missed them too! So I thought a cheap and easy fall wreath would be a fun place to start. Heck, even if the house behind this door is still half wallpapered, that doesn’t mean the door has to whisper “there are five seashell sinks going on in here.”

This entire thing only took about a half hour to make, and I got all of my supplies to make a nice big 25″ wreath for under 15 bucks (all of which are faux, so I can break this baby out year after year). So let’s call this a naptime project. Or a do-it-at-11pm-while-you-watch-Scandal project.

Here’s what I bought: a 25″ wreath for $6.99, a plastic pot of faux orange flowers for $4.99, and a stem of orange berries for $2.99, all from Garden Ridge (they actually have a pretty exhaustive faux flower section, and the prices seemed lower than some of the stems/plants I’ve seen at Michaels).

My first step was cutting all of the flowers off of the plant and clipping each of the berry branches off of the stem, so everything was freed up to be stuck into the wreath.

I ended up removing the green leaves (just clipping or pulling them off as I went) since it looked a little too jungle-ish (and not very fall-ish) with them on. Then I just stuck the larger flowers around the wreath, using their stems to hold them in place by shoving them into the wreath. You might notice that there are 15 flower-bunches in the wreath on the left of the picture below, but there are only 8 of them above on the table. Well, I realized that each bunch on the table could be further pulled apart, to make smaller bunches that could be somewhat evenly spaced around my wreath. At this point it was looking a little more Hawaiian than I hoped, but I thought the berries might fall things up once I removed their greenery and shoved them around the perimeter.

There’s definitely a little noodling that happens between spacing everything out the first time and calling it done…

… I moved some berries and flowers around for about ten more minutes, just to come up with what I thought looked nicely spaced out. I liked when some of the berries spilled over the outside of the wreath for that whole autumn/abundant/Thanksgiving vibe.

Admittedly with a cheerful blue door, the bright orange wreath feels pretty happy (as in, it probably could work for spring or summer as well) but when you get closer and see those berries there’s definitely a nice fall-ish feeling. And as for how I hung it, I just used one of those 3M wire Command hooks (the ones that stick to the door and can be peeled off later without harming the paint).

Oh yeah, and our little porch annuals bit the big one a few weeks back thanks to some pretty cold nights…

… so two potted mums from Home Depot brightened things up. We’re still hunting for a new light fixture and a wider door mat, but the wreath and those mums definitely add a little more “welcome” to our porch in the meantime.

Just pretend you don’t notice those two foot tall weeds hiding behind the bushes in the background of this picture. They can be our little secret, right?

What little crafty projects are you guys doing these days? Is there any other fall decorating and wreath making going on? It feels so nice to dive back into these quick and smile-inducing projects again. Sometimes hours spent stripping wallpaper or painting trim aren’t nearly as exciting as a thirty minute craft-fest with some fake flowers.