Kids & Pets
We haven’t done one of these posts since 2010, so it feels kind of strange and exciting to be sharing this kind of news with you guys again. We found out on Wednesday, and then scurried to tell our families over the last 48 hours. Of course, the most important person to tell first was Clara.
We didn’t want her to learn the news from an ultrasound technician, so we scheduled a playdate for her with my dad during this particular appointment. Then when we were back together, we surprised her with a baby boy doll (which are surprisingly hard to find, we learned). It was a cute little “OK, look in the bag to see if there’s a little boy or a little girl in mommy’s belly!” moment.
And if there’s one thing she enjoys more than tearing through some tissue paper, it’s baby dolls. It was love at first sight and, more importantly, she completely connected the dots that this meant she was getting a little brother. She pretty much immediately started giving him his bottle and changing his diapers and even bragged that she knew it was a boy the whole time. When we asked her what she wanted to name the baby doll, without hesitation she shouted: “Barnacles!” After Sherry and I completely failed at stifling our laughter, Clara explained that its full name was actually Captain Barnacles (a character in one of her new favorite shows, Octonauts). So yeah, she won’t be naming her real brother… but we have called the bun “the barnacle” a few times since then.
She (okay, well all of us) originally guessed we were having a girl. But our instincts started to shift to boy when Sherry’s morning sickness wouldn’t let up (this pregnancy is pretty different than the last). Which is good because Clara started asking for a brother, probably because a few of her best friends have baby brothers. Regardless of the reason, she couldn’t have been more thrilled at the news. And so are we.
After about the sixteenth Captain Barnacle diaper change, Clara called up Nonna to tell her via FaceTime. She was really excited to deliver the news – and Nonna was just as excited to hear it!
For telling my family here in town, we decided to make a little game out of the announcement. We managed to get my parents, my sister, and her family to meet us out to dinner last night (at Panera, since we’re super fancy and all). We came armed with a bunch of blue and pink envelopes, so each person could make a final guess by picking a pink envelope if they thought it was a girl and a blue one if they thought boy.
Then we had them all tear into them at the same time to see if their baby-dar was on point or not. All of the blue ones said some iteration of “yup!” or “bingo!” or “you betcha!” and all the pink ones said “nope!” “try again!” or “wrong-o!” We had about a 50/50 split in guesses, so even though half of ‘em were off-base, everyone was thrilled. It was really fun to watch their faces as they all figured it out at pretty much exactly the same moment.
Then we got to make a whole bunch of other family & friend calls to spread the news (Clara was awesome about boasting “I’m getting a baby brother!” about 100 times to various friends and relatives on the horn). And that, as they say, is history.
Sherry and I are both really excited. We’re mostly just thankful to hear there’s a healthy
bun barnacle growing in there, no matter its sex. But being able to picture this child – this boy! – a bit more clearly makes the excitement that much more real. As much as two little girls would’ve been fun, we’re really looking forward to the experience of raising a son along with this great daughter of ours. Not to mention that Sherry’s already going crazy looking at nurseries on Pinterest.
It’s fun to think about the possibilities for that room now that we know better who will be occupying it. Not that we’ll fill it with “man things” or make it all blue and green (actually, come to think of it, Clara’s original nursery was blue and green) but it’s just fun to talk about potential projects and colors and art now. The funny thing is that the nursery is the only room in this entire house that had pink trim when we bought it.
Good thing it’s already painted white! Bad that the room is currently housing a bunch of random junk. Guess it’s getting time to start working on that…
We’d love to hear your stories about finding out the sex of your baby (whether halfway through with an ultrasound, one of those early blood tests, or right there in the delivery room). And feel free to share how you told your family and friends. Was it a photo on Facebook? One of those blue/pink cakes? A box full of balloons? Or did you just call or visit people and blurt out the news? Any way you play it, it’s a pretty exciting moment.
Yes, that’s a bad Sound of Music pun in the title. Please forgive me, Julie Andrews. But do you guys remember when Clara’s canopy wall looked like this?
Well now it looks like this.
Although the door color is actually more true to life in this Instragram sneak peek that we shared yesterday (iPhone for the win). And the pink drops are easier to see in real life (they seem to hide in these pics for some reason).
How did we get there? Well, a whole bunch of photoshop-brainstorming here resulted in over 900 truly amazing comments and ideas from you guys. And then we shared all of our original photoshopped versions of the canopy wall with Clara as well as some new ones that we whipped up based on suggestions from you to see which ones she liked best. We never would have thought of all the things you guys came up with, and one that rolled in over and over again was the idea of putting the raindrops outside of the canopy instead of under it like we had originally done in this rendering (which was inspired by this this charming project).
We loved the idea of the canopy appearing to shelter Clara from the colorful little raindrops, so this new take on the raindrops was one of the extra ones that we photoshopped for her to see (along with some other fun ones involving constellations, some bold paint on that full wall behind the bed, a few different colors of paint on the closet door to the right of her bed, etc).
And let me tell you, Clara’s a decisive girl. After about 2.5 seconds she looked at them all and said “I like the raindrops on the wall outside but I want them to be pink and red and blue, and I want the door to be pink – but not light pink. DARK PINK!” Which led me to making this photoshopped image for “final approval” from Clara.
And here’s how it went over…
It’s hilarious to me how we go full circle on the “I love the dark pink door… now make it dark pink!” – but I’m obsessed with the door color that we ended up with, so Clara was right. It wasn’t pink or dark enough in the photoshopped version above, but somehow we got it right with real paint.
In short, she’s a decorating genius (along with you genius readers and all of your genius suggestions). The cutest thing of all is that when she saw me painting the raindrops she said “Wowwww! Mom I really like it real! Even better than the computer!” And when it was all done (including the pink door, which she incessantly reminded me about until it was done) she walked in and said “It’s….. truly magnificent!” It’s is a quote from one of her favorite books (Room On The Broom) and it had John and I rolling on the floor. Seriously, it was the sweetest moment and I wish we had thought to record it.
The raindrops are actually just painted right onto the wall using a simple cardboard stencil that I made. To make the template for it, I used an old page from an activity book that Clara had ripped out and tossed aside (waste not, want not) and folded it in half vertically and just cut a half-teardrop-ish shape from it and unfolded it. I liked the scale and it was nice and symmetrical since I used the folded technique, so I traced that onto the back of a cracker box and cut it out to create a cardboard template.
Then I brought my laptop into her room so I could reference my photoshopped placement of the drops (although I didn’t mimic it exactly) and just traced the cardboard shape directly onto the wall with a pencil, randomly staggering them around that wall. There was zero measuring involved since I didn’t want them to be perfectly placed (rain seems to fall more randomly than that anyway) so I just stood back and checked out the wall and sort of eyed everything as I went.
I assumed we’d have to run to the store for some $2.99 test pots of paint in pink, blue, and red as Clara requested – but I looked in the garage at what we had, and was thrilled to find an old dusty quart of blue paint leftover from a few years ago (the color is called Tranquil) and remembered that we had some pink leftover from Clara’s ceiling (Pink Cadillac) and there was also about half of a quart of a bold poppy-red color called Milano Red from a few years back (don’t even remember what we used that for!). But if you don’t have a paint hoarding problem like me, three test pots would do the job for under $9 – so either way this is a simple and low-budget update, especially since you can make your own stencil for it!
After digging those out, I shook them up, and popped the lids off all three of them, and just laid them out on the white dresser top in her room to see how the colors worked in there (it helped to see them on a white surface since the wall is white so it gave me a good idea of how they’d work together – although paint dries darker so I knew the light pink would show up more on the wall). One happy accident about finding all of these colors in the garage was that they all had varying intensities (see how the red is the boldest one and the blue is sort of the mid-tone and the pink is light and soft?) which I realize now in hindsight might have helped the whole project come out slightly less busy than if all three colors were super bold and sort of compete-y with each other.
I was sold, so I called John and Clara up to see them and they both gave me the thumbs up and left before I could put them to work (smart people), so I dove into filling all of my pencil-traced raindrops on the wall using a very small craft brush. I worked with one color at a time, doing all of the blue ones first (I consulted my photoshopped image but went rogue a few times if I thought a different color order would look better in some spots) and then moved onto the light pink ones and finished with the bold red ones.
Each color ended up needing two coats, so by the time I finished the red ones I went back in and did the second coat on the blue ones and then did the second coat on the pink and then the red. Total time spent tracing them onto the wall and painting = less than two hours. Oh and my favorites are the ones that drip into something (like the door frame or the canopy) just because their cut-off shape is so playful. It really does feel raindrop-esque in there now, and I’m so glad that Clara loves it as much as we do (she did admit that the red raindrops are her favorite, but she “likes them all mixed up like that because it’s like a rainbow”).
Then it was time to paint the door, so after holding up a bunch of swatches to try to find one that was slightly pinker and darker than the photoshopped image that Clara had otherwise signed off on, we headed to the store to grab a quart of the winning color: Cinco De Mayo. The hilarious thing about that color name is that I thought “since I have so much leftover paint that I can’t even remember in the garage, I should go through it to see if I have some of that color by some paint miracle” and I found one can that said Mardi Gras on it and totally did the happy dance and then my brain said “Cinco De Mayo and Mardi Gras are not the same paint color” (oddly enough they were kind of close except Mardi Gras was a little more neon).
So we ran to the store and bought a quart of Cinco De Mayo and it just took two coats (and a third pass of just touch ups) to get it done with a small foam roller and a small angled brush to get into the frames of the door (you can read more on door-painting here). We did both sides of the door just so that whether it’s open or closed there’s that pop of color over there.
Oh and to everyone who recommended painting that door, you were totally right! Initially I worried about the wall feeling unbalanced if we painted it, but the polka dot wall of curtains (there are four of them) to the left of the canopy seems to visually balance the bright door so it’s not an issue at all. I also worried it would look weird to have one colorful door in her room (that’s her closet door) while the door to her room (from the hallway) remains white, but it’s not a big deal in real life. I just had to get over my matchy-matchy thing (all of the doors in all of our houses have always been white)… but once I saw this one on Pinterest I was all over it. I’ve always wanted to make that closet feel like a little playhouse within the room for Clara, and the bold door is the first step to that.
Of course we still have a big blank spot over her bed (we think maybe hanging a white paper pendant might be fun, sort of like the lamp in the photoshopped version) and her room is still full of white walls everywhere else (can’t wait to hang some art, do some projects with Clara, and eventually get her crib outta there so we can have some fun with the wall where that lives). But it’s a whole lot happier with those raindrops and that colorful door in full effect.
What did you guys do this weekend? Any stencil making? Or door painting? How about cry-laughing when your three year old says “magnificent” – that might have been my favorite part.