Happy Birthday Newlyweds:North! (and a giveaway!)

Today is a big day, ya'll!

Exactly one year ago today, I published the very first blog post on Newlyweds:North. 
When I stop to think about that, I am honestly overwhelmed with everything that has happened in just one year. That first post announced our move to Maine and we clearly haven't slowed down yet. A wedding, destination unknown Honeymoon, our first few months of marriage living thousands of miles apart, selling our South Carolina house, buying our Maine house sight unseen, marriages of friends and families, babies born, exploring Maine, surviving (barely) our first winter, our first married holidays away from extended family, announcing our pregnancy, a winter escape to Mexico and gearing up for the birth of our son and our Babymoon....I mean, what more could we have possibly squeezed into 12 months??


One thing that I know for sure is that through all of the craziness, this blog has turned out to be a blessing. I have "met" so many amazing bloggers - most through their own blogs and some in real life. It has been such an experience to watch all of their lives change and take turns right along with mine. Every comment, email and coffee date has meant more to me than most of you could realize. Even when I was alone out here in the wilds of Maine, I never felt truly lonely because I had all of you. 

So, thank you, one million times over, for reading this little slice of our lives.

And what kind of birthday would it be without presents?? 
 I thought I might really say thank you by having a Blog Birthday Giveaway! 
Thank you to Mia Earrings for sponsoring this giveaway
I found Mia Earrings though my blog and real life friend Megan and I have been a fan ever since.
When I wanted to give my baby shower hostess, Ashley, a very special hostess gift, I immediately went to Mia and asked her to create a special necklace just for Ashley. 


The initials represent the two guys in her life, her baby boy and her husband (can you guess who got the bigger disc?!). Mia hand stamps each of her pieces so no two are identical and each piece is gold plated. I'm actually dying for a piece with baby Gray's name or initial on it (hint, hint husband).

When Ashley's necklace arrived, I sent Mia a message thanking her for her work and basically gushing over her pieces. I mentioned that I had a little blog and would love to share her jewelry and wouldn't you know it, Mia send a little something just for ya'll! 


These sweet hammered heart studs are just perfection.
Wouldn't these be the best Mother's Day gift for the new mom? Studs to keep her feeling put together but nothing to dangle and entice the babe to grab and pull!

The Blog Birthday Giveaway will be open through next Wednesday, May 7th. 
Good luck, ya'll!

xoxo
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Bumpdate: 28 Weeks

We're going to do the Bumpdate a day early this week because I have a big surprise for y'all tomorrow!


(don't mind the construction in the background...tis the season around here)

How Far Along: 28 weeks
Hello third trimester!

Size of Babe: a large eggplant
(and he now has eyelashes!)

Gender: all things blue

Symptoms: lots and lots of baby movement, hard jabs and kicks and bumps on my belly that must be a foot sticking out, rolling over in bed has become an act of God, still getting up all night long and sometimes still staying up for hours on end, lots of thinking about baby and what he might look like, crazy dreams, still rocking the stuffy nose, swollen hands and feet and finding it difficult to bend, twist, lean over or hike the stairs too many times in a row.

Loving: the way the nursery is beginning to look!

Loathing: I'm going to guess that I am loathing my glucose test at the very second that you're reading this.

Husband: is working hard until our trip...

Wedding Rings: haven't seen them in months

Belly Button: is a weird innie/outtie hybrid

Movement: constantly at night. The other night he woke me up playing the drums on my belly. Constant, repetitive, hard movements....it was insane.

Maternity Clothes: still mixing and matching!

Best Part of the Week: getting so many projects done around the house! Nesting has reached an all new level of intense.

Worst Part of the Week: I have to admit that I don't want to step on the scale at my doctors appointment and I most certainly do not want to fail my glucose test and sit through the 3 hour one....fingers crossed!

Can't Wait For: Greece!!


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DIY Diva: Dresser Make Over

Happy Monday, ya'll!
Our internet is down at home (#ruraltownpobs) so I'm posted up at a local lunch spot so that I can report in on my most recent furniture project. As ya'll know, we purchased this dresser from a local antique market for baby Gray's nursery.


I actually liked the way it looked in it's full Retro Brady Glory, but
it clearly needed just a tiny bit of love and attention. Seeing as this would be my first time rehabbing a piece of wood furniture, I did what any sane person would do and scoured Pinterest for tutorials, supply lists and methodology. Despite all of my research, I made many, many newbie mistakes and will happily report them all so that you can avoid them should you ever take on a restoration project.

So, here's what I used:



medium grit sand paper
a rag
a mask (if you're pregnant or sensitive to dust from 1970)
drop cloth or something to protect your work space
paint (the finish of the paint does not matter and you definitely do not need an entire gallon)
Polyurethane Seal (this is where you pick your finish...choose accordingly!)
paint brushes
small roller
paint tray
spray paint for finishes or new hardware

Method:

Drag the furniture piece to your work space
(somewhere well ventilated and somewhat protected from the elements)

Remove all drawers, doors and hardware


Bag hardware with their accompanying screws in little plastic baggies for easy re-attachment later

Use the medium grit sandpaper block to give all surfaces a good rough sanding.


The goal is to give the paint something to attach to besides the smooth coat of seal already on the piece.


(I wore a mask for this part, just for baby's sake)
Don't forget to sand drawer faces and door fronts
You can also use this opportunity to sand off any "imperfections". My dresser had sticky remnants of a very old price tag on the top corner...I spent a few extra seconds in that area and it was history.

Wipe off all dust with a slightly damp rag.

(Pro Tip: this step is messy...don't use your Willams Sonoma dish towels)

After lots of researching, I/Justin decided not to spend the money on primer. The paint color we chose came in a paint and primer in one and we decided to use the first coat of paint as the primer.


I am happy with this method but you should know that if you don't prime, the first coat of paint will look really, really rogue.


Don't panic over the appearance, this layer truly does serve as the primer layer and won't necessarily save you time, but it will save you a teeny bit of money.


Things will look better after coat #2


I used a roller and a paint brush to apply my coats of paint- make sure to paint a thin layer each time and let it dry between coats. The drying will be the longest part of the entire project...but it makes a difference. If you rush it, you will get globs of paint and obvious mistakes...trust me. I did little projects between each layer and let each dry for approximately an hour and half before I painted again.



I applied three coats of paint (including the primer layer) before I was satisfied that the entire piece was coated evenly and the color was what I hoped for.

At this point, I really thought the hard part was over...but I was wrong.


When applying the seal, you must be very careful to apply very, very thin coats with brush strokes that are even and in the same direction. While the seal will dry clear, it will also show where you applied brush strokes in different directions or smushed it on in thick blobs. I know this because we applied two thick, willy nilly coats of seal and then the next morning, I hated the outcome. I ended up re-painting over the seal layers and then re-sealing.
It was tedious.

Also, be careful to use a clean paintbrush free of lint or dust when applying the seal. If your paint brush has any sort of debris on it, it will get stuck in the seal and you will most definitely see it when the seal coat dries....

While everything is drying for the final time, spray paint your fixtures.



 I gave mine a few good coats and that was that.
Attach all fixtures, drawers and doors - make sure that when the drawers and doors are reattached that you can't see any chunks of the original stain or color. I needed to go back and paint a bit of the interior to ensure that you couldn't see the original wood when the doors were closed.

Also, be prepared that you may need to purchase new screws or hardware if you piece is old. Our screws were stripped and we ran to Lowe's to grab a few extras to get the doors back on.

And viola!
A brand new dresser/changing table for baby Gray!



 

Justin requested the silver paint on the original hardware and I think it gives the dresser an industrial look...very boy!

Once you get one project under your belt, this really is an easy task to accomplish. I'm currently in the process of working on another piece for our entry way!
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Five on Friday

Happy Friday Ya'll!
It's been a crazy week around here and the days just slipped past me!
It wouldn't be a Friday without linking up with April and Co. for another round of Five on Friday to celebrate the end of the week....so here we go!


1. DIY Diva

(sneak peak!)

The past few days I've been working on baby Gray's dresser...and oh, Lordy have I made one million newbie mistakes! This is my first time giving a piece of furniture a make over and it has been quite the learning experience. I think I'm finally happy with the result and will share all of my stumbles and re-do's with y'all on Monday. Until then, I'll be attempting to remove the navy paint from my nails, hair and ankles (?).

2. Sweet Dreams
This babe is really rocking my sleep world! Some nights I sleep really well, with the exception of my trips to the bathroom, and some nights those trips to the bathroom result in hours upon hours of laying awake thinking. It is the worst. The other morning Justin set his alarms (yes, plural) for 5am and then proceeded to hit snooze until 7am. Two entire hours of alarms going off and I was awake for every single one. And then of course I'm exhausted by 9am and have to nap to get through the day....days like that just seem like a lost cause of exhaustion, napping and trips to the bathroom. I'm guessing baby boy is getting me ready for his arrival!

3. Just Like Daddy
Justin and I are working very hard to get the nursery ready before our trip to Greece in just a few short weeks. Once we return, I will be 8 months pregnant and it will be time to pack our hospital bags, so having the room ready is our top priority in the baby department these days. Yesterday I hung the baby hats on the back of Gray's door and realized they looked mighty familiar...



4. Deadliest Catch


Anyone else excited that this show is back on for it's 10th Season?? I mean, I get its no Whale Wars, but I just love the drama. My friend Caroline and I used to watch it and she would always say "I wonder what it smells like there!". I can't watch anymore without thinking about what their rain gear, bait bags and cabins must smell like!

5. Sunshine
Today is the first day in 4 days and the last day in the forceable forecast that we are hang a gorgeous sunny day. With that in mind, I'm going to be a good Mainer and head out and bask in the rays!

Have a fab weekend!
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Bumpdate: 27 Weeks




How Far Along: 27 weeks
(last week of my second trimester!)

Size of Babe: a cauliflower

Gender: blue

Symptoms: super large and in charge, lots of trips to the bathroom, puffy feet and hands, thick/long hair, some exhaustion, not able to bend or twist well

Loving: black tea lemonade shakers from Starbucks, white cheddar cheese, cake, Dr. Pepper in mini cans, that we are making huge progress on baby boy's nursery!

Loathing: ugh getting up all night long

Husband: has been so sweet getting baby Gray's room ready! He has built so many things and has been happy to do so. I'm super grateful for all of his hard work!


Wedding Rings: uh, no

Belly Button: is shockingly still an innie

Movement: oh yes ma'am....once we made it through that exhausting growth spurt, the movement has been all over the place. I think I may have even felt hiccups a few nights ago.

Maternity Clothes: still able to mix and match. The dress in these pics is from Old Navy and is a hand me down. I highly recommend going to snag this if you are pregnant....it is so comfortable! and covers your arms (bonus!). I have good luck at H&M Maternity online and Old Navy Maternity online. ASOS online has great stuff too!

Best Part of the Week: waking up to baby boy's nursery all put together thanks to my sweet husband's late night work!

Worst Part of the Week: nothing really to complain about!

Missing Most: can you guess?
yeah, wine.

Can't Wait For: our trip to Greece! and getting our glucose test over with next week.








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Pinterest to the Rescue

Morning ya'll!
So our Easter dinner was wonderful and went off without a hitch....thanks to some last minute intervention from Pinterest!
I woke up Easter morning and realized that I didn't have a desert planned...total fail in this house. I pretty much always have a cake mix stashed in my cabinets somewhere for moments like these and was pretty pleased to dig out a yellow box cake mix on Easter morning.

But what to do about frosting? I had nothing.

Thank goodness for Pinterest...
After a few pretty specific searches (something like "how do you make easy frosting without any ingredients) I found this little gem for chocolate buttercream icing.
Buyer beware: in no way is this a healthy recipe but it is so, so good!

As you'll see in the recipe below, I only used what I had on hand, which caused me to cut the recipe in half. There was still plenty of frosting to ice a single layer round cake (and for both Justin and Mark to get a spoon to lick)

Check out the link for step by step photo directions, but it really is just so easy you probably won't need them!

recipe and photo via Cookies and Cups
Ingredients
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 lb (2 cups) butter 1/2 lb (1 cup butter)
How to Make
  1. In medium saucepan, melt chocolate chips and butter over medium low heat, whisking frequently.
  2. When melted, cool completely and chill until solid.
  3. Remove from fridge and allow to come up to room temperature.
  4. Put all the chocolate in a mixing bowl and beat on medium for 2 minutes until light in color and fluffy.
Notes
Makes enough frosting to filling and frost an 8" layer cake, or frost 24 cupcakes. Store refrigerated, but allow to come back to room temperature before serving.

Enjoy! 
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Easter Weekend

Oh man, what a crazy weekend!
On Friday I spent the entire day turning one of guest rooms into an empty room so that it could be eventually transformed into Baby Gray's nursery. Um, we had a ton of stuff stashed in that room that I had completely forgotten about....oops.


With my giant self, it took me forever to lug things to the other guest room, the basement and the trash can. But I managed to get it done just in time for Justin to come home....and put the crib together!! He's been waiting to put that crib together since it magically showed up on our doorstep a few months ago. I have pics, but I'm going to wait until the big nursery reveal to show ya'll :-)

On Saturday we ventured South to purchase Gray's rug from a West Elm in Boston and the rest of his room pieces at an Ikea in a suburb south of Boston...

Justin whipped up the perfect breakfast for our travels:


and oh yeah! We found a Chick Fil A in a mall in Massachusetts!



With all of our stops for nuggets, bathroom breaks for me and detours around a big city having one of their biggest weekends of the year, it was a 12 hour day round trip.
I was so exhausted by the time we got home I literally left every single thing in the car and went up stairs and immediately fell asleep. Mark had some of our friends over for beers so I assumed Justin hung out with them for a while and then came to bed.I woke up on Easter morning to let the dog out and get the cinnamon rolls going and noticed a bunch of empty card board laying around the downstairs....

I made my way to the nursery to find that Justin had put together every single piece of furniture and managed to lay out an 8x10 rug and rug pad all by himself. He had even draped a blanket over the rocker so the room looked styled. I literally died of happiness. My sweet husband must have been up for hours and hours after an incredibly long day in the car just to finish every single piece.

(no pics of the room, but you can see my Easter tulips!)

We spent Easter morning downing cinnamon rolls on our front porch in the sun and then it was time for me to get cooking! Green bean casserole, crock pot mac and cheese, honey glazed ham, special rolls and a home made yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting were on the menu for the day.

(my first ham!)


Luckily, I had a few extra guys around the table to help me finish off the ham and cake (nothing makes me happier than people getting up for seconds!).
And what kind of holiday would it be without a corn hole competition!



Nothing says Easter like boat shoes, candy colored polos and a pup in the sun


I let the boys enjoy a little friendly competition and did the following:

(no worries, it's a virgin)

After a round of naps on the sofa for everyone, I took my extra slice of cake and glass of milk upstairs and let the boys clean the kitchen! This mama to be needed to call it a night for sure!

This was certainly a blessed Easter for us. My husband, our son, our friends who are family, our home, all of the lessons that we've learned this last year, all are blessings that I am overwhelmingly grateful for. I hope everyone had a blessed Easter full of honey ham and yummy cake!

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