Nov 25, 2011

Like, Love and Don't Like

This week, I like grocery shopping. When I was a bachelor, I absolutely hated going to the grocery store. Because I never planned in advance, it seemed like I was always making trips to the grocery and I certainly never used coupons. My perspective on grocery shopping has changed now that Julie and I are working as a team. Julie, being great with child, needs all the rest she can get these days. I made a deal with her: if she would make a list and gather all the needed coupons, I would do all of the shopping. It’s worked out perfectly so far. I keep the trips short by using my male intuition (get in and get out). Julie is rested and I don’t go hungry…all is well!

This week, I love urban exploration. Julie and I were recently invited to a friend’s baby shower at a very nice facility in downtown Birmingham. During the shower, which was held on the fifth floor, I looked out over the city and noticed all of the run-down, forgotten buildings that seem to be on every block. I wondered what was inside of these buildings and remembered a website I came across that featured photos and stories about the crumbling, once-grand architecture of Detroit. From this site, I was introduced to the phenomenon that is urban exploration. Wikipedia defines urban exploration as “the examination of the normally unseen or off-limits parts of urban areas or industrial facilities.” A few days after the shower, I wondered if anyone has bothered “exploring” the abandoned buildings I had just observed. A quick internet search revealed that yes, people have. This amazing site is proof. It's really neat to see how buildings and rooms deteriorate. Be sure to check out the post on the old Bryce Hospital building, a former institution for the “insane”. I also recommend that you visit this site about a very cool exploration video of New York City. The video is long (almost 30 minutes) but well worth it.

This week, I don’t like Google+. Google+ (or is it Google Plus?) is Google’s answer to Facebook that was introduced this past summer. It generated a little buzz back then but has since gained very little attention. I recently felt compelled to determine whether or not my employer needed its own Google+ account, in addition to our Facebook and Twitter pages. To make this determination, I created a personal Google+ account to learn the ropes. I’d like to tell you that I’ve been able to explore all of Google+’s features, but I can’t. I have only been able to find 2 living people that I know that actually use Google+. But, I have been able to determine that Google+ is a confusing hodgepodge of features from Twitter and Facebook. Many people from all over the continent that I do not know have added me to their “circles”. What this means, I do not know. When signing up for my account, it became very clear that Google is on the way to becoming everyone’s go-to source for online activity, if they’re not there already. Google owns YouTube, Blogger and you probably use Gmail. Open a Google+ account and you’ll be able to incorporate social networking plus everything else under your main Google account (maybe that’s where the “+” came from). This takeover became even more evident when I noticed that all the photos that Julie and I have ever uploaded to this blog were made available for viewing in my Google+ account. It’s kinda creepy to realize how everything is so connected.

Nov 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Eat 'n eat 'n eat 'n eat and eat. Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 19, 2011

Making of a Nursery - Part 4

Last time I showed you a few of the accent fabrics that I picked out, and now, after much work, I am ready to show you what I have done with them so far. 

I will start by saying that if you have not discovered Pinterest yet...go sign up now!  Be warned, it will consume hours of your time....hours looking at the site and then hours trying to recreate all that you discover on the site.

To say that I am obsessed would be an understatement...but it really has been helpful in planning and preparing the nursery.  For instance I have wanted an X stool/bench for a while but could never justify spending over $300 for a stool.  I wanted to use one in the nursery in place of an ottoman because I thought it would add some interest to the room and also provide another place to sit in case Nick and I were both in the room.

So while on Pinterest a few weeks ago  I found this:

These are X stools from K-Mart!  Yes that's right K-Mart.  This is what they look like from the store.
This decorator simply painted the legs and covered the top.  What a great idea...and they are only $40.  Perfect solution for the nursery ottoman.  So off to K-Mart I went and got my very own.  Here is my transformation.

I may paint the legs at some point, but for now I like it the way it is.  Next on my list was to frame some of the fabric to go over the crib.  The sweet ladies at Sew Sheri Designs (the fabric store in Mt. Brook where I bought the fabrics) had the wonderful idea of framing the sea life print in multiple frames.  I was sceptical at first, but I love how it turned out.  This pattern has a large repeat so it isn't a great choice for pillows or smaller items, but framing it really gives the effect of the entire pattern.

Yet again while on Pinterest I came across this nursery:

They took Shel Silverstein poems and framed them for art in their daughter's nursery.  I love Shel Silverstein and thought this was such a great idea.  I opted not to spring for custom framing but rather pre-made frames from Michaels.  I think they turned out well.

I water colored a yellow border around each poem then matted and framed them.

Last but not least I finally decided on storage baskets for the changing table.  I have looked at every store that I could think of that sells baskets and while there are tons out there it is really difficult to find ones that are the right height and depth.  I ended up settling on these from Pier 1.  They had a dark brown stain and the brown just didn't seem to blend with the rest of the room.  I noticed that Restoration Hardware sells gray baskets in their Baby the Child line and thought that was a happy medium between the typical white or brown. 

I decided to spray paint mine gray and went to work making liners from both of the fabrics.

That will do it for this update....Ok so there are 4 days until Thanksgiving.  Not sure I will be completely done by then, but  I feel good about the progress I have made so far!

Hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving!

Nov 17, 2011

Showered....more like Immersed

As Nick mentioned in his post, we have been blessed beyond measure these past few weeks with several baby showers.  I wasn't sure I would ever feel as loved and supported as I did when we got married, but this is certainly a close second.  I know that it is the norm these days to have showers and parties when you get married and when you have a me I love hosting showers myself, but it takes on a whole new meaning when you are the one being honored.

Words cannot begin to express how grateful we are for all of our friends and family who have joined us in celebrating the upcoming arrival of our son.  Nick and I already love him more than we ever thought possible, but it is overwhelming when those around you express their love for him by showering us with extremelty generous gifts. 

A few weeks ago, we traveled to my hometown for our first shower. Some of my mom's very best friends hosted a beautiful shower at my home church. It was a special weekend in many ways, and we were truly smothered in love and kindness.

This deserves an explanation.  This is one of our dearest friends, Mrs. Shirley West.  She lived across the street from us growing up, and to this day our families are still very close.  The weekend before the shower Dr. and Mrs. West were in Auburn visiting my parents.  Nick and I were also in town for the football game.  The fabrics for the nursery had just come in, so I brought them with me to show my mom and Ellen.  Well of course I had to show Mrs. West too!  For those of you who don't know Mrs. West...she is the science queen.  She taught science for many years and more recently has founded Turtle Point Environmental Science Center.  She loves all things related to the ocean, so I knew she would love my sea turtle, fish, octopus themed nursery.

While shopping for a baby gift, she spotted this guy for Graham's nursery!  You should have seen my face when I saw his eyes peering out the top of the gift bag!  What a perfect gift, and I LOVE that it came from her.  We have named him Herman West.  Herman was Nick's pet turtle when he was a little boy, and West is in honor of Mrs.West.  Can't wait to snap that first picture of Graham with his turtle. 

A few weeks later, several of my co-workers, co-workers' wives, and one of my best friends, Bethany, hosted a shower here in Birmingham.  Once again I was overwhelmed with everyone's generosity.  It was a sweet afernoon with family and friends!

And just this week, the girls in my Sunday School Class hosted a diapers and wipes shower.  We do this for each other when someone in the class has a baby, and it is such a sweet time of fellowship.  At each shower we take time to pray for the baby and the parents.  It was a special evening for me, and I am so thanful for our amazing Sunday School community.  I somehow managed to come away with  no pictures, but here is the loot they sent me home with!  I think we are set for a while!

What a special season in life!  We are beside ourselves with excitment about Graham's upcoming arrival and are reminded how loved and supported we are by our family and friends.  Thank you for immersing us with your generosity!  We are forever grateful.

Nov 10, 2011

Like, Love and Don't Like

This week, I like my iPhone. I’m a long-time AT&T customer and recently upgraded to an iPhone 4. The elitist attitude held by most users of Apple products has always rubbed me the wrong way. But I wanted a new phone and the whole family of Droid phones is confusing to me. Julie has used an iPhone for quite some time now and I knew she was satisfied with the service. I upgraded online and received my new phone in 2 days (super easy, by the way). I’m still learning the ins and outs but I really like it. Calling it a “phone” seems silly since I’ve made less than 5 calls in the 2 weeks I’ve had it but, if anything, I like my new phone for my social media outlets.

This week, I love baby showers. As Graham’s arrival gets closer and closer, the gifts have been piling up. He’s received a lot of toys but the majority of the gifts have been items that we’ll need to clothe and raise him. Julie and I are extremely thankful for your generosity and I can’t wait for him to get here! I have been made aware of some side bets pertaining to my reaction to all of the attention Graham is receiving. My mom once told me that once you have a baby, it’s not about ‘you’ anymore. I think I’m starting to realize exactly what she meant. It already makes me feel good to see so many people doing nice things for our son.

This week, I don’t like the direction of the new Three Stooges film. As you know, I am a huge fan of the Stooges. Lots of rumors regarding a Stooges movie have been making the rounds for the past few years. At one point, Sean Penn was pegged to play Larry along with Jim Carrey (Curley) and Benicio Del Toro (Moe). Casting these three stars was thought to add significant muscle to a Stooges bio-film, something that’s never gained any traction in Hollywood. But, as stars will do, all three actors lost interest in this Farrelly Brothers project and production was put on hold. It now appears that a lot of work has been done since that point. A photo of a revised cast was recently released and I have to tell you, it ain’t pretty.

That’ right…Will Sasso as “Curley”, Sean Hayes as “Larry” and some Greek guy as “Moe”. This movie just went from the top shelf to the basement. Check out the film’s website and you’ll see that the cast of Jersey Shore will make a cameo in the movie. So, these will be modern-day Stooges. Ugh, we get Snooki but no Shemp.

You may not think the Stooges are funny but they are indeed comedy legends. Maybe I am an old soul or maybe they are just an acquired taste. Either way, there’s no denying that their careers were built on a platform (short films) that had a brief life. They were never considered relevant enough to catch on in TV or movies. The Stooges deserve a great movie made by great stars but it appears we’ll just have to keep waiting.

Just try to watch this without laughing: