Countdown Interrupted! Welcoming Baby Henry! :-)

First I must apologize to my followers, but as I am sure must of you assumed, it was interrupted for a good reason! On Monday (the 26th), I went to my doctor who informed me that she thought I would not go into labor for a few more weeks! This totally contradicted what my midwife and I thought…. and what do you know, the next morning I went into labor! Little Henry was born at 6:03pm on Tuesday, May 27th. :-) He is beautiful, sleepy, and healthy. Here are some photos directly after the birth:HenryFirstDayBlackandWhite

The following posts will be some reflections of post-birth.

Hope everyone had a great weekend! :-)

Wannsee May 25th

Countdown Cont… Post 4- Fighting the urge to be a pregnant hermit!

Exactly as the title says, I am not sure if other pregnant women experience this, but I am really having to fight the urge to not be a hermit! I am not sure if it is because I am one day past my original due date, or because it is so hot here right now, or if I am just being ridiculous but it is like pulling teeth to drag me out of the house :P

Yesterday, as we got a lot done in the flat, Sascha said we had to go out today and sight see a little bit! Although I originally threw a hissy fit, I am glad he persuaded me. We spent three hours at Berlin’s lovely Wannsee. It was absolutely gorgeous! Finally saw some SAND in Germany :)

Two things that will take me awhile to get used to in Berlin:

  1. Most beaches you have to pay to get in to! We had to pay 11 euros.
  2. Despite the 11 euro fee they only had two people working the entrance way. Meaning, we literally had to queue 30 minutes to enter!!! I had never even fathomed that there could be a queue line at a beach.

However, despite the long queue and entrance fee, I must honestly say it was gorgeous and that I would recommend people visiting Berlin when its warm to definitely pay the beach a visit. Especially great for people who love to people watch! You see tons of different cultures, singles, families, young couples, old couples, pretty much everyone was enjoying the sun today. I forgot our camera at home (blaming pregnancy brain), but just snapped these photos with the iPhone. It was so lovely there I think it would have been hard to take a bad photo!

Wannsee Berlin May 25th

Hope everyone had a great weekend! :)

Balkon TLC

Countdown Cont… Post 3- A little Balcony TLC

Thanks to the beautiful weather, I was inspired to finally get some work done on the balcony! :) Luckily, as its Saturday, I had Sascha’s help so I didn’t have to lift anything. We actually spent under 100 € on the entire thing and it really makes a big difference! Here is a before photo (another blank canvas pretty much):

Pretty much bare...
Pretty much bare…

And, because I think it is important to show photos in progress, here is us doing the prep work and taking a break in-between! :)

Balcony Set Up Collage

 

Surprisingly, the actually work didn’t take long. We spent about 2 hours total setting up all the plants, adding fresh soil, clean up, etc. The part that took forever was the shopping. Saturday mornings, as the shops are closed in Germany on Sunday, is NOT FUN. Some helpful tips to remember:

  1. Remember to bring an old blanket or towel with you when you go shopping so you don’t ruin the interior of your car. Even though we specially had a box, soil still went everywhere all over the blanket.
  2. Someone (maybe my mother or father?) once told me to take bar soap and scratch your fingernails on it before you start. Then, when you wash your hands later, the dirt comes out easily. Genius tip :)
  3. You wouldn’t think something so small like adding an Herb Garden or even a few pots of flowers makes a big difference but it does. You feel so good once you are done. We literally just sat outside for an extra hour smiling and enjoying the smells of all the fresh herbs. So peaceful and worth every penny spent.

Here is a shabby panoramic photo of the end result :) I still need to add accessories but for two hours of work I am feeling pretty good about it! Basics are at least done!

Pano! Balkon!

Countdown Cont… Post 2- Priority is all on the Nursery

Everyone has forewarned me that once Baby H comes everything else goes on the back burner. Well, case in point that has already started to happen in our household and he is not even here yet. Because of the move, I am still not done setting everything up (I feel like I will never be done)! But what I can proudly say is the nursery is coming around beautifully! I am really into the color teal in the moment :) Our bedroom not so much.

startingBabyHroom1
Baby H’s Reading Corner (doubles as Guest Bed).

Compared to our bedroom which looks like a very plain white canvas in the moment! :P

Very Plain White Bedroom in the Moment.
Very Plain White Bedroom in the Moment.

As you can see, I haven’t even started in our room yet. Baby has definite priority :) In case anyone is interested this is the Brimnes Bed from Ikea with the headboard with built in bookshelves and bed baskets! Our room (as you can also see in the photo), is very narrow so we needed to be very smart with our storage space. So far, we are very pleased with the bed and I would recommend  it to people with a similar bedroom layout.

At the end of the COUNTDOWN I will include a full nursery tour. :)

Countdown begins; Post 1- Top 5 Things You Should Buy Secondhand

TOP 5 THINGS YOU SHOULD BUY SECONDHAND

(Not in any particular order)

1. Furniture!- if you hunt and browse, second hand stores, eBay, craigslist, garage sales, etc. You can not only save hundreds but you often end up with a better quality more unique piece than buying new! Case in point, this Italian black leather sofa I found on an online forum:

Black Leather Sofa

I would never have been able to afford it new!

2. Books!!! All kinds. You can save hundreds & hundreds by buying used books. Both Sascha and I are avid readers, so this is one area we save a lot of money. Recently, as I have been looking to purchase children’s book second hand, I realized how much I missed one of my favorite Munich books stores, The Munich Readery. Their website is hideous but I promise popping into their store you will find something! I would also love if anyone had any great recommendations for secondhand children’s books in Berlin :-)

3. Paintings! Paintings are really hard for me to pick out. But I would say about half of the artwork we have is secondhand. With paintings, I would argue this is one of the only times to be an impulse buyer! If you see a piece you love, but are unsure, buy it anyways! Because it is very likely that within the next few hours it will not be there anymore. I did this with an awkward Picasso print, I was on the fence debating in the store for like 40 minutes whether or not to purchase it. Thankfully I did, and now it is one of my favorite pieces in the flat!

4. Vases (and other misc. deco items, like a clock)! At least in Germany, Vases are incredibly over priced. (I am not talking about Ikea or Bauhaus here). I am talking about handmade items. If you are a flower lover, like me, than second hand vases are a must! I purchased this vase for seriously 2 €! It was handmade from Tuscany. Likely it would have been around 100 € in the store.

Tuscan Vase

 

5. Clothes (especially children’s clothes)! This is the obvious one. Not only is it better for the environment but also much better for your wallet! Good quality baby clothes in Germany are very expensive so for finding good brands I always look for secondhand items! If anyone needs help or recommendations regarding which stores, feel free to PM me! I could go on and on otherwise in this category :-)

For those individuals who do not have to worry about budget, I would still recommend checking out some secondhand stores! I am often surprised by how many hidden treasures are out there! :-)

Easy DIY Dresser to Changing Table, Wickeltisch

Like lots of other couples living in apartments, we knew right away that our dresser would need to double up as a changing table. The IKEA Hemnes dresser, ended up being a great option for us, I am quite leggy, and wanted something that I didn’t need to constantly hunch over, and it has such great storage possibilities! Half the drawers are actually still empty (which apartment dwellers know is very very rare). :P I will use the half empty drawers to stock up on diapers. But first, I need meet Baby H to see how big he is before I stock up. :)

Hemnes Diaper Storage

 

So to help protect the dresser a bit, I bought a simple colorless and odorless Beeswax. You can purchase this from any hardware store or if you do purchase your dresser from Ikea they also sell it. Then with a simple paper towel, I rubbed (pretty hard) the wax in. I was just going to do the top layer, but then I thought about my friend’s children and crayons, and decided it wouldn’t hurt to do the entire dresser! :D The entire process took only 10 minutes.

Beeswax protection

The only other ‘extra protection’ I did, was I slipped a disposable changing pad mat underneath the 3 layered cloth changing pad. I chose a cloth layered pad because winters can be pretty rough here and I can not imagine putting Baby H on a ice cold plastic pad. Plus, everyone knows what they say when you change baby boy diapers with cold air! :P

I still have a lot of finishing touches and more art & photos that I need to put up… but here is the result of the repurposed dresser:

Changing Table/Wickeltisch

Orange Dresser Knob

It’s all in the details: Knobs, Handles, Knöfe, Griffe

Usually its the small things that make a big difference!

I absolutely loves KNOBS! I wish sometimes that I had more dressers/closets, just to be able to browse, search, and hunt, for beautiful knobs. It is one of the easiest ways to update and improve an existing piece of furniture.

Things to consider before purchasing:

  1. Size of existing hole (not that you fall in love with a new piece and it doesn’t fit – been there done that).
  2. Cost! Sometimes they seem cheap but if you need 10+ knobs it can get expensive fast.
  3. Make sure it always comes with a washer and a fitting bolt. Otherwise the knob will randomly spin and drive you nuts.

Where can a knob make a big difference?

I think, if you are re-inventing a piece of furniture or need it for a new purpose it can make a huge difference. For example, I purchased this Hemnes Dresser a few years ago, and the gray brown color with simple knobs was perfectly suiting for the living room. I lived with a good friend, we had a great color combo going on, and this helped tone the room down. Now, 3 years later, I want to use this Hemnes Dresser in place of a changing table in the nursery. And it simply stood out like a sore thumb. Looked way too ‘adult like’, color clashed, and needed some TLC. By adding colorful and varying knobs from ZARA Home, it breathed new life into the dresser and makes it much more suiting for a nursery.

Dresser w:new knobs

Sounds humorous, but always double check before you buy, just because a knob is beautiful doesn’t mean it will make your furniture beautiful. :D I made a mistake on one of my small DIY projects that I already featured, namely, I chose pretty knobs without considering the background of the vitrine.

Pretty knobs, bad background.
Pretty knobs, bad background.

A general rule of thumb: if the furniture is light darker knobs will look better, if the furniture is dark lighter knobs will look better. Of course there are always exceptions to this, but in this case it is definitely true. On a happy note, it means I will get to go shopping and look for new knobs to replace these ones!!! :D AND find a new home for these knobs.

Here is the final result of the updated Hemnes Dresser for the Nursery:

New knobbed Hemnes!

Banana Instead of Strawberry Layer

Super Easy Strawberry Cake UPDATE* (Banana Modification)

I am a natural busy body and I must be honest that being on Maternity Leave is actually kind of hard for me. I am of course very grateful that I have the opportunity to focus on the important time that is to come, but on the other hand I love being busy regardless if it is at work or at home. The one thing that has definitely improved in the meantime, is my baking (although neither Sascha’s waist or my thighs are happy about this)! :) I have been making different coffee style cakes about 3 times a week!

I posted a few weeks ago a very easy recipe for a strawberry cake, although I love the tartness of it, I actually always have bananas at home. So I decided to try the exact same recipe with only two small changes. The layer of strawberries is nixed out for a layer of bananas and to the streusel I added a tablespoon of cinnamon. The end result was AMAZING. We ate it warm with vanilla ice cream and both agreed it was one of the best coffee cakes we had ever had. Please don’t judge from the photo, it is not the prettiest cake you will ever see, but I promise worth your making!

Yummy Banana Cake with Cinnamon
Yummy Banana Cake with Cinnamon
DIY Sister Entry #2

DIY Sister Entry #2

So my sister is totally getting ahead of me with the DIY projects :) I figure she has two large advantages:

1. She has access to my mom’s attic- endless supply of potential and fun to hack furniture.

2. She is not pregnant :P (lol, seriously my motivation at this time is trying to get all the laundry done before the baby enters our lives).

This is her lastest project that I am trying to attempt her to give to me as a gift! She found an old night table in the attic, removed the drawers, sanded it for hours, and then primed it. She was debating what color to paint it, and finally decided on a colder white with very light blue undertones. She then put the original handles back on the dresser.

Almost finished!
Almost finished!

 

Still not 100% satisfied with her project, she spray painted the handles a brassy gold color! The result is awesome! Dresser still looks vintage but with a nice modern and clean vibe.

Final Result
Final Result

Now I just need to persuade her to ship it to me! :)