Preparing the House for Baby: Dining Room

The last room that we changed up in preparation for our baby is the dining room.  I shared last week that we switched our living and dining rooms again.  It is a similar set up to what it was before we moved the living room upstairs, just minus a few pieces of furniture.

It is nice to have a little color back in this room now that we have an open mantel (that previously had our TV).  I finally got rid of the old vintage love seat we had in here for years.  It was coming apart so I sent it off to a friend who will give it some TLC and recover it for her own home.

Plus baby stuff can take up a lot of room!  I am not sure if our hand me down baby swing will get used here, but it's been nice to have a space for it these past few months.  I figure one baby thing per room has been pretty safe and has allowed me to not feel like it is taking over the entire house.

We kept our wing back chair in here - it's a great place to read and was a comfortable place for my pregnant body to sit when my nephews would play in here.

We no longer have the buffet in here as it got moved under the TV downstairs.  It now gives more open space around the dining table.  Though we won't be using it any time soon, we have the space to store our hand me down high chair.

A new gallery wall has been styled and hung.  Same art and photos just a new variation.

While we aren't using the dining table a ton these days, it is convenient to have a place to set things down when we come through the door.  I try to keep it clean but having a surface to put things down on versus on the floor comes in handy.

By the back door, I put out a little basket for my nephew's sandals that they wear when we go outside.  Also my fiddle leaf fig loves it's new spot.  It hasn't looked this healthy in years (which isn't saying much)!

I bought another fern for the summer that lasted just long enough for these photos.  It's had a good couple months but between my lack of watering and the summer heat, it's not looking so great.  I really do love it for the first couple of weeks but it doesn't seem to do that well for me.  I will have to consider a more forgiving plant next time.

We have also had this trunk I borrowed from my parents to hold all my nephew's toys in over the past few months.  Before I had a basket of toys in each room but in preparing for the baby and that my nephews would no longer be over as often, I wanted to corral them all in one place.  I have purged quite a few of their toys that I have decided I didn't want to keep for myself.  So everything now fits nicely into one trunk for when they do come over but will no longer be used on a weekly basis.

The house has been turned upside down quite a bit over the past few months.  But it has been all worth it to have a clutter free space for our baby's arrival.  We have room for baby things as well as space to spread out as we hunker down in the first few weeks of parenting.  We have room for guests and open cleared off spaces to keep me sane! 

Preparing the House for Baby: Living Room & New Couch

We have been wanting a new couch for awhile now (and a new refrigerator...but that will have to be for another day!).  After debating about whether or not we wanted a rocker for the nursery, we played with the idea of buying a couch instead.  While a rocker would be nice, we figured we would use the couch a lot more for many more years and that it would be a comfortable place to spend our time in those early and tiring days of parenting.

We casually spent some time looking and ended up finding one that we loved within our price range.  Now if you remember, it wasn't that long ago that we switched our living and dining rooms.  Last fall/winter we moved the living room upstairs so that we could enjoy our fireplace while we watched TV.  We weren't pregnant yet and I wanted to spend every moment I could in front of the fireplace so it was a good move at the time.  I liked that Brent could be sitting on the couch while I was in the kitchen and we were still close enough to have a conversation. 

But after I got pregnant, and I wasn't cooking or entertaining that much, we stopped using our dining room table.  So now our downstairs area became unused.  Once Spring came along and I no longer needed fireplace ambiance in my daily life, we considered moving the rooms back again.  Though the setup was nice, the upstairs living space didn't have as much floor room.  I thought that it might be easier to be back down in the carpeted room where we would have the space to lay the baby down and set up baby things.  Plus we would have the room again to get a sectional as we had been wanting. 

So on one glorious weekend afternoon we found the couch of our dreams (and we even got it on sale!).  We love our TV time and so we wanted something nice and deep to fully lay down on.  We wanted space for cuddling but also space to ourselves.  I wanted something light but not white that was a bit more modern but still with tufts. 

I cannot even begin to tell you how many times we have turned to each other while laying on the couch and said how much we love it!  We started sleeping on it the last month of pregnancy and it is such a gift to my uncomfortable body!  There are some nights that I don't even wake up at all (not even to go to the bathroom!).  Sleeping through the night at 38 weeks seems unheard of (I do have some bad nights as well so don't be too jealous!).  It has been the greatest gift to this pregnant woman!  Most definitely well worth the investment.

So now we are back downstairs and spending a ton of time here.  We still eat most of our meals on the couch these days as I can't endure a chair very long.  While it is not a habit I want to keep forever, there is this beautiful freedom of ending our days here together.  We like our down time and being pregnant has give us an even greater excuse to lounge around on these hot summer days. 

Now when we first switched our living room and dining room, I purged some of our furniture.  So when we went to change it back I had to mix things up a bit.  We used two wooden shelves to flank our TV and our dining room buffet to go under the TV.  Previously one of the wooden shelves was in our guest bedroom, now nursery, so it worked out that we were able to move it down to the living room.

The shelves give the long wall a more built in look that I really like (and have always dreamed of installing one day).  And the shelves serve as storage plus styling space.  Since we only had one of these shelves in this room before, I had lots of room to spread out all our books amongst two shelves.

I also added in a little basket of baby things to have handy while we are sitting down here.

The styling is very similar to what it was before just things moved around a bit.  I really do love these shelves and the variation of color and decor.  Furniture is a tricky investment at times so I tend to play things safe and lean towards gallery walls instead.  We had found these shelves at a World Market that was moving and were able to grab them at a really great price.

We would also like to get a new coffee table eventually - something less bulky and more modern to go with the couch.  But that will have to wait for when we replenish the money we spent on the couch and baby stuff.  This free side of the road coffee table I picked up has given us many good years.  It will have to stick around for just a little longer.

I also have been wanting to repaint this wall that goes up the stairs.  It was blue before and I liked it for a long time.  But it made the room feel darker than I wanted and so it finally got a fresh coat of white paint after we purchased the couch.

I went with a simple neutral feeling gallery wall to break up some of the color on the shelves.

While I dream of sectionals and coffee tables, Brent has been wanting to set up our TV and audio equipment wirelessly for years.  So when we started moving things around again, this gave him the chance.  Without going into all the technical details (because I wouldn't even begin to know where to start!) he put in a very small infrared remote control repeater that we can point all of our remotes at (above the TV) that then communicates with the electronics tucked away in a cabinet.

He cut a hole in the wall and installed a cabinet to hold all the TV and audio equipment.  We had an extra cabinet door from when I opened up a few shelves in our kitchen that he used for the door (such a resourceful guy!).

As I shared with changing up our master bedroom, it is okay to change things up in your home for a season.  Sometimes I think people think I'm crazy for how often I move stuff around.  But even if it's for six months to a year, being willing to try something new to better serve how your home functions can prove to be well worth it.  Sure it challenges our marriage at times and it takes extra effort to create such drastic changes.  But we have learned that we don't have to just settle with how things are.  We can make a home that we love, it just sometimes takes a little trial and error to really figure it out.

Couch: Cepella Right Seated Sectional from Scandinavian Designs

Navigating Our Next Unknown Destination

In light of my recent announcement that we are moving later this year, I thought I would share a few thoughts I had jotted down in my travel journal.  I recently finished a photo book from our trip to Victoria, Canada last October for our anniversary and was using my travel journal to add details about our vacation.  It is interesting to read my thoughts on travel, seeing the world, and living simply after coming back from a big trip.  I always have such high hopes for living a better life.

What I especially find interesting is that I wrote all these things just a month before we were to find out that we were pregnant.  And then a few weeks later my husband was given an official offer to move our family to Virginia.  As I write this (weeks away from our baby's due date) and at a place where we can publicly announce our move, I can't help but find the humor in how I have been prepared for all of this.  That my heart actually seeks after these things when I am not actually knee deep in the change. 

The entry was written on our last day.  We were riding the fairy from Victoria back to Seattle where I wrote:

"Getting off the ferry we walked to the light rail.  Now our third trip through Seattle, it's become so familiar.  It's amazing how quickly new can feel normal.  Each adventure with Brent quickly feels like home as long as we are exploring together.  Sure we get lost and confused but we wouldn't gain the experience if we aren't willing to get lost every once in awhile.  We learn with each adventure, helping us to better navigate our next unknown destination."

If this isn't some weird coincidental foreshadowing to our future, I don't know what is! 

Our adventures so far have been preparing us for our biggest change yet.  An unknown destination of parenting and moving that will surely come with it's challenges.  But an adventure that will grow us, change us, and inspire us to live each day just a little better.

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