Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Push Presents

I know - this is the post you've all been waiting for :-) I alluded to my thoughts on push presents a little while ago, but realized that I never came back to it so here it is!

Push Presents. For those of you who haven't heard of the concept, according to Wikipedia, the definition of a push present is as follows:

push present (also known as a "push gift" or "baby bauble") is a present a new father gives a new mother when she gives birth to their child. In practice the present may be given before or after the birth, or even in the delivery room. The giving of push presents has supposedly grown in the United States in recent years.

Wikipedia refers to a 2007 survey of 30,000 which concluded that 38% of new mothers received a push present, and 55% of pregnant mothers wanted one, though fewer thought it was actually expected. 

So that's that - a push present is a way for a dad (or partner) to commemorate the birth of their baby.

In cruder terms, he "thanks" the mother for "pushing" a baby out of her va-jay-jay.

So does that mean c-section moms don't get one?

Of course, the concept of a push present has been around for eons, although it wasn't called a 'push present' nor was it expected. My mom told me that my dad gave her something to commemorate the birth of each of me and my sister. Although I am pretty sure she didn't give him a list or send him to a site like this: http://www.pushpresentideas.com/


I think that push presents are similar to the "Right Hand Ring". Something that has existed for years but that some super smart marketing people put a name on, played on women's emotions and took credit for the idea. 




Anyways - here are my thoughts on push presents. They are all over the place - you've been warned.


1. Like most presents, they'd be best if they didn't have to be asked for. Realistically, I'd say most women fantasize about their husband/partner showing up at home after the baby is born with a little something that he just WANTED to give you because you were such a hero throughout the pregnancy/birth. 


You know - something like this :-)
GEEZ that Tiffany marketing is amazing. And how gorgeous is that baby?!


2. The name "push present" is kind of gross and crass.


3. I think that dad's/partners would feel a lot better about giving a token of appreciation/commemoration if they didn't feel like some marketing maven was forcing them to do it. Kind of like how a lot of men have issues with Valentine's Day - feeling like it is a 'Hallmark Holiday' that they are forced to participate in.


4.  Like my attitude about Valentine's Day, just because some marketing genius took over and started making it sound like a push present is a 'must have' doesn't automatically mean it is a bad thing. To me, there is something very sweet about a woman who has something that was given to them for their baby's birth. It doesn't have to be Tiffany (not saying that it can't, of course :-) but something thoughtful and enduring seems to give the gift more meaning in my opinion. 


5. I've only been through about 23 weeks of pregnancy and watching what is happening to my body for our family is definitely making my support lean towards the YES side of giving a push present. Dude. Sure, our bodies are miraculous things that really seem to be built for this, but OMG this is a lot of change. I haven't even hit the super uncomfortable stage or the 'ring of fire' stage. At that point I'm sure I'll be pointing at that Tiffany ad and growling at my husband (sorry babe). I'm a sucker for marketing. What can I say :-)


So now tell me - what do you think of push presents? Did you get one? Would you want one? Expect one? Think the whole thing is gross?

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Monday, February 27, 2012

First Time Tilers

Yep - that was us this weekend!! In an effort to finish up the laundry room, we decided that this weekend would be the weekend we tiled the backsplash.

Only issue is that neither of us had ever tiled before. No problem, right? We'll just YouTube it (I'd say 'famous last words' but in this case, it actually worked!).

The area to be tiled is actually quite small. About 6.5 square feet and lucky enough, those 6.5 square feet are laid out quite conveniently (36 inches across by 24 inches vertically). This meant that we could get away with a 12x12 mosaic without major headaches.

Reminder - here is what we were working with:

Laundry Shelves

Even though it was a bit higher than the norm, I wanted the backsplash to go all the way up to the bottom of the Ikea shelf. It just felt right to me, and I had seen this picture on Pinterest that inspired me:

So next up we took a drive to our favourite tile store, Saltillo Tile Store. We just LOVE this place. We get the best service and they have the best selection of beautiful mosaics there (especially if you are looking for marble). Hubs actually said "let's just go to Saltillo and pick something. Then BUY it." Haha no searching around from store to store!!

We arrived at Saltillo and started looking. I saw some beautiful marble mosaics but Hubs said that he wanted some colour this time. We have whites and greys all over the house already so he wanted to have a bit more fun this time.

Um...kay?

To be fair, we did see some gorgeous coloured tiles:






Of course you all know me, and I was hoping for a beautiful glass penny round:


However, as we learned, a bunch of the tiles we looked at would have numerous cuts and a tile saw was not in the budget. Not for a 6.5 square foot job. I of course thought you could just use those 'tile nippers' but I guess they don't work on glass (or that well on anything other than basic tile).So we had to stick with something that was square - and the right size.

With that limit in mind, we went searching again and hubs picked this:


It is a combo of stainless steel and glass - again, impossible to cut but the sizing was pretty close so we just went for it.

Nice "COLOUR" hubs :-) To be fair, I do think that the black/stainless/glass thing does work with the room and works well with the counter...

Anyhoo - we then picked up supplies from my brother in law (who has everything you could possibly want to do home renos) and grout and mastic from Lowes.

Sunday morning was tile day :-)

Mastic up (you can see some of the lines J drew on the wall to ensure we started with a straight line):

Tile on:

(yes, we were using the wrong tool to spread the mastic but with the faucet etc there, it was too tight to use the normal spreader thingy. We did use it to do the notching though...


And then done!


The spacing was a little bit off on the left side so we kind of cheated and just pulled the cupboard panel away from the wall a bit. The last row of tile slightly goes behind it, but it was better than having a huge gap or finding a tile saw that could cut glass and stainless :-)

It was super fast - whole job took about an hour. I'm sure a pro could have done it even faster but hey - we are beginners!!

Grout is up next :-)
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Blogs Are Great

I know - the fact that blogs are great is not news to anyone here. So I think this is what they call 'preaching to the choir' or something.

I'm not preaching though - just excited and happy to be part of a generation that both blogs and appreciates blogs :-)

Anyways - this is a long intro to say that hubs and I actually did some things around the house this weekend. This is not a joke.

I will start with the task that made me proclaim "Blogs Are Great".

1. Install a window covering in the master bathroom.

I'm not sure if you noticed (or if you were too kind to mention it), but our gorgeous bathtub sits in front of a very, non-gorgeous view.

Window Before


Yes, that is a "brick" wall. I put bricks in quotations because it isn't actually brick. It is an old siding product called Iso-Brick that I think is not to code anymore so no one uses it, and it was installed on an angle. An angle that only makes the angle of our window look worse. Yes. Our window isn't straight. Maybe it was at one point, but over the 111 years the house has been standing, maybe the middle sank. Who knows.

In addition to the ugly brick wall, you can see that the window edges have yellowed over the years. This to me was the most challenging issue with the window. Mostly because it meant that we couldn't use something like this to cover the view:




I think that one of those vinyl window films would have been gorgeous in our bathroom. It would bring in a little pattern, block the view and still let in a lot of light. However, these films wouldn't cover up the yellowed edges of the window.

Gross.

So I went to option 2. A sheer roll-up blind that would cover the edges and still let in a lot of light. Enter my friend, the internet.

I did some searching around on the good ol' interweb and came across this awesome post at Door Sixteen. Basically, she covered all of her windows with cheap roller blinds from Ikea (the "Enje" blind) and figured out how to customize them easily at home.

Thank you, Anna (and blogs!). I went out to Ikea and picked up the Enje Blind. I brought it home. It sat in a corner for a few months. Oops.

So this weekend I got busy. This is probably the first time I've felt motivated since getting knocked up. I brought up the necessary tools, my camera and my computer and I followed Anna's steps. And you know what? IT WORKED!!

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Window After

Crazy right? I love how you can still get a lot of light through the CUSTOM blind but it blocks the yellowed edges and 'softens' the wonky fake brick.

So, thanks to blogs, the internet and my husband with a hacksaw, we now have a custom blind on our bathroom window. SWEET!

2. Shelving.

Hubs also installed some shelving in the laundry room. We used some trusty Ikea shelves (which are great because you can cut them to size) and now I just need to figure out what to put on them! haha

Laundry Shelves
Sorry for the crappy pic - it is a small room so hard to get a good picture of it.


These pics also show that we put up a large white cover next to the Maytag washer and dryerReminder - this is what it looked like before:


Now - if only I could make it look like this:


Hope everyone had a great long weekend!! What did you get up to? Any house projects?

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

One More Thing...

Is it just me? Am I the only one who laughs and laughs and laughs at this commercial?

When the other guy takes off his 'clothes' and dances? OMG.
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White Hallways

So we are now getting things organized to finally paint our hallway. And by getting things organized, I mean, thinking about it and trying to pick a paint colour.

And that, my friends, is difficult.

I know people talk about it all the time - how there are a million versions of white and to the untrained eye, they are all white. Of course, we think we know better :-) Every white seems to have a different undertone, a different feel.

But what one is right?

Here are some whites I've read about and/or used in my house already:

Benjamin Moore "Cloud White" (top half) and Benjamin Moore "Chantilly Lace" (bottom half)


Benjamin Moore "Decorator's White"


Benjamin Moore "Chantilly Lace" (the after pic)



Behr "Ultra Pure White"


Para Paints "Whitewash White" (bottom half)

Toto Aquia II

They all kind of look similar to me (I know - the horror!). Here is what I'd love for my hallway to look like:

Source (Photography by Michael Alberstat)

So there you have it. Lots of whites that look similar. Any suggestions on what to pick? Should we take this time to also do the stairs? That might be too much, but should we go ahead and paint the spindles and the side trim (right side, going up the stairs)?

If there is any value in knowing this, the whites we currently have in our house are as follows:

BM Cloud White: Trim in hallway and dining room/living room. It is going to be repainted because I made a rookie mistake and painted the trim in matte. 

BM Chantilly Lace: Trim in the basement and basement bath. I prefer this to Cloud White for trim as it is 'whiter'

Para "Whitewash White": Upstairs bathroom moulding and trim (as you can see from the pic above). This seems similar to Chantilly Lace in that it is really white. I like that.

Should we just pick a white we already use? Should we have a different white on the walls vs on the trim?

Here is a pic of the hallway a long time ago for your reference:


SOS! Please help! :-)

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Our Love Story

In honour of the day that is Valentine's Day, I thought I'd post about yours truly and my hubby, J. I've seen this on a few blogs so I figured why not?!

1. How long have you and your significant other been together?

J and I have been together for 8 years - first 'proper' date was December 27, 2003.

2. How did you meet?

We were set up! Yep - that is not a joke. I worked with a girl named Stacey at the time who kept talking about her husband's best friend J and how we would be great together. Once I was ready, she set up some dinners etc at her house and her husband would invite J. Of course, J didn't know about the set up whereas I did. He would just show up for dinner and there I was. Same went for a movie night. There I was again! He must have thought "who is this weird girl who keeps showing up?!" There were a few other impromptu group 'dates' (again, J had no clue) and eventually we set up a proper, one on one date.

We went to Kelsey's (I hate Kelsey's) and I thought he was flirting with the waitress.



3. If married, how long have you been married? We've been married since October 4, 2008.


4. Where did you get married? Big or small wedding? We were married at the gorgeous St. James Cathedral here in Toronto.


...and the reception was at the Rosewater Room (just on top of the Rosewater Supper Club). Yep - guests could walk between the two. There were about 135 guests.

5. Do you have any nick-names that you call one another? Um...J sometimes calls me Shmoop-Dog (weird, I know). Otherwise, not really.

6. 3 things that I love most about J. His ability and desire to make me laugh (which at times is not easy - I can be a tough crowd), his work ethic (I've never seen anyone like him - if there is something that he wants to accomplish, he will do whatever it takes to get it done.) and how great he is with my family (you should see him with my nieces!). Oh, and his blue eyes :-)


7. How did he propose?

J  proposed up at my cottage. From what I understand, he wanted to do it earlier (it was late July when it happened) but our plans kept getting derailed and he kept having to reschedule. We went up for just one night and on the Saturday, he kept bugging me to go on a canoe ride. I, of course, kept saying no. Eventually he wore me down and I finally agreed. 

Once we were in the canoe, I wanted to stay near the shore (our canoe is very tippy and I'm not the most adventurous swimmer). J of course had other plans. He wouldn't take no for an answer, and started paddling towards a nearby island.

Once we got there, he wanted to go on a hike. I should have known something was up when he lovingly dried my feet before I stepped into my shoes.

We hiked for a bit. He put me up on a fallen tree to take a picture (funny enough, he got down on one knee so I could boost myself up on the tree) and all of a sudden...he got very....nervous.

Looking mighty nervous, J!

Acting funny. A little sweaty.

I think I might have even said "Are you Okay?!"



And that's when he did it :-)

Happy shocked faces!

We then went back to the cottage, only to find my dad (who J had asked for his blessing just prior to getting in the canoe) circling the island in the boat. He was 'worried' that we'd fallen in :-)

Back at the cottage we celebrated! Absolute perfection!

8. Flowers and teddy bear or strawberries, champagne and rose petals for Valentine's Day? I'd take either and J would probably take neither. It's a work in progress :-)

9. What makes 'us' work? I think that we work because we are first and foremost friends. Friends who love each other and wanted to have a family and be together forever :-) We turn to each other for advice, support and we help each other be the best versions of  us. We are a practical couple - one of our earlier dates was essentially an interview and we asked all of the key questions to make sure we had the core things in common. We want to build a future together and have fun while we are doing that! Plus, he keeps me on a budget and I convince him to loosen up once in a while. We are a good team!


10. Most romantic thing J's ever done for me? Um...he moved over 4 hours away and took a new job so that we could be together while I went away to school. That's pretty much the best thing ever. Plus he doesn't judge when I eat copious amounts of Kraft Dinner.

Anyhoo - there is a little insight into us, and into our relationship for this special Valentine's Day post! Hope you are spending your day (or evening if you work during the day) with someone special. If not, treat yourself to something yummy and indulgent for dinner and dessert. I think that's a fair trade :-)

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Monday, February 13, 2012

What a Weekend!

Let me start off by saying that no, I won't be able to show any sneak peeks of the nursery :-) I'd love to, but that would ruin the surprise, now wouldn't it?!

I will say that it is totally, absolutely, flippin awesome!!!! I can't wait for you guys to see it!

I did want to show you another pic of an Egg Chair in a nursery that I found...no, this isn't a clue.


How sweet is that?! 

In other news, hubs and I actually felt the baby move this weekend!! It is such a surreal feeling - especially since I never really felt 'flutters' or anything like that. It went from "was that gas?" to "the baby just karate chopped my insides". 

It was so neat - I could actually see my belly move from the outside. Which is cool. But freaky. Kind of Alien-esque.

In house news, I am now on the hunt for art for the bathroom. Figure if I've ordered the mirror, I should just get on this and finish this thing up!

Happy Monday!

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