Tuesday, January 20, 2015

DIY Green Household Cleaners - My First Step Into "Crunchiness"

    This month marks a milestone in my life.  It has officially been a year since I started the
transformation into becoming "crunchy."  A year ago I didn't know what "crunchy" meant (also referred to as granola/hippie/green, etc.) except in regards to the consistency of certain types peanut butter or what adjective you would use to describe eating a bowl of cornflakes. But I soon came to learn that the term is used loosely to describe people who tend to take a more natural/holistic approach to life, are environmentally conscious, make a lot of their own household & personal care products, eat organic, believe in alternative medicine, and may or may not have chicken coops in their backyard! There is definitely a wide range of crunchiness, indeed....
    I honestly can't really describe what happened to me last January. All I know is that I had a sudden lifestyle epiphany.  My husband would probably have described it as me "going off the deep end." (And after I made him watch a two hour documentary on GMOs and freaked out about all the chemicals in our home, who can blame him?) He thought I was a little crazy at first and was not convinced at ALL by my newfound crunchy ways, but looking back, I think I can safely say that we are both glad I did!
    The only thing I can pinpoint is that last January is when my husband and I started trying for a baby, and with that came a whole new mindset for me.  Although it took us several months to get pregnant, my brain started making this automatic switch over to, for lack of better words, "mommy mode."  I started to think about the monumental responsibility that I would have carrying a life inside me and also one day raising a little one....and I started to look at life through a whole new set of eyes.  Aspects of my lifestyle that I had never questioned or even given a second thought to became the subject of intense scrutiny, because I knew that all my choices were not only going to affect me, but someone else too.   I started researching like crazy about, medicines, body care products, household cleaning supplies, etc. and how all of those things can affect a growing fetus (and people in general), and I was truly shocked by all that I learned.  I was dumbfounded by how "in the dark" I was (and I'm pretty sure the majority of your average Americans, too) about what I was eating, what kinds of products I was using, and what all was actually IN them!   As I became further educated, I slowly began to make switches in our home to more natural foods and green products, and I have been so pleased with the results that I can truly say I will NEVER go back! 
   I could write all day about all that I know now about food/label reading and about all of the different natural body care products I have made and used (and I will one day), but today I want to focus on one of the first switches I made, household cleaning supplies.  As everyone knows, cleaning is just a part of life. It's a mundane task indeed, but one that must be done nonetheless in order to keep our homes sanitary.  To be honest, most people don't put much thought into what they use to clean their homes.  I sure didn't. I, like probably the vast majority of all other Americans, used the same stuff my mom used to clean with - a smorgasbord of everyday household cleaners that you can find on the cleaner aisle of any store....Lysol, Comet, Clorox, Pine-Sol, Windex, etc.  I also always used the same laundry detergent and fabric softener my mom always used - Tide and Downy.  Doesn't everybody use those products?  What's wrong with them?  Well, nothing....I thought....until I started looking into what the actual ingredients of all of those products.
    Have you ever given any thought to the fact that the ingredients are not listed on the backs of about 90% of all household cleaners?   Lotions, shampoos, etc. all have the ingredients listed on the back of the bottles.  But cleaners don't.  There is a reason for that!  First, due to protection by our government, the manufacturers are not required too....but it's also because if consumers truly knew what kinds of harmful chemicals were in those cleaners and what the effects of those chemicals are, they probably wouldn't buy them. 
   Cleaning products, unlike food, drinks, makeup, and other body care products are not required by federal law to list their ingredients.  This means that manufacturers have no reason to avoid dangerous chemicals in their products – even if they can trigger asthma attacks, cause skin rashes, or are known cancer-causing substances. Because the law protects manufacturers from disclosing this information, consumers are left in the dark and without the necessary information they need to select cleaners that are safe for use in their homes and around their families.  To top it off, witty marketing ploys by companies like Lysol with their new slogan, "It's not's healthing," convince otherwise unsuspecting consumers to believe that by buying their products they are making their families healthier, when anything could be further from the truth.
(See this awesome blog post about Lysol from blogger Healthful it!

    So....are you ready for a list of what is REALLY in the household cleaners you are using? 

   1. Phthalates
         FOUND IN:  These are found in many household products such as air fresheners, dish soap, scented hand soaps (Yes...our beloved Bath & Body Works soaps!) and anything else that is scented.  But remember, because of proprietary laws, companies don't have to disclose what is in their scents, so you won't find this term on a label.  If you see the word "fragrance," there is a good chance phthalates are there!

       HEALTH IMPLICATIONS:  Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors, which means they screw with your endocrine system and adversely affect developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in humans and animals.  According to a 2003 study by the CDC and the Harvard School of Public Health, men found with high levels of phthalates in their blood also were found to have reduced sperm counts. ( Remember, the skin has no safeguard against toxins like other systems of the body, so absorbed chemicals from products like soaps and air fresheners that touch the skin go straight to your organs.

 2. Triclosan
      FOUND IN:  Dawn & other dishwashing detergents, cleaners and soaps labeled "antibacterial," some hand sanitizers, some facewashes, and even in some brands of toothpaste!

      HEALTH IMPLICATIONS:   Triclosan is an aggressive antibacterial cleaner that is being blamed for the rapid growth of drug-resistant bacteria. Numerous studies have found it to be a hormone disruptor, negatively affect thyroid function, and lower levels of testosterone and sperm count in animals.   Other studies have found dangerous levels of triclosan in rivers and streams where it can be toxic to algae and other plant life.

3. Perchloroethylene or “PERC”
       FOUND IN:   Dry cleaning solutions, spot removers, and carpet/upholstery cleaners

        HEALTH IMPLICATIONS:  The EPA recognizes Perc as a known neurotoxin. It has been found to cause damage to the brain and central nervous system, as well as cause multiple types of cancer and other disorders.  Most people are exposed to this toxin through inhalation of fumes on clothes that have returned from the dry cleaner or fumes that linger after carpets have been cleaned.  The EPA has ordered a phase-out of all machines using perc in residential buildings by 2020, but the state of California has gone even further and is eliminating all use of perc by 2023 due to its suspected health risks. (

4. 2-Butoxyethanol

       FOUND IN:  Window cleaners like Windex, as well as kitchen and multipurpose cleaners, whiteboard cleaners, varnishes, etc.

       HEALTH IMPLICATIONS:  It is an eye, nose, and skin irritant and has been found to cause destruction of red blood cells, nervous system effects, birth defects, and multiple other issues in animal studies.  (

5. Chemicals in Fabric Softener/Dryer Sheets
   There are literally too many toxic chemicals in fabric softener to list, so I'm just posting this link that lists the most common chemicals found in the most popular brands of fabric softeners.  It is crazy scary to think about all of these chemicals literally seeping into our bodies and our kids' bodies as we walk around everyday through our clothes, sheets, towels, etc. 

    I have only listed some of the most common chemicals in household products but the list is MUCH longer..... ammonia, chlorine, sodium hydroxide, and many more! If you include personal care products like shampoos, body washes, lotions, etc. you add a TON of other cancer-causing chemicals that your body is exposed to on a daily basis.

   So, what is one to do about all of this?  Well, many people like to go with the school of thought of, "There are so many chemicals out there in everything, and there is no way to eliminate them all, so what's the point in trying?"  Well, here's my rebuttal to that.  Would the same school of thought apply to exercising or eating right?  "I don't have time to work out 7 days a week, so what's the point?" or "I don't like salads, so I just don't eat vegetables."  Of course not!

    Making changes for your health is not an "all or nothing" kind of thing.  ANY change you make to better your health in any area of your life, whether it be eating right, exercising, or reducing your exposure to environmental chemicals is worth your time!
So.....if I can't use Lysol, Windex, fabric softener, and antibacterial hand soap, what am I supposed to use?  Well, I'm so glad you asked!  There are a TON of easy to find, inexpensive, and most importantly, NON-TOXIC substances that you can use to clean your home.  And the best part is that you probably have a lot of them already!  
   Here are my top 5 ingredients for household cleaners and why they work just as good as the chemical laden kind:
      Yes, you heard me right! Vodka! Vodka is an excellent disinfectant, it eliminates odor-causing bacteria, it cuts grease, dries quickly and leaves no smell, and will make anything from faucets to glass shine! It is also completely non-toxic.  Now, if you are opposed to having alcohol in your home for whatever reason, vodka may not be the best choice for you.  But a cheap bottle of vodka is a staple in my home...and not for cocktail hour!  I prefer a nice glass of wine for that. :)
     I'm sure this comes as no surprise to you, but the power of vinegar is truly amazing. Aside from the sometimes strong initial smell, vinegar is an excellent cleaning agent. It can easily dissolve mineral deposits and soap scum, kills bacteria just as effectively as chemical cleaners, and is a natural odor eliminator.  It is biodegradable, has a virtually unlimited shelf life, and it is CHEAP!
    Baking soda is great for many things, but it is best known for neutralizing odors. I use it mostly for extra scrubbing power because of the nice gritty paste consistency it develops when mixed with a liquid.
     I had never heard of castile soap a year ago, but have come to love it!  Castile soap is soap made from vegetable oil (usually olive), rather than from animal fat or synthetic detergents.  It cleans well and can be used as hand soap, body wash, dish soap and more.....and because it is derived from simple, natural ingredients, it does not harm the environment.  My favorite brand is Dr. Bronner's. You can find it on Amazon, but many stores carry it - Publix and Target are usually a safe bet.
    Essential oils are the finishing touch of any great cleaning product.  Oils can be added to homemade cleaning products for both scent and functionality.  For instance, tea tree oil is a known for its antibacterial properties, which makes it a great additive for household cleaners.  Orange and lemon oils are also great for making cleaning supplies smell nice and give a happy, uplifting scent.  I use the NOW foods essential oils for my cleaning supplies. They can be found on Amazon or at health food stores.  They are cheaper than the therapeutic grade essential oils like Doterra, Young Living, etc.  and since I am not using them on my body, I do not see the point in using the highest grade.
    Armed with these awesome ingredients, you can eliminate the following products in your home:   All Purpose Cleaners (Lysol, Clorox, 409, Spic & Span, etc), Windex, toilet bowl cleaner, Febreeze, fabric softener, and more!  You will also make cleaning much simpler, because you are using the same cleaners for many different functions.  Using homemade green cleaners eliminates the need for multiple cleaners.
  After lots of trial and error and many experiments, here are my favorite environmentally friendly and non-toxic household cleaner/solution recipes..... hope you enjoy them as much as I have!




Saturday, January 3, 2015

Our Maternity Photography Sessions

   Way before I ever found out I was expecting, I knew that I wanted to have maternity photos taken at some point in my pregnancy. As much as your body changes during pregnancy, there is something innately beautiful about growing a new life inside of you.  For as long as I can remember, whenever I've seen a pregnant woman, it would make me smile.  It always has. There is just something special about that time in your life, and I think it is only natural that many women want to capture that moment in time with photography.  On the other hand, some people are totally weirded out by pregnant women and think that maternity photos are gross, awkward, and/or inappropriate.  And....some of them are.  Unfortunately, I have seen some pretty disturbing pregnancy photos that should literally not be allowed to exist, yet they do (see Cringe Worth Pregnancy Photos and Most Disturbing Pregnancy Photos Ever). Seriously.....who does that??  But for the most part, if done tastefully, I think maternity photos of most women and couples are sweet, beautiful, and special.
    When I was about 25 weeks pregnant I realized that if I was going to schedule a maternity shoot I had better do it sooner rather than later.  I started showing VERY early in my pregnancy (like at 8 weeks kind of early....) and continued to show more than the average woman at every stage, so I knew that I wanted to do my pictures pretty soon before I got all gargantuan, for lack of better words.  I scoured the internet and Pinterest for the kind of feel I was going for and then tried to find a photographer that I thought could capture that feel.  I wanted elegant and sophisticated, yet rustic.  I looked around and finally found a photographer, Lauren Gregory, through Facebook who had done some pictures for friends of ours. I didn't know her, and as it turned out, she had just kind of gotten started in her business and had never actually done a maternity shoot before, but she was willing to try and she seemed very open and flexible to capturing just the look I was going for, so we scheduled a maternity session with her.  I ended up making a Pinterest board and sharing it with her so we could collaborate on what kinds of shots we wanted to do. We communicated back and forth before the shoot and made sure we were on the same page about everything so things would be smooth sailing once we were on location.
    Early evening on a Saturday in October, when I was almost 29 weeks pregnant, we decided to meet up at a hay field in a small town near where my husband worked.  He knew the owner of the field, or so we thought.  But as it turns out, we were in the wrong field.  So we took pictures in some random dude's field.  Whoops.  Anyway, working with Lauren and her husband was an absolute blast. They were hilarious, and my husband and I enjoyed seeing the dynamics of their relationship and how they complemented each other. They made everything fun and made posing for photos seem not the least bit like work. We started off the shoot doing pictures of us as a couple, and then we did the rest of them with me in my maternity gown that I had bought just for the shoot from. The maternity gown was a split front gown which is made for taking pictures from the side showing your belly, but getting around in it proved difficult seeing as how I had to pull it together in order to walk around so I wouldn't give everyone a show!  I hadn't quite thought that one through...but we made it work!  Tony and I truly enjoyed our photography session, and after we were done he just kept saying how fun Lauren and Ben were!  After we went back home to change, we ended our maternity photo session with a dinner date out together. It was truly a fun day!
    The two weeks waiting to get our pictures back was agony... I wanted to see them so bad!  But once Lauren sent them, I knew it had been worth the wait.  They were so beautiful and really captured "us" and our joy in waiting for the arrival of our sweet baby boy.



   When I was about 32 weeks pregnant, I decided to go back and do a separate surprise indoor maternity shoot by myself and take some additional pictures to give to my husband as part of his Christmas present.  I met up with Lauren and her husband in their studio and we did some pictures of just me.  By this point I was feeling pretty big, fat, disgusting, and completely UNphotoworthy.  But they really worked hard to make me feel comfortable, and I'm sure they put lots of extra work into finding just the right angle and lighting to shoot so I didn't come out looking like a whale.  There was some major contortions of arm placement on my part in some of these pics so as to not accentuate the ever present back fat rolls that had appeared out of nowhere in the few weeks preceding this shoot.  TMI...I know.... Pregnancy isn't for the birds, people.  I think they did a pretty good job of making me look the absolute least whale-like as possible. :) Here are a few pictures from our indoor shoot...



 I ended up making a photo book of all of our maternity photos on Snapfish as a Christmas gift for my husband, and he absolutely loved it.  I'm so glad that we took the time to capture this special season of our life through photographs, and I'm so happy that we found such wonderful photographers to work with as well!  If you would like more information about Lauren and her work, visit her photography Facebook page Lauren Gregory Photography.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Harrison's Nursery Reveal

      After a full day of running around town doing last minute errands and meeting up with friends for final before baby "hoo-rahs", I am currently laying on the couch with my swollen Shrek feet and accompanying cankles propped up on about 9 pillows.  At almost 39 weeks preggo, doing just normal day to day activities requires ample "recovery time."  I am SO ready for this baby boy to be born!! I want to meet my little dude more than anything and start the process of getting this poor body back into somewhat normal shape, though I have doubts that it will ever be the same.  Oh well...I suppose it's a small price to pay for creating, growing, and birthing a human life, right?
    Well, on to the purpose of this blog post....Harrison's nursery is finally finished!!  It's been a work in progress and one that has taken much pondering, many hours on Pinterest, numerous trips back and forth to Babies R Us, Hobby Lobby, Lowes, Home Depot, Pier 1, TJ Maxx, Home Goods, and a number of other thrift shops and antique stores.  But alas, the little room in our home is finally ready for it's inhabitant to move in!  Drumroll is the official BEFORE & AFTER photo.

    The before was pretty bad huh?? That room was our office/craft room/firefighter collectibles room and had more junk that any couple should be allowed to have. It took months to clean out before we could even start thinking about making it a nursery....glad that is over! Whew!
      When I first found out I was pregnant, I was absolutely positive I was having a girl, so I started pinning all kinds of girly nursery images on Pinterest and had it all planned out right down to the nursery bedding and curtain fabric.  So, of course, as nature would have it, we found out we were having a boy.  As excited as I was, I felt quite lost as to what to do with our poor boy's room.  Most all of the boy nursery ideas I saw did not appeal to me in the least.  They all had "themes" like jungle animals, race cars, dinosaurs, pirate ship, and even CAMO! Ugh.  Now, let me just say, there is nothing wrong with having a "theme" to your baby's don't anybody get their panties in a wad.  I, personally, just am not a "themey" kind of person.  I wanted something boy-ish, yet still sophisticated and classy...and not something that I was going to be tired of in a few years when he got older.  So I went back to the drawing board.  And after many more hours on Pinterest, I found something that became one of the main pieces of inspiration for Harrison's entire room decor...the TREE! (See picture below). I saw it and fell in love with it. I have a weird obsession with trees....  Of course, though, the first pin that I found of this picture had no link to
Click to find this tree decal on Etsy.
 where to purchase said tree, so I spent another week or two trying to track down that specific tree decal.  There are tons of tree decals on the internet, but most were too swirly and girly looking or too haunted house spooky tree looking.  But I finally tracked it down to a seller on Etsy and purchased it right away! It took some major teamwork to put it up, but it is freaking awesome and is one of my favorite things about Harrison's room....look how it turned out!

      With the tree being a deep brown color, I knew I wanted dark espresso furniture to go along with it, so that began the research on baby furniture. I will not even bore you with all of the crazy amount of research and shopping around we did for baby furniture or the number of "discussions" that my husband and I had about what was and was not an acceptable amount to spend on said baby furniture, but I'll just say that it was quite the process.  Lessons learned about purchasing baby furniture....  1) Do not go to Baby Furniture Plus.  They have ridiculously overpriced furniture that is no better looking or better in quality than your average baby store.  Even on sale, their prices are crazy! We got a crib, dresser, and all the accompanying toddler rail/bed rail conversion kit for way less than just what one piece would cost at that place.  Save your time and skip over this place.    2) Buy Buy Baby has pretty and good quality baby furniture and you can use 20% off coupons on it, but Babies R' Us has also has pretty and good quality baby furniture, you can use 20% off coupons on it, AND they have a store credit card that you can apply for that gives you an additional 15% your first purchase.  Babies R' Us will also take Buy Buy Baby's coupons (which are way easier to find), so it makes it even easier to save.  Babies R' Us is the winner!! 

   After careful consideration, a LOT of research, and about 14 different trips to Babies R' Us, we decided on the Sorelle Vista Elite 4 in 1 crib and dresser.  With 20% off coupons used on each piece and the 15% off we got from applying for the Babies R' Us credit card, we were able to get our crib and dresser (which we are using for a changing table - no need for an entirely separate piece of furniture) for a very reasonable price!!

   I love the dark espresso color of the furniture, but even more so I love that it is very, very sturdy.  Some of the cheaper cribs are not real wood, but this is made from real wood.  It is heavy and very solid.  The finish is very nice quality as well, and what I also love about this crib and dresser is that they have pedestal legs that sit the crib and dresser up off the floor.  There are several models where the front of the crib and dresser have a wooden bar that goes all the way across flush to the floor.  I had never really put much thought into that until I thought about how scratched up the wood would get from vacuuming, people kicking it when they walk by, Harrison ramming toy cars into it, etc. I love that I can vacuum right to the edge of the crib and dresser and partly underneath without hitting the wood and messing up the finish.
    After we got the furniture and the tree for Harrison's room, I knew I had to pick out a color scheme and bedding pattern, which would kind of be the inspiration for the rest of the room.  I went back and forth between shades of green and blue for his room, but I finally decided to go with a blue.  I got several paint samples from Home Depot and we finally decided on a shade of blue with slight hints of green and grey by Behr called "Swan Sea."  It is a beautiful color...very calming and serene.
      I knew that my next step was to choose a crib bedding set.  I dreaded this because I am so picky, and I absolutely hated all of the "themey" bedding sets at all the baby stores.  I also really loved the look of the crib rail covers (a piece of bedding fabric that is tied to the bottom crib rail to protect it while still being stylish) that I had seen on some of the custom bedding sets at Baby Furniture Plus, but their prices were off the chain expensive, and none of the bedding sets at any of the baby stores even had crib rail covers. I looked online at some sites that did custom bedding that included rail covers, but pricing was literally in the $300-$600 range, which was totally out of the question, so I ended up asking one of my friends who sews if she might be willing to custom make Harrison's bedding set for a reasonable price, and she said yes!!  I went scouring around town looking for a fabric for the bedding set, and I finally decided on some fabric from Hobby Lobby.  The colors perfectly matched the dark brown espresso furniture and the blue/green Swan Sea wall color, so I knew it was meant to be.  I showed my friend Katie a picture of what a crib rail cover looked like, and she said she could make one, so she made me a custom bedding set with crib bumpers, a crib rail cover, and a crib skirt.  I absolutely love it!!!  She did a fabulous job!
    My next project was a wall collage over Harrison's dresser. I had seen several collages in baby nurseries and I really loved the look of it, so I started collecting mirrors, frames, and other neat pieces and started placing them out on the floor until I found just the right collection of pieces that fit into the rectangular space above the dresser.  I still have to add pictures in the frames, but I love how it turned out!!
   The other pieces on his dresser are the changing pad, a little "necessities" tray I found at TJ Maxx
that has his homemade baby lotion, homemade diaper cream, and his brush and comb.  We also got a Prince Lionheart wipe warmer for one of our shower gifts, and I bought the matching Prince Lionheart wipe warmer stand on Amazon for the wipe warmer to go on top of.  I think it is a great use of space since the diapers store underneath it, and it also has two little caddies on each side for other baby products to be stored.
    One of the biggest projects in the nursery turned out to be the bookshelf.  I knew I wanted some kind of a shelf or hutch to go in his room that did not match the other pieces of furniture.  I wanted it to be an accent piece....something that stood out, yet complimented the rest of the room...and something that was more rustic in feel with a shabby chic/distressed finish.  I loved the grey color of the mirror over the dresser, so I thought a pretty grey color would be nice for said shelf/hutch.  What turned out to be a nightmare was finding a piece that color that was not 500 freaking dollars.  I found several awesome pieces at this shabby chic furniture wonderland called Nadeau Furniture in downtown Columbia, but it was way out of my budget.  So I then shifted my searches to thrift stores and antique stores looking for a plain wooden bookshelf that I could refinish myself. I spent weekend after weekend driving all over God's green earth looking for a shelf, and lo and behold I finally found a little antique shop in Hendersonville, NC that I just happened to look up on Google Maps while we were driving through on an apple picking trip to Sky Top Orchard.  Random, I know.  We pulled up the shop about 10 minutes before it closed, and I expected it to be a flop visit like every other place I had been to.  But after quickly perusing through the store, I found the little pine shelf in a back room and knew it was the perfect size to fit in Harrison's room.  And it was on SALE for only $112. Yay!!  So we bought it and took it home, and I spent the next two months procrastinating on getting it refinished.
    The refinishing of the bookshelf will probably end up being a post on it's own because I decided to experiment with the "chalk paint" technique.  If you don't know what chalk paint is, Google it or look it up on Pinterest.  It's a big thing these days with people who are into DIY home decor. Basically, it is a really pricey high quality type of paint that elicits itself to giving new life to older pieces of furniture and makes it easy to "distress" a piece with sanding or with a wax or stain.  The most popular brand of chalk paint is by Annie Sloan, and it is crazy expensive and not easily found around these parts, so I did what I always do when I don't want to spend money on something - I googled until I figured out how to make my own!

    Without going into all the details, basically we sanded the shelf, I painted the shelf with my DIY chalk paint recipe, I distressed the edges of the shelf with fine grit sand paper, and then I sealed the shelf with several coats of Polycrylic.  It took me way longer than it should have to finish this project, but it was worth it. I really like the distressed look that it has and that it stands out in the room since it doesn't match the other pieces of furniture. It looks great in Harrison's room and it's already serving it's purpose holding his books and toys. 
     The final piece that we got for Harrison's room was the glider rocking chair, and it was by far the most annoying piece to find.  First of all, I had no clue how expensive these kinds of  chairs are.  The first time I saw a glider rocker (a fabric covered glider that looks like a regular arm chair and usually has a matching ottoman) I was at Baby Furniture Plus, and they were literally like $600 or more. I couldn't believe it!  The chairs at Buy Buy Baby were just as expensive.  I looked online and it didn't really matter where you looked, they were all super expensive.   Yet, I was not willing to purchased a used fabric rocking chair.  There is just something sketchy about buying something with fabric on it from Craigs List, etc....  It gives me nightmares about bed bugs and other unmentionables.  At that point, I had pretty much resorted to just getting a regular know the regular wooden ones with the fabric seat covers, but I just didn't like the look of them. They looked like something my grandmother would have in her house. (No offense to anyone who has one of these...I'm just saying.) I know looks aren't everything, but if I'm going to buy a piece of furniture I want it to at least look nice.  Once I started looking at the regular gliders, though, I realized that there were two categories - super cheap ones that are crazy uncomfortable and suck big time or really expensive ones like the Dutalier glider that are almost as expensive, if not MORE expensive, than the nice glider arm-chair looking rockers.  So I was like, "Why would I pay a ton of money for a granny glider when I can get a nice arm chair glider rocker for the same price or less?"  So the chair was the once piece we splurged on.  We ended up getting the KACY Collection Madison Glider Rocker and ottoman from Babies R' Us.  It was a lesser expensive one and we did use a coupon, but the glider was definitely the one piece that was not a normal buy for us.  But it's pretty and comfy, and if I have to get up every three hours to feed a baby I might as well be comfortable, right?
    Over the last several months, I have slowly collected other pieces for Harrison's room like the little table beside the rocking chair....that came from Home Goods, as did the lamp. And the picture of the fire truck was one that my husband had gotten a long time ago.  It is a pencil drawing of a real Lexington County truck.  His one request was that if we had a little boy that he would get to hang the fire truck picture in the nursery, so I found a nice frame for it to go in and, if you look closely, you can even see where we wrote Harrison's name on the fire helmet in the picture.
    Last but not least is Harrison's closet.  I truly cannot believe how much stuff he has....especially clothes.  I remember a day when I started freaking out that my poor baby was going to have to go naked because he had no clothes to wear.  And then it seemed like in a matter of weeks his closet was so full I couldn't fit anything else IN his closet!  I have literally bought like at least 5 boxes of hangers (with 30 hangers per box)...and there are still clothes I have yet to hang up.   And just to clarify....Tony and I have bought maybe 5 of those outfits.  The rest are all hand me downs (thank you to Aunt Andrea) and shower gifts.  I sure hope Harrison isn't like 10 lbs or something, because otherwise he won't be able to wear half of all of these outfits...especially the newborn and 0-3 months stuff.  It was very helpful to organize his clothes by size.  Buy Buy Baby has these little hanging dividers that have the different months on them so you can hang the clothes by size.  Hopefully that will make it easier to navigate through his massive wardrobe.  Needless to say, he will be a well dressed baby boy!
   I just want to end this post by giving a special thank you to all of you who have helped us to prepare for our little man!  We are so grateful to all of our family and friends for all of your generosity and are so blessed to say that we truly have everything we need and more to take care of our sweet boy once he arrives. He has a beautiful nursery to come home to! My only request is that you continue to pray that he gets here soon! Like today would be great... :)