Make Way for Baby: Phase One Continued

A month ago, I posted about our preparations for new baby (who we now know is Genevieve). We’ve made some more progress! Phase one mostly consists of super organization. We need to first have room for all people and the stuff already in our house before adding another baby and her stuff.

Our house is plenty spacious, we only need to make better use of the space we have. This has become my mantra lately to keep me from complaining about this wonderful and more than adequate house we just bought. My dad generously donated his time and master carpenter skills to our cause and spent an evening bettering our hall closet and the closet in what is now Reuben’s room.

Our hall closet was pretty bare bones — a single shelf above a closet rod. As to be expected, it became a catch-all for stuff that didn’t have another place to go. After our great toy purge at Christmas, I organized the kids’ toys into boxes and store them in the hall closet. It’s a system that’s worked great and has simplified our lives. However, it takes up a lot of space. Not to mention all the other hall closet type items that need storing. This is what we were looking at before building in shelves:

Hall Closet Before

My dad added a shelf above the top shelf, and three below. We had room for a fourth, but I wanted to leave a taller space at the bottom for things like our vacuum cleaner.  There is still a second step that we’re waiting on. I want to be able to hang our brooms and mops on the inside of the door. While they are not significantly heavy it will require a little creativity to hang them on the hollow core door. Nonetheless, the closet is vastly improved and much much more useful!  The new and improved closet looks like this:

Hall Closet After


Reuben’s closet was also simply a single shelf above a single closet rod. Since this room was originally our study (RIP beloved study) the closet was stacked to the ceiling with storage boxes. A significant amount of nesting energy went into clearing out that closet to make room for baby stuff. We added a shelf above the existing one and wrapped it around on end. We also added onto the original shelf to wrap it around the same end. What a difference! I’m still deliberating if I want to add more shelving to the top and\or a second closet rod. Right now, I’m moving in everything that needs to be in there. Once that’s all settled, I hope to better be able to tell what is needed, if anything. I do know that I want to add some pegs on the left hand wall to hang Reuben’s growing flat cap collection. I didn’t have time to “stage” the pictures, sorry. You’re getting the real life look at things.



We’ve been able to cross off a few more things from our list (we added one thing, just so we could cross it off). Ryan’s big boy dresser finally arrived. We set it up in our room and moved the one he was using into Reuben and Genevieve’s room. We also built in a mail organizer in the kitchen, which I posted about before.  One more big project, then I think we’ll be finished with construction and can move onto bed shuffling. But that’s phase two which won’t start until after Reuben and Felicity’s birthdays in May. Until then, I still have a lot of boxes to sort through.

Phase One To-Do List:

  • move bookshelves to master bedroom
  • move changing table to Reuben’s room
  • set up children’s library
  • install shelves in hall closet
  • install shelf in Reuben’s closet
  • move chest of drawers to Reuben’s room

and just for fun:


The Gifts That Keep On Giving

I wrote at Christmas how excited we were for some “experience” type gifts our kids received. These were gifts beyond toys or clothes that would continue to offer new experiences for the kids all year. I’ve already written extensively (obsessively?) about the Kiwi Crate subscription Evangeline was given. We finally had the chance to use another of their “experience” presents — family membership to the Louisiana Arts and Science Museum!

We had to drop Ryan off at work this past Friday, which left the kids and I with the car and a wide open day ahead of us. I decided to use the day to take them all to the museum. If only I knew Friday was Sesame Street Live day downtown. Oops.

After parking a good deal further from the museum than I expected, the kids weren’t too interested in pursuing the exhibits. We went straight to the toddler play area instead. I didn’t have to explain to them what to do. Evangeline and Felicity ran straight in, took a few laps around to survey then dove deep in the huge play kitchen.

Day at the Museum

Reuben even got in on the fun. The girls must have played with everything in there twice. I could barely drag them out of there an hour later, even with promises of lunch. We walked to the planetarium side, but were bombarded again by a few school groups, so we didn’t get to see too much. However, that just means we have more things to explore next time we go!


When I finally got them out of the museum, we walked up to the top of the levee to see the river. Evangeline was more interested in the water fountain and Felicity in the ducks than the majesty of the Mighty Mississippi, but, hey, they saw it.

We ended the day with a corn dog at Frost Top before finally heading home for communal nap time. It was a beautiful day filled with fun memories and new experiences. Evangeline is already asking to go back, and I’ve marked some of the special events coming up at the museum on our calendar. Although this was our first trip, I can tell we are going to get a lot of use out of this gift!

Day at the Museum II

Gender Reveal Crafts

We got our computer back, which for me, means that I can make fun photo collages again. For you, it means I can post more fully about our gender reveal!

I mentioned before that I decided to tack on a gender reveal to our annual St. Joseph’s Altar.  I didn’t want it to be a big deal, but after spending an afternoon on Pinterest, well, it kinda grew. I added these features to our Altar celebrations:

  • Photo Booth
  • Tally Board and Name Tags
  • Gender Reveal Cake Balls

Gender Reveal Photo Booth

This was a lot of fun to put together and surprisingly not that expensive. I raided our Dollar Store for pretty  much everything we used. I used 4 vinyl table cloths — two pink, two blue — to make the back drop. Painter’s tape worked well for a while, but ultimately we used thumb tacks to keep them up. I set up two baskets with props to use in the pictures. The idea was that people could dress up with pink or blue and take a picture showing they guess the baby is. I used poster board and wrote signs to hold up “it’s a girl” and “it’s a boy”. From the Dollar Store, I had mustaches, pink crowns and the like to make the pictures fun.

Gender Reveal Tally Board

This, again, cost little money. I used an old Plexiglas frame. tissue paper, a dry erase marker and poster board. I crumpled up the tissue paper in the frame, then used a dry erase marker to write on the outside. After the party, I took the paper out, erased the writing and the frame was back to normal. I set the board up at the door with our guest book for people to sign the guest book then mark which gender they guessed. After they voted, they could wear a pink bow or blue tie on their lapel for the rest of the party. I used poster board and free-handed my own stencil– I intentionally chose simple shapes– for the bow and tie tags. If you were wanting to be really fancy, you could print out a stencil or use a silhouette.

Gender Reveal Cake Ball

For the big moment, we chose cake balls. There are a lot of different announcement ideas floating around. This one was fun and simple ( at least for me ha!) My cousin offered to make the cake balls for us.  She made two elaborate and adorable rattle cake balls for Ryan and I to announce with, then about two dozen simpler ones to share.

It certainly made for a sweet and fun reveal. Hosting this party went a long way in helping me celebrate this pregnancy rather than focusing on the necessary to-do’s that must be done before she’s born. No doubt, this is a tiring phase of life for me, but things like a gender reveal party are helping me to enjoy it!

Drum Roll Please

Baby Carruth #4 is….


We revealed on Sunday that we are having another baby girl. Our third daughter will be named Genevieve Rose and is expected to arrive in July. We are excited to add another girl to our family. So far, the girls we have are dynamic and delightful. We’re a little sad for Reuben, but I’ve no doubt that these sisters are going to make a wonderful man out of him. Evangeline is excited. She’s the only one who understands what’s going on and every day she tells me she’s picked a new name for the baby (usually it’s “Evangeline”). She’s drawing pictures of the baby and keeps asking if it’s summer yet. She’s our sweet mother hen and I know she’s going to enjoy having another baby chick to take care of. I’m excited to have another baby girl to wear all the adorable dresses and outfits I’ve stored away!

As a part of our Saint Joseph’s Altar (which I’m planning to post on separately), we did a gender reveal. By the time the fourth baby comes around, public excitement is pretty much depleted. I thought hosting a gender reveal party would be a fun way to celebrate this special new life. I spent an afternoon on Pinterest and all of a sudden, our routine St. Joseph’s Altar plans more than doubled. My computer is down for the time being, so I’m without my photo editing program. Here are some of the ideas we used for our gender reveal, sorry I can’t make the pictures more “fun”

Photo Booth: Guests took pictures decked out in blue or pink to visualize their “guess”

Photo Booth

Tally Board and Lapel Pins — Guests marked their vote for boy or girl, then chose a pink bow or blue tie to wear for the party.

Tally Board

Gender Reveal Cake Balls — If ever there were a more Pinterest-perfect phrase! To announce the final reveal, Ryan and I took a bite out of a cake ball revealing PINK!

Gender Reveal Cake Balls

It was a very fun day filled with good food, family and friends. Thanks to everyone who came out with their guesses and their congratulations and humored me with all my party gimicks. Genevieve is certainly entering a warm and welcoming world!

Back Door Roller Shade — Update

I mentioned yesterday that I used some left over fabric from my back door shade in our new kitchen mail holder. That reminded me that I never updated about some of the improvements I my mom made to the roller shade.

We’ve had the shade up for about four months now, and it gets pulled up and down daily. The adhesive was holding up well along the side edges. But along the bottom, it’s as though it never really stuck in the first place and always came loose. Also, since I used two different fabrics on the shade, the seam where they met eventually loosened and the bottom panel started to sag.

Every time my mom came over she’d ask “what can we do about that shade?” I’m sure it was a subtle “hey, that looks rough, you should fix it” but I never got around to it. I planned to re-spray the adhesive and try sticking it all back again. After about 2 months of fruitless suggestions, my mom took the shade home with her one day and fixed it all up pretty.


I found the striped ribbon at JoAnn and it matched the greys in the fabrics perfectly. My mom used double stick fabric tape on the fabric and the ribbon, then covered the seam. Essentially, she did the same on the back. She used a narrower white ribbon to cover and anchor the edges of the fabric to the vinyl shade. Overall it looks more finished and all of it seems to have better staying power. I’ve had it back up for about a week, pulling it up and down almost daily, and everything is still where it should be.


Covering the vinyl shade with fabric was a simple and inexpensive idea. Spray adhesive worked well keeping the body of the fabric attached. I’m sure if I had just used one piece of fabric, besides two, I wouldn’t have had a problem. It seems though, that the spray adhesive works loose along the edges easily. Doubling up with fabric tape and ribbon seem to re-enforce it enough to hold everything in place. Details of how I initially covered the vinyl shade, as well as the pricing found here.

Kitchen Advances

The kitchen is the most dated room in our house. We have good, functional appliances. The floors and walls are in tact, albeit in a high 1980’s style. The cabinets are solid wood and in great shape. The pantry and additional cabinets the previous owners added in are cheap and laminate, but also functional. There is no urgency to change anything in our kitchen, besides asthetics. The only things we’ve changed so far, are the ceiling light fixtures and the window curtains.


That being said, I want to change all the things!! I have an extensive and comprehensive list of changes I would love to make (complete with drawings). In addition to painting and updating what’s already in place, I also have some built-in pieces I would love to have. Caught up in the pre-baby preparation energy, my dad has started building in some of the big changes we wanted to make!!

I’m going to keep the biggest item on the to-do list a secret for right now, because that’s my prerogative 😉 But I’m really excited to show you what we’ve been working on. The plan is to have this corner cleared out — no cabinet, no shelf.

Big Changes in Progress
Big Changes in Progress

We already have big plans in the works of what will replace this set up, but first I had to find new places for all the stuff that gets dumped right there: mail, keys, pens. It’s your general drop-all spot. At first I thought by removing the flat surface we would be forced to mend our cluttery ways. Let’s be realistic though, that’s a habit that’s not going to change. So I needed another way to accommodate mail, keys and general miscellany of daily life. Walking around World Market (which I love!), I came across this dandy:

While it isn’t exactly my decor style, the idea was spot on. I mentioned the idea to my dad as a possible solution.

And so it was!


My dad made a 20.5 “x 20″x 10” box with a shelf run running the full width. The bottom cavity is divided into 5 cubbies. It was only after my dad firmly and perminatly attached the back that I thought to myself “wait, how am I going to paint that??” I had to get a little creative. Ultimately… it was good enough. You know what I’m talking about. The cubbies are used as mail slots, so you won’t really see inside each one anyways, and, hey, just don’t look that close.

For the back of the large cavity, I had the idea to use some of the scrap fabric I had left over from my back door roller shade. Originally I planned to use spray adhesive to glue the fabric directly to the wood, which seemed like it would be tricky to do since the back was already glued on. Then my mom gave me the idea to cover a piece of cardboard cut to the right size and attached the cardboard to the back. It was so much simpler, plus gives a much cleaner look than I would have otherwise been able to do. The cardboard I cut fit snuggly into the space. After I covered it with fabric, it fit so tightly that I ended up not attaching it at all with staples or tacks.

Never Short on Cardboard Around Here
Never Short on Cardboard Around Here

I found the label card holders at JoAnn in the scrapbook section. There were so many great ones online, but they were all too big for what I needed. These scrapbook ones are perfect. We also added hooks along the bottom for keys, purses etc.


It’s such a great addition!! It’s functional and accommodates all of our daily coming and goings. And it’s also attractive and organizes all of our clutter! The only problem so far is that we have to re-train ourselves not to hit our head on it when we throw something away in the trash can below it. So far I’m bruise free, but I can’t say the same for Ryan’s forehead. In a few weeks I’m sure we’ll be used to it. But head’s up to any visitors!

This Sunday is our St. Joseph Altar and Gender Reveal. We went Friday for *the* sonogram. Baby looks healthy and was wiggling up a storm. Evangeline got a kick out of seeing all the pictures. Everything she saw on the screen, she said was baby’s mouth. Baby waved to us at one point, and Evie waved back! Spring is coming fast, and we’ll be very busy, but stay tuned for more baby prep updates around the house!

Get Your Gender Votes In!

Tomorrow is the day we find out if we’re having a Mister Baby or a Miss Baby. The news will be announced Sunday March 16 at our Gender Reveal and St. Joseph’s Altar. But get your votes in now!

Stick Family Cropped

For those of you wanting to use science to make an answer, here are some facts:

  • We’ve proven we can make both girl babies and boy babies
  • My skin and hair are acting like they did when I was carrying Reuben
  • My stomach is acting like it did when I was carrying Evangeline and Felicity
  • At 9 weeks, baby’s heart rate was at the higher end and at 18 weeks it was at the lower end of the scale

So Vote!