FRIDAY Q&A: THIS WEEK’S ROSE AND THORN, CHOOSING A BUILDER FOR OUR RENOVATIONS, HAVING TEDDY BAPTIZED, AND MORE

Happy Friday! This was a week of high highs and low lows. I know I’m not the only one who was devastated by the news of Kobe Bryant and his daughter’s tragic accident and it definitely put our current struggle with Teddy’s sleep regression into perspective. In much happier news, I was thrilled to share this exciting personal update and pleasantly surprised by how many of you reached out to say you’ve also lived with your own parents/in-laws, bought the house next door, etc. I kind of thought people would think we’re insane for doing this and instead you guys have genuinely shared in our excitement and I can’t tell you how much that means to me. Construction starts on Monday so be sure to pop over to Instagram and follow along on stories!

1. How are you feeling as a new mom? Do you feel like yourself again?

I feel really good right now! We’re definitely going through a rough patch sleep-wise but in general I feel really grateful and really content. I guess I feel like myself but definitely a different version of myself than I was before I had Teddy, with shifting priorities and an entirely new set of challenges. I’m still breastfeeding and pretty nervous about how my hormones will react when I decide to stop, but I’m not there yet so I’m kind of just planning to cross that bridge when we get to it. 

2. What’s one thing you’re struggling with and one thing you’re crushing? I miss your rose and thorn series! 

I would say this week the thorn was the four month sleep regression I talked about here and the rose was getting the green light to start our second round of house projects next week! 

3. Which online sites do you follow for baby stuff?

I mostly read my friends’ blogs (love both Fashion Magpie and Lemon Stripes) but I spent a good amount of time on The Bump app while I was pregnant. I’ve referred to the site Very Well Family for several things since having Teddy but other than that I just google when I have specific questions and make a note in my phone to ask our pediatrician about anything that’s come up since our last appointment.

4. How did you pick your contractor for your upcoming renovations? Are they helping with the design as well?

Our realtor recommended an architect to draw up plans and work on getting them approved with the town and then the architect recommended a builder she’s enjoyed working with in the past. We met with them and instantly clicked personality-wise, but still met several more times before signing a contract to make sure we were on the same page about our budget and vision for each space. We’re making all the aesthetic choices (cabinetry, countertops, fixtures, paint, etc.) ourselves but we definitely couldn’t have done the more structural planning without them!

5. Can you share tips for managing money in your twenties to save for a wedding, car, house, etc.?

Personal finance is so not my area of expertise and I am completely unqualified to offer any differentiated suggestions. I was fortunate to graduate college without student loans and acknowledge that that’s a huge leg up my parents gave me and my siblings and one I hope to be able to provide for our children when the time comes. My advice is very generic: start working early and often, live on less than you earn, get a credit card and pay it off in full every month, put any bonus payments directly into savings, and hire a professional to file your taxes. I’m lucky to have both my dad and my husband as more qualified sounding boards on money matters but I’d also recommend this book to examine your own feelings about financial freedom. If any of you have a personal finance resource that’s helped you, feel free to leave a comment below!

6. What are some things you recommend doing after marriage and before babies?

I know this is a cliché answer but travel! I’m really happy we did as much international travel as we did when it was just the two of us and I wish we’d been able to do even more! Of course we hope to travel as a family as Teddy gets older, but I’m grateful for longer bucket list trips like Africa and Australia that (for me) would be too daunting to tackle with young children in tow. 

7. I’m redecorating our apartment and looking for a light fixture over our dining table. Any ideas?

I’ve been looking at a bunch of light fixtures in preparation for our upcoming renovations too! It’s hard to recommend anything without knowing the style of your apartment but I love this and this for a more casual lantern style and this and this for a more formal chandelier.

8. Have you done Fraxel again?

I’ve only done it once a year and a half ago but I’d love to do it again! I had more dark spots surface during pregnancy and I would love to get them taken care of at some point but right now it’s a matter of prioritizing (not a ton of discretionary spending left for skincare with upcoming house projects!).

9. Will Teddy be baptized?

Yes, I really need to get on top of this. 🙈 We’re planning to have him baptized at our chapel on Nantucket this summer. He’ll be a little older than is customary but it felt special to have him baptized where Will and I were married and to be honest I’m only just now feeling capable of starting to plan something, so it is what it is!

10. Do you love your nursery glider? I’m nervous about buying one I haven’t sat in!

I keep meaning to film an IG story in it because I get so many questions about it! But yes, I’m obsessed. I know it was a risk not sitting in it before we ordered it but it really is so comfy, good proportions, and a killer deal for the price. I would 1000% order from the same brand again!

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  1. We didn’t baptize our daughter until she was 8 months old – it was flu season and it took me a while to get my feet back under me after having her! Nothing wrong with waiting so you can do it in a special place that means a lot to you!

  2. 2 great finance books- Set for Life by Scott Trench (excellent all-around financial advice, especially for those just starting out or just getting into personal finance), and The Simple Path to Wealth by J.L. Collins (excellent investing advice – NOT intimidating, very accessible!). Also I love Paula Pant’s Afford Anything podcast – she’s absolutely brilliant.

  3. On finance — I read “The Barefoot Investor” when I finished college and it got me in some great habits and made me feel like I was in control and could enjoy my finances. It’s pretty straightforward, but well written and I highly recommend!

  4. Gabby Dunn’s podcast Bad with Money has been a great resource for me! Even if you’re not “bad with money” the stuff she discusses and goes through personally in her own finance journey are universal. It’s free, funny, helpful and humanizing.