FRIDAY Q&A: AN UPDATE ON OUR CAR SEARCH, MY BIRTH PLAN FOR BABY #2, GROWING UP WITH A LIVE-IN NANNY, AND MORE

Hello and happy Friday! We’re in the middle of a weeklong stretch of sunshine and it’s been so nice to get outdoors with Teddy every afternoon for a change. I swear we’re all better for it! We don’t have any big weekend plans (truthfully don’t remember the last time we did?) but we are helping my brother Grayson move into a new apartment in the city (I’m sure Teddy and I will be a huge help…)  and it will feel good to help him get settled! I hope you all have a great weekend and get a little sun wherever you are. xx

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1. Any updates on your car search?

Yes! We decided to lease the 2021 Volvo XC90 and I’m absolutely in love with it. I’m planning to do a little tour on Instagram stories this weekend and will write a blog post about our decision on the blog next week!

2. Will you plan to be on Nantucket all summer this year?

We hope to spend a good amount of time there every summer (and we certainly have newfound flexibility with Will not commuting to the city every day!) but I feel really fortunate this is something we can make a game-time decision about knowing we’ll have a newborn and we may or may not have been able to get vaccinated yet, etc. I’ve been forcing myself to focus only on the things I can control and need to decide right now vs. planning too far into the future not knowing what life will look like in a few months and it makes a big difference for me!

3. Do you have a birth plan for baby #2?

In a perfect world, I’d have a vaginal birth with an epidural, avoiding another episiotomy if possible (you can read Teddy’s birth story here). But I really trust the doctors at my new practice to do whatever it takes to get the baby here safely and that’s a great feeling!

4. At how many weeks did you tell your family you were expecting baby #2?

We told my parents as soon as we found out (it would have been impossible for me to keep it a secret with us all living together!) and Will’s parents and my siblings around 8 weeks just after we’d been to the doctor and heard the heartbeat for the first time. With the rest of our family and friends, I tend to be much more cautious and wait until 12+ weeks.  

5. Preschool plans? It seems like lots of pressure to get them started at 2 these days?!

Our hope is to send Teddy to a twos program for a couple hours two or three days a week this fall depending on what happens with the pandemic between now and then. It’s not something I feel pressured to do; we just genuinely think we will love it! He is constantly staring at “big kids” on the playground and I think it will be so good for him to be around other little ones his age since he hasn’t gotten met a ton of kids during Covid (which started when he was 5 months old!).

6. Thoughts on investing in cute baby gates? Any recs?

Yes, many thoughts. 😂 I was determined to save money on this front and we’ve had these baby gates up since Teddy started to crawl. They work perfectly well and are easy to use with one hand (a must when you’re holding a baby in the other arm!) but they’re definitely not gorgeous by any stretch. Now that we have another baby on the way (and hope to have more kids after that), I’ve realized that baby gates are not really something we’re going to be taking down between children — they’re going to be a semi-permanent fixture in our house for the next 5+ years and if that’s the case, I’d rather invest in something I won’t mind looking at for that many years. We’ll keep the affordable gates in places where they’re less visible (the top of our basement stairs behind a door, for instance) and bring the rest to Nantucket, but I just ordered these custom baby gates on Etsy and I’m counting down the weeks until they arrive because they’ll feel so much more decorative and let’s be honest, I take a ton of photos in our house so I care about things looking a certain way! The Etsy shop I ordered from closes every so often to catch up with orders but this shop and this shop seem to be accepting new orders! I think if you have a central staircase or playroom where you’ll be staring at the baby gate(s) every day it makes sense to get something you love; otherwise these affordable ones totally get the job done and take two minutes to install!

7. What was your experience like growing up with a live-in nanny?

I mentioned that I grew up with two working parents (you can read about my mom’s career here and here!), a full-time live-in nanny, and three siblings on Instagram and got so many questions about what life was like with a live-in nanny! We had many nannies over the years (only ever one at a time, but several who stayed for years and others who didn’t last as long!) and they really became another member of our family! They had their own bedroom in their own section of the house (similar to the loft my parents are living in at our house) and worked five days a week and had weekends off. They often came to Nantucket with us but did their own thing on weekends, holidays, etc. We’ve kept in touch with many of them over the years and my parents are even godparents to one of our former nannies’ children! I don’t have anything to compare it to in my own childhood and it’s not something I can envision Will and me doing with our family (based on my working from home and him not having commuted to the city for the past year), but it’s what enabled both of my parents to work outside the home knowing all four of us were well taken care of so I’d say it was a positive experience!

8. I appreciate you sharing your home renovations, especially since I’m undergoing renovations myself. Our home is older and has the original putty windows and some of the original interior doors. What is your approach for integrating the old with the new? We’re building a large addition so will need new windows and new interior doors for that part of the house. I’m concerned it will look disjointed if everything doesn’t match. We’re definitely keeping the windows but I’m wondering if I should just replace all the interior doors. Especially since the original knobs are brass and now aged. And the knob back plates would be impossible to find. Also how do you decide scale with mirror and light fixture sizes versus vanity size?

We had our contractor order windows that were as close a match as possible to the existing windows for a consistent look both inside and out. The doors have a slightly different look but they’re painted the same high gloss white (Behr Ultra Pure White) as the original doors so I think it still looks pretty cohesive! We have white porcelain knobs on the original doors so I chose these white porcelain knobs with a polished nickel backplate as a way to do something different in the new parts of the house while still paying homage to the original hardware. And here’s a useful guide to help with mirror and vanity sizing!

9. Love your house! Is every single room blue?

Ha, I would say almost every room is white! (Behr Ultra Pure white to be exact!) But yes, most rooms have some pop of blue whether it’s a French blue wallpaper or navy upholstery. My first apartments when I lived alone were more colorful (remember this hot pink birdcage chair?) but now that we’ve bought a home and are taking the time and money to invest in pieces for the long haul, I feel most comfortable sticking to the shades I know I’ll love for many years to come and never tire of, which for me is a lot of blues, tans, and whites.

10. What are you reading lately? 

You can see a list of books I’ve read recently in the first section of my 101 in 1001 list! A couple recent standouts have been Wow, No Thank You by Samantha Irby (the chapter on home ownership had me howling with laughter) and Untamed by Glennon Doyle (incredibly thought-provoking — highly, highly recommend!). Right now I’m reading You Deserve to Know the Truth by Erica Williams Simon (and by reading, I mean listening to on Audible, the way I “read” 99% of what I get through!).

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  1. Thank you for answering my home reno questions! The baby gates that you purchased are beautiful. Never thought I’d say that about baby gates! We have retractable baby gates which are convenient but not aesthetically pleasing.

  2. On Instagram checkout these 2 sights for beautiful lacquered furniture. Rail and Stile and Steins Furniture. Both are located in Raleigh, NC.

  3. Totally agree on the preschool front, I don’t feel pressure but truly am so excited for my son’s world to open. Happy happy weekend!