Ainsley’s Nursery

A belated happy 2019! We have been navigating life as a family of three and getting into our daycare and back-to-work routines. It took Ainsley eight whole days to get her first cold which turned into an ear infection after a week. It was a long few nights of rocking her to sleep, and Bill and I took turns sleeping on her floor (cross that one off our list of firsts as parents). But I guess if I had to spend a lot of time in one room of our house, this is the room I’d want to be in. Plus, I will take all of the snuggles from Ainsley any day.

So without further ado, welcome to the one finished room in our home – Ainsley’s nursery! I got a lot of “What is the nursery theme?” questions throughout my pregnancy, and honestly, there is no theme. I just bought items that made me happy or made me think of a special memory and put it all together. I thought it’d be fun to share a bit more behind some of the decisions plus some of the hiccups along the way that I can now laugh about. They were not funny when I was 8 months pregnant.

Girl's Nursery

We probably finished the room when Ainsley was about a month old, and while so many people told me that it’s okay it’s not done, I really wanted this off the to do list (I still haven’t finished my thank you notes from my baby showers hence wanting more things off of the to do list). I took these photos a few months ago so there have been several updates since October. At the time, quite a few key items were in our room (like the diaper pail) so if you’re a new mom looking at these photos and thinking that this doesn’t look like a used nursery, well that’s because you’re right. We were pretty much just coming in here to use the glider, and I would occasionally stare at her little clothes.

The first thing I bought for the room was the rug. It’s still my best HomeGoods find to date, and it was also when I was seriously convinced we were having a boy. I love it for a girl’s room even more now, but it still makes for a good story. I think Bill is still wondering how I managed to get this 8×10 rug and a media console in my car while pregnant, but never underestimate a determined mom-to-be (and thank you kind HomeGoods staff).

Girl's Nursery

I searched long and hard for a glider, and even though I never sat on this one before ordering, I knew I wanted something with a higher back for neck and head support. It is extremely comfortable and has gotten us through some really long nights. It’s very similar to the Graham glider from West Elm, but I preferred the wooden base.

The pouf is super cozy, sheds a little and flattens while you’re using it, but I love that it feels like a super soft blanket, and you can reshape it easily. I do love the Moroccan poufs but had seen them so much that I wanted something different. That might actually have been better for when Ainsley is trying to stand now that I think of it, but like I said, we’ve loved our pouf so far.

Besides the penguin and baby animal prints, I could not figure out what other art I wanted for this room. A family friend came over one day to meet Ainsley and brought gifts wrapped in the cutest white and gold animal wrapping paper. I couldn’t get myself to throw it away and realized I should just frame it. I ended up framing a cute penguin card from a friend and then cut up a gift bag from another girlfriend to frame for these shelves to add a bit more color. I’ll probably update those frames with some family photos, but I love that I think of our sweet family and friends when I look at the shelves.

Unfortunately, the basement flooded at my dad’s house in the fall, and he had to remove everything so they could install new carpet. The silver lining was that my sister found this wooden train that was my brother’s, and it immediately found a new home in her room.

These dressers were part of a set that my mom bought on Craigslist for the first apartment I needed to furnish in college. Our family friend painted them white, and we bought new knobs from Hobby Lobby. I still remember telling my mom that they would look amazing in a nursery one day.

See that little hint of a cow in the top left corner of the photo? My mom painted that sweatshirt when we were little and now it serves as hanging artwork in her closet. And, a family friend painted three beautiful roses for her room. Not only do they add the perfect pop of color, but they’re another beautiful way to remember my mom.

We removed carpet, refinished the hardwood floors, painted and updated the closets. By the time we were done, we didn’t want to spend the money on closet doors, and I’m honestly glad we didn’t. It’s so fun to see her cute little clothes and also easily grab a book at bedtime.

And now, for some additional stories that took place while trying to complete the room (I realize these are not big life problems but they’re a bit entertaining to reflect on).

Detective work on the frames

This was my first issue with Target. I had purchased four frames in the summer but wasn’t sure how many I would need. A few weeks later, I realized I needed four more in two different sizes. I went back to a another store looking for the frames and quickly discovered that while they looked very similar to the ones I had purchased, the finish was not the same color. I went online and found a recent comment saying the same thing – that the product SKUs were the same, but what was once Threshold was now Made by Design and the colors were definitely different. And so began my hunt to find any of the original frames. I visited three different stores and then called any other store within a 25 mile radius, and you better believe I spoke to customer service. That’s the beauty of a 45 minute commute in the morning. I have all the time in the world to be put on hold and connected to your manager 😉 They took down my information and followed up with me twice as they tried to figure out what had happened to the original frames. They didn’t seem to care as much as a mom trying to finish a nursery. Ultimately, they couldn’t track down any of the originals, and I told them it was misleading for the items to be the same SKUs when the product had changed. I gave my two cents and kind of made my peace but now if you look really closely at the four frames above her crib, you can see different finishes.

Straining my back

I strained my back while working on the nursery one day. Bill wasn’t home, and I brought the mattress upstairs by myself (for the record, he would’ve never let this happen, but like I said, he wasn’t home, and I was on a mission). I got it into the crib only to realize you can’t make a crib bed like you can a regular bed (so many things to learn as a first time parent). So I got the mattress back out, put the sheet on and got it back in the crib. After all of that, I bent down to pick up a tiny little toy and that’s when I could feel the extreme pain in my lower back and a big I told you so in my head. I laid on the floor in her room for a while before I could get up. This was not fun, and it wasn’t worth crossing one more thing off the to do list.

Crying in Target

I had heard great things about the IKEA shelves, and we recently got an IKEA in Wisconsin. That said, my work is 40 miles north, and I barely find the time to get downtown these days, let alone even further south to the store. Plus our weekends were filled with baby showers, weddings and visiting with family and friends. I thought it would just be easier to get Target shelves because I pass two on the way home from work.

One day, I ordered some darker wood shelves online. I picked them up in the store over lunch, but then walked around the store a bit more. I found my lamp and held the shelves up next to it. They did not look good together. I was like okay perfect, I didn’t have to go home to figure that out. Well, did you know that if you order online to pick up in the store, you can’t return the items for another 24 hours? I didn’t. I started tearing up. This was definitely a low point. It turned into a full cry session in my car…with the shelves that I couldn’t return on the seat next to me.

I ended up returning them the next day and got the white versions. They sat in her room for several weeks. My father-in-law and Bill were finally getting ready to hang them (this was now after Ainsley had arrived early), and they noticed that all of the corners looked like they had been chipped . I waited until I put Ainsley down for a nap and rushed back to the store. I opened 10 boxes in the aisle and sure enough, every single one looked chipped in the corner. I returned all of mine and once again shared my feedback with guest services.

Moral of the story: Just go to or order these shelves from IKEA right away. Please save the time and energy. I ordered them online, and Bill went to pick them up at IKEA over his lunch hour.

Nursery Book Shelves

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Crib / Glider / Pouf / Similar Dresser / Shelves / Curtains / Curtain Rods / Rug (also here) /  Light Fixture / Gold Mirror / Laundry Basket / Side Table / Wood Lamp / Baby Animal Prints / Penguin Prints / Frames / Pom Pom Bins / Woven Basket / Letterboard

Paint Colors

Trim | Benjamin Moore White Dove
Walls | Benjamin Moore Dove Wing

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  • Just a 10 month old who loves her books and animals 💗 http://liketk.it/2DmaU #liketkit @liketoknow.it #LTKfamily #LTKhome #LTKbaby #sharetheeverymom #projectnursery #lovemypbk
  • Sending a virtual cheers to any other parents that had a 5:30 a.m. wake up call this morning ☕️ Not going to lie though, we’ve gotten so much done before 9:30 a.m. including a quiet walk around our neighborhood.
  • Three years without our Kev. Remembering him today and every day 💙
  • So happy to be reunited with my people after traveling for work all week ❤️
  • I feel like a bit of a broken record these days but healing takes time and healing a broken heart while trying to keep it together for your family is hard. My mom was my best friend, and while I like to think I knew how good I had it while she was alive, there are just so many more things I’d want to thank her for, especially with my new lens as a mom to Ainsley. I can’t imagine going through chemo and still trying to take care of her grown kids the way she did. I can’t imagine getting the call that no parent ever wants to receive finding out your son passed away, and then going on to keep fighting cancer for another year and a half. All while still making me breakfast on the weekend and running errands for me during the week, helping me plan our wedding (literally don’t know what I would’ve done without her and my sister), taking every phone call from me as I was navigating new jobs, visiting house after house as Bill and I tried to find our first home and so, so much more that will never fit into an Instagram caption. I see so much of my mom’s determination and stubbornness in Ainsley, and I can’t wait to see more of her as she continues to grow up. I am forever grateful to be her mom — it’s the best ‘title’ I’ll ever have. And while, I’m grateful to have had my mom for as long as I did, it still feels way too short. Today was filled with lots of giggles and snuggles but also lots of tears as I celebrate my first Mother’s Day with Ainsley and my second without my mom. I’m trying to be better about letting myself have the bad days and giving myself more grace. So I’m calling it a night and watching Bad Moms while eating ice cream in bed. Sending lots of love if you’re having a hard day and a virtual cheers with my pint of ice cream ❤️

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