Nursery Painting Ideas

Earlier this week, we picked up some swatches so we could start thinking about paint colors for the nursery. We’ve been leaning toward a wildlife / safari kind of theme ever since the rocking lion unexpectedly fell into our lap, so a pale green seemed like it’d be an ideal color for the room. Narrowing it down to a specific shade, on the other hand, seemed like it might be a bit more challenging — there are just so many colors to choose from when you walk into the paint section at Lowe’s or Home Depot.

So many colors to choose from...

But after a bit of browsing and comparing, one color did end up jumping out at us: Behr’s pale green called “Tinker Bell.” (It appears to be part of a Disney-affiliated line of paints marketed specifically towards kids’ rooms.) This particular shade of green seemed bright and cheerful, yet not so bold or so saturated that it would be overpowering to paint an entire room with:

Tinker Bell green. Image from here.

Back in June, I wrote this blog post that looked at a selection of novel nursery designs, some of which featured elaborate murals. While it seemed like a mural would be a sweet and lovely addition to any baby’s room, there was one small problem: neither Joe nor I have any experience when it comes to painting such things.

But while elaborate, multicolored, quasi-photo-realistic murals may be way above our skill level, I had to wonder if maybe a simple mural would be within our grasp — something like the following silhouette involving just two shades of green:

Possible nursery mural? Image loosely based on this photograph.

For something like this, if we could just sketch the basic outline on the wall, I would think that filling it in with paint shouldn’t be too far beyond our capabilities. (Although that initial sketching step may be much more difficult than I give it credit for.)

Anyway, maybe I’m being unnecessarily cautious here — I do happen to have a sister who’s an incredibly talented art student, and she may be willing to use her painting ninja-skills to do something more elaborate. I should have a better idea what the game plan is after tomorrow, so stay tuned for a follow-up post with the final decision and/or results!

Whale Watching While Pregnant?

As I mentioned briefly toward the end of my 27-week pregnancy update post, we spent this past weekend in California with some close friends. The trip was amazing. We had a lot planned, and we got to do almost all of it: we braved the ridiculously steep hills of San Francisco, hiked along the beautifully scenic Pacific coast, and toured one of the biggest, best aquariums in the country.

One other item on our agenda was to go on a whale watching boat tour. Doesn’t that sound awesome? The chance to see actual whales in the actual ocean.

Promotional photo of a whale watching boat.
Image credit here.

I was really excited about this, and I made sure to bring my zoom lens that day so as to get the best possible shots of any whales we saw, no matter the distance. Not being the type to lug around any sort of camera bag, it was the only lens I brought along, and it was admittedly less than ideal for taking pictures inside the aquarium that morning. But with each shot that didn’t turn out, I kept thinking, who cares? This will be perfect for the whales later.

We got to the pier at around lunchtime, and proceeded to the kiosk to buy our tickets for the boat ride. Right outside the door, they had a dry-erase board listing the types of whales they’d seen from the boat on each of the past seven days. “Look, they’ve already seen humpback whales this morning,” we read eagerly as we walked in.

And at this point, we were greeted by a big bold sign over the counter declaring that pregnant women weren’t allowed.

Looking back, I should have seen it coming, but at the time I kind of just wanted to cry. The ticket sales guy didn’t help. “Just leave baby with the grandparents and come back in a few years,” he said, no doubt completely oblivious to how callous and patronizing he sounded.

The frustrating thing was that there seemed to be no clear reason for this rule. “Pregnant women are more likely to get seasick,” was the first justification we heard. (Which seems like a pretty unfair generalization, given that I haven’t thrown up once this entire pregnancy, and I’ve never gotten so much as queasy on a boat ride.) Later on, we were fed a bizarre story about how whales spew horrible contagions that are dangerous to pregnant women but nobody else — I haven’t been able to find any support for this explanation despite numerous internet searches, and I suspect it’s nonsense.

The worst part is that when I started looking at the websites of the various whale watching boat tours in the area — too late to salvage anything on our own trip, unfortunately — I realized that there were some pretty big variations in their policies. The following companies’ rules are listed in increasing order of hostility toward pregnant women:

  • Sanctuary Cruises – “No age limits and pregnant women are welcome.”
  • Blue Ocean Whale Watching – “Pregnant women are advised not to participate in whale watching trips due to the inherent motion of the boat. We recommend consulting with a doctor beforehand.”
  • Princess Monterey Whale Watching – “For safety reasons due to the inherent motion of the boat, children under the age of 3 and expecting mothers are not allowed on the cruise.”
  • Monterey Bay Whale Watch – “Note: Pregnant women are not allowed on these trips.”

So what’s the deal here? Is there any good reason pregnant women shouldn’t be on these boats? Unable to find a clear consistent answer on the internet, I decided to ask my doctor at my appointment today. And frankly, she seemed confused that it was even a question.

“It’s probably just a liability issue,” she said. Assuming we’re not talking about some kind of super-bumpy speedboat ride — and that doesn’t appear to be the case for any of the above listed tours — there’s no medical reason a pregnant woman shouldn’t be fine on one of these boats. But think of the liability: if for any reason a pregnant woman should lose her balance and fall, there comes the threat of a lawsuit. Better and safer to just exclude them all entirely.

So I guess we can thank our overly-litigious society, and the glut of newly-graduated lawyers with nothing better to do, for ruining everything for everybody. (But that’s a rant for another blog post.)

I just wish I had done more research beforehand, since it appears there’s at least one whale-watching boat tour in the area that would have been happy to take my money and give me a ride. So I’ll just be filing this post away in my “Hard-Earned Lessons” category, in the hopes that maybe it’ll help out other pregnant women Googling around for information while planning a similar trip.

27 Weeks: Featuring Fun New Pregnancy Symptoms

It’s been a few weeks since I posted anything pregnancy-related, so I figure an update is in order. Hard as it is to believe, I’ve already made it to 27 weeks — the tail end of the second trimester — and passed an important milestone somewhere along the way: according to BabyCenter, Baby Hart is now developed enough that she could survive (with a lot of medical help) if she were to be born today. The following is an artist’s depiction of how she’s growing:

Figure 1. Baby's development at 27 weeks. Image source: BabyCenter.

She’s also kicking so hard these days that I swear I can see my whole belly shake — must be a sure sign of a strong, healthy baby! Of course, there have been some fun new pregnancy symptoms popping up these past few weeks. In no particular order:

Unruly Ligaments – According to the internet, it seems like pretty much every minor ache can be blamed on these pesky things. The latest development has involved my hips feeling all out of whack, which tends to result in me walking slower.

Swollen Feet – I’ve noticed my feet and ankles looking a little puffy, especially at the end of the day. This particular symptom isn’t causing me much discomfort — if anything, it just makes my abnormally long and bony Olive Oyl feet look more like normal human feet.

Figure 2. Disproportionate cartoon feet on Popeye's girlfriend Olive Oyl.

The only downside is that the cute strappy sandals I bought last summer don’t fit so comfortably these days, so I’ve been forced to upgrade to a pair of average everyday flip-flops.

Heartburn – I’ve never been one to get heartburn much, so when it started up a week or two back, it was almost an unfamiliar sensation. Apparently it’s common enough during pregnancy, and it seems to be made worse by eating spicy foods, although so far this hasn’t stopped me from bingeing on jalapeƱo cream cheese taquitos and the like.

Weight Gain – Speaking of eating delicious unhealthy things, I suppose it’s no coincidence that I’ve gained a bit more weight than would be ideal at this stage in the pregnancy. At my last doctor’s appointment, I was up a full 28 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight — which is a bit much considering that I still have a full trimester to go, and they say you shouldn’t gain much more than 25-30 pounds total.

On the plus side, the doctor seemed more concerned about my ability to lose the weight after childbirth than she did about any adverse health risks to me or the baby at this stage. And since I figure some challenges recovering and getting back into shape are just a part of the deal with pregnancy, my current attitude is not to worry about it too much until after the baby’s born.

Anyway, all my whining about aches and weight gain may be a tad overblown. This past weekend, two of our closest friends treated us to an extended weekend at their family’s vacation house in California, and we spent four days strolling around San Francisco, touring the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and even doing some hiking on these gorgeous trails along the pacific coast. I think I was able to keep up reasonably well — and I feel pretty lucky that I’m still feeling good enough to be doing all these things.

It’ll be interesting to see how long into the third trimester that will last!