Saturday, April 11, 2015

Change of Scenery

The other day I was looking through past blog posts and came across these pictures from a little over a year ago.  I was very proud of our living room.  It's a mix of mid-century modern pieces with my more eclectic tastes of decorating with party supplies like banners, poms and balloons.  The TV was put in a back room because I wanted this room to be where we sat and enjoyed life beyond TV. Ha!

And now?

A toy store came to our house, drank too much, and threw up all over and left without offering to clean up.

Maybellene is in a phase right now where she gets bored pretty quickly with each plaything so I feel like we are on a constant circuit of finding something to do.  The couch is the nursing/reading books station, we have a play mat for tummy time and back time activities,  she can sit in a frog's mouth (you heard me, a frog's mouth) when she wants to be more upright but that gets old pretty quickly, a swing for... swinging... I carry her around and do little dances, there are stuffed animals to hug and chew on and there is pandora on the TV for plenty of music (yeah, the TV is definitely back).  Did you know there is a station called Indie Kids? It's pretty much adult music that may appeal to children and it's kind of depressing.  So we listen to silly songs and when we can... some rap.

I wonder when I will have a nice, clean living room again.  Given my bad housekeeping skills my guess is never.

In case you doubted frog mouth chair.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

It's Been A While

It has been three months since I last posted but it feels like it has been a lifetime.  I planned on writing here last week but had every computer problem imaginable.  I have finally resigned to writing on this 8-year-old Mac that is as slow as an 8-year-old Mac.  

If I had posted last week I would have been peppier. I was in the la la land of everything going mostly fine.   The lack of sleep was still very real but felt manageable.  Our routine was mostly non-existant but there was still a comfort to the day.  Today feels like I've landed in a whole new world and I can't seem to navigate my way through it.  I'm not basing my frustration on just one day but rather a slow build up over time.  But maybe I just have a case of the Mondays.  It's funny how Monday is no good no matter what you do for a living.  

Just stepped away to nurse and put Maybellene down for a nap.  It's 2:42 and it's the first time I have been able to lay her down for longer than a few seconds today.  I'm crossing my fingers that this nap can last at least an hour. As soon as I finished that sentence I saw on the monitor her arm fly up while she coughed and I held my breath and...are her eyes open?... phew, no, they are closed.  This is my Monday.  

I do not mean to come here to complain.  I look at this face and I hear her trying so hard to talk to me and I don't care that I sleep in spurts that are anywhere from 1-3 hours.  I hear the expression "The days are long but the years are short," and I repeat it like a mantra.  One day she'll be 16 and she probably won't like me very much.  I won't get her back until she's maybe in her twenties but by then she'll be so busy being a doctor that I won't get to see her very much but I will appreciate the huge home she she is going to purchase for her dad and I.

2:49... she's awake.

It's now the next day.  I barely survived yesterday.  I think we were in a growth spurt from hell but she slept much better last night and I feel refreshed and optimistic about today.  And look, she's cute.

This picture was not taken today but several days ago.  When I picked her up I realized her pajamas were filled with poop.  That sweet face is very deceiving.  

I'm dying to get in my studio.  Making stuff was a huge part of my identity and I'm trying to figure out how to get that back.  If I wasn't a stay at home mom I would probably be returning to work about now.  This makes me feel anxious about getting back to my own form of work.  Over the past three months I have dreamed up countless ideas but find that it's hard to get much accomplished in the little nap time spurts that I get.  I have many maker friends who have children so I have hope that naps will get longer and free time will be a bit more abundant. 

It's 7:57 am and I am feeling confident that we are going to have a good day today.  Where's my coffee?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Clean Hair and Make-Up

Today I left the house to go to a doctor's appointment. It worked out that I was able to shower and wash my hair and actually fix my hair before I left.  I even wore make-up!  I have been feeling like I am the only person in the world who has a newborn baby and can't get myself in order enough to stay clean and put together. I am looking at too many social media sites late at night when I'm up with baby and it appears like everyone with babies has it so easy.  I know that isn't real life but when it's 3:00 in the morning and you're covered in spit up and your hair has been in the same top knot for four days straight and you've maybe had a rinse off shower in that time and you've maybe left the house once for a quick hour, everyone else's pictures seem to show clean, well kept moms who get to go out.  They have on make-up, they're having brunch with girlfriends, they are baby wearing their newborns (I have no idea how to use any of my baby wearing devices), they do not seem to have a single care in the world.  

I wondered if I looked like one of those moms today.  My big adventure out meant sitting nervously at the doctor's office wondering if my child was at home screaming and crying and wanting to be fed. As soon as I was done I hurried home and that ended my day out.  I did get to take a picture of myself with Maybellene. I again hoped it would make it seem like I have it together.  

I'm not complaining exactly.  I get to hang out with this gal and that's pretty great...

I'm just not sure when I get to start feeling like I have things in some sort of order.  I'm going to a friend's shower this weekend and am taking Maybellene with me and I'm excited for an outing but am also nervous. I have no clothes to wear that are a combination of cute and breastfeeding friendly. I'm still nervous about breastfeeding in public (although I did have to breastfeed M in Target's parking lot after a stressful series of events the other day but that's a whole other story) and I have not driven with M in the car without my husband.  I know once I get over this hurdle the next one will seem a lot easier.

The horrible winter weather also seems like quite a hurdle.  I have always had a desire to move south, I really want to land in Nashville.  Since I had Maybellene I have been fantasizing about this move more than ever.  I want to get my baby out of negative degree weather and if I never see snow again I think I'll be okay with that. I have a tendency to think things like "if only (blank), (blank) will be better."  So I soothe my fears by thinking "If only we lived in Nashville, my new mother fears will be better." I know, I know- that's not how things work.

Look at this cute kid I get to hang out with.  She doesn't seem to care that my hair isn't clean so that's nice.  I'll keep her.

It's 10:00 pm and I want to go to bed someone is fussing and sleeping seems like it is going to be a far off.  It's a small price to pay to get to wear make-up today.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

2 Weeks In

I'm frantically writing this before a two-week-old little girl wakes up and realizes that 1: I'm not holding her and 2: I should be holding her and feeding her pronto.  Every noise my husband is making is causing me to hold my breath.  We are two weeks in and learning more and more every day.  All the kind feedback, advice and shared stories on my last post (comments on facebook) were so helpful and encouraging.

Uh oh, we made eye contact.  Oh wait, she's going back to sleep.

This is not her current sleeping pose but it is one of many. I love her smiles, even if it's just gas. And believe me, it's definitely gas.

Anyway,  the comments were super encouraging to read because I am definitely feeling that newborn baby isolation I keep reading about.  Breastfeeding is a full time job plus mandatory overtime.  I have not mastered the art of doing it gracefully which has caused me to shy away from having visitors over.  I really want company but have not figured out how to not be shirtless to accommodate my baby.  Friends have been sweetly patient with me as I continue to postpone meet-ups but I have gotten a little stir crazy.  I know I can leave my house, I just don't know how yet.

A couple of weeks before I gave birth I finally finished Maybellene's room and proudly posted pictures on Facebook.  Someone I know later wrote a status about enjoying seeing her expecting friend's pictures of their nurseries and knowing that in no time they will not be in that perfectly clean state.  That stuck with me because I wanted to believe so badly that I would keep her room tidy. I had clothes organized by size and was sure I could keep that up.  Well, after two weeks of baby here are some before and afters:

This wall was perfect, I just needed to re-frame my Dolly Parton print because it was crooked.

I never re-framed it.  And there is junk on that table that doesn't even need to be in the room. I didn't bother to include the floor which has a small handful of things that fell off the table and have not been picked up. Oh and, a water bottle cap is floating around on the floor. Why didn't I pick that up yet?

Diaper Changing table all set up and ready to go. We are going to introduce cloth diapering soon but for now are sticking with disposables while we figure this all out.

Organized closet with shelf ready for blankets and hats and all baby's needs.

And currently? DISASTER!!  That pile of clothes is dirty laundry. It isn't in the basket because the basket is filled with clean clothes that I haven't put away yet.  Hanging stuff up? Yeah right. It's all being shoved into drawers when it does get put away.

This dresser is so clean and clutter-free. Surely it would not become a catch-all for stuff I do not know what to do with yet...

Oh, wait, I was thinking I was someone else. Of course it became a catch-all.

I'm not even going to show you an after of the bed. Lets just say it's where clean clothes go before I can get them shoved into a drawer.

I'm going to pretend that the bed still looks this pristine.

All the books I have read tell me not to worry about cleaning and to just focus on my new baby. I am a rule-follower so that's what I have been doing.  Look at her. Her nursery will be clean some day. 

By the way, I did have to take an hour break in writing this to nurse and hold M. It's better than my last post. That one took me about five hours to get together. I am getting better!

Send chocolate. xoxo

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Beautiful Baby (this title was inevitable, right?)

About two weeks ago I looked like this.  I was excited to see my little girl but thought she was never going to come.  I was also ready to eat sushi, deli meat and sleep on my stomach. But most importantly, little girl.

On Saturday, 12-13-14, I went into the hospital to be induced.  We naively thought we would have deliver on that same day and Maybellene would have a neat birthday.  Look at how optimistic I look. Look at that fresh hair.  Check out the fake tan and light make-up. I wanted to look nice but not like I tried too hard to look nice. I imagined pictures of me holding my baby and looking fresh like Kate Middleton.  The word of the day was Naive.  

Finally Sunday evening, 12/14/14, Maybellene arrived just in time to not have to be delivered by cesarean section.  We were seriously about a half an hour away from having it done when my body changed directions quickly and said, "No! We are doing it this way!"  Something tells me this may be part of Maybellene's personality, make it a struggle and then finally give in.  I don't care how long we argue, she is not getting a tattoo before she is eighteen.
 Look at her, perfect. Maybellene Rae, 19" long and 7 lbs 3 ounces.  The first night my husband and I were terrified.  We had her at 11:00 pm and by the time everything was finished it was past midnight and our family left and the nurses and doctor left and it was just the three of us.  The whole time we were in the hospital it was a total blur.  I held my baby tight and tried to figure out how to be the best parent I could be. I read books and took classes but once I had this tiny creature in front of me my brain melted and I was unsure of everything.

We came home and it was even scarier. I suddenly didn't have a button that would call a nurse to make sure the little wheeze in her breathing was nothing or that she was sleeping and eating the appropriate amount of time. I was so sleep deprived that I continued to ride through the blur and make sure I was doing the best I could.

Putting her in her moses basket was a real highlight.  I had imagined her in it for many months before and now she was finally there.  But the crazy worrier in me can't be totally relaxed while she is in it because I worry she isn't getting enough air in there or that the handle will come down and get in her face.

It's been almost two weeks now and I have spent way too much time worrying.  I worry that I worry too much. I get embarrassed for worrying so much.  Nights are long and we are awake more than asleep so it just gives me more time to worry.  I know this is common for most first time moms so that eases my worries a bit but it has shown me what I really need to work on as a parent. I can promise to fill her bedroom with a million balloons during the night before her birthday so she wakes up to magic. I can read her a million books a day and take her on various adventures and make her yummy healthy treats.  I can do all those things to make her life a beautiful party but until I learn to slow my worries I know I will never be truly present.  So this is the first thing I have learned since Maybellene has entered my world.
 My mom helped me a lot the first week we were home and J's parents came and helped out, too.  Now week two is almost over and the three of us are figuring things and are mostly a long way from where we were that first night.  I think we are even keeping our house cleaner than we ever did before there were three of us.  By we I mostly mean J.  He has been more amazing than I could have hoped.  Because feedings are exclusively up to me he gets much more sleep during the night and does so much work during the day to keep his girls happy and comfortable. I don't know what I'm going to do when he goes back to work.

This picture was taken late one night while we were nursing.  Right after I took it M tossed her cookies on me.  I then went to change her diaper and she peed while I was in the process which meant I had to change her clothes, too. After that we nursed some more and cookies continued to be tossed. I was grateful I had this adorable picture to remind me of the nice quiet moment we had before it all went awry. I'm learning that is also a big part of parenting - sweet little moment followed with vomit and pee- metaphorically and literally.

Upside down baby. She's so serious.

We spent Christmas all alone, just the three of us. My Mother-in-Law had the flu so we had to postpone M's first big holiday.  I had imagined I would still wrap her two gifts I bought her and would make a big fuss of opening them for her but it was such a sleepy, lazy day that the most we did to celebrate was to wear a fun Christmas shirt.  It was all we needed.

Today M needed to sleep off all the sleeping she did the day before. We have been trying out her new swing and I have been trying to not hover over her too much.  What if I didn't put it together right? What if the mobile falls down on her?  What if she starts spitting up and chokes?  These are all the worries I'm working on.  But I still sat close by.  Not all worries will go away so quickly.

And now she's ready for second dinner. Which will be shortly followed up with first dessert.

It's going to be a wild ride!

Friday, November 7, 2014


This has been a weird week. My first week off work did not turn out the way I expected it to.  Disappointing elections, reminders of bills and daily responsibilities, not getting nearly as much done as I hoped.... but the worst thing this week was that my sweet rabbit Rue passed away.  It all happened so quickly and I am still completely stunned.  Wednesday night she was breathing heavily.  I worried that she had a cold and planned on getting her to the vet the next day.  When we woke up Thursday morning we discovered she did not make it through the night.  I could not believe it would happen that fast and I felt so guilty for not being with her in the end.  There is such a void in the house now. I usually chat with her throughout the day and now I catch myself starting to say something to her only to look over and remember she isn't there.  

Here she is when we first brought her home and we still had our other rabbit Luxie. It took the two about a week to get used to each other and then they were best friends.  Lux was in love with Rue and constantly groomed her and kept her close.  For the first six months that we had Rue we joked that she was not our pet, she was Lux's.  After Lux passed away we finally got to make Rue ours.  We got rid of her cage and made her a home in the living room where she could run around and explore. I hope she felt like her life was good.

They were not outdoor bunnies, the just got plenty of outdoor time.

She loved to be pet.  We would sit with her on the couch and she would let us pet her for forever.  When she had to go to the bathroom she would get restless so we knew it was time to put her down. She would run straight to her litter box and take care of business like a lady.

I loved watching her eat treats.  She always got a little mustache the color of her food.  I'm slowly getting used to her not being here but I wish I could have one more chance to sit and pet her.  The same day we lost Rue my Grandmother lost her sweet cat Clover.  Clover was a neighborhood cat who would leave Grandmother little "treats" at her door as a thank you for feeding her and providing her with warm shelter in her basement.  I told my Grandmother that Clover, Rue and Luxie are all together having a blast together.  I'm sure pet heaven is a very fun place to be.

The week wasn't all bad.  I met with a dear friend and started the journey of learning about Nichiren Buddhism.  The practice is so beautiful and I really think it has helped me get through these rougher parts.  I also had a wonderful visit with my doctor this morning and learned that Maybe and I are in good health. He did an ultrasound and she kept her hand over her face the whole time! It would have been frustrating if it wasn't so cute. Maybe she will be really into peek-a-boo.

I am trying to spend my time wisely the rest of this afternoon.  Working in Maybe's room is so overwhelming but I at least have one little section that looks promising.

But then I turn around....  I have hopefully 5 more weeks until she arrives...  I'm not sure if that's enough time to clean up this mess. Help.

I hope you have a great weekend. If you also had a rough week now is the time for things to turn around!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Budget Woes

Go vote today! J and I went early this morning and it felt good.  I wish he didn't have to go to work so soon because it would have been nice to have a post-voting celebratory breakfast. Instead I had a pre-voting celebratory bowl of cheerios. Whether your day includes fancy breakfast or not please go vote.

Yesterday started out well even though I was a bit overwhelmed by the state of our house (I promise it's just unorganized and not yucky).  I couldn't figure out which room to tackle first so I wondered around doing a little bit in each room.  Then the mail came and all productivity came to a halt. Our electricity bill shot up super high and claimed we used 245% more electricity than last October.  I was freaked out and felt doomed.  I sat at the kitchen table and cried because just when I thought we were doing ok and I could take some time to stay home with baby something like this comes along and makes me feel insecure.  After enough time of feeling sorry for myself I finally went outside and checked our meter and realized the numbers were completely off, the reading had been recorded inaccurately.  I called and reported and let out a sigh of relief.  One more bullet dodged.  On the night of my last day of work we thought our furnace broke.  I couldn't breathe while I waited for my husband to figure out what happened.  Again, it got figured out and we feel confident we at least have another winter with it but what happens when it does finally quit?  Eventually we will not be able to avoid something like that happening and that's when I become overcome with worry.  I pinch pennies every chance I can in order to prepare for these possibilities but will there every be a point where I can worry a little less and live a little more?  I have trouble figuring out where to draw the line between being prepared and being terrified of not being prepared enough.  If we had a celebratory fancy breakfast today it would have been served with a side of guilt.

I grew up always wanting things. I wanted clothes and shoes and purses and stuff.  So much stuff.  It's hard breaking from that. I was at a shoe store recently and wanted a pair of shoes so bad.  I even got a coupon in the mail for that shoe store and held on to it for a bit thinking I would finally buy a pair but then life happens and I get a scary electric bill that reminds me of our reality.  It forces me to let go of feeling like I need so many things but it is still an adjustment. I know that my problems are so minuscule when compared to so many problems in the world but these are the little things I'm working on overcoming.

Today I am tightening our grocery budget again so that we may start prioritizing what is important in our life.  I think taking control in some areas will help us have a little fun in other areas.

Do you guys have any money-saving tips?  Do you also struggle with finding a proper balance with spending and saving?  I'm all ears!