Thursday, October 15, 2015

Here Now

We have now lived here long enough to take two of Maybellene's monthly pictures.  Each month she has become harder and harder to photograph because she is becoming her own person and is going to do what she wants to do.  That means not smiling for a picture and definitely eating her monthly sticker.  

My heart is still pretty heavy but the lump in my throat is getting smaller and isn't there as often.  It's lonely being a stay-at-home mom and navigating this new world.  There are not a lot of activities here for Maybellene's age so the two of us go out alone daily and do lots of walking and swinging.  She seems very  happy but I worry about her not seeing other babies.  Am I projecting my own desire for friendships onto her? Probably.  I gave her a new doll that she loves to hug and kiss so there's that.  

Some things:

The leaves are finally starting to crunch under our feet but it's still so hot! We are being a total cliche of people who move to the south from the north.  Maybellene and I go to the park dressed for the dog days of summer on a sunny high 70s day and all the other kids are wearing long sleeves and pants.  More often than not I'm pushing Maybellene in a swing and my hair is barely in a bun and it definitely hasn't been washed in days and I'm sweating like crazy and up walks a mom with a sweater on and beautiful hair and make-up.  I want to wear a sweater in this weather and fix my hair pre-parking but I don't know how to pull any of that off! I'm sometimes lucky to fix my hair and make-up later in the day.  

I've been wearing a fitbit and keeping track of my steps because it motivates me each day to just do one more lap on our walks.  So I found out today that each time I rock Maybellene to sleep I'm getting about 1000 steps! So this whole time that I thought I was doing AMAZING I've really been rocking... a lot. 

More often than not I get Maybellene to sleep but as soon as I lay her down she pops up like this.  I used to let it upset me and feel like my day is ruined because nap time is ruined but I'm finally learning to take it in stride.  How can you be frustrated at that face? Instead of being bummed we went out for a walk instead.  She's now finally napping and I'm grateful.

I've been working! I have been making these ice cream cone dolls which has been fun.  I'm excited to start working in a print studio again and am starting to make plans for screen prints.  I've returned to the place where I fell head over heels for art and printmaking and I feel like it's gong to revitalize those feelings.  I am optimistic about it.  

And that is that.  I may have another hour of nap time and I know I could shower but I probably won't.  And then when we go to the park and I'm the only one that looks schlubby I'll feel sorry for myself but I'll have to remember that I could have taken a shower! But there's no way I can wear a sweater.  


Monday, September 14, 2015

Here We Are

Man oh man.  I've been away for so long I don't know where to begin.  Over the course of one month my husband got a new job out of state, we sold our home, bought a home, packed up our home, said goodbye to friends and family and drove south.  Phew! Was that a run-on sentence? Our whole life has felt like a run-on sentence lately.  

I am not in a strange land.  I have moved to the town I lived in and loved for six years while I was in college.  I always knew we would move some day and this was the best possible scenario.  Everything happened so quickly and we were in such a zone to get it all done that I never got much of a chance to process my emotions.  When I said my goodbyes I never shed a single tear and I'm someone who can cry over a cheesy commercial.  

Now I am here living among boxes I can't seem to unpack and navigating in a place that is familiar but different as the town has changed and I have changed and I have to figure out where I fit in.  Maybellene handled the move like a champ which was a relief but in the past week she has taken a turn for the worse and I feel completely lost and alone on how to handle this new attitude.  It's like we've all come out of the fog of the frenzied pace of moving and we are finally unpacking our emotions (cheesy, I know.)

My heart hurts for Maybellene because we moved away from her first baby friends and even though she's so young and doesn't realize she won't see them again I guess I'm projecting grown-up emotions on her.  I miss my friends so much so I imagine she misses hers, too.

 I'm trying my best to get my studio put together so I can start working in there.  I feel like working will make me feel normal. Maybellene has been fighting naps so it's been hard to find the time but I do what I can do get it done.  I get so hung up on the details of organizing that it tends to slow me down.  I have to channel the spirit of my gal pal Bryanne who can take a pile of stuff and turn it into a thing of organized beauty within minutes.  I am guilty of walking around in a daze and end up finding an old magazine and start reading that instead.  Bryanne, please come visit and organize my studio!

Yesterday I was feeling particularly sorry for myself when I finally realized I had to snap out of it.   There is so much happiness to find here and I am lucky to get to raise Maybellene here.  The weather was perfect so we took a break from unpacking and got out of the house.  We took Maybellene to the park to swing and she laughed harder than I've ever heard her laugh.  We then took a walk at the beautiful arboretum that wasn't around when I lived here before.  I finally felt at peace over our move.

Last night was a hard night with M and I struggled this morning to get her down for a nap.  It's barely been any time and I can see on my monitor she's already wide awake.  That familiar lump is forming in my throat but I plan on swallowing it down with coffee and getting out and exploring again today.  

This move is a great thing for all of us and I am so grateful for it.  It's just a lot to process.  Once I do I know I'll be able to happily move forward.  In the meantime I can cure my homesickness with a strawberry limeade from Sonic.  

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Baby Fashions

Growing up I acted out like a typical art student and dressed in a way that some times went against the grain.  No, most times...  I think that I blend in a bit more now only because most of my clothes aren't held together with safety pins and I don't USUALLY wear several skirts layered up at once.  Still, I doubt I'll ever make the cover of  a Gap catalog.  In college my friends and I had so much fun with clothing.  We dressed for each other not in a way to make others envious but instead to have fun.  I still have fun with clothes though lately I'm limited to wearing whatever is quick access to the milk-makers. It's a little depressing not being able to wear what I want but I am making up for that by living vicariously through my babe's fashions.

When she was first born most of my newborn size clothes were hand-me-downs from babies who were not born in an Illinois winter.  I layered what I could and took a lot of joy out of the crazy combinations that came out of that.  I approached it the way I used to approach dressing myself - limited pieces, make it fun.

This is one of our better decisions.  The pants were put on before we remembered to button up the onesie so we went with it.  I would totally wear this.  Look, she knows she's cool.

This stripes/polka dot combo seems to be upsetting her.  She doesn't seem to know yet that mixing patterns is much more interesting and she should go with it.

This dress TEARS ME UP.  It's a hand-me-down and I could not wait to get Maybellene in this.  It is tacky in the BEST WAY POSSIBLE.  The brand is Guess and it is very Anna Nicole Smith (RIP) if she created a baby line.  I would have worn this to an art opening - humongous hair bow and all.  So fluffy.  She needs some zebra print leggings to go with it but we unfortunately do not have any on hand.

And this.  This is my current favorite.  A certain family member may have called this tacky ( but I'm sure she really meant cute).  I totally want to wear leopard print pants all the time and I would if I was still in my twenties.  Something about being 32 makes me feel like my animal print days are over.  I love this mixed with a heart print top with a sweet deer on it.  It might be tacky but it is the very best kind of tacky there is. And Maybellene looks quite happy.

I hope Maybe and her gaggle of girlfriends have the same free spirit when it comes to clothing when she actually gets to pick what she wears.  I want her to have fun and express herself and be as tacky as she wants to be.  I may discourage her from wearing clothes held together with safety pins but only because they are a pain to launder.

As for myself.  My hair situation is killing me right now. My hair used to be pink and platinum and red and so many other colors.  It used to be short and wild and sometimes cut to look like a child got a hold of scissors and went to town on it.  Now it's long and dull and is mostly my natural hair color which I haven't seen since middle school.  Between postpartum  hair loss and tiny but fierce fists puling out chunks of my hair it is all a mess.  I have not had the time or money to get a decent cut but I finally figured out a solution.  I am channeling my hairstyle from the 90s and have two buns holding it all together.  It may sound silly but it makes me feel younger wearing it like this.  The 90s are coming back, right? Where are my tiny butterfly clips?!

Thank you to everyone who reached out to me after my last post. Y'all gave me so much encouragement and advice.  I feel a million times better and will try not to be so hard on myself in the future.

I think nap time is over.  Time to go pick out a new outfit!

Monday, April 20, 2015


Yesterday was one of those days where by 9:00 am I wanted to crawl in bed and call it a day.  All weekend long was a tough parent time.  Maybellene was fussy and tired and fought sleep.  I was looking forward to spending time in my studio on Saturday and thought with nap times and Dad's at home times I would get to work quite a bit.  Fussy, sleepy baby made that plan impossible.  Fine, I thought, I'll give up that plan today because I know tomorrow will be better and I'll make up for lost time.
Saturday night I barely slept.  We were up every hour to two hours.  By Sunday morning I was too tired to sleep and so was Maybellene.  I was cranky because I envisioned the day being spent once again desiring to work in my studio and knowing it wasn't going to happen.  During a happy moment I snapped this picture and couldn't help but smile.  I know there will be fussy days rough days but this cute face helps me get through it.  

She did finally sleep that afternoon but by then I was too exhausted to try to make my brain be creative so I spent the time cleaning my studio instead.  I recently finished this fabric wall hanging and listed it in my etsy shop here.  I have been eager to make more.  

Not being able to work in my studio any time I want has been one of the most challenging things about motherhood.  A little while back there was a trend on Facebook where artist's were sharing their artwork for five days and each day nominating someone else to show their work.  Each day I saw friends posting work and each day I hoped to be asked to show mine but the nomination never came.  I know it's a silly thing to be upset over but it made me feel like no one thinks of me as an artist.  I shared my sadness about it with a friend who had also yet to be "nominated."  Finally someone chose her and she in turn chose me.  Again, I know - IT'S FACEBOOK-- no reason to think the world is ending.  Some too cool for school people even wrote statuses making fun of the art share. But I am not too cool for school and I just wanted to be thought of as an artist.  I don't mean to sound whiny.  I have a lot of work to do if I want people to start thinking of me as an artist and I realize I have to find any little time I can to work in my studio.  But I also can't be frustrated with my child when it doesn't work out for me work.  I have so many friends with kids who are getting stuff done, making art, maintaining etsy shops, finding success... It gives me hope that things will fall in place for me but I know I'm going to have to work my butt off for it.

Now Maybellene is down for a nap and I'm hoping I still have about a half an hour to go work.  But if she wakes up in five minutes I will look forward to the next nap.

Happy Monday.

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.