Sunday, October 15, 2017

Life Lately #12

Reading: Still plugging away at Glory in the Ordinary. I had a few weeks where I wasn't really into reading very much, but now I'm back at it and almost finished with it. I'm still debating whether to officially review it or not. It's good, though, and even though I'm not quite done, I can already recommend it.

Watching: Well, now that we've finished the current season of The Blacklist (sob), we're re-watching Parks and Rec. April is still my spirit animal. 

Listening to: The sound of a crazy downpour outside. It's been raining so hard all night and all day today, and I'm not normally a paranoid person, but I'm a little afraid of landslides these days. Did I mention that two years ago there was a landslide here that killed 3 people? And a month or so ago there was another huge landslide that blocked the road to our house and we were without power or a road into town for an entire day? Both landslides due to excessive rainfall in a short period of time. Like today...

Wearing: A hoodie, because what else does a sane person wear when the baby's napping, it's pouring rain and there's a candle burning?

Smelling: These three candles on rotation. I highly recommend every single one if you're into fall/winter scents from Bath and Body Works. I do kinda wish the "But First! Coffee" one was a little classier looking and less cheesy, not to mention the weirdly placed exclamation point drives me a little bonkers, but whatever. The candle smells like a hot mocha, so I'm not too upset about it. 

Loving: This picture of my daughter making flirty eyes at a teenage boy at a restaurant we were at this weekend. She does this hilarious thing where if she wants someone to look at her, she gives them this look and either blows spit bubbles or makes this "hehhhhhh" sound, like a half-laugh. It's hilarious and adorable and I want to bottle the sounds she makes so I can listen to them forever. God bless iPhone cameras.

I'm also loving how auburn her hair looks in this photo. I can't wait to see what color it ends up actually being...sometimes it looks medium brown indoors, but outside and in bright light there's definitely a ton of auburn/blonde in there.

Not Loving: How it doesn't matter how girly we dress Imogen, there's always someone who tells us what a cute little boy we have. The other day she was wearing pink and the lady at the post office asked me how old "he" is. Granted, her blanket was very gender-neutral and she had a Peter Rabbit stuffed animal with her, but still. It reminded me of an episode of The Office (as does just about everything in life)...I couldn't find a gif for it but it's the one where a new employee named Hannah transfers to Scranton and brings her son to work and dresses him in pink and when Pam says "she" is adorable, Hannah informs her that pink is "his favorite color." Office fans will know which episode I'm talking about.

Annoyed with: Babies R Us. I wanted to order a two-pack of leggings and a mirror toy for Imogen the other day and they wanted to charge me THIRTY DOLLARS to ship those three things here. I'm so blessed to have a mother who lets me ship whatever I want to her house (usually for free, because lower 48ers don't know how good they have it) so she can re-mail it for like five bucks.

Creating: Not much lately, but I did a quick project for my friend Anna the other day using Photoshop, and it was fun to dig back into that program. It's been a while. She and a friend needed some quick business cards made up for a craft show they were doing. I think they turned out okay for only taking thirty minutes! On a related note, check out their Facebook page!

Wanting: For some reason lately I'm kiiiiiiiiiind of wanting a Letterfolk board. I kind of hate how ridiculously popular they are and I'd totally be jumping on a bandwagon, but then I think of all the Office and Parks and Rec quotes I could put up and I think I might ask for one for Christmas.

Laughing at: This is me to a T. I will not, repeat will not parallel park. I've managed to avoid it ever since I failed miserably at it during my driving test when I was sixteen. Why start now?

Feeling: Anxious. Imogen's aunt and uncle (Isaiah's brother and sister-in-law) are coming over to babysit Imogen for a couple of hours while we go to the shooting range this afternoon. What if she cries and wonders why mommy and daddy aren't coming to rescue her? There are so many things that I scoffed at pre-child and now that I have a baby, I totally get it. A year ago I would have laughed at someone being so nervous to leave their baby for two hours with family. Now, that someone is me. I'll take that humble pie a'la mode, thanks.

Anticipating: Christmas. Yes, Christmas, and I realize it's not even November yet. But Imogen will be almost 6 months old, and I'm so excited to give her a few presents to open. I assume by then she'll actually be interested in playing with toys and not just slobbering all over them? We're also planning to visit my mom for Christmas (my first Christmas "home" since I moved to Alaska in 2009!) and take a couple of days to drive down to Oregon to introduce Imogen to her great-grandfather on Isaiah's side. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Reliving Myspace, Fall Edition

Well, it's been a minute since I posted anything but I can't think of anything interesting to talk about, so instead you get a survey. Because if the words "pumpkin spice" don't appear in at least one blog post, is it even fall?

1. Favorite fall sweet treat?
Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. I don't think I made any last year. That must be remedied this year.

2. Red, yellow, or green apples?
I tend to lean toward more tart apples, but some of those can be red, so...I guess red and green?

3. Favorite fall sport to play?
Watching Netflix.

4. Best drink for fall?
I don't really have a regular fall drink. I'm still drinking iced coffee over here, even though it's 50 degrees and pouring rain.

5. Favorite fall activity?
Baking all of the things.

6. Must-have fall purchase?
Usually a cardigan or two. I fiiiiinnnnally bought a mustard yellow cardigan while in Seattle last week and I'm having to stop myself from wearing it every single day.

7. Pumpkins: Pick your own or store bought?
Store bought if I buy them at all. Ain't no pumpkin farms 'round these parts.

8. Real or fake pumpkin?
Depends. If I'm decorating inside, fake. If I'm decorating outside, real. If I'm baking, real.

9. Favorite Halloween costume?
We don't really do Halloween. Just not into it.

10. College or NFL football?
NFL all the way. My alma mater doesn't have a football team. If I was forced to choose one, though, it'd be University of Washington.

11. Fall or Halloween decor?
FALL. Aside from not celebrating Halloween, I don't see the appeal of decorating with ghosts and witches and bloody Frankenstein heads.

12. Raking leaves or no leaves to rake?
Well, we don't have a yard, leaves to rake, I guess?

13. Favorite soup?
Lentil. After that, either split pea or butternut squash/apple.

14. Favorite fall scent candle?
Any of the pumpkin ones from Bath and Body Works, and we just bought one called Bourbon and Sea Salt Caramel and it is heavenly.

15. Love or hate pumpkin spice?
I love pumpkin but am ambivalent toward pumpkin spice.

16. Short booties or tall boots?
Why choose? Both!

17. Favorite Halloween candy?
Anything but candy corn/pumpkins.

18. Pumpkin spice latte: Yes or no?
I could take it or leave it. However, I do like just a regular iced coffee with almond milk and one pump of pumpkin syrup.

19. Corn maze or hayride?
I've never done either.

20. Favorite fall TV show?
The Blacklist.

Linking up with The Blended Blog!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

I can't even.

I can't even with...

+ Anything on Instagram other than actual stories and photos. Why was Boomerang invented? Why? If I wanted to watch someone clink a champagne glass on a 2 second loop or watch someone take the same bite of the same donut 500 times, I would...well, I wouldn't. Also, Instagram filters. I'm sorry I feel this way, but nobody over the age of twelve should be posting photos/videos of themselves with flower crowns and anime eyes or deer faces. It's just weird and I got rid of Snapchat for a reason.

+ People who passive aggressively belittle your baby's name. Look, there are tons of legitimately weird baby names out there. But, just like you wouldn't look at someone's baby and say they look "interesting", it's not exactly polite to say someone's baby name choice is "interesting." Just smile, nod, and lie. Say it's a pretty/unique/awesome name, even if you think they should have just named their baby Dirt and been done with it. If I had a dollar for every person who asked what my daughter's name was and, when told, looks at me blankly and says "Oh, interesting," (or just a plain old "Huh??") I'd be a rich mother. For the record, we didn't make it up, it is an actual name, it's Irish, it means "maiden" and "innocent", and apparently nobody on the west coast has ever heard of it. And no, I'm not defensive at all about it, why!?

+ Waiting forever in a drive thru for someone with a gigantic order. One of my least favorite things in the world is pulling into the drive thru line at the coffee shop, then waiting ten minutes for the line to even budge. I'm sitting there wondering what's taking so long, then I see 4 frappucinos, 2 hot coffees, a smoothie, three bagels and two sandwiches handed to the driver. Look, if you're ordering for your daughter's soccer team, GO INSIDE. Drive thrus are for quick orders, not so you don't have to walk ten feet and stand in a normal line.

+ The price of some baby clothes. Look, I love Carters and Old Navy as much as the next gal, but sometimes I want to branch out, you know? There's this website full of baby clothes I just absolutely adore, but hail if I'm going to pay $30+ for an outfit she'll wear a handful of times, even if it is the cutest thing I've ever seen. Ironically, I would totally spend $30 on an outfit for a gift. But not for my OWN daughter...?

+ Loop giveaways on Instagram (coming back around to IG again). Simple giveaways from people I already follow, great! Giveaways where I have to follow 30 new small businesses and have about a one in a million chance of winning? Nooooooope. Not happening. Not ever. Mostly because I don't have the time to go back and UNfollow all those people when I don't win.

+ Mommy wars. I've seen far too many of them lately and they're getting on my nerves. Who cares if you breastfeed or formula feed? Who cares if your baby is in cloth diapers or disposables? Who cares if you choose to work or stay at home? Who cares if you give your six month old a jar of Gerber puree or do baby led weaning? Who cares if your kid watches Daniel Tiger or has no concept of what a television even is? We're all doing our best and my opinion is that we all need to make the best choices we can for our families and call it good. Be confident in your choices, and if you're not, make some changes. Getting offended only hurts one person - yourself.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Life Lately #11

Reading: Glory in the Ordinary: Why Your Work in the Home Matters to God. To be completely honest, even though I've wanted to be a stay at home mom basically my entire life, I'm already struggling with feeling like I'm not really making a valuable contribution to society or our family. I've had a job with a paycheck since I was 15 years old (that's already almost two decades of working!). I'm only like a third of the way into this book, and it's already reassuring me and convicting me that while I might not be driving to an office every day or pulling a paycheck currently, raising our daughter is valuable work. Scrubbing out bottles and loading the dishwasher and folding laundry for the fifth time this week is my job, and it's a great one. I may have more thoughts on this later. 

Watching: The newest seasons (on Netflix) of The Walking Dead and The Blacklist. I'm pleasantly surprised that this season of TWD isn't the gore-fest that last season was. Last season felt like "how many people can we kill and how quickly can we do it?" Granted, people are still dying off, but it feels like there's an actual plot and storyline again, and it's easier to watch. And The Blacklist is always my favorite. James Spader for life, y'all.

Listening to: The latest Jack Johnson album. I haven't listened to him in forever and a day, and I forgot how nice it is to drive around listening to his mellow, chill music. This time around, though, it's while the baby naps in the back seat and while I may or may not be drinking an iced coffee with coconut milk and a pump of pumpkin pie syrup. 

Wearing: Pants that aren't maternity pants!! Isaiah bought me two pairs of jogger-style pants that actually don't look like I should be going to the gym in them, and I managed to squeeze into my biggest pair of non-maternity jeans the other day, too. Granted I still have a fun little muffin top going on and a butt that's bigger than it's ever been in my life, but I know it's not forever. My goal is to start working out at least 3-4 times a week again starting this coming week, now that the kiddo is on a more reliable nap schedule. I know I can count on at least a 2-3 hour nap from her during the late morning/early afternoon hours, so I really have no excuses anymore. I bought a new pair of gym shorts and a tank top and a sports bra, so I really have no excuses.

Smelling: Cucumber Melon body wash from Bath and Body Works. Someone please tell me that was their favorite scent, too. It brings back a few college memories, that's for sure. It does make me feel a little old that they call them their "retired" scents, though...

Eating: Everything bagel flavored bagel chips. Delicious. And full of carbs, which is awesome for my aforementioned pants problem. Eating them really fast counts as getting rid of them, right?

Loving: That we're headed down to Seattle next weekend, sooner than planned! Originally we weren't going to go until Christmas, but I'm excited for my mom to get to see her granddaughter again so soon, and she's a little (ha) excited, too.

Not Loving: That the reason we're going to Seattle in the first place is so my poor baby can get a lip and tongue tie fixed. We've had a really discouraging couple of months in the nursing department, and I'm still pretty emotional about it so I won't go into it at the moment, but I'm hopeful that things will drastically improve after this little surgery (for lack of a better word) she has to get. If nothing else, it'll keep her from having speech impediments or swallowing problems later on in life, so that alone makes it worth the pain and suffering (mostly emotional, and mostly mine).

Annoyed with: Several things at the moment. I'm actually writing a blog post about my current grievances - all in fun, of course - and that'll be up soon.

Creating: New blog headers! I ran across a tutorial I forgot I had for overlaying text with a photo, so that's what I did during yesterday's nap time.

Wanting: EVERYTHING from the Zara kids' section for Imogen. Oh my goodness, take all my money and take it now. Currently, I want this, this, this, and this. It's okay if she has a better wardrobe than me, right?

Also, I kind of want this couch, from a furniture store in town:

It's chartreuse. CHARTREUSE. WITH STUDS. Isaiah is about 50% on board, which is basically 100%, right ladies?

Laughing at: Imogen and the "stories" she tells. That girl has gotten so vocal in the last week or two, and I love it. Obviously everything that comes out can only be written like this: "Awwwhhhwhhhaaaaaaawhhwhhwwwaaaaaaahhhhhhhh"...but I love it. 

Feeling: Pretty good, actually. Isaiah's had to work a crap ton of overtime lately and since he's on night shifts, that means I'm basically alone all day and all night taking care of a 2 1/2 month old, but as she gets older she gets more fun and more predictable and easier to take care of in general, so I'm actually surviving okay. She's learned to not entirely hate her car seat, too, which makes getting out of the house a lot easier. I have yet to attempt the carseat + stroller combo by myself, but as soon as we get some nice weather (yeah, it still sucks) I'm going to venture out and try walking/jogging.

Hoping: That, as I just mentioned, we have some decent weather before winter hits. And yeah, we basically skip fall and go straight to winter around these parts. It's been known to snow on Halloween. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Things I Like #3

Don't worry, they're not ALLLLL baby things...

But let's get the baby things out of the way first, shall we?

These bottles have been a lifesaver for us. It wasn't my original plan to be forced to bottle feed the baby so early, but circumstances have dictated that we've been needing to supplement nursing with formula. Unfortunately, with bottles comes extra air intake, and lots of it. That translates into gas, gas, and more gas. Ever since we switched to these bottles at the recommendation of a friend, Imogen has been FAR less gassy. We still have to burp her like it's our job, but the combination of burping plus these bottles has made life a whole lot easier for all of us.

I didn't intend to go crazy with baby clothes, but I seriously cannot resist anything by Rosie Pope. We have these pants, these pants too, and these pajamas; and I'm love with them all. The sizing seems to be pretty accurate, too - she's just now starting to actually fit the 0-3 month pajamas without swimming in them. The pants are still too long because they're all 3-6 month sizes, but I imagine she'll fit them in the next month or so if she keeps growing at the rate she is. We also have some onesies but sadly the patterns appear to have been discontinued. You can see one of them in the picture of her in my last post. I call her Rainbow Brite when she wears them.

Of course I can't do a Things I Like post without mentioning a small business, so if you're in the market for some seriously cute baby headbands, visit Wuthering Iris on Etsy. I can't handle how stinking adorable and soft her headbands are. We already have a "choose your own" set of five, and I just pulled the trigger on another set because hello, it's fall, and Imogen needed some fall colored headbands.

Okay, now for some non-baby related items.

I love this trail mix from Trader Joe's. It's probably cheaper AT Trader Joe's vs. on Amazon, but I don't know how much because I just have my mom send it to me. I really like that they're individually packaged little bags, because if you're like me, "one serving" of trail mix means nothing.

These washcloths are marketed as baby washcloths, but hear me out - they are SO SOFT that not only do we have a set (gray) for Imogen's baths, but I also ordered a second set (off white) for Isaiah to use in his shaving routine. And, Natemia always includes a coupon for a percentage off your next order, which is always a bonus!

Don't worry, none of these links are sponsored - Mama don't play like that. They're just things I like, therefore you probably need to know about them.

Friday, September 8, 2017

I have thoughts #2

My poor baby had to get her first round of vaccines this week, at her two month check up. Is it just me, or does it seem like SIX vaccines is a lot for such a tiny baby? I know it's for her own good, but my gosh...three shots and an oral vaccine. She was such a trooper, though - her eyes got HUGE when they first stuck the needles in (they had two nurses doing them at one time to get it over with faster) and then she cried so hard she didn't even breathe for a good 15 seconds, but then she calmed down after only a few minutes. She did have a low grade fever later that night and the next day and she slept a TON, but she seems mostly back to normal, now. Still, tell me this isn't the saddest picture:

I have been absolutely itching to be outside lately. I feel like I've been basically housebound the last two months, despite the handful of times Isaiah and I have taken the baby out or the few times I've ventured out on my own. Of course now that Imogen is getting easier to take places and has actually been enjoying her stroller (meaning I can start going on walks!), the weather has gone to crap and we've had maybe two days without rain in the last few weeks. Story of my life. 

Somewhat against my will, I semi-recently had to upgrade my phone to the iPhone 7. Long story short, my iPhone 6 was having major battery issues, and one day finally just died and wouldn't charge at all, leaving me sans phone. I like the 7, except for one thing. It will NOT stay connected to our WiFi. I have tried just about every "here's how you fix that!" tutorial I can find online and have yet to find something that actually works. Instead, all day long I keep having to go into settings to reconnect to Wifi. It's annoying as all heck and apparently it's a known issue, so why they haven't released an update that fixes it is beyond me.

I'm getting excited for fall television. Well, not television - fall Netflix. I just got an email alerting me that season 4 of The Blacklist is now on Netflix (if you aren't watching that show, why not?) and it reminded me that it's almost fall and that means all our favorite shows should be having new seasons added. I'm looking at you, Grimm/New Girl/Portlandia/Gotham/Fuller House/Stranger Things.

We are flying down to Seattle at the end of this month for a minor outpatient surgery for Imogen and I'm really nervous about how she's going to sleep while we're at my mom's house. Thus far, she's only slept in a Rock and Play at night, next to our bed. The plan was to start transitioning her to her crib in her own room by the time she hits 3 months old (trust me, I didn't intend to have her sleeping in our room this long, even) but this trip kind of interrupts the time frame a little bit. My mom has purchased a Pack and Play for her to sleep in while we're there, and I have no idea how she's going to handle suddenly having to sleep on a hard, flat surface, completely cold turkey. I'd really like to not have some crazy sleep regression but I'm bracing for it, just in case. 

On a related note - anybody who has flown with a 3 month old baby, give me all your tips!! I already know about nursing/bottle/pacifier during takeoff and landing...what else?

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Life Lately #10

Reading: I'm kind of going back and forth between several books on sleep training right now, mostly for future reference (because you can't really sleep train a 7 week old baby). I'm also reading anything and everything Dr. Google can tell me about babies. Not a day goes by when I don't Google something along the lines of, "Is it normal for a ___ week old baby to...??"

Watching: Nothing really lately, I thought I'd have tons of time for Netflix but that hasn't been the case thus far. My mom keeps insisting I need to try the show Leverage, though - has anybody watched this?

Listening to: The Starlight Live album by Bethel, basically on repeat. Nothing lifts my mood more than some good worship music lately.

Wearing: Track pants, because a certain someone (not Isaiah) peed yesterday all over my one pair of jeans that fits and I haven't been able to wash them yet. 

Smelling: Diapers. Lots and lots of diapers. Breastmilk poop smells like fresh bread, but formula poop stinks like...I don't even know what (why we're partly giving her formula is a whole long story for another day). 

Eating: NOT ENOUGH. I was trying to figure out yesterday evening why I felt so sick (aside from sleep deprivation) and it occurred to me that all I had eaten in the last 18 hours was a fig bar and a half a piece of bread with peanut butter on it. When I'm beyond exhausted, food sounds disgusting to me, but then not eating makes me feel's a vicious cycle.

Loving: The new (to us) baby swing we bought, that I swore on a stack of Bibles I would never buy. There are all kinds of things you think you'll never touch with a ten foot pole but then you end up with a baby who doesn't appreciate naps like she should and you get desperate. And end up frantically searching the Facebook classified ads in your town for a gently used baby swing that doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

Not Loving: How much room the aforementioned baby swing takes up in our living room. Oh well, can't win 'em all.

Annoyed with: How much time it takes to stay on top of washing bottles. I wish I could hire a full time bottle prepper/washer!

Creating: A crocheted baby blanket for one of Isaiah's coworkers who is having a baby girl also. I haven't found a ton of time to work on it in the last couple of weeks (wonder why!) but I'm hoping I can finish it by mid-September when they're moving out of town.

Wanting: THESE SHOES. Mark my words, as soon as I have a little more free time and energy to start working out, these babies will belong to me. Perfect motivation to get back in shape, am I right??

Laughing at: BABY SMILES. In the last week or so, Imogen has started actually smiling for real, and it's just about the best thing ever. 

Feeling: Slightly nervous for my six week postpartum checkup on Monday. I'm a little excited because the same doctor that ended up delivering the baby is the one I'll be seeing for my checkup, but I also know that she's hardcore pushy about IUDs and I don't really enjoy having to defend my reasons for refusing hormonal birth control.

Hoping: That the baby announcements we ordered don't arrive super blurry. Shutterfly is notorious for that. And also more expensive than I remember...??

Wishing: The rain would stop! It's been nonstop p o u r i n g the last week and it's hard to get out of the house because the weather has been so nasty. It's the kind of weather we normally see in early October, only it's mid August. 

Anticipating: Imogen getting a little older and appreciating toys! I can't wait to play with her for real, and we have some stinking cute toys I'm dying to show her. Right now she just does a lot of staring and wiggling, which can be fun in its own right but it'll be great when she's a little more interactive!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

I have thoughts.

+ Taking care of a baby is hard work. You think it'll be easy - all they do is eat, poop and sleep, with the main emphasis on sleep. Right? You think the hardest part will be waking up every couple of hours during the night to feed them, and then they'll drift easily back into sleep and so will you. But before you know it, you're dealing with low milk supply and a baby with a high, narrow palate who isn't gaining weight like they should and you're going to doctor/lactation consultant/therapist appointments at least two, sometimes three times a week and on top of all that your beautiful, perfect baby doesn't actually seem to appreciate sleep and you're lucky if you manage a broken 4 total hours of your own sleep at night.

+ Despite all of the above, the deep love you have for this brand new beautiful human is like nothing you've ever known before and you would do literally anything for them, including pumping after every single nursing session in order to boost your supply when pumping is the actual worst.

+ Five weeks feels like five years.

+ Five weeks feels like five minutes.

+ It's hard not to feel a little bit (okay, a lot bit) annoyed with moms who get bent out of shape when their husbands are an hour late home from work because they're BASICALLY RAISING THE BABY ALONE, YOU KNOW. Not that that's not hard, but Isaiah got scheduled to work nights for the next two months, which means I am alone literally 22 out of 24 hours of the day. All day, and all night. We get two hours a day together when he isn't either sleeping or working, and I would give my right arm for him to ONLY be gone 8-9 hours a day.

+ I got a wild hair the other day and thought I would try on my "fat" jeans from before I was pregnant. HA. HAHAHA. If you value your self esteem at all, do NOT do that at only 5 weeks postpartum. I don't know whose hips and thighs these are, but they certainly aren't mine. Supposedly, breastfeeding will just melt those extra pounds right off your body but that hasn't been my experience so far at all. I lost 10 pounds the day Imogen was born, and another five over the next week...and not a pound has been lost since then...weeks ago. I'm breastfeeding exclusively, I don't overeat and most of my food is healthy. What gives!?

+ "They" say the hardest part of having a newborn tends to get better after 6 weeks. "They" also say 8 weeks, and "they" also say 12 weeks. I'm hoping for closer to 6.

+ If you have a kid(s) and you have your parents living close to you - even relatively close, within an hour or two - count your blessings.

+ I still laugh when we get blank stares after telling someone the baby's name. A lot of people think we made it up. We did not.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Introducing our new family member

You guys. I had a baby. I HAVE a baby.

Meet Imogen Fern!!

Two hours old.

Does the eye goop make anyone else sad?

She was born on July 2nd, eight days past her due date but perfectly on time; all 6 pounds, 15 ounces of her at 6:57 a.m. Well, according to her hospital records it was 6:57. Quick side story before getting to the main story: I vaguely remember the nurses talking about how they needed to choose whether to go by the time displayed on the monitors or the time displayed on the wall clock to determine her exact time of birth. They decided to go by the monitors because they decided it would look funny if the baby's hospital records stated a different time on paper than the time the monitors actually stopped recording her heartbeat. But, Isaiah said he looked at the monitors a bit earlier and compared them to his cell phone and the monitors were 3 minutes behind.

So, although her records state time of birth as 6:57, we're pretty sure she was actually born at 7:00am on the dot, making her birthday 7/2/17 at 7:00am. It doesn't matter in the long run but it's a funny story we'll get to tell her later.

Anyway! One other bit of housekeeping, I promised to show one more element of the nursery that was previously a secret because it revealed her name. Here's a picture of her bedroom door! The weekend before she was due, Isaiah suggested we make a banner for her bedroom with her name on it, just for fun, and this is what he/we came up with. I just love how it turned out and it's a minor miracle we found all the supplies we needed at the local craft store, which is really more like 75% household goods and tourist crap and 25% fabric and actual craft supplies.

Now the part you've all been waiting for (with bated breath, I'm sure): The birth story. I'll try to make it as short as possible, but cramming 27 long, long, long hours of labor into one concise blog post is going to be a challenge.

On June 23rd, one day before my due date, I went to the doctor for what I hoped would be my last prenatal appointment. I was my mother's first born and I was born on my exact due date, so I had somewhat high hopes that Imogen would take after me and be punctual. At my appointment, the doctor checked and informed me I was between 1 and 2 centimeters dilated. I asked if I should be a little further along than that, and she said not necessarily, that it showed my body was prepping itself for childbirth and the number itself didn't matter much (which I knew but it was nice to have the confirmation).

Needless to say, my due date came and went...and went...and went. I had another appointment a few days later, and declined both a cervical check and a membrane sweep. I also let the doctor know that as long as everything was still checking out okay and the baby was healthy, I didn't even want to talk about induction until 42 weeks (which she understood and was fine with). I already knew that Imogen was on the smaller side based on ultrasound measurements, and I really just had a gut feeling that she wasn't quite ready yet, and God knew exactly when her birthday needed to be. Obviously if careful monitoring showed a problem we would have carefully weighed our options, but my fluid levels were fine, blood pressure perfect, placenta a-okay, and she looked perfect on the ultrasounds as well.

Plus, after lots of research I knew that, statistically, most women naturally go into labor by 40 weeks and 5 days, and almost all the rest go into labor by 41 weeks and 3 days. It's actually relatively rare to make it to 42 weeks, but it also isn't an automatic induction sentence.

Well, at 41 weeks on the dot - Saturday morning the 1st of July - I woke up at 4am with what felt like really bad period cramps. In my half-asleep stupor I remembered that lots of people said their early labor pains felt the same way, and I thought maybe something was finally happening, but I went back to sleep and figured if I woke up and still had them, then I'd put more thought into it. At 6am I woke up again with the same pain, and finally at 8am I got up and decided that I'd shower and see if THAT got rid of the cramping.

Spoiler alert: Nope.

Cat pjs for life.

After I showered, the cramps had turned from a constant ache to actual, time-able pains. They were only 30 seconds long and I was totally able to talk and function through them, but they were only 3 minutes apart. In my naïveté I was hopeful that that meant I'd have a short labor, since I'd heard so many people say their contractions started 10, 15, 20 minutes apart and didn't get closer together for many hours. Since they were only 30 seconds long, though, I figured I still had a little bit of time, and after making sure my hospital bag was ready to go, we went to a late breakfast (brunch, if you wanna be fancy about it).

All through breakfast I timed my contractions, which were staying at a steady 30-45 seconds long and 2 1/2 to 3 minutes apart. By the time brunch was over, I was having a harder time ignoring them (and talking to our server) so we went home. Since I planned on an unmedicated birth, I knew I wanted to stay at home for as long as possible. I really, really did not want to show up to the hospital too early for them to admit me, and I really, really did not want my labor to stall once I got there.

By late afternoon, my contractions were lasting about a minute long and were 2-3 minutes apart. I definitely couldn't talk through them anymore and it was getting pretty hard to talk or do anything in between them, too, which according to all the books means you should be fairly far along. At this point, both my mom and my mother-in-law were insisting I go to the hospital (lest I deliver a baby in the car), and even though I knew I probably wasn't in any danger of that happening, I called the hospital to see what they said anyway. The nurse seemed a little disbelieving that my contractions were actually that long and close together, but said we should go ahead and come in to the hospital so they could check and see how I was progressing.

So after a final check to make sure the cat's food and water bowls were full and the house was picked up, we headed to the hospital around 5:00pm. Let me tell you, car rides when you're in labor are absolutely excruciating and I was absolutely NOT wanting to be sent back home, because that would mean being strapped into a car seat three more times.

Long story short(er), we got to the hospital, I put on a gown, they strapped me to the monitors, agreed that yes, my contractions were as long and as close together as I had said they were on the phone, and checked to see how far along I was.

I was really, really hoping that after 9 hours of labor I would be at least four or five centimeters dilated. I even had hopes of delivering a baby before midnight. I figured there was no way I just spent the entire day pacing the house, sitting down only to eat brunch, only to make no progress.

I had made barely any progress. At my 40 week doctor's appointment I was told I was between 1 1/2 to 2 centimeters dilated. When we got to the hospital, after hours and hours of labor, I was only at 2 1/2 centimeters. Even though all my research told me that it didn't matter how far dilated I was, that your body can go from 0 to 10 in a matter of a few hours if it wants to, it was still pretty discouraging to hear that all the pain so far had been for almost nothing.

The nurse told us that since there was nobody else there, if we wanted to stay we could, even though they don't typically admit people until they're around 5 centimeters. She also said we could go home if I wanted to do that, since it would probably still be a while. I absolutely did NOT want to go back home, so we said we would stay there, I would get re-dressed, and we would walk around the hospital until something happened.

This was at about 6:00pm at this point...rather than bore you with the long, painful details of the next twelve hours, let's just say we basically wore a rut in the floor of a basement conference room at the hospital with all the circles we paced in between contractions. Finally, I couldn't handle walking around anymore (despite all my goals of staying upright until I was ready to push the baby out), and we made our way back upstairs where we discovered I was closer to 4 centimeters. Another "Are you kidding me??" moment.

To be honest, a lot of the night after I changed into that stupid hospital gown for the last time is kind of a blur. I know I spent the rest of the time laying in the hospital bed, doing my best to relax and breathe through contractions while also being in so much pain I had to yank on the rail of the bed just so I had some place to direct some energy. I also had no intention of being *that* laboring woman who makes a lot of noise, but at some point, it became completely involuntary.

Eventually, I have no idea what time, I hit transition. Let me spare you all the details - those of you who have had children will know what I mean and if you haven't and you want to know, I'm happy to share - but it is absolutely the strangest, most out of control, worst feeling I have ever felt in my entire life. I am so thankful that Isaiah and I did a lot of reading and I knew everything I was feeling and thinking was completely normal and I was not, in fact, dying - but that doesn't mean it's anything I want to repeat any time soon. I also knew that transition is the shortest phase of labor - generally between 30-90 minutes - and that gave me hope that I was almost done.

I have no idea how long I actually spent in transition. I know it wasn't an extremely long time (maybe an hour?), but it got to the point where my body was going to push this baby out no matter how hard I tried to stop it, and it is the most annoying thing in the world when a nurse is telling you "don't push!" over and over while they wait for the doctor to arrive. Through a haze I vaguely remember saying "I can't help it, I'm not doing it on purpose!" over and over like I was in trouble or something.

Finally, finally, the doctor arrived, checked me and said I was ready to push.

Thirty minutes later, the greatest blessing of our entire lives arrived kicking and crying and stretching her legs out as far as they could possibly go (explaining why I felt her knees/feet up under my ribs constantly the entire last month of being pregnant).


I can't wait until she starts smiling for real. In the meantime, she gives us plenty of teaser smiles.

Within two hours, I was up and walking myself to our recovery room, and after a mostly sleepless night full of blood pressure checks and, uh, stomach "massages", we were able to go home around noon the next day. Not a moment too soon, because hospital food is not exactly fine dining.

I can't say we've slept a whole lot better since coming home (ha), but at least I don't have to wear a hospital gown anymore and at least the food is better. 

I have a lot of other things I could say relating to unmedicated childbirth, and if that's something anybody would like to read, let me know and I'll write something up. I hesitated to talk a lot about it in this post, because I never want to make anybody feel like not getting an epidural makes me think I'm a better person (it doesn't), but I would absolutely recommend it to anybody, any day of the week. 

There are a lot of things about having a newborn I wasn't expecting and a lot I wish I had been told or warned about ahead of time, but overall, it has been the sweetest two weeks. I know I'm biased, but this little girl is pretty perfect. Life is definitely better with her in our family.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

FFR (Fully Finished Room) seeks TLBG (Tiny Little Baby Girl)

I've been procrastinating writing this post, even though the baby's room has essentially been completed and ready to go for quite a while. Mostly just because there are two small projects that I just can't seem to get my butt in gear to finish and I feel like the room isn't really DONE until *I'm* done, you know? But, the projects are nothing that can't wait until after she's born and heck, maybe they'll give me something to do while she's napping.

Our original idea was to create a very outdoorsy-forest animal-mountain themed nursery, one that was somewhat gender neutral but had a few girly touches thrown in should we find out the baby was a girl - which she is. We mostly stuck to the plan, and there are a few things I would have liked to do a little bit differently but when space and lighting are a major issue, some adjustments have to be made. Overall, though, I really love how the room turned out!

I'll leave some links at the bottom of the post (none affiliated, of course) in case you want to snag something you see in these photos. There is one other DIY element to the room that is not pictured, but I'll definitely show it off after she makes her arrival - it displays her name so it'll have to remain a secret for a little bit longer!

Also, I took these photos with my iPhone and the lighting isn't great (as mentioned already) because the room is on the back of our house, up against a cliffside, with zero sunlight during the day...and I did try and edit them a little bit...and I'm a terrible indoor photographer regardless...but you'll get the idea. It's a little bit cave-like (when the brightness isn't bumped up via the magic of Photoshop) but I'm choosing to call it "cozy" instead.

Welcome! Here we have the view if you are standing in the doorway of the nursery. Huge, right? Good thing babies are tiny. But seriously, it's small and cozy and perfect for a tiny person. A hobbit hole, if you will.

To the left of the room we have one bookshelf (from Target, years ago), that used to hold the majority of my yarn and craft items. I decided to sacrifice it to a greater cause. It didn't originally have that lift-open cabinet door on the top of it - that was a contribution from my extremely handy husband. We don't have a ton of room in the rest of the house, so we added a cover to the top two cubes of both bookshelves so we could still store a few items that aren't baby-related, but not have to actually look at them all the time. One contains some adult books (not adult themed books, ya perv) and one contains some office-type supplies. 

Same basic bookshelf story, but on the right side of the room. This one holds all her currently-owned books, a few decorative items, and a few more of our things hidden underneath the cabinet door up top. We went back and forth and back and forth between either a crocheted floor pouf (like this one) or a furry cube-shaped ottoman/pouf, and finally decided on the fur when it went on a sale too good to pass up. 

Standing in front of the crib and turning around, we have the other side of the room. This is what I like to call the feeding nook. I wasn't originally a huge fan of this style of nursery glider and I really wanted something a little bit more retro looking (a.k.a. not obviously a baby chair) but 1) none of the ones I liked would actually ship to Alaska and 2) most of them were big bucks even if they would ship. So, we settled on this one, but I ended up not hating it. Plus, it's pretty comfortable, and in a color I like. We didn't buy the matching ottoman, because I'm not a matchy-matchy person, hence the fur ottoman. 

Swinging to the right a bit more (any further right and you'd be looking back out the door to the room) and we have the changing station/dresser/closet area. We took off the closet doors and toyed with the idea of hanging curtains to hide the closet, but eventually decided that they'd just get in the way and probably end up making the room look even smaller. The dresser holds a lot of her clothes and all her cloth diapers, and the bins up top are all stuffed with clothing sizes bigger than 6 months. You can also see a basket or two of my yarn up in the top left, because I literally (and I use that word literally) have nowhere else to put them right now. The wet bag hanging on the back wall is one I ordered from an extremely nice Etsy seller based in Anchorage, and once she fits into them, it'll be used for dirty cloth diapers in between laundry days.

From the beginning I really wanted one of those metal IKEA carts, but they don't ship to Alaska. I was pretty thrilled when I randomly stumbled across essentially the exact same thing on the Target website, and almost immediately ordered one. It's currently being used to hold her swaddle blankets and zip-up swaddles, changing pad covers and crib sheets, and a few pacifiers/teething toys up top. I'm not quite sure she has enough swaddles and blankets so I might need to order a few dozen more of each.

Everyone needs a place to hang their hat coat and diaper bag, right? I painted that little "Take a Hike" piece up above, and the two vintage floral postcards were randomly sent to me by a client at my former job, along with their monthly payment. I need to stand on a chair and hang them properly - they're currently just stuck up there with tape and aren't very even. 

This art print is, I'm pretty sure, the very first thing we picked out to put in her nursery. I found it looooong before I was pregnant, showed it to Isaiah and he loved it too, so it's been bookmarked on Etsy for probably at least the last year and a half. I'm so happy we finally were able to order and hang it!

Obviously none of these items will actually be staying in the crib while she's sleeping in it, but we couldn't help sticking some of our favorite stuffed animals in there. The bunny is from Isaiah's parents, picked out by his stepdad. The watercolor/floral crib sheet is one of the things we picked to make the room look like a girl lives there.

Every forest has gnomes, right? I made this mobile and while I'd definitely do a few things differently next time, I still mostly like how it turned out. I think one of the main things I'd change is not using black and white twine to hang the gnomes and mushrooms. I think it's distracting and I still might change it out for fishing line or something, like I need another project to work on.

Speaking of gnomes and little forest animals, you can't have too many, right? The little gnome figurines were picked up on a whim at a local shop, we've had the little fox lamp for several years (but we did replace the black lampshade with that gray one), the feather trees were purchased on an after-Christmas clearance sale at a store in town, and I painted those mountains using cardboard cones I found at the craft store.

Books! And a baby book! For some reason we've gravitated toward things with bunnies for this baby, hence the Peter Rabbit baby book and the multiple books about rabbits...Peter Rabbit boxed sets, Pat the Bunny boxed set, the Runaway Bunny, an original publication of Leo the Lop that my sister found on eBay and ordered for us...the list goes on.

She has to learn her alphabet somehow...and fun fact, it took quite a bit of research on my part to figure out what the "I" stood for. Because that's a lemur, right?? Nay, not just a lemur, it is an INDRI - a large species of lemur found only in Madagascar, apparently. Let's just say I ordered this print from an Etsy seller based in iguanas in this alphabet!

Finally, some of my favorite items from the room: The wooden nightstand we found, and a Peter Rabbit toy from one of my old coworkers, and one of the cutest board books ever. That tall white thing is a nightlight/sound machine, and the more I play with it, the more I love it. The sounds on it are great, you can customize the nightlight color or program different colors to go with different sounds, and you can control it all either on the unit itself or from your phone. It's pretty spiffy.

So there you have it - now all we need is the baby!! The baby that is currently five days overdue and seriously welcome to come any time she wants...

And here's a list of items from the room (again, no affiliate links!), if they're still available. If I didn't list something and you want to know more about it, let me know. Thanks for visiting!

crib + dresser (Target)
glider chair (Babies R Us)
metal cart (Target)
cream shag rug (Amazon)
fox lamp (Target)
gray lampshade (Target)
metal coat hook (Anthropologie)
shaggy stuffed animals (Restoration Hardware)
The Quiet Book (Amazon)

Saturday, June 24, 2017

I wish due dates were concrete just like our new countertops.

Happy due date to me! Well, I guess happy due date to this baby girl is more accurate, and if she wants to make it her birthday too, that would be fine.

No impending labor signs yet that I'm aware of, other than occasional Braxton Hicks which are nothing new - I've been feeling those off and on for like two months now. I haven't been checked by the doctor yet, so I don't know if/how much I've dilated. So far it hasn't mattered - babies come when they come and I trust my body will know when it's time - but if I make it to my appointment next week we'll definitely need to make sure things are moving along. I was informed last week that they "don't like" to let moms go past 41 weeks, which I think is a little silly if everyone's healthy (and wealthy and wise, as my mother would say), so I'll be asking for 42 weeks at least. I really don't think I'll still be pregnant then, so I feel like it's a bit of a moot point.

We did decide that last weekend was the perfect time to rip apart our kitchen in order to redo our countertops and backsplash and I was semi-hoping that would jump start labor, being on my feet all day every day but no dice. I've been wanting concrete countertops for ages, so for my birthday, Isaiah surprised me with all the supplies to cover up our ugly, pale yellow laminate counters with a concrete overlay.

It actually worked really well, and they're 95% finished and will be 100% finished this weekend (assuming this baby doesn't interrupt the plan). They're technically done, but we wanted to go the extra step of adding a wax layer on top of the sealant to make them extra stain and scratch-proof. I've been using them the last few days without the wax layer, though, and they've been great!

You probably saw these pictures already if you follow me on Instagram, but here's the before (ew), during, and a couple of after photos - one with the counters still empty and one with everything put back. Not bad for only a 4-day project, if I do say so myself!

Ew. Just ew.

Mid-concrete application. We used 3 thin layers of Ardex Feather Finish. Messy, yes, but fairly easy.

New wooden backsplash and finished countertops! We sealed them with Cheng's Concrete Sealer and followed a YouTube tutorial we found online (since the reviews mostly said the instructions on the bottle were outdated and didn't work properly).

So fresh, so clean clean. And a furry photobomber. And a big plastic tote I forgot to take out of the sink post-wash and pre-photo. Can't win 'em all.

Remember when I said I was hoping to make a bunch of freezer meals for under $150 for after the baby's born and neither of us want to cook? The grand total of my shopping trip, not including the cost of the ingredients I had on hand at home already or the things I'll need to go with the meals, came to $160. I was pretty proud of myself. I bought enough to make five freezer meals and a bunch of pre-portioned smoothie packs, and I figure each meal will feed us at least twice, with possibly a bit left over. Add to the cost the extra side dishes (rice, quinoa) and necessary serving vessels (tortillas, for chicken tacos) and I bet it'll all come in at right around $200 total. I still think that's pretty outrageous and anywhere but Sitka I could do all that for a lot less, but $200 for 10-15 meals around here is about as good as it gets, especially when there's any kind of meat involved. So I'm satisfied.

I do have to say, one thing I am getting tired of being asked is what we're naming the baby. For some reason, even though we have had months to get used to the question, I cannot for the life of me figure out a way to answer that doesn't come across as super awkward.  I guess part of me finds it odd that strangers legitimately expect us to tell them the name we've chosen, and part of me feels awkward telling them we're not telling them. "Uh...well...we do have one but aren't really telling anyone until she's born..." Unfortunately my bumbling response isn't usually met with a happy, understanding face. It's usually met with a blank stare and an "Oh, okay..." And then I feel like I have to have a darn good reason, like we still can't decide between a few names (not true) or we want to make sure the name fits her looks before we finalize it (also not true).

At least we're running extremely short on the amount of time we still have to feel awkward about this situation. I hope.