8.30.2013

My First 2 Weeks Were Hard

I was talking with a friend the other day about postpartum depression and I thought now would be a good time to talk about my experience postpartum. My first two weeks were hard. I don't think I suffered from postpartum depression, but I was frustrated and sometimes sad.

I had a really hard time coming to terms with the fact that I got a c-section. I had been so healthy and active throughout my entire pregnancy that I felt jipped not getting a "traditional" birth experience. I hated having to get induced and I had really hoped that I could have Zoe naturally. That was completely not the case and I wanted that epidural. And I wanted it BAD. Getting the epidural (along with other factors) is what most likely led to my blood pressure crazy dropping and Zoe's heart rate crazy dropping and needing to get the "emergency" c-section (though we both did completely stabilize before surgery). I felt A LOT of guilt thinking that it was "my fault" that the c-section happened. I stupidly reasoned that maybe there was something I didn't do to make myself go into labor, I should have been stronger and held off on the epidural, blah blah blah. But in my head I felt like it was my fault. And that put a big burden on me


After the c-section you are of course very sore, so it was hard for me to hold Zoe a lot those first couple days. Combined with the fact that she was really fussy I felt even more like a failure: I couldn't help Chris soothe her as much as I wanted. My core was sore and I could only hold her for extended periods of time if I was sitting down and sitting down is not what makes Zoe happy. She wanted to be rocked, bounced, walked, etc. and I just couldn't do that.

Then we add to the mix the difficulties of breastfeeding and I was a bit of a basketcase at times. I felt like my largest contribution those first couple days and weeks was being able to feed her, and I was struggling a lot to do that. Zoe and I were having trouble latching and figuring out how to make things work. Chris was amazing and even sometimes held her for me while she was feeding because I would get sore and tired. He was really the most awesome and supportive person he could have been. And I was super thankful for that.

But that still didn't mean that I wasn't hurting. I tried to keep a lot of it in as friends and family asked how things were going. I said I was tired or Zoe was being fussy, but for the most part I kept up a really happy face. I didn't want anyone to worry about me


It was impossible though for Chris to not see that I was having a hard time. At different times in my life I've gone to counseling when I go through phases of various levels of unhappiness and Chris knows that it's best to tackle me being unhappy right when it starts or else I start to sort of tailspin and become a super big Negative Nancy. He asked if I wanted to go to a support group or a Mommy and Me class. I was really hesitant and didn't want to. I was already feeling like a failure for being induced, getting a c-section, having a hard time holding her, and having trouble breastfeeding. Of course going to talk to other moms that were feeling the same thing was the absolute thing I should have done, but I didn't want to "add" one more thing to the list.

It was completely stupid and in no way was I a failure for any of those reasons. That was just what happened for our birth. Nothing was my fault and I was doing everything I could as a new mom and Chris was doing everything he could as a supportive partner and new dad.

For me, everything changed once I read about wearing a baby which came about the time I finally felt strong enough to hold her in her carrier. Once I started carrying and wearing Zoe all the time I felt so much more connected to her and that I could make her feel better and that I was succeeding as a mom. Breastfeeding started to get easier and she started sleeping better. It was magical


I'm sure I was suffering from Baby Blues, adjusting to being a new mom and just being too hard on myself. I don't know why I expected a perfect transition and to get the hang of everything as soon as a new challenge presented itself. This was a brand new experience and something I had absolutely never done - why on Earth would it be so easy peasy?

I now am much more confident at being a mom and tackling new challenges. When people ask me the biggest thing I've learned or the most important piece of advice I always go to: I know enough for today. I know that tomorrow there will be a new challenge that I've never faced, and that will be okay. My mom said that one time her and my brother were in a fight when he was a teenager and she told him that even though he thinks of her as a mom and that she might know everything about being a mom, she'd never had a teenager that was 16 years old, 4 months and 19 days. The next day will be her first time having a teenager who is 16 years old, 4 months and 20 days. No matter how long you've been a mom - 3 days, 3 months, 3 years, or 3 decades - there is always something that will pop up and challenge you and force you to learn how to deal with it. And learning to realize that was a huge burden lifted off of myself that I had unnecessarily placed there


It's important to find the joy in every moment and understand that every frustration will also pass. And when you're really annoyed, make sure to go look at your sleeping baby, there's really just about nothing cuter.

8.28.2013

Laundry Room Phase 1 DONE!

Before we can officially call Phase 1 of the laundry room redo done there were some finishing touches we needed to complete.

We had to make the transition from the office to the laundry room more attractive. So it went from this...


To transition bought, cut down, stained and poly'd and installed


The next thing? That now pretty painted door needed a new knob. You see, all the knobs in the house are glass and this ugly knob just wasn't cutting it


So we bought a glass one and installed it


We also needed deal with the window covering. Before we had just a hanging curtain, but I hated it. It was the second round of fabric in the room and I found it revolting. I was kind of excited to pick out some new fabric and make (what else) a roman shade :) But once the bikes went up my crowded the window


The bottom wheel actually hits the window, so a curtain wasn't happening. We figured out quickly that we should just go with frosted glass


Problem solved. They're still a little streaky so I might go at them again. But it's clean, functional and private. So I've really got no complaints.

And with that, Phase 1 is complete


Yay!!!

It really didn't take too long, nor was it too difficult. We were so worried about that floor for some reason, but it turned out great and wasn't hard to install at all.

Having the bikes hung up is a really great way to finally have them out of the way of the rest of the house and actually put in a proper spot


And the cabinets really give a great amount of storage despite their small size


There's even a nice little cubby just big enough to store our step stool


Even though it was more expensive to replace the CD shelves with standards, it's a really nice, clean look


It's all a wonderful improvement to get us from this


To this


Now there's just the rest of the room we have to get to...



Ugh. At least half of it looks nice...

8.27.2013

Framing More of Our Travels

I've been pinning ideas for what I want to put on this wall in the hallway


And because we're putting our map from our baseball travels on the other wall I thought more maps about our travels would be a good idea. I didn't just want your average map though so I looked at other people's map ideas

I like the idea of a piece of map cut out in the form of the object as to why you visited
found here
photos in the map of the places we've been: AWESOME!
found here
could I make my own map?
found here
All these maps had something fun to them. And I loved the idea of including a picture. So one night while watching TV I asked Chris what some of his favorite places we'd visited were. Between the two of us we put together a list of 8 places we loved or were special to us as a couple in some way. I found maps of all of them on the internet and had Chris print them out


Then I went through our photos and got 2-4 from each place.

1. Vermont


I took Chris here for his 30th birthday a few years ago. He loved it. I loved it too. It made him fall in love with wanting a farm and living a slower life.

2. Michigan


We fell in love with Michigan while on our Renovation Roadtrip. It furthered Chris' desire to not want to live in a city anymore. He's still trying to convince me to move there...

3. New Idria


One time we were driving through central CA and we saw this weird spot on the map that was a federal contamination site. On a whim we decided to drive to it at like 10 o'clock at night. Of course we found ourselves on crazy roads telling each other scary stories. We happened upon the town of New Idria which used to be a mercury mining town many decades ago and now it's a ghost town. It was scary to discover at night, but I ended up doing a short documentary on the town for school because we were so mesmerized by it. We drove back to it to take video footage and Chris took still pictures too. It was a fun adventure

4. Yellowstone


We went to Yellowstone while on our baseball roadtrip and I LOVED it. Chris had been there before while on another roadtrip he took while in college, but we had so much fun discovering it together. We saw so many amazing things, learned so much and just loved experiencing it together.

5. Banff and Jasper National Parks


These two parks are Canadian National Parks and they were SO BEAUTIFUL. We also visited them on our baseball roadtrip (like I've said before, we saw A LOT on that trip). I don't think I'll ever seen scenery so beautiful or water in such spectacular colors. And we got to stand on a glacier together.

6. Cuyahoga National Park


Seeing the National Park theme? (we've visited many). Chris was a volunteer national park ranger one winter at CV National Park. One weekend I went out to visit him and he took me on his nature walk and practiced his talk with me as he was developing what he would talk about with visitors. We both remember that walk as a really special moment. There wasn't any great discovery or event that happened, but it was just a fun adventurous moment of support for each other.

7. Fenway Park


Ugh, as an A's fan it's really hard for me to admit that Fenway is my favorite baseball park, but it was the only one that I got goosebumps from when we entered. It was just an absolutely amazing place. I feel lucky to have gotten to see a game there. (Wrigley is a close second)

8. The Grand Circle


Again, more National Parks :) The Grand Circle is a ring of National Parks and other historical sites in the Southwest and they are absolutely gorgeous. We visited several of them when Chris moved me out to Texas from California after we had only been dating for 2 months. It was our first roadtrip adventure together and we had so much fun. It definitely started a great tradition for us together of traveling and especially visiting National Parks (as you can tell from how many are on this list). Both of are so excited to take Zoe to her first National Park (we think camping in Yosemite) and get her a book so that she can put a stamp at every National Park she's been too. Both of us regret never having done that (will we ever visit the Everglades again?)

Now comes the task of taking these maps and photos and making a nice piece of artwork out of each adventure and hanging it on the wall. I'll love looking at all of these places as I walk by and remembering how special and fun it was to visit every one of them together. And of course thinking about where our next adventure will take us :)

8.26.2013

Earthquake Retrofit: Almost Done

About 4 months ago our friends and family came over to help us with our earthquake retrofit. We made some serious headway, but we didn't get all the way finished. Well, on Saturday both sets of my parents came over to help us get more done. Hooray! My dad, step dad and Chris spent the better part of the day working. And this is the only picture I took


See that piece of plywood all the way on the left? See, I took pictures of work... :)

The plan was to have me help as well, but I got food poisoning on Friday and spent most of the day in bed, or literally crawling into the bathroom to throw up. Lovely, right? Good thing our back bathroom is now right off of the bedroom so I didn't have to crawl very far. I still felt a little "barfy" (as I called it) on Saturday, so I mostly hung out with my mom, step mom and Zoe



Can anyone resist a baby in a sun hat? Obviously not :)

My dads and Chris almost got everything done, which is completely awesome. Chris said there is maybe an hour worth of work left to get it all done, hooray! Now we almost don't have to worry about the house falling over in an earthquake after all the work we've done to fix it up :)

8.23.2013

What the Fuck is With Baby Clothes?

The other day Chris and I went to the Gap to return some clothes a friend of ours got for Zoe. She's already in most of her 3-6 month clothes (and has been for the couple weeks despite not being 3 months yet) and before I really even realized it she was too big for the outfit they had gotten her before she could wear it once :( Thank goodness for gift receipts.

Because she's growing so damn fast we decided it would probably be best to buy clothes for when she's older. We have a TON of clothes up until about 1 year old (hooray presents!!!) but not too much for when she's older than that. Off we went to the sale rack to look for 12 month+ clothes. I'm a super fan of the sale rack, especially when it means I can spend $5 on something she'll grow out of in 3 weeks instead of $30.

Immediately I was totally pissed - what the fuck was with these girl clothes? Now, granted I was at the sale rack so maybe all the cool moms already bought the great girl clothes, but basically everything was either pink, had ruffles all over it, or had text all over it talking about how cute something is. I was highly annoyed. I'm not against pink, but I find the plethora of pink highly annoying. If Zoe wants to like pink, that's totally fine, but I don't want her to be forced to like pink because that's the only fucking color of girl's clothing that they make. Because it certainly seems like that sometimes.

I didn't take any pics while we were there, but from their website I would just like to make a comparison. Here is a "boy" duck onesie


(found here)

And here is a girl's camel onesie


(found here)

I guess only boy can like ducks. Girls have to like hearts.

When you look at their socks, what do you find? Well, the first 5 pairs of girl's socks have ruffles and out of the 9 sets you can get, 5 are fuuuulllll of pink


(found here)

There are actually 16 sets of boy socks (I guess they like their feet covered more?), and they've got a greater range of colors: green, maroon, gray, orange, yellow, white, blue, teal, black, red. Why can't these be girl socks as well?


And why is this even specifically a boy or girl onesie?


But can you guess which one? Ohhhh, boy. Because girls apparently don't like camping.

It was so infuriating. Out of all the stuff we got, we only actually got one "girl" item of clothing (a green tank). The other items? "Boys." And the hilarious thing is that they were totally not gender specific items: one had headphones on it (I guess girls don't like music), there was a baby blue onesie that had balloons on it and said "let's fly," and the most hilarious things - a white tank top and an orange tank top. Really, a thick strapped, plain color tank top is specifically a boy shirt? I was amazed. We also got her 5 pairs of socks. Again, all "boys."

Now, conversely, there is a great store in Oakland called Oaklandish. They make awesome onesies and toddler clothes. And none of them are even marketed as "boys" or "girls," it's just, hey, here's a onesie. And they're awesome

Oakzilla

(godzilla found here)

Acornish

(acorn found here)

California Beard

(california found here)

Bridge

(bridge found here)

Different colors, different images, different styles. All can be for a boy or a girl. And I love that they actually get that. 

I have friends who have boys that say the opposite - shopping for boys is no fun because there isn't a lot of variation or the clothes aren't as fun. I guess no matter which way you go there's something worth complaining about. I just wish they made a girl's onesie with a big fat saw on it. You think I can find that?


Zoe would sure like it.

8.22.2013

We're Finally Building a Bed

That's right, we are finally building our bed, hooray!!! I tell you this with much excitement because this has been the state of our bed for nearly a year


That is actually much nicer than it's been. We've got walls painted and a rug that doesn't have mold on it. Thank goodness our room doesn't still look like this



Because that would suck, right?

It's long been on our to do list to finally get our bed build (and we were even thinking about building it last summer/fall), so it's wonderful to finally be at the point that we're not only thinking about it, but actually building it.

Over the last several months Chris and I have had many conversations about the size, style, finish, etc. We've casually talked about the plans for it while watching TV, while out to dinner and while falling asleep wishing we didn't have to crawl out of bed from a mattress sitting on the floor :) So needless to say when we finally got started we were well on our way to having made most of the stylistic and functional decisions.

So here are the details:

1. It'll be a platform storage bed. This was the very first decision we made. Our bedroom is not very large and we'd like to eliminate at least one of our dressers so the room doesn't feel so crowded. Future bedrooms may not be as small as ours is currently, but we still like the idea of a bedroom being less cluttered and making our bed more useful than just sleeping in it :)

2. What kind of storage will there be? Well, that was a debate we had. We initially wanted the bed to have storage drawers, but at one point we also debated it just having cubbies to make building it easier. Sort of like this one


(found here)

We didn't like the aesthetics of the cubbies though, so while it would be easier to build, we realized that we liked the idea of drawers better.

3. How many drawers will there be? We thought about having 2 rows of drawers on Chris' side, and 2 rows of drawers on my side. But as we were drawing out the plans for it we realized that would make the bed pretty tall. Including face frames, drawers deep enough for our preference and plus our tallish mattress sitting on top of all of that we were looking at a finished bed height of about 24-28". That doesn't seem that tall, but when you actually put a tape measure up and try to pretend getting into a bed that that's tall (especially for someone who is 5'4") it felt ridiculously tall. Instead we opted for just one row of drawers, but those drawers could now be taller than we initially had planned for.

4. How will it be built? A storage bed is kind of huge and we really want to be able to move it easily so the we knew the bed needed to be build in pieces so we could move it around and install it without needing 7 people to move it and possibly knocking down a wall. And thanks to the wonderful Ana White we were given a rough idea of how to plan out a platform bed split into 3 parts so that it can actually be moved

King Storage Bed

(fabulous Ana White plan found here)

5. What will the finish be? We had always had the idea that the bed would be painted. We'd never really second guessed that idea. That is until we were just about to build it. One night I asked Chris, "The bed would probably hold up better if it was stained, huh?" To which we sort of let out a groan. Painting it = easier and cheaper to build. But, it also means it;ll get scuffed a lot easier. Of course we could get some really fancy factory painting system, but those cost thousands of dollars. If we stained it that would be that whacking your shoe against it wouldn't result in a big black mark on the side of the bed. Of course that means that the bed will be more difficult and expensive to build to make it stain grade. But it will look a lot better over time and require less maintenance.

6. What will the bed be built out of? There will be several different materials that will build the bed, but like the hutch we built, the inside will be painted cabinet grade plywood, and all the exposed parts will be stained cherry. We like building with cherry because it's strong, looks nice and is less expensive than other stain grade woods. We've been super pleased with the hutch, so we figured why not go with cherry again? We haven't figured out what color stain we'll be using, but that'll come soon (we've already got some samples that I'll be testing out in the next couple of days).

Once all those decisions were made we were finally at a point where we could build. So that's just what's happening


That's the rough skeleton of 2 of the 3 pieces of our future wonderful storage platform bed! The idea that I will no longer have to crawl out of bed from a mattress on the ground is very exciting. Especially because that's just what we've been doing for the past 10+ months. Our guess is that this project will take about 6 weeks to complete, so hopefully by the end of September or beginning of October we've got a fancy, pretty, amazingly efficient bed frame to move into our bedroom without breaking our backs or needing to rip down any walls. Hooray!