Tag Archives: Pregnancy

Thrifted Home Tour: The Nursery

13 Jun

I have put off writing this post for the Thrifted Home Tour for about a year now because of PPD, and although I’ve technically never done the library or the guest bedroom either, the nursery was the room I balked at. For almost two years my sister lived in our guest bedroom so that room was off limits, and our home library has needed a lot of work so I never really took pictures of it to include it in the tour, although I should just for the awesome green vintage filing cabinet alone. I did post photos of the office/library here and you can see years-old photos of some vintage goodness in the guest bedroom on flickr, including the trunk that came over with my family from Sweden. It held all their worldly goods and you can still see the address to “Amerika” carved on the side.  You can read the previous installments of the Thrifted Home Tour here.

(What is the Thrifted Home Tour? I’m glad you asked! I’ve decorated my entire home with vintage goods either passed down from family members or found while trolling estate sales or thrift stores. I am showing off different rooms of my house to display how thrifted items can be worked into the décor to be useful and inspiring items. Partially it’s because I’d love to promote my vintage Etsy shop, and partially because that’s just how I roll. I think more people should decorate their home with thrifted goods. Here’s why .)

I made these curtains myself from Heather Ross fabric I ordered from someplace online. They look horrible, and this is because I tried to make them after I went on maternity, and getting down on the ground with a giant belly to cut fabric was DUMB. Don’t try it at home.

The nursery set got a lot of views on flickr and I still occasionally get emails from people about something that was in the photos or if they can use a shot for something. It was featured on Esty, Ohdeedoh, and Spearamint Baby. I had the most fun creating this room and I can’t wait do to it all over again when the time comes. We had a miniscule budget but I managed to put this room together by shopping thrift stores, Etsy, and my own family’s hand-me-downs.

I guess I should start explaining things now since I’m several photos into the tour. The chair in the photo above belonged to my grandparents, as did the side table next to it. The chair itself is pretty gross one side. All the cats decided it was the perfect scratching post, but I chose that chair not for its looks but for its comfort. I’ve slept in that chair while cradling the newborn Isobel many times, as has Anthony and I think maybe even my sister and mother. The pillow in the chair was an old one I bought for my first apartment at MacFrugals. It is UG-LY, but I bought a ten dollar pillow cover from Etsy seller Lindylou2. I still love it.

The blanket that’s draped over the chair was handmade by a coworker’s mother, and the one draped across the crib was made by Anthony’s Grandma.

I bought some cheap album frames from CB2 and filled them with record album covers from the thrift store with the exception of Sgt Pepper, which was my parents. My mom actually saw the Beatles at the Cow Palace way back in the day and I talk about it at every chance I get. Because DUDE she saw THE BEATLES. The magazine holder next to the chair came from my grandparents and we filled it with storybooks that we now read to her at bedtime.

Anthony and I scored both the bookcase and the dresser from a yardsale from an old neighbor. My Dad painstakingly painted the dresser pink but we left the shelf the way it was. All told I think we spent about fifty or sixty bucks for the set. Our buddy Jose gave us the thrifted “How Things Work” books which are amazing and have since been saved for Isobel for when she’s older. I miraculously came upon some old, hardbound Highlights for Children books at a book sale, and one of the doll’s quilts was thrifted as well.

The vintage print was found in a Costa Rican fairytale book from the library. I made a color copy and framed it an an old frame from an Estate sale. I got the wooden mushrooms from Etsy seller craftsty. Isobel now uses them as part of her cooking set. I got the firefly jar lights from etaknamdoow.

The closet was filled with clothes that were gifts plus a few things I picked up while thrifting or were hand-me-downs. People’s generosity was so overwhelming, it’s bursting at the seams. I decided it needed to be organized so I made these closet dividers for it and I posted a tutorial here.

I created a template for these guys that’s available for free over here.

I still use these to organize Isobel’s clothes, though we’re running to the end of the sizes I made them for. They are really lovely,  but I’m not going to lie–they were a lot of work. But seriously, they are useful, so check out the closet divider tutorial and see if you can streamline the process for yourself.

The changing table we scored for I think fifteen bucks at my favorite local thrift store, and the baskets underneath all came from Target. You can find where to purchase the cloth diaper pail liner here, and the pail itself is actually an unused garbage pail bought new from Target. You can see the lovely pink dresser my dad painted, too.

The cats above the changing table were purchased for fifteen bucks at an antique store, and Isobel used to look up at them and giggle when she was just a few months old. The old hamper next to the changing table (the wooden one) was my grandpa’s and back then I used it as a table to store wipes, powder and other essentials. Once Isobel was mobile enough to get into them I moved them to the dresser. The hamper now stores all of her dress up clothes.

I got a lot of comments on Isobel’s crib, and I wish I still had a link for it. We bought it relatively cheaply from the Babies R Us website. It was a moderately priced crib, so maybe $250? Cute modern cribs were so expensive and after striking out on Craigslist we just went ahead and bought this one. The joke’s on us though! Isobel coslept for all but about three months of her life. Hopefully kid #2 will spend more quality time here.

We ordered the decal off Etsy but I’m not going to post a link. I didn’t have a great experience with that seller so I’m not going to link to them. A quick search for “vinyl decal” or “wall decal” will yield more results than you eve r thought possible, so scour Etsy if you’re looking for something similar.

There’s sweet Peachie, sleeping on the changing table. I miss him and Tinkerbell incredibly.

This butterfly mobile is so gorgeous. It was custom made for us by Etsy seller Khamm75 and in full disclosure I have to say that I adore this seller. We convo’d a bit and she liked my photos of the mobile so much she offered to buy them for use in her listings. I had my eye on this birth date print so we arranged a trade, and now when you click on mobile listing you see my photos. She is super nice, great to work with, and her shop is filled with gorgeous wares.

It looks amazing above the crib next to the mobile.

There’s my sweet Peachie boy again.

I found this vintage owl picture while thrifting and a friend of mine said the owls look really pissed off. I didn’t think that before but ever since she said that, I always think that and it makes me giggle. They do look kind of miffed. It  adds to their charm. Below it is this great vintage brass lightswitch plate purchased from Etsy seller lexigirlcreations. I looked through a lot of light switch covers (so that’s what I did with all that carefree, childless time!) and it was by far the best.

The woodland animal pictures were handmade a long time ago and I found them while thrifting for ten cents each. The first picture is a chipmunk on a mushroom and the second features a fox and some butterflies. I luff them. Below is a yellow thrifted bowl that I keep Isobel’s hair accessories in and a thrifted bowl decorated with babies playing ping pong on it. I use that bowl for storing the rubber bands that I used to keep infant socks together. The light is vintage Irmi from the seventies. It was actually in my nursery and my mom saved it! The gold frame was also thrifted but the adorable ABC print inside came from Etsy seller studiolyon. She was another fantastic seller to work with. I also spent an inordinate amount of time researching ABC prints because I had seen so many fantastic ones featured on design sites and they were all at least $50 before shipping. This one was awesome and nine dollars. I guess sales exploded after I put up the nursery set since it was featured at different places and she sent me an email thanking me. Which is ridiculous, because we should be thanking her for producing lovely art affordably.

I found this frame and the mushroom plaque while thrifting.

This is what Isobel looked like most of the time while in her crib: awake. Here she’s chilling next to some elephants a great aunt made for me as a baby.

Isobel’s closet was ridiculous from before she was even born. We got tons of clothes as gifts but got even more things handed down from cousins and friends. I saved some of the really cute gift bags from her shower and used them as closet organization and storage for things like slings and receiving blankets.

There’s my sweet Tinky, hiding in the closet.

I didn’t get this footstool till later on during a yard saling expedition, but it was nice to have.

And I’m going to end with a photo of Tinky, who probably slept in the crib more often than Isobel.

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Midweek Update: Overshare Edition

17 Nov

It’s been awhile since I’ve done any sort of update, and those of you who follow me on twitter probably don’t need another update from me because damn, I update a few times a day anyway. But seeing as how it’s Overshare Wednesday on twitter, why not?

* (By the way, I never seem to lose any followers on Overshare Wednesday. At first I felt really good about that. Yeah, I thought, my followers get me, they really get me. But then I realized my numbers hardly fluctuate at all no matter the random crap I spout. This lead me to assume that at least 90% of my followers are bots that don’t care what I say. Fair enough, Twitter. Fair enough.)

* I feel like I should preface things by saying good lord I am so busy. But I am always busy. I exist in a perpetual state of laundry, errands, and looming deadlines. The business is so constant and boring I feel like I shouldn’t bother sharing but it’s the (non)glamorous truth: I am always busy.

* Last weekend I did a photoshoot with my friends Erin and Jaime who are expecting their first child. Their happiness is obvious.

* Thanksgiving is coming. Two years ago I was pregnant during the holidays and I decided that being pregnant during a holiday in which all you do is eat and eat and eat and eat is just about the best reason to get knocked up in the first place. (Unless you have rampant morning sickness. Then this is an awful time for you and I pray for your soul.) I’ve made Thanksgiving dinner so many times now I can practically do it in my sleep so this year I’m focusing on getting creative with the appetizers. A post on this is coming.

* On Thursday Isobel and I are hitting the road with my cousin Liz and her daughter Victoria and we are going to go see YO GABBA GABBA LIVE. OMG, I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself. Isobel is too young to understand what is coming but I am pee-my-pants excited for her. Her head is going to explode. I never thought I’d be able to take her to YGG (as it is known in my house to prevent extensive requests for Babba? Babba? BABBA?! from the toddler). Tickets are expensive and besides, Anthony really didn’t have an interest in going. However, my cousin received four FREE tickets to YGG Live in Sacramento and she invited us to go with her.

* I promised Shanti a guest post for the month of November. It’s coming! It’s my goal to guest post at a different blog each month. I’d happily do a guest blog exchange if anyone’s interested. I haven’t scheduled anyone for the month of December yet so if you’d like to exchange guest blogging services with me, let me know in the comments.

* Isobel is such a little girl now that it kills me. She echoes almost everything we say and uses simple sentences like a champ. My mom is still teaching her sign language and she knows so many signs that I can’t keep up with them all. For example, the other day I noticed her tapping her face with her finger. What a little philosopher! I thought She’s a deep thinker all ready! Later I found out that was her version of the sign for water. The poor dear wanted a drink. Still, I’m still proud!

* When Isobel eats something and finds it delicious she exclaims, “Mmm! Pizza!” no matter what it is she’s eating. She knows it’s a noun, but she uses it so often to describe something that’s delicious it may as well be an adjective. Anthony and I are trying it out in normal conversation. For example, “That move was SO PIZZA!” or “Man, honey, you sure do look PIZZA today!”

* Last weekend we went to my friend Leonard’s birthday party in Stockton and I’m happy to say we didn’t get mugged once while we were there. Stockton ranks really high on the Places It Sucks To Live list but fortunately we always have a great time. Mom watched Isobel so Anthony and I could enjoy a childfree evening. My husband got a little wild on the keytar and the night ended with the entire room singing a chorus of Bohemian Rhapsody. Melynda and I got a couple of duets in and I had so much fun singing Undone: The Sweater Song that I think we should probably create an all-female Weezer cover band. Before I left I sang Chicago’s 25 or 6 to 4 with Leonard, which we both happen to know because we grew up with a serious condition known as White Parents.

* I am at home with Isobel today because Mama Juani had to have emergency dental surgery and our back up person (my Mom) is out of town visiting family. I’m torn about this: I absolutely love being here with her but as a solo librarian they close the library’s doors when I’m gone and the kids miss out. And I miss them. And I feel guilty for letting the school down. Boo. But here we are, dancing to Here Comes Science and having a great morning.

I had a baby! It was hard.

21 Sep

Recently I spoke to a friend about postpartum depression. Did you go through this? She wanted to know. I can’t control these crazy emotions. Her words were so full of sadness my heart ached for her. Having a baby is hard, I told her, but it gets better. I promise.

I suffered from pregnancy-induced depression as early as my second trimester. I would sob for seemingly no reason. I would become enraged and throw things. I behaved so out of character that my husband became deeply worried. He became worried for me but also for the stress my emotions would put on the baby. He urged me to tell the doctor at one of my check-ups. I really didn’t want to. I was ashamed that I couldn’t keep it together, I felt as if these crazy emotions were my fault. With Anthony’s prompting, I finally broke down and told the doctor. Actually, I broke down and sobbed in front of the doctor and he figured out the rest.

The most important thing I found out by telling my doctor is that postpartum and antepartum depression is that it not just affects you, or the people you’re around. It affects the bonding process with your baby. Especially for a new mom, uncertain about how you’re going to take care of a brand new life form so wholly dependent on you for survival. The last thing you need is anything making that experience more stressful.

You know for sure that having a baby is going to change your life. You know that, and are even looking forward to it. But what you might not take into consideration is that your hormones are going to go wild. Suddenly you are sleep deprived, possibly recovering from a traumatic birth (my case), and you’re going to experience the worst PMS of your life. You are going to feel so much pressure about doing the right thing and you are never going to measure up to the pre-baby visions you had of yourself effortlessly vacuuming and breastfeeding at the same time.

And that’s okay.

I think a lot about parenthood and how it has changed me but also just about parenthood in general. I remember through a fog what it was like before kids. Parenthood is a mystery in that it must be experienced to be understood. There is nothing anyone can tell you that will give you a sense of what it is like, and watching the interactions of parents and kids as an outsider offers an incomplete picture at best. What it won’t tell you is how unrelenting parenting is. It won’t tell you about the oppressive weight that is having another being permanently attached to you. With a baby comes the responsibility of living to your highest aspirations for yourself. Your struggles become your baby’s struggles.

Being a parent means looking at the clock and discovering with a sinking heart it’s only noon and feeling like it should be 4:00 pm for the amount of hard work and effort you’ve put into the day.

Being a parent means holding yourself up to an imaginary yardstick of achievement on a daily basis and feeling like you’ve failed. Or even if you’ve done really well, you have that feeling that it wasn’t enough.

Being a parent means sniffing your baby’s head day in and day out and never, ever getting tired of the new baby smell.

Being a parent means I can’t describe the joy I experience when I hear by baby fart. I successfully made a being so complex she can fart.

Being a parent means I have moments of new mom wonder and awe on a daily basis. I stare at her and think to myself, “I made this. I created her. She was nothing and she came from me.”

When you first have a baby the hardest part is the fact that it’s a non-stop, full-time, 24 hours-a-day job. If you get no sleep one night, you can’t automatically expect to catch up on it the next night, or even the night after that. It’s moment-by-moment survival. You never get a break. You never feel like it will be over.

You’re not going to become who you think you are going to become. Once you’ve reconciled with that, you’ll know that that is okay, too. I remember one of the toughest realizations came when Anthony went back to work and I was at home with Isobel 24 hours a day.

I’m never going to be able to shower again.

This one thought destroyed me. It summed up everything about my life that wouldn’t be the same ever again, or at least not for many, many years. It was hard to let go and become the person I am now because I’m not the person I thought I’d be.

It’s okay if it’s hard. Sometimes if you’re doing it correctly it’s supposed to be hard. Some families handle the transition in stride, but it was hard for me. No one has a baby in a vacuum, and the complications of life surrounding Isobel’s pregnancy and birth were enormous. I was dealing with a lot of things simultaneously. And it was hard. And that’s okay.

If you are experiencing depression at any stage of your pregnancy or after the baby’s born, tell your doctor. They will not judge you. It is not your fault. If you feel this way it’s not because you don’t love or want your baby. Your doctor will know exactly what to do. It’s the best thing not only for you, not only for your family, but for your relationship with your child. I will admit right now that the transition to motherhood was difficult for me, and I relied on medication, my doctors, therapy and my husband and friends to get through it.

And that’s okay.

Little Big’s Parenting, Baby, & Mommy Apps List

5 Jun

This post is the third in a series about iPhone apps I use and enjoy. This is less about being on the cutting edge of technology and more the equivalent of peeking in someone else’s medicine cabinet. Electronic voyeuristic curiosity! I’d love to hear what parenting or kid-friendly apps you enjoy in the comments.

APPS FOR BABIES AND CHILDREN

Bab Bab Lite – This was the first app I downloaded for Isobel and she has been mesmerized by it from about four months. It’s a digital rattle with some ambient noise. Babies can shake the iPhone or trace their finger lightly across the screen and the rattles respond and change like a kaleidoscope. I have the free version and I’ve been completely satisfied.

White Noise –  my friend’s baby, Kingston, has a love affair with the blow dryer. In the early days it helped him fall asleep and stay asleep. His parents, Angela and Justin, learned very quickly that the White Noise app is their friend, especially on car rides with a fussy baby. The app also offers a variety of other soothing sounds.

Scribble – Use your finger to trace drawings and color. Shake the iPhone like an old school Etch-e-Sketch to clear the screen. Isobel has only recently begun to be interested in this but she still doesn’t quite get it. I think it’s fun and am betting this will be more useful when she’s a bit older.

Youtube – Don’t overlook the usefulness of an app you already own. Keyboard Cat and other cat videos have changed Isobel’s life. There is nothing like watching her little face as she giggles hysterically at a cat video.

APPS FOR PARENTS AND EXPECTANT MOTHERS

Pediatric SymptomMD – I don’t think this app is necessary so much as it’s nice to have. Pediatric SymptomMD provides at-a-glance advice to look up symptoms and care to help make the best decisions for your child’s care. It also comes with a handy-dandy dosage guide for several OTC medicines.

Contraction Master – We used this app for three or four days before Isobel was born and I loved it. It times your contractions and records their history. Very, very useful because the last thing you want to do while you’re having painful contractions is write shit down.

Nursing Master – I bought a nursing app that was very expensive and, for my purposes, very crappy. Next time we have a baby I’m seriously looking Nursing Master. It has room for detailed feeding logs and works for both nursing and bottle feeding moms. This would have been perfect for me as I had milk flow issues and had to supplement with formula early on.

Expecting – next time I get pregnant I’m going to geek out with the Expecting app. This app comes with a contraction timer, but I still have my old one and I’d prefer a one-touch, simplified app for contractions. Expecting helps you keep track of doctor appointments, photos and note, checklists, due date calculator, and week by week pregnancy progression information. Again I don’t think something like this is necessary if you have a calendar or date book but it’s fun. And when you’re pregnant you need to focus on the fun so you’re not focused on the swelling, the aching, and the nausea.

Total Baby – Angela told me about Total Baby and I immediately lamented not knowing about this when Isobel was a newborn. We tried to record things on paper and inevitably the paper would get lost or be inconveniently far away. My phone, however? I kept that almost as close to me as I did my baby.

This app monitors your baby’s habits, routines, and milestones. The only thing that could make this app better is if they allowed you to store this information in the cloud and access it from the same account on different phones a la Grocery Gadget. This way you could record stuff then hand the kid off to your partner who will, without any hassle from you, have all the necessary caregiving information available right on their phone.

Here’s what Angela says about Total Baby:

“In the beginning I used it to track how much he was eating, how many wet diapers he was doing, his sleep, pretty much everything. Now that he is bigger I use it to track milestones, vaccines, medications, and occasionally when I am curious about the number of ounces he is drinking I will track it for a few days. It can basically hold all the information you would ever want to know about your kid.”