Friday, June 26, 2015

The Ultimate Girls Weekend

I come from a girls family - no brothers, only sisters. This means we really like clothes and cooking and talking. A lot of talking. Ask Nik. Rachel and I got pregnant a month apart and everyone assumed Rachel was having a girl and I was having a boy. We couldn't get lucky and have two girls. We each disguised our disappointment with, "It would be better that way, so they won't be compared." Then we hit the gender jackpot. Two girls.  We were ecstatic, and our bank accounts took a hit. (Girl clothes are so much cuter than boy clothes. ) Two cousins a month a part. By the time they hit six months, you won't be able to tell there's an age difference.

So, almost a year in the making, "the babies" (who the family conversations have revolved entirely around for the past year) were scheduled to finally meet! And to make it the ultimate girls weekend Lolly flew out from Idaho. She hadn't had a chance to meet Charlie yet, despite being home through practically my entire pregnancy. She had endured my food aversions and cravings, complaining, and last trimester - in which I dragged her to the mall and made here try on all the clothes I wished I could fit into. She deserved to meet the reward.

Ugh, these babies. I didn't know that you could love your sibling's child as much as your own. Charlie still has her newborn-ish-ness, but Emma is a full on baby. Gurgling, giggling, baby. It's so fun to watch her meet the milestones Charlie is on the brink of.

Our normal girl's weekend revolve around shopping, eating, and talking. This time it revolved around nursing, napping, and talking. We'd park out in the front yard, nursing and talking for hours. Charlie and Emma were completely oblivious of the cousin meeting magic that was happening. The only semblance of awareness for one another they demonstrated was when Charlie got in the way of Emma's need to wiggle constantly. Meanwhile, all of us were giddy with the excitement of "the babies" being together, forcing them hold hands, lay by one another, and wear matching outfits. It was cousin heaven. I'm predicting an eternity of matching outfits for these two.

Saturday, June 6, 2015


I just turned 23, and Nik (after four birthdays together) finally asked my favorite birthday question, "What was your favorite part of your 22nd year?" This was a big year for me, probably the biggest year of my life so far. I probably cried, prayed, and grew more in this year than in my whole life. This year was full of:

+ Running my first race. It was only a 10k, and it was seriously hard, one of the hardest things I had every done physically.  (There was a lot of hills, and I was running at a faster pace than I trained for, okay?) 
+ Finding out we were pregnant. 
+ Last minute job offer from Google (two days after finding out about baby). One week to frantically pack everything we own, sell our housing, arrange for us to finish our degrees online, and move back to the Bay Area.
+ Searching for and finding an apartment we love in a location we love. We are completely blessed in this area of our lives. We have a landlord that likes us because he admires that our biggest priority is our family, and treats us kindly. We moved into a neighborhood we adore, and with a ward that is even better than we could have hoped for. Also, I live ten minutes away from my parents. Living the dream!
+ Searching for a full-time job, without my degree, while battling some first trimester nausea.  
+ Finding my first full-time, (kind of) grown up job, two minutes away from our new apartment. (Blessing. Huge blessing.) 
+ Enduring pregnancy. 
+ Falling in love with our local library and reading every book on my Amazon wishlist. 
+ Preparing for birth by passing three kidney stones. 
+Pushing out a baby that weighed two pounds more than my doctors said she would. 
+ Keeping that chubby baby alive for one month.

For my 23rd year, I have a lot of things I want to accomplish, and 99% of them involve Charlie. Probably because she takes up 99% of my brain capacity presently. 

But some unrelated baby goals include: 
+ Run a half marathon.
+ Read a book a week.
+ Save for a four-year anniversary weekend getaway with Nik.
+ Try a new recipe every week. 
+ Blog more often.
+ Invest in activities rather than things. 

I'm really looking forward to this year, mainly because I have to pinch myself because five years ago, even a year ago, I would have been so in love with the life I'm living right now. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Nursery

I should have written this post when pregnant, so I could gush about how excited I was for little Charlie to dwell in this room that was "such a labor of love" and how I sit in the rocking chair and daydream of her being in that crib. Instead, I am one month postpartum, and know that this room shouldn't be called a nursery. Rather, it should be called, "A Very Expensive Diapering Room" or "The Place We Keep Charlie's Clothes". I don't even nurse in this room. (Wait... is that where the term nursery comes from?) I attempted nursing in the rocking chair the first day I got  home from the hospital, but the angle of the chair put painful pressure on my stitches. So I never developed the habit of nursing in here, so now we're more of a bed or couch nursing duo.

However, I loved planning and decorating this room. I poured for hours over Pinterest and blogs trying to figure out what I wanted to do for it. (Nesting hormones are real.) I struggled for two months, thinking I wanted a blush and grey nursery. I looked at grey suede rocking chairs that everyone and their mom has, and it never got me excited. It wasn't until I gave up the idea of having that girly, soft nursery that I made progress planning. I wanted it to be modern and for there to be a theme of fruit? The room ended up looking falling under the theme of everything else in our house: white, with bright accents. 

These honeycomb shelves are my favorite part of the room. I'd wanted some for a long time, and thought the nursery would be the perfect excuse to force Nik to make them for me. Of course, being the over-planning, perfectionist that he is, Nik took the project way too far. What I assumed would be a Saturday afternoon project, transformed into a two week long marathon of Home Depot trips, wood glue, and this elaborate scheme of ties and brackets to hold it together while it dried. This was followed by Nik beaming, proudly explaining to everyone, "It doesn't even have any screws!" And then two weeks later it feel off the wall and broke.  So now there are screws in it, I think. I actually can't remember. You'd have to ask Nik. Actually, don't mention it. It was pretty traumatic when it broke. 

That changing pad was an embarrassing splurge. Once I was exposed to it, and read reviews I couldn't get it out of my mind. Now that we actually have a baby to use it, it is one of my favorite baby purchases. You can lay screaming Charlie on it and she calms down. I'm not sure if its softness, the way it contours to her body, if it gives off some chemical fumes, or if when she lays on it she recognizes that she has parents willing to buy some ridiculous changing pad for her comfort. WHATEVER IT IS, somehow it calms her down. And, you can wipe down when she pees or poops or spits up, instead of washing a changing pad cover. I AM A KEEKAROO CONVERT. 

Those prints came in a set of three from IKEA, meant for a kitchen. The books are on a shelf from IKEA, and so is that raspberry pillow. Actually... the nursery has a lot of IKEA items in it now that I think about it...

.... like this lamp. We click it on every night, and leave it on for the late night diaper changes. 

I love this kitty, a gift from my parents. Can you force your child to have an attachment to a stuffed animal? I'm going to try. Nik attempted to have her snuggle it the other night, convinced her inability to sleep was the result of needing a body pillow, which (from Nik's perspective) is obviously the only reason someone cannot sleep. (Give the man a body pillow, and he could get a good night's rest anywhere.) 

Pom-poms! Initially, I told Nik I'd keep the nursery as gender neutral as possible, for our future babies. Then I discovered that I needed pom-pom curtains. This is when the nursery officially became a baby girl's. I thought I could make the pom-pom curtains, despite my lack of craftiness, and even pinned some tutorials on Pinterest.  However, after making headbands with my sister, I realized that it is much better to pay people to do crafts for you. So I bought the curtains. I also learned that when curtains come from a nicer place (i.e. not IKEA) you have to buy two curtains? They don't come in a set. 

The dresser is from IKEA. Everyone owns it. I think it is a requirement to buy it after you get married. We spiced it up with some knobs from World Market. Planning this room converted Nik to the wonder that is World Market. (Our home is filled with a surprising amount of items from there.) The baskets were a Home Goods find. I'm so glad I live near a Home Goods. 

The pouf was another World Market purchase. I was thrilled I didn't have to convince Nik that we needed a pouf. I think he wanted it more than I did. And underneath it is the rug that is the BANE OF MY EXISTENCE. It came folded like a fan, back and forth, and I cannot for the life of me get the wrinkles out of it. I've ironed it, laid books on it to flatten it, everything. The folds will not go away. Every time I enter this room they drive me crazy. 

We're hoping someday this room will transition from 'Overly Planned Dressing Room' to the room where she sleeps and plays. We're trying to convince her of this idea by constantly giving her tours of it. "This is where you will sleep someday!" "These are all your books," and so on. In the meantime, it's fun to have a place we love to change diapers. 

One Month of Charlie

Was there a time before Charlie? This past month has been my favorite ever. We are so over the moon with her it's incomprehensible, and let's be honest, she isn't even that exciting yet. She is still just an eating, crying, pooping, and (not) sleeping machine. It's gonna be bad when she can, you know, actually interact with us. 

The first three weeks with Charlie were hard. We both cried a lot. I wish I would have prepared for the fact that sometimes your baby just cries, and there's nothing you can do about it. We'd spend hours pacing the halls, bouncing her, trying to get her to just stop crying and go to sleep. I felt like I hadn't had any friends that had an experience like that, so clearly I was doing something wrong. Was it gas? Did she have colic? Does she hate me? Three hours of bouncing a sobbing baby in the middle of the night will make you slide down a couple levels on the sanity scale. It also makes you desperate, and you'll try things you swore you never would. Like going off dairy, and co-sleeping, and gripe water, and spending money on extravagant swings. 

Then, we experienced this week together. She's still kind of fussy and needy, but there wasn't too much of out of control screaming in the middle of the night. She seemed more content being a baby, and I felt more confident as a mom. It was a combination of things. (Did going off of dairy help her... I have no idea, but I'm too scared to risk bringing it back into my diet.) She was old enough that I felt comfortable bringing her out of the house and I am now completely confident nursing. I actually had fun, doing all the mom things I dreamed of doing.

Some things about one-month Charlie:

+ This kid can eat. Around two or three weeks I got a breast infection, so I was pumping a lot, and got a sense of how much milk I was actually producing. I realized that she is eating around five ounces every feeding, and during the day she sometimes eats every hour and half. Those rolls don't just make themselves, people. Girls gotta eat. 

 + Her resting grumpy face is out of control. We're doomed when she's a teenager. It's like she knows when we talk about how chubby she is or something. She also flares her nostrils and opens her mouth when she poops. 

+ She wants to interact so badly. She constantly opens her mouth like she wants to talk. 

+ The lengths we go to get this child to sleep would be comical if I weren't the one doing them. It is a complete guessing game, involving bouncing, shushing, swaddling, turning the shower on, nursing, attempting to shove a pacifier in her mouth, driving in the car, just laying her in the bouncer, etc. We try everything. She doesn't know how to close her eyes. Like, if it were up to her she would just keep them open. Even in a pitch black room she keeps them open, just in case something exciting happens. You have to physically close them for her. Everyone has a different method for getting her to get some shut eye. I either try to nurse her to sleep, or an elaborate routine of bouncing in the bathroom with the shower on, while I shut her eyes by laying a washcloth or this eye mask on her eyes. I promise it is five hundred times more absurd than it sounds, especially when performed at three in the morning. Nik just props her up on his shoulder, walks around while she cries, until she "gives up the ghost". My mom has a fancy daytime routine, where she uses bright sunlight to get her to close her eyes. What makes it even better, is she plays this hilarious game where once you think she's asleep, those dang eyes open again. Trickery. She is actually asleep when her mouth pops open, because she's a little mouth breather. When I actually get her to sleep, I want someone to be there to hand me a medal or something. It is a feat that deserves to be recognized! Instead, my reward is frantically cleaning the house (that somehow is a disaster always... EVEN THOUGH WE NEVER DO ANYTHING. Someone explain this to me.) shoveling a meal into my mouth, and maybe like brushing my teeth or some semblance of a morning routine at four in the afternoon.

+ I'm glad that I was given clothes, instead of purchasing a ton of girl stuff, because it is all a waste in the beginning. If I could do it all over again, I'd buy a bunch of those zipper footie pajamas with the hand covers. (Charlie still scratches her face like a one week old.) I thought I would be a girly girl mom, dressing her in all her cute dresses and headbands... never. The dresses are too cold, and when she wears headbands I feel like we are trying to hard? Also, her bedhead is epic. I'm terrified for when I have to comb it out when she's a toddler.