Sunday, May 21, 2017

21 actual reasons I've cried today.

21 Actual Reasons I Have Cried Today:

1. Because it started thundering right after I finally fell asleep in the middle of the night. AGAIN.

2. Because Rowan fell back asleep after the storm with her hands clutched over her ears, which was endearing and precious and adorable.

3. Because, before J.J. and Rowan left to go on a breakfast date together, I had already scrubbed the shower, wiped down the bathroom walls, cleaned the toilet, dusted all three bedrooms, and Swiffered the whole upstairs. By 8:30. On three hours' sleep. Which was not how I needed to be expending my limited energy.

4. Because I was crying about #3, which was a ridiculous thing to cry about.

5. Because around 11:30, I really missed J.J. and Rowan, who were still out having fun together.

6. Because when they got home, Rowan gave me two special "notes" that she had written to me, and they were adorable.

7. Because I woke Rowan up from her nap by snuggling in her bed with her, and she was so little and so big all at the same time, and we don't have very many "snuggle naps" together left before the baby comes.

8. Because I hit a major nesting spurt this weekend, but I'm not attending to any of the right things. Like, the baby clothes are in seventeen different locations, and what did I do with all the baby blankets?, and we still have snow pants lingering in the front closet instead of bathing suits, and I haven't done anything to update the nursery like I wanted to...but, oh yes, those lunch boxes look fucking SPIFFY all lined up in their drawer, right under the freshly-cleaned spice racks. Also, the fronts of my kitchen cabinets have now been thoroughly wiped down. BECAUSE THAT'S ESSENTIAL. (False.)

9. Because Rowan was watching videos on my phone from her dance recital last weekend, and her little face was just bursting with pride.

10. Because the fun henna tattoo I got on my belly a couple weeks ago (yes, before Beyoncé did it, ugh follower) is fading, revealing new stretch marks that have sprouted in the meantime.

11. Because I took the pretty knobs off the nursery dresser and replaced them with the original ones, and it made me remember when I ordered those pretty knobs for baby Rowan, and when I stabbed myself with the screwdriver while I was installing them, and oh my god that was so long ago but that was also just yesterday and CRY CRY CRY.

12. Because I read through the post I linked in #11 about impaling myself with a screwdriver, and I cannot - CANNOT - figure out what angle the pictures of the upstairs doors was taken from. Every time I think I understand, I realize that I must be wrong, because the hall closet doors aren't pictured. WHICH DOORS ARE THOSE? WHERE IS THE HALL CLOSET? WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING?

13. Because I wanted to go out to dinner with J.J. and his mom and Rowie, but I finally had a burst of non-misguided nesting, which basically meant I was schlepping stuff from the second floor down to the basement and back up to the kitchen and out to the car and up and down the stairs a few thousand more times, which resulted in one long continuous Braxton-Hicks contraction, which rendered me motionless on the couch.

14. Because I snapped at Rowan when she was stalling during bedtime, which made her cry, but I yelled anyway because my belly was still hurting so badly from overdoing it today.

15. Because then I laid with her in her bed before she went to sleep, and she made me tell her the story I tell her every single night - "about when I was a baby and I first came out" - and she threw her arm around my neck and sighed, "I love you. Even more than you love me."

16. Because I remembered that this is Rowan's last week of preschool with her immensely beloved teacher, and I'm just so sad that she has to move on from that relationship. ...And that I can't drop her off at school two mornings a week for the next three loooong months.

17. Because I told J.J. he could have the last of the rice last night, neglecting the fact that I had leftover Thai food for tonight that I fully intended to eat with ONLY THAT RICE. So I ate cereal. And cried.

18. Because I was just folding laundry and the floor kept squeaking in the same place every time I stepped on it and it was fucking annoying.

19. Because I should be [doing bills, writing the article I meant to finish last week, sorting out a rental car payment dispute, scheduling an oil change, catching up on other blog posts I've been trying to write, working on the sudden flood of Etsy orders that just came in which is awesome but oh shit], and instead, I'm...crying.

20. Because, oh god, is this what postpartum is going to be like again? Allllll the unnecessary crying? Starting next Friday, which is horrifyingly close but also like seven thousand days from now?

21. Because nine months pregnant.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

nocturnal mission impossible.

Somehow I forgot.

I forgot that, as a parent, you are not to even think, let alone speak, about the times when sleep is going well. You shall be punished. Swiftly. Harshly.

Similarly, it is not advised to ever wonder, to yourself or aloud, "how bad" it could be when you have two kids waking you up at night instead of just one.

The following events occurred last night and are true to the best of my recollection, which is spotty at this point, given both my advanced stage of pregnancy and almost complete lack of sleep last night.


SETTING: Midwestern suburban household. Monday night.

7:45 P.M.
I close my three-year-old's bedroom door, calling, "Good night! I love you, sweet girl!" "I love you, too, Mommy!" she responds. 

9:00 P.M.
I bitterly ascend the stairs to remind spawn that she actually does need to sleep at night, not just bounce around and sing (scream) every song she knows. I help her rearrange her stuffed friends, which are scattered all over her bed (she has about thirty [dozen] stuffed friends in her bed). I lay with her for a few minutes, savoring her sweet bath smell and snuggles. I crawl out of bed with massive effort (exhausted + super preggo = hard to get out bed, mentally and physically) when it becomes clear she's not going to fall asleep with me in the bed.

10:15 P.M.
I'm jolted awake from an accidental couch nap to the sound of gurgling snot and crying. Waddle upstairs, wipe a nose, bid daughter good night again. Close the windows and turn on the air conditioning, just in case her frequent wakings are due to allergies or being too hot. Go pee, as my body now requires me to do the second it has produced urine molecules. Collapse into my own bed...and lay there, wiiiide awake.

11:15 P.M.
Finally drift back off to sleep.

11:30 P.M.
Jolt awake to the sound of gurgling snot and crying. Waddle into daughter's bedroom, wipe her nose, go pee, collapse back into my own bed.

12:15 A.M.
Have now read everything there is to read on the internet, weathered a round of Internal Fetal Parkour, and am finally drifting back off to sleep.

12:20 A.M.
LEGS. RESTLESS LEGS. LEGS ARE ON FIRE AND MUST BE MOVED CONSTANTLY. Legs are too hot; body is too cold. Legs must be stretched; legs must be shifted. Legs legs legs legs the whole world is now my legs and their incomprehensible demands.

12:45 A.M.
Consider cutting off legs, but finally drift back off to sleep while contemplating which cutting device to use.

12:47 A.M.
Jolt awake to the sound of gurgling snot and crying. Waddle into daughter's bedroom, wipe her nose, go pee, collapse back into my own bed.

12:52 A.M.
Why isn't there more stuff to read on the internet? Why isn't anyone posting new pictures or updating their statuses? I need something to read! WAKE UP EVERYONE AND UPDATE YOUR INTERNETS!

Finally drift back off to sleep.

2:10 A.M.
Jolt awake to the sound of my name. "Mama! I can't find Hayjack!" Fucking Hayjack, her little stuffed cat slash extra appendage as of late. Waddle into daughter's bedroom, locate Hayjack literally (LITERALLY) right next to her arm, wipe her nose for good measure, go pee, collapse back into my own bed, actually fall asleep again immediately.

3:15 A.M.
Jolt awake to the sound of crying. "Mama! I had a bad dream!" Apparently, in her dream, "a boy who wasn't a little baby but wasn't a grown-up" pulled out Hayjack's eye and was tugging on a thread from Hayjack, unraveling him (a frequent nightmare of hers). Comfort daughter, tuck her back in, go pee, climb into bed.

3:33 A.M.
Trying to sleep, but unable to due to the sensation of a nearly full-size baby stretching luxuriously in my abdomen, hands on my rectum, head on my cervix, feet under my ribs. Roll over with great effort and grunting and notice flashes of lightning coming from outside. Fuuuuuuck, a thunderstorm? Now? Are you kidding me? Check my weather app, which indicates 0% chance of rain but a 70% chance of thunderstorms. Thunder starts rumbling. Wait for daughter to cry out in fear - she hates thunder these days - but somehow, she's already back asleep after her nightmare, and she stays asleep.

3:47 A.M.
Realize I forgot to tally up how many preschool forms were returned and mark down who still needs to turn one in, which was my job. Remind self of all the scary things the baby will almost definitely be diagnosed with, whether at birth or in two months or in twenty years. Wonder if daughter is still breathing, considering the thunder didn't wake her up. Mull over the seventy-four things I intend to complete before the baby is born, like raise the crib mattress and decide whether we can really handle a second child. Remember how awkward I was the other day with that neighbor I don't really know, and also how awkward I was in every social situation since age two.

4:15 A.M.
Finally drift back off to sleep.

6:26 A.M.
There's the thunder I was waiting for. Daughter wails. Waddle into her bedroom, find her still laying in bed with her hands over her ears and her eyes squeezed shut. Wipe her nose, climb into her bed, and soothe her fears about how the electricity from the lightning can't "electro-cate" us while we're in the house and how we'd be able to float away from the lightning if we ever "lose our gravity."

6:30 A.M.
Alarm goes off in the other room.



And you know what the scary part is? A night like this will seem heavenly and restful during the first couple months postpartum. HAHAHAHAHAHA CRAP WHAT HAVE WE DONE ONLY TWO AND A HALF WEEKS TO GO WHAT HAVE WE DOOOOONNNNNNNNE

Monday, May 8, 2017


No...the baby has not arrived. Just its precursor: the pre-baby, end-of-third-trimester official raging bitchiness.

Trying to escape via land kayak. Best of luck.

Please hold J.J. and Rowan in your thoughts as we navigate these tumultuous times. Recent infractions on their parts have included: putting a dirty glass on the counter instead of in the dishwasher; moving the hand soap to the (clearly wrong) side of the sink; wanting to cuddle with an inflated helium balloon during nap; heating up the worst-smelling sauce EVER on some chicken & quinoa; leaving tiny stupid Shopkins on the polka-dot rug where they blend in and then stab my foot; wanting another Band-Aid for another nonexistent boo-boo; and distributing forms into the wrong tote bags when filling in for me as the parent volunteer at preschool. Doesn't matter which of them committed which crime; my responses were all equally - um - whatever the word is that I'm trying to think of but that won't come because pregnancy brain fog has descended and words are hard now.

Poor, poor souls

I actually had planned to write up a lovely post this lovely afternoon about our lovely babymoon vacation to lovely Naples, a post full of lovely pictures and lovely memories and lovely gratitude. But no. The bitchiness is pouring out. You guys. I'm only 35 weeks along. I could potentially have TWO MONTHS of this left, if I leave my body and the baby to their own devices. Oh, in case you're wondering, in terms of a birth plan? I'm currently vacillating among the following options:

   (1) a planned c-section at 39 weeks (June 2nd)
   (2) a vaginal delivery anytime between now and, you know, June FREAKING 23rd, which would be two weeks past my due date
   (3) a home c-section performed this afternoon by me because screw this
   (4) a spontaneous bellybutton birth

The bellybutton birth is an option I was unaware of until this pregnancy, when my sweet fetus decided to lodge himself firmly against the interior of my belly skin. Rowan was a lot more...internal? I don't know; I just definitely never looked down in horror and wondered if she was going to LITERALLY bust through my bellybutton. I spent last night on my back on the couch with an ice pack over my bellybutton (the special ice pack I got after my boob biopsy, which I also meant to write a post about), trying to convince an unborn child to calm down already and retreat back inside. It sort of worked, or at least I fell asleep after awhile and was no longer aware of the pain.

It's possible I overdid it yesterday, contributing to my intense discomfort all evening. I went for a walk Sunday morning (while J.J. and Rowan were at a 5k Fun Run that was, in part, benefitting my nephew, and so I felt like a guilty crap aunt for not being there, especially when I then felt motivated enough around 11 a.m. to take a walk). The walk felt so good that I ended up jogging about a half mile of it. I do not advise a random jog when you're nearly nine months pregnant and have not jogged in...nearly nine months. Especially when you then have to volunteer at (another) Fun Run until 6 p.m. - AKA, be on your feet and active for the rest of the day. It was not my smartest move, hence the couch and the ice pack and the whining. Oh, and the exhaustion, which led to the bitchiness, which led to the intense guilt, which led to the overcompensating, which was cut short when I couldn't even get my shoes on, which led to the hormonal tears.

(Please feel free to print this post and distribute it as birth control for the masses.)

Anyway. I don't even really have anything of value to say right now, except that I forgot about this stage of pregnancy - the last month, where I'm just. over. it. Props to the designer(s) behind pregnancy for structuring it like this so that by the time labor and delivery roll around, I'll be ready to extract the baby by any means necessary. I'm thrilled that he's been in there cooking long enough that everything should be about ready to go by now - just adding some fat layers to both of us at this point, but the major structures and functions should be in order. We're damn lucky to have gotten to this point. And even though the next stage is the stage I've been dreading...the newborn/postpartum recovery stage, which was my hardest time with Rowan...I just want to not have someone's knee knocking my snacks off my belly shelf from the inside anymore. #rude. Also I want to be able to eat snacks without feeling full after two crackers because my stomach has been relocated to somewhere in my ribs.

It's now three o'clock and I haven't woken Rowan up from her nap yet, which means I just doomed us to a night where she won't go to sleep before ten o'clock, because did you know she's officially not really needing naps anymore? Because the best time to grow out of naps is right before your baby sibling arrives? Hmm, let's see, can I find anything ELSE to complain about before this post ends?!

We're pretty much either in "exchanging flowers
and squeezy hugs" mode or "exchanging hateful
words that we both instantly regret" mode lately.

No. No more complaining. Time to just end it (uh, the post, I mean). Here, have some photos of a baby plotting to escape via bellybutton. The first one was taken in Florida at 32 weeks, 5 days, and I promise I'll share a much happier post about that amazing trip soon. You know...right after this wave of cray-cray passes. So like March of 2018-ish.

Friday, April 14, 2017

good news, bad news, best news.

Oh girl. Can I just say.

I am all OVER the damn place these past couple weeks.

First of all, I've been feeling so good lately, pregnancy-wise. A few weeks ago, the weather turned enough for me to get off my butt and start moving. I'd been experiencing a ton of aches and pains, which was frustrating because that didn't start for me during my first pregnancy until the last couple months. This time, my second trimester was littered with pains, swelling, and general discomfort. But! I started taking a walk every day - two miles, up and down the main street in my neighborhood - and doing some general strength training and stretching. I swear it's made all the difference. Much less swelling, no more pregnancy waddle, and I just feel like myself again. Plus, I downloaded the S-Town podcast and told myself I was only allowed to listen to it while I was walking, so I had good motivation to keep moving. (Can we chat about S-Town? I was intrigued, then devastated, then impatient, then underwhelmed...TOO MANY FEELS.) So happy to be feeling good in my body again.

Second - believe it or not, we are making a babymoon happen! I mentioned awhile back how much I wanted to get away with J.J. and Rowan before this baby comes, and just really enjoy our little family before it changes forever. The change is a good change, I'm fully aware, but it's still a change! Either way, it didn't seem like a real getaway would be possible between work schedules and finances and, you know, the fact that I'm on a bit of a deadline (i.e., giving birth). I still couldn't stop thinking about it, though.

AND THEN. My surrogate family, the family I grew up baby-sitting for, generously offered up their vacation home in Florida for us to use! Ahhhhhhhh!!! So we're off in just a couple days. I'm still kind of in shock that this is actually going to work - and I'm, like, jumping out of my skin with excitement. So is Rowan, who's never been on a plane or to the ocean before. She started asking all day every day when we were leaving for our trip, so I made her a calendar to help her understand. She snatched it from me and ran up to her bedroom, where she spent about twenty minutes taping it to her door:

I can't wait for her to experience it all! And for the three of us to just spend some quality time together. I am beyond lucky to have such kind and wonderful friends who are making this vacation possible, including the ones who helped me figure out logistics, are lending us things like car seat travel covers and toddler headphones, and are house-sitting for us. Three cheers for the village! 

Buuuut then came the bad part of this week (which has a happy-ish ending, thankfully). I noticed a lump in my breast a few nights ago, one that I remember feeling a few weeks ago and writing off as a pregnancy thing - clogged milk duct, probably. I let my OB know, and we scheduled a breast ultrasound for this morning, just to make sure everything was okay. I honestly wasn't thinking much of it, considering how pregnancy messes with your boobs, and the lump felt pretty similar to clogged milk ducts that I'd had while breastfeeding Rowan. 

Yeah, but it's hard not to get freaked out when you're sitting in an overheated waiting room in the cancer center, surrounded by women in ill-fitting gowns. My gown, btw, was AWESOME. Big enough to accommodate my 32-week-pregnant belly, but just a taaaad bit too big for my chest (which is enormous, relative to its normal state...like we're 'bout to bust into a B-cup over here, people, watch out!...but still a lifelong registered member of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee). I fumbled with it constantly and was relieved when they called me back and I could just take it off.

The ultrasound was painless, quick, and no big deal. I refrained from asking them to move the wand lower so I could peek at Baby Boy...but I was tempted. The doctor was actually one the very sweetest parents I've had the pleasure of knowing from my former job, which was wonderful. I know some people prefer not to know their medical staff outside of the hospital setting, but I love it. I chose my OB partially for that reason, and I've coincidentally ended up with other doctors I knew from work - my dermatologist, a urologist, Rowan's pediatrician, a shoulder specialist - in the past. I like having that personal connection.

Anyway. Ultrasound was easy, but bad news/good news: it's not a clogged milk duct. It's a mass. A benign mass, most likely - like, 99% chance that it's benign, just a fibroadenoma. Fibroadenomas are super common in younger women (WHICH I AM, despite my "elderly multigravida" medical status), and they're often brought on by extreme hormone level changes. Like, you know, pregnancy. The doctor seemed wholly unconcerned, in the most reassuring way possible, and let me know that I had the choice of either watching it over the next four to six months, or doing a needle biopsy to rule out the 1% chance that it's cancerous. A lot of times, these masses will shrink or disappear once hormone levels return to normal, so waiting is a perfectly reasonable option.

Because I'm me, though, I went ahead and scheduled the biopsy. I know myself - anything that will contribute to peace of mind is a good thing. Especially when I'm staring down the barrel of impending labor, delivery, and postpartum stuff. While I was reviewing my options with the doctor, I really felt totally fine, besides being annoyed that it wasn't just a clogged duct. We talked specifics about the mass, she caught me up on how her kids are doing, I changed out of my sexy gown, we scheduled the biopsy for the week after we get back from Florida, and I walked back through the cancer center to the parking lot.

Annnnd then I kind of lost it a little bit. In my head, I understood that everything is really fine. This seems to be a pretty classic fibroadenoma, which is seriously not a big deal. Lots of women have fibroadenomas and don't even realize it. I, however, am very good at finding the teeniest, tiniest possibility that the worst-case scenario is upon me. What if it's actually not a benign mass? Then I made the mistake of considering Rowan in all of this, and I came unglued. For about five minutes while I drove home from the hospital, that is. 

Amazingly, you know what brought me back? Dr. Google. You should NEVER EVER Google medical stuff, right? Anytime you do, you're going to find out that it's pretty much cancer or pre-cancer or actually you're already dead, idiot, didn't you realize? But this time, the Internet consensus was clear: fibroadenomas are no. big. deal. (Ahem, just like the DOCTOR said, who is the person I should REALLY be listening to.) I'm still going to get the biopsy, but I'm not going to let all of this ruin our vacation. Or even my day.

We're celebrating Easter this weekend with a couple egg hunts, some brunch, and compulsively re-packing and weighing the bag we need to check to make sure it doesn't exceed the airline's weight limits. Happy Friday to all of you, and may your weather be warm, your candy be Easter-tastic, and your masses be benign.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

before you know it.

Back in September, around Rowan's third birthday, I stumbled on her newborn pictures...and fell in love all over again.

Honestly, when we first got these shots back from our photographer (Lesley Mason Photography), I didn't appreciate them. It wasn't the photographer's fault at all; it was just that the photo session (and, um, that entire postpartum period) was torturous for me. We had to squeeze the session in between a lactation consultation and a pediatrician appointment, which turned out to be way more than my two-week-post-C-section-self was able to manage. Think: excessive pain, exhaustion, and bleeding. Feeding Rowan still took upwards of an hour at that point, and it was anything but photogenic (picture me sweating and crying while Rowan fussed at the breast, and then J.J. hovering over me as he held a tube that snaked down my chest into Rowan's mouth, and then me nodding off while pumping). Oh, and I tried to trim her nails for the first time that morning, and I had basically sliced the tip of her finger off (at least, that's what it felt like), so I felt like an all-around shitty parent. AND I felt like I looked like shit, too - still swollen and bruised and deliriously tired and unable to figure out what clothes fit me. Yeah. Not my finest hour.

These two, though...

And looking at these shots three years later, with the perspective of time and knowing now who Rowan actually is...oh, my sweet little baby.

You probably know we have a tradition of taking a picture of Rowan on her birthday morning in our backyard with a bunch of balloons, but I kind of forgot that it all started with this shot from her newborn session. It might be my favorite photo of the bunch. I just love her scrunchy little grump face. I can practically hear her thinking, "Why the hell are you taking pictures of me in a wooden crate?! Cut the hipster bullshit and snuggle me already!" If I remember correctly, it was drizzling a little bit that morning, too. Lol. Sorry, baby girl.


{first birthday}

{second birthday}

{third birthday}

One of my other favorite photos from the newborn session was this one, where she's all burritoed up and perched on our piano (yes, with spotters nearby, and she only rolled off a couple times. KIDDING). Rowan saw this one while I was lost in my nostalgia-fest last fall, and she loved it, too: "Aww, that's so cuuute!" 

So, naturally (?), I decided we'd recreate the shot, using the same swaddle blanket and flower headband...just three years later. (And with a different wall color, natch.)

I love comparing the two shots above just because it's so crazy to see how huge she is now, and how she still looks the same, even though I've insisted forever that she looks nothing like she did as a baby. 

Of course she does. It was my girl all along.

Looking at all those squishy little baby pictures makes me beyond excited to see what our new babe is going to look like. Rowan looked nothing like I imagined when she was born. I thought she'd be scrawny, fair, and bald, not chipmunk-cheeked and olive-skinned with a head full of almost-black hair. So I know better than to have any expectations about what her baby brother will look like. What I do expect, though, is that before I know it, he'll go from being an unknown in my belly...

...to being another love of my life, a person, someone with likes and hates and strengths and opinions and a personality all his own.

Before I know it.

Just like his sister.

Friday, March 10, 2017

change is good, right?

It's crazy how fast things are changing with this pregnancy. I feel like I just got past the point of feeling sick and adjusting to the idea that I'm even pregnant, and bam - next week, I'll be in the third trimester. Unreal. I'm still in the sweet spot of feeling good and energetic, but I can tell I'm slowing down. I don't think I started slowing down with my first pregnancy until the very last month. Granted, things were so different then - I spent every morning traipsing around town with groups of summer campers, and every afternoon swimming with them. I'm so much more stationary these days, and it's not helping anything. In fact, I took a bunch of walks/jogs the other week when the weather was so gorgeous here, and they were awesome. Instead of wiping me out, they boosted my energy. Unfortunately, following this week's epic windstorm in southeast Michigan, it's freezing again - like, down to ten degrees tonight - and isn't supposed to warm up for awhile. Kind of a problem, considering it's getting harder to, you know, tie my shoes and zip my winter coat.

Baby seems to be doing great. His movements are intense! I think he's still small enough that he can really wiggle around in there. Twenty-seven weeks (which is what I am now) is when Rowan snuggled into her breech position...and never shifted. Don't get me wrong, she still wiggled and bumped and kicked. Trust me, I'll never forget the feeling of being kicked in the ass from the inside. But aside from trying to stretch out lengthwise across my belly right before she was born (ouuuch), she stayed breech for the entire final trimester. Either way, hard to say, but I think this babe is still rolling around in there. I feel round head or bottom lumps on all different parts of my belly. It probably helps that my uterus is more stretched out this time than it was with Rowan. 

Speaking of stretched out...I somehow got away with only a couple minor stretch marks the first time, right above my bellybutton. They weren't even noticeable after a couple months. Well, those stretch marks are...stretching. And it sucks. They itch. They hurt. And as much as I'd love to pretend I don't care about the way they look, I do care. I'm not loving them, sorry. Should be interesting to see how they fare over the next few months, especially considering I'm definitely on track to gain more weight this time. Apparently, when I was pregnant with Rowan, it not only helped that it was basically my job to exercise, but also that I had a major aversion to candy. That is...not the case this time. Gimme all the Easter candy! Oh, and ALL the (vegetarian) protein. Eggs, nuts, beans, quinoa, peanut butter: gimme.

Right. Ahem. Anyway - it's so surreal to watch my belly bulge and ripple wherever the baby moves. He's even woken me up a couple times when he's partying. Other than that, though, I'm (thankfully) back to sleeping well, which is such a relief after being so sick for a couple weeks there. (Worst sinus infection ever.) Lately, I keep going to bed earlier and earlier. I was asleep before nine last night. If only I could bank those sleep hours for the future! I mean, yeah, they'd be helpful postpartum, but I'm also anticipating that next week will be a little funky. J.J.'s going to be out of town, and the time change always screws with Rowan for a few days. Bleh.

Although - I almost wish we had decided to go with J.J. on his trip. He'll be in Austin to present at South By Southwest (SXSW), and I'm just itching to be somewhere warm. Honestly, what I really wish we'd planned for is a "babymoon" trip. I kind of hate that term - babymoon - but I get really bummed when I realize that we won't ever take a trip as a family of three again. It's been just the three of us for almost four years, and what can I say? I love us. We got a decent tax refund this year (side benefit of having only one, relatively small income), which was initially earmarked for getting the huge trees in our backyard trimmed so they would stop dropping adult-human-sized branches on my tiny children in the summer. Then the upstairs bathroom became something of a priority. THEN two things happened. One, we had that ridiculous windstorm the other day, which dropped a bazillion branches and gave me the (potentially dumb) illusion that any of the remaining branches are unlikely to fall. Two, we got the official estimate for replacing our bathtub back from Lowe's, and LOLOLOL YEAH RIGHT. That's not happening.

I'm researching other contractors to do the installation, but in the meantime, I find myself looking at my tub...and then picturing, say, a little trip to Florida. Nothing too crazy, just a few days at a cheap Airbnb close to a warm beach. I just would love to take Rowan on her first flight ever, to get out of the cold for a few days, to make some memories, and to spend time with J.J. and Rowan before our family changes forever. I'm not trying to sound melodramatic, but I really am kind of mourning the idea of things changing so much. It's a good change, duh. I know. The best kind of change. But still different, you know? Not to mention that it'd be nice to do a vacation like this when things (read: Rowan) are relatively low-maintenance. No diapers, no Pack 'N' Play, no special cups or food or carriers. It's not exactly a solo beach vacay, where I throw a bikini and some flip-flops into my backpack and hop on a plane, but we're just at a low-key, easygoing place right now, all things considered.

Also. I know this is a little silly, but part of the reason I wish we could do a special trip with Rowan is that I just want to be able to soak her up while she's still my only one. It's hard to describe what I'm feeling about making her a big sister. Mostly, I'm thrilled beyond measure and feel so fortunate that we can introduce this new role into her life, this whole other way of loving and being loved. On the other hand? It's going to be hard to watch her struggle through this transition - and I know there will be times when it's a struggle. All for the greater good, of course. I don't know, I just want to play in the sand and the sun with my girl and my partner in crime and have a fun, stressless good time together. *Clicks back over to the Airbnb website*  *Pretends that it's okay to fly during the third trimester*  *Ignores financial responsibilities*

Plus, as much as I love this whole Batman phase, there are some summer clothes I'm dying to get this one into...

For the record, right after this sweet photo, she turned around and called, "Now take a picture of my bottom! Hahaha!!"

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

room reveal: Rowan's big kid bedroom!

I can't believe it's taken me almost seven months to get to this point, but I think I can finally officially say that Rowan's big kid room is DONE. Granted, I've been pregnant for all but about two weeks of this room makeover, so I'll cut myself some slack...but STILL. The truth is that everything's been finished for a couple months except painting the closet and building the window coverings, which I knocked out over the last couple weekends. So: DONE.

It all started at the end of last August, when the guest room still looked like this:

We'd been trying for awhile to get pregnant, and my thought was that once a new baby was on the way, we'd move Rowan from the nursery into the guest room/office, since the nursery is so small that a twin bed would barely fit in there (if at all). I wasn't sure how to introduce the idea to her, given that she was completely happy in her crib in the nursery. Thankfully, one day, she waltzed into the guest room and announced, "I want this to be my room!" It's always better when kids think big transitions are their idea, so I jumped on the opportunity and said, "Awesome! Let's plan it! What do you want it to look like?"

She actually had a big hand in the room's design, which was so much fun to do with her! Her main requests for her big kid room were: pink and yellow walls; glitter on the walls; a big kid bed; one pink lamp and one yellow lamp (harder to find than you'd think, omg); and pictures of her family (aww). We were looking through Pinterest one day and she added one more request - a white tent over her bed. 

This all sounded easy enough, although I was a little wary about the pink and yellow walls. I wasn't sure how to pull that off without it looking...I don't know, oppressively fluorescent? And wouldn't pink and yellow clash with each other? Luckily, I stumbled on this picture from the Land of Nod website, and it sparked a paint idea:


I LOVED that diagonal paint swath, and I figured it would allow for enough white space to offset any mega-bright colors. Plus, as much as I've never really appreciated pink, I am super, super into the dusty rose that just happens to be trendy right now. I could make that work with a mellow shade of yellow, right?! 

So I got to work, first selling most of the furniture from the guest room and moving all our office stuff down to the basement (as if we have room down there for it, but whatever). Then I primed the walls...with a little help:

Once the walls were ready, I got stuck for awhile trying to figure out the optimal paint design. I used painter's tape to test out a couple ideas, but nothing was really gelling. I ended up having two of my friends (who both have amazing eyes for design...thanks, Kendal and Katie!!) come over to help me plan the paint patterns, and also to choose the right shades of pink and yellow. Then I kicked Rowan and J.J. out of the house one weekend day and spent way longer than I'd anticipated taping everything off.

I used a laser level to get the straightest lines possible, which was super tricky around the windows, because the window moldings cut the laser line off. Taping everything pretty much took longer than the actual painting did. That was super frustrating - but totally worth it. The design ended up looking perfect, with flawless lines (tip: rub a damp washcloth along the painter's tape and let it dry before you paint - makes for extra-crisp lines with no bleeding). It was especially worth it when Rowan came back that evening and saw her "pink and lellow" walls for the first time.

Unnnnnfortunately, this face was quickly followed by, "But I wanted the WHOLE THING to be pink and lellowwww!" Meaning, she was not happy with parts of the walls staying white.  -_-  I mitigated her disappointment by showing her that the pink paint is actually glitter paint. The glitter is awesome - you just add a packet right into your paint can, stir it up, paint away, and voila, you get a subtle sparkle all over the wall. It's super hard to photograph, but I got a (admittedly mediocre) video of it:

Rowan also loved being my construction assistant. She helped build her new bookshelf, her new bed (a birthday present from Grandpa), and her new double glider (a Christmas present from Gramma, which is awesome and big enough to fit all three of us - soon, all four of us).

Oh, and she loved "helping" J.J. measure when we hung the wood cornices this past weekend:

But anyway - enough with the boring descriptions. How about some more pictures? I'll go around the room clockwise, starting from when you look in the doorway. (Ignore that light on the ceiling...yes, it's a porch light; yes, it's from the previous owners; yes, Ikea discontinued the light I'd planned on replacing that one with; yes, I'm too lazy to find another one that I really like, so yes, it stays for now.)

Aaaand because I'm a total dork, here's a video with a 360-degree tour:

I'll list all the sources at the end of the post, but some details about the details: She chose her bedding from a few photos I'd pinned for her, and I looove her comforter. It's super cute, and it helped guide my paint color choices. (Although it's possible I started out with a different shade of yellow that looked too orange and eventually re-painted with this shade. POSSIBLE.) Oh, and just so you know, to fulfill Rowan's wish for one pink lamp and one yellow lamp, I had to buy two pink lamps and spray paint one of them yellow. It was impossible to find affordable lamps that came in both pink and yellow! I did score some awesome white lampshades from Target that are even glittery, much to Rowan's delight.

I made the canopy over her bed using some sheer curtains, a large embroidery hoop, and some battery-operated LED twinkle lights from Amazon (which I neglected to take a picture of, but trust me, they're up there!). 

Her nightstand drawer is where she stores her ever-growing
comic book collection. Only Robin is allowed to read them with her.

Per her request for pictures of her family, I got a bunch of free square prints from Parabo Press (I only paid shipping, which was like $8 or something). I don't love the way they're arranged right now - I should've done them in straight lines instead of following the diagonal paint line - but I can't bring myself to take the time to rearrange them, so there you have it. 

I made the paintings over the bookshelf, with Rowan's guidance. She asked for specific lyrics from "This Little Light of Mine" and "Bushel and a Peck", and she very much wanted a picture of Baby Kermit, who was her obsession back in the fall, when she pretended she had an Invisible Kermit in her hand at all times. She doesn't really care about him anymore but claims she still wants the painting.

I also DIY'ed the cornices over her windows. I didn't want to do full curtains in her room because I had visions of her pulling them down while playing in her bed at night (accurate...she's already snapped the roller shade up while messing around and scared the crap out of herself), so I went with cheap blackout roller blinds from Lowe's and livened them up with the wood cornices - again, props to Katie and Kendal for the inspiration on those. I followed these instructions (found via Pinterest) to build them. The wood is stained with Minwax's Classic Gray stain, which ended up matching the bookshelf and glider perfectly. A pretty easy project overall!

And yeah, I chose to leave her closet doors off. Remember how I removed them to make the guest room closet into our office?

I wanted to leave the doors off for a few reasons. First, I love love love the way her dressers turned out. I initially thought I'd wallpaper the back of the closet wall, but when I did a test run, it just didn't look right. Plus, I was going to have to buy like double the wallpaper I'd already bought to cover the whole back wall, so I nixed the idea and put it on the drawer fronts instead. Second, those closet doors are stored in the basement somewhere and are still the plain orange-y wood color that all our other doors originally were, and I didn't feel like finding them, painting them, and reattaching them. Third, I considered hanging a curtain over it (like we did in the nursery), but I really just wanted her dressers to be visible! I think they're my favorite part of the room. Maybe I'll hang a curtain eventually, but I'm happy with it for now.

My friend Katie made that awesome macrame wall
hanging! She's one of the most talented people I know -
check out her Etsy shop for adorable bonnets.

All of her clothes fit into the six dresser drawers with room to spare, although I do hang up some of her dresses. I use the white bins on the top shelf to store the clothes she's about to grow into and the ones she's just grown out of. That gray-brown box on the shelf below the white bins is her memory box, which is basically where I throw all the stuff that would go into a scrapbook, if I were one to scrapbook. Which I'm not. So she has a box.

And, finally, just a couple more befores and afters, since this post doesn't already have a million pictures:

Before / After

Before / After

Before / After

All in all, Rowan's big kid bedroom turned out even better than I'd hoped. It's cozy, colorful, and so totally Rowan. Plus, I think it'll grow with her for awhile instead of needing major updates in just a couple years. Not to mention that it was a nerdy dream come true to plan the room with her. Hope you love it as much as we do! 


Source list:

:: Bookshelf (from Target, although I'm not seeing the color I have there anymore...)

:: Paintings over bookshelf (aka my Etsy shop)

:: Frames for paintings (Ikea RIBBA)

:: Double glider chair in dark taupe from Walmart (the beautiful quilt on the chair was made by Gramma)

:: Nightstand (Windham Side Table from Target's Threshold collection)

:: Bed (from Amazon)

:: Sheets (from Target)

:: Comforter (Land of Nod's Fly Away Quilt)

:: White pillow, pink flower pillow, lamps, fabric bins (can't seem to find the same bins, but they're just pink bins from Target's Pillowfort collection, like the rest of these items)

:: Instagram prints (from Parabo Press)

:: Dressers (ASKVOLL from Ikea)

:: Removable wallpaper on drawer fronts (from Walls Need Love)

:: Rug (Rugs USA's Tuscan Moroccan Shag)

:: Blackout roller shades (from Lowe's)

:: Glitter for paint (from Target)

:: Paint colors:
   -- darker pink (wall behind bookshelf) = Riviera Rose from Olympic
   -- yellow = Banana Mania from Behr
   -- lighter pink (closet area) = Pink Sangria from Olympic


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