circumstances & blessings

The expectation was that right now I'd be a full-time working mom. Back in January, when we were 6-months pregnant, we lined up full-time childcare at a center with a wonderful reputation, that happens to be just up the street. I prepared to be a working mom, knowing it would be hard but hoping that someday we could afford for one of us to work less and be home with our kids more.  But I was happy with the path my career was on, comfortable with working in order to provide our family with more opportunities, and planned to continue on that road.

And then, well, in this economy I guess our story isn't so uncommon.

I returned from maternity leave in June- the plan was that I would ease back in to the "working mom" routine with a month of part time work before resuming my full time schedule. Going back was hard, but the small company I work for had been flexible and supportive of my leave plans, and I was looking forward to reconnecting with the career part of my life and picking up where I left off.

Instead, I am still working that part-time schedule, and after months hoping that my hours would increase, I have accepted that they will not.

So, I go to work for 15 hours a week and I am home with Evelyn three days a week. This part of the situation has been an absolute gift. I treasure our days together and I am beyond grateful that I've been able to witness the magic of the day to day changes in her over these eight months. I had no idea being home with my baby could be so fulfilling, and make me so happy (or that it could be so challenging and exhausting!)

The flip-side is the large (and completely unplanned) cut in income, and figuring out how to maintain this life built on two full incomes. Certainly, it could be worse- there are plenty of people who have been hit harder. But still, it's been a challenge. We've learned to live on less: I plan inexpensive but healthy meals, we shop thrift and consignment stores when we really need something, we've curbed our take-out habits, we live more simply. It's not all bad, and we've learned that this lifestyle is more doable than we first thought. The tougher-to-swallow part is back-burnering plans for home upgrades that we had planned, putting travel on hold, and worries about how we'll manage if we are faced with a large unplanned expense.

So I continue to look for ways to increase our income- picking up some editing and copywriting gigs, finding little ways to bring in money here and there. I've had to adjust how I define myself, with a career that had been the focus of much of my days until March suddenly playing a much smaller role. As wonderful as it is, it has taken me time to figure out how to be a work-at-home mom on those three days and to value the importance of that work. And holy moly, I have so much respect for full-time work-at-home moms. It is not an easy gig- babies are demanding bosses!

I know that this is temporary. Soon I will be working more, the financial squeeze will ease up, we'll be in a place where we can again dream of family vacations and kitchen renovations. Knowing that makes me savor each day I am home with Evelyn. I try to memorize every moment, the way she is at each stage, the rhythms of our days. I think about how to balance the wonderfulness of this home life with a work life that provides what we need, and what she needs. I know this will be the struggle, that we will always be recalibrating, finding balance, and redefining what everyone needs as our family changes.


Evelyn’s Birth Story

In honor of Evelyn's six-month birthday: the story of her birth. I wasn't originally planning to share this, but I've found it so helpful to read others' experiences since beginning this journey - maybe someone will find the story of our Cesarean birth helpful or reassuring.

I wanted a natural birth, and I was ready for it. Patrick and I prepared with months of Hypnobirth classes, I took prenatal yoga and strength classes to prepare my body, and every time I envisioned our birth it was natural and calm and all about this amazing thing my body would do to bring our baby into the world, with Patrick keeping me steady all the way through. 

Our first parenting lesson was in letting go of plans and expectations.

March 20, 2011
All along, our baby was head up: ready to take on the world, facing forward right along with me. By the time I reached 35 weeks, I knew that the baby had to flip or we’d be facing a certain Cesarean birth. We did everything we could to get the baby to turn: SpinningBabies.com became my handbook, I did inversions all the time (laying upside down, kneeling on the couch with my head on a pillow on the floor), laying on the floor with my hips propped up while Patrick played music and shined light at the bottom of my belly, we even worked with Johanna, our Hypnobirth teacher and doula, on visualizations and meditations to get the baby to turn. Johanna was amazing in her willingness to help us encourage the baby to turn-- we would Skype and she would talk us through the breech visualization, she recorded a visualization script for me to listen to on my own, and she checked in with us all the time.

The week leading up to Evelyn’s birthday, we were busy. We went to the All Over Albany birthday party at The Point. We bought flowers at the Lark Street Flower Market- Pat bought me a small bouquet of beautiful yellow ranunculus. We had a birthday dinner with Patrick’s grandmother- Chinese food at her house with some family and lots of talk about the baby. We went to the police station to have the baby's car seat installed. We decided it would be our last busy week, and that for the two weeks (or however long it was) prior to our April 11 due date, we would take it easy and focus on resting up and preparing for the baby’s arrival. 

On Friday March 25, we had a doctor’s appointment. I was having weekly appointments at that point, and since baby was still breech, ultrasounds at each appointment. I hadn’t felt the baby flip, but I was hopeful that maybe just maybe it had turned in the night and the bump that I thought to be the head was the rump. Alas, the ultrasound that Friday revealed that our stubborn little baby was still head up, butt down. After the ultrasound, we went in to see the doctor. She walked in, greeted us, and said “I think we have to deliver.” Patrick and I were both stunned. Now? What? Why? I was not quite at 38 weeks, and I had no intentions of intervening in the natural process unless absolutely necessary. Certainly not before 40 weeks. And here was this statement that threw all of that out the window. 

There were concerns that the baby was small, that my fluid was low, that the baby was still in a breech position. “You’re full term, and there are more risks than benefits to waiting.” The doctor said. We asked about trying an external version, where a doctor manipulates the belly and baby from the outside to get the baby to turn. It’s a possibility, she said, but carries risks and often ends up in a Cesarean delivery at that point anyway. We asked about what would happen if we just waited and didn’t take action, leaving the timing up to the baby and my body. Very close monitoring: appointments, ultrasounds, and non-stress tests a few times a week, she told us. She reminded us of what she saw as the risks and told us that she strongly recommended a Cesearean delivery be scheduled for early the next week.

We asked if we could have the weekend to think about it, and she agreed, as long as we scheduled an appointment for Monday. We did that, and left the office feeling defeated. Months of preparing and vowing to follow my body and the baby, and here we were: being encouraged to schedule a Cesarean birth. This is not what we had envisioned and it felt as though it was all out of our control. I knew there was a lot to be thankful for: the baby and I were healthy. I’d carried the baby to term and had a very healthy and pleasant pregnancy. I tried to remind myself of all these things, but the feelings of failure were already creeping in.

We each went to work consumed by the ‘what ifs’ and ‘what nows’. I tried to put it out of my head until the evening. My co-workers threw me a little shower and ordered Indian food. There was a Baby Pool to guess the date the baby would be born and whether it would be a boy or a girl. One of my colleagues joked that I’d be going into labor over the weekend. I told him no way, that’s crazy, I hadn’t had a single sign that labor was anywhere close to happening. He swore, yep, soon. No way, I said, I’ll see you Monday. (Perhaps one of the only signs I had of impending labor was the deep cleaning and organizing I gave my desk that afternoon).

Pat and I spent the evening discussing our situation with each other, our parents, and our friends, and finally decided to put it away for the night and sleep on it. We ordered Thai food and watched TV. Our cat Calvin stared at my belly, which we thought was funny enough to take a photo of. My computer froze up and I decided I’d deal with that in the morning. We went to bed too late.

At 4:00 a.m. I was awakened by what felt like a strong kick from our little one. I got up to use the bathroom, and was greeted with a gush that just kept gushing. I had a moment of fear - the sudden realization that my water had broken. I walked back to the bed, turned the light on, tried to see if there was wetness in the bed. Pat sat up, asked what was going on. “I think my water just broke.”  
“Ok, alright, are you ok? Do you need anything? We need to call the doctor.” (We had been told that since the baby was breech, we needed to call the doctor right away if I went into labor.)

We called the doctor, and I spoke with her. She asked if I wanted to stay home for awhile. I said yes, but reminded her the baby was breech. Oh, yes, she said- well then, you need to get to the hospital.

Everything was surreal. There was the vision we had for this moment: that at this point we’d be preparing to labor at home for as long as possible. And the reality that we had: we were going to the hospital right away. The doctor asked if I’d eaten anything, I said no, we hung up.

We packed our things (I had started gathering the hospital bag earlier in the week, but wasn't fully ready). I accepted that we wouldn’t need all of the things we had planned to bring for labor- the yoga ball, tennis balls for massaging my back, the hypnobirth CD and signage.  Packing our baby’s teeny going home outfit and my nursing gown reminded me that in the end, we were having this baby. I was flooded with excitement and nerves that gave way to calm- a feeling that whatever happened, we were ready and eager to meet our babe.

I was hungry and ate a banana. It was 4:40 am and we headed to the hospital with a suitcase and a carseat. 

We live a few blocks from the hospital, and I remember the feeling of that short drive. The world was silent and still. Spring was arriving and the air had a new warmth to it. It felt like we were the only ones in the world awake, quietly on our way to have a life changing experience.

We walked through the (under construction) hospital toward the Labor & Delivery floor, just like we’d practiced on our tour a few weeks earlier. I was beginning to feel contractions. We stood together waiting for the elevator, looked at one another, Pat commented on how huge this moment was. Everything was about to change. We took a few deep breaths, kissed, the moment crystallized.

Once we were checked in, we were given a room where I changed into a gown and climbed into bed. They verified that my water had indeed broken, and an ultrasound was done to verify that yes, baby was still head up. My doctor wasn’t on call- in fact, no one from my OB’s office was- and we met the OB on call that night. He was kind and explained what needed to happen. He had spoken to our doctor and knew that we had been hoping to avoid a Cesarean. He told us exactly what would happen, made certain we knew and understood that at this point, a Cesarean was the only option. My contractions became more intense.

We met the anesthesiologist, who seemed to still be waking up (har har) when he stumbled into our room. He described the process for administering the spinal anesthesia, which I would receive just minutes before the baby was delivered. I asked again if Patrick could be with me when they did the spinal. He said no, because (honestly, this was his story), one time a dad came in during the spinal, passed out, hit his head, and died. I wasn't sure what to think of this guy.

When the doctors all found out I’d eaten a banana, they weren’t thrilled. In order to be given the spinal for the Cesarean, you aren’t supposed to have eaten for 8 hours. Because of that banana, they’d be delaying the delivery. 

Secretly, I was very pleased. I didn’t know the banana would play any role at all in this birth story, but it turned out to be central. The banana meant that I would experience labor. I would feel the contractions as my baby prepared to meet the world. The baby would have a few hours of getting those labor hormones. Thank you, banana! 

We settled into the bed, Pat put movies on the laptop, my contractions grew more intense. The doctor had said that if they grew so intense that I couldn’t speak, they’d prep me for delivery, regardless of the time. 

I labored until 11 am, at which point contractions were fairly intense and coming just a couple minutes apart. I used the Hypnobirth relaxation methods to stay relaxed and focused as each wave came over me. Patrick did light-touch massage on my arm and played our favorite music. I am grateful for those hours.

I was given IV fluids along with some anti-nausea medication to ease my recovery from surgery. When the decision was made that labor was progressing and it was time to deliver the baby, things moved fast. The doctors and nurses were in the room. Patrick suited up in scrubs. I was shaved and prepped and wheeled down the hall, where I was brought into the operating room. Those were the worst few minutes of the whole ordeal. The room was bright and cold. Patrick wasn’t allowed to come in while the spinal was administered. An inexperienced nursing student held my arms while the anesthesiologist gave me the injection in my lower back.  A deep pinch while held by unsteady arms. The rush to lay me down after the anesthesia was delivered. The curtain raised between my chest and the lower part of my body. 
 And then, Patrick was there. And then, peace. He was there, with me, our eyes locked the entire time. All was full of love, even in this cold setting. 

The anesthesiologist who seemed bumbling won my heart when he requested the chatter among the doctors and nurses quiet down, reminded them that this was a birth. He stayed with me as well, reassuring, making sure I was okay, talking both Patrick and I through what was happening. 

We had requested that Pat announce the baby’s sex (we maintained parts of our birth plan as much as we could). I was told I’d feel pressure and pulling when they delivered the baby. It was all happening. Nothing like I imagined, but our baby was almost here.

And then, there it was- some pressure. The doctor telling Patrick to stand and look over the curtain as our baby was born.

My husband’s voice announcing that we had a daughter. Her strong strong cry.
 My heart swelling and swelling. All was right in the world. It was all right.

Patrick went to be with her as they cleaned her. He snapped photos of her first moments. I craned my head to see behind me, my daughter. Glimpsing her face, her hands, her feet. Hearing her cries. Oh my God, I kept repeating. Oh my God. Crying tears of joy and release. Our baby was here. She was here. 

She was cleaned and wrapped and Patrick brought her over to me. I saw her gorgeous face up close, said hello. That beautiful face. The tears would not stop streaming down my face- tears of joy like I’ve never cried before. We had a daughter. Amazing.

Born at 11:37 a.m. on March 26, 6 pounds, 4 oz. Her birth stats say that she was 20.5 inches, but at the pediatrician’s a few days later she was 19 inches, so I’m guessing someone's measurements were off in those first minutes.

Patrick went with her to the recovery room while I was sewn up, and then I was wheeled over to join them. She was put on my chest - so tiny and perfect. She nursed. We had skin to skin time. Pat and I studied her features. Marveled at her. The nurse took our first family photo. 

We had our list of names, but nothing was decided- we planned to choose the name when we saw our baby. We had narrowed our girl’s names down to Eleanor and Evelyn. When we met her, we agreed easily that the name to give her was Evelyn. Evelyn Hart.  

Evelyn, a family name on Patrick's side and one that we love the sound and feel of. Strong and beautiful. Hart after my great-grandmother, Madeline Hart, who was bold and intelligent, who gave me a love of books and demonstrated a bold spirit through and through. (The middle name came to me in the early weeks of my pregnany, sitting around the campfire at our family cabin that Madeline bought in the 1940s. That part of Evelyn's name was decided from the start.)

When they took Evelyn’s vitals a bit after birth (could it have been an hour?), her temperature was low and she needed to go to the nursery for some time under the heat lamp. Patrick went with her while I stayed in the recovery room (they wouldn’t let me move until I regained feeling in my legs- it was the strangest thing, not being able to feel my legs). We called our parents to share our joy. A girl! We have a girl.

Patrick came back in time to walk beside my bed as I was taken to our room in the brand new Mother-Baby area of the hospital. By this time, I was beginning to feel very nauseous. I was wheeled down the hall- very quickly- and began vomiting by the time we reached the room. I was sick for most of the afternoon, a reaction to the anesthesia. It was an awful feeling, wanting nothing more than to be with my baby, but to be so sick. Meanwhile, she was still in the nursery warming up. I just wanted to hold her. That part of the afternoon was tough, but I’m thankful it was brief, and that we weren’t separated for long.

I was feeling better by mid-afternoon, and Evelyn was released from the nursery and returned to us- warm and cozy. We had some time alone together - our new family of three. Evelyn was placed on my chest for more skin-to-skin time, Patrick held her, we took photos and, of course, marveled some more.

Meanwhile, we had all four new grandparents and a new uncle in the waiting room, where they’d been for hours. They'd been able to see her in the nursery, but were anxious to meet their grandbaby. When we were ready, the grandparents came in, two at a time, to meet and hold their granddaughter. Our room was filled with happiness and love, with our little Evy at the center of it all.

The day Evelyn was born was sunny and beautiful - early spring after a long and very snowy winter, a few days after the vernal equinox. March going out like a lamb. The light filtered into our room casting a warm glow. Evy was small but strong from the start: a good eater, hands that were always moving, a full head of hair.

Our birth was nothing like I imagined, nothing like we’d planned. After months of learning about why I didn’t want a Cesarean birth, it was hard coming to grips that we had no other options. I spent a lot of time fending off feelings of disappointment and failure that we didn’t have a natural birth, but of course the important thing is that I delivered a beautiful healthy baby. We were so blessed that there were no complications and that everyone was healthy. We never had to make the decision to have a scheduled Cesarean- after all our fretting, Evelyn chose her birthday.

I would never choose a Cesarean birth.  While recovery was quicker than I imagined (I felt pretty good after a week, great after two), the first four days were full of soreness and limited mobility- and all I wanted to do was snuggle with that baby.

Having said that, I also want to say, for those facing a similar situation:  A Cesarean birth is still a birth. You are still giving birth, and every birth is amazing. Don’t let that experience be lessened or taken away from you.  So many women find themselves in this situation, a birth that wasn’t what they imagined, a feeling of having failed. Even if you are unable to push your baby out, due to positioning or complications or some other reason that is out of your control, you are bringing life into this world.  

I didn't have the birth that I imagined. I didn’t push my baby out, she was lifted out into the world, and I have a small smile-shaped scar to remind me of her first moments. Evelyn came into this world head up, healthy, with a strong voice, a strong will, and surrounded by love.  How can I be disappointed in that?



Evelyn turns 4 months old tomorrow. Four months! The longest/shortest/hardest/happiest/funniest/weirdest/best four months I've ever lived through.

It's hard to write about motherhood and parenthood without repeating all the stuff that's already been said. Quick summary goes like this:
  • Not a lot of sleep was had for two months. But Mama hormones are amazing and it wasn't as bad as it sounds. Except for the nights that it was.
  • "Varsity Mom" friends - the ones who have been through it all - are awesome cheerleaders. Ask them for advice, and try their advice, even if you're skeptical. We survived the early days on the advice and support of awesome mom friends. .
  • Having family just minutes away has been great. I miss the places we used to live very much, but the support network we have here is invaluable (and has given us freedom and peace of mind we may not have had elsewhere).
  • I had no idea I would love being a mom so much. So so much.
  • I had no idea the first few weeks would be so difficult, or that I'd cry so much for so many reasons, good and bad (hormones + new baby + cesarean birth recovery = whoa).
  • I knew having the right partner would be important- it has been, on every single matter. Patrick is a fantastic Dad and co-parent. We have a rhythm to how we parent, which I'm sure we'll always be adjusting, but we have each other's backs all the time. It makes all the difference.
  • Breastfeeding. In the beginning, harder than I ever imagined. To be honest, I didn't think a lot about it before she was here- we attended a class, I knew it was something I wanted to do, just assumed it would be something that just happened. The first weeks were hard, and some feedings still are. Sometimes it hurts (even if they say it shouldn't, it does). Having the right support network is so so crucial (see the theme here?). I'm very proud and grateful that we've made it to four months exclusively breastfeeding, and have no plans of stopping anytime soon.
  • Instincts are powerful. I have tried very hard to follow that gut feeling and trust my instincts on the parenting stuff. Gut checks are a daily (hourly?) occurance.
  • I also try to not worry too much or overthink or feel like I have to strictly adhere to one parenting philosophy. Over and over again this happens: We want to do something (eat at a restaurant, go to church, have a photoshoot, go to a music fest, take a car ride, go on a playdate, go to a dinner party, etc etc etc). We worry about Evy in said situation. We decide to try it. She does awesome. The lesson has been to prepare as much as possible and then just give it a go. If it doesn't work, bail, no biggie. So far, we've rarely had to bail.
  • My obsession with documentation has increase ten-fold. Photos galore, of course. And a Google document that I update a few times a week- a running letter to Evelyn, telling her about this time in her life and mine. It's a low-pressure way of keeping track of the day to day, these fleeting moments, when the present easily replaces memories of the way she was just weeks ago.
  • In the past few weeks, two separate people have commented on the peacefulness that they've noticed in me since I became a mom. I didn't know it was outwardly visible, but it's how I feel. To be able to slow down, to follow the lead of this person so new to life, to be able to eliminate all the external noise-- it's brought a calmness to my attitude and outlook, even at a time that can be anything but calm.
  • The love, oh the love. The love that makes my chest feel like it's bursting and being crushed. The love for her that has increased my love for everything else. The love that I knew would be huge but never could have begun to imagine. It is wonderful and utterly terrifying.
There's a lot to say here, and also not much that hasn't been said before. Most days, I still can't believe this is my life, and I'm full of gratitude that it is.


The Nursery

The nursery, from start to finish (click through to the Flickr set for details) :


Essential Tools of New Parenthood

One month in to this parenthood gig, here are the things we would not have survived without:
  • The Happiest Baby on the Block techniques. We were given both the DVD and the book, and the soothing techniques Dr. Karp teaches have been sanity-savers. We use the "Five S's" all of the time. Evy cannot sleep without being swaddled but her strong arms break free of most swaddles- the swaddling method Dr. Karp teaches is one of the few she has trouble breaking out of.
  • Swaddle Designs swaddling blankets - nice and big, and they last multiple uses without getting stretched out. A lot of people like the Aden & Anais blankets, but at least now while Evy is still tiny these just don't wrap tight enough. They stretch out after one or two uses and she is able to get those arms out. I do think they'll be more useful when she's a little bigger.
  • Carriers. I am officially a convert and a strong believer in baby wearing. We received an Ergo and infant insert as well as a Baby K'tan as a gift, and I just purchased a Sleepy Wrap (I totally understand how people end up with 20 different baby carriers....). It's amazing how being worn calms Evelyn down if she's fussy. Today has been a fussy day (she got a shot yesterday, so I blame that)- she's currently sleeping on me in the Sleepy Wrap. She prefers being held over all other options- I certainly don't mind the snuggle time, but it makes it hard to do anything else, including important things like eating. Putting her in a carrier makes her happy while letting me have my hands free. I've used all of the carriers around the house, and I've used the Ergo on walks. I can definitely see using all of them out and about.
  • My iPhone. For keeping track of nursing (I've been using the iBaby Feed app, which is great) and for keeping me entertained and connected to the outside world when the babe wants to nurse often and for an hour at a time (iBaby Feed tells me I've been spending an average of 7 hours per day nursing, oy). Especially helpful for keeping me company during those middle of the night feedings. I'm sure I'm ruining my already terrible eyesight even further.
  • Baby swing/bouncy seat- At least one of Evy's naps each day is in the swing, and she'll often hang out in there while we eat dinner. She likes the motion, and the built-in nature sounds help her fall asleep. Our swing (linked to) is also a bouncy seat- she'll hang out in that in the bathroom while I shower or upstairs when I have things to do in our room.
  • Sleep Sheep - A cute little white noise machine. We have the smaller travel sheep, I think the big one has more sounds. White noise is also part of the Happiest Baby on the Block methods, and it so works. Ocean sounds help Evy fall asleep each night (and since her bassinet is right next to our bed, they help her mama make the most of those few hours of sleep, too!) The swing also makes nature sounds, helpful for her naps.
With the help of the above-- and our very supportive families-- we've been doing really well. The first two weeks were extremely hard - I definitely cried along with Evy on more than one occasion. Things have steadily gotten better. There still isn't a lot of sleep in our lives, but we have a routine that lets both Pat and I make the most of the sleep we're able to get. We're getting to know her cries and her signals and how to meet her needs. I love being a mom, I love seeing Pat as a dad, and I am head over heels for Evelyn. Right now I'm just doing my best to enjoy every moment.


Baby C

Evelyn Hart
March 26, 2011
6 pounds, 4 ounces
Totally awesome.

She picked her birthday afterall, 16 days early. At 4 am on 3/26 my water broke. I experienced 7 hours of labor (one of the things I was mourning in thinking about a planned cesarean birth). Despite all our efforts, she remained breech so was born via cesarean, but it was the best I could hope for- it was calm, Pat held my hand and stared into my eyes the entire time, he announced that we had a daughter, he was with her for her first minutes- the first to hold her, to bring her to me. These first weeks have been amazingly hard and amazingly awesome. I still can't believe we get to keep her.

She answers to Evelyn or Evy or Snugglebug or EvHart.

In other news: Photos of the finished nursery.
We also have a "friends and family only" Flickr group of Evelyn photos. Let me know if you don't have the link and would like it.


Planning the unplannable

That's funny that I thought it made perfect sense to revitalize this blog while pregnant. Obviously that didn't go so well.

An update, at 37+ weeks: Baby is breech, butt down and head up. At least, he/she was a week ago. We've been doing what we can to help baby flip, and tomorrow we'll see how things look.

We've spent the past several months preparing for a natural birth- hypnobirth classes, lots of reading, practicing relaxation techniques, all of it. I've been really looking forward to the experience- no fear, just preparation and strength. And here we are, potentially facing an unavoidable c-section. I'm not yet accepting that as the final answer, but still: A lesson in not being able to control it all. I'm trying not to get caught up in it until we know for sure what's going on. Everyone is healthy, and whatever happens this little one will be in our arms very soon.

It's amazing how the parenting lessons begin so early!


Learning As We Go

Lately, a big part of my life involves learning and preparing.

Things I’ve been learning about lately:
(most learning has been alongside my partner in crime - having a learning buddy helps)

-Hypnobirthing. We’ve been taking a great class in this really logical approach to birth that focuses on relaxation and doing away with fear. I won’t go into the details here, but just ask me if you want to know more. It's fantastic.

-Bread baking. We've been working our way through the book Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. So far we've made loaves of bread (wheat, basic white, and peasant), pizza crust, and rolls. To be honest, the last several batches haven't been made by me, but the learning process has been a joint effort - and the rewards have been very tasty.

-Caring for an infant. I feel like I know nothing. The book Heading Home with Your Newborn has helped me to feel more prepared and more aware without too much of the panic-inducing stuff.

-Baby-led weaning- Patrick first heard about this in a story on NPR. Since then, one of the blogs I read (Cooking with My Kid) starting discussing it. Fascinating, and something we're seriously considering for the little one when he/she is ready.

-Cloth diapering -
A dear friend of ours has cloth diapered her 8-month old most of his life and she did a ton of research leading up to it. She's been amazing at teaching us all about it, sharing resources, and helping us figure out what can be a very confusing world. I'm very excited about our decision to cloth diaper, and glad to have a great resource!

-Re-painting furniture-
This was a divide-and-conquer effort at refreshing the dressers we got off Craigslist for the babe's room, but we both did our reading and YouTube-tutorial-watching beforehand. I sanded - by hand and then with the power sheet sander, which is awesome. Patrick primed and painted. I think we did pretty good.

And this is only the beginning!



This is where we're headed with the baby's room. So far the walls are painted. We have the chair, which might be painted. We have the dresser (below), which will be painted a yellow similar to the dresser above. We may or may not have a crib. Window shades will be ordered this week. We've purchased and framed the submarine print (that giraffe!) We need to find a rug- looking for something not super expensive, ideally natural wool or cotton. Possibly gray, maybe brown or tan. Suggestions?

So, we have some projects to tackle. The goal is to have the room just-about-done by mid-March so that we can focus on the final preparations and enjoying some down time before the new member of our family arrives.

I'll keep you posted on our progress!

Chair- Ikea Poang - ours currently has a black frame, contemplating painting it white
Crib skirt- Dwell Studio for Target- Hippo
Giraffe and Submarine prints - Threadless Artist Shoppe
Yellow dresser- Erin of Domestic Adventure (love their nursery!)
Wall color- Behr Tidepool
Dresser and nightstand (which will be a side table next to the chair) via Craigslist.


Be Afraid

In the year leading up to our wedding, all of the emails and ads that came my way from the wedding industry seemed to be about how if I didn't spend money on this or this, my wedding wouldn't be the best day of my life. Worry! Or about how perfect I had to look. Stress! Or how much it should look like a magazine wedding. Or how far behind I was on the 600-item To Do list a website had created for me. Stress more!

In the months leading up to the birth of our baby, the emails and ads have either been about the millions of dangers to me and my baby lurking around every corner or about how awful everything is/will be. Topics of recent emails from baby industry websites include:
  • 21 Pregnancy Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore
  • Puffy Eyes
  • Swelling and Edema
  • Too Much Exercise
  • Your Aching Back
  • Not Gaining Enough Weight
  • Exercises to Avoid
  • Gaining Too Much
  • Getting Enough Exercise
  • Foods to Avoid
  • Exercise Don'ts
The message is clear: Experiencing a Big Life Moment? BE AFRAID OF EVERYTHING - what you're doing, what you're not doing, what will happen if you spend too much, what will happen if you don't spend enough, EVERYTHING. If you're not AFRAID, then at least be STRESSED.



My last post was 7 months ago. Inspired by a number of recent blog revivals I've noticed, I'm thinking about trying again.

There is snow snow snow outside and I'm 6 months pregnant with a long To Do list in front of me.

I'm going to revive this blog with the purpose of sharing projects (cooking/baking/house/etc), observations about life in Albany, and who knows- maybe a bit about impending motherhood, if I feel brave.

Over the past 6 months I've traveled to Michigan to visit my best friend and her new baby (twice), spent time in D.C. for work and fun, had many houseguests, completed a new patio (lots of help there), learned about gardening through planting my first vegetable and flower gardens, ran a few 5ks (including one when I was 10 weeks pregnant, ouch), spent time in Northampton, Lake George, Woodstock, and various other locales, ran a conference in Boston for 200+ businesswomen, took another yoga class, and, well, learned a lot about this whole having a baby thing.

So, let's try this again, shall we?