I got a new camera, and I’m learning to use it…kind of. Will probably do more of these types of posts.
As part of my New Years Resolution to make two things a month, see January HERE.
Both of these projects were for Valentines day, but could easily be used for other holidays.
I REALLY wanted to send out Valentines from Vada this year to some friends and family. I think I got them in the mail early enough that they actually arrived in time for V-Day. They were fun to make, although it took me 3 days to finish them, babies only give you 30 minute windows of free time (I’m currently blogging during one of those windows). They were also super cheap to make as the only thing I paid for was the printing of the strips.
I woke up one morning, and even before brushing my teeth, I dressed Vada up, taped some red and white stripe wrapping paper to the kitchen wall/floor and took some photos of her and Hula. Easy Peasy. If you need help with how to do this, I recommend you check out YHLs monthly photos tutorial (they use fabric not wrapping paper). Then I used this Photoshop tutorial to create the image. This was super easy even if you have limited PS skills.
I went to FEDEX Office and used their photo printing machine and printed two sheets of these:
Then used a mix of paper, vellum, brads and ribbon to decorate them into photostrip book marks. Then we wrote on the back, stuffed em in red envelopes and mailed them off! I was so proud of myself!
I basically followed this tutorial for the cake, which is just doctoring a regular boxed cake. I think I will do this with every boxed cake I make! Its soo moist and a little dense, in a good way. YUM! Also my grocery store didn’t have strawberry pudding, so I used vanilla, tastes just as good. The layer of homemade raspberry jam was a last-minute addition, and it MADE THE CAKE! We at it in an embarrassing amount of time.
I can’t believe we are now into March! I got St. Patrick’s up in 17 days! Plus a vacation to Colorado in just a couple weeks!
As a BIRTH-day gift my mom bought Vada and I an astrological reading, to be conducted after she was born. My mom has a friend that does them, and had her own done a few years ago. She knew that I was sort of interested in Astrology, and that it would be a cool thing for us to pre-visualize the type of person Vada may become.
I will say now that Astrology is not for everyone. I believe anyone going in for a reading should look at it with an open mind and remember that it’s not FACT or TRUTH, but more of a spiritual idea about what may be…
We gave Kat Bula (our Astrologer) the date, time, and location of both Vada and my birth. Then she created the chart, and sent me a questionnaire about what sort of things I might want information on. This helps her focus her study on a few life events as opposed to just a broad reading. I wrote the following on my questionnaire:
-Mother Daughter Relationships
-Growing my Family/Family Planning
-Entrepreneurship (also in relation to family)
Tonight Kat came over and sat with me on my couch, and while my cellphone recorded the hour and half consultation, she showed me what was in the stars for Vada and I. It was quite possibly one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. It felt like therapy, only without all the frustrations of FIGURING IT OUT over months and months. It was like she already knew the questions I would ask, the things the wore me down, and she had flat-out ANSWERS to some of my relationship worries.
Having a complete stranger sit down and immediately say “You were born to have two great paths in life. To be a mother, and to work. Your paths run parallel to each other and are equally strong. You will not be able to get away from either one. It would not have been possible for you to NOT become a mother, and it will not be possible for you to make motherhood your work. You will feel the pains of balancing these two things more than most women will ever know, or could ever understand. This does not make you a bad mother, in fact you will be a better mother than most women” brought me to tears.
I left feeling like I knew myself more, and got a secret glimpse into who Vada will become. Here are some notes from our session that she sent me afterward, although I have the entire thing on tape, which I plan to listen to at least once a year on Vada’s birthday, if not more often. I seriously recommend EVERYONE have this done. It felt so inspiring and comforting. I am not a person of religious faith, but I am a person who believes in destiny, life paths, and that everything happens for a reason. This felt life changing at a point in time where life felt like it was going to break me. I haven’t blogged much simply because I have been at a loss for how to describe what’s going on with me. These notes Kat sent me from our sessions bring it all to light.
-Through 2014 (I looked this up), and particularly right now and in November, you’re dealing with your Saturn Return. That is to say, you’re involved in a major life turning point where you’re sorting out what you want to create for your life and which structures need to be in place to support that, and which to let go of. Ride it out, and do the work even when it’s hard. Specifically: yes, you can (and must) balance family and career. You are not a bad mom if you work, and you don’t have to neglect your child and partner in order to be creatively fulfilled in the world. You just have to figure out what that balance looks like on a day-to-day level for you.
-It’s okay to sometimes feel resentful of the limitations you face as a result of your responsibility for your family. Don’t try to stuff it and pretend you don’t feel it. Vada will still feel it, and she won’t be able to understand it. Better to process it in a safe space–making art, in a journal, exercising, talking with Jay or Linda or other friends or a therapist… whatever your strategy is for working through stuff. You are not a bad mom for feeling this.
-You and Vada have lots to learn from one another! She gives you the opportunity to work out your balance of responsibility to loved ones vs. responsibility to yourself to create your work in the world. You get to teach her what you already know about how to share power with other people, making friends, etc.
-Vada’s a super emotional, intuitive person. She will respond much more to “vibes” than words.
-Physical affection from both of you will really help her stay grounded and feel safe and loved. As stable a home environment as you can manage will also help.
-Vada may fear your temper, whether it’s explosive or held beneath the surface. Take care in how you express criticism/disapproval. Remember that she’s more sensitive to tone than words. Be sure she can feel that you love her, even when you don’t love what she’s doing.
-”Is this criticism something I really need to express? What will happen if I don’t?” –Ask yourself this, and teach Vada to ask herself this, too.
-Vada will likely feel more comfortable with your style of expression than Jay’s. She may feel like she can’t “read” him and wonder if he’s hiding his real feelings from her. This is another thing that may be eased by lots of hugs, etc., which will give her something nonverbal to “read”.
Amazing right? It was so much more than this too, but these were the things we focused on. It’s like it narrows down the HUGE WIDE WORLD OF PARENTING into a smaller more manageable idea. Things I can put energy into before I cause damage to our relationship! She said things like “I bet you have a hard time dealing with your desire to be a perfectionist and not being aggressive in your demands from others” NAIL ON HEAD FOLKS! It never stopped, over and over she told me things about myself in the most loving way possible. She made me feel like my flaws were SUPPOSE to be there. That my personality is my destiny and my life is simply learning to use it all.
We talked about even more specific things like having more children “you could have 20 children, and be an amazing mother to them all, but it will make it harder to fulfill your NEED to continue to work and fulfill yourself. One child will make this less difficult.” “Vada will be ok with siblings, and Vada will be ok without siblings” I KNOW! ITS EVERYTHING IVE BEEN OBSESSING OVER!
I know this all comes off as very personal to me, but I wanted to share it with others in hopes that they may seek out a similar experience. I went to a year of couple therapy (which was also very beneficial) but was never able to get this much insight and answers about my life. I’m planning on having Mr. Gaunt’s chart done too now. I suppose people who are not as introspective as I am may not get quite as much out of it, but I still think it is a wonderful wonderful gift to be able to experience this. HUGE THANK YOU TO MY MOM for this experience. (I’m going to have our duel chart framed and matted for her room)
You guys! I thought of a REAL New Years Resolution! One that shouldn’t be too hard, and should actually make me happier! So Ive decided to do 2 craft project a month, that’s it! I’m actually really excited about this. I have a HUGE craft board on Pinterest, over 200 crafting ideas. I also have a huge holiday board, with a million holiday related projects too. Id like to do maybe one holiday and one baby related project each month, but I’m open to change. Crafting really makes me happy, but I can so easily not do something, or buy something, and handmade is so much better and more personal! I’m going to do my best to stick with it.
This month I did in fact do one baby and one holiday project! For Christmas I bough this super cute Christmas bunting at a craft fair, and I decided to try to make my own Valentines Day bunting. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out, and it inspired me to decorate the “mantel” and the kitchen. I always told myself when I had kids that I would decorate for every holiday! Now I’m a mom, and I’m all about it!
Next up, Vada and I attended her first baby birthday party! My good friends son turned 1, and they had a Mickey Mouse themed party. I wanted to make something simple, cute and fun for a one year old. I decided on counting bean bags, because I could kind of wing it, and I it wouldn’t be over my sewing skill level (which is very low). I filled them with real beans, and used fabric paint to do 1-10. I put them in a bucket that I wrapped in black and red Duct Tape.
So January was a success! Two projects down. I’m looking forward to doing another two in February.
It’s so hard to remember to write down all the things I think and feel about having a baby. Today Miss. Vada is two months old! Ugh, where’s my tiny baby? We don’t go to her 2 month checkup until the end of the month, so I’m not sure what she weighs, or how tall she is, but I’d guess: HUGE. Shes freaking huge. ): sob sob sob. I thought I might recap some of my feelings over the last couple months. I feel like I was given a lot of false information from the masses, or at least information that didn’t really apply to me and my baby (this may be long, feel free to skim).
1. BREASTFEEDING: This is super hard. At first it was just scary worrying about how much, how often, is her latch right? Has it been two hours, how long should she nurse for? Is she pooping and peeing enough? Lots of questions. And it hurts like hell. I’d compare it to wearing new shoes and rubbing the skin off the back of your heel, and having to walk around, only your heel is your nipple, and you have to rub it raw every 2 hours. Gah! It hurt pretty bad for the first 4 weeks. My midwives were of no help and said stuff like “if it hurts her latch is wrong” but that’s BS, it hurts because my boob is not use to being sucked on all day long. It got really hard at first, at about 3 weeks I broke down and felt like I kind of hated my baby, I just really did not want to nurse her again, but I did. Grit your teeth and bare it, give it your all, and if you cant, then quit. I use to have a lot of judgement of moms who didn’t nurse. To be honest I still hate the “I didn’t produce enough” or “my baby couldn’t latch” those are often just excuses, the fact is, NURSING IS SUCKY HARD AND WHO WOULDN’T WANT TO QUIT!? So yeah, if nursing sucks and its making you hate your life and hate your baby, aint no shame in stopping. If you can push past the shitty stuff and have faith that it will get better, good for you, its cheaper and healthier for your baby. Oh, and I found nipple creams totally useless? Do other people find them helpful?
Now nursing’s pretty ok. Its still hurts sometimes. At night if she’s lazy with her latch, and I’m asleep, Ill wake up with a sore nipple and it will hurt for a few days. Ive got the hang of it now though, I know how long to nurse, I’m more comfortable with knowing when shes hungry, when she wants to comfort nurse, I don’t worry about her being hungry anymore. I also nurse EVERYWHERE! You know why, because the options are either A. Stay home all day B. Listen to my baby cry, or C. Nurse whenever, wherever. I’m a busy person, I don’t have time to go home and sit in her nursery to nurse, and I sure as hell am not gonna nurse in a bathroom. I’m discreet, because I have small-ish boobs, and because I’m not that interested in making other people uncomfortable. I personally don’t care that much if other people see my boob, they’re pretty average. So far we have nursed in: Costco, the car, Cash N Carry, Home Depot, The restaurant, Jalapenos, My house, My grandmas house, the studio, Perch N Play, Fred Meyer, The Movie Theater, Woods Coffee, Old Navy, The Mall…you get the point. We are getting good at nursing in the Boba, otherwise I use a scarf or thin blanket to obscure the view without smother or over heating my baby. I used my nursing cover one time and hated it, aint nobody go time for that! I also pump a bottle a day that she has with her dad. No nipple confusion, no issues. I got good advice from a friend to only nurse on one side all night so your other boob is huge for pumping in the AM. Works great. As far as our long term nursing plans, I’m shooting for a year, and then we will see how we both feel about it. (:
SLEEPING: People ask me all the time if I’m exhausted. They assume that with a newborn I’m up all night, which is a pretty good assumption! I’m not though, not tired, and not up all night. I KNOW I’M LUCKY, I hear this all the time. Vada had one (yeah, one) bad night at 2 weeks old and was up allllll night long, it was awful! The first two weeks in general were a little bit touch and go, but once she hit 3 weeks sleeping has been golden. Full disclosure though: we co sleep. That mean shes literally sleeps in the bed with us. She sleeps right next to me, we spoon (no I am not worried about her safety at all, and I would not do it if I was). This was not my plan, and we have a Pack N Play next to our bed (that Hula sleeps in) and we have one of these in the bed sleepers, and she hates that too. She likes to snuggle with her mom. She has her own blanket, and sleeps with her face at my boob level so I can nurse her 2-3 times a night. We go to bed around 9:30 every night, I side nurse her for 15 minutes until she falls asleep. She sleeps anywhere from 3-6 hours before she gently kicks me awake and I pull out the boob, fall asleep, and nurse her for 10 minutes or so until she sleeps again. We do this at least once more, and then she wakes up on her own around 9:30-10:30 in the morning. No crying. There is ZERO night time crying. There is no rocking, no bouncing, no getting out of bed for at least 8 hours. WE ARE WELL RESTED! And this is why I co sleep. I would like her to move to her pack n play around 3-4 months, and then have her sleeping in her crib around 6 months hopefully. I am prepared for sleep regression or issues around teething though, so I’m not delusional that this will last forever.
MY BODY: There is lots of information about postpartum care, and how you may feel after having a baby. Despite having an 11 pound baby, I was very lucky and did not have enough tearing that I needed stitches. My body bled for about 3 weeks, more if I was physically active, but by week 4 I felt great! Ive had a few digestive issues, mostly related to dehydration caused by nursing (I think). My hip pain, tailbone pain, and carpal tunnel in my wrists is slowly getting better, but still not 100%. I have not had any extreme sadness, minimal crying, and I do not hate my husband. So you never know. I felt fine going back into work around 3 weeks, everyone is different. I’m looking forward to working out a little more, and hopefully dropping a few pounds, but I don’t have any crazy unrealistic goals. I do not hate my body, I’m ok with the little stomach pooch I have now, I’m a mom, I’m Vada’s mom, and I love myself for making her. I will NEVER do anything to make Vada feel less than perfect about her own body too! I also did NOT get bigger boobs from nursing, and my hair didn’t fall out. Everyone’s different. We also try to get dressed and put on makeup every single day! So important! It might sound silly, but it makes you feel so much better to not be a bum.
WORK: No one quite knew how the baby would affect the restaurant, and how much she would fit into my schedule. This past week we adjusted our hours, and things have suddenly taken a turn for the best. I’m feeling great about my schedule, and feeling more productive, and my mom seems happier. This is excellent, and I hope things continue to improve. Right now I take Vada to work with me on Thursdays from 10:30-2:00. She goes in the Boba carrier and will sleep there at least unitl 1:30 when we have a nice long nurse and diaper change. She is happy as a clam while I run the register, wash dishes, etc. Customers coo at her, and she just sleeps away. At 2:00 Mr. Gaunt comes down to the restaurant and takes her home for 2-3 hours until I get home. Ive been pumping a bottle every morning for him to give her, should she need it. The rest of the week I go in to work from 2-5 or 6, and Mr. Gaunt watches her. Sometimes they come down and have dinner, and I nurse her, otherwise she takes a bottle. We also do grocery shopping a few times a week. I put her in the Boba and we do bulk shopping, and she sleeps. Sometimes we nurse in the Boba too if she gets a little fussy. At home when I’m working doing things like taxes and marketing stuff, I nurse her and put her in her swing and she naps while I get things done. It’s all a bit dreamy. Not that she’s always perfect, shes NOT! She cries and fusses, and melts down sometimes too, but those times are few and far between. Shes happy around loud noises, lots of people, shes easy going for sure. I just feel so lucky right now that my baby is flexible, my job is flexible, my family is so loving of her, and that my husband does his absolute best to make me and Vada happy. We are lucky ducks.
Everything else has just been pretty excellent. I take Vada everywhere. We run errands, hang out with friends, go to mom groups, have coffee. We work at the restaurnt together, we clean together. I let people hold her, I let Mr. Gaunt take care of her without me. Its excellent.
Before diving into 2014, lets recap 2013. We can start here on my “2013 Goals” post. I only accomplished THREE things from last years list, although the biggest and best of those things took 10 months out of the year, so yah know…that wins.
HAVE A BABY:
Pregnancy was a slap in the face. If it hadn’t brought me the best tiny thing on earth I’d say it wasn’t worth it! I basically did NOTHING this year but suffer in pregnancy misery. No cooking, no exercise, no vacations, nothing but throwing up and bitching. But hoorah it’s over and my baby is awesome. So I suppose it was equally the best and worst year ever. (:
Above you will also see our awesome new camera (which was another goal for last year). Alas we did not save up and buy this dream camera, it was a very generous gift from my mother in law, and we are so smitten! Today I ordered 330 prints of photos we have taken with this camera in the last 8 weeks. It’s so very important to me to regularly document our lives, especially Vada’s, and having this awesome camera really makes it so easy and wonderful! Forgive me Facebook, for I cant help but share photos of my baby like it’s my job. Feel free to hide me (:
The last goal I accomplished last year was becoming self employed. I haven’t talked about it much on here, but my mom and I opened a restaurant in July! This experience has been both challenging and rewarding. I have so many emotions about it, and it’s taken me some time to process them amongst the pregnancy and birth, and simple family stuff. I’m looking forward to making the restaurant really be one of my passions, and to help make it even more successful. More on this when I get to my new goals.
So yeah, even though I didn’t lose weight, didn’t meal plan, didn’t go on any hikes, I did do some pretty great things in 2013. For 2014 I WONT BE PREGNANT, and plan to accomplish a lot more little things, and lot fewer big things. Sorry folks no more babies this year.
1. Build my Business, Build my passion for my business. This is huge. The restaurant is going to support me, and let me work around and with my family. It’s something my mom and I have worked really hard to put together, and it isn’t without it’s challenges. The hours are long, the money is tight, and we sometimes wonder if it’s worth it, but it is. It’s something both my mom and I really wanted, and we are very lucky to have come this far. We have lots of support from our friends and family, and we will continue to succeed. For me the biggest challenge will be building the business, and building my knowledge on running a business, it’s tough stuff. I also need to find my passion within the business. My mom is the cook, and she loves feeding people, and even loves interacting with people. For me the marketing and visuals and business side are what I like, but it’s hard to figure all that out. But like I said, it’s a goal I will continue to work at all year.
2. Take a family vacation: I want to close the restaurant for the last two weeks of August and take a family vacation. I’m thinking renting a cabin in Eastern Washington, or somewhere in the south Sound. Maybe even Hawaii if its super cheap. I’m picturing Vada in a baby bikini playing in the sand while I sip a Pina Colada…yes.
3. Get our finances on track to buy a house: There are a million reasons we want to buy a house. I’d love to fix one up and feel like the money and energy we put into our home is actually ours. Unlike now, all the work we have done on our home and yard is for our Landlords, which is fine, because we love doing the work, and we get to appreciate it while we live here, but still. Also we do not want to have another baby in this house, it’s too small. Also we really want a guest room, so when people come to visit us (Nana, my sister, my close friends) we have a room that they can stay in, this would be sooo nice. So yeah, we need to talk with a financial advisor about what we need to do to make this happen in the next couple years. I doubt we would buy a house this year, but yah never know.
4. Overall Health: Weight loss, exercise, eating well, the usual. I’d like to drop the baby weight, and feel good about myself, not that I dont feel good now, because I really do. I also want Mr. Gaunt to get into shape, and be a healthy role model for Vada when she starts eating real food in 5 months.
So that’s that. I hope everyone has a great New Years!