Thursday, October 28, 2010

Nursery Artwork

Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life

For a while, I was trying to look for an art print to serve as the inspiration for our entire nursery. I wanted the print to set the colors for our decor palette and set the direction for many of our other design decisions.

I did a lot of wading through Etsy in pursuit of the perfect print, but I lost patience pretty quickly. I kept coming back to the artwork inside the cover of our ABC book, illustrated by Charley Harper. I searched for the print on his website but couldn't find it. Finally, I found a book of all his prints on Amazon. Fortunately, someone had created a video review of themselves flipping through the entire book. It looks like there's a lot of great stuff in there that we can cut out and frame, including the original print I wanted.

I found lots of great art created specifically for kids in mind on Etsy, but I ended up not wanting to create a room with a narrow age range. I think I'm going to let the crafts that I make for the room dictate its design. This means the fabrics will have to be chosen very strategically...

I love the way this mom designed her own fabrics. I will not be doing that, but I will be making an ottoman very similar to hers, and our room will have an element of gray (via the slip cover that's on the sleeper sofa). I'll be adding color through the quilt that will go over the couch, the rug, the ottoman, pillows on the couch, and handmade stuffed animals. I think we might also copy her idea of turning an IKEA bookshelf on its side to use as a kid-sized shelf.

I also love this artist's work. If we have space leftover on our walls, I might have to add one of her pieces to Coconut's collection...

Image courtesy of sugarloop

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Letter to Coconut

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Our Front Porch Makeover

Matt and I desperately need to spruce up our front porch. When we first moved in, we bought a great little couch and ottoman from Target, and I made cushions for our porch swing.

Since then, however, half of our porch swing cushion has gone missing (I think it blew away when we were on vacation--I never did get around to making little ties for it), and the other half has completely faded, due to sun exposure. Also, the IKEA table is completely weathered (and not in a cool, antiquey sort of way).

It's time for a change.

Here's what I'm thinking:
  1. Make a new porch swing cushion (I hate making the same thing twice, but I need to suck it up and get it done!). This time, I need to use a fabric that is better designed to withstand the elements.
  2. I think we should hang some plants, like the folks did over at Young House Love or the woman at Making it Lovely did.
  3. We definitely need to get a new door mat.
  4. I need to refinish or remove the table. I'm thinking it might be cool to sew some floor cushions and store them in an IKEA basket on the front porch. I'll have to play with that idea a little.

So many projects, so little time!

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Holiday Decoration Update

Woo-hoo! I have nearly finished making some new holiday decorations. Honestly, I had so much fun carving out time to hand-make these objects. I feel like we will return to them--year after year--as our family grows and we create new traditions together.

For the "Cherish" banner, I bought this pattern and followed it closely.

For the advent calendar, I was inspired by this tutorial, although I was too lazy to actually pull out my computer and reference it when it was time to make it.

For the quilted table runner, I just winged it (or is it "wung" it?). I'll be posting a quasi-tutorial over at 2000 Dollar Wedding soon. (But be forewarned that I am one of the internet's worst tutorial writers; I'm just too impatient to stop and take all the requisite pictures!)

Next up on my Handmade Goodness Agenda:
  1. A Happy Birthday banner to hang up for our son's homebirth
  2. Pillows for the sleeper sofa in the baby's room
  3. A quilt for Coconut's room
  4. A diaper bag (that's really just a bag with lots of compartments)
  5. An ottoman cushion for the baby's room
  6. Tags to label Coconut's book baskets (fiction, non-fiction, and books from the public library)
  7. A stuffed animal for the baby's bookshelf
  8. Little bean bags
  9. Felt balls
  10. Pillows in cool shapes to decorate the baby's bed
  11. A knitted hat

Oh my. That list is a little overwhelming. I need to go back and prioritize it from most important to least important. It might not all get done in the next four months, and I want to make sure the most important stuff gets done first...

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Benefits of Doulas

Matt and I hired a doula to support us during the birth of our child. Regardless of what kind of births families choose for themselves (we're having a homebirth, for those of you who are new to this blog), I definitely recommend finding and hiring a doula.

Our midwife actually requires us to hire a doula, but I'm so glad we're adding another person to our support team. Her sole job is to support Matt and me throughout our pregnancy and labor. I didn't realize she would be a resource for us throughout our pregnancy, so I wish we would have made contact with her even sooner (I'll have to remember that if we have a second child...).

Even just the process of interviewing doulas was educational. Here are the questions we asked:
  • How long have you been a doula? Why did you become one?
  • What are your favorite aspects?
  • Do you attend all kinds of births? What are your favorites? Why?
  • What is a homebirth like? Will you talk us through the sequence of events?
  • What kind of decisions will we have to make during birth?
  • What should we be doing to prepare for our birth and the arrival of our child?
  • What kinds of differences do you see between births that go better than others?
  • What are your strengths? Areas for growth?

One of the doulas we interviewed gave us the idea that Matt and I should each make two lists. One list should be "10 Things I Do to Take Care of Myself" and the other should be "10 Things I Need My Partner to Do to Take Care of Me." The idea is that we post these lists and reference them often!

When I asked her how someone like me (an obsessive left-brain planner) can learn to let go and be soft and open throughout the birthing experience, she said that it's a decision I have to make over and over through every contraction. That idea really resonated with me.

The doula we decided to go with wants me to call her at least after every prenatal appointment to keep her updated about how things are going. I'm looking forward to having another experienced person to turn to as a resource!

For people who are giving birth in a hospital, I think doulas can be wonderful advocates for helping you achieve the kind of birth you hope for. They can also be a good resource for helping you uncover what kind of birth you want to have.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

First Trimester Advice

An internet friend of mine (who also happens to be enrolled in the Purposeful Conception Course: Preparing Your Mind, Body, and Life for Pregnancy) just found out that she's pregnant! I promised I would jot down a few of my thoughts for her about being pregnant (for what they're worth!):
  1. Eat What You Can to Get Through the First Trimester: I'm so thankful my midwife (who is very strict about nutrition!) gave me this advice when I found out I was pregnant. I was ready to hit the ground running with excellent nutrition for my little poppy seed. In fact, I was able to eat healthy food for several weeks. However, once my queasiness set in, it was much harder. Don't get me wrong, I didn't give myself permission to eat complete crap all the time (except when we went on a two-week road trip and I thought I was having a miscarriage), but I was also patient with myself when I couldn't eat all the greens I wanted to or get in all the recommended doses of calcium. Some people subsist almost exclusively on crackers and ginger-ale during this period, and that's okay! There's plenty of time in the second and third trimester to feed your baby wholesome goodness.
  2. Take Your Prenatal Vitamins Religiously: There are a lot of vitamins and minerals that are essential to a fetus at the earliest stages (which is why I started taking prenatal vitamins eights months before we started trying to conceive!). I found it very, very difficult to swallow vitamins during my first trimester, which is another reason I was thankful for a one-a-day (I also appreciate the fact that it's a food-based vitamin and vegan). I know it's better to spread out vitamin consumption throughout the day, but I really had a terrible gag reflex during my first trimester (which is why I sometimes only brushed my teeth once a day).
  3. Take It Easy: I used to think that pregnancy got gradually more difficult as your uterus expanded. That's not the case! The first trimester is a very difficult one (way more difficult than the second, in my opinion). Luckily, I was on summer vacation from my teaching job, so I was able to nap whenever I needed to. Some days, I would wake up at 8:00, go for an hour-long walk, shower, and take a nap. Remember, your body is growing a baby! You need to divert a lot of your energy inward and let your body do its thing. As soon as we conceive, we need to make space in our lives for our growing baby. We need time for rest and reflection. Now that I am back at work for 10 hours a day, I still try to make time for a daily nap and walk. It means I have to say no to a lot of requests that come my way, but I want to prioritize the health of my baby and myself.
  4. Make Yourself Comfortable: I had some serious discomfort during my first trimester, including extremely sore breasts and an inability to sleep well at night. I had to find ways to make myself comfortable, like wearing a light, stretchy bra to bed at night. Get creative! Do whatever it takes to seek out comfort.
  5. Find a Care-Provider Who Makes You Comfortable: I firmly believe that one of the most important things we can do throughout pregnancy is keep our anxiety levels down. It's important to steer clear of the "Culture of Fear" that permeates much of the pregnancy process and instead gravitate toward a "Culture of Confidence." A huge piece of this is finding a good care-provider. And don't be afraid to switch if you need to!
  6. Remember You Can Control the Inputs, Not the Outputs: Miscarriage in the first trimester is way more common than many of us realize because so many people don't announce they are pregnant until they are through the first trimester. You can control how much you rest, how much water you drink, what kinds of food you ingest, and whether or not you take your vitamins, but you cannot stop a miscarriage, just as you can't control whether or not your baby has a genetic difference. Remembering that we can control many of the inputs but not the outputs is a good way to start preparing for parenting!
  7. Gravitate Toward Resources, People, and Experiences that Cultivate a "Culture of Confidence" Rather than a "Culture of Fear": There's so much fear-based pregnancy stuff out there. The more you worry, the more stress you create for yourself and the baby, which will likely impact your pregnancy and birth.

I'm sure I'll think of five more things to add to this list as soon as I press publish! But those are my two cents for now.

I would love to hear others' advice, too!

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Montessori Containers

This weekend Matt and I swung by our favorite old-timey shop. I wouldn't describe it as an antique store because it's so laid-back (they let us bring Hoss in) and everything is so cheap, but, officially, it's an antique shop.

I found two ceramic pieces to add to our "collection." I didn't realize we had a collection, but apparently I'm really attracted to the color of these pieces. I am now the proud owner of eight vases, pots, and little bowls.

I also bought a simple wood box (made from old root beer containers). We spent $20 on all three pieces. One of the pieces is clearly a plant pot, but the other two I plan to use to hold random things in the baby's room.

In Montessori environments, we use lots of little containers to give everything its own place. We tend to avoid large catch-all baskets that are common in many children's rooms because Montessori believed that younger children are in a sensitive period for order. We can help cultivate their sense of physical order (which helps create neural pathways for mental order) by creating orderly environments. The children learn that everything has a place and when they are finished using something, they restore it to its rightful place.

As a Montessori teacher, this means I always need lots of random baskets and containers of all shapes and sizes. In general, I'm the kind of person who only buys something if I have a specific use for it, but when it comes to baskets and containers for the classroom, I prefer to buy them and have a large collection on hand to choose from as needed. I figured the same principle would be useful for the baby's room, as we start to collect toys and such.

Another tenet of Montessori is to use natural materials--like glass and wood--instead of plastics. That's why I bought three sea-grass baskets to hold Coconut's books (one for fiction, non-fiction, and public library books).

It's so fun!

I'm already thinking that I can make these bean bags to put in the wooden box and make felt balls to put in the bowl. Hooray!

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Monday, October 18, 2010

Holiday Countdown Calendar

Image courtesy the Nikki McClure calendar

Inspired by Amy's advent calendar, I decided to craft some traditions for our growing little family, in the form of a Holiday Countdown Calendar. Here are some ideas for activities we could do together on December evenings:
  • Make handmade holiday stamps
  • Make gift-tags and cards
  • Cut down an evergreen tree (or buy a potted one and plant it after Christmas)
  • Decorate the tree
  • Make origami paper cranes
  • Wrap presents
  • Write little notes to colleagues and neighbors
  • Make baked goods for colleagues and neighbors
  • Deliver baked goods and notes
  • Decorate the house
  • Write cards to family
  • Make felt balls
  • Drink hot chocolate and play Scrabble
  • Watch a holiday movie
  • Have a pillow picnic under the tree
  • Ride bikes around the neighborhood to look at lights
  • Cut out snowflakes
  • Write a love letter
  • Collect branches and pine cones and spray paint them for decoration
  • Dance to holiday music
  • Read a book about Kwanzaa
  • Read a book about Hanukkah
  • Cover the house in candles
  • Hang mistletoe and kiss
  • Make a list of what we're thankful for

Here's a list of the supplies we'll need:
  1. Soft rubber for stamps
  2. Stamp-making tools
  3. Stamp pads
  4. Cardstock
  5. Origami paper
  6. Tutorial for making paper cranes
  7. Paper grocery bags
  8. Ribbon or twine
  9. Supplies for baked goods
  10. Wool roving
  11. Nylon stockings
  12. A holiday movie
  13. Spray paint
  14. Holiday music
  15. A book about Kwanzaa
  16. A book about Hanukkah
  17. Tea candles

Of course these will change over the years, as our family changes. But I like the idea of carving out time to do fun things together. I'm excited!

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Revitalized Corner

Matt and I have lived in our house for a good 2.5 years. As a result, our house is pretty settled in. However, there are areas of our house that drive me nuts. I notice them day in and day out, and yet I usually drag my feet when it comes to doing anything about them.

When I do finally take the time to fix the problem, I'm usually amazed that it takes approximately 15 minutes to reach an acceptable solution.

Take the top of this bookshelf, for example. It used to drive me crazy (I'm sorry I don't have a before shot!). I spent 15 minutes rearranging it by pulling things from another book shelf (which was also driving me nuts with its clutter), moving things to another room (like a basket, as well as Matt's marathon medals), and hiding things (like a little jar we use to collect coins--it's now hidden inside one of the pots). I wanted to create some variety in the heights of the objects, so I simply pulled some books off our already-full shelves (and kept the color consistent with the pots).

And that's all it took to turn my aggravation into appreciation! I now smile when I pass that bookshelf. The transformation took so little time and zero dollars.


Any pockets of your humble abode that need a quick update?

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Reading to Babies in Utero

Charley Harper's ABC Book

Matt and I try to set aside a few minutes here and there to bond as a growing family. It usually happens right before bed. We'll touch my stomach and talk to "Coconut." The best was when Matt had his face pressed up against my belly and he got a swift kick to the head from our little baby.

One night we read an alphabet book to our little boy, and we had so much fun we started reading to him more often. Since we only had a total of two children's books in our house (the rest of mine are in my classroom!), I decided to use my teacher "points" from Scholastic to order free books to read as a family.

Here are the books I ordered:
  1. Every Minute on Earth: Fun Facts that Happen Every 60 Seconds
  2. National Geographic: Elephants
  3. National Geographic: Whales
  4. National Geographic: Butterflies
  5. Click, Clack, Moo Cows that Type
  6. Commotion in the Ocean
  7. Down by the Cool of the Pool
  8. Giraffes Can't Dance
  9. Cock-a-Doodle-Doo! Barnyard Hullabaloo
  10. Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale
  11. Words Are Not for Hurting
  12. Peek-a-WHO?
  13. Brown Bear, Brown Bear
  14. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
  15. If You Give a Pig a Pancake
  16. If You Take a Mouse to the Movies
  17. If You Take a Mouse to School
  18. If You Give a Moose a Muffin

I love our family reading time. It's a relaxing way to end the day, and it gives Coconut a chance to hear Matt's voice in very close proximity.

My students have started making books and giving them to me to read to Coconut. Here's one of my favorites:

Title: Space
This is the spiral galaxy.
God made things.
Even children.
Even computers.
Even books.
Coming Up: Cars.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Baby Room Update

The office/craft room/guest room before we started the baby room makeover

Our nursery creation has begun!

Initially, I wasn't planning to start buying anything until December, but we were already at IKEA for the third time in two weeks, and Matt suggested that we go ahead and buy the sleeper sofa that we had been talking about purchasing for the baby's room.

We went to IKEA last weekend to buy a bookshelf for our closet. I had planned to reorganize our bedroom closet in September, but we needed a new bookshelf to free up some space in there.

We ended up buying the wrong size, returning it, and going back a week later to buy a new size. Since we were pretty confident that we wanted a sleeper sofa for the baby's room, we went ahead and purchased the EXTORP.

Since we have a two-bedroom house, our baby's room is going to be multi-functional. Before the baby starts crawling (that's at least six months, right?), the room will be an office and our guest room and the baby's room. During that time, the baby will likely be sleeping in our room, and the baby and I will spend our days in the baby's room, since that's my favorite room in the house. I know I won't be able to do much at first, but once things settle down, I would like to be able to sew and type on my laptop in there.

The sleeper sofa means out-of-town helpers will have a place to sleep when they come to help with the baby (since the baby will be sleeping in our room anyway). Eventually, we hope to move to a three-bedroom house. One room for us, one for the baby, and an office/guest room. Until that happens, we'll just have to make use of the space we have!

Right now, we are letting the sleeper sofa off-gas in the room with all the windows open, a fan blowing, and the door to the rest of the house shut. It's disgusting to think about what kind of chemicals we're breathing in. It makes me want to hurry and get the baby's room ready so it will have plenty of time to off-gas before he arrives (although I'll have to avoid breathing all that stuff in, too!).

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Handmade Holiday Decorations

Are you all going to kill me if I start talking about getting ready for Christmas? (I mean, I'm kind of annoying myself!). I swear I used to be one of those people who rolled my eyes if I heard Christmas carols before December 1. And it's not even Halloween.

But this year is different. Last year, I pretty much let Christmas slip by with very little handmade goodness, and I made a pact with myself to not let it happen again. Now that I'm pregnant and really trying to reduce stress in my life, I have to work ahead.

So, Christmas talk it is.

Here's my plan:
  1. Make bunting (yes, more bunting!) that says "CHERISH." I think I'm going to mimic this bunting (different fabrics, same color for every letter).
  2. I'm going to quilt a table runner (yes, more quilts!). We're going to keep the centerpiece simple by filling a glass vase with cheap, colored Christmas ornaments.
  3. I'm going to wrap red ribbon around the columns outside our house.
  4. I'm going to make a holiday countdown calendar like this one.
  5. We're going to a tree farm to cut down our own Christmas tree. I have no idea what we're going to decorate it with. Maybe origami cranes?
  6. As for the tree skirt, I am not going to make it. I had ambitious plans last year, but I am not a big fan of sewing in circles. I found a cute oilcloth one on Etsy and thought about buying it or cutting out my own (no hem required!), but I need to conserve money and energy. So we'll just put down a blanket or something. My plan is to buy all my presents in November, so hopefully I can wrap them and have them under the tree by the time we get the tree up!

I'm excited!

Care to share your holiday decorating plans for this year?

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

What Do You Need in Your Life?

When I worked on the national staff of Teach For America, I learned about a helpful exercise for cultivating work/life balance (although we didn't call it that; the exact name is escaping me). And it's very simple.

It goes something like this:

You make a list of what you need in your life on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.

I'm feeling the need to sit down and think through my list again (I've done this exercise a lot!). I want to make sure I find that delicate balance between my own needs and my growing baby's needs.

So here it goes:

  • Engaging and meaningful work
  • Approximately eight hours of sleep
  • An hour-long walk
  • Healthy meals and snacks
  • Time to talk and cuddle with Matt
  • Time on my computer
  • A nap (since I've been pregnant)
  • Time to decompress before bed (for reading, etc.)
  • Introspection through journaling
  • Phone conversations with friends and family
  • Extended time to do something interesting (attend a quirky event, craft, etc.)
  • Time to do chores and go grocery shopping
  • Yoga
  • Social time with friends
  • A date night with Matt
  • Travel (preferably international)
  • Time to reflect on the previous year and establish intentions for the upcoming year

Every time I engage in this activity, I'm struck by how little I actually need to feel fulfilled! My next step is to print these out and tape them to the back of the collage I made to represent my intentions for 2010 (see image above).

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How to Ease the Transition into Parenthood

After enumerating many challenges related to having a baby around in yesterday's post, I'm back to try and generate proactive strategies for making the transition a tad bit smoother.

Here are some thoughts:
  • Go for a daily walk with a friend: This will help me stay healthy, and it will give me a healthy dose of adult conversation. Luckily, I have a neighbor who is due a couple weeks before me. It's perfect!
  • Figure out how we're going to feed ourselves: I know my birthing class will address this. My midwife wants me to set up a calendar of friends who will drop off food. The only problem with getting food dropped off is then being forced to interact with visitors (which I may or may not want; it's hard to tell). Maybe I'll ask people to drop off frozen meals right before the baby is due. It would also be helpful to create a six-week menu of easy, easy meals (with corresponding shopping lists). Maybe I could set up a rotating schedule of friends to do our shopping for us...
  • Post directions about how to help around the house (as well as an ongoing list of things to do): Based on your suggestions last week, I think I'll post directions about how to do basic things around our house (like where the vacuum is and where we store our dishes, etc., for anyone who wants to drop by and help with cleaning!). We can also keep an ongoing list of "Things We Need Help with" on our whiteboard.
  • Have family come to help: Once Matt gets his paternity leave situation figured out, we'll have a better sense of when family should come to help.
  • Hire a housekeeping service: We'll definitely have to vacuum every week (thanks to Hoss!), do laundry every other day, and keep up with doing the dishes and emptying the dishwasher, but it would be nice to hire a professional service to come and clean our house every other week. I think I'll add gift certificates to our registry (we recently had a company come by and give us an estimate). We definitely won't be able to afford this without gift certificates, since we'll be down to one income.
  • Schedule blog posts to run while I'm on "babycation": I'll have to do a lot of planning in advance to ensure that my classroom will run smoothly while I'm gone. Once I do that planning, however, I'll be able to put it completely out of my mind. I'll also have to come up with a plan for my blogs. For 2000 Dollar Wedding, I can try to have guest posters. For this blog, I can write most of my posts in advance to give myself a little break (but I will need to pop in to update you all about how it's going!). I know: I can continue to write five posts a week, but I can schedule one of them to run while I'm on maternity leave. If I do that from now until February, I'll have a solid month done.
  • Try to get Matt to take paternity leave: Matt is very committed to his job. I'm trying to convince him that staying home for a little while with our newborn baby is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
  • Stock my breastfeeding station(s) with great books, magazines, music, and audio books
  • Have lots of conversations with Matt about the challenges we are likely to face
  • Prepare as much as possible: The more I learn about things to consider while raising a newborn, the more prepared I feel!
  • Continue to build our savings for the next five months!
  • Find babysitters: Matt and I will need to start going on monthly dates, as soon as our baby is old enough to stay with others.
  • Give myself time to recuperate: I talked with someone who just delivered a baby with my midwife, and she said that the recommendation is to "stay in the bed for the first week, on the bed for the second week, and around the bed for the third week." The idea is to give yourself lots of time/space to recuperate after birth.
Definitely let me know if you have more ideas!

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Why It's Hard to Have an Infant

I know that having an infant is going to be hard, but I'm determined to ease the transition as much as possible.

Before I can brainstorm strategies for easing the transition, I need to identify what's hard about it (recognizing that my perspective is very limited at this point!). Here are some of my ideas:
  1. Exhaustion: Yeah, having a little baby is pretty synonymous with sleep deprivation. But what causes the sleep deprivation? I think it's several different things: not getting full cycles of REM sleep (due to frequent night feedings), trying to keep up with all the normal demands of life (like grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning) while trying to deal with the new challenges of raising an infant, and trying to recuperate from the stress of birth while also "hitting the ground running" with infant care.
  2. Dealing with My Post-Birth Body: There will be a lot to deal with, such as lochia, sore breasts, leaking breasts, engorged breasts, a sore vagina, etc.
  3. Isolation: I'll be going from lots of intellectual interaction and stimulation on a daily basis to immense amounts of alone time with an infant.
  4. Undergoing a Major Identify Transformation: Change can be hard, and this is a MAJOR life change. Huge. My life will never be the same again. Also, I imagine that my relationship with Matt will be strained, due to the exhaustion, the lack of sex, and how much of my attention our baby will consume. These issues are probably big enough to warrant their own category...
  5. Feeling Insecure: I'll be doing one of the most important things I'll ever do in my life, and I'll be totally new and inexperienced.
  6. Trying to Make Ends Meet on One Income: I'll be taking 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave, while increasing our expenditures. Eek!
  7. Coping with Unexpected Challenges: We can't predict what kind of additional challenges will come our way (e.g., medical issues with the baby, difficulty with breastfeeding, post-birth issues with me, postpartum depression, etc.).

And please add to the list! Thinking through all of these factors really helps me prepare for the road ahead. It doesn't stress me out more; it calms me to think through the challenges, acknowledge them, and come to peace with them before they occur.

Tomorrow, I'll focus on how to overcome these challenges!

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Monday, October 4, 2010

October: Reflection & Rejuvenation

Image courtesy the Nikki McClure calendar

September has come and gone. It seems so short and long simultaneously. Matt and I traveled to Indiana for a wedding at the beginning of the month, and that seems so long ago. However, I barely had time to accomplish everything on my to-do list this month. Now that I'm looking back over my calendar, I realize why! I was only home for one weekend this month. Egad!

Here are the intentions I set for myself at the beginning of the month:
  • Work on Halloween costume: Yes! My crystal-ball reader (with my pregnant belly as the ball) is almost finished. I'm done with the skirt, the shirt, the turban, and most of the jewelry. I just need to sew the fabric that will wrap around my belly (which I can't do until Halloween gets closer), and I need to borrow some bangles from someone. That's it!
  • Organize the bedroom: I tried to work on it this weekend (which was technically October), but we really need to get a new bookshelf for storage in the closet first. I dragged Matt to IKEA and we bought a bookshelf, but it turned out to be the wrong size. I started working on the kitchen instead.
  • Learn about taking care of an infant (breastfeeding, sleeping, bathing): Yes! I've been working on this whenever I have some time to relax before bed.
  • Attend a conference for public Montessori teachers: Yep! My presentation went well.
  • Travel to Indiana for an awesome wedding: Hooray!
  • Work on birth announcements: Yep. I started the collage in Snapfish, bought the labels, started the Excel sheet for all the addresses, and did the graphic design for the label.
  • Relax and rest: Yes! I've done a really good job of walking for nearly an hour and taking a nap for nearly an hour almost every single day. I'm trying to make plenty of room in my life for my pregnancy.

What's on the docket for October?
  • Organize the bedroom
  • Learn about infancy
  • Complete holiday decorations
  • Make Matt's birthday present
  • Travel to Dallas to make a presentation about Montessori
  • Travel to the Austin area to watch Matt run a marathon
  • Hire a doula
  • Keep adding to baby registry
  • Spruce up our front porch
  • Execute the second Purposeful Conception Course
  • Buy a new desk
  • Relax and rest

This month, I'm going to plot these things out on my calendar right now. I felt like I saved everything until the end last time!

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Friday, October 1, 2010

Diaper Changing Station

Image courtesy of Young House Love

My original plan for creating a diaper changing station was to simply put a changing pad on top of an old dresser.

However, Julie gave me the idea to move the changing station into the bathroom. Brilliant! I think I will really appreciate having easy access to a water source and storing used cloth diapers in a trashcan under the sink. Fortunately, Matt and I have two sinks in our bathroom, with lots of unused space between them. That area can serve as a diaper changing station, while the baby is really young. Once he's rolling around and such, I imagine I'll move to the bed/couch/floor/etc.

I began searching for a changing pad that would fit the dimensions of our sink. Unfortunately, most of them are designed to fit standard changing tables and are too big for our space. I thought about using a portable one instead, but those seem very thin and uncomfortable.

Finally, the idea hit me: we could simply use a super-soft towel, folded over several times. Voila! If we get a soft enough towel, I think it will be plenty plush and comfortable for the baby. Plus, it will be extremely easy to throw in the washing machine (and put another towel in its place in the meantime). It won't have a little safety strap like other changing pads, but I honestly doubt that I would be strapping my baby in every time. Plus, I plan to always leave one hand on the baby for safety anyway.

Now, what exactly will I need in the changing area? Here are some ideas:
  • Cloth diapers
  • Cloth wipes
  • Soothing spray (like this one)
  • Extra clothes
  • Trash can with washable liner

What else am I missing? For those of you with lots of experience in this area, do you think this plan will work? I appreciate your feedback!


P.S. There are 2 days left to secure your spot in the next Purposeful Conception Course: Preparing Your Mind, Body, and Life for Pregnancy! Let me know if you have any questions...

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