Tag Archives: 2017

These are GREAT days

9 Oct

Edit: Posting this a bit late (by about 3 weeks, so please excuse my delay…)

This coming Tuesday will mark 12 weeks since we welcomed the newest little addition into our lives. I remember my friend Brittany telling me after I had E and was in the depths of sleeplessness and breastfeeding hell that the first 8-12 weeks are the hardest and that after that things really take a turn. She was talking about life at home with just one child, but reflecting back now, there was NO way of really comprehending what I now know to be true, and that is that this isn’t forever.

The newborn phase is fleeting. They don’t eat every 2-3 hours forever. You won’t only wear pajamas and nursing tops forever. And then when they’re not newborns anymore, you miss the chest naps and the teeny clothes and the smell of their heads.

When you’re a first time mom and you haven’t been around other moms with newborns, you just don’t know what you don’t know though. So in some ways, it has been a lot sweeter this time around to have that knowledge and be able to really savor C’s newborn period and snuggle her as much as possible. There were tears, don’t get me wrong. I also suffered from an awful bout of post-partum depression for about two weeks right around the four week mark (when my hormones must have finally balanced out). And I also went back to work pretty much immediately after having her, (part-time and only at night, but even so…)

Still, as wiser as I felt this time around, I was also managing a toddler at home who was adjusting to having to share my attention which was totally new territory and tested me in and out every day for the first 5 weeks. I can’t count how many days I just didn’t know how I’d survive on my own. I am lucky that I didn’t have to thankfully. I had a LOT of help, especially from my own mom. [Thanks Mom!]

Having said that, as I reflect on the last three months, as usual, only the good comes to mind and it’s clear that there just needed to be a period of recalibration as I learned how to manage the day for the three of us. On the difficult days, I often remind myself: These are GREAT days. Before I can blink, C will be crawling, then walking, then talking. And I can already visualize E in kindergarten. The time will fly and before we know it, we’ll be longing for these exhausting, chaos and laughter-filled days with our girls so I try to really savor every single second.

E is just about 2.6 years old now and C is just about 3 months old are they are so sweet together. C is smiling and starting to laugh and is such a mellow, sweet baby, while E is in the throes of toddlerdom. She has done SO well potty training and has been staying totally dry overnight since last weekend, which is huge. We’ve been dry during naps for months now, first with a diaper on which we discussed as being “just to be safe, but not to use because diapers are for babies and she is a big girl,” but I delayed night training until we’d settled in with the newborn, as the amazing book I’ve mentioned non-stop these past few months advised.  (We had a rough few days of repeated sheet washing and on night 4, ta dah!)

She was making the entire night, then I think she would panic in the morning when she woke in her bed so we made a big deal of placing a potty in her room with a little battery operated candle beside it. This morning, although she did pee the bed, this was the first morning we actually found her ON the potty so the idea has clearly sunk in. She also absolutely chugged water before bed last night so I should have known this was coming. I purposely am not calling this an accident though because she’s still learning so it’s not fair to label as such. (I’m very into thoughtful word choice, can you tell? Kids are so smart, I don’t see how I can’t be.)  Anyways, I love how we approached potty training — she was ready; we just had to guide her with the write language and reinforcement. She’s such a smart kid.

Lately, I’ve been working 6-8 PM so I’m missing bedtime which has been hard for E. I usually give her something when I leave and ask her to take care of it for me. It could be a Sugar lip tint from my purse or sometimes, it’s the necklace I’ve put on that she tells me is “So beautiful” as I’m headed to work. But then she mimicked it back to me the other day. “Mama! Mama! Here,  [thrusts a small bear into my hands]. You take good care of this while you at work.” I nearly died.

Also, I mentioned going to a kids boutique down in Marshfield with my family last week, but then we had to skip it to get on the road in time for E to nap, so she was distraught when she woke in her carseat in our driveway and dramatically exclaimed: “MAMA, I THOUGHT WE WAS GOING TO THE ‘TEEK.” [It was heartbreaking, but I had to bite my inner cheeks to stop from laughing/smiling.]

To make it up to her, late last week when I was dying to go poke through a favorite thrift shop, I prepped a Bento box for her and got both girls out the door by telling her we were finally headed to the boutique. She was ecstatic and wonderfully cooperative getting her shoes on herself and packing up a little backpack of toys to bring. We were having a really great day actually and I wasn’t at all daunted to attempt a solo trip out with the two of them.

She picked out a cute little purple car to buy that I was a little less than impressed with but seriously loves the thing. But I nearly died laughing the first time I heard her reference her new purple car to dada that “I got at the boutique!” It made me a little sad that my grandmother isn’t in our lives anymore because that was how she often referred to thrift stores. My appreciation for thrifting definitely came from her and my mom so it made my heart a little achey just for a moment.

Anyways, as I posted the other day, life with two is getting more manageable as I develop my own tricks to make it easier – whether it’s making sure I log in quality solo time with each child, making sure each is well-fed while seated at a table during mealtimes, or ensuring everyone gets the sleep they need, myself included. I’ve also found that being as prepared as possible for the day’s activities makes a huge difference. This could mean laying out my own clothes, prepping lunch or water bottles for a trip to the gym or playground, or prepping snacks to grab and go.

I’ve also been practicing the art of completely ignoring Emilia’s whining when she begs for snacks she shouldn’t be eating or wants an explanation for why she can’t or shouldn’t do something. It’s difficult because it needs to be a committed ignoring — no eye contact, no laughing, no showing any signs of annoyance. So far, it’s incredibly effective. It’s a totally different tactic than what I usually do which is to distract and “change the channel” as her pediatrician calls it where I just direct her attention elsewhere so she forgets why she was upset.

I’m not going to lie though, there have been moments since she turned two when I fully felt the meaning of the phrase terrible twos.  Like most milestones, Emilia hit them a little sooner than we expected and blasted through to the next, so now I feel like I have a 3-year old, going on 13-year old. She can be sooooo dramatic. The worst of it was probably around bath and bed time. She hates having her hair shampooed. And bedtime…. well. That would need to be another post. I’m not ready to dive into that [as I clutch my knees and rock back and forth.] But she’s doing amazingly well now and only needs a little singing before she’s off to dream land.

So the moral of this really long story? Savor this craziness. These ARE great days.

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House Update: 8 Months In

12 Mar

IMG_7640pardon the drill and the elephant ride-on toy

March has been surprisingly productive considering the energy drain I’ve felt as I enter my third trimester with Baby #2. Since we’re prepping for E’s second birthday at the end of the month, I’ve unofficially designated the party as a target date to have a lot of my “Pre-baby House To Dos” in place since I know I’ll be well into my third trimester come spring. And let’s be honest, once the weather starts to get warmer, it will be all-garden, all the time.

IMG_6324Testing out a thrifted lamp with a new white drum shade

Project: Paint the buffet

Refinishing the above buffet/sideboard from Brian’s paternal grandmother was a top priority since it’s always driven me insane to have so much wood on wood throughout our open downstairs living and dining rooms. It would be one thing if the pieces and flooring were similarly toned or if we had some decor and art layered in, but I’m still in a weird transitional place of not wanting to commit to window treatments and rugs and accessories until we figure out more of the “bones” — like function, layout, and “big pieces;” basically, the big ticket items that define spaces, like furniture and built ins.

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Just yesterday I was toying with the idea of moving the dining room table into the living room and transitioning the (unused) dining room into an office, since the dining room table serves as my work space most of the time. This would be a phase one example of what I was eventually envisioning as a built in dining area inspired by the picture above. Drooling over everything, from the color scheme to the gold chairs to the window treatments to that lighting. Holy moly. Perfection!

Anyways, I am really thrilled with how the buffet turned out and loved trying out a new technique for prepping it before refinishing (which I’ll detail in a future post). I still need to put a few coats of poly on it for protection and shine and choose hardware, but it’s not my priority right now. Refinishing it also gave me a nice kick in the pants to better organize what we store inside (now it holds my frequently used notebooks, office supplies and stationary) and how we use the limited space in our kitchen.

I don’t know if you noticed it, but the white utility rack just beside the buffet is a new addition we used to have in our old apartment’s kitchen. It became such an issue to run up and down the basement stairs to get various appliances and pots that we decided to just store them there for now while we figure out what a phase 1 kitchen renovation will look like and what our needs really are. Hint: Phase one will likely involve tearing down the wall between the kitchen and dining room and adding seating to an attached island.

Project: Basement Organization

We also tackled a quick organization of our basement which I don’t have any photos of but can report was worth every exhausting minute now that I finally know where to look for almost anything not in current rotation in our living space. This was largely prompted by my pregnancy and the urge to nest. It’s a real thing! I want easy access to all the baby stuff we’ve had packed away as Emilia outgrew things like her walkers and bouncy seat and my Type-A side gets such a thrill from the neatly labeled storage containers of “Nursing Supplies” and “Newborn Baby Books.”

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Project: Nursery Art

Speaking of nesting, I finally got Emilia’s Rifle Paper Co., calendar prints up above her crib. The tape on the art prints needs to be patted down regularly and I dream of eventually having them all custom-framed in a metallic gold, but for now, I’ll take just having something huge crossed off my to do list. Her nursery finally feels like it’s more pulled together, but the issue of the wildcard rug we impulsively purchased and planned to just work with still sticks out sorely color-wise against all the other patterns and colors I think. It’s also definitely too small for the space but I keep holding out for the eventual transition of this space from nursery to share little girl’s room. Once we have Emilia’s “big girl bed” in here along with the crib, the size of the rug might work better, or I might just sell it on Craigslist and put that money towards a rug I really love.

IMG_7515uncle “Teb” + E cleaning up her building blocks

How about that gorgeous more appropriately-sized mirror we also hung over Emilia’s dresser and changing pad? Another fabulous HomeGoods find for just $35. The color is totally wrong for the room as it stands right now, but as I dream up the next phase of this room as a combined nursery/toddler’s bedroom, I think that color may eventually work so it stays for now, as tempted as I am to coat it with a metallic gold paint. Please ignore the hideously jumbled up curtain mess going on by her crib. I never properly finished backing the curtains with light blocking fabric so we have a very makeshift system still in place involving dressmakers pins and — cringe — masking tape to rig the windows to be totally blacked out for nap time. I should probably add finding a more permanent solution to that to our to do list, huh?

IMG_6859the current state of our bathroom

Project: Shower Curtain Update

In another example of fabulous makeshifting, I pinned the wild floral fabric we’d been using as a bathroom curtain (as I debated whether I liked it for a future Roman shade) to the actual shower curtain and am kind of loving it so there it has remained for almost two weeks now. I think the window needs a dark, woven grass or bamboo type blind and we’ll need to swap in a darker bath mat to make it all work. In the above photo, that’s actually a dark slate DKNY bath towels I bought after we moved in and I decided that dark gray/black/slate accents needed to happen in the bathroom to make all that pink and black tile look more chic. Working? Who knows. But the bathroom continues to be one of the most fun challenges for this quirky, 1950’s Cape Cod style home of ours.

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Project: Use our fireplace + Redecorate the mantle

This wasn’t exactly a pressing “To Do,” but after enjoying our suite’s fireplace while we were in Maine and hearing chatters of this Danish concept of “hygge” all over social media lately, I was itching to recreate the cozy ambiance in our own home. We probably still need a good chimney cleaning, but our test run has persuaded me to move it to the top of our late summer “To Do” list so we can enjoy more cozy nights by the fire next fall and winter.

And related — once the buffet was fixed up, I’d always planned to relocate the antique Federal mirror I’d had over the mantle and needed something else to fill the space. We tried a few mirrors we had laying around before I thought to try this print we purchased a few years ago at an exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. It’s Melon Boats by John Singer Sargent and this picture doesn’t do justice to the vibrancy of the pigments. When I viewed the oil painting at the MFA, I couldn’t tear myself away. It was like being on the ocean. I normally avoid purchasing prints in favor of supporting artists by purchasing original work but I couldn’t pass this up. Now all it needs is a frame.

On the horizon for upcoming priority projects:

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Upcoming spring project: Our front stairs

The front stairs are one of the biggest eye sores of our home and one of the things I most want to tackle this spring as part of a front yard makeover. Luckily, I have a few talented stone masons in the family so this should be a fairly easily project once I decide on the materials I want. Those terrible bushes flanking the door need to be ripped out ASAP too but they’ll remain until I decide what they’ll be replaced with, so stay tuned.

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Upcoming spring project: The back patio

The back stairs are equally hideous, but less pressing since the back patio overshadows it in hideousness. I also envision the patio extending well past where it currently ends, reaching closer to the back of the garage for really expansive entertaining space. Some built in seating, planters and a fire pit or pizza oven would be fabulous too, but I don’t know how deep I want to dive with a baby on the way in early summer. I think a simple phase I patio makeover is in order, but again, stay tuned.

All in all, I’m really pleased with where things are headed and am excited to continue to layer in the more homey items as the weather gets warmer and the antique and thrift markets and fairs open up so I can really start to hunt for treasures to round out outfitting our first home.