Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dates with Evie

Our household has been a busy one lately.  Kemi has been traveling quite a bit, and it's been challenging for me to find ways to not just manage, but stay positive and see the silver lining when things are so very hectic. I often have to remind myself (sometimes daily) that Kemi's job (that requires him to travel about 200 days a year) and my job (that requires at least 50 hours a week of my attention) are choices we made after careful consideration.  We made the choice after Evie was born, to continue our work schedules in much the same way they were before, for a multitude of reasons that I won't get into now.  Lately, it's been difficult being alone with Kemi gone almost every weekend, and I was finding myself feeling overwhelmed when Monday came and I hadn't once left the house or had any time to relax.  The weeks were starting to run together, and I could feel myself getting into a funk. Don't get me wrong...I LOVE being a mom, and love my time with our little girl, but when Kemi's gone, I still have to work each day, and keep up the house, and be the sole caregiver to Evangeline. It can become a little overwhelming for me to be so needed...by my students, employees, daughter, husband, family... Sometimes I can feel myself running on empty, and I know I need to do more to "fill up my tank" so to speak, so that I have a better outlook.
One simple solution that has helped me a bit is to have a Saturday morning coffee date with Evie. Even though it can be difficult to get out the door with an infant, I'm finding it's really necessary for me to just get out, see new faces, and have a few minutes to just concentrate on smiling at Evie, sipping coffee, and people watching. Drinking a reallly good cup of coffee is one of my favorite luxuries, but one I don't often let myself spend the money on, so it really is a treat for me. And it makes me feel like a better mom knowing that even if I have to drag Evie on errands all weekend or take her into the school with me, I've carved out a few hours to simply smile and look at her, and have her look back at me. It's been really good for my sanity to carve out for myself two hours of time to do absolutely nothing and not feel guilty about it.  As Evie gets older, I would like to keep up the tradition, but definitely gear it around things Evie will be interested in and let her choose our date each week. Being a working parent, I think it will be really important to have time carved out that's special time just for the two of us.



Monday, July 9, 2012

Mother F (that is, Mother Failure)



If I didn't have balance in my life pre-Evie, I definitely don't have it now.  Finding time for work, Kemi, and Evie have left me completely exhausted and zapped of energy this week. Oh, and my domestic duties, you ask? It's a good thing Evie's not crawling yet or she'd be able to help herself to any number of clumps of dog hair that are hiding in the corners of our floor.  And time for myself? that doesn't exist anymore and hasn't in a while.  If Evie goes down for a nap, I feel guilty if I don't grab my breast pump to squeeze out some liquid gold, throw in a load of laundry, or round up the afore-mentioned dog hair.  It takes a conscious effort to NOT have the first thing I say to Kemi in the morning be "can you grab her nose suction-thingy and clean up the dog's throw up?" Going to the gym now (it actually happened once this month) involves planning at least a few days in advance, a willing babysitter, and at least three stare-downs at my cellulite to get me motivated.  Life is definitely different, and I wouldn't go back to my life, pre-her for anything in the world. Not even for jiggle free legs and a flat stomach.

There are days, especially weekdays, that I feel like a Mommy Failure.  If I leave work early, I am riddled with guilt that I left work on my desk. If I stay late though, I am obviously more guilty that I'm not laying on a blanket on my living room floor, staring at Evie with love in my eyes and, most importantly, no smartphone in sight.

It's so difficult as a mom who works full time to not guilt myself into feeling like I'm not giving 100% to everyone-work, child, husband, friends...it's exhausting.  Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, was outspoken recently about her policy of leaving  work at 5:30 every evening.  It was refreshing to hear, which makes me think: why do we feel guilty when we put our family first?



Friday, June 29, 2012

Awkward and Awesome-BABY Edition!

Awkward:
-Eating scrambled eggs almost every morning with my left hand because Evie won't let me put her down, and I can't manipulate a fork with my left. Sigh.
-Conducting a job interview while breast feeding.
-Opening the door to my office to meet with someone at work, and realizing at the same moment they do that my breast pump and bottles of milk are sitting there, staring at us. The awkward laugh and shuffle as I pack it all back up. Oh, the moments when your professional and personal lives crash into each other at a million miles an hour.
-Pretty much anything surrounding breastfeeding or my breast pump.

Awesome:
-Evangeline smiles at me now. More than she does at other people. Like, an "I know you're my mom" kind of smile.
-Sleeping for 5 hours at a time at night now. Like, whoa.
My new iPhone. I'm one of you now.


Happy Friday!



Happy Friday! I'm so looking forward to the weekend and a few uninterrupted days with my girl.  We'll be hitting this spot tomorrow morning for a little mother daughter date.  I'm loving this quote, in memory of the late Nora Ephron:
And then the dreams break into a million tiny pieces. The dream dies. Which leaves you with a choice: you can settle for reality, or you can go off, like a fool, and dream another dream.” –Nora Ephron.

Here's more of what I'm seeing around the inter webs:

I'm going to try really hard to remember this the next time I have to dance.
If I owned this, I might never take it off.
Dying to see Evie wearing this romper in a few years. Rompers are our new favorite thing. Ok, hers. I would look RIDICULOUS in one.
This is what I hear in my head every time I eat a donut.  I might have just identified why those last 10 baby pounds won't budge...

Have a great weekend friends! Treat yo self!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Surprising Things About the New-Mom Bod


While I was pregnant, I would find myself thinking about what things would be like, post-baby. More specifically, what I would be like, post-baby!  I wasn't concerned about the changes I was sure would be there, but more curious to see how it would go and if I would easily bounce back.  It's been seven weeks now since Evie was born, and there have definitely been some surprises.  

First, the post-baby belly.  I think in all the excitement of labor, and the anticipation of meeting my daughter, I sort of forgot that once she was delivered, my big, round, tight-as-a-drum pregnant belly would be gone.  I was actually surprised, and a little sad, the first time I caught sight of myself in the mirror after E. was born.  Looking at my stomach post-birth, I sort of missed my pregnant belly! What I was left with was definitely NOT the flat stomach I had pre-pregnancy. It was something sort of in-between...;/

source: things-we-heart.blogspot.com

That not-so-flat stomach wants to be fed.  Constantly.  Oh, the insatiable hunger. I was told by a few other moms that during breastfeeding, it's common to have a much bigger appetite than usual. I'd say. I can eat two 8 inch Jimmy John's subs in one sitting. That's not a joke, people.  It's insane. I can now eat my husband under the table.  The trick in eating more food than a linebacker is to eat healthy options, with lots of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein. Right. 

source: things-we-heart.blogspot.com

Let's talk about post-baby weight loss.  I gained a very average 25 pounds total during my pregnancy with Evie.  The first time I got on a scale when I got home from the hospital one day later, it was actually really nice to see that I had lost 11 pounds.  I was feeling good about my weight loss, and patting myself on the back, thinking it would be no problem getting back to my pre baby weight. Until those numbers coming off the scale slowed down. Significantly. As in, there's an extra 10 pounds on me still that does.not.want.to.move.  Granted, I haven't been back in the gym yet, and I like to keep telling myself most of that weight gain is in my boobs...

Which leads me to my next post-baby body change. Giant boobs.  My boobs definitely got a LOT bigger during pregnancy, which I didn't mind as much because they sort of matched my giant belly.  My sister kept warning me, though, that once the milk came in a few days after the birth, they would no longer just be big. They would be scary-big. She wasn't kidding.  Some girls might be ok, even happy having bigger boobs. Not this girl. I went from a C cup to a DD. That's right. Once my size D bra stopped fitting somewhere around 8 months, I started to freak out. WHAT COMES AFTER D? Moving up to DD was definitely not a happy day. And now, post-baby, the huge boobs and the DD nursing bra remain. Everything I wear is borderline obscene. I can barely wear any of my old v-necks, let alone a bathing suit.  And to think, I was so excited to be able to sleep on my stomach after the pregnancy. It feels like they're choking me.  Not to mention that they also leak now...

Leading me to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has DEFINITELY been surprising.  I remember heading to one of our doctor appointments later in my pregnancy and telling Kemi I was sort of nervous about breastfeeding.  I wasn't concerned that it wouldn't work right, or I wouldn't be able to do it, it just seemed weird to me.  Especially the first time you try it.  I kept telling him "think about it! I'm going to take our new daughter who we've just met and stick my nipple in her face! That's weird!" The biggest surprise was how not-weird it was. It was, and is, the most natural and intuitive part of motherhood for me.  Knowing that breastfeeding isn't this easy, or even possible, for some moms makes me so thankful that I'm having so much success with it.  Those moments with Evie are so special to me, and knowing that I can fulfill her most basic needs with my own body is an incredible thing.  I love breastfeeding so much, and it's become so natural to me, that I've actually become a lot more open about it than I thought I would.  I don't mind feeding Evie under a cover when we're out anywhere, and recently I actually conducted a job interview while feeding her! Haha! For me, when she starts crying and wants to eat, all I'm thinking about is meeting her needs, not worrying about the comfort level of everyone around me.  I figure nothing I do is going to be near as controversial as the TIME cover, anyway.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Day in the Life of a One Week Old Baby

This is my Baby ESP app the first night home. Whew! That was a LONG night...



All the baby books and blogs couldn't have prepared me for what our first week with Evangeline would be like.  Here's a rundown of a typical day:

5:00 am     Evie wakes up crying, wanting to be fed.

6:00 am     We finish the feeding, but Evie isn't ready to be put down yet. She's staring at me, wide awake.

6:30 am     Evie finally starts to doze in my arms, and I put her in the bassinet.  I crash hard in our bed.

8:00 am     Evie starts to cry, ready to eat again.  We start another feeding.

8:45 am     Now done with nursing, I'm starving from nursing all night, so we head to the kitchen.  I put Evie down on the Boppy lounger and pour a bowl of cereal.

9:00 am     Evie starts to fuss, so I pick her up and rock her to sleep.  She falls asleep, so I set her back on the lounger. I start a load of dirty diaper laundry while Kemi hangs with Evie.

9:30 am     Evie's still asleep, so I go to the office to pump.  I'm trying to stockpile as much milk as possible for when I go back to work.

10:00 am   Done pumping, and Evie's still asleep. I'm hungry again from pumping, so I grab a quick snack.

10:30 am   Evie's awake, and wants to be fed.  We snuggle into the couch for a feeding.

11:30 am   Finally finished nursing. Evie's had a lot of gas pain recently, so nursing takes twice as long
because she stops eating frequently due to the gas pain.  Poor baby!  Evie hangs with Kemi while I get in the shower.

12:00 pm   Finally showered and in clean clothes. Hair's wet and in a bun, no makeup.  Makeup (and sometimes blow-dried hair if we're lucky) are now reserved only for church on Sunday.  These days, wearing deodorant and clean clothes is a big deal.  We sit down for lunch, and I'm starving.  Again.

1:00 pm     We have visitors come to see Evie and I awkwardly nurse under my hooter hider and pray no      
side-boob has decided to make itself visible.

3:00 pm     After everyone leaves we bring Evie into the nursery for some tummy time. This is one of our
favorite things lately.  We're amazed at how strong our girl is! She wears out after about 10 minutes:)

3:30 pm     Another feeding, diaper change, and pump again.

5:00 pm     We eat dinner, then head out for a walk.  I'm finding it necessary to leave the house each day,     even if just for a walk, to preserve some sanity.  I want to start to get back into some activity too.

6:00 pm     Back home, and back to pumping. The rest of the evening involves feeding Evie, and          changing dipes. Again and again and again!



Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Dozen Newborn Must-Haves

Now that Evangeline is two weeks old, I thought I'd share with you a few of the products that helped us get through those first days.  A lot of moms have their list of must-haves, and this is mine! I hope all you expectant moms find it helpful.  Those of you who already have little ones, did you find these same items indispensable? Anything you would add?


1. Miracle Blanket. A friend gave us one of these because their child hated it, but for us it's been indispensable! We swaddle Evie only for sleeping, and she sleeps so much better when she's all snuggled up in the miracle blanket.

2. Medela Pump In Style Breast Pump.  Any breastfeeding moms planning to go back to work, or leave baby for an evening out should definitely invest in a good breast pump.  This one is pricey, but it's been so helpful for me.  I've been pumping since the day we got home from the hospital to make sure Evie will have enough for when I go back to work.

3. Onesies.  Friends and family love to buy baby girls the sweetest little outfits, and while we love those for church and any time we go out, nothing beats onesies for hanging around the house.  And now with Evie guzzling milk every hour, we change onesies two or three times a day anyway.  I'd recommend having both newborn and 0-3 month sizes on hand.  For the first two weeks, newborn size onesies were the only thing that fit her tiny 6 lb. body!

4. Aden and Anais Swaddle Blankets.  These are one of the most used baby gifts I received.  They are very big, but super thin, so they're great for Arizona summers.  They work really well for throwing over the car seat so the sun doesn't get in her eyes, swaddling, etc.  We love them!

5. Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter. Awkward name, great product!  Breastfeeding moms, I really recommend getting this product and applying it after every.single.feeding. Don't skip applying this after a feeding and your nipples won't feel like they were attacked by tiny razor blades.

6. Earth Mama Angel Baby Milkmaid Tea.  This tea is supposed to help with milk production.  I don't know if it actually works, but I drank it the morning Evie was born, and have had a cup or two every day since, and I never had any issues with my milk production.  I like the taste, too!

7. Hats. Nothing fancy needed here...we just used the hats the hospital gave us.  New babies lose so much of their heat through their heads, so we kept a hat on Evie when sleeping. They're super cute too!

8. Gripe water. The first night Evie had painful gas, I was nearly in tears.  Kemi's mom made us Nigerian food for dinner, AND friends brought us Thai food! It didn't occur to me that eating spicy food might affect my breastmilk.  I sent Kemi and his mom to the drugstore for gripe water, and five minutes after taking it, Evie was sound asleep.  I'd recommend new moms have some on hand, just in case!

9. Boppy Newborn Lounger. A friend lent us this, and for the first two weeks, this was the only place Evie would sleep besides in our arms.

10. Infant socks. Nothing fancy, but baby feet get cold fast, so we almost always have Evie in socks.

11. Boppy Nursing Pillow. The first few days, it's hard to breastfeed without pillows piled up under you.  It doesn't even really have to be a special nursing pillow, just any pillows.

12. Gowns.  We got these from Baby Gap and love them.  They have built in mittens to cover baby's hands for sleeping. Newborn nails are so thin and sharp, and they grab their face all the time.  It's so nice to have a gown for late-night diaper changes, instead of messing with a bunch of snaps on the onesies.

That's it! Hopefully all you expectant moms find this list helpful!


Cloth Diapering a Newborn

We bought a lot of different cloth diapers before Evie was born, not sure what type we would like best.  The bulk of them are prefolds, but I also purchased about 10 fitteds, 10 pockets, and 2 or 3 AIO's.  When Evie came home from the hospital, the nurse sent us with a whole package of disposable newborn diapers, so we decided we'd use those until they were gone.  It was helpful to just use disposables for the first few days while we settled in, and we found the prefolds rubbed her umbilical cord stump a lot.  Once those were gone, we switched to prefolds with a cover.  This cover has been my favorite, because it's just so cute!  We got it in the newborn/preemie size and it's still on the smallest snaps!
Unfortunately, after a week, Evie developed a terrible diaper rash.  I think maybe because the prefolds don't wick moisture away (they feel wet to the touch once they're wet, unlike microfiber) that contributed to the rash.  I finally decided to try some of our pocket dipes to see if they finally fit.  The first to fit was our rumparooz.
Currently we have the rumparooz pocket and two Blueberry pockets in our rotation.  Luckily our Blueberry dipes have velcro aplix closures, allowing us to get a tight enough fit.  I'd recommend keeping a couple of aplix closure dipes in your stash for times when baby is between snap sizes.  

So that's what I've learned the past two weeks cloth diapering an infant. Hopefully it's helpful to some of you new mamas!


Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Birth Story: Evangeline Adannaya



While I was pregnant with Evangeline, I really enjoyed reading birth stories written by other bloggers.  I wanted to make sure to record Evie's birth story, both for those who are interested to read it, and for our family, so we remember the details surrounding that perfect day.

On Wednesday, March 11th, I had a regular weekly checkup with our OB-GYN to see if there was any progress towards labor.  I had been 5 cm dilated since my last appointment the previous week, but I hadn't been experiencing any contractions.  At the appointment, our doctor examined me and announced I was now 7 cm dilated!  Kemi and I looked at each other, stunned.  Kemi was set to travel that weekend, so we asked our doctor what his recommendation was.  Would Evie possibly come this weekend.  Our doctor laughed and said she'll probably come today.  Kemi and I just started laughing.  I had gone in expecting a routine appointment.  I told my coworkers I would be returning to work that afternoon...I even had appointments scheduled for the rest of the week.  Because Evie's head and my bag of waters was so low, our doctor suggested I walk around for an hour, and come back to his office after that.  He suggested that my water would probably break on its own with just a little walking around.

Kemi and I left the office and got on the phone.  I called the school to let them know it looked like Evie was going to make her entrance today.  We decided to go home to get my hospital bag and birth plan in case my water did break.  While home, we decided to just walk around our own neighborhood.  We grabbed the dog, took a walk, but an hour later, my water still hadn't broken.  I called our doctor's office and they said to keep walking and come back in the morning if nothing had changed.  We continued to walk all evening.  I went to bed Wednesday night expecting my water to break overnight.

The next morning, still no progress!  I tried to stay active all day...sweeping the floors, mopping, doing laundry.  I was in super-nesting mode, wanting everything to be perfect before coming home with our daughter.  Later in the day I called our doctor and he was shocked I wasn't in active labor yet. We decided if my water hadn't broken by the evening that I would come back to his office at 4 pm.

Back at the office, our doctor did another exam and suggested we head over to the hospital where he would break my water.  I didn't want any interventions done, and had really hoped my water would break on its own, but Kemi and I really trusted our doctor and decided it would be best.

We were admitted to the hospital at 6:36 and our doctor broke my water around 7 pm Thursday night.  Once my water was broken, I finally began to feel contractions, although they still didn't feel any worse than menstrual cramps.  I was a little confused how things would progress if I wasn't experiencing contractions.  Our nurses suggested I walk as much as possible through the halls.  We walked for the next few hours.  After two hours or so, the nurse did another exam and found that I hadn't progressed past 7 cm.  I was a little frustrated, but because I was still feeling well enough to stay mobile, I just kept walking.  The later it got, the harder my contractions got.  I found the only relief came from being in the shower and swaying back and forth.  I showered several times during the night, staying in as long as I could each time. By midnight, my doctor came in to check my progress.  He said I had reached 9 cm, finally! The nurses suggested I continue walking to try to move from 9 cm to 10, but by this time, the contractions were so powerful, I was having trouble standing up at all, let alone walking.  I had a few contractions that were so powerful I vomited.  By this time, I was so exhausted and in so much pain.  I didn't want to receive any sort of pain medication, and my doctor and nurses were all great about honoring that, but by this time I began to second guess myself.  It became almost impossible to find a way to bear the pain.  The only thing I could do, (since I could no longer stand in the shower) was to sit on the edge of the bed, sway back and forth, and tell myself "I'm okay. I'm okay." I must have looked insane, but telling myself I was ok helped.

Around 2:45, my doctor came in and suggested I push through the next contraction to attempt to get to 10 cm.  I was so exhausted by this time, but so anxious to finally see our daughter.  I pushed on the next contraction, and continued to push for every contraction for the next 45 minutes.  This was where the labor really became almost too much to bear. I was so exhausted, and burning hot.  I didn't get a fever, but I was pouring sweat and felt like I was in a pot of boiling water.  I had a wet washcloth on my forehead, and Kemi fanned me with a card the entire time I was pushing. That was truly the one thing that gave me the most comfort.  The pushing was so hard because the contractions were just coming so fast, and it didn't seem like enough time between each contraction before I had to push again. I felt like my head was going to explode.  I was doubting myself and feeling so discouraged.  Kemi and my doctor kept telling me that with every push, she was getting closer and closer, but I didn't feel it. I kept asking the doctor "is this going to work?" He assured me it WAS working.  I think because I was 7 cm dilated for two days, everyone had told me my labor would probably go super fast, so when it wasn't, I was disappointed and felt that I was doing something wrong.  I began to cry and told my doctor that I thought I needed a C-section.  Looking back, I realize how silly I probably sounded.  He reminded me that I wanted a natural childbirth, and I was getting what I wanted!

Finally, I got so frustrated and tired of pushing. I just closed my eyes, went somewhere within myself, as dumb as that sounds, and told myself, "this is it. I want to see my girl." I pushed so hard on the next contraction, and suddenly felt a sharp, stabbing pain. I though I was breaking in two. I screamed so loud, I swear I shook the walls of the hospital.  I asked my doctor if I should keep pushing, because the pain was so sharp, I was sure I had done something very wrong. He told me "push now!" With one more strong push and piercing scream, I felt every inch of Evangeline come out, and the next second there was a squirmy, slimy girl on my chest. I remember ripping off my gown so she could lay on my chest.  All modesty goes completely out the window during childbirth!  She screamed once coming out, and then was silent. As she lay on my chest, I was shaking uncontrollably (which I later learned is very common).  I kept asking the nurses if she was ok, because she was so quiet buried in my chest, and they told me she's just content! It was beautiful to see a bit of her personality in those first few seconds.  She was a quiet, calm, peaceful girl from that moment, and every day since.  Kemi was at my side, wiping away tears.  I've seen my husband cry twice in the almost ten years we've known each other.  Our wedding day and Evangeline's birth day.  It was the most beautiful, unexplainable moment of my life.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

More Nursery Pictures

As you know by now, working on the nursery has been our favorite pastime the past few months.  We finally got a lot of the pictures hung up, and the last finishing touches put in.  Take a look!



Kemi made this AMAZING ruler to hang in Evie's nursery to measure her growth. He used a wood burning tool to carve the numbers in. I think each one took him 3-4 hours! I love it.
Evie's wall of art. She has a quite a collection of elephant pictures.  We also photocopied our favorite Shel Silverstein poems and art and framed them.
We hung up some of her ultrasound pictures

My mom and dad got me this crib quilt and I LOVE IT.

Giraffe!

Baby Shower!

My mom and sister were generous enough to throw me a beautiful baby shower last weekend!  It was such a fun day, I wish I could go back and do it again!  They worked so hard on it and did an amazing job! Check it out:

My mother in law and I borrowing other people's babies! 
The two grandmas-to-be
We were spoiled with so many beautiful gifts!

It was a great day and I'm so thankful for everyone that helped to plan it, and everyone that came to celebrate!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Awkward and Awesome This Week

Awkward:

-February 23rd, 2012: My bellybutton officially became an outie.  Here's hoping it goes back.
-My hypnobirthing CD. I'm supposed to meditate with it and listen to the "affirmations" but it's just so funny. (chimes twinkling in the background) "I look forward to the birth of my baby with joy and ecstasy."
-I said something about Punky Brewster at work this week and none of the younger ladies I work with knew what I was talking about. SERIOUSLY?! You guys. Punky Brewster. Made me feel so old.


Awesome:
-We got the keys to the new SDSA building this week! This April, we will be moving into a new 6000 square foot facility.  Our first building on our own! I'll update with pictures once we're moved in.
-Kemi pinning pictures of dresses he wants for Evie to Pinterest. It really is true: You fall in love with your husband in a new way when you see how he loves your child. To love each other, and then love another person so completely together, that's what life is all about I think.
-Me apologizing to Kemi that our diaper bag is purple and I'll need to get a neutral one for him to carry (although I love it...an awesome Christmas gift from one of my student's parents).  Kemi: "Are you kidding me?! This is my daughter's bag! I don't care that it's purple! Look at how many diapers and wipes and bottles I can put in this thing! And it has a changing pad in it! I'm wearing this bag with pride!" I've known this guy for almost ten years, and having a baby together has revealed sides to him that have totally surprised me. And I love it.

image via select2gether.com

Friday, March 9, 2012

33 Week Ultrasound

Today we got to see our little girl again!  We hadn't had an ultrasound since 17 weeks, so we were VERY anxious to see how she'd grown.
I might be a little biased, but I think she's the most beautiful baby in the world.  The technician measured EVERYTHING, and we'll talk to our doctor next week to hear how she's measuring up, but the technician said everything looks good, and she weighs 4 lbs, 1 oz! Wow! It's hard to believe she's almost here. In a lot of ways, it seems like just yesterday we found out we were pregnant, and now in 7 weeks or so, she'll be here! Kemi said he spent most of the day staring at her picture, and I was the same way. Can't get enough of this one shot we have of our little girl's perfect face. Those lips!

This week is the first week that I'm fairly uncomfortable.  Sleeping is hard because I'm waking up every 2-3 hours to pee, and then sometimes it's hard to fall back to sleep.  My back has been pretty achy too, most days, but I feel like I can't really complain because the whole pregnancy has been sooooo easy up until this point! So really, no big changes to report, except I can definitely tell she's bigger...this week is the first week I can feel her kicking under my ribs! It's so strange. Her head is down pretty much all the time now, leaving her feet available to take shots at my sides. :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Nursery Pelmet Box

I had originally wanted to put curtains up in the nursery.  Actually, I wanted to buy this shower curtain, cut it in half length-wise, and turn it into curtains, a la this post. 
westelm.com

But the more I thought about it, I figured that as soon as Evangeline can pull herself up, I'd end up taking the curtains down for fear that she'd rip them down. Plus, I didn't like that they'd be hanging so close to the crib.  So I decided to do a pelmet box instead.  I followed this tutorial, and this inspired the look of a pelmet box without curtains.

I wanted to find a way to use the fabric from the "inspiration picture" for our nursery.  Here it is, in case you want to see it:


Unfortunately, the fabric is $50 per yard with a two yard minimum.  I only needed one yard max, so that wasn't going to work. Plus, it would still be way out of the budget.

I originally tried to make a stencil, and paint a white piece of fabric, but that was a major flop.  After some trial and error, I bought some taupe colored linen and white bias tape.  I assembled the pelmet box from foam core board, just like in the tutorial that Jenny did.  Then I stapled batting around it, and then stapled the linen fabric around that.  After all that, I used fabri-tac glue to glue on the bias tape in a diamond pattern.

Once it was finished, I had no idea how to hang it! I left it for Kemi to tackle when he got home, and he had to rig it a little, but this is what he came up with:


I am really happy with how it looks!

My Cloth Diaper Stash

After several of my friends started cloth diapering with their babies, I decided to also do it with Evangeline.    My reasons at first were mostly financial....from birth to potty training, disposable diapers will cost on average about $2000.  All the cloth diapers and supplies you need from birth to potty training can be purchased for anywhere from $200-$600, depending on what type of cloth diapers you use.  For me the environmental and health benefits are secondary, but a great bonus nonetheless!

I was lucky enough to buy a HUGE set of cloth diapers (prefolds, or the "old school" type of cloth diapers) from a mom on Craigslist who said she bought the whole set and then was too lazy to use them.  I think one or two had been used.  The whole set, which really could last us from birth to potty training, if we wanted to only use prefolds, was $70, or 50% off retail.  This is only half of them pictured (they come in two sizes).


Since then, I've also purchased a few pocket diapers.  These are the type that look and act more like disposables.  I figure they'll will be good when we have babysitters who aren't comfortable with the cloth diaper situation. With pocket diapers, the babysitter can just take it off and toss it in the bag to be washed, and put a new one on. Side benefit to cloth diapering? They are so dang cute!!!


Most of my pocket diapers I was lucky enough to get REALLY good deals on through Zulily.  If you don't use Zulily yet, you should! I have bought a lot of things for Evangeline through that site.  It is a daily deal site for baby, kids, and women's products.  You can join here.



I'd still like to get a few more pocket diapers.  Can't wait to see Evie's cute little hiney in a cloth diaper!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Nursery Update

It's time for another nursery update! Probably the last one before the final "reveal." I know you're all waiting with bated breath. Ha!  Our favorite house project of all time has undergone a lot of recent changes.

I wasn't entirely sure what direction to go with the nursery, at first.  I had found a LOT of pictures I liked, but wasn't sure how to put together the different aspects I liked about each.  Until I found this picture!
I LOVE the colors, and the fact that it's gender neutral.  I wanted the room to work for the next Ndolo kid, if we happen to have a boy next.  I also really didn't want the room to be tooooo sweet or babyish.  I am not into the idea of changing things out once our baby girl is a big girl (which I'm told happens in the blink of an eye).  I also am not a big fan of "matchy matchy." I wanted to buy things that I would still like and think are cool in a few years, not just buy an entire room set from a baby superstore.  There's nothing wrong with that, I just know myself and I would get sick of it really quickly.  I also really liked the challenge of trying to re-create the look of this room on a super tiny budget.

We decided to leave the walls of the room the gray-tan they already are.  Our entire house is painted that color (Valspar "wheat bread", if you're curious).

I fell in love with the art in this nursery, by Matte Stephens on Etsy.  Really, I now love all his art.  Check it all out here.  I loved the elephant painting, especially since it had an "e" for Evangeline.


Kemi loved the art too, but said why spend $60 when I could paint the same thing myself.  It felt like a really lame thing to do, but I did it anyway :/

Overall, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  I like that we were able to customize ours to include a brown girl in the picture :)


PHOTOBOMB!


THEN we got to our dresser project.  If you don't remember, here's our "before" shot:

I decided I wanted to paint the dresser white (Benjamin Moore "White Dove" if you really wanna know) and the drawers a really pale aqua color.  That way it would pick up the colors in the paintings, but not be too babyish.  Also, the crib is white, so I thought it would look best to keep all the furniture white.  I was really interested in using chalk paint but didn't want to buy it (are you catching on that this is an extremely budget conscious decorating project?)  So I found a recipe on Pinterest to make your own.  You just add some white unsanded grout to regular flat paint.  At first, I was really doubtful, but once it dried, I really liked the look.  It kind of makes it look antique-y, like it was painted decades ago.


I wanted to rough it up a little bit and make it a little chippy, so I took a medium sanding block to all the edges where I thought there would naturally be paint peeling off.

Here's what it looked like all put together.  Sorry for the blurry pictures!

I had a lot of trouble deciding what to do with the drawer pulls.  The original dresser had a TON of drawer pulls on it, and in two different sizes.  I didn't like the ones that came with the dresser, and I almost did brass ring pulls like the dresser in my "inspiration room" (can you tell I hate that phrase? I just don't know what else to call it.)  BUT, I really wanted to keep the budget under control.  I found these ugly pulls at Ace Hardware for $1 each.  I bought some jute twine, and just wrapped them in twine and glued it in place.  It was really easy and I'm pretty happy with how it looks.  Plus, if I ever get bored with the look, or they fall apart, I can just replace them with the ring pulls down the road.
Check out Evie's shoe collection! This girl is so spoiled already...


Next week I'll add a "window treatment" (I also hate that phase) tutorial and a few other updates!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What Makes You Feel Beautiful?

theglow.com

At the school, my staff often tease me about how much I love when someone knows what they're good at.  I do. I love it.  I once hired a girl solely on the fact that after the interview, she emailed me to thank me for interviewing her and told me she was the right person for the job. I thought, "who am I to argue with you? Let's see if you're right!"  I encourage my staff to tell me where their talents lie, and I will find a way that our organization can use those talents.  I find it encouraging when the people I'm surrounded with have a confidence and enough knowledge of self to know what strengths they possess (and, just as important, what areas they aren't strong in and could use improving!). Unfortunately, I think many people are timid to speak up about what they are good at, and what they can offer to an employer, a friend, or a relationship.

The same is true for beauty. We aren't supposed to think we're beautiful or attractive, and we definitely aren't supposed to talk about it.  But we ARE created beautifully, our creator finds so much beauty in us, that is sure.  But just like every woman, I often see what I don't find very beautiful in myself far more than I see beauty.  Whether it's cellulite, ugly feet, or the fact that if I didn't pluck my eyebrows as diligently as I did, I would have one incredible unibrow.  These are the things I see most easily.  It's easy for me to see my sin, my areas to change, my darkness, than it is to see myself as God sees me.  Times I have felt beautiful? My wedding day. Yes, I felt beautiful on my wedding day, as every woman should.  When Kemi tells me I'm beautiful, especially when it's an "unbeautiful time"....no makeup-just come home from work-sweaty as a trucker sort of "unbeautiful," I feel beautiful then.

I recently read this really great essay by author Kathryn Harrison on what makes her feel beautiful, and her response to that question was surprising.  What about you moms? Do your children make you feel beautiful? Or motherhood in general? Even in the "unbeautiful" times?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Awkward and Awesome




Awkward:

-When the woman from Department of Health Services stops by for her "surprise check-in" on the day you have three staff out sick and every student happens to be losing their mind at THAT VERY MOMENT. Oh, and did I mention that I'm in the bathroom with a kid who's pooing, and said child is sitting on the toilet, gets a gusher of a bloody nose (while sitting on the toilet with their pants down), child starts screaming at the sight of their own blood, I'm trying to stop the blood, when DHS lady pops her head in? Yep. "Hi! Welcome to our school! Everything's under control here! I'll be right with you!" I said in my prettiest Director voice, and tried to keep my head from exploding.
-Dreaming that I won a grammy for a song I performed in the movie "The Help." Ya, it makes sense. Comon.
-Dreaming that the doctor brought the baby in to me and she had blue eyes and red hair and no one would believe me that they mixed up my baby with someone else's. "Have you SEEN my husband?!" Whew. Scary.

Awesome:

-Feeling Evangeline get the hiccups for the first time! It felt like tiny rhythmic kicks, but it was too timed to be actual kicks. Unless this girl has INCREDIBLE rhythm...nah, she's my kid. Let's be real here. The best part was, it was the first night Kemi was back after traveling and he got to feel it too!
-Kemi remembering that I wanted "birthday cake remix" from Coldstone and bringing it home.  I think it tasted even better cuz he remembered.
-The tiny shoes that came in the mail for Evie.  The only thing better than new shoes for me is new TINY shoes for Evie. Oh, did I mention that they match Kemi's gold shoes? I'm in love with our little family.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Nesting



Did any of you other moms experience nesting? Recently I find myself feeling really compelled to get everything totally clean and organized before Evangeline arrives.  As if having a perfectly neat house will somehow better prepare us for bringing an infant home for the first time.  Some of the things I'd like to do are practical, like cooking ahead and freezing a week or two's worth of meals for when we come home from the hospital. Other things are complete nonsense, like wanting our cans to be lined up and facing out. Clearly, that will make me a better mother. Basically, everything must smell like Downy and be alphabetized. MUST. Preferably both.  Especially where it pertains to the nursery.  I've gotta get all her clothes hung up, folded, and organized by size.  I"m getting tired just thinking about it. And now I have to pee again.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Awkward and Awesome This Week




Awkward:
-Sometimes when Evie kicks, it feels like she's falling down a flight of stairs.  It's almost uncomfortable.  Thump, thud, thwack.
-When I asked Kemi what the onomatopoeia for falling down stairs was (so I could type the above "awkward" moment) he said "I dunno, let's check." and disappeared. I thought he was going to google it. Instead he laid down on the couch, rolled off, and said "thump, thud, thwack."
-Going to the gym, parking, going upstairs, getting on a treadmill, only to realize I'm wearing flip flops. Curse you, pregnancy brain.  Of course I went home and didn't go back. By then, it's like, meh.

Awesome:
-Getting so much done in the nursery this week. SO MUCH. I feel very accomplished.
-Going up north (Flagstaff) with Kemi for a conference for work. It was so nice to get out of the house, stay in a  hotel, and do nothing together.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Worrier



I am most certainly a worrier. I have spent so many sleepless nights up thinking about something, considering every avenue, every possibility, every what-if.  A worry that can easily creep in? This one....

As weird as it sounds, especially when we talk about growing old together, that I get so deeply sad, and I can't imagine being left alone.  It makes me feel silly to admit it, and of course I don't like to dwell on it. I'd much rather have a more carefree attitude and enjoy our time.  It really has to be the very worst feeling. Kemi hates to talk about it, so sometimes I just squeeze him and say "don't let anything bad ever happen to you, ok? I can't live without you." And he always laughs and says "don't let anything bad ever happen to you, either!"

When I saw this blog post this week, it was cathartic to read, knowing others have the very same thoughts from time to time.  In a way, it's really a beautiful thing and reveals to me the depth of our love together.  I try to be aware to never, ever take Kemi for granted.  The way he makes me laugh pretty much every minute of every day, the goofy emails he sends me every day to make me smile, that he makes the bed each day because he knows I like it but won't do it myself. The way he watches for the car at 5:30 and comes out to the driveway to carry my bags in when I get home in the evening.  Every day! Remembering that our time is a gift makes me listen, really listen, when he's telling me about a dream he had, or explaining a new thing going on with work.  I think it's too easy, especially in marriage, to stop paying attention to your partner with the same wonder and adoration you felt when you were dating. But it's the day to day stuff that makes the marriage, and the little ways we love each other daily that makes it an epic love.  And it's the little things I'd miss the most...hearing what he dreamt the night before, seeing his name in my inbox every day with a silly video sure to make me laugh, or seeing him and Marley come out to greet me in the evenings.  There is great freedom in having no control, and having to trust God to give and take away as He sees fit, and knowing that I can only submit and offer myself to His will and know that it is far superior to my own.  Now with our daughter coming, I feel so content and exceedingly blessed knowing that without our marriage, she wouldn't be, and she (and our future children, God willing) will always be our best thing ever.  Check out this essay by Anna Roiphe on her husband's last words.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Awkward and Awesome This Week

Awkward:
-On Saturday morning, Kemi wakes up and tells me about the dream he had killing bad guys, bombing stuff, and saving my life (duh). I tell him "wanna know what I dreamt about last night? Cheesecake. ALL NIGHT LONG."
-All these baby kicks, though amazing, can be downright uncomfortable sometimes. Nobody told me that! I'm super thankful and delighted by every single one, because they mean our girl is healthy, but sometimes, it's like "what are you doing in there?!"



Awesome:
-Fulfilling that cheesecake craving. On the couch. Just me, HGTV, and a fork.
-Watching football on the couch in my jammies with Kemi all weekend. Hmmm....so many "awesome" things have to do with the couch...
-Going shopping with my mom and sister and hitting the king of all sales at Gymboree. Evangeline has some dang cute stuff in her closet right now.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

25 Weeks-an Eggplant!





Our little lady is now 25 weeks in the womb and doing awesome.  Our doc says we're boring patients because there's not much to tell us.  We're both healthy, growing the way we should, and getting ready for the big day.

Baby updates:
Evangeline is now a mini-version of the gal she'll be born as.  All her organs are in place, and everything is formed down to her eyelashes!  We just have to wait for her to chub up.  She's about a foot long, heel to head, and a pound!  So, actually a little bigger than this eggplant :)

Corinna updates:
I feel really good still, which I'm thankful for.  I have occasional back pain, and am still getting up four times a night to pee, but other than that, I can't complain.  She's kicking A TON these days, and it's really fun to feel her moving in there.  I feel like I know her already.  And I definitely haven't been shy about making sure everyone around me feels it too...I've been grabbing coworkers hands and slapping them on my stomach when she's doing tae kwon do practice.  I don't think anyone's too weirded out yet...