Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Vintage BrOdY Nursery: Bye Bye Beloved Dressing Room

So we are FINALLY making moves in starting Brody's nursery!  Step one (aka the hardest step of all) is closing up shop in the room that was my dressing room.  When Mike and I first bought our li'l love nest in our fav neighborhood right after we got married, we decided we would each get a room for ourselves instead of having extra bedrooms.  We thought for as often as we don't have out-of-town guests, when we do have them, we could put them in a still private area in the downstairs family room that has a comfy pull-out couch and adjacent bathroom all to themselves.  We figured we'd get a lot more daily use out of our own areas.  For Mike, that came in the form of an office in the spare room downstairs, and for moi, what other choice was there than to make the extra bedroom upstairs a closet?!

I know it's for a good cause (Brody Barnes, when you are old enough to read this, just remember who loves you more! Note: I also gave up my own en suite bathroom for your sweet cheeks!).  Nonetheless, it is so, SO hard to say goodbye!  In order to make this happen, we had to have 2 standard, builder grade (hanging rod with a shelf over) closets in the master bedrooms professionally redone.  We had a few companies come out and draw plans for us and ultimately went with Closets by Design.  It was by no means the more economical option (actually quite the opposite), but we figured this is something we are going to use everyday, and as I told Mike, this was investing in my sanity and thus our marriage (not that he needed convincing- I am totally the bargain hunter in this relationship)!  Annnnnd.... I hate it already.  Don't get me wrong, it's a great product.  But how was I ever going to love it going from an entire bedroom turned into a dressing room to a regular ol' closet?  This feels like poverty (I kid.. sort of).  I had to purge of LOTS of clothes, which was actually quite liberating for me, but I am still bursting at the seams with the new closet.  I'm sure it will be well worth it when we make more progress on the nursery.

Here are some pics of my beloved, to which I bid farewell:

The monogrammed parasol was from our wedding

My stuff included lots of handmade artifacts (like the silver frame here) made by one of my very talented besties, Athena (who is another one that I'm going to one day convince to at least have an Etsy shop), books, and some sweet greeting cards from amazing people that I couldn't bear to throw away.  They made me smile all the time and reminded me how lucky I am to have such awesome people in my life.  There's also little vintage touches that Athena and I scored from a day of antiquing like this old school iron.
The shelves housed my jewelry, and stuff to get ready like lotions, perfumes, etc., as well as more pics and books, gifts from friends (like the geisha doll from Okinawa), and more Athena artwork!  This piece with the awesome quote will actually be staying in Brody's nursery!
Think I'm going to stick with one curtain panel for B's nursery, and tie it back with something more masculine like a nautical rope; I used a sequin scarf on a sheer panel from Pier 1 here

Loved all the natural light from the window- I did my makeup right next to it in front of my wall o' mirrors ('cause I'm obvi the fairest of them all!) ;)

 used a towel rack to hang all my scarves from

Both clothes racks were from the Portis collection from Ikea.. score!

More pics and memorabilia from my Mardi Gras bachelorette party in Nola (and more fun cards from my sweets)

 wicker chair (pad here) for a little spot to sit (or throw clothes on while trying on!)
One of my favorite things was another sign made by Athena (she gave us all kinds of this goodness for our wedding and housewarming), hung next to my wedding shoes
mirror mirror on the wall, and a decorative hook from Pier 1 (similar here)

 Annnnd a lil peak inside the nursery (aka the silver lining)....

I didn't want a catalogue theme or anything too babyish.  I wanted decor on the masculine side that could grow with him.  I came up with just a "vintage boy" theme- not one thing in particular, but a mix of vintage sports stuff, aviation stuff, nautical stuff, toys, etc.   Here's some of what we have in the works to give you an idea!

Pinnochio puppet we picked up at a wood maker's shop in Greece this summer; vintage alarm clock; vintage model airplanes, red one here (these will be hung from the ceiling above the glider)

The inspiration for our dresser and changing table.  Det's on our ongoing DIY to come!

This vintagey crib is known as a Jenny Lind crib... Brody will have one in cherry just like this
distressed barn wood and Brody's name in rope will go behind his crib...

RH Baby "vintage airplane blueprint" sheets

RH Baby "vitage locomotive" sheets
vintage sailboat mobile

DIY pegboard organizer/art above the changing table

....And much more to come!  Think moody walls, faux taxidermy and hide, rugby stripes, mismatched monogrammed plaid throw pillows and blankets, maps, vintage pennants, industrial lighting, a chalkboard accent wall, etc.!  We're on a roll and can't wait to share our progress and see the final product!

Boy oh BOY, do I love ya, baby BB!!  

A little bitter, but a lot more sweet-

Monday, October 28, 2013

Maternity Monday: The Curse of Women NOT Sharing The Woes of Pregnancy

In light of the tragic passing of a new mother who I've never met, but that many people that I know knew, I felt compelled to write about some of the awful things women go through when they're pregnant that for some reason, perhaps because it's too painful, we don't talk about.  There are so many things that can and do go wrong.  These things are so common, yet unfortunately, often times out of shame and embarrassment, women don't talk about, even amongst ourselves.  Having been through one of these experiences this year myself, I know first hand what a shame it is that we don't openly share such things with one another.  Even though you'd never wish it upon anyone, it is comforting to know you're not alone.  So, I wanted to talk about a couple (of the many) such experiences.

Valentines Day this year was what would be one of the most exciting days of my life.  Mike and I had our first go at trying to conceive about a month before.  He was away on business, and I decided to take a pregnancy test that morning.  I was beside myself and absolutely elated when that test came out positive.  I spent my lunch break running out and putting together the most special valentine for Mike ever- the news that we were going to be parents.  In addition to the gifts I'd already gotten him, I put together a package with the book My Boys Can Swim: The Official Guy's Guide To Pregnancy and the positive pregnancy test. Here's pics and a [very personal] video of him opening it- something I was so excited to capture:

(pardon the excited expletives!)

That video now breaks my heart.  After going to the doctor and confirming we were in fact expecting, just a few days later, I woke up knowing something was wrong.  I had been feeling very pregnant, experiencing a lot of the symptoms of pregnancy- extreme fatigue, breast tenderness, all-day morning sickness, etc.  That morning, though, I woke up and felt great.  I remember telling Mike while we were having breakfast that I kind of miss feeling like crap because it was reassuring; I didn't even feel pregnant.  Mike told me to chalk it up to a good day, and I thought maybe he was right- I should appreciate a little respite from the miserable parts of pregnancy!  Later, I began spotting.  That got me googling.  I found that spotting could be okay, but any combination of things happening, including loss of pregnancy symptoms and bleeding, you should call your doctor.  When I got home that evening, the spotting became bleeding accompanied by sharp pains and cramping, and I immediately called the after hours line at my doctors' office.  They told me to get to the ER.  I cried the whole way there, praying as hard as I could that the baby was okay.  A few hours and lots of uncomfortable tests later, we found out that we had lost the pregnancy.  They told me that I had experienced a very common type of miscarriage called a chemical pregnancy.  Although we had conceived, the fertilized egg, for some reason or another, did not successfully implant in the uterus. It didn't feel common at all to me. It felt like the worst thing that could possibly happen.  I felt like it wasn't the pregnancy that had failed, it was I that had failed.

That's when I quickly began realizing that these things really are common, they're just not spoken about.  The sweet ER doctor taking care of me told me it had happened to her, too.  The next morning (just a few hours later), after tearfully calling my and Mike's moms, my next call was to my boss to let him know I wouldn't be coming in.  And guess what he told me- the exact same thing had happened to him and his wife, too.  And another one of my bosses called me a a few minutes later saying they'd gone through it, too, only their miscarriage was well into the second trimester (which I cannot even began to fathom).  And a co-worker of mine said the same thing.  Then family friends said it'd happened to them.  I was overwhelmed by all the people who it had also happened to.  I was sorry for their painful loss, but in a way comforted in that it wasn't just me.  I was also in disbelief that it took me going through this to realize this was even something that happened... quite often.  The doctors told me that it happens to about 50% of women, and half of those women (so 25% of all women) don't even know it happened to them (they weren't looking for a pregnancy, and thus think it's a really awful period).  Here is another forum that shows how common it is. Even though it doesn't make a miscarriage easier, it does offer some comfort that you didn't do anything wrong and that you're not alone. Mike is a pretty private guy, and I didn't exactly feel like shouting it from the rooftops, but I knew immediately that this was something that I wouldn't be withholding; I knew it was something that women should share with each other and be aware of.

I took the time to heal, and Mike and I were able to try again successfully a few months later.  As many of you know, I am the very proud, thankful, humbled, scared sh*tless expectant mother of a sweet bun in the oven.  I am obviously currently in the midst of one the happiest time in my life, almost into my third trimester with our sweet baby boy who I already love so inexplicably much.  I've never prayed harder for a healthy, successful pregnancy and happy, healthy baby.  I am optimistic that everything is okay this time, but still so scared, knowing I might not be one of the lucky ones.  My experience with miscarriage has humbled me so much.  I am thankful beyond words for this baby in my belly, but so aware of the many things that can go wrong.  We've had still birth in our family and amongst friends, and have friends with babies born with tragic diseases as well as non-life threatening but life altering diseases and disorders.  And most recently, which will be my next point, I've learned of horrible things that I would never think would happen to me happen to women just like me after giving birth. I know I am not immune to any of these.  While this is by far the happiest time in my life, I am sensitive to these things and the people who are going through it or have gone through it.  For this reason, I don't complain on social media about my morning sickness or other, normal, crappy pregnancy symptoms.  Because I've been the woman wishing I could have that stuff back, willing to trade anything in the world for it.  You never know what someone on your Facebook friends list is going through, and I've become sensitive to that and have learned to truly appreciate the good, the bad, and the ugly that comes with being an expectant mother.

Speaking of Facebook, just the other week, I saw a friend post something about one of her best friends passing away and sending her love to her friend's widower and their little baby.  Of course, thinking of Mike and our baby alone, that struck a chord with me, and I wondered what had happened.  Soon, other Facebook friends of mine (all from the same area) posted about the same girl, and I learned that she took her own life while experiencing postpartum depression.  I read a beautiful blog posted about her death and was overwhelmed with so many thoughts.  I'd heard of postpartum depression, but never postpartum psychosis or someone going so far as taking their own life from their postpartum depression.  Also, I've spoken to two of my friends with babies who both said they were depressed after delivering their babies.  This, too, is more common than most of us know.  It struck me that, like me, in talking about it, the author of the blog was surprised to learn just how common it is.  When she talked to women who said they'd had postpartum depression, she asked why she never knew this, to which they replied, "I was ashamed. I felt like I wasn't a good mother."  Perhaps what resonated most with me was that this new mother, Alexis, "was strong. She was happy. She was loved. If this could happen to her, it can happen to any of us."  Whenever I think about it, I see the picture of a happy, pregnant Alexis, I girl I never even knew, at her baby shower and see myself in her.  I felt compelled to pass her story on since she can't, and I hope that it can help women be informed, not feel ashamed, and share their experiences with one another.

If you've followed my blog at all, you know that I enjoy and celebrate my pregnancy.  As we should!  Pregnancy is a happy time that should be celebrated.  At the same time, there is SO much that an expectant mother worries about.  I just wanted to share about a few of these worries to hopefully open the door to women sharing and talking with one another rather than keeping painful experiences private, as knowing we are not alone when something bad happens helps.  Women should not be ashamed of such experiences happening to them.  Often times, these things are beyond our control, more common than we realize, and can happen to anyone.  I think sharing our stories can help to diminish the shame that women feel when these things happen.  I know it helped me get through such a difficult time. The other thing that helps, especially in things like postpartum depression, is being informed.  As I've learned through Alexis's story, it really can happen to anyone, however there are things you can do to prevent it, starting with being cognizant of it.

Not fun, not fancy, but certainly simple... not alone and here for you, too, girl...


Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Simple/Fancy/Fun 1st Birthday: Stella's Pink Party!

Our dear friends, Carrie and Derek's sweet baby girl, Stella just turned one!  Carrie reached out to me to help throw her a party for her first birthday.  Together with our very talented friend, Nicole (and Stella's awesome grandmother, Robin), we had so much fun throwing one precious "Pink Party" (like a "white party," only pink, pink, and more PINK!)... complete with lots of S/F/F touches, and all the guests sporting pink, of course!
Stella's adorable invitation and coordinating thank you note From Etsy shop, MommiesInk

The Drink Bar:

Mimosas and Bloody Mary's for grown ups, lemonade (in beverage dispenser and juice packs) and waters for everyone!
Custom matching water bottle labels from Etsy store, MommiesInk

The obligatory mimosa bar!  Carafes and vases from Ikea with juices and corresponding fruit for garnishes; straws from Etsy, Shoppe3130

Stella's Sweet Shoppe:

Bunting banner made by Carrie over a simple streamer/crepe paper curtain (adhered to yarn and hung with balloons)

Amazing cupcake cake homemade by Nicole!

Candy bar for take-home treats!

Custom mini cupcakes from Lilly Magilly's 

Pink Rice Crispie Treats!

Other sweet det's...

Carrie made a Shutterfly album of Stella's first year for guest to sign with a message for Stella.  We placed it on the gift table with a name sign made by Robin

Birthday banner handmade by Robin using patterned paper and yarn

Deck setup with toys for the tiny tots, including a pop up castle from Amazon
Simple pink Gerbera daisy centerpieces on the outdoor tables
The brunch spread by Robin, including a "baby buffet" with gold fish, pirate's booty, and Cheerios for the little ones

Happy Birthday to our favorite little Chunk!!

the mastermind dream team ;)

What a cool family?!

The family donning pink for Stelly Belly!
4 generations

Gifts galore!

We hope you had the BEST 1st birthday, beautiful baby girl!!!