Birthday Reflections

many-happy-returnsFor whatever reason, birthdays have always meant a lot to me. I love the fact that each year we get to celebrate the day we made our entrance into the world and I appreciate that sentiment so much more now that I have experienced a birth day first hand. But more than it being just your own special day, I treat it sort of like a new year and think back on all that has changed since the last birthday. I am always amazed at all of the days, events, and frankly, little things that make up a year. It goes by quickly doesn’t it? Since this particular birthday is somewhat of a milestone (the big 3-0), I’m taking a look further back, at the whole of my twenties. What a decade of change! These were years of learning and discovery, of difficult choices and great rewards. Hind sight is 20/20, but if I could go back and share some tips and insight with myself, I might have just a few things to say…

  • You may stray from your college degree, but don’t discount what it taught you. Those years helped shape who you are.
  • Taking a job of your dreams, for little pay, might just offer you a priceless experience.
  • Moving far from home is hard, but you will grow more than you thought possible. You can always return.
  • Speaking of hard, it’s a challenge to make new friends after college, but with persistence, creativity and some guts, you’ll find those friendships are worth finding.
  • Don’t be intimidated by job descriptions. You are more qualified than you give yourself credit for.
  • Be proud of where you are from and don’t be embarrassed to say that you miss it (OH-IO).
  • Nothing compares to the relationship that’s built through marriage. It is quite possibly the best thing in the world so give it your all!
  • Your job doesn’t have to define you. Fill your evenings and weekends with activities and hobbies that excite you.
  • There is something to be said for being close to family. No one else will be able to make you smile like they do.
  • Home ownership is a great accomplishment, but try not to let it consume you, as hard as that may be.
  • You will never be truly ready for motherhood, but take the plunge anyway and be prepared to be changed in ways you never could have imagined.
  • It will be hard to believe the number of candles on your cake, because you certainly won’t feel like a thirty-something!

The truth is I’m excited for my thirties. I think this decade has the promise of being something truly amazing! And because this is real life, I doubt that change stops in your twenties.

p.s. About that 30 before 30 list, well I may have been a bit overly ambitious. I haven’t decided if those are still things I want to tackle or if maybe my priorities have shifted. I’ll keep you posted. You know me though, never one to go too long without some sort of goal.

Getting Out

Apple-Picking-1

When you’re a new mom, everything is, well, new! Your body is new (and not necessarily improved), your sleep schedule is new, your routine is new, your lack of a shower is new…you get the idea. Sure you slightly and secretly mourn the “old” life but you adjust like all moms before you and what seemed new and scary at first slowly becomes the new norm until the old life feels like so long ago (even if it has only been weeks).

One new thing that I really struggled with at first was getting out of the house with my “extra cargo”. I never realized how easy it was to run an errand when all I had to do was decide to run said errand, grab the keys and my purse and go. Now I have to think about when Henry last nursed and whether I want to take the stroller or the baby carrier and are there diapers in the diaper bag and the biggest one…what if he cries inconsolably in public? We had been going through a phase where Henry would break into crying fits and no matter what I did – nursing, bouncing, changing his diaper – nothing seemed to make a difference. Having a crying fit at home, though not enjoyable, is manageable because it’s home. But having a crying fit in public, well that is stressful and quite frankly, terrifying to a new mom. So I played it safe and stayed close to home. We went for walks around the block or to the local library branch where I knew I could quickly walk out and walk home if the crying started. But after several weeks of that, even Henry was going stir crazy! So we decided to take a weekend and drive to my Mom’s where there would be plenty of extra hands to help and plenty of parenting experience to ease the fears. And wouldn’t you know, it was easier than I expected. We ran errands, we went to church and we even got to share one of our favorite fall activities with Henry – apple picking!

Apple-Picking-2

P1130079

apple-picking-3

I started to feel like myself again after that weekend. I got out of the house and I did things that I would always do, I just did them with a baby. And it wasn’t that scary! Even when he did cry in public, I realized it was silly to be embarrassed because most people just looked at him and said “aww”. People expect newborns to cry. That’s life. We can’t sit at home worried about crying. So get ready Henry because we have a lot to see and a lot to do!

Denning Beta is Here

The last time I logged in to A Little Old Fashioned was on August 13th! I can’t believe it was that long ago, yet I can remember the day exactly. The piece I was working on was titled “Wishing and Hoping” and it was about looking forward to the arrival of Denning Beta but in a patient, “all good things come to those who wait” sort of way.  I had the day off and had gotten up early to surprise Phil with coffee and donuts for his birthday and we were enjoying the peacefulness of the morning in our office. I felt fine, like I had the day before and the day before that. Little did I know that I would never hit publish on that post because my labor would start later that evening just as we were wrapping up our last date night before life got crazy.

Henry

The next morning, August 14th at 3:33am, Henry Otis Denning was born coming into the world at 8lb 14oz. It was a whirlwind labor with the entire event moving much faster than I ever imagined, but I was able to deliver at home, as planned and we couldn’t have asked for a healthier baby. I hope to share our birth story someday soon as I know it will allow me to not only capture the memory but also to process it. For now though, I am working through what I think is an even more challenging event – the transition to motherhood. See, I am actually writing this from my phone because well, it’s hard to balance a laptop and a baby in your lap at the same time. And the few times a day when I have my hands free I can only think about eating, sleeping or showering. Can you blame me?

But we are settling in – Henry to life on the outside and me to life as his mom. We still have a lot of learning to do, but I am told that it gets easier and the most demanding days, both physically & emotionally, are soon to be behind us. If that’s true, I hope that I can get back to writing more because I miss it. I never thought that sharing my story would be a means of expression for me, but it has become a part of my life that I look forward to. My story will obviously change in many aspects, because I have changed, even in just the last 8 weeks, but regardless, I look forward to this next chapter and I look forward to seeing what is in store for me and for our new family.

Calm, Cheerful & Creative | Nursery Inspiration

Nursery-Inspiration-Board

Once I decided on the three words that would describe Denning Beta’s nursery, I set to work finding the items that would fill the space and help create a calm, cheerful and creative space. Of course, this room has got to work for us as well, meaning it needs storage for all of the baby things we have already started accumulating, a place for the baby to sleep and be changed, a place for us to sit and yes, a place to throw those dirty diapers.

I think we are off to a good start and I am increasingly confident that designing a room from scratch won’t break the bank. For all of the big furniture pieces (dresser, crib and rocking chair), we are using items that have been in the family. Thanks to some paint and handyman skills, they will be updated to suit our style and will be perfect for the nursery. For most of the decorations in the room, those will be hand-made to go along with the “creative” feeling of the room. My mom (Denning Beta’s Oma) is sewing a beautiful quilt for the crib that I cannot wait to share with you and I am hoping to knit the stuffed animals for the shelves, create the mobile and DIY some of the artwork. And for everything else there is Ikea, Target and the Land of Nod!

My goal is to have the room mostly put together in the next few weeks so that I can enjoy (or at least relax) those last few weeks of pregnancy before our life is turned upside down. And if that doesn’t happen, well, I doubt Denning Beta will hold it against me!

Product Sources: Cart // Baskets // Honeycomb Shelves // Caterpillar Art // Zebra Art // Pouf // Sheepskin

Baby Blanket | My Very Own

Pinwheel-Blanket-1I have knit quite a few baby blankets over the years. They make such sweet, yet useful gifts for expecting moms that I don’t ever mind the extra time that they take as compared to something smaller like a baby hat or booties. But this time, this time I am knitting for me! I will finally get to experience one of my own baby creations.

Pinwheel-Blanket-2I chose the pinwheel pattern because I just loved how it turned out the one other time I made it. And as I did before, I chose bright and cheery colors instead of your typical baby pastels. It took me much longer than I planned (started this in Costa Rica in February), but that’s to be expected with everything we have going on. I think it will be perfect as a floor play blanket and can’t wait to test it out on my very own bebe.

Pinwheel-Blanket-3

 

Read Watch Listen | No. 4

Read-Watch-Listen-JuneI wish this installment of “Read Watch Listen” had a theme, but like my brain these days it’s a little scattered and that’s ok. Hopefully it means that there’s something here for everyone, whether you enjoy witty parenting stories, beautiful cinematography with crazy characters or the beautiful sound of the mandolin. And if not, well it’s just a glimpse into what’s been catching my attention lately.

READ // Bringing Up Bebe – I bought this book months ago when I saw that Kathleen had read it in preparation for her little man to arrive. There are, of course, a lot of stereotypes and overstatements in this account of an American raising her children in France all the while trying to learn the art of french parenting, but I think there are some really great take-aways too. I don’t have enough space here to share all my thoughts on this book, but if you are starting a family or think you might one day start a family, it’s a great and insightful read. I think it will definitely have an effect on our parenting style (Phil is reading it now).

WATCH // The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson does not disappoint. The story is hilarious, the cast of characters perfect and I loved seeing Ralph Fiennes play a role like M. Gustave. If you can still see this where you are, see it!

LISTEN // Sarah Jarosz - I stumbled across this artist on a mix playlist and immediately began searching for more of her music. She is one talented lady with a beautifully perfect, yet relaxing voice and intricate but calming instrumentation. Music like this inspires me to slow down and really enjoy the small moments in life.

A Nursery in 3 Words

We are now less than 9 weeks away from bringing a baby into our home and I’m feeling the time crunch. I’ve been focusing a lot of time and energy on our house lately. It could be the “nesting” part of pregnancy or it could just be that I want our house to feel inviting so that we can welcome friends and family after the birth to visit with us. Regardless, looking at every room and thinking through all of the options and lists of projects is overwhelming. It is time to focus. So I hope you don’t mind that over the next few weeks I’m going to be using the blog as an outlet for all of my ideas and I welcome your thoughts, feedback or just plain old encouragement! First up, the nursery.

This is really the first room, maybe ever, where I will be starting from scratch in terms of furniture, decor, the whole lot. On one hand it seems lot a lot to tackle, but on the other it’s kind of nice to be starting fresh rather than always trying to fit what you already have into a space regardless of whether or not it actually works. I could spend months looking for inspiration and browsing nursery pinterest boards, but see above… I have 9 weeks or less so it is decision time.

I found this great article a couple of months ago that I saved to come back to when I was ready to do some serious decorating in the house. I love the idea that a room should ultimately be about you and how you want to feel when in that room. It makes perfect sense! (Also, Emily Henderson follows the same rules with clients and herself. What more do you need?) So I’m going to give it a try with the nursery and if the formula works here, I’ll apply it to every room that I want to re-decorate.

The three things I would like to feel when I walk into Denning Beta’s nursery are:

Calm, Cheerful, Creative

Now that I have my 3 words to guide me, I next moved to gathering images of nurseries that embody one or more of my words in hopes that I could identify some themes to use in my own mood board (coming soon).

I definitely want the room to be a place where we can relax with the baby and not feel anxious or stressed about everything else. I want to enjoy the time I get to spend with him or her and I want time to pass without me being aware of it.

Calm-Nursery-MontageOn the flip-side, I want it to bring out the kid in me. I want to be able to laugh and smile and play with our kid and I want the room to be a cheerful place in which we can do that.

Cheerful-Nursery-MontageAnd lastly, I hope that the room will inspire creativity. I want to DIY and craft a lot of the decor to encourage an environment where my son or daughter can create, be imaginative and appreciate ideas.

Creative-Nursery-MontageNow I just need to find the actual pieces that will help me create a calm, cheerful and creative nursery. Wish me luck!