Tuesday, July 22, 2014

And Here We Are Now

There's no central theme to this post, but just some updates that I wanted to put out there:

I'm reading for fun! My summer class ended over a week ago (hallelujah!) and my friend and coworker earned a spot in heaven by helping me grade final exams. Now that's all behind me and I don't have to think about teaching again until January (when I'm teaching a super fun 3 week class on personal essay writing, followed by a semester of teaching 3 days a week, and then a summer of NO summer classes).

I was reading Mists of Avalon which I was loving, but then I happened upon all of the sex abuse allegations directed at the author (who is now dead) and the book was sort of ruined for me... So I've set it aside. Right now I'm reading Sarah Caudwell mysteries which are hilariously British and also hilarious. I also have My Life in Middlemarch waiting for me. I wrote a chapter of my dissertation on another George Eliot's novel Daniel Deronda, so I'm really looking forward to that one. I also have Guests on Earth on my nightstand, which involves Zelda Fitzgerald. I loved Z so much, so I'm excited about that one, too.

* * *

Speaking of Z's... Zuzu has quit being a good sleeper. She's gone from being a solid 8pm-7am sleeper to being a bedtime-fighter, crib-climber, night-waker, parent-harasser. I realize how spoiled I've been because I am just beside myself on how to deal with this. What do people DO when their kids don't sleep? How do they function? I, for one, become short-tempered and unpleasant (more than usual, haha). We have some strategies we're implementing, but damn. Could her timing be any worse?

And people keep saying she's preparing us for the newborn. Whatever. All a newborn wants is a boob and then we all can enjoy peace and quiet and sleepy time. Zuzu as a newborn was much easier than Zuzu as a mobile, opinionated two-year-old.

What really annoys me is when she says she wants in her crib and then tells me to leave JUST  SO SHE CAN THEN CLIMB OUT OF HER CRIB. At one naptime over the weekend she wanted me to clear out of her room instead of sitting in the rocking chair and singing her lullabies and telling her to lie down, so she said, "Go to work, Mama!"

Really makes me feel good, you know? The painful irony is that when she's actually at daycare, she naps just fine with no fuss. #toddlerscanbejerks

Last night we actually had a better night, but I'm not fooled into thinking we've turned a corner.

* * *

I can't stop eating Nutella. Miraculously, I did not gain any weight this past week. I've gained close to 40 pounds already, so it's not like I'm not eating for two. I'll probably gain six more pounds this week. Because Nutella.

Also, Zuzu wanted to try my Nutella and I didn't want to share it with her because I am a mean mommy and I wanted to eat it all myself. So I told her it was HOT.

* * *

I have pregnancy carpal tunnel. It sucks. I had it with Eliza and didn't have it with Zuzu. Of course that freaks me out. It mostly bothers me at night and this time it affects both my hand and my feet. I wear wrist-braces to help the pain and swelling in my hands, but my ankles hurt and I feel pins and needles in my feet when I get up to pee in the night. My hands are still swollen and gripping anything is virtually impossible for the first few hours of the morning (making breakfast for Zuzu is extra fun). And yeah, typing this makes my hands hurt. OH THE SACRIFICES I MAKE so that people can read about the minutiae of my life.

* * *

Today is the first day of my summer that my agenda is totally open. No appointments, no grocery store runs, nothing to do but lie around and read.

Except actually I plan to clean some windows (gross, I know), mop the kitchen floor, do some laundry (I slacked over the weekend), and try to get some of my digital photos organized. It's one of those tasks that doesn't actually take as long as I think it will, is SO SATISFYING when it's completed, and is even enjoyable (except when waiting for photos to upload). So I'm not sure what it is that keeps me from staying on top of it. I did really well Zuzu's first year but definitely dropped the ball this past year. I want to get organized before Rerun gets here so I can recreate some of my favorite photo projects (like the weekly snapshot) with the new babe. Hopefully blogging about it will make me feel accountable. Maybe I need to head out to my favorite coffee shop so I am a bit more motivated...

* * *

I may end up writing more about this, but I had a really productive birth-prep-session with a doula this week. It was a combination of normal conversation, art therapy, and pain management discussion, and I left feeling so much more confident about my previous experiences being able to help me have a good labor and delivery this time (who knew that drawing on big paper with pastels would actually make me feel better?). Of course, my definition of "good" is simply "live baby," so that makes things easier. But she had some really helpful things to say, and I surprised myself with some of the details that came back to me as I told her the stories of Eliza's and Zuzu's births (while crying, because, obviously). I wasn't sure what to expect before this session, but I left feeling lighter and more focused and ready for baby.

* * *

One of the benefits of living in our neighborhood is that we have a beautiful park within walking distance.

One of the downsides to living in this neighborhood with Zuzu is that anytime we go for a walk, she INSISTS that we walk to park and stop at the playground. There is no strolling around, peeping in windows at dusk (from the sidewalk--I'm not a total creeper. I just like to see how people decorate). She has memorized the walk to the park and will start yelling and pointing, "NO! Go, Mama, GO!" if we try to head to another destination.

It's not that I mind going to the park, but I don't trust myself to keep up with her on the bigger slides and climbers, so it means that David chases her around while I stand or sit with Cooper and Zuzu gets exercise while I am bored or look like the detached parent on my phone or make small talk that's not very interesting with other moms.

I would actually like to do some walking that feels productive and allows David and I to have conversations together, so last night we loaded up in the car and drove to another park where we could actually WALK and avoid the playground. Of course Zuzu was only content in the stroller for a short amount of time (another reason I'm holding off on making a double stroller decision until next spring) and then she insisted on walking AND holding Cooper's leash by herself. She uses the phrase "My turn!" to insist that she be allowed to do things on her own. She also wanted to pet every other dog we saw, "Hi, doggie! I touch it!" and while I am a huge dog lover, my experience with Little Mac has taught me NOT to let my toddler run up to strange dogs and touch them.

So I still didn't get a lot of productive walking done. It was pretty funny when we passed one of those work-out stations where a guy was doing pull-ups and Zuzu dropped the leash, ran over to the guy, and said to him, "I do this!" I'm sure she wanted to hang upside down as she did with Bop, but instead we let the guy work out in peace and told Zuzu it was not, in fact, her turn.

* * *

We are going to a wedding this weekend and I'm really looking forward to it. It's friends of mine from grad school so many of my favorite grad school people will be there and I think it will be really fun. My birthday is also coming up, although we have no big plans for that. But dinner out is exciting for me, so that's fine.

* * *

Okay, seriously. This cobweb in the living room window has been driving me crazy for WEEKS and it's time that I do something about it.

After I eat a Nutella + graham cracker sandwich and finish this chapter in the book I'm reading...



Thursday, July 17, 2014

Project: Dresser for Rerun

So as I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I found this beauty of a dresser on Craigslist for $60.


The price was right, and the dimensions were right, so I sent a quick e-mail and then sent David to pick it up.

(Sidenote: The guy who sold it to us was so impressed by how nice David is that he sent me an e-mail telling me that I really have a good guy and he wishes us the best of luck with the baby and the changing table. This is why I call David "The Mayor.")

Anyway, we got it home and not only was the paint ugly, it was chipping and dusty and the drawers all smelled really musty.

So I got to work. First, I used the brush attachment on the vacuum to vacuum off all the dust, and then I wiped the whole thing down with a towel dampened with water and a little Dr. Bronner's soap.


Then I sprayed and wiped the inside of the drawers with vinegar and water mixture, and I set them out in the sun for a few hours.



I still felt like they smelled musty (my pregnancy nose is hyper sensitive), so I added a few drops of lavender essential oil to baking soda (just shook it up together in a sandwich baggie) and then spread the baking soda in each drawer and let that sit overnight. I vacuumed it all out before I started painting.



I also decided that I wasn't in love with the little basket on the top drawer. It looked too country for my taste. So I filled it with wood putty. It took three rounds of filling it and sanding it down before I was satisfied that it was smooth enough. Chalk paint is pretty forgiving, so I was hoping that I'd get good coverage. (Plot spoiler: I did!)




Once it was all clean and the putty was dry and smooth, I started painting.




The awesome thing about chalk paint is that you don't have to do any prep work whatsoever (aside from cleaning). No sanding or priming or anything like that. Just slap the paint on.

It goes on nice and thick and dries quickly with a matte finish. The color I chose was Aubusson blue. In retrospect, I wish it were a bit darker (like more of a navy?) but it looks fine and I still think it's a pretty color.

My wood-putty-filled basket totally disappeared under the chalk paint--so awesome.

I definitely needed two coats to get good coverage over the old paint.

after one coat


You can still see the half wet / half dry paint here.
The lady who sold me the paint convinced me to buy the special Annie Sloan brush, but you don't really need the special brush. It did come in really handy for the wax, though.

I painted this little side table at the same time I painted the dresser. I wasn't intending to paint it when I first bought it (at an estate sale for $10) but after I cleaned off the layer of dust that was covering it, I saw that the finish was in really bad shape. So, for $10, I knew that a layer of chalk paint was just what it needed.




After painting, I let it sit for a while until I got another burst of energy, and then I decided to distress the pieces just a little bit. (Can you tell I've been watching a lot of Fixer Upper? I heart Joanna Gaines.) I've never distressed furniture before and I was a little nervous about it. I like the look of it, but it's not a style I have in my own home, so I just wasn't sure how it would shake out.

I just lightly sanded around the edges with a fine-grit sandpaper. When I was satisfied with how it looked, I did the waxing process. I definitely kept it on the light side, and I was really glad I had the $10 side table to use as my experiment piece before I tackled the bigger dresser.


The paint was zero VOC but the wax does have a bit of mineral oil in it so I was cautious about wearing a mask, opening windows, and running a fan during this process.

I simply brushed it on in small sections and then used a lint-free microfiber cloth to wipe it down. The most helpful instructions I found said to apply the wax with a brush, then use a clean cloth to rub it in like handcream. Once you've rubbed in it, use another cloth to wipe off any excess. Let it dry 24 hours and then buff it for a slight sheen.

Annie Sloan says it's like lotion for the paint, and that's basically how it worked. It gave a light sheen to the matte finish of the paint without making it super glossy. It darkened the color just a schmidge, which I was really happy about. It also protects the paint from getting scratched or damaged, which should be quite handy for a changing table.

Of course, I wanted to fancy it up a bit more, so I cut wrapping paper for drawer liner and added that for a little pop.

POP! I guess the pink pattern might be a little girly, but I don't think Rerun will mind either way.
To keep it smelling nice and fresh, I made my own sachets by putting more baking soda and lavender essential oil in a coffee filter tied with baker's twine. Super simple and smells delicious.




I also spray-painted the drawer pulls. I originally tried to clean and shine them with salt and lemon juice paste, but they just didn't get sparkly enough for my taste, so the gold spray point did the trick perfectly.

Final reveal!

Before

After
I'm pretty satisfied with how the dresser turned out (and I totally want to chalk paint everything). I picked up a couple of rugs and some curtains, but I'm still looking for some storage baskets for the bookcase I ordered. Now comes the fun part of putting the room together!

It has crossed my mind that I may be doing this kind of "nesting" to avoid some of the scarier parts of prepping for baby--washing newborn clothes and packing a hospital bag. Those tasks feel much more "real" than painting furniture and hanging curtains, since the decorating I'm doing is technically in the master bedroom rather than a nursery. But considering I'm halfway through week 37, I guess it's time to get on that...


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Full-Term.

I hit 37 weeks yesterday. I feel... okay. (Or, as Zuzu would say, "oh-KAI!")

37 weeks
The plan right now is that we wait until my due date (August 5th) and if I haven't had the baby by then, I'll be induced. Of course, I would love to go into labor on my own, but my OB and I both feel that going past my due date invites too many risks (including the risk of me filling his e-mail inbox with more of my crazy).

Good news: I am still feeling lots of movement. The detailed growth ultrasound I had on Monday indicated that baby is still head down and that my amniotic fluid levels were at the highest end of normal (26 cm). Both the maternal fetal medicine specialist I saw and my OB agreed that number was nothing to be concerned about. My OB noted that the fluid volume probably contributed to the baby being able to flip around so dramatically (he was actually surprised that the baby had turned completely around between Tuesday and Friday).

I had a really nice nurse/tech doing the ultrasound for me on Monday. She asked about my history in a very sensitive way and was really kind in her response (what's sad is that this is remarkable since that was not always the case during my pregnancy with Zuzu). I got teary-eyed because the baby looks so healthy--we didn't see the face, but I could even see how chubby the little baby arms are looking. The estimated weight was 6 lbs 13 ounces--I know ultrasound estimations can be way off, but if it's accurate and baby gains half a pound a week over the next three weeks, we're looking at more than Zuzu's 8 pound birth weight (yikes!).

I've been busy working on stuff for the little "baby area" in our master bedroom--I have a post coming soon about chalk-painting furniture, David got the bookcase put together, I picked out curtains, and now it's just a matter of purchasing and arranging some accessories (oh, Ikea, why can't you be here already?).

Doing this stuff hasn't been too hard on me. Maybe it's easier because it's not really a nursery, so I can tell myself that I'd be buying curtains for our bedroom anyway.

But there's other stuff that needs to be done that I'm still procrastinating... washing newborn clothes, packing a hospital bag, making a birth plan...

For the record, I'm not set on any particular birth plan. My goal is healthy baby, and whatever it takes to make that happen is fine.

But I guess it doesn't hurt to envision the ideal plan. I'm just not exactly sure what that is. I'm not opposed to an epidural, but I've never had one before and I'm still more afraid of a needle in my spine than I am of the pain of contractions. I don't like the idea of not being able to walk and I'm freaked out by a catheter. So my "plan" right now is to just see how it goes. If a needle in my spine sounds like a preferable option to enduring contractions, I'll get an epidural. If I can survive the contractions without medical interventions, then we'll roll with that.

My friend Renel said her plan with her third baby was just to "do it until I couldn't do it anymore." (She ended up delivering without an epidural, but also had a small baby). So I am going to kind of make that my mantra. I could make myself crazy planning for every potential scenario, and I think in this case it's really important that I trust the future me (and David) to make decisions I feel comfortable with in the moment. I've done this twice before, but somehow I still feel weirdly underprepared (if only I could study hard enough to ace this).

In the end, I just want a healthy baby. Whatever it takes to get Rerun here alive and well is totally fine with me.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Back to the Fourth

I never posted about the Fourth of July!

We visited David's grandma over the weekend. Her name is Peggy, Zuzu calls her Peppa. I've told Gma Peggy that Peppa is a cute cartoon character; I have not mentioned that she is a pig.

Anyway, we stayed at Peppa's house, which is on Table Rock Lake and my parents actually stayed nearby in a condo so we got to see them, too. David's dad and his wife also came down for one afternoon, so Zuzu had grandparent overload with Peppa, Grammy (still pronounced "Mammy"), Bop, Pepaw, and Memaw (she manages to keep all those names straight, so I guess the Who Loves Zuzu? book really was a good investment).

I wasn't feeling the greatest over the weekend--indigestion, discomfort, and a lack of sleep. Mostly pregnancy symptoms, but our little Zuzu is so good about sleeping at home (in the crib without a fuss, 11 hours a night, consistently, plus 2-3 hour naps) and is TERRIBLE about sleeping while we travel. She climbs out of pack & plays and travel cribs, so we brought a travel crib mattress to put on the floor, calling it her "cot" like she sleeps on during naptime at school. Well and good in theory, but in reality it meant that she didn't go to bed until 10:30-11pm each night, and was still getting up at 7am (until our last morning, when we ALL slept until 9:30--that literally has not happened in two years). Yet naptime was still a fight, and never went longer than an hour and a half, two hours at the most. So we were all pretty exhausted.

But we managed to have a good time. Zuzu was not a fan of fireworks and my stomach was especially bothering me on the 4th (I opted to have cereal for dinner), so we didn't drive out to see any of the big shows around the lake. We could see some of the fireworks from Peppa's deck, but Zuzu wasn't impressed. The first one she saw (on the night of the 3rd) really freaked her out: "Loud! Hot! HOT!" (We all know how she feels about hot things like birthday candles.)

On the night of the 4th, she sat on Peppa's lap with one ear pressed up against Peppa's chest and Peppa's hand over her other ear. When a firework would go off, we'd say, "Happy Birthday, America!" to try to get her excited, and Zuzu would say, "No, Mama. Fireworks make me sad."

I finally decided that she was so pitiful that we had nothing to gain from watching more fireworks, so she and I went inside early--much to Cooper's relief.

Firework sadness aside, we also spent a lot of time swimming, playing at the park, and even did a little bit of shopping on Sunday while an exhausted Zuzu actually stroller-napped for two hours (that's what three days of not sleeping will get you).

There was one horrifying incident that involved poop in a swim diaper at the pool after ingesting what was evidently a significant amount of sand and lake water earlier in the day. I'll spare you all the gory the details, but suffice it to say that it involved Zuzu throwing a temper-tantrum after pooping in her swim diaper, me dry-heaving, and my dad having to transfer runny poop with identifiable amounts of sand and grapes from a bathtub to a toilet. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA!

Overall, we did manage to relax and enjoy ourselves, even though I had to come back to one more week of teaching. When we got home and pulled into the carport, Zuzu started fussing and said, "NO! Peppa's house!" so she obviously enjoyed herself and was not excited about being home.

I didn't take many pictures--mostly because I wasn't feeling so great. So if you've been on instagram, these will mostly be repeats, but they are my favorites--and check out David's sweet baby picture.

Hanging around with Bop

Apology hug after near-biting incident

Some intense kissing action. I love how she's holding my face.
This is what three days of no sleep looks like.
Is Zuzu my mini-me? Or does she look a little bit like this cutie-guy?
On her way to the playground on the 4th

Sitting with Peppa
Splashing with Grammy and Bop

laughing with Daddy



Aloha! Back at home, sporting a birthday gift and Hawaiian souvenir from her great-aunt Peggy

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A Turn of Events

So... this happened.

No, not two bad hair days, although that also appears to be true. What I mean is: THE BELLY HAS SHIFTED.
left is Tuesday night. right is Saturday morning.

I don't know if it's as obvious in the picture as it is to me, but at my scan on Friday we determined that the baby had flipped head down. And sometime last night, baby seems to have gone on burrowing its way downward because I no longer have a baby in my rib cage!

(All my freaking out clearly got through to Rerun, who, so far, is demonstrating obedience and cooperation that far exceeds his/her sister Zuzu.)

So, yes. After my panicked e-mail to my doctor, the scan he ordered on Friday showed all good news--baby was head down, with the backbone ridge making my belly lumpy and the little tushie all up under my ribs. Plenty of fluid to allow for the flippage. The nurse we had was very kind; she directly addressed the fact that we'd lost our first baby, and talked us through every step of what she was doing. It was familiar because we'd done it all just two years ago with Zuzu, but I was so grateful for her patience and thoroughness.

I made David go with me because I needed the support (and I proceeded to be anxious and snippy and bite his head off on the drive there), and that meant we had to bring Zuzu because Friday's not a daycare day in the summer. I was a little nervous, but she was actually very well behaved. She sat in the recliner with me during the non-stress test and wandered around the room during the BPP scan but didn't get into any trouble. She did keep lifting up her shirt and insisting it was "MY TURN, Mama" to have an ultrasound on her tummy, but overall she was very, very good.

Sometime last night, baby must have figured out that facing down is the way to be, because when I got up this morning I felt different. Like I could breathe. Like there wasn't six pounds of baby squished up against my lungs. I actually think my belly looks smaller than it has for the past two months. It had been like a shelf sticking out, and now it's much more of a slope. This makes me happy and also makes me realize that these next few weeks are going to pass very, very quickly.



Thursday, July 10, 2014

Anxiety Rerun

I realize I have not written very much about this pregnancy here.

I think it's because it's not as all-consuming as my first! exciting! amazing! pregnancy was, and it's not as all-consuming as my second. fearful. tear-filled. pregnancy was.

It's somewhere in between, really--an exciting and unexpected surprise, a blend of confidence in my medical care and my body's ability to actually carry and delivery a healthy child, and a good dose of anxiety that can still keep me up at night, but isn't new or different from the anxiety I felt before.

I've definitely had my ups and downs with this pregnancy. The initial shock, the relief that all looked fine, the delight that we've had one healthy baby, the resurgence of guilt for not knowing something was wrong with Eliza.

Most of the things that made my first pregnancy feel hard--like the "Is this your first?" question--have softened. People know or they see Zuzu and they don't ask or they ask and I just say "No" without elaborating.

The third time around I know the drill, you know? The doctor appointments, the kick-counts, all that stuff.

Yeah, I freaked out at the 34 week 3 day mark, but that freak-out was less about fear and more about guilt. Rerun has been so active, my NSTs have been so good. I didn't feel scared for this baby as much as I felt heartbroken and ashamed about Eliza not being okay. It threw me for a loop, but I also had the distraction of Zuzu's birthday, plans to go out of town for the Fourth of July, a summer class to show up and teach.

Tuesday I had a doctor appointment. 36 WEEKS!!! Another good NST. But when the doctor felt my belly, I asked him if he could tell what position the baby was in. Remember how I felt like my abdominal muscles were being ripped apart? I've still felt more uncomfortable this time than I remember from last time. And a quick ultrasound revealed that the baby's fat round head is right up between my ribs. Basically, as breech as you can get.

My doctor calmly assured me there was time for the baby to turn around and I felt calm when I left his office.

And then sometime that night, I lost it.

I started obsessing about a cord accident. Random, rare, unrelated to what happened to Eliza, but taking Rerun from us also.

I was also feeling nauseated and having serious gastro-intestinal distress, which was totally unrelated to pregnancy and yet SERIOUSLY UNCOMFORTABLE, so I think that added to everything. I was supposed to be grading papers, which was giving me flashbacks to when I went into labor with Eliza (marked by having contractions that made me throw up) and I was basically a huge mess.

The next morning, I wrote this e-mail to my doctor:

Sorry to bother you with an e-mail after just seeing you yesterday, but after 36 weeks of (relative) calm in this pregnancy, I think I have hit freak-out mode.

The fact that this baby is still breech at 36 weeks and is so very breech with its little head right up in my ribs has me worried that there's a reason it hasn't flipped around--like the cord is caught around the neck. I don't think the baby has been moving back and forth--that muscle-ripping feeling I've had near my ribs seems like it must be related to the head being there for weeks now. I know the NSTs have all been good, but I can't help but worry.

Friends of mine who have had breech babies have either had an external version or immediately opted for c-section. After having two vaginal births, I'd obviously like to avoid a c-section (if the thought of needles makes me cringe, the idea of surgery kind of sends me over the edge), but a friend of mine had a version shortly before her first son was stillborn. While she has no idea about correlation vs. causation, it's enough to terrify me. And, like I said, I can't get the worry of a cord accident out of my head. What if the cord is too short or too twisted to flip the baby around? I know it's rare and random, but I also know that statistics have screwed us over before.

I'm not sure what my options are at this time, but I would like to know if there's a way we can get a closer look via ultrasound at the umbilical cord, or if we can talk about what you would recommend if the baby hasn't flipped around by 37 weeks (or 38, or whatever you think the timeline would be). I think I'd feel better to have some kind of plan going forward so that I can get through this weekend without becoming a total basketcase.

I've seen all the exercises online I can do to encourage the baby to flip, and I'm more than happy to watch TV upside down on an ironing board leaning against the couch, while shining a flashlight at my crotch or blaring Beethoven or having David talk into a paper towel roll aimed at my pubic bone (seriously, those are actual recommendations), but I want to make sure that there's not a risk of me harming the baby by doing these tilts and inversions.

And then I asked him to call me after 12:15pm. 

Can you tell that I must be his FAVORITE PATIENT? And he's probably SO GLAD I have his e-mail address?

So, yeah. The e-mail is a little bit crazytown BUT SO AM I.

And, God love the man, he called me yesterday afternoon and scheduled me for another NST and modified bio-physical profile (a fancy ultrasound that looks closely at breathing and fluid levels and can look at the cord even though they don't like to talk to you about the cord because lots of babies are actually born healthy even with the cord around their neck--Zuzu was). He told me to hold off on exercises until after the BPP and we'll go from there. Enormous sigh of relief.

What I love most about my doctor is that he manages to both calm my anxiety AND validate my concerns.

I have to go back to the perinatal center for the scan, which I'm not looking forward to, but it's worth it for me to have the extra monitoring and the peace of mind. And my once-a-week appointments have been bumped to twice-a-week appointments for the duration.

Three and a half weeks, you guys.

Oh, Rerun. Please turn around safely in there. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Conversations With Zuzu Part I

Turning two has made Zuzu quite the conversationalist. We are constantly cracking up at the comments she makes. She also has a funny knack of responding to questions I ask David (like, "So do we want to plan on broccoli with pasta for dinner tomorrow?") with a very adult-sounding, "Yeah."

Here are a few other conversations we've had recently:

* * *

Me: What did you do at school today?

Zuzu: No pushing, Mama!

* * *

Me: What do you want for dinner?

Zuzu: Chicken!

David: Anything else?

Zuzu: Pancakes!

David: (laughing) Is that it?

Zuzu: (pauses for a beat) BEER!

(So, basically she's ready for college.)

* * *

Scene: Daycare pick-up. Another girl in her class (whom we will call Andrea) is standing near the door when I step inside.

Zuzu: (gesturing emphatically) No, Andrea! No! MY bye-bye!

* * *

Scene: in the car - car seat now facing forward

Zuzu: Tissue, please, Mama.

(Not really a conversation, but I couldn't believe that she requested a kleenex AND said please!)

* * *

Scene: Zuzu playing a favorite game on the patio, which consists of her getting in her Cozy Coupe and pretending to leave and return home.

Zuzu: Bye-bye, Mama!

Me: Bye-bye! I love you!

Zuzu: (drives about six inches) Zuzu home! Hi Mama!

Me: Hi, Baby!

Zuzu: Hi, Baby-Mama!

* * *

Scene: At the condo my parents rented over the weekend. We were driving from their condo up to the pool, which wasn't far but was a very steep hill. Zuzu was not happy when she realized that my parents were driving separately. "Bop" is what she calls my dad. This conversation did NOT amuse me at the time, but is funnier in retrospect.

Zuzu: NOOOOOO! Bop! Bop!

Me: Honey, Bop is going to the pool. He's just driving his own car.

Zuzu: NOOOOOOOOOOO! Bop! BOP! BOP!

Me: There's not enough room for everyone in our car, so Grammy and Bop are taking their own
car but we'll see them in just a minute.

Zuzu: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! BOP! BOP! BOP!

Me: (sighing) Zuzu, Bop is not going to want to play with you if you keep whining and crying.

Zuzu: (points at me) Mama! Get out!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Rerun's Room

Decorating a nursery is one of those supposed-to-be-fun-pregnancy-tasks that is really loaded for me. I never got to fully decorate Eliza's nursery. I was SO excited to put it together. I had a plan in mind, I had bedding and wall art and furniture. We'd put the crib together and purchased the matching dresser/changing table and I had a vision of what it would all look like.

But my plan was to get everything washed and sorted and put together as soon as I was finished with classes that fall semester. And instead we lost her the week before the semester ended. The nursery was half unpacked and totally unfinished. When we came home without a baby, I wanted everything baby-related packed away and out of my sight as quickly as possible. (It didn't help, but at least it gave us something to do). 

When I was pregnant with Zuzu, I refused to set up a single thing before we came home from the hospital with a live baby. I think I finally did a load of laundry to wash some of the newborn clothes, but even that was done with a sense of trepidation. I didn't want to fall for the crazy idea that a pregnancy was going to actually result in a healthy, live baby. I'd acted on that assumption before, and look where it got me. When careful preparation resulted in the death of a baby, this time I had to do the opposite: prepare nothing, and then figure it out once we actually had a baby to bring home. (I know there's a logic lesson here about correlation vs. causation but TRY TELLING THAT TO MY RAGING PREGNANCY HORMONES).

Zuzu was born and that stuff that hippie moms say about how the baby doesn't need anything but a place to sleep and a boob turned out to actually be true. Zuzu slept in our room for the first several months, but I did put together a nursery for her. And really, it was the nursery I had envisioned for Eliza. Same paint, same rug, same yellow and light blue color scheme, same baby duck decorations inspired by the adorable quilt my Nana made. 

The nursery looked really cute when it was all completed, but it was always bittersweet for me to be in that room that Eliza never got to use. I was so very grateful that Zuzu was there, and yet I'll never be able to wipe out the memories of packing away baby things after the baby we'd wanted and loved and prayed for was inexplicably dead.

As much as I loved our little yellow bungalow, moving to a new house offered a fresh start for nursery decorating and I was happy to take advantage of that. I created a nursery just for Zuzu, as bright and sweet as our second baby. We used the same furniture and I re-hung all of my favorite and most sentimental nursery art, but the arrangement and color scheme were different, and this nursery was color-coordinated to match the quilt Nana made just for her (seen here on Nana's lap).

I knew the moment we found out about Rerun that I wasn't going to be ready to transition Zuzu out of her nursery. After all, she's only been able to use it for just over a year! We're not ready to try the big-girl bed thing--not when she's sleeping so well and is still safely contained in the crib. I also knew that we'd want Rerun close to us for the first several months--partly because I like having the baby within an arm's reach when I wake up and want to know s/he is still breathing, and partly because I'm lazy and don't want to have to get out of bed to nurse the baby in the middle of the night.

So I quickly rejected the idea of transitioning Zuzu to her big girl room this summer and instead decided that we would make the most of the little sitting-room space between our master bedroom and our closet. It's a small space where we had stuck a chair and a lamp, but we haven't actually used that space at all. We've talked about making it an exercise room, a small office, and even someday converting it to a master bath, but for now it's going to be Rerun's little room.

We won't need a crib (due to the bassinet-by-the-bed situation), so I'm putting a changing table/dresser, a rocking chair, a bookcase, a laundry basket, and a few baskets of toys in the space. Rerun can share closet space with us (since the master closet is so ridiculous) and we'll make adjustments as needed.

Here is the space in its previously hodge-podge state. Please note that I'm totally keeping it real and we haven't touched this room since we painted it before moving in. Alternatively, you may assume I think rooms look great "styled" with cleaning supplies on drawer-less dressers, vacuum cleaners left out, chairs that clash with carpet and wall colors, and polyester curtains that are actually offensively ugly:

This is the view of the little room (and our closet doors) from the master bedroom. You can see the big red chair (which will find a new home), the dresser, empty of its drawers, and the vacuum cleaner, bringing in the purple end of the color scheme. Also, the paint color in this space is the same as the master bedroom, which is NOT as green as it appears here, but is actually a very pleasing blue/green/gray. WTH, iphone?
Hideous curtains (I can't believe I've lived with these up for over a year--they were left by previous owner and I've wanted to replace them since we moved in!) and comfy but not-color-coordinated chair.

Empty corner. I plan to put the bookcase where the vacuum is sitting. (The vacuum actually lives in a closet, I just felt like photographing it for the pleasure of the internet. You're welcome.)

View of the master bedroom (and half-ass made bed) from the little room. You can see my reflection in the mirror and the closet doors are directly behind me. The color of the wall by the dresser mirror is more accurate. It's Sherwin Williams Sea Salt.
Now we're looking forward to Rerun's expected arrival (in FOUR SHORT WEEKS OMG) and I'm trying to balance my superstitious anxiety (Don't prepare anything--it worked last time and you don't want to jinx that) with the more practical reality (Assuming things are likely to work out this time around, do you really want to be scrambling to do laundry and set up a nursery when you could just be soaking up a sleepy newborn--or chasing an active two-year-old?).

At the same time, I'm making an effort to be frugal (yeah... guess we'll be living with that teal carpet for a while...) and versatile with what I put in this space as it's a temporary situation and I expect we'll be shifting things around somewhere between 6 months and a year from now (and maybe getting new carpet or refinishing the hardwoods hiding underneath?). 

This means that my requirements for furnishing decorating this space are as follows:
- I want pieces that would work in other places in the house, should we decide to do something completely different with this space later.
- I don't want to spend too much money because GAH two kids in daycare (see carpet issue).
- I want the space to blend with our bedroom so that it's not jarring or ugly.
- I still want it to feel like a "special" little nook I'm creating just for Rerun.

So far, that means that I plan to use a regular dresser and having it double as a changing table (which I think is a brilliant idea anyway and really what I should have done for Eliza/Zuzu). I bought one for $60 off Craigslist and repainted it with Annie Sloane chalk paint. I still need to finish that project (I'm going to lightly distress it before waxing) but I'll post about that later this week.
This is the BEFORE.
In addition to the dresser, we were given a Dutailier glider & ottoman that is by no means new or exciting, but it has been very well cared for, is neutral-colored, and is a nice size for the small room. I ordered a tall, narrow bookcase (from Target, the same line as our nightstands) to put in one corner that I expect will mostly hold baskets/accessories for now, but can obviously be repurposed later. I picked up a small side table for $10 at an estate sale (and painted it to match the dresser). And I have a laundry basket with a lid that can sit in one corner. 

I still need a rug, a lamp, and curtains, plus some art for the walls. I hope to have the time and energy and optimism to seek those things out before the end of this month. And of course I'll post pictures as the room comes together (if only to prove to the internet that I actually have better taste than the current photos of this room would suggest). 

There's something really scary about setting all this up before the baby is here, but I really would like the experience of bringing a baby home from the hospital to a room that is all ready to go. It seems like such a simple thing, but it's something that I will never take for granted.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Two Years in Pictures

Hope anyone reading this is having a very happy 4th of July! (Or just a nice Friday, if you're Canadian or Australian).

For a weird flashback to July 4, 2009--the time before kids, grief, and life getting complicated--check this out. (Spoiler alert: I was just as dorky in 2009 as I am now.)

Anyway, the real point of this post is another kind of walk down memory lane. Zuzu-style.

Remember this?

I did not get a video made this year, so that may not be an annual tradition for us (although I tink it's a sweet one).

I did, however, take a sh*tload of photos!

I mentioned before that I love documenting Zuzu. We did the monthly onesies + stickers her first year (which reminds me, I should probably order some stickers for Rerun...)













We've ditched the stickers (and the onesies), but I've been continuing the tradition of taking her picture each month in the same chair.

It's by no means perfect--the chair keeps getting moved around, I never remember what camera angle to use or how close up to get, our new house doesn't have as much nice natural light as our old house did because the street is so shady, and depending on her mood, Zuzu can be more or less cooperative, so for every cute shot I get, I also have about twenty pictures that get deleted.

But even when I get frustrated (or her outfit isn't as cute as I wish it were, in retrospect), I never regret sitting her down each month on the 29th (or as close to the 29th as I remember) and taking a picture of our darling girl.

13 months

14 months

15 months

16 months

17 months

18 months

19 months

20 months

21 months

22 months

23 months

2 YEARS OLD!
Do you guys do this kind of regular documentation, or do you like to keep your photos spontaneous? Do you think I can keep it up this year? It would be really convenient if Rerun decided to be born on July 29th...