Friday, August 7, 2015

One Month In! (With Three Kids)

Well Bronson is one month old today.
I can’t decide if that feels impossible (wasn’t he born a week ago?), or totally completely exactly right, or maybe even he’s older than a month (hasn’t he always been a part of our family?). Baby-time is confusing like that.

We are still all getting along super well. The girls adjusted so seamlessly. (I really do attribute that to how sick I’d been and how used to me being vaguely unavailable they had gotten.)
(By the way. My instagram feed has been ALL Bronson this month. It’s not that I’ve forgotten about my other two -- it’s just that they seriously strip down to their skivvies nonstop, I can’t keep them in clothes for the life of me (“I’m too hot” they claim -- not so sure it’s true…) so anyway, I’m not posting pics of them online till I get some with clothes on! lol.)

I’m having that postpartum “What do I do with the blog now?” thing. I felt that way after blogging my pregnancy with Ruby -- once she was born I felt really lost for, well a lot of things, but definitely what the point of my blog was. Having a baby just really changes a lot, and makes me question stuff.

So that’s kinda why I’ve not written for a bit.
That and, it’s hard to find the time to get both hands free.

But also, I haven’t felt like writing much on here because I'm just feeling really content in my head.
My head space was so terrible while pregnant and so sick, so blogging was a chance to kinda put some of that in order. Now that my head feels like me (which happened at maybe 3.5 weeks postpartum) I’m enjoying processing stuff just for me, without an audience.

I feel like I’m at the gate of some really nice clarity and I don’t really wanna miss the window of opportunity to work with it. I feel like putting some of my thoughts on the internet would jumble it up.

That sounds crazy and vague. But here’s an example of what I’m getting at.
You know social media -- always full of “ways to do things.” And my Facebook feed seems to always be shouting at me “raise your kid like this.” (Sometimes Pinterest too, but I’ve tried to tame that beast down to just pretty house stuff because that makes me peaceful.) For the first couple weeks of being a mom of three (regardless of social media, likely just straight up from hormones and major life shift) I felt like I was just bound to fail all things mothering. But once my hormones settled down a bit, my stomach started accepting food, and life generally felt a bit more “ok” I had this light bulb go off. It was something of a wordless sensation that equated to this:

“I get to raise my kids with what I think is important.”
The rest of what’s important to other people doesn’t need to affect that.
I’m a responsible adult and I’m not picking and choosing to be lazy. I’m just being a sane person who knows there are limits to what you can do in life, and I’m not gonna feel guilty about it.

So I’m working internally on a list of what I value. And that list something I don’t wanna blog about. It’s personal and doesn’t need to be validated. It’s personal and doesn’t need to put pressure on anyone else. And it’s a working list that will ever be shifting. But I’m nearly giddy at the realization that it’s a list I get to make. I feel so much lighter putting down all the other lists out there and just claiming my own.

I’m feeling rather like cocooning in again. Not in the way pregnancy does that to me. But mostly from outside voices. Not like friendships. But from just pressure from all around. I don’t feel like giving it my time. Facebook might need to be limited again. Certain blogs avoided for a while.
I just feel like finding my rhythm based on what comes naturally to me.

One thing that I’m very clearly noticing that comes naturally to me (at least in recent years), or matters a lot to me, is a more minimalistic environment.
The influx of baby things, mixed with birthday gifts for the girls (everyone’s birthday is right next to the other), really pressed on that idea for me.
Having more stuff than we need ups my stress level drastically.
Our house has been in flux since we moved here and started renovating it. So I’ve not been able to get rid of much decor stuff because I wasn’t sure if I would need a couch for this space or that space, or a picture or a mirror or a candle stick… but we are finally getting to a place in the house progress where I’m able to make that call now. So I’ve started to craigslist purge. Nowhere near as fast as I’d like. But I’m getting there.

I picked up the book “Clutter Free with Kids” from the library to see if it would help me figure out the toys in our life. I gotta say, I’m loving the book. The author is basically speaking my love language and totally solidifying that I firmly believe in the “less is more” idea. But as far as taming our toys, I’m not sure the book is gonna do much for me. Our toy situation is not created by us, it’s outside forces. Which the book doesn’t address at all. (It kinda assumes the reading-the-book-parents have bought the stuff.)  But I guess what the book is doing for me is really sealing in how much this concept matters to me (and solidifies the “whys” -- because it’s about way more than a clean house, or my stress level, I believe in the benefits it has for my kids too. There are actually a lot of them.) So in that way, it’s helping me take more ownership of our home (including the toys.) Giving me more of a sense of authority on it.

In other news I’ve accomplished some projects around the house this past week.

One day while my mom was here, hanging out with the kids, I closed up a hole in our Family Room. Right at the top of the brick wall has always been a gap between the brick and the ceiling.

 I figured it wasn’t a big deal. That was until we witnessed a mouse crawl out from there. (SO GROSS!) So to fix the problem,

 I first shoved a ton of steel wool into the crack (so they can’t chew through it) and then used some caulk backer (which is basically just foam to fill in a crack so the caulk has something to rest on), then caulked away. I think it took two or three applications to fill in the gap. 

It took me about a week to get used to how it looked. 
But zero time to appreciate it not being a mouse entry door.

But in more fun makeover news:

One of my makeovers was a quick little clock makeover. I’ve jokingly named it (in my internal conversations) my Magnolia clock, because I recently binge watched a bunch of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” and got majorly inspired by that lady. (I think the cleanness of her designs kinda helped me remember my minimalism ideals.) And it got my gears turning on finishing some of our spaces.
One thing I needed was a clock for our kitchen. After some online shopping for one and feeling really uninspired, I remembered I had a cheap $5 clock laying around from our last house.

I figured if nothing else it could be a good stand in for now. So I got out some craft paint and dry brushed it on there to give it a fresher look.

That was just the thing I needed at the moment -- a quick and easy, creatively satisfying project to feel like myself for a minute in the middle of a nap. I used a coat of light grey, followed by white on the more raise parts, followed by some light blue on some of the raised parts, followed by dark silver just messily thrown on all around.

The next thing I needed to accomplish was stools for our kitchen countertop we made. We had four stools that weren’t working. One was 30” tall and three were 24” and none had a back. We really wanted some stools with backs for the safety aspect. And since our countertop height was determined by the pass through already in our wall, it’s not a standard height, so both sizes of stools aren’t right.
After a ton of online shopping, and stress on my part (hormones mixed with my own general design obsessions didn’t mix too well this time) I finally found three awesome stools on craigslist. (Three is exactly how many we need. Three kids now. And that’s all the room there is at this counter.)

They were an hour and twenty mins from us. But even with gas money, paint and fabric they were cheaper than new and I liked these more than my new options. (The ones we were close to going with were gonna be $80 per stool.)
Blake likes drives. So last Saturday morning he went and picked them up while the rest the family stayed home.

They are wood, and it’s funny how that worked out because when I was looking at new stools I had been leaning towards metal ones. BUT having bought these wood ones was an entirely better outcome because we were able to customize the height ourselves.
These started out just over 30” and after some contemplating we cut them down to about 26” (I think.) Blake was able to take them out in the garage, do some magic with some sort of brace and get the legs cut to size all evenly. Amazing.

Blake sanded them. Then I was able to get two of them painted. (Third to come as time allows.)

And I recovered the seats with some indoor-outdoor fabric I got on 50% off sale at JoAnn Fabrics. 

The indoor-outdoor fabric is great for kids. It’s water repellant which also makes it pretty stain resistant. We already poured a cup of water on it last night and it didn’t soak in a bit.)

(I didn’t clean off the counter or the floors in these photos to prove I cannot do it all. I don’t clean much at the moment.)

And my next project is a bookshelf makeover. I was looking at “TheHandmadeHome"’s homeschool room again (soo pretty --- so up my alley) and I got to thinking I need a bookshelf -- to inspire me to actually get on the school wagon with a newborn around.
So some craigslist shopping got me this guy, for only $20. 

(And I had just made $20 after selling our baby bouncy seat that none of my kids liked.) So it was kinda free. (Love craigslist for that reason -- so many times I’ve been able to upgrade our space for nothing after selling what isn’t working for us any more.)

I plan it paint it white. And maybe add a color on the back for fun. I'm leaning towards an inky navy.
(I hope to that done this weekend.)
Our local schools start in two weeks, so I’m kinda aiming to get our stuff up and running by then too.

In "baby stuff that’s working for us" news:

  • The Rock and Play is still working magical wonders for us. 

  • I just discovered Mustela. Bronson came down with some epic baby acne.

    (He got worse than this -- I kinda didn’t take pictures when he was really really bad.) Like I was sort of embarrassed to show him off, it was so bad, levels of acne. (Sorry baby, it’s not personal, it just hurt my heart to see your cuteness hiding under painful looking skin.) At the grocery store, when people asked to see him and I would turn him towards them, they were doing the thing where instead of saying he is cute, they would pause for a beat and say “aww how sweet” or “so little” (which is now turning into “so big!” as he packs on the pounds fast.) My theory on this terrible acne is just that Bronson and I have some pretty incompatible hormones. (He mades me super sick from inside for 10 months. I give him crazy terrible baby acne with my breast milk.) Anyway. I gave some Mustela lotion 
    Found this at Target. It’s not sold at many stores.
    a try because I saw it mentioned a bunch in a baby forum for baby acne and it’s highly recommend for eczema. Currently Jasmine’s skin is kinda freaking out. So I thought it would be worth a shot for both kids. So far I’m extremely impressed with the stuff. After one application to each, their skin seemed immediately soothed in a way I’ve never seen from any other product. After a day Bronson’s acne went down significantly. And his skin just looked so much calmer and more comfortable. They say baby acne isn’t painful for the baby, but his skin just looked uncomfortable all red and flakey and inflamed. Now it looks at peace and glowy. It’s not blemish free. But wow does my mommy heart feel better when he’s not looking inflamed and instead at peace.
    And Jasmine’s skin is definitely on the upswing as we keep applying it daily. I ordered a Mustela bath oil for her, and the cradle cap cure for him to attempt to help further. I have high hopes for them. I might wind up getting their shampoo too. But I’m pacing myself to make sure their stuff keeps working for us. It’s kinda pricey. But if it helps I’m for it. It’s better than wasting money looking for stuff that helps (but doesn’t.)

  • Right before Bronson was born I sewed up four muslin swaddle blankets. (Got the fabric for 50% off at JoAnn Fabrics. So it was cheaper than buying premade blankets. And then they were plain white, which I liked more than baby prints.) It’s really easy to do. You buy cotton gauze fabric, cut it to size (something around 45”x45” give or take a few inches depending on the bolt size), and hem.  I LOVE these blankets. For a summer baby they are perfection. Just enough coverage to keep A/C chill off them, without over heating them. They are great swaddlers, with their larger size (but Bronson rejects the “babies love being swaddled” theory, so we don’t really use them that way.)  They make nice carseat covers if the sun is too bright. And they really do work wonderfully for a nursing cover. I just drape it over my shoulder on the nursing side and leave it down just enough to cover me up, without covering him up. Their texture gives them just enough grip to stay put on my shoulder. And they are light enough that they don’t get us extra sweaty. (Nursing hormones really up my internal temps. And it doesn’t help to be holding a cute tiny heater of a baby.) I’ve never been good at using those hooter hider kinda covers -- it just kinda gets in my way. This works well. If people are really watching closely they might catch a quick glimpse as we latch or unlatch, but usually I can get the blanket down over that really quickly (third kid skills.) Anyway, I’m super happy with these blankets. One of my favorite things. I’m not gonna wanna put them away when he grows -- I’m already questioning if I can use them as throw on my couch?? lol
Our borrowed Rock and Play, Swaddle Blanket and sock hands.
And that’s pretty much all I’m loving for baby right now. Oh…that and putting socks on his hands. Since he hates being swaddled, and loves keeping his hands by his face (but has no control over them yet) socks on hands equals less destroying of the face. Plus it’s somehow really cute.

Postpartum body image for me this time….
Not bad.
I think because I lived through this pregnancy I’m happy with my body. lol.
I can’t tell if I am just feeling the reprieve from that so strongly I’m delusional, or if I actually am recovering my belly size faster this time than last times. (Probably delusional -- but hey that’s not always a bad thing. lol.) Either way, I’m enjoying not worrying about it.
So far I’m not trying anything to get back in shape.
I’m just enjoying where I am.
I’m realizing I will recover and I will work out again, so I’m not so stressed over it as I was.

Getting dressed is kinda annoying though.
Strangely I feel totally please with my shape looking in the mirror undressed. It just makes sense to me. Yeah I’m rounder and untoned. But why wouldn’t I be? (Third time around, I think I’m getting it.) It feels naturally pretty to me --- like in a “how the world works” “God made cool stuff” kinda way.
But once I go to get dressed it’s trickier.
Part of me think’s its better to wear fitted stuff  -- like the ruched belly pregnancy stuff. Sure my belly is rounded out, but I don’t really mind it at all.
When I wear loose stuff to try and hide it, I feel like it adds 20 pounds that might be un-pregnancy-related.  It doesn’t help that my boobs are super huge -- adding to a overall hugeness look in loose clothes.
Either way, I’m not really caring much at all. I just observe visual stuff by default and think about it because I like to ponder it.
Most the time I’m wearing whatever feels good, regardles of what it looks like. And it’s nearly always sweaty and covered in milk, spit up, and occasionally poop (but I draw the line and change soon after that. lol)

Well I think I’ll leave it at that today.
Time to feed my ever calorie burning self. (Always hungry.)
(Starting to feel much more normal about food too -- so it’s working out. Slowly but surely. Phew.)


  1. Thanks for sharing an update! I totally respect and admire your desire for privacy, but I do hope you continue to blog in some way or other! Also, I absolutely love those stools you made over. They are so cute and classy! Using indoor/outdoor fabric was such a good idea! (I apologize for the ridiculous number of exclamation marks.... But otherwise I think my written voice sounds like a robot, Lol)

    1. Thanks Yvonne! I’m really happy with the way the stools turned out. :)
      And yeah, don’t worry, I probably came across more intense than I meant to about not sharing stuff on the blog. I still plan to share stuff, especially the house makeover things. I guess I’m just feeling kinda extra introverted, and still, as we soak up the newness of our family. So it might take me a while to break out a bit. We’ll see. I know I’ll want to show the work I’ve been accomplishing -- I already forgot I need to share those cushions I recovered for the loving room. (I finished those now.) And the bookshelf makeover to come. I can’t resist a good before and after. :)

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