Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mim's Coral, Gold & White Nursery

I am so excited to finally share Mim's nursery with you today.  This room has been a labor of love and I couldn't be happier with the way it turned out.  I hope that Mim loves it as much as I do!

As soon as we found out we were having a girl, I knew I wanted to do a room in coral.  I considered matching the coral with an aqua/mint, then moved on to grey, but ultimately decided that gold was the way to go.  I started scouring the internet for coral and gold inspiration and put together an idea board based on a few items I purchased.  I also started a secret Pinterest board and became mildly obsessed with adding to it and changing it daily.  Seriously, how did we live before there was Pinterest?  

Anyway, there's a lot of great inspiration out there and coral seems to be a hot color right now, so I was slightly overwhelmed with possibilities.  I could not make up my mind and had so much trouble figuring out which direction I wanted to take the room in.  Why is it so hard to make choices while you're pregnant?  Then I started working with Natasha Schue (from the awesome blog, Schue Love), who helped me make some major decisions and guided me in the right direction.   We emailed back and forth for weeks with different ideas, items and suggestions.  It was so nice to have someone with excellent taste to bounce ideas off of and provide feedback.  She's got such great style and was so much fun to work with.  Natasha put together this inspiration board for me below and then it was up to me to turn it into reality. 
{inspiration board created by Natasha Schue}

I immediately got to work on the room.  It needed a fresh coat of white paint to make it look clean and bright.  We had a ceiling fan installed, because the room did not have any overhead lighting, babies like fans and it would provide better circulation in the room.  We had an old dresser of mine in the room that I wanted to paint so we wouldn't have to buy one.  I decided to paint it white with ombre coral drawers.  I chose three shades of coral (all Behr paints: Cool Melon, Youthful Coral and Coral Expression) and fun crystal/gold knobs from Home Depot.  It took forever for me to find the time and energy to get it sanded, primed and painted, but I'm really happy with the way it turned out.
Other DIY projects included lots of painting.  I was surprised how hard it was to find anything in gold, so most of the gold items in the room were spray painted gold (by my dutiful husband).  The curtain rod, the lamp, the bookshelf, the doorstop and multiple frames.  Other frames were painted coral with the same Behr paints, as was the wooden name above her crib.  The gold dots on the wall are decals from Urban Walls on Etsy.  While super easy to apply, it took me forever to figure out how I wanted them placed (straight lines vs. random).  I decided on a random rainfall type patter that was top-heavy and I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.

So without further ado, here is Mim's nursey!

































Photography - L Photographie
Gold Dot Decals - Urban Walls (Etsy)
Rug - Surya Frontier Casablanca from Layla Grace
Blocks - Mia Boo (Etsy)
Shelving - Vittsjo from Ikea
Crib - Divinci Jayden Convertible Crib
Crib Sheet - Land of Nod
Crib Skirt - Carousel Bedding
Changing Pad Cover - Land of Nod
Antlers - The Shabby Shak (Etsy)
Golden Kiss Canvas - Joss & Main
Wooden Name - Moon Snail Creations1 (Etsy)
Angel Wings - White Rabbit 
Sunburst Mirror - Joss & Main
Owl Bookends - Joss & Main
Vase and Coral Bowls - Anthropologie
End Table - Joss & Main
Faux Coral - Pottery Barn
Coral Bird Pillow - Joss & Main
Gold Heart Pillow - Sukan Pillows (Etsy)
Sequin Chevron Pillow - Amazon
Faux Fur Pillow - Amazon
Gold Dot Blanket - Isla and Lily (Etsy)
Dresser - DIY
Curtains - Madison Park Camila Ruffle Curtains from Overstock
Lamp - DIY
Stuffed Animals - Jellycat
Prints:
     Name Dot - Southern Spruce (Etsy)
     Pink and Gold Hearts - Penny Jane Design (Etsy)
     For This Child - Bella Love Letters (Etsy)
     Flamingo - Thimble Sparrow (Etsy)
     I Like You - The Wheat Field (Etsy)
     Watercolor Birds - Lighthearted Dreamer (Etsy)
     Twinkle Twinkle (similar) - Chitrap (Etsy)
     Watercolor Hearts - Outside In Art Studio (Etsy)
     


Monday, August 25, 2014

Baby Mim - One Month

Dear Mim,

How is it even possible that four weeks have flown by since you arrived and turned our whole world upside down (in the best possible way)?  I really hope the speed of this first month isn't any indication of how fast the next few months (or years) are going to fly by. I'm not ready for you to grow up so quickly!  I'm trying to savor all your newborn goodness and soak you up every second that I have with you. Just the thought of going back to work right now makes me want to cry and throw up.  If I could just hold you in my arms forever it wouldn't be long enough.
I've said this before (and I hope I'm not jinxing it by saying it again), but you are such a good baby.  You are happy and sweet and so incredibly cuddly.  You're still sleeping quiet a bit during the day, but you are starting to have longer awake periods where you love to chew on your hands and take everything in.  You love looking around and are starting to turn your head to follow noises/voices.  Your eyes are still a blue/grey, but definitely aren't looking brown.  I really think you're going to have dark hair and blue eyes - the opposite of your brother.  You have beautiful lips and the cutest button nose.  You also have gorgeous hands and elegant long fingers.  You most certainly did not get those beautiful hands from me. 
You are usually very quiet, unless you're hungry, gassy or need a diaper change, which is completely different than your brother.  He never stopped "talking" (and still hasn't).  You are much more deliberate and quiet.  However, you are a very noisy sleeper.  You grunt and snort and make the most ridiculous noises.  You are sleeping in the Rock 'N Play next to our bed and you keep your dad and me up all night long with all your grunts.  
Speaking of noises, you can burp loud enough to make a frat boy jealous and you toot when you sneeze or have the hiccups.  It's absolutely astounding and adorable. You also poop more than any baby I've ever met.  Seriously, you are a poop machine.  Which is why you've already had your first diaper rash at just a few weeks old.  Triple Paste to the rescue.  You also have a tendency to poop and pee mid-diaper change...especially on your dad.  In over two years, your brother has never pooped or peed on either of us, but it only took you a few days to get us both, multiple times.  We've used the same changing pad cover for two years and in the last week I've had to buy 3 more because of your impeccable timing.  
I'm happy to report that you're still a very good eater.  Unlike your brother, you have mastered both breastfeeding and bottle-feeding.  Mac was frantic and insatiable, but you are much more patient and relaxed about eating than he was and so far you don't seem to have any of the same issues of sqwaking or gagging like he did.  Breastfeeding this time around has been such a wonderful experience and I'm so glad that it's working out for us. 
I'm also pumping once a day so your daddy can feed you a bottle every night and I can build up a freezer stash for when I go back to work.  Your dad loves feeding you each night - you two sit in the rocker and watch movies and snuggle together for hours.  It's so wonderful to see you so relaxed and happy in his arms. When you're upset, he can calm you down quicker than anyone.  I know you are going to be a serious daddy's girl. 
Even sleep is better this time around (knock on wood).  You don't sleep for very long periods of time (usually right around 3 hours in between feedings), but you usually eat quickly and go back to sleep after a feeding fairly easily.  I do wish you could go for longer stretches, but I also don't hate our middle of the night Gossip Girl watching snuggle sessions.  You still love to snuggle and would prefer to be sleeping on someone to anything else.  You're in someone's arms about 90% of the day (especially for naps) and as long as you get plenty of daytime snuggles, you don't mind sleeping in the Rock 'N Play at night, which is fine with me.  It definitely makes it harder to get anything done, but we don't mind.   
This month has been full of firsts for you.  First bath, first trip to Target, first overnight at the farm with your grandparents.  It's all so exciting and new.  But because you are (probably) our last baby, we're not at all rushing things.  Whereas sometimes I felt very trapped and worthless during maternity leave with Mac, I'm actually enjoying all the downtime with you.  I'm not stressed out when I can't return texts, calls or emails.  I'm not in any hurry to check errands off a list or accomplish much.  Maybe part of that is knowing how easy it is to lose a whole day just sitting on the couch and holding you while you sleep and that there will always be time to do all that stuff later.  I'm okay with not being productive because I know you'll never be this tiny again and I don't want to waste a minute of it.  
Little lady, you have already brought so much love and joy to our lives.  We have been waiting and praying for you for so long that it's still very surreal to have you here where we can hold and kiss you.  Thank you for being so incredibly sweet and for making this first moth so enjoyable for us.  You are an absolute delight and I am so looking forward to seeing what the next month will bring us.

Love,
Your mama


And because everyone comments about how much you look like your brother, here are the side-by-side comparison shots.  Other than totally coincidentally being able to strike nearly the exact same pose, I actually think you look really different here.  You are definitely your own little person.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Adjusting

Since Mim's joined our family, the two most frequent questions I get asked have been: (1) How's Mim? and (2) How's Mac handling things?  My answer has usually been the same: (1) Great! and (2) Not so great.    
As with any major life change, this is taking a bit of time for us all to adjust.  However, toddlers are notorious for not handling change well, whether that's a big change to family dynamics or a little change like his high chair not being in the exact right spot in the kitchen.  Any change can lead to unexpected tantrums, outbursts and fits.  Oh, this is a tough age.  And really, I do think that's what the biggest problem is - the mere fact that Mac is TWO and that's a very difficult time for kids as they're trying to assert their independence and test all the limits.  For a 2 year old, I think he's handling the situation remarkably well and doing all the things a normal (wild and active) two year old would do.  If we'd had Mim 6 months ago or 6 months from now, I think Mac would probably be handing the situation much differently, but it is what it is.  They're not called the terrible twos for nothing.  (Not to say that he's terrible - he's actually incredibly wonderful - it's just a tough age.)  
For the most part, Mac's not very interested in his little sister.  And I think that's a good thing.  Maybe because he's a boy and doesn't seem to have that "nurturing" quality that little girls have at this age, but he doesn't really want much to do with Mim.  He's not begging to hold her, which could lead to him dropping her.  He's not trying to feed her french fries or play dough.  He's not interested in touching her with his dirty germy hands.  In my opinion, these are all good things as he's probably the biggest threat to her safety right now.  We've slowly been trying to encourage safe interactions with her, but we're definitely not pressuring him to be super involved.  We're giving him time and space for him to come to terms with her on his own.  I think that's the right move.  He's so wild and independent, there's really no forcing him to do anything he doesn't want to.  We certainly don't want him to resent her or see her as a threat, so we're letting him keep his distance, if that's what he's comfortable with.  I'm sure he'll come around soon, once she's a little more interactive and love her as much as we do.  But for now, we're fine with letting him think that babies are really boring and just leaving her alone.
Maternity leave has been a whole new situation that's taken some time for us all to get use to.  Our nanny is still here full time, so she's been a wonderful help with giving him lots of personal attention during the day while I take care of Mim.  As the weeks go by, he's getting more use to me being with the baby, holding her and feeding her all day, but he still has his moments.  When he wants mommy, he gets very upset if I'm holding her. The first few weeks we had a few epic meltdowns because he wanted me to hold him while I was feeding her.  I mean, kicking, screaming, thrashing, head-banging, violent tantrums that absolutely broke my heart.  Gut wrenching.  I never imagined it would be so hard to be in the middle of your two children who both desperately want you and your attention.  How do you choose who to tend to first?  It's one of the biggest challenges I've faced as a parent so far.  I'm not sure this will ever get easier.
I think the hardest part for Mac has been having to share his parents with Mim.   Even though he's getting more use to sharing me with Mim, he's still not ok with sharing his daddy with her.  When Ryan gets home from work, it's Daddy-Mac time and if Ryan even looks in Mim's direction, our little tyrant is not ok with it.  "DADDY NO HOLD MIM!!" gets shouted many many times a night, which is also very hard on Ryan.  He's also being pulled in two directions and it's very emotional for us all.   We definitely don't want Mim to feel abandoned while we put her in the bouncy seat to tend to him.  And we don't want him to feel like we'd rather hold the baby than play with him.  We're trying to get Mac use to the idea of sharing his parents with the baby, but it's going to take some time.  We slowly take turns holding her around him, but sometimes he still gets very upset.  It's a huge adjustment for him and I can't say I blame him for being confused and jealous.  But every day seems to be getting a little bit easier.  It's better now than it was a few weeks ago, so at least we're moving in the right direction.  It may take months, but he'll come around.  
One of the things Ryan and I are both trying to do to help the situation is to spend quality one-on-one time with each kid right now separately.  I've read that this helps with the transition and particularly lets the toddler feel like he's not being replaced or left out, but it's hard.  Newborns inevitably need their mothers (and their mother's "equipment") more than their dads, so I don't get to spend nearly as much time with Mac as I'd like.  I do try to spend alone time with him every day, doing something fun like catch crickets in the front yard or play baseball, but I'm also still recovering from major surgery (and dealing with exhaustion and very sore/painful "equipment"), so I'm limited in what I can do.  I know sometimes that frustrates him.
Ryan is also limited in what he can do with Mim.  Right now we are implementing a divide and conquer strategy with the kids, not by choice, but by default.  They both require so much attention and energy, it's very hard to get anything else done or even all be together.  We love spending time with them individually, but I'm looking forward to the day that they can play with each other or we can all hang out together as a family without the jealousy.  Things feel so divided right now.  I love all the Mim time I get, but I miss my Mac time and time with my husband.  I know it's a phase and it will pass quickly, but it does feel isolating and lonely at times.    
But of course not everything is hard.  It's easy to love these two amazing kids and I'm falling in love with my husband all over again as I watch him with them.  Mim is the sweetest thing ever and Mac has turned into such a funny, smart and ornery kid.  I love watching as both of their personalities continue to shine.  They change so much daily that I find myself just staring at them, trying to memorize every little detail because I know just how quickly it all changes.  Maternity leave has been such a blessing.  Even though I never feel like I have the time (or energy) that I'd like, I love getting to spend so much time with these two.  The days and nights feel so long while you're in them, but the weeks are just flying by and I'm not ready to move past this amazing stage.  As much as I want to move past this tough time, I also want to stay here forever.  Such conflicting emotions.

So for now, that's where we are.  Still adjusting.  Still working on things.  Still trying to figure out how to be a family of four.  Eventually we'll get there.  And in the meantime, we just have to try to enjoy the ride, no matter how bumpy it may be.  Thankfully the views are fantastic and the company is top notch. What a fantastic journey this has already been.  I can't wait to see where we're going next! 

Anyone else having (or had) trouble with the transition?  
Any advice for helping toddlers deal with a new sibling?  I'm all ears!      

Monday, August 18, 2014

Eve of Eden Maternity

Before I get too far away from this pregnancy, I need to get this post up.  I apologize for not getting this up WAY earlier, but I completely ran out of time (and energy) towards the end of my pregnancy. Why is it that the first nine months seem to fly by, while that last month feels like 600 years yet you can't get anything accomplished?  Oh, one of the many things I will miss about being pregnant (kidding).

Anyway, a few months ago I was contacted by a clothing company called Eve of Eden about sampling some items from their maternity line.  They are an Australian company looking to expand here in the US and are available online and in a few boutiques.  They graciously let me choose a few items to sample from their online shop - how cool is that?!  Seriously, sometimes being a blogger is pretty fantastic!  

Maternity clothes are usually pretty awful - they're either super expensive or incredibly cheaply made (sometimes both).  They're also usually available in notoriously obnoxious colors or outdated patterns that look like a picnic blanket from the 70's.  I've had a hard time finding well-made pieces in neutral colors that can be worn repeatedly in a variety of ways.  However, I was really impressed with the selection from Eve of Eden's website.  So much so that I had a hard time choosing what to pick.  

After spending quite a bit of time perusing their website, I chose three neutral, yet fun, items that I didn't already have to add to my maternity wardrobe: (1) a white print maternity/nursing blouse; (2) a black ruffled wrap dress; and (3) a black tankini.  
I wore all three items multiple times over the last few months of my pregnancy.  I absolutely loved all three pieces - they were fashionable, well-made and comfortable.  The white top was perfect for wearing to work or out on weekends.  I wore it with jeans, with shorts and with slacks.  I plan on wearing it a few more times in the upcoming months while nursing.  It was really comfortable and fit well.  I loved the rouching and the sleeve length.  The tankini was perfect for wearing to the beach on vacation - it was supportive and actually really flattering (well, as flattering as maternity swimwear can be).  
But the little black ruffle dress was by far my favorite - you really can't go wrong with a wrap dress during pregnancy.  I loved the ruffle embellishment on the dress and the length of the sleeves.  It's made with a super soft stretchy material that surprisingly didn't collect as much dog hair as I expected it to.  I wore this dress out to dinner and to work events a few times and always got compliments.
36 weeks pregnant and rocking the ruffle dress

Fortunately for you, I will not be posting any photos of myself in the tankini...because no.  And the photos I took of myself in the white top were after a very long day at work and I look like absolute death warmed over, so just trust me on that one.  I kept meaning to retake them a different day, but it just never happened. Total blogger fail.  

Also, because we love you all SO MUCH, Eve of Eden has graciously offered a discount code for all my readers that would like to place an online order.  Just use the code RUNNINGLAW at checkout and get $AUS10 off any purchase over $AUS60.  They have some really cute stuff right now that would be perfect for fall - like this chambray shirt dress or this polka dot top - paired with some boots.  

If you're currently pregnant, I hope you'll go check out the Eve of Eden website. 



* Thank you Eve of Eden for offering me the opportunity to review your products.  Other than receiving the items free of charge, I was not compensated in any way for this post.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Dog Days of Summer - Julie



Hi Friends! I'm Julie...wife to Jon, and mama to Hudson.  I blog about life with a busy toddler over, my messy house, and my love for fruit snacks over at The Girl in the Red Shoes.
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Before we had Hudson, our golden retriever Wrigley was our baby. I've always been a dog (and cat!) person but having him was a new experience for my husband. We both love our golden boy so much and I just knew that once we started a family he would be great with kids.
And I was right!
 photo IMG_6944copy.jpgWherever Hudson goes, Wrigley is sure to follow. He kept his distance for a while (thanks to Hudson pulling his hair every chance he got) but now they are best buddies. They play with each other, chase each other, and love on each other. It's enough to make my mama heart melt.
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Hudson loves to feed Wrigley snacks (both the doggie and toddler kind) which I know is probably the number one reason Wrigley loves this boy. I can't say that I blame him! When I was pregnant I worried that our furry boy would be neglected...and it's totally the opposite. He is a member of our family and we wouldn't want it any other way.
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And although we have our fair share of toy stealing, snack snatching, and rough housing we wouldn't change one thing about the relationship between these too. These are the days I will never forget.