Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Welcome to Mommyhood

One week ago, I became a mommy to a precious little girl that my husband and I named Joanna. Earlier this year when we learned we were expecting and remodeling our home at the same time, I was pretty obsessed with the HGTV show, Fixer Upper - and that's how she got her name. 

Before I met my husband, I was on the fence about how much I actually wanted children of my own. I became an auntie at age 16 and then again at age 20 and I was pretty convinced that children may be too much for my own liking, even though my niece and nephew are two amazing individuals. That little opinion of mine (along with other reasons why I am now thoroughly enjoying my journey toward domestication) changed shortly after I met Brad. Although I still wasn't ready for kids, something inside told me that I wanted to one day marry and have a family with that man. Well, two dogs, one cat and a baby later... we've got ourselves a little family. We don't think Joanna quite completes our whole family, she sure does add more love to the mix than we ever thought was possible.

Here are a few things I've learned in the last week:

1. In the first few days (or possibly even weeks/months), you can cry tears of happiness - over and over and over again! ...Right after she was born, the nurses worked on her for a good twenty minutes while trying to get the fluid out of her lungs. Brad stood next to me waiting patiently for them to give her to me. I literally had waterfalls of tears running down my face and kept saying to him, Can you believe that is our daughter? I am in complete disbelief of how much love she brings into my heart - all 6 pounds, 6 ounces and 20 inches of her. As cliche as it sounds, its unreal and it's difficult to understand until you have one of your own - at least it was difficult for me until last Wednesday.

2. Sleep deprivation isn't as bad as it sounds. Okay, that statement sounded crazy and maybe it's the new-mommy-adrenaline-high that I'm still riding, but somehow your body adapts to the needs of that little being that just entered the world. It's not to say you won't fall asleep nursing in the rocking chair or walk around with bags under your eyes... but your body truly adapts.

3. You fall in love with your partner all over again. Cliche statement #2 but this is real - I promise. You see them in a whole new light when they wake up at 1:30 am to change a dirty diaper, they clean the litter box (even though they hate cats) or they try to soothe and rock a fussy baby while telling her stories.

4. After day 3, babies poop and pee... A LOT! Wow, have we gone through quite a few diapers and she is only 7 days old.

5. Your baby will become the new focus of your life. I'm sure that once new parents learn what their new normal is with their new baby, they are able to [mostly] continue living the life they previously lived before their baby arrived and bring them along for the journey - but in the interim, it's literally all about the baby.

Thats all for now!

New Mommy Stephanie

Monday, September 21, 2015

DIY Nursery Bedding Part 2

In my last post, I left off on describing my efforts of learning how to sew (only, we didn't get into the actual sewing details). Apparently there is a lot of planning required before you even sit down at your sewing machine - and even more planning once you bring home all of your materials from the craft store. 

3. Turn on your sewing machine

Brad and I planned a weekend to spend at my MIL's house so we can start our sewing project. We packed up the car, loaded the doggies and drove 2 hours south. I somehow misplaced the power cable to my sewing machine (truthfully, I'm not sure how I did this because I never even turned the thing on) but luckily, my machine uses the same power cable as your standard printer. Needless to say, I borrowed MIL's printer cable to power my machine for the weekend.

Friday night, Mom Ganey took it easy on me. She gave me a crash course on my machine... how to turn it on, the fact that it has 40+ fancy stitches it can sew, how to thread the machine and the needle, etc. Then, she put me to work on sewing "tabs". There were plenty of tabs that needed to be sewn, they basically looked like this:

Eventually, these tabs would adhere to different parts of the nursery bedding to attach parts together - attach bumpers to each other, make "hoops" for the organizer to hang off the crib, etc. 

Before I arrived, Mom made these items and it really got my juices pumping to get some hard-core sewing in that weekend. I could see what the final product was supposed to look like and I was super excited :)

baby organizer

So, we spent all weekend sewing (and cooking/eating delicious foods). We made 6 bumpers to go around the entire crib, 2 fitted sheets (one grey and one pink), one medium-sized quilt, the bed skirt and a ton of little flowers that got attached to different parts of the decor. 

baby quilt

Mom made a canopy that is supposed to hang over the crib on the wall - but we've opted to not put it up until we've finished moving into our new place (thats a whole other story) - yes, we are moving!

4. Put the nursery together

After spending the weekend sewing our nursery decor, we came home and our final project was to finish putting the nursery together. We had to decide if it was really worth it to decorate the entire room considering that we'd be packing it up and moving it in just a few months. Baby Joanna isn't really going to be able to enjoy it until we get to our new destination. So, we opted against hanging things on the wall and unpacking certain items that we really wouldn't be using yet.

Overall, we really loved how it all turned out!

Where most of my sleeping will occur over the next several months

We opted for the dresser with changing table "top" for more storage
The dresser Mami restored this summer

Besides all of the planning that went into getting the nursery ready, there is also a lot of planning that goes into sewing. Thats probably the biggest thing I learned while sewing with Mom. AND, you need a clean space to lay out all of your materials! Once we move, I won't be working from home full-time so I'm hoping to be able to dedicate some of the "office" space to sewing space.

Until next time!


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

DIY Nursery Bedding Part 1

My striving efforts in becoming a domesticated runner/wife/mom started around the time I became a live-in-girlfriend. I knew how to do laundry (my mother always ensured that my 3-showers-a-day had clean underwear to accompany) and I could cook just about anything in the microwave.. but thats as far as my survival skills went. I did not have any interest in learning how make a 3 course meal or sew cute outfits for the children I couldn't imagine having yet. You can say that I was the girl who was anti-homemaker and expected my future partner be thoroughly involved in running our home (I may have been a little bit of an extremest before I met my husband).

But somewhere along the line, all of that changed. When I became a live-in-girlfriend, Brad did primarily most of the cooking (besides my occasional mac and cheese and blueberry muffins from the box). I took an interest in learning how to make particular foods and it was fun to follow new recipes together. But when I decided I wanted to try something new, he taught me how to avoid fear in the kitchen by reading the whole recipe and cutting up all of your ingredients before turning on the stove; and when I did burn something or it didn't turn out as well as I expected it to.. he had no problem picking up my PapaJohns pizza 20 minutes later.

I will admit that his approach at making me feel comfortable with learning new things around the home is the only reason why I took it a step further... I started this blog and asked Santa for a sewing machine for Christmas. And although Santa knew that the machine would probably sit in it's original box for 6 months before I found the courage to actually open it... be bought me one anyways :)

Santa (my hubby, Brad) never gave me a guilt trip about that sewing machine sitting in my office closet collecting dust or nudged me to start the office-chair-cover I promised to start in February (which it's now September and I still haven't started it... ha). And I realize that this post is probably beginning to sound like a brag about the man who never expected me to learn how to be a domesticated wife and mom... but I just needed to express how it all really started.

Back to the sewing machine! My MIL came up with the thoughtful idea to gift us a nursery set (blanket, bumpers, sheets, canopy, the whole nine-yards). By the way, my MIL is very domesticated (as I've probably mentioned before). She can cook, sew, paint, work a full-time-job and still have dinner on the table by 6pm (or at least that's the legendary story she has left behind). So, when she said she was going to sew our entire nursery decor from scratch... I was excited and relieved. I quickly asked her if I could help and if she could show me how to use my sewing machine. She quickly said "Yes!".

So this is basically how that adventure went....

1. Picking a Pattern

MIL: Have you looked around at nursery themes and decided what you want the nursery to look like?
Me: Yes! We want to paint the room grey and incorporate little "pops" of pink throughout.
MIL: What about the bedding? Have you found anything that you like?
Me: Yes! I saw a few at (insert baby store name here) that I liked and also (insert more store names here).
MIL: Okay great, make a plan to go to Joann Fabrics and pick out a pattern
Me: Okay, I can do that this weekend

(1-2 weeks go by)

Me: Hey mom, I've been meaning to go to the store to find that pattern you told me to pick out. But, can you explain to me what a pattern is?
MIL: Fabric stores make "patterns" which are basically plans to help you sew what you want to sew from scratch. It gives you a photo of what your project will look like in the end with the dimensions of your materials and instructions on how to create your project.
Me: Oooh! Kinda like a project plan but for sewing?
MIL: Yes, just ask someone at Joann to help you find the baby patterns when you go - they should be able to help you

(I'm sure she sounded a lot nicer than this but I was too busy laughing at myself during the conversation to really hear the words)

So, I spent the afternoon at Joann's and I found a pattern that I liked. I LOVED the little flowers and MIL assured me that we can make the colors of fabric whatever I wanted them to be. It wasn't so hard after I admitted that I had no clue what I was doing and needed a little bit of guidance.. isn't that always how life works out? Why do we pretend to know things? Why do we let our ego sometimes get in the way? I'm constantly learning about this thing called life... but here is my pattern:

2. Picking out fabric

This wasn't so difficult! Although, I must make you aware that when I am given too many options to choose from, my default answer becomes "yeah, that looks good". I'm usually a pretty decisive person when I only need to choose from 2-3 options MAX. Anything more than 3 just makes me very confused.

So, MIL and I made a trip to Joann to spend the afternoon discussing future plans (more on this later), baby plans and fabric plans. I'm a planner, okay? Literally that is what I do for a living - I'm a Project Manager, which is just a glorified planner who makes sure that everyone is doing their part to adhere to the plan :) so, naturally.. I like to talk about, make and execute plans (although at home, Brad is the one much better at execution than I am).

...and there I go off on another tangent!

So we picked out the fabric. MIL tried to keep the options to a minimum as she knows I get distracted easily. I wanted pink, white and grey. I thought the colors went well together and she helped me make this final decision...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the grey fabric so we decided to use this as the "center". Now all we needed to do was decide where exactly the pink and white was going to fall using the pattern above (okay when we did this part, I did get distracted with all of the options). It was a little difficult to envision how exactly the grey, pink and white was going to come together for each of the pieces we were going to make. The bed sheet was easy - that was only one fabric at a time. But the quilt, bumpers and organizer (the little thing on the right middle of the pattern photo that holds baby items) was another story. By the end, I probably sounded like "yeah, that looks good".

In my attempts to not make this post excruciatingly long, I am going to stop here. The next big step is the actual attempts at sewing (which was like a weekend-sweat-shop at MIL's house) and our end product (which I'm very excited to share!).

Catch you guys next time!