Wednesday, December 30, 2009

So This Is Christmas...

I thought I'd share some snapshots of our Christmas this year. We were lucky enough to have both sides of our family in the area and to spend the holiday with all of them. (Being too pregnant to travel is a good excuse to get everyone to come to us!)

We spent Christmas Eve at our place with the Roddys. In the hopes of starting a new tradition, we made fresh, handmade tortellini filled with a butternut squash and ricotta mixture. I think everyone had fun making it, and I know I enjoyed devouring it later.






Christmas morning was at the Edgewater where the Roddys were staying.

The view from the Edgewater--the Olympics had a fresh coat of snow

Breakfast





Maggie and Bob

Maggie and Bob commandeered the fireside room

Heather

Matt

Drew and his lovely new fiancee Mari

Mike and Mel

And Christmas afternoon and evening were spent with my parents and siblings' families. My mom borrowed the faculty lounge on the campus where my parents live and teach to accommodate our big group of 20 people. After a big traditional feast, we had a family "talent" show. My dad read a Christmas poem written by my Grandpa Rice, my mom read to us from "A Christmas Carol," Matt's brother Drew led some carol singing, and my brother Josh and niece Kya sang a duet, among other performances.

The Mamas



My nephew Brody (who loves olives)

My niece Luci

Nieces Luci (2) and Kya (8)

5-month-old Betty is already loving on her cousin


Josh and Kya


Monday, December 21, 2009

The Bump

When taking our latest shots of my growing belly this weekend, I realized it will be one of our last. I thought I'd share with you all the pictures together so you can see the progress since last spring.

37 weeks and full term--she can come anytime now.

obligatory mirror shot for 37 weeks

31 weeks

31 weeks

31 weeks

28 weeks

22 weeks

18 weeks

18 weeks (man, I miss my favorite cords)

7 weeks and no bump yet

7 weeks

By now, I feel so much like my body is not my own anymore. Matt and I were looking at pictures of us over the last year and I felt like I was looking at a stranger when I saw my non-pregnant or less-pregnant self. "She's cute!" I thought to myself. "Wish I had her good complexion and figure." It's funny how you don't appreciate or even see your own assets when you have them. These days, it's hard to see anything but my hobbit hands (stopped being able to wear my wedding ring weeks ago) and marshmallow feet and a nose that is trying to take over the rest of my face.

This weekend Matt and I did a little Christmas shopping and stopped into my favorite store to see if anything caught my fancy. Despite seeing lots of lovely things I'd love to try on, I had to face the stark reality that what fits now won't fit later, and that there's no way to know what will fit later. My favorite brand of corduroy pants had been reissued and were already on sale--something I've been waiting for as my current pair are nearly worn through. But there's no way of knowing what size I'll be in six months, so there's no use doing anything about it. Sigh. I guess I'll have to save up my pennies for when my body is sort of back to normal.

Pregnancy is a pretty interesting journey and I think that there is something to this whole loss of control over my own body that seems to be preparing me for the imminent changes of sharing life with an infant. Like there's some kind of cosmic metaphor here: "Get used to this kind of thing. You think your ankles are fat and it's driving you crazy? Just wait until you can't get more than 3 hours of sleep in a stretch. Learn to let go, woman." I guess there are just some things you have to approach with an open hand, knowing it will be a learning process that will take you into sometimes uncomfortable places.

Not that "letting go" and "letting myself go" are the same thing. I'm not advocating losing my identity solely to being a mother, and I think it's important to fight for what makes you a whole person, be it physical fitness, a healthy marriage relationship, a vocational calling, or giving time to the things that nourish your heart and spirit. However, to assume that I can control what motherhood will be like ignores the fact that I'll be negotiating entirely new territory with a unique, though tiny, individual with a will of her own. It's a big new adventure, and I am willing to walk into it, knowing that every adventure takes you far from home, into places of great mystery and challenge and even peril. But the wealth of how I will be transformed by it, the new beauties I will get to see along the way are also a part of the bargain. I'm willing for both the difficulties and the joys.

All this from swollen ankles! I digress. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I want pregnancy to be over RIGHT NOW, but I am ready to have my body back. On the other hand, I realize fully that having my body back means having a baby outside of my body. In terms of parenting, it'll never be easier than it is right now. So she can stay in for a little while longer and I'll enjoy sleeping in while she does.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Our Nursery Remodel

The nesting instinct...

They say that pregnancy can trigger it. Like I need an excuse. I used to "rearrange" my room every couple of months when I was growing up. Which usually meant, yes, moving all my furniture into new positions, and then scavenging the house for things I could put up to change the look. To this day I'm sure my mom is still missing random pieces of pottery, picture frames, and linens.

When we first found out that we were pregnant, we were living in our charming, but tiny upstairs apartment in Anacortes. I had visions, at the time, of being forced to put our baby to sleep in one of the dresser drawers, Little House on the Prairie style. We just didn't have any extra space. So when we found our *two bedroom* apartment in Edmonds (our first ever), we felt pretty blessed.

Since we moved in back in August, we've used the second bedroom as a staging area for boxes and furniture. But finally, in the last few months, I've been giving my "nesting instinct" full reign over that room as we prepare for baby Roddy. It has been a fun project, and now that my showers are over and all the finer details have taken shape, I think it's finally time to share the results.

BEFORE:



AFTER:





First I started looking for furniture and found some great hand-me-downs: the crib I wanted from Craig's List and a dresser that could double as a changing table from friends who were moving and downsizing.

The next step was to get my hands on a bookcase and a chair I could sit in to nurse. Ikea to the rescue. I also picked up some of their fabric by the yard to sew my own curtains for the room and add a matching accent pillow. I'm still considering using what's leftover to make a crib bumper, but we'll see if I end up having the time.

With all the big elements purchased, Matt and I took a Saturday to paint the room. (I wore a respirator to avoid the fumes, and the cats were scared to death of me in it. George Lucas was definitely onto something with the whole Darth Vader thing.) You might not be able to tell from the pictures, but two of the walls are an apple green (Ben Moore's "Dill Pickle") and one is a slightly darker pepper green ("Jalepeno Pepper").


Meanwhile, I had my own little painting/refurb project going on. As soon as I saw this project in Lena Corwin's "Printing by Hand," I knew I wanted to try it. So I found a robin's egg blue color and checked the book out from the library. First, I lightly sanded the drawer faces and then painted them white. Next I cut out stencils from contact paper and adhered them to the drawers. Then I repainted them in blue. When everything was dry, I peeled off the stencils, and Voila! Fabulous dresser!

I wanted to buy some fancy drawer pulls from Anthropologie or even Home Depot, but in the interest of keeping this project on budget, I simply removed the original pulls and spray painted them white. I'm really happy with the results.


I had been pondering what to do for a mobile for awhile and finally settled on the pom-pom tissue paper flower idea after seeing it on some design blogs. Originally I wanted to make my own, but had some trouble getting the colors of tissue paper I wanted and I certainly wasn't going to give Martha Stewart and Michael's twenty bucks for her kit. Instead, I found several sellers on Etsy (an online retailer of handmade goods) and settled on Orange Kisses. I'm glad I did, not only because I received free shipping and a great price, but also because my poms came with a handwritten thank you note and an extra aqua-colored pom just because I'd mentioned the color as being in my nursery scheme.


I also knew I wanted to include Nikki McClure (one of my favorite local artists) in the baby's room, but instead of doing a couple large prints, like we have in our dining room, I settled on doing a grouping of notecard-sized prints. (Snuggly zebra compliments of Jenny Gough. It matches her 1-year-old son Wesley's horse. Have I mentioned he and our little girl are already betrothed?)


It's been especially wonderful to see the room fill with the sort of things you just can't find in any store as family and friends have handed down, made, or gifted all sorts of sweet things for our little girl. Above: Matt's childhood profile from his mom, a poem written by his dad, a little wooden pull truck from the Minnesota State Fair, and Nutcracker Christmas ornaments from my childhood.


And of course, this literature nut wouldn't be happy without our daughter being surrounded by books. These are just a few of the classics we're looking forward to introducing her to.

The closet is currently housing our stroller and baby tub. The drawers are filled with diapers and extra blankets and clothes. I think we're ready.

It's pretty amazing all the things that have gone into preparing for our little girl. I'm well-aware that no one *needs* a nursery just for one child, or that material things are required to love your child well. We feel really blessed to be able to have this kind of space in which to welcome our daughter. It's also been a lot of fun for me to channel my creative energy on this project. I've been teasing that if parenthood is just about remodeling and sewing projects, I'm SO in. Somehow I have a feeling that might not be the case, but for now, she's given me a good excuse. For all those winter days at home after her arrival, I think we'll both be glad to have a cozy place to hibernate.