Month: September 2011

humbled

Wow.

I had no idea what was going to happen after my post yesterday.   I was terrified to write it.  Terrified to post it.  And terrified to get any comments. 

I am humbled. 

This blog got more hits yesterday than I’ve ever seen in one day; more than double what I typically see on a posting-day.   The post itself got more comments (and long ones) than I’ve ever received.    My phone beeped and rang constantly as my personal email and text inboxes were filled with messages.   

And you know what?

They weren’t mean or hateful comments like I kind of expected.  They were warm and encouraging and heartfelt from people who have experienced similar feelings, or just from other mothers who could simply relate.  I must admit I cried through most of them just because I was so touched that so many friends and strangers would reach out to help me.  To offer advice.  To comfort.  To tell stories.  To give encouragement. 

Needless to say I didn’t get too far away from a Kleenex box yesterday!  

But today is a new day and I feel refreshed.  I feel loved.  And I feel excited to move forward.   I am so grateful that I put myself out there like I did…as terrifying as it was…because it’s all of you that have helped me move past this.  So much further than I ever thought was possible.  

Thank you so much for reaching out to me and sharing your thoughts, experiences and stories.   They’ve helped me more than you can ever imagine and I’ll forever be grateful.  

I know this isn’t the last time I’ll feel lost, scared or confused about this whole motherhood thing…but I promise next week we’ll be on to lighter topics!  

xo,
janna

What I probably shouldn’t say

Scratch that.  This should be titled “What I most definitely should not say. 

To anyone. 

Ever.”

I feel wrong even writing this.  As if transferring my thoughts into words make it somehow more real or more wrong.   But everything I’ve been reading about the feelings I’ve been experiencing  says that I need to deal with it.  I need to talk to people and reassure myself that it’s normal (please someone tell me it’s normal).  That every mom-to-be goes through some sort of anxiety.  And since talking things through isn’t necessarily my strong suit, I’ve turned to writing.  Somehow the words flow from my brain to my fingers easier than they flow from my brain to my mouth.   They always have.   I can sit down and write a 4 page email to someone detailing every thought and feeling I’m having, but when faced with a one-on-one conversation I clam up.  I can’t think of the right way to express my thoughts or even organize them in any sort of logical way.   So writing has always been cathartic for me.  And while not everyone may think a public forum is the correct way to deal with this, I’m putting myself out there.  Not to upset anyone or let anyone down (although I do fear that this admission will change the way people think of me); but because I’m hoping that I can get some reassurance that I’m not the monster I feel like.  That someone out there can connect and relate and say “hey, I recognize that.  And it’s ok.”  So I’m going out on a limb here.  And to all of you who are going to judge me….please spare yourself the time.  I’m already judging myself enough for the both of us.  

But I digress.  Like I said writing is a way for me to deal with issues or disappointments or feelings that I just don’t know how to handle.   This is one of those times.   So here goes. 

I cried.

I cried after our 20 week ultrasound.  Yes, the ultrasound where you can find out the sex of your baby. 

Which we did. 

And I wish with all of my heart that they were tears of joy like “oh I’m so excited we’re having a girl, it’s what I’ve always wanted!”  

It is what I’ve always wanted.  But they were not tears of joy. 

I don’t know what they were tears of.   Tears of fear?  Tears of holy-shit-I-thought-for-sure-it-was-a-boy?   Tears of dread that my hunting/fishing/outdoorsy Husband will not be excited anymore?

Can I stop right there for just a minute?  And just let you know how hard it is to write that.  How hard it is to confess that my first reaction was anything but ecstatic?  I don’t know if anyone can even imagine the guilt that I’ve gone through about having this reaction.  How selfish I’ve felt.  

And I know how awful it sounds to be disappointed for even one second.  That there are people out there who would give everything short of their lives just to have a baby growing inside of them.   That not everyone has an easy pregnancy.  Not everyone is able to carry a baby longer than a few weeks before their bodies reject them.  I know people who have lost babies.  I read several blogs written by women who are infertile or who have struggled with infertility and have cried through more posts than I care to admit.  The pain and struggles that these women go through is unimaginable.  

I wonder what those women would think of me if they read this.  How cruel I must seem.  How heartless I must be.   To be honest, I’m having a hard time getting past those thoughts too.

Because I didn’t just cry one little tear and get over it.  It started as we were walking away from the Dr.’s office.  In complete silence.  The Hubs and I weren’t saying anything.  Just walking down the hall in silence.  And I think it was at that point that I was hoping for a bigger reaction from him.  And from myself to be honest.  I wanted us so badly to be laughing and giddy with excitement and talking about names and everything.  But we weren’t.  We weren’t saying anything. 

I couldn’t stop the tears from coming.  We got outside and The Hubs noticed something wasn’t right, and I couldn’t really explain at that point because I didn’t understand it myself.  So we talked for a few minutes…I promised him I was ok…and I walked to my car to return to work.  Although I didn’t go to work.  I sat in my car for a good ten minutes not knowing what to do.  Just crying.  Trying to make sense of what I was feeling and why I was crying.  I couldn’t go back to work this way.  Everyone was awaiting my return and the joyous exclamation of …”IT’S A……”    They certainly weren’t expecting this reaction from me.  Neither was I. 

So I went home.  I went home and sat with my dog for a while.  She always relaxes me; I can’t explain it.   Awhile later I cleaned myself up and headed into work only to face more tears as I tried my best to proclaim “it’s a girl!”

Great.  Now I’m publicly outed as being the worst mom in the world. 

And while the best co-workers a girl could ask for comforted me during all of this and said all of the right things…I can’t help but think they went back to their desks and thought “Wow.  That was weird.  What a horrible person she is for being upset about the sex of her baby!”   Forever tarnishing their image of me while at the same time securing me a place in their mind as “Janna, that ‘ol heartless chick.”  Probably the same thing some of you are thinking about me right now. 

So I’ve been thinking about this a lot.  And by a lot, I mean A LOT.  It’s pretty much consuming me these days.  I’m trying to make sense of why I had that reaction…because with each passing day the reality is starting to sink in more-and-more (it’s been a week now) and I’m starting to get downright giddy about a future with barbies and ponies and pink everything.  But as hard as I try, I can’t escape the “why?”  Why was my first reaction so negative?  Because it’s really causing me an enormous amount of guilt.  As if somehow that precious little baby knows.  

How do I forgive myself for reacting that way?

But getting back to the “why.”  When I try to analyze it, all I can come up are two possible reasons.  #1, I had myself convinced I was having a boy.   It just had to be a boy.  Everyone around me has boys, so naturally that’s what my fate was.   I chalked it up to a “mother’s intuition.”   And ya’ll know what they say about that. 

Well in this case, it was wrong. 

The second reason, is that I thought it The Hubs needed a boy.  I mean, look at this guy I’m married to.  He’s a man’s man.  He fixes things.  He kills things with guns or bows and arrows (legally).  He is outdoorsy.  I mean, he skis (and when I say ski, I mean he hikes up his own mountains to ski down.  None of this chairlift crap for him), he rafts (and not just your average rivers, rivers of epic size and whitewater, for which he’ll plan 7 day trips down), he fishes, he mountain bikes, he plays hockey (on two leagues), he backpacks through the wilderness, he trail runs, he snowmobiles (rarely on a trail)….I mean honestly!  Is there anything this guy doesn’t do?!  (Besides vacuuming, cleaning or dishes).  He needs a boy.  He needs a little man to be his sidekick through all of these adventures.   And he’d be so good with one.  He could teach him everything and do so well with it. 

In my heart I thought that he needed a boy to be excited about the baby. 

So looking back, I think that’s the true reason I was scared when I found out we were having a girl.   

I’m not blaming The Hubs for this at all.  I’m blaming myself for boxing him in and thinking that he couldn’t do all of those same things with a girl.   And for convincing myself that he wouldn’t be happy with anything other than a boy.  As if he is some sort of heartless person.   

But then I sat back and thought about it more.  And the bottom line is that he does all of those things with me.  He taught me all about rafting and backcountry skiing and fishing and biking.  And I like to think they’ve made me a more adventurous person.  More confident.  More outgoing.  Happier.  Healthier.

In the end, isn’t that really all we would want for any child?

Exactly.  All any parent can hope for is a healthy, happy child.   Boy or girl. 

I can’t change the past.  I can’t change the way I reacted after the appointment, and I’m still not proud of it.  In fact writing about it and admitting it to everyone has been harder than I thought it would be.   But it’s also been healing…because I think I’m starting to understand it. 

It’s not because I’m selfish or because I’m heartless.  It’s because I want the best for her.  I want her to experience the best that both The Hubs and I can offer as parents…because I think we’re pretty cool people.  We do neat things.  We have a lot to offer.    I think it’s more that I was just ignorant and thought we had to have a boy to do all of those things.  When in reality, all I had to do was look in the mirror to realize that girls can do it too.  And be happy.  And still be girls.  And still like pink.   And love their daddies more than anything in the world.

Shame on me for thinking otherwise, because I’m my own perfect example.

In the end, I’m not sure I can forgive myself for the reaction I had.  Maybe I don’t need to.  Maybe it’s ok to be scared and nervous.  To be honest I think it would be kinda weird if I wasn’t…no matter what we were having!   The bottom line is that I already love this little girl more than I can express or really comprehend.  And I know she’s going to turn out great and that The Hubs will be an amazing dad.    It just took me awhile to adjust my perspective and realize how naive I was being.   I wasn’t giving The Hubs (or myself) enough credit.   Because we do have a lot to offer any child. 

Plus, I hear they make pink archery bows.

A bit of progress…

So I just realized two things:  (1) I never did a post about moving our new couch in and (2) I still owe ya’ll a tutorial on making some fabulous window flower boxes.  I do apologize, especially to those of you who assumed we were still sitting on camp chairs in our living room.  Quite the contrary.   So how about I start there?  At least for today. 

I’ve mentioned a few times that I sold our living room furniture one day (pretty much out of the blue) on Craigslist.  Whoopsie daisy.  Sorry Hubs.  You can read all about it (like WHY) here.   Which meant that for longer than I’d like to admit, we were sitting on camp chairs in our living room while I researched new furniture.    The problem is that our selection here in Missoula leaves a bit to be desired…and shipping costs on items like couches are pretty much insane.   So I began to realize I was going to have to make some sacrifices if we were ever going to be comfortable while watching TV again. 

Then, during my monthly trip to Costco, I was pleasantly surprised to find out I was there during their once-a-year furniture event.  Word.  up.   And there just happened to be a sectional there that was just about the perfect dimensions for our odd little small space.  I wasn’t overly crazy about the color, but at least it was neutral.  After living for five years with forest green couches I decided I could be picky about color….but neutral is neutral….whether it be the charcoal grey I really wanted, or perhaps a cream, beige or tan.  Another bonus turned out to be that this couch was much cheaper than all of the sectionals I’d been looking at.  I think I could live with beige if it saved me $500!  So I took a picture with my cell phone and headed home to double-check measurements…and it seemed perfect.

I don’t know if you are like this…but when I get something in my head I pretty much don’t stop thinking about it until I make it happen.  Whether it be ice cream, clothes, decor and apparently furniture.  In my defense though, you all know how it works at Costco, right?  They get a set amount of items for their “events” and once they’re gone, they’re gone.  And they had 3 of these sectionals left when I had gotten there.   So now I just had to convince The Hubs to drive out there with his trailer and pick the thing up. 

Once we got it, I have to admit it sat in our garage (in boxes) for a good two weeks while I cleaned the carpets and looked into new cabling.   I ended up doing the carpets on my own but we’re still waiting on cabling…so at 9:00 one night I’d had enough and called my cousin to come help move the sucker in.  Sorry cous’, you know my hormones are raging. 

When they first moved the couch in I had a minor panic attack because it seemed to big.  I mean, I was trying to gain some space here not lose it.   But after living with it for about a month now I think it’s fine.  The bottom line is that it’s just a small room.  And I do think the layout works a lot better now. 

Ok, so some before and afters.  I have to apologize because I sold all of our furniture in such short order that I never really took decent before pics (at least ones with blogging in mind).  These are the pics I used to sell the couches on Craigslist, but you’ll get the idea.   

P.S. I don’t miss this at all!!!

And now here’s with the new furniture finally moved in:

Yes that’s The Big Bang Theory on TV.  Love that show.

Now, before ya’ll get all up in my bizznizz…yes I know the mirror isn’t centered over the couch and I know I need some color in there.  But I’m taking my time trying to figure it out because….well…because you know me and making decisions on colors.  Any suggestions?   Remember this room is far from finished…there’s so much more I want to do.  Like swap out the mirror for 3 fabric canvases (yes, with some color), swap out the curtains with something more fun and patterned, add some fun throw pillows….you know.  All of that stuff and more.  For now I’m just happy that I’ve got a neutral slate to work with and something other than a camp chair to sit in.  

Oh!  And I almost forgot to mention my favorite part.  See those windows behind the couch?  For the past five years they’ve been blocked by a giant TV (see said TV above).  Meaning, we’ve never reaped the benefit of having lots of sun in this room, and before this I’d never even been able to open the windows.  So this might be my absolute favorite part of the new layout:

I can open the windows, and it just so happens that my window boxes are right outside.  I love it.  I love the sun, the breeze and being able to see a pop of color out there.  I”m thinking next year I might have to plant something super fragrant in them.   Which reminds me…I still owe you that tutorial.  I’ll get to it, I promise.

Before I leave you though, let’s check in on my “to do list” for this room and see where I’m at.  Just to keep it real ya know. 

  • Look into cabling for cat5 and coax   Met with cabler.  Just waiting for scheduling!
  • Research and purchase a couch
  • Move couch inside!
  • Rearrange furniture and see what still works and what doesn’t.  There’s not much room for much else as far as furniture goes.  My Crate & Barrel leaning bookcase might need to get moved because I want to put a console table where it currently resides. 
  • Find or DIY some fun patterned pillows for the new couch
  • See if previously-purchased West Elm curtains will work, if not sell on Craigslist.  These will most definitely not work.
  • Sew curtains (if West Elms don’t work)
  • Sew curtain for front door windows to reduce glare on TV.  Update:  my sister suggested I do another no-sew Roman shade.  Perfect!  Now to find the perfect fabric…
  • Consider painting living room.   Considered it….and not going to happen right now!
  • Be on the lookout for a console table for the entryway.  Still looking….
  • Be on the lookout for cheap frames to put a frame gallery in the entry way
  • Paint mirror
  • Replace boob lamp with a some sort of drum shade light (Eden light at CB2?) and install dimmer
  • Find a fun patterned rug (8×10)
  • Update the leather tray for table (line with fabric?)
  • Decide on wall art (maybe some covered fabric canvases) for the wall with the couch. Something to fill up the big space and bring in some color.

Holy cow.  I’m stoked I did that because I’ve come a lot further than I thought!  Yay for me.   Maybe it won’t take me 17 years to get everything done (like I previously thought).   But notice most of the tasks left have something to do with choosing color….hahaha.  Surprised?  I’m certainly not.   So maybe it will take the full 17….

The perfect cookie

I’m not even kidding.  I would never kid about a cookie.

These are THE  most delicious, addictive, waist-expanding cookies you’ll ever sink your teeth into.  Since stumbling across this recipe, we’ve had fresh cookies in our house pretty consistently.  I’ve made them so many times I don’t even need the recipe card anymore (not that they’re hard by any means).  These are the cookies I used to blame for my tight pants…at least before I got pregnant.

 Yes, these cookies are perfect.  If perfect means soft, chewy, sweet and addictive.   In fact, I heavily debated whether or not to even post this recipe.  Part of me wanted to keep it all to myself so I would be the only one who could make such a wonderful treat!  The one people invited over just in case she’d bring her famous cookies along.  The domesticated goddess.  The girl who could do it all, plus make a fantastic cookie. 

In the end, I decided that perfection should not be hoarded, it should be shared.  Besides, I certainly didn’t make the recipe up…I stumbled across it myself a few years ago on the Blonde Designs Blog.  My life hasn’t been the same since, and neither will yours.

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs + 2 eggs yolks
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • chocolate chips

How to:

Preheat oven to 325.   Place butter and sugars in microwave-safe bowl and heat until butter just starts to melt.  Mix with a wooden spoon.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Add flour, salt and baking soda.  Mix until just combined (mixing is easier said than done in this step, you may have to dig in and use your hands).

Add chocolate chips (I usually do 3/4 cup, you might prefer a bit more).

Bake for 12-15 minutes until just starting to brown.

If you have patience – let the cookies cool, then enjoy. 

You’re welcome.  Now go buy some bigger pants.

Nursery Inspiration

Like my blonde hair, when it comes to decorating, I wouldn’t say I’m a natural.   I struggle with making decisions and am pretty much terrified of making color choices.   No matter how many times I read that “paint can be changed” or “bold accessories can be moved,” I’m still paralyzed by the choice.  I think it’s mostly the fear of making a decision that I won’t like.   Yes, paint can be changed….but it’s not necessarily EASY.   Not all of us have endless amounts of time on our hands to repaint our mistakes. 

Anyways…so I’m afraid of color.  You get the point.

But you’ll probably understand now why I’m so flabbergasted about having colors already picked out for the nursery.  At first, it was the same ‘ol, same ‘ol shakin’ in my boots routine.  I knew I wanted grey and white as a base (nice neutral color choices right??).  But how boring is that for a little bambino (and me)?  I knew I needed to interject some color in there somewhere to bring some life into the room. 

Imagine my surprise when I had that “aha” moment in the kitchen towel aisle of Target.    Yes.  Target.   Yes.  The kitchen towels.  Won’t the little one be so impressed that his/her room was modeled after the color scheme of some cheap towels.  Ha.  My thoughts on the matter?  I don’t care where the hell my inspiration comes from, as long as it comes!   Enough talking…how about I introduce you to the towels of the hour:

I’m not really a yellow-person, so I never really considered it an option until I saw it mingling so wonderfully with grey.   It’s so clean, fresh and cheery.  Just how I want a nursery to be!   And the best part is that it’s still gender-neutral.  Even though we’re finding out what sex the baby is, I wanted to have a neutral nursery.  Hopefully we’ll have more kids eventually and I’d hate to have to buy new things because I went crazy with the pink first time around.   I still love you pink!

But I knew it needed something else…another little happy pop of color.   And then, in another bout of good luck, I came across this note card as I was clearing out my room (in preparation for the nursery).

I love the message of this card and thought to myself  “this would be so cute hanging in a frame on the wall of a nursery.”  And then I thought to myself  “hey wait a minute!  this color would be so cute with grey and yellow!  Inspiration towel, inspiration towel, wherever you may be…get your ass over here and let me see!”   Please Kelly…somebody…tell me you picked up on the Labrynth reference here…

And what do you know?  Instant love.  

There’s only one minor problem I can foresee.  And that’s telling people that I’m doing my nursery in yellow and blue and people think of this: 

Clearly this is NOT my vision.  

And don’t even say it Pops.  My nursery is not, I repeat NOT “Bobcat colors.” 

So instead of saying yellow and blue, I’m saying saffron and peacock-blue.  Just because it sounds super fancy.  And that’s how I roll.  And I don’t care about the eye-rolling that will probably occur after I mutter those words because I can assure you that even the eye-roller herself won’t be picturing the wrong colors. 

Anyhoo….needless to say I am super excited to have this decision made!  In fact, I’ve already started collecting a few things that seem to fit my vision.  Take for example this fabric I ran across at Selvedge this past weekend. 

It’s a little on the feminine side, so if we end up having a boy I’ll definitely keep the usage to a minimum.  Some ideas floating around my head are pillow, blanket, burp cloths, nursing cover, crib skirt or just framed as some simple wall art.  The possibilities are endless.

In fact, I picked up a few other inspirational pieces of fabric while I was out, and found some already-owned items that I think will work just great.

Yes I realize that none of these items really “make” anything yet.  But they’ve got my wheels a-turnin’.  I’m thinking all about curtains and pillows and seat cushions and wall art and rugs and bedding.  Just trying to get  a plan in place so when I do finally make my move there’s some logic behind it.   Plus, now that I have some ideas in mind I can keep my eye out for deals or pieces that I love. 

So, I think the lesson learned here today is that inspiration comes in all places, sizes and colors.  Learn to go with your instinct and forget about the little voice in your head that says, “yeah, but those are towels!  At Target!” 

Today’s post brought to you by the letter T, the number 20 (because I’m halfway done today!) and of course, the color saffron.