Archive for August, 2012

Three Months

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Posted by Michael, August 29th, 2012

Whenever Rebecca and I talk about Easton milestones, it usually starts with, “seriously, how is this kid X months or Y weeks?”  So seriously, how is this kid 3 months already? It seems like just yesterday Rebecca was writing about E being two months.

Easton’s personality has really started to show.  He does this thing we call the “shy smile” where he’ll quickly smile at you and then turn away as if he’s being bashful.  He does it hardcore style when Rebecca comes home from work.  He even does this excited thing with his arms to go along with the “shy smile.”

Our little guy has definitely discovered his hands and fingers.  He loves to shove them into his mouth along with anything else he can get his hands on including toys and blankets.

Three months in and for the most part our fur-babies are mostly over Easton.  For the longest time, Diggy would come running to Easton’s aid whenever he cried.  But now, they barely raise their heads in concern.  I think they thought he’d be another warm body that feeds and plays with them.  Not yet my little fur-babies, not yet.  While they’re over the NEW! baby, they’re certainly not over Rebecca and I.  I still wake up with a cat sleeping on my head and a cat on my feet.  I swear these cats are more work than Easton!

Happy 3 months champ!

Just a heads up, I try to post daily pictures of Easton in our more family related blog, Macky&Company

The Day My Maternity Leave Ended

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Posted by Rebecca, August 22nd, 2012

I started this blog three years ago. My thoughts were to have a place to document our house, have a creative outlet, help others… and something I’ve never shared with anyone, to make a career out of it.

Mike started SongMeanings when he was a teenager and has worked diligently on it for over 10 years. Once it became profitable, (many many years into it) we knew that when we had kids, Mike would quit his full-time gig and be a work-at-home parent. I wanted something like that for myself and I knew that the only way to get there was to not sit around and complain about it, but to bust my ass for it.

So I did something about it and started this little place on the internet three years ago. At the time, I had no clue there were other home blogs out there– I was seriously living in a hole. It was only after I started this that someone told me about Young House Love. It discouraged me at first, but Mike has been my biggest support system from day one. He told me that the beauty of the internet is that there isn’t just one site on a topic– there are many and many can be successful. So I kept chugging away and loved it more and more each minute.

The first day that I had 100 visitors I got a little misty eyed. I remember running up the stairs and telling Mike that people liked it– I could not believe that strangers were finding me. It was and continues to be incredibly rewarding to write this blog. The high I get off of coming up with a great idea, finishing a project or seeing one of my projects pop up on Pinterest is more than enough to keep me going. Which is good because as anyone who has a blog knows, it takes a long, long, long time to make any profit off of it. I knew this, as it took Mike probably a good 6 years of hard work and dedication to ever see a paycheck from SongMeanings.

Last summer, Mike and I decided to have a baby way sooner than we thought we would. The decision is another story for another post, but it also happened way sooner than we thought it would. Suddenly I was left with a semester of graduate school, pregnant and trying to keep up with this blog. I knew my dream of working on this full-time to be home with our future children was slipping away. Okay, it took a giant plummet.

I was, and still am, okay with that. My mentality has always been that I chose the career I have now and if I want something different, it’s up to me to change it. It’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears, I’ve been discouraged a lot, but my forever confidence boosting husband has assured me that writing this blog is good for me. It has become so much more to me than a website that I make (very) little money from.

With all of that out in the open, we obviously welcomed Easton in May. I was fortunate enough to have 12 weeks home with him, since I got the standard 6 weeks of disability and NJ is 1 of 3 states that offers an additional 6 weeks of paid maternity leave (don’t even get me started on US maternity leave…) Which means I went back on Wednesday of last week.

Walking out the door that first day was beyond painful. I cried through the morning rendition of “If you’re happy and you know it” (Easton still laughed, he had no sympathy for me), I cried as I handed him off to Mike for his morning nap (which used to be my extra 2 hours of sleep with him), I kissed him and stared at him about 20 times before I actually got out the door.

Then I got to work…and I felt okay. I know how lucky we are. I didn’t have to drop Easton off at daycare. He is home with the only person who loves him just as much as I do and I couldn’t ask for more. Mike sent me texts, pictures and videos all day. There wasn’t a minute of the day when I didn’t know what Easton was doing. The first day I went home a little early and I left at 2.

That night when I got Easton to sleep, my ribs hurt. Then my back hurt. I figured I was just completely drained from the day, but the next morning, I was still dragging myself around in pain. First I thought I must have pulled a muscle, then I thought I hurt myself carrying Easton in the Moby wrap the day before, then I thought I must be getting sick, but I had no other symptoms. Throughout the day, I was told I looked like a tired new mother, which couldn’t be further from the truth because Easton was sleeping 11 hour stretches at night. Then one of my coworkers brought up the idea of mastitis.

By the next morning, I couldn’t lift Easton out of his crib and I knew that was what it was. I didn’t pump much over those 12 weeks at home since I hated it and it was easier to feed Easton myself. The last several weeks, I made it a point to have Mike give him a bottle a day so that he’d be used to drinking from it. He did well and my only concern all along was him. I never thought of the effect that pumping would have on me. It was only my third day back to work and I had to take a very precious day off and lay in bed all day.

All of the progress I felt like I made that first day back went out the window. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to continue to breastfeed, which then would give me even less time with Easton. I never thought I’d be one of those people so incredibly attached to nursing my baby and the thought of losing it was depressing, on top of feeling like crap all weekend. Many tears were shed about whether I made the right decision returning. I was mad at myself for not working harder at this blog to get to where I wanted to be.

Ever the supportive husband, Mike told me numerous times in the past week that he would go back to working a 9-5 job in addition to working on SongMeanings at night. But that is not the answer for us. The arrangement we have now works best for ALL of us and not just me. It’s not about me– it’s about Mike’s happiness and Easton’s happiness as well.

I had to start the return to work process again on Monday. This second time around was worse than the first. On top of the usual stresses, I had to make sure I was taking care of myself and pumping often.

It’s hard to keep my health in mind when my days have been non-stop. I try to get up before Easton does (around 5) to get myself completely ready so that I have time to play with him before he gets sleepy again. Once he starts rubbing his eyes, I pass him to Mike for their morning nap together and I leave. This works out well because Mike usually works until 2am and he’s able to catch an extra hour or two of sleep. I try to get out the door by 7, to get to work by 7:30. My job has an 8.5 hour workday to account for lunches. I skip lunch away from my desk and instead pump 3-4 times a day. One of my coworkers came by yesterday and told me how nice it must be to come to work and have a break. Yeah, some break!

I leave by 4 since Easton goes to bed at 7. I get so excited driving home and he has been so excited to see me. Really, I had no clue a 3 month old would react with giggles, flying arms and tight hugs. When bedtime rolls around, if he’s not in bed by 7 he gets pissed. We didn’t set the 7pm bedtime, he did. If I don’t leave by 4, like if I get in later than 7:30 in the morning, I miss precious afternoon time with him.

Which happened yesterday since I ended up having to pump at home in the morning. I got home around 5 and Easton was crashing by 6:30. I gave him a bath and rocked him to sleep. Once I put him in his crib and looked down on him, I cried my eyes out. There was just not enough time with him.

So I walked down the stairs and Mike saw me crying… again. He once again offered to go back to working an additional 9-5, but I told him to stop being ridiculous. I told him just need time to be sad, and I don’t know how much time. Maybe a day, maybe a week, maybe 18 years.

I got up and repeated the process yesterday, despite the fact that Easton has started waking up in the middle of his 11 hour stretch of sleep (bad timing, buddy). It was a little smoother and I got home early enough for loads of play time and cuddles.

As I left work, I ran into my boss’s, boss’s, boss. Yeah, someone quite a few levels above me. She asked me how it was being back and I said it was good, but I missed Easton. She told me that one of the VPs of the company said that when her son was born, she would go out to the parking lot to cry.

Ever since then I feel better. Often times, people think of a mother returning to work as a black and white issue– either you can or you can’t, you want to or you don’t want to, it feels right or it feels wrong. In reality, the issue is one giant grayscale full of emotions and even the most successful of women are not immune. Just because it doesn’t feel right doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. Just because some days you can, doesn’t mean that some days you can’t.

Maybe someday I’ll be able to make some tweaks, build my own business and work from home alongside Mike. Until then, it’s okay to feel sad and cry every now and then– I think it would be strange if I didn’t.

I know this wasn’t very house related, but I hope that sharing my experiences helps someone else out there. We’re hoping to get back on the project wagon once things calm down a bit. Until then, you can follow daily Easton pictures over at Macky & Co (which Mike finally caught up with!) and follow me on Instagram @lilhousecould. Thanks for reading :)

Coming To You Live From…

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Posted by Rebecca, August 9th, 2012

… the new office!

Yep, we officially moved ourselves upstairs today. My chair just made it’s way up so that I could write this post.

I snapped these pictures with my iPhone because a) we moved up here literally just tonight and b) by the time I got Easton to bed and threw in some laundry it was too dark to take pictures.

I go back to work in the middle of next week, so we decided that we had to focus on the big picture in this room. The past several weeks, Mike has been working hard on the built-in cabinets/bench and the crown molding but there is still a ton of work left to do. Mike did conquer the crown molding beast around the built-ins and did a pretty good job. This was only the second room we’ve added crown to, which is a pain in itself, so this corner was rough.

It still needs caulk and paint, as does all of the trimwork in the office, but as I said before we’re focusing on the big picture at the moment. The goal was to have the office moved up here by the time I went back to work so that Mike had a safe place to bring Easton during the day. The former office was the victim of our cat’s kidney cancer (though thankfully the only victim!) and we used so many chemicals to attempt to clean the carpet that we don’t want Easton in there. We’re going to put a pack ‘n play in the new office so that Mike can work if Easton is napping. We will be replacing that carpet and turning the former office into a playroom.

The stripes we so painstakingly painted will of course be staying. When we painted them, we knew this room would someday be a playroom and hey, stripes are fun! The black shelves will be coming down and the fan is coming upstairs with us. We bought a new light fixture for the playroom a while back. Then we plan on building some more built-ins for Easton’s toys. I can’t wait to get started in there, though it’s going to take us a while. Baby steps.

That being said, I’m not sure I’ll be blogging next week. I may take a break to adjust to going back to work and to try to avoid any sort of emotional breakdown :) The less stress the better for now. I would say it’s my first break from blogging without guest posters, but I did take that break you know, when I gave birth. I’m just going to play it day by day and see how it goes. Maybe now that we’re in the new office I’ll want to write about my ideas. It might just relieve some stress and mommy guilt :)

Seeing Stars

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Posted by Rebecca, August 8th, 2012

Over the weekend, Easton’s nursery mobile finally arrived! I decided to go with a blue and green star mobile that I first mentioned here. It’s the Rock the Night Star Mobile made by Little Dreamers, which I found on Etsy.

(via Little Dreamers)

I originally wanted to DIY one, then I was going to order a kit to assemble it myself, then finally my mom offered to buy it fully assembled so that I wouldn’t have to attach 160 stars. SOLD! Thanks Nana.

Today we picked up a small command hook that flips down to hang it from. The metal hoop got a little bent in the shipping process and I want to iron the ribbon, but I was dying to see how it looked! So we hung it for a little bit today.

The colors are perfect and I love that the green is a lighter color to match the color we painted the closet and the bookcase. It’s hard to tell in pictures, but the stars are actually sparkley.

Here it is against the accent wall and with crib sans bumper now that Easton is sleeping in it at night. I think I’ll iron the ribbon with my hair straightener since it has worked so well for me in the past :)

Why yes, I even styled the crib with a baby. Actually I had to put him somewhere safe so I could take pictures and I didn’t really plan for him to be in them. But, he was such an excellent little product model that I couldn’t resist! It also just so happened that his onesie matched his room.

He only spent a few minutes with it, but he is already mesmerized by his new mobile. He was so excited that his legs were kicking out of control.

Does he approve? I think this face says it all.

I’m now one step closer to calling this nursery complete. I’ve been working on the gallery wall forever since I had to spray paint frames, order some pictures and make 2 art pieces. My goal was to finish everything by the time I go back to work, but I’m down to one week and I still have a frame that needs another coat of white paint. As much as I want to finish it, I also want to soak up my last week with Easton.

I’m going to miss spending my days with these guys.

Baby’s First Ikea Trip

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Posted by Rebecca, August 1st, 2012

This weekend we inherited my brother’s old king mattress. We’ve wanted a king sized bed since we moved in, so much so that when we got married, we registered for a king sized bedding set. That was over 3 years ago and it’s been sitting in it’s packaging, in our linen closet. When Easton arrived, our want for a king sized bed turned into a need (okay, in a first world problems sort of way)…

Every morning, my one ass cheek has been clinging for life off the side of the bed. So when I heard that my brother was looking to get rid of a king and that my other brother, who just bought a condo, wanted our queen, it was perfect. Plus, my brother’s friend was willing to pick up the king, bring it to our house and take away the queen. Talk about an ideal scenario :)

This all happened so quickly that we are bed frameless. I’m currently typing this from a mattress and boxspring sitting on my bedroom floor. We held off on a king because a) we didn’t want to spend money on a mattress and b) we hoped to build a bed because c) we didn’t want to spend money on a bed. We wanted to build the farmhouse bed from Pottery Barn

(via Pottery Barn)

But once we had a mattress (on the floor), I thought maybe we could find an expensive bed frame at Ikea. So we packed up the kid and headed out!

The verdict was… he loved Ikea.

I think this is only the second or third picture that I have of us together. I really need to work on that.

We were pretty disappointed in the bed selection. I couldn’t snap any pictures because, as you see above, someone decided he didn’t want to sit in his car seat anymore so we ended up carrying him around. The only thing we liked was this Bekkestua headboard.

(via Ikea)

It seemed overpriced though, the Ikea website lists $300 for a king headboard alone, though I swear it was $400 something in store. Combined with the frame it it ran over $600! Still not much compared to other stores, but still more than we wanted to spend. Needless to say, we left Ikea empty handed for perhaps the first time ever.

We think we’re going to make Easton like the Travelocity gnome and just take pictures of him in front of random scenes.

Since we had to travel to Philly, by the time we were leaving it was time for the bub’s next meal. We may have spent just as much time in the parking lot as we did in the store.

Yes, his bottle matches his outfit :)

After striking out in the bed search, here is what I’m thinking. The bedding we have is aqua/white…

But we also have an orange/white duvet cover, so I want to keep things as neutral as possible. I want to be able to change bedding easily if need be (and because I have an accent pillow addiction).

After seeing the upholstered headbard at Ikea, I think maybe I’ll make my own for now. In my dreams I would still like a canopy bed someday, but I know our to-do list is endless and it’s just not a priority now. After browsing Pinterest, I found this headboard/wall color that I’m liking…

(from Bedding Experts via Pinterest)

I’d probably do the headboard a lighter gray like the Ikea one and keep the walls a darker gray/brown/greige color. I’ve always loved patterned headboards, but I think keeping things neutral is the smartest idea for us. I’m also not sure about the tufting and I prefer a straight, more modern headboard. So yeah, I pretty much just like the lighter headboard on a darker wall. As for the frame, we’ll probably just expand the current full sized metal frame in our guest room and rock a bed skirt.

For now, I shall sleep on the floor… sprawled out :)

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