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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

DIY : Closet dividers


Just kidding. This was a quick project that helped tide me over for a day when I was really feeling the urge to do...SOMETHING...in her room.  But again, the dumb carpet is preventing me from doing anything, so this made do.

I used the instructions I found here:


Her pictures and organization are much better than mine. I did mine at night, in low light, with no flash and no white balance and super high ISO (hello, grain). And I didn't think to take pictures until I was halfway through with the project. I'd be a terrible Martha Stewart.

So this is what you get.

To start, you need SUPPLIES! I got them all at Hobby Lobby. I have no idea how much they cost because, again, DIY reporting FAIL. But it was cheap.

You need wooden letter "O"s. I think this is what I got, but I'm not positive. They came in two-packs. They were in the wooden letter section.  You're on your own for everything else.  I got six of them (three packages) because that's all that they had. I probably would have gotten eight if they'd had more in stock. I failed again because I forgot to take pictures of the package. But if you look at the GOOD instructions, you'll see a picture of exactly what I got. 

Why am I even bothering with this when I really should just point you there and be done with it? Sigh.

Anyway. You also need paper, brushes, Mod Podge, and number stickers.

And looking at this I realize that two of my papers are really close to two of her papers but I swear I didn't copy on purpose. Mine are...BETTER. Right.

Also she used flat stickers but I went 1000x more awesome-er and did 3D foam stickers. If you look the like of flat stickers better, do that, but you're not my friend anymore.

I actually think those would take paint pretty well if you didn't want just plain white.

Once you have your supplies assembled (step one)...and hopefully you are able to find sticker sheets with numbers on them way more quickly than I was, because it took forever and I was getting frustrated (hint: this is actually an alphabet sheet; the numbers were on the second sheet in the back not facing the customer)...you can begin.

Paint the backs of the letters (step two!).  I found while fondling the shapes that one side had slightly flatter edges and one side (which I assume is meant to be the front) had slightly rounded edges. I used my brains to surmise that it'd be easier to glue paper onto the flatter-edged side, so I actually painted the front of the letters, thus turning them into the back.  Honestly, you might not even notice a difference; it's pretty subtle and I might have been imagining things.


As you can see, I went UBER fancy and did two different colors.  They match the nursery walls. I kind of wish I'd done yellow or something, but I went with the paint colors I had on hand.

It'd probably be faster to spray paint these.  Maybe for the second kid I'll be smarter. Doubtful.

Once they're painted, let them dry. Duh. Then use them as stencils and trace them onto the back of your paper (step three). Observe:

Note the X mark I made. I made a matching mark on the actual wooden O itself as well (on the not-painted side). Shockingly the shapes are not 100% symmetrical, so if you don't do that and one of them gets turned upside down, it might not fit exactly and you'll have trimming to do and/or gaps. Also, because of that you'll want to trace each letter separately instead of just tracing one letter six times.  

Cut out your pretty O shape from the pretty paper (step four).

Then coat the entire non-painted side of the wooden O with Mod Podge. Maybe it would be easier to coat the paper. I don't know. Either way you end up pretty much the same, with the cut-out shape glued to the wooden O (step five).

Once it's all nice and glued on there, add the sticker numbers (step six). I probably should have been more careful with my placement, but I just eyeballed it. You are probably a better person than I am and will take the time to make sure that they are precisely in the same place on each O.

I was struggling with how to break out the dividers.  Different clothing places use different sizes - for instance, some say 6-9 months. Some say 6-12 months. Some say 6, 9, and 12 months. So what do you do? If you do 6-9 months, where do you put the 6-12 months sizes? If you do 6-12 months, where do you put the 12 month sizes? And do 12 months sizes mean they fit until 12 months? Starting at 12 months? Only on the one specific day of the year that they are exactly 12 months?  Someone gave me a helpful breakdown of what worked for her, so that's what I went with [all the italics are her input, not mine]:

The 0-3 style sizing when it gives a range is pretty self explanatory, but people get confused when it just says "3 months."  For almost all clothing brands, "3 months" means 0-3, "6 months" means 3-6, etc. So when you see just a single digit, think of that as the largest size it will fit.  As an aside, kids are ALL OVER THE PLACE when it comes to sizing and when they fit those sizes, so this is just a breakdown of sizes, not the actual age that they will fit those sizes. 
  • NB
  • 0-3: I have 0-3, 3 month, and 0-6  together here (in my opinion 0-6 may last a little longer than 3 months but won't get you to 6 months)
  • 3-6: 3-6 and 6 months together here
  • 6-9: 6-9, 9 months and 6-12 together (again refer to logic for 0-6), 
  • 12 months: 12 month, 12-18, and 12-24 [rare, but I've seen it] here.  Keep in mind that many places stop doing #-# sizing at 12 months, which is why it's just 12 month instead of 9-12 months.  However, think of it as 9-12, so these are the clothes you'd move to after 6-9 have stopped fitting.
  • 18 months: 12-18 and 18 month here. Again, think of this as 12-18.
  • 24 months: 18-24, 24 month and 2T here. Think of this as 18-24. 
[UPDATE FROM ME: If I was doing this again, I'd probably label them 9-12 instead of 12, 12-18 instead of 18, and 18-24 instead of 24, with a new 2T/24 month divider added. Also, if you're curious as to the difference between 18-24, 24, and 2T, what I've found/learned is that 18-24 can be a bit smaller than 24 month but just barely, and in many brands is the same. 24 month sizes are still cut to accomodate diapers and usually have snaps at the crotch, etc. 2T sizes are cut to accomodate underwear and are therefore slimmer cut. 2T is usually longer in the arms and legs as well.]

Since she's birthed a child through her actual vagina before I'm going with her experience. Maybe it's not how the clothing sizes broke down for you, but if so I DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT since these are already done and I'm not going to do them again.

As you can see, that's SEVEN divisions and I only had SIX letters. Foiled by Hobby Lobby's pitiful stocking practices. But then I had a moment of brilliance (rare) and realized that the NB one would only be used for a month or so before we'd be packing those clothes away and starting with the 0-3 month sizes, so I made the NB divider a dual divider that can be moved to the end and used for 24 month stuff at that point.  Just put the "24" on the other side, upside down. If you have a small closet space, you could actually do this for all of them and only have three or so sizes of clothes hanging at any given time.


Also pictured there are steps...um, I lost track of the steps. But the next 100 steps. Coat the entire thing in Mod Podge. Inside, outside, painted side, glued side, numbers, everything. I did like six coats. I liked how it looked all shiny and pretty and smooth. You don't have to do that many. If you suck. I also did a couple extra coats on the inside of the O for extra protection since that would be the part sliding against the closet rod (mind, gutter, OUT).

Strew your what are now obviously closet dividers and not wooden Os all over the place to dry between coats. 

Then you're done!

Ohhh, pretty!

"0-3" is my favorite but don't tell the others that. 

Then hang them in the closet.

Try not to notice that "12" seems a bit drunk and lopsided.  Be relieved when you realize it's just not hanging right and that you didn't actually mess up the numbers that badly.

Revel in your power over Mod Modge and paper and wooden numbers. Thusly you have created greatness.  Bask in the fact that all of the 12 and 18 month clothes are hidden in an under bed storage bag so your husband doesn't realize how many clothes this little girl actually has already and take away your credit card.

Wish for a glass of wine.

Hope the baby likes it when she gets here, in all her newborn judgementalness (are you sure judgementalness is not a word, spell-check? I'm pretty sure it's a word).

Not be sure how to end this post, so just keep adding random sentences until everyone awkwardly shuffles away from your blog...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nursery progress

I am terrible...I didn't take pictures of the nursery "before." And I don't have any great pictures of it NOW, either.  It's pretty basic, though...it's square. It used to have light tan walls. And now it is still square, only with three light gray walls (suuuuuuper light gray - you almost can't tell they're gray unless you hold white up next to them) and one Tiffany Blue wall. I also painted the interior of the closet the same blue.

TIFFANY BLUE IS FOR GIRLS. I don't want to hear it.

Here's a terribly white balanced cell phone picture that doesn't really show anything except the slightest idea of what one corner looks like. 

What do you think? Paint the wood trim white? That's my big debate right now. I'll probably wait until the room is totally done and then decide, since I like to be difficult.

I left her a secret message as we - wait, let me be clear here - as *I* was painting, since I did all the painting while Chris was out of town.

I can't really do anything else in her room right now, because we're waiting on new carpet.  In a big convoluted...thing...we're re-carpeting the basement and the baby's room. Once the basement is done, we'll move the current contents of the computer room to the basement (it's a nice, finished basement with a fireplace and everything - don't think this is some big tragic loss for Chris). Then we'll move the extra bed that is currently in the nursery (and my brother's temporary home) into the computer room and that will become the guest room.  Come summer, when Chris is off work with me and the baby, we'll get the rest of the upstairs carpet replaced. So one lone room upstairs and basement now; the rest of the upstairs in a few months.  And yes, I've been painting around my brother, and he has no closet because it's filled with baby things, and he is storing his clothes in Rubbermaid containers. Not ideal for him either.

Once the carpet is here, though, it's gonna get CUH-RAAZY up in this joint with cribs being assembled (remember our crib?) and a bookshelve being moved in and...um...well, everything else still needs to be purchased. I need go get shelves still. And figure out the wall hangings. And find a glider. And paint our dresser. Yes, our daughter is going to be sleeping in a free crib and her clothes will be stored in a free dresser. What can I say? She's not going to care. Plus if we give her OUR dresser, which is from when Chris was in high school, then WE get a new one! Score!

I was, however, able to focus my nesting instincts into a quick-n-easy DIY project that I'll post about tomorrow. Closet dividers! EXCITING TIMES WITH CHRIS AND LARA.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

24 Week Appointment

No pictures! The entire appointment was kind of a mess, honestly. It was my first one that wasn't in the morning, and I am all about the morning appointments from now on.  The waiting room was the busiest I've ever seen. My mom went with me, and we had to wait almost 20 minutes to get back (which is about 18 minutes longer than I've ever had to wait before).  Then we sat in the exam room and waited...and waited...and waited. My mom checked the clock and realized that we'd been there almost 40 minutes without being seen - and she had to leave to get to school in five. I peeked out (with the lovely tablecloth pulled tightly around my hips since I was naked from the waist down) and asked if someone could come back just to give us a peek at baby girl before my mom had to leave. I'd feel terrible if she drove 150 blocks (literally) to sit with me in an exam room. Good thing I did, because they were shocked no one had come in yet. Apparently there's a light that they flip on indicating that the patient is ready, but the nurse forgot to flip it, so no one knew we were in there waiting. I wonder how long we would have been there before they realized that they forgot about us. Whoops!

So the tech came in and felt terrible, and because of that she rushed the ultrasound to make sure my mom could see the whole thing. Baby girl is looking good at an estimated 1lb 13 oz and in the 76th percentile for size. Um, giant baby. Once again, yay for my vagina and not having to push out a 10 pound baby, which she's shaping up to be! (Note: this is just to make me feel better about not being able to have my natural birth.)

I talked to the doctor a bit about the c-section process at the hospital. I have this grand vision for a family-centered cesarean (tons of info out there, read this or Google "gentle cesarean" or "family centered cesarean).  I am already pussing out about asking her, though. I have such a fear of judgment from doctors, which I know is crazy, plus I hate being told no.  I started to kind of fish around to see what she'd think of something like that (read: "So I've been reading about different types of c-sections and was wondering what you thought...").  She immediately looked kind of suspicious and so I backtracked a little and ended up just asking about what type of sutures they use and what type of closure (one thing I had read was that a double layer closure holds up better, and I'm happy to hear she prefers those).  I did ask about having the drape lowered so I could see more, and she was down with that, though she warned there might not be much to see. That's okay, though, I just want to see *something* other than a blue wall.

I was, however, disappointed to learn that only one person can be there with you. I was really hoping to have my mom and Chris there together. They offer support in such different ways and each of them compliments each other perfectly when it comes to things like this.  She did mention that sometimes they take the baby to the recovery room to wait for you, and I asked if it'd be possible to have my mom come into the operating room at that point so Chris could leave to stay with the baby. She wasn't sure but was checking on it. I just don't want me OR the baby left alone at any time. The obvious answer would be to just leave the baby in the operating room with us until I was ready to go to recovery, but I'm not sure how that works. They do definitely let the baby come into the recovery room with you, though, assuming all is well - that's nice.  However, more research and more fully formed questions about the options and the whole procedure are needed. And maybe in a few years with our next kid (knock on wood!) the family-centered surgery will be more common and it won't be something I feel like a dirty hippie for asking about. Maybe I'll just print out a few articles and slip them anonymously under her door. Maybe I'll try to find a wood sprite to perform the surgery in a field. Wood sprites are down with shit like that, I'm pretty sure. They're all dirty hippies.

Monday, March 21, 2011


I'll celebrate reaching 24 weeks with a confession.

I love word/noun names. Story, Ever, Lyric, Fable....I would never have the balls to use them, but I love them. Especially Story.

Don't judge me!

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Belly: St. Patrick's Day.

So very close to 24 weeks. I know 24 weeks isn't a magic number - babies before that live, sometimes, and babies born after that die, sometimes. But it's a start.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Belly: Stretching Out

I am frankly shocked my stomach isn't completely riddled with strech marks. When I wake up, it's fine, but by the end of the day it feels so full and stretched out...particularly after eating or drinking...and so itchy that I feel like my uterus is going to pop right through my skin. I know it's all genetics, but I have no idea whether my mom had them or not. I don't THINK so, but I can't remember ever seeing her stomach, so I might be wrong - she might be rocking tiger stripes all over the place (WINNING!) (that isn't going to make sense to anyone in a year if someone comes back and reads this, including to me. Note to future self: Charlie Sheen meltdown reference.). Despite the fact that I know it does nothing, I've been slathering The Belly in creams and oils, which at least relieves the itching. I realize I'm just 23 weeks, at which point plenty of people aren't even showing yet, and I still have to fit a watermelon in there, but I can't even fathom at this point getting bigger. I mean, I can SIZE wise - I can totally picture a huge belly - but not in terms of the stretching/fitting/itching. I also am not counting my blessings yet - I know you can go your entire pregnancy with zero stretch marks and then poof! the Stretch Mark Fairy shows up at week 39 and you're screwed. And honestly, if that happens, whatever. At least they're something to remember my pregnancy by, which is more than I have for my last one. So I'll cherish them. NOT THAT I'M INVITING YOU IN, STRETCY MCSTRETCHERSON...I'm just saying I won't take out a bounty on your head should you arrive.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Belly: Taking over the world.

10 days until viability (24 weeks).

22 days until we reach the <100 days left milestone (ok, that's not a real milestone but seeing your ticker go from three digits left to two digits left is cool).

31 days until the start of the 2nd trimester. Or 38, depending on whether you go with 27 or 28 weeks. Maybe I'll celebrate both. You know? Always looking for an excuse for cake and ice cream.

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40

As of my appointment yesterday I've gained six and a half pounds. I don't know how that's possible since at 18 weeks I gained six pounds as well, and I know I've gained about a pound since then. Maybe I did the math wrong. Wouldn't be shocking. Numbers and all that adding and subtracting...who can keep up?  Regardless, it looks like I've gained about 50.


But just to show you it's all in the outfit and how recently I've peed, here's one from just a day later where I don't think I look quite as giant.

Yay for bathroom self-portraits!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sex. But not the fun kind. Just the genital kind.

This is a post I wrote immediately after finding out that we were having a little girl, so eight weeks ago.  Up front, because of the content, I want to make it entirely clear that given days and weeks to process the information, my feelings have done a complete 180, and I am way beyond excited about our baby girl. However, my feelings in the instant we found out were very conflicted and very confusing, and I want to share them with you in the hopes that anyone else who has been through this - or is on their way to going through this - can find solace and comfort.

This is a hard post to write, and one that is likely to get me in trouble with some of the baby loss community.  I thought a long time about writing this post before I decided to do it. I know from talking to a few others that these emotions aren't unique to me and others have experienced them - but that they felt terrible and guilty for it.  So I wanted to write about it and get it out there in case others had this taboo experience. And I want to clarify before I put anything else down on paper (er, virtual paper) that I love this baby more than anything, even cookie dough ice cream [I'm not even sure I love Chris that much] [okay I do], and I am beyond excited that it's a girl.  The sweet little baby dresses and feminine nursery prints that are quickly stacking up in the soon-to-be nursery can attest to that.

But the truth is, I cried when I found out. Several times. Hard. Like snotty nose hard.

When I found out Caleb was a boy right after he was born, it was an extra rub of salt in the wound (I talk about this in the birth story a bit). Growing up, I'd always wanted an older brother and because of that I'd hoped to have a boy first, and I had secretly suspected that Chris wanted a boy, too. (Doesn't every man? Since, like, God?) And after he was born, it was hard not to imagine what life with a little boy would have been like.  I fell hard for those visions of snips and snails and puppy dog tails. A baby boy nursery was completely finished in my mind. Blue and green cloth diapers, rough and tumble, maybe a toddler fauxhawk, sending my kindergartner off to practice in a giant hockey uniform, as a high schooler watching out for his little sister.  It was a vision that I wanted to fulfill so badly I could taste it.

I had this irrational thought that if this was a boy, it would be like we never lost our first. I was completely aware that this wasn't a replacement child or the same child, but in some way it would be like it was the same spirit.  My pregnancy would have just lasted 15 months, like an elephant or something.  The baby would just have been delayed in arriving. I realize that doesn't mesh with me saying that I was aware it wasn't the same child, but somehow both truths existed at the same time. I'm magic, yo.

Finding out this was a girl was really hard. I won't say devastating, because it wasn't. I know what devastating is.  I've lived through devastating.  But in that moment, it was like Caleb died all over again.  It wasn't that I didn't want a girl - I did. Badly, even. I have a great relationship with my mom and want that with a daughter. But I wanted to fulfill those original visions, dammit.  And I really wanted my daughter to have an older brother to lead the way, something I always wanted when I was growing up.  It was like I was finally back on the train that had derailed so quickly and suddenly and devastatingly when Caleb died, only to find out that it was going to a different final destination.

And of course it is. Because this is a different baby.  A different baby that isn't our first baby. And that's okay. But I'm scared. What if Caleb was our one boy and those dreams of baby fauxhawks are never fulfilled? What if our daughter never gets to have a brother and misses out on the great fun that I had with my brother (even if he WAS younger than me and not older). What if our only boy died? That's a really, really hard thought to accept. I always wanted at least one of each.  That's such a naive thought, I know now. Dream of healthy and living babies, not of a perfect family with one boy and one girl.

This baby girl, I already feel like I failed her. She was always going to be here - she just is arriving sooner rather than later - but she was supposed to have an older brother to watch out for her, here, on this earth, not from wherever he is now.  A brother to tease her, teach her how to pee standing up, and intimidate future boyfriends. She was supposed to have experienced parents, ones who have already been around the block and know the drill.  A mom that nursed before, a mom that used cloth diapers before, a mom that knows the difference between fussy and colicky. She wasn't supposed to carry the burden of being a "rainbow" baby (a term the baby loss community uses to describe a baby that comes after a loss) or have a mom that might not ever be able to fully explain just how this pregnancy saved her in ways that will never be understood.

She's not even born yet, and I feel like she's missing out on so much by being the rainbow baby. 

But I'm head over heels in love with this little girl. That's another reason why it's so hard.  Because I'm already worried about her for the rest of her life. Girls have to put up with a lot of shit in their lives (come on, we're STILL making $.75 to the dollar a man makes??), and I don't want that for her. Not to mention that since children automatically like what their parents hate, she'll probably idolize Sarah Palin and love pink glitter.  She'll likely come out of the womb waving a sparkle wand wearing a tiara demanding that I enter her in the next glitz beauty pageant, like right now, MOM. I mean, we already saw in an ultrasound picture that she was rockin' a crown. I'm scared about seeing her sexy pictures on Facebook or whatever social networking site is the big thing in 15 years and telling her that she is NOT going out of the house in that outfit, over my dead body and I definitely definitely DEFINITELY do not want to see her on "16 and Pregnant," or any MTV show for that matter. Unless it's called "Nice Girls with Good Grades who Don't Have Sex and Dress Appropriately."

Please God let the Amish way of life become SUPER DUPER stylish in exactly 13 years. And then last for at least 10 years. I'm totally willing to learn to churn butter.


I can add another reason I cried so hard upon finding out (once I was in the safety of my car, alone) that I wasn't able to piece together until a few days later, after I'd written the bulk of this post. And it might be the most Freud-ian reason, and the most difficult. My cousin who hung herself was a girl, and I found out this baby was a girl just days afterward.  What if that was my daughter?  We were having suicide facts thrown at us left and right, and the one that stuck out at me was that girls are far more likely to attempt suicide than boys are.  There isn't a history of mental illness or severe depression in my family that I know of, but I had a few hard years there myself. Case in point: I'm pretty sure I cried myself to sleep every day from sixth to eighth grade. Much of that had to do with my specific class full of really mean girls (ugh, what if there are mean girls at my daughter's school?? What if my daughter IS a mean girl?). My mom, who was a teacher at my grade school, is good friends with one of my junior high teachers, and I've often heard from her that my class was indeed particularly vicious, and it wasn't just my tormented memory making it worse than it truly was. (Catholic school girls? Not just for sex fantasies; also great for destroying self-esteem!) However, high school (also Catholic; this time all-girls) was much better, and while I'm sure I had the typical "I wish I'd never been born!" thoughts during the rough times,  I was never suicidal.  But I didn't think my cousin was either.  So psycho-analyze that little depressing jaunt into my mind: it definitely contributed to the sadness.


But yeah. Amish. Anything you can do to help a sister out there would be great. If we all started wearing it, maybe we can start a fad!

Again, note that this was written weeks ago, when we first found out. Although my feelings have changed, I feel like it's important to let others who might be on this same journey know that you're not alone in what you might be feeling.  Given even just a day to process the information, I was already feeling much better. Now, so far removed from it, I can say that the bulk of these feelings have completely vanished and have been taken over entirely by pure joy and unadulterated excitement [and I've started practicing how to tell her she canNOT get her belly button pierced at 14].  I've purchased some pink thing's, ya'll. And I HATE pink. But some of those tiny pink baby clothes are irresistible. That said, most of what I've purchased is still gender neutral or at least not PINK, because she's my kid and I can put her in blue if I want to - I'm the one who has to look at what she's wearing all day and it might as well be my favorite colors getting splattered with poop. I should also mention that Chris is also enthralled with her already - and has actually given me crap about having blue and green in her nursery and wardrobe. He's very sweet and protective of her in a way I'm not sure he would be if it was a boy and I can't wait to see her wrap him around her little finger.

We cannot wait to meet our baby girl.*