Thursday, February 16, 2017

0 Club Foot Journey: Our Baby's Story

I want to share the story of Christian's club foot. I have written notes about every month so I would not forget details.  It's important for me to have his story written to show him later. I've had lots of women over the last two years find me and tell me their own child was just diagnosed in utero and they are really scared. I have loved communicating with these women mostly in the US, but some internationally (Hong Kong, the UK and Australia) and sharing our story and offering support and hopefully alleviating some of their fears as they travel a similar journey. 

When I was 20 weeks pregnant, we went in for our anatomy ultrasound. We had found out two days prior that we were having a boy so to be honest, I was just excited to see him again on the screen. I went in with not a worry in the world. I was seriously the pregnant lady that did not stress about a thing.

After the long ultrasound, the nurse left the room and came back with the doctor. Immediately I felt sick. I knew he had something to tell us and this was the furthest thing from my mind. He said they found two issues with our baby, the first being a right club foot. My heart dropped. I was not expecting any sort of "news" at all, just another simple ultrasound.

Over the next 18 weeks of my pregnancy we had many more ultrasounds each one making me more nervous than the last. Because of his club foot and also the issue they found with his kidneys, they were starting to believe his club foot was not an isolated issue and that he might have more problems that we were unable to see from the ultrasounds. We did many tests, some of them coming back with perfect results, however, we heard for the rest of my pregnancy that they did not know what condition he would really be in until he arrived. I grew accustomed to confused looks on the ultrasound technicians' faces and I can still remember feeling like I was going to throw up the night before every ultrasound. Those feelings stayed with me throughout my pregnancy with Piper as well.

I prayed a lot during my pregnancy. I prayed that he would continue to grow healthy and strong. I prayed I would be guided to the right doctor. I prayed that there were no further issues and I hoped that the doctors were just being extra cautious and that was the reason they were feeding me so much extra information and encouraging me to do additional ultrasounds.

When I was pregnant, we started researching what we wanted to do to help our baby. I was willing to travel anywhere in the country and pay whatever it cost to help him have a healthy future. This is the part that always makes me smile. At the time, I was in the Young Womens presidency (a youth group organization in our church). The president happened to be an orthopedic surgeon, however, she did not specialize in pediatrics. We spoke with her and she suggested we meet up with her friend who did specialize in pediatrics, Dr. Vincent. By this point, we were pretty sure we wanted to go the route of the Ponseti method (a casting method) from what we had researched.

When I was about 30 weeks pregnant, we had our first appointment with Dr. Vincent. I felt sick the whole way there. We were his last appointment of the day and he immediately put us right at ease and just chatted with us for over an hour. It was the biggest relief and it was the first time in 10 weeks I felt a little more at ease. He answered all our questions, explained the whats, hows and whys and mapped out a plan for the next few years. I knew he was our guy!

While I was in labor I wasn't worried at all about the delivery (with how my deliver went, I probably should've been... haha) but just what condition he was going to be in. When Christian was born, I truly felt like it was a miracle. Besides his club foot, he was in perfect shape! I really think the reason my transition into motherhood was such a cake walk was just because I was so relieved after his birth. Four months of worry and concern about the condition of my baby boy were (almost) completely gone and now it was time to get to work!

We ended up scheduling his first cast for when he was 3 days old. Studies show that if you get them casted anytime in the first 2 weeks, it doesn't make a difference in their outcome. I could not sleep the night before his first appointment because I was so worried about him being uncomfortable or in pain. Then, he ended up just chilling through the whole thing. Figures...

He continued to get re casted weekly and each time, they rotated his foot more and more. He got used to the loud saw that would cut off his casts and they never seemed to bother him. We couldn't give him baths at home for the first few months, so we took his bath supplies to his appointments and gave him a little bath in between each casting.

This photo was taken after just a few casts! I remember being so shocked how straight his foot looked!

When he was 6 weeks old, he had his achilles tenotomy procedure done with no anesthesia. Sean stayed in the room, but I could not be anywhere close by! I felt like he had already been through a lot and it was totally messing with my heart. After his procedure, they casted him for the final time and really rotated his foot the opposite direction. It looked so painful and this cast stayed on him the longest for two weeks. He had quite a lot of blood on the heel of his cast from his procedure so I got a lot of looks when we were out and about running errands. I had to explain to some people that I don't hurt my child! Finally, I just gave up on going out altogether until he moved to the brace.

When he was 8 weeks old, he was transitioned to the boots and bar brace. We did a TON of research (and thankfully Sean had a lot of wonderful professors whom he met) and we ended up going with the method discovered by Dr. Ponseti because a lot of times when children with club feet have surgery, they can get arthritis by the time they're in their teens. The Ponseti boots definitely took some getting used to but after wearing them for a while, he seemed to not notice them at all. For the first three months, he wore the boots and bar for 23.5 hours a day. For the next month, he went down to 20 hours a day. After that, 16 hours a day and so on and so on. I cannot tell you how happy it made me to cut down on the brace throughout the day. It made everything easier, diaper changes, clothes, trips in the carseat....

The casts he wore as a little little baby were kind of like having braces on your teeth, but the brace is the retainer that keeps the foot from going back. It is critical that we are consistent with the brace because if we are not, then the foot will rotate back and then we would have to do surgery which often times leads to arthritis starting as teenagers.

He now wears the brace every night for 12 hours and every morning yells on repeat, "bye bye boots" the whole time we take them off. He will wear his brace 12 hours a day until he's four years old. Things I love about the brace: It keeps him from climbing out of his crib (we have a climber on our hands, folks)! Things I could do without: Putting it on him every night. Talk about the most intense workout ever! It was nearly impossible to wrestle him at 38 weeks pregnant. When we went to Piper's anatomy scan and it showed no club feet, I was so relieved to find out I didn't have to strap on two sets of braces every night!

At nine months old, Christian started walking. At his nine month appointment, Christian was toddling down the hall and his doctor's jaw dropped, "Is that my Christian walking??" Coincidentally, a study had just been released that stated typically children with clubfeet don't walk until 15 months, on average. Christian's walking milestone meant a lot to us. It meant that lots of hard work and tons of prayers have not gone unnoticed or unanswered. I cannot even begin to say how much we love Dr. Vincent! He always calls Christian his little superstar and Christian is obsessed (understatement) with him and so are we!

We now have an extremely busy, active and FAST 2 year old. It's everything I could've ever hoped and dreamed of when I stayed awake at night pregnant and worried. Sean and I could not be more grateful.

We just had his most recent appointment and Christian is doing great! He's right on track and should be completely done with his brace when he's four years old!

I've had many people ask me questions. These are probably the most common questions I get asked! I love when people ask me questions because then I know they're getting correct information.

Q: How do babies get a club foot?
A: We don't know. There's a genetic component (that could be the case with us but Christian's doctor does not think that's likely for several reasons). Also, moms who smoke or drink while pregnant are more likely to have a baby with a clubfoot (obviously, I did neither) and also some prescriptions have caused babies to have a club foot (I took nothing besides prenatals when pregnant with Christian, so that's not our case either). It does not come from the baby not having enough room to grow. Usually the first question I get is people asking if his foot was all twisted because he was too crowded in the womb.

Q: Is his development delayed because of his casts and brace?
A: Developmentally, the casting and brace schedule works great because the brace won't be on during the day to slow them down from different milestones once they begin to crawl or walk. By the time he learned to crawl and walk, he was only wearing the brace for nights and naps. In a lot of ways, I feel like his brace has helped him make some of his muscles very strong since he kicked that thing around all day!

Q: Will he be able to play sports and be active?
A: Yes! This is actually highly encouraged for kids born with club feet! On a lot of the clubfoot groups we are apart of, some club foot adults mention that their parents were too worried to let them participate in sports so their leg (or legs) is/are weaker and they deal with pain from being inactive. Staying active will help him develop muscles to support his foot. In fact, Troy Aikman, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and Kristi Yamaguchi, Olympic figure skating champion, were both born with club feet.

Q: Will his foot and leg look different as he grows?
A: It's possible. Christian was born with a unilateral club feet meaning it was only one of his feet. Some kids are born with bilateral club feet. A lot of times, if their case is unilateral, their calf on their club foot leg is skinnier and their foot is smaller. Christian's club foot is smaller but such a small amount that he wears the same shoe size on both feet. Some stores, including Nordstrom, will sell you shoes in two different sizes though (Nordstrom Rack will not).

I wanted to share this video because it gave Sean and me a lot of comfort when I was pregnant. You can see towards the end what happens when a club foot goes untreated and leaves people crippled for life. It's absolutely heartbreaking. I cannot tell you how blessed we feel that we were able to get such good care for our baby and that we live in a place and in a time in age where he won't have to suffer his entire life from his birth defect. We hope to one day travel to other countries with Christian and have him meet other people with club feet so he can realize as well, how blessed he is!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

6 Piper Azalia Kent

March 11th, 2016
7 lbs. 10 oz.
20 inches

At 33 weeks pregnant, I went to my doctor's appointment and they were concerned because my blood pressure was very high and I had alarming amounts of protein in my urine. I was showing signs of preeclampsia again (which is why I was induced early with Christian) so we began the talk of early induction. My doctor was glad I was 33 weeks along and was hoping I could make it to 34 weeks but they were monitoring me closely and put me on bedrest (which is the biggest joke with an active one year old).

I obviously did not want to have the baby too early so my goal was to make it to March. Week after week hit and every week my doctor wondered if I would make it to the next. Then March arrived and I started to get antsy! I could not believe I made it that far after weeks of hearing talk of early induction. My pregnancy with Piper was incredibly painful as I dealt with sciatica and Symphysis Pubic Diastasis. I was also still dealing with bad morning sickness until the very end so I was definitely ready to have a baby and feel somewhat human again. I had contractions for weeks and weeks so my body was exhausted but the contractions were nothing to go to the hospital over so I just waited. My new goal was to have the baby by my birthday, March 10th. 

This is me the morning of my birthday. I had woken up from probably the best night of sleep I'd had in a couple months. My mother-in-law joked that it's because my body was resting up for labor (I think she was right)! This picture makes me laugh. Apparently I wasn't excited about waking up still pregnant. Little did I know, she wanted her own birthday and less than 24 hours later, she would come!

Ironically, on my birthday, the contractions that had been pretty constant stopped. I went about the whole day feeling like my body had regressed. We went out to a fun birthday dinner around 6 pm with Sean, Christian and my mom. Back at home around 9 pm I sat down and finally was able to respond to all my nice texts from friends and family. I can't tell you how many, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Is there a baby yet?" texts I got! To each person I pretty much told them nothing was happening and it was probably going to be awhile. At 10, Sean and I climbed into bed but I couldn't fall asleep because pregnancy insomnia is a beast.

At around 11 I started having the kind of contractions that are just annoying. They hurt a little but they hurt as much as all the contractions I'd been having for over a month so I didn't think anything of it. For the next few hours I timed them. I didn't know what it was like to go into labor on my own so I was doubting myself and I definitely didn't want to go to the hospital for a false alarm. Around 2am, I knew they were consistent and painful so I woke up Sean. My dad had luckily just flown in that night, so I woke him up and told him we were headed to the hospital.

Once I got there I was ready to show the nurses my contraction log to prove it so they'd admit me. Instead they just took me back and strapped me up to the machines. When the nurse checked me I was at a 5! I couldn't believe I was actually in labor. They brought me back to the labor and delivery room and by about 2:30am and within 30 minutes of arriving, I was hooked up to an IV and they started pitocin. The anesthesiologist came in and hooked me up with an epidural before my contractions ever even got really bad! AWESOME. The whole time I kept thinking, "it can't be this easy, there's no way it's going to be this easy..." After an extremely long and semi traumatic birth with Christian, I just couldn't believe how smoothly everything was going.

Sean and I talked and tried to sleep for a little bit but it wasn't too much longer until I started feeling pressure so I told the nurses. Sure enough, I was at a 10 and they said she was about to come so they were going to grab the doctor! I still laugh thinking just several hours after my birthday dinner where I felt nothing, I was delivering a baby.

I was so surprised how quickly everything was going. Hours before I never suspected I was anywhere close to even having a baby! I started shaking and getting really jittery. The doctor on call came in and then Sean introduced himself as a medical student and asked if it was possible if he could deliver the baby. The doctor was so nice about it and told him he could! Sean quickly gowned up and three pushes later, she was here, delivered by daddy! Our parents didn't even have time to make it to the hospital when I said things were progressing quickly. Such a happy whirlwind!

Wrong baby. Still cute. 

I looooove her cheeks!

It was the most bizarre thing starting with a newborn all over again so quickly because my memories of Christian as a newborn were still so fresh. I kept having weird moments where I felt like I was holding baby Christian and having to consciously think about it being a completely different baby. I knew from night one Piper was definitely feisty! Sean and I looked at each other after the first night in the hospital like, "what the crap did we just get ourselves into?" She was not going to let either of us relax post birth and she made that clear!

Little did I know the next few months I would almost never put down my screaming baby. She had two modes: sleeping and screaming. She quickly got her nickname "Pipes" because there was never a louder screaming baby that has graced this green earth. Hah! Ha Ha..... I truly thought I was losing my mind at times. I always said she would've been the perfect first child. She demanded every ounce of me and I felt so badly that I really had to give so much energy to her and Christian often times got what was leftover. After a few months we have finally been able to get some of her issues sorted out and now, I think I can safely say we have a more content baby on our hands! HALLELUJAH.

Here are some examples of Piper ages 0-5 months:

She still wakes up 1-5 times a night and she still makes her opinions (very) well known, but man I love this girl. She has personality oozing out of her! We went for her well check yesterday and her doctor was constantly saying how busy, social, curious, strong, etc... she is. She's a little thing but she's a fireball and we love her for it. Even though I'm terrified of 7th grade Piper, she is always making me laugh (and sometimes makes me roll my eyes). She has evolved so much in her short life and it makes me tear up to think of what obstacles we've had to go through to get her happier. She really is the sweetest, funniest little thing. She's tough and can handle whatever big brother throws her way. It's cliche but I cannot remember life before her. What would we do without this munchkin? So glad she's ours!

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

1 It's a Girl! Help Us All.

Most of you know I'm pregnant. Again. Yeah, totally feels like I just did that roller coaster ride. Oh wait, I did.

I convinced myself I was having another boy. I even got really excited at the thought of having an all boy family. So I was completely shocked to find out, it's a girl!

BLESS HER. No seriously, I am so scared for her.

I used to hear people freak out and say "I don't even know what I am going to do with a girl/boy" when they had one of one gender and found out they were expecting one of another gender. I thought that was super dramatic. What do you mean you don't know what you are going to do with the new baby?? It's a baby! They sleep at all the wrong times and they cry every time your head hits the pillow. Gender has nothing to do with that.

Except, our little boy hit 5 months and my opinion completely changed.

Side story so I can paint a picture: When I was 15 and home sick from school, my mom must've been gone because I was watching Maury on tv. This specific episode had nothing to do with who the father was and instead featured a kid who had an inability to feel pain and so he started eating his fingers. I was horrified. That is so sick.

When Christian started crawling/scaling the couch/climbing on things, he would fall or crash a lot and hit his head or arm or leg and he would never cry. I seriously cannot remember a time he cried. And he'd crash hard. I remember one time he even fell in the giant waiting room at my doctor's office and the whole room echoed with the fall. Every single moms' head in that room popped up and they all gasped. Christian was singing and just stood right back up and kept going.

At first, I wasn't too concerned and then so many moms started making comments to me about it. I then started to freak out that he had a disease like that kid on Maury! I definitely didn't want him to start chewing off limbs! I googled everything I could and pretty much Sean and I just came to the conclusion that since he went through so much trauma as a newborn and had three unmedicated procedures, maybe he doesn't feel pain like most kids do. At least it's the only answer that's made me feel better. It's also when I started thinking, maybe he's just a really rough and tumble, tough little boy!

If this is the case, our sweet little girl needs to come to us tough as nails. How in the world is Christian supposed to be gentle when he could care less if others are gentle with him and he certainly is not gentle with others??

At first when I heard "It's a girl," my heart sang and I instantly thought of baby dolls, tutus and painted toe nails. Then I glanced at my lovely first born stretching his leg out to kick the nurse. Suddenly I saw a little girl running around with mangled hair and a butcher knife. Yes, she might never be the Miss Priss that I once was. And as I have learned with my boy, kids come jam packed with their own personality, regardless of what you do.

I grew up with my sister a year behind me. I have no memory of my life before she was around. We went through school together and I can still remember her telling off that punk girl, Jasmine, in preschool because I was too shy. We shared clothes, barbies, music and sometimes crushes (the WORST)! We started our periods within 12 hours of each other (too much?). We had our own bedrooms, but we shared mine. There wasn't a night we slept in our own rooms. Most nights, we laughed our heads off until we fell asleep. Most of my best memories are with her. It was so fun having a built in best friend. Once we both slammed our bedroom doors because we were mad (diva behavior was NOT allowed in the Stolworthy house). Both our doors were taken off the hinges immediately. I remember us sitting across the hallway from each other in our doorless doorways laughing our heads off about it.

I know the brother/sister dynamic will be a little different. I do hope that no matter what though, they share a friendship like the one I had with my sister. I hope they have each other's back at school. I know sometimes they'll fight and scream at each other. That's okay, too. Maybe they won't share all the same hobbies and same friends, but I hope at the end of the day they can be a listening ear, a crying shoulder and thrilled for the other's successes just like my siblings do for me.

We are ready for you Kent girl!! And I say "ready" super lightly. Just a little reminder to stay cooking until March. Gracias.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

3 A Birthday Party... For Me!

Turning one is like the biggest deal in the world, is it not? This morning I was getting so carried away with my big plans for Christian's party! If you could've been in my mind, everything was so Pinterest-worthy. I was getting so excited to be insta-famous!

Then I started thinking, this is not about him at all, it's about me. The park, the friends, the cake, the perfect banners and delicious food... It was all about me and what I wanted. How selfish! I then started thinking, If I were to really make the day all about my big birthday boy, I'd want him to know it was different and special! I'd want him to be able to do things on that day, that we normally don't do. I'd want to really make his day and do all the things that he absolutely loves!

I made a list of the activities for his new party:
-Have unlimited time playing in the dishwasher. He can pull out whatever dishes and it does not matter what was on them or how sharp they are.
-Bite/lick the toilet lid.
-Aluminum Foil. Lots of it. Pull it out of drawers, tear it up, chew on it.
-Eat as much dog food as wanted. When I see him with chipmunk packed cheeks full of kibbles n' bits, I promise, I will not remove any pieces.
-Rip all the leaves off all our trees and bushes. Just tear them right off, I don't care!
-All toys/tools will be sharp, dangerous and potentially fatal. No moms are going to put a stop to that!
-Lola will be giving free piggy back rides.
-Rocks, dirt and bugs will be served for lunch.
-No diapers at this party! You can pee wherever you want and you don't have to sit still to get a fresh new diaper. How nice.
-Naked. Clothes not necessary here......

You know what? Now that I think about it, never mind. His birthday is going to be all about me.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

1 A Boy and his Dog

When you've got an almost ten month old, you hit the ground running as soon as you hear him yelling and pounding on his wall at 6am. He's a terrible napper, so most days the next time I catch a break is 6:30 pm. Christian rules our house. I used to judge people like that. He has started shouting at me. How do I fix this? Umm, how in the world do I know? I think I say, "In this house, we speak nicely to each other" about 9 billion times a day and he gives me a look that makes me feel like the biggest idiot on the planet.

His favorite activity is dumping the dry dog food into the toilet and then splashing in it. I've seen him elbows deep in pee (that's as far as I'm going on that one), last week I saw him straight up eating a retired birds nest like you would eat a hamburger, he's thrown Sean's iPad right into his poopy diaper, about half the time I find him, his lips are covered in mulch and he has dog food just chillin in his cheeks and this morning he got an old milk jug out of the recycle bin and poured sour, curdled milk over his entire body. Yum.

My lucky mom and mother-in-law get hourly updates of his antics, pictures usually included. They laugh. I laugh. I literally have no clue what I'm doing or how to keep him even a tiny bit under control. I think if I started to try to keep it all together, I would lose my mind, so I'm mostly just like, whateva, all day long.

If you want to give me advice, I'm down. If you want to come babysit, I'm totally freaking down with that.

But today, I seriously had a 20 minute break. Christian is obsessed with our dog Lola and thinks she was born just so he could gnaw on her ears and try to pancake flatten her. If you know Lola, she's literally the biggest brat on the planet. Like, she mostly just goes by Lil' Miss Hot Mess or Suzanne Somers at our house. I think if I took her to dog school, the dog trainers would bawl their eyes out and hit the bar afterwards. Anyways, she's horrible. EXCEPT she is soooo nice and patient with Christian, like Mother Teresa status, so I usually just think, "Okay, you have another night of room and board."

A lot of mornings Lola is doing her typical naughty behavior and shredding up something valuable under the couch. When Christian wakes up, he likes to look for her there. It's pretty typical for her to not want to come out and be tortured by him, but most of the time he just grabs her by an ear or limb and tries to pull her out. This morning though was really different, he was so patient with her. He waited for over 20 minutes for her to come out.

He would scoot his head closer and closer when she realized they were both being just as stubborn.

He tried to share his binky with her. He even tried to put it in her mouth.

In the end, he settled for petting her nose.

I love my little boy. Maybe he's not the quietest and maybe he's exceptionally horrible at sitting still, but he's really really really fun and keeps me on my toes! I loved watching him be so gentle this morning and I love anytime I get to see new little sides of his personality come out that I haven't seen before. Especially in those rare, calm moments. We are learning and growing together. We probably laugh our heads off about 90% of the day, at least we try. He is my buddy and he forces me to be reeeeeallly chill. This mom thing is totally the best and I'm so glad I have such an entertaining partner for the ride.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

4 Mamahood

I've been at this mommy thing for two months now.
See? 2 months.

I haven't got most of it even close to figured out, but here are a few things I've learned:

I can do things I'd never thought I'd be able to do. Now, I don't mean things like loving more than I thought was possible or literally only sleeping 2 hours within a 24 hour period, which both are things I have done, I mean peeing on a toilet with a kid in a brace and having to bend over and tear your toilet paper off with your teeth. I did that. Yesterday. And then Christian and I looked at each other and laughed. You go Glen Coco!

You do weird sleep deprived things. Last night I leaned over in my sleep to look at the monitor and I see a bug chillin' on top of Christian on the screen. All I remember saying was "get off my baby you sicko." Yeah. Sleep deprivation and instincts can make you threaten a 1/4 inch bug that's not even close to your child.

Expect curve balls. Like, everyday. It's been 10 weeks since we brought Christian home from the hospital and it's been a little wild. I can't even begin to list all the doctor visits we've made. We spent some time in the hospital when he got RSV, oh, and then, after that we came home to a flooded house and had to tear up the hardwood and then eventually put it back in. I think another word for curveballs is "life" and I'm lucky enough to be married to a guy who seriously rolls with the punches and remains calm and positive through it all. Brag over.

Never say never. No, I'm not referring to Justin Bieber, I'm talking about all these methods mama's have and who's right and who's wrong. I actually learned this lesson when I taught elementary school so luckily the words "I will never ________." have not yet escaped my mouth as a mom. For example, I can't say I won't let my kids watch tv and one of the reasons I can't say that is because Christian and I watched Baby Einstein last week for 5 minutes until his eyes started bulging out of his head and arms went wild from over-stimuation. Sorry baby. The video case clearly stated 3+ months. Too soon.

Always have a plan, and when that plan fails, be fine with it. I read so many books when I was pregnant and I'm so glad I did. A lot of them agreed on some ideas and then on other things would totally contradict each other. I've used bits and pieces from them all and I always have a plan A and B and C and.... Sometimes, we have to scratch that plan though and just start over. We've learned to be very organized but also very flexible.

You will let yourself go, a little. Eek! The biggest pre-mom nightmare of all time! Yeah somedays I'm smiling and playing with Christian and don't even notice until noon I have yesterday's mascara half way down my face. Umm, how can he even love me or smile back?? Terrifying! I don't eat breakfast until 2pm. I've gone on a walk in black pajama pants because I rationalized in my head they could easily be mistaken for yoga pants and my yoga pants were in some pile of some unfolded laundry somewhere. I've had pee down my shirt and spit up in my hair and when I finally get a chance to clean up at 8pm, I find myself belting out nursery rhymes in the shower. But at the end of the day, I played with my baby. I saw all his new tricks. I comforted him when he was upset and I met all his needs. It might not always be picture perfect, but everyone is happy and healthy!

I AM THE MAMA. No matter what anyone says or what advice I get, I have really learned to trust myself and my instincts. People might make comments but I know what's best for my little boy. I know to hold him sideways if he's sad. I know that if he's starting to squirm that means he doesn't want to eat anymore. I know that he hates the sun in his eyes so I have to remember his little sunglasses on our walks. I know when he's sad because he's tired or when he's sad because he's hungry. I am the mama.

I have a lot more to learn and poor baby Christian is my guinea pig. However, I'm loving my new adventure with my tiny little man and it's always a party at our place!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

1 Christian's Nursery

Wow. I really stressed myself out on this room but I'm so happy with the way everything turned out. It's a good mix of do-it-yourself projects, Craigslist steals, sentimental items, a few splurges and gifts from grandparents. The room was pretty much empty until I was 8 months pregnant. I probably won't ever do that again, but I didn't have much of an option this time around and look, everything still came together (that was me reminding myself it all worked out)!

There are a few things I kept in mind when brainstorming-
1. Budget friendly... I mean, Sean's in school and now I'm a stay-at-home mom so that's a no brainer. I combined coupons and waited for deals so even on full price items, I was able to get lots of discounts!
2. Gender neutral, but boyish, but simple (okay, that was like 5 points). I didn't want lots of loud colors. I knew the whole family would be in here more than any other room after he came and I wanted it to be sweet and relaxing. I also wanted to keep it gender neutral just in case another baby makes an appearance before we have to sell this home.

Crib was easy. I knew what crib I wanted and that's the first thing we ordered. My mom made the amazing swiss cross quilt! This helped me plan the room's color scheme. The animal and velvet pillows were other things I found early on. My mother-in-law gifted us with the darling mobile from Restoration Hardware. The rocking sheep is from Pottery Barn but I found it for a steal on Craigslist. I ordered black dot labels from Amazon and stuck them sporadically on the wall. Christian loves looking at them as he falls asleep for his naps. And I'm sure when he's able to stand up in his crib, he will try picking them off the wall.

I found the mid century dresser (and lamp) online at an estate sale for a serious steal. Yes, we bought dead people furniture and it was the perfect addition! At 8 months pregnant I SCRUBBED the insides of that dresser down with vinegar and then put it in the sun with baking soda in each drawer for 24 hours and then did that whole process again. I lined the drawers with liners and organized them with Ikea bins. We had a small amount of space to work with and I didn't see the point in spending $100 on a changing table when I needed it to double as some solid storage. I wanted a place to put extra diapers, binkies and all those baby odds and ends.

Sean and I both love to travel and we hope Christian will love to, too! I wanted a map in his bedroom and I found this one on Amazon but I knew it needed a little something more so I cut and stained some wood panels and glued those to the top and bottom and then hung the final product on the wall with some black and white baker's twine.

Another really easy DIY project to help personalize his room was this C poster. I made it on my computer, sent it in to Costco and put it in an inexpensive Ikea frame. Voila!
The rocking chair was another generous grandparent gift! The bookshelves were the first thing I hung up in the room. I purchased books that looked boyish and went with the room. Have I mentioned I'm an OCD mess and even more so when I'm pregnant? I don't want to talk about it. I bought a couple books from Barnes and Nobles but most are from seriously the best website ever, If you don't know about it, find out quick. It's the best (hint: cheap books and always free shipping). And of course because I'm a former elementary school teacher I already had about a gazillion more books that I now have stored in his closet. I loved unpacking them out of the boxes that my former students had labeled for me and knowing that now my own kids could read them.

The ukulele came from Nama and Pop Pop Kent!

This is a print my mom painted with watercolors and it's hanging by his bedroom door. Sweetest quote and painting!

The closet is nothing fancy, but I did rediscover my love for bins and shelves! My mom also created some closet dividers for his clothes which are a huge help!

DIY Projects: letter art, map, quilt (my mom), mountain print (my mom), crib sheets (my mom)

Thrifted: mid century dresser, mid century lamp, rocking sheep

Gifted: glider, ukulele, mountain prints, cross quilt, sheets

I love having Christian's little space all finished. We spend a whole lot of time in here so I'm glad I kept it bright and simple!


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