Springlonging

Spring begins today, and it doesn’t feel like spring much at all. Hell, it’s spring break on campus and I’m still walking around wearing my winter coat. But spring is officially, FINALLY here, and I celebrated by combing through my photo archive for some of my favorite springtimey photos. To get us all in the mood.

springlonging

March 30, 2007

signs of life are everywhere

blue skies and hope

dogwood pretties

gritty meets pretty

April 16, 2010

it's March now, can we get to the good stuff?

at last, greenness

seriously, magic.

Currents

morning kitten snuggles

03.10.2014 :: post-work sunlight!

03.12.2014 :: tiny signs of baby spring

03.13.2014 :: decisions, decisions

It’s been a tough week. The strange, up-and-down weather didn’t help much; we had one of the prettiest days in months and then one of the gloomiest. But I keep seeing and hearing more signs of springtimey hope (birds chirping in the mornings! new growth on plants!) and I’m deciding to pay attention to those, rather than the fact that I’m back in my winter coat again today.

I had a bit of a meltdown this morning, and if there’s any type of crying I hate most, it’s “I’m about to leave for work” crying. Somehow, it all hit me at once – the frustration of getting bad blood sugar numbers without understanding how to fix them, how tired I am of wearing the same damn six shirts over and over and over (and how my family is probably thinking I only actually have ONE, since they only see me in the one “weekend” shirt that I love but can’t wear to work), how much I hate to stop wearing my wedding rings because they’re too tight now, how unfair it is that I can’t just be that stereotypical pregnant woman eating giant bowls of ice cream and entire bags of Doritos, how annoyed I am that the new stylist I tried this week fucked up my bangs so badly, and just how TIRED I am.

I suppose it all overflowed because of the hormones, but it WAS a long, frustrating week. And I’m tired. But I had my first real dream about the baby last night, and it was REALLY real. The baby even had a name in my dream. The baby kicks so hard now, and as weird as it is to see my belly move from the outside, it’s pretty freaking amazing, too. And next week at work is Spring Break, which means it’ll be quiet and I can catch up so I feel more on top of things. This weekend, we get to see some friends (and puppies) we haven’t seen in a while, plus celebrate my dad’s birthday. I might even get some time to work on some crafts.

So, you know. Good, bad, frustrating, hopeful. As ever.

(Pregnancy) Plot Twist

03.11.2014 :: new normal

On Friday, I learned that I failed my three hour glucose tolerance test, which means I have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I know it’s strange, but I just had a feeling, and really wasn’t shocked when I got the phone call. I had a pretty epic freak out on Monday of last week when I learned that I had failed the one hour glucose test and had to go back in for the three hour one, and in retrospect, I wonder if it’s because somewhere in there, I just knew I was headed here.

I spent the weekend alternatively freaking out, feeling sorry for myself, feeling okay about it, and googling way too much. I am admittedly bitter that I now have to give up sweets (Reese’s! Ice cream! Cookies! Sour patch watermelons! My daily cherry coke!), which I have been craving constantly since September. It’s not like giving up beer and diet coke and all those other things is a cakewalk. (Cake!) I also will have to cut down on my carb consumption, and I mean… my entire diet lately has been carbs and sugar, honestly.

But the bottom line of all of this? Whatever it takes to keep this baby healthy is whatever I will do. Regardless of how difficult it might be, or how far out of my comfort zone it is, or how many times I have to make myself bleed every day. The potential risks to my baby if I don’t manage my GD are really scary and I don’t want to think about that. I have tried on and off to be more healthy over the years, and always have a reason to cheat. Knowing now, that if I cheat, it will have a direct impact on this baby is a pretty damn un-ignorable incentive NOT to cheat.

I obviously have a lot to learn, still, and haven’t even really started with the changes I need to make. This morning, I had an appointment with a diabetes counselor who taught me a lot about what GD is and how to start tracking my blood sugar. GD happens for all kinds of reasons (and not only to people who are overweight or eat sugar all the time), but it basically boils down to the fact that the massive amounts of hormones in my body are blocking insulin from doing its job. So my body needs to produce way more insulin than normal to counteract that… and it isn’t doing that. So here we are. I have a moderately cute glucose meter, test strips, and sharp pointy things with which to stab myself five times a day for the next two and a half months. It wasn’t as painful or freaky as I expected… but it also took me four sticks to get a reading when I tried it for the first time by myself. I know it’s going to take some trial and error to get my diet on track, and I’m trying to be easy with myself if my numbers aren’t within the good ranges yet. I will meet with a nutritionist on Friday afternoon to learn more about what I should be eating, and I’m sure that will be more helpful than all of my googling so far.

To be honest? During the past few years, when I was struggling to lose a little weight, I would joke that I just wanted someone to tell me how to eat to be more healthy. And now? I have an appointment with someone who will tell me just that, and a REALLY REAL reason not to fuck this up. In a lot of ways, this feels a bit like a blessing in disguise. In an effort to keep my baby as healthy as possible, maybe I’ll learn how to get MYSELF healthier. That can’t be a bad thing.

Even if I can’t promise I won’t whine about all the candy and cookies I won’t be eating. I’m still human.

On Daily Photo Projects

01.15.2014 :: frozen fog

I seem to have signed myself up for another year of daily photos without fully intending to. My fourth round of Project 365 (from July 2011-July 2012) didn’t feel like much of a success, considering how I had to drag myself kicking and screaming through it. Which isn’t to say I haven’t gotten to that kicking and screaming stage with each round of Project 365. But after that last time, I said I really, really wouldn’t do it again, and I meant it.

02.05.2014 :: iced over

And then, just like every period between Project 365 years, I kind of … totally stopped taking photos like I used to. This time, it’s been different, because sure, I’m still taking photos almost every day, but they’re for my scrapbook. There’s a subtle difference in my head in photo quality based on where I share them: instagram is all phone photos, and has now become the place where I share photos just for fun, or something funny I noticed. It’s also the place where I interact with others the most; many of my old flickr friends have moved entirely to instagram, and I’ve made quite a few new ones through the #projectlife hashtag, which is awesome. Flickr is still the place where I post my “real” photos, the ones I am proud of or think are slightly better than the everyday stuff I share on instagram (although there’s definitely overlap between the two). And then there are the photos that only ever make it into my scrapbook: every day photos that document life or an event simply or less artfully but that aren’t “worthy” of sharing on the internet at large (like blurry photos of Luna playing or being crazy). Sometimes I can’t even describe how I make this decision on a particular photo.

02.19.2014 :: baby kitten/baby belly

All of that to explain that I’ve been taking plenty of photos, but the purpose is totally different. I’m documenting everyday life, but the art and creativity isn’t always there. I haven’t added very many photos at all to my Ones I Like Best flickr set. I’m not going on photo walks or taking photos just because or bringing my “real” camera around with me anymore. When I was in the throes of the first three rounds of Project 365, I ALWAYS had my dSLR with me. Sure, that’s how my beloved XTi got so beat up, but I also wasn’t missing out on photos like I am now. The excuse is surely that the iPhone camera is better than any other phone camera I’ve had… but even with the photos I take on the iPhone that I love, somewhere in there, I know it could have turned out just a bit better.

02.23.2014 :: lazy Sunday

A few of my flickr friends are still working on daily photo projects, and a few others started new ones on January 1st. I took a photo on the first day of the year, and tossed around the idea of doing a photo a day for the month of January… and then got a whole bunch of capslock-filled comments urging me to just keep going for the year. I couldn’t really argue with them; 2014 is going to be a hell of a year, and how awesome would it be to document it like I always used to? To get back into real photography just in time to have the greatest photo subject of all on the scene?

02.24.2014 :: sunset drive

I’m 64 days into the project, and I’m beginning to wonder if it was a super great idea. But then, Project 365 is always the hardest in the winter, when it’s cold and there’s no light and you don’t DO much. I really do miss photography and taking photos I’m proud of, stretching that particular side of my creativity. And if there’s anything I’ve learned about myself, it’s that when I start a project that involves numbering, once I’ve started, I’m pretty unlikely to give up out of stubbornness or an OCD need to not miss a day or end on a random day. So here I am. Again, apparently. Even though I said I’d never do it again.

Never say never again, I guess.

The Baby’s Room: Before

One of the most tangible things in this whole “hey, you’re having a baby!” business has been the baby’s eventual room. We never really had a plan for the third bedroom in our house, other than that it would be an eventual nursery… and finding out I was pregnant only a week after moving in meant we didn’t have much time to fill the room with other stuff.

baby1
the view from the room’s doorway. I knew I wanted this to be the baby’s room because of that bay window.

When I tell people that we don’t know whether the baby is a boy or a girl, their concerns are focused on two areas: buying clothes for the baby and the baby’s room. “But how will you decorate a room without knowing whether the baby’s a girl or a boy?!” was a very frequent question. Truthfully, I doubt either Dan or I would plan a nursery totally based around the baby’s sex (all pink/purple/blue? just not our style). But I will say that it has taken some creativity to think up plans for a nursery that don’t feel slightly more girl or boy. Even if you’re not talking pink or blue, some color combinations definitely feel more “girl” or “boy” to me, and I really want this to be a happy space that works either way.

baby2
this is the wall facing the door; we figure we’ll put the crib here. we also have to find a way to hide that damn cable moden…

The walls in the room started out a pale periwinkle blue. I knew right from the get-go that I wanted gray walls. Gray walls and white furniture, actually. I love that combination SO much I’d probably have every room in the house that way if I didn’t have a husband to keep me in check. (Or a house that didn’t really need to be painted at all when we moved in.) I convinced Dan to take the double doors off the closet, primarily to keep them from taking up half of the available wall space when open. I saw some nurseries on Pinterest that used a super vivid color on the inside of the closet, and I LOVE that idea as a way to bring in a bright color.

baby3
so the closet’s got SOME crap in it. but much of this stuff is awesome stuff our amazing friends have handed down; it’s kinda crazy to have actual baby gear IN OUR HOUSE.

People love to ask what the “theme” of the nursery is, and while we don’t really have a theme in the way most people think of it (beachy or owls or what have you), I definitely have a general goal: mostly white and gray with LOTS of pops of vivid, primary colors. We have started painting the inside of the closet yellow, and it looks pretty awesome. I also realized that the red desk of my dreams (which has gone unused as an actual desk since I moved in with Dan) fits this theme perfectly AND would be a pretty sneaky way to store diapers. I figure we’ll bring in lots of colorful artwork, and maybe get a night table in a crazy color. I’m also working on a blanket for the baby that’s all bright colors that will hopefully tie everything together.

the baby's room (before)
the red desk of legend. also? the old paint color doesn’t look too bad in these photos. trust me, it was not cute in person.

As of this writing, we have put two coats of paint on the walls and inside the closet. We still need to paint (ALL) the trim, because for some reason, the trim in this room is off-white, despite the rest of the house having bright white trim. I’m a little daunted by that task, just because of all the cutting in and not dripping on wood floors it’ll involve… but I know it’ll be so worth it. We need to decide if we want to get some help installing an overhead light fixture or ceiling fan, and we definitely need to address the heat in the room, which is kind of … non-existent. (This room is the farthest from the furnace and significantly colder than the rest of the bedrooms. Granted, it won’t be an issue for the baby since he or she will be making his or her grand appearance at the start of summer, but we still need to figure it out.) I finally found a rug after a LOT of online shopping, which I’m super excited about. I’ve got some diy ideas for some wall art, and we’ve got some closet organizey plans in place, too. So while we maybe can’t say that things are coming together yet, we’ve started, and that is pretty exciting.

(Pregnant) Confessions

(Confessions One) (Confessions Two) (Confessions Three) (Confessions Four) (Confessions Five)

  • I still feel guilty that I didn’t really have any morning sickness.
  • I didn’t have a magical moment when the + showed up on the test after which I was consumed with love for my unborn baby. It was something a little more like stunned disbelief.
  • I still feel mostly gobsmacked by the whole thing.
  • I spend a lot of time thinking about ice cream and seasonal Reese’s peanut butter cups. (Seasonal ones have a much better peanut butter to chocolate ratio.)
  • I’m inordinately terrified that my feet will swell and never go back to their original size. Size ten is PLENTY large enough, baby. (Think of all the converse!!!)
  • I don’t seem to be having stereotypical cravings, but obsessions with certain foodstuffs that burn hot and fast, and after they’re over, I want NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with said foodstuff. (The now-unappealing list includes pumpkin squash ravioli frozen dinners and strawberry Newtons, most notably).
  • In the last week, the baby’s kicks have gone from gentle little rumbles to shockingly strong actual KICKS that often make me gasp out loud. But the new strength means Dan felt one from the outside for the first time, and that was kinda amazing.
  • I’m still caught off guard by people being extra kind and taking care of me (when my sister- and brother-in-law each grabbed an elbow walking through an icy parking lot; when a friend walked me back from lunch to make sure I got past all the ice safely). Not because it’s weird that they’d be nice, but more that I forget, a little, that I need to be 50x more careful.
  • I am surprised that I haven’t had too many overly emotional sobfests (which is not to say that I haven’t had any). I have been SUPER irritable, though.
  • I really, really, really miss beer.

Room Tour: the Craft Room

We’ve been in our new house for five months, and are definitely feeling settled in. Most of the rooms are stuck in the same stage of setting up: things are mostly where they go, but we haven’t really started the decorating/walls/curtains stage. I’m not sure that my mind will really get to the decorating part of things for a while yet (it’s kind of occupied by a certain lettuce-sized belly occupant these days…), and I think Dan and I are both okay with that. I also like the idea of living in our house for a while before we start committing to nail holes (or another metric ton of Command strips). Still, it does mean that I don’t feel like any room is “finished” in a way that I want to share it, and that part isn’t as fun.

But! I think the craft room is pretty fantastic, so I figured I’d start there. We really did want this to end up being a craft room + guest room, and I’m glad we were able to make it happen that way.

craft room tour!
This is the view from the doorway, and it helps illustrate the problem that felt insurmountable just after we moved in (and before we upgraded our bed). No matter how many times we measured, it just didn’t seem possible to fit our old full-sized bed AND my desk in there. My old desk was my parents’ old kitchen table, butcher block and deep and amazing. But Dan brought up the idea of getting a new desk for me, and let’s face it, it wasn’t exactly difficult to get excited about the idea.

craft room tour!
We upgraded to a king-sized bed just before Thanksgiving, and it is amazing. People have been scoffing at me for years, making my 6’2″ husband sleep on such a tiny bed, but it was working just fine, partly because we planned to get a new one as soon as we moved anyway. And I’ll never, ever stop loving that bed frame (my first real furniture purchase back in 2007 when I was moving out of my parents’ house). Perhaps having it pushed up against the wall isn’t ideal, but the room doesn’t feel cramped to me, and we were so afraid that it would.

craft room tour!
And the new desk? Is working out wonderfully. It’s an IKEA Linmon table top and two Alex drawer units (which totally look like they match the rolling cabinet of drawers I had previously). I love that it’s long enough to fit an open Project Life binder, my paper trimmer AND normal work space, and that it’s shallow enough to take up less of the room. I’ve been using it for a few months now, and couldn’t be happier.

craft room tour!
craft room tour!
I’m still working with my pile/bowl/bin desktop storage method, although I have some new bins ordered that will hopefully help me be a little more organized. Having the bookshelf nearby is also really nice. Even if I filled it up REALLY quickly.

There are definitely a few projects I’d like to finish to make the room feel complete, like hanging curtains, getting another light fixture for right above my workspace, and hanging art on the walls. I also REALLY need to get a new desk chair; that infernal Jules chair is cool-looking but supremely uncomfortable. I definitely need to hang all of my Es but having more wall space has my gears turning. A big calendar? Some prints? A bulletin board or clipboards to hang art more temporarily? The possibilities are endless.

But even more than just as a craft space, I love that this room is really functioning as a guest room. We’ve had family and friends stay a few weekends here and there, and having a real room they can call their own while they’re here is so cool. Maybe we won’t always get to have a dedicated room for guests and crafts, but it’s pretty fantastic to have it for the years we will.

Currents

01.29.2014 :: so over it

02.03.2014 :: snow forever

bean boots forever

02.05.2014 :: iced over

01.22.2014 :: bright spot

It’s been a really … WINTERY winter this year. And as much as I’m admittedly very much a summer girl through and through, I don’t hate snow. But we’ve had so many small-to-medium sized storms this winter, with SO MANY days of record cold temperatures that I’m not sure we’ve seen the grass since 2013. Add in a few horrible snowy driving experiences, and I’m over it. If I ever needed to be sure that I do not want to move any further north, I think this winter has taken care of that.

However, this whole picture a day thing is forcing me to find the beauty in the wintery stillness, and I’m really glad for that. I’ve been using my real camera more than I have in months, and getting some photos I’m really proud of, and it feels fantastic.

I’m at 24 weeks pregnant (just barely into my sixth month) and I have been feeling mostly good, still, despite the snow-incuded stress. Other than the heartburn. Heartburn forever, waking me up at night, at random times during the day, first thing in the morning… It’s kind of awful. Don’t get me wrong – I’d take heartburn now over puking in the beginning forever, but … it’s still not fun. Figuring out what I can eat (that actually appeals to me) is feeling like work, and I am just kinda tired of it. I suppose I’m supposed to talk more about what a miracle it is and how magical it is, and how much I love my tiny little kicking nugget already, and how pretty my hair has been, and those things are true, for sure. But it’s also really heartburny.

Luna has been ours for exactly two months today, and we’re such nerds over her it’s ridiculous. Even when she’s being a menace, or choosing Dan’s lap over mine, or giving me the stink eye, she’s just so soft and small and cute. She has been a silent cat all along, and in the last few days, when she opens her mouth to protest when we take too long to feed her, tiny squeaks have emitted. It’s pretty much the cutest.

I hope you’re staying warm, and not resenting the weather as much as I am, and that it’s an awesome weekend all around.

Project Life: January

With just under a year and a half of Project Life under my belt, it wasn’t even a question that I’d keep it going in 2014. I’m sure, like every thing else, I’ll have to reimagine how I approach it once this baby arrives, but for now, full steam ahead.

I haven’t changed much about my approach for 2014, other than adding some new supplies. I’m now subscribing to the Studio Calico Project Life monthly kit, and definitely enjoyed my January kit. (Especially since I’m not normally much of an embellisher; having embellishments that not only coordinate with cards but are fun/cute has been an interesting adventure so far.) I now have three core kits: Seafoam, Honey, and Midnight. I’m especially obsessed with Midnight, which I’ve only been using since this year began, and am loving the simple, clean lines. I also bought Ali Edwards’s weekly title card overlays. Last year, I just used Photoshop to add text with the week number to a photo, but I’m loving how these overlays look so far this year.

Project Life 2014

I wanted to go simple but bold with this year’s title page, and I was super inspired by the triangles featured in both Elise Blaha’s 2014 title page and Trish Harrison’s 2014 title page. I probably could have used a template, but instead I created this in Photoshop myself, painstakingly dragging black rectangles around the canvas, erasing corners of my photo… even though it took over an hour and I nearly went cross-eyed in accomplishing it (self taught isn’t always the best way…), I just love how it turned out. Stripes, black and white, me being weird and Dan being awesome. It’s perfect.

week1.1

week 1.2

Week one was a short week, so I was glad to have such fun cards from Studio Calico to fill in the spots. I also used part of Elise Blaha’s 2014 photo calendar for the monthly calendar card on the left side. I tend to fill my 3×4 slots with journaling cards and photos, so when I’m planning my pages, I have to make a concentrated effort to leave space for “filler” cards or I’ll never end up using them. So far I’m liking it. (I also included the feather from one of Luna’s toys, since I had the photo of her with said toy, and the toy only lasted two days before she ripped the feather completely off anyway.) (Sidenote: I was putting this page together at our crafternoon last weekend, and could hardly stand how PINK it was. I don’t hate pink, but I really, really avoid it in my pages, for whatever reason.)

Project life: week 2

week 2.2

Lots of black, white and yellow this week – so the Midnight kit was perfect alongside the black and white cards from the Studio Calico kit. This was an instance in which I ended up converting the photos to black and white so they’d look nicer together. It was all over the place before I did that, for sure.

week 3.1

week 3.2

Week three was another simple week. Sometimes I look at pages like this, with so many of the “filler” cards, and feel like I phoned it in, but there’s really a ton of journaling in this week’s spread, so it’s just a matter of adjusting my thinking to be able to include some stuff just because it’s pretty.

Project life: week 4

week 4.2

week 4.3

week 4.4

Week four included our one year anniversary. We celebrated in a few different ways over a few days, so I included two inserts: one with photos from our celebrations (and some confetti) and one for our cards. This week also includes a photo that illustrates how my approach to Project Life is so inherently different than how I used to approach daily photo projects – the blurry, not “cute” photo of Luna on the right hand side with her neon green shoelace is simply not what I’d ever consider a “good” photo or one worth posting on flickr or instagram at ALL. But I didn’t hesitate to print it for my album, because someday she won’t be so small and so crazy, dragging her green shoelace up the stairs and onto our bed to roll around with and play.

week 5.1

week 5.2

Green is another color that I rarely gravitate toward, but it pulled the photos together in a way that I really loved, and I had so many green cards that worked so nicely.

16. Finally Own an Expedit Bookshelf from Ikea

I have wanted an Expedit bookshelf from Ikea for a LONG time. Something about the perfectly symmetrical squares is just so appealing to me. I haven’t had a legitimate need for a new bookcase in a long time, because the amazing, perfect ones I bought from Pottery Barn back in 2006 have been so amazing. I added this to my 33 before 33 list anyway, because I knew we wanted to buy a house, and how could we not find space for one new bookshelf in a new house??

11

But when we realized that those perfect bookshelves were about 3/4 of an inch too wide for their intended location in our new house (despite my careful measurements to account for the light switch, thermostat, and power outlet! turns out the baseboard was enough to bump them. sigh), I recognized my chance. We bought not one but TWO Expedits during our Ikea trip back in early fall, and then the waiting began. First, for the boxes to be delivered (because we bought more than we could fit in Dan’s car, naturally) and then for the time to assemble all of this furniture we bought.

1

The Expedit didn’t seem too bad, as Ikea assembly goes, but MAN did it require muscle to get some of those pesky screws in. Luckily, Dan’s not a weakling like his wife, so we did eventually get both shelves assembled. I gazed at the one in the living room, empty, for weeks before we mustered the energy to start going through books.

3

I didn’t really anticipate how many more books I could fit on my old shelves, so there was a lot of sifting and decision making as I unpacked (and re-color-coded, because OBVIOUSLY I’m never abandoning that). We ended up with 3-4 boxes of books left over (because I can’t get rid of books), which was really okay with me, because yes, I suppose I should still keep those random YA books I bought when I worked at Borders, or those classics that I read in high school… but do they need to be on display prominently? No, probably not. (Confession: some were definitely still on display only because the color filled in a section nicely.)

#16. Finally own an Expedit bookshelf from Ikea

But seeing the shelf finally full of our rainbow books, happily in view from my spot on the couch at night? Is pretty fantastic.

The second Expedit is a 1×5 unit that’s now living in the craft room. I was surprised at how quickly I filled it up. But I love how it captures my favorite things all individually: cameras, yarn, and scrapbooks.

#16. finally own an Expedit bookshelf from Ikea

So this list item is very happily complete.