My baby is eight months old already?! Somehow “eight months” sounds vastly older than “seven months”. Miss Caroline is crawling all over the place – A unique scoot-crawl hybrid, the kid uses her left knee to move forward and tucks her bent, right, leg under and kinda drags it along. Whatever works, baby. She pulls herself up to standing on any stable (and sometimes unstable) piece of furniture she can grab. Cal can wave, high-five, shake her head (known to the three of us as “wobbly wobbly”), blow spit bubbles, click her tongue, and has just started repeating “ba ba”, “ya ya”, and “da da”. We’re still working on simple baby sign language, such as “eat” and “more” – I think she’ll have “eat” mastered within a month. And speaking of eating, Cal picks up and feeds herself “puffies” like a pro, and now has FIVE teeth!
Few “before and afters” are as satisfying as the ones from Cal’s room. Her bedroom was crazy hideous before we got to work. I can appreciate a red paint as much as the next guy, but a very bright “primary color” red, plus sponge painting on top of that, AND the unfinished paint job at the ceiling line – Woof.
I simply love her room, now. I think it’s decorated in a way that will grow with her and could be perfectly suitable for a future baby boy. It’s cozy, cheerful, and every piece of art on the walls is hand-made by myself. I want Cal to look at the things on her walls and feel the love and patience her Mom put in to each crafted piece.
AfterWhat was done: Hardwood floors refinished and stained darker, baseboard trim installed and painted (Benjamin Moore – Dove White), wall paint (Benjamin Moore – Gray Horse). Closet re-designed and painted (Behr – Caribbean Green) Paper mache fox head (complete with inter-changeable fabric bow-tie), embroidery hoop wall art, gold-leaf “C”, floral guitar pillow, and peach crate, all hand-crafted by me. What still needs to be done: new wall shelves for above the changing table (Land of Nod), more art (Rifle Paper Co.), install new curtain rod and sew curtains (not yet decided on orange or gold stripe), new carpet (Target).
I’d say Cal’s room is 95% complete. We still need: curtains, a rug, more art, shelves, and eventually adding new bi-fold doors to the closet (because our mischievous baby will certainly want to rummage through those open shelves once she’s mobile)
Before we knew that Cal… was Cal, I designed the nursery to be gender neutral. Because I’m not a very “pink” kinda gal, and we also plan on having three or four children, I went with the theme of “gray, orange, gold, and foxes”. The paint is gray, the most expensive furniture and accessories in the room are gender neutral, and the finishing touches are feminine. If the next baby turns out to be a little dude, we can easily (and cheaply) swap out the girlie things for manly stuff.
It’s safe to say that every single room in our house, every area, will be updated at some point. Every. Single. Room. So, since this will be a loooong process (because we’ll be updating as funds allow and as the logistics of having a young baby allows) I’ll update “Before and Afters” room-by-room. At this point, the room that is nearest completion is the upper family room / dining area. The progress shown below has taken eight months (settlement was late-March 2014) So here we go… Before (Photo taken a few days after settlement. Before any work had been done and WAY before we moved in.) After (During) What was done: All hardwood floors on the main living level refinished and stained darker, baseboard trim installed and painted (Benjamin Moore – Dove White), wall paint (Benjamin Moore – Gray Horse), curtains (Crate and Barrel) and hardware (Bed Bath and Beyond), switch plates (Home Depot), television stand (Target), area rug (Pottery Barn), sectional couch (Raymour and Flannigan), dining chairs and side tables (inherited). Note: The entryway of the house (far right corner) is still under construction – hence the original wall color, peeled away wallpaper border at top and patched screw hole. What still needs to be done: Get rid of that hideous ceiling fan chain (and possibly the entire ceiling fan) (I CAN’T STAND that chain. uggh.), new lamps for side tables and new art above sofa (West Elm), new coffee table (still undecided what style), swap out black electrical outlets with white or gray, finish entryway. Just look at those gorgeous floors! Jason sanded and stained (by hand) all floors on the main floor of the house. All rooms, plus the hallway. I decided to go significantly darker with the stain because I imagined that the dark would compliment the gray walls (and it absolutely does!). I also chose a satin polyurethane finish instead of gloss. What was done: Antique sideboard (inherited), pre-lit boxwood wreaths (Pottery Barn) What still needs to be done: Replace current light fixture with new pendant (Pottery Barn), possibly incorporate a very small dining table with drop leaves (in place of Caroline’s Pack ‘n Play), ART ON THE WALLS! There needs to be original art all over our house! So the main living area is about 90% complete (Hooray!) The progress on this area of the house could not have been possible without the help of some very awesome friends and family members. They’ve helped us: demo, rip up carpet, paint, move furniture, install floors, lent tools and materials, babysat our kid, cleaned our house, and even helped get the Christmas tree into the house and up-right in the stand. The help we’ve received from these individuals is SO appreciated (and needed!) More appreciated than I could ever convey. Ever. Thank you, thank you, thank you… to infinity and beyond. Next up: Finish the baby’s room, which is currently 75 / 80% complete. Despite all tactics of persuasion, she refuses to help out.
November was a light month for photos – The crazier mama’s life is, the less photos baby girl gets. And November was certainly a crazy month, to say the least. This month Cal started doing this goofy face where she sucks on her top lip – We call it her “Buddy Hackett” impression. Just hoping she grows out of it before grade school… Cal also got to experience her first Thanksgiving at Aunt Peggy and Uncle Mark’s.
Mom is pretty late with this one – One month and five days late. I do have some valid excuses… Anyway… This month Caroline tried her first solid foods (and hated them all), she slept in her crib and in her room for the first time, she began sitting up on her own (slightly assisted) and she experienced her first Halloween. First solid foods were: cereal, avocado, squash, apples, and sweet potatoes. She’s not yet fond of the texture and spits out mouthfuls or dramatically gags and makes angry faces. She now sleeps in her crib every night, instead of in her cradle beside our bed. The crib transition was easy, however, getting up in the middle of the night and walking into her room to calm her is a lot harder than simply rolling over and rocking her back to sleep. We celebrated Cal’s first Halloween by going over to granny’s house to show off her Charlie Brown costume. Hand-made by Mom – Painted yellow shirt, black knit pants, brown suede shoes, and complete with Snoopy backpack.
Nurses had just wheeled my husband away to do another test so that they could more accurately diagnose the bleed in his brain. Ten hours of non-stop adrenaline, the frightening atmosphere of urgency, and suddenly it was silent. All day, repeating in my head “You can’t leave me. You can’t leave us.” And I was alone. In his room. Holding his wedding ring.
My 32 year old husband had a stroke.
My strong, handsome, bearded, 32 year old, husband had a stroke. What was originally diagnosed as vertigo, was later discovered (with CT scan) to be an 11mm brain aneurism in his cerebellum. Unlike typical strokes, a bleed in the cerebellum causes constant dizziness, nausea and vomiting, blurred and double vision – Jason describes it as the worst non-stop hangover he’s ever had. He’s home now after three days in Neuro ICU and six days in the hospital. We are very lucky. HE is VERY lucky. Again, unlike typical stroke victims, Jay has full mental performance and motor skills. He knows who we are. He remembers Caroline. He doesn’t need me to dress him, or feed him. This could be SO much worse.
The next step is to have an exploratory procedure done called an angiogram. This test will hopefully answer some of our questions, like “Why did this happen? Could he have another stroke again? Soon, or years from now? Could it be much worse next time? Is there anything that can be done to prevent it from happening again?” In the mean time, Jason is recovering very slowly. Painfully, frustratingly, slowly. We’ve received, and continue to receive, SO much help from friends and family. Our people are amazing. We are overwhelmingly, immeasurably, grateful. But this is hard. I went from co-parenting to single parenting, plus caring for my husband, plus the daily logistics, chores, and cleaning to be done for a five month old and two adults, plus working full-time. PLUS the sadness and helplessness of watching the person I love most in this world suffer, with no end to look forward to.
This is hard. This is really hard.