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Eva Milan

Eva Milan, named for her Dutch grandmother and her Austrian Great-Grandfather.  Born January 17, 2014 at 8:09 p.m. She was 6 pounds, 14 ounces, just over 18 inches long, but by her 3 day pediatrician appointment she was already 7 pounds, 2 ounces and 19.75 inches! Such a good little eater!

A post about her birth is coming, I promise, I cannot wait to write it out, it was incredible. The short version: Seven hours of labor, about 25 minutes of pushing, and BOOM. Our lives were altered, beautifully, forever.

We’ve spent the last eleven days in absolute bliss, snuggled in a cozy nest of love and happiness. Being this little girl’s mama is the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. Mike is the best Papa ever – I’m constantly knocked out by how sweet, gentle, and loving he is with her. He melts my heart constantly. There is not a single moment that goes by where I don’t feel humbled by the miracle of her in my arms. I feel like my cup runneth over, my blessings are sky-high. She is my heart, my soul, my love.

The minute my water broke and I realized she was coming, I forgot about the Bell’s Palsy – it didn’t matter anymore. And since her birth, I’ve fallen in love with my body and my self in a way I never could have imagined. She’s given me a new life – so her name, which means “giver of life” is more perfect than we could have known. I feel like a warrior, a goddess, a tiger with her cubs. I feel incredible. She is incredible. Oh my gosh I cannot stop gushing. But that is enough for now. More later. Promise, promise.

In the meantime, here are some photos:

Eva’s Birth Day

Newborn Bliss

Love you all.

Not much longer…

33 weeks and 5 days..

We’re half-way through the eighth month of pregnancy and Niblet is approximately 18 inches long and about five pounds. If she were born now, she’d have an excellent chance of survival and likely wouldn’t have any lasting health problems. HOWEVER, the longer she stays in, the stronger her lungs, the more developed her brain, and the better off she will be. So, Niblet. STAY PUT. Trust me, life inside the womb is about a million times easier than life outside the womb, so no rush baby girl. No rush.

She’s as busy as ever. I don’t really feel “kicks” anymore, just elbows and knees sliding around, and little feet poking out under my sternum when she stretches her legs. Mike has always said that sleeping next to me is like sleeping next to a sack of elbows and when I’m out of town he says he only needs to put a pile of rocks and twigs in the bed and he wouldn’t miss me at all. So now that there are all these knees and elbows sticking out of my belly all the time, he teases that Niblet takes after me completely. I like to press my belly against his back when we’re falling asleep and let Niblet poke at him with all her pointy appendages. It always makes him laugh. I can’t believe I’m going to be putting those little appendages in my mouth soon. (What? You don’t want to eat baby elbows and knees for supper? YOU KNOW YOU DO.)

I’m still feeling great, though my energy is beginning to lag. My midwife put me on restricted work hours, so I’m down from 40-45 hours a week to 30 hours a week max. I thought I’d use all that extra time to finish the nursery and get ready for the holidays but Niblet has had other plans. She insists I spend all that extra time napping and who am I to argue with a developing fetus?

Most of my symptoms have stayed the same: Lush hair, gorgeous skin on my face – but don’t hate me because my behind and the backs of my legs tell a different story. (Who the F gets acne all over the backs of their legs?? ME WHEN I’M PREGNANT, APPARENTLY.) I’ve developed a faint linea nigra and I kind of love it. I have heart burn sometimes, but it’s never awful and it never lasts long. I can’t hide my toots anymore. They just poomp out whenever they want. I have no control. Mike laughs, thank goodness.

Everything makes me cry now, it’s such a cliche. I mean, I don’t CRY cry, but pretty much everything makes me choke up. Happy things, sweet things, anything baby related, you get the idea. My bellybutton is turned completely inside out and my favorite thing to do is torture Mike by trying to stick it into his inny bellybutton. I call it “sweet sweet bellybutton lovemaking”. HE HATES IT. And he’s afraid to push me away because he doesn’t want to hurt Niblet, so I just torture him and torture him and torture him. Bwahahahaha!

The Braxton Hicks contractions I’ve been having since week six have started getting pretty intense. I never have more than a few a day or three in an hour, so midwife insists it’s just good practice and nothing to worry about. This probably sounds nuts, but I’m really looking forward to labor. I’m not super jazzed about the part where an eight pound human pushes out of my girl bits, but I’m really looking forward to the rest of it.

Pregnancy brain is in full force. I completely forgot to take a 33 week photo and I haven’t updated my handwritten pregnancy journal since week 30. Christmas is in less than a week and I haven’t done any Christmas shopping, or any Christmas baking. I haven’t finished my State Bar Law Study Semi-Annual Report and I haven’t made any progress on Niblet’s nursery since before Thanksgiving.

HOWEVER, I had lovely maternity photos taken and even got a Christmas photo out of them, and then I proceeded to send out over 30 Christmas cards, which felt like a HUGE accomplishment. Last Sunday I had a Super day and decorated for Christmas, washed six loads of laundry, then sanded Niblet’s dresser so Mike can paint it (using no-VOC paints with no-VOC colorants, OF COURSE.) But most of my time is spent napping. And keeping my feet up. And marveling at the water monkey and her adorable uterine acrobatics. And practicing my non-medical labor comfort techniques with Mike every night before bed. And attending Baby Care and Child Birth classes. And reading baby books.

Only four to eight weeks left of this journey and then our lives change forever. I can’t wait.

 

Officially 8 Months Pregnant

Whoo boy! It’s been nearly a month since I posted, I have no idea how that happened. Well, actually, I do. I’m knocked up and nesting and maniacal. No seriously, the nesting hormone is no joke. I’ve been obsessed with clearing out our second bedroom so it can become Niblet’s nursery. And it’s a good thing I’ve been so focused because it has literally taken me the entire month to clear out, clean up, organize, and purge. I’m finally at the point where I can start decorating, but now I have to take a break from my happy nesting and prepare my 18 month State Bar Law Study report.

Oh life. Why must you be so BUSY all the time?

In the last month Niblet has:

  • Grown to be nearly 18 inches long and weigh approximately 4 pounds
  • Learned to move her head from side to side
  • Gone from having see-through skin to opaque skin
  • Gotten strong enough to grasp your finger (not that I want you poking around at her)
  • Has developed all 5 senses
  • Is begun experiencing REM (dream-cycle) sleep
  • Continues to practice her breathing
  • Begun losing the lanugo that covers her body

My last midwife appointment was awesome. Our stats are great, I only gained three pounds in the last month (yay for walking every day!), and Niblet is in the head down, back to my belly position, getting ready to make her grand entrance into the world. (She could turn, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she’ll stay put.) She’s super active. I’m feeling a lot of elbow-jabs and feet sliding back and forth under my boobs. I’m having Braxton-Hicks contractions daily, which my midwife says is an excellent indication that labor will kick in on its own and progress beautifully. We started a child birth prep class two weeks ago and it’s wonderful – I’m daydreaming about labor, I’m so looking forward to it.

People’s comments have been much kinder lately. A couple of weeks ago a man came up to me in the market to tell me his wife was in labor at that very minute. “What are you doing HERE?” I asked. “I’m going to make her a lasagna! When are you due?” When I told him I still had 2 1/2 months left he said, “Gosh, you look like you’re due any minute! WAIT THAT CAME OUT WRONG, YOU’RE GORGEOUS, YOU’RE REALLY BEAUTIFUL. YOU’RE ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE. YOU’RE NOTHING BUT BELLY. YOU’RE SO BEAUTIFUL!” It was pretty much the sweetest thing ever.

I’m falling more and more in love with my enormous pregnant body, even as I become more and more uncomfortable maneuvering it around. Getting shoes on and off is increasingly difficult. Getting up off the sofa and hauling myself out of bed illicit grunts and groans. If I sit on the floor I need help getting up again. I have to keep my feet up at work so they don’t swell like hobbit feet. I stand sideways in front of the kitchen sink when I do the dishes. I have to be careful on the treadmill so I don’t slam my belly into the machine. I can’t hug Mike as hard as I used to because, ouch, squishing the baby. I painted my own toenails for the last time the other week, dear lord that was exhausting and difficult. The only reason I’m still shaving my legs is because my shower has this wonderful ledge about chest-high that I can put my foot on (THANK YOU 14 years of yoga) and thus shave quite comfortably. (Maybe I should try it for pedicures?)

This ‘having to pee all the time’ thing is no joke. I frequently pee an average of once every twelve minutes. No exaggeration. And it’s not like, “oh, I kind of have to pee. I’m just gonna squeeze a little out.” This is, “IF I DON’T FIND A POTTY RIGHT NOW I’LL DIE.” It is entirely Niblet’s fault. Sometimes she positions herself right on my bladder and I want to cry. The other day I went on a nice long walk with the dogs because the weather was too beautiful to walk on the treadmill at the gym. So I peed, leashed up the dogs, peed again, and headed out the door. I wasn’t ten minutes into the walk before I had to go again, so badly I had to grit my teeth. But then Niblet moved off my bladder and I was fine, so I kept walking. And then she moved again and I thought I would die of needing to pee, until she moved again and I was fine. So I kept walking and she kept moving and at one point I was sure I was going to have to squat on the sidewalk like a dog and piss in the shrubs. With all of Canoga Avenue speeding by. I had two thoughts in that moment: 1) Pregnancy strips you of any dignity you once had; and 2) how hilarious/humiliating would it be to get ticketed for pissing on the sidewalk of a busy main street at 10 o’clock on a Saturday morning?

We’ve only got two months left of this little adventure and it’s bittersweet. On the one hand, I am giddy when I think about holding her in my arms and eating her face every day. On the other hand, I’m really going to miss keeping her in the safety of my uterus. I mean, this is probably the easiest parenthood will EVER be. I always know where she is. I know she’s eating well and getting enough sleep. She’s not running around with unsavory people or experimenting with drugs or sex or doing any of the other terrifying things that children grow up to do. So, you know. I’m going to miss this.

I’m acutely aware of how quickly time is passing. Yesterday I was staring at a positive pregnancy test in utter disbelief and today there’s a very active water monkey doing acrobatics in my giant belly. Tomorrow I’ll be sending that water monkey off to college. So I am blissfully soaking up every swollen, uncomfortable moment. Treasuring every kick to the ribs, relishing every elbow-jab, and in general, feeling the happiest I’ve ever felt in my whole little life. I’m genuinely looking forward to the sleepless nights and bleeding nipples and diaper explosions and all the other awful-wonderful things that caring for a newborn entails because I know that that will also be over before I’ve had a chance to blink. And I don’t want to slog through it waiting for it to end. I want to live through and enjoy every poop and tear-filled moment. I tell you all this so you know that, even when I’m bitching and moaning, I’m so, so, so very grateful to be able to bitch and moan. What an unbelievably beautiful blessing.

Miss my weekly belly pics? I don’t disappoint! 

31 weeks

30 weeks

29 weeks

Welcome to the 3rd trimester (and pregnant lady whining)

28 Weeks

This week, Niblet is about 2 1/2 pounds and between 15 and 16 inches long, depending on which pregnancy website you’re reading. She’s getting so strong and her movements so frequent and varied. Sometimes she jabs, sometimes she squirms, I can feel her rolling over, turning, and sometimes it feels like she’s stretching her arms and legs out, pushing her butt and back out against my belly so that it gets very hard and makes my belly button pop out. She also does this thing where she bounces from left to right, like a rubber ball bouncing between two walls, or a kid overdosed on sugar in a bounce house. It always makes me laugh because it’s so weird and it really feels like she’s just playing around in there, having a grand old time.

I’ve let my nesting instincts out of their cage and have been working my tail off (with my sister and Mike’s help) to clear out the second bedroom (formerly Mike’s office/our TV room) so we can turn it into the nursery. By the end of last weekend I wanted to crawl into bed and cry myself to sleep, I felt so overwhelmed. It seems like the more work I do, the more I discover still has to be done. I’ve already taken three carloads of crap to Goodwill and there’s still more stuff to go through. (WE’RE I’M A HOARDER.) We moved the TV, the dog crate, and the snake’s tank into the living room, and Mike’s desk and computer into our bedroom. In one weekend our apartment went from spacious to teeny tiny. I can’t move in any room now without banging my knee on an awkwardly placed piece of furniture.

Whine, whine, whine, I know. Poor me, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms and all the comforts of modern living, blessed with a healthy pregnancy and a loving husband. Play that tiny violin a little louder, please.

But I’m not done yet.

Getting dressed every day is like waging a small battle with myself. I’ve gained 24 pounds so far and I waffle between loving my pregnant body and wanting to die a slow death because I feel like an obese hippo. Nearly all the office-appropriate maternity clothes I borrowed from girlfriends are too small in the thigh and rear, my underpants are too small, dresses that were cute two months ago look like tents now, and nothing is comfortable. There are tears nearly every morning and Michael, bless his heart, has to talk me off a ledge. A couple of days ago he insisted that I go out and buy a few more things to get me through the next three months because “crying in front of the closet every day isn’t productive”. I hated the idea of buying clothes this late in my pregnancy, but I did, and I’m so glad I did. It’s helped. I bought size large non-maternity leggings, tunic-length camis, and a few flowy, wonderfully cozy sweaters. All clothes that are soft and stretchy, oh-so-comfy, and will hopefully still look cute post-partum when I’m hiding my I-just-had-a-baby-so-I-still-look-pregnant belly.

As much as I love being pregnant (and I really, really, really love it), I do not feel beautiful or sexy or feminine. I just feel huge. I can’t stand looking at myself naked. Which is probably why people asking if I’m pregnant or just getting fat especially stings. I’m really struggling with this because I want to raise my daughter to love, respect, and appreciate her body – not to hate it and abuse it the way I’ve spent most of my life hating and abusing mine. I want to somehow shield her from society’s expectations of being “skinny” and all the bullshit that goes with it. And I know that it starts with me – that I’m her first example of how a woman should feel about and treat her body. So I’m really trying to love my 150 pound body and appreciate it for the miracle it’s creating, instead of getting angry and saying mean things to it every morning while I try to squeeze into too-small maternity pants. I’m also cutting out ice cream and making an effort to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day (per my midwife’s gentle urging).

All that said, I adore not having to suck in my stomach constantly (I was a chronic sucker-inner pre-pregnancy) and being able to eat a big meal and not worry that I look pregnant afterwards because I AM pregnant is freaking terrific. See? UPSIDES TO EVERYTHING.

Also, Hi. I’m pregnant. And the hardest part is feeling fat. So, I’m done complaining and I will go back to being blissfully happy and excited and stupid-crazy-in love with the acrobatic water monkey who keeps making my belly button pop out whenever she wants to stretch her legs. Because honestly? I’d take a fat ass for a healthy baby any day.

There are three hours left in November so I can totally get away with this

Lots of people feel like Thanksgiving weekend is a good time to pull out the Christmas tree and start listening to carols on the radio. Not me. As long as I’m still eating turkey leftovers, it’s Thanksgiving season. I can’t get into the Christmas spirit until the first of December at least. With that in mind, and because so many of you requested it*, I present you with a story of Thanksgiving, as told by the Sylvanians.

*No one requested it.

pilgrim home

It is November, 1621. A friendly Native American family approaches the home of some wary Pilgrims.

Pilgrims are wary

The Pilgrims are incredibly wary. Those natives are awfully intimidating.

keep the children indoors

“Keep the children indoors! Away from those frightening savages.” Mama Thistlethorne whispers loudly. Nevermind it was those very people she called savages who gifted her with the nice rug for her floors, all the food laid out, and the lovely hand-carved totems that guard her door.

babe on back

What is it the Native Americans bring to the wary Pilgrims? Another blanket! And some pretty necklaces for the ladies. Those savages aren’t so savage after all! (They should be though, considering the gifts of infectious disease they’ve been getting from the Europeans for years.)

Meanwhile, in the nearby Native American village…

mantle village

Father Sweetwater teaches the chief about Jesus while a fisherman cooks them a nice roasted fish dinner.

preaching fireside

Father Sweetwater said, “Jesus is good.” And that is the story of the first Thanksgiving.*

*Not really.

RedEnvelope + Give-a-way!

*This give-a-way is CLOSED.  See who won here!

Today I want to talk about RedEnvelope. Not the red envelope you get in the mail when you forget to pay your electric bill too many times in a row. No, no, that is a bad red envelope. I want to talk about a good RedEnvelope. A RedEnvelope that represents fun, personalized gifts for friends and family. And why would I talk about this? Because, you guys. They sent me two products to review and offered to give one of my readers (that’s YOU) a one-time use $100 gift code to use on any of their fabulous products. Winning!

(Is anyone saying that anymore? Duh – winning! Are we over that? Moving on…)

our family room

Our family room, last month. Hence the Halloween centerpiece on the coffee table. Notice anything different? Hopefully you notice LOTS of things different, since the last time I posted a family room decor update it looked like this. Yikes. And remember when it looked like this? It’s come a very long way, and is finally FINALLY done. As in, there isn’t anything else I would add, I love it, it is exactly the cozy, weird, hobbled together reading nook I always dreamed it would be. (What does my family room have to do with your chance to win a $100 gift code? JUST WAIT.)

our family room 2

The first product RedEnvelope sent me was a personalized pillow that ties my whole sofa together. I didn’t get to choose the graphic, but I did get to choose the text (though the character and line restrictions were super strict) and I was really happy with how it came out. The pillow cover is made of a rough canvas material. Not necessarily cozy for snuggling up with, but I have a feeling it will last a long time. The screen printed graphic looks great. The font, though small, is pretty crisp considering how nubby the canvas is.

screenprint closeup

I wanted the pillow to read, “Snyder Family. Lots of love, lots of pet hair,” but the restrictions prevented me, as the graphic is designed to include family member names, not sentences. I managed to get away with what you see above and I dig it.

RedEnvelope asked that I rate the product out of five stars, one being “I hate this” and five being “this is the best product EVER.” I give this pillow three out of five stars. As much as I love the pillow, and I really do, it loses a star for its price and another for the quality of the pillow insert. While the pillow cover looks nice, the insert is awful. If you lay your head on it, it completely flattens out. It feels cheap. Like something you’d buy for five dollars at Pick n’ Save. Which is why I was a little horrified to find out that the retail on this pillow is $59.95.

Theo loves our personalized pillow

Theo doesn’t care, as long as he still gets his belly rubbed.

If I received this personalized pillow as a gift, I’d be delighted. It’s adorable, and as I said earlier, it really pulls my sofa together. But if I paid $59.95 for it, I would be really upset when it arrived in the mail and I realized how poor the quality of the insert is. Especially if I intended to give it as a gift.

Now, if I only paid twenty-five bucks for it, I’d be thrilled. At twenty-five bucks it would be a five-star product. But for sixty dollars I expect a softer pillow cover and a much, much fuller, thicker, more pillowy pillow insert. And yet, I love it’s look and I would absolutely buy it if I had a gift code to spend.

air plant

This air plant and glass globe also came from RedEnvelope. It’s a nifty item that would look great in a garden or, as shown above, in a window. We’d like to hang it but it didn’t come with anything to hang it from and we’re not sure what to use. String won’t be sturdy enough. Twine would look tacky. A chain would be too harsh for the delicate glass. Maybe fishing line? This is another item that would make a cool gift, but again, I balked at the $29.95 price tag. An air plant is five bucks at the Garden Center, you can get pebbles for free at the beach or nearest stream bed, and the glass globe comes from CB2 (they didn’t take the CB2 sticker off the bottom before they sent it to me) where you can order it for $3.95. Now, if it also came with something pretty to hang the globe by, and something else to put in the globe for some added pizzazz (a miniature skull or a frolicking ceramic animal, anyone?) I might not have suffered the same sticker shock. But it doesn’t, so this also gets three out of five stars for being overpriced.

Overall, I’m enjoying these items and I’m especially jazzed to offer one lucky reader a $100 gift code. The holidays are coming and this is a great chance to pick up Christmas gifts for your wife, Chanukah gifts for your husband, a present for your sister, your father, the cute kid you babysit, whomever. They have something for everyone – personalized ornaments, gorgeous jewelry, fun novelty gifts. I adore this personalized pie plate, and they even sell a personalizable beer holster. You can’t tell me there isn’t a man in your life who wouldn’t love his own beer holster.

To win, check out the website at RedEnvelope.com, then come back here and leave a comment telling me who you’d like to surprise this holiday season with a personalized gift. For additional entries, tweet a link to this post, link to this post on Facebook, “Like” RedEnvelope on Facebook, whatever you want. Just be sure you come back here to leave a comment and tell me what you did. Each comment serves as one entry and you can enter as many times as you want. Contest ends Tuesday, Nov. 24 at 8 p.m. PST. The winner will be chosen at random and announced Wednesday, November 23. The day before Thanksgiving! So you’ll have something to be thankful for. (Just kidding. You already have lots to be thankful for, I know that.)

Ok, kids. Comment away!

P.S. I was not compensated for this post, though I did receive the two items pictured above at no cost. My thoughts and opinions expressed herein are entirely my own.

The cat on the table and the child in my head

I’m chopping vegetables when she starts crying, a plaintive meowing. She paces across the kitchen table, coat gleaming, belly hanging, begging for my attention. “I’m sorry, Cat. I’m fixing dinner. I’ve got nothing for you.”

In my head she’s a little girl. Three or four. Her eyes wide and pleading, “Mama, play with me!”

“I’m sorry, Baby. I’m fixing dinner. Papa will be home soon and I’m hungry! Would you like to help?”

She peels the garlic and breaks heads off brocoli stalks. “They look like tiny trees!” She is gleeful. I’m in awe of her strong little hands and the pleasure she takes in such simple tasks.

And then I chide myself for being so stupid. Getting lost in childish imaginings. Children are not in the picture. Not now, not for years, maybe never. Maybe because you never know and maybe because it just seems impossible. The other day I asked Michael, “How will we know?”

“When I have a job and we have health care and we’re ready to buy a house and we’re not worried about paying bills every month. Maybe then.”

Maybe we’ll wait until we’re in our forties and adopt. I can see myself, like all those women I watched in Manhattan with long silver hair and ethnic children. I could love any child I held in my arms, I know that.

By now I’ve peeled and chopped a whole garlic bulb, but I don’t care. I sprinkle it over the vegetables, slide it into the oven, set the timer. I over-season everything. Fresh cracked pepper makes raw chicken black. Kosher salt, onion flakes, garlic powder, oregano, basil, sage smells like pee but I sprinkle on three-times the amount you would anyway. The chicken will come out of the oven crunchy for spices but I don’t care. I like it that way. Just like I like my food burned crisp. Everything tasting like it came out of a campfire. Smoky.

I reach for another beer. Dinner is in the oven but Mike won’t be home for three hours at least. I’ll eat alone while I balance the budget. Wait up for him. Reheat a plate for him. Press my face into his neck while he eats. Breathe. So glad he’s home.

This is my second installment of Just Write, an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments, begun by Heather of the EO. You should totally join in.

DIY Humming Bird Garden

balcony before

Our balcony, February 2011.

balcony after

Our balcony last week.

The balcony is our favorite place in the apartment. It’s been Mike’s project entirely. I’d love to be able to take credit for it, but the most I’ve done is offered to make dinner so he could keep working out there. He built all of the planters, two of the window boxes, and all of the shelving out of materials he found around our neighborhood. For example, the wood for the planters came from discarded broken fencing. One of the window boxes is made from the frame of a torn up sofa left out on garbage day.

window crate

This window box was made from a packing crate.

jasmine

I picked up this Jasmine at Costco for $8.00. It was tiny, dried out, and dying. Now it’s taking over the north end of our balcony. Mike keeps saying that when it blossoms in the spring we’re going to need respirators to sit on the balcony. It’s going to be incredibly beautiful.

view from the street

This is what our neighbors see. They call us the Crazy Flower People but we have the prettiest balcony on the block so I don’t care. I love how the arms of the jasmine are crawling along the side of the building. Mike tapped little nails into the siding so it would have something to hold on to. These will be full of flowers come April.

our view

The window boxes and hanging baskets are full of lantana, million bells, salvia, hawaiian blue eyes, dead nettle, and some flowers I don’t know the name of. They all draw humming birds and butterflies. We sit out here with our coffee in the early morning and watch the humming birds feed. They are surprisingly bold, often feeding from flowers inches from my shoulder. They’ll sip from flowers in the same basket Mike is watering, and the bird will hover, beak to nose. They’re magic with wings.

garden at sunset

Someday I’ll show you what’s behind that far wall. (Hint: it’s one word, starts with “ga” ends with “ge”.) The plants – New Guinea Impatiens – are sitting on shelves Mike built from lumber he found sticking out of a dumpster. I tried to take a close-up but it sucked. The flowers are too pretty for digital rendering.

bagonias

Remember our first window box? That’s it in the back. The salvia is the only thing left from the original planting. After all the pansies and English daisies died, we planted begonias and let me tell you, they are be-going crazy! Begonia-ing crazy? Not funny?

Read more…

Serious Nesting

We’ve been doing some serious nesting lately, the kind of nesting that involves closet reorganizations and trunk-loads of items for Goodwill and that sort of thing. In the last two weeks I’ve reorganized our bedroom closet, the office closet, all of the cabinets in the hallway, all three drawers in the kitchen sideboard, the kitchen cabinets, the master bathroom cupboards and the second bathroom cupboards. I told you! Serious nesting. But look what it got me:

manicure closet

My very own manicure cabinet! See? This is what I love about organizing. Before the great Closet/Cabinet/Drawer/Cupboard Reorganization of 2011, the medicine cabinet in our second bathroom was just stuffed with random odds and ends. Now, it’s an adorable little manicure cabinet. Every time I open it I get all happy inside. Same with all of the newly organized spaces. My heart sings with happiness when I open a drawer and everything inside is neat, tidy, and easy to find. Love!

While I’ve been busy organizing, Mike’s been nesting on the balcony like a mad man. I can’t wait to show you pictures of the window boxes and planters he’s been building. I keep trying to snap nice photos but whenever I’m out there the sun is in the wrong place and the photos turn out horrible. In the meantime, here’s something else we’ve been working on:

enter-exit

We’re lucky enough to have a private entrance to our apartment and Mike has all kinds of plans for how he wants to fix it up. This is what we’ve got so far. (Except since I snapped this, he moved that little table in the corner to the balcony. It’s adorable out there, but I loved it here, too.) The hooks on the wall were originally the pot rack Mike custom built for our first apartment in New York. Then he rebuilt it to fit our kitchen in Harlem, and now he’s repurposed it for all of our dog accoutrements. You’ll see we use it to hang the leashes, a little towel to dry dewy dog feet after morning walks, and a canvas tote full of poop bags that I carry on all of our walks. On the wall to the right is a basket full of dried eucalyptus that my mother gave us. Eucalyptus wards off spiders and smells fantastic. The door mat was there when we moved in and I’ve never given it two thoughts, but looking at this photo makes me want to hurl it out a window and replace it with something more attractive. I’ll add that to my to-do list.

Later this week (or maybe next week) I’ll post some family room updates. That room is really coming together and I’m super excited about it. I’ll bet you’re just dying to see it, too. I mean, it’s been like, three whole months since I’ve posted a family room update. How have you survived?

P.S. A hug and a kiss to Adam for making sure I met my fundraising goal for the Epilepsy Foundation. From the bottom of my heart, Thank You.

A Tiny Mummy Finds A Home

Remember when I asked Hawk to mail me the tiny mummy he found? Well, he sent it all right. And then I kept it for six months while I searched for an appropriate display for it. But see, nothing was good enough. And then, this weekend, I suddenly remembered this little – I don’t even know what you’d call it – thing that I have had sitting in my craft closet with all my craft stuff for literally over five years. It’s a little thing that I bought with Michael either right before we were married or right after, and I dragged it to New York and back because I knew one day I’d figure out a project for it. Turns out it was totally meant for the tiny lizard mummy. Like, the universe sent it to me because it knew that one day I’d have a tiny mummy that would need a home. Here’s what the little – we’ll call it a display case – looked like before I started messing with it.

pre-priming

That shiz needs to be painted, yo. It’s awfully boring looking.

primed

But first, we must prime.

painted

Much better, yes? Once I painted it and gave it a coat of urethane, I used a small wad of museum wax to affix a silica packet inside the display area, to help keep the little lizard nice and dry. (Thanks to my brother Ty for that trick.) But what will I use as a backing for the lizard? I know! How bout a wrinkly old piece of paper?

coffee soak

I wadded up a scrap of paper and let it soak in coffee for about thirty minutes.

drying

Then I set it out to dry. When it was completely dry, I cut it to fit the inside of my tiny display case. I didn’t need to glue it down – it was a perfect fit. Next, I decorated the corners with some little dried flowers, including a few from my wedding bouquet. Those were glued down so they wouldn’t shift over time. Last, I placed my mummy inside.

finding a forever home

I used a drop of Elmer’s Glue-All under his chin to fix him securely to his forever home.

voila!

Voila! The smallest lizard mummy in the world (really – I think he’s broken a record) lives in a place of honor in our family room, amongst our collection of family photos.

place of honor

close up

Sorry for the low quality photo. It’s hard to take a picture like this without a flash, but the flash bounces off the glass and ruins things, so… you know. Anyway, now I just need to find a home for my mouse skeleton and my baby bird skeleton. Oh! And I still have to make natron so I can mummify the dead snake in my freezer. That one will make a lovely centerpiece for the coffee table, yes?

*This post is brought to you by Hawk, who provided the tiny mummy. And Ty, who’s gifted me with my love of all things dead, including the mouse skeleton, the dead snake, and my wonderful family of mummified mice – who have not been featured here because the pictures do not do them justice. If you ever come over, I’ll be sure to show them to you. I love to point them out when giving guests the tour of our apartment. “Here’s the office, here’s the bedroom, and here’s my mummified mouse family!”