Tuesday, September 1, 2015

how we do the childcare thing

Been in the mood to talk about motherhood and kid business as a sort of state of the union type thing. So here's the state of our union aka Fredrich Corp. 

I was home with Alice for four months after which I went back to work full-time as a freelance production coordinator. My work was mostly steady with a few days and some weeks off here and there. While I went to work, Matt was home with Alice and has remained her primary caregiver since. Which is really strange to write because for 9 months of gestation and 9 months after that I was her primary source of comfort and food. Now daddy makes the bottles.
When I'm home for extended stays Matt takes freelance work but by and large we're depending on my income. I'm very blessed to have a job that supports us and allows one of us to be home with her. Sometimes I wish it were me that was taking her on weekly outings but I'm happy that she gets one of us at least and I get to be the example of working woman in her life.
On weekends I take the reins of taking care of Alice and sometimes Matt gets a break and we go on outings just the two of us and sometimes we meet up with the family.
The parts that get tricky are the breaks. I work all day, then rush home and spend as many seconds as I can with her before she goes to sleep. Then on weekends I spend all day with her, trying to get my fill so I can survive the week apart. But that means that when I'm working, I don't really get a break. I'm on for the whole time. On the weekends though Matt doesn't get a break much either, while I'm doing a lot of the heavy lifting, he's still there helping.
It's not that we need a break from our baby but babydom is pretty mind-numbing and you need to recharge your brain and your energy so you can keep going and give that baby your best. And in the end that's what we want more than anything is to give her the best we can. The best of each of us.
We're still figuring it out, it's very much a work in progress. What it means to be a working mother, a stay at home father. What it means to put a little person first.

Friday, August 21, 2015

sleep baby sleep

Thank Jesus that Alice has been a good nighttime sleeper from early on. I've mentioned before I didn't really try to get her on a schedule and she sort of naturally fell into one that evolved and improved by and large. And while she has been a great nighttime sleeper, she has always been resistant to napping and we've rounded a corner even with that. So let me tell you about her daily sleep habits because well, it's kind of a big deal. 
She wakes up most of the time around 8-9am very quietly. I only know she's awake because I hear her seahorse going off. She loves that seahorse. She wakes up and plays in her crib with her plushes for a few minutes before she starts making noises and starting to demand attention. It's not uncommon to hear the seahorse and wait for things to escalate and find myself waiting over 20 minutes. When she's ready and she's grunting then I'll go in there and get her and change her and give her the morning bottle. If I go in there before she's escalated in noise level, I'll reach out for her and she will refuse to come to me. It's like she needs her quiet time in the morning alone before she's ready for people. The bad thing about this is that I have to leave for work around 8/8:30 and if she's not up then I won't get to see her until I get home from work. But... it is nice that she sleeps in for her daddy and me on the weekends.
She naps twice a day for 1.5-2 hours. Naps were a legitimate nightmare around here but we stopped giving in to her and she got the message. We would rock her forever and then put her down and she'd start crying and whining and nothing was wrong. Eventually we just let her cry and it never got insane, she'd fall asleep when she was ready. It sucked though, I hated the feeling of please stay asleep please stay asleep as I was laying her in her crib and then her waking up and crying. Who wants to hear their baby crying? Nobody. In the past few months, when it's naptime we go in there, change her, give her the paci, turn on the white noise, and hold her a little bit then put her in her crib while she's still awake only now, she will just lay there quietly without whining and will get herself to sleep. Miracles happen ladies and gents. For a long time she would cry and whine even for a few seconds before she'd fall asleep and now she just stays there quietly, no complaining. I thought these days would never come but they finally did. I would hear stories of 'oh i put him down and he just goes to bed' and think well, that'll never happen to us. And it does now! Hurrah!

Naptime gets trickier when we're out. We try to time things so she's in the car seat during peak naptimes and sometimes she'll sleep. She's also gotten used to napping in the stroller but she's not now nor ever will be that kid that knocks out and just sleeps. She fights it as much as she can and when she's in her room with lights off in a crib, she is just out of options so she sleeps. In a stroller while at a park or wherever is just too many excuses to play or smile or manipulate people into entertaining her enough to stay awake.

I'm sure we're going to be dropping a naptime at some point but right now she needs them both. The early one's signs are so obvious now but the afternoon ones are a crapshoot. Sometimes she'll start at 4 and sleep 'til 6 and be good to go for bedtime but sometimes she fights it til 5 and sleeps so long we have to wake her so she'll sleep at night.

We put her to bed around 8 or 9 which is a little late and she definitely shows signs that she needs to be in bed closer to 8 but I get home by 7 on good days and I want to be able to see my baby at least once during a day so I keep her up. This is probably why she sleeps until 8/9 and I have to leave before she's up but at least I get a few hours with her in the evening instead of just minutes in the morning.

They say to make your baby's schedule work for your lifestyle and that's what works for us and know what? Everyone is happy. Alice is a perfect wonderful little human and we're happy.

Happy. Happy. Happy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

blogs, grams, pins, and mags

I just had a particularly disappointing read of the Summer '15 issue of Domino Magazine. To be fair, I didn't so much read as I did skim for images that interested me and then would read if the images interested me enough. Unfortunately I wasn't that into anything I saw and then googled "Domino Magazine Sucks" and found a forum of people talking about how weak the new iteration (not the pictured excellent issue with Jenna Lyons's old Brooklyn joint) of the magazine was. Maybe I'm not their main market which seems to be women that live in New York and like to paint my walls white and hang up expensive art.
This made me have a little think on my current magazine subscriptions, how I rarely read blogs anymore, the increased influence of instagram, and PINTEREST.
Blogs are weird now. There's advertising on them in a way that is really bothersome. I don't mind the sidebars with ads on them and I don't usually mind sponsored posts when they tell me up front that it's a sponsored post. Lately though... the people sponsoring are corporate garbage like Coffee Mate creamer. On a decorating blog. UGH. Don't pee on my shoe and tell me it's raining. I get if you collaborate with Target and West Elm and are selling me some cheap benches. Sometimes free stuff provided some solid content if it was styled well. But if I want to see a commercial for effing creamer and lightbulbs I would I dunno, WATCH TV. I just feel like these bloggers should use a little more restraint and not do anything for a buck and collaborate with people that match their site, right? It's a business I get it, you gotta support your family and such with advertisers but: discretion please. Anyway, I've been feeling a little uninspired by blogs lately and find myself reading very few of them nowadays whereas back in the day I would read a bunch daily.
The main reason for that is that I'm finding Instagram to be lazily convenient. I can scroll, scroll, scroll and look at pretty images and if one strikes my fancy, then I go read on the blog more about it. I like the ones that are for reals decorators who post photos of their projects and portfolio, it's just pretty images and a nice jolt of inspiration while I'm sitting on the toilet. And don't act like you don't do it! We all do it!
Of course, Pinterest has been convenient like that for a long time but again, it's gotten pretty advertise-y. So has Instagram actually, no place is safe. I've been mostly using it to make wishlists and ideas of things I like or want to buy. It is really important however that whatever image I pin has to be able to be linked back to some solid blog entries so blogs are still important in generating good content. Pinterest is great, I love it. You can see all the bloggers at once too, what they're into and what they're doing in a BLAM image.
Nothing compares to magazines though. That is still the best content. They have professionals working with more professionals, not amateurs no matter how good they get, professionals are just that. I'm down to Sunset Magazine (forever and ever), Better Homes & Gardens, and Martha Stewart. I still get physical copies of Sunset and BHG but I read most of everything on the iPad. It's great. Why wouldn't I pay money to people that know what they're doing so I can see well photographed and well-written articles? Yes, please.
Anyhow... that's my two cents for free. No refunds.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

you want projects i got projects

We've recently re-evaulated our home living plan and Matt and I are so happy in our home that while originally I entertained the notion of this being our house that we were in for 10 years and then trying to move, now I have no desire to move on up to the slightly fancier neighborhood because I'd rather spend the money fixing up the house we're in. We're sitting on a bunch of potential projects which is fantastic because then I'll never be bored. I'm convinced the front and backyards will never be quite finished so just add them to the constantly evolving pile but aside from them I want to eventually re-model the guest bath, the master bath, master closet, kitchen, living room, and then when all that is done and the day comes when our lovely tenants want to move (we love you, stay as long as you want) and we can afford to not have renters I will have my own little mini house to remodel which is pretty much a longtime fantasy of mine. Many little rooms to fix up! 

I came across this image and it seems so perfect for that area with that minimal hipster look that I'm into right now (rustic, industrial, whatever, it's all hipster to me). 
This is still my favorite two images for the kitchen remodel because I think it's so small, it could use some color in there. Plus the layout is for a small kitchen and it would indeed be small. Just imagine having my own little mini kitchen guest house for when I'm working in there. I can boil my own cup of tea and have snacks and invite ladies over for tea time in my little house.
I love this slim fridge too and all the color but I'd probably keep the walls neutral. 
Of course after the guest house is done and I'm out of projects, I can always buy a vintage camper and fix it up. I'm good for projects people, I'll be entertained for awhile.

Friday, July 31, 2015

our house with a 1 year old

Now that the noug is 1 there's been a few moderations to the baby repertoire around the farm. Babies grow so fast that it's a weekly routine to pull toys, gear, clothes and shoes that are no longer needed or used and stash them somewhere. It's become kind of an overwhelming endeavor. I look at her closet and am like holy crap, she wore that once and now it doesn't fit. And with gear or toys, something that was essential to your everyday life like our mamaroo, after a few months is just a massive thing that's taking up valuable real estate. With that in mind, here's what our house looks like now that we have a bona fide toddler. 

Depending on what we're doing we'll close off the doors to the office and bathroom and then we gate off both passages into the kitchen and she can roam the living room, dining area and her room.
There's a pocket door from living room to hallway and sometimes Matt closes that so we can keep her in just the living room and sometimes I'll close it so she can stay close by while I am putting her clothes away. It varies from daily need.
Of course sometimes I'll just close the door to her room but this feels like she can roam a little bit more without feeling like she's stuck in one room.
We very much need to remove the doors to this cabinet but I need to make room in the shed for them. They're glass and she does like to bang on them and open them.
This is a prime example of the overwhelming ness of baby stuff. These items used to be essential and now they're just taking up room. Those blankets we used for everything and we couldn't have enough burp cloths but now... here they sit. 
The bathroom now has the infant bathtub and some bath toys nearby.
We still use the same baby washcloths and bath towels since the beginning.
We took out all the magazines that were here before until she learns not to rip them to pieces and instead there's baskets with more toys under there.
We keep the car seat inside during the summer so we are loading her into a cool seat.
This side of the living room still has all her toys and such.
And the dining area usually looks like this.
She has embraced sippy cups and snack catchers. She truly is a toddler.
The bottom shelf of the rolly cart has all her snacks and baby foods.
 The bottom drawer has all the kid/baby plates.
We got some extra cabinet locks.
Made some room for the bottles and more sippy cups in the shelf.
And we still have her bottle dryer and brushes. We only use two bottles. We just wash them.
She just takes a few bottles a day of formula now that we're supposed to switch her to milk but she's not into milk yet. It's slow going. We're down to about two. One in the morning with vitamins and one at night before bed for routine/comfort. 
Our room is also not free from baby toys. If we need to change and she's hanging here we keep some stuff for her to play with while we're getting ready. She's got a little cart.
This batmobile.
And a basket of toys and this wack a ball game.
And we keep a spare baby shampoo in our bathroom in case we bathe together here which I tried a few times and haven't been super successful at.
So that's what our house looks like with a 1 year old which I'm sure can change at any moment. I feel bad about owning all this stuff for such short periods that they're needed and probably one of the reasons I try to keep everything is in case of another baby. But if we don't or if we do and then are done with this stuff then where does it go? I could try to sell them but I'm more of the give them to someone who needs it person and would have LOVED hand me downs and still love them. Why are people weird about used stuff? Used stuff is the best!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

'round here

I just finished a three week job and looks like I'll be off next week and we have BIG plans for what we're gonna do with that one week off that we didn't do for the month we had off prior to that. Like haircuts. Planting things in the backyard. Organizing the office. Cleaning out the master closet. Organizing the shed. Going to the LACMA, the beach, the pool. Etc. 

The three week job was pretty great. It was fairly simple so I was able to pull normal hours during the prep and wrap days and be home in time to not only bathe her and put her into bed but we actually went out to dinner a few times. Since I was the boss I would also get to the office a little later in the mornings and be able to grab her in the morning, dress her, and make us breakfast. Imagine that! It just confirmed what a good idea it was to move up to be closer to work and therefore home and my husband and child would be close by too. 
No place like home where you can have zero regard for everyone else's needs and park taking up two parking spots. Geez Alice, you have a lot to learn about LA driving and parking.

Friday, July 17, 2015

alice being meh about her birthday party

She smiled approximately 4 times that day. Everyone else had a ball though. Recap coming!

Friday, July 10, 2015

alice is one

Matt and I recounted the days leading up to and Alice's birth last night. The labor, the waiting, seeing her for the first time, holding her for the first time and then we talked about what it was like in the newborn days and the burp cloths everywhere and the breastfeeding pillows and after we recounted it all we were so tired. It was tiring just talking about those early days with our beautiful girl. 
I get birth days now. It's the day that you met a very special person and once a year you celebrate the day that you met that person. Not only that but that person had been really close to you, so close they would hear your heart beat all day and you could feel them moving. And after all that time of wondering and thinking about them you finally meet them and although you spent so many months dreaming about them you still couldn't believe your eyes when you finally saw them.
She was born with open eyes my Alice. She wanted to see the world and take it all in and she didn't want to waste time closing them. She was curious and content as if she knew that in time she would do whatever she wanted whenever she wanted. And it's strange to say that about someone I've only known for a year but it's a very important year that first one. In this one year she went from helpless to mobile and as I watch her grow and learn I am amazed by how well I know her. And even so she surprises me every day but not as surprised as I am by how much I would love her and how easy she makes my job as a mother just by being herself. Her happy and calm personality is such a gift, followed closely by just how stinking cute she is.
This year went by so quickly and now my baby is one. We are so lucky she is who she is.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

her 1st birthday party and my 1st baby party

This Saturday is Alice's 1st birthday party and my first kid party. Well kinda... the 1st birthdays are for the parents. Light 'em up we made it amiright?!
The theme as I've planned since before she was born is Flamingo Fiesta and it's pretty much just... flamingo. Flamingo. Flamingo. Flamingo. Did I mention flamingo?

Of course since the party isn't until Saturday I won't write about it and of course I went back to work this week so I'm just hoping I can remain stress-free and with the chill vibe I'm going for her birthday. I swear it's taking everything in my power to keep this party as effortless looking as possible and you all know me and how nuts I can get about parties but I am trying. I promise! I ordered everything way ahead of time and after sending out the invites that almost made me cry, I've simplified everything I can to avoid tears. No crying. No stressing. Just flamingos. Lots of them.