Family (Friends) Values

If you've been reading my recent posts you've probably caught on to our deliberations about where to move next.  For the time being we're living in Anchorage with my parents, but are planning on moving in the next year.  I ran across this article the other day and it echoed and clarified a lot of thoughts I've had while mulling our move about in my mind.  It's a quick, short read so hop over and read it real fast.  I'll wait.

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In some ways it can feel a little depressing to think about how short life is and the limited time we have here on earth. But it also makes you really evaluate how you're spending your life.  We moved up to Anchorage for two pretty major reasons, 1. my healthcare, and 2. to be close to my family for their support.  We didn't know if we'd end up loving Anchorage and find a niche here, but it turns out we haven't and Anchorage doesn't feel like a great fit for our family.  But one of the big reasons is that we really miss our community in Tacoma.  Even though the grey, dim, soggy winters make me stabby, our friends in Tacoma are just so amazing.  My life long best friend lives in Tacoma (after I convinced her to move out to the PNW when she graduated college), and even this hermit introvert realized after leaving how many people I truly had connected with in my 5 years living there.  

Now, I know if we decided to plant roots here in Anchorage I could absolutely build a community here. But my parents are considering a move down to Portland (again, to be closer to family-- my two brothers live there), and if we moved back to Tacoma, that's only a couple hours away.

Anyway, all of that to say, all of these thoughts had been mulling about in my mind about what we should do, where we should move, and reading that article just condensed those thoughts into a very clear, succinct picture of why certain things really matter.  Because we aren't going to have forever with our best friends, parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.  Because proximity matters.  

So for now we're here in Alaska, but I think our time in the great north is coming to a close.  I always took pride in being an Alaskan girl, but while my roots are Alaskan, I've realized that I bloomed in the Pacific Northwest. And for my whole life I thought, having been raised in Alaska, that I'd want my kids raised in Alaska.  But that's not really important to me anymore.  I know how I want to raise my kid(s) and it doesn't have to be in Alaska.  

All that being said, this place is heartbreakingly stunning.  Having grown up here I think I'm blind to it in some ways, but films like this remind me of the utter magnificence and meaningfulness of the beauty of the landscape around me. And imagery like this isn't unusual.  I'm stunned on a daily basis by the colors of a sunrise (which I see so regularly now, nursing Jack in the wee hours of the morning), the hoarfrost on naked trees, the sunlight illuminating the mountain range on the borders of town.  It really is something else to be surrounded by natural beauty of this magnitude on a daily basis.

Eating Plants/Animals

Somewhat, seemingly, randomly, food has become a pretty forefront subject in my life.  Lots of things converging all at once, urging me towards a deeper thinking on food.  I feel like there are ebbs and flows in my life when it comes to considering eating habits.  I was quite conscious of it back when we were members of a CSA in Tacoma.  Then again, when we did Whole30.  Recently there have been various things that have all come into my life regarding food.  I got Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.  Dan mentioned wanting to pursue a vegetarian lifestyle. My good friend recommended the Jeong Kwan episode of Chef's Table on Netflix.  And I'm super conscious of what I'm eating right now because I'm breastfeeding and trying to increase my milk supply so that I, in turn, can nourish our son. 

Living in Alaska actually triggered a return to lazy, lax thinking and acting in regards to food.  For one thing, Alaska isn't the mecca for community supported agriculture or small, organic farms in the same way that Western Washington was.  While there are some prolific farms in Alaska during our short summer, winters are a bit of a food wasteland in terms of local, organic, sustainable produce.  And really, to live sustainably, regarding foods, in Alaska means eating in the way the native peoples of Alaska do.  Lots of hunting, foraging, and fishing.  And lots of storing up for winter.  The produce here is expensive and goes bad quickly.  It comes from thousands of miles away.

There's also the psychological issues, for me at least, that come with living back in the house I grew up in, and feeling the pull back to eating how I used to eat growing up.  And we obviously eat with my parents relatively frequently, at least once a week, and while my mom has occasionally wanted to shift towards a vegetarian lifestyle, it's hard to make that shift when not everyone in the household feels the same way, and you're the one who does most of the cooking.

So, there's the table with the cards, so to speak.  But despite the barriers, having the support of my partner in pursuing a vegetarian, and maybe vegan, lifestyle is so crucial.  In one way, it's just a nice accountability.  Having someone else helping you remember the choice you made, and supporting one another to continue making that choice daily.

I know a lot of meat eaters find vegetarians annoying.  I've been an omnivore almost my whole life, and even wrote an article for my college newspaper opinion column about how vegetarians aren't more compassionate than meat eaters after a friend posted a status stating as much.  But here's the deal.  I was defensive because, well, she was right. Every day I eat meat I choose to be an active participant in cruelty to animals.  And as someone who loves animals, some with a fierceness I didn't know possible (I'm looking at you Dusty, goddamnit), that choice to eat animals came with a lot of purposeful forgetting.  Forgetting the origins of the slab of meat on my plate.  Forgetting the intelligence and sentience of the creature whose torture and slaughter I invested in when I made that meat purchase as the supermarket.  

I've come to realize that one reason I've avoided confronting the issue of vegetarian vs. omnivore is that once I open the door to vegetarianism, it asks me to confront other lifestyle choices.  If I'm committed to changing my diet for ethical/moral reasoning to do with animal welfare, then I also must address the issues regarding human welfare in the clothing manufacturing industry.  If I'm committed to changing my diet for sustainability/environmental reasons, I also must confront the issues of fast fashion's contribution to pollution.  If you've been around the blog for a while you remember my commitment to buying only secondhand, vintage, or ethically/sustainably manufactured clothing that I made a few years back.  I've been pretty good about it until recently, mostly with buying clothes for Jack.  Damn you, Target, and your cute baby clothes.  It's hard when you're excited about your kid and want to get him all the cute things.  You push out of your mind that commitment you made.  And with myself, I don't buy a lot of clothes anymore since I'm not a fashion blogger like I used to be, posting outfits daily.  My wardrobe is a fraction of what it used to be back in my heyday of style blogging (and a lot of it is in storage in Washington right now, since I couldn't fit into much of it being pregnant last year).  But I recently shopped at Forever21 and H&M and I'd be lying if I didn't feel the twinge of guilt knowing that I was fulfilling a selfish desire for some new, postpartum clothes on the backs of the people who were exploited to make those clothes. 

So really, for me, it's a bigger commitment than just not picking up meat at the grocery store or restaurant anymore.  It's a question that cuts through the bullshit of doublethink and willful ignorance and forces me to confront the things I engage in everyday and how those actions affect my world.  The world I live in, and the world I will have to one day hand down to my son.  And beyond that, it's modeling the values that I want to pass on to my son as well.  Valuing other humans, animals, and the planet more than my own selfish desires and appetites.  

Life Lately

Years ago I used to do regular "life lately" blog posts.  Just little posts sharing some little things I'm currently thinking/doing/into/etc.  I've been taking more random photos lately, so instead of sharing them with no words, I thought I'd start doing "life lately" posts again.

Watching: This Is Us. After finishing Parenthood, I was on the lookout for a feel-good family tv show, and This Is Us delivered.  Also, it's great if you need the occasional cry.  Jack, the father in the show, reminds me a lot of Dan, so it gets extra emotional at times.  It's wonderful to see Mandy Moore again, too.  I won't lie, I loved A Walk to Remember.  I'm a little envious of her gorgeous hair in the show, too.  If you want a show with happy feels, I recommend.

Reading: The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd + Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.  I just finished the former and it was a wonderful book.  It was recommended my many and definitely lived up to the praise it received.  
I got three Jonathan Safran Foer books, Eating Animals being one of them.  Since I finished my last novel, I'll probably pick up one of the novels I have of his and read it at the same time.  I watched the Everything is Illuminated movie many years ago in college so perhaps I'll read that one first.  But anyway, back to Eating Animals.  I've wanted to, for some time, change my lifestyle to a non-animal-eating diet.  It's always difficult, despite believing 100% that it's ethically and morally right, healthy for my body, and ecologically sustainable.  And since there are practically no places up here in Anchorage to access more sustainably produced animal protein, as opposed to in Washington state, eating animals has been even more problematic.  Jonathan Safran Foer's impetus for writing his book, Eating Animals, was the birth of his son and the responsibility that comes with parenthood, which is a place that Dan and I are in as well.  Dan came home from the grocery store the other day and announced that he'd like to eat a vegetarian diet, and I immediately grabbed Eating Animals off the shelf and started delving in.  
While my book reading resolution was focused on fiction, I'm looking forward to getting further into Eating Animals, and reading some of his fiction work simultaneously.

Thinking About: Getting back in shape.  While I'm certainly the flabbiest, and heaviest, I've ever been (not counting that time I had another person inside me), I mostly just miss feeling strong.  I feel very weak and out of shape.  My body feels like my muscles are atrophied and I really want to get back to some semblance of fitness.  My dream would be to join a Crossfit gym as I've wanted to do Crossfit for years, but $175/month for a membership to the local gym is just out of our budget right now.  I love going to a gym so I might join the Planet Fitness gym that is literally across the street from us, which would make it easy to get out of the house for an hour while Jack is watched by Dan or my parents.  I still have my Kayla Itsines workout PDF so I might try to work through that for now.  

Wanting to: Take more candid life photos.  Now that Jack is a part of our family, documenting little daily moments feels more important.  I've been trying to keep my big DSLR around to capture little moments with Jack.  I've been posting them here, but ultimately I'd like to cull them down to create an annual photo album.  I always adored flipping through my old family albums, seeing my parents when they were young, and remembering fun times from my childhood.  I've been very bad at printing photos, mostly because I was pouring so many images into my blog.  But I feel like it's important to capture the little moments, especially right now when Jack's development is blazing so fast and he's growing bigger every single day.

Missing: My family.  Mom and Dad, who live next door to us, have been gone since, basically, mid-January.  First, they were down in Portland getting my brother settled back into his home after he went to the hospital and was dealing with some medical problems. Then they came back, but we almost immediately left for Tacoma for a week.  Then they left for Hawaii the day before we came back from Tacoma.  They'll be gone for another week at least, though my brother is back in the hospital in Portland again, so they could cut their Hawaii trip short and head back to Portland to be with my brother.  It's hard being far away from family, especially when there are medical problems happening.  I'm used to being able to go to the hospital and us all being together to support each other.  Thankfully my other brother lives in Portland, and we have lifelong family friends who are basically family who are also in Portland, so he's not alone.  In the meantime, it's awfully lonely up here with no family around.

Two Months

This weekend has been so wonderful.  I always like the weekends because, even though I'm at home all day, erryday, having Dan home all day with us feels like such a treat.  Mister Jack turned 2 months old this weekend and it's so crazy to see how much bigger he is, and how expressive he is compared with just a few weeks ago.

I've had a renewed interest in capturing candid life with my "big" camera.  I think since I got a 35mm lens, capturing lifestyle stuff has been more enjoyable.  It's definitely a lifestyle/candid-friendly lens and I love taking pictures with it.  I feel like I'm out of the survival-mode period of new-mom-ness, so feeling like I have time and energy to be creative is really nice.

The boys are back in town

Well, the boys and me.  This past week we flew down to Tacoma, where I was shooting a good friend's wedding.  Jack went on his first plane trip (and the nice Alaska Airlines flight attendant gave him his wings!), met his great grandma, and was introduced to all our friends in Tacoma.  It was so wonderful to be back in a city where we feel so loved.  

We are at a crossroads thinking about where we will find ourselves, geographically, this time next year.  We don't really want to stay in Anchorage, even though it's affordable for us, and Jack + I get great healthcare, and my parents are here.  I guess when I put it that way it sounds pretty stupid to leave.  Anchorage just doesn't feel like the right spot for us.  So we're at a crossroads, trying to figure out where to plant our little family.

In the meantime we are back home in our little Alaskan apartment, staying cozy while the snow falls outside our windows.  I snapped these shots of Dan and Jack at our Airbnb in Tacoma last week.  These two dudes are my fav.

Cloth Diapering with Flip Diapers

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I knew long before I got pregnant that I wanted to use cloth diapers.  Other than the cost of purchasing disposable diapers every month, I was also concerned about the environmental impact of billions of disposable diapers filling landfills. Since babies typically use 6-8 diapers a day, that puts the number of diapers used before potty training in the thousands. Add in the disposable wipes and that's a luot of trash. Disposable diapers are the 3rd largest consumer item in landfills.  7.6 billion pounds of trash per year. I felt gross throwing away my money on disposable diapers, but more gross about how much trash we'd be producing. We had to use disposable diapers for a couple weeks when Jack was first born because he was too small for the cloth diapers, and I was amazed how quickly our trash can filled up with diapers. 

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After doing a little bit of internet research I settled on Flip cloth diapers. Basically, you get the diaper covers (the colorful exterior shells), and then put the absorbent insert inside and snap the cover on, similar to a disposable diaper. After using disposable diapers for a couple weeks I was afraid I might get too used to the ease of disposable, but found that that was largely just a mindset. Cloth diapers aren't any harder to change, the only part that is a bit more labor intensive is laundry. More on that in a bit. 

I also went for cloth wipes as well. Again, same reasons, cost and waste. I also make my own spray to spritz on his bum to clean him up. Not only does it save money but I don't have to worry about weird chemicals being in the wipes. 

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Here's my little diaper station. Inserts up top, diaper covers on the left, then my wipe stuff in the white bin- cloth wipes, spray, and diaper rash cream. I also have a little trash can to the right that is my diaper "hamper."  It had a lid and a step opener so it keeps at smell in and I can open it with my foot to toss the dirty diaper in.  I bought a couple wet bags to use for storing dirty diapers in my diaper bag when I'm out and about (one of them is the polka dot bag hanging from my diaper station above, which I put dirty wipes in).

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When Jack has a bit of rash starting we use Angel Baby Bottom Balm to soothe it. Also au naturale, which makes me happy.  

In terms of laundry, I do a small load every 1-2 days, which is a lot more often than I used to do laundry, but it hasn't felt overwhelming. I know some people shy away from cloth diapering because they don't have a washer/dryer in their home, or are worried about water/electricity usage. There are some awesome options for small, portable washers that use only a couple gallons of water per load and are the perfect size for washing diapers. There are also centrifugal spin dryers that are small, and both are pretty affordable! The diaper covers must be hung dry anyway. 

I really love cloth diapering.  The only limitation I can see so far is travel.  We'll be traveling next month and I'll do disposable diapers while we're out of town.  Since we won't have a washer/dryer and will be gone for a week, there's not really any way to clean the diapers.  Other than that, I'm super happy with our decision to go with cloth diapers.  We have 17 Flip diaper covers, 18 newborn cloth diaper inserts, and 6 one-size cloth diaper inserts.  We're only using the newborn inserts for now, so I'll probably end up getting more of the one-size inserts once he's grown into those.  But our set up right now works great!  I'd definitely recommend cloth diapering.  It was a few hundred dollars initially to get everything (I found some of my covers on craigslist, so if you're trying to find cloth diapers for less than they cost brand new, consider second hand stores or craigslist), but compared to the thousands I'd spend on disposable diapers and disposable wipes over the next couple years, it made sense to me to make the investment.  Plus, I can use these diapers for any future kids we may have!

Jack's Eclectic Nursery

Eclectic Nursery

Jack is 5 weeks old now, so it's about time I shared his nursery!  He actually spends very little time in here right now.  We've got a bassinet set up next to our bed, so he's sleeping in our room for the time being.

I didn't really have a theme in mind when I started working on his room.  I wanted it to be something I would like, since he's not going to remember the room decor anyway, and I'm really not into super gendered decor, so it ended up being a room that, if you take out the crib, could be an office or studio, just another room in the house.

I really love statement walls, and after using WallsNeedLove to do the wood statement wall in our old bedroom, I browsed their selection of wallpaper to see if anything struck my fancy for this room, and I fell in love with this graphic black and white print.  It may be a little crazy and non-traditional for a nursery, but I love it.

I DIY'd quite a few pieces in the room.  The hanging wall shelf is a DIY from my old office.  The succulent print and color spectrum prints I made by just stapling the prints to two pieces of lath and then attaching a string to hang each one from.  The succulent one is actually a photo which I printed as an engineering print at Staples.  The changing table/dresser is a cheap Target dresser with midcentury modern legs added from Pretty Pegs.  The "Be Kind And Brave" banner was made by cutting out letters from black fabric and iron-on backing, then attaching the letters to the white fabric by ironing them on.  Then, I cut a dowel a little longer than the width of the banner, made a channel for the dowel to go through at the top of the banner, and tied a string to the dowel to hang the banner from.  The bunting/prayer flags were DIY too.  Square fabric pieces attached to bias tape using iron on hem tape.  Easy peasy. A fun little artsy DIY was the embroidered b+w photo (the one above the sailor print, next to the succulents).  I want to do more embroidering on photo prints!  This one was an easy starburst design in yellow embroidery thread.

I've had the 5-point paper star lamp since before our wedding. I got it as a possible wedding decoration but never ended up using it.  I've had it sitting around since then and never found a space to hang it until now!  My mom had the other star lamp and also didn't have anywhere to hang it.  We hung them both in the corner before Jack was born.  We hadn't decided on Jack's middle name until mere moments before checking out of the hospital and turning in his birth certificate form, when we finalized his middle name as Polaris.  Polaris is the north star, and is actually a multiple star with the  main star in orbit with a smaller star.  When we brought him home I realized I'd decorated his room with stars before his middle name was even thought of! 

Rug + Curtains + Diaper Cart: Ikea | Chair: Thrifted | Star Lamps: Ikea + Fireworks | Changing Table: Target + Pretty Pegs | Crib: Babyletto | White Shelf: Target via Craigslist | Metal Baskets + B+W basket: Target

Succulent Photo + Winnebago Print + Joshua Tree Photo + Chalkboard Word Bubble + Be Kind and Brave Banner: by me | Tacoma flag + Color Spectrum Print: Stocklist Goods | Pike Place Photo: Charcoal and Ash | Paint by Number: Thrifted | Gospel According to Tacoma Print: Beautiful Angle | I Love My Family print: Beauchamping

My reading resolution

Before Jack was born I received a gift from one of my mom's friends: a bunch of wonderful children's books along with The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease.  I started reading the handbook right away, mostly because the woman who gifted it to me spoke so highly of the book and the concepts in it, so I was intrigued.  I found the book fascinating and I was inspired to start reading more fiction.  I read relatively frequently, but the books I read are mostly non fiction or sort of self-help type books.  

I really want to read aloud to Jack, but in order to do that, I want to have books I've read and am familiar with to read to him.  I have plenty that I remember reading in grade school, but there were also lots that I remember not reading.  Classics and such.  Books that I was *supposed* to read for class but ended up procrastinating to the last minute and relying on spark notes to do my essays/assignments.  I read for pleasure, I guess, when I read self-help books (I mean, I like the content) but having the goal of self improvement doesn't really mean I'm reading for pure enjoyment.  

So, since it's the beginning of a new year, I decided to make a resolution to read more fiction for pure enjoyment.  We have a local used bookstore that is being sold soon and my mom has a ton of credit there from selling books to them, so I've been putting together a list of great books to buy there to use up her credit!  It's perfectly serendipitous that right when I decide to get a bunch of books to read, she's got this crazy huge credit she needs to use up in the next couple months!  

So far on my list I've got:

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Hatchet by Gary Paulson
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Dogsong by Gary Paulson
The Raven's Gift by Don J. Rearden
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Dream of Night by Heather Hensen
Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan
Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan
Scorpions by Walter Dean Meyers
The Redwall series by Brian Jacques

I plowed through Wonder in about 2.5 days, so my next one to read is Where the Red Fern Grows.  A lot of these are young adult and children's books so they're pretty quick reads, but I want to read them so I can at least be familiar with the stories when Jack is old enough for me to read them to him.  

If you're curious about the effects of reading aloud on children's reading ability and education, I definitely suggest checking out The Read Aloud Handbook. The research is fascinating and I'm really inspired by the anecdotal evidence and Jim's passion as well.  Super super interesting stuff.

If you guys have great book suggestions (fiction only!), share your favorites with me in the comments!  I'm trying to read a lot of books that are more kid friendly just because I want to find some really awesome books to read to Jack when he's older, but I'll probably also want some books with more adult themes/complexity sprinkled in there too.  Let me know what your all time favorite fiction books are, or what you're reading now and loving!

Meet Jack!

It's been almost a month since our little dude joined us, and since the holidays happened right after he arrived and tons of family and friends were in town visiting (not to mention postpartum healing and getting used to newborn life), I haven't had the energy to post an announcement here until now!

I haven't written out his birth story yet, and I'll probably share that eventually, though nothing crazy happened so it's not the most thrilling of birth stories.  For the best birth stories, I will direct you to Indiana Adams who has the best and funniest birth stories of all time and makes us all look bad in the birth stories realm.  Thanks a lot, Indiana.  I jest.  Indiana is hilarious and her birth stories really are the best.  Enough about Indiana, though, this post is about Jack!

Jack Polaris Morrow made his entrance on the morning of December 18th after a pretty quick and relatively easy labor.  He was about a week past his due date, which I thought was going to be the case.  He was always so chill and cozy in the womb, I figured he would want to hang out in there as long as possible.  I tried many a thing to get him to shimmy out.  We went to a hockey game.  We sang karaoke.  We did zumba.  We had a full moon (a supermoon, no less!).  Eventually after a couple membrane sweeps and some castor oil (holy shit, that stuff is no joke.  Talk. About. Cleansed.) I went into labor.  It took some convincing for him to make his way out and I don't blame him, it's cold out here!

Dusty and him are already best buds and if he ever complains that his birthday is too close to Christmas I will take him to a Zumba class and show him how hard I tried to get him to come out sooner.  And if he's still not convinced, I'll feed him some castor oil and see how long it takes before he has to run to the bathroom.  

Maternity Style // Week 37

Final stretch!  My due date is one week from today, so I've cleared my schedule, am almost finished with all my client work, and am on the lookout for signs of labor.   I've always felt like this kid will hang out in there as long as possible.  So comfy and cozy in there, why come out into the cold world before you have to, right?  And cold it is.  This weekend our highs are in the single digits and lows are below zero.  So if I was an infant, I'd most definitely stay in a warm cocoon with an ambient temp of 98.5°F too.  Although next weeks highs in the teens isn't much better.  That's what happens when you decide to be born in December.  

Maternity Style // Week 36

Falling behind on this maternity outfit thing, or rather, the posting of said outfits.  But I figure as I approach the end of this pregnancy and am busy focusing on a.) finishing up all my client work so I don't have to worry about it when baby comes and b.) preparing for the actual having of a baby thing, I'm allowed to fall behind a bit.  

These photos were taken while I was in Tacoma earlier this month to shoot my final wedding of 2016.  My BFF (and doula!), Kristina, took these outfit photos for me during a coffee outing to one of my favorite Tacoma coffee shops, Bluebeard.  The lovely folks at Bluebeard gifted me a bag of coffee beans as a baby shower gift and it felt a little like things coming full circle.  Back when Dan and I got married we had Bluebeard coffee beans as our wedding favors, and now we have a little taste of Tacoma back home in Anchorage.

Radio Silence

I haven't written anything here in over a month, I think mostly due to the overwhelming stress and all-consuming nature of this year's presidential election.  My thoughts have been centered around social justice, the future that my kid will grow up in, what I want our lives to look like moving forward, and then the more mundane things like trying to keep our house from looking like a hurricane blew through, finishing up my final wedding of the season, and getting the baby's room done. 

My Camera Bag Review Roundup

Over the years, as both a blogger and wedding/portrait photographer, I've acquired a good collection of camera gear.  Lenses, camera bodies, accessories, they're all super valuable necessities for my business, and so finding a perfect bag for carrying them when I need to be on the go is essential.  There are tons of awesome companies out there who are making camera bags that not only have amazing functionality, but are gorgeous.

Maternity Style // Week 34

Maternity Style Week 34

Today I voted!!  Here in Anchorage we had some early voting polling places open, so I took care of business before the madness next week, mostly because I'm traveling on election day and I'm not sure if I'd have enough time in the morning to get it done!  I'm actually glad I'll be traveling that day, it'll keep me distracted from the stress, though I suppose most of the stress is in the evening when polls are closing and votes are getting counted, so perhaps I won't avoid it after all.

This pregnancy, or rather the part where I have a baby at the end, is getting super real these days.  An acquaintance who had my same due date had her baby 7 weeks early and posted a photo of him on facebook and my mind was blown that that's basically what is living inside me currently.  A (nearly) full grown, human child.  WHAT.  My mind can't really wrap itself around it.  I posted my fun baby wish list yesterday but I've actually been taking steps toward purchasing practical things, getting my stash of cloth diapers ordered earlier this week.  I still need to figure out feeding accessories (I plan on breastfeeding, but would like to be able to pump and have a milk stash), and other practical things.  Not as fun as buying cute things, but probably a better use of my money.

I wore this dress super early on in my pregnancy when I was, like, not even showing at all.  I thought it'd still fit in my later weeks since it's super tent-y and loose and it still does!

Dress (similar): Free People | Leggings : Jessica Simpson Maternity via Motherhood Maternity
Hat : c/o Moorea Seal | Boots : c/o Cat Footwear | Necklaces : c/o Jewelmint + Tribe Jewelry

the (fun) baby wishlist

Hip Baby Wishlist

I say "fun" wishlist because there are certainly plenty of things that I still need that fall into the "practical" and "necessary" camp, but damn if it isn't more fun to shop for the cute things, am I right?  Granted there are some things that are both cute and necessary, like crib sheets, or swaddle blankets, but I probably don't need a fox hat or tiny moccasins.  But, also I totally need them.  I mean, come on.  I have concluded that my child will probably become the most fashionable member of our family because tiny human clothes are super fun to shop for (though I will say I'm looking forward to giving myself a postpartum wardrobe refresh).

I want to keep things pretty minimal and natural for toys and such, especially because a newborn doesn't need a ton of toys.  I'm a big fan of natural textures and avoiding as much bright, ugly, plastic stuff.  I've found myself drawn to toys made of fabric and wood and the graphic designer in me is in total and complete love with these gorgeous typographical blocks by House Industries. Gotta try to instill a love of great typography in this kid from the get-go, you know?  As far as textiles and bedding type stuff goes, I want to have a pretty black and white/neutral color palette, just because a) gender neutrality is my jam for decor in general and b) black and white stuff all matches.  Easy peasy.

Bedding + Toys:  1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Baby Clothes Wishlist

Clothing:  1 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Who knew that dressing a tiny human could be so fun?  I mean, I've always known that tiny versions of things are cuter, but tiny outfits are so fun.  Also: apparently dressing your kid like an animal is the pinnacle of cute because I just want all the animal outfits.  But also: I need to get myself a whole drawerful of Freshly Picked moccasins so that me and my child can go around twinning in our moccs (though all my moccs are super basic, Freshly Picked has about a thousand designs that are way cuter than any of my moccs!).   It's gonna be fun having a newborn in the wintertime, I'll get to have all the fuzzy, bundled-up-type things (with animal ears, preferably, duh).

Nursery Decor

Decor: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

I have my crib (a Babyletto Hudson) and if you follow on instagram, you saw my semi-DIY'd changing table/dresser, and the room is going to be generally graphic/southwest-ish in terms of decor.  I have enough art that I don't need any wall art, really, which is nice!  I'm not really into making a baby nursery that is super baby-ish.   I figure, this kid won't care what the room looks like for a long time, and I'm the person who is going to be spending the most time in there, so I might as well make a room that I love, right?  And I love decorating a room/house more than most things.  This list is definitely more of a wish list simply because I'm going to do my best to work with what I've got to put together the room, but dang if I wouldn't love to be able to put together a room with my dream elements!  The room already has a light, so my dream sputnik chandelier will probably have to wait till a later date, but a girl can dream!

Maternity Style // Week 33

Maternity Style Week 33

If you guys follow me on Snapchat or Instagram stories, you probably saw how excited I was about the snow we got last friday.  After years of not having a snowy winter (I luh you, PNW, but I missed me some snowy winters!), that first morning of waking up to a crisp, white landscape felt like waking up on Christmas morning.  Usually that first snowfall doesn't stick around very long either, but it's been cold enough that it's stayed put!  

These days I feel like I have the opposite of a phantom limb.  Instead of feeling something that isn't there, I don't feel something that is there: my bump.  I forget that it's so big and then I'll go to touch it and it's like, whoa!  It is certainly a most bizarre experience to have your body be taken over and change so drastically in such a relatively short amount of time.  I've been going to some prenatal yoga classes and it's funny to be among a group of other women who are all dealing with the same thing, but who are all at varying stages of pregnancy.  It's weird to look back on the days when I wasn't showing yet.  I'm entering the final stretch here pretty soon, and I think with the holidays fast approaching it'll make everything go by even faster.  Honestly, I still wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and feel like I'm still dreaming.  Being pregnant still doesn't seem real, even though I'm, oh, almost 8 months into this process.

Coat : Tulle | Leggings : Jessica Simpson via Motherhood Maternity | Boots : Vogue Footwear
Top : Motherhood Maternity | Plaid Shirt : Thrifted

Maternity Style // Week 32

Maternity Style Week 32

Welp, I'm caught up on outfits now!  Well, sort of.  Technically I'm 33 weeks now, but I'm such a procrastinator that I usually shoot my outfits on the last or second to last day of my gestation week, which means that I probably will never have an outfit posted in the actual gestation week I'm currently in.  I can't remember if us pregnant gals aren't "supposed" to wear horizontal stripes, but I don't care because this dress is soft and stretchy and feels like jammies.

As you can see, the lake is now frozen, though only a couple inches, not nearly thick enough for walking on yet.  It's interesting seeing the world around me transform to winter as I transform into a larger and larger pregnant person.  The more wintery it gets around here, the closer I get to having a real live tiny person.  We haven't gotten snow yet, but it's supposed to snow soon, and the peaks of the mountain peaks surrounding town are all dusted with snow creeping down closer and closer.

Dress : Thrifted (Target) | Cardigan : Dear Creatures | Boots (similar) : c/o Seychelles
Hat : some roadside shop in the redwoods | Mittens : The North Face

Southwest Inspired Baby Shower

Southwest Inspired Baby Shower

Last Saturday we had my baby shower, and despite the Alaskan winter knocking on our door, I decided to go for a southwest inspired theme for the party!  Which basically meant I could buy more cacti without feeling bad about it.  Pretty much everything was DIY, except for the macarons (which I've made before, but was in no mood to bake a fussy dessert.  These ones from Sweet Caribou here in Anchorage were to die for).

My mom baked the cake and made the frosting and I frosted it and decorated it.  It was an apple spice cake and super yummy!  I'll make sure to grab the recipe from her and share it here soon!  The pumpkin cupcakes and maple frosting is from a recipe I posted on the blog a few years ago. 

One of my favorite little DIY details was the "Happy Pushing" sign.  Originally it was going to be a cake topper, but ended up being too wide for my skinny little cake, so I popped it into two baby cactus pots and it just hung out on the table.  It was a fun and simple DIY, so I'll be posting the tutorial soon!

I wore basically the same outfit as my last outfit post (just trading out the hat for a succulent flower crown to go with the southwest theme), so all outfit details/links will be on that post!

After looking up baby shower activities and grimacing at how many corny, weird baby shower games were out there, we opted for keeping things simple.  One of the only 'programmed' activities was a birth/labor affirmation prayer flag.  Everyone who came wrote a short encouragement or affirmation for me to focus on during labor, which I'll be transferring to some home-made "prayer flags" (basically just little square bunting flags) that I can take to the hospital when I'm in labor to meditate on and gain encouragement and strength from.  

With only 7 weeks left to go (give or take some days/weeks depending on when this human decides to make an entrance), things are getting weirdly real!

Introversion, Moving, and Community.

I had my baby shower this past weekend.  It was a more "traditional" baby shower in that it was all ladies and lots of baby gifts.  Since I don't really have any friends my age here in Anchorage (yet), everyone who attended was my mom's age and more so my mom's friends that mine, but they've known me since I was a little kid and have loved me for decades, so it was special to have them all there.  We'll be having another "baby shower" next month in Tacoma with all our friends our age, it'll be co-ed, and more like a regular 20-somethings party with the reason for the party being that I'm growing a human as the only thing that really defines it as a baby shower at all.

I choose to go through so much of life alone.  I don't know exactly why I do this.  Part of it is certainly due to my introversion.  It's easy for me to be alone and do stuff alone. It takes so much more effort to go out and do stuff with people, or to try to coordinate with others to do stuff.  And now that I'm in Anchorage and know virtually no one, I spend my days alone almost exclusively.  

I wasn't prepared for how much introversion would effect me as an adult.  Growing up, introversion isn't really something that gets in the way of interaction with others.  You go to school five days a week, do after school activities like sports or other things with other people, and we even lived with another family that had kids, so we were always playing outside together, choreographing crazy dances together, and sharing mealtimes.  College is similarly easy to remain social as an introvert.  Classes 5 days a week, constant programming from clubs and dorms, intramural sports, department events, and living in a dorm where other people are always running around doing something or other. 

My biggest struggle since graduation hasn't been that I wasn't prepared for the job market, or didn't have enough education, it's that I've lost the community that was built into the school system.  I was lucky enough when I moved to Tacoma that Dan had basically grown up there and had a huge network of friends that I easily slipped into, but even that wasn't easy for me.  As an introvert I likebeing with people, but initiating things on my own, as opposed to having a veritable buffet cornucopia of events and groups to attend, has been probably the hardest transition from graduating college 7 years ago.  Ugh, seven years it's been that I've been struggling with and trying to figure this shit out.  That's not frustrating at all.

I'm afraid that becoming a parent will make my tiny social circle even tinier.  I don't want to spend the next seven years stuck in the rut I've apparently been stuck in since graduating college.  For as much as I ached to get out of Tacoma for so long, now I'm feeling like I threw away the closest thing I had to a social community of friends since college (not that I threw them away, they're still there and we can still go to them and have that community there waiting for us, hence our Tacoma baby shower party).  I felt so stuck in Tacoma, and was so looking forward to a fresh start, but it's been harder than I anticipated to have no friends or community of people our age to socialize with here in Anchorage.

Maybe this move was just to show me how valuable that was (don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone?").  Renting out your home and moving 2500 miles is an obnoxious way to learn that lesson though.  Who, What, and Where does this next year have for us?  I don't think we'll stay in Anchorage long term.  Is it back to Tacoma?  Is it to the road in the Brave?  Is it somewhere totally new and different (Nashville? Joshua Tree? Portland?)?  For now, all I can see through is the end of 2016 where we'll be holding a new tiny human, celebrating the Holidays.  2017, you are a crazy mystery to me.  Be nice to us, okay?