The Long-Awaited Nursery Reveal

It’s official: the nursery is now mostly complete. I say “mostly” because we are still waiting on the crib skirt to arrive and, because we recently ordered it as a part of our massive Amazon nursery completion order, it likely won’t be here until after our Little arrives. K is trying to convince me that Falco won’t mind.

The nursery is yellow and grey with chevron details. We opted to paint the nursery a cheery but not juvenile looking yellow (Sherwin-Williams Harmony low-VOC Acrylic Latex paint in Lantern Light Eg-Shel). We did this for several reasons:

  • Grey paint is notoriously difficult, as it typically reads as either blue or mauve, depending on the undertones and light in the room.
  • We wanted the paint to be able to easily transition as Falco gets older.
  • We wanted the paint to read as neutral, since we’re renting and didn’t bother to ask our rental agency if we could paint the room (yep, we’re total rebels).

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Crib: babyletto Hudson 3 in 1 in grey, purchased via Zulily for a $60 reduced price. Woot!
Rug: Mohawk Yellow Ziggidy, again purchased via Zulily.
Baby quilt: Designed and constructed by an amazing friend.

mobile, crib and picture

Fitted crib skirt: Sewn by me using a free online pattern with Keepsake Calico Gray & Yellow fabric.
Mobile: Designed and constructed by me
, using various fat quarters, polyfill, ribbon and a yellow yarn-wrapped embroidery hoop. It was inspired by my favorite song I sang as a child (and can’t wait to sing to Falco), “You Are My Sunshine.”
Print: Purchased and framed by K’s Aunt K (the one who hosted our family shower), designed by Ellen Crimi-Trent. K’s Aunt saw that I had posted a similar print to Facebook with the intent of creating a craft that was inspired by it, tracked down the artist, and placed the order via her Etsy store.

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Shelves: IKEA EKBY TONY/EKBY BJÄRNUM (previously purchased, used at my former job and repurposed).
Piggy banks: The Sponge Bob one was gifted to us by my mother at our family shower. It belonged to my late grandmother, who used it for her Bingo winnings, which are also enclosed. The other one was hand painted by me during a holiday outing with my coworkers. One side says, “[Falco’s] 1st Car Fund.”
Sign: Designed and framed by a friend. It says, “E is for… [Falco’s intended name, masked for privacy/anonymity.]”
Bunny lovey: Gifted to us by K’s cousin at our family shower. It matches an adorable stroller blanket.

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Dresser: IKEA HEMNES 8-drawer dresser, purchased by K’s parents as a Christmas gift.
Changing pad cover: Aden + Anais 100% Cotton Muslin in Safari Friends Giraffe.
Afghan: Handcrafted by my mom and gifted to us at our family shower.
Garbage can turned diaper pail: iTouchless Deodorizer 13 Gallon Stainless Steel Automatic Touchless Trash Can with Carbon Filter. There’s also a yellow wetbag inside.

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Vintage diaper pin decor: Ballard Designs, gifted to us by my parents as a nod to our intention to cloth diaper.

new cat bed slash changing pad

Kis thinks this changing pad is a kitty bed. Can’t say I blame him.

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Floor lamp: Nickel-plated IKEA ALÄNG. We also purchased a matching table lamp for later use when Falco is in a big kid bed and has nightstand that we also purchased.

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Rocking chair and matching ottoman (previously shown): IKEA POÄNG, birch veneer with Lockarp gray cover, purchased for as a Christmas gift from my parents.
Bookshelf turned “diaper tower”: IKEA HEMNES in white. Shown is only a small portion of our cloth diaper stash, just enough for Falco’s smaller sizes.
Throw blanket: Frost chevron gray by THRO, purchased via Zulily.
Diaper bag: JJ Cole Mode in Mixed Leaf, purchased by a family friend.
Toy bin: Purchased by K’s mom and filled with an assortment of toys we purchased and acquired as gifts.
Philly LOVE ornament: Purchased for us by a dear friend.
Vintage rolling curtain: Came with our glamorous home rental.

elephants from Grandmas

Elephant plushies: Purchased, separately and independently, by each Grandma-to-be.
Baby book: Purchased by K at a local boutique.

prints

Prints: Designed by a dear friend (the same one who designed, “E is for…”).

What do you think? I’m pretty excited about it and can’t wait for our Little to join us!

Note: the following post, Our Birth Plan, is password protected as some of our future posts might be. We would love to continue sharing details with our treasured followers, so please request a password by emailing us at thefalcoproject (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!

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Allergy update

When I referenced a potential horrible allergy to an ingredient in baby formula, so many of you have reached out to me with support, great ideas, and lots of love. I can’t even begin to express how much that means to me.

I figure I owed you all an update after my self-inflicted patch test. I am thrilled to report that none of the formula patches reacted in a notable way. Similac and Enfamil Newborn left a minor and temporary red mark, but nothing that lasted or itched in the way that tocopherol typically causes. Similac Sensitive and Gerber Good Start had no effect whatsoever. Ironically, because I am also allergic to adhesives, the only itchy reaction of note was the round outline of the bandages covering the patches.

My allergist was hopeful that this would be the outcome of my patch test because levels of tocopherol in food products are so much lower than that in beauty products. I’m still planning on being cautious and limiting my exposure as best I can, but I’m not going to freak out about it or go hog-wild in my paranoia.

In other news, so that this blog doesn’t turn into C’s Allergy Tracker 5000, I had a really nutty nesting urge over the weekend that translated into me hauling ass, organizing a bunch of stuff, doing chores, and getting much closer to the completion of our nursery. (I truly think that this world would be a much happier place if it was biologically possible for the more Type A person in a relationship to be the non-gestational partner. It’s so wonderfully practical!) As of today, the two finishing touches yet to complete are the purchase of a crib skirt and the construction of my “You Are My Sunshine” inspired mobile. I can’t wait to post photos! I’ll be really happy to have everything ready for our little one, especially since our estimated due date is officially one month from today.

It’s getting real, y’all!

75% Cooked

As of this week, K is 30 weeks pregnant and we officially have about 10 weeks left to go. It amazes me when I think of how far we’ve come. At this point, I feel like the majority of our large preparations have already occurred.

Our choice of cribs kept being reduced in price at every vendor we visited, but because we thought one of our family members, or even a group, might consider purchasing it from our registry, we kept putting it off… until it was even more greatly reduced on Zulily. We took it as a sign and snatched it right up! The crib arrived on Friday and I assembled it late last night while K and the dogs slumbered together on the couch. My parents purchased the crib mattress from our registry, and it should arrive next week. I can’t wait to post photos of the nursery, which should be completed soon!

The invitations to our family shower are officially in the mail, albeit wayyyyyy later than what makes me feel comfortable (or, notably, than what is considered polite to guests), but hey, I’m not planning it. My teammates at work indicated their desire to throw me a work shower, so now I am attending a total of four baby showers in seven days:

  • 3/10 – our friends shower
  • 3/15 – my work shower
  • 3/16 – our family shower
  • 3/17 – attending the shower of some friends
  • 3/18 – taking a random day off work to recuperate from the whirlwind

It has taken forever and a day, but Lowe’s is delivering the new washing machine today. I’m really thankful for this fact, as hauling a week’s worth of laundry to a laundromat is getting exhausting. I intentionally did it alone this week, too, because K’s getting more tired now that our little Falco is getting larger and putting a lot more pressure on K’s back. I have to wait until at least Monday for the rental agency to send someone to actually install it (NO clue why Lowe’s doesn’t install it), but the end is in sight!

So many things on the horizon: the showers, another OB appointment, a meeting with the doula, and further Falco preparations. I am looking forward to documenting it all for you all!

Having a hell of a time

Sorry, dear readers, that I’ve been so reclusive lately. I haven’t had the energy or passion to document anything that’s going on in our lives right now, mostly because so much of what’s going on right now is a total suckfest. Prepare for a doozy of a post.

I thought I was taking it all in stride, but on New Year’s Day, I really had a meltdown and all of the very large feelings I didn’t realize existed came pouring out in a tsunami of emotion, tears and snot. A friend once compared keeping one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity a secret to trying to shove a beach ball deep underwater. There’s always resistance and the harder you push, the likelier it is that the ball will eject upwards out of the water. Emotions are a lot like that. If we don’t tend to them, they’re going to find a way out, and it never seems to be at a very convenient time.

On January 1, one of my only days off, K confirmed plans with his parents and grandma, which seemed a lot more extensive than anything he’d previously communicated to me. For some reason, this very fact was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Until this moment, I didn’t realize how exhausted and resentful I was of having to work almost every single day during the holiday season while K enjoyed regularly scheduled time off with pay.  I hadn’t realized how overwhelmed I had become by how the frenzied pace of my work and personal life.  I was surprisingly unaware of the layers of emotion that had built up, given so many challenges I had recently faced and would soon be facing. Until it all came out. It involved a lot of yelling, ranting, weeping, and then an energy depletion induced nap. Afterwards, I opted not to attend the family gathering, allowed K to handle it solo like he could have done at any time during his vacation instead of on my only day off, and stayed home to assemble some IKEA furniture for the nursery. Sometimes, dear readers, focusing on inane tasks when I’m overwhelmed allows me to feel like I have some semblance of control.

Besides the recent loss of my only surviving grandparent, a growing, hectic list of tasks in my work and personal lives, and resentment about not having time to appropriately care for myself, I did something very challenging and emotionally draining this week. Cal (short for Calypso), our orange tabby who was previously misdiagnosed as being severely constipated but actually had a terrible abdominal tumor, was facing a rapid decline in his health and quality of life. He began uncontrollably urinating blood (and it wasn’t an infection), seemed significantly weaker, likely due to anemia, and was losing weight at an astonishing and heartbreaking rate. I knew that we needed to make the decision to say goodbye and it happened a lot sooner than I had ever imagined. On Wednesday afternoon, I came home from work and spent as much quality time with Cal as I could, which mostly involved me holding him and violently weeping while he purred. He has never been a fairly cuddly cat, so I think he knew that the end was near. When it was time to pick K up and drive to the new veterinarian’s office, Cal fought me as hard as he could as I put him into his carrier. Seeing his fighting spirit made the experience even more awful than it was, but I still feel like I made the right decision. He, like his human mama, was stubborn and probably would have fought to stay here long after was humane for him to remain here. The vet’s office was really great. They were all really empathetic and took us to a room that was outfitted with a snuggly, hand knit blanket and an ample supply of Kleenex. When it was time, Calypso curled up in my arms, his sweet head resting on my arm, and purred his way out of this world. It was beautiful and terrible all wrapped up into one experience. It seems ridiculously obvious to mention how extremely devastated I am about this loss.

As joyful as I am about the impending arrival of our little one, I am starting to realize just how ridiculously sucky it is to be a non-gestational parent. When you’re carrying your baby-to-be, there’s an ever-visible reminder to others to empathize with your journey – how exhausting it is to grow a human and carry its growing frame inside your own, all of the other not-so-pleasant physical symptoms that accompany the experience. I’m finding as a NGP, no one seems to empathize with all of my sacrifices of time and energy to offset all of the things my partner typically handles, or the physical symptoms I’m experiencing as a result of the pregnancy hormones in my environment. I am willingly, lovingly and patiently (trying my best, at least) doing this work, which I see as my contributions toward building this family, but I’ve recently realized how resentful I’ve become by how little my contributions are acknowledged or considered by others, K included. I feel a bit lost and uncared for right now, and it’s making all of the rest of my challenges feel extraordinarily raw.

How the hell am I supposed to turn this around and get back on the joy train when I feel like I’m in such a pit right now? While listening to The Takeaway on NPR the other day, one listener contributed on the subject of optimism: “Sometimes you have to encourage the hell out of it.” Well, world, I’m certainly open to suggestions.

Quick update

Because we have been delinquent bloggers and I know some of our friends read our posts in order to keep up-to-speed in our progress, I wanted to be certain to post a brief update about some of the Falco-related happenings as of late. I wish I had time these days to be more thorough about it, but we’re starting the busy season at work and I’m swamped! In no particular order:

  • K told his favorite aunt and his bosses. He’s under strict instructions to write an in-depth report about these happenings very soon!
  • We had this month’s OB appointment on Tuesday and got to hear Falco’s heartbeat again. It was the first time we’ve been able to hear it via external doppler. It was 166 bpm, which is the high-end of normal. Judging by the old wives’ tale, all of our measured heartbeats would indicate that we’re having a girl, but time will tell.
  • After much pouting and wrangling, we scheduled our anatomy scan for the first possible day we can have it: Friday, November 23rd, otherwise known as my favorite holiday: Black Friday. If s/he complies, we’re going to hopefully find out Falco’s sex that morning before heading to visit my parents for the weekend.
  • The interview with the potential child care provider went really well and I’m a lot more comfortable with them than I thought I would be. The prayers that they do before meals do not mention any deity and are much more gratitude-based than anything. Also, the Bible stories constitute less than 10 minutes of each preschooler’s day there, and are more like life lessons about helping others (i.e. The Good Samaritan).
  • We recently received a reasonable quote from a painter to paint our living room and nursery. K and I know what colors we want, but are going to pick out some specifics this weekend.
  • We have another meeting with our doula next weekend to start to talk more about birth planning, among other things. It’s all starting to become so real!

That’s all for now, friends. Things are going well in our gestational world!

Gratitude, week 11

It occurred to me that we really didn’t write so much this week. We’ve been pretty busy, but not so much so that I’ve felt overwhelmed. During our eleventh week of pregnancy, I’m thankful for:

  • Having very few plans this weekend, which allowed us the time to relax a bit. We also had time to thoroughly clean more of the nursery-to-be. The only part left to do in that space is to figure out where to put the supplies that are currently housed in the part of the room that is formerly known as my craft corner.
  • Going to a cloth diapering class at a local crunchy store.The class really confirmed that all the time I’ve been spending lately researching cloth dipes has translated to a lot more knowledge than I’d realized.
  • Feeling calmer about the OB we’re seeing. Until our appointment last week, I had a billion fears about our OB, that she would insist on a totally medicalized labor and delivery where K would be strapped to a bed and unable to naturally manage his pain. Obviously this fear was unfounded and a product of being an anxious first time mom-to-be, and I’m so thankful for that.

There isn’t a ton going on in the next couple of weeks. K and I are just working quite a bit and focusing on the start of our second trimester on October 25. It’ll be here before we know it, thankfully!