Author Archives: sara

About sara

Hey, I'm Sara, a happily married mama in Northern Virginia. Former dancer. Current writer. Lifelong lover of books, beaches, and accessories.

ch-ch-changes

New blog name. New blog host (finally made the switch to wordpress after using blogger exclusively for almost a decade). New ME.

Just kidding about the last part. I’m the same me. I’ve just decided to put a little more effort into my blog.

See, a year ago I was a stay-at-home writer, working on my fifth (unpublished because I keep chickening out from querying agents) YA novel. Now I’m a stay-at-home mom slash novelist-on-hiatus. And I love it. I love, love, LOVE getting to stay at home with Kiernan. I mean, look at this face — who WOULDN’T love to hang out with this cutie all day long?

Kiernan 38 weeks

But I miss writing. A lot. And I happen to love blogging. Quite a bit. And I’m not quite mentally ready to get back to my novel. So here I am. Trying to figure out wordpress — but already excited by the differences from blogger (I love changing up my style and blogging is no different). It may be slow going for a bit while I try to get it down, but I’m here — doing something for myself. In-between baby naps. ūüôā

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The Godzilla of all beds is *finally* going down.

While I was pregnant lots of stuff got all out of whack. My body. My emotions. My ability to remember things. Aaaand, the topic of today’s post: my (furniture) decision making skills. They became disastrous.

I decided that bigger was better.

I decided to buy a huge crib for the nursery, when a smaller one would have been so. much. more fitting for the tiny room.

I decided I hated our bed frame. (Which, looking back, is just like whaaaa? It was a perfectly fine dark wood shutter headboard & frame from Crate & Barrel.) I gave it to my mom for her guest room. Because:

At the time, the chicks that were renting our condo broke their lease, claiming that someone had stolen the money they’d put aside for rent (first of all, yeah freaking right), and left their furniture for us in a small way of compensation. It wasn’t all awful. We scored an awesome high dining table and chairs out of it. And a couch that is decent — and definitely better than the behemoth thing we had before. (Which Nelson loved, so shhhh about that last remark.) But we also took two bed frames. And I honestly have NO idea what I was thinking. They are uuuuuugly ducklings — but ones that’ll never turn into swans. For me, anyway. Maybe when we donate them someone else will love them.

One frame is all black with a leatherette, crystal-lined headboard. Ew. Just no. I didn’t even like it really when we took it, but for some stupid reason I thought it’d be better than the dinky metal frame we had in the guest room. Nope.

Then there’s this beast. The four poster frame we replaced our old (way better) frame with. It’s monstrous. I mean, look:

(Ignore the rest of the room please. There is much work needed! More on that in a near-future post…)

Hello. We have a low bedroom ceiling. This big-ass mofo does not work here at all. But I honestly wouldn’t like it even if we had a super high ceiling. It’s just not my style at all. (The picture doesn’t do justice to the ornate carvings at the tops of the posts or the carved seashell thing at the top of the headboard. Which I’ve hated more and more with each passing day.)

Finally, finally, finally, Nelson agreed to let us (me) shop for a new bed frame. And I think I found the one I want. (For now at least. Because, you know, I haven’t made the best furniture decisions recently.)

I knew I wanted something upholstered. I went with an ivory linen headboard because my dressers are dark brown and the walls are tan and I wanted lighter something to brighten the room. And for bedding I’m going with all white. There’s something so relaxing-feeling about an all white bed, I think! Not that I’ve shied away from color in the past, or that I will in the future, but all-white feels like it will be what I want. I ordered a new comforter + cover and new shams in white and ivory. I can’t wait for it all to arrive.

And, and, and? I invested in art for the first time! Like, actual art by an artist. Not some mass-manufactured generic crap you can get at Target or wherever. (Though I do own some of that as well, not gonna lie.) (And these are prints of originals, so I’m sure other people have them, too.) But still, look how pretty:

New Spring, Caroline Wright

A set of abstract prints to go above the bed. I’m in loooooove with them. I love how vivid the colors are, and I think they will place nicely against the rest of the room’s tone. I’ll post again when everything’s in place.

Things I learned in the first five months of being a mama…

Note: I wrote this and saved it in drafts three months ago, at the 5-month Kiernan mark. I know I wanted to add to it, but time got away from me and I can’t remember what, so I’m posting it as is!

I have a LOT of catching up to do, and I hope to do it soon so I don’t forget all of the details of the last few months since baby K arrived! (They’ve seriously been the most amazing and challenging and SPECIAL months of my life.) But until then, here are some things I wish I’d known (or listened to) ahead of time:

  • Swaddling is the best thing in the world. Miracle blankets and truewombs saved my sanity.¬†
  • Swings are the best things in the world, too.
  • Same with rock n plays.
  • Also? All of those things suck to transition out of. So now I have a love/hate relationship with them. But at the times leading up to right now? I might not have survived without them.
  • Just because something is toted as the BEST thing on the market (cough-mamarooswing-cough) doesn’t mean it will be the BEST thing in your baby’s eyes.¬†
  • It really does get better. Baby K had colic and there were (many, many, many) moments when, regardless of what I’d read or been told about things getting better, I just couldn’t see it ever happening. I couldn’t help her to feel better because there is no real definitive cause for colic, and it broke my heart and my spirit. I think it almost broke me all together. But K got better. It happened slowly and sometimes in a two-steps-forward-one-step-back pattern, but day by day, things improved. This doesn’t just apply to colic. It’s the same with getting sleep. There were days I thought I’d never get more than two hours at a time again. But now that I’m much better rested, I barely remember the panic that caused.
  • Breastfeeding can suck. But it’s so worth it. For me. After the trials we’ve gone through, I will never ever ever judge another mama for whatever she chooses to do in the great BF vs Formula decision. But for now, we’re 4.5 months in and K is exclusively nursing, for which I am really, really proud of myself.¬†
  • There truly is no way to explain the human capacity for love until you’ve had a child. What I feel for K takes my breath away on a daily basis.¬†
  • Husbands are pretty freaking handy to have around. For diaper changes. And building swings. And moving around nursery and playroom furniture. And cooking meals. And just general support when the world seems like a teeny, tiny, no-air-to-breathe-because-you-will-never-get-through-having-a-colicky-baby place. And did I mention diaper changes? For the first few days of K’s life, I was so overwhelmed with the trauma of breastfeeding, N didn’t make me change a diaper even once. I will be forever grateful.

What do three holes in the ground say to each other?

Well, well, well… It’s been a long time since I’ve posted.

I’d like to dust this little bloggity blog off and start posting again, but we’ll see. Time is short these days because I now have A BABY TO TAKE CARE OF!!

Yep. Baby K is here. She arrived 9 days early (just like I did, so long ago) and has been completely rocking my world ever since. Without getting too sappy (well, actually, this is my blog and I’ll be as sappy as I damn well please) let me just say, I’ve never felt more complete as a human being than I have in the months since my daughter came into my life. My journey into motherhood has also been one of constant self-discovery. Maybe because the thing I want most in life is to be a good mother — and in order to do that, I have to truly understand myself. What I think. What I believe. What I feel. Because how can I make the best decisions possible for my daughter if I don’t know those things?

I have quite a bit to say — and the topics are all over the place — so my new goal is to get everything down one way or another (and mostly here on the blog). Lots of retroactive stuff, too, because we’ve gone from this:

The most nervous moment of my life

which, 17.5 hours later, led to this:

The craziest, coolest moment of my life

which, 8 months later, led to this:

The most recent picture I have, taken last night — checking out The Hungry Caterpillar after bath time and before bed.

So, there’s a whoooooole lot of stuff that’s been going on and already some of it is starting to slip away. I have a memory book for Kiernan where I plan to handwrite a lot of this, but it’s going to take forever so maybe if I record it here first, I won’t forget as much.

Plus, yanno, recipes and deep thoughts and anecdotes and home improvement and all that stuff.

For now, however, Kiernan’s taking a nap and I need to scarf down some lunch before she wakes up.

38 Weeks

Whoa, mama.

How far along? 38.1

Total weight gain: 25 pounds.
Maternity clothes? Yep. And yoga/workout pants. 
Stretch marks? No
Sleep: Because I take Zyrtec at night for allergies and it makes me drowsy, I sleep pretty well these days. Minus all the pee trips and the pain in the sides of my butt. (I have to switch the side I’m lying on pretty frequently.)¬†¬†
Best moment this week:¬†Declaring the nursery truly and finally FINISHED! (Will post a bunch of pictures later this week, but here’s a sneak preview:
Also, we had Liz and Brett over for an impromptu dinner on Saturday which was a ton of fun — and yesterday was cinco de Mayo, so we had them over again, along with my parents and B’s parents for Mexican. Also a really good time. And I know I’ll treasure those nights because Liz is due today and I’m in two weeks (maybe sooner) so it was probably our last weekend ever of just us.¬†
Miss anything?¬†Still deli meat sandwiches (though I’ve been making egg salad sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches, and cheese and tomato sandwiches a lot, which have helped). And wine. And Snickers bars.¬†
Movement? Still moments with LOTS of activity, but also long stretches without. (And she still LOVES Mumford and Sons, especially their song The Cave!) 

Food cravings: Nothing too major.  
Gender prediction? Girl!
Labor Signs:¬†Heaviness in my pelvic region. Cramping in my pelvic region — and last night I think I maybe had a back contraction? Not really sure. This stuff is still confusing to pick out of a lineup! Oh, and still lots of nesting. Cleaning, reorganizing, opening every baby contraption we own and figuring out how it all works (not that I remember anymore, ha!)… ¬†I was up at 1:30 in the morning completely cleaning out and scrubbing down the fridge last week.¬†
Symptoms:¬†Heartburn (but nothing I can’t handle). Pain on the sides of my ass when I lie too long on one side while falling asleep. Weird, vivid dreams (that I forget almost immediately after waking up — though I do remember having one from the POV of an old woman and her old husband, maybe they were supposed to be Nelson and me in 40 years or so?)
Belly Button? In, but weird and super tiny. I can tell it still really wants to pop! 
Wedding rings?¬†Off. I still wear my heirloom diamond ring because it’s usually too big for me and fits a little better now. I could wear my wedding band, but sometimes it’s a little too snug for my liking, so I just went ahead and put it away for the rest of my pregnancy.
Mood?¬†Depends on the hour and whether or not I’ve taken my iron pill (it’s weird how much of a difference that thing makes in my mood and energy levels!) I’ve gotten really nit-picky about germs and cleaning and wanting to feel more prepared… Last week I felt like N was just going through the motions and sent him a pretty lengthy email about my feelings on the matter. Part of me feels bad, but I still stand by what I said! Things along the lines of how he seems to care a zillion times more about the condition of our yard than he does about getting ready for the baby. Seriously, he spends hours upon hours upon hours taking care of our grass and garden. BUT I realized yesterday, I actually think this is HIS way of nesting. So I’ll cut him some slack. For now, anyway. And, plus, I do love how fantastic our lawn looks ūüôā¬†
Looking forward to:¬†Meeting Baby K!! I feel like we’re JUST about as ready as we can be, so I’m in that hurry up and wait phase. But my hospital bags are packed, in case she decides to come early ūüôā (PLEASE COME EARLY.)¬†
And today is Liz’s actual due date, so I’m pretty pumped to meet her little girl, too!
Any other changes? 
The bad: Between weeks 33 and 35 I had an unexpected/unexplainable weight gain so I was forced to take the 3-hour glucose test again. (Ugh.) And this time I failed it. So, yep. Gestational Diabetes. I gots it. Blerg. I have to prick my finger for blood FOUR TIMES A DAY. It sucks and I was really depressed for about a week. I control it with diet and exercise (lottttts of walks after meals), so at least I’m not on insulin or anything. To be honest, I’m basically used to it now though, and the diet was actually an easier adjustment than I thought it’d be. And the silver lining of it all is that while my belly has gotten bigger, the rest of me has not. My legs and ankles have actually slimmed down the tiniest amount. But don’t get me wrong. GD still sucks. I can’t talk to most people about it (mostly because it’s humiliating –because if they haven’t been pregnant/through GD, they usually assume I did something to get it, like it’s my own fault — which is not the case, it’s just that some women’s bodies during pregnancy get kinda wacky with insulin production) and I’m terrified that it’s affected the baby ūüė¶ She’s definitely measuring on the bigger side, according to my OBs — but one of them told me last week that it could have nothing to do with the GD. We have a growth sonogram scheduled later today, so we shall see then what our options for delivery are. If she’s too big, I’ll probably be induced next week — or have a scheduled C-section, which, after everything, I might actually prefer because I really don’t want her to break a shoulder on the way out if she came vaginally (which happens sometimes with bigger babies). ¬†
The good: Nelson bought me a new car! I loved my Civic — she treated me fantastically for NINE years — but she was only a 2-door car, ¬†and there was no way that’d work for a car seat. So we went the SUV route and I’m in love with it ūüôā We even got the car seat set up relatively easily! (Though I have an inspection scheduled for this Thursday just to be on the safe side!)¬†
I don’t have any closer up pictures… But even from far away she makes me smile ūüôā

36 Weeks

(I started this post but never finished it. I’m posting it anyway, so I don’t forget these things!)¬†

In the past few weeks…

I’m starting to notice dates EVERYWHERE. Milk expires the week I’m due. An evite for a barbecue the week before I’m due. The date for a movie opening the weekend after I’m due. It’s crazy! Time has both gone at a snail’s place and a thoroughbred racehorse pace. How are we already here??? Where dates start to coincide or overlap with when my little girl is going to meet the world??

And I’m starting to get obsessed with what baby girl is going to look like! Will she have green eyes? Red hair? Curls???

Holy heartburn, batman.

I finally went through all of our shower gifts — about a month late, ha! It was both fun and overwhelming. I also ordered a bunch of things that we didn’t receive that I think are still essential to have before the baby arrives — though I’ll probably have to spend one more day (one of these days) doing the rest.

We’re going to open all of the boxes for things I’ve had for months (strollers, carseat, baby swing, baby bath tub, etc) and practice using them.

I reorganized our kitchen to clear out an entire cabinet for baby things, and am going to clear off the counter space directly below it for more baby things.

We’ve taken a breastfeeding class, and a baby birth prep class (the express class, which was two nights in a row of three hours of information)… Next up? A baby care class (because I have NO idea how to swaddle. Or change a diaper. Or, basically, anything baby-related. And an infant CPR course. For obvious reasons.

(Post script: We missed the baby care class, whoops! But I ordered a few baby care DVDs so we can still learn a little bit about how to do those things!)

Soy Marinated Steamed Chicken with Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Ooooh yes. These recipes? SO good.

Full disclosure? The chicken recipe is not my own. It’s Tyler Florence’s, and I found the original here¬†on Food Network. But I’m still reposting it because in the past, when I’ve only saved links, I’ve twice had awesome recipes disappear from the web and ughhhh. I still mourn them.

mmmmmmm marinade

The brussel sprouts? I just roasted them the way I would other veggies. After mixing them in olive oil, kosher salt, and pepper. And if you’re new to brussel sprouts, like I kinda am, the ones in the first pic may LOOK burnt — but they aren’t! They were perfectly crispy on the outside and warm and delicious on the inside. I wish I’d doubled the recipe because we both went back for more, but there were only three left. So… I let N save them and the last chicken breast for his lunch the next day. SUCH a sweet wife, right?

I’ve never steamed meat before. I’ve never used a bamboo steamer. I will definitely do both of these things again. I was supposed to use the steamer with a wok, according to the recipe, but we only have an electric wok and I have no clue how to use it. And was too lazy to figure it out, though it’s probably not complicated, ha! So I used our pasta cooker. The 10-inch bamboo steamer (bought it here) fit pretty perfectly. And the chicken turned out pretty fabulous. So screw the wok!

Things I’ll change? Well, I’ll probably quadruple the garlic (I doubled it this time). And take out the ginger (even though I’d already cut it in half). I’m not a ginger fan, but I kept it in just for this first try because I know ginger’s a big element of asian seasoning… But I think it tasted to strongly in the chicken. I marinated the breasts for a few hours, next time I’ll do it overnight.

Things I did change: I added some soy sauce and garlic salt to the boiling water. Not sure if it made a huge difference to the taste of the chicken, but it certainly didn’t hurt!