Hello, friends. Where have I been? I certainly have been a delinquent blogger. I wanted to share in this post, and another I've written and will share tomorrow, why I've taken such a long blogging break. The little (big) secret that simply explains my radio silence — I'm pregnant! And I'm actually really pregnant, as in due next month!! So there's much to share, let me start with the happy.
I can't believe in a month I'll be a mama to two kiddos. It's starting to feel very real that in a short time we'll have a delicious little newborn in our midst to swaddle and hold. We don't know what we're having, but I've felt the whole time that I'm having a girl. We'll see! I cannot wait for that moment. This time around we have names picked for a boy and girl and love them both equally (we struggled with coming up with a boy's name last time around.) Juniper thinks my belly is funny and will point and say "baby." She has her predictions on whether we're having a boy or girl, which relies solely on whether you ask, "Are we having a boy or girl?" Juniper: GIRLLLL! "Are we having a girl or boy?" Juniper: BOOOY! I think she is going to be an amazing big sister. The last few weeks, she has grown up seemingly overnight into this very independent toddler who says good morning, lets us know that she just did peepee, and carries her towel into her bath. She's quite the little helper already. Whenever I talk to someone who has a sibling who's close in age, I always hear a story about how close they were growing up. It makes me happy to imagine. I am so far apart in age from my two brothers, so the dynamic has always been much different. I can't imagine having a sibling in school with you or someone to play games of make believe and swing next to in the playground. When I found out I was pregnant, just days after Juniper's first birthday, one of my midwives said to me, "You're giving Juniper the best gift ever." It didn't really click for me then, but now at 36 weeks, I can already see that Juniper is going to experience a new kind of love, too.
Of course, a baby's arrival is happy news, and you may be wondering why I didn't post this news earlier or share any posts on baby finds and growing bumps. This pregnancy is certainly a blessing, but it's also been the hardest 8 months of my life. In the post I'm sharing tomorrow, in hopes that reading my story may in some small way help another woman going through it, I will share my experience with hyperemesis gravidarum. You may have heard of the condition from news about the Dutchess. My experience sounds like it was much different than Kate Middleton's. And on top of feeling incredibly morning sick with a few trips to the hospital in those first five months, I've had a growing mountain of personal challenges on my plate. Dan also lost his job a few months ago, which has been a stressful challenge for our family. My life suddenly seems to be filled with big question marks and unknowns, something this type A girl is not great at embracing. I'm learning to take each day as it comes. This baby has already given me the greatest gift of keeping my spirits light so I don't get too caught up in that dark barrel of what ifs.
Part of the reason I held my cards close this pregnancy and didn't announce it earlier is that I'm the kind of person who tends to retreat when things are not going smoothly. I find it hard to open up when I'm in a vulnerable place. And then I had the blogger mindset of wanting to share the big news with the perfect belly shot (which hasn't happened — I have next to no photos of me pregnant.) I've continued to be an active blog reader, which I think has made it more difficult for me to blog myself. It's that desire for things to look just so.
Blogging has so evolved since when I launched this blog. When I started blogging a few years ago, there was no Pinterest rabbit hole of perfect spaces and beautiful things to covet. And it seemed like many bloggers, besides a few established ones, were more rough around the edges (in a good way) — posting inspiring, informative finds that included some posts from their own home and life adventures. The photos weren't always perfect. The posts didn't have Photoshop layouts and cool type layered over images. More blogs felt like online journals to me, rather than mini online magazines with staged shoots and recurring features. Blogging seemed less perfect back then to me. Now, it seems every blogger is a master of their fancy digital cameras, sponsorships have changed dramatically, and it feels less personal because of all the staging and prettiness. One of the first things I would always tell interns who worked for me when I was a magazine editor is that the photos you see in magazines are far from real — the staging that goes on behind the scenes at photo shoots is a masterful art of faking this or that. Perfection comes at a price of real authenticity, but it's a given that magazines are meant to be more on the aspirational side.
With the shift I've seen in blogs, I've struggled this past year to find my voice as a blogger. The reality is I'm not a professional blogger for this site — I don't make money off of it. And my time is super limited as a freelance writer and stylist who also has a 19-month-old at home with her full-time. And what I have time to create and share here will be far from perfect. I certainly struggle with that impulse to compare yourself to others, as I'm certainly inspired by all the pretty I see on other blogs. So I'm trying to embrace the idea that it's ok if my version of blogging falls short of what I'd like to do if I were in a different place. You may remember the birth announcements that I made for Juniper by hand. With all the parts to the card (and learning to take care of a newborn at the same time), the announcements finally went out the door in November for my June baby. They were exactly what I'd envisioned, but the process of making them had taken forever. I'm trying to let go of that part of my personality that won't let things happen if they're not just so. I've even tagged an idea for this baby's birth announcement — one that captures my aesthetic and feels original but would not be handmade by me or get in the mail five months late. I'm learning, yes.
I hope to find that happy medium in this space this year. I'd like to be present here and regularly share my thoughts and finds and ideas, without feeling paralyzed by the question of whether the post is pretty or perfect enough to post. Maybe there's a place for some blogs to be more raw, more random, and more spontaneous. I'm still as in love with the home market as I was when I started as an editor at Real Simple. I still love to organize my stuff in unique ways. I still struggle to meal plan or cook off of fresh ingredients rather than recipes. And I now have a lot of little cool things I've learned from being a new mom that I'd love to share as part of a conversation here. So my intention for this blog in the new year is to be less afraid of sharing a post that may not have the perfect images attached to it. To be less afraid of being compared next to the glossy, pretty blogs I enjoy reading (and to let go of comparing myself next to other bloggers.) To second guess myself less about whether a post is special enough to share, and just follow my instincts. To write more than analyze. To go back to my original goal for this space — to chronicle the things that I love and can't wait to share with others. With two little kiddos and a lot of life stuff happening, I'm sure the posts will look less perfect than I'd like. But I'd rather have some posts to look back on for this time in my life, rather than abandoning ship since I can't do everything as I'd like to. One of the biggest things I've learned in becoming a mama is that balance is more of an illusion. Motherhood is a complicated juggling act, and some days you're better at it than others, but there's always at least one ball you have to leave in the air for a bit.
So with that, I have some links to share with you. Also, I am on Pinterest if you'd like to find me there.
+ A place to store all those Instagram photos.
+ I love all the teepees I see for kiddos, but I think I might like this style even better.
+ I'm really excited to use this when the baby comes (thank you, Sara and Mer!).
+ Our printer died, and we went with this Epson Artisan printer, which is awesome! I printed the photos sent out with our holiday cards and I've already made one photo album. It feels so good to have an easy, instant way to get tangible prints. I hated feeling like Juniper's photos were just trapped on my computer (and back-up drive) before.
+ I've been cooking from this cookbook, from one of our favorite local restaurants. Juniper loves her meatballs.
Tomorrow, I'll be sharing my story of having hyperemesis gravidarum — a severe version of morning sickness that affects a small percentage of women — with the hope that my little story may help even one woman. And then, I just hope to crank out a bunch of posts that have been in my head for far too long. (Baby, please don't come early, I have lots I'd like to do first!)
Nice to be back here. Cheers to an amazing 2013 for all. Thanks for reading.
ps. Photo above of my little family of three at the Ann Hamilton swings exhibit.