Summer practice

Ruby in the evening light

Last week was odd. We celebrated Ruby and Nate’s birthdays on the 18th. There was a lot of anticipation before the parties which happened to coincide with the end of Nate’s school year. Although we were excited to celebrate with loved ones, the prep for the joint birthday party was overwhelming due to the timing. Nate was focused on his end-of-term grading while I managed Ruby and did what I could around the house. I was incredibly scattered and stressed out. In the end, everything worked out and we had a blast, but it was very exhausting.

Since then I’ve been just trying to catch up with life. I’ve switched gears to full-time working mom since Nate can be at home with Ruby. It’s weird.

I thought I would find peace in the fact that we made it to this milestone, but instead I came home depressed most of last week. It does nothing for me nor my family to see me so sad. These are the moments I want to cherish. Long days with my one year old. Summer nights with my husband. Laziness with my cats.

This is partly due to exhaustion, but I think I have had high expectations for what want to accomplish this summer. I don’t know where to start on all these grand plans I have dreamt about.

One of my favorite podcasters, Jess Lively, often quotes the yoga guru Shri K. Pattabhi Jois who famously said “practice and all is coming.” For me this idea of practice means doing those daily things that give me the best chance of success.

I’ve decided to incorporate this mantra into my summer narrative. Just do your thing everyday and see what grows. Don’t stick to a set plan. Don’t hurry the process. Just be receptive for opportunities that may present themselves.

Thinking through this I can honestly say I feel and do better when I have or practice the following daily.

1) Sleep
2) Exercise
3) Hydrate
4) Positive Attitude
5) Meditate

I am not giving myself any sort of routine to accomplish these daily list. It’s too easy for me to get stuck perfecting the routine instead of focusing on the outcome.

Since I made this decision, I have felt more at peace. In fact that very night I woke up with a voice from my dream saying “stay the course and all will be good.” It was very comforting to feel the force of those words in my mind.

I’ve began to notice more and find the goodness in my every day as I have let go of the worry.

  • I found a small feather on my path to the office
  • For the first time ever, I decided to drive past my favorite lunch place and found a park with a pond a block away.
  • I saw a hawk sitting on the brick wall on the side of the freeway.
  • The power went out on our street one evening. Instead of worrying about it, Nate and I spent time with our neighbors on our driveway looking at the stars.

This summer is going to be about living not a task list. My grand plans now are to work on my daily practices, enjoy the moments and just have some-honest-to-goodness fun.

My bedroom closet NOW (The new reality)

My Closet NOW

I had grand plans to have a very organized and minimal wardrobe once the baby came. I envisioned that I would shed most of the baby weight and be back in my regular clothing by January. I expected that my active and healthy lifestyle before baby would give me an advantage in recovery.

Things turned out a little different from my vision.

closet_now1

At 12 months postpartum I am getting close to my pre-baby weight. I still can’t fit into most of my old clothes. Besides compensating for breastfeeding, my body is still putting it self back together. My hips and lower back click when I work out. I wake up stiff. I still have a lot of work to do strengthening my abs and legs.

I didn’t expect this, but I am totally okay with this reality. I am focused on making my body strong again. If that means I eventually fit into my old clothes – fantastic. And if not – I’ll purge them and move on.

Bedroom Closet NOW (a mess)

Currently, I have an enormous amount of clothes in play. I have a full maternity wardrobe, all of my old clothes plus the few items I have purchased post-baby to get me through the transition period.

Bedroom Closet NOW (with shoes in the back)

To deal with all these clothes and my sanity, I have made some simple rules.

1) In my closet, I only hang up the clothes that fit me NOW.

I keep two baskets on the closet floor. One for clothes that are too big (maternity) and one for items that should be donated. On my closet shelf, I keep a “wear soon” box for some of my favorite items I like to wear ASAP. I also keep my workout gear that doesn’t fit me now. I find that workout gear is the most forgiving. I can usually go down a size first in these items since they are stretchy.

2) I go through my clothes every time I do laundry to make sure each piece still fits. This is critical to keep myself tidy and organized.

One part of my postpartum vision was correct. I have found that my current, smaller wardrobe has really agreed with me. I just wish it was full of pieces I loved. In December, when I go through that big ol’ Tupperware of regular clothes I will be highly selective of what clothes I keep. I want to keep going with this smaller wardrobe approach. I just have to wait until my body is ready.

3) Ignore the shoes for now.

I installed this amazing shelves in the back of my closet for all my shoes. Unfortunately only 20% fit me now. My feet seem slightly wider now and with my body changes I have no desire to wear heals. I want to feel balanced and sturdy. I’m not ready to go through my shoes yet. I have an emotional attachment to many of them. Maybe I’ll do that in December as well. For now, I rotate between a small selection of flats that feel good.

Read about how my Dad and I built this closet step-by-step (1, 2, 3)

Is Ruby really almost one?

What I've been up to

Geez – it’s been a long while since I last wrote a blog post. Even if I had the time to write a post this last year, I had no idea what I was going to write about. We’ve put most of our home projects on a long freeze to focus on the little one and our transition into parenting.

The first year with Ruby has been exactly what every friend, family member and stranger has ever described it as – challenging, over in a “blink of an eye” and the best time you’ll ever have.

Now that our little girl is nearing the big ONE, we are starting to sleep a little more and have time to devote to the house. Plus, we are having a big party to celebrate Nate and Ruby’s birthdays mid-June so I have some goals I’d like to complete before the party happens.

I am not going to put too much pressure on myself to keep on a certain timeline (it’s okay if they don’t all happen before the party), but I am very encouraged to feel that desire to work on home projects again.

Starting off here on OCH- I am going to write about our bedroom closet and guest bathroom that I never really finished on the blog. Then, I’ll begin writing about our current set of home goals.

My hope is to get 1-2 posts up a week plus restart my photo series Feline Friday. There is a lot to write up and discuss.

I’ll see you soon with my first recap on our bedroom closet.

Cheers,
Andrea

Back to reality.

Ruby and I

Next week my maternity leave ends and I thought it was about time to get this blog up-to-date on all our happenings this summer.

This time off has been so amazing, exhausting and unreal. I am quite emotional about it ending and thought it would be therapeutic to download our experiences, feelings and outlook on the blog now that I am transitioning from stay-at-home mom back to the work/life balance.

House Updates

Ruby’s Nursery

We haven’t “finished” Ruby’s room although I really hope to start soon. Everything got stalled after we were shipped a moldy rug from an online retailer. I plan on writing up a review of our experience so stay tuned for more on that. I also have a few decorating projects I hope to work on the next few months.

Refinancing

Papers are to be signed today on our first house refinance. This refi has driven most of the home projects we tackled this year and Nate and I are so excited to get it done.

Family Updates

Baby Stuff

Let’s be honest – this summer has really been all about our Ruby.

I’d like to continue to document my experiences as a new mom and of Ruby’s first year. I have tried to record my labor & delivery story twice now and hopefully will get it right on the third go-around. I’m also doing a weekly/monthly photo series of Ruby.

Thanks for reading,
Andrea