Bursting At The Seams

Okay, well yesterday was pretty much the most fun day I've had in a looooong time. #sahmlife

I knew it, I knew it, I knew it, but yesterday you all proved you're the best group of readers around. I just kept hanging out in the comments and was all like: WUT. Awesome. Me too! Prego feet swelling out of heels? Oh, been there, felt that pain. She's so cool. I totally relate! Go Cyclones! Um, please just keep typing and talking to me because I feel like we could be best friends. Snickerdoodle Macchiatos? NEED.

And then there were some of these crazy little comments about mom-style posts and hair tutorials and recipes and in those moments I was all like: Screeeeeeeech. Halt. WUT. Why. No. You be cray.

Honestly, I'm shocked that any of you would want to hear that kind of stuff from me! I need to do some serious thinking on that. I can for sure guarantee you that there will be no selfies of me. I did finally give in and try StitchFix* the other day, and true confessions, I tried taking a selfie of me in some of the clothes to share with you all and no. N.O. Eli started crying when I showed him the picture. Or maybe that was because he hit his head with his new toy hammer, but whatever.  I even tried closing my eyes, and looking down, and sticking my hand in my pocket. Those tricks DO NOT WORK. I do plan on showing you all how StitchFix went down for me since a few of you have asked, but there most definitely will not be any of those selfies in there. It might just break the internet. And we can't have that.

But, if style/recipes/hair is what the readers want, then that's what the readers will (maybe) get. You guys gave me tons of good ideas and I'm super excited about sharing some new stuff. I feel like I'm bursting at the seams (of my boring, non-blog-worthy wardrobe) with ideas for blog content, so I need to get organized and find some time to really hash out the direction of the blog. LOTS of you asked for more DIY's and that's a tough one for me. I love DIY, but really struggle with building the tutorials. I think it's because I like get things done as fast as possible, and it takes a lot longer if I'm trying to snap photos and break it down into simple steps for the bloggy. And sometimes, there is truly not method to my madness, so it's not blogable, you know? I love that you guys want more DIYs, but I'm going to be upfront, likely that will always be about 25 percent of the content here. But it will be here, so I hope you'll stick around.

I do hope to keep talking a bit more about home design and our house, sharing Eli updates and keep on keepin' on with my tales of my many struggles and few triumphs in motherhood. Those posts ain't going away any time soon. And of course, This Is How I Feel is a staple around here and always will be.

Oh! And I meant to mention, today is technically a NMC (New Mom Confessions) but the person who was going to be posting today actually had her second baby yesterday, so after thinking long and hard about it, I decided to let her off the hook. But I have a confession. Only one though because it's so embarrassing, mmmmk? The other day, I threw up (food poisoning)  in the bathroom at an event I was at and couldn't leave from. Which I can totally recover from. But I also peed a little at the same time and did not have a new pair of pants.

Yes folks, this is the glamorous life after this kid.
Someone please remind me to keep doing my kegels.

* Dat dere's an affiliate linky.

Tell Me 'Bout Yo'self (And Win A Latte)

Oh my goodness you guys - the response to yesterday's post was amazing. I had no idea how many of you have or are struggling with infertility and/or miscarriages. I'm feeling much like I was writing about yesterday, that I wish I had the proper words and knew the right thing to say to encourage each of you who wrote me. But I don't have the words to make it better, all I know is that I'm so thankful you felt you could share your stories with me, and I wish so much that I could give you (all of you!) a huge hug right now. I'm so glad that many of you related to that post - and it sounds like even if you go through infertility or miscarriages, it can still be hard to know what to say to someone else who's going through it. Which was pretty surprising to me and also a bit comforting in a weird way, know what I mean?

I'm so proud of this awesome community we have here ladies (and ... dad? Are there any males out there? Tap, tap, tap.). You all are so wonderful and I would love, love, love to get to know you all more. I know it's not popular or the cool thing to do these days (as evidenced by all the PM's I received yesterday), but will you take time out of your busy day to comment here and tell me a little more about yourself? I get emails from you all daily with all sorts of questions and stories, but I'd love to hear a bit more from you in the comment section below. This actually makes me super nervous to ask - because I'm afraid I'll get exactly zero comments, but I know you're there because Blogger comes equipped with a semi-accurate stat thingy, so pa'leeeeese, just this once, show yourself. I won't ask for a looooong time. Promise.

If you're in Feedly or another reader, I'd be sups honored if you clicked over to comment, or bookmarked the page to come back and comment later. I know it's annoying. Seriously, I know. Like why does it have to be so hard? I totally was a lurker before I became a blogger - but it would mean a ton to me today if you'd pop in and tell me a little about yourself. Even if I know you in person, please show yourself! Bonus, there's a question in there you may not be brave enough to say to my face - now's your chance to air it all.

Here's what I wanna know:

  1. Are you a momma or a momma-in-the-making or a maybe-a-momma-someday?
  2. If you're a momma, how many kiddos do you have (on Earth and in Heaven) and what ages are they?
  3. How do you like your coffee? (Please see below on why this is relevant.)
  4. What do you want to see more of here on Oakland Avenue? Less of? (I can take it, promise.)
  5. Sneaks, flats or heels? (Totally not relevant, so we'll make this question optional. Sneaks for me please.)

And just to entice you further, and explain why I asked you about your coffee, I'll be giving three of you a five dolla' virtual gift card to Starbucks.* Because really, what I really, really, really want to do is take each of you out for coffee and regale you with my exciting stories and opinions and entire life history** - but since I can't - I'll just keep doing that each and every day on this blog and you can enjoy your coffee without me babbling in your ear. And thankfully, I have Eli's ears to babble at every time I'm at The Bucks. (An old pic, but evidence of the previous statement.)

Okay, are you ready? Set. Go!

pst. We're keepin' this casual today and not letting Raffelcopter run the show. I'll just pull three random winners next week with Random.org. Don't forget - if you reply as anonymous, I can't pick you to win - and that would make me sad. So don't do it!

* Yes, I totally bolded that to be sure you saw my enticing offer in exchange for your time. No shame here. 

**Or maybe we'd talk about where our hearts are, how we're really doing, and all the hard things this life is made up of. You can choose. 

Okay, now you can really go!

When You're The One With A Baby

Recently my heart has been broken a lot. Over and over again it breaks, my tears only a small, visible representation of the pain I feel. Not for me, but for others. I have several friends suffering through infertility and miscarriages and I'm struggling to know how to respond. It's been well documented that when I became pregnant for the first time, it was unplanned. It wasn't yet asked or hoped for and in someways wasn't quite welcome yet. I didn't have to try - I didn't try. I have absolutely no idea what it's like to wait for a baby. To want a child in the deepest parts of me and be told "no" over and over again. Whether for two months or three years, I cannot relate.

And even more so, I can't relate to someone who loses their child mid-pregnancy. I don't know what it's like to get the high of a "yes," and begin planning and hoping and wishing only to find out that those dreams for that child will remain only dreams forever.

I don't know if I will ever experience these things and I may, certainly, but thus far I can't relate to my friend's pains. I've read many an article on how to respond and while they are helpful, I'm not sure it's possible to go well when telling someone in these situations that you're pregnant - even when using all 10 tips. It's hard when you can't truly relate to someone - when you have what they so desperately want, and you got it easily, without even wanting it.

When I became pregnant, I had to tell a handful of friends who were struggling through infertility and miscarriages that I was pregnant. Me, the girl who wasn't planning on having kids for a few years. The "safe" friend. The one that didn't have the baby on my hip that's a constant reminder of what they can't have. I didn't do it right with any of them. I thought it through of course, knowing I wanted to be delicate and careful with their hearts, but blundering and fumbling through it all, stepping on pieces of their broken heart without meaning to, wishing I could take back each step and take a different path, but it's not easy to mend a trail one has already blazed.

I've known too many women affected by infertility and miscarriage, and my heart is heavy with much I wish I could say. But it's hard in the moment because hearts with infertility and miscarriages in them are already so delicate and fragile that often I'm fearful my words would only damage them further - and again, I don't know exactly what is appropriate to say, because I've never been there.

But thankfully, most women who go through these trials have offered me more grace than I deserve for my oversights and mistakes. Many of them have handled my gaffes with dignity and poise and I have been amazed with how understanding they are of me, when I'm the one who should be understanding of them. But I also find that there is a misunderstanding for women on the other side, the women with babies who haven't had to wait for them - we can often be seen as insensitive or unloving to the situation because of things we say or even don't say. But that couldn't be further from the truth.

As I mentioned above, there are countless articles written for how to understand someone who's gone through infertility issues or miscarriages, and they are welcomed and needed, and I gobble them up, willing myself to learn best how to serve my friends in their suffering. But if I may, I would like to try to pull back the curtain on the topic from a woman's heart who has a baby - because they deserve to be understood too. Here is what I wish I could say.

I am so sorry. Sometimes I wish I could hide my baby from you so seeing him didn't hurt you. You will tell me that you are happy for me, and I know you are, but I also know that happiness comes with a greater pain. And I don't want to be any cause of that. I don't know what to say and I cannot relate to the way your heart has been shattered into a million pieces.  I don't know if you know this, but I feel guilty that I'm the one with a child. I don't know why it's you and not me. I wonder that all the time, just like you. And I don't think it's fair that I have a baby and you don't.  I have cried for you, when you told me another treatment didn't work or when you told me you lost your baby. I cried when I found out and I cry when I remember. I genuinely hurt for you. 

I know sometimes you want to just be "normal" with me and other times it's hard to be normal and you don't want to talk about anything related to children. I get it, but sometimes it's difficult to discern which one it is at the time. I will try to talk with you, but I know you are sensitive right now and I'm nervous to say the wrong thing, to unwittingly hurt you and so I stammer and stutter and sometimes say nothing at all out of fear. I know that I should say something, anything, but can you see why I hesitate? I am truly sorry when baby stuff slips out, especially when we're in a group. It's hard because that's what my life is right now, but I know it causes pain for you, so I am sorry when I make a mistake. I'm just dense and slow and yes, sometimes so self-centered that I forget your pain for a moment. But know that I eventually remember, I always remember. I later kick myself for the things I said or the things I didn't say. I worry over semantics and interpretation and I wish that I could explain away anything I've ever said that may have hurt you. Forgive me for the things I unknowingly say that cause pain for you.

I know this experience is changing you. No one goes through a fire like this without being burned. You're different and I know that probably makes our relationship different, but I hope you'll still give our friendship a chance. Please let me be there for you. But if you need a break from me for a while, I'll completely understand. It will be hard for me but as long as I know I'll get you back someday, I can deal. Just tell me what you need, don't just distance yourself and not say anything. I know it's probably hard to say to me, but I would rather know than wonder if I did something to drive you away. 

I've said it already and I'll say it again. I am so sorry. Your pain matters to me, and I want to do right by you. I am here for you. I won't always say the right things or know exactly how to help, but I'd like to try. Please grant me grace as I will probably fail you on more levels than one, but I won't fail you where it counts. I promise I'll be here each and every time you need me - trying to support you, encourage you, hold you and love you, mistakes and all. 

DIY Party Animals: Gold Plastic Animals & Miniature Party Hats

Kara Knaack, you're the winner of the Fancy That Loved giveaway! Check your email so I can hook you up with your prize!

While I think Eli was the real party animal at his birthday - I mean the kid was bouncing, smiling, performing and doing as much partying as he could - I think one of the most fun things to put together for Eli's first birthday party were the party animal centerpieces/party favors. While hunting Dollar General for cheap decor, I came across these plastic animals for a buck. As soon as I saw them, I knew I could make them over into party animals for his carnival-themed birthday, but there were only four and I needed 15. But Eli and I drove all over these cities and we also found the exact same animals at Michaels and Wal-Mart for the same price, so between all three stores, we had ourselves quite a few party animals. 

The original coloring on these animals was pretty bad - especially the lion and tiger, they were actually really weird looking. And see the tiger below - how only two legs and the tail stand on the ground? They weren't perfect, but for a buck, I would make them work. 

Alright, here's how I did it. Super simple. 

First thing - get rid of those ghastly colors. Spray the heck out of those animals. 

This is How I Feel, X

When I read a parenting book that makes me feel like I'm totally screwing Eli up. 

When a non-parent tells me about what kind of parent they will be when they finally have kids. 

When Mike tells me we don't have time to stop at Starbucks on our way to, well, anywhere.

When Eli thinks he's being super hilarious by intentionally dropping food on the ground during breakfast/lunch/dinner.

When Eli started crawling.

NMC: Kristin At The Mommy Project, San Diego

Today's New Mom Confessions guest post is from Kristin at The Mommy Project, San Diego.  Kristin is another fellow Rookie Mom, and we both share a background in PR before becoming SAHM's. She has such a fun blog and shares lots of great tips and articles on navigating motherhood for the first time, like her 10 Signs You're A First Time Mom, or 10 Things I Would Tell My Pre-Baby Self. If you're a first time mom (and I know many of you are!) you'll definitely need to check her blog out. When Kristin's not musing on her blog, you'll find her hanging out in the usual online spaces: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Hello, my name is Kristin and I am a first time mom to my beautiful baby girl, Blake, who is now 4 months old. Pre-baby I worked in the corporate world doing marketing and public relations for Hyatt Hotels but I’m now a SAHM and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I blog regularly over at The Mommy Project, San Diego – a blog dedicated to the life-altering journey that encompasses being a first time mom: the lifestyle changes (you know - giving up trendy peplum tops and late night dinners at fancy-schmancy restaurants for nursing tank tops and passing out as soon as the baby goes down at 8PM), the experiences (I love finding new activities and baby outings for Blake and I to enjoy together), and, most importantly, the humor found in our everyday life (it’s just beautiful chaos, really.)

Here are my confessions:
  • I find myself singing Christmas carols to my daughter when she’s fussy. Apparently my brain is auto-set to December because in times of need, I immediately bust out into Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or Jingle Bells. It’s bizarre but it somehow does the trick.
  • When Blake was a newborn, I use to shove our huge B.O.B. stroller (whole) into the trunk of my car because I didn’t know how to compact it down. Blake screamed bloody murder every time we were in public for the first 6 weeks so I was always frantically trying to flee the scene and didn’t even take the time to learn how to compact it down. I’ll never forget some of the looks I received while picking up that huge stroller, and placing it nicely shoving it into my trunk – I could just read their faces: poor rookie mom doesn’t even know how to work her own stroller! My husband finally showed me how to compact it down and I was a little embarrassed at how easy it was. You live and you learn.