Organizing for Peace

hanging to dry
If you are my mom, this photo is making you cry for the 2nd time. If you’re anyone other than my mom you’re probably wondering what’s going on here? So, this is the beginning of my “organizing for peace” project at home. What you see here are blankets, swaddle blankets, cloth bibs, onesies, baby tights, tiny newborn hats and socks and the sweetest little baby girl dresses I’ve ever seen, all hanging in my laundry room to air dry after their first non-toxic, delicate wash. We’ve been so blessed to have received all these things as gifts as well as some gorgeous hand-me-downs from a dear friend. Our little one is going to be snuggled, swaddled and dressed in some lovely items thanks to the kindness of others. We’re so touched. So, what is this organizing for peace concept and what the hell am I talking about? I’ll explain…

Through out my life I watched my mom organize, plan and multitask like no one I’ve ever seen– with ease. I was always there by her side as her little helper (and later as her actual more capable helper) to assist in whatever she was putting together. My mom organized huge charity galas and philanthropic events, political fundraisers and business events. She organized amazing birthday parties for family and friends, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs for us and even friend’s kids and family holidays. She had dinner parties all the time and with all this always going on, she organized and cooked dinner for our family almost every single night too. I learned from watching the master! Sure, I learned how to put events together, how to party plan well, how to raise money for good causes, how to manage to cook dinner while putting together 5 other things with out getting stressed out. All wonderful lessons but the most important lesson of all- I learned how to celebrate life.

Through all this organizing and multitasking, the underlying theme for every single thing was celebration of something positive. Brining joy into people’s lives through celebration and togetherness and making people happy. This was and IS my mom’s artistic gift. I’ve never met anyone who does it like she does. I feel I too got that gift although I am no where near a master like she is but, it’s kinda…”my thang.” I love getting people together. I love to celebrate life and make a point of letting the happy times shine bright in my life because there are most certainly, so many hard and sad times too.

So here I am, having a baby with the man of my dreams. The happiest time of my life. Not the easiest, but the happiest. We’re now 27 weeks pregnant and we’ve got about 12 weeks until I give birth. I’ve been told by many and I understand why, to have everything I need to have done, done 1 month before I’m supposed to give birth. This is to allow for (God forbid) an early birth taking place or bed rest, etc. So to me this REALLY means I have 8 weeks or so to get to a point where everything is done and I can just focus on resting up for baby girl’s arrival into our world. Now let me just say that my way is not for everyone, just as your way isn’t necessarily for me. This is just my space to share with you what I’m doing and if you find it helpful- then that makes me so happy! If you don’t agree with my style or do not find it helpful then that’s a-okay too! To each his own! There’s NO one size fits all way to do life, pregnancy or motherhood. Can I get a right on???!!! Okay so now that I’ve said THAT…here’s what I’m doing…

Organization = Peacefulness: When something this big, this life changing is about to happen- I want to be as prepared and organized about it as I can. I find this creates a peacefulness within me and thus a peacefulness around me. I believe our home is at peace when I create that peace (not just the candles lit and incense burning kind of peace- although I do that too). I believe my husband feels more relaxed when he gets home to a clean, organized home with a happy and mellow vibe no matter what his day was like. I believe I wake up feeling calm when I have put to rest all things I could the day before to create a new, fresh start to the new day. I also feel calm when I know what I need to do this day and feel I can achieve my goals. Organization is the first step to creating calm. Knowing what I need to do and then calmly, with out stress or sense of urgency, getting it done. It’s not hard to do and it feels quite good.

Make a list: I make a list of all the things I need to do to prepare for baby’s arrival and give myself plenty of time to accomplish this list (factoring in the days I do not feel well because I have many of them). If there are items on the list that require my husband’s involvement I create a separate list for him and clearly outline when I’d love for those things to be done. This makes it easy for him to help me and then he can feel good about creating the peace too!

Thank people in real time: When I get a gift for the baby or for us I add the detail of the gift to my list of thank-you’s and then immediately write that person a thank you note and send it (I’ve opted to go “green” with my thank-you’s and use www.punchbowl.com to send them out. They’re cute, I can get them done fast while doing 8 other things on my computer and people seem to love them.

Create One Registry: I used www.myregistry.com because you can add many different registries to it and combine them (although mine is mostly amazon.com) but your friends and family only have to deal with one link. It’s very user friendly for them. I use this for myself too. I have talked to new moms, read books, blogs, done tons of research all to figure out what we need and want. I added items to my registry that I will go and buy for us in the end if they’re not gifted. This way I have a solid and ongoing list of all the stuff I’ve learned we’d want or need. It keeps me organized and is easy for others who are sweet enough to treat us to things.

Nursery: A work in peaceful progress: As furniture, gifts and what not for the baby’s room and for the baby herself have arrived, I’ve been putting them in her nursery and closing the door. I haven’t really gone in that room until this past weekend, in order to begin my process. First I went through and opened all the things that require cleaning before touching her newborn baby skin. I put them in a laundry bag and set them aside. Then, I moved all the items in boxes that do not need to be dealt with right now against one wall. After that I vacuumed the room, cleaned and disinfected everything (including door knobs and windows, closet rods, etc. I used non-toxic and baby safe cleaning products to do so. After that, I put on a shelf in the closet some items that can be dealt with a little later (once I have a dresser and drawers to put things in, counter top space, etc) or things I don’t want sitting on the floor. This includes mom/dad’s diaper bags (which are so cute and we can’t wait to use)!

nursery boxes in a corner

mom:dad diaper bags in closet

 

 

 

 

 

The nursery chair was delivered already so I cleaned and vacuumed it and then sat and rested for a moment. This was a LOT of work. I spent hours doing all this. When you’re pregnant doing things like this can take a lot out of you. This ONLY reinforces my reasoning to do it NOW and not wait until I’m 8 months and huge and stressing. No thank you!

Stokke high chair box

nursery chair

The high chair we picked out is the Stokke….I put the accessories with it all together and this is one of the “dad to assemble” items that can wait. Other dad to assemble items include the crib and eventually there will be a changing table and dresser. These will all get done by the one month away mark for total peacefulness but are not on the “do right now” list as they don’t involve ME. The things that involve me need to get done sooner than later and while I’m having some feel good get sh-t done days!

Next I took my closet organizers that say 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months, etc. 0-3 months and hangers closetand soft velvet pink baby girl hangers and got the closet set up for clothes. I did 2 loads of laundry using Honest detergent and no dryer sheets (you never know if you’re baby will react to those fibers so it’s best to go with out them). I hung what needed to air dry and otherwise did a low heat, delicate dryer setting for the rest. Then I folded everything that doesn’t have a home yet (because they require drawers) and put them in a large garbage bag. This way, they are clean, folded and ready to be put away when the dresser arrives and is assembled. Easy breezy. The rest, I began to hang up in order of sizing and as we get more things, I will just follow the same program as it comes. I cried only 4 times while folding baby blankets, baby socks, onesies, hanging up little dresses. Thank you pregnancy hormones for always keepin’ it real!!! 🙂 Finishing this nursery set up step felt SO good. I got much accomplished and am excited for next steps!

closet shot 3

closet shot 2

 

 

 

 

 

closet shot 1

closet filling up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note on our nursery: This room will be a shoe-free-dog-free-sickness-free-stress and drama-free zone. That means, our sweet dog and her hair- not allowed. Take your shoes off before entering. Please don’t come in here if you are fighting or have a cold (in fact don’t come over period no offense). If you are bringing any drama to our life or stress leave it at the door baby. This is the peace-zone and I want our baby to feel it and become it. I think it’s important to set up these concepts before the baby comes and agree with them as a couple because it’s realistic to imagine times where we’ll have to check each other on this or even….stand tall as a couple and just say “no” together, for the sake of our baby. Organizing for peace isn’t just about making lists or cleaning honey…so much more!!!

The Hospital Bag (mine and hers): I haven’t packed these yet. It’s still too early for me. But…it’s on my list and it will be packed before that month away date you betcha! I found this awesome list to help me pack mine and so I thought I’d share it with you!

My Bag:
1. Robe and towels, wash cloths
2. Shampoo, conditioner and soap, skin care products, etc.
3. Toothbrush and tooth paste
4. Make up, hair ties, hair stuff, ect. Don’t forget there will be people coming to visit and you may feel like looking a little nicer. (Or not but nice to have the stuff in case)
5. Pillow and soft and warm blanket
6. Ipod/music for delivery (for us it will be Bob Marley/Reggae mix from our wedding)
7. Sweats/lounge outfit, nursing/sleep bras and underwear
8. Socks and slippers
9. Going home outfit
10. Healthy snacks and water bottles
11. Pads for vaginal bleeding (can occur even w/c-section births so be prepared)
A note of what to grab on the way out:
-Camera
-Cell Phone and charger
-Computer and charger
Baby’s Bag:
1. 4 Receiving blankets
2. 2-3 Soft Blankets
3. Breastfeeding pillow
5.  The diaper bag: Pre-stocked with wipes and diapers of your choice, cream for diaper rash, etc.
6. 3-4 Burp Cloths
7. Breast Pump/nursing pads: The hospital will have both of these, as well, but it is something I would prefer to use my own of.
8. Bottle: Just in case breast feeding as issues you don’t want to be stuck with out getting the baby your milk ASAP
9. Nursing Cream
10. Baby Hat/Beanie: You need to keep the little ones head nice and warm
11. Socks: Also need to keep their little piggies warm!
12: Mittens: To keep them from scratching their poor little faces.
13. Pajamas/clothing: The hospital gives you a white onsies and that is it. So if you want your baby to wear anything else you better bring it!
14. Going home outfit! You know this is going to be photographed right? Right! I can’t wait to pick this out!
Be Ready Then Rest: There is nothing I find wrong with being totally ready, set, put away, cleaned and organized for our daughter’s arrival 4 weeks before she’s supposed to come. If I have learned anything from my pregnancy it’s that the fantasy isn’t always the reality. Just because I WANT to have 12 weeks of being able to put stuff together and get sorted out- doesn’t mean I WILL have that. I don’t feel great, I haven’t and who knows- it could get worse! So to be ready and have an extra 4 weeks to just rest and “be” before she comes…is 100% perfect and CALM to me.
An interesting side note on this entire concept is that being Jewish, there is a very “old school” and superstitious way of looking at this process which I am acutely aware of. This is, not to do anything until the baby is actually born and okay. There are variations on this but the most extreme one is to not bring anything into the home until the baby arrives because God forbid, the baby dies during birth (I know, gasp- hard to even type those words but THIS is where all this came from and I get it- the death of baby and mom was more common way back when and there were reasons for some of these beliefs and practices (but not in today’s world). So to me- the person who celebrates life every chance I get, who desires a totally peaceful, zen-like, calm space for her baby to come home to, who wants the people IN our home to be peaceful too, who believes organization leads to peacefulness….to me- this actually feels toxic, negative and kind of wrong. That’s just ME though- it may feel totally right for YOU! And you know, someday I hope my daughter will get to have a baby and she’ll decide what she wants to do and how she wants it to be done and I will support her choices and do whatever I can do to make her life happier, easier and more peaceful. Isn’t that my job? I’m her mommy. My job starts now and I’m doing all I can in the way I feel is right, to do a good job for her.
Oh, and btw, I am Jewish so yes, I have asked myself…what would I do God forbid something bad were to happen and all this is set up and done? You know, then I’ll deal with it then. But there’s no room in my body for negative thoughts because guess what? I’m growing a human. This little girl is inside me and I believe she gets all the energy good or bad that I give her. Also, thank God so far everything with her has checked out perfectly and so there’s currently no sign to worry about a thing. But do I worry? Sure I do. Just not too much because I also trust in the universe and God and in myself and even, in her, that it’s all going to be okay in the…
beginning.
With love and peacefulness I’m signing off to go organize a dinner while I clean the house because we’ve got new friends coming over and I think it’s time to celebrate some life!!!

 

 

 

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Everything Under The Sun: This is a long one…

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I blame this blog on my hormones! I can’t pick one thing to write about so I’m going to write about everything! Which actually seems about right because at the moment and lately, I am all over the place with emotions and thoughts. I’m feeling everything under the sun as they say. (I wish it was sunny right now, ah, Seattle)…I digress. Okay so get ready this blog is going to get a little crazy! I’m going to give it to you straight and I’m going to tell it like it is. If you’re pregnant I say grab a snack and curl up honey, it’s about to get REAL here….

“How are you feeling?” This is the sweetest question and at times the most frustrating. Why? If you’re like me and you are having a rough pregnancy and not feeling well most of the time then answering this thoughtful question only forces you to talk about how not great you’re feeling. That said, it’s unavoidable and is always coming from a caring place no matter who’s asking. At almost 26 weeks pregnant, I’m a little sick of my answers as they’re often the same. Sometimes I just want to lie and say “great.” Mostly because I wish that could be my real answer. It’s not though. I have a headache every single day still. Sometimes it goes away, sometimes it morphs into a migraine. I’m also always exhausted and sometimes light headed or dizzy. Sometimes my stomach is a mess. Sometimes all of the above at the same time. How am I feeling? I’m feeling like I can’t remember what feeling amazing feels like. But, I know I will feel that way again.

The one thing that makes even the yuckiest day feel better? Feeling my baby girl moving inside me. She moves ALL the time now. She kicks, stretches, twists, turns. I don’t know what she’s up to in there but I feel her all the time and I LOVE it! I just revel in her movements daily (and nightly because she really gets going when it’s time to go to sleep- which of course then keeps me up).

Making this little girl makes every day I don’t feel well worth it and I’d do it again in a heart beat just so I can hear hers. Truest thing I can say. I can feel her inside me and I just hold those moments of serenity and peace, happiness and the purest joy one can feel. I hold them very tight and I say “thank you.” I couldn’t feel more blessed or grateful if I tried.

That doesn’t mean I’m all zen all the time over here though. Nope, not exactly….

“Out of respect for my decisions as a mother, please keep your opinions to yourself. You do things your way and I’ll do things my way. “ This is what I’d like to say to everyone who seems to have an opinion about how I should do things with my pregnancy, my birth and my newborn care. It seems everyone has an opinion these days and feels like it’s their duty to share it with you. It began the first time I got a pedicure when I was only 9 weeks pregnant. The nail tech doing my toes had a boat load to tell me about what I should and shouldn’t do while pregnant. She asked me questions about how I was going to do certain things when I gave birth and with newborn care. Oh my God lady really?  Now, this doesn’t mean that when I ASK someone I think is an amazing mother for advice on things that I don’t want to hear what she has to say. I DO! That’s why I’m ASKING!!!! It’s all the unsolicited chatter that’s both annoying and hard to tune out. These days everyone has an opinion and seems to want you to know it. Here is my take….

I have always wanted to be a mother. I’ve been studying moms for years- watching, learning, making mental notes about what I do or do not want to do when (if lucky enough) it’s my turn. I’ve read all the books I think important on pregnancy and newborn/childcare, I’m taking classes to get certified in infant CPR and newborn safety. I won’t let anyone be alone with my baby unless he/she is also certified in these courses because that’s my choice as a mother. I don’t take Tylenol for my daily headaches because that’s my choice as a mother. I don’t drink ANY alcohol while pregnant because that’s my choice as a mother. I eat insanely healthy making my fetus’ nutrition requirements in the womb my #1 food decision making factor and only occasionally go nuts on a food craving because that’s my choice as a mother. I’ve decided my baby will go right into her crib and not have to re-adjust to a crib after finally adjusting to a basinet, because that’s my choice as a mother. I will breastfeed. I will swaddle my baby, wear my baby and treat my newborn as if she’s still in the womb for the first 3-4 months of her life because that’s what I think based on all I have learned, is best for her. P.S. check out “The Happiest Baby on the Block” for more on this concept- I totally dig it. The list goes on but it’s my list because these are my choices as a mother. I own them. They belong to me. I didn’t make them lightly.

I will love her and care for her with all my heart, with all my might, with every once of everything I have inside me just like I’m trying to do now, because she’s my child. I am her mother. This is the most important thing I’ve ever done in my entire life so please, R.E.S.P.E.C.T me. Unless I ask you for advice, in which case bring it baby because if I’m asking you that means I truly value what you have to say. Oh and women who feel compelled to tell us pregnant ladies about horrific miscarriage/childbirth or death stories? Really? Keep it to yourself. Not cool. We’re worried enough as first time moms to be as-it-is! Can I get an amen?!?!?

“What’s Your Birth Plan?” Why is my birth plan your business? Why is my birth plan up for judgment? What if my birth plan isn’t at all what I’d want it to be because maybe, it’s not something I have the luxury to “plan” at all?! Perhaps this is personal and maybe not the grocery store clerk, hair dresser, society or anyone’s else’s business except for me and my husband? Perhaps. Although it certainly doesn’t seem that way. Since the beginning of my pregnancy I’ve been asked this question. I feel like there’s a lot of “chatter” going on in society these days around natural birth, using midwives vs doctors or being in water vs in a hospital. I’m all for au natural routes, trust me but I also value the medical field and I believe that OB’s are with us for a reason. Thank God for them. Seriously. So why am I so annoyed by this question? What’s the big deal? The big deal (to me) is:

#1 I would love to have natural childbirth with out an epidural, totally drug free and I would say bring on the labor pain baby let’s do this. I would LOVE to have that “birth plan.”

#2 I have to have a C-Section birth. I have no choice in the matter. I have had 4 opinions from OB’s/surgeons, etc. based on a medical circumstance I can do nothing about.

3# I’m 26 weeks pregnant and I still am working hard at making peace with my situation. This is not what I would want but I also have no choice. It’s too dangerous for me to have natural childbirth and could put me at risk of not being able to have another child- end-of-story.

What do people say when I tell them I have to have a C-Section birth?

“Oh my God WHY???”

“WHY would you want that???”

“Are you SURE you have to???”

“I’m SO sorry.”

“That’s SO not you! Really?”

I’ll wrap this up with my thoughts on all this. It’s pretty simple. If you’re wondering what someone’s birth plan is, make sure you’re asking with out judgment and with care because not everyone get’s to pick their birth plan and even if they do, it doesn’t always mean it’ll go that way. There are many births that start out natural and end up with C-Sections (1 out of 3 babies is born in the US via cesarean section) . There are also many women like myself who don’t have a choice in the matter. Don’t make us feel terrible about it. It’s not really kind. Be gentle with us pregnant ladies….we’re making life, we’re making a million small and large decisions every day about and for that life… it’s delicate and often private.

My take away on my childbirth situation? There’s not much I can control about it and that is very hard for me so I’m taking control of what I can:

– We will have Bob Marley playing during the entire thing so that the soundtrack to our wedding is also the sound track to our baby’s birth. (We had a Bob Marley cover bad at our wedding). (Note: we listen to a lot of reggae and she ALWAYS goes nuts in my tummy when we do and when her daddy dances around the house with me. So, it seems like she’d probably opt for this as well if I could ask her).

-I will be in the room with my husband. He’ll be the one right next to me holding my hand, looking in my eyes while our trusted doctor does what she needs to do. (I am often asked if my husband will watch the surgery since he’s a surgeon himself- no sir, he’ll be up by me, with me and we both trust our doctor enough to handle this beautifully no matter what comes her way).

-I will hold my baby as soon as humanly possible and show her more love than I can put into words.

That’s my plan. 🙂

Now for some much needed HUMOR….
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This is how I feel at least once a week these days. (If I’m really honest it’s probably more like 3-4x a week). My hormones are out of frickin’ control! I want to beat the sh-t out of them (and I’m not a violent person). I want to say “Hey! Hormones! Get outa my way I’m trying to be zen here!” Instead they have a tendency to just run over me like a train and leave me limp on the tracks not knowing what hit me. These pregnancy hormones are killer. They make you cry, they make you have anxiety, they magnify anything good or bad. Nothing really helps them except for time. In time, they pass. I don’t think there’s anything that can be said about this except- it’s hard. It sucks to feel taken over by some crazy force of nature and feel out of control of your emotions. It’s extra tough when it happens right before you have to be somewhere or right before your husband has to leave the house or right before you have to go to bed (because then you just- C-A-N-T go to bed). All I can say is this- try to breathe, this too shall pass and there’s always light at the end of the hormone tunnel of darkness and doom.

***Shout out to my amazing husband- you f-cking rock my world and deserve a metal for your awesomeness in calming me down, knowing just want to say, how to deal with my hormones and most important- for knowing how to turn it into laughter in the end. God you’re the best.

And for my last vent of the blog…the pregnancy bathing suit situation….

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“Can’t you just wear your old bikini bottoms with a bigger top?”- My husband

Mmmm, no. Not exactly. But I kind of love you more for thinking that I could. So, yes…I’m hunting for bathing suits and will be rocking them during the end of my pregnancy. Which means- even bigger boobs and a bigger belly! Maternity swimwear leaves a lot to be desired. I bought one little (okay fine not so little) black bikini and wore it twice at 23 weeks pregnant (below). Everything is even bigger now and I’ve got to buy a new suit just 3 weeks later! 1920170_10152216357264086_3737433014049087833_n

So I decided to do something I have never done…try on one pieces. Now, before you get all weird about this let me explain- I have TRIED to buy one pieces over the years, however I’m so short waisted that they are almost always ill fitting and thus I have never actually bought or worn one. I ordered a bunch of one pieces online (I highly recommend online shopping vs normal shopping while pregnant- it allows you to take bathroom breaks when you need to, take a break from trying things on when you feel you’ve had enough and it’s much easier on your ego in the privacy of your own home, with your own mirrors). As it turns out…my thought that my baby bump would somehow fill out the “extra” length in the one pieces that my torso is lacking was 100% wrong. Nope, same issues when pregnant. So, it looks like I will be that girl by the pool or at the beach in a bikini. Not because I’m trying to gross you out but because I’m too damn short waisted to rock a one piece. I apologize in advance. Feel free to look away.

Finding the right bikini isn’t so easy. I’m wearing a 34G bra but my bottom size isn’t that different than it was before so everything that fits the top is enormous on the bottom (nothing like a saggy bikini bottom, ew gross)! In the end I’m probably going to have to invest in 2 bathing suits and combine them to get one that fits. Also a quick note on why I can’t wear my old bikini bottoms like my hubby thinks I can…(bless his heart)…

#1 Brazilian cuts=not okay with a baby bump

#2 The bump shifts the way everything fits even bikini bottoms so I end up looking like I’m not wearing much on the bottom at all and that Brazilian cut quickly becomes a thong! Yikes!

So for all you mamas to be out there- if I can let my bump run free you can too! Come on join me and let’s wear our bumps out proudly this summer! Okay fine, join me so I’m not the only one!!!!

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my hormonally charged blog. If you’re still reading this, you deserve a cupcake!

peanutbuttercupcakesmmmmmmmm……..