Once in a while I still get to take photos for my friends and it makes me happy. Julia, the maker of sweet magnolia handmade is releasing her new bamboo colors today! Head on over to pick your favorites.
Why are guys so much more challenging to buy for? Billy & I have been together since we were sixteen so we’ve pretty much ran out of gifts to give each other. A few years ago we decided instead to give experiences. For our anniversary we went on a rafting beer trip at sunset here in town called ‘Paddle Pub’ and for our birthdays we always find a cabin at the coast to celebrate. Other ideas could be a couple’s cooking class, a snowy mountain cabin getaway, planning a back packing trip together or even just a romantic evening that’s out of your usual routine. Dance lessons, ski lift tickets, a day at the spa… We love this new tradition and it makes for such good memories. But still, sometimes you just want to have something for them to unwrap under the tree, so here’s my guy’s guide. It’s ok, I guess, guy stuff is just not as fun haha…except #9, that baby’s going under our tree this year. Don’t tell!
a little disclaimer…since I really have only ever known Billy, these gifts are obviously not for every guy, just the one I know 🙂
1) Chelsea looking shoes. I just think these kind of shoes are the cutest on guys, although a man the other day looked at Billy’s feet and called them elf shoes. Elves are cute though.
2) Leather wallet you can personalize
3) Bialette coffee maker: I can add this one to both lists right? It’s just that good!
4) Wood watch
6) Day pack
7) Wendell Berry: maybe your husband reads? Mine just listens to podcasts 🙂
8) Rubber band gun: Stocking stuffer?
9) Growler: beer on tap!
11) Multi- tool: comes in handy I guess, Billy loves his!
You could call me type A about some things, or most things. I have lists for my lists, am never late, I’m very passionate & emotional and I give up easy if I don’t feel like Im doing the absolute best. I don’t alphabetize my movies (maybe I should?), I’ve just recently started hanging my clothes according to color (thanks Julia) and I do have a Monica closet for all the things that just dont have a place. I am writing this post in September when Christmas still feels so far away, don’t you just think I’m the coolest! Maybe #12 will convince you. 😉
Giving gifts is part of my love language and I really enjoy the process of knowing my people and giving them something they will appreciate.
Here are some gift ideas for her. All these items are things we truly love around here!
1) Sprouted Kitchen cookbook by the sweetest couple. He’s a photographer, she’s a chef and together they made this beautiful delicious book. We love these two cookbooks as well Minimalist Baker & Oh She Glows!
2) Bialetti stovetop coffee maker. It’s how Italians drink their coffee so it’s cool right?… I can never go back to a coffee pot. It honestly makes the best coffee we have ever had.
3) Esther Clark art prints– I just ordered her calendar!
6) Lotta Clogs– every girl needs a good pair of clogs!
7) French market bag– again, every girl needs a cute market bag!
8) Patina Farm’s book– if she loves provincial design, she’ll love this book of a French style home & garden designed by a couple in the heart of Ojai.
11) Minerbs Mama Glow Serum– I have never smelled anything so wonderful. I add it to my moisturizer and some days just wear it as perfume. It’s divine!
12) A taser stun gun thingy- Im not very comfortable around guns, but having this makes me feel safer. I love taking this on hikes(cougars, bears, creepers!) and just keeping it in a safe, but accessible place in our home makes me feel so much better (like when people from Craigslist come over, I greet them with my taser, bahahaha). It’s a flashlight and also has a switch to turn on the stun gun function. You have to press the metal pins on the end of the flashlight against the person, press the button to stun them and you can get away! I’ll say it one more time, every girl should have one of these! Now if only I could get Billy to let me test it on him.
13) Floral Fossils by Ron Nicole– The woman, everything she makes is magic and I am absolutely in love(obsessed) with her art form. She also creates fossils from flowers delivered to her. So you can preserve wedding flowers or even a stem of something really meaningful to you.
You guys! I’ve been waiting two years to reveal this room because it’s honestly taken that long to complete the kitchen. When Ivy was a newborn I decided to list the kitchen cabinets on Craigslist thinking nobody could possibly want these, but hoping to get rid of them. If there’s something (positive) I’ve learned about CL so far it’s this; If you have something you don’t want to deal with, list it for free or really cheap to have somene come take it apart and haul it away… someone will come take care of it for you. I did that with a shed, a BARN, cabinets and they gave ME money while we didn’t lift a finger, muahahaha! Ok, so it’s taken two years because once a room in our house is somewhat functional we like to not complete the last details to finish it off, but this year we can finally say the kitchen is finished.
The before was my personal nightmare, although we did have several people comment that they loved the kitchen when we moved in. One of my closest friends even said, ‘this is so you’. I was honestly thinking, ‘do you know me at all!!!’, anyways, we are not friends anymore, just kidding. It was so dark in there that you couldn’t see all the spider webs in every corner. Under four layers of flooring was original wood, but it was really damaged so most of it is new doug fir that we found to match the rest in the house. The walls were faux brick, the counters were black laminate(with texture) and once the cabinets were out we found mouse poop everywhere. They had been coming in the holes around the sink pipe and nesting. AH!
We were crazy to undertake this all with a newborn. Billy brought the room down to studs, sheet rocked the room and laid new wood floors. The cabinets are the stock ones from home depot and we had custom shaker doors made by a woodworker here locally. They’re painted Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter.
Kitchen renos are tough. One thing I recommend is consider re-doing your kitchen in summer so you can utilize a bbq for cooking. We used a rice cooker and had too many microwave dinners. Annie’s mushroom risotto became my fast fave. 🙂
We didn’t take down walls in this house. I might be the only one, but I do not love open floor plans. I love it to flow and I love lofty open spaces, but I also love old homes and how each room has it’s function and coziness.
Here are the long awaited before & afters!
sink & faucet: ikea
cupboards, hardware, appliances: home depot
cupboard doors: David Lipham Cabinets
pendant light: ebay
light fixture: overstock
marble shelves: pottery barn
‘give thanks’ tapestry: victoria krav
apron: portland apron company
cutting boards: Billy whipped them up real quick for me this morning. man, i love that man!
essential oils: eden’s garden
Now that we’re expecting our second babe I thought it would be fun to share the birth story of Ivy. Reading other women’s birth stories while pregnant was one of my favorite things, gleaning any knowledge I could from other’s experiences. Every one has their own unique body and story, it’s fascinating how each one can vary so greatly. Each positive experience I read encouraged me so much for the labor ahead, so I wanted to share mine to hopefully give courage and strength to anyone who needs it! It can be scary to not be in control or know exactly what is ahead for labor, but you have what your baby needs, you have what it takes. However you birth your baby whether by c-section, un-medicated or medicated, you have done good, mama. Good.
My entire pregnancy I was obsessed with researching, reading everything I could swallow about childbirth. My favorite books were Ina May’s, Guide to Childbirth and Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way. I highly recommend both of them, they gave me so much. We have a Bradley instructor who offers classes here in the valley if anyone is interested or you can look up an instructor in your area on Bradley’s website. We went into the class totally naive & curious, so eager to learn and we came out confident. I felt so knowledgable and prepared for anything and I know that knowledge is what gave me the strength and fearlessness leading up to and during labor. I felt like I could give birth anywhere.
So, this is our story…
38 weeks pregnant, we were craving one last little adventure before Ivy’s arrival. I had been having painless contractions frequently, where your tummy tightens, mine would get a kind of hump at the top. Earlier in my pregnancy I just thought this was her bum sticking up at the top of my tummy, making it tight, but I learned they were actually Braxton Hicks contractions. Those were coming more frequently this day, but they had been happening for a few months, so I thought nothing much of them, besides I still had two weeks right? We were a little hesitant to go, little did we know later that night real labor would start!. We spent the day swimming by a waterfall, it was wonderful. I think maybe the icy waters of the McCloud River sent me into labor!
That night around 10pm the contractions started to hurt like period cramps, progressively getting more painful through the night, I didn’t sleep at all. By 2 am I felt like it was time to go to the hospital just to see if I was dilating, was this real labor?
We called our Dr. in Ashland where we were planning to have a water birth, she said the hospital was accidentally understaffed because of a conference and that we would need to find somewhere else to deliver. A little panic, but no time to really freak out, we decided to just go to the hospital here in Grants Pass. Looking back now I feel like maybe this happened for a reason because she was born with an extremely rare skin condition. The pediatrician on staff that day recognized her condition right away and had her transported to a NICU. You can read more about that here.
Once we got to the hospital I was only 1 cm, you guys! Worst news ever! All I could say was, ‘ so you’re saying this pain is going to get worse?’ Haha! She laughed & said it could just be early labor and last for days. Thankfully it didn’t. We went back home to labor. Billy tried to sleep since I kind of kept him up all night and I needed him for the laboring ahead.
12 hours later we headed back to Three River’s Hospital again and I was 4cm. This was it! We stayed there, labored in the tub (having my belly in warm water helped the pain so much!), bounced on a yoga ball. I was naked, having extreme hot flashes & then be freezing. I was throwing up with every contraction. It was tough and harder than I had imagined. Billy was covering me with a blanket then ripping it off of me, trying to anticipate how I felt and giving me lots of water between contractions so I had something to throw up. He is my hero!
Once I was at 7cm I asked if the Dr. on call could come break my water. I just wanted to get to pushing. Once my water was broken the contractions were so much more painful having her head right against my cervix. A couple hours later I was at 10 cm and ready to push.
I pushed for two hours. Pushing was painless for me, I was making jokes and each contraction just gave me the urge to push her out and then I could relax between them. By this time I had been up for almost 48 hours since the contractions had kept me up all night. I was so exhausted. The nurse applied oil to my cervix. I think she went and bought it for me because I mentioned wanting that in the birth plan I brought with me to the hospital. All the nurses that labored with me were so amazing. They honored my birth plan and did everything they could to support my wishes. There was a moment in pushing that felt like burning and that was the little ripping that happened, but no stitches were needed. It’s better to rip than having the Dr. do an episiotomy because the nerves and vessels can heal and connect better if it’s not a straight cut. Always bring a printed out birth plan. I had one ready and Im so glad I did because I was delivering with a different doctor and at a different hospital than we had planned. It made all the difference being able to hand over the birth plan to the nurses and have them support me through this day.
You can see our birth plan here if you want to use it to come up with something that works for you.
The Dr said she could see her head moving back and forth, trying to help get through the birth canal! Isn’t that amazing! The moment Ivy came out was the weirdest sensation that I’ll never forget. Once her head was free I could feel her legs kicking as if she was swimming and her feet push off inside of me.
They placed her on my chest and all I could say or think was, she is so huge! Haha! Her warm soft body against me was so surreal. 1/3 of a babies blood is in the placenta so we let the cord stop pulsing before Billy cut the cord.
It was beautiful, it was painful, I felt it all and remember every minute. It was exactly what I hoped for and Im so thankful to the women and Billy who supported me through the whole day. I labored until delivery for exactly 23 hours. She was 7lbs 15oz. Our miracle, our Ivy.
Having an un-medicated childbirth was something really important to me and I’m so thankful for everything that came together for us to be able to have this experience. I believed with all of my heart that my body was made for this and could do this & feel like it was my mind that brought me through. Birth is so personal, unique to each woman. An epidural honestly never even crossed my mind the entire labor. I knew my whole pregnancy that it wasn’t for me after figuring out the birth experience I wanted. However you birth your baby is beautiful and good. Visualize the experience you want to have, literally play it out in your mind and most of all believe in yourself. You are doing the most beautiful thing, bringing, creating, sustaining, life. I’d also like to say that if you’ve had a c-section or will have to have one…you are amazing. AMAZING. You are strong and brave and what you are doing to bring your babe into the world is just the same and more.
A few reasons I decided an epidural wasn’t for me…
-Epidurals & pitocin effect our bodies natural hormones we release during labor that help your body deliver a baby, which can cause longer labors. That’s why the percent of c-sections have gone up enormously. If you haven’t watch ‘The Business of Being Born’, it’s a must see. Having Oxytocin disrupted by epidurals causes your milk to not let down and can cause you to get off on the wrong foot with breastfeeding and also effects that natural high you have after giving birth.
-Epidurals can cause a life time of back pain and sometimes don’t even work or wear off.
-The drugs enter the baby’s blood stream. The epidural is meant to numb your entire lower half so I didn’t feel like I wanted to expose my baby to something so strong.
-It’s been proven that babies who are born with epidurals come out less responsive, with less color, their heart rate is lower and might not even be able to latch to nurse because their palette is numb.
-One thing that was really important to me was being able to walk around freely without being connected to an IV and wires. (You can refuse an IV or get a hep-lock) Being able to labor how I wanted, in a tub or however, meant everything to me. Once you get an epidural you have to just lay in a bed and have an annoying monitor hooked to your belly, a catheter up your urethra and then have someone tell you when to push. It’s just not what I wanted. Being able to stand, rock, walk, bounce, labor in water, progresses your labor so much faster.
Most epidurals are not administered until you’re dilated quite a bit, you’re almost there, girl! Once you get to 10cm you get to push and it’s such a relief. You get to feel your body, feel your baby, know when to push. When I was just about to a 10 I kind of started moaning, I couldn’t help it. I needed to push. There was no screaming like in the movies, but I was a beast. Pushing is tiring, so so tiring but it’s filled with so much hope and anticipation also. We have this one day of pain, but remember that it’s not pointless or endless. At the end of the day you will be holding your sweet baby. Is there anything more hopeful to carry you through? After going through all of this I felt like I could do anything, it’s truly empowering.
I wanted to share my story to say that you can do it. That you’re stronger than you know.
You are so powerful and wonderfully made. We are kind of the greatest creatures ever created, that we are given this incredible ability to grow and care for a baby solely from our body. This body is yours and when you go into the hospital, remember that. You do not have to take anything or do anything that you do not want to do. Don’t let anyone scare you into something that you feel isn’t best and surround yourself with a team of people you trust and can look to in times of fear or uncertainty. That’s why it’s the most important thing to become knowledgable about your body, about birth, figuring out the experience you want to have. Things might not go according to plan, but having the support of your partner is everything. That’s another reason I loved The Bradley Way so much, was that it’s just as much focussed on the partner as it is on the baby and mom. It trains them to assist you, know you, stand up for you and be your advocate. You can also look into having a doula or midwife beside you through the whole birth. They know labor and how to relieve pain in natural ways, reminding you of your strength and helping you in more ways than I know to write here. They are really amazing. I didn’t have one, but the births Ive watched where the mom had a doula by her side were incredible to witness because they knew what she was going through and had methods, positions, knowledge to help make the whole process into a more wonderful experience.
I would love to talk to you if you have any questions or fears about birth or ever just need someone to listen to your heart. This is ours, as women and it’s time to claim that.
You can read what to pack in your bag here
Pregnancy essentials here
New mama must haves here