It seems hard to believe but we are currently under the two month mark until my son turns one! While I still plan on keeping this blog mostly to include my interests, I do enjoy some of the antics that go on in our house between our cat and baby. A lot has changed since my first post about Barton having a brother. My son has become very mobile and while he is thrilled about his newfound abilities, Barton is not. In fact he has become quite fearful of the baby grabbing his tail, pulling out his fur and, well, you get the point. Here are the photos of what Barton has been up to since he became a brother.
When were you going to tell me about this baby gate?
This is my sleep sack in the crib, right?
My favorite time of the year is when mom puts this tree up for me.
Thank you for my play pen!
I will just sleep in your spot then, Mom.
This is my crib now. Meow!
Today im excited to share another one of my room Makeovers and it might just be my favorite one because it's my son's nursery. This room is the smallest room in our house (besides the bathrooms) yet I think it might be my favorite. I originally painted this room in 2014 when I was pregnant for the first time. Unfortunately I lost the pregnancy at 12 weeks but already had painted the room aloe green. I originally painted the room green because I wanted the gender to be a surprise. Over the years this room kind of became a 'catch all' room where I dumped all my stuff. When I became pregnant in 2016 I no longer wanted to be 'team green'. I wanted to know as soon as I could if I was having a boy or a girl! I found out we were having a boy but I didn't want to repaint when I had just painted this room less than two years ago. So I decided to stick with the green color and update the walls with decals.
I knew I wanted to decals to go along the wall where I placed the crib for safety reasons. Originally I had planned on doing horizontal stripes for an accent wall, but when I started researching wall decals I was amazed at the designs. I ordered this set of decals from Wallums. I was a little worried that it wouldn't work well with our walls since we have plaster walls. Fortunately they send you two test items before you actually do the decals to see if they stick. I did my test decals and they were still there 48 hours later so I decided to go ahead with the project!
The trees were a bit tedious to put up. It could have also been that I was 30 weeks pregnant or so when I decided to do them! Each tree took approximately an hour to put up and I ended up doing one tree a day. Once the trees were placed I added the finishing touches with the birds and the owl.
Even though this wall art was a tedious task, I have to say it was well worth it. I absolutely fell in love with it when it was all put together. Walking past this room everyday it always brings a smile to my face. It was also one of the first ways my son recognized his room as a newborn! He would look at the decals from his crib. Now when we come home and I take him into his room, he immediately sees the decals and smiles. It melts my heart!
The other side of the room is where I keep his dresser and chair along with lots of toys! The chair is from IKEA and is one of my favorite pieces of furniture because it can easily be moved from room to room and the color can be changed as the slip cover can be removed and washed! This chair was in our finished basement but I brought it upstairs and changed the covering from black to white to match the rest of the furniture in the nursery.
After my son was born I noticed he really enjoyed bright colors so I decided to decorate this side of the room with prints and paintings. The balloon print was a gift from my baby shower and the animal canvas was a gift as well. I painted the elephant scene and love how it represents the baby and mama elephant!
This room has quickly turned into a favorite place to be for our entire family. Most evenings all four of us (this includes our cat) are huddled in this tiny room playing, laughing and giggling. This room room has definitely transformed into a place that I love to be!
Welcome 2018! For my first blog post of the year I've decided to try something new. As most of my friends and family already know I have a passion for decorating (and sometimes redecorating) my home. I'm not sure exactly when I became so interested in home decor but in college I distinctly remember watching a television show on painting techniques and I was hooked. I asked my parents if I could paint vertical strips in my teenage bedroom. I know they probably thought I was nuts but I really enjoyed the project. They must have liked it too because they haven't painted over it yet! I've carried this passion into my own home. I've painted every bedroom in our house and our finished basement. Eventually I hope to share more about those rooms, but for now I'm going to share some of my smaller home makeovers. Because let's face it, as a full time working mom I don't have time for bigger projects right now so I'm focusing on the smaller areas of my house!
After taking down the Christmas decorations I felt inspired to work on some overlooked areas of our home.
living room corner
This corner was the first space I decided to redecorate. For Christmas we decided to gift ourselves this floor lamp from West Elm. We've had our eyes on it for years and this year we finally decided to go ahead and get it. I ordered this on a Cyber Monday sale. Once it arrived and Bobby assembled it, it totally transformed the room, making it feel much larger and brighter. This dark corner now feels like a warm and welcoming space. The framed photo above the table is one that I took while visiting the Valley of Fire in Nevada. The frame is from IKEA. The table came from Bobby's bachelor days. The clock was built by my grandfather and gifted to me in 1992. The white vase was picked up at a West Elm sale, and the blue vase I found in an antique store near Deep Creek, Maryland.
Dining room buffet
This area gets a lot of attention year round, but after I put away the Christmas decorations I wanted to redecorate it a bit. It also is currently one of the last areas in my house that remains inaccessible to my infant son. My cat also has never shown much interest in the buffet so it's where I put my 'most breakable items'. The buffet was a Wayfair find that my parents bought for us a few Christmases ago. This painting hung in my grandparents living room when they were still alive. I decided to decorate with blue, white and gold colors which seem to mesh well with winter. All the vases are West Elm finds except the large blue vase in the middle. I ordered this from an online clearance sale on the Crate and Barrel website. When I ordered it, I clearly didn't read the dimensions because I thought it was going to be a small vase but when it was delivered it was huge! I was shocked at how big it was and probably would have never bought it in store but have grown to love it as the centerpiece of my buffet.
living room book shelf
My living room book shelf is also a Wayfair find. Originally I found open book shelves like this at Crate and Barrel, but they are really pricey. I searched several sites before I found this one and was quite pleased with how it turned out.
This area required a complete overhaul as our infant son started crawling. Previously I had only used the bottom two shelves for books and the upper shelves to display pictures and keepsakes. Then one day my son started pulling out my albums from the bottom shelves and not treating them so nicely. I did what any first time parent would do: panicked and removed everything from the bottom shelves and tossed everything into my guest room. I quickly realized that this was a mistake though as I frequently update my albums and no longer had them easily accessible. I decided it was time to bring my books back to the living room and make the bottom shelf more baby friendly. I stacked his books on the bottom shelf and purchased a soft bin from Big Lots to store his toys. Now he has easy access to his items and mine are out of reach! I might be applying this approach to the second shelf as well very soon!
So there you have it! My first three little projects of the year! I hope to have more small projects as the year progresses. What about you? Do you have any upcoming projects? Did you have to redecorate when you had little ones roaming about?
This week I’m turning thirty five years old. Even as I type that sentence I don’t feel much, which is weird because I thought I would have a lot of strong feelings about turning thirty five. But perhaps not having strong feelings about turning thirty five is a good thing. Right now I don’t have feelings of sadness or regret like I have had during some of my more recent birthdays in my thirties.
I feel very secure in who I am as a person and what a wonderful blessing that is. For some reason turning thirty five makes me think of when I turned twenty five and how turbulent those times seemed. I was single, living alone and not really knowing what I wanted out of life. I can’t say that in ten years’ time I have figured out what I want, but I think I’m heading in the right direction.
In the past ten years, I’ve had to deconstruct myself. This was not by choice, but rather by what life’s circumstances had given me. I do really believe that in my early years that I had a somewhat easier time than others. I did well in school. I graduated college. I played sports and excelled at them.
But all these scenarios were set up for me to succeed. School rewards students that work hard. On the other hand, life after schooling doesn’t play by those rules. So in some ways, my late twenties and early thirties were the hard lessons you don’t learn in school.
When you hit thirty five you are finally getting closer to the point in your life where you have made the majority of decisions in your life rather than someone else making them for you or having to live within a set of rules. There really are no rules in the real world. Sure, some people will tell you that there are rules. But there are plenty of people who aren’t playing by them.
How do you deal with losing your job? How do you deal with losing pregnancies? How do you deal with a friend stabbing you in the back? How do you deal with being thrown under the bus? How do you deal with being sexually harassed? How do you manage the stress of being married to a police officer? How do you deal with asking for help and being told no?
These are the questions that are difficult to ask, but I’ve lived every one of them. So this is where I’ve had to deconstruct myself. I’ve had to take an honest look at myself, beyond my worldly accomplishments and think about who I am as a person. I can’t say that I have the answers to all of these questions, but I do know that I’m not the only one going through them and what a blessing that has been.
Sometimes just knowing that we aren’t alone in this journey of life is all that we need. As I get ready to turn thirty five, I feel hopeful, that major changes to society are coming. We live in an age of vast information that can be easily obtained. We no longer have to ponder or wonder; instead we can easily discover answers to all of it. So maybe now we need to start searching for the right questions to ask rather than thinking we know all the answers.
The year of 2017 has been momentous for me to say the least with the birth of my son in March. After spending nine months pregnant with him I was more than eager to get back to one of my true passions: running. However, saying that starting to run again was like an uphill battle might be a bit of an understatement. I had no idea how difficult it was going to be starting to run again after not running for nine months.
It's hard to describe how running felt again after having my son, but 'shocking' might be the only word I can find to describe it. The one thing I love about running is that it will never lie to you. It will tell you who you really are and, well, sometimes the truth isn't pretty. Running will tell you if you are overweight or out of shape, or hurting, or tired. It shows no mercy.
When I started running again, I felt all these things. I felt overweight. I felt out of shape. I felt the burning in my lungs. My calves hurt like crazy. My mind was willing, but my body was not able. I would call it starting over again, except I've never been this heavy in my life before so it's more like a starting line that I've never known.
In May I nervously signed up for the Pittsburgh 5k that ran the Saturday before the marathon. I hit my goal and I was feeling great about myself! But at the end of May, my maternity leave was over and I returned to work full time. It was becoming difficult to find time for myself so running and working out went by the wayside. So I did what I usually do, when I want to force myself to run; I signed up for a race. I ran the Brentwood 4th of July 5k, which also happened to be the last race I ran in 2016 while I was pregnant with my son (but didn't know it yet!)
I had high hopes for this race. My husband and son even came, yet it went terribly for me. It was the warmest 4th of July race in years and I had a complete meltdown in the heat. I usually don't do well in the heat, but the heat along with being 4 months removed from having my son forced me into walking most of the last mile and a half. I felt really defeated during this race.
After the 4th of July 5k I didn't sign up for anymore races. I was shocked, really in a way, at how poorly I felt and how poorly I did. It was a very humbling experience to do the slowest 5k I've ever done in my life.
I started to realize I needed to adjust my outlook. For a while, I thought that because I had continued to workout during my pregnancy that I would 'bounce back'. But that's not what happened and I had to accept that it was okay. Otherwise I would just end up becoming more and more frustrated with myself.
With this new attitude I decided to sign up for a 4 mile race in October. Could I run 4 miles? I wasn't really sure. Then in late September we took our long awaited family of three vacation to Ocean City, Maryland. During my three years living on the Eastern Shore I loved running on the boardwalk, so I took my running shoes with me.
The second day of vacation I decided to do my run. We were experiencing the long distance effects of a hurricane so I knew that the weather might be challenging. As I set out on my run, the sky was overcast but the rain was just a drizzle. I was feeling pretty good as I ran along the ocean. But then a mile into my run the rain starting pouring on me.
I watched as walkers on the boardwalk ducked into covered spaces and stores; but I kept going, kicking up water, as my feet hit the boardwalk. I was getting absolutely pelted with raindrops but it felt exhilarating and in that moment I felt happy to be running.
When I turned around to head back to our hotel, I was running into a strong wind. The wind pelted me with salt water and fogged up my contacts. I couldn't see at all. I realized running a mile back on the boardwalk wasn't going to happen so I ran off the boardwalk to the street level and wiped the saltwater from me eyes. I ran back on the sidewalk which had much better running conditions than the boardwalk. When I reached my destination I took this selfie on the boardwalk, commemorating this run.
It wasn't a race, or a personal best, but it was a day where I had found my joy in running again. After that run, I felt my attitude really shift from being terribly frustrated to just enjoying my ability to run.
In October I did the Mario Lemieux 6.6k. I had done this race about three years ago and remembered enjoying the course. Race day turned out to be a really warm day for October so I ended up wearing shorts and a t shirt on race day. At mile marker 1 of the race the Stanley Cup was on display! It was pretty cool to see such a recognizable sports trophy on display during a race. I did run a decent portion of the first part of the race and then the second half of the race I walked pretty often. 4 miles was the longest I had run in a long time and the it was much hotter than expected so I didn't want to overdo it. At the finish line, I got a high five from Mario so that was a great way to end the race!
My final race of the year was the Pittsburgh Turkey Trot. This was actually my first time doing a Turkey Trot race as I am usually traveling or hosting on Thanksgiving Day. It was a pretty cool experience to wake up on Thanksgiving Day and go for a run. I would definitely do it again. (Plus you feel a lot less guilty when eating dinner later in the day.)
Fortunately several of my buddies from T2 CrossFit were also running the race, so we met up for a picture before the race. It was absolutely freezing! I think the temperature at the start of the race was around 26 degrees, which would make it the coldest race I've ever done. While I have definitively trained in colder weather, I had never ran a race this cold before!
I didn't wear my watch for this race because it's been frustrating to see my pace times, so I just went with how I felt. I still had to walk some, but this ended up being my best 5k time of the year at 39:35. I was really surprised at how much better I did when I didn't know how fast I was running and just went with how I felt.
I'm still running (mostly on my treadmill) but won't race again until next year. Overall I'm very happy that I was able to participate in four races this year. I'm also happy to end the year on a high note after being really frustrated with my performance during the summer. I'm so glad to have found my passion for running again.
This year I had the joy of welcoming my son into the world. It seems hard to believe but he recently turned eight months. My journey to have my son was not a nine month, journey but rather a 2 and a half year journey that included two miscarriages and a third pregnancy which resulted in my beautiful baby boy.
It was a very long, and at times, a very painful journey. To say otherwise would not be telling the whole truth. For the first time in years I feel comfortable sharing parts of my story in the hopes that it will help someone else.
I could never actually tell my story as it was happening or as I was living it in real time. It was far too painful and confusing for me to share as it happened. I hope those that may read this and perhaps may be thinking critical thoughts, will rather be kind and listen to my story.
So here we go.........
After my first miscarriage I was given the advice to try again in two to three months. However my mind was so far from even wanting to try again I could not even consider it. When I got home from Ocean City, Maryland where I had my first miscarriage in September of 2014 and visited my OB they listened to my story, but I left without any information on counseling or mental health. I was simply told to try again.
Days later the shock of the situation wore off and the reality set in. I was completely shattered. Yet I had no clue where to turn or who to ask for help. I was told miscarriage was common, yet I found myself completely devastated. I called support groups but couldn't find exactly what I needed. I called a few therapists but wasn't sure they were the right fit. So I gave up making phone calls and I got very depressed.
Eventually I pulled myself out of it with the help of family and friends. Then in May of 2015 we decided to try again and wouldn't you know I was pregnant again.
But I knew things were 'off'. I could sense it this time and a week after my positive test I found out that I had another miscarriage. When I asked my doctor for testing they said I needed to have three in a row to have testing done. Needless to say I left that practice after that appointment. There was no way I was going to open myself up to pregnancy again without testing.
This time, I didn't get sad. Instead I got angry. Very angry. I was angry about the silence of miscarriage and how it doesn't help, but rather hurts those of us who are looking for answers.
I started researching miscarriage and how it was handled in other cultures. That's when I came across Jizo who is a figure of Japanese Buddhism. Jizo is the protector of deceased children including miscarried children. It's hard to explain the joy I felt when I learned another culture recognized this loss when my own didn't.
I found someone who made these statues in the USA and promptly ordered one. Shortly after it arrived I became pregnant with my son. After every ultrasound I placed my ultrasound photo next to Jizo. It gave me great comfort when I needed it the most.
I have some exciting news to share! I recently wrote my first book of poetry and it is now available in paperback! This book is very special to me as it contains poems I wrote during a heartbreaking time in my life that led to a journey of healing and self discovery. I've paired each poems with a favorite photo of mine. Click on the image below to buy your copy!
This week I was doing some shopping at a drug store while on my lunch break from work. I currently do all of my shopping for myself while on lunch break. It's the only time that I'm not with my 7 month old son and I have the greatest success of actually buying everything that is on my list. This is not a complaint; it's just the way life works right now.
A few weeks earlier I was picking out new nail polish for a fall wedding that I was attending. Ever since the summer of 2003, where I spent my college break, working at a high end spa I only buy Essie nail polish, Essie is expensive nail polish. I'm sure that the price turns people off, but it looks good no matter how haphazardly I paint my nails. And yes I always do my own nails. A few weeks ago I got my first pedicure in nearly four years. My feet had a couple marathons and a 37 week pregnancy wearing on them and it wasn't pretty. I definitely need to go back sooner than 4 years from now.
Essie nail polish also seems to last a lot longer than other nail polishes that I've tried to use. It'll hold up in it's glass bottle for a few years. It's seriously some good stuff. But I digress, that is enough about my love of Essie nail polish.
So I studied the nail polish colors like I was picking out the color of bridesmaids dresses in my wedding. Nail polish is a bold statement. Especially on your fingertips. It is a message that you are sending to the world.
So I picked a dark burgundy. I love dark reds. I love burgundy and maroon. I'm not sure where this love affair started but I would guess in my high school, Uniontown, where the school colors were maroon and white.
But my eyes kept darting to this beautiful black nail polish. It was this gorgeous color called 'licorice'. I wanted it. I wanted it badly.
But then the voices inside my head started talking to me.
'"You have a corporate job.'"
""You're a mom now."
"You remember what happened the last time you painted your finger nails black."
So I left the black nail polish behind, quite pleased with myself for showing self control and not buying the nail polish that I desperately wanted.
The last time I painted my fingernails black was about ten years ago. I so excited about them. I felt fierce when I wore black and I was feeling fierce with my newly painted black fingernails. Then the comments started coming.
"Are you going goth?"
"Are you depressed?"
I was neither of these things, but the questions I started receiving made me so sad that I promptly removed my black nail polish and didn't wear it again for ten years.
When I was in elementary school, one of my teachers asked what my favorite color was. I replied, "Black." She told me that my favorite color couldn't be black so I had to pick another one. I picked "Blue". Don't get me wrong, I love the color blue, but it doesn't make me feel the same way wearing black does.
My friends sometimes tease me that I need to wear different colors. I need to brighten up my wardrobe. It's true. A good bit of my workout clothes are black. My formal wear is mostly an assortment of black dresses. I feel good wearing black.
So this week I went back to the drug store and bought the black nail polish. It's currently on my toenails as I type this post. Whenever I find some down time I plan on painting my fingernails with it. I'm not going to make apologies for it this time around. My favorite color is black and there is nothing wrong with that.
In just a few short days it will be September and as hard as that is to believe I know that September marks the first six month of my son's life. It has truly flown by.
To say that the last six months of life have been anything but a whirlwind would be an understatement. Ever since the birth of my son I've been trying --- to catch up---- to break even---- to not get left behind.
Whatever it is, the demands of modern life do not harmonize well with the constant demands of an infant. I find myself trying to hold on to some semblance of myself ----while still trying to navigate modern life -----while wondering if it even matters to hang onto any aspects of modern living. It can be an exhausting existence.
I have been finding myself swaying between these worlds; trying to manage both of them while feeling like I failing at all of it. I know deep down that I am not failing. I am doing much better than failing.
But perhaps one of the most difficult tasks of this new found existence is staying in the moment. Caring for an infant keeps you constantly on your toes, determining the next need of your child. The need is often and never ending. Sometimes I determine the wrong need, but I at least know better than to be upset or guilty about it. Because we must move on to the next thing ----- the next bottle----the next diaper change---the next nap. And when it is all said and done it is already the next day.
And perhaps that is the part that already makes me the most sad. I realize that the moments are fleeting. They are changing. They are never going to be the same. They will not wait for me to catch up. I just want to stop and soak it all up while I can.
On May 6, 2017, I ran my first 5k since having my baby boy in March. This also was my first 5k since last July 4th. Shortly after that race I found out that I was pregnant and decided to stop running.
After having my son in early March I was eager to get back to running. I also knew that the Pittsburgh Marathon was fast approaching and I would love to be involved in some way! The 5k seemed like the perfect fit! I decided to take the approach that I would run/walk the race.
Along with the challenge of actually physically being able to do the race, I found some other challenges being a new mom.
One of the biggest challenges was what to wear! As I didn't run during pregnancy I really wasn't sure what out of my running wardrobe would fit, My original plan was to wear shorts and and a large t shirt but a few days before the race I saw the forecast was low 50s and rain, so that outfit wasn't going to cut it. So I dug out a pair of leggings and my running jacket for rainy days.
I pulled up my tights and they seemed to fit okay. Next I tried on my jacket. It barely zipped but I got it on! At two months post partum I still need to lose 25 pounds to be at my pre pregnancy weight. This generally does not bother me except when my clothes don't fit!
The morning of the race I met up my friend Christina who was also running/walking the race with a friend. She drove us to the start of the race and we sat in her parked car as long as we could because we both hate getting wet! About 15 minutes before the race we decided we should actually get out of the car and head to the start: Along the way we stopped at the porta potty. After using the porta potty I felt like a runner again! We ducked into a parking garage lobby to keep dry, tie our shoes and get a pre race picture!
We go out to the start and we are at the very end. This doesn't bother me as my only goal is to finish! There is a buzz in the air and I'm excited and nervous! I'm so happy to be here and can't believe I'm running a race again!
Mile 1: We begin! I start running and feel the excitement of being in a race, But my start feels fast. I look down at my watch and see an 11 minute mile. That's way beyond my capabilities right now so I need to slow it down.
Mile 1.5: I stop to get water. I realize that I haven't been running that long but it feels much longer.
Mile 2: It's becoming obvious that my outfit was a poor choice. It's one thing to look at yourself in the mirror at home and another thing to actually go run in your outfits. My pants do not fit and keep rolling down over my post partum belly. I keep pulling them up but they will not stay up. So I grab ahold of the top my pants with my left hand and hold them up, while swinging only my right arm now. Looks like I'm going to finish this race with having to hold my pants up. Speaking of finishing I realize that I only have one mile left! I'm so use to do longer races that it didn't even dawn on me that I'm nearly done!
Before crossing over the Clemente Bridge I take a walking break. I really want to run the entire bridge since running bridges (with the exception of Birmingham) are my favorite parts of the Pittsburgh races! After crossing the bridge I just have to finish the race through downtown. I can't describe how badly I wanted to stop and walk at this point but I had just a half mile left at this point and told myself I wasn't allowed to walk!
Mile 3: Only .1 mile left! I'm being passsed by people on the left and right making a dash towards the finish! I wish I could sprint the finish but there's nothing left! I'm just trying to hold on until the wheels fall off!
I cross the the finish line at 39:45. I did it! It is my slowest time ever but I'm elated. It feels so good to be doing this again. My friend Christina pats me on the back and says good job. (Thank you for sticking with me throughout the race!)
I have to admit that running a 5k two months after having my son was a bit agressive. I was no where near the shape I'm usually in for running. In fact with the exception of the days before delivery, this is the heaviest I've ever been in my life.
So why run a race? Shouldn't I have waited? Two things made me want to run so soon. The first was that I missed running. I couldn't wait to do it again! I tried to imagine myself not participating in marathon weekend and that thought made me sad! I just knew I had to run!
The second thing that made me run was the realization that there will never be a perfect time to start running again. My nights of interrupted sleep and exhaustion probably won't get better for a while, so why not just start now instead of waiting! My point is that if you really want to do something, don't wait for the perfect moment, just do it! I am so happy that I did!
Author: Sarah Warman
I like to run, take pictures and write. I've combined all three in this blog.