Friday, December 28, 2012

6 months...

Wow, where to start? I've started to write this blog post so many times in my head and then a million things seem to happen and I never got around to it. I can't believe the last time I posted was when Cosette was 6 weeks! She is now 6 1/2 months old and if I'm being completely honest it really took me about 6 months to get comfortable in my new role as her mother.

Here's the thing...I think motherhood brings out the best in you but I also think it brings out the worst. For instance, I'm pretty neurotic. As much as I wish I wasn't I just am. I'm not the laid back confident mother. In the beginning especially I questioned most everything I did. There is no job more important than being a good parent. It is such a HUGE responsibility. Then top off the responsibility with the absolute blinding love you have for your baby and the stakes couldn't be higher. You are responsible for keeping another person alive!! You are responsible for surrounding them with all the right things so that they grow up to be a smart, happy, capable adult. And it is the most important thing you'll ever do.

I now understand what people meant when they said there is no manual for this stuff. There are so many different theories out there on how to raise a child it all gets so confusing. Baby Wise, Attachment Parenting, RIE - the list is endless. What's right? Every baby and every parent is different (obviously) so I think the answer to that question varies greatly.

I've learned so much in these last 6 months. I've learned that I have to let go and trust. Trust that Cosette will eat when she's hungry, sleep when she's tired, crawl when she's ready. I can't control these things and I really don't want to. I'm letting my baby lead the way and it is working for us (most of the time).

I've learned that the days go by faster than you ever think they will (such a mom thing to say). I don't want to feel like I'm holding my breath through motherhood. If I don't stop to be really present in the moment and enjoy my baby girl I am robbing myself and I'm robbing her. Such a huge lesson. One I have to constantly remind myself of.

I'm sure now that I'm feeling pretty comfortable with motherhood something will happen and everything will change again. For the first time I'm actually okay with that. As C.S. Lewis once said, "There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind."

Monday, July 23, 2012

6 weeks...

Where has the time gone? My baby is 6 weeks old this Wednesday! I have to admit it hasn't been so easy. I had so much to learn in the early days and I still have a long way to go.

The first shocker...breastfeeding. It is truly an art form and I still feel like an amateur. When I was pregnant I thought it would be so easy. Put the baby on the boob and you're done. When I saw that my birth center offered a breastfeeding support group I ignorantly thought I wouldn't be one who needed any support. Coco and I have come quite a long way but it took me a while to accept that my baby wasn't the typical 30 minute nurser...nope she gulps her food in 5-10 minutes flat (give or take) and is done. At first I freaked out thinking she wasn't getting enough but she is gaining weight like a champ so I have had to let go of how I thought it was going to be and accept that my child has a preference and personality all her own. I know, I know Motherhood 101. I thought I had learned that one but apparently not.

I also haven't perfected the art of breastfeeding in public. At the moms group I attend I see women whip out their boob and latch their child on with such speed and grace. They look so content as their child nurses for what seems like forever. Then there is gets fussy and I clumsily fumble to get my nursing bra open while flashing the whole world and then contemplate whether or not I should prop Coco up with a pillow or use my knees instead. Should I use the cross cradle hold or just the cradle hold? Is she comfortable? Can she breath with my massive boob shoved in her face? Am I choking her with the abundance of my milk? Is she seriously done after 3 minutes? Told you, amateur. Fortunately, it's getting better by the day. I also got the good advice to only count kisses and not feedings and to watch your baby not the clock.

Another shocker? The crying. My baby has a mighty set of lungs and she isn't afraid to use them. I'm sure my neighbors hate me. I never let her cry it out on her own so if one day you say something to me and I ask you to repeat that it's because my hearing isn't what it used to be. 

One major question I have is how in the world do other mothers get anything done? I am so far behind on everything my days are completely consumed with baby. Seriously, somebody please tell me the secret of multitasking with a baby.

On the upside I couldn't be more in love with my sweet little girl. She is beyond precious and every single second even the ones where I panic, second guess myself or feel beyond exhausted from it all are so completely and utterly worth it. My heart has never felt the kind of happiness that comes from her beautiful smile or the way she melts in my arms when I sing to her (this is saying a lot as she is the only person on earth who loves my singing). I can't get enough of her dramatic stretching when she wakes up. I live for her sweet little coos. When I put her down to sleep I know I need to get some sleep myself but I can't stop myself from staring at her endlessly. I fall in love with her more everyday. I know that every stage of motherhood presents different challenges and I am more than willing to do whatever I have to to make her as happy as I possibly can and for the first time in my life I'm treasuring every single moment. They go by far to quickly (except for those moments at 4 in the morning when she's crying - those moments drag on forever).

Thursday, June 28, 2012

She's here!!

Cosette (Coco) Anastacia Duncan born June 13, 2012. Miss Coco surprised her mom and dad by coming a week early. We are so head over heels in love. Will be back blogging soon about my last few weeks of pregnancy and my birth story. Right now I'm just trying to soak up every second of these newborn days (she's already two weeks old!!!) and trying my best to quickly learn all this new mommy stuff. I can already tell this is the most wonderful job in the world.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

32 weeks (nearly two weeks ago)...

First of all, I cannot believe it's been over a month since I've blogged. Can someone please tell me where the time is going? I haven't even been that busy so I can't use that as an excuse. However, I have been extremely exhausted. Honestly, I eat breakfast and then I feel like I need to go take a nap. I really miss drinking large amounts of coffee. So here is what's going on with me (and then I need to go rest)...

I'm super emotional. I could eat quesadillas all day long (and cookies, but that's nothing new). I'm so over natural deodorant (in an attempt to be super healthy I stopped using aluminum...going back to it as soon as the baby is born). I've started to waddle. I get hot flashes at the most awkward times. I am incredibly forgetful. I even forget how big my belly is and bang it into things all the time. I think about all the stuff that needs to get done in a day which makes me tired so I take a nap and get nothing done which makes me feel guilty and super emotional. Um...that is all I remember right now.

It is absolutely surreal to me that I will soon be giving birth. That I will actually be holding this sweet little baby that I've become so used to having in my belly. I realize women do this everyday but to me, I am still in absolute awe of this whole process. So excited for what's to come.

And now I'm off to sleep.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Post from the past - 25 weeks...

Um, I've been a bit behind in posting these photos. The last few weeks have been absolutely crazy. More for Ian than for me but when he is super busy I feel super busy. The craziness started with the short film he created as seen from this post here. Then the weekend after he had to film a project in San Francisco. I jumped on that band wagon because I thought I could really help him out (translation: I really wanted to go to San Francisco). Followed by another short film, which involved another trip by car (ick) to San Francisco from Los Angeles to shoot and drive back all in the same day. Followed by another film project in Boston! Insane. I'm ready for things to slow down a bit.

Here is a recap of our trip to San Francisco (the longer one). When we got up north there was a good couple of days that I felt useful. I did the driving, picked up lunch, suggested great places for dinner (my help revolves around food as does everything in my life). Then when the real heavy lifting started I felt extremely exhausted. By Sunday (his free day) I felt great again. Seems like I was dodging the work but I wasn't. Listen, I only get to play this pregnancy card for a bit longer. (I kid, Ian never needed my help...I don't think).

On this well deserved day off we started our day with brunch at Dottie's True Blue Cafe. We had been to the old location once before and thought the food was pretty yummy. For those who care I had an omelet and pancakes (I was hungry) and their pancakes are really good as is their homemade buttermilk dill bread.

Then we walked around the streets of San Francisco and even went shopping for a maternity bra!! Fun for me and super fun for Ian. After a bit more walking we stumbled across a Bansky...

If you haven't seen "Exit Through The Gift Shop", watch it now. So good. After all the walking my feet needed a rest so we went for a drink at Vesuvio where I take really overblown photos...

Hunger struck again so we met up with some friends for dinner at a really great Brazilian steakhouse called Espetus. Really delicious, highly recommend.

On the drive home the next day we stopped through Bakersfield to grab some cookies at my favorite bakery of all time Smith's. I could eat those cookies all day. They even make a cookie with a little cake on top which is all covered in frosting!! Best thing ever.

I love visiting San Francisco, I'm hoping Ian has another project there soon so I can "assist" once again.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

28 weeks...

Super excited to be entering my third trimester. Only 12 more weeks (give or take) until we get to meet our baby girl!! This pregnancy seems to be going by at lightening speed. I daydream all the time about seeing our baby for the first time. It all seems pretty surreal in the best way possible. I can honestly say (even though I'm extremely emotional) I've never been happier. There is nothing in life I want more than to be a good wife and a loving mom with a stable happy little family, I'm a pretty old fashioned girl in that way. And it's all coming true. I have to pinch myself sometimes. 

Yesterday we had our 28 week prenatal appointment and the sweetest thing happened. The midwife was feeling my belly and was showing Ian how to feel exactly where the baby was. It was a great moment and then she bent down to my belly to talk to the baby. Our midwife said, "hello baby" and the baby kicked in response. Then she would say something else and the baby would kick again. Our midwife was so moved that she had tears in her eyes. It was pretty darn amazing. A moment I will remember forever and I'm sure I will tell the story to our little girl all the time.

So now I am savoring every single kick and every nudge in these last months of pregnancy. I want to bottle the whole thing up so I don't forget a single thing.

(on a side note that shadow on the wall makes my ass look bigger than it really least that is what i'm telling myself)

Monday, March 26, 2012

One year ago today...

One year ago today I married my favorite person in the world. I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I've been so blessed to fall so deeply in love with someone who loves me unconditionally. Someone who has seen me at my very worst and has loved me through it. Someone who has seen me at my very best and beamed with pride. Someone who continues daily to help make my dreams come true. Someone who wakes up every morning and tells me he loves me and then kisses my belly and tells our baby girl how much he loves her. Someone who calls me sweetheart (which always makes me melt).

The other morning I had to leave early and Ian was sound asleep. I kissed him goodbye and in his sleepy state he smiled sweetly and said, "goodbye my sweet princess." How did I get so lucky to find such a love? I'm not quite sure. What I do know is I will never take for granted this precious gift I've been given. Happy First Anniversary, my love. Thank you for filling my life with so much love.

(photos taken by the extremely talented Katy to see more of her wonderful work go here.)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

On a rainy day...

It's raining out and I love it. Perfect weather for snuggling up on the couch to do a little online shopping. I just ordered these Salt Waters because right now it's only fun to buy things like shoes and accessories. You know, things I can still wear after I give birth. Now I just need a pedicure and perhaps a piece of yellow cake with chocolate frosting.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Up all night...

here ian is busy filming his awesome short film. it's a dreaded night shoot so for the past couple days we both stayed up late to try to adjust our schedules. i was planning on helping him with anything he needed on set this weekend and staying as late as i could.

last night was the first night and all was going well until they started using the fog machine inside for atmosphere. i started to get a headache and the smell was making me want to gag so i thought it was best to leave. so did ian. i felt sad that i couldn't watch him in his element. watching him work, doing something he loves makes me so happy and proud and i fall in love all over again. but the dang fog machine wouldn't let me stay. boo.

and now i am up late all by myself because i rearranged my sleep schedule thinking i would be on set. i have a long list of things i should be doing while i'm at home but i have absolutely no motivation and i just want to do the things that i want to be doing instead. like eating a yummy dessert and streaming a good movie on netflix. except all the movies i'm in the mood to watch are disc only. so frustrating. then i start to read a magazine and get really inspired to cut bangs. i literally have the scissors in my hand but then i get scared because every time i have bangs i hate how they get in my eyes. so i put the scissors down and reconsider, for now. maybe i will go to my hairdresser and have her do it? i just don't have the guts to do it myself. so then i got busy trying some new effects using the front facing camera on my iphone, fun!
anyway, i will be up for awhile thinking about how the floor needs mopping. or how i should be finishing that writing assignment i have, or reading one of the many parenting and birthing books i bought. then instead of doing those things i will be looking at adorable baby girl clothes online or sitting watching the baby kick my belly or surfing my favorite blogs or trying to find some ways to add some much needed color to my wardrobe without spending a lot of money.

and then i will try to get on a normal schedule again. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

24 weeks...

Here I am in my 24th week of pregnancy looking a bit worn down after a long day and little sleep. I really can't believe I'm six months along! The time has flown right on by. Whenever I would hear of someone being six months pregnant I would think, "Wow, that woman is going to birth another human being in just a few months!!" It always amazed me. And now I am that woman. Sometimes I still can't believe there is a little girl that my husband and I created safe inside my belly. It really is just the best thing ever. As the days go by I love being pregnant more and more. I love that my belly is getting bigger by the day. I love that baby girl's kicking harder and more frequently.  I love when I close my eyes and put my hands on my stomach I can sometimes feel her whole little body shift around. I am so in love with this sweet little baby and I feel so grateful for this whole experience. I thank God everyday. 

On Wednesday I had my 24 week prenatal appointment and instead of using the fetal doppler to hear the baby's heartbeat I asked the midwife to use a fetoscope. I knew the baby would have to be in just the right position to pick up her heartbeat. Every time my midwife put the fetoscope on my belly the baby would kick it. I figured she was being too active but then she settled in to the perfect position and I saw the midwife immediately time the heartbeats on her watch. Then she let me listen. It was the sweetest sound in the world. Unlike the fetal doppler which sounds loud and swooshy this sounded like fast gentle tapping. Ian even got to hear. So amazing.

After our appointment I was starving (as always) and had an intense craving for a cheeseburger. So we went to Short Order. It was pretty darn good and pretty darn pricey (as in $15 for a burger, without the fries). But we were celebrating our baby girl so we didn't care. And even though I am trying to limit my sugar intake I totally sipped on Ian's milkshake. It was delish.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The search for a diaper bag...

Handbags are my all time favorite accessory. Now that I will be toting diapers and baby essentials around with me come early summer I have been on the search for the perfect diaper bag. In my hunger for all things pregnancy related I began watching the reality show Pregnant In Heels. On the show Rosie Pope carries around the chicest diaper bag from her line. I instantly fell in love with it and immediately went to her online boutique. There it was, the gorgeous diaper bag with the not so gorgeous price tag of $365. I got super excited when I noticed a 50% off everything in the store promotion. Then I got super sad when I realized the bag was sold out. Grrrr.

The bag is now in stock but of course the promotion has ended. So frustrating. On the upside who wants to be carrying around five extra pounds of leather along with the baby? Um, I would but to make myself feel better about passing this one up I'm telling myself my back will thank me later.

So then I found this French beauty from Magic Stroller Bag...

Absolutely gorgeous but once again this bag costs about $395 and is incredibly hard to locate online. Plus it's leather and most likely heavy. Again, I am left frustrated.

So here is my third favorite diaper bag from ikabags on Etsy...

Much lighter than leather, waterproof and handmade in France for the reasonable price of $79!

And for one last option I found a chevron stripe bag from the Etsy store From K to Z...

This one is $90 and you can get a matching changing pad for an additional $17. So now I'm a bit torn on which Etsy bag I want to take the plunge with. So I need some input. Which bag would you choose?


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

22 weeks (last week)...

Last week marked my 22nd week of pregnancy. I have to say pregnancy has been pretty fantastic. Here is (kinda long) recap thus far...

First trimester:

Finding out - After about five months of casually trying I got a positive pregnancy test. Absolute elation was followed by absolute fear. It all became very real VERY fast. I always knew I wanted to have children and after losing one of my ovaries at the age of 17 I always wondered if it would be difficult to get pregnant. Thankfully it wasn't and seeing the word "Pregnant" on my Clear Blue digital test was about the best feeling I could ever imagine. That feeling was followed by thoughts like...oh my god what have we done? Would we be able to handle this new responsibility? Were we really ready for our lives to change forever? The answer was obviously without a doubt, yes! But those first couple weeks were pretty eye opening.

Morning sickness? Nope, not a day, thank the good Lord above. What I had instead was a heightened state of paranoia. I already loved this baby so much the thought of doing anything wrong really freaked me out. I couldn't get enough information so I would search online and if I had a question or symptom I would consult Google. Bad idea. So bad, in fact, that my husband banned me from certain baby sites that can breed fear. If I had to do it all over again I would say a certain amount of ignorance is the way to go. One really doesn't need to worry oneself with all the vast possibilities of reasons for let's say, cramps.

What to eat? Another breeding field for paranoia. The list of what not to eat (or drink) is long and words like listeria and toxoplasmosis are constantly thrown around. Even though I know I have a greater chance of being abducted by aliens than contracting listeriosis, for my own sanity I have abstained from deli meats, sausage, hot dogs, unpasteurized cheese, etc. Almost all cheese in America is pasteurized but I am still afraid of certain cheeses. Yep, pregnancy paranoia. This article helped me a lot. And this article made me reconsider eating sushi.

Prenatal care. After seeing The Business of Being Born I was sold on giving birth at home. This is common practice in Europe so Ian already felt like this was the way to go for us. After some research I found the most wonderful midwifes at The Sanctuary. Honestly, I cannot say enough about how much I love them. Best decision ever. The OBGYN on staff, Dr. Stuart Fischbein is also amazing. As is the book he co-wrote The Fearless Pregnancy. I only wish I would have read it when I first found out I was pregnant. I have to say I have nothing against hospital births, epidurals or c-sections I just felt like if at all possible I personally wanted to avoid them.

Cravings? Oh yeah. Pancakes for breakfast, pancakes for lunch, pancakes for dinner. I also love a good muffin with a few sips of Ian's coffee (having a bakery/coffee shop downstairs from us is trouble). When I'm not craving sweet I want cheeseburgers and pizza. Since these things are not the best thing for the baby I limit my intake. I also have the vain fear of getting a huge ass. So that keeps me in check (most of the time). Although my constant hunger (which has increased in my second trimester) seems to be working against me.

Body changes. Breasts up (at least) two sizes!! Crazy.

The best part of my first trimester (and one of the best moments of my life so far) was hearing our baby's heartbeat and later that same day seeing our baby for the first time at my 12 week ultra-sound. It had been too early to pick up a heartbeat before then which was stressful, to say the least. I was so relieved to hear the fast swoosh of a heartbeat that day that I burst into tears. Absolutely amazing.

Second Trimester:

Baby kicks. I first felt the baby kick at about 15 weeks. I wasn't sure then if it was the baby but now that the baby is kicking all the time I know it was indeed. Such an amazing feeling, I really can't get enough.

Boy or girl premonitions. I was convinced we were having a boy, for kind of ridiculous reasons. The first being the lack of morning sickness. When I looked this up online it said no morning sickness meant you were likely having a boy. Then I checked the ancient Chinese gender predictor and it said I was having a boy. I had no telling dreams whatsoever. Ian thought we were having a girl.

Finding out the sex?
Oh yeah. Ian wanted to wait, I wanted to find out. I won that one and we found out at our 20 week ultra-sound that we are having a GIRL!!!! So much for mother's intuition, I was completely shocked and completely and utterly over the moon. As was Ian (but he knew all along, sheesh).

Seeing the baby kick.
At 21 weeks Ian and I saw my belly move when our baby kicks. Has to be the most amazing thing ever. Again, I can't get enough. Thankfully she is moving a lot everyday.

Been no problem for me yet and I've been doing a lot of it. For Christmas Ian got me this pillow. He calls it a dinosaur poop because of the shape and how massive it is (thank god for our king size bed). I also find it comfortable to sleep on my back sometimes. This was another freak out moment when I read you weren't supposed to lie on your back in your second trimester. My midwifes assured me there was nothing to worry about. They reminded me that my body would tell me when to move and that we naturally move when circulation is bad.

I think that puts me up to date. This week I am in my 23rd week and loving every minute of it. Especially now that I'm finally showing a proper bump instead of looking like I've gained weight awkwardly around my midsection. I am working on putting my belly shots all together (so far) to show the progression. Will be posting it shortly.

I would love to hear any questions or comments you have.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Our Honeymoon: Amsterdam...

Romantic canals.
On the hunt for the best Dutch apple pie.
Wall of clogs. I took home a vintage pair.
Biking families.
A lovely open market.
Dam Square, the heart of the city.
An old book stand.
About to have dinner in the castle behind Ian. Built in 1488 Cafe In de Waag is lit only by candles.
Yummy waffle dessert from In de Waag.
The perfect tree to read under and waiting in line to see the Anne Frank house with our guide book.
Gorgeous sunset.
The pretty Dutch flag.
A detour in the park.
Pancakes! Amsterdam - a must.
The perfect pancake.
Graffiti in a fun font.
Amazing architecture and delicious frites from Vlaams Friteshuis.
Finally the best apple pie in all of Amsterdam from Winkel 43.
After spending 9 days in Greece we were unsure of where to go to next. We were really tempted to go to Paris but since we had been two years earlier we thought it was best to go to a part of Europe we had yet seen. So then we contemplated the south of France...until the exorbitant airline tickets from Athens made us rethink France all together. Next up we thought about going to Vienna but again ticket prices were crazy. So then I hit one of my favorite blogs Fairy Tales Are True to get some inspiration. That is when I thought perhaps Amsterdam was the place to go. Reasonable flights confirmed this...and since we were ending our trip in England (only a short jaunt away) it made perfect sense. Amsterdam was never on my list of must-see cities but I have to say it turned out to be one of our favorite places we visited. The weather was gorgeous, the people were friendly (and spoke English) and endless canals reminded me of Venice, which I absolutely adore! We walked around endlessly, ate good food and took in the romantic environment.

On our travels we have this little ritual of purchasing a city guide at the airport before embarking on our adventure. It's always really helpful and makes for a great keepsake on our bookshelf.

Helpful tip: my husband bought a SIM card in every city we visited that way we had navigation and internet with us always. The SIM cards were always cheap and always came in handy. Unfortunately this doesn't work for iphone users like me.  

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