San Juan Islands Vacation

Hydalee-ho there.

A couple of weeks ago my family embarked on a week long vacation up north. We spent a little time visiting family  in Seattle and also went to the San Juan Islands!

We left bright and early Monday morning with the Jeep packed to the brim. Traveling with a 6 month old baby is no joke. I stan for any parents who can successfully pack for a week with a baby and NOT accidentally fill 7 suitcases. I thought I could get away with a small carry on and maybe a backpack for her but OHYEAHthere’s17thousandoutfitsIneedtobringandthatdoesn’tincludematchinghatsandbows.

Then there’s the feeding of the child (bottles, bottle warmer, bibs and baby spoons, etc), the diapering of the child (wipes, diapers, etc.), the sleeping of the child (pack and play, sleep sack, etc.) the transportation of the child (carseat, stroller, baby carrier). OH DEAR GOD. Then of course E wants to bring an entire stuffed animal family, a small library and a wide variety of fruit leathers. How did I ever think I could possibly ever pull off NOT being the hot mess mom!?

We started the trip in Seattle where we stayed with family in Bellevue. The Dowtown Park is amazing. If you’re ever in Bellevue and have kids, check it out. They have everything.

That night, we had a lovely dinner and enjoyed some absolutely gorgeous Seattle weather on the patio.

The next day we drove to Anacortes to board the ferry to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. The last time I took a ferry I was drinking champagne and kid-free so  this time things looked a little bit different.

We did not see any whales but I did polish off the rest of a chicken sandwich from my Dad’s lunch that was darn good.

We stayed in Friday Harbor for the duration of our time on the island and completely fell in love with it. Our hotel was a 2 bdrm with a little kitchenette and it ended up working perfect for the four of us.

And the place my cousin got married, Roche Harbor? Aaaamazing. LITERALLY out of a friggen’ movie.

The day before the wedding we putzed around the area, had fish and chips, ice cream – basically touristed hard.

That night was the rehearsal dinner on the beach.

The happy couple

The next day before the wedding we walked around Friday Harbor and saw some alpacas.

Almost bought this book because duh.

Here’s David in a strapping hat made of alpaca fur!

Then it was wedding time!

Glow stick necklaces FTW

Everything was just gorgeous and the weather was perfect.

The next day we boarded the ferry back to Anacortes and headed to Issaquah to hunker down at my aunt and uncle’s house. That night, we took a lovely walk around the neighborhood. The baby was clearly not excited about this at all:

The next day we saw some friends and went to the Issaquah Farmers Market, which was really fun!

Then we scooted over to Seattle to hang with my sisters and celebrate Seattle Pride! I wore a rainbow ribbon in my hair, trying to mask the crazy amount of baby bangs, breakage and brown hair I am currently sporting!

And of course, Clara had to show the love as well.

All in all, such a beautiful little vacay. I love my family.

 

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Postpartum Hair Loss and Me

Hello world!

Its me, your thin-haired friend!

Today, it is my pleasure to delve into this topic. It is not going to be pretty (duh), but I think there is value in sharing the experience.

It is not an easy thing, hair loss. It does not matter who you are. It does not matter if it is due to disease, stress, age, genetics, having a baby or just a bad chemical job…losing your hair just plain sucks.

For me, a little background on the subject goes something like this:

My hair basically stayed the same throughout my entire pregnancy. Some women report glorious mermaid-esque locks while they are pregnant due to all the hormonal changes. Apparently the body holds on to all the hair it normally sheds (about 100 strands a day) which accounts for this wonderful phenomenon. Unfortunately my hair decided to stay in it’s normal, somewhat vegetative state.

I started noticing hair loss around 3 months after having Clara. For reference it was also the time my Postpartum Anxiety decided to flare up…read more about that here.  So lovely for these two fun side effects to kick in at the same time. Thanks side effects! And I noticed it right away. I was shedding absolutely EVERYWHERE. My hair would somehow wind up in the glove compartment, all over the coffee table, in the refrigerator! Not to mention it was completely covering Clara at all times. Her little hands just grabbed fistfuls of it. 4-5 passes through my hair with the brush would produce a thick coating of hair in the bristles. I could run my fingers through it at any point of the day and be left with this:

Then I started getting, like, super depressed about it.

Lots of breakdowns after washing my hair, or seeing a picture of myself, or looking at the back of my head with a mirror.

Then I started to do what anyone would do…researched wig toppers. What the hell is a wig-topper you ask? Basically a toupee for women. Just watch this video.

But then I realized that a good one (real human hair on silk) was going to cost upwards of $800. If I knew this issue was going to be my reality for the rest of my life, I would probably make the investment. But for now, I could suck it up.

So I texted my sister-in-law Shannon who is an amazing hairdresser and super knowledgeable about allll the products. Should I try Nioxin? Rogaine? A stimulating scalp scrub? Shannon told me the best way to fix the problem is from the inside out. ENTER: Collagen!

Shannon sent me a big bottle of collagen. I take 5 every day and plan to do so for the foreseeable future. So far, I have been taking it for about a month and it seems the severe hair loss has stopped for now. I do not seem to be actively losing handfuls like I was before. I am not sure if this is due to the collagen or that my body was just done..but whatever it is I AM HAPPY. The collagen will also help regrow the hair and will likely give me some fatty baby bangs. But I am here for it, tbh. I will take any kind of growth that I can get!

The next item to address was the immediate state of my hair which was abysmal at best. Don’t believe me? The proof is in the puddin’ as they say…

Just look at this sad pony…

I MEAN:

IT IS SO BAD

Barely the circumference of a magic marker you guys. And the bald spot surrounding my horrific cowlick on the back of my head ain’t helping matters. I texted these pictures to the person who does my hair and she wrote back immediately. “We need to cut it. As much as you are comfortable with.”

So I had four inches taken off.

MAN does this make a difference, am I right!? I feel like I could have even got an inch or two shorter? It feels WAY better and doesn’t seem quite as pathetic.

In addition to my new shorter ‘do, I am also switching up my hurr curr to include a few more volumizing products, such as:

Biolage Volume Bloom Aqua Gel Conditioner (for Ultra Fine Hair)

This conditioner smells amazing (I love how ALL Biolage product smell) and is perfect for not weighing my hair down.

Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray

This is probably the best salt spray I’ve tried. It provides the perfect amount of grit to achieve the tousled look, even with super thin hair.

Pureology Instant Levitation Mist

I have been using this product as a root-booster and while it does not give as much volume as the Big Sexy Hair, it does a fine job.

And in the end, yes…it is just hair. And as India Arie reminds us, “I am not my hair”. But then again, it grows from our head and is a big part of who we are. And while I am sad about losing it, I am MORE than okay with the reasons why I lost it. Namely – this little tike ♥.

the baby bangs are FO REAL you guys

And that’s the regiment folks! Have you experience postpartum hair loss? If so, what did you do?

Roadtrips and Springtime Fun

Who’s ready for some topics?!

David and I have been doing a fair bit of the odd travels lately and to nowhere particularly thrilling. But when you have an infant baby and a sprightly 8 yr old that might be a good thing. Making the schlep anywhere is difficult but so worth it in order to see family and/or partake in the following…

A basketball tournament in Seattle for David! We stayed at a family member’s house which made everything a million times better having the extra room.

While in Seattle, Meg and I pushed our strollers around Bellevue Square! It was also the weekend before Mother’s Day and we happened upon this adorable photo backdrop and of course could not resist taking pics. I was a little excited.

My sister Rachel also got Meg and I these highly coveted pink Starbucks tumblers because she da best.

I walked around proud as a mother effin’ peacock pushing around my hand-me-down Bob while toting this Instagram worthy dazzling goodness. It’s been awhile since I’ve felt “cool” so thanks Rach!

A trip home for a family yard sale!

My grandmother recently passed and my grandpa moved out so our family got together for a nostalgic day of selling all the stuff in their house.

FUN FACT: My grandparents were snowbirds with a house in Yuma, AZ meaning they had lots of items from our friends south of the border. Like these beauts:

yes that is a floral fanny pack

And also some fun vests from my grandpa’s big-band days.

The kids and babies had a blast too.

Our latest trip was to Salem for another basketball tournament.

Could you JUST DIE for her shoes?

In between games, we strolled the downtown and I found a store that is 100% my aesthetic…

sadly it was closed…

I did manage to procure a mini-crown for Clara’s first birthday, however.

David and I also celebrated one year of marriage last month! It was such a great night. I made reservations at Piazza Italia and Clara was a peach the whole time.

And lately the sun has been out! Oh, the glorious sun. Makes everything better, albeit more sticky. This is the first time Clara and I have experience warm temps together and lemmetellya, homegirl and I get OUR SWEAT ON together. We both be bathin’ errr night.

But the nice weather also means a whole new way to dress!

Give me cotton overalls…

BONNETS…

Sleeveless rompers….

And GIANT velvet head bows…

Any day of the mothereffin’ week.

All for now. byeeeeeeeeeeeee

Returning to Work and Postpartum Anxiety

So, ok. This blog post title could not be more Debbie Downer if it tried but dangnamit, I’m writing it!

First things first –

GOING BACK TO WORK AFTER HAVING A KID IS HARD

Sh*t man. Like, how do people do this? Have a baby! They said. You can be a working mom! They said. Before I had Clara, I envisioned myself as one of those women who could easily make the transition. As one of those moms who could go away on fun-filled girls weekends after 4 months, baby-free. As one of those moms who could carry on exactly as before baby came along.

That kind of mom, I am not.

I am the mom who wakes up early, plucks up her still-asleep, warm and delicious (yes, delicious) little baby from her bed, wishing she could spend consecutive hours snoozing and snuggling with this little being that makes her heart LITERALLY sing. I am the mom who feels immense guilt when she gets home and realizes she has not seen her baby for 8 whole hours. I am the mom that cannot fathom leaving the baby overnight, that struggles with leaving for more than 4 hours, that misses the baby constantly, that feels like she is missing an limb when she is not with her.

I am THAT mom.

And mind you, I have no doubt that my baby is being cared for in the best way possible when we are apart. Everyone that watches Clara loves her so much, there are zero qualms about her safety or her needs not being met. It is allllll about me. My feelings. My guilt.

Currently I am working 5 consecutive, 7 hour days. There have been ups and downs. Easy days and hard days. Days where I love my situation, I feel contented in the time I get with my baby, my QT with David and E.  But then there are days where I question IT ALL.

Why am I working? I am a terrible person. She is going to forget about me. Did I read to her at all yesterday? What is she doing right now? Am I talking to her enough? Does she love me?

This is the tape that plays in my head.

So that is where we’re at. Luckily, my job is continually amazing and allows flexibility when and where I need it. I will keep you all posted on the working-mom front but this stuff is no joke. WHO FEELS ME?

And speaking of tapes playing in my head…POSTPARTUM ANXIETY! Let’s talk about it.

This is a fairly new diagnosis in the medical community I recently learned, but to anyone who struggles with generalized anxiety it should be no surprise. Give someone with crippling anxiety a baby, and yeah, there’s a good chance that person will face a whole new set of issues. Namely, me. At my last appointment with my midwife, we chatted about it. She gave me a little survey to take and each question was just SO spot on for how I am feeling rn.

“Do you find yourself in a constant state of worry?” YAS. “Do you find situations you used to enjoy to no longer be fun?” YASSSS.

What am I doing to help myself? LOTS. One thing I learned long ago (esp when it comes to mental health) is that getting off my butt and taking steps to get help is SO worth it. When I am feeling overwhelmed, anxious, depressed – whatever – the absolute best thing to do is just call the damn doc. So, in the coming weeks I have lined up appointments with my doctor and therapist because I refuse to let PPA, PPD or anything else get the better of me. I’m open to adding a medication to the lineup and also working on things in therapy.

Anyone else experience PPD or PPA? How did you survive?

Postpartum/Current Skin Care Routine

Oh the joys of life after havin’ a kid!

I will also have to fill you all in on the horrific hair loss that has come my way! We’ talkin’ fistfuls of hair  falling out, 24 hours a day. AND NOW I get why so many women resort to the Mom bob. When the thickness of your ponytail is the circumference of a sharpie, suddenly it doesn’t sound like the worst idea.

*all this to be said – It is ALL worth it. I am so happy and grateful to have this child!

I digress. ON TO SKINCARE!

You see, some things have changed and some things have stayed the same. But everything remains equally important. Here is what I have been loving!

For the bod…

Here are my list of troubles:

  1. Keratosis Pilaris STILL on the insides of my knees. Read more about my fabulous journey with KP here. I thougt mayyybe having a baby might change my hormone levels and rid me of this stupid skin condition, BUT NO. Still got it.
  2. Slightly stretched-out skin on my tummy area. Shocking I know.
  3. Extremely dry skin.

And the lineup!

Starting with my shower: I love using the Body Conditioners from Lush and y’all know Rose Jam is, well…my jam. The scent is positively intoxicating, the ingredients are super high-quality and it leaves skin super moisturized!

In terms of shaving, I have been really enjoying my subscription with Billie razors. They are inexpensive, super cute and provide a very close shave with added hydration. Check out my blog post about them here.

For moisturizers/lotions, the routine is somewhat extensive but for good reason! You see, I use three different products on my bod after the shower.

First I cover my lower legs, feet, arms and chest with Kopari Coconut Melt which is essentially just a bougie coconut oil. I scoop out a fair amount, let it melt in my palms and go to town!

Next, I use the ONLY lotion I have found to be effective on my KP, CeraVe Renewing SA Lotion. I use this above the knee, up to my hips.

Next, I use the Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream on…you guessed it – mah bum. I also use this on my tummy and muffin-top area. This stuff is known to tighten and smooth the skin so I slather it everywhere I want that to happen!

Now onto the face.

My list of troubles are:

  1. Dry skin!
  2. Very dark under eye circles…again – shocking.
  3. Lots of hyperpigmentation and sun spots for which I do not want to use retinol at this time.

Here’s the lineup!

For face wash, I am alternating the GinZing Scrub Cleanser and the Cetaphil Daily Face Cleanser. Exfoliation every few days is really important people!

I loved the Cetaphil was when I was pregnant because of my annoying breakouts and I have continued to use it. It is such a great product. Cheap, effective, not drying and I am weirdly addicted to the scent of it! Read more about my pregnancy skin issues here!

Next, I have been using a combination of Alpha Arbutin 2%, Hylaraunic Acid and 100% Plant Derived Squalene by The Ordinary. Before I got pregnant, I was also used a 5% Retinoid by The Ordinary, but I am not going to start using that again until I am done breastfeeding and rubbing my face against my little girl’s 89723 times a day.

During the day, I either moisturize my face with The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA  or the Origins GinZing Gel Moisturizer. For night time, I use the Serendipity Serenade Repairing Night Cream. I did a whole review of products from The Ordinary…read that here!

Under the eyes I use the Origins Ginzing Eye Cream for daytime. The pearly finish is perfect for fighting the darkness under there. At night, I use the L’Oreal Revitalift.

Lastly, I liberally spritz my entire face and neck with St.Tropez Purity Self Tan Mist. I just recently incorporated this into my skincare routine and so far I am loving the subtle glow this stuff is giving me. It smells amazing (NO gross self-tanner smell), feels like nothing on the skin and the results look totally natural! This stuff might have earned holy grail status for me!

The last thing I usually remember to do is take care of the ol’ gobbler (aka my neck). I love using the Nivea Skin Firming & Smoothing Serum for this. And the results are quite nice (pictured below, on the right).

After that, it’s the Brazilian Kiss jumbo lip balm which smells and tastes delectable. Sometimes, I smear this stuff on my knuckles or under my eyes for a little added moisture boost!

And I think that about does it for me.

I realize that is about a million products. And this doesn’t include my makeup routine which also includes primers and facial mists of course. But I feel like each item is completely justified and serves it’s purpose wonderfully. If I had to choose one product, I would honestly go with the Coconut Melt because you can pretty much put it everywhere. I also use it on Clara!

What are some of YOUR favorite skincare products?

Baby and Me – 3 Month Update

Hello chickens.

So, I am crying as I type this. If you think the hormones have left for good now that she is 3 months old WELL THINK AGAIN. David is currently packing up his makeshift workstation that has been the eyesore of our kitchen the past 3 months. A mess I begged him to tidy about 37642 times. And now that he is, I am a weepy, sullen mess. Why? Because David is going back to work full time tomorrow. He has been part time these past few months and has been able to work from home. And even though I have been the primary caregiver, shuffling around the house in my bathrobe and slippers, his presence has been a welcome one. Calming. He is my buddy. And he helps me with our precious girl.

And now he is packing it up. Our little cocoon of comfort and familiarity is being ripped apart. Tomorrow I will be alone. No longer able to shout out, “She just puked down my shirt!” and have David’s booming laughter fill the house in response. I suppose some women might rejoice in having the house to themselves when their partner goes back to work BUT NOT ME. I love my partner and rely on him so much.

So the next two weeks will be just C and me. I am pretty excited to have a little more time with her before my epic return to work mid-April. Which bring me to my first official topic. Ok, wiping away the tears now and pouring myself some wine. brb.

CHILDCARE.

This is a place I sincerely wish it did not have to go to. A place that, upon touring, breaks my heart. A place I will feel guilty about EVERY SINGLE DAY.  A little place called Day Currr.

David and I have toured everything from the creme de la creme with an infant “curriculum” at $1,700/monthly, to the fluorescent lights and poop-stained carpet place  at $1,250/monthly. And TBH, not a whole lot separates the two besides the following factors:

  1. Cleanliness, obviously.
  2. Quality of care takers.
  3. Niceness of facility.

These things of course, are all vastly important. But they ALL are forced by law to adhere to a bunch of rules making the differences things that just make you, the parent, will only worry about. Clara won’t know if she is in the Taj Mahal or in a tent under the freeway. It’s all about appeasing US, the parents. Making us feel less guilty about leaving our sweet baby for 8 hours a every day.

Anyway, the whole issue just has me reeling. Before I had a baby, I always thought I would be one of those people who could easily go back to work after 3 months. I predicted I would CRAVE going back. And in some ways, I do. I love my job, my company, and especially the friendships I have. I miss the adult interaction, exercising my brain in a different way and putting on actual pants. But in the same breath, I am absolutely gutted at the idea of not being with Clara. Like, it actually makes me feel sick. The thought of leaving my tiny baby everyday has me feeling eviscerated, anxious and guilty. So here I am. Stuck in a glass case of emotion ala Ron Burgundy. It is reassuring to know that I am not alone. That so many parents struggle with this and get through it. I’ve been told to wear waterproof mascara for the first few days back. But the way I can cry, I might need a Tyvek suit.

I digress. Here is more randomness about my physical state:

I am officially out of the woods in the pain department.  And I feel back to my normal self again. I feel able to do mostly everything I was able to do before getting pregnant, with the following exceptions:

  • Running (only attempted this once)
  • The ability to easily touch my toes (flexibility = GONE. sayonara all the progress I made in yoga)
  • Easily walking uphill (SO. WINDED)

On the flip side though and looking at things GLASS HALF FULL…

  • I drink way more water now #milkmaid
  • My arms are getting stronger #babyholding
  • It only takes me one glass of wine to get a little buzzed #cheapdate

Moving onto all things baby!

And  I am not going to act like any of this is earth-shattering news. I mean, she is a human baby. They all pretty much do they same crap. I’m not about that “my 3 month-old’s favorite activities include” life. We’re just living our lives over here.

Let’s let the pictures tell a story, as they do.

Tummy Time! haaaates it

Optimal Burping Position

E set them up to watch TV together like this.

Unicorn hat and Zutano Fleece Booties from Nana

Fun with Snapchat

 

Wonder Woman bb

BB Denim

This photobombing little boy deserves a slow clap

First Blazers Game

 

Let us now move onto sleep. A topic I am leery to write about because I feel I must knock on wood each and every time I utter these words out loud, let alone on THE NET but here it is…our girl is a great sleeper. Since the day she was born. I mean, of course we had our nights of up being up every 2 hours. Of taking hours to get her to fall asleep. But those nights have been few. And nights where we all get 5,6 and sometimes even 7-9 hour chunks are the norm. Hip hop hooray. Sleep is awesome.

Other than that, everything is fairly normal. She eats. She naps. She smiles and “talks” to us. She farts like an absolute champ. She has a little bald spot on the back of her head. I am obsessed with her in every sense of the word. I am head over heels in love with my husband and stepdaughter. E absolutely adores her sister and is so gentle and sweet with her. David balances her in one hand while I scream at him.

Life is good you guys. Life is good.

Clara’s Nursery Tour

Good day crumpets!

I would like to start this out by saying that I am emphatically against “room tours” in the typical sense of the word. You know the ones. Those we see on YouTube or Instagram, flexing $2,000 Restoration Hardware cribs and linens worth more than a car payment that are NOT real life. They are meant to make us normal people feel bad. So bad, in fact, that I can no longer go inside Pottery Barn Kids without breaking a sweat and feeling guilty that I cannot provide this picture perfectness for my kid.

Is this just me?

When our 3rd bedroom was finished (it was a loft space prior), I started having minor palpitations about how I would decorate it. What “theme” should I pick? Should I stick with my go-to Shabby Chic taste?  Or should I aim for one of those cool, Instagram, minimalist, gender neutral style spaces?

How much money did I really want to spend on this room?

The answer: NOT MUCH.

I decided to let things happen naturally. Paint the walls a color that will stand the test of time. Fill this room with things we love,  that evoke nostalgia and that make us think, “Clara will love this”. So here we are…here’s her room.

Crib from a friend! Woohoo!

All the bedding as well as the mobile is from Target’s Shabby Chic line. The patterns are TO DIE. Apologies for the super wrinkly crib skirt. The blanket draped over the crib was a gift that my friend’s mom made. The big flowers are from Hobby Lobby. They were inspired by the $50 versions I saw and died over at Pottery Barn Kids:

This ballerina fitted crib sheet is also Shabby Chic from Target!

Can you handle theeee cuteness of these little stuffies?

This changing table is Ikea, but we got it from Offer Up for $70.

All her little shoes make me so happy. Especially the Toki Doki Donutella moccasins!

How sweet is this little music box? It was a gift from David’s aunt Sandi who got it in Vietnam.

This is a bouncy chair from Ikea and it is super comfy. The little Clara chair is actually from Pottery Barn Kids and was a gift from my amazing work.

The swan bust is amazing! It is from Target and I love it.

This is a Madame Alexander doll. I also have a set of Little Women dolls from Madame Alexander which I want to get up on a shelf.

Mostly all the stuffies in her room were gifts. The Jellycat ones are SO soft and wonderful.

The other little cove of the room has a couch and TV. So far it has been awesome to have in there and E loves hanging in here to watch her shows. Also LOVE the Pusheen pillow :).

UPDATE: My mom sewed blackout curtains on the back of these Parisian panels  David’s mom got us that we have had for awhile. The work perfectly in this room!

And that’s it! She is not sleeping in here quite yet but we are all ready to go. I have loved decorating this little space for her!