Wednesday, August 24, 2016

So Close, and Yet So Far

I'm not sure this phrase could be more appropriately placed than when in reference to a woman awaiting the birth of her child.

As Baby Hyatt has grown bigger (and me with her), and her movements are more and more fluidly human, I'm astounded at how literally close we are. For all intents and purposes, we couldn't be any closer.

And yet...

The road to her actually being born and placed in my arms feels... oceans away, at times. Throughout pregnancy, despite how fast the weeks seem to pass and how every other co-worker loves to remind me that "so soon" baby will be here, the slow drudge of time is still maddening. And as time moves onward and the end of the road comes into focus, the true battle, the true test that awaits me before achieving Status: Motherhood makes the destination feel even further away.

Truly incredible that the journey of a handful of inches can seem so insurmountably far.

19 weeks, 2 days

29 weeks, 4 days

37 weeks, 1 day (aka. yesterday)

It's all feeling wholly unpredictable these days. Everything. It's strange, because I have felt fairly confident and comfortable throughout my pregnancy with the idea of labor and the pain involved. I feel strongly about what I want and equally as eager to see things go how I plan. But I am wise enough, as the days chug along, that nothing ever goes as planned. I'm already feeling the truth of that.

I've had friends and family message me, asking if I'm getting really excited. If I'm elated at the thought of meeting my baby soon. If I'm feeling "ready" -- ready for pregnancy to be over and ready to finally enter into the very real world of parenthood.

Yes. Yes to all of those things. But that also seems like too simplistic an answer to everything that is currently happening; mentally, physically, emotionally, professionally, socially -- every area of my life is feeling the effects of this one thing, and the majority of it feels entirely out of my control. It feels bigger than I could have ever anticipated, in more ways than I would have thought possible.

Not having a baby, mind you. No. Simply being here, now, where I currently am: pregnant and waiting. Feeling how close my baby's birth is, and yet overwhelmed at how much there still is to come before it. Things I want to get done, knowing full well that it's unlikely I will.

Only 3 weeks left. Or less. Or more. Who knows...

So things continue on as normal, and yet not normal at all, as I try and be a functional human person living a life with some level of responsibility, while still battling with a level of physical discomfort I could not have foreseen, and working to wrap my head around an impending event (time still TBD) that will change my life forever.

What a trip this experience has been. And still is.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Baby Product Poll: Swaddles

So, as Jonathan and I get closer to welcoming Wee Baby Hyatt into the mix, I'd like to gather some opinions from my parent and frequent babysitter friends regarding products that worked particularly well for them with their newborns/infants -- especially if you have perspective on multiple children and how they differed.

The consensus I've gathered from various resources, and a few friends, is that sometimes we have to go through a few products to find what works best, since every baby is different. And what works for your first baby may not work for your second. This is all fine, of course, logically, but since we are in a small apartment on a tight budget, we are hoping to keep things as minimal as two recovering maximalists can manage when it comes to baby gear. Not get 10 products when one or two will do, you know?

This leads me to my first topic: SWADDLES.

I already know I will be registering for a few cotton muslin swaddling blankets (since they are multi-use, for everything from breastfeeding covers, tummy time blankets, burb cloths, etc., and take up very little space), but I am also considering a Miracle Blanket swaddle to try after doing a bunch of research. Seemed to be the best bet if we are aiming to pick just one, but still... Maybe there's something better? Maybe I should ignore my desire for minimalism, suck it up, and get a few things? Maybe swaddling is over-rated and I am silly and overthinking this?

Less than 8 weeks to go and I am grasping for my sanity and comfort in my choices.

So, parents: what are your thoughts?

At the end of the day, my overall goal is to avoid getting one of *every* type of swaddle or sleep sack or what-have-you. I want to keep it simple. I'd like to make a wise decision straight out of the gate that doesn't have me wasting money trying to rectify my mistakes. Your input may be just what I need to feel even a wee bit more confident.

Thanks, friends!


Since this post was all about asking for advice, I wanted to share some suggestions and thoughts I got from friends who commented on my Facebook page about this particular post. I think it may be valuable to anyone curious about swaddling and buying swaddles, because it got me thinking about some products I hadn't considered and ones I clearly didn't give enough thought to. (Newly-mentioned products linked below!)

"I 100% swear by the Miracle Blankets and have used them for all three kids. When my first son was born, almost 12 years ago, they were hard to find and not well known but saved us from hours of crying. I still even have the original one as I fear someday they will stop making them and someone will need one!" -- Jennie C.

"I haven't met a baby yet who didn't like the HALO Sleepsack. It has a swaddle version that converts to arms free, and you don't have to wrestle them on. The zipper is at the bottom, which is nice when they inevitably poop right after you have just finished the bedtime routine." -- Katie M.

"We used the SwaddleMe Velcro ones and loved them! Baby will wiggle out of a blanket swaddle pretty easily once they start moving more." -- Cristina M.

"We loved the lightweight aiden + anais blankets. Our son has always been a hot sleeper, so the light fabric was great. Second the HALO mentioned above, but he wore those when he was a few months old and wanted free arms. When he was super newborn, he had to have the arms in. He also really liked the Woombie, which is basically a sack with a zipper on the front: Comfort & Harmony Woombie Perfect Peanut Swaddle - All In A Row. I was never smart (awake) enough to deal with the Velcro ones. They always seemed so unnecessarily complicated." -- Shane S.

"We used all of the above suggestions at one stage or another. The Miracle sleeper never totally worked for us, but every baby is different and I know a few people who have sworn by it. The HALO Sleepsack is great for when they get a little bigger and start breaking their arms out of the blanket swaddles. But for the very, very beginning, the aiden + anais really did the trick for us. Easy to use and comfortable for the babe and also great as nursing covers/stroller covers in the sun because they are so breathable. We found that the blanket swaddles were the most comforting to our daughter in the beginning, because we could get them nice and tight, and she had a strong startle reflex and would startle herself awake if her arms weren't locked down." -- Sam P.

"Our son hated swaddling. He would somehow shimmy his arms out every time we tried. After a month of trying we gave up. He was all about his arm and leg freedom! So my parent advice is to get a few different kinds but not to open them all, as you might need to return them if baby girl doesn't like them!" -- Christine W.

"We loved the HALO sleepsacks. Great for a summer baby. My husband was great at swaddling with the aiden + anais blankets, but I never got the hang. The sleepsacks also don't constrict baby's hips, which was reassuring for us since our son slept in a sack for about 3 months." -- Katy L.

"We used the Woombie and the HALO sleepsacks. Our son used it until he rolled over at about 6 months and then we used the transition one that lets you free one or both of their arms but they still get the closeness of the swaddle on their chest. We thought he hated swaddling at first but after about 3 weeks, we swore by it! Use it for naps too!" -- Meghan G.

"Our son is apparently one of the many babies who is the reincarnation of Harry Houdini and can escape any swaddle that isn't firmly locked in place. He sleeps MUCH better/longer when swaddled, but he hates the initial act of being swaddled and tries to break his arms free... Once he settles down, though, the swaddle is a lifesaver! We've tried pretty much everything now I think -- SwaddlePods, Woombie, Velcro Swaddles, Miracle Blanket, and good old fashioned muslin swaddling... Our absolute favorite style with him has been the pods/Woombie -- they're super easy to use, you basically just bag your baby up till you've got a glo-worm instead -- and they're inescapable. They're also great when a middle of the night diaper change is necessary since they have dual directional zippers and you don't have to undo the critical arm swaddle portion. That said, the Woombie is way better than the less expensive pods; it doesn't stretch out and has a more snug hold throughout. We use the cheaper pods too (they're fine, but they stretch a lot and sometimes he even gets his hand out the neck!), and some Velcro hand me down ones, because he spits up enough that we have to wash whatever we're using after every use... but if I could have a whole bunch of Woombies, that would be my pick!" -- Katie H.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Some Distractions: Ilvermorny, Juno and Jupiter, Etc.

Happy Friday, everyone! It's been a long week, and things are getting pretty real around these parts. Weirdly, at almost 32 weeks, my energy is actually increasing and I can feel the nesting urges coursing through me. I'm expecting another weekend full of cleaning, organization, and purging of junk. How about you? Any fun plans?

For the end-of-the-week focus-challenged: a few links from around the Web...

Very impressed with how this couple managed to get their awesome studio apartment photo-ready within just two weeks of moving in.

Emoji pool floats!

Hot design trend: Bubblegum pink. Would you dare?

Lately I've been buying and consuming fruit like my life depended on it, so I decided to switch it up a bit on 4th of July weekend by making my very first pie—with yummy results!

Speaking of recipes, I know I have to technically limit/cut out the bacon, but it's summer so GIMME.

J.K. Rowling has released the story of Ilvermorny, the North American School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, on Pottermore. If you already have an account, you can be sorted into your Ilvermorny House here! (I'm a Thunderbird!)

An enlightening interview all about finance for freelance creatives.

This onesie would make Baby Hyatt at least 20% cooler than every other baby.

Enraptured with the happenings around Jupiter these days.

Jonathan and I are a bit obsessed with this Eichler-style home listing in nearby Concord, CA. (No surprise it's already pending sale; that price seems too good to be true.)

Thanks to an extensive diaper bag search (I—er, I mean we—settled on this one as a purse replacement for me, and this one for everyday parental use), I am wanting to throw away every bag I own and replace it with a fresh and new collection of "tote"-related items, from market baskets, to weekenders, to travel backpacks. It's a sickness.

Have a spectacular weekend!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

My Biggest Pregnancy Cravings

my first trimester best friend: organic fried chicken sandwich with slaw from The Organic Coup

Food cravings are an interesting thing. I have always been curious what my specially tailored pregnancy cravings would be when I inevitably, hopefully, got pregnant, if I had any at all. My mother loves to tell people about regularly sending my father down the street at 1 AM to the 7-Eleven for a Slurpee ("Blue raspberry, specifically."), and my friend Cassie's second pregnancy cravings sent her after spicy foods and tomatoes -- two things she'd always avoided.

My relationship with food during these 2+ trimesters of pregnancy has been an inconsistent and fairly boring one, I must admit. Nothing quite like what I expected, but then again, it hardly surprises me the kind of food I've gravitated towards.

The first trimester was less about cravings than it was about aversions, which means the food I wanted was less about genuinely wanting it than it was about not being disgusted by it. It closely resembled my PMS food staples: salty and fatty, in only the way that fast food burgers, french fries, and burritos can be. Vegetables of any kind, particularly cooked, were a no-no thanks to nausea, and though I could technically eat meat without feeling ill, I absolutely could not be the one cooking it. It was a truly dark time for my diet. (The good news: my body worked so hard and efficiently creating another organ -- my baby's fancy new placenta -- that I gained exactly zero pounds during those first 12 or so weeks, despite treating my body like a fast food garbage can.)

If I could categorize any specific food as a Capital "C" Craving of my first trimester, it would probably be fried chicken sandwiches and red grapes. There was something about foods that were cold and crisp (or contained elements that could be categorized as such) that were especially tempting and satisfying; even the sandwiches fit the bill, thanks to crunchy pickles, or crisp coleslaw. (I even went out of my way to get this one from Plan Check when I was visiting my sister in LA. Worth it.)

The second trimester meant nausea was mostly a thing of the past, and I was gradually able to start cooking again. By then, mere habit had turned my body onto those salty and fatty staples of weeks prior (something I still have yet to shake), but the expanded capacity to stomach veggies meant that salads were back on the menu.

It was around this time that my staunch 'No Coffee' rule began to wither. The first trimester had been trying; I was hit with a level of fatigue and exhaustion I didn't know was possible. Not having coffee to counteract just a little bit of it was by far the worst part of this "Foods and Drinks You Must Limit or Avoid During Pregnancy" challenge. Even though pregnant women are allowed 200 mg of caffeine per day (the standard cup of coffee has about 94 mg, but caffeine shows up in chocolate too, which counts towards that 200 mg total), anyone with a coffee addiction knows that it's a slippery slope. One cup is just not enough. Now it's a morning staple and I'm feeling pretty good about it.

I'm sad to say that I haven't craved anything particularly odd. No weird combos (though the stereotypical "peanut butter and pickles" is already a favorite food pairing of mine, which I enjoy almost daily on my morning toast), and nothing that would make anyone else go But why??

The most identifiable and consistent cravings have been primarily a matter of convenience. A Baja Fresh "Baja" Burrito is something I regularly request for dinner due to it being right downstairs from our apartment. It's refreshing and surprisingly light for a large burrito (just chicken, pico de gallo, and guacamole, with added sour cream and shredded lettuce), so I never feel guilty eating it. I've easily eaten two dozen of them throughout my 31 weeks of pregnancy so far. I have no doubt baby's love for burritos will be fierce, just like her papa.

Another convenience craving has been Dickey's Fried Okra, which usually hits mid-afternoon while I'm at work, and a Dickey's is just a short drive away. This indulgence has been less frequent (though the craving is constant), since I usually do feel guilty after eating a heaving pile of them.

Finally, so far in my third trimester, it's been all about SUGAR. I think it's because my doctors prescribed me to the "gestational diabetes diet," although I do not, in fact, have GD. Apparently my body takes just a little too much time to process sugar than is ideal, so they were like "Better cut out sugar." My midwife was sort of ehhh, you really are fine about the whole thing, so I've sort of ignored the diet instructions. As long as Baby Hyatt is measuring nice and normal for size (which she is!), then I am unperturbed. Luckily for me, my body was suddenly like "SUGAR IS THE BEST THING EVEEEEERRRRRR" and it's become a daily craving of which my salt-loving body is not accustomed. I truly want all the pastries and cookies, all day every day.

Bring me some?

So yeah. I'm not sure what the rest of my third trimester will bring, but my guess is: more of the same. The copious amount of fruit I've been eating could be a craving, though it could also just be the endless bounty of summer. I'll probably still want things that are otherwise considered "bad" for me, though the beauty of being Pregnant in America is that my "DGAF" attitude about eating whatever I want is pretty commonplace.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Some Distractions: Game of Thrones, Summer Sandals, Etc.

San Francisco City Hall during Pride Week 2013, photograph by Joe Parks

Did everyone have a good weekend? Mine was a little bit somber, as me and a group of my friends gathered around a dear girlfriend of ours who tragically lost her mother. So devastating, but it was nice to be able to huddle around her and shower her with love and snacks and distractions for a day.

Gay Pride Weekend was in full swing in San Francisco, and though I would have loved to go and take part in all the fun festivities, I was happy to be able to spend some time with my friends, and also just get some rest. This baby belly is getting big and heavy.

If you're interested, a handful of distractions for the start of your week...

First and foremost: How AMAZING was that Game of Thrones season finale? It almost makes up for all the sadness and death us fans have experienced these past six seasons. (Warning: all the spoilers!)

Inside the complicated and heartbreaking decision to have an abortion at 32 weeks.

I can't stop quoting this.

The political nerd in me is on pins and needles waiting to find out who Clinton's final VP pick will be.

Thanks to Kim for reminding me how much I need a pick me up sometimes, this song from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has been on repeat while I hunker down to focus at work. It may be for little kids, but it's impossible not to smile, no matter your age.

Is your body shaped like a fruit? (I literally LOL'd at my desk.)


Fell into the deep and beautiful hole that is this editorial blog by freelance photographer Brian Ferry. (I would like to live here please.)

A delicious way to up my veggie intake.

Been needing some new sandals that stay secure on my feet. Finally found and ordered these leather ones and excited to get them this week!

Have a wonderful week, everyone!

Psst... You may have noticed the blog got a bit of a face lift since this time last week. Just an attempt to bring in a bit more visual minimalism to my life. I hope you like it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Thoughts On Baby Naming

Nicole Gonzalez and baby Lillie Sol, via her blog Lillies & León | photograph by Mary Grace

This week marks the start of my 3rd trimester of pregnancy. 28 weeks. I can't believe it's come this fast. Despite being more than ready to meet this little girl and embrace the challenges of new motherhood, I am still woefully unprepared to bring her home and step away from my job for 3+ months. Still so much to buy and prep and do!

Preparing for baby in all the big and little ways that one prepares for such things has been both fun and stressful. Jonathan is hyper-involved in everything, but most of the research on baby gear and essentials has fallen to me—mostly because I've embraced it like it's a full time job. But one area where we've both been particularly attentive is to the issue of baby names.

I don't know how most couples approach this kind of thing in the early stages of their relationship, but Jonathan and I—once we were each aware of the other's interest in having kids someday—talked openly about baby name preferences before nearly anything else, including marriage. It was probably because talking about baby names is one of my favorite topics of conversation period, full stop, and I forced him to talk to me about it. Six years ago, it was very important that he know how I felt about his preferred boy's name, Doc ("Hell no."), and it was necessary that I knew his feelings about my favorite girl's name at the time, Laila ("Not feeling it...").

He was such a good sport.

And so it went, the "What about...?" discussion happening a hundred times over the years, thus we were able to narrow down our top choices to a short list of possibilities that sat in stasis for upwards of three years. When we found out we were having a baby—and especially when we found out it was a girl—Jonathan's baby naming seriousness kicked into high gear. Something about the reality of picking a name for a real live person to have for their entire life makes you look at all your name choices differently. At least, it did for us.

A big discussion of late has been whether (and how) to honor family members in the naming of our baby. So many individual names and name combos we love, and that made our list, have little or nothing to do with family legacy. We liked the idea of family names, but neither of us thought it really mattered all that much when we were just ruminating over ideas. Now though... with an actual baby brewing... we are weighing all the pros and cons.

There are lots of pros and cons, it turns out.

So at 28 weeks, we're honing in on a much shorter short list of names, with one that's peaking out as the favorite. It's mind-boggling to have thought so much about baby names for so many years (long before Jonathan was even a blip on my romantic radar), and now... we get to name one. A girl who will hopefully live a long life with that name, carrying it into adulthood, hearing it through the voices of friends and lovers, putting it on job resumes!

The weight of such a life long decision is not lost on us. We're so honored to get the opportunity to name a human being—bestowing upon her the first little piece of her identity.

We've made the decision not to announce or discuss the baby's name until she's born, primarily because I would like to reserve the right to change my mind after seeing her little face! It's tough though, since I love talking about them so much...

SO TELL ME: If you've got some favorite baby names, or your children are already named and you love talking about the why and how you came up with that name, let me know in the comments. Are there names you used to love, but your partner nixed them? What about names you are sad you couldn't use because you are done having children? I would absolutely love to read all about it!

Baby names. I seriously can't get enough.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Some Distractions: Kim Kardashian, Rosé Cocktails, Etc.

day dreaming about spending an amenity-free weekend at Steep Ravine next summer

Perhaps I'm inspired by the bajillion bloggers who have come before me, but I've decided to start putting together little lists of things that are really tickling my fancy at any given moment. Partly for my future reference, but also because I think you all may get something out of it too. So much greatness being shared and created on the Internet these days; also loads of silliness and cool shit to buy. So, in no reliable time frame and only when I feel like it, I will plop what I find here on TSP for your general consumption.

A few distractions...

It may be summer, but I am still coveting this ultra-chunky wool blanket for the foot of my bed.

The whip-smart Caity Weaver offers an insightful and funny profile (with ultra-sexy photos to boot) on Reality Queen, Kim Kardashian West.

Some of the great ways women are engaging with one another and owning their feminism online and in the media, via Cup of Jo. (I immediately went and purchased this book.)

My Star Wars-obsessed, tiki drink-loving husband desperately needs all of these.

This minimalist design renovation has re-ignited my dream of owning a rustic white farmhouse.

Could not stop thinking about this recipe all last week, then finally, on Friday night, in a cravings-induced stupor, I sent Jonathan to the store for ingredients, which means I ate my weight in chips and dip this weekend.

Does the company you work for make the list of 40 best businesses for attracting employees?

My lip color game has been lacking since I found out I was pregnant (I blame my hormone-induced DGAF attitude), but I've been debating whether to splurge on this gorgeous lipstick in "Coachella Coral."

I'm obviously not drinking right now, but if I were, I would be toe-up with all things rosé.

And finally, a winners and losers recap of last night's EPIC (in both proportion and satisfaction) Game of Thrones penultimate episode.

Happy Monday, friends!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Our Wedding: Whiskey Tasting + Stocking the Open Bar

In the early stages of planning our wedding (back in 2013), my father was adamant about hosting a whiskey bar during the reception. We all thought it would be a wonderful idea, but I don’t think any of us truly realized how much of a hit it would be…

First, though, some details on our open bar. (Of which I have no photos, sadly.)

The venue has a designated bar area and bartender on staff, so the Bride and Groom need only worry about stocking the bar with whatever beers, wines, and/or liquors, liqueurs, garnishes, and mixers they wish.

We only had about 85 guests in total, and I had the hardest time figuring out how much alcohol we would need to ensure we wouldn't run out… and also so we wouldn’t overbuy. Everything I found online was unhelpful. We just had no way of knowing how much people would end up drinking.

An open bar with a variety of choices was an absolute essential for us, and the beauty of our venue was that we had the freedom to do whatever we wanted—and take the leftovers home.

Making decisions on what we wanted and making booze purchases was a seven month process. After a brilliantly curated California beer tasting that Jonathan put together for us to try, and what felt like endless wine tastings, here are the final choices (and quantity) for the bar…

our wonderful bartender

  • Cielo Viola, Ruby Hill,  Livermore Valley – 1 case
  • Crimson & Clover, Concannon, Livermore Valley – 1 case
  • Pinot Grigio, Fel (previously Breggo), Anderson Valley – 1 case
  • Chardonnay, Concannon, Livermore Valley – 1 case
  • Mourvèdre Rosé, Cline, Sonoma County – 1 case
  • Nina’s Cuvee, Cline, Sonoma County – 1 case
(That’s 72 bottles of wine… and we only had 85 guests.)

  • 21st Amendment Hell or High Watermelon Wheat, San Francisco  – 2 kegs
  • Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA – 1 case
  • Trumer Pils, Berkeley – 1 case
  • Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout, Boonville – 1 case
  • Anchor Steam Beer, San Francisco – 1 case

This doesn't even touch on the liquor, of which we bought Costco-sized containers of gin, vodka, bourbon, and rum—along with appropriate mixers, bitters, and garnishes for each. (You know: tonic, Coke, ginger beer, limes, oranges, cherries, etc...) It was all so extensive, I can't even remember everything, hence why it isn't listed here.

In the end, we bought way too much alcohol, but happily milked the remaining bottles of booze and wine for a year and a half afterwards. We only used one keg of the Watermelon Wheat, and my overly generous father took the keg back to the bar we rented it from and offered it to the patrons there for free.

In hindsight, we could have nixed all of the liquor and mixers and stuck with wine and beer, plus whiskey at the whiskey bar (see below), and we probably still would have had plenty for a guest list of 85 people. You live and learn.

So, the bar was open for guests the moment the reception started at 5 PM until the party ended at midnight. The plan for the whiskey bar—located up the walkway from the bar, next to the fire pit and photo booth—was to open it after the first dance (around 7 or 7:15 PM), where my dad and Uncle Tom would host and pour for one hour. Then the remaining bottles would be moved to the bar, where guests could continue to taste and drink, but without my dad and uncle’s time being eaten up.

Cut to nearly three hours later when not only were my dad and uncle still hosting what was clearly the most popular attraction of the night, Jonathan had also started pouring and refused to shut the thing down. One of the event planners came and told me that she “tried to get him to stop and come spend time with other guests, but he wouldn’t listen.”

Finally they wrapped things up, around the time our late night sandwiches (BLTs, grilled cheese, and tri-tip—personal highlight of the night for me since I barely ate dinner) were ready for guest consumption.

A full list of the whiskies we featured, in order of their line-up in the top photo:

  • Eagle Rare 10-year-old Bourbon Whiskey
  • Blanton Single Barrel Bourbon
  • Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • High West Rendezvous Rye Whiskey
  • Bulleit Rye Mash Whiskey
  • Johnnie Walker Black Label Blended Scotch Whisky
  • Bowmore 12-year-old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
  • The Balvenie 12-year-old Double Wood Single Malt Scotch
  • Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • Bernheim Kentucky Straight Small Batch Wheat Whiskey

Did you host a fun activity at your wedding? Was it a hit with guests? Would you do it again?

Special thanks to my Aunt Lynn and Uncle Peter for introducing us to the most delicious white wine I've ever had (Fel), and my Aunt Julie and Uncle Tom for graciously utilizing their Cline wine membership to help us cut costs on several of our favorite featured wines.

Psst… in case you missed it: my wedding day lookour wedding venue, and our wedding soundtrack.

** All photos by Joe Gunn Photography, courtesy of The Sleep Peach

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Our Wedding: The Soundtrack

first dance, and my most treasured wedding photo

In the year before our wedding, I spent hours doing research and listening to songs I'd previously never heard, re-listening to songs I'd always adored, enlisted the help of my music-loving friends, and then vetted my choices endlessly for months and months on end.

Jonathan was ready to pull his hair out and I didn't blame him.

Truthfully, looking back, I have no earthly idea why I gave it so much thought, especially as I listen back on it all now. But I remember thinking it was super important to get the music—and timing—of the event totally right. And even if I would make different choices in hindsight, listening to it even two years later takes me right back to that year I spent planning our wedding.

Don't worry; I won't go through the annoying Type A breakdown of every thought that went into every song and their lyrical significance or atmospheric purpose, etc. But I will provide you with the playlists (key songs noted), with links to the individual songs on YouTube, if you are so inclined to take a listen.


1. If It Kills Me (Casa Nova Sessions) — Jason Mraz
2. I've Got This Friend — The Civil Wars
3. I'd Rather Be With You — Joshua Radin
4. Speak Easy — Maria Taylor
5. Simple Life — The Weepies
6. Tatooine — Jeremy Messersmith
7. Holocene — Bon Iver
8. Bloom — The Paper Kites (seating of parents & groom's processional)
9. We Bought a Zoo — Jónsi (bridal processional)
10. How the Day Sounds — Greg Laswell (recessional)


1. King and Lionheart — Of Monsters and Men
2. Peculiar People — Mutemath
3. I Choose You — Sara Bareilles
4. Lego House — Ed Sheeran
5. Shot Me in the Heart — Christina Perri
6. Movie Loves a Screen — April Smith and the Great Picture Show
7. Do You Love Me? — Guster
8. Uncharted — Sara Bareilles
9. Come Back Down — Greg Laswell feat. Sara Bareilles
10. Mountain Sound — Of Monsters and Men
11. Go Do — Jónsi
12. Drove Me Wild — Tegan and Sara
13. Colors — April Smith and the Great Picture Show
14. Armistice — Mutemath
15. Be My Forever — Christina Perri feat. Ed Sheeran
16. Dragging You Around — Greg Laswell feat. Sia
17. Lost! — Coldplay
18. Dirty Paws — Of Monsters and Men
19. Can't Find the Time to Tell You — Hootie and the Blowfish


1. Go — Plumb (father/daughter dance)
2. Heavenly Day — Patti Griffin (mother/son dance)
3. The Winemaker's Love Song — Tyler Lyle (our first dance)
4. Safe and Sound — Capital Cities (dance party begins)
Happy — Pharrell
Land of 1000 Dances — William Pickett
#Selfie — The Chainsmokers
SexyBack — Justin Timberlake
Still Into You — Paramore

The dance songs that aren't numbered didn't play in any order; they were just a few random songs we knew we wanted to dance to, so we sent them to the DJ to be sure he had them available. Other than those, everything else played in order. The DJ did interject some classic jazz, per our request, played quietly over dinner (between the Cocktail Hour and Dance Party), and he filled the evening with loads of dance favorites. (Shout out to my best friend Ken, who spent a solid portion of his twenties as a wedding DJ and was instrumental in getting people on the dance floor at our wedding, and requesting songs that he knew were crowd pleasers.)

grainy, blurry selfie of the bridal party dancing to #Selfie, as you do

It all worked out really well and, yeah, even though all that hard work most certainly went completely unnoticed by our guests, it was worth it to know that we had hand-picked nearly every song to be a reflection of the year we got married.

So what are your thoughts? Do you think music can make or break the vibe of a wedding, or do you find you hardly ever notice it? What were some of the songs that were really important for you to play at your wedding? Any regrets? I distinctly remember it being really difficult to find an appropriate, not-wildly-out-of-place Mother/Son Dance song... did you find that to be true for your wedding, too? I'd love to know!

Psst... in case you missed it: my bridal look and our wedding venue.

** Top photo by Joe Gunn Photography, courtesy of The Sleep Peach

Thursday, June 2, 2016

25 Weeks, 3 Days

We’re just shy of 11 months since I updated last, and I’ve been fairly comfortable with this. Another long, sustained break from writing, which has made me somewhat sad but also grateful that my life has been filled with other things, good and not so good, to whittle away the hours of my days.

I currently have six mostly-written posts pending about Jonathan’s and my wedding, which occurred nearly two years ago, and I have debated whether to ever bother finishing them. For myself, I would love to have the memories extensively documented -- the way only I can ramble on about details that no one but me really care about -- but there is also this tugging forward that makes me eager to look ahead and not back. Maybe just one post of my favorite photos from the day will do, and we can leave it at that. Perhaps inspiration will strike and I’ll finally pull out the hard drive that houses these memories and get the photographs added to the posts (basically the only thing keeping me from clicking "publish" on several of them.) We’ll see; I feel no pressure to do one or the other at this moment.

I did, however, feel inspired to stop by and talk a little about the newest development in our ever-changing lives...

I’m pregnant, finally, after 12 long months of trying. Currently 25 weeks and 3 days, due September 12th. At 20 weeks, we found out baby is a girl (!!!)—though, if I’m being honest, given the intensity of my food cravings, she may also be part burrito.

20-week burrito baby

Back in January and February, in the throes of incomprehensible fatigue and awful (but relatively minor) bouts of nausea, September felt so far away. 9 months. 8 months. That’s such a long time; countless hours left to plan, read, study, prepare, every little thing that feels important prior to welcoming a tiny human being into your home for forever. No reason to rush or stress. Plenty of time. Now though? I’m on the cusp of the 3rd trimester, baby spends inconvenient hours movin’ and groovin’ all over my bladder and colon, Jonathan has taken to speaking with her about his day, playing Nirvana and jazz so she comes out knowing what’s what. This weekend, we are preparing to move nearly all of our furniture around and purge more junk to make way for baby essentials. Summer will come and go. By September 26th (at the latest), Baby Hyatt will be here, coming home to our little one-bedroom apartment and menagerie of fur-balls. It feels as though she could be here any moment.

We’re thrilled/nervous/anxious/every emotion at once. I would be lying if I didn't admit that the enormity of this impending change has also, sometimes, left me feeling sad, cocooned in uncertainty; that sneaky yet all-too-familiar "What have we done?" sub-thought that appears spontaneously, only to upend my joy. The gravity is not lost on me, the reality of a new human of which we will be entirely responsible. One I will love more than I thought possible. I truly am full of all the feelings and I am doing my damnedest to embrace and own every bit of it.

So that's it. First time parents with zero minutes of infant care experience and exactly one diaper change between us. We have no idea what we’re doing but we are so, so, so excited/scared/etc. to learn.