Our Biggest Project *or* How Ryan Spoiled our Baby Announcement

So, this is the big project that we’ve been working on here at the borrowed abode. It’s definitely our biggest project yet!  If you’re thinking “oh good grief, another blogger having a baby” . . . and you just don’t dig it – no worries. Skip to the bottom where I promise not to become a mommy blogger!Baby Girl Announcement Photo

I’m 17 weeks along, and I was trying to get a set of photos for an idea I had about sharing the news, but last night Ryan went into my Facebook account and did this:

Ryan Spoiled Baby Announcement

It was his attempt to avoid annoying an annoying photo shoot!  I guess it’s only fitting that he take over the computer to announce it, since he took over the blog way back when to announce that he was proposing to me.

So here’s the scoop – I tried to be brief, but it’s hard to cram the last 4 months into very few words.

When We Found Out & Told Family: 

I found out on May 15th on my way out the door for a camping weekend with my girlfriends.  After over a year of trying it was almost a habit to take tests all the time. . . I had just seen the doctor about figuring out “what was wrong”.  Needless to say I was totally shocked!  I accidentally texted Ryan at work simply because I was freaking out that he wasn’t there for the news.  Whoops.  Not the most romantic way to break it to him!

We told our immediate family early on – around Memorial Day.  We used my brother’s kids and Merlin as the messengers to break it to my family. Niece Nephew Baby Announcement

My mom was super excited. This was before she ended up in the hospital.

Niece and Mom Baby Surprise

The First Trimester

The first trimester kicked my butt!  I was exhausted and the shop, the blog, the sewing, the project, and the house all suffered.  It was all I could do to get through each workday without falling asleep. Ryan was a saint and kept up with housework and getting takeout all the time because holy cow – my ability to tolerate most food changed day by day.

I had/have the most absurd symptom ever. I was “lucky” enough to get a really rare issue – an allergic reaction to the hormones caused by the baby. The result was full body hives every day until I saw an allergy specialist who was able to help.  The solution – Zyrtec every other day.  I’m now weaned down to once a week(ish).  I hated taking a medication but the hives were out of control.

Oh, and the ultrasound.  The first ultrasound was ridiculously amazing. It doesn’t seem real. . . and then it is. Yep.

Merlin Baby Announcement

The Gender & Non-Invasive Testing

Ryan and I unofficially found out it was a girl (just like we wanted!) at my 12-ish week ultrasound. My doctor’s visits have been a bit off schedule because we’ve been out of town visiting my mom so much.  When the sonographer asked if we wanted to try and figure out the gender early so we could tell my mom, we said yes.  She explained that because there was only an = sign between the legs, it was most likely a girl.  A super awesome blood test confirmed it a week later, along with confirming that the baby is super low risk for chromosomal issues (despite my “advanced” maternal age) so we didn’t have to risk miscarriage by doing amniocentesis or CVS.

Will I become a “mommy blogger?”

The answer right now is Heck no! While I really look forward to being a mom, I also look forward to keeping my own identity and not letting motherhood overtake every aspect of my life. I’m sure some of you with kids are thinking “good luck with that” but it’s something I’m going to try to do. At this time I really don’t have any interest in blogging about kid stuff all the time.  I’ll do an occasional kid-related post, but I will have more posts on the original blog topics – the shop, the house, small business. I also don’t want to plaster my child all over the internet.

Belly Photos

So I see all these people doing fabulous belly photos with a board that says what week they are.  I keep forgetting and until recently there was nothing to photograph as I’ve only gained 3 pounds so far.  After I took this front-facing photo (left) in San Diego last week I had my boss take a side view with my sticking it out as far as it would go (right).  This is an exaggeration just for fun – also I had just pigged out on amazing Mexican food:

Hidden Belly Photo San Diego

What’s Next?

Thanks to this famous 2nd trimester energy burst, Ryan and I are tearing through projects as much as we can with our limited schedules.  My goal is to have baby prep / nursery / house changes all done by the end of October so I can focus on the holidays socially as well as holiday craft markets for Janery. Then decompress until she arrives in January.

I’m looking forward to sharing our house projects here, but probably in limited length posts simply because time is precious.

Woohoo! Here’s to the next adventure!

For awesome updates & exclusive discounts on Janery pet beds, please sign up for my newsletter!

Doctor’s Story: Considering Chemo For a Cat With Cancer

In an surreal twist of fate, the dreaded “C” word – cancer – has already returned to our borrowed abode, this time striking our awesome little cat, Doctor.3-IMG_2070

Two months ago, noticing that our cat Doctor was losing weight and acting more lethargic, we took him to the vet for blood work. I had a gut feeling that he had cancer, but I thought I was probably just paranoid after losing Charlie to that disease 6 months ago. Running a “senior panel” on an older dog or cat is the most efficient way to get the whole picture of their health – the measurements often show illness that has already begun, or hint at illness that could begin soon and can be prevented or stalled with a little extra care or change in diet.

As we feared, a few of Doctor’s blood results were off, hinting at some sort of chronic disease.   An abdominal ultrasound with an internal medicine specialist was recommended, because it would literally provide a picture of how all his internal organs were doing – liver, spleen, kidneys, etc. it’s not a cheap diagnostic tool, but the quality and quantity of info it gives you makes it worthwhile.

I was horrified to find out that my gut feeling was right. Doctor had large cell Intestinal Lymphoma, a cancer invading his lymph nodes and intestines. The doctor explained to us that the cancer was thickening the intestinal wall, and eventually it would become so thick that nothing could pass through it. When this day comes, Doctor will start vomiting and it will be a sign that we have to let him go.

However! It’s been about two months since the diagnosis, and Doctor is doing well. I took him to the oncologist who treated Charlie just to see what our options were. We didn’t get in there until a month after the diagnosis (since we have been out of town helping my mom with her cancer issues) and the oncologist expressed surprise that Doctor was doing so well, given how invasive the cancer looked on the ultrasound.

Chemotherapy for Cats

Chemotherapy is just as hard on pets as it is on humans, if not worse, because you can’t explain to the pet what is going on and why they feel cruddy – but it can work wonders. It gave us quality time with Charlie that we otherwise wouldn’t have had.

We were given a few chemotherapy options for Doctor, all of which would extend his 3-month(ish) prognosis by another month or two. We chose not to pursue them.

The cat is actually happy right now. Why mess with that by administering meds that won’t save his life, but which are guaranteed to make him feel sick? While chemo has its benefits, it can be a slippery slope, with pills piled on top of other pills, all to combat the side effects of the main drug. Additionally, giving cats pills does not make the cat happy. . .

We considered other factors before saying no to the chemo. Because we are spending so much time out of town with my parents, we didn’t feel chemo was something we could do well. I hated to think of Doctor sitting at home with us out of town, feeling crappy, and not having us there to comfort him or give him love.   Also, it’s hard to find friends who are comfortable administering medications to cats, especially chemo ones.

Sometimes your life situation will influence how much medical care you can realistically provide to your pets. I think ultimately it’s not about how much veterinary care you can provide, but how much love you can give the pet, and how you respect them by letting them go when they are no longer happy.

So – long story short – we’re enjoying our time with Doctor, but are prepared to say goodbye when he’s no longer doing well. In the mean time, he’s getting all the stinky wet cat food he can eat. :)

For awesome updates & exclusive discounts on Janery pet beds, please sign up for my newsletter!

State of the Blog: A revised update!

In my last blog post – “Why I’m Giving Up on my Design & DIY Blog“ – I think perhaps I worded the title wrong, so I’ve gone back and revised it to “Why I’m Embracing Imperfection In My Design & DIY Blog.”

Thank you all who read it and took the time to email or comment. I wrote it on a whim after mulling over those thoughts for months, and it may have come across as whiny. That was not my intent.

Neither was it my intent to say I was ending my design blog. It was more of a personal manifesto; one in which I was publicly letting myself accept that I was no longer going to try and be something I’m not.

I haven’t had the energy for blogging lately. . . but I think it’s coming back! We’ve been very busy spending all of our free time (and some of my working time) in Delaware with my mom, and when I’m home I’m just trying to keep up with laundry and the house, etc.

However, Ryan and I have been working hard behind the scenes to get some projects done, and it’s been great therapy!   I’m looking forward to sharing some things

So here’s what you can expect on this blog in the future:

  • Real life projects & design attempts
  • In real time
  • With real photos (that may not always be magazine quality)
  • With [occasional] real life updates
  • Without ads or sponsored posts (though I may use affiliate links for products I love)

I am looking forward to rocking it old school.

I’ve seen a few other bloggers talk about keeping it real, letting go of the comparisons, and generally embracing the old-school “blogging for fun” mentality. Here are a few fave bloggers who still feel real to me, in case you’re looking for some other “real” bloggers to add to your reading list:

  • Christina, Plain & Simple – She wrote recently about letting go of comparison in her blogging, too.
  • Kalanicut - An awesome lady with a fun lifestyle blog, always written in a peaceful, calming tone that I love.
  • Small Chic Home – Jeannine has always kept it real while blogging about design. She posts real time updates and projects on a real-life schedule, and I’ve always loved that, because I can relate.

In the mean time, I’m working on a very exciting post about our latest project. It’s a big one!

For awesome updates & exclusive discounts on Janery pet beds, please sign up for my newsletter!