Oct 16, 2017

How We Decided On A Social Media Policy Regarding Our Baby

Years ago, my mom told me that she returned to work after my sister and I were born even though 100% of her salary went to childcare because she knew she'd be a bad mom if she stayed at home with us full-time. I was too young to appreciate the complexities of her decision at the time and it really hurt my feelings.

That memory is part of what informs the conversations that Jon and I have about how we want to share - or not - our baby on social media. I wouldn't want our child to one day read and be wounded or embarrassed by something I'd shared that he couldn't understand.

The other major part is very simple: Jon is very private and posts little online that's personal. (He has Facebook but no accounts on other platforms.) Because of that, we've agreed that Jon will be the arbiter of what gets posted regarding our baby - photos, videos, captions, everything.

We've been practicing this ever since I started blogging, well before I joined Twitter and Instagram; he approves all posts that quote him or discuss our relationship before they go up, and if he's not okay with a photo of him being shared then it doesn't get published. It sounds kind of controlling when I write it out like that, but actually, for us, it comes down to respect.

In the end, we've decided that we want to show our child the same kind of respect. We'll share very little that's truly intimate until he's of an age and capacity to consent to stories and photos being posted by us, and it will be his decision as to what kind of identity he eventually wants to reveal online.

That doesn't mean he won't appear on my social media accounts, but it means that we've agreed to not post pictures of him in the bath or throwing a tantrum and we won't write captions that expose his struggles - or ours as parents.

I've learned a lot from the women of my generation who had children before us and navigated the then-unchartered waters of parenting on social media over the last half-decade or so, and I deeply appreciate having been given glimpses of their lives. The stories they have shared will prepare me as much as possible for challenging situations in which we might find ourselves down the road, be they related to breastfeeding, sleep training, post-partum depression, or anything else. So I'm aware that I'm maybe being a bit hypocritical in not sharing our own stories and I'm also aware that this might open me up to criticism (unspoken, as I don't have enough of a following to be gossiped about) that I'm being inauthentic. But... so be it. This is the decision that's right for our family.

If you're comfortable commenting, I'd love to hear how you decided what your social media policy would be regarding your kid(s). I know it's different for every family!

Oct 13, 2017

Transatlantic Goes West: Napa and Sonoma Vineyards

I'm skipping ahead a bit on my #transatlanticgoewest recaps as there's still a post to publish about our incredible 33-hour train journey from Denver to San Francisco plus two on our three lovely days in the Bay Area, but reading the terrible news about the fires in Northern California's wine country compelled me to revisit the wonderful memories of our weekend vineyard hopping at the end of our vacation.

We rented a car when we left San Francisco so we'd be masters of our own destiny in Napa and Sonoma - Jon highly recommends visiting wineries with a pregnant wife who can serve as a designated driver - and found an affordable private room in a nice couple's house on Airbnb serve as our base for our stay. (Check out the view from their deck!) This was the part of our vacation that we'd researched the least, but luckily we had an expert guide join us for our first day in the area!

Our friend Alex, a classmate of mine from kindergarten all the way through twelfth grade, works in the wine business and has lived on four different continents in pursuit of her craft. She met us after breakfast and shepherded us through three glorious winery visits. My requests, since I wouldn't be doing much drinking, were that I wanted to go to places that had incredible views of the countryside and didn't skimp on the snacks, and Jon wanted true California experiences. Each of our stops surpassed our expectations!

We started the day at Robert Sinskey, which had actually been recommended to us as well by my mother's cousin and her husband who live in Marin County and know wine. Next up was ZD Wines, and we finished up in grand style with a tasting and full tour at Chandon, where Alex works. We rounded out our trip the following afternoon on Nicole's suggestion with a leisurely exploration of Gundlach Bundschu, the oldest family-owned vineyard in Sonoma, which was gorgeous and relaxing despite the super hot weather.

I was so sad to read that GunBun has suffered some damage in the fires; though the Silverado Trail, which is the road we took to the first three Napa wineries, was threatened, the other places we visited are safe for the moment. As Alex pointed out on Instagram, the best way we can support the vineyards that are losing business to this disaster is to buy their wine - you bet we will, and we can't wait to visit again as soon as possible!

Transatlantic Goes West Day One: The Heights of Rocky Mountain National Park
Transatlantic Goes West Day Two: Boulder
Transatlantic Goes West Day Three: A Hike Through Rocky Mountain National Park

Oct 12, 2017

One Room Challenge: Study to Nursery (Week Two)

Well, I said in last week's entry for the One Room Challenge that I hoped to have some of the decor up for our nursery in time for this post, but that didn't happen! The gold star decals for the dark gray accent wall have arrived and we've ordered some art from Etsy to go in the four 8x10 gold frames we already own, but none of that is on the walls yet - I realized I was jumping the gun by trying to decorate around furniture that isn't yet in place.

I'd wanted to buy as much second-hand as possible, but I finally reconciled myself to the fact that time's getting short and my Craigslist luck might have run out. So, instead, I spent the last week figuring out exactly what furniture we should purchase new and scheduling the contractors to come this weekend to install the temporary wall/door to close off the room so it's a bit more contained.

We're super lucky, especially somewhere like DC, to have a separate room to use as a nursery - I know so many people in this and other cities who share their bedrooms with their babies out of necessity or who move out to the 'burbs for more space when they want to start a family. That being said, the room we're converting from the study into the nursery is only 82ft sq and quite narrow, so we need to choose items that either have a small footprint or are multi-purpose!

We're off on Friday evening to spend eight days in England for a wedding and to see Jon's mum, which means October will almost be over by the time we get back and are able to actually buy and assemble the furniture. Hopefully all the research I've done will help the next phase of this project go more quickly!

Delta Children Mini Crib Classic
Because the nursery isn't very wide, measuring only 82" from the door (which will swing open inwards) to the far wall, we can't really put two pieces of furniture opposite each other. There just wouldn't be room to walk between them! This mini crib saves us just a few inches of depth - 26" as opposed to an Ikea crib's 30" or a Pottery Barn crib's 32" - but its length of 41.25" compared to the 54"-58" of a full-sized crib will be super helpful as we navigate the space. We don't have to buy a separate mattress, which will help us stick to our budget, and it should last until the baby is 18-24 months old, at which point we hope to be out of this apartment into a house of our own with more space anyway.

Hemnes 8-drawer chest from Ikea
I've come to understand that so many parents have this in their nurseries for a very good reason: it's unbelievably hard to find a dresser that's at a good height to also be used as a changing table! We do have a 3-drawer Hemnes in the (now-discontinued) gray/brown stain, which is being used as Jon's dresser; my original brilliant idea was to try to find the taller 6-drawer Hemnes dresser for sale secondhand in either the same gray/brown or the (also now-discontinued) pine, which is the color of my 8-drawer Hemnes dresser, and Jon would upgrade to the 6-drawer while we moved the 3-drawer into the nursery. Unfortunately, though, I've been looking for the 6-drawer dresser in those two stains online for five months, and... nothing. If we had been able to put the 3-drawer dresser in the nursery, we would have had to buy some sort of additional storage unit for the room, too, but it's more cost-effective to just buy the 8-drawer dresser and use it for both clothes and diaper/bedding/etc storage than to buy two new pieces.

We've moved my late grandmother's antique rocking chair (similar here and here on Chairish) into the nursery and it looks great! The seat is a little lower than my 5'11" frame would like, but it's surprisingly comfortable. (We have an upholstered armchair in the living room that I imagine will see a lot of sleeping, cuddling, and nursing action, too.)

I'm not sure this will fit, but I'm hoping to move the toy chest (similar here from Land of Nod) that was in my childhood bedroom into the nursery if there's room. I'd also like to get a few picture ledges, like these from Ikea, up on the wall to hold the baby's books.

This doesn't count as furniture but I'm including it here anyway: I did a lot of research on diaper pails... because of our dog. I know some recommend just using your normal trash can for diapers and emptying it daily, but we have to keep our trash can behind a closed door in the pantry so Charlie can't get into it and I'm not crazy about the idea of dirty diapers sitting near food even just for a few hours. I'm not really worried that he's going to try to get into a diaper pail - for a dog, he's surprisingly uninterested in poop and never investigates our toilet - but I still wanted one that closes securely and controls odor as much as possible. As a bonus, the Ubbi has a pretty small footprint and doesn't require special bags.

With the long dark accent wall and gold accents - star decals, picture frames, and patterned curtains - all over the room, I think keeping most of the furniture white and simple is the way to go. I'm excited to see it all come together!

And if you want to see what the other ORC participants are up go, check out this week's link-up here.